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Virginia City in Madison County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
 

Dr. Don L. Byam Residence

 
 
Dr. Don L. Byam Residence Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 17, 2016
1. Dr. Don L. Byam Residence Marker
Inscription.
Light timber framing with board-and-batten walls characterizes this early home original to the Nevada City townsite. Inside, the original, well-preserved, muslin-covered walls are a rare example of a frontier decorating technique. The cabinís first occupants were Dr. Don Byam and his family, who came to Alder Gulch in 1863 after someone jumped their claim near Bannack. Elected judge of the minerís court, Dr. Byam presided over the murder trial of George Ives, held on Nevada Cityís main street in December 1863. Ives, convicted and hanged, was incarcerated during the trial in the small cabin behind the house. The trial was the catalyst for forming the Vigilantes. During the Civil War in Confederate-dominated Alder Gulch, Dr. Byam was a member of the anti-Confederate Union League of America. Clandestine meetings were held in the Byam attic. The Byams moved on and Samuel B. Wonderly next owned the house. He removed the original false front and added the gable as camp phase architecture gave way to the settlement period. Lawrence Fenner and his wife Amanda moved into the house in 1875. They remained in Nevada City long after almost everyone else had moved away. Fenner, a Union League activist and self-styled Vigilante like Dr. Byam, was a civil engineer and inventor. He obtained the US Mineral Patent on the Nevada City townsite in 1878
Dr. Don L. Byam Residence Marker (<i>wide view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 17, 2016
2. Dr. Don L. Byam Residence Marker (wide view)
and was the first to dredge in the area using a method he invented. After Fenner died in 1915, Amanda stayed on and died here in 1930 at 84.

This property contributes to the Virginia City Historic District ē Listed in the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior ē In cooperation with the Montana Historical Society
 
Erected by Montana Historical Society.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Montana National Register Historical Markers marker series.
 
Location. 45° 18.409′ N, 111° 58.039′ W. Marker is in Virginia City, Montana, in Madison County. Marker is on State Highway 287 0.1 miles south of California Street, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is a metal plaque mounted on a waist-high post and located by the sidewalk (boardwalk) near the southeast corner of the Byam House. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1574 Montana Highway 287, Virginia City MT 59755, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Madison County Pioneers (within shouting distance of this marker); Nevada City (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Site of the Trial and Hanging of George Ives
Dr. Don L. Byam Residence Marker (<i>street view; marker visible right of Byam House</i>) image. Click for full size.
3. Dr. Don L. Byam Residence Marker (street view; marker visible right of Byam House)
(about 400 feet away); Gallows Barn (about 500 feet away); Montanaís Oldest Standing School (about 500 feet away); Finney House (about 500 feet away); The Mount Vernon Dredge (about 700 feet away); Gold in Alder Gulch (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Virginia City.
 
Regarding Dr. Don L. Byam Residence. National Register of Historic Places (2002)
 
Also see . . .
1. Byam Residence - National Register of Historic Places Registration Application.
Dr. Byam, the original inhabitant, was politically active during the turbulent territorial era, playing a key role in Nevada Cityís vigilance movement of the 1860s. During his occupancy, the residence served as a meeting place for the local chapter of the Union League of America. It was early Union League leadership of Montanaís Republican party that served as a balance to the more numerous pro-Confederacy Democrats in the gold camps; and ultimately led to the admission of Montana into the Union by a Republican Congress in 1889. (Submitted on May 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
Dr. Byam Interpretive Plaque (<i>mounted on front of house, beside door</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 17, 2016
4. Dr. Byam Interpretive Plaque (mounted on front of house, beside door)
Dr. Byam was born in 1814 and attended William & Mary College in Virginia. He lived in Ohio until 1848 before crossing the Plains to Pikeís Peak, and then to Bannack, Montana in 1862 and to Nevada City in 1863.

Dr. Byam was the Judge at the trail of George Ives which took place in Nevada City on December 21, 1863. Though this trail took place before the Minerís Court, it led to the establishment of the Vigilantes a few days later.

This house was built in 1863. The second floor was once headquarters for the Union League, an anti-Confederate group. The Civil War was alive even in far off Montana.

2. Doctor Don L. Byam House.
The Byam house is prominent in historical photos of 1865. It had a false front at that time and two upstairs windows. The two windows were later boarded over and a single window placed in the center. The original windows still can be seen in the attic of the house today. The false front was also later removed to make it look more residential, in the 1870's. (Submitted on May 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

3. Dr. Don L. Byam.
Byam arrived in 1863, more intent on mining than on Medicine. He was promptly elected judge of the miner's court. He presided at the trial of George Ives. Byam was assisted as judge by one man, and there were twenty-four jurors. The principals occupied wagon boxes placed on Main Street. The trail lasted three days in the latter part of December, 1863, and the jury found Ives guilty as charged. Judge Byam sentenced him to be hanged immediately and supervised preparation for execution. He watched the drop and quickly pronounced the man dead from a broken neck. Dr. Byam remained in the Madison County area as a Physician and miner until 1869. (Submitted on May 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. Settlements & SettlersWar, US Civil
 
Dr. Don L. Byam House (<i>view from near marker</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 17, 2016
5. Dr. Don L. Byam House (view from near marker)
Dr. Don L. Byam House (<i>side view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 17, 2016
6. Dr. Don L. Byam House (side view)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 5, 2018. This page originally submitted on May 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 45 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on May 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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