Canton Church Hosts 7th Grade History Fieldtrip

Starting in 2018, the Canton Church has hosted a history field trip for the Townsend Schools 7th-grade class – the class studying Montana History.  The Missouri Valley has a very rich and interesting history; but, very little of that is covered in Montana History textbooks.  The goal of the outing is to teach the 7th-grade class about the history of this valley, Broadwater County and the historic Canton Church and, of course, let the students have a fun outing and maybe even get them interested in history.
The first part of the presentation is about the town of Canton, the history of the Canton Church and the flooding of the valley to create Canyon Ferry Lake. The students were very interested and there was a lively discussion with many questions and comments from the students.  They were interested in knowing how the flooding of the valley affected the families that were displaced and how the Canton Church was actually moved to its current location.
After the Canton and Canton Church discussion, we moved on to the history of the valley and of Broadwater County.  The students were very surprised to learn that the towns in the valley were established before Broadwater County was created and that Townsend was actually part of Meagher County.  They were also surprised to learn that Diamond City was once the county seat for Meagher County and that Radersburg was the county seat for Jefferson County.
All of the students are, of course, familiar with the current towns of Radersburg, Toston and Winston with several of the students living near Toston and Winston.  They were fascinated to hear that those towns were once vibrant, thriving communities with stores, restaurants and saloons.
The students were treated to a lunch of hotdogs, hamburgers, chips, cookies and water. They had a great time enjoying the area around the Canton Church, especially with the extremely nice weather that day,
After lunch, the students visited the historic Saint Joseph’s cemetery about a quarter of a mile further up the road from the Canton Church.  While the Church was moved after the dam was built, the cemetery has always been located where it is and the students found the gravesites of the early settlers very interesting.
The Canton Church would like to thank Bob’s Thriftway and the Townsend Rotary Club for donating food to the outing. Bob’s Thriftway donated $100 worth of food and The Townsend Rotary Club donated the hotdogs and hotdog/hamburger buns. Both organizations have been great supporters of the Canton Church history field trip since we started hosting the event.
Of course, we would also like to thank teachers David Lawson and Patrick Tyler for arranging the field trip. None of this would have been possible without their interest in the project.