Written by Crystal B. Alegria, Director of The Extreme History Project and Montana Historian Magazine Guest Contributor
I first met Lizzie Williams when walking through the historic section of Sunset Hills Cemetery located in Bozeman, Montana. Lizzie’s decorative white marble headstone had caught my eye. The stone is weathered and sunken into the ground on one side. As I lingered on the beauty of the stone, I noticed the death date of 1875.
Congressman Henry Dawes, author of The Dawes Act, once expressed his faith in the civilizing power of private property. He claimed that to be civilized was to “wear civilized clothes…cultivate the ground, live in houses, ride in Studebaker wagons, send children to school, drink whiskey [and] own property.”
The Christmas season seems to bring out traditions in our families and in our culture that have been around for years. The following story, which was first printed in the Big Timber Pioneer more than twenty years ago, includes the experiences of several people during World War II. Each person has a connection to Montana and each person has a different perspective. Two of those interviewed have passed away since this article was first published, but their words help us remember what it was like all those years ago when we leaned on our traditions to help us through difficult times.
While not strictly about Montana, Thanksgiving is celebrated by many of us. We always find it fascinating to learn where our traditions come from and the sometimes quirky history behind them. While on our YouTube channel be sure to like, subscribe, comment and share our content. It helps us grow and discover Montana’s history and tell you about it!
Visiting any battlefield can be a spiritual experience, which was the case for me the first time I visited the Little Bighorn Battlefield. So many things struck me that day, and one of them was when I was driving up from the Reno-Benteen site going to Weir’s Point. I spotted a lone soldier marker near the road that had a pull off area. Curious, I pulled in, walked to the marker and saw the words inscribed on that marker: Vincent Charles, Farrier.
“Thank you for your service.” That is the phrase that comes to mind when you see someone in a military uniform. They are merely words that we are conditioned to say. Are words truly enough? How exactly do we respect our veterans, offer them an understanding of what they went through during their tenure in the military? Veterans Day originated 101 years ago to honor all the men and women who have served and some of us still struggle with a heartfelt way to show appreciation.
By John Rice, MTSSAR, Don Reed, MTSSAR, and Kerry O’Connell, Montana Historian Magazine
One of the joys for us at Montana Historian Magazine, is the connections that we make. Connections with those who know history, appreciate history, share history, and research history. We’ve written before about the threads of stories that are woven into Montana’s rich heritage. Many Civil War veterans have stamped their legacy in our stories of vigilantes that helped form the state that we call home.
We at Montana Historian recently returned from an overnight trip to Yellowstone Park and Island Park, Idaho. I had an idea about an article. Yellowstone tourists and railroads. We discovered it’s a large topic and we needed to break it down into smaller bites for our readers. To that end we focused on the Union Pacific Railroad line from Saint Anthony, Idaho to West Yellowstone, Montana and how their transportation of tourists helped change this part of Montana forever.
Book Review written by John O’Connell, Montana Historian Magazine
As a farrier I traveled all over south central Montana and beyond. From indoor arenas to dude ranches, 4-H projects to cattle ranches, I worked on a lot of different horses who belonged to all kinds of people. Good horsemen and horsewomen are rare, but I met a few. They understand how horses think. They can read body language and can train a horse to be polite, respectful and trustworthy. Those horses were a joy to work with and I have fond memories of them.
Some of the most fascinating examples of human gallantry and sacrifice are ones that we may never know about. In January of 2020, a friend of mine who happens to be an Asian American, invited me to Three Forks for a memorial dedication. My friend, David Chung, is a Vietnam Veteran and had been invited to speak at the dedication due to his involvement with the Department of Montana Military Order of the Purple Heart (find them on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/MontanaPurpleHeart/).