Sometimes you have great things without even realizing it.

One of the tasks I have playing Mr. Mom at the homebase in Brookings as my wife works at her new job in the hills is to try to organize the chaos and clutter for the eventual move that will happen in a few years, if everything goes to plan.  Part of that involves downsizing, and figuring out what should go.

I’d been looking for a bag of extra inaugural pins I had I wanted to check for older duplicates, which invariably had me pulling out a lot of pins and other memorabilia I have stored, when I came across a stack of old “Legislative Handbooks” for South Dakota, which many in Pierre would recognize by their more common name, the “Red Book.”

At some point I bought a stack of them on eBay or someplace, with the oldest going back to the 1917-1918 session, South Dakota’s fifteenth legislative session at the time.  They’re a neat reference, but, again downsizing.   So as I go through them, I hit the one for 1949, and note this on the inside cover.

The Red Book for 1949 is signed by it’s former owner – Lt. Governor Rex Terry of Ft. Pierre.

Rex Terry was the 24th Lt. Governor of the State, and served from 1949-1955 under 2 different Governors – George T. Mickelson, and Sigurd Anderson. And this was his personal red book from his first term as Lt. Governor.  Terry was born Feb 21, 1888, in Sturgis, Dakota Territory, which might make him the last Lt. Governor born in Dakota Territory.  You can read a bio here, as well as his write up in the South Dakota Hall of Fame.

As something I’ve had scurried away in my closet for the last several years in a pile of red books, I’m reminded that sometimes you have great things without even realizing it.

2 thoughts on “Sometimes you have great things without even realizing it.”

  1. Very interesting. Rex Terry was a very popular Republican politician who probably served more days as an official or unofficial “Acting Governor:” than any other Lt. Governor in History. Both Sig Anderson and George T. Mickelson were young men with families and active law firms when they served as Governor and left Pierre for long stretches to look after business. In those days (before the Kniep reforms) the agencies of State Government were operated by State Boards and Commissions and the Directors of the agencies had considerable autonomy. The State Superintendent was elected. The Governor had a small staff, and after the session things in Pierre slowed down, especially in the summer. For official occasions, receptions, ribbon cuttings and the like, Rex Terry often filled in for the Governors making the short drive across the bridge. Don’t remember exactly, but the Governor’s salary was a pittance compared to now.

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