A History of Sedan, Montana

by

Linda M. Zupan

 

Undated Photo taken by Linda M. Zupan

 

An Introduction to Sedan:

Sedan is a unique ranching community east of Bozeman at the base of the beautiful Bridger Mountains. While Sedan is now home to approximately 70 year round residents literally hundreds have called this area home in times past. This history and a corresponding website at www.mcn.net/~lmzupan have been created to preserve the stories of the people who have enriched this fine community.

Many came to Sedan with their families and stayed only a short time; others called Sedan home for many years; while some descendants of the original settlers, such as Allen Woosley's family, are still ranching and raising their families here today. School records and residents' recollections indicate that over 200 children attended Sedan School at various times. In earlier years Sedan housed a cheese factory, post office and store.

The introductory photograph is a view of the Bridger Mountains as taken in front of the author's home which shows only a portion of Sedan's beauty. The name of our community is said to have been suggested by one of the first settlers, Josie (Maddox) Woosley in 1891. After arriving here, as homesteaders, from Kansas in covered wagons, Josie and her family named the post office after the county seat the Woosleys and Maddoxes left behind.

Description of Sedan:

In earlier times Sedan was predominately a dairy community with its own Cheese Factory. As one former teacher and resident, Eva Lachenmaier noted, "Many large milking barns could be seen around the community." Sedan was never really a town, but there were many farmers and ranchers who had 160 acres each.

Sedan is currently cattle country although several attempts have been made over the years to farm in Sedan. Barley and winter wheat crops did not do well. However, during the 20s and 30s"good crops of rye," were produced by "Uncle Wade" Inabnit according to former resident Adrian Inabnit. The community of Sedan was said to also have been supported by some sheep-raising in years passed.

Along with The Cheese Factory, Sedan also supported a school (which consisted of 3 different buildings throughout the years), a teacherage, post office, store, two cemeteries, a church and various sawmills. See contents/links below to view more specific information.

Flathead Indians and others were said to have come through the pass to the West (in the Bridger Mountains) to hunt "thus the names of Flathead Pass and Flathead Creek."

First known as "over in the Flathead" to distinguish it from the Flathead Lake area, according to the "Sedan Community Country Cookbook (1989)," Sedan is located at the base of the Bridger Mountains below Flathead Pass. In "A History of Park County Rural Schools 1877- 1990," Warren Reichman, former resident and descendent of Maddoxes and Woosleys, describes Sedan, "Up toward the northeast corner of Gallatin County tucked away in the Bridger Range of mountains, is a small valley measuring roughly ten miles north-to-south and ten miles east-to-west. Scenic and productive, this valley is drained by ten small streams which join to form Flathead Creek. This creek eventually empties into the Shields River near Wilsall in Park County." The Shields River empties into the Yellowstone River.

The 10 small creeks Warren notes above are: Frazier Creek, Ainger Creek, Carroll Creek (which is also noted on various maps as Middle Fork of Flathead and Kelly Creek), Cache Creek, Fairy Creek, South Fork of Flathead, Green Canyon Creek, Dry Creek, and Muddy Creek.

In "Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley," (Smith 1996) she states, "The stepchild community of Sedan, located east of Flathead Pass, has threatened to secede from Gallatin County from time to time. Its fortunes seem more closely linked with Livingston and Park County; even its creek waters drain east into the Shields River."

In earlier years while discussing attempts to get road work done by the county, Warren wrote, "When our forefathers were designing Montana counties, they should have put this (Shields) valley in Park County (Sedan is about 3 miles from the Park County border). It is bounded on the west by the rugged and impassable peaks of Bridger Mountains. These dwindle down to Elkhorn Ridge, stretching across the northern side of the valley to Shields River. On the south side of the valley is Battle Ridge, a 7500-foot-high spur of the Bridgers. These mountains effectively isolated the little valley from the rest of Gallatin County for many years."

Stepchild community, or not, welcome to Sedan, Montana...

 

Final Note:

It has been a humbling experience to attempt to document all of this information as accurately as possible and I would like to thank all the past and present residents and their family members who participated in interviews and answered endless questions in order to help me try to keep all these facts straight!

I would also like to thank my mother, Mary T. Painter, who photographed some of the more recent images for this publication; Sedan resident Susan Lohmuller who assisted me in 2001 in further updating my research; and my husband Dewey Zupan who put up with many late, cold, or non-existent meals over the years while I worked on this project!

 

Photo taken by Linda M. Zupan June 2000

Double rainbow shot from author's home looking southeast toward Battle Ridge

It is easy to see why former Sedan resident Kay (Seitz) Gannon

describes Sedan as "God's Country."

 

First Printing December 2000

Revised October 2008

 

author.html

bibliography.html

cemeteries.html

cheesefactory.html

church.html

otherschools.html

postoffice.html

residents.html

schoolchildren.html

schoolhistory.html

Sedanmisc.html (Utilities, Roads & Transportation, Social Life, Store, & Homestead Act, etc.)

teachers.html

Timeline.html

trusteesclerks.html