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Big Timber History

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Manchester, New...
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Big Timber History

My grandmother went to Big Timber to teach in a one-room schoolhouse about 1916 or 17. The school then closed because of the influenza and she worked in the Post Office. What are my chances of seeing the locations where she lived and worked if I don't know the exact addresses? We are planning a Montana visit for hiking and camping in late September this year.

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Billings, Montana
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for Yellowstone National Park
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1. Re: Big Timber History

Maybe contact the Big Timber Chamber of Commerce? They might be able to get you in contact with a local historian that might have the answers for your questions. There are some old buildings still in town. Some of the old churches are now homes so who know maybe the old schoolhouse is still there.

http://www.bigtimber.com/index.html

Good luck in your quest.

Deb

western WA
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2. Re: Big Timber History

You will be able to look up the schoolhouse on some of the very old maps located in the county courthouse. It is probably still there but I can't say for sure. I had to write a research report on the school house in Reedpoint nearby while I was in college, so I know it can be done.

Do you know any names of people she lived with? It was a very small town at that time and you will see names listed on the old property records. There are still old folks around that remember even older folks so it is possible that there is a memory. The thing to do is just get to town and start asking around. I would call the senior center if there is one and ask to talk to any long, long time area residents.

If she never married or owned property it may be hard to find information. You should find out if there was any local newspaper at that time, and if anyone kept any records of it. Some areas did, some did not. Most of them had social news about who visited, who was the new school teacher, etc.

Right now Big Timber is not too sleepy as it has been discovered by movie stars, et cetera. Tom Brokaw has a ranch there. He did grow up in South Dakota so is almost a local, however!

Naples, Florida
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3. Re: Big Timber History

What a small coincidence! My mother taught in the one room schoolhouse in Big Timber, MT, probably in 1914 or 1915. Were you able to find the schoolhouse on your visit last year? My mother had only a high school education but in those days that was all she needed. She taught grades 1 thru 8 in the one room and completed her year. She boarded with a family named Iverson and she said that winter was especially difficult. She had to drive the horse and buggy with the Iverson's children to school in the snow and then heat up the schoolroom in the pot belly stove, hauling wood from the shed outside. When my husband and I visited Big Timber in the late nineties, I was too chicken to search out anyone in the Iverson family and I did not look for the school. For my mom as a 19 year old girl it was a very memorable experience. I'm sure it was the same for your grandmother. Zandra P., Naples, FL

Manchester, New...
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4. Re: Big Timber History

What a small world. We tried to find the schoolhouse but could not locate it. My grandmother boarded with a family but I don't know their name. While we were in town we went to the library and checked out archived newspapers and found her name in several issues. It would have been a difficult time for them. There is a really nice historical building/museum in town and if I remember they have lists of names of teachers. While my grandmother was teaching, the Spanish Influenza hit and the schools were closed but she was able to find work in the post office. At the same time, her boyfriend/fiance was in France fighting in the trenches as an infantryman. ellen.ruggles@unh.edu

Naples, Florida
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5. Re: Big Timber History

Thanks for your reply regarding the Big Timber one-room schoolhouse and your grandmother. Interesting that the Spanish Influenza closed the school and that your grandmother was able to stay on until her contract ended. How old was she at the time? What brave women these were! I'm so sorry I didn't take the time to do as you did by going to the local library to get more information. My mother was from Wisconsin of Norwegian descent and had lots of relatives named Iverson in Dane and Iowa WI counties, but I doubt that she was related to the Big Timber Iversons. Perhaps that family also boarded your grandmother and other " school marms" of the era. Do you have further information of her time there? I've hunted on the Internet and several years ago found a photo of a restored Sweet Grass County one room schoolhouse, but don't know if it was my mother's or your grandmother's school. Thanks again for your reply. Perhaps there are other Big Timber historians who have some additional information

zebra648 katrinakatrinarita@yahoo.com

Naples, Florida
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6. Re: Big Timber History

On the Internet are several Montana one-room schoolhouse sites. In 2001, according to PBS, there were still 70 remaining one room schools. Also found at …preservationnation.org/2013/06/214/no-schoo… I found a photo of a Sweet grass county school called Wheeler Butte school. My mother was 5' 1" and weighed about 97 pounds and had 15 year old farm boys almost twice her size when she taught in Big Timber. Perhaps this is old info.

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