This collection includes interviews detailing life in the Bitterroot Valley, Montana, during the early and mid-20th century. The interviews were conducted by May Vallance, Mary Bielenberg, and Robert Phillip circa 1978 to 1984. The interviewees discuss attending and teaching at rural schools in the Bitterroot Valley area as well as the role of Rocky Mountain Laboratories [RML] and its development of the Rocky Mountain spotted fever vaccine. They also reminisce about the Valley’s fruit growers and creameries, the introduction of modern technology, such as the telephone system, and the town’s development. The original interviews are held as Oral History Collection OH 120 at Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula.
This collection includes 9 interviews.
Byron Thrailkill, born in Bell Crossing, Montana in 1895, discusses growing up in the Bitterroot Valley. He describes working on the railroads and in the Rocky Mountain Laboratories [RML], Missoula-based laboratory that focused on vaccine development. Thrailkill discusses his work during the 1920s researching tick-borne ... Read More
Clark Grey, who was born in Anaconda, Montana, in the late 1800s, discusses his family’s move to the Bitterroot Valley, Montana, in 1899. He talks about his parents’ involvement in the valley’s apple industry, and buying land near Hamilton, Montana, and establishing an apple orchard. ... Read More
Frank Rummel and Nina Rummel
Frank Rummel describes the Fairplay School, also known as the Dutch Hill School, in Ravalli County, Montana. He talks about the teachers who worked there and the school programs that were available when he attended. Nina Rummel describes the students with whom she attended school ... Read More
George Vogt tells how his grandfather emigrated from Bavaria, Germany, to the United States in 1852, spending time in New York City and Michigan, before settling in Sula, Montana. He mentions his grandfather’s work as a miner in Phillipsburg, Montana, which provided him with funds ... Read More
Homer Bailey and Betty Bailey
Homer Bailey reminisces his parents’ arrival to the Bitterroot Valley, Montana, in 1912 during the Bitterroot Valley apple boom and their eventual move to Corvallis to raise sheep until 1920 when they started raising sugar beets. He talks about the history of the valley’s sugar ... Read More
John Howe Jr.
John Howe, Jr. reminisces about the co-op creamery his father established in Stevensville, Montana, in 1910. He describes various aspects of the industry such as butter, cheese, and ice cream making processes, refrigeration difficulties, and creamery regulations. Howe discusses some of the awards his father’s ... Read More
June Hartley Howe reminisces about her parents moving to Hamilton, Montana, in 1904 and her father’s establishment of the Bitterroot Steam Laundry. She recalls life in early 20th century Hamilton and describes the town’s hotels, including the fire that destroyed the Ravalli Hotel. She discusses ... Read More
Mabel Fullerton describes her family’s move from Colorado to Montana’s Bitterroot Valley in 1909 when she was 12. She talks about living in Hamilton, Montana, in the early 20th century, reminiscing about her home, education, train travel, and recreation. Fullerton briefly recounts working as a ... Read More
Malcolm Sizer, who came to the Bitterroot Valley in 1922 from Castle Rock, Colorado, describes his role as a grower in the Bitterroot Valley apple and cherry industry during the early 20th century. Sizer discusses various aspects of the industry including picking, packing, shipping, fruit ... Read More