U.S. Marshal T.J. Lynde

T.J. Lynde, 4th State Legislature of Montana, 1895
Courtesy Montana Historical Society – Photographic Archives

Theodore J. Lynde, 9th United States Marshal for the District of Montana

Theodore “Tom” J. Lynde was born March 4, 1849, in Stark County, Ohio to Edward and Margaret Lynde.  The Lynde family moved to Jefferson County, Kansas Territory in 1856 and Lynde grew up on the border, where his father farmed and was an active Republican (Free Soil) politician. Among his father’s close friends in those days were famed abolitionists John Brown and James H. Lane. When the civil war broke out Lynde, tried to enlist in the 11th Kansas Regiment, but he was too young. His father was appointed a Colonel and commander of the 9th Regiment, Kansas Volunteer Calvary; had Lynde made his dispatch bearer.

Following the war, Lynde was sent to school in western New York. He then went into business at Hayes, Kansas, and then was engaged in sutler stores at Fort Hayes, Sheridan and Larned, Kansas. Later he became connected with the construction of the M.K. & T. Railroad and at its completion went into business at Kansas City. He organized and built the Salina & Northwestern Railroad. Selling this railroad, Mr. Lynde then, in 1881, migrated to Montana. He secured the contract to furnish the Rocky Mountain Division of the Northern Pacific Railroad with ties, lumber and timber during its construction at the end of his Northern Pacific contract; Lynde went into lumbering and mercantile business at Bozeman and Salesville (Gallatin Gateway). In 1882 he married Ella B. Black, daughter of Col. L.M. Black. In 1894 he was elected as a Representative to the House of the Montana Legislature from Gallatin County and was a staunch supporter of Montana U.S. Senator Thomas Carter. In 1896 he came to Butte to live at 203 West Porphyry Street, but still retained extensive business interests and a home in the West Gallatin Valley.

Lynde, as he styled himself, “an uncompromising, consistent Republican,” supported President William McKinley during the presidential campaign. Was nominated to succeed William McDermott as United States marshal for Montana February 8th, 1898. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and appointed on February 14th, 1898. 

A few short months later, Marshal Lynde died in Butte on the afternoon of May 1st, 1898, following a brief illness. His remains were transported to Bozeman for internment at Sunset Hills Cemetery next to his infant child; Marshal Lynde was 49.


Dia Johnson, Historical Researcher, Bozeman, Montana
History of the State of Kansas - Jefferson Co., Cutler
Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kansas, 1861-1865
T.J. Lynde & Co., Boz. – Suit filed against them by the gov’t. for cutting timber – GF Tribune 9/4/86: 1
Theo. J. Lynde- One of the incorporators of the Bozeman & Butte Short Line – Ibid 5/7/87:1
The Oskaloosa Times 6/26/1896, 7/3/1896
T.J. Lynde for Marshal - Anaconda Standard 2/9/1898:1
Shivers for Sanders – Lynde’s Appointment Makes Him Lose Faith in Human Nature. – Ibid 2/9/98:1
T.J. Lynde in Helena – Ibid 2/17/98
Came to Bozeman…newly appointed Marshal – Bozeman Chronicle 2/17/98
Relieves McDermott & Appoints Deputies – Billings Gazette 3/8/98
Now Marshal – Bozeman Chronicle 3/10/98
May 1,dies in Butte after short illness, Ohio native, 50, body sent to Bozeman – Missoulian 5/2/98
Died at Butte – Billings Gazette 5/3/98
News of Death shock friends – Missoulian 5/4/98
Bozeman Chronicle – 5/5/1898, 5/12/98