Hiram Knowles Papers, 1856-1909  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Knowles, Hiram, 1834-1911
Hiram Knowles Papers
1856-1909 (inclusive)
1.2 linear feet of shelf space
Collection Number
MC 2 (collection)
Hiram Knowles (1834-1911) was associate justice of the Montana Territorial Supreme Court from 1868 to 1879. Papers consist primarily of correspondence (1877-1879) with Angus McDonald and others concerning the Nez Perce and Flathead tribes. There are also a letter of reminiscence (1909) by William H. Todd concerning their trip to Yellowstone National Park in 1873; several letters (1856-1892) concerning family and political affairs; a manuscript (1856) by Knowles entitled "Life and Death of Brasidas"; and an untitled incomplete story.
Montana Historical Society, Research Center Archives
Montana Historical Society Research Center Archives
225 North Roberts
PO Box 201201
Helena MT
Telephone: 406-444-2681
Fax: 406-444-5297
Access Restrictions

Collection open for research.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Hiram Knowles was born in Hamden, Maine, in 1834, the son of Freeman Knowles, a ship's captain and medical doctor. When he was four years old the family moved to Illinois and two years later to Keokuk, Lee County, Iowa. In 1850, young Knowles accompanied his father west to California to search for gold, staying there a year. He was educated at Denmark Academy, Antioch College, and Harvard Law School. In 1862, Knowles returned west, this time to Nevada, where he practiced law for four years, serving also as district attorney and probate judge for Humboldt County. In 1865, he moved to Idaho, and a year later to Montana. During his first years in Montana, Knowles combined a law practice with prospecting and mining. In 1868, President Andrew Johnson appointed him Associate Justice of the territorial supreme court. He was re-appointed to this position, successively, in 1872 and 1876. He found the court records in a chaotic condition and during the course of his three terms organized them. In 1879, Knowles resigned from the bench to return to the private practice of law. In 1884, in his one excursion into politics, Knowles ran unsuccessfully for territorial delegate to Congress. In 1890, President Benjamin Harrison appointed Knowles federal district judge for the Montana district. He served in that position until his retirement in 1904. Judge Hiram Knowles died April 6, 1911.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists primarily of correspondence (1877-1879) with Angus McDonald concerning the Nez Perce and Flathead tribes. There is also a reminiscence by William H. Todd of their trip to Yellowstone, several letters concerning family and political affairs, and two miscellaneous writings by Knowles. Also certificates of appointment as Associate Justice to the Supreme Courty Montana Territory, U.S. District Judge, Constitutional Convention delegate election, Doctrate of Law from the University of Montana.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Researchers must use collection in accordance with the policies of the Montana Historical Society. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all materials in the collection. In some cases permission for use may require additional authorization from the copyright owners. For more information contact an archivist.

Preferred Citation

Item description and date. Collection Title. Collection Number. Box and Folder numbers. Montana Historical Society Research Center, Archives, Helena, Montana.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

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

General Correspondence Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1 / 1
William A. Clark
1 / 2
Freeman Knowles and Mary Knowles
1859, 1877
1 / 3
Angus McDonald
1 / 4
R.M. Reynolds
1 / 5
Wilbur F. Sanders
1 / 6
William H. Todd (reminiscing about trip to Yellowstone National Park)
1 / 7
G-P (correspondents include Gilmer, Salisbury and Company; [___] L. Murphy; William H. Penrose; Sam F. Miller; F.D. Monckton)

Writings Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1 / 8
"Life and Death of Brasidas"; untitled, incomplete story
1856, undated

Miscellany Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1 / 9
Certificate; signatures; life insurance; also includes list of certificates and a diploma transferred to Library broadside collection

Miscellany Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1 / 1
Certificate of appointment Associate Justice Supreme Court Territory of Montana; Certificate of Election Delegate to the Constitutional Convention; Certificate of Appointment United States District Judge for the District of Montana; Doctorate of Law conferred by the University of Montana

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Nez Perce Indians
  • Nez Perce Indians--Wars, 1877
  • Salish Indians
  • Geographical Names :
  • Flathead River Valley (B.C. and Mont.)
  • Yellowstone National Park--Description and travel