Kremlin Homesteader Vernon Hill, 1911

This history of Kremlin Homesteader Vernon Hill
was written by Earl C. Winter in 1941:

Kremlin Homesteader Vernon Hill was among the earliest arriving
Kremlin homesteaders in 1911.

Vernon Leo Hill, living seven miles southwest of Kremlin, was born at Worth, Louisiana March 23, 1889. His parents were Wesley Eugene and Emma H. Hill, natives of New York state. His father was born July 30, 1852, and was a farmer.

Vernon worked on his father's farm when a boy and no doubt there is where he got the experience that has helped him many times in his farming operations. The first money he earned for himself was by raising a patch of beans, but he does not recall the amount.

Mr. Hill came to Montana in 1911 and on April 9 of that year filed on a homestead 7 1/2 miles south and a mile west of Kremlin.

In 1912, he moved to the homestead with four horses and a pig, and equipment with which to live the life of a bachelor, he did until 1913. Then he found a woman that he loved more than anyone else in this world. He succeeded in talking her into marrying him as he could almost make a living. So he and Mrs. Mattie Cooper became man and wife, and I say she has helped more than a little.

Mrs. Hill was born in Jackson county, Michigan and her parents were William and Nettie Hawkins, both born in that state. At the time of her marriage to Mr. Hill, she had three children: Neva, who is now Mrs. Mike Lambrecht of Lisbon North Dakota, Charles who married Miss Mable Heggen and now lives at Mt. Vernon, Washington, and Beulah who is the wife of John Melby, living 13 miles southwest of Kremlin. [Written in 1941]

Mr. and Mrs. Hill have one daughter, Dorothy, who is married to Howard Bailey and they are staying at the home ranch with Mr. and Mrs. Hill and are helping with the operation of the ranch. Mr. Bailey is doing some ranching for himself.

Year by Year Survival

1914 was a dry year.

1915-16 were good years but Mr. Hill did not have in very large acreage. In 1915, the thermometer went to 57 degrees below zero, the coldest weather Mr. Hill has experienced in Montana.

In 1917 his house burned and so did the crop.

In 1919 everything burned up so there were no crops and no feed. That year he was forced to go to North Dakota to get work in order to have something to live on.

Then for several years the crops burned up and Vernie like most of his neighbors was practically broke through no fault of his, just circumstances and weather conditions.

But during these years he got a cow, in fact two cows, and this is how it came about. One day a herd of cows were driven past his ranch on the way to Hingham where the owner was offering them for sale.

The next day a neighbor came to the Hill home for a visit (Moses Martin) and Vernie was telling him about the cows, and Mose said, "You need a cow, why didn't you buy one?" And in answer Vernie said he didn't have the money.

After visiting awhile Mose said, "I'd like to go to Hingham and see those cows," so next day he and Mr. Hill went to see the cows and Mose bought two cows for $230.00. Before they got home with the cows he had talked Vernie into taking both cows without the money, so that's the way he got started in cattle. The same Mose helped Vernie out more than once and don't you ever think that Vernie ever forgot those favors but paid them all back.

In 1920, he started increasing his cattle and at the same time bought a tractor but went back to horses in 1924-25. From 1920 to 1927, he had accumulated about 50 head of cattle which he ran on school land leased from the state for several years.

In 1923 the grasshoppers took all the crop and that winter he started trapping coyotes, and also running them down with the car, but soon found out the car method did not pay. He made good money trapping, in fact made a living at it.

In 1928 he made $1000.00 trapping badgers and weasels, and that is when he got started up the ladder.

But just think 1911 to 1928 is 17 long years, but not all was a failure for Mr. Hill. He learned a great deal in those years. He learned how to handle his soil to preserve moisture, how to control weeds, how to keep the soil from blowing and how to handle stock on a small range.

About this time he went into tractor farming and has had several good crops and bought more land and improved it until he owns 1760 acres, one of the best improved and best kept up farms in northern Montana. And as the old saying goes, "Wheat in the bin."

A few years ago he sold out the cattle and now devotes all of his activities to small grain farming, going in pretty strongly for winter wheat. He has good up-to-date machinery, and sees to it that it is kept in the best running order.

(Click on Photos)

Vernon and Mattie Hill, 50th Wedding Anniversary
Vernon and Mattie Hill
50th Anniversary

Dorothy and Howard Bailey, (Vernon and Mattie's Daughter)
Dorothy and Howard Bailey
(Vernon/Mattie's Daughter)

Vernon, Mattie and Jeanne on the Day of Her Baptism
Vernon, Mattie and Jeanne
(Dorothy/Howard's Daughter)

Vernon and Mattie Hill with Great-Granddaughter, Jeanne Bailey's Daughter
Mattie and Vernon Hill
with Great-Granddaughter
(Jeanne's Daughter)

Mattie Hill (Mrs. Vernon Hill)
Mattie Hawkins Cooper Hill

William and Nettie Hawkins, Mattie's Parents
William and Nettie Hawkins
Mattie's Parents

Beulah Cooper Melby, Mattie Hill's Sister, Mattie Hill (Mrs. Vernon Hill) at Vernon Hill Farm
Beulah, Mattie's Sister,
Mattie Hill (Mrs. Vernon Hill)

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