Matleys sell 100 years’ worth of stuff
The hay wagon went for $200 to Coleville ranchers Baldo and Jackie Giorgi. Sold for $600, the stuffed, mounted bear that guarded Wayne Matley’s trophy room will loom over visitors to the Ponderosa Ranch in Incline Village.
And a scrap iron dealer has offered $1,000 for the 1954 McCormick baler.
“But we’d take less if someone could use it – we still have its owners manual and it’s in good working order,” Bruce Matley, the eldest of Wayne and Alouise Matley’s five children, said Friday.
Bruce, 49, along with brother Ken, 48, and sister, Tamara, 35, were selling off more than a century’s accumulation of ranch and household items from what had been their home in Gardnerville.
Before the Matley Ranch barnyard sale officially began at 9 a.m. Friday, parked vehicles had lined both sides of East Valley Road for more than half a mile in both directions. By 9:30 a.m., dozens of people had wandered through the sprawling one-story home, the barn, the garage, the machine and tack shops, Tamara’s playhouse and several storage sheds, picking through bits and pieces left over from the family’s century in Nevada.
In the Sierra since 1863. “Most of the really old ranch stuff our dad brought from the home ranch in Reno when we moved to Gardnerville in 1963. The rest was left here by several earlier owners,” Bruce Matley said. “As I recall, the earliest water rights for this place were recorded in 1889, so stuff has accumulated since then. Even though we’ve taken the things we want, selling the rest is hard, but it’s our time to do it.”
Wayne and Alouise Matley had moved their family to the then 187-acre property south of Gardnerville when the Matley Ranch in Reno was supplanted by that city’s growing population and the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. Among other things, they brought with them the wood cookstove Wayne’s mother used at her Mill Street home in Reno until 1955.
“Mill Street in Reno was named for Matley Ranch’s mill. Matley Lane marked the ranch property line to the south,” Bruce said. “Our great-grandfather moved to Reno from Doyle, on the California-Nevada border, just before the turn of the century. His family had been in Doyle since 1863 – a cousin still has the old ranch there.”
Friday, the old cookstove sat in the breezeway between the house and a wooden storage shed with a price tag of $250.
The ranch is sold. The senior Matleys sold their Carson Valley cattle in 1970 and allowed Tamara to raise, train and board Arabian horses at the ranch. Last year, they sold the ranch to Peri and Sons Farms of Yerington and Smith Valley, and leased back their home.
“With five kids, Dad said he didn’t want any one of us to think he was playing favorites, so he was selling the farm,” Bruce said. “I would have liked to keep farming it.”
This past February, Wayne Matley died of cancer. And less than a month after his death, Alouise, 84, who suffers from intermittent memory lapses, fell and broke her hip.
While she recovers, Bruce and Ken have temporarily moved her to a retirement center near Ken’s home in Sacramento.
Looking to the future. All five of the Matley siblings are scattered – Doug, 45, is a musician in San Francisco; Randy, 43, is an airline pilot based in Boise, Idaho; Tamara, now training as a gemologist, lives in Rochester, Minn.; Ken, a physical therapist in Sacramento for 23 years, is moving to Chicago; and Bruce, a former assistant district attorney in Fallon, is relocating to Seattle with plans to resume a collegiate teaching career.
“Mom remembers the ranch is sold, but she won’t remember that we have to have all her property out by Sunday,” Ken said. “The West is her home, even though she’s originally from Vermont, so Bruce and (his wife) Nancy will take her with them and settle her in an assisted-living apartment near them in Seattle.”
Ken said things that are not sold by Saturday evening would likely be donated to any charity willing to come and retrieve them.
“It’s my understanding that the older Peri generation still lives in the Lockwood area and their kids would like them closer so they’ll probably move them here,” Ken said. “The Peri family probably has long-range plans for the property, but since part of the place is leased to the veterinarians (Great Basin Equine Medicine and Surgery) for five years, nothing is likely to happen here very fast.”
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