Creator: Morris State Bank (Pony, Mont.)


Provenance Note: Record books, correspondence, and related materials pertaining to the Morris State Bank and mining operations in Pony, Montana were donated to Special Collections by Mrs. James A. Flint of Pony on July 27, 1966. Originally included with the donation were a set of records for the Pony School District Number 11 which have been removed for separate processing. In the summer of 1969 Emily Morris and Charles T. Howitt of Studio City, California, donated an additional payroll book from the Elling and Morris firm which was originally assigned accession number 795. This finding aid replaces NUCMC entry 79-689.


Historical Note: The Morris State Bank was opened in Pony, Montana, in 1902, with a capital stock of $50,000. The bank moved into a newly constructed building in early 1903. William W. Morris was president of the Morris State Bank until his death in October 1904. Thomas Duncan served initially as vice president and then succeeded to the presidency in 1905. Following his death that same year, Mary B. Elling became president. Charles E. Morris served as a director in 19O2 and became vice president in 1905. Cashiers for the bank included Philip H. (Harry) Gohn and Fred G. Smith. Other officers included M. M. Duncan, a Virginia City attorney, who served as a director, and Henry J. Schreiber who was a vice president beginning in 1904. By June 1906, the Morris State Bank had achieved deposits in the amount of $200,000 and was conducting business with banks in Montana and throughout the country. A close business relationship existed with the Elling State Bank of Virginia City and the Union Bank and Trust Company of Helena, whose president was George L. Ramsey. The Morris State Bank closed and went into voluntary liquidation on February 1, 1926. At that time the board of directors borrowed $96,000 from the Elling Estates Company so that all depositors could be paid. The bank then came under the jurisdiction of a liquidating agent. The officers and directors of the Morris State Bank were businessmen and active members of the Pony community. Several mining operations and other businesses were connected to the bank through these people. Henry Elling and William Morris were partners in Elling and Morris, which bought the Boss Tweed-Clipper mines in 1880. In 1882, Morris bought the Strawberry, Willow Creek and Ned mines. In 1883, Henry Elling erected a stone 20-stamp mill. In 1884 Morris bought half interest in the mill, which thereafter was known as the Elling-Morris stone mill. Elling died in 1900, and the properties were sold outright in combination with the Bell, Eclipse, Charity, and Summit, to a Boston syndicate and reorganized as the Indian Mining Company. By 1901 the company made large-scale improvements, but relinquished its ownership to the mine to W. W. Morris and Sons and Associates a few years later. Most mining activity in the area ceased as the ore played out in the early twentieth century and the town of Pony today is all but abandoned.


Content Description Note: The Morris State Bank records have been divided into two series which roughly conform to the creating entities, although given the interrelated nature of the owners a precise separation is not possible. It is logical to assume that both sets of records were maintained by the bank throughout its operational history. Series one, Morris State Bank, represents primarily the outgoing correspondence of the firm, along with some financial information such as balance ledgers and deposit information. A single letterbox of correspondence and related documents alphabetically arranged was included with the bank records, but it is not apparent if the bulk of these files pertain to bank business or the various mining properties in which the owners had an interest. Series two, Mining company records, includes payroll registers for the Pony Gold Mining Company, the Indian Mining Company, and the various business operations of Elling and Morris. A broken series of deposit receipts and related documents for the Indian Mining Company from 1906 to 1908 have been chronologically arranged.

Series 1: Morris State Bank Records, 1902-1928

Outgoing correspondence of the banking firm from cashiers Philip H. (Harry) Gohn and Fred G. Smith pertaining to a wide variety of business matters. The correspondence is recorded in a series of nine letterpress books which bear the impression of outgoing typed letters on light tissue paper. A series of incoming letters and related financial documents are also included. The record books are primarily accounting registers which document the bank's financial status at any given time.

Box 1
1. Letter book, April 2, 1902-March 17, 1904
2. Letter book, March 21, 1904-August 24, 1905
3. Letter book, August 24, 1905-October 15, 1906
Box 2
1. Letter book, October 16, 1906-November 11, 1907
2. Letter book, November 11, 1907-October 13, 1908
3. Letter book, October 13, 1908-November 19, 1909
Box 3
1. Letter book, November 19, 1909-February 20, 1911
1. Letter book, February 20, 1911-October 26, 1912
1. Letter book, October 29, 1912-December 15, 1913
Box 4
1. Incoming correspondence and documents, "A"
2. Incoming correspondence and documents, "B"
3. Incoming correspondence and documents, "C"
4. Incoming correspondence and documents, "D-H"
5. Incoming correspondence and documents, "L-M"
6. Incoming correspondence and documents, "N"
7. Incoming correspondence and documents, "O-P"
8. Incoming correspondence and documents, "R"
9. Incoming correspondence and documents, "S"
10. Incoming correspondence and documents, "W-Y"
11. Telegram book, 1910-1913
12. Reconcilement register, 1902-1904
13. Reconcilement register, 1911-1917
Oversize volume 1. Safe Deposit Lesee's Register, 1903-1928
Oversize volume 2. Balance Ledger, 1903-1906
Oversize volume 3. General and Deposit Ledger, 1906-1908

Series 2: Mining company records, 1889-1911

Primarily deposit slips from the Indian Gold Mining company along with payroll registers from various mining and other business operations owned by Elling and Morris.

Box 5
1. Indian Gold Mining Company receipts, July 1906
2. Indian Gold Mining Company receipts, August 1906
3. Indian Gold Mining Company receipts, September 1906
4. Indian Gold Mining Company receipts, October 1906
5. Indian Gold Mining Company receipts, November 1906
6. Indian Gold Mining Company receipts, December 1906
7. Indian Gold Mining Company receipts, January, 1907
8. Indian Gold Mining Company receipts, September, 1907
9. Indian Gold Mining Company receipts, May, 1908
10. Indian Gold Mining Company receipts, June, 1908
11. Indian Gold Mining Company receipts, July 1908
12. Pony Gold Mining Company payroll book, 1889-1890
13. Indian Gold Mining Company payroll book, 1906-1908
14. Elling and Morris payroll book, 1904-1911

Updated: 6/29/09