Sunday, January 23, 2011


Swan Swanson, courtesy Ruth Mercer
McBee collection.
There were signs of spring other than school elections and provisions running out. True, there were muddy trails and the river was on its annual rise to flood stage. But during the winter, in addition to the request for Sanders county men to form a regiment of infantrymen for the Montana National Guard, the Sanders County Independent Ledger gave front-page space to a story, soliciting participants in organizing a poultry association.

J. I. Sweet of Tuscor, Perry Heater of Trout Creek and "lovers of thoroughbred birds", residing in Thompson Falls and vicinity began boosting strong for a proposed Poultry Association. "If enough interest can be aroused among the poultry fanciers of the county, it is proposed to make the scope of the new organization cover the whole of Sanders county; but if this cannot be done a local association including the fanciers of Thompson Falls and vicinity, especially the west end of the county, will be organized."

They proposed to hold a fall poultry show, probably in conjunction with the county fair. The best birds of association members would be exhibited in competition for suitable prizes. A regular annual poultry show would "result in great improvement in the poultry flocks of Sanders county within a very few years and the proposed organization is worthy of the hearty support of everyone interested in poultry, either for pleasure or profit." The main objective was to get a better price for eggs.1.

Competition was on to record the best producers. It was balmy spring weather before the hens began producing record breakers. First a 4 ounce egg laid by a hen owned by Hans Block was recorded. B. F. Mason had the hen to outdo her. His laid first a 4 1/2 ounce egg and then a 4 3/4 ounce egg. "The egg machine is a Plymouth Rock pullet, just starting to lay a couple of weeks ago."2. Purebred Anconas eggs began selling for $1.00 a setting of fifteen, rated as prize stock for splendid layers.

Delousing the hen house - and its occupants - went hand-in-hand with raising poultry. Dirty, stinky, and performed on uncooperative creatures it was the occupational job most hated.
"Delouse the hens by dusting by hand with a regular insect powder, or dip each bird in a weak solution of a creosote dip, taking care to work the dip well into the feathers. Repeat it again in ten days to kill the lice that have hatched from eggs laid previous to the first spraying."3.
More obnoxious chores included cleaning the dropping boards, removing all waste, straw or anything that could harbor vermin. It could be burned, a foul smelling means of disposal, or it could provide excellent fertilizer for the garden.

Next the hen house had to be doused with a kerosene mixture (a spray of kerosene or any of the creosote dips), another odorous part of raising chickens successfully. Spray the nest boxes well and then you could sit on your back step watching the hens gobble up the inexhaustible supply of bugs, slugs, and seeds as they scratched out every plant that thwarted their search.3. That meant, be sure to fence them out of the garden if you expected to harvest any of it. And watch them closely, because hens have an unerring tendency to lay in places invisible to the egg gatherer if they weren't tightly confined. And if their house weren't securely closed at night, mink, weasels, skunks or coyotes would have a tasty meal.

Another sure bet that spring had arrived was the sudden stirring of the female nesting cycle that bedeviled the men. Women began putting children and spouses to work helping with spring house cleaning, kalsomining the walls and ceilings and painting woodwork. Fishing was more fun, and few could resist having a nice mess of fresh caught trout. Johnny Knutson and Solon Ellis were masters at convincing their mothers that fishing took precedence over house cleaning for them.

Hobos, gypsies and cars being unblocked were other harbingers of spring. The county jail was filled with hobos when Sheriff Hartman and a deputy made a roundup from an incoming freight train on which
"some man, presumably a side-door box car pilgrim, had been attacked by three other men, badly beaten up, shot through the mouth, and otherwise injured."
They "cleaned the cars of eight 'boes and kids, all of whom were taken to the county jail." One, an I.W.W., as shown by his union book, carried a .32 caliber revolver, cartridges and a big knife. The injured man was taken back in the caboose of the train and given "medical treatment and was otherwise provided for by the sheriff's office and the citizens." "Three of them will probably be held for trial." The rest were kept overnight in the jail and released after breakfast.4.
Weather had warmed considerably when a band of gypsies went through Noxon on a Tuesday. Tate Peek, who was tending store for Dr. Peek, was sitting in the shade beside the store, strumming his guitar and thinking about the book, "Blind Brothers", that he was writing about Noxon. The gypsies failed to tell any fortunes except Tate Peek's, for nothing. But they stole two onions from the store.5.

Sunny Sunday weather made it possible for Mr. and Mrs. Peterson, W. C. Finnigan, Mary Hampton and Mandy Savage to ride to Heron Sunday in Charlie Munson's auto. The girls giggling and holding their pretty new spring bonnets securely while the men made light of the bumpiness of the ride compared to the smooth gait of horses.6. Arthur Raynor took his car from blocks also. Crossing the ferry, he arrived in Noxon, the newspaper reported, where
"Mildred Weare being the only one willing to risk death, went joy riding with him." But when Art Bomar bought a new auto in June, "none of the girls of Noxon will go riding because they are not ready to die yet."
June produced a flurry of items the newspaper considered noteworthy. Jim Finnigan wallpapered Marion Larson's house; the depot was painted; Bill Finnigan fenced his property; Billie Burdette (Bull River) caught a fine bear just out from hibernation.

While some homesteaders were leaving the area, others optimistically continued to develop new enterprises and employ more men, in the belief that increased settlement would create even greater prosperity for all. Messers Lyons, Mercer and York went to Plummer, Idaho,
"to tear down a sawmill for Mr. Phipps of Spokane, who will move part of the sawmill to Noxon. The boiler and engine will be taken to a mine on Spring Creek, a branch of Libby creek, 20 miles south of Libby, Montana where Mr. Phipps and associates own a gold property and say they will put in a compressor and a 10 stamp mill in the spring."7.
In 1915 the mineral output from Montana increased more than 81 percent over 1914. $87,000,000 total value of the same metals in 1914, which produced $47,849,747 revenue. Gold, silver, copper, lead and zinc. The increase was due not only to the enlarged output of copper ore, which supplies the greater part of the silver, but to the great impetus given to the marketing of zinc ores. The average price of silver was less than 50 cents an ounce in 1915. There were increases in all metals but especially of lead and zinc. Though quantities increased, the large increase in value was the result of a great rise in prices.8. Although most of the minerals were generated from counties far to the east of Sanders it gave the impetus to the miners and prospectors who believed substantial deposits lie waiting to be developed in the mountains surrounding Noxon and up the canyons in the vicinity.9.

Dan Conners, a hardy prospector at Noxon, owned a ranch. He was enthusiastic about his copper and gold prospects and was developing some placer property across the river from Noxon "which is showing good colors". He expected to bring in machinery in the spring.10.

Montana Gold Mining and Milling Company headquarters were in Spokane, Washington, the town where Joe Brooks, along with his parents, a sister and his uncle arrived from Oklahoma. Joe's father, whose grandmother was a DAR, was born in Ohio. His mother was born in Illinois. The senior Mr. Brooks was a carpenter in 1916 and dead set against unions. In Spokane he learned if you didn't belong to a union, you didn't work.

Gold Hill - Property of the Montana Mining and Milling Company. Taken by F. Palmer, a Spokane, Washington photographer. The exact whereabouts of this property, in what appears to be an old cedar swamp, is unknown. Circa 1915-23. Courtesy W. R. 'Chuck Petersen collection.
Owners of the Montana Gold Mining and Milling Company mine sent him to the steep mountains of Montana, a few miles up Blue Creek near the Idaho-Montana border, to dig in their mine. Joe, who became 16 years old on St. Patrick's Day, and his uncle soon followed and took a contract to drive a hundred feet of tunnel in the same mine, which was situated about six hundred feet up the steep slope on Middle Mountain above the Brooks home on the west fork of Blue Creek. It was all hand drilling.

Joe Brooks' uncle and sister each took homesteads the next year while Joe, whose only schooling was halfway through high school, with training in physical geography, got "bit by the mining bug", he said.

About that time the Carpie Mine at Cabinet started up (near the present Highway 200 north of the Cabinet Gorge Dam).
"My uncle had staked a couple of claims on the upper end of it on a vein of quartz known as a 'fisher vein'. A fisher vein is one that's standing upright, maybe tips to 50-60 degrees, but it's primarily an up and down vein."
Guided by a book he found on prospecting,
Joe soon learned about "blanket veins which more or less follows the layers of the earth and is more or less flat, and carbonate ore which is pretty much rusty stuff where it's decomposed, and that a dike is an intrusion of material foreign to the 'country rock' (common formation). Also that a dike is a good place to look. If you found an intrusion of igneous rock in a sedimentary formation that's another good place to look.
"Water causes a chemical reaction when it hits the ore," he said. You see a capping of the vein, it's always rust, that's where the ore vein comes near the surface. Usually there's a lot of iron and rust. Some of the capping looks like cinders, or like it's been burned. That's the reaction of the water and minerals," he soon learned.
When Joe felt he'd made a discovery, like all prospectors, he excavated 150 cubic feet to expose the vein in the 1500-foot long by 600-foot wide claim.
"You had thirty days to mark your claim and set the corner stakes. Then you had sixty days to go to the courthouse and file it in the Clerk and Recorders office. You didn't used to have to patent a claim but you had to do $100 assessment work a year," he said.
Montana required four stake markers on each claim but in Idaho, six stakes were necessary. Living so close to the Montana-Idaho border, Joe prospected in both states. About 1916 or 17 another young prospector, Tom Dolan, who was also learning how to be a prospector from the school of hard knocks, received a traumatic lesson.
"He was prospecting higher up on Blue Creek on another slope and he had a missed shot," Joe said. "The dynamite didn't go off. I guess he had a stick of powder and the cap was still in it and he brought it out on the dump instead of throwing it away. He pulled the fuse and it went off leaving him with only two fingers and a thumb on one hand."
A portion of the quartz ledge outcropping over Tunnel No. 2 of Montana Mining and Milling Company mine. Location of this picture taken by F. Palmer, a Spokane, Washington photographer, could be Blue Creek, Vermillion River drainage, or elsewhere in Northwestern Montana. Palmer is not known to have traveled very far east of the Clark's Fork River valley. Courtesy W. R. 'Chuck' Petersen collection.
 * * * *
Speculation proliferated as the price of silver soared due to world conditions, which the editor of the weekly paper gladly provided to his readers.
"It has been predicted that the price of silver will continue in its upward flight until it will reach the price quoted before the panic of 1893 at which time it was demonetized. In such an event we see all of the silver mines of Montana, Idaho, Colorado and other states, which have been closed for years, again on the producing list. Bar silver was quoted at 73-1/2 cents per ounce yesterday, the highest price in almost a decade... Withdrawal of gold as a medium of circulation from practically all the markets of the world except this country accounts almost fully for the sensational advance in silver. Incidentally the Mexican disturbances have served materially to curtail the supply.
"In recent months there have been heavy shipments of silver from this country to England, France and Russia, while demand from China and East India has been almost unprecedented. The United States government also is in the market for large quantities of the metal."11.
Montana Mining and Milling Company's cabin on the Gold Hill property. a mine by the name of Gold Hill was in the Vermillion River country as early as 1908. Montana Gold Mining and Milling Company also had a mine on Blue Creek, near the Montana-Idaho border as early as 1908. Location of this picture taken by F. Palmer, a Spokane, Washington photographer, is unknown. Courtesy W. R. 'Chuck' Petersen, Clayton Bauer and Agnes Hampton collections.
Mr. Baker and Mr. James Miller, Pilgrim Creek mining men, were at the county seat Saturday, Baker showing "a good specimen of rock in his pocket containing copper and "white iron".

The long time prospectors had faith great wealth would materializing at last. Around town they talked up their diggings, trying to interest others in it, either as workers or investors.12.

* * * * * 
Taxes - for roads, for schools, for county business, came from the landowners of Sanders County. About 90% of the lands in western Sanders County were public lands, owned by the federal government, in trust for the people. Taxpayers wanted a portion of the income generated to the coffers of the federal government returned to the county from which it derived. A fair share, they clamored.
The Missoula Chamber of Commerce adopted and sent to representatives in congress the following:
"WHEREAS: Large areas of the public domain lie within the boundaries of the various national forests, the title to which is in the United States and which is permanently withdrawn from settlement; and,
"WHEREAS: All said large areas, not being subject to taxation, contribute nothing towards the development of the country within or adjoining said national forests; and,
"WHEREAS: It is imperatively necessary that roads should be built through the national forests in order to establish communications between lands adjoining said forests and promote the development of same and also to provide proper protection against loss by fire; and,
"WHEREAS: The amounts now apportioned to the various states through the Acts of May 23, 1908, and August 10, 1912 from the receipts from said national forests are inadequate for such purposes;
"NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: By the Missoula Chamber of Commerce, that our representatives in Congress be strongly urged to use every effort to obtain from congress a permanent annual appropriation of at least 25 per cent of the gross receipts accruing from the operation of said national forests or a temporary advance for a period of at least 10 years of 75 per cent of said receipts, for the purpose of building, constructing and maintaining roads through said national forests, to be built by and under the supervision of the forest service."13.
Reading this in the newspapers inspired Noxonites. Frank Berray returned from Marion where he had been employed during the winter, Howard Ellinwood, who had been helping Thomson haul hay from Bull River, Jim Berray, Will Ellis, Walter Lake and Mr. Scheffler rode down from Bull River to attend the ferry meeting. The Noxon Forum's Saturday evening meeting was important to everyone who used the ferry since the question of keeping it free was the main topic. New officers were elected putting William Ellis in the presidents chair. G. H. Buck became secretary-treasurer and Earl Engle, Mr. Bauer, and Earl Lockman were elected trustees. The trustees were sent to Thompson Falls as a committee to confer with the county commissioners regarding a larger appropriation for running the free ferry at Noxon. Ed. Hampton, then the manager of the ferry, accompanied them.14.

Failing to accomplish anything constructive, they next decided to keep count of the crossings so that facts could be presented to the county commissioners in a request for a bridge. During the ensuing week, beginning March 13 and ending March 19, 172 teams and 377 pedestrians crossed on the free ferry at Noxon.*15. To bolster their demands for better roads and a bridge the homesteaders pointed to the fact that never in its history had the Northern Pacific railroad equaled the amount of through freight business now being handled... speculation ran high that the railroad would follow the example of the Milwaukee and electrify its line, creating demand for hydro-electric power development on the Clark's Fork River.15.

The sawmill men were pushing hard for roads, too. Weare had a sawmill again; having bought all the timber stumpage on the railroad sections from Thompson Falls west for a dollar a thousand. He sold a million and a half feet of yellow pine timber stumpage at Whitepine, Montana to Ed Donlan, getting $3 per thousand.16.

Despite all their efforts, attempts to improve their transportation routes produced just more wrangles, and nothing of substance. They continued to toil across winter ice and snow, through axle-deep spring mud, and ankle-deep summer dust to get their products to the railhead, their children to school, and their necessities from town.
* * * * *

Caption: Neal and Mildred Weare. circa 1913-15.
 Courtesy Clayton Bauer collection.
As spring crept in foggy mists slung low over the river and prospectors saw great wealth nearly in their grasp, most of the community was more concerned that Noxon's students could not take part in the first annual Sanders County Field Meet and Declamatory Contest. They had no secondary school.

That hurt. To know that their children had to be denied what Professor W. W. H. Mustaine of the state University of Missoula, who acted as referee and starter, said was one of the best secondary school meets he had ever attended. The event included both scholarly contests and physical track events. Youngsters at Noxon could only envy their peers in the rest of the county.18.

Nature also thwarted the youngsters as high water created ferry delays again so that only a few of the children on the north side of the river made it to school that week. Disgusted with the county commissioners negligent ways, Hampton had given up the ferry. David Evans was running it for the Larson brothers. Larsons had also bought Mrs. Beal's blacksmith shop.

Students gained one victory by the end of the school term. Enrollment at grown so much larger facilities were needed. The school board was pressed to do something about it and a decision resulted to enlarge the present structure. Bids were advertised to erect a 26x36 addition and include a 40 inch brick flue for a Waterberry-Waterman heating system.19.

Ranger Ben F. Saint holding
his daughter, Montana 'Tana'.
Circa 1912-13. Courtesy Ben
F. Saint collection.

Automobile travel had come into vogue. Everyone, it seemed, was touring the United States. Good Roads Associations proliferated. The inadequate roads and ferries controlled by the whim of the weather that connected Thompson Falls with Clarks Fork, Idaho were traveled only with great difficulty and only part of the year. J. W. Hammons, and Marion Cotton were still the road supervisors in the west end appointed for the year by the county commissioners.

Sanders county commissioners contacted the Federal Highway Department in Helena asking for Federal and State cooperation in locating, constructing and maintaining a highway between Plains and Thompson Falls.20. The crude trail linking Thompson Falls and Trout Creek, located on the north side of the Clark's Fork River was terrible. An even worse route on the south side of the river wound through the forest, skirting boulders, climbing steep rocky inclines, miring through bog lands along the river was all that connected Trout Creek with Tuscor, Furlong and Noxon. For all practical purposes it was little improved from the route left over from the railroad construction. It continued on though Heron and into Idaho.
Mom and baby daughter.
Courtesy Ben F. Saint
The state board of highway commissioners visited in Thompson Falls. From that visit it began to sound as though all traffic headed towards Idaho would be coming through Thompson Falls and then over the Burke divide to Wallace, thence to Spokane and in doing so, relegating the west end of Sanders county to its present status - near isolation. That seemed to be the goal of Thompson Falls residents unless the commissioners could be convinced somehow that the highway should follow the Clark's Fork River.

To this end, Noxon settlers opposed the divide cut off road. It seemed vital to the existence of all the towns west of Thompson Falls to secure a continuous road through the valley, connected with Idaho, and through to Sandpoint and Spokane. They didn't particularly care about tourist traffic, being more interested in their own needs. People were shipping their automobiles by rail through the valley. Noxon decided they'd throw in with Dixon again and this time defeat Thompson Falls and at the same time get in touch with the Spokane Good Roads Association.
Leaving no stone unturned, they also turned to the forest service. Ben Saint was the Ranger in Noxon. It didn't take too much persuasion to convince him to put the proposition to F. A. Silcox, who was then a Ranger in Missoula. Seeing the need for roads to move forest products, Silcox requested the District Engineer of the Bureau of Public Roads at Denver, Colorado to make a preliminary survey of the Clark Fork valley route from Plains to the Idaho-Montana state line.20. 

On June 21, 1916 a snowstorm blanketed the valley, providing this picturesque unusual longest-day-of-the-year view of Noxon. Courtesy Harry and Sarah Tallmadge collection.
In June, the Spokane County Good Roads Association had just announced their selection of the Clark's Fork River route between Sandpoint and Thompson Falls to become the National highway when nature gave them cause to reconsider.21. The highest spring runoff since 1894 hit the river valley with devastating force.
"With several days of extreme hot weather last week when the thermometer reached 90 degrees on Thursday, 92 on Friday and 98 on Saturday, Palouse dust storm on Sunday followed by the big thunder storm of Sunday night, rain all day Monday followed by a foot of heavy snow Tuesday afternoon and night, nobody, whether he be Eskimo or Mexican has anything on us for variety of weather.
"The Clarks Fork River is booming, due to the warm weather, followed by the rain and then the big snowstorm and every preparation possible is being made to protect highways, railroads and bridges. The town of Clarks Fork is reported underwater and all along the line come reports of bridges being washed out and trains being delayed.
"The Thompson Falls Power company have had both night and day crews busy on top of the big dam, clearing away the drift as rapidly as it floated down the river and diverting it through the water ways, while a crew is also working all the time at the boom above town cutting trees and logs in two that they might be more easily handled when they reach the dam. On the top of (the dam) an electric crane is moved back and forth along the track and is being used to raise logs and trees out of the water whenever they catch on the steel work...
"Over a foot of wet, heavy snow fell Tuesday afternoon and night breaking down shade and fruit trees around the town and reports are coming in from the rural sections of whole orchards broken down and destroyed ... the 21st of June, 1916, the longest day of the year will be remembered as having the most destructive storm known here in history, for this season of the year.
"The Noxon ferry was closed down on account of the high water, but they raised the cable so that foot passengers may cross." The Bull river bridge was swept away by the raging waters.21.

* * * * *
By passage of the Bankhead-Shackleford bill, known as the Federal Aid Road Act, on July 11, 1916, there immediately became available for road construction within the several states,
"the sum of $5,000,000, or a total of $75,000,000 to be expended within the next five years." But this money was earmarked for through tonnage roads only and would give no relief to the condition of local roads.
Concerted efforts were being made by nearly every county to be allotted federal funds for road building. A shout of disapproval went up from Shoshone County against the action of the Spokane Good Roads Association ...for giving Shoshone County and the Coeur d' Alene-Mullan route over the mountains into Thompson Falls the go-by. Controversies grew to a feverish pitch over which route was best.

Spring thawed roads began to dry out into hard ruts. Eight men with teams volunteered their services on Saturday for a clean-up and road working day in Noxon. The road in front of the stores was greatly improved and a great amount of old rubbish burned.22.

At the same time, on a local level, road building was still a way for the homesteaders to get a little cash. Cash that bought sugar, flour, kerosene for lamps, and a few other small necessities. So whenever the county commissioners could be persuaded improvements were needed someone got a few coins in their pocket. The work was hard. The pay was minimal.
"George Baker and I made the road from up where it goes across the North Fork down to the old Toothacher place, along that side hill, one summer," Frank Berray told. "It used to go over the hill. We decided we'd put it around the hill. It was a pretty rough road, you see. We'd just hire somebody to cut what timber was in the right of way, paying him $2 a day to slice us a right of way. That cost us $50. Baker and I spent practically all summer putting the road around the hill using a slip and just one team. By God we worked. We'd blow the stumps (dynamite them). Hot! By golly it was hot."23.
Another piece of road, one that went down around the bottom edge of the hill near his father, Cap's, ranch was also changed by Frank. Baker, Laramie and another fellow who worked on it.
"When we was working up there blowing stumps, hollering 'fire' when we touched off the dynamite, on the old road above us we heard somebody hollar, 'We're not afraid of fire!'
"You will be if you don't get the hell out of there," we yelled back.
"It was an Italian and his wife, walking from Troy. We got to talking and they were walking through the country and they were hungry. So we divided our lunch up with them. The Italian asked if they knew where he could get hold of a bear. If he could just get hold of a bear he'd train him and make big money going through the country with him. Frank "just happened to have one down the road.
"Well about then I'd caught me a bear cub. He was an onery little sinner, too. I had him on a chain and he'd pace back and forth, every day, all day.
"I thought I was a bear trainer! The bear wasn't mean if you put butter on your hands or spread a little honey on them. Just as long as that stuff lasted he'd lick it off and he was fine and dandy. Then he'd get mad and, gee, he'd tie right into you! The little devil bit me a couple of times.
"If you'd throw a mouse out there he'd just bawl and run from one end of the chain to the other. He was scared to death of the mouse. I used a lot of mice. I was training him, see!
"I told the Italian where my folks lived about five or six miles down the road and told him to come on down that night. They had about an acre and a half of spuds and, Jesus, the pig weeds was thicker than the spuds was! So I told him, you want to help them clean out them spuds, I'll give you the bear cub.
"He was tickled to death. But then the folks had to board the two of them. His wife was supposed to help my mother but she wasn't much of a help. She didn't know much about household work. But anyhow, he got in and helped clean out the spuds. And he monkeyed with the bear trying to get it to not be so mean. When they finished the spuds and moved on down the valley they took the bear along, stopping next at old John Schiller's place.
"Well Schiller and the four or five other guys there decided they didn't want that bear tied up around there. So one night when this fellar was asleep, they turned the bear loose.
"If you ever seen a wild Italian! Up here he comes the next morning on old Schiller's saddle horse wanting to know if we'd seen anything of his bear. Of course the bear hadn't come this way. He'd just gone out in the woods. But the Italian hunted for three days for that bear before he finally went on."23.

A popular trained bear show touring the area. Circa early 1900s. Courtesy Don Maynard collection.

* * * * *
Down the valley, above the mouth of Bull River a new bridge was being built to replace the one swept away by the spring floods.24. In July Marion Larson sold the ferry boat at Noxon to Sam Higgins for $300.25.

Transportation problems badgered the homesteaders all year. During the summer railroads and their employees had been at loggerheads over wages. Employers had been warning that the $100,000,000 wage increases demanded by railway workers would cost "a dollar a year for every man, woman and child in the United states, added to the present freight and passenger rates". The average earnings for the year 1914 of railroad employees was: engineers - $1,771.80; firemen - $1,037.49; conductors - $1,533.62; trainmen - $1,023.26; average for all other 1,381,000 railway employees - $684.78.26.

By the end of August a nationwide strike of rail workers seemed to be unavoidable and imminent Sanders county sheriff deputed twenty men to be sworn in if the strike took place. The war department "has ordered fifteen thousand men from the Mexican border to the north and more troops will be called out if the strike takes place."27.

In the general election, held in October, Noxon favored Woodrow Wilson (70 votes) over Hughes (30 votes) for President of the United States. Democrats carried all but two of the county offices. Prohibition won many advocates across the state.28.

Out on the hillsides, blending into the fallen tamarack needles and the damp piles of fallen cotton wood leaves along the streams, blue grouse were very abundant due to the period of browse growth following the 1910 fire. Flocks of fifty were commonly seen. Just throwing a stick or stone at a flock could kill a grouse. Both fishing and beaver trapping were exceptionally good on some streams.29.

Frank Lyons and Ed Donlan who each had a sawmill on Stephens Creek, enjoyed fishing and hunting in cool fall weather scented with wood fires and the humus of decaying leaves. Tamaracks turned golden, and then russet, before dropping their needles in heavy carpets on the forest floor. Tough luck was rough on Lyons that fall. A pall of sadness lay over his family when a nephew was shot in Thompson Falls.30. And then John Erickson and Bob Crossman accidentally started a fire on forest service land, which burned all of Lyons' timber sale.31.

As fall rains turned the same roads back into mud it seemed that Federal aid might become available for roads. "Millions for new Montana roads." Uncle Sam and state to match dollars. $3,000,000 to be spent by Montana and Uncle Sam on Montana roads during the next five years. $98,287 offered by federal govenment for Montana roads in next 12 months, provided state puts up like amount ... Expenditures under supervision of state highway commission.

The settlers read in the papers that Montana was to get $69,000. However, matching funds were required. Numerous meetings concerning this were held in Thompson Falls, Sanders county seat, but winter clouds dropped their burden on a valley transportation system not substantially different from the last winter.30. Chuckles greeted the following questions printed by the Sanders County Independent Ledger the first week in May.
"Why? If a man went down town with his head dolled up in a three-cornered dingus with pins and curlicues and a cat's tail and a chicken's head pinned on one side, and a whisk broom and a bunch of spring onions on the other side, and two strips of red flannel hanging down in the rear, he would be arrested and slammed in the booby hatch. But a woman can do it and get away with it. Why?
"Well, we don't know. If a woman went down town with a big wad of tobacco in her mouth, stood around on the corner and squirted the juice all over everything, swore every other breath, used foul language and swaggered around, she would soon be arrested. But a man can do it and get away with it. Why?"32.
  1. Sanders County Independent Ledger, January 28, 1916.
  2. Sanders County Independent Ledger, March 10, 1916.
  3. Sanders County Independent Ledger, June 23, 1916.
  4. Sanders County Independent Ledger, March 24, 1916.
  5. Bob Larson, oral history;  Sanders County Independent Ledger, March 24, 1916.
  6. Sanders County Independent Ledger, June 16, 1916.
  7. Sanders County Independent Ledger, February 4, 1916.
  8. Victor C. Heikes, U.S. Geological Survey figures.
  9. Sanders County Independent Ledger, February 18, 1916.
  10. Sanders County Independent Ledger, February 11 and 25, 1916.
  11. Sanders County Independent Ledger, May 5, 1916.
  12. Sanders County Independent Ledger, May, 26, 1916
  13. Sanders County Independent Ledger, February 18, 1916.
  14. Sanders County Independent Ledger, March 10, 1916.
  15. Sanders County Independent Ledger, March 24, 1916.
  16. Clifford R. Weare, tape-recorded oral history, June 28, 1973; March 20, 1970; March 10, 1972; and undated tape.
  17. Sanders County Independent Ledger, May 12, 1916.
  18. Sanders County Independent Ledger, June 23, 1916.
  19. Letter from Federal Highway Department March 24, 1972.
  20. Sanders County Independent Ledger, October 20, 1916.
  21. Sanders County Independent Ledger, June 23, 1916.
  22. Sanders County Independent Ledger, April 28, 1916.
  23. Frank Berray, tape-recorded oral history, March 6, 1970 and February 15, 1972.
  24. Sanders County Independent Ledger, July 7, 1916.
  25. Sanders County Independent Ledger, July 14, 1916.
  26. Sanders County Independent Ledger, May 5, 1916.
  27. Sanders County Independent Ledger, September 1, 1916.
  28. Sanders County Independent Ledger, October 20, 1916.
  29. Fay Cooey report Sept 15, 1972 including an interview with Frank Berry; Also John Cernick oral history.
  30. Sanders County Independent Ledger, October 20, 1916.
  31. Clifford R. Weare, tape-recorded oral history, 1978.
  32. Sanders County Independent Ledger, May 5, 1916. 

Montana 'Tana' Saint, snowman, Ben F. Saint and son, Bob, on June 21, 1916. The first day of summer, eighteen inches of snowfall at Trout Creek Ranger Station, Sanders County, Montana. Courtesy Ben F. Saint collection.
((insert picture)
Caption: First day of summer. Trout Creek Ranger Station June 21, 1916. Courtesy Ben F. Saint, US Forest Service collection.

Montana 'Tana' Saint with snowman,
June 21, 1916, at Trout Creek Ranger
station. Courtesy Ben F. Saint collection.

No comments:

Post a Comment