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Pierre Wibaux

Arriving in the area in 1883, a young man of 27, Pierre established his ranch headquarters, the W-Bar, 12 miles north of town on Beaver Creek. He ran cattle on the open range in an area covering nearly 70,000 acres. Among his western friends were Teddy Roosevelt, who was then ranching about 30 miles east of Wibaux in the Dakota badlands, and the Marquis de Mores, a fellow Frenchman who had undertaken a grandiose meat packing and meat marketing enterprise in Dakota.

Many ranchers were devastated by the hard, cattle-killing winter of 1886-87, but Wibaux remained optimistic about the future of cattle raising on the plains. He sought additional financing and bought up the surviving livestock, knowing they would be a hardy base for his expanded herds. By 1889, he had accumulated more than 40,000 head of livestock and employed 25 to 30 cowboys.

The town which had been known as Mingusville, one of the largest cattle shipping points on Northern Pacific Railroad, was renamed Wibaux in 1895. Some reports say Pierre himself carried petitions for the name change.

As the 19th century and the days of open grazing came to a close, Pierre Wibaux was diversifying into banking and mining. He died in 1913 at the age of 55.

Excerpted from "The Ultimate Montana Atlas and Travel Encyclopedia".

On This Date in Montana: December 11, 1864

The first Montana legislative assembly convened at Bannack. The meeting was not held in a bastion of concrete, stone and marble; but rather in a cold log cabin with a dirt floor. They practiced the democratic principles of a country they were yet to be a part of as they huddled around a wood stove. The meeting was not without dissension. When Governor B. F. White called the meeting to order, he told the elected officials that they needed to recite the oath of allegiance to the United States. Most didn’t hesitate to do so, but three vociferously disagreed. One, a man named Rogers, resigned rather than take the oath. Interestingly, Montanans have always been some of the most fiercely independent citizens of any state in the union. They are also the first to answer the call to defend our freedoms. They consistently send a higher percentage of their population to war than any other U. S. state.

Excerpted from "The Ultimate Montana Atlas and Travel Encyclopedia".

Copyright © 2003 Michael Dougherty. Use of this material for radio and television programs, printed media, webcasting, and any other source of mass dissemination is prohibited without permission of the publisher.

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