Creator: Engelfried and Esler (Bozeman, Mont.)

Provenance Note: Business ledgers and a letter press book maintained by pioneer Montana businessman Frank W. Esler were donated to Montana State University by Lucien Benepe of Bozeman, Montana in 1968.

Historical Note: Frank Esler was born at Copenhagen, New York on August 1, 1843, and was apprenticed to a saddle maker in Booneville, New York. Married in 1861 to Mary E. Jackson, he worked at his trade at Booneville until he enlisted in the Union Army in the summer of 1862. He mustered out after a year and spent the balance of the war as a contractor for cavalry supplies. In 1866, with his wife, Esler moved to Argenta, Montana Territory, where he speculated in mining and ran a small store which he called "Esler House." In 1869, he moved to Jefferson City (Jefferson County) where he failed in a number of business enterprises. In 1874, the Eslers moved to Bozeman (Gallatin County) where he established a saddlery business, eventually forming a partnership with Ferdinand Englefried. During this partnership, the firm was known as "Englefried and Esler." Frank Esler also became a director of the First National Bank in Bozeman during the mid 1880s. His date of death is unknown.

Content Description Note: The Engelfried and Esler records consist of three ledger books and a letter press book maintained by Frank Esler during his Montana residence under both of his business names. The first ledger includes transactions at Argenta, Jefferson City, and Bozeman, and accounts include those maintained with Lester S. Willson, Nelson Story, William H. Tracy, J.V. Bogert, Wells, Fargo and Company, and the Crow Agency in eastern Montana. The letterpress book entries are quite scant, and include a few notes by E. J. Owenhouse, who likely absorbed Esler's saddlery business in the 1880s. The final ledger, with entries dated 1877-1880, is unidentified.


Box 1
1. Ledger, 1866-1878
2. Ledger, 1875-1877
3. Letter press book, 1877-1889
4. Ledger, 1877-1880

Contents | Special Collections

Updated: 2/10/09