kids encyclopedia robot

Dawson County, Montana facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Dawson County
Dawson County Courthouse in Glendive
Dawson County Courthouse in Glendive
Map of Montana highlighting Dawson County
Location within the U.S. state of Montana
Map of the United States highlighting Montana
Montana's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Montana
Founded January 15, 1869
Seat Glendive
Largest city Glendive
 • Total 2,383 sq mi (6,170 km2)
 • Land 2,372 sq mi (6,140 km2)
 • Water 11 sq mi (30 km2)  0.5%
 • Total 8,940
 • Density 3.7516/sq mi (1.4485/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (Mountain)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
Congressional district At-large
  • Montana county number 16

Dawson County is a county located in the U.S. state of Montana. As of the 2020 United States Census, the population was 8,940. Its county seat is Glendive.


Dawson County is one of the older counties of the state. It was created January 15, 1869 from the northern half of the original Big Horn County. The namesake of the county is Major Andrew Dawson, manager of the Fort Benton Trading Post for the American Fur Company from 1856 to 1864.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,383 square miles (6,170 km2), of which 2,372 square miles (6,140 km2) is land and 11 square miles (28 km2) (0.5%) is water.

Dawson County is located in the extreme eastern portion of Montana, about fifteen to twenty miles west of the Dakota line.

Dawson County contains part of Montana's badlands. Makoshika State Park is a great example of the unusual rock formations. Yellowstone River runs through the county.

The principal sources of the water supply in Dawson County are the Yellowstone River, which bisects the southeastern half of the county, and the Redwater River, which flows through its extreme northwest townships. Numerous large and small creeks are tributary to these streams, furnishing abundant and accessible facilities not only for watering livestock, but also for small individual irrigation enterprises, and water conservation projects. In the upper bench lands, artesian well irrigation has received considerable attention.

Parts of Dawson County were taken to form Valley County in 1893, Richland County and part of Wibaux County in 1914, part of Prairie County in 1915, and Garfield County and part of McCone County in 1919.

Major highways

  • I-94.svg Interstate 94
  • US 10.svg U.S. Highway 10 (Former)
  • MT-16.svg Montana Highway 16
  • MT-200.svg Montana Highway 200
  • MT-200.svg Montana Highway 200 (Alternate)
  • Montana Highway 254

In 1920, Dawson County was traversed by the National Parks Highway or Red Trail, the Black Trail, the Green Trail and the Blue Trail, all of which passed through Glendive.

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 2,056
1900 2,443 18.8%
1910 12,725 420.9%
1920 9,239 −27.4%
1930 9,881 6.9%
1940 8,618 −12.8%
1950 9,092 5.5%
1960 12,314 35.4%
1970 11,269 −8.5%
1980 11,805 4.8%
1990 9,505 −19.5%
2000 9,059 −4.7%
2010 8,966 −1.0%
2020 8,940 −0.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2020

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 8,966 people, 3,749 households, and 2,429 families living in the county. The population density was 3.8 inhabitants per square mile (1.5/km2). There were 4,233 housing units at an average density of 1.8 per square mile (0.69/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 95.7% white, 1.7% American Indian, 0.3% black or African American, 0.3% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 2.0% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 46.6% were German, 16.3% were Norwegian, 15.5% were Irish, 8.2% were English, and 6.5% were American.

Of the 3,749 households, 26.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.1% were married couples living together, 6.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 35.2% were non-families, and 31.2% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.82. The median age was 43.5 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $50,752 and the median income for a family was $63,982. Males had a median income of $45,222 versus $30,993 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,602. About 7.4% of families and 9.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.5% of those under age 18 and 9.6% of those age 65 or over.


1913 postcard of Glendive



Census-designated place

Unincorporated communities


Dawson County is known for its dryland grain, coal mines and gas and oil wells. There are 522 current farms and ranches, and 296 commercial businesses.

Lying in the heart of the western third of the Fort Union region, Dawson County is plentifully supplied with lignite coal. Local natural gas has supplied Glendive since at least 1920. Excellent clays for pottery and brick-making are also found in the county.

From early days, Dawson County was known as a splendid stock county, because of the native cover of a heavy and nutritious grass. Unlike some other parts of the state, the livestock industry did not die out. In the early 20th century, the county was known for pure-bred stock raising, dairying, and the production of hogs and poultry.

While there is some broken land around the Sheep Bluffs, in the northwestern part of the county, and east of the Yellowstone, smooth prairies and rolling land predominated in the county, making conditions excellent for farming purposes. The dark sandy loam soil, with a heavy clay subsoil, was a big producer.

The principal crops in the early years of the 20th century were barley, oats and wheat. Sixty per cent of the land was tillable, and the remainder afforded good grazing. As of 1920, the headgates of the Lower Yellowstone Irrigation Project, which irrigated approximately 90,000 acres, were located at Intake, in Dawson County, and further irrigation was planned. Unirrigated land was also producing excellent crops, with up to 400 bushels of potatoes in one acre of unirrigated land. In 1915, Dawson County won first and second prizes on Northwestern Dent corn at the St. Paul Corn Show, and in December of the following year, at the First National Corn Show, held at the same city, took first and second prizes and three third prizes. In 1920, it was estimated that the acreage planted in corn in Dawson County alone was as great as the corn acreage for the entire state in 1910.


Dawson Community College is located in Glendive.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Dawson (Montana) para niños

kids search engine
Dawson County, Montana Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.