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|
Oshkosh, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Died||October 18, 1929 (aged 71)|
Pasadena, California, U.S.
Vessey was born to Charles and Jane Elizabeth Vessey in Oshkosh, Winnebago County, Wisconsin, United States. 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 entombed in Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena, California. His house on College Street in Wessington Springs was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, as Robert S. Vessey House.
- "South Dakota Legislature".
- "Robert S. Vessey". National Governors Association. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
- "vessey.pdf" (PDF). South Dakota State Historical Society. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 29, 2017.
- "100 Years Ago in Wessington Springs". True Dakotan. Archived from the original on February 4, 2013. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
- http://www.southdakotamagazine.com/editors_notebook.php?m=200505&paged=4%7Cpublisher=True Dakotan|