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Obituaries South Dakota


A.C. Mellette Dies at Pittsburg

Pittsburg, May 26.—Hon. A.C. Mellette, ex-governor of south Dakota, died Monday at his home in this city of heart failure after an illness of about five weeks. Death, however, was brought on by a complication of diseases of four or five years standing. The remains will be shipped to Watertown, S.D., for interment. The deceased leaves a family of a wife and three sons, all grown. He moved to this city about a year ago and commenced the practice of law. He was a prominent Knight Templar. Arthur C. Mellette was born in Henry county, Ind., in 1842. For awhile he attended school in an old log house and then was a school teacher one term. In 1864 he graduated from the regular course of the state university at Bloomington, Ind.
Served a Year in the Was.
At the close of his course he served one year in the war with Company A, Ninth infantry regiment. After the war he began to read law and graduated from the state university law school. Mr. Mellette then took up the practice of law at Muncie, where he was make district attorney in 1868. In 1872 he was member of the Indiana legislature and helped to return Oliver P. Morton to the United States senate.
Mr. Mellette was the proprietor of The Muncie Times for seven years. He then went to Watertown, D.T., where he was afterwards appointed registor of the Watertown land office. For four years he remained in this position, and was succeeded by C.G. Williams. He was a member of the first Sioux Falls constitutional convention, in 1883, and displayed great skill in the management of territorial affairs. In 1885, Mr. Mellette was elected governor of South Dakota by a large majority, and since his term expired he has been practicing law at Watertown.

Alton Evening Telegraph, Alton Illinois
May 26, 1896, page 4

Contributed by Suzanne Folk

Briefly Told
Rev. Stephen G. Updyke Gives a Live Sketch of His Long-Time Friend.

Watertown Public Opinion, May 28.

Dr. Updyke read a brief sketch of the life of Gov. Mellette at the funeral service, which seems to state the salient facts in connection with the governor’s boyhood and subsequent career, and which states much in small space.
Arthur Calvin Mellette was born June 29, 1842, in Henry county, Ind., and died in Pittsburg, Kansas, on Monday, May 25th, aged 53 years, 10 months and 26 days.
He came of most rigid Calvanistic parentage, and was the son of a Calvanistic minister, and was by birth and training and living experience a Calvanistic almost to the verge of fate.
As was common in those days, the minister lived upon a farm, and Arthur had a farm and country training until he reached the threshold of the state university, from which he graduated in 1863 at the age of twenty-one years.
After the summer vacation of that year he enlisted in Company “H” of the 9th regiment of Indiana infantry, in which he served to the end of the war.
In the beginning of his 24th year he returned to the university and passed through its law department, and located for practice at Muncie, in his native state.
On the 29th of May, 1866—thirty years ago—he wedded Margarette, daughter of Prof. Wylie, then and for many years thereafter connected with the state university.
Soon after he was prosecuting attorney of his county for a single term, and afterward served for some time as superintendent of schools in his county, in which capacity he stored up a fond of experience that was destined to carry his influence far beyond his native state.
When thirty years of age he was elected to the legislature, where he devoted his time and concentrated his experience to the revision of the school law, which at that time in most of our states was in very immature or chaotic character.
For two sessions he stroked this single harp, and when the work had been accomplished it was reckoned as the foremost authority on this department of the law in the union. There are many who believe that in its essential characteristics of both matter and form it has never been excelled.
After this he went into the newspaper work in Muncie—the confidant and friend of the republican leaders of the state until he came to Springfield, Dakota, in 1878. At that time the ill health of his wife was at a crisis, and it was with the hope that it might save her life that he came hither. When his party friends had learned the necessity that was upon him, they besought the president to permit them to tender him a substantial farewell token of friendship. It came to him as a commission to the land office in the vicinity of which he was about to remove.
And so it came to pass that eighteen years ago he came to Dakota, and sixteen years ago to Watertown to be your friend and neighbor, and afterward your governor.
The end is this—that he is dead, and his will only is left to us.
To the state in the service of which he received the wound that slew him, he gives his property, even unto the finer dresses that his wife did wear, and all the china that she was won’t to spread upon his table, while to the city of Watertown he gives his body, that it may lie beside your kindred dust and receive a portion of the tears that fall upon your dead.
He was a tender, loving man.

The Daily Huronite, Huron South Dakota
June 2, 1896, page 2

Contributed by Suzanne Folk


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