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This is an excerpt from Pioneer Trails and Trials in attempt to pass along a bit of our Montana history. This book is out of print but is available at the Sheridan Public Library. 

Joseph and Margaret Beaufie
written by Marjorie Dauterman Dolan

  I remember Laurin as a thriving and beautiful metropolis. There were two large mercantile stores, a busy and prosperous hotel, a bustling stable filled with traveler's horses, a confectionery shop operated by a sweet lady who catered to children, a beautiful church built of native stone and said to be the most beautiful church for a town of this size in America. In the center of a rather circular street was a round of hitching posts for both carriages and saddle horses.

  My grandparents, Joseph and Margaret Beaufie, owned and operated the hotel and livery stable. Across the street was the J.B. Laurin home, two stored and beautifully kept. Further on was the Johnson home, also lovely, and still further on was the Wilcomb home, tree shaded and inviting. The tall cottonwood trees along the river bank added to the serenity and the entire setting was surrounded by the mountains. My grandparents always gave me pennies, which I hurriedly spent at the sweet shop for all those good old-fashioned candies. Then I'd site near my grandparents and listen to the tales they told of their arrival in Montana.

  Grandpa Beaufie told me he was born near St. Louis, Missouri, March 23, 1847. His father was born at Bear River, Province of Quebec, Canada. His mother was Eugenia Granmore, born in St. Louis. In 1834, his father was given a contract by the American Fur Company to make explorations and obtain furs in the Dakotas and in Montana. near where the Yellowstone River enters the Missouri, the thirty men became ill of small-pox and all died but Joe. He returned to St. Louis. His stories of adventure inspired Joe Jr. and when tales of the discovery of gold in Bannock and Virginia City reached St. Louis, he set out seeking ways to reach the Eldorado.

  Gold seekers wanted to reach the gold fields in the shortest time. The Bozeman road was short of grass and beset with Indian troubles. When Jim Bridger assembled wagons and proclaimed a better way to reach Virginia City, Grandpa Beaufie signed up. Thus he claimed to be among the first heroic adventurers through the Bridger Pass.

  Arriving in Virginia City in 1864, he entered into partnership with Joe Fennel, whose sister he later married. That first winter of 1864-1865, flour and potatoes became very scarce and panic resulted. The two men decided that the thing to do was to go farming and so in the spring, they went to Laurin where other new emigrants had conceived the idea of supplying the miners with food and to furnish hay and oats for the many horse and mule teams which were arriving and departing daily.

  The Ruby (Stinking Water - Passam-a-ri) Valley was ideally suited for these farming operations.

  When Joe Beaufie, my grandfather, left Virginia City, he went to work for Mr. Laurin and eventually bought the hotel and livery stable.

  J.B. Laurin married Mrs. Adeline Boothe in 1855. She had lost her husband and baby in Indian raids while crossing the plains to Denver. In Denver, she met and became the benevolent benefactress of my grandmother, Margaret Hiney, nee Fennell, who was also a widow, with one child. The two women came to Laurin together. Thus it was that my grandfather, Joe Beaufie, met and married my grandmother, Margaret Hiney.

  They eventually bought the hotel and stables from Mr. Laurin and operated them until after the death of grandmother in 1915. Many Madison County pioneers were entertained here and visitors, both famous and infamous, were overnight guests. The Beaufies were known for their hospitality, gentility and joviality. With their two daughters, Margaret Hiney and Jennie Beaufie, they lived long lives in Madison County. Grandfather died in 1932.

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