Dusting Off the Old Ones was published in 1961 by W. B. Clarke, Miles City, Montana.
Who was Robert Thompson?
Our stories are usually dated during that period when there was a hitching rail in front of every saloon and nearly every store in Miles City. We are always thankful for tips from our friends as to subjects for stories which we might relate in this column, so we were more than pleased recently when Casey Barthelmess came into the office and stated that he had been "visiting" up around the Custer County cemetery and had noticed a headstone with a singular inscription on it that he did not remember of having noticed before. The headstone is made of native sandstone and has the following engraved on it:
May 6,1882
At Miles City, M. T.
Relatives Unknown
Erected by Order of
Probate Judge
C. W.
The records over at the courthouse indicate that Mr. Thompson was a grading contractor on the construction of the Northern Pacific Railroad when it was built thru Montana in the early eighties. At the time of his death, Thompson was working on the grade at Guy's Bluff, about lOO miles west of Miles City, and just this side of the present site of the Custer postoffice. Incidentally Guy's Bluff was named for Robert Guy, one time sheriff of Rosebud County, and the grandfather of our fellow townsman, Orville Guy Isaac. Thompson's estate was administered in Custer County, and in the course of administration, although advertisements were inserted in the New York Herald and other eastern papers, no relatives were discovered to claim his estate. This estate consisted principally of a grading outfit of several spans of mules and a miscellaneous assortment of grading tools, all of which were sold at public auction, with the exception of one span of mules which was stolen before the administrator could be appointed and take over the estate. There was a balance due the estate from the general contractor of some $5,000. It seems that Thompson was buried in 1882, and then in December, 1883, at a cost of $30 his remains were disinterred and buried in their present resting place. There appears in the court files a receipt showing that the court paid $100 for the headstone mentioned and the setting of the same. The records also show that better than $4,000 was turned over to the territorial treasurer on December 11, 1884, as no heirs had appeared to claim the assets of the estate. Charles Walker was probate judge during the administration of the estate.