Archives West Finding Aid
Table of Contents
Willson and Rich Records, 1866-1871
Overview of the Collection
- Willson and Rich
- Willson and Rich Records
- 4 volumes
- Collection Number
- Collection 632, MtBC, us (collection)
- The Willson and Rich Records consist of three day books and one ledger which document the firm's conception in Canton, New York through the relocation of the enterprise to Bozeman in 1866 and its operation up to 1871. Information in the records includes: sales transactions along the overland journey to Montana; expenses and sales during the first five years of the business; documentation of the purchases of many individuals prominent in the early history of Bozeman.
Montana State University Library, Merrill G. Burlingame Special Collections
Montana State University-Bozeman Library
Merrill G Burlingame Special Collections
P.O. Box 173320
- 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
Historical NoteReturn to Top
The Willson and Rich firm of Bozeman, Montana Territory was a merchandising operation founded in 1866 by Loren W. Tuller and Charles V. Rich, both of New York. Encouraged by their friend, Lester S. Willson, Tuller and Rich pooled their resources to organize an expedition to Montana and establish a store. In company with Lester's brother, Davis, the partners left Canton, New York in May of 1866. After a stop in Omaha, Nebraska to purchase stock, the party crossed the plains and reached the new town of Bozeman on September 2, 1866. At first they sold goods out of a tent but by November of that year they rented space in a two-story log cabin owned by the local Masonic order. They continued in business at that location until Lester Willson arrived in the spring of 1867. He became the senior partner in the firm and, on the departure of Loren Tuller in the fall of 1867, the senior partner, changing the name to "Willson and Rich." The firm built a new store in 1868 and Lester Willson eventually incorporated the business in 1893 and sold it in 1914.
Content DescriptionReturn to Top
The Willson and Rich records consist of three day books and one ledger which document the firm's conception in Canton, New York through the relocation of the enterprise to Bozeman in 1866 and its operation up to 1871. Information in the records includes: sales transactions along the overland journey to Montana; expenses and sales during the first five years of the business once it was established in Bozeman; documentation of the purchases of many individuals prominent in the early history of Bozeman.
Administrative InformationReturn to Top
Daybooks and ledger maintained by the business firm of Willson and Rich, Bozeman, Montana Territory were donated to Special Collections by Mrs. Fred Willson, Bozeman, Montana on May 28, 1968.
This collection was processed 2009 February 10
Related material held by Special Collections:
Collection 1018 Willson Company collection, 1912-1951
Collection 1076 Davis Willson papers, 1861-1915
Collection 1407 Lester S. Willson family papers, 1861-1915
Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top
Names and SubjectsReturn to Top
- General stores-Montana-Bozeman
- Bozeman (Mont.)-Commerce
Form or Genre Terms
- Business records-Montana-Bozeman