Creator: Doane, Mary Hunter, 1859-1952


Provenance Note: Letters, speech notes, reminiscence, and photographs collected or created by Mary Lee Hunter Doane were donated to Special Collections by Ed Barnett of Chico, California and Walter Cooper Barnett of Steamboat Springs, Colorado.


Historical Note: Mary Lee Hunter Doane was born in Missouri in 1859, the oldest of six children born to Dr. Andrew Jackson Hunter and his second wife, Susan. In 1864, Hunter brought his family to Montana Territory where they lived briefly in Virginia City, Helena, and Bozeman. In 1870, Hunter staked a claim to land encompassing a hot spring near the Yellowstone River in present day Park County and there developed a health spa. Mary grew up in Bozeman and at Hunter's Hot Springs before she attended St. Vincent's Academy in Helena in 1876. On December 16, 1878, she married Lieutenant Gustavus Cheyney Doane and traveled with him to a wide variety of military posts in Montana, California, and Arizona prior to his death in 1894. Mary remained a widow for the rest of her life, living in Bozeman and becoming active in a number of historical organizations such as the Society of Montana Pioneers and the Daughters of the American Revolution. She gained a reputation as an "encyclopedia of Montana history" in her later years, and began a friendship with Professor Merrill G. Burlingame that lasted until her death in 1953. Gustavus Cheyney Doane was born in Galesburg, Illinois, on May 20, 1840, and grew up in California. He graduated from the University of the Pacific at Santa Clara in 1861, and afterwards enlisted in the "California Hundred," a federal volunteer unit absorbed by the Second Massachusetts Volunteer Cavalry. Doane attained the rank of sergeant by 1864 when he resigned to accept a commission as lieutenant with the first regiment, Mississippi Marine Brigade. After the war Doane lived for a time in Yazoo City, Mississippi where he was appointed mayor by the Reconstruction authorities in 1867. In 1868 he applied for a commission with the army and was appointed second lieutenant in the Second U.S. Cavalry. He served with the regiment for the next 24 years, attaining the rank of captain in 1884. During his postwar career Doane was stationed at a variety of frontier posts in Montana, California, and Arizona, including Fort Ellis, Fort Custer, Fort Assiniboine, Fort Keogh, Fort Maginnis, the Presidio, and Fort Bowie. He participated in the Sioux war of 1876, the Nez Perce War of 1877, and the Apache campaign of 1886. Doane gained a great deal of fame as an explorer, having led the first systematic exploration of present day Yellowstone National Park in 1870, a survey of the Judith Basin area in 1874, a trip down the Snake River in 1876-77, and the Howgate polar expedition in Greenland in 1880. Towards the end of his life, Doane attempted unsuccessfully to gain the superintendency of Yellowstone National Park and to influence widespread army acceptance for his invention, the Doane Centennial Tent. He married twice, to Amelia Link in 1866 and to Mary Lee Hunter in 1878. Gustavus Doane died on May 5, 1892.


Content Description Note: The Mary Doane papers consist of letters, speeches, a reminiscence, photographs, and other miscellaneous items pertaining to her life with her husband, Captain Gustavus Cheyney Doane, and her years of widowhood following his 1892 death. Materials include: extensive correspondence between Mary and Gustavus, especially voluminous during the summer of 1886 during the final campaign against Geronimo when the captain was stationed in Arizona; letters from other Doane family members and friends to Mary Doane; a handwritten reminiscence of Susan C. Hunter regarding the Hunter family's journey to Montana Territory and early residence in Virginia City, Helena, and Bozeman; speech notes from Mary Doane pertaining to her experiences and incidents of early frontier Army life; legal and financial documents; memorabilia; printed items; photographs, particularly of Fort Assiniboine, Montana Territory, circa 1882.

RESTRICTIONS: The Susan C. Hunter reminiscence is restricted due to fragility. Researchers are required to use the photocopied surrogate in box 2, folder 8.

Series 1: Letters and envelopes, 1865-1950

Letters written or received by Mary Lee Hunter Doane, or her husband, Gustavus Cheyney Doane. The bulk of the correspondence was exchanged between Mary and Gustavus during the final Geronimo campaign in Arizona in 1886. Captain Doane was stationed near Solomonville and Fort Bowie, Arizona during the summer months, while Mary wrote to him from, El Paso, Texas, San Francisco, and other California towns. The letters are primarily personal in nature, with Mary remarking on visits she had with mutual friends and family, and Gustavus writing on the boredom and loneliness of his own service at various positions near Dragoon Pass and elsewhere in Southern Arizona. The earliest letters in the series include one from Anna Doane to Gustavus, written in San Francisco in 1865 describing social conditions there; a letter from Amelia Link Doane to Gustavus rom Chicago, 1877, demanding a divorce, and courtship letters from Gustavus to Mary written in 1878. Letters written in 1880 from Mary to Gustavus were composed in Bozeman, describing her life there and discomfort at separation from her husband while he went on the Howgate Arctic Expedition. Two lengthy letters from Mary to Gustavus written from Fort Assiniboine in 1882 contain detailed description of the social life at that garrison. Letters written in 1892 and beyond are all to Mary Doane and are either letters of condolence from friends or related to her social activities during her lengthy widowhood. The envelopes for the letters of Mary Doane to her husband have been retained since, in most cases, they bear his notations on the date received, and the date answered. Other writers in this series include George Doane, Max Bauer, Mrs. J. Sewell Reed, and [Note: all letters, and the 1886 letters in particular, collate chronologically with others that can be found in Collection 2211, Gustavus C. Doane Papers, 1860-1939, donated to Montana State University in 1992.]

Box 1
1. Letters, 1865-1878
2. Letters, 1880
3. Letters, 1882
4. Letters, 1884
5. Letters, 1885
6. Letters, January-March, 1886
7. Letters, April 1886
8. Letters, May, 1886
9. Letters, June, 1886
10. Letters, July1-20, 1886
11. Letters, July 21-31, 1886
12. Letters, August 1-10, 1886
13. Letters, August 11-18, 1886
14. Letters, August 21-30, 1886
15. Letters, September-December, 1886
16. Letters, 1887
17. Letters, 1889
18. Letters, 1890-1891
19. Letters, 1892
20. Letters, 1893-1950
21. Envelopes, 1885-May, 1886
22. Envelopes, June 1886


Box 2
1. Envelopes, July 1886
2. Envelopes, August 1886
3. Envelopes, September 1886
4. Envelopes, 1889-1911

Series 2: Literary Productions, ca. 1920s

Speeches and speech fragments prepared by Mary Doane for delivery to historical and genealogical organizations. Much of the notations are fragmentary, but they have been gathered into three folders based on topical content. Mary spoke on the history of Fort Assiniboine and her experiences there; the experiences of women on the Montana frontier, and other historical topics. A lengthy handwritten reminiscence by Susan C. Hunter, Mary Doane's mother, is included in this series. The reminiscence includes information on: the Hunter family's trip over the Bozeman Trail in 1864; settlement at Virginia City, Helena, Diamond City, Bozeman and Hunter's Hot Springs; incidents of pioneer life and encounters with Indians variously identified as Crow or Sioux. Persons mentioned include Andrew Jackson Hunter, John Bozeman, and Major F. D. Pease, Indian agent.

Box 2 (cont.)
5. Speech, "Fort Assiniboine"
6. Speech, "Pioneer Women"
7. Speech fragments
8. Susan Hunter reminiscence, pages 1-20
9. Susan Hunter reminiscence, pages 21-40
10. Susan Hunter reminiscence, pages 41-60
11. Susan Hunter reminiscence, pages 61-80
12. Susan Hunter reminiscence, pages 81-100
13. Susan Hunter reminiscence, unnumbered pages
14. Susan Hunter reminiscence, photocopy

Series 3: Legal and Financial Documents, 1866-1952

Mining claim recording certificates made out to Andrew J. Hunter or Susan C. Hunter from officials in Meagher County, Montana, for lodes mostly located along Trout Creek; land indenture for property inherited by Gustavus C. Doane from his mother, Nancy Doane, in San Diego County, California; orders for Gustavus C. Doane to serve on a board of courts martial at the Presidio, San Francisco; receipt for funeral expenses of Gustavus C. Doane; notice of probate court of Gallatin County for proving the will of Mary Doane.

Box 2 (cont.)
15. Legal and financial documents

Series 4: Memorabilia, ca. 1860-1880

Lock of hair, unidentified, possibly Mary Doane; ornamental sachet envelope; handwritten acceptance note for an invitation extended by Gustavus C. Doane, Santa Clara, California.

Box 2 (cont.)
16. Memorabilia

Series 5: Printed items, 1890-1930

Newspaper clippings of obituaries and biographical notices pertaining to Susan C. Hunter, Andrew J. Hunter, and Gustavus C. Doane; two circulars from the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States; calling cards of Gustavus C. Doane, Max Bauer, Charles L. Steele, H. B. Dearborn; business practice currency issued by Montana State College, Bozeman.

Box 2 (cont.)
17. Printed items
18. Newspaper clippings

Series 6: Photographs, 1866-1934

Carte de Visite of Gustavus Cheyney Doane; multiple views of Fort Assiniboine, Montana Territory, circa 1882; snapshots of Mary Doane at Pompey's Pillar and Yellowstone Park, ca. 1934.

Box 2 (cont.)
19. Photographs
    #1. Gustavus Cheyney Doane, ca. 1866
    #2. Officer's wives at Fort Assiniboine, ca. 1882
    #3. Headquarters, Fort Assiniboine, ca. 1882
    #4. Garrison Officers, Fort Assiniboine, ca. 1882
    #5. Children's costume party, Fort Assiniboine, ca. 1882
    #6. Guard house, Fort Assiniboine, ca. 1882
    #7. Officer's quarters, Fort Assiniboine, ca. 1882
    #8. Barracks, Fort Assiniboine, ca. 1882
    #9. San Francisco GAR officer H. Chagau, August 13, 1886
    #10. Mary Doane, Yellowstone Park, August 1934
    #11. Mary Doane and friend, Pompey's Pillar, ca. 1934
    #12. Unidentified mountain pass, ca. 1934
    #13. Woodcut print of ferry boat
    #14. Unidentified woman (Una Herrick?)
    #15. Unidentified family group, tintype

Updated: 6/27/14