The Flathead Courier (Polson, Mont.) 1910-current, February 18, 1937, Image 7

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THE FLATHEAD COURIER Profusion of Nature Yields to Man's Sparser Planting, in Scientific Rebuilding of Forests • I N THE heart of the great burns in the upper watershed of the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene river drainage, in northern Idaho, is an area of 12,000 acres of thrifty young timber, almost wholly western white pin and Ponderosa, or yellow pine, which is noticeable because it looks so different from the usual bodice of young timber. There are size- able rather definite blocks or groups with all trees about the same size. All the blocks of this timber stand are distinguished by the regularity of cUstanoes between the trees, by the trees being in rows, and by the trees being all of the valuable timber species. These characteristics reveal what this area ia—an accomplishment of arti- ficial forestation—a forest plantation In the northern Rocky Mountain na- tional forest region. Swept by Fire Before the area was planted it had been swept by fire twice and denuded. The first fire, in 1910, destroyed a fine stand of virgin timber. The second fire, in 1919, consumed the very young trees which nature had sown from the seed of a small number of larger trees which had escaped the first flames. It also destroyed this seed source of older trees, so likelihood that the land would again be restored to timber pro- duction through natural reseeding be- came extremely remote. Planting of the area was commenced In 1922 and was annually extended until 1930. The largest trees are now nearly 15 years old, and stand 10 to 12 feet in height. This growth has very effectively healed the fire scars. This plantation is one of many throughout the northern Rocky Moun- tain region. Altogether there are 84,000 acres, ranging from the now good-sized trees which were planted shortly after the diastrous forest fires of 1910, to the little fellows which are just be- ginning their fight for existence after two to four years'of more assured life in a tree nursery. Difficult Problem Reforestation of denuded forest lands Is one of the most difficult land man- agement problems in this region, in- volving among other things: What to plant, where to plant, when to plant, and how to plant, and do it most economically. Tree plantations are the result of setting out little trees --two to four years old—which have been raised from seed in a nursery. Efforts made during a number of years to sow collected seed directly on the areas to be re- forested—to do as Nature does—proved unsuccessful. Nature is very profuse when it sows tree seeds; only a still smaller portion of the sprouts live through the hot, dry summer. Man cannot afford to collect and sow large enough nuantities of seed to imitate Nature. Hence, man must sow the seeds where the sprouts can be watered and otherwise cared for in the nursery. where the destructive competition from weeds can be controlled, until the young trees are hardy enough to per- sist without further care after being set out. Further studies and experi- ments in reforestation by seeding ere still being carried on with the hope that if a solution of the difficulties is found, new forests can be established without the cost and delay of nursery planting. Planting Period The whole period during which tree planting can be wisely undertaken in the northern Rocky Mountain region totals about two and a half months annually in two separate seasons—one from the middle of April to the end of May in the spring, and the other dur- ing the month of October in the fall. The greatest period for any one lo- cality, however, does not exceed six weeks. In spring, planting operations are begun in the lower elevations, and move to higher levels as the season progresses. In autumn, the order is reversed. Between the two seasons, in the summer months, the weather Is too hot and dry for new trees to gain foothold. In those early days, the forest of- ficers chose for planting white pine and Ponderosa pine, the most valuable timber species which are natural to the region. This program still predom- inates, with the addition of a measure of use of spruce for lands of higher altitude than is suitable for the two pines, since spruce is a valuable pulp timber. Seed Selection Accumulated experience, observation and study have shown that seed from different localities produce different results; therefore, the seed for plant- ing stock is collected from areas as nearly like those chosen for planting as possible. Likewise, the source of the seed from which young seedlings for planting have been grown is consid- ered, when these trees are sent to any area for planting. Planting methods, too, have been de- veloped through experience. Today planting crews, moving in a line across an area, work with specially designed hand mattocks with which to dig the holes to receive the little trees' roots and then to tamp the earth back Into place. Each man of the planting crew has been trained in how to handle the delicate little trees, how to spread their roots to give them the beat chance of survival, how to Dick the most favor- able spots In which to set the trees. The results of these advances In planting technique show up in plan- tations. During the last 10 years there have been an average of 850 trees planted per acre, of which 60 or 75 percent become established and live. This survival rate is on the upgrade, And is expected to increase. Where to Start /n spite of the fact that tree plant- ing has been under way in the region for a quarter of a century there still are many thousands of acres of forest land which need to be reforested, and the leading question today is where to start. The total area of damaged forest lands is so great that care in selection of planting sites is necessary In order that the most beneficial results may come from the expenditure of limited funds. Planting at present is limited to known productive areas which have been so severely burned that natural reforestation of the ground will take a long time, if it is to be reforested naturally at all. This requires the raising of five million trees annually In the nursery. With present reforestation resources the rate of planting Is about 6,000 WITS EL year. Plantations already established have healed fire scars and \lifted the faces\ of the acres planted. More important • watershed protection, erosion con - WHERE FOREST FIRE RAGED 20 YEARS AGO —Photo by K. D. Swan, Courtesy Q. 8, Forest Service. WATERSHED AND SOIL EROSION VALUE ALREADY ESTABLISHED. Interior view of a 20 -year -old plantation. It is located near the Savenac Nursery in western Montana. The watershed cover and soil erosion values of the plantation are already established. The trees have been pruned by CCC enrollees in an experimental timber stand improvement operation. Pruning experi- ments are to determine their effect on timber production, for it is known that clean tree trunks produce the largest quantity of the highest grade of lumber. White and yellow pine trees prune themselves naturally in fully stocked stands, but pruning early in a tree's life Is expected both to speed growth and increase production of the more salable qualities of lumber. Vigilantes Braved Rigors of Winter Trailing Plummer Gang to Hell - Gate- Lynched Six 9 Relieving Trapped and Terrorized Populace I N AUGUST, 1860, Frank L. Wor- .den and Christopher P. Higgins brought by pack train from Walls Wala over the newly constructed Mullen road a stock of general mer- chandise. Loaded on one of the mules was a small safe, the first to be brought into the territory that later became the state of Montana. It had been the in- tention of the two men to erect a trading post at the Flathead Indian agency but on arriving in Grass Valley they decided it to be a better plate. A log house was constructed and therein was established, four miles west of the present site of Missoula, the first mercantile business, not distinct- ly a trading post, within the present Montana boundaries. Business was con- ducted under the name Worden and Co. and the small settlement that grew trot and production of timber crops are restored. Watershed protection is of high im- portance, since moat of the headwaters of the Columbia And Missouri river systems are in the mountains of the northern Rocky mountain region. A large population depends upon the water -conserving ability of the water- sheds for their irrigation waters and for water supplies for numerous mu- nicipalities. So long as these land, lay bare, they were at the mercy of the elements, and progressive destruction. Some of the injured lands are of high value for commercial production. Future timber crops assured by plant- ing will be in acute demand for in- dustry, and its consequent community welfare. In recent years, much privately owned logged -off and burned lands have been transferred to the govern- ment principally through land dona- tions. These lands are capable of es- pecially high timber production, and they are generally very well located. Their potential forest values render imperative their quick restoration to production through planting. Better Than Nature Desirability and feasibility, as well as success of artificial forestation in this region have been amply demon- strated during the last quarter of a century. A new timber stand started by planting Is often better than one started naturally since uniform spac- ing corrects overcrowding in some places and sparseness of trees in others, two conditions which occur , naturally. The planted lands are stocked with only the important species, while in naturally restocked areas there is often a strong representation of undesirable timber emcee As a result, planted areas lead over naturally forested lands in rate and character of growth. The largest and most successful plantations have been made on the north fork of the Coeur d'Alene river, In the Priest lake country, on Big creek, Slate creek and the Little North Fork of the St. Joe National forest. and in the vicinity of Clarkia and Bovine, all of these in northern Idaho. In western Montana, the nine import- ant plantations are on the upper St! Regis river drainage, Pilgrim creek and Martin creek and Vermillion river in the Cabinet national forest, and Seven- teen Mile creek in the Teak river drainage in the Kootenai national for- est. The earliest of these plantations are up to 15 or 20 feet'hIgh and mak- ing thrifty growth. Besides watershed and soil protec- tion, plantations serve many other Planted pur- areas soon furnish shel- ter Or game animals. Some of the plantations already are recreation areas, although as a rule they are so situated as not to be major recreation places at present. The out- standing instance of this use of plan- tations is found in a spruce plantation on Placer creek, about four miles from the city of Wallace, Idaho. It is a popular picnic site. up around the store became known as \Hellgate.\ Hellgate did not long survive for in 1865 Worden and Co. Moved their store four miles east, and on the banks of the Missoula river erected a sawmill and flour mill. But in the brief span of its existence Hellgate attained a reputation in' keeping with its name. Ten tragedies were recorded in this town whose population never exceeded 25 inhabitants in the five years it flourished as a trading center for the vast surrounding country, And as a nightly stopping place on the much - traveled Mullen Road, Six hangings, three homicides and one suicide supply a grisly chapter in the history of Hell - gate which even in its most romantic moments was never overburdened with sweetness and light. Road Agents Move In In the fall of 1863 six of Henry Plum- mer's road agents galloped into Hell - gate, presumably to winter there. Alder gulch, flaming with Vigilante fire, was too hot with the righteous wrath of outraged men to hold these six known murderers and thieves. Their leader was Cyrus Skinner. Aleck Carter, Johnny Cooper, George Shears, Robert Zachary and \Whisky Bill\ Graves took orders from Skinner when it pleased them to do so and also when it did not. Immediately the gang instigated a reign of terror in the little frontier town. Never were men so cordially hated, but silently, as these desperadoes swaggered about the settlement doing exactly as they pleased, taking what- ever they wanted and the owner be blessed. The best saddle horses in the valley were commandeered as mounts by the notorious sextette of Alder gulch expatriates. Hellgate people and strang- ers stopping in the town supplied, with a curious mixture of fear and cha- grin, the silver dollars that jingled merrily in the pockets of the racketeers who had everybody in hailing distance \on the spot.\ Only the rashest of men briefly contemplated refusal, and they hastily \paid off,\ as a menacing eye flashed a death -warrant gleam and a trigger finger gripped a half -drawn pistol. A creditor's timid request for payment was graciously acknowledged with scornful roars of laughter and threat of death. The gang passed much of the day loafing in 'Worden and Higgins More. Skinner always sat on the safe which occupied a conspicuous place on a raised platform. Daily the receipts of the profitable mercantile business in- creased and accumulated and by mid- winter 1,500 ounces of gold dust reposed in questionable security within the safe which was Cyrus Skinner's throne in Hellgate. All Hellgate firmly believed the gang was making plans to rifle it. But under cover of darkness on the night of Jan. 27, 1864, a posse of 21 Vigilantes from Alder gulch rode into Heligate after a strenuous 12 -day trip fraught with hardship, danger and in- tense cold. The six desperadoes were all rounded up that night, and vigil- ante justice quickly disposed of their cases in the mood and the mode of Vigilante days and ways. George Shears was hanged in a liellgate barn. A rope was tossed over a beam And he was told to climb a ladder to avoid the trouble of erecting a gallows, and drop. From the top of the ladder he addressed his execution- ers with grim humor: \Gentlemen. I'm not used to this business, never having been hanged before. Shall I jump off or slide off?\ He was advised to jump. \All right; goodby,\ he coolly replied and leaped into midair. A party of three pursued Graves to Fort Owen in the Bitter Root valley and he was hanged in ingenuous man- ner outside the fort. A lariat was noosed about \Whisky Bill's\ leathery neck and the free end tied to the limb of a tree. One of the party mounted a horse. Graves was placed in the sad - del behind him. \Goodby Bill,\ said this novel hangman, and spurred his horse forward. The sudden lunge of the goaded horse swept \Whisky Bill\ from the saddle. Zachary was pursued to Barney Gleeeie's place in the Corican Defile, Use canyon pass between the MIstoula and Flathead valleys, returned to Hell- gate and hanged. Cooper, shot by Car- ter in a gun quarrel was found in Skinner's shack and secured, tried, and hanged. The short trials of Skinner and Car- ter were held in the Worden Co. store. It is not recorded whether during the trial Skinner occupied his customary seat on the safe, but if he did he must have had a feeling of baffled rage to think that under him reposed in abso- lute security of Vigilante protection the gold dust he had postponed taking and would not now get a chance to steal. Carter and Skinner were taken to Higgin's corral and executed by the flaming light of torches at midnight. A crude gallows was erected of poles. Soap boxes and crates served as drops. They died with the password of Plum- mer's gang, \I am innocent,\ upon their lips. Thus was the looting of Montana's first safe thwarted by the timely ap- pearance of Vigilantes who quickly put an end to the usurpation of Hellgate by Skinner's vicious crew of black- guards. Sixty Years Fail to) Establish Truth or Fiction of Cody's Scalping of Cheyenne :Chief Did Buffalo Bill Cody kill Yel- low Hand, the Cheyenne chief? Or was the great duel merely a press agent story for Buffalo Bill's Wild West show? William F. Cody died in Denver, Jan. 10, 1917: Today, nearly 20 years after, the historic arguments on the Yellow Hand question continue as heatedly as they did 20 years before Buffalo - Bill died. Dr. Addison E. Sheldon, secretary of the Nebraska Historical society, re- cently sought to learn more about the famed duel. A widely published As- sociated Press story brought him his- tory, curses, rambling reminiscence and a few facts The duel, the most frequently quoted stories says, occurred on July 17, 1876. Cody was with a United States army party sent out to avenge the massacre of the Little Big Horn in which Gen. George Custer and his entire f l or ri ce 6. were slain by Indians June 25, In the Hat creek country in Wyo- ming, Cody forces encountered an Indian party. Then, so the story runs, an Indian. brilliantly accoutered, rode out in front of his tr,be and shouted a challenge to \Pa-he-haska Long- Hair, the colonel. Scalps the Indian The old tales say Cody accepted. He rode chit on his horse. Both Cody and the Indian raised their rifles and fired. Cody's shot dropped Yellow Hand's horse and Cody's animal stum- bled in a gopher hole and went down. Both arose. Cody fired again, striking Yellow Hand in the breast. Buffalo Bill then rushed up, some historians say, and finished the Indian with his knife, scalping him. Many historians cast doubt on the story. Sheldon -wondered about it. His wonder was published and the answers started rolling in. Robert Jenkinson Hicks of Roch- ester, N. Y., wrote Sheldon that Mrs. Cody years ago showed him a box which \contained all the items that Yellow Hand wore, plus his scalp, pipe and instruments of war. She told me, I clearly remember, Mr. Cody killed Yellow Kind.\ On the other hand, is a letter from Robert R. Peale of Denver which said. \Mrs. Ccdy told Mrs. Peale and me that the colonel did not kill \Yellow Hand, that it was a good story and would let it continue.\ Peale said a scalp, purported to be that of Yellow Hand, was on exhibi- tion at the Cody museum on Lookout mountain near Denver. Begs for Scalp Forbes Parichlll of Denver, said he was told by Mrs. Otto Bock, who \saw the fight,\ that after the chief's death his squaw came to beg for the return of Yellow Hand's scalp and Cody refused to give it to her. Ottis E. Mann, Leavenworth, K,nn., attorney ' told Sheldon he once asked Cody if he ever killed an Indian. \I hope I never killed any.\ Cody replied. Years after the affair, Gen. E. A. Carr, a close friend of Buffalo Bill, wrote a letter to a friend in which he described the duel and said Cody waved I Yellow Hand's scalp on high, shouting: \The first scalp for Custer.\ W. W. Carland of Los Angeles, wrote a letter to Sheldon, explaining he was with General Crook's forces at the time of the Custer massacre. He said Cody was with Crook in June and was \still with\ Crook on Aug. 10. \For several days I rode and talked to him at various times. I believe if Cody killed Yellow Hand June 17 or there- after. I would have heard of it then.\ Cody's autobiography says he did kill Yellow Hand. Milton Nobles, an actor, said Buffalo Bill and Wild Bill Hickok once met in Omajia in his presence. Hickok accOsed Caldir of being a \ro- mancer.\ \Cody laughed it off,\ Nobles said. Hand Or Hair? But the near payoff for Sheldon came when he received a letter from a writer who said he was carrying on some work in the Cheyenne tribe years ago. He came upon an Indian named Willis who told him the Cheyennes never heard of a chief named Yellow Hand. The writer said Willis told him there was a chief Yellow Hair many years ago. . Then, however, Sheldon received from James Frew of Harrison, Ark., excera from a diary Frew kept as a soldier with the army which fought in the Hat creek country. His entry for July 17, 1876, reads: \Indians reported by the pickets. The command ordered to secrete in the ra- vines. But two couriers arriving from agency being in danger Cody fired on them killing Yellow Hand. The rest tried to rescue him but we charged on them, killing six. Followed them into the agency, 40 miles.\ Frew's entry for Aug. 3 shows his forces joined Crook on Aug. 3 which might explain Carland's story. Freves son, J. Bentley Fri w, wrote WILLIAM F. \Buffalo Bill\ CODY Sheldon \as for the hand to hand duel, dad always considered it a press agent story for the Buffalo Bill show. He Also said that he was positive that Buf- falo Bill did not ecalp Yellow Hand.\ Agrees With Frew Sheldon said he was inclined to agree with the Frew version. \Cody probably just fired with his rifle and killed Yellow Hand,\ Shel- don said. \The latter embellishments of the knives, the scalping and the shouting, probably just grew out of fiction writers' fertile minds.\ Cody was 71 years old when be died and the celebrated Yellow Hand affair occurred, if it did, when Bill was 21. He fought in the Civil war as a youth. and a controversy arose as to whether he was a spy for northern forces. He rode for the pony express and in 1876 he won the sobriquet of Buffalo Bill by killing thousands of Buffalo to feed railroad workers. His home was at North Platte, Neb. In 1888 he went out with his first wild west show and soon became an idol of juvenile America. Later the show toured the world. In 1914 the show went into receivership and Cody's health failed steadily until he died. He is buried atop Lookout mountain, near Denver. TWO VALLEYS ASK IRRIGATION DAMS WATER STORAGE PROPONENTS IN CROW AGENCY AREA WILL SEEK FUNDS AT WASHINGTON For the purpose of obtaining an in- creased water supply for ranchers and farmers in the fertile valleys of the Little Horn and Lodge Grass creek, proponents of irrigation dani projects in the district met in Hardin recently and formed a permanent organization to be known as the Lodge Graa. and Upper Little Horn Dam association. Albert J. Sheets, cashier of the Lit- tle Horn State bank at Wyola was elected president. C. E. Linthacum of Lodge Grass, vice president and IL B. Boynton of Wyola, secretary. Representatives of the Sheridan Chamber of Commerce and the com- munities of Wyola. Lodge Grass, Crow Agency and Hardin attended the meet. A substantial sum was raised to sup- port the program for presenting the needs of the district to congress. Sup- erintendent Robert Yellowtail and rep- resentatives of the Crow Indian coun- cil, accompanied by H. W. Bunston. Hardin attorney, will go to Washing- ton, D. C., soon to appear before the budget committee and seek funds to construct the darns which would store water for late irrigation of the two valleys, An insufficient water supply during the latter part of the growing season is said to have been responsible for heavy losses suffered by land owners and tenant farmers of the district dur- ing recent years. Ghoet writers serve a purpose. They keep many a big man from being haunted on Account of murdering the English language. The Rock of Gibraltar stretches al- most exactly from north se south, with a length of 28 ralles and a breadth of one-half to three-quarters of a mile. CHRISTOPHER P. HIGGINS In Company With Frank L. Worden Mr. Higgins Headed a Pack Train Carrying a Stook of General Merchandise Over the Mull= Read In lift

The Flathead Courier (Polson, Mont.), 18 Feb. 1937, located at <>, image provided by MONTANA NEWSPAPERS, Montana Historical Society, Helena, Montana.