Today’s post comes from Cynthia in Mahtowa
In the mid 1970s my grandfather, my father’s father, gave me his beloved saddle that he had bought in Montana in 1913. He was in Montana to work for his uncle who had homesteaded in the Judith Basin southeast of Great Falls. My grandfather had hoped to settle there as well, but he was engaged to my grandmother, who refused to move to Montana. So he brought his saddle, he had bought from an out-of-work cowboy, back to Minnesota. The saddle was custom-made by Hamley & Company, maker of “the finest saddles man could ride.” No matter where he lived and farmed, my grandfather had horses and his saddle.
Recently, I researched the saddle. Hamley & Company is still a thriving business in Pendleton, Oregon. An identifying number is stamped on the back of the cantle, and the saddle also bears the imprint of a lost brass plate that had indicated who it was built for and by whom. With this information, I asked Hamley to search their records. They were kind and helpful, but unfortunately all records prior to 1918 had burned in a fire. They could, however, confirm by the number that it was built in or about 1913.
Attached to the back of the saddle cantle, a leather bag with a metal plate is engraved with the name, “Mack Patterson.” Mack is likely the cowboy who sold the saddle to my grandfather. Doing research on Mack, I found his draft registration from Bozeman, Montana in 1917. He died in 1944 in South Carolina, where he was born. I wonder if he ever had so fine a saddle again.
For one of my grandfather’s birthdays in the late 1970s (he was born in 1891 and lived to 91), I gave him my ink drawing of his saddle.
What family heirloom do you treasure?