CHARLES A. COON and FAMILY
From 'Echoing Footsteps', published 1967, Powder River County Extension Homemakers Council
By E. G. (Ernie) Coon
Charlie Coon came to Miles City the forepart of the 70's. He came from out of a logging camp in Wisconsin. He and Sam Hotchkiss were in Miles City when they needed teamsters at Ft. Keogh to help drive supply wagons when they sent the soldiers out to take Sitting Bull to the reservation. It was warm when they left Miles, but before they returned it got down to 40 degrees below zero. They slept in tents, and out in the open with tarps over them.
He went to work for the SL outfit, which was owned by Sanborn and Loud. While working there, they were sent out to establish a camp which is across Pumpkin Creek from the Volborg post office. The house is still standing. Lew Griffin was working for the same outfit. Charlie Coon and Lou Broughton built the house, and Lew Griffin did the cowboying for the outfit. While working on the house, they ran out of meat. A bunch of buffalo came down the creek, so they decided to run the buffalo through a bog, hoping to bog a calf and kill him. The buffalo went right through the bog, so they shot a calf and broke his leg. Charlie roped him, and Lew Griffin was going to cut the calf's throat, but Charlie kept giving the calf enough rope so he could butt Lew in the rear. They were always playing jokes on each other.
The George Daniels family moved to Little Pumpkin just above where Art Kolka now lives on the old Scott ranch. That is where Charlie Coon met his wife, Etta M. Daniels. Their marriage license is in the Range Riders Museum in Miles City. While wintering there George and Henry Daniels did a lot of hunting, killing some gray wolves. Charlie shot a mountain lion just up Wilbur Creek from where Buster Trusler now owns a ranch.
Charlie and Lou Broughton were haying for the SL outfit, when the Indians got hostile. They sent the women and kids to Miles City. I was quite a small boy then. One day while they were out cutting some poles to build a corral, four or five wagons and a bunch of Indians on horseback came up and rode around the house about three times. Dad had his rifle with him, and he shot up in the air once. They stopped and looked, and tried to figure out which direction the shot had come from, but couldn't, so they left. That night, just a little after sundown, an Indian rode into the camp alone. They gave him supper. Then the Indian made signs. They couldn't understand him, so he left. They thought he might be trying to tell them that the other Indians were coming back to murder them or steal their horses. So after supper they both took their rifles and sat by their horses on the creek bank. They hobbled their horses at night. The horses had gone down to get a drink and were grazing back up the bank. Lou Broughton saw something bob up and down over the bank. He wanted to shoot it, but Dad wouldn't let him. So in a few minutes their best bald-faced work horse walked up where they could see him. He very nearly got shot. Next morning at daylight the Indian came carrying a hind quarter of a deer, and had breakfast with them. He had gone back where he had the deer hung in a tree, and stayed all night to keep things from eating the meat.
Dad drove to Arizona and back once with a team and wagon. Granddad Daniels and his family came back with him. We were getting real short of grub, just having barely enough for supper. The horses were hobbled near by. An old burro came out of the brush and ee-awed, scared the horses, and they ran over the campfire and us kids, and got sand in the grub til you couldn't eat it.
Dad bought 2,000 head of Southern steers. He went to Stacey and went into partnership with J. T. Hamilton. J. T. Hamilton was running some cows of his own. They ranged from Stacey to the Mizpah. Dad made one of the biggest sales at that time. He sold his half interest, range delivery, to George Horkan for $7,500, which was a lot of money. That is where I, Ernie Coon did my first cowboying.
I helped circulate a petition to cut Powder River County off from Custer County.
My oldest sister is buried on the old Scott place. She died as a baby. The next girl, Laura, died at the age of 12 in Phoenix, Arizona. My sister Olive, just older than myself, pased away in 1964. There were four brothers of us. Two of them are in Washington. So far as I know, one is in California. Dad passed away in 1926. He was hauling hay and fell over with a heart attack. He is buried at Dillon, Montana. Mother also pased away in Dillon in 1941 or '42.
I was born in the house that Dad built at the old Double Crossing on Pumpkin Creek, about 20 miles out of Miles City. Sam Hotchkiss later lived there.
Dad made the first contacts for taking the mail over to the Kingsley country, on the Broadus mail route. Dad established the Olive Post Office, which is named after my sister. We got it at Simpson's ranch on Saturday-usually I was sent after it. Jack Kilpatrick carried it first. He hired a fellow to drive they called him Pole Cat Bill -- I don't know what his name was. He lived in a dugout on Bridge Creek. One cold winter, Jack Kilpatrick froze his toes and had to have them cut off. He sent them to Washington, D. C,. asking for more money to carry the mail. He got it.
I could go on and on with happenings, but don't want to take up the whole book. I am still on earth, and enjoying life.