Montana in History

Montana: Billings - Missoula

Historical Events

  • 1864-10-30 Helena, Montana's capital, founded
  • 1865-01-02 Welterweight Con Orem & heavyweight Hugh O'Neill brawl for 185 rounds before darkness ends legendary bare knuckle boxing match in Virginia City, Montana
  • 1867-06-15 Atlantic Cable Quartz Lode gold mine located in Montana
  • 1870-01-23 173 Blackfoot (140 women & children) killed in Montana by US Army

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1873-08-04 Indian Wars: whilst protecting a railroad survey party in Montana, US 7th Cavalry, under Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, clashes for the 1st time with the Sioux near the Tongue River. 1 man killed on each side.

  • 1874-05-12 US Assay Office in Helena, Montana, authorized

BattleBattle of Interest

1877-01-08 Crazy Horse and his warriors fight their last battle with the United States Cavalry at Wolf Mountain (Montana Territory).

Native American War Leader Crazy Horse
Native American War Leader
Crazy Horse
  • 1877-01-15 US Assay Office in Helena, Montana opens
  • 1879-01-29 Custer Battlefield National Monument established in Montana
  • 1887-01-28 In a snowstorm at Fort Keogh, Montana, the world's largest snowflakes are reported, being 15 inches (38 cm) wide and 8 inches (20 cm) thick.
  • 1889-02-22 US President Cleveland signs bill to admit Dakotas, Montana & Washington state to the union
  • 1889-11-08 Montana admitted as 41st state of the Union
  • 1899-02-11 -61°F, Montana (record low temperature)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1901-07-02 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid rob train of $40,000 at Wagner, Montana


  • 1910-05-11 Montana's Glacier National Park forms

Electoral defeatElection of Interest

1916-11-07 Jeannette Rankin (Rep-R-Montana) is elected to Congress as its first woman Representative

1st Woman Elected to Congress Jeannette Rankin
1st Woman Elected to Congress
Jeannette Rankin
  • 1917-04-02 Jeannette Rankin (Rep-R-Montana) begins her term as 1st woman member of US House of Reps
  • 1917-08-01 Frank Little, IWW organizer, lynched in Butte, Montana
  • 1921-06-20 11.5" (29.2 cm) of rainfall, Circle, Montana (state record)
  • 1923-03-05 Montana & Nevada become 1st states to enact old age pension laws

Sport defeatBoxing Title Fight

1923-07-04 Jack Dempsey beats Tommy Gibbons on points over 15 hard fought rounds in Shelby, Montana to retain world heavyweight boxing title

Heavyweight Boxing Champion Jack Dempsey
Heavyweight Boxing Champion
Jack Dempsey
  • 1937-07-05 117°F (47°C), Medicine Lake, Montana (state record)
  • 1938-06-19 "Olympian Flyer" express train crashes in Montana, killing 47
  • 1943-02-27 The Smith Mine #3 in Bearcreek, Montana, explodes, killing 74 men
  • 1954-01-20 -70°F (-57°C), Rogers Pass, Montana (US 48 state record)
  • 1959-07-17 River Canyon extending man-made Lake Hebgen by 5 miles. (Montana)
  • 1970-06-05 KPAX TV channel 8 in Missoula, Montana (CBS) begins broadcasting

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1975-08-08 Hank Williams Jr. falls off the side of Ajax Peak in Montana

Country Music Singer and Songwriter Hank Williams Jr
Country Music Singer and Songwriter
Hank Williams Jr
  • 1984-04-27 Over 70 inches of snow falls on Red Lake Montana
  • 1992-12-01 2 C-141B Starlifters collide in Montana & crash, 13 die
  • 1996-06-13 Montana Freemen surrender after an 81-day standoff with FBI agents

USABoulder Glacier Melting

2017-05-10 USGS releases a report saying that some glaciers in Montana have receded by 85% in the last 50 years
Learn More >>

Boulder Glacier in Montana as it appeared in 1932 (left) and 2005 (right)
Boulder Glacier in Montana as it appeared in 1932 (left) and 2005 (right)
  • 2019-05-14 Steve Bullock, US Governor of Montana announces his run for Presidential office

Famous Birthdays


Person of interestThomas J. Walsh

1859-06-12 Thomas J. Walsh, United States Senator (Montana), born in Two Rivers, Wisconsin (d. 1933)

Lawyer and Politician Thomas J. Walsh
Lawyer and Politician
Thomas J. Walsh

Person of interestJeannette Rankin

1880-06-11 Jeannette Rankin, American politician, 1st woman elected to US Congress (R-Montana), women's rights advocate and pacifist, born in Missoula, Montana (d. 1973)

1st Woman Elected to Congress Jeannette Rankin
1st Woman Elected to Congress
Jeannette Rankin
  • 1890-01-11 Monte Blue, US silent film actor (Montana, Oh Boy), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 1963)
  • 1892-04-04 Esther Howard, American actress, born in Helena, Montana (d. 1965)
  • 1899-12-09 Howard Freeman, American actor (Studio One, Double Dynamite), born in Helena, Montana (d. 1967)

Person of interestGary Cooper

1901-05-07 Gary Cooper, American actor (Sgt York, High Noon), born in Helena, Montana (d. 1961)

  • 1903-03-16 Mike Mansfield, American politician (Sen-D-Montana 1953-77) majority whip, born in New York City (d. 2001)
  • 1904-11-25 Herbert Reynolds Inch, American composer and teacher, born in Missoula, Montana (d. 1988)

Person of interestMyrna Loy

1905-08-02 Myrna Loy [Williams], American actress (The Great Ziegfeld, Thin Man, Vanity Fair), born in Helena, Montana (d. 1993)

Actress Myrna Loy
Actress
Myrna Loy
  • 1907-10-14 Pert Kelton, American actress (Cavalcade of Stars), born in Great Falls, Montana (d. 1968)
  • 1908-06-21 William Frankena, American philosopher, born in Manhattan, Montana (d. 1994)
  • 1911-11-24 Kirby Grant, American actor (Rustlers Round-Up, Yukon Gold, Sky King), born in Butte, Montana (d. 1985)
  • 1911-12-10 Chet Huntley, American newscaster (NBC Huntley-Brinkley Report), born in Cardwell, Montana (d. 1974)
  • 1913-10-27 Joseph Medicine Crow, Native American chief and historian, born near Lodge Grass, Montana (d. 2013)
  • 1915-04-12 Emil Petaja, American sci-fi author (Star Mill, Tramontane), born in Milltown, Missoula County, Montana (d. 2000)
  • 1915-08-11 Jean Parker [Luise-Stephanie Zelinska], American actress (Beyond Tomorrow, Little Women), born in Butte, Montana (d. 2005)
  • 1916-08-27 Martha Raye [Margaret Reed], American actress (Waikiki Wedding, Martha Raye Show), born in Butte, Montana (d. 1994)
  • 1916-08-29 George Montgomery, American actor (Battle of Bulge, Hallucination), born in Brady, Montana (d. 2000)
  • 1917-10-23 Robert Bray, American actor (Corey-Lassie, Stagecoach West), born in Kalispell, Montana (d. 1983)
  • 1918-06-20 George Lynch, American auto racer, born in Miles City, Montana (d. 1997)
  • 1919-08-30 Maurice R. Hilleman, American microbiologist who developed over 36 vaccines including measles, mumps, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, chickenpox, meningitis, pneumonia, born in Miles City, Montana (d. 2005)
  • 1921-07-22 William Roth, American politician (Sen-R-Delaware, 1971-2001), born in Great Falls, Montana (d. 2003)
  • 1923-08-14 Alice Ghostley, American singer and actress (Bewitched, Designing Women), born in Eve, Vernon County, Missouri (d. 2007)
  • 1924-09-06 John Melcher, American politician (Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Montana), born in Sioux City, Iowa (d. 2018)
  • 1926-01-21 Stephen "Steve" Reeves, American professional bodybuilder, actor, and philanthropist (Hercules, Goliath, Sandokan), born in Glasgow, Montana (d. 2000)
  • 1929-10-24 Yordan Radichkov, Bulgarian writer and playwright (The Tied Up Balloon), born in Kalimanitza, Montana region, Bulgaria (d. 2004)
  • 1935-01-25 Conrad Burns, American politician (Senate-R-Montana 1989-2007), born in Gallatin, Missouri (d. 2016)
  • 1935-08-08 Ron Marlenee, American politician (Rep-R-MT, 1977-93), born in Scobey, Montana
  • 1935-08-25 Lones Wigger, American competitive rifle shooter (Olympic gold/silver-1964, 72), born in Great Falls, Montana (d. 2017)
  • 1936-01-23 Jerry Kramer, American football player (Green Bay Packers) and author (Instant Replay), born in Jordan, Montana
  • 1937-10-30 Pat Williams, American politician (Rep-D-Montana, 1979-93), born in Helena, Montana

Person of interestEvel Knievel

1938-10-17 Robert "Evel" Knievel, American motorcycle daredevil (Snake River Canyon), born in Butte, Montana (d. 2007)

Motorcycle Daredevil Evel Knievel
Motorcycle Daredevil
Evel Knievel
  • 1941-04-27 Judith Blegen, American opera singer (Papagena-Magic Flute), born in Missoula, Montana
  • 1941-05-17 Malcolm Hale, musician (Spanky and Our Gang), born in Butte, Montana (d. 1968)
  • 1941-12-11 Max Baucus, American politician (11th United States Ambassador to China), born in Helena, Montana
  • 1942-10-31 Dave McNally, American baseball pitcher (MLB All Star 1969-70, 72; World Series 1966, 70; Baltimore Orioles), born in Billings, Montana (d. 2002)
  • 1945-03-01 Dirk Benedict, American actor (A-Team, Battlestar Galactica), born in Helena, Montana

Person of interestPhil Jackson

1945-09-17 Phil Jackson, American basketball player and coach (Knicks/Bulls/Lakers), born in Deer Lodge, Montana

NBA Coach Phil Jackson
NBA Coach
Phil Jackson
  • 1946-01-20 David Lynch, American actor & director (Dune, Eraserhead), born in Missoula, Montana
  • 1948-03-30 Justin Deas, actor (As The World Turns, Santa Barbara), born in Connellsville, Pennsylvania
  • 1949-03-17 Patrick Duffy, actor (Bobby-Dallas, Man from Atlantis), born in Townsend, Montana
  • 1952-08-21 Keith Hart, Canadian professional wrestler, born in Great Falls, Montana
  • 1953-07-01 Pat Donovan, American NFL offensive lineman (4-time Pro Bowl, Dallas Cowboys), born in Helena, Montana
  • 1955-06-02 Dana Carvey, comedian (SNL, Garth-Wayne's World), born in Missoula, Montana
  • 1955-09-04 Brian Schweitzer, American politician (Governor of Montana, 2005–13), born in Havre, Montana
  • 1957-09-24 Brad Bird, American director (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles), born in Kalispell, Montana
  • 1958-07-31 Wallace Kurth, American actor (Days of Our Lives, General Hospital), born in Billings, Montana
  • 1959-08-22 Denise Curry, American basketball forward (Olympic gold 1984; World C'ship gold 1979, 83), born in Fort Benton, Montana
  • 1960-10-16 Val Skinner, American golfer (6 LPGA Tour wins), born in Hamilton, Montana
  • 1962-05-07 Robbie Knievel, American daredevil, son of Evel (Chips Something Special), born in Butte, Montana
  • 1964-08-14 Brannon Braga, American scriptwriter, born in Bozeman, Montana
  • 1965-01-06 Lindsay Burns, American rower (Olympic silver 1996), born in Big Timber, Montana
  • 1965-03-04 Stacy Edwards, actress (Santa Barbara), born in Glasgow, Montana
  • 1966-04-11 Steve Bullock, American politician (Governor of Montana 2013-), born in Missoula, Montana
  • 1966-05-04 Monica Tranel [Michini], American rower (Olympics 1996), born in Big Horn, Montana
  • 1966-12-20 Tim Hauck, NFL safety and coach (Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks), born in Butte, Montana
  • 1970-07-14 Missy Gold, American actress (Katie-Benson), born in Great Falls, Montana
  • 1972-01-29 Scott Davis, American figure skater (Olympics 1994), born in Great Falls, Montana
  • 1972-09-07 Willy Tate, American NFL tight end (KC Chiefs), born in Montana, California
  • 1973-01-11 Dave Dickenson, Canadian football coach and quarterback (Calgary Stampeders), born in Great Falls, Montana
  • 1973-10-24 Levi Leipheimer, American road racing cyclist, born in Butte, Montana
  • 1974-10-05 Colin Meloy, American singer (The Decemberists), born in Helena, Montana

Person of interestMichelle Williams

1980-09-09 Michelle Williams, American actress (Dawson's Creek), born in Kalispell, Montana


Famous Weddings


LoveWedding of Interest

1990-07-01 Country singer-songwriter Hank Williams Jr (41) weds model Mary Jane Thomas at a Congregational church near his ranch in Missoula, Montana

Country Music Singer and Songwriter Hank Williams Jr
Country Music Singer and Songwriter
Hank Williams Jr
  • 2004-07-04 Actor Dennis Quaid (50) weds real estate agent Kimberly Buffington (32) at his 500-acre Montana ranch in Paradise Valley, Montana
  • 2008-07-26 Actress Jennifer Siebel (34) weds San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (40) at her parents horse ranch in Stevensville, Montana

LoveWedding of Interest

2009-03-19 Talk show host David Letterman (61) weds longtime girlfriend Regina Lasko (48) at a civil ceremony in Choteau, Montana

Comedian and Television Host David Letterman
Comedian and Television Host
David Letterman
  • 2013-08-31 "Blue Crush" actress Kate Bosworth (30) weds director Michael Polish (42) in Philipsburg, Montana

LoveWedding of Interest

2014-10-01 Actress Scarlett Johansson (30) weds advertising agency owner Romain Dauriac in Philipsburg, Montana


Famous Deaths


Person of interestThomas J. Walsh

1933-03-02 Thomas J. Walsh, United States Senator (Montana), dies of a heart attack at 73

Lawyer and Politician Thomas J. Walsh
Lawyer and Politician
Thomas J. Walsh
  • 1961-03-23 James Edward Murray, (Sen-D-Montana) (1935-61), dies

Person of interestJeannette Rankin

1973-05-18 Jeannette Rankin, American politician, 1st woman elected to US Congress (R-Montana), women's rights advocate and pacifist, dies at 92

1st Woman Elected to Congress Jeannette Rankin
1st Woman Elected to Congress
Jeannette Rankin
  • 2016-04-28 Conrad Burns, American politician (Senate-R-Montana 1989-2007), dies at 81
  • 2018-04-12 John Melcher, American politician (Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Montana), dies at 93