Creator: Gillette, Eliza P., d. 1897

Provenance Note: The Eliza P. Gillette letter was acquired from Robert B. Scott of Discovery Books, Hamilton, Montana, on December 11, 1998.

Historical Note: Eliza P. Gillette (?-1897) was the sister of Warren Caleb Gillette, western Montana rancher and member of the 1870 expedition through Yellowstone National Park. Eliza was born in Orleans Ontario County, New York and came to Montana to join her brother after his arrival in the early 1860s. Neither sibling ever married, and by the mid 1870s they had established a sheep ranch near Craig (Lewis and Clark County) Montana Territory, although they sometimes used the post office at Dearborn as their address. Eliza lived with her brother as his housekeeper until her death. In 1887, she toured Yellowstone National Park with a small party and wrote a letter to her friend "Mrs. White" after her return home.

Content Description Note: The Eliza P. Gillette letter is a twenty-two page document that was neither signed nor completed and likely never sent to it's intended recipient. In the letter, Eliza details her tour group's journey through the park, starting at Mammoth Hot Springs and ending at Bozeman on August 19, 1887. Gillette gives a detailed description of the scenery, accommodations, and other parties encountered during her trip. The party consisted of eighteen people and was probably led by William Wallace Wylie, one of the Park's pioneer camping concessionaires.

Updated: 5/28/09