Lee County Biography

Frank W. Mettler


Frank W. Mettler is an Illinoisan by birth, and almost by descent, for his father was only one and a half years old when he became a resident of that state. The Mettler family came originally from Germany. In fact, one of Mr. Mettler's forbears came with the Hessian mercenaries in the Revolutionary time, and having come to fight the country, remained to be one of its loyal citizens, and to be the grandsire of a soldier of the Union army, the father of Frank W. Mettler. James I. Mettler was born in New York state, in 1840. Like most citizens of Illinois at that time, he was engaged in farming. In May, 1864, he entered the cavalry service, and his discharge of May, 1865, shows that he served in the Sixteenth Regiment, commanded by Col. C. M. Prevost, and in the company of Captain Hall. Mr. Mettler continued to reside in Illinois, until 1895, when he moved to Great Falls, Montana. Here he was connected with the Great Falls Iron Works, for eleven years, or until his death in 1908. His wife was Anna Augusta Snure, born in Nounaduk, not far from Niagara Falls on June 25, 1839. Her family also emigrated to Illinois, and she was married at Rockford in 1866. She died at Great Falls in 1906.

Frank Mettler was born in Lee county, Illinois, on March 3, 1869. He was educated in the public schools of that district and graduated from the Dixon high school in 1883. For five years following his graduation, he taught school in the rural schools of Illinois. He intended to enter the legal profession, and he was following the time-honored path to it, by starting as a pedagogue. As a further aid to the accomplishment of his purpose, Mr. Mettler learned stenography, and for two years followed that as a means of livelihood in Chicago.

In 1889, Mr. Mettler came to Montana in the month of December, and entered the employ of McConnell & Clayberg as a stenographer and clerk. During the fifteen months that he spent with this firm, he put in his spare time reading law. In March, 1891, he began the work that was of such value to him in his chosen profession, that of a court reporter. The district in which he was to work was that of Judge Du Bose, comprising five counties in the northern part of the state. While here, he finished the study of law and in 1898 was admitted to the bar. He did not at once begin to practice, but continued to work as a court reporter for another year, and then in June, 1899, he went to Nome in the very first of the time of the gold excitement. Mr. Mettler was one of the first arrivals in this new El Dorado. It was his intention only to spend the summer up there, but he became engaged in mining and also in the practice of law, and the summer lengthened into a year, before he returned to Montana. The first fee he received in Alaska was paid in gold dust, which was the principle medium of exchange at that time. Mr. Mettler's own mining ventures were successful, and he sold them out at a profit and returned to Montana in July, 1900.

Immediately upon his return, he was drawn into the current of the political activities of the Democratic party. He became the secretary of Walter Cooper, the chairman of the state committee. Their headquarters were at Helena, during the campaign, and after that was over Mr. Mettler went to Butte and there entered the employ of the law firm of McHatton & Cotter. He was associated with them until March, 1901, when he was appointed assistant attorney general, under James Donovan, elected the preceding fall. He served until the end of the term and was then appointed a second time under Albert J. Galen. After four months he resigned and took up private practice at Helena with Mr. Galen, and the success of the firm of Galen & Mettler has been very substantial. Mr. Mettler is interested in a large number of mining properties, among them being the Little Rockies Gold Mining Company, of which he is president. This company has its properties in Choteau county, and its offices in Great Falls.

On May 12, 1906. Mr. Mettler was united in marriage to Miss Anna F. Theinhardt, of Helena. Her father, John Theinhardt. is now deceased, and her mother is Mrs. F. O. Wilson.

Mr. Mettler is a member of the Theosophical Society and has been president of the Helena branch of that society since it was organized about ten years ago. He is also a member of the Lambs Club and of the Woodmen of the World, and this with his connection with the Bar Association and his work for the Democratic party, completes the tale of his affiliations. Both as a lawyer and business man and as a friend and neighbor, he is one of the representative men of Helena and of Montana.

[Source: "The History of Montana" by Helen Fitzgerald Sanders, Volume 3, 1913 - Submitted by a Friend of Free Genealogy]

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