From 'Fanning the Embers', published 1971, Range Rider Reps, Miles City, Montana
I was born three miles east of Miles City to William and Ada Thomas Stone Oct. 12, 1893. I attended Kircher grade school and Miles City high school. Entertainment for the young folks were mostly country dances at Kircher school house, horseback riding in the summer and skating in the winter. My arm was broken when my pony threw me and drug me a short distance. Our family doctor, W. W. Andrus came to the farm, set and put a cast on.
Our neighbors were old time settlers. John Leonard, Bitles, Kircher, Johnson, Sam Gilmore, Dave Teeters, Charlie Kline, John Darcy, John Rooney, Henry Porter, Mrs. Sarah McKay, Fraser Ferguson, Jim Alderson and their families. As these moved out, younger ones took their place. A great many of these have passed away. The Alderson's son, Ray, is a well-known architect in San Diego, now retired.
I taught a private school for two of the Boyes family on Powder River the winter of 1913-14.
I married Robert W. Boyd of El Centro, Calif. He was born in Illinois, Oct. 15, 1887, to William and Sarah East Boyd. They moved to Texas in 1898. He learned to ride and cowboy there. He worked on the LS ranch until they sold out. The lady, a widow, who sold the ranch presented him with a gold engraved watch with his name, length of time of his employment and her name. This was highly regarded by him. His daughter now has it. In 1904, he and a pal, Claude McCalpin, came to Glendive with a train load of cattle for the XIT and were to go work for the company but when they saw how much larger the Montana saddle horses were than what they were used to and how hard they bucked, they put their saddles on a freight train and came to Miles City, where they done farm work that summer. They found that the Montana horses were really easier to ride than the smaller Texas horses were. That winter Robert went to work at the Kircher Coal mine. This mine was about five miles east of Miles City. He mined coal there several winters. He had many narrow escapes in the mine. One time a large block of coal fell across his legs. All he could do was yell which he did until the others heard and came to his rescue and pried the block off him. He carried a big dent in his leg the rest of his life.
Robert's family moved to El Centro, Calif. In 1908. He decided to go there, too, and worked for the Pioneer Transfer there for four years as foreman. After we married, we lived in El Centro until the big 1915 earthquake when we returned to Miles City. Our daughter, Ada Estella, was born here Aug. 21, 1915.
Shortly afterward, we had a cyclone that blew down Judge Loud's barn, killing several cows, crippled others that had to be killed. A team of horses which Mr. Walker was caring for, fell and his legs were caught under them for so long they were paralyzed for some time.
We took up a homestead about 21 miles north of Miles City on Sand Creek which I renamed Espom Creek because our spring was so alkili. My brothers Lewis, Jesse (Joe), and Bob also homesteaded in that area. John homesteaded in the Ashland area. My grandfather, John Thomas, also homesteaded on the North side.
We moved back to California in 1919 to run a dairy and farm in the heat of the Imperial Valley, a reclaimed desert, irrigated from the Colorado River brought in by the All American Canal. We retired in 1948 and moved to Castle Rock, Wash., in the Cool treecovered mountains. There my husband passed away in 1961. I sold our home and now live with my daughter and her husband in Seeley, Calif.
We experienced many earthquakes, some very hard, others light ones. The hardest ones were in 1915 and 1940 in California and in 1949 in Washington. Some move from east to west, others from north to south. One looked Eke waves rolling down Main Street in El Centro. The one in Washington whirled; I thought I was dizzy and caught hold of a fence. Then the dust raised, the chickens started running and squawking; I knew then it was an earthquake. One boy was killed there by a brick falling in the doorway at School. Another experience was the changeable Montana weather. We started to walk to my parent's home one sunny, warm day. It was about two miles and we were carrying our baby. About half way there a wind came up; our baby began to cry and fuss with the cold so my husband wrapped her in his sheepskin-lined coat. She fussed with her feet for sometime afterward.
The earliest Fourth of July celebration I remember was horse racing held south of Tongue River on the road to Fort Keogh. John Ramer was one of the main jockeys and race horse owner. The big problem was to get them started even. Seemed every race they were called back several times to start over again. After the races, the ranchers that had come in returned to Park Street, tied their teams in the shade, to the back of their wagons where they had hay for them. Then all gathered in the park and enjoyed the picnic lunches they had brought, usually consisting of fried chicken and the trimmings. In the evening there were fireworks.
In 1901, on the Fourth, was the worst hail storm I have ever witnessed. It started about 5 a.m. The Yellowstone River was to the top of its banks and full of large chunks of ice, Kircher Creek overflowed its banks and washed out some of my Father's potatoes. The draw near the present hospital was full. The only way you could get to town was to tie your team to the fence and walk the railroad.
When the Elks had their big convention here, around 1910, I rode in the parade with a group of girls that Tot McLain (now Mrs. Sherman Hunt) organized.
Our daughter married William W. Cook from Chinook, Mont. His parents were James N. and Mary Lions Cook. They were both from Illinois but met and married in Chinook, and raised horses here. Our daughter and her husband have three daughters, making me three granddaughters. I also have nine great-grandchildren, four boys and five girls.