TOM COLLERAN
From 'Fanning the Embers', published 1971, Range Rider Reps, Miles City, Montana
I was born in Miles City, Mont., Aug. 11, 1898, to Martin and Anna Anderson Colleran. Martin Colleran was born in the Province of Quebec, Canada, in 1845; his father, Thomas Colleran, was born in Ireland and his mother was of French Canadian extraction. Anna Colleran was born in Norway on Nov. 2, 1869, and came to Miles City in 1891 to visit an uncle living in the Sadie Bottom area. She was married to Martin Colleran on June 18,1894, in Miles City.
Martin Colleran and his brother, Barney, left their home in Canada in 1874, and went to Maine and worked in the woods. Then they headed west, first going to the woods in Wisconsin and from there to Minneapolis securing employment there. Barney left there and came to Montana by way of the Black Hills (Deadwood), arriving in Milestown in March, 1876. He located on land that is now in the city limits of Miles City.
Martin arrived in Miles City in 1880, joining his brother in buffalo hunting. They settled on the north side of the Yellowstone River adjacent and near the Buffalo Rapids
Martin filed his Declaration of Intention for citizenship in the United States on Aug. 16, 1889, at Miles City and received his citizenship papers Oct. 9, 1894. Barney had filed his Intention for citizenship on May 4, 1889, and received his papers on Feb. 12, 1894.
Some of their buffalo hunting partners were Emil (Jack) Struger, Jim Helmer (the famous buffalo hunter), Dan LaValley, Dan McKay, Oscar Brackett, William and Sam Stone and Pat and Jim McAvoy. Jack Struger took land neighboring the Colleran boys. Montana Jim later went up in the Poplar country and started a ranch. Dan LaValley located on Timber Creek, between the present Brockway and Jordan, Mont. Oscar Brackett went to ranching near Terry and later went to Ismay, building and operating the Brackett Hotel. William Stone selected land a few miles east of Miles City with Sam Stone filing on land in what is now the Kinsey valley, several miles east of where the Collerans and Jack Struger had located. Dan McKay ranched on Lame Jones Creek, south and west of the present day Baker, Mont. He later lived in the Kinsey community as a neighbor of the Collerans, still retaining his 7 ranch on Lame Jones. The two McEvoy boys located on the north side of the Yellowstone River, west of Miles City.
Martin and Barney Colleran and Sam Stone started the Buffalo Rapids Irrigation Ditch that put the Kinsey area under irrigation in 1896. It was made into a community project, serving all lands under the ditch. Mrs. Sarah E. Kennard, Hiram and Sam Gilmore, and Mr. Wing, John Gavin, Albin Burks, Mathew Prideaux, Arthur Millard and Ralph Tandy were other land owners under the ditch. Mr. Prideaux had moved into the area from Idaho, trailing in a bunch of horses. He came to this area in the early 1880's. Mr. and Mrs. Kennard came to the area in 1893 and located on the Yellowstone River a few miles below the Buffalo Rapids. They moved their livestock to Custer County the year before from north of Big Timber, Mont. and near the Crazy Mountains. John Gavin came to the area with Mr. and Mrs. Kennard as a cowboy, and he was a good one.
The three children born to Martin and Anna Colleran are Mrs. John J. Greene of Washington D. C., Mrs. Anna C. Simpson of Miles City and I, Tom Colleran.
Martin Colleran passed away on July 20, 1903, at the home ranch on the Yellowstone River. Barney Colleran passed away Sept. 23,1925, at the Holy Rosary Hospital in Miles City. They are buried in the Catholic Cemetery. Mrs. Anna Colleran passed away Mar. 1, 1936, at the Holy Rosary Hospital and is buried in the Custer County Cemetery.
The following is an excerpt from the obituary of Martin Colleran as it appeared in the Yellowstone journal dated July 21, 1903; "Mr. Colleran's death is considered a severe blow by his neighbors as he was of a kindly nature and his home was always open, not only to acquaintances, but to a pilgrim and stranger. In this respect it may be said that in the remaining brother, Barney Colleran, there is a counterpart of the wholesouled kindness for which (when many names of more prominence have faded away) these men will be I kindly spoken of, for their names are written on the hearts of many and the memory and the lurking tears will testify alike to lives well spent."
I attended grade school and high school in Miles City and graduated in 1917. 1 attended the Agricultural College of the University of Minnesota for two years. After that I was engaged in ranching on the old home places in the Kinsey area, raising horses and cattle.
During the early days of horse sales, in Miles City, the local market was known as the largest market for range horses in the world, a large number of AX horses went through the sales. The AX brand had been recorded in Montana in 1886 by Martin Colleran when this part of the northwest was spoken of as Montana Territory. I now own the AX brand. The Colleran family also had other individual brands and rather a large number of horses carrying those brands were sold during the first World War to the United States Government and the British, French and Italian Governments as cavalry and artillery horses.
One of the high lights of the year for my sisters and I was attending the Miles City Roundups, riding in the parades and taking part in the other activities. I believe that first Miles City Roundup was held in 1913. Previous to the Roundup riding and roping exhibitions had been held in the old baseball park for a good many years.
Still retaining ranching interests in 1934 1 went to Jordan, working for the Montana Relief Commission in Garfield County. In 1936 I worked at the Miles City Sales Yards for Art Langman of Billings, Mont. In the spring I went to Baker to be the Supervisor and Caseworker of the Fallon County Department of Public Welfare. I did pipeline work and roughnecking on the Montana Dakota Utilities drilling rig in the. Baker gas field. In 1948 1 went back to the Miles City Sales yards working for Homer Hockett, Leslie Bob, and Lyle Hawkins, John Dunlap and Robert Fisher and Ray Schnell and Sons from Dickinson, N.D., while they operated the Sales Yards.
Some of the people working at the Sales Yards were Mr. Hockett, Delos and Tuffy Hockett, Les Boe, Lyle Hawkins, Ruth Hawkins, Bonnie Venable, Bob Pauley, Clarence Richards, Ted Wilson, Kenneth and Vernon Thompson, Harold Thompson, Elizabeth Harris, Alice Greenough, Frank Parkins, Bernard Vivian, Albert Johnson, Don Wright, Lloyd Murdy, Bob Foster, Howard Whiteman, Ed Norfolk, Bullet Cain, Sandy Taylor and Old Bill Haynie. If I have omitted any of the old bunch it is unintentional.
Since leaving the Sales Yards in 1965, 1 have spent my time taking care of an old pensioned saddle horse, now in his thirties, and repping for the Range Riders, Inc. as secretary and treasurer.