Montana Memories


Montana Memories

The Life of Emma Magee in the Rocky Mountain West, 1866–1950


Ida S. Patterson, with a biography of the author by Grace Patterson McComas

144 pages
6 photographs, index


January 2012


$10.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Published by the Salish Kootenai College Press
Montana Memories is the life story of a mixed-blood Indian woman in western Montana and southern Alberta during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Born in 1866 to a white trader and a Shoshone and Salish Indian mother, Emma Magee saw Montana change from Indian Country to a part of industrial America. When she was born, mixed-blood Indians were socially part of the white community in Montana. By the time she died in 1950, however, mixed-bloods were considered Indians.

In the memoirs of her long and dramatic life, Magee recounts many interesting aspects of early Montana:

-Her father’s experiences as a free trader in the Rocky Mountains.
-Her mother’s tales of her Shoshone ancestors.
-Her memories of her life as a mixed-blood child in the Missoula Valley during the nineteenth century.
-Her father’s and other relatives’ role in the Nez Perce War of 1877.
-Her travels with her first husband through the Upper Flathead Country and the Thompson Falls area of Montana and High River, Alberta.
-Her move with her second husband to the Flathead Indian Reservation and her impressions of the impact of allotment and the new irrigation system on the reservation community.
-Her daughter’s life in the boarding school at St. Ignatius Mission in the early twentieth century.


Author Bio

Ida S. Patterson (1903–54), a young relative of Emma Magee, recorded this reminiscence in the late 1940s. It was published as a historical column in the Montana Farmer-Stockman in 1950. Some of her poetry was also published during her lifetime. She died in Polson, Montana, of complications from rheumatism.

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