Sheridan County, Montana 1921

While ranking thirty-seventh as to size among the counties of Montana, Sheridan County is third as to population. This is due to the fact that, in proportion to its size, it probably has more small towns than any other county in the state, and that its agricultural districts are also well populated. This county, named in honor of the brilliant American military officer, Gen. Philip Henry Sheridan, was formerly one of the larger bodies of the state, including all of the territory now included in Roosevelt County, and a part of what is now Daniels County, but with the formation of the latter county, in 1919, Sheridan's area was cut to 1,758 square miles. Its population in 1920, according to census reports, was 13,847 Sheridan County occupies the extreme northeastern corner of Montana, and is bounded on the north by the Saskatchewan country of Canada, on the east by the North Dakota line, on the south by Roosevelt County and on the west by Daniels County. There are no mountains, three-fourths of the county's area is cultivable, and there is very little irrigated land, non-irrigated crops being raised almost exclusively. While the county has other potential resources, the value of which has not as yet been determined, it is exclusively an agricultural and stock raising community. Flax, wheat, oats, rye, barley, corn and hay form the principal crops, while some millet and buckwheat are raised, and potatoes and other root crops and garden stuff generally do well. Natural soil irrigation is secured from the Big Muddy River, which rises in Canada, traverses the county and eventually empties into the Missouri, and into which small creeks empty every few miles. Improved non-irrigated land averages $40 an acre, unimproved non-irrigated from $15 to $25 an acre, and grazing land about $10.

In every locality of Sheridan County lignite coal is found, furnishing an easily securable and economical fuel. Several structures have been reported as having oil possibilities, but these, to date, have not been developed. There is no commercial timber in the county, although cottonwood is to be found along the streams. Agriculturally, Sheridan County is well developed, and also has plenty of elevators and flour mills, but there are openings still to be found for other industries that are dependent upon agriculture.

Sheridan County is served by both the Great Northern and Soo lines. A Great Northern branch leaves the main line at Bainville and runs north through Roosevelt County to Plentywood, and there swings west, its present terminus being Scobey, the county seat of Daniels County. The Soo line has a branch that enters Sheridan County from North Dakota, a few miles south of the International boundary, and runs west to Whitetail. There are good graded highways in the county. Being purely an agricultural region, without mountains to provide scenic beauty, Sheridan County does not offer the attractions to tourists that are to be found in other sections of the state. Its people do not depend upon the tourists for a livelihood, being for the main part content to devote themselves to agriculture, an industry upon which is based the county's assessed valuation of $30,900,064.

In the matter of education, Sheridan County is well equipped, having good graded schools throughout its territory and also maintaining four accredited high schools, the one at Plentywood being accredited for the four-year term. There are approximately thirty churches in the county, both Catholic and Protestant.

Plentywood, the county seat, is located on the Great Northern Railway and is a flourishing community of 1,838 population. Medicine Lake and Antelope are other leading communities, and the county is thickly sprinkled with smaller towns which serve as trading centers for the surrounding rural localities.

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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