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History of Scobey
By Mike Stebleton

Long before Scobey, Montana, located near the crossroads of the Wood Mountain Trail and Outlaw Trail, became the city it is today, the wide-open prairies of this region were occupied by Indians pursuing the migrating buffalo followed by the fur traders and the outlaws seeking refuge from their crimes.

Settlers began coming into the area in 1901. Mansfield Daniels, whom the county was Click Photo To Enlargeeventually named after in 1920, had the vision of starting a settlement along the Poplar River. That year he secured a post office and began building his townsite, which included a blacksmith shop, livery stable, hotel, general store, implement dealer, and saloon, to name a few.

Daniels envisioned the Great Northern Railroad extending a branchline north from the mainline in Poplar, following the Poplar River drainage to his townsite. The railroad did extend northward into the area, but it wasn't the route that Mansfield thought it would be. Instead, in 1913, the railway spurred off the main line at Bainville near the North Dakota border and extended north to Plentywood and then west toward Scobey, named after Mansfield's friend Major Charles Scobey. When the Great Northern reached the area it had already determined where the townsite at the end of its line would be 1.5 miles northeast of Mansfield's townsite. Eventually, virtually everyone living in Mansfield's Scobey townsite on the river bottom and the business buildings were moved the 1.5 miles northeast to form the new Scobey.

With the arrival of the railroad Scobey grew rapidly with a flood of homesteaders taking advantage of free land to try their hand at dryland wheat farming. By 1924, Scobey was the largest primary wheat market in the United States and that distinction continued into 1925 and 1926.

In the following decade, the "Dirty 30s," Scobey suffered through the drought and great depression the rest of the country experienced but rebounded throughout the 1940s, 50s, 60s, and 70s, enjoying prosperity through its agricultural production. Today, Scobey is a little city with all the amenities of a big city.

Additional History


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Daniels County Chamber Of Commerce And Agriculture
120 Main Street  PO Box 91
Scobey, Mt. 59263
(406) 487-2061