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Rocky Mountain husbandman. [volume] (Diamond City, Mont.) 1875-1943, May 18, 1876, Image 2

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Rocy Mo0untail Hlsbani man.
R. N. SUTHERLIN, Editor.
THURSDAY, MAY 18, 1876.
March 11, 1876. J
Dear Sir : I wish to learn about your sec
tion of country, the character of its soil,
timber, water, the general surface of coun
try, the cash value of lands, both improved
and unimproved, and town property. What
inducements can be held out to actual set
tiers of limited means, and to capitalists? If
you can give me the desired information, or
the name of some party who will, I will es
teem it a favor. Yours truly,
THE above letter, written upon a postal
card, and directed to the register of deeds,
was handed us a few days since by Mr. T.
E. Collins, our County Clerk, and evidently
means business.
Having settled in Montana with a view to
make it a permanent home, we consider it
our duty to answer all such inquiries to the
best of our ability. It is to our advantage
to labor for the best interests of the country,
and when one has a country, such as Mon
tana to tell about, that duty becomes apleas
ure. It being more than likely that Mon
tans is possessed of all the natural ad
vantages sought, and the strong probability
df having to stand face to face with the
writer of the letter, would restrain us withinr
proper limits, even werewe inclined to paint
the country in its brightest colors; but de
siring to win and retain the confidence of
such as we may induce to take homes here,
we shall confine ourself to a plain, brief
statement of facts as they exist, and as we
ean make apparent when parties who read
this may come among us.
Meagher county, though it claims no su
periority over many other counties of Mon
tana, is, perhaps, possessed of as many of the
great natural facilities for building upon,
stippofting a popnlous and prosperous com
munity as any other section, and since the
inqmry is of this section, we will confine
S9pprself to this county alone.
Meagher county extends from the Mis
souri river'on the west to the Mssourf river
on the east; thus, embracing withli'its br-=
der, th#ýpinciple portion of that region ly
:ing within the great bend of the Missouri,
an area of over 10,000 square miles, embrac
jag mouptains, v;alleys and plains, a vast re
&glo of mineral, timbered, pastoral, and ag
xicultural lands. The county contains about
050 voters, and the taxable property is val
ued at $700Q000. The principally settled val
iay of the county, is the Missouri Valley, on
the west end of the county. This valley sets
ina few miles below the mouth of Sixteen
Mile Creek, the southwestern corner of the
.ooity, about twenty miles from the Three
RJorJcs, orsouroe of, the Missouri, and ex
tends north along the river, a distance of
f9rty miles or more. The eastern half lying
.withln .eagher county, varies in width
from four to ten miles, with an extensiVe
range of foot-hills of equal extent, affording
luxuriant pasture^. The grass upon these
.hills. q called bunch-grass, consisting of sev
eral varieties. It is not a coarse, heavy
growthb,such as is found upon the prairies
of Texas, western Missouri, Iowa, or Min
nesota, but the quality is. very fine, and.
growsin bunches upon the ground, from
slx to elghteen inches in height, all owing
to the season. It will bear moderate pas
* tuing the year round, and not kil out, but
.winterrange should not be pastured in sulim
mer, as stock do so muchbetter. We know
of sheep ranches that have been in constant
use fotam or fve years, and the yield of grass
in.~creases instead of diminishes each year, all
depeada upon system and management.
T'his gisas cures in the summer and is fine
feed for stook in winter as prairie hay
ofothereountries, andwhen cut and stacked,
will fatten stock etual to the hay and grain
bothL of the States.
,:This broad and beautifl valley is dotted
with quiet, happy homes. Its farmers find
market fthteir produce.in the various mim
alug camps in the county, aud in Helena, the
4 ·pta. o t the Territory, which is foB twen
t~~irL ety miles distant. There is upont this
val1e,, kem nl0 to 300 square miles* of til~
ble land that is unoccupied, and such: of it
as is notheld by the railroad claim can be
had at government prices. The railroad
claims the odd sections of about one half
the valley. This vast area is not fiur"
nished with water, but a canal can be cut
from the river that will cover every foot of
it. One sufficient to answer the purpose
for watering the entire valley, would per
haps cost $10,000, but there are portions
that can be watered at much less expense.
Improved farms are variously estimated
much depending upon their location, im
provements and natural advantages. A farm
situated in the most fertile portion of the val
ley, with excellent water facilities, and all
under fence with log dwelling upon it, con
taining 160 acres, smooth, level, and un
broken by a ravine, sold this spring for
$1,900. Another fine farm of 160 acres, all
under fence, good soil, water right etc., sold
a short time since for only 600.
A water right, (we mean by this, a ditch:
already cut into a farm with sufficient wa
ter to irrigate from 160 to 200 acres,) is val
ued at from $400 to $600. To this.add gov
ernment price of land,' $1.25 per acre, and
about half the cost of improvements, and
you have the value of improved farms in
Montana. Yet it is often the case, that
farms are sold for even much less than what
the above would aniount to.
Parallel with this valley, rising from the
foot-hills, runs a lofty chain of mountains,
though the most rugged and highest in the
county, is known as the Little Belt
Range. Along the mountains is an inex
haustible supply of pine timber for all pur
poses-building, tncing and fire-wood.
Along this chain, are nine or ten gulches
which have yielded large quantities of gold,
and which still abound in placer mines that
are being worked extensively, thereby, add
ing largely to our circulating medium each
year. There are also half a dozen streams
or more putting down across the vally that
afford execellent facilities for water powers.
There are numerous ledges, of gold, silver,
copper and lead bearing quartz in thesemoun
tains, but none of them are developed to any
great extent.. There is one quartz mill run
ning regular at the present time upon ore
that yields on an average about $28.00 per
ton. East of this range, is Smith's river, or
Deep Creek, (better known as Smith's river,
as there is another Deep Creek in thq.pun-,
ty). This stream rlses In the Belt moun-'
tains and runs north bynorthwest and emp
ties into the Missouri riverat the north west
corner of the county, not many miles from
where that stream comes forth from the'can
yon and winds away through undulating
plains, and only a short distance from the
the great falls. The upper valley on this
stream, is about thirty miles in length, and
ten or more miles in width. There is a
large body of agricultural land in this val
ley, upon which grain and other crops are
grown. But the altitude of the valley, is
great and rather frosty, hence, it is settled
almost exclusively by stock-growers and dat.
rymen. The pastureage is exceedingly fine.
Cattle keep fat here the year round, without
care or shelter, or feed, other than they can
gather for themselves.
This region is particularly adapted to
wool-growing. There are at least 17,000
head of sheep, there now, owned by differ
ent parties, that winter without hay, and
come out in the spring fat. Notwithstand
ing the. ranchm et are, most of them well
supplied with this comodity, as wild grass
that grows upon their meadows without
cai'e,.makes an excellent quality of hay, with
only the expense of cutting.
The lower valley is more extensive than
this,, and is principally used for pasturage;
yet, it is generally admitted to be one of the
best agricultural valleys in Montana. There
are l1rge bodies of land here that are unoccu
pied, with good water facilities that ban be
cheaply utfliked. Tender vegetation can be
raised here very successfully., Wild plum
bushes are said to be growing among the
willows that skirt the streams. This is an
excellent location frr a colony.
East of Smith's river is the.maima Belt
range, which is also we timbered.. The
well-known Copertopolls. mines are located
in this range. They are rich anmi vuable,
but development progreases; silowl ;r only a
few men at work in the alisk t. Pasaing
over from Upper Smeth safver east, we
come out upon the Muoalshel. This val
ley stretches away to the east for about aev
enty miles, and is an inviting field for immPi
gration.. t is good for both farming and
atock-growing. There are nuuneroushodies of
tillable lands, with water rights, which can
not be excelled, interspersed with high, roll
ing platteaus, affording free pasture to any
who have stock to eat it. This region em
braces from 1,000 to 2,000 square miles, and
at present, there are but a dozen;or two
ranches located on it, which are near. the
head of the valley. North of this, running
eastward, are the Blue and Little Snowy
ranges of mountains. These also, afford
timber and water in abundance. t The only
drawback to this country, is its being upon
the frontier, and unprotected from raids of
hostile Indians; yet no raids of a serious na
ture have occurred. But the establislunent
of the post on the Yellowstone at the mouth
of the Big Horn, will render life and proper
ty as secure here as it is any place, and con
sequently, this region will settle up rapidly.
Northward. through the gap, between the
Blue mountains and the Little Snowies, we
come out up6n the Judith Basin. This is
also an immense tract of country, beautiful
as ever the eye beheld. There is more rain
here than in other portions of Montana.
Still, if this fail, nature has furnished a good
supply of water that can be turned on much
of the land with little effort. Passing down
the Judith and its tributaries, we leave the
mountains behind, and timber gets farther
and farther away. This country as well as
the Muscleshell, has been surveyed, and
much of it is laid down as first-class agricul
tural land. Stock winter well here, as in
deed they do in most of the valleys of Mon
tana; but the Muscleshell being quite windy,
is known far and near as having had less
snow lying upon it in winter, than any oth
er valley in the whole Territory. There is
no settlement, except a trading post at Camp
Lewis, on the Judith. Coal of excellent qual
ity, equal to Brierhill coal of Pennsylvania,
has been found on the Muscleshell and Ju
dith, but little work has yet been done to de
velop the extent of the deposits. Eastward,
between these grassy plains and the Mis
souri river, is a belt of country from twenty
to thirty miles in width, known as the Bad
Lands." This is a kind of sand and lime
formation of a grey'ecolor, almost baren of
vegetation, and. is'the only land in the coun
ty that is not valuable.
Thus we have given a brief outline of the
principal valleys and mountain ranges of the
county, without entering into thq details of
mentioning the different cozy locations on
tributaries that put into the different streams,
One acquainted with a mountain country,
can, from what we have said, form some
idea of the general surface of this section.
This embraces a variety of soil and climate.
Every valley contains different qualities of
soil, and is adapted to different products.
The cereals, such as wheat, oats; rye, barley,
and buckwheat, grow here and yield abund
ant crops. Fields yielding forty bushels on
an average, are not uncommon, sixty and
'seventy having been raised; but these are
issolated cases. Oats has also reached the
extraordinary yield of 100. bushels per acre.
Corn is only grown for table use, but there
are localities in which it is grown very suc
cessfully. And we believe we are justified in
the'assertion, that no country excels Mon
tana for vegetables. The yield per acre is
good, and the flavor exceeds anything we
ever knew before. Small fruit is beginning
to be introduced, and are flourishing. The
yields are in many instances remarkable.
We wonld not be understood to say that all
vegetable crops are a success; melons are
Sraised more for novelty than profit, hut to
matoes, pumpkins, squash, and many of the
tenderest garden plants grow in great abun
\Ye know of no place in America where a
poor man could get a goodhome easier than
in Montana. All that is.reiuired is a little
manhood and determinatlon. The climate,
.supplies thehealth, and nature has done the
rest.. If there isa country on earth where a
poor, industrious man can, prosper, (the
thriftless, shiftless, would not prosper even
in a garden of Eden), that country is ours.
But that which is good for the poor, is also
good for the rich, and while a man with a
family and not a dollar to his name can do
well, the capitalist has also abroad teld tor
The stock business offers a broad field of
operation. Cattle, horses and sheep, live and
grow fat the year round, upon our grassy
foothilla from one years, end to another. It
•is useless for us to. flg~ure on theseany intel.
ligent man can do that. The Eastern stock
grower can easily draw hi~s ownconclusions.
Add to the cost of wool or beef there, the
cost of transportation from Montana, then
subtract the cost of pasturing and feeding
there, and you have it. Then the stock
grower feeds or pastures on his own prem
ises the year round. Here, he is not com
pelled to feed at all, nor own his pasture
Besides our stock interests, are our mines,
tfat offer inducements, nowhere to be ex
celled. There are plenty of quartz leads in
our mountains. We know of a dozen with
in a " sabbath day's journey" of our sane
tuin, unclaimed, that are as liable to be true
fissures ot paying ore as any in the Territo
ry, and there are rich leads in the Territory,
developed to the depth of 400 feet.
Besides those, we have manufacturer's fa
cilities, etqpal to any part of the Continent.
Mountain streams in their headlong passage
to the sea, afford the cheapest power in the
world, all that is needed, is machinery and
operatives. 'Woolen mills, paper mills,
beet-sugar refinerie, and other manufactur-.
es may be engaged in with profit. There
are none of the above named mills in the
country. Neither is there a flowering mill in
Meagher county. Yet there are thousands of
pounds of'grain raised, and good mill-sites,
convenient to the best agricultural districts.
As to town lots, we would say, that so far
as Ieagher county is concerned, there seems
to be but little opening. The county has not
at present, any business center, except Dia
mond, and we are so hemmed in with moun
tains here, that we could not build a metro
politan city, even did we so desire it. How
ever, as the county improves there will be a
commercial center for the county, built not
many miles from this place. We have been
far too brief to do justice to the country,
but will take pleasure in giving further
particulars on the subject, or any particular
locality in the Territory, for we have trav
eled through all the principal valleys, an0d
are personally acquainted with their natu
ral facilities. We will commence a tour of
the Territory about the middle of June, and
will give a hasty glance at what ever may
come before us in the shape of facts, unLte
rial advantages, etc.
Let all who wish to learn of the resources
of Montana, subscribe at once for the Hus
BANDMAN. Every farmer and every citizen
of Montana, should send a copy to the States,
so that the outside world may get a glimpse
at our resources. Every branch of industry,
the herds, flocks, fields, mines and work
shops, are all well and faithfully represented.
NECESSITY is the mother of' invention.
We learn from the, Colorado Farmer, that
Mr. John 0. Brewer, of Platte Valley, broth
er of James Brewer of this county, has in
vented a machine for the extermination of
grasshoppers. The machine is made of sheet
iron, the front occupying a space of some
ten or twelve feet, the furnace being about
two feet deep. From this front'two wings
of the same dimensions divergenat an angle
of about twenty degrees. The whole ma
chine is supported by four wheels, two in
front and one at each extremity of the flan
The machine is driven forward by a team,
and the furnaces being supplied with fuel,
catch the grasshoppers, as they are disturbed
and rise from the ground. In front of each
furnace is a grate, which catches all grass
hoppers which may rise, after being disturb
ed b~y the noise of the machine.
Between the wings is a fan, driven by a
band, attached to the axle of the front
wheels, which forces all tihe grasshoppers in
its course to rise, where they are drawn
into the furnaeef
The machine has been thoroughly tested
by Mr. Brewer and others, and a patentAs
now pending.
WVE publish this week the first of a series
of letters from our special correspondent,
W. H. Sutherlin, who has been traveling
among the stoek-growers of the Sun River
AoLOG~emC.--The quallty of the paper
we are using at present is very poor. Our
circulation having exceeded our expectation,
the old stock is entirely exhausted and we
havy been compelled to purchase an Interior
article, but we are in luck, however, to get
any as the supply in the Territory is re
markably short. We have stock an roatk..

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