Contributors - Valley County Pioneer Museum
Valley County Pioneer Museum is located in Glasgow, Montana. Experience the history of Northeastern Montana's Valley County through the country's largest Assiniboine collection, railroad and agriculture displays, the creation of the Fort Peck Dam, Lewis and Clark, and stories from the Titanic. The museum also has extensive genealogical archives and a vast library filled with many books about Montana, Valley County, and featuring Montana authors.
This important collection of store ledgers, dating 1891-1903, includes the names of many early pioneers in northeast Montana, some of whom were not recorded elsewhere. Some examples of noteworthy area history are customer's physical address and employment information, items bought, prices of items sold, and complete store inventory, as well as daily cash and charge sales records.
A BIT OF HISTORY: A Minot, North Dakota, businessman sent a small stock of goods with James. W. Wedum, a young clerk, to Glasgow, Montana Territory, December 20, 1888. Wedum opened a general merchandise store two days later in an 18'x40' log shack. John M. Lewis arrived from St. Paul, Minnesota in March of 1889 when the Wedum and Lewis families took over the newly formed business. A prefabricated building was built in sections in St. Paul and shipped via railroad to Glasgow for final assembly in early 1890 to house the new company. Montana became a state November 1889, Glasgow being a part of a huge Dawson County covering 26,000 square miles, until the formation of Valley County in 1893 and remains the county seat to the present. When John's brother, Robert M. Lewis, arrived in 1891, to be bookkeeper, it was noted Glasgow's population was 300.
The Lewis-Wedum General Merchandise Store carried a full line of women's, men's, and children's clothing and shoes, as well as fine china and porcelain. They also sold everything from farm equipment, lumber, seed, tobacco, dry goods, groceries, housewares and furniture, and even caskets. The business closed in 1937 after over 49 years in existence.