Creator: Stith, B. (Beryl)

Provenance Note: Collection 2107 was donated to Montana State University Special Collections in April, 1975 by Beryl Stith, Bozeman, Montana. An additional brochure, written by Hamilton C. Stith and donated by Merrill G. Burlingame in 1964 was incorporated into this collection. This brochure was formerly assigned collection number 291

Historical Note: John Wesley Stith was born in Kentucky in December, 1853. He moved with his family to Illinois and Wisconsin while growing up, but did not recieve an extensive education. Stith moved to Terry, Montana in the early 1880s before the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway, and became a general merchant and contractor. He eventually became involved in almost every commercial and political aspect of the town, serving as a Justice of the Peace, clerk for the local school board, and a Custer County commissioner. His business interests included real estate, insurance sales, wool buying, construction, and operating a hardware store. Stith and Cornelia Hamilton were married in September, 1888 after a four and one half year engagement. Four children were born into the family; Beryl, Hamilton, Roy and Kenneth. In 1905, Mr. Stith developed ulcers that would eventually end his life on December 27, 1909 in Terry.

Beryl Stith was born in Terry, Montana on February 24, 1893. She was the first graduate of Terry High School and received degrees from the University of Chicago. Beryl returned to Terry where she became a teacher and active in organizations and community projects. In 1963, she researched and wrote a short history of Terry called Terry Does Exist. She used papers and records that she had inherited from her father, and the booklet was reprinted in 1983 during the Terry centennial observance. Stith eventually retired in Bozeman and lived in the Hillcrest retirement home where she published another pamphlet, Childhood Memories of Hillcrest Residents in 1967. Beryl Stith died on March 5, 1976.

Content Description Note: The Beryl Stith papers consists of research and pasteup masters for her book Terry Does Exist and her family's personal and business papers. Included are: fragments of original correspondence from John W. Stith and his wife Cornelia which were mutilated by Beryl Stith when preparing the pasteup for her book; business communications pertaining to Stith's real estate, insurance, and harware operations; Terry school board transactions, Justice of the Peace case documents; Custer County Commissioner correspondence; miscellaneous invoices, receipts, and business letters. Fifty original photographs of Stith family members, friends, and Terry, Montana, some of which were used in Stith's book, are also included.


Series 1 Book research and galleys, 1884-1963
Series 2 Stith family papers, 1883-1907
Series 3 Photographs



Series 1: Book Research and galleys, 1884-1963

Copy pasteup, research papers, and mutilated original documents used by Stith for the publication of Terry Does Exist. The book is divided into three sections; the establishment of the town of Terry and two sections dealing with the Stith family and their place in Terry's history. When assembling her book, Stith took original letters exchanged by her parents and cut them into pieces to use as facsimile illustrations for printing plates. The letter fragments in folder 6 were the result of this practice and are impossible to collate into proper order.

Box 1
1. "Terry Does Exist" booklet
2. Hamilton C. Stith stories, mimeograph
3. Pasteup for "Terry Does Exist"
4. Pasteup for "Terry Does Exist"
5. Book Research
6. Letter Fragments, J.W. Stith to wife Cornelia

Contents | Special Collections

Series 2: Stith family papers, 1883-1907

The Stith family papers consist of collected business files of John W. and Cornelia Stith's professional careers. Cornelia Stith was Postmistress and Sunday School Teacher in Terry for many years and collected listings of Sunday School books and documents dealing with the delivery of mail. John Stith was a respected business man and public servant during his time in Terry. His school clerk records consist of teacher and maintenance contracts, apportionments, and correspondence from 1883 to 1907. John's time as a Custer County commissioner are represented by constituent correspondence, petitions for road and bridge construction and improvements, commissioner journals, and contracts. Stith's Justice of the Peace (JP) files contain case files for minor civil actions brought before the Terry, Montana court regarding cost recovery suits, witness statements and judgements. One folder of JP papers includes bounty warrants for the killing of coyotes, bobcats, and wolves. Stith's business interests in Terry are represented by the balance of the files in this series. They include: real estate transaction papers; insurance sales and correspondence; shipping bills and invoices for wool buying operations; customer and client correspondence; merchandise orders for Stith's hardware store; bank statements and a selection of cancelled checks.

Box 1 (cont.)
7. Cornelia Stith
8. J.W. Stith-miscellaneous public service
9. Terry School Clerk-correspondence
10. Terry School Clerk-teacher contracts
11. Terry School Clerk-reports
12. Terry School Clerk-bond elections and schoolhouse construction
13. Terry School Clerk-insurance contracts
14. Terry School Clerk-miscellaneous receipts
15. Terry library records
Box 2
1. County Commissioner papers, 1900
2. County Commissioner papers, 1901
3. County Commissioner papers, 1902
4. County Commissioner papers, 1903
5. County Commissioner papers, 1904-1905
6. Custer County Affidavit of Foreign Electors 1892-1894
7. J.W. Stith Day Book 1883-1892
8. Insurance Agent correspondence, 1896-1899
9. Insurance Agent correspondence, 1900-1906
10. J.W. Stith-business licenses, 1900-1907
11. J.W. Stith-insurance policies, 1892-1900
12. Justice of the Peace cases 1889
13. Justice of the Peace cases 1890
14. Justice of the Peace cases 1891-1892
15. Justice of the Peace cases 1894-1895
16. Justice of the Peace cases 1896
17. Justice of the Peace cases 1897-1899
18. Justice of the Peace miscellaneous 1890-1903
19. Justice of the Peace Bounty Affidavits 1891-1892
Box 3
1. J.W. Stith-Land Ownership
2. Terry State Bank 1907
3. Memo Books
4. Custer County Elections 1896-1902
5. Groceries 1896-1906
6. Wool 1896-1900
7. Wool 1901
8. Wool 1902
9. Wool 1903-1907
10. Hardware business papers, 1888-1894
11. Hardware business papers, 1895
12. Hardware business papers, 1896
13. Hardware business papers, 1896
14. Hardware business papers, 1897
15. Hardware business papers, 1897
16. Hardware business papers, 1897
17. Hardware business papers, 1897
Box 4
1. Hardware business papers, 1898
2. Hardware business papers, 1898
3. Hardware business papers, 1899
4. Hardware business papers, 1900
5. Hardware business papers, 1900
6. Hardware business papers, 1901
7. Hardware business papers, 1901
8. Hardware business papers, 1902
9. Hardware business papers, 1902
10. Hardware business papers, 1902
Box 5
1. Hardware business papers, 1903
2. Hardware business papers, 1903
3. Hardware business papers, 1903
4. Hardware business papers, 1903
5. Hardware business papers, 1904
6. Hardware business papers, 1904
7. Hardware business papers, 1904
8. Hardware business papers, 1904
9. Hardware business papers, 1905
10. Hardware business papers, 1905
11. Hardware business papers, 1905
12. Hardware business papers, 1906
13. Personal Checks

Contents | Special Collections

Series 3: Photographs

Photographs of the Stith family and friends, Terry residents, and Terry, Montana. Some of these photographs were used by Beryl Stith in Terry Does Exist. In those cases, the page number in parentheses following the photograph title indicates the location of the image in the book.

Box 6
Folder 1. Photographs #1-10
#1. J.W. Stith, 1907 (pg 6)
#2. Cornelia Hamilton Stith
#3. Frank and John Stith
#4. Jack Stith beside grandfather's fountain 1939 (pg 11)
#5. "Dream Home" 1905 (pg 8)
#6. House 1946
#7. Desk 1946
#8. Stith home and store
#9. Stith Hardware
#10. Stith Hardware 1898
Folder 2. Photographs #11-20
#11. Rancher's Supply Company 1908
#12. Tool House (pg 9)
#13. Burt Engine and demonstrators
#14. Terry Section House 1947
#15. Terry buildings and train
#16. Terry 1908 in the snow
#17. Terry, 1907 winter
#18. Terry Northern Pacific Section House, 1918
#19. Northern Pacific crew baking bread
#20. Terry Northern Pacific Section House, 1958
Folder 3. Photographs #21-28
#21. Jordan Hotel with guests, (pg 8)
#22. Scott Hotel with guests, (pg 8)
#23. Grass Widow's House
#24. Terry Main Street, (pg 10)
#25. Terry Main Street 1908, (pg 9)
#26. Fallon School built by J.W. Stith
#27. Terry's second school with students
#28. Terry Depot about 1890; Lillian Holker, Tom Holker, Mabel Joubert, Lillian Miller, Maude Miller, Pauline Joubert, Oliver Ddrilling, Charles Hanson, George (Red) McDonald
Folder 4. Photographs #29-37
#29. Cora Conray Bourdette (info on back)
#30. Mrs. Cartwright and boys on a horse, (pg 7)
#31. Mr. George Landre
#32. Mrs. George Landre
#33. Mr. And Mrs. Frank Zahl
#34. Mr. And Mrs. C.E. Joubert
#35. Mrs. W.F. Jordan and Irene (pg 7)
#36. Terry Social Club program
#37. Mae Logan 1898
Folder 5. Photographs #38-45
#38. Dance Program 1892
#39. Mr. And Mrs. Doc Zahl
#40. Billy Whipple-Terry and Fallon
#41. Mrs. A. Wright
#42. Mr. A. Wright
#43. Lord Cameron ranch looking west
#44. "Scraping an acquaintance In the Northwest" postcard to Cornelia Stith
#45. Terry's 4th of July picnic 1897 Kempton Lane Grove
Folder 6. Photographs #46-49
#46. Wool in sacks on wagon train McLean wool, (pg 9)
#47. Terry shearing pens, (pg 9)
#48. Kenneth McLean ranch on O'Fallon Creek
#49. A Montana sheep camp wagon, Nels and Sam Undem
Folder 7. Photograph #50
#50. County Commissioners 1907

Contents | Special Collections

Updated: 3/4/10