Maxwell was born about 1832, possibly in either Virginia or
Alabama. He arrrived in Helena in 1886 with his wife Julia
Smith Maxwell, and children Olivia and Alice. Julia had been
previously married to a man named Johnson, by whom she had
at least two children, Alice and Marion.
Federal Census shows a Henry and Julia Maxwell living in rural
Alabama; their birthplaces given as Alabama and Virginia,
respectively. The ages recorded on the census form match those
of the Helena Maxwells, so their places of birth remain somewhat
Henry died Nov. 28, 1912. Julia lived 1830 - July 15, 1909.
They are both buried in Forestvale Cemetery.
Before coming to Helena, the Maxwell family previously lived
in Minnesota and North Dakota. St. Paul, Minnesota city directories
show the Maxwells were there from about 1872 to 1874. The
1884 Bismarck, North Dakota city directory shows P. Henry
Maxwell workring as a whitewasher.
While living in Bismarck in 1883, The Maxwells donated $100
(over $2,000 in today's money) to the fund to secure the State
Capital for Bismarck. They owned real estate in Bismarck,
but it was evidently sold for back taxes in 1885, which may
have precipitated their move to Helena.
Julia eventually owned real estate in Helena, which was transfered
to her daughter, Olivia Fisher, shortly before Julia's death
in 1909. Speculation is that there may have been longstanding
estrangement between Henry and Julia, as they had evidently
lived apart for some years. In 1910, one year after Julia's
death, Henry is counted in the Federal Census as living at
the County Poor Farm, which is where he was living at the
time of his death -- even though his children still lived
Johnson, Julia's son from a previous marriage, was in Helena
from at least 1894 to 1909. Johnson was a widower, and had
surrendered custody of his two children to Julia, who was
raising them. There was a physical altercation between Marion
and his mother in 1894, for which he was found guilty and
sentenced to ten days in jail. Marion lived at 33 Clore St.
(now South Park Ave.) and had at least one other scrape with
local law enforcement before disappearing from the records
following Julia's death in 1909.
Julia's daughter and Marion's sister, Alice Johnson Palmer,
married William Palmer in 1873, probably in Paris, Kentucky.
In 1890, the Palmers -- with their six children -- brought
a home at 199 Ralph Street in Helena. They had previously
lived in Mandan, North Dakota. According to a family history
written in Gold Pans and Singletrees, a Lincoln, Montana
history book, William Palmer died in 1894; I have thus far
been unable to find records verifying that.
to that same history in Gold Pans and Singletrees,
in 1907 Alice Palmer and her son Arthur homesteaded 80 acres
near Lincoln, Montana. There they built a home and six large
cabins (the Palmer Cabins), which were rented out in the summer
and fall. Alice died in 1936, and is buried in Forestvale
Cemetery. The homestead was split up into small parcels and