Alexander LaForge Sr., “Daxbitchahcheesush”Bear Tail, 84-year-old respected Crow Indian elder and Lodge Grass resident passed to the other side camp on Sunday Sept.24, 2006 at St. Vincent Hospital in Billings.
He was born July 20, 1922 to Young Tom LaForge and Louise Enemy Hunter. He was the grandson of Old Tom LaForge, interpreter for the Crow Indian Agency and Chief of Crow scouts in the 1876 campaign.
He was with General Terry at the Little Big Horn. He was the grandson of Enemy Hunter, Crow Chief and spokesman of the Crows in negotiations with the building of the Chicago,Burlington and Quincy Railroad through the Crow Reservation.
He was also a descendent of Shakes Her Shield, a great Crow warrior and prominent Indian doctor at the close of the Plains Indian days and the beginning of reservation life.
He attended and graduated from LodgeGrassHigh School in 1940, where he excelled in baseball, basketball and track. After high school, he married Maxine Bullshows and the couple remained married for 50 years, until her passing in 1987. Now they will be together again.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army and received an Honorable Discharge after serving four years during World War II. Following his military service, he attended Billings Polytechnic (RockyMountainCollege), where he was on the basketball team as one of the first Crow Indians to play college basketball. He later played with the Crow All-American basketball team and was well known locally and nationally as evidenced by his appearance with the team at MadisonSquareGarden in New York City.
Alex was a member of the Greasy Mouth Clan and a child of the Bad War Deeds with which he lived his life to the fullest in respect for the Crow Indian way of life. He was often called upon to name his Clan children as well as his own grandchildren and their children or just to offer prayers at ceremonies and gatherings. As a father, grandfather, great grandfather and great great grandfather to many children in his family, he gave loving nicknames to all as a way to express his love through five generations.
His life was filled with many stories and many people and will now only suffice to say that he lived a good life as a young athlete, respected Crow politician, who authored the original Crow Indian Law and Order Codes and often traveled to Washington, D.C. as a tribal delegate and as a respected elder in his later years. He retired from work as a legal aide with the Montana Legal Services. After his retirement, he remained on the Crow Tribal 107 Committee offering his expertise.
Alex married Deana Medicine Horse in 1989 in Sheridan, Wyo., and the couple made their home in Lodge Grass. He was a loyal Lodge Grass basketball fan, rarely missing a game to watch his sons, grandsons and great grandsons.
He was a life long member of the Catholic Church and faithfully attended the Lodge Grass Our Lady of Loretto Catholic Church. He often traveled to Billings to retrieve Holy oils for the church.
His wife Maxine, son Daniel, great grandson Zachariah; brothers, Joe and Dan and sisters, May,
Gladys and Alice preceded Alex in death.
Survivors include his wife Deana; sons Luke (Analicia) Enemy Hunter, Aaron, Daniel T. (Sylvia) and Alex (Jan) LaForge Jr.; daughters, Rosie (Earl) Bear Crane, Gladys (Robin Lincoln White Shirt) LaForge, Diana (Kenneth) Spint, Colleen (Gary) Gordon, Alexine Faller and Vaschelle Lynn LaForge; grandchildren, Kurt, Patricia, Terry, Deanna, Les, Tyler, Melanie, Willie, Kenneth Jr., Thomas, Jana, Ceivert, Lavora, Yvette, Vanessa, Alex III, Susan, Sean, Chad, Beau, Mariah, Terrell, Dominic, Caleb, and Gabriel; sisters, Martha (Phillip Sr.) Beaumont, Sarah Sings Good, Nathel Jefferson, Angeline (Norman) and Rosebud Whiteman;
49 great-grandchildren; seven great-great-grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews who called him Uncle Alex; stepchildren, Ben (Katja), Troy (Roanne), Chris and Frankie Cloud, Theo Hill, Jayln Louie, Clamencia Stops and Barbara Stewart; adopted children, Makalia Gutierrez, Brenda (Rick) Fighter, Annie (Cyrus) Leider, Marvin (Alberta) Wall and Clifford (Ardith) Birdinground; three step granddaughters whom he raised, Coty (Lonna and Raleigh), Eliza and Krisdee Cloud; as well as members of his extended family including the Birdinground, Old Elk, Whiteman, Dillon, Alden, Little Nest, Red Wolf and Takes the Horse families. Our family is very large; we apologize if we have left anyone out.
“Dad, you have been the inspiration of all our lives to a life as you had with Mom. We will all miss you and the void in our hearts will never be filled until we rejoice with you and Mom when we too will join you.”
Rosary will be recited 4 p.m. Thursday in the Bullis Funeral Chapel. Funeral Mass will be celebrated 10 a.m. Friday in the Lodge Grass Our Lady of Loretto Catholic Church. Interment with military honors will follow in the LodgeGrassCemetery. Bullis Mortuary of Hardin has been entrusted with the arrangements.
MEMORIES OF DELL STANDISH
I was born in Rushville, Nebraska on May 16, 1898.
When I was about two and one-half years old, we came to Montana in covered wagons. My sister, Irene, now Mrs. Ted Baker, was only six months old.
The trail of the Dayton Kane Road was so steep that my mother walked carrying Irene and leading her horse. I walked most all the time over the mountain. We had to chop down trees to hold the wagons back as the trail was so steep.
My dad went to work hunting coyotes for the Sage Creek Sheepmen, near Billings.
In 1907 I went to school in BilUngs. There was an Elk pasture where the Billings fairgrounds are now located. In about 1907, we saw the last of the freight wagons. Ten teams driven with a jerk line pulled a wagon with a trail wagon behind. These wagons hauled freight from Billings to Cody.
When I was eight years old, I started to help my dad get coyote pups. One time we were going along a road when three wolves crossed the road ahead of us. The hill at the side of the road was so steep that we had to crawl up it. Our trail hound
he wolves. By the time we got to the top, the wolves being so cunning, had killed our dog, tearing him all to pieces and the wolves were gone.
Another hair-raising experience that I recall happened when dad crawled into a wolf den to get the pups. In a little pocket in the den, laid a large rat-lesnake. Dad had to ease himself out inch by inch past the rattler which kept rattling all the time. Later on we got eight pups from that den.
When I was eighteen I went to work trapping for the government, along with dad. Our boss was M. E. Bateman; we hunted both wolves and coyotes.
One time on the Pryor Mountains, we came across a den with five deer carcasses that the wolves had killed, and the pups were eating on them. We got eight pups there, too.
Mr. and Mrs. Dell Standish [Agnes Berquist] 1948
Once when we came to the Demmie John Flat near Pryor, the wolves had hamstrung a cow, and she was still aUve while the wolves were eating on her. She was still able to walk on her front feet. Scenes like this were not pleasant; so that is why the ranchers were anxious to kill off the wolves.
By 1924, we had all the wolves cleaned out but we still hunted coyotes.
One winter, we trapped Bobcats on Rotten Grass Creek, we gotthirteen cats. We had two
hides mounted which are in our homes today. I still do a little trapping. Last winter 1974, I caught coyotes, foxes, badgers and skunks
I first started farming with my dad near Lodge Grass on lower Rotten Grass Creek. We bought the old Bert Hayes place. Perry Howe worked for me, and my brother Melvin worked for dad. This was the year of 1921. We hauled our wheat into Lodge with teams. That January the roads were so bad that it took six horses to pull a wagon load of wheat into the elevator.
I began ranching on Upper Rotten Grass creek in 1924 and have been here fifty-four years. I started with two yearling heifers, and I had to picket one to keep the other from running away, as there were no fences yet to pen them in. I have seen a lot of changes in the ranching business and have experienced good years along with the bad. We always put in long hours starting before dayUght with chores, and working until dark to get the work done.
There were very few people here at first. All travel was done with horses. On Saturday nights we'd have dances. Dad played the fiddle. We had card parties at different homes, ending with lots of good home cooked food. One of our favorite people was Mrs. Tekla Anderson who came to Rotten Grass in the early thirties with her family.
I was first married in 1924. Later on in 1948, I married Agnes Berquist, a daughter of Mrs. Anderson's. I like to think of myself as 77 years young. Fm still able to run my swather cutting hay, and summer fallow ground running a diesel powered tractor. We have been in diversified farming, raising mostly cattle, grain and hay.
Nowadays we like to attend the school activities in Lodge Grass where our children received their education. We also like to take in rodeos, parades, 4-H events or whatever our children and grandchildren are involved in.
WALTER STANDISH -TRAPPER-By Irene Standish Baker
Walter Standish was born in Jackson, Michigan in 1872. His great-great-great grandad was Captain Miles Standish who came to this country on the ''Mayflower". His father, Fred Standish, moved to Michigan where this story begins. When a young man Walter went to Nebraska, where he married Stella Ellis, my mother. They came in a covered wagon to Bridger, Montana, in 1901, with a wagon train, crossing the Big Horn Mountains near the present Dayton-Kane road. In 1919 they came from Bridger to Lodge Grass; the road between Hardin and Crow Agency was so bad that a team had to be used to pull the car thru the mud.
Walter and his family came to Wyoming in 1909, and trapped wolves and coyotes for livestock companies, and others needing his services. After moving to Montana he was with the Forestry Service for eight years, and was then transferred to the Biological Survey department where he remained until his retirement in 1949
JOHN MAC LEOD By Jessie MacLeod Ottum
John Macleod was born in Ross Shire Scotland, August 31, 1882. As a young man he worked in a game preserve where he became an avid horseman, sportsman and marksman; at the age of 21 came to America, arriving in Billings in the fall of 1903. His first jobs were working with various horse outfits on the Rosebud, staying until he received his citizenship papers at Forsyth.
An experience he had when he entered his sorrel gelding, Gold Bug, in the 100 mile endurance race to be run from Billings to Lavina and back again on July 4, 1911, may have had some bearing on his desire to become a law officer. Entry fees were only $25 but the stakes were high. In order to qualify, each horse had to cover the 100 mile course within a given number of hours the day before the race. Gold Bug made the trip in good shape and was ready to run when the starting gun went off in front of the Northern Hotel on the 4th. It was a gruelling race for rider and horse as the temperature soared to 103 degrees. Finishing in second place, MacLeod wedged through the crowd congregated in the lobby of the Northern for the payoff. His share was $300 in cash but by the time he got back out to the street again, a pickpocket had taken his billfold and all the winnings! Later on he homesteaded on West Sarpy, about 25 miles northeast of Hardin, where currently Westmoreland Resources are mining coal owned by the Crow Indian Tribe.
In 1916 he moved to Hardin to become deputy sheriff, later becoming undersheriff and in 1918 was elected sheriff. On November 14th of the same year he married Lillie Anne Fitzgerald, a teacher in the Hardin schools. To this union were born two children, Jessie (Mrs. Juell Ottun of Hardin) and John (Edmonds, Washington).
During the next four years Sheriff MacLeod and Undersheriff Carl O. Long gained quite a reputation for stopping the "whiskey running" traffic through Big Horn County. Headlines in the paper told of thrilling liquor chases running through barricades and road blocks amid a fusillade of bullets, through barbed wire fences and off the roads into the hills! Many times a well placed shot hitting a tire or puncturing the radiator ended the race of a fugitive machine carrying 25-30 cases of whiskey, bourbon or Scotch.
On May 25, 1926 MacLeod was seriously wounded in a pistol duel with a Mexican dope fiend whom he killed, and after spending several weeks in the hospital had only been on duty a couple of months when he met his death at Crow Agency on October 29. While inspecting horses at the Big Wye that day he received word that Sheriff Gilmore had been killed and Undersheriff Dornberger seriously wounded while at-empting to arrest Jim Bolin at Crow. Leaving immediately, he arrived at the Burlington depot in Crow Agency around 4 o'clock to find several hundred men armed with everything from bow and arrows to high powered rifles and Bolin barricaded in a barn adjoining his cabin across the tracks from the station. Sheriff Gilmore's body still lay where he fell, the negro from the cover of the barn taking a shot at anyone who attempted to remove it. Indians were using bow and arrows to shoot balls of fire into the straw by the barn with the hope of setting the building on fire
BIG HORN COUNTY TOWNS
Jo Ann if questions
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