Montana Territorial Legislative Assembly (16th: 1889) records, 1889

Overview of the Collection

Montana. Legislative Assembly.
Montana Territorial Legislative Assembly (16th: 1889) records
1889 (inclusive)
.3 linear feet of shelf space
Collection Number
LR-Terr 16 (51:5-5)
Collection contains the records of the Montana Territorial Legislative Assembly (16th: 1889) including correspondence; members' financial accounts; reports to the Legislature by the Auditor and Treasurer; a subject file on a Missoula County contested election; petitions; rules; and miscellany.
Montana Historical Society, Library & Archives
Montana Historical Society Research Center Archives
225 North Roberts
PO Box 201201
Helena MT
Telephone: 4064442681
Fax: 4064445297
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

The 1864 Organic Act created Montana Territory and provided a basic government structure for the new territory, including a territorial governor, secretary and three judges appointed by the president of the United States, and a territorial legislature and non-voting representative to the U.S. House of Representatives elected by eligible voters in the territory. The act called for the legislature to meet annually for 40 days, except for the first legislature, which was granted a 60 day session. The territorial governor was to decide the date and places of the first election, apportion the members of the two houses and choose the date and place for the first legislature to meet. Thereafter, the legislature itself was to decide dates for future elections and legislative sessions and apportion seats.

After conducting a census of the territory, which he used to apportion the 7 seats of the Territorial Council and 13 seats of the House of Representatives, Territorial Governor Sidney Edgerton held the first territorial election on October 24, 1864. The first territorial legislature met from December 12, 1864 through February 9, 1865. They passed nearly 100 bills, but did not apportion seats in the legislature for future elections. The legislature contained an even distribution of Republicans and Democrats. Edgerton, a Republican, insisted that members of legislature swear to the "Iron Clad Oath," which included a statement that they had never borne arms against the U.S. Government. J. H. Rogers could not swear to the oath and was forced to resign his seat, creating immediate tension between Edgerton and the members of the legislature.

Sources: Margery H. Brown, "Metamorphosis and Revision: A Sketch of Constitution Writing in Montana," Montana: The Magazine of Western History Vol. 20 No. 4 (Fall 1970), pp 2-17; James McClellan Hamilton, History of Montana: from Wilderness to Statehood, (Portland, Oregon, Binfords and Mort : c1970); Michael P. Malone, Richard B. Roeder and William L. Lang, Montana: A History of Two Centuries, Revised Ed. (Seattle: Univeristy of Washington Press, 1991); Robert G. Athearn, "The Civil War and Montana Gold: The Great War Muddies the Mountain Waters," Montana: The Magazine of Western History Vol. 12 No. 2 (Spring 1962), pp. 62-73.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Collection includes correspondence (including the Governor's annual message); members' financial accounts; reports to the Legislature by the Auditor and Treasurer; a subject file on a Missoula County contested election; petitions (re Northern Pacific Railroad land claims, county reorganization, codification, liquor license fees, school bonds, building of reform school, Sunday closure of saloons, compensation of sheriffs). [OVERSIZE MATERIAL: map case]

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

The Montana Historical Society is the owner of the materials in the Research Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the Research Library before any reproduction use. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.

Preferred Citation

[item description and date]. Montana Territorial Legislative Assembly (16th: 1889) records, 1889. Legislative Records-Terr. 16. [box and folder number]. Montana Historical Society Research Center. Archives. Helena, Montana.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


The collection is organized into two series, House of Representatives and Council and Miscellany. The series House of Representatives and Council is further organized into four subseries, General Correspondence, Financial Records, Reports, and Subject Files.

Location of Collection


Acquisition Information

Acquisition information available upon request.

Processing Note

Connie Geiger reprocessed the collection in 1994

Separated Materials


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

House of Representatives and CouncilReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
General Correspondence
1 / 1
Governor's Message
Financial Records:
1 / 2
Members' Accounts
1 / 3
Auditor and Treasurer's Report
1 / 4
Committee Reports
Subject File
1 / 5
Contested Election, Missoula County (Includes Testimonies and Depositions)

MiscellanyReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1 / 6
Petitions (re Codification, Liquor License Fees, School Bonds, Reform School, Sunday Closures of Saloons, and Compensation of Sherriffs)
1 / 7
Petitions (re County Reorganization)
1 / 8
Petitions (re Northern Pacific Railroad Land Claims)
1 / 9
1 / 10
Signatures of members of House and Council [Oversize: Map Case]

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Bills, Legislative--Montana.
  • Legislative bodies--Montana--Committees.

Geographical Names

  • Montana--Politics and government.