BURTON B. AND KIRTLYE CHOISSER BREWSTER
From 'Fanning the Embers', published 1971, Range Rider Reps, Miles City, Montana
I think it is best that I start with the life of my father, George W. Brewster. He was born Dec. 18, 1856 in Boston, Mass, a direct decendant of Elder Witham Brewster of Mayflower fame. He attended Partridge Academy in Duxbury until the pioneer spirit of his ancestors prevailed and as a teenager in 1874-75 he headed west to Virginia City, Nev. He worked there in a quartz mill, then to California and back to Butte, Mont. Just when he arrived in Montana is not known but he had heard of buffalo still roaming in the Otter Creek country south of Miles City and wanted in on that last bit of Montana history.
He arrived in Miles City in 1882 and headed up Tongue River with a team, wagon, saddle horse and all his worldly possessions. Three miles south of the present site of Birney he saw a likely-looking site for a ranch and he was near buffalo country so he decided to settle. He took a squatters right on unsurveyed land, built a log cabin and the Quarter Circle U Ranch was born.
He got his buffalo bull on the Otter Creek-Hanging Woman Creek divide and as legend tells it, he shot the buffalo late one evening. A blizzard developed making it impossible to find shelter so he skinned the buffalo and rolled up in the green hide. The next morning he had to wait for the sun to come up to thaw him out of his frozen blanket.
In 1896 he had built a new home and acquired enough cattle to get married. He married Grace Sanborn of Greeley, Colo., who was visiting Mrs. John B. Kendrick on the OW Ranch. The Brewsters had three boys, George Warren, Lyman Doudborn and Burton Bradley.
He helped to organize the cattlemen of the area for the purpose of roundups and to combat cattle theft and thus the Montana Stockgrowers Association was formed. He also was as active in politics as one could be living 90 horseback miles from the county seat at Forsyth. He served as Representative in the Montana Legislature in the 9th, 10th and 11th sessions and at the time of his death in 1912 he was President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association.
I was raised on the ranch and am still there. We all went to the Birney grade school, riding horseback three miles everyday. Then we went to Tane school, a boys' preparatory school in Maryland. Our mother was determined that her boys get an education.
Lyman and I went to Sheridan, Wyo., high school as that was closest to the ranch. On several occasions, long weekends, we would ride horseback home 60 miles. At home, like all ranch kids, we were always riding the milk pen calves, the broncs and by the time we went to college we were rodeoing at local shows near home in the summer and weekend shows at college. The money we won was the principal means of financing our education. We both went to the University of Montana, then Lyman went to the University of Michigan where he graduated in law and I went to the University of Colorado where I got a degree in geology. Warren spent a short time at the University of Wisconsin but returned home to help with the ranch.
During the middle 20's the ranch went into the dude business in a modest way to supplement the cattle income. Most of our guests were young people from the east. By World War 11, 1 had moved to Bozeman in charge of Range Conservation for the Agricultural Adjustment Administration and served as a member of the State War Board. With help hard to get we decided to quit the dude business; it had served us well during the difficult years of the 30's.
My father made a practice of shipping in good quality Hereford two-year-old steers from the south, running them two years on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation and selling them as fouryear-olds. In later years we had a lease on the reservation on which most of our cattle were during the summer. We had this lease for 35 years and since it was 30 miles from the ranch this afforded us an opportunity to train young horses, trailing herds of cattle back and forth.
In 1931 1 married Kirtlye Choisser of Forsyth. We had one daughter Kay who married Jack Loliof. My four grandchildren, are all living on the ranch and are my principal help handling the cattle.