Query on 1910s Miles City Boarding Houses
Posted by Bill McRae (+23) 13 years ago
I am researching a period of my grandmother's life that involves her staying in a Miles City boarding house, and I hope that someone in these forums can provide information. My grandmother, Mary Helen Kerr from the Van Norman area in Garfield County, spent part of 1918 and 1919 in Miles City attending bookkeeping and business courses. During this time, she stayed at a boarding house operated by a Scottish proprietress. There are conflicting stories within the family about which boarding house she stayed at. One source claims that she stayed at Mr. Jessie Finlayson's; another that she stayed at Mrs. Jessie MacLellan's; and another that she stayed at the Paris boarding house. From information provided in the Tartan Tales book, it seems that the Paris boarding house would not have been in operation in 1918.

I'm hoping that some of you may have information on these boarding houses in general, and more specifically:
1. What business school might it have been that my grandmother attended?
2. Were these three boarding houses all separate businesses, or could these be the same boarding house with a succession of proprietresses?

Thanks for your help and insights,

Bill McRae
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Posted by jeanne m bole (+179) 13 years ago
Hi Bill,
My grandparents had the Paris boarding house. My grandmother had to
return to Scotland in 1921. She did not come back to Miles
City until 1923 when they opened the boarding house. If you can get
in touch with Jack McRae of Jordan MT. He used to be on this website
a lot I am sure he can give you more information.
Sorry I couldn't be more help.
Jeanne Paris Bole
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Posted by Cindy Stalcup (+586) 13 years ago
Perhaps there are city directories for 1918 & 1919. They can be handy for finding people & their occupations.
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Posted by Stone (+1596) 13 years ago
Bump
I wondered if some of our local historians missed this query?
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Posted by Jack McRae (+360) 13 years ago
The city directories for those years are not in the Miles City Library or the State Historical Society.
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Posted by Cindy Stalcup (+586) 13 years ago
Bill,
I ran onto this historical marker entry when looking for Jackson...see bottom of article for info on bookkeeping classes.


Jackson Block (808 Main Street)
The Jackson Block's spare fa├žade bears witness to those watchwords of modern architecture, "form follows function." The two-story building suggests ways that urban architectural trends were translated and adapted in small communities. Its main decoration derives from the pattern created by its windows; in this, the 1909 commercial block echoes the emphasis found in turn-of-the-century "Chicago-style" skyscrapers on "light, space, air, and strength" rather than ornamentation. Miles City architect Brynjulf Rivenes designed the surprisingly modern building for entrepreneur W. C. Jackson, a confectioner who owned a shop at 613 Main. With fellow Miles City businessman Ed Arnold, Jackson also invested in the next-door Arnold Block. Built in 1913, it matched the lines of the Jackson Block, and doorways connected the buildings on the second floor. From Jackson Block storefronts merchants sold pianos, office equipment, clothing, and dry goods. Second-floor tenants included Brynjulf Rivenes and the Montana Institute, a private school that offered both day and night classes in automobile engineering, bookkeeping, stenography, and penmanship.
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Posted by Bill McRae (+23) 13 years ago
Thanks, Cindy -- this is likely the business school my grandmother attended. Thanks for the research and the heads-up.

Bill
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Posted by Cindy Stalcup (+586) 13 years ago
Bill,
I'm glad I noticed it.
It might be worth a call to the Historical Society in Helena to see if they ended up with the "Montana Institute" records.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+12830) 13 years ago
I have a Montana Institute postcard and have run across a few references to it but that is the extent of my knowledge.
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Posted by Bill McRae (+23) 11 years ago
A couple of years ago I posted a question here asking for information on Miles City boarding houses in the early 20th century. I was researching a period of my grandmother Mary Kerr's youth when she left the Van Norman area in Garfield Count to attend a business school in Miles City called the Montana Institute.

Newly found letters seem to indicate that the boarding house where she stayed was operated by a Mrs. Jellison. Does anyone reading these posts have information about a Jellison boarding house from around 1920?

Thanks in advance.
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Posted by Mandi (+352) 11 years ago
Hi Bill, I am just wondering if you are related to any of the local McRae's in Miles City, as that is my family name.
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Posted by Bill McRae (+23) 11 years ago
Hi Mandi, I'm part of the McRae family from east of Jordan. Our family isn't closely related to the other McRaes in eastern Montana, but I suspect we're all cousins at a certain level. What branch of the McRaes are you from?
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Posted by Mandi (+352) 11 years ago
Don McRae was my grandpa. We had a ranch 24 miles out on the Jordan highway.
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Posted by Cindy Stalcup (+586) 11 years ago
It may have been Mrs. Arthur Jellison.

Arthur Jellison a house painter had two wives while living in Miles City. His first wife Sarah was Irish born and mother of his daughter Martha born 1915. In 1920 census living on North 5th Street at what appears to be number 24. They have three roomers; her niece 18 Sarah Underwood, Emma Libeski 22 a dish washer, and Mildred Johnson 33 seamstress.

Sarah must have died because Arthur has much younger wife, Sadie in 1930 census with her son Kenneth M. Cox 4 11/12, their children Bernice 2 1/12 and Arthur 2/12.....
and his daughter Martha Jellison 15 was listed as adopted daughter by neighbors Emanuel and Alexandra Anderson at 719 Phillips St. The Jellisons had no roomers listed and lived at 723 Phillips Street.
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Posted by Bill McRae (+23) 11 years ago
Thanks, Cindy. This sounds very likely to be the Mrs. Jellison referred to in my grandmother's letter. I'll be interested to check to see if the house is still standing next time I'm in Miles City. We have old photos from this period and it will be curious to find out if we can make the locations match up!

Thanks again for your help.

Bill
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