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Collection 730 - Early Travel In Montana, 1906

Creator: Kirk, Mary b. 1885

Provenance Note: An original student essay created by Mary Kirk was donated to Montana State University in the summer of 1969 by Merrill G. Burlingame of Bozeman, Montana.

Historical Note: Mark Kirk was born in Pennsylvania in July, 1885, the daughter of Thomas S. Kirk and Elizabeth Sword Kirk. Sometime prior to 1888, the Kirks moved to Gallatin County, Montana where Mary grew up and attended the Gallatin County High School in Bozeman. Mary enrolled in the Montana College of Agricultural and Mechanical Arts (later Montana State University) on September 8, 1902, and she graduated from the school with a bachelor of science degree in general science on June 6, 1906. She worked as a teacher in Bozeman afterwards. Her date of death is unknown.

Content Description Note: In 1906 Mary Kirk enrolled in Professor Helen Brewer's American history class at the Montana College of Agricultural and Mechanical Arts. To complete the major assignment of the course work, Kirk interviewed several Bozeman, Montana pioneers to compose an essay on pioneer transportation methods that she titled "Early Travel in Montana." The piece consist of both typescript and handwritten pages, and two vintage photographs have been pasted on separate pages to illustrate the narrative. The essay itself is brief, but the annotations refer to the additional paraphrased interviews Kirk conducted from February through April, 1906 and presented as appendices to her paper. The interviewees and their subjects are: White Calfee (b. 1840), discussing freighting operations by mule train from Bozeman to Crow Agency and other locations; Walter Cooper (1843-1924) and Mrs. Mariam Skeels Cooper (1852-1925), describing Mrs. Cooper's 1865 trip to Montana Territory by steamboat and wagon, and subsequent trips with her husband by wagon hauling furs to both steamboat and railroad shipping points; Mrs. Susan Celesta Hunter (b. 1835) relating her 1864 journey to Montana along the Bozeman Trail and subsequent settlement at Hunter's Hot Springs; Henry Monforton (b. 1829) relating his experiences traveling from Missouri to Virginia City, Montana in 1863; Mrs. Sarah Jane Bessey Tracy describing her journey by a Missouri River steamboat to Fort Benton, Montana in 1869; Edward M. Davidson (1843-1916) gives an account of crossing the plains from Wisconsin to Montana by ox cart in 1864; Mrs. Catherine Boyd Waterman (b. 1835) who traveled from New York to California via the Isthmus of Panama in 1865, and then overland by stagecoach to join her husband in Virginia City, Montana; Mrs. Rosa V. Beall (1838-1930) who came to Gallatin County, Montana in 1864 from Iowa via the Bozeman Trail; Mrs. Blanch A. Sloan (1853-1917) who came to Montana in 1877 by rail from Kentucky to Corrine, Utah, and then by wagon to Gallatin County; Thomas Lewis (b. 1843) who ran a freighting outfit for the Bozeman firm of Willson and Rich during the 1870s. The interview summaries of White Calfee, Mariam Cooper, and Blanch Sloan have been signed by the interviewees.

Updated: 9/27/2012