Category Archives: Cattle Ranching

Betty Kelly

Betty Kelly Presentation Poster, by Cassandra Caldwell
Oral history by: Cassandra Caldwell
Submitted December 2013

Print Version (pdf)

Betty Kelly came to Gilroy at age three from Manteca, California. She went to Elliot Elementary School then moved up to Jordan Middle School and finally graduated from Gilroy High School. After high school, she was hired by the Gilroy Telephone Company. Betty tells stories and shares her knowledge of her grandparent’s ranch, the Johnson Ranch, which they had owned and operated until her grandfather’s death. She also shares her knowledge of how Gilroy used to be like. Her grandmother’s ranch and the history of Gilroy are the focus of this oral history interview.

Janet Burback

Oral history by: Robert Ellison
Submitted December 4, 2012

Listen to Robert Ellison’s Interview of Janet Burback

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TILTON RANCH, 1917: Madrone, CA

The Janet Burbacks of this state are a dying breed. A fourth generation cattle rancher, she is one of a handful who are still family owned in Santa Clara County. She vows to continue as long as it is financially feasible and physically attainable. So how did Tilton Ranch get its beginning?

In 1917 Janet’s great grandparents were running cattle on 30,000 acres in Gilroy and decided to retire. Retired they did not stay and they purchased 3200 acres in the township of Madrone, just north of Morgan Hill. In the late 1920′s the ranch was passed to their daughter Lillie Tilton and her husband Jere Sheldon. They continued to operate the ranch until 1960 when Jere passed away. Lillie with the help of her daughter Barbera Sheldon and her husband Harold Baird ran the ranch till 1993 when Lillie passed away one month shy of her 100th birthday. Harold, Janet’s father, passed away in 2005 with Janet and her husband Greg Burback taking over the daily affairs with help from her sister Barbera.