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Stoneydale publishes book on historic Musselshell trading post

 

The publication of a major historical book featuring a dramatic Montana territorial-era journal kept by a gunsmith-merchant at the mouth of the Musselshell River where it enters the Missouri River – titled “Life and Death at the Mouth of the Musselshell, 1868-1872” was announced recently by publishing firm Stoneydale Press of Stevensville.

Edited by H. Duane Hampton, a retired professor emeritus of the University of Montana in Missoula, the 240-page book tells the story of C.M. Lee, gunsmith and merchant, who located at the mouth of the Musselshell in 1868 in what would prove to be a vain attempt to establish a major trading and shipping post along the Missouri in competition with the already-established Fort Benton some 160 miles upriver. The subtitle of the book notes that it features the diary of C.M. Lee and has been in the making for more than 20 years as Hampton not only delved into the background of what Lee encountered at that time in his isolated outpost in the harsh landscape of north-central Montana. Hampton researched and provided biographic sketches of some 200 individuals who visited Fort Musselshell and were mentioned by Lee in his journal. Included among those was the infamous “Liver Eating” Johnson, who was given his moniker after an encounter with hostile Indians near the fort.

During the period covered by Lee’s journal, Fort Musselshell played a significant role in the history of the territory’s dynamic change from absolute wilderness to an area of major contention for dominance involving the Native Americans frequenting the area as well as the post Civil War whites who came to the territory in pursuit of wealth. For a time, Fort Musselshell and its people caught the attention of anyone who traversed the area. It was a business enterprise, a home, a haven, a stop-along-the-way for travelers on the Missouri River steamboats, plus a target of incessant raids by the varying Native American peoples in the area at the time – several bands of Sioux, Assiniboine, Gros Ventre, two groups of Crow, and others, who stopped by either to trade or to steal and kill. From Lee’s journals we realize that those at Fort Musselshell at the time were never sure of which option they would experience on any given day. The journal is laden with the day-to-day travails of boredom heightened by repetitive and terrorizing attacks by the Sioux or Assiniboine as well as those living at Fort Musselshell having to cope with an incredibly harsh, sometimes brutal natural environment.

One pre-publication reviewer, in fact, had this to say about the book: “Hampton’s an astute historian and his journal – in helpful context through intensive research – brings to life the many interesting characters Lee includes in his narrative. I’ve never read a better account of the West on the cusp of settlement.” Another reviewer: “Highly recommended … an unbelievable story … a ready reference for historians.”

Hampton’s book includes four major maps illustrating aspects of how Fort Musselshell related to other ongoing events in the Territory at that time, as well as a dozen black and white photographs from that era. One particular photo, which appears both on the book’s cover and in a chapter describing how it was located, is the only known photograph in existence of Fort Musselshell. The photograph came to light in 1996 at an antique show in Los Angeles, California, when Dr. James S. Brust of Los Angeles, a person with an historical interest in Montana, came across it when viewing a collection of stereographs and noted the word “Muscleshell” written on one of them. He deduced that it was of the famed but long-disappeared Fort Musselshell in Montana.

The graphic maps, one in stunning 3-D format depicting the terrain found along the Missouri River in its “breaks” country where the two rivers meet, were developed by one of the author’s sons, Matthew Hampton of Portland, Oregon, a professional cartographer.

Hampton’s book is divided into several sections, including a detailed Introduction in which he sets Lee’s story in the context of what was going on in the Territory at the time, Lee’s detailed journal over the five-year period from 1868 to 1872, biographical sketches of some 200 individuals who figured in the history of the fort, plus an appendix that includes two historical observations of life at Fort Musselshell during that period.

The book joins a number of other Stoneydale Press titles of historical interest, including such titles as “Colter’s Run” by Stephen Gough, “Montana Ghost Towns and Gold Camps” by William W. Whitfield, “Lewis and Clark In the Bitterroot” and “Lewis and Clark On The Upper Missouri” by The Discovery Writers, “Sometimes Only Horses to Eat: David Thompson – The Saleesh House Period 1807-1812”, by Carl Haywood, the award-winning “Montana’s Bitterroot Valley” by Russ Lawrence, “Dale Burk’s Montana,” by Dale A. Burk, and “First Roots: The Story of Stevensville, Montana’s Oldest Community,” by The Discovery Writers, among others.

“Life and Death at the Mouth of the Musselshell, 1868-1872” was issued in 6×9-inch softcover format. It contains 240 pages, a dozen black and white historical photographs, four maps, and an appendix that includes two historical essays by individuals who were in Fort Musselshell at the time Lee maintained his enterprise there. The book retails for $19.95 and is available at many bookstores, gift shops and other outlets, or direct from Stoneydale Press, 523 Main St., Stevensville, MT 59870 or on its website at www.stoneydale.com.

 

 

Nominations sought for Soroptimist award

Soroptimist International of Hamilton is promoting a program targeted to young women who make the community and world a better place. The Violet Richardson Award honors young women, between the ages of 14 and 17, for volunteer action, such as fighting drugs, crime and violence; cleaning up the environment and working to end discrimination and poverty.

“As a volunteer service organization for business and professional women, Soroptimists believe that by acknowledging young women’s volunteer involvement today, they will grow up to be vital, active members of the community” said Saundra Amsden, president of the Hamilton club.

The Violet Richardson Award program begins at the local Soroptimist club level, where the Soroptimist International of Hamilton presents a monetary award to the winner and to her volunteer organization. Club level winners then become eligible for awards at higher levels.

Applications for the award program are available online by contacting Kathleen Graler at 961-0130, or through counseling offices at all the local schools. Applications must be returned to Soroptimist International of Hamilton by December 1.

The award program is named after Violet Richardson, the president of the first Soroptimist club in 1921. Richardson believed in personal responsibility and the motto, “It’s what you do that counts.” She lived her life accordingly–as an active member in her community, committed to creating opportunities for girls and young women. Soroptimist established this award to honor the memory of this unique woman and her dedication to volunteer action.

Founded in 1974, Soroptimist of Hamilton is part of Soroptimist International of the Americas. Hamilton members join with almost 100,000 Soroptimists in 120 countries and territories to contribute time and financial support to community based projects benefiting women. The Hamilton club helps women by supporting SAFE, Emma’s House, Genesis House, the Bitterroot Youth Home and by funding mammograms at Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital, just to name a few. In addition the club provides scholarships through the Women’s Opportunity Award, Pro-Tech Award & Fellowship Award. For more information about these awards contact Graler at 961-0130.

Ravalli County Republics hold ‘election kickoff’

The Ravalli County Republican Central Committee kicked off the 2012 election campaign with its annual spaghetti dinner. Approximately 180 people attended the fundraiser, themed 2012 Election Kick Off, “Take Back Our State”. It was held at the Eagles in Hamilton on October 29. County Attorney, Bill Fulbright, served as the emcee, with Steve Daines, running for Denny Rehberg’s Congressional seat, as the principal speaker. Both local and state candidates participated. Brad Johnson and Scott Aspenleider, running for Secretary of State, Derek Skees, running for State Auditor, and Jim Shockley, running for Attorney General, all spoke to the crowd. Five out of the eight Governor candidates were represented. Rick Hill, Ken Miller and Drew Turiano, a newcomer to the race, spoke. Ryan Zinke, running for Lt Governor with Neil Livingstone, represented Mr. Livingstone, and Kyle Schmauck spoke for Corey Stapleton. A common theme throughout the candidates’ speeches was making Montana more business friendly to create jobs, and tap into Montana’s natural treasures to create jobs. To find out more about Republican candidates running in the 2012 election, go to www.ravcogop.com.

 

Republican Women honored
The Ravalli Country Republican Women’s Club recently presented an elephant lapel pin to the following members with 20 years or more: Laurie Burnham, Ann Craft, Vonnie Miller, Marilee Shockley, and Betty Swift. A pin was given to Debbie Harmon for 10 years as a member. The Republican Party was organized in 1854. Jeannette Rankin, a Montana Republican, was elected in 1917 to the US House of Representatives. She was the first woman to serve in the House. In 1919, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was passed, giving women the right to vote. The Ravalli County Republican Women’s Club was formed in September 1944. There were 35 members. Dues in 1944 were 50 cents a year.
Because you care, there’s Energy Share!
November 1 marked the start of Energy Share of Montana’s public relations campaign. That means you’ll see and hear ads on TV and radio with information both on how to access Energy Share if you need help, or if you’d like to be of assistance to your neighbor by making a tax-deductible contribution. You’ll also find donation envelopes or pledge cards in your energy bill this month, or in your Rural Montana magazine. That material will include contact information should you need help.
Energy Share is a statewide nonprofit organization whose primary purpose is to provide emergency energy assistance to Montanans facing loss of heat or light in their homes due to unavoidable or unforeseen circumstances. Energy Share concentrates on providing one-time assistance. Energy Share is funded entirely by the private sector, so we depend on donations from individuals and businesses across the state to keep our programs running.
“Over the last two years Energy Share helped 530 families in this area,” said Mark Vinger, Energy Share Board Treasurer and representative for Montana-Dakota Utilities. “We would not be able to do nearly as much if it weren’t for the generosity of all Montanans.” The Board’s policy is that 100% of these gifts be used for families in need – none of the private donations are used for administration. For example, if you live in Glendive, 100% of your tax-deductible donation to Energy Share is first used in that area to help a family stay warm. It is truly a matter of neighbors helping neighbors.
Unfortunately the economic turmoil currently felt around the world has the highest impact on our low-income neighbors. As one can guess, the population Energy Share serves is growing:
· Montana’s unemployment rate increased 3% from 4.8% in August 2008 to 7.8% in August 2011 (US Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics).
· The unemployment rate includes unemployed people who are actively seeking work. It does not include those who got discouraged and dropped out of the labor force.
· Transportation costs have risen dramatically, a huge consideration for lower income Montanans. Housing outside the city limits is often less expensive, but that creates higher fuel prices for getting to and from work – a Catch 22 for many of Energy Share’s clients.
· Many retired citizens on fixed incomes have felt the results of the economic downturn disproportionately and are having to make do with less income.
People in our own back yard need help – sometimes folks who would never let on that they’re in trouble. In addition to bill assistance Energy Share runs a refrigerator replacement program for eligible seniors and disabled folks who own their homes, and a furnace and water heater safety and efficiency program for customers of Montana-Dakota Utilities.
Those in need of energy assistance this winter can call Action for Eastern Montana in Glendive at 406-377-3564 or 1-800-227-0703, or the statewide Energy Share office at 1-888-779-7589. For more information log onto www.energysharemt.com.

Lolo churches offer free morning child care
Hey, parents! Do you have to go to work early before the Lolo School building opens? Are you worried that your child is out in the cold on those mornings?
Worry no more! Three local churches are offering a free morning drop off for working parents. Drop off your child between 6:45 and 7:45 a.m. at Cornerstone Ministries, 11625 Hwy 93 S. in Lolo. Staff will walk them to the school cafeteria at 7:45 a.m. For information call Kara at 544-7696.

Call for artists
Artists Along the Bitterroot (AAB) Studio tours (June 1-2-3, 2012) is now accepting applications for membership, deadline February 12, 2012. This is a unique annual spring tour by artists opening their studios and galleries to the public.
Call includes artists from Lolo to Darby. Download applications at Www.ArtistsAlongtheBitterroot.com or call 777-0553 for more information.

Obituary

Elizabeth Jobe Paddock
Elizabeth Jobe Paddock, 72, passed away Thursday, November 17, 2011, at her son’s home in Missoula after a valiant battle with cancer. She was born September 8, 1939, in Corvallis, MT to Frank and Elizabeth Jobe. She grew up in Ravalli County and graduated from Corvallis High School. She married Rex Paddock on June 27, 1959, but the couple later divorced in 1982.

Elizabeth had a long career working at the 4B’s as a cook in the early years then in management. She then worked at the Outback as a prep cook from the time they opened in Missoula until late last year.
Elizabeth enjoyed her kids, crocheting, cooking, gardening and quiet times on the swing. In the early years her home was where kids gathered to play sports and to attend one of the many children’s parties hosted by her. She strongly supported her children through their adult lives and later her grandchildren. She was a very strong and determined Mother and Grandmother and her support, presence and dedication will be sorely missed each and every day.
She is preceded in death by her parents Frank and Elizabeth (Vetsch) Jobe, her sisters Peggy, Rosella, Pauline and Johanna, and her brothers Dominic, Jake, Joseph and Henry (Hank).
She is survived by her children Tammy Dailey, Connie Kotecki, Karl (Ciara) Paddock and Myron (Randi) Paddock, her grandchildren Mary (Boone), Cory, Curtis, Jamie, Jeramie, Alonda, Raili, Cole, Lila, Amber and Aaron; along with her great grandchildren Cheyenne, Jubilee and Sydni. She had been eagerly awaiting the birth of her fourth great grandchild in December.
A Memorial Mass was held Tuesday, November 22, 2011, at the St. Francis Catholic Church, with the inurnment following at Riverview Cemetery with the Rev. John Darragh presiding. A reception followed at the St. Francis Pastoral Life Center.
The family suggests donations be given to her favorite charity, The Poverello Center in Missoula.
Brothers Mortuary and Crematory considers it an honor to serve the family. Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.brothersmortuary.com

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