NORRIS AND MARGRET McKELVEY COLE
From 'Fanning the Embers', published 1971, Range Rider Reps, Miles City, Montana
My father Jud McKelvey came west in 1886, part of the way in a covered wagon. My mother Kathron Hannon attended Drake University before coming to Stacey. She told of how she shut her eyes and put a pin down on a map on Stacey and decided it would be Stacey.
I was born Oct. 9, 1910, in Adair; six weeks later we came to Montana by train and buggy to join my father. My sisters and I grew up on a cattle ranch ten miles south of Ashland, across the river from the Cheyenne Indian Reservation.
My mother, having taught school two years before her marriage, felt qualified to teach her children, which she did, until I took my state examinations and went on to high school in Baker, Mont. I spent a year in Burbank, Calif. I graduated from Custer County High School in Miles City in 1926. 1 spent a year at the University of Montana, then Normal school, now called Eastern Montana College. I was one of the first class graduating from the new college in June, 1929. Now I am receiving the four-year degree in education. I taught school at Pryor Creek and another at Armells Creek and had quite a hassle to make myself stand up to 15 children in all eight grades, I was only 17.
Marriage to Norris Cole seemed to be a far more appealing way to live. We were married Jan. 23, 1931, at St. Labre Mission where my father and mother were married Jan. 24, 1908. Both my sisters, Billy (Mrs. L. D. Trusler) and Beverly (Mrs. George Melmeire), were married there also.
Occasionally my sisters and I got into a little trouble on the ranch as we did the things ranch children do. We went riding in a pasture with sunbonnets and dresses where Dad had the fall beef herd gathered and stampeded 400 head of four-year-old longhorn steers. They tore down the fence and back to the hills they went. We were pretty unpopular for quite awhile after that.
Although we rode a great deal for cattle and horses from the ranch we were never allowed to go on the roundup with the wagons and stay all night. We were always sent to the house when the men worked on the colts and were not allowed to use the words bull or stallion in any type of converstion. My mother had a time convincing my father he shouldn't swear in front of his daughters. He always used a few choice words in time of stress.
We lived 75 miles from the nearest doctor. Billy had pnuemonia and the doctor was sent for but when he arrived three days later by horse and buggy she was playing in the yard.
The Indians came over to beg or trade for food, especially in the spring. One of my earliest memories was seeing small fires at night on the high hills across the river and hearing the tomtoms beating away their message to the Great Spirit to keep evil away from the dead child thay had just buried. This was common event in the spring as a great many Indian children died in March and April. We played some with the Indian children but they were very shy. We couldn't speak Cheyenne and they couldn't speak English so our play was very basic, chasing, running and playing tag. They would seldom get out of sight of their mothers.
We had our first car when I was about eight. Dad never could drive with ease. He would holler "Who" and pull back on the steering wheel. Mother never even tried to drive. We used a buggy or spring wagon for transportation. A group of my parents' friends went through Yellowstone Park in buggies, but mostly our only traveling was to Miles City for a week or 10 days of visiting, shopping and seeing the doctor and dentist. One winter when my father wintered cattle away from home Mother took Billy, her mother and me to California for six weeks.
Dad went to Rosebud, about 65 miles, with a double wagon and a four-horse team to haul groceries each fall. The list would include flour, sugar in 100 lb. bags, dried fruit in wooden boxes and cases of canned food with a few goodies like stuffed olives and boxes of apples.
When Norris and I were first married we lived in a three-room house with no modern facilities. We raised a garden, milked several cows. Although I never did learn to milk a cow. We turned the ice cream freezer by hand and raised our own fried chicken and eggs. We still have the garden but the cows and chickens are gone. My husband, like my father, raises cattle for a living but we are about to retire and play with our four grandchildren.
Norris Edward Cole was born Jan. 10, 1907, one of a set of twin boys born to Doc Edward and Albertina Beck Cole. These were the first boys born on the land opened up by the Crow Indian Tribe for settlement. They were born at their ranch home near Sanders, Mont.
Norris attended Western College of Education at Dillon where he received his diploma in education. Prior to this he attended school in Sanders graduating from high school at Hysham, then attending college in Bozeman. He was very active in sports during these years. After finishing school he ranched with his father and twin brother. We are presently living on the ranch on which he was born.
Our son, Norris (Mack), has a degree in range management from Montana State University at Bozeman. His wife is the former Judy Cassidy and they live at Scottsdale, Ariz. Kathron is now Mrs. John Moorhouse, has a degree in nursing from Loretto Heights College in Denver and lives in Cibecue, Ariz. Our youngest son, Mark, is working toward his degree in business management at Creighton University in Omaha Neb., and is now going to Bozeman.