Monday, September 5, 2016

Mettle of Granite County, Book 1 Introduction

                    GRANITE COUNTY
                            BOOK ONE
                    DETAILING THE LIVES OF
                     INFLUENTIAL PIONEERS,
                                WORLD WAR I



Pen and ink drawing by Loraine M. Domine 2012



This book is my endeavor to provide current and future generations with the history of Granite County and a select group of the inhabitants.  Because I was born and raised in Granite County Montana, I have had the privilege to either know many of them, their descendants personally. Those without descendants need to be remembered, also. Each one of the personalities written about in this book, were responsible in some way, often unknowingly, to make the settlements, the county of Granite and the state of Montana a place of great character with rich historical intrigue.
When I started this research over eight years ago, I had no idea the time and energy the project would consume. Originally the endeavor was meant to research my children’s Great-great-great grandfather, Hugh O’Neil. While involved in this research, I also started looking for articles about three other significant individuals and within a short period of time realized there were many stories that needed to be told. When one starts looking for data to substantiate stories or names it becomes almost an addiction to unravel the puzzles that pop up. What I originally believed would be one volume, first became two, because the northern part of the county deserved a discussion all their own. By the time I completed the research to publish a 600 plus page hardback book, it became apparent the volume needed to be broken down into two books. Therefore what you are now reading is Book I, covering the southern part of the county with discussion about some of the pioneers, politicians, businessmen, merchants, and miners, plus many of the county’s patriots through World War I.
Book II, following very shortly, will discuss the ranchers around Philipsburg, Georgetown, the Pintler foothills including southern Flint Creek, Trout Creek, and East Fork; the Mt. Amerine (Emerine) foothills and all the Forks flowing into Rock Creek; the Sapphire Mines and the Skalkaho; plus Rock Creek to the Hogback. Needless to say this includes homesteaders, ranchers, prospectors, investors and miners.
All of the personalities discussed, lived their life in the manner they needed for survival and the perpetuation of their genealogy. I doubt that more than a couple of them ever thought about any part of their life being recorded. The majority, were not public servants and worked very hard to survive day by day life.  It was the mettle that these souls demonstrated daily, that made an impression on me. For this reason I have attempted to capture on paper, the things I know personally and have been able to research historically, to share with others who may never have the privilege to know these individuals.
One of my first large ventures was to catalogue the headstones in the Philipsburg cemetery and then cross reference then with the file cards in City Hall. This venture provided an amazing amount of data. Numerous headstones are not recorded in the file cards and many people have file cards but no headstone. This completed task was one of the most important things I did for validating other research articles. The completed file according to headstones, markers and file cards in City Hall from inception through December of 2005 is available at the City Hall in Philipsburg, with the sexton of the cemetery and at The Montana Historical Society, as well as in the author's files. Unfortunately many persons were buried as paupers, so have no record and of the Chinese buried, only one is recorded.
As you settle down to read the profiles, realize that as I researched one event almost without exception another historical fact emerged. Sometimes I was able to validate all the data. But often, I was unable to definitively establish all the historical timelines, or find a picture to identify the individuals involved. Always, even when I have not been able to research the incident in its entirety, I have referenced what could be substantiated either through historical books, newspaper articles, family documents, legal registrations or eyewitness accounts. These items are referenced to allow the reader to find the publications, documents or person where information was obtained.
We as a nation are very fortunate to have dedicated individuals and societies who have worked hard to preserve historical fact and I am indebted to these people for their effort. Without these resources this book would only be another anecdotal essay about people and their families. Few would read the printed word and seldom would anyone recognize how these individuals contributed to the creation of major historical events. The documents would have continued to rest in a family album or trunk waiting for the day someone looked up a story a grandparent had referred to at a family gathering.
Unfortunately the next generation will not be able to document details of our life in this manner, due to the fact privacy and political correctness keeps the current news media’s from recording the every day occurrences. Many of the individuals were traced by articles describing who came to town weekly, when people were ill or hospitalized, property sales, taxes due or delinquent and licensed merchant lists.
My desire is that the individual stories have been developed in such a way the readers of this book will recognize the richness of the fabric spun by all the personalities. They never knew what contributions were being made to the spindle of life, specifically the personality of Montana and the character of Granite County or town of Philipsburg. In some of the chapters the story begins before the individual ever arrived in this area.
The history of the development of the county is a story within itself. This area was:

         known first, before 1804, as The District of Louisiana (which included Montana East of the Divide) with the first capital being Biloxi, Mississippi until 1723, when the capital became New Orleans, Louisiana;

         which was renamed the Territory of Louisiana in 1805, with Vincennes the capital;

         Then re-named Missouri Territory in 1812, with St. Louis the capital.

         East of the Divide was conceded by Britain to the US in 1818 and west of the Divide was claimed by both countries.

         Eastern Montana became part of Indian Country in 1821.

         Western part of Montana was ceded to the US by Great Britain in 1846.

         Next, Oregon Territory was created by Congress in 1848, with first Champoeg, then Oregon City and finally Salem, Oregon being the capital, in 1853.

         Eastern Montana was in Nebraska Territory after 1854, and Bellvue, Nebraska was the capital in 1854 and Omaha in 1855.

         The western half of what is now Montana was included in Clarke County from Fort Vancouver to the Divide, when it was first Washington Territory in 1853; then Clarke was divided and the eastern side was named Skamania county, then Walla Walla county and then Spokane county .

         On December 14, 1860, Missoula County was created out of the eastern part of Spokane County and the seat of Justice was located at Hell’s Gate Road where Worden & Co.’s Trading Post stood and “embraced the present 1885 counties, of Missoula and Deer Lodge, west to the summit of the main range” .

         Dakota Territory was created in 1861 and included eastern Montana, with the capital Yankton.

         Then for an even shorter period western Montana, was included in Idaho Territory in 1863, with the capital Lewiston.

         The area finally became Montana Territory in 1864, with Bannack the first capital, then Virginia City in 1865 and Helena in 1875;

         Then the State of Montana, Deer Lodge County in 1889, with Deer Lodge the county seat.

         Finally in March of 1893, the area became Granite County, with Philipsburg elected the county seat, November 1894, by the margin of 715 votes to Stone Station 272 and Drummond 186. 

If the United States Congress had possessed better knowledge regarding the geography of the western territories, Granite County would probably be in Idaho, instead of Montana. The Idaho Territory was shown in a map published by Alvin Jewitt Johnson, in 1863, to extend to the Continental Divide. The map of Granite County on the end plates of this book is before 1900 and is inaccurate in the context of where streams flow into larger streams. Ross’ Fork of Rock Creek flows into West Fork, which is not marked, to the north and the two travel together for about 1000 feet before they merge with the Middle Fork to form Rock Creek. The name of the town of Philipsburg is misspelled with two L’s; Fred Burr Creek is labeled as Burr Creek and Flint Creek is label as Flint River. All early maps name Rock Creek both Stony and Rock Creek.[4]
  While speaking about Montana politics, K. Ross Toole, in Montana: an uncommon land,[5] described the territorial boundary change, because of Sidney Edgerton. Mr. Edgerton had been named Chief Justice of Idaho Territory, by Abraham Lincoln. When Edgerton recognized the immensity of the area he was intended to administer he:
Realized that the area east of the Bitterroot Mountains could never be effectively governed from Lewiston and that it should not be part of Idaho Territory…[6]
Edgerton, W.F. Sanders, Con Orem and other influential parties petitioned Congress for a separate territory. Edgerton then traveled to Washington D.C. to present the petition and that is how Montana Territory came about. Lincoln named Edgerton the Governor, of the new territory. The proclamation signed by Lincoln on Wednesday May 26, 1864, carved out for future statehood more than ninety two million acres. The designated area was located roughly between the forty-ninth parallel on the north, the forty-fifth parallel on the south, the 104 meridian to the east and the crest of the Bitterroot and Beaverhead Mountains to the west. Unknown to the politicians, this vast area divided itself into at least two distinct areas.[7] The eastern boundary was changed slightly in 1873 when Congress realized a small area of land just west of the 111 meridian had been left attached to Dakota in 1868, when Wyoming territory was created. Montana had always exercised jurisdiction over the area and it was physically separated from Dakota by hundreds of miles[8].
The Flint Creek Valley, Lower Willow Creek and Rock Creek area are documented either incorrectly or as unexplored areas on the Mullan Maps, first published in 1863. References in Granville Stuart’s writings[9] speak of him and his friends hunting in the area in 1858. They built a corral to protect the horses at night from the Blackfoot Indians, about three miles north of the present site of Philipsburg. He also described in detail on June 10, 1861, his friends Jackson, Oliver LeClaire, Tolman and (another) Oliver left for a hunt on upper Flint Creek where they intended to catch calf moose. The men took several milch cows with them expecting the captured calves to suckle the cows until they were old enough to eat grass and willows. Fortunately, they returned from the hunt with out any moose calves.[10]
Prospecting in the region now known as Fred Burr Mountain Range was the beginning of an influx of pioneers. The area named Philipsburg was founded in 1865, when silver claims were patented on a mountain with many quartz outcroppings. This mountain is known as Hope Hill and was founded by Hector Horton. He named his claim the Cordova. Originally prospecting for gold he was rewarded with a lead of high grade silver. Shortly after his claim was staked, word got out and the claims named Algonquin, Horton and Speckled Trout were patented.
The James Stuart Mill, later called the Hope, was built at the present site of Philipsburg in 1867. Operating at one time or another for a period of forty three years, it was the first successful mill, built in Montana. The mill was built by a well known mine expert, Philip Diedesheimer for Granville Stuart’s brother, James. Needless to say the settlement built around the mill was named Philipsburg: “after the first name of Diedesheimer rather than his surname, the people feeling that Diedesheimerburg was too much of a tongue twister.”[11]
Philip Diedesheimer died in San Francisco, California, on Saturday July 22, 1916 at the age of eighty four, destitute.  He had made and lost many fortunes by that time.[12] An article written when Philip was eighty years old stated if he had patented his system of using individual timbers to meet and form a series of square sets it would have forced the mining companies using his method to have to reimburse him. At only a meager one-hundredth of a cent per ton of ore extracted, Philip would have been a millionaire many times over.[13]
The mining camp, now known as Philipsburg came into existence with a population around 600 people when the mill was opened and provided needed supplies and services to the surrounding mining camps of Red Lion, Georgetown, Southern Cross, Princeton, Henderson Gulch, Black Pine, Combination, Cable, Tower (Hasmark), Rumsey and to a lesser extent Granite. The town of Philipsburg was not incorporated until 1890 and became the county seat of Granite in 1894.[14]
By counting the number of voter’s who participated in the November 6, 1888 elections of Deer Lodge County, from the known areas that currently are contained in Granite County, I arrived at a total of at least 1359 person’s that year.[15] In November 1894 at least 1261 person’s voted.[16] Then, the 1900 U.S. census showed Granite County population as 4328; the 1910 census population dropped to 2942 for a thirty two percent decrease. There was an increase of forty one percent when the 1920 census registered 4167 people in an area of 1,717 square miles. This computes to 2.4 persons per square mile. A break down of the 1920 census into precincts showed the following population distribution:
Bearmouth          186
Drummond          425
Flint Creek          150
Garnet                 90
Granite                113
Hall                     439
Moose Lake        28
New Chicago      99
N. Philipsburg     1,016
Porter                  99
Princeton             38
Quigley               523 (this includes the town of Clinton which is not in Granite County)
Red Lion               7
Rock Creek         125
S. Philipsburg      1,062
Stone                   237
This number comprised 2,497 males and 1,670 females of which 838 were foreign born (151 Canadian, 104 Finnish, 103 Swedish) of which 610 were male and 228 were female; there were 1,869  native white males and 1,435 native white females; six Negros (three male and three female) and nineteen of Indian (Native American) or Chinese descent. In 1910, there had been thirty two persons registered as illiterate and in 1920, there were none recorded.[17]
In January 1927, there was a recorded decrease of 1,667 people since the 1920 census. This was composed of 1,478 persons over the age of 21, with 1,022 below the age of 21. Children of both sexes below the age of six were 238 and above the age of six were 784. This made a total of 505 males below legal age and 517 under aged females. This count was based on school census, state and county birth and death records and registration of electors at the previous three general elections.[18]
The documented census in 1930 was a total of 3,013 and 3,392 in 1940.[19] Most of the increase and decrease of the population can be directly traced to the metal market and opening and closing of mines and mills. The stable factor of the county has always been the ranching community, which has seldom been recognized as the reason Philipsburg and Drummond have continued to exist.
One can not speak of Granite without speaking of Charles McLure, a man that arrived in Montana as a freighter in 1865 and after becoming interested in mining returned to Missouri and studied metallurgy. After completion of school he returned to Butte, Montana, to take charge of the Centennial Mill. In the year 1877, Charles moved to Philipsburg as the director of operations at the Old Hope Mill. As theory goes, while operating the mill he prospected the quartz outcroppings. In 1880 he ended up asking for a $40,000.00 bond for owners Merrill, Holland, and Estell to mine a poorly yielding claim named The Granite Mountain Mine.
The story stated that on the day cash was down to only enough to pay the workers for their last shift, the final powder blast “threw bonanza ore upon the mucker’s planks. The Granite Mountain (fissure) was discovered and Charles D. McLure became in that moment one of the greatest mining men of his time.”[20]
Charles was involved in numerous mining corporations in the following years, including the Sapphire mines on West Fork of Rock Creek, named The American Gem Mining Syndicate. He was instrumental in finding funding from eastern investors. Charles died May 20, 1918 and is buried in the Philipsburg Cemetery. He is discussed at length in the Sapphire chapter, which is in Book II.
The economy of Montana was greatly influenced by the mineral removed from the Philipsburg Quadrangle (which includes Cable, Red Lion, Flint Creek, Rock Creek, Boulder, Combination, the head of Gold Creek and Dunkleberg mining districts) in Granite County. A major find was the hill named Hope, prior to the silver crash in 1893.
Sources claim the Granite Mountain Mine production was $22,093,106.00 and the Bi-Metallic $6,267,813.00 with a total net profit for the years 1883 to 1893 of $13,770,000.00. When the companies consolidated in 1898 the net yearly production was about $1,000,000.00 through December of 1903.[21]
When the price of silver dropped too low for the miner’s to profit from the mines with lower grade ore they still produced some profit from gold. During the World Wars’ large profits were made from the need for manganese. The Philipsburg Quadrangle was the largest deposit of readily available high grade manganese in the United States, according to Neu.[22]
As a child I was oblivious to the fact that when other children were playing on playgrounds covered with gravel, grass, or bark chips we played on the tailings from the manganese mines.
One source stated the area contained about 5000 recorded locations, in 1893,[23] with a number of the claims showing values varying from seven to twenty ounces of ore per ton of rock. This was described in an area fifteen miles square. It was only profitable to mine when there was an operating mill to crush the rock; a railroad to carry the ore to the east; investors to keep the money flowing; and miners willing to contract and work the tunnels with little concern for the daily perils, they faced in the mine shafts.
The huge endeavor to make a tramway all the way to Rumsey on Fred Burr Creek, a distance of 8,900 feet, was accomplished in about 1888. This was responsible for a number of years of continued mining as the ore was transported via the aerial tramway to the mill, with a substantial savings for the operations. The settlement at Rumsey was named after L.M. Rumsey, the President of The Granite Mining Company, at that time.
A poem written by Dick Hugo describes the feeling that surrounded the area when the silver no longer paid enough to mine.
                                       Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg
                          The principal supporting business now is rage.
                           Hatred of the various grays the mountain sends.
                           Hatred of the mill,
                           The Silver Bill Repeal,
                           The best liked girls who leave each year for Butte. [24]
         As the Silver mine's disappeared the area of Flint Creek and Rock Creek were being settled by homesteaders, including Mrs. Granville (Isabelle Brown) Stuart, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Brown, who lived in Philipsburg from 1876 to 1896.[25] Mrs. Stuart’s biography is covered in The Bitterroot Trails[26], and describes how as Granville’s second wife they returned from his appointment as Minister to Uruguay and Paraguay in 1898, to find his business was in ruins. He was then appointed librarian to the Butte Public Library and she took a homestead in Flint Creek Valley where they started a dairy ranch. On January 15, 1914, in the Philipsburg Mail, under Hall and Valley Notes was the statement Mrs. Stuart was over from Butte to look after her homestead. F.G. Haverty, the contractor was building her a new house.
There was an auction sale at her ranch on October 28, 1916.[27] Shortly thereafter they moved 
to Missoula, where Granville died, at the age of eighty seven on October 3, 1918.[28]
The homesteads were the beginnings of what now are large ranches raising cattle, sheep and horses. The town of Philipsburg continues to serve the population base of ranchers, many of them now owned and managed by large corporations. Most recently there has been a lot of revenue brought into the area by wealthy people, with the dream for a house in the country. A more picturesque place to build your lifetime dream of a home would be hard to find, but it is quiet astounding to be driving along a century and a half old rutted dirt road and see it posted private property with a million dollar home looking down from the ridge above you.
Through out this book are references to the Philipsburg cemetery where many of the discussed personalities rest. The ongoing existence of this plot of land would have not been possible if William Bradshaw had not expended the effort to buy the land. The March 14, 1889, Philipsburg Mail, stated: “Graveyard subscriptions. Wm. Bradshaw has raised several hundred dollars so no more persons will try jumping the graveyard…” The incident is covered in depth in the first chapter.
As you read each chapter, keep in mind the era these people lived in, while contributing to the history of our great land. They were prominent personalities in the fabric of Granite County. Notably, for a small population, they have always sent their fair share to protect and contribute to the welfare of our country. Political, economic and discriminatory issues were as volatile at that time as they are now. I hope you will come to know each person, as you meander through the chapters and complete this book with an understanding of how strong these men and women were in their everyday existence, and how they contributed to the area we now know as Montana and  the southern area of Granite County. 
I take this moment to explain to Drummond, Hall, Maxville and Lower Rock Creek that the northern part of Granite County has contributed greatly to the makings of this county. Their population is included throughout the Patriots chapter. The other aspects of northern Granite County will be published in Book III.


[1] Lesson, M.E., History of Montana Illustrated :1885.
[2] ibid
[3] Montana Almanac, 1959-60; Philipsburg Mail, November 14, 1894, and Leeson, 1885.
[4] Granite County Map, from Van Dersal & Conner’s Stockgrowers Directory of Marks and Brands for the State of Montana: 1872 to 1900, no page number, beginning of Granite County chapter.
[5]  1959.
[6]  ibid
[7] Clark C. Spence, Territorial Politics and Government in Montana, 1866-69.

[8] U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin No. 817, pp220, 1930. 
[9]  Stuart, Granville, Prospecting for Gold, 1925, University of Nebraska Press, pp 133-134.
[10]  ibid, pp171-172.
[11] Neu, Clyde, A Town Founded on Hope, second edition 1996, Granite County Historical Society, pp.---
[12] Philipsburg Mail, July 28, 1916.
[13] ibid, November 22, 1912.
[14] Granite County Records. Montana Historical Society Literature, Philipsburg Mail, November 14, 1894.
[15] Philipsburg Mail, November 16, 1888.
[16]  ibid, November 14, 1894.
[17] MHS Census Records.
[18] Philipsburg Mail, November 4, 1927
[19]  ibid, December 27, 1940.
 [20] Stone, A. L., Following Old Trails, How the Granite Mountain was found,  Missoulian, March 9, 1912, published   for Fidelity Real Estate by Pictorial Histories Publishing Company Inc., Missoula, Montana, 1996, pp 276.
[21] Neu, Clyde A. ibid, pp.12.
[22] ibid, pp.15.
[23]_____Mines in Montana, unknown date, pp. 70-92 in possession of author.
[24] Bevis, W.W., Ten Tough Trips: Montana writers and the west, 1990, University of Washington Press, Seattle, Washington, pp 150.

[25] Philipsburg Mail, January 7, 1944.
[26]_____ Bitterroot Trails, 1982, Bitterroot Historical Society, Stevensville, Montana, pp. 419.
[27] Philipsburg Mail, October 27, 1916,
[28] ibid, October 11, 1918.

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