Dusting Off the Old Ones was published in 1961 by W. B. Clarke, Miles City, Montana.
The First Entry in the Journal of the District Court in Montana Territory
For the benefit of folks who are interested in the early history of Montana and who have not read N. P. Langford's book, "Vigilante Days and Ways," this book describes the manner in which criminals were brought to justice in the early sixties and prior to the organization of the Territory of Montana in May 1864. According to the court journal of the United States District Court of the First Judicial District of Montana Territory, the first entry of this journal is of the December 1864 term of this court, L. Hosmer, Chief Justice of the Territory of Montana presiding. The journal is a day-by-day entry of the sessions of the court and contains some very interesting matters. For instance, in March of 1865, the first grand jury was called. This grand jury evidently brought in several indictments against various offenders, the chief offense being "trading without a licence" and "violations of the internal revenue law." The court was very lenient with these offenders inasmuch as it appears that, whenever a defendant plead guilty, he was usually fined five cents and the costs of the suit taxed somewhere in the neighborhood of $40. In line with the amount of fines, it appears that the jurors and witnesses received $2 per day and five cents mileage. Those who have read "Vigilante Days and Ways" will remember the character, X. Beidler, one of the leading vigilantes, who, in this journal, appears as deputy United States Marshal.

Another interesting sidelight of these proceedings is that, when the United States marshal endeavored to serve warrants on those who had been indicted, the percentage of those arrested was less than half the number of those indicted, and it was not long until the court entered in its minutes its order for the dismissal of the indictments. It is apparent from the record that whether the defendants were brought in for trial or not those who were not brought to trial disappeared from the country, and were no longer a menace.

The first action of the court recorded in this journal was the order that L. B. Lockhart be delivered into the custody of the marshal or required to give bond in the sum of $1,000 to be and appear at the next term of the District Court of the Third Judicial District to answer any charges which said court might find against him. The bond was given but we cannot find any record in this journal of the disposition of the case. There is in the record a copy of the bond given by George M. Pinney in the sum of $2000 to cover his position as United States marshal. Another United States marshal, whose bond appears in the journal, is one Niel Howie, and one of his bondsmen was Wilbur Sanders, who played a prominent part among the Vigilantes, whose statue is now in the state capitol at Helena. Other actions of the court include, according to this journal, the admission of several lawyers to the bar, the granting of citizenship to several aliens, the appointment of United States commissioners, and the last entry has to do with the copyrighting of the book entitled "Lectures of Governor Thomas Francis Meagher," together with his messages, speeches, etc. compiled by John B. Bruce.