Other miners joined the Georgians to pitch tents and mine claims during the summer of 1864. Some stayed but more moved on, discouraged by the scant supply of water. In mid-September, the first group of emigrants arrived with the Thomas A. Holmes wagon train from Shakopee, Minnesota. The train included several hundred men and fourteen women. Only half of their names were recorded. Many hailed from Minnesota, but emigrants also came from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, and some were European-born immigrants. The incomplete roster includes a number of pioneers who stayed and became citizens of Helena. Among them were longtime Helena attorneys John H. Shober, his partner Thomas J. Lowry, and pioneer rancher Nicholas Hilger. John Somerville, who would soon play a key role in naming Helena, was also part of the group.
|The hill in the center of this early Helena panorama, circa 1866, is where the fire tower stands today. |
Sketch by A. E. Mathews. Montana Historical Society Research Center.