Sunday, May 03, 2015

Learning More About Pompey's Pillar

View from the Pompey's Pillar Farm, taken by the rich relatives from Chicago
The years in Pompey’s Pillar must have loomed large in my grandparents’ life.  They saved more paperwork from this time than from any other time in their life combined.  There are receipts for operation and maintenance fees, character references, various correspondence with the bureau of reclamation , tax notices, deeds, maps, stock certificates,  and water rights, to name a few.
Character Reference

Farming during the first year: 1909

Before the Pompey’s Pillar venture, O. Duncan Robertson and Maude Brodock Robertson must have saved up to provide themselves with a healthy stake to get started.  No greenhorn, Grandpa did not calculate to rely solely on farming the alkaline western soil. He had a dairy farm in mind.  Their dairy stock was of the finest.  Grandpa kept excellent records of his improvements and his stocks’ pedigrees and milk production.  Mr. Berg, whoever he may be, and Warrent bred their cow to Grandpa's registerd Holstein bull.

Certificate of Registry for bull
Grandpa had names for his cows.  It appears that many were named after friends of family:  Nettie, Mittie, Beauty, Rose, Edith, Alberta, and May.  This is more evidence of our changing culture. If anyone named a cow after me, I would assume the person was trying to pick a fight.

I would have never dreamed that the Huntley Project, Ballantine, Pompey's Pillar area created a telephone company.  But here is the stock certificate that proves it.  Evidently, Grandpa had stock in the company and had the contract to string some of the lines.

To me it looks like the Pompey’s Pillar neighbors were a tight knit group,  Several papers refer to a Yeoman’s Association which Maude, Dunc and several neighbors joined.   There is even a certificate that looks remarkably like a health insurance policy.  In this valuable paper, my Grandmother lists the causes of death from siblings to grandparents.

Dairy Licene for the Robertson's Yellowstone stock farm.

Bill for stringing telephone wire on the Yellowstone Stock Farm Letterhead

Building Huntley Project
I’ m inclined to believe Wikipedia when it states that much of Huntley Project was poorly designed and cheaply built.  It wasn’t long before repairs and replacements were needed. Looking at some of the receipts, the maintenance fees seem to occur often and fees seem exorbitant for this time period.  Call me naive, but $172.90 for irrigation maintenance fees for a farm where the entire mortgage was a $1000.00 seems outrageous.   Like the rest of the west, the soil tended to be alkali and crops didn’t grow as well as the farmers would have liked. Interestingly, Wikipedia states that in 1913 some of land became waterlogged. 

 Looking through these documents made me realize at little more about the character of those I descended from.  They were very literate, paid their debts, and were good business people.  They valued quality and knew how to plan to achieve their goals.  Grandma and Grandpa, you were A-1.


Lisa Young said...

Wow! And it's interesting to me that they tried out different things. They learned how to dairy farm, yet they didn't do it forever. They moved, changed profession. I bet they knew a lot of things, wish i could talk to them today! So cool mom! Thank you for sharing what you have learned!

MT Missy said...

Wow! When I saw the link on facebook, I thought, "Surely I know what Mom's going to share", but there is yet still more to learn about this area. Neat!