Saturday, October 31, 2009

Stories and Stones 2009

Cast of Characters

Frank and Sarah Woody as played by Allan Mathews and Jennie Pak

Emma Dickenson and Sarah Woody as played by Evelyn Widhalm and Jennie Pak

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Celebration of Montana Rail

A day long event to draw public attention to return rail travel to Missoula.
Not very well organized or attended, but a fun opportunity for all of us to
dress up and prance around downtown. 

 Sarah Woody and Mary Gleim as they would never have been seen in public.

 Mr. Higgins regales the crowd about the virtues of
the railroad coming to Missoula.
 Waiting for speeches to begin.
Madame Mary Gleim sends a wire

Mr. C.P. Higgins

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Daly Days 2009

The year is 1910 and the mansion is open to guests in celebration of
Daly Days. The usual staff of helpers is in attendance and some new 
faces grace the hallways and lawn of the mansion. 
The Law was in the area looking for horse thieves.

Rue Moore and his sidekick were back on the grounds looking for
trouble. Mr. Moore had been let go, but thought Mrs. Daly still
owed him some money.

There was a lovely lawn party in progress and many of the
visiting dignitaries were enjoying the grounds

The household staff found a moment or two to relax and enjoy
each other's company before they hustled off to see to their tasks.

Mrs. Daly and her guests enjoyed many happy hours relaxing on the porch
and visiting about all manner of things.

Mrs Daly caught wind of Mr. Moore's shinanagins
and put him straight to work picking up meadow muffins.

The young men were dapper and dashing as usual.
 We can see that Mr. Moore didn't strain himself with the work that MrsDaly requested.

The Nanny was hard at work in the nursery, as usual.

The Missoula Mafia was well represented in Hamilton.
A fun group of people, if ever there was on.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fort Missoula Post Cemetery Stories in Stones


I’d like to share an interesting mystery with you today. It’s the story of between 37-39 bodies that were disinterred from the Fort Ellis Cemetery and brought to the Fort Missoula Post Cemetery for reburial. The mysterious part is, not all the bodies are accounted for in Post records and we don’t know exactly when they arrived.

Please notice the first row of headstones. Some stones are marked “2nd U.S. Cavalry”. Fort Missoula was never garrisoned by United States Cavalry Units. These are some of the bodies that were moved here from Fort Ellis, near Bozeman. And that is were our story begins.

Fort Ellis was established three miles east of Bozeman in August 1867, by members of the 13th U.S. Infantry. It was to serve as the northern anchor of a chain of forts on the Bozeman Trail. In 1869 the Infantry garrison was joined by four companies of the Second U.S. Cavalry. This battalion of cavalry would remain until 1884. The Infantry would leave in 1886 when Fort Ellis was abandoned.

The stones in question mark part of the 37 or 39, re-interments from Fort Ellis. We’ll get to the discrepancy in the number of bodies in a minute. In January of 1887, bids went out to move 39 bodies to the Fort Missoula Cemetery. The bids were to cover the costs for “furnishing all labor, transportation and materials required in disinterring, preparing for shipment and removing the remains now in the Cemetery at the late Post of Fort Ellis, MT, delivering to the Officers of the Quartermasters Department designated to receive them at Fort Missoula, MT. and re-interring the same in the cemetery at the last named post”.

12 bids were submitted. One notice indicated the bidder will “remove the remains and headboards or stones”. Another says “All headstones and headboards found in good condition I will save and deliver with remains”. The high bid for re-interment was $2,730 or $70.25 per person. The low bid, submitted by H.B. Palmer came in at $360 or $9.23 per person. This bid was received on March 17, 1887 and was, of course, awarded. This begs the question, was Palmer willing to do the job correctly for very little, or was he willing to cut corners wherever possible?

Fort Missoula Cemetery Burial Records show that 37 graves, moved here from Fort Ellis, have assigned Section and grave numbers. However, a list from the Dept. of the Army, Office of the Quartermaster, Washington D.C. dated 17 Aug. 1948, shows that there were 39 re-interments from Fort Ellis to Fort Missoula. There are two names on the 1948 list that are not on the Fort Missoula Cemetery burial record. They are “Infant Child Bean” date of death Oct 2, 1881 and “Citizen Adams” no death date shown. The 1948 list is the only list known to our researchers where these names appear. Interestingly, a 1940 map of the cemetery notes: “Grave 6A Section B shows imprint of a child’s grave and Grave 39 Section A shows imprint of an adult grave. No record of burial in either case.”

The imprints for the notations on the 1940 map are no longer visible. However, Grave 39 Section A shows that Pvt William Brummagien Co. D, 25th US Inf. was buried there on May 1, 1920. We do not know when his headstone was placed. There is no record on any of the burial lists we have that show that anyone was ever buried in Grave 6A, Section B.

We do show Fort Missoula received 22 soldiers, including two Medal of Honor recipients (Michael Himmelsbach and Harry Garland) whose stories are told elsewhere today. The rest of the transferred graves were for civilians and children.

The ranks among the soldiers include 5 sergeants, 1 corporal, 1 hospital steward and 15 privates. The civilians include 3 adult males, 2 adult females and 2 remains whose gender is not known. The children include 2 boys and 3 girls. The rest are not identified by gender.

Besides the 2 Medal of Honor recipients we have 2 other re-interments of interest.

The 1st individual is Sergeant William Baker. He was born in County Donegal, Ireland in 1832. We know nothing of his early life except that he had been an itinerant peddler prior to his enlisting on November 6, 1854 into Company F, Second Dragoons. In 1861 his unit became Company F, Second Cavalry. He earned his sergeant’s stripes in rough campaigning during the Civil War. He was a well seasoned Non-Commissioned Officer, experienced in dealing with all manner of men and experienced, as well, in conducting both traditional and Indian warfare. It is said the he was quiet, efficient and well-liked, and would have retired from his beloved company F as a senior NCO at the conclusion of a long and faithful service, had he not been shot dead by Private James Murphy on March 31, 1874 in the course of Murphy’s attack on a comrade in the barracks at Fort Ellis. Baker’s most notable duty in and around Montana, besides his work in the Indian Wars, was when he was the sergeant under Lieutenant Doane and in charge of the military escort that helped conduct the Yellowstone Exploration of 1870. This expedition, composed mostly of Montana men, was the first to leave an accurate record of the wonders of the future Yellowstone National Park.

The 2nd person of interest is buried under a headstone marked only as “U.S. Soldier”. This man’s name is not known. His unit is recorded as Company D of the 16th U.S. Infantry. His rank is shown as “Private”. His date of death is a vague “April 1860”.
This lack of specific information poses quite a mystery for many reasons. If he did, in fact, die in 1860, how did he come to be buried in the Fort Ellis Post Cemetery since Fort Ellis was not established until 1867? Also, the 16th Infantry never served in Montana until a detachment was sent to Fort Assiniboine from 1899 to 1902. As a matter of fact, when he died in 1860, there was no 16th regiment in existence. The last time, prior to the Civil War, that a regiment bore that number was during the War with Mexico, 1846-1848. If he was indeed a veteran of the Mexican War, he is certainly the earliest war veteran to be buried in this cemetery.

To our knowledge the oldest grave in the Ft Missoula Post Cemetery is that of Private William Gerick- (several spellings for this name- ) Company H 3rd US Inf. Sept.-26-1878

Our researchers have made inquiries to many military history sources and have not been able to determine the exact date or dates when the Fort Ellis remains were brought to the Fort Missoula Post Cemetery. One might have thought that their arrival would have been mentioned in the local newspapers; however no records have been found to tell us when the bodies were received by the Fort Missoula Post Quartermaster. One could imagine that the arrival of the two Medal of Honor recipients would have triggered some type of noteworthy ceremony here at the Fort which could have been mentioned somewhere in public notices. A search of Fort Ellis and Gallatin County histories has revealed no information on the date of disinterment for these people. Our researchers are still working to solve this puzzle.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fort Missoula Post Cemetery





SUNDAY, JUNE 14, 2009
1-3 P.M.


Learn about the history of the Post Cemetery,
and personal stories as we honor some of the men,
women, and children buried in the cemetery.
Just off South Avenue across from Big Sky High School.
Don’t forget to visit the Museums.