Montana History:  Place Names (M-R)




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  Select brief notes about place names throughout the state, with an emphasis on towns.

A-B, C-D, E-G, H-L, M-R, S, T-Z

Photo above on Left:  The community of Landusky is named for
Powell "Pike" Landusky, reputed to be one of the toughest rough-and-tumble fighters of the west, who was killed by Kid Curry in 1894.

Place Names of Towns and Landmarks (M-R)
County location in parenthesis; place names are towns unless indicated otherwise.

The listing below is condensed and edited from a more comprehensive list on the Montana Railroad History site (compiled from several sources, primarily The Montana Almanac 1957 edition, published by Montana State University).

For those interested in more than this cursory listing of place names, consider purchasing a copy of Montana Place Names: From Alzada to Zortman, published by the Montana Historical Society press, or visit the accompanying interactive website. Also see the 1954 article, "Montana Place Name Records," by Lucille Childears.

MacLees (Gallatin) - station, named because right of way for Northern pacific acquired from I. S. MacLees
Madison (Madison) - county & river named for President James Madison, by Lewis & Clark
Malta (Phillips) -city & county seat probably named from a Mediterranean Sea, by Great Northern Railway
Manhattan (Gallatin) - town named by New Yorkers who bought land and started Manhattan Company
Marco (Dawson) - town named for an early settler in the vicinity
Marent Gulch (Missoula) - gulch named after Joseph Marent, an early settler
Marias (Toole) - river in NW Montana, named by Captain Lewis June 8, 1805
Marsh (Dawson) - town named for F. H. Marsh, superintendent of northern Pacific railway, 1882
Martinsdale (Meagher) - town named for Maj. Martin Maginnis, territorial delegate to congress
Marysville (Lewis & Clark) - mining town, named for Mrs. Mary Rallston, first white woman settler
Mason (Carbon) - town near Laurel named for S. D. Mason, principal assistant engineer for NPR
Matthews (Gallatin) - town named for Thomas Matthews, a farmer who settled there in 1998
Maudlow (Gallatin) - town named for a member of the R. A. Harlow family, pres. of the Montana railroad
Mauland (Fergus) - own named for Mr. Mauland a stockman of the section
Maxville (Granite) - town first called Flint, later named after postmaster & merchant, R.R. Macleod
McCabe (Roosevelt) - town named for local rancher by that name
McClain (Missoula) - station named because right of way for NP was acquired from T. A. & J.P. McClain
McClave (Fergus) - town named for Charles R. McClave, president of the Montana Flour Mills Company
McCone (McCone) - county in northeastern Montana, named in honor of late Sen. McCone of Dawson Cty.
McCracken (Yellowstone) - town named after a rancher by that name in that locality
McDonald (Sanders) - station named because of proximity to Duncan McDonald's ranch
McElroy (Yellowstone) - town named after contractor McElroy of Billings
McKenzie (Fallon) - town named for Johnny McKenzie, early settler
McLeod (Sweet Grass) - town named for W.F. McLeod.
McQuarrie (Missoula) - station named for Daniel L. McQuarrie, resident in Bearmouth in 1893
Meagher (Meagher) - county named for Gen. Thomas Francis Meagher, gov. of Montana Territory, 1865-76
Melstone (Musselshell) - town named for Melvin E. Stone, at one time president of the associated press
Melville (Sweet Grass) - town named for Lieutenant Melville of arctic fame, by H.O. Hickox
Menard (Gallatin) -town named for Telsford Menard, a farmer near there
Meriwether (Glacier) - town (formerly Bombay) named to honor Capt. Merewether Lewis
Merriman (Park) - town named for W. H. Merriman, general agent of traffic department for Northern Pac.
Merritt Mountain (Glacier) - mountain in Glacier Park named by Gen. W. C. Brown
Miles City (Custer) - city & county seat named for Gen. Nelson A. Miles of civil & Indian wars fame
Milk River - river so named by Lewis & Clark because of its whitish appearance.
Mill Iron (Carter) - town named for "Mill Iron" brand used by the Harris-Franklin cattle outfit
Millegan (Cascade) - town named for Mr. Millegan who lived there at the time the post office was created
Miller Creek (Missoula) - creek named for Ezra Miller who settled on the creek in 1866-67
Miner Creek (Beaverhead) - creek so named because of a supposed find of gold in the area
Mineral (Mineral) - county so named on account of many mines & mining prospects with in the county
Ming Coulee (Cascade) - valley named for John H. Ming, an early settler of Montana, and cattleman
Mission (Park) - station named from old Crow Indian Agency & mission located there
Missoula (Missoula) - city & county, possibly named after Selish Indian word meaning "the river of awe"
Mitchell (Lewis & Clark) - town named for Martin Mitchell, early rancher
Mitchell Gulch (Jefferson) - gulch named for J. F. Mitchell who had a claim there in the '60's
Moccasin (Judith Basin) - town named after a mountain range in view, named after the Indian footwear
Moiese (Lake) -town named for a Flathead Indian sub-chief
Molese (Lake) - small town named for a Flathead sub-chief, Molese
Molt (Stillwater) - station near Big Lake, named for R. F. W. Molt, who sold right-of-way to Northern Pacific
Monida (Beaverhead) - town lying near boundary line between Montana & Idaho ("mon" and "ida")
Montague (Chouteau) - station near Shonkin Lake, named for Montague, Massachusetts
Montour Creek (Powell) - creek named by Indians near the mouth of the North Fork of the Blackfoot River
Moore (Fergus) - station named after Mr. Moore of Philadelphia
Morel (Deer Lodge) - station named for a rancher by that name who lived in the vicinity
Mossman (Yellowstone) - town & railroad junction named after P. B. Moss of Billings
Moulton (Fergus) - town named for Ben Molton, rancher of Grass Range and county commissioner
Mount Hague (Sweet Grass) - mountain supposedly named for the well-liked Mrs. Hague of Cooke county
Muir (Park) - station named after John Muir, contractor on the Bozeman Tunnel
Mulky Creek (Beaverhead) - creek named for Cy Mulky, who had a cow camp on the stream
Mullan (Lewis & Clark) - town & tunnel named for Lieut. John Mullan, first explorer of Mullan Pass
Murn (Custer) - station near miles City, named for Pat Murn, one time roadmaster on the Northern Pacific
Musselshell (Musselshell) - county & river in east-central Montana, named by Lewis & Clark May 20, 1805
Mussigbrod Creek (Beaverhead) - named for Dr. C.F. Mussigbrod, caretaker of Warm Springs asylum
Myers (Treasure) - station named after Mr. Myers, civil engineer of the Northern Pacific)
Neihart (Cascade) - town named for J. L. Neihart, prospectors and discoverer of minerals in the area
Nelson (Lewis & Clark) - town named for Cy Nelson, one of the first settlers in the vicinity
Nye (Sweet Grass) - town named for the mining camp of Nye City, in turn named for Jack V. Nye
Ogden Mountain (Powell) - mountain named for James Ogden, who mined there
O'Keefe's Creek (Missoula) - creek named for C.C. O'Keefe, who settled there in early days
O'Neil (Custer) - town named for Frank O'Neil who lived in that section
Opheim (Valley) - town named in honor of Alfred S. Opheim, the postmaster
Outlook (Sheridan) - town after the view which could be had from the townsite
Paradise (Sanders) - town thatís name is said to be a modification of "Pair O' Dise" after a roadhouse
Park (Park) - county so named because of its proximity to Yellowstone National Park
Pat O'Hara Creek (Carbon) - creek named for an Irishman who was killed by the Indians there in 1876
Pattee Creek (Missoula) - creek named for David Pattee, who took up land on this creek in 1865
People's Creek (Blaine) - creek was originally named "Many Peoples" and is probably of Indian origin
Petroleum (Petroleum) - county so named because of the production of petroleum at Cat Creek
Philbrook (Judith Basin) - town named by E. J. Morrison for his grandfather, John Philbrook of Knox, ME
Philipsburg (Granite) - county seat, named for Philip Deidesheimer, superintendent of a mining company
Phillips (Phillips) - county formed out of Valley county in 1916, named for B. D. Phillips, pioneer sheepman
Pike's Peak Mountain (Powell) - mountain named by the party of miners who discovered gold in 1862
Piniele (Carter) - town named for nearby twin buttes; mistakenly recorded as "Piniele" instead of "Pinicle"
Plains (Sanders) - town formerly called Horse Plains, originally a wintering place for Indians
Plentywood (Sheridan) - town named after early stand of timber on the banks of the nearby creek
Plevna (Fallon) - town named after Plevna, Bulgaria; many Bulgarians worked on the railroad
Poker Jim Butte (Rosebud) - mountain named for "Poker Jim", a famous character of the neighborhood
Polaris (Beaverhead) - town named by a mining engineer for the polar star
Polson (Lake) - town named for David Polson, a stockman who lived in the Mission Valley south of Polson
Pompey's Pillar (Yellowstone) - rock feature named by Clark in 1806, after Pomp, Sacajawea's son
Pondera (Pondera) - originally Pend d'Oreille [ear pendent]; changed to avoid confusion with Idaho town
Pony (Madison) - town named for Smith "Pony" McCumpsey, who found gold in the gulch nearby
Poplar (Roosevelt) - town named from the nearby Poplar River, after timber in the area
Potomac (Missoula) - town named for R. S. Ashby, a resident who came from Virginia in 1893
Powder River (Powder River) - county & river, named because of the gunpowder-colored sand on its banks
Powell (Powell) - county named after Mt Powell, named for Major John W Powell, early geologist/explorer
Prairie (Prairie) - county named for the topography of the region
Princetown (Granite) - town named for Dick Prince, an oldtimer here.
Quigley (Granite) - town named for a Mr. Quigley from Chicago, who promoted the mining camp
Rapelje (Stillwater) - town named for J. M. Rapelje, Vice President of the Northern Pacific Railway
Ravalli (Ravalli) - county named for a Jesuit missionary, Father Anthony Ravalli
Red Bluff (Madison) - town named for the iron-stained bluffs in the vicinity
Red Lodge (Carbon) - county seat; named after Crow Indians in the area or for an Indian medicine man
Redstone (Sheridan) - town so named because of the red stone formation of bluffs close to town
Reese Creek (Gallatin) - town named for John E. Reese, who settled there in 1864
Reichie (Beaverhead) - town named for a family of that name engaged in ranching in the vicinity
Reynold's City (Deer Lodge) - mining camp of the '60's, named for Jack Reynolds, discoverer of the camp
Richie (Dawson) - town named for Clyde C. Richie, the first postmaster
Richland (Richland) - so named in order to advertise the section to prospective settlers
Ringling (Meagher) - town named for John Ringling of circus fame, who was also a railroad president
Robare (Pondera) - town named for Henry Robert, employee of the American Fur Company
Rocker (Silver Bow) - town, former placer mining camp, named for the "rocker" (machine used in panning)
Romey's Lake (Madison) - lake named for Lucien Romey, an early settler in the vicinity
Ronan (Lake) - town named for Major Peter Ronan, U.S. Indian Agent; wrote a history of Flathead Indians
Roosevelt (Roosevelt) - county named for President Theodore Roosevelt
Rosebud (Rosebud) - county, town and river; named because of the profusion of wild roses along river bank
Ross Peak (Gallatin) - named for Melvin Ross Sr., who climbed the summit and placed a flag there
Rothlemay (Golden Valley) - town named by George Pirrie (stockman) for a place near his old Scottish home
Roundup (Musselshell) - county seat and town so named because it was located in a cattle round-up area.
Roy (Fergus) - town named by W. H. Peck, early settler, after a family member
Ruby (Madison) - mountains, valley and river; early settlers found red, ruby-like minerals in the area
Rye Creek (Ravalli) - creek named by the early settlers after an abundance of rye grass along the stream
Ryegate (Golden Valley) - county seat; named after abundance of rye in the area


Montana History Net is produced by Bruce Gourley.  Photographs, except Clark signature, copyright Bruce Gourley.