Creator: Fletcher, Ellen Gordon, b. 1841

Provenance Note: Positive photocopies of typed transcripts of original letters and diaries created by Ellen Gordon Fletcher were donated to Special Collections by Mrs. Don Fletcher of Bozeman, Montana, and Mr. Fred Gibson of Livingston, Montana, 1964. The letters were originally written to Gordon family members in New York, and for a long time were in the possession of Mrs. Blanche Fletcher Thompson, the oldest daughter of Ellen Fletcher. Sometime in the 1920s, the letters were loaned to Mrs. Winifred Fletcher Gibson, another daughter of Ellen Fletcher whose daughter, Kathleen, transcribed them on a typewriter. Later, the typewritten transcriptions were copied and distributed to all the surviving Fletcher children. Most of the original letters were subsequently lost. Ellen Fletcher's original diary came into the possession of Mrs. Bereth Thompson Hopkins, the daughter of Blanche Fletcher Thompson and, along with a different version of the letter transcriptions, was published by Francis D. Haines in 1970 as A bride on the Bozeman Trail; the letters and diary of Ellen Gordon Fletcher, 1866 (Medford, Or.: Gandee Printing Center, 1970).

Historical Note: Ellen Louisa Gordon Fletcher (1841-1919) was born in Rushford, New York, one of ten children born to Fordyce and Sarah Ann Gordon. She attended public school in Cuba, New York and became a teacher herself until late 1865 when she met William Ashbury Fletcher. The couple married in April, 1866 and immediately set out for Montana Territory where Fletcher had previously lived in the towns of Bannack, Summit, and Highland. Traveling first by train from Buffalo, New York to Missouri, the Fletchers next took a steamboat up the Missouri River to Bellevue, Nebraska where they began their overland journey to Montana. They arrived in Virginia City area in late July, 1866.

Content Description Note: Positive photocopies of transcriptions of letters and a diary kept by Ellen Gordon Fletcher during her journey to Montana along the Platte River Road and the Bozeman Trail. Transcribed letters and entries continue after the Fletcher's arrival in Virginia City, describing their life in Summit and other locations in Madison County, Montana up to 1870. Two photocopies of the original letters, dated October 14 and November 25, 1866 are included. Persons mentioned in the letters and diaries include William A. Fletcher, Samuel A. Fletcher, and other members of the Fletcher family. Places mentioned include many points along the Bozeman Trail and the Gallatin Valley, Montana. The collection also includes a copy photograph, circa 1910, of Ellen Fletcher posing with her adult children. The photocopies have been organized in topically labeled folders. The diary transcriptions in folder 5 have been inserted with the letter transcriptions and the entire draft may have been the version used by Francis D. Haines in preparing the text for his book.


Box 1
1. Transcribed letters, April 25-June 8, 1866
2. Transcribed letters, June 9-September 6, 1866
3. Transcribed letters, September 23, 1866-January 11, 1870
4. Original letter photocopies
5. Diary and letter transcriptions, Francis D. Haines version
6. Photograph, Ellen Fletcher and adult children, ca. 1910

Contents | Special Collections

Updated: 2/5/09