Date of Award

Spring 1959

Document Type




First Advisor

Rev. John McCarthy


Rarely today is the name of Thomas Cruse mentioned in historical works on the "Treasure State." Yet, in his own era there were those who believed that he would leave his mark in history. The compilers of the work, Progressive Men of the State of Montana (circa 1900), went so far as to say: "It is impossible to estimate the value of a man like Colonel Cruse to the community in which he lives, for the reason that his services are beyond computation." Joaquin Miller (An Illustrated History of the State of Montana, 1894), and Helen Sanders (A History of Montana, 1913), also recognized this; in each work can be found a short biography of Cruse.

Very recently some renewed interest in this man has arisen. The periodical, Montana, The Magazine of Western History (Spring, 1959), for instance, has a short article on his early career as a miner. But, in general, the life of this man has remained untouched.

This study is meant to be an historical reconsideration and re-evaluation of the life and career of an obscure millionaire of Montana's past. Some have made bold to assert that history has not done justice to Thomas Cruse. I choose to maintain a more cautious silence and let the facts herein presented speak for themselves.

The approach used in this thesis is "three- dimensional;” that is, the subject matter is presented in the light of Thomas Cruse: the man, the man of affairs, and the man of charity. The material utilized has come from various sources. Among these, the most informative have proved to be the books mentioned above, newspaper items and feature articles, and personal letters and interviews.