Sanders County Ledger - Your Best Source For Sanders County News

Remember When?


105 YEARS AGO • JULY 21, 1916


At the regular monthly meeting of the town council held Monday evening a discussion came up regarding the speeding of automobiles through the streets of our town and a resolution was passed that three large signs be ordered and erected, one at the extreme eastern railroad crossing, one at the extreme western railroad crossing and one at the south approach of the county bridge (now the Gallatin Street bridge). These signs will caution all chauffeurs and automobile owners that they must at no time exceed a speed of eight miles an hour while entering or driving through the streets of Thompson Falls or anywhere within the town limits. That violation of this order, which is in conformity with the laws of the state governing the speed of automobiles, will be strictly enforced and the chauffeurs or owners fined according to the provisions of that law.

70 YEARS AGO JULY 18, 1951


Bob Saint had quite an unusual thing happen at his Conoco service station here last Saturday.

Some tourists from Kansas driving a new Plymouth stopped at his station for service. Upon raising the hood of the car Bob saw the feathers of a hen pheasant lodged inside the grill against the horn. Thinking it was dead, as he has taken several of the birds out of cars before, he reached down to remove it. To his great surprise it was very much alive and none the worse for wear from the unorthodox ride it had taken. The people driving the car said it had flown across their path near Dixon. After discovering the pheasant was unharmed Bob placed it in a box and notified the local game warden who took the bird down near Belknap and released it thus helping to increase our pheasant population here.

40 YEARS AGO • July 16, 1981


By Marge Peacock

The little coffee grinder literally ground its way across the Midwest to a ranch near Lewistown, Montana in 1915, and has eventually completed its trip by finding a home in the Sanders County Museum in Thompson Falls

“How many thousand cups of coffee it provided for adults and how many thousand bowls of wheat cereal it ground for family and hands on the ranch is just a matter of guessing," says Beth Scott, whose parents, Homer and Elsie Walding Wright, brought the grinder with them in a box car of furniture as they made their way to Kolin, Montana from Illinois.

It was summer, and the Wrights had followed Elsie’s father to a ranch he had established in 1912. Elsie was the child of German immigrants; Homer, of parents born in Ireland, and together they came seeking their future in a small Bohemian settlement where Montana Territory lands promised good grain and suitable cattle ranching. Three children were born to them. Guy, who now lives in Santa Rosa, California, was born on the ranch; Jack still lives on it, although he and Beth were born some 15 miles away in the little town of Moore. Jack still owns the one-horse buggy which also made the original box-car trip, and later brought them home from the hospital as infants.

Beth later became Mrs. Joe Scott, of the Towne House (now Black Bear Hotel) in Thompson Falls. She and Joe discovered that although they had not known one another until they were young adults, they had been born in the same Moore country hospital just two years and two days apart.

Beth and her brothers have a number of antiques from their family home, but the coffee grinder played such an active part in their household that it holds a special place in their memories. On the bottom of it is its original price sticker, “60 cents” – a bargain today, but a definite budget item in those days.

The coffee grinder also offered Beth’s young mother company and inspiration.

Elsie Wright found Montana lands wide and her ranch life isolated. And out of that isolation has come a special opportunity for out historical society. With a cup of coffee at hand, Elsie recorded faithfully each day’s activities at the ranch, punctuating them with the visitors, neighbors, barn raisings and barn dances which highlighted those days. Her diaries cover the years of 1912 until her death in 1973, providing exceptional firsthand source material for Montana territorial life on through the 70s. Beth and Jack are making these diaries available to the historical society for reference and duplication. Their material will be of great interest to Lewistown and other historical societies, as well.

So, the coffee grinder sits proudly near a little old stove in the museum, and together they seem to say, “How about a good cup of coffee and a tale of old Montana?”


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