HOMESTEAD FEVER Early Settlers of Jefferson County
The Homestead Act, signed by Abraham Lincoln in 1862, was a major factor in the development of the west. Under this revolutionary act, 270 millions acres across the United States were available to anyone who wished to "prove up" and make the land their own. In Montana, 151,600 homesteads claimed 32,050 acres, about 34% of the state. Homesteaders came from all walks of life, from single women to large families, immigrants to freed slaves, rich and poor alike, to become Montanans. However, homesteading was rarely easily, and Montana proved to be a formidable challenge for even the most prepared homesteader.
This exhibit celebrates the earliest settlers of Jefferson County, whether they proved up or not. Our team is happy to help you discover your family history. Feel free to drop by with questions, information, or photos from your family.
Special Features: Biographies of Jefferson County's earliest homesteaders There is no single story for Montana homesteaders. Each homesteader had to overcome their own unique challenges, and each leave behind a fascinating tale to tell. Our goal at the Jefferson County Museum is to tell them all.
Poster Contest In 2022, Jefferson High School students competed in a contest that tested their research skills and creativity to create informational posters on an aspect of homesteading. Topics ranged from specific families to entire ethic groups, from single homes to some of Jefferson County's most recognizable locations.
Conduct your own genealogical research We have a patron research area at the museum for use by all. This includes Ancestry.com to research family histories and Newspapers.com for research into all newspapers on it's site. On our patron computer there is a group of land abstracts for properties in the Clancy area that can be accessed from the generosity of Bob Marks.