The Roundup -

Book Review: 'Orphan Boy' by R.J. Milne, Jr.


This biography, which was written by Milne’s son, is a journey back to this young boy’s experiences growing up. If you are looking for a nicely written book and a look into the past, this book is a good read.

At the age of five, Russell J. Milne, Sr. was orphaned. At this point he was living with his grandmother in Indiana, but when he turned 10 she passed away. By now, he was starting to feel unwanted and lonely as he was shuffled between relatives.

From this point on, he never stayed at one place very long. His journey began as he was put on the train to go work on his uncle’s homestead in Poplar, Montana. While in Montana, Milne worked for many different people learning all aspects of ranching. This came in handy, as he soon became restless and started traveling.

Milne spent a good portion of his life traveling, whether by horse, train, or automobile. He would regularly hop trains, only to stop and work for a few days at various ranches from Poplar down to Miles City. Although he enjoyed ranching, especially the animals, Milne worked many other jobs. He spent a few years at the coal mines in Butte, Montana, where he had to lie about his age to get the job. A good majority of the miners would go to the bar and gamble after work, which kept them working. Milne saw this and decided he should switch jobs.

When times got rough and jobs were scarce, he came up with his own business ventures. He started delivering necessities to both homes and businesses. At one point or another he sold eggs, milk, potatoes, seafood, dirt and ice. During the prohibition time, he made a good business finding old bottles and selling them to bootleggers. “The Depression was very bad for most, but was prosperous for me; I was forced to do well.”

He eventually moved back to Indiana where he worked operating streetcars and working at the steel mines.

In 1951, Milne moved to Daytona Beach, Florida, where he became a patrolman. After a few years, he was asked to run for sheriff. His legs began causing him problems, ultimately costing him his position.

At the age of 76, Milne suffered a massive stroke which ultimately caused his death. On April 20, 1981 he passed away. “He is greatly missed, but not forgotten.”

‘Orphan Boy’ books can be purchased on for $9.94.


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