The goal of this project is to present genealogical and historical details about Sweet Grass County, Montana, and its people.  This website is part of the MTGenWeb Project and USGenWeb Project.  This not-for-profit network of volunteers is dedicated to providing free genealogical data to researchers.  My name is Donna Sims Conner and I am pleased to be the coordinator for Sweet Grass County.

We rely on volunteers to grow and maintain our websites.  Several of the counties in Montana are in need of adoption.  If you are interested in becoming a coordinator for a county, please review the Volunteer Guidelines and email the state coordinator, Karen De Groote.  You may also submit content for any of our state or county sites.  We appreciate your contributions.  


The County of Sweet Grass came into existence as a political division of Montana early in the year 1895, having been organized from Meagher, Park and Yellowstone counties.  It was reduced to its present area and boundaries by yielding portions of its original territory to Stillwater, in 1913, and to Wheatland County, in 1917.

The county derives its name from Sweet Grass Creek, which flows from the eastern slope of the Crazy Mountains to the Yellowstone River, and to the late Judge William G. Strong belongs the honor of naming the county.  The creek received its name from the abundant and fragrant grass which grows in its valley and which gives forth a peculiar odor like vanilla.

As the Yellowstone Valley divides Sweet Grass County into two nearly equal portions, that portion of the state it identified with many of its great historic events, such as the Verendrye and Lewis and Clark expeditions, the Crow Indian treaties and agencies, and the trailings of the emigrants under such leaders as John Bozeman and James Bridger toward Utah, Oregon and the California coast.  The first settlements were made along Sweet Grass Creek in the late '70s, the chief sources of supplies being then Bozeman and Miles City.  With the completion of the Northern Pacific late in 1882 came a new order of things - the modern order.  The old stage stations that had done duty so long along the route from Bozeman to Miles City were replaced by railroad towns.  Dornix, later replaced by Big Timber, became a center of population and, when Sweet Grass County was created, in 1895, the seat of its government and courts.

Source: Excerpts from the book, Montana: Its Story and Biography, volume I, edited by Tom Stout, published in 1921, pages 840-841; located on the website, Hathitrust Digital Library (, accessed 15 June 2022.


Sweet Grass County is in the southern central part of the state.  It is bordered by the following counties: Park to the west, Meagher to the northwest, Wheatland on the north, and Golden Valley and Stillwater to the east.  The Yellowstone River flows nearly through the central portion of the county.  On the south the land rises from the river to the lofty peaks of the Absaroka range, and on the north to the range that forms the divide between the Musselshell and the Yellowstone River.  The county is well watered and there are many valleys.  The Yellowstone valley, about 55 miles long by two wide, the valleys of the Boulder, Big Timber, Sweet Grass, American Fork, and Otter Creek, of varying length and width, are the principal agricultural districts.

Source: Abstract from the book, A History of Montana, volume I, written by Helen Fitzgerald Sanders, published in 1913, page 779, located on the website, Hathitrust Digital Library (, accessed 15 June 2022.  Map from the book, Society of Montana Pioneers, volume I, edited by James U. Sanders, published in 1899, page 242, located on the website, Internet Archive (, accessed 15 June 2022.


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We would like to recognize the contributions of Joan E. Shurtliff and Bunny Freeman.  For many years, they were the Sweet Grass county coordinators.  We appreciate their hard work and dedication.