Creator: O'Neil, Elizabeth E., 1859-1909


Provenance Note: A typed transcript of an original reminiscence by Elizabeth E. O'Neil and twelve copy photographs were donated to Special Collections on August 28, 1964 by LaVerne O'Neil of Seattle, Washington. The present location of the original is unknown, but additional typed transcriptions of the document were donated to the Montana Historical Society in 1956 and assigned collection number SC 94.


Historical Note: Elizabeth Busick was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on February 27, 1859. She traveled to Virginia City, Montana Territory, with her widowed mother Mary Ann Moorehead Busick and sister Emma in 1863. The family later moved to Diamond City where Elizabeth Busick married John W. O'Neil in Helena in 1877, and they settled on a farm near East Helena. Mrs. O'Neil died in 1909.


Content Description Note: This collection consists of one typewritten transcription of an original reminiscence apparently composed by O'Neil shortly before her death in 1907. The document describes her wagon journey from Omaha, Nebraska, to Virginia City, Montana Territory, in 1863, and her experiences in Virginia City and Diamond City from 1864 to 1877. O'Neil describes several incidents which occurred during the journey, including encounters with Indians. The collection also includes twelve copy photographs of the O'Neil family, the family burial plot at Diamond City, and Diamond City as it appeared in 1924. Captions for all photographs were provided by the donor.


Folder 1: Reminiscence and photographs #1-12
#1. Mrs. [Mary Ann Moorehead] Busick taken before she left on the Western journey, which is which is a reproduction of an old ambrotype
#2. Elizabeth O'Neil, the author, taken on her wedding day, 9-8-1877
#3. Elizabeth Ellen Spiegel while she was a student at St. Vincent's Academy, Helena, Montana, age about 15, taken about 1874
#4. A group of girls taken during convent days. Emma Spiegel is sitting in the middle of the group and Elizabeth has her hand on her sister's left shoulder. The others are classmates
#5. A picture of the grave at Diamond City, taken about 1926
#6. One of the graves taken after repairs were made, in 1939
#7. Picture of Deette Elizabeth O'Neil, the first-born daughter, costume of about 1882
#8. One of the two oldest girls, Deette Elizabeth and Emma Frances, costume of about 1886
#9. Picture of Diamond City taken about 1924. The cabin at the far left was the last remaining cabin where an old miner lived until several years ago
#10. Youngest daughter, Rachel Eny O'Neil, graduate, class of 1918, Broadwater County, Townsend, Montana, age 18. Completed Scientific Course
#11. Picture of playhouse on the O'Neil ranch
#12. Montana scenery

Updated: 8/27/09