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Description:This original antique lithograph print of Fort Benton, on the Upper Missouri River Chouteau County, Montana by Sarony, Major & Knapp of New York was published for the United States Pacific Rail Road Expedition Survey (USPRR)northern survey expedition - between 1853-55.
General Definitions:Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stablePaper color : - off whiteAge of map color: - OriginalColors used: - Yellow, green, blue, pinkGeneral color appearance: - AuthenticPaper size: - 11in x 9in (280mm x 230mm)Plate size: - 11in x 9in (280mm x 230mm)Margins: - Min 1/2in (12mm)
Imperfections:Margins: - Light age toning in marginsPlate area: - NoneVerso: - None
Background: Fort Benton is a city in and the county seat of Chouteau County, Montana, United States. Established in 1846, a full generation before the U.S. Civil War, Fort Benton is one of the oldest settlements in the American West; in contrast, many other places—including large cities today—were settled in the late 1860s, 1870s, or 1880s.Established by Auguste Chouteau and Pierre Chouteau, Jr. of St. Louis in 1846 as the last fur trading post on the Upper Missouri River, the fort became an important economic center. For 30 years, the port attracted steamboats carrying goods, merchants, gold miners and settlers, coming from New Orleans, Memphis, St. Louis, Hannibal, Bismarck, Kansas City, etc. As the terminus for the 642-mile-long Mullan Road, completed by the US Army in 1860, and at the head of navigation of the Missouri River, Fort Benton was part of the overland link between trade on the Missouri and the Columbia River, at Fort Walla Walla, Washington. Twenty thousand migrants used the road in the first year to travel to the Northwest. It became an important route for miners from both directions going into the interior of Idaho, and north to Canada. Steamboat travel to Fort Benton from St. Louis, Missouri helped broadly fuel the development of the American West between 1860 and 1890, when it was supplanted by railroad transport. The river was an important route for miners to the newly discovered gold fields of southern Montana at what became Bannack and Virginia City beginning in 1862, and Helena, beginning in 1865.With the decline of the fur trade, the American Fur Company sold the fort to the US Army in 1865, which named it for Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri. A town had grown up around it that surpassed the military presence. Besides being one of the most important ports on the Missouri-Mississippi river system, Fort Benton was once the World\'s Innermost Port. Its importance in trade was superseded by the construction of transcontinental railroads in the late 19th century. In 1867 Fort Benton was the site where Union General Thomas Francis Meagher, then acting governor of Montana Territory, fell overboard from his steamboat and drowned in the river; his body was never recovered.