FRANK AND NANIE CAIN BIDWELL
From 'Fanning the Embers', published 1971, Range Rider Reps, Miles City, Montana
Frank was born on a homestead near Olive, Mont., which was in Custer County, on April 22, 1911, to Clayton and Mamie Bidwell. While he was still a small boy his father traded his land for a sawmill. They moved many times to find timber to cut, except for one time his father worked for the railroad in Miles City. Frank couldn't attend school all the time because of the weather and helping his father in the mill. While at Otter Creek he helped his mother in the kitchen as she served meals in the house they lived in. It was here he helped his brother-in-law with the making of moonshine.
While living at the mill near Stacey, horses were raised and a few cows. The horses were used to skid logs and to haul the logs to the mill for sawing into lumber. A steam engine was used for power to run the saw. One day while helping fall a tree it fell on his legs smashing one foot and the other leg; it was sometime before he could walk again. Frank and his brother helped the neighbors put up hay. He helped in order to have hay for the horses and cows in the winter. Their oats were grown at the mill. Sometimes Frank ran a threshing machine in the fall.
In the early 1930's came the grasshoppers and the Mormon crickets with the drouth. There were no crops; if anything could have grown the insects would have eaten it.
Jan. 4, 1936, Frank married Nanie Winifred Cain, daughter of Horace Taylor and Bessie May Cain. Name was born near Volborg, Mont., in a dugout on the homestead of her parents when they moved here from Texas, living there until a new house was built. She attended school at Loesch, a log house built by the neighbors for a school.
Name's father worked as a cowboy for many years for George Horkan. In 1926 the Cain family moved to Texas after selling their livestock and household goods. While living there Name and her brothers and sisters went to Carey to school. In 1930 they moved back to Montana. Nanie had eight brothers and six sisters. Her father passed away in 1934, leaving her mother with the younger children to raise. Name lived with her mother until her marriage to Frank.
After their marriage Frank and Nanie lived at the sawmill in a one-room log house near Stacey and Frank worked for his father. Later that spring he went to work for the forest service, went back to the mill, then worked on W.P.A. on county roads. Every fall Nanie would move to Broadus to send the children to school, coming back to the mill in the summer. In 1942 Frank went to Idaho to work at the Naval base during World War II for about two months, coming back to go to work for Daniel Klein repairing trucks, then to work at the mill at Broadus. He also hauled logs from the timber to mill; he and his brother took a logging contract to cut timber for the lumberyard. Later he bought a mill and went into business for himself.
They ran the K & M Truck Stop Cafe for three years and after letting the lease go, Nanie worked there while the children were in school. After the children finished school they lived at the mill as long as the weather was good, cutting and sawing lumber. Now Frank has added building wooden stock tanks to his mill work. This was his father's trade until he passed away March 22, 1969.
Frank and Nanie have four children: Mamie Winifred Denson, Myrtle May Ridenour, Frank Cyrus and Ronald LeRoy. All are married and live in Broadus except Ronald who is with the Marine Corps in Japan. They have 13 grandchildren.