Creator: Newman, Orson N., 1835-1921


Provenance Note: Original diaries, papers, and photographs created or collected by Orson N. Newman were loaned to Special Collections for copying by William N. Scott of Billings, Montana in 1966.  A recorded interview with donor William N. Scott formerly accessioned as Collection 456 was added on June 14, 2018.


Historical Note: Orson Nixon Newman (1835-1921) was born in Orleans County, New York. After completing his education he settled in Michigan where he operated a lumbering business. In 1863, he arrived in Bannack, Montana Territory where he worked briefly in mining before taking up farming in the Madison Valley. He and his family left for California in 1869 and then returned to Montana in 1875 where they lived briefly in Gallatin County. The Newman family moved again in 1878 to Coulson in the Yellowstone Valley and again took up farming. The location of their farm was about two and one half miles from the depot at Billings, and during the 1880s they sold garden truck to W.A. Perry, the purchasing agent for the newly constructed Northern Pacific railway. The Newman farm was near a ford on the river and many Indians camped near the area as a result. In this context, Orson met Plenty Coups with whom he maintained a long friendship. In 1858 Newman married Elizabeth Matilda Tripp and the couple had 11 children: Burton Lyon; Asa Dow; Edwin M.; William Marvin; Albert Alonzo; Charles Henry; Abe Benton; Sarah Jane, and Mary A. Newman. Mary married William J. Scott, an early resident of Billings and the owner of several businesses in the city during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Their son, William N. Scott, is the donor of these papers.


Content Description Note: Positive photocopies and typed transcriptions of two diaries kept by Orson Newman in 1879 and 1884 which discuss daily life and farming operations in Coulson, Montana Territory; positive photocopy of an account book listing garden truck sold to W.A. Perry, purchasing agent for the Northern Pacific during its construction; 27 copy photographs of: the Newman and Scott families and their residences in the Billings area; Scott business buildings in Billings and a Billings street scene, circa 1900-1920. Included are images of Scott family friends C.M. Bair and Fred Hawthorn. None of the photographs are dated but all were taken in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.


Box 1
Folder 1. Diary, 1879
Folder 2. Diary transcript, 1879
Folder 3. Diary, 1884
Folder 4. Diary transcript, 1884
Folder 5. Account book, 1883
Folder 6. Photographs #1-10, Newman family
           #1. Orson N. Newman
           #2. Elizabeth Tripp Newman
           #3. Asa Dow Newman
           #4. Edwin Newman
           #5. William Marvin Newman
           #6. Albert Alonzo Newman
           #7. Charles Henry Newman
           #8. Abe Benton Newman
           #9. Sarah Jane Newman and Henry Clay McKinsey
           #10. Orson, Hiram A., and Albert E. Newman
Folder 7. Photographs #11-20, Newman and Scott Family
           #11. Newman family at Coulson farm
           #12. Newman family at Yellowstone River ford
           #13. Edwin and Amy Newman
           #14. Mary McKinsey (Thompson) Newman
           #15. William J. Scott
           #16. William J. Scott with parents and brothers
           #17. Scott home in Canada
           #18. Mary Newman Scott posing with horse
           #19. William, Mary, Orson, and Elizabeth Newman on horseback
           #20. William J. Scott in front of his storage business, Billings
Folder 8. Photographs #21-27, Scott photographs
           #21. Hunting elk on rimrock with C.M. Bair and Fred Hawthorn
           #22. C.M. Bair, Fred Hawthorn, and W.J. Scott in automobile
           #23. Orson Newman, Major Pease and others in automobile
           #24. William J. Scott home in Billings
           #25. Erikson and Scott steam laundry in Billings; W.J. Scott posing in front with delivery wagon
           #26. Shorey and Scott storage building, Billings
           #27. Billings street scene
Folder 9. Negatives for photos 1-27
Folder 10. Interview with William N. Scott, 1966 (one audio CD)

Updated: 6/14/18