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John Lawlor Jolley papers

Identifier: MS-076

Content Description

This collection is related to the life of a prominent resident of early Vermillion, South Dakota.

The Correspondence series is divided into three folders: Incoming, Outgoing, and Miscellaneous. The Incoming folder contains letters from Jolley’s business contacts concerning various lawsuits and financial concerns. The Miscellaneous folder contains letters to Jolley’s law partner D.C. Shull and other individuals.

The Financial Materials series contain three collection cards: two from the Clay County Superintendent of Schools and one from The Champ Collection Agency. Also included in this series are receipts for legal work. The receipts are organized chronologically.

The Legal Materials series contains legal documents such as Deeds, Mortgages, Quit Claims, and Warrant Deeds. It also includes the Articles of Incorporation of the Vermillion Artesian Well, Electric Light, Mining, Industrial and Improvement Company of Vermillion, SD.

The Photograph series contains two photographs: John Jolley in his Civil War uniform taken in1865 and a postcard of the first schoolhouse in Vermillion.

The Printed Materials contains two copies of Grange’s Anniversary News. Also included are advertisements from the Law Booksellers, T.H. Flood and Company and the Lansing Lumber Company.

The Ephemera series contains a wallet that may have belonged to Jolley.


  • Creation: 1865 - 1932


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research without restriction. Researchers are advised to contact the Archives and Special Collections prior to visiting. Advance notice may be needed to retrieve items for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers must obtain a signed Permission to Publish Form if they wish to reproduce, broadcast, or otherwise disseminate information from published and unpublished works held by ASC. Permission to reproduce, broadcast, or otherwise disseminate information materials from ASC does not constitute permission from the holder of copyright or literary rights. The researcher is responsible for securing permission from the copyright holder to publish or reproduce content from materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

John Lawlor Jolley was born to James and Frances Jolley in Montreal, Canada on July 14, 1840. In 1857, he moved Portage, Wisconsin to study law and he was later admitted into the Wisconsin State Bar in October of 1861.

In 1862, Jolley enlisted with Company C, Twenty-third Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. Jolley would eventually rise to the rank of second lieutenant. He was honorably discharged from service on July 4, 1865.

In 1866, he moved to Vermillion, Dakota Territory and set up his law practice. He became the first mayor of Vermillion in 1877 and he served as mayor again in 1885. Jolley was elected to the Territorial House of Representatives 1867 and 1868, and after South Dakota declared statehood in 1889, he served in the State Senate from 1889-1890. In 1891, he was elected to the U.S. Congress to fill the seat left vacant by the death of John Rankin Gamble. Jolley served in Congress until 1893, when he returned home to resume his law practice. John L. Jolley died on Dec. 14, 1926 and was buried at Bluff View Cemetery in Vermillion.

Jolley was married to Harriet J. Grange on April 20, 1874 and together they had three children: Frances, Charles, and Mary.


0.5 Linear Feet (1 document box)

Language of Materials



This collection is related to the life of a prominent resident of early Vermillion, South Dakota.


The John Lawlor Jolley papers contains six series: Correspondence, Financial Materials, Legal Materials, Photographs, Printed Materials and Ephemera.

Related Materials

John L. Jolley papers, 1871-1925, Center for Western Studies, Augustana College

John Lawlor Jolley papers
Anne Hinseth
2001 May
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the USD Archives and Special Collections Repository