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Forsyth, Montana
Downtown Forsyth
Downtown Forsyth
Location of Forsyth, Montana
Location of Forsyth, Montana
Country United States
State Montana
County Rosebud
 • Total 1.17 sq mi (3.03 km2)
 • Land 1.15 sq mi (2.98 km2)
 • Water 0.02 sq mi (0.05 km2)
2,520 ft (770 m)
 • Total 1,647
 • Density 1,432.17/sq mi (552.68/km2)
Time zone UTC-7 (Mountain (MST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-6 (MDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 406
FIPS code 30-27700

Forsyth is a city in, and the county seat of, Rosebud County, Montana, United States. The population was 1,647 at the 2020 census. Forsyth was established in 1876 as the first settlement on the Yellowstone River, and in 1882 residents named the town after General James William Forsyth who commanded Fort Maginnis, Montana during the Indian Wars and the 7th Cavalry at the Wounded Knee Massacre. The town has long been a transportation nexus, starting with steamboats on the river and progressing to the Northern Pacific Railway and Interstate 94.


Forsyth was established as a settlement on the Yellowstone in 1876 as a steamboat landing supporting United States Army operations in the Indian Wars.

in 1882, Thomas Alexander traded land to the Northern Pacific Railway to start the town, and developed four buildings on main street.

In 1894, 500 men of the socialist Coxey's Army inspired by Jacob Coxey and led by William Hogan, commandeered a Northern Pacific Railway train for a trip to Washington, DC. They fought Federal Marshals on the way, and were finally apprehended in Forsyth on April 25, with the help of the Army, by Troop L, Eighth Cavalry from Fort Keogh, the Cheyenne soldiers known as "Casey's scouts." This incident marked one of the few instances where Native American troops were used against whites. Although some escapes occurred, most of the Coxey's Army supporters were taken to Helena as prisoners.

In the 1980s Forsyth served as the home of the United States Air Force 1st Combat Evaluation Group Detachment 18, evaluating radar observability for B-52's on training runs.


Forsyth is located at 46°16′00″N 106°40′40″W / 46.266675°N 106.677684°W / 46.266675; -106.677684 (46.266675, -106.677684).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.99 square miles (2.56 km2), all land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 308
1910 1,398
1920 1,838 31.5%
1930 1,591 −13.4%
1940 1,696 6.6%
1950 1,906 12.4%
1960 2,032 6.6%
1970 1,873 −7.8%
1980 2,553 36.3%
1990 2,178 −14.7%
2000 1,944 −10.7%
2010 1,777 −8.6%
2020 1,647 −7.3%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 1,777 people, 807 households, and 472 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,794.9 inhabitants per square mile (693.0/km2). There were 921 housing units at an average density of 930.3 per square mile (359.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.0% White, 0.5% African American, 1.6% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.6% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.4% of the population.

There were 807 households, of which 26.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.8% were married couples living together, 8.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 41.5% were non-families. 36.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.15 and the average family size was 2.78.

The median age in the city was 46.4 years. 22.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 18.9% were from 25 to 44; 32.4% were from 45 to 64; and 20% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 50.1% male and 49.9% female.


The Forsyth High School offers a variety classes and is developing capabilities under a technology plan to prepare its students for higher education. The plan has been updated frequently since 1997, and features plans for maintaining internet capability, and laboratory instrument capabilities.

The Forsyth Dogies play in the 3B conference with the Baker Spartans, Colstrip Colts, Lame Deer Morningstars, Lodge Grass Indians, and St.Labre Braves. The school colors are purple and white.

Rosebud County Library serves the area.


Tillitt Field Airport is a public use airport located 3 miles east of town.

Notable people

  • John Melcher, former U.S. senator, worked as a veterinarian in Forsyth and served as mayor in 1955.
  • Carol Thurston, actress
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