When Alice Met George

Alice married George Huckert in 1918. The story goes that he was the caretaker for her ranch and she owed him money. He wanted to get hitched, and she figured it was cheaper to marry him than to pay him. I think that’s a somewhat tall tale. The couple stayed married until his death in 1925.

But how did they meet? Fellow researcher Steve Trebilcock found my book, and sent the following fascinating results from his research. All quotes are from Steve’s email to me and used by permission. Thanks, Steve!

“Don’t know if you came across this in your research, but if not – here’s another crumb from the trail for you.It appears that  George Huckert filed Homestead Patents on 2 parcels on 10/25/1913.one for 120 acres and one for 39.07 acres. These are the tiniest squares in the two map shots, and rest right along the Moreau River.

“The second shot shows Mud Butte, which is 55 miles from Sturgis, that would indicate these claims were pretty close to 100 miles from Sturgis.Could one or both of these claims be the original location of the ranch where Alice and Warren spent his last days? Little seems to be known about Huckert until he supposedly began taking care of the ranch on the Moreau, but he must have been an acquaintance or neighbor at the time of Warren’s death.

“I find it interesting that he filed this claim (patent) October of 1913 – only three months after the July incident with the soldier being shot at Poker’s Palace.

Did she sell the claim to him (under the table) to help with legal costs or for money she owed him? Or give it to him, so it wasn’t associated with her for legal reasons? Or maybe just ready to be done with the ranch? Did she even know him at the time, or that he filed a patent? During the days of this particular land rush, the patent got filed for $18, and you had to show 14 months residency for the land to be yours. You could leave during the winter if needed. It’s possible that Huckert used that winter excuse for time in Sturgis to pester Alice into marrying him.”

I replied to Steve:
This is so interesting and opens a realm of speculative possibilities. I wonder if they were ranching neighbors and she hired him to watch her property since she was holding down a business in Sturgis. It’s possible they didn’t meet until well after her 1913 incident with the soldiers. She used the name “Eva Tubbs” on the marriage certificate in 1918. Maybe because she didn’t want him to know much about her tainted past? Much to think on.

Here’s a link Steve came upon about the land rushes in SD: https://www.sdhspress.com/journal/south-dakota-history-12-2/widening-horizons-at-the-turn-of-the-century-the-last-dakota-land-boom/vol-12-no-2-and-no-3-widening-horizons-at-the-turn-of-the-century.pdf

Steve also wrote:
“While I’m speculating (cause it’s fun), the Bel Fouche land office didn’t open until 1909. … Looks like the rules for homesteading also changed in 1909 to the fourteen month deal.Prior to that, I think the old homestead Act of 1862 let you work your claim for 5 years then it was yours. I ‘speculate’ that Alice and Warren were at the Moreau prior to 1809 (from your work), so were possibly working under that old 5 year plan.Maybe that’s why there is no claim found for them – they weren’t there for the 5 years.

“I don’t know, just fun stuff!”

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