Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Montana
The third largest of the United States of America, admitted to the Union 8 November, 1889; called the "Treasure State".
BOUNDARIES AND AREA
Its northern boundary line, which divides it from Canada, extends along the forty-ninth parallel from meridian 27 west of Washington (104 west of Greenwich), its eastern boundary, to meridian 39 — that is, 549 miles. Starting from the east, the forty-fifth parallel marks its southern boundary as far as meridian 34, where the line drops south to the crest of the main range of the Rocky Mountains, which, with the extreme summits of the Bitter Root and the Coeur d'Alene Mountains, divides it from Idaho on the southwest and west until meridian 39 is reached. This last meridian then becomes the western dividing line to the international boundary. The area of the state is 146,080 square miles.
As its name suggests, the state is mountainous in character, being crossed from north to south by the system known collectively as the Rocky Mountains. Yet it would be erroneous to regard the state as everywhere mountainous. The eastern half of the state is an expanse of plain and prairie, though there are few places within it which do not reveal on the horizon elevations sufficiently imposing to be called mountains. The highest mountain in the state is Granite Peak, the elevation of which is 12,600 feet. The Northern Pacific railroad crosses the continental divide twenty miles west of Helena, at an elevation of 5573 feet; the Great Northern main line crosses at an elevation of 5202, and the Montana Central, a branch of the last-named system, near Butte, at an elevation of 6343. The eastern portion of the state has a mean elevation of from 2000 to 3000 feet. The state is blessed with many magnificent river systems. The Missouri and its tributaries drain the eastern portion, and the confluents of the Columbia the western. The former is formed by the junction of the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin, the two last-named having their source in the Yellowstone National Park and the other in the mountains in the extreme south-western part of the state. The main tributary of the Missouri, the Yellowstone, likewise takes its rise in the park, in a lake of the same name. Another tributary of the Missouri, the Milk River, has its origin in the north-western section of the state, which is noted for its scenic beauty. From the summit of the mountains there one may overlook a country within which are the head-waters of three great continental river systems — the Mississippi-Missouri, the Saskatchewan, and the Columbia. This region has lately been made a national reservation under the name of Glacier Park. The Missouri traverses the state from Three Forks, named from its location at the confluence of the three rivers mentioned above, a distance of approximately 550 miles. The Yellowstone, following a course roughly parallel to the main stream, makes a waterway within Montana's borders 450 miles long. The Kootenai drains a portion of the extreme northwestern part of the state, but the great bulk of the western waters in that region comes south, by the Flathead, to meet with those from the southern portion which flow north and west to make the Missoula. These two streams unite to form the Clark's Fork of the Columbia. The Flathead feeds and empties, in its course, Flathead Lake, the largest fresh-water lake between the Mississippi and the Pacific.
The climate is very similar in character throughout the state, except, of course, on the lofty mountains, where snow lies perpetually or far into the summer — a providential condition, in consequence of which water for irrigation is supplied in comparative abundance in the period of drought. The extremes of temperature are not quite so great and rain falls somewhat more abundantly on the western slope of the mountains. The climate, except for brief periods in the winter season, is mild and agreeable. In the northern part of the state the severity of the colder months is tempered by an occasional warm west wind, known as the chinook, which tempers the climate without bringing excessive moisture. A very low temperature is endured with much less discomfort than in regions where the atmosphere is more dense, the humidity greater, and the sunshine less abundant. The mean temperature at Helena is 65° (Fahr.) for the months of June, July, and August; 44° for September, October, and November; 22° for December, January, and February, and 41° for March, April, and May. The mean annual rainfall for the entire state, based on reports for ten years, is 15.57 inches.
The state has an interesting history. About a third of a century before the Revolution, in 1742, it was visited by a party of French explorers headed by two young sons of Pierre Gauthier de Varennes de la Vérendrye, on a quest for a river leading to the Pacific. They started from Fort La Reine, one of the most remote of a chain of posts, which the elder de la Vérendrye had established in the wilderness north and west of Lake Superior in an effort to reach the western sea. The wanderings of the youthful adventurers led them from Fort La Reine on the Assiniboine, west of Winnipeg, to the village of the Mandans on the Missouri River, near the present city of Bismarck, North Dakota, whither their father had preceded them four years before. Thence proceeding in a general southwesterly direction through the counties of Custer and Rosebud, they crossed the rivers falling into the Yellowstone until they reached the Big Horn Mountains, near or across the Wyoming line. Sixty-two years later, the expedition of Lewis and Clark gave to the world authentic information of the country. It followed the Missouri to the Three Forks, then ascended the Jefferson to its source in the Bitter Root range, and crossed the mountain barrier. Returning, the leaders travelled together until they reached the Big Blackfoot, a tributary of the Missoula. Here they parted, Lewis ascending that stream to its source and reaching the Missouri in the neighbourhood of Great Falls, whence he returned by the route the party had come. Guided by the Shoshone woman Sacajawea, whom the expedition picked up on the outward journey among the Mandans, whither she had been carried as a captive when a child, Clark pursued the route later followed in the construction of the Northern Pacific Railroad to the Yellowstone near Livingston, and, descending that stream, rejoined his companion at its mouth.
The Astor expedition, which set out for the mouth of the Columbia in 1811, purposed following the route which had been opened up by the Lewis and Clark party. But the fierce Blackfeet being on the warpath, they abandoned the river near the mouth of the Cheyenne and set out over the plains with the aid of horses purchased from the Indians. After proceeding some distance to the northwest, doubtless into Montana, they pursued a more southerly route and reached the headwaters of the Columbia as they issue from the Yellowstone National Park. The Astor project, in its commercial aspect, took form later in the organization of the American Fur Company. But it was anticipated by the daring Manuel Lisa of St. Louis, who as early as 1807 established a fort at the mouth of the Big Horn River. Clark the explorer, the brothers Chouteau, and others united with him in the organization of the Missouri Fur Company. In 1832 the steamboat "Yellowstone," owned by the American Fur Company, which had absorbed its rival, ascended the Missouri to Fort Union, near the mouth of the river after which the craft was named. The region east of the mountains was a part of the Louisiana Purchase, over which the United States acquired dominion by the treaty with Napoleon in 1803. The western slope constituted a part of that ill-defined district known as the "Oregon Country". The conflicting claims of the United States and Great Britain to this country were not settled until 1846. Meanwhile hunters and trappers bearing allegiance to both nations overran the country. A few homebuilders established themselves within the borders of the State in the late fifties, but the history of the development of the commonwealth begins with the discovery of gold at Gold Creek and Bannack in 1862. The Alder Gulch placers were discovered in 1863, giving rise to Virginia City, and those of Last Chance Gulch in 1864, bringing Helena into existence. The story of the fabulous wealth of these deposits attracted a great multitude, who made the journey either by ox-teams from Omaha, or came up the river by boat to Fort Benton, which was established in 1846. Every promising gulch in the state was quickly prospected, many of them proving very remunerative. The source of the placer deposits was soon sought in the ledges, and quartz-mining speedily began. The enormous price which food-stuffs commanded operated as an incentive to those having some skill in agriculture to engage in ranching, and the fertile valleys of the Gallatin, the Deer Lodge, the Bitter Root, and the Prickly Pear were subjected to tillage. The abundant nutritious grasses of the plains, that had supported immense numbers of buffalo and antelope, and of the parks in the mountains, where deer and elk abounded, invited the pursuit of raising cattle, sheep, and horses.
Long before this period, however, as early as 1840, Father Peter J. De Smet, S.J., had come from St. Louis in response to an invitation conveyed by a deputation from the Flathead Indians to Christianize that tribe. He established St. Mary's Mission in the Bitter Root valley near the present town of Stevensville. In 1844 he founded the Mission of St. Ignatius in the midst of a beautiful valley, within what is now the Flathead Reservation. Father Nicholas Point preached to the Blackfeet in the winter of 1846-7, laying the foundations of St. Peter's Mission which however was not permanently established until 1859. Father A. Ravalli, who shares the veneration in which the memory of the founder of St. Mary's is held, came to that mission in 1845. The county in which it was located is named in his honour. The western part of the state was successively a part of Oregon Territory, Washington Territory, and Idaho Territory. The eastern portion became a part of the Louisiana Territory on the cession of the latter to the United States, and was attached to various territories organized out of that region. But there was no organized government anywhere. Even after the rush consequent upon the gold discoveries, though nominally subject in those parts to the government of Idaho Territory, the constituted authorities were so remote that the people themselves administered a rude but effective justice through miners' courts and vigilance committees. In 1864 the Territory of Montana was organized with boundaries identical with those which now define the limits of the state. Hon. Sidney Edgerton was appointed governor. The first legislative assembly convened at Bannack on 12 December, 1864. The next session was held at Virginia City in 1866, from which place the capital was moved to Helena in 1874, the migrations of the seat of government indicating to some extent the variations in the centres of population. General Thomas Francis Meagher was appointed secretary of the territory in 1865 and, in the absence of the governor, assumed, under the law, the duties of that office, which he continued to discharge until his unfortunate death by drowning in 1867. Samuel McLean was the first delegate to Congress from the territory. The state was admitted to the Union by proclamation of President Harrison on 8 November, 1889, pursuant to an Act of Congress approved on 22 Feb., 1889, the constitution having been meanwhile framed and adopted.
In 1880 the Utah and Northern Railroad Company, subsequently merged in the Union Pacific system, built into Butte from Ogden. Three years later the Northern Pacific completed its line across the territory aided by a grant made by Congress in 1864, by which it acquired every alternate section of land within forty miles of its line. The Great Northern was completed to the coast across Montana in 1891, and the year 1909 witnessed the construction of another transcontinental line crossing the state from east to west — that of the Chicago, Milwaukee, and Puget Sound Railway Company. The Montana Central, since a part of the Great Northern system, was built in the very heart of the mountain country in 1887, to connect the mines at Butte with the smelters at Great Falls. Since the opening of the railroads, resulting in the extinction of the buffalo, the main reliance of the Indians for subsistence, the task of keeping them in check on the reservations has become comparatively simple. In the struggle with them theretofore, three events attain special prominence — the brush with General Sully at the Bad Lands in 1864, while escorting a party of 250 emigrants from Minnesota bound for the mines of Montana; the Custer Massacre in 1876, and the raid of Chief Joseph after the Battle of the Big Hole and his masterly retreat, followed by his capture in the Bear Paw Mountains in 1877 by General Miles.
The industry which gave rise to the original settlement of Montana was mining. In 1863 gold valued at $8,000,000 came from the sluices. The next year produced double that amount. The total production of gold up to and including the year 1876 is conservatively estimated at $140,000,000. At about that time silver mining began to assume paramount importance, but about 1890 it yielded preeminence to copper, which is at present the chief metal produced. The copper mines are at Butte, while the smelters are located at Anaconda and Great Falls. A silver and lead smelter is in operation at East Helena. In 1907 there was produced copper to the value of $44,021,758, silver $6,149,619, and gold $3,286,212. Montana's stores of coal are very great. Estimates made by the authorities of the United States Geological Survey give the area of bituminous and lignitic-bituminous coal at 13,000 square miles, and the lignite areas at from 25,000 to 50,000 square miles. Coalmining is extensively carried on in the counties of Carbon, Gallatin, Cascade, and Fergus. Lumbering is an industry of the western portion of the state, where there are dense forests of pine, fir, larch, cedar, and hemlock. It is, however, by no means confined to that region, as all the mountains of any considerable height bear a more or less abundant growth of timber. Nearly 20,000,000 acres of the public lands within the state, of which there are about 50,000,000, are included within the national forest reserves.
Stock-raising early assumed an important place in the business life of the state. Vast herds of cattle, horses, and sheep were reared and matured on the open range with little or no provision for feeding even in the depth of winter. The appropriation of the public domain by settlers has progressed to such an extent, however, as to enforce a radical change in the method by which the business is carried on. Provision for feeding is now almost universally made, but, except in stormy weather, sheep especially thrive without much regard to temperature on the native grasses that cover the plains and foot-hills, cured by the hot sun of the summer season when comparatively little rain falls. The annual production of wool in the state is about 40,000,000 pounds, the clip of approximately five and a half million sheep. The number of cattle in the state is in excess of 600,000. Agriculture is undergoing a marvellous development, both as to the area under cultivation and the methods of farming. All the cereals yield bountifully. Recent immigration to the state has been markedly to the more promising agricultural sections which, within the past two years, have received an influx hitherto unknown. In earlier years irrigation was universally resorted to, but more recently great areas have been cultivated with marked success by the "dry farming" system. Eight great works of irrigation are being carried on, or have been completed by the government reclamation service. The state is directing others under the Carey Land Act, and private corporations are engaged in many similar enterprises. Montana produced in 1908: 8,703,000 bushels of wheat on 153,000 acres; 10,556,000 bushels of oats on 254,000 acres; and 875,000 bushels of barley on 25,000 acres. Fruit-raising is a profitable business in many parts of the state, particularly in the counties of Ravalli, Missoula, and Flathead, where it is extensively carried on. Apples are the staple fruit crop, the quality being excellent and the yield large. The culture of sugar beets has been stimulated by the construction of a factory at Billings, which has been in operation since 1896. It will be supplied (in 1910) with over 115,000 tons of beets. The abundance of sunshine and the character of the soil gives to the Montana beet an exceptionally high percentage of saccharine matter. Manufacturing is still in its infancy, but is destined to a great growth owing to the extent of available water-power. Three power dams now turn the flow of the Missouri River, and three more are in process of construction. Another large dam utilizes in part the energy of the Madison River. The Flathead River tumbles over seven miles of cascades, as it issues from Flathead Lake, offering stupendous opportunities for power development.
The capitol at Helena was erected in 1900 at a cost of $350,000. The growth of the state is shown by the fact that additions were authorized by the last session of the legislature to cost half a million dollars. The funds for the original construction, as well as the work now to be undertaken, are derived from lands donated to the state on its admission to the Union by the general government. The state maintains a university at Missoula, an agricultural college at Bozeman, a school of mines at Butte, a normal school at Dillon, a soldiers' home at Columbia Falls, a deaf, dumb, and blind asylum at Boulder, a reform school at Miles City, and a penitentiary at Deer Lodge. The insane are cared for at a private institution at Warm Springs. The usual system of public schools prevails, and nearly all the towns of consequence maintain public libraries.
In 1908 there were enrolled 61,928 of the 77,039 children of school age. The total expense for all school purposes was $2,178,322.90. The average monthly salary paid to male teachers was $99, and to female teachers $60. The educational interests of the state are under the direction of a state superintendent and a state board of education, consisting of that officer, the governor and the attorney-general, and eight other members appointed by the governor. County superintendents supervise the administration of the school system in the rural communities, and city superintendents in the municipalities. The chief revenues are derived from taxes collected by the county treasurer. The school fund consists of the revenues from grants of lands made by the general government and other grants from the federal authority, the avails of escheated estates, and fines for violations of various laws. The fund must be kept intact and only the income used. The state university has a grant of 45,000 acres from the nation, which may be sold at not less than $10 per acre. The avails constitute a fund the income of which only is subject to use. For the year 1909 there were appropriated for its support $67,500, and it has other revenues amounting to about $75,000 in all. Its corps of professors numbers twenty. In 1908 it had 184 students, exclusive of those doing special work and not including those taking the course at the biological station, which is maintained in connection with it.
EARLY MISSIONARIES AND MISSIONS
It is not improbable that Father C. G. Coquart, S.J., accompanied the Vérendrye brothers on their expedition into Montana. He was a member of the party when they set out from Montreal on their great enterprise and is quoted as saying that the Vérendryes on some of their excursions went beyond the great falls of the Missouri, and as far as the Gate of the Mountains near Helena. The establishment of the early missions has been mentioned. Besides those referred to, the Holy Family Mission among the Blackfeet, originally a dependency of St. Peter's, became a fixed establishment in 1885. St. Paul's, another offspring of St. Peter's, was established about the same time among the Gros Ventres and Assiniboines on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. St. Labre, the mission among the Cheyennes, dates from 1884, when Rev. Joseph Eyler came from Cleveland with six members of the Ursuline Sisterhood, with Mother Amadeus at their head in response to a call issued by Bishop Gilmore at the appeal of Bishop Brondel, lately appointed to the newly created See of Montana. St. Xavier's, among the Crows, dates from 1887. Schools, as a matter of course, are maintained at all the missions, those at St. Ignatius particularly being models. The Ursulines have a convent at St. Peter's. The Jesuits were the pioneer missionaries to both Indians and whites in Montana. The ministrations of Father De Smet extended to all the tribes that have been mentioned, and he, as well as all of his associate "black robes ", was held in the highest reverence by them. His labours were prodigious. In 1869 he induced five sisters of the community of Leavenworth to come to Helena, where they founded St. Vincent's Academy.
In the earlier territorial days, the western part of the state was included in the Vicariate of Idaho, and the eastern part in that of Nebraska. An episcopal visit was made to these then remote regions by Bishop James O'Connor of Omaha in 1877, and by Archbishop Charles J. Seghers of the Province of Oregon in 1879 and again in 1882. Upon the urgent recommendation of the last-named prelate, Montana was made a vicariate on 7 April, 1883, and the Rt. Rev. John B. Brondel, then Bishop of Victoria, Vancouver Island, was appointed administrator. On 7 March, 1884, the Diocese of Helena was created, embracing the whole of Montana, and Bishop Brondel was appointed to the see. He was at the head of its affairs until his death in 1903, when the diocese was divided, the eastern part of the state becoming the Diocese of Great Falls and the remainder continuing as the Diocese of Helena. The Rt. Rev. John P. Carroll, D.D., was then appointed bishop of the latter, and the Rt. Rev. Mathias Lenihan, D.D., of the former diocese.
The Catholic population of the Great Falls diocese is about 15,000; of the Helena diocese about 50,000. Thirty priests minister to the people of the new, fifty-three to those of the old diocese. No statistics are available giving the nationality or ancestry of either the Catholic population or that of the whole people of the state. Among the former, the dominant blood is probably Irish, a very large percentage of the adults being native Americans. But almost every Catholic country of Europe has contributed to the truly cosmopolitan citizenship of Montana. China and Japan have added to some extent to the population. In recent years Italians, Austrians, Bulgarians, and Serbians have come in considerable numbers. Most of these are more or less closely attached to the ancient Faith.
Hospitals are conducted by sisters of various orders at Great Falls, Billings, Fort Benton, Lewistown, Helena, Anaconda, Butte, and Missoula. There are a House of the Good Shepherd and an orphanage at Helena, and academies at Lewistown, Miles City, St. Peter's, Helena, and Deer Lodge. The parochial schools enrolled 5536 pupils in 1908, not including those attending the mission schools on the reservations.
The spirit of religious intolerance has had scant encouragement in Montana, and many Catholics have occupied prominent positions in her industrial development and political history. Among those who have served in high official station are General Thomas Francis Meagher, acting governor from 1865 to 1867; Hon. James M. Cavanaugh, delegate in Congress from 1867 to 1872; Hon. Martin Maginnis, delegate in Congress from 1873 to 1885; Hon. Thomas H. Carter, delegate in Congress from March to November, 1889, and representative from the admission of the state to 1891; afterwards, from 1895 to 1901 United States Senator, and now serving his second term, having been again elected in 1905; and Hon. Thomas C. Power, United States Senator from 1889 to 1895. Among those who have written their names large in the industrial history of the state are Marcus Daly, Thomas Cruse, Peter Larson, and John D. Ryan, the latter being at present at the head of the Amalgamated Copper Company.
FREEDOM OF WORSHIP
Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the following provision of the constitution: "Art. III, Sec. 4. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination, shall forever hereafter be guaranteed, and no person shall be denied any civil or political right or privilege on account of his opinions concerning religion, but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be construed to dispense with oaths or affirmations, excuse acts of licentiousness, by bigamous or polygamous marriage, or otherwise, or justify practices inconsistent with the good order, peace or safety of the state, or opposed to the civil authority thereof, or of the United States. No person shall be required to attend any place of worship or support any ministry, religious sect or denomination, against his consent; nor shall any preference be given by law to any religious denomination or mode of worship." The diversion of the public funds to the promotion of sectarian purposes is forbidden by the following: "Art. V, Sec. 35. No appropriation shall be made for charitable, industrial, educational or benevolent purposes to any person, corporation or community not under the absolute control of the state, nor to any denominational or sectarian institution or association."
Every court or officer authorized to take testimony or decide on evidence may administer oaths or affirmations, the witness being entitled to elect whether he shall be sworn or shall simply affirm.
SUNDAY OBSERVANCE, ETC.
Sunday is a holiday, as is Christmas, New Year's, and Columbus Day (12 October). If Christmas or New Year's Day falls on Sunday, the day following is a holiday. Whenever any secular act, other than a work of necessity or mercy, is appointed by law or contract to be done on a certain day, and it so happens that such a day is a holiday, it may be done on the day following with like effect as if done on the day appointed. It is a misdemeanour to keep open or maintain on Sunday any barber-shop, theatre, play-house, dance-house, racetrack, concert saloon, or variety hall. It is likewise a misdemeanour to disturb any assembly of people met for religious worship by profane discourse or in any other manner. Neither blasphemy nor profanity is otherwise made punishable.
PRAYER IN THE LEGISLATURE
The law provides for the election of a chaplain of each house of the legislature and the daily sessions are opened with prayer by that officer. The Bannack session seems to have had no chaplain, but Rev. Joseph Giorda, S.J., officiated in that capacity for both houses, apparently, at the second session held at Virginia City in 1866. Rev. L. Palladino, S.J., the historian of the Montana Missions, universally revered for his saintly life, who came to Saint Ignatius in 1867, acted in the same capacity at the ninth session.
SEAL OF CONFESSION
Disclosures made in the confessional are held sacred by express statute. A clergyman will be neither compelled nor permitted to testify as to them.
INCORPORATION OF CHURCHES
Special provision is made for the incorporation of religious bodies and congregations. The method is simple. At a meeting, trustees are elected and they are authorized by resolution to file articles with the county clerk or the secretary of state, according as the organization is to be local or general in its nature. The articles state the name of the corporation, its purpose, and the number of trustees. It then has continual succession, and the usual powers of a corporation. Another act provides for the organization of corporations sole "whenever the rules, regulations or discipline, of any religious denomination, society or Church, permit or require the estate, property, temporalities, and business thereof, to be held in the name of, or managed by a bishop, chief priest, or presiding elder, of such religious denomination, society or church." The passage of this act was procured by Bishop Brondel who incorporated under the name of the "Roman Catholic Bishop of Helena".
EXEMPTION OF CLERGYMEN AND CHURCH PROPERTY
All clergymen are exempt from jury duty. The constitution declares that "such property as may be used exclusively for agricultural and horticultural societies, for educational purposes, places for actual religious worship, hospitals and places of burial not used or held for private or corporate profit, and institutions of purely public charity may be exempt from taxation" (Art. XII, Sec. 2), and the statutes declare the exemptions in the same terms.
MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE
Marriage may be contracted by mutual consent followed by a solemnization or public assumption of the marital relation. The marriageable age is eighteen in the case of males, and sixteen in females. Marriages between ancestors and descendants of every degree, between brothers and sisters of the half as well as the whole blood, and between aunts and nephews or uncles and nieces, are declared void ab initio. So likewise are marriages between a white person on one side, and a negro or a person part negro, or a Chinese or Japanese, on the other side. Marriages contracted without the state and valid where contracted are valid within the state. Licences are required to be issued by the clerk of the court of the county where the marriage is to be solemnized, and a return must be made by the officiating clergyman or officer. Licences cannot be granted to minors without the written consent of the parents or guardian. Marriage may be solemnized by a justice of the Supreme Court, judge of the district court, justice of the peace, priest or minister of any denomination, or mayor of the city, or by religious societies. It need not be solemnized at all if the parties make and file a joint declaration giving their names, the fact of marriage, the date of marriage, and that it has not been solemnized. Marriages licensed and not solemnized as provided by law are forbidden, but are expressly declared not to be void. Divorces are authorized for six causes, viz. adultery, extreme cruelty, willful desertion, willful neglect, habitual intemperance, and conviction of felony. The constitution forbids the passage by the legislature of any special law granting divorce, or separation a mensa et toro, or decrees for separate maintenance, a power the early territorial legislatures freely exercised. Residence in the state one year by the plaintiff is a requisite of jurisdiction.
The sale of liquor is permitted under licences issued by counties and cities. Local option is authorized by law, but the traffic is not prohibited in any county. The employment of women in places where liquor is sold is forbidden, as is its sale in places of public amusement, or at any camp meeting, or near any cemetery. A law, known as the "Wine Room Law", makes it punishable to have in connection with a saloon any room or apartment into which females are permitted to enter.
WILLS AND TESTAMENTS
Wills may be made by any person over eighteen. If in his own handwriting it need be neither witnessed nor attested; if not, it must bear the signatures of two witnesses. A nuncupative will may be made orally disposing of an estate less than $1000 in value, when the testator is in actual military service in the field, or doing duty on shipboard and in peril or fear of death, or when he is expecting death from injury received the same day. A wife has a dower right in her husband's real estate, but he has no interest in her property except that she cannot without his written consent deprive him by will of more than two-thirds of her estate. The will of an unmarried woman is revoked by her subsequent marriage, as is that of a man made before he marries by his subsequent marriage, unless his wife is provided for by contract or in the will, or unless the will expressly excludes her from taking.
Charitable bequests contained in wills made within thirty days of the death of the testator are void. If the aggregate of such bequests in any will exceed in amount one-third the value of the estates, and the testator have legal heirs they are scaled down until their sum does not exceed such amount.
A law applicable specially to that subject authorizes the incorporation of cemetery associations. Burial without a certificate of death is made punishable, as is violation of sepulture, defacing of graves or monuments, or neglecting to bury the bodies of dead kindred.
Mont. Rev. Statutes of 1907; Historical Society of Montana Contributions; PARKMAN, A Half-Century of Conflict (St. Helena); PALLADINO, Indian and White in the Northwest (New York); DYE, The Conquest (New York); IRVING, Astoria (New York); CHITTENDEN, Early Steamboat Navigation of the Missouri (New York);. HALL, Montana (New York); Report of Supt. of Pub. Instruction of Montana for 1908.