1914 – Kershner Ranch – Flint Creek
First Generation Owner: Harry Townsend
Current Owner: Vern & Bonnie Kershner
Flint Creek Ranch, owned today by Vern (OCA President in 1990) and Bonnie Kershner, has been in the Townsend family for over 100 years. Many Townsend descendants simply call it “The Ranch”, an affectionate name that encompasses the love and respect they have for the place and, more importantly, the people associated with it.
The ranch was originally purchased on April 7, 1914 by Harry Townsend, son of William Henry “Hank” and Nellie Townsend, who were early pioneers in Owyhee County. Hank was most likely the oldest continuous resident of the county at his death in 1906. He arrived with the second wave of miners to the Silver City area in 1863. Harry originally bought 440 acres of meadows and horse pasture.
Harry Townsend then sold the ranch to his brother Albert “Bert” Townsend and his wife Bessie sometime after 1922. They raised their eight children there and their children would continue to see the ranch as home, bringing their kids and grandchildren to visit. In the 1930s two of their sons, Ralph and Darley “Duke”, each homesteaded near the ranch. Son Everett “Dib” (OCA Honorary Life Member in 1981) worked on the home ranch. Sometime between 1948 and 1950 Ralph and Duke sold their homesteads to Bert and Dib, making a total of 1,863 acres for the ranch. The brand used for the ranch was the quarter circle CM and that brand is still in use today. The brand AV may have been used at some point as Bert Millspaugh, grandson of Bert and Bessie, remembers seeing those branding irons hanging on the old stockade corral. He worked on the ranch in 1950.
After Bert and Bessie retired and moved to Homedale, Dib became the owner of the ranch. He added to the ranch by buying 220 acres at Deer Creek. While he had no children and was not married, the tradition of the family hub continued with many visitors to the ranch consisting of his siblings, nieces and nephews and many cousins and children of cousins. There was always enough room in the ranch house for everyone to eat even if that meant children doing so under the big table, and camping available around the house when the beds were filled inside.
Vern Kershner, grandson of Bert and Bessie, worked on the ranch to help Dib and eventually, with his wife Bonnie, purchased the ranch in 1972. At that time the ranch consisted of 1,900 deeded acres. Dib continued to live in the ranch house and Vern and Bonnie built a house near it. They have lived at the ranch for over 50 years and have made many improvements over the years. They also added additional acreage including Quintana parcels, with part of that being the Steve Romelli place. Today the ranch has a total of 6,000 deeded acres. They raised their two sons Kenny and Jim there. Kenny (OCA President in 2014) works closely with Vern and Bonnie on the ranch. He is married to Teresa and they have two children Bailey and Bryce, and just welcomed their first grandchild, a son born to Daniel (OCA President in 2016) and Bailey Richards, in 2015. Jim is married to Mindy and they have two children Lacey and Catie.
The tradition of family at the ranch continues today and no doubt will continue into the future. The close ties in the Townsend family fostered something that continues today, a deep respect for history and for elders, the wonderful people who lived before and paved the way.
Cox, Markee Stimmel. Outpost Number 42 "The Townsend Story, Pioneers in Silver City and Owyhee County". Page 27. May 2011. Cox, Markee Stimmel. Outpost Number 46 "Communities of the Past". May 2015.
Kershner, Vern. Phone interview, 10/13/2014
Millspaugh, Bert. Email interview, 10/13/2014
If you would like more information about other Owyhee County communities, Outpost Number 46 “Communities of the Past” will be released in May, 2015. To order a copy of this or other Outposts, please contact the Owyhee County Historical Society for more information at 208-495-2319 or firstname.lastname@example.org.