August 27

There are 1 entries for this date: Granville Stuart

    Granville Stuart

    Granville Stuart

    On this date in 1834, Granville Stuart was born in Clarksburg, W.Va. (then part of Virginia). He settled in Montana in the 1850s and soon became a prospector, miner, banker and cattle rancher. He was manager of the Pioneer Cattle Company from 1879-88, president of the Stock Growers Association and Board of Stock Commissioners and president of the Montana Historical Society from 1890-95.

    He married Awbonnie Tookanka, who was Shoshone. They had five daughters: Katie, Elizabeth, Mary, Emma and Irene, and six sons: Tom, James, Granville, Samuel, Charles and Robert (who was adopted). Awbonnie died in 1888. Stuart married Allis Belle Brown in 1890.

    Stuart represented Lewis and Clark County in the territorial House of Representatives for four years and was president of the Territorial Council in 1883. He served as U.S. ambassador to Uruguay and Paraguay from 1894-98. After returning to Montana, Stuart wrote books, including Montana As It Is (1865) and Forty Years on the Frontier (1925). 

    Stuart became a strong freethinker as an adult, according to As Big as the West: The Pioneer Life of Granville Stuart by Clyde Milner II and Carol O’Connor (2008). James Fergus, fellow freethinker and Montana pioneer, called Stuart “a fine writer and most radical outspoken infidel, and has pictures of Ingersoll, Bennett and Payne [sic, Paine] hanging in their Parlor.” (Jan. 1, 1883 letter) In a letter to Fergus (July 21, 1879), Stuart requested that his funeral be completely secular. (D. 1918)

    “Don’t you know that mankind is an Ass pure & simple & for all the use they make of their brains in matters of religion they [may] as well have none.”

    —Stuart to a friend, quoted in "As Big As the West: The Pioneer Life" (2008)
    Compiled by Sabrina Gaylor

Freedom From Religion Foundation