Child of James and Nesta (Foster) Bigelow:
Wellington, b 22 May
1854 IL; d 30 June 1918 Absarokee, Stillwater co, MT; m 1873
Elizabeth "Carrie" Howe; (1856-1932); 11 children;
Bigelow Society,The Bigelow Family Genealogy, Vol II, pg ;
Correspondence with descendants;
Article sent 16 Jun 1999 by Pauline Bigelow, 2114 Comstock St., Miles City, MT 59301-48903.
In Deforest's opinion, his father was born in western part of New York State. By occupation, James R. was a steamboat captain and pilot. first on the Colorado, remaining, however, only a short period, going thence to California gulch, and afterward visiting other places. Returning to Denver he engaged in placer mining. In the spring of 1862 he went to East Bannock, Montana with a pack train of which he was wagon master. The same year Alder gulch was discovered by William Fairweather who came to Bannock after supplies. His discovery he attempted to keep a secret, but Mr. Bigelow discovered it, and, in company with Mr. Fairweather, and his son, he started for Alder Gulch.
Mr. Bigelow secured a claim, #6, below Discovery and Summit claims. At that time, our subject was too young to file on a claim. They all remained there until 1864, going thence to Last Chance gulch (now Helena). Then Mr. Bigelow and his son divided their time between Alder and Last Chance Gulch. Finally, Mr. Bigelow sold out his Summit claim for more dust than his son could life. The father then left his son at school in Alder Gulch. At that time subject was thirteen years of age. His father, when loading the dust on to an animal in two sacks asked the subject to hold one of the sacks which he was unable to do, and he was a strong boy.
In 1865 Mr. Bigelow started for the Kootenai mines, which had recently been discovered. He secured claim No. 3, and this he soon disposed for another large load of "dust." Then ensued a rush for Blackfoot City, and he was swept along with the tide and took the claim where he was subsequently murdered. It was supposed that he was killed bya man who had served as foreman of his mine. At that period Captain Williams, X. Beidler, Col. S. F. Sanders, Neil Howey and John Featherstone were the principal leaders of the vigilantes. They put forth every effort to discover the murderer and apprehend him, and it was supposed afterward that the man who had killed Mr. Bigelow had been subsequently murdered by Indians. At the time of the killing of Mr. Bigelow a large number of the population of Montana were "road agents. "Sanders made a thrilling speech, and assured the people that unless something was done immediately all the law abiding people would be killed.
The mother of our subject, Maria (Foster) Bigelow, went to Denver with her husband where she died.
To Denver our subject went with his mother the year following the arrival in that city of his father. He accompanied the latter to Alder Gulch, and other mining camps and remained with him until his father went to Kootenai. While he was in Nevada City he witnessed the lynching by vigilantes of George Ives, the first one executed by lynch law in Montana. Ives exhibited a great deal of bravado, and so sure was he that he would not be hanged that he came forth from his cabin smoking a cigar. But the vigiulantes were in deadly earnest, and upon the appearance of Ives each one drew a bead on the spectators and sympathisers with Ives who were present, and thus held them motionless until the hanging was over. Following the death of his father, our subject was taken in charge by the vigilantes, and wanted for nothing. They placed him in school and paid all necessary expenses. the men foremost in caring for him were X. Beidler, Capt. Williams and Neil Howey.
In 1860 our subject left school and joined the Salmon River Stampede. The following fall he returned to Helena and soon after other mining camps were discovered. In 1869 he went to White Pine, Nevada, and here he joined the Pioche Stampede, returning in 1876 to Helena where he remained until the discovery of Penobscot, Wipporwill and Marysville mines. In 1880 Mr. Bigelow removed to a ranch in Prickly Pear Valley, where he continued to live until 1883, returning thence to Helena. After five years passed on Crow Creek, Montana he removed to Great Falls and acted as foreman in the construction of the Great Falls Smelter. He was manager of the smelter for awhile, and also conducted the Cascade hotel. To Boulder, Montana he came in 1890, and the following year he went to the Yellowstone National Park as overseer of work. He came to his present location in 1893, and October 25th of that year, secured a homestead where he has since remained.
In 1873 Mr. Bigelow was married to Carrie E. Howe, born at Ogden Utah. Her parents were Joseph and Caroline (Jelly) Howe. She is the mother of nine children: Mrs. James Dwyer; Mrs. Lawrence Lynch; Mrs. A. F. Ketchens; Mrs. C. B. Scott; Lily a baby; James R., Edward, Harry and Daniel.
This was taken from "History of the Yellowstone Valley, Montana and Published by Western Historical Publishing Company, Spokane, Washington. The book is not dated but the last date found is 1907.