Saturday, May 4, 2013


Riverside Ranch where I (Corinna Fritz) spent my early years on and my grandpa cowboyed on for over 30 years was owned by Lewis Ranches, LLC (Rex, Mickey and Bruce Lewis).  Riverside was located about 20 miles west of Laramie, WY on state hwy 230, extended west to Jelm Mountain, and south down in to Colorado.  I believe it is adjacent to Chimney Rock Ranch, where Bruce has chosen to make his home. 

No, they didn't own the Swastika Ranch when it was the Swastika, and the Swastika didn't always mean what it means today  The Lewis' had been in Wy and had their own brand for a couple generations before taking over part of the Swastika. 

The really neat thing is:  Mickey Lewis was a German Jew who escaped Germany as a very young child.  It really is poetic justice that she ended up where she did.

When Mickey's parents realized how desperate the situation in Germany was with Hitler at the helm, her mother told her to run.  At about 8 years old she walked I don't know how far, but for days across Germany.  She begged for food, and slept in barns.  One night she realized there was a mouse curled up with her, but she just decided she and the mouse were both in need of the warmth so she let it be. 
Eventually, she made it to the coast where she was put on a boat with other refugees to the U.S.  I don't know where she lived when she was younger, but she ended up going to college and becoming a registered nurse.  Finally she met Rex and became "the ranch bosses wife" which is a demanding role in it's own right. 

Rex and Mickey Lewis were offered millions of dollars for the ranch at various times and finally as they grew very old and their health began to fail, they sold the ranch for an obscene amount of money of which they would not divulge.  Truly a rags to riches story.  Happily, Mickey's mother and most of her family survived the holocaust. 

Mickey would tell this and other stories while I worked alongside her to make sandwiches for the temp ranch hands that were hired to help during haying season.