Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Mettle of Granite County Book One Chapter Two (Part Two)

                                        Mettle of Granite County 

                                                        Book One

                                         Chapter Two (Part Two)

                                  Loraine M. Bentz Baker Domine


This is a continuation of the previous blog post.

Table of contents

Page family................................
O'Neil, Hickey, Hunt families........................................

Page 


 Another family that was active in the political arena was the Page family. According to Mrs. C.A. Page’s obituary, the Richard Page family arrived in Granite on May 18, 1889. When Richard died in February 3, 1897 (headstone states 1899), Christy A. (Mrs. Richard) moved to South Philipsburg, where she lived until her death at the age of seventy two, on August 3, 1911. At the time of Christy’s death she was survived by three sons: Vatis of Philipsburg, Edward of Drummond and John R. (the legislator etc.) who was living in Red Lodge at the time of her death; daughter Mrs. Mary McKeown of Kalispell; and a brother (not named) of Kalispell (73). 

 In the Philipsburg City Hall records is a grave file card for R. and C.A. Page (Baby), but no birth or death dates on the record, so obviously a child preceded them in death.

Mrs. Page was an active member of the King’s Daughters Society of the Presbyterian Church and Pearl Chapter No. 14 Order of the Eastern Star. The funeral was conducted by the O.E.S. and she was interred next to Richard in the Philipsburg cemetery. 

Her son, John R. Page, served in the Spanish American War. John was born September 12, 1880, at Harrisburg, Missouri and came to Granite, at the age of eight. He was married December 18, 1906 to Gertrude Wickersheim, of Corbin, Montana, in Boulder, Montana. They set up residence in Philipsburg and lived there most of the time, until his death. Although his obituary stated he served as a State Senator for 6 terms, this is not correct. As a Democrat, Mr. Page was elected as a State Representative in 1914 and 1916. In 1918, he was elected as a State Senator, re-elected in 1922 and lost the election to J.D. Kennedy in 1926, by fifty votes. John ran against Kennedy again in 1930 and won the senate seat back by 167 votes, then in 1934, was re-elected, over Kennedy, by almost 300 votes. He also served on the City of Philipsburg Finance Committee in 1920 (74). 

After his last term as a senator, John was a mine boiler inspector until his retirement. John was serving as the Judge for the City of Philipsburg when he died. John died at his home, while getting ready for bed, on December 22, 1956. Survivors were his wife, a son Perry Page and his wife of Salt Lake City, Utah, daughters and their spouses: Mr. and Mrs. Glen Taylor Vancouver, Washington; Mr. and Mrs. Taylor (Mamie) Baker of Spokane, Washington; and Mr. and Mrs. Bert (Doris) Kingery of Greenough and brother Vatis Page and his wife Eva of Philipsburg. 

As a veteran of the Spanish American War he belonged to the Silver Post VFW, the AF&AM Pearl Chapter, Order of Eastern Star and the Presbyterian Church. Funeral services were performed by the Masonic Temple and Pallbearers at the Philipsburg Cemetery were: Earnest McLaughlin, Jack Courtney, Everett Doe, Dr. L.R. Nesbit, Joe Beretta, and C. M. Huffman. Graveside services were conducted by the VFW (75). 

Gertrude Wickersheim Page, born October 29, 1889 died November 7, 1967, and has a headstone next to John, in the Philipsburg cemetery. 

John’s eldest son, John Page Jr., died while his Dad was a Senator, of a throat ailment. He had been ill at the family home in Philipsburg for several days before being taken to the Hospital in Butte on July 29, where he died July 31, 1933. John Jr. graduated from Granite County High School in 1927, with athletic honors and had continued his education with two years at the University of Montana. John Jr. was buried in the Philipsburg cemetery after funeral services at the Methodist Church. Pallbearers were: George Metcalf, Milton Doe, Leslie Herring, Harold Kaiser, Leonard Rinderknecht and Emile Perry. Honorary pallbearers were: George Grover of Anaconda; Tom Moore of Missoula; Herb Crossman of Hall; Harold Bowen, Forrest John McKenzie and Roddie McRae of Philipsburg (76). 

John’s daughter Doris, born August 26, 1911, married Ronald Pelkington, on May 28, 1928, and to that marriage was born a daughter, Lois (now Mrs. Gordon Owsley). Then on June 3, 1936, Doris, became the bride of Ernest A. Simell. Mr. Simell died after a brief illness, at the home of his step-father and mother Mr. and Mrs. A. Anderson, on December 28, 1937. Ernest was born in Anaconda and as a child, also lived in Philipsburg. He served nine years in the U.S. Army and received his honorable discharge in 1934. He had lived in Philipsburg for the past two years. Funeral services were at the family home performed by Rev. A.J. Longquist, pastor of the Swedish Lutheran Church in Anaconda. He was interred in the Philipsburg cemetery. Pall bearers were: Charlie Knapp, Martin Andre, Glen Bailey, Harvey Bauer, Glenn Taylor and Ben Walkup (77). 

In 1950, Doris married Bert Kingrey, in Virginia City, Montana. Bert was born November 28, 1922, in Twin Bridges, Montana. Bert's parents, Edward and Anna Talbott Kingrey, were living in Virginia City, at the time of the marriage.  

Doris died, February 12, 1990, and is buried in the Philipsburg cemetery. Bert died at the age of eighty four, at the Granite County Medical Center of cancer, on February 19, 2007. According to his obituary graveside inurnment service was to be held with military honors at a later date (78). 

Vatis, John's brother, born in 1872, married Birdie Nevada Keiley, from Granite, on July 26, 1900. They made their home in Philipsburg. 

According to a 1906 Philipsburg Mail article, Vatis and Al Schroller were taking out rich ore from the Lucky Boy mine east of Granite. 

Birdie, born on September 23, 1869, in Marshall County, Iowa, died on February 8, 1919, after being ill eight days, from an abscess in the inner ear which affected the brain. She was only forty eight years, four months and fifteen days of age. Besides Vatis, she was survived by three daughters: Mrs. Ethel Lambson of Mackey, Idaho, Mrs. J.E. McClannahan of Everett, Washington and Althea Page of Philipsburg and four sons: Wallace D. Kelly in the Signal Corp in France, Vatis Jr., Leslie and Kenneth all of Philipsburg and brother Ed Smith of Mackey, Idaho and sister Mrs. Henry Overly of Philipsburg and her mother Mrs. Frank Harvey of Mackey, Idaho. She had lived in Philipsburg for the past eighteen years. 

The funeral was held on February 11, after the train arrived and Rev. W. H. Calvert officiated,.Internment was in the Philipsburg cemetery, but no pallbearers are listed in her obituary (79). 

Birdie and Vatis’ daughter Althea married Melvin H. Johnson, on September 22, 1923, at the Methodist Parsonage, in Anaconda, with Rev. Edward H. Bartlett of Anaconda performing the ceremony. Mr. Johnson was employed by the Philipsburg Mining Company and Althea was a sophomore at Granite County High School. 

After Birdie’s death, Vatis continued as a merchant evidenced by articles such as “Vatis Page, proprietor of the Philipsburg Cash Grocery, returned Wednesday from a business trip to Butte and Helena” (8-0). 

 In 1920, Vatis married Mrs. Eva M. Ross, in Butte, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. William Loring, on September 14. They honeymooned at the Montana State Fair in Helena and a reception was to be given when they returned to Philipsburg on September 20, at the Rev. and Mrs. Fred Austice home. 

Eva was the daughter of Albert Tinklepaugh and the owner of the two story Ross building which caught on fire March 6, 1920. The fire was discovered by D.M. Durfee when he entered his office located in the building. Judge Durfee’s law office and fixtures were saved, as was Mr. and Mrs. F.C. Schillings household and personal effects. Sadly, Mrs. Ross was in Butte, with her young son Leslie, having his cast removed as he had broken his leg several weeks earlier in a coasting accident. 
Her son Claude was at home and had looked at the fires only a few minutes before the fire started and everything was alright. Both stoves, which he had started fires in, were removed by the firemen and neither were more than warm.
 So the firemen thought a defective flue was the cause of the fire. When Mrs. Ross returned from Butte she found she had only the clothes she was wearing left. She had bought the building, originally built by Joseph A. Hyde in the 1880’s “several years ago and has since used the lower floor for her residence and the upper floor as a lodging house” (81). 

Her son C.E. (Claude) Herring married and lived in Missoula and her son Leslie Herring married Miss Lois Aileen Donnelly, in Butte on August 27, 1928. Lois was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edmund Donnelly and had worked as a telephone operator in Philipsburg for the past year. Leslie was engaged in mining. 

Vatis died in 1959 and is buried in the Philipsburg Cemetery, next to Birdie. 

Christy Page’s son, Edward F., lived in Drummond at the time of her death in 1911, then moved to the East Fork of Rock Creek, some time after her death as if found where “Edward Page was a business visitor in the city Monday from his ranch on East Fork of Rock Creek” in the February 6, 1920, Philipsburg Mail. He was living in town by 1921, as described to the following article: “Edward Page is reported quite ill at his home in South Philipsburg” (82). According to Thomas R. Page’s obituary  (Edward's son), the family lived for seven years on the ranch, which was located where the East Fork Dam now is. The family moved to Philipsburg when the ranch buildings burned down in 1923, so they must have moved to the ranch in about 1916. 

Edward was married to Lola I. Van Blarcum and they had eight children. Edward and Lola’s fifth child, Thomas R. Page graduated from The Granite County High School, in 1935. In 1937, he was involved in a motorcycle accident. He and a friend were riding the cycle when it collided with a car driven by Russell Kamimura near Maxville on September 2. Tom suffered a severe fracture of the leg and ended up with a plate being inserted at St. Ann’s in Anaconda. 

 On February 27, 1944 Tom married Margorie (Margery) Dennis in Philipsburg. Margie was the sister of Hazel Dennis Ham, wife of Ray, spoken of in the Rock Creek and East Fork chapters in Book II. Thomas followed the occupation of miner and millwright and retired in 1979, from the Anaconda Copper Company. He died at the age of ninety one, December 10, 2007, at his Philipsburg home. Survivors were: His wife and children: Sharon (Mrs. Park McLure), Dennis and Kathrin (Mrs. Gary Benson); five grandchildren and five great grandchildren; and his brothers Oliver and Roland. He was preceded in death by three brothers, one sister and his parents. His remains were cremated and no mention is made of where the ashes will be deposited (83). 

Edward Page, born in 1878 died in 1940 and is buried in the Philipsburg cemetery. Mrs. Lola Page then married W.E. Metcalf and after he died in 1950, she married Howard Naef on October 24, 1951, in Anaconda. Howard and her divorced after a short time. Lola died May 7, 1980, at the age of ninety three and is buried in the Philipsburg cemetery under the name Lola I. Page.

O’Neil, Hickey, Hunt 


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”.

 Camille Engrav Jacobson gave me The History of Ireland, by Mary Frances Cusack, which recounts that in 1586, the first Hugh O’Neill “was just commencing his famous career”. The account described the influence of O’Neill in the history of Ireland and his exile with his Countess and other relatives to Normandy and finally to Rome, stating that they were liberally supported by the Pope and the King of Spain. They all died in a few years after their arrival, and their ashes rest in the Franciscan Church of St. Peter-on-Montorio. “The Red Hand of the O’Neill’s had hitherto been a powerful protection to Ulster…and now that the chiefs had been removed the people became an easy prey”. 

The issue that the descendents were in peril is recounted in a researched term paper for History 323, Hugh O’Neil, Montana Pioneer, written by Winifred M. Griffith, July 7, 1972. Ms. Griffith was the daughter of Bertha Hickey Fredrickson and a great- granddaughter of Hugh O’Neil. 

 He came to the United States as a young boy. According to the story he told his grandchildren, he got out of Ireland just one jump ahead of the British soldiers, who killed everyone in the immediate family they could catch. He came to America as a stowaway on a ship which landed in New York, where he almost starved to death before joining the Army. Although he was called Captain by the Irish miners, he probably was not an officer. It is probable that, like many another pioneer, he came out west with the army and took French leave of the military when gold was discovered in the area.  
 Ms. Griffith cites her mother Bertha Hickey Fredrickson and a January 7, 1965 Montana Post newspaper for this information. More information regarding the military is in a following paragraph. 

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, who looked upon all gentiles as their enemies and feared the mountain men would induce the Indians to kill them and burn their property. O’Neil and his party therefore engaged Maillet to guide them to Fort Bridger. 

Traveling up the Bitter Root to Ross’s Hole, they crossed the main range and proceeded up the west side of the Big Hole Valley twenty miles. Crossing once more the main range to Salmon River, they came out near where Salmon city now stands. A few miles further up the river, O’Neil and Ramsey concluded to remain in camp among the willows and thick brushes, while Maillet went ahead to Lemhi to reconnoitre and find out if the Mormons were hostile….The Mormon’s tried to induce Maillet to remain with them (to no avail)…after leaving Lemhi the party traveled up the Valley twenty miles, crossing what was afterwards known as Grasshopper Creek (Bannack City). Proceeding to little Beaverhead, at the mouth of Blacktail Deer Creek, they met John Jacobs, an old mountaineer, who had a letter for Maillet which had been thirteen months on its way from his people in Canada….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. These were the first houses put up in the Hell’s Gate Ronde” (now Missoula).
 Further research finds that one home was for Henry Brooks and the other one was for Neil McArthur. They also helped McArthur and his partner move their cattle to the newly erected buildings. 

But according to Missoula, The way it was, the structures were never used as “a trading post, only as a stockyard for their livestock enterprise” (84).

 A story told by great-great grandson Roger Baker, as he remembers it told to him by Hugh O’Neil’s daughter Jane O’Neil Hickey, brings up the question of at what age did he come to the west. Roger recounts the conversation by Jane as stating that Hugh O’Neil carried a wounded or dead Narcissa Whitman to a safe cabin after the Whitman Massacre. This happened at the mission established by her husband Marcus Whitman in 1836, near Walla Walla. The Indian massacre occurred on November 29, 1847. If the account is correct that would mean Hugh O’Neil was in the area at the age of sixteen. Also if he came west with the military why was he looking for Colonel Johnson when he met Maillet? 

Was Johnson (or Johnston) the person whom Granville Stuart, refers to when he stated: 
 About January 1, 1858, there arrived ten men, who had been teamsters in the employ of Johnston’s army. They were enlisted as volunteers, and sent out from the winter quarters at Fort Bridger to purchase beef cattle from the mountaineers (85).
 Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston, due to a couple of events, ended up being the person in command of the army of 2,500 men sent by President Buchanan, with a new governor, Alfred Cummings and other officers, to return the Utah Territory government back under the control of the United States, instead of the Mormon Church. Johnston and his troops left Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, September 18, 1857 and after many struggles due to weather, finally reached Fort Bridger on November 18. The establishment, originally built by Jim Bridger had either been sold to or taken over by Brigham Young in 1853, and had been burned, before Johnston’s arrival, by the Mormon’s before they retreated to Salt Lake City (86). 

The National Archives for Military Service Records is unable to find any record of service by Hugh O’Neil (12-17-2003). A family story says he was in the 7th Calvary. I have since found that all the men who worked as teamsters for the military were named Major so they could get onto the military bases and forts to pick up supplies. This validates that Hugh did find Johnston and went to work as a teamster. Research also revealed ledger records for Hugh O’Neil at Camp Floyd in Utah during June and October 1958 and February 1959. For more information on Camp Floyd ledgers go to the Blog article “Ledgers of Fred Burr and other Traders”, on this site. 

All accounts, be it historical documents, the two pictures we have or family documents, 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, written by Warren J. Brier, in 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. 

The story also includes the publicity leading up to the bout and other advertised and fought bouts of Con Orem and Hugh O’Neil’s in later years. 

Hugh was a heavy drinker and social person, known to light his cigars with a $10.00 bill when the children were in need of sustenance, as related by Jane O’Neil Hickey in 1931 in an interview with Winifred Griffith the daughter of Jane’s sixth child, Bertha. 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. These two groups had lived close together for an entire winter during which the Indians had kept the miners alive by sharing their stores of food. Some of the level headed miners convinced the Indians to move a little farther from Bannack, but some of the men went to the moved camp and found the Indians ready to fight. A couple of days later shots were heard and two Indians (one was the well liked Chief Snag), were found dead. The other Indians had departed. Hugh was:
furious and called the killing of the Indians a cowardly, dastardly act. Buck Stinson, who was later executed by the Vigilantes, took O’Neil’s tirade as applying to himself and said he was insulted. With a double- barreled shot gun filled with buck shot he set out one night to kill O’Neil. Friends of both men calmed him down and took away the gun (87) .
 But Stinson carried a grudge. 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 “Slim, 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. At this time Indians in the territory outnumbered white men by three to one. O’Neil was able to convince all of the group, but the road agents, that the Indians were innocent and should not be killed. Finally he negotiated that two of the Indians would be held and the other sent out to bring back the rest of the tribe. If they were peaceful and unarmed then the group agreed to let them go otherwise they would all be killed. Only squaws, papooses and old men were found. Therefore, all the Indians were set free and hastened on their way to Idaho. 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 (88). 

Hugh was a devote Catholic, as documented in many Montana history accounts. Hugh is credited with finding a place for Christmas Mass to be held in Virginia City in 1865. The story was told many times and finally documented in The Montana Magazine of History. The facts of the story were validated by an unpublished sketch written by Father Francis Xavier Kuppens S.J. and was preserved in the Archives of St. Louis University. The sketch details how Father Giordia arrived in Virginia City a few days before Christmas in 1865 and lodged with a Catholic miner. He and the miner looked in vain for a building to hold Christmas Mass. The plight “reached the ears of many late one evening in a place where the youth and sporting fraternity of the town amused themselves at cards and dice”. 

Leader of the group was Hugh O’Neil who felt “it would be an everlasting shame if the Catholic religion could obtain no place for worship on Christmas Day”. Hugh took the issue to the Acting Governor, Thomas Meagher and the two formed a plan. They awakened the proprietor of the theatre (the largest building in town), and presented a business proposition. A large amount of gold would be paid to rent the theatre for two weeks and all the scheduled performances would be cancelled. Hugh convinced the proprietor that the actors all needed a vacation over the holidays. Father Giordia was presented first thing in the morning with the news he was to meet the Acting Governor and Hugh O’Neil at the theatre immediately. Hugh took charge of the alterations of the theatre and the Governor took charge of the Priests’ comforts. By the end of the day, news of the upcoming Mass had been sent by riders to all the distant communities and the theatre had been renovated. In fact to such an extent that the proprietor came and declared that he could no longer use the building as a theatre. Not to worry. Funds were raised when the collection plate was passed after Mass, to buy the building and it was established at that moment as the first Catholic Church in Montana Territory. So as history goes, not only did the citizen’s of Virginia City and the surrounding area have a Christmas Mass in 1865, but they also had a church established and paid for by raw gold mined from this virgin earth. 
The priest tried to express his thanks, but was overcome by tears. Hugh O’Neil, his strong attendant, supported the frail form and guiding his faltering steps, led him away that Christmas Day of 1865 in the rough, uncouth, wicked frontier mining camp of Virginia City, Montana (Territory)--tempered and tamed by the spirit of Christ’s birth (89).
 Hugh’s life had many varied experiences. It is known that he drove freight from Salt Lake to Virginia City in the 1860’s and family history says he killed an Indian while trying to bring him into custody while serving as the Indian Agent in Missoula Montana in 1871. The fact he was an Indian Agent cannot be verified. Documentation of Indian Agents for the Flathead Reservation list a Mr. Galbraith in 1871 and then Major Peter Ronan in 1873. Because of the issue with a bogus treaty negotiated by General James A. Garfield in 1872, there is a possibility that O’Neil filled in for a short period of time. 

During a crisis when it was said Chief Charlo had signed the treaty, the community may have removed Galbraith. Charlo was finally able to show proof that he had not been present at the treaty signing and the crisis subsided (90)

It was documented Hugh provided support for the 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 (91).
 O’Neil ran for Sheriff of Deer Lodge County in 1865, on the Peoples Ticket and the election results were: Hugh O’Neil 788, Fred Burr, Democrat, 835, C.S. Williams, Independent, nineteen (92). Deer Lodge County archives for that election were lost when a building flooded around the turn of the century. 

Hugh also worked for a period of time as a prison guard at the State Prison in Deer Lodge. Some family stories say he was the Warden of the prison, but documents did not show this until research revealed an article in the New Northwest, November 25, 1881.
Warden Hugh O'Neil returned from Helena Sunday, where he has been on business and brought over discharges for four of his charges, vis:
 Charles Richardson, sentenced from Beaverhead county for Grand Larceny for 1 1/2 years. His time would have expired December 13th, and he was given the month off for exemplary behavior while in prison....There were 62 convicts in the Penitentiary at the time these discharges are granted. The number is already fully made up by new charges.
I have to assume since Hugh is not listed as a Warden in the Penitentiary documents that he was appointed to finish out another Warden's term. Probably Col. W.W. Botkin's.

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, fleeing from her Mormon family, as they had eloped. The account written by Wilma Hunt Christy, as told to her by her Grand mother Jane O’Neil Hickey, tells the story differently. 

 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 train after the Indian attack and Margaret decided to elope with Hugh O’Neil, one of the army men. 

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. 

Margaret is credited with being the first white woman to ride into Montana on horseback. Also, an article in the Butte Miner, January 24, 1915, declares her the first white woman in Montana. I do not believe that she was the first white woman. I visited Fort Bridger to see if there was any marriage documents preserved. No records are at the National Park Site and I have been unable to find any marriage records at the Historical Archives in Cheyenne, Wyoming. 

The person who would have married Hugh and Margaret at Fort Bridger was Judge William A. Carter. He came to the Fort, with Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston’s Army in 1857 and remained there until his death November 7, 1881 (93). 

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. 

I have been unable to verify if the J.T. O’Neil, Deputy Sheriff of Granite in 1893, was their son John. 

Hugh and Margaret separated some time after moving to Philipsburg in 1875. Although obituaries do not state that Margaret and Hugh divorced, Camille Engrav Jacobson remembers seeing a copy of a divorce decree issued in Deer Lodge, Montana. The obituary of one of her grand daughters, Lena Degenhart Mitchell stated she was born in Garrison, Montana on January 23, 1885 “… at her grandmother’s, Mrs. O’Neil” (94). This demonstrates she lived elsewhere than Philipsburg after separating from Hugh. 

 Sometime after Hugh’s death, Margaret married Alva Mason. I found a news article stating Margaret was at a party in 1895, given by her daughter Mrs. L.C. (Ellen) Degenhart, to honor another daughter Miss Annie (Addie) O’Neil, who recently returned to Philipsburg after being gone for two years. At that time, Margaret was still being called, Mrs. Hugh O’Neil. Among the guests present were: Mr. and Mrs. M.E.H. Gannon, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Durand, Mr. and Mrs. John McDonald, Mr. and Mrs. J.L. Schoonover and Mrs. H. Schnepel (95).

Continued research revealed her name change was before September 1900, as I found an article stating: “Marguerite Crowley was married to John O’Neil on September 19, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Alva Mason in Kirkville”, in the September 20, 1900, Philipsburg Mail. 

Alva was a peddler and according to licenses issued in Philipsburg he paid $30.00 every three months versus other peddlers paying only $6.00 and $12.00. If the size of a tombstone is any evidence of financial security, his first wife, Amaretta’s stone demonstrates that, being a massive monument in the Philipsburg Cemetery, with the date of her death, April 10, 1895. Amaretta’s obituary stated she died in Kirkville, of pneumonia at the age of fifty two. She was married to Alva for twenty nine years and had arrived with him to the Bitter Root Valley from Illinois in 1881. They moved to Philipsburg in 1892 or 1893. Both obituaries list her death date as April 12, while her headstone stated April 10 (96). 

At an unknown date, Alva and Margaret moved to Hemet, California where he died March 19, 1907. Margaret returned to Philipsburg sometime after 1910, as she was visited by family in Hemet at that time. She lived with her daughter, Ellen (Degenhart) in Philipsburg until her death January 23, 1915 (97). 

The Degenhart family is discussed at length in the Patriots Chapter, later in this book and in Book II in the Ranches around Philipsburg Chapter. 

 After separating from Margaret, Hugh O’Neil apparently lived in Philipsburg with 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. This provides evidence that Hugh was living in Deer Lodge again in 1881, but 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 (98).
 Research does not reveal whether he left his new home and returned to Philipsburg or was providing tutelage to Kaiser, while living in Deer Lodge. Hugh, died of cancer at St. Patrick’s Hospital and was buried February 23, 1895, at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Missoula, Montana. The 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 (99).
 Hugh never joined the Society of Montana Pioneers, as it was formed in 1899. As this paper evidenced, it was well documented the date he came to Montana, so there was no problem for Jane O’Neil Hickey to become an active member of both the Society of Montana Pioneers and the Son and Daughters of Montana Pioneers. When she joined, Hugh and Margaret’s names were added to the roster. Her brother Hugh and sister (Mary) Ellen (Degenhart) also became members, but there is no record of the other siblings names listed in this Society. Winnifred Griffith has a certificate presented at the Montana Territorial Centennial (Statehood Diamond Jubilee) in 1964 recognizing her mother Bertha M. Hickey Fredrickson as a Centennial Pioneer and her obituary in the Billings Gazette, on August 4, 1977, stated she was a member of the Sons and Daughters of Montana Pioneers (100). 

The only reference other than the Society membership, which I found of young Hugh O’Neil, was in a letter published in the Philipsburg Mail, January 19, 1917, written by a former typesetter and assistant of the Mail, Earl T. Maurer:
 …Now and again I encounter a familiar face in this part of the world. While in Los Angeles recently, in one week’s time I met on the city’s busy thoroughfares Hugh O’Neil, J.J. (Jack) Boyd, and Frank Gerbil, all former Philipsburgers….
 Jane Marguerite O’Neil was the first child born to Hugh O’Neil and Margaret (Meredith) O’Neil, at Fort Bridger, Wyoming on October 12, 1860. When she was: 
 about three they moved from Fort Bridger to Virginia City. They came in the first wagon train over the Bridger Cut-off, captained by Jim Bridger himself. This was a much shorter route to the Montana gold fields than the Emigrant Trail, that went into Idaho and then North and certainly much safer than the Bozeman Road, also known as the Bloody Bozeman.
 Her early years were spent in Bannock and Virginia City (1863), Deer Lodge (1865), and Missoula (1867). Numerous accounts of her childhood that are documented by grandchildren Wilma Hunt Christ and Winifred Fredrickson Griffith are related to encounters with Indians. Remember that this was an era when newspapers referred to the Flathead Indians as “a band of mongrels”, and the government and pioneers were intent on forcing the Indians to live on reservations and adopt the way of the white man. One account describes her as being about ten: 
Her folks left her (on the reservation) for an overnight stay in Missoula. She was in charge of the other children, the youngest being an infant. With the agent gone (Her father) the Indians got some whiskey and had a party or powwow or whatever. All day they could hear them getting louder and louder. As night came on Mamo (the grandchildren’s nickname for Jane) got more afraid. The house had a sort of loft you got to by a ladder through a trap door. She gathered the rest (of the children) and climbed (into the loft) and pulled the ladder up. During the night a bunch of the Indians came, stole everything possible and wrecked everything else while the kids were huddled in the attic, trying to keep the baby quiet. They stayed there until her parents came home. She had expected the Indians to set fire to the house as that is what they usually did (101).
 Christy, goes on to state that in December 1871, there is a newspaper account describing him shooting an Indian for stealing a horse. I have been unable to find that account but did find another article in the Missoula Pioneer, February 2, 1871, that stated: 
 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.
 During this time near Missoula, her grand daughter Wilma Christy describes Jane’s first encounter with her future husband, John Hickey. 
When she was seven she was playing around outside where her father was cutting wood when a cowboy rode up. He was a real cowboy, too--big hat, boots, chaps, even a six-gun on his hip! He picked Mamo up and asked her name and age. She told him and he said, “Well, Janie when you are sixteen, I am going to marry you.” Being seven she promptly forgot about it. About 1873, her family moved to Philipsburg. She rode horse back all the way and it was quite a trip in those days. When she was sixteen her parents had a marriage all arranged for her to a man who was about twenty five years older and fairly well off. But before the marriage took place the cowboy showed up again, only now he was a miner.
 Other documents state that Jane went to Georgetown and got a job as a waitress when her parents moved from Missoula back to Deer Lodge, and that the parents did not move to Philipsburg until 1875. A story from Jane, recalled by her great-grandson Roger Baker, was that she had to take over the responsibility of feeding the family when she was thirteen. The direct quote he recalls: 
He (Hugh O’Neil) was always too busy with other things to take care of his own family. I had to do it (102).
 Jane began running her father’s freight line and as told to Roger by his Grandmother Nora, she was known as:
the best mule skinner both in skill and speed than any of the men on the freight line. Her language was more prolific than any of the men and her skill would put any of them to shame. They loved and admired her. 

 She married John Hickey, at Georgetown July 17, 1877 (103). Below the town on the acreage known as Georgetown Flats  is what flooded when the Flint Creek Dam was completed for the Flint Creek Power Plant in October 1901. Jane and John along with her sister and brother-in-law Ellen and Lee Degenhart are listed in the 1880 U.S. federal Census as residents of Georgetown.  

Their first child was born while they were living at Georgetown, which at that time was a thriving mining camp. 
As documented by Wilma (Hunt) Christy: 
When Alice was a month old there was an Indian scare. Grandpa (John Hickey) was up in the hills prospecting and Mamo was alone. One night she heard a blood curdling scream and was sure it was Indians. It was in January but she grabbed the baby and some blankets and hid in a mine tunnel that night. The next morning she came back and a neighbor told her she had heard a fox and that there were a lot of them around there. Another strange thing happened to her while living there. John was gone again and one night while asleep she heard him calling her. It was so real to her and she had a feeling something was wrong so she went to a friend and told him. The friend went up in the mountains where John was and found him sick with the flu. The cabin was cold and John to weak too get out of bed. He’d had been without food for days so the friend stayed with him until he was well enough to travel. Mamo was born with a caul (membrane covering the head) and the Irish believed that gave a person certain powers. That was the only time I ever heard her speak of a presentiment though.
 Jane and John moved to Granite in 1884 and had the first family home ever constructed there. Wilma Christy tells the story about how proud Jane was of her home and made bright red drapes for the windows. The house was located at the foot of Whiskey Hill where most of the saloons and Bawdy Houses, were in business. After having a number of men knock at her door late at night and her having to start answering the door with her needle gun “in her hand so they didn‘t get far”. Jane realized the lantern light shining behind her red drapes was attracting them, so down came her pretty red drapes. 

Life had many a heart-ache that these pioneer families experienced and Jane and John had their share. As written by Wilma Christy: 
On a May morning in 1885, Mamo made some bread, as usual, and gave some to Alice who liked to make some too. Alice put it in a little wooden apple shaped dish to raise and she, Sadie and Liddie went out to play. To the left of the old hospital there is a big pile of rocks where they always played, and they went there that morning. Later that morning they came home, complaining of not feeling well. They had caught diphtheria. Sadie died May 17, Liddie, four days later and Alice a week after that. Minnie (Anna Arminia) who was eight months old had it also and they had no hope for her either. With diphtheria a false membrane adheres to the walls of the nose and throat and blocks the air passages. When the family was at the funeral for the other girls, Great-Grandma O’Neil (Margaret) was standing by the window holding Minnie when she started to choke. Great-Grandma stuck her finger down Minnie’s throat and pulled out the membrane. This was nothing short of a miracle because it could very rarely be done. Aunt Minnie got well and lived many more years. When the little girls got sick they cut off their long braids and “Mamo” kept them in an old steamer trunk she had. She also had the little wooden apple bowl with the dried up bread dough Alice had put there that morning. She would never let us touch them though because she thought we might still be able to catch diphtheria.
 This episode changed forever the sentiment Jane had for the Catholic Church, her father Hugh had been so devoted to. As told by Winifred Griffith, 
The Priest her husband brought from Deer Lodge (to perform the funerals) had been drinking and said to her, “You and John must have sinned greatly to have God punish you so severely.
 The Priest said the funeral service, but Jane Hickey, who was not a forgiving person, left the Church. John Hickey remained a Catholic, but she buried him from the Methodist Church. 

Before they moved from Granite, Jane and John became foster parents to a young boy named Tom. As recounted by Wilma Christy:
I don’t know the exact date of this but it happened after the little girls died and before 1888 when they left Granite….Some people named Mead came to Granite and lived up above the town in a rather isolated spot. They had a little boy about 5. Mr. Mead was a heavy drinker, mean to his wife and boy and not liked very much. She was a nice lady but terribly afraid of him. She and Mamo became friends and eventually she talked about her family and hinted that the boy wasn’t theirs but had been kidnapped from a wealthy French-Canadian family. She talked about it more and more and one day told Mamo she was going to bring something and show her. She never showed up and when some men went to the cabin they could hear the little boy crying inside but couldn’t get the door open. Someone finally crawled through the window and they (grandpa was one of them) found her slumped down dead in front of the door. He had driven a wedge in her head. He was passed out on the bed. Don’t know what they did with him but Grandpa brought Tom home and they raised him. He was never adopted but went by Hickey. Mamo always thought Mrs. Mead had been going to bring her proof of Tom’s parentage but if there was anything it was gone by the time they found her. Tom grew up, moved to Butte to work and married a woman named Annie Shields.
 In the later years, the story goes on to say that Tom wrote to Mamo one day demanding she sell her place and give him part of the money. “She refused and he disowned her, changed his name to Taylor, and then to the French spelling of Tuleur.” For some reason he thought this was his real parent’s name. He was last known to be in Elko, Nevada and his son was a policeman there. 

Research revealed an article from the Philipsburg Mail, February 17, 1888, of a man named Martin L. Scott who murdered his wife on November 17, 1887 in Granite. The trial testimony recounts that he had worked for John Hickey, foreman of the Blaine Mine and in the statement he made before his execution he stated: 
 …she called me a name, and I slapped her mouth with the back of my hand. She went out of the house cursing and said she would have me arrested. I saw no more of her until morning. John Hickey came up to my house in the morning, told me that my wife had come to his house the night before drunk, and had stayed their all night; and neither he nor his wife wanted her there.
 The article goes on to describe how he paid a fine for assault charges and then when he returned home fell into a washtub when he opened the door and the lights went out and he was assaulted. After he regained consciousness found his wife injured and laying on some tools and very drunk. He could not move her and talked to her until about five in the morning. He denied striking her with any of the tools and stated that he remembered hitting an assailant with his gun when he was first assaulted. He was found guilty of murder in the first degree after only one and one half hour of jury deliberation and sentenced to be hung. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court, then to Governor Leslie for executive commutation and both were refused. No other records of a wife’s murder are found, during this time period. There was no mention in the article of a young boy (104). 

 Jane gave birth to Catherine (Kate), November 9, 1886, in Granite. Then, Jane, John, Minnie, Tom, and Kate moved from Granite to a small cabin in Frost Gulch in 1888. Frost Gulch later became known as part of Kirkville. They paid $250.00 for their new home. John and her welcomed 5 more children into this small cabin: Bertha born December 2,1888; John born August, 27,1889, who died at 3 months of age, and is buried next to his three sisters in the Philipsburg Cemetery; Ruth born July 3,1893; Nora born September 11,1896 and Neil born March 14,1899. 

Catherine was married on June 12, 1905  (105), to a miner from Granite named Fred Lutz. They had a home wedding in the family house in Kirkville, with the Rev. W.H. Pascoe performing the ceremony. An article in the Mail, July 13, 1906, stated “Born to Mr. and Mrs. Fred Lutz of Kirkville on Sunday July 1, a daughter” and on January 19, 1917, stated:
 A week ago last Sunday Fred Lutz of Kirkville lost three of his horses which disappeared from the barnyard Sunday evening and could not be found anywhere, although a daily search was made in the nearby hills for over a week. Last Monday a neighbor returned home from a several weeks visit in Butte and observed some horses in his barn, a dugout in the hillside roofed over and closed by a door, which had been fitted up to stable a saddle horse. The neighbor called Mr. Lutz, who went over and found they were his long lost horses. Probably attracted by some little hay or oats, the three had squeezed into the small barn and the door closed behind them, so they could neither get out, turn around nor lie down. They were very gaunt and nearly famished having had nothing to eat or drink for nine days. They had gnawed away the manger and other wood within their reach and could not have lived much longer. Special care was required to save them after Mr. Lutz got them home.
 Kate died in Tampa, Florida, with the last name of Schweikert, sometime after 1986. She was living there with her daughter (106). 

 While Jane was busy raising children, John was hard at work supporting them. John was born at South Whitefield, Maine on January 27, 1847, to John Hickey and Sarah Ann (Sykes) Hickey. He was the third born of seven children. His parents are buried at North Whitefield, Maine near St. Denis Church in the lower cemetery named Calvary (Hickey, 1989). Father John died October 2, 1871 at the age of sixty five according to his headstone and Sarah died in April 1912 at the age of ninety three, at her daughter’s home. There are also two children buried in that family plot. Margaret E. died October 18, 1865 at the age of twenty two and Mary died August 8, 1864 at the age of thirteen. It is not certain at exactly what age he left home, but in the family possession’s, in Maine, California and Montana is an identical picture of the three Hickey brothers together as young men. Family believes, John traveled to Petaluma, California to visit his brother Maurice and this picture was taken then. Apparently William was also visiting from Maine. 

We know he came to Montana during the early days when placer mining was the State’s main industry. At Pioneer in 1867 he worked at the Bratten Bar where the old timers named him Rock Derrick. He was so strong that he could lift and carry a boulder that required two “ordinary” men to even turn it over. A story told to Roger Baker by "One armed", George Brand was that while in Pioneer, John would pick up a large rock named after him and carry it twenty to thirty feet, then any man that challenged him would have to try to move it and surpass John by even one half inch. If he did not he forfeited $100.00. George said no one ever beat him and that the $100.00 always ended up in the Saloon right next to the rock with drinks on the house. George thought that the rock which is apparently still there in Pioneer weighed about 640 pounds. George was known to exaggerate. 

John’s obituary, goes on to state that he was the strongest of the 800 men working there. John was one of the first men to come to Granite when Pioneer came to an end. At the time of his death he was working a lease at Granite. Frequent references in the Philipsburg Mail speak of him working away from home such as foreman at the East Pacific Mine, near Winston in January 27, 1899 and returning to Philipsburg because of a serious illness to Mrs. Hickey; and working in Butte at the Gallatin, as a mine foreman after the turn of the century (107). 

Researching newspapers of the time there is mention of two John Hickey’s, one a miner and the other a rancher and owner of pure breed horses, and involved in mining (Discussed in depth in the East Fork Chapter). Neither of the men used middle initials, so deeds and patents may not tell the whole story, therefore, I have relied on family knowledge and the age according to dates of birth and death to weed out who the article pertained to.I am not certain if the article in the Philipsburg Mail, April 28, 1899 stating: “John Hickey, who has charge of the placer mines recently purchased by  Mr. Paul A. Fusz on Rock Creek, was in the city during the week”, is this John Hickey. I did not find any documentation in the American Gem Mining Syndicate records referring to any Hickey working for them. The Sapphire Mines are discussed in depth in Book II. 

The Philipsburg Mail has a descriptor of John Hickey:
 …sleeping the last long sleep. To know him intimately was to be his friend and admirer. There was in the man a nobility of soul that soared in an atmosphere where dishonor could not enter…He was a prince among men and the generous heart that beat for justice and humanity has been stilled forever. Upon his brow all aglow with the light of the purpling east there never was a frown. He was always strong, always self-reliant, always sincere. His vision was cosmic and his heart full of love for all mankind ….We bend in sorrow above his bier, pay homage to his noble life and extend heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved ones. He did well. He fought his fight and then passed out like one of the heroes of old, pointing to better things and speaking of a glory and freedom to be. The world will miss him; it was that much better off because he had lived, it numbers one less since he has gone (108).
 Three comments below this heartfelt statement, written by the editor reads “Mrs. John Hickey of Kirkville has been very ill during the early part of the week.” John died 10 months before this heartfelt epilogue was written by the newspaper editor. The Philipsburg Mail, obituary for John Hickey, has as a heading:
 …A citizen of sterling worth, esteemed and respected by all. Funeral largely attended. Miners pay last tribute… As a husband and father he was kind and loving, as a friend ever true and loyal, and as a citizen he was honorable and upright and honest to a fault. His doctrine was a square deal for every man and he lived up to it strictly….The funeral took place at 2:30pm, Monday February 13, from Red Men’s Hall…under the auspices of the Granite Miner’s Union. It was a large funeral and attended by every miner in the camp. All ceased work for the day and paid a last tribute of respect to a comrade whom all loved and esteemed. When the body of men were seen marching to the cemetery ahead of the hearse it seemed difficult to believe that there were so many miners in the camp….One of the most masterly burial sermons ever heard in this city. There were three distinctive parts-a eulogy of the life and character of the departed, consolation for the family, and tribute to the Miner’s Union. It deeply impressed everyone (109).
 All comments by his children and grandchildren describe him as a kind, loving and caring man. A family story recounted by Roger Baker was that John Hickey was a very close friend of Fred H. Burr, an original pioneer that came to Montana with the Mullan survey group in 1853. Roger remembers his mother Florence taking him by a spot on Fred Burr Creek, where her grandfather had recounted this story: Fred Burr was very concerned that someone would bury him where he did not want to rest and had made John promise that he would see to it that his resting place was among the mountains and trees that he had loved. When he died John took his remains and buried them on Fred Burr Creek, and kept it his secret until sharing it with his granddaughter. many years later. Validation of this story has been impossible. John Owens Journals: 1850-1870 in The Research Library at the Montana Historical Society state Fred left Montana for Canada in 1868 and died in Washington D.C. in the late 1890’s. John Hickey could have traveled to Washington D.C. and obtained Fred’s remains, as he was said to promise, though I have been unable to find any mention of Fred’s death in the local newspapers, nor any mention of John traveling to the east at that time.(Indepth research concerning Fred Burr is elsewhere on this blogsite)

 When John died, Jane continued living in the Frost Gulch cabin with her single daughters until Nora, her next to last born child married Maynard Hunt in 1914. Nora attended Grade School and High School in Philipsburg and was active in the Philipsburg social life. She was a member of the Rainbow Girls as a young girl and Eastern Star for fifty years, as an adult (110). After finishing High School, Nora met Maynard Harold Hunt at a dance in the Miner’s Union Hall in Granite; experienced a whirlwind courtship and married him on May 24, 1917, in Drummond, Montana. 

Maynard continued working in the mines in Butte, Montana, for another year and then moved into the house with Nora and Jane and began drafting plans to build a large modern home on the property. These detailed drawings are in the possession of Grand-daughter Camille Engrav Jacobson. 

Maynard Harold Hunt was one of seven children born to William Henry and Lura Jane Jackson Hunt, on July 6, 1886 in Potosi, Wisconsin. He attended grade school and high school in Potosi. Because of his career as an adult it is assumed that he attained an engineering degree before moving to Philipsburg, Montana, and there is a newspaper account “Mr. Hunt, who is attending Bailie’s Commercial College at Dubuque, made a visit home Saturday” detailed in The Hunt Connection from the Grant County Herald Newspaper, but there is no date for the article. Some time after 1908: 
with the building of the Milwaukee Railroad into Montana, William Henry Hunt, his wife, Lura and several of the children moved to Three Forks, Montana where his son Charles and Ben Reynolds had established a hardware business known as Reynolds and Hunt which opened its doors in 1908 (111).
 In 1909 the name was changed to the Three Forks Hardware Company with the following announcement: “W.H. Hunt, the new member of the firm, is a man of sound business judgment."

It is not known when the Mercantile was sold, but there are homesteads recorded in August, 1913 for Charles and on March 2, 1914, for William Henry Hunt, north of Three Forks in the Crow Valley (112). Family members believe Maynard worked as a surveyor for the U.S. Department of Interior, Topographical Division while the mapping of the Patrick Quadrangle in the Fred Burr Mountain Range, was being done. This mapping covered the time period of 1895 to 1917 and Maynard had in his possession, maps that he had been responsible for completing. 

Once he arrived in Granite he went to work for the Bi-Metallic Mining Company. He was in charge of all the leasers and drew maps for the company. He also had a history working for Moorlight Mining Company and leased in several mines. Maynard’s signature, dated 1930, is on the Philipsburg Cemetery plot maps that are hung on swinging doors in the City Hall, with recognition to the surveyors, Ackerman and Cralle, and the date as surveyed, October 1889. The scale is ten ft. equals one inch, which leads one to believe that he had formal topography and drafting education. 

 He and Nora were very social and not a week goes by in the Philipsburg Mail, during their marriage, that an item isn’t included describing a party or social happening (usually card games) at the Hunt household such as: “The next meeting of the Star of Compass will be held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. M.H. Hunt in Kirkville addition; and January 20, 1939, where they: 
contributed a delightful evening to the social events of the week, entertaining Saturday at their home. The evening was spent playing contract, after which a luncheon was served. Those present included Mr. and Mrs. E. M. Poese, Mr. and Mrs. Arnt Sabo, and Mr. and Mrs. Harry Herron (113).
 Maynard was a member of the Masonic Temple and served a one year term on the School Board. Nora and Maynard (known to his friends as Mike) had three daughters. Florence Neil was born August 22, 1918, in Butte, Montana; Norma Jane was born February 9, 1920, also in Butte; and Wilma Eileen was born June 13, 1930, in Anaconda. There was no hospital in Philipsburg at this time and apparently the family did not wish to utilize the midwife and physician present. 

Maynard became ill in May of 1940, with pneumonia and died on the 22, at the young age of fifty four (114). This left Nora a young widow at the age of forty three, in a similar situation as was her mother Jane a generation before. Wilma was still a young girl, not quite ten years old. Florence had just given birth to her second child Roger, from her marriage to Vern Baker, and also had three year old Maynard to care for. The marriage was not going well and the children moved in with Jane and Nora. Florence went to Seattle to work as a riveter for Boeing and Wilma was sent to St. Mary’s School in Deer Lodge, and then Webster School, in both Butte and Virginia City. She completed her senior year of high school in Philipsburg. Norma was now twenty and had attended one year at Montana State University. 

Maynard had built a beautiful log home on the property. The home is still standing, but has had extensive remodeling done on it, by the current owner named Buhr. Jane continued living with Nora, in this home, until her death in September of 1947. She suffered for years from gall stones and finally at almost eighty seven years old, decided to have them operated on. She survived the surgery but died afterward from a “blocked artery to the heart”. At the time of her death she was “Philipsburg’s oldest citizen in point of residence”. For more than fifty eight years she had lived in Frost Gulch. Six generations of her family, lived in Philipsburg “which is probably a record unequaled by any other family in Granite County.” (115)

Finances were not something this family ever discussed but it had to be a time of scarce assets as the war had created rationing. Nora being of the strong pioneer personality became a beautician and contributed to her family needs in this manner, until she married Sheldon B. (Jack) Watt in October of 1942. 

Sheldon was a veteran of both World War I and II and lived a short life, dying on September 19, 1948, at the age of forty eight (116). Nora, for the second time, found herself in the role of widow and this time she decided to support herself as a Licensed Practical Nurse. She received her L.P.N. certificate March 5, 1954 along with: Rosella Jurin, Frances Owsley, Olga Minster, Anne Steffan, Eva Norris and Edith Parfitt (117). 

Her mother Jane had died in 1947. Daughter, Norma had married Jimmie Howard in 1944 and they now had two sons, Jimmie S. and John Edward. Their daughter Roxanne was born a few years later. Daughter, Florence married Helmer Engrav on February 14, 1946, in Anaconda. Daughter, Wilma was graduated from high school and soon to marry Ed Heimark, so Nora was truly on her own for the first time. 

 Pictures always show Nora with a very full head of either dark black or gray then white hair styled in a short bob of the latest style. A short and full figured woman, she always wore the laced up corset with stays, making her full breasts reveal deep cleavage. The grandchildren and great grand children loved this ample bosom and were often seen serenely asleep, with a small hand cuddled in the cleavage. 

 In the late 1950’s, while visiting her sister Bertha Hickey Fredrickson in Great Falls she met a wheat rancher, Glen Bumgarner, and began cooking for his crew during the harvest season. They were married in Reno, Nevada in 1964. This marriage was also short lived as Glen died on June 27, 1968, at the family ranch home east of Great Falls, Montana and is buried in Great Falls. He was seventy two years of age, and Nora was not yet seventy two at the time of his death (118). 

 From this time until her death on April 15, 1983, Nora lived during the winter months in Adams, Oregon with daughter Wilma; her two children Eileen “Randy” and Russell “Rusty” Heimark, and her second husband Phil Christy and their children Patrick and Shannon. She spent the summers between Florence and Helmer Engrav’s home in Philipsburg and Norma and Jimmy Howard’s home in Deer Lodge. Nora was buried in the plot in the Philipsburg cemetery beside grandson Hugh Engrav, who died in a car crash, while in the military, on July 11, 1968. In the ensuing years, buried beside her were: grandson Maynard Neil Baker who died February 15, 1986; her daughter Florence who died November 6, 1988 and Florence’s husband Helmer Engrav who died December 29, 1995; and grandson Barry Engrav who died by suicide, on November 7, 1997. A sister, Ruth Hickey Blonger who drank “oil of cedar” and died September 1, 1916, is buried in a plot near Jane’s mother Margaret, in block nineteen.

The O’Neil and Hickey children are buried nearby in the Catholic section of block nineteen. Grandson Roger Baker died of metastatic cancer, on October 8, 2004 and is buried in the Deer Lodge cemetery (119). I know little about Nora’s sister, Ruth, except what is told in her obituary.

Jane O’Neil Hickey’s other sister that remained in Philipsburg, Mrs. C.L. ({Mary} Ellen (O’Neil) Degenhart had a family of five children. She died in St. Patrick’s hospital in Missoula on April 22, 1926 after a short illness and is buried in the Philipsburg cemetery. The Degenhart family is discussed in depth in the Ranches near Philipsburg in Book II and frequent mention is made of Mr. Degenhart in other chapters of this book, including the Patriots Chapter. I have, fortunately, been able to find enough copies of the Frightful Punishment, to give one to each of my two living children and all five of my grandchildren, so they can read first hand of the mettle and grit of Hugh O’Neil.

As I end this chapter, I know that there are many families of importance that I have not been able to discuss. Some, because there is little written about them in the newspapers and other’s, because I cannot determine their connection with the community. Numerous families that were pioneers and or politicians are written about in other chapters. To the families that read these books and feel their family was omitted, please feel free to contact me if you have documented history, of your relatives settling in the southern section of Granite county, around the time it I will publish a blog post on the information.

Endnotes

Page

[73]  ibid, August 4, 1911.
[74]  ibid, November 13, 1914; November 16, 1916; November 22, 1918; November 17, 1922; November 19, 1926; November 14, 1930; November 9, 1934; May 1920.
[75]  ibid, December 28, 1956.
[76]  ibid, August 4, 1933.
[77]  ibid, June 1, 1928; January 1, 1937.
[78]  ibid, February 23, 2007.
[79]  ibid, August 31, 1906; February 14, 1919.
[80]  ibid, January 17, 1920.
[81]  ibid, September 17, 1920; March 12, 1920.
[82]  ibid, September 23, 1921.
[83] ibid, December 20, 2007; September 24, 1937.
[84] Koebel, 1972, pp14-15.

O’Neil, Hickey, Hunt


[85] 1903; 1896; Koebel, 1972; Ellison, 1931.
[86]  Ellison, Fort Bridger, 1931, pp22-23.
[87] Jefferson County Sentinel, Boulder, March 7, 1895.
[88]  ibid; Frightful Punishment, Brier, 1969.
[89]  Francis Xavier Kuppens S.J., date unknown, reprinted in The Montana Magazine of Western History, Autumn, 1953.
[90] McAlear, F.J., The Fabulous Flathead, 1962.
[91]  Missoula Pioneer, February 2, 1871.
[92]  Montana Post, Virginia City, September 9, 1865; Leeson, History of Montana, 1885.
[93]  Wilma Hunt Christy, date unknown; Griffith, 1972; Ellison, Fort Bridger, 1931;
[94]  Philipsburg Mail, January 4, 1894; April 19, 1929.
[95]  ibid, January 17, 1895.
[96]  ibid, December 13, 1901; April 25, 1895; Citizen Call, April 17, 1895.
[97]  ibid, March 29, 1907; March 25, 1910; January 26, 1915.
[98] New Northwest, January 20, 1882, “Our Philipsburg Letter” by Sandbar Brown.
[99] Citizen Call, February 27, 1895; Democrat, Virginia City, February 27, 1895.
[100]  Wostrel, Linda, Dreams Across the Divide, 2001.
[101]  New Northwest of Deer Lodge, 1871, quoted in Little Coyote, by Charles J. Keim, 1996; Wilma Hunt Christy, unknown date.
[102] Griffith, Winnifred Fredrickson, Hugh O’Neil, Montana Pioneer, July 7, 1972; Baker, Roger 2004.
[103] Territory of Montana, Filed Marriage Certificate, October 12, 1877, Deer Lodge County Recorder, copy in possession of author.
[104]  Philipsburg Mail, February 17, 1888.
[105] Philipsburg Mail, June 16, 1905.
[106] Information from Camille Engrav Jacobsen, 2008.
[107] Kennebec Journal, Obituary, April 18, 1912;Hickey Family History 1989; Philipsburg Mail, February 17, 1911; Baker, Roger, 2004; Philipsburg Mail, February 9, 1909.
[108]  Philipsburg Mail, December 29, 1911.
[109]  ibid, February 17, 1911.
[110]  ibid, January 7, 1927; April 21, 1983.
[111] Hunt Family History title “The Hunt Connection”, 1983; Three Forks Herald, March 4, 1909.
[112]  Three Forks Herald, March 4, 1909;
[113]  Philipsburg Mail, June 27, 1934; January 20, 1939.
[114]  ibid, March 24, 1939; May 24, 1940.
[115]  ibid, October 3, 1947; Fan Harrington notes, 1959.
[116]  ibid, September 24, 1948.
[117]  ibid, March 10, 1954.
[118]  ibid, July 4, 1968.
[119] ibid, April 23, 1983; July 18, 1968; February 20, 1986; November 10, 1988; September 6, 1916.

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