In the late 1880s most ranches got their water from a well. There were three types of wells: dug wells, drilled wells, and driven wells. The "dug well" was the most common, but was limited to areas where there was water about fifty feet below the surface. To make a well, a hole four-and-a-half feet was dug and lined with limestone, sandstone, or cobblestones. The stones kept the water cleaner and a covering helped prevent contamination. The Leonis Adobe had three dug wells, at different times. The last one is where the pump and windmill are located.
Well Line Drawing
Well Line Drawing
With but relatively few exceptions in the late 1880s the household farm water supply is taken from wells. As a rule they furnish pure water. It is well to consider possible sources of contamination, however, and to understand how different types of wells vary in adaptability, in cost, and in liability to pollution. The common types are dug wells, drilled wells, and driven wells.
The dug well is by far the most common type, particularly in the older parts of the country-. It is only natural that this should be so, for this class of well was the most easily and quickly put down the farmer could do the work with his own force, for neither skilled labor nor extensive equipment were required. This well, however, is limited to those sections where an adequate supply of water is encountered within fifty feet of the surface. Fifty feet is a reasonable maximum depth for a dug, well, though depths considerably in excess of this are often reached.
The size of the hole excavated varies from 4 ft. to 8 ft. in diameter. The size depends upon the material used in laying the wall, the nature of the strata into which the well is sunk, and the depth to which the well is likely to go. It is advisable to secure a free diameter for the well of not less than 2.5ft. (better, of 3 ft.). Then, if two courses of brick are to be used in laying the wall, a total of 1 ft. 4 in. (8 in. on either side) would be taken up by the wall, an amount making necessary a hole at least 4 ft. 6 in. in diameter to maintain a free diameter of 3 ft. If building-stones - either limestone, sandstone, or cobblestones - are used, a wall 1 ft. thick is usually laid, and this thickness of course requires a correspondingly larger excavation. It is desirable, therefore, to have a good-sized well, for the purpose of storing a considerable amount of water, so that the supply may not easily be exhausted in pumping.
Our ranch had three wells during its existence. The last one is where the pump and windmill is located.