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Meet Betsy Mart, Colfax


December 5, 2019

Betsy Mart; Emmett Crook; Teren Crook

Left to right: Great-grandson Emmett Crook, Betsy Mart, great-grandson Teren Crook

Betsy Mart just turned 73 years old a little over a week ago.

Born in West Virginia, Betsy was raised in Montana where she graduated from Missoula, and since then she has led a rather adventurous life.

While she is now retired and taking care of her great-grandkids (not all of which are biologically related), Betsy has experience as a cashier, chef, nanny, manager, part-owner of an art gallery and carnival worker.

After she graduated, she moved to Butte before returning to Missoula after she married. After she later divorced, she headed to the coast, living in Washington and Oregon before heading down to Nevada. She ran a souvenir shop in Las Vegas, Nev., for a couple of years before she began working for Northstar Carnival, which kept her adventurous spirit moving around for the next 20 years.

"You get to meet different kinds of people and do more fun things," Betsy said.

Betsy both drove for the carnival and ran the candy wagon. The carnival took her all over the western United States, and even stopping in Colfax for the fair, as well as hitting Missoula, Reno, Las Vegas, Coeur d'Alene, Arizona, Utah and both of the Dakotas.

After she finished with the carnival Betsy spent a year in Florida before moving to Helena, Mont., where she started as a cashier then, due to health problems, became a live-in nanny.

While working as a nanny Betsy was shot three times in the back attempting to stop the husband of the couple she was nannying for from beating his wife.

After she finished her hospital stay to recover Betsy temporarily moved to Coeur d'Alene before coming to Colfax to be closer to her family. She's been a resident of Colfax since April 2010.

"And I don't plan on leaving," Betsy said.

Now she watches great-grandchildren while their parents are working and busy. She also does a lot of home décor crafts, sewing and baking. She manages to work on her hobbies while watching the kids.

"They're great," she said about the children she watches. "I wouldn't have it any other way."



"This is one that my step-grandfather and stepfather always cooked, and it was always a Christmas treat," Betsy said. Fattigmann is a traditional Scandinavian Christmas cookie:

6 egg yolks

¼ cup granulated


1 Tbs butter (melted)

1/3 cup whipping

cream (whipped)

1 tsp ground car-


2 cups sifted all-pur-

pose flour

½ tsp salt

Beat yolks until thick and lemon colored. Gently stir in melted butter - fold in whipped cream and cardamom.

Sift together flour and salt - fold in egg yolk mixture, little at a time adding just enough to make soft dough. Chill several hours.

Divide dough in half. Roll out on lightly floured surface - 1/8 in thickness. Cut dough in 1 ¼ inch wide strips. Cut lengthwise diagonally at 4 inch lengths - slit center and pull one end through.

Fry in deep hot fat (375F) about 1 to 1 ½ mins or until lightly brown.

Makes 5 doz.


These pasties were first developed in Minnesota by English miners before being adopted by the Germans and Scandinavians and eventually being brought back and enjoyed by miners in Butte.


1 cup flour

Pinch of salt

2 oz butter, cubed

2 to 3 Tbs cold water


¼ cup finely chopped


½ cup potato, cut ¼"


½ cup rump steak cut

into small cubes

Salt to taste

Fresh ground pepper to


"It's so simple; you mix chopped beef and chopped potatoes and diced onions, and that's it. Add salt and pepper," explained Betsy.

"Make a real simple dough, just flour and butter. Fold them in half and crimp them around the edge and bake them. Mom used to make them in a pie tin, so there were two in a full pie tin. And then we'd have gravy pulled over the top."

Makes 4 pasties - bake at 350F for one hour until done (golden brown).

You can add rutabagas, carrots, or whatever you like.

I'm a simple pasty lover.

For Betsy both recipes are holiday treats. During this time of year, Betsy makes a few dozen batches of both to share with friends and family.


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