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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Three Forks in Gallatin County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
 

Welcome to Parker Homestead State Park

 
 
Welcome to Parker Homestead State Park Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 11, 2013
1. Welcome to Parker Homestead State Park Marker
Inscription. The Montana soil is swallowing hundreds of old homestead buildings like this one. Each takes with it untold stories of men and women whose lives brought them drought and blizzards, loneliness and companionship, fear and simple joys, much like we know today yet sprung from a world that will never be again.

”As I looked across the rolling expanse of prairie, filled with the beauty of a Montana sunset, I sent up a little prayer of thanksgiving from my heart for this, our very first home. Only a rectangle of prairie sod, raw and untouched by the hand of man, but to us it was a kingdom…

…We have no regrets; life is fuller and sweeter through lessons learned in privation, and around our homestead days some of life’s fondest memories still cling. We are of Montana, now and always… I feel that creating a home and rearing a family in Montana has been a grand success, and my cup seems filled to overflowing with the sweetness and joy of living.”
- Pearl Price Robertson
Homesteader in Big Sandy, Montana, 1911


A Kingdom of Hope
Like the cottonwoods that shelter this cabin, the Parker family who build it dug their roots deep, weathered many seasons of hardship, and drank what sustenance the could from the soil. The Parkers were among thousands of Americans who took advantage of the
Marker detail: Nelson Parker, homesteader here in 1910, photo taken long after he moved from here image. Click for full size.
Courtesy of Dave Miller, Three Forks Historical Society
2. Marker detail: Nelson Parker, homesteader here in 1910, photo taken long after he moved from here
Homestead Act of 1862 to stake their dreams on the arid Montana plains. Like so many others families, they notched out a living with sweat and optimism, and enjoyed little in the way of material comfort.

In the 1890s, newlyweds Nelson and Rosa Ellen (Harwood) Parker refurbished a miner’s shack on nearby Antelope Creek. A few years later they built a cabin for their growing family on the Jefferson River, but a spring flood washed that home away. The Parkers escaped in a rowboat, Rosa clutching the youngest of her three children between her knees. They vowed to move to dry ground.

In 1910, Nelson filed a patent to homestead 160 acres here. They built this sod-roofed cabin, and hauled water from creeks and ditches for years before they could afford to dig a well. Eventually the Parkers built a larger home near Three Forks, and abandoned this cabin.

In 1939, Orville and Josephine Jewett bought the place for their family of four children. The Jewetts farmed, hunted, trapped, and sheared sheep through the Depression and World War II. When they lived here, the cabin had three rooms, all painted with calcimine or white-wash. Bright linoleum covered wide-plank floors, curtains softened the windows, and the laughter of the Jewett’s four children rang across the fields.

A few members of the Jewett family still live nearby. In 1985 they leased the site
Welcome to Parker Homestead State Park Marker (<i>tall view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 11, 2013
3. Welcome to Parker Homestead State Park Marker (tall view)
to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks to share and preserve this sample of Montana’s heritage. In 1998 the cabin was stabilized to delay deterioration.

Please help preserve Parker Homestead, and all the old homestead buildings you come across in Montana. Refrain from littering, use the place respectfully, and leave it in peace.
 
Location. 45° 50.752′ N, 111° 40.605′ W. Marker is near Three Forks, Montana, in Gallatin County. Marker is on U.S. 287 one mile south of Willow Creek Road, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is located on the west side of the highway, just inside the wooden 3-rail fence, near the driveway leading to the Parker Homestead cabin. Marker is in this post office area: Three Forks MT 59752, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Sacajawea (approx. 6.9 miles away); a different marker also named Sacajawea (approx. 6.9 miles away); Veterans Park (approx. 7 miles away); Colter’s Run (approx. 7 miles away); The Three Forks of the Missouri (approx. 7 miles away); Gallatin City (approx. 8.4 miles away); Missouri River Headwaters (approx. 8.4 miles away); Thomas-Frederick Flour Mill (approx. 9.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Three Forks.
 
More about this marker.
Parker Homestead Cabin (<i>view from near marker</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 11, 2013
4. Parker Homestead Cabin (view from near marker)
Marker is a large composite plaque, mounted horizontally on waist-high posts.
 
Also see . . .
1. Parker Homestead State Park. This sod-roofed log cabin is representative of the thousands of simple frontier homes that provided shelter for hopeful pioneers who settled Montana during the early 1900s. It is one of the last homesteads that is still standing. The cabin was built around the turn of the century by Nelson Parker and his wife Rosa Hardwood, who came to Montana from Utah in the late 1800s. The homestead was used through at least the 1940s. (Submitted on December 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Parker Homestead Reveals Bygone Era. The original Homestead Act, granting 160 acres of land, was established in 1862. For most of the Great Plains, this was far too small to successfully farm. The Enlarged Homestead Act passed Congress in 1909, allowing 320 acres of land. It was still not enough, but it was a start. The boom this new plan brought to Montana was born of railroad hucksterism, false advertising and a total lack of understanding of the land and climate mixed with a huge dose of high hopes and dreams. Thousands of people were lured to Big Sky Country. This episode left a mark on the topography of Montana. Some of the evidence will be with us for a long time to come, but much is already gone. (Submitted on December 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Parker Homestead Cabin & sod roof detail (<i>view from near marker</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 11, 2013
5. Parker Homestead Cabin & sod roof detail (view from near marker)
 
 
Categories. Man-Made FeaturesSettlements & Settlers
 
Parker Homestead (<i>wide view looking west from marker</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 11, 2013
6. Parker Homestead (wide view looking west from marker)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 5, 2018. This page originally submitted on December 1, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 45 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on December 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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