[ This article was excerpted from the book "Progressive Men of the State of Montana"]
Thomas Cotter, one of the progressive, wide-awake, enterprising ranchers of Broadwater county, resides near Canton, Mont., and was born in St. Lawrence county, N. Y., on December 24, 1857, the son of Patrick Cotter, a native of County Cork, Ireland. His father, and the paternal grandfather of Thomas, was Michael Cotter, a farmer of County Cork. Patrick Cotter came to the United States when quite young, and settled in St. Lawrence county, N. Y. Here he married Miss Honora Lantrey, also a native of County Cork, who had come to the United States with her father, Joshua Lantrey, when she was five years of age. They settled in New York state and engaged in farming. Patrick Cotter still resides in New York, and all of his five sons and nine daughters are now living.
Thomas Cotter remained on the homestead farm until 1877, when he was twenty years of age, receiving education in the public schools. He then turned his steps westward, arriving at Canton, Mont., on June 18, 1877. He engaged in profitable ranching for three years and then for three years more turned his attention to the livery business. Selling this he purchased the Tierney ranch, returning to the business of stock and grain raising, and usually winters 100 head of cattle and horses.
In 1881 Mr. Cotter's brothers, John J. and Charles P., came to Montana. The former is now street commissioner of Butte. In 1898 he was elected to the state legislature. His sister, Helen, is now Mrs. P. W. Murray, also profitably engaged in business in Butte. On May 8, 1884, Mr. Cotter was married to Miss Rose Durnen, daughter of Thomas Durnen, of Winston. They have had seven children, Charles, now attending the excellent training school at Townsend ; Rose Lillian,deceased ; William, also at the training school; John, Mary, both at public school, and Thomas Francis.
During his residence in the young commonwealth of Montana, in which he has made a prosperous home for his interesting family, Mr. Cotter has won a large circle of friends who hold him in the highest esteem, and he is known and acknowledged as a man of sound business judgment and the highest personal character.