Lying in southwestern Montana are the towns of Virginia City and Nevada City. In 1864 the towns possessed the lure of instant wealth, excitement, and adventure that came from gold mines. Along with this excitement came danger. Danger posed by men of unsavory character who would not stop at anything to get what they desired. Five men who were residents of the towns fought back by forming a Vigilance Committee with the goal of bring justice to the men who terrorized the towns. There have been many theories throughout the years of how the vigilantes financed their quest for bring law and order to the territory of Montana. This book explores the work of John Lott as territorial treasurer, author of the Vigilante Oath, and book keeper of the Ferreting Fund, a register of names and amounts of money donated to the Vigilantes to restore law and order. This paper is written not as an attempt to legitimize the actions of the vigilantes, but rather to explore the funding of the organization provided by citizens of Alder Gulch; ordinary people who refused to live in an environment where terror reigned and they feared for their lives and livelihoods.
About the Author
Donna M. McNamara is a special education teacher. For the past sixteen years she has volunteered as a living historian for the Montana Heritage Commission at Nevada City, Montana. She holds BA degrees in History, Elementary Education/Special Education, and a MEd in Curriculum and Instruction in Reading.
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