Krause Homestead

by Johanna Krause Siegel

wpe93135.jpg (8855 bytes)THE BIRTH OF A ROAD

Our father, Adolf Christian Krause, became the proud owner of one hundred sixty acres of free land from the United States Government on September 3, 1903. He had filed his application with the United States Land Office in Kalispell, Montana, July 15,1897, listed as Homestead Applicant Number 7 in the Kalispell Office, under the Homestead Act of August 30, 1890 provisions. On the Homestead Affidavit Father declared he was "over the age of twenty-one years and have declared my intentions to become a citizen of the United States," and the Homestead Act stipulations read as follows: ". . . that my said application is honestly and in good faith made for the purpose of actual settlement and cultivation, and not for the benefit of any other person, persons, or corporation, and that I will faithfully and honestly endeavor to comply with all the requirements of law as to settlement, residence and cultivation necessary to acquire title to the land applied for; that I am not acting as agent of any person, corporation, or syndicate in making such entry, nor in collusion with any person, corporation, or syndicate to give them the benefit of the land entered, or any part thereof, or the timber thereon; that I do not apply to enter the same for the purpose of speculation, but in good faith to obtain a home for myself, and that I have not directly or indirectly made, and will not make, any agreement or contract in any way or manner, with any persons, corporation, or syndicate whatsoever, by which the title which I might acquire from the Government of the United States should inure, in whole or in part, to the benefit of any person except myself, and further, that since August 30, 1890, I have not entered under the land laws of the United States, or filed upon, a quantity of land, agricultural in character, and not mineral, which, with the tracts now applied for, would make more than three hundred and twenty acres."

Together with the original application, a Homesteader had to file a Non-Mineral Affidavit with the Department of Interior, in which he relinquished all mineral rights. An interesting section of this document, clearly, puts all responsibility on the applicant. He duly swears, " . . . that he is well acquainted with the character of said described land, and with each and every legal subdivision thereof, having frequently passed over the same; that his personal knowledge of said land is such as to enable him to testify understandingly with regards thereto;

In the Receiver's Office, July 15, 1897, Father paid sixteen dollars, "being the amount of fee and Compensation of Register and Receiver for the entry of S.2 S.E.4 of Sec. 20, and N.2 N.E.4 of Sec. 29, in Township 28 N. of Range 19 W., under Section No.2290, Revised Statutes of the United States, W. C. Whipps, Receiver and Frank H. Nash, Register of the Land Office, Kalispell, Montana". The land WAS free!

Thus, Father, at age 26, a stranger in a new land, having arrived from Polish Russia in 1893, became a tentative landowner - the source of great pride, the fulfillment of a dream and the beginning of endless hours of a Labor of Love.

One can say, "History had repeated itself". Just as Father had come to this country to evade the infamous Russian Army Draft, to seek land, and to "settle down", so his German ancestors, farmers for many generations had joined the great migrations to Russia where the Manifestos of 1763 to 1793, issued by Catherine the Great, had invited settlers from the European nations to colonize the forests of the Russian (Polish and Ukrainian) Plains, promising them payment of traveling expenses, freedom of religion, freedom of taxes for thirty years, exemption forever from military service, continuance of native culture and language, and internal self-government in exchange for homestead lands to be cleared of dense, virgin forests and to be put under cultivation. By 1871, however, a series of laws withdrawing many of the provisions had been passed, including the final blow when military training became compulsory and the German youth were being conscripted into the Russian Army.

Once having filed for the land, it was as good as his and it was with great pride and energy that Father set to work to fulfill the stipulated requirements. How do I know? Father told us over and over again, from our early childhood on to the very last years of his life. Now, in my seventieth year, the oldest of six children, I deeply regret that time and memory have dimmed and erased many of the interesting details, but the love for The Homestead lingers on!

Six weeks prior to the issuance of the final Homestead Papers the following Affidavit of Publication appeared in the local paper:



Department of the Interior Land Office at Kalispell, Montana, July 18, 1903.

Notice is hereby given that the following

named settler has filed notice of his intention to make final proof in support of his claim, and

that said proof will be made before the Register and Receiver at Kalispell, Montana, on

September 3rd, 1903, viz:


Who made Homestead Entry No.7, at Kalispell, Montana, for the E½, SE1A Sec. 20, and N1/2 NE 1/4 Sec. 29, T. 28 N, R. 19 W.

He names the following witnesses to prove

his continuous residence upon and cultivation of said land, viz: John Aisterbeck, Marcus

Johnson, F. W. Plummer, August Fehlberg, all of Kalispell, Montana.

Andrew W. Swaney, Register First publication July 24

The Affidavit of Publication reads as follows:

R. N. Goshorn, being duly sworn, deposes and says:

That he is the publisher of the INTER LAKE, a weekly newspaper of general circulation, printed and published in the town of Kalispell, in the County of Flathead, State of Montana, and the subjoined notice a copy of which is hereto attached, was printed and published in the regular and entire issue of said paper and in every copy thereof for six successive weeks, commencing on the 24th day of July A. D. 1903, and ending on the 28th day of August A.D. 1903. signed R. N. Goshorn.

Six years, one month and eighteen days and many hours of hard work later and the proud possessor of his final Citizenship Papers, Father appeared on September 3, 1903, before Andrew W. Swaney, Register of the United States Land Office in Kalispell, together with his friends, August Fehlberg and John Alsterbeck as witnesses to testify that Adolf Krause had indeed fulfilled all the requirements set forth by the Homestead Act of 1890. Their testimony revealed and reads as follows: "December 1897 established residence. Log house 12x16 feet in size. Barn (log). Five acres cleared and in cultivation, under fence. 56 fruit trees. Never absent except temporarily for purpose of earning money to live on - the land being too far from town to make a living farming and gardening. Raised crops for four seasons. Vegetables and a little hay for the neighbors. Built two miles of road to reach the place. Road valued at $650. "One hundred sixty acres for $16.00 - "fee and compensation of Register and Receiver". What a bargain! According to 1978 tax notices, it is now worth $1,000 an acre!

Our father's brother, Frederick Krause and their cousin, Johann Fischer, also filed for homesteads, presumably on the same date, July 15, 1897. Uncle "Fritz" Krause's 160 acres joined our father's place on the south and Ed Bauer's Homestead joined on the north. Johann Fischer filed on a 160 acres a little farther north but he passed away January 6,1901 and Oscar Smith took over his claim and completed the Homestead requirements. John Alsterbeck and several other young men had also filed claims, making a settlement of Homestead Bachelors, living about a half a mile from each other, deep in the virgin forest, twenty miles east of Kalispell, at the foot of the Swan Range of the Rocky Mountains in what was then known as Brown's Gulch, today part of the Mountain Brook Community.

The Homestead secure, Father set out to find land on which he could make a living. He and Uncle Fritz bought an 80-acre stump ranch from a Mr. Chandler, seven miles north of Kalispell, on the Old Whitefish Road. In 1906 he visited his aging parents, got married to our mother, Wanda Flaff, and brought his young bride to all the uncertainties and loneliness a strange new land usually offers. Our parents bought out Uncle Fritz! They had six children, acquired additional land adjacent to the home place to help support the fast growing family, went through the Anti-German Days of World War I, bought a car and later a truck. Ours was the first truck in the neighborhood. Everything looked rosy. Then came the Depression, the bottom dropped out of crop prices - to the point where farmers couldn't pay their taxes and interest on mortgages on their land, Land values dropped. Many farmers lost their land or faced having their debt-free holdings attached. In order to save the Homestead and the Ed Bauer Homestead, which our parents had bought for cash in the early twenties, they deeded the 320 acres to their children. Father's love of land seemed to know no bounds, (he had overexpanded at a time when no one expected land values to drop out of sight), but he had a dream - a 160-acre farm for each of his six children. He hadn't realized his life-long ambition, but the Homesteads were saved. Today, I regret to report, some of us have sold all or part of our inheritance.

Several years after our parents had bought the Bauer Homestead, a twister went through that region, blowing down into a twisted jungle several hundred acres of prime timber. To salvage what was salvageable the Homesteaders sold the downed timber to local sawmills. Some logging had been going on prior to the "big blow", but that accelerated the operations, and since then most of the private land in the area has been logged. Also gone is some of the U. S. Forest timber in Brown's Gulch, most of it cut during the era when trees were harvested judiciously, not slaughtered via the clear cut method which takes a forest hundreds of years to recover.

All the years we lived on the farm Father tried to get back to the Homestead once a year but he didn't always make it. The 60-mile round trip with horses and wagon meant three to five days away from the young family, away from the farm with all its chores - a trip that had to be sandwiched in between farm activities such as planting, haying, cultivating, harvesting. Something "pulled" Father to his "First Land" love - away from the treeless, cultivated land to the beauty and serenity of the tall trees. Later, after we got our Maxwell, in 1919 or 1920, Mother would pack a big picnic lunch and the whole family got to make one-day, Sunday, never-to-be forgotten outings to the ideal picnic spot, Father's little, now somewhat overgrown clearing at the Homestead. The cabin and barn, having been built of logs, were decaying and falling in. The two-mile stretch of road Father had built was overgrown and blocked by fallen trees. We would drive to the Ed Bauer cabin and hike through the forest, so dense the sun barely penetrated through the trees, on the path, overgrown with brush, to Father's "hideout".

Of all the fun times we had at the Homestead, two incidents are talked about most often when we get together now. One Sunday in early June of 1926 our family planned a picnic to celebrate the graduation from High School of Hattie Beaman, Jean Liebig and yours truly. The Alfred Flatt and William Lich families enjoyed the day with us. For some reason or other, Father had taken the truck. When it came time to go home, all the young folks decided to ride in the back end. It was great fun! The roads were narrow with many curves and sharp corners and the hills not graded down as they are today. (In those days the road came out past the Kaufman Place.) Going down one of the hills, the truck speed got out of hand for reasons long since forgotten. Father reasoned, he later told us, "As this truck gains speed, I won't be able to make the left right-hand turn at the foot of the hill. To turn into the steep right-hand bank is just as dangerous. To turn to the left NOW means going over the bank into big trees, meaning a hard crash." The alternatives weren't promising. In a split second a clump of saplings loomed up to the left. Father saw this as his only hope of averting a disaster. The young trees bent down and the truck was sitting on top of them. Our concern was for Father and his was for us, but no one was hurt - not even a scratch. God was riding with us that day. Hidden in the trees was a log. When the truck settled down, the front wheels were on the other side of the log. We had to get a wrecker to pull us out.

By 1940 several grandchildren, which included our three children, Victor, Dale and Myrna, and Bruno, enlivened our picnics and Olive Krause's, Maxine and Benny. On this particular Sunday our good friends, the Agather Family, had again joined us for the day. The men, strolling through the woods, were appraising the damage done by the previous winter's snows. The women, trading recipes and the latest news, were making last minute preparations for the picnic meal. The children were noisily happy with their unusual freedom in the great outdoors. The roar of Krause Creek, a block away, running banks full with its load of glacial water. but barely a trickle by late summer, created a musical background for this tranquil scene. As usual, the "river" was the main attraction and at the same time a worry for everyone, but with the big children looking after the little ones, the elders relaxed their caution. No one saw what happened except "Allo" Alfons Agather, Jr. He, standing a few feet down stream, saw our four-year old Dale lose his balance on the slippery bank and fall into the torrent. Allo jumped in, the clothes he didn't have time to take off were an added hazard, but he was able to reach Dale as he was being swept by. Of all the people there that day, Allo was the only one who could have done what he did. Allo was the tallest with a long enough reach to pull our boy out of the middle of the stream without himself being swept away. Our tranquility was replaced with praises and thanks to our dear Lord and Allo.

Of Father's many adventures, two are classical of the bygone days. When our father and Johann Fischer came to the Flathead Valley from Miles City, Montana in 1895 or 96, they traveled on the Northern Pacific Railroad via the customary fashion for young men of that day. Their travels from Illinois to Miles City, two years earlier, had proven successful so why not continue the same style on farther West. Besides, neither one of them liked city life, or carpentering, or the treeless prairie. They wanted mountains, forests, and adventure! If it wasn't possible to ride in the comfort of an empty boxcar they would ride underneath, clinging to the rods. On this particular occasion they were riding the rods, didn't know there was a tunnel on that stretch through the Rocky Mountains, and they very nearly lost their lives suffocating from the smoke and fumes.

During Father's Homestead Days, the main diversion and social life was a visit to the neighboring bachelor, making it a point to return home before dark to wait for a full moon to light the way. With the moon in the sky and a piece of fresh venison across his shoulder, probably dreaming of the stew he would have the next day, Father became aware that something was following him. He reasoned "I don't dare look around, to run is the worst thing I can do, it must be an animal, could even be a lion, if worse comes to worse, I'll just drop my meat and hopefully I can keep going." He made it to the cabin without incident. He must have shut the door mighty fast! The next morning he retraced his steps in the soft dirt - there they were large tracks of a mountain lion IN Father's footprints and the lion had followed him to within a few feet of the cabin.

The days of adventure and dreaming and planning ended for Father, not the day he had to have his leg amputated at age 77, but a year later when he passed away February 1, 1947.

Submitted - February 25, 1979


By Johanna E. Siegel


In a recent search of the records at the Flathead County Court House our family found that our father, Adolf C. Krause, had donated considerably more land for roads than we had realized. Deed Record No.205, dated May 2, 1930 records the transaction in which Father deeded a total of 81A acres to the County for road purposes in the Brown's Gulch area.

Father donated a 60-foot strip of land, which ran east west along the 20 and 29 Section Line, a half-mile stretch through the middle of his Homestead. He also donated a 30-foot strip, the east half of the road from Knutson Corner one half mile to Krause Lane.

Not only did Father donate land, but he also bought land specifically for donation to the County for road purposes. In 1925 he bought from John Alsterbeck a 20-foot strip of land extending from Krause Lane to the southwest corner of NW¼ of Sec. 20, Twp. 28, Range 19W. In the same year he also bought a 20-foot strip (adjoining the Alsterbeck strip on the north to guarantee a 40-foot wide road) and two plus acres from Oscar Schmidt.

Father bought this two-acre parcel of land, now known as the Gravel Pit, so the original road could be rerouted in a northwesterly-southeasterly direction along the crest of the hill instead of down a hill to the 90degree corner and immediately up hill again. It eliminated a rather cumbersome, somewhat hazardous stretch of road.

This east-west, half-mile stretch of road from Krause Lane to the Gravel Pit was part of a two-mile wagon road Father built to get to his Homestead during the days he was living on it and making the required improvements between 1897 and 1903. Prior to that it was a two-mile path through the dense forest to the Homestead building site. Once Father owned the land he made his own "road improvements" and in 1950 he deeded the total one and a half plus miles to the County.

Why did Father donate this much land to the County roads? It was his original road and it had given him considerable satisfaction and pride to have subsequent settlers use it. To him the road was practical; it followed section lines, not cutting through properties. AND it had stood the test of time; for fifty years or more it was still THE road through the Brown Gulch Area.

This farsighted, generous move on the part of our father, we know, he felt, was part of his civic duty to the community, a small but vital contribution to the Foothills Road of Brown's Gulch!