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Friday, October 24, 2014

Oct. 24 -- On this day in Montana history in 1926 Cowboy Artist Charles M. Russell died at his Great Falls home.  He was mourned across the Montana he loved and painted and by art lovers across the nation. His artwork told the story of the Montana he knew as a cow puncher, artist and observer of all about him. The Great Falls Tribune headline read: “Genius whose brush portrayed the colorful life of Montana’s early days, lays down his palette to answer great call.” The title of one of his most famous paintings done shortly before his death and now in the collection at the Montana Historical Society sums up his philosophy: “Laugh Kills Lonesome.”

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Oct. 23 – On this day in Montana history in 1844 Louis Riel who would spend a lot of his life in Montana was born in a M├ętis Indian farming colony in the Red River Valley in what is now Manitoba, Canada. In his tumultuous lifetime, Riel led two unsuccessful rebellions in Canada against that nation that cost him his life. His happiest years were spent in Montana where he worked for the rights of his people and began the decade’s long fight to win them a reservation in Big Sky Country.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Oct. 22 – On this day in Montana history in 1903 representatives of the Amalgamated Company in Butte said in a banner statement in the Butte Miner that a decision by Judge William Clancy to enjoin the company from doing business “branded” them an outlaw. Under a complicated suit the judge ruled that $3 million in stockholder dividends could not be paid. It said Amalgamated would shut down Montana operations costing 15,000 workers their jobs. It was one of the worst mining crises Butte endured.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Oct. 21 – On this day in Montana history in 1925 a largely forgotten part of Montana economic history was celebrated in Chinook when a major sugar mill was opened and shown off to a large crowd. Sugar beets were a major crop in Montana for many years until other sources and methods proved cheaper for production of sugar.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Oct. 20 – On this day in Montana history in 1908 the state was abuzz with news that one of the most notorious con men in state history had been arrested in St. Paul, Minn., for vagrancy. Starting out as a telegrapher in Kalispell, Gordon P. Brown received a $7,500 settlement – a large sum in those days – for an injury he received in a train mishap. He took the money to Washington and passed himself off as a millionaire from Montana, and spent his way into the good graces of the McKinley White House. He was a Washington darling until the money dried up, and he disappeared leaving a host of bills unpaid behind him.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Oct. 17 – On this day in Montana history in 1945 state newspapers were reporting that Bud Linderman of Red Lodge, one of the toughest rodeo stars that ever lived, won the bareback bronc riding competition at a national event in New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Linderman lived a hard and short life that included being accused of killing a man in a barroom fight. He died at age 39 with a friend lamenting that “he was just too stubborn” to go to a hospital.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Oct. 16 – On this day in Montana history in 1902 a column in the Dupuyer Acantha had a classic in the social history this blog likes to bring to you. The headline read “Parasol Pointers” and the first advice was “a plain white sunshade is useful and pretty.” It advised against “grotesque handles” and “strapped parasols.” No lady should be without one, and “the parasol may be really a part of a costume.” Baseball caps now apparently serve the same purpose. Times change.