The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Montana
MONTANA, a territory of the United States, situated between lat. 44° 15′ and 49° N., and lon. 104° and 116° W.; length E. and W. on the N. border, 540 m., and along the 45th parallel 460 m.; average breadth, 275 m.; area, 145,776 sq. m. It is bounded N. by British America, and E. by Dakota, and for a short distance along the 111th meridian by Wyoming. On the south, E. of the 111th meridian, it is bounded by Wyoming (along the 45th parallel); W. of the 111th meridian, it borders S. and S. W. (along the crest of the Rocky and Bitter Root mountains) and then W. on Idaho. The territory is divided into 11 counties, viz.: Beaver Head, Big Horn, Choteau, Dawson, Deer Lodge, Gallatin, Jefferson, Lewis and Clarke, Madison, Meagher, and Missoula. The principal cities and towns are Helena (pop. in 1870, 3,106), the capital; Virginia City (867), the former capital; Deer Lodge City (788); and Argenta, Bannack, Bozeman, Diamond City, Fort Benton, Gallatin, Missoula City, and Radersburg. The population in 1870, exclusive of tribal Indians, according to the United States census, was 20,595, of whom 18,306 were whites, 183 colored, 1,949 Chinese, and 157 Indians; 12,616 were native and 7,979 foreign born, 16,771 males and 3,824 females. There were 11,523 citizens of the United States 21 years old and upward; 7,058 families, with an average of 2.92 persons to a family; 9,450 dwellings, with an average of 2.18 persons to a dwelling; 667 persons 10 years old and over unable to read; 918, including 129 Chinese and 78 Indians, unable to write, of whom 394 were natives and 524 foreigners. Of the 14,048 persons 10 years old and over returned as engaged in all occupations, 2,111 were employed in agriculture, 2,674 in professional and personal services, 1,233 in trade and transportation, and 8,030 in manufactures and mining, including 6,720 miners. The tribal Indians of Montana, according to the report of the United States commissioner of Indian affairs for 1874, number 22,486, as follows:
|Santee and Sisseton Sioux||1,163|
The Flatheads, Pend d'Oreilles, and Kootenays have a reservation of 1,433,600 acres in the valley of Jocko river, a tributary of the Flathead, near Flathead lake, but most of the Flatheads have hitherto resided in the valley of the Bitter Root river and refused to remove to the reservation. The Crows have a reservation bounded W. and N. by the Yellowstone river, E. by the 107th meridian, and 8. by Wyoming. The other tribes have had assigned to them the region S. of the Marias and Missouri rivers. The Blackfeet never and the Bloods seldom visit their agency, roaming most of the time N. of the British line. Besides those enumerated in the table, there are some roving Sioux not belonging to any agency.—The E. portion of the territory, about three fifths of the whole, consists chiefly of rolling table lands or plains; the W. part is mountainous. The main chain of the Rocky mountains, after forming for a considerable distance the S. W. boundary, suddenly (in lat. 45° 40′) bends E. for some distance, and then runs N. about 20° W. to the N. border of the territory. The Bitter Root range, leaving the main chain at the bend, continues in a N. W. direction along the boundary to its intersection with the 116th meridian. Enclosed by the Bitter Root mountains on the west and the main chain on the east and south is a basin occupying the N. W. portion of the territory and embracing about one fifth of its area, which is divided by mountain spurs and streams into numerous valleys and terraces. S. of this is another basin, about half its area and of similar character, occupying the S. W. extremity of the territory, and walled in by the main chain on the north, west, and south. E. of the Rocky mountains are several minor ranges. The Snow mountains enter the territory from Wyoming for a short distance, causing the Yellowstone river to make a detour in sweeping round their N. flank. N. of the Yellowstone the Belt, Judith, and Highwood mountains form an irregular group of short and broken ranges, around which the Missouri river flows N. before assuming its E. course. N. of the Missouri the plain is interrupted only by the Bear's Paw and Little Rocky mountains. The mountains are generally less rugged and elevated than further S., and some of the valleys are depressed much below the lowest point in the Great Basin. The plains vary in height from 2,010 ft. at the mouth of the Yellowstone to 4,091 ft. at the foot of the mountains. The mountain valleys vary in elevation from less than 3,000 to about 5,000 ft., while the peaks rise above the line of perpetual snow. The N. W. basin is drained by tributaries of the Columbia river; the rest of the territory by the Missouri and its tributaries. Clarke's fork of the Columbia, formed near the centre of the basin by the junction of the Flathead and Bitter Root rivers, flows N. W. into Idaho, and is navigable for some distance in Montana by small steamers. The Flathead rises in British America and has a general S. course near the foot of the Rocky mountains, expanding near the 48th parallel into a lake of the same name (the only one in the territory), about 30 m. long and 10 or 12 m. wide. The Bitter Root rises in the S. W. corner of the basin, and has a N. course, receiving the Hell Gate river, which rises in the S. E. extremity of the basin. The latter is formed by the junction of the Deer Lodge and Little Blackfoot rivers, and a short distance before entering the Bitter Root receives the Big Blackfoot from the east. The Bitter Root above the mouth of the Hell Gate is sometimes called the Missoula. The N. W. corner of the territory is intersected by the Kootenay river. The Missouri river is formed near Gallatin in the S. W. part of Montana by the junction of the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin rivers, which have a general N. course, and flows N. and N. E., E. of Helena, to Fort Benton, whence it pursues a general E. course to the Dakota line, which it crosses near the 48th parallel. It is navigable to Fort Benton, more than 300 m. from the boundary. Its principal tributaries are Green river and Smith's or Deep river from the east; the Arrow, Judith, and Musselshell, from the south; and from the west and north, Medicine or Sun river, Teton, Marias, and Milk rivers. Jefferson river is formed by the junction of the Big Hole or Wisdom, Beaver Head, and Stinking Water rivers, which rise in the Rocky mountains in the S. W. extremity of the territory; Madison river, the middle fork, rises in the N. W. corner of Wyoming; E. of this is the Gallatin, rising between the Madison and Yellowstone rivers. The Yellowstone rises in Yellowstone lake in N. W. Wyoming, near the source of Madison river, and flows N. and N. E., draining the S. and E. sections of Montana, and joining the Missouri on the Dakota border. It is navigable in spring and early summer by large steamers 300 or 400 m. above its mouth. Its chief tributaries are the Big Rosebud river, Clarke's fork, Pryor's river, the Big Horn, Rosebud, Tongue, and Powder rivers from the south, and Porcupine river from the north. The Little Missouri river crosses the S. E. corner of the territory from Wyoming, and joins the Missouri in Dakota.—The prevailing geological formation in the east, as far as the 107th meridian on the southern boundary and the 109th on the north, is the lignite tertiary. W. of this is a cretaceous region, having its widest expanse at the north. W. and S. W. of the cretaceous are narrow belts stretching across the territory along the foot of the Rocky mountains, composed of red beds, Jurassic and carboniferous rocks, and Potsdam sandstone. The Rocky mountain range and the two basins are largely of igneous origin, consisting of basalt, granite, and various metamorphic rocks. Limestone, slate, and granite suitable for building purposes, and sands and clays adapted to brickmaking, are abundant. Bituminous coal has been found near Bannack, Helena, Virginia City, and Deer Lodge City, on the head waters of the Big Blackfoot, and in several places on the Musselshell, Yellowstone, and Missouri rivers. Lignite exists in great quantities on the Missouri and Yellowstone in the E. part of the territory, and on the head waters of the Teton and Marias rivers. Hot springs and geysers are numerous about the head waters of the Missouri and Yellowstone. (See Geyser.) The precious metals, found in the metamorphic rocks, are abundant, Montana having been second only to California in the production of gold. The placer diggings are chiefly on the tributaries of the Hell Gate, Big Blackfoot, Madison, and Jefferson rivers, on the Missouri and its tributaries from the junction of the three forks to the mouth of Smith's river, and on the bars of the upper Yellowstone. The principal quartz mines are near Argenta, Bannack, Helena, Highland in Deer Lodge co., and Virginia City. Much attention is now given to silver and copper. These metals exist in conjunction with each other and with gold, and sometimes separately. Silver is chiefly found on Flint and Silver Bow creeks, affluents of Hell Gate river; Alder and Ram's Horn gulches of Stinking Water river; Ten Mile creek, near Helena; and on Rattlesnake creek, a tributary of Beaver Head river. Copper predominates on Beaver creek, near Jefferson City, Jefferson co.; on a branch of Silver Bow creek, near Butte City, Deer Lodge co.; and at the source of Musselshell river. Gold was first discovered, on Gold creek, a branch of the Hell Gate, in 1852, but no mining took place until the autumn of 1861. The first quartz mill was erected in the beginning of 1863. According to the returns of the United States census of 1870, which are admitted to be imperfect, the number of gold mines was 683; hands employed, 3,534; capital invested, $2,518,613; wages paid, $1,381,699; value of materials used, $735,901; of product, $4,030,435; 67, product $737,458, were hydraulic mines; 607, product $3,058,373, placer; and 12, product $234,604, quartz. The bullion product of Montana, following J. Ross Browne's “Resources of the Pacific Slope,” for the period prior to and including 1867, and the estimate of R. W. Raymond, United States commissioner of mining statistics, for the subsequent years, has been as follows:
Of the product in 1872, $351,944, and in 1873 $176,500, was silver. The deposits of gold from the territory at the United States mints and assay offices, to June 30, 1874, amounted to $36,640,618 66; of silver, to $304,361 51.—The climate is healthy. Little rain falls, and in most parts of the territory irrigation is necessary. Much snow falls on the mountains, particularly in the N. W. basin. The average temperature is higher than in the same latitude further east. In the valleys, especially in the south, little snow falls, and cattle winter without shelter, while from the dryness of the atmosphere the cold of greater altitudes is less severely felt. The average temperature at Fort Benton (lat. 47° 52′, lon. 110° 40′, elevation 2,674 ft.) of the year ending Sept. 30, 1873, was 41.97°; total rainfall, 12.17 inches. The average temperature of the warmest month (July) was 69.8°; of the coldest (December), 11.3°. The average temperature during 1872 at Virginia City in the S. basin (lat.° 45 19′, elevation 5,826 ft.) was 39.25°; warmest month (August), 61.3°; coldest month (December), 18.8°; total rainfall, 9.72 inches. At Deer Lodge City in the N. W. basin (lat. 46° 26′, elevation 4,768 ft.) the average temperature for two years was found to be 42°; warmest month, 69.7°; coldest month, -1.5°. The total precipitation of rain and melted snow in 1870 was 16.5 inches. Fort Owen (elevation 3,284 ft.), 65 m. W. by N. of Deer Lodge City, has an average annual temperature of 47°. The variations are great, the thermometer in winter, except in the lower and more sheltered valleys, sometimes falling to 30° below zero, and rising in summer above 90°. The plains E. of the mountains are generally treeless, and (particularly in the eastern part) possess indifferent facilities for irrigation. Along the streams there is generally a growth of cottonwood, willow, alder, aspen, and similar trees, while the mountain slopes are wooded with pine, fir, spruce, cedar, and hemlock. Timber is more abundant in the N. W. basin than elsewhere, and particularly about the Kootenay river and the upper course of the Flathead. The valleys and terraces afford excellent grazing. The soil of the valleys is fertile, and they are for the most part easily irrigated. Some of the principal agricultural localities are the Deer Lodge, Bitter Root, Blackfoot, Flathead, and Hell Gate valleys, the upper valleys of the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin rivers, the valley of the Missouri from the junction of the three forks to the mouth of Sun river, and a tract about 30 m. wide along the E. base of the Rocky mountains, stretching from Sun river to the international boundary, which is watered by numerous small tributaries of the Marias, Teton, and Sun. Currants, strawberries, raspberries, and gooseberries grow wild. The principal cultivated crops are wheat, rye, barley, oats, and potatoes. Some varieties of Indian corn may be grown in portions of the territory, but the climate is generally too cold. Beans, peas, turnips, beets, carrots, onions, cabbage, squashes, melons, tomatoes, cucumbers, and the hardier fruits thrive. Grain yields abundantly. Among wild animals are the buffalo, on the plains in the east, the grisly bear, and the antelope.—According to the census of 1870, the number of farms was 851, containing 84,674 acres of improved land; cash value of farms, $729,193; of farming implements and machinery, $145,438; wages paid during the year, including the value of board, $325,213; estimated value of all farm productions, including betterments and additions to stock, $1,676,660; value of produce of market gardens, $35,130; of forest products, $918; of home manufactures, $155,357; of animals slaughtered or sold for slaughter, $169,092; of live stock, $1,818,693. The productions were 177,535 bushels of spring wheat, 3,649 of winter wheat, 1,141 of rye, 320 of Indian corn, 149,367 of oats, 85,756 of barley, 988 of buckwheat, 2,414 of peas and beans, 91,477 of Irish potatoes, 31 of grass seed, 600 lbs. of tobacco, 100 of wool, 408,080 of butter, 25,603 of cheese, 105,186 gallons of milk sold, and 18,727 tons of hay. The live stock consisted of 5,289 horses, 475 mules and asses, 12,432 milch cows, 1,761 working oxen, 22,545 other cattle, 2,024 sheep, and 2,599 swine. There were besides 1,444 horses and 45,642 cattle not on farms. The number of horses assessed in 1873 was 19,905; cattle, 104,777; mules, 1,606; sheep, 10,597. The whole number of manufacturing establishments in 1870, according to the census, was 201, having 33 steam engines of 822 horse power, and 46 water wheels of 795 horse power; hands employed, 701; capital invested, $1,794,300; wages paid, $370,843; value of materials used, $1,316,331; of products, $2,494,511. The most important establishments were 34 quartz mills, capital $1,184,900, value of products $801,873; 8 flour and grist mills, 31 saw mills, 13 breweries, and 6 manufactories of jewelry. The number of quartz mills, including those not in operation, according to the report of the United States commissioner of mining statistics for 1870, was 48, having 591 stamps and 62 arrastras, and mostly run by steam. One, in Deer Lodge co., was for the production of silver; the rest, of gold.—There are no railroads in Montana, but the Northern Pacific is to cross the territory from E. to W. The principal towns have telegraphic communication with the east and the Pacific coast. There are five national banks, with an aggregate capital of $350,000.—The government is similar to that of the other territories. The executive officers are a governor and secretary, appointed by the president with the consent of the senate for four years, and a treasurer, auditor, and superintendent of public instruction, created by local law. The legislative power is vested in a council of 13 and an assembly of 26 members, elected by the people for two years. Judicial authority is exercised by a supreme court, district courts, probate courts, and justices of the peace. The supreme court consists of three justices, appointed by the president with the consent of the senate for four years, and has appellate jurisdiction. A district court with general original jurisdiction is held by a justice of the supreme court in each of the three judicial districts. There is a probate court for each county, with the usual powers of such courts. Justices of the peace have cognizance of inferior cases. According to the United States census of 1870, the assessed value of real estate was $2,728,128; of personal property, $7,215,283; true value of both, $15,184,522. The total taxation not national was $198,527, of which $38,131 was territorial, $157,396 county, and $3,000 town, city, &c.; county debt, $276,219; town, city, &c., $2,500. The valuation for purposes of taxation in 1873 was $9,803,745; taxation for territorial purposes, $39,214 98. The receipts into the territorial treasury for the year ending Dec. 1, 1873, including $643 64 on hand at the beginning of the period, were $66,517 73; disbursements, $65,792 15; balance, $725 58. The net territorial debt on Dec. 31, 1873, amounted to $128,762 47, a decrease during the year of $13,786 52; $92,283 44 of this amount was in bonds bearing 12 per cent, interest. The aggregate debt of the several counties on March 1, 1873 (Lewis and Clarke to Sept. 1), was reported as $432,987 74. The territorial penitentiary is at Deer Lodge City. According to the report of the superintendent of public instruction for 1873, the number of children of school age (4 to 21 years) was 3,517; number attending public schools, 1,881; average attendance, 940; number of organized school districts, 91; of schools taught during the year, 90; teachers employed, 99 (50 males and 49 females); average pay per month, $68 41; average length of schools, 82½ days; number of school houses, 51; amount raised for schools by county tax, $31,350 42; by district tax (in Madison co.), $934 55; amount apportioned during the year from all sources, $33,161 50; private schools taught during the year, 11, attended by 149 pupils. There are graded schools in Deer Lodge City, Helena, and Virginia City. The number of schools of all classes reported by the census of 1870 was 54 (45 ungraded common, 1 classical academy, 7 day and boarding, and 1 parochial and charity), having 34 male and 31 female teachers, 1,027 male and 718 female pupils, and an income from all sources of $41,170. There were 141 libraries, containing 19,700 volumes, of which 128 with 14,690 volumes were private; and 10 newspapers (3 daily, 1 tri-weekly, and 6 weekly), issuing 2,860,600 copies annually, and having a circulation of 19,580. The number of church organizations was 15 (1 Christian, 2 Episcopal, 7 Methodist, and 5 Roman Catholic), having 11 edifices, with 3,850 sittings, and property valued at $99,300.—Montana was set off from Idaho and given a territorial government by the act of May 26, 1864. Its settlement dates from the opening of the gold mines. By the act of Feb. 17, 1873, a tract of about 2,000 sq. m., between lat. 44° 30' on the north, Wyoming on the east, and the Rocky mountains on the south and west, previously belonging to Dakota, was annexed to Montana. Helena became the capital in 1875.