McCook County, South Dakota

 

Biographies

Atkinson, John, M.D.

Byrne, Frank M.

Dwight, T. W.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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


T. W. DWIGHT

NOT A BULL MOOSER A LA MODE

"Money is the root of all evil." No it isn't. How often we use that old quotation incorrectly, for private gain. Let's quote it right, "The love of money is the root of all evil." Very well; that sounds different.

Money is all right. Without it where would our good things come from? However, even in small denominations, it sometimes plays a peculiar part in the affairs of men.

Recently the commercial club of Sioux Falls held their annual meeting. Eight men were voted on for directors.

Only four could be elected. The three highest men were promptly accepted. The chair announced that two men had tied for fourth place — Dwight and Reininger. He proposed another vote to settle it. "Nonsense!" said Mr. Dwight, "let's flip a cent and decide it that way." Everybody agreed.

The coin was tossed! "Heads up!" Dwight won. The directors held a meeting and Regent T. W. Dwight was elected president of the club for the ensuing year. That penny was worth a dollar, regardless of its stamp and composition. Correlatively, we all remember how President Roosevelt once disposed of the South Dakota senatorial patronage and settled a dispute between Senators Kittredge and Gamble, by flipping a coin to the ceiling in the executive mansion.

In politics Mr. Dwight is a progressive republican (all good republicans are progressive), but he is not a bull mooser a la mode. He is so well balanced that he knows the difference between loyalty to a man's political organization with a disposition to await one's call to office, and the rantankerous bucking against a man's party organization just because he failed to be its nominee for high office at a certain time. In other words, Regent Dwight is one of those regular progressives who believes that progress should be made gradually, systematically and collectively. He is one of those political rationalists whom a party, at the proper time, delights to honor, and one in whose hands they willingly place permanent leadership.

HIS WHEREABOUTS AND ROUNDABOUTS

Our good friend with whom we are concerned at this moment, Theodore William Dwight "shuffled (on) this mortal coil" (we hope he won't shuffle off for at least a half century) near Madison, Wisconsin, in Dane county, March 12, 1865. His ancestors were sturdy New Englanders — Hon. Timothy Dwight, D. D., one of the early presidents of Yale college, being among them.

Mr. Dwight's father was an adventuresome fellow. At twenty years of age, simply because a young lady with whom he was infatuated would not marry him, he ran away and went to sea, boarding a whale ship on which he cruised all over the world. On one occasion, while near the Madeira Islands, east of Africa, they sighted a school of whales. The captain offered $10 to the first boat that would harpoon a whale and make him fast. The first mate's boat speared one. It angered the animal. He made direct for the second mate's boat in which was the senior Dwight and some of his comrades. The whale struck the boat a terrific blow with his tail and knocked in one whole side. Then, he came back and struck at them with his teeth, one tusk penetrating the bottom of the boat, between the second mate's knees. The mate tore off his shirt, wrapped it around one oar and made a plug which he thrust into the hole and kept the boat from sinking, while his comrades baled out the water. They finally got a rope onto the animal, made him fast to the whaler and secured the prize. The whale, itself, was sold for $3,000. One tusk of the animal is still in the Dwight family. When the elder Dwight returned, with a story of his successful adventures, the young lady who had rejected him, changed her mind and they were promptly married.

The Dwight family have been prominent in all walks of life. Justice Hughes, of the U. S. Supreme court, was formerly associated in law practice with one of Regent Dwight's uncles — the firm being, Carter, Hughes and Dwight. Senator Root studied law under Prof. Theodore W. Dwight, of Columbia University.

Regent Dwight got his early education at Evansville, Wisconsin. Later, he graduated from the high school at Red Wing, Minnesota, with the class of '85. He was not able to complete his education because of poor eye sight. So after clerking for three years in a general store at Brooklyn, Wisconsin, he migrated to Dakota in the spring of 1888, settled at Bridgewater and engaged in the mercantile business.

Mr. Dwight remained in Bridgewater fourteen years, during which time he enjoyed the confidence and respect of the entire community. owever, in 1902, he "pulled stakes" and moved to Sioux Falls, at which place he engaged in the insurance and loan business, being a member of the firm of Knowles, Dwight and Toohey.

PLAYING THE GAME

While Mr. Dwight was yet at Bridgewater he was elected to the state legislature in 1898, and was made chairman of the committee — one that requires the most exacting care. As its chairman he gave the state splendid service.

In the campaign of 1908, he acted as treasurer of the republican state central committee. His work was so successful that he was reelected in 1910; and in addition thereto, as further appreciation of his services, Governor Vessey, in 1909, appointed him a member of the state board of regents, for six years. He has proved to be a valuable member of this board, and was made its vice president. In 1915, he was re-appointed on the board of regents and was made its president.

PERSONAL

Regent Dwight married Miss Jennie M. Brink of Red Wing, Minnesota. Two children bless their home — Helen and Edward. He is a member of the Presbyterian church, the U. C. T. and the Masons; also secretary of the South Dakota Society of Sons of the American Revolution.

It will thus be seen that Mr. Dwight came from good stock; that he has made good all along the line; that he is as yet but 48 years of age, in the prime of life, with good health, and, in the natural order of events, with a promising future still before him. He is one of the best read men in the state. In politics he has followed a course that has been entirely consistent. His manhood is above reproach. He owns a fine home in Sioux Falls and is thoroughly established there. We will watch his future with interest and shall take pleasure in chronicling his success. May he mount high!
 


Who’s Who in South Dakota, Vol. 2
By O. W. Coursey
Educator School Supply Co., Publisher, 1916
Transcribed and contributed by Jim Dezotell
FRANK M. BYRNE
OUR TRUSTED LEADER
Nearly forty years ago, two young farmer boys, who lived about four miles apart in Allamakee county, Iowa, were at school together in a little old building about eleven miles southeast of Waukon, amid innumerable tree-covered hills, skirted with layers of stone, not far back from the huge bluffs of the Mississippi. Although they were approximately the same age, yet one was teacher and the other pupil.

The equality in their years caused them to become chums. They grew fond of each other. Then they separated. Years later, they came together in Dakota; and the teacher is today Senator Coe I. Crawford, while his industrious pupil is the Honorable Frank M. Byrne, governor of South Dakota.
Governor Byrne has "made good" in every way. A large per cent of the sanest legislation on the statute books of our state, eminated from his brain, was drafted by his pen and was enacted largely through his own individual exertion.
He was presented to his father and mother in their humble farm home in Allamakee county, Iowa, by a Good Gypsy, as the tradition goes, away back in 1858 — two years after the birth of the republican party, with which he has since been so prominently identified. Had he been born the year he was inaugurated governor of South Dakota, instead of 1858, he would no doubt have been delivered by parcel post.
His boyhood years were spent on the farm. At twenty years of age the western fever got hold of him and he struck out, landing in Sioux Falls in 1879. The next year he homesteaded in McCook county. He and Lieut. Governor Abel both became identified with McCook county. He broke up part of his own farm and did some work for the Honorable Rollin J. Wells, now of Sioux Falls, one of his neighbors, and who has since earned the distinction of being the state's finest dramatic poet. Wells paid Byrne the first dollar he ever earned in South Dakota; and today there isn't a man in the state who is prouder to see Frank M. Byrne governor, than is Mr. Wells himself.
But Mr. Byrne's western fever proved "intermittent," as the doctor would say; at least he suffered a relapse, for, after proving up in 1883, he again pulled west and settled in Faulk county. At that time the little inland town of La Foon was the county seat. Here he made his home for two years. Then he struck for Fargo, now in North Dakota, but at that time a prominent village of Dakota Territory. For the next three years, he roamed between Fargo and Sioux Falls. However, in 1888 he came back to Faulk county and settled on a farm where he remained till 1900 when he moved into the city of Faulkton, where he has since made his home.
During all these years, he prospered, so that today he owns twelve quarter sections of land in Faulk county, and a nice home in the city of Faulkton. Seven quarters of the land lie together in one farm near Miranda. It is a splendid farm — one that Governor Byrne may well feel proud of, because he earned it instead of inheriting it.
IN POLITICS
Governor Byrne was the first state senator from Faulk county. Later, he served four years (1899-1902) as treasurer of that county. These early experiences gave rise to his growing knowledge of our public affairs. He then retired from politics for four years. But again in 1906 his friends turned out and sent him back to the state senate. He was making good. Faulk county placed confidence in his ability, his integrity and his judgment. It was during his second service in the senate that the eyes of the state were attracted to him. He had some "insurgent" or "progressive" or "reformatory" (whichever you wish to call it) ideas — not red-eyed, fire-eating, irrational, radical, panaceas for all of our political evils, both real and imaginary — but some genuine, sane, manly conceptions of rational progress. So he introduced into the state senate, and succeeded in their enactment, the following laws:
(1) Anti-Pass law — -which has since proved one of the greatest blessings to the state of any law which we have ever enacted.
(2) The Two-Cent Passenger Fare Law — which has since been tied up in the courts.
(3) The Reciprocal Demurrage Law — which requires railroads to pay damages for delay in furnishing cars to shippers.
(4) A Law Taxing Railways' Terminal Property.
(5) A Law Reducing Express Rates 20 per cent — and authorizing the state railroad commission to reduce these rates still further.
(6) A Law Requiring Standard Forms of Life Insurance Policies.
(7) An Insurance Law — one requiring the insurance commissioner to turn over all fees to the state treasurer, and providing that they could be paid out only on regular vouchers; and
(8) The Anti-Lobby Law.
His legislative record made him an easy winner for the lieutenant-governorship in 1910. Here again, in the organization of the state senate, he showed himself to be a man of great poise, judgment, tact and fairness and withal a statesman. As presiding officer of the state senate, he won the friendship and confidence of the leaders in both factions of his party. So, in 1912, the natural — the logical thing — happened. He became a candidate for governor. There was plenty of opposition, to be sure. A primary is a bid for multiplication of candidates. But when the votes were counted, Frank M. Byrne had polled a plurality of approximately 10,000, over his nearest competitor and a majority of 6,000 over all. He had a tough fight in November, but he won.
AS GOVERNOR
On January 7, 1912, amid imposing ceremonies, Frank M. Byrne was sworn in as governor of our great and growing state. His inauguration was one of the grandest in the history of the commonwealth.
From the standpoint of our state's needs, his first message to the legislature was a masterpiece. Again, in detail recommendations, it showed that the governor is not only a man of broad comprehension but that he possesses an exceedingly analytical mind. In all, he made recommendations for specific legislation at once on nineteen different subjects, chief among which were our state institutions, freight and passenger rates, and public printing.
The message, in printed form, consists of fifty pages— exactly one half of which are devoted to our state institutions. His most sweeping recommendations are in a complete change which he recommends for the management of our state educational, our charitable and our penal institutions. At present the five regents have complete control of the state schools, while the five members of the board of charities and corrections have equal authority over the charitable and penal institutions. Instead of dividing the work perpendicularly, so to speak, as it now is, Governor Byrne recommends a constitutional amendment that will reduce each board to three members and authorize the legislature to enact a law dividing the boards' responsibilities horizontally; that is, a board of administration to employ the heads of all of the institutions, and other members, and another board to look after the strictly business affairs of the same. His reasoning invites admiration. A class of men, competent by education, training and experience, to select normal school presidents and faculties, might not be equipped to handle successfully the technical part of the various institutions' business affairs, while a board of three, consisting of an experienced contractor, a banker and a lawyer, would unquestionably look closely after the erection of buildings, the insurance of the same and various kindred matters.
His foresight in asking the legislature to begin at once to equip the state's grounds, near Watertown, for another asylum, so as to be prepared to take care of our unfortunate citizens, as soon as the Yankton institution has reached an enrollment of 1,200, is an act of statesmanship, and it shows that the people made no mistake in electing Frank M. Byrne governor.
PERSONAL
As a public speaker, Governor Byrne is plain-spoken, straightforward and convincing. As a writer, his first message shows him to be a man capable of expressing himself in simple, modest, but high grade English. His message is that of a thoroughly trained business mind.
He was married in April, 1888, to Miss Emma Beaver of Kenton, Ohio. Mrs. Byrne possesses a modest, kindly, democratic temperament, similar to that of her distinguished husband. As the "First Lady" of our state she has proven companionable, sympathetic and hospitable. To this couple who have now become so prominent in the public eye of our state, have been born five sons, Carrol B., who graduated June, 1912, from the naval academy at Anapolis; Francis J., Malcolm, Joseph and Emmons.
Governor Byrne, as has been shown, has had splendid preparation in the school of experience to equip him to make South Dakota a great executive. He is a sturdy Irishman — one possessed of a high sense of civic duty, a member of the Congregational church, and a Knight of Pythias, a Mason and an Elk. Governor Byrne was re-elected in 1914, and is now serving his second term.
 


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

 

 

JOHN ATKINSON, M. D.

Dr. John Atkinson, now located at Lewistown, Montana, was formerly one of the successful and highly respected members of the medical profession at Aberdeen, South Dakota, where he began practice in 1909. He was born in Ireland in 1872 and is a son of John and Elizabeth (Nixon) Atkinson. He acquired his early education in his native country and in 1887 came to America, locating in Canada. He took his high school course in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and later entered the University of North Dakota, where he remained two years. Following this he spent one year in Macalester College at St. Paul, Minnesota, and then entered the College of Physicians &. Surgeons at Keokuk, Iowa, from which he received his degree of M. D. in 1903. He is a man of ambition, energy and resource, as is evidenced by the fact that he earned all of the money for his extensive education.

Dr. Atkinson began the practice of his profession in Donaldson, Iowa, where he remained for one year and three months, later removing to Spencer, South Dakota, where he spent five years and nine months. On the 17th of July, 1909, he came to Aberdeen, South Dakota, where he remained for some time but is now practicing his profession in Lewistown, Montana, making a specialty of diseases of the eye, ear, nose and throat. The consensus of public opinion regarding his professional skill is altogether favorable, for it is well known that he is a careful and conscientious physician. He is a member of the American Medical Association and the county and state medical societies and his ability is widely recognized in the profession.

On the 23d of October, 1897, Dr. Atkinson was united in marriage to Miss Hazel E. Hamitt, of Spencer, South Dakota. He has made an excellent professional record, as is indicated by the practice now accorded him, and he is, moreover, known as a progressive and public-spirited citizen.



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