Creator: Big Hole Commercial Company


Provenance Note: Three cash books from the Big Hole Commercial Company were donated to Montana State University by Cleve Seefield, Wise River, Montana on April 12, 1965. These materials were subsequently reported to the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections in 1979 and assigned control number 79-629.


Historical Note: The Big Hole Commercial Company operated stores in Wisdom and Divide, Montana from about 1890 to 1920s. Wisdom had been settled as early as the 1880s, with the town laid out on property claimed by Alva Josiah and Hattie Noyes. One of the first stores to open in the town was owned by Joseph P. Lossl, but by the 1890s the town had grown large enough to accommodate retail competition from several parties, including the owners of the Big Hole Commercial Company. Using a branch location at Divide, a stop on the railroad line from Utah to Butte, Montana, the Big Hole Commercial Company offered general merchandise and agricultural equipment to the people of Wisdom. The Big Hole Commercial Company building in Wisdom was eventually purchased by Don and Grace Anson during the 1930s and continued operation as the Basin Mercantile Company. The Ansons were succeeded in ownership by Leonard Smith. The Wisdom store building burned to the ground in a disastrous fire on May 20, 1960.


Content Description Note: The Big Hole Commercial Company records consist of three daily cash book volumes recording transactions from 1907 to 1914. Information includes the chronological listing of each customer's name, a brief synopsis of their purchases, and the amount. The volumes most likely record transactions at the company's Wisdom location.


Box 1. Vol. 1, July 12, 1907-November 9, 1907

Box 2. Vol. 2, November 20, 1911-January 31, 1912; Vol. 3, October 10, 1910-May 29, 1914


Updated: 5/19/10