GEORGE HORKAN
From 'Echoing Footsteps', published 1967, Powder River County Extension Homemakers Council
George Horkan was born in County Mayo, Ireland, on Sept. 8, 1851, being one of a dozen children. He came to the United States in 1880. First he went to Wisconsin, then on to Montana Territory in 1882, spending the first year here in the Pine Hills near Miles City. After this he squatted on unsurveyed lands on Little Pumpkin Creek.
The reason Mr. Horkan settled in the south country, as Mr. Andrus Tyler recalls, was this: When Mr. Horkan left the Pine Hills he planned on going to the Moon Creek country. He and Mr. Samuel (Sam) Stoebe each had a band of sheep. They crossed the Stoebe sheep on the old Tongue River Bridge, which at that time was at the end of Bridge Street. The next day they planned to cross the Horkan sheep, but a herd of cattle damaged the bridge in crossing it, so the sheep could not go over. So Mr. Horkan then took his sheep to the south country and located on Little Pumpkin Creek, where he spent the remainder of his life. This event was told to Mr. Tyler by Stoebe.
Mr. Horkan was one of the first sheep raisers in the state and one of the few to stay in the sheep business through his entire life. At the time he came here, Miles City was his closest post office and he often went for long periods without seeing other human beings.
George Horkan homesteaded his home ranch when the Government surveys were made. He later added other lands until his holdings totaled about 18,000 acres at one time. Some of the people who homesteaded on land later acquired by Mr. Horkan were:
Robertson Kingsley, Charles Payette, Amelia Kingsley, Joan Smith, Thorvald Throndson, and Walter Cameron. Of these, Walter Cameron remained for the longest period of time; he filed a water right in the year 1885.
George Horkan was active in organizing the Wool Growers Association of Custer County. He was a stockholder of the Billings Packing House, director and president of Lakin Brothers Mercantile establishment, and he was a director of the Commercial State Bank of Miles City.
George Horkan married Miss Margaret Jordan of Waseca County, Minnesota. They had two sons, William, who was drowned as a young man in the Tongue River, and George Edward, who helped his father on the ranch. They had about 1,000 head of cattle at one time. George Edward Horkan married Bella Bradbury of Billings, Montana. They had one son.
Mr. Horkan was associated in business with others at various times, such as John Betz, who married Miss Charlotte Davidson in Miles City in 1890. He moved to the Milk River region in 1902. Also, he was associated with Mr. McVey of the YT ranch. They had some cattle on a place in the Moorhead region.
Mr. Horkan had many men and foremen working for him over the years. Among them, to name a few, were Lee Warren, Horace Cain, Ray Bartholomew, Nels Pearson, Thorvald Throndson, Joe Gaskill, and Charles Riley who was foreman at the time of Mr. Horkan's death.
George Horkan died on February 15, 1928, at the age of 76. Mrs. Horkan passed away just six days later on February 21, 1928.
After a short period of time, the place came into the possession of McIntosh and Harriman. They owned it until 1940 when it was purchased by Healy and Bonine.