Skip to main content

Conference registration is open! Register Now.

Reverend J.M. Trunk - Montana 1912

Copyright © 1996, 1997, Slovenian Genealogy Society International, all rights reseved

These Rev. J. M. Trunk texts were published originally in 1912. Part 8, History of Slovene Communities, contains significant genealogical information about Slovenian immigrants, the places they lived, the organizations they formed, and the churches they attended.

Translators for the Slovenian Genealogy Society have been working to translate many texts published early in the 1900s that contain significant genealogical information. Our translators are not professional linguists, and they do not complete a translation with rigorous academic oversight. The goal of our translation projects is to make information available to the American descendants of Slovenian immigrants.

If you believe we have made serious errors in translation, please contact us and volunteer your time to us in order to make the corrections. We strive to do good work; we are always willing to correct errors to the extent we can; and we ask others to join us in this worthwhile endeavor.

The Slovenian Genealogy Society collects church histories. Readers with information on Slovenes in the communities listed, the churches mentioned, or other information on Slovenes, can contact:

Slovenian Genealogy Society
52 Old Farm Road
Camp Hill, Pennsylvania 17011-2604

The society accepts donations of Slovene books, texts, and publications for its genealogy library.


Aldridge. In this region there is a coal mine where Slovenes from Kranjsko and Stajersko came in 1894. There were 150 of them in 1903. Of the 30 families, 20 had their own houses. I was unable to determine how many of them are here now. The Slovenes have their Holy Family Church and are visited by Rev. Jos. Pirnat. The JSKJ has its Society of St. Joseph #17 and St. Barbara #52.

Anaconda. The Slovenes came to this city, which has 10,123 inhabitants, in 1889 from Crnomelj. In 1903 there was a total of 1,500 and among these 150 families who had one-third of the land. They worked in the smelters. Now the number of our fellow countrymen has shrunk. I was not able to ascertain how many of them are there now. They are said to have a church of St. Peter and they are cared for by Rev. Jos. Pirnat. The KSKJ has a society of St. Joseph. The societies of Sts. Peter and Paul and of St. Georg belong to the H.Z. it is said.

Bear Creek. This is a small town in a deep ravine. There are not many Slovenes there. They are said to be employed in the local coal mines and rarely come this way on business.

Bridger. There is one Slovene family and three single men in this region.

Butte. Mr. A. J. Terbovec writes me about the town itself: "Butte is the largest city of Montana (39,165 inhabitants), and the largest Slovene settlement in this state. The town is alive and beautiful It lies at the foot of mountains of medium height. Copper ore is brought up by hoists from the depths of these mountains. The majority of the Slovenes are employed in these mines, as are also the Serbs and Croats. The Slovenes already have stores and a few taverns.

A large number of Slovenes have been here for many years already. Some have a fair amount of wealth. Others, at least have their own houses. Even though three is no Slovene school here and the children have to attend English schools, the young people have high esteem for their mother tongue and are never ashamed of it, as is the case, unfortunately, in many other regions. The Slovene girls stand out especially, which speak in their favor just as does their honesty. It honors both the older people and the youth".

A countryman, who did not sign his name, sent me a report, which was completed by Rev. M. Pirnat. The first countrymen came here already about 1885. After they had been earning for a while, they either went back or bought farms. Among the latter were S. Lasic, Juri Bibic, J. Stavdohar, P. Zalic and J. Lakner, who settled in the area of Dillon, 60 miles away, where they have beautiful farms and became very rich. Some of them are also in the Willis region.

At present in the city of Butte and environs, there are over 1,000 Slovenes who are employed either in smelters and mines or have land holdings and houses near the city, where they are engaged in raising chickens and pigs. There are six districts (Additions) in the city, where there are some Slovenes in each one. Most of them are in the McQueen-Meadville district. Here there is the Church of the Holy Redeemer, to which Italians also belong. At present, Rev. M. Pirnat takes care of the parish. Five Sisters and two lay teachers instruct over 300 children in their own school.

The religious conditions among the Slovenes are very good in this parish. The youth and adults are organized into church societies. The Rev. M. Pirnat also serves the Slovenes in the surrounding area. Before him, our countrymen were visited by various missionaries most of all by the Rev. J. Solnce. The majority of the Slovenes are in St. John's Society #14 of the KSKJ, or the Society of St. Martin of the JSKJ.

Chimney Rock. A few dozen Slovenes work in a mine but the work is not steady.

Coalsville. There are about 20 Slovenes here, three families and ten men. According to the report of Mr. I. Robnik, the first to come was A. Bassstl from Macici pri Celju in January 1906. This fellow countryman now has a saloon. The others are coal miners. All are from Stajersko. Since there is no Slovene priest, the religious conditions go to an English school. There are no societies.

East Helena. The first Slovenes came here when the smelter was opened in 1888. The majority came from Dolenjska, and some from the Priimorje. In 1903 there were 20 families and over 100 single persons. Some Slovenes have become wealthy and have their own homes. Accord to "Glas Naroda", there are about 70 families of Slovenes. The Slovenes built the Church of St. Cyril and Methodius where an English priest comes to say Mass every Thursday, and the Rev. M. Pirnat hears confessions. The Slovenes belong to the Benefit Society of St. Cyril and Methodius #45 KSKJ, and St. Alloysius #43 JSKJ. The latter has 27 male and 12 female members.

Ekalaka, Custer County. About 16 Slovene families have beautiful farms.

Great Fall. This is a beautiful, large city of 13,948 inhabitants. There are up to 60 Slovenes who are employed in the smelters. Among them are many old settlers who came here 30 years ago. There are many coal mines near the city where there are a few Slovenes. Some of them also are on farms. St. Joseph Society #69 KSKJ has 28 members. it is said that the Slovenes and Croatians bought a site for a church and put up a foundation, but there is no money to finish the construction.

Hoffman-Melrose. There are a few Slovenes in both localities, but they are not permanent residents.

Klein. It is almost exclusively Slovenes who work in the coal mine. There are up to 60 of them on an average. They are joined together in Society #132 of the SNPJ.

McWinadeshu. An unsigned report states that there are over 500 Slovenes here who are ore miners and innkeepers. Some have their own homes. From a religious standpoint, they belong to a parish in Meadville, and to societies in Butte.

Red Lodge. There are about 100 here who work in the coal mines and have two societies, one is St. Barbara and one is SNPJ.

Roundup. In this little town there are only a few Slovenes. More of them are a mile away at No. 3 Trbovlje. There are only Slovenes here, the majority of whom have their own homes and also their own band. West of this region, more fellow countrymen have settled on farms.

Stockett. Only two Slovenes are working in an ore mine but in the surrounding area there are several Slovene farmers.

Washoe. M. J. Pucel reports that fellow countrymen L. Campa, J. Kernc, A. Jelovcan and others settled here in 1906. Currently, there are eight families here who have their own houses on Company land, and 15 single persons. All work in the coal mines. They cannot develop since the Company has the entire economy in its own hands. They go to church in Red Lodge and since there is not even a Slovene priest, the religious life is "more poor than good". All belong to Societies in Bear Creek, namely #58 JSKJ and the "Bear Creek Slovenes" of the SNPJ.