Written by Staff
Behind every person is a tale.
And with the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame welcoming a new group of inductees, the stories behind each one is mesmerizing, bringing back recollections of times before cell phones and computers.
Men and women from 12 districts across Montana were chosen to be inducted into the hall of fame, with a handful hailing from the northeast corner.
The MCHF helps to keep the area grounded to the history behind the land and people.
This week, we honor Horace Dewitt Brew-
ster who received a legacy award in district 1.
Horace Dewitt Brew-ster, the third inductee into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame from district 1, who will receive the Legacy Award, lived from 1855 to 1932.
District 1 includes Daniels, Roosevelt, Sheridan and Valley counties.
Brewster arrived in Montana in Virginia City with his mother, brother and stepfather in 1864.
Dr. Rhoades, his stepfather, followed the gold discoveries, so the family never stayed put in one place too long, moving from Virginia City to Last Chance Gulch near Helena.
When Brewster turned 15, he broke away from his stepfather’s dream of chasing gold, which took them to the Washington Territory, and began working his way back to Montana.
From 1872 to 1910, Brewster worked various outfits in Montana.
One of his first jobs was that of a “bullwhacker,” moving freight between Carroll Bottom and Helena.
In the 1870s, Brewster began working for Robert Coburn, first at a ranch near the Little Snowy Mountains and later as ranch foreman of the 30,000-acre Coburn Circle C Ranch located in the Little Rockies.
As the ranch’s foreman, Brewster was responsible for hiring, firing and maintaining order, negotiating grazing leases with the Rocky Boy Reservation, occasionally representing the ranch at Stockgrowers Association meetings and was in charge of one of the last big roundups, the Judith Roundup, held on the open range.
Brewster was known for his ability to break a wild horse utilizing gentle techniques.
Perhaps Brewster used some of those breaking skills on the ranch hands, though the techniques may not have been as gentle.
While working as foreman of the Circle C, Brewster hired one of Montana’s favorite sons as a nighthawk — Charles M. Russell. The two became lifelong friends and spent time together in Glacier National Park after the open range years were gone. Brewster was one of two riders who rode in Russell’s funeral procession.
Brewster continued working for the Robert Coburn ranch for the remainder of the 1800s.
After nearly 40 years of busting broncs and chasing cattle, Brewster left the Circle C for a job in Glacier National Park, where he became the first park ranger under Major Logan when Logan became Glacier’s first superintendent in 1910.
While Brewster may not have made history books robbing trains and shooting at outlaws, he was a part of a story that will put him into the Montana history books forever.