Richard Mann (1861 - 1928)
Richard Mann was born October 6, 1861 at Beverly, Wentworth County,
Ontario, Canada. He was half English, quarter Scotch and quarter Irish. He
was raised in a farming community and only attended school through the third
Sarah Anderson April 17, 1878 at Beverly, Canada when
he was only sixteen and a half years old. In later years he preferred to
class himself as seventeen when he married. Sarah bore him four children:
Katherine Alvina and
One winter (1883) he tried working in a steel foundry. However this work
was not to his liking and he soon started moving west, usually doing blacksmith
work along with his brother
Austin W. Mann. He also started accumulating
a few head of horses and cattle.
Sarah died August 27, 1887 of diphtheria [see Note 1] at Brantford, Canada.
Sophia Annie Brazier Hopwood a few months later. They were married
September 21, 1889 at Glenwood, Brandon, Manitoba, Canada.
Sophia, in addition to mothering and raising Richard's four young
children, bore him ten children:
Stella Effie and
Soon after his second marriage Richard again moved west. This
time close to Souris, Manitoba where he farmed and blacksmithed in conjunction
with raising horses and cows for about three years. He again moved west from
Souris to Moosemontain, where he stayed only one winter. Where he settled
was far from any settlement. This whole territory at that time was ruled
unofficially by a concern that did not welcome new settlers. Their mode of
discouragement being that they refused to sell anything except flour and
sugar to new settlers. Much of the family larder had to consist of wild game.
Richard later told how he had brought plenty of powder but no shot for his
muzzle loading shot gun. To kill ducks for the dinner table he would use
small, rather round pebbles which he picked up from around a lake shore,
In 1894, he moved his family south to Montana by two covered
wagons. One wagon was pulled by a team of horses and a team of bulls. The
second wagon was pulled by one horse and three milk cows. The milk cows did
double duty. In addition to pulling the wagon they furnished milk and butter
for the family. In the morning Sophia would hang the milk in five gallon
cans on the shady side of the wagon, from jolting over the rough prairie
there would be small globules of butter floating in the milk by night time.
Thus they kept themselves in butter. About a dozen hens and one rooster were
on one wagon and provided eggs for the family. Wild game furnished the meat
they needed. The older children herded the loose cattle along behind the wagons.
Richard met his brother
Austin W. Mann and family at Estevan,
Canada. The two families continued by covered wagon and entered the United
States at Ray, North Dakota and settled close to Culbertson, Montana. He
lived there for five years raising horses and cattle. He then moved to what
is now Sheridan County and settled south of the Big Muddy river, nine and
one half miles west of the now town of Plentywood. Here the range was good
and it was easier to keep his stock separated from the larger herds of Star
Cattle Company, Diamond Cattle Company and the Bain Cattle Company. Besides
his own few cattle he was financed by concerns in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
He would ship yearlings from Minnesota, hold them two or three years, then
he would ship them out of Williston, North Dakota to market.
In addition to cattle he also raised horses. Horses at that time
were only worth two or three dollars each. He crossed the wild Mustang with
Percheron and developed a hardy strain that averaged one thousand to thirteen
hundred pounds and could be distinguished from other breeds at a considerable
distance by build alone.
Richard was quite a versatile man when he wanted to apply himself.
A good blacksmith clever with an ax, he could form almost anything out of
a stick of timber with just an ax until it would require very little finishing.
A fair veterinarian, he also had three dental forceps and pulled human teeth
before what is now Sheridan County was opened up for homesteading in 1909.
One time a Canadian Mounted Police Officer rode over two hundred miles to
have Richard pull a tooth that had become infected.
Richard was a fair stone mason and built the walls of the larger
portion of the home place in Sheridan County and also the walls of the large
house barn. He built them out of stone, sand, straw, lime from wood ashes
and a particular strata of white clay he mined in near by claybuttes. Not
one sack of cement did he have. The mortar was made and mixed in the following
manner: a small circular corral was built and the earth excavated for about
eighteen inches. The hard white clay was pulverized with hammers, soaked
and stirred in water until it had a smooth consistency, then poured along
with the other ingredients and water into the excavated corral. Two or three
horses were then put into the corral and the children, armed with sticks,
were stationed around the corral to keep the horses moving. Thus the horses
plodded around and around in the corral mixing the mortar. Though these walls
did require pointing up with cement after about fifteen years, because the
original mortar was somewhat soft and the rains would wear it away, they
still stand in good repair after more than fifty years.
Richard was not a good farmer preferring to till the soil as
little as possible. He at one time owned and operated a threshing machine
and did custom threshing but a large prairie fire in 1916 burned much of
this territory. The home buildings were saved but the threshing machine was
burned to the ground. This appeared to be a turning point in Richard's life.
From then on his farming practices were poor, there were many doctor bills
to pay for Sophia, Walter and Ray. There was no longer any open free range
to support large herds of cattle. He could not seem to adjust himself to
the new methods required by reason of all the land around him being homesteaded
and ranching changing to farming.
Richard died of heart attack or stroke. He had a total of seven,
three light and four heavy attacks. The light attacks lasted only a few hours
each with no lasting ill effects, the first heavy attack lasted several days
but no lasting ill effects. The second partially paralyzed his right side
for several days, the third about two years before his death paralyzed his
right side and he was speechless for about ten days. He became better and
regained the use of his right side and speech with the exception that he
dragged his right leg a little and his tongue appeared thick, there were
certain words he could not pronounce. The fourth heavy attack paralyzed
his right side and he was speechless. He lived two and a half days but never
regained consciousness. He died April 10, 1928 at Plentywood, Montana and
was laid to rest beside Sophia in the Plentywood Cemetery.
Note 1: The official record of Sarah's death indicates the cause of death was childbirth.
Sophia Annie Brazier (Hopwood) Mann (second from left) was the only person identified
in this photo; however, I believe the man on the left must be Richard. The man on the right
appears to be
Julius VanHee. Kate (Mann) VanHee is standing in front of him. The younger child
Bob VanHee and the older child is probably Walter Martin Mann. This photo was
probably taken around Oct 1908. Ray Stephen Mann was born 19 Dec 1908.
Richard Mann's homestead West of Plentywood was located here (Note that you can switch the resulting map to a satellite view). By 2007 the house shown in the photo above looked like the pile of stone in the photo below.
Richard and Sophia had another homestead South of Plentywood located here. It is just South of David Mann's place on Mann Rd.
Sarah (Anderson) Mann