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Dwight Harding - Pioneer Missoula Mayor - Cedar Creek Stampeder

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Dwight Harding - Missoula Mayor – Cedar Creek Stampeder

5th mayor of Missoula – elected in May of 1887.


Pioneer Dies of Dropsy

Dwight Harding Came to Montana in Early Sixties and Was Greatly Beloved

After weeks of suffering Dwight Harding, 71 years old, died Sunday morning at his home on East Front street of dropsy and the ills attendant on old age. Mr. Harding was one of the old timers of Missoula county and had been a resident of this section since the sixties. He was one of the stampeders to Cedar creek when that district was discovered in 1869 and has resided in Missoula county almost constantly since that time. In the butcher business, an occupation which he followed until the time when his advanced age and illness compelled him to retire.

Mr. Harding was born in Tunkhancok, Pa., where he lived until he was a young man. In 1855 he started for the west. Henry F. Edgar, now of Plains and one of the discoverers of Alder Gulch, being one of his traveling companions. The Canadian territory was Mr. Harding’s objective point and his first destination was Fort Pambina, then one of the leading posts of the Hudson Bay company. Its location is on the Frazier river.

About that time there was some dispute between the United States and the Canadian government concerning the boundary line and, when the commissions were appointed to survey it, Mr. Harding secured employment with the American surveyors. Mr. Harding, after the completion of the survey, remained for a number of years in Canada and finally crossed the line into Washington, where he lived until 1863. Then he learned of the gold discovery at Bannack and knowing that his old friend, Henry Edgar, was a resident of Montana – Idaho, it was called then – he turned his steps this way and joined the gold hunters who made Alder gulch, Grasshopper and Last Chance famous in the early days. For a number of years he lived in the various camps of Montana, finally coming to Missoula county on the big stampede which brought many to Cedar creek.

Mr. Harding was married in this city about 1878 to Mrs. Woodworth, who died about four years ago. A. W. Woodworth, of the Woodworth café, is a stepson and Miss Della Harding and Mrs. Angst, both of this city, are stepdaughters. Charles Woodworth, another stepson, is a resident of the coast.

Mr. Harding had many friends in Missoula, among the old timers especially, who will sincerely regret the news of his death. He was a member of the A.O.U.W. and his funeral will be held under the auspices of that order this morning.


The above obituary appeared in The Daily Missoulian on July 5, 1904.



A sketch of Dwight Harding appeared in Michael Leeson’s History of Montana, prior to his becoming a mayor of Missoula:

Dwight Harding, of the firm Harding & Co., Missoula, and son of Curtis and Pattie Harding, is a native of Wyoming Co., Penn., where he spent his boyhood days, not having been twenty miles from home until 1856, when he went to Minnesota, where he remained for two years, when he crossed the plains by way of Red river to Frazer’s river, remaining at the latter place for one summer, when he went into Washington and Oregon, coming to Montana in 1862. On arriving in Montana he went to Deer Lodge, Gold Creek and the Beaverhead mines, wintering on Bitter Root river. He mined in various parts of the Territory until 1866, when he located in Missoula to engage in the butchering business. Having been in the butchering business for two years he again engaged in mining for three or four years, after which he bought a ranch, but sold out and has continued in the butchering business ever since. He is now principal member of two butchering establishments, both on Front street, also a dealer in cattle, and has a stock ranch on the head of Bitter Root river of 460 acres, upon which he keeps about 600 head of stock, besides having a residence and owning some other property in Missoula. In 1882 Mr. Harding was married to Mrs. Woodward, of Virginia City, who is the mother of three children; Wilda, William and Della Woodward.









Last Updated on Saturday, 10 February 2018 15:54