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Photographs - Collections - 2013 - #2013-P-007

Title: Nancy J. Scott       
Dates: 1890-1950             

Collection Number: 2013-P-007

Quantity: 6 items

Abstract: Photographs of the daughters of Frederick Francis Gerard: Birdie Ella and Florence Letitia Gerard and the granddaughters Dorothy V. Black and Eleanor Stillwell.

Provenance: The collection was donated to the State Historical Society of North Dakota by Nancy J. Franklin Scott on August 15, 2011. Sharon Silengo accessioned the collection in 2013. Sharon Silengo scanned and added the item level descriptions and wrote a finding aid for the collection in December 2017.

Property Rights: The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to this collection.
Copyrights: Copyrights to materials in this collection remain with the donor, publisher, author, or author's heirs.  Researchers should consult the 1976 Copyright Act, Public Law 94-553, Title 17, U.S. Code and an archivist at this repository if clarification of copyright requirements is needed.
Access: This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.
Citation: Researchers are requested to cite the collection title, collection number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.       

Related Collections:
B0782-00001 to B0782-00009
MSS 20147

Biographical Sketch
Nancy J. Franklin Scott
Nancy J. Franklin was born in 1944 to Mildred Irene Stilwell (1911-2001) and Donald Edward Franklin (1906-1977) in Denver Colorado. She is the grand-daughter of Birdie Ella Gerard Stilwell and great-granddaughter of Frederick Francis Gerard.

Frederick Francis Gerard
Frederick Francis Gerard was born Nov 14, 1829 near St. Louis, Missouri to French Canadian parents. He benefited from a good education at Xavier College. At the age of 19, he left home and traveled up the Missouri River to Fort Pierre where he was hired as a clerk of the American Fur Company. The next spring, he traveled farther up river to Fort Clark built in 1831 near Hidatsa and Arikara villages. Here, Gerard learned to speak Arikara and often spent winters with the Arikara. In 1855, the company transferred him to the post near Fort Berthold where he remained here until 1869. While managing the Fort Berthold posts, Gerard took an Arikara woman as his companion. Her name was Helena Catherine and together they had three daughters named Josephine (1860), Carrie (1862), and Virginia (1864). These daughters were baptized by Father Pierre-Jean De Smet. In 1874 the three girls were sent east to a Catholic boarding school for their education. As young women, Josie and Virginia became sisters of the Benedictine order and served at a convent in St. Joseph, Minnesota. Gerard had many encounters, both hostile and friendly, with Indians he met at his trading post. As the clerk of an important trading post near the Missouri River, he also met whites who were moving onto the northern plains and passing through on their way farther west, including the ill-fated group of miners returning to St. Louis with a boat full of gold dust. Small pox had devastated the Mandan and other tribes in 1837 and recurred frequently in subsequent years. In 1866, Gerard convinced the Arikara leaders to allow him to vaccinate the children against small pox which protected them during the next outbreak. After 1869, when the American Fur Company sold its stock to another trading outfit, Gerard became an independent trader with stores at forts Berthold and Stevenson. He set up a store near Fort Buford, but in 1871, but military regulations soon forced him out. By now, his companion was Katie or Katherine Rider, of the Blackfeet nation with whom he had a son, Frederic. He intended to establish trade with the Blackfeet along the Canadian border, but his wagons carrying goods to Fort Benton were attacked and he lost all his supplies. He gave up the fur trade and tried to establish a ranch across the river from Bismarck. He also worked as an interpreter because he could speak Sioux, Arikara, and Chippewa as well as French and English. His land claim was properly taken by the Northern Pacific Railroad, but in exchange for his services the railroad gave him 40 acres between the Missouri and Heart Rivers. By 1876, he was working as an interpreter at Fort Abraham Lincoln, a post he would hold until 1883. He traveled with the Seventh Cavalry to the Little Big Horn River in Montana where he was assigned to General Reno's command and narrowly escaped death in battle. In 1879, at the age of 50, he married Ella Waddell of Kansas City. Ella Waddell was a young woman, and a member of a prominent family. She brought respectability to Gerard, who had previously been known by the pejorative term, "Squaw-man." With Ella, Gerard had four more children, Frederic (1878), Birdie (1880), Charles (1888), and Florence (1893). He remained an affectionate father to his three oldest daughters and Ella's children, but he apparently left Katie's son, Fred, to be raised by others. Carrie lived with Gerard's third family for a time. During the 1880s, Gerard opened a store in the new village of Mandan and he served on the Morton County commission. He also operated a ferry across the Heart River. In 1890, Gerard and his family moved to St. Paul, Minnesota where he worked in advertising for Pillsbury Baking Company. The last months of his life were spent in the care of the Benedictine nuns at St. Cloud where his two daughters lived and worked. He died January 30, 1913.

Birdie Ella Gerard Stilwell
Born at Fort Abraham Lincoln, Dakota Territory on July 4, 1880 to Frederick Francis Gerard and Ella Scarbaugh Waddell. Birdie Ella married Lynn Arthur Stilwell on February 15, 1909 in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota. They lived in Minnesota through the mid-1920s when they moved to Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa. They were neighbors there with her sister Florence and her husband Robert and daughter Dorothy V. Black. In 1928 they moved to Denver, Denver County, Colorado where Lynn worked as a mechanic for A. G. Peterson Company and later for other companies. They had seven children: Vera F. (1901-191?), Grenville (1904-191?), Myrtle May Stilwell (1907-), Marion Leona Stilwell (1909-2001), Mildred Irene Stilwell (1911-2001),  Elsie Letitia Stilwell (1912-1980), and Eleanor Stilwell (1918-2004). Birdie Stilwell passed away on July 3, 1953 in Denver, Denver County, Colorado, USA.

Florence Letitia Gerard Black
Florence Letitia Gerard Black was born on September 29, 1893 in Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota to Frederick Francis Gerard and Ella Scarbaugh Waddell. She married Robert Black. They had one daughter Dorothy V. Black. In 1920 they were living in Sioux Falls, Minnehaha County, South Dakota. In 1925 they were neighbors with her sister Birdie and her husband Lynn Arthur and daughters Marjorie, Mildred, Elsie and Eleanor in Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa. She divorced Robert Black before 1930 and was working as a waitress in a hotel and boarding with her daughter Dorothy in Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa. She died in June of 1984 in Sumter, Sumter County, South Carolina.

Dorothy V. Black Brumwell
She was born in 1918 to Robert and Florence Letitia Gerard Black in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota. She married Donald H. Brumwell on October 4, 1935 in Colfax, Jasper County, Iowa. She divorced him on October 10, 1938 in Wayne County, Michigan.


2013-P-007-00001 Florence Letitia Gerard Black, Birdie Ella Gerard Stillwell's sister 1897
2013-P-007-00002 Florence Letitia Gerard Black and her daughter Dorothy V. Black 1928
2013-P-007-00003 Dorothy V. Black, daughter of Florence Letitia Gerard and Robert M. Black 1923
2013-P-007-00004 Dorothy V. Black's Graduation 1932
2013-P-007-00005 Dorothy V. and Florence Letitia Gerard Black June 15, 1935
2013-P-007-00006 Birdie Ella Gerard Stillwell 1950

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