The following section ‘The Current Position’ is a very brief overview and summary of 1866 – 1871, it is not intended to be a definitive history of the West and some of the information contained within is vague or even misleading. History, pre 1866, is as of our world, so if you want more background material from before this time, a couple of useful sources and a few biographies are contained toward the end of this pack.
The Current Position
Following the Civil War (1861 - 1865) the Southern States were decimated. Galloping inflation, lack of man power and the opportunist carpet baggers caused as much hardship, if not more, that the war itself. The promised reconstruction funding was intermittent and inadequate, from that day to this a great sense of resentment is felt toward their Northern conquers.
This resentment is beginning to manifest itself in demonstrations, attacks on Federal buildings. The most notorious of these was the Tennessee food riot of August 11th 1868 in which Federal soldiers shot dead thirty seven rioters who has been attempting to break into the Memphis grain repository. These killings lead to protests and demonstrations throughout the Southern States. The Federal Government responded by declaring martial law and dispatching thousands of soldiers southward.
Members of the Legislatures of the former Southern States are again pressing for independence from the Union.
A steady flow of immigrants and second generation Americans stream eastward into the great plains, some striving as far as the Pacific ocean.
Along long established routes such as the Santa Fe and Organ trails, small town are rapidly build, some little more than a collection of shacks, others boom towns.
The once open plains are now being criss crossed by great lengths of barbed wire as cattle ranching has becomes big business, small holds are squeezed out and many shot in the resulting disputes.
Sweet Water Valley
Situated in Rosebud County, Montana. The valley is in the early stages of settlement, and as such is suffering all the problems that go with a frontier territory.
Restless natives, outlaws, claim jumpers and bushwhackers make a living alongside the farmer, rancher and miner.
A number of small towns, considered by some as outposts of civilisation and others as unwelcome guests are starting to appear as more and more migrants from the east head into this virgin territory.
The Sweet Water Trading Post
The Sweet Water Trading Post is in Rosebud County, Montana. It is a small settlement that was founded in April 1847 by Sergeant William Young, a former soldier in the Alabama State Militia.
Sergeant Young served his twenty years service in the army, fought bandits, Mexicans, Indians and even river pirates in Louisiana bayous. Tired and disillusioned with so called ‘civilisation’ he headed West with Mary, his young bride, to start a new life.
After several months of travelling they found a spot that they liked the look of and built themselves a trading post.
Over the forthcoming years Sargent Young traded with trappers, settlers and the native Blackfoot (or Siksika) tribe who lived in small village settlements nearby.
Steadily over the next ten years, more settlers passed though the valley and some, most notably the Allcock family set down roots near to the post, before long a small community had been formed.
Sergeant Young was appointed the first Major of Sweet Water in 1861, and he held this post until his death in 1865, his wife died three months after.
The town makes it money trading with trappers, prospectors and passing wagon trains, all of these the town relies on for information as to what is going on in the outside World.
The closest large town and assay office is Clarkestown.
The largest town in Rosebud County. It was founded in 1850 by Samuel James an officer of the Corp. of Exploration at the behest of Governor Hiram Neubeurger of Wyoming and named after William Clarke, of the Lewis and Clarke fame.
Governor Neubeurger realised the need for a large central settlement for all the smaller ones around. Clarkestown was founded on blood, sweat and tears and it took seven years before things started to work out right. Clarkestown is now thriving and more people are moving into the area.
Smallcott is a small close knit community which is little more than a village.
Founded in 1849 by settlers primarily from Michigan. The town has grown on small amounts of trade.
Settled in 1863 by Edgar Mills a Captain in the 5th Maine Infantry, he was invalided out after sustaining a serious head wound at Goldings Farm June 27th 1862. He wanted to leave the war behind and find somewhere to settle with a fresh start. He rounded up like minded wounded soldiers and their family’s and found a spot alongside the Rosebud River in September 1863 and named it Riverview. The town didn’t see many problems during the remainder of the war as it was still being built. In the last five years many former Union soldiers have settled here, and many have joined the local defence militia.
Southerns are not welcome in Riverview.
A Ghost town, originally on the site of an old Indian village that was usurped in 1839. Little is mentioned about Fairwaters past expect that it was bloody, violent and left the natives not very happy.
Strange things happen in Fairwater, best not to enquire too much.
A loose farming community, formally Butler’s Farm.
There is nothing really of note here. It has a bloody history with the killing of a dozen or so farmer by a rogue Blackfoot Warband under the leadership of Mountain Chief
The Local Injan Tribe
The predominate Tribe in this area are the Blackfoot, they are the remains of a powerful buffalo hunting society.
At first the arrival of the Europeans pleased them, since European horses became quickly invaluable to the Blackfoot tribes. Unfortunately, things took several turns for the worse. Smallpox epidemics ravaged the Blackfoot population in the mid-1800's
Worse than this, as settlers continue to expand westward toward the pacific great numbers of buffalo have been hunted down and their hides and meat are shipped East. Times are hard and many Blackfoot fear that they will starve, This has caused ill feelings amongst the tribes to the whiteman, many skirmishes have occurred.
The most serious was the attach on Butler’s Farm, now the town of Butler in 1868 by the Warband of Mountain Chief, in which twelve white farmers died. This and series smaller attacks lead the territory’s governor to dispatch a troop of cavalry under Col. Edwards, to capture or kill Mountain Chief.
In March 1869, Col. Edwards erroneously fell instead upon Heavy Runner's peaceable Piegan band and killed 200 of people, many of them women and children.
The following year Governor Johnstone of signed a treaty with the remaining Montana tribes, in exchange for protected lands, the Blackfoot returned to their villages and have lived peacefully with the settlers
Mountain Chief still remains at large
The Children of Hope
Founded by the Rev. Joseph P Sanders in Hope Springs, Tennessee, this is a radical and fast spreading devout sect who follow a strange brand of Puritanism, lifting instructions for life directly from the Bible.
It has been alleged that members of this Church scour the land looking for sinners and those they believe to be afflicted or tainted , if any are found an Old Testament style of Justice is enacted upon them.
The Black Necks
A gang of Outlaws lead by Col. Hiram Black, a former Engineering advisor on General Reno’s staff.
It is estimated that nearly 100 hundred me ride with Col. Black and that their hideout is located in the Montana territory.
Black Necks are so named as they wear a black neckerchiefs and it is well known that if you pick a fight with one you have picked a fight with them all.
The Montana Temperance Movement
Founded in Clarkestown, Montana by Mrs Rosmerta Matthews, this social movement is dedicated to promoting moderation and ultimately complete abstinence in the use of intoxicating liquor.
Following twelve years of campaigning, Mrs Matthews and Pastor Jack Brown have finally convinced the Mayor and Council of Clarkestown to declare it a dry town.
Now they are casting their gaze for the next den of sin and intoxication.
The Church of Thorns
Formed in the late middle ages the Church is a semi secretive organisation established and backed by the Catholic church, their existence is an open secret, however the exact nature of their purpose is unknown.
Boom town at the basin of Mount Lustrous and the top edge of a triangle with Clarkestown and Sweet Water. Over the past few years, Shingle springs has moved from a back water panning valley to a full blown mining concern. All the major Mining Corporation players in the North have stakes in Shingle Springs. The rest....well, you'll just have to visit!!!