The Original Settlers
The land of Six Sigma Ranch was first settled in the mid-1800s by about two dozen families, most of them living on 160-acre tracts. Several of the original family names are still connected with Six Sigma Ranch land or neighboring ranches: Asbill Creek, Copsey Creek, Hutchinson’s Range, Jim Dollar Mountain, Kouns Flat, Schwiers’ Flat.
The Asbill Family
The recorded history of Six Sigma Ranch dates to 1859 when William Daniel Asbill Sr. and his family settled close to our present gate on Spruce Grove Road. The family was of English heritage and had traveled in covered wagons from their former home in Dade County, Missouri. Over the years, the Asbills bought land from other settlers, and Asbill Ranch grew to 800 acres. Today this land covers the western part of Six Sigma Ranch. Both Michael’s and Else’s Vineyards were planted on former Asbill land.
More about the Asbills and their neighbors at the western part of Six Sigma Ranch.
Like the Asbills, William Hutchinson and Minerva Parnell were original settlers. When they married in 1886, they both owned tracks of land on what is now the northern part of Six Sigma Ranch. William died in 1922 after a lifetime of raising sheep and cattle; he left the land to his extended family. At that point in time, Hutchinson’s Range included about 1500 acres.
The Schwiers brothers
The area around the western part of the Diamond Mine Vineyards was first settled by the Schwiers brothers, German emigrants who planted a large area with fruit trees. The century-old olive trees on Schwiers’ Flat (pictured right) form a backdrop for the newly planted Christian’s Vineyard in 2002.
The last major part of Six Sigma Ranch, the southeastern 1000 acres, changed hands several times after it was amassed by a couple of the original settlers. In 1924 Harold Halvorsen, a retired Norwegian sea captain, won the property in a game of poker. The eastern part of the Diamond Mine vineyards is located on Halvorsen’s Flat. The rocks in the fence around Halvorsen’s former hay field are similar to those we ripped from the Diamond Mine.
The Most Recent Owners
Norval Brookins and his family bought Asbill Ranch in 1926 and, during the following decades, added all the land described above, plus a few more parcels. When the Brookins’ sold the land in 1963, the ranch was almost at the present size.
Bob and Beverly Kleeman ran the ranch as a dude ranch for a few years in the mid-1960s. People in the area still remember how a couple of Lake County’s rodeos took place at the ranch during their ownership.
Russell Rustici and his sister Corinne bought the ranch in 1967, and Russell ran it as a well respected cattle ranch until we purchased in 2000.
The Stage Coach
At some point in time, a stage coach crossed our land, bringing people to the quicksilver mines in Knoxville. The original stage coach house burned down in the early 1950s, and Norval Brookins built a small house on the same site. Today, that little house is our tasting room.
You can read more about the history in Folks who walked the land of Six Sigma Ranch.