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Montana Deed History

Parts of present-day Montana were acquired through the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. After 1852 when gold was discovered in the region, Montana became a U.S. territory in 1864. In 1889, it became the 41st state to join the Union. In the time immediately after the Louisiana Purchase and before its recognition as a territory, Montana was part of the Idaho Territory.

There are 56 counties in the state of Montana, along with two consolidated city-counties. There were nine original counties when Montana joined the Union. Eight of the original counties were formed in 1864 when the state was still a territory and one was formed in 1865. Many historical records list 1863 as the year of creation for Beaverhead County. The first county clerk in Beaverhead was Amos W. Hall, who was elected in 1864.

The first permanent white settlement in what is today Montana was St. Mary’s Mission in the present day county of Stevensville in 1841. In the 1850s, settlers began moving into the Beaverhead and Big Hole valleys. When white settlers began arriving to the Montana Territory, there were many disputes with Native Americans over land ownership and control. The first homestead claim made by a woman in Montana was shortly after the Homestead Act of 1862 and was made by Gwenllian Evans.