Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

This Month in Montana History: November

November 18th 1864, 158 years ago: Prospector James E. Riley claims rights to the land that will be Boulder Hot Springs. By 1867, he will construct a crude bathhouse and tavern that is a far cry from the opulent Queen Anne-style building that exists today.

November 19th 1867, 135 years ago: The Montana Central Railway between Great Falls and Helena is completed.

November 8th 1889, 133 years ago: Montana officially becomes the 41st state in the United States.

November 4th 1897, 125 years ago: A magnitude 6.4 earthquake strikes Montana, with an epicenter near Dillon. The tremors could be felt in Clancy, which “wakened all except those who are dead” according to the Clancy Miner.

November 2nd 1902, 120 years ago: Colonel James L. Fisk passes away in Minnesota. Fisk led several expeditions from Minnesota to Montana through the 1860s, during which he set up a camp that would eventually become Montana City.

November 16th 1902, 120 years ago: The barn of Wickes postmaster W. E. Litton burns down, costing around $13,000 in today’s dollars in damages.

November 3rd 1914, 108 years ago: Male Montana voters ratify the amendment ensuring women the right to vote. This comes two years before women received the right at a federal level. Surprisingly, Jefferson County voted against it by a narrow margin, with 468 voting for and 493 voting against.

November 2nd 1921, 101 years ago: Frank M. Davis is born in Tennessee. He was appointed Fifth Judicial District Judge in 1970 to replace Phillip Duncan, and re-elected in 1983.

November 18th 1986, 36 years ago: Actor Patrick Duffy’s parents, Marie and Terence Duffy, are murdered during an armed robbery in their tavern in Boulder. Duffy was at the height of his popularity due to his role in the soap opera “Dallas” (having just returned to the show in the infamous shower scene), causing the murder and trial to garner massive media attention. The trial is overseen by Judge Frank Davis and finds teenagers Kenneth Miller and Sean Wentz guilty of murder, sentenced to 75 years in prison.

November 19th 2014, 8 years ago: Rolando v. Fox rules Montana’s ban against same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The first same-sex marriage in Montana is officiated by former Associate Justice of the Montana Supreme Court James C. Nelson the next morning.

Information from The Age, The Age Sentinel, Boulder Monitor, and Montana Sunlight, as well as additional historic sources.

Questions? Comments? More information to share? Visit The Jefferson County Museum 5 N. Main Street, Clancy, MT, 59634. Open Tuesdays and Fridays 12 PM to 4 PM and Saturdays 10:30 AM to 4 PM, or call to schedule an appointment 406-224-5106. Conduct your own research at


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