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Kountry Life Memories

The Life and Times of Mary Porter
Mary Viola Porter was my great grandmother, born in Crawfordsville, Indiana in 1895. She started working at the age of 14 assisting the local doctors and performing midwife duties. She moved with her family by train in 1910 to Montana where she worked as a clerk in a dry goods store, there she met a cowboy named Hollis whom she married in 1913.

Hollis and Mary took up homesteading rights on the rim of the Montana badlands. Their brand was the 'Half Circle S, Lazy A'. Homesteading was hard work, they hauled water from the spring and coal from the badlands. One of the worst events is when she got run over by a wagon being pulled by a team of horses. Her leg was broken terribly and they had to take bone from her good leg in order to repair it. This was quite a feat in the early 1900's.

When the flu epidemic broke out in 1918 they sold their homestead and moved to Steele, North Dakota where they lived for 15 years and it was there that most of their children were born.

In 1933 the family moved back to Montana, to a town called Deer Lodge. Hollis worked 400 feet underground at the Emery Mine while Mary operated a boarding house for the miners. I still have an old miners lamp that was found in my grandmother's things after her death. In 1952 Great Grandpa Hollis past away. Grandma lived to be 87.

Despite her hard work and the hard times she went through in those early days of homesteading, she was very sweet and always had a positive outlook on life. There was a solution to be found for every problem, and a smile for every person. I think of her often when I use my old Monarch Cook Stove, knowing that she prepared many meals on a stove just like it.

Kim, from WA, entered 1999-12-21



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