Friday, October 31, 2014

Oct. 31 – On this day in Montana history in 1974 the Montana Historical Society held its first 3-day Montana History Conference in Helena.  “Technology and the Environment in Montana History” was one of the first sessions. The conferences have been held annually ever since.  

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Oct. 30 – On this day in Montana history in 1864 Helena held its first town meeting in the cabin of Capt. George Wood. Actually, one of the first things those in attendance did was to take a secret ballot that resulted in the mining camp being called Helena. The first job they ordered done was to survey and lay out streets, and plot building sites into thirty-by-sixty foot lots and record them. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Oct. 29 – On this day in Montana History in 1877 wagon trains carrying Nez Perce prisoners captured at the Battle of the Bears Paws Mountains left from Miles City headed for internment at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. Two days later a mackinaw flotilla also carrying captives departed up the Yellowstone River to take more Nez Perce to prison.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Oct. 28 – On this day in Montana history in 1942 B-17 flying fortresses roared over Lewiston’s Main Street with their bomb bay doors open and landed at the Lewistown airfield. They were the first of many that came to bases on the high line to train on the then highly secret Norden bombsight. More than half the men trained there later died in bombing raids over Europe.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Oct. 27 – On this day in Montana history in 1879 liquor and wine merchant John Denn was murdered in Helena. He was known to keep large sums of cash in his store and that was the apparent reason for his murder. The death ended the relative tranquility Helena had enjoyed through the 1870s and revived calls for a vigilance committee to go after the rough men in the community. The 3-7-77 warning signs of the 1860s left on the doors of people to tell them to leave the community made resurgence, but many people did not know what they meant. It showed that law and order was still a nebulous thing in the Queen City.

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.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

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.”