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Progressive Men of Montana

Peter Thomander

Peter Thomander

In the beautiful Bitter Root valley there is no worthier representative of the farming and stock raising industry (than) the gentleman whose name initiates this review and who well merits the title of a self-made man, since he has depended upon his own resources from his youth up, coming to America from a foreign land and making his way up the ladder step by step until he reached the domain of definite success by his strenuous exertions.

Mr. Thomander is a native of the ancient city of Lund, Laen of Malmo, Sweden, where he was born on the 17th of April, 1838.  He received very limited educational advantages in his childhood.  At the immature age of ten years he found employment in a tobacco factory, and thereafter he applied himself to such honest work as came to hand until he had attained the age of sixteen, when he made one sea voyage, his intention being to follow a seafaring life.  His captain, however, told him that in order to become anything other than a common sailor he must acquire more of an education, and this led to his abandoning the plan, as he had no money or other means by which he might continue his educational work.  He was, however, enabled to attend school during one winter after leaving the ship.  He then removed to Copenhagen, Denmark, where he learned the dyer’s trade and there remained until 1859, when he returned to Sweden and found employment in the line of his trade until the year 1862.  then he determined to try his fortunes in the new world, his ambition being fortified by that honesty of purpose, energy and self-reliance which have been the conservators of the success which has come to him in his life here.

Upon arriving in America, Mr. Thomander made his way to Salt Lake City, Utah, where he learned the trade of cabinetmaking, at which he worked at various points in that state for a period of ten years.  At one time during this interval he was nicely located in southern Utah, but he and his neighbors, with their families, were driven from their homes by the Indians, leaving everything behind them and never returning.  After leaving Utah Mr. Thomander removed to Idaho, being engaged in various pursuits in Oneida county, that state, for a period of three years, at the expiration of which time, in 1879, he came to Montana and settled in the Bitter Root valley, locating at a point on the west side of the river and five miles south of the present town of Victor.  At the time of his locating there his ranch was in Missoula County, but upon the erection of Ravalli county there from, his estate was placed in the latter.  He came to this section with practically no financial reinforcement, but took up a homestead and has since that time never owed a dollar nor paid a cent of interest, so that the attributes of the man may be readily conjectured when we state that he now has a finely improved and most eligibly located ranch property of 400 acres.  He devotes his attention more particularly to the raising of stock, though nearly the entire area of his ranch is available for cultivation, the land in this section being unexcelled in arability in the state.  Mr. Thomander has ever had a deep respect for the dignity of honest toil, has won success by his own efforts, and yet has never neglected the duties of citizenship, being public-spirited and progressive in his attitude and giving his aid and influence in support of worthy causes.  His political proclivities are indicated in the allegiance which he accords to the Democratic party, and he has served for many years in the office of school trustee, though never a seeker of political preferment or the honors or emoluments thereto attaching. 

At Payson, Utah county, Utah, on the 2nd of September 1875, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Thomander to Miss Hanna Pereson, (Pearsson) the ceremony being performed by Justice T.H. Wilson.  To this union have been born five children, Oscar H., Arthur, Edna (who is now the wife of Jason J. Jones of Missoula), Phoebe and May.


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