Adventurous girl takes buggy for joy ride

Mary Gibb was six-years-old in 1916 and she was fond of horses. She was also adventurous and bold so she and her unnamed companion decided to take a buggy ride.

Problem was, she didn’t ask anyone’s permission, including the owner of the buggy.

E. C. Haynes, who Haynes Avenue was named after, had tied his horse and buggy to the rail on the street while he went about his business.  Miss Gibb and her companion untied the horse, climbed up in the buggy and took off.

Very few six-year-olds today can steal a car but in the horse and buggy days, a six-year-old could take off with a buggy.  As the Miles City Daily Star reported in its August 1, 1916 edition, “A policeman saw them, but nothing about the outfit suggested anything wrong, as the old horse was jogging along unmindful of the energetic efforts of his youthful driver to beat the speed limit by the application of the whip.”

Today we might consider it odd to see small children driving buggy but in 1916, it was legal for seven-year-olds to work ten hour days in dangerous factories.  Children were often treated as just short adults for many purposes and, apparently, driving a buggy down Main Street was a reasonable thing for a six year old to do.

Fortunately, the experienced horse knew what to do and brought the adventures back unharmed.  The following is the original report on the Adventures of Mary Gibb:

SIX-YEAR-OLDS HAVE JOY RIDE

PARENTS AND FRIENDS ALARMED BY ABSENCE SEARCH THE SUBURBS THREE HOURS

BACK TO THE WIRE

Old Horse Takes Them Safely Around Town and Up to Fort Keogh and Elsewhere.  One Line Enough to Steer the Craft.  Other Drags on Ground.

The police force, the mayor, chief of the fire department and a number of citizens, including the distressed relatives, were out last evening from about 6 to 10 o’clock looking for two children, aged about six years, who had taken a horse and buggy which they found tied at one of the hitching rails along Main and gone on a joy ride.

One of the children, and the intrepid spirit of juvenile escapade, was the little girl of Mr. and Mrs. Arch Gibb, the child being about six years of age.  The children saw a horse and buggy hitched at the rail at Coleman’s saloon corner and the Gibb child, who is said to have taken a phenomenally strong fancy to horses as a means of exploration, untied the horse and the children started off.  They drove up Main Street about twenty minutes to 6.  A policeman saw them, but nothing about the outfit suggested anything wrong, as the old horse was jogging along unmindful of the energetic efforts of his youthful driver to beat the speed limit by application of the whip.

That was the last seen of them for three hours.  About 10 o’clock, the mayor and chief of police caught sight of the outfit coming back to the place where the rig had been taken.  One line was dragging on the ground,but it didn’t seem to make any difference with the steering gear of the craft, and the chauffeur was still pounding the stern with the full power of a six-year-old muscle.  The mayor quickly rounded up the outfit and the children were taken into his automobile and to their homes.

The rig was found to belong to Otis Haynes, whose father, E. C. Haynes, had left it tied to the rack and when he went to look for it, found it gone, so he had to use shank’s mare to cover the intervening distance of some two miles to the Haynes farm.

The children had been up to Fort Keogh, two miles away, then over to Wakefields, about a half a mile beyond the city limits, and elsewhere about the suburbs and they reported a fine trip.