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Silver Bow County, Montana 1870-1888

Silver Bow County, cut off from Deer Lodge in 1881, had a small area, but a population of 14,000, and is richer, in proportion to its size, than any county in Montana, its assessed valuation in 1884 being $7,240,000. It was first settled in June 1804 by placer miners. Ten years of digging and washing exhausted the deposits, or so nearly that only 300 inhabitants remained. Quart-mining was begun in 1875. The county contained in 1885 19 mills, concentrato’s, and furnaces, which give employment to 3,000 miners. Butte, the county seat, was the second town in Montana. It had an altitude of 5,800 feet, and is the center of one of the richest silver and copper districts in the world. Population in 1885 10,000, with 3 banks, the eldest being; that of Clarke & Larabie, the others Hege, Brownlee & Co., and the First National, their deposits aggregating $3,000,000. It had school property valued at $40,000, supporting a corps of 21 teachers; besides 7 churches, 4 hospitals, 2 fire companies, 2 newspapers, a courthouse which cost $150,000, an opera-house costing $50,000, water, gas, and electric light companies, and the usual number of secret societies. The receipts on freights, incoming and outgoing, were over $6,000,000 per annum, consisting chiefly of outgoing ore. Buxton, Divide, Feely, French gulch, Grace, Gunderson, Lavell, Melrose, Mount Horeb, Norwood, Red Mountain, Walkerville, and Silver Bow are the other settlements in the...

Missoula County, Montana 1870-1888

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...

Meagher County, Montana 1870-1888

Meagher County extended from the Missouri River on the west to the Musselshell River on the east, and was sandwiched between Gallatin and Choteau Counties. It contained 20,000 square miles, embracing mountain ranges clothed in forest, and veined with mineral deposits, high grazing lands, and low agricultural lands. The valleys of the Judith, Musselshell, Smith, and Missouri Rivers aggregated 2,000 square miles. The population of the county in 1880 was 2,743. In 1884 its livestock was valued at 7,000.000; $750,000 being in horses. The mines of Meagher County by 1886 produced over $10,000,000 in gold from the gulches, while the deposits of silver, lead, copper, gold, and coal waited longer the open sesame of capital. Mineral springs of great medicinal virtues were found in this county, the chief of which was the white sulphur group on the north fork of Smith River. The county seat was removed from Diamond City to White Sulphur Springs, a noted health resort, in 1879, by a general election. Neither were towns of any size. A newspaper, the Montana Husbandman, was published at Diamond. In 1882 Townsend was laid out near the Missouri River crossing of the Northern Pacific railroad, and is the nearest station to White Sulphur Springs. In 1883 it had a population of 350, and being the centre of a large and productive farming and mining region, its prosperity was assured. The other early settlements of Meagher County were Andersonville. Arrow Creek, Bercail, Big Elk, Brassey, Brewer’s Springs, Camp Baker, Camp Lewis, Canton, Canyon Ferry, Cavetown, Centreville, Chestnut, Clendenning, Cooper gulch, Dennison, El Dorado, El Dorado Bar, Flatwillon, Fort Logan, French...

Madison County, Montana 1870-1888

Madison County, rendered forever famous as the district of country containing the Alder gulch of worldwide renown, 4,900 square miles in extent, had also a population of not more than 4,000 at the last census. It is a county rich in resources, chiefly mineral, although agricultural to a considerable degree. Its chief export was gold, while silver, copper, lead, iron, marble, coal, and other valuable minerals abound. The county owned in 1884 cattle, horses, and sheep valued at $1,800,000, and had 10 sawmills cutting 1,000,000 feet of lumber yearly, 2 grist-mills making 6,000 sacks of flour annually, besides raising 100,000 bushels of grain, 50,000 bushels of root crops and pease, and selling 5,000 beef cattle. Virginia City, once the capital of Montana, and the county seat of Madison County, had in 1880 a population of about 1,000, and more business than that would seem to indicate. Virginia had telegraphic communication with Salt Lake and the east in 1866. John Creighton was superintendent of the line. It was extended to Helena in 1867. In 1878 the leading bank bought $400,000 worth of gold bars and dust, received deposits which averaged $100,000 in bank constantly, and sold $1,400,000 in exchange. The public buildings at Virginia are handsome and costly. The public school building cost $12,000, the Masonic Temple $30,000, the courthouse $35,000, and others in proportion. There were three churches, Catholic, Methodist, and Episcopal, a weekly newspaper, the Madisonian, and a daily line of coaches connecting it with other business centers. The first Masonic organization was at Virginia City in 1863; corner stone of the temple laid June 24, 1867. Nevada,...

Lewis and Clarke County, Montana 1870-1888

Lewis and Clarke County, occupying a central position, although comparatively small in extent, having only 2,900 square miles, was the second in population, its inhabitants numbering about 13,000, and its assessed valuation being in 1884 over $8,000,000. Its mines have already been spoken of. From 135 farms in Prickly Pear Valley was harvested, in 1878, 25,000 bushels of wheat, 40,000 bushels of oats, 15,000 bushels of barley, or an average of over 500 bushels of grain to every farm. Besides the grain crop, 7,000 tons of hay were harvested, over 300 tons of turnips and cabbages, 40,000 bushels of potatoes, and 15,000 bushels of pease. The county grazes 30,000 cattle and 25,000 sheep, the wool clip from 18,000 head being 83,000 pounds. The livestock in 1884 was valued at $1,000,000. Helena, the county seat, made a port of entry in 1867, and also the capital of Montana, was in all respects a progressive modern town. With a population of 7,000 in 1883, which had increased from 4,000 in 1879, its four national banks had on deposit $3,000,000, and sold a large amount of exchange annually, besides purchasing gold-dust and silver bullion to the amount of amount $2,000,000. The first, or Montana National Bank, was instituted June 24, 1872. James King president, Charles E Deer cashier, D. S. Wade, W. E. Gillette, William Chumasero, James Fergus, and George Steele directors. There was a board of trade organized in 1877, a U. S. assay office erected in 1875, and a fire department organized in 1869. The occasion of this early creation of a fire department was the occurrence of a fire...

Jefferson County, Montana 1870-1888

Jefferson County, lying north of Madison, and divided from it by the Jefferson fork of the Missouri, contained 5,000 square miles and 2,500 inhabitants. It was, after mining, chiefly a dairying county, though there several farming settlements sprang up in the valleys of Prickly Pear, Boulder, Crow, Pipestone, and other streams. In 1878, 50,000 lbs of butter and 20,000 lbs of cheese were produced. The farmers raised 50,000 bushels of grain, and there were about 10,000 acres of improved lands. The sawmills in the county cut about 1,500,000 feet of lumber. The stock of the county consisted of 25,000 range cattle, 2,000 milch cows, 10,000 horses, and 15,000 sheep. The pioneer Woolen-mill of Montana was established in Jefferson County, and was completed in 1878. Strahorn’s Montana, 67. The first woollen-mill begun was at Virginia City in 1877. Madisonian, Oct. 27, 1877. The property valuation of the county in 1884 was about $1,000,000. Radersburg, situated in the valley of Crow Creek, near the line of the Northern Pacific railroad, is the county seat, and had 200 inhabitants at the last census. The towns and settlements made in Jefferson County are Aurora, Basin, Basin gulch, Beaver Creek, Heaver Creek Camp, Beavertown, Bedford, Boulder City, Boulder Valley. Cataract, Cheatem, Claggett, Cold Spring, Cornet, Cornet Mine, Crow Creek City, Eclipse, Gregory, Gregory Mine, Gregoryville, Harrison, Holter’s Sawmill, Iron Age, Jefferson City, Jefferson Island, Keatigville, Little Boulder, McDaniel Station, Middle Fork Buffalo, Milk Ranch, Mitchell, Montana, O’Neil’s Mine, Whitman’s gulch. Overland gulch, Parnell, Pipestone, Prickly Pear, Remley, Rocker Mine, Spokane, Springville, St Louis, Warm Springs, Whitehall, Wickes, and Woodville. In this county are the...

Gallatin County, Montana 1870-1888

Gallatin County, containing 10,000 square miles, was divided between the two valleys of the Gallatin and Yellowstone Rivers, and the Belt and Snowy ranges of mountains. The three forks of the Missouri met within its boundaries, making a remarkable and beautiful combination of river and meadow scenery with bench land and mountains. The basin formed by the Gallatin Valley, from the earliest settlement of eastern Montana, has been a favorite resort for home seekers with agricultural tastes. From its lesser altitude it is more generally productive than the country to the west, and became more thickly settled, having a population of 3,500 at the census of 1880. It produced 1,000,000 bushels of grain in a season, with other vegetable products in proportion. Farm machinery of the best models was employed. Six flouring-mill converted wheat into flour. The first flour made for market in eastern Montana was in 1866, at the Gallatin Mills of Cover & McAdow of Bozeman. Virginia and Helena Post, Oct. 23, 1866. Like every part of Montana, it was also a good grazing country, and supported large herd, upon its native grasses. In 1878 there were 45,000 cattle, 8,000 horses, and 10,000 sheep on the ranges. There were marketed 5,000 cattle, 100,000 pounds of butter and cheese, besides a large amount of wool. The taxable property of the county was valued at $1,386,340 in 1878. The stock alone of Gallatin County in 1882 was valued by the assessor at $1,225,800. In 1884, the assessed valuation of the county was $6,255,910. Bozeman, the county seat, was founded in July 1864 by J. M. Bozeman, the pioneer of...

Deer Lodge County, Montana 1870-1888

Deer Lodge County, also west of the Rocky Mountains, and the second settled, was much less in size than Missoula, containing 6,500 square miles, but fully equal in attractions and natural wealth. It had 25,000 acres under improvement, and raised 130,000 bushels of grain in 1878, made 150,000 pounds of butter, produced 50,000 bushels of potatoes, 1,200,000 pounds of garden vegetables, 75,000 of wool, and manufactured 1,000,000 feet of lumber. Its population was 9,000, and taxable wealth $2,341,268. In 1884 its livestock alone was valued at $1,000,000. Deer Lodge City, the county seat, situated on the east side of Deer Lodge River, contained 1,200 inhabitants. It is the commercial and educational centre of a large area of mining and farming country. It had a fire in 1872 which destroyed a large amount of property, and caused the organization of a fire department, in educational facilities were a collegiate institute, erected in 1878 at a cost of $22,000, a graded public school, and a Catholic boarding-school, conducted by the Sisters of Charity. The New Northwest newspaper, not excelled by any in Montana, was published here. The penitentiary was located here. The Catholic, Episcopal, and Presbyterian churches were tasteful and creditable structured, and the general style of architecture was pleasing. Seen at a proper distance for perspective. Deer Lodge presents an inviting picture, with a mountain background contributing to its scenic effect; nor does it disappoint the beholder on a nearer view. Phillipsburg. Pioneer, Silver Bow, Blackfoot, New Chicago, McClellan, and Lincoln all became towns of some consequence. The other settlements in Deer Lodge County are Bakers Mill, Bear gulch, Bear’s...

Dawson County, Montana 1870-1888

Dawson County, owing to Indian wars and other causes, remained unorganized down to a late period, and although having an area of 32,000 square miles, and good stock ranges, contained in 1880 only about 200 inhabitants. It occupied the northwestern portion of Montana, and was divided by the Missouri River, and crossed by the Yellowstone, Musselshell, and Milk Rivers. Its assessable property in 1884 was about $2,500,000. Glendive, the principal town, was founded in 1881, and named by Lewis Merrill after Glendive creek, which received its name from Sir George Gore, who wintered in Montana in 1856. It was the first point where the Northern Pacific railroad touched the Yellowstone, and the terminus of the Missouri division. It occupied a sloping plain facing the river on the south bank, and was sheltered from the winds by an abrupt range of clay buttes, resembling these of the Bad Lands, 300 feet in height, and half a mile distant. The soil about Glendive, the altitude of which is 2,070 feet above sea level, was a rich sandy loam, and produced plentifully of grains and vegetables. The railroad company made extensive and substantial improvements, and the town soon had 1,500 inhabitants, a bank, schools, churches, hotels, and a weekly newspaper. The settlements early made in Dawson county were Allard, Cantonment, Fort Galpin, Fort Kipp, Fort Peck, Gray’s Wood-yard, Hodges, Iron Bluff, McClellan, Milton, Newlon, Old Fort Charles, Old Fort Union, Stockade, Trading Post, and Wolf...

Custer County, Montana 1870-1888

Custer County occupied in 1884 an area of 25,500 square miles, divided by the Yellowstone River, which is navigable, and watered by numerous large and small tributaries. It formerly included the Crow reservation, a 5,000,000 acre tract, which was surrendered to the government in 1882, and thrown open to settlement in 1883. Several mountain ranges separated the principal valleys and gave diversity to the scenery. It was possessed of a superior soil, and the bench lands furnish every variety of nutritious native grasses, including Bluegrass, wild rye, and wild oats. The lower portion of the Yellowstone Valley was favored by a climate where corn, grapes, hops, melons, and fruits of various kinds flourish. Although later settled, it soon ranked as the second agricultural county of Montana. Its taxable property in 1878 was valued at $329,231, with a population of 2,510 in 1880. In 1884 its livestock alone was assessed at $7,150,000. Miles City, the county seat, situated near the mouth of Tongue River, contained in 1880 a population of 2,500, and was a thriving town. In 1878 there were thirty-five arrivals of steamers with freight for the citizens and Fort Keogh, two miles distant. Public schools, two daily and weekly newspapers, a church, theatre, banks, and large business houses were a proof of its prosperity. The incipient towns of Custer county were Ada, Ainshe, Beeman, Beach, Big Horn, Birney, Brandenburg, Bull, Bull Creek, Canyon, Coal Bank, Coulson, Crow Agency, Custer, Cutler, Danton, Dickson, Etchetah, Etna, Fallon, Faurie Point, Foley, Forsyth, Fort C. F. Smith, Fort Custer, Fort Keogh, Fort Sarpy. Fort Tullock, Graycliffe, Guyville, Greycliffe, Hathaway, Horton, Huntley, Howard,...
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