Monday, July 28, 2014

Sieben Ranch

The Sieben Ranch encompasses a vast 115,000 acres in Lewis and Clark County. It has a rich archaeological history that includes fragments of the roads that brought miners to Montana’s goldfields. Trader Malcolm Clarke was the first to settle on a knoll overlooking Prickly Pear Creek in 1864 where he ran a stage stop.

Montana Historical Society Photograph Archives, 941-761
Clarke, embittered over his expulsion from West Point because of an altercation with a fellow student, had come west with the American Fur Company in 1841. The itinerant trader finally settled down on his ranch to raise horses and cattle. A dispute with Clarke’s Blackfeet in-laws and trouble in Fort Benton between whites and Blackfeet led to his murder at the ranch in 1869.

Malcolm Clarke's ranch. Montana Historical Society Photograph Archives, 941-762
Clarke’s family buried him on a gentle rise north of the house. Pioneer rancher James Fergus added the Clarke ranch to his large holdings in 1875. General William T. Sherman, an overnight guest at the Fergus house in 1877, stumbled upon Clarke’s grave. He was saddened to discover Clarke’s fate. The two had been classmates at West Point and Sherman had long wondered what became of the promising young cadet. Henry Sieben purchased the ranch in 1897, and it remains in the Sieben-Baucus family today, still a working sheep ranch with a legacy its owners treasure.


  1. It always surprises me when you tell about someone who was at West Point and then comes so far west. That wasn't an easy journey to make. It's a long journey even today in a fast comfortable car.

  2. Melcolm was my great grandpa. His son Horace’s daughter Agnes is my great grandma.