Collection 405 - Francis E. Beall Papers, 1880-1971
Creator: Beall, Francis E.
Provenance Note: Photocopied and original historical and autobiographical essays and an original photograph of the Beall family were donated to Montana State University by Francis E. Beall of Long Beach, California, in a series of deposits between 1966 and 1971. The material in this collection incorporates former accession number 1020.
Historical Note: Francis Ewing "Frank" Beall was born in Waterloo, Montana on October 13, 1882, the son of John Nelson Beall and Mary M. Dean. John Beall had moved with his family to Montana Territory in 1864, following his brothers, William M. and Henry C. Beall, who had come to Alder Gulch the previous year after a successful escape from a Union prisoner of war camp in St. Louis, Missouri. John and Mary established a ranch on the Jefferson River and had seven children in addition to Francis. The Beall sons ran the ranch until 1904 when their mother sold the place and the family resettled nearby on land south of Whitehall. Francis attended local schools and the Helena Business College, and in addition to helping on the ranch worked in Bozeman, Montana for the Owenhouse Hardware store in 1912. Meanwhile his brothers decided to take up homesteads in the Miles City area with the intention of shipping cattle back to the Whitehall Ranch, and Francis joined them there to deal in cattle. Francis eventually left the ranching life and lived at various times in Butte, Whitehall, and Great Falls, Montana. He worked in retail sales most of his life, and maintained an intense interest in the history of his family. He died at his daughter's home in Long Beach, California in April, 1973.
Content Description Note: The Beall papers have been divided into three folders. The first contains a photocopied manuscript of family history he wrote for his daughter Marian in 1957 entitled "A Dream of an Empire." The narrative describes the family's migration along portions of the Oregon Trail from Missouri to Montana during the Civil War and the later establishment of the family ranch at Waterloo. Other reminiscences in the folder include several handwritten essays concerning: the history of Butte; a childhood accident suffered by Francis and treated by Butte doctors; the early days of the Butte Electric Power Company and the Montana Power Company; a horse named Prince owned by Francis during his childhood at Waterloo. Some of the handwritten manuscripts have typed transcriptions which have been placed in a separate folder. A synopsis of a June 26, 1966 interview with Francis by MSU Special Collections librarian Minnie Paugh has been placed in a third folder, along with letters she received from him from 1969 to 1971 that are autobiographical in nature. Included is an original photograph of the Beall family at their Waterloo ranch, circa 1880. The photograph is an elevated view showing the family standing in front of the ranch house, with workmen and livestock visible beyond.
Folder 1. Photocopied and original reminiscences and essays
Folder 2. Typed transcripts
Folder 3. Interview synopsis, letters, photograph