Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Farm homesteading

Montana Homestead

My mom's family was very close growing up.  The siblings all got together for dinner almost every weekend. I have talked about how close the cousins became at this time growing up.  This transferred into adulthood as well.  Every summer around the 4th of July the cousins still make the trip to Montana to sit and talk of old times and current events in their lives.  I remember as a kid going there for the 4th of July parade and playing in the big red barn.  Some of my best memories growing up are from being with this extended family.  The kids would play on the huge round bales and just plain enjoy life on the farm. 

My Grand Uncle has recently started to write his family history growing up on this farm, taking over the farm and eventually passing it on the his son.
"In 1908 Harris Clark made a quick trip to Montana to stake his claim:  the west 1/2 of Section 34, Township 31, Range 57 which was adjoining the Cookson's new location in Montana established in 1908.  the homesteading had to take place first so early in March 1909 he started assembling his minimal needs for the future farm in Montana.
We found his list of belongings that he bought to load into the immigrant car that he rented to make the trip to his claim in Montana.  I will list some of them so the readers in the 21st century can compare prices:  Four oxen at $50.00 each; but he must have hired someone to break them to work for $5.00, Hotel bill $4.00, three meals for $1.00, two rings to be installed in the oxen noses 90 cents, lumber for claim shack $28.40, 20 disc (10 foot) drill $15.00, (compare this to a modern 60 foot air drill); 50 bushels of flax seed $65.00, 5 gallons of gasoline $1.50 (no doubt for laundry stove), and Great Northern box car freight $35.00.  With these and other various items, he headed west to become hopefully a future successful farmer and stockman".  (Donald Clark history)

His family did have to work in town that first year so that they could feed the oxen and have some ready cash in order to survive.  Life was hard on the farm.
"The homesteaders had incredible courage to face the possible hazards in their future; on January 10, 1912, two days before our mother's birthday, she got an early present, a first born son.  Our dad had barely enough time to make the four mile round trip by bobsled to bring a midwife to assist in the delivery.  The temperature was 55 degrees below zero that morning.  The closest doctor was in Culbertson, 28 miles away.  With no telephone to summon him, and only transportation was by team and sled.  For the comparison between the "then and now", I will add that the total expense was probably $5.00".  (Donald Clark history)

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