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Gus Nelson Homestead, Fergus County, Montana

[photo] Gus Nelson Homestead

The Gus Nelson Homestead is one of the best preserved of the eight or nine remaining homesteads along the Missouri River in the Missouri River Breaks in Fergus County, retaining four buildings and two sites. A main cabin, small cabin, henhouse, and collapsed privy are grouped among the buildings; the sites consist of a scattering of historic farm equipment, artifacts including china, stove parts and other used items, and the remains of a cowshed and corral. This region, originally occupied by Native Americans, opened to Euro-American settlement in the 1850s and 1860s, became primarily cattle land but when the cattle boom ended it became an agricultural area. Gus Nelson, born in 1870 in Kristiansand, Sweden, arrived in Montana in 1902 and began constructing the buildings on his homestead in 1916-1917. A life-long bachelor and hunter, finally dying by his own hand in 1951—afterwards his river homestead was never officially occupied again.

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