Elizabeth Dondanville, the seventh of nine children of Daniel Dondanville and Mary Ellen DeBolt, was born in Serena Township, LaSalle County, Illinois on May 20, 1885. She attended primary school in Serena and graduated from Sheridan, Illinois High School in 1903. She attended Teachers College in Evanston, Illinois.
Upon graduation Elizabeth taught briefly in Serena and then followed her parents to Oklahoma where she also taught school in Blackwell and Ponca City. In 1911 the family moved to Lonepine, Montana where Elizabeth homesteaded near that of her parents on the Flathead Indian Reservation. She taught at the first local school, known as the Dondanville School, established on land contributed by her brother Floyd from his homestead.
Claud Philip Howser was born in Lakota, North Dakota. He lived as a youth in Lincoln, Illinois where he acquired the misnomer of " Scrubby" from his high school football teammates . Following graduation from high school Scrubby traveled through Canada and Alaska before settling in Montana. In 1911 he homesteaded adjacent to the Dondanvilles.
Elizabeth Dondanville and Scrubby Howser were married in Missoula on May 20, 1915. Their first child, Garth Philip, was born on March 29, 1916 in Ottawa, Illinois with Elizabeth's brother-in-law Dr. W.P, Fread in attendance. Three additional children were born in Plains, Montana, Paul De Wayne on January 6, 1920; Marjorie Don on January 25, 1922; and Marilyn Aileen on January 2, 1928.
By 1915, the year in which the Howsers were married, farming in the valley had increased considerably. There were landmark wheat and oat crops that year.The original Howser Ranch consisted of the homesteads of Elizabeth and Scrubby and Florence Dondanville plus one additional parcel. The two 40 acre plots of Nell Dondanville and Ell Fread were also developed by Scrubby and leased at various times.
Encouraged by the big crops of 1915, still larger acreage was planted the following year, but the spring was not so favorable. By June much of the wheat was burned out. The government had encouraged homesteading by promising to build an irrigation system, but the water was not delivered. In 1917 drought was serious but the grasshoppers were worse. There were no crops that year.The years 1918- 20 were not much better. Many homesteaders left the area broke and disheartened
The Howsers were active in the community. They were charter members of the Little Bitterroot Grange. They worked tirelessly to bring irrigation to the valley in 1926. In 1914 Scrubby, with his father and his brother Jim.established the Howser Brothers' Cattle Company which continued to operate until 1928. They worked to improve cattle breeding. They were members of the group that established many of the early Angus and Hereford herds.
With irrigation and the introduction of shorthorn cattle in the early 1920s, life in the Little Bitterroot Valley began to improve. In 1928 the Howsers acquired a modern threshing machine and the first rubber tired tractor in Montana. Custom threshing over 100 days each year supplemented the family income over the next 12 years. Scrubby was also the local auctioneer and seed buyer for the Missoula Mercantile
Scrubby and Elizabeth retired from farming in the early 1940s. They acquired the Atkins property and built a new home. They traveled extensively. Dust from years of leveling the land and threshing hastened Scrubby's death from emphysema on April 3, 1950. Elizabeth continued to live in their home and travel until her death in the Hot Springs Convalescent Center on September 19, 1980. Scrubby and Elizabeth are buried in the Murray Memorial Cemetery at Lonepine.
167.1 Garth Philip, 1916 -1991
married Pasadena , California October 10 , 1943 to Mary Bonozo ; two children, Elizabeth Aero '48 ; and Bromley Garth Philip '53.
167.2 Paul De Wayne , 1920 - 1998
married September 18, 1942 to Elizabeth Grubb ; one son, Lucky Claud '43.
167.3 Marjorie Don , January 25, 1922
married April 10, 1943 to Walter A. Doering ; four children , Geraldine Ann '45 ; Gary Howser '47 ; Garth Walter '53 ; and Gail Elizabeth '55.
167.4 Marilyn Aileen , January 2, 1928
married Lonepine, Montana September 1, 1951 to Jay W. Burchak ; three children , Michael Howser '53 ; Craig Bradley '58 ; Douglas Donald '62.