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Born this day: 14 December 1890: Edward McKnight Kauffer

Edward Kauffer (later Edward McKnight Kauffer) was born on this day (14 December) 1890 in Great Falls, Montana. At the time of his birth his father, John Kauffer, was the leader of the Great Falls Park Theatre orchestra.

Photo: Francis Brugiere

In a letter to Kauffer written by his mother many years later she wrote: “My dear son was born in Great Falls, Montana on Dec. 14th 1890 on Sunday night at 5 minutes of eight. Mrs Gates, a midwife who had 13 children, she was a dear old soul from Eerie, Penn. She told me you would be a wonderful man”. The midwife took Edward to the butcher’s shop to be weighed. 

Founded in 1883 by Paris Gibson, a pioneer and entrepreneur, Great Falls acquired its name from a series of spectacular waterfalls on the nearby Missouri River.  These were the Falls that presented Lewis and Clark with one of their greatest challenges on their epic expedition when they found it necessary to portage around them.  Lewis recorded in his journal for 14 June 1805 that he “…was … presented by one of the most beautifull [sic] objects of nature, a cascade of about fifty feet perpendicular stretching at right angles across the river from side to side to the distance of at least a quarter mile.” He later recorded that he found the Falls a “truly magnificent and sublimely grand object which has, from the commencement of time, been concealed from the view of civilized man.”


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