RUSSELL MANN

from "Sheridan's Daybreak", 1970
Sheridan County Daybreakers Genealogy Society


Russell Mann came with his parents from eastern Canada to Culbertson in 1895 and worked on ranches in that area until 1903. While he worked for the Star Ranch, his foreman sent for his niece, Ethel West, in Missouri to come and take care of his children. She accepted and arrived in Culbertson in 1899. Later a romance blossomed between Russell and Ethel and they were married in 1902.

In 1903, Russell came to the Plentywood area and built a sod house 16 x 24 and also a sod barn. He returned to Culbertson where his son, Roy, was born in January of 1904. That spring, they moved to a farm twelve miles southwest of Plentywood. They continued to do all of their trading in Culbertson including getting their mail. Twice a year they loaded up their wagons and bought their supplies for spring and fall. The children always wondered what happened to some of the packages they saw being unloaded but they found out on Christmas.

The Fadness ranch, the Stewart ranch and the Richard Mann ranch were the only ranches in this area at that time and later the first Post Office was built at the Stewart ranch.

Eva, their daughter, was born in 1906. That winter, Russel left his cattle with his father and took his family to Havre where he worked in a coal mine and his wife ran a boarding house. The winter of 1906-07 was a very severe one and the families moved together to save on supplies. They also brought all the cattle together to make it easier to feed them, but they still lost 50 head. In 1906, Russell broke up 30 acres of farm land with a walking plow and a harrow which he made by cutting down green trees and tying them together. The land was covered with Indian tepee rings.

The first schoolhouse in this area was located at Tillie Eggen and her sister Clara's homestead house. Miss Malcolm was their first teacher. The only means of transportation was the horse and buggy and eventually they graduated to a double seated buggy with an umbrella in front and one in back in case it rained. Their first car was a Model T Ford touring car bought in 1916. There were also pleasant times. They always knew weeks ahead where they were going to be every Sunday afternoon. All the neighbors would gather in one of the houses, remove all the furniture except the stove and beds so the children could go to sleep, then dance until dawn.

In 1916, Russell bought some extra land and then began the dry years. Times were difficult and he left the farm in 1924 to turn it over to his son, Roy. Russell moved to Plentywood in 1924 and worked there until 1940. He then moved to Deer Lodge where he worked as a guard at the prison until he had a stroke in 1949 and became an invalid. He lived at the Nursing Home in Poplar until his death in 1957. His wife died in 1955.

Their daughter, Eva, lives in Oakland, California and has worked for the Social Security Administration for over 20 years. In 1924, Roy Mann married Letha Redden and continued to live on the homestead farm. They have three children: Max lives in Sheridan, Wyoming; Jean lives in Gary, Minnesota and Lyle lives in West Lind, Oregon. Roy and Letha Mann have 13 grandchildren.

In 1929, they changed from horses to tractor power. In the 1930's times were hard and Roy milked cows, farmed and mined coal. In 1934, they sold all of their livestock to a Government Program. In January, 1936, for two solid weeks, the temperature never rose above 40 degrees below zero. It was very cold to get up at 5 a.m. and get ready to take the children to school. He did have a closed outfit on the team to give the children shelter during the ride. He finished up the 30's by helping build the Carrol Dam. By 1938, crops were better so Roy bought more land and expanded his operation until 1968. He sold his cattle and moved into Plentywood. He still continues to farm his land.