A Montana history lesson: Part 1

At this point in Mary’s journal – right around the time of the July 4, 1932, entry – she began jotting down some historical information regarding Montana and Marysville. She does not state the source of her information.

The entries are undated but I will post them over the next few days.

Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de la Vérendrye (1685-1749), sculpture devant l’hôtel du Parlement de Québec, aile droite, série des découvreurs. By sculpteur:Jean Bailleul / photo: Jean Gagnon (J’ai pris moi-même ce cliché) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

“Nelson Gulch has the best gold found in Montana. Snow Shoe Gulch had the largest gold nugget found in Montana. The Indian name of Montana is “Tozabe-Shock-up” [Tay-a-be-shock-up] meaning the Country of the Mountains. The French were the first white people to settle on its soil. Sieur De La Verendoye [Sieur de La Verendrye] & his sons were the discoverers of the Rocky Mountains by way of Lake Superior & Winnipeg & rivers Assiniboine & Missouri in 1743.

Alex Burrell came to Mary’le [Marysville] in 1888 and was superintendent for the Montana Mining Co. James A. Hendricks came here in 1883, freighted from Helena until the R.R. was built 1887. William Mayger [Meagher?] mined in the spring of 1864 on Silver Creek with W. Rhodes & Alvord Heitze. He located the first placer mine in the gulch in 1866. They put in a bed rock flume & mined until 1876 making 30.00 a day. He discovered the first float of the famous Drum Lummon [also spelled “Drumlummon”] mine. They were unlucky in finding the vein so Thos. Cruse came over from Trinity after the snow thaw, the first hole he sunk disclosed the vein. He built the first five stamp pan amalgamation mill. It was the first built in Lewis & Clark Co. The machinery for this mill came by boat from St. Louis to Ft. Benton thereby teams to Marysville.

The first steam boat came up the Missouri to Ft. Benton in 1832. Benetsee1 . . . of the Red River country found the first gold in Montana on Gold Creek, in 1852; 1852 [1858?] came Granville and Jas. Stuart. Hellgate was named Gold Creek after and it was first Benetsee Creek.

1878 Ralston had the first stone house, used as a butcher shop. It’s now owned by Gus Zimmerman. Thos. Cruse came to Montana in 1866 at Virginia City. 1867 he came to Helena then placer mined in Trinity. April 1876 he discovered the Drum Lummond [also “Drumlummon”] mine after Geo. [Detweiler?] and others abandoned it. In 1882, he sold it for a million and a half dollars  thro Mr. [Brat?] Nober and others keeping 1/6 for himself. In 1887 he established the first savings bank in Helena & Montana. Geo. Kirby was born in Eagle Harbo, Michigan in 1853. 1878 he worked at the Penobscot & Belmont mines, and [in] Marysville as blacksmith for Thos Cruse. In 1883 he went in business for himself. Their oldest daughter (Veronica Maud Kirby) was the 2nd girl baby born [in Marysville]. Lizzie Ralston [was] first. Geo. Kirby Jr. [was] the first boy born in Marysville.”


  1. A trapper named Francois Finlay, also known as Benetsee. Click here for more information about Finlay and Gold Creek.

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July 4, 1932: A visit from Evelyn and a trip to Butte

July 3, 1932

Evelyn Marks, Hannibal, MO, circa 1932

Evelyn (Schenck) Marks came home on a visit. The 4th she went to Lincoln, Montana; 5th Mr. and Mrs. Owens (Elenora Vennes), Evelyn and I (Mrs. Schaffer) went to Butte for the Day.

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Mary’s journal entries from June 1932: a mastodon tooth, a horse and buggy ride, and baseball

June 13, 1932

A mastodon tooth was found in Last Chance Gulch where the Police Station is at Helena in 1865.1

John Rumping and Albert Schaffer went down near [illegible]’s tunnel trying a bit of prospecting and found a big crabapple tree all in bloom near the creek. It’s a beauty.2

June 17, 1932

John Rumping and Albert Schaffer came from Rutlidges up on the Herman Weinriter boulevard with horse and buggy to the main road (or Marysville road). Nice for going one way.

June 19, 1932

Lincoln & Marysville played [baseball]. Lincoln 3, Marysville 2. Was good playing.3

  1. A quick Google search turned up a book by Robert Vaughan, which contains what appears to be a reference to this discovery in either 1864 or 1865.
  2. Photo credit: “crabapple tree,” from author’s collection, taken 22 March 2017.
  3.  Photo Credit: “Old baseball on wooden background and highly closeup,” CanStockPhoto (http://www.canstockphoto.com : uploaded by joephotostudio 04 Jun 2014; downloaded 02 Jun 2017).

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She could have danced all night!

From Mary’s ephemera collection . . . this dance card for the Christmas Ball given by the Marysville Miner’s Union, No. 103.

Although the dance card is undated, I suspect the event took place a year or two prior to Mary’s wedding to George Schenk which took place in August 1900.


Given By
Marysville Miner’s Union, No. 103,
W.F. of M.
Music by Brass’ Full Orchestra.

Inside the card is a “Programme” that lists the dances and Mary’s dance partners that night.

Transcription (left side)

Grand March.

  1. Plain Quadrille.       Howard Ped[?]
  2. Plain Waltz.       Peter A[?]ne
  3. Shottische.       [illegible]
  4. Two Step.       ” Conrad
  5. Plain Lancers.       Peter A[?]ne
  6. Plain Waltz.       Amos
  7. Polka.       J. Slater
  8. Waltz Quadrille.       S. Sullivan
  9. Two Step.       P. A[?]ne
  10. Comas Waltz.       Carl
  11. Plain Quadrille.       Something
  12. Plain Waltz.       Warden

Transcription (right side)

13. Plain Waltz.       Sl[???]
14. Plain Lancers:       Jay Hart
15. Two Step.       P. A[?]ne
16. French Minuette.       Mr. Conard
17.  Shottische.       J. Slater
18. Plain Quadrille.       J. Mongan
19. Plain Waltz.       P. Hindlen
20. Newport.       Geo Schenk
21. Waltz Quadrille. Mr.      [illegible]
22. Polka.       [illegible]
23. Two Step.       Will S.
24. Plain Waltz.       E. Bir[??]ham
25. Medley.       [illegible]

Apparently Mary only danced with George one time that night – dance #20, the “Newport”.

Western Federation of Miners

The Christmas Ball was given by the “Marysville Miners’ Union No. 103, W.F. of M.” After a little internet research, I concluded that “W.F. of M.” probably stood for the Western Federation of Miners.

The “WFM” was a merger of several miners’ unions representing copper mines from Montana, silver and lead miners from Idaho, gold miners from Colorado, and hard rock miners from South Dakota and Utah. This particular union gained a reputation for its militancy in the mines of the Western United States and British Columbia.

Montana has a very interesting mining and labor history. For more information about this particular union, you can read more in this Wikipedia article.

Copyright (c) 2017, Lark M. Dalin Robart

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