Monday, August 5, 2013

The rest of "Miss Kate"

As stated in "Flint Chips 177" by Dan Meschter, "Miss Kate" was a fond memory to her students and the citizens of Granite county. Obviously she gave "muchly" while sharing very little of her personal life to the people around her.

An article written by Wilda Parks in the Philipsburg Mail November 25, 1976 stated: "Never called Mrs. Smith, the lady is remembered as Miss Kate, a teacher who educated two generations of local youngsters...Irene McDonald Kaiser noted that Miss Kate had been a teacher for her mother, the late Mrs. John J. (Louisa) McDonald, about 1889. Irene's mother had come to the area from Germany and was 17. She attended Miss Kate's class to learn English. Miss Kate was then Irene's teacher in 1909." Miss Kate taught second grade in the original wooden school and then in the beautiful stone building completed in 1896 that continues to be a functioning school.

"Among her students were Robert Kaiser 1897, J. Walter Kaiser 1899, Mae Huffman Bowen and Bill Bowen in 1896, Walter Johnson Sr. in 1906, Everett Doe 1909, Francis Winninghoff 1912 and Herman Hauck 1915. Wilma Applegate Bruns recalled her second grade year (1916) with Miss Kate with fond memories...she (Miss Kate) retired from teaching several years before her death. No one knew how old she was when she died on March 2 (or 1) of a stroke, but cemetery records say she was in her 80's.... She could stop a tear, make a smile, and teach several grades all they needed to know. She was an over shoe remover, hand warmer, braid fixer, fight referee and a lady." (ibid, 1976)

There are two known pictures of Miss Kate. One includes the principal and teachers with William Bowen and N.B. Ringeling, school board members, from the Tex Crowley Collection (reprinted below by permission).
Front row left to right: Jay Allison (son of Undertaker),
Maria Ryan teacher
Professor Gifford Principal
Miss Anna H. Price Teacher
Standing left to right: Ava Short teacher
Miss Caldwell teacher
N.B. Ringeling School Board member
"Miss Kate" (Mrs. Katie Turner Smith) teacher
Miss Madge Short teacher
Miss Eleanor Ballard teacher
William Bowen, Sr. (holding flag) President of School Board
(Tex Crowley Collection in possession of LouAnn Fessler Sichveland)
The other known picture is a portrait of Miss Kate in the Wilma Bruns Collection used in the Mail 1976 article by Wilda Parks.

The following is what extensive research has revealed: Katie A. Turner was born in Missouri about 1861 to John and Martha A. Turner. In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census she was 19 years of age and living in Calumet (Pike county), Missouri with her parents and siblings: Harry age 17, Mattie age 13, Lillian age 9, Minnie age 6, Ruby age 4 and Luther Montjoy age 20. According to "Progressive Men of the state of Montana (1901) Eugene Smith (page 1806) Katie arrived in Deer Lodge, Montana in 1885 to teach school. Kate's obituary states her brother Harry opened a store in Philipsburg and Kate joined him. The Philipsburg Mail April 2, 1887 states Kate (of Deer Lodge) "was appointed to fill the place of teacher in the public school made vacant by the retirement of Mrs. Allison." Katie's brother H.L. Turner leased the Bon Ton restaurant in Philipsburg on June 16, 1887.

On August 29, 1888 Katie married Eugene Smith a widower with three children. Eugene was born at Milton, Wisconsin on April 1, 1846 to Daniel F. and Lucy Smith both natives of New York. Eugene was educated in the business college at St. Louis, Missouri and graduated at the age of 19. He went to work for a St. Louis bank then at a lumber company in St. Croix. In 1880 he opened his own lumber business at Clam Falls. Eugene was on the editorial staff of "Lumbermen of St. Paul" and contributed articles to "Scientific American" and other journals. He accepted a position with the San Francisco Consolidated Mining Company in Montana at Philipsburg in 1887 and served in that position until his death. He married Adelphia Tyler of Virginia in 1872 and they had three children: Daniel D. (12-28-1873), Eugene (3-6-1875) and Ruth Barbara (2-5-1877). Adelphia died on June 9, 1886 before the family moved to Montana. (Progressive Men of the state of Montana, 1901, p 1806) The 1880 U.S. Federal Census shows Eugene age 34, Adell age 34, Dan age 7, Eugene age 6 and Ruth age 5 living in St. Paul, Minnesota with Sophia LaPoint age 20 also living in their household.

Eugene died on February 22, 1890 in Philipsburg from unstated causes leaving his new wife three children aged 18, 16 and 13. The Anaconda Standard, February 23, 1890 stated: "Philipsburg Feb.22, Eugene Smith died this afternoon at 4:30 o'clock and will be buried Monday at 3pm. M. Kenneth of St. Louis, Secretary of the San Francisco Consolidated Mining Company has been advised by telegraph of Mr. Smith's demise and is probably on his way here" Then on February 24th "The funeral of Eugene Smith today had to be postponed on account  of stormy weather, it being impossible to dig a grave." Elsewhere in the Anaconda Standard was the statement "At (Philipsburg) noon today the thermometer stood at 17 degrees below zero and the wind was blowing a gale while last night at 7 pm it was 30 degrees below zero and falling fast...Rumsey reported mercury was congealing which would indicate 38 degrees below zero." Unfortunately there are no microfilm or archived newspapers from the Philipsburg Mail for the month of January or February 1890 at the Montana Historical Society Research Library.

Newspaper articles reveal that Eugene left Katie $5,000 in life insurance; her father died in Bowling Green, Missouri on March 4, 1896; her mother died July 29, 1896 and her youngest sister Ruby (Mrs. C.E. Mayhall) died December 16, 1896 of burns from an accident while building a fire with coal oil. Another sister, Mrs. James Chamberlain died November 15, 1899 leaving a husband and three children. In December 1898 the Philipsburg Mail stated Mrs. H.W. Turner (Katie's sister-in-law) made a short visit from Spokane. Obviously her brother had left his Philipsburg business ventures and moved to Washington. Step-son Dan was caught in machinery at a mill (assumed the BiMetallic) according to a May 17, 1899 Citizens Call and was badly injured. Mettle of Granite County Book Two discusses Dan's employment with the Bimetallic and American Gem Mining Companies and the accidental electrocution that caused his death at the Algonquin mine June 22, 1926 (pp. 334-38, 364-66).

Research fails to reveal any census records for Katie Smith until 1900. At that time listed under Katie T. Smith her age is stated as 30 and Dan Smith birthdate 1872 (age 28) is living in her household. The next census record found is 1920 with Katie T. Smith age 49 and Dan Smith age 47 living in the same household. Extensive research has been unable to reveal any census records for 1930 or 1940. Because Katie's obituary does not disclose her leaving Granite county, I have to assume the spelling was changed or the writing undecipherable on the record. Of course she may have not participated in the census taking during those years.

Adding to the previous life events, Katie's step-daughter Ruth married Henry Kroger at the Smith household on January 5, 1899 and died on December 12, 1918. Step-son Eugene died August 16, 1915. They are all buried in the Philipsburg cemetery.

"Miss Kate" died at St. Ann's Hospital in Anaconda after suffering a stroke on March 2, 1945, according to her obituary and March 1st according to her headstone. Her headstone reads: "Katie Turner Smith, 3-1-1945." Obviously she did not desire her age to be known. "Miss Kate's" funeral service was held at the Methodist Church with Rev. Fred Anstice attending. Active pallbearers were her former students: William C. Bowen, R.J. Huffman, Herman L. Hauck, Francis Winninghoff, Robert M. Kaiser, and William Bryan Hynes. Honorary pallbearers were: J.D. Kennedy, A.J. Murray, John Hickey, H.A. Murphy, Kenneth Hannah, Allen S. McKenzie, Vatis Page, Geo. O. Burks, R.L. McLeod, R. D. Metcalf, J.C. Yob, and M. Everett Doe. "With sadness we part with our dear friend always loyal to this little community in the Rocky mountains." (Philipsburg Mail, March 9, 1945)

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