Dusting Off the Old Ones was published in 1961 by W. B. Clarke, Miles City, Montana.
First Criminal Case Tried in Custer County
Custer County was originally Big Horn County, when the territory was divided into counties by the first legislative assembly in February, 1865. Although eight of the nine original counties were given temporary county seats and were thus in a position to organize their county government, by the same act of the legislature, Big Horn County was attached to Gallatin County for legislative purposes as well as judicial purposes. It was not until 1877, after the name of the county had been changed to Custer County, that Miles City was designated as the county seat of Custer County and a board of county commissioners were appointed by the Governor with authority to organize the county by appointing the necessary county officers. It appears from the records that the type of criminal cases now handled by Justices of the Peace were at that time handled by the Probate Judge. The first criminal case of record in the Probate Court was filed on August 6, 1877, when Hugh J. Hoppy, the newly appointed sheriff of Custer County, filed a sworn complaint against one Theodore Hanson, alleging that Hanson did disturb the peace by making loud and tumultuous noise by fighting, etc., all of which is contrary to the statute in such case made and provided. The records show that a warrant was issued, placed in the hands of the sheriff for service, and that the defendant was brought into court. He plead guilty and was fined $10 and costs, amounting in all to $25.35. A notation of "defendant released for labor for sheriff" appears opposite the record of this trial, so there must have been an arrangement made in those days whereby a prisoner could work out his fine.