The purpose of this section is to give the student access to all primary and secondary resources for Unit 2.3: Montana's Gold & Silver Boom - 1862 to 1893.
"Quite by accident, Emily Meredith and her husband Frederick spent the winter of 1862-63 in Bannack, Montana's first territorial capital. In a letter to her father the following spring, Emily described the tenuous but fast-paced existence she witnessed. Mrs. Meredith, who was well educated and one of the few women in the camp, did not care much for Bannack's lack of religion or its immorality and violence. The price of mining claims was already highly inflated (as was everything else) when the couple arrived and Frederick, a printer by trade, did not attempt any prospecting. Instead he herded cattle and the following year he and Emily moved to a farm in the Gallatin Valley" (Montana Historical Society).
"Most of Montana's mining communities flourished briefly, only to die when the placer diggings played out. In the few that survived, notably Helena, Butte, and Virginia City, violence gradually gave way to law and order, and a sense of community and permanence emerged. Many who had arrived in Montana expecting to make their fortune and quickly depart found that the new land grew on them. One of those who decided to cast his lot with Montana was Cornelius Hedges, a Yale and Harvard Law School graduate who arrived in Helena in July 1864. After a year working for day wages and giving only intermittent attention to his law practice, Hedges determined to remain in Montana one more year. Then, regardless of his prosperity, he planned to return home. During that year Hedges realized that new opportunities lay in the territory's developing economy, and although he did return home in 1866, his intention was to escort his family back to Montana to make a permanent home" (Montana Historical Society).
"Western immigrants brought their prejudices with them. In Helena, the issue of integrating the public schools prompted school board member E. W. Knight to request an opinion from the U.S. Attorney General. Perhaps Knight's inquiry stemmed from a sense of fairness or from the political realities of his forthcoming campaign for mayor. Whatever the cause or the reply, Knight won the election and Helena residents voted that spring to integrate their schools" (Montana Historical Society).