South Dakota Genealogy Trails

Aurora County, South Dakota




Coyle, Andrew L., M. D.

Hager, Alva Lysander

Hough, George E.

Richter, Bernard

Williamson, William









WILLIAMSON, William, a Representative from South Dakota; born near New Sharon, Mahaska County, Iowa, October 7, 1875; moved with his parents to Plankinton, Aurora County, S.Dak., in 1882; attended the public schools and the Wayne (Nebr.) Normal School; engaged in agricultural pursuits and also taught school for several years; was graduated from the University of South Dakota at Vermilion in 1903 and from the law department of that university in 1905; was admitted to the bar in 1905 and commenced practice in Oacoma, Lyman County, S.Dak.; founder, with his brother, of the Murdo Coyote and the Prairie Sun; prosecuting attorney of Lyman County 1905-1911; circuit judge of the eleventh judicial district 1911-1921; delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1912; elected as a Republican to the Sixty-seventh and to the five succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1921-March 3, 1933); chairman, Committee on Expenditures in the Department of the Interior (Sixty-eighth and Sixty-ninth Congresses), Committee on Expenditures in Executive Departments (Seventieth and Seventy-first Congresses); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1932 to the Seventy-third Congress; resumed the practice of law in Rapid City, S.Dak.; special assistant attorney general of South Dakota and assigned as general counsel for the Public Utilities Commission 1939-1951, and also the Department of Insurance of South Dakota the last five years; officer with an insurance company, 1950-1972; member of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial Commission 1928-1972; died in Custer, S.Dak., July 15, 1972; interment in Pine Lawn Cemetery, Rapid City, S.Dak. –Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-Present; transcribed by A. Newell.

from "A Memorial and biographical record of Iowa", by Charles Frush, 1896
HON. ALVA LYSANDER HAGER, a member of the General Assembly of Iowa from the Ninth Congressional District, and one of the leading and influential citizens of Greenfield, is numbered among the early settlers of the State, dating his residence from the spring of 1859.  He is a recognized leader in the ranks of the Republican party, and his devotion to the best interests of his constituents is a marked characteristic of his public service.

Mr. Hager is a native of Chautauqua county, New York, born October 29, 1850, and is of English descent. His paternal grandfather,  Benjamin Hager, was born in the Empire State and there spent his entire life, dying in Herkimer county, where he had for many years  followed agricultural pursuits.  William B. Hager, the father of our subject, was the only son of the family who attained to years of maturity. He was born July 31, 1812, on the old homestead farm in New York, and there attended the public schools to a limited extent, but his educational privileges were meager. When a young man he went to Chautauqua county, New York, where he embarked in lumbering.   In that county he  married Miss Almira Baker, and made it his place of residence until 1859, when he brought his family to Iowa.   For three years he lived in Jackson county, and then removed to Jones county, which was his home until 1881,—the year of his removal to South Dakota. He died at White Lake, that State, in December, 1889, and his wife died in Jackson county, Iowa. He was a stanch Republican from the formation of the party, but never aspired to public office. Both he and his wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

The family of this worthy couple numbered six children: Julia M., now the wife of Calvin L. Closson, of White Lake, South Dakota; Philanda, wife of Andrew H. Hall, who is also living in White Lake; A. W., who is engaged in the practice of law in Chicago; Alva L., of this review; Clarence E., a Methodist Episcopal minister, now stationed in Vermillion, South Dakota; and Adelbert B., who is engaged in the practice of law and in the real estate and insurance business in Mitchell, South Dakota.

No event of special importance occurred during the childhood and youth of Alva L. Hager. He lived upon his father's farm, attended the common schools of the neighborhood, and afterward was a student in the high schools of Monticello and Anamosa, Iowa. He also engaged in teaching for some time, and in 1874 determined to enter the legal profession. To this end he became a student in the University of Iowa at Iowa City, and was graduated in the law department in 1875. In October of that year he located in Greenfield, where he has since built up an excellent business. From 1880 to 1890 he was engaged in business as a partner of George L. Gow, one of the ablest jurists in the State, and the law firm of Gow & Hager gained a high reputation and won a liberal support. Mr. Hager possesses fine oratorical powers, and usually represented the firm as the advocate before judge and jury.  His entire time and attention were given wholly to his profession, and he won the success that placed him in the front rank among the representatives of the bar in Iowa. He won his high position entirely through his own exertions. He was careful and painstaking in the ' preparation of cases, and when he appeared upon the floor it was at once seen that he was master of the situation and could meet in logical argument as well as telling repartee any situation advanced by his opponent.

In consequence of his large clientage, Mr. Hager gained a handsome competence and made judicious investments in real estate until he is now the owner of 1,000 acres of valuable land. He also has a comfortable home, and is one of the stockholders of the  Exchange Bank of Fontanelle.

In his political views Mr. Hager is a stalwart advocate of Republican principles and a close student of the questions of the day, therefore giving an intelligent support to his  party.  He has taken an active interest in local politics since his settlement in Greenfield, and for two years was the efficient Mayor of the city. In 1891 he was elected to represent in the General Assembly the Sixteenth Senatorial District, comprising the counties of Adair and Madison. He served in the Twenty-fourth Assembly, and during that time was a member of several important committees. In 1892 he received his party's nomination for Congress and defeated his opponent. Judge McGee, the Democratic candidate, by 2,500 majority. In 1894 he won the election by a majority of 3,500, over General James B. Weaver. In the legislative halls of the nation, his influence has been strongly and  beneficially felt, and although his party is now in the minority, he is recognized as an able statesman who has done valuable service for his constituents. He is a campaign orator of ability, logical and earnest, convincing by his persuasive power and deep thought many who hear him.

On the 29th of October, 1878, Mr. Hager was united in marriage with Miss Ella M. Burrell, a native of Iowa. Her father, Charles Burrell, was born in Scotland, and was a tailor by trade. After coming to this country he engaged in merchandising in Madison and Adair counties, Iowa. Mr. and Mrs. Hager have two daughters.—Effa M. and Rey. When Mr. Hager goes to Washington to take his place in the Congressional halls he is accompanied by his family, to which he is especially devoted. He is a man of domestic  tastes and finds the greatest happiness with his wife and children.

He may truly be called a self-made man. He has an exceedingly amiable and upright character and a mind stored with all the riches of wide reading and deep research. He is a delightful entertainer and  genial companion, and these traits, coupled with his mental gifts, make him the center of a wide circle of warm, friends.

from "History of Stearns County, Minnesota" by H. C. Cooper, Jr. & Co., 1915

Right Rev. Monsignor Bernard Richter, of Melrose, was born in the Province of "Westphalia, Prussia, Germany, September 28, 1863, and after attending the common schools passed through the high school into the University of Muenster. In December, 1884, he came to America, and continued his studies at St. Francis' Seminary, near Milwaukee, Wis. Here he was ordained to the priesthood, June 24, 1887. His first parish was at White Lake, South Dakota. His pious devotion and energetic work attracted the attention of the Right Rev. Bishop Otto Zardetti who made him pastor of the Cathedral at St. Cloud. On June 7, 1894, he came to Melrose as pastor of the Church of St. Boniface. His work here has been notable, and has resulted, by the grace of God, in the largest Catholic Church in Stearns county. The parish consists of 300 families, all Germans, and all devoted to the cause of the church. Under the direction of Father Richter, the magnificent church edifice was erected in 1899, at a cost including fixtures, of $75,000; the rectory in 1907 at a cost of $18,000; the convent in 1908 at a cost of about $7,000; and a sightly parochial school in 1910 at a cost of $50,000. In 1912, Father Richter was elevated by His Holiness, Pope Pius X, to the dignity of Domestic Prelate, thus investing him with the title of Right Reverend Monsignor.

from "Montana, Its Story and Biography", 1921

George E. Hough. Among the business men of Baker who identified themselves with the town in its infancy is Hon. George E. Hough, mayor of the town and founder and builder of the Baker telephone system and exchange. He came into Montana in 1909 and in December of that year cast his lot with this place. The immediate object of his settlement here was to engage in the telephone business, and within six months the exchange was in operation and the people of Baker put into verbal communication with the outside world. The system started operation with thirty-five phones and the plant grew with the forward movement of the town until 1917, when Mr. Hough sold it with 200 phones on. the exchange. With the sale of this plant went also the plant at Ismay, Montana, which was installed by Mr. Hough in 1916 and developed into a system with forty phones.

Mr. Hough came to Montana from Stickney, South Dakota, where he installed a telephone plant four years before he parted with it and abandoned the state. The construction of that system marked his first connection with the business and marks also his entry into a successful business life. Prior to this he had proved up on a claim which he drew in the Government lottery of the Rosebud Indian Reservation lands, his claim being but a half mile from the Town of Gregory, South Dakota. When he entered upon the work of complying with law regarding homesteads there he built a house of frame of one room, and in this maintained bachelor quarters until he married, and this roof sheltered himself and wife until he parted with his land. Two years after he occupied his claim he acquired title to it. and the sale of it provided the capital with which he entered the telephone business.

George E. Hough was the first child born at Hawarden, South Dakota, his natal day being September 28. 1882. His father was James Hough, who immigrated from Indiana to that region about 1871 and spent some ten years as a railroad contractor on different lines of railroads in the Dakotas. He had a contract between Mitchell and Chamberlain, building grade for the Milwaukee company, and another contract between Sioux City and Hawarden for the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad. He subsequently purchased a farm in Cedar County, Nebraska, and cultivated it with his sons for a few years, but moved finally to Minnesota, and at present is a resident of Shakopee. that state. James Hough was born in Indiana in 1857, one of the five children of a native of England who immigrated to the United States, fought as a soldier during the Civil war, and spent the rest of his life in Indiana. James Hough married Margaret Falstroff, daughter of John Falstroff. of German blood, and to this union there were born: Charles, of Minnesota: James, of Wabasha, Minnesota; Daniel, of Tindall, South Dakota; George E., of this notice; Lloyd, of Hutchinson, Minnesota; and Harry, of Shakopee, Minnesota.

George E. Hough's education was acquired in the public schools, and his first important achievement was the proving up of a homestead, his early labors being those connected with work on a farm. The capital from his homestead was the starting factor in his connection with the telephone business, leading him into a channel that gave his career an agreeable flavor among business men. When he first sawBaker it was a hamlet with three stores, a bank, three lumber yards, a hotel and two restaurants, and when South Baker was only a cow pasture separated from the future county seat by a deep and wide draw. Feeling a vital interest in the welfare of the infant city, he became eventually one of its substantial builders. Four dwellings in Baker proper, besides his own residence, a bungalow in beautiful South Baker, have come into being by his investment and under his direction.

Mr. Hough became connected with the government of Baker as a member of the city council in the spring of 1916. He served with colleagues Lewellyn Price, William O'Loughlin and Edward C. Lentz, and resigned to take the mayoralty to fill a vacancy in April, 1919. During his administration the installment of the water works has been accomplished and bonds for the extension pf sewers were voted in December, 1919. Since retiring from the operation of the telephone system Mr. Hough has been Baker's sales agent for the Buick and Dodge automobiles. He purchased and converted into a garage the old Baker Opera House, where his salesroom is now maintained.

Mr. Hough was married while proving up on his homestead in South Dakota, July 10, 1905. His wife was formerly Christine Nelson, a daughter of Clemens Nelson, a carpenter and contractor of Danish birth. Mr. and Mrs. Nelson reside at St. Helena, Nebraska, and their surviving children are: Mrs. Kate Jones, of St. Helena; Mrs. Hough; and a son, James, at St. Helena. Mr. and Mrs. Hough have a son. La Verne, who was born August 6, 1907, and is attending school.

History of South Dakota, Vol. 2
by Doane Robinson
B. F. Bowen & Co., Publisher, 1904
Contributed by Jim Dezotell

ANDREW L. COYLE, M. D.— Among the able exemplars of the medical profession in the state is Dr. Coyle, a young man of marked intellectual ability, thoroughly informed in the sciences of medicine and surgery, having had exceptional advantages in the prosecution of his studies in technical lines, while he has been established in the practice of his profession in Plankinton, Aurora county, since 1903, securing a representative support from the initiation of his labors here, by reason of his professional ability and genial and gracious personality.

The Doctor is a native of Jersey City, New Jersey, where he was born on the 15th of February, 1874, while he was thus reared under metropolitan surroundings and influences. After completing the curriculum of the public schools he was matriculated in Williams College, at Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he completed the scientific course and was graduated as a member of the class of 1894. He then entered the medical department of the University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor, where he was graduated in 1898, receiving his coveted degree of Doctor of Medicine. Immediately after his graduation he received the appointment of contract surgeon in the United States army, serving in that capacity for more than two years, when he resigned and made a tour of Europe, visiting England, France, Germany and other countries and  availing himself of the advantages offered for study and investigation in the leading hospitals and colleges. After returning to the United States he made a trip to South America, where he remained about two years, at the expiration of which he came to South Dakota and established himself in practice in Plankinton, where he has since been actively engaged in practice. He is an independent in politics, and has not yet assumed connubial bonds. He is a member of the South Dakota Medical Association and the Phi Beta Pi college fraternity.


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