The current Graystone Cattle Company ranch has been in Stuart Gilbert’s family since shortly after the Blackhawk War in 1838. James L Watson was recorded to have came to the land with his fathers family. In 1840, a land baron Lyne Starling filed for the paten/deed in the Burlington Land office. He then approached the family currently squatting on the land and promptly sold the ground to Nicholas Boley which was common in those times. The land paten has a date of 1845, the year before Iowa became a state. However, the land records have the first recorded date of sale as 1840 between James & Rachel Boley to Nicholas & Nancy Boley. It is believed the Rachel Boley was a sister in the Watson family that came across the river to Iowa in 1838.
James L married Sintha Hammons in approximately 1841 or 1842. As in old records, they are handwritten and it is believed they were married when they were 22 and 21. In 1852 James L Watson and his wife Sintha left Iowa for Oregon then to Washington state where they established a large cattle herd. After 17 years, they drove their cattle to Salt Lake City to sell but the buyer went bankrupt and didn't pay. James and Sintha returned to Iowa in approximately 1868 and settled on the homestead with his son William.
The ground then was sold to various cousins until Stuart’s Great Great Grandparents William and Anna Watson purchased the ground in 1888. His Great Great Grandmother, Great Grandparents, and then Grandparents continued to live on the property. Stuart and his wife Kaye along with their son Wyatt currently reside on the property and operate the Graystone Cattle Company.
Cattle has been on the property since Stuart’s family squatted on the ground in the 1800s. In 1902, Lester and his wife Abby are listed in the American Shorthorn Herdbook with registered Shorthorn. Lester and Abby also made multiple trips between Iowa and Idaho working in the logging camps in Idaho. Abby would cook for the camps with Lester logging with the crews. When they would make the trips home, they would then bring herds of cattle home with them on their trips home to Iowa.
William Watson Family
In the 1970s, Kenneth had a commercial herd with a Hereford influence. Stuart would work with his Grandpa Kenneth and eventually took over the care of the herd. In the meantime, Stuart began a commercial herd of his own while working as a professional fitter on the show circuit. In 1992 Stuart began his Registered Red Angus herd and celebrated the birth of his daughter Darby. Darby was active in the Red Angus Junior program as she grew. In 2008 she won All Around Junior at the Red Angus Junior Roundup in Wyoming.
In 2008, Stuart & Kaye celebrated the birth their son Wyatt giving Darby and Sam a new brother, completing their family of five. In 2009, Darby was lost to a car accident. She loved her cattle and a Darby cow line is being developed at Graystone Cattle Company. Wyatt has begun to show Red Angus at the local fair in 4-H and has now started his own herd of Red Angus. Stuart and Kaye continue to show at the national level in places like NAILE, Iowa State Fair, NILE, Ft Worth, and The Cattlemen’s Congress. Graystone Cattle Company runs approximately 100 Red Angus females and hosts an annual bull sale in March.
Kenneth and Kathleen Watson
All Around Junior
Red Angus Round Up
Kaye, Wyatt, Stuart, Sam and Darby
Our family has grown to include three grandkids! In October of 2021, Sam and Kate were married and adding Serenity, Jaxson, and Olivia. Serenity showed a bottle calf at the fair in 2021 and the next generation has begun in the cattle business.