The Cowboy Hall of Fame has announced three new inductees from Dillon and Philipsburg, including one living lifelong cowboy, a former slave turned homesteader, and a historic ranch near Dillon.
District 12, which includes Deer Lodge, Beaverhead, Silver Bow, Granite, Madison and Powell counties, presented the living award to Charles Hahnkamp of Dillon.
Hahnkamp has been involved in rodeo and ranching for more than 70 years. Born in Turner in the 1930s, Hahnkamp traveled around the state with his family and eventually ended up in eastern Montana, where he began participating in cattle drives from South Dakota to Billings and became a pickup man at local rodeos. He was given the nickname “Neckyoke” for the black scarf he kept around his neck.
During his 40-plus-year career as a pickup man, Hahnkamp received many serious injuries, including broken bones and concussions, but he never went to a hospital, always attending to the cowboys and their horses before thinking of himself.
Since 1959, Hahnkamp and his wife, Joyce, have called Dillon home.
The other two inductees are legacy inductees.
Agnes “Annie” Morgan, who was born in 1833 and died in 1914, was born a slave on a Baltimore plantation in 1833. She fled to the West and cooked for General George Armstrong Custer and ultimately set up a homestead near the Hog Back on Rock Creek near Philipsburg. She lived in a cabin, where she raised potatoes, berries and herbs, along with chickens, milk cows and pigs. She allowed fishermen to pitch tents and fish the river at her cabin. For 50 cents a day, she would feed them and offer a campfire. She saved the life of Joseph “Fisher Jack” Case, whom she found delirious in the river from typhoid, and they ended up living together for 30 years in common-law marriage.
Morgan was the only black woman in Granite County in the 1880 census, and she was the only black woman to have a homestead in that county.
The P & O Ranch, owned by Philip H. Poindexter and William C. Orr, was created in 1865 in Beaverhead County.
The business partners had already enjoyed success herding cattle to California, where they owned butcher shops in some mining districts. The partners settled on a ranch near Blacktail Creek, which grew to encompass more than 30,000 acres. The two were the first to bring cattle and sheep to Montana for the purpose of breeding and were known for their imported draft horses.
Poindexter came from Virginia, and Orr came from Ireland by way of Ohio. Between their families, there were 11 children, 10 of whom were born in Montana. Orr passed away in 1901 and Poindexter passed away in 1911.
The Cowboy Hall of Fame is located in Wolf Point and has gone through six classes of inductions. The inductees were chosen from a field of candidates who have made a notable contribution to Montana’s history and culture.
— Piper Haugan, The Montana Standard