Collection 504 - Record of Events While Ranching on Billman Creek, 1886-1887
Provenance Note: An original reminiscence and diary from an unidentified Park County, Montana rancher was deposited with the Museum of the Rockies in 1960 by Tom Toohey of Belgrade, Montana. In 1967 the document was removed by Merrill G. Burlingame and subsequently donated to Special Collections. The manuscript was initially credited to Tom Toohey because the Museum of the Rockies registrar added the name of the donor to the front page when recording their accession number on the document.
Historical Note: Ranching operations had been established along tributaries of the upper Yellowstone River as early as the 1860s with Nelson Story's ranch camp near the confluence of the Shield's River. Another tributary feeding into the Yellowstone River near present-day Livingston, Montana is Billman Creek, which rises on the western slope of the Bozeman Pass in the Bridger Mountains. This area was initially part of Gallatin County until the establishment of Park County on February 4, 1887.
Content Description Note: Ruled and numbered pages likely taken from a bound ledger volume bear the title "Record of Events while ranching on Billman Creek" and has entries dated from October 22, 1886 through April 10, 1887. The first entries are actually a summation of the first three months, documenting the writer's activities at a place he calls "Cold Spring Ranche" on Upper Billman Creek, but after January 17, 1887 the dated entries appear to be made concurrent with the events they describe. Weather conditions factor heavily in these entries, along with activity such as cutting fence posts, moving cattle to various pasturage locations, and mentioning by first name family members, hired help, and neighboring ranchers. As the entries continue into the spring of 1887, the writer mentions his involvement in a civil lawsuit which requires him to travel into "town" [Livingston?] where he eventually loses the case. The folder containing the manuscript also includes a typed transcript prepared by Merrill G. Burlingame.