Welcome to the Official Site of the:

      Sons and Daughters of Montana Pioneers 


Big Sky Country!                                           

Greetings from the Sons and Daughters of Montana Pioneers              

Officers and Directors 2023

A Short Introduction of our Historical Beginning
click on the title above for the intro

We hope to make this a public stopping place for our members and all interested people. Events, meetings, and news stories concerning the Sons and Daughters can be found here, along with other information of historical significance, a link to our quarterly newsletter -- The Pick and Shovel, application forms to join the Sons and Daughters, the new Pioneer Heritage Book, and information about our board of directors. We hope you benefit from our website and accept our invitation to enjoy the history of the great State of Montana -

Feel free to drop a line and let us know what you would like to see here. Michael (Cowboy) Russell is your Webmaster here, and if any of you have historical pictures to incorporate on this site, please send them. If you email Mike, he will send you a mailing address. His email is located at the logo below.

This picture was taken in Helena in 1892, when the first
chapter of Sons and Daughters of Montana Pioneers was
founded during a meeting of the Society of Montana Pioneers

The first group assembled on the steps of the county
courthouse with the founders, Mrs. T. H. Kleinschmidt,
standing left third row, and Mrs. P. B. Clarke, who stands
next to her.

Seated in the first row, left to right, are
Will Curtiss, Albert Loeb and Lewis Penwell; second row,
Charles Dahler, Ada Deegan, Mae Curtiss Cone, unidentified,
Dr. Charles Reinig, Gertie Hickman Thompson, Frances
Jurgens Toby, Theodore E. Kleinschmidt, Marie
Kleinschmidt Southworth, Alma Sanford,
Frances Esker Woodman, Bessie M. Whitcomb,
a Merrill boy, Jacob Lissner, Bessie Kirdendall,
Mrs. P. B. Sanford, Edward Horsky, Dr. Ben Brooke,
a Merrill boy, unidentified, Toby Hedges, and unidentified.

Third row, standing left to right, Mrs. T. H. Kleinschmidt,
Mrs. P. B. Clarke, Tot Millegan, unidentified,
Albert Quirk Dygert, Reta Clarke Hauser,
Kady Kirkendall Shepard, Nona N. Brown, a Stewart,
Nettie Redding Little and Mary L. Burns.

Last row, Aurile Keeler, Charles English, unidentified,
a Merrill boy and the last man is unidentified.


AUGUST 4-5, 2023
The link below labeled Virginia City Accomodations is a very comprehensive list of all accomodations
available with the area of Virginia City, Nevada City and Ennis
Virginia City is a very busy tourist area around the time of our conference, we suggest (strongly) that you
make your reservations EARLY, prior to April 1st of 2023.
Hope to see lots and lots of you there...
If you have any questions or concerns please email us at:
mrussell@sonsanddaughtersmontanapioneers.com or


https://www.facebook.com/SonsAndDaughtersOfMontanaPioneers/  Join us on Facebook



James has established along with the University of Montana Western a "HISTORY EDUCATION SCHOLARSHIP"  This Scholarship is only available at the UMW to all qualified and enrolled SENIOR History Majors planning a career in teaching history or GRADUATE Students already employed in History Education.
We started our awards in  2016-2017.  Applicants will be evaluated on financial need, community, school, and church activities, grade point average (4.0-2.49), and (but not required) military service, and a SDMP member. The awards will continue on each year using the same timeline.
You may not have participated in all of the above activities, but dont hesitate to apply for our scholarship.
If your family came to Montana before December 31, 1868 and you are a direct descendant of a Montana Pioneer, you are eligible to join the Sons and Daughters of Montana Pioneers Society. However, as stated above that is not a requirement for this Scholarship.  For an application write to:
SDMP Scholarship
PO Box 1051
Helena, MT 59624
or check out this website below for an application.
For a scholarship application please contact:
UMW Foundation ATTN: Roxanne Engellant
710 S. Atlantic
Dillon, MT 59725 (406) 683-7305
Thanks for your participation in the James P Kovatch and SDMP scholarship



For immediate release: Eric Chaon, teacher at Great Falls High School in Great Falls, Montana is winner of the Montana Statehood Centennial Bell Award honoring the Montana History Teacher of the Year at the 7th-12th grade level for 2021-2022.
  Eric Chaon, Sophomore teacher at Great Falls High School in Great Falls, Mt. is the
  winner of the Montana Statehood Centennial Bell Award honoring the Montana History Teacher of the Year for 2021-2022.
  Chosen by a panel of Montana History advocates, Eric is the 33rd winner of the award.
  Montana History teachers at the 7th- 12th grade level are chosen on even numbered years.  Montana History teachers at the 4th-6th grade levels are chosen on uneven years.
Born and raised in Great Falls, Mt., Eric is a 2006 graduate of Great Falls High School and a 2010 graduate of Montana State University in Bozeman with a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education, a Social Studies Broadfield and a minor in History.  In 2016 he received a master of education Degree in curriculum and instruction from MSU.  He is married to Hayley Chaon and they have two children, a daughter Lola, and a son Bryson.  Eric enjoys camping, fishing, skiing, sports events and spending time with family across Montana.
His teaching experience includes Middle School and High School Social Studies at Augusta, Mt. 2011-2013 and at Great Falls High School , world history and Montana history, 2013-present.  He is the current Social Studies Department head at GFHS.
In his approach to teaching Montana history, Eric said, “I immerse students in analyzing images, letters, broadsides and other primary sources from Montana history.  I also use class competitions, online challenges, and games to encourage student interest and engagement.”
In his support letter for Eric, Jerry Hopkins, Librarian at GFHS said, “I was able to fully see the dedication Eric brings to not only his classroom but to the relationships he builds with his students.  Mr. Chaon’s classroom persona is loud, animated and humorous.  This combination of passion for education makes his students want to attend his class and look forward to what each lesson will bring.”
From his student support letter, Cale Gundlach, senior at GFHS said, “Mr. Chaon is deserving of this prestigious award because of the connection he makes with his students, the engaging way in which he teaches and his love for bettering the growth of his students.”
As the winner of this year’s Montana History Teacher of the Year Award, Eric will receive a plaque and $4,500 from three sponsors, the Montana Television Network, the Montana History Foundation and the Sons & Daughters of Montana Pioneers.
Other partners are the Montana Historical Society and the 1889 Coffee House in Helena.  Additional gifts of $100 in gold Sacajawea dollars are given to the student who writes the letter of support for the winning teacher from Judy Wohlfrom of Woodland, Ca., one gold Sacajawea dollar for each of the students who accompanies the winning teacher from Mike Collins, President of the SDMP and his wife Connie of Helena.
These gifts will be given to Eric and his students at a ceremony at 10 a.m. Wednesday Nov 9, 2022 near the Statehood Centennial Bell on the east balcony overlooking the rotunda in the State Capitol.  Highlight of the ceremony attended by State Dignitaries, GFHS officials, sponsors and students will be the ringing of the Statehood Centennial Bell by Eric and his students at 10:40 a.m., the exact minute Montana became the 41st State in 1889.

  Eric    Mike Collins Pres SDMP w/Eric  Montana Lt Governor

Sponsored by the Montana Television Network, the Montana History Foundation, Sons & Daughters of Montana Pioneers, the 1889 Coffee House in Helena, in cooperation with the Montana Historical Society, he will receive $4,500 which may be used for the purchase of Montana History materials, field trips, guest speakers and anything else that will enhance her teaching of Montana History. He will also receive a plaque.


Links to Applications and information

in order to read the Pick and Shovel you must have Adobe PDF Reader, click here to download it.  Its free and easy




Membership Application

Membership Dues Link and Contact information updates

Board Members 2023 - 2025

Sale Page

            We are now making available video's and slide show presentations that were made during the 1942 thru 1963 Conventions, slide show DVD's range from 1965 thru 1973, also, Video's of 1987, 2000, 2001, TV coverage of 2001 Book Signing and 2010 video titled "Montana Poor Farm".

If you are interested in purchasing any of these please email us using the link above or below

If you have inquiries about your ancestry, please email us with your questions and we will get them answered that way.

click pen well to email inquiries

This page copyrighted 2-98 - 2023
by Michael Russell..aka Cowboy

Page updated February 3, 2023

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