Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jan. 31 – On this day in history in 1925, chickens and dogs had the people of eastern Montana excited, as the Midland Empire Poultry Association held its annual show in Billings. People apparently knew why dogs and chickens were in the same show, because the Billings Gazette didn’t explain it. More than 300 birds and 50 dogs were entered, and as a special feature the association brought in an English Dorking, Australian Kiwi and a Jersey Giant with officials proudly announcing they were rare birds: “none of which has ever been shown here before.” No mention of how their eggs tasted!!!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Jan. 30 – On this day in Montana history in 1911 the Great Northern Railway added “a mammoth locomotive” to its equipment headquartered in Butte that was said to be “one of the largest locomotives ever seen in the West.” It was used to pull ore trains from Mountain View to Woodville up a very steep grade. The engine had 14 drive wheels and was 86 feet in length. “It is built in the new style of low smokestacks, small bell, and everything close and compact so as to reduce resistance to the minimum,” the railway said.

Friday, January 27, 2012

January 27

Jan. 27 – On this day in Montana history in 1941 readers of the Billings Gazette were talking about an article designed to help them learn how to become commercial airplane passengers. Headlined “Mind Your Manners,” the article said it was fine to smoke except on takeoff or landing, give your coat to the stewardess who will hang it up in the back of the plane, if you write a letter you can give it to the stewardess who will mail it at the next stop. If you think the skies were friendlier then, the article said if you forget or don’t have a small enough bag for overnight flights to keep your grooming supplies in that “they will supply overnight bags free.” 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

January 26

Jan. 26 – On this day in Montana history in 1991 the Montana Senate with descendants of Judge Charles Crum in the galleries unanimously passed a resolution exonerating Crum of his impeachment and removal from office during World War One. Before the war Crum was a popular Forsyth and Rosebud County politician who became district judge. In all of Montana history the state Senate has impeached and banished a state official only twice. Crum was accused of being a German sympathizer as anti-German feelings reached near hysteria in the state. In a 1919 interview with the Forsyth Democrat Crum said: “I feel sure that, at some future time, the right-thinking people of the State of Montana will undo the wrong that has been inflicted upon me.” 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January 25

Jan. 25 – On this day in Montana history in 1962 Montana Republican Gov. Charles Nutter, two of his top aides and three flyers were killed in a plane crash during bad weather near Wolf Creek. His Lt. Gov. and friend Tim Babcock, who had a trucking business in Billings, took office with a heavy heart. Republicans and Democrats were in the midst of a major fight over the future of the state, but the deaths brought the state together for at least awhile. Montana U.S. Sen. Lee Metcalf, a Democrat and fierce opponent of Nutter, said: “Regardless of our political differences, Don Nutter and I were friends.”  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

January 24

Jan. 24 – On this day in Montana history in 1870 word began to trickle back in brief news accounts of what was one of Montana’s darkest hours. On Jan. 23 Maj. Eugene Baker and troops from Fort Ellis near Billings attacked a peaceful Blackfeet encampment on the Marias River and slaughtered 173 women, children and old men. Today it is known as the Baker Massacre. Sent to locate Piegan (pronounced Pie-gun) Indians suspected of attacking some settlers, Baker reportedly said when told it was not Piegans: “That makes no difference, one hand or another of them. They are all Piegans, and we will attack them.”

Monday, January 23, 2012

January 23

Jan. 23 – On this day in Montana history in 1890 “noted Scout, Peace Officer and Vigilante” John Xavier “X” Beidler died in Helena. Beidler became famous during the early frontier days of Montana especially for his courage in fighting the feared Plummer gang in Bannack and Virginia City. He was involved in most of the major events in the gold rush towns. The Billings Gazette said he “was a peace officer whose very name became a terror to the evil doers … he will pass into history as a hero of the frontier and every old timer in Montana will drop a tear for the departed X.” The Montana Pioneers Society held a large funeral in his honor.