The Last Will and Testament of Lizzie Williams: An African American Entrepreneur in 1870s Bozeman Edit

With the end of the Civil War in 1865, African Americans joined the westward migration, hoping for a better life and opportunity in the West. We will explore the life of Lizzie Williams, An African American business woman who sought refuge in Bozeman during the 1870s. We will explore historic documents, including Lizzie’s last Will and Testament to better understand her life and catch a rare glimpse of early Bozeman through the lens of this African American woman.

Main Street in Bozeman, 1872

Main Street in Bozeman, 1872

Box containing Lizzie Williams' documents

Box containing Lizzie Williams’ documents

Lizzie Williams' Will

Lizzie Williams’ Will


This lecture was presented at the Museum of the Rockies on February 16, 2017 by Crystal Alegria. Crystal has worked in the field of heritage education for the past 15 years with an emphasis on curriculum design, public programming and outreach, and applied archaeology. She develops walking tours for the Extreme History Project including the “Family Matters; Bozeman’s Historic African American Community” walking tour which brought her to better understand the important contribution of Bozeman’s African American community. Co-sponsored by CTA Architects and Engineers.

or Download