Creator: Mendenhall, John S., b. 1835

Provenance Note: Letters and business papers collected by or pertaining to John S. Mendenhall were donated to Special Collections by Mrs. Leah Mendenhall through Dr. Merrill G. Burlingame in December, 1971.

Historical Note: John S. Mendenhall (1835-1896) was an early pioneer merchant of Bozeman, Montana. Born in Vevay, Indiana on October 18, 1835, Mendenhall travelled west to Levenworth Kansas in 1855 where he found work as a packer for the firm of Gilbert and Gerrish. Accompanying the firm to Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, Mendenhall worked as a clerk until 1857. During the next few years he engaged in a variety of merchandising occupations in the territory before moving to Fort Lemhi, Idaho in 1862. Mendenhall actively joined the rush to the gold country in present-day Montana, both as a prospector and merchant. He eventually settled in Bozeman, opening a general store in partnership with Dr. Achilles Lamme which he operated until his death on February 2, 1896. He married Mrs. Mary Susan Smith, widow of Major Robert Henry Smith, CSA, in 1870.

Content Description Note: The John S. Mendenhall papers consist of letters, account statements, receipts, and other business papers collected by or pertaining to Mendenhall or his various merchandising operations. Letters include those written by friends, family, and business associates in California, Missouri, Utah, Indiana, and Montana. The subjects include: family news; social and business conditions in territorial Utah and Montana; Montana territorial politics. Places mentioned include Virginia City, Bannack, Gallatin City, and Bozeman, Montana. Letter writers include Dr. Achilles Lamme, Mary Susan Mendenhall, and Charles Ohle. The papers have been individually described in the following inventory and placed in chronological order. Unless otherwise indicated all letters are addressed to John S. Mendenhall, who is sometimes referred to as "Jack" by his associates.


Box 1
Folder 1. Papers, 1857-1858
1. William T. Ray (New York, New York) November 17, 1857. Advice and comments about shared experiences in Salt Lake City in the merchandising business
2. George C. Eggleston (Richmond, Virginia) June 13, 1858. Social life and friends
3. James Linforth (San Francisco, California) November 24, 1858. Description of working conditions in stores in San Francisco and general lawlessness both there and in Salt Lake
4. Andrew S. Kerr (St. Joseph, Missouri) December 16, 1858. Heavy traffic West started especially to Pikes Peak
5. S. A. Gilbert (Weston, Missouri) December 30, 1858. Personal and social affairs including girl friends
Folder 2. Papers, 1859
1. Richard H. Hopkins (St. Louis, Missouri) February 7, 1859. He tells of his trip East from California by the Panama route
2. D. H. Beck (Centerville, California) February 17, 1859. He inquires about conditions in Utah, urging JSM to move to California
3. Livingston, Kinaeade and Co. (Salt Lake City, Utah Territory) April 6, 1859. Business letter about payroll
4. S. A. Gilbert (Weston, Missouri) April 7, 1859. Personal letter about people at home
5. "Charley" [Charles Ohle?] (Salt Lake City, Utah Territory) June 23, 1859. Business letter
Folder 3. Papers, 1860
1. Richard H. Hopkins (St. Louis, Missouri) January 3, 1860. Discusses the election of Lincoln and economic conditions in the West. Comments about old friends
2. Humbolt Dragoon Expedition, account statement with Livingston, Bell and Co., June 1860. List of supplies totaling $2,737
3. George W. Weidler (Salt Lake City, Utah Territory) July 21, 1860. Messages from his own office, liquor business, discussed
4. George W. Weidler (Salt Lake City, Utah Territory) August 1, 1860
5. J. M. Singleton (Camp Floyd, Utah Territory) August 19, 1860. Business instructions for the sutler
6. Livingston, Bell & Co. (Camp Floyd, Utah Territory) August 28, 1860. Instructions to come in with the command
7. George W. Weidler (Salt Lake City, Utah Territory) August 21, 1860. Confidential changes in Livingston, Belle & Co.
8. Ira N. Malin (Vevay, Indiana) September 1, 1860. Answer to request to sell his property. (This cousin of JSM addresses the letter to Salt Lake)
9. Ira N. Malin (Vevay, Indiana) December 2, 1860. Reports terrible business conditions on the eve of recession. Cannot sell John's house at a fair price
Folder 4. Papers, 1861
1. P.W. McAdow (Weston, Missouri) ca. January 1861 (first page missing). Comments on political crisis and about friends
2. A.J. Genn (Grasshopper Falls, Kansas) February 3, 1861. Request for information about mutual friends around Salt Lake. The writer was married and settled down
3. James Malin (Omaha, Nebraska) June 9, 1861. He is leaving his business trading on the river to marry and settle down
Folder 5. Papers, 1862
1. Charles Ohle (Salt Lake City, Utah Territory) February 14, 1862. Business letter about bill collection
2. Will P. Wright (Madison, Wisconsin) March 11, 1862. Describes family and friends, as well as economic conditions and Lincoln's growing popularity
3. Unknown (Carson City, Nevada) March 17, 1862. Economic conditions and advice to stay in Utah (last page missing)
Folder 6. Papers, 1863
1. Receipt from Fred H. Burr for 31 oxen to be herded by the Big Hole Ranch Co. January 16, 1863
2. "Sargent" (Gallatin, Montana) to Fred H. Burr, February 23, 1863. Request for delivery of a horse
3. H. H. Lyon (Bannack, Montana) to Fred H. Burr, March 19, 1863. Request for delivery of a horse
4. Receipt from E. C. Stickney acknowledging arrival of 8 oxen at Big Hole Ranch Co., March 24, 1863
5. Reciept from Fred H. Burr for $50 received from E. C. Stickney, April 2, 1863
6. Reciept from E. C. Stickney for 4 head of cattle received from Mendenhall and Co. April 2, 1863
7. E. C. Stickney (Bannack, Montana) to Burr and Messinger, April 8, 1863. Instructions to deliver 1 yoke oxen to Ault & Jordan
8. Ledger account statement from Granville Stuart of Husted and Stuart, April 24, 1863. Goods purchased by Mendenhall
9. Bill of sale from O. Farlin to John Mendenhall for 4 mules and a freight wagon October 12, 1863
Folder 7. Papers, 1864
1. P.W. McAdow, February 13, 1864. Request to pay S.B. House $45
2. Charles Ohle (New York, New York) March 24, 1864. Reports on excitement about the Idaho mines. Predicts a great future for the Gallatin where JSM settled and encourages him to acquire and hold Montana property especially at Bannack and Highland Gulch. Comments about the mail service and war casualties among his friends. Speaks of discussing Henry Plumer with his relatives and trying to be tactful
3. Receipt from William H. Whitehall for $199.91 for the account of John M. Wesley, April 21, 1864
4. Assay value report by O. H. Conger for ore of Charles Ohle, November 7, 1864
5. Ledger account statement from Vaughn & Parham, December 1864 and 1865
Folder 8. Papers, 1865
1. Request to pay Vaughn & Parham $38 signed by P.W. McAdow and John B. Foster
2. Ledger account statement from J.J. Roe & Co. in Virginia City, March 30, 1865
3. M. Alkinsin (Fort Benton, Montana Territory) April 12, 1865 at Ft. Benton. He was set afoot in Indian country by the Blackfeet and worked his way back to Ft. Benton
4. James G. Smith (Virginia City, Montana Territory) August 9, 1865. He is asked to be Democratic candidate for county recorder and to get the Democratic vote out
5. Ledger account statement from J.J. Roe & Co., Virginia City, Montana Territory, August 31, 1865
6. Appointment as notary public signed by Thomas Francis Meagher, October 18, 1865 at Virginia City, Montana Territory
7. David H. Hopkins (Virginia City, Montana Territory) October 18, 1865. Cover letter for the appointment above
8. Ledger account statement from J.J. Roe, November 18, 1865
9. Ledger account statement from J.J. Roe, December 30, 1865
Folder 9. Papers, 1866
1. Ledger account statement from McCormick, Ohle & Co. of Virginia City, Montana Territory, January 10, 1866
2. Charles E. Smith (Bozeman, Montana Territory) January 24, 1866
3. McCormick, Ohle & Co. (Virginia City, Montana Territory) January 31, 1866. Receipt for money and acknowledgement of an order
4. Tax receipt for Gallatin County, February 6, 1866
5. Charles Ohle of (Virginia City, Montana Territory) February 23, 1866. Business letter about merchandise and cattle sent to JSM
6. Wm. Wright, County Clerk (Gallatin City, Montana Territory) June 5, 1866. Duties of county clerks
7. Charles Ohle (Virginia City, Montana Territory) June 5, 1866. Business slow, smoking tobacco expensive
8. Ledger account statement from McCormick, Ohle & Co., Virginia City, Montana Territory, June 26, 1866
9. Wm. M. Buchanan (Reynold's City, Elk Creek) October 11, 1866. He wants to locate his brother who went to the Yellowstone on a stampede
10. Charles Ohle (Virginia City, Montana Territory) October 22, 1866. List merchandise sent out
11. Quit claim for a mine from James Dewey, December 20, 1867. Filed in Gallatin County
Folder 10. Papers, 1868-1869
1. Augustus Wright (Hallsville, Missouri) to Mrs. Sue Smith, January 10, 1868. Warm personal letter
2. Farm contract between H.K. Coleman, D. Shively and B.F. Bisel. February 29, 1868. Notarized by JSM
3. R.H. Hopkins (Salt Lake City, Utah Territory) March 25, 1868. The writer tried farming, didn't succeed, then went back into merchandising
4. J.R. Campbell (Gallatin City, Montana Territory) July 14, 1869. Ask employment for George Ross. He also asks his friend to support the Democrats
5. J.R. Royce, Sr. (Helena, Montana Territory) November 8, 1869. Shipped furniture and Lodge Jewels
Folder 11. Papers, 1870-1872
1. James D. Malin (St. Louis, Missouri) February 3, 1870. Personal letter from an old friend. Inquiries about spring trade outlook
2. Unknown (Helena, Montana Territory) May 22, 1870. Incomplete business letters about the insurance business
3. James D. Malin (St. Louis, Missouri) September 18, 1872. Business conditions excellent. Invitation to visit
4. H.G. Ryan (Chicago, Illinois) October 13, 1872. Request to locate Maj. Wm. Graham
Folder 12. Papers, 1873-1878
1. George D. Thomas (Gallatin City, Montana Territory) December 15, 1873. Request to handle a shipment of flour
2. Achilles Lamme (Jeffersonville, [Missouri]) April 3, 1876, reports on a buying trip on his river steam boat. Business was with JSM and N. Story
3. Achilles Lamme (Chicago, Illinois) March 20, 1877. Status of trade with the troops in the Yellowstone. Met Benteen and Terry
4. Achilles Lamme (Ft. Benton, Montana Territory) May 22, 1877. Had to change his plan to ship up the Yellowstone because of low water. Difficult situation because freight wagon might have gone the wrong way
5. Sue Mendenhall (Bozeman, Montana Territory) June 23, 1878. She urges her husband who is camping out on the Yellowstone guarding merchandise to come home soon
6. Sue Mendenhall (Bozeman, Montana Territory) June 30, 1878. She is still urging her husband to be careful of Indians and get home soon
Folder 13. Papers, 1879-1885; no date
1. Achilles Lamme (St. Louis, Missouri) April 19, 1879. Tells of his wife's social life and his plans for trading goods off the steamboat
2. Achilles Lamme (San Francisco, California) December 22, 1885. Personal reactions to California. Attempt to settle a claim for goods thrown off the "Queen Pacific." Enclosure about the claim dated December 21. 1885
3. J. M. Singleton, June 20, ____. Request to forward official papers
4. Invitation to a cotillion at the home of James B. Campbell in Gallatin City on February 22, cost $8.00
5. Ledger account statement from Root & Davis
6. JSM goods sold H. Conner
7. Shively, Bissel & Coleman - amount put into the business
Folder 14. Loose envelopes and engraving of John S. Mendenhall

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Updated: 2/27/09