Irion, Alvin Joseph (Al):
Alvin Joseph (Al) Irion was born at Minier, Illinois, April 29, 1877. He was one of a large family. When he was eight years old his parents moved to the frontier country of Nebraska where he obtained his schooling, which was principally the "three r's," in a sod schoolhouse.
When he was fourteen years old he ran away from his home in Nebraska and came to Montana to be a cowboy. He came into the country alone, riding an old pony, with a nondescript camping outfit. He came in by way of Moorcroft, Wyoming, down the Little Powder to the old SH crossing, a boy drifting along looking for a job.
His first job was for the C dot (C.), the John Ramer ranch on Sand Creek. His next job was on the M Diamond ranch, for the Mankato Cattle Company located near the mouth of Foster Creek where it empties into Tongue River, in Custer County. George Trask, from Mankato, Minnesota was the foreman. The M Diamond was a small outfit and pooled with the JO during roundups. Al started with the M Diamond as the horse wrangler. He was a big clumsy kid, but he was an expert roper and could stick like a burr to the back of the wickedest bronco.
His talent as a roper and rider was soon recognized and he became a "top hand" and in demand by all the large outfits in eastern Montana. He worked for the SL, the SH and others. He was in demand as a horse-breaker, and during the winter months he trapped, it all paid out to make a start in horses; buying a few half-breed and thoroughbred mares from the Cross S outfit of Padgett & Walsh and others, which grew into a bunch of horses.
In the late 1890's his brother Lou Irion came out to the Powder River country and the two brothers went into partnership in the livestock business for a few years.
In 1900, More of the Irion brothers- Ed, John, Ray and Fiber, came to Montana and settled around Al's place on the Mizpah.
In 1906, Al married Mary Pardue, a young school teacher from Chapmansborough, Tennessee, who had ventured into a pioneer country, and was teaching a handful of children not far from the Mizpah, when she met young Al, who was forward and aggressive in his courting as in other matters. He soon prevailed upon her to save him from a life of single wretchedness and sourdough bread.
To this marriage were born five boys and one girl- Harlan Irion of Broadus, May (Irion) Paque of Port Orchard, Washington, Alvin Joe Irion of Olive, Stanley K. (Tim) Irion of Miles City, Challis Dale (Bud) Irion of Phoenix, Arizona, and Wayne C. Irion, deceased.
It is said throughout the range country that Al and Mrs. Irion fed more people, summer and winter, than any other individual ranch couple in all of eastern Montana.
In 1934, he won silver spurs in the "Old Man's" bucking horse contest at the Montana Stockmen's Golden Jubilee Convention held in Miles City.
Alvin Joseph Irion died at Miles City, Montana, June 1, 1940 and was buried at Broadus, Montana, with hundreds attending his funeral. - A Range Riders Museum Story, 1963
By Harlan and Helen Irion
(Typer's tidbit- The correct spelling of "Broadus" is actually a mis-spelling of it's founder's name, Oscar Broaddus)