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THREE MEN OF HELENA.

HIRAM KNOWLES.

WHEN President Harrison, in 1890, selected Judge Hiram Knowles for the office of United States District Judge for Montana, the general verdict was that he had made a selection that would be in the interests of justice, that would reflect credit upon his administration, and that would give the highest satisfaction all through the West. The appointee was recognized as eminently fitted by natural attainments, a long career upon the bench, a thorough knowledge of law, and an acquaintance with the needs of the West, for the thorough discharge of his duties, and his record even at this early day, shows that the prophecies of a wise administration of justice were not made upon a false or delusive hope.

Judge Knowles has had a stirring and active life, and has had a chance open to few men, to learn the ways of the world, and test his theories in the sharp school of experience. He comes of a busy and honorable stock, and has the right of inheritance to the qualities that have won him success, and made him a name among men. He was born in the year 1834 at the house of his grandfather in Hamen, Maine. His father was engaged in maratime commerce, and at the time was a sea captain and absent at the

island of Martinique. Owing to the financial crisis that followed the veto of the National Bank charter by President Jackson, he lost a large portion of his fortune, and in 1836 or 1837 removed West and settled in what was then Hancock, now Warren county, Ills. In the following year his wife joined him in the West. Here the father resumed the practice of medicine, for which he had been educated, and in the fall of 1840 moved to West Point, Iowa, (a territory then) and continued his profession. Iowa had then a population of about 40,000 people, and the Blackhawk Indians were as plentiful along the Mississippi in Iowa and Illinois as Indians have been in Montana for the past eighteen years. In 1847 the father removed to Keokuk, Iowa, where he generally resided until his death in 1879. During these years he had a large practice. During the war he had charge of one of the U. S. Hospitals at Keokuk, and for a time. was Surgeon of a regiment of U. S. Regulars at Helena, Ark. For the eight or ten years preceding the war he was a Professor in the Iowa Medical University at Keokuk.

When but fifteen years of age, young Knowles had an opportunity of showing the stuff of which he was made, and from that early period he com

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menced the full work of a man in the world. The cholera was raging throughout the West in 1849, and the clerk employed in the drug store of Dr. Knowles at Keokuk, fled his post. Young Hiram promptly took his place, and faced the dangers of his position until the following spring. Then came the California gold excitement, and the father, worn out with his labors during the cholera season, determined to go to the fields of El Dorado, and see what fortune might have in store for him. It was an hour of happiness to the son when he was given permission to go along, and the father and son made the start together. They reached Hangtown, now Placerville, California, on July 22, 1850. The father purchased a stock of miners' goods in Sacramento, and opened a trading post in a cloth house at Cold Springs, some seven miles below Hangtown. Hiram was placed in charge of the store, and the father began the practice of his profession at Sacramento, being urged to do so by his friend, J. Nealy Johnson, afterward Governor of California. The father's health failing, and having a severe attack of opthalmia, he relinquished his profession, sold the store, and father and son started via Central America for their home in the States. They stopped two months in Central America, meantime circumnavigating Lake Nicaragua with a party of Americans, reaching home in March, 1851.

A good natural judgment, fortified by a practical experience that few

boys of his age are permitted to possess, had taught young Knowles that a course of mental training was the one thing that could do him the most good, and he immediately made his arrangements to achieve it. In the early summer of 1851, he entered a college that had been established at West Point, but an attack of climatic fever, from which he had already suffered in Central America, laid him low, and for some months he had a precarious hold upon life.

His health finally improving, he took light employment in the mercantile house of his uncle and partner at Keokuk, and remained two years. His health having been re-established he entered Denmark Academy, Iowa, remained a year and a half, and is ranked as one of its graduates. From thence he went to Antioch College, organized by the Christain church of Ohio, and whose President was the celebrated educator and ex-Congressman of Massachusetts, Horace Mann. There he remained two years. In 1857 he went with an invalid sister to the home of a relative in Mississippi, remaining about a year, six months of which time he taught in Pine Land Academy. In the summer of 1858 Horace Mann died and Antioch College was shaken by the sad event. It was decided that the subject of our sketch should not return there, and in the summer of 1858 he entered the law office of Messrs. Rankin & Miller, as the law student of Judge Miller, a warm personal friend of his father.

Mr. Knowles was admitted to the bar, at Keokuk, Iowa, in 1859. In the fall of the year he entered the law school of Cambridge, Mass., at a time when Judge Parker, who had been Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New Hampshire, Theophilus Parsons, Esq., well known as the author of "Parsons on Contracts," and Emory Washburn, author of "Washburn on Real Property," were among the professors; an advantage of teaching and personal contact that few students of law are permitted to enjoy. He graduated from that great institution in 1860, and returned to Keokuk, and commenced the practice of his profession. His office adjoined that of his friend, Hon. George W. McCrary, for a time Judge of the Western U. S. Circuit, embracing Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado, and during President Hayes' administration, Secretary of War; also that of General John Bruce, now one of the U. S. District Judges of Alabama. In those days they were all struggling young fellows, and whatever of books or information they possessed was common property.

In 1862, Mr. Knowles went to the territory of Nevada. In the fall of the year, Orrian Clemens, brother of "Mark Twain," who was then secretary and acting governor, appointed him District Attorney for Humboldt county, Nevada, The glowing ac

counts of the mineral richness of that region given him by his friend, Hon. William H. Clagett, encouraged his

anticipations of realizing a fortune in that mining region, and the appointment was accepted. He was afterward elected Probate Judge of the county, and for two or three years, like the rest of the Humboldt boys, put all the money he had in the development of mines-but they didn't develop. In 1865 Frank Ganahl, Esq., a lawyer well known on the Pacific coast, and Hiram Knowles, associated as law partners, and went to Idaho City, where they practiced until 1866, when, hearing of the rich mines of Elk Creek, and Bear Gulch, Montana, Knowles removed there, reaching Reynolds City June 1, 1866. Ganahl was to join him if the mines were as good as reported, but they did not realize expectations. The mines about Reynolds City were a failure. The courts were in a chaotic condition, and as young Knowles had not come with the intention of practicing law, he had no law books with him. Like a man of sense, he turned his hand to the best thing that offered; he purchased an interest in a mining claim at Deep Gulch, and spent the summer as a windlass-man, but the sought-for fortune still evaded him. About the time of leaving Idaho, he had received information of the ill health of his mother, and as he received no letters from home in Montana, he sold his mining interest-which afterward proved to be quite valuable-and started for home. At Deer Lodge, he learned of his mother's death; and it was here, years afterwards, that word came to him that his father had passed

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