“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Virginia City in Madison County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)

Madison County Pioneers

Madison County Pioneers Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 6, 2009
1. Madison County Pioneers Marker
Inscription. The gold rush to Alder Creek in 1863 spurred settlement of the Madison Valley, and among the first families to settle here were the Jeffers, the Switzers (whose home is preserved here in Nevada City) and the Careys. Irish-born Nick Carey walked to Virginia City from Denver with his possessions on his back. He established a mercantile and the first local post office where he was postmaster at nearby Adobetown from 1863 to 1905. In 1873 Nick married Mary Emerson, then 16. Their thirteen children live to majority.

The Carey’s oldest child, Matt married Helen Jeffers, daughter of Josiah and Susan Switzer Jeffers in 1907. Matt and Helen had four sons and a daughter, Mary Helen. All were raised and schooled in Virginia City. Mary was to play a significant role in Charles Bovey’s Nevada City enterprise.

Mary Helen married rodeo cowboy Lester Stiles (who grew up in Salmon, Idaho) in 1930. Generous to a fault, Lester could “talk the gold fillings out of your teeth and you’d be glad to have a toothache.” When Charlie and Sue Bovey came to Virginia City in the 1940’s, Lester and Mary took them under their wing. Lester and Charlie became good friends. Mary and Lester gained title to most of the property at Nevada City from the Careys. Lester used the property as pasture but vacant buildings were a danger to his horses. Charlie

The Switzer House (center) on California Street image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 6, 2009
2. The Switzer House (center) on California Street
interceded when Lester burned some of the houses. The Boveys thus acquired the Carey’s Nevada City property through Mary and Lester Stiles.

Mary and Lester raised four children, opened their home to many others, and always maintained their Virginia City roots. Mary managed the Nevada City operations for Bovey Restorations and Lester drove the stagecoach. In 1967, Mary was appointed Deputy Clerk of the District Court and like her father was elected Clerk of the District Court. She served in that position until she retired in 1986.

Friends and family gathered to pay tribute to Mary on her 90th birthday in November of 2000. Proud of her pioneer ancestors, Mary inherited their enthusiasm for the homes they carved in the wilderness of Montana’s Madison County. This, especially, she passed on to her children, grandchildren, great- grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

Plaque provided by the Montana Historical Society, 2000
Erected by Montana Historical Society.
Location. 45° 18.423′ N, 111° 58.067′ W. Marker is in Virginia City, Montana, in Madison County. Marker is on Montana Route 287. Click for map. This marker in located in Nevada City. Nevada City, MT is located about 1.5 miles west of Virginia City, MT on Montana Highway 287. Marker is in this post office area: Virginia City MT 59755, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Nevada City (within shouting distance of this marker); Site of the Trial and Hanging of George Ives (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Gallows Barn (about 400 feet away); Finney House (about 400 feet away); Montana’s Oldest Standing School (about 400 feet away); The Mount Vernon Dredge (approx. 0.2 miles away); Boot Hill (approx. 1.3 miles away); Green Front Boarding House (approx. 1.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Virginia City.
Also see . . .  Charlers Bovey (1907-1978). (Submitted on November 16, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.)
Categories. Settlements & Settlers

Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 398 times since then and 70 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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