Creator: Seamans, L. Christine Bliss, 1902-1997

Provenance Note: L. Christine Bliss Seamans donated her papers to Special Collections in 1969 and 1982. This collection incorporates material previously accessioned as Collection 677.

Historical Note: L. Christine Bliss Seamans was born on January 3, 1902, in Rushville, Illinois to Charles W. and Della K. Thompson. She received her education at McMurray College and Northwestern University at Evanston, Illinois. After graduating, she moved to Worden, Montana, to teach high school. She married Herman Cook Bliss in June 1926. They had two sons, Charles H. and Herman C. Bliss. In December 1929, her husband was killed in an automobile accident. Christine remarried in 1955 to Arthur E. Seamans. Both her and Arthur spent most of their lives working at Huntley Project. Christine taught at Huntley Project High School and Arthur worked with the dryland farming division of the Agricultural Experiment Station. Christine became very active in recording the history of the Huntley Project and in 1968 located and interviewed ten pioneers of the project who homesteaded there between 1907 and 1914. In 1994, she moved to Asheboro, North Carolina, to be near her son and grandchildren. She died there on January 13, 1997.

Content Description Note: The L. Christine Bliss Seamans papers include a variety of source material she collected while working on a history of the Huntley Project. Included in the papers are five letters Arthur E. Seamans wrote to his mother while working on a ranch near Forsyth between 1908 and 1909. The letters give information on the working and living conditions in an isolated ranching shack at the turn of the century. Also found in the papers are Huntley Project directories from the mid-1960s, winning essays from the 1958 Pioneer Days Essay Contest, Homesteader Days booklet from 1964, a program from the Ballantine Roundup of 1916, and an article written by Reverend E. E. Pleasant about his time as minister at the Ballantine Congregational Church from 1909 to 1914. He wrote the article in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the church. The bulk of the papers contain 74 pictures of Huntley Project pioneers, schools, and homesteads. The oral history statements compiled by Seamans were actually written essays prepared by her with the assistance of the subjects, and the audiotape consists of recordings made by the subjects as they read the prepared essays aloud. All of the essays are included with the collection and include statements read by Seamans, Wesley Barkmeyer, Josephene Windecker Fitzgerald, Alvin J. Bowman, Hugh Graham, J. Homer Hancock, Veclav Kratochvil, Agnes Kratochvil, Clinton C. Reed, Mary C. Smith, Reanna Bryson Stout, and Mae Waterman. Issues of the Huntley Journal (Huntley, Mont.), The Yellowstone (Ballantine, Mont.), The Gallatin Democrat (Bozeman, Mont.), and The Project Pioneer (Ballantine, Mont.) have been removed from the collection for item level description as serials and are cataloged separately. Also removed were issues of the Home Front News (Huntley, Mont.), a brief mimeograph serial issued during the early 1940s.


Box 1
1. Arthur E. Seamans, Letters to his mother, July 4 and July 23, 1908
2. Arthur E. Seamans, Letters to his mother, August 2 and December 24, 1908
3. Arthur E. Seamans, Letters to his mother, September 4, 1909
4. Pioneer Days Essay Contest List of Winners, 1958
5. Pioneer Days Essay Winning Essays, 1958
6. "Montana Days" by Reverend E. E. Pleasant, 1958
7. "The West with Wool On" Ballantine Roundup, July 4, 1916; Pompey's Pillar Historic Point
8. Homesteader Days, July 4-5, 1964
9. Huntley Project Directory, 1963-64; 1966-67
10. Photographs, #1-10
     #1. T. P. Walter's Home, Huntley, MT, circa 1913
     #2. Homestead Shack, 1907. Ernest Boschert, C. O. Stout, Robert Bryson, Jr., Dick Saunders, W. B. DeGrost,
         Asa Zimmerman, John Bush
     #3-4. Boschert Store, Ballantine, MT, 1908
     #5. Boschert Store, Ballantine, MT, 1908, Dick Saunders (kneeling), Asa Zimmerman (far right), Alfred McIntyre
     #6. Boschert Store, Ballantine, MT (Identified left to right) 2. Ernest Boschert, 3. C. O. Stout, 4. W. B. DeGroat, 8. Mr. Dodds
     #7. Boschert Store, Ballantine, MT (Identified) 2. W. B. DeGroat (in doorway), Ernest Boschert, The Brent children
         (back of them seated), W. Brent (far right man with mustache), Hiram Stewart, Alec Kinmonth
     #8. Van Pelt's Grocery Store, Ballantine, MT, 1920
     #9. Ballantine, 1919 before the fire. La Seur Store, Van Pelt General Merchandise, Stern's General Merchandise
     #10. First railroad depot, Ballantine, MT, 1910, Ernest Boschert
11. Photographs, #11-19
     #11. Ballantine Public School, Ballantine, MT, 1908
     #12. Main Street, Ballantine, MT. Al Boschert, Robert Bryson, Ernest Boschert
     #13. Ernest Boschert, first automobile an "Overland"
     #14. Ernest Boschert, first automobile. Mrs. Edana Boschert, driver
     #15. Ballantine, MT, 1912
     #16. Arrow Creek crossing the Main Canal, Ballantine, MT. "The Old Simmin' Hole"
     #17. Project Pioneer Picnic Committee, circa 1916. Alvin J. Bowman, Keith Bartholomew, James E. Baltzell,
           George Bryson, Hugh Graham, I. Pearl Mead
     #18. House where first high school was held in 1912 at Worden, MT
     #19. Special train from Billings to Huntley on June 26, 1907 for the opening of the headgate of
           the Huntley Project Irrigation System
12. Photographs, #20-29
     #20. Consolidation of the Elementary schools of the Huntley Project was accomplished at Worden in 1956. Front view of
           Consolidated Elementary Public School Building
     #21. Rear view of Consolidated Elementary Public School Building, Worden, MT 1956
     #22. Huntley Project High School, Worden, MT 1939
     #23. View of Ballantine from the south, 1918
     #24-27. Worden, MT, circa 1914
     #28-29. Huntley, MT, circa 1914
13. Photographs, #30-37
     #30. Wesley Barkemeyer homestead near Huntley, MT, 1911
     #31. Two unidentified girls and woman
     #32. Wesley Barkemeyer (left) and Elmo Barkemeyer (right) at Barkemeyer homestead near Huntley, MT, 1911
     #33. Unidentified man with horse and buggy
     #34. Wesley Barkemeyer on irrigation canal on Barkemeyer homestead near Huntley, MT, 1912
     #35. Unidentified man with dog
     #36. Stocking grain on Barkemeyer homestead near Huntley, MT in 1911. Wesley on wagon and Elmo on ground
     #37. Unidentified man with boy in field
14. Photographs, #38-44
     #38. First harvest on Kratochvil homestead, 1917. Agness, George, and Helen Kratachirl
     #39. Kratochvil family, 1918
     #40. Vaclav Kratachirl and children (George and Helen), 1918
     #41. Kratachirl children (George and Helen), 1919
     #42. Agness and Vaclav Kratachirl homestead, 1920
     #43. Making hay first year on Kratachirl homestead
     #44. Arthur E. Seamans
15. Photographs, #45-56
     #45. Ballantine Little Theater Group Western Parade, Billings, MT. Harold Hause, Walt Cleveland, Esther Hause (sitting on
            table), Flora Dora Girls: James Stout, Frank Sindelar, Clyde Fleming, Don Axlund, Andy Martisak, Irvin Naaz (driver)
     #46. Agness and Vaclav Kratachirl, 1962
     #47. Wesley Barkemeyer, 1969
     #48. Wesley and Martha Barkemeyer, 1969
     #49. Mary C. Smith
     #50. ReAnna Bryson Stout, Ballantine, MT
     #51. Josephine Windecker Fitzgerald, Worden, MT
     #52. Clinton C. Reed, 1969
     #53. Mae Waterman, 1969
     #54-55. J. Homer Hancock
     #56. Group of Huntley Project homesteaders, Ballantine, MT. With the exception of Mr. and Mrs. Wystrach, the members of
            this group were original homesteaders. Row 1: J. Homer Hancock, ReAnna Stout, Mae Waterman, Josephine Graham,
            Alvin J. Bowman, Margaret Bowman. Row 2: Robert Bryson, Hulda Wystrach, Joseph Wystrach, Hugh Graham
16. Photographs, #57-69
     #57. Central High School, Worden, MT, 1916 (Name changed to Huntley Project High School in 1926)
     #58. Central High School, Worden, MT, 1923
     #59-60. Huntley Project High School, Worden, MT, 1928
     #61. Huntley Project school buses, 1953
     #62. Aerial view of Huntley Project High School, Worden, MT, 1954. Photo by Herman C. Bliss
     #63. Aerial view of elementary schools, Huntley, MT, 1954. Photo by Herman C. Bliss
     #64. Aerial view of elementary schools, Pompey's Pillar, 1954. Photo by Herman C. Bliss
     #65. Aerial view of elementary schools, Worden, MT, 1953. Photo by Herman C. Bliss
     #66. Elementary School, Ballantine, MT, circa 1954
     #67. Elementary School, Huntley, MT, 1954
     #68. Elementary School, Huntley Project, circa 1953
     #69. Elementary School, Pompey's Pillar, circa 1954
17. Photographs, #70-74
     #70. Pompey's Pillar, 1953
     #71. Huntley Project, view of river taken from Huntley Bridge, 1954
     #72. Huntley Project, 1954
     #73. Huntley Bridge, Highway 10, 1954
     #74. Overpass Highway 10 near Pompey's Pillar, 1954
18. Negatives for Photographs #19 and 44
19. Oral history essay, Seamans introduction
20. Oral history essay, Barkmeyer, Wesley
21. Oral history essay, Bowman, Alvin J.; Fitzgerald, Josephene Windecker
22. Oral history essay, Graham, Hugh; Hancock, Homer J.
23. Oral history essay, Kratochvil, Veclav and Agnes; Reed, Clinton C.; Smith, Mary C.
24. Oral history essay, Stout, Reanna Bryson
25. Oral history essay, Waterman, Mae

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Updated: 2/16/09