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Beginning with Missoula, the first settled and organized, and the most western, it contained about 30,000 square miles, distributed in forest crowned mountains and sunny valleys, affording a charming variety of scenery, and a fortunate arrangement of mineral, agricultural, and grazing lands. About 36,000 acres were occupied, and 5,196 cultivated.
Its principal valley, the Bitterroot, contained 500 farmers, and would support four times as many. It had 8,000 horses, 19,000 cattle, and 13,000 sheep. It produced in 1884 124,226 bushels of wheat, and 281,312 bushels of oats; made 30,000 pounds of butter, and raised large quantities of all the choicest garden vegetables, and 800 pounds of tobacco, besides making 40,000,000 feet of lumber.
Its population in 1880 was 2,537, and its taxable property was valued at $647,189. Its valuation in 1885 was over $1,000,000. Missoula, the county seat, situated on the Northern Pacific railroad, near the junction of the Missoula and Bitterroot Rivers, had 2,000 inhabitants.
Its public buildings were a substantial courthouse, a Union Church for the use of several congregations, a Catholic convent, a large flouring and sawmill, a good public schoolhouse, 2 newspaper offices, and a National Bank building. The mill belonged to Worden & Co., and was erected in 1866, 40 by 40 feet, 3 stories high, with 2 run of stones, and cost $30,000.
It ground the crop of 1866, 10,000 bushels; of 1867, 15,000 bushels; of 1868, 20,000 bushels; of 1869, 20,000 bushels. Its capacity was 400 sacks in 24 hours. The sawmill cut 2,000 feet of lumber daily. Deer Lodge New Northwest, Oct. 8, 1869. At Frenchtown, 18 miles distant, was another flouring-mill and sawmill for the convenience of its 200 inhabitants and the farming community of the lower valley. Strahorn’s Montana, 64.
The lesser settlements were Andrum, Arhe, Ashley, Belknap, Bigcut, Bitterroot Creek, Camas Prairie, Cantonment Stevens, Cedar Junction, Cedar Mouth, Clarke Fork, Como, Corvallis, Dayton Creek, De Smet, Duncan, Eddy, Ellisport, Ewartsville, Flathead, Flathead Agency, Flathead Lake, Forest City, Fort Missoula, Fort Owen, Gird Creek, Grant Creek, Grass Valley, Heron Siding, Hope, Horse Plains, Hudson Bay Post, Indian Agency, Jocko, Kayuse, Kitchens, Kootenai, Koriaka, Lavoy, Louisville, Loulou’s Grave, Mayville, Missoula River, Paradise, Pen d’Oreille, Pineland, Quartz, Quartz Creek, Ravallia, Rock Island, Ross Hele, Selish. Skalkahe, St Ignatius, Stephens’ Mill, Stevensville, Superior, Superior City, Seventy-Mile Siding, Thompson Falls, Thompson River, Tobacco Plains, Trading Post, Trout Creek, White Pine, and Windfall.