Liberty Beginnings....................

In July 1806 Meriwether Lewis and his party were the first recorded white men in the area. Captain Lewis writes of his scrimmage with a tribe of Indian (probably Piegans or Blackfeet) along the Marias River. 

Following the Lewis and Clark Expedition, fur trappers, hardy adventurers, and a few prospectors came, and in the 1880’s large cattle and sheep ranches were established. 

Between 1910 and 1918 two homestead acts brought many settlers to the area. Homesteader “shacks” appeared on virtually every quarter or half-section as people swarmed into the newly opened territory to “prove-up” on their acres. Many who came went broke, perished in drought, or froze in long, cold winters. Others stuck out the hardships and formed the basis for the modern mechanized farming economy prevalent in this area today. 

Liberty County was created from sections of Chouteau and Hill counties in 1919 when 72% of the voters in the area voted for the proposition. At this same election Chester was chosen as the county seat. Liberty County became the first county formed after World War I in the state of Montana.

County Coordinator

Hello! My name is Mary Schwanke, I am the new coordinator for Liberty County. If you have a general question on where to find information about your ancestor, I may be able to offer ideas or provide links, don't forget to use the search tool below!

I do not live in Montana, and do not do research for others. If you are looking for ways to volunteer, contact me if you can help with any of these:

  • If you find a broken link/image on this site, please let me know about it.

  • If you know of another website that may be helpful to Liberty county researchers, please send an email with the link.

  • If you live in or near Liberty county and would be willing to take photos of landmarks, or transcribe gravestones in a cemetery. (Great project for scout troops and history classes)

  • If you own publications & materials that pertain to Liberty county & its people, and would be willing to look-up information for other researchers.

  • If you would be willing to transcribe books or census materials for the site. (I would provide materials or links to them, as well as directions)

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