Montana pioneers’ spirit on display during Virginia City convention

Taegen Walker For the Independent Record

The Sons and Daughters of Montana Pioneers returned to historic Virginia City Aug. 4-5 for their 126th annual convention.

The organization met in Virginia City in 1947, 1953, 1961, 1978, 1986, 1997 and most recently in 2008. The group meets each August in various Montana towns to do business, learn the history of the area and honor a Montana history teacher.

This year’s honoree, Montana history teacher Eric Chaon of Great Falls High School, talked to members about how he encourages love of history, and especially Montana history, among his students.

Luncheon speaker and Montana historian Ellen Baumler introduced the audience to Virginia City’s “spirited women,” storied female ghosts of Virginia and Nevada cities.

Banquet keynote speaker Dwight Smith, husband of Norma Ashby-Smith from Great Falls, portrayed Ashby’s great-grandfather, George Beatty, who arrived in Bannack in 1862 and was the first homesteader in Broadwater County.

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This group photo was taken in 1899 on the steps of the Virginia City Courthouse.

Courtesy photo


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