C. F. Martell: Pre – 1940’s Ranching Nominee North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame

                                                                                                   

  Below is the material for a flyer and a short bio on Charles Franklin Martell presented at the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame annual meeting in February 2018. Also on this site is a longer biography from the Watford City 100th Anniversary book and other stories that include information on C. F. Martell.                                                         in front of HS cabin

Charles F. Martell arrived in western North Dakota in 1908 and worked for his uncles Andrew and George Nohle. By 1914 they had established a ranch headquarters known as “Horse Camp”, running several hundred head of horses and cattle. Martell learned how to identify and purchase strong breeding stock and break horses. He was working on his own by 1917.

The 1920’s saw local horse markets in decline. Martell found a new profitable market for local horses in New York where prices were still high. As farming practices continued changing with mechanization the horse market again declined. Martell shifted his focus and by his death his ranch had grown to 3000 acres and he was running over Early Days; horses_4 (1)200 head of cattle as well as growing hay and wheat.  Martell started with nothing and became one of the most successful ranchers in McKenzie County. He was respected and admired for his honesty, skill and knowledge of animals

Martell’s ranch provided many opportunities for employment in the 30’s and 40’s and he was a generous neighbor. He would hire folks he thought he could help by providing them a job. In the “dry years” he was known for giving away hay to his neighbors in need.

Martell was instrumental in getting roads built in McKenzie County. He successfully petitioned the government to establish postal and railroad service, a grain elevator, and facilitated the establishment of a John Deere dealership in Charbonneau. All these services were of great benefit to local farmers and ranchers. Martell and his wife Lila were honored with the Dakota Territory Centennial Homesteaders Award in 1961.

As one of the founders of the McKenzie County Grazing Association, his understanding of good grazing practices proved useful during his long tenure as director. At the time of his death he was working with the historical society to establish a museum to preserve and protect the history and stories of McKenzie County.young CF branding

Martell’s investigation and pursuit of a pervasive group of rustlers ultimately enabled the state’s attorney to put six of them in state prison in 1919. North Dakota Horizons magazine published a story about this incident in 2017.

Ben Johnston, (NDCHF Inductee 2015), broke horses for and rode with Martell.  Andrew Johnston, (NDCHF Inductee 2006), author of Fifty Years in the Saddle, was a friend and supporter.

Martell was a great benefactor of Home on the Range as well as other local charities. He appreciated what North Dakota had given him and wanted to give back to his community. He created and funded with his own money the C. F. Martell Memorial Foundation; a self-perpetuating fund for education operating continuously since 1962 assisting thousands of disadvantaged young people.

Martell’s legacy continues with the Con Rex F Martell Family Endowment which supports the Fort Buford State Historic Site/Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center.

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This short biography appeared in the Winter 2018 edition of The Cowboy Chronicle. (The above flyer was handed out at the annual meeting February 17, 2018)

Charles F. Martell arrived in western North Dakota in 1908 and worked for his uncles Andrew and George Nohle. In 1910 George offered Martell half interest in a sixty horse herd. By 1914 Martell, his uncles and his brother Ernest had established a ranch headquarters known as “Horse Camp”, running several hundred head of horses and cattle. Martell learned how to identify and purchase strong breeding stock and break horses. He was working on his own by 1917.

The 1920’s saw local horse markets in decline. Martell found a new profitable market for local horses in New York where prices were still high. As farming practices continued changing with mechanization the horse market again declined. Martell shifted his focus and by his death his ranch had grown to 3000 acres and he was running over 200 head of cattle as well as growing hay and wheat.

Martell started with nothing and became one of the most successful ranchers in McKenzie County. He was respected and admired for his honesty, skill and knowledge of animals. It was his reputation that enabled him to become a leader in the community. He worked for roads in McKenzie County and successfully petitioned the government to establish postal service, railroad service and a grain elevator in Charbonneau, as well as helping establish a John Deere dealership. All these services were of great benefit to local farmers and ranchers. As one of the founders of the McKenzie County Grazing Association, his understanding of good grazing practices was useful during his long tenure as director. Martell’s investigation and pursuit of a pervasive group of rustlers ultimately enabled the state’s attorney to put many in state prison in 1919.

Ben Johnston (2015 Inductee) broke horses for and rode with Martell. Andrew Johnston (2006 Inductee) was a neighbor, friend and supporter. The Dakota Territory Centennial Homesteaders Award was given to Martell and his wife Lila in 1961.

Martell, being particularly interested in helping youth, created the C. F. Martell Memorial Foundation; a self-perpetuating fund  operating continuously since 1962 assisting thousands of disadvantaged young people. Martell died December 1966.

 

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