Help us celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Montana Territory
There was no Memorial Day holiday to celebrate 150 years ago, but the early settlers of the place we now call Montana did have something to cheer on May 26, 1864: The day when President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation creating the Montana Territory.
The land – and more what was underneath it – was an important commodity for the nation suffering from the Civil War. As writer Jesse Zentz explains in his feature (in the May/June issue of Montana Magazine) gold was an all-important factor to many of the settlers who came to Montana around 1864.
Gold was king in bustling mining communities like Bannack and Virginia City, which pulsed with activity; while today’s larger cities were in their infancy or were simply nonexistent.
Vigilantes played the role of judge, jury and executioner. In a span of less than two months bridging 1863 and 1864, the Montana Vigilantes hanged 24 men as they ruthlessly wiped out Bannack Sheriff Henry Plummer’s gang, which killed more than 100 people and robbed countless others.
Next week on MontanaMagazine.com, we’ll be posting about the 150th anniversary of the Montana Territory each day. Look for facts, slideshows, and upcoming event information. On Tuesday, we’ll have a recommended reading list for all Montana history buffs.
You can also find us on Twitter (@montanamagazine) and Facebook.com/MontanaMagazine for more about Montana Territory at 150.