General Beadle: Civil War Veteran

It is no secret that our beautiful country was built upon the sacrifice of millions of men and women who gave everything for our safety and freedom. However, it may be a lesser-known fact that Dakota State University was heavily built upon the foundation laid by a Civil War veteran: General William Henry Harrison Beadle.

General Beadle’s name is recognized on DSU’s campus because of his statue on the grounds, Beadle Hall, the General Beadle’s Honor Program, but his legacy goes far deeper than that. Beadle, after graduating with an A.B. degree from Michigan State, served as a general in the Union Army from 1861 until the end of the war. In 1869, he was appointed Surveyor General of the Dakota Territory. Then, between 1876 and 1885, he served as the Secretary of the Commission of the Dakota Territory, a member of the House of Representatives of the territorial legislature, a Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and the Superintendent of Public Instruction. His heavy involvement with the Dakota Territory in these ways led to his influence in what is now DSU. 

This statue of General Beadle was placed on campus in 1937 and remains on campus to this day.

In 1889, Beadle was appointed the president of Madison Normal School, the college that would later become Dakota State University, where he served until 1905. He was then a history professor at the school until 1912. Madison State Normal School was later named in his honor, as General Beadle State Teachers College and General Beadle State College from 1947 to 1969. In 1937, the statue of Beadle was placed on the grounds of DSU and in 2013, the General Beadle Honors Program was named after him. 

General Beadle is well known for writing most of the Codes of the Dakota Territory and protecting school lands from waste. He valued training teachers to staff the increasing number of rural schools that were rising throughout the territory, hence his devotion to the Normal School in the time he was involved with it. His legacy lives on as Dakota State continues to be a campus striving to equip teachers to educate the next generation.​

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