In my last post, I wrote about Robert Cathcart, one of my son’s 5th great grand-uncles. Here’s a little family detail that has survived the generations: As a young boy, he was taken in by his aunt. As he grew, he fell in love and married one of his uncle’s nieces, Jane Thom. It was his uncle who gifted the land in Armstrong County for them to homestead.
At this time, there were more wolves than people in the area and the newly married couple had a flock of sheep whose care required constant vigilance. On one occasion, when Mr. Cathcart was away, the wolves got after the sheep. Mrs. Cathcart opened the door to try to scare them away and as she did, all the sheep ran into the house. She barely got the door closed in time to keep out the pursuing wolves.
The wolves continued to circle around the house, howling, and some even attempted to enter in through the window. Those that did were met with shovels of hot coals. Mrs. Cathcart had to stay up all night but in the morning the wolves were gone and the sheep were still there.
It is said of Jane Thom Cathcart that she was a woman of beautiful spirit.
Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of film, videotapes, audio recordings, photos, negatives, and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website. And please watch our TEDxEustis Talk on YouTube at https://youtu.be/uYlTTHp_CO8.
Oliver H. Hovda, my daughter-in-law’s 1st cousin (4 times removed), was just twenty-two years old when he left his family home in Minnesota for the relatively wide open spaces of Montana. His uncle had promised him a good job in the silver and lead mines there.
He and his cousin Lee Simonsen began working in the mines in 1889. Not only was it dangerous work, life in general had its perils. All miners back then carried “sixshooters” and any differences that occurred between them was usually settled by an exchange of gunfire. Six months later, Oliver and Lee decided to leave the mines and instead bought some sheep.
By this time, Lee’s father had purchased some land along the Stillwater River and started a town called Absarokee, a Crow Indian name that meant People of the Raven. Oliver and Lee brought their sheep to the prime grazing area above the river, ignoring the threats of the cattlemen who wanted the land for their herds. The tensions between the cattlemen and the sheepherders continued to intensify. Oliver’s camp was burnt down twice by the other faction which finally drove Oliver to move his herd (which by now amounted to some 10,000 head) to an area already grazed by the cattle.
The hostility reached its climax when the cattlemen killed a German sheepherder named Heide along with many of his sheep. Hovda, incensed, stormed into the saloon where he knew he would find the guilty parties. With his six-shooter strapped to his side, he challenged all the cattlemen present to a shootout. Fortunately for Hovda, who was not very good with a gun, his uncle was also present and managed to hustle him out before blood was spilled, in all likelihood, saving his life.
Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of film, videotapes, audio recordings, photos, negatives and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website. And be sure to watch our TEDxEustis talk at https://youtu.be/uYlTTHp_CO8.