EXPERIENCES FROM THE MONTANA PRAIRIES


| July/August 1955


Trenton, Missouri

I was born in Minnesota in '88. In 1910 our family moved to South-east Montana. I landed at Miles City with barely enough cash to file on a homestead 45 miles Northwest of the town, and the railroad. The following summer I decided to attempt to purchase a power-plowing rig; and hikes to town to see what credit a flat-broke homesteader had with a machine dealer.

I finally bought an old 32 Cross-Compound Reeves engine, and an old 12 bottom plow. I was to pay $850.00 for the engine and $300.00 for the sod-buster. (No money down and pay when I could). The dealer was plenty glad to clear his yard of the old worn out equipment.

I was 3 weeks getting the outfit home. Enroute while crossing a narrow dry wash about 12 feet deep the heavy drivers collapsed the bridge. The front end reached solid ground; the bulky plow behind, not yet on the bridge, probably saved my life. The rear of the engine dropped the length of the plow tow chains and stopped. Four days later I was on my way.



We left town burning wood, ran out, and stopped to dig lignite coal from the outcroppings here and there along our bad-land route.

It was late fall when we reached the homestead. I spent the winter repairing and rebuilding the old engine. The fire box sheets and the crown sheet were buckled between nearly all the stay bolts. I put new stay bolts through the center of the worst buckles; also dovetailed in a new cog in one of the bull gears; plus many other major and minor repairs.



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