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Arthur Calvin Mellette papers

Identifier: MS-100

Content Description

This collection contains copies of the Mellette papers from the Mellette House in Watertown, SD. It is unknown if this collection contains any material from his time as South Dakota governor or US senator from South Dakota, but it is unlikely based on the dates seen in the collection.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1842 - 1896


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to Publish Form if they wish to reproduce, broadcast, or otherwise disseminate information from published and unpublished works held by ASC.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

Arthur Calvin Mellette was born June 23, 1842, in Indiana. A graduate of the Indiana University from which he received a degree in Law, Mellette also enlisted as a soldier with the 9th Indiana volunteers. He married Margaret Wylie and had four sons. He was elected to the Indiana State legislature and bought the Muncie Times newspaper.

Mellette and his family relocated to Springfield in the Dakota Territory where he served as registrar of the United States Land Office. He followed the office to Watertown when it moved. He became an attorney and an early leader of the statehood movement. He was elected "Governor of Dakota" by a failed statehood organization in 1885. Mellette's personal connection to U.S. Senator Benjamin Harrison of Indiana and when Harrison was elected President of the United States and elected Mellette as the territorial governor of Dakota and then President Harrison signed the proclamations that made South Dakota a state.

Mellette was elected as the first Governor of South Dakota. He served from 1889 to 1893. After he left office it was discovered that the state treasurer had stolen much of the state treasury and ran to Mexico. Mellette gave South Dakota his fortune and all of his property and then left for Pittsburg, Kansas where he opened up his own law practice. He died May 25, 1896 in Kansas.


.5 linear foot (1 document box)

Language of Materials


Arthur Calvin Mellette papers
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the USD Archives and Special Collections Repository