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Frontier Life
While completing research for THE FRONTIER HOUSE, we have pieced together diaries, letters, newspaper articles, and official documents to give us a window into the day-to-day lives of settlers who actually lived on the American frontier. Their stories of adventure, endurance, humor, and determination are the basis of this ever-changing series of essays.

HOMESTEAD HISTORY: HISTORICAL ESSAYS


Or learn about the historical essays below:

Uncle Sam is Rich Enough to Give Us All a Farm

The Homestead Act, passed by Congress on May 20, 1862, declared that any citizen of the United States could claim 160 acres of surveyed government land. More ...



Getting Started: Packing and Preparing for a New Life

600 lbs. flour, 300 meat, 50 beans, 100 rice, 2 crackers, 300 bacon, 200 ham, 50 dry beef, 50 cheese, 50 butter, 400 sugar, 20 gallons syrup, 50 lbs black tea ... More ...



Hardship without Glory: Life on the Trail

Once on the road, emigrants could expect to travel 12 to 20 miles a day, under the best conditions. More ...



The Little Old Sod Shanty on the Claim: Creating a Home on the Frontier, Part I

Homesteaders frequently waited several weeks, or even months, after their arrival on the frontier to put up this semi-permanent housing. More ...



It is Very Aristocratic to Have a Bed and All Creating a Home on the Frontier, Part II

Because of the scarcity of water, homesteaders conserved it (and recycled it) in ways that would be unthinkable to most 21st-century Americans. More ...



Food on the Frontier

The bulk of homesteaders' diets were harvested from their claim or gathered from the wilderness that surrounded them. More ...



The Crow Indians and Montana Settlers

While the U.S. was well on its way to the twentieth century, an entire civilization was passing out of existence in the American West. More ...



The Extermination of the American Buffalo

It is generally agreed that, at the turn of the nineteenth century, more than 60 million bison roamed the plains and prairies of the American West. More ...



How the West was Fun

The major impediment to recreation and leisure time on the frontier was, of course, the amount of work that had to be done to sustain day-to-day existence. More ...



Frontier Education and the One-Room Schoolhouse

Westward expansion and the Homestead Act had a profound impact on American education. More ...



The Northern Pacific Railroad and Those Who Built It

The completion of the Northern Pacific was nothing short of a miracle to eager Montanans. More ...



The Largest, Longest Running...

The "wild" West, the West of covered wagons, pioneers, cowboys, and Indians, faded into memory, myth, and legend. More ...










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