MARSHALL (HI) AND ROSE BERRY
From 'Fanning the Embers', published 1971, Range Rider Reps, Miles City, Montana
Marshall (Hi) Berry came to Montana about the right time and age to get in on the last days of the Wild West.
His father, Bill, came to Montana with trail herds so he knew the country when he homesteaded north of Terry. They shipped their belongings on the railroad from Texas to Terry; there they loaded three wagons and a buggy to make the last 40 miles. The first morning of the trip they awoke to find ice on the water bucket, a great thrill for Texas kids.
Hi and his brother, J.D., almost refused to come to Montana as their father was going to leave behind a favorite donkey of theirs. He relented and the donkey became a Montana resident too.
In 1909 Mr. Berry built a three-room house against the side of a hill and a room was dug back in the hill for a root cellar and cold storage. The Berrys had four children, Hi, J.D., Maude and Ruby. Some of their neighbors were George Berry, brother of Bill, and his three boys Marquis, Earl and Kent. There were also Bob Fudge, the Youngquists and one or two others.
Hi worked for the CK for three years, 1919-1915. Rufe Morris Jeff Nix and N***** Bob were some of the wagon bosses. They gathered cattle over a wide area; the Yellowstone on the south, Missouri River on the north, Jordan on the west and Glendive to the east, were the approximate boundaries. The first month or two each spring was spent branding and working calves. Hi says that Jeff Nix was about one of the best ropers; he just flipped his rope out and he always got a calf on the other end, made it look so easy. The CK sent 10 men out on roundup, seven riders, two night hawks and a cook. Hi always had the 2 to 4 a.m. guard and by the time he got his horse picketed and back in his bedroll the cook would holler "Roll out." When you worked on roundup you'd better roll out or they go off and leave you.
J. M. Boardman was the manager of the CK and the 14 ranch while Hi worked there. Ernie Blevins was a cowboy there and Hi remembers the horse Ernie had, prettiest one he had ever seen, and as smooth as a rocking chair to ride.
The CK bought a bunch of broke horses from Ingersoll down on the Yellowstone, only they weren't broke. Bert Lane liked to ride these broncs, in fact he didn't want a horse if it wouldn't buck. Hi got one he didn't like and the feeling must have been mutual because when he got on, that horse threw Hi so high that the birds built a nest in his hair before he hit the ground, knocked his wrist out of joint too. No one could ever figure out how Bert Lane stayed on a branc as he never put his feet in the stirrups.
Hi remembered branding calves one spring on the flat where Circle, Mont., now stands. About the only house there was Rorvik's store and post office and it was down closer to the Redwater.
Hi told the story of his first driving experience in a Model T. "I went down to the neighbors and the gate was open. When I came back I guess dad or some of them had shut it. I was looking there, you know, driving along and I saw that gate shut and I hollered as loud as I could 'Hoa, hoa, hoa' but the dumb thing went right on through the gate! It wouldn't stop."
Hi tells about the rattlesnakes too. One time while gathering cattle in the Chalk Butte area they heard something so stopped and listened and they found a big hole full of rattlesnakes. The boys stayed while Hi went home, a couple of miles, and got some dynamite and fuse. They lit the fuse and put it down the hole and after it went off there was nothing but blood and skin around.- Another time, on a Sunday, the neighbors were over playing cards and someone looked out the window and there was a rattlesnake looking in. The women wouldn't go out of the house without a hoe or shovel in their hands.
It was nothing to ride 12-15 miles on horseback to a dance, start dancing at dark and dance until the sun came up, and then ride home. Sometimes, if the weather was warm enough, he'd tie his horse and lie down and take a nap. Old Charlie Campbell used to have a lot of dances in his hay loft.
In the winter a pasttime was riding down a steep hill on a scoop shovel; they didn't have sleds then. It could turn out to be a really wild ride.
Hi and Rose Berry live in Circle now. Hi has watched a lot of changes in this part of the state and he can still tell more wild stories about it.