Montana History - the history of Montana
   
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Vacation 2 USA   >   Montana   >   History
Vacation 2 USA   >   History   >   Montana History

   
 

Montana History


The Montana region has long been inhabited by Native American people: pictographs in caves dating back 2,100 years have been found. The Native American peoples included the Crow in the South, the Cheyenne in the Southeast, the Assiniboine and Gros Ventres in central and northern areas, and the Kootenai and Salish in the West.

Most of present day Montana falls within the former French colony of New France. This region was acquired from France, by the United States in 1803, in the Louisiana Purchase.

The new territory acquired by the United States was largely unexplored. This was rectified by Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804 to 1806). Lewis and Clark surveyed the Indian tribes, botany, geology and wildlife of the area, as well as looking for signs of possible interference from British or French Canadian hunters.

Gold and copper were found in the area in 1850s, and in 1864, Montana became a United States Territory. In the late 1860s, US government established three forts in the territory: Fort Shaw, Camp Cooke and Fort C. F. Smith. Montana was the scene of the Native Americans' last effort to keep their land, and the last stand Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer (at Little Big Horn in 1867). Sheer weight of numbers made the Native Americans' defeat inevitable, and in 1877 Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, formally surrendered.

Montana was admitted as the 41st state of the Union on November 8th 1889. The Homestead Act (1862), the Reclamation Act (1902), and the revised Homestead Act (1912) all brought European settlers to the region, greatly expanding the state's population.


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Roadside History of Montana (Roadside History (Paperback))

By Spritzer. Don

Brand: Mountain Press Publishing Company
Released: 1999-05-01
Paperback (432 pages)

Roadside History of Montana (Roadside History (Paperback))
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Roadside History of Montana goes well beyond cowboy stories to tell of the struggles of dryland farmers, the rowdy antics of mining- town denizens, and the heroism of smoke jumpers and park rangers. Author Don Spritzer's love of Montana in all its diversity shines through in each vignette as he introduces readers to Montana's independent, adventurous, and often eccentric people. Readers will learn surprising facts about the Treasure State's past and meet its most fascinating people, from the copper kings of Butte to the Freemen of Garfield County.
Dividing the state into six geographical-historical areas, Roadside History of Montana follows main highways to reveal the stories hidden within the vast Montana landscape, delighting readers with lively anecdotes along the way. Spritzer speaks of each little town and crossroad with the intimacy of someone who's been there-and indeed he has. Accentuating the text are 170 historical photographs and numerous maps.

Montana: A History of Two Centuries

By Richard B. Roeder & William L. Lang

Michael P Malone
Paperback (480 pages)

Montana: A History of Two Centuries
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Montana: A History of Two Centuries first appeared in 1976 and immediately became the standard work in its field. In this thoroughgoing revision, William L. Lang has joined Michael P. Malone and Richard B. Roeder in carrying forward the narrative to the 1990s. Fully twenty percent of the text is new or revised, incorporating the results of new research and new interpretations dealing with pre-history, Native American studies, ethnic history, women’s studies, oral history, and recent political history. In addition, the bibliography has been updated and greatly expanded, new maps have been drawn, and new photographs have been selected.

A Decent, Orderly Lynching: The Montana Vigilantes

By Frederick Allen

University of Oklahoma Press
Paperback (496 pages)

A Decent, Orderly Lynching: The Montana Vigilantes
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The deadliest campaign of vigilante justice in American history erupted in the Rocky Mountains during the Civil War when a private army hanged twenty-one troublemakers. Hailed as great heroes at the time, the Montana vigilantes are still revered as founding fathers.

Combing through original sources, including eye-witness accounts never before published, Frederick Allen concludes that the vigilantes were justified in their early actions, as they fought violent crime in a remote corner beyond the reach of government.

But Allen has uncovered evidence that the vigilantes refused to disband after territorial courts were in place. Remaining active for six years, they lynched more than fifty men without trials. Reliance on mob rule in Montana became so ingrained that in 1883, a Helena newspaper editor advocated a return to “decent, orderly lynching” as a legitimate tool of social control.

Allen’s sharply drawn characters, illustrated by dozens of photographs, are woven into a masterfully written narrative that will change textbook accounts of Montana’s early days―and challenge our thinking on the essence of justice.

Fifty-Six Counties: A Montana Journey

By Russell Rowland

Bangtail Press, distributed by Farcountry Press
Paperback (126 pages)

Fifty-Six Counties: A Montana Journey
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Montana has a long and celebrated tradition of artful, reflective nonfiction. From Joseph Kinsey Howard's Montana: High, Wide, and Handsome to K. Ross Toole's Montana: An Uncommon Land, we've been gifted with a series of erudite and sharp-eyed guides to help show us who we are. To this eminent list we can now add Russell Rowland's Fifty-Six Counties: A Montana Journey. A native Montanan and an applauded novelist (In Open Spaces, High and Inside), Rowland spent the better part of a year studying and traveling around his beloved home state, from the mines of Butte to the pine forests of the Northwest, from the stark, wind-scrubbed badlands of the East to the tourist-driven economies of the West. Along the way, he considered our state's essential character, where we came from, and, most of all, what we might be in the process of becoming."Fifty-Six Counties: A Montana Journey is astounding in beauty and vitality, interwoven with great wisdoms about human shadow and human light, touched by divine notions of the sacredness that binds all people, and graced with a hard won and ultimately natural sense of illumination."
Shann Ray, author of American Copper, winner of the Spur Award
"In a voice all his own, Rowland proves to be warm and personable, and yet cutting and real―basically, one couldn't wish for a better guide to the state of Montana. This book is utterly unique. A gorgeous accomplishment."
Laura Pritchett, author of Stars Go Blue, winner of the High Plains Book Award
"Fifty-Six Counties is a remarkable book: a macro-focused narrative using a wide-angle lens. If you have room for only one book about Montana on your shelf, make it this one.
David Abrams, author of Fobbit
"Fifty-Six Counties is an insightful consideration of our state's angles and attitudes; it's not an easy task but this result is grand."
Pat Williams, former US Congressman from Montana

Montana Before History: 11,000 Years of Hunter-Gatherers in the Rockies and the Plains

By Douglas H. MacDonald

Mountain Press
Paperback (204 pages)

Montana Before History: 11,000 Years of Hunter-Gatherers in the Rockies and the Plains
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Dig into Montana’s past with this guide to the state’s best archaeological sites. A cache north of Livingston, the oldest known evidence of humans in Montana, was left by mammoth hunters more than 11,000 years ago. Their cultural descendents survived in Montana until modern times, hunting game and gathering roots and berries. Montana Before History, organized chronologically from the Paleoindian period to the Late Prehistoric period, details how Montana’s early peoples adapted to the rugged environment and several dramatic changes in climate. Learn how they hunted bison and other game before the introduction of the horse, how archaeologists can identify a culture by its projectile point, and where Montana’s original hard-rock miners worked their quarries.

It Happened in Montana: Remarkable Events That Shaped History (It Happened in the West)

By James A. Crutchfield

TwoDot
Paperback (144 pages)

It Happened in Montana: Remarkable Events That Shaped History (It Happened in the West)
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Author James A. Crutchfield has mined thirty-seven of the most colorful episodes from Montana's provocative past--from the first glimpse of French explorers of the "Shining Mountains" in 1743 to the attempt to round up the wild horses of the Pryor Mountains. These episodes are a lively look at life in the Wild West.

Montana Legacy: Essays on History, People, and Place

By Harry W. Fritz

Montana Historical Society Press
Brown Paperback (320 pages)

Montana Legacy: Essays on History, People, and Place
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A rich and varied tapestry, Montana Legacy looks at the people, cultures, places, and events that shaped present-day Montana from Plentywood to Butte, Great Falls to Virginia City, and Billings to Browning. Designed to make readers think about Montana history in a new way, this anthology features 16 essays chosen for their relevance, readability, and scholarship.
The volume's editors--all well-known Montana historians--carefully selected topics, from the fur trade to power deregulation, that range across two centuries and expose Montana's cultural and geographical diversity.

Montana: High, Wide, and Handsome

By Joseph Kinsey Howard

Brand: Bison Books
Paperback (349 pages)

Montana: High, Wide, and Handsome
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In these pages you will come to fall in love with a ruggedly diverse and strikingly beautiful state, a land that takes hold and won’t let go. Montana: High, Wide, and Handsome is widely recognized as a classic history and delightful ode to the idiosyncratic personalities, restless landscape, unforgettable peoples, and lively history of the Treasure State. William Kittredge provides a new introduction for this edition.

Deliverance Mary Fields, First African American Woman Star Route Mail Carrier in the United States: A Montana History

By Miantae Metcalf McConnell

Huzzah Publishing
Released: 2016-09-19
Kindle Edition (532 pages)

Deliverance Mary Fields, First African American Woman Star Route Mail Carrier in the United States: A Montana History
 
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ON OPRAH'S "10 Titles to Pick Up Now" February 2018
AWARD WINNING CREATIVE NONFICTION BIOGRAPHY

1885 - 1914. Mary Fields, a fifty-three-year old second-generation slave, emancipated and residing in Toledo, receives news of her friend’s impending death. Remedies packed in her satchel, Mary rushes to board the Northern Pacific. Days later, she arrives in the Montana wilderness to find Mother Mary Amadeus lying on frozen earth in a broken-down cabin. Certain that the cloister of frostbit Ursuline nuns and their students, Indian girls rescued from nearby reservations, will not survive without assistance, Mary decides to stay.

She builds a hennery, makes repairs to living quarters, cares for stock, and treks into the mountains to provide food. Brushes with death do not deter her. Mary drives a horse and wagon through perilous terrain and sub zero blizzards to improve the lives of missionaries, homesteaders and Indians and, in the process, her own.

After weathering wolf attacks, wagon crashes and treacherous conspiracies by scoundrels, local politicians and the state’s first Catholic bishop, Mary Fields creates another daring plan. An avid patriot, she is determined to register for the vote. The price is high. Will she manifest her personal vision of independence?

PRAISE FOR DELIVERANCE

O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE

An indefatigable former slave who braved the Montana Rockies on a journey to rescue a dying friend is the real-life subject of this 19th-century frontier narrative. Adventure abounds in this little-known tale of the heroic middle-aged woman who became the first female African American mail carrier in the U.S.
— Hamilton Cain

MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW

“Under McConnell's hand, the atmosphere, frontier challenges, and landscapes of Montana come to life. Mary Fields is a true historical figure, dramatized in novel format. Her story will delight readers who look for a blend of accurate historical facts, hard-hitting drama, and realistic scenes powered by a feisty protagonist whose values and concerns become part of the social changes sweeping the nation.”—Diane Donovan

Miantae Metcalf McConnell has fashioned a historical narrative marrying prose and poetry, fact with creative writing. With the discerning eye of a photographer, the deft hand of a historian, and the literary heart of a poet, the life of Mary Fields, legendary black woman of Montana, rises majestically off the page into living history. If the reader has any interest in Mary Fields, aka Stagecoach Mary, Deliverance is the one book you must read.—Michael Searles, History Professor, Augusta University

Miantae Metcalf McConnell provides us with a great story and history of Mary Fields, an important black westerner. A must read for youths and adults. —Bruce Glasrud, Author, Professor Emeritus, CA State University

WISHING SHELF U.K. 2016 Finalist Nonfiction

‘Powerfully written with excellent characterization. The author knows her history and seamlessly has her characters live within it.’

‘This author works wonders with her pen...prose really is lovely; every sentence is a joy to read...fascinating tell on the life of Stagecoach Mary.’

‘...well researched, I’d recommend to history students, strong female hero.’

‘A fascinating, hard-hitting saga. A FINALIST and highly recommended.’ The Wishing Shelf Book Awards

MIANTAE METCALF MCCONNELL’S RESEARCH enabled USPS historians to verify Mary Fields as the first African American woman star route mail carrier in the U.S. A fact-based chronicle of Fields’ life in Montana from 1885 until her death, the narrative examines women rights, bootleg politics, Montana’s turn-of-the-century transition from territory to state and its scandalous 1914 woman suffrage election.

AWARDS
Finalist Chanticleer Laramie Awards 2016
Finalist Wishing Shelf Awards 2016

Montana Myths and Legends: The True Stories behind History’s Mysteries (Legends of the West)

By Edward Lawrence

TwoDot
Paperback (160 pages)

Montana Myths and Legends: The True Stories behind History’s Mysteries (Legends of the West)
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Tales of intrigue in this book include unusual unsolved crimes, unidentified flying objects, spine-tingling ghost stories, well-documented sea creature sightings, and more. Based on historic accounts from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Montana Myths and Legends recounts several myths and mysteries from the Big Sky State's past, verifying some tales from multiple accounts and exposing some stories for what may have really occurred.

From a haunted prison in Red Lodge to persistent rumors of bigfoot appearances, from whispered descriptions of the "tommyknockers" who help miners in trouble to a famous union organizer found lynched from a bridge in Butte, this selection of fourteen stories from Montana's past explores some of the Treasure State's most compelling mysteries and debunks some of its most famous myths.


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