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The Mineral Argus first appeared on August 9, 1883, in the silver mining town of Maiden, Montana, through the efforts of experienced newspaperman, John M. Vrooman, and his partner, Charles S. Fell. Under the banner, the publishers declared that the paper was “Devoted to the Mineral, Agricultural, Stock, and Wool Interests of the Great Judith Country,” as well as its home base, Maiden, and the adjacent Fort Maginnis, established in 1880 to protect stockmen and miners from marauding Blackfeet Indians.

Vrooman and Fell published the eight-page, five-column Republican weekly on the area’s most up-to-date electrical presses. Vrooman had learned the newspaper trade in Preston, Minnesota, prior to moving to Montana in 1883. In the early 1880s, the gold mining town of Maiden boomed and in fact vied with Lewistown to become the seat of Fergus County. The Argus reported on ongoing mining activity and the activities of the area’s ranchers and sheepmen, as well as providing a scattering of national news. Vrooman published the last issue of the Mineral Argus on August 5, 1886, and moved the paper to Lewistown under the banner of the Fergus County Argus, coinciding with the creation of Fergus County. The Argus documents the birth of a mining boomtown and subsequent establishment of the livestock industry in central Montana.

Provided by: Montana Historical Society; Helena, MT