We visited a piece of the OLD west today. The Grant-Kohrs Ranch is a 1500 acre working cattle ranch that has been made into a National Historic Site. At one time it was the biggest cattle ranch in Montana, with cattle grazing over 10 MILLION acres. The ranch house, bunkhouse, and outbuildings are filled with original furnishings, wagons, tools, etc. All in wonderful condition.
We spent about an hour with this fellow…just chatting. Says “It’s not hard to be a cowboy. About the only thing you need is the ability to work like a dog and tolerate being disgustingly filthy! “
The only part that he found really hard was during calving. “It’s in the winter and getting down in the freezing snow in the middle of night to ‘pull a calf’ is rough business.”
He invited us to have a plate of beans from the pot he had simmering over the fire. They were DELICIOUS!
One of the original ranch owners was a man by the name of Kohr. He moved into the ranch in 1866. He was a German and had come into money. The cowboys on the ranch moved into the ‘big house’ with him and it was a time of hard work and hard play! But he was lonely. When he heard about a friend of the family that had moved here from Germany he went back East to court her. Augusta was only 19 years old and had led a sheltered life. It took two months by steamboat and 43 days by wagon to reach the ranch with his new bride. ( she was one of the only white women in Montana ) It had rained everyday of the trip…By the time they got there she was pregnant. She took one look at the house, which was filled with dirty cowboys, burst into tears and said “If I could…I’d go home, but there isn’t any way”.
Augusta’s first act was to kick out the cowboys! It took her a year to get rid of all the bedbugs! She cooked, cleaned, tilled a garden, milked 8 cows, sewed all the clothes and raised her children. A strong woman of the early west…she learned to adapt. She lived until she was 92 years old.