Yellowstone Genealogy Forum

Town Founder's Wills

(Revised Friday, June 04, 2004)

The Forum has the following wills and testaments of persons who had a definite part in the formation of Billings. They are contained within the Title Abstracts that discuss the property they or their heirs owned. Along with these wills are some statements about the true meaning intended to be said by the descendent. The aftermath of these wills has left a trace of court room antics and various legal process servings that almost baffle the mind. Even testimony from the City Clerks stating that they did indeed post required notices at specified locations per court orders on a certain day and time were evident, along with affidavits from others stating that the clerks did indeed post such notices.

For anyone having a curiosity as to what happens when a person dies, and leaves a parcel of land, either with a will or not, then the exhaustive series of events that are described in these files, is a must to see. The legal costs can easily exceed the property value, and the clearing of a title, even in transfer to a surviving spouse is nearly impossible. The transfer takes a very long time. Not listed in this will section, but of general interest is the discovery of placer gold in Sec 26E, Tp1N (Heights Area) on several 20 acre plots of land in 1934. See Case # 50445-B, pg 43, and the methods of recording the find.


Will Ref Date


Title Location Ref


Rual Vance Brown

Nov 28, 1933

Oct 24, 1937

Case #2964-Cooke, Park Co, MT

Lot 8, Block 12 in Cooke, MT valued at $100. Lots are 25 ft x 100 ft and located on Main Street, Cooke Campsite (eg, Cooke City). Numerous court actions ensued between family members and others before propety ownership was established, and title transferred to the Scottish Rites of Livingston (Dr Frank M Nelson; Venerable Master). The Scottish Rites transferred the property to Olive Watt Nordquist on Aug 8, 1938.

Charles Wheeler Hoffman

Jul 22, 1930


Case #2964-Cooke, Park Co, MT

Lots 9, 10 & 11, Block 12, in Cooke, MT left joint interest in land to grandchildren. Gene Hoffman ransferred title of Lots 9 & 10 to Olive W Nordquist, followed by Lot 11. All lots were originally in Railroad Section.

Gottfried Buchler

Jun 12, 1894?

Aug 22, 1895

Case #2964-Cooke, Park Co, MT

Lots 13 & 14, Block 12, in Cooke, MT left wife as owner. Heirs transferred title to Olive W Nordquist Jul 1, 1941.

William B Scott

Sep 3, 1943

Intestate without will or heirs.

Case # 5754-Red Lodge, Carbon Co, MT

NWNESWNENE & SWSE Tp 3, Rn 24 E, 221 acres originally valued at $3190.84 consisting of various land parcels. Court description of property was in error! Title went to nephew Howard C Peck Apr 26, 1944.

Howard C Peck

Jul 17, 1948


Case # 5754-Red Lodge, Carbon Co, MT

Same property described above, but with corrected description, transferred to relatives. Plat map provided.

Israel Jones

Apr 3, 1920

Jul 31, 1917

Case # 1573-Billings, MT

Lot 5, Block 7 in Laurel Heights, MT. Will defines his wishes. Much court action follows.

Bessie & John Gaudino

Jan 17, 1921

Divorce Decree

Case #1548-Red Lodge, MT

Various land on SWNW & WNW Sec 24 & 25 & 26 Rn 23 320 Acres.

Ludovico Jarussi

c 1939

Inheritance Tax Decree of the Estate. Land holds gas & oil rights.

Case #1548

Various land on SWNW & WNW Sec 24 & 25 & 26 Rn 23 320 Acres assigned to heirs. Land plat available.

Ignas Erchul

Feb 10, 1921


Case # 2854

SW S2T7R25 160 acres in Musselshell Co. Plat available. Information about seed & grain contracts noted. Passed to heirs.

Clara L Merritt

Jul 25, 1950


Case #65223 & 24480

Partial Interest in E Lot 9 & 10, Block 267 Original Town of Billings. (Was RR Property) Next of kin identified and property transferred.

W H Clanton

Aug 9, 1910

Intestate, heir of law claims title

Case #536-1, & 18634 Yellowstone Co

NW of S31T1R26E, 160 acres. Probated to wife Elizabeth.

Maggie M Sample

Aug 12, 1922 Washington State


Case #51087, East of Billings

NSE S31!iNR27E, 80 acres. Relatives identified, and property transferred.

Elsie Gile Scott

1929, Foreign


Case #1430, Taxes filed in Wisconsin & Montana

SEE, NENE S34, T1N, R25E. Near Grand & Shiloh Rd. Relatives listed and title transfer probated.

Leta Belle Golden

Incompetent & Guardianship requested

Resided in Kitsap, WA

Case #2470-A, North Elevation in Billings

Lots 31, 32, 33 Block 2 North Elevation Subdivision transferred to son, Lloyd Lee Gold. Other relatives identified.

Melvin Hjelseth

Jun 2, 1967


Case # 5584-A, Billings

N 50' Lot #2, Block 14, Sunnyside, 3rd Filing. Property transferred, next of kin identified.

Charles F Burton

Sep 20, 1915

Jun 3, 1911

Case # 15914, Billings

Lots 16 & 20, Block 289. Will identifies actions to be taken.

Frederick Billings

Sep 30, 1890 Woodstock, Windsor Co, VT

Jun 10, 1890(date of Will)

Died Sep30, 1890, VT

Case # 9412, 9526 Yellowstone Co

Various land holdings in and around the Billings area. Will defined heirs and actions to be taken.

T F Moore

Nov 4, 1945, Los Angeles


Case #5899, Billings

Property in Sec 341NR25E, 30 acres. Lydia Moore wife assigned title.

Conrad Walter

Apr 22, 1937


Case #46268, Yellowstone Co

Irrigated farm land, 153 acres, relatives identified; Alice, widow, received property.

Barbara Prishmont

Mar 24, 1927


Case #27169, Billings

Lots 10 & 11, Block 5, Clanton Heights. Property transfers noted.

 Neil D. Smith

Sep 22, 1952 Billings


 Case#1430, pg61, Abstract 69450, Case 8858 Regulations No. 15, Page 639

Blanche Irene Smith petitions the court. All of the legal heirs are identified by name, qualifying age, and residence. They owned lots 9 & 10 in the Tiffany Subdivision.  

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