The Ekalaka Eagle - Your Community Builder



This article will be a little different as it will be about a community and some of its history that was unknown to me. The information is taken from “Shifting Scenes Vol. II,” was written by Wesley Brewer and is entitled “Tie Creek Community.”

Wesley has an article about his life and family and other articles, and in some instances gives very detailed reports of life and history. He does a great job.

I am going to quote most of his articles which I feel you as readers will enjoy.

“One cloudy afternoon in 1882, a buffalo hunter, Joe Wilder, spotted a lone buffalo. He stopped his team, unhitched them, and tied one to a wagon wheel. As he got his gun out of the wagon, the horse that he was going to ride started watching something approaching from an easterly direction. On closer observation this proved to be several covered wagons. At first he thought it might be Indians, as this was soon after the Custer Massacre.

Joe met the scout of the wagon train, as he thought it was. He found it was a crew of wood cutters intending to cut ties for the Northern Pacific Railroad that was being built west. These lumberjacks had a contract to cut around 600,000 ties and float them to the little Missouri River and on to Medora.”

Following is additional information about the crew and their project:

“The crew made their camp near a spring, now called the Cheisman Spring. This was a large spring and provided plenty of water for the hundred or so men as well as their stock. They had brought around a hundred head of oxen and as many mules and horses with them. There was also enough water that a nice stream was flowing down the draw below the spring.”

Wesley continues:

“These men erected three large log cabins with native stone chimneys. Corrals were built to pen the stock at night after they had been herded during the day. At the time the country was covered with grass. The men had brought two mowing machines and cut the prairie grass to feed during the winter. The stacks of hay were fenced with poles, as wire was not plentiful here at that time.”

How was this project going to be completed and what had to be done? Wesley gives us the details.

“In the summer of 1883 two dams were built on land now owned by Bus Allan and the late Carl Brewer. The purpose of the dams were to hold enough water to float the ties to the Little Missouri River with the help of the high water in the Spring.

A small mill had been brought along and set up on a site in what is now known as Cheisman Gulch. This was located on the south side of the Long Pine Hills in the Sioux National Forest. Trees were cut and the oxen or mules hauled or skidded them to the sawmill. Here they were sawed on two sides and cut into two tie lengths. This made them easier to handle. These ties were stacked along the banks of the creek where they could be rolled and skidded into the water, In the spring of 1884, when the ice melted and the water was high, the dams were blown and the ties floated down the creek to the Little Missouri River. Since then the creek, which heads near the Bell Tower Rock and flows to the Little Missouri River, has been called Tie Creek.”

Well how did this wild plan work out? When, who and what made this area become settled and become a community? What about starting schools and when did the area become what we know of it today? More next article.


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