L. S. (SHORTY) BADGETT
From 'Fanning the Embers', published 1971, Range Rider Reps, Miles City, Montana
By Helen Badgett
L.S. (Shorty) Badgett
OC Ranch Otter Creek, Montana
Lee Sherman Badgett was born near Bowling Green, Ky., in 1867. His father was Hardin Badgett, his mother, Elizabeth Tatum, both being natives of Kentucky. When Lee Sherman was about 14, they moved to Illinois, settling near Springfield where his mother died shortly after. His father engaged in farming, also taught his boys how to farm, but young Sherman did not like it and began dreaming about going west and leading the life of a cowboy. His cousin, J. C. (Kid) Anderson, three years older than he, who had gone to Wyoming, was writing him about the west and inviting him to come, which he did as soon as he could get the means. His father was opposed to his going, but gave him land on which to plant corn, and he was to have all of the proceeds from the sale of the corn. Sherman was a happy young man when he boarded a train for Wyoming.
The fall work was done, branding calves and shipping beef was over, and lying around the bunkhouse waiting for the spring roundup to begin was in order. He enjoyed the winter very much. Sam Groves, foreman of the Fiddleback Ranch, was very kind to him. When the spring work was over, branding calves and returning stray cattle to their home range, the cowboys were again in the bunkhouse waiting for the fall, or beef roundup. Sam Groves was from the east and he wanted to put up a little hay for his saddle horses, but he did not dare ask any of the cowboys to do it or even help, so young Sherman offered to help him to put up the hay. This made the boys mad and they said that the young tenderfoot had started something. Never-the-less they put up the hay, while the boys lay around and cussed about it. He worked a few years in Wyoming, saved some money and came to the Otter Creek country in Montana. Sherman secured work of Sam Birdsell, foreman for the Box Bar ranch owned by an Englishman, Sid Pagett, who later became Lord Pagett. Sam Birdsell nicknamed Sherman "Shorty" as he could not remember his name, so he was always known as "Shorty" Badgett.
After the Box Bar ranch was sold, he went to work as foreman for Bryan and Moorhead, owners of the Bug Ranch, until they dissolved partnership in 1896. Moorhead took the upper half of the Bug Ranch and the cattle, Bryan taking the lower half, which was later known as the OC ranch. Bryan and Badgett in the spring of 1896 formed a partnership and Shorty and his bride, Carrie Lower, made their home on the OC ranch. Five of their children, Ina, George, Tommy, Wallace and Lee, were born while they were living there. Their youngest son, Kirk, was born at their home in Miles City, Shorty moved his family there for school advantages they would not have in the country.
Bryan and Badgett raised cattle, horses and mules; branding the horses and mules DART. In or about 1911 they incorporated their holdings, Bryan as president, Badgett as vice president and manager. The Corporation was known as "Bryan and Badgett Land and Livestock Company". After Bryan's death, Badgett became president of the company, a position he held until his death in 1927. In the meantime, Badgett had bought the Moorhead holdings, the Bug ranch and livestock for the Company making it one of the largest and best cattle ranches in Eastern Montana. He specialized in blooded stock and had one of the best bred herds of Hereford Cattle in the country. He was known as one of the best judges of livestock and always knew a good animal wherever he saw it.