By Peter Huntoon
The First National Bank of Plentywood, Mont., charter 10438, sports one of those Western town names that you just can’t beat with a stick.
The town is located out on the eastern plains of Montana, just inside the northeastern corner of the state, where Montana abuts Saskatchewan and North Dakota. Currently about 1,700 people live there.
The town began to come into existence in 1900, the post office opened in 1902, and the railroad arrived in 1912.
Unfortunately, no notes have turned up on the bank yet. It was in business between 1913 and 1924 as a minimally capitalized bank with a circulation of only $6,250. Only 741 sheets of 1902 Date and Plain Backs were pushed out its doors before it failed in the Post-World War I Agricultural Depression.
Local lore has it that the town derived its name from nearby Plentywood Creek, a name that came about owing to a search for firewood by some cowboys. They were watching in disdain as the chuck wagon cook attempted to start his fire with damp buffalo chips. Finally, a fellow named Dutch Henry said, “If you’ll go two miles up this creek, you’ll find plenty o’ wood.”
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