Davis Willson Papers, 1861-1915  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Willson, Davis, 1841-1915
Title
Davis Willson Papers
Dates
1861-1915
Quantity
2 linear feet
Collection Number
Collection 1076, MtBC, us (collection)
Summary
The Davis Willson Papers consist of his diary kept during his journey to Montana in 1866 and newspaper clippings from the Montana Post and other publications that were primarily written by Willson. The diary describes a trip from Canton, NY, to the Penwell Ranch in the Gallatin Valley, May 7 - September 6, 1866. The newspaper clipping topics include Indian activities, descriptions of Bozeman and the upper Yellowstone valley, Montana politics, and national politics during Reconstruction. The papers also include a handwritten letter from S.P. Moore, Acting Surgeon General, Confederate States Army, dated Richmond, Virginia, August 5, 1861, to General Robert E. Lee requesting quinine.
Repository
Montana State University Library, Merrill G. Burlingame Special Collections
Montana State University-Bozeman Library
Merrill G Burlingame Special Collections
P.O. Box 173320
Bozeman, MT
59717-3320
Telephone: 406-994-4242
Fax: 406-994-2851
spcoll@www.lib.montana.edu
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Languages
English
Sponsor
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities


Historical NoteReturn to Top

Davis Willson (1841-1915) was a Presbyterian minister, newspaperman, merchant, land office agent, and early Montana pioneer. He came to the territory in 1866 from Canton, New York and became one of the first residents of the town of Bozeman. He wrote a series of articles for the Montana Post at Virginia City during the 1860s and 1870s describing Indian and mining activities in the area. After serving as register of the U.S. Land office at Bozeman he prepared for the ministry and was ordained in 1889. Willson organized churches at Hamilton and Springhill, Montana.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Willson papers consist of his diary kept during his journey to Montana in 1866 and newspaper clippings from the Montana Post and other publications that were primarily written by Willson. The diary describes a trip from Canton, NY, to the Penwell Ranch in the Gallatin Valley, May 7-September 6, 1866. The party brought trade goods for the settlements in Montana. The men included Charles V. Rich, Charles C, Frank Rich, Perry Jones, Perry Earl, Frank, L.W. Tuller, Haldeman, Whoren (or Whorner). Wagon trains traveled with included Phillips and Freelands, Creightons, Kirkenkdolphs, Whitneys. Train captains mentioned were Charles V. Rich and John Freeland. People mentioned were Barton and Hustad (scalped on the Bozeman Trail mentioned in July 29), A.T. Huickley, Jennie Sanderson, J.H. Nuly, Charlie Caldwell, Rutan, Phillips, Oscar Penwell. There is a good description of the approach to the Gallatin Valley. The newspaper clipping topics include Indian activities, descriptions of Bozeman and the upper Yellowstone valley, Montana politics, and national politics during Reconstruction. The papers also include a handwritten letter from S.P. Moore, Acting Surgeon General, Confederate States Army, dated Richmond, Virginia, August 5, 1861, to General Robert E. Lee requesting quinine.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/1 Diary May 7-September 6, 1866
1/2 Diary transcription
1/3 Clippings
Funeral Oration, (Avant Courier), for Charles V. Rich; Advertisement for Willson's opening of an office as U.S. Land and Mining Attorney; "Some history-leading up to staking our tent in Bozeman. Taken from the diary of Rev. Davis Willson" Republican Courier; "Opportunities today are unsurpassed says pioneer..." Bozeman Courier; Obituaries.
1896, 1912-1913
1/4 Clippings
Newspaper columns written (with related clippings probably by another reporter). Indian problems in Montana which related to Bozeman.
1867-1869
1/5 Clippings
Newspaper columns written about Bozeman and the upper Yellowstone (Emigrant Gulch). Includes Avant Courier.
1867-1874
1/6 Clippings
Political problems after the Civil War...impeachment of Pres. Andrew Johnson.
1/7 Clippings
Mr. and Mrs. Lester S. Willson. "Things I saw Yesterday" by A.K. Yerkes. Politics in Montana Territory.
1/8 Military letter, S.P. Moore, C.S.A. 1861 August 5
1/9 Printed ephemera

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Frontier and pioneer life-Montana
  • Indians of North America-Press coverage-Montana
  • Journalists-Montana
  • Montana post
  • Pioneers-Montana-Diaries
  • Quinine
  • Ranches-Gallatin Valley (Wyo. and Mont.)
  • Personal Names :
  • Lee, Robert E. (Robert Edward), 1807-1870-Correspondence
  • Moore, Samuel Preston, 1813-1889-Correspondence
  • Corporate Names :
  • Confederate States of America-Army-Medical supplies
  • Geographical Names :
  • Bozeman (Mont.)
  • Canton (N.Y.)
  • Gallatin River Valley (Wyo. and Mont.)
  • Montana-Newspapers
  • Montana-Politics and government
  • United States-Politics and government-1865-1877
  • Virginia City (Mont.)-Newspapers
  • West (U.S.)-Description and travel
  • Yellowstone River Valley-Description and travel
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Clippings-Montana
  • Diaries