THE LEE HANSON FAMILY
From 'Echoing Footsteps', published 1967, Powder River County Extension Homemakers Council
By Edna (Hanson) Richards
Grace Editha Truesdell was born February 22, 1875 in Binghamton, New York. She moved with her family to Indianapolis, Indiana, where she met and married M. L. Hanson, (known as Lee Hanson). To this union, four children were born; all in Indianapolis: Edna Mae, John Perry, Edward Minter, and Delbert Lee. In the fall of 1909, he family moved to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where they lived for six years.
Dad decided it was time to head for greener pastures. On January 8, 1916, we arrived in Hardin, Montana. Dad managed a livery barn there for six months. In the meantime, he located a relinquishment about 15 miles east of Ashland, and the decision was made to move there. The 160 acres was one of the last homesteads and was bought from Nellie Coon for $300.00. Dad hired a Mr. Boddy to help us move, as he had a buggy and a pair of big blacks. We had a spring wagon and another wagon. Two of the boys rode saddle horses and trailed a cow, a calf and couple of saddle ponies.
In preparation for the trip, Mother had stocked the family larder with a huge supply of bread, pies, and baked goods, along with a supply of roast beef and ham. In spite of the fact that she baked biscuits quite often, we ran out of bread, and also soda and baking powder. She decided there was nothing left to do except send one of the boys to Ashland for supplies on his saddle horse. She had, in fact, sent him on his way, when she called him back and told him they could get along, if she baked pie crust to substitute for bread.
At one point in the trip, a terrific lightning storm came up about four o'clock in the morning. All of the horses ran away, except one saddle horse, even though they were all hobbled. Mr. Boddy started after them on the horse and Dad started out on foot. It took until noon to find them and get them back to camp. On another occasion, we had made it to Rosebud Creek, where we were following Indian trails through the Crow and Cheyenne Reservations, when a cloudburst came up in the afternoon. All of us got under the wagon and Dad was unhitching the team, when a man rode up on horseback and informed us we had better get to higher ground if we didn't want to get flooded out. So Dad hitched up again, and we made it to higher ground where we were safe. That was a good lesson, for the whole month of June, that year, was a very rainy time. That's the reason it took us nine days to make the trip from Hardin to east of Ashland. We arrived at the homestead on June 24, 1916.
There was one frame building on the relinquishment. It was 12' x 14'. We used this building for cooking and eating purposes. Our tent was used for storing clothing and sleeping. Our bout with the rainy weather was not yet over, however, as four days after we arrived, we had another cloudburst. Dad had staked the tent pole more solid just that day, and it held, but the water was a foot deep running through the tent. This gave all our belongings a good soaking. Even though we had staked our milk cow to a post, the flood washed out the moorings and we found her a quarter of a mile away.
The next morning, Mr. Boddy left with his team of blacks to return to Hardin, as he wanted to attend the Custer Battlefield celebration. We heard afterward that he made it that day, although he must have thrown the whip all the way.
After Mr. Boddy left, Dad remarked that he had everything he needed to start making his fortune He had a wife, four kids, and $25.00. At that time, the kids ranged in age from 15 to 7 years. That summer we all pitched in to auger a well (we had to carry water from a spring a quarter of a mile away), dig a cellar, get out logs, and build a cabin, which we moved into that fall. The last night that we slept in the tent, the temperature dropped to 28 below zero. Dad said that was enough of that, so the next day, Dad put windows and flooring in the cabin while Mother and the kids daubed the logs. That night we slept in our new home, with a horse blanket partition separating our eating and sleeping quarters. But it was our Conrad-Hilton, and it's still standing, after 50.years, as is the old frame building, which we call the bunkhouse. Dad passed away in 1948, and Mother was still living in the log cabin when she passed away in 1961, although the inside dimensions had shrunk sowewhat from the application of many, many layers of wallpaper, religiously applied for each spring cleaning.
The children of Lee and Grace Hanson are:
Edna Richards, whose two children are Erlys (Mrs. Roy McKelvey) and Milo, all of Miles City.
Perry married Florence Murray, from Iowa. Their children are Darrel, Eileen (Mrs. Carl Beckman), Grace (Mrs. Hines) of Billings, and Iola (Mrs. George Gierke) of Miles City. Perry purchased a section of land a mile east of the home place on which he lives today. He also owns a bowling alley in Broadus. Carl Beckman, his son-in-law, helps him operate it.
Edward, married Hazel Vinquist from Beach, North Dakota. They have two boys, Harold and Gary. Edward owns Hanson Service, which is a farm implement business, and the Red Horse Service Station in Ashland.
Delbert married Virginia (Dede) Murray of Iowa. They have three girls: Jeanette (Mrs. Jack Penrod), Della (Mrs. Robert Kramlich), and Faye Ellen. Delbert owns and operates a bowling alley in Miles City at the present time, as well as having an active interest in his ranch.