Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania to Julius and Susan Redmond. It was a difficult birth, perhaps foretelling the often contentious relationship between parents and son. Aurelian was named after a famous Roman emperor, even as his father had been named after an illustrious historical Roman too. Julius was a successful businessman in town and always planned his son would follow him to take over the business someday. Once old enough to be aware of such things, young Aurelian had other ideas. There were probably many causes and blame to go around, but Aury was quite - first a scamp and then later a rebel. Julius was stern even severe and did not hesitate to use a riding crop on his defiant son. It didn't work.
Aurelian had a serious run-in with the law, it seemed he was charged with stealing a horse which he adamantly denied to little avail. Even his father did nothing to help him as their relationship was already poisonous enough. Fortunately being 15 years of age probably saved him a harsh fate but he ended up serving three months in jail and owing the horse's original owner for the cost of the animal as it had been injured during the so-called theft and was put down. His father would not give him a penny. That's when his Uncle Ramsey stepped into the picture. He took in the lad and put him to work on his farm. Uncle Ramsey could be firm in his expectations too, but he also was much kinder in his outlook on bringing up a boy. Aurelian got along so much better with Ramsey, and his behavior settled down.
Aurelian was working in a local racing stable in the horse barn when he met Kathleen Bevins at an event at the local race track. They danced into the night and hit it off splendidly. After a short courtship, they were married later in the year, Aurelian's parents were not even invited and probably wouldn't have come anyhow.
Late that year the couple welcomed into the world their first child, a baby girl who they named Clara.
The Civil War began and in a burst of patriotic enthusiasm a rash Aurelian volunteered for the service. He enlisted in a cavalry unit due to his experience with horses. He found himself a trooper in the 6th Volunteers Regiment or Rush's Lancers, the only unit in the war to carry lances. Later in the war, they were issued Sharp's carbines, much more practical.
Aurelian participated in several skirmishes, his own opinion was the lance was useless but orders were orders. He was promoted to corporal in 1862 then to sergeant in 1863.
A most memorable year for the young soldier and family man, during the Gettysburg campaign he was fortunate enough to be rewarded for his good service by a quick leave to visit his wife and little girl. It was but a single day (and night) before he had to head back to his unit, but nine months later Kathleen gave birth to a baby boy, Wyatt. Then soon after at the Battle of Brandy Station, Aurelian took part in what even many Confederate foes claimed was 'the most brilliant and glorious charge of the whole war,' his 6th Regiment suffering the single heaviest losses amongst cavalry in any single engagement of the war. Aurelian was both brave and lucky. He was nominated by his company commander for the Congressional Medal of Honor and survived two light wounds.
By the time the war was over the 6th had been amalgamated with other units into the 2nd Provisional Regiment and was then mustered out late that year in Kentucky. His war was over, and he was heartily sick of it too.
A rather subdued Aurelian now settled down to make a livelihood for his family of four. Uncle Ramsey passed away, just dropped dead out in his fields one hot summer day. He left the place to Aurelian, so the family moved in.
Scranton had changed rapidly after the Civil War, growing into a full-size city and gobbling up the former farms on the outskirts. Aurelian was convinced to sell even Kathleen approved, they had been scraping by, but it had not been prosperous for the work put into it.
For a time they lived with Kathleen's ailing mother as she could no longer manage alone. Aurelian had difficulty finding any decent work, it wasn't easy for the family, and it galled him fiercely. To top it off Kathleen gave birth to their third child, another girl named Catherine. Another mouth to feed however dearly loved. Sadly though the baby was never really healthy like their first two offspring and the poor little girl died a few months later. Kathleen especially was distraught.
Late in the summer, Kathleen's mother passed on, and since the property was next to worthless with a small rundown house, they hung around long enough to sell it for what they could get then made the momentous decision to go out to the western frontier. The land was available out there, an ambitious man could take advantage of the Homestead Act and carve himself out a decent sized plot of land.
The family utilized the railroads to take them west to Chicago then up into Minnesota where they stayed for a short time, but Aurelian had heard good things about Montana. It was a beautiful country there and more choice land available there than even Minnesota. So on they went further west. Seems no one told them about Indian trouble though. Not quite true, Clara, voracious reader that she was, had read of it in the papers when she could get a hold of one. Supposedly though there was a gold rush going on too and most were certain the government would have to protect the flood of prospectors swarming there.
Montana was truly as scenic as they had been told. Clara sourly pointed out the winters would be hard, but Aurelian liked what he saw. Less civilization to him meant more freedom. Sure enough, they found a section of land they believed would be perfect, close to water, soil seemed rich and fertile. Aurelian put in a claim, paid his $18, and commenced to work on a place to live. That's when disaster struck. One early afternoon, they were hit by Indians. Later some told Aurelian they had been lucky it wasn't even a full war party but just a few young bucks looking for trouble and an easy target. Aurelian did not agree. It was all over in minutes really. Kathleen was washing some clothing at the nearby creek along with Clara. Wyatt was helping Aurelian with the roof. The Indians came at them from more than direction, and Aurelian no sooner spotted three braves coming at the unfinished cabin but heard screams from the creek. He and Wyatt scrambled down, a few shots missing them both until he reached for his rifle. He dropped one Indian, and the other two retreated. Then he raced for the creek, Wyatt in his wake trying to keep up. He found Kathleen first. She was dead, an arrow deeply embedded in her back. She was lying upon Clara who was moaning and also wounded. Another arrow had impacted just below her right collarbone, also a deep wound but not a fatal one. So far. Aurelian had no choice, he had to get help for his daughter, so he loaded up the wagon with her and his wife's body, hitched the team and headed for the nearby community. There was a doctor there and fortunately a good one. Clara lived. Once she could, Clara told of how her mother had shielded her with her own body after she had been hit by the first arrow. Aurelian knew that was his Kathleen alright. To add to his grief, later when he returned to his homestead, everything was either burnt to ashes or stolen, the Indians must have come back. Clara took a month to heal, battling an infection but stubbornly (for that was Clara) pulling thru. They left for someplace else in Montana then.
Kalispell wasn't big, but it seemed nice enough. Plus Aurelian was a desperate man now, without his wife but with two children who depended on him, he had to find them a place to live. That is when he met Lloyd Sidwell and his wife. Sidwell was another homesteader, but he was in the act of leaving his place. He said his wife wanted to go back East but pointed out they already had a cabin constructed on their land. Aurelian paid him virtually the last of his money for that land. The man took him out there and indeed he had been telling the truth. It was actually a fine construction job too, better than he could have done, Aurelian grudgingly had to admit.
He now had a roof over the heads of his family. It was enough for the time being. They couldn't give up, Kathleen wouldn't want that. It was time to make this place their home, no more moving. Come hell or high water, they were staying.