By Alkali Springs Correspondent
How about some legend and lore this week? We hesitate to call it history, because sometimes history should never get in the way of a good tale. Most of this one is true, we think, but if it contradicts your view, just chalk this one up to legend and lore.
It all started when we got "A Climber's Guide to Glacier Park" by Gordon Edwards. We had looked at this book for years but, since we never thought we would be climbing Glacier's technical peaks, had never even peeked in it. Then one day a friend asked if we had ever heard of it and if we would pick him up a copy when we saw one. We did and looked it over before we parted with it and much to our amazement it was as full of history, legends and lore and some of the most interesting stories about Glacier that we had ever encountered. It was a must read for us several times over.
That is where Maj. Logan came in. That book tied some knots that we had wondered about for years. For example, the Maj. Logan that was the Indian agent at Fort Belknap. Was he the same one who went on to become the first superintendent of Glacier Park? When we found out that the answer to this question was yes, a lot made more sense than before. Especially when it concerned Horace Brewster.
We had run into Horace Brewster in a book written by Walt Coburn. The Coburn family had a huge ranch just east of the Little Rockies for many years and was good friends of Kid Curry. Horace Brewster was the foreman for the Coburn ranch. Circle C it was called.
Walt Coburn writes that one time when they were living south of the Missouri, Mr. Coburn came out one morning to find his house completely surrounded by Indians. He thought that they would all be killed, so told his foreman, Brewster, to go inside and keep his wife and children company until he (Coburn) found out what the huge Indian party wanted. He said that if he was killed, Mr. Brewster should kill his wife and children as it would be better than what could happen to them. Brewster went into the house and Coburn soon found out that this bunch of Indians were Chief Joseph and his band and they wanted some fresh meat. They got their meat and went on to their rendezvous with destiny north of the Bear Paws. Later, the Circle C ranch moved east of the Little Rockies and that must have been when Maj. Logan met Horace Brewster. The Coburns leased lots of pasture from Fort Belknap. When Maj. Logan was tapped to go on to become the first superintendent of Glacier Park, he asked Horace Brewster to come with him to be the first chief ranger. And that's the rest of the story.
A few interesting loose ends. Brewster's son Eddy went on to found a restaurant and store in Apgar that bares his name to this day. Eddy's Caf and Camp Store.
Maj. Logan named a prominent mountain, Mount Coburn, to honor that family. As soon as Logan left, the Great Northern, who had great power in Glacier, asked that the name be changed to Mount Logan. The railway did not like the Coburn family for any number of reasons, one being that they were sheep growers in what the railroad perceived as beef and homesteader country.
The large mountain is just east of Mount Jackson in the St. Mary's drainage. A glacier, a pass and a creek also bear Logan's name.
And to think that it all started on the prairies of north-central Montana.