Historical Society of Montana. Board of Trustees.

Biennial report of the Board of Trustees of the Historical ..., Volumes 1-10 online

. (page 11 of 32)
Online LibraryHistorical Society of Montana. Board of TrusteesBiennial report of the Board of Trustees of the Historical ..., Volumes 1-10 → online text (page 11 of 32)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

taste, education and associations is peculiarly well qualified for his
{iosition, and that he has faithfully and successfully discharged the
duties of his trust. We hope the valuable and interesting information
contained in the report will in due time be published so that it may be-
come accessible to the general public. Considering the moderate cost
of the department and the value to every citizen, present or prospective,
of our young commonwealth, of the work it is doing and the precious
stores it is collecting, we confidently trust that it may be found worthy
of your favorable recommendation, as also of your successor, to the at-
tention of the Legislature for a generous support of its modest requests.

Yours very truly,


Pres't Historical Society.

Digitized by




Historical Society of the State of Montana.



Helena, Montana.


Helena, Montana.

Helena, Montana,


Bozeman, Montana,


Helena, Montana.

Board of Trustees and Executive Committee.




Governor^ Ex- Officio Member Executive Committee.


Secretary of State, Ex- Officio Member Executive Committee.


Attorney General, Ex-Offlcio Member Executive Committee.

Digitized by


Historical Society of Montana.

Report of Librarian for the Years 1895-96.

To the Honorable Cornelius Hedges, President of the Board of Trus-
tees of the Historical Society of the State of Montana:

Sir: — For the information of yonr honorable Board I have the lionor
to present to your consideration the Third Biennial Report of the Li-
brarian of the Historical Society of the State of Montana to cover the
operations of this institution during the years 1895-'96, which have
elapsed since the publication of its Second Report by the former Li-
brarian, the late Harry S. Wheeler.

Upon assuming the duties of this office on ?^ovember 6th, 1895, the
Librarian was confronted by a mass of routine work that had accumu-
lated during Mr. Wheeler's illness, while, at the same time, the unfin-
ished condition of Volume 2 of our historical contributions, which was
then in process of publication by the Society, made urgent demands
upon his time and attention. Mr. AVheeler had edited a considerable
portion of the manuscript for the volume and supervised its print-
ing to page 140, from which point it became the duty of the present
Librarian to carry on the work of publication to its completion. Ad-
ditional manuscript was prepared and edited and the book gotten out
at as early a date as possible, but it was finished, however, only after
some unavoidable delays. Since then he has been occupied with
duties incident to carrying on the regular work of the Society, and, in
addition thereto, has endeavored to increase the number of volumes,
I^amphlets, and Montana newspapers of the library and, more particu-
larly, to gather from various sources material of interest and value rel-
ative to the history and development of our Territory and State, to col-
lect and preserve original, accurate, impartial testimony on all matters
connected with the wresting of this domain from savagery; the organ-
ization of law and order and government within the boundaries of Mon-
tana; descriptions and legends concerning the characteristics, migra-
tions, wars, and folklore of her aborginal tribes; the travels, advent-

Digitized by



ures, and life-histories of those who were the advance-guard of her pres-
ent civilization — the explorers, traders, and trappers of the past, the
prospectors and miners, the farmers and state-builders of the genera-
tion now passing away, — and aught that may be of interest and value
in the future regarding the lives and actions of those of the present
period who have been or may be connected with the affairs of moment
in the life of our young and vigorous Commonwealth.

In carrying out this plan many letters have been written to old-tim-
ers and pioneers of this region, to many of their relatives and descend-
ents wherever they were located, and to numerous other individuals
who by any chance might be able to furnish to the Society material re-
lating to Montana of an historical or descriptive nature, whether in
the form of letters, diaries, reminiscences and memoirs, essays and nar-
ratives, chronicles, biographies, or in whatsoever form it might be.
Literary finish, although most acceptable in an article, is not nor has it
been required of contributors; for the reason that some of the most
interesting incidents connected with the early history of this region
have happened to persons who rarely took the recording pen in hand
and whose lives were such as almost entirely to deny them its use. Con-
tributions along the above lines, such as detail facts, are earnestly de-
sired, and it is hoped that no person will hesitate to send in their reconi
of events because he or she may be unable to write it down correctly;
for once in the possession of facts the Society is well able to arrange
them properly, where such arrangement is deemed advisable. The Li-
brarian is pleased to state that his efforts in this direction have proven
successful, in that the Historical Society has recently become possessed
of a number of original manuscripts with the promise of more to come
in the near future. This work mil be continued in the future as in
the past, and it is here requested that all who possess such material as
should be saved will see to it that in some form it comes into possession
of the society.


This Society has been in existence as a corporate institution for
nearly thirty-two years, during which period we have seen Montana
expand from a wilderness and the abode of the nomad tribes to become
the home of an advanced and enlightened civilization, fostering the

Digitized by



arts of peace and in which industry and prosperity go hand in hand.
It has been the dnty and privilege of the Society since its organization
to gather and preserre for the future historian who may write of these
times much of the records of their vast and far-reaching events; and in
the face of many discouragements and untoward circumstances it has
steadfastly endeavored to fulfil the aims of its projectors and the hopes
of its friends. Fire destroyed much of its first and almost invaluable
collections, and time and change are placing beyond our reach much
that should be preserved in connection with the earlier conditions : the
fauna of this r^ion, now rapidly disappearing or already having be-
come extinct within the last few years; the utensils and weapons, the
dress and ornaments of the Indian tribes, or the various objects which
might serve to enlighten us upon the Archaeology and Ethnology of
the Northwest; and such narratives and relics as would be of future
interest which deal with the lives and works of the early dwellers and
travellers in this section or tend to illustrate some incident in its history.
The old affairs of the frontier are fast disappearing and the new come
in to take their place; the frontier itself has passed into the Pacific sea;
the countless vast herds of bison have gone, and the deer and elk, the
big-horn and the prong-horn yearly shrink in numbers; the free rov-
ing life of the Indian is being exchanged within the reservations for
that of 'Viewers of wood and drawers of water," and the barbaric splen-
dor that once made his race so picturesque is even now seldom seen and
will soon be known but in the more fortunate museums; the trappers
and traders with the tales of their romantic lives and their reminiscen-
ces of stirring times along the "untrodden ways;" the accounts and ex-
periences of those who ^T)lazed the trails" into this, then, terra incog-
nita and founded the government upon which our present statehood
is builded; these are all passing beyond our view. This state was the
last stronghold of a warrior race, within our borders were played the
closing scenes in the drama enacted by the contending forces of barbar-
ism and civilization upon this continent, and through the future chron-
icles will Montana be known as the land of western romance; she
whose soil is consecrated by the blood of a knightly Custer's band;
where Logan, Bradley, English and their comrades died, where Hale
and Biddle fell ; where Miles and Gibbon and Crook and Howard and
Sully campaigned; over whose mountains and through whose valleys
and defiles passed the warrior Joseph on that march the like of which
few ages can boast; upon whose rolling prairies battled and skurried

Digitized by



tho fierce hosts of GaJl and Crazy Horse and Red Cloud, of T^mo Deer
and Two Moons and eonntless other chieftains, and of that unscrup-
nlous schemer, Sitting Bull the medicine man ; and upon wliose kindly
bosom sleeps many a nameless hero of our early time. What a vast
mass of wonderfully interesting and valuable material might be gath-
ered. Already much from our past that we should possess is irretriv-
ably lost to us; but much still remains which in a few years will be be-
yond our recall, and we here make our earnest appeal to all Montani-
ans, individually and collectively, to aid us in the laudable enterprise*
of saving to the State such proper material as may now be obtained.
Montana has given much that was valuable to outride institutions,
heretofore, and too little has been saved for the use of her own people.
Let us do in this direction what we can for our own state, by adding
our contributions to her history through the Ilist-orical Society or by
placing some object of interest in its custody to be preserver! for the
benefit of present and future Montanians. This, the Historical Soci-
ety of the State of Montana, is a state institution, it belongs absolut-ely
to the people of the State of Montana, and they should, one and all,
take a personal pride and interest in its development and in advancing
its aims. Because of its character and because it is a state institution,
the Society naturally becomes the proper custodian of all matters and
objects of interest and historic value relating to Montana. A re<»ord
of all that comes into our possession is kept, wherein the gift is de-
scribed and the name of its donor entered.

In order the better to infonn the friends and patrons of the Society
as to its needs and somewhat as to the class of material most desired,
the following enumeration, taken in part from Volume 1 of its Contri-
butions, is here given :

1. Original contributions of hitherto unpublished manuscripts and
diaries, of an historical or descriptive nature, dealing with incidents
and events connected w4th the early settlement and development of
Montana; also such as relate to the wars and fights \rith the Indians
in Montana.

2. ilanuscripts and diaries or published reports concerning and de-
scribing the various trading and military forts and posts located within
the boundaries of the present ^fontana and in the surrounding region,
and detailing events occurring in connec^tion \vith them. Contribu-
tions and publications concerning the history and description of the

Digitized by



trading posts in existence prior to the settlement of the territory are
particularly desired.

3. Manuscripts and diaries or published reports concerning Gov-
ernment expeditions across the continent, to the Kocky Mountains, or
up the Missouri, Columbia, or Mississippi rivers; those passing into
and through what is now Montana being especially desired.

4. Manuscripts and dairies or published reports of private expe-
ditions of adventure or business upon the plains or to the Kocky Moun-

5. Manuscripts and diaries or sketches of travel and venture within
the boundaries of Montana or in the surrounding regions, and pub-
lished works of a similar nature.

0. Original contributions and published works dealing with the
fur trade, or giving the histories of the Northwest Fur Company, the
(\)lumbia Fur Company, the Pacific Fur Company, the American Fur
Company, the Missom^i Fur Company, the Hudson Bay Company, and
of the independent expeditions of Captain Wyeth, Major Pilcher, Cap-
tain Bonneville and others.

7. Information as to the location of the various trading posts and
forts of the fur companies along the Yellowstone, Columbia, and ifis-
souri, and their tributaries; also on the upper Saskatchewan.

8. Biographies of missionaries and the leading traders and trappers
connected with the fur trade.

9. Biographies of the Pioneers of Montana and contributions and
diaries detailing their travels and experiences in this region; also bi-
ographies of Territorial and State officers and other persons whose
names are connected with important affairs in our history.

10. Contributions and information concerning the settlement of
towns, prospecting expeditions and the discovery of mines, and de-
scriptions of current events, as seen from day to day.

11. Histories of the Indian tribes, and such special information as
to the tribes of the plains and the Rocky Mountains as will illustrate
their characteristics, or give information of their wars, migrations, ex-
peditions, treaties, reservations, hunting grounds,chiefs and numbers,
with information of missionary labors in their behalf.

12. Histories and other publications on Montana and the surround-
ing regions; also Americana and general history.

13. Legislative journals of the States and Territories under the
jurisdiction of which Montana was at any time prior to 1864.

Digitized by



14. Files of newspapers, complete or partial, and single numbers,
heretofore published in Montana, particularly of the earlier papers
printed in the Territory. The fire of January Oth, 1874, destroyed
the files then in the possession of the Society and it is greatly desired to
obtain such others of the same period as are in existence.

15. Maps, of Montana and the Missouri, Mississippi, Columbia and
Saskatchewan valleys and water-sheds; particularly the earlier maps,
and detailed niai)6 showing the routes of explorers and of campaigns
through this region and of the battle-fields in and near Montana,

16. Books for its library — ^historical, biographical or otherwise.
The library, under restrictions adopted to presence it intact, is for the
use of our citizens generally.

17. Statistical and historical documents of the States and Terri-
tories, published by them.

18. Catalogues of works relating to American history, and any in-
formation of books or manuscripts of local interest to the Society.

19. Contributions to its cabinet. As this .is the only cabinet of a
permanent public society presented for the whole State, it is hoped that
whatever is appropriate, curious and rare will be preserved therein, and
no longer scattered abroad.

20. Contributions to its picture gallery — paintings and portraits
of the Pioneers of Montana, the Territorial and State officials, and all
other persons of whatever degree who have been connected witb im-
portant events in our history. Pictures of objects, localities and events
intimately connected with the settlement and development of Mon-
tana, and of the early trappers and traders and of trading and military
forts and posts of this region are greatly desired.

A library' has been gathered which contains many valuable and in-
teresting works of an historical nature connected with the winning of
the West. Among the more interesting volumes of the collection may
be noted the reports and collections of a number of the important His-
torical Societies of the United States; four sets of original publications
of Lewis and Clarke's travels in 1804-5-6, these being a two-volume
edition published in Philadelphia in 1814, with map; a one- volume
edition, London, 1814; a three-volume edition, I^)ndon, 1815, with
map; and the large four- volume, indexed, edition, with maps and illus-
trations edited by Elliott Coues of the Smithsonian Institution and
published by Francis P. Harper, Xew York, 1893; also Jacob's The
Life and Times of Patrick Gass. sole survivor of Lewis and Clark's ex-

Digitized by



pedition, published at Wellabiirg, Ya., in 1859; Bradbury's Travels
in the Interior of America, Liverpool, 1817, (In this work was first
published the tale of the wonderful escape from the Blackfeet Indians
of John Colter, formerly one of T^wis and Clark's party) ; Charlevoix's
Journal of a Voyage to Xorth- America, V. 1 and 2, London, 1761;
T^onton's New Voyages to America, Vol. 1 and 2, London, 1735;*
Alexander Mackenzie's Through the Continent of North America,
I^ndon, 1801; Chastellux's Travels in North-America, Vol. 1 and 2,
London, 1787; Alezander ITenrj^'s Travels and Adventures in Canada
and the Indian Temtories, New York, 1809; Captain Riley's Narra-
tive, Hartford, 1817; and Sequel, Columbus, 1851; Pattie's Personal
Narrative, Cincinnati, 1833; Bumaby's Travels in North- America,
London 1775; James's Account of an Expedition from Pittsburgh to
the Rocky Mountains, Vol. 1, 2 and 3, London, 1823; Fremont's Re-
port of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, Washing-
ton, 1845; also Fremont's First and Second Expeditions, Washing-
ton, 1845; Hunter's Memoirs of a Captivity among the Indians of
North America, liOndon, 1823; Colton's American Indians, Vol. 1 and
2, London, 1833; Buchanan's Sketches of the History, Manners, and
Customs of the North American Indians, Vol. 1 and 2, New York,
1825; Beltrami's A Pilgrimage in Europe and America, and the Dis-
covery of the source of the Mississippi River, Vol. 1 and 2, London,
1828; Schoolcraft's. Discovery of the source of the Mississippi River,
New York, 1834; Brower's The Mississippi River and its source, Min-
neapolis, 1893; and The Missouri River and its Utmost Source, St.
Paul, 1896; Balch's The French in America, 1777-83, Vol. 1 and 2,
Philadelphia, 1891; Roger's A Concise Account of North America.
London, 1765; Domenech's The Great Deserts of North America,
Vol. 1 and 2, London, 1860; Miguel Venegas's A Natural and Civil
History of California, Vol. 1 and 2, London, 1759; Narrative and
Critical History of America, 8 Vols., by Justin Winsor, published by
The Riverside Press, Cambridge, 1889; and many other valuable
works of history, travel, description and adventure.

To the pioneers of Montana, who are so closely identified with its
settlement and early development and the record of whose deeils the
Society is endeavoring to gather and presence in as complete a form
as possible, we appeal for aid to the end that our collection of the his-
tory of the early events and of other matters of interest may be as full
and exhaustive as can now be obtained. We hope the State and

Digitized by



County Pioneer Associations will do all that lies within their power to
collect material of interest and value bearing upon the experiences of
their members or upon public events with which they are conversant,
such as took place within this region, for, otherwise, much valuable
material will be lost to us. We would suggest that the presidents and
other members of the organizations take the matter in hand, especially
among the County and local societies, and that they personally inter-
view all such individuals as by any chance might be able to contribute
something of value and urge upon them the necessity of recording any
facts in their possession worthy of being preserv^ed. The Society ap-
l)reciates that many refrain from doing so either because of the lack
of time or of the ability to set down much tjiat they otherwise might
in such manner as they would wish to. As to the former, we feel
certain that, were they to begin, they would find that the work did not
seriously interfere with their affairs, and, as to the latter class, if they
will give to us the facts in their possession in such form as they may be
able, no matter how faulty the language, we assure them that their con-
tributions will be thankfully received and that, thereby, they will be
doing a duty to their State which should be performed. And from all
other persons who may possess such material as should be preserved
in connection with the history of Montana, the Historical Society
cordially invites contributions. The Librarian will gladly afford any
assistance in his power to those who may desire it in the preparation of
papers for publication by the Society.


While it is primarily the aim and work of the Historical Society to
collect and preserve historical and other material, it is likewise its
province to place that which is obtained, in any way connected with
the story of the settlement and development of Montana, or that con-
cerns the lives of her people, in some permanent and convenient form
for distribution, for the purpose of disseminating among her citizens
and the general public the information that has been gathered. The
better to carry out this plan the Society publishes a volume of its
papers under the title of "Contributions to the Historical Society of
Montana,'' in which, besides the historical, biographical, and descrip-
tive matter contained, is incorporated its transactions, act of incorpor-

Digitized by



ation, ordinances, officers and members, and all Legislative enactments
aflFecting its welfare.

By the exchange of its published Contributions for the collections
of other Historical Societies and Associations this institution possesses
a means of adding largely to its library, whereby is received much ma-
terial relating to the history of the various states and localities of the
United States. Many of the exchanges received are of great value,
and many interesting papers are thus obtained. Our exchange list al-
ready contains the names of some of the more important Historical So-
cieties of the country, and the Librarian is constantly endeavoring to
add to the number. Since the publication of our Volume 2 of Contri-
butions the returns to the library by way of exchange have increased

The Society makes no pretence of publishing a connected account
of the series of events that have taken place relative to the history of
Montana, both before and since its organization as a Territory, nor yet
beyond a certain point, as to its correctness, is an attempt made to
weigh and sift what has been gathered, nor do we draw conclusions as
to the relative importance of the events narrated, or follow out in them
the relation between cause and effect; for that enters within the domain
of the historian. It is not a history that this institution publishes, but
rather, in a series of articles on various subjects connected with the
history of this region and the lives of its people, while information
relative thereto lies within ourreach, it endeavors to place in the way of
the future historian a mass of important and reliable data for the com-
ing work. Many of these writings are in the form of reminiscences, a
number of them are diaries, and in them for the greater part some
I)hases of the experiences and trials of the citizens of Montana during
the formative period of its civlization are touched upon. Much of the
contained matter is of abiding interest and some portions thereof read
like romances, while all of it is valuable and worthy of being preserved.
The Society may well congratulate itself upon the high character of
the contributions heretofore published by it, and many encomiums
have been received from various sources for the excellence of the ma-

The results of past endeavors promise well for what may be accom-
plishd in the future, and the work of issuing its contributions in bound
form should hereafter be continued more actively than in the past. It
is hoped that from now on a volume may be gotten out each year; and

Digitized by



the Librarian Ls at present engaged, as opportunity offers, in the pre-
paration of manuscript for the fortliconiing work, which will contain
a collection of papers of uudouhted interest and value and which he
hopes to publish during the coming year. In this connection the Li-

Online LibraryHistorical Society of Montana. Board of TrusteesBiennial report of the Board of Trustees of the Historical ..., Volumes 1-10 → online text (page 11 of 32)