Date of Award

Spring 1958

Document Type




First Advisor

Thomas Clinch


This thesis surveys the development of a military post In early Montana history, Necessarily, It Is concerned with the region and the people who dwelt there. It Is the author’s opinion that, in order to truly understand any historic phenomenon, one has to place one's self In the shoes of those effected. The question naturally arises as to the importance of this one Isolated fort. To those of this mind, I would simply offer the fact that to some five hundred people in the area surrounding the fort it was of prime importance.

Care has been taken to avoid error, but it becomes a difficult proposition when dealing almost entirely with newspaper accounts, For the most part, however, the papers and their editors, upon investigation, seen to be most reliable, I have purposely avoided some pseudo-historians, for inaccuracies have been found in cross cheeking their references.

In 1880, Fort Maginnis was established as the eleventh fort In Montana Territory. Unlike the other forts heretofore established, It was not essentially part of the chain of forts, i.e. those established as a means of quelling the Indian problem, for at this time the Indian question was fairly well settled. However, this does not Imply that Fort Maginnis did not serve in a protective capacity. The foregoing will be discussed In a later chapter.

In this thesis, I shall first treat the development of the fort and progress through Its necessity.