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Old 05-22-2015, 10:34 PM
 
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Did they mostly come directly from Europe or did they come from the eastern US? Or a bit of both?
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Old 05-23-2015, 09:43 AM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
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from all over the world.
The initial settlers were the Mountain Men who came for furs. It was a lucrative market and there was a lot of money to be made. John Jacob Astor basically became America's first billionaire off of furs.

Then the combination of gold strikes and the civil war brought both refugees from the war and fortune seekers. They came from the America's, Europe and Asia. There were a lot of Chinese that came to the camps as well as whites and freed or escaped blacks.
When cattle were brought in from Texas by Malcolm Story, his cowboys were White Texans, Blacks and Mexicans.

The Homestead act opened up free land and started a land rush that again brought people from all over the world, although these settlers came to set down roots. Many did come from overpopulated Europe looking for a better life, away from the endemic warfare that tore the place apart regularly.

When the railroads came they would advertise a promised land in America in Europe, and a lot of Scandinavians from Norway, Sweden and Denmark came at that time to farm. There were a lot of Germans in this migration as well.

The Butte Mines offered jobs to a lot of Welsh, Irish, Cornish and to a lot of Eastern Europeans such as the Serbs, Czechs, Polish and Croats.

With all the copper mined in Butte, hydro-electric dams were built and the electrical industry started.
Ranchers and farmers found a ready market for their wares in Butte. My Great Grandfather sold potatoes by the train-carload to the mines in Butte.

Then came the coal mines in Red Lodge, sapphire mining in Lewistown, and the Timber industry.

By the 1950s, Montana was a hugely diverse place with a thriving economy.

With the shutdown by court order of mining and timber, selling of agricultural land to sub developments, we have gone from one of the highest standards of living to a service based tourist economy, and dropped considerably in the standards of living.

But it's still a great place with a rich history, and a promising future.
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Old 05-23-2015, 01:41 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Early 1900s? Mostly Midwest with a substantial foreign born population

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2...&abg=1#Montana

In 1900, 28% of white Montanans were foreign born and 31% were born in the US but had at least one parent born in another country.

Figure 14-2. Ten States with the Highest Percentage of White Population of Foreign Stock for the United States: 1870 and 1890 to 1970
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Old 05-23-2015, 02:22 PM
 
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Those are excellent references nei.

There were different waves of newcomers to Montana as previously explained. Many did not stay for another generation because they were only here until that economic opportunity was played out & then on to next place...like construction of Milwaukee railroad or Fort Peck reservoir.

The term settlers means families & more long term to me.

The descendents of the gold rushes are probably the most diverse of all. The men came from every state and many foreign countries. Montana's began in 1860 after the California rush. The rush brought them and many stayed to become homesteaders with families.

The other waves seemed to be more specific to the opportunity... farmers of Scandinavian descent & Catherine the Great's German farmers were a big part of the second wave of homesteaders that stretched across the Dakotas & Minnesota into Montana in the early 1900s. These were heavily advertised opportunities---principally by the railroads. Just as the specific type miners were from specific regions of the US or other countries...Irish coal miners from Pennsylvania.
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Old 05-23-2015, 06:25 PM
 
Location: Caverns measureless to man...
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My grandfather and his four brothers came over from Germany over a several-year period around the turn of the century, and when we go to visit the old ancestral ranch, we see one hell of a lot of German names on the mailboxes of northeastern Montana. For whatever that anecdotal evidence is worth.
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Old 05-24-2015, 02:20 AM
 
Location: Spots Wyoming
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There were a lot of European cattle barons that came up from Texas to the promise of belly deep grass for their cattle. There were a lot of Remittance men that wanted to at least hold their remitace money and soon found that they could not only break even, but with the tall grass, and a little work, actually make money. Montana was the last, great place, to really to really get ahead of the game.

Sheridan Wyoming had a population that was a majority of remittance men and most of their ranches were North, actually in Montana, but they lived in the safety of Sheridan
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Old 05-24-2015, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
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Just found this article in the Helena IR about the chinese in Helena.

Acording to the article, in 1870, Chinese comprised 20% of the population in Montana

Did not know that
Remembering China Row: Even in death, the Chinese were excluded
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Old 05-24-2015, 12:51 PM
 
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Yes. There were Chinese communities at most all the major gold rush sites. They were heavily discriminated against & prohibited from owning claims, but re-worked all the old tailings. They also provided needed laundry services.

The Montana Historical Society in Helena has some information if you wish further more.

Check out the old series Deadwood on Netflix for a rather accurate--but definitely cleaned up portrayal of what mining towns of the West were like.
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Old 05-24-2015, 01:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by historyfan View Post
Yes. There were Chinese communities at most all the major gold rush sites. They were heavily discriminated against & prohibited from owning claims, but re-worked all the old tailings. They also provided needed laundry services.

The Montana Historical Society in Helena has some information if you wish further more.

Check out the old series Deadwood on Netflix for a rather accurate--but definitely cleaned up portrayal of what mining towns of the West were like.
Cleaned up? You mean it could be worse than a pigsty used as a murder victim dump site? (Which, by the way, happened in Canada just across the border a few years ago. Can't remember the serial killer's name, but he took the bodies of his victims to his pig farm...)

In Clark Fork, ID there was a large population of Chinese railroad workers at the end of the 1800s, pushing the tracks into Montana, and you can still find remnants of their kitchenware along the south bank of the Clark Fork River at the old townsite of Cabinet on the MT border, according to one of our neighbors. There is also an overgrown cemetery which we haven't found yet. The town of Cabinet died in the Big Burn of 1910 and was never rebuilt. The railroad was completed and the timber was gone, so any further reason to rebuild was not really present--but the town is still on the map, interestingly.

In all likelihood there will be remnants/memories of temporary housing for the Chinese railroad workers in Heron, Noxon, Trout Creek and Thompson Falls, too, but I haven't looked into it.
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Old 05-24-2015, 02:15 PM
 
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Interesting. I know there were Chinese closer to Superior at the old mining settlements of Iron Mountain, Louisville bar, etc.

Yes, cleaned up for palatability of viewing in regards to how violent & vile those places were---I don't know if they had pigs to literally clean up. I know slaughter horses were routinely used as portable pig feed in the 30s & 40s. As well as in Yellowstone Park to feed the bears!!

I do love Wu in Deadwood. Chinese men ran laundries in towns (and gleaned gold dust from dirty water of the clothes) and were cooks also. There was a point in time where it was in vogue to have a "Chinaman" as the main ranch cook. There were purveyors of Chinese in San Francisco similar to purveyors of Irish in Pennsylvania. They were both considered expendable labor.
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