Monday, October 19, 2015

Ledgers of Fred Burr and other Cattle traders

Thanks to Blog follower, Sheri Wysong we have been privileged to view many Utah Archives concerning Fred Burr and other early Pioneers. Sheri copied pages from the Camp Floyd account books showing Burr and other Montana pioneer account ledgers. Thanks muchly to Sheri.

Camp Floyd was established on November 9,  1858 as a military base and commanded by Albert S. Johnston. The fort was the first established in Utah Territory. The location was south of present day Salt Lake City off of the current I-15 freeway. The fort provided protection for the Emigrant Trails and Pony Express during their times of service. They also provided much needed supplies and financial accounting for the wagon trains and men trading with the migrating population. Multiple people such as Fred Burr and Tom Adams bought worn out oxen and cattle from the travelers, took them to the Deer Lodge and Flint Creek Valley for the winter and returned to trade the revived bovine to the new trains traveling through the next spring.

As evidenced by the account ledger there were very large accounts for Fred Burr's half-brother young David Burr and his business partners, Hockaday and Mogo. Mogo and Burr had accounts carrying balances for as much as $3,356.62, that was paid off in August 1860. Burr and Hockaday carried a balance as high as $4, 667.78 that was paid off in November 1859.

Fred Burr and John Powell had an account  in October 1858 (before the Camp was designated as a Fort). John Powell was an early resident of the Deer Lodge area and is the namesake of Mount Powell and Powell County. Their ledger lists items such as 2 dozen oysters, calico cloth, pepper, rice and gloves plus cash and vouchers in the amount of  $263.92   In April of 1859 the full amount then totaling $400 was paid off. At that date another $175.50 worth of supplies was also bought and paid for in cash. Obviously the men had traded fattened cattle for cash from the wagon train travelers.
There is one ledger page for just Fred Burr with a balance of $95.75 on November of 1859. All though no other ledger page was copied, I doubt that Burr left any balance unpaid. A page with just Powell listed has an account of $284.64  charged from November 1859 through March of 1860 and was paid off in full on March 20, 1860. A ledger page for Thomas Adams consisting of items such as 5 spools of thread (.50), 12 yards of calico ($3.60), 1 plug of tobacco (.75), $50.00 cash,  totaling $338.30 charged during January, February and June of  1859. This account was paid in full by Adams and Hereford on another ledger with both names and an account totaling $2,957.03 by July of 1860. 
 Hugh O'Neil had an account ledger with items consisting of a hair brush $2.50, 100 pounds of flour $13.00, 1 dozen tin bowls $4.50 charged during June through October 1858 and February 1859. Family history and the Virginia City accounts always referred to Hugh as Major. This ledger establishes that he found Johnston whom he was looking for when O'Neil originally arrived in the Hell Gate area in November 1857 and was a teamster for the military when he met his future bride in 1858. Hugh O'Neil ran against Fred Burr for Sheriff of Deer Lodge County in 1865 and lost by 47 votes. Hugh is the Great-Great-Great Grandfather of my children and will be discussed on a later blog post. His life is covered also in "Mettle of Granite County Book One" pages 72-88.
Obviously the cattle trade along the wagon train trails was a profitable business for many pioneers and the Fort provided the traders supplies and cash advances that would otherwise not been available to the early pioneers of the land later known as Montana Territory.

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