Kilsyth man visits American ranch that bears his name.

editorial image

A KILSYTH man has finally made an emotional journey to the United States to trace the footsteps of a relative.

IN MAY, we told how Kilsyth man Walter Jarvie was set to make an emotional journey to the United States – to see a popular tourist attraction named after a pioneering relation.

Now he has retraced his relative’s footsteps in Dagget County in Utah – and wasn’t disappointed.

Ex Glasgow Road resident Walter has just returned from the unique homestead that is the John Jarvie Ranch -for what was the trip of a lifetime

John Jarvie was the brother of Walter’s grandfather who left a mining job in Airdrie in the mid 19th century and travelled all the way to Utah where he set up a small ranch.

By 1880 he owned a ferry business, the local post office and also ran a bar and hotel where he would entertain and host outlaws, including such famous names as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, who were seeking refuge on their travels.

In a tragic end to the story, John Jarvie was murdered but his legacy lives on at the historic property which provides a glimpse into turn-of-the-century frontier life bordering the Green river.

And seeing the ranch for himself was an experience Walter will never forget - after meeting up with friends he had first encountered in Scotland.

Walter who is a widower said: “I first flew out to Denver and that took about nine hours The reception I got was amazing – particularly from the Americans of Scots ancestry that I met. It was a fantastic trip. As well as seeing the ranch itself, I rode in a stagecoach and lassoed a steer on my second attempt!

“It was fantastic to see the ranch itself- it was very emotional you know,” he added.

Walter who now lives in Coatbridge also celebrated his 80th birthday in America and his hosts really pushed the boat out

“They arranged for a country and western band to sing for me at their home and I also got six CDs of their music too. I’ve been playing them since I got back!’’ said Walter.