From 'Fanning the Embers', published 1971, Range Rider Reps, Miles City, Montana
David Bickle Sr. came to Montana by way of the Black Hills in 1881. He became ranch manager for the TeeDee outfit headquartered on O'Fallon Creek and owned by a firm of importers from Boston. The TeeDee ran some 8,000 head of cattle of their own and about 5,000 on lease.
The winter of 1886-87 thousands of cattle were lost in Montana, an extremely hard winter. Russell's picture "The Last of the 5000" was true of nearly all ranches and the TeeDee was no exception. The TeeDee became a horse ranch and Mr. Bickle bought sheep for himself in partnership with Kenneth McLean, whose ranch joined the TeeDee spread.
In 1889 Mr. Bickle left the TeeDee outfit to manage his sheep himself. He established his headquarters on a springy draw, which the TeeDee had used as a bull camp when they were in the cattle business. It is still the headquarters of the David Bickle Jr. ranch today, now managed by sons Jim and Hal.
In 1896 George Burt, a wealthy young man from Illinois, bought 100 sections of land in this area and with his purchase the days of the open range came to a close. The ranchers who were already established immediately bought land to safeguard their operation from "rich easterners".
With admirable foresight, Mr. Bickle decided to buy on the smaller creeks and tributaries instead of the already crowded O'Fallon Creek. He purchased land from the Northern Pacific Railroad on Pine Creek, Hay Creek and Sandstone Creek. For the next ten years Mr. Bickle's only aims were building up his stock. He increased his sheep to some eight bands; wether bands, 5,000 to a band, and ewe bands of 2,500. Horses were added to the stock, Morgans and Hambletonians; usually around 800 head were on the ranch. Eventually cattle returned to the range and Mr. Bickle acquired about 300-400 head.
In 1889, David Bickle married Carrie Fluss, who had come to Montana from Illinois with her sister, Mrs. Burt. The next 15 years were busy ones that saw the birth of their four children, David, Jr.; Nina (Mrs. Powell); Arthur and Ora (Mrs. John Weinschrott). It saw the coming of the Milwaukee Railroad, homesteaders and the establishment of towns along the Milwaukee. The Bickle family built a home in Ismay, became interested in businesses other than ranching. Mr. Bickle was an orginal stockholder in the State Bank at Terry, the First National Bank of Ismay and the Bank of Baker. He was president of the Bank of Baker until his death. He was one of the owners of the Earlingburt store in Ismay and stockholder in several early day businesses.
In 1915 the sheep, some 40,000 of them, were sold and the Bickle ranch became a cattle ranch only.
In 1931 a second Bickle Ranch was established on the Sandstone, headquarters for son Art. It remains today headquarters for Bickle, Inc., owned by Art and son Bill.
Arthur married Ursella Sullivan, daughter of James and Mary Barbara Sullivan, in 1931. They have two children, Mary Barbara Bickle Chinske and Arthur William Jr., who married Sheila Connelly and lives at Ismay.