Louis K. Church

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Gov. Louis K. Church

Louis Kossuth Church (December 11, 1846 – 1898) was an American politician who was a New York Supreme Court justice, a member of the New York Legislature, and the ninth Governor of Dakota Territory.[1]


Louis K. Church was born in Brooklyn, New York. He was educated at the Hudson River Institute at Claverack, New York. After studying law at the office of Judge N. B. Moore, Church was admitted to the bar. He practiced law with Judge Moore until eventually practicing by himself in 1874. Church was a member of the New York State Assembly (Queens Co., 1st D.) in 1883, 1884 and 1885.[2] Then, President Cleveland appointed Church as judge in the Third District of Dakota Territory.

Because of Church's good reputation as a judge, President Cleveland appointed Louis Church as Governor of Dakota Territory. A number of Democrats in Dakota Territory were disappointed in the appointment, because they had expected the appointment of Dakota resident Frank M. Ziebach. Church became governor on February 21, 1887. He scrutinized every bill and restrained excessive spending with his veto power. He allowed the reform school to be established at Plankinton. Church opposed the division of Dakota Territory into two separate states. Governor Church and former Governors, Nehemiah G. Ordway and John L. Pennington, wanted Dakota to enter the Union as a single state.

In spite of his integrity, Church became very unpopular as governor because of his opposition to separate statehood. When Benjamin Harrison defeated Cleveland as president, Church became a lame duck who was generally ignored by the territorial legislature. On March 4, 1889, Harrison was inaugurated as president, and Church resigned as governor on March 9, 1889.

After leaving office, Louis Church returned to practicing law, first in Huron and then in Seattle, Washington. During a trip to Alaska in 1898, Church died after developing pneumonia.


  1. ^ Louis Church
  2. ^ 'The Argus Almanac A Political and Financial Annual,' 1880: pg 100
Political offices
Preceded by
Gilbert A. Pierce
Governor of Dakota Territory
Succeeded by
Arthur C. Mellette

External links[edit]