Collection 1365 - David B. Christie Family Letters, 1883-1920
Creator: Christie, David B., 1848-1920
Provenance Note: The David B. Christie collection consists of 106 photocopies or typed transcriptions of original letters owned by Lawrence G. Christie of Bozeman, Montana and provided by him to Special Collections in 1978 and 1983.
Historical Note: David B. Christie was born in Watertown, Wisconsin in 1848 of Scottish immigrants who came to the United States about 1847. David was the fourth of four children of James and Eliza Reid Christie. On July 4, 1870 David married Mary Emma Stratten also of Watertown, Wisconsin. While living in Wisconsin and Minnesota, Emma gave birth to seven children, with their first child dying within two years. David Christie suffered from asthma, and for this reason came west to Montana Territory beginning in 1883 to explore the possibility of relocating himself and his family. For three consecutive summers David work for the Godwin Ranch near Cherry Creek in Madison County, while exploring Montana to find a place to homestead. In 1885, David found land in Bridger Canyon, about 12 miles from Bozeman, where he built a home and move his family there in October. Once settled in Bridger Canyon, farming, dairying, and stock raising maintained the Christie homestead, and Emma gave birth to three more children. Five of his sons also homesteaded within the region. David Christie remained at his Bridger Canyon homestead until his death in 1920, with Emma dying the following year.
Content Description Note: The Christie letters, except for five, were written by David and Emma or sent to them by other family members. The majority of the letters are between David and Emma, and David and his older brother Alexander, who is often referred to as Sandy. The letters predominantly reflect the sharing of family information within the context of their daily lives. The collection chronologically organized with each folder representing a particular time period or specific event. Most of the letters between David and Emma reveal the dreams, goals, and struggles of moving to Montana. A long letter from David's oldest brother Thomas, tells of his experience as a missionary living in Turkey, where he spent most of his life. Beginning in 1898, Alexander corresponded to the Christie family through David of his travels to Alaska during the Klondike gold rush.
- Box 1
- 1. Rapidan, Minn.: From February 1883 - June 1883
- 2. Godwin Ranch: From August 1883 - October 1883
- 3. Rapidan Minn.: Form November 1883 - May 2, 1884
- 4. Godwin Ranch: From May 15, 1884 - August 1884
- 5. Godwin Ranch: August 1885 - September 1885
- 6. Bridger Canyon: September 16, 1885 - July 1920
- 7. Thomas Christie letter: March 9, 1890
- 8. Alexander Christie letters: April 1898 - April 1901