“A Family Affair – Since 1893”
Henry J. and Alafair LeForce homesteaded in the Oklahoma Cherokee Outlet land run of 1893. Five years later the couple purchased their first registered Hereford bull and for the last 100 years the LeForce family has maintained their faith in the Hereford breed and currently has a herd of 250 registered Hereford cows.
Henry J. started buying Herefords in the late 1800s. They wintered so much better than the rest of the herd that the other cattle were replaced with the hardy whitefaces, which have been found in majority ever since on LeForce land. Herefords have always performed well and have given the ranch what it was looking for over the years, and have remained our breed of choice. J.M. Winter of Irving, Kan., transferred ownership of Hereford bull, Van, No. 74560, in 1898, commemorating the first LeForce Hereford registration. From then on, Henry J. raised, registered and sold Hereford cattle to neighboring farmers. Two of Henry J’s sons — C.W. (Ceph) and Will — started feeding out their home-grown steers when they were in their teens. They’d drive the steers on hoof 10 miles to the railhead cattle pens at Pond Creek to load on boxcars. From there the cattle would ship to Wichita, Kan., or Kansas City, Mo., where the steers were sold via commission company to a packer.
The reins of LeForce Herefords were passed on to Ceph after Henry J. passed in 1927. Over the years Ceph added to the land holdings his father had left him and grew the herd from 200 to 400 head under the name CW LeForce and Sons. At the age of 14, Ceph’s son, Henry S., had already assumed much responsibility on the ranch. He would take the train with a load of steers to Kansas City, Mo., riding in the caboose. Upon arrival, he picked up the commission company check and carried it back to his father by way of a passenger train headed for Pond Creek. Henry S. went away to Oklahoma A&M College, but returned to the ranch upon graduation in 1938. He and his wife, Betty Ann, carried on the family tradition of raising registered Herefords. Their sons, Henry C and Ben were quickly taught how to exhibit Hereford cattle and were active showmen in 4-H and FFA.
Henry S. started expanding the Hereford herd in the early ’80s and had always dreamed of hosting a production sale, but passed only six months before it became a reality. The family hosted its first LeForce Hereford Production Sale in 1991 to bring his vision to life.