Sunday, September 20, 2020
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Born on July 6, 1863 to Captain and Mrs. John Morgan, Harry was the first white child born in Fort Benton at the old Doby Fort. His mother died in the spring of 1871 and then his father was killed by a war party of Blackfoot Indians. The story goes that after his mother died he was taken in by an Indian woman but Harry states “Dr. J.S. Glick of Helena came to Fort Benton and took me back to Helena with him… In the fall of 1873, Henry Schniple (Schneple), a stockman from Philipsburg, made his annual trip to Helena for supplies. I went to Philipsburg to work with him on his ranch and remained there until 1876. Then I left and attended school in Philipsburg for one year.” After bouncing around working with other ranchers and trading posts Harry returned to work on ranches around Philipsburg in 1881. He also drove team for Jack Hall and then began hauling wood and railroad ties for the railroad to Philipsburg and cord wood props for the mines.
Harry married Orphie Rider on August 27, 1885. They raised three girls and three boys. At the time of the silver crash in 1893, Harry went to Butte and worked in the Pennslvania Mine. He then returned to Philipsburg and in 1906 was appointed Forest Guard; in 1907 was appointed Assistant Forest Ranger a post he resigned from in February, 1913. On April 1, 1913, Harry was appointed Deputy Game Warden and was assigned the northern part of Powell County and the Clearwater and Swan River drainage in Missoula County with headquarters in Ovando.
In “Cabin Fever”, by Mildred Chaffin (1988), Harry is described as “an early day game warden of note. Those who remember him well say that he tempered his method of enforcing the law with an old time consideration for those in need.” Warren Skillicorn stated: “He never snooped. He never came into anyone’s home looking into steam kettles or dipping his hands in the flour bin looking for meat like some of them did….Harry would ask peoples names and inquire about their employment situation and their families. If someone was ‘down and out’ , no job, no money and no meat, he would look the other way, saying ‘Don’t watch me, watch your neighbor. If someone reports you I have to take you in.”
Another Mildred Chaffin’s statement quotes Harriet Whitworth of Arlee: “He was my friend”. As a very small girl she accompanied her mother, relatives and friends when the Indian Bands made their annual treks into the South Fork of the Flathead for their winter meat and buckskins to tan.” Meeting Morgan on the trail they would exchange greetings during which time Morgan would take the little girls hand, put something in it and close her fingers tightly. As soon as they were on their way she would open up her hand to find something there. ‘Maybe a dollar’, she remembered smiling.”
Orphie died in 1943 and Harry retired in 1947. He later moved to Missoula to live with daughter Mrs. E.G. Hough. He died in a Missoula Rest Home on August 2, 1957. The funeral was performed by Frank “Sandbar” Brown with burial in Missoula. Survivors were: daughters Mrs. E.G. Hough of Missoula and Mrs. Mary D. Johnson of Three Forks; sons, Henry of Oregon and Ernest of Idaho; nine grandchildren, one being Herbert Abbey of Philipsburg; twenty-two great grandchildren and nine great-great grandchildren.
Monday, August 3, 2020
Flume and Water Wheel at Mill Creek
Flume and Water Wheel at Mill Creek
I am not certain when the Nels Pearson ranch was established in the Philipsburg valley. Judy Pearson Bohrnsen gave me a copy of an article written by Arthur C. Howard, her maternal uncle that discussed Nels. This information was told to Art by John W. Pearson Sr. The date of the article is unknown, but describes John (born in 1912) and wife Alice (born in 1911), as senior citizens when it was written.
During all of these years, Nels had accumulated several properties and ranches in the Twin Bridges and Sheridan area and a ranch he operated near Philipsburg. The ranch “home was located just at the southwest corner of town and the property stretched far back into what is known as antelope country.” It was described as covering about ten sections of land with fifteen miles of woven wire fence that divided a cattle and sheep operation. They also pastured many other ranchers cattle. The home was destroyed by a fire shortly “after surviving a lightening storm that sent a ball of lightening across the living room floor.”
As stated in the Nels Pearson article, a large portion of his business enterprises were dependent on the teamster, horse and wagon or skidding apparatus. They were the only means of conveyance to handle logs, people, freight and ore for the various business establishments. Art Howard describes them thusly: The men were called: Hostlers, Teamsters, Grooms, or Stablemen. The teams were: Two and Four, Six, Eight or more. There were buggies, spring wagons, buckboards, low-beds, ore wagons, and stage coaches. They came in as many combinations as the trucks of today. The connotations such as Two and Six indicated the number of wagons pulled by a given number of animals.
Forty, Four-Horse teams were stabled at the sawmill camp and as many as 300 head of horses were in use altogether because of the need to rotate due to shoulder sores and injuries. Just imagine the size of the stables, the hundreds of harnesses, the wagon sheds, the amount of horse wrangling and all the other details to meet daily needs.
Across the lake where the Choppers did the falling, logs were loaded by use of skid horses, man power and improvised cranes onto heavy wagons in good weather and onto bob-sleds in the winter. An endless cable hooked into a blacksmith forged heavy ring in the end of a wagon or bob-sled tongue and a steam powered engine (known as a Donkey Engine) operated by an engineer guided the load, horses and all, up two tough ½ mile climbs. The teams being unable to negotiate the steep climb sat back on their breeching harnesses and did only enough walking to stay on their feet while the Donkey and cable pulled the load up the hill. At the top the Donkey was unhooked and another device eased the load down the incline. The well trained horses seldom fell and animal accidents were few.
Very similar teaming occurred at the many mines and mills operating mines in the area. All of the sapphires from the Ewing, McLure and Fusz site on the Skalkaho and Rock Creek were teamed to Philipsburg often by Fred Barbour. The Metcalf’s, Bauer, McDonel, Hammond’s, Keim, Kennedy & Scherring, O’Neil, McLeod, Rohn Teaming and Alec McDonald were all involved in freighting ore, timbers or stage coaching passengers from camps at Garnet, Quigley, Sunrise, Gold Coin, Pioneer, Granite, Rumsey, Cable, Combination and Black Pine. I am certain their were many more teamster I have failed to mention.
The next generations of the Pearson"s were:
Alice Howard Ballard Pearson circa 1940's
Alice Howard Ballard Pearson circa 1940's
When the Georgetown operation “petered out” about 1928, Nels Pearson and his son John then operated several smaller operations employing about ten to twenty men. One of these was at Hidden Lake; one at Storm Lake and one at Twin Lake. In 1934 John married Alice Howard Ballard and they supplied these camps with needed food and clothing. Alice frequently moved from camp to camp assisting John by cooking and supervising the different operations. She told many stories about the men bathing in the flumes and the fast water tumbling them about a mile before they could get out.
Alice, born on December 3, 1911 in Great Falls moved to Anaconda as a child. John W. Pearson Sr. was born on May 5, 1912 in Anaconda. He attended school there and after marriage to Alice in 1934 they moved to the Philipsburg ranch. John served in the 184th Infantry during WWII and was awarded the Purple Heart. John also worked for the Trout Mining Company and with his logging business supplied timbers for the mines to the company. He was an active member of Flint Creek Lodge No. 11 AF&AM and the VFW No. 2935.
John and Alice managed the ranch while raising their family and operated several timber camps and the stull and timber loading siding at the Lime (Brown’s) Quarry. As many as twenty car loads of timber a day were shipped to the mines and smelter from the Quarry site. The Quarry was a small community until as late as 1940.
Alice brought a son, Gordon Ballard into her marriage with John. Gordon, born on May 22, 1930 to Alice and Judd Ballard from Utah, was given the nickname “Squeak” Pearson, after the Pearson marriage. The August 8, 1952 Mail, stated, Gordon had been ill with jaundice for the previous two months at the U.S. Naval Hospital at Mares Island, California.
Gordon married Ferne Graham on October 24, 1953. and became a thirty-year career Navy man. Gordon and Faye had three daughters; Bonna Jean was killed in a motorcycle accident in Morocco while Gordon was stationed there. A mountain was named after him in Anartica when Gordon was one of the first person’s to winter over in the south pole. After traveling the world Gordon and Ferne retired in Albany, Oregon. Gordon died February 22, 2001 in Oregon. He was preceded in death by his daughter, parents, and step mother Fontella Ballard. Survivors were: his wife, daughter Jody Ballard and her husband Colonel Roy Panzarella, and daughter Susan Lindsay and husband Ralph; five grandchildren; brother John and wife Sylvia and sister Judy Bohrnsen; and many Grahams and Ballards. Services were held at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church with burial in the Philipsburg cemetery.
Alice’s mother, Mrs. James A. Howard died at the age of fifty-nine on February 20, 1943, in Anaconda. She was born on July 22, 1883, in Virginia City and lived her life in Montana. Survivors were: husband James; sons: Arthur and Bud Howard of Portland and Jimmie T. Howard an ambulance driver in the U.S. Army in Texas; daughters: Mrs. Alice Pearson, of Philipsburg and Mrs. Lucille Verlanic of Texas; and eleven grandchildren.
John and Alice’s son, John W. Jr. was a teacher in a Junior High School in Albany, Oregon when his uncle Art wrote the article. Their daughter Judy married John Bohrnsen and had five children: Niki Hardin and Heidi Annau who lived in Great Falls, Dan Bohrnsen in Seward, Alaska, Mark Bohrnsen of Denver and Chris Bohrnsen of Seattle. Judy worked until retirement as a District Clerk in the Forest Service Office at Philipsburg. She lived her last few years in Great Falls with her daughters and died there at the age of 73 on April 30, 2011 from ALS.
Alice died at the Galen State Hospital on June 7, 1978. She was an active member and Past Matron of the Eastern Star; the American Legion and VFW Auxillary and the St. Andrew Episcopal church. Survivors were: son Gordon Ballard of Hermiston, Oregon and John Pearson of Albany, Oregon; daughter Judy Bohrnsen of Philipsburg; two brothers: Art of Helena and Jimmy of Deer Lodge; sister Lucille Verlanic of Deer Lodge and eight grandchildren. She was given Eastern Star burial rites with internment in the Philipsburg cemetery.
John died from lung cancer at his home on February 21, 1988 at the age of seventy-five. His funeral services were held at the Masonic Temple with Father M.M. Beatty officiating. His cremated remains are interred in the same plot as Alice. Besides those listed when Alice died, John was survived by: sister Dorothy Pearson of Anaconda and Ken and Karen Pearson; great grandchildren, Chelsey Annau, Nicki Hardin, Allison and Ryan Panzarella.
Sunday, July 12, 2020
|Photo from Ray Ham's Book "Horses and Saddles..."|
After James’ death John was left to run the ranch alone until 1917 when he married Effie Barker on March 18, 1917. She was born at Stevensville April 7, 1895, to Mr. and Mrs. R.N. Barker. Effie and John had a baby boy named John Robert on January 8, 1918 and he lived only one day. Effie died of pneumonia from the Spanish Influenza on October 14, 1918 at the age of twenty-three years. Effie and son are buried in the family plot in the Philipsburg cemetery. Survivors were: John, her parents and three brothers and three sisters. The obituary named her brothers as: J. E. Barker fighting the war in France, Charles working in the Seattle shipyards and Paul living in Stevensville but did not name the sisters.
John Hickey then married Cereta (Rodda) Richards on Thanksgiving Day November 30, 1926. The wedding took place at the James Rodda home on Rock Creek. Witnesses were: Mr. and Mrs. James Rodda.
John Hickey’s taxes for the year 1927 were $137.48, comparable to neighbor C.C. Edwards at $133.84. As a very active member of the community, John was Past Master of Flint Creek Lodge No. 11, A.F. and A.M., a member of the Helena Consistory-Algeria Shrine, The Philipsburg Rotary Club, The Montana Stock Growers Association, and the Mining Association of Montana. He also served one term in the Montana legislature and was active in political affairs in the local community. Newspaper accounts have him winning saddle horse races as early as 1894.
Ray Ham, worked the Hickey ranch breaking horses in the winter 1941/42 and in his book “Horses and Saddles” stated he broke fifty head of saddle and fifty head of work horses that winter. The work horses were broke as follows: Once they could harness them they were hooked up to a bobsled in an alley way then one man would hop in the sled and the other would open the gate and out they would lunge into deep snow. The goal was teaching them to rein so they cut figure eights in the snow. They rode the saddle horses out in the deep snow chasing rabbits. The Army would send out buyers throughout the country looking for certain types of horses; light colors would show up in battle, so were not bought.
|Ray Ham on Hickey horse he broke for WWII Remount|
John died on September 30, 1945 at the ranch. Survivors were: wife Cereta, brother Thomas of Missoula, sister Mrs. W.B. (Maggie) Calhoun of Seattle. John is interred in the Philipsburg cemetery. In an eulogy the following quote was received from the Mining Association of Montana: “Officers and members of the Mining Association of Montana were shocked and grieved to hear of Mr. Hickey’s death and several of the officers and members attended his funeral. John Hickey took a great interest in the affairs of the Association, having been first vice-president from 1941 to 1943 and president from 1943 to January 1945. At the time of his death he was a member of the important Executive Committee of the Association. Resolution of his death will be drafted by a committee to be appointed by Robert P. Porter of Helena, who succeeded Mr. Hickey as President in January.”
I remember being at the Hickey ranch auction where all the horses were sold after John’s death. During the auction a horse reared and came down with his hoof on a young girls clavicle, lacerating the brachial artery and the girl bleed to death. I have never been able to find any news articles about this accident or the victims name.
The ranch land was bought by the Howard Lord (Section 7) and Ralph Buchanan (Section 18) families. I found where Ralph Buchanan purchased the south half of the Hickey ranch from Dr. McCaffery in November 1949. The families had been land owners in the Geraldine and Fort Benton area prior to buying in Granite county.
Tom Hickey died at his home in Missoula in April, 1949. His was in partnership with brother John and J.C. Harrah during the development of the Moorlight Mining Company. Survivors were: daughter Ruth Thomas; granddaughter Mrs. Frances Peck; and sister Mrs. Maggie Calhoun in Seattle. He is buried in the family plot in Missoula.
The Williams spoken of as an individual on the original Moorlight patent was W.W. Williams a half brother of John Hickey. W.W. Williams died in Los Angeles, California, during the week of March 20, 1925, at his daughter Montana’s home, and his body was returned to Philipsburg for burial. His funeral service was at the Methodist Church with the Mason’s performing the graveside service. He was born fifty-seven years before, in Basin, Montana and had been Secretary-Treasurer and General Manager of the Moorlight Mining Company until two years prior, when he sold out to his partners.
Saturday, June 6, 2020
|Margaretha (Bohensen) and Hans (Sr.) Luthje 1901|
|Hans (Jr) and Marcia (Lester) Luthje 1929|
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
|Photo from Tiny Johnson|
“Mrs Emmett Carey and Mrs. Oscar Nelson had a rather exciting experience Sunday evening, April 13, while returning home from Georgetown flats where they had spent the day at the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Strom, Mrs. Nelson’s parents. The ladies were accompanied by their five small children and were driving a team of heavy work horses belonging to Mr. Nelson, hitched to a sleigh. There is much snow up there and a sleigh is better to get around than a wagon. At the head of Trout Creek the road crosses a dry gulch which was filled with snow and slush ice. They had crossed it in the morning and it was alright, but the day had been warm and when they drove into it on the way home the horses broke through and got down in the water and became tangled up in the harness. Mrs. Nelson attempted to free the team and was thrown into the water but managed to get out. Then the two ladies removed the children from the sleigh to high ground, and while Mrs. Nelson and her children stayed there, Mrs. Carey carrying her baby ran all the way to her home to call [for] help. By the time Mr. Carey reached the scene of the accident one horse was drowned and the other while still alive was so badly chilled in the cold water that it died after being pulled out. Mr. Carey had to wade into the water nearly up to his arm pits to get the horses loose from the sleigh. The accident happened about 6:30 p.m. and it was nearly 10 p.m. when Mr. Carey returned home, pretty much chilled himself…. The team was valued at $400.00.”
|Lala and Bill Carey Circa 1930's from Joel Christensen Collection|
“Conditions at Camp Lewis astounded me. I found there a vast multitude of perfect young men, physically and mentally the flower of the youth of the country. And I found them spontaneously patriotic and ambitious to serve the country. The very atmosphere of the camp breathed democracy. ..It is my candid belief that every high school and university should, as part of their curriculum, teach the young men in them to be proficient in the duties of a soldier. Not only will the students health and manly bearing be the primary elements of its development the most noticeable, but neatness, freedom from intemperate habits, courteous language, respectful demeanor, and an avoidance of the profane and vulgar, its equally as beneficial effects… They will find the slouchy, awkward boy that left them in tears, erect, graceful in his movements, and wearing his well-fitting uniform with the aplomb of a West Point graduate…signed Frank D. Brown Governor’s Visitor to Camp Lewis”.
“The muster rolls of the companies of busters read like a program of one of Guy Wedick’s stampedes, and all the old champions are there, except Fanny Sperry, who is barred from being a horse soldier by reason of her sex, but who could do the work as well as any man in the service. Tom Three Persons, the Canadian half-breed champion of the world is there, riding better than he has ever ridden before in his life, and among the other busters are many who won fame at Calgary, Pendleton, Cheyenne, Missoula, Billings and Havre in the Wild West shows and rodeos.
“Most of the cowboys came into Camp Lewis in the draft and were transferred to the remount depot after having done some training service in the infantry. They couldn’t all be transferred immediately, of course, and those obliged to drill afoot for a time were in a hard way….You see, a cowboy is not built for purposes of pedestrianism. Years of riding get his legs properly squeegeed to fit the curves of the horses back; but the slant is wrong for walking. During the unfortunate moments of his life when it is necessary for him to walk, he teeters around precariously in boots with heels high enough to satisfy a broadway flapper on parade. The result is that in his maturity, while he has more legs and feet than a whale, they’re not much more use to him if you peel him away from a horse and call upon him to circulate around on his own. So a cowboy in the infantry has this in common with a fish in the Sahara desert: he’s manifestly out of place…They drilled around in flat heels for a few days, and the first free hour they got they stampeded for the remount and begged Captain Jackson for transfer to the remount depot. ‘Cap’n, I’d rather be shot at sunrise than walk on these feet o’ mine another day’ ‘If I knowed they’d shoot me for sitting, I’d do something to deserve it; but I’m afraid they’d make me stand up; and it’s too much for my brain to think of, standing on my feet and getting shot at the same time. They gimme shoes ‘thout no heels to ‘em, that set a man back on his spine so’s every time you step your back bone rattles like a box full of dice, an’ then they make me walk... No, sir. I walked my legs off clean down to the knees, an’ I’m working on the thigh bones now… Please, you get me transferred up here where I can pour myself into a saddle and be human again! “
Thursday, April 23, 2020
|Thomas McLeary Parks (Photo from Joel Christensen Collection)|