|Birth: ||Mar. 26, 1856|
|Death: ||Aug. 6, 1943|
South Dakota, USA
In 1904, C.S. was elected to the State Senate. He served 22 years as Senator and 4 years as Representative. He was President Pro Tem of the Senate for 7 successive terms and in 1931 was Speaker Pro Tem for the House
Cassius Silas Amsden, known as Honorable C.S. or the Grand Old Man, was born in Janesville, Wisconsin, on March 26, 1856, to Galen and Martha (Brown) Amsden.
After attending Northfield College in 1875 and teaching school for a short time, he and his brother Lee left home April 30, 1878, for Dakota Territory. With two yoke of oxen, they arrived in Grant County on May 12. They took a claim in Madison township, but at that time Grant County was still unorganized. They found it necessary to petition the Territorial Governor at Yankton, then the capital, to appoint a board of County Commissioners. After receiving their filing receipts, they left for home on July 5. Before leaving they had broken 45 acres of their land.
When they later returned to Grant County, they found that the Grant Center residents had organized a school district, taking their land upon the north right up to the Amsden doors but leaving them out. They petitioned for the establishment of the school district in the form of an L which would place the schoolhouse centrally where Madison No. 2 was built. (Also known as the Amsden school, the building has been moved to the north end of Milbank's Main Street and maintained as a memorial to the past.) A petition was taken to the County Superintendent where the request was granted. The schoolhouse was built in May 1882. C.S. was one of the first school officers.
On January 5, 1881, C.S. was married to Lois L. Morton at Montevideo, Minnesota. On June 22, 1882, she died of tuberculosis, leaving twin babies, Ralph and Ruth. While Cassius visited at his mother's home in Waterford, Minnesota, he was informed that a woman to whom he had been previously engaged was widowed and living with her parents. This previous engagement was broken because her mother could not reconcile herself to having her daughter move to the wild Dakota Territory. The romance again blossomed; Cassius and Julia (Mattison) Smith were married July 3, 1884. Four children were born to Julia and Cassius: Casper Wyly, Myrtle Abbie, Grace Adell, and Averil Julia.
In November 1884 Cassius was elected County Superintendent of Schools. During his four years as Superintendent, he established more than half of the Grant County schools. Later, during the winters, he taught in Grant Center and Madison schools.
In 1904, C.S. was elected to the State Senate. He served 22 years as Senator and 4 years as Representative. He was President Pro Tem of the Senate for 7 successive terms and in 1931 was Speaker Pro Tem for the House. In 1938 he did not "run" for office, but was called to Pierre and given a desk at the Capitol where he could be easily reached for advice.
In 1906 the Amsden's moved to a home on 4th Street in Milbank. Julia died in the Webster Hospital on May 12, 1926, at the age of 66.
On March 26, 1943, C.S. was honored at a Grand Birthday Party. Four members of each branch of the legislature were appointed to confer with local Milbank organizations to plan the party where Lieutenant Governor Al Miller was the featured speaker.
C.S. died August 6, 1943 at the age of 87 years. Friends said to the family, "Remember when you are planning the funeral that Mr. Amsden does not belong entirely to you, but also to the public." So the services were held at the City Auditorium.
'100 Years in Grant County South Dakota 1878-1978'
South Dakota, USA
Created by: Lori
Record added: May 12, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 26776807
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