MARION ULMER BROWN
From 'Fanning the Embers', published 1971, Range Rider Reps, Miles City, Montana
As the daughter of two of the pioneer families in Miles City, life couldn't help but be interesting. I was born in 1902, shortly after my family moved into their new home at 1003 Pleasant Street which my father built. My brother, Wallace, was six years older than I and typical activities of the times kept us busy. In our youth family entertainment was rather dull by today's standards, but it created a closely woven tie of shared experiences to remember a lifetime. The Ulmer family, in particular, was from Carbondale, Pa., and adhered closely to the Mores which were practiced in Carbondale. For example, nothing was done from sundown Saturday until sundown Sunday, not even meal preparation, hence everything was done in advance. The Brown family, my mother's family, were originally from Germany, having come West during the gold rush days, approximately 1850. I was a "Tomboy," particularly fond of dogs, and had an Airedale continually at my side. Of necessity, Dad had to purchase several suits of clothes if Mac or Rook took a dislike to an individual. Katy Gibbs, now Mrs. J. R. Mathis, a neighborhood chum, and I were Miles City's original bloomer girls on bicycles, shocking the Community, which at that time was rather staid. "Uncle Kid" one of my family favorites, lived next door when he was not off prospecting for gold in Alaska. He was an excellent cook and one of my fondest memories is of his sour dough pancakes and tales of the Yukon, where he and my grandfather were engaged in business. After finishing Custer County High School in 1920, 1 went to Pennsylvania to school, subsequently to Chicago for one year and finally to Missoula for one year. At this time flying was the "rage" and several friends were early barnstorming pilots. I enjoyed flying, although never learned to fly a plane. My marriage of 1926 was brief, possibly due to the struggles of the depression. My father passed away in 1930, shortly after my daughter was born in Wyoming, and I returned to Miles City to help mother adjust. Mother, Wallace and I were engaged in the retail hardware, farm equipment and sheep businesses. Dad joined the hardware firm in 1880, and it is the only business founded prior to the coming of the Northern Pacific Railroad which is still in existence and doing business today. The firm was originally Miles & Strevell, subsequently Miles, Strevell & Ulmer, and finally, Miles & Ulmer, as it is today. In 1947 we moved out of the family home at 1003 Pleasant since it was much too large for my daughter and myself, and she would be going away to school in another year. After Wallace passed away in 1955, my daughter and her family moved back to Miles City and her husband, Bill Jones, assumed management of the business. I took part in many organizations and clubs, being a member of, the First Presbyterian Church, Drove of Does, Business and Professional Women, Soroptomists, Sage Riders, Town and Country Club, Range Riders Reps, Quarter Century Club, Half Century Club, Republican Women, Gray Ladies and several bridge and birthday clubs. I presume by virtue of the fact that my mother and aunt, Laura Zook, were instrumental in the formation of the local library many years ago, I was appointed a member of the Library Board. One of the pleasures I enjoyed most was travel. In late years I had the opportunity to make many trips around the country visiting old friends whom I hadn't seen since high school. Many returned to the Class Reunion in 1968, but there were many who could not attend. Marjorie Smith, one of my childhood friends, visited me during the reunion. We did a great deal of reminiscing since we were raised around the block from each other and were together seldom in later years.