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Fr Anthony J Ravalli

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Fr Anthony J Ravalli

Birth
Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Death 2 Oct 1884 (aged 72)
Stevensville, Ravalli County, Montana, USA
Burial Stevensville, Ravalli County, Montana, USA
Memorial ID 20210714 View Source
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Catholic Missionary to the Indians. He was recruited from Italy by Father Pierre-Jean DeSmet, S.J. to serve in the wilds of Montana, a real contrast from his cultured upbringing. He was loved by the Indians of the Bitterroot and served as priest, doctor, druggist, sculptor, architect, machinist, and friend for 40 years. He never again saw his beautiful homeland. After a brief stay in Coeur d'Alene he was sent, in 1845, to St Mary's Village, now known as Stevensville, the first settlement in Montana. At St. Mary's Mission he built Montana's first grist mill from which he gave flour to the Indians weekly. From a discarded wagon wheel he constructed a saw and built a sawmill to provide the settlement with needed lumber. He developed a little Italian garden on the mission grounds and raised herbs for his medicines around three little creeks flowing through the garden. He established Montana's first "drive-through" pharmacy when he built a window into one end of his home. The home and the window can be seen on the grounds today. Lucylle Evans, in her book St. Mary's in the Rocky Mountains, wrote, "Father Ravalli, in boots and long overcoat, with a breviary in his pocket, and medical and surgical instruments in his saddlebags, was a familiar and welcome figure riding his Indian pony around the country through witer snows and summer heat. He never practiced his medicine in an area being served by another doctor and would always refuse a fee for his services but would accept a gift for the mission". When a stroke partially paralyzed him, he had a cot built on a wagon and continued his ministry to the needy until he became completely bedridden. In 1872 he gave witness that a treaty supposedly signed by Salish Chief Charlot was a forgery. Among the things named after him are: Ravalli County, Montana a ralroad station near Coeur d'Alene, a horse owned by Marcus Daly, a street in Stevensville, and a World War I Liberty ship. In 2005 the Montana Historical Society into the "Gallery of Outstanding Montanans."

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