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Forestvale Cemetery Association Records, 1890-1988

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Forestvale Cemetery Association (Helena, Mont.)
Title
Forestvale Cemetery Association Records
Dates
1890-1988 (inclusive)
Quantity
10 linear feet of shelf space
Collection Number
MC 240
Summary
The Forestvale Cemetery Association operates a cemetery in Helena, Montana. Records (1890-1988) of the Association and its predecessor, the Helena Cemetery Association, include correspondence, financial records, legal documents, burial registers, minutes, maps, a card file, and lot books.
Repository
Montana Historical Society, Research Center Archives
Montana Historical Society Research Center Archives
225 North Roberts
PO Box 201201
Helena MT
59620-1201
Telephone: 406-444-2681
Fax: 406-444-5297
mhslibrary@mt.gov
Languages
English

Find Related CollectionsReturn to Top


Historical NoteReturn to Top

The original Helena Cemetery Association was incorporated on June 11, 1887, by Andrew J. Fisk, Ansalem J. Davidson, William Muth, and others, in response to a lack of space available in existing cemeteries. A year later the Helena City Council appointed a committee to study the matter. In May 1890, after several years of considering various proposals for locations and facilities, F.R. Wallace, as trustee for the City of Helena, purchased the present site of the cemetery from Evan and Amelia Harris for $22,220. In August 1890 a second Helena Cemetery Association was incorporated by P.D. Grommon, John B. Clayberg, A.M. Thornburgh and E.C. Richards to acquire land; improve and beautify it; lay out and construct lots, roadways, and water systems; sell lots; and all other acts "connected with the maintenance and operation of a Cemetery..." The Association was incorporated for $250,000 and stockholders included many of the most prominent names in Helena society. One of the first acts of the new Association was to purchase the property for the cemetery from trustee F.R. Wallace, for "$1 and other valuable considerations" among which was the full $250,000 worth of capital stock. Wallace then transferred back to the Association $61,000 worth of stock to be sold as needed to finance improvements. One such improvement was a street railway to the site, constructed by Peter Winne. Under the leadership of Winne, who became President in December 1892, the association developed the site, installed a water system, planted trees and shrubs, and sold lots. A permanent Endowment Fund and a Perpetual Care and Improvement Fund were also established.

The Helena Cemetery was renamed the Forestvale Cemetery around 1901. The Helena Cemetery Association's corporate charter expired in 1910, but the affairs of the Association were never formally closed. The Association continued to meet until 1913. Secretary and Manager Henry Winter had by this time acquired, through direct ownership and proxies, control of over 99% of the stock. He assumed personal management of the property. In May 1918, in response to rapidly rising lot prices, poor maintenance, and accusations of mismanagement, William Muth and other trustees of the Permanent Care and Improvement Fund and Endowment Fund filed suit against Henry Winter and other trustees to force them to account for the funds. Muth and other lot owners and relatives of people buried in the cemetery met in June of 1919 to form a new association. They selected the name Forestvale Cemetery Association and proceeded to file a condemnation suit to force Winter to sell the property. The court eventually set the price at $35,000 and the property was conveyed to the Forestvale Cemetery Association. Over the years the endowment funds which were based on a percentage of the original lot purchase prices became inadequate to maintain the cemetery, which fell into serious disrepair.

In 1965 a concerted effort was made to clean up the grounds by removing excess trees and shrubs, improving the irrigation system, filling sunking plots, etc. However by the late 1980s the cemetery was again in poor condition. In a special election on April 2, 1991, School District #1 voted to fund a cemetery district to provide permanent upkeep by Lewis and Clark County.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Records. 1890-1988. 10 linear feet. Records of the Forestvale Cemetery Association, and its predecessor the Helena Cemetery Association, include correspondence (1891-1911, 1952-1988) regarding general operation of the Forestvale Cemetery, and with lot owners and relatives about burials and lot maintenance; court papers (1894-1978); financial records (1921-1982); legal documents (1890-1958) including abstracts of title, agreements, deeds, etc.; maps (1926-1981); minutes (1890-1913, 1919-1986); organizational records (1891-1986) including annual reports of corporations, bylaws, rules, certificate of incorporation, and miscellany; a subject file (1961-1964) on the sprinkler system; and miscellany (1890-1974). The miscellany series contains the real heart of the collection, consisting of burial index cards (1890s-1940s) including a section on Chinese burials, burial registers (1890-1971), a lot book (1890-1963), lot owner index cards (1890s-1940s), lot owners books (1890-1930), and miscellany. [Collection should be used in conjunction with the Forestvale Cemetery book compiled by the Lewis and Clark County Genealogical Society, in the catalogued Library Collection.]

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection

Financial Records Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Volume
1
Journal
1970-1982

Miscellany Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Volume
2-3
Burial registers, No. 1-2 (includes name of deceased, place born, residence, date of death, cause of death, age of deceased, undertaker, lot owner, lot and section, and remarks)
1882-1930, 1930-1971

Miscellany Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Volume
4
Deed book
1909-1921

General Correspondence Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1 / 1-15
A-Z (primarily with lot owners and relatives concerning burials, maintenance of lots, etc.)
1957-1974
1 / 16-18
Miscellaneous (re general operation of cemetery)
1891-1911, 1952-1988

Court Papers Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
2 / 1
In re "The Helena Cemetery Association" and the Trustees of the "Permanent Care and Improvement Fund" and "Endowment Fund" of said Association
1925
2 / 2
In the matter of I.O.O.F. Cemetery Association
1969
2 / 3
In the matter of the Estate of Velma Weiss Spurlock, deceased
1962
2 / 4
In the matter of the Forestvale Endowment Fund
1974
2 / 5
Montana National Bank vs. George S. VanLaw, et al. (re Helena Cemetery Association stock)
1894
2 / 6
Eileen E. Richey vs. ... The Endowment Funds of the Forestvale Cemetery Association ...
1978

Financial Records Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
2 / 7
Accounts receivable [scattered]
1964-1974
2 / 8
Advance sales
1965
2 / 9
Audits
1948-1960
2 / 10
Bank books, cancelled checks, etc. [scattered]
1961-1983
2 / 11
Donations
1987
2 / 12
Employee earning statements
1962-1963
2 / 13
Employee timebook
1973-1976
2 / 14-16
Endowment Fund and Permanent Care and Improvement Fund collections
1921-1928, 1937-1945
2 / 17-19
Financial reports of Trustees of the Endowment Fund, Perpetual Care and Improvement Fund and John H. Shober Memorial Fund
1936-1983
2 / 20-21
Financial statements
1924-1930, 1959-1988
3 / 1-3
General ledger
1929-1979
3 / 4
Gross sales
1929-1933
3 / 5
Insurance policy
1950
3 / 6
Journal
1927-1928
4 / 1
General ledger
1921-1929
4 / 2
Journal
1921-1927
4 / 3
Journal
1940-1941
5 / 1-3
Journal
1941-1970
5 / 4
Monthly recapitulations and closing entries
1961-1963
6 / 1
Promissory note
1933
6 / 2
Return of organization exempt from income tax
1965-1982
6 / 3
Trial balance sheets [scattered]
1923-1934
6 / 4
Miscellaneous

Legal Documents Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
6 / 5
Abstracts of title (includes many court papers re the cases of Forestvale Cemetery Association against the Helena Cemetery Association and Henry Winter)
1890,1931
6 / 6
Agreements, deeds, mortgages
1890-1941
6 / 7
Conditional sale contracts: A-T
1957-1958
Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
6 / 8
Improvements of the Forestvale Cemetery
1926

Minutes Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
6 / 9
Minute book: Helena Cemetery Association
1890-1913
6 / 10
Minute book: Forestvale Cemetery Association (includes articles of incorporation, bylaws, financial statements, legal documents, etc.)
1934-1986

Organization Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
6 / 11-12
Annual meetings (includes correspondence, notices, agendas, proxies, and other material removed from minute book for preservation)
1899-1913, 1936-1986
6 / 13
Annual report of corporation
1972,1975
6 / 14
Bylaws and rules
1922
6 / 15
Certificate of incorporation: Helena Cemetery Association [typescript copy]
1890
6 / 16
Reports to trustees
1957,1964
6 / 17
Miscellaneous
1891-1898

Subject File Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
6 / 18
Sprinkler system
1961-1964

Miscellany Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
6 / 19
Accident reports to Industrial Accident Board
1958-1963
6 / 20
Associate membership lists
1958-1963

Minutes Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
7 / 1
Minute book: Forestvale Cemetery Association (includes articles of incorporation, bylaws, financial statements, legal documents, etc.)
1919-1934

Miscellany Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
8-15 /
Burial index cards, A-Z, Chinese (includes name of person buried, date of burial, lot number and location, lot book page number, lot owners name)
1890s- 1940s

Miscellany Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
16 / 1
Burials in Woodlawn Section
1884-1964
16 / 2
Endowed lot owners list (includes money paid in)
1923
16 / 3
"Forestvale Cemetery: a cemetery is hallowed ground" by M. Greenfield (re sale of land to Schroeder Brothers)
1964
16 / 4
Lot owners list (includes alphabetical list or owners, list by cemetery area, and list of veterans)
1908-1910
16 / 5
Lot owners list (includes alphabetical list or owners, with location of lot)
n.d.
16 / 6
Lot owners list (lists unpaid accounts)
1958-1974
16 / 7
Masonic Home of Montana minutes (includes report of Grand Lodge, A.F. and A.M. of Montana on proposed purchase of land for cemetery from Forestvale Cemetery Association)
Sept. 3, 1927
16 / 8
Pamphlet on perpetual card fund
n.d.

Clippings Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
16 / 9
Clippings (re original city council plans for cemetery, cemetery improvements, etc.)
1888, 1961-1965

Miscellany Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
17 / 22
Lot owners index cards, A-Z (includes name of lot owner, lot section and number, and record of burials in lot)
1890s- 1940s
23 / 1
Lot book (arranged by cemetery section and date of sale; includes purchaser's name, price, payments made, and remarks)
1890-1963
23 / 2
Lot owners index (includes a few notations of burials from the 1930s to the 1950s)
1890-1930
Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
OVFD /
Maps and drawings of Forestvale Cemetery
1934,1940, 1981,n.d.