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The Western news. (Stevensville, Mont.) 1890-1977, December 16, 1910, Image 5

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84036207/1910-12-16/ed-1/seq-5/

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Edwa rds ' Rema r kable Trip
to Deer Lodge for Succor
So much has been written of the
Big Hole battle that it Is doubtful if
ianything is left of the main story
that has not been told. There are,
however, many incidents of the fight
that, it is believed, are not so well
One of the most remarkable experi
ences of the memorable contest fell
to the lot of "Billy" Edwards, who per
formed the almost incredible or feat of
walking two days and two nights for
tthe purpose of obtaining aid from
Deer Lodge, whither he was sent by
'General Gibbins. The long journey
was made without stopping and, as
there were no places on the way to ob
tain food, without eating.
Edwards was dispatched from the
scene of the battle on the evening of
the first day of the fight. General
•Gibbins in command of the United
States troops and the Bitter Root citi
zens, feared the outcome of the strug
gle unless assistance were secured. It
was imperative, -he reasoned, that
someone be sent to Deer Lodge to ask
for aid. and Edwards, a man of pow
:■ ■
The Laie William Edwards.
erful physique and great endurance,
was allotted the task.
With a companion, Edwards set out
at nightfall. About noon of the first
day out, his companion, famished for
food and weak from exertion, gave out,
and Edwards, forced to leave him, con
tinued the terrible journey alone. No.
further word was ever heard of the
unfortunate man who was left behind,
and the theory has always been held
that he was captured by the Indians.
A Terrible Journey.
In the morning of the third day out,
after two days and three nights of
continuous travel on foot, Edwards
xeached Deer Lodge. He went at once
to the old Sam Scott house, a tavern
for wayfarers in the 70s. Completely
overcome by exhaustion he was able to
speak but a few words of his mission.
He asked to be permitted to sleep, and,
after a meal and four or five hours of
rest, he told the news of the battle to
the anxious residents who crowded
about him. Assistance was, of course,
offered, as was common in those days,
but before it arrived at the site of the
conflict the battle had issued in a vic
tory for the white settlers.
Seldom has a greater task been put
upon a man than that committed to
Edwards. With patriotic zeal he gave
no thought to self, but bravely set out
upon a journey that has few parallels
in the privations exacted. Not many
men could have withstood the trip, and
fewer would have attempted it. The
act. in its heroic accomplishment and
its futility, stands as one of the best
of many instances of pioneer sacrifice
and bravery.
Incidents of the Battle.
Bunch Sherrill, who participated in
the battle, tells many incidents of the
fight. He claims that during the con
test he established a record for a 700
yard footrace that has never been beat
en. He was one of a small detachment
who attempted to defend a cannon be
longing to the whites from capture by
the Indians. When the tide went
against the settlers, Bunch turned and
skurried down the hillside for cover.
The course he took led down a steep
incline, and this, added to the neces
sity for haste, convinces Bunch that
he must have shattered all records for
long-distance running.
The late Joe Blodgett. Mr. Sherrill
says, killed the only Indian at the
place the cannon was taken away
iront the whites. The skirmish was
iively for a while, but Blodgett was
the only man who dropped a redskin.
When tlie Indians had captured the
cannon, they battered it up and rolled
t down hill into Trail creek.
One of the settlers by the name of
Bennett' had a a unusual experience
luring the fight over the cannon. A
horse hitched to the cannon was shot
and fell across his body. The animal
was not killed by the bullet, but was
unable to regain his feet, and Bennett
vas effectually pinned to the ground.
His companions had their hands full
fighting the Indians, and Bennett had
to act quickly to escape. Reaching
into his pocket he pulled out a jack
kniie with which he prodded the horse
until the wounded animal, crazed by
the pain, struggled to its feet and re
leased Bennett, who lost no time mak
ing his getaway.
Chinese ar,d the Morse Cede.
Difficulties of the Chinese language
were ably demonstrated when the
problem arose of adapting it to tele
graphy. flow was it possible to apply
the Morse alphabet to a language
which has no alphabet at all, but com
sists of nearly 44,000 characters?
Then it was impossible to treat Chi
nese phonetically, writing down the
sound of the Chinese words in Euro
pean letters and translating them into
Morse dots and dashes, because no
such system could deal with the Chi
nese niceties of intonation. The in
genious solution came from a Danish
professor. He simply codified the
7,000 commonest Chinese characters,
representing each by numerals. Thus
the Chinese word for "cash" became
oo.'io in the code, and the operator had
oulv to send the code signal for that.

Not only in its apples and its field
products does the Bitter Root valley ;
excel, but in its babies as well.
Little Florence Merle Weyman, who
is shown in the above picture, is a
Bitter Root product. She was born .
in Missoula 15 months ago and now !
A Duck Hunt in South Africa
Here is a story of duck hunting in
South Africa which will sound good to
a sportsman. Mr. W. H. Weyman, who
tells the story, spent several years of
his life as a deep-water sailor, and the
following tale will be found to be in
teresting to those who are loud of
reading about the odd corners of the
earth :
"Ly taking up au atlas and looking
at the intersection of the 23d degree
south and the 15th degree east one Will
discover the territory of Damara Land,
on the west coast of Africa, one of the
most dreary Godforsaken 'lands' on
tiie fact of Mother Earth.
"Right at the intersection of those
two lines will also be found the set
tlement of Walfish Bay, built on the
shores of the bay of that name. On
the 15th day of February, 1901, I en
tered Walfish Bay in company with
five others, having arrived from out
of the west in a big ship's lifeboat.
lives with her parents, Mr. and Mrs.
W. H. Weyman, in Hamilton,
If anyone doubts the healthfulness
of the Bitter Root valley, either as a
place of birth or residence, let him
observe Baby Florence's bulging
cheeks and satisfied expression.
The reason for the lifeboat is another
story, however, and it was only after
my second trip into Walfish Bay
three weeks later, that the crusade
was made on the ducks, or as they are
I called there, 'dykers.'
j "On Saturday night, the mate, Mr.
I Smith, made me a proposition to go
j ashore the following morning and have
a try at the ducks. To that 1 willing
ly agreed, and so. bright and early the
next morning saw us off for shore
in a ship's boat, armed with a couple
of double-barrel shotguns and with
a goodly number of shells. Reaching
the shore we shifted our apparatus
into a Norwegian 'pram,' a kind of boat
for which Scandinavians iiave a dis
tinctive liking. A 'pram' draws but a
couple of inches of water, having
about half its length sticking up into
the air. Our own boat took too much
water for where we had to go, which
was the reason for our change.
"Now a 'pram' may have a great
number of good points, but to a man
used to pulling a 'clinker' built Eng
lish boat, they failed to materialize
and the (liree mile pull had lengthened
into five on account of the number of
times I turned the Norwegian boat
around while trying to go straight
"About three miles south of the set
tlement is one of the numerous sand
spits running out into the ocean, this
one being about a quarter of a mile
long and upwards of 500 feet across
As we neared this spit of land, we
found it to be literally black with a
closely packed undulating mass of
ducks. So great a number were there
that it was almost impossible to see
a speck of the yellow sand beneath.
Changing seats in the 'pram' I sat so
as to face the ducks and pulled very
gently. Mr. Smith was perched up in
the bows with his gun ready, while
mine rested between my knees. As
we drew closer to the shore some of
the ducks took wing. I sung out to
the mate to fire and raising his gun
lie let drive both barrels in quiick suc
cession, while with a roar of wings
like distant thunder the countless
number of birds rose in the air and
started up the coast, right over oura
heads. So many were they that as
they passed overhead only an occas
ional patch of blue sky could be seen.
Dropping the skulls, 1 grabbed up the
gun and fired, first one barrel and
then the other. Mr. Smith had re
loaded and got in a couple more shots
before the ducks got out of range.
"Landing the mate on the spit of
land to gather up the birds that fell
from his first fire, I started out. to
pick up the ones in the water. 1 got
them all in the boat except one, that
had a wing broken. It could not fly
but it could swim and It sure gavé me
a merry chase before I got within
reach of it with an oar.
"Counting up, we found we had got
29 birds with the six shots, which we
considered no^ bad for amateurs.
"Puljing back to the settlement we
found g'couple of the men from our
ship getting ready to make a draw
with 4 net, which we had made. Lend-
ing .our assistance, the draw was
made, bringing in about 200 pounds
of fish, most of them being a fish re-
sembling, the mackrel. After dinner
two_ more draws were made. Late in
the afternoon we returned on board
our ship with our ducks and a boatload
of fish, being pretty well satisfied
with our day's sport."
- . Lost» Strayed or Stolen.
Four steers, one four, anji three two
years old from Eight Mile ranch,
branded C with a bar through it on left
thigh and double notch on left ear. If
stolen, >150 reward will be paid for
apprehension of guilty party and >100
addition upon conviction.
Horses and Guns Media of
Exchange in Pioneer Days
In these days of big land values,
when Improved orchard land sells as
high as >1,000 an acre, it is Interesting
to recall that 45 years ago one of the
best farms in the valley, the Slack
ranch near Corvallis, was bought for
a rifle and a horse. Only a squatter's
right was exchanged, but it served as
the foundation of the patent that was
issued by the government a few years
Today this farm, in its improved
state of cultivation, would command a
price of more than >200 an acre. The
span from the days of the rifle and the
horse to the present time covers the
almost incredible development that the
pioneer has witnessed: A.;.
Among the jurymen doing service
this month in the district?court is Wil
liam H. Slack of Corvallië. who dates
his residence in the Bitter Root, val
ley back to the time when but nine
families dwelt between Missoula and
the Skalkaho. To a Western -News
reporter a few nights ago he opened up
this long vista of the past, and told
of things that happened when half the
present population of the valley was
yet uhborn. He can speak at first
hand of nearly half a century of life in
the Bitter Root.
In his time-.lie has seen Missoula
grow from.a collection of crude huts,
with a water system, supplied by an
Indian who piloted a slçd and three
'Barrels from Rattlesnake, te'-a ruodern
city of nearly 20.000 soijis, who ride in
electric-street cars and enjoy every
municipal convenience of the hour, lie
has seen Hamilton emerge from a des
olate gravel bar that was contempt
uously passed up by the first comers,
who were looking for land, not town
sites. He has seen the pioneers, gray
visaged, worn and ••■toil-weary, lay
down their tasks and. one by one. join
the silent procession to the shadows.
Eventful years have been these in the
Bitter Root-—years of amazing trans
formations, of hardship and travail.
Mr. Slack was born December 3,
1865, near Corvallis, where he now
lives. He was the second white child
born in. the valley. Corvallis was a
name then only—an Indian name,
which clung to the-central valley vil
lage. There was a store, but provis
ions were so high, that they were next
to unpurehasable. Flour- was $100
per cwt ; tobacco was $5 a plug. Few
families ate flour bread, and then only
rarely, and tobacco chewing was not
so common as it is now. Tom Rollins
and a man named Block, according to
Mr. Slack's memory, were the mer
chants at Corvallis at this time, or
about the time he began making ob
Prude'nce lodge No. 1.474, M. B. A.,
held an interesting session Saturday
evening and elected the following offi- !
cers for the ensuing year:
President, Mary Sargent; vice pres
ident, C. G. McGee; secretary, Charles j
B. Fowler; treasurer, Mrs. Georgia
McGee; chaplain, Mrs. Grace Jones; ;
conductor, Mrs. Marie Bryan; watch
man, Sylvester Irvin; sentry, George!
After the close of the lodge a lunch
was served at which time Mrs. Mary
Sargent was agreeably surprised by j
Being presented with a beautiful set. 1
of silver tableware, in recognition of
her efficient services as pdesident of !
tlie lodge during the past year.
Mr. and Mrs. N. M. Carlisle arrived
Wednesday from Portland, Ore. and
arc glad to get back to the Bitter
Root. They spent six weeks in the
metropolis of (lie Columbia and the
''"' n P'11 1111 all Inn two days of the
Does the Front
of Your Coat Keep
Looking Like This?
OU know the unsightly break in the
front of most coats. It often appears
after a few days' wear, giving the coat a
< tired, dejected appearance and spoiling
its shape. You never can press it back.
You run absolutely no risk of a broken coat front
when you get your Clothcraft Suit. The Clothcraft ;
coat front is trussed like a bridge. The shape is
built in—not pressed in. Your Clothcraft coat front
will be unbroken as long as you wear it.
These are the famous pure all-wool clothes—abso- '
lutely guaranteed—the only guaranteed all-wool .
clothes in the country, selling at $10 to $25.
This announcement is for men who appreciate '
such values, at these prices. Does this include you? )
Valley Mercantile Co.
All-Wool Clothe*/*
♦ lO to $25
servations On his own account. The
nearest trading points were Fort
Benton, Ogden and old Bannack. The
old Fort Owen mill at Stevensville was
the nearest flour mill.
Flathead Indians were the principal
inhabitants of the valley at this early
time. They were peaceable neigh
bors,'however, for Chariot, their chief,
was ever a loyal friend of the white
settlers. Many a pioneer trader laid
the foundation of a fortune bartering
with the Indians. Flatheads were not,
however, the only Indian residents of
the valley. Members of other tribes
mixed with them and intermarriages
were frequent. ■ •
In 1877, y*,lu;n..the Nez Perce Indians
under Chief Joseph came through the
valley on the warpath, the white set
tlers living near Corvallis built a turf
Wall fort just north of the present
townsite. Here, in this inclosure,
i many families gathered for safety,
but the fort was never attacked. The
biiilding of the fort was a big task.
Sod was plowed up in the neighboring
fields and every hand turned willing
ly to the common effort of providing
protection against wliat was believed
J iq be 'impending massacre.
! *The first, school opened at Corvallis
j Whs ont only the oldest in the Bitter
Root valley, but the oldest in old Mis
soula county, the Corvallis school be
iftg district No. I,-while Missoula was
district No. 2. A building was erect
ed near where the residence of Jos
eph Bowden now stands. It was of
snmll dimensions, but ample for the
needs of the time. Here, too, the
pioneers ..worshipped. The Methodists
Were thé first to hold regular services.
John WT.igh't, and Mrs. H. Lent were
«be first; teachers of this little pioneer
.Money in "those early days was sel
dom the medium qf exchange. The
pioneers had little need of anything
besides food and clolhing. Trading
among themselves;..'consisted chiefly
: I the ; exchange of commodities which
they theyselves raised. Thus.the sale
of a ranch for a horse aqil ' a rifle,
mentioned at the beginning of this ar
ticle, ivas the most natural thing in the
world. Mr. Slack's father afterward
sold à ranch to Lige Chaffin, father
of B. S., M. L. ami C. C. Chaffin, for
10 head of horses. This ranch is today
owned by M. L. Chaffin and is valued
at upwards of $200 an acre.
But, speaking of early land values,
the whole of Hamilton, south of Main
street, was once traded by the late AI
Marris to Sam Hall of Grantsdalé for
a scrub cay use. i^nd this property is
now worth hundreds of thousands of
sojourn. "Too wet," remarked Mr.
Carlisle, yesterday, "The Bitter Root is
good enough for me."
Batter Lnts Than Not at All.
! lie pastor ot the little country chure
Bad been much annoyed by having tb
members of his congregation straggl
in long after the service had begun
One Sunday mor dug. when be felt Ilia
further forbearance with this fault wa
Impossible, be doeiiled to rebuke sonn
conspicuous offender. About tvvent;
minutes later than the proper hou
there entered a mild mannered littli
woman, one of the regular attendant!
of the church, but quite incorrigible ii
her tardiness. The minister looked up
fixed her with his spectacles and re
"Sister, you are very much bobine
time. I hope you will not be so late ii
getting into heaven."
Tlie little woman looked up, sublet
sweetly and without a trace of coufu
sion replied placidly:
"I shan't care about that, doctor, sc
long ns I get there."
And now the pastor feels that the
smile* that )vont round the church some
how spoiled Co- c, ecLvoness of his
•om-im.und \ ■ 1 : Tribune.

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