Mountains

Changes in Montana Boundaries

The State, Total land area includes 198 square miles in Yellowstone National Park. (Total population of park returned as in Wyoming.) Total population for 1900 includes population (2,660) of Crow Indian Reservation, now located in Big Horn and Yellowstone counties, returned independently in 1900. Total for 1890 includes population (10,765) for Indian reservations specially enumerated, not distributed by counties.

Beaverhead, Part of Madison annexed in 1911.

Big Horn, Organized from parts of Rosebud and Yellowstone in 1913.

Blaine, Organized from part of Chouteau in 1912; part taken to form part of Phillips in 1915.

Broadwater, Organized from parts of Jefferson and Meagher in 1897.

Carbon, Organized from parts of Park and Yellowstone in 1895; part taken to form part of Stillwater in 1913; part annexed to Yellowstone and part of Yellowstone annexed in 1919.

Carter, Organized from part of Fallon in 1917.

Cascade, Organized from parts of Chouteau, Lewis and Clark, and Meagher in 1887; part of Meagher annexed between 1890 and 1900.

Chouteau, Parts taken to form part of Cascade in 1887, Teton in 1893, Blaine and Hill in 1912, and parts of Liberty and Pondera in 1919.

Custer, Name changed from Bighorn in 1877; part taken to form part of Yellowstone in 1881 ; part, including Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation and part of Crow Indian Reservation, taken to form Rosebud in 1901 ; parts taken to form Fallon in 1913, part of Prairie in 1915, and Powder River in 1919.

Dawson, Parts taken to form Valley in 1893, Richland and part of Wibaux in 1914, part of Prairie in 191 5, and Garfield and part of McCone.

Deer Lodge, Parts taken to form Silver Bow in 1881, Granite in 1893, and Powell in 1901 ; parts annexed to Flathead and Lewis and Clark between 1890 and 1900; part of Silver Bow annexed in 1903; part annexed to Silver Bow in 1917.

Fallon, Organized from part of Custer in 1913; parts taken to form part of Wibaux in 1914, part of Prairie in 1915, and Carter in 1917; part annexed to Wibaux and part of Wibaux annexed in 1919.

Fergus, Organized from part of Meagher in 1885; part annexed to Meagher and part taken to form part of Musselshell in 1911.

Flathead, Organized from part of Missoula in 1893; part of Deer Lodge annexed between 1890 and 1900; part taken to form Lincoln in 1909.

Gallatin, Parts taken to form part of Yellowstone in 1881 and Park in 1887.

Garfield, Organized from part of Dawson in 1919.

Granite, Organized from part of Deer Lodge in 1893.

Hill, Organized from part of Chouteau in 1912; parts taken to form part of Toole in 1914 and part of Liberty in 1919.

Jefferson, Part taken to form part of Broadwater in 1897.

Lewis and Clark, Part taken to form part of Cascade in 1887; parts of Deer Lodge and Meagher annexed between 1890 and 1900.

Liberty, Organized from parts of Chouteau and Hill in 1919.

Lincoln, Organized from part of Flathead in 1909.

McCone, Organized from parts of Dawson and Richland in 1919.

Madison, Part annexed to Beaverhead in 1911.

Meagher, Parts taken to form Fergus in 1885, part of Cascade in 1887, part of Sweet Grass in 1895, and part of Broadwater in 1897; parts annexed to Cascade and Lewis and Clark between 1890 and 1900; part of Fergus annexed in 1911; parts taken to form part of Musselshell in 1911 and part of Wheatland in 1917.

Mineral, Organized from part of Missoula in 1914.

Missoula, Parts taken to form Flathead and Ravalli in 1893, Sanders in 1906, and Mineral in 1914; part of Powell annexed in 1915.

Musselshell, Organized from parts of Fergus, Meagher, and Yellowstone in 1911.

Park, Organized from part of Gallatin in 1887; parts taken to form parts of Carbon and Sweet Grass in 1895.

Phillips, Organized from parts of Blaine and Valley in 1915.

Pondera, Organized from parts of Chouteau and Teton in 1919.

Powder River, Organized from part of Custer in 1919.

Powell, Organized from part of Deer Lodge in 1901; part annexed to Missoula in 1915.

Prairie, Organized from parts of Custer, Dawson, and Fallon in 1915.

Ravalli, Organized from part of Missoula in 1893.

Richland, Organized from part of Dawson in 1914; parts taken to form part of Wibaux in 1914 and part of McCone in 1919.

Roosevelt, Organized from part of Sheridan in 1919.

Rosebud, Organized from part of Custer County, including Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation and part of Crow Indian Reservation, in 1901; parts taken to form part of Big Horn in 1913, and Treasure in 1919.

Sanders, Organized from part of Missoula in 1905.

Sheridan, Organized from part of Valley in 1913; part taken to form Roosevelt in 1919.

Silver Bow, Organized from part of Deer Lodge in 1881; part annexed to Deer Lodge in 1903; part of Deer Lodge annexed in 1917.

Stillwater, Organized from parts of Carbon, Sweet Grass, and Yellowstone in 1913.

Sweet Grass, Organized from parts of Meagher, Park, and Yellowstone in 1895; parts taken to form part of Stillwater in 1913 and part of Wheatland in 1917.

Teton, Organized from part of Chouteau in 1893; part taken to form part of Toole in 1914; parts taken to form Glacier and part of Pondera in 1919.

Toole, Organized from parts of Hill and Teton in 1914.

Treasure, Organized from part of Rosebud in 1919.

Valley, Organized from part of Dawson in 1893; parts taken to form Sheridan in 191 3 and part of Phillips in 1915.

Wheatland, Organized from parts of Meagher and Sweet Grass in 1917.

Wibaux, Organized from parts of Dawson, Fallon, and Richland in 1914; part annexed to Fallon and part of Fallon annexed in 1919.

Yellowstone, Organized from parts of Custer and Gallatin in 1881; parts taken to form parts of Carbon and Sweet Grass in 1895 ; parts taken to form part of Musselshell in 1911 and parts of Big Horn and Stillwater in 1913; part annexed to Carbon and part of Carbon annexed in 1919.

When Montana was organized (May 26, 1864 ) it comprised the counties of Missoula, Deer Lodge, Beaverhead, Madison, Jefferson, Chouteau, Dawson and Big Horn, as created by the Act of January 16, 1864, of the First (Lewiston) Legislative Assembly of Idaho Territory. These counties were recognized later in the creation of Legislative and Judicial Districts until the First (Bannack) Legislature established the new counties of the territory of Montana, incorporating Dawson County into Big Horn County and creating the new counties of Edgerton and Gallatin and otherwise generally recognizing the old county boundaries:2

Montana Counties Date Created

Missoula February 2, 1865
Deer Lodge February 2, 1865
Beaverhead February 2, 1865
Madison February 2, 1865
Jefferson3 February 2, 1865
Edgerton February 2, 1865
Gallatin February 2, 1865
Chouteau February 2, 1865
Big Horn4 February 2, 1865
Meagher March 26, 1866
Muscleshell5 April 10, 1866
Vivion 5 November 21, 1866
Lewis and Clark December 20, 1867
Dawson January 15, 1869
Custer February 6, 1877
Silver Bow February 6, 1881
Yellowstone February 20, 1883

County Date Created

Fergus March 12, 1885
Park February 23, 1887
Cascade September 19, 1887
Flathead February 6, 1893
Valley February 6, 1893
Teton February 7, 1893
Ravalli February 16, 1893
Granite March 2, 1893
Carbon March 4, 1895
Sweet Grass March 5, 1895
Broadwater February 9, 1897
Powell6 January 31, 1901
Rosebud February 11, 1901
Daly6 March 8, 1901
Sanders February 7, 1905
Lincoln March 9, 1909
Musselshell February 11, 1911
Hill February 28, 1912
Blaine March 2, 1912
Big Horn January 20, 1913
Stillwater March 25, 1913
Sheridan March 27, 1913
Fallon December 9, 1913
Toole May 7, 1914
Richland June 3, 1914
Mineral August 10, 1914
Wibaux August 17, 1914
Prairie February 5, 1915
Phillips February 8, 1915
Wheatland February 22, 1917
Carter February 22, 1917
Garfield6 February 7, 1919
Treasure6 February 7, 1919
McCone7 February 12, 1919
Glacier7 February 17, 1919
Pondera7 February 17, 1919
Roosevelt February 18, 1919
Powder River7 March 7, 1919
Liberty 1920
Daniels 1920
Judith Basin 1920
Golden Valley 1920

Footnotes:
1. Through the courtesy of the State Society of Pioneers.
2 The Organic Act of Montana properly recognized the meridian of Longitude West from Washington while the Bannack (First) Legislature recognized the meridian of Longitude West from Greenwich in establishing the county boundaries. The difference is 77 degrees and 3 minutes.
3 Name changed to Lewis and Clarke by Act of December 20, 1867, to take effect March 1, 1868. Spelling of Clark corrected by Act of February 10, 1905.
4 One of the original nine counties created by Act of February 2, 1865, embracing a region from meridian 27 of Longitude West from Washington to the 108 meridian West from Greenwich and North of the 47 parallel of Latitude and to the 109 meridian of Longitude and South of said 47 parallel of Latitude, embracing approximately 57,250 square miles. Attached to Gallatin County for Legislative and judicial purposes. That portion North of the 47 parallel of Latitude was made Dawson County by Act of January 15, 1869, and Big Horn County South of that parallel was attached to Gallatin County. Name was changed to Custer County by
Act of February 16, 1877.
5 Created by Second (Extraordinary) Legislative Assembly, April 10, 1860. County seat, Kercheval City. Name changed to Vivion County by Third (Extraordinary) Legislative Assembly, November 21, 1866. County seat removed to Smithton. Laws of both of said sessions were annulled by Act of Congress of March 2, 1867.
6. "Senate Bills Nos. 84 and 86, Acts of March 8, 1901, to change the name of Deer Lodge County to Daly County and change the name of Powell County to Deer Lodge County held unconstitutional April 8th in the case of State ex rel. Sackett vs. Thomas, by the State Supreme Court, 25 Mont. 226.
7. Law to take effect April 1, 1919.

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

 
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