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Montana Forts of the Old West - Page 2


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Trading with the American Fur Company in 1841

Trading with the American Fur Company in 1841.



Fort Browning (1868-1873) - This military post, located at the junction of Peoples Creek and the Milk River, was located two miles southwest of Dodson, Montana. Named for O.H. Browning, Secretary of the Interior, the fort served as the Indian Agency for the Assiniboine and Upper Sioux. It was abandoned in 1873 when the Assiniboine were moved to Fort Belknap and the Sioux to Fort Peck.


Fort Campbell (1847-1860) - Established  by the Missouri Fur Company, it was the first adobe fort in the area. Located just one mile from its rival, Fort Benton, it was established in direct competition with the American Fur Company. The fort was it was operated by Alexander Harvey, the most infamous of Indian traders on the Upper Missouri River, known to have been fearless, bold, vindictive and quarrelsome. Harvey died on July 20, 1854 while traveling on a trip down river to Fort William in a mackinaw boat and was buried at the fort. The Fort was sold to Chouteau and Company in 1860 and then later  was occupied as a Jesuit monastery. The site is located in Fort Benton, Montana's Historic District.


Fort Carroll (1874-1882) - This post was established 1874 by the Diamond R Transportation Company, of which Matthew Carroll was a founder, to move freight and passengers from the docks on the Missouri River to Helena, Montana. Freight destined for the gold fields in Helena left St. Paul, Minnesota on the newly constructed Northern Pacific Railroad for Bismark, North Dakota where the rails ended. It then came by steamboat up the Missouri River to the newly built Fort Carroll, and then overland by wagon to Helena. Supplies and materials for Fort Maginnis followed the same route in 1880-81, and then "overland" to Fort Maginnis on the Carroll Trail.  At some point the site was renamed Rocky Point. It was situated in a stand of cottonwoods whose banks were about a foot above water. Joseph Kipp had a trading post here 1880 - 1882 consisting of trade store, store house and a residence. It was located about 30 miles above the mouth of the Mussleshell River on the Missouri River in present-day Fergus County.


Fort Cass (1832-1835) - Also known as Tullochs Fort, the sub-post of Fort Union, was established  by Samuel Tulloch for the American Fur Company to trade with the Crow Indians. Named for Lewis Cass of Michigan, it was located three miles below the mouth of the Big Horn River on the east bank of the Yellowstone River. The fort was surrounded by cottonwood pickets with 2 bastions in the corners. In 1835 it was abandoned and replaced by Fort Van Buren. The site is located in Treasure County, Montana, but there are no remains.


Fort Chardon (1844-1845) - This short lived trading post situated opposite the mouth of the Judith River on the Missouri River, was established by Francis A. Chardon after the abandonment of Fort McKenzie. It was abandoned in 1845 when Fort Lewis was established. A year later, it burned to the ground.


Fort Clagget (1866-1870) - Established on July 11, 1866, the post, first called Camp Cooke, was located just upstream from the mouth of the Judith River. Built by the 13th regiment of Infantry under Major William Clinton, its purpose was to control the Blackfoot Indians. After being reinforced by 100 soldiers in 1867, the post had a strength of approximately 400 men. The post also served as a supply point for steamboat traffic, but this only occurred for three months out of the year. With little to do, the troops were moved to Fort Benton in 1869 and the post was abandoned in 1870. The fort, located at Judith landing in Chouteau County, Montana, has long since returned to the landscape


Fort Connah (1846-1872) - The southernmost post of the Hudson's Bay Company, it was established in 1846 and named after the Scottish river, Connen. It was built by Angus McDonald and Neil McArthur, it consisted of three buildings. Angus McDonald ran the fort until 1864, when it was taken over by his son, Duncan. By 1871, the fur trade era had ended and the trading post closed the following year. Today, there is one remaining original building that continues to stand. Believed to be the oldest standing building in Montana, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Fort Connah Historic Site is located between St. Ignatius and Charlo, Montana on US Highway 93.


Fort Conrad (1875-1878) - Built by Charles Conrad in 1875, it was located on the south bank of the Marias River above the mouth of the Dry Fork River about 80 miles Northwest of Fort Benton. Connecting log cabins formed three sides of a 150' x 150' square. The fort was bought by Joseph Kipp in 1878.


Fort Connah, Montana

The only remaining building at Fort Connah, photo

 courtesy Yellowstone Country


Fort Copelin (1865) - This stockade was built in 1865 to protect freight left at Milk River by by steamboats. It was divided into three sections to house goods  of freight owners.

Fort Cotton (1842) - Also called Fort Honore, this post was established by the Fox, Livingston & Company on the site which would later become Fort Lewis. It was named for a partner in the company. Located about 18 miles above Fort Benton, the post was short lived.



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