Dusting Off the Old Ones was published in 1961 by W. B. Clarke, Miles City, Montana.
What has Become of the Old Time Country Dance?
The automobile has been blamed for a good many changes in our mode of living, both economic and social. One of the changes that has come to our social living by the advent of the auto, is that it has practically eliminated the old time country dance. The country dance used to be quite an event back in the horse and buggy days. In every community during the fall, winter and spring, there would be gatherings at the different ranch houses, when all the neighbors for miles around would show up right after dark, start dancing and dance until midnight when supper was served, and after supper, dancing would continue until daybreak. Just take one neighboring community for example -- the Pine Hills to the east of us. There was never a season when there was not at least one dance at Big Mike's -- Preller's -- Bircher's -- Fessler's -- Dominy's -- Klunder's -- or the Hill ranch. The living room carpets would be rolled up and the dining room tables pushed into a corner, and the party would be on. Folks would come from all over the Hills -- from Powder River -- from Pumpkin Creek -- from the valley -- and from town. The music was varied -- there was nearly always a fiddle or two, accompanied by someone with a guitar, a mandolin, a piano or even that old popular mouth harp. They would play waltzes, two steps, square dances, schottisches, polks, jigs, three steps and one steps. Some of the tunes popular at the time were "Coming Thru the Rye" -- "Old Dan Tucker" -- The Irish-Washerwoman -- "The Eighth of January" -- "Pop Goes the Weasel" -- "Over the Waves" -- and "The Arkansas Traveler". One particular dance that will stand out in the memories of the Pine Hills folks that the Bircher Batchelor Brothers put on at Big Mike's along in the spring of 1915. If you have never been to a country dance, you have missed a part of the Old West.