The founders of Yellowstone Bank had the foresight to preserve and record the history that molded Stillwater County by commissioning Bernard P. Thomas to create a series of paintings depicting significant events in the discovery and development of the area. Bernard P. Thomas was an historian, as well as as an accomplished artist. He carefully researched little known or never before painted segments of history. Thomas was a native of the west, born in Sheridan, Wyoming. His creative mind never seemed to rest, nor did he ever lose his zest for research. This is evident in the Yellowstone collection. Before your eyes, history comes to life from the colors on his palette.
Bernard Preston Thomas was born to a large homesteading family in Sheridan, Wyoming, in 1918. He served with the US Army in Europe during World War II. In 1945, at the recommendation of General George S. Patton, Thomas studied art at Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris, where he developed his interests and talents in mural and portrait painting. Thomas is noted for his western art and documentary murals. Much of his art is in private collections.
"Jim Bridger's Brigade of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company...on the north side of the Yellowstone River near the junction of the Clark's Fork River." (image size 10 1/2" x 23")
"Crossing The Yellowstone"
"A few miles west of Reed Point where the old Bozeman Trail crossed the Yellowstone...one of the last oxen powered freight trains on the Bozeman Trail..." (image size 10 1/2" x 28")
"The Snubbing Post"
"The Bozeman-Bridger Trail was a rough road to travel...a post marked by the scar of ropes that burned deep creases at the bottom, as hundreds of wagons were lowered down the hill."
"Bridger's road joined the Bozeman Trail in two different places. Once at the Clark's Fork River, the present site of Edgar and again seven miles farther west at Joliet. Artist Thomas selected the Edgar site, as it afforded him greater scope of Montana background."
"...Nelson Story trail herd consisting of over 2,000 head of long horn cattle coming down the Bozeman Trail into the Stillwater Valley. Approximately 4.3 miles south of Absarokee.
...The timing was fall of 1866."
"Chief Joseph's Retreat"
"...a brief scrimmage at Canyon Creek, engaged troops of the U.S. Calvary in a running battle. ...took place on September 13, 1877, after the Nez Perce tribe came down on the Clark's Fork River from Yellowstone Park and crossed the Yellowstone River near where Laurel is today."
"Railroad Construction Along the Yellowstone River, 1882"
"...near Young's Point approximately 5 miles east of Columbus. ...the fact that he (Thomas) chose to portray the beauty of the countryside and river is consistent with his effort to combine local history and local beauty."
"...at the confluence of the Stillwater River, which flows down the valley at the right, and the Rosebud River in the center. These two valleys ard the surrounding grass-covered hills combine to create a choice livestock producing area."
"Showing Battle Butte, left center and Rapelje, Montana, left. A prime winter wheat area...viewed from twelve miles north east of Columbus, Montana." (image size 10 1/2" x 16")
"Gazing on the Beartooths"
"...some of Montana's prime grazing and recreation area...Huntley Butte, left, Absarokee and Stillwater River Valley center, showing Granite Peak, center, Montana's highest peak. Viewed from ten miles south of Columbus, Montana." (image size 10 1/2" x 16")
Purchase The Complete Set of 10 Prints
"Stillwater Valley Highway 78 the most beautiful byway to Yellowstone Park via Columbus, Absarokee, Roscoe and Red Lodge."