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Fort Benton, Chouteau County, Montana, USA


Fort Benton is a city in and the county seat of Chouteau County, Montana, United States. A portion of the city was designated as a National Historic Landmark District in 1961. Established a full generation before the U.S. Civil War, Fort Benton is one of the oldest settlements in the American West; in contrast many other places—including large cities today—were settled in the late 1860s, 1870s, or 1880s.

The population was 1,594 at the 2000 census.


Established by European-Americans Auguste Chouteau and Pierre Chouteau, Jr. of St. Louis in 1847 as the last fur trading post on the Upper Missouri River, the fort became an important economic center. For 30 years, the port attracted steamboats carrying goods, merchants, gold miners and settlers, coming from New Orleans, Memphis, St. Louis, Hannibal, Bismarck, Kansas City, etc. As the terminus for the 642-mile-long Mullan Road, completed by the US Army in 1860, Fort Benton was part of the overland link between trade on the Missouri River and the Columbia River, at Fort Walla Walla, Washington. Twenty thousand migrants used the road in the first year to travel to the Northwest. It became an important route for miners from both directions going into the interior of Idaho. Riverboat travel to Fort Benton further provided an important route for miners to the newly-discovered gold fields of southern Montana at what became Virginia City/Bannack beginning in 1860, and Helena, beginning in 1865.

With the decline of the fur trade, the American Fur Company sold the fort to the US Army in 1865, which named it for Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri. A town had grown up around it that surpassed the military presence. Besides being one of the most important ports on the Missouri-Mississippi river system, Fort Benton was once the "World's Innermost Port". Its importance in trade was superseded by the construction of transcontinental railroads in the late 19th century. In 1867 Fort Benton was the site where Union General Thomas Francis Meagher, then acting governor of Montana Territory, fell overboard from his steamboat and drowned in the river; his body was never recovered.

City/Town : Latitude: 47.821465489287846, Longitude: -110.66871643066406


Matches 1 to 9 of 9

   Last Name, Given Name(s)    Birth    Person ID 
1 Bull, Sarah  May 1854Fort Benton, Chouteau County, Montana, USA I448992
2 Croff, Richard Joseph  04 July 1869Fort Benton, Chouteau County, Montana, USA I449324
3 Gilham, Anthony Charles  28 January 1889Fort Benton, Chouteau County, Montana, USA I452158
4 Lukin, Victoria A.  20 October 1877Fort Benton, Chouteau County, Montana, USA I448924
5 Red Woman, NN  About 1837Fort Benton, Chouteau County, Montana, USA I448565
6 Reevis, Louisa Eloise  09 November 1854Fort Benton, Chouteau County, Montana, USA I447608
7 Samples, Lavina May  09 December 1877Fort Benton, Chouteau County, Montana, USA I452152
8 Steele, Adelaide Gertrude  1865Fort Benton, Chouteau County, Montana, USA I448955
9 Trombley, Mary  1863Fort Benton, Chouteau County, Montana, USA I452525


Matches 1 to 1 of 1

   Last Name, Given Name(s)    Died    Person ID 
1 Buss, Lena  17 October 1975Fort Benton, Chouteau County, Montana, USA I446477


Matches 1 to 1 of 1

   Family    Married    Family ID 
1 Stevens / Short  10 October 1935Fort Benton, Chouteau County, Montana, USA F175881


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