This history of Kremlin Homesteader Walter Mansfield was part of a group of histories of early Kremlin Homesteaders based on interviews and compiled for the U.S. Bicentennial.
Kremlin Homesteader Walter Mansfield was among the earliest arriving
Kremlin homesteaders in 1913.
Walter Mansfield came to Montana in 1908, first to Kalispell, then to Hamilton for five years, then to homestead 320 acres three miles southeast of Kremlin in 1913, joining the George Axvig land on the south.
Walter proved up on that land in 1916 (receiving patent in 1917) and then bought the Fred Thorne 320 acres just southeast of Kremlin between Jensen's and Lewis Witt's for $8000.00 cash. They had at that time the best set of buildings on the Hi-Line.
He bought a J. I. Case tractor from Lee Kezar who lived near Gus Renner, two miles north of Kremlin. He left this tractor in the northwest corner of the farm, and also left a ten-bottom John Deere plow near the Jenson's warehouse.
His homestead house, 12' X 24', is now in Kremlin, one of three buildings put together in the John Melby house. The Thorne house was moved into Havre and Walter sold his land in 1918 to a party from Washington and moved to Pendroy, Montana, and a few years later on to California.
His father Franklin E. Mansfield came to Montana from Minnesota after Walter did and homesteaded five miles southeast of Kremlin, south of Lammerding's, on land that Walter had once filed on and relinquished.
Then Franklin's son-in-law, James Holsapple came from Minnesota and proved up land southeast of Fresno adjoining Grant Emory's land.
Walter remembers 3 grain elevators in Kremlin, one owned by a man named Dunbar who lived five miles south of Kremlin. Also a bank, where Freeman Johnson was cashier, two general stores -- Sjordal's and Mrs. Hilmen's, two lumber yards, a few other businesses, and not many houses.
Crop failures were frequent for lack of rain and homesteaders left discouraged and hungry. They often left with this sign on the back of Fords: