Montana Historical Society Press

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MHS Press publishes regional books on the history and cultural resources of Montana. Book titles with asterisks (*) are available as ebooks from most major online ebook retailers.

Our award-winning quarterly, Montana The Magazine of Western History, contains articles on the history of Montana and the West. Search the magazine index for a more comprehensive catalog of articles. To purchase back issues, or for issues prior to Winter 2003, email tryan@mt.gov, call (406) 444-4708, or fill out and mail this form. Copies may be found at your local library or the MHS Research Center at mhslibrary@mt.gov.

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Girl from the Gulches*

Girl from the Gulches*

The Story of Mary Ronan

Created: Monday, August 9, 1920

The Story of Mary Ronan
as told to Margaret Ronan
edited by Ellen Baumler

"One of the most important personal recollections of Montana's mining frontier."
—Mary Clearman Blew, author of Bone Deep in Landscape

A covered wagon on a dim road, the promise of a long journey, and the wonder of what lay ahead filled the shadowy spaces of Mary Sheehan Ronan's earliest memories. By the time she was a married woman in her twenties, she was a well-seasoned pioneer, having crossed most of the country and retraced her steps back across a third of it. Ronan tells her story in this highly readable, entertaining account of one woman's life in the West during the second half of the nineteenth century. This detailed memoir recalls a girl's growing up on the Montana mining frontier, her ascent to young womanhood on a farm in southern California, her experiences as a student in a Los Angeles convent school, her return to Montana as a bride, and her life on the Flathead Indian Reservation as wife of the Indian agent. The exhilaration of a forbidden sled ride, the creaking of the hangman's rope, her father giving the last of their water to his dying mule—these things Ronan remembers with vivid clarity. A highly readable, entertaining account, Girl from the Gulches' unique perspective is a joy to read.

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