Hysham, Montana

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Hysham is a town in and the county seat of Treasure County, Montana, United States.[1] The population was 330 at the 2000 census.

Contents

Geography

Hysham is located at 46°17′26″N 107°13′48″W / 46.29056°N 107.23°W / 46.29056; -107.23 (46.290535, -107.229929)[2].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.2 square miles (0.5 km²), all of it land.

History

When the Montana Territory became the state of Montana in 1889 the future site of Hysham was just a blank spot in the rolling prairie along the Yellowstone River. At that time, the area was within sprawling Custer County, which covered much of eastern Montana, and also included the eastern part of the Crow Reservation. The area was opened up to homesteading in 1906 after the federal government moved the Crow Reservation boundary further west to its present location. This made possible the development of farms and ranches through out the area and at the same time allowed the settlement of small towns like Hysham (Cheney 1984).

The location and founding of the town of Hysham is intertwined with its ranching and railroad history. A large cattle ranch, the Flying E, ran thousands of heads of cattle in the region. Charlie J. Hysham had moved from the town of Red Oak, Iowa, to manage the ranch. In order to facilitate the delivery of the large amounts of supplies the Flying E ranch required, the Northern Pacific Railroad built a siding to unload goods and materials that Hysham had ordered from Billings and Forsyth. In 1907, the siding became the nucleus for the town of Hysham. (Cheney 1984; Kimball 1976).

James O. Lockard built the first building on the future site of Hysham shortly after the area was open to homesteading. Later, his homestead south of the railroad tracks would become the "Lockard Addition" in Hysham. The general store was located north of the railroad tracks and also served as Hysham’s first post office with Lockard appointed the first postmaster. Hysham slowly grew by a general process typical throughout the frontier where an initial commercial or transportation need would establish the site, which would then grow as settlers homesteaded nearby. This would, in turn, resulted in the need for other commercial enterprises followed by schools, churches, banks, government and other civic institutions (Cheney 1984; Kimball 1976; Sanborn 1920).

In 1906 there were two stores, a lumber yard and a blacksmith shop. The first school at the growing community was built in 1908. Ada Channel, who had a homestead near the railroad siding, became the school's first teacher. She was also a key figure in the formation of Hysham. This same year, she worked to locate a town site with the help of James Lockard and F. L. Baker. The three town founders plotted town lots on 40 acres (160,000 m2) of Channel's homestead. E. C. Sampson completed the process with a survey, which established the town's streets. Two other additions were added later. The First Addition added 40 acres (160,000 m2) south of the original site and the Rogers Addition was established north of the railroad depot. Even though Charlie Hysham had moved away from the area by this time, the new town was named Hysham in his honor. The town was officially incorporated in 1916 (Sanborn 1920: Kimball 1976; Cheney 1984).

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