William L. Ford graduated from the University of Michigan law school in 1900 and began practicing law in White Sulphur Springs, Montana, in the same year. In 1904 he ran for Meagher County attorney and was defeated by N.B. Smith. In 1905 he became the city attorney and clerk, and in 1906 was elected county attorney, a postion he held through 1912. He decided not to run for re-election in November of that year due to his father's illness. He devoted his time to running his father's ranch near White Sulphur Springs, and by 1913 had formed a partnership with Richard Manger. In 1918 or 1919 Ford renewed his law practice. He was elected district judge as a Republican in 1920. He had been active in the Masons and the Republican Party before his election, having been appointed county chairman of the Roosevelt Memorial Association in 1919 and chairman of the Republican Ways and Means Committee for Meagher County in 1920. William Ford married his wife Margaret on December 25, 1907.
Carl August Linn joined William Ford's law office in March 1912. While retaining the name of "Ford and Linn," Linn began operating as the firm's sole attorney when Ford turned his attention to ranching in 1912. Linn was elected county attorney in November 1912.
Ford and Linn acted as collection agents for out-of-state and in-state firms and individuals. They also handled cases involving property disputes, water rights, sales of horses, claims involving the Montana Railroad Company and the Northern Pacific Railroad, divorce, probate, assault, etc., and collected rents for out-of-town landlords.
The collection is divided into three series: general correspondence (1900-192O, n.d.), subject files (1948, n.d.), and miscellany (1917-1919).
The collection consists almost entirely of the outgoing and incoming correspondence, arranged chronologically, of William L. Ford and Carl August Linn in their capacity as private attorneys. There is some correspondence directed to them, and to which they responded, as county attorneys. Also included in the correspondence are a few incoming letters (1904) to Max Waterman (Ford's predecessor as county attorney) and from Ford's brother Arthur and his sister Ida. The rest of the correspondence is from clients, other attorneys, judges, the Montana attorney general, and landlords whose properties Ford and Linn handled.
The subject file concerns the Meagher County Health Council, an organization established by the Meagher County Planning Board to persuade a physician and dentist to take up practice in Meagher County, sponsor a health clinic, sponsor health education programs, etc.
The miscellany consists of William Ford's Mason membership cards and a receipt for Ford's attorney annual license tax.
The Montana Historical Society is the owner of the materials in the Research Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the Research Library before any reproduction use. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.
item description and date. Collection Title. Collection Number. Box and Folder numbers. Montana Historical Society Research Center, Archives, Helena, Montana.
|1 / 1||
Chronological (includes claims against the Montana Railway Company)
|1 / 2||
Chronological (includes claims against the Montana Railway Company, redistricting of judicial districts, water rights, etc.)
|1 / 3||
Chronological (includes attack on Japanese Great Northern Railway Company worker, attack on a Chinese restaurant worker in Harlowton, etc.)
|1 / 4-5||
Chronological (includes school bonds, divorce, saloon leases, Japanese robber, etc.)
|1 / 6-7||
Chronological (includes divorce, school bonds, etc.)
|2 / 1-4||
Chronological (includes school bonds, Republican politics, divorce, water rights, etc.)
|2 / 5-7||
Chronological (includes school bonds,judicial districts, school elections, divorce, etc.)
|3 / 1-2||
Chronological (includes school bonds, etc.)
|3 / 3-4||
Chronological (includes divorce, etc.)
|3 / 5||
|3 / 6||
Chronological (includes Republican politics, divorce, etc.)
|3 / 7||
Chronological (includes Republican politics, etc.)
|3 / 8||
Meagher County Health Council
|3 / 9||
List of artifacts transferred to the Museum
|3 / 10||
William L. Ford's Masonic membership cards and receipt for annual attorney license tax