Welcome to Cohagen, Montana

Cohagen is in the southeastern section of the county. A post office, started there in 1905, was given the maiden name of postmaster Harry Harris's mother. The Harrises were the first settlers in the area and the post office was in their home on the old LU Ranch about a mile southwest of the present site. By 1915 Cohagen was booming: Mrs. Fleming ran a little roadhouse and her husband worked as a foreman on the LU Ranch. There were three stores, a schoolhouse, a doctor and a dentist, two hotels, and a restaurant. "Later on a high school was built. The first teacher was a redhead from New York. She didnt stay a second term," wrote the students in the "Montana Life" class at Garfield County in a booklet that has been preserved in the library.

The Northern Pacific Railroad owned a lot of land in Garfield County and issued plenty of propaganda and publicity to entice settlers to come and buy it. Many farmers did come, paying from $5 to $25 per acre for the dry land homesteads. In 1919 there were thirty settlements in Garfield County with post offices; by 1968 there were only four in addition to the county seat, Jordan. The land that had once been open grazing range for cattle and sheep was cut into small farms. Later the dry years drove most of the farmers away. The land went for taxes or for fifty cents an acre.

This is good sheep country if the winter isnt too tough, but hard winters have devastated entire bands. In 1903-04 one man had five thousand wethers on Phillips Creek west of Cohagen, and after the storm not a single one was left alive. The N Bar Company brought 15,000 sheep down from the Mussellshell country to winter in the Blackfoot and around Smoky Butte; after the blizzard only seven thousand were left (Big Dry Country). Teams of horses pulling crude snowplows were used during the severe winter of 1903 in an attempt to clear some land so the sheep could graze. Often the horses legs were cut and bleeding from the crusted snow. Some ranchers skinned dead cows and used the hides to make leggings for the horses. (from Cheney's Names on the Face of Montana, Mountain Press Publishing Company)