Robert S. Vessey
|Robert S. Vessey|
|7th Governor of South Dakota|
January 5, 1909 – January 7, 1913
|Lieutenant||Howard C. Shober
Frank M. Byrne
|Preceded by||Coe I. Crawford|
|Succeeded by||Frank M. Byrne|
|South Dakota State Senator|
|Born||May 16, 1858
|Died||October 18, 1929
Vessey was born to Charles and Jane Elizabeth Vessey in Oshkosh, Winnebago County, Wisconsin USA. His father was a Methodist lay preacher; his mother was an English immigrant. Vessey was raised and educated near Oshkosh in Winnebago County, Wisconsin. For a brief time, he studied at Oshkosh Commercial College before spending the next five years as a lumberjack in northern Wisconsin.
Vessey became a member of the South Dakota Senate in the 1905 and 1907 state legislatures. In January 1908, he was elected president of the senate. Despite limited abilities as a public speaker, he successfully guided Progressive measures through the state senate.
Vessey's candidacy for governor was supported in large part due to his solid record in the state senate. As governor, he worked to keep peace among South Dakota Progressives and sought to enhance control of government through the direct primary law. He was also the first governor to proclaim Mothers’ Day as a public observance.
In 1910, Vessey's bid for a second term as governor was threatened by an independent candidate named George W. Egan. In spite of Egan's popularity with voters, Vessey beat both Egan and former governor Samuel H. Elrod to receive the Republican nomination. He went on to defeat the Democratic candidate, Chauncey L. Wood, in the general election. After serving his terms, he moved to Pasadena, California where he owned and operated a real estate business.
Vessey died in Pasadena and was interred in Hope Cemetery, Wessington Springs, Jerauld County, South Dakota USA. His house on College Street in Wessington Springs was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
- "Robert S. Vessey". Find A Grave. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
- "Robert S. Vessey". National Governors Association. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
- "100 Years Ago in Wessington Springs". True Dakotan. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
- http://www.southdakotamagazine.com/editors_notebook.php?m=200505&paged=4%7Cpublisher=True Dakotan|
- "Robert S.Vessey". Find A Grave. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
- Robert S. Vessey's historical listing
- Commentary on Governor Vessey: "Our Governor"
- True Dakotan - April 29, 2009: "May 10 Mother’s Day will observe 100th anniversary of proclamation that was signed by Gov. Vessey"
- New York Times - November 21, 1910: "Just Like Westerners; Gov. Vessey of South Dakota Says Financial Bonds Are Uniting All"
- Portrait of Robert S. Vessey
- Robert S. Vessey at Find a Grave
- National Governors Association
Coe I. Crawford
|Governor of South Dakota
Frank M. Byrne