Yellowstone County, Montana
Genealogy and History
R. C. Battey, manager of the Billings branch of the International Harvester Company at Billings, Montana, furnishes another example in his career of the rewards attainable through the exercise of perseverance, industry and well-defined and worthy ambition, combined with a policy including the demonstration of integrity and fidelity. From the outset of his business life he has been identified with the great concern of which he is now a representative, and has worked his way up from a humble capacity, making the most of his opportunities, and expanding and growing with the expansion and development of the concern.
Mr. Battey was born in Shelby County, Iowa, January 21, 1879, a son of George and Louisa Fisher (Cooper) Battey. The family of which he is a member originated in England, and during the seventeenth century was founded in America by Sampson Battey, who took up his residence in Jamestown, Rhode Island. In that state, at Foster, Maj. Silas Battey, grandfather of R. C., was born in 1815. He was reared and married in his native city, but became a pioneer into Bureau County, Illinois, where during the remainder of his life he was engaged in agricultural pursuits in the vicinity of Sheffield, and died at that place in 1895. He fought bravely as a soldier during the Mexican war and rose to the rank of major.
George Battey, father of R. C. Battey, was born at Foster, Rhode Island, in 1837, and was reared in his native place where he obtained a public school education. He was still a young man when he moved with his parents to Bureau County, Illinois, and for a time was associated with his father in the cultivation of the soil near Sheffield. In 1864 he enlisted in the One Hundred Thirty-ninth Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, for participation in the war between the states, and continued as a member of that regiment until receiving his honorable discharge at the close of hostilities. Mr. Battey remained as a resident of Illinois until 1877, in which year he made removal to Shelby County, Iowa, where he first settled on a farm. Later, however, his interest was attracted to the grain business, and subsequently he became a banker and an influential citizen of his community, having a private banking house at Portsmouth, Iowa. In 1913 he removed from that place, retiring from active pursuits, and took up his residence at Oakes, North Dakota, where his death occurred on October I, 1915. While a resident of Portsmouth he took an active and constructive part in civic affairs, and served as mayor and in other capacities, in which he displayed marked public spirit and splendid executive ability. He was a member of the Masons. In 1861 Mr. Battey married Louisa Fisher Cooper, who was born in 1841 in Connecticut, and died at Bismarck, North Dakota, in 1915, and they became the parents of the following children: H. V., a successful practicing attorney of Council Bluffs, Iowa; F. S., engaged in the general merchandise business at Brampton, North Dakota; R. C., of this notice; and George, who is engaged in the pursuits of farming in the vicinity of Straubville, North Dakota.
R. C. Battey received his literary education in the public schools of Portsmouth, following this by a course in a commercial college at Council Bluffs, Iowa, from which he was graduated in 1894. He then returned to his home, where he remained until 1899, the year which marked the beginning of his connection with his present concern. Mr. Battey was content to enter into the life which this concern offered for the advancement of ambitious and determined young men, and as a start took a position which paid him a salary of $30.00 per month. Gradual promotion followed, and Mr. Battey was soon doing responsible office work, eventually becoming cashier of the Council Bluffs branch of the business. From this position, in order that he might thoroughly learn the business, he was sent out on the road as a traveling representative, and in 1904 was transferred to Minot, North Dakota, where he was made assistant manager of that branch of the International Harvester Company in 1908. Two years later Mr. Battey was transferred to the branch at Bismarck, in the capacity of manager, a position which he retained until 1917, the year in which he assumed his duties as manager of the Billings branch, with offices at the corner of South Broadway and Minnesota Avenue. The territory of the Billings branch of the International Harvester Company includes Central Montana and Northern Wyoming. Mr. Battey has the confidence of his company and the sincere esteem of his co-workers, and in business circles generally maintains an excellent reputation and standing. In political matters he maintains an independent stand. While he has not been an office seeker in public life, he has always discharged the duties and responsibilities of citizenship, and during his residence at Bismarck, North Dakota, served efficiently for six years in the capacity of city commissioner. His religious faith is that of the Roman Catholic Church, and he is a member of the Knights of Columbus, being affiliated with Bismarck Council. Also he holds membership in the United Commercial Travelers, in Bismarck Lodge, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and in the Billings Midland Club. In addition to his pleasant modern residence at 306 Clark Avenue, he is the owner of valuable ranches in Eastern Montana.
Mr. Battey was married February 23, 1914, at St. Paul, Minnesota, to Miss Edith V. Russell, daughter of P. H. and Mary Russell, residents of Trail City. South Dakota, where Mr. Russell is proprietor of the Trail City Hotel. Mrs. Battey is a graduate of the Minot (North Dakota) High School. She and her husband are the parents of one child: R. C., Jr., born February 28, 1915, at Billings.
[Montana, Its Biography and History, Volume 2. Transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
John Henry Booz.
Success comes to some men only after long years have been spent in trying to locate their proper groove—the occupation in which they can make the most of their talents, and the field in which to carry their ventures through to a conclusion. Often these years, although seemingly ill-spent, are the direct cause of an individual's prosperity, for during the period in which he has striven to find himself and his proper environment, he has been developing, perhaps unknowingly, the very traits which eventually raise him to a place of importance among his fellows. A case in point that may be noted here not inappropriately is the career of John Henry Booz, of Raymond, Elkhorn county, Wyoming, who, although not at present a resident of Montana, claims the Treasure state for his home as the scene of his first success. Mr. Booz was born in Rockingham county, Virginia, April 17, 1858, and is a son of the late Thomas and Mattie (Whitehead) Booz, natives of the same county.
The early life of Thomas Booz was spent in Rockingham county, where he was engaged for a number of years in agricultural pursuits, but in later years he removed to Georgia, and after spending some years on a farm near Rome, in Floyd county, went to Polk county, in the same state, and there passed away in 1909. His widow, who survives him, resides at Cedartown, Georgia. They had eight children, as follows: Katie; John Henry; Walter, residing at Cedartown, Georgia; Benjamin, living in Chicago, Illinois, where he is chief clerk for the Trans-Continental Freight Bureau and Passenger Association ; William, living at Cedartown, Georgia; Thomas, whose home is at Rome, Georgia; Elizabeth, also a resident of Cedartown; and Lillian, the wife of William A. Evens, a prominent attorney of Sandersville, Washington county, Georgia.
John Henry Booz received only an ordinary schooling in his youth, as at the age of sixteen years he decided to sever family ties and enter the world of business on his own account, intent on making his fortune. Accordingly, he ran away from home and made his way to Texas, where he worked at whatever occupation presented itself until he had become sufficiently experienced to make his services valuable to the cattle men, when he was given steady employment. The year 1891 saw his advent in Montana, and at Billings he secured work as a cattle herder, an occupation which he followed for seven years, in the meantime carefully saving his earnings. He eventually found himself in a position to enter the field on his own account, and began in a modest way to raise cattle. His business grew to such an extent that in 1907 he was able to purchase a large band of cattle from John W. Cole, and in 1907 he became associated with Thomas A. Snidow, the prominent business man and capitalist of Billings, and the cattle and horse business known as the Basin Cattle Company, is owned by John H. Booz and Tom Snidow. Mr. Booz was made superintendent of this company in Bighorn county, Wyoming, and has charge of 2,300 head of white-faced Hereford cattle, of which 1,000 are pure Hereford breed. In addition, the company is engaged in raising high-grade Percheron, Belgrade and Shire horses, having imported a number of stallions. The greater part of Mr. Booz's time is spent in looking after the ranch, but twice a year he visits Billings to renew acquaintance with the many who know him in that city. Although he has made over $150,000 in the business in the few short years since he came to Montana, he has not been spoiled by success, and is the same genial, hearty, whole-souled man that he was when he came as a stranger from the Lone Star state looking for a chance to earn his living at some honest employment. He is a Democrat in his political views, but his business activities have kept his time too occupied for him to think of actively entering the public field. He has never married. [Source: "The History of Montana" by Helen Fitzgerald Sanders, Volume 3, 1913 - Submitted by Friends of Free Genealogy]
Robert C. Cardell.
One of the biggest industries in Billings, Montana, is the manufacture of gas by the Billings Gas Company, for domestic and industrial consumption. One of the founders and the vice president and manager of this corporation is Robert C. Cardell. Mr. Cardell is a business man of long experience, excels as an executive and organizer, and who is responsible with others for the Billings Gas Company, organized in 1912, and also the organization known as the Montana Sash and Door Company, of which he is secretary.
Mr. Cardell was born at Malcolm in Poweshiek County, Iowa, July 21, 1879, a son of Leander and Emma L. (Chapman) Cardell. His father, born in Vermont in 1835, was a California gold seeker in the early days, going around the Horn. He was on the Pacific Coast three years, then returned East, and soon afterward became a pioneer settler in Poweshiek County, Iowa. In 1880 he moved to Dallas County in the same state, and was in the real estate and loan business until 1895, when he retired. He served as a member of the Iowa Legislature. He was a republican, a member of the Congregational Church, and his death occurred in 1907. Robert C. Cardell and his sister, Florence, wife of J. R. Swearingen, president of the Montana Sash and Door Company, are the only survivors of five children, the others dying in infancy.
Mr. Cardell attended school at Perry, Iowa, was a student at Stetson University and the University of Michigan, and in 1900 at the age of twenty-one, was a member of the partnership firm of John R. Swearingen and Company at Perry, Iowa, lumber dealers.
In 1903 he became traveling salesman for the Huttig Manufacturing Company of Muscatine, Iowa. This firm did a large business in the manufacture of sash, doors and mill work. Mr. Cardell acquired stock in the company, and in 1906 was one of the members of the firm selected to extend the business into the Northwest. He was assistant manager of the branch at Billings. Mr. Cardell helped organize the Montana Sash and Door Company on February 1, 1911, and has since been its secretary. The size and scope of this business may be understood from the fact that it is capitalized at $500,000. When Mr. Cardell came to Billings in 1906 to assist in establishing the western branch of the Huttig Manufacturing Company he also organized the Cardell Lumber and Coal Company and the Cardell Ridge Lumber Company, of which companies he was president.
In April, 1915, Mr. Cardell severed his active connections with both the Montana Sash and Door Company and the Cardell Ridge Lumber Company to take the active management of the Billings Gas Company, of which he had previously been a director. During the critical years of development that followed there were periods when the prospects were far from rosy, but with a steadily increasing volume of business and after trebling the capacity of the gas works the Billings Gas Company has emerged as one of the city's leading manufacturing institutions.
These enterprises obviously make heavy demands upon his time and energies. However, he is an interested student and member of various Masonic bodies, including Ashlar Lodge No. 29, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Billings Chapter No. 6, Royal Arch Masons, Aldemar Commandery No. 5, Knights Templar; Scottish Rite Consistory at Butte; and Algeria Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Helena. He is affiliated with Billings Lodge of Elks and in politics is a republican.
April 10, 1906, the same year he came to Montana, he married Miss Florence Penfield, a native of Iowa. They have two children: Mary and Robert Leander. [Montana, Its Biography and History, Volume 2. Transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
R. E. Carr
Each successive year brings an increase in the business written by the standard life insurance companies of the country as a result of the vigorous educational campaigns carried on among the people, through the press and special literature. The average man has been awakened to the necessity of providing for the future of his family and for his own old age, and invests to the limit of his resources in life insurance, if he is of even the ordinary intellectual caliber. This realization of the responsibilities resting upon him during the most productive years of his life has come about through the efforts of the insurance representatives, and for that reason they have been selected with great care, due attention being paid to their capabilities along this line. Some of the most efficient salesmen in the country are now devoting themselves exclusively to selling life insurance, and one who has attained state-wide popularity in this branch of activity is R. E. Carr, agency manager of the Bidlake-Honey Life Insurance Company for the State of Montana, with headquarters at Billings.
R. E. Carr was born at St. Paul, Minnesota, February 13, 1892, a son of Robert Carr, now residing at St. Paul. Robert Carr was born at Newcastle, England, in 1857, where he was reared and married. In 1879 he left England, going direct to St. Paul, Minnesota, after landing in the United States, and was one of the early merchants of that city, taking part in its civic affairs as an independent voter. He is a consistent member of the Episcopal Church, having formerly been a member of the Church of England. In 1879 Robert Carr was married to Mary Purvis, born at Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, in 1861, and they became the parents of the following children: J. G., who is district sales manager of the Vim Motor Truck Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and R. E., whose name heads this review.
After he had been graduated from the graded schools of St. Paul R. E. Carr learned the fundamentals of commercial life at St. Paul's Business College, from which he was graduated in 1911, following which he entered the Commercial State Bank of St. Paul as assistant cashier, and held that position for three years. He then became traveling auditor for the Northern Pacific Railroad, and during 1917 and 1918 covered the State of Montana for that company. In the latter year Mr. Carr was appointed agency manager for the Bidlake-Honey agency for the Northwestern Life Insurance Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota, for the State of Montana, with offices at 315 Hart-Albin Building, Billings. Mr. Carr manages the office and handles the field men for Montana, and has eight field men under his supervision, and he supervises approximately 100 agents throughout the state.
On April 18, 1918, Mr. Carr was united in marriage with Miss Amy Bidlake, and on April 17, 1919, they became the parents of a daughter, Sybil. Mrs. Carr is a daughter of John and Amy Bidlake, who live at No. 116 Broadwater Avenue, Billings. Mr. Bidlake is senior member of the Bidlake-Honey Agency. Mr. and Mrs. Carr own a beautiful home at No. 412 Lewis Avenue, Billings, where they delight in gathering their friends about them. Like his father, Mr. Carr prefers to exercise his own judgment in casting his vote, and is independent in his political views. A member of the Episcopal Church, he renders his parish valuable service as choirmaster, the choir being in magnificent condition under his efficient management. A man of great abilities, he possesses the enthusiasm of youth, and yet has already had years of responsible experience which enables him to judge men and control them in such a manner as to avoid unnecessary friction, and yet bring forth the most productive results. Although new in this line of business, he has already proven his fitness for it, and has a great future before him in developing the business of his aggressive company.
[Montana, Its Biography and History, Volume 2. Transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
Frank B. Connelly
Frank B. Connelly, one of the oldest and solidest business men of Billings, has been a resident of that city over thirty years, coming here after an experience in the wholesale hardware business in Chicago. He has used his early training and his ability to promote and build up one of the largest wholesale establishments in the Northwest, conducted under the title of F. B. Connelly Company, of which he is sole owner.
Mr. Connelly, who is also a member of the Montana State Senate, was born at Middletown, Iowa, September 5, 1862. His great-grandfather Connelly came from the north of Ireland to Pennsylvania in colonial times. His father, Samuel J. Connelly, who was born at Mingo, near Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1831, was reared and married at Mingo, was a graduate of Washington College in Southwestern Pennsylvania, and soon after marriage moved to Middletown, Iowa, and in 1866 settled at Galva, Illinois. He spent two years as a farmer there and then moved to Toulon, Illinois, where he was in the livestock and butchering business. He died at Galva in 1904. During the Civil war he served as a member of the State Guards, was a republican always and an active member of the Presbyterian Church. Fraternally he was affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Samuel J. Connelly married Mary Johnson, who was born near Pittsburg in 1833 and died at Middletown, Iowa, in 1865. She was the mother of five children, Frank B. being the youngest. The oldest, Alice Anna, lives at Galesburg, Illinois, widow of George P. Flint, who was a farmer and stock shipper. Thomas J. died in September, 1915, at his farm twelve miles west of Billings. F. L. Connelly was in the insurance business and died at Lewis, Iowa, in 1913. William, the other child, died in infancy. Samuel J. Connelly married for his second wife Eliza J. Kennedy, who was born in Pennsylvania and died near Pittsburg. She was the mother of two children, one of whom died in infancy. Her surviving daughter is Mrs. Nannie M. Flannigan, wife of a carpenter and building contractor at San Diego, California.
Frank B. Connelly acquired his education at Toulon, Illinois, leaving high school at the age of eighteen. In the meantime he had learned the trade of cheese maker. When nineteen years old he went to Chicago and for four years was connected with one of the large wholesale hardware firms of that city and acquired a thorough knowledge of the business in every detail.
On coming to Montana in 1885 Mr. Connelly became connected with the hardware and implement house of Babcock & Miles at Billings. In 1894 the business was changed to the A. L. Babcock Hardware Company and Mr. Connelly was one of the active officials of the concern until August 1, 1904. He served as secretary and manager. During 1904 he was cashier of the Yellowstone National Bank, but in August of that year started his independent enterprise as a wholesale implement dealer. The business has since been known as the F. B. Connelly Company. This company is the distributing agency for some of the best known automobile and machinery houses in America. They handle the Holt Caterpillar engines and Combined Harvester for Montana and Wyoming, the Austin and Western lines of contractors and road building machinery the Marion Steam Shovel Company wares, the Garford motor trucks and Troy trailers, the Ford cars and trucks for Billings and vicinity, and the Fordson tractor. The plant and offices of the F. B. Connelly Company are at 423 North Broadway.
It is a familiar truth that the business man is often the most useful citizen of any community. Mr. Connelly was twice elected an alderman in Billings. He was elected to serve as a member of the House of Representatives during the eleventh session in 1909, and during that session was a member of the ways and means, banks and banking, towns and counties committees, and he introduced a bill requiring the railroads to maintain a bulletin at the depots for the reporting of the arrivals and departures of trains. He was also instrumental in amending the drainage law of that session. Mr. Connelly was elected a member of the State Senate in November, 1918, and during the 1919 session was chairman of the compensation committee in the Senate, chairman of the joint compensation committee, and a member of the finance and claims, insurance and highways committees. The bill providing for the location of a State Normal School at Billings was one that received his active and special support. Mr. Connelly, at his own expense, circulated the petition among the members of the House and the Senate to the governor to call an extra session to devise ways and means to use Montana stone instead of Indiana limestone in public building construction in Montana. The session was called and Mr. Connelly was successful in carrying the measure through. He was a member of the Republican National Convention that nominated William H. Taft for president.
Mr. Connelly is a republican in politics. He is affiliated with Ashlar Lodge of Masons, Billings Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, Billings Commandery, Knights Templar, Billings Consistory of the Scottish Rite, and Bagdad Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Butte. He is a charter member of Billings Lodge of Elks and was the third exalted ruler of the lodge. He has been prominent in the Billings Midland Club, which incorporates the Chamber of Commerce, serving as president of the latter body in 1918, and as president of the Midland Club in 1919. In every way possible Mr. Connelly has exerted his influence in behalf of war auxiliary movements, and is president of the War Chest Fund of Billings. One of his sons was in the war as an officer.
Mr. Connelly married at Burke, Wisconsin, December 1, 1885, Miss Flora E. Hart, a daughter of Rev. J. C. and Faithful (Holmes) Hart, both now deceased. Her father was a Baptist minister. The living children of Mr. and Mrs. Connelly are noted briefly as follows: Frank G., who received a high school education at Billings and is associated with his father in business; Lieutenant Kenneth A., who attended high school and was a student in Beaver Dam Academy at Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, when the war came on, and went with the National Army to France, serving with the rank of lieutenant until mustered out in February, 1919, and is now connected with his father's business; Lenora D., a graduate of the Polytechnic Institute at Billings and wife of Homer L. Guiler, connected with the F. B. Connelly Company; Glenn Hart, a student in the Billings High School; and Dean, a grammar school pupil. [Montana, Its Biography and History, Volume 2. Transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
Henry C. Crippen
While it is a recognized fact that many of the men of this country who have come before the public as successful legislators and eminent statesmen have at one time or other been connected with the practice of the law, it has not yet been decided whether this is due to the arduous training necessary for entrance into his learned profession, or the natural bringing before the electors of one who has to grapple with problems of general interest. No matter which decision is reached, the fact remains that these men of the law do make intelligent and efficient representatives of the will of the people, and that upon them devolves much of the work of making the laws. One of the distinguished members of the bar of Montana, who has already served his district in the State Assembly with dignified capability, is Henry C. Crippen of Billings.
Henry C. Crippen was born on the prairie near Winnebago, Minnesota, February 5, 1872, a son of Samuel P. Crippen. The Crippen family originated in Holland, from whence the founders of the American branch came to this country when it was still an English colony, locating in Pennsylvania. Commingled with the good old Dutch stock is that from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, through intermarriage, in Mr. Crippen the Scotch-Irish traits predominating. Samuel P. Crippen was born in Indiana in 1839, but was taken when a boy to the vicinity of Davenport, Illinois, and there reared. In young manhood he went to Minnesota, and located at Minneapolis at a time when the future metropolis was represented by two cabins on the Minneapolis side of the river. Later he went to Winnebago, Minnesota, where he was a pioneer and homesteader, being engaged in farming all of his active years, but is now retired and living at Janesville, Minnesota. During the Civil war he enlisted in 1863 as a member of the Minnesota Cavalry, and was in Sibley's Expedition against the Indians. After a service of two years and four months he was honorably discharged. After going to Minnesota Samuel P. Crippen was married to Lydia Cheney, born in St. Lawrence County, New York, in 1845, and she died at Janesville, Minnesota in 1885. Their children were as follows: Walter, who is the first born; Benjamin, who is deceased: William, who is also deceased; Henry C.; and Mary, who married a Mr. Charter and lives at St. Paul, Minnesota.
Henry C. Crippen attended the public schools of Minnesota, and was graduated from the Mankato State Normal School of Mankato, Minnesota, in 1893 following which he engaged in teaching school, and was a superintendent of schools in his native state for six years. He then became a student of the legal department of the University of North Dakota at Grand Forks, and was graduated therefrom in 1901, with the degree of Doctor of Law. During that same year Mr. Crippen came to Billings, and has since then carried on a general civil and criminal practice, which has expanded until he has during recent years been connected with some of the most important jurisprudence of the state. A stalwart republican, he was the logical candidate of his party as assemblyman, and was elected to the Thirteenth Session, 1912-1913, and during that -period was instrumental in securing the passage of some very important legislation and served on several committees. Professionally he belongs to the Yellowstone County Bar Association and the State Bar Association. His fraternal connections are with Billings Star Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows; Billings Lodge, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; and Billings Lodge, Loyal Order of Moose. Since their organization he has been an honored member of the Midland and Billings clubs. He owns a pleasant modern home at No. 620 North Twenty-second Street. His offices are located at 406-408 Power Building.
In 1904 Mr. Crippen was married at Billings to Miss Gertrude Dunham, born in Minnesota, and a graduate of the Mankato State Normal School. Prior to her marriage she was a teacher in the city schools of Minneapolis. Mr. and Mrs. Crippen have three children, namely: Clay, who was born May 19, 1905; Bruce, who was born February 19, 1908; and Gertrude Elizabeth, who was born November 21, 1917. Mrs. Crippen is a descendant of John Dunham, who left England by stealth and sailed on the historic Mayflower under the assumed name of Goodman, resuming his own after he reached the safe haven of the new world. Through an ancestor, Thomas Standish, a Revolutionary soldier, Mrs. Crippen owes her membership in the Daughters of the Revolution. He was a direct descendant of Miles Standish.
Mr. Crippen is one who knows the larger world and is at home in it, meeting its problems with ease and understanding, and he is of the timber which makes national statesmen. His service has been genuine, broad and for the public benefit, and there is no doubt but that he will be called upon to assume advancing responsibilities and dignity, his constituents knowing that if he does so their interests will be represented in a manner distinctly successful and creditable.
[Montana, Its Biography and History, Volume 2. Transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
John R. Davis
John R. Davis has been a factor in the Broadview community of Yellowstone County for over ten years, has a ranch ten miles west of Broadview and is also serving as county commissioner.
He was born at Fort Edward, Washington County, New York, February 6, 1873. His paternal ancestors came from Wales and were colonial settlers in Vermont. His grandfather, Milo Davis, was born in Vermont in 1815 and was an. early day lumber operator in Warren County, New York, near Bolton, but spent his last years at Fort Edward, retired, where he died in 1911. He married a Miss Shedd, a native of Vermont, who also died at Fort Edward, New York. Samuel L. Davis, father of John R., was born at Bolton in Warren County, New York, in 1841, was reared and married in that county and was connected with the same line of business as his father. For a time he lived at Fort Edward as agent for a lumber company, in 1882 removed to Indian Lake, New York, where he engaged in the lumber business, and is now living retired at Indian Lake. He served several years as assessor of Hamilton County, New York, and also as justice of the peace and in other township offices. He is a republican and in 1861 enlisted in the One Hundred and Twenty-second New York Infantry and was all through the Civil war. He is a member of the Baptist Church and the Odd Fellows fraternity. Samuel L. Davis married Jane E. Bolton. She was born in Sheffield, England, in 1841 and died at Indian Lake, New York, in January, 1917. Mattie, the oldest of three children, is the wife of Nelson St. Marie, a merchant at Indian Lake, New York. The other two are John R. and Francis S., both residents of Broadview, Montana, the latter also a farmer.
John R. Davis graduated from the high school of Fort Edward, New York, in 1888. From that time until he came West in 1906 he was employed in the lumber business with his father. He spent two years on a farm in South Dakota and in 1908 came to the Broadview community of Montana, where he homesteaded 160 acres. Later he owned 480 acres but sold half a section of this in April, 1919. One hundred and sixty acres he retained as his home ranch, ten miles west of Broadview, and it is highly developed as a farm. Since its organization in 1915 Mr. Davis has been president of the Farmers Elevator Company in Broadview.
Mr. Davis was elected county commissioner of Stillwater County for the six year term in 1916. He is affiliated with Stillwater Lodge No. 62, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Billings Lodge No. 394 of the Elks, and is a member of Britton, South Dakota Lodge of Odd Fellows, having joined that order at Johnsburg in Warren County, New York.
September 21, 1910, at Billings, he married Miss Marietta Thayer, daughter of Dewitt and Florence Thayer. Her parents are farmers at Britton, South Dakota, and Mrs. Davis is a graduate of the high school there. To their marriage were born five children: Geneva, born July 29, 1912; Florence, born September 5, 1913; Montana, born September 19, 1914, and died October 17, 1915; Lois, born May 15, 1916; and Irene, born November 26, 1917.
[Montana, Its Story and Biography, Volume 2. Transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
Ernest T. Eaton
One of the most cultured and accomplished educators of the Northwest, endowed with rare ability and a strong personality, Ernest T. Eaton, of Billings, financial director of the Billings Polytechnic Institute, is thoroughly public spirited and progressive, and ever found among the leaders of any movement with which he becomes associated. A native of New England, he was born at Atkinson, Maine, September 11, 1877, a son of Capt. Thomas O. Eaton, and a descendant of John Eaton, who immigrated from England to Haverhill, Massachusetts, in 1638, and whose grandson, Johnathan Eaton, settled in Maine, becoming the progenitor of the Eatons of that state.
Thomas O. Eaton, now a respected resident of Polytechnic. Montana, was born in 7841, in Sebec, Maine, and was reared and educated in his native state. Soon after the outbreak of the Civil war he enlisted in the First Maine Artillery, which guarded Washington, District of Columbia, during the next two years. Subsequently accompanying his regiment to the scene of action, he took an active part in the battles of Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, North Anna and Petersburg, in the latter engagement being severely wounded. For a number of years after the close of the war he was employed in tilling the soil in the vicinity of Charleston and Foxcroft, Maine, served as captain of the State Militia, and occupied many other positions of trust in the life of his community. In 1886 he moved to Iowa, where he was engaged in the live stock and meat business at Earlville and Manchester, Iowa, until 1904. He moved to Deer Lodge, Montana, in 1904, when his sons re-established the College of Montana. He remained there four years. He located at Billings in 1908 and bought a ranch joining what was later to be the Polytechnic farm and campus. Here he still lives, watching and aiding in the development of the great institution his sons are building. He is a faithful member of the Congregational Church, liberally contributing towards its support; a staunch old line republican in politics, and a Mason.
His wife, whose maiden name was Delia Bolster, was born in Foxcroft, Maine, in 1843. She was educated in Foxcroft Academy and taught school for a number of terms, marrying Captain Eaton in 1865. She died at her home in Polytechnic, Montana, in October, 1917, their married life having covered a period of fifty-two years. Their children were Lewis T., educational director of the Billings Polytechnic Institute; Ernest T., the subject of this sketch; a daughter, Alice D., who died at Deer Lodge, Montana, in 1904; and a son, Volney, who died in 1887.
As a boy and youth Ernest T. Eaton attended the public schools of Maine and Iowa, and in 1897 was graduated from Lenox College at Hopkinton, Iowa, with the degree of Bachelor of Science, and three years later, in 1900, was there honored with the degree of Master of Science. He attended the University of Iowa, 1898 and 1899, graduating with the class of '99, with the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy. In the fall of 1899 Mr. Eaton was engaged in newspaper work, and in the spring of 1900 became a teacher in Oak Park High School, Des Moines, Iowa. Later in the year he was elected principal of the school, and in 1901 became superintendent of schools in the Oak Park District. While teaching he studied law and completed two years of a law course. In 1902 he was elected superintendent of the schools at Deer Lodge, Montana, and during the three years that he was thus employed established at Deer Lodge the Powell County High School, of which he was the first principal. He served as principal of this high school for four years, resigning January 1, to become financial director of the College of Montana, of which his brother, Lewis T. Eaton, was then president. The two brothers reorganized, rebuilt and endowed that pioneer Montana institution.
They went to Billings in the summer of 1908 and organized the Billings Polytechnic Institute, Ernest T. becoming financial director, an office for which he is admirably qualified, and Mr. Lewis T. Eaton becoming educational director. Under the management of these gifted brothers the institution has grown with surprising rapidity, having already given diplomas to 150 Montana and Wyoming boys and girls, while 126 of its boys took part in the recent war, eight of them sacrificing their lives for their country.
The school is finely located three miles north of Billings, and with its faculty of eighteen members is doing notable work, admitting students without examination, giving them educational advantages from the lower grades to the junior year in college, its standards being accepted by state schools and eastern institutions of learning. Mr. Eaton has been very active and successful as financial director of the institute, having been largely instrumental in securing from friends in the East funds amounting to $300,000, and as business manager has wisely expended this sum in the construction of the many beautiful buildings connected with the institute, including Science Hall, Kimball Hall, Prescott Commons, the Losekamp Memorial Building, a fine gymnasium and the shop building. A Young Men's Christian Association building will soon be completed, and work commenced on Harwood Girls Dormitory, the funds for which are already available.
A stalwart republican in politics, Mr. Eaton takes an active and intelligent interest in public affairs, and is rendering his fellow citizens valuable service in the State Legislature, to which he was elected in 1916 and re-elected in 1918, representing Yellowstone County. Prominent in the work devolving upon him by that capacity Mr. Eaton is chairman of the committee on education, and is a member of various other important committees, including that of affairs of cities, state institutions and public buildings; fairs and expositions, public morals, charities and reform. True to the religious faith in which he was reared, he is an active member of the Congregational Church. Fraternally he belongs to the Knights of Pythias.
At Deer Lodge, Montana, in the autumn of 1911, Mr. Eaton married Miss Augusta Valiton, a daughter of Judge Henry G. and Mary Rae Valiton, pioneer residents of Montana. Judge Valiton was mayor of Butte, Montana, two terms during his residence in that city, and is now serving as justice of the peace at Deer Lodge. Mr. and Mrs. Eaton have no children.
They have a beautiful suburban home planned especially for the pleasure and entertainment of the Polytechnic faculty and students. It is situated just west of the Polytechnic. Mr. Eaton, in addition to his duties as financial director and business manager of the Polytechnic, has taken much interest in the production of pure seed and in the raising of fruit. He has served for five years on the State Fair Advisory Board as the member from Yellowstone County and has had much to do with the Agricultural and Horticultural Exhibits at both the State and Midland Empire fairs. His selection of vegetables, corn, grain and apples have carried off many premiums at these and other fairs.
[Montana, Its Story and Biography, Volume 2. Transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
Hon. William Braxton George
A man to have accomplished so much in divergent fields and in so short a period of time as has the Hon. William Braxton George, of Billings, must possess unusual qualities and versatile talents. To be a successful man in but one line demands many natural and acquired gifts, and the majority never reach this goal, while in Mr. George's case business prosperity, political leadership and profound public confidence have all been gained, and, more significant still, are maintained. He was born on a farm in Platte County, Missouri, June 1, 1865, and is a son of William Peyton and Frances Mary (Duncan) George.
The father of Mr. George was born in Fauquier County, Virginia, February 1, 1835, and his present residence is at Camden Point, Missouri, while Mr. George's mother, a native of Platte County, passed away in 1909. They had a family of eight children, but four of whom are living, as follows: Ida, the wife of Thomas Bywater, of Camden Point, Missouri; William Braxton; Elizabeth, who also lives at Camden Point; and Clinton, a real estate man of San Antonio, Texas. William Peyton George was a young man when he first located in Missouri, and he there engaged in the general merchandise business. Sometime after his marriage to the daughter of Judge Duncan he commenced farming on a property that was cultivated by slave labor, which had been given to the young couple by Judge Duncan and Mr. George's father, and Mr. George after the war helped support them for a number of years. He was engaged in farming and stock-raising until 1895, in which year he retired from active pursuits. He has always taken an active interest in educational matters and for many years served as a member of the school board while on his farm, and as a director of the State Female Orphans' School. He has been treasurer of the Christian Church for the last quarter of a century. In politics an ardent Democrat, he was appointed to the position of postmaster at Camden Point, but declined to serve, having no desire for public preferment.
Like all of his father's children, William B. George received excellent educational advantages, attending the public schools, William Jewell College, Liberty, Missouri, the State University at Columbia, Missouri, and Eastman's Business College at Poughkeepsie, New York. He then returned to Platte County, and for a year following was engaged in farming in the summer months and in teaching school during the winter term, and in the spring of 1886 located in Helena, Montana. There he subsequently became assistant secretary of the board of education, then became assistant postmaster at Deer Lodge and was later railway postal clerk between Billings and Helena. He was next appointed railway postal clerk by President Cleveland, but after one year resigned that position to become assistant postmaster at Billings, where in 1890 he engaged in the fruit, jewelry and confectionery business. During that same year he was elected city treasurer and succeeded himself four terms. In 1896 he received the election to the office of county treasurer, in which he served capably for one term, and in 1901 he became his party's choice for the office of mayor, and an administration that was marked by many municipal improvements followed. Among other movements organized by Mr. George was the securing of a site, the selling of bonds and the erection of a new city hall and fire station, which cost upwards of $32,000. He served as state chairman of the Anti-Trust party and as chairman of the Democratic state central committee in 1908, was a delegate to the national convention held in Denver, and was selected to notify William J. Bryan for the Montana delegation. During the same year he was selected by Gov. Edwin L. Norris as one of his advisors to attend the conservation meeting held at the White House in Washington, D. C. In November, 1910; Mr. George was elected state senator by a majority of between 400 and 500 votes, as Democratic candidate in a district that usually polls a Republican majority of 1,000. Through his efforts the eastern part of the state was redistricted, thus giving that section five representatives where it formerly had but one. During the United State senatorial election of 1911 he received thirty votes, but as he was pledged to his friend, Thomas J. Walsh, he refused the nomination, and this resulted in a dead-lock, which was broken when Henry L. Meyers was agreed upon. Mr. George was chairman of the state fair committee, and while a member thereof secured an extension of the street car line which had long been sought, and in addition to showing himself a vigorous fight for a highway law and highway commission. He also introduced the Guarantee Banking Bill and the Public Service Utility Bill, and in every possible manner has worked to advance the interests of his state and his constituents in Yellowstone County.
Mr. George's business interests are mainly connected with real estate and insurance, and in these he has built up a large and profitable patronage. As an organizer and developer he is known throughout the city, and in one transaction alone, that of 1900, when he platted the addition to the west side of the city, he opened up a territory that is now occupied by the residences of some of Billings' leading men. In 1904 he was one of the organizers of the state fair, serving for six years as its president and as a member of the executive committee. In the irrigation and development of the Yellowstone Valley he has accomplished as much as any one man in his section, and has about 1,500 acres under irrigation, in addition to 1,000 acres above the ditch, the latter being put to wheat, of which he raises from twenty to twenty-five bushels per acre. Mr. George is also the owner of one of the largest ranches of this locality, a tract of 7,000 acres located seven miles west of the city of Billings and about 2,500 acres are under cultivation, of which 100 acres are in orchard. The beautiful home of the George family is within one and one-half miles of the city, and is equipped with all modern appliances and conveniences, being connected with the city electric light and water companies. One of Mr. George's hobbies may be said to be good roads, and from time to time he has traveled extensively through the state, urging the importance of well-built thoroughfares. In 1910 he was the organizer of the first good roads congress in the state, and has since been chairman of the committee and active in the work of the organization. His other diversion, to which he gives a great deal of attention, is the raising of cows, sheep and blooded horses, principally the latter. He owns his own breeding stables, has some fine driving horses, and was the owner of two pacers: "Ruby Messenger," 2:14 ¼, and "Billings G.," 2:18. He assisted in the organization of the Young Men's Christian Association and the Polytechnic Institute, and in addition to his numerous other interests finds time to devote to fraternal work. He belongs to Ashlar Lodge, No. 29, A. F. & A. M.; Billings Chapter, No. 6, R. A. M.; Aldemar Commandery, No. 5, K. T., and Algeria Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S., Helena, being a past master of his lodge and past eminent commander of the commandery. He also holds membership in Billings Lodge, No. 394, B. P. O. E., of which he is exalted ruler.
On June 15, 1892, Mr. George was married to Miss Virginia Florence Sleeper, who was born in Camden, New Jersey, daughter of Nehemiah and Martha (Fleming) Sleeper, both of whom are deceased. Mrs. George was the fourth in order of birth of a large family of children, of whom six are living. Her father was a Quaker, a prosperous business man and a member of the city council of Burlington, New Jersey, was highly respected as a business man and citizen, and known as an influential Republican politician. His wife, who was an accomplished musician, was of Scotch-Irish descent. Mr. and Mrs. George have had a family of eleven children, of whom four died when quite young, while those who survive are: Raymond and William B., Jr., who are attending high school; Preston B., a student in the public schools; and Marie, Virginia Florence, Robert and Mabel.
The career of William B. George has been one of public usefulness, and is free from any stain or blemish, in all the relations of life he has been true to his country and to himself, to the duties that have devolved upon him and to the manifold responsibilities that must be assumed by those who attain such public prominence. In the prime of life, with his best years yet before him, it is safe to predict that still higher honors await him, and that he will do them full justice. [Source: "The History of Montana" by Helen Fitzgerald Sanders, Volume 3, 1913 - Transcribed and contributed by: Frances Cooley]
Macomb B. Gray
The men whose names are enrolled among those who have developed the business interests of Montana are almost without exception possessed of unusual capabilities which they have devoted to the expansion of the concerns with which they have connected themselves. The competition in the West is of too strenuous a nature to permit of any leisure class among those who hope to accomplish something worth while. The opportunities are unlimited, but hard work and a thorough knowledge of the industry under consideration are required to raise a business above the dead level of mediocrity. Therefore when any man does succeed in placing his house among the reliable and prosperous ones of any live western city, he has furnished incontrovertible proof that he possesses those characteristics enumerated above. The whole career of Macomb B. Gray, vice president and manager of the Gray Seed Company of Billings, Montana, from the time he entered the business arena until today has been one series of successive advancements, each one giving him additional responsibilities and dignity. At present his company is one of the leading ones in this line in the city, and its territory is international.
Macomb B. Gray was born at Cape Vincent, New York, August 12, 1863, a son of Edwin and Eleanor (Wood) Gray. The Gray family was founded in the American colonies by Andrew Gray, who came from the north of Ireland to what later became New York State in 1737, his family being of Scotch-Irish extraction. One of his descendants, Adam Gray, the grandfather of Macomb B. Gray, was born in Montgomery County, New York, and died at Cape Vincent, New York, before his grandson was born. During the War of 1812 he served his country as an officer with gallant bravery. Early in life he was engaged in mercantile pursuits, but later on in life was a farmer. His wife, who was the grandmother of Macomb B. Gray, bore the maiden name of Margaret Loucks, and was born in New York State.
Edwin Gray, the father, was born at St. Johnsville, Montgomery County, New York, in 1821, and he died at Cape Vincent, New York, in 1899. He was reared in his native place, but after his marriage at Cape Vincent he located there and that continued his home as long as he lived. The farm which he bought and conducted during all of his succeeding active years still remains in the family and is the home of his widow. The farm was purchased from the grandfather, Andrew Gray. A democrat in politics, he exercised his right of suffrage, but did not care to assume the responsibilities of public office, although he was very prominent in local affairs, and was called "Squire." For many years he was a member of the Odd Fellows Lodge of Cape Vincent. The maiden name of his wife was Eleanor Wood, and she was born in Montgomery County, New York, in 1824. Their children were as follows: Adam, who died at the age of sixty-three years on the home farm; Mary, who married James Rector, and lives at Point Peninsula, Jefferson County, New York, her husband, who was a farmer, being deceased, having during his lifetime taken a prominent part in politics as a republican; Margaret, who married Joseph Bates, a farmer, resides at Cape Vincent, Jefferson County, New York; Evelyn, who married Campbell Bates, a brother of Joseph Bates, lives at Cape Vincent. New York, her husband having retired from his former agricultural pursuits; Frances, who is unmarried, lives with her mother on the old farm; Edwin, who was a railroad conductor, was killed when he was forty years old in a railroad accident between Tacoma and Seattle, Washington; Macomb B., whose name heads this review; and Elizabeth, who married Fred Pond, a farmer and extensive stock dealer of Cape Vincent, New York.
Macomb B. Gray was reared at Cape Vincent and after he had completed his studies in its public schools he was prepared for college, and then entering Cornell University of New York State in 1882 he took the full course and was graduated therefrom in 1886, with the degree of Bachelor of Science. He belongs to the Greek letter fraternity Delta Kappa Epsilon. For the first year subsequent to his leaving college Mr. Gray was engaged in teaching school in the military academy at Atlanta, Georgia, but left the educational field to embark in the seed business at Cape Vincent, under the name of the Macomb Gray Company, which was afterward merged into the Cape Vincent Seed Company, of which he was vice president and manager until 1901, when he sold his interest and, going to Port Huron, Michigan, established the McMorran, Gray Seed Company, directing its operations for nine years as treasurer and manager. Once more he disposed of his interests, and in 1910 came to Billings, Montana, and for one year was associated with the Northrup King Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota, whose Billings representative he was, resigning to go into the seed business on his own account. In 1917 Mr. Gray incorporated the Gray Seed Company, which has the following officials: I. D. O'Donnell, president; Macomb B. Gray, vice president and manager; and S. D. MacDonald, secretary and treasurer. The offices and plant are located on Montana Avenue and Twenty-first Street, North. This company sells seeds all over the United States, Canada and even in foreign countries.
In 1804 Mr. Gray was united in marriage at Detroit, Michigan, to Miss Frances Millen, a daughter of Capt. James and Mary (Iselin) Millen, the former of whom died at Detroit, his widow still surviving him and making her home at Detroit. He was a captain of a steamer on the Great Lakes during his younger days, but later in life became manager of freight and passenger lines on these same bodies of water. Mr. and Mrs. Gray have two daughters, namely: Marie, who was graduated from the Billings High School, is at home, and Dorothy, who is also at home, was graduated from Cornell University of New York State and is a landscape gardener. She belongs to the Greek letter fraternity Chi Omega. The family residence is at No. 918 North Thirty-first Street. Mr. Gray is an independent democrat. A Mason in good standing, he belongs to Cape Vincent Lodge No. 293, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. The Billings Chamber of Commerce and the Billings Club also holds his membership. Big of brain and warm of heart, Mr. Gray is a man who impresses his personality upon all with whom he is associated, and wins and retains friendships in no ordinary degree. Under his able management his company has expanded very considerably, and is justly accounted one of the concerns which give to Billings much of its present prestige.
[Montana, Its Story and Biography, Volume 2. Transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
Phil Grein, president of the Billings Brewing Company of Billings, Montana, is one of the substantial men of this part of the state, whose sound judgment and singleness of purpose cause him to be regarded as one in whom implicit trust may be placed. He was born at Frankfurt-on-the-Main, Germany, July 22, 1863, a son of John Philip Grein. The father was born near Frankfurt, Germany in 1830, and he died at Frankfurt in 1882, having devoted his active years to agricultural pursuits. Like all of his countrymen, John Philip Grein gave his land the usual military service, and also rendered it valuable aid as a civilian during the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, having charge of shipping all of the beef into France for the use of the German army during its occupancy of French soil. The Lutheran Church held his membership. His wife before marriage was Lena Fach, and she was born in Germany in 1831, where she spent her life and died in 1915. Their children were as follows: Bertha, who is unmarried and lives at Jugenheim, Germany; Hedwick, who married M. L. Herse, a photographer, and lives in Germany; Phil, whose name heads this review; Fritz, who is a hotel proprietor of Jugenheim, Germany; and Catherine, who married B. Herff, a member of a fertilizing firm, and lives at Chicago, Illinois.
Phil Grein was reared in Germany and educated in its public schools, which he left when seventeen years old to begin an apprenticeship to the brewing trade. In 1881 he came to the United States, and spent his first year in this country at St. Louis, Missouri, where he worked at his trade. Leaving there, he went to Miles City, Montana, in 1882, and was engaged in various activities in this state for several years, among which was working as a cow boy. In 1884 he went to Butte, Montana, to engage with the Centennial Brewing Company as a driver of one of their wagons, rising successively to the positions of collector, solicitor and then general manager, and remaining with that concern for fifteen years. During November, 1899, Mr. Grein came to Billings, and began at once to erect the plant and offices of the Billings Brewing Company at the corner of Twenty-fourth Street and Montana Avenue. The present officers of this large corporation are as follows: Phil Grein, president; J. Jacobson, vice president; and Arthur Trennery, secretary. This company is incorporated, and is the only brewery in Southeastern Montana, supplying the trade as far as Beach, North Dakota, and Livingston, Montana. Formerly Mr. Grein was a stockholder and director of the Farmers and Traders Bank of Billings, and he founded the Chrystal Ice and Fuel Company of Billings, but sold his interests in 1918. He owns a 280 acre ranch 3 ½ miles north of Billings, where he raises milk and Shorthorn cattle and blooded stock of all kinds. This ranch is operated as a fancy stock ranch, the grain grown on it being used for feeding purposes. The Grein residence at 115 North Twenty-second Street is a modern one and the property of Mr. Grein.
In 1897 Mr. Grein was united in marriage with Miss Amanda Benson at Butte, Montana. She is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Benson, the former of whom was a farmer of Minnesota, but is now deceased, his wife having also passed away. Mr. and Mrs. Grein have no children. In politics Mr. Grein is an independent democrat, and he has served as a member of the Billings City Council. He belongs to Billings Lodge No. 394, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Billings Eagle Eyrie No. 274, Paternal Order of Eagles, and the Sons of Hermann. In him the Lutheran Church has a consistent member and he contributes generously towards its support. Ever since coming to Billings Mr. Grein has had the good of the community at heart and has exerted himself to advance its best interests.
[Montana, Its Story and Biography, Volume 2. Transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
J. Ward Huse.
The career of the late J. Ward Huse, in whose death Billings lost one of its leading business citizens, was one of constant industry and courageous perseverance from his earliest boyhood. From modest beginnings, the Michigan lad, who was later to become an influential merchant, triumphed over all obstacles in his way and set an example of success won without double dealing or unfair advantage over any men. With none of the advantages open to the youth of today who can prepare for a business career, as a sequel to a college education leading directly to that end, Mr. Huse applied to the tasks and problems he encountered a native commercial sense which his perspicacity developed with years. When he came to Montana some twenty years ago, he found the mercantile business practically in its beginning a vast, untried field of commercial endeavor with but few precedents to guide those that engaged in it. To him, as much as to any other, is due the credit for the marvelous development of Montana's commercial interests during the past several decades. J. Ward Huse was born October 10, 1869, in St. Clair. Michigan, and is a son of Charles and Helen (Woodbury) Huse, his father having been a steamer captain on the St. Clair river.
The second in order of birth of the five children of his parents, Mr. Huse secured his early education in the schools of St. Clair, and as a youth of fifteen left the parental roof to make his own way in the world. Going to the lumber town of Oscoda, Michigan, he secured a position as clerk in a store, there receiving his initiation into the mercantile field. Subsequently he went to Chicago and took a course in a business college, and in that city secured valuable training in the great wholesale grocery house of Sprague, Warner & Company. In 1891, Mr. Huse decided to go farther west, and in that year made his advent in Lewistown, Montana, where he immediately became connected with the Power Mercantile Company, and for years continued to be associated with that firm as manager of the various stores under its control, and during the greater portion of this period he was manager of their large mercantile establishment at Fort Benton. From Fort Benton he came to Billings in 1905, to take charge of one of the branches of his company, then known as the Donovan-McCormack Company, proprietors of a general store. And in 1907, when the company retired from the field at Billings. Mr. Huse and his partner, Mr. Yates, bought out the implement business, forming the company of Huse-Yates & Company, that partnership continuing until the death of Mr. Huse on the 25th of July, 1910. This concern, which is one of the leading implement houses in the state, is now controlled by Mr. Yates.
On September 11, 1895, Mr. Huse was married to Miss Fay A. Turner, daughter of Dr. Will E. Turner, of Fort Benton, a pioneer physician of that place, whence he came as a United States army surgeon. When the fort was abandoned, he resigned his commission and engaged in a large general practice until his death in 1889. Dr. Turner was married to Annie Snow, who joined him in Montana in 1875, and is at this time a resident of Seattle, Washington. Mr. and Mrs. Huse had one daughter, Fay Irene.
Mr. Huse was connected with the Elks and the Masonic order. In politics he was a Republican, and he was chairman of the Chouteau County Republican Central Committee for many years. He had large business interests of numerous kinds and was for several years an extensive dealer in and raiser of sheep. At various times he rendered signal services to his city where his business abilities, executive capacity and high sense of commercial integrity made those services of great importance. His was a busy life, and it is to his high credit that he was busied about those things which make for the material growth of a community. He found leisure, however, to take occasional hunting and fishing trips, from which he invariably returned with excellent specimens of the furry and finny tribes, and he was a valued member of the Fort Benton Hunting and Fishing Clubs. A business man of honor and a citizen who had the welfare of his community at heart, he was highly respected and liked by all with whom he came into contact in any way, and his place will be hard to fill in the business world of Billings and in the hearts of his many friends.
Mrs. Huse is a favorite in the best social circles of Millings, and with her charming daughter, who is a student in the high school, entertain most graciously in their model home.
[Source: "The History of Montana" by Helen Fitzgerald Sanders, Volume 3, 1913 - Transcribed by Cathy Danielson]
Rudolph F. W. Molt
Self reliance, energy, honesty, all these trails of character have been instrumental in attaining for Rudolph F. W. Molt, of Billings, the remarkable measure of success which has attended his efforts, but, more than anything else perhaps, credit must be given the indomitable resolution that has been bestowed on his operations and caused him to forge steadily forward in the face of all difficulties and discouragements. The extent of the various enterprises in the sheep industry in Montana would no doubt prove a matter of astonishment to the residents of the eastern states, and the magnitude with which this business has been carried on by many of the progressive citizens of this formerly barren country is probably unknown to the majority who have never visited the Treasure state. One of the men who has proven this to be a profitable occupation is Rudolph F. W. Molt, who for many years has been successfully engaged in the sheep and cattle business. He is a native of the Fatherland, having been born in Klein Waabs, Germany, January 19, 1859, and is a son of Hans and Louisa (Witt) Molt. Hans Molt spent his whole life in agricultural pursuits in his native country, where he passed away at the age of sixty-six years, while his wife died when she was forty-nine years old. They were the parents of seven children, of whom two are now living, Rudolph and Emma, the latter the wife of Frederick Paulsen, living in Germany. The Molt family has always been connected with the Lutheran church.
Rudolph F. W. Molt received a public school education in his native country and came to the United States in 1886. In March of the following year he located at Billings, and here secured employment as a sheep herder, but in 1889 he engaged in the business on his own account, starting out in a small way and each year increasing the size of his flocks until he became one of the large sheep raisers of this part of Montana. His ranch is located in the Lake Basin country, the scene of many years spent in the sheep and cattle business, where he witnessed both success and reverses, and which holds for him many pleasant memories of the days he spent in this industry, and there he still owns 30,000 acres of land. He has lately disposed of his sheep and cattle, as eighty per cent, of this land is farm land, and the demand in Montana has become so great in recent years for agricultural land that Mr. Molt has concluded, like hundreds of others, that the grazing on the tillable land is about at an end, and hence the great portion of his 30,000 acres in the Lake Basin country will from now on be utilized in the farming industry. His abundant success has been brought about by progressive methods, persevering labor and untiring energy, and his ranch is one of the finest in that locality, although he makes his home in Billings, at No. 318 South Twenty-ninth street. Mr. Molt is one of those who proved that the advantages of personal advancement in connection with the industrial life of Montana do not lack for appreciation. Coming from a foreign country and changing his line of occupation, entirely through his own efforts he has reached a measure of success that cannot be otherwise than gratifying, and he is now respected and esteemed as one of the foremost men of the Yellowstone Valley. He is a Republican in his political views, but he has never cared for political preferment. In 1894 Mr. Molt was married to Miss Alvina Lehfeldt. who was born at Dennison, Crawford County, Iowa, a daughter of Rudolph and Mary (Witt) Lehfeldt. To Mr. and Mrs. Molt have been born three daughters, Emma and Bertha, both attending high school, and Alma, who died November 13, l910, at the age of nearly twelve years.
[Source: "The History of Montana" by Helen Fitzgerald Sanders, Volume 1, 1913 - Submitted by Cathy Schultz]
William D. Mowre.
The business interests of Billings, Montana, have grown to an amazing extent during the last few years, and the credit for this desirable state of affairs may be given to the enterprising business men whose energy and modern methods have put the city on a sound financial basis, while they have cooperated with the city officials in looking after its municipal needs. It may be said of William D. Mowre, of 2811 Montana avenue, that he has aided in the city's business development and helped to advance its civic welfare, while he is well and popularly known in fraternal circles. Mr. Mowre was born in Van Buren county, Iowa, November 18, 1861, and is a son of Joel A. and Margaret (Gray) Mowre.
Joel A. Mowre was born in Kentucky, in 1833, and as a youth removed to Van Buren county, Iowa, with his parents. There he secured a common school education, and was reared in agricultural pursuits, following farming and stock-raising all of his life and dying in 1898. His wife, who was a native of Indiana, passed away in May, 1910, when sixty-five years of age, having been the mother of three sons and two daughters, of whom the sons, William D., Emery H. and Charles E., are living. Joel A. Mowre was a member of the school board for a number of years, was a Republican in politics and a faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and as soon as he was of age identified himself with Masonry, gaining membership in Troy Lodge, No. 40. The education of William D. Mowre was secured in the common schools of Van Buren county, and it was his father's intention that he should become a farmer. He remained on the home place until 1882, at which time he started for the west, and after a journey of eight days arrived at Stockton, California. During the four years that followed he was employed on the ranch of his uncle, William J. Gray, never losing a day's work in this time, and in the fall of 1886 returned to his Iowa home. He was there married, and subsequently returned to California, locating at Linden, where he was engaged in the blacksmith business until the spring of 1891. That year saw his advent in Stillwater, now known as Columbus, Montana, where he followed the same line of work until the fall of 1892, and he then took up a ranch on the Rose Bud. For six years he was successfully engaged in farming and cattle raising, and in 1898 came to Billings and established himself in a general merchandise business, but after three years disposed of his interests therein to enter the wholesale and retail cigar and tobacco business, a line to which he has since devoted his attention. Mr. Mowre is a business man of progressive ideas, and the manner in which he has handled his enterprise has given him standing among the legitimate business concerns of the city. His goods are well and favorably known and have had a steadily increasing sale. Mr. Mowre is a Republican in his political views, but takes only a good citizen's interest in public matters, although he is at all times ready to enlist his influence in the cause of any movement which he feels will be of benefit to his adopted city. He has interested himself in fraternal work, being a member of Ashlar Lodge, No. 29, A. F. & A. M.; Billings Chapter, No. 6. R. A. M.; Aldemar Commandery, No. 5, K. T., of which he is captain general; and Helena Temple; and is also connected with Billings Star Lodge, No. 4, I. O. O. F. Formerly he was identified with Scio Lodge, No. 102, of Linden, California, which he joined in 1883, and in which he filled all the chairs and was a past noble grand. On November 4, 1886, Mr. Mowre was married to Miss Irene Campbell, who was born in Mansfield, Ohio, daughter of William S. and Sarah (Brown) Campbell, both deceased. Mrs. Mowre's parents had eight children, the last two being twins, one of whom was Irene. Her father was a farmer and located in Iowa in 1863 or 1864, spending the rest of his days in Van Buren county. He was a staunch Republican and a deacon of the Presbyterian church. Mr. and Mrs. Mowre have two daughters; Edna, who was educated in the Berkeley (California) University, and the University of Wisconsin, and Arminda J., who finished the course at the latter institution and is now attending Northwestern University, Chicago. [Source: "The History of Montana" by Helen Fitzgerald Sanders, Volume 3, 1913 - Submitted by Friends of Free Genealogy]
Lucius Allison Nutting
One of the most representative men of Laurel and Yellowstone counties is Lucius Allison Nutting, whose varied, talents have been developed through his own individual efforts, and his business triumphs engineered through his sagacity and sound judgment. He has been associated with some of the most constructive work of this section, and has made a name known all over the country as a breeder of Shorthorn cattle. He was born in 'Doniphan County, Kansas, July 1, 1858, a son of Lucius Nutting, and comes of one of the oldest families in the country, being a lineal descendant of John Nutting, born in England, who founded the family in the new world. His name appears on a record in the Massachusetts colony under date of August 28, 1650, as being then united in marriage with Sarah, a daughter of Stephen Eggleson (Eggleston). John Nutting and his wife lived in Woburn, Massachusetts, and had three children born in that place, namely: John, James and Mary. They then moved to Chelmsford, now Westford, Massachusetts. In 1661 they went to Groton, Massachusetts, and in 1663 John Nutting was chosen selectman, being again elected to that important office October 15, 1669. In 1668 he was chosen constable. A man of ample means and a large land owner, he was a leader of men, both in material things and those of a spiritual nature, as he was very religious. During 1676 he was conspicuous in a fight his community made against an attack by the hostile Indians and was one of four killed.
Lucius Nutting, father of Lucius A. Nutting, was born in Massachusetts in 1820, a son of Bryant Nutting, also a native of Massachusetts, who died in the vicinity of Springfield, that state, at a date antedating the birth of his grandson, of whom we write. Growing up in his native state, Lucius Nutting came West to Illinois in young manhood, and was there married. A physician and surgeon by profession, he was engaged in an active practice in that state, but was drawn from it by the gold excitement of 1849, and crossing the plains spent a year in California, but returned to Illinois and resumed his practice. Later he went to Crescent City, Iowa, where he built and conducted a sawmill. In 1857 he went still farther west, locating in Doniphan County, Kansas, there erecting another saw-mill, and, buying a farm, lived on it until 1878. In 1879 he went to Arizona, but after a year in that state returned to Doniphan County and was engaged in the drug business at Leona, Kansas. The year 1880 saw his entry into Montana, as he spent its summer at Bozeman, and in 1881 homesteaded at Laurel, a claim of 160 acres and a timber claim of 160 acres more. One of these farms he sold, but the other one forms a portion of his estate now owned by his heirs. In 1895 he returned to Bozeman, where he remained until his death in 1903. A republican of the most pronounced type, he was a leader in his party, and served as commissioner of Yellowstone County for six years. For years a member of the Presbyterian Church, he was very active in it, and held all of the lay offices connected with the conduct of its affairs. His wife bore the maiden name of Elizabeth Allison, and she was born in Pennsylvania in 1819 and died at Bozeman in 1901. Their children were as follows: Julia, who married Bryant Cowan, formerly a well known breeder of Shorthorn cattle in Missouri, is now connected with the Shorthorn Breeders' Association in a literary capacity, and lives at Santa Monica, California; Wilder, who is a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, resides at Three Forks, Montana; Lucius A., whose name heads this review; William B., who resides at Red Lodge, Montana, where he is engaged in the banking business; Lilly E., who died at Santa Monica, California; and Roy H., who is retired, lives at Eureka, California.
Lucius A. Nutting attended the rural schools of Doniphan County, Kansas, which at that day offered but limited educational advantages, but being determined to improve his mind Mr. Nutting through reading, travel, observation and other means of acquiring culture has become one of the best informed men in his part of the state. When he was twenty years of age he began to be self supporting, at that time going to Tombstone, Arizona, and after a short stay traveling on through Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Idaho. He helped in the construction of the railroad from Corinne, Utah, into Montana during the fall of 1879. Following that he was a cowboy and bull whacker until he located at Laurel and homesteaded 160 acres of land. That original farm has grown until he now owns 800 acres of irrigated land in the vicinity of Laurel, and an interest in 1,600 acres of dry ranch land. Mr. Nutting is a breeder of Shorthorn cattle, and his methods and successes in this branch of agriculture have gained him more than a local reputation. He also raises grain and is equally successful in this line. His handsome residence on Alder Street is owned by him, and he also owns considerable city property. A portion of his farm was included in the town site of Laurel, and he sold 135 acres of land to the Northern Pacific Railroad Company.
In 1909 Mr. Nutting became interested in the Fromberg Brick and Tile Company, buying the controlling interest in 1913 and taking upon himself the management of the company. Under his aggressive policies the affairs of the company have been put in fine condition, and the capacity of the plant is taxed to fill the orders for high grade brick and tile from Billings and Southern Montana and Northern Wyoming. The yards are located at Fromberg, Montana, and have a capacity of 40,000 brick per day. Mr. Nutting was one of the organizers of the Citizens National Bank of Laurel, of which he was the first president, continuing in that office for 2 ½ years, when he sold his interest.
A democrat through conviction, he early was accorded the leadership of his party in this district, and was elected a representative to the State Assembly from Yellowstone County in 1914, serving as a member of the Fourteenth Session. During that period he was chairman of the federal relations committee and a member of the committees on irrigation and water rights and agriculture, as well as others of considerable importance, and introduced the drainage law bill, now on the statute books, to secure the passage of which necessitated an immense amount of work on the part of Mr. Nutting. A booster of Laurel in every sense, Mr. Nutting takes a very active part in the Commercial Club, and has been instrumental in bringing outside capital to the city and interesting a sufficient number to secure their location here. Fraternally he belongs to Laurel Camp, Modern Woodmen of America, and Billings Lodge No. 394, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
In 1891 Mr. Nutting was married at Red Lodge, Montana, to Miss Lilly Ellis, born at San Francisco, California, but educated at Newark, Ohio. Mr. and Mrs. Nutting became the parents of the following children: Ruth, who was graduated from the University of Montana, at Missoula, with the degree of Bachelor of Art, is residing with her parents; and Bryant, who was graduated from the Laurel High School, is associated with his father in business.
[Montana, Its Story and Biography, Volume 2. Transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
During an active and energetic career extending over a period of a quarter of a century Charles O'Donnell, of Billings, has forged steadily to the forefront among successful stockmen and ranchers, among whom he now holds pre-eminent position. His career has been one exemplifying self-made manhood, for he started his independent life with a self-gained education and without financial assistant or influential friends, and each step upward has been achieved only after the exercise of his own energy and resource. In addition to being president of the Montana Live Stock and Loan Company, and connected with various other prominent enterprises he is a large landholder.
Mr. O'Donnell was born at Saginaw, Michigan, April 6, 1874, a son of Daniel O'Donnell, who died at Midland, Michigan. His opportunities for attending school were not numerous in his youth, but he made the most of his opportunities, and through self-teaching, keen observation and much reading has become a well-educated man. He began to be self-supporting when he was eighteen years of age. He came to Billings in 1890, and was employed by the Montana-Minnesota Land and Improvement Company for one year in building the irrigation ditch for that concern. Following this he rented a ranch, which started him upon his successful career, for he soon became a ranch owner and stockman and yearly has increased his
holdings and extended the scope of his operations. His home ranch is situated fourteen miles east of Billings, and is a tract of 1,250 acres of irrigated land. In addition to this he owns 10,000 acres in Yellowstone County and a half interest in a ranch of 1,700 acres in Custer County. As one of Montana's leading stockmen, in August, 1915, he became the leading factor in the organization of the Montana Live Stock and Loan Company, a concern which buys and sells livestock and loans money thereon in addition to shipping all over the United States. The offices of this company are situated at 2719 First Avenue, and the officials are: Charles O'Donnell, president; Wallace Huidokoper, vice president; Frank O'Donnell, secretary and treasurer; and F. B. Bair, manager. Mr. O'Donnell is also president of the Cold Springs Livestock Corporation at Forsyth, Rosebud County, Montana, a ranch and livestock corporation capitalized at $150,000, in which Mr. O'Donnell owns one-quarter of the stock. This corporation feeds 8,000 sheep every winter, as well as horses and cattle, and has a 3,180-acre ranch, of which 2,000 acres are irrigated.
Mr. O'Donnell's pleasant modern residence is situated at 24 Yellowstone Avenue, Billings. In his political views he is a democrat, with independent inclinations. With his family he belongs to the Roman Catholic Church, and is a third degree knight and member of Billings Council No. 1259, Knights of Columbus. He is a life member of Billings Lodge No. 394, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and holds membership also in the Billings Club and the Billings Coif and Country Club.
In November, 1897, Mr. O'Donnell was married at Billings to Miss Katherine Riordon, who was born at Boston, Massachusetts, and was brought as a babe to Billings, where she received a high school education. Mr. and Mrs. O'Donnell are the parents of two children: Charles Everett, born August 10, 1903, who is a senior in the Billings High School; and Lawrence Donald, born December 10, 1909, attending the parochial school. [Montana, Its Story and Biography, Volume 2. Transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
Three miles northwest from Republic, lies the homestead of the subject of this article, which was taken shortly before the reservation was thrown open for agricultural purposes. In addition to operating his farm, Mr. Ragsdale is conducting a black-smith shop at the Trade Dollar mine, where he has worked for two years. He is a man of good standing. He labors industriously for his neighbors and for the upbuilding of the country and is considered one of the prosperous men of the county.
Fred Ragsdale was born in Jackson county, Oregon, on December 12, 1866, being the son of W. P. and Mary (Eccleston) Ragsdale, natives of Kentucky. The parents crossed the plains in very early days to Oregon. Later, in 1873, they came to Whitman county, where the family home was for twenty years. After this they removed to Stevens county and the home is now in Fruitland. The mother died in 1900. They were the parents of five children, three of whom are now living, Willard A., Fred, our subject, and Emma Bernard. Our subject received his education in the Palouse country, and when fifteen started out in life for himself. He learned the printer's trade at Walla Walla, and after spending two years in this occupation, came to Colville in 1881. He operated there until 1900, when he removed to Republic, taking a homestead as stated above, and also operated a blacksmith shop. The trade of blacksmithing he had learned in younger days.
In 1888 Mr. Ragsdale married Miss Sarah N., daughter of Richard A. and Esther (Mormom) Prouty, natives of Ohio, and Michigan, respectively. They settled in Iowa as pioneers, and in 1877 went to Missouri, whence one year later they journeyed to Kansas. After that we find him in Fort Custer, Montana, then in Stillwater, the same state. In 1880 they came to Colville, where the father died in 1903. The mother is still living and resides four miles east of Colville on the old homestead. They were the parents of nine children named as follows: Nancy J., Charles H., George F., James A., Rachel A., Mary M., Sarah N., Annie M., and Jessie B. Of the former marriage the father had four children, two of whom are living, James W. and Cecelia Fallon. To Mr. and Mrs. Ragsdale three children have been born, Otto A., Edna and Leo. Mr. Ragsdale is an enterprising citizen and is always keenly interested in the various questions of the day, both in political matters, and others that pertain to the welfare and upbuilding of Ferry county. [SOURCE: "An Illustrated History of Stevens, Ferry, Okanogan, and Chelan Counties in the state of Washington"; Western Historical Publishing Company, 1904 - tr. By Sandra Stutzman]
Frederick Panton Rixon
Prominent among the business men of
who have found time from their personal affairs to devote to the interests of their community is found Frederick Panton Rixon. While Mr. Rixon is a Canadian by birth, having been born in the Province of Billings , November 23. 1874, he is a thorough Montanan by training, and has been a resident of Billings for thirty-eight years, during a large part of which time he has been engaged in the drug business. His public service record is a long and honorable one, and includes the accomplishment of much valuable and constructive work as county treasurer and a member of the Montana House of Representatives. Ontario
Mr. Rixon belongs to a family which originated in
Englandand the founder of which in Canadaemigrated first to , he being the great-grandfather of Frederick P. Rixon. From Baltimore, Maryland Baltimorehe went to the , where his son, Frederick P. Rixon's grandfather, was born and where the latter spent the remainder of his life engaged in agricultural pursuits. John Rixon, the father of Frederick P., was born in 1839, in Provinceof Ontario , and was there reared, educated and married. During the greater part of his life he was engaged in farming and journalism, and his career was one in which he displayed versatile and marked, if not eminent talents. In 1881 he came to the United States, coming into Miles City, Montana, by railway, and then driving overland by team as a pioneer to the straggling little village of Billings, at that time situated beyond the point to which the railways had yet extended. At Canada he entered the office of the Herald, one of the city's first newspapers, and from that time forward until his death in November, 1904, was identified with newspaper work. He was a republican in his political adherence, and was a member of the Episcopal Church and a devout churchman. Mr. Rixon married Susanna Panton, who was born in Billings Ontario, Canada, in 1845, and who survives her husband and makes her home at . They became the parents of the following children: Anna, the wife of P. L. Reece, a railroad contractor of Nicholson, Pennsylvania; Mary, who died at the age of seventeen years; Rebecca, who married Leslie Bates, manager for a large fire insurance company at San Francisco, California; Eleanor, the wife of John B. Fritschi, also connected with a fire insurance concern at San Francisco; Frederick Panton, of this review; William P., engaged in the real estate and insurance business at Billings; Winifred, the wife of Charles J. Chappie, a druggist of Billings, and Harold Alfred Rixon, who is assistant cashier of the Security Bank of Billings. Billings
Frederick Panton Rixon received his education in the public schools of
, having accompanied his parents here as a lad of seven years. When he was thirteen years of age he decided that he had sufficient education to start himself off in life, and at that time entered a drug store and received his introduction to the vocation which was to later become his life work. Also, for two years, he was in the service of the Northern Pacific Railway, but eventually, at the age of seventeen years, decided that his educational training was not sufficient for his needs, and accordingly returned to his studies, which he pursued for several years. When he considered that he was adequately equipped he returned to the drug business, which he thoroughly mastered, and in 1904 became a member of the drug firm of Holmes & Rixon, an association which continued successfully over a period of sixteen years. In 1916 Mr. Rixon became sole proprietor of the business, when he bought the interests of his partner, and the establishment, located in the Yellowstone National Bank Building, is today one of the leading pharmacies of Billings. Mr. Rixon is an excellent business man, noted for his integrity and a sense of business honor that makes certain the handling of only reliable goods and the careful preparation of prescriptions, while his unfailing courtesy has also contributed to the factors which have given him business success. A republican in politics and a citizen who believes in the responsibility of every man to perform public service, for some years he has been before his fellow-citizens in official capacities. Elected city treasurer in 1896, he established an excellent record, but did not run for a second term. He next served for three years as deputy clerk of the court, and in 1914 was sent to the House of Representatives in the fifteenth session of that body. There his services were constructive in character and beneficial to his district and his state. He also served one term as county treasurer. Mr. Rixon is a member of the Episcopal Church and senior warden thereof. He belongs to the Billings Midland Club and is prominent in fraternal circles, holding membership in Ashlar Lodge No. 29, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Billings Lodge No. 394, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Billings Lodge Knights of Pythias, and Billings Camp Woodmen of the World. Billings
Mr. Rixon's modern home is located at
No. 24 North Thirty-first Street. He is unmarried. [Montana, Its Story and Biography, Volume 2. Transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
The secret of the rapid development of Billings lies in the fact that so many of its leading citizens belong to the younger class of business men, who have not yet lost their enthusiasm for their work, nor become satisfied with what they have accomplished. In seeking to realize their ambitions these alert and aggressive young men are giving an impetus to all branches of activity that cannot help but develop their city and attract to it outside capital. One of these representative boosters for a "greater Billings" is Fleming Wellington Robb, actively engaged in the farm loan business.
The Robb family is of English origin and dates back in this country to colonial days, when the progenitor of the American branch located in Pennsylvania. The paternal grandfather, also Fleming Wellington Robb, was born in the Keystone state, in the vicinity of Muncy, in 1800, and he died at Union, Nebraska, in 1882. Animated by the same spirit of adventure which brought his ancestor to the American colonies from England, the elder Fleming Wellington Robb went to Nebraska at an early day in the history of that state and became one of the pioneer homesteaders of Otoe County, where he acquired 200 acres of land. This farm is now worth $50,000 and is still in the family, the advance in value not only proving the good judgment exercised by the grandfather in his selection of location, but also that he and his descendants knew how to develop land to its fullest extent. With the formation of the republican party he gave its principles his support and voted its ticket the remainder of his life. Early confirmed in the faith of the Episcopal Church, he gave it his earnest support, and assisted in founding a church of that denomination in Otoe County. He married Ellen W. Montgomery, born in Pennsylvania in 1810, and she died near Union, Nebraska in 1892. Their only living child, W. H. M. Robb, is the father of Fleming W. Robb of this review.
W. H. M. Robb was born in Pennsylvania in 1861, and when he was still a lad his parents took him to Nebraska, where he was reared and taught farming by his father. Subsequently he conducted a grain business and owned several elevators, but sold and engaged in farming until 1916, when he moved to Union, Nebraska, where he has resumed his grain operations upon a somewhat extensive scale. He has rendered his state considerable service, as he was steward of the penitentiary at Lincoln, Nebraska, for four years, and also of the Insane Asylum at Norfolk, Nebraska, for two years. Taught from early youth the principles enunciated by the republican party, he has adhered to them all of his mature years. He has also followed in his father's footsteps in religion and is a conscientious member of the Episcopal Church. Fraternally he belongs to the Modern Woodmen of America. The maiden name of his wife was Jessie Walbridge, and she was born in Wisconsin in 1861. Their children are as follows: Caroline A., who is unmarried and resides with her parents; Hugh M., who is a farmer of Union, Nebraska; and Fleming Wellington Robb.
The birth of Fleming Wellington Robb occurred in Otoe County, Nebraska, July 2, 1884, and he was reared there, attending its rural schools until he became a student of the Omaha, Nebraska, High School, leaving it after two years, when nineteen years of age. Mr. Robb then gained a practical knowledge of the fundamentals of commercial life in the Farmers & Merchants Bank at Verdon, Nebraska, where he was assistant cashier for three years. His efficiency and Knowledge of the business then gained him promotion to the position of cashier and he held it for four years. In 1912 he came to Billings Bench, Montana, and for a year was engaged in farming, in this way gaining an insight into agricultural conditions in this region which has been of value to him in his present business, which he established at Billings in 1913, with offices at 402 Electric Building, and of which he is the sole proprietor. In addition to making loans on farm properties Mr. Robb buys and sells ranches, and has won the confidence of his community by his scrupulously honest methods and public-spirited service. Mr. Robb has demonstrated his faith in the future of Billings by investing in city property, owning his comfortable modern residence, which he erected in 1918. He is a republican. An Odd Fellow, Mr. Robb belongs to Verdon Lodge No. 289 of that order. The Billings Episcopal Church holds his membership and receives his generous support.
In 1907 Mr. Robb was married at Elmwood, Nebraska, to Miss Bess M. Tyson, a daughter of L. A. and Jennie (Alton) Tyson. Mr. Tyson is one of the leading druggists of Elmwood, and a man who is held in high esteem by his associates. Mrs. Robb is a graduate of the Plattsmouth High School of Plattsmouth, Nebraska. Mr. and Mrs. Robb have two children, namely: Jane, who was born September 30, 1912, and John, who was born June 1, 1915. Mr. Robb is a man who stands very high in Billings, and deserves to do so for he is a tender husband, watchful father, kindly friend, liberal patron of religious and benevolent movements, a wise business advisor and stainless gentleman, whose praiseworthy exertions are directed at all times towards a betterment of existing conditions and a raising of moral standards.
[Montana, Its Story and Biography, Volume 2. Transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
John H. Schroeder
That the sheep industry has grown to such enormous proportions during the past several decades is due to the fact that climatic conditions are nearly ideal, while the valleys afford excellent grazing facilities and the "bunch grass," which covers the hillsides and plains, makes excellent fodder for the animals. Many of those who are now largely engaged in this business have graduated from the ranks of herders, and among them are to be found numerous natives of the Fatherland. In this class may be mentioned John H. Schroeder, of Billings, who is the owner of 21,000 acres of land located twenty-one miles northwest of the city. Mr. Schroeder was born in Holstein, Germany, November 22, 1865, and is a son of Peter Henry and Margaret (Kibbel) Schroeder, both natives of Holstein.
Peter Henry Schroeder was a tailor in Germany, but on coming to the United States, in 1876, engaged in agricultural pursuits near Denison, Crawford county, Iowa. In 1879 he returned to Germany, and in the following year brought his family back to America and resumed farming and his death occurred when he was seventy-eight years of age. He was a faithful member of the German Lutheran church, as was also his wife, who died at the age of eighty-two years, and they were the parents of seven children, of whom three are living: Julius, of Denison, Iowa; Emma, the wife of Claus Peters, living in Crawford county, Iowa; and John H.
John H. Schroeder received his education in the common schools of Germany, and when fourteen years of age accompanied the family in its immigration to the United States. For about four years he was employed as a farm hand in Iowa, and also spent one year as clerk in an implement firm in Denison. but in the spring of 1885 first became connected with the sheep business as a herder, at Big Timber, Montana. For two years thereafter he followed the same occupation in the Yellowstone Valley, in the meanwhile carefully hoarding his savings until he had enough, in 1888, to purchase a small band of sheep, conducting his business on the range. So successful did he become that in 1900 he purchased 21,000 acres of land, located twenty-one miles northwest of Billings, and at present is running 4,500 head of sheep. He still follows the same line of business, but in the fall of 1910 came to Billings, where he has a nice home at No. 123 Lewis street. He has been interested in fraternal work, belonging to Magic City Camp, No. 593, Woodmen of the World, and Germania Lodge, No. 7, Sons of Hermann. His career affords an example of what may be accomplished by thrift, industry, perseverance and honest dealing, and is worthy of emulation by those of the younger generation who feel they are handicapped by lack of influential friends or financial aid.
In 1895 Mr. Schroeder was united in marriage with Miss Olga Lehfeldt, in the Congregational church in Billings, she being a daughter of Rudolph Lehfeldt. Five children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Schroeder, namely: Amanda; Walter; Herman, twin of Walter; Louis, and Frances, twin of Louis.
[Source: the History of Montana by Helen Fitzgerald Sanders Volume 3 1913 - Submitted by Friends for Free Genealogy]
Burt G. Shorey
One of the best known men of this section of Montana at the present time is Mr. Burt G. Shorey, of Billings, who has for a long period of years been identified in a large way with the development of various portions of Montana. The Shorey family is one of those rugged pioneers of New England who settled in Waldo County, Maine, in an early day, and it was left for the representatives of the present generation to push out into the great northwest, where life is freer and less cramped than in the older parts of the country. Mr. Shorey was born in Belfast,
Maine, September 7, 1862, a member of a family of seven children, six of whom are still living. Three brothers, John, Waldo and Raime, are now residents of Montana, the first named living at White Sulphur Springs and the latter two at Forsyth. One brother, William, lives on the old homestead at Waldo, while the only sister, Jennie, who is the wife of John McGrey, is a resident of Knox, Maine. The parents of this family, Wellington and Louise (Durham) Shorey, were both natives of Waldo County, Mr. Shorey having been born there in 1828 and his wife in 1839. He was a young man of twenty-two when he went out into the Maine wilderness and made a clearing for his home and also cleared and improved the land now contained in the family homestead, and he was engaged as a general farmer throughout his life. He was a man of considerable prominence in the community in which he resided and filled various minor offices, among them being that of member of the school board and of the board of selectmen for his township. Politically he was a Republican. His death occurred in 1900, while his wife survived him seven years and died in 1907.
When it came to establishing a home of his own, Mr. Burt G. Shorey also chose for his wife a daughter of Waldo County and a member of an old Maine family, and his marriage to Helen A. Simmons occurred August 11, 1889. Her parents were J. Allen and Addie ( Ray) Simmons, and of their family of eleven children eight are now living, as are Mr. and Mrs. Simmons.
Mr. Simmons cultivated a farm all his life and he, too, is a man who is active in public affairs of the community and has held numerous township offices. Mr. and Mrs. Shorey have one daughter, Adelaide.
Like his father before him, Mr. Shorey early started out to carve his own fortune in the new and untried part of the world, and on March 15, 1880, when in his eighteenth year left home to go west. He journeyed as far as Ogden, Utah, by railway then finished the trip to White Sulphur Springs, Meagher County, Montana, traveling overland and consuming seventeen days in the entire journey from Maine. He immediately secured employment on the ranch of Cook & Hussey, but remained there only three months, then went to Judith Basin and took up a claim of one hundred and sixty acres of government land. For a year and a half he engaged in sheep raising on the place, then sold out and became superintendent of the big sheep ranch of Miss Carson, at Hoplay Hole. He remained as superintendent of that ranch for two years, then worked for Charles Severance for a short time and in the spring of 1886 again took up independent operations as a sheep rancher, this time locating at Lake Basin, Yellowstone County. Mr. Shorey met with unremittant success in his various ventures, and devoted his earnings and profits from year to year in judicious investments, largely in land and sheep. When he finally retired from active conduct of his ranch it contained thirty-two thousand acres, and in 1908 he sold the property to L. Thomas.
Mr. Shorey had in the meantime erected a residence in Billings and made his home in this city from the year 1901. It was in 1907 that he was first elected to the presidency of the Billings State Bank, and he has held that position continuously ever since. He still and also owns much valuable property of other descriptions. Among his holdings are a stock ranch of eight hundred and twenty acres in Carbon County: another in Dawson County containing eleven hundred acres, and a half interest in an eighteen hundred acre ranch near Custer station, Yellowstone County. He also has a third interest in the International Coal Company at Bear Creek, is a stockholder in the Babcock office and theatre building here and also owns the Security warehouse in Billings. The mere enumeration of these holdings is prima facie evidence of the financial success Mr. Shorey has achieved and indicates also the substantial character of his business and personal attributes. He is a potential influence in every enterprise of worth which is designed to advance the best interests of this city and state, his public spirit and generosity are well known and his honesty and integrity unimpeachable. His prominence as a lodge man is evidence in his membership in such orders as Rathbone Lodge. No. 28, Knights of Pythias, and Billings Lodge, No. 394, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He has a wide acquaintance throughout this part of the state, and is held in the highest esteem by all who have the pleasure of his acquaintance.[Source: "The History of Montana" by Helen Fitzgerald Sanders Volume 3 1913 - Transcribed and contributed by: Frances Cooley]
George Edward Snell.
An eminently useful and esteemed citizen of Yellowstone County, George Edward Snell, of Billings, is not only an able representative of the legal profession, having a large law practice, but as an extensive landholder is actively associated with the agricultural interests of county and state. His far-reaching activities during the recent World war, especially in connection with the Young Men's Christian Association drives, were most effective, their success in many instances having been largely due to his business ability, judgment and tact. A son of George Amos Snell, he was born August 1, 1879, in Pekin, Oswego County, New York, of honored English ancestry, being a lineal descendant, many generations removed, from one Willebrod Snell, a life-long resident of England, who discovered the refraction of light, thus making possible spectacles and optical instruments, and who likewise won the distinction of being the first to measure the world by triangulation.
Thomas Snell, the immigrant ancestor of that branch of the Snell family to which the subject of this sketch belongs, came from England to Connecticut about 1665, settling at West Bridgewater, where he became one of the largest landowners of that vicinity. The maiden name of his wife was Martha Harris. Frederick Snell, grandfather of George Edward Snell, a veteran of the War of 1812 and a lifelong resident of New York State, was born in the Mohawk Valley and died in Oswego, New York.
George Amos Snell was born August 14, 1848, in Jefferson County, New York, and was there reared and educated. An agriculturalist, he became interested in dairy products, and for many years was widely known as a cheese buyer. A stanch republican in politics, he was active in local affairs, and served several terms as justice of the peace. He was a man of strong religious tendencies, and a prominent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. His death, which occurred at his home in Pekin, New York, in 1881, was a loss not only to his family and friends, but to the community in which he lived. He married, July 24, 1870, in Oswego County, New York, Etta Eliza Brown, whose birth occurred in Richland, New York, April 24, 1854. She survived him, and in 1885 married for her second husband Clark C. Loomis, and removed from Orwell, New York, to a farm in Delaware County, Iowa. Mr. Loomis died the following year, in 1886, and Mrs. Loomis is now living in Manchester, Iowa.
Receiving the rudiments of his education in Manchester, Iowa, George Edward Snell was graduated from its high school in 1899, and subsequently taught school in Delaware County, Iowa, a year, after which he served as principal of the graded school in Manchester, Iowa, for a year. Going to Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1902, he studied for a year in the literary department of the University of Michigan. In the fall of 1903 Mr. Snell located in Montana, and for two years thereafter was superintendent of the schools at Deer Lodge. Desirous of entering the legal profession, he studied law in the office of Edward Sharmikow in the meantime attending school for two summers at the University of Michigan, where he passed the freshman and junior law credits, and later took the senior course, being there graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Laws in the class of 1906. Coming directly to Billings, Mr. Snell accepted the position of assistant principal of the local high school, and in 1907 he was elected principal of the same school, and in that capacity met with decided success. In 1908 Mr. Snell began his professional career, and is now numbered among the leading attorneys of Billings, as head of the well-known firm of Snell & Arnott, having built up an extensive and lucrative patronage, his offices being at Nos. 310-312-314 Securities Building.
Special mention should here be made of the efficient work Mr. Snell accomplished during the war as an active and loyal member of the Young Men's Christian Association. Devoted to the cause for which our men were so herioically [sic] fighting, he labored unselfishly and untiringly during each drive of the organization with which he was so prominently identified, in the first drive serving as chairman of that branch of it that included five counties. In October, 1918, at the request of the officials of the National War Work Council of the Young Men's Christian Association, Mr. Snell went to San Francisco to assume charge of the personnel department of the Western Department of the National War Work Department Council. During the six months that he retained that position Mr. Snell had supervision of the recruiting of all men sent overseas by the association, and also of all association secretaries placed in the home camps of the Western Military Division, which included not only eight states, but Honolulu.
Mr. Snell possesses excellent financial ability, and through wise investments has acquired interests in 6,000 acres of good Montana ranch lands, and owns a pleasant modernly constructed residence at 310 Clark Avenue. Politically he is a stanch republican, and has rendered the city acceptable service as alderman. Religiously he is a member of the Congregational Church, which he has served as trustee. He is also a member, vice president and one of the directors of the Young Men's Christian Association of Billings, and a member of the state committee of that organization. He likewise belongs to the Billings Golf and Country Club, which he has served as director. Fraternally he is a member of Ashlar Lodge No. 29, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, at Billings; of Billings Chapter No. 6, Royal Arch Masons; of Billings Commandery No. 5, Knights Templar; of Algeria Temple, Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine; and of Billings Consistory. He also belongs to Billings Star Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and to Billings Camp, Woodmen of the World.
On June 24, 1906, at Tarkio, Missouri, Mr. Snell was united in marriage with Miss Jessie Gray Arnott, a graduate of Tarkio College. Her father, George Arnott, Sr., a retired ranchman, is now living in Billings, Montana, with his good wife, whose maiden name was Susie Gray. Mr. and Mrs. Snell are the parents of two children, George Donald, born October 13, 1909, and James Le Roy, born February 12, 1911.
[Montana, Its Story and Biography, Volume 2. Transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
Thomas Ash Snidow
Self-reliance, conscientiousness, energy, honesty-all these traits of character have been instrumental in attaining for Thomas Ash Snidow, of Billings, the remarkable measure of success which has attended his efforts, but, more than anything else, perhaps, credit must be given the indomitable resolution that has given an irresistible impetus to his operations and caused him to forge steadily forward in the face of all difficulties and discouragements. In the business world, varied and important as are his interests, he has escaped the criticism which has frequently been passed upon various prominent men of his generation, and his career is worthy of study and emulation by the youth of today, not only as one that has been free from stain or blemish, but also as an example of self-made western American manhood. Mr. Snidow was born near Madison, Monroe county, Missouri, January 31, 1863, and is a son of James Martin and Martha (Ash) Snidow.
The paternal grandparents of Thomas A. Snidow, William and Chloe (Frely) Snidow, were both born in Virginia, of German parentage In 1837 they traveled overland by ox-team to the state of Missouri, settling in Monroe county, on a tract of 320 acres, of which 120 acres were in timberland and 200 acres were prairie. Deer, wild turkeys and other game were to be found in abundance, and the Indians had not left the locality. Breaking his prairie land by means of teams of oxen, William Snidow became one of the successful farmers of his location, and was well and favorably known all over his district. He also became prominent in Democratic politics, and with his wife was a consistent attendant of the old Baptist church. They had a family of three sons and four daughters, James M. being the first born. James Martin Snidow was born September 21, 1825, in Cabell county, Virginia, and was twelve years of age when he accompanied his parents to the new country, his education being secured in the primitive schools of that day and locality, and his boyhood and youth being spent in the hard work of the home farm. He was married October 16, 1853, in Monroe county, to Miss Martha Ash, who was born in Indiana, April 11, 1832, daughter of George and Naomi Ash, natives of Kentucky, where the former was born in 1800 and the latter in 1803. They removed to Indiana in 1831, and subsequently became pioneers of Monroe county, Missouri, where Mr. Ash was the owner of large tracts of farming property. He died in 1863, while his widow survived him until 1891, being eighty-eight years old at the time of her demise. They had eleven children. James M. Snidow remained on the parental farm for one year after his marriage, and in 1854 purchased a farm in Monroe county, Missouri, but eventually disposed of that property and bought another in the same county. He spent the remainder of his life in that section, following farming, fruit growing and stock raising, and being especially interested in breeding good horses. He took advantage of the latest inventions in farming machinery, and, being a skilled mechanic, was at all times able to keep his machinery in the best of repair. He was recognized as an able agriculturist and an excellent judge of land and crop conditions. He was a faithful member of the old Baptist church and a great Bible student. In political matters, like his father, he was a Democrat, but he never cared for public office, although often pressed to accept positions of public trust. His wife passed away August 2, 1895, and he survived until June 28, 1908. They had a family of ten children, as follows: Laura E., wife of Cyrus D. Lusk, living in Randolph county, Missouri; Naomi, who died at the age of twenty-two years; Martha J., who died at the age of thirty-one years, the wife of W. D. Gerrard; William G., living in the west; Christian M., who lost his life by drowning when he was twenty-one years old; Thomas Ash; James P., vice president and manager of the State Bank of Huntley, Montana ; Henry L. and Jasper, who died in infancy; and Victor R., who died at the age of twenty-seven years.
The boyhood of Thomas Ash Snidow was spent on his father's farm, where he assisted his brothers in tilling the soil during the summer months, the winter terms being devoted to attendance at the district schools. On March 25, 1885, he left home to go to Jacinto, Colusa county, California, where he entered the employ of Dr. Hugh Glenn, on whose ranch he worked for fourteen months. At this time young Snidow decided to enter the agricultural field on his own account, and accordingly secured a farm of 640 acres in the same county, but after raising one crop of wheat sold the land and entered the employ of the Sierra Lumber Company, where he was engaged in cutting cord wood. He then became fireman of the hoisting works at Butte Meadow, a position which he held until December 21, 1887, then removing to Chico, in the Sacramento valley of California. Subsequently he returned to the lumber camps in the Sierra Mountains, but on December
20, 1888, returned to his old home in Madison county, Missouri, and continued to visit his parents until February, 1889, when he purchased a farm of 120 acres in Randolph county, Missouri. He was there engaged in farming until August of that year, when he disposed of his crop and farm and returned to the home of his parents, and engaged in buying and selling stock until April, 1891, at which time he removed to Castle, Meagher county, Colorado. At that place he carried on the ice business until July 19, 1891, and then came overland to Billings, and in October, 1891, invested his savings in the sheep business. Purchasing 855 head of sheep, he took the herd to Clark's Ford and there disposed of it and having made a decided success of this first venture purchased 1500 head, which he took to Crouper creek, Bighorn county, Wyoming. In March, 1893, he added 700 head to his flock, but during the following winter he lost about 900 head by the extreme cold, and the financial panic which followed swept away all of his earnings and put to naught the years of hard, faithful labor. It needed more than this to discourage a man of Mr. Snidow's spirit, however, and in April, 1894, he took the remainder of his stock to Blue creek, in Yellowstone county, south of Billings, and formed a partnership with P. B. Moss, who furnished 700 head of sheep and a ranch for range, both becoming equal partners in the enterprise, although the active operation of the venture was left in the hands of Mr. Snidow, who successfully conducted it until October, 1900. At that time a partnership was formed with the First National Bank of Billings, of which Mr. Moss was president, and the Snidow Sheep Company was organized, with Mr. Moss as president and Mr. Snidow as treasurer. In 1907 Mr. Snidow purchased the interest of all the other stockholders and became sole owner of the company, which at that time was running approximately 77,000 head of sheep, with 400,000 acres of leased land in the Crow Indian Reservation. Mr. Snidow disposed of his interest in this business May 1, 1911. On October 1, 1909, with three others, he bought the stock of the H. P. Rothwell Livestock Company, of Rothwell, Wyoming, now known as the Owl Creek Land and Livestock Company, with about 31,000 head of sheep, horses, and cattle. Also in 1908 Mr. Snidow purchased a two-thirds interest in what is known as the Basin Cattle Company, located in Bighorn county, Wyoming, this company owning 2,300 head of white-faced Hereford cattle, about 1,000 head being full-blooded animals. In addition, this company breeds as fine Belgium Percheron and Shire horses as can be found in the United States.
Mr. Snidow is the owner of a ranch of 1,500 acres, located about thirty miles west of Billings, at Youngs Point, on the Northern Pacific Railroad, which may be reached in Mr. Snidow's forty-eight horse-power automobile in about an hour and twenty minutes from Billings, the trip being made over a finely graded road running through some of the most beautiful parts of the famous Yellowstone valley. This ranch is a model of its kind. In addition to a handsome, modern residence for the family of the superintendent, there is a comfortable, well-built bunk house for the herders, while the barns, ice house and other buildings are substantial and commodious. Running water supplies the stock, which consists of 2,300 head of sheep, 200 Duroc hogs, fifty Bronze turkeys and a large number of Plymouth Rock chickens. Twenty valuable horses are kept, principally for the use of the herders. Mr. Snidow raises small fruits and has a fine young orchard, and the 900 acres of irrigated land are devoted to oats, which run forty-five to fifty pounds to the bushel and seventy-five to eighty bushels to the acre. He also has about 1,200 tons of alfalfa in stacks, and in 1908 he raised the banner crop of sugar beets on 120 acres of land, this crop paying him over $11,000. In honor of his boyhood home, Mr. Snidow has named this the Missouri Ranch, and at the present writing he is erecting the Missouri Building in Billings, a fire-proof theatre, hotel, office and store budding on Twenty-eighth street, in the center of the business district. He has also demonstrated his ability in the field of finance, being president of the Huntley State Bank, of which he was one of the organizers in 1905; a director in the State Bank of Powell, Wyoming, and in the First National Bank of Hardin, Montana: and vice-president and one of the organizers of the Farmers and Traders State Bank of Billings. He holds 147 shares of stock in the Broadwater Subdivision in the city of Billings. In political matters he is a Republican, but his business interests have been too numerous and varied for him to think of a public career.
On November 26, 1899, Mr. Snidow was united in marriage with Miss Sallie L. Rodes, who was born in Monroe county, Missouri, daughter of John C. and Virginia Rodes. Six children were born to Mr. and Mr. Rodes, of whom three died in infancy, and Mrs. Snidow, who was the third in order of birth, was born December 18, 1868. Her mother is now deceased, but her father, a prominent agriculturist and Democratic politician, is now residing in Shelby county, Missouri, where he has served for a number of years as justice of the peace. Mr. and Mrs. Snidow have had two children: Martha and Virginia. The former died in infancy, but the latter is now in her tenth year, a bright and interesting child, and a general favorite with all who visit the comfortable family home in Billings. The young lady inherits her sunny disposition from her father, whose whole-souled, genial manner has made him friends in whatever community he has found himself. Among his business associates he is recognized as a man of versatile talents and one whose activities have always been centered in enterprises of a strictly nature, while his friends know him as a big-hearted, generous man, who successful himself, finds enjoyment in the success of others.
[Source: "The History of Montana" by Helen Fitzgerald Sanders, Volume 3, 1913 - Transcribed by Cathy Danielson]
Luther Van Wagenen
One of the well-irrigated farms of the Yellowstone valley which shows what excellent results may be obtained by intelligent cultivation is that of Luther Van Wagenen, located three miles southwest of Billings. Mr. Van Wagenen is an experienced agriculturist, having been born on a farm and reared to follow that vocation, and during the past twenty years his operations have been confined to the vicinity in which he now lives, and where he bears an excellent reputation for upright citizenship.
Mr. Van Wagenen was born in Ulster county, New York, October 26, 1841, and is a son of Jonas and Sarah Ann (Wells) Van Wagenen, natives of New York state, who were there married. Jonas Van Wagenen followed agricultural pursuits all of his life, developing a farm from wild land in Ulster county and residing thereon until his death, at the age of eighty-two years, his wife having passed away when fifty-seven years of age. They were faithful members of the Reformed church, and in political matters Mr. Van Wagenen was a Whig until the year 1855, at which time he gave his allegiance to the Republican party. He and his wife had seven children, of whom two are living: Luther and Eli, the latter of whom resides at Omaha, Nebraska.
Like other farmers' sons of his day and locality, Luther Van Wagenen secured his education in the district schools during the winter terms, when he could be spared from his share of the duties of the home farm. He continued to reside on the home place until a year after his marriage, when, his mother dying, he left the parental roof and started out to establish a home of his own, being engaged in farming in the east until 1869. In the spring of that year he moved to Adams county, Iowa, where he also engaged in cultivating the soil, but after a few years gave up farming to become a bridge builder in the employ of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad. Mr. Van Wagenen continued in the service of that company until the spring of 1891, when he became a resident of Billings, and the following year was spent in carpenter work about the city. He subsequently found a property that suited him, located about twelve miles west of Billings, and was there engaged in farming until 1905, when he moved to his present ranch, situated three miles southwest of the city. This Mr. Van Wagenen has devoted to alfalfa, wheat and oats, and his industry and good judgment have enabled him to take advantage of all natural opportunities for productive cultivation, and his crops are gratifying both in quality and abundance. The land is worth $150 an acre at the present time, and the improvements which Mr. Van Wagenen has made are at the same time valuable and handsome. A thoroughly practical farmer, he is an advocate of irrigation and rotation of crops, and the general appearance of his land proves him to be an able and industrious agriculturist. He has always kept good stock, and at this time has nine horses of superior breed. Politically Mr. Van Wagenen is a Republican, but he has preferred to give his entire attention to his farm and has never entered the political arena. He and his family attend the Methodist Episcopal church.
On December 14, 1862, Mr. Van Wagenen was married to Miss Fannie Freer, who was born in Ulster county, New York, daughter of Josiah Freer, a cabinet maker who spent his entire life in the Empire state. Mrs. Van Wagenen, who died December 14, 1899, had two sisters: Josephine, the wife of J. C. Fitch, of Billings, Montana; and Sophia, wife of George Birdsall, of New York state. Eight children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Van Wagenen, of whom two died in infancy, the survivors being: Clarence, who married Mary Lauman; Jesse; Jennie; Harry, a half owner with his father in the ranch; Stella E., wife of L. W. Thorpe, living at Livingston, Montana; and Louise. [Source: "The History of Montana" by Helen Fitzgerald Sanders, Volume 3, 1913 - Transcribed by Cathy Danielson]
Walter William Watkins
The present efficient city treasurer of Billings, Montana, Walter William Watkins, in whom the citizens of that municipality have expressed their confidence by constant re-election to his responsible office, has had an active and varied career. Born in the south, before he had attained his majority he turned his face toward the west, and for a number of years traveled extensively in various capacities, finally locating in the city of Billings, where for the past five years he has filled his present position, his able administration of affairs winning the confidence and admiration of his fellow citizens. Mr. Watkins was born on a farm near Lexington, Kentucky, July 27, 1868. and is a son of Edwin George and Sarah (Wagner) Watkins.
Edwin George Watkins was born in Scotland, in October, 1832, and was a youth when brought to this country by his father, George Watkins. The latter first settled on a plantation near Lexington, but subsequently engaged in the hotel business in that city, and later removed to Canton, Missouri, where he built the Canton Hotel and was its proprietor during the remainder of his life. Edwin George Watkins spent his boyhood days under the parental roof and received his schooling in Kentucky and Missouri, being given a collegiate education. During the greater part of his life he was engaged in school teaching, and for twenty or twenty-five years was well known as an educator. His wife was born at Nashville, Tennessee, in 1850, and died in 1888, and since her death he has lived practically retired, his home now being with his daughter, Mrs. Benjamin Allensworth, of Wichita, Kansas. In political matters he is a Democrat, and he and his family have always been connected with the Congregational church. Five children were born to Edwin G. and Sarah Watkins, namely : Walter William ; John B., who is living at Kahoka, Clark county, Missouri; Minnie, the wife of Benjamin Allensworth, of Wichita, Kansas ; Nannie, who married a Mr. Hicklin; and Lena.
After completing the curriculum of the public schools of Canton, Missouri, Walter W. Watkins attended the Gem City Commercial College, Quincy, Illinois, and in February, 1888, removed to Helena, Montana. Subsequently he traveled throughout the west, going to California, Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming. In Colorado he represented the McCormick Harvester Company at both Greeley and Denver, and on going to Wyoming purchased land under the Cory act and spent two years in ranching. Coming at this time to Montana, he worked for the Diamond W. Ranch and later for Lehfeldt Brothers, and in 1898 accepted a position with the Babcock Hardware Company, remaining in the employ of that concern for five years. At that time Mr Watkins joined the Billings police force, and after a short time became a member of the fire department, with which he was connected at the time of his first election, in April, 1907, to the office of city treasurer. The sound, capable administration which followed his election made him the choice of his party in 1909, and he again received the election in 191 1. As a public official Mr. Watkins has ever displayed a keen interest in the welfare of his adopted city, and the manner in which he is discharging the duties of his high office testifies to his ability and integrity. His politics are those of the Democratic party, but organization lines have never been considered in his friendship and he popular with both parties. He is a member of Billings Lodge, No. 394, B. P. O. E., being state treasurer of the order; of Fraternal Order of Eagles; of Billings Camp, No. 6269, M. W. A.; and Yellowstone Hive, K.O.T.M.
On February 17, 1898, Mr. Watkins was married to Miss Florence Emma Goodyear, who was born at St. Charles, Illinois, daughter of Frederick P. Goodyear. Mrs. Watkins' father, who died in 1906, at the age of fifty-nine years, was a machinist by trade and spent the last thirty-five years of his life in St. Charles, where his widow now resides. They had three children: George, who is foreman of a file factory at Cleveland, Ohio; Mrs. Watkins; and Frederick P., Jr. Mr. and Mrs. Watkins have two children, Roy E. and Walter G., who are attending school.
[Source: the History of Montana by Helen Fitzgerald Sanders, Volume 3, 1913 - Submitted by Friends for Free Genealogy]
Joseph Collins West.
In considering the prominent men of Montana, those who are at the head of large and important business concerns, rule corporations and control vast aggregations of capital, many will be found who have reached these positions of grave responsibility through their own efforts, and this is true of Joseph Collins West, one of the representative men of Billings, Montana. Mr. West was born in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, February 19, 1877. and is the only child of Samuel and Sarah (Hackett) West.
Both parents of Mr. West were born in Philadelphia, where the father died in 1881, at the early age of twenty-nine years. The mother survives and is a resident of Butte. Montana. Samuel West was a wholesale and retail merchant at Philadelphia, dealing in paints and oils.
Joseph Collins West was four years old when he was left fatherless. He completed his education in the university at Notre Dame. Indiana, where he was graduated in the class of 1896. Afterward was employed for some years as a bookkeeper in various business houses, being so engaged after accompanying his mother to Butte, Montana, where, later, he became connected with the Centennial Brewing Company of that city, and learned the brewing business in every detail.
On August 30, 1900, Mr. West was married to Miss Florence F. Mueller, who was born at Sherwood, Wyoming, and is a daughter of Henry and Margaret ( Frilling) Mueller. The father of Mrs. West was born at Cologne, Germany, came to America in early manhood and became one of the leading men of this section of Montana. He was engaged first in the lumber and planing mill business in Wisconsin and Chicago, Illinois, and came to Butte, Montana, in 1886. He was one of the owners of the Centennial Brewing Company of Butte and its president, owned also the Olympia brewery and later built the Billings brewery at Billings and at the time of his death was president of the Billings Brewery Company. He was prominent in the Democratic party and served one term as mayor of the city of Butte. In that city he was identified with Silver Bow Lodge, B. P. O. E. He married Margaret Frilling; who was born at Menasha, Wisconsin, and at present is a resident of Butte, Montana. Six children were born to them, three sons and three daughters Mrs. West being the eldest, and five members of the family survive.
In 1900 Mr. West came to Billings, taking charge of business properties of his own and investing here in property. Formerly he was secretary and treasurer of the Billings Brewing Company, of Billings, later vice-president and manager and at the present time is president and manager, as well as owner of the Eureka Bottling Works and interested also in the Billings Warehouse Company and is a director in the Farmers and Traders State Bank. Politically he is a Republican, but his activities in this direction are only those of good citizenship. When the organization of the Elks lodge at Billings was first proposed he took a very active interest in the move and was elected the president of the first Elks Club and has served three terms since then as exalted ruler of the lodge. He is identified also with the Order of the Moose and with the Red Men.
[Source: the History of Montana by Helen Fitzgerald Sanders, Volume 3, 1913 - Sub. by a Friend of Free Genealogy]
Charles C. Wilhelm.
No community can reach its full growth without the services of a real estate man who is experienced in the business of handling property. As is well known, the founders of a town do not include in the original survey all of the land destined to be used for building purposes, as this would make the initial taxes too heavy. They lay out a few blocks, relying upon other promoters for additions. After several of these have been laid out, oftentimes by the original owners themselves, the work of developing other suburbs devolves on the alert realty men, who not only do the actual work of surveying, building and otherwise improving, but educate the public in the desirability of owning homes in the outlying districts where the comforts of urban life can be secured as well as those of open space, fresh air and cleanly living conditions. The real estate history of Billings is much the same as that of any other community of its age and extent, and one of the men who has aided in its expansion within the past few years is Charles C. Wilhelm, sole proprietor of the realty firm of Charles C. Wilhelm Company.
The founder of the Wilhelm family in America was the grandfather of Charles C. Wilhelm, who came to this country from Germany and became a pioneer of Muscatine, Iowa, where he worked at his trade of cabinetmaking until his death in that city. His son, L. Wilhelm, father of Charles C. Wilhelm, was born at Muscatine, Iowa, in 1858, and was there reared. In young manhood he went to Mapleton, Iowa, being one of its pioneers, and established himself in the mercantile business. He became prominent in the Presbyterian Church of that city, of which he was a member and generous supporter. The Masonic fraternity has long had him as a member. In politics he is a democrat. After corning to Mapleton Mr. Wilhelm was married to Minnie Bradfield, born at Cherokee, Iowa, in 1860, and died at Mapleton in 1907. Their children were as follows: Charles C., who is the eldest; Lula, who married Arthur Williams, a farmer of Mount Pleasant; Maude, who married Louie Williams, a brother of Arthur Williams, lives in Iowa on a farm; Fred, who is a railroad employe [sic], lives at Traer, Kansas; Louie, who died at the age of fourteen years; and Erne, who is a sergeant in the aviation branch of the United States army, is stationed at Middletown, Pennsylvania. At present L. Wilhelm is living at Los Angeles, California, having retired from active participation in business life in 1918.
Charles C. Wilhelm attended the grammar and high schools of Mapleton, Iowa, and was graduated from the latter in 1905. In 1906 he came to Billings, and for five years was employed in the post office, and then in 1911 embarked in his present business, under the name of the Charles C. Wilhelm Company. He handles city property and ranches within a radius of fifty miles from Billings, and does a very large business. In 1912 Mr. Wilhelm helped to survey the Bull Mountain country in the Pompey's Pillar District, comprising twelve fractional townships. He is a democrat. The Congregational Church holds his membership. Fraternally he belongs to Algeria Temple, Ancient and Accepted Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, Ashlar Lodge, No. 29, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Billings Lodge, Knights of Pythias; Billings Lodge, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; and Billings Camp, Modern Woodmen of America. The Billings Club affords him social relaxation. A man of means, Mr. Wilhelm owns a comfortable modern residence at 420 Yellowstone Avenue, Billings, and four ranches, 480 acres near Shepherd, two 320-acre farms near Pompey's Pillar, and 120 acres near Huntley, all of which are used for growing grain and stock.
In 1914 Mr. Wilhelm was married to Miss Marion E. Bell, a daughter of Fred and Florence (Marsh) Bell, the ceremony being performed at Billings. Mr. and Mrs. Bell are now residents of Washburn, Wisconsin, where Mr. Bell is clerk of the District Court. Mr. and Mrs. Wilhelm have three children, John, who was born March 5, 1916, and Ruth, who was born January 26, 1918, and Charles, born December 9, 1919. Mr. Wilhelm has evinced such ability in his handling of property that he has influenced his competitors and has raised the standards in this line of activity. His judgment with reference to realty values is recognized to be that of an expert, and he is often called upon to decide in matters relating to the settlement of claims based on an advance in property. Both he and Mrs. Wilhelm are very popular, and have gathered about them a congenial social circle, entertaining their friends upon numerous occasions at their pleasant home, and enjoying in their turn the hospitality of others. Mr. Wilhelm's reputation for good sense and unblemished honor is unquestioned, and all of his operations are strikingly characterized by resolute assurance and good judgment.
[Montana, Its Story and Biography, Volume 2. Transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
Hon. Frank T. Woods.
The municipal prosperity of the exceedingly well-governed city of Billings must be attributed in a great degree to the business-like and economical administration of the city's affairs. Its good government must be attributed likewise to the enforcement of law and the preservation of order, so essential in every well regulated community, by the city's chief executive, the Hon. Frank T. Woods.
Mayor Woods was born in Monroe county, Missouri, June 17, 1868, and is a son of Judge James F. and Ann (Glasscock) Woods.
James F. Woods was born in Mercer county, Kentucky, September 7, 1833, and died January 2, 1902. He was married in Missouri to Ann Glasscock, who was born in 1836, and she now resides in Kansas City. At the time of his death the Paris Appeal had the following to say of Judge Woods: "Judge James F. Woods died at his home near Woodlawn at four o'clock Monday morning, of cancer. Funeral services were conducted by Eld. C. H. Strawn at Woodlawn, Tuesday morning, and the remains were laid to rest at Oak Grove. The crowd in attendance was perhaps the largest seen on a similar occasion in the township. We doubt if the death of any one man has ever called forth as many expressions of regret or inspired as much sorrow in the hearts of his acquaintances as has the death of Judge Woods. Every man has his faults, and he no doubt had his, but they were so little in evidence that the average man failed to see them. He was one of the few men to whom the mind would revert when the ideal citizen was mentioned. Judge Woods was born in Mercer county, Kentucky, sixty-eight years ago. Two years later his parents moved to this county. They were people of small means and few opportunities. Their children as they grew up were largely dependent upon their own efforts. Judge Woods made his first money as a farm laborer, and by his own exertions and good management finally became one of the leading land owners and most extensive stockmen in the county. His specialty was mules. He handled none but the best, and took great pride in gathering together the best bunches in his section. His home was one of the most pleasant and hospitable places in the county. We have been there many a time, and will always look back with pleasure to such visits.
"The judge was a gentleman of the old school-jovial, generous, unassuming. He knew half the people in the county, and delighted to meet them. Twice he was a candidate for county judge from his district and both times he was elected with ease. The county may have had just as good men on the bench, but it will never have better. What a pleasure it must have been to such a man as he when he saw the dark waters of death closing about him to have looked back over a life so well spent, to have known that he would be followed to the grave by the universal regret of the people among whom he had lived, and to have left to his family a name that would be cherished far more than his lands and his money. It is such men that keen up the standard of citizenship and by example teach others the value of a life well spent. The death of this man is a sad loss to his family, to his community, to his church and to his county. In all the county the Appeal had no stauncher or more valued friend. The wife, the daughter, and seven stalwart sons who survive him, have the sympathy of everybody. Judge Woods was a member of the Christian church and of Woodlawn Lodge, A. F. & A. M."
Again we are allowed to quote an extract from the Paris Mercury: "Judge James F. Woods, who died at Woodlawn Sunday, could of a truth be called Monroe county's Grand Old Man. For years he faced approaching death and endured sufferings of which it is hardly possible to conceive. Yet his grim fortitude never once relaxed, nor was he, on most occasions, without the cheerfulness and optimism that more generally accompany good health. He never lost interest in the world about him and died with the heroism becoming a man of his type."
The boyhood of Frank T. Woods was spent much the same as that of other farmers' youths of his day and locality. During the long summer months he assisted in the work on his father's farm, and in the winters he secured his educational training by attendance at the district school. When he had reached the age of sixteen years he was sent to the Shelbina school for one year, and in 1887 was graduated from the Kirksville Normal School. For the four years that followed he was engaged in teaching, and September 11, 1891, saw his advent in Billings. Subsequently, however, he spent three years in Livingston, where he acted as secretary and treasurer of the Livingston Electric Light and Water Power Company. In the spring of 1893 he was elected to the office of city treasurer, and served one term, and in the fall of 1895, in company with T. P. McDonald, he sold the present townsite of Red Lodge. Shortly thereafter he returned to Missouri and entered the Missouri University, from the law department of which he was graduated in June, 1897. Locating in Moberly, Missouri, Mr. Woods engaged in the practice of his profession for eight years, and in the spring of 1899 was elected city attorney, his services in that office being so appreciated as to cause his re-election in 1901. In 1905 Mr. Woods returned to Billings, and was here engaged in the sheep business until the fall of 1910.
Mr. Woods' political affiliation is with the Democratic party, in whose ranks he has done much effective work. He was elected alderman from the Second ward in 1908, but retired from the council and on April 3, 1911 was elected mayor of Billings on a non-partisan ticket, carrying every ward in the city. He is giving Billings an effective, sane and clean administration, of which every citizen, regardless of politics, may be proud. His career as mayor has been characterized by the bringing about of some greatly needed reforms in the municipal government, and these reforms have not been merely spasmodic, but have been carried on conscientiously and consistently. He has the reins of city government firmly in hand, his administration has been a wise and a just one, and he is entitled to the universal esteem and respect in which he is held. His fraternal connections are with Ashlar Lodge, No. 29, A. F. & A. M., and Billings Lodge, No. 394, B. P. O. E.
On October 26, 1899, Mayor Woods was married to Miss Nellie T. Rodes, who was born in Monroe county, Missouri, daughter of John C. and Jennie (Rice) Rodes. John C. Rodes was born in 1834, in Tennessee, and now resides in Missouri, where for many years he has been engaged in farming and stock raising. His wife, who was born in Virginia, April 9, 1840, died January 21, 1907. Of their three children. Mrs. Woods is the second in order of birth. [History of Montana, Volume 3, transcribed by C. Danielson]
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