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Key Number: HS 32628
Site Name: Circle L Ranch
Other Names: Lucasia Ranch
William Lyndon Homestead
Site Type: 0501 - Farming and Ranching: Farm or Ranch House


ATS Legal Description:
Twp Rge Mer
12 29 4

Near Town: Claresholm


Type Number Date View


Plan Shape: Rectangular
Storeys: Storeys: 1 1/2
Superstructure: Horizontal Log
Superstructure Cover:
Roof Structure: Low Gable
Roof Cover:
Exterior Codes:
Exterior: Dimensions: 6m x 7m Foundation: cement.
Interior: N/A
Environment: N/A
Condition: Good (1982)
Alterations: N/A


Construction: Construction Date:
Construction Started
Usage: Usage Date:
Ranch / Look-out Point / Residence
Ranch / Residence
Owner: Owner Date:
William Lyndon
J.W. Lucas
Architect: N/A
Builder: N/A
Craftsman: N/A
History: William Lyndon, a R.N.W.M.P., was assigned a Look-out post in 1894.
He was to watch for indian traffic. In 1896, he received a contract to build his house. 'William joined the 13th CMR in 1915.' He was promoted to Grigade Major and 'served with Princess Patricia Light in Fantry, the Canadian Garrson Duty Depot at Hastings, the 52nd Scottish Division'. He also operated the Post office from 1903 to 1938.
Current owner: J.W. Lucas.

Among the Americans determined to start their own ranches in Canada was a storekeeper from Salt Lake City named Charles Lyndon. In about 1881, he, his wife, Margaret, and their eight year old son, William, made their way to the Porcupine Hills district west of present day Claresholm, and east of the large Walrond Ranch. Here, they took out a grazing lease and built a crude dwelling with a barn and corral. With cattle and supplies purchased at Fort Benton, Montana, they proceeded to establish their ranching operation. For a few years, Lyndon drove his cattle south to Fort Benton to market. However, once the Calgary & Edmonton Railway was extended south to Fort Macleod in 1892, the new railway center of Claresholm became a logical marketing point. By this time, other small ranches had been carved out in the area, and so, in 1893, the government decided to extend a postal service to the district. This was located on Lyndon's grazing lease at SW35 Township12 Range 29 W4, and, so, the post office was named Lyndon, as was the creek running by it.
Those small ranchers who had lived on this land, and had made improvements on it, were given the right of pre-emption of the quarter-section on which they dwelled, and were encouraged to begin new careers as rancher-farmers, but many found this too restrictive and so they moved on, even though extensive areas were still left open for grazing leases. Among those to stay was Charles Lyndon, who obtained a pre-emption for the quarter on which he and his family lived, and, in December 1896, he applied to homestead NE27 TP12 R29 W4. Prior to this quarter being proven up in April, 1898, he appears to have built the log ranch house that is still standing on this property, possibly as part of his homesteading requirements. This quarter was hardly enough room to maintain a ranch, but there were then still many sections given over to grazing leases in the immediate vicinity, and, on these, he would continue to raise his cattle, which were mainly Herefords. In 1900, he registered his cattle under the brand DJ, while his horses were registered as W1.

By the turn of the century, much of the ranching operation was effectively in the hands of William Lyndon who had earlier established his own cattle ranch nearby with the brand of Circle L. As more and more grazing lease land in the district was turned into homestead land, the Lyndons sought ways in which to maintain their ranch. In 1896, all of Section 26 was purchased from the Hudson's Bay Company, while William himself took SW34 as a homestead. Two years later, Charles took SE34 as a second homestead. In 1899, the fractional quarter NW 34 was purchased from the government, while SE28 and SW28 were purchased form neighbors who had earlier acquired them as homesteads. Then, in 1904, just after Charles Lyndon passed away, Margaret Lyndon applied for NW2 TP13 as a homestead. When she passed away in 1911, William Lyndon and his second wife, Clara, were thus in charge of 11 quarters of land, sufficient for a small ranch, but made bigger with the continued use of much land to the south which was still given over for grazing lease.

William Lyndon, who had helped organize a local unit of Alberta Rangers (23rd Division) in 1906, was with this unit when it served overseas during World War I. He eventually gained the rank of Major. Though he was wounded during the war and would be hospitalized for shell shock, he would return to his ranch in 1919 and reassume operation of what was now known as the Circle L Ranch. He would obtain two more quarters by purchase and still use grazing leases to the south, and would concentrate on raising horses as well as cattle. He also engaged in some dry land farming near a dam his father had built on Lyndon Creek. After he passed away in 1938, the ranch passed on to his sons, Lawrence and Charles, under whom its operation was contracted out to various foremen, primarily Alec Patterson. In 1966, the property was sold to Robert Lindsay, and, in 1974, it was acquired by Wayne and Judy Lucas. In addition to their regular business, called the Lucasia Ranch, the Lucases have also used their property lately as a guest ranch. The house appears to be the one constructed by Charles Lyndon in 1896, while certain other ranch buildings were erected by William Lyndon in later years.

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: The historical significance of the Lyndon Ranch buildings lies in their representation of small-scale ranching in southeastern Alberta during the turn of the 20th century, where, amongst several large corporate ranches, many smaller operations were maintained. Many of these would not survive the decision of the government to subdivide much of the range land into quarter-sections for homesteading, but others, like the Lyndons, would sustain their ranches by taking homestead quarters, purchasing other quarters as they became available, and utilizing what land was still open for grazing leases. The buildings are important also in their association with the early independent rancher, Charles Lyndon, and his son, William. Though not so prominent as to be mentioned in Victor Kelly's The Range Men (1912), or in later studies on ranch life in southeastern Alberta by Lewis G. Thomas, David Breen or Henry Klassen, the Lyndon Ranch was a prominent concern in the Porcupine Hills district west of Claresholm.


Status: Status Date:
Occasional Use
Designation Status: Designation Date:
(not assigned)
Provincial Historic Resource

Record Information: Record Information Date:
T. Gilev 1998/12/11


Alberta Register of Historic Places: 4665-0892
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