Arthur Calvin Mellette


Arthur Calvin Mellette



Arthur Calvin Mellette was born on June 23, 1842, in Henry County, Indiana. His early education was at the Marion Academy and the Grant County Academy. He then enrolled at Indiana University, graduating in 1863. During the last years of the Civil War, he served in the 9th Indiana Volunteers (1864-65). After the war, he enrolled at the IU school of law and received his LL.B. degree in 1866. After graduation, Mellette formed a law partnership with Thomas J. Brady in Muncie, Indiana. While in Muncie, he purchased the Muncie Times newspaper, which he would run for eight years (1870-1878). Additionally, he was elected Delaware County district attorney in 1870 and a member of the Indiana House of Representatives in 1873.

When, in 1878, his wife (Margaret Wylie - daughter of early Indiana University faculty member Theophilus Wylie) became sick, he moved the family to Springfield in the Dakota Territory, in hopes that a different climate would improve her health. There, he served as registrar of the United States Land Office. The family moved to Watertown, DT, a few years later where he became a prosperous attorney and leading citizen of the town.

A strong advocate for statehood, Mellette was appointed the tenth, and last, governor of the Dakota Territory in March of 1889. When, a few months later, statehood was granted to the new North and South Dakota, Mellette was elected the first governor of the state of South Dakota. He served two, two-year, terms and retired.

Mellette died at the age of 53, in 1895, while in Pittsburg, Kansas


Maurer Alumni, South Dakota Governor


American Politics | Law | Legal Biography | Legal Profession



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Arthur Calvin Mellette