Sunday, March 30, 2014

A neighbor of the McQuarries recalls time spent with the family

I was in Missoula for the Montana Masters State Championship Swim Meet this weekend, and was able to snag 55 minutes at the Missoula Public Library before they closed. It was hard to know what to do with such little time. Thankfully, I had previously started a list of things I knew I wanted to search for the next time I was in Missoula, and I was able to access that list on my iPad.

I came up empty-handed on the few specific things I was looking for, but then I found one of the books Roberta Carkeek Cheney had listed in the bibliography of Names on the Face of Montana that I thought might possibly reference Betters' Station: Missoula Valley History by Jo Rainbolt and Dorothy Brumback. The book is 500+ pages, and the index and table of contents weren't much help, so I just started flipping and skimming from the beginning. I didn't make it all the way through the book, but I did find a reference to my ancestors' family members (see below).

The Mrs. Dan McQuarrie mentioned by Kate Rasmussen in the excerpt above was Grace (Betters) McQuarrie, my great grand aunt. Dan and Grace McQuarrie raised my great-grandfather, Phillip Betters, and two of his sisters for a few years after their mom, Jane (Stanley) Betters died in 1899 (More about that in future posts). The excerpt doesn't make it clear when Rasmussen's first automobile ride was, but it was likely after Phillip and his sisters had moved out. If it happened after 1914, the McQuarries would have had six children living at home, which is a pretty big family by today's standards, but doesn't seem that big for the time. Based on the approximate timing, I suspect that Fannie was the sister they visited in Clinton.

It appears that the McQuarries were pretty well off. They apparently owned one of the first automobiles in Missoula, they were able to hire out a housekeeper, and they enjoyed homemade ice cream and cake, which Rasmussen considered to be a luxury. Other than that, there's not a whole lot of new information here, but it was nice to come across a nugget of information by simply browsing. Now if only I could come across something about the name Betters' Station by accident...

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