Tom Stout.

Montana, its story and biography; a history of aboriginal and territorial Montana and three decades of statehood, under the editorial supervision of Tom Stout ... (Volume 3) online

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Online LibraryTom StoutMontana, its story and biography; a history of aboriginal and territorial Montana and three decades of statehood, under the editorial supervision of Tom Stout ... (Volume 3) → online text (page 1 of 232)
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Its Story and Biography








Copyright, 1921






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Hon. Paris Gibson. Among the state soldiers of
Montana the name of Paris Gibson, who died De-
cember l6, 1920, will always have a high and im-
portant rank. His influence has been felt in the
broad development of the state, though his chief and
particular fame rests in his title as "Founder of
Great Falls."

He was probably not the first to recognize the
commercial possibilities of the Great Falls of the
Missouri River, but his initiative and practical e.x-
perience in the use and development of water-power
enabled him to bring fantastic dreams down to the
place of realized facts.

Mr. Gibson was a real American by inheritance
as well as by the most exacting standards of modern
times. He was born at Brownfield, O.xford County,
Maine, July i, 1830, a son of Abel and Ann (How-
ard) Gibson. His first American ancestor, John
Gibson, was born in England in 1601 and settled in
Eastern Massachusetts in 1631. In the maternal line
his ancestor James Howard was a resident of Massa-
chusetts as early as 1643, and in the Howard line
Senator Gibson was the grandson of a Revolutionary
soldier, while his grandfather Gibson was a soldier
in the French and Indian war.

Paris Gibson was liberally educated, attending tlie
Fryburg Academy at Fryburg, Maine, and graduat-
ing in 1851 from Bowdoin College in Maine. Just
half a century later, in 1901, Bowdoin conferred
upon him the honorary degree LL. D. He left col-
lege to become a farmer, and enjoyed his first active
participation in politics in his native state. In 1853
he was elected a member of the Maine Legislature.

In 1858 Paris Gibson came west and located at
the chief industrial center of what was then the
northwestern frontier, Minneapolis, or St. .Anthony's
Falls. Minnesota was still a territory. He was a
resident of Minneapolis for over twenty years, and
helped establish some of the earliest industries in
that great city. In 1858, with William W. Eastman,
he built the first merchant flour mill at Minneapolis,
known as the Cataract Mill. In i860 he also erected
the first woolen mill, known as the North Star
Woolen Mill. In succeeding years Paris Gibson saw
Minneapolis become an important city and the great
country around it developed agriculturallv. In 1879
he came to Montana, locating at Fort Benton, where
he engaged in the sheep business. Soon afterward
he examined the territory around the confluence of
two branches of the Missouri River, known then as
the Great Falls of the Missouri. He possessed the
technical understanding of water power development.
and from his long residence at Minneapolis had
gained the knowledge and the initiative to make use
of the possibilities at the Falls in Montana. In 1884
he founded the City of Great Falls, and about that
time he interested the late James J. Hill in the site.
The City of Great Falls, like many otlier portions
of the Northwest, owes much to the genius of the
master railroad builder, but the presiding genius of
Great Falls from the beginning was the veteran
statesman and business man, Paris Gibson. In re-
cent years Mr. Gibson suffered almost a complete
loss of sight, but long before that misfortune inter-

vened he had the satisfaction of seeing a wonderful
fruition to his early hopes and plans regarding
Great Falls.

While Paris Gibson had been less of a politician
than many men of smaller note in Montana, he
enjoyed exceptional honors at the hands of his fellow
citizens. He helped draw up the organic law of the
state as a member of the first constitutional conven-
tion of 1889. He served as a member of the Mon-
tana Senate in 1891, and in igoi was chosen United
States Senator for the unexpired term of William
A. Clark. This last honor was the more gratifying
because he had never considered himself as a pos-
sible candidate for the office. He served in the
United States Senate until 1905. Senator Gibson was
a democrat, and while a resident of Minneapolis
was a member of the Church of the Redeemer, Uni-
versalist, and at Great Falls a member of the Uni-
tarian Church.

August 23, 1858, at Brownfield, Maine, he mar-
ried Valeria Goodenou Sweat, daughter of Jesse and
Valeria Sweat. She was born in 1838 and died, at
Great Falls August 20, 1900. To their marriage
were born four children. The two surviving sons
are Philip and Theodore. Philip married Mary
Douglas .\ugust 9, 1882, while Theodore married
Mary Johnson April 9, 1888.

Edwin Lloyd Kimball, who is a veteran of the
World war, has for several years been identified
with Montana, and is branch manager for the Rog-
ers-Templeton Lumber Company.

Mr. Kimball was born at Melrose, Wisconsin,
June 12, 1895. His paternal ancestors were colonial
settlers from England, first locating in Boston and
afterward in the State of Maine. His grandfather,
Albert Kimball, was born at Quincy, Illinois, in
1843, was reared in that city, and became an early
settler at Neilsville, Wisconsin. For several years
he was a farmer and later served as postmaster and
otherwise was prominent in the civic and political life
of the community. He was a veteran of the Union
army during the Civil war. He died at Neilsville
in 1910.

Ed Kimball, father of Edwin Lloyd, was born at
Neilsville, Wisconsin, in 1866, and was reared and
married there. After his marriage he moved to St.
Paul, Minnesota, and the greater part of his active
life was spent in the service of the St. Paul, Minne-
apolis & Omaha Railway. After 1900 his headquar-
ters were at Washburn, Wisconsin, where he died
in 1904. He was a railway conductor for many
years and a member of the Order of Railway Con-
ductors. Politically he was a republican and was a
member of the Masonic fraternity. Ed Kimball
married Miss Maggie Brule, who was born near
Montreal. Canada, in 1868. and died at St. Paul in
1898. She was the mother of two children: Clare
and Edwin. The former is the wife of George F.
McDonald, an employe at the State Capitol at St.
Paul, Minnesota.

Edwin Lloyd Kimball was three years old when
his mother died and nine at the death of his fathen
He was reared to the age of fifteen by his grand-



parents at Neilsville, Wisconsin, and from the age
of fifteen to seventeen lived with his uncle, W. Scott
Davis. He attended the high school at Neilsville,
graduating in 1912. After leaving school he worked
for six months on a farm near Sioux Falls, South
Dakota, after which he was in the employ of the
Goodyear Tire Company at San Francisco until
Fehruar'y, 1915, then spent a short time at Albu-
querque, New Mexico, and returned to Neilsville,
Wisconsin, where he was in the service of the Wis-
consin Bell Telephone Company until the winter
of 1916. For about a year he was with the Bulletin
Publishing Company at St. Paul, and then with the
St. Paul branch of the Illinois Steel Company until
April, 1917. Mr. Kimball made his first visit to
Montana in the spring of 1917, and was on the Great
Falls Tribune until he enlisted.

Mr. Kimball was in the aviation service, volun-
teering in October, 1917. He received his pre-
liminary training at Fort George Wright in Wash-
ington, and went overseas in March, 1918, having
foreign duty until December, 1918. He was a mem-
ber of the Three Hundred and Seventy-Eighth Aero
Squadron. He was mustered out December 27, 1918,
and after a brief visit to St. Paul returned to Great
Falls, Montana, where he formed his first connection
with the Rogers-Templeton Lumber Company. Be-
ginning as yard man, he was sent as manager of
the yards at Ryegate, Montana, June 6, 1919, and
February l, 1920, was given the management of the
company's business at Hedgesville.

Mr. Kimball, who is unmarried, is an independent
in politics, a member of the Presbyterian Church,
the American Legion, and is affiliated with Ryegate
Lodge No. loi, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.

Michael J. Ryan. As far back as there is any
record of civilized people those who have ministered
to the comfort of the traveling public have re-
ceived consideration, but in later days they have
become even more prominent because of the wide
acquaintance they enjoy and the influence they have
upon the actions of those with whom they are con-
stantly brought into contact. In order to succeed
these men are obliged to understand human nature
and the motives which influence their guests ; they
have to be, themselves, genial and companionable.
If they are not excellent buyers and managers the
upkeep will soon exceed the receipts, and no busi-
ness conducted at a loss can continue for long, so
that, taking everything into consideration it is easy to
understand why the proprietor of a hotel is a very
representative citizen and prominent man, and why
his opinions are held in such high regard. One of
the men who is well known all through the Smith
River Valley as well as the state itself is Michael
J. Ryan, the genial host of the Ringling Hotel, who
is also the founder of the Village of Ringling, owner
of some of the leading places of amusement here,
and a landowner of more than ordinary importance.

Michael J. Ryan was born in County Limerick at
the Town of Lisnagry, Ireland, on December 10, 1880,
a son of Jeremiah Ryan, born at Newport, County
Tipperary Ireland, in 183S, who died at Lisnagry,
County Limerick, Ireland, in 1882. All of his life
he was engaged in farming. In politics he was a
liberal. The Roman Catholic Church held his mem;
bership and he was a devout Christian. Jeremiah
Ryan was married in County Limerick, Ireland, to
Catherine Hall, born at Lisnagry, County Limerick,
in 1843. She died at Lisnagry, Ireland, in February,
1906, having survived her husband for many years.
Their children were as follows: Thomas, who re-
sides at Lisnagry, Ireland, is engaged in farming;
George, who resides in Ohio, is clerking, and Michael

J., who was the youngest born. Mrs. Ryan was
the daughter of Thomas Hall, born at Lisnagry, Ire-
land, in 1781, who died there in 1883, having been a
farmer there all of his active years. For 500 years
the Halls lived on the same farm on which he and
Mrs. Ryan were born, and were engaged in cultivat-
ing the same land on which he made his living.

Growing up at Lisnagry, Michael J. Ryan at-
tended the national schools there and the Christian
Brothers School at Limerick, Ireland, and the Man-
chester Technical School at Manchester, England,
which he left in 1902 and began working in an ana-
lytical establishment at Manchester, later being sent
out by it to travel through the country districts of
England and test the milk for the farmers.

In 1909 Mr. Ryan came to the United States,
landing at New York City, New York, and he took
out his first papers seventj'-six hours after landing,
probably the only case on record of this kind. Leav-
ing New York City Mr. Ryan came West and located
at Dorsey, Montana, and vvorked for his uncle,
George Hall, a rancher of that district. It had not
been Mr. Ryan's intention to come to this country
to continue an emplo3'e, and in 1910 he took up a
homestead of 160 acres, the present site of Ringling.
For the subsequent six years he lived on this ranch,
and in the meanwhile founded Ringling on a portion
of it, erected his hotel, which he has made into the
leading one in this section of Meagher County. He
owns a pool and billiard hall and a moving picture
theater, both of which he keeps up to standard in
every respect, believing in furnishing clean and
modern places of amusement for the people at a
moderate price. It was Mr. Ryan who erected the
lighting plant to furnish light to the Hall Addition,
which is located on the north side of the Chicago,
Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad tracks, and comprises
about one-half of the town. As a member of the
Ringling Commercial Club and of its executive com-
mittee, he is continuing his public-spirited efforts in
behalf of the place, and he has been very active in
arousing interest and securing the establishment of
the church parish, for he is a devout Roman Cath-
olic. In later years he has bought other ranch prop-
erty and now owns a ranch four miles south of
Ringling, as the whole of the north side and a por-
tion of the south side occupy the site of the original

On June 28, 1914, Mr. Ryan was married at Louis-
ville, Kentucky, to Miss Katherine D. McGrath, a
daughter of J. J. and Mary McGrath, who are still
residents of Louisville, where Mr. McGrath is man-
aging a hotel. Mrs. Ryan is a talented musician and
is a graduate of the Louisville Conservatory of Music
in both vocal and instrumental music. Her remark-
able abilities have attracted considerable attention
and afford genuine pleasure to music lovers in her
neighborhood. Mr. and Mrs. Ryan have one daugh-
ter, Katherine, who was born on May 3, 1915.

There are some who claim that Mr. Ryan's re-
markable progress is the result of luck, but those
who understand these things better know that this
is not true. Many have come to this and other
portions of Montana and have been content to re-
main ranchers, or who have not had the ability
or ambition to branch out. Not so Mr. Ryan, for
he is of a different caliber. Each act of his has been
a step forward toward a definite goal, and not one
has been consummated without careful consideration.
He has possessed the grit, the ambition, the fore-
sight and the vision to promulgate and carry out
to a successful completion plans which would have
staggered any ordinary person. When his career
is reviewed it is difficult to realize that a man who
has just rounded his second score of years has

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Online LibraryTom StoutMontana, its story and biography; a history of aboriginal and territorial Montana and three decades of statehood, under the editorial supervision of Tom Stout ... (Volume 3) → online text (page 1 of 232)