CHARLES M. ALLEN
From 'Fanning the Embers', published 1971, Range Rider Reps, Miles City, Montana
Charlie Allen and Children, L. to R. Thelma, Betty Jane, Edna Mae and E. O. Allen
Charlie Allen and June Olson at the Museum
I was born on a farm in Grayson County, Tex., on May 8, 1888, and lived there with my family until 1901 when my father sold out, loaded the wagon with furniture and supplies, hitched the teams to the wagon and a buggy and traveled west, looking for a new and more suitable location. We kept on traveling and looking. Every few days we would stop and camp for a week and look at farms and ranches. Finally we crossed the Texas plains and settled on government homestead land in New Mexico.
In the month of May 1905 I left Texas for Montana, which was a long and interesting trip for me. The railroad stopped at Belle Fourche, S.D., and from there I traveled via mail stage to Ekalaka. Our night stop was at Camp Crook, S.D. The hotel we put up at there was real nice, and the food was good. The next days' travel was 50 miles. The rig we traveled in was a single one-horse buggy and the driver's name was Walter Olson, brother of June and Addiel. My brother Gus was working on the H. B. Wiley ranch 25 miles north of Ekalaka. The boss, whose name was Murray, was there in Ekalaka to meet me and take me to the ranch, and I went to work right away. It was lambing time and they needed help and was broke and needed a job. I worked through the lambing season and when that was over I went down to the Milliron ranch on Box Elder Creek and got a job riding after cattle. J. R. Hutchinson was the wagon boss, and Black Jack was the roundup cook. There were several other fellows working for the outfit but I have forgotten their names.
I do remember, though, that it was along about this time I got my nickname. After the spring roundup we cowboys would have time to kill for three weeks or so before starting on the fall roundup to bring in the beef cattle for shipment. Rufe Branch and I would take turns herding the horses all day. Rufe would be pretty much out of sorts when he came off day herd, and started referring to me as Curlew. I was tall and lanky, and the name stuck.
In 1911 Tillie Ostenson and I were married, and in 1912 1 quit working for wages and filed on a homestead-160 acres of land 45 miles south of Miles City on Pumpkin Creek Tillie and I had four children, Elmer, Thelma, Edna Mae and Betty Jane. Tillie passed away in 1934. Through the years I managed to buy out several homesteaders and accumulate more land. My son grew up and married Edna Rose Whitbeck and for a small consideration I deeded him a half interest in the ranch and moved into Miles City. Later my son bought another ranch which joins the home place on the north, west and south. We also had bought the Ramer ranch consisting of about 10,000 acres joining our place on the east.
My life hasn't been all cowboying and ranching. At one time I was appointed by the county commissioners as supervisor of county roads south of Miles City and had charge of the road and bridge construction in that area. In January of 1939 1 took office as sheriff of Custer County, and that June I married Lydia Lowe, I served as sheriff until 1955 when I chose not to seek re-election. And in 1956 1 was elected to a term as State Representative from Custer County. My dear wife Lydia and I built a home at 717 South Custer in Miles City in 1953 and have lived there ever since.
My daughter Thelma (Mrs. William Green) is living in Billings; Edna Mae (Mrs. John Kresic) is in Detroit, and Betty Jane (Mrs. Clarence Hand) lives in Virginia.