Sunday, July 7, 2024

Lungrens and Lairds

In 1917 the Holly Sugar Company started a sugar beet factory in the Big Horn Basin. Upon this news, the Lungren family moved to Worland in 1922. The first farmer to hire them on was L.E. Laird. This was a big step for the Lungrens, who after working for the Lairds never left the Worland area.  

The Big Horn Basin originally grew hay, barley, corn, and potatoes. Sugar beets had not entered the region until the early 1900's. Here L.E. Laird and his son Russel sit upon a one row potato digger. 

L.E. Laird's grandson Loren still remains on the Laird farm, which sits directly east of Worland. On Sunday afternoon he had Dad and I out to talk a little history. 

L.E. Laird was one of the early settlers in the Worland area.

Back then, if you signed on to help build the canals, which were engineered to carry water from the Big Horn River to potential farm ground, you could buy land from the canal companies. Here, L.E. Laird swings a sledge hammer during the building of the Hanover Canal. Through this exchange, he was able to purchase the land east of town and break it out for the first time. 

By 1922, the Laird farm was growing sugar beets, and the Lungren family worked the fields for them. They also stayed on during the winter. By this time, Adam Lungren, my great grandfather, was leading the charge of the family, which then consisted of his dad and some siblings as well as his own wife and five children. My grandfather, Lloyd, was born in 1925 while the family lived here on the Laird farm. 

The Lairds were good to the Lungrens. So much so that Loren's Aunt Bernice became the namesake for one of Grandpa Adam's daughters.  

The Lungrens worked for the Lairds until 1926. After that they began to break into farming on their own. Great-grandpa Adam is in the back second to the right. His daughter Bernice is in the back second to the left. My Grandpa Lloyd is right in the center. 

L.E. Laird's influence in helping the Lungrens get settled didn't end on his farm. Being on the board of the Holly Sugar Company he was tasked with selling some farms that the factory owned. In 1942, L.E. Laird helped Adam Lungren purchase this 272 acre farm two miles south of Worland. Here, Adam and two of his boys farmed and fed livestock. Dad grew up on this place and I spent my summers out here as well. To this day, the farm remains in the Lungren family where they continue to raise sugar beets. 

Special thanks to Loren and his daughter Mary for helping us experience some of our rich family history. I find that the deeper a guy taps into his family roots the more he can appreciate the life he has been given. Not that we don't have a part to play for the generations to come, but we build on the shoulders of giants. Adam Lungren was a work horse. And as a God fearing man, the Lord provided for him. One of those great gifts in his life, and consequently my life, was his connection to the L.E. Laird family. So from the Lungren family to the Lairds, thank you. 


  1. Hi Father Bryce...!!! It was an extreme honor and privilege getting to visit with our dad's about the rich history of our families history. Thank you for such a wonderful tribute. God bless 🙌
    Loren E. Laird & Mary Florence Laird

  2. Nice write up Brycie Boy!


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