James M. Burnett was one of the leading ranchers of the Yellowstone Valley located on a finely improved farm one mile west of Linley (now known as Luther because of the postmasters that lived there), He was born in Ontario Canada. His father, John, a native of the same province is still living and is a farmer in Ontario. His father came from Ireland. The James' mother, Margaret (Shaw) Burnett, was also a native of Ontario, her parents coming from Scotland. At the age of 17, 1886, James came to Fort Benton, Montana, where he worked his way over on to the Musselshell. For about ten years he found employment as a cowboy. He was with the Willard Livestock Company for five years and then worked for another company for about five years longer. In 1895, he came to Carbon County and settle on land upon which he now resides. In 1902, James married Louisa Geisdorff who was born in Bozeman, Montana. Her father, Francis Geisdorff was a pioneer of the Silver State. James and Louisa have one child, Margaret. Fraternally is a memer of the Masonic order. In politics he was a Republican.
THIS INFORMATION WAS TAKEN FROM THE HISTORY OF THE YELLOWSTONE VALLEY.
Burried at the Burnett Family Cemetary, Luther, Carbon, Montana, Usa
JAMES McKILLOP BURNETT--A veteran rancher of the Luther-Red Lodge area, James McKillop Burnett homesteaded his ranch a half century ago, and is one of the most substantial property owners of this part of the state, his holdings comprising four thousand acres of owned or leased land. He came to this country from Canada, having been born in Leeds County, eastern Ontario, on October 6, 1870. He is a son of John and Margaret (Shaw) Burnett, both of whom were also born in eastern Ontario. James M. Burnett received his public elementary and high school education in the schools of Leeds County.
He began his career as a rancher in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, in 1888-1889. In the latter year he left for Montana and started work on a cattle ranch at Lavina--drove horses to ship to the Dakotas and Manitoba--where he was employed until 1904.
By this time he had ample experience to operate his own ranch, and he came to Luther in 1893, where he homesteaded on the ranch he still owns. He herded cattle on what is now the site of the Court House in Billings. He built the first telephone line called Red Lodge-Fish Tail Line, which lasted for years, until Bell Telephone and Telegraph took it over. For the past several years he and Mrs. Burnett have lived in nearby Red Lodge, but he still goes out to the ranch occasionally to keep an eye on the progress of the work. His son, James Howard Burnett, lives on the ranch and is general manager. Of the ranch's four thousand acres of owned and leased land, most is devoted to the purposes of stock grazing, while a small portion is irrigated farm land.
A Republican all his life, Mr. Burnett served on the Board of County Commissioners of Carbon County from 1914 to 1920. He is a member of the lodges of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and the Free and Accepted Masons, and of all the York Rite Bodies of Freemasonry. Holding the Thirty-second degree, he is a member of Al Bedoo Temple, Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, and is also identified with the Order of the Eastern Star. He is a Methodist in his religious faith.
On May 16, 1912, at Billings, James McKillop Burnett married Miss Edie Dorothy Brickman, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Brickman of Caldonia, Minnesota. Mr. and Mrs. Burnett now reside at 103 North Platt Street, Red Lodge. They are the parents of four children, all of whom were born in that city: 1 Leota, born in 1914. she is now Mrs. John Rozman. They have two daughers, Sharon and Dorothy. 2. Lucille, born in 1916. She married Martin Stohr, and is the mother of two children, Patty and Roger. 3. James Howard, who manages the Burnett Ranch. He is the father of three children; i. James, Jr. ii. Dolores. iii. Diane. 4. Wilma, born in 1920. She is the wife of Henry Boggio, a rancher on Red Lodge Creek, and they have the following children: i Judith. ii Phillip, iii. James. iv. Scott. v. Gene.
THIS INFORMATION CAME FROM THE HISTORY OF MONTANA BOOK
James McKillop Burnett was born in Perth, Ontario, Canada, on October 6, 1869. His father, John came from Ireland and was afarmer. His mother, Margaret Shaw, was a school teacher and her parents came from Scotland.
At age 17 in 1886, Jim Burnett came to Fort Benton, Montana where he worked in the Musselshell River valley. He worked as a cowboy and was with the Willard Livestock Company for a number of years. In 1895 he came to Carbon County and settled on his homestead one mile west of Linley--now Luther.
On October 7, 1902 in Absarokee, Montana Jim married Louisa Geisdorff, daugther of Dr. Francis and Anna Geisdorff. Her father was a pioneer doctor living and serving in the Livingston and Bozeman area. Louisa died Sept. 17. 1909.
On May 20, 1913 in Billings Jim was married to Eda Dorthy Brickman, daugher of Mr. & Mrs. Charles Brickman of Caledonia, Minnesota. She was born September 4, 1892 and came to Montana in 1910. She was a school teacher and taught in the Tony and Luther schools before her marriage.
Both Eda and Jim took an active part in community affairs. Jim was instigator in building the first telephone line in the Luther area, called the Red Lodge-Fishtail Line which lasted until taken over by the Bell Telephone Co. The Burnetts took and active part in building and supporting the Luther Methodist Church_the only rural church in the area still holding regualr services. They donated the land where the Volney Creek school was built and supported the school over the years until it was consolidated.
Eda Burnett was a participating member of the local women's clubs and during her years as 4-H Club leader the club won many honors in the county and at the Midland Empire Fair. She served as Red Cross Chairman in the Luther area and in Red Lodge during the depression, collecting and dispensing goods to the needy.
As life long Rupublicans the Burnetts took a lively interest in politics. Jim served on the Board of County Commissioners from 1914-1920. Eda was Republican Committee Woman and (s)erved as election judge for several years. Both had many good friends in both political parties.
The Burnetts built up and improved their ranch and holdings over the years. Three daughers and one son were born to them and grew up there. They retired to Red Lodge in 1946 when they became more active in the Masonic and Eastern Star orders ofwhichthey had been members for a long time. Jim was a Thirty-second degree Mason and a member of various Masonic bodies, including the Blue Lodge in Red Lodge, the Royal Arch Masons in Red Lodge of which he was a life member, the Knights Templar and Shrine in Billings, He joined the Order of Eastern Star of which Eda had been a member for a number of years and at that time was Worthy Matron. She was active in the Red Lodge Methodist Church and th local and state Woman's Society of Christian Service until becoming ill with arhtritis. She held a life membership in the Order of Eastern Star and the Daughters of the Nile and was a member of the White Shrine. She was an invalid for ten years and died in her home on June 3, 1971.
Jim was also a charter member of the board of directors of the United States National Bank and the last surviving member when he passed away on August 19, 1958. He was a member of the Montana Stockgrowers and kept his interest in farming and ranching throughout his life.
To Chicago On a Stock Train
by Olaf J. Bue
(spelling is that of the writer)
The confession cropped out when four of us from as many or more states sought to while away an aftrernoon of criminal somnolence in the detective bureau pressroom with explanation of how we came to be there.
I began with my approach to Chicago's backdoor--beefsteak tourists always come by the backdoor--from an old cowtown some 1,700 miles away in southern Montana where I was employed at the time in a intimate if not highly exciting business of beating out the copy for a weekly newspaper.
I was heading home over a stretch of sage scented benchland after an afternoon of scaring prairie chickens when I came upon Jim burnett bringing in a little bunch of two year-olds which had strayed into the forest reserve in the foothills of the Beartooth Mountains.
Old Jim, veteran of the days of Indians and vast open ranges, veterna too of the days when a sheepman needed no other reason for being shot, eather beaten to the color of his saddle, erect astride a big roan. What a picture he made against the distant sun-giled Crazy Mountains as he drew up and the dust settled past the steers which had stopped to much at the dry bunch grass.
"Roundup about over, Jim?" I quiered in the hope of eliciting something different to seperate a pair of the "who visited who" brevs inevitable in every little weekly.
"Roundups ain't what they used to be," he answered, easing over sidewise in his Saddle. "Only a few of the big outfits left. Too damn much barb wire 'round here. I'll be through when I get these devils to the yard in town."
"When are you shipping?"
"Johnnie Shaw and I are shipping Tuesday. This bunch will about fill my last car. Say, got any smokin?"
We filled our pipes together and having thus gathered the paragraph I had in mind I was about to continue my shortcut home when he abruptly changed my mental scenery with a question of his own.
"Have you ever been to Chicago?"
I had thought of that and hoped some day to go, but the prospedt never before loomed ineminent.
"No," I hesitated.
"Well, why don't you come along with us; Charley Draper can get along without you for a week or so. We'll load day after tomorrow and leave in the evening."
"Fine I'm Chicago bound with you."
The quickness of my decision startled me and in another instant I was off for home in an enthusiastic haze over what promised to be great adventure. Woods, yellow and crimson, smell of wheat in shocks, prairie chickens all out of mind to make room for Chicago.
There, I had read, were gathered in a single city six times as many persons as were to be found in the entire expanse of my native state. How could they move about? And where di each in that wilderness of faces find a place to sleep?
Those 40-story canyons they call streets? Did people actually come west to see canyons? A loop, too I had heard they had a loop in Chicago. What manner of thing could that be? Nothing to do with a rope I was sure, but what then?
Porter to a cow. Not a very imposing title nor yet a handsome job but it held the answer to these and a thousand other questions. Better even, it was to be my charger (my cow was to be my horse) for a first determined assault on an abhorred provinicalism of which I felt myself guilty. Beyond the snowy rims of the mountains I had known since childhood lay a mystery of places and people about which I had only curious little imaginings--a disturbing inscrutability which no books, visiting friends or traveling salesmen had been able to dispel.
Amid the disconsolate bawling of cows recently taken from overgrown calves and the "eeyah" and "yip" of cowhands at work, I arrived the next afternoon to deposit my blanket and lucn box in the day coach which had been hooked in for us ahead of the caboose. Sensing a certain improprity in boots and sombrero for city wear, I had crossed custom prepared with a change of clothing. This I cahced under a seat.
With dusk the last steer had been crowded up the chute and when the "Connie's" red lantern highballed the engineer down the length of 39 bawling cars we were on our way to Chicago. It was Tuesday night. We'd be in the big town--huh, in the east-- Sunday morning.
Thus behind a trainload of beeves I was reversing the trek of my old grandfather who some 50 years earlier had bumped most of the weary distance westward behind a yoke of oxen. Bump, bump in a dead-ox wagon, a dozen jolts then for every swift railclick now; at the end of a good day he had strained over as mnay miles as we would wheel off in 15 or 20 minutes of ordinary running. What dreams must have been the foundation of such determination.
Some home-loving soul had lighted the kerosene lamp in the coach and kindled a fire in the rusty hearter. Shaw put to boil a big can of coffee. There was a general movement toward luch boxes until Jim put an end to it by announcing that for the first night at least we would all eat of his provisions and forthwith uncovered a large grocery box piled full of fried chicken. There was buttered bread in another box, thus chicken in one hand, brad in the other the 10 of us ate our fill and brought out our pipes with the coffee that followed--followed not because we had an drawingroom illustions--but because it had been slow in boiling and anyhow two hands had not been enough for its manipulation with our food.
A spirit of mild exultation prevaded the car. We had eated well; the trip itself promised to be interesting; Chicago would be something new and different--some of us were not sure just what; and once we had removed the backs of the seats and propped them between the cushions it was pleasant to rest and smoke on the improvised bunks.
A bottle went the rounds and the evening was growing merry with songs and story when the train squealed to a stop. Burnett the plainsman, the boss, the host, was on his feet.
"Come on boys. Grab a stick and let's see how the stuff is riding."
The sticks he referred to were some willows which he had provided earlier. Experience left the other boys in need of no instruction as to their purpose. I traipsed out with Jim onto the gravelled side track.
"Now," said he, as we walked toward the head of the train in the moonlight, "every time the train stops for any length of time we'll have to make a run up along the cars to see that nothing gets down. If a steer gets down in a car the rest of them will trample the hell out of him in a little while. You take these four cars and I'll take the next four; the other boys will split up the rest.
And sure enough. In my second car I found a lazy critter who had decided to take his repose at hte risk of his life. (Couldn't blame him for holding it lightly, being headed as he was for the butcher). Applying my willow through the cracks in the car I roused him. Grunts and sighs indicated his reluctance but from that moment forward I had the feeling of being at least a useful member of the crowd. My self-respect rose mightly.
My cogitations on the business of usefulness were interrupted by the universal go-ahead signal--two blasts of the whistle. I made a dash for our car but only two or three of the others came in with me and I had almost decided that the missing had been left when they began to appear one at a time from the roof of the car ahead. Cowboys they were but perhaps there's something of the cowboy in brakemen.
Out came blankets and after a few trial bounces to test the security of our crude berths we were abed. Although we shed only our shoes sleep came quickly.
Frosty dawn and a squint out fo the window to satisfy a desire for orientation. We were in the plains country; far to the southwest a fading vision of the Rosebud Mountains; on one side of us the muddy Yellowstone River with its poplars and cottonwoods; bad lands on the other, their clay banks storm-cut and freshet-washed in wierd procession of fantastic shapes. What a play ground for moonlight.
The roof of the cattle car beckoned and timorously, awakardly I clambered up for a look. After an hour or so of wind and cinders and constant shaking. I