LEE AND HELEN (CROSBY) BADGETT
From 'Fanning the Embers', published 1971, Range Rider Reps, Miles City, Montana
By Helen Badgett
Helen Badgett
Lee Badgett on Tango
Lee S. Badgett (Jr.) and Helen Crosby (Glenn) were married in Miles City on Jan. 2, 1941. Lee was then employed on the Ed Love Ranch and our first home was a cow-camp located at the old Shorty Christ place on a bench above Powder River.
In June, at calf-branding time, we had a houseful of "Reps." Jim Jacobs, representing the LO Ranch for Bob Hardy, Jack Eaton and Alec McCullouch both from the Mizpah, Charles Wintermote and Ross Brooks from Spring Creek were there. These were in addition to Wallace, Lee and Hugh Haskins for the Love Ranch, plus Ralph Deibel and Kap Kohones who helped with the calf wrestling. The branding fires were in the open without benefit of corrals and the weather was typical calf-branding weather, spilling rain sometimes intermittently and sometimes steadily; just often enough to m ake everyone, even the cook, uncomfortable, pile up the gumbo mud and delay branding operations.
In late July, Lee departed for the Chicago Stockyards to work as a Brand Inspector for the State of Montana during the fall "run." Our oldest daughter, Sharon, was born in October and Lee saw her for the first time on his return home at Thanksgiving. We remained in town for a couple of weeks before heading for the Love winter cow-camp at the Luke Dagnall place on Powder River the day following Pearl Harbor.
We were as fiddle-footed as my forebears, moving from Powder River to Billings where Lee worked for the Billings Livestock Commission Co. for several years. We left Billings in the spring of 1948 for a brief stay in the Sarpy Mountains working for a Dallas lawyer turned cowman. Our second daughter, Margot, was born in Miles City in March, 1943. Our son, Owen, was born in Billings in December, 1946.
From the Sarpy we moved to Pease Bottom to work for Jim Grierson; back to Miles City and finally to the Kenneth Feaster place on Powder River in the spring of 1950. Kenneth's holdings included my grandfather Frank Crosby's last ranch on Powder River, the old Hatch place which had originally belonged to my uncle, Mont Crosby; also the old Bill Sincock place and a portion of the old 34horse pasture.
While breaking ground for a flax field, Lee discovered the site of old buildings and an abandoned well. I queried my mother, sending a map of the area. A portion of her answering letter reads. . . .
"Thanks for the map. It makes everything plain to me. That Old Place was where your Dad and I lived from the spring of 1900 until October 1904. Now . . . When we got married in December 1899 we borrowed Bill Sincock's house . . . Bill was going back to Nebraska for the winter and loaned us the house. That house was among the trees and stood about straight north of the place we lived in later -they were about a mile apart." (This early Sincock house was apparently devoured by Powder River during one of its spring rampages). "The road was almost in a straight line north and south past both places and crossed the river about the middle of what is now the island according to your map. It was a dandy ford and we never went over the hills where the road is now, only when the river was very high or when the ice was going out. The Old Place was in the pasture. It consisted of two rooms about ten feet apart, both rooms 14 x 16 feet, big old cottonwood logs and pretty well put up.
"The space between the two big rooms was filled in with perpendicular posts and had never had a floor. In fact there was very little flooring left in any of it.
"There was an old stable, an icehouse and this house I've spoken of . . . your Dad proceeded to make the house liveable. I think he dug the well the first thing, and oh! that water, excellent physic. I helped your Dad lay matched flooring in the living room and we bought planed pine boards at the saw mill for the other rooms. We tacked unbleached muslin between the ridge logs and calcimined the walls and ridge logs. Pink shale was put on the roof over the old dirt to keep the roof from leaking. When we moved to the Mizpah, Hod made some kind of a deal with Mont so that Mont used all of the buildings that were usable. I think he built them into the outbuildings and the floor from the front room went into his kitchen.
This bit of history was, one might say, dug up by a bit of farm machinery.
Mother added this cryptic note at the end of her letter. "Say what is Lee doing plowing? I thought he was like the old Indian Chief when they were trying to sell the Indians the idea of farming. The old Chief said, 'The Earth is my Mother, shall I take a knife and dig up her bones?' "
In the spring of 1951 we moved our cattle to Steve's Fork of the Big Dry to the ranch of my widowed sister, Ethel Welborn. The spring of 1953 we joined Tommy Furness on the Jack Hume Ranch on Tongue River, making our home at an old homestead on the Moon Creek Divide. Here the children watched the baby owls in the barn loft, saw the baby robins venture forth from their nest under the eaves to take their first flying lessons in our screened-in back porch.
Tommy Furness sustained a crippling accident in the fall of 1954, and the following spring the outfit was leased out.
We sold our cattle and moved into Miles City. Lee worked at the U. S. Range Livestock Experiment Station for 5 1/2 years and is now semi-retired, working occasionally for ranchers and at the Miles City Sales Yards. I worked in the office at tile Experiment Station for four years and have been employed at the Veterans Administration Hospital for the past several years.
Our oldest daughter, Sharon Barta, lives in San Diego, Calif. Owen served with the Marines in Vietnam and now works as a ranch hand, a third generation cowboy. Margot has one daughter, our only grandchild to date.
Lee S. Badgett (Jr.) was born at the 0 C.Ranch on Otter Creek on Nov. 30, 1906 with a doctor from Birney, Mont. in attendance.
Helen Crosby was born Nov. 1, 1910 in Miles City. Dr. W. W. Andrus made the following note in the official County RecordsBaby Girl Crosby, Father-Hod Crosby, Mother-Lizzie Crosby.