Dear Joseph Scott & Frank Robertson Responders,
To follow up from my post last night where I suggested that you contact me at [email protected]
for additional information, I posted below the article, which may not be edited down for length by the host.
Enjoy the Day!!
Randy Piper, Ph.D., M.B.A.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Linda Grosskopf <[email protected]
Date: Fri, May 20, 2011 at 9:50 AM
Subject: Here it is
To: Randy Piper <[email protected]
1 - Frank Robertson and his steed. Bet this old saddle could tell a tale or two!
2 - Frank Robertson in his prime!
Frank Robertson cut a wide swath
By Mary Woodrow
Agri-News, July 20, 2001
My great-great uncle Franklin Corbin Robertson was born at Jacksonville, Morgan County, Illinois, on December 31, 1841. His parents - Charles and Bethsheba (Drinkwater) Robertson - were among the first settlers in central Illinois and took up thousands of acres of government land, becoming wealthy people.
Frank's mother died when he was only 8, and Frank practically grew up in the saddle. When he was a boy, he and his brother were sent out by their father to help drive herds of cattle into Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and Iowa, and he became an expert in every detail of handling big herds of cattle.
Frank received most of his schooling on his father's farm, attending school only during a few winter terms and not learning to read until after he was grown.
In 1862, when he was 20 years of age, Frank left home to seek his fortune in the far West. He joined a wagon train and, with four mules and a covered wagon, went from Whitehall, Illinois, to Sacramento, California. There he stayed for a few months on the ranch of a cousin, Dick Ferguson, near San Francisco, California. While Frank was there, he sold his outfit. Leaving California, he went to Salem, Oregon, where he stayed on a farm with his uncle and aunt, Thomas and Beula Riggs, pioneer settlers in that country, for about a year.
He then traveled to Boise, Idaho, and for a time worked in the gold mines there. He and another boy planted a garden and grew fresh vegetables, which they sold to the miners, who had not been able to get anything of that sort. After a while they also furnished fresh beef to the miners and planted a field of wheat for flour. The profits were large and the prices, high.
Frank opened a store and for several years bought and sold merchandise. His experience as a merchant gave him the ability to recall some of the early banking. There were no banks, and the customary place for depositing money was in stores. The settlers and miners would bring in their bags of gold dust, each bag being tagged with the owner's name, and all of them were thrown into a box provided by the merchant. When the owner wanted his money, he would come into the store, open the box, take out what belonged to him, and go on his way. The only profit to the merchant was the incidental increase of his trade, and there was no need of liability. Frank never recalled a case of dishonesty or robbery.
He sold his store in 1872, got into the cattle business, and through industry and fair dealing, became one of the leading cattle ranchers in the Northwest. As a rancher and stockman, his operation covered seven of the northwestern states, and at times his cattle herds numbered as many as 25,000 head. Many times he drove and shipped stock to Chicago markets, and once each year he drove his cattle to Cheyenne, Wyoming, for shipment to Eastern markets.
In 1881, he established a ranch on the Laramie plains near Laramie, Wyoming, and also owned ranches on the Dismal and Niobrara Rivers in Nebraska. In that same year, he acquired thousands of acres on the Tongue, Powder, and Rosebud Rivers in Montana and became one of the largest ranchers in that section. He also had cattle on the open range in Colorado.
Frank first concentrated his herds in Montana in 1882, his headquarters being at the present site of Miles City in Custer County. The Rosebud Ranch, known as the Diamond, was one of the largest ranches in the country. His brand was the diamond, and the Diamond Ranch was noted far and wide for its hospitality.
Frank was a whole-souled man, ever ready to assist a neighbor, be he a cowman, sheepman, or ranchman, in any way he could. A good many of the ranchmen living on the Rosebud and its tributaries have cause to gratefully remember Frank Robertson for favors done them by him. He was a friend to every man and enemy to none, as the saying goes. He often went a long way out of his way to assist a neighbor.
At a meeting of the Stockgrowers at Miles City in 1888, a motion was made by M.M. Holt of the Mizpah Livestock Company that no man who owned cows and a brand would be given work by the cattlemen as a rider, on the grounds that it would put too much temptation in the way of the cowboy to use his own iron on some of his employer's calves. Three members of the association - Frank Robertson, who was a charter member, Theodore Roosevelt, and William F. Needinghause - disagreed with this motion bitterly. All three of these men said that, if the motion were to pass, it would tend to make the cowboy work on the cattlemen's stock purely out of spite and so would increase the number of rustlers. Frank said that quite a number of his riders were men who owned a home on the Rosebud, and almost every one of them owned a few cows. They were good workers and, as far as he was concerned, he did not think he would question a man seeking employment with the Diamond as to whether he owned cows or not. He said that, if any of them intended to steal, they would be more apt to do it if he refused them a job because they owned a brand than they would be if they were riding for him. Roosevelt and Needinghause argued along the same lines, and when the motion was put to a vote, it was defeated.
Frank and his partner Joseph Scott were instrumental in forming the Montana Cattlemen's Association back in 1884 at Miles City, where he also had business interest.
Frank took over for the Meyers Brothers, who had vast holdings in the Shields Valley when they went broke during the winter of 1886-'87. It was a bad winter, and they lost 4,000 head of cattle. It was said you could walk on dead cattle all the way up the Shields Valley.
Frank had his headquarter for over 40 years in the Shields River Valley near Wilsall, Mont. Frank, for many years, had been a staunch believer in the superior quality of Montana grass as a resource for fitting cattle for the market. On his irrigation projects on the Shields River, he expended $100,000 in the movement, making it available for permanent feeding of sheep, cattle, hogs, and the growing of grain.
For the last 30 years before his death, Frank held interest in land with a partner, W. B. Jordan.
Frank's name has been associated not only with ranching, but also with banking and merchandising and many allied enterprises in the new country. For example, he held business interest in Spokane, Washington, including the Davenport Hotel, one of the finest hotels in Spokane. He also had fruit orchards in Portland, Oregon.
Frank was probably the last surviving member of the historic organization of the Vigilantes of Idaho. A long-time friend of Theodore Roosevelt, Frank was a guest at the White House after Roosevelt became president. Frank's nephew, Charley Robertson, took Roosevelt on a lion hunt in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Charley sent the saddle that Roosevelt used for the hunt to my grandfather... we still have it.
Men all over the Northwest knew of Frank as a constructive citizen, a pioneer who came into the country when there was little else than mining camps, buffalo, and wild cattle. Frank - whose home was in Wilsall in Park County, Montana - had driven cattle and engaged in bonanza farming in various sections of Montana and other states. It seemed that any enterprise to which he put his hand had been more than ordinarily successful, and he became a millionaire at a fairly young age. Frank never married, and he disposed of his means generously by helping a number of young men and women to educational advantages.
Frank succumbed to complications brought on by his advanced years. He died in Wilsall, Montana, on February 20, 1937. The body was brought to Livingston. Last rites were conducted in the Pemberton Funeral Home chapel on February 22. His remains were then taken to Spokane.