Lester S. Willson Family Papers, 1861-1922  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Willson, Lester S. (Lester Sebastian), 1839-1922
Title
Lester S. Willson Family Papers
Dates
1861-1922
Quantity
.2 linear feet
Collection Number
Collection 1407, MtBC, us (collection)
Summary
The Lester S. Willson Family Papers consist of letters written by Lester and Davis Willson during the Civil War while both men were with the army; letters written by Lester and Davis during their first years in Bozeman; letters written by Eugene and Fred from Bozeman to their parents who were away; Civil War military documents pertaining to the 60th New York Volunteer Infantry and Lester S. Willson; student papers of Fred and Eugene; scrapbook materials and newspaper clippings; photographs of the Willsons, the Tuller and Rich Cash Store, and the Willson home in Bozeman.
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


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Lester S. Willson was born in Canton, New York on June 15, 1839. His parents, Ambrose and Julia Willson had at least two other sons, Davis and George. Lester enlisted as a private in the 60th New York Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War and spent the early months guarding the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in Maryland. By 1865 Willson had gained the rank of colonel of his regiment, and at the war's end he was brevetted a brigadier general. He administered the Soldier's Home in Albany, New York following the war and in 1867 moved to Montana Territory to join his brother Davis in the mercantile business at Bozeman. Willson entered into a partnership with Tuller and Rich at Bozeman, eventually replacing both men to become a sole proprietor. He also served in the state legislature and with the state militia. He married in 1869 Emma D. Weeks and the couple had three children; George (who died as an infant), Lester Eugene, and Fred Fielding. Both Fred and Eugene attended Bozeman schools, and Fred eventually became a prominent local architect. Eugene died in 1893 at the age of 14. Lester S. Willson continued to operate his business until his death on January 26, 1919.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Lester S. Willson family papers consist of letters written by Lester and Davis Willson during the Civil War while both men were with the army; letters written by Lester and Davis during their first years in Bozeman; letters written by Eugene and Fred from Bozeman to their parents who were away; Civil War military documents pertaining to the 60th New York Volunteer Infantry and Lester S. Willson; student papers of Fred and Eugene; scrapbook materials and newspaper clippings; photographs of the Willsons, the Tuller and Rich Cash Store, and the Willson home in Bozeman. The papers have been arranged in five series.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Series 1:  Correspondence, 1861-1922Return to Top

Letters written by Lester S. Willson, Davis Willson, Lester Eugene Willson, Fred Fielding Willson, and other family members and friends. Letters pertain to the Civil War, early Bozeman, Montana, condolences on the 1919 death of Lester S. Willson, and other family news. The letters have been chronologically arranged and individually listed.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/1
1861-1866
Lester S. Willson (Camp Wheeler, Ogdensburgh) to Davis Willson
September 26, 1861
Lester S. Willson (Baltimore, Maryland) to parents
November 10, 1861
Lester S. Willson (Camp Preston King) to family)
February 19, 1862
Davis Willson (on march) to parents
January 26, 1865
Lester S. Willson (Albany, New York) to mother
December 26, 1866
1/2
1867-1879
Davis Willson (Bozeman, Montana Territory) to "folks at home"
May 29, 1867
Lester S. Willson (Bozeman, Montana Territory) to Mary A. Cory
June 12, 1867
P.J. Moran (Albany, New York) to Lester S. Willson
January 9, 1868
Lester S. Willson (Bozeman, Montana Territory) to Mary A. Cory
May 10, 1868
Lester S. Willson (Bozeman, Montana Territory) to Mary A. Cory
September 18, 1868
Description of headstone for Mary Blackmore
July 19, 1872
Blanche Blackmore, (Salisbury, England) to Emma Willson
August 18, 1872
Mrs. Hampton (Bedford, England) to Emma Willson
November 6, 1872
Lester S. Wilson, (Bozeman, Montana Terr.) to Mary A. Cory
February 19, 1879
1/3
1886-1890
Grandmother Willson (Greene, Maine) to Fred and L. Eugene Willson
August 1, 1886
Fred W. Willson (Bozeman, Montana) to Emma Willson
October 25, 1887
L. Eugene Willson (Bozeman, Montana) to Emma Willson
October 25, 1887
L. Eugene Willson (Bozeman, Montana) to Emma Willson
November 3, 1887
Fred W. Willson (Bozeman, Montana) to Emma Willson
November 3, 1887
Fred W. Willson (Bozeman, Montana) to Emma Willson
February 11, 1888
L. Eugene Willson (Bozeman, Montana) to Emma Willson
December 9, 1888
Fred W. Willson (Bozeman, Montana) to Emma Willson
December 9, 1888
L. Eugene Willson (Bozeman, Montana) to Uncle Gus
November 15, 1890
1/4
1891
L. Eugene Willson (Bozeman, Montana) to Uncle Gus
January 20, 1891
Fred F. Willson (Bozeman, Montana) to Lester S. and Emma Willson
February 2, 1891
L. Eugene Willson (Bozeman, Montana) to Lester S. and Emma Willson
February 8, 1891
L. Eugene Willson (Bozeman, Montana) to Lester S. and Emma Willson
February 9, 1891
L. Eugene Willson (Bozeman, Montana) to Lester S. and Emma Willson
March 4, 1891
Fred F. Willson (Bozeman, Montana) to Lester s. and Emma Willson
March 9, 1891
L. Eugene Willson (Bozeman, Montana) to Lester s. and Emma Willson
March 16, 1891
Fred F. Willson (Bozeman, Montana) to Lester S. and Emma Willson
March 23, 1891
L. Eugene Willson (Bozeman, Montana) to Uncle Gus
April 4, 1891
L. Eugene Willson (Bozeman, Montana) to Mr. Johnson
April 7, 1891
1/5
1892-1918
L. Eugene Willson (Bozeman, Montana) to S. R. Raymond
October 26, 1892
Col. M. Rich (Bozeman, Montana) to Lester S. and Emma Willson
March 24, 1894
May Travis (Twin Bridges, Montana) to Emma Willson
April 15, 1894
[unknown] (Revenue Mill, Montana) to George Willson
July 13, 1895
Jim Gertirdge (Salmon City, Idaho) to Lester S. Willson
July 25, 1895
[unknown] (Revenue Mill, Montana) to Mr. Lowman
July 28, 1895
"Sis" (Revenue Mill, Montana) to George Willson
November 19, 1895
Robert H. Chapman (Camp near Choteau, Montana) to Emma Willson
September 4, 1897
Invitation to wedding of Helen Fisher and Fred F. Willson
October 15, 1897
May Travis Shaw (Lansing, Michigan) to Emma Willson
January 14, 1917
Robert M. Donaldson (Boise, Idaho) to Lester S. and Emma Willson
February 23, 1917
"Stella" (Pocatello, Idaho) to Emma Willson
December 19, 1918
Robert M. Donaldson (Boise, Idaho) to Lester S. and Emma Willson
December 21, 1918
1/6
1919
J.R. Russell (Butte, Montana) to Emma Willson
January 27, 1919
Wilbur F. Sanders (Pasadena, California) to Fred F. Willson
January 28, 1919
John S. Axtill (Columbia Falls, Montana) to Emma Willson
January 29, 1919
W.W. Wylie (Pasadena, California) to Emma Willson
January 30, 1919
R.O. Wilson (Bozeman, Montana) to Emma Willson
January 31, 1919
Alfred Myers (Hardin, Montana) to Emma Willson
February 1, 1919
Daniel H. Tuttle (St. Louis, Missouri) to Emma Willson
February 5, 1919
Sarepta Sanders (Long Beach, California) to Emma Willson
February 15, 1919
May Travis Shaw (Lansing, Michigan) to Emma Willson
February 16, 1919
One lot telegrams, all to Emma Willson
January-February 1919
Robert M. Donaldson (Boise, Idaho) to Emma Willson
May 27, 1919
Adaline Terry (Lynn, Massachusetts) to Emma Willson
December 30, 1919
1/7
1920-1922
Wilbur F. Sanders (Butte, Montana) to Emma Willson
circa 1920
R. P. Calvin (Chicago, Illinois) to Emma Willson
November 14, 1920
Adelaine Aldrich (Oakland, California) to Emma Willson
May 12, 1921
Alfred Atkinson (Bozeman, Montana) to Fred F. Willson
June 4, 1922
Miscellaneous envelopes

Series 2:  Civil War military documents, 1863-1865Return to Top

Muster rolls, property returns, and blank forms prepared or collected by Lester S. Willson in his various officer appointments within the 60th New York Volunteer Infantry. Included are the resolutions of the "Moral and Anti-Swearing Society" formed by an officer's mess of the 60th regiment in 1865. Most of the muster rolls are large and have been removed to separate storage.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/8
Military documents
1863-1865

Series 3:  School papers, 1890-1893Return to Top

Report cards, tests, and student essays created by L. Eugene Willson and Fred Willson. The essays by Eugene are on a number of topics and describe life in Bozeman and Gallatin County during the 1890s.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/9
Fred and Eugene Willson report cards and tests
1/10
Eugene Willson student essays

Series 4:  Scrapbook material, 1893-1911Return to Top

Newspaper clippings and other memorabilia pertaining to the Willson family. Clippings include obituary notices for Lester, Emma, and Eugene Willson. Other documents are: memorial resolutions of GAR for Lester Willson, 1919; funeral guest list for Lester S. Willson, 1919; organ recital program, 1910; L. Eugene Willson account book, 1893.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/11
Newspaper clippings
1/12
Miscellaneous material

Series 5:  Photographs, 1865-1910Return to Top

Portraits of Lester S. Willson, L. Eugene Willson, Fred F. Willson, Willson family, and Lt. George Tyler, 2nd U.S. Cavalry. Building views including the Tuller and Rich Cash Store, Bozeman, 1866, and the Willson home, also in Bozeman. Images marked with (*) have negatives available.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/13
#1: Lester S. Willson
1865*
#2: Lester Eugene Willson
circa 1880
#3: Fred F. Willson
circa 1890s*
#4: Lester Eugene Willson
circa 1893
#5: Willson family, outdoors by tent
circa 1880s
#6: Lt. George L. Tyler
circa 1880s*
#7: Tour bus, Washington, D.C.
circa 1910
1/14
#8: Tuller and Rich Cash Store, Bozeman
1866*
#9: "First residence of Gen'l L.S. Willson and Family, Bozeman...."
(printed engraving; two copies)
#10: Wilson home, interior, hallway
circa 1890
#11: Wilson home, interior, dining room
circa 1890
#12: Wilson home, interior, dining room
circa 1890
#13: Wilson home, interior, stairway
circa 1890
1/15
Negatives

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • General stores-Montana-Bozeman-Photographs
  • Soldiers-United States-Correspondence
  • Personal Names :
  • Willson, Davis, 1841-1915-Correspondence
  • Corporate Names :
  • Tuller and Rich Cash Store (Bozeman, Mont.)-Photographs
  • United States-Army-New York Infantry Regiment, 60th (1861-1865)
  • Family Names :
  • Willson family-Homes and haunts-Montana-Bozeman-Photographs
  • Wilson family
  • Geographical Names :
  • Bozeman (Mont.)-Buildings, structures, etc. -Photographs
  • United States-History-Civil War, 1861-1865-Personal narratives
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Family papers-Montana-Bozeman
  • Photographs-Montana-Bozeman
  • Other Creators :
    • Personal Names :
    • Willson, Fred Fielding, 1877-1956 (creator)
    • Willson, Lester Eugene, d. 1893 (creator)
    • Family Names :
    • Willson family (creator)