Dusting Off the Old Ones was published in 1961 by W. B. Clarke, Miles City, Montana.
The Naming of the Mizpah
Our stories are usually dated during that period when parents supported their children, and in time the children returned the favor. However, today for the basis of a part of our story, we will reach back into history farther than we ever expect to go again for any of our material. We have already been asked to furnish information as to the naming of the Mizpah, that creek which heads up below the nestling hills on the head of Pumpkin Creek, flowing northward and emptying into Powder river ten or twelve miles above tbe bridge at Locate on Highway No. 12. There is quite a story connected with the naming of this stream, and we are indebted to our good neighbor J. Fred Toman, who operates a ranch out in southeastern Montana (in Powder River county), for guiding us in our research in connection with the naming of this creek. We presume that most of our readers are aware that the name Mizpah is a Bibical name, but for the sake of those few of you who are not, we had better review the history that is found in Chapters 28 to 31 of the Book of Genesis, the first book in the Bible. In these chapters is found the story that Isaac, the father of Jacob, told Jacob not to look for a wife among the Canaanites, but to go to another land and look for his helpmeet. Jacob's mother, Rebekah, had a brother named Laban, who lived in the land to the east, and this was where Jacob was directed to go. Upon arriving in that new land, Jacob hired out to Laban for seven years, after which he was to receive Laban's daughter, Rachel, for his wife, but when the seven years were up, Laban gave Jacob the elder daughter, Leah, for his recompense. Jacob took her, but was not satisfied. He then worked another seven years for Laban in order to obtain Rachel for his wife. After obtaining Rachel, he then worked another seven years for Laban in order to obtain a portion of the herds of stock. Things did not go well between father and son-in-law, so Jacob got his families together and they moved out between two suns and were well on their way, when Laban became apprized of their departure Laban followed them and, upon overtaking them, he and Jacob entered into a covenant that they would not interfere with each other any more. In entering into this covenant they set up a large stone as a pillar. Laban named this pillar MIZPAH and after so naming it, spoke the words which have since been known as the Mizpah Benediction, which we will give you further along in the story. Now, we suppose that you are wondering what all this has to do with the naming of the Mizpah, the creek in Montana--well, we do not have the space to finish the story this week, so look for the balance of the story next week.