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Friday, October 26, 2012


Oct. 26  -- On this day in Montana history in 1903 the Amalgamated Copper Company, which had followed through on its threat made a few days earlier to lay off thousands of butte miners, brow beat the Montana Legislature into a special session to pass a new change of venue law to allow them to eventually win a lawsuit that they claimed would have forced them out of business.” If they crush me today they will crush you tomorrow,” an amalgamated owner told miners. The affair gave enormous power to Amalgamated and spelled the end of an era of cooperation between mine owners and their workers setting the stage for decades of bitter relations between them. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Oct. 25 -- On this day in Montana history in 1945 Vice Admiral John Hoover, who was one of the state’s most famous sailors, attended the Navy Day Luncheon in Great Falls. The Great Falls High School graduate was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1903 by Congressman Joseph M. Dixon . He received the Navy Cross for his service in World War One and had three Distinguished Service medals for World War Two. The Navy aviator served as deputy commander in chief of the Pacific fleet under Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012


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.”

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Oct. 23 – On this day in Montana history in 1844 Louis Riel who would become 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.

Monday, October 22, 2012


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.

Friday, October 19, 2012


Oct. 19 – On this day in Montana history in 1947 what was called “The greatest sports crowd in state history” was savoring – some happily, others not – one of the most exciting games played in the Grizzly and Bobcat football series. The game was held in Butte because of the great interest in what was the 50th game played in the series and the larger venue there. Special trains brought students and fans from all over the state and a record crowd of more than 11,000 people, many peering in from outside the packed stadium, watched as the Bobcats beat the Griz 13 to 12.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Oct. 18 – On this day in Montana history in 1935 Helena was rocked by a major earthquake that struck at 9:52 p.m. and lasted for more than 10 seconds. One person was killed and many injured and millions of dollars of damage were left in its wake. In typical Montana resolve, a joke soon went around: “Helena was renamed Lena, not because the earthquake left it leaning, but because the earthquake had knocked the ‘hel’ out of it.”

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


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.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


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.

Monday, October 15, 2012


Oct. 15 – On this day in Montana history in 1889 Capt. C.P. Higgins the founder of Missoula died suddenly in the community that loved him of “catarrh of the bowels.” He was mourned across the state with the Helena Herald echoing the sentiments of many: “Capt. Higgins was one of the oldest and best known and most universally respected men in Montana.” His mark remains on many of the historic buildings of the city and one of the reasons he might have been so popular was the tribute in the Missoulian about his business dealings: “(His) pioneer business house had never sued a customer for debt.”

Friday, October 12, 2012


Oct. 12 – On this day in Montana history in 1964 thousands of Montanans turned out in Butte to greet President Lyndon Johnson who was on a whirlwind campaign trip through the West. The Montana Standard got a jab in against Republican contender Sen. Barry Goldwater with a related headline that screamed “LBJ Finds Friendly Faces in Barryland,” a reference to his earlier stop in Arizona.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Oct. 11 – On this day in Montana history in 1890 the Fortnightly Club was established by Mrs. Frances Webster Wickes in Helena “for the purpose of studying English literature. It was the first such group established in the state, and continues to meet in Helena to this day.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Oct. 10 – On this day in Montana history in 1918 the Yellowstone Monitor in Glendive printed the entire statement of Jude A.C. Spencer in sentencing former Dawson County Clerk and Recorder R.L. Wyman to not less than six years nor more than 12 years at hard labor for sedition. In the dark days of WWI near hysteria gripped Montana and the rest of the nation and Spencer’s questioning of the good of the war led to his conviction. But even the judge seemed conflicted:  “It hardly seems possible to me that any man who has occupied the position that you have … can be guilty of the offense of which the verdict on the jury has found you.”  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Oct. 9 – On this day in Montana history in 1902 a long column in the Dupuyer Acantha reminds us that few things in entertainment are new. Almost in the same language as Martha Stewart uses in her popular television show, the writer shows the reader how to make a “pretty table fernery” at home. “Make a birch bark box six inches wide, nine inches long,” it begins. “Gather, during a walk through the woods, an armful of ferns selecting perfect ones.” With a few more flourishes and touches– voila – “it’s a good thing” for your table. 

Friday, October 5, 2012


Oct. 5 – On this day in Montana history in 1877 a dramatic attempt that began in Oregon by Chief Joseph and his band of Nez Perce to outrun the U.S. Army and escape to Canada came to a tragic end at the Battle of the Bear Paw Mountains in northern Montana. Although it is now disputed, Chief Joseph was quoted by a reporter at the surrender to Gen. Oliver Howard and Col. Nelson Miles: “Hear me my chiefs, I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.”

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Oct. 4 – On this day in Montana history in 1902 a grizzly and fiery train wreck on the Northern Pacific Railroad between Park City and Columbus killed two and injured many others. Passengers had to be cut from smoking cars. The Billings Gazette struck out angrily in the lead paragraph of its story on the crash: “Although nobody could be found who seemed to know, or knowing would tell; the facts when they leak out will probably show that somebody was responsible for the collision.” 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Oct. 3 – On this day in Montana history in 1907 a car owned by legendary Montana sheep rancher Charles Bair set the automobile world record for five-miles at the Helena fairgrounds horse track. The winning time was five minutes and 17 seconds. The car was a steam driven Stanley nicknamed “Whistling Willie.”

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Oct. 2 – On this day in Montana history in 1901 Edward Brady was lynched by a vigilante mob in Helena. Brady, who had been in trouble with the law before, had been accused of sexually molesting an adolescent girl two days before the lynching, and she had identified him to authorities. Vigilantes had taken Brady from the jail and hung him from a telephone poll with the order: “Pull Away, Boys!” That same day a County Coroner’s Jury found: “We, the jury find that James E. Brady came to his death at a place called the Haymarket in Helena … between 1:30 and 2:30 at the hands of unknown parties.” Whether it was justice or not, it was swift.

Monday, October 1, 2012


Brought to you by your friends at the Montana Historical Society
Oct. 1 – On this day in Montana history in 1952 President Harry S. Truman was in Montana to dedicate the $102,900,000 Hungry Horse Dam. Speaking to a capacity crowd at Flathead County High School gymnasium, Truman took the opportunity to attack “power monopolies,” the Republican Party and then Gen. Dwight Eisenhower of standing in the way of public power development. Truman praised Montana Sen. Mike Mansfield for his tireless work in getting the dam built.