South Dakota Genealogy Trails

Aurora County, South Dakota

Local Government

The Evening Huronite, Huron, South Dakota
Thursday, June 19, 1941

by Fritz Olsen

Last January 1 Judge W. A. Krause of Moody County handed over the gavel to his newly-elected successor and returned to private life as plain "W. A. Krause, attorney at law."
His retirement occasioned no ripple of excitement outside county confines, nor were there any testimonial dinners or speeches on behalf of his long career as a public servant. A couple of press notices, felicitations from an old friend in California and that was all.
There's a readable story behind Judge Krause's retirement, just as there is a story behind each of a score or more of South Dakota's veteran county officials still in office.
As a young lawyer he came to this state in 1891 and joined his brother in publication of the Enterprise at Flandreau. When he was 30 years old he was elected Moody County judge. He held that office continually for the succeeing 46 years.
Although he was re-elected 22 times after first being named by the electorate in 194, Judge Krause, before his retirement, had no clear claim to the title of "dean" of South Dakota's public officialdom.

Up in Campbell County, Judge H. J. Kruger of Mound City is serving his 49th year in public office. His nearly half century of being in the public eye and on the public payroll began in 1887 when he was chosen justice of peace.
Krueger became probate judge in 1889 and county judge in 1891. He served a two-year term as state's attorny beginning in 1893 and was elected to that post again for the statutory two terms starting in 1902. The county judgeship came back to him in 1905 and has held it without a break since. That's 36 years.
A roll call of county officials that have served 25 or more years in appointive or elective positions would also include: Justice of peace John L. Minder of Roberts County, 40 years; Judge Oliver H. Ames of Clark County, 34 years; Highway Superintendent J. J. Senner of Campbell County, 25 years; Judge W. D. Shouse of Aurora County, 34 years; Circuit Court Bailiff Jacob H. Kieg of Minnehaha County, 32 years; Judge Dan E. Hanson of Turner County, 27 years; Judge H. L. Brown of Haakon County, 26 years; Clerk of Courts Fred W. Wilson, 32 years, and States Attorney W. M. Bennett, 26 years, both of Harding County.
There probably are others in this category -- mostly men just doing their jobs from day to day and year to year without acclamation, and, at best, only a modest financial return.


Take John Minder of Sisseton, for instance. He was appointed Roberts County deputy sheriff in 1901 and served two years. Elected sheriff in 1904, he served through 1908. Re-elected in 1912, he served until 1917 when he again became a deputy. He was re-named sheriff in 1924, appointed deputy state sheriff in 1930 and elected county justice of peace in 1934, a post he still holds.
Unhampered by the four-consecutive-years limitation that appiles to other county offices, members of the bench have been most successful in perpetuating their terms in office. Judges Ames of Clark, Shouse of White Lake and Thompson of Mitchell have all compiled their long service records in that one position.
Buffalo's Fred W. Wilson and W. M. Bennett, between them, have served in nearly every Harding County elective office at one time or another since both were first elected in 1909.
Wilson, who took an active part in the county organization, was auditor, register of deeds and deputy clerk of courts before being elected clerk of courts in 1918, the post he still holds.
Bennett was state's attorney from 1909 to 1919 with only a two-year lapse and with the exception of another two-year intermission has been county judge or state's attorney ever since.
Jacob Kiel of Sioux Falls has been Minnehaha County's circuit bailiff, an appointive post, continuously since 1909.
Over a span of 37 years, Judge Hanson of Parker held the offices of clerk of courts, states attorney and county judge, the latter since he was first elected to that position in 1932.
J. J. Senner of Mound City was a county commisioner three years and clerk of courts two before being named highway superintendent in 1921.
H. L. Brown of Philip alternated between the judgeship and the states attorney's post from 1915 to 1928 when he was elected judge for the third time. He has been re-elected to the bench seven time since.
Students of government advance many sound arguments for career men in public office, not the least of which is the fact that such a position attratcs better-qualified men because of the reasonable security.
But here we have a score or more South Dakotans who have devoted a lifetime to public office despite the uncertainly of the electorate's whims each election day.



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