DSU's "Grand Old Man" celebrates a century
November 27, 2011, marked a special day for General William Henry Harrison Beadle fondly known at DSU as "Grand Old Man." One hundred years ago, a statue of General Beadle created by H. Daniel Webster, was dedicated at the State Capitol Building in Pierre, S.D. for General Beadle's great service to education in the Midwest and DSU.
Dakota State University was named Madison State Normal School when General Beadle served as president of the institution between 1889 and 1905. Appointed to the position as the institution's president without knowledge or effort on his part, General Beadle previously served as U.S. President Grant's Surveyor General of the Dakota Territory and Secretary of the Commission to Revise the Codes, where he wrote nearly all of the "Codes of the Dakota," an early version of state law.
Despite all of his key roles in building the law of the Dakotas, General Beadle's appointment to Superintendent of Public Instruction is regarded as his most enduring monument. He laid and protected the foundation for the public school lands. Early on in his service at the post of Superintendent, General Beadle visited the capital of every one of the old northwestern states, as well as Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska, to consult the older men of their experience and records concerning school lands. General Beadle then served as president and professor of history at the state's oldest Normal School, now known as Dakota State University.
In addition to all of his educational accomplishments, President Lincoln also commissioned General Beadle as First Lieutenant in the Civil War and later Brigadier General due to "gallant and meritorious service during the war."
A statue of General Beadle not only sits in the State Capitol Building but also in the national Hall of Statuary in Washington, D.C. and on Dakota State University's campus in Madison, S.D. General Beadle posed standing in front of a podium for many hours while H. Daniel Webster created his most well-known work in the basement of Washington High School in Sioux Falls, S.D. The statues are in honor of General Beadle's leadership in the movement to save schools lands in South Dakota for the support of education.
For more information on General Beadle and his statues, see the Hall of Statuary at http://www.aoc.gov/cc/art/nsh/beadle.cfm, the DSU Historical Archives: http://www.departments.dsu.edu/dsuarchives/Archives/RemarkablePeople/Presidents/president_beadle_william.htm or SD State Capitol, The Decorated Capitol: http://www.state.sd.us/boa/CapitolTour/statuary.htm