Welcome

The goal of this blog is to help readers locate their lineage and discover the forces that motivated them, and learn how they lived their lives--told in their own words in the BEHIND THESE MOUNTAINS trilogy, from the 1860s to the early 1930s. The indexed names will be published here frequently, along with an excerpt and a historical photograph if available. ** Scroll Archives at right.

Order Behind These Mountains, Vols. I, II & III [.pdf editions on DVD] via email to mtscribbler [at] air-pipe [dot] com OR email: ooslegman [at] hotmail [dot] com

Thank you ~~ Mona Leeson Vanek ~aka~Montana Scribbler



Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Log Drives on the Clarks Fork River: Settlers of Sanders County Montana: Vignette Vol. 3 No.7

Vignette Vol. 3 No. 7
Resource: BEHIND THESE MOUNTAINS


1920. Excerpt -- Noxon: Jim Finnigan, Strawberry and Zin Caza worked together on log drives on the Clarks Fork River, taking logs downstream to sawmills in Idaho. Jim's stepson, Carmen Moore, told how the drunker Zin got, the straighter he'd get, until he'd fall over backwards, and his money would fall out of his pockets. The watching kids picked up Zin's money and gave it to him. But he'd give his coins back to the kids.

Carmen said, "That Cabinet Gorge was a narrow gorge. Jim Finnigan rode a 25-30 foot pole down through there in the high water once. The water was so high he just went right through on a channel. He had a pike pole to balance himself as he went through." Finnegan's feat was daring, and much admired.

Cabinet Gorge on the Clark's Fork River in the
Panhandle of Idaho. Photograph courtesy
Maxine Laughlin collection.
 Jim was a skilled carpenter. Jim and his brother, Bill Finnigan, also built four houses in a row on Broadway, between Buck's Store and the new Ranger's house. All sat on the west side of Broadway. S.S. Brown bought one of them, Henry Larson bought next to Brown's, and Grandma Ellis owned the one farthest up the hill.

George Phillips, the Northern Pacific Railroad depot agent, had his house built near the schoolhouse. A two-story house, it was the only house in town to have an indoor toilet. The sewer pipe went under the main road into Noxon, and spilled out over the steep embankment, just east of the school grounds.

Visit: Five Star Review

[Resource is also available free online @ Behind These Mountains, Volume III ] .PDF copies of "Behind These Mountains, Vols. I, II & III" are available on a DVD - $50 S&H included, plus author's permission to print or have printed buyers personal copy of each of the approximately 1200 page books which contain about 1,000 photographs from homesteaders personal albums.

 

Order here:

Mona Leeson Vanek
13505 E Broadway Ave., Apt. 243
Spokane Valley, WA 99216

Email:
mtscribbler@air-pipe.com

TO HAVE AN EXCERPT PUBLISHED IN BYGONE MONTANANS ABOUT A PERSON WHO MAY BE MENTIONED IN THIS REGIONAL MONTANA TRILOGY Email mtscribbler@air-pipe.com

Please visit often, and share with friends and acquaintances. If you find anyone with family ties, please leave a comment and contact information and share a memory to grow your family tree!
 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Montana Miners: Settlers of Sanders County Montana: Vignette Vol. 3 No.5


Vignette Vol. 3 No.5
Resource: BEHIND THESE MOUNTAINS

1920. Excerpt -- Bull River Valley: Montana Mining was well known to be a rough and tough game that wasn't always peaceful. It wasn't unusual for skullduggery to occur that went unnoticed by local and regional newspapers. Some local happenings made the news, but most didn't.

One such case occurred during the years King and Lowry were prospecting in Sanders County on the East Fork of Bull River, below St. Paul Lake. When King and Moore from Kalispell owned the mine, Pat Moran mined with King. Tom Moran was the prospector who lived in the basin that bears his name–Moran Basin.

St. Paul Peak, Chicago Peak and Milwaukee  Pass, Copper Gulch, Last Chance Prospect, and Bull River Valley.


During the fall of 1920, King and Lowry were prospecting on the East Fork of Bull River, high in the mountains below spectacular St. Paul Peak. Others were also prospecting on Milwaukee Pass below St. Paul Peak. In Copper Gulch, below nearby Chicago Peak, at the Last Chance Prospect, copper and silver were assaying pretty high.


Frank Berray told of one summer-day tragedy in a prospecting tunnel on the East Fork of Bull River.

"I think his name was Moran, but I'm not sure. Now they don't know whether someone short-fused him or whether he short-fused himself. They always did their blasting at noon. They'd set five blasts and only four went off. He was out of the mine. Maybe it was long-fused. Anyway, he went back in to see why it [the dynamite charge] didn't go off. Then it did.
"When he was blowed [sic] up King took him and laid him out on the ore dump. And then they come for help but the trail got afire.

"The folks noticed the trail afire and when King come down they asked him why he set the trail afire. Well, he said he just accidentally set it afire. So they couldn't get up there. King told them that the boy was dead.

"It was about four days before we got in there on account of that fire. I, and a fella named Jace Edwards, and my dad, Caspar 'Cap' Berray, went up there and packed him out. When we got up there to get him of course he'd laid out there and he was in pretty bad shape. His whole face was blowed [sic] full of rock.

"We wrapped him [his body] in canvas and put him on the pack horse."

Visit: Five Star Review

[Resource is also available free online @ Behind These Mountains, Volume III ]



PDF copies of  "Behind These Mountains, Vols. I, II & III" are available on a DVD - $50 S&H included, plus author's permission to print or have printed buyers personal copy of each of the approximately 1200 page books which contain about 1,000 photographs from homesteaders personal albums.
 

Order here:
Mona Leeson Vanek
13505 E Broadway Ave., Apt. 243
Spokane Valley, WA 99216




 
TO HAVE AN EXCERPT PUBLISHED IN BYGONE MONTANANS ABOUT A PERSON WHO MAY BE MENTIONED IN THIS REGIONAL MONTANA TRILOGY Email mtscribbler@air-pipe.com

Please visit often, and share with friends and acquaintances. If you find anyone with family ties, please leave a comment and contact information and share a memory to grow your family tree!
 
 


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Montana Forest Service Rangers: Settlers of Sanders County Montana: Vignette Vol.2 No.7

Vignette Vol.2 No.7
Resource: BEHIND THESE MOUNTAINS

 
About the time Harry Tallmadge [L]
and George  Kaufman [R] shared a
good laugh. Harry was an Assistant
US Forest Ranger and George was 
the Ranger, ca. 1914, courtesy
Harry Tallmadge collection.
1917 - Noxon. Excerpt--Former Montana Forest Service Ranger, Harry Tallmadge, a handsome, young progressive fellow, bought a 1914 Model T Ford from a forest ranger in Troy, Montana. Early one morning he started it with a couple of vigorous turns of the crank, climbed in, grasped the steering wheel firmly, and began his journey over the two-rut road through the Bull River valley to Noxon.

It was a long trip, and in many ways more difficult than traveling by horseback. Like Clifford Weare and other travelers before him, Harry crammed his felt hat down, jumped out several times, grabbed his axe from the T's toolbox, and, muscles bulged by well-directed axe cuts, cleared fallen trees, limbs and brush out of the road.
 The high-centered Ford straddled stumps that were low enough. To navigate around each yielding, muddy spot, he steered his car off the wagon trail and over faint tracks on burned-over forest slopes, the latter threatening to upset the narrow-tired vehicle. Where warm, spring temperatures dried the road, his tires swirled dust that coated the interior and dulled the shine on brass fittings and car body.

Before dusk, flushed with triumph, he waited impatiently at the Noxon ferry landing, hating to wait for the ferry to come from the far side. He'd planned to board the ferry much earlier, cross the Clark's Fork River, and let the resounding putt, putt of his four-cylinder car traversing the uphill half mile wagon road into town announce his arrival. It was close to pitch-black when loggers and miners from Jim Finnigan's Cottage Rooms, Gordon's hotel and Baxter's hotel flocked around the young man and admired his sputtering horseless carriage.


While in Noxon, Harry was able to read the latest bridge news in the Sanders County Independent Ledger. The April 5, 1917, issue headlined a many-columned article:

"Will Sanders County build a bridge at Noxon this year? Will it build one at Dixon? Will it build none at all?
Visit: Five Star Review [Resource is also available free online @ Behind These Mountains, Volume II
 
 
PDF copies of all Behind These Mountains, Vols. I, II & III are available on a DVD - $50 S&H included, plus author's permission to print or have printed buyers personal copy of each of the approximately 1200 page books which contain about 1,000 photographs from homesteaders personal albums.
.
Order here:
Mona Leeson Vanek
13505 E Broadway Ave., Apt. 243
Spokane Valley, WA 99216
 
TO HAVE AN EXCERPT PUBLISHED IN BYGONE MONTANANS ABOUT A PERSON WHO MAY BE MENTIONED IN THIS REGIONAL MONTANA TRILOGY Email mtscribbler@air-pipe.com

Please visit often, and share with friends and acquaintances. If you find anyone with family ties, please leave a comment and contact information and share a memory to grow your family tree!

 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Cruising Timber in Montana: Settlers of Sanders County Montana - Vignette Vol.1 No. 11

Vignette Vol.1 No.11
[Resource: BEHIND THESE MOUNTAINS ]

1889 - Noxon-Excerpt:Swan Swanson had been a Lieutenant in the Swedish army. He and 36 others had been shipped from Sweden to Ottawa, Canada, to fight Spaniards, or so Swam claimed when he was 90 years old. He said that just as they arrived, peace was declared. (The Spanish-American War was in progress in 1898, and the Treaty of Paris was signed on December 10, 1898.)

Swan smoked a corncob pipe. A lover
of animals, Swan also usually had a dog
or two, courtesy Ruth Mercer McBee
collection.
Swan skipped out of the army, went to the United States and arrived in Noxon early in 1898. At Noxon, he stepped off the train in the wilderness to find only a couple of shacks, the large log building that had housed Tom Greenough's supply store, and the railroad buildings. The Polk Gazetteer listed Noxon's population at 25, but Swan didn't see them. All he saw was a depot agent and Ed Hampton and a big woodshed the railroad had filled with wood for their steam engines.

Like other new arrivals, it wasn't long before Swan sized up the opportunity to make his fortune in timber. He went to work cruising timber in Montana for the Goodchild Lumber Company, in Thompson Falls.

Because the army in Sweden had trained him as a fire fighter, Swan knew timber. A timber cruiser estimated the timber stand conditions, species composition, volume and other measured attributes of a forest system.

The only businesses and occupants remaining in Noxon that Polk Gazeteer noted in 1898 were J.H. Hire, nursery, and Andrew Knutson, hotel (this was the railroad-owned section house.) Most likely there were also railroad maintenance crews. However, the exodus was nearly complete, and the forests nearly uninhabited again.

The population at Trout Creek decreased to 15, with Pat Kelly, postmaster and saloonkeeper, and NcNeel, railroad agent, along with miners, F. Cameron, M.B. Gray, David Miller and R.R. Schulder, among those still there.


 

Visit: Five Star Review

[Resource is also available free online @ Behind These Mountains, Volume III ]


PDF copies of  "Behind These Mountains, Vols. I, II & III" are available on a DVD - $50 S&H included, plus author's permission to print or have printed buyers personal copy of each of the approximately 1200 page books which contain about 1,000 photographs from homesteaders personal albums.
 
 Order here:
Mona Leeson Vanek
13505 E Broadway Ave., Apt. 243
Spokane Valley, WA 99216
 
TO HAVE AN EXCERPT PUBLISHED IN BYGONE MONTANANS ABOUT A PERSON WHO MAY BE MENTIONED IN THIS REGIONAL MONTANA TRILOGY Email mtscribbler@air-pipe.com

Please visit often, and share with friends and acquaintances. If you find anyone with family ties, please leave a comment and contact information and share a memory to grow your family tree!
 

 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Montana School Trustees: Settlers of Sanders County Montana: Vignette Vol.1 No. 10.

Vignette Vol.1 No.10
[Resource: BEHIND THESE MOUNTAINS
1889 - Heron--Excerpt: Heron was the westernmost hamlet of Missoula County, far removed from county commissioner's meetings. Montana School Trustees determined the selection of the teacher, and the rules to be abided by.

In April 1890, Edward Knott, NPRR division section man, Levi Dingley and Jacob "Kinney" Honberger, saloon keeper, were elected school trustees at Heron. Honberger was also the School Clerk, responsible for paying bills and keeping the school board's records.

This photo of one brother is captioned "William Frank Honberger"
in Eva Honberger's family album, but other members of the family
believe it may be Jacob "Kinney" Honberger, owner of the saloon
in Heron, Montana.

 
[Clara "Eva" Morse Honberger, the wife of Kinney's brother, William “Frank”, kept a wonderful photo album in which she recorded the names of each family member. They never lived in Heron and have no direct ties to Heron or to Montana.]

According to The Sanders County Ledger, July 7, 1919,
"The general store of Kinney Honberger, at Heron ...was robbed of goods and money valued at $3,150 by two men shortly before midnight Friday night ... the proprietor and one customer were held up, tied up, and put in the cellar where they finally worked themselves loose and notified Sheriff Hartman... "Goods stolen consisted of $1,500 in Liberty bonds, $700 in thrift stamps, $750 in cash and three cases of whiskey, valued at $80 each." The robbers used revolvers.
It later developed there were three men in the party and they walked to Heron and escaped the same way, going to Clarks Fork and Hope, Idaho. 
On Sunday morning Ray Murray, a Milwaukee fireman address unknown and Tom Mays, of Paradise were arrested at Hope and brought to jail ... Murray pleaded guilty.
The other holdup man is Raymond Spoor, of Sand Point, who got away from Murray and Mays. Spoor had the cash, bonds, and thrift stamps. Spoor was clever enough to get Mays and Murray drunk so he could leave them.
Roy Hart and Jack Prouty are on the trail of Spoor and it is likely that he will soon be in custody."
Armed robbery was practically unheard of in the valley, however, the residents, whether indignant at, or laughing over, the culpability of their sheriff's deputies, were confident the remaining outlaw still on the loose would be jailed in short order.

In 1856, Louisa Ann Stone married Jacob L. Honberger, who died in June 1863 at the Battle of Milliken’s Bend, fighting for the Union in the Civil War. They had three children: William Francis “Frank”, Flora “Emma”, and Jacob “Kinney”, who was just an infant less than a year in age when his father died.

Flora “Emma” married Levi Dingley in 1876 in Iowa, and they had a healthy family of 8 or more children. Jacob “Kinney” Honberger settled in Heron, Montana after the Civil War, between 1885-1900, along with his mother and his sister and her family.
Flora "Emma" Honberger Dingley

The Dingleys came from South Dakota where they were living in1885. The mother, Louisa Ann Stone Honberger, was living with the Dingleys when they settled in Heron. According to unsourced information, Louisa died in 1889 in Spokane.
Louisa Ann Stone Honberger

Because Jacob senior was away at war when Jacob “Kinney” was born, his father and he never met.

According to family lore, around 1935, Kinney encountered some unknown trouble and fled Heron, Montana for Long Beach, Southern California where he lived at the Savoy Hotel under the name George G. Grey until his death in 1941, when he died of a massive stroke.

[Resource is also available free online @ Behind These Mountains, Volume I ]

Visit: Five Star Review
 
 
PDF copies of all "Behind These Mountains, Vols. I, II & III" are available on a DVD - $50 S&H included, plus author's permission to print or have printed buyers personal copy of each of the approximately 1200 page books. which contain about 1,000 photographs from homesteaders private albums.
.
Order here:
Mona Leeson Vanek
13505 E Broadway Ave., Apt. 243
Spokane Valley, WA 99216
 
TO HAVE AN EXCERPT PUBLISHED IN BYGONE MONTANANS ABOUT A PERSON WHO MAY BE MENTIONED IN THIS REGIONAL MONTANA TRILOGY Email mtscribbler@air-pipe.com

Please visit often, and share with friends and acquaintances. If you find anyone with family ties, please leave a comment and contact information and share a memory to grow your family tree!

 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Montana Moonshiners: Settlers of Sanders County Montana: Vignette Vol.2 No. 6.


Vignette Vol.2 No.6
Resource: BEHIND THESE MOUNTAINS ]

1917 - Noxon. Excerpt--For a short while, Andy Knutson's election gave Noxonites a safe topic to hash over. Voting precincts and elections, established in the valley more than two decades earlier, made discussing local elections a familiar subject; so discussing local election news was an innocuous distraction from war news and the seemingly endless new restrictions that were changing valley culture.
Of this pyramid of five young men at Noxon only Don Maynard, Alex Peterson and Joe Bedard are named. The picture, with conflicting information in two collections records them as either NPRR signalmen, or Civilian Conservation Corp enrollees, uknown date, courtesy Don Maynard, and Ruth Mercer McBee collections.
Idaho had been declared "dry" at the end of the previous year. Laws affecting alcoholic beverages changed life in the valley considerably. Many wondered how soon Montana might fall victim to such foolishness, however conversing about it was dicey. People had to be cautious about what they confided, and whom they trusted.
 
A.J. Kline, recently from Tulsa, Oklahoma, threw in with Emil Gavin and Alex Davies, and the men soon became Montana Moonshiners, operating three moonshine stills, making "moon" for Spokane markets. Trainmen on the Northern Pacific Railroad transported a goodly amount of their product. The men discreetly delivered it to freight trains that stopped to take on water from the NPRR tank located between Emil's cabin and A.J.'s ranch, near Heron. A small mountain of five-gallon cans rusted on the hill behind Kline's spring, reminders of ingredients for the "moon."
 
In June 1917, another federal law making it illegal to ship liquor into dry territories for any except medicinal, sacramental or mechanical purposes, caused Montana liquor men who had been doing a heavy business by mail, to shift gears. Dances at Peek's Hall became even more popular than before. Dancing wasn't the main attraction for out-of-staters who returned home with a supply of forbidden liquor.
 
Saloonkeepers weren't the only men reaping profits. With the right connections and a bit of daredevil nerve, enterprising young men pocketed more money than working for the forest service allowed.
 
Those who knew about moonshine activities turned a blind eye. The old adage applied: "See no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil". Each man's business was his own alone. "Don't stick your nose in my business and I'll stay out of your affairs", was the guiding light of most valley men and women. However, a good many of both sexes cussed and ranted when confronted with legislation that curtailed card playing.
 
Ever since men arrived in the valley, card playing had been a favorite pastime. Rummy and solo were played for drinks, cigars or chips in saloons. At Noxon, Charley Maynard's pool hall on Main Street was just east of the store Henry Larson bought from Dr. Peek in 1918.
 
Charley Maynard's son, Don, a fancy young man, had taken over the business from his father. Lumberjacks from logging camps on Rock Creek hiked to town and enjoyed fellowship with town dwellers, playing games of chance in the evenings, and also on Saturdays and Sundays.
 
The pool hall issued "hickies," small, pasteboard chips worth a nickel apiece, as winnings for the games. Rummy and pangeni were preferred over poker and other games.
"Kids, whose mothers weren't particular where they spent their idle time, used to hang around the pool hall real handy. Some of the fellows, winning a handful of chips, was bound to share generously", Carmen Moore said.
Under the provisions of a law passed by the legislature, and approved by the governor on March 3, 1918, it became a misdemeanor for any proprietor of a saloon, drug store, pool hall or other business establishment to permit these games to be played on his premises.
 
Enforcement of the law meant abolishing the games, or the proprietors could face a stiff fine and imprisonment. Included were monte, dondo, fan-tan, studhorse poker, craps, seven-and-a-half, twenty-one, faro, roulette, hokey-pokey, pangeni or pangene, draw poker or the game commonly called round-the-table-poker, or any game of chance played with cards, dice or any device.
 
Outlawing slot machines, punchboards and other devices followed, under the anti-gambling law. Sheriff J.L. "Joe" Hartman warned that raids would be made. The penalty was a $100 fine, with imprisonment for not less than three months nor more than one year, or by both fine and imprisonment.
This scene from an always popular local entertainment at Noxon is titled "Stick-'em-up" from the play titled "D.F, Tablu Beer Joint" with Kelly Thomson seated at center of the table being the only identified member of the cast in the unidentified location that could have been in Brown's Pool Hall, date unknown, courtesy Ruth Mercer McBee collection.

 
Visit: Five Star Review

[Resource is also available free online @ Behind These Mountains, Volume III ]


PDF copies of  "Behind These Mountains, Vols. I, II & III" are available on a DVD - $50 S&H included, plus author's permission to print or have printed buyers personal copy of each of the approximately 1200 page books which contain about 1,000 photographs from homesteaders personal albums.
 
 Order here:
Mona Leeson Vanek
13505 E Broadway Ave., Apt. 243
Spokane Valley, WA 99216
 
TO HAVE AN EXCERPT PUBLISHED IN BYGONE MONTANANS ABOUT A PERSON WHO MAY BE MENTIONED IN THIS REGIONAL MONTANA TRILOGY Email mtscribbler@air-pipe.com

Please visit often, and share with friends and acquaintances. If you find anyone with family ties, please leave a comment and contact information and share a memory to grow your family tree!
 

 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Spanish Influenza: Settlers of Sanders County Montana: Vignette Vol.2 No. 5.

Vignette Vol.2 No.5
Resource: BEHIND THESE MOUNTAINS

1918-19 Noxon. Excerpt--Spanish influenza invaded every town in 1918, hitting almost every family through one member or another. No one had ever seen the likes of it before. Worse than any cold, or ague ever known, influenza decimated population the world over. It plagued Americans, Canadians, European countries, and everywhere it raged. And there was no known medication to cure it. One either survived "the flu", or died. Influenza was highly infectious and contagious.

The deadly illness brought dizziness, fevers of 100-104, chills, coughing, congestion, aching, lethargy, a dangerously slowed pulse and unconsciousness. Victims vomited and suffered weakness, pains in eyes, ears, head or back, and they hurt all over their body. It made eyes and insides of eyelids bloodshot and caused a discharge from the nose. Fevers lasted 3-4 days. Treatment: Go home and to bed at once. Drink water, use cold compress to head, and sponge lightly with cool water. Wear a mask when attending patient.

Desperate counties passed laws. trying to curb influenza's spread and Sanders County Independent Ledger told readers late in October, 1918,
"Emergency regulations providing for, among other things, the closing of schools, theaters and places of public amusement and prohibiting of public gatherings upon the outbreak of influenza in any Montana community."
Late in 1918 Noxon and all the little hamlets along the Clark's Fork River were hard hit. Harry Talmadge was making posts on Dry Creek for Jim Saint when the storekeeper, George Buck and his wife both got the "flu" and sent for Harry to tend the store. Harry said,

Harry Tallmadge, ca. 1916-18
"Sarah and I were living in a log cabin on Dry Creek. Buck had the post office in his store and I was sworn-in to work in it. I hated to go to Noxon, afraid I might bring the flu back to my family. But I went. They had two Spokane doctors in town. Mrs. Buck had pneumonia. They feared she'd die and, in desperation to reduce the fever ravishing her body, put her out doors in the snow, in a tent out back.
"I told one of the doctors I was afraid of taking the flu back to my family, handling all the stuff in the post office. He told me to get a fifth of whiskey and take a swallow of it once in a while. So I did."
Still worried that he might take the flu home to his family, instead of walking the five miles each night to their cabin, Harry stayed in the Montana Hotel operated by Mrs. Granville Gordon.

In the Montana Hotel. Mrs George Phillips, ex-wife of the NPRR telegrapher, and Elmer Angst, a 19-year-old man from Thompson Falls who had been living in Noxon working for Marion Larson, both died of the flu. But Harry never got it.

 
Montana Hotel in Noxon, Montana, ca. 1918. Courtesy Blanche
Gordon Claxton collection.

Visit: Five Star Review

Purchase PDF copies of all three volumes on DVD from M. L. Vanek, 13505 E. Broadway Ave., Apt. 243, Spokane Valley, WA 99216 or via email: mtscribbler@air-pipe.com.

Resource is also available free online @ Behind These Mountains, Volume II 

 
TO HAVE AN EXCERPT PUBLISHED IN BYGONE MONTANANS ABOUT A PERSON WHO MAY BE MENTIONED IN THIS REGIONAL MONTANA TRILOGY Email mtscribbler@air-pipe.com

Please visit often, and share with friends and acquaintances. If you find anyone with family ties, please leave a comment and contact information and share a memory to grow your family tree!