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Ulm Ranchers Leave Important Memories

For the past twoyears Jennifer Jeffries Thompson has been cataloging a new Montana Historical Society collection that has taken her into a way of life that began on the Montana plains near Ulm in the 1870s.
Thompson will present “Discovering Churchill: A Montana Family Remembered"on Thursday (March 3) at 6:30 p.m. at the Montana Historical Society that will feature slides from the remarkable collection.
“You really get caught up in what you can learn about a family from what they left behind,” Thompson said. “I have been pulling together the artifacts, photographs and archival material from the collection, and what is remarkable is that it is a story about an ordinary family that cared enough to save things that represented a life that changed for them.”
David H. Churchill and his wife Mary built a ranch near Ulm in the 1870s where they bred, trained and raced trotting horses as well as doing traditional ranching. In 1983 David died leaving behind Mary and four children.
“They had a romantic life. But after David died it was a story about a family struggling to keep a way of life going when there was a major economic panic going on around them,” Thompson said.
The collection was donated by Dan Sullivan, who was the executor of the will of his uncle Wilbur Kitterman, who was the grand nephew of David and Mary. Sullivan also provided money from the estate to catalog and care for the collection.
Mary left the ranch for Oregon in 1910 and her children went separate ways as well.
“It’s a story with an interesting ending. All six of them are buried in the Helena Benton Ave. Cemetery. In a way they did come back to Montana,” Thompson said.

Posted by on 02/19 at 10:55 AM






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