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In 1876, Frank Gaugler built a hotel and general store near the forks of the Musselshell. He named the place Gauglersville. In August the following year, a gentleman named Richard Clendennin moved his family to the North Fork of the Mussellshell directly across from Gauglersville. In time, the two men joined forces and established the town of Martinsdale. They named the town for the Montana Territory’s Congressional Delegate, Martin McGinnis. Soon, woolgrowers, discovering the mild climate of the Musselshell valley, began to move in and the area flourished.

In 1875 a wool growers stock company was established and within three years the association had more than 20,000 sheep. Fortunes were made here, including those of John Smith, whose ranch grew to 86,000 acres and C.M. Bair with 80,000 acres. These were two of the biggest sheep outfits in the state. In 1910, records show that Bair shipped out forty-four carloads of wool with an estimated worth of $500,000. This was the largest shipment of wool to ever leave Montana. False fronts on the buildings still standing in Martinsdale reflect the era of the 1880s.

The Milwaukee depot in Martinsdale sat quiet for most of the year, but became a bustling place when the cattle and sheep from the local ranches were brought in for shipping. Today, Martinsdale still serves as a small ranching community and stands as a testament to the pioneers of Montana.

Reprinted from The Ultimate Montana Atlas and Travel Encyclopedia

On This Date in Montana--June 29, 1863

R.E. Mather and F.E. Boswell describe the fatal Virginia City shooting of Deputy Dillingham in “Gold Camp Desperadoes”:

…a Virginia City miners' court met to settle a claim dispute. The courtroom was a conical tent of willows interlaced with brush, which stood on the creek bank at the foot of Wallace Street. Though the tent was barely large enough to hold judge, clerk, plaintiff, defendant, and attorneys, curious spectators followed the proceedings by peeping through gaps in the brush. As Charley Forbes (the former Ed Richardson) sat at Judge William Steele's elbow taking notes [he was clerk of the court], deputies Buck Stinson and Hayes Lyons burst through the doorway and whispered something in Charley's ear. They then hurried outside to confront Deputy D.H. Dillingham. Charley followed a few steps behind. An argument had arisen a few days earlier when Dillingham had stated that Stinson, Lyons, and Forbes intended to rob a miner. Now as the deputies faced off a few steps from the willow tent, Lyons cursed at Diilingham and then demanded, "Take back those lies." As hands moved toward revolver butts, Charley cried, "Don't shoot, don't shoot!" From that point on, events moved too rapidly for observers to determine exactly what happened, but in the end Dillingham lay dead with a shot in the thigh and a second in the chest. Deputy Jack Gallagher disarmed Stinson, Lyons, and Forbes and ordered them bound with logging chains and placed under guard in a cabin on Daylight Creek. But the memory of the Carson City shackles was still strong in Charley's mind, and when his turn to be chained came, he refused, declaring he would rather die first. Six guards drew on him, however, and he was forced to submit to the chains and padlock.

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