Bertie May Layman was born and raised in Kentucky, growing up in the small community of Caneyville, Kentucky. Caneyville sits in the western central part of Kentucky, thirty miles north of Bowling Green and close to a hundred miles southwest of Louisville. It lies in Grayson County, near Leitchfield, the county seat.
Harlowton, Montana is over sixteen hundred miles northwest of Caneyville, Kentucky. In 1914, when twenty one year old Bertie left Caneyville to visit her Aunt Lydia Layman Dover in Montana, she boarded a train to make that long journey alone.
Aunt Lydia Layman was married to Albert "Bert" Dover, and they had a large cattle ranch they called Doverdale. The Dover family lived with their five boys on their ranch not far from the town of Buffalo. It was near Harlowton, Montana, a little community in southern central Montana half way between Billings to the southeast and Helena to the west. Harlowton sits almost exactly one hundred miles northwest of Billings and about one hundred thirty miles due east of Helena, Montana.
After staying with her Aunt Lydia and Uncle Bert for a short time, young Bertie moved into a home owned by the Carlos and Lessie Padgett family in Harlowton. Bertie got a job teaching at the Little Belt Schoolhouse--halfway between the Dover's ranch and the town of Buffalo.In those early months of 1914, Bertie would meet members of the Linscott and Barnhart families - families which would become intertwined with her own through friendship and marriage.
In April, 1914, Bertie was attending church while living with the Padgett family. They had church services in their home. In attendance were members of the Barnhart and Linscott families. During church services, it was announced that Lowell Barnhart had been born to the Barnhart family on April 1, 1914. Hollis and Ella Linscott were there, with their children Linus, John James, Anna, and Hattie Linscott Barnhart. Hollis and Ella Linscott were the generation older than Bertie. The Linscott children, including John James, were close to her age.
Bertie saw a young man at church services that day, a nineteen year old fellow whom she first saw sitting in a child's chair. Standing, she towered over him. At first blush, she thought he was a child. He thought she looked ten feet tall, towering over him as she stood next to his chair. Neither had any idea that three and a half years later Bertie Mae Layman would marry John James Linscott, they would raise a family together and be husband and wife for the next half century.
(Next week, Part IV in the life of Bertie Mae Layman. See my archives for Part I and II.)
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