• Montana Press

Bygone Days: Oct. 28 through Nov.30



The Montana Press scours the archives of newspapers in Montana to bring the reader a taste of the past in Bygone Days. Featured years include 1898, 1933, and 1959.


Travel back in time!

Teton Chronicle, Choteau, October 28, 1898


“The fact that J.H. Devlin was the first sheepman in the county to raise herders’ wages to $40 per month last sprint, is the best argument we can offer to prove that he is a friend to the laboring class. His candidacy for county commissioner should be enthusiastically advocated.”


“Browning: Quite a large party of Assineboines recently arrived here from their reservation at Belknap. They came riding buffet car on the Great northern, were clad in citizens garb and fine overcoats, and carried grips with their Sunday suits. These people were once deadly enemies of the Piegans, and tradition relates many instances of terribly fought battles between the two tribes, but as they have progressed in the ways of civilization the olive branch of peace has been extended and they now regard each other as friends and neighbors.”


Park County News, October 29, 1959


“‘Livingston is the only community between Gardiner and Fairview, Montana, that does not have or is not constructing some method of sewage treatment acceptable to the State Board of Health,’” Mayor Frank G. Cook declared Wednesday.


Helena Independent, October 31, 1898


“During the winter the would-be horticulturalist has time to lay his plans to make the desert bloom as t the rose. A new book now and then through the long evenings will help him do it more effectively. A number of additions to the Helena public library deal with that subject.”


“Railroad men who have had the privilege of examining the four new trains which the Burlington route placed in service… say they are as magnificently equipped as any in the country… Each is composed of a buffet-smoking-library car, a palace sleeping car, a dining car and two reclining chair cars. The buffet-smoking-library car is something new… It is a veritable club house on wheels, where one may read, write, smoke, talk or play cards, while traveling at the rate of 50 miles an hour. It is handsomely carpeted and furnished with settees, cushioned easy chairs, a lavatory, a writing desk, a compartment for card players and a well stocked buffet.”


The Townsend Messenger, November 3, 1898


“Billings, Oct. 31—News has been brought to town of a killing at Hailstone Basin, about 45 miles from Billings. Saturday morning a dispute arose between Daniel Martin, a herder of the Lake Basin Sheep Company and Jas. Westman, herder for B.G. Shorey, about range rights. Westman was watering his sheep at the Lake Basin company well and Martin threatened to shoot him. Westman said it was not his quarrel and he would drive his sheep away and turned to go, when he heard the click of Martin’s revolver. He turned around just as Martin fired and the bullet struck him in the finger of his right hand, which he had raised in remonstrance, and then went into his breast over the heart… Westman, who carried a rifle, then fired four shots into Martin, killing him. The four bullets struck Martin in the abdomen. Westman, thinking himself mortally wounded, wrote on a scrap of paper to the effect that no one was concerned in the scrape but Martin and himself, writing it with a stick dipped in his own blood… Finding that he had some time to live, he drove Martin’s herd home. Dr. Rinehart went out and examined Westman and reported that he will recover… The sheriff started after Westman to arrest him.”


The River Press, Fort Benton, November 2, 1898


“According to such eminent and reliable democratic authorities such as the Butte Miner and Anaconda Standard, the record of their party at former elections has been one of bribery, intimidation and other disgraceful acts. The Butte Miner alleges that Marcus Daly has been at the head of one gang of democratic corruptionists, while the Anaconda Standard charges that W.A. Clark has been the principal in other misdeeds of a like nature. With such a record of evidence, upon the testimony of organs of the Montana democracy itself, can any self-respecting citizen afford to vote for the candidates of such a confessedly corrupt political organization?”


“Mrs. Nat Collins is one of the wealthiest of Montana’s stock raisers. She has become a millionaire by stocking the state’s vast ranges with cattle and sheep, and is known as ‘The Cattle Queen of Montana.’ …Probably no one person in Montana has larger cattle interests than she. Her success has been due to her own interest and exertions, for her husband is one of those quiet individuals who prefer to take life with as little trouble as possible.”


The Park County News, November 2, 1933


"This has been an unusual fall season. The end of October came without a frost of even serious proportions falling in the lower valley regions....A few of the unusual stories picked up the past week are: Sidney Nesbit says there has been in the past week a new crop of grasshoppers at his place on Trail creek. No other reports of new grasshoppers have been made, but if they have hatched out pretty generally in the balmy autumn weather the 1934 grasshopper problem may be pretty well solved. ..Mrs. E.N. Lalonde...reported that a white wyandotte pullet, six months old, came out last week with twelve little chicks...Looks like fried chicken all winter at the Lalonde ranch."


"Down in Mississippi ten convicts at a state prison became free men and redeemed citizens of the United States by act of the governor as a reward for entering vital danger to their own lives in the interest of human welfare. The men submitted themselves as 'human guinea pigs' for experiments seeking a solution to the sleeping sickness problem....Their test was one of character as well as of susceptibility to disease under certain circumstances. The test, no doubt, strengthened their character and sent them forth as free men to take a more honored status in life..."


The Livingston Post, November 3, 1898


"Last Friday morning the room of J.N. Mjelde at the Park hotel was entered by a sneak thief and a valuable watch and chain stolen. A suspicious character by the name of Alex Lavigne was suspected of the crime and was watched by Mr. Mjelde, who observed him enter another room and appropriate a suit of clothes.... The suit...was found where the thief had hidden it, but so far no trace has been discovered of Mr. Mjelde's timepiece."


"Ernest Hockenbeamer yesterday returned from a hunting trip in the mountains near Gardiner. He claims that the party killed three elk...The gentlemen's friends around town aver that Ernie never saw an elk, only in the Zoological gardens, and that if he did ever run across one he wouldn't know what it was. Van Brocklin says that all Ernie killed was time."


The Dillon Tribune, November 4, 1898


“The Tribute is not given to publishing lies during a campaign season or at any other time. The statement of the organ that the Tribune lies does not prove anything—but the mental caliber of he who utters it.”


The Park County News, November 5, 1959


"The Philips Fly and Tackle Company of Alexandria, Penna., just announced the re-appointment of world traveling fishing writer Joe Brooks as Director of Research and Development. Brooks worked with Phillips several years ago, researching a new line of salt water flies and spinning lures out of which came three that are new top favorites throughout the country, the Old Joe, the Wiggle Jig and the Pink Shrimp. Joe usually spends July, August and September in the Livingston area. He's a real Montana booster."


"A party of U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials were in this area Monday and Tuesday making preliminary cost estimates on Mission or Absarokee dam east of Livingston, Canyon dam just south of Livingston, Emigrant dam and Yankee Jim dam."


Helena Independent, November 7, 1898


“Several of our local sportsmen have contributed toward the purchase of five pairs of Chinese pheasants, which are expected to arrive in Phillipsburg next Friday, says the Phillipsburg Call. They will be exhibited in the show windows of Gannon and Neu’s store until the Saturday following, when they will be turned out to multiply and replenish the earth.”


The Winston Prospector, November 10, 1898


“I, hereby, offer a reward of one pint of whiskey to the two individuals at the East Pacific mine who voted for me for the office of treasurer of Broadwater county at the general election held last Tuesday, November 8, if they will make their identity known to me. -Chas. W. Dodge”


“The latest election reports received indicate that the state has gone overwhelmingly democratic, every candidate on that ticket being elected by a good majority.”


The Big Timber Pioneer, November 11, 1898


“These war times have tried men’s souls in many unexpected ways, but like a shaft of sunshine and good cheer out of the cloud of privation and endurance has been the work that The American Tobacco Co. has done among the U.S. Soldiers and Sailors ever since the war began—for when they discovered that the camps and hospitals were not supplied with tobacco they decided to provide them, free of cost, with enough for every man and have already given outright… over one hundred thousand pounds of “Battle Ax Plug” and “Dukes’s Mixture… and have bought and distributed fifty thousand briar wood pipes… Perhaps it will be only fair to remember when we hear the remark again that ‘corporations have no souls” that there is one American corporation whose soul has been tried and has not been found wanting in ‘practical kindness.”


Helena Independent, November 13, 1898


“Missoula defeated Bozeman. Bozeman, Nov. 12—Missoula university defeated the Agricultural foot ball team by a score of 6 to 0 this afternoon.”


“The electric connection with the water power at Canyon Ferry has just been made, giving to the city an advantage enjoyed by but a few cities in the united states. This is an event of such importance to the capital city that it should not go unheralded and uncelebrated. This is the inauguration of the electric era. It is the starting point for manufacturing and industry in this city. It is the dawn of a period of great prosperity.”


“Big corporations are not in the habit of making investments just for the fun of the thing. When they do so it is because they expect returns, and before they make them they have something to base their expectations upon. This is the case with the Postal company.”


The Park County News, November 16, 1933


"Montana editors sounded a dirge to the death of prohibition this week. Typical comment follows: Billings Gazette: 'John Barleycorn, it now appears was only feigning death when he was consigned to the grave with the shouts of Billy Sunday and the prayers of the late Wayne B. Wheeler.' The Bozeman Courier hopes...'that under the changed circumstances, there will be proper judgement shown, not only by the state administration but by every person who desires to enjoy the privilege of obtaining good liquor.' Discussing state control suggestions, ...The Butte Post believes: 'The question will be settled temporarily by the special session ...but no one can doubt that it will furnish a recurring topic of bitter controversy. Indeed, it may well be said that repeal has no more ended the liquor problem than prohibition ended drinking.'"


"Livingston will be among the first half dozen cities in the state to have a state liquor store, according to an announcement from Helena....The opening of the stores will begin about December 15, it is reported."


Park County News, November 17, 1933


"News From Manila—Park County Soldiers in the Philippines...The following letter was received this week by the Post from Ed Howell under Manila date of October 27:.. 'I met Lt. Poorman, who informed me that all of the Montana regiment was camped at Cavite and they were all doing well with the exception of the little sickness caused by the sudden change of climate...While the Montana boys have a few complaints to make, they are least homesick of any troops I have met. They all know more or less about camp life and I never heard any of them say that if they ever got back to their good beds and well supplied tables they would never again volunteer to go to war, although such remarks may be heard quite frequently among the troops from other states, who say that Uncle Sam will have to look elsewhere for his volunteers should he be in need again...The Montana boys were disappointed that they did not get here in time to help take Manila. There seems to be some difference of opinion about going home. Some say that if there is no fighting to be done they want to go back, while others contend that the change of climate in going back in the dead of winter would be just as bad as the change coming here... We are told here that the interior of the island is inhabited by cannibals and if this is true I want to be in shape to kill them all the fresh meat they want before they get to me.'"


Butte Montana Standard, November 19, 1933


“Washing of Beer Glasses without Soap is banned. Great Falls, Nov. 18—(AP)— The practice of washing beer glasses in cold water without any soap was ordered stopped today in Great Falls beer parlors by J.W. Forbes, chief of the food and drug division of the state board of health. Forbes also ordered the dealers to use an antiseptic solution washing the glasses. He said he found unsanitary conditions general in the city.”


“Everyone has heard about the halfback who played the game with a smashed rib or broken bones in his hand and came out a star. But did you ever hear about the unsung hero in the school band, blowing patiently away at his instrument to pep up the team, minus the teeth so necessary to play a wind instrument. The Butte high school band, which went to Missoula yesterday to cheer on the Purple and White football team, can brag about one of its own who has made his little niche in the list of musical heroes…To most people the loss a tooth is merely a temporary inconvenience. But to young [Stanley] Bowdon, or to any other baritone player, for that matter, the loss of a front tooth is tragedy. Without the tooth Bowden couldn’t play his instrument… Doggedly, he whittled out a wooden tooth. Without a word to the director or his fellow players… he commenced practice and performing without fault…”


The Billings Gazette, November 23, 1933


“Thousands of unemployed women in Montana may soon have full-time work under a new drive against idleness… ‘Quick action on work for women must be taken,’ a telegram to [state works director T.C.] Spaulding from Harry L. Hopkins, director of the federal emergency relief administration, asserted. Steps were taken immediately to obtain estimates on the number of jobless women in the state. Spaulding said thousands of women who can sew, nurses, teachers, stenographers and clerks will be benefitted… ‘In the president’s program,’ the state director explained, ‘It is essential for women as well as men to be given employment. The telegram indicates the serious efforts that are being made by the federal government and the state civil works administration to help out the unemployment problem among women in Montana.’”


“Helena, Nov. 22–(AP)—Explaining that express service is not available in some Montana towns and villages, the state liquor control board Wednesday telegraphed Postmaster General Farley asking if the regulation prohibiting shipment of liquor through the mails could not be rescinded by executive order. Until retail liquor stores can be established in all the counties, the state intends to fill orders for liquor from the Helena store by express… consumers’ permits will be on sale before the county stores are open but not until the state legislature makes an appropriation to finance the liquor business. Except for a $2 check received from a resident of Baker… the board is without funds… The last legislature authorized the board … $25,000 for the business but did not make an actual appropriation.”


The Park County News. November 23, 1933


"Ed Durgan Fires in Defense of Wife When Coop Raider Attacks...At midnight Mrs. Durgan was awakened by a disturbance in the barnyard...she returned to the house and called Mr. Durgan, who took up a rifle and returned with her to the yard...then they saw a man emerge from one of the buildings, with a sack in one hand and a club in the other, apparently after the turkeys. On the impulse of the moment Mrs Durgan started toward him, despite her husband's cautioning, and asked him who he was and what he was doing there. Mr. Durgan demanded that he throw up his hands and identify himself. 'What the devil is it to you?' was the reply and he struck Mrs. Durgan across the back with his club, knocking her down. At this Mr. Durgan fired. The man ran down the road...Arising Wednesday morning, Mr. Durgan found a car in the ditch on the road near the house. There was a dead man in it whom he did not recognize. He had been shot through the right breast, the bullet lodging in the body....Both Mr. and Mrs. Durgan are very regretful that the circumstances of protecting themselves and their property resulted in taking a life."


"The tide of U.S. immigration has turned. At present more people are leaving the United States than coming into it, and the small quota of permissions allowing foreigners to come is not nearly filled. That is a bad sign for the United States. This country was not built by aborigines, but by ambitious foreign men and women with courage to cross the ocean, and come to an unknown land."


The Livingston Post, November 24, 1898


"Monday a spurious $20 gold piece was in circulation in this city and created considerable of a flurry ...the coin was paid by one of the shop employees to a merchant, who took the money to the bank. The gold piece looked enough like the genuine article to deceive the bank officials, who had paid it out in cashing the shopman's check earlier in the day. But on its second appearance the bank detected the absence of the ring which attests the genuiness of gold coin and refused to accept the money. Subsequently the bank took the coin, upon the shopman showing that the money had been paid to him by the bank."


“During the second act of the performance of ‘Uncle Bob’ at the opera house Thursday evening, the stage stove tipped over and distributed its flaming contents over the floor among the wings. The members of the company...went on with the play...but some lively rustling was done by the employees of the house...before the fire was finally subdued. Many in the audience knew nothing of their danger and rare good fortune prevented the flames from reaching the scenery, which is very inflammable, and the burning of which would doubtless have precipitated a panic among the audience with disastrous results."


Winifred Times, November 24, 1933


“But He Does that Well. Once in a while you meet a man whose only function apparently is to serve as a mooring mast for a nickel cigar.”


“The W.W. Kendall family car was in another accident Saturday evening, the third since Mr. Kendall bought the car last spring. Mrs. Kendall and Mrs. Geo. Halverson, Glenn Kendall and Burt Talbert were returning home from Lewistown and when at a turn about two miles south of Suffolk a tire blew out while rounding the corner and the car took to the ditch and rolled over twice. Mrs. Halverson suffered a scalp wound, not serious, and the other occupants sustained scratches and bruises…”


Kalispell Daily Interlake, November 27, 1933


“Governor Frank H. Cooney… convened the Montana legislature in extraordinary session today with the admonition that it work out a solution as expeditiously as possible. Ten proposals, nearly all of them relating to relief needs, were submitted to the legislature for action. ‘We are here,’ Governor Cooney asserted, ‘to work out a solution for a situation for which none of us is responsible. The matter of politics is not involved and we should meet and confer and legislate with only one aim—the high and hold purpose of enacting laws that will be for the ultimate good of the whole people and that will make it impossible that any citizen within our borders shall suffer from cold or hunger so long as the depression continues.’”


Park County News, November 27, 1959


"Mayor Frank G. Cook Monday suspended Police Chief Keith Moran until Dec. 1. Neither the mayor nor the police chief will state why, but it is common knowledge around town that Moran was charged with having used prisoners to work on his house. That matter was aired in an off-the-record discussion with Mayor Cook and seven of the eight city aldermen following the adjourned meeting Friday night. Chief Moran contends he did not violate the law..."


Kalispell Daily Interlake, Friday, November 27, 1959


“The tobacco industry said today that there is no scientific evidence to support Surgeon General Leroy E. Burney’s new charge that cigaret smoking is the chief cause of lung cancer, even with filtered brands. The industry suggested the real villain might be polluted city air.”


The Montana Standard, Butte, November 28, 1959


“Four young women of Butte and four of Anaconda are among contestants from six counties in the “Make it Yourself with Wool Contest” to be held here today. The district event will be held at the Finlen Hotel during the morning preceding a luncheon in honor of the girls and their mothers.”


The Kalispell Daily Interlake, November 29, 1959


“LIBBY — The recent deer and elk contest conducted by Herb’s sport shop has come to a close. Wallace Talsma of Libby brought in a mug deer that dressed at 266 pounds. He was awarded the grand prize, a 300 Magnum Winchester rifle… Ray Monroe of Libby brought in the elk with the largest horn spread of 42 1/2 inches… Much interest was displayed during the contest, responses coming from all adjacent counties and from hunters in many parts of the state.”


The Dillon Tribune, November 30, 1959


“There was a serious interruption of telephone service Friday afternoon in Dillon from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Luckily there was no need for turning in a fire alarm, a call for an ambulance or doctor… R.J. Pringles, district manager of the Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Co. blamed the trouble on failure of equipment vital to dial tone, ringing of numbers and other audible signals… Housewives were annoyed by their inability to make phone calls, business calls were at a standstill and teenagers, accustomed to spending an hour or so gossiping with friends, were nervous wrecks. Using a telephone has become second nature. Here’s hoping we don’t have another failure.”


Helena Independent Record, November 30, 1959


“Washington—(AP)— Rep. Lee Metcalfe (D-Mont.) today accused Eisenhower administration officials of double-talk in connection with the recent cranberry poison scare. Metcalfe said that, at one and the same time. 1. Some administration officials are voicing alarm over reports chemical weed killers contaminated cranberries and, Others are clamping a lid on funds to finance research into the whole problem of how to use poison sprays to kill bugs and disease without harming people, wildlife and fish. Metcalfe is author of a bill under which research has been done by the federal government for several years…”