Claggett Hill Trail
- Historical Markers/Interpretive Sign, Historic Sites
- General info
In 1866, the U.S. Army established Camp Cooke on the west bank of the Judith River near here to protect local settlers from Indian raids. Shortly thereafter, steamboat entrepreneur and trader T C. Power built a small trading post near the camp to supply goods and services to the soldiers. The post was named Fort Claggett in honor of William Claggett, one of Montana Territory’s most respected politicians and capitalists. After Camp Cooke closed in 1870, Power built a second Fort Claggett east of the Judith River about two miles from this marker. Strategically located near a river ford, the fort obtained supplies from steamboats plying the Missouri and shipped out beaver pelts, buffalo hides, and cattle. By 1884, this segment of the Claggett Trail was heavily used by freighters, cowboys, businessmen, Indians, and miners seeking their fortunes in the nearby Judith Mountains. In the mid-1880s, Power and Gilman Norris formed the Judith Mercantile and Cattle Company with its headquarters at Fort Claggett. At its peak in the late 1880s, Fort Claggett consisted of a store, hotel, saloon, warehouse, mail station, stables and sheep sheds. Although Fergus County has actively maintained portions of the Claggett Trail, this section exists unaltered and is representative of late 19th-century freighting roads.
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