Eastern American Immigrants

Abraham and Mary Walton Hogeland

One early settler from the eastern United States was Abraham Hogeland, a surveyor for the Northern Pacific Railway, the first transcontinental line through the state, and the instigator for the first land rushes through Montana.

Hogeland's family roots were in Pennsylvania and he was graduated with honors from the estimable LaFayette College. An educated and optimistic man, Abraham became very familiar with the land as a surveyor, and chose his homestead in the Judith Basin, near present day Lewistown. He established a sheep ranch and took advantage of several other opportunities and positions to support his family. He had married Mary Walton back East, and left her and his infant son to embark on his western adventure very soon thereafter. His great granddaughter, western writer Mary Clearman Blew explains: "Family legend confirms his love for the basin – how he first surveyed it for the railroad and, having seen no better country between Pennsylvania and Montana, decided to make it his."1

He worked and lived and settled for two years before Mary and their son Albert joined him at the homestead. His appointment as county land surveyor after he left the railroad established him in the position of formally transitioning the landscape around him into a place for non-Indian settlement.

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Excerpted from Abraham and Mary Walton Hogeland House, National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form by Kate Hampton, 2006; on file at Montana State Historic Preservation Office.

1. Mary Clearman Blew, All But the Waltz, (New York: Viking Penguin, 1991), pp. 29.

2. Marjorie Mackey, "Montana Historic Property Record: Hogeland House," on file at the Montana State Historic Preservation Office.

3. Vonnie Cornett, "19th Century Officers Never Had It So Good!," Lewistown News-Argus, April 29, 1979.