NATHANIEL E. W. AND EMMIE HOLBROOK ABBEY
From 'Fanning the Embers', published 1971, Range Rider Reps, Miles City, Montana
By Edna Lantis
Nathaniel and Emmie Abbey, Edna and Edgar
Nathaniel E. W. Abbey first came to eastern Montana from Minnesota in 1896. In the fall of 1898 he returned to Minnesota and married Emmie Elizabeth Holdbrook. The following spring, 1899, they came back to Custer County to make their home, living for several years in the Stacey country.
About 1906, they purchased a home in Miles City where Mrs. Abbey and their two children, Edna and J. Edgar, lived. Mrs. Abbey was a nurse and she began taking a few patients for Doctors Andrus and Bruning and later Dr. Buskirk. The patients were country women who had come to Miles City several weeks ahead of time to await the arrival of their babies.
Meanwhile, Mr. Abbey filed on a homestead on Haddow Creek near Garland, Mont. and purchased some railroad land. They sold their Minnesota farm and purchased Hereford heifers from the Sumer Ranch. In order to prove up on the homestead and desert claim it was necessary for the family to move to the ranch. The lack of a good school had been the chief reason the family had not lived The lack of a good school had been the chief reason the family had not lived at the ranch. The Abbeys were instrumental in the forming of the Garland School District, which opened that fall with two nine month schools with better equipment and two better qualified teachers without raising the mill levy above what they had been paying to Custer County for one six month school.
By the time the homestead was proved up the children were ready for high school and Mrs. Abbey returned to Miles City. She sold the house first used as a Maternity home and built on her original location on South Center Ave. the home which she operated as the Abbey Hospital until her death in 1949.
Mr. Abbey decided to get out of ranching and sold all the stock the fall before the hard winter of 1919-20 which was the beginning of the end for many small ranchers. This enabled him to purchase mining property in western Montana which did not prove to be the money maker the Herefords had been. He died there in 1964, shortly before his 90th birthday.
Their son, J. Edgar, married Violet Jane Oxford, daughter of another pioneer family and moved to Oregon. He died there in 1929, leaving a six-month-old son who spent most of his youth in Miles City and after college went to California where he lives and has twin sons.
Edna, after attending the University of Montana at Missoula, returned to Miles City and worked for some years as bookkeeper and finally office-manager for Arnolds, Inc. In 1923 she married Royce Lantis, the elder son of Cash B. and Lillie Lantis, long-time Tongue River ranchers. Royce and Edna made their home in Miles City for most of their life. He started as a salesman for Gamble Robinson, later traveling for the Billings Wholesale Grocery and finally traveling for Morton Salt. III health forced his early retirement and he died in 1959 in Miles City. His wife still lives in Miles City.