Friday, April 6, 2018

Colonel George and Major John Morse

 George W. (1838 –1922) and John W. Morse (1832-1909) were brothers, born in Lincoln County Maine. Stories abound about the Colonel and hopefully this account will put some of them to rest. 

Numerous articles state George ranched on Rock Creek. Research has failed to disclose any property registered to the Colonel on Rock Creek. Tax records show him paying taxes on property in the Flint Creek Valley, both in the Philipsburg and Drummond Townships.. Anne Luthje in “Upper Willow Creek” spoke of the Colonel residing on Upper Willow Creek and that his brand was 71, as that was the year he arrived there. The brand registered to the Colonel is 17 and the Major registered 16 as his brand. The Colonel could have easily grazed his cattle in the summer on Upper Willow Creek and Rock Creek and he refers to the area he lived as Rock Creek in a following article. This maybe the cause of the confusion. His voter registration address for 1912 is Section 31, Township 11, Range 13, which is located southeast of Bearmouth. The Colonel sold 320 acres of his 2,200 acre ranch and residence in 1919 for $65,000. His estate in 1923 listed 8 different properties in Philipsburg and Drummond for a total tax bill of $261.92, and another listing for John Hagg and George W. Morse for Lots 1 and 2 and SW1/4NE1/4 and W1/2SE1/4 section 5, T9, R14 for $39.06. This section is located near the Lower Willow Creek Reservoir on McLean Creek. The John Hagg obituary states that John was in a partnership with the Colonel on the ranch. 

The title Colonel was earned by George during the Spinet Lake Massacre with the Sioux Indians in Minnesota. A volunteer company was organized and George was elected to be their Colonel. The following are excerpts of his history he narrated to A. J. Noyes (date unknown) and is archived at the Montana Historical Society. 
I went to Minnesota in 1855 from Maine (St, Anthony)...I left St. Anthony and went to New Orleans but when gold was discovered at Pikes Peak I returned to Minnesota and sometime in May, I think, ’59 left for Colorado. We had horses. There were four of us…we landed on the Platt before Denver was started…took a contract to drive logs down the river..then went to Gregory to haul quartz…almost a year. In 1862, in May there was a party of us that started for Florence, Idaho (Col. McLean, Wash Stapleton, Lou P. Smith and myself) John White who discovered gold on the Grasshopper was one of our party but had horses and could get about better…we had cattle…We thought by going to the Salmon River we could go to the mines…When we arrived at Lemhi, we saw how impossible..so we went to the Deer Lodge valley. We were down on the Little Blackfoot when we got news that gold had been found on the Grasshopper (August 5, 1862). Wash and McLean went to Bannack and I with some others continued on our way to Orofino…I remained in Idaho til ’65 then came to Montana to Bear Gulch,…Blackfoot City…Helena…Musselshell..then back to Elk. I struck Weasel and Bilk Gulches…this was a rich little gulch…Am I married? Say young man what do you take me for to live all my life in a country like this and stay single. I was married in ’79 in Ogden. Met my wife (Nettie Milliken) in Beartown and was taking her east but had her fooled so by the time we arrived at Ogden she married me and we have two boys (George A. and Averril P)…In 1872 I went to Nevada and Utah for cattle. I bought 700 head and began ranching on Rock Creek… After remaining for several years in the stock business in the Rock Creek country I sold out and took some sheep to the Milk River country. I also had sheep in the Bitterroot…I made money in the cattle business and put it into quartz from which I never have made a dollar but have always made something out of placer.
 Lesson’s “History of Montana” states the Colonel and four others removed $250,000 worth of gold from Bilk Creek. 

 Major John arrived in Montana after his first wife’s death in 1877. Children Frank D. and George W. and Mrs. James Rogers followed their father to Montana. The title Major was probably attained as a teamster. John married Charlotte Emmell January 16, 1890. The Major was elected Alderman of the First Ward at Philipsburg in 1893. His business partnership, Morse and Bradshaw operated at Philipsburg for many years. 

In 1909 after John died, Charlotte rented their home to Senator and Mrs. George Metcalf and moved to Pennsylvania. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Frank D. "Sandbar" Brown




 A person enmeshed in the affairs of Charles McLure and Paul Fusz was “Sandbar” Brown. He was a manager for McLure at Combination in 1901 when financial woes caused a sheriff sale and Fusz bought most of the Company property stock for ten cents a share. Documents in the Montana Historical Society Archives (Antonioli Donation) then show Brown working for The American Gem Mining Company and numerous communications from Fusz unhappy with Brown’s behavior. He repeatedly bought supplies from Gannon and Neu against Fusz’s direction. Then about the same time as Fusz sent Sandbar notice to “deliver all books, papers, plats, letters, letter books, check books and other property you have belonging to this company to O. F. Featherman” in 1906, the claims he had patented for The American Gem Company were found to be invalid. In 1904, there was also a charge filed on Sandbar for branding a stolen colt with the Fusz brand. Judge Connolly threw the case out of court due to lack of evidence.

As early as 1881 articles were published in the New Northwest newspaper penned by “Sandbar” and to display his colorful prose is the following example on July 18, 1881:
 …As your correspondent of the future, I feel a delicacy in attempting to explain away certain occurrences of the past, neither creditable to the camp or the people thereof, providing of course, that the protection of one’s property is to be considered discreditable, for I think with you that a disagreeable reminiscence should never be recalled. I can therefore dismiss the past in the light of a more hopeful future. In my next letter I will give your readers a review of our good mines, and of those prospectively such. Of matters relating to our district and the surrounding country it is my intention to speak ex cathreda or not at all. I have conscientious scruples against lying, and cannot, therefore speak of my own property, but will endeavor to place that of others in a light that will never call my veracity into question.
 These mining articles were often lengthy but not always as current as Brown maintained. A good example was his reports about the Algonquin going well, when it was actually being closed for lack of funds during March of 1881. Sandbar published many articles in the Philipsburg Mail and may have spent time as an Editor for the paper. Numerous online statements and articles in The Mansfield Library at the University of Montana describing his papers state he at one time owned the Mail. Ownership of the Philipsburg Mail is well documented and there is no evidence F.D. Brown ever had ownership of the paper.

Frank was born on the James River in Virginia, November 21, 1845. At the age of sixteen he enlisted in the Confederate Army and his Battalion fought the last battle of the Civil War on Virginia soil. He was formally pardoned at the end of the War and with government supplied transportation headed for St. Louis. He had become friends with a man during the war that regaled him in stories of the west, so knew he wanted that experience. Frank immediately signed on with the Missouri Steamboat service and was on the maiden voyage of the Adelaide which landed him at Fort Union, September 29, 1865. 

The winter of 65-66 was spent with a Frenchman trapping the Yellowstone River and after selling his furs that spring in Bozeman, he moved on to placer mining in Radersburg. The following years were spent trapping, cutting wood, driving teams and then mining in many of Montana’s early camps. In 1875 Sandbar was a government scout on the ill fated Baker Expedition down the Yellowstone. He was at Prickly Pear, Last Chance, Bear Gulch, and one “fruitless” season prospecting in Utah. 

The story goes that Brown’s first experience with Indian fighting was in the autumn of 1866. He was a government teamster out of Fort Laramie and involved in repelling the Sioux from closing the Bozeman Trail. Frank was also involved in Indian skirmishes at Prior’s Creek and around Fort Benton. Near Fort Benton is where his nicknamed “Sandbar” was obtained. 

According to the Philipsburg Mail January 23, 1931: 
He and two companions had come upon evidence of the massacre of a wagon train; they successfully evaded a large band of Indians and were fording the Missouri with their pack train, when Brown, as they rested on a sandbar in the river, discovered three Indians in war paint following them. He killed all three of the rods before his companions knew that anything had happened. The bodies of the Indians were thrown into the river and the pack train completed the ford.
An exaggerated account of this tale was published May 4, 1923 in the Great Falls Leader: 
…Not vouching for the story, but telling it as it was told to me in the days when every man had something tacked onto the name his folks gave him, it relates to Mr. Brown and the red brothers of the day when scalp locks were more fashionable in the Indian village than short skirts to the rail bird brigade of today. Mr. Brown was rather sudden with a gun in the early time, and also a chief clerk of a large institution, between prospecting and hunting trips. The Henry Rifle, predecessor of the present Winchester had just come into use and Mr. Brown grabbed the first one off the boat…Mr. Brown was traveling along innocent like near the Missouri River one gladsome summer day and was jumped by about 20 red brothers all howling for ruddy gore and riding hell bent for a taste of it…Mr. Brown rode his horse across the river at a convenient ford, leading his pack horse. On the side where he came out was a long spit of sandbar reaching into the river and Mr. Brown rode up the sandbar to the bank, tied his horse and walked back to the open. Lo! The poor Indian had a cheerful habit of drawing the fire from the white man’s smoke stick and then charging in before he could reload; ...predicted upon the proposition that the white man had a single shot rifle and all necessary to success was to dodge the first bullet and then wade in. With twenty Indians coming across the river whooping Mr. Brown was to be made an example of... But Mr. Brown was a different kind of medicine than the red brother had ever met in his scalping entertainments as he kept right on firing while Indians kept tumbling to the sandbar in a most disconcerting fashion---the charge broke up and the Indians headed for the other shore, with seven down and Mr. Brown still shooting for good measure. Then he untied his horse filled the magazine of the little Henry and went on his blithesome way.” Mr. Brown said “Hell, I could have kivered the whole damn sandbar if they’d just kept coming!” when asked about the inequality of 20 Indians to one white man.
 This article was written at the time that Sandbar became secretary to the Society of Montana Pioneers. Frank was also the Historian for the Society for many years and “…was pioneer extraordinary as well as plenipotentiary to every ghost city of the west”, according to the May 4, 1923 Mail. 

In 1878 Sandbar and his wife Anna moved to Philipsburg where he accepted the position of Superintendent of the Northwest Company at Tower. Anna and Frank were married in 1873 in Helena, Montana. To this union was born two sons: Edward and James and three daughters: Minnie (Werning), Tina (Parker) and Amy (Spencer) plus two infants that are buried in the Philipsburg cemetery. 

For a number of years the family lived on the Brown homestead at the mouth of Brown’s Gulch on Upper Rock Creek. The first mention found of the family moving to town for the winter was October 4, 1893 in the Citizen Call. 

Earlier, Frank was also “determined to be a competent man” and because there was no Justice of the Peace in Philipsburg he was appointed Notary Public and prepared to perform such duties as lies with in that office.”(New Northwest August 5, 1881). 

He was appointed “…land commissioner for this district (June 13, 1894, Citizen Call). Also in 1894 he began writing articles for the Butte Tribune. Frank and Anna moved into Philipsburg after the youngest daughter Minnie married John Werning and the newly weds took over the Ranch. 

Frank was an agent for the Standard Fire Insurance Company, beginning in 1891, and sold real estate. He was named the Official Visitant to Camp Lewis during World War I by Governor Stewart. Anna died of cancer October 6, 1914 and Frank continued on, being very active in the Montana Society of Pioneers. He was responsible for marking all of the Mullan Trail with monuments. Other “Sandbar” monuments are also visible such as Gold Creek, Emmetsburg and headstones in the Philipsburg Cemetery. 

In December, 1918, still regarded as a mining expert, “Sandbar” and Robert McDonel were inducted to attend the American Mining Congress, attempting to stabilize manganese production. Dying “of sheer old age” January 16, 1931 in Missoula at daughter Tina’s, his wishes were honored to be buried beside Anna in the Philipsburg cemetery. His legacy: eighty-five years of history.


One cannot close this subject without also recognizing his poetry. His style is very well illustrated in the following poem published in the November 4, 1921, Philipsburg Mail.
                                               The Pass called Skalkaho
Just west of this low pass there is a gorge whose towering walls
Throw shadows dark on angry waters that ceaselessly flow
Over the witched bones of dead men, of red men, the Nez Perce,
And over these ghastly relics a requiem is even sung by stormy gales,
The coyotes whining cries and the lions fierce scream.
But for those who died there it matters not.
For they are dead, and
Forgotten, tho’ their bones gleam deadly white within the stream bed
The stalwart firs, the clinging, snakey vines there—if they could Speak—could tell the story of these white bones within the stream.
For they have kept silent watch and vigil over the litter of its bed
These many years.
And the greenward beside it, the moose and her calf
Step lightly there.
Deep hidden lay those bones of the redman.
Loftily over them storm
Clouds drift, clouds that sunshine never lifts.
Where silence is profound
And I sought this gorge again, as in years agone
I had sought it once
Before.
Then the white bones did not lie there, on the greenward or in the streambed.
I recall here now a memory, of Chief Joseph and his men.
Of the Nez Perce.
Of the men who never returned to where their skin lodge stood.
In them women wept for the warriors who had ridden away to lay their
Bones in the shadowy gorge whose waters cross the trail of the Skalkaho.
The greenward, where the moose cow and her calf, under the sailing
Moon I saw them there, dimly outlined in the gorge’s twilight gloom,
Out in the forest, and from the precipice came the rifle fire of white men.
And they held the trail until all was silent there, save the murmur of
The clear waters of the Skalkaho.
A battle bravely fought, won and lost In the
Moose glen, where the grinning skulls of red men lie to this day.
I speak of the day and time, when an Indian sign made
white men drop pick
And pan for a Winchester gun.
A war party was out in a country it
Knew all about.
It came in the night to ranches, and the gulches
Where the gold sands run.
No lights flashed from the mountain top.
No curling smoke to the sky.
No warning gave the warriors save the beat of unshod hoofs on age-worn forest paths.
From the whispering
Winds of the Northland was borne the coming of the Indian on the trail.
Beside it stood the lonely cabin of the miner, the ranch house of the
Settler, and within them lay the stark and naked forms of the dead.
And with the scalp locks of the white men, women and children, the red men
Rode away to the gorge over the low pass of the Skalkaho, where their
Bones now lie and they fell upon the greenward, along the pathway,
Where running waters leap and play, and their bones lie white to
This day.
Over the low pass, swept to bedrock by the northwest
Gale, runs the trail of Skalkaho, and in the deep gorge to its west
Along its stream and upon its greenward, in the
Moose glen, is what is
Left of the war party of fifty years ago.
And now you know the reason
Why in and out of season the shadowed waters of the gorge show white
Under the moon’s yellow glow, for here and there in the stream bed
Shows a thigh bone or a leg, and scalpless skulls lie
in the greenward below the windswept pass of the Skalkaho.

This poem is in reference to the time in 1878 when a band of renegade Nez Perce warriors came through the West Fork of Rock Creek. They were returning from Canada where they had escaped to after their Chief, Joseph was captured in the Pear Paw Mountains the year before. There are no records of any of the Nez Perce being killed during this episode, when Elliott, Joy and Hayes were killed in McKay Gulch and “Nez Perce” Jones escaped. But obviously Sandbar felt differently.

In July 1917, Sandbar was instrumental in getting headstones erected for these three men in the Philipsburg cemetery. Sandbar’s printed pamphlet, included the following: “…’The days of old, the days of gold.’ This testimonial was the gift of the lamented John G. Morony a resident of Philipsburg from his boyhood and a youthful friend of Elliott.”

Another St. Louis Man: Paul A.. Fusz



Paul A. Fusz's  investments are very important in Granite County history and his contributions continue to serve the citizens of the county. As a staunch Democrat his name was often cited in a positive manner by The Citizen Call newspaper, while he was raked over the coals by the Republican paper The Philipsburg Mail. Documents show where he was first treasurer of the Granite Mountain Company, then became president of the Bi-Metallic Mining Company. Soon after the Granite Mountain Company and Bi-Metallic Company consolidated in 1898 Paul was chosen president of the new company (Granite Bi-Metallic) and held that position until his death. 

Although he gave Granite as his permanent residence from 1889 he did spend intervals in St. Louis. A major development for the area was Flint Creek Dam built by the Montana Water, Electric power and Mining Company owned by Paul A. Fusz et al. The company was incorporated in May of 1899 with principal stockholders being: Paul A. Fusz, M. Rumsey, C. Jagels, and L.M. Rumsey, all major stockholders in the Granite Bi-Metallic Company. They bought out Baker and Harper who had struggled with a dam concept since 1891. The area known as the Georgetown Flats would be flooded with the dam and was ranched by four families. Fusz somehow acquired land in the upper Rock Creek Valley and moved the Charles and William Puller, W.T. Hull and John Sanders ranches from the Flats to the Valley. Fusz knew that if he could generate enough electrical power to run the Bi-Metallic Mill there would be consistency in operations and not only would the Company benefit but so would the employees who often had to be laid off due to lack of power. A secondary advantage to the dam was the preservation of irrigation water for the Flint Creek ranchers. Paul’s dream of generating power was realized in August of 1900 when the Dam and Power House were completed and “the use of steam at the Bi-Metallic was discontinued and electricity generated by the waters of Flint Creek seven miles distant was substituted.”

Documents in the archives at Montana Historical Society Research Library (donated by the Antonioli Family) show Fusz as a micro manager and very detail oriented especially in his operation of the American Gem Mining Syndicate on the West Fork of Rock Creek. Incorporated for $300,000 on August 1, 1901, members were: Paul A. Fusz one share, D. Jankower 299,996 shares, Moses Rumsey one share, Auguste Ewing one share and Charles McLure one share. Fusz took over presidency of American Gem along with his other duties. Prior to this, Fusz and McLure were also involved in direct operations of the Smith and Kent Property on Ross’ Fork of Rock Creek. Fusz Lake, in the Sapphire Range southeast of Stony Lake was named for Paul and is misspelled Fuse on the Forest Service maps. 

Paul was born in Hericourt, France in 1847 to Francis H. and Marie Regina (Tachaen) Fusz. They immigrated to America when Paul was six. As a youth, Paul worked for the firm Chouteaux, Harrison and Vaile of St. Louis as a billing clerk. At the age of 17, Paul and friends Butts and Cole ran away and joined the Confederate Army to fight in the Civil War. Fusz and Butts were captured by the Union Army while smuggling quinine and some valuable papers to the Confederates. Rather than surrender the papers they chewed them, then swallowed the debris. Butts was hanged but Fusz considered still a youth was sent to Jefferson City where he was imprisoned by a ball and chain. Later in life Paul bought up all the balls and chains he could find to assure he owned the ones that had restricted him. One of President Lincoln’s last acts was to issue a pardon to Fusz for his incarceration as a Confederate soldier. The day after the War ended Paul went back to work for his former employer and ultimately became manager of the company known as the Laclede Rolling Mills.

Paul married and became a widower about the time he moved to Montana. No children were born to this marriage. Devoted to the Great Army of the Republic (GAR) Paul was Major General for the Northwest Division of the Confederate Veterans and presided at conventions like the one at Helena, September 29, 1908. 

Long suffering from Pernicious Anemia, Fusz returned to St. Louis in the fall of 1909 and died there on February 16, 1910. His body, dressed in the uniform of Major General of the Confederate Army, laid in state at his brothers home, guarded by his 94 year old mother. Burial was at the Calvary
 Cemetery in St. Louis,  next to his wife.



Thursday, February 1, 2018

Charles D. McLure



Charles D. McLure is well known in Granite County lore for the wealth of Granite Mountain, which he acquired title to on October 18, 1880. Earlier articles told of Estill, Holland and Merrell, being the locators of the Granite Mountain lode claims in 1875. The claims were originally located in 1872 then were allowed to lapse. They were thought to be “good prospects” but due to their location the claims had very little work done on them prior to late 1880, when McLure assayed a specimen and gave a power of attorney to Charles Clark to find investors. These investors, (many from the Hope directorate where Charles was the Superintendent) came mostly from St. Louis and included Clark, Louis Duestrow, August B. Ewing, Oliver B. Filley, Samuel Gaty, Edwin Harrison, Jesse, L. January, John H. Lionberger, Lewis M. Rumsey, Moses Rumsey, Augustus F. Sharpleigh and Charles Taussig, with McLure retaining the largest interest of the syndicate. 

Arthur L. Stone states “When the history of Montana is written there should be a long chapter given to the story of Charles D. McLure. He took many millions out of Montana ground. A large portion of the wealth went to make the famous St. Louis group millionaires. Mr. McLure retained some of it. A vast slice of it went back into the development of the State’s mining industry and there are many mills among the Montana Rockies which are monuments to the courage of this remarkable man, many hoists which are testimonials to his daring. When he was confident that there was ore to be found he never hesitated a minute to risk his all to find it. The harder he had to fight the better he fought. And it stands today that he was almost invariably right” (Following Old Trails). 

Charles was born at Carrolton, Missouri February 22, 1844. He was raised in St. Louis, Missouri and at the age of sixteen left to join a freighting company that traveled from Nebraska to Denver. Three to five years later Charles arrived in Virginia City, Montana Territory (1863-1865). Charles discovered the White Cloud Mining claim in 1866 in the Bitter Root Valley and John Owen states in his Journal November 11, 1869: “Mr. McLure the discoverer of the Wht Cloud Lode retd today from a prospecting tour of some 7 Mos---Found nothing to warrant any further examination---has returned to his Lode on 8 Mile Crk.” 

Sometime after this Charles decided he required more knowledge and returned to St. Louis to study geology and metallurgy. Charles was thirty-three when he returned to the Philipsburg area. Besides the Granite Mountain Syndicate he also formed the Bi-Metallic Mining company in 1882 with eighty percent of the stockholders of the Granite Mountain Company. The Bi-Metallic was originally located on an extension of the Granite Mountain lode named the James G. Blaine claim, acquired by Charles for $1,200. Granite Mountain was offered the claim but turned Charles down. In 1888 the Bi-Metallic Company built a 50 stamp mill and mining office on Douglas Creek. Later another 50 stamps were added. 

According to news articles, Charles was involved in mining the Harvey Creek District (Hidden Treasure); the Henderson Creek District (Combination, Healy Brothers, and Sunrise), Bunker Hill, and Gold Hill (Lost Cabin Claim at Princeton); Rock Creek District (Basin Gulch); West Fork Sapphire Mines; Cadel Properties at Moose Lake on Middle Fork; and Smith and Kent Mines on Ross’ Fork. 

Also, according to the Butte Daily Bulletin March 18, 1919 his estate included one hundred fifty thousand shares of the capital stock of the Cascade Silver Mines and Mills, near Great Falls. Plus he re-opened the Moulton Mine in Neihart in 1896. 

More than once Charles was low on money with one of the most noteable instances being the Merchant and Miners Bank trying to recover $5,000 on a promissory note the bank allowed McLure to pay labor claims in September 1896. When the sheriff received the complaint “he made a hasty trip to Drummond to get service of the summons upon the defendant but instead of going the way of Drummond Mr. McLure went overland to Anaconda so the papers were not served” on him (The Mail.) 

Charles married Clara Edgar at St Louis in November, 1883. Born to this marriage were Park, Edgar, William R., Marianna, Clara E., Charlotte and Charles II. 

Charles moved to St. Louis after the Bi-Metallic closed, investing his money in several business ventures such as the Eads Bridge across the Missouri, at St. Louis and a financial disaster which was a street car system. In later years Charles returned to Missoula, where he died May 21, 1918. His funeral was at St. Andrew’s with burial at the Philipsburg Cemetery.

His descendants have continued to live in Granite County and contribute to the mining, business and political history.

A Shooting Affray

The above bold headline was front page news on December 18, 1896 in the Philipsburg Mail and told the following story:”At about 10 o’clock last Saturday morning the usually quiet little hamlet of Princeton was startled at the report of pistol shots and cries of murder etc. There had been a dance the night before and most of the town was up all night. Some men had not gone to bed at all, and having frequented the only saloon in the place, several of them became quiet intoxicated. George Bieber is proprietor of the saloon and the building in which it is run belongs to Rube Leveridge. Leveridge had been in the saloon most all night and had put a small revolver in a drawer behind the bar, which Beiber afterward concealed where Leveridge could not find it. 
About 9 o’clock that morning Leveridge according to reports, asked for the revolver and Beiber refused to give it to him, whereon Leveridge became angry and remarked that he had another gun at his cabin and he would get it and then see if Beiber would not produce his property. Leveridge started to his cabin and Beiber was in the act of closing up the saloon when he saw Leveridge returning, and as the latter approached the saloon toward the rear door, reports say that Beiber began shooting at him and kept up the fire until every chamber of his revolver was empty. Leveridge is reported to have fired two shots and Beiber escaped to the cabin of J.A. Maywood, and as Leveridge entered the saloon through the front door he fell to the floor exclaiming that he was shot, and fearing that he would die he asked that someone go after Beiber, as he wanted to speak with him. 
Henry Booth went to Maywood’s cabin and told Beiber what Leveridge had said, but Mr. Maywood would not allow Beiber to return. Mr. Booth went back to the saloon and as he reached the back door he observed a man sitting there with his head bowed and a stream of blood issuing from a bullet hole to his right temple. Mr. Booth at once notified those who were in the saloon with Leveridge what he had discovered, and investigation revealed the wounded man to be William Koontz. He was evidently asleep on the back porch of the saloon when the shooting between Beiber and Leveridge took place, and was hit by a stray bullet. 
Koontz was taken into the saloon, but never regained consciousness, and an hour afterward breathed his last. Leveridge was not seriously wounded, the only bullet taking effect on him entering the flesh of his left leg. Leveridge was removed to his cabin, and Beiber having returned to his saloon, everyone began to investigate the shooting of Koontz. When Beiber was shooting from the back door he did not see Koontz at all, and “Tex” Purtle, who went to the back door with Beiber just before the shooting commenced,"did not see anyone outside except Beiber and Leveridge.”
A message was dispatched to the Sheriff’s office and Undersheriff J.C. Argall, Acting Coroner G.W. Suppinger, and Dr. E.T. Conyngham started for the scene. When they arrived at Flint Station, Beiber was waiting to turn himself in. Dr. Conyngham removed the bullet from Koontz but could not determine whether it came from Leveridge or Beiber’s gun so both men were arrested and placed in jail at Philipsburg. 
A Coroner Jury was impaneled consisting of R.T. Rombauer, Dominick Mellan, J.A. McDonald, Edgar Horton, James McGowan, and Dave Hennessey. The jury returned a verdict “that William Koontz came to his death by a bullet wound inflicted by Rube Leveridge or George Beiber, the same being accidental.” 

William Koontz was about 34 years of age and unmarried, His parents who lived in Shenadoah, Virginia were telegraphed and they requested that sheriff Levi Johnson have William’s remains interred in the Philipsburg cemetery. 

George Beiber was a married man with a large family and had went into the saloon business only six months before the shooting. Upon his release from jail he decided “he was not adapted to the business and concluded to discontinue as soon as his license expired, the first of January.”   

This mining camp was named after Dick Prince who came to the area in 1865 with Joseph Henderson. The first claims on Boulder Creek were staked about 1868. They had a post office 1884-86 with James Taylor Postmaster, then the post office reopened again from 1892-1918. The residents that continue to live there do not have title to the ground as it is now owned by the forest service.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

First Granite County Commissioners

The Legislative year of 1893 saw many changes in the original Deer Lodge County. House Bill No. 110 introduced by Representative James McDonel carved out the south western corner of Deer Lodge County and a small sliver of Missoula County at the mouth of Rock Creek to form Granite County. The Legislature then appointed officers to conduct business in this new county. John H. Cole Sr. was appointed Sheriff; Arthur A. Fairbairn, Treasurer; George A. Reck, Clerk and Recorder; William Albright, Assessor; Wingfield Brown, County Attorney; Josiah Shull, Clerk of District Court; Mrs. Abbie W. Wilkinson, Superintendent of Schools; Dr. William Ray, Coroner; R.M. Ferguson, Public Administrator; George Wilson, County Surveyor; and George Cain of Granite, E.C. Freyschlag of Philipsburg and Colonel George W. Morse of New Chicago County Commissioners. 

Whether the appointed officers lacked the knowledge to lead a new government or if it was “just politics as usual” the newly formed County government soon found itself embroiled in controversy. A committee comprised of C.F. Jacky, D.N. McDonald, M.B. Scott, W.C. Bradshaw and M.E.H. Gannon was appointed to investigate the mingling of finances and politics in 1894. 

Following is a condensed version of the Committee Report: “ We find that Granite County became an organized county and capable of contracting a debt on the first of April 1893. We find that George W. Morse, County Commissioner, put in a bill to the county for rent of the present court house and had allowed a warrant issued him in the sum of $495.00 less $100.00, credited the county for certain property sold the county by C.B. Cain for $1,116.50. This rent was collected for the months of April, May and June, 1893, when as a matter of fact, the county was not occupying the building owned by George W. Morse, but on the contrary, the only building occupied by the county was the First National Bank, for which the commissioners allowed said Luke the sum of $115.00 from the first of March 1893 to the 18th of July 1893; the Featherman Building during a portion of this time was occupied by the county as a jail. 
We find that during the December term of District Court, the above bills of G.W. Morse and George B. Cain, in suits entitled: Wingfield L. Brown versus Board of County Commissioners of Granite County, were pronounced void and illegal charges against the county and judgment to that effect entered. We find that prior to this suit against G.W. Morse that said Morse had been collecting from the County of Granite, the sum of $405.00 per quarter, from the first day of April to December session of the Board 1893. 
We find that on January 3, 1894, G. W. Morse and wife purported to convey to his brother John W. Morse, the property owned by G.W. Morse and heretofore occupied by the county as a court house. The deed shows the terms of sale as follows: two notes executed by John W. Morse to George W. Morse and Company, one in the sum of $4,000.00, payable January 1, 1895 and one for $5,000.00 payable January 1, 1896; the above notes were the consideration paid for this property; that this property was so fraudulently disposed of for the purpose of evading and nullifying the law so effectually invoked against said commissioners to prevent inner-commerce with themselves, is too apparent to require comment from your committee. $312.50 was allowed Thomas Campbell, as attorney fees, to resist the above actions brought against the commissioners by the County Attorney. 
These suits were brought to prevent void, illegal claims being saddled on the county and the payment of any sum to any attorney for such purpose, is an insult and outrage on the people of Granite County. We find that on the tenth day of January, 1894, the court house leased from John W. Morse, by the Board of County Commissioners of Granite County, for a period of one year, at a rental of $900.00 per quarter or $3,600.00 per year.” 

Other findings: the stoves and furniture were being leased even though the county had paid in full for all of the furnishings. The above bill of $1,116.50 for the articles furnished by George B. Cain had been deemed null and void yet the County Commissioners set aside this ruling plus paid John W. Morse for the furnishings that would all become his property anyway at the end of the contract. $7,000.00 had also been paid by the county for improvements of the jail (Featherman Building) and gross discrepancies were found in the money allowed the commissioners for mileage and meetings. 

A meeting was assembled to receive the Committee report on the Business of The Commissioners and make resolves. The final resolve was: “That the county attorney be requested to take steps immediately, to recover from said commissioners and their bondsmen, all money illegally diverted from its proper channels, by their acts, during their term of office and that the report of the committee appointed by this body be published, to the end that the taxpayers of said county may be fully informed as to the manner in which the affairs are being conducted. This resolve was signed by Wingfield Brown (County Attorney), James McDonel (City Mayor), A.A. McDonald, William Ray (Coroner), F.J. Wilson (City Councilman), D.S. McLeod, F.M. Durfee, Frank D. Brown, C.H. Eshbaugh, Steven Severson, D. Mulcihy, A.D. Sutherland, D.M. Durfee, W.S. Twohy, C.F. Schoonover, and E. H. Campbell. 

Of interest, nowhere is the other county commissioner E.C. Freyschlag mentioned, during this event. George Cain and George Morse’s response was to write a full column letter to the Citizen Call on October 31, 1894. They place the blame for needing to hire an outside attorney on Wingfield Brown, stating he was so busy speaking at functions that he was never available to advise the commissioners. Plus, he charged the county for use of furnishings and had not repaid any amounts, when instructed to. So the commissioners had finally taken the improper charges out of his paycheck. They went on to state: “It is a fact that Brown has neglected his official duties as a county attorney; that he has drawn a salary without having earned it…It is also a fact that if there ever was a county in Montana that has no county attorney, that is Granite County.” 

During the week ending May 15, 1894 in the District Court: “W.L. Brown vs The Board of County Commissioners: the motion made herein for dismissal by counsel for the claim holder J.W. Morse, was argued, and the court granted the application of said claim holder for leave to withdraw the claim…dismissing the action with costs and without prejudice to his presentation of another claim.” 

Next, the May 23, 1894 Citizen Call published “The informations (sic) filed against Commissioners Cain and Morse were thrown out of court.” This information has not been revealed in any copy of the Philipsburg Mail. During this period of time The Mail was the Republican paper and the Citizen Call was the Democratic paper, so this may be the reason some incidents were covered by one and not the other. 

Then The Mail August 9, 1894 under “Special Sessions held during last week” stated “The State of Montana in re: Wingfield L. Brown relator, vs Geo. W. Morse respondent. This case came on regularly to be heard upon the application of plaintiff for a writ of mandate. G.J. Reek, John H. Cole (Sheriff), and Wingfield L. Brown were introduced and their testimony heard on behalf of the plaintiff, whereupon the court after due consideration granted the order as prayed for and allowed plaintiff his costs.” 

For some unknown reason the newly elected county government did not pay attention to the entire legislative act when the county was formed and all of the parties held conventions, nominated officers for the different county seats and held an election in 1896. This did not just occur in Granite County. Ravalli, Flathead, Teton and Valley counties were also created in an off year and the issue ended up being considered by the Attorney General with his long awaited decision published in October 1897. His opinion follows: “The county commissioners elected last fall in your county are not entitled to their seats next November. The election of county commissioners in your county last November was unauthorized by law and those who received the majority of votes do not secure any rights thereby to hold office. At the time of adoption of the constitution, an ordinance was also adopted providing for an election to be held throughout the territory on the first Tuesday of October 1898, for the ratification or rejection of the constitution and also providing for the election of different officers named in subdivision 9 of this ordinance…this being so and a general election taking place in closer proximity to the first of January 1899, than that of a year ago, the election of county commissioners for your county to succeed those in office should take place next fall rather than last fall. It is now understood that a test case will be made by those who supposed they were elected last fall, but it is the popular opinion that the decision of the Attorney General (Nolan) will be endorsed by the Supreme Court. 

Needless to say none of the County Commissioners were re-elected.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Two Bullets Do Their Deadly Destruction

 When I first began researching Granite County history, almost twenty years ago, the first news article I found was the above headline. Research at that time, consisted mainly of going to the Montana Historical Society Research Library and reading the available newspapers on microfilm. Wonderful strides have been made since and one can now sit in their home and read a large amount of downloaded articles archived on the internet. But with all of these changes there are still some questions, I have been unable to answer. After reading this, maybe one of you can provide the answers. 

The Philipsburg Call May 11, 1893 began their story “ Joe Gird’s Murder-Two bullets do their deadly destruction. J. Brown fires both shots. The population of Granite County was startled last Saturday evening with the news from Flint Station to the effect that a shooting scrape had taken place there in the saloon of Brown & Clay and that Joseph A. Gird, an old and respected resident of Willow Creek, had been the victim at the hands of a cold blooded assassin in the person of J.W. Brown, one of the proprietors. On the receipt of the news in Philipsburg, Sheriff (John) Cole started at once for the scene of the trouble. On arriving there he found Gird lying dead in the saloon with two bullet holes in his body and his face blackened with powder from another shot that must have been fired when he and Brown were in close conflict. Upon inquiring for Brown, the sheriff was informed that he had started on foot to Philipsburg for the purpose of giving himself up. With this information Sheriff Cole dispatched a deputy to go down the track from Philipsburg to meet Brown, which was done, but the murderer was no where to be seen, and then the officer became suspicious that the criminal was making his escape. All night the sheriff and his deputies kept a lookout up and down the valley, but no trace of Brown was seen and his whereabouts is still a secret, probably to himself alone, yet it is the general belief that his partner Clay assisted him to escape and if anyone knows where Brown is, Clay is the one.” 

James Campbell and Eugene Sifton were the only witnesses and they both related the story that Gird, Brown and Campbell had traveled by train to Philipsburg earlier in the day and upon their return went to the stable to pick up their saddle horses. Campbell asked the group as they were leaving the stable if they wanted to stop for a drink and agreeing to the invite the group hitched the horses to the fence near the saloon and settled in to have a drink and shake dice for who payed for the drinks. Gird and Brown then began to play poker and a disagreement over a dollar bet ensued. Next Brown got up and Gird took Brown by the shoulder saying” You had the best of me once with a Henry rifle, didn’t you Brown?” without answering Brown walked behind the bar and took out a gun and began shooting. Gird started to run and was hit in the chest then as he turned was shot in the back under the left shoulder blade. Gird went to his horse and attempted to get on but asked Campbell who had followed to assist him. Gird then fainted and Campbell ran back to the saloon for help. Brown and Sifton helped carry Gird back to the saloon and Campbell then mounted his horse and rode three miles to Horton’s to report the shooting and telegraph Philipsburg for a doctor. By the time Campbell returned to the saloon, Gird was dead, a crowd had formed and Brown was no where to be seen. Dominic Byrne, Gird’s father-in-law was about seven miles from the scene and hearing of the trouble headed for the saloon. He came upon two men and recognized Brown. Asking whether he had done the shooting Brown said no and when questioned drew his revolver “and with gun in hand ready to shoot spurred his horse and rode off into the valley.” 

Gird, age 33, was buried in the Philipsburg cemetery beside his mother and child. He was survived by wife Mary and five small children. Four of the children’s names (I think) were Ella, Joseph, Emmett and Dominic. The only surviving headstone at the cemetery is Dominic’s. 

Shortly after Joseph Gird’s funeral the Granite County Commissioners offered a $250.00 reward for J.W. Brown’s capture believing that would entice anyone knowing of his whereabouts to come forward. A friend of Brown who had been in Boulder Gulch claimed to have seen Brown and talked with him. Brown said he did not plan to leave the county or become a fugitive, but thought knowing the feelings against him by Gird’s friends it was best for the time being to “remain in a prison he had selected for himself until the heat of excitement had passed.”

No article was discovered in the newspapers about how or when J.W. Brown was found or turned himself in. But the July 20, 1893 Mail carried the article that the trial for J.W. Brown had started. Fifty men were interviewed before a jury of twelve men without bias were determined. The jury went out to deliberate at 8pm on Saturday and returned with a verdict at 8:30 am on Monday morning. Two witnesses disclosed that Gird had told them a few months prior that he wanted to kill Brown and this caused the jury consternation as to whether the killing had been cold blooded murder against an un-armed man. J.W. was convicted of 2nd degree murder and sentenced to ten years in the State Prison. The August 3, 1893 Mail stated Brown was taken to Deer Lodge by Sheriff Cole via horseback.

A man named John Roberts was in the Granite County Jail for check forgery in September, 1893 and it was believed that he used a gun, meant to be given to J.W. Brown to escape, as the vehicle to commit suicide. The September 14, 1893 Mail stated “ George Suppinger, the jailer rushed into the cell and there on the floor lay the prisoner Roberts, in a pool of blood issuing from a bullet hole in his head.” A letter was found in Robert’s pocket when the body was being prepared for burial that requested his father be notified of his death but not to disclose he had died by his own hand. “The gun I shot myself with was given to me on coming out of the court house. I would have shot the jailer too but he was not worth the lead.” The gun was determined to be the one the jailer had lost two or three months before while J.W. Brown was a prisoner. The gun was searched for at length and it was finally determined that some prisoner had taken it out of the jail after serving their sentence.

The Anaconda Standard carried an article on June 3, 1894 that the saloon where the murder took place was burned to the ground and it was believed the fire had been deliberately set. Right after Joseph’s death his wife began filing estate notices. By 1895, Mary Gird had leased the Sharp Boarding House and was opening a first class restaurant. In January,1898, she returned to the ranch and by September 23rd announced the ranch was up for rent on a two to four year contract. The ranch was identified as a 320 acre tract of land on Willow Creek with 180 acres fenced, with the address Stone Station.

It is unknown if the ranch was rented but by January, 1900 The Mail carried an announcement that the Gird ranch would be sold at a private sale on February 5. Also beginning in February Mary had a notice of private sale of water rights posted in The Mail. One right was a one-fourth interest in 125 inches conveyed in “The Little Ditch” from Willow Creek to Elkhorn Bar and the second right was for sixty inches of the water of Willow Creek awarded May 15, 1871.

A November 8, 1900 article stated “Fugitive who killed Sheriff Young of Springdale is believed to be J.W. Brown, the murderer of Joseph Gird in 1893.” Obviously he was released for good behavior early!

 Helen Gird married Harry B. Miller in 1910. Was she the fifth Gird child? William Gird living in the valley attended Joseph’s funeral. Was he a brother? The 1880 U.S. Federal Census lists Joseph age 20 living with other boarders in New Chicago. This census lists Lucy Gird age eight as an orphan living with Joseph and Isabella Henderson and Louisa Gird age twelve and William Gird age four as adopted by Joshua and Sarah Donegan. Research has failed to identify who these three Gird children belonged to. How many children did Joseph’s father A.J. Gird have?

We know the family transferred from the Bitter Root before Kate Perry moved from Philipsburg to the Gird Ranch in the fall of 1867. Does anyone know the date the Gird's left the Bitterroot?

Father, A.J. Gird originally arrived in the Bitterroot Valley in the winter of 1862 with George Orr, when Joseph was two years old. Research does not disclose whether the family followed later or was with A.J. and George at the original time of arrival. The Gird family operated an inn named The Travelers Rest in the Bitterroot and it appears used that or a similar name at their rest stop that Kate Perry worked at in the winter of 1867 in the Lower Flint Creek valley near the present Gird Creek.

Friday, December 29, 2017

The Bowen Brother's Enterprises

 Fred C. Bowen, was one of the Town’s first Aldermen. According to William’s obituary they were born in Wales and immigrated to America in 1861, After moving west from Ohio to Butte they settled in Philipsburg in 1887. William had married Charlotte Parfitt in 1886 in Ohio. Research has not revealed when Fred married Anna. Upon arriving in Philipsburg the brothers set up Philipsburg Iron and Machine Works. The July 2, 1891 Mail stated Philipsburg Iron and Electric Light Company was the town’s biggest enterprise, disclosing that the Company had expanded into furnishing electricity.

By May of 1893 the Philipsburg Iron and Machine works was paying out $1,500 to $2,000 per month in wages. Apparently they also had a similar operation in Marysville as the Citizen Call November 14, 1894 stated after a small fire in the foundry of Bowen Bros. and Thompson “that it has been but a short time since the firm’s works were destroyed by a fire at Marysville.” 

Research does not establish the exact date Ezra R. Thompson joined the Bowen Brothers, so whether he was with them from the beginning or joined them in 1894 is not certain. He married Nellie Farrell in 1894. The Helena Independent March 27, 1892 announced that the “Philipsburg-Granite Electric Light Company is putting in the rest of the arc lights for which the Council contracted and soon we (Philipsburg) will have 2,000 candle power lights to illuminate our streets.” so obviously the Iron Works and Light Company had become separate entities. 

The November 23, 1893 Mail carried the results of a jury trial of the Philipsburg-Granite Light Company against the Flint Creek Club. Apparently the Secretary of the light Company J.R. Cox had received more than the bill (73.75) as he took possession of the Club property which was worth more than $300. The owners of the Company were identified as Messrs Bowen, Gannon, Wilson and others. The jury verdict allowed the Electric Light Company payment of their bill less what Cox owed the Club. 

The P-GEL Company extended their circuit to the Bi-Metallic Mill for the purpose of supplying the Mill with necessary power during the shutdown” (Oct.26,1893 Mail), referring to the “Silver crash.” Then by April of 1894 the paper carried a notice that Cox was no longer connected with the Company, signed by Geo. P. Durham President. By July 28, 1894, The Mail announced that “Philipsburg-Granite Electric Light Company are serving all night, lights to those of their patrons that desire them now.” On January 17, 1895 The Mail carried an article stating that “Fred Bowen, Will Bowen, and E.R. Thompson had incorporated The Philipsburg Iron works with a capital stock of $45,000.” 

On April 29, 1898 Charlotte Bowen, wife of William died at the age of forty-two. Survivors were her husband and seven children: Thomas, Lizzie, Fred, Lottie, Annie, Will and Charles plus her brother Harry Parfitt. 

Also in September 1898 the Light Company was paid $66.25 for the Court House and Jail quarterly light bill. The Philipsburg-Granite Electric Light Company discontinued lights at Granite and the wires were being taken down with the assumption that the Bi-Metallic would probably furnish the town lights with the dynamo placed in the Bi-Met Hoist according to the June 9, 1899 Mail. 

George Durham was still President of the Company in 1901. Obviously the Company went through many ups and down such as in March 1908 when Mr. Bowen of the Philipsburg Iron Works appeared before the City Council (explaining) that his firm had taken steps to resurrect the electric light plant and was making new estimates for machinery replacement.. Then in August the City Council “gave notice which is to be final, to the electric light company to remove their poles and wires from the streets of the city.” Apparently this did not happen because at the January 9, 1909 City Council meeting they announced to Bowen, they could not award a contract for a term of more than three years without a vote of the people. 

By 1915 Bowen Brothers Electric submitted the only bid and in 1917 rates were reduced by $3.00 from the $202 per month 1912 rates for city service. By 1914 The Bowen Hardware Company was also in business with young William. C. involved. 

William C. married Mary (Mae) Huffman. Their children were Leonard and Lucy Mae. As an adult, Leonard owned the Bowen Service Station on the west end of Broadway.  

William Sr. was vice-president of the Light Company when he died January 7, 1930 and the Light Company was bought out by Montana Power in late 1930. Prior to this, Fred became ill, sold out and moved to Portland, Oregon where he died in January 1929.
The above picture is of  Fred Bowen, Bill Bowen and Charlie Bowen sitting on the running board of  a Maxwell sedan in about 1916.

The rest of the Porter Story

When A.H. (Alex) Porter died at the age of 42 he was survived by a wife Jennie (Spencer) and four children: Forrest, Spencer (Joe), Nova and Mae Francis (Frankie). The family had been living in town at the time of the shooting, but shortly after Jennie and the children moved back to the ranch. Frequent references are in the newspapers about “Mrs. A.H. Porter being in town from her ranch” during the next couple of years. In April of 1899 Jennie requested the Philipsburg Mail to please correct a statement in the Citizen Call saying she attended a party at Newt Schillings. She was at Mr. and Mrs. Clawson’s that evening as were Mr. and Mrs. P.A. Schilling. “Only males were at the Newt Schilling party.”

Frankie who was staying in town in 1900 went to the ranch to care for her mother when she was ill in February 1900 and visited school friends at St. Mary’s Academy in Deer Lodge in August 1900. Forrest went to Tabor, Iowa to attend the Academy there in October 1900. In July,1901 an auction notice was in the paper for “95 head of cattle-cows, calves and steers to be sold at the Porter ranch on East Fork of Rock Creek. 

In August of 1900, William Schuh’s wife Ollie died leaving her husband and four young children. William’s ranch was next to the Schuh Homestead located at the confluence of Trout Creek and Flint Creek. Being in close proximity to the Porter ranch it was a natural occurrence for Jennie Porter and William to marry in 1902. August 16, 1904 Forest H. Porter died of pneumonia at the Schuh ranch. He was eighteen and survived by his mom, brother Spencer (Joe) and two sisters: Mrs. P.W. (Frankie) Merrifield and Nova Porter. The Schuh marriage was of short duration because William died of blood poisoning September 12,1906 from wounds he received in July while cleaning up the barnyard. 

The next information found in the newspapers was that Jennie married Sidney A. Kelly on November 8, 1908 at her home in the upper Flint Creek Valley. Kelly owned property on Fred Burr Creek. Jennie and Sidney bought a ranch south of Plains, Montana on November 2, 1909. They moved again in about 1915 to Ledham, Washington where S.A. died in 1924 and Jennie died on April 4, 1925. Her daughter Mrs. D.J. (Nova) Birran of Philipsburg had been with her since December. Nova was living at Ledham when sister Frankie died in 1949. 

Spencer, known by Joe ended up with the property identified as Porter’s Corner. Part of the land owned by Jennie Porter Schuh was sold to August Greenheck in 1907 and it is possible that Joe and Frankie were heirs of the remainder as they both lived right across the road. For many years “Porter’s Corner” was a destination where good music, food and drink were enjoyed by people from near and far. Dancing with live music such as “Charley Pride” was an event most every weekend and on more than one occasion trouble erupted when reveler’s had too much alcohol mixed in with “out of towner” animosity. 

One such time was in 1927. “Herman Cardinal, Anaconda youth, was shot and fatally wounded early last Sunday morning (August 14) at the close of a dance at Porter’s Corner, six miles south of Philipsburg, when a delegation of Anaconda and Philipsburg men engaged in a free-for-all fight. According to reports of the affair there was a fight early in the evening between an Anaconda man “Pinkey” Walsh, and a man from Philipsburg. The men were separated by an Anaconda man and there was no more disturbance until the “Home Sweet Home” dance. As the dance was ending several men entered the hall and in an instant the big fight was under way. Pop bottles, chairs and loose objects began to fly in all directions. It is said, Joe Porter, owner of the roadhouse and store tried to stop the disturbance…It is alleged that Porter went for a gun to protect himself and wife (Esther)…Anaconda men told Sheriff Mahoney of Deer Lodge County, that they saw Cardinal fall and that Porter fired the shot…They said that Porter did not fire the first shot that was heard.” Joe drove the wounded man to Dr. Knight in Philipsburg and then met an ambulance near Georgetown that rushed Cardinal to St. Ann’s where he had surgery. Cardinal died on Monday; an inquest was held and several men were arrested. 

Ultimately, Joe was charged with murder; denied guilt; posted a $7,500 bond; and was acquitted after one day of testimony and forty-five minutes of jury deliberation. 

 Joe was an Army Private in WWI and wrote many letters to his sister Frankie who had the Philipsburg Mail publish them. In the late 50's Joe and his wife Esther leased out Porter's Corner and moved to town where he  operated an electrical business for many years.

Joe died October 4, 1974 and is buried in the Philipsburg Cemetery.
This picture is of Ole Sandin, Joe Porter and Jack Guianne playing cowboy and robbers in the early 1900's.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Do Not Beat your Neighbors

When Alex Porter’s father George Porter died, John Rains was named administrator of his estate, but The Mail carried a notice on July 16, 1896 regarding the sale of the George Porter 160 acre property stating A.H. Porter was the Administrator. This homestead was located in Section 22, Range 15 W, Township 5N which locates it on the East Fork of Rock Creek. This is pertinent because A. H. had a ranch near that location also. There is nothing in the newspapers about who bought this property. 

Always the prospector, Alex and James P. Valley had discovered the Granite Bell Syndicate made up of the Granite Belle, Lehigh Fraction and Buckeye that assayed at 4,378 ounces in silver and the New Northwest stated in April 1887 that Porter et al was given a $100,000 bond for the deed by James Patten. By January 1888, The Mail stated St Louis capitalists had paid $75,000 for the claims located 1200 feet north of Granite Mountain with James Patten in charge of working the claims. 

By July 30th Alex and George Rowe (Roe) had found a gold lead 100 feet wide near Gibbonsville, Idaho and a silver lead with copper and gold close by. Then in August Alex was busy with rich claims in the Blackfoot country north and slightly west of Drummond. There were 13 claims in all known as the Tiger and Copper Groups and Porter said they assayed as high as 50 to 80 percent copper to the ton. He announced he had a big company behind him and the area “will be another greatest mining camp on earth.” 

In 1893 Porter was going to plant carp in the fishless Potato Lakes. Two lawsuits: Porter vs Newt Schillings and Porter et al vs Claud Duncan were stricken from the court calendar and Lockey McDonald and Porter had a bare-fisted fight in a basement on Broadway that lasted nearly one hour and stopped when both agreed to call it a draw on August 4,1893. Some misunderstanding had existed between the two for a long time. 

Then on August 10 “The McPhail vs Porter trial began after Archie (married to Annie Porter) swore out a warrant for Alex’s arrest. Archie was living on a ranch adjoining Alex’s and to reach their home in coming and going it was easier to cross Porter’s land. Porter decided this was no longer going to happen and proceeded to thrash McPhail with a heavy strap. Two men traveling the road pulled a gun and fired a shot with Porter firing back and the men rode on. Porter then continued thrashing McPhail until he agreed to not cross this way again. Porter lost the jury trial; was fined $10 and court costs. Porter took the case up to the State court and lost there also in May 1894. 

Alex was foreman of the Henderson Mine and was presented with a fine shot gun and leather case by Charles McLure, in 1895. In 1897 he was working the Gold Dust Placer’s in the Moose Lake District.  
The final feud was detailed in the Citizen Call and Philipsburg Mail the last of June 1897. “The final net in a series of troubles between A. H. Porter and H. A. Conn…came Monday night when the latter shot the former to death in the Crystal saloon (with) a 44 caliber Smith and Wesson.” About two months prior two Porter employees brought suit against Porter for wages amounting to $109. Harry Conn was a witness for the men and Porter was less than pleased. Porter then began abusing and terrifying Conn. Conn had bought a ranch from Porter and did not receive a title to it. Conn decided to round up his cattle and leave the country. When Conn began travelling down the public road with his cattle, Porter chased him with a gun and a tug rope. After much abuse Conn rode around the property and came to town to swear out a warrant against Porter. The next day, Porter had a surveyor come out to survey a road right through the middle of Conn’s house. Conn went to town to see a lawyer about the road on Monday and Porter kept following Conn around town. Finally the two ended up in the saloon where Porter slapped Conn and made a motion like he was pulling a gun. Conn pulled his gun and fired hitting Porter four times. Conn gave himself up to the sheriff and Porter died soon after. 

Justice of the Peace J. B. Miller reviewing testimony “decided insufficient evidence” and Conn was released from Jail. The moral of the story: Do not beat your neighbors. Witnesses may not provide sufficient evidence to convict the neighbor who killed you.

Pioneer , Pugilist, Teamster, Lawman and Prison Warden

Another man who was a pioneer of Montana and Deer Lodge/Granite County was my children’s Great-great-great grandfather, Hugh O’Neil. Born in Loughgee County of Antrim in Northern Ireland in 1831, he was proud of his family lineage and claimed descent from Red Hugh O’Neill. Hugh told his grandchildren of the banner of the O’Neil’s emblazoned with a bloody hand, and their battle cry “Red Hand to Victory”. 

In preserved Montana history, the first mention of his name is in The Historical Sketch of Louis Maillet, which stated: Maillet spent the summer of 1857 in the Bitter Root, part of the time working on the new Fort Owens. In November, Hugh O’Neil and a man named Ramsey came from Walla Walla, on their way to Fort Bridger. They wished to reach Colonel Johnson’s (Johnston’s) command, but were ignorant of the way, and moreover were afraid of the Mormons.. O’Neil and his party therefore engaged Maillet to guide them to Fort Bridger. (In the course of travel they met Jacob’s) ….Jacobs gave such a terrible account of the Mormon scouting parties that O’Neil and his companions became discouraged and decided not to go on…O’Neil and Ramsey concluded to remain with Jacobs. This account is continued in A Sketch by Frank Woody, stating: …in the fall of this year, Hugh O’Neil and a man named Ramsey, came to Hells Gate from the Colville mines on the Columbia River, and were employed by Mr. Brooks to put up two buildings with the timber cut the previous winter. 

The National Archives for Military Service Records was unable to find any record of service by Hugh O’Neil. He was referred to as Major which probably occurred because he was a freighter out of Fort Laramie, Salt Lake and Fort Floyd. Records show he ran an account at Fort Floyd at the same time as Fred Burr and Tom Adams. 

All accounts, affirm that Hugh was a man of large proportions and possessed great strength and fortitude. This fact is further evidenced in his bare fisted boxing match with Con Orem, in Virginia City on January 2, 1865. A round by round description of all 185 rounds can be read in the historical writing titled The Frightful Punishment, (Warren J. Brier, 1969). The research for this book came from the published description of the pugilists endeavor written round for round by a reporter for the Montana Post, January 3-4, 1865. 

Hugh was a true pioneer and as such, a politician and negotiator. One such instance where his skills were instrumental was in 1863 at Grasshopper Gulch. The story goes that he problem solved a rumor started by two Frenchmen that about two hundred Bannack Indians were stealing from a small group of miners. Fearing that the Indians would go on the warpath a relief party was sent out to escort a freighter outfit from Salt Lake that was due with sorely needed supplies. Hugh was elected Captain of the group. When they came upon a group of Indians, all disappeared except three, which included Pete and Jim, two Indians that had been employed with the freighter company. Buck Stinson and the other road agents in the party wanted to execute the Indians right there. Stinson it was believed would have killed O’Neil with a stray bullet during the execution. O’Neil was aware of the danger and the fact that the killing of the Indians could lead to an Indian war. O’Neil was able to convince all of the group, but the road agents, that the Indians were innocent and should not be killed. The Indian war was prevented, but the road agents did not forgive Hugh O’Neil. One of them later tried to kill him, during a boxing match in Helena. This story was cited in full in the February 27, 1895 Anaconda Standard. 

Hugh was a devote Catholic, and credited with finding a place for Christmas Mass at Virginia City in 1865. The story told many times was documented in The Montana Magazine of History. Hugh O’Neil felt “it would be an everlasting shame if the Catholic religion could obtain no place for worship on Christmas Day”. Hugh went to the Acting Governor, Thomas Meagher and they formed a plan. By the end of the day, they found a building, remodeled it so well that it could no longer be a theater, and notified everyone in the area of the upcoming mass. The citizen’s of Virginia City and the surrounding area had a Christmas Mass in 1865, and had a church established and paid for by raw gold mined from this virgin earth, after the collection plate bought the building. 

Hugh O’Neil ran for Sheriff of Deer Lodge County in 1865, and the election results were: Hugh O’Neil 788, Fred Burr, 835, C.S. Williams, nineteen. Newspaper articles state he served as Deputy Marshall for Missoula County (May 18,1874, Helena Herald) and as Warden of Deer Lodge Penitentiary (The River Press, June 29, 1881; New Northwest , November 25,1881). The June article states he was a guard at the prison before his appointment as Warden. Hugh also provided support for the Missoula sheriff as evidenced in this news item: “Fight or Run---Last week W. C. Taylor took it into his head that he could run the town. He managed to do so until shut off by Hugh O’Neil and Sheriff Pelkey…He was put under $500 bonds for assault with a deadly weapon and disturbing the peace (Missoula Pioneer, February 2, 1871)”


Family history says Hugh killed an Indian while trying to bring him into custody during his service as the Indian Agent in Missoula Montana in 1871. The fact he was an Indian Agent has not been verified. 

Hugh married Margaret Pitt Meredith in 1858. She was born to Joseph Meredith from London, England and Marguarite Pitt Meredith from Wales, in Glen Morganshire, Wales, on June 18, 1844. Accounts in Montana historical documents of Margaret’s death cite they came to Montana by horseback in 1858. She is credited with being the first white woman to ride into Montana on horseback. The family story is that Margaret’s family was on a wagon train coming west, when they were attacked by Indians in what was believed to be present day Colorado. The only survivors were some of the young members of the wagon that had been hidden in the woods. These survivor’s, including Margaret were picked up by a Mormon wagon train and “one of the Mormon men wanted to add her to his already numerous list of wives.” The army was sent out to protect the wagon trains after the Indian attack and found the children, with the Mormon’s. They were taken back to Fort Bridger, where Margaret began a relationship with Hugh. They were married in Fort Bridger in 1858, by the military, then a Methodist minister they encountered (at an undocumented date or place) and finally by a Jesuit Priest. I assume that the Priest was Father Giordia in Virginia City. An article in the Butte Miner, January 24, 1915, declares her the first white woman in Montana, which is not true. 
                                                                Margaret O'Neil

Margaret and Hugh had eight children: Jane, John, Mary Ellen (Ellen), Hugh, Mary, Adelaide or Adaline (Addie), Elizabeth (Liddie), and William (Willie).Willie died at the age of three years and five months, in 1877, from pneumonia. He is buried in the Philipsburg cemetery. Hugh and Margaret separated some time after moving to Philipsburg in 1875. and Hugh apparently lived in Philipsburg with daughter Jane and John Hickey, and in Deer Lodge. 

The New Northwest, in Deer Lodge stated: “Mr. Hugh O’Neil and H. S. Neal are building substantial residences. The latter is on the west side, near the bridge, and the former in the southern part of town”, on July 15, 1881. In the Philipsburg items of The New Northwest, in 1882 was the statement: “…now under our new and elegant Kaiser House is the billiard hall and sample rooms presided over by Herman K., who as a very apt pupil of Hugh O’Neil, has attained such admirable proficiency, in the manly art as to make himself a terror to amateurs in the fist cuff line.” Then in October 1884, Hugh and Margaret were summoned for the sum of $700.00 for lack of payment on Lots 11 and 12 in Block 60 with improvements, at Deer Lodge, by Peter Valiton (New Northwest). The sheriff sale of the property has not been found. 

Hugh, died of cancer at St. Patrick’s Hospital and was buried February 23, 1895, at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Missoula, Montana. The Democrat obituary had Hugh’s last name misspelled as O’Neal, but the history recited belonged to O‘Neil. “The deceased was a man of powerful frame in his younger days and many are the feats of strength, heroism, and endurance credited to him by his old time friends.” The February 28, 1895 P’Burg Mail, described Hugh’s funeral and family members that attended: “Mrs. L.C. Degenhart (Ellen) and sister Lydia O’Neil went to Missoula last Friday to attend the funeral of their father, Hugh O’Neil who died in the Sister’s hospital in that city last Thursday at the age of 64 years. The deceased was one of the best known pioneers of Montana having come to the state in 1861 (1857), and has ever since been associated with Montana history.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Pioneering Hynes Family

 A prominent miner, businessman and rancher of Granite county was Thomas Hynes. Born in County Galway, Ireland, Tom came to America as a small boy and the family located in Kentucky, then moved to California during the gold rush. Tom arrived in Montana during 1864 or 1865 and mined at Cedar Creek. His next move was to Cable and then Philipsburg where he built Hynes Hall in 1867. (I am not certain if the Hynes Hotel [House] ended up located in the same building. The Hynes Hotel is drawn on the Sanborn Insurance maps beginning in 1889 and located in the third building on the North side of Broadway immediately west of the James Stuart/Hope Mill site.) 

 The Hynes House was built as a boarding house in 1880 and was operated by Honora Hynes (Tom’s sister-in-law) until the silver crash in 1893. This building was bought and renamed the McGurk House sometime after 1893 and rooms were rented there until 1930. Honora died at the age of eighty July 13, 1911 and is buried at the Philipsburg cemetery. 

Mining property acquired by Tom is evidenced in the newspapers such as the sale of claims owned by Tom, John Whiting and William Burke to the Gold Coin on July 25, 1895. The actual sum of the sale was not published in the P’Burg Mail article. During the probating of Tom’s will at least three city lots were auctioned at Sheriff sales from claims by the Merchant and Miner’s bank. Numerous mining claims were taken over by his nephew Thomas F. Hynes. 

The Citizens Call newspaper stated Tom died at his ranch two miles south of town after being ill only a few hours on September 29, 1895. He was 63 according to his obituary but 64 according to his headstone. Survivors were nieces, Mrs. George H. Hancock, Mrs. Ed Moore and Miss Katie Hynes and nephews: Thomas F. Hynes and William P. Hynes. Nephew Thomas F. Hynes applied for letter of administration in the estate of Thomas Hynes according to the October 23, 1895 Philipsburg Mail

Thomas F. Hynes arrived in Philipsburg in 1877 from Louisville, Kentucky. Born to Peter and Honora (Fahey) Hynes, Tom was the oldest of seven children. Mother Honora and at least three siblings also moved to Montana. Tom’s bride to be Annie M. Schwartz (1859-1938) arrived from Louisville early in 1878. Their marriage took place on October 15, 1878. 

For the first six years Tom worked in the mines around Philipsburg then took up mining on his own and accumulated a number of very good claims. They also owned a ranch one and a half miles south of Philipsburg. To this marriage was born twelve children: Mary, Louise, Kate, Nora, Emma, Alice, Julia, William Bryan, Virginia (1892), Thomas (1882-1883) and Elnore (1880-1881) (research does not reveal any record of the twelfth child). There is a grave without a headstone for Henora Hynes in Block 19 Lot 40 grave 8, next to Baby Thomas, that may be the twelfth child.
This photograph of the Thomas F. Hynes family was taken in 1901. Back row from the left is: Nora, Julia, Alice and Emma. Front row: Kate, Annie Hynes holding infant William Bryan, Louise,  Thomas F. Hynes and Mary.

Thomas F. Hynes foreclosed on a $54,225.00 mortgage of the Puritan Mining Company December 21, 1894 according to the New Northwest, so obviously he was extending credit to major mining companies. He ran as an Independent for County Assessor in 1898 against J.K. Wells the Democrat and lost the race. Tom’s name was not on the ballot and instead of having the voter’s write in his name they were provided with “pasters” that had his name printed on them. The poll counters refused to count at least 125 “pasters” with the vote being 414 to 462. Tom contested the election results but did not win the office. 

In 1900 he again ran for Assessor under the Federalist Party against Democrat T. L. Penrose and received a plurality or 151 votes. His pay was $300 a month according to wages published in 1901. As Assessor, Tom raised the county taxes which included more than $700,000 increase to the BiMetallic Mining Company. The Company took their complaint about the increase to the County Commissioners and they excused the BiMetallic from paying the excess. This caused Tom to take the case to the State Board of Equalization. The Board decided they had no authority to change the figures of the County Board (August 20, 1901). 

The City named Tom as Patrolman in June of 1901 and during the next few years news reports show him continuing to do improvements on numerous mining claims. They left the ranch and moved into Philipsburg where, after several months of illness, Tom died on March 2, 1913 at the age of fifty-seven. Survivors were: Annie, son Bryan and eight daughters, three sisters and nephew W.P. Hynes of Granite. 

Mining seemed to be the basis for the early income of the Hynes family in Granite County, but it is difficult to determine exactly which member of the family owned the individual claims. Newspaper articles detail where Thomas F. Hynes did his share of improvements and advertised this to co-owners of The HIRD Lode and the Sam Quartz Lode (1888), and his co-owner of the claim in Stony on the Katie Lode did the same back to Thomas (1896). The San Francisco Company was working two claims that had been bonded to them by Eli Holland, James Patten and Thomas Hynes in October 1886. Also Thomas Hynes was co-owner with John Ulery and Caplice of the Sam Quartz Lode in January 1889. Thomas was improving the Skykill Lode in January 1889. Thomas made application for patent on the Sultana Lode with Eli Holland and Herman Kaiser and they sold the claim to Granite Mountain Mining Company for $3,000 on February 1, 1889. Thomas F. and Honorian (sic) Hynes made patent application for the Piano Lode on September 27, 1888 and sold that claim to GMMC for $5,000 on February 7, 1889. 

A lengthy account was published in The Helena Weekly Herald on July 28, 1887 titled “The Philipsburg affair” that detailed a story by F. L. Currie. Mr. Currie had until a few days prior been the superintendent of the North Granite Mining Company. Mr. Currie had chose to leave town after a mob requested he do so. The article alluded that even a strangulation had occurred but Mr. Currie said he had not witnessed that. The discontent arose over accounts of various claim jumping projects in which the community considered Mr. Currie involved. Mr. Currie wished to make his side of the story known. "In 1883 Thomas F. Hynes located the Katy Lode. A bond was given on it to Lewis Demars but expired in 1894 without being taken up. In April 1885, Hynes and his wife deeded the Katy Lode to the former’s mother, Mrs. Honora Hynes for $1,000 and the title thereby passed to her. In October 1886, Thomas Hynes and his wife gave Phil M. Saunders a bond on the property for $50,000 under which a company was formed and $8,000 worth of development work was put upon the property. I was superintendent of the NGMC and found out the above conditions of affairs viz: that Hynes and his wife had given Saunders a bond for property not owned by them, and that the claim was open to jumping. I explained the situation to Joe Sorenson and he relocated the claim under the name of The Parrot Lode, agreeing to transfer it to the company for a small consideration…There had been various rumors previous to this about my being interested with Lewis Demars and Samuel Tolman in the jumping of the Granite Belle, The Young American and the Nelson Properties. These claims were without foundation. I was allowed to suffer a never-to-be-forgotten indignity at the hands of men who personally were my enemies, regardless of jumping causes.”

In 1890 there were two lawsuits set for trial: One Maroney vs Hynes and the other Charles Clark vs Hynes. Research did not reveal the outcome of either trial. Then the October 6, 1894 Mail posted notice of an auction of “The Old Hynes Hall” and that a daughter was born to Thomas Hynes. The newspapers carry few articles about the Hynes family after Thomas was appointed City patrolman, other than marriage notices of the daughters and Bryan. 

Then Bryan’s wife Hazel died in December 1928 and four days after her funeral Beth Smith died of meningitis at grandmother Annie Hynes house. Bryan was working as an electrician in 1923 when he married Hazel Stella Cutler. They had a daughter, Mary Catherine (1928-1980). Five months after the birth, Hazel died of Flu-pneumonia at the age of twenty-eight. Hazel was survived by Bryan, Mary Catherine and her parents. Her father was engineer for the Drummond Branch of the Northern Pacific Railroad. 

Bryan was engineer for the Algonquin mine when the May 28, 1937 Mail stated “Emma V. McCarthy of Fargo, North Dakota announces her daughter Mary Ellen married (William) Bryan Hynes on August 27, 1934.” The late announcement was because Mary’s teaching job had not allowed teacher’s to be married. 

Mary and Bryan had a son Thomas D. (1939-1995) and a son William (1940- 1941). Bryan was elected Granite County Sheriff in 1942 and served the citizen until 1952 with Nick Munis as Under-sheriff.
                                          Campaign card courtesy of grandson John Hynes

 Bryan died in the Granite County Nursing Home on November 22, 1980. Mary (my seventh grade teacher) died in 1989. This concludes another important Granite County family history.