Yellowstone Genealogy Forum

 

Pierre Wibaux – Cattle Rancher

[Visit the Wibaux website for current information]

 

Revised 20 June 2001c

 

 

 

Pierre Wibaux was an influential business man in the Yellowstone Valley, although his main interests were centered on the border of Montana where US 10 and the Northern Pacific Railway enter Montana from the east. In 1881, the railroad crossed over into Montana and established a line station called Mingusville. One of Pierre Wibaux's future business partners was a fellow named Gustave Grisy. Gus and his wife Minnie operated the post office in the area. They renamed the location "Mingusville" after them. Earlier names of the site were "Keith" and "Beaver." Pierre came to Montana in 1883 and started cattle ranching in a big way. After his efforts became noted, the town was named Wibaux after him.

He called his ranches the “W-Bar Ranch”, and there were two locations: one was 12 miles north of the town of Wibaux, and there he ranged 60,000 head of cattle. After an unsuccessful start, his cattle eventually ranged over the land from 1883 to 1886. The endeavor was unprofitable and he returned to his native land, France. He returned later to find that 85% of his cattle had died during the 1887-1888 winter.

He made a second ranch that stretched from his Wibaux location along the Yellowstone River from the Little Missouri west to the Yellowstone, and from the Missouri to the Northern Pacific area. His line cabins were located 40 miles apart.

Pierre became interested in banking in Miles City (County seat for Yellowstone County), and mining in the Black Hills. After his death in 1913, homesteaders cut into his land holdings and established vast wheat fields and farming moved ahead of cattle ranching.

There is a nine-foot statue dedicated to him at his gravesite.

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