Thursday, October 2, 2014

Stolen Cannon and the Battle of the Big Hole.

This is the companion piece to my post of yesterday, and depicted is a Mountain Howitzer, similar to the one taken from Fort Shaw, Montana Territory in 1877 by Colonel John G. Gibbon, to pursue over 750 Nez Perce Indians under Chief Joseph and Looking Glass. The Nez Perce had moved into Montana ostensibly to avoid being placed on a reservation, and their moving village consisted of approximately 90 tipis.

On Aug 9th and 10th of 1877, Colonel Gibbon lost not only 30 officers and enlisted men, but he also lost this cannon for a time. The two hundred pound barrel proved to be too much for the Nez Perce after its capture, so it was soon abandoned.

I've learned from the owner of this document that Mr. Phil Manix was a Civil War Veteran who for a time was the Post Trader at Fort Shaw, just as J. H. McKnight was. Manix moved on to Augusta where he ran a General Store. The building still stands and is still a General Store.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fort Shaw, M. T. 1876

This is a uniform cap device for a member of K Company, 7th Infantry stationed at Fort Shaw in 1876 when this letter was penned on T. C. Power letterhead/billhead. It is lined so that it could be used as a bill or receipt, although both pieces I have seen are penned letters.

This piece is especially interesting because of the nature of the correspondence, and the individual for which it was penned. "Please let Mr. Eraux (Ereaux) have one Sk good Flour  Send bill & Chg to a/c."

I am including a link to a story about a gentleman who was known by a number of different names, but Curley Ereaux was quite a character in his own right. This article, posted by Ken Robison on his blog, is well worth the read.

It is also to be noted that very little paper exists that lists T. C. Power as a Military and Indian Trader. This piece was completed as a commission for a gentleman from Great Falls, Montana.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Gallery 16, Great Falls, Montana

This is one of sixteen pieces that I will have hanging for the month of September at Gallery 16 in downtown Great Falls, Montana. The Gallery participates in the Great Falls First Friday Art Walk, and I will be there from 5 PM until they throw me out or 9 PM, whichever comes first. I look forward to seeing some old friends and new folks from Great Falls and the surrounding area that may not be familiar with me - or my art.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Brackman's Grocers

This building is not at 1429 Helena Avenue. The actual address WAS 102 6th Avenue, which is the Northeast corner of 6th and Jackson. It was rendered from a photograph taken in the 1930's, and a very clear photograph it was. The building still stands, although the brickwork has been stuccoed over, and the entrance to the building is now on Jackson. As a matter of fact, the photograph was so good I could actually read the broadsides on the side of the building, but found it almost impossible to render them clearly enough to be readable. I was amazed that there would be an advertisement for a rodeo in Chinook, being that the rodeo grounds would have been at least 240 miles up the road. Also of note is the sign on the West side of the building advertising Klein & Bourne Flour, which would have been a locally produced flour. I have seen a label for Brackman's Mayonaise, produced and sold on the premises. History!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Kickapoo Indian Oil

This is the second of two billheads from the Montana Drug Company in Butte, Montana, to C. W. Rank & Company in Virginia City, Montana, this one dated October 1st, 1904. If you will notice the second line item from the bottom is Kickapoo Indian Oil for the princely sum of $2.00. Unlike the Kickapoo Sagwa, I have no idea what the Indian Oil actually consisted of as far as ingredients.

This piece of paper is brittle on the right edge, and appears to have been water damaged at some point in its life. I found this piece, just as I found the Kickapoo Sagwa piece in a bound ledger from C. W. Rank & Company.

The image I used was provided to me by a lady by the name of Bertha Rowe, who also is a member of the Bottle Collectors Group on facebook. I became a member and posted an inquiry looking to find someone who could provide a sharp photograph of the Kickapoo Indian Oil bottle. She has a Thank You coming from me!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Quick Finish! Western Heritage Art Show

I'm going to be participating in the Quick Finish and Auction fundraiser to support the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center on Thursday evening, the 20th of March during the Western Heritage Artists Show and Sale.

There will also be a Quick Finish on Saturday evening prior to the Art Competing for Causes fundraising Auction, and I'll be participating in that one as well. For more information about this event, visit the Art Competing for Causes event Facebook page, or the Western Heritage Artists web page.

This years show and sale is the 33rd annual event to be held at the Holiday Inn, and it begins on Wednesday evening with the Preview event. Artists are encouraged to enter one piece in the Juried Lobby show and offers the public an overview of the art that they'll find in the artist's rooms through Sunday afternoon. Best of Show, People's Choice, Artist's Choice, Best New Artist as well as First Place in each category receive cash prizes and ribbons.

I have not decided which of the above pieces I will finish on either Thursday evening or Saturday evening, but I have done Russell 'Brownies' for the past two years for the Quick Finish events, and they've been well received. I'm not going to meddle with success until I run out of  'Little People'. I will have both of these pieces cancelled at the C.M. Russell Post Office on March 19th. This year is special since March 19th is the 150th Anniversary of Russell's birthday. These mail art pieces are all the more special to me, because Charlie is the reason I started doing mail art as a youngster. Old Soak is in the Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody, Wyoming, and W.C. Fields is in the Russell Museum collection in Great Falls. I have seen both, and photographed W.C. Fields several years ago when it, along with several other of Charlie's 'Little People' were on display.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Firecracker Fishing

Another order for C. W. Rank & Company in Virginia City, Montana, this one dated June 15, 1903. "This Bill Due July 5th". Which meant that Passmore Paper expected C. W. Rank in Virginia City to pay up after the fireworks went up in smoke. Although Passmore Paper billed itself as "THE ONLY STRICTLY WHOLESALE PAPER AND STATIONERY HOUSE IN MONTANA", there was no paper line items on this billhead. It was all fireworks, but for the 5 packages of punk on the bottom line.

Firecracker labels are actually collectible. Until the turn of the century, most of the firecrackers and fireworks were made in China, but in the early 1900's, India began marketing fireworks as well. I looked at literally thousands of Chinese firecracker labels on the web. I found Cowboys and Indians of all kinds, but only one fish. I hooked this one. I've heard of dynamite fishing and blast fishing, but never firecracker fishing. Now I have. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

GOOD MEDICINE - Kickapoo Sagwa

A billhead from the Montana Drug Company in Butte, Montana, dated the 6th of May, 1903. The second line item grabbed my eye immediately when I found this billhead. The recipient of this order was C. W. Rank & Company, in Virginia City, Montana. This business was the first 'drug store' in the territory and hence in the state, and is still in business in this restored historical landmark. Virginia City was not the site of the first gold strike in Montana, but it was one of the richest. The image of the bottle is from a photograph by Elaine Selene, and I found it by doing a Google search for Kickapoo Medicine. "For the Relief of Biliousness, Constipation, Sluggish Liver". I have some serious questions about the cure of sluggish liver, since the alcohol content is 9 and 1/2 percent. This should probably be classified as Snake Oil, but we have a hung jury on that one. This piece of paper will go with me to Great Falls, Montana, for the Western Heritage Artist Show and Sale in March

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

July 4th, 1904 - Virginia City.

An order for Fireworks, including Electric Torpedos, Triangles, 4 Ball Roman Candles, Rockets, Serpents, Hornets, Sky Larks and assorted Crackers. From a paper company in Butte, Montana, to C. W. Rank & Company in Virginia City. Up until the turn of the Century, the Chinese had pretty much cornered the market on fireworks. Then India got involved. The oldest Indian fireworks company is Standard, and they are still in business. This is another piece I will be taking to the Western Heritage Artists Show, and if you're interested, we're also on Facebook!

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Steamboat Dacotah

The Steamboat Dacotah

This is a veritable treasure as history goes. The particulars are as follows: Dated the 16th of June, 1881, Montana would not be a state for another eight years. It is a bill of lading addressed to J. H. McKnight who had the trading post at Fort Shaw, West of what is now Great Falls on the Sun River. It was one of three sister steamboats built specifically to haul freight from St. Louis, Missouri, to Fort Benton, Montana Territory. The three sisters boats were the Montana, the Dacotah and the Wyoming.Of those three boats, the Dacotah hauled the greatest tonnage of freight to Fort Benton, and did that on its second trip of the year in 1881 arriving at Fort Benton on the 4th of July.

The Dacotah was actually the 6th boat to arrive at the levee, and the date indicated on this way bill is not the day that it arrived, but rather the day the freight was unloaded. This boat actually belonged to the Coulson brothers, and was not a boat which belonged to T. C. Powers. My assumption is that some of the freight belonging to Powers was put on the landing at Coal Banks, and was then transported to Fort Benton on the Dacotah, thus explaining the reason why this is a Power way bill rather than a Coulson way bill.

Regardless of who this boat belonged to, this image was taken from the only extant photograph of the Dacotah.