List of Governors of Dakota Territory

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Governor of Dakota Territory
Governor Arthur C Mellette.jpg
First holder Wilmot Brookings (acting)
William Jayne (formal)
Final holder Arthur C. Mellette
Abolished 2 November 1889
Succession Governor of North Dakota
Governor of South Dakota

Dakota Territory existed as an entity from 1861 until 1889, when it was divided into the states of North Dakota and South Dakota. The Territorial Governor was appointed by the President of the United States.

The men who served as Governor (and their dates of office) were:[1]


Number of Governors of Dakota Territory by party affiliation
Party Governors
Republican 11
Independent 1
Democratic 1

Territorial governors[edit]

# Image Governor Term Party Notes
Judge Wilmot Wood Brookings.jpg Wilmot Brookings
January 1859-2 March 1861 Republican Provisional governor. Not recognized by US government.
1 William Jayne.jpg William Jayne
27 May 1861 – 4 March 1863 Republican First official governor of Dakota Territory. Appointed by US President Abraham Lincoln. Resigned to become US Representative.
2 Governor Newton Edmunds.jpg Newton Edmunds
17 October 1863 – 3 September 1866 Republican Acting until November 1863. Appointed by Abraham Lincoln. Dismissed in 1866. First Republican to serve as Governor.
3 Andrew Jackson Faulk.jpg Andrew J. Faulk
3 September 1866 – 10 May 1869 Republican Acting until March 1867. Appointed by Andrew Johnson. Dismissed in 1869.
4 Governor John A Burbank.jpg John A. Burbank
10 May 1869-April 1873 Republican Appointed by Ulysses S. Grant. Replaced by Edwin S. McCook in 1873.
- Edwin Stanton McCook photograph.JPG Edwin S. McCook
April 1873-11 September 1873 Independent Acting governor to replace John A. Burbank. Assassinated in September 1873. Only Independent to serve as Governor.
(4) Governor John A Burbank.jpg John A. Burbank
October 1873-1 January 1874 Republican Reappointed with the help of U.S. Senator Oliver P. Morton. Resigned in January 1874 due to a railroad corruption scandal.
5 Governor John L Pennington.jpg John L. Pennington
1 January 1874 – 12 April 1878 Republican Appointed by Ulysses S. Grant to replace John A. Burbank. Dismissed in April 1878.
6 Governor William A Howard.jpg William A. Howard
12 April 1878 – 10 April 1880 Republican Appointed by Rutherford B. Hayes. Died in office.
7 NGOrdway.jpg Nehemiah G. Ordway
1 June 1880 – 25 June 1884 Republican Appointed by Rutherford B. Hayes. Removed from office due to corruption allegations.
8 Gilbertashville.jpg Gilbert A. Pierce
25 June 1884 – 5 February 1887 Republican Appointed by Chester A. Arthur. Resigned in August 1886, however the resignation did not take effect until 1887.
9 Governor Louis K Church.jpg Louis K. Church
21 February 1887 – 9 March 1889 Democratic Appointed by Grover Cleveland. Resigned in March 1889. Only Democrat to serve as Governor.
10 Governor Arthur C Mellette.jpg Arthur C. Mellette
9 March 1889 – 2 November 1889 Republican Popularly elected in 1885. Became the first Governor of South Dakota upon both Dakotas' statehood in November 1889. Succeeded by John Miller as Governor of North Dakota.

Governors after statehood[edit]

For governors of the two separate states after the dissolution of Dakota Territory, see List of Governors of North Dakota and List of Governors of South Dakota.