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Robert Jackson Gamble (February 7, 1851 – September 22, 1924) was a U.S. Representative and Senator from South Dakota. He was the father of Ralph Abernethy Gamble and brother of John Rankin Gamble, members of South Dakota's prominent Gamble family.

Robert Jackson Gamble
Robert J. Gamble.jpg
United States Senator
from South Dakota
In office
March 4, 1901 – March 3, 1913
Preceded byRichard F. Pettigrew
Succeeded byThomas Sterling
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Dakota's at-large district
In office
March 4, 1899 – March 3, 1901
Preceded byFreeman T. Knowles
Succeeded byEben W. Martin
In office
March 4, 1895 – March 3, 1897
Preceded byWilliam V. Lucas
Succeeded byFreeman T. Knowles
Personal details
Born(1851-02-07)February 7, 1851
Genesee County, New York
DiedSeptember 22, 1924(1924-09-22) (aged 73)
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Political partyRepublican


Early lifeEdit

Gamble was born in Genesee County, near Akron, New York, the son of Robert Gamble and Jennie (Abernethy) Gamble.[1] In 1862, he moved with his parents to Fox Lake, Wisconsin.[1] In 1874, he graduated from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin with a bachelor of science degree, and he later received his master of science from Lawrence.[1][2] While attending college, Gamble taught school in the summer to pay his tuition.[2] After graduating, he studied law with the Milwaukee firm of Jenkins, Elliot & Wheeler, and was admitted to the bar in 1875.[2] He moved to Yankton in the portion of the Dakota Territory which later became South Dakota.[2]

Start of careerEdit

A Republican, he became a district attorney for the second judicial district of the Territory of Dakota in 1880, and was Yankton's city attorney in 1881 and 1882.[2] He served on the Territorial Council in 1885.[2] In 1894 he was elected to Seat B, one of South Dakota's two at-large seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, and he served in the Fifty-fourth Congress.[2] He ran unsuccessfully for reelection in 1896, but was again elected to Seat B in 1898, and served in the Fifty-sixth Congress.[2] During the Fifty-sixth Congress, he became the chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Expenditures on the Public Buildings.[3]

U.S. SenatorEdit

In 1901, Gamble was elected to the United States Senate.[2] Re-elected in 1906, he served until March 1913, after being an unsuccessful candidate for renomination.[2] During his senate career, he was chairman of the: Committee on Indian Depredations (57th Congress); Committee on Transportation Routes to the Seaboard (58th to 60th Congresses); Committee on Indian Affairs (62nd Congress); and Committee on Enrolled Bills (64th Congress).[3]

Later lifeEdit

In 1915, Gamble moved to Sioux Falls and resumed the practice of law.[3] From 1916 to 1924 he served as a referee in bankruptcy for the southern district of South Dakota. He was a member of the National Executive Committee of the League to Enforce Peace.[3]

Death and burialEdit

Gamble died in Sioux Falls, and was buried at Yankton City Cemetery in Yankton.[3]


In 1909, Lawrence University awarded Gamble the honorary degree of LL.D.[1]


In 1884, Gamble married Carrie S. Osborne of Portage, Wisconsin.[1] They were the parents of two sons, Ralph and George.[1]




  • Coursey, Oscar William (1913). Who's Who in South Dakota. I. Mitchell, SD: Educator School Supply Co.
  • Lawrence College (1918). Lawrence College Alumni Record, 1857-1915. Appleton, WI: Post Publishing Company.
  • United States Congress (2005). Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-2005. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office. ISBN 978-0-16-073176-1.

External linksEdit