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an immigration of ruffians, notorious desperadoes, and cutthroats, the refuse of the Pacific States and Territories. Encouraged by impunity, their leaders sought and obtained such positions in the lower executive ranks of the government that justice against any member or members of the band having its ramifications throughout the entire mining regions was practically impossible. The people enduring "until longer endurance ceased to be a virtue," were impelled to the formation of a “vigilance committee.'
This organization, which still exists, finally triumpbed over the lawless desperadoes who infested the country; hung some and banished others, until life and property in Montana were as safe if not safer than in the more settled portions of the United States. The civil law and its expositors are now able, unaided, to fulfil to the utmost the behests of justice and to stifle at once, if not entirely prevent, any recurrence of such outrages as led to the formation of a committee of vigilance.
The name of the Territory is derived directly from the Spanish, in which language the word montaña” sigạifies « mountain," while the aboriginal designation in the Snake dialect, viz: “ Toi-abe shock-up," "land of the mountain," likewise bears testimony to the broken character of its surface.
AREA.- According to J. L. Corbett, chief engineer, the area of the Territory is 146,689.35 square miles, equal to 93,881,184 acres. Compared with the older and settled portions of the United States, Montana is nearly as large as the State of California, somewhat more than half the size of Texas, nearly three times that of New York, two and one-half times that of tbe six New England States combined, four times that of Kentucky, and 110 times that of Rbode Island.
The proportion susceptible of cultivatiou in the several counties is, according to the same authority, as follows:
Being a grand total of 3,346,400 acres, which gives a proportion of little more than 1 in 30. In the absence of the official returns of the surveyor general, these figures must be taken only as reasonable approximations.
DISCOVERY OF GOLD.- None of the earlier exploring parties seem to have observed or even predicted the probability of finding the precious metals in any of the far northwestern Territories. Professor Dana, it is true, mentions in 1842 the occurrence of certain goldbearing talcose and micaceous shists on the Umpqua river, in southern Oregon, and likewise stated that similar rocks had been found on the banks of the Sacramento river, in California. Saving the Indians, the inhabitants of these regions consisted of a few trappers and a small number of Catholic missionaries. The latter, from their intelligence and cultivation, were the only persons likely to have noticed the geological significance of the rocks, drift, and alluvium ; but even had they been well aware of the existence of gold and silver--and this, on the authority of Father De Smet, was indeed the case-it is highly improbable that they would have laid much stress on the advantages to accrue from their development.
These self-denying pioneers of civilization have ever shown themselves to be the only body of men who, within the domain of the United States, have been able to tame the savages and introduce among them the arts of peace. Strictly upright in their commerce with the aborigines, they have succeeded in obtaining their confidence, and wbile the houses of the settlers are set in flames, and themselves and their families fall a prey to the tomahawk, these missionary establishments always remain intact.
To Mr. Granville Stuart, an old resident and careful observer, we are indebted for the fol. lowing facts in regard to the early history of gold-seeking in what now constitutes Montana:
It seems that one Francois Finlay, commonly known as “Benetsce," a half-breed, from the Red River of the North, in British territory, had for some time worked in the placers of California. Becoming dissatis. fied with that country, he found his way back again to the vicinity of his former home. He arrived in Mon. tana, and was the first person to discover on Gold creek a few particles of fine float gold. This creck is situated in Dcer Lodge county, on the restern slope of the Rocky mountains, and is one of the minor tributaries of the Hell Gato river, whose waters flow ultimately into the Pacific occan. Probably from a lack of provisions lie did little more than superficially prospect the locality. He performed, however, cnough work to entitle him to the honor of discovery.
Subsequently, in May, 1858, James and Granville Stuart, Thomas Adams, and Reese Anderson prospected on Gold creek, finding as high as ten cents to the pan, equalling
about one-half cent to the pound of carth. This party, few in numbers and continually annoyed by the Blackfeet Indians, who persistently stole their horses, and being, moreover, unsupplied with the necessary tools and provisions, likovise abandoned, for the moment, any
further search. Two years later, namely, during the summer of 1860, one Henry Thomas, called "Gold Tom," or ** Tom Gold Digger," set ap on Gold creek three small sluice-boxes which he had himself roughly hewed out of green timber. With these iude implements he succeeded, unaided and alone, in collecting from $1 50 to $2 per day. His was the first actual mining in that part of Washington Territory now Montana. Becomn. ing dissatisfied with the reward of his labors, he kept industriously prospecting all over the Territory, and, strangely enough, his farorite camping ground was nicar the location of the present city of Helena, in whose immediate vicinity were found, subsequently, some of the richest placer deposits erer worked.
It remainedd, however, for others than "Gold Tom" to unearth the precious dust whose resting place had been so often pressal by his footstep. Stuart and his party had removed to the vicinity of Fort Bridger, on the emigrant road, where they lived as traders, until, in 1860, they concluded to return and thoroughly inves. tigate the affluents to the valley of the Deer Lodge. They prospected during 1861, and found several favorable localities. It was not, however, until 1862, and after they had receivel from Walla-Walla, 435 miles distant, both tools and lumber, that the first string of ten real sluices was set up and worked. In the mean time they had communicated the news of their discovery to a relative at Pike's Peak, as Colorado was then called. fence resulted a considerable exodus of miners, who began to arrive in Deer Lodge about June 20, 1862. The new coiners discovered the placers at Pike's Peak gulch, Pioneer gulch, &c. From this time forward the immigration of gold seekers rapidly increased in volume. Many, becoming bewildered among the pathless hills while searching for the Deer Lodge, discovered other and valuable placers. At present there remains scarcely a mountain gorge or sequestered rurine but has been prospected more or less thoroughly from inouth to source.
For several months anterior to the segregation of the Territory from Idaho the people gor. erned themselves. Far away from any settled habitations, a little handful of hardy mining adventurers, they still found time, amid the excitements of gold-mining, to take such steps as bave finally secured the fullest liberty combined with an entire subservience to law. They discovered the placers at Bannock, began the development of Alder gulch, and laid the foundation of Virginia City, now the capital of Montana, months before the arrival of any territorial officials.
POPULATION.--The present population of the Territory may be estimated to be about 24,000 souls. This total has been arrived at from the reports of the different assistant assessors of internal revenuo, who have received instructions to make an informal approximate census. Mr. N. P. Langford, the efficient United States collector and one of the pioneers of Montana, is of the opinion that the number of inhabitants has remained very nearly constant from the fall of 1864 up to and including the present year, and has probably, during that interval, never fallen below 21,000.
We may, by s ill another method, obtain a reasonable approximation, corroborative of the foregoing, viz., by an examination of the vote cast iu September of the present year. Local causes combined with political excitement, caused the casting of an unexpectedly large and probably full vote. The eight counties into which the Territory was originally divided, not including Big Horn, polled a total of very nearly 12,000 votes. In this number are included the votes of the soldiers performing volunteer service against the Indians, all the colored votes, and also those which were rejected from the count by reason of informality. Hence, multiplying the full vote by two, we have a total population of 24,000, corresponding with that reported by the assistant assessors. In support of this multiple, which may by some be deemed unreasonably small, it may be alleged that the Territory is barely four years old, that the first settlers were of that migratory class who have neither home nor family, and that women and children are but just beginning to form an appreciable percentage of the popuJation. On the approach of winter, many whose summer exertions have returned a profit, and who, likewise, are unwilling to endure the comparative stagnation of the cold season, emigrate either to the east or west. Returning spring, however, brings back as many if not more than departed, eager to begin or to renew the toilsome yet fascinating pursuit of the gold hunter.
Physical GEOGRAPHY.— The most prominent feature of the physical geography of the Territory, particularly in the western or ore-bearing regions, is the gentleness of the acclivi. ties and the absence of sharply projecting volcanic peaks. To the traveller passing over the summit of the Rocky mountains, on the road hither from Utah, this fact is vividly impressed upon his attention, as forming a most striking contrast to the enormous outflow of basaltic lava extending from Port Neuf cañon, in Idaho, more than 200 miles, quite to the crests of the main chain. We observe, also, even on the highest of the hills, great strata of washed and rounded boulders, loosely bound together by a granitic detritus. We find, further, quite higb up on the mountains, lakes of greater or less extent, whose formation was evidently owing to the blocking up of some primeval gorge by means of glacier-borne boulders. Indeed, in one of the valleys tributary to the Deer Lodge the former location of such a lake is plainly visible. Here, for centuries perhaps, the pent-up waters, swollen by the annual melting of the winter's snows, had, year by year, further insinuated themselves into the opposing dike, until, with a mightier effort, they swept downwards to the plain, and piled up in long ridges the rocks and carthy matters in their pathway.
As might be anticipated, these hyperborean regions were once the scene of long.continued and wide-spread glacial action, the evidences of which are perfectly palpable. A locality of particular interest in this regard is the cañon of Rattlesnake creek, which takes its rise in the Bald mountain, northwest of the town of Argenta, in Beaver Head county. Here there are exposed upon the surface great slabs of quartzite, polished to the smoothness of glass, with fine parallel striations marking the course of the glaciers. At a point abont half
& mile below the town a large mass of this rock appears, which is remarkable for its brilliant, deep mabogany color and perfect polish.
The lower ranges and foot-bills of the Rocky mountains are made up almost entirely of rounded, rolling hills, having a substratum of drift and covered with a rich alluvium. They afford conclusive evidence of the vast and continuous wearing effect, not only of the primeval glaciers, but also of the melting snows and rains which for centuries on centuries have swept downwards from the main range.
Sonse very fine examples of morains are to be seen in the vicinity of Diamond City, on the eastern side of the Missouri. Great boulders of granite, worn and rounded by the attrition of the ice field, are piled up at a considerable distance from their original resting place.
Another phenomenon referable to masses of ice is to be observed in most of the larger rivers : the shallower streams, during tho intense cold of the winter, become frozen to the very bottom, and envelope in a coating of ice many small and occasionally very large fraginents of rock; the great increments, caused by the melting of the snows on the mountains, carry down numerous blocks of ice and the adhering stones. These latter are ultimately deposited in the river's bed, forming rapids, shoals, &c., or adding to those already formed, and still further complicating a navigation sufficiently difficult from shiftings of the line of the channel and from spags and sawyers.
The low lands furnish admirable sites for farming purposes, while the high plateaus are covered with a luxuriant growth of grasses, affording an almost limitless expanse of pasturage. Until within a very recent period, and before the hand of civilization had begun to seize the country for its own, vast herds of elk and buffalo found a lavish sustenance on the countless hills and valleys, untrod by other than Indians and a few of the hardy race of trappers.
For the purpose of description it is preferable to treat separately of the eastern and western portions of the Territory. The former, bordering on Dacota, is drained by the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers and their numerous tributaries, and is, excepting the bottom lands through which the streams flow, comparatively unknown. From such information, however, as is available, we are justified in adopting the conclusion that it is composed of rolling terrace and elevated table lands. The west, on the contrary, is mountainous.
The hill country, made up of the primitive and secondary rocks, is the habitus of the orebearing veins; whereas the low lands, comprising. geologically speaking, more recent sedi. mentary and drift formations, are prolific of useful rather than precious minerals. Below Fort Benton, the head of navigation, on the Missouri river, and likewise on the Yellowstone, after it leaves the mountains we find these water deposits, consisting of clays and sandstones, after towering far above the river banks.
Both valley systems and their subsidiary gorges are due to the eroding action of the streams draining through countless ages from off the eastern flanks of the Rocky mountains. In the eddies and lake-liko depressions of those vast sedimentary plains the primeval forests, washed from their mountain fastnesses, have piled trunk on trunk to the formation of very extensive coal beds, again to be covered up by subsequent deposits of clays and sandstones. In many places along the river banks of both these streams great beds of coal and layers of sand stone, in color a dirty gray or yellow, are now plainly visible, still occupying the same hori zontal positions in which they were originally deposited.
The mountains of the Territory aro, as before stated, predominant in the west. They comprise the Rocky mountain chain and its subordinate ranges, the Coeur d'Alene and Bitter Root mountains, &c., &c., forming a portion of the backbone of the continent, and covering a tract of country from 300 to 400 miles wide. Within these limits are many spurs surpassing in altitude the peaks of the main range. They give rise to numberless valleys, generally connected together by low passes. Below Fort Benton, and in the upper central portion of the Territory, between the Missouri and Milk rivers, we find two considerable upbeavals, viz: the Bear's Paw, running nearly north and south, and the Little Rocky mountains, having an east and west trend. Again, nearly in the geographical centre, we find the Belt and Judith mountains, and in the south centre the Big Horn mountains, which pass out of the Territory southwardly into Dakota.
Montana is a country pre-eminently well watered. It embraces within its confines for a distance of 300 miles the entire eastern and part of the western water-shed of the Rocky mountains. Draining the former, we have the great rivers Missouri and Yellowstone. Tributary to and forming the first named, we find the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin, whose waters, drawn from the far western snowy peaks, unite almost simultaneously in the neighborhood of Gallatin City. Thence flowing unitedly in a northeast course they debouch into the foot-bills through a precipitous gorge, denominated by Lewis and Clarke " the gate of the mountains.” Below Fort Benton the Marias, Judith, Muscleshell, and Milk rivers, draining the northern and central regions, unite with the Missouri. The Yellowstone, which with its affluents, Clark's Fork, Pryor’s Fork, Big Horn, Tongue, and Powder rivers, drains tbe southern and southeastern portions, flows east and northeast, until, near the territorial limits, in the vicinity of Fort Union, it unites to swell the volume of waters borne by the Missouri to the Gulf of Mexico.
West of the main ridge the Hell Gate, Missoula, and Big Blackfoot rivers, flowing nearly north-northwest, unite to form the Bitter Root, which, joining with the Flat Head further
north, forms the Lewis Fork of the Columbia river, whose waters find their way to the Pacific
There is but one considerable body of fresh water within the territorial limits, viz: the Flat Head lake, situated in the northwestern corner, on the western slope of the mountains, and forming the chief source of the Flat Head river above mentioned. Lying like great troughs between the moutain ridges, and drained by the principal rivers and their countless minor tributaries, we find five grand basins, and numberless subsidiary valleys; four to the east, and ope west of the Rocky mountains.
The query may seem pertinent as to the motive for including in Montana ratber than in Idaho the strip of territory west of the main chain. In answer it may be stated that the passes from east to west over or through the main ridge are more numerous, and in general lower and less liable to be blocked up by snow than those of the Bitter Root and Coeur d'Alene ranges. Hence for all practical purposes this magnificent valley system belongs to Montana on the east.
This western basin, with a general course of north 40° west, conformably to the trend of the main rauge, is made up of eight well-defined valleys. These are separated from one another by projecting spurs, over whose foot-hills there is an easy communication at all seasons of the year. Through each and all of them there flow streams prolific of trout. Near the sources of these brooks and rivors, and in general over the entire western slope, we find a luxuriant growth of pine, fir, spruce, and cedar, affording a marked contrast to the compara. tively sparcely timbered east.
The theory which seems most plausible to account for this difference, which is palpable to the most unobservant when passing over the summit towards the west is, that the wind from the far southwest, warmed by a more genial sun, and absorbing the moisture evaporated over the immense expanse of the Pacific ocean, pour down, to nourish the trees and grasses
, copious showers of rain, which are set free by a contact, with the colder strata about the summits of the mountains. The same winds depositing there the greater proportion of their moisture in the form of snow, have vaturally a smaller amount of rain for the foot-hills and plains of the eastern slopes. The melting, however, of the heavy snow-fall carries down a rich granitic detritus, and supplies an enormous yet varying increment to the numerous tributaries to the Missouri.
Eastward of the main ridge, and stretching along the northern confines through 10°, quite to the territorial limits, and unbroken by any considerable superficial inequalities, except the Bear's Paw and Little Rocky mountains, we find the long valley drained by the Marias and Milk rivers. The upper edge of this basin is embraced within the British possessions. The major portion consists of high plateaus, rolling prairie and barren clay table lands, denominated by the trappers and French "voyageurs" "Les Manvaises Terres," or Bad Lands. These formations, barren and desolate, consist of terrace piled on terrace, marking the limits of the great sedimentary waves which bave poured downwards from the mountains. Where such occur we find little or no timber, excepting along the river bottoms, which are bcantily supplied with a meagre growth of cottonwood trees. The rivers have worn their pathway through these deposits, and the traveller first becomes aware of their existence when, standing upon the edge of some precipitons chasm, he observes the running waters hundreds of feet below him. Only along the immediate foot-hills are to be found sufficient timber and alluvium to invite settlement and cultivation.
Nearly in the centre of the Territory, and almost encircled by the Bear's Paw and Little Rocky mountains on the north and the Belt and Judith mountains on the south, we finds considerable basin drained by the Missouri and its tributaries, the Arrow, Judith, and Muscle shell rivers, all of which flow from south to north. A large proportion of this region may properly be embraced in the designation “bad lands." They find their most prominent exemplification from the mouth of iho Jrdith river nearly as far as Fort Benton. Interspersed among these barren clay terraces we find most curious sandstone formations eroded, by the action of the elements, into strange and fantastic resemblances to time-worn battlements and hoary ruins. This basin is fairly watered, and although it contains a large proportion of worthless land, is not so uniformly uninviting as the preceding section.
To the east and southeast, and forming very nearly one-fourth of the Territory, we have the very extensive Big Horn valley, drained by the Yellowstone and its numerous tributaries
, Less is positively known of this region than of any other portion of Montana. Hunters and trappers ort the existence of wonderful falls and rapids on the upper portions of the main stream, and beautiful lakes near its source. We have, further, the descriptions of Lewis and Clark, who for 15 days, some 60 years ago, floated down its current, and also of a few venturesome voyagers of more recent periods. None, however, treat specially of other than the terrain bordering the river. The prevailing formation is evidently sedimentary drift, through which the rivers have cut their pathway. "It is a country as yet sacred to the buffalo, and pre-eminently difficult to explore owing to the determined hostility of the savages.
There is remaining the fan-like valley system above the “Gate of the Mountains," drained by the Upper Missouri and its three forks, the Jefferson, Gallatin, and Madison. This region, comprising a section of country less than 150 miles square, in area about twice the size of the State of Maryland, is emphatically Montana. Quite in the heart of the mountains, well watered and interspersed with fertile valleys and rolling grass-covered bills, it contains the chief centres of population, the most prolific placers, and a wide expanse of as yet but partially developed quartz leads. Here we find the streams draining to the east and northeast from off the eastern water-shed of the Rocky mountains. The bottom lands produce abundantly the hardier cereals and vegetables, while the hills furnish a limitless pasturage. On the mountains and high lands, where the vein mines are to be sought, the winters are long and of great severity. In many of the valleys, on the contrary, the snow falls so seldom and to such an insignificant depth that horses and cattle are able to subsist during the cold season without shelter and without care. The climate is particularly healthful, and the rare pure air of these elevated regions--the lowest being some thousands of feet above the sea level-conduces to both bodily and mental vigor.
GEOLOGY.-It is impossible at present to more than generally outline the main geological features of Montana. The want of a thorough scientific investigation of its mineral resources is just beginning to be felt, and as a knowledge of mines and mining becomes wider spread among the community, there will be a more persistent call for such surveys, and a better appreciation of the significance of the primary and secondary rocks as distinguished from drift and sedimeptary deposits.
As already intimated, the formations of the Territory are marked by distinctive features in the east and west. We may dismiss a consideration of the former as connected with useful deposits other than carboniferous. The bad lands of these districts are prolific of fossils, petrifactions, &c., and afford an exhaustless and, as yet, unworked field of investigation for pure science. Drift and alluvium, spread over a wide expanse of low, rolling hills, terraces, and prairie, unbroken by other than occasional outcrops of sandstone, make up the majority of the east. The west, on the contrary, prolific of veins and placers, consists in the main of granite. The waters and glaciers have, likewise, given rise to very extensive gravel deposits merging into conglomerates of greater or less compactness. In the superficial inequalities of the mountains we find clay schists evidently of comparatively recent formation. Gneiss, mica shist, quartzite, pitchstone, and graywacke, likewise occur as subordinate local peculiari. ties. Talcose and reddish silicious slates, slightly charged with copper, and syenitic granite bearing gold are to be found in the mining regions. But most prominently as an ore-bearer, being, with granite, almost universal, we find large masses of blue, yellow, and occasionally wbitish metamorphic limestone of a distinctly chrystalline structure and highly magnesian. This rock occurs apparently as an intercallation between dikes of quartzite and the grand granitic substratum of the country. It forms a species of mineral belt, disconnected, how. ever, and generally in each district of limited extent.
Montana is rich in fossils, and hence the geologic age of the various formations admit of a reasonably easy determination. Aside from the above-mentioned prolific bad lands, there occurs near the summit of the range back of Virginia City a very heavy deposit of fossil shells. Individual specimens from this source are to be met with both on the surface and in the placer washings lower down the mountain, at that point where Alder gulch begins. Professor Swallow, State geologist of Missouri and Kansas, discovered a locality of fossils in the vicinity of the copper mines at the head of the Muscleshell river, which is so denomi. nated from the great abundance of fresh water muscle shells found on its banks. I myself collected quite a number of fossils from the clay schists of Birch and Grasshopper creeks, in Beaver Head county, which, through the kindness of Dr. Blatchley, have been handed for determination to Professor Whitney, State geologist of California. The finest specimen was presented to me by a Mr. Taylor, residing near Bannock. It consisted of the lower jaw, incisors, and molars of some medium-sized graminivorous animal, and was in a particularly fine state of preservation. The fossil bore some resemblance to the teeth of a mountain sheep, an animal which, through uninterrupted pursuit, is fast becomiug extinct. The fossils from Birch creek consisted entirely of the remains of shell fish. There was reported, in 1865, the discovery of the head bones and the skeleton of a buffalo, almost entire. They were found in Grizzly gulch, near Helena, lying immediately upon the bed rock, and covered up to a depth of 40 to 45 feet with wash gravel and alluvium. In the same year also there was discovered, on Meagher bar, opposite the town of Nevada, in Alder gulch, the lower jawbone of a member of the human family, measuring five inches from point to point of the condyles. An inferior maxillary of these dimensions would indicate sone giant individual of an extinct species from 101 to 12 feet in height. At the same time and place there was found an enormous fossil tooth, six inches long, four inches wide, and between eight and nine inches from the crown through to the lower portions of the root. Mr. T. H. Kleinschmidt, of Helena, has in his possession two enormous fossil teeth, exhumed, some two years since, from the wash gravel of Grizzly gulch.
The discovery of these fossils in the gold-bearing drift of Montana adds another link to the chain of evidence confirmatory of the truth of the statements of Professor Whitney, State geologist of California, as to the age of the placers. They show conclusively that their formation here in Montana was either coincident with, or but little subsequent to, the advent of the mammalia, and that some of them may have been deposited even as late as the age of man. These exuviæ of extinct species of animals are preserved with the greatest difficulty, not only on account of their facility of crumbling on exposure to the air, but also from the apathy of the finders, who regard them curiously for the moment and then cast them aside into the neglected corners of their cabins.