Creator: Simpson, Milton, 1899-1976


Provenance Note: Historical memorabilia pertaining to cattle ranching in Custer County, Montana was donated to Special Collections by Milton Simpson of Volborg, Montana on October 28, 1963.


Historical Note: Milton Simpson was born in Volborg, Montana on December 7, 1899. He was the son of Charles M. Simpson, a cattle rancher and former member of the Montana state legislature. Charles Simpson was born in Massachusetts and raised in Texas where he learned the cattle trade. In 1887 he arrived in Montana with a cattle drive and remained there the rest of his life. He filed on a homestead claim on Pumpkin Creek in Custer County and added to his holdings until reaching a combined size of over 10,000 acres. Charles and his wife, Maggie Shy Simpson, were married on November 16, 1898. Their son, Milton, also remained in the area, operating his family ranches, becoming active in the Montana Stockgrowers Association and taking an interest in local history. In 1963 he responded to a solicitation by the librarian at Montana State College for historical documents and provided the materials in this collection. He died in February 1976.


Content Description Note: The Milton Simpson collection consists of eighteen photographs of the Simpson ranch and cattle, 1903-1942, two receipts for taxes and horse purchases by Charles Simpson, a 1941 letter from the Montana Stockgrowers Association to Milton Simpson, and an 1885 memoranda book kept by Arthur H. Sanborn. Sanborn was a civil engineer from Massachusetts who worked as a ranch foreman for Charles Chandler Stephens and kept the memoranda book to record his expenses during trips into Miles City, Montana, for supplies between June 27, 1885 and September 16, 1886. In 1886, Sanborn filed for water rights on Pumpkin Creek in Custer County, but his holdings were likely absorbed by Charles Simpson before Sanborn moved on to Berkeley, California with his wife, Julia Stephens Sanborn and her children. The information Sanborn recorded in his memoranda book include items and services purchased, along with the price paid, in chronological order. The photographs each have some identification written on the verso, and actual titles of individual images have been put in quotation marks.


Folder 1.

Receipt, horse sale from J. A. Ramer to Charles Simpson, December 21, 1892
Receipt, Custer County collector, for taxes paid by Charles Simpson, November 12, 1894
Letter, Montana Stockgrowers Association to Milton Simpson, June 2, 1941
Memoranda book, Arthur H. Sanborn, 1885-1886
    #1. Cattle drive, crossing Missouri River, September 1903
    #2. Cattle drive, crossing Missouri River, September 1903
    #3. "Milton Simpson on "Mugs" in front of bunk house"
    #4. Charles Simpson and Maggie Shy Simpson, July 1921
    #5. Charles Simpson and Maggie Shy Simpson, 1929
    #6. Charles Simpson on "Old Ribbon"
    #7. Charles Simpson and Alice Simpson (sister)
    #8. Roundup at branding time, June 8, 1937
    #9. Milton Simpson with cattle, June 1925
    #10. "Simpson ranch, 2 year old heifers and calves, May 1925"
    #11. "2 year old heifers with calves at branding time, June 1937"
    #12. "Simpson ranch, cows and calves, October 1938"
    #13. "Calves being moved to winter quarters, January 1, 1934"
    #14. "Calves arriving at winter quarters, January 1, 1934"
    #15. "Simpson ranch, yearling heifers, 1942"
    #16. "Simpson ranch, cows and calves, October 1938"
    #17. "Simpson ranch, top horse "Maginty," June 1940"
    #18. "Simpson ranch, cows and calves, 1940"

Updated: 8/17/09