Homestead Days, circa 1959

Overview of the Collection

Duffield, Jessie Howard, 1874-1964
Homestead Days
circa 1959
1 item
Collection Number
Collection 0054, MtBC, us (collection)
Homestead Days is a typewritten essay by Duffield describing her childhood experiences in South Dakota and her later homesteading experience in Montana. Duffield describes the blizzard of 1887-1888, farming, community activities, schools, and many local residents.
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
Telephone: 4069944242
Fax: 4069942851
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

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

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Jessie Howard Duffield was born on December 14, 1874 in Red Oak, Iowa. Her parents moved to a homestead claim near Parker, South Dakota in 1882, and Jessie worked on the family ranch while also attending school. She married Sam Duffield in Amboy, Minnesota in 1896, but when her parents and siblings decided to move to eastern Montana to again establish homestead claims in 1910, Jessie and Sam accompanied them. The extended family filed on several tracts in the Fertile Prairie area of Fallon County, Montana. Jessie and Sam moved to Oregon in 1921, but they returned to Fallon County in 1934 and lived on their son Forrest's ranch. Jessie became a handloom weaver and rugmaker, along with developing her talents as an amateur photographer and writer. She published at least one fiction piece in a national periodical, "Old Paint", in Ranch Romances, v. 134, no. 4, October (September 20), 1946, and many columns in the local newspapers. Towards the end of her life she wrote a short essay on memories of her life as a homesteader, and she died in Baker, Montana on February 24, 1964.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Homestead Days is an eight page typewritten essay by Duffield describing her childhood experiences in South Dakota and her later homesteading experience in Montana. She describes her memories of the great blizzard of 1887-1888 and hardships in keeping the family cabin warm. When she turns her attention to her Montana experiences, Duffield describes farming, community activities, schools, and many local residents, some of which she identifies in a poem about a local dance held at Fertile Prairie on Halloween, 1914. The typescript has been corrected with pencil marginalia.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

Typewritten reminiscence created by Jessie Duffield was donated to Special Collections in 1963 by Sara Kerr of Baker, Montana.

Processing Note

This collection was processed 2009 August 13

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Agriculture-Montana-Fallon County
  • Blizzards-South Dakota-Turner County
  • Community life-Montana-Fallon County
  • Frontier and pioneer life-Montana-Fallon County
  • Frontier and pioneer life-South Dakota-Turner County
  • Girls-South Dakota-Turner County-Biography
  • Pioneer children-South Dakota-Turner County-Biography
  • Schools-Montana-Fallon County

Personal Names

  • Duffield, Jessie Howard,-1874-1964

Family Names

  • Howard family

Geographical Names

  • Fallon County (Mont.)-History-20th century
  • Fallon County (Mont.)-Social life and customs-20th century
  • Fertile Prairie (Mont.)
  • Parker (S.D.)
  • Turner County (S.D.)-History

Form or Genre Terms

  • Reminiscences