George Theodore Mickelson (July 23, 1903 – February 28, 1965) was an American lawyer, 16th Attorney General of South Dakota and 18th Governor of South Dakota, and a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota. He is the patriarch of the prominent Mickelson family of South Dakota.
George T. Mickelson
|Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota|
|Preceded by||Office established|
|Succeeded by||Axel J. Beck|
|Judge of the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota|
December 9, 1953 – February 28, 1965
|Appointed by||Dwight D. Eisenhower|
|Preceded by||Seat established by 65 Stat. 710|
|Succeeded by||Fred Joseph Nichol|
|18th Governor of South Dakota|
January 7, 1947 – January 2, 1951
|Lieutenant||Sioux K. Grigsby|
Rex A. Terry
|Preceded by||Merrell Q. Sharpe|
|Succeeded by||Sigurd Anderson|
|16th Attorney General of South Dakota|
|Governor||Merrell Q. Sharpe|
|Preceded by||Leo A. Temmey|
|Succeeded by||Sigurd Anderson|
George Theodore Mickelson
July 23, 1903
Selby, South Dakota
|Died||February 28, 1965 (aged 61)|
Sioux Falls, South Dakota U.S.
|Resting place||Woodlawn Cemetery|
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
|Children||George S. Mickelson|
|Education||University of South Dakota School of Law (LL.B.)|
Early life and educationEdit
George T. Mickelson was born near Selby in Walworth County, South Dakota. His father was a Norwegian immigrant. Mickelson was the first Governor of South Dakota to be born in the twentieth century. Mickelson attended Dakota Wesleyan University and then received a Bachelor of Laws from the University of South Dakota School of Law in 1927. He was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha social fraternity. He did not take the bar exam as he was admitted to the South Dakota bar under the state's diploma privilege. That year he returned to Selby to practice law. He married Madge Turner and they had four children.
Prior to serving as governor, Mickelson, a Republican, served as State's Attorney for Walworth County from 1933 to 1936. He served in the South Dakota House of Representatives from 1937 to 1943 and was Speaker of the House in his last term.
He then served as South Dakota Attorney General from 1943 to 1947.
1942 Attorney General electionEdit
On May 9, 1942, Mickelson announced his candidacy for Attorney General. On June 8, 1942, Mickelson won the nomination at the convention in a field of five candidates on the second vote with 110,090 votes; 31,359 votes for Harold O. Lovre of Hayti; 17,049 for William J Metzger of Olivet; 6,773 votes for Assistant Attorney General Erwin R. Erickson of Vermillion; and 1,610 votes for E.B. Adams of Hot Springs.
Mickelson defeated Democrat Lynn Fellows of Plankinton by a vote count of 108,155 to 62,527 votes.
1944 Attorney General electionEdit
On February 22, 1944, Mickelson declared that he would run for re-election.
On August 1, 1944, Fred Wheeler of Custer was unopposed and nominated for Attorney General at the Democratic Convention in Aberdeen.
Mickelson was re-elected defeating Democrat Wheeler by a count of 137,311 to 83,441 votes.
Mickelson ran as a favorite-son candidate in the 1952 South Dakota presidential primary, supporting Dwight D. Eisenhower's national bid, and lost narrowly to Eisenhower's chief rival, Senator Robert A. Taft of Ohio.
Federal judicial serviceEdit
Mickelson received a recess appointment from President Dwight D. Eisenhower on December 9, 1953, to the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota, to a new seat authorized by 65 Stat. 710. He was nominated to the same position by President Eisenhower on January 11, 1954. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 9, 1954, and received his commission the next day. He served as Chief Judge from 1954 to 1965. He served until his death on February 28, 1965.
Mickelson is the patriarch of the prominent Mickelson family of South Dakota. Mickelson's son, George S. Mickelson, served as Governor of South Dakota from 1987 to 1993. They are the only father and son duo to serve in that office in the history of South Dakota. His grandson Mark Mickelson served as Speaker of the House of Representatives in the South Dakota State Legislature from 2017-18.
- 1910 Census, Walworth County, South Dakota
- George Theodore Mickelson at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
- Rapid City Journal, May 9, 1942, page 5
- The Weekly Pioneer-Times, June 11, 1942, page 4
- The Daily Argus Leader, February 22, 1944, page 12
- The Daily Argus Leader, August 1, 1944, Pag 1
- "Our Campaigns - SD US President - R Primary Race - Jun 03, 1952". www.ourcampaigns.com.
- South Dakota Governor George Theodore Mickelson (National Governor's Association) Archived 2011-01-25 at the Wayback Machine
- Biographical Directory of the South Dakota Legislature, 1889-1989, p. 750.
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