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.

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

Thursday, July 2, 2015

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

Vignette Vol.1 No.11

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
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.


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[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.
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