Logo image – Vikki Gray
Document Date: January 1, 2010
Webmaster’s Research Documents
GenWeb & YGF Researchers
Trails throughout the local regions have been around for a
very long time. When exploration became serious, after the
Trying to list the
The listing of surveys and explorations that occurred in the local and nearby areas in the early years by the military and scientific communities is contained in Survey Listings. That list refers to map sketches (created by the webmaster) plus maps published by the explorer in support of the survey. A sample of these maps / map sections / and sketches is shown below. Contact the webmaster for any sketch noted on the survey listing. There are over 20 of them. The map-code identification, if held by the webmaster can also be provided. Those codes were not originally posted on the listing.
One of the first mapping projects was published in 1795 by M
Soulard: “The Upper Mississippi and
Skipping along, after the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the
government sent many explores into that region. Virtually all were ‘tagged’
with the name “Yellowstone Expedition” thus creating more confusion than was
needed. Omitted from the Survey List by
the compiler, was the latest map of the area, the 1805 map of
Following is a graphic summary of a few land searches initiated by the various governmental agencies or individuals noted in the Survey List.
1807-1810 – Manuel Lisa’s Fort & Bad Pass Trail
Manual Lisa initiated
a fur trade/trapping business in
Extending from the fort, running along the west side of the
This trail is still visible in the river junction vicinity foothills. It is believed that this trail connected directly with the Lisa fort. The fort was reportedly located in 1953 by Owens, and was noted as being ¼-mile west of the Big Horn River west bank, and in the marshy area near the Yellowstone River, where NPR transferred dirt to build up their track bed in the 1920’s. Manuel Lisa & John Colter name inscriptions are still visible there, along side of the trail. The trail has two very old directional arrows carved into a large sandstone rock, marking the way north. This is a small segment of a much longer trail leading north.
The dotted trail
shown at the SW corner joins with the route from
1805 – Larocque Yellowstone Expedition
After arriving in the local area, he essentially followed an
Indian Trail leading up to the
Bear in mind that this expedition took place before Clark
During the winter of 1830-1831 Smith’s fur trapping party
1859 – Snowden Yellowstone
Expedition– Search for Headwaters of the
Boyer was guide, while Snowden was attempting to locate the source of the “
The first part of the trail follows the Raynolds/Bridger (Old Indian Trail) route (Bozeman Trail segment) surveyed earlier in 1859 by Raynolds with Bridger as guide, and the return follows through the center of the mountain valley (John Bozeman Trail segment).
Trails Specific to Local Areas – c1850 to 1900’s
Beginning with the emigrant routes leading to the gold
fields (Fisk Train-NPR Military Support and other eager persons) and the three
significant routes from the
Historical Map of
This map shows an overview of trails, major site locations, post offices, railroad sidings, etc, with an index, and an overlay of 13 trails in the northwest. This inset shows where some landmarks are located.
1909 Coulson Location
In 1909 the Billings City Engineering Department integrated Billings & Coulson locations into one map. Shown in the center of Coulson (inset at the left) is the inlet (raceway) for the water-power plant being constructed by the Yegen Bros. These street accesses no longer exist, and the interstate runs through the town center. In the 1930’s the abandoned area left by the raceway was used in part for refuse burial. The west-bank used to be lined with old cars to prevent erosion. My father worked for the city, and was a guard at the site for several years until about 1938. It was a wonderful place to visit; but I wasn’t permitted to take anything from the ‘dump’. In 1937 numerous grocery stores brought truckloads of canned goods and other items destroyed or damaged by the flood. My father dug a large pit (about 20-feet in diameter) and burned each load to ashes so as to prevent any potential disease from spreading. The Pierce Packing Company was located just north of this view. In the 1930’s my father, working alone, built the very large adjoining stockyards that spread over into the former Coulson. The land was very sandy and he could dig and set large post supports very fast. I tried, and it took me an extremely long time.
South Hills Trails
Three scaled maps, prepared c2003-6 identify the main travel
routes in detail used by travelers in the c1865-1902 time frames. They were
constructed from the GLO/BLM microfiche records of each township within the
area between the
The Master Title Patentee Map (3ft x 5ft), defining Townships 1-9S, Ranges 25-28E during the original homestead application era in the South Hills depicts the roads, land ownerships, and referenced landmarks. It is part of the Trails and Tales Book. Monica Weldon created the map. It is a vital piece of history to anyone desiring to learn about family history from within this area.
Various wagon trails used to connect with Indian Villages, ranchers, stage coaches and supply deliveries are depicted as “=======” lines, and represented in part by a wagon symbol #2. These routes do not identify any specific usage.
Trail #1 is John Bozeman’s wagon
train trips to
Trail #3 is Sawyer’s Expedition’s
first attempt to reach
Trail #4 is Sawyer’s Wagon Train 2nd
route and is basically on the Bozeman Trail (
Trail #5 is the Bozeman Trail
location as defined on the original GLO survey map sections. It runs along the
edge of South Hills; and is usable year-around. It has the same distance as
Trail #4. It crosses Clark’s Fork at
Trail #6 is the Jim Bridger Trail originating off North Platte River, and passes on the west side of the Big Horn Mountains, and cuts through Pryor Gap.
Trail #(not Noted) is the Jim
Bridger Cutoff Trail leading north from
Trail #7 is the
Trail #8 is the Monument Trail.
This map was created to show a perspective of the local area and the trails used for emigrants and various forms of transportation through the area. It was on display at the Parmly Billings Library in 2008, along with note cards depicting early important events. The insert below shows the location of Twin monuments.
This map shows the locations of early homesteaded land, the
NPR 1882 track, Road to
B – B W Osten’s Ferry in operation
from c1892 to 1894. Later renamed Cummings Ferry. (Was replaced by
D – The East Bridge was built c1905, and crossed just north of the 1882 NPR track location. McAdow’s ferry (operated by John Shock) was at this location, until NPR moved their bridge north, and a new road bridge had to be installed. (Dates not researched)
Not coded: A ferry operated just
north of Bitter Creek, and there is a steel ring imbedded into the sandstone
face of Sacrifice Cliff, that probably was used to hold the ferry. On the west
side of the river were large
During construction of NPR and the
1877 Nez Perce Attack on Local Area Settlers, September 13th (Kimmel)
This map was created from extensive congressional documentation regarding Indian Depredation Claim 2891 administered by the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs. The claim, about five-inches thick, was filed by Joseph MV Cochran for losses sustained when the Advance Guard members of Chief Joseph’s small band ransacked his belongings (some $550.50 worth of goods). Multitude, a member of the Advance Guard, admitted their involvement and validated the depredation. The documentation disclosed where each of the four main bodies of the Indian Band was located during the pre & post battle conditions with the military. This claim was investigated for several years, and at each step in the review process the various government agencies verified the accounts as being true. Not wanting to pay the fully approved claim, the Speaker of the House held the claim folder contents in his clerk’s office until after 1905, when it seemed to have disappeared. The file folder held by the Department of the Interior, was empty of all claim documents!
Briefly, the Advance Guard was sent out in advance of the
main body movement, which started after 10am when they broke camp. They
followed Canyon Creek towards the river and turned northeast on the
Chief Joseph and five personal guards, shortly before noon,
arrived at the mouth of Canyon Creek, discovered a group of white men (Cochran
and others) cutting trees across the river. After being surprised by seeing
white men in the area, Chief Joseph quickly decided to change his route from
the northeast and decided to move up river along Canyon Creek and head for
Leaving the Cochran camp, Chief Joseph found that his camp
leader, followed by the main body of the band, close behind, told them to turn
around and get into the canyon foothills quickly. This was probably a wise
action to take, but his escape route was noted by the military as they crossed
Land Ownership in
1912 along the
is the only map held by the City Engineers of Billings, depicting non-NPR
ownerships in the northern area of
Brazwell Summit –
This small sketch identifies the routes and land ownerships available prior to 1909 in the southern end of South Hills. It was used in the reconstruction of the Twin Monuments.
These and many other maps & sketches were created to establish specific events that occurred in the short period between 1877 and 1911, and recorded on this and the MTYGF sites.
Cleve Kimmel –
Date: January 31, 2010
Refer to Montana State GenWeb Site for additional details on propriety rights.
Referenced documents that contain current copy rights cannot be copied and submitted in their entirety – only granted excerpts. No file that is downloaded to a recipient can be utilized in multiple-mailing lists; or for a fee or profit. Files downloaded are for the expressed usage by the recipient in pursuit of historical information or genealogical background.
 The location is as noted on this and other early maps. Some later researchers put the fort on the east side of the river by mistake in understanding the meaning of upstream in documents (west).