“BEST IN THE WEST SMALL TOWN MUSEUM”
101 So. Logan Ave.
Our Museum Board members have their home phone numbers posted on the door of the museum as well as at many of the other businesses in town.
They will be glad to respond to your request to view the exhibits of the museum and its adjacent buildings including the Evelyn Cameron Gallery when we are closed.
The hard cover edition of Donna Lucey’s book “Photographing Montana” is available for $60 with the soft cover priced at $35.
We are open from 9 am until 3 pm during summer, closing down after Labor Day, six days per week excluding Tuesdays. Special arrangements can be made to view the exhibits by calling ahead any of the Board members.
After hours you may call Carol Larsen at (406) 486-5598 or email her at: email@example.com to obtain any of the books for sale as well as print of pictures on exhibit at the museum.
Prairie County Museum Board of Directors:
Carol Larsen – President of the Board
In addition the above the other Museum Board members are:
The Evelyn Cameron story – “A life worthy to look back upon”
After arriving in Terry, Montana from England in 1889 Evelyn Cameron and her husband Ewen immediately fell in love with the openness and wildlife of the prairies. They decided to stay permanently and call it their home in the new country.
Ewen’s passion for the study of birds made him one of the most renowned ornithologists of his time. He and Evelyn also dabbled in raising polo ponies but that venture failed and they resorted to having to take in boarders at their home in Terry.
One boarder got Evelyn interested in photography, in which she became a quick learner with plenty of opportunities to take pictures of the daily lives of people and places around Terry and Fallon, Montana.
Evelyn lived a self-imposed hard life after having been born into aristocracy in her homeland of England. She insisted on doing all the manual labor herself and kept a fastidious diary of all her daily duties and happenings on their ranch in Terry and after they moved to Fallon.
She has left us with a legacy of historical negatives and photographs depicting frontier life in the Early West. Those were discovered by Donna Lucey, hidden in the basement of her friend’s Janet Williams’ Terry home, in 1978.
Donna Lucey wrote her book “Photographing Montana – The Life and Work of Evelyn Cameron” and it was published in 1990. The diaries, letters and vivid images photographed by Evelyn Cameron convey the lonely strength of sheepherders and homesteaders making up the early population of Terry and Fallon.
The story of the Milwaukee Railroad train wreck in 1938
On the morning of June 19, 1938, the Milwaukee railroad’s Olympian train plunged into Custer Creek on the Haughians’ ranch. The crash is still the worst train wreck in Montana history, claiming nearly 50 peoples’ lives. It is commonly referred to as the Saugus train wreck or Custer Creek wreck.
Dan Haughian and one of the hired hands, Francis Mothershead, went out to help people from the wreckage, bringing their handmade wooden ladders. A book written about the Milwaukee railroad recently estimated that the two saved about 40 peoples’ lives, according to Quinn and Terry.
Sheila Dixson, Mothershead’s daughter, told this story to a Montana newspaper as part of a story written in 2006 that recalled the crash:
“When my daughter was a baby in 1973, we were downtown in Terry after the Fourth of July rodeo. An elderly gentleman in the crowd stopped to visit with us. He asked our names, and I also told him my maiden name, and who my Dad was. He started crying, and asked if he could kiss my baby for good luck. Dan and Daddy had saved his life, but he lost a leg as a result of the accident.”
Quinn Haughian said he was surprised when he heard of the rescue. His father had said that he had been there to help after the crash, but he never said that he saved peoples’ lives. ”We would have never known, if we hadn’t read that book,” he added. ”He never boasted about it,” Quinn said. “He didn’t want any recognition. Nowadays, if you saved 30 or 40 people, you’d be a hero.
”I could say that about his brothers and sisters. It was the way of that generation of people.” Most of the values Quinn learned from his father were just by watching him work and live.
“Dad would never tell people what he wanted them to do. They would just talk, and then you just were supposed to know what to do,” said Quinn.
Mary said, “They’d go out by the shop and smoke their cigarettes and talk about what they were going to do that day. Then they would go do it.”
Mary and Quinn pointed to a quote in an article in the Terry Tribune when the Haughian brothers were inducted into the Range Riders memorial as a perfect way to sum up their family values.