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James Deering, Lewis and Clark County, History of Montana, 1913

James Deering, descended from Irish ancestry and the youngest of six children, was born at Hancock, Houghton County, Michigan, January 29, 1876. During the early years of his life he attended the public schools at Calumet, Michigan and at the age of eleven years came to Montana and first resided at Marysville with his parents and later became a resident of Helena. He attended the public school at Marysville and business colleges at Helena until 1893-94, during which year he was a student of All Hallows College, a popular Catholic institution of Salt Lake City, Utah. He was graduated in the commercial course of this institution and upon obtaining his degree returned to Helena and entered a law office as a clerk and stenographer, which position he held for four years, during which time he read law. Thereafter he entered the government service as chief clerk of the United States land office at Helena, where he remained until August 1, 1902 when he was transferred to the United States land office at Great Falls. He remained in the government service until June 1, 1904 when he resigned to accept the management of the office of the Collins Land Company at Helena, which position he still holds. He is one of the most prominent land attorneys of the state, being admitted to practice before the local land offices and also the land department at Washington D.C. Mr. Deering is also president of the Collins Realty Company, which company deals extensively in lands throughout the state. He is also secretary and treasurer of the Brady-Collins Sheep Company and vice-president of the Marysville Gold Mining Company, which latter company is the owner of extensive mining property in the Marysville district and he also personally owns other mining property in that district.

James Deering is the son of Maurice Deering, who was born in Ireland in 1842 and departed this life at Great Falls, Montana on October 3, 1903. The elder Mr. Deering was employed as a stationary engineer by the Drum Lumon Mining Company at Marysville for eighteen years. Before immigrating to this country he married Bridget Duffy at Dublin Ireland and of this union six children were born two of whom now survive: Annie and James. Mr. Deering's mother and sister still reside at Marysville. During the early days in California Mr. Deering Sr. was employed as a stationary engineer by the Bodie Mining Company and came to Montana in 1883.

James Deering was married June 30, 1904 to Miss Mabel Cochran, who prior to her marriage was a teacher in the public schools at Great Falls. Mr. and Mrs. Deering have no children. They reside at 710 Harrison Avenue, Helena.

Michael Dorrity, History of Montana,by Joaquin Miller, 1894

Michael Dorrity, a hardware merchant of Marysville, was born in New York City in 1853. His father, Hugh Dorrity was a native of Ireland where he was reared to manhood and learned the machinist's trade. He was married in his native country and in 1846 came with his wife to New York. They were the parents of nine children. The father died in Oneida County New York at the age of 67 years and his wife survived him only a short time.

Matthew Dorrity, the fourth child in order of birth in the above family, was raised in North Western and Boonville,Oneida County, New York. He arrived in Montana in 1877 and being a natural machinist followed that occupation in Lewis and Clarke County. He has the honor of erecting the first engine ever brought into the mining district of Marysville and also blew the first whistle, the sound of which resounded in the mountains and valleys of this rich mining district and was a prophecy of the great mining results that were to follow in the neighborhood of Marysville. Mr. Dorrity continued in the machinery and mining business until coming to Marysville in 1883 and then conducted a general mercantile store four years, afterward prospected for gold and silver mines, and now has several good claims within four miles of Marysville. In 1892 he built his present hardware store. His property is located on Main Street, north of the depot. Mr. Dorrity carries a general line of hardware, tools and stoves and in connection with his store also does plumbing and roofing.

Mr. Dorrity was married August 19, 1882 to Nellie O'Brien, a native of Chicago and a daughter of William O'Brien also of that city. Mr. Dorrity is independent in political matters, has served as Deputy Sheriff of the county under sheriff Kilpatrick and is now Supervisor of Roads of his district.


Jesse Allen Doughty, History of the State of Montana, by Joaquim Miller, 1894

Jesse Allen Doughty, one of Helena's enterprising businessmen, dates his birth in Hartland, Maine, May 21, 1842.Brief record of his life is as follows:
Mr. Doughty's ancestors on the paternal side were Irish, while on the maternal side they were English. Both were early settlers of America, and were participants in the wars and early history of this country, one of his ancestors serving as a Colonel in the Revolution, and grandfather, James Doughty being a participant in the War of 1812. Phillip Doughty, the father of our subject, was born in Main May 7, 1811, and married Mathetable Allen, also a native of the state. He had in early life been a Baptist, but later became a Methodist. A ship carpenter by occupation, and for a number of years a seafaring man, he later settled down to the quiet life of a farmer.

In 1855 he removed to Iowa, where he owned and improved a farm, and whence, in 1879 he removed to Reedsville, Washington County, Oregon, settled on a farm and there spent the residue of his life. He died in the 77th year of his age, and his wife, after surviving him five years, also died in her 77th year. They had a family of eleven children, of whom ten are still living.

Jesse Allen was the fourth born in this family. He spent the first thirteen years of his life in his native state, removed with his parents to Iowa, and there worked on the farm in summer and attended school in the winter until he was eighteen. Then, in the spring of 1860, he started for California, being hired to drive an ox team across the plains to Salt Lake, hauling goods to the miners. From Salt Lake, he and his party continued on to Placerville, California, making this part of the journey with their own team. The trip from Iowa to Placerville consumed five months. He remained at Placerville during the winter, and the following spring purchased teams and engaged in freighting from Sacramento to Carson City. This business he continued successfully for five years. He then turned his attention to prospecting and was one of the discoverers of gold at Reese River, and for some time was more or less interested in mines. In the meantime, however, he continued his freighting, selling lumber at $250.00 per 1,000 feet and hay for $250.00 per ton.

As showing the enterprise of the people of that time, Mr. Doughty says that he hauled fourteen wagon loads of lumber and hardware for a man, unloaded his train at the site for the building at nine o'clock in the morning and upon going around there at nine o'clock that night he found the large building up, the shelves and stock in, and seven clerks selling goods.

Mr. Doughty next went to Bridger's Pass, on the overland stage line, where he spent a year dealing in cattle and horses. It was then about the close of the war and the Indians were very troublesome, stealing much of his stock. On this account he was obliged to leave. Then he returned to his friends in northwestern Iowa, married and settled on a farm of 120 acres, and resided in that vicinity for twenty-nine years. But still desiring to return to the mountain regions of the West, he sold out and selected Helena as the best and most promising city in which to locate. Accordingly, in 1888 he established himself in the grocery business for two years and a half.

Then he disposed of the store, and with others invested in the Big Ox silver mine near Marysville. After the company had expended $100,000 in its development the stringency for money caused them for the present to ceasework. About this time Mr. Doughty embarked in the furniture and hardware business on Helena Avenue near theNorthern Pacific depot, where he now has one store, 20 x 70 feet, full of hardware, and three large store-rooms, all on the ground floor, devoted to furniture.

It was March 20, 1866 that he was married to Ester Rogers, a native of Connecticut and a daughter of Samuel Rogers of that state. Mr. and Mrs. Doughty have had seven children, four of whom died in childhood. The others are Helen, wife of Robert W. Neil, a businessman of Helena; Mabel, wife of Asbury Owens, a contractor and builder at Spirit Lake, Iowa;and Mary, who resides with her parents.

Mr. Doughty has been a Republican all his life and for a good portion of his time while residing at Spirit Lake, Iowa, he held various offices in his township, including one term as Mayor of the city. He is an active member of the Masonic fraternity and is at present Warden of King Solomen Lodge, No 9 of Helena. He is also Past Chancellor of the K. of P., and their representative to the Grant Lodge and for the past five terms he has been Master the the Exchequer. In the winter of 1866 he became a member of the Methodist Church and for the past twenty-seven years he has been a faithful and active worker. He was Superintendent of the Sabbath school for twelve consecutive years, and has been an official member of the church almost all the time.

Immediately upon his arrival in Helena he presented his letter to the church and soon after was elected one of the Trustees and a member of the building committee, and rendered material and efficient aid in the building of the fine St. Paul's Church ediface, the best in the city. He is now Treasurer of the church, is heart and soul in the work and is considered one of the most useful pillars. As a business man his is obliging and enterprising and is highly respected in the community in which he lives.


Alfred M. Esler, History of the State of Montana, by Joaquim Miller, 1894

Alfred M. Esler, one of Montana's most respected pioneers, came to the Territory in 1864 and has since been identified with her mining interests. Mr. Esler was born in Jefferson County New York in 1840, descending from French ancestors. His parents, Moses and Sophia Wemott Esler, were both natives of New York. They had seven children, four sons and three daughters. The father was a carriage manufacturer, led a useful and worthy life and died in his sixty-second year. The mother, still resident of New York has attained her seventy-ninth year.

Alfred M. Esler is the oldest in his father's family. He was educated in the public schools of his native state and there learned the trade of house painter and decorator. In connection with this business he also conducted a store in which he handled wallpaper, books, stationary, glass, paints, and oils. Rumors of the rich gold mines in Montana induced him to leave a prosperous business in New York and come out west to seek his fortune. He accordingly sold out in 1864 and made the journey across the plains and mountains with ox teams, it being accomplished after long and tedious months of travel. He and his brother-in-law made the trip together, both being accompanied by their wives. At the end of five months they reached their destination which was Idaho, and there they divided their effects, Mr. Esler getting two yoke of oxen for his share. He traded his oxen for a placer claim and engaged inmining but soon afterward discovered that his claim was of no value. Later in the season Governor Edgerton gave him the appointment of Justice of the Peace.With this office and by keeping boarders they managed to live. After the death of his wife, he engaged in prospecting and was fortunate enough to discover a good silver mine, which he named the Legal Tender. That fall he started with a six horse wagon load of the ore and took it back across the plains to the east. His showing it to the people there resulted in the formation of the company, to which he sold a three-fourth interest in the mine. In the spring of 1866, he returned to engage in operating it. Governor Hauser was then interested in a St. Louis company and Mr. Esler gave him $20,000 in gold to put up a smelter andsmelt 200 tons of the ore. It proved a success. Mr. Esler afterward put up two smelters and a refiner. After they had taken out a ton and a half of silver the mine gave out. The freights were so high it was impossible to make it pay, so they discontinued work there.

Mr. Esler has since located several mines. Indeed, he has made this his life business, meeting with varied success. At this writing he is interested in several rich mining prospects in North Idaho and British Columbia. He is one of the owners of the Badger Mine of the Coeur d'Alene country this mine being valued at a million dollars. A number of the most prominent citizens in both Helena and San Francisco are interested in it. This Badger mill was blown up by the miners in 1892. The miners struck for higher wages, a demand which the owners of the mine deemed unreasonable and with which they could not comply, so they shut down the works and later upon opening again, they employed new men. While sixty men were at work in the mill it was exploded with giant powder. The miners attacked the workman, five being killed and fifteen wounded. Two of Mr. Esler's brothers were in the mill. One was taken prisoner and the other escaped and hid in an excavation.

Mr. Esler and another gentlemen chartered a special train and left the scene of the action. He had been firm and resolute during all the trouble. At the time of the attack 100 men went to the hotel to search for "old Esler" as they called him. Some of the men engaged in the outrage have been tried and sent to the penitentiary. The mill has since been rebuilt and the company is now operating the mine.

Mr. Esler, in 1874 married Ophelia Johnston, a daughter of Colonel J.A. Johnston of Helena. They have two children, Frances M. and Alfred M. Jr whom Mr. had the great sorrow of losing May 25, 1894. Mr. Esler was made a Mason in Boonville, New York, when he was twenty-one and has ever since remained a member of the fraternity. He has been a Republican all his life, has always taken an active interest in political matters and has served his party well. He was elected a member of the Territorial Legislature of Montana in 1866.

That year there were only two Republicans in the House and the laws passed by the Legislature were so noxious that through the efforts of Senator Sanders, the whole action was annulled by the U.S. Congress. In those exciting times a man ran a great deal of risk in being a Republican and it required no little courage for Mr. Esler tomaintain his position and act and vote according to the occasion.Since that time many changes have taken place, both in the times and in the opinions of men. Mr.Esler now has a nice home in Helena, is surrounded with all the comforts of life and he and his family are held in high esteem by their fellow citizens of Helena.


William H. Ewing, History of the State of Montana, by Joaquim Miller, 1894

Col. William H. Ewing, a verteran of both the Seminole and Mexican wars and one of Montana's highly respected pioneers, was born in Millersburgh, Bourbon County, Kentucky July 11, 1818. His ancestors were early settlers of Virginia and Maryland and his forefathers, on both his paternal and maternal side, were participants in the Revolutionary War. Colonel Ewing's father, William M. Ewing, was born in Hamliton Ohio, in 1796; was married in 1817 to Mary Reed, a native of Pennsylvania, born in 1799. After their marriage they resided in Kentucky for a time, two of their children being born there, and from Kentucky removed to Ohio, where two more children were added to their family. William M. Ewing died in Ohio in 1824. His widow survived him unti 1852 when she passed away in the 53rd year of her age.

Young Ewing was just merging into manhood when trouble arose with the Seminole Indians in Florida. He elisted for service in the war and went to the seat of action. He served under Colonel Zachary Taylor and Colonel Dick Gentry. On Christmas Day 1837, they fought the battle of Okechobee and whipped the Seminoles, the loss to the United States being sixty men. The Colonel and seven men were killed in Mr. Ewing's company.

Mr. Ewing remained in Florida until October, when he returned north. A few years later when the trouble with Mexico arose, he again enlisted his services. But previous to this he was employed as clerk in his uncle's store in London, Missouri. It was in Colonel Willick's Battalion, Company I, that Mr. Ewing entered the ranks for the Mexican war, and soon afterward he received the appointment of Colonel's Bugler, in which capacity he served until after the American victory at the city of Mexico. He had been mustered in at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and served for some time in New Mexico, where his term of enlistment expired and where he re-enlisted in Company C, Santa Fe Battalion. They continued in New Mexico until October of 1848 and then marched to Independence, Missouri, where he was mustered out in November, same year. He participated in the battle at Topuse and also the battle of Santa Cruz.

He was with the forces that wintered on the Rio Grande and it was there that they received news that the city of Mexico was taken and hostilities ended. Before this news reached them, however, they had gone on forced marches to Santa Cruz and had captured that city. The war over, Colonel Ewing returned to Independce Missouri and was honorably discharged.

Soon after the Mexican war the subject of our sketch started from Missouri across the plains to California and landed at Los Angeles on Christmas, 1848. He went to the mines at Rough and Ready, below Nevada City and in a short time made about $12,000. From there he went on the Gold Lake stampede and lost the most of his money. He continued to mine and trade until 1854 when he returned to Sante Fe. The following year he went onto Missouri and from thereto Kansas and opposite the city of Leavenworth he located a tract of land, and on his Florida war warrant took up this abode upon the same and continued to live there several years and afterward sold for $6,000.

In 1856 he married Rebecca B. Hill, a widow with two children. Her maiden name was Taylor. Of her children we record that Mary B, formerly the wife of David M. Goodwin, now Mrs. Edward Crawford, resides near her stepfather; Sallie L, now deceased, was the wife of J.W. Hopkins; and the adopted son, Phillip, lives in the Flathead county in Montana. It was in 1864 that Col. Ewing crossed the plains the second time, this time coming in an ox train, his outfit consisting of four wagons and a carriage and bringing his wife and son. The other children were left to attend school. The date of their arrival at Virginia City was Sept. 7, 1864. The Colonel brought with him a lot of goods,a part of which he sold at a good profit at Virginia City and the following spring brought the rest of his goods to Helena, where he disposed of them. He then engaged in the livery business in Helena, and from the fall of 1865 until 1871 did a successful business. In 1871 he sold his horses and carriages and rented his building and the following year the building was burned, his loss being several thousand dollars. In 1868 he purchased a squatter's right to 320 acres of land in the Prickly Pear Valley, four miles north of Helena, this tract costing him $1500.00.

Later he purchased 160 acres more, for which he paid $400.00 and this latter piece of land he gave to his son when he became of age. In the spring of 1870 he rented his farm and accompanied by his wife, made a trip to California,remaining in the Golden State from July until December. Then they went East and spent the rest of the winter and in the spring came back to Montana. Although he had bought his farm in 1868, it was not until the spring of 1872that he moved to it. Here he has since resided, and his career as a farmer has been a successful one, his principal products being hay and grain, which always finds a ready market in Helena. In 1890 he sold 160 acres of his farm for $75.00 per acre and the rest he now rents, the income from it together with the interest on his money affording him a comfortable support. He also receives a small pension for the service he rendered during the Mexican War.

Mrs. Ewing died Dec. 29. 1888. She was a most estimable woman, and during their early pioneer life as well as later years of prospiertiy she proved herself a helpmate in the truest sense of that word. Dec. 8, 1890 the Colonel married Mary E. Bates, his present companion, whose daughter is named Ester. Col. Ewing has never joined a church or society of any kind. He has been a life-long Democrat. A veteran of two wars, a pioneer of several States and a man who has traveled extensively, he has many pleasing reminiscences which he relates in a manner that is instructive as well as entertaining. Few of the pioneers of Montana have a larger circle of friends than Col. Ewing.



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