My(Lisa’s) great-great grandfather, Thomas Delthrop Burns, came to the Chama Valley in the mid-1860s. He married Josephina Gallegos, whose ancestors came to Abiquiu, New Mexico in 1598. He owned several mercantile stores in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado along the now defunct Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. Burns traded not only with settlers of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado but was also a trusted businessman with the Ute, Jicarilla and Navajo tribes. Burns also owned land throughout the Chama Valley, running thousands of head of sheep. Today as I stand looking over the valley of the Wolf Creek Ranch and admiring our grazing animals I like to imagine that I am standing in the same spot where he once stood gazing at his sheep herds.
Robert and I (Lisa) raise beef cattle and yaks on the Wolf Creek Ranch and El Barranco Farm, both of which my great-great grandfather purchased prior to and around 1900. Before we met, Robert received his Ph.D in Astrophysics and worked in the field for many years. Robert, however, comes from a long line of ranchers in Kansas. I spent my childhood summers on the Wolf Creek riding my horse around the valleys and mountains of the ranch. After college I earned my Juris Doctor degree and worked in New Mexico prior to marrying Robert. We have two terrific kids who are now teenagers and navigating the ebbs and flows of high school.