Tags: Clark Gable, Las Vegas, Ria Langham Gable, Roundup Magazine
Click on the link below for a readable PDF of
“NEVADA as a Place to Split is a Legend of our Time“
Roundup is published bi-monthly by Western Writers of America.
Tags: Huffington Post, Marilu Norden, Theresa Iker
In May 2013, Bill McGee and I were interviewed by Theresa Iker for her Scripps College thesis about the Nevada divorce ranch era. (See my June 2013 post: “Fascination with the Reno divorce era continues”)
For her blog debut on Huffington Post, Ms. Iker writes about her interview with another Nevada divorce ranch era survivor, Marilu Norden… Click the link to read the Huffington Post story… “Divorcing at Dude Ranches”
Tags: Clyde M. Lyon, Edith Lott Birthing Hospital, Great Northern Railroad, Livingston Montana, Shields River Valley, Yellowstone National Park
In September 2013, Bill and I visited his home state of Montana. Our objective: A research trip to fill in the blanks of Bill’s family history in preparation for our next book, “Lucky Me: A Photo Memoir of Growing Up in Montana During the Great Depression” (working title).
Destination #1 – Livingston (pop 7,000, elev 4,501 feet)
We began our research in Livingston where Bill was born in 1925.
In 1925, Bill’s father, Harry Ellwood “Mac” McGee, was homesteading in the Shields River Valley about 30 miles north of Livingston. When Bill’s time came to be born, his “rich” Uncle Clyde M. Lyon drove Bill’s mother, Vivian (Lyon) McGee, to the Lott Birthing Hospital in Livingston. Maternity patients at that time were not usually kept in regular hospitals, and numerous “maternity houses” or “birthing hospitals” (as they were called) were scattered throughout Livingston before hospitals were thought important for “lying in”.
The Lott Birthing Hospital, at 128 S. Yellowstone Street, was originally a private residence built in 1889 (the year Montana achieved statehood) in the affluent West Side neighborhood known as “Bankers’ Row”. From 1920 to 1929, the residence housed the Lott Birthing Hospital run by local nurse Edith Lott. Nurse Lott, renowned for her compassion, never asked if a patient could pay. She also took care of “the ladies from B Street” (Red Light District).
Today the former Lott Birthing Hospital is once again a private residence and is on the National Register of Historic Places. (See photo.)
Livingston was established in the 1880s around the Northern Pacific Railroad. Situated on the Yellowstone River, the town soon became known as “The original gateway to Yellowstone National Park”. Tourists en route to the park had to change trains in Livingston and many spent the night in town before continuing their journey. By 1882, Livingston was a thriving community with 40 businesses, 30 of which were saloons. Rough and tumble, the town attracted the likes of Calamity Jane who is said to have lived in a local hotel with periodic stays in the local jail.
Today, Livingston’s historic Main Street is a reminder of the past, with grand old buildings that have been restored. (See photo from Livingston Chamber of Commerce.) The town is a haven for artists, writers and actors, with good restaurants — and still a healthy number of saloons.
Tags: Caitlin Ranch, Catlin Ranch, Clyde M. Lyon, Livingston Montana, Malta Montana, Shields River Valley, White Sulphur Springs, Wilsall Mercantile Company, Wilsall Montana
In September 2013, Bill and I visited his home state of Montana. Our objective: A research trip to fill in the blanks for Bill’s family history in preparation for our next book, “Lucky Me: A Photo Memoir of Growing Up in Montana During the Great Depression” (working title). Destination #1 was Livingston where Bill was born in 1925. (See Post #1.)
Destination #2 – Wilsall (pop 237 at the 2000 census)
In 1911, Clyde M. Lyon (who would become Bill’s uncle), was roaming around the West looking for a satisfactory place to locate, and came to Wilsall, a small community about 30 miles north of Livingston in the Shields River Valley. Already established in the Midwest as a successful businessman, Mr. Lyon began a new career in ranching and, by 1919, owned several ranches in Park County, a mercantile store in Wilsall, and was numbered among the prosperous and well-to-do citizens of his community. In 1921, Clyde M. Lyon was written up in a Montana “Who’s Who” as “one of the well-known agriculturists and ranchmen of Southern Montana…never losing the dignity which is the birthright of the true gentleman”. (Source: Montana: Its Story and Biography, Vol. II, 1921)
“When Mother and Dad married in 1921 in Livingston, my father, Harry Elwood “Mac” McGee, had quite a reputation around Montana as a top hand with horses. Clyde Lyon, my mother’s brother, who owned several ranches at the time in Park and Meagher counties, immediately spotted Dad’s talent with horses and hired him on the spot to work. Dad moved around a lot while working for Uncle Clyde, thus my three siblings and I were each born in a different part of the state.”
Bill’s oldest sister, Doris, was born in 1922 on Uncle Clyde’s home property near Wilsall. Bill’s next oldest sister, Betty, was born in 1923 on Uncle Clyde’s Catlin (or Caitlin) Ranch near White Sulphur Springs (pop 965 at the 2012 census) about 40 miles north of Wilsall. (See photo.) Bill was born in 1925 at the Lott Birthing Hospital in Livingston. Bill’s younger brother, Bob, would be born in 1927 in Malta on the Hi-Line.
Tags: Clyde M. Lyon, Forestgrove Montana, Frederick A. Lyon, Helena Montana, Lewistown Montana, Montana Historical Society
In September 2013, Bill and I visited his home state of Montana. Our objective: A research trip to fill in the blanks for Bill’s family history in preparation for our next book, “Lucky Me: A Photo Memoir of Growing Up in Montana During the Great Depression” (working title). Destination #1 was Livingston where Bill was born in 1925. Destination #2 was Wilsall in the Shields River Valley. (See Posts #1 and 2.)
Destination #3 – Montana’s capital, Helena (pop 29,351, elev 4,090 feet)
The Montana Historical Society in Helena had a wealth of information on Bill’s Uncle Clyde M. Lyon and Frederick A. Lyon. We’re researching Bill’s relationship to the latter Lyon; however, in the meantime, we gathered this information about the man.
Frederick A. Lyon arrived in Montana in 1879 and, a few years later, went to Forestgrove, near Lewistown. He courageously began his career as a homesteader on what was practically desert land. His operations grew and prospered, and, by 1921, he owned 2,000 acres of valuable and productive land. He was one of the pioneers in the business of alfalfa growing in Fergus County.
To be continued in Spring 2014… “God willin’ and the Creek don’t rise”.
Tags: "Romantic Nevada", dude ranch, James A. FitzPatrick, TCM, TravelTalks, Turner Classic Movies
On July 31, 2013, Turner Classic Movies featured a lineup of movies with a Reno setting… View the schedule
One of the more interesting viewings may be “Romantic Nevada”, a 1943 TravelTalks documentary short produced and narrated by James A. FitzPatrick. For Nevada and Reno history buffs, at the 00:03:44 point in the documentary, there is footage of the Tumbling DW (later the Flying M E) dude-divorce ranch in Washoe Valley. I don’t have positive confirmation, but the tall gentleman wearing the white hat looks like Dore Wood, the Eastern blueblood who started the famous divorce ranch in the late 1930s with his then-wife Emmy Wood.
For more on Reno divorce movies, see the Page on this Blog, Reno Divorce Movies, or the Posting on this Blog 40+ Reno Divorce Movies.
-Sandra McGee, Divorce Nevada Style
Tags: "Charlie Chan in Reno", "Reno Memories", National Day of the Cowboy, Twentieth Century Fox
Former Montana cowboy Bill McGee gives on-camera commentary in Reno Memories, a documentary short produced for Twentieth Century Fox to accompany the re-release on DVD of Fox’s 1939 film, Charlie Chan in Reno.
Tags: divorce trends, elocal.com
What are the six biggest divorce trends in the United States today?
What is the demographic for which divorce is on the rise?
Some of the data may surprise you… Click on the link for the answers… Six Divorce Trends of Today
-Sandra McGee, Divorce Nevada Style
Tags: Mark P. Hall-Patton, Pawn Stars, The Lone Ranger
Las Vegas, Nevada, June 25-29, 2013 – Hundreds of the country’s top Western writers gathered in Las Vegas for the 60th Western Writers of America Convention.
Western novelists, historians, screenwriters, songwriters, and the agents and editors who represent them, enjoyed five days of Western camaraderie and networking. This year a much-debated topic was the recently released Johnny Depp movie, ”The Lone Ranger”. WWA members are serious researchers and they know their history when it comes to the “old West”, So there were lively debates about the movie and just who was the real Lone Ranger. You can follow the discussion on Western Writers of America’s facebook page.