Charles M. Bair

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Charles M. Bair (1857 – 1943) was an early railroading businessman who also became one of the largest sheep ranchers in the United States. He had two daughters, Alberta and Marguerite.[1][2][3]

Charles M. Bair was born in Stark County, Ohio. He became a conductor for the Northern Pacific Railway. In 1891, he left the railroad to become a sheep rancher near Lavina, Montana.[4]

In 1898, he sold his flock and went to Alaska, where he became a millionaire selling machinery to miners participating in the Klondike Gold Rush.[4]

Later, he returned to Montana and sheep ranching. In 1910, he own about 300,000 head of sheep and was reputed to have the largest sheep operation in North America.[4] The original Bair homestead is located in what is now downtown Billings, Montana. A theater, originally named the Fox Theater, was renamed in honor of his daughter Alberta in 1987.[5]

He died in 1943.[6] His family home in Martinsdale is now a museum.[4] A trust fund was set up in his name by daughters, Marguerite and Alberta. Part of the trust is used to fund scholarships for high school graduates of Meagher or Wheatland Counties.[7]

Bair was inducted into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2008.[4]


  1. ^ Rostad, Lee. Fourteen Cents & Seven Green Apples. ISBN 978-0-9633909-1-2. 
  2. ^ Person, Daniel (April 25, 2011). "More Sheep Dogs Than Most Men Had Sheep". Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  3. ^ Tribune Staff. "125 Montana Newsmakers: Charles and Alberta Bair". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Gadbow, Daryl. "Charles M. Bair". Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame web site. 
  5. ^ "The History Behind the Theater". Alberta Bair Theater. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  6. ^ "The Charles M. Bair Family Legacy". Bair Family Museum web site. 
  7. ^ "Charles M. Bair Trusts". Family Trust Website.