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Mear’s Morgans

Posted on Monday, July 7th, 2008.

Mear's Morgan Ranch House

Some residents of the Cowboy State hold a very strict definition of who they consider to be newcomers. On the beautifully rugged expanse of the High Plains anyone who is not a homesteader or descendant of homesteaders seems to be considered a newcomer. Wandering the dirt roads that meander through and between ranches, seemly stretching into infinity, I have begun to understand why.

Last week we were visited by Wyoming newcomers, Anne Carter Mears and Brainerd “Nip” Mears. Anne and Nip were born and raised in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, respectively. They first met in 1946 while attending a summer science camp in the Snowy Range Mountains just west of Laramie, WY. Nip had just completed his service with the Marine Corps and both he and Anne were undergraduate students, studying at schools in New York State. They dated through college and were married soon afterward. In 1949 Nip accepted a job at the University of Wyoming teaching geomorphology, bringing the newly weds back to the mountains where they had met. Geomorphology is the study of landforms and the processes that shape them, so the striking, almost prehistoric looking scenery of the West was a playground for Nip. Mrs. Mears joked that every car ride was filled with a detailed tour of the geological scenery that colors and shapes the region.

Anne and Brainerd Mears

Anne Carter Mears and Nip Mears (R-L)

The couple were invited to the StoryCorps MobileBooth by their nephew Jeffery Mears Bratspis, who was happy his Aunt and Uncle had the chance to share some family memories. One question Jef was interested in finding out was how his Aunt and Uncle came to own a horse ranch outside Laramie, Wyoming.

It all started, she remembered, with her daughters love of horses. Anne’s daughter was so enraptured by beautiful mares that the little girl called all her relatives to ask that instead of sending her a present, they send her money because she was saving up to buy a horse. Eventually, she had saved enough money and bought her first horse, a Morgan Mare named Lori Rose. A daughter’s love quickly rubbed off on her mother, who also fell in love with the great disposition and athleticism of Morgan horses. So much so, she decided to go into business as a horse rancher, breeding beautiful, award winning, Morgan horses.

Mears at MBY

Renee Greenberg, Jef Mears Bratspis, Anne Carter Mears, and Brainerd “Nip” Mears (R-L) in front of the MobileBooth.

At that time not many men would take a women’s attempt at buying a ranch seriously, so Nip helped handle the negotiations. One day over coffee at a local diner, after a year of back-and-forth negotiating, a local rancher finally agreed to sell part of his property to Anne. And with that Anne Carter Mears became the owner operator of Mear’s Morgans and for almost 40 years now, has been breeding, training, showing, and selling Morgan horses. In 2000 she was inducted into the American Morgan Horse Associations hall of fame for her dedication to the breed.

Anne graciously invited facilitators Michael Premo and Rachel Falcone out to her ranch so we could see a working horse ranch. Thank you for the invitation. We are both glad that the Mear’s family had an opportunity to record your family memories.

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6 Responses to “Mear’s Morgans”

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  • I remember Brainerd Mears from the Geology 101 class I took at
    UW fall 1975. I will never forget the policy on the true/false questions.
    To prevent guessing on true/false it was “double indemnity” meaning if you got the answer wrong it count double the value of the question, so if you weren’t sure you would be better off o leave it blank and that way it only cost say 1 point for example instead of 2 points for example. I became a teacher of Business courses and since the tests I gave had true/false I also applied the “double indemnity” policy on tests. The adult students, got a kick out of it and respecetd the fact
    I warned them before the test about it. God bless you Mr. Mears, you
    were a good example to me and by the way, I enjoyed your class

    Bill Mc Millen

    Comment from Bill McMillen on October 4, 2011 at 3:05 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • Beautiful horses…..GO MICHEAL ! ! ! !

    Thanks StoryCorps !

    Comment from Michelle on July 13, 2008 at 12:21 am - Reply to this Comment
  • I justed joined the blog after listening to StoryCorp on Morning Edition and getting the book over Christmas. I loved this mother/daughter-inspired post (not to mention the pics). My parents bought me a pony when I was a horse crazy 11 year old, then of course, my mom had to get another horse to ride with me. Hmm, what was her real reason for getting me a pony?! We rode together almost every night in the spring, summer, fall for years. I gotta get her in to a StoryCorps booth…

    Thanks for a great story.

    Comment from Susie Armstrong on July 11, 2008 at 10:18 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • As a Morgan owner it was a real pleasure to meet the Mears through this story. They are well thought of in the Morgan community around the world and the reasons why shine on through your story. Transplants or not, they and their horses, both an American breed apart . Thank you!

    Comment from Stephen Pecararo on July 8, 2008 at 9:32 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • Another great StoryCorp story! What a wonderful story of their courage and dedication to their vocation.

    And yes, the photos are wonderful too.

    Comment from Bob Colucci on July 8, 2008 at 4:38 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • I wonder, as transplants, if they are still considered outsiders, or because she bought the farm are they now considered as natives of Wyoming! I enjoyed the story — her daughter’s passion became hers!

    I love the photos of the horses. You captured them in unusual ways!

    Comment from Bonnie Colucci on July 8, 2008 at 11:55 am - Reply to this Comment

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