Scandal at the Corthell Farm

Story submitted by the daughter and granddaughter of Ross Hill: Gail Hill Mehle and Melissa Mehle.

Photo of the Corthell Barn from the early 1900s.Photo of the Corthell Barn from the early 1900s.

The old Corthell farmhouse and dairy barn still stand in West Laramie off HWY 130. The structures were built in the early 1900’s and contributed to many stories and traditions within the Corthell family. Here is a tale of mischief that has been passed down through the generations. Eleanor Corthell, a staunch supporter of the temperance movement, and her husband Nellis were the original owners of the farm. Together, they had 7 children and many grandchildren who roamed, worked, and played on the farm. One of the grandchildren was Ross Hill. He was a kind-hearted kid, but known in the family to find trouble. The setting was the early 1930’s. This was during the time of prohibition and Ross was an engineering student at the University of Wyoming. Ross and a friend had decided they were going to make beer and what better place to hide beer than on the Corthell farm? The farm had an old well with a well cover; a fine place to store and keep beer cool. One warm evening, with a sly look in his eye, Ross decided he was going to have himself a beer. When Ross thought no one was looking he snuck over to the well. The instant he had lifted the cover to snag a beer, his Uncle Bub (Irving Corthell) appeared from thin air and began conversing with a nervous Ross. As Ross and Uncle Bub were chatting, the warm air began entering the well housing. Just as Ross began to think he was in the clear, a loud “POP!” came from the well housing as the beer warmed enough for the cap to blow off. Uncle Bub, with a poker face, pretended not to notice. However, he engaged Ross in conversation until all the caps had popped, leaving Ross with a well full of unconsumed beer.Photo of Ross HillPhoto of Ross Hill