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BENJAMIN F. STRANGE

     Benjamin F. Strange, a prominent farmer of the Bitter Root Valley, was born in Garrard Co, Ky. His ancestors were among the early settlers of Virgina. His maternal grandfather, Jesse Robards, was a Captain in the Colonial army during the Revolution and rendered his country much valuable service.

    Jacob Strange, father of our subject, was born in Kentucky.  By his first marriage he had four children. He was afterward married in his native state to Catherine Roberts, a native of KY. and they moved to Kansas. Mr. Strange died in Brown Co. Kansas in 1856 at the age of 60, leaving a wife and three sons and two daughters. During the following year the eldest son broke his back at a barn raising. In 1860 a severe drought caused the crops to be a complete failure and the settlers became destitute of food. Benjamin and his brother William were obliged to go sixty miles with oxen to the supply station, provisions having been donated by the more fortunate settlers of Minnesota and other states. The journey was made through a destitute country and they received only 150# of graham flour. They then made a trip to Missouri, receiving 1,000# of middlings. While returning home they became snowbound two weeks, and their oxen not being able to draw the load, they uncoupled the wagon, putting a part of the supplies on the front wheels, and leaving the remainder. After waiting for the thaw they found the rivers very much swollen, and at one place the stream was surging against the bridge with such force that it seemed as if they must fall at any instant. While crossing, the wagon pole fell from the ring in yoke, ran under the planking and stopped the oxen. The bridge being narrow, they were obliged to unyoke the oxen and carry the yokes and wheels back to extricate the pole. To add to their fright and anxiety the accident occurred at night and in the morning they learned that the bridge had gone down. The brothers at last reached home in safety.

      In 1862 Mr. Strange enlisted for service in the late war, entering Company I, 13th Kansas Volunteer Infantry. He served to the close of the struggle in the Western Division, took part in the battles of Cane hill, Prairie Grove and Van Buren, was in numerous skirmishes and participated in the running fight from Ft. Gibson to a distance of 250 miles, in which there was considerable fighting every day. Mr. Strange received a sunstroke during that forced march, from which he was disabled during the ensuing winter and has never fully recovered. After receiving his honorable discharge at the close of the war, he returned to his home in Kansas. On New Year's Day, 1867, he was married to Amanda Goff, and they continued to reside on a farm in Kansas until May 1, 1874. Four children were born to them in that state, one of whom Franklin, died at the age of 2 years.

     With their three children, James A., Fred and William A., the Strange family came direct to the Bitter Root Valley arriving at this place $50.00 in debt. Mr. Strange first found work for two months at $40.00 per month, then purchased a team, wagon and harness and located a ranch six miles north and one mile east of Corvallis. At the close of the first year, he owned a good team, three cows and had twenty acres of land fenced. He sold that farm with the intention of leaving this country and loaded his goods on a wagon, but on calmer reflection decided to relocate.  Mr. Strange then purchased 160 acres of land six miles from Corvallis, for which he was indebted to the amount of $350. During the first year he raised grain, at 50 cents per bushel, sufficient to pay the entire indebtedness. In 1881 he sold that place and purchased 160 acres of his present farm, to which he has since added until he now owns 640 acres. Three hundred and twenty acres of the place is located three miles form his home. Mr. Strange is engaged in general farming, stock and fruit raising.

      Six children have been added to the family in Montana: Luke, Sarah M., Mary C., John, Anna B. and Lucella. John died at the age of ten and the two eldest sons are married and reside near their parents. Mr. and Mrs. Strange have two grandchildren. Our subject and his wife are members of the Methodist Church. The former has been a life long Republican and is a member of the Masonic fraternity. His entire life has been one of unrelenting toil, and he has not only secured a valuable property, but has the respect of the entire community.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 History of Montana, by Joaquin Miller, 1894