About Samuel Thomas Hauser
Samuel Thomas Hauser (January 10, 1833 – November 10, 1914) was an American industrialist and banker who was active in the development of Montana Territory. In addition to his many business interests, he was appointed the 7th Governor of the Montana Territory, serving from 1885 to 1887.
Hauser was born to Samuel Thomas and Mary Ann (Kennett) Hauser) in Falmouth, Kentucky on January 10, 1833. His early education occurred locally at the Chittenden School while his father, a judge and lawyer, and a cousin who had graduated from Yale University overseeing his later education.
At the age of 19, Hauser went to work for the Kentucky Central Railroad. He then moved to Missouri in 1854, where he worked as a civil engineer for the railroads. He began as an assistant engineer for the Missouri Pacific and Northern Pacific railways and worked his way up to become chief engineer on the Lexington to Sedalia branch.
Hauser married Ellen Farrar of St. Louis in 1871. The marriage produced two children: Ellen and Samuel Thomas Jr.
In early 1862, Hauser left his position with the railroads for Fort Benton, Montana from where he spent several months prospecting before arriving at the mines in Bannack later in the year. The next year his prospecting efforts took him down the Yellowstone River. His efforts proved successful and within a few years he owned six silver mines. He also built coal mines and several silver smelters, including Montana Territory's first smelter in Argenta.
In addition to his mining interests, Hauser developed a number of other business activities. In 1865 he joined with Nathaniel P. Langford to establish a bank in Virginia City. The next year, Hauser founded the First National Bank of Helena. He later opened banks in Benton, Butte, and Missoula. Hauser oversaw the build-out of the Utah and Northern Railway within Montana Territory, and also acquired a large real estate portfolio in support of his mining and ranching interests.
In 1870, Hauser participated as a member of the Washburn–Langford–Doane Expedition. He was also active in efforts to preserve the Yellowstone area and his lobbying efforts helped see the creation of the Yellowstone National Park. Politically he was aligned with the Democratic Party and served as a delegate to the 1884 Democratic National Convention. Despite being a Democrat, Hauser's business influence was large within the territory that he even influenced the selection of Republican appointees.
Hauser became the first territorial resident to be appointed Governor of Montana Territory after President Grover Cleveland appointed him to the position on July 3, 1885. He took office on July 14 of the same year. During his term of office, his many business interests consumed much of his time and many of his duties as governor were delegated to his personal secretary.
As governor, Hauser was an advocate of Free Silver and supported relocating the territory's indigenous population to the Indian Territory in order to free land for settlers. To appease cattle interests within the territory he appointed a territorial veterinary surgeon while, in an effort to constrain territorial spending, vetoed the establishment of a territorial insane asylum.
In order to free himself to concentrate on his business activities, Hauser submitted his resignation in December 1886. His last day in office came on February 7, 1887. Hauser died in Helena, Montana on November 10, 1914 and was buried in the Forestvale Cemetery.