The Ekalaka Eagle - Your Community Builder



February 8, 2019

This article is about another neighbor, Bonnie Peabody, who also lived across the street and up the hill from us. I would like to share some information about Bonnie, but first I need to go back a generation on the Peabody family.

Charles and Mary Peabody

Charles was born in Vermont and moved to Iowa where he met his future wife, Mary Hite. They were married on July 4, 1879. In the summer of 1884 they moved to Rapid City, South Dakota coming overland in a covered wagon, drawn by four horses, trailing their cows and milking them on the way. At this time they had two little children, Freeman who was four years old and Alice who was two.

Times and transportation have certainly changed.

Later there were eight more children born: Ethel, Dick, Cora and a twin brother who died at birth, Walter, Eleanor, Matti and Glenn.

Charles filed on a homestead in Carter County and after moving back and forth to Rapid City they moved to the homestead ranch around 1907. The homestead was nine miles southeast of Ekalaka. By this time, the older children were married. They brought six children with them: Dick, Walter, Glenn, Cora, Eleanor and Matti. Charles passed away in October of 1923 and Mary in August, 1933.

Lawrence (Dick) and Bonnie Peabody

Dick Peabody was born near Rapid City, South Dakota on March 13, 1887 and came to the Ekalaka area with his parents at the age of nineteen. Dick homesteaded where the Ted Wocicki family lived for some years; I believe the land is now occupied by Brad and Ronnette McCabe.

On December 13, 1917 he married Bonnie F. Brandley, a daughter to Arnold and Estelly C. (Harris) Brandley. Bonnie was born at Goldfield, Colorado (now a ghost town) in April 4, 1899 and came to Montana with her parents when they took a homestead south of Ekalaka. After their marriage, Dick and Bonnie made their home on his homestead, but their house burned in 1923. They later lived at different places. Their children went to the Cornish School for their elementary education.

Dick passed away on June 8, 1938. Bonnie and the children carried on the ranch work, but in the fall of 1939 Bonnie moved to Ekalaka as some of the children were entering high school. The Ekalaka Eagle dated June 2, 1989 had Bonnie’s obituary.

“Graveside services were held Wednesday, May 31, 1989, for Bonnie T. Peabody, 90, longtime resident of the Ekalaka area. Mrs. Peabody passed away Friday, May 26, at the home of her daughter Gloria Sparks, at Casper, Wyo.

She was born April 4, 1899, at Cripple Creek, Colorado, the daughter of Arnold and Estella (Harris) Brandley. At the age of 14, she moved with her parents to a homestead south of Ekalaka.

Bonnie was married to Lawrence “Dick” Peabody on December 13, 1917, at Ekalaka. They farmed and ranched near Ekalaka until June 8, 1938, when Dick passed away.

Bonnie moved to Ekalaka where she worked at local restaurants as a cook until the time of her retirement. She enjoyed yard work, gardening, growing flowers and quilting. She especially enjoyed being with her family and traveling.

Bill Wear officiated at the May 31 service, with music provided by Gloria Preuss. Pallbearers included Skeet Hedges, Charlie Brence, Vernon Preuss, Freemon Peabody, Larry Brence and Harvey Coons. All of Bonnie’s friends and neighbors were considered honorary pallbearers.

Burial was in the family lot of the IOOF Cemetery at Ekalaka.

Mrs. Peabody is survived by two sons: Charles M. Peabody of Bozeman, and Donal R. Peabody of Long Island, New York; three daughters: Alice Peterson of Ekalaka, Gloria P. Sparks of Casper, Wyo., and Madlon Brence of Mill Iron; a sister, Addie Peabody of Ekalaka; 31 grandchildren; and 43 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Dick; and four sons: Robert, Lester, Warren, and Everet.

Stevenson and Sons Funeral Home of Ekalaka was in charge if arrangements.”

Those of us who knew Bonnie remember her most as a cook for several cafés and for Aileen Hedges, who owned and operated a cafe then. She was also remembered as a great neighbor who loved her property and took excellent care of it. Her garden and her flowers were a great part of her life. The articles on the Peabody family bring back memories of those wonderful, strong homesteaders who helped make Carter County.

Also as you read the obituary, you will remember the passing of other family members.


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