Kremlin Montana Township 32, N Range 12:
Western Portion Known As "Kansas Valley"

This history of Kansas Valley is part of a group of histories
compiled by members of the Kremlin community
in 1989 for the Montana Centennial Celebration.

             (Click to enlarge)


The western portion of Kremlin Montana Township 32, N Range 12, was known as "Kansas Valley".

The area of Sage Lake Coulee, and portion of Township
32-12 westerly from Sage Lake Coulee, became known as Kansas Valley because many of the homesteaders came from Kansas and settled in this area.

Kansas Valley School

In 1914, James E. Carley deeded one acre in the southeast corner of section 7, to School District #3 of Gildford, Montana, to be used for a school as long as such school was in existence. This school became known as the Kansas Valley School. Myrtle Slater, who later became the wife of Henry Hatch, was a teacher there.

The school building was also used for meetings and social gatherings. One particular pie social drew a very large crowd and the people would take turns going into the building to dance. A few couples filled the dance space, after they had danced a dance, they would go out and a few other couples would go in for the next dance.

One of the organizations that met there, was the AHRA (Anti-Horse-Thief Association). Horse stealing was a prevalent occurrence. In 1917 or 1918, about ten members rode up into Canada, not very far, when they ran into several suspicious looking situations.

They did bring back two horses not yet branded, as they got there just before they were branded. On the way back they stopped at Big Ranch, and found out that they were not welcome there either.

As transportation became better and the teachers married homesteading bachelors, the school was closed. Most of the children then attended the Gildford School. Harry Cady purchased the small building, skidded it to his home and added to his house for additional living space.

Jokester Gets His

Tuck (John T.) Mannen, who homesteaded in Kansas Valley, enjoyed playing jokes on everyone. All horses brought into the area from out of state had to be inspected. He often spoke of his team of which he was very proud.

When his horses were due to arrive in Kremlin, his neighbors had the inspector tell him the horses did not pass, and he could not take them. Tuck, who was small of stature, got very upset and angry. He yelled, "Be damned, I'll whip half of St. Joe, Missouri." They had evened the score.

Tuck's son Charles also homesteaded in this area, later marrying Alberta (Bertie) Hatch.

Arron Slater was called "Slab", Titus Slater was "Tight", and their father was Harvey, all homesteaders in this area.

Tragedy on Sage Lake

Located in section 16 was Sage Lake. It was a good size body of water when full, covering about 50 acres. It provided water for many, some carrying it in buckets, but most with horse stoneboat, with a barrel on it. What virgin sod remained in the nearby area still bears the trails of many trips made by the homesteaders for water. Sage Lake attracted geese and ducks and provided good hunting at times. It was also the source of one tragedy, as told by Ralph Howser:

"It was on a Sunday in October 1918, that Louie Hoop, a second cousin of mine, and I, took our guns and went to Sage Lake to hunt ducks. We were dressed in heavier clothing than usual, for the weather was quite cold and a strong southwest wind was blowing."

"When we reached the lake we found a home made boat submerged in 8 or 10 inches of water. As I recall the sides of the boat were not more than eight inches high and we soon discovered that two or three inches of the back end had been broken off. We dumped the water out and climbed in."

"We could see quite a few people on the west shore and there were no ducks to speak of, we thought we would go over and see if they had any luck. Everything went fine as long as we were going against the wind."

"We were almost to the west shore when someone shot a duck and the wind carried it out into the lake. Louie and I turned our boat around intending to retrieve the man's duck for him but we never got to the duck. When we turned and started going with the wind the waves on the water started coming into the boat where the back board was broken off. The boat filled with water almost immediately and sank."

"I don't know how long we battled that boat but Louie was on one end and I was on the other. The boat was bottom side up, but we finally managed to get on top of it. I don't know how many times we fell off but each time it was a struggle to right the boat and get back on. I don't know what happened to Louie but he just fell off the boat and I saw little bubbles coming to the surface of the water. I knew that now Louie was gone."

"I was in the water three hours before being rescued, many attempts were made to reach me, but they all failed. Finally someone went to Gildford and got a boat off the Great Northern reservoir."

"I don't know how many men were in the boat that came out to rescue me, but Henry Hatch was one of them, he knelt down in the back of the rescue boat, reaching out and hauled me, capsized boat and all, onto the shore. I was lifted off the boat for I was too cold even to stand, and was taken home and put to bed. After much searching, the body of Louie Hoop was found nine or ten hours later."

Sage Creek

The southern corner of this area is crossed by Sage Creek, which at times can be a raging torrent or a dry stream bed. It too provided water for many and had one good spring located on James Wallaces place. As other sources of water either dried up or became too stagnant, homesteaders often walked with pails to get water for drinking from this spring.

The creek also proved to be a dividing line for the people homesteading on the south side, probably because of lack of roads and or bridges. They did not participate much in the Kansas Valley or Kremlin area activities, instead followed the creek and went more to Gildford or south to activities in the school there.

 
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