Holden, Judson R.
Group of Four Letters from a Settler at Twin Bridge, Madison County, Montana Territory, written to family members, describing life in the West, 1877-1880

octavo, four letters, 16 pages, old folds, some light smudging and finger soiling, neatly inscribed in ink, lacking the original mailing envelopes, else very good.

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The letters describe life and conditions on the frontier, cattle and stock raising, "Indian Troubles," hunting, the lack of women, quality of the land, et cetera:

June 10, 1877, Twin Bridge, M. T.

"Dear Sister,

I suppose you may be anxious toe here of my where abouts etc I am comfortably situated among the Rocky Mts a good healthy place can see snow the year round not but a few miles distant but for all that cattle live and get fat the year round with out being fed or sheltered you can buy the best of Beef steak for .08 cts per lb here It is not uncommon to see from one to three thousand head of cattle on one herd grazing on the hill sides I saw a herd of sheep of 20 thousand There is plenty of wild game in this country such as Bear Buffalo deer elk beaver etc... I am well in good spirits and am doing well. I like here much better than I did in the south I never could have staid there. There are but very few women compared with the men in this country some many Indians but about 3 out of 5 keep achelors [sic] hall. The customs here are very different from that in the states There is just as much business done on Sunday as any day in the week stores all open..."

July 30, 1877, Twin Bridge, M. T.

"Dear Bro. & Sister,

... There has been a great excitement here about the Indians the people here moved most of there familys to Virginia City some 30 mles distant and formed a military company and erected a small fort. The Hostiles came within some 12 miles of here but we were so well fixed for them that they saw fit to keep out of range and are now 300 miles away and everything is quiet. The weather here has been very hot until within a few days last night it snowed on the mountains some 4 miles from here and has been quite cool here today. There has been a great quantity of rain fell here for this place and people have had to irrigate but little this season crops are looking fine We have been eating new potatoes for 10 days Beets as large as geese eggs..."

August 25, 1877, Twin Bridge, M. T.

"Dear Sister,

... the Indian excitement has died away in a measure there was no one killed very near here but people fortified and kept out pickets for a number of days I stood guard two nights. ... I have just came in from killing Ducks and am now cooking them for tea one can go out and shoot all they want in a half hour and not go more than a ¼ mile from town Wild Geese are thick here as crows are in Vermont... I will have to to turn on to something else Let it be the mode & custom of the people here Well as for manners I don't think they have any as a bout ... mainly thing as one can do is to get drunk have a general knock down and shoot some one and then leave the country ..."

April 25, 1880, Twin Bridges Montana

"Dear Sister,

... I am in the same store that I first went to work in when I came to Montana but it is not run by the same parties now as then. It is now owned by a Stock Co. and is run by Mr. Lewis and myself. I have charge of the books all correspondence and writing of all kinds. Mr. Lewis is salesman and General Manager he is a good man to get along with and we agree first rate ..."