Archives for posts with tag: history
Dear Readers, I know I signed off earlier this month. But would like to share this new information with you, courtesy of the University of Montana Archivist Donna McCrea, who has been doing some research since I turned over the diaries:
 
“From the 1930 Census. Ruby Scofield Doyle was the wife of Thomas J. Doyle. According to the 1919 Missoula City Directory T. J. Doyle was ranching at Clearwater at that time. Dorma Doyle was born March 16, 1922. She married Harold A. Hardy on June 18, 1947 in Kalispell. Hardy died in 2001. They had no children (at least none that the funeral home knew about.) There was only a death notice, not an obit for Harold.
 
Dorma was listed in the city directory a few years ago (!) but then the trail goes cold. She is not listed in the Social Security Death Index. The funeral home states they have two nieces and a nephew.”
 
Can little Dorma Ruth still be alive?  She would be 92 years old now!  Does anyone reading this blog have any information?  If yes, we hope she is in Missoula.  Donna would very much like to share these diaries with Dorma or any family members who are interested.  Please contact the U. of Montana Maureen and Mike Mansfield Archives if you have any helpful information.
 
Your friend and blogger,
-Pei-Lin
 
 

 

Ah, spring!  The season when thoughts turn to love…the hired man “Geo. W” shows up at the ranch home of our mystery diarist on May 1st and Dad puts him right to work disking and ‘floating’ as we saw last week.  Well, one minute he’s slaving away in the fields and the next, our diarist’s sister Ruth has him in her sights…

 

“Tue. May 16.

Dorma was fussy all day long. I felt pretty gad all day so didn’t do much of anything. Jay drilled peas in a.m. & oats in p.m. Ruth worked on a chicken feeder all afternoon & washed our gray waists & a couple of her skirts in gasoline. Dorma 2 mo old & weighs about 10 lbs. Geo. plowed at Drims. Dad & Wilbur Vaughn went to Potomac after grain. I mean to Greenors (Greenough?) Wilbur stayed here all nite. First hens hatching. Dorma 2 mo. old weight 10 lbs.

 

Wed. May 17.

Baby just fine all morning, so I could help with the housework some & did some ironing. W Vaughn went to Greenoe after our grain and got back for dinner. Mama worked on making over an old dress for Ruth all p.m. Jay plowed up at Drims & Geo. floated & harrowed.

Thurs. May 18.

Ironed in a.m. I washed windows in the front part of the house. Jay drilled up at Drim Place in p.m. & fanned wheat in a.m. Geo. floated & plowed. Hard shower in evening. Ruth pressed Geo. W. clothes and made a cake.

 

Fri. May 19.

Scrubbed both rooms & Ruth cleaned up stairs. Ruth & Geo. W went to Potomac to a party at Dunbars & did not get home until 3 a.m. the next morning. Rained in the nite. Mr. and Mrs. Parsley came over after the mail in p.m. & made a little visit. Jay & Dad worked up at Drims. Dad got thru about four & plowed the garden.”

 

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Isn’t it nice to picture hardworking single gal Ruth and hired hand Geo. whooping it up till 3 in the morning?  I’ll bet there were some illicit beverages served.  And maybe they danced the Grizzly Bear, a ragtime dance most suitable for Montana!  You can see how it’s done at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAw4BOz-J1o.

 

Our first glimpse of Dorma Ruth--and her Mama?

This photo was found in the dumpster along with just a few others. Since the diary entries have been talking about Dorma’s tribulations with colic, I thought it would be nice to see her in a more tranquil pose. Do you think this is her Mama? Or maybe her grandma? I would love to see your comments on this photo, maybe you can help me create a caption for it!

The next week is full of springtime activity on our diarist’s ranch.  She is getting the hang of being a mom pretty quickly, right down to the wry observation about the baby waking everyone up late at night only to go sweetly back to sleep:

“Thur. April 13

Mama & Ruth washed and I was busy most of the time with Dorma.

I finished the hand work on my night gown.

Ruth had a dickens of (a) headache all P.m.

Baby had the colic all evening and got her Mom & Dad out of bed 12 p.m. & then shut up like a clam & went to sleep.

Fri. April 14

Ruth still felt punk & every one was lazy.

Got a letter from Bertha & Ray & also one from Verna.

Dorma got a little pair of white kid shoes from Uncle Ray & Aunt Bertha & also her first letter on Easter card from Virginia Muckler.

Sat. April 15.

Ruth cleaned the upstairs & made a nice cake & Mama & Ruth ironed.

I done a little washing for baby as usual between acts and in the p.m.:  Mama & I took turns staining the woodwork.

Jay & Dad went over acrossed the creek to see about putting up Mucklers cabin & getting the logs hauled in p.m.

Walker from Seely was here waiting for the men all p.m. to get hay.”

You might remember Mrs. Muckler who lives in Missoula and brought a potted houseplant as a gift while our diarist and her Mama were staying there over the winter.  Well, now it’s time to build the Mucklers a cabin and friends and neighbors are pitching in.  From the sound of things, trees are felled, limbed, and bucked already and now it’s time to haul ’em to the cabin site.  Below is a nice picture, courtesy of http://www.smokstak.com, of an outfit near Judith MT hauling huge logs with a team.  A nearly lost skill today.

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To continue on the theme of booze and how hard it would have been to find some during the time our mystery diarist was writing: I found the below at http://100megsfree3.com/mickmc/rich2.html, accessed 1/19/14.

“Prohibition began in 1920 and continued throughout the ’20s.  Officials (in Montana) knew they were fighting an uphill battle.

Not only would liquor come in by air, but also a ground route for rum-running stretched from Great Falls north to the Canadian line.  Dubbed Bootlegger Trail, a name still used, it allowed whiskey to flow illegally from Canada.

In addition, do-it-yourself violators were so numerous Phohibition agents could not keep up.  When they did bust a transgressor, the reception was chilly.

Just before Halloween in 1923, state prohibition officers entered the home of Mrs. Charles Wilbur (in Great Falls) armed with a search warrant.   As Gene Van Wert, a state officer, bent over to examine two gallons of moonshine liquor, she knocked him behind the ear with an ax, then clubbed a Wert aide in the head as well.

“Her skill at swinging the ax is not up to the standards set by woodsmen, for which fact the officers give thanks,” the Great Falls Tribune reported October 20th.   Mrs. Wilbur was disarmed, then arrested, then was released because she had several small children.

By March, 1924, a Tribune editorial bemoaned widespread violations of Prohibition laws, citing an estimate that half of Montana’s liquor violations were flatly ignored.

“The way in which boys and girls in their teens have become addicts of the ‘hip flask’ shocks the federal authorities,” the Tribune said.  Montana’s half-wet, half-dry status placed the state on a par with nearby Minnesota, North Dakota, Washington and Oregon in only half enforcing Prohibition laws…

By 1926, Montanans were fed up with the alcohol ban, passing a referendum that removed the state from the Prohibition enforcement business.  Federal agents would have to police liquor violations alone.”

Wow!  As regards the sentiment of Montanans then and now, the below photo about sums it up:

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So even if it was on the down-low, I’m about sure that there was beer at that card game on our diarist’s little ranch, that damp spring of 1922.

Farewell to 1922 Missoula: to friends and kin, busy streets, department stores, movies, hustle and bustle, controversial hangings, and séance chats with Grandma.  No more having the groceries delivered!  Time to head back to the ranch.  Baby Dorma is about to take her first big journey.  Check out all the modes of transportation she’ll ride, as documented by her mother:

“Wed. April 5.

I went down to the dentist at 10 a.m. & had a tooth filled. Stopped & bid Mrs. Andrews & McDonald goodbye & got home about noon.

Mama washed and cleaned up the rooms all good & in P.m. she went down town & I took Rubys buggy while she was over to her mothers & took baby down to Mrs. Mucklers, her first trip out doors but Mrs. M. was not at home but came over when she returned & brot some cakes & nut bread.

I went to see “Black Hawk” in evening with Mabel & Aunt Lue.

Mama ironed & took care of Baby while I was gone.

Thur.  April 6.

Got up bustling around to pack up & go home.

Never more pleased in my life.

Mrs. La Chome (?) was over to see Dorma.

Had dinner down stairs. Mama & Uncle Al left in the truck about 12 oclock & Baby & I went on the street car to Bonner about 1.

Took the train for Potomac about 2 & Mr. Keagle met us there & took us in to the city in the truck so Dorma had her first street car, train & auto ride. Jay was there to meet his family with the sled.

Ladies so nice to us at Potomac and so sweet to Baby.

Met the York outfit after supper.”

Baby rode a streetcar, train, truck, and sled.  Not bad for a 3-week-old infant in Montana’s chilly wet spring weather.  Sadly, today Montana is right up there with North Dakota in terms of electrified public transportation (or public transpo of any kind).  I adore streetcars and trains, they are so superior to cars and planes.  Lounge car, hello!!

Below is a nice Missoulian article on a restored streetcar, and a gentleman a little younger than our diarist, who remembers riding it to school.  Who knows?  #50 may have been the very car used by our diarist and her family in April 1922:

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‘Pretty’ streetcar No. 50 returns to Missoula

SEPTEMBER 01, 2012 10:15 PM • BY KIM BRIGGEMAN OF THE MISSOULIAN

You might as well call it A Streetcar Named Memories.

It’s been 80 years since old No. 50 rustled down the tracks of the Missoula electric streetcar system, but you can’t really call it old.

The emerald green beauty, adorned in varnished cherry wood and brass, arrived back in town on a flatbed this summer after a 16-year hiatus in Big Sandy, where restoration specialist Randy

Now, volunteer laborers have finished construction of the streetcar’s new home at the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula, and the former interurban car, which made more than a dozen runs daily to the bustling mill town of Bonner from 1912 to 1932, is almost ready to be shown off.

A gala 100th anniversary fundraiser and homecoming party is set for Saturday, and director Bob Brown said the Fort museum is planning a free public showing on Sept. 29.

By next summer, a glass atrium on one end of the volunteer-built transportation barn will allow regular viewing of the streetcar and other vehicles to be stored there.

***

No. 50 turned the head of one of its former riders the other day. Fritz Thibodeau, 98, last saw the car in 1932.

“It wasn’t as pretty back then,” he noted.

A cause for celebration and revelry today, the electric trolleys had long since worn off their novelty by the time Thibodeau entered Missoula High in 1928. His mother, Flavie, had moved most of the family back to Bonner after her husband died in southern Alberta a few years earlier.

They lived in Milltown, and Thibodeau recalled a big platform where the streetcar stopped to pick up and drop off passengers. Not-so-old timers remember Weimer’s 66 gas station and later Dave’s Country Station at the site of the stop.

http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/pretty-streetcar-no-re…ticle_d705511e-f4b3-11e1-90e2-0019bb2963f4.html?print=true&cid=print Page 1 of 4’Pretty’ streetcar No. 50 returns to Missoula 1/4/14 11:33 AM

Thibodeau graduated from MCHS in 1932, and his high school years coincided with the last years of the streetcars that went out of service on Jan. 24, 1932. Bonner School paid the students’ 15-cent fare, and the seats teemed with teens each morning and afternoon.

“They had a hell of a time keeping the streetcar in any kind of decent shape because of the kids,” Thibodeau remembered.

The Montana Power Co. bought the Missoula trolley system in 1928, according to Missoula historian Allan Mathews. It probably wasn’t long after when Thibodeau and others were summoned to the high school gym.

“They called an assembly just for the kids who rode the streetcar from Missoula to Bonner,” he remembered. “Those cars had those straw seats or whatever they were, and the kids would tear them up and make a mess.

“The guy from the Montana Power Co. wanted to know if they were running the streetcar for a bunch of cattle, or what was going on.”

Thibodeau doesn’t remember the power company boss’s name, “but I know we got a hell of a lecture, because when Montana Power got through with us then the school superintendent had his say.”

The warnings probably had some effect, but they didn’t stop the teenage hijinks. A popular practice at a stop was to pull the trolley from its connection with the electrified line overhead. Thibodeau said it could be done with the tug of a rope at the back of the streetcar.

That forced the motor man to climb down from the car, go around and put the line back on.

“While he was doing that, the kids would be hiding on the other side of the streetcar, and they’d come running around and get on for free,” said Thibodeau, who later served on the Bonner and MCHS school boards and one term as Missoula County commissioner in the late 1970s.

He said it was too long ago to recollect if he took part in the streetcar skullduggery. “But I’m sure I probably did.” ***

No. 50 was a “one-way” car. While the travel direction of the urban cars, some eight feet shorter, could be reversed by switching the trolley connection up top, the interurban car needed a loop to turn around on. The eastern loop circled the roundhouse near the end of Bonner, where the Bonner Post Office and history center are now.

Thibodeau said the Missoula loop ringed downtown on East Broadway, Pattee and Front streets and up Higgins Avenue to Broadway again. There also was a turnaround at Fort Missoula. The interurban car made almost hourly runs to Bonner from early morning to midnight. According to Brown, it continued out to Fort Missoula, now its permanent home, a couple of times a day.

http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/pretty-streetcar-no-re…ticle_d705511e-f4b3-11e1-90e2-0019bb2963f4.html?print=true&cid=print Page 2 of 4

‘Pretty’ streetcar No. 50 returns to Missoula 1/4/14 11:33 AM

In the mid-1970s several Bonner residents, now deceased, relayed their memories of No. 50 for “A Grass Roots Tribute: The Story of Bonner, Montana.”

Mildred Dufresne said the streetcar was “comfortable, never too crowded and very prompt.”

It opened a new world for those in the previously isolated mill community seven often bumpy road miles from Missoula.

“In those days of the Model T, etc., many persons in this area were able to go to church, to school, visiting, on picnics and many other places because there was the good old reliable, inexpensive streetcar,” Dufresne said.

Dufresne told of a story she heard from Olive Smith, who was riding No. 50 one day when it hit a cow. Both streetcar and cow were able to resume their journey.

Aafje Demmons, who lived 2 1/2 miles north of Bonner on the Milwaukee Railroad, remembered walking that distance in snow, rain and sunshine to the roundhouse.

“Here people waited for the streetcar; there were several benches attached to the side of the building, and this building housed sort of a small soda fountain; small sundry items could be purchased there. I do believe there was a ‘card-playing room’ off to one side,” Demmons said.

Dufrense said one family used the streetcar on picnic outings at Greenough Park.

“They would pack a lunch, take their baby son and his stroller, get on the streetcar, get off at the Vine Street stop, have a picnic in the park, and catch another car in the evening to go home,” she reported.

*** Jan. 24, 1932, was a Sunday, so Thibodeau doesn’t think he rode No. 50 on its last run.

A front-page newspaper article the next day gave some details. It named no fewer than 15 “motormen” who finished their final deliveries that Sunday.

“The Bonner car on its last run arrived on Higgins Avenue from Bonner at midnight and headed for the barns with Frank Williams at the controls,” the paper reported.

Two other cars finished even later – Walter Mannix and the West Side car a few minutes after midnight and “the last University car with Ralph Starr as motorman” after that.

Starr would later be elected to eight consecutive terms as justice of the peace, and he became Missoula’s 32nd mayor in 1949.

Other conductors of those last-night runs in ’32 were Warren Mayhew and Samuel Myers on the Daly Addition cars, Spencer Esmay on the East Side car, and Ed Ashenbrenner on one of the University cars.

Eight others had finished their runs earlier in the afternoon – Roy Downs, George Richards,

http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/pretty-streetcar-no-re…ticle_d705511e-f4b3-11e1-90e2-0019bb2963f4.html?print=true&cid=print Page 3 of 4

‘Pretty’ streetcar No. 50 returns to Missoula 1/4/14 11:33 AM

Warren E. Thieme, Knute Frye, Walter Hufford, W.C. LaMontague, Gordon Tracey and Peter Baron.

When Richards, the dean of motormen on the University route, made his final trip from the Northern Pacific depot to the old country club (now the University of Montana golf course), he was “held up” at the end of the line, the Missoulian reported. A dozen of his long-riding passengers crowded around the platform where the “bewildered motorman” was confronted by A.L. Stone, dean of UM’s journalism school.

Stone presented Richards with a fine fishing rod and said, “We want you to know how much we’ve appreciated riding with you, George, and we wish you good luck always.”

Esmay went down in history as a passenger on both the first Missoula electric streetcar run and the last.

As a boy he’d watched the first cars unloaded from the train in 1910 and took the company up on an offer for a free ride to Bonner. On that January night in ’32, Esmay paid his token to ride the last few blocks with Starr after turning in his own car minutes earlier.

At 7:15 a.m. that Monday morning, the first of 11 United Transit Co. buses set out on their newly established routes. One went south from Broadway and Higgins along Brooks Street to Fort Missoula.

Another rolled east to Bonner, as Missoula’s era of electrified public transportation ended for good.

Our diarist is going through some transitions: from lady of leisure to part-time Mom.  Time to get out of bed and get back to it:

“Fri. Mar. 24

My last day in bed.  Mama was busy with a washing all morning after she got baby & I fixed up.

(Sat.) Opal went down to Ruby’s & phoned for our grocerys so mama didn’t have to go down town.

Aunt Lue was up in the evening & stayed until nearly eleven.

Snowed & sleeted most of the day but melted nearly as fast as it fell.

Mama went down town after the groceries

Sat. Mar. 25

Mama was busy all day long.  Made a cake in a.m. besides her other numerous duties & I was lazy but up for the first time.

Virginia Muckler came over & brought a nice chocolate nut cake, glass of jelly, some nut bread which was very much appreciated.

Mama did a little Ironing.

Mrs Nelson came over & brot a book & some papers for us to read.”

I tried to find a nut cake recipe.  Unless you are a fan of old-fashioned recipes you won’t find one easily, it has gone extinct in modern cookbooks kind of like vinegar pie.  But eventually I found the below.  Like most recipes of the period this one is sketchy on times and temperatures and depends on the awesomeness of LOTS of butter to bring it to its full glory.  You might try it out for Christmas visitors:

* 1/2 cup butter, softened

* 1 cup sugar

* 3 eggs

* 1 teaspoon vanilla

* 2 squares melted unsweetened baking chocolate

* 3/4 cup milk

* 2 cups all-purpose flour

* 2 teaspoons baking powder

* 1 cup chopped nuts (any—black walnuts were probably available back then in Montana, they can handle dry cold weather).

Sift together flour and baking powder.  In large separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar; stir in eggs and vanilla.  Add in the melted unsweetened baking chocolate along with the eggs/vanilla. Then, using a sturdy spoon (or an electric mixer), alternately mix in the milk with the flour and baking powder. Stir in the nuts. Transfer to a greased pan (or pans) and bake in a “moderate” oven (350-degrees) till a knife stuck in the center comes out clean.  Times were not given, but probably should check it after 25 minutes to start with.

Found on a delightful blog: http://chickensintheroad.com/cooking/an-old-fashioned-nut-cake/

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“Oh, this, Darling?  It goes so well with chocolate nut cake!”  –Happy Holidays, everyone!

What was little Dorma Ruth drinking in her first hours?

Breast feeding was viewed dimiy by the medical profession in the 1920s and mothers were encouraged to use baby formula manufactured in the lab. A complicated brew that might include cow’s milk, wheat products, and even karo corn syrup. If Baby showed signs of scurvy, you could put orange juice in the bottle. If she needed more protein, just feed her cod liver oil (yuck). Babies were tough in the ’20s.

I‘ve found the following information about the highly controversial hanging of Joe Vuckovich in Feb. 1922, Missoula, Montana:

  • Vuckovich, reportedly a notorious ladies’ man about town, was accused of murdering Mrs. Nora Ellan Shea by shooting her in the head.  The prosecution stated she had refused to leave her husband and her baby girls for Vuckovich.  Evidence was scanty, merely that a young woman saw Vuckovich “run around a corner from the murder victim’s home with one hand under his coat, as though he may have been concealing something.”
  • Vuckovich proclaimed his innocence right to the end, with his defense counsel unsuccessfully attempting to prove that the victim’s husband, Jerry Shea, was the murderer. Vuckovich’s attorneys never had him take the stand, for reasons unknown.
  • Despite the efforts of Vuckovich’s defense and a petition to Governor Joseph M. Dixon with 5,000 signatures from Missoulians, Governor Dixon stated he would not intervene in the proceedings.  The Montana Supreme Court denied Vuckovich’s appeal and request for a re-trial.
  • Public sentiment was strongly against the hanging and thousands of Missoulians gathered outside the stockade before the execution, multiplying throughout the day and into the night. Due to threats, Sheriff Cole took extreme caution by keeping the stockade well guarded inside, outside, and on all the cross streets. Added to the controversial sentencing was the fact that the hanging itself did not go smoothly and Vuckovich died a hard death.

Ironically, the young woman whose testimony helped to hang Vuckovich would find her own husband, William Cates, in the same jail cell awaiting death by hanging thirteen years after the Vuckovich hanging.

I gathered most of this from a short bio of Sheriff Cole: http://www.ci.missoula.mt.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/8247, “GEORGE A. COLE, 30th Missoula County Sheriff. 

 

Galloping Gertie Gallows, Montana Territorial Prison

These gallows were a special moveable or ‘galloping’ model that could be moved from site to site. The gallows used in the execution of Joe Vuckovich and a number of other people in Missoula were probably stationary, but this photo taken at the territorial prison in Deerlodge MT captures the menace of these machines.

Photo taken from a fascinating blog about unusual prisons, you should check it out:  http://www.oddarena.com/2011/12/worlds-strangest-prisons.html