Jane Stanfel Capturing Forever


Gallery
 
Watercolors

Roundup Area

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The Wind Inherits
Oil on Barnwood 40 " x 23.5"

Alfred Matson Ranch
Emil and Alfred Matson were brothers who decided to buy neighboring ranches and for tax purposes, later traded properties. When times got a little tight financially they both went to work at their own saw mill. There, the brotherly philos ended when they got into a fight and an accident occurred; Emil was running the saw when Alfred’s face was split open by a flying piece of wood. Not having extra cash for doctors, he somehow made it home, and there he lay until it healed, scarring him horribly. After this catastrophe the brothers never talked, never were in the same room, never helped each other. Lois Beckman Dietz remembers that it was difficult to have them visit over the holidays. They could have one for Christmas dinner, the other for New Year’s. Alfred became almost a hermit, fearful to be around people, but he was known as a kind, gentle man. Neither brother made it big as a rancher though both worked hard enough. Alfred could never afford a decent bull, so, when he needed one to enlarge his herd, he would lurk behind trees until the coast was clear, then appropriate a neighbor’s for a day or two until the job was completed. The locals didn’t mind, for helping each other was part of ranching.

 

Availability: Sold

Room for a Friend
Oil on Barnwood 13" x 20.5"

Alfred Matson Ranch
The outhouse intrigued me immensely.  Why would a hermit such as Alf build a two-seater outhouse?  Perhaps it was built before his brother and he had separated, and he thought they might both have the urge at the same time.  Perhaps he planned to marry someday.  Whatever the reason, there it is, a two-seater on the ranch of a bachelor hermit!

Availability: Sold

The End of the Road
Oil on Canvas 24 " x 20 "

Alfred Matson Ranch
Walking Alf’s ranch overwhelmed me; it was as if time had stopped and there, everywhere, were remembrances rustling in the wind. Why his pickup was deserted in the middle of the field, rusted an autumn orange, nobody knows.  Yet, it seemed to be waiting, almost begging, for this kind, disfigured man to turn the key, start it up and get back to work.

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Price: US $500
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Thanatopsis
Oil on Canvas 12 " x 9 " 

Alfred Matson Ranch
As I walked the land around his serenely beautiful site, I became so sad.  It was as if the spirit of Alf was attached to all the equipment and buildings, even the furniture in the house.  As I walked by one vacant building there on the ground was this little cottontail.  At first I thought it was just resting in the sun, but upon approaching, I saw it had recently died.  How, why?  It, too, was now one of the Matson Ranch spirits.

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Price: US $400
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Father’s Not Coming Home
Oil on Canvas 10" x 8 "

Tucker/Branum Ranch
With his wife and ten children, William Tucker claimed his second homestead at the age of 56. Their first had been in South Dakota, but the government took the land away when minerals were discovered on the property. Unfortunately his 161 acres consisted mainly of rocks, pines, gullies and hills. The land could never support a family of this size, so his wife and children did the farming, while he was the hired hand on other ranches and graded the new roads for the county. He did manage to build a tiny two-story cabin for his family and a few barns. His neighbor, Rufus Branum, with a wife and four children, claimed their 280 acres from the federal government when Rufus was 44 years old. As he did for the Tuckers, President Wilson signed the patent allowing Rufus to claim the land. He, too, built a house and some out-buildings, and drilled a well for water which caved in forcing him to use water from a now defunct spring. Little else is know about these two pioneer families. Both probably moved on in the Great Depression, and all that remains are the stone fragments of two buildings, rotting boards, some square nails, fencing, a dug-out place, and the pipe leading to the well. It is rather symbolic that on the day I saw these remnants a dead bird lay in the dust.

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Price: US $600
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The Well Ran Dry
Oil on Canvas 14" x 11" 

Tucker/Branum Ranch
Little is know about these two pioneer farmers.  One owned an L-shaped half-section, the other 280 acres mostly rocks, trees and gullies.  An old-time resident, Lois Beckman Dietz, remembers there were children here, though they were far too distant ever to play or school together.  Both the Tuckers and Branums moved on in the Great Depression, and all that remains are the fragmenting stone walls of two buildings, rotting boards, some square nails, fencing, a dug-out place, and the pipe leading to the well.

Availability: Sold

Beckman House
Oil on Canvas  14" x 11"

Beckman Ranch
Born in Minnesota Albert Beckman came to Roundup to work as a carpenter, found the homestead land all claimed, and bought a section from the Northern Pacific Railroad for $9.00 per acre.In 1917, when he was 30, he married Cora Strike, 18, who lived around Devil's Lake. For a couple of years they camped in a tent until Albert hauled lumber 100 miles by horse and wagon and built a house. For school their three children boarded with neighbors who had a school house and a teacher, and at one point Albert converted a chicken coop to a school room for the three Beckman children and a neightbor girl. The teacher lived in a teacherage (a small camper) and was furnished fuel and food. During a period of the Depression, Cora operated the ranch and Albert worked demolishing homes lost to bankruptcy, for the government. Only in 1950, when a power line was strung to the Big Wall oil field, did the family have electricity. The sixties saw an end to their hard-earned life on the ranch. First, Cora died in April of breast cancer, after which Albert stuck it out alone until, in late August, he suffered blood clots in his legs and could not walk. He crawled to a shed but could go no further. Following morning he was found and rushed to the hospital. the doctors could not save his legs, and this amputation was not only of body but also of his life on the ranch he so loved. After Albert passed away, two brouthers bought the house and original section of land. First Vince, later Frank, Goffena lived there with his family. Even in the 1980's life in the remote place was arduous. At times the only way to transport children to the school bus stop was by tractor. Electricity and phone were iffy at best. Now empty of people the house is prey to the harsh elements and is home only to rats, mice, snakes, and memories.

Availability: Sold

No More Harvests
Oil on Canvas  14" x 11"

Beckman Ranch
Partially destroyed with parts strewn and buried in the long Buffalo grass this header seems to be waiting for Albert to bring his team of horses and start the job. Instead, the wind, blowing through its ancient frame, just makes an eerie, mournful sound

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Price: US $900
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The Bride Had to Shovel
2007 Oil on Canvas 24" x 18 "

Beckman Ranch
It was their first wedding anniversary and they were to celebrate it on their ranch.  They had survived their first year of marriage in a house in which kitchen water was frozen solid in winter, rattlers cavorted and rattled under their bedroom floor boards in summer.  They had invited their family and friends to join them, but it was springtime on a rural, Montana ranch in the sixties.  Last year’s bride awoke to over a foot of snow, and Vince had the animal chores to attend, so Arlene grabbed the shovel and cleared a path for their guests.  Happy Anniversary!

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Price: US $500
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The Housekeeper Is Gone
Oil on Canvas 9 " x 12" 

Beckman Ranch
Even in scorching summers tasty meals were prepared in this kitchen by first the Beckmans, then the Goffenas.  Albert Beckman built the kitchen cabinets, and  Frank updated the kitchen with this slightly newer wood-burning stove.  Insulation was no more than wishful thinking, so in winter everything froze, and getting up in the morning to fix a meal was quite a challenge.  Yet, much love and happiness were forged within these walls, children were nursed, then toddled about.  For the Beckmans, they returned as adults to help their elder, ailing parents.  For Frank and Sue, a son now plants and harvests the Beckman land. The hired help, arrested by the local sheriff, departed quickly, and their garbage still lingers, but the mice and rats don’t mind.

Available
Price: US $800
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It Never Had Brakes
Oil on Canvas 20 " x 16 " 

Beckman Ranch
To operate a ranch one needs a tractor.  Unfortunately, the Goffena brothers bought the land and the house, not Beckman’s tractors.   Vince desperately needed one but was a little hard pressed for cash.  He solved the problem by buying at auction a 1925 McCormick Deering that had a slight problem; its brakes did not work.  To this day he and Arlene tell tales of creative jumping and plowing a field, so Vince would always end the job up-hill.  The old tractor still stands patiently awaiting a little oil and gas to complete another task performed by one brave fellow.

Available
Price: US $500
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Tub and Two Barrels
Oil on Canvas 12 " x 9 " 

Beckman Ranch
The tub is beautiful, a true antique, but there it sits in the front yard beside two bullet-ventilated barrels.  When Frank and Susan moved into the Beckman house, she wanted a pond for ducks and birds in the yard.  Frank, to accommodate his wife, took an old footed bathtub and buried it in the ground.  Everyone, including the ducks, was happy.  When Frank built the family a new house on a different section of land, the hired help lived in the old Beckman house.  These gents had to mix some chemicals and didn’t much like bending over to do it.  Shrewdly they dug up the tub and used it as their mixing bowl.

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Price: US $900
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The Wash House
Oil on Canvas 24 " x 20 " 

Beckman Ranch
This wooden structure, though a shade shorter than the leaning tower of Pisa, had a much more powerful sway.  Albert moved it from a vacant farm, for Cora wanted a separate place to wash the family clothes.  The washer was a boiler on a wood stove; the dryer, her clothesline; for soap she used lye.  If the hired help actually washed their duds out there in those modern machines, we shall never know, for they found housing in the jail.  In a big wind storm the building recently fell over.

Available
Price: US $1300
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Old Time Branding
Oil on Old Barnwood 24 " x 15.5 " 

Hall Ranch
According to folklore the original owner, a Mr. Tupper of Chicago, was a Mafia figure seeking to hide from the FBI. If true, apparently he succeeded. When he died, Mrs. Tupper, much younger, a local school teacher, sold the place in 1938 to 45-year-old Charles Henry Hall from Curtis, Nebraska. Charlie was a loner, tight-fisted about money, whose trusty dogs subsisted on potato peels. The ranch never had a decent well, water was carried from a now dry spring near the house. Never squandering this precious fluid on such superfluities as washing clothes, Charlie wore a pair of jeans until they would not abide another fitting, then tossed them onto a heap of brethren on the floor. If a dish weren’t awfully dirty, he turned it over to escape washing it. If the uncovered jar lured flies to their deaths, he spread the jelly on a bread slice and picked out their corpses later. Over time his land grew to 30 to 60 sections, according to local beliefs, and even in age he was tough enough to ride the length and breadth of it. He originally raised sheep but soon had 400-500 head of cattle. Wisely he slept in the living room with a hip holster on the nearby wall, for the town people, unaware that he banked in Billings, believed much money was stashed there, and there was at least one robbery attempt. On the final day of his life he rode out to check things and became ill, but managed to reach home and die. After that, his brother and heir promptly shot his dogs and put up the place for sale. Tales abounded about a Texas Ranger that had ridden through Hall’s territory and never returned home. When Robert Goffena Sr. bought the ranch from Hall’s brother, his sons went searching for possible treasure. They found no money, but up the fireplace chimney there was an old jacket wrapped around a .45 Colt revolver, bearing the stamp of the Texas Rangers. His pile of dirty pants were scooped up by a neighbor and sold on the Internet as real, antique, cowboy jeans. His little house was demolished. It should not be forgotten, though, that this was once the Capital of an empire. Small you say. Yes, though at nearly a third the size of Rhode Island, still an empire, hard-won and defiantly defended against relentless Nature. It and its ruler deserve to be memorialized.

During the summer months the Siemions worked for Charlie Hall, the boys as a ranch hands, she as a cook. Steve is the boy pinning down the calf as his brother brands it. There is a photo of Charlie branding, but he hated having his picture taken, so I respected his wishes and did not paint him.

Availability: Sold

It Housed His Buick
Oil on Canvas 16" x 12 "

Hall Ranch
Whether this building housed Charlie’s Buick or his Lincoln, depending upon who tells the tale, or whether it was actually the shop doesn’t matter.  What signifies is the story of his love of his vehicle.  Hall’s pride and joy was his car, and although he lived on a gumbo mess of a road (which is now our road and still a gumbo mess) and rarely could drive it anywhere important, he replaced it every couple of years.  His loyal ranch hand always bought the old vehicle, when Charlie got the new model from the same dealer.  When he died both his usual buyer and salesman were among his pallbearers.

Available
Price: US $600
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Mrs. Tupper’s Ford
Oil on Canvas 14 " x 11" 

Hall Ranch
Directly behind all the ranch buildings is a gully where the Tuppers and Charlie Hall dumped garbage they did not burn.  There, surrounded by sage brush, scraps of wood and metal junk reposes Mrs. Tupper’s car, with a beautiful patina of rust.

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Price: US $700
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Sheep Shearing Pen
Oil on Canvas 16 " x 12"

Hall Ranch
The Sweat Shed was an important aspect of sheep shearing.  Inside this building Hall could keep 800 sheared sheep warm.  For shearing, his 2,000 sheep were run through an alley way, while the shearer waited inside with his generator-powered shears.  He was paid by the pound of wool cut, so time was of the essence.  Ranch hands tromped on the wool in the sacks to compress the contents.  Fully loaded these weighed 600-700 pounds, were stitched shut, and then rolled to the truck.

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Price: US $850
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Wild Horse Pen
Oil on Canvas 24 " x 12"

Hall Ranch
Fifty to sixty wild horses roamed Hall’s ranch.  At first he attempted to run them off, but finally built the pen, rounded up several, trained them, and kept one for himself.  In the background of the picture are many of his sheep sheds.  One spring storm he lost 300-400 sheep, so then he built these sheds to protect them.  Pregnant ewes were caged and transported from the open range into these shacks until the lambs were safely born and big enough to fend for themselves.

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Price: US $800
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The Grain Elevator at Delphia
Oil on Canvas 18" x 18 "

Delphia
In 1908, the Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific Railroad laid track and began service to the Roundup and beyond areas. About seventeen miles east of Roundup they built a bridge over the Musselshell River and had the Globe Elevator Company of Lewistown construct an elevator for all the neighboring ranchers to store their grain for shipment on their line. They started the bustling town named Delphia so that their steam engines could have water. A fifteen-horsepower gas engine was added to the elevator when they realized it had a seepage problem from the water tables being too high. In the fifties the REA brought electricity to the area, and the pump engine was converted to electricity. The town had a store-post office combo, school, a beautiful park for the residents, and a vehicle road to the outside world. Tales about the height of the slide, the speed of the spinning merry-go-round, and the unsuccessful attempts at flying off the old-fashioned swing still abound. Not so young ex-students chatter about the good education they received in the little school, and ranchers talk fondly of when the railroad was their partner in shipping grain.

Many years ago, the railroad ceased serving the area and sold the grain elevator, along with the surrounding land, to a local rancher, who actually used it to store grain until the pumps could no longer hold back the water. What grain is left in it is rotted remnants from years past; though the line is still there, the power has been turned off; and the building is distinctly tilting, rather like the famous tower in Pisa.

The town is now part of a large ranch. There is a sign stating the population numbers two inhabitants, though even that is an exaggeration for the two remaining houses have renters only occasionally. The store-post office, with its broken, boarded windows, is following in the footsteps of the grain elevator and will soon be just scattered boards rattling in the wind. The road bridge over the Musselshell River has been declared unsafe, and no one dares tempt fate. The railroad bridge is owned by the rancher that bought the elevator. Visitors can drive the back roads or chance a trespassing ticket from our county sheriff and drive on the railroad bridge.

Available
Price: US $1700
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Revenants Haunt the Old Place
Oil on Canvas 24" x 30"

Lackey Ranch
Grandpa William and Grandma Lackey were early homesteaders in Musselshell County. When they died, their ranch was bought by Alfred Mattson when he and his brother wanted adjoining places. The Mattsons traded their properties for tax purposes, and the Lackey place became Emil’s. In old age, ill health forced him to sell and move to Roundup. Little is left to identify the ranch except the iron enclosed burial site of one of the Lackey’s grandsons.

William insisted that the family live in his backyard, as he would say, meaning they had to buy a ranch close to his. Following his dad’s wishes, when Burley, their son, married Esther, he bought a place located a few miles from his parents. It is a beautiful setting nestled under a high hill with large rock out-croppings and a long gumbo road leading to the site. The place has a magnificent view of the Little Snowy Mountains, and it came with a two-story homesteader’s wood house and out-buildings, a little utopia - except for one small detail. The water tested unfit for human or animal consumption. Burley and Esther were told never to use it even on their garden. Back then, there was good water on the Griffith’s Ranch, and it was from there they hauled their water, not an easy task. However, Esther loved flowers, and she created a magnificent garden next to the house. Trees were planted around it, and they grew huge and strong under her care. Years later, on the third attempt for a well, they finally found drinkable water in one of their fields. They sided their house; added a basement; and three sons, Morris, Willie, and Pete, were born. The boys even had their own one-room shack in which to sleep. Its location was a short walk behind the main house and nearer the outhouse. It too had a blemish, no source of heat. Each night in winter, the boys trudged to their unheated cabin, kicked off their boots, and jumped into their cots. In the morning their boots had to be ripped off the floor, for during the night they froze tightly to the wood.

In the footsteps of Grandparents Lackey, Burley and Esther wanted their sons living close to them. However, Morris, who was working in Missoula, married Dorothy, and moved to Oregon.

Willie married Rosemary, a divorcée, and they hauled an old homestead house next to his parents’ place, where he could be their right-hand helper. Unfortunately, his happiness was short lived for Rosemary became ill and died when she was just 37 years old. Thereafter, he remained a loner, working the ranch when times were good, and in other places when money was tight. When he became ill with cancer, Willie moved to Oregon where Morris’ son cared for him until his death. To honor his wishes, his ashes were brought back to Montana, where he was buried on Emil Mattson’s place, the site of his grandparents’ homestead, a place full of fond youthful memories.

Pete married Audrey and lived in Roundup. In summer Pete helped farm the Beckman Ranch and always was home branding, haying and combining. In winter he worked for John Deere in town, and his wife Audrey, still lives in their home.

When we visited the Lackey Ranch, the houses had furniture and books from the last renters, as well as droppings from the present, feathered residents. The homes are slowly but surely collapsing into their dug-out cellars, windows are broken from spring-time storms, and the once-modern siding has fallen off in many places, exposing the original boards. No one ever did get the decent water in the house nor bothered to install indoor plumbing, and without that, there is no reason to maintain the structures. The large barn, which held most of their animals, still stands strong. The magnificent roses and flower gardens died and disappeared with the winds years ago, and the towering trees look like deadly, ghostly beings hovering over the decaying houses. The ranch itself is now just a small part of a larger cattle ranch, but the tales of this family are a part of Montana’s history.

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Copyright 1998-2012
©Jane Stanfel