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 Dighton Corson

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Dighton Corson

  • Birth 21 Oct 1827 Canaan, Somerset County, Maine, USA
  • Death 7 May 1915 Pierre, Hughes County, South Dakota, USA
  • Burial Lansing, Leavenworth County, Kansas, USA
  • Plot Section 5; Lot 37; Grave 4
  • Memorial ID 83582600

Dighton {Age 23} is recorded on the
1850 census at Canaan, Somerset, Maine
dwelling in the household of his mother.

Occupations - Attorney general;
Chief Justice to the Supreme Court
of South Dakota.

Dighton married

1] on 20 October 1855
at Bangor, Penobscot, Maine
Martha E. GOWEN
{born - 27 April 1836
at Shapleigh, York, Maine
daughter of John GOWEN and Martha EMERY}.
Dighton and Martha were the parents of; Ralph.
Last record of Martha is in the 1875 directory at San Francisco City in California dwelling in the household of Lucius Edwards BULKELEY.

Dighton {Age 33} is recorded on the 1860 census at Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Martha {Age 24) is recorded on the 1860 census at Bangor, Penobscot, Maine dwelling
in the household of her sister, Roxanna Smith.

2] on 22 May 1882 in South Dakota
Elizabeth BASSLER.

DAILY CAPITAL JOURNAL - 7 & 10 May 1915:
Dighton Corson bequeated to his son, Ralph E. Corson $3,000.00 and his hunting case watch. Also $250.00 to the town of Canaan in Maine for the care of the Corson family graves.
There were several other legacies, and the remainder of his estate left to his widow.
The arrangements are to send his remains
to Leavenworth, Kansas for interment.

In the death of Judge Dighton Corson on the 7th of May, 1915, South Dakota lost one who up to that time had been her oldest living lawyer and one whose life record constitutes an integral chapter in the history of the state. Of him it was said: "The town is better, the
state is better, and the world is better for his having lived. To know him was to love him." His friends will miss him, but the memory of his sweet and beautiful life, of his sincerity
and simplicity, will not be forgotten.
Dighton had the respect of the bar of South Dakota to such a degree as no other member of the state legal fraternity ever enjoyed.
His manner, his make-up and his everyday
life were such as made him stand out preeminently as a distinguished gentleman,
an able scholar and a citizen far above the average. His cool, deliberate and unimpassioned demeanor marked him in every walk of life as one who would be respected by any and every class of citizens, and his presence in any body of men or social gathering always elicited respectful admiration. His ideals always reflected something for the betterment of mankind. His desires were constantly in the interest of humanity, the community, and his family. His personal wants and wishes were not a burden imposed on others, and in all his eventful experience he looked upon life and acted his part as a philosopher. In all his political and official life as well as his personal existence he enjoyed the distinction of being a man above reproach and with no one to charge him with dishonesty or suggest duplicity or failure to keep his word. During all of his long service as a judge it is confidently asserted that he never uttered one discourteous word to any of his associates on the bench or to any member of the bar, nor can any opinion be found wherein the contentions of counsel were not treated with due courtesy and consideration. It truly may be said of him that in his life, his conduct and his conversation he always displayed the qualities of a cultured gentleman.
At the time of his death Mrs. Corson showed her unselfish devotion, especially during the closing years of his life.
He attended the public schools of Waterville
in Maine, and prepared for college but was denied the advantage of a college course.
He entered the study of law at Waterville
and later continued his preparation for the profession at Bangor in Maine, passing the examination which secured him admission
to the bar in 1853.
Coming west in the same year, he settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he practiced
until 1861,
The county of Corson in South Dakota was named for him.

Whatever fortunes accompany one through life, they smiled on Dighton Corson. Not that he was given any special advantage, in fact. when he was unable to attain a formal law school education, he was schooled and mentored in a law office until he passed the Bar in Maine. (1) This is but one example as his long life unfolded, where it is seen he made his own way, forged his own opportunities, molded his own future and earned his own well-deserved reward. As a result, he reached the pinnacle of professional achievement as South Dakota's first Chief Justice of its new State Supreme Court. As with so many of his 19th century American contemporaries blessed with a magical combination of opportunity and innate talent, Dighton Corson moved west with the growing Republic. He both found---and made---the opportunities he sought. He was on the financial, legal and leadership frontiers of his nation time after time. Deep in the mix of America's "westering" excitement, he saw opportunities from Maine to California---and frontier lawlessness in between---
and brought order and justice to both. Few men or women of his day accomplished as much. In just a few years as a young lawyer, he demonstrated judgments sufficient to be twice elected as District Attorney, first in Wisconsin and then in Nevada. All the while, he maintained a private law practice that specialized in mining law. Then, near the end of his remarkable legal career, he was called upon to co-author the new Constitution of the state of South Dakota before being appointed its first Chief Justice.

Family Members

Siblings Half Siblings


1827 - 1915

Gravesite Details Compiled from research by Mark R. de BRY





  • Maintained by: Ralph Gowen
  • Originally Created by: Yvonne Gowen
  • Added: 16 Jan 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 83582600
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Dighton Corson (21 Oct 1827–7 May 1915), Find A Grave Memorial no. 83582600, citing Mount Muncie Cemetery, Lansing, Leavenworth County, Kansas, USA ; Maintained by Ralph Gowen (contributor 47690237) .