Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame

Fred Charles Henderson (1895-1982)

Fred Charles Henderson was born on April 7, 1895, to Smith and Bertha Henderson of Kalispell, Montana. Fred was the second son of five brothers, Bill, Fred, Cecil, Joe and Frank born to Smith and Bertha Henderson. In 1896 December Smith and Bertha moved to Warrick located in the Bear Paw Mountains in North Central Montana. In 1902 Chas E. Morris took a picture of the five Henderson brother’s on their white horse “Egg nest” at the foot of old Baldy near the family homestead. This photograph was made into a postcard that was sent throughout the world. Throughout Fred’s Mother’s life she would get postcards from all over the world saying they had found her children wandering all over and would return the postcards to her.

Fred was a born Cowboy and Rancher. At the age of 12 he began working off the Ranch for wages. At the early age of 14 Fred and his older brother Bill went south as far as Denver to work as ranch hands and trail hands to earn wages to help with the family ranch. Upon his return to Warrick, Fred now at the age of 18 carried the mail and in 1935 Fred, his Father and Fred’s brothers built a Post Office on the Henderson Ranch at Warrick. Fred rode 18 ½ miles from the Post Office at Warrick to the Stage cabin and met the rider from the Big Sandy route. After switching mail and spending the night at the Stage Cabin Fred would return home the next day. Upon returning home the next day Fred would perform his duties as a Cowboy and Rancher. Fred held the Mail carrier position for over 20 years.

On October 30, 1918, Fred married a fellow homesteader Alice “Allie” Gregory. They had three children, Gregory (Elaine), Ira (Patsy) and Alice (Alex). Fred and Allie raised registered poled Herefords, horses, irrigated alfalfa, hayed wild grass hay and oats on their place near Warrick. In 1928 Fred’s father died at the age of 61. After this Fred and Alice helped his Mother Bertha on the family ranch which became known as “Bertha Henderson and Sons Ranch”. Fred expanded the Ranch until he ran 800 head of cattle on well over ten thousand acres. Fred also helped fellow neighbors as time allowed and did so until the ranch was sold.

Fred worked the Family Ranch until 1971. Fred was an easy going person and a good neighbor. Fred even at a very young age was always there for everyone. In 1971 the Henderson Ranch was sold. Fred and Allie lived on the ranch for another five years and then moved to Big Sandy.

In 1930 Fred, Son Gregory and Fred’s brother Bill built the Warrick Rodeo grounds, and started the Warrick “Fourth of July” Rodeo where Fred worked and participated for the next 30 years. Fred Gregory and Ira along with the neighbors also built the Warrick Community Hall. Fred was a self taught musician playing guitar, fiddle and mandolin. For many years he played for dances at Warrick, Hopp-illiad, Lloyd, Cleveland, Lone Tree Bench as well as many more.

Fred and Allie were one of the last in the Bear Paw Mountains to trail their cows and calves to market some 35 miles from the ranch to be shipped to Chicago or Sioux City, Iowa to be sold. They were also one of the last in the Bears Paw Mountains to have fed their cattle with teams. Everywhere Fred and Allie went was by horse. Fred attended every Montana Cowboy Association Convention from 1941 until the time he died in 1982.

In 1977 Fred was named Honorary President for one year of the Montana Cowboy Association. Fred was a lifetime member of the Montana Stock Growers at the time of his passing, September 2, 1982 and at the time the oldest known member.