From 'Fanning the Embers', published 1971, Range Rider Reps, Miles City, Montana
By Estelle Baker
My father, William A. (Billy) Broadbent came to Billings, Mont. from Nebraska in the spring of 1889. His brother Edward had been here for some years and influenced my father to come to Montana.
Uncle Edward had a band of sheep, about 3,000, in the Billings area, my father was the herder. Years later he told me that he had bedded sheep for several weeks on what is now The Midland Empire Fair grounds. Later they moved them up on the bench land and in the fall they trailed them to Taylor Creek (Big Dry Country) north of Miles City where Uncle Edward had established a ranch site. Here the two brothers engaged in sheep raising. After two years, Edward decided to leave and my father bought his share of the property. Building up a ranch from scratch seems to have been a challenge that my father enjoyed.
There was one occurrence which my father recounted to me just once: One summer a young man from Boston came to the ranch eager to experience rough and ready life of the west. He was likeable and useful and it was agreed that he would stay all winter. He talked so much about Boston that he was given, not unkindly, the nickname of Boston. In late November, my father and Boston went deer hunting. Father took his rifle and walked to where he would find deer. Boston had a shotgun and said he would try for a rabbit. Father warned him not to go farther than shouting distance from the wagon. Father returned to the wagon to go pick up his deer, Boston was not there, he shouted several times and fired his rifle, but got no response. After picking up his deer he shouted again and fired his rifle many times to bring him in. He then decided that he had gone home, but Boston was not there. A fog was moving in and it turned to snow. The weather turned very cold and kept snowing. All hands turned out to find Boston. One man went to the LU bar to enlist help. Boston was found dead just a quarter of a mile from safety. He still had the shotgun, but it had not been fired. He had walked ten miles, lost his directions and became completely bewildered by the storm. My father was terribly upset; he felt responsible -- even though Boston was as old as he was, he wasn't experienced. One of the men and my father made the trip to town to report the death and contact Boston's family. While making this trip to town another blizzard came up when they were about halfway. They unhooked the horses and tied them to the wagon and removed the tarp from their bed. Then they fastened it around their wagon on the windy sides and crawled underneath. Here they stayed for two days and nights in sub-zero weather with no food and no fire. The horses had one feeding of oats and he said, "Those poor brutes had to stand tied and take that storm, there was nothing we could do for them." He said, "I was lucky I had my pipe to keep my nose warm."
On Oct. 1, 1896, William Broadbent and Cora Lansing Peacock, a widow with two small daughters, were married. The family made their home on the ranch where I was born in July, 1897. My father ranched on the northside until 1906, when he moved to Rosebud County, now Treasure County. Here he ranched for many years. In 1925, my parents and their two youngest children moved to Whitehall, Mont. where they lived until my father's death in 1940. My mother died at the home of a daughter in Huntley, Mont., Dec. 5, 1947.
There were eight daughters and one son in the William Broadbent family. Two daughters passed away many years ago, one daughter lives in Wyoming, one in Seattle, Wash., one in Medford, Ore. The son lives near Salem, Ore. Three daughters remain in Montana, one at Lewistown, two, including myself, (Mrs. A. W. Baker) at Forsyth.