This collection includes fifteen interviews with long-time central Montana residents detailing places, events and changes in the Lewis and Clark National Forest and surrounding area. The interviews were conducted in 1997 by Dave Wanderaas, Judith Pressmar, Cathy Luiken, Kelly Keim, Richard Newton, and Sarah Jaffe. The interviewees discuss sheep and cattle herding, moonshining, mining, firefighting, relations with the Forest Service and the presence of the Work Progress Administration [WPA] and Civilian Conservation Corps [CCC]. The original interviews are held as Oral History collection OH 365 at Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula.
This collection includes 15 interviews.
Byron Berg and Lauretta Berg
Byron Berg describes his father growing up in Castle, Montana, and attending school in Ringling, Montana. Lauretta Berg recalls her history with Martinsdale, Montana, and her family’s logging background in Washington State. Byron discusses the jail in Martinsdale, coal camps, mining in the mountains, and prospectors during and after the Depression era, particularly Bill LaClair. The Bergs offer anecdotes on the changing wildlife population in the area, both prey and predators, particularly ungulates, mountain lion and wolves.
Portions of the interview are restricted at the request of the interviewee.
Dennis Tanberg of Harlowtown, Montana, describes the geography of the Crazy Mountains, particularly the Loco Peak area. He describes some practical details of mountain sheepherding, such as food caching and trail traversing. He discusses U.S. Forest Service grazing allotments, the Billings remount station, and other ranchers.
Emmet Tieg and Elsie Tieg
Emmet Tieg and Elsie Tieg recall how they came to be working their home ranch near the Lewis and Clark National Forest, grazing on Forest Service land with a permit, care and use of the trails on that land, and logging. They describe encounters with hobos, fighting fires, sparse wildlife in the Crazy Mountains, and sheepherding in central Montana.
Ernie Jellison describes the construction and layout of his family’s cabin, homesteads and other buildings in Two Dot and Harlowton, Montana. He recalls sheepherding and ranch work as well as his father and grandfather’s sawmill and ranching activities.
George Cameron describes his childhood, sheepherding, mines and fire lookouts in the Crazy Mountains in Montana. Cameron details his school years, his career with the U.S. Forest Service, and the introduction of the telephone to the area. He explains his relationship with traveling laborers who came to his ranch, especially after World War Two. He discusses the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), particularly the workers’ camps and their work and living routines. Cameron describes some specific ranger stations around Montana, as well as the individuals who manned them. He also mentions Fort Howe.
Glenn Lillegard recalls his childhood and early career in carpentry, horse-herding and sheepherding. He discusses his family’s ranch, their daily routine and business of running a ranch. He describes the effects of forest fires on the ranching practices and run-ins with rangers over out-of-season hunting. He gives his opinion on a few modern Forest Service policies, and recalls the relationship of the Hutterite community with other area residents.
Grant Canoy and Herb Sherburne
Grant Canoy discusses mining in the Little Belt Mountains of Montana, specifically the Yogo Peak district. He recalls old prospectors including Paul Vdovic. He describes homesteading, farming and sheepherding in the area, including Basque sheepherders. He returns to mining in discussing false mining rush at Alton about 1892, near Glacier National Park, and the consequences of that rush on the Blackfeet nation. Grant and Herb Sherburne discuss assessment work, “gold witching,” claim jumping, and sniping.
Irwin Allen describes working with the U.S. Forest Service for his grazing allotments. He discusses his sheepherding days, and briefly, mining. Allen moves on to his schoolboy days, and his intermittent summer employment and firefighting with the Forest Service. He relates his experiences with individual rangers, such as John Inman and David Lake.
Archives and Special Collections only holds the transcript for this interview, not the audio.
Jim McDonald and Jackie McDonald
Jim McDonald discusses his grandparents’ move to Montana and his father’s ranch work. The McDonalds explain their relationship with the U.S. Forest Service as it pertains to block management for allowing the public to hunt elk on their ranchland and rotation grazing. The McDonalds recall childhood memories and detail some of the livestock problems with the wolves’ return, as well as conflicts with other predators.
Joe Morse and Diane Morse
Joe Morse and Diane Morse discuss their family’s history of running sheep and cattle in the Lewis and Clark National Forest around Two Dot, Montana. They describe their relationship with the U.S. Forest Service, based on the need for grazing permits. They mention other families in the region, including the Magers, Martins, Cosgriffes, Brannins, Wards, Arthurs, Muirs, Cass, Sedgewicks, and Glenns. They explain the Elk Horn Ranch history, the Elk Lake area of Yellowstone National Park, specifically the Elk Lake area, the Crazy Mountains and Musselshell River areas, and Bozeman, Montana.
Lewis “Lew” Miller describes his early childhood, including his move from Kansas to Montana with his family during the early 20th century. He discusses the Snowy Mountains including his first job herding sheep in the “Big Snowies.” He mentions Careless Creek and Swimming Woman Creek, hunting, forest fire fighting, and moonshining in the area. Miller describes an incident with summer tourists and speculates on the scattered history of mining in the area.
Roy Brewington, a resident of Swimming Woman, Montana, recalls his family history in various towns near Swimming Woman and Judith Gap, Montana, dealings with Indians, shared telephone lines, going to dances, and logging in isolated areas during the 1930s. He gives descriptions of various trails before they were roads such as the Buffalo Trail that mostly became Highway 191.
Ruth Cameron and Ray Blaquiere
Ruth Cameron recounts her childhood in Harlowtown, Montana, and her experience with the U.S. Forest Service through her husband’s career. She discusses their residences at several Forest Service ranger stations. She details her married activities, such as cooking and hiring transient help for her family’s ranch. Cameron recounts some local history of the railroad, and finishes with commentary on the relationship between the Forest Service and the community.
Ruth Hardenbrook provides stories from her childhood, including those of her parent’s involvement with J.B. Long Company at Long Ranch, Montana. She discusses packstrings, moonshining, the Blue Dick mine and mining in general in the mountains. She mentions specific Forest Rangers, describes Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) projects in the Lewis and Clark National Forest, and offers memories of fire lookouts.
Portions of the interview are restricted at the request of the interviewee.
Wayne Carpenter, a resident of Ryegate, Montana, recalls his step-father’s (Jess Sterling) involvement in making moonshine during Prohibition, horse rustling, and various cattle operations. He provides an account of the execution of Lee Simpson, the last public hanging in Montana.