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 2) 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 2) → online text (page 1 of 192)
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Its Story and Biography








Copyright, 1921






Gen. Charles S. Warren is one of the few sur-
vivors of the group of pioneers who made the heroic
and constructive period of Montana's early history.
For over half a century he has lived on terms of
intimacy with miner and prospector, mine operator,
' capitalist, statesman, has had his share in big con-
structive movements, and perhaps no one in Mon-
tana today is better informed and could describe
from his own experience and knowledge the real
forces that have shaped and foimed the political
and industrial fabric of the state.

Charles S. Warren was born in sight of the his-
' toric Starved Rock near Utica, LaSalle County,
Illinois, November 20, 1846, and is of colonial
American stock. His mother, Hannah Brown, was
born at Germantown, near Philadelphia, Pennsyl- .
vania, and she was a member of the Keyser fam-
ily of Philadelphia of nearly a hundred years ago,
and at that time her ancestor, Charles Keyser, was
the president of Girard College. Her ancestors
came over with William Penn among the early set-
tlers of Philadelphia. She was member of a prom-
inent Quaker family of Pennsylvania.

General Warren's father was Sylvanus B. War-
ren, who was born in Philipstown, a suburb of
Peekskill, New York, November 27, 1813. The War-
rens were well known throughout New England and
New York before the Revolution, and took a prom-
inent part in that struggle for independence. Gen-
eral Warren's ancestors built the first house in the
vicinity of Cold Springs, opposite West Point, New
York, prior to the Revolution.

The Warrens were early settlers in central Illi-
nois, in the Illinois Valley, and Charles S. Warren
was reared in practically a pioneer home, but one
of substantial New England and Quaker ideals. He
was a farmer boy when the Civil war broke out,
and served through the war for the Union and had
two honorable discharges from the United States
army. In 1866 he drove a bull team across the
plains to Virginia City, Montana, where he grad-
uated as a bull whacker on August 20, 1866. Dur-
ing the winter of 1867-6S he taught school in Deer
Lodge Valley at Hartley's Ranch near the mouth of
Dry Cottonwood, about fifteen miles south of Deer
Lodge. During the summer he followed placer min-
ing, and for seven years operated in the placer
diggings of Alder Gulch, Last Chance, French
Gulch, German Gulch, Silver Bow, Butte and else-
where in Montana. In fact for over half a century
he has been more or less closely identified with the
mining industry as well as with every other industry
that has helped develop the resources and build up
the territory and state. General Warren reached
Butte November 24, 1866, and spent the following
winter at Silver Bow, then the largest town in this
part of Montana. In a business way his name has
become associated with a number of groups compris-
ing men of power and leadership in the develop-
ment of the resources of the Northwest. He was
one of the incorporators of the Inter Mountain

Publishing Company, of the Comanche Mining
Company, the Charles S. Warren Realty and Min-
ing Company and numerous other corporations.

General Warren has been a republican since he
cast his first vote, and while he has never made
politics a profession, few politicians have been more
frequently honored with the responsibilities and
duties of public ofiice. He served as deputy sheriff,
under sheriff and sheriff of Deer Lodge County
from 1869 to 1875. That county then comprised
everything from the* Big Hole River on the south
to the British possessions on the north, there being
only two counties in Montana west of the Rocky
Mountains, Deer Lodge and Missoula. He was the
first police magistrate of Butte when the city was
organized in 1880, and twenty-six years later was
again elected police judge of the city. In terri-
torial days he served for five years as clerk o_f the
United States District Court of Silver Bow Co'unty,
under Hon. William J. Galbraith, presiding judge.
General Warren was elected a member of the State
Constitutional Convention which met at Helena
July 4, 1889, and framed the constitution of the
state. Upon roll call he voted aye for woman suf-
frage, and has never failed to give his support and
influence to the political emancipation of women.
He was a member of the National Republican Com-
mittee four years when Mathew S. Quay was chair-
man, resulting in the election of Benjamin Harri-
son to the presidency in 1888. He served as a mem-
ber of most of the territorial and state conventions
for forty-five years, and as presidential elector was
appointed to the duty of carrying the Montana vote
to Washington and casting it for William H. Taft
in 1908.

With rank from major to brigadier general, he
served on the staffs of J. Schuyler Crosby, Samuel
T. Hauser, Preston H. Leslie and B. F. White as
territorial governors. He was adjutant of the Mon-
tana Battalion during the Nez Perce Indian war of
1877, and raised a company and tendered its services
to Governor Potts early in July, 1876. upon receiv-
ing news of the Custer massacre, this service be-
ing declined by the governor. He was also instru-
mental in organizing the militia of the Territory
of Montana.

General Warren helped organize and is past com-
mander of Lincoln Post No. 2, Grand Army of the
Republic. The first department commander of the
Grand Army of the Republic in Montana was Capt.
Thomas P. Fuller, who was succeeded in that
office in 1886 by General Warren. The death of
Captain Fuller leaves General Warren as the rank-
ing department commander of the Grand Army of
the Republic of Montana. He is also a member of
the board of managers of the State Soldiers Home
at Columbia Falls.

General Warren served as president of the Society
of Montana Pioneers in 1907-08. He helped or-
ganize the Silver Bow Club as a charter member
and was president of the club in 1888, being sue-


ceeded in that office by F. E. Sargent. Some years
ago General Warren was made a life member of
the club.

He is a past master of Butte Lodge, Ancient Free
and .-Vccepted Masons, a Knight Templar Mason,
belongs to the thirty-second degree of the Scottish
Rite and Bagdad Temple of the Mystic Shrine. He
is a charter member of Butte Lodge of Masons,
and served as its secretary for the first six years.
He was a charter member and first secretary of
Fidelity Lodge No. 8, Independent Order of Odd Fel-
lows, a charter member of Damon Lodge No. 2,
Knights of Pvthias, a charter member of Silverbow
Lodge No. 240, Benevolent and Protective Order of
Elks, but has since severed his active connection
with the Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias and Elks.

November 15. 1871, General Warren married
Mittie Avery. They were married at what was
then known as Silver Valley Station, now known as
the "Hump," about six miles below Sdver Bow and
on the road betwen Butte and Gregson Springs.
Mrs Warren was born at Saco, Maine, September i,
l8;4. Their two living children are: Wesley W.
Warren, a resident of Sacramento, California: and
Mary Warren Murphey, wife o'f John Milton Mur-
phey. living at 221 North Excelsior Avenue, in

Joseph Moore Dixon. The present Governor of
Montana was elected at the 1920 election to serve
for the term beginning January 3, 1921, and ending
January I, 1925.

While his home and interests as a lawyer have
been at Missoula for more than a quarter of a
century, Joseph Moore Dixon is a really national
figure not only on account of his service in the
United States House of Representatives and Senate,
but more particularly because he was called, on ac-
count of his demonstrated qualifications, by Theo-
dore Roosevelt to lead the progressive party m the
national campaign of 1912.

Governor Dixon was born at Snow Camp, Ala-
mance County, North Carolina, July 31, 1867, a son
of Hugh W. and Flora (Murchison) Dixon. His
people were Friends or Quakers. After attending
common schools he was sent to the leading Quaker
institution of higher learning in the Middle West,
Earlham College at Richmond, Indiana. Later he
was schooled in Guilford College, North Carolina,
where he graduated in 1889, with his A. B. degree.

Mr. Dixon came to Missoula in 1891. During the
following year he studied in the law office of Woody
& Webster, and was admitted to the bar in 1892. He
practiced in partnership with I. G. Denny until 1894,
when he was elected county attorney, having pre-
viously served as assistant prosecuting attorney. He
filled that office from 1895 to 1897. In 1900 he was
elected to represent Missoula County in the Legisla-
ture and his abilities as a lawyer and legislator and
his influence with a great mass of the republican
voters soon brought him to leadership in cementing
the factions of the republican party in Montana. In
1902 he received a substantial majority in the elec-
tion for congressman-at-Iarge to the Fifty-eighth
Congress, taking his seat in 1903. In 1904 he was re-
elected by a still larger majority. His leadership at
home and his work in the Congress those four years
made him the logical candidate to succeed W. A.
Clark in the United States Senate. Mr. Dixon's
term as United States senator was from 1907 to 1913.
In 1912 the late Colonel Roosevelt selected him as
chairman of the Progressive National Committee,
and he was largely instrumental in organizing and
rolling up the immense popular vote credited to the
progressive candidates of that year.

In 1900 Mr. Dixon acquired and reorganized the

Daily Missoulian, one of the oldest and influential
republican daily newspapers of the state. On his
retirement from the Senate, in 1913, he assumed
editorial control of the newspaper in person and
continued as such until he disposed of the same
in 1917.

Governor Dixon has always been a stalwart re-
publican with progressive tendencies. He was dele-
gate-at-large to the national conventions of 1904
and 1916.

March 12, 1896, Mr. Dixon married Carrie M.
Worden of Missoula, daughter of Frank L. Worden.
one of the founders of Missoula. They have an
interesting family of six -daughters.

McCoRMicK OF Montana. This is a variation
from the ordinary title at the head of individual
articles in this publication, and of itself it is signifi-
cant, and its significance is one readily recognized
all over the state. Business men. farmers and grain
growers in particular, know McCormick of Montana
as a business man whose success has been a valuable
asset to the state, and as proprietor of McCormick
of Montana Seed House, the largest concern of the
kind in the state. There are many McCormicks in
and around Billings, but the postoffice department
and citizens generally do not need the initial letters
W. H. to identify McCormick of Montana.

Personally he has been identified with business
■ affairs in Montana for over a quarter of a centur.v.
He is a nephew of "the grand old man of Montana"
Paul McCormick, distinguished as a Montana settler
of 1866, a pioneer farmer, freighter, Indian fighter,
rancher and one of the notable business builders of

McCormick of Montana was born at Hancock,
Wisconsin, August 2, 1871. The McCormicks have
been noted for a high degree of commercial enter-
prise and likewise for prominence in all walks of life.
His grandfather, James McCormick. was born in
Cork, Ireland, in 1791, and on coming to .America
settled in Steuben County, New York. Though a
farmer he became very influential in civic affairs
and acquired a large amount of property. He died
at Rexville in Steuben County in 1886.

Hugh McCormick, father of McCormick of Mon-
tana, was born at Greenwood in Steuben County.
New York, in 1826. In 1858 he moved to Wisconsin,
developed a large farm in that state, and lived there
until his death at Hancock on June 16, 1871. He
liad the reputation of being progressive and ener-
getic, and was one of the wealthiest men of his
locality. He was successful in business and equally
useful in the promotion of many worthy enterprises
in his community. He was a republican in politics
and a member of the Catholic Church. Hugh Mc-
Cormick married Mary Raj-, who was born in New
York in 1834 and died at Hancock. Wisconsin, in
1889. W. H. McCormick was the sixth and youngest
child of his parents and was born after his father's
death. The other members of the family were:
Charles, who died at Rexville in Steuben County.
New York, at the age of twelve years; Fred, who
has for many j-ears been a resident of Montana, was
formerly a miner, and is now a farmer and stock
man at Finch in Rosebud County ; Louise, unmarried,
is a property owner at Tacoma, Washington :
Theresa, wife of John Milne, a farmer and stock-
man at Rothamay in Fergus County, Montana ; Cora,
unmarried, owner of considerable property at Bit-
lings and principal of the McKinley School in that

As a boy McCormick of Montana was sent to New
York State, and was educated in the Canisteo Acad-
emv at Canisteo. and tlie Christian Brothers' St.
Joseph College at Buffalo. Leaving school at the





age of sixteen, he taught one year at Jasper in
Steuben County, and in 1890 came to Billings, Mon-
tana. For twelve years he was manager of the gro-
cery and hardware firm of Donovan and Spear. In
igoj he organized the McCormick Mercantile Com-
pany at Billings, his principal associate being his
uncle, Paul McCormick. This partnership was con-
tinued for three years and was then superseded by
the Donovan-McCormick Company, operating a de-
partment store.

The McCormick of ilontana Seed House was
established in 1907. This business might well be
entitled to a lengthy description. The headquarters
are at 2500 Minnesota Avenue. It is a business that
has been developed to most extensive proportions
by Mr. McCormick, and has undisputed claim to the
position of being the largest seed house in Montana.
The firm handles hay, grain and seeds in carload
lots, also poultry supplies, and specializes as bean
dealers, jobbers and shippers. In the handling, pick-
ing and grading of beans, a separate department by
itself, seventy-five people are employed. Fifteen per-
sons work in the seed house and office, and twenty-
five make up the staff of the hay baling department.
The handling of hay is a big business in itself. Im-
mense quantities are pressed and shipped by this firm
to eastern markets. This is the house that has given
Montana grown alfalfa seed a justified fame
throughout the United States.

As something of an auxiliary to the seed house is
operated a 3.00G acre stock farm in Rosebud County.
Part of this farm is devoted to the culture of pure
seeds as well as pure bred livestock. The trial
grounds for the seed house are on this ranch, and
all the seeds marketed are submitted to tests to prove
their high germination qualities as well as their
adaptability to varying conditions of soil and climate.

McCormick of Montana also built and owns the
McCormick Hotel at J500 Montana Avenue, and his
own home is the noted old McCormick Lo* Cabin
property, the early residence of his uncle, Paul Mc-
Cormick, and one of the interesting landmarks of

His initiative and enterprise are sufificiently dis-
played in the above brief record. His friends and
associates appreciate even more his integrity, and the
great persistence that marked his early struggles
with fortune. Some of his intimate frfends know
that when he finished school and took up life as a
business man he was $700 in debt. Out of his early
earnings he paid off every dollar of his obligations
and then undoubtedly thereby established a credit
which has remained steadily with him to the present

A bit of military history also belongs in the record
of McCormick of Montana. He was a member of
Troop A of Billings of the Montana National Guard,
which volunteered during tlie Spanish-American war
as Troop M of the Third United States Volunteer
Cavalry of Rough Riders. This troop was in service
seven months and was mustered out in September,
1898, at the close of the war.

Mr. McCormick is a member of the Billings Mid-
land Club, is a republican, is affiliated with the
Catholic Church, is a third degree Knight of Colum-
bus, having membership in Billings Council, and
is a member of the Billings Lodge of Elks. He also
belongs to the Country Club, is treasurer and a di-
rector of the Midland Empire Fair .\ssociation, and
a director and former president of the Rosebud
Lake Association.

In 1905, at Missoula, he married Miss Frances J.
Murphy. She died at Billings in 191 5, the mother
of one daughter, Eloise, born March 9, 1913.

WiLFORD J. Johnson. It is not usual to call a
man a veteran while still in his early forties, but
if any banker in Montana has claim to a veteran
experience it is Wilford J. Johnson of Lewistown,
president of the First National Bank. This is due
to the fact that he began banking experience when
most boys are in school, and has pursued the busi-
ness uninterruptedly and with steadily advancing
influence and responsibility for nearly thirty years.

He was born at Sutton, Nebraska, November 10,
1876, a son of Joseph W. and Mary A. (Bagley)
Johnson. His parents .are both natives of Iowa
and are still living. Joseph W. Johnson, who has
lived retired since 1909, was for many years in
the newspaper business in Nebraska, and also be-
came prominent in politics and for eight or ten
years held the position of state railway commis-
sioner. He is a republican and a member of the
Methodist Episcopal Church.

Wilford J. Johnson was the oldest of five sons.
He attended public schools only to the age of four-
teen, and since then has acquired a broad educa-
tion without resort to the formal training of the
schoolroom. In 1890, at the age of fourteen, he
went to work for the State Bank of Curtis, Ne-
braska, as a clerk. Such were his abilities and
value that he was promoted to the post of cashier
when only seventeen years of age. Doubtless he
was the youngest cashier in the country at that
time. Mr. Johnson came to Montana in 1897, when
only twenty-one years of age, and was associated
with the First National Bank of Butte as teller
until 1907. In that year he removed to Lewistown;
and served the First National Bank as cashier and
since 1916 as president. He is vice president of the
Montana State Bankers Association. Mr. Johnson
is a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason and
Shriner. September 21, 1905, he married Elizabeth
G. Gaylord. She is a native of Connecticut.

Charles O'Donnell. During an active and en-
ergetic career extending over a period of a quar-
ter of a century Charles O'Donnell, of Billings, has
forged steadily to the forefront among successful
stockmen and ranchers, among whom he now holds
pre-eminent position. His career has been one ex-
emplifying self-made manhood, for he started his
independent life with a self-gained education and
without financial assistant or influential friends, and
each step upward has been achieved only after the
exercise of his own energy and resource. In addi-
tion to being president of the Montana Live Stock
and Loan Company, and connected with various
other prominent enterprises he is a large landholder.

Mr. O'Donnell was born at Saginaw, Michigan,
April 6, 1874, a son of Daniel O'Donnell, who died
at Midland, Michigan. His opportunities for at-
tending school were not numerous in his youth,
but he made the most of his opportunities, and
through self-teaching, keen observation and much
reading has become a well-educated man. He be-
gan to be self-supporting when he was eighteen
years of age. He came to Billings in 1890, and
was employed by the Montana-Minnesota Land and
Improvement Company for one year in building
the irrigation ditch for that concern. Following
this he rented a ranch, which started him upon
his successful career, for he soon became a ranch
owner and stockman and yearly has increased his
holdings and extended the scope of his operations.
His home ranch is situated fourteen miles east
of Billings, and is a tract of 1,250 acres of irri-
gated land. In addition to this he owns 10,000 acres
in Yellowstone County and a half interest in a
ranch of 1,700 acres in Custer County. As one of
Montana's leading stockmen, in August, 1915, he


became the leading factor in the organization of
the Montana Live Stock and Loan Company, a
concern which buys and sells livestock and loans
money thereon in addition to shipping all over the
United States. The offices of this company are situ-
is also president of the Cold Springs Livestock
ated at 2719 First Avenue, and the officials are:
Charles O'Donnell, president; Wallace Huidokoper,
vice president; Frank O'Donnell, secretary and
treasurer; and F. B. Bair. manager. Mr. O'Donnell
Corporation at Forsyth, Rosebud County, Alontana,
a ranch and livestock corporation capitalized at
$150,000, in which Mr. O'Donnell owns one-quarter
of the stock. This corporation feeds 8,000 sheep
every winter, as well as horses and cattle, and has a
3,180-acre ranch, of which 2,000 acres are irrigated.

Mr. O'Donnell's pleasant modern residence is sit-
uated at 24 Yellowstone Avenue, Billings. In his
political views he is a democrat, with independent
inclinations. With his family he belongs to the
Roman Catholic Church, and is a third degree knight
and member of Billings Council No. 1259, Knights
of Columbus. He is a life member of Billings
Lodge No. 394, Benevolent and Protective Order of
Elks, and holds membership also in the Billings Club
and the Billings Golf and Country Club.

In November. 1897, Mr. O'Donnell was married
at Billings to Miss Katherine Riordon, who was
born at Boston, Massachusetts, and was brought
as a babe to Billings, where she received a high
school education. Mr. and Mrs. O'Donnell are the
parents of two children : Charles Everett, born
August 10, 1903, who is a senior in the Billings
High School ; and Lawrence Donald, born Decem-
ber 10, 1909, attending the parochial school.

Leo G. Zeidler. The career of Leo G. Zeidler in
Plentywood began with the start of the permanent
builders and has continued prominent in its business
life throughout its annals.

Mr. Zeidler arrived in the community of Plenty-
wood in 1909, and in August of that year became a
clerk for the Johnson-Riba Hardware Company, Ijut
a few months later embarked in business for him-
self as a hardware merchant and erected the first
business house of the new town. The Zeidler store
was for a short time a lonesome one, being the only
one along the main business street, but in a short
time it was joined by all of the old town, the parties
moving over in the spring of 1910, including the
Johnson-Riba Hardware Company, the Riba Bank,
the Riba Lumber Yard, Ring & Sommers Restaurant,
the J. A. Ford mercantile business, Fishbeck & Jar-
vis, the State Bank of Plentywood, the Chad. Robin-
son Livery, , the Peter Diedrick feed mill, the Anson
Kranzer blacksmith, the C. S. Nelson Herald office,
Albert Chapman, land commissioner, Severt Olson
Hotd and George E. Bolster, postmaster and hotel
proprietor. And by this time several other business
enterprises had sprung up, including the Rogers
Lumber Company, St. Anthony Lumber Company,
Kullass Lumber Company, the Tanna & Best Mer-
cantile Company, and with the coming of the railroad
the Farmers Elevator and the Montana-Dakota Ele-
vators were built.

Mr. Zeidler in all these years has continued his
hardware business, it having first opened its doors
to the public in February, 1910, and he has come
to be known as one of the old and reliable business
men of the town. He has also taken an active inter-
est in the agricultural . development of the locality.
In 1907 he filed on a homestead in McClain County,
North Dakota, proved it up with the usual tempo-
rary improvements and farmed the land while he
was acquiring title. In 1913 he became identified
with the farming interests of Sheridan County, lo-

cating his claim near the county seat, and has become
well known as a grain raiser. During the seven
years he has planted crops here he has harvested
something each year, although in 1919, his poorest

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 2) → online text (page 1 of 192)