LENA J. STRICKLAND BROWN
From 'Fanning the Embers', published 1971, Range Rider Reps, Miles City, Montana
I am the eldest child of Arley A. and Elsie F. Moore Strickland. I was born on June 8, 1896, at my parents' home near Floris, Iowa. My father was a fireman on the Northern Pacific Railroad and the end of his run was Glendive, Mont., so we moved there to live. My Mother's parents had moved to Miles City. They had heard about this country from Grandmother's brother, William E. Harris better known as Charlie Harris. He had sheep and had come out here in the early 1800's as a young man to hunt buffalo. We all went back to Iowa for a time and later moved back to Miles City and my dad worked for Mother's uncle, W. E. Harris, on Pumpkin Creek. That ranch is owned now by the Tonns. My folks moved into Miles City and Father went to work at the City Water Pumping Station on the bank of the Tongue River Larry Mott was his boss. I had to start school and that was the main reason for moving. In 1906 or 1907 Father and Mother decided to file on a homestead. It was south of Miles City on Spring Creek. They sold their home and moved to the SY Ranch on Spring Creek. The ranch was owned by W. E. Harris but Jim Hatch was manager. The folks worked for Jim through the winter and spring and then Dad started to build a log house on the homestead and by fall they moved in. I spent the summers out at the homestead and stayed with my grandparents in Miles City to go to school. In 1911 my grandparents moved to Everett, Wash., I stayed with another family to attend school but I became ill and quit that year. During the summer and fall of 1912 1 had met a cowboy rancher by the name of Harry Brown at the 4th of July picnic dance at Powderville and again at a dance at the Corney Davis place, on Thanksgiving. In February of 1913 he asked my parents if he could take me to a Valentine dance at Mrs. Tat's home. They told him he could and we went to all the dances together from then on. On January 29, 1914, we were married at Ekalaka, Mont. We lived the rest of the winter in a log house on his homestead. In the spring Harry got some help and moved the log house across the river on a ranch he had bought during the summer and fall. He hired some men to build a five-room frame house on a concrete basement with a two-foot foundation. It was the only house of that kind for miles around. Our first child, a boy, was born April 15, 1915, here in Miles City. He was hurt during birth and died in two days. We had three girls, Ester Mae, born Apr. 1, 1916 at the ranch; Elsie F., Mar. 19, 1918, in Miles City, and June H., June 30, 1919 in Miles City. In the fall of 1919 we sold that ranch to Charles Gerner of South Dakota and Harry leased a ranch up the river for the winter. In the spring we moved to another deserted ranch and spent the summer. In the fall he leased a ranch back on the Powder River from Jack Marston as he and family were leaving Montana. On Nov. 11, 1921, our last child, a boy, was born and Mrs. Ann Boyee Childress was with me. A neighbor, Bill Richardson, had gone after Grandma Hudson, too. Harry took Grandma Hudson home the 13th and after he started home it began snowing and blowing and he got lost. He turned the team loose and stayed in the sled all night, covering up with old quilts and tarps. When daylight came he found he wasn't very far from Bob Rice's and he got back around noon that day. Mrs. Henning was at the ranch helping care for the children and me. In the fall of 1923 Harry Bought the ranch he had leased in 1919; it was the Grace Ducello Ranch. The children attended school in a homestead cabin and later went to school in Broadus. In 1934 June married Ted Chapman of Ekalaka. Later they were divorced and in 1943 she married Everett Shelden. She had three children. Ester Mae married William Smith of Yakima, Wash. in 1935; later they were divorced and in 1949 she married Dale Zacharias of Pendleton, Ore.; she has six children; Elsie married Mel Burrill, Feb. 14, 1937, and they have three children. Jerry H. married Pauline E. Wert in Yakima, Wash., on Oct., 4, 1942; they had two children. Jerry was killed at the ranch in October, 1948. Harry hired Dean Keil to work for us after Jerry was killed. He wanted to buy the ranch; we talked it over and decided to sell it to him and we came back to Miles City. We are still living at 14 North Jordan. We now have 14 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.