Dusting Off the Old Ones was published in 1961 by W. B. Clarke, Miles City, Montana.
The Mizpah is Named
Our stories are usually dated during that period when horsepower was measured by the number of horses hitched to a conveyance rather than the number of cylinders in an engine. Last week, we started to tell you the story of the manner in which Mizpah creek obtained its name, relating that Mizpah was a Bibical name, and that, according to the story revealed in Chapters 28 to 31 in the Book of Genesis, when Jacob and his father-in-law, Laban, parted company, they entered into a covenant and set up a pillar which Laban named MIZPAH, and after so naming it, spoke the words which have since that time been known as the Mizpah Benediction. And now to get a little closer to the scene of our story than the Middle East, we will have to skip over a long period of time, and will also have to move quite a distance westward. For it was in June, 1859, that an expedition of army and scientific men left Fort Pierre, South Dakota, under the leadership of Captain W. F. Raynolds, an army engineer, to explore and map the Yellowstone watershed and some adjacent territory. They came around the north side of the Black Hills, across the Little Missouri river, and over to where Ridge, Montana, now stands on the map. From there, to Little Powder river, following the Little Powder to its mouth. They crossed Big Powder at or near this point and undertook to go down that river on the west side, but found the lay of the land so broken by gulches and bluffs, that they took off to the west toward the divide between Powder river and the Mizpah, which was as yet unnamed. According to Captain Raynolds' Journal, which is published in the Exploration of the Yellowstone, the expedition left Powder river on the morning of July 27, 1859. In the entry in his journal of that date, Raynolds states: "While upon the hill to-day, and as I was riding rapidly in advance of the train with a view of finding a route by which we could return to the valley, I lost a much valued seal, and, as this mishap occurred near the source of the branch we had discovered by leaving the river, I named the creek after the motto on the seal." It is evident that Captain Raynolds was a religious man because it was an established practice of the expedition to rest the teams on Sunday and hold religious services. The motto on the seal was undoubtedly the Mizpah Benediction, which we have previously mentioned, and is to be found in the 49th verse of the 31st chapter of the book of Genesis, and which, according to the King James version of the Bible reads: "The Lord watch between me and thee when we are absent from one another."