Montana County Histories

Montana became a territory in 1864. In 1865 the first legislature created the nine original counties. Additional Territorial counties were added between 1866 and 1888, Statehood counties between 1889 and 1909 and Homestead Era counties between 1910 and 1925.

Flag of MontanaThe western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller “island ranges” are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges that are part of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state’s name, derived from the Spanish word montaña (mountain).

The land in Montana east of the continental divide was part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Subsequent to the Lewis and Clark Expedition and after the finding of gold and copper (see the Copper Kings) in the area in the late 1850s, Montana became a United States territory (Montana Territory) on May 26, 1864. Prior to the creation of Montana Territory (1864–1889), various parts of what is now Montana were parts of Oregon Territory (1848–1859), Washington Territory (1853–1863), Idaho Territory (1863–1864), and Dakota Territory (1861–1864).

The railroads arrived in the 1880s, including the Great Northern Railroad (1889) and its rival, the Northern Pacific Railroad (1883) from Minneapolis, and the Union Pacific Railroad (1881) from Denver. Montana railroading, with two transcontinentals to the Pacific coast and extensive operations to the mines, became a major industry, with centers in Billings and Havre. Montana became a state in 1889 in an omnibus package together with North Dakota, South Dakota and Washington.

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Collection Details

  1. HELEN F. SANDERS, A HISTORY OF MONTANA (VOL. 3), 1913
  2. AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF THE YELLOWSTONE VALLEY: EMBRACING THE COUNTIES OF PARK, SWEET GRASS, CARBON, YELLOWSTONE, ROSEBUD, CUSTER AND DAWSON, STATE OF MONTANA, WESTERN HISTORICAL PUBLISHING CO., 1907
  3. HUBERT BANCROFT, BANCROFT WORKS, VOLUME 31, HISTORY OF WASHINGTON, IDAHO, AND MONTANA, THE HISTORY COMPANY, 1890
  4. MICHAEL LEESON, HISTORY OF MONTANA. 1739-1885; A HISTORY OF ITS DISCOVERY AND SETTLEMENT, SOCIAL AND COMMERCIAL PROGRESS, MINES AND MINERS, AGRICULTURE AND STOCK-GROW (PAPERBACK), BEERS & CO., 1885
  5. ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF THE STATE OF MONTANA …FROM THE EARLIEST PERIOD OF ITS DISCOVERY TO THE PRESENT TIME, TOGETHER WITH GLIMPSES OF ITS AUSPICIOUS FUTURE; …BIOGRAPHICAL MENTION OF MANY OF ITS PIONEERS & PROMINENT CITIZENS.
  6. IN THE LAND OF CHINOOK; OR, THE STORY OF BLAINE COUNTY,
  7. MONTANA, ITS STORY & BIOGRAPHY: HISTORY OF ABORIGINAL & TERRITORIAL MONTANA, & THREE DECADES OF STATEHOOD. VOL 1
  8. MONTANA, ITS STORY & BIOGRAPHY: HISTORY OF ABORIGINAL & TERRITORIAL MONTANA, & THREE DECADES OF STATEHOOD. VOL 2
  9. MONTANA, ITS STORY & BIOGRAPHY: HISTORY OF ABORIGINAL & TERRITORIAL MONTANA, & THREE DECADES OF STATEHOOD. VOL 3
  10. KATHERINE B. JUDSON, MONTANA: “THE LAND OF SHINING MOUNTAINS”, A.C. MCCLURG & CO.,1909
  11. ALVA J. NOYES, THE STORY OF AJAX: LIFE IN THE BIG HOLE BASIN, STATE PUBLISHING COMPANY, 1914

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