Welcome to Gallatin County Montana, part of the American History and Genealogy Project. It is our desire to provide you with the best information possible when searching for your Gallatin County ancestors. I am Judy White and will be your host for Gallatin County.
Gallatin County, Montana, derives its name from the Gallatin River, one of the forks of the Missouri River that rises in Yellowstone Park, the three rivers, Gallatin, Jefferson and Madison, being named by Lewis and Clark, famous explorers, on their expedition to this part of the world in 1805. The Gallatin River was named for Albert Gallatin, at that time secretary of the United States Treasury under President Thomas Jefferson. Albert Gallatin was a native of Switzerland. He was graduated from the Academy of Geneva in 1778, and came the following year to the United States, where he became a great American statesman and one of the foremost financiers of the country. The Gallatin River has its source in Gallatin Lake among mountain peaks with an elevation of more than 9,000 feet in Yellowstone National Park.
The other rivers uniting with the Gallatin to form the Missouri River, a few miles from the present town of Three Forks, are the Jefferson, named in honor of Thomas Jefferson, then president of the United States, and the Madison, named in honor of James Madison, then Secretary of State. It was in July 1805, that Lewis and Clark reached the three forks of the Missouri, and they spent considerable time in exploring the three streams and the territory immediately tributary. These streams have retained the names designated at that time.
In the southwestern part of the state, Gallatin Co. was one of 9 original counties formed in 1865 by the Territorial Legislature. Parts of Gallatin County have been used to form Yellowstone and Park Counties.
Bozeman was named for John Bozeman, who brought the first wagon train of cattle to the Gallatin Valley. The Trail he blazed became a highway for settlers and miners but also a flashpoint between the Indians and Whites. Three years after bringing settlers to the valley, John was killed by the Sioux and his trail remained unused for nine years because of repeated Indian attacks.
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Information listed below from "Early History of Gallatin County, Montana"
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