HISTORY – Brands

We needed a place to display our many donated blacksmith items and many other priceless treasures we have been so lucky to acquire over the years, so our Blacksmith shop/Storage building was completed in 2018.

The Blacksmith by Wayne Gallup

“By definition, a blacksmith is a skilled ironworker. He has the ability to make tools, horseshoes, and a variety of metal objects by heating iron in his forge and pounding it into a desired shape on his anvil. In the 1800’s many iron goods and tools were unavailable or else prohibitively expensive, so many people made their own. Farms and ranches had their own basic working facilities and most rural people could work metal with varying degrees of skill. But a blacksmith was a professional. He could shoe horses, treat lameness if necessary, and do any sort of skilled, custom ironwork and repairs. James Hall had a blacksmith facility at his stage stop in the early 1850’s.”


One day last year (2018), Cindy Mahon from the local Pioneering Mahon family thought wouldn’t it be a nice project to recognize many of our local ranchers and farmers by displaying their brands on the side of the building. Aided by historical society facilities manager John Ross, they went about finding and asking for branding irons. They gathered a bunch, branded each on a piece of wood, ordered name plates and started mounting them on the shop wall. They continues to add more and see it as an open ended project.

Thank you everyone for your contribution.



Brands are one of the most interesting tools used by livestock people to mark their animal possessions. Each brand by necessity is unique to the owner or family, often conveys the character of that owner, and is permanent.

The origin of branding livestock dates from 2700 B.C. Evidence has been found in Egyptian tombs and Greek and Roman’s would even brand their slaves. Hernando Cortez who introduced branding from Spain to the new World in 1541, which initiated California’s branding roots.

There are many requirements for developing a brand. Each brand is unique, can’t be used by anyone else, must be registered each year to keep it active, and requirements may vary from place to place.

Some animals must be branded in certain places and some are different whether the animal is a horse or cow. Certain types of horses must be branded in certain spots as registered Arabians on the right side of the neck and Thoroughbreds on upper lip.

The brands on this wall are from local farmers and ranchers. Also, in our research library we have a book that lists all the current brands in California.

Below in alphabetical order by last name are what he has been able to assemble so far:







Jim, Kevin, & Nick BACKER – Franklin









Clarke BROWN – Elk Grove









Al BUSCHER – Franklin









BUSCHER Family – Franklin








Lee & Nora COE – Elk Grove












Castello Family – Elk Grove

When Helen Anita Carr and Clinton Cantrell Castello were married in 1934 the branding Iron H/C (Helen/Cantrell) was created in the Levi Castello blacksmith shop on Main Street (EG Boulevard) in Elk Grove. The branding Iron was used to identify the beef cattle on the Cantrell ranch on Bandeen Road. The Guernsey milking herd of the Castello Golden Creast Fairy was identified using ear tattoos indicating ownership and ear tag numbers identifying the individual herd animal for production and calving records. In the early 1950’s the hot branding of the beef was discontinued and the beef cattle were also identified using ear tattoos and ear tag numbers. This method was much quicker since the tattoo device could be used repeatedly with no waiting time between uses while there branding iron had to be reheated often to give a clear crisp brand. This made the yearly project of branding and vaccinating the beef herd much faster and far less stressful for the animals.







D Ranch – Siskiyou County








Joe & June Daehling – Elk Grove




















Elk Grove MEAT COMPANY – Elk Grove











Feickert Family – Elk Grove










Feickert Family – Elk Grove








FLYING TRIANGLE Ranch – Siskiyou County








FREY Family – Franklin









Wayne GALLUP Family – Wilton










GRAYBILL Family – Sheldon









JR HARDESTY – Franklin









Greg & Paula HARDESTY – Elk Grove









Dick HARRY – Elk Grove











HAYSE Brothers Family – Elk Grove











Jessee – Wilcox, Arizona & Sheldon, CA

Used by Fred Jessee (EGH ’68) Great Grandfather “Archibald” Jessee (1872-1954) in the early 1900’s on his ranch in Wilcox, Arizona. In the 1930’s and 1940’s, Grandfather “Archie” Jessee (1897-1987) used the brand on the old Calhoun Ranch in Sheldon at the end of what is now Wrangler Drive.









Jim JORDAN – Elk Grove


“I needed something to mark my tack for the County Fair in the Spring of 1965, I was 15. I came up with my Mark using all J’s shaped to look like my initials, JRJ. Later on in High School I made it into a branding iron and eventually registered it. To avoid  “burn out’s” I had to put spacing between the J’s so it’s registered as “Lazy Letter J, over Letter J, offset Letter J” and so when you look at it you see… J & R & J, my initials. I used it in my Company logo for over 40 years.” – Jim











Ed & Ethel KEMMA – Franklin



Gordon Krook – Elk Grove










John LEWIS – Elk Grove









Frank LORETZ – Franklin









Frank LORENTZ – Franklin









John MACHADO & Sons – Franklin



Marc Page – Wilton










Lester MAHON – Elk Grove









Dick MAHON Sr. – Elk Grove









Roger & Joan MAHON – Franklin








Jason & Sarah MAHON – Franklin










Tony & Annette MEROLA – Wilton









MO Ranch – Siskiyou County









MORRIS – Sacramento









O Bar Ranch – Klamath River









Jack & Debbie ROBIN – Wilton







SANER – Elk Grove









Peter SAUNDERS – Franklin









Leland SCHNEIDER – Sloughhouse









Leland & Jared SCHNEIDER – Sloughhouse









SECO Cattle Feeders – Hearld






Jesse SILVEIRA (1920-2010) Family – Elk Grove

Brand: The “J rolling C” – for John and Clara Silveira – Created by John Silveira (1891-1954) and wife Clara (Vincent) Silveira (1899-1987) in Valley Ford, California in the 1920’s.

Handed down to son Jesse by his parents, branded his dairy cows and horses and was last to use it. He started his dairy at the Bud Jones property in 1951. The two story house is where BJ’s brewery is presently, on the southwest side of the of the Bond/Laguna overpass, the dairy barn was about at the intersection and two hired hands houses were about where Home Depot is. He dairied for three years then moved to Galt for two and then returned to Calvine Road for the remainder of his life.








Joe SIMOES & Sons Dairy – Franklin










Steve Spiva – Wilton










Randy VALENSIN – Hicksville










Brett WADDELL – Wilton