History of the Schwend Family
The Schwend Brothers Ed (1883-1958) and Claude (1883-1937) were the youngest sons of a family of nine, born in the Louisiana Territory to Gregor and Catherine Schwend. In 1888, the Schwend family followed the national trend to migrate west to new land and unlimited opportunities.
Gregor and his family settled on homestead land about 4 miles south of Racetrack, a small town in Montana. The two boys, eventually moved to Bridger in 1906 and purchased a farm 4 miles south of the town. A log house and barn were the main buildings at that time. Shortly after, they bought a steam threshing rig and saw mill on the Pryor mountains which left little time for farming so they sold part of the farm. They were successful for many years until the mill burned down, it was never replaced.
Each of the brothers and their wives started families. Claude and Blanche had eight children including Edward (Bill), Lonnie's father. They built a house which had three rooms; two small ones, one of which was both a bedroom and grain bin, the other used as a bedroom. The rest of the house was a living room and kitchen. Claude then added more to the house, four rooms downstairs and two upstairs. He also added a log barn with a large hay loft which was built about 1913, which still stands and is used today. The house burned down in 1980.
As the Claude Schwend family grew up, their ranch became the gathering place on Sundays for the younger generations. Blanche always managed to have plenty to eat regardless of how many were there. The Schwend place was called "home" by many of the younger groups. This was the beginning of what is known as "The Lonesome Spur Guest Ranch". Little did Blanche and Claude ever dream their welcoming arms would carry on through five generations.
Lonnie purchased the Schwend Ranch after the death of his father Bill in 1976, he became a Bull Riding and Roping champion and was respected as a steer wrestler in the NRA circuit.
In 1993 he diversified the ranch and started taking in guests.
In 2005 he married Elaine, a former guest from Scotland, and they now welcome visitors from all over the world. Between them they have grown up children and numerous grandchildren most of them living locally.
Lonnie continues to compete in roping competitions in local rodeos.
Elaine takes part in Barrel racing, both locally and nationally, having won twice in Las Vegas against competitors from the rest of the country.