Bozeman History

Home » Uncategorized » William Tracy…by Jack

William Tracy…by Jack


William Tracy was born in Ithaca, New York in 1838.  William, at age 19, left home and settled in Denver, Colorado.  There he briefly served in the Home Guard regiment of Colorado Volunteers during the Civil War.  William Tracy first journeyed to the Gallatin Valley in 1863 and contributed to the founding of Bozeman in 1864.  In April, 1869, Tracy married a beautiful lady by the name of Sarah Jane Bessey in Pecatonica, Illinois.  Together they returned to Montana in May of 1869.  The Tracys settled on Main Street and bought land in the area.  Mr. Tracy became a farmer and a real estate agent.  He also became an owner of an old brick yard, freighting business, and a feed and seed store (Belgrade Grain and Produce Company).  When a train system was established, a bank opened and William H. Tracy served on the board of directory of the Bozeman National Bank, founded in 1882.  He also was an alderman when Bozeman was incorporated in 1883.  The first ordinance passed was: “ Citizens could not cry ‘fire!’, swear, or use vulgar or indecent language within city limits.  Disturbing the peace could result in a $100 fine.  No dog (or rooster) fights since those, too, carried a fine of $25.  It was now against the law to frighten people, to be drunk , or to pass out in public places” (1)  The Tracys had six children, four of which survived to adulthood.  Mr. Tracy died in an accident in 1908.  He had lived 69 or 70 years.  Mrs. Tracy died eight years after William Tracy, in 1916.


1 Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley: a History  by Phyllis Smith, 1996.

2 Exact birth date and death date are unknown

3 other data from this page

%d bloggers like this: