Martin Van Buren Wason was born April 15, 1823. In addition to sailing around Cape Horn on a whaling ship, he toured Europe, China, Japan and India before prospecting for gold in South America. History says Wason and two brothers named Biedell found gold on their adventure, but barely escaped back to North America with their lives. Next they joined in the California Gold Rush, and again were successful.
Major M.V.B. Wason fought in the Civil War, returned to prospecting, began ranching in the San Luis Valley, and then founded the present Wason Ranch.
Major Wason then went to California and Santa Fe to purchase breeding stock for his horse ranch. Historical sources reflect that the "Wason horse" became famous and one source, referring to the Wason Brand, states the "W Oxyoke Ranch became the most famous ranch in all Colorado." Wason is credited with building the first road over Stony Pass. The famous Pass is near the originating point of the Rio Grande, high on the Continental Divide and from its crest, provides travelers with a dramatic view of Silverton.
The Wason family sold the ranch to the Fahnstock family who owned the property for a few generations.
The Wason Ranch Corporation purchased the ranch in 1963 making the current ownership only the third owner since the land was patented from the U.S. Government.
We celebrated our 50th anniversary in the fall of 2013 with a wonderful series of meals and events.