Early Residents of Benton, Montana

Prominent among the citizens of Benton and Montana is John M. Boardman, a native of Illinois, where he was born on Dec. 2, 1855. He received a commercial training in the great wholesale house of Marshall, Field, & Co., of Chicago, where he held a responsible position for several years. In 1879 he removed to Montana, where he engaged in the cattle business in the vicinity of Fort Benton. In 1885 he merged his stock in the Milner Livestock Co., whose herds are among the largest in the state. As vice-president and manager of this company he has contributed largely to its prosperity, and aided perhaps more than any single individual in building the cattle interests of northern Montana. As an instance of his popularity, it may be mentioned that he was elected in 1889 to the first state legislature of Montana, and was also the first republican elected in Choteau County to any legislative office.

C. E. Conrad was born in Virginia City in 1850, and there was raised and educated. At the age of 18 years he came to Montana, arriving at Fort Benton June 30, 1868. He began life here as a clerk in the employ of J. G. Baker & Co., of which he is now a member. In 1882, when the First National bank of Fort Benton was organized, of which W. G. Conrad is prest, he was chosen vice-prest, which office he still holds. He is also largely interested in cattle and sheep, owning an interest in the Benton and St Louis Cattle Co. He was a member of the state constitutional convention of 1889.

Joseph A. Baker is a son of the J. G. Baker above referred to, who was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1819. He was a pioneer in the west, having been a post-trader in Iowa, Kansas, and Montana. He came to Fort Benton in 1866, and established the business which still bears his name. In 1880 the father retired to a home in St Louis. Joseph A. was born in Westport, Missouri, in 1850, but came when a lad to Fort Benton, where he assisted his father in his business until 1878, when he engaged in the cattle business for himself, continuing actively in it until 1886, when he was elected cashier of the First National bank of Fort Benton, in which office he remains. He was elected state senator from Choteau County to the first state senate of Montana.

John W. Power was born near Dubuque, Iowa, in 1844, and remained on his father’s farm until 20 years of age, when he went to Fort Randall, Iowa, where his brother, T. C. Power, was a post-trader, remaining in his employ until 1867, at which time both came to Fort Benton, and went into business together under the firm name of T. C. Power & Bro., which firm is still in existence. T. C. Power resides in Helena, but John W. is permanently located at Benton, where he has large interests.

Jere. Sullivan was born in 1843, in Ireland, 30 miles from Cork. In 1850 his parents immigrated to Canada, where he was educated. At the age of 18 years he came to the U. S., residing for a time at various points until 1855, when he came to Montana, arriving at Fort Benton in July of that year. He followed mining until 1874, when he located at Fort Shaw, on Sun River, where he opened a hotel, remaining there until 1870, when he removed to Benton, where he again kept a hotel. He was elected mayor of Benton in 1886 and 1887, and was chairman of the republican county committee in 1888 and 1889. He is owner of large interests in Fort Benton.


Bancroft, Hubert H. Bancroft Works, Volume 31, History Of Washington, Idaho, and Montana, 1845-1889. San Francisco: The History Company. 1890.

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