Big Horn County Montana 1921

On June 25, 1876, Gen. George A. Custer, with his force of some 1,100 men attacked a body of Sioux Indians, afterward found to number about 9,000, encamped on the Little Big Horn River, and he and his entire command were destroyed. Today, the Custer battlefield, located on the Custer Battlefield Highway, is the shrine visited by thousands of tourists annually. The field is dotted by little white crosses, each marking where a soldier died, and these culminate in the monument at the highest point of the ridge overlooking the Little Big Horn River, where the final stand was made by the whites. This battlefield lies in the eastern center of Big Horn County, and its presence is only one of the reasons for tourists making this part of Montana the object 01 their interest.

Custer Battlefield of 1921

The Big Horn Canyon, formed by the Big Horn River after which the county is named, is an exceptional bit of scenery, and while most of the surface of the county is level or rolling, with broad bench uplands, isolated mountain ranges rise near the eastern and western sides, including the Wolf and Rosebud ranges. The county lies in Southeastern Montana, its southern boundary being defined by the Wyoming state line, and, irregular in shape, has a maximum length east and west of 120 miles and a maximum width north and south of seventy miles. Lying in the county is the Crow Indian Reservation, recently thrown open to settlement, and the Tongue River Northern Cheyenne Reservation, or a part thereof.

Possessing a rich clay loam soil, which is mixed with considerable sand in some places and in others is somewhat heavy and of the gumbo type, Big Horn is distinctively an agricultural and stock growing county. It is estimated that more than 100,000 acres are under cultivation, while projects are contemplated for the reclamation of 125,000 acres more, and there are approximately 500,000 acres of non-irrigated grain land, the remainder of the county being used for grazing. Irrigated land prices range from $40 to $200 an acre, non-irrigated farming land from $10 to $75 an acre, and grazing land from $6 to $12 an acre. The principal farming crops are alfalfa and sugar beets, confined to the irrigated districts along the streams; wheat, oats, potatoes and corn, the last named raised both for grain and silage, on the non-irrigated lands, and garden stuff. The farmers on the non-irrigated lands generally keep some stock. Much pork is produced in the irrigated districts, the animals being brought to maturity chiefly on alfalfa pasture and then fattened on corn, wheat or barley. Dairying as an industry has made some headway during recent years, and several large and prosperous apiaries have been established. While coal has been found in commercial quantities in Big Horn County, it is not being mined. In wells around Hardin natural gas has been found, and, as in other parts of the state, drilling for oil has been carried on lately. Along the rivers and stream there is an abundant growth of cottonwood timber, and in the north end and mountain ranges on the eastern and western sides of the county small pine timber of slight commercial value exists.

For its drainage, Big Horn County looks principally to the Big Horn and Little Horn rivers, the former the third largest river in the state, which rise in the high mountains of Wyoming, are fed by numerous tributaries in Big Horn County, and enter the county from the southwest and south respectively, and, running north, unite near Hardin. Rosebud Creek traverses the eastern portions of the county, springs are frequent in the uplands, making a good pasture region, and water is encountered at depths of from 15 to 100 feet. Running northward through the county to connections with the Northern Pacific and Great Northern railways, is the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, and a branch to the east has been provided to serve the southeastern part of the county, as well as counties adjoining. The state highway is the Custer Battlefield Highway, of which there are seventy-five miles in Big Horn County. Big Horn County has a number of thriving trade centers, principal among which are Hardin, the county seat, Crow Agency, Lodge Grass and Wyola. There are fifty-seven schools in the county, of which all but seven are public schools, including a modern high school. In addition to two schools conducted by the Federal Government for the Indians, there are three Baptist and two Congregational schools.

Montana Counties 1921

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Source: Montana its Story and Biography, by Tom Strout, Volume 1, The American Historical Society, 1921

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