Minnesota & Montana
Land & Improvement

Minnesota and Montana Land and Improvement Company

Sunday, November 01, 2009

In the land of intrigue and investment opportunities, there is no better example than this. The creation of a specialized business venture of this magnitude took great skills and courage, not to mention personal trust and financial resources. There are a lot of underlying layers to this company, and some of them are presented here, all taken from the Yellowstone Genealogy Forumís file records.

Articles of first incorporation were prepared on 23 March 1882 with a capital investment of $200,000, distributed in stockholders shares of 4,000. The effective dates of incorporation were from 15 March 1882 through 30 years. The maximum liability of the corporation was limited to $100,000. Original investors were Heman Clark, John B. Westbrook and Thomas C. Kurtz. The execution of the incorporation was made on the 23rd before a Notary Public (CL Roher) in Ramsey County, MN. They held the incorporation papers private until 11 November 1883, when they filed them for public knowledge, but only in MN. By July 1883, George Hulme was secretary, and EG Woolfolk was Vice President.

Articles announcing the incorporation for filing in Montana was created on 23 April 1883, but set for filing thirteen years later on 26 March 1896[1].

One year after founding the venture, they signed a deal with the Northern Pacific Railroad Company & the NPR broker, the Central Trust Company of NY, creating a transfer of railroad assets deed for the western land adjacent to the town of Billings on 23 April 1883 for $73,558.86. This deed they held from filing until 6 October 1883 in New York. This gave them the right to resell the land and further develop the town. On April 10, 1882 the land company held the titles in Fee Simple, including all of Billings.

All of the railroad sectional land, excepting for their 400 foot right-of-way and their attendant coal and mineral rights from the various sections were transferred. NPR took out mortgages on 1 May 1879 and 1 September 1879 with the Central Trust Company for construction of the rail line, placing all lands of which they could take immediate title (odd numbered sections along 40 miles each side of track) within the Territory of Montana as collateral. Another loan was acquired on 1 January 1881. Clear titles could not be administered to the new owners until NPR paid off their broker. This wasnít accomplished until 18 August 1896[2]. This made a real mess for later land transfer ownerships, but simply took time to complete. Other loans ensued along with asset transfers, clouding the land titles even further.

All odd numbered sections within the ranges and townships within Yellowstone County as of this time were sold by the land company to:

        S5, T1S, R26E Frederick Billings $25,600 June 15, 1883. (Sold November 17, 1885 to Alfred & Benjamin Myers for $3,500)

        S3 &19, T1S, R25E†††† Frederick Billings $1,600 December 12, 1884 (plus re-conveyance of Section 5)

        All lands owned by the land company were mortgaged to Oliver Billings as Trustee of the company, on 1 November 1888 for $40,000.



[1] Articles of Incorporation, Second Filing, Book B, Montana Territory; page 208; and others.

[2] General Land Deed, Book K, pgs 364-374, filed in New York.

  Email me:
Katy Hestand
Yellowstone County Coordinator

© 2014 MTGenWeb