Dillon, Mt. 1885-1896. 261 manuscript items, varying sizes. Light wear and toning throughout; occasional dampstaining and soiling. In a variety of legible scripts. Very good, overall. Item #2352
A large and impressive collection of correspondence between a general goods purveyor, Richard Halliday, and his customers in the mining towns of Montana and Idaho, as well as with his suppliers across the country. Halliday went to Montana in the early 1880s, and for a time was a passenger conductor on the Utah and Northern Railroad. In 1885, he established his business in the southwestern town of Dillon, where he operated until 1896 and also served as mayor in 1891 and 1892.
The manuscript documents present here consist primarily of manuscript orders, inquiries, and letters to Halliday from purchasers across southern Montana and eastern Idaho. His business cast a wide net, and attracted customers from numerous towns in the region, including Beaver Canyon, Eagle Rock, Gibbonsville, Idaho Falls, Junction, Oxford, Pocatello, Salmon, and many more. Halliday's principal line of business was as a wholesale liquor distributor, and he received orders for large quantities of beer, whiskey, rum and other spirits. He also did brisk sales in other soft beverages, and was a purveyor of tobacco, food, clothing, and other general goods. The orders and inquiries provide names of individual and other business customers, types and makes of goods ordered, exact quantities and prices of goods sold, methods of payment, and many other salient details of the day-to-day operation of Halliday's business. The correspondence contains much additional, similar information, and addresses issues of payment, wrangling over bills, and other financial minutiae.
The present collection spans the entire duration that the business was in operation, with approximately half of the material here dating from the first four years of his business, through 1888, and the other half being composed of documents from the last eight years to 1896. In sum, they provide an excellent view of everyday business beyond the mining industry in Montana and Idaho during their late territorial years and first years of statehood, and should prove a valuable resource in the study of business and trade in the northwestern United States during the latter part of the 19th century.