Montana Territorial Legislative Assembly (1st: 1864) records, 1864-1865

Overview of the Collection

Montana. Legislative Assembly.
Montana Territorial Legislative Assembly (1st: 1864) records
1864-1865 (inclusive)
1 linear feet of shelf space
Collection Number
LR-Terr 1
Collection contains records of the Montana Territorial Legislative Assembly (1864-1865) including the original manuscripts of the House journal; and House and Council Committee reports, bills, and resolutions.
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

This collection includes the original manuscripts of the House journal; House and Council Committee reports, bills, and resolutions; and miscellany, including clippings of laws of Montana Territory, oaths of council and house employees, financial records, and petitions (re water rights near Virginia City and the Marysville Town Association Company). [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 (1st: 1864) records, 1864-1865. Legislative Records-Terr. 1. [box and folder number]. Montana Historical Society Research Center. Archives. Helena, Montana.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


The collection is organized into three series, House of Representatives, Council, and Miscellany. House of Representatives is further sorted into four subseries, Standing Committees, House Bills, House Joint Resolutions, and House Journal. Council is further organized into foursubseries, Incoming Correspondence, Reports of Standing Committees, Council Bills, and Council Resolutions.

Location of Collection


Acquisition Information

Acquisition information available upon request.

Processing Note

Ellie Arguimbau processed the collection in 1979 and Connie Geiger reprocessed the collection in 1994

Separated Materials


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

House of RepresentativesReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Standing Committees
1 / 1
Rules of the House of Representatives
House Bills
1 / 2-7
Bill nos. 1-146
House Joint Resolutions
1 / 8
Bill nos. 1, 3
House Journal
1 / 9-13
1st Legislative Day - 48th Legislative Day
1864 December 12 - 1865 February 9
Container(s) Description Dates
Incoming Correspondence
1 / 14
Communication from Governor Sidney Edgerton re County Appointments
Reports of Standing Committees
1 / 15
Miscellaneous Committees
1 / 16
Rules of the Council
Council Bills
1 / 17-21
Bill nos. 2-129
Council Joint Resolutions
1 / 22
Bill nos. 9, 11, and un-numbered

MiscellanyReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Laws of Montana Territory from The Montana Post of Virginia City, Montana Territory [Oversize: map case]
1/ 23
Oaths of Council and House Employees
1/ 24
1/ 25
Petitions [map case]
1/ 26
Vouchers and Warrants

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

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

Geographical Names

  • Montana--Politics and government.