Montana TerritoryMany times, possibly to take the people’s minds off of long wars, presidents have worked to change some things back home. Sometimes that is a bad thing, and sometimes, as is the case on this day in 1864, it is a good thing. Abraham Lincoln was anxious to create new territories where people could settle during the Civil War, so on May 26, 1864, he signed an act establishing the Montana Territory. Abraham Lincoln had hoped to lift the spirits of the war weary, and open up the territory for gold exploration, but unfortunately the region was pretty unstable, so it didn’t do much to help the nation…at least not right away. In fact, it was so bad, that Sidney Edgerton, the territory’s first governor, fled after suffering through months of Indian raids. Some people probably thought of him as somewhat cowardly, but I think that months of Indian raids would make a man think that maybe he should get out before his number was up.

I’m sure we would all have to agree that now, Montana is a key part of the nation…especially in the area of In Kalispell, Montanaagriculture, just not back then. Nevertheless, this new territory belonged to the United States, for better or worse. Montana Territory in the 19th century was home to the Sioux, the Blackfoot, the Shoshone, the Arapaho, the Cheyenne, the Kutenai and the Flathead Indians. That had to be a large number of Indians…and all were feeling like you were invaders in their territory…which you probably were. They decided that the best course of action was to raid your place, steal what they wanted, and kill those they needed to. It would make for a dangerous place to be.

Montana Territory came into United States possession as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Within a couple of years, there were explorers, including Lewis and Clark, who were the first known explorers of European origin to pass through the region on their way to the Pacific Ocean. Still, the area remained pretty much untouched, until gold was discovered in the 1850s. That discovery brought people to mining camps such as those at Bannack and Virginia Max & Julia SchulenbergCity, Montana, finally bringing growth to the territory. There are several members of my family, and of my husband, Bob Schulenberg’s family who came to Montana in those days. I’m not sure if they were there to hunt for gold, or just to get land, but they lived there for many years, and many of them still do to this day. I’m sure it was that territorial growth that brought the area to the attention of Abraham Lincoln when he decided that making the area an official territory was in the nations best interest at the time. While it would be another 25 years before Montana would official become the 41st state in the Union, I have to think it was worth waiting for. Montana is a beautiful state, and while their winters are a little more extreme than I would be comfortable with, I do love to visit there.

Mountain PeaksOur last day in Alaska, found Bob and me exploring the Anchorage area. None of our family had been there before, so this part was new territory. W had seen the pictures my parents took, but they didn’t get to go to Anchorage. I wanted to be able to give my mom and my sisters an idea of just how beautiful the Anchorage area is. We had planned to rent a car, but they are really expensive in Anchorage, and we love to walk, so we stored our luggage at the airport, and headed back to town. Once our shuttle got us to the downtown area, we started walking…without really knowing where we were going. It was almost like I knew where to go. I wanted to get down to the water, and the first thing we found was the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. I felt like we had found our way. We started down the trail, and were pleased to see that the locals who used the trail were as friendly as the people we see on the trail near our house. We walked a ways, and were rewarded with beautiful views of the Knik Arm of the Cook Inlet.

Off in the distance I captured a range of mountains, that I later realized contained a view of Mud FlatsMount McKinley. The native name for Mount McKinley is, of course, Denali, which means High One. I found the native words for things very interesting. For instance, the when we were in Juneau, I found out that auck means lake. That one was funny because of the English speaking people trying to help the natives name things. The natives had called it Auck, the English speakers liked it, so it became Auck Lake…or Lake Lake…which I found quite funny. Sometimes we just need to leave well enough alone.

I was very excited about getting the picture of Denali, because it is so often shrouded in clouds, and is hard to capture without it being too covered. The mud flats on the Knik Arm were very strange. They looked like normal ground with grass, but in reality they were moss covered mud, and quite dangerous. People are warned to stay off of them. They tend to suck things in and refuse to let go…causing the death of humans or animals over the size of a bird.

As we walked along, the views continued to be breath taking. Bob was in hope that we would Sun on the waterbe able to see the mud flats after the tide came in. We did not, but we could tell that the tide was starting to come in toward the end of our journey. I found myself quite amazed that we walked for about five hours, and the only issue I had, that day or the next was sore feet. I don’t know if we were just enjoying ourselves and not thinking about the time or distance that we had traveled or what made the difference, but I was happy, because I very much enjoyed that walk along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. I will never forget the amazing views we had in front of us. It was absolutely beautiful.

Glen, Tina and the twinsWhen Missy and Mindy were born, our family would have something that it hadn’t had in many years…identical twins. It was very exciting!! I remember how cute they were, and how fun it was that most of us couldn’t tell them apart. Of course, their parents always could, but that’s normal I guess. For me, the problem persists. I still can’t tell them apart to this day, but being able to tell them apart isn’t the most important thing in the world. Knowing these sweet girls far outranks telling them apart for me. Missy and Mindy’s great grandmother, my grandmother was very excited to have twins in her family. I remember her smile when she held those babies. It was a special gift, and one that any grandparent would be excited about.

These cute little girl look alikes captured our attention. We were all excited to have twins in the family, and while we now have 3 sets of twins in the family, these little girls would always be the first. It was like a whole new territory. Twins are such fun for anyone who is involved with them. The challenge of trying to tell them apart, and the antics twins almost always pull, by trading places at some point or another adds to the mystery that always surrounds twins. I don’t know if Missy and Mindy ever pulled those tricks on anyone, but if they didn’t, they certainly missed out on a good chance, because they could have. I almost think they didn’t pull those tricks, because they have always seemed like the most unlikely ones to do so. If they did, I guess that will be another story.

I didn’t really know Missy and Mindy very well, even though they are my cousins…until I Grandma Byer, Mindy and Missy Grosvenorconnected with them on Facebook. I love reading their posts, and having conversations with them on messaging. They are both such sweet spirits. It’s rare to find that in people these days. They truly care about their friends, and about people in general. They strive to do what is right, and they stand for what is good and moral. I occurs to me, that I have missed out on a lot of good things during the years that I didn’t know them well.

Today is Missy and Mindy’s birthday. Happy birthday girls!! I have so enjoyed getting to know you better, and I am very glad we had Facebook to help with that. I hope your day is the very best it can be. Love you both!!

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