Davison County Biographies

 

Anderson, H. B.

Boynton, Abraham

Chasnoff, Jacob

Clemans, Frank J.

Finstad, Auris

Hitchcock, A. E.

Hoagland, J. S.

Hobson, Emery

Hurd, B. H.

Mueller, John Christ

Ramer, Milton M.

Ronald, W. R.

Seaman, W. G.

Steichen, J. U.

Wagner, Edward E.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memorial and Biographical Record of

Turner, Lincoln, Union and Clay Counties, South Dakota

Geo. A. Ogle & CO., Chicago, 1897

transcribed by Jim Dezotell

B. H. HURD, Parker's able and efficient postmaster, who is also engaged in the practice of law at that point, is a native of Coesse, Whitley Co., Ind., and was born August 26, 1865. He is the third child of D. H. and Julia (Van Meter) Hurd, the former a native of New York, whose fore-parents came from England, and the latter born in Indiana of German descent, and who died there when our subject was but two years of age. D. H. Hurd now lives in Benton county, Iowa, where he is engaged in agricultural pursuits.

The subject of this sketch was reared in Indiana, and his early education was received in the common schools of his native town. When he was seventeen years of age he came with his father to Benton county, Iowa, where he assisted in breaking up and improving the farm on which they located. He attended Tilford college at Vinton, Iowa, from which he graduated in 1885, and then spent two years in study at Mt. Vernon,. Iowa, going from there to the college at Ann Arbor, Mich., and graduating from the law department of that institution in the class of 1890. After his graduation he went to Mitchell, S. Dak., to teach school during the winter, and then came to Parker, hung out his "shingle" and began the practice of the law which vocation he has followed ever since. He was appointed postmaster by President Cleveland in 1893, and has been city justice of the peace for three years. He is a member of the I.O.O.F., and A.O.U.W. orders in which he takes an active interest.

Mr. Hurd's marriage occurred March 6, 1892, when he led to the altar Miss Alice Penny, a native of New York, and daughter of W. J. and Fannie Penny. This union has been blessed with two sons, Leland S. and Cato B. Mr. Hurd is a Democrat in politics, and has been one all his life. He and his wife are connected with the Methodist Episcopal church, in which Mr. Hurd is a member of the official board, superintendent of the Sunday school and president of the Epworth league.


History of Dakota Territory, George W. Kingsbury, Vol. 4, 1915

AURIS FINSTAD.

The neat and systematic arrangement of the drug store of Auris Finstad, of Sioux Falls, the excellent line of drugs and druggists' sundries which is carried and the enterprising methods of the proprietor, have made him one of the wide-awake, alert and energetic merchants of a city which is rapidly developing along substantial and broadening lines. His surname indicates his Norwegian ancestry. A native of the land of the midnight sun, he was born at Stavanger, Norway, February 25, 1870, a son of Claus and Goneld Finstad. For six years he was a student in the public schools of Norway and in 1883, when a youth of thirteen years, came with his parents to the new world, the family home being established at Mitchell, in what was then Dakota territory. He continued his education in the schools of that city, passing through consecutive grades until he completed the high school course. At the age of seventeen years he entered the drug store of L. O. Gale and there learned the business with which he became familiar in principle and detail. In 1891 he removed from Mitchell to Emery, South Dakota, where he opened a drug store, conducting the business successfully for five years. In 1897 he went to Hetland, this state, where he was in a drug store for two years. He afterward spent a year in a drug store in Yankton and in 1900 came to Sioux Falls, where he entered the employ of R. F. Brown, a druggist, with whom he continued for three months. He next purchased a drug store in Arlington, South Dakota, which he conducted until March, 1912, and then returned to Sioux Falls, where he is now proprietor of one of the best drug stores of the city.

It was on the 23d of May, 1910, at St. Paul, Minnesota, that Mr. Finstad was united in marriage to Miss Matilda Lundin. His parents were of the Quaker church and he was reared in that faith. Fraternally he is connected with the Knights of Pythias and with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. His political allegiance is given to the republican party and he has been a close student of the questions and issues of the day but has no desire for office as a reward for party fealty. The industry, perseverance and reliability characteristic of the people of his nationality find exemplification in him and constitute the salient features in his growing business success.


History of Dakota Territory, George W. Kingsbury, Vol. 4, 1915

EDWARD E. WAGNER.

Edward E. Wagner, one of the leading members of the South Dakota bar, practicing successfully in Sioux Falls, was born on a farm in Lyon county, Iowa, October 22, 1874. He is a son of James H. and Louisa E. (Conklin) Wagner, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of Ohio. The father passed away in 1884. The family is of German origin but was founded in this country at an early day, as the grandfather of our subject was born in Pennsylvania.

Edward E. Wagner acquired his early education in the public schools of Rock Rapids, Iowa, and afterward entered the law office of H. G. McMillan at that place. In May, 1893, he was admitted to the bar by the supreme court of Iowa and opened his first office at Mitchell, South Dakota. He remained there for three years and then returned to Rock Rapids, where he spent a similar period of time. In the spring of 1899 he went to Alexandria, South Dakota, and in 1900 was elected states attorney of Hanson county, serving one term of two years. In 1904 he was elected to the state senate from district No. 11 and his record as a member of the legislative body was a commendable one, his vote and influence having been always on the side of right and progress. One year after the expiration of his term in the senate Mr. Wagner was appointed by President Roosevelt United States attorney for the district of South Dakota and in this office he did conscientious, impartial and able work for a period of five years and a half, after which he resigned and gave his entire time to his private practice. On the 1st of January, 1910, he returned to Mitchell and there formed a partnership with Harrison C. Preston, an association which continued for three years. At the end of that time Mr. Wagner moved to Sioux Falls, where he is now engaged in general practice, being ranked among the able and successful attorneys of the city.

At Rock Rapids, Iowa, July 10, 1894, Mr. Wagner was united in marriage to Miss Alice Tresslar, a daughter of Jacob Tresslar, a veteran of the Civil war, as was also the father of our subject, who served three and a half years as private in the Twenty-fourth Iowa Volunteer Infantry. Mr. and Mrs. Wagner have become the parents of three children, Hazel, Ruth and Robert.

Mr. Wagner belongs to the Dacotah, the Country and the Elks Clubs and is connected fraternally with the Knights of Pythias and the Masons. He is a member of the Presbyterian church. His political allegiance is given to the republican party, and he has always been active in public affairs, serving with credit and ability in various positions of trust and responsibility. He was enthusiastically mentioned by his many friends and admirers as a candidate for the office of United States senator recently but refused this honor, being unwilling to take part in an arduous political campaign. However; he is now the object of a strong non-partisan movement to place him upon the bench in the second judicial district.

In discussing this movement the Sioux Falls Press in an editorial dated November 25, 1913, said: "Mr. Wagner is not only preeminently fit for a position that calls for conscience, a clear mind, knowledge of the law and courage, but he has proven that he has a keen sense of the moral values of a situation. All these requisites of a good jurist Mr. Wagner possesses, we believe, in great abundance. We have only to hark back a few months to the occasion where, as United States district attorney, he had the courage to resign rather than to be a factor in a situation that offended his conscience, violated the intent of the law and shocked his sense of values with respect to what is right and what is wrong; there we find in Mr. Wagner the qualities which all men admire and which should belong to judges more than to any other class of men. It is to be hoped that he will accept what is offered him. Of all the important matters the voters of this circuit must decide in the approaching elections, none is more vital and far-reaching in its potentialities than the election of a circuit judge. The Press is confident that E. E. Wagner measures up to the great responsibilities of the place." As previously stated, Mr. Wagner was appointed United States district attorney for South Dakota by President Roosevelt, and tendered his resignation on the 28th of December, 1912, on account of the attitude of Mr. Wickersham, the United States attorney general, in the celebrated case of Charles L. Hyde of Pierre. During his incumbency he had tried some well known cases. Probably the most conspicuous, because of the results which followed it, was that of Charles L. Hyde, a banker, real-estate dealer, promoter and reputed richest man in South Dakota, who was tried and convicted in the United States district court in December, 1911, of using the mails for fraudulent purposes, it being contended by the government that through circulars and letters sent through the mails he had made false statement regarding the values of Pierre real estate and had sold almost worthless lots in Pierre for two hundred dollars and three hundred dollars in cash each to eastern people who desired to invest their savings in what they believed was property which would increase rapidly in value. The trial was hard fought by both sides and the verdict was considered a great victory for the government. Mr. Hyde was sentenced to serve one year and three months in the federal penitentiary and to pay a fine of three thousand five hundred dollars and costs. Mr. Hyde made appeal for a new trial to Judge Elliott, to the circuit court of appeals, and was denied in each case. He then petitioned President Taft to pardon him. Mr. Wagner opposed the pardoning of Hyde, holding that he had been duly convicted and that no extenuating circumstances were brought out in the case, and that Hyde's wealth should not be taken into consideration. Mr. Wickersham wanted Mr. Wagner to secure a stay of commitment and Wagner refused to comply with the request, believing that, had it been the case of a poor man, no such interference with justice would have been attempted. President Taft granted Mr. Hyde immunity from imprisonment and Mr. Wagner, believing it to be a clear case of the perverting of justice because the convicted person was a man of great wealth, whereas a poor man would have been speedily incarcerated, voiced his protest against the same, and at once withdrew from the office by resignation. Such wide attention was attracted to the case that a published statement was made by the United States attorney general setting forth the reasons why the president had taken action, and this was followed by a statement from Mr. Wagner in which he fully reviewed the evidence which had led to the conviction. The case was one of the most widely discussed ever tried in South Dakota, and, however it may be regarded by the pros and cons, it clearly shows the high, unswerving principles of honor which actuated Mr. Wagner in the discharge of his duty under his oath of office.


History of Dakota Territory, George W. Kingsbury, Vol. 4, 1915

J. U. STEICHEN.

J. U. Steichen, an enterprising and promising young citizen of Hutchinson county and South Dakota, has served as cashier of the Dimock State Bank since its organization and is likewise a director and stockholder of the institution. His birth occurred in Alexandria, Hanson county, South Dakota, on the 8th of March, 1891, his parents being James and Lena Steichen. The father came to this state about thirty-four years ago and located on a homestead near Alexandria. Subsequently he embarked in business as a general merchant of Salem, McCook county, and later conducted a similar enterprise at Emery, in Hanson county. Elected to the position of county auditor, he held that office for two terms and then engaged in the grain business at Emery. In 1896 he embarked in the grain business at Parkston, Hutchinson county, and afterward conducted business as a dealer in implements until he entered the Hutchinson County Bank as cashier, in which capacity he has since remained. His wife is also yet living and they enjoy a very extensive and favorable acquaintance throughout their home community.

J. U. Steichen attended the parochial, graded and high schools in the acquirement of an education and after putting aside his textbooks entered the Security State Bank at Ethan, Davison county, remaining with the institution for two years. On the expiration of that period he came to Dimock to take the position of cashier of the newly organized Dimock State Bank, of which W. H. Shaw is the president. Mr. Steichen is also one of the directors and stockholders of the institution, the business of which is constantly increasing, and his efforts are a factor in its growth, for he is a capable, courteous and popular official.

On the 16th of September, 1913, Mr. Steichen was united in marriage to Miss Flora Turgeon, a daughter of Phil Turgeon. He gives his political allegiance to the democracy and is a devout communicant of the Catholic church, while fraternally he is identified with the Knights of Columbus, belonging to Maher Council, No. 1076. He is fond of outdoor sports and enjoys enviable recognition as a progressive and esteemed young citizen of his community and a worthy native son of South Dakota, in the development of which he is deeply and also helpfully interested.


History of Dakota Territory, George W. Kingsbury, Vol. 4, 1915

MILTON M. RAMER.

For many years Milton M. Ramer has been connected with the educational development of the state of South Dakota and has contributed much toward improving the school system. He still keeps in contact with interests of this kind as editor of the Associate Teacher. Mr. Rainer also is a director and secretary of the Capital Supply Company. He was born in Lewiston, Minnesota, February 11, 1869, and is a son of Charles H. and Abbie A. (Rice) Ramer. The father, a farmer and mechanic, was born December 31, 1840, and died on account of an accident, December 14, 1894. He lived in Indiana, Minnesota and North Dakota. His wife, Mrs. Abbie Ramer, was born February 3, 1842. She is now living in California, where she has turned her attention to fruit-raising. The parents were devoutly religious and willingly assumed more than their burden in the uplift and betterment of the world. They had seven children, all of them sons, of whom they reared five, and of whom four are still living. The Ramer family is of German origin, coming to Pennsylvania about 1750. They later removed to Ohio and Indiana. The ancestors of Mrs. Ramer were originally English and came to New England at a very early period in the history of our country.

Milton M. Ramer attended the common schools of Minnesota and North Dakota. He took part of a course at Moorehead (Minn.) State Normal School, and attended the Baptist College at Tower City, North Dakota, which is now defunct. He also took instruction in the University of Minnesota, attending summer terms. Early in life he turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, having been brought up on a farm. He taught country school in North Dakota and in 1893 became principal of the school at Big Stone City, South Dakota, which connection he retained until 1899. In that year he was chosen county superintendent of schools of Grant county, South Dakota, remaining until 1903. In 1903-04 he was superintendent of schools at Milbank, and in 1904-05 was principal of the high school at Mitchell. His excellence as a teacher was recognized, and this, combined with his ability and executive talents well fitted him for the position of president of the South Dakota Educational Association, to which office he was elected in 1905. In September of that year he was appointed by Governor Elrod, state superintendent of public instruction, which office he held until January 1, 1907. During that time he promoted a number of valuable and farreaching measures which were of great benefit in building up the system of instruction in this state. At the end of his term of office Mr. Ramer returned to the high school at Mitchell for one year and in 1908 was chosen superintendent of schools at Pierre for a period of four years. He retired from active school work to become a director and secretary of the Capital Supply Company, in which capacities he is still serving. Since 1910 he has been editor of the educational journal now known as the Associate Teacher, and by this means has continued to make valuable contributions to the field of labor with which he has been so long identified. He has always advocated definite instruction in the public schools along moral lines, which, to make it effective, should have a religious background. He led the campaign which resulted in the creation of "Ethics For Children," and he succeeded in bringing about its adoption by the state as the textbook in ethics.

On April 26, 1902, Mr. Ramer was united in marriage, at Tower City, North Dakota, to Miss Augusta K. Wasem, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Wasem. Mrs. Ramer was educated in the common schools. She is a noble-minded woman, a valuable helpmeet to her husband and a good mother. She excels as a homemaker, is also a fine needlewoman and paints in oils, manifesting considerable talent along that line. Mr. and Mrs. Ramer have two daughters, Gladys Irene and Almeta Leona. The parents affiliate with the Methodist Episcopal church and have taken a deep interest in its work and in that of its allied societies.

In 1905-6 Mr. Ramer was president of the South Dakota Sunday School Association, in the work of which organization he has always taken a most helpful interest. Mr. Ramer is a republican of the conservative type but is not bound by partisan lines, considering as of first importance the qualifications of the candidate, and not his party affiliation. Mr. Ramer served for one year in the North Dakota National Guard but was discharged upon his removal from that state. He is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America and for three years served as venerable consul at Milbank. He also belongs to the American Yeoman. As a member of the Commercial Club of Pierre, he stands with those men who exert themselves for the growth and expansion of the city along commercial and industrial lines. He is devoted to golf and is a member of the Pierre Golf Club.


“Who’s Who in Finance, Banking and Insurance”
Volume 1 Edited by John W. Leonard 1911
Transcribed by Pamela J. Hamilton 9-19-2010

Mueller, John Christ:

Banker, farmer; born Turner county, South Dakota, June 30, 1877; son of Rev. Christian and Anna (Schrag) Mueller; educated in Bethel College, Newton, Kansas.; Academic course, 1893-1895; graduated from South Dakota Wesleyan University, Mitchell, South Dakota, commercial course, 1898; married in Turner County, South Dakota, May 25, 1899, Caroline P. Miller; three children: Noah, David, Ocelia and one deceased. Taught in public schools six years. President First National Bank, freeman, Mennonite Aid Plan (Insurance); member Freeman Implement Co., Independent Harvester Co.; director South Dakota Interurban Railroad. Town Clerk: Childstown, Township seven consecutive years. Was Turner county Committeeman four years; candidate for State Legislature from Turner County, in 1910. Republican: Mennonite. Chairman School Board serving 2nd term. Rose Valley School district. Residence; Route 2, Marion. Office: Freeman.


Who’s Who in South Dakota, Vol. 2
By O. W. Coursey
Educator School Supply Co., Publisher, 1916
Transcribed and Contributed by Jim Dezotell

W. G. SEAMAN

PRESIDENT DAKOTA WESLEYAN

Said the Reverend Dr. Jenkins in his introductory address to the  students of Dakota Wesleyan at Mitchell, at the opening of school a year ago: "The committee to whom was assigned the responsibility of securing a new president for you, established their headquarters at a hotel in St. Louis; and oh! my, but it was hot. I never suffered so with heat in all my life, etc., etc., etc., etc., but out of it we brought the right man, your new president, Dr. William Grant Seaman, of De Pauw university, who will now address you."

Jumping to his feet to acknowledge with polite bows the hailstorm of applause which he was receiving, Dr. Seaman, with a broad grin on his face, said, as soon as the excitement had died down: "Yes; I remember now, the story of a man who used to live in St. Louis. He died and went to hell. As soon as he got there he sent back to St. Louis for his overcoat." 

(Prolonged applause.)

This was a superb hit. Right then and there the students of Dakota Wesleyan saw that they were not to be presidentialized by a "dead head;" but rather that a mixer — a give and take fellow — a real live wire, if you please — had been selected to lead them on. In other words, as Dr. Jenkins had said, they had gotten the "right man" for the place.

Dr. Seaman is a man of strong democratic tendencies — a common everyday fellow whose position does not swell his head but merely enlarges his heart. He is jovial, keen and witty; yet, pious, deep, reverent, grand and good. He's a companionable fellow — one that you like to snuggle up to as your personal friend — one who makes you feel at home in his presence; in fact, just the kind of a man by temperament and training that is needed for such a job as he now holds. 

PRESIDENT WILLIAM GRANT SEAMAN

Nicholson came to Dakota Wesleyan as president when he was forty-four years of age. Kerfoot followed him at forty-three. Dr. Seaman took hold of the reins, four years ago, at the age of forty-six. The little village of Wakarusa, in northern Indiana, was honored with his birth on a calm November morning in 1866. Dr. Seaman, therefore, entered life with the advent of a new age. The civil war had closed. Lincoln had passed from the stage of action to a marble tomb in Illinois. The South was to be reconstructed. Men who had won distinction on the field of battle in extinguishing the Confederacy, were shrewdly seeking political recognition. Grant, Garfield, Hayes and others had to be "cared for." As yet a Southerner sat in the presidential chair. The recognized writers of the nineteenth century were all getting old and leaving their literary works behind them as a lasting heritage for future generations. Science, art and invention were daily revealing new things. If the boy should catch the progressive spirit of his age, make suitable preparation for life and plunge in, he had every chance to win. He did it; the result is upon us. Dakota Wesleyan never had a more vigorous president nor a better organizer than she has today in Dr. Seaman. 

DEVELOPED YOUNG

As a boy he was abnormally bright. He passed a creditable teachers' examination at the age of fourteen and taught his first school at fifteen. Most boys at that age are just entering the high school. He therefore developed young. In actual experience it will be seen that he is at least ten years in advance of his age. 

TRAINED SINGER

After his teaching experience he prepared for college at Fort Wayne Acadamy. From there he went to De Pauw where he took his full college course. While at De Pauw he also specialized on music. He has a sweet, well trained voice. And after his graduation he at once became a member of the famous DePauw Male Quartette, which sang from one side of the continent to the other. After following this line of endeavor for a year he resigned to accept the M. E. pastorate at Anderson, Indiana.

Dr. Seaman supplied the pastorate at Anderson for nearly a year and then went to Boston where he spent four years studying theology and philosophy preparatory to receiving his Doctorate of Philosophy which was granted to him in 1897, at the age of thirty-one.

Intermingled with these other experiences, he preached at Ludbury, Mass., 1893-1898; at State Street M. E. church, Springfield, Mass., 1898-1900; and at Wesley church, Salem, Mass., 1900-04. 

RETURNS TO TEACHING

In the fall of 1904, President Hughes (now Bishop Hughes), called Dr. Seaman back to his Alma Mater and made him Professor of Philosophy in DePauw university. He occupied this chair for eight consecutive years until he was chosen president of Dakota Wesleyan in the fall of 1912.

It is due to Dr. Seaman to say that he was not an applicant for the presidency of Dakota Wesleyan. Some friend suggested him. The suggestion reached the ears of Bishop Hughes; he urged it. His record was looked up. When it was placed before the scholarly, Dr. Weir, of the D. W. U., he looked it over and remarked: "His training is respectable and his experience is adequate." That settled it. The committee called on him. A prompt decision was reached that they had been guided to the proper man. There was no parleying. They urged that he accept; he did! It was a clear-cut case of a position seeking a man —  an uncommon occurrence nowadays.

AS PRESIDENT

His work as president of Dakota Wesleyan for the past four years has already attested his pre-eminent fitness for the place that sought him. As a school organizer, he has had no superiors among his able predecessors.

When one walks into his office, he sees hanging upon the wall a map of South Dakota, about two feet wide and three feet long. On it he at once notices a lot of small hat pins with various colored heads, sticking either singly or in groups in the tiny dots that indicate the various towns of the state. These pins show the number of students that are enrolled at Dakota Wesleyan from each of the different cities, towns and villages in South Dakota. Then, on the border of the map are some small hand-made countries and states, with pins sticking in them to denote the enrollment from outside the state. Last year there were several of these little "outside" squares — one marked "England" with one pin in it; another, Colorado with one pin; Ohio, 2; North Dakota, 3; Indiana, 1; Minnesota, 4; Iowa, 5. 

Then, again, these pins bear other significance. They have, as previously stated, various colored heads. The ones with large black heads denote the pupils of college rank; those with small black heads, academy rank; large red heads, college normal; small red heads, academy normal; large white heads, college commercial, small white heads, academy commercial; while the blue headed ones indicate music. It is a unique thing, and it conveys a number of important ideas not herein enumerated.

Dr. Seaman is a rapid public speaker, with a clear easy address; and he has the ability to think on his feet. He usually speaks without either manuscript or notes, and shows by his intense earnestness that he has long since mastered the enviable art of thought-getting and word-getting while standing on his feet before an audience. In other words he is an unusually strong impromptu speaker.

South Dakota profits by his coming to our state; Methodism prospers, the D. W. U. grows stronger, education is enhanced, and society blessed. Welcome! thrice welcome!


Who’s Who in South Dakota, Vol. 2
By O. W. Coursey
Educator School Supply Co., Publisher, 1916
Transcribed and Contributed by Jim Dezotell

W. R. RONALD

IN NEWSPAPERDOM

"Style" in writing is just as pronounced and just as easily detected as style in dress. It is merely independence of thought, plus originality of expression. The literary style of some of our modern editors has become quite as flashy as some of the modern styles in dress, such as that of Elbertus Hubbard in "The Phillistine," of Clark in "Jim, Jam, Jems," and a few others.

But bringing the matter closer home, suppose that some "corporation hireling" (thanks to Mr. Crawford), for a stated fee, should write a public article and send it broadcast over the country, declaring that at heart President Woodrow Wilson is a high protectionist, the Argus-Leader would probably say, "Just to keep the record straight we refer the gentleman to President Wilson's speech of acceptance, last year." The Sioux Falls Press would treat it as follows: "We demur to this allegation, on the grounds of insufficiency of the evidence. It is merely some political clap-trap trumped up to affect the proposed tariff legislation now pending in congress." Perhaps the Huronite would say: "It is quite inconceivable to the average mind how any man, in view of the well-known facts, could become guilty of such editorial impropriety." The blunt, hard-hitting, editor of the Yankton Herald would exclaim, "He lied!" while the Aberdeen News would put it thus, "The fellow must be a fool." However, when it came to the editor of the Mitchell Daily Repblican, William R. Ronald, the man about whom this article is to center, he would dispose of it thus: "One falters at the mental processes of a brain that could arrive at such a conclusion in view of all of President Wilson's well-known public declarations upon this important theme. The article was evidently written at the instigation of certain interested parties, and it may not be hard to guess who the coterie of individuals was that inspired it." It is just as easy to mimic their writings as it is their hand-writings. One is no more pronounced than the other. Each has an individuality about it quite as distinct as  the other.

Mr. Ronald's style is pleasing. His editorials read smoothly. They are free from personalities and usually carry considerable conviction.

He was born at Granview, Iowa, in 1879. His grandfather on his father's side was one of the early pioneers in eastern Iowa. He it was who rode day and night on horseback for nearly sixty hours to reach the early convention where he cast the deciding vote that made Iowa City, instead of Burlington, the old capital of Iowa.

William was unfortunate, in that his parents both died, only two weeks apart - the father, of disease, and the mother, of a broken heart — when he was but three years of age, leaving him to be reared by an old aunt on a farm near Wapello, Iowa. These old aunties frequently come in handy and they serve as the most respected substitutes for father and mother.

Just so in the case of Mr. Ronald. His aunt appreciated her responsibility. She sent the boy to a rural school, near by, and then put him through the Wapello high school. Cognizant of the fact that the best equipment for success in life is a liberal education, she next sent him over to Monmouth, Ill., where he graduated from the Monmouth college with the class of 1898.

A NEWSPAPER MAN

Immediately upon graduation, Mr. Ronald got it into his head that he wanted to be a newspaper man, so he went to Bussey, Iowa, and became identified with the "Tri-County Press." He rode a mustang pony over the counties, soliciting subscriptions for the paper. This was a tough beginning, but he already knew that if a man would be boss he must first learn to serve; that the safest way to get to the top and stay there is to begin at the very bottom and work up.  Next he answered an advertisement in a newspaper, and as a result he was called to Marion, Indiana, where he was given employment on a weekly paper —first as a solicitor; then, business manager, and then to the editorial chair.

However, in 1901, he was called to Sioux City, Iowa, and given a position on the Tribune. Again he had to work up. He began as a reporter; was then made editor, and finally, managing editor.

His next move was to Sioux Falls, S. D., January 1, 1908, where he became editor of the Sioux Falls Daily Press. This position he held for nearly two years, making the Press a tremendous factor in the memorable campaign of 1908 that transferred the United States senatorship from Sioux Falls to Huron.

But Editor Ronald was anxious to get into the newspaper and general printing business for himself. He had "made good" in every field since he left college. Finally in November, 1909, he came to Mitchell, bought out the Mitchell Printing company, which was doing a general printing business and issuing a daily and a weekly paper, reorganized the firm and changed its name to the "Mitchell Publishing Company," added new capital; put out a city salesman, two general salesmen and two subscription solicitors; tripled the circulation of the "Mitchell Daily Republican," and increased the general business of the firm 250 per cent. It was his ambition from the start, through the influence of the Daily Republican, to make Mitchell a commercial center and the distributing point for that section of the state. In this he has succeeded well. 

Here has been a life of phenomenal success. An orphan at three years of age; a college graduate at nineteen; managing editor of a big daily at twenty-five; editor of one of the big South Dakota dailies and proprietor of one of the state's biggest printing establishments at thirty : this is the inspirational career of W. R. Ronald. He has set a swift pace, to be sure; but the future beckons him on, and if his pace does not slacken he will have won life's race by a splendid margin. Forward!


Who’s Who in South Dakota, Vol. 2
By O. W. Coursey
Educator School Supply Co., Publisher, 1916
Transcribed and Contributed by Jim Dezotell

EMORY HOBSON

OUR SUPERB MUSICIAN

Music, on earth, dates back to that eventful night in the Garden of  Eden, when Eve, stepping softly and shyly amid the flowers, during the increasing twilight, hummed a little tune which mortal man had never before heard, to give herself courage, as she listened to the voice of God crying out to her companion, Adam, "Where art thou?" 

From that day to this, the melodious strains of music, either vocal or instrumental, echoing down through the ages, have "soothed the savage beast," staid the lion's paw, protected the snake-charmer, encouraged the soldier, given hope to the penitent, comfort to the dying, cheer at the marriage altar, and rendered happy the toiling millions on the earth.

We are all influenced by it. "Let me make the ballads of a nation, and I care not, who makes its laws," said a wise sage long ago. When Napoleon's army faltered near the crest of the Alps, he ordered all of his bands to play. The result was, that he conquered the Alps and Italy, too. At Waterloo, the Highland piper playing His Scottish airs  In the English squares. turned Marshall Ney's charge into defeat and sent Napoleon to St. Helena. The inspiring strains of "The Star-Spangled Banner" sent Grant's determined veterans up the slope of Missionary Ridge, swept the rebel hosts from the field, and that night the camp fires of the American republic, on the heights about Chattanooga, launched their red flames heavenward as a burnt offering to God. The words of the revivalist exhorter frequently fall deaf on the ears of the hardened sinner, while the mellow accents of "Nearer, My God to Thee" rising softly from the throat of a sweet singer turn the same soul toward its God. 

Instinctively our minds turn to the brave band on the ill-fated Titanic, remaining at their post of duty in the presence of certain death. Said the Washington Post:

"There is sublimity about these men grouped around their leader in the shattered salon of the sinking liner, with all hope for themselves abandoned, playing for the encouragement of passengers and crew the gay tunes to which lately women in silk and diamonds had been dancing, and at the end swinging into the strains of that comforting hymn which knows in universal appeal no distinction of station, birth or nationality. 

"And so the band of the Titanic was faithful according to tradition to the end, until, playing on and on, as the dark waters engulfed them, and the garish lights were snuffed out forever, their tired eyes beheld coming out of the darkness a celestial radiance, and their ears heard the first faint sound of that music which began where theirs left off."

MUSIC EVERYWHERE

This old world of ours abounds with music of various kinds everywhere for him or her whose heart is attuned to its strains. The hubs of a buggy rattling against the shoulders of the axles, mingled with the clatter of the horses' hoofs, make music in the lovers' ears. Little Katydid, sitting in the harvest field, filing together her saw-toothed legs, gives to us our rasping autumn lays. The rumblings of nearby thunders are but the deep-toned diapason of the storm clouds, that sing us to sleep.

But music does not reach us exclusively through the sense of hearing. Sight steps in and gives to us an appreciation of the music found in the blending of tints and shades and the harmony of colors which the artist spreads upon the canvas. The builder lifts our souls heavenward as we view with increasing delight the music found in the harmonization and symmetry of the numerous parts that make up his lofty domes which form pillars for the skies. We open our dreamy eyes on a sunlit morn and laugh at the music in nature as we behold the God of Day in the east chasing the Goddess of Night to rest in the west while he "ascends the sapphired stars of heaven. . . . tops the hills with gold, paints the petals of every flower with gorgeous beauty and arrays nature in her shifting garment of loveliness." 

As was said by Keats :

"Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft piper, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but more endeared,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone."

Then again, smell comes to the fore and gives to us another joyous sense of music in nature's realm as we step into a Pyncheon garden and inhale the delicate perfume of the flowers.

Yes, there is music all about us. Even literature is filled with it.
Our heart strings tingle with melody as we repeat —

"Blessings on thee, little man,
Barefoot boy, with cheek of tan;
With thy turned-up pantaloons,
And thy merry whistled tunes."

while we turn from rhythmic verse only to find music again in Stoddard's elegant prose:

"Where the keen Alpine air grows soft beneath
the wooing of the Italian sun."

Think of it! There is music also in prayer. Man's soul is a "harp of a thousand strings." When the finger tips of God pick a few discordant notes on its sinful bass strings, man looks into that impassable gulf between the rich man and Lazarus but as the same Finger Tips trip off on the responsive strings of the upper clef those divine melodies that articulate the soul with its Creator, man intuitively hears with unborn  ears the rhythmic echoes of his own prayer, "Thy will be done."

Music is, therefore, both vocal and instrumental, both physical and spiritual. We hear it in the brooklet's stream and feel it in the soul's response. It heaves the chest, pulsates the heart and mellows the soul. We listen to its merry peals in the bells that chime, to its lingering chord in the coronet's blast; to its soothing strains from the banjo's strings and to its dismal thump in the bass drums notes; but, after all, the sweetest music on the harp of life, ever listened to by mortal man — that which lingers with us all alike — is those angelic notes — our mother's voice, when she sang to us as a child, while we lay listening to her diminishing refrains of "Bye, Baby, Bye," as the unwelcome sand man from "God's Acre" dropped sand into our eyes until they became so clouded that we closed their blinking lids in silent sleep, and were ushered, amid deep-drawn breaths, into dreamland's realm.

ONE WHO FEELS AND KNOWS

We have purposely indulged in this seemingly extravagant introduction, so as to get our readers' minds surcharged with thoughts of music before we introduce them to our superb musician — a man whose soul wells up with melodious response to music in every form — instructor of vocal music at Dakota Wesleyan university — Professor Emory Hobson.

Hobson's soul is ever attuned to music in nature's realm; to the stirring notes from the human throat, the warblings of the lark, the reverberating echoes of the violin, the choppy chords of the piano, or to the melody on the "Harp of the Senses." He lives in music, feasts on it, delights in it, feels it, radiates it, and gives a potent charm to its enchanting powers.

He is not homely, with a crooked nose; long-haired, deaf, blind or a recluse. Rather he is simply a neat, trim, up-to-date, twentieth century musician; possessed of none of the oddities that personalized the masters of old. He did not sink the Merrimac or gladden the hearts of 400 St. Louis belles with a press of his lips (although there may have been music even in that). Oh no; that was Lieutenant Richard P. Hobson.

PREPARATION AND EXPERIENCE

Professor Hobson was born at Paducah, Kentucky, in 1880. He came from a family of musicians. A musician must be born, not made. He must have the music germ in his blood before the musician can be developed, just as surely as the consumptive must have a tubercular bacillus in his blood before the disease can be developed. Hobson is a born musician.

When he graduated at the college of music, he was given first rank in his class and presented with a gold medal.

In 1906, he was united in marriage to Miss Myrtle Sticker of Cincinnati. That same year Dr. Thomas Nicholson, former president of Dakota Wesleyan university, was raking the whole United States with a fine-mesh drag-net, to secure for his institution a man who could and would put the musical department on a basis that would command "respect at home" and give it "prestige abroad." His eagle eye caught Hobson; he was secured, and he and his young bride came directly to Mitchell where Professor Hobson for nine years struggled along with intelligent modesty, in a grand effort to make Mitchell one of the big music centers of the state.

MAY FESTIVALS

His first meritorious act was to organize the May festival. The first performance was given in connection with the famous Theodore Thomas orchestra, of Chicago. Hobson conducted the "Messiah" with a drilled chorus that did most excellent work. Prof. Thomas himself was unstinted in his praise of the young musician.

The second year he gave the cantata "God's Own Time," by Bach, and "The Holy City" by Gaul, with the Minneapolis Symphony orchestra; and each year since then he has appeared in the May festival with this grand musical combination.

The third year he gave "Olaf Trygrasson," by Greig; the fourth year, "Hiawatha's Wedding Feast," the fifth year, he gave "Brahm's Requiem," the greatest choral work ever written ; the sixth year, he repeated "Hiawatha's Wedding Feast," and gave with it the "Cantata of Gallia" by Gounod.

CHOIR WORK AND STUDENTS

In addition to this work Professor Hobson is of great service to the churches throughout the city. One year he gave Hayden's "Imperial Mass" with a chorus of fifty voices at the Holy Family church in Mitchell. It is very doubtful if this performance has ever been equaled or surpassed in the state.

He also gives four concerts yearly for the benefit of the local M. E. church's musical fund, and he keeps in training a male quartet that is simply superb. Professor Hobson also conducts the Methodist church choir each Sunday, and it is safe to say that the excellent work of this choir is no small factor in attracting the large congregation, ranging from 1,200 to 1,600 to that institution twice each Sunday.  His training which he gives to his pupils is so thorough that several of them have already won distinction outside of the state. Among these are Miss Emma Rempfer of Parkston; Miss Florence Morris of Mitchell, (recently married to Mr. Kingsbury at Hartford,) and Miss Jessie McDonald of Highmore.

We speak advisedly and with reservation when we say that he is beyond contradiction, the best instructor in voice that has as yet taken up work in the state. Under his direction the musical department at Dakota Wesleyan has been thoroughly organized and it has gained strength in numbers until today it has become the largest special department in the school. Such a man lives to bless his community, and, as well, the world at large.

In 1915 he was elected Professor of Music in the Northern Normal and Industrial School, at Aberdeen, S. D.


Who’s Who in South Dakota, Vol. 2
By O. W. Coursey
Educator School Supply Co., Publisher, 1916
Transcribed and Contributed by Jim Dezotell

J. S. HOAGLAND

A PRACTICAL PREACHER

To be pastor for seven years, of one of the largest congregations of any denomination west of Chicago, in the United States, is no small honor; yet that has been the privilege of Dr. John S. Hoagland, pastor of the First M. E. church of Mitchell, South Dakota. The membership of his church at present is over 1,200.

Then, too, to be pastor of a church in a denominational university town — a town in which the church and the university belong to the same denomination, and where the congregation at church is largely made up of aspiring students from the university — is no small responsibility. These are the conditions that confront Dr. Hoagland, at Mitchell, the home of Dakota Wesleyan University.

His strength as a pastor rests largely in his originality, the depth of his thought, the breadth of his illustrations, and, above all, in his great taste and uncommon amount of common sense. Then, again, he is a companionable man — a real, congenial fellow — one whom the members of every other congregation as well as his own, love to meet and associate with. There is nothing chesty about him. His handshake is that of democracy, of wholesomeness, of sympathy.

PERSONAL

Dr. Hoagland is primarily an easterner, having been born at Mount Herman, New Jersey, December 10, 1866. Yet, in temperament and sympathy, he is essentially western. Being a farmer's son, he yet has many of the good old democratic farmer ways about him. 

"Who is that fellow going up the street yonder?" asked one gentleman of another, a few years since, while they were conversing on the streets of Mitchell.

"That is Dr. Hoagland, the new pastor of the Methodist church here," responded the interrogate.

"Well, sir, he has a typical farmer's gait, hasn't he" suggested the first. 

He has that good, wholesome disposition characteristic of a typical farm boy. "Our country boys are the salt of the earth!" shouted an old sage years ago. Yes; for in 1912, eighty-four per cent of the various governors in the United States had come from the farm.

His early education was acquired in the rural schools of his native state. Like other red-blooded boys, who had read and studied our earlier histories wherein the authors emphasized military achievements and minimized civil accomplishments, young Hoagland's first ambition was West Point, and then a military career. Fortunately, he got this ideal out of his system at the proper age, and entered, instead, the New Jersey state normal school, from which he graduated at the tender age of eighteen.

The young fellow then took up the teaching profession, and, in connection with his regular work, began the study of law. At the same time he took an active interest in the social and religious affairs of the community. Being a forceful public speaker, he soon became a power in the neighborhood. After four years of teaching, he was asked by his presiding elder to supply the pulpit in a nearby church for one summer. He accepted the call; the work proved congenial to him, and so he decided to enter the ministry.

Knowing as every boy must know, or if he does not know, will have to learn in the hard school of experience — that every man's success in life is proportioned quite largely by his preparation to succeed, the young pastor decided to enter De Pauw university at Greencastle, Indiana, and prepare himself for a preacher — not a little two-by-four pastor of a backwoods church, but for the ministry on a big scale. This was right! He "hitched his wagon to a star." Many a boy has failed because of the lack of a proper ideal.

It was now 1887. Young Hoagland was twenty-one years of age. Five solid years of heavy study at De Pauw brought him up to 1892 — the year of his graduation. Walking out of that sacred institution, at twenty-six years of age, with a Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree under one arm and a Bachelor of Philosophy degree under the other, he was ready and eager to enter his new field of labor, on a large  scale.

HIS PASTORATES

Reverend Hoagland, upon his graduation, promptly joined the Northern Indiana conference, and was immediately assigned to duty as associate pastor of the Centenary M. E. church of Terre Haute, Indiana, which position he held for two years. He was then made pastor of the Maple Avenue church in the same city, for two years longer.

His next pastorate was at Michigan City, where he remained for three years. He was then called back to Greencastle and made pastor of College Avenue church — the church attended by the faculty and students generally of DePauw university. Here was honor coupled with responsibility. He was now to preach to the faculty that had schooled him. Faint hearts fall by the wayside in the presence of such responsibilities. John Hoagland was no weakling. He was not afraid of these masters of learning, nor doubtful of himself. He buckled in; and so full did he fill his job that he held it for ten consecutive years, until he voluntarily resigned, to come to Mitchell, South Dakota in the spring of 1909, to succeed Dr. H. S. Wilkinson, who had resigned his position at Mitchell to go to the coast. He has, therefore, during his twenty-three years in the ministry, preached regularly in only four towns. This is a rather remarkable record within itself.

In 1904, five years before he came to Mitchell, his Alma Mater, De Pauw university, conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Divinity, and so we have all come to know him as Dr. Hoagland. 

MBS. HOAGLAND

The Bible states, "Let every man take unto himself a help-meet." Dr. Hoagland evidently felt that as an exponent of the scriptures he, himself, would have to carry out all of these sacred mandates; that is, he would have to practice as well as preach; and so, away back in 1895, while he was still occupying the pulpit at Terre Haute, Indiana, he was united in marriage to Miss Alice Beckman, instructor in English in the state normal school at that place. 

Last year (1915), being the twentieth anniversary of their wedding, a few evenings ago they gave a reception to the entire membership of their large congregation at Mitchell, in honor of the event. During a happy after-dinner speech on this occasion, Dr. Hoagland told of his matrimonial experiences. He said: "When I asked Mrs. Hoagland to become my wife she was getting $1,100 per year as a teacher of English, and I was receiving but $800 per year as a preacher. It took a lot of nerve for an eight-hundred-dollar man to ask an eleven-hundred-dollar lady to become his wife."

Mrs. Hoagland, in replying in her usual tactful manner, said: "It took still more nerve for an eleven-hundred-dollar woman to marry an eight-hundred-dollar man, but I have never regretted it; and I was never happier in my life than I am tonight."

Dr. Hoagland, continuing his speech, said: "I was known in Indiana, and I have become known in South Dakota, as 'the preacher with a good wife.' " There are plenty of women in the world from which to select wives (there will be a superabundance after the European war.) If a man fails to select a good one it reflects more on him than it does on her, for it merely proves that he, himself, erred in judgment. Dr. Hoagland selected wisely. One of the hardest positions in the whole world to fill tactfully is that of a preacher's wife. Mrs. Hoagland fills her trying position with great charm and power. She is a popular idol among the entire membership of her distinguished husband's church.

One son, Henry, a junior in the Mitchell High School, has blessed their union.

MULTIPLIED DUTIES

In addition to his regular pastoral duties, Dr. Hoagland is vice president of the board of trustees of Dakota Wesleyan university; president of the state Anti-Saloon League; member of the board of the national Anti-Saloon league; president of the board of trustees of the new Methodist hospital now in the course of erection in Mitchell, and a member of the national association of Social Service. It is little wonder with all these multiplied anxieties and with such a large church membership to look after, that for the past two years he has found it necessary to have an associate pastor.

PLATFORM POWER

Dr. Hoagland is in great demand over the state, not only as a pulpit orator of great power, but as a special lecturer for the anti-saloon league, Decoration day speaker for the old soldiers and an orator on commencement occasions. Before graduating classes, some men use a vocal shot gun, some a rifle, but Dr. Hoagland brings up his heavy artillery and uses a forty-two centimeter gun. He has more calls for commencement addresses before high school and college classes, every year, than he can fill.

This able divine puts fire into his sermons. (Some preachers should reverse this process.) He is a master thinker — a logician, a Bachelor of Philosophy — and his style is wholly original. He never seeks to imitate; neither does he warm over sermons outlined by some one else at so much per. Everything about the man denotes his own powerful originality and strength of character. His sermons are not confined to one line | He generalizes — not only on Biblical deductions, but on civic reform, and social conditions. A congregation of over 1,400 usually assembles each Sunday morning to hear his able, eloquent, profound morning sermon. His Sunday evening sermons are of an entirely different character — less formal, more inspirational, and very practical. Fortunate, indeed, is any community with a moral leader of this kind in its midst. That he will soon rise to the honored position of a bishop in his denomination is self-evident.


The Biographical Directory of the Railway Officials of America
T. Addison Busbey, 1906

Clemans, Frank J., Agent Chicago Milwaukee & St. Paul Ry. Office St. Paul, Minn. Born Dec. 20, 1861, at Faribault, Minn. Entered railway service Aug., 1882, since which he has been consecutively to Dec. 1886, station baggageman and clerk Chicago Milwaukee & St. Paul Ry at Faribault, Minn.; Dec. 1886 to June 1889, agent at Scotland, S. D.; June 1889 to Dec. 1891, agent at Mitchell. S. D.; Dec. 1891 to May 1893, agent at Mankato, Minn.; May to Dec. 1893, traveling freight and passenger agent at La Crosse, Wis.; Dec. 1893 to Oct. 1902, division freight and passenger agent at Dubuque, Ia.; Oct. 1902 to date, agent same road at St. Paul, Minn.


Who’s Who in South Dakota, Vol. 2
By O. W. Coursey
Educator School Supply Co., Publisher, 1916
Transcribed and Contributed by Jim Dezotell

A. E. HITCHCOCK

A DEMOCRAT IN ACTION

The human intellect turns instinctively toward things in action. Age does not alter the principle. A child will throw aside a valuable plaything that is motionless and cling intuitively to a cheap toy that is filled with action, while an old man will enthuse far more over a horse race than he will over a fine painting of a horse, done by a high grade artist.

The same principle governs literature. The writers that are read most nowadays are those, who, at the very outset, plunge their leading characters into rapid, vital, irresistable action. The earliest writer of any note in history — Moses — did the same thing; for, in the Pentateuch, he plunged his divine character, God, into immediate, vital action. His opening sentence reads, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

The early writers of the nineteenth century forsook this principle, and today they are little read. Scott, in "Ivanhoe," starts out with an elaborate introduction as to time and place. Cooper, in all five of his "Leather Stocking Tales," does likewise. So also with Hawthorne. In his "House of Seven Gables," as well as in all of his other standard novels, he indulges himself in long, verbose, labored introductions. One soon tires of them.

Note the change during the past ten or twenty years; novels are no longer written to stimulate human curiosity but to gratify it. Modern writers, like good old Moses, place their leading characters on the literary stage at the very outset and cause them to start some tragic action. Churchill, in "The Crisis," puts Eliphalet Hooper on the stage of action in the opening sentence. Partridge in "Passers By*' brings forward the acting parties (Christine and Ambrose — although not by name) in the second sentence. While Jacques Futrelle, the eminent young French novelist who met tragic death on the ill-fated Titanic, in his last novel, entitled "My Lady's Garter," published since his death at the instigation of his mournful wife, starts the dance, permits the Countess of Salisbury's garter to come loose and fall to the floor, causes her partner, King Edward III, to pick it up, and thus starts off in dead earnest his great social drama — all in the first paragraph. 

In our long series of "Who's Who" articles, we have purposely indulged ourselves in both forms of introduction, so as to avoid monotony.

CREPT THROUGH A SEWER MAIN

Now, here we have a democrat to get into action. (A very easy thing to do since March 4, 1913.) Not an imaginary democrat that is presumed to have lived before the days of the mighty Grover, but a real live one — in fact the only democratic office holder, until a few days since, for many years in South Dakota — not fiction, but fact. And the action? Why! it was premediated, painstaking and vital, with an end in view. So here he goes ! Crawling on his hands and knees through a storm sewer, from one catch basin to another — a distance of 375 feet. 

"A fugitive from justice!" you exclaim, with gasping breath, without waiting for the particulars, "or else an escaping convict" (and a democrat at that).

Never mind; he's neither one. It was merely the Honorable Abner E. Hitchcock, mayor of the city of Mitchell, making as the soldier would say, "a tour of inspection." 

"This is getting him into suspicious action, and mighty suddenly at
that!" suggests the literary critic. That's right in a measure, for Mayor Hitchcock is decidedly a man of action — one that does things while other people sleep. Here is the explanation: The city of Mitchell had voted $50,000 in bonds for the construction of a storm sewer. Hitchcock was mayor. It was his business to see to it that the city did not get the worst of the deal. The sewer was finished and the contractors awaited its acceptance by the city authorities. Mayor Hitchcock, therefore, entered a catch basin at a street corner, crept through the sewer main to the next catch basin, a block away, came up — with a stiff neck and aching shoulders that laid him up for a few days; but he had discovered a flaw in the sewer — one that had it not been fixed before the sewer was used would have caused much annoyance and the possible taking up of the entire mains in that block. It was immediately remedied by the contractor who was entirely ignorant of the fact that the defect existed, and the city promptly accepted the job. 

We have mentioned this incident for but one single purpose — to show the painstaking character of Abner E. Hitchcock, the thoroughness of the man and the careful manner in which he discharges his public duty, regardless of the consequences to himself.

Almost his first act as mayor of Mitchell, after he was elected in 1908 was to list up and publish in the "Mitchell Daily Republican," for the benefit and information of the people of the city, an itemized list of all the city's resources, including cash on hand, waterworks, buildings, lots, parks, etc., and a corresponding list of the city's liabilities, including open debts, outstanding warrants, unmatured bonds, etc. It was an eye-opener to the citizens, as well as to the mayor, and it showed all concerned just where they were at.

He was elected mayor of Mitchell by the largest majority of any man who has ever held the office. In 1910 he was re-elected without opposition; and in 1912, he refused to become a candidate to succeed himself. But the good people of Mitchell absolutely refused to accept his declination. They nominated him by petition against his own will and unanimously re-elected him again for two years longer. He was re- elected again in 1914. The public likes a fellow who will not neglect their interests when he has been entrusted with power — one who will get down onto a level with them, and who will, if necessary, go underground (into a sewer) to see that they get a square deal. 

UP'S AND DOWN'S OF LIFE

Mayor Hitchcock was born at North Bergen, Geneseo county, New York, October 29, 1853. He is therefore, as the broguish easterner would say, a "New Yowkah" by birth and a South Dakotan through migration. 

He remained on the farm with his parents and attended rural school during the winter months until he was ten years of age. However, about the time that Abe Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, Mr. Hitchcock's parents moved west and settled at Maquoketa, in Jackson county, Iowa. Here he had for boyhood playmates such lads as Congressman Eben W. Martin of our own state and Professor H. E. French of Elk Point.

After five years at Maquoketa, the family, in 1868, moved to Jones county, Iowa, and settled at Anamosa, a picturesque little city snuggled silently away between the rugged hills that skirt the Wapsifinigan river valley. Here the boy attended public school, and for three years conducted a bakeshop. He had learned the bakery business while at Maquoketa.  At nineteen years of age he began teaching. His first school was in a rural district two miles out of Anamosa. He walked to and from school and worked in a bakery at night. Out of this combined toil he managed to save $90 during the year.

It was now 1873; he was twenty years of age. After buying himself a new suit and some minor necessities, he had $55 left. With this he struck out for the Iowa State Agricultural college at Ames, to secure a college education. He worked his way through by teaching and by doing manual labor, and he graduated with honor as an A. B. with the class of 1876. During the years of 1877-1879, he was principal of graded schools in an Iowa village, and he instructed in teachers' institutes during the summer months. In the summer of 1879, Mr. Hitchcock and another professional teacher were opposing applicants for superintendent of the Mason City schools — the best school position in northern Iowa. For two months the board of education met repeatedly and balloted for a superintendent. Each time the vote stood a tie. However, one member of the board was a relative of Mr. Hitchcock's opponent. This member finally, through some secret maneuvering, got one of Hitchcock's supporters to change his vote. 

Hitchcock lost; but it was the making of him. From early boyhood he had entertained ambitions to become a lawyer. Had he gained the superintendency at Mason City, and have realized his immediate earning power in school work, he would, in ill probability, have gotten side-tracked from his original intention and have followed an educational career. So, after his defeat, he promptly enrolled in the law department of the state university at Iowa City and took his law course. At that time it consisted of but one year above the regular college course. He graduated the next summer (1880), taking his LL. B. degree.

Immediately after the completion of his law course, he started west to look for a location in which to practice law. His first stop was at Sioux City. From there he came on to Mitchell, South Dakota, arriving on September 29, 1880. This latter field seemed ripe with opportunities, so he settled at Mitchell, stuck out his shingle, entered upon a new profession, succeeded in his undertakings; and today he is well-to- o and has developed into one of the ablest constitutional lawyers in the state. He has a high grade of cases; and since statehood the supreme court records show that he has had his share of cases every term, before that honorable body.

MARRIAGE

After practicing law for two years at Mitchell, he had prospered so well that he slipped back down to Iowa and was married on June 20, 1882, to an Iowa schoolma-am. Mrs. Hitchcock is a talented, refined, dignified lady. She enters freely into the literary culture of her home city, and she adds dignity and power to several of Mitchell's women's clubs. During their long years of happy wedded life, only one tiny babe has come over their threshold, and it crept out again as silently as it had entered, leaving naught but vacant halls, saddened hearts and sacred memories.

Only a baby's grave,
Sodded and bowered and cold.
Yet down in its depths — its silent depths,
Lies a treasure in its mould.

IN POLITICS

"Some men are born (leaders), some achieve (leadership), others have (leadership) thrust upon them” Mayor Hitchcock represents all three classes. In 1890 he was elected state's attorney for Davison county. He only served one term. The reason for it was he made it so hot as a public prosecutor for the early-day saloon-keepers of Mitchell who were openly, wilfully and constantly violating the law, that they simply went after him hard at the end of his first term, and as is expressed in modern political slang, "Got his goat." He was also city attorney for Mitchell, 1886-1892.

In national politics, Mr. Hitchcock was a staunch republican until 1896. During the free-silver campaign of that year he went over voluntarily to the democrats, and he has ever since remained a consistent and leading member of that organization. In fact, until the Honorable James Coffey was appointed internal revenue collector for the two Dakotas, a few days since, to succeed the Honorable Willis C. Cook (republican), Mr. Hitchcock was the only democratic office holder in South Dakota; and he would not have had an office if it had not been for two things: first the state law specifically provides that the governor, in selecting the five regents of education must appoint one from the minority party; second, Mitchell accidentally developed two republican candidates in 1909 for an appointment at the hands of the Vessey administration, to a position on the board of regents. Governor Vessey solved the problem by rejecting both applicants and giving his minority party appointment to Mr. Hitchcock of the same city. This gave him an office by appointment; otherwise, there would not have been a single state position in South Dakota held by a democrat. And Governor Vessey selected wisely, too. If he had raked the state with a fine-toothed comb he could not have found a better man for the position. From 1891 to 1893, Mr. Hitchcock had served as a trustee of Brookings college, under the old system when each school had its own separate board, and he thoroughly understood the needs of our state schools. Also from 1905 to 1909 he was a trustee of Dakota Wesleyan university. After becoming a regent of education he resigned this latter position. In addition he was a member of the Mitchell board of education, 1894-96.

In 1900 Mr. Hitchcock was the nominee of his party for attorney general of the state, but during the general republican victory of that year he lost. Again in 1912, he was urgently requested by the leading members of his party to become a candidate for governor, for United States senator and for the supreme court. He declined all three.

OTHER RELATIONSHIPS

Mayor Hitchcock is a thirty-third degree Mason. In his younger days he was very active in Masonic circles, having held the principal offices in the Master Mason's lodge, the Commandery and the Grand Lodge of the state. His church affiliation is with the Congregationalists.

Since 1896, the tenor of his whole career has been based upon the principle of duty to perform some valuable service to the community in which he has lived, so that when he departs therefrom his surviving acquaintances might be made at least a trifle better because of his life of service.

Mayor Hitchcock is a man of fixed conscience and deep convictions — one who has controlled his circumstances instead of yielding to them. He never liked criminal law practice; consequently he shunned it and confined himself to civil cases. He is straightforward in his dealings, and although he sometimes firmly opposes the undertakings of other men, yet none who know him ever doubt the sincerity of his purpose.


Who’s Who in South Dakota, Vol. 2
By O. W. Coursey
Educator School Supply Co., Publisher, 1916
Transcribed and Contributed by Jim Dezotell


H. B. ANDERSON

AN HONEST SERVANT

Eleven years a county official, four years a deputy county officer, and four years a state official; total, nineteen years of public service — sixteen years of which were continuous, although the offices he held, save that of three years as a county commissioner, were those limited by the state constitution to two terms of two years each. Can any other man in the state duplicate it?

Who's record is it? The Honorable H. B. Anderson's, our former state auditor. "How did he do it?" you ask. Easily enough; when he was first elected to office, he proved to the public that he was obliging, conscientious and honest. They were looking for such a servant, and they by their franchise, kept him in office.

His entire life reveals a character, a trustworthiness and a manhood far above the average. He is a poor man; otherwise, some might suspect that money had kept him in office. Not so! Honesty and efficient service did it.

Anderson is a Scandinavian by birth and an American by adoption. There is no better class of citizens in America than the sturdy Swede and the valiant Norsk. His boyhood was spent in southern Sweden where he came into being, September 15, 1859. His parents were pious, conscientious farmers, greatly respected in that section of his fatherland. In his early boyhood they inculcated in him lessons of piety, reverence, frugality and devotion. These early fireside lessons gave rise to stable manhood. "The earliest impressions make the most ineffaceable records." It's true in all walks of life.

At the tender age of six years, he lost his devout mother, yet the impress of her personality and teachings lingers with him yet. Three years later his father remarried, and two years afterward the family migrated to America and settled on a farm in Jefferson county, Nebraska.

The next year, when young Anderson was yet under twelve years of age, he was thrust upon his own resources. He began to work on a farm at $7 per month. During the winter season, he worked for his board and attended an old-fashioned country school — one built of logs, where the benches were around the outer edge of the room, and where the old pedagog was severe and the entire curriculum consisted of the "Three R's." Here the lad got his scanty scholastic preparation for life. 

Boyhood gave way to manhood, and on November 12, 1882, there took place in the little neighborhood a Scandinavian marriage, the contracting parties to which were Henry B. Anderson and Miss Ida C. Lindahl. She proved a splendid, God-fearing, hard-working helpmate for the young Swede; and as the years passed by she became the proud mother of eight children, three of whom are still living. Mrs. Anderson died October 19, 1915.

The early pioneers — Norwegian and otherwise — who had settled in southern Nebraska, had accumulated all of the vacant government land in that vicinity, so that our young couple, in order to have at least an equal chance in life, found it necessary to push on into the great northwest. They made their way overland and settled on a homestead in Davison county, South Dakota, in the spring of 1883. This farm he still owns. It is today worth $85 per acre. Like other Dakota pioneers, they underwent many bitter hardships, but they stuck to it. 

IN POLITICS

In 1888, Mr. Anderson was elected commissioner in Davison county. The next year the state constitution was adopted. Anderson, by the change was given three years in the office. After that he kept out of office for awhile — but in 1898 he was forced against his will to become a candidate for auditor of Davison county. He won, and was re-elected in 1900. Then he was retained four years as deputy county auditor, and then again he was called to the county auditorship and was re-elected as before — thus giving him twelve years of continuous service in the one office. The public liked him. They trusted him. When the campaign of 1910 opened up, some one suggested H. B. Anderson as a candidate for state auditor. The suggestion spread rapidly over the state. Newspapers and politicians fell into line and he was an easy winner in the June primaries of that year. He was elected in the fall; made a matchless record as state auditor; was re-nominated without opposition in 1912, and re-elected in the fall by the largest plurality of any candidate on the republican ticket. This gives to him sixteen years of continuous service as county auditor, deputy county auditor, and state auditor; and the end is not yet!



 

 

 



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