Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Family Brands

When it came to remembering facts and details, my Dad was a star.  He could tell the date, month, and year of about anything of at least minor importance that happened.  Once Dad reviewed the family brands with me.

Turns out, Dad remembered the details of the family brands with stunning accuracy too.  He told me my grandfather had a brand that was not good for branding horses.  For horses, the brand had to be put on the jaw, not a good place to brand a horse.  So my grandmother registered a brand in her name, the Lazy BK .  This brand was acceptable for horses because it could be used on the hip and not the jaw.

The following documents I stumbled across show my Dad remembered the facts about the family brands with his usual precision.  One of the documents below shows that Maude Robertson in 1904 registered the R6 brand, but for horses it had to be used on the jaw.

The next document is a Department of Livestock certificate to move livestock from one location to another.  Requiring livestock inspection to move stock still holds today within the state.  The horses being moved had the Lazy BK brand.  Dad, you were a champ when it came to details!

The R6 registered in 1904

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Parable of the Baked Beans

Back L to R O.A. Robertson, Clarence Barnces
Front: Jack Radford, Robin Byrd.
Jack Radford
Robin Byrd

After his arrival in Montana on July 9, 1864, my great grandfather, O. A. Robertson, formed partnerships with some other miners.  One of the partnerships he formed was the Cayuse Mining Company with partners Clarence Barnes, Jack Radford, and Robin Byrd at New York Gulch (now called York).

I’ve gathered that cooking was one of the least favorite chores in a mining camp.  O.A. and his partners decided on a rotating cooking schedule and that each person would take turns cooking for a week at a time.  There was one hard and fast rule: anyone who complained had to take over the cooking for the rest of the week. 

O.A. sat down to a dinner of baked beans after a hard day mining.  Tasting his first mouthful, he burst out, “These beans are too salty!”  Remembering the rule, he added, “But they’re all the better for it!”

His correction was not accepted and he had to cook for the remainder of the week.  I can think of several life lessons we could learn from this incident.  What are the life lessons you gain from it?

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Riverboats and Questions

For quite a while this picture has perplexed all the family members.  First, we thought it must be Fort Benton.  After all, my grandma’s twins Gene and Geneva Robertson were born at the Fort Benton Hospital so we know someone in the family was there for a while.  

Next, we wondered if this picture was of the ferry that ran on the Yellowstone River from Pompey’s Pillar to Billings.  This was logical since Grandma and Grandpa had a place in Pompey’s Pillar for a while.  But the river and the hills didn’t look quite right.

Recently, after conversing with knowledgeable historians who are also stars at internet research, the mystery might be solved. 

It appears likely that this is a picture of ferries on the Yukon River.  These Ferries took prospectors up the river to Dawson City during the gold rush.  Grandpa went to Dawson City and the Yukon and tried his luck.  For us, it’s fabulous that he liked to buy pictures of the times.  Piece by piece, the family history is coming together.