DOROTHY AITCHISON WIEL
From 'Fanning the Embers', published 1971, Range Rider Reps, Miles City, Montana
By Dorothy Wiel
Robert "Bob" Aitchison came to Montana from Fergus, Ont., Canada, in 1877. He freighted for the government from Deadwood, S.D., to Billings, Mont., and later settled in Miles City, Mont.
Bob owned property at 7th and Bridge Street, 1/2 block where the Moose and Executive Building is, back to the Custer Abstract on 6th and Bridge Street. He owned across the street south, a full block. He owned all but two lots where the temporary Post Office was housed when the work of reconstruction was done on the Post Office. He also owned a quarter of a block across the street east, where the bowling alley is now, on 7th and Bridge Street. Bob built a barn for horses just as people have garages now. Neil Hardin rented the building in later years and Clark's Paint Shop was housed there in the early days.
Christina McLean became Bob Aitchison's bride at the age of 16 in February, 1882, at Fergus. The Aitchisons and the McLeans were neighbors as their farms were close in Canada. Bob returned to Montana with his young bride on March 22, 1882.
Bob also owned ranch land, hundreds of acres south of Tongue River. Emil Prahl bought it and I believe N. S. Woodard now owns it. Bob was a cattleman and ran many cattle and raised alfalfa and also had a ranch south in the Pine Hills where he raised and grazed cattle and horses. He had many saddle horses and owned 14 thoroughbred race horses as a hobby. His brands were T-O on cattle, Z 4 on cattle and C. on horses.
The ranch south 12 miles was home for many years. Children born there were, Euphemia Aitchison Seitz; Robert (Buzz) Jr., who married Jessie May Card; Helen Mabel (Babe) who married Joe Forrester and after his death married Albert Fedrich Boltz; Earl
Job who married Margret Misfelt from Wisconsin and upon her death married Elizabeth Zuber of Missoula; Walter W. who married Bulah Ellsworth; William W. and myself. I was born in Miles City in 1902 and married Kurt Wiel. There are 12 grandehildren.
When I was two we moved to i203 Plesant St. We lived in town and on ranches in my growing up years. I attended Miles City schools, We also had a home at 1113 S. Strevell for about 25 years. Dad owned land south of Wilson St. also.
Kurt and I were married in Seattle, Wash., on June 6,1931. Our daughter Joan married Paul S. Peep and has two children. Upon graduating from high school, Joan entered the Miss Montana Contest and placed first. She and I lived in New York and she attended the Conover Model Agency. She entered a beauty pageant and even though there was great competition she was first runner-up to the winner, quite a feat.
Kurt came to Miles City in 1927 with the Milwaukee Railroad. He began as city engineer in 1933 under Mayor Joe Westen and continued as Miles City's city engineer until December, 1967, a long time to spend in the service of one's community. Kurt is a Mason, Elk and member of the Country Club. He is still a practicing registered state and county engineer.
Bob Aitchison Sr. was in the saloon in Deadwood, S.D., playing cards when Wild Bill Hickock was shot. He saw this act in Deadwood as one of the pioneers of that lawless period in our history.
Many people famous and infamous stayed at the ranch on Tongue River. Calamity Jane stayed in the bunkhouse where no one knew she was a woman until later. It has also been said that Jesse James stayed overnight in this same bunkhouse.
There were times when the cold and snow was very severe, 60 below zero at one time. Bob and his men were snowbound and covered for a week before one storm let up. They were trapped by the snowfall in a tent and they were reported to have eaten an entire calf but they were almost starving by the time they finally returned to the ranch.
At times Christina Aitchison had encounters with Indians and had to hold the door closed on them. She and the children were alone once and the Indians started to sharpen their knives to frighten her but she picked up a stick and chased them away. It seemed when threatened by this fearless pioneer woman their bravery disappeared.
Bob Aitchison passed away in January, 1929, of pneumonia and is buried in the Custer County Cemetery. Christina Aitchison passed away in September, 1940.
With all God's blessings to all pioneers this is what my memories are of the Aitchison family.