rosebud county

If your are from Forsyth, Montana, you most likely know our uncle, Butch Schulenberg. It’s not just because Forsyth is a small town of only 1495 people, so it is easy for everyone to know everyone else, but Butch Schulenberg is really special person within the Forsyth family. For one thing, he grew up the son of the local sheriff, and especially in a small town, that means everyone knows you, and might have even asked for you help when it came to matters of trouble with the sheriff. I doubt if his friends ever got into any real trouble, but kids will be kids. It’s just the way it is. I also doubt if Butch had a lot of pull when it came to getting his friends out of trouble, but then Sheriff Andy Schulenberg had a very different style when it came to policing the people of Rosebud County Montana. He didn’t even carry a gun, but that’s another story.

Uncle Butch grew up loving sports, and was a local sports hero. He still actively supports the local teams to this day. It doesn’t matter to Butch, if it’s the boys teams, the girls teams, or the little league teams. They are his teams and he is a very loyal man. Knowing so many f the town’s people helps too, because he knows these kids personally. He has watched them grow up and cheered them on in every endeavor. You can’t beat the blessing of knowing all those great kids, and having them know you too. Butch never met a stranger, and calls everyone his friend. I like that, because while he is my husband, Bob Schulenberg’s uncle, he is mine too, by marriage. Nevertheless, I don’t even consider the “by marriage” part, because Butch Schulenberg is my uncle just as if I had been born into the family, and I love him very much. He even cheers me on in my writing endeavors, and that pleases me very much. Butch is like…everybody’s cheerleader. He loves to see people succeed and loves to cheer them on to that success.

Butch is also a proud husband, father, and grandfather. His kids, Tadd, Andi Kay, and Heath have 7 children between, and they all love their grandpa very much. Like the kids of Forsyth, Butch is one of his grandchildren’s biggest fans. He loves hearing about their activities and attends whenever he can. He tries very hard to be a hands-on grandpa, and they love him very much. Today is Uncle Butch’s 81st birthday. Happy birthday Uncle Butch. Have a great day!! We love you!!

My husband’s grandfather, Andy Schulenberg became the the Sheriff of Rosebud County, Montana in 1955. His was a unique way of operating as sheriff. He did not carry a gun. Andy had been injured in a hunting accident as a teenager, resulting in the loss of his leg and a 2 year long stay in the hospital. He didn’t have a modern-day prosthetic leg, with a foot that was the same size as their other foot, and fit nicely in a shoe. That didn’t exist then. He had a peg leg. That seems odd to us now, but for him it was just normal, and it didn’t stop him from doing whatever he wanted to do, including becoming the sheriff of Rosebud and holding that position until 1972. Grandpa held that position and was so respected, that he simply didn’t need that gun. If he told someone to stop in their tracks, they stopped in their tracks. If he told someone to stay put on the side of a river, while he crossed the river to get the evidence that would convict them, they stayed put. He worked with the Indian nation leaders, who willingly turned over their young braves to him, in order to straighten them out, and turn them from a life of crime. His influence made a difference in many lives.

When I think of Grandpa Andy as the Sheriff, it is hard to picture that part of him, because there were so many other parts of him that were really so much more of who he was. Grandpa loved going to their place at the lake, spending time with his family, and enjoying Grandma Barbara’s good cooking. I think he enjoyed being with people in general. He was a social person, and that showed in every part of his life. I don’t think he could have done his job as well as he did if he had not been the kind of man who could talk to anyone and become a friend to everyone. The leaders of the Indian nation did not have to turn over their braves to him when they had robbed a store. Their law was different than that of the rest of the county, but they liked and respected Grandpa, and so they did what they needed to do to turn their wayward sons back to the right path.

I didn’t have the chance to get to know Grandpa Andy as well as I would have liked, but through his son, Butch Schulenberg, I have had the opportunity to hear some of the great stories about his dad. Grandpa Andy was his son, Butch’s biggest fan. During his high school years, Butch played football, as well as other sports, and his dad was there to cheer him on. Today would have been Grandpa Andy’s 115th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven Grandpa Andy. We love and miss you very much.

I originally met my husband’s uncle, Andrew “Butch” Schulenberg at a family reunion about 1980, but really began to feel close to him and Aunt Charlys after my father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg, Butch’s half brother, passed away in 2013. Since that time, my husband, Bob and I have gone to Forsyth to spend time with them and kept in touch on Facebook. In those five years, I can honestly say that he has become a favorite uncle to me. He is very sweet man, and his kind, thoughtful ways have endeared him to me more than he could possibly know. I am so blessed that he is a part of my life.

Uncle Butch is the youngest child of his dad, Andrew Schulenberg, who was the sheriff of Rosebud County, Montana from 1955 to 1972. Growing up as the son of the County Sheriff, you would expect that Butch would be an expert in guns, and you would be right, but not for the reason you might think. You see, Butch’s dad was known as the sheriff without a gun. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop Butch from becoming an expert marksman. Butch graduated from high school in Forsyth, Montana, and then attended Northern Montana College in Havre, Montana before joining the Army on September 13, 1963. Part of his time in the Army was spent stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, as a rifleman in Company A, 1st Battalion of the Division’s 35th Infantry. While there he took part in Exercise West Wind as a part of the assault team in a joint Army-Navy-Marine Corps amphibious operation on the Hawaiian Island of Molokai from April 15, 1964 to April 24, 1964. During his time in the Army, Butch became an Expert (Rifle M-14) and Marksman (Rifle).

Butch had learned to respect the dangers of guns early in his life, a result of the fact that his dad lost his left leg as a result of a hunting accident at the tender age of 14. I don’t believe that Grandpa Andy Schulenberg was afraid of guns, else how could he possibly be the Sheriff of Rosebud County for so many years, but I do believe that he was well aware of what can happen with guns and that he made sure that his children knew that they were not a toy. Nevertheless, he didn’t teach his children to fear guns either. While Butch was an excellent marksman, he was also a great driver, and that caught the attention of his superior officer who chose him to be his driver for much of his time in the service. Butch received an honorable discharge on August 23, 1965. I am very proud of Uncle Butch’s service to his country, and his abilities. Today is Uncle Butch’s 77th birthday. Happy birthday Uncle Butch!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

andy-schulenbergAs a young boy of just 15 years, Andy Schulenberg was hunting with a friend, Howard Stewart on an October day in 1921. He leaned his rifle against a tree and it fell over, discharging and hitting Andy in the leg. That event would begin a 2 year long stay in the hospital, and Andy would lose his leg about a year into that stay, in June of 1922. While devastated over this event, Andy dug deep inside himself and decided that he would not be an invalid. Fitted with a wooden leg, that had a simple table like rubberized end to it, Andy proceeded to live the rest of his life. This would not break him, because he was not a quitter. Andy did whatever he wanted to do. Throughout his life, Andy did things his way. He became quite competitive. For a time, his family hauled beets, and Andy could out load anyone when it came to loading the truck. His arms were so strong, by way of compensation for his lack of a leg, and the fact that Andy was a big strong man. Many times while loading those trucks, he could load the truck he was working, faster than two men on the other truck…and then he went over and finished loading their truck too. Nobody could beat Andy Schulenberg!

In 1955 Andy Schulenberg became the sheriff of Rosebud County, Montana. That was really an amazing feat for a man with a wooden peg for a leg. Andy became a sheriff who didn’t carry a gun. That is such an odd thing to think about. There might be a television show sheriff who didn’t need a gun, but the reality is that a real life sheriff carries a gun…at least any I knew of until Andy Schulenberg. You do have to recall that Andy maybe didn’t just love guns…making his decision to become a lawman a strange one, I suppose. I’m sure that most people must think that Andy lived in an area much like Mayberry on the Andy Griffith Show, but they would be wrong. Andy used different tools in his work as sheriff. He knew a lot of the Indian elders in the area, and they respected him. If Andy was looking for a specific brave, he would go to the elders and ask where he was. They would simply bring the young man to him. There are a number of young men who would be glad to tell you that had it not been for Andy Schulenberg, they would probably have ended up in prison. As I said, Andy was a different kind of sheriff. He believed in second chances, and he earned not only the respect of the elders, but of the young braves, and in fact all the young men and women in the area. He was honest and fair, and they knew they would get a fair shake from him.

There were some comical arrests, however. One in particular was the time Andy was called to Ashland, Montana. Two young Cheyenne Indians had decided to break into a liquor store. They made off with about a case of whiskey. They were down on the brush lined banks of Otter Creek when Andy caught up with them. On the reservation, Andy was known as Cottonwood, because of his wooden leg. When he found the young braves, sheriff-andy-schulenbergthey were a little tipsy from the whiskey. They had crossed a log bridge to get to an island to have a little party. Andy cuffed the boys and told them to wait by the car. He went back for the evidence. On his way back, with several bottles of whiskey, Andy slipped and fell into the water. Under normal circumstances that might not have been a big deal, but wood floats, and Andy’s leg was made of wood. As he struggled to get his leg back under him without losing the evidence, the Indian braves sat on the side of the creek bank laughing hysterically. They assumed that the evidence would be lost, and they would get off scot-free, but they were wrong. Andy managed to get his leg under him, and save one bottle of whiskey. Then he took the braves…who had not even considered running, by the way, back to jail. And he did it all without a gun.

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