For seven generations the Swickard’s have been in the business of producing grain & livestock in California. Originally sailing from New Orleans via Cape Horn in 1852 when Andrew Swickard, his wife Susannah, and their two children first homesteaded in the Santa Clara Valley. Son Harvey married Isabel McQuene, whose family had come to California from Indiana via ship, crossing the Isthmus of Panama on foot. Harvey, Isabel and their eight children expanded the ranch’s horse operation to supply the booming city of San Francisco with transportation.
Their son John Harvey Swickard took over the ranch and married Mary Ellen Cothran. Mary Ellen’s family came by wagon train in 1859. Her father left Kansas with 1,000 head of cattle only to arrive in California with 250 head. Their son, John Abraham, and his wife Evelyn Boeger eventually took over the ranch and had two sons, Jack & Tom.
By 1949 with guidance and direction from his father, Jack at the age of 15 became one of the youngest purebred breeders in the nation and the youngest commercial breeder in the Santa Clara Valley. A local news article had Jack quoted saying, “I don’t plan to make a million, but to build up a good foundation herd and develop something of a name, and this takes time.”
With cattle ranching as his passion, Jack and his wife Margret moved to Susanville. Five Dot Land and Cattle Company was started in 1959 in Lassen County with 200 registered Hereford cattle. Tom Swickard joined them four years later. Since this time both brothers have developed successful cattle, haying and land operations.
In 1994 Jack’s son Todd took over the daily operations of the ranch. Since then, Todd and his wife Loretta have maintained a predominately Angus cattle herd, and developed a natural beef program in 2006 called Five Dot Ranch. Originally, the business started selling product at farmers markets. This opened the door to acquire a permanent location at the Oxbow Public Market in Napa, California in January 2008. Five Dot Ranch sells only their beef from cattle solely owned and raised on their ranch. Today, that beef is sold wholesale to local restaurants and markets as well as through their own store in Napa with a butcher shop and restaurant called the Cookhouse.