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120 years

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Tap

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I was just thinking today that this is our family's 120th continuous year of ranching here in Harding County SD. It was actually my dad's step grandparents that settled here. They started out about 15 miles NW of here in 1886, and eventually moved down here a few years later. They came to Deadwood origionally to make a grubstake in the mines to start a ranch with.

There were darn few settlers then (they were settlers and not homesteaders as the state wasn't in existance till 1889), so news didn't travel very fast. Once when Sitting Bull was heard to be coming thru the area, and other ranchers all gathered up to defend themselves, my relatives didn't even know about it until afterwards. It turned out that it didn't happen that Sitting Bull came through that time, but it sure stirred up the few locals for a while. Another time, during the big blizzard of 1889(?) the man of the house was gone for some reason, and the Mrs. wanted to turn the stock out of the corral to find better shelter, but the hired man wouldn't let her. All the animals ended up perishing in the corral. So they had to start over.

They then went to raising remount horses for the war days, and then went to running sheep, then sheep and cattle, to present where we run all cattle.

I am wondering how long all of you have had your operations in the family, and if you see it continuing that way?

My kids would be the 5th generation if they choose to ranch here.
 

Tap

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Another interesting fact (to me anyway :wink: ) is that my mothers family homesteaded right across the fence from my dad's. My mothers granddad was quite the character, and he put a lot of responsiblility on his kids. Once his son (my grandad) was supposed to haul a load of supplies home from Belle Fourche with a team and wagon when my grandad was about 12-14 years old or so. That would be about a 55 mile one way trip. For some reason, my grandpa headed west instead of north, and traveled a long ways before someone stopped him and got him turned around. Can you imagine that kind of responsibliity in a kid these days. Now we all have ulcers from worrying about trivial things, and most of us don't have to worry about finding food and shelter.

I feel fortunate to have an interesting family history, and live amoungst such good faithful neighbors and friends around this area. I hope the day never comes when we have to lock our doors.

I must be in a sentimental mood today or something. :D
 

TimH

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Great idea for a thread , Tap.

My Great-grandfather(paternal) came to this area in 1887. The original hometead is now owned by another family but there are many branches of our family(both sides) still raising cattle in this area. If any of my sons decide to stick around, that will make 5 generations ranching/farming in this area.
On my mother's side, I have a great-great-grandmother who was the first white baby to be born in Medicine Hat, Alberta, in 1888. Not a real big deal as the Indians had been having babies there for thousands of years already, but sort of interesting. :)
 

Soapweed

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My great-granddad and his three brothers rode the train to Valentine in 1885, which was then the end of the railroad. They walked almost ninety miles further west and staked out their original homesteads. They then had to walk back to Valentine to file on their new land, making it legal. Our family has been in this area ever since, though not on the same original homesteads. When my dad was in his early twenties, he and his dad bought a ranch together. My dad has lived there continuously since 1946. The neighboring ranch came up for sale in 1985, so we traded other land that was thirty miles away for this land, and took possession of it on May 1, 1986. My wife, kids and I have lived here ever since. If any of our offspring choose to ranch, they will be the fifth generation to do so in Cherry County.
 

Jinglebob

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Grampa's sister came out here in the late 1990's and married a man who was with the first party into the Black Hills. He would have been a young boy at the time. I think that was in 1874 or 1875.
Grampa came in 1900 and worked around until he homesteaded. His brother and two sister came out and took up homesteads, so Great Grampa and Great gramma hitched up the team and headed west, when they were about 50 years old, as all of their children were out here. Great grampa homestead around 1902, but gramps was too young and free to bother with filing until 1907 or so.

This place has 3 different 1/4 sections that were great grampa and 2 sons. We didn't get the other 1/4 's that belonged to grampa's sisters.

I am the 4th generation, but the folks didn't get me until they were 44 years old, so we kind'a skipped a generation there. My son is the 5th and my grandson is the 6th and i expect one or both to be here, when I want to quit. :wink:

Grampa regstered his brand, which we still use, in 1902. Guess we been here for over 100 years, but you know what they say, "a mill doesn't turn on water that has already ran past".
 

Tap

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This is interesting, to say the least.

Soapweed, speaking of your ansestors, I hope Has Been is doing well. Has he been around ranchers.net lately? This kind of topic is just up his alley. I thought of him as I was posting it.
 

Soapweed

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Tap said:
This is interesting, to say the least.

Soapweed, speaking of your ansestors, I hope Has Been is doing well. Has he been around ranchers.net lately? This kind of topic is just up his alley. I thought of him as I was posting it.

He and my sister just got back from a two week trip to California. They visited quite a few friends and relatives while they were gone, and had a good time. He is a big fan of the Sandhills, and said nothing on their trip looked anywhere near as good to him as home. He always did say, "you can't raise cattle on scenery." :wink:
 

Tap

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This area was always a better horse or sheep country until the water improvements came along. The rivers and creeks are pretty fair on the average years, but a dry year and they will get pretty "iffy". And the drainages can be many miles apart, so it is a long walk to a drink of water, as this is generally an arid country.

Back to a bit more of our family history.

During the remount days, there was a very large horse ranch over in the Slim Buttes called the JB Ranch. That stood for Jones brothers. They ran hundreds if not thousands of horses in a large area as it was still open range then mostly. I can't remember who it was for sure, probably a government man, but they asked Jones's for 100 hd. or something like that of a certain type of horse. Jones's were said to have asked them what color they wanted them in? :D My great grandparents bought a very high priced stud from them that would have been a lot of money in today's dollars. I don't really know how it all turned out for them, but probably ended after the war.

Then after they were gone, their older sons were running the ranch, and not paying a lot of attention to details as a lot of ranches around kind of seemed to be doing in that era. So they lost it to the county for delinquent taxes. My step grandpa (the younger son) stepped in and worked a deal out with the county to pay the back taxes, and took over from his brothers. Then he slowly built a sheep herd up and then got some cows in the 40's, and we slowly phased the sheep out by the middle 90's. Sheep were and are still a great animal for this shortgrass country, and they thrive here other than when we get bad storms, or bad predator problems. We sold them because of the predators, and the extra workload. There was an older sheepman that I used to visit in my batchelor days. He hated cows, and always said that he could winter a band of sheep on what a bunch of big mouthed SofB'n cows would waste. :lol: I think he might have been on to something, but give me a good range cow and I will be happy. Now that we have water everywhere, cows seem to work great.

Here's hoping for another 120 years. :!:
 

HAY MAKER

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My grand parents moved to Charleston following the Civil War,they had been in the cattle,lumber buisness,until the civil war broke out,like a lot of southerners they lost every thing they owned,after the south fell,the union declared confederate money worthless,carpet baggers moved in,buying land,cattle, business,s for a penny on the dollar.
They tried to settle in Louisianna for a while,the Lake Charles area as I understand it,but kept moving always trying to get some place they could work farm and ranch in peace.
The country was torn in those days and a lot of good people were pursused relentlessly by the union forces.
I remember my grandma telling a story about some confederate soldiers when the south fell,it went something like this,each nite at the stroke of 12 she found herself awakened by the rumble of heavy wheels passing in the distance,but she had no explanation for the noise. Her husband would not allow her to look out the window when she heard the sounds, telling her to leave well enough alone. Finally, she asked the neighbor lady,if she hears the wagons at nite. The woman said: "What you are hearing is the Army of the Dead. They are Confederate soldiers who died in hospital without knowing that the war was over. Each night, they rise from their graves and go to reinforce Lee in Virginia to strengthen the weakened Southern forces."
The next night, grandma slipped out of bed to watch the Army of the Dead pass. She stood spell-bound by the window as a gray fog rolled passed. Within the fog, she could see the shapes of horses, and could hear gruff human voices and the rumble of canons being dragged , followed by the sound of marching feet. Foot soldiers, horsemen, ambulances, wagons and canons passed before her eyes, all shrouded in gray. After what seemed like hours, she heard a far off bugle blast, and then silence................The South Fell.
They moved on,on to this place called Texas.............good luck
 

Mrs.Greg

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I don't think I've ever enjoyed a thread as much as this one!ALL of your stories are soooo interesting! Thank-you! Mairi
 

Northern Rancher

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Shows how late our country was settled-my Dad was the first white boy born in our town and that was in 1920-there had been an extensive crosssbrededing program up till then though-our parents and grandparents were sure raised tough. I had an old buddy got hauled away from home by his Dad with a team and sleigh-it was too far to walk home but he could make it to a logging camp so that's where he headed at age 12. If they'd of had social services back then nobody would of been allowed to raise kids lol.
 
A

Anonymous

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Haymaker- Quite a few of those southerners and Texans came to Montana- some looking for gold, some with the trail herds...It was surprising to me when reading Montana history the number of Confederate sympathizers there were in the gold fields...These were some of the ones hung by the Vigilantes during the war to keep them from taking the gold south....

I became involved in an interesting thread on Cattletoday a couple weeks ago--It has a couple of good pictures of old cowboys from up here- about the era Grandpa moved here...Everyone that has looked at the first picture agree with me that it was probably taken on Willow Creek- about 20 miles south of where I now live on the creek......

http://cattletoday.com/forum/about19004.html
 

John SD

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My grandfather came out here from southern Iowa in the early 1900's. I have post cards postmarked back to about 1907 that he mailed to his family back home and to other family that lived around the Mitchell SD area. I am the 3rd generation to ranch here and still live on the original homestead.
 

the_jersey_lilly_2000

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Mr Lilly's family came to this part of Texas in 1850. From Lexington, SC. There were two brothers and their family's livin on and running a plantation. One brother decided there wasn't enuff there to support two family's so they loaded up and came to Texas on a Ship. Port of Galveston. They settled just up the road about a mile from where we live now. Where they built a church and school. there were about 6 different families all traveling together that settled here. All of which are still here, and now related. Our house is on the place that belonged to his gggg grandfather, and our cows are on a different place that belonged to his gg grandfather, that had brought slaves when he come to Texas. There was a sawmill, a commissary, where they spent coin type money that was printed with the Plantation name. Still today after a good rain you can find a coin here and there. Not many but a few. our kids make 8 generations working this place. Not all of them raised cattle for a living, more of them at first raised cotton and cut timber. His grandfather had a sawmill up till in the late 70s, when it was handed down to a cousin, who still owns it, but hasn't ran it since the 80s. The place we live on has been handed down from father to son for 6 generations. What's really neat is genealogy was fairly simple with names and dates...all I had to do was visit the local cemetarys' and there they were all the way back to the first one's that came here. The church is still here. I previously posted a picture of it here while back. The stories I've gathered from all of the older members of the community are what's really interesting. Taking the time to visit with them and take notes. They enjoyed it just as much as I did I think.
 

Tap

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Good, now we are getting lots of responses. How about some of the rest of you? Haymaker, you do have a very good "campfire" way of telling a story. I enjoyed that a lot. And Lilly, I think you hold the record for the most generations on one piece of land, so far anyhow.

I thought of a few more stories that might be interesting to some.

My great grandfather on my mothers side, had an interesting life to say the least. He was sometimes irresponsible and best, but always interesting. He wrote a booklet of his memoirs before his death. He told about when he was a kid, that he was always in trouble with his father. I think that was back in Illinois maybe. This one time he had a terrible argument with his dad, and he laid waiting under their bed until his parents went to sleep. Then after he was sure they were both sleeping, he let off with both barrells of the 12 guage shotgun that he had hidden with him under the bed. He had shot a hole in the floor or wall, and in the confusion he got out from under the bed with his dad chasing him far out into the night. It was a long while before he was allowed to move back home after that one. Then later while he was on the railroad he got in a big fight with a black fella, and he hit the other guy in the head with a brick, and never stayed around to find out whether he had killed him or not. After some time later he came to Deadwood, Dakota Territory and got in a gun altercation while working as a security guaurd down there. He must have been cleared of any wrongdoing or else he just split town.

He came north and started ranching later on, and then opened a saddle shop and harness shop here in our local town.

There were times when he might take off and not tell the family where he was going, and might be gone for a month at a time. This was after he had a family of his own.

Thankfully that trait never ran true to the rest of us, as koj and I never inherited it. :wink:

All this had to be true, as he wrote it down. :lol:
 

Tap

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I think my family history is interesting, but compared to our good neighbors it is kind of slow. They are direct descendents in the fight at Tombstone, and the great grandpa was a trail boss for one of the big cattle syndicates. I think he was a cousin of the boys at Tombsone.

The grandson of this fella just died recently and he was the king of local history, and one great storyteller.
 

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