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Monday, March 8, 2010

One last look...

Here are some pictures from a neighbor's branding that my Dad took.  I am copying what he had written on the back of these old pictures, and I cannot swear to the spelling  of Ward Haislett's name, because Dad was a worse speller than I am, but he always got the facts straight.  Picture #1:  "Tom Hovland branding at Joe Clark's.  Ritter and Coty Meserve holding.  Ward Haislett going over to cut one held down behind Tom.  Donald Weeding roping."
Picture #2:  "John Hooker and Gene Riley holding the calf.  Bill Dutton with the K.R.S."

  I copied my Dad's writing from the back of this last picture; here is what it says, just in case you can't read it.  Irv (Pollard) coming with the vaccine, Hooker and Gene Riley holding, Haislett cutting, Tom Hovland branding, and Billy (Dutton) standing by with the K.R.S. June 8, '57.  
Tom Hovland was an interesting character.  He was born Tobias Hovland on June 20, 1890 somewhere in Norway.  He came to the US in 1907, herded sheep and then homesteaded near Brusett.  He married May Hage and they lived about a mile up the creek from us along with her son Miles Phalen.  When he was old  he got Lou Gehrig's disease.  It was a terrible thing, and Geri took him back to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota on the train.  He was already suffering a good bit of  paralysis, and couldn't get around very well at all.  Geri had a terrible time trying to get him where they needed to go, and to make matters worse the railroad people were rude, abusive, and disrespectful to them.  This was in the 60s before any disability acts had been passed, so I suppose even if  they had a wheelchair there would have been very few ramps to use.  Geri took care of Tom at the house as long as she could, but eventually she had to take him to Miles City.  The day they were to leave for Miles, she called my Dad to drive them in to town.  So, they all loaded up in the Buick, and took off.  On the way out Tom asked if Dad could turn the car around so he could have one last look at the place.  From the hill, he could see their white house, the white garage, hay bottoms, and tall cottonwood trees growing along the Big Dry, and remember the good times he had there.   Tom died February 24, 1967 in Miles City, Montana. 


  1. Well, I didn't make it clear that Geri was actually May. The only person that called her May was her sister, Eva.

  2. I didn't know, for the longest time, that Geri's actual name was May!

    These pictures are just wonderful. There's so much in them that I've spent a long time looking and looking at them, at the little details. And Gramps' writing....

    I always wished I could've met Tom Hovland; I heard SO many stories about him, growing up. Thanks for writing this!

    (And the pictures of Dad as a little man make me smile!)

  3. First, you need to set your blog so that you'll have to approve comments before they're posted. Otherwise you'll have Chinese spammers like the one above.

    What a wonder day that must've been. I can only imagine how much fun it would be to work with a bunch of your friends and family. Hard work, but rewarding at the end of the day.