James I Newland was born in Belle Fourche , S.D. in Feb 1911, he graduated from Belle Fourche S. D. in 1929, When he turned 21 in 1932 he homesteaded on Owl Creek on the Wyoming side of the SD and Wyoming border. It was the last homestead claim recorded in Crook County, Wyoming. At that time any adult could file with the government on an unclaimed square mile 640 acres of land to build a house, fence and own.
The rolling plains of the area where he was raised northwest of Belle Fourche (between Alzada Montana and Hulett Wyoming and Camp Crook S.D.) were dotted with homesteaders in the 30s. During the depression James and his father purchased at prices from 25 cents to 2.00 per acre, from homesteaders who could not make a living on their land . The headquarters for the ranch was near Colony Wyomng and consisted of 75 sections , or 48,000 acres. Jim’s children can remember about 40 homestead shacks that were abandoned on the ranch when they would ride with him.
Jim Newland would later serve on many boards, Sheep Growers, S.D. Stock Growers, National Highlander Cattle Association. Jim was a member of the Indain Creek Branding Crew consisting of about 10 of the adjoining ranches that helped out with the Branding at all of the neighbors every spring.
Jim took pride in participating in one of the biggest rodeos at that time, The Black Hills Roundup, in Belle Fourche. He never missed a performance of the roundup up until the time of his death at 93 years of age.
He never learned to drive a motorized vehicle. He married in 1943 to Velma Roberson. She and her first husband had worked on the ranch, then moved on to work elsewhere. When he passed away, she moved back and they married and had two sons Robert James and Wilbur Henry after their ancestors. Velma had one son Ron Roberson who lives in Cheyenne. Wilbur Newland said Jim wore out the leather in 4 saddles that he knows of and knows that he saddled up everyday, some rides short and other all day long. It was also said Jim never fired a hired man.