MARY C. LOVELAND WETZSTEON
Mrs. Jacob (Mary) Wetzsteon, was an authentic pioneer
of the Bitter Root Valley. She was a long time resident of Sula, born on October
5, 1879 at Columbus, Nebraska. While she was yet a young child, the family
moved to Montana and settled on a farm near Missoula, where she received her
early schooling. Following the death of her parents, Mary went to live with
relatives, the Andy Vogt family, in Sula. There, she later met Jacob Wetzsteon,
a young man who was then farming land in the Cameron Creek area of Ross Hole.
They were married April 19, 1897 and in 1903 purchased land known as the
Sherrill place. There they made their home, established and operated their
cattle ranch and reared their family of five children: Mrs. Dora Wetzsteon
of Spokane, Mrs. Elsie May (Dalton) Tessier of Hamilton, Edgar, Paul, and
Fred Wetzsteon, who ranched in the Sula area. She had 14 grandchildren and
33 great grandchildren.
Mary Wetzsteon was known to most of her friends as May,
enjoyed doing needlework, especially knitting and crocheting. While on the
ranch, one of her hobbies was creating and caring for her colorful flower
garden. During the two World Wars, she was an avid worker for the Red Cross.
Her many friends fondly recalled was the pride May took in the entire Sula
community and its people, and the energy shown in conducting visitors, when
they came calling, around to the ranches in the basin and up and down the
East Fork of the Bitter Root Valley.
She was very proud of the time when Charles M. Russell,
the famous Montana artist, lived in her home while engaged in sketching from
the front porch, what became his masterpiece, the painting depicting the Lewis
and Clark meeting with the Flathead Indians in the Ross Hole Basin. The picture
was hung behind the Speaker's desk in the House of Representatives Chambers
of the Montana State Capitol in Helena.
Not only was Mrs. Wetzsteon a Montana pioneer, but she
was also a descendent of early American pioneers. Her paternal grandmother
was the seventh direct descendent of the Rev. John Cotton, a Massachusetts
Bay Colonist; her great grandmother was a niece of Dr. Benjamin Rush, whose
name is subscribed to the Declaration of Independence.
Mr. Wetzsteon died January 25, 1951 and not long afterward,
failing health made it necessary for Mrs. Wetzsteon to retire to Hamilton.
She was a life member of Leona Chapter of the Order of Eastern Star and a
member of the Sula Woman's Club.
Mary died November 2, 1976. Burial was in the Sula Cemetery.