Restrictions due to smallpox outbreak lifted in 1921

A look back at Laurel History: January 7, 2021
Compiled By Kathleen Gilluly
Thursday, January 7, 2021

25 years ago Jan. 10, 1996

Construction workers burying electrical wire unearthed a human skull while digging a trench two miles west of Park City last week. The workers called the Stillwater County Sheriff’s Department Jan. 3, when the spotted the skull in the four-foot trench they were digging on private property between the Frontage Road and the Yellowstone River. Undersheriff Dan Ames recovered the skull, which was intact except for the lower jaw. He searched for other bones, but none were found in the immediate vicinity, County Sheriff Clifford Brophy said. “There is nothing to indicate a recent homicide or foul play,” Brophy said. The only report of a missing person in the county was issued in the late 1930s for a Reed Point man, who was allegedly murdered, noted Brophy.

A Billings man pleaded not guilty in District Court in Billings last week to a kidnapping that allegedly started in Billings and ended in Laurel.At his arraignment, Vincent Martinez, 33, was ordered held in Yellowstone County jail on $25,000 bond. He faces felony counts of kidnapping, assault and criminal possession of dangerous drugs. Martinez was arrested late Dec. 30 by Laurel police officers and Yellowstone County Sheriff’s deputies after allegedly abducting Jason Gillespie, 20, of Billings, and threatening him at gunpoint. According to a court affidavit, Gillespie told police that earlier in the evening he had seen Martinez fighting with another man in front of a house in Billings. The other man ran away, said Gillespie, and Martinez drew a handgun and fired a shot as the man fled. He then pointed the gun at Gillespie and demanded that he get into Martinez’ truck. Martinez drove the vehicle to a residence on Topeka Dr. in Laurel. When Martinez went into the garage there, Gillespie said, he was able to escape and called 911.


50 years ago Jan. 13, 1971

A major maintenance program is being conducted at the Laurel City Water Plant, Kenneth Beven, water plant superintendent, reported. This time of year, when water demands are at a minimum, crews take advantage of the slack period to overhaul equipment, clean, etc. to ready the plant for the busy summer season. The plant, rated a 4 million gallon plant, ran for about 60 days during July and August at about 5 million gallons per day. All eleven pumps were in operation during that period of time. During the slack period, only certain pumps are used at a given time, leaving some available for maintenance.

The Laurel Jaycees are looking for new members to fulfill the goals they have set for themselves. In a recent state meeting held in Havre, the Laurel chapter was judged the “best in the state.” In order to hold that title, the chapter has membership goals to meet. All young men between the ages of 21 and 36 are urged to attend a meeting of the Jaycees at Riverside Hall and see what the organization is doing and what it has planned for the future.

The month of December proved to be the most profitable month on record for the Laurel police-justice courts. More case (140) were processed than in any previous month; There were three Fish and Game cases processed, totaling $75; 27 criminal cases totaling $375; 86 Montana Highway Patrol cases for a total of $1,880; and 24 Laurel Police cases totaling $340.


75 years ago Jan. 9, 1946

Mrs. O.K. Chapman, chairman, issued a call this week for immediate delivery of the knitting done for the Red Cross. She said the knitted garments are to be shipped at once and that the work here should be delivered by the end of this week.

The swimming pool general committee reached a decision last week to offer at a special election a proposal that the swimming pool be built at public expense. The original plan had been to conduct a soliciting campaign to raise a portion of the fund, with the city to make up the difference. As amended, property owning taxpayers are to render a decision on making the proposed pool a city-financed improvement.

The Locomotives won their second Tri-county league game Tuesday, when Leo Fink, Jim Sherrow and Jim Kiedrowski scored 10 points each in a high scoring contest to defeat Fromberg there 63 to 23. Twelve Laurel players saw action with reserves playing most of the game and all contributing to the scoring.

M. Sgt. L.A. DeFrance returned to Laurel Sunday from 30 months in the service. He was in the South Pacific 24 months. During his travels he saw Chester Scott, Tommy Schessler and Bill Tesch of Laurel. He also encountered Margaret Adams and others who said they appreciated receiving the Outlook and extended thanks to those responsible.


100 years ago Jan. 12, 1921

The restrictions on all public meetings and places of amusement, placed in effect last week by the local board of health on account of the presence of smallpox in the city, will be lifted today. Less than 20 cases have developed, and as no further evidence of the spread of the disease has been manifested during the past several days, health officials are now of the opinion that the situation is now well in hand. No deaths have occurred and according to reports the disease has shown itself here in a mild form. Prompt action and rigid enforcement of regulations have no doubt, prevented the disease from gaining in proportions.

Another recognition of this city’s position as an ideal location for an oil refinery was shown during the past few days when six men, representing considerable Billings capital, visited Laurel for the alleged purpose of securing such a location. In this connection a number of local business men and property owners were interviewed and the plans of the promoters disclosed to a limited degree. The project called for a small refinery, on of an initial capacity of 1,000 barrels daily. Regardless of whether or not this company locates here, local people who are actively in touch with the oil industry and development of Montana fields are assured that Laurel will become the principal refinery center the state.

Work is very quiet in the yards and shops owing to a lack of business for the railroads. About 50 clerks and switchmen who work from the yard office have been laid off. About 36 men who were working in the car shops are laid off. The rail saw shop employing 10 men has been shut down for the present. Five machinists and three helpers, two boilermakers and two helpers and one pipeman besides a number of laborers were laid off beginning with this week. Men with the longest seniority have take the places of some with less seniority, “bumped” it is called.


Upcoming Events

Monday, February 1, 2021
Mondays, 1:30 p.m., 201 1/2 E Main St.
Wednesday, February 3, 2021
Wednesdays, 7 p.m., 201 1/2 E. Main St., Laurel
Monday, February 8, 2021
Mondays, 1:30 p.m., 201 1/2 E Main St.
Monday, February 8, 2021
Second & fourth Monday at 11 a.m., Big Horn Resort, 1801 Majestic Lane, 281-8455
Monday, February 8, 2021
Free, 2nd Monday, 3-5 p.m., Frontier Cancer Center, 1315 Golden Valley Cir., Billings, 800-227-2345
Wednesday, February 10, 2021
Wednesdays, 7 p.m., 201 1/2 E. Main St., Laurel


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