Acorns Wild's story begins in 1870 in Austria where a master stone mason dreamed of frontier opportunity, leading Martin Schuler to embark on voyage to New York. There he met his soon to be wife Catherina through a mutual friend who had family in Junction City, KS. The trio continued westward after hearing tales of the Kansas Flint Hills. When they arrived in JC in 1872, there were many masonry jobs to be had and soon Martin was able to buy 80 acres (originally acquired through the Pre-emption Act), where he built his bride a 2-story limestone home. In 1881, at 42 years old, Martin drowned in a flash flood while traveling between work sites.
Martin and Catherina had 2 children. Their son, Andy Sr. (A.J.), went to work to help out his widowed Mother and by the time he was 25 years old was able to buy some purebred registered Angus cows and a bull. A. J. married Susanna Moore in 1920 and was heavily involved in community activities and infrastructure development (the first telephone company, the town football teams, township board, the baby beef club, the Kansas Angus Association, Better Livestock Day featured in both Life and Time magazines). In 1957, A.J. was inducted into the Prairie Pavilion's Wall of Honor. He acquired more land to add to his late father's original 80 acres and more Angus (up to 100 head).
One of Susanna and AJ's two children was another Andy, who followed in his father A.J.s footsteps from an early age. Andy went to grade school with and later married Rosie. In the meantime, he studied at K-State until World War II meant he was needed on the farm. Andy also supported the Kansas Angus Association, winning many competitions and lobbying for farm policy in Washington D.C. He was a leader in the Dickinson County Historical Society and was also inducted into the Wall of Honor in the Prairie Pavilion. Andy and Rosie, the glue for community 4-H, the farm and an excellent cook, had 8 children. In 1986, she and Andy were named Kansas Master Farmer and Master Farm Homemaker. The couple made apple cider at Chisholm Trail Days in Abilene for years and served as tour guides at the Seelye Mansion. All of their children completed college at Kansas State University and continue to carry on the values learned from their roots.
Susanna and AJ's other child was named Susanna Katherine (Susie). She showed cattle on several levels which, at the time, was quite uncommon for a female. Many awards were won, including the Grand Champion Steer at the 1936 and 1938 Kansas State Fair. Susie married in 1963 and moved out-of-state. However, due to her husband's untimely death, their daughter came to live on the farm with her Uncle Andy and cousins, becoming the youngest member of the family.
Rosie died in 1993 and Andy died in 2018, leaving a historic legacy and 1000 acres of premium Flint Hills land. The property included the original stone house built by Martin in 1875, 2 stone barns, the 1 room schoolhouse Rosie and Andy attended grade school at, several outbuilding and a prairie style Franklyn Lloyd Wright inspired home built in the late 60s.
Mike Harris, owner of Acorns Resort, loved the property and Andy – having spent 25 years hunting the ground there, daydreaming of such a place, and getting to know members of the family. Mike had also grown up loving the Kansas outdoors and when Andy's property came up for auction, Mike couldn't sleep for months – his dreams seemed too big.
In 2005, Mike had achieved his biggest entrepreneurial dream thus far, winning the lease of lakefront ground at Milford Lake. Over the last 16 years, Acorns Resort has become the largest lakeside resort in Kansas, owing to Mike's K-State Park Resource Management education, 14 years of work with the Kansas Dept. of Wildlife & Parks, raw determination, a great resort team, and support from family and friends. In 2008, Mike married Charmion, with roots on a Minnesota dairy farm and homes in various places, nationally and internationally before returning again and again to Kansas. Together they have 4 children, Zach, Brennan, Austin and Emily and dynamic perspectives that have manifested in many ways.
One day while scrutinizing the facts once again just to make sure there was no way for it to work out to buy all Schuler family 1000 acres, the idea of Acorns Wild was born. The legacy that began as a dream of Martin Schuler's 145 years ago and the years of hard work and commitment to history and progress of quality meat production could live on. Acorns Wild could be roamed not only by Mike, but also his family and some of the tens of thousands of visitors to Acorns Resort each year, many looking for a place to hunt and/or experience the beauty of the Flint Hills just as the first Schuler in this story longed to do. Additionally, instead of offering a premium heard of Angus, a herd of another kind that likely also once roamed this very land, Wapiti or Elk, could thrive. Mike bought the property in December of 2020.
Acorns Wild owes its existence to the dreams and dedication of many men and women, including many Schuler family members not mentioned here as their contributions are also extremely vast. You can meet these historically vibrant dreamers and doers when you visit Acorns Wild HQ wall of honor and remembrance (under construction).
Currently, Acorns Wild offers hunting for upland bird hunting, guided hunts, lodging and amenities.
Coming soon, Acorns Wild will have a meeting, dining, resting, history and retail space in the original 1875 stone house, elk tours, farm to table products, yoga in the hayloft of an 1800s stone barn, a nature trail and fishing pond.