Dusting Off the Old Ones was published in 1961 by W. B. Clarke, Miles City, Montana.
Early Montana History
It was on May 26, 1864, that President Linco1n signed the bill creating Montana Territory. Going clear back to the acquisition of the territory which now comprises our great state, we find that on April 30, 1803, the Louisiana Purchase Agreement was signed in Paris, and that on December 20 of that same year, the formal transfer of Louisiana to the United States was effected. Two men who had a great deal to do with the exploration of this territory were Merriweather Lewis and William Clark, those sturdy explorers who navigated the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers and then continued on to the coast. The Lewis and Clark expedition left St. Louis on May 14, 1804, reached the mouth of the Yellowstone on April 26, 1805, arrived at Great Falls on June 14th of the same year and about a month later, on July 19, at the Gates of the Mountains--they completed their expedition on September 23, 1806, returning to St. Louis on that date. John Coulter crossed the Yellowstone Park area in 1807, the same year that Manuel Lisa established a trading post at the mouth of the Big Horn, said to be the first to be established in the area now known as Montana. It was in 1853 that Isaac L. Stevens explored a route for a railroad from St. Paul to the Pacific Coast. And it was also in 1853 that Congress appropriated $30,000 for the War Department to purchase camels, some of which were used in Montana freighting operations. It was on February 13, 1862, that the first white child, Jefferson Henry Pelky, was born in Grass Valley, below Hell Gate in the Missoula country. There were many things happening in 1862, among them being the discovery of gold at Bannack on May 28th, and a year later to the day, gold was discovered at Alder Gulch. All these happenings were before Montana was legally created a territory, which, as we said in the beginning of our story, was on May 26, 1864.