MATTHEW AND GERTRUDE YANKO BARLEY
From 'Fanning the Embers', published 1971, Range Rider Reps, Miles City, Montana
By Valeria Frank
Mathew and Getrude Barley after 60 years of married life
Mr. Barley was born Mathias Barle Jan. 22, 1895, at Kroenburg, Austria. He came to New York City in 1881.
Mrs. Barley was born Gertrude Yanko at Carniola, Austria, now Northern Yugoslavia, Feb. 15, 1863. She came to America in 1880 and her first home was at St. Joseph, Minn.
This couple met in St. Paul and were married in Minneapolis Jan. 30, 1882.
Matthew secured employment with the Northern Pacific Railroad and was sent with his bride to Miles City, Mont., Mar. 17, 1882. They rode from Miles City to Whiskey Gulch, the railroad encampment east of Rosebud, where they were stationed.
After laying ties the first year Mr. Barley worked as a watchman under the bluffs two miles east of Rosebud. In 1883 he went from Rosebud to Forsyth with a special train carrying Northern Pacific Railroad branches going east and west.
At this time the young couple made their home on an island near Joppa. On Feb. 26, 1884, an ice jam caused the Yellowstone River to rise and flood their home. The family lost everything except the clothes they were wearing. When the floodwaters receded they rebuilt temporarily on the island and in the fall built a permanent log cabin on the north side of the river, several miles east o ff the present site of Rosebud; later they homesteaded in this area.
During the spring of 1884 the Barleys went to Mr. Albright's sale. He had the post office and a store three or four miles upriver from Rosebud. He had purchased the ferry that ran across the Yellowstone River, above the mouth of Rosebud Creek, so he was having a close-out sale. Mr. and Mrs. Barley went to the sale in their hand-made rowboat a distance of about ten miles. They made the journey upriver by walking along the bank pulling the boat and using a pole to keep the boat out in the water. Several times it was necessary to row across the river, drifting downstream each time to avoid the cliffs and bluffs and be able to walk and pull the boat. Quite a journey with two babies in the boat!
Mrs. Barley, as a young bride, was the first white woman to live in the valley for miles around. She was a hand to greet the next white bride, Mrs. James Kennedy, who arrived there a few years later.
Mr. Barley gave up railroad work and became a rancher. In the summer he cut hay and hauled it to Fort Keogh and in the winter he cut cord wood, which he also brought to the Fort for sale. He hewed logs for numerous houses in Rosebud and surrounding area.
Eight children were born to the couple and all grew to maturity entirely without benefit of physician or scientific formula. The pioneer mother found that her home remedies worked wonders in preserving the health of her children.
The children include Mrs. Catherine Lloyd, Rosebud, born in 1882, and now at 87 the oldest living white person who was born in what is now Rosebud County. Matt Barley, born in 1884 and died in 1957, lived his entire life on the Barley ranch. Joe Barley, 1886 to 1968, was a partner with brothers, Frank and John, in establishing the Barley Brothers ranch. John Barley, born in 1888, died in 1934 of pneumonia. He was a director of the First National Bank of Miles City and owned and operated the sales yards in Miles City ' Frank Barley lives in Miles City, after retiring from a lifetime of ranching. Mrs. Gertrude Over, Forsyth, attended the Billings Polytechnic Institute and taught school in Ingomar and Rosebud areas. Fanny Barley, Forsyth, studied stenography at the polytechnic and worked for many years at the First National Bank, Seattle, Wash. Martin Barley attended mechanical school at Kansas City, returned to operate the old home place of the elder Barley at Rosebud.
Matthew Barley lived to 92 and Gertrude Barley to be 87. Both passed away on their home site northeast of Rosebud. The courageous pioneer spirit which carried them through years of harship and want remained with them throughout their lives.
Matthew and Gertrude Barley after 60 years of married life.