THE J. T. HAMILTON FAMILY
From 'Echoing Footsteps', published 1967, Powder River County Extension Homemakers Council
By Emily Hamilton
Mr. Hamilton was born in Keokuk, Iowa, and moved to Box Butte County, Nebraska, as a young man. While living in Lead, South Dakota, he drove the stage between Deadwood and Rapid City during the days when "Wild Bill Hickock" and Calamity Jane were in their hey-day. Mrs. Hamilton was born in Ontario, Canada, and came with her parents when a young girl to Nebraska. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Gaskill, came to Stacey to make their home a few years after their daughter and her family established their residence there. John T. Hamilton (J. T.) and his wife, Emma (Gaskill Hamilton with their two older children, Mabel and Leo, came to Montana in 1893 from Lead, South Dakota. They took up a homestead on the site later known as Stacey and acquired more land to build up a cattle ranch. In the meantime, Mr. Hamilton erected a two story building, across the roadway from the family home, in which he started a General Store. The upper floor was used for a dance hall and, on occasions, a roller skating rink. Later more buildings were added, namely, a drug store, a hotel, blacksmith shop and a livery stable. The post office of Stacey was moved from Big Pumpkin with the stage from Miles City carrying the mail. Mr. Hamilton served as postmaster' and also on the school board. He was responsible for arranging for the first doctor in the community, a Dr. Evans from Paducah, Kentucky. A baseball team was organized and played against the Ashland team. On the Fourth of July, a community picnic was held, a rodeo, and a baseball game, followed by a dance in the evening. Fireworks, pink lemonade, and homemade ice cream delighted the small fry of those early days. Over on the Rosebud, some Cheyenne Indians had murdered a sheepherder, consequently the surrounding community was apprehensive of an Indian uprising. Mrs. Hamilton, at that time was alone on the ranch with three children as Mr. Hamilton was working as a carpenter at Fort Keogh and came home only on weekends. One day she was startled by the noise of yelling in the distance and upon going out to investigate, she saw a group of Indians approaching as fast as they could ride on their ponies. However, they went by the house to the brow of a little hill just north a short way and held a powow. Then, they wheeled and headed west up toward the Kelsey ranch. Fearing they might come back, the thoroughly freightened Mrs. Hamilton, hurriedly placed the youngest child in a small wagon and with the other two children, walked as fast as she could to the Charley Daly ranch some three miles distance. In the meantime, Mr. Hamilton, having heard of the Indian scare, had left Ft. Keogh by bicycle for Stacey. Upon arriving at home he found the family gone so he, too, took off for the Daly ranch. As it turned out these Indian riders were Indian police who were hunting for the Indians that were responsible for the death of the sheepherder. Four other children were born to the Hamiltons at Stacey: Raymond, Donald, Orville, and Millard. In 1912, Mr. Hamilton sold his interest in the store to Alexander Campbell (Mr. Campbell came from Scotland and after leaving Stacey studied voice in New York and sang in the Metropolitan Opera), and Zi Walbridge. In the spring of 1913, the Hamilton family moved to Miles City where Mr. Hamilton had accepted a job as Receiver of Public Monies in the U. S. Land Office. Shortly after this appointment, he purchased the Miles City American, a weekly newspaper.