from "South Dakota Historical Collections, Vol. 3", 1906

transcribed by Karen Seeman

John L. Pyle

By Walter Hubbard, a nephew of John Pyle.  Hubbard was a secretary at Huron college, and a banker at Yale, South Dakota.

Hon. John Pyle

In sketching the life of a man like John L. Pyle, it is remarkable of how little importance are the actual chronological events of his life, except in so far as they help us to elucidate the real character of the man and the principles which gave him guidance. This is all the more true of Pyle because, while his circumstances and environment had much to do with forming his character, yet on the other hand he was a man of such strength
that he largely created his own environment. Under almost any conditions his life story, while it might have read differently as to names, dates and achievements, would have contained the same splendid lesson of noble manhood.

John L. Pyle was born in Coal Run, Ohio, in 1860. The civil war was all but begun, and the long struggle for the abolition of human slavery, in which his father had taken so active a part, was flashing to its tragic climax.

His father, Levis Pyle, a man of exceedingly virile character, came of the most American of ancestry. The founder of the family was among Penn's early colonists in the seventeenth century, and through all its varying fortunes had been one of the few families of pioneers always on the frontier of advancing civilization and always in the forefront of every struggle for human rights. Amongst the earliest settlers in Ohio the Pyles were soon famous there for their absolute fearlessness and sturdy independence. Men of gigantic physique and splendid powers, they were always ready for a struggle. Many are the family tales told of the prowess of these early pioneers.

Levis Pyle had his full measure of the family characteristics, and in the dark days of the abolition struggle he showed them well, again and again defying the mobs that gathered to break up the meetings he addressed, and at times carrying his life in his hand.

In marked contrast to the combative, aggressive energy of his father was the tender, loving and patient disposition of his mother, Mary Dean Pyle. Born near London, England, and reared amid retired surroundings, she was a woman of remarkable gentleness. The influence of her gentle self-control was very strong upon on her son. It remained with him through life and made him in his private walks one of the most lovable of men.

With such an ancestry of the strong and gentle, of the aggressive and the tender, of the stern fighter and the devoted Christian. John Pyle was admirably fitted for the active life he was to lead and to absorb welt the teachings of his strenuous early life.

War was in the air when he was born. In less than a year the guns of Sumpter were to announce the great struggle, and the whole country was holding its breath in dread expectancy. The first events which stamped themselves upon the memory of the infant boy were those of war. It used to give him great amusement in after life to tell of his childish fears and sorrows in that great struggle.

When John was but a toddler, the terrible Morgan the Raider plunged into Ohio. Panic and terror spread before him. As he approached the Pyle home the very children caught the fear of their elders and hastened to secrete their loved toys and childish treasures out of the way of the terrible soldier. The little toddling boy had as his choicest treasure three bright marbles, and he hastened to bury these in the sand along the banks of the
Muskingum. Although the daring raider did not molest his treasures, all trace of their place of burial was accidentally obliterated. "It was thus," he once smilingly remarked to an audience to which he was relating the story, "that I lost my entire fortune during the civil war."

Shortly after the war his father removed his family to Illinois, where John received his early schooling. At the early age of thirteen he went to work for himself to earn money to supplement his other schooling by a course at Westfield academy.. As he grew older he was seized with a desire to complete his education by a college course, and accordingly began to lay his plans to secure the money to attain his ambition.

The natural instinct of the pioneer in him made him decide to go west for this purpose, and accordingly, in 1879, he made the long journey, much of it overland, to Montana. Here he worked for three years, and by dint of careful economy saved enough to help him carry out his plans. He had quit his work and was starting again for the east when he was laid low by lead poisoning. For many weeks he lay between life and death, and when at last his natural vitality had won the victory and he slowly began to recover, his money had been exhausted and the cherished object of his toil defeated.

Such defeat might have discouraged many a man, but not John Pyle. He saw that he could not soon again earn money for his education, so he determined to study by himself. Weak from his sickness and unable longer to follow mining, he came to Dakota territory and took up land near what is now the town of Miller. While on his homestead he studied law with all his energy and in 1886 was admitted to practice at the territorial bar. Six months later he was elected state's attorney for Hand county. About this lime he was married to Mamie I. Shields of Miller, who ever proved his devoted helpmeet and who, with their four children, survives him.

About the time that the territory of Dakota was divided and admitted to the union as two states, he decided to settle in Huron.

The great contest for the location of the capital of the state was on at this time, with Huron as one of the chief contestants. Pyle put all his energy into this contest and until it was over was constantly active in Huron's interest. His activity at this time greatly enhanced his influence and made him widely known, so that he became a very decided factor in all that pertained to the interest of his home city.

When the capital fight had come and gone it left in Huron a great aftermath of debt, scandal, and disputed indebtedness. A number of self-seeking politicians sought to raise up to themselves, at this time, a popular following, by advocating a policy of repudiation for all debts possible which the city had incurred, and the compromise of others, after having first disputed them. Against this shameful policy John Pyle took a most decided stand. He advocated the payment of every honest debt the town had incurred, no matter what had become of the money after it had been obtained. Popular sentiment was furiously wrought up and he was denounced as  the enemy of the town's interest. For a time he was the target of almost unmeasured abuse and the course of conduct he advocated was overwhelmingly defeated. Under the senseless guidance of its demagogues. Huron plunged into litigation which lasted many years, cost her many thousands of dollars and finally resulted in her utter discomfiture.

This result I'yle had freely foretold, and had never ceased to urge an abandonment of this wasteful course. When at last the popular excitement bad cooled and the wisdom of his counsels was revealed, there came a great revulsion in public sentiment and his advice on public matters was eargerly sought.

His many friends began to urge him for attorney general of the state, and when at last he was nominated and elected he attracted attention by the unusual degree to which he received the support of his home district.

His service as attorney general was marked by two cases, especially famous. The first was the "Milwaukee rate case," which was strenuously fought and reached the supreme court of the United States. The facts and arguments adduced at this trial, when the Chicago. Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad Co. denied the right of the state to interfere with its rates, have had no small bearing uj>on the more recent and greater struggle for
national rate regulation.

The second case was the perhaps more famous one against the Northern Securities Co., popularly known as the "Great Northern merger case." The fever which brought about his death was contracted at Helena, Montana, whither he had gone to attend a conference of governors and attorneys general of the northwestern states relative to the conduct of this great case.

It was always a great disappointment to Pyle that he had been unable to gratify his ambition for a college education. Largely for this reason he had a lively sympathy with young people who were similarly ambitious. All his life he was the generous friend and helper of young people and of the educational institutions themselves. When the college of the Presbyterians for South Dakota was dying at Pierre for lack of support, it was he who first  extended a hand to the needy institution, interested other friends and secured it a home at Huron, helping the reorganized college on its way to the great success it has since attained. He was president of its board of trustees at the time of his death.

One of his most prominent as well as most admirable characteristics was his love of justice and his abiding faith in the final good judgment and fair dealing of the American people. He always felt that laws were intended to be fundamentally right and that sooner or later equity would prevail. When asked by the writer the method he employed in beginning his preparation of his cases, he returned the startingly simple answer: "I first examine the case to see where lies the line of absolute right between man and man. Having reached a conclusion on this point, I look up the law to substantiate my position."

With a man so simply honest it were impossible not to expect to find him always actively allied with the forces for civic betterment. With Pyle this was notably the case. Especially was he active in all matters of temperance reform. He hated the liquor traffic with a perfect hatred and fought it with a singleness of purpose that never faltered.

At the time he received the nomination for attorney general from the Republicans he was the head of the Anti-Saloon League of the state. The organized liquor dealers waited upon him to demand certain concessions for their support. His reply was a characteristic challenge to a finish fight. The state was close, and his uncompromising attitude threw his political associates into a panic. They freely predicted his defeat and he himself came to think that it meant defeat. Nothing, however, could move him. He would rather have his political ambitions forever blasted than move one jot from the line of his convictions. The fight grew in intensity until the better element of the state rallied to his support solidly and, although the liquor interests turned many hundreds of votes from him, he secured one of the largest majorities on the ticket at that time.

Mr. Pyle was a man who often attracted attention on account of his magnificent physique, and his untimely death was a shock to all. He was buried with the honors of state. In his special proclamation touching the death of the attorney general the governor said: "Mr. Pyle was an efficient public officer, an able, conscientious lawyer and an honorable Christian gentleman, who was respected by all classes and loved and admired by all who had the privilege of his personal acquaintance. In his untimely death his family, the legal profession, the public service and all the people of the state have suffered an unmeasurable loss."

The bar of Beadle county, where he practiced so many years, adopted resolutions of which the following is an extract: "As a public officer he served the people of his state with fidelity; as a private citizen he was zealous in the discharge of every civic duty; as a husband he was faithful and kind; as a father he was gentle and indulgent; as a lawyer he was able and conscientious, steadfast in his relations with his clients, and earnest and careful
in the protection of their interests; as a man he was mild and sincere, true in his friendships, dignified in his bearing, and in all his conduct was governed by a lofty sense of duty."

Few men have honored the public service of this state whose line of conduct always cut so close to the line of absolute right and duty. Few men have been in the public eye who loved right and justice with such a passionate love. His love of right was contagious, and all with whom he came in contact felt its beneficent influence. The regard of his friends, the love of his family, and his own ideals were well summed up in the words of
one of the state's honored citizens who knew John Pyle and loved him. Said this gentleman to the writer: "Physically, mentally and morally John Pyle was one of the best men I ever knew."

 


from "South Dakota Historical Collections, Vol. 3", 1906

transcribed by Karen Seeman

 

Newman Curtis Nash

Newman Curtis Nash

by Nina M. Nash, daughter, and principal of Model school at the Northern Normal and Industrial School, Aberdeen.

Newman Curtis Nash, the subject of this sketch, was born on a farm in Orleans county, in western New York, February 15, 1843. He was the second son of Francis and Catherine Van Bergen Nash.  Eight years later his father gathered together his family and household goods, and followed the star of empire westerward to Wisconsin, settling on a farm near Janesville, where his one daughter and six of his eight sons grew up. In such a home the early training was naturally in all kinds of farm work yet every winter was spent in school, where Mr. Nash was one of the best, being one of the show spellers in the spelling schools then so popular, and a leader in sight singing, which stood in him good stead in later years.

Though he had just entered an academy at Allen's Grove when the first call for troops came in 1861, he desired to respond but was under age. When the Thirteenth Wisconsin Infantry was organized he  won a relucant consent from his father, and enlisted in Company A, serving for four years and three months. He was mustered out December 28, 1865, with an honorable discharge, when the company disbanded. While home on a furlough he was married at Janesville, Wisconsin, to Miss Jennie E. Williston, who survives him. They settled on a farm near Janesville, where they lived until 1871, when they moved to Dakota. Like most of the early settlers, he took up a "claim," coming first to South Dakota on horseback, in 1871, with his brother-in-law, George F. Williston, to look about and file. After a visit to his brother, John E. Nash, then near Lodi in Clay county, he went to Lincoln county to visit an old army comrade, I. N. Menor. In company with Mr. Menor and others he rode over the grassy, snowless waves of the prairie and selected a quarter section upon which he filed February 25, 1871. He returned to Wisconsin, put in his crop there, and made a second trip to this section that spring to do some breaking, this time driving overland. He did not bring his family until October, 1871.

At that time he and his wife bade farewell to friends and left for the frontier. The household effects which they took with them were packed into two covered wagons, which halted at Le Mars, Iowa, until the family arrived by train. There they too were stowed away under the canvas, and the fifty-six miles covered which took them to their new home.

Being too late to build, the first winter was spent in the village of Canton. In the spring lumber was hauled from Sioux City, seventy miles, and from Lc Mars, Iowa, Fifty-six miles away, and a six-room house begun. He was aided in this work by Mr. Wales,who long afterwards removed to California.and by Mr. William Dunlap, who has resided in Oregon for many years. Having heard of the tremendous winds of this section, Mr. Nash
built the house with a long slope to the northwest, that it might withstand the onslaughts of the tornadoes. As soon as the roof afforded a shelter, he moved onto the homestead. This was his home for five years, during which time no sound of church bells called to service, nor screech of locomotive disturbed the slumbers. Not for several years did those evidences of progress appear in the vallev of the Sioux.

During these years Mr. Nash was active in many ways in the community. His singing was a great help in a new country, and he and his tuning fork were in demand. One time he reached church a little late and wondered at the quiet. Upon entering he found the audience was waiting for him to pitch the tune. He was a staunch supporter of the church and Sunday school, and one stormy winter, when a minister could not be secured, was asked to conduct the religious services at the funeral of a dead neighbor. Though feeling his own unworthiness, he did what seemed his duty. He was sought after as a teacher of signing schools during the winter. He helped to organize "Prairie Grange." This organization, long since forgotten in the county by all but its old members, was a strong social factor in the early days, when pleasures were few. These early years showed the strength and help of the grange to the scattered settlers. The years 1874, 1875, and 1876 are memorable as the "grasshopper" years, when great clouds of locusts settled upon fields and gardens, eating everything, even to onions.  With crops destroyed, the farmers struggled as best they could to procure seed for the second year, but when that crop too was taken they were compelled to appeal to friends in more favored sections for help. The granges sent aid—clothing, food and some money—and Mr. Nash was appointed by the grange to which he belonged as one to receive and help distribute the contributions. At this time many left the country, never to return. Mr. Nash did not leave, as he still had faith that Dakota had a future, but he changed his occupation. He began work for Colonel Arthur Linn on the Sioux Valley News in December, 1876. That winter he purchased a half interest and in April, 1877, became sole owner and proprietor, remaining its editor for twenty-eight years, or until his death.

During: this period he watched the little village straggling along the stage-road, change into a trim, compact, populous town with two railroads, and aided its growth with tongue and pen. He was strongly identified with the civil and political interests of Lincoln county and the territory, now the state of South Dakota. In every movement for the betterment of existing conditions, he did what he felt to be right, even though he moved alone. He was ever a supporter of the Republican party, though not always agreeing with its leaders. Because of his fearless utterances, his paper became prominent, influential, and widely circulated. It stands as a monument to his personal zeal and indomitable energy.

He was honored in many ways by his fellow citizens. He was postmaster from 1890 to 1894. He served for a time upon the school board. He was an interested member of the agricultural society and of the Anti-Saloon League. He was one of the original trustees of the state school for the deaf. He belonged to various civic societies, among them the I. O. O. F., A. F. and A. M., G. A. R., and M. W. A. He was grand master of the Odd Fellows of the state for one term and twice represented the state in the national gathering of the order. He was president of the state press association—in 1890-92. He served a term as department commander of the G. A. R. of South Dakota. He was secretary of the soldier's home board at the time of his death and had been for some years. Besides these duties, he maintained a strict attendance upon all the services of his church. On account of these many interests, his personal acquaintance throughout the state at the time of his death was probably not exceeded by any, and equaled by very few.

On election day, November 8, 1904, feeling unable to work, he conceded to his friends' wishes and went home, thinking a period of rest was all he needed. He made trips to Pierre and Hot Springs for recuperation, but these did him no good. In December he consulted a specialist of Chicago, but received little encouragement. His friends hoped against hope, and did everything possible for him, yet he failed gradually and on February 8, 1905, died of internal cancer. His last days were cheered by visits and messages from friends and relatives. These acts of kindness on the part of his friends pleased him, yet he often remarked that he did not deserve them. On February 10th his body was interred in Forest Hill cemetery. The various civic societies with which he was connected took part in the burial services.

To quote from the mortuary report of the Lincoln County Old Settlers' Association, in 1905: "He always labored zealously for the upbuilding of Canton, the development of Lincoln county, the cause of education, temperance, and reform. He was a self-sacrificing citizen also, generous to a fault; rarely indeed was any charity or benevolence denied his generosity. In his death Lincoln county lost a citizen whose place
will be filled with difficulty." His influence upon the community and upon the state in its formative period cannot be estimated.

It was in his family that he was best known, and there he will, be most missed and most mourned. He was ever the affectionate husband, the loving father. To have had such an example of honesty, justice, and business intergrity, to have seen daily a life lived which would bear inspection at close range, this, indeed, is a priceless heritage to those bound to him by ties of blood.

 


from "South Dakota Historical Collections, Vol. 3", 1906

transcribed by Karen Seeman

 

Sidney Russell Gold

by Irwin D. Aldrich

 

Sidney R. Gold was born in Northampton county, Pennsylvania, in 1857. He removed with his parents to Illinois when he was quite young and before he was of age had crossed the Mississippi river and started business for himself in the state of Iowa. He was married May 18, 1876, to Miss Eva M. Sloan of Clinton, Iowa, and seven children (five daughters and two sons) resulted from this union, all of whom survive him. He died at his home in Big Stone on Monday, March 6, 1905, of cancer of the pancreas, after a lingering illness of several months.

Mr. Gold first came to Big Stone, S. D., in 1887, where he and two brothers established a fuel and grain business, gradually extending it to cover other lines.

At the failure of the Diggs bank in Milbank in 1892, Mr. Gold was appointed receiver. In the work involved in clearing up and settling this extensive business his attention was drawn to the making and selling of real estate mortgages, and the firm of Gold & Company then began to make a specialty of this business, which soon grew to large proportions. In 1894 they established a bank at Big Stone, since incorporated as a state bank.

It is not the purpose of this sketch to dwell particularly upon Mr. Gold's business career, however, but rather to show the man and his impress upon the public affairs of the state and of the community in which he lived.

In 1892 he was nominated by the Republicans of Grant county as one of their two candidates for the state legislature, Hon. C. H. Lien of Summit being the other. The preliminary canvass of the vote showed that the Populists had elected one candidate and the Republicans the other, Mr. Lien being apparently the successful candidate, but the official canvass elected Mr. Gold by a majority of two votes.

Mr. Gold was a man of great activity in all his affairs, and when he entered the legislative arena he at once impressed his personality upon all important matters with which he came in contact. Though a new member he was a prominent factor in the organization of the legislature, and was a member of the appropriations, school and public lands, and other important committees.

The state at that time was under constitutional prohibition, and a strong effort was made to secure the resubmission of the prohibitory clause in the constitution to a vote of the people. Mr. Gold was opposed, on principle, to the liquor traffic, and he was among those most active against the proposed resubmission, which after a long battle was defeated in the house by one vote. Mr. Gold's oldest son, Ralph, was born during his absence from home attending to his public duties at this time.

He was re-elected in 1894, without much opposition, and at once assumed a commanding position, in the stormy times that followed the absconding of ex-State Treasurer Walter W. Taylor. Mr. Gold was chairman of the appropriations committee during this session, and was a prominent member of the joint committee from the house and senate which conducted an exhaustive investigation into the tangled affairs of the state treasury.

In all public affairs of the locality in which he lived, Mr. Gold was the acknowledged leader. He was quick to see the as yet but half appreciated advantages of the beautiful surroundings of Big Stone and the farming country adjacent, and to his optimism and good judgment was due the building up of a substantial fortune.

In 1898 he was the leading spirit in the establishment of a Chautauqua assembly at Big Stone, which has since grown to be one of the leading assemblies of the northwest. Although the first two sessions of this assembly left a deficit of over $3,000, he carried the shortage without complaint, and with a firm faith in the future of the enterprise, which he lived to see fairly on its own feet.

To him is due the establishment of the Big Stone Brick Company, the largest brickmaking concern in the state; the establishment of the Big Stone Canning Company, which operates the only canning establishment in the state; and the erection of the commodious and beautiful brick and granite school building at Big Stone was made possible only by his assistance in carrying the financial burden.

In conclusion we quote the words of a friend, at the time of his decease:

"Mr. Gold was more than a successful business man. The mere report of his business success is hut a small chapter of his biography. He was foremost in all good works, and it is not within the power of human hand to record his many acts of kindness and beneficence to those with whom he was brought in contact. Few there are in Big Stone City who have not at some time been indebted to him for a friendly hand in a time of need.

"During his last hours his mind was clear and his words of final counsel sank deep into the hearts of the members of his family who were gathered about his bedside.

"As life's sun was setting the evening shadows brought to him no fears. The darkening blue of heaven's canopy revealed in brighter splendor the evening star of hope. He wrapped the drapery of his couch about him and lay down as one to pleasant dreams."

 


 

from "South Dakota Historical Collections, Vol. 3", 1906

transcribed by Karen Seeman

 

Otto Christopher Berg

by Thomas Sterling, Dean of the College of Law, Vermillion

There are two standards whereby we estimate the worth of a man. One by the position he holds or by the achievements which for a time may keep him in the public eye; the other by his life, that life which represents the sum total of daily aims and conduct, be they public or private. The latter is coming to be the approved test. It no longer suffices that a man have, in the popular sense, a career, or that his heroism be of a stamp of which history takes note. It may be true indeed that duty, honor, and work well done are fundamental in the real progress of society, but they are virtues which now find a popular recognition not once accorded them. Events which have brought about this juster appreciation of true worth have been moving rapidly. The glamour of wealth or of mere position is not the alluring thing it was even a year ago. Some of the old idols have been shattered. Thoroughnesss in all honest work and fidelity to every trust imposed or assumed is coming to be the watchword of the hour. Social and civic life will gain thereby. There will be less of ambition for the center of the stage, more to master well the part assigned; less of shadow, more of substance. Mere semblances will not easily satisfy, and those qualities of manhood which ring sincere and true with every responsibility and in every relation will be the ones to attract and control.

It is no assumption that from a view point like this we give some brief account of the life and character of Otto C. Berg. For this character most fittingly exemplifies that standard by which just men everywhere judge the lives of those yet living or of those who have passed away—the life standard. His career is an inspiration in itself; it shows, moreover, how in this great country of ours the door of opportunity opens to the intelligent and true from other lands, though differing widely in language and in customs from our own.

Otto Christopher Berg was born in Brottum, Rinsgager, Norway, September 10, 1849. His father, born in 1818, was long in the government service of the fatherland; first in the military service from 1839 to 1855; then, and during the remainder of his life, he was employed as civil engineer. The death of the father was a tragic one. At the head of a party of thirty he was engaged in the survey of a government road leading through the mountains of Norway. At midnight on February 11, 1868, a terrible snowslide swept down the mountain, overwhelming the buildings in which the party was lodged, and all perished. He left no fortune. The government, in acknowledgment of her husband's services, granted the widow a small pension which she continued to receive until her removal to America in 1880. She died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Andrew Simonson, in Yankton county, this state, in 1886.

A short time prior to his father's death Otto C. had made the resolve to try his fortune in America, and he first learned of the awful tragedy while journeying on foot up into the mountains to bid his father farewell before taking ship. A change of plans was necessary; the trip to the new world must be delayed, and it was not until five years later that he saw America and began his residence at Norwalk, in Monroe county, Wisconsin.

He had but a common school education, and yet he had been employed in mercantile establishments in the cities of Lillehammer and Drammen, Norway, from the time he was sixteen years of age, each place being a promotion over the last. Although he arrived in this country an entire stranger to the language and to the people among whom he settled, yet he was an American from the first and in full sympathy with American in stitutions. His quick perceptions, his power of ready adaptation, and his genial personalty soon won him friends and a way. His capacity for mastering the details of official work and business was remarkable. He had been but a short time in Norwalk when he was made postmaster. A little later he was elected county clerk of Monroe county, and removed to Sparta, the county scat. This office he held until a short time before his removal in December, 1883, to Spink county, South Dakota. He was thus one of the pioneers of the northern part of our new commonwealth. He engaged for a time in the mercantile business at Nortbville, and for the three years prior to 1894 he was manager of the grain and elevator business of Geo. W. Van Duscn & Co. at that place. From 1883 to 1893 was a trying decade for that portion of the state. The three or four fair crops were more than devoured by the lean ones. Financial conditions in the country at large contributed to make the situation worse. Mr. Berg shared in the privations of those years. In alluding to them afterwards he said: "We passed through all sorts of times," which well illustrates the alternating hope and despondency of the period.

Though not particularly demonstrative, he was a man of quick and tender sympathies. More than one about the little town could attest some substantial help or favor from him in time of need; all agree to the kind and accommodating spirit of "Christ" Berg, and any hint of an act of business injustice on his part has yet to be heard.

Here, as elsewhere, it was natural for him to win confidence and make friends, who, recognizing his worth and ability, were enthusiastic fdr his advancement. He was always a staunch Republican, and in 1894 was elected clerk of courts of Spink county. He was re-elected in 1896. His own county, as well as many others, warmly supported him for the office of commissioner of school and public lands in 1898, but failing to receive this nomination in state convention, he was a third time nominated and elected clerk of courts. In 1900 he was elected secretary of state. To this important and responsible position be brought the care and fidelity which were his great characteristics. Within the scope of the office he considered himself the guardian of the interests and property of the state. He was secretary in fact as well as in name, and set a precedent by removing with his family to Pierre that he might give personal supervision to the affairs of the office. Governor Herreid, during whose administration he served, said of him: "Secretary of State Berg was one of the most conscientious and faithful men who ever filled a public position in our state. To know him intimately in official life, as I did, was to respect, trust and honor him."

Such, in brief, is the history of his business and official life. The files and public records in the offices which he held disclose the rest, and themselves, in their completeness and exactness, constitute a monument in which his family and his friends may take just pride

His second term as secretary found him in poor health. His daughter, Miss Edna, a young woman of fine attainments and bright promise, became seriously ill. His anxiety for her and the intense grief occasioned by her death in January, 1904, aggravated the malady from which he himself suffered.

Still, and against his protest, hut with the thought too on the part of his friends that the interests of the campaign might serve to relieve his mind and give "surcease of sorrow," he was induced to become a candidate for the nomination for governor in 1904. His contest, however, ended with the opening of the convention and his name was withdrawn before the first ballot was taken. He accepted the result philosophically and without any manifestation of bitterness against the men or the conditions responsible for it. His loyalty to his party never swerved. And it will be the verdict of the people of the state and of those who come after him, that failure to secure the prize was not due to any want of confidence in his ability or his integrity. For himself personally it was better that he did not. Rapidly failing health would have made it as ashes in his hands. At the end of his second term as secretary he retired to the old home at Redneld. There he lived with his family, consisting of his wife and son, Paul, until August 1, 1905, when he passed peacefully away, mourned by hosts of friends who had known and admired him, and by the people of the state who had found in him one of their most faithful and efficient servants.

What, may we ask, is the secret of Mr. Berg's rapid advancement and his success in every place he filled? He was not a learned man, nor could it be said that he was a wide reader. His early opportunities were not such as to favor literary tastes or ideals. But he was observant, and all useful knowledge, however obtained, he remembered and was quick to apply. Though his limited school education was in the Scandinavian language, he learned the English so well that it was not always easy, either from his pronunciation or accent, to trace his Scandinavian origin, while his writing and correspondence were in good English, through and through. He was not in the ordinary sense a politician. His political successes bad for their beginning the spontaneous wishes and efforts of his friends to advance a deserving and capable man, but the fight once on he did his full share. Aside from any particular talent as a public speaker, something he did not claim to possess, he was one of the best campaigners in the state, and was especially strong among his fellow countrymen, whose confidence in him was unbounded.

He had a fine presence, a pleasing address, a good knowledge of all political issues, a quiet, tactful way of presenting his cause to a political opponent, and in these respects Mr. Berg was a politician with few superiors.

The business of his office he managed "without fear or favor," and there was no fricnship strong enough to induce him to slight or forego some requirement of the law relating to his official functions. He knew his rights, and "knowing dared maintain." Aside from this there were no proper favors he would not grant, and in granting them he seemed absolutely impartial.

But, as we interpret his life work, the secret of his success lay most of all in his fine sense of duty and his pride in work well done. These were the dominant notes in his character. They were reflected in the apparently commonplace and everyday affairs. Neatness and accuracy in such as these are but parts of the larger whole. He was not fastidious, but had an evident pride in personal appearance and in neatness of dress, which did not forsake him even in the long days of suffering. The trait was manifest in the order and arrangement of his offices and their equipment. It was conspicuous in his thorough mastery of all work incident to high office in the great fraternity of which he was an honored member. He abhorred poor penmanship and practiced.until be wrote a hand both legible and beautiful. These right habits of his were proverbial among his friends. The work or duty being his, there was a certainty that it would be well performed.

He had a fine sense of humor and there was a good cheer about him which was hard to resist. But he was .always a gentleman, and his mind was singularly pure. While no one with like range of information or culture could be more genial in conversation, after acquaintance, he always disliked and avoided the vulgar. His respect for women was sincere and profound and he loathed the story or the allusion which, though without such intent, involved or reflected upon the honor or virtue of the sex, and in the matter of social purity he Insisted upon the same standard of morals for both sexes. Fidelity to the obligations of private and domestic life, and of that home life in which he was especially blessed, was a part of his being and a fit complement of the loyalty with which in his official capacity he served the public.

The example his life affords, as well as the popular esteem in which his memory is held, is well expressed in one simple yet eloquent tribute found among the many' testimonials to his splendid qualities as public official, citizen and friend: "Everyone says Mr. Berg was a good man."

 



BAGLEY, Mrs. Blanche Pentecost, Unitarian minister, born in Torquay, England, 19th January, 1858. Her father is the Rev. R. T. Pentecost, a Unitarian minister, now of Salem, Mass. Miss Pentecost received her early education partly in private schools in London, England, where her family then resided, and partly in a French college in Avenches, Canton Vaud, Switzerland, from which she was graduated. In 1882 the family came to this country and made their home in Chicago, where three of her brothers, architects, still reside.  Blanche Pentecost, like the rest of her family, was brought up in the Established Church of England, but she became a Unitarian while visiting a sister, whose husband, the Rev. F. B. Mott, was then studying for the Unitarian ministry.  By them she was induced to enter the Meadville Theological School, from which institution she was graduated in 1889.  She had first met her future husband, the Rev. James. E. Bagley, in Meadville, where they had entered and left school together.  Her first experience of preaching, outside of the college chapel, was in Vermont, in the little town of Middlesex, where she spent the summer of 1887.  After her graduation she took up work as a minister in Reedsburg, Wis.  There she continued until her marriage, on 4th September, 1889, when she accompanied her husband to All Souls Church, Sioux Falls, S. D., to which he had received a call.  Mr. and Mrs. Bagley were ordained and installed together there as joint pastors on 17th November, the same year, the ceremony being the first of that kind in the history of the world.  It was, however, only returning to the New Testament custom of sending the disciples out two by two.  During their residence in South Dakota Mrs. Bagley took an active interest in all public questions and moral reforms in that State.  She usually conducted the evening services in the church and occasionally assisted in the morning service.  She was also assistant superintendent of the Sunday-school, chairman of the executive board of the Unity Club a literary organization, a charter member of the board of directors of the Woman’s Benevolent Association, a member of the Minister’s Association, and with her husband, joint chairman of the executive committee of the Equal Suffrage Association.  She was a member of the Relief Corps, of which, a short time before she left the city, she became chaplain. While in Sioux Falls she made the acquaintance of Susan B. Anthony, and the Rev. Anna Shaw, and had the honor of introducing both of these speakers to Sioux Falls audiences. During the first year of her married life she took part in the ordination of two other woman ministers, the Rev. Helene Putnam and the Rev. Lila Frost-Sprague, both of whom had been college friends. Her home is now in Haverhill, Mass., where her husband in 1890 was installed pastor of the First Parish Church. They have two children, and Mrs. Bagley is naturally much occupied, as she feels that home duties have the first claim upon her, but she finds time for some outside work, occasionally taking her husband's pulpit and conducting the afternoon service at a little church in the outskirts of the city. She is also local superintendent of the department of scientific temperance instruction in connection with the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. Mrs. Bagley is an accomplished pianist and has an inherited gift for painting which she has found time to cultivate. She has a vigorous constitution and an unusually strong, clear contralto voice, with a distinct articulation, which makes it easy for her to be heard by the largest audiences.
(American Women Fifteen Hundred Biographies, Volume 1, Publ. 1897.  Transcribed by Marla Snow)


BARTLETT, Miss Caroline Julia, Unitarian minister, born in Hudson, St. Croix county. Wis., 17th August, 1858. She is a daughter of Lorenzo Dow and Julia A. Brown Bartlett. When she was sixteen years old, she heard a sermon which led her to make the liberal ministry her lifework. After she was graduated at Carthage College, in Illinois, the disapproval of her relatives and friends kept her from entering the ministry at once, and she turned her attention to newspaper work. For about three years she was on the staff of the Minneapolis "Tribune," and later was city editor of the Oshkosh "Daily Morning Times." As a newspaper writer and editor Miss Bartlett was a success. After spending a short time in special study. Miss Bartlett entered on her new calling as pastor of a little Unitarian flock in Sioux Falls, S. Dak. During the three years she remained there, her efforts were greatly prospered. A handsome stone church was built, and the membership increased to many times the number that made up her charge when she undertook the work. The fame of her labors at Sioux Falls brought her an urgent call from the First Unitarian Church of Kalamazoo, Mich., which she was induced to accept, as it would give her better opportunity for special study than she could have in South Dakota. Miss Bartlett has been in Kalamazoo three years, and the church of which she is pastor has flourished greatly during that time. Study clubs have been formed under her direction, and the church is an active and important factor in all good work in the community. Miss Bartlett spent the summer of 1891 abroad and preached in many of the Unitarian churches in England. She was received with great kindness, but a woman preacher was such a novelty that it was only by showing the portraits of a dozen other women ministers that she could get the people there to realize that she was not solitary in her vocation.  By special invitation she visited the great philosopher and theologian, Dr. James Martineau, in his Scottish Highlands home. In philanthropic investigations while abroad, Miss Bartlett went about with the slum officers of the Salvation Army. Her conversion to the cause of woman's political enfranchisement did not come until after some years of public work, but then it was thorough. She preached the sermon before the National Woman Suffrage Convention in Washington, in 1891.
(American Women Fifteen Hundred Biographies, Volume 1, Publ. 1897.  Transcribed by Marla Snow)


BONES, Mrs. Marietta M., woman suffragist and social reformer, born upon a farm in Clarion county. Pa., 4th May, 1842. Her father, James A. Wilkins, was born in Clarion county, where he resided for forty-eight years, when he removed to Iowa, and died six months later. Mr. Wilkins was a noted Abolitionist, known to have maintained an undergound (sic) railroad station." The mother's (Jane Trumbull) family, the Trumbulls, were originally from Connecticut, and were descendants of Jonathan Trumbull, better known by Washington’s pet name, “Brother Jonathan.”  Her education was received in the Huide-kooper Seminary, Meadville, Pa., and in the Washington, Pa., female seminary. Mrs. Bones was elected vice-president of the National Woman Suffrage Association for Dakota Territory, in 1881, and was annually re-elected for nine years. She made her debut as a public speaker in an oration at a Fourth of July celebration in Webster, Dak., in 1882. In September, 1883, she addressed Dakota's State Constitutional Convention on behalf of woman's enfranchisement. Failing to have her claim for woman's equality before the law recognized in the State Constitution there framed, she earnestly petitioned both houses of Congress to deny Dakota's admission to the Union as a State. Then she carried on several lively newspaper controversies against efforts to make the social question of temperance a political question. She is an active temperance worker and was secretary of the first Non-partisan National Woman's Christian Temperance Union convention in Chicago, in 1889, for which the local Woman's Temperance Union in Webster, over which she had presided the previous year, discharged her, returning her dues, paid nearly three months before, with an official notice "That the ladies of Webster union moved and carried that Mrs. Bones' dues be returned on acccount (sic)of her having joined the secession movement, and also on account of her antagonism to our State president." As a pioneer settler in her town, she secured for it a donation of a block of lots for a courthouse and county buildings, and through her influence Day county was divided and a part added thereto, in order that the county-seat should be centrally located. So interested was she that their State capital should be situated at the geographical center, that the board of trade in the city of Pierre invited her to be the guest of their city. Through her intercession three infirm veterans of the war have been sent, at the expense of her county, to the Soldiers' Home in Hot Springs, S. Dak. Mrs. Bones was an able assistant of Mrs. Matilda Joslyn Gage in organizing the Woman's National Liberal Union. She addressed the convention in Washington, D. C., and is one of the executive council of that organization. The energy of Mrs. Bones knows no bounds when work is needed, and her perfect health helps her willing hand.
(American Women Fifteen Hundred Biographies, Volume 1, Publ. 1897.  Transcribed by Marla Snow)


from "Who's Who in South Dakota, Vol. II"
by O. W. Coursey, 1916

REV. CHARLES BADGER CLARK, D. D.
THE PRAYING CHAPLAIN


Dr. and Mrs. C. B. Clark were sitting in the parlor of their cozy Deadwood home, reading. Presently, Mrs. Clark looked up and said: "I see they are going to have a chaplain at the new national sanitarium for old soldiers, in Hot Springs. I wonder if it would be possible for you to secure the appointment."

Dr. Clark, looking up, meditatingly, replied: "It would be a nice position, I presume. But, in a measure, the appointment will be a political one. I suspect that Congressman Martin will control it." (Martin was one of Dr. Clark's church members at Deadwood).

"Well, it's worth trying for, isn't it?" responded Mrs. Clark.

A letter was promptly dispatched to the active, loyal Martin. He, in turn, sent one with equal promptness to the board of control. Said he: "All I want in the way of appointments in the sanitarium at Hot Springs, are the chaplain and the quartermaster." His request was immediately granted; and the Reverend Dr. C. B. Clark was promptly appointed chaplain of Battle Mountain Sanitarium.
This was back in 1907, and he still holds down the job—to the satisfaction of the management and the hundreds of soldiers and sailors admitted to the institution. In fact, it would have been quite impossible to have gotten a better man for the place. Mrs. Clark's suggestion has found suitable reward.

Dr. Clark was born at Saquoit, Oneida county, New York, December 29, 1839. He came west with his parents in 1857 and entered college in Mount Pleasant, Iowa.

At the breaking out of the Civil War he enlisted in the 25th Iowa Volunteer Infantry and after serving one year was wounded in the first attack on Vicksburg and at the same time lost the hearing of his right ear by the concussion of heavy artillery. He lay in the hospital until discharged for disability from his wound. On his return to Mount Pleasant he re-entered college, but his health had been so shattered by army service that he was obliged to give up the completion of his university course.

He entered the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal church in 1864 and became a member of the Iowa conference, where he completed the four years' study course pre-scribed by the church. His first appointment in southern Iowa contained twelve preaching places, so far apart that in order to encompass the circuit he rode one hundred miles and regularly preached three times each Sunday. The outdoor life was beneficial to his health and from the very first his ministry met with success. The "boy preacher," as he was generally called, succeeded in adding a hundred and fifty people to the membership of his circuit in his first year, and he so enlarged the work that the conference divided his circuit, giving to him what was known as the Cincinnati division and the brick church. The next year was wonderfully fruitful in his endeavors, and two hundred and fifty people were brought into the church.

Feeling well established in his life work, he went back to Mount Pleasant and married Miss Mary Cleaver, who proved to be, in the highest sense, a helpmeet, not only in the home but in the work of the church. After being ordained as deacon and elder he was sent to the larger stations of the conference, filling the pulpits of Pella, Newton, Oskaloosa, Burlington and Ottumwa. At the last place, after building a large church, costing $35,000, his nerve force being exhausted by nineteen years of strenuous and unbroken service his physician peremptorily ordered a change of climate and occupation.

In 1883 he moved, with his wife and children, to South Dakota and settled on a homestead near Plankinton. The freedom and wholesome outdoor life of the farm re-stored his health and he was very happy in his new situation, but the authorities of his church soon "found him out" and he was persuaded to resume his life work at the end of two years of farming, taking the pastorate of the First M. E. church at Mitchell. After two years here he served a full term of six years as Presiding Elder of the Mitchell District and enjoyed the love and fellowship of the twenty-two preachers under his charge. During his years at Mitchell he was particularly happy in his relation to the then newly-established Dakota university, and he was one of the first trustees of that institution. It was as a representative of this college that his gifted son, Fred (deceased), won the state oratorical contest at the age of seventeen, while still in the preparatory department.

At the end of his presiding eldership he was called to the pastorate at Huron, where he spent five years and completed the. term of his labors in the "East-of-the-River" country. These were all glorious years in the youthful days of the new state and Doctor Clark often recalls them with deep pleasure.

By an unmistakable call of Providence he became the pastor of the First M. E. church in Deadwood in 1897 and moved to the Black Hills. He served this station four years and was then appointed superintendent of the Black Hills M. E. Mission, which he held for the regular term of six years. During his first year in Deadwood he lost his wife, the devoted mother of his four children, two of whom had preceded her to the other home. Three years later he married Miss R. Anna Morris, of Cleveland, Ohio, who has proven a most worthy companion and assistant in his work.

During forty-nine years of strenuous service for his church, Dr. Clark has received over two thousand persons into the church fellowship; and he has officiated in hundreds of marriages, funerals, and other occasions of joy or sorrow, close to the hearts of thousands, both in and out of the church. August, 1914, marked the golden anniversary of his entry into the ministry. While Dr. Clark has a long past to look back upon he is by no means ready to stop growing mentally, and the present has no more interested spectator then he. He has fond memories of the "good old times" but is of the declared opinion that the new times are as good or better. He often quotes "Tis an age on ages turning, To be living is sublime," Brownings lines, "God's in His heaven, All's right with the world," which are favorites of his, come near expressing his optimistic faith in the present and the future. "The voice of the church of Christ in these days," he says, "is as the voice of many waters. One mighty impulse pervades the Christian nations and it is en-circling the globe with the message that Jesus saves."

Dr. Clark's interest and influence have always been wider than his own town or his own church. In 1892 and 1896 he was sent as a delegate from the Dakota conference to the great general conference of his church.

In 1897 he was elected department commander of the G. A. R. of this state, and has lectured in dozens of conventions and chautauquas. He has always taken an earnest interest in politics, and in 1900 he nominated E. W. Martin for congress the first time at the state republican convention in Sioux Falls.

Probably the main elements of success in Dr. Clark's career have been his magnetic eloquence as a speaker and his no less magnetic kindliness of heart. He is and always has been a brotherly man, not only to his fellow Methodists and fellow Christians but to every human creature whom he meets. From the tenderness and inspiration of his public prayers he is sometimes called the "Praying Chaplain." He is now seventy-five years old, and is yet in remarkably good health. In his present position he cornbines his devoted Christian life with his ardent patriotism, and serves the church and the country, both of which have honored him, and both of which he has loved and honored, throughout his long life.
 


 

 

 

 

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