Forsyth is an area that is rich in history and is located on the banks of the Yellowstone River. In their exploration of the great Northwest Territory, Lewis and Clark passed through this area on their journey up the Yellowstone River. Forsyth is located on what is now called the Lewis and Clark Trail. On July 28, 1806, Capt. William Clark traveled along the Yellowstone River, by what was to become Rosebud County, on his way downriver to meet Meriwether Lewis who was traveling down the Missouri River.
General Custer also traveled through Rosebud County on his way to the Little Bighorn in his ill-fated campaign against the Cheyenne in 1876. That same year, Forsyth became the first settlement along the Yellowstone River. In 1882, residents chose a name for their town after General Forsyth, who was in charge of U.S. Troops in what was to become eastern Montana, and there they opened the first post office.
During that time, sidewheel steamers, the only reliable method of transporting freight and supplies, traveled up and down the Yellowstone. Forsyth blossomed when the Northern Pacific Railroad pushed through the area. In 1909, the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad completed its line through Montana to Seattle, giving Forsyth two transcontinental railroads! During the early part of the century, the railroads promoted the West to try and get people to move to Montana. But the harsh weather, the hard farming life, and financial crises of the 1930s combined to drive many off the land. Yet some stayed and moved to Forsyth.
When the Northern Pacific built a spur line and the opening of the large strip-mining operation in the Colstrip area in 1923, it helped business in Forsyth, and the line continues to be an important part of Forsyth’s financial stability.
The Rosebud County Pioneer Museum is an interesting collection of old relics that were tucked away in the attics, bunkhouses, and sheds throughout the county.
Today, Forsyth is a prosperous city with plenty to do in and around town. With its spot on the Yellowstone River, fishing and water sports are popular and many rock hounds and collectors visit this area every year. The Yellowstone banks have a plentiful supply of Montana moss agate, which is found in gravel deposits in the middle and lower Yellowstone valleys. Montana moss agate is nodules of gray, translucent chalcedony, which, when cut and polished, contain small manganese dendrites of pleasing appearance.
Like most of eastern Montana, the Forsyth area offers plenty of hunting opportunities with large antelope herds, mule deer, and whitetail deer. Bird hunting is some of the best anywhere.