Jack Ray and Philip Cyr Interview, January 1, 1975


Jack Ray
Philip Cyr


Merle Johnston



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Download Transcript of Jack Ray and Philip Cyr Interview (379 KB)


Jack Ray describes owning a general store from 1916 to 1921 in Frenchtown, Montana, and how he used to travel through the valley taking orders for groceries and delivering them. He shares stories about the early families who homesteaded in the valley and visited his store, including Pete Scheffer who located his father at Six Mile, Montana, and was conscripted to fight at the Battle of the Big Hole. Ray and Philip Cyr recalls the early St. John’s Day celebrations. Ray also reminisces about the different payment methods he accepted including live animals bartered for goods. They discuss pig farming and butchering methods employed by early Frenchtown homesteaders, many of whom were French-Canadian immigrants. They also recall the early refrigeration methods of harvesting ice and storing it in an icehouse all year long. Ray and Cyr share a stories about old Frenchtown homesteaders including Solomon Trayant and Big Rocheleau, and they talks about the bootlegging that occurred in the valley. They also talk about the dances and the threshing parties that kept the community together.


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Document Type

Oral History


Frenchtown, Montana; Jack Ray; Bourgois family; General stores, Montana; Scheffer family; Battle of the Big Hole; Nez Perce tribe; Six Mile, Montana; St. John’s Day; Immigration, Montana; French-Canadian immigrants; Ice harvesting; Solomon Trayant; Big Rocheleau; Bootlegging

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage




Original Collection

Frenchtown Historical Society Oral History Project, OH 047, Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula

Digital Publisher

University of Montana--Missoula. Mansfield Library


Copyright to this collection is held by the interview participants and by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections: (406) 243-2053 / library.archives@umontana.edu

Oral History Number

OH 047-012, 013

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

2 sound cassettes (01:30:00 min.) analog + 1 transcript (24 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

00:58:31 minutes

Local Filename


Jack Ray and Philip Cyr Interview, January 1, 1975