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More on the Renshaws and a bit about W. H. Peck


In this article I will share some Renshaw family history along with weather, crops, individuals, schools, and business information.

Renshaw reports that their son, Morris, somehow had a broken hip. Guess who was there to take care of it? That’s right, Dr. B. B. Sandy who lived only about four miles northeast. It was a bad break and Dr. Sandy said there was a one in one hundred chance that Morris wouldn’t be a cripple.

The first bone setting did not work and Dr. Sandy was called back to reset the hip. He made a splint, a sandbag, and a pulley with a bucket of sand to provide the proper amount of pulling to keep the bones in place. Morris had to lie on his back without moving his body for six weeks. He came through the ordeal in perfect condition. Again, what a wonderful old time doctor!

When Morris was seven years old, there was not enough pupils to hold school at Central so he rode “Bird” two and one half miles to the Sykes School. Bird was a horse purchased from W. P. Nims. Morine started school in the fall of 1923, riding behind Morris.

With lots of milk, the Renshaws made more butter than they could use. It was stored in the cellar and at times was sold to Matt Carey at Charters Mercantile. About this time, Mr. Peck started a creamery in Ekalaka and they sent their cream by mail carrier to Ekalaka. I remember seeing cream cans when I started working at the post office in 1950.

Well, my memories of Walter Henry Peck (W. H.) are more about him and the Carter County Museum. Learning about the creamery got me curious so I went to Shifting Scenes Vol. II to learn more about him.

An article by Ruby Rowley has a couple of pages describing most of his life. I will give just a few highlights.

Peck was born in Cornwall, Connecticut on March 5, 1870 and graduated from high school there. At the age of eighteen he had a serious asthmatic condition and came to Montana.

He began working as a sheepherder for Reno Swift on Alkali Creek thirteen miles west of Ekalaka. He worked there for thirteen years, rising from a beginning salary of $20.00 per month with board included to $40.00 per month with board included. Mr. Peck went into the ranching business with Lorin Gilman a couple of times—some good and some unsuccessful—and later was hired by Custer County in several different offices.

Eventually he became a clerk in Charters General Store. Later, he had his own general store known as the W. H. Peck Company. The business began to wane and was sold.

After that, he and Wm. Mowbray established the Tri-Valley Creamery Company. That business was successful. He also got into politics and was married twice.

Mr. Peck became very interested in fossils and was a moving force for the museum to be put in the high school basement. As we know, the museum was later moved to its present location on Main Street. Thanks to Marshall Lambert, it progressed from there.

On July 26, 1946 he climbed the stairs of the Carter County Courthouse intent on having a conference with the county attorney about some museum problem and died of a heart attack.

Anyway, that is a small snapshot of W. H. Peck’s life. I will now get back to the Renshaw family, other people, and activities that occurred during their early days on the homestead.

One person, Mr. E. E. Brice, opened a grocery store around this time in his home.

Morris wasn’t the only one to have broken bones as Renshaw reported that on April 11, 1930 he had a double fracture in the lower bones of his leg and the ankle bones had jammed. Dr. Sandy lived in Ekalaka by that time and was sent for. He brought Mrs. Bertha Berry to help with the repair.

Because of the broken leg, Frances (Nig) Phalen was hired to plant the grain that year. It was destroyed by hail in June. That sounds familiar. The oats grew back, though, and made 20 bushels per acre.

Renshaw also wrote about the time his daughter, Morine, and Alexander Macnab were Carter County’s first 4-H delegates to attend the convention. The 4-H organization has been active in the county for a long time and has been a great way to teach Carter County kids.

Being encouraged by some business men and officials at the courthouse, Renshaw decided to run for the office of clerk and recorder. Mr. Henry Albert had decided not to run again. Another reason Renshaw ran was because his two children would be going to high school. He was elected in 1930 and the family moved to Ekalaka, renting the Lane property.

The Joe Lane family had homesteaded about ten miles west of Ekalaka and later moved into town. They had five daughters: Nova, Iva, Fern, Pearl, and Josephine. Pearl married Fred Yates.

Eddie Sykes was Renshaw’s deputy and later became postmaster. In 1930 Renshaw and his family moved into their home in Ekalaka. No building stands there today, it is the vacant lot south of the Terry Stieg family home.

Sorry, this has gotten a little longer than usual. Next time, I will continue with more memories.


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