Cauli Le Chat

Cauli Le Chat
Cauli Le Chat, MPL Roving Reporter

Saturday, February 27, 2016

My Retirement Travels, Part Une

Since I retired as official MPL feline roving reporter last March, I've been frequently asked what I've been doing with my free time.  Among other things, I've become a world traveller.

Butte, Montana
(Click Images to Bigify)

My first destination was Butte, Montana, home to one of my ancestors, Anaconda Le Chat (1878-1891).  Amazingly, I happen to have a photo of Anaconda with her human friend.

Anaconda Le Chat with her human friend, Cabbe Carde (1877-1952)
(Butte, Montana, ca. 1880)

Butte, Montana (September, 1881)
(Photo by Charles Roscoe Savage)

I even managed to find Anaconda Le Chat's home in Butte.


Moi sitting in front of the home of Anaconda Le Chat
(Butte, Montana)

I'd give you the address, but the current owners asked moi not to, because they don't want to be overwhelmed by tourists taking selfies in front of one of my travel destinations (I'm told a "Cauli Le Chat was here" historical marker is being contemplated by the Montana Office of Tourism.)

Cabbe's father worked as a bookkeeper at Butte's Anaconda copper mine, which operated from 1881 to 1947.  When Cabbe became an adult, in 1898 he moved to Helena, Montana, and opened a dry goods emporium.  He took along Pierre Gaultier Le Chat (1890-1906), who was Anaconda Le Chat's grandson.  Pierre was named after the French Canadian explorer, Pierre Caultier de Varennes, who travelled up the Missouri River in 1738 into what is today western North Dakota (just 70 miles east of modern Montana).

There's some confusion about how the Anaconda copper mine was named. Michael Hickey, a prospector who filed a claim for the mine (before selling out to Marcus Daly in 1881), was a Union soldier in the Civil War. Legend has it that Hickey read Horace Greeley's account of Ulysses S. Grant's forces surrounding Robert E. Lee's troops "like an anaconda," which supposedly prompted Hickey to adopt the snake's name for the mine. Frankly, I think there's a far simpler explanation.  The mine was obviously named after my ancestor, Anaconda Le Chat, who was born three years earlier.

Next, I visited one of the prettiest places on Earth:  Beartooth Lake and Butte, just across the Montana border in northern Wyoming (in the Absaroka-Beartooth wilderness).  Just a few miles east is the Beartooth Pass, close to which sits the Top of the World Store.

Beartooth Butte & Lake

Moi standing outside the Top of the World Store
(near Beartooth Pass along the Beartooth Highway,
running along the Montana-Wyoming border
in the Absaroka-Beartooth wilderness)

This is a special place, because the Top of the World Store once sat directly across from Beartooth Butte (during the 1940s).  Scowl-Face's maternal grandparents owned the store between 1941-1947.  It was here that another of my ancestors, Hamilton Le Chat (1940-1955) (Pierre Gaultier Le Chat's great-great-great-great-great grandson), escaped from a car travelling along the Beartooth Highway.  Hamilton found his way to the store in July 1941, where he lived for the remainder of the summer before being adopted by the Beltone family in nearby Red Lodge, Montana, where he and his descendants lived for many years.  (He was called Hamilton after Scowl-Face's mother's hometown in Ohio.)

Next time I'll talk about more of my retirement travels elsewhere around the world.  Next stop:  Machu Picchu in Peru!




Your (Retired) Roving Reporter On The Go,


Cauli Le Chat

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