Duncan-Packer Family Papers, circa 1900-1948  PDF  XML

Overview of the Collection

Duncan, Troy Wallace, 1881-1948
Duncan-Packer Family Papers
circa 1900-1948
.4 linear feet
Collection Number
Collection 0860, MtBC, us (collection)
Primarily business records, letters, receipts, gas and oil leases, and other legal documents created or collected by the Troy Duncan or Erwin Packer families. Subjects include homesteading, Liberty county and communities therein, oil and gas exploration and leasing, and sheep and cattle ranching.
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: 406-994-4242
Fax: 406-994-2851
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Troy Wallace Duncan was born in Missouri on October 22, 1881 and arrived in northern Montana after 1900. He received his mail at Hill Post Office just south of the Sweet Grass Hills. He worked for Laird Brothers as a camp tender for their sheep herders and his first day book gives entries for personal supplies he bought for the people along the route he traveled to the camps. Duncan married Helen Keith, a daughter of Ina R. Keith, the post mistress at the Alma Post office located in the Alma Cash Store east of the Sweet Grass Hills. Ina Keith was Scotch and had worked as a stewardess on an ocean liner between Liverpool and Cape Town. Her husband Jack left Scotland for the United States sometime before 1900 and drove a herd of cattle to Montana. That year he sent for his wife and in 1903 Helen and her sister joined their parents in Montana. Troy Duncan died on November 3, 1948.

Erwin M. Packer came to Sage Montana from Iowa in 1897 as a ranch hand. He established a homestead claim in 1908 and two years later worked as a locator for other would-be homesteaders. Packer raised and trained work horses on the homestead.

Wilhelm and Matilda Suckow came to the Dakotas from Germany prior to 1884. In that year Wilhelm became a missionary and had extended absences from home thereafter. When the adult Suckow children arrived in Montana, they located their homestead claims with a common corner where they could live adjacent to one another. Martha Suckow married Erwin M. Packer. Their daughter, Dorothy, married John Wallace Duncan in 1946. John was the son of Troy and Helen Duncan.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Primarily business records, letters, receipts, gas and oil leases, and other legal documents created or collected by the Troy Duncan or Erwin Packer families. Subjects include homesteading, Liberty county and communities therein, oil and gas exploration and leasing, and sheep and cattle ranching. Minnie Paugh, the Special Collections Librarian in 1970, borrowed original family documents from Dorothy Packer Duncan and had them photocopied, and original photographs were used for the production of copy negatives. After she returned the documents, Paugh arranged them in folders that had no apparent sorting order other than family origin. The folders were then given a near complete item level listing. This order has been maintained and the folder contents below are listed as they were prepared by Paugh.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

Original documents and photographs pertaining to the Troy Duncan and Erwin Packer families of Hill and Liberty Counties, Montana were loaned to Montana State University for copying by Dorothy Packer Duncan, Joplin, Montana in 1970. Following their reproduction, the original materials were returned to Duncan. This collection was reported to the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections in 1979 and assigned by them accession number 79-650.

Processing Note

This collection was processed 2016 August 25

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Packer Family Accountt Book, circa 1912, circa 1913Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/1

Container(s) Description Dates
(Suckow Four Corners of homesteads adjoined)
Alfred's entries
Four Corners
(Cora, Martha and Alfred) Ruben’s household was separate
Mable’s personal account
Martha’s personal account
Rubin's personal account

Erwin M. PackerReturn to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/2

Container(s) Description Dates
Gildford Mercantile Company accounts
(2 items)
Andersch Brothers dealers in hides and furs
Thos. O'Hanlon Company, Chinook, machine parts letter
Fargo Seed House
(seed orders)
Letter about an order from Sears, Roebuck and Company

Erwin M. PackerReturn to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/3

(Sage, Montana)

Container(s) Description Dates
Letter for the family
round robin letter telling of the winter of 1912
Letter from Chester Trading Company
Bill from Great Northern
Deposits Security State Bank, Havre
Annual Report Security State Bank of Havre
A.W. Sims offered work to E.M. Packer
(Oldham, Montana)
Purchase of hay by F.A. Fifer
(Oldham, Montana)
December 1907
Letters from Elmer Skinner at Laird, Montana
Letter from Mrs. Chas. Skinner trying to locate work as a cook

Erwin M. PackerReturn to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/4

Container(s) Description Dates
Authorization from T.P. Strode to skin out dead cattle
(bad winter)
Authorization from C. R. Keller to skin out dead cattle
(bad winter)
Strands Nursery
(tree order)
3 letters and 2 envelopes from First Bank of Chester
also notes
Checks from First Bank of Chester
Deposit slips Security State Bank of Havre
Letter to locate a homesteader by E.M. Packer
Order to Piper Lumber Company of Joplin for supplies used as Hill County Road Supervisor
Letter from A.J. Jordan, Columbia Falls about lumber for church pews north of Rudyard
E.M. Packer's letter from Sage, Montana, to locate the owner of a brand
Alma is designated as a post office

Erwin M. PackerReturn to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/5

Container(s) Description
Episode in his life in the writing of Martha Suckow Packer

Erwin M. PackerReturn to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/6

(Homestead Locator)

Container(s) Description Dates
Order to David C. Cook Publishing Company for Sunday school supplies
Hy Christansen payment of Packer bill at Gildford mercantile
Letter to Packer from Conrad Schimopf about the theft of a horse
Letter from H.L. Larson about a filing receipt on a homestead

Wilhelm SuckowReturn to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/7

Container(s) Description Dates
Letter in German from Wilhelm to wife Matilda
February 1884
Account in Martha Suckow Packer’s handwriting about Wilhelm Suckow’s life
Letter from Wm. Suckow
Letter from Cora

Troy DuncanReturn to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/8

Container(s) Description
Daybook kept while he was a camp tender for Laird Brothers
It shows the prices of supplies he bought for the people who lived along his route. The entry of September 1906 lists his assets and those of L.M. Sargent when they started their partnership venture raising sheep.

Alma Post OfficeReturn to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/9

Container(s) Description Dates
Register of Advances received on domestic money orders

Troy DuncanReturn to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/10

Container(s) Description Dates
Letter from J.B. Newman of Shelby
about the sale of sheep
October 4, 1934
Letter from a O.E. Lehmes about purchase of feeder cattle
Birth and history of the Kevin oil field by Gordon Campbell
circa 1924
Brochures of the Gordon Campbell Kevin Syndicate
Annual Reports 1926 and 1927
Oil and Gas Lease
signed by Troy and Helen Duncan with F.T. Ferdig (form is incomplete), other leases for 1930

Troy DuncanReturn to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/11

Container(s) Description
Personal account book of Troy Duncan.
The township plats were for his work as a locator, 1912-1914.

Troy DuncanReturn to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/12

Container(s) Description Dates
Seed Liens
Letter from A. Ladenburg
Papers from the Sinclair Holding Company, specializing in Montana Loans
papers locate and give the financial status of homesteads owned by Lynhague, Kreighbaum, Lattimer
Loan from the NY Life Insurance Company
Tax Assessment
Liberty County against John Duncan of Alma for sheep
Oil and Gas Lease Troy Duncan to J.P. Hanson
Troy Duncan
Credit slip giving prices
Credit slips Chester Trading Company
Ina Keith obituary in the Liberty Company Newspaper

2 letters from the Investor's Service Corporation about the Barzie and Maddock Leases for which he could not pay, 1928Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/13

Container(s) Description Dates
Peoples Oil Company articles of incorporation
LMR Oil Company of Shelby
S.J. Res. 20 766 Congress
1st Sec. 1934 with a letter from Burton K. Wheeler concerning legislation to cancel seed loans for crop yields of less than 5 bu an acre
Troy Duncan first mortgage by Johnson Van Sant Company of Minneapolis
Troy W. Duncan in acct. with Alma Cash Store

Troy DuncanReturn to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/14

Container(s) Description Dates
Handwritten contract lease between Troy Duncan and Karl Rund
Drilling well map of the Sweet Grass and Liberty Counties, Montana
circa 1928
Last will and testament of Troy Wallace Duncan and Helen Rose Duncan, Alma Post Office, Montana
November 28, 1933
Information for prospective homesteaders
March 3, 1932
Letter to Thomas F. Corbally to try to acquire oil rights under the stock-raising homestead law

Copy photographic negativesReturn to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/15

Container(s) Description Dates
#1. Suckow Family
#2. Alma Cash Store showing Mrs. Laird (mail carrier) Ina Keith, Helen Duncan, Tom and Troy Duncan
#3. Same as above from different view
#4. Mr. Keith and his stone boat to haul water—granddaughter at Alma
#5. E.M. Packer hauling wheat to Inverness
#6. E.M. Packer and Izra Suckow snubbing a horse
#7. N. Rudyard Evangelical Church
#8. N. Rudyard Evangelical Church
#9. Suckow family Christmas
#10. Hart-Parr Tractor used by Mr. Suckow for custom threshing and ground breaking, binding and plowing being done in one operation
#11. Hart-Parr Tractor
#12. Swimming picture—Sage Creek near Packer's Ranch
#13. Rome Farm home of Keith's in Scotland
#14. Jack Keith on horseback
#15. Keith home at Alma with little wash house
#16. Jack and Alma Keith in buggy, Helen Duncan on horse at Keith house
#17. Wedding picture - Troy and Helen Duncan
#18. Troy Duncan's sheep in Jack Keith's shed at Alma
#19. Successful winter wheat crop
about 1938
#20. Lexington car Troy Duncan bought when he sold his sheep
#21. Hay stack at Browning
#22. E.M. Packer pictures—Horse ranch homestead
#23. E.M. Packer pictures—Horse ranch homestead
#24. E.M. Packer pictures—Horse ranch homestead
#25. E.M. Packer pictures—Horse ranch homestead
#26. E.M. Packer pictures—Horse ranch homestead
#27. E.M. Packer pictures—Horse ranch homestead

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Frontier and pioneer life -- Montana -- Liberty County
  • Petroleum -- Prospecting
  • Ranching -- Montana
  • Sheep farming -- Montana

Personal Names

  • Duncan, Troy W.
  • Packer, Erwin M.

Family Names

  • Duncan family -- Archives
  • Packer family -- Archives
  • Suckow family

Geographical Names

  • Montana -- History -- 20th century

Form or Genre Terms

  • Business records
  • Correspondenc
  • Daybooks
  • Family papers
  • Legal documents