Boyd Ranch House at the Trails and Rails Museum
The Boyd Ranch House was built by James Boyd in 1864 near the present-day town of Gibbon, Nebraska. Mr. Boyd started a freighting business with the purchase of 24 mule teams; one of their first hauls was the lumber to build the ranch house. Shortly after the house was completed, Boyd move to Omaha, Nebraska, where he later became mayor. When you visit the Boyd Ranch House, be sure to ask what happened to Mr. Boyd after he was mayor of Omaha! - Information provided by the Buffalo County Historical Society.
Backstory and Context
James Boyd’s wife, Ann, was probably in charge of the care of the home like most women on the frontier, and United States in general, at the time. The women of large ranches such as the Boyd Ranch may have been tasked with providing meals for all the men each evening, as well as providing a place for them to relax after a long day of working outside in the harsh and sometimes unpredictable Nebraska weather. They may have been in charge of keeping up with laundry and keeping the house tidy, as well as buying the goods needed for the home from the nearest dry-goods store. Women of the frontier were often in control of the home and making sure it ran smoothly as their husband was often away from the home during the day.
Howell, Alice, “Nebraska Centre and the Boyd Ranch House,” Buffalo Tales, Vol 3, No. 8. Kearney: Buffalo County Historical Society, September 1980.