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Photographs - Collections - 0001-00050 - #00049

Title: Usher L. Burdick
Dates: 1917-1953

Collection Number: 00049

Quantity: 20 items

Abstract: Photographs of west side of Main St. in Mandan; Charles Eastman; Dr. William Porter; Dr. Henry R. Porter; Major James McLaughlin; Sioux children at St. Michael’s Mission in 1937, Theodore Roosevelt National Park in 1924; Bert Groom, U. L. Burdick and Brady Morrow with Percheron horses that Burdick raised; man with two horses standing in front of barn at Wild Rose Stock farm in Munich (ND) in 1953; short horn heifer raised by Usher L. Burdick; U.L. Burdick's 1919 cattle herd; Star Eyes and White Lily at St. Michael Mission in 1937; and train wreck at Brockton (MT) in 1917.

Provenance: The Usher Lloyd Burdick Papers (MSS 10070) were donated to the State Historical Society of North Dakota by Usher L. Burdick. The date of donation is unknown. The photographs in this collection were separated from MSS 10070.

Property Rights: The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to this collection.
Copyrights: Copyrights to materials in this collection remain with the donor, publisher, author, or author's heirs.  Researchers should consult the 1976 Copyright Act, Public Law 94-553, Title 17, U.S. Code and an archivist at this repository if clarification of copyright requirements is needed.
Access: This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.
Citation: Researchers are requested to cite the collection title, collection number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.       

Related Collections:       
MSS 10070 Usher Lloyd Burdick Papers
MSS 10874 Usher L. and Emma Burdick


Usher Lloyd Burdick was born February 21, 1879, at Owatonna, Steele County, Minnesota, to Ozias Perry Warren Burdick and Lucy Farnum. Usher’s father Ozias was born near Montpelier, Vermont, in 1831; a millwright, he moved to Wisconsin and then to Plainview, Minnesota, in 1862. The following year, he enlisted in First Minnesota Artillery and fought in the siege of Vicksburg and in the Shenandoah campaign in 1865. He returned home to Owatonna, then homesteaded in Graham's Island, near Devils Lake, Dakota Territory in 1882. Usher’s mother, Lucy Farnum, was born in St. Lawrence County, New York, and moved to Sparta, Wisconsin as a child with her parents. It was there that she married Ozias Burdick. The couple had six children, Usher was the youngest.

Usher L. Burdick attended Graham's Island (Dakota Territory/North Dakota) public schools, and earned a Bachelor of Philosophy (Ph.B.) from Mayville State Teachers' College in 1900. Burdick was deputy superintendent of schools of Benson County, North Dakota, from 1900-1902, and earned a Bachelor of Law from the University of Minnesota in 1904, teaching school in a business college while attending the university. He also played football for the University of Minnesota. Burdick was admitted to the bar in 1904 and commenced practice in Munich, North Dakota.

Burdick married Emma Rasmussen Robertson of Northwood, Iowa, September 5, 1901. Usher and Emma attended Mayville State at the same time, received their Ph.B. degrees together, and she earned a B.A. at University of Minnesota. Usher and Emma had three children: Quentin Northrop Burdick, Eugene Allan Burdick, and Eileen Rosemary (Mrs. Bob Levering, Ohio). They also had two grandchildren: Roberta and Usher Levering. They divorced in 1921. In 1927, Burdick married Helen Clark, they later divorced. Subsequently, Burdick married Edna Leavitt Bryant in 1955; she died as a result of an accident while horseback riding. Finally, he married Jean R. Rogers in 1958. She died in 1961, one year after Usher.

Throughout his lifetime, Usher L. Burdick engaged in many types of work, including the following positions: raising sheep (1888); teaching rural school and working as deputy county superintendent of schools (Benson County) (1901); practicing law in Hampden and Munich, and banking in Munich (1904); cattle ranching (1905); serving as North Dakota legislator for Cavalier County (1907-1911); speaker of the North Dakota House of Representative (1909-1911); cattle ranching in Williston (1909-1910); North Dakota lieutenant-governor (1910-1912); Williams County States Attorney (1913-1914); candidate for Governor of North Dakota (unsuccessful) (1914-1916); organizing the North Dakota Farm Bureau, and serving as President (1920); practicing law with John Burke in Fargo (1920-1928); the North Dakota Farmers Holiday Association (1932-1937), serving as President from 1933-1934; serving in the United States House of Representatives (1935-1945 and 1949-1959). He lived in Owatonna, Minnesota; Graham's Island, Dakota Territory/North Dakota; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Benson County, North Dakota; Munich, North Dakota; Williston, North Dakota; Fargo, North Dakota; and Washington, D.C.

Special interests of Burdick included raising livestock, writing, editing, the West, and Native Americans. Since he grew up near Devils Lake Indian Reservation, Usher learned to speak Sioux fluently. His personal library collection contained 12,000 books on the West.

Organization memberships and offices held by Usher L. Burdick included the Masons (32nd degree), Elks, Republican Party, Langer League Republican (1930s), Farm Bureau president, and a United States Grain Growers director, among other affiliations. Usher Burdick donated many of his files to the University of North Dakota, which included matters relating to U.S. Congress, personal correspondence, county and state affairs, college days, and the original manuscripts of his books. Books written by Burdick include Last Battle of the Sioux Nation (1929), Tales from Buffalo Land, Last Days of Sitting Bull, Rems of Graham's Island, Life of George Sperry Loftus, Life and Exploits of James Goodall, Life on the Red River of the North, and Tragedy in Great Sioux Camp. In 1920, he was the editor of the Western Livestock Journal. The Usher L. Burdick Memorial Hospital at Fort Yates was named for him.

There are numerous highlights during Burdick’s career. As Williams County states attorney, Burdick prosecuted the Cleve Culbertson case from 1913-1914, after which Culbertson was lynched. As lieutenant-governor (1911-13), Burdick presided at the John F. Cowan impeachment trial. Cowan was 2nd judicial district judge from 1901-1912. Burdick was also involved in Non-Partisan League, as well as the regular Republican Party, and knew all the political figures of his day. Usher L. Burdick passed away on August 19, 1960, and is buried on his ranch near Williston.

"Burdick Donates 20-Year Files," The Rakota (Ray, ND): 1959.
History of North Dakota. Robinson, Elwyn B. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1966.
"Profile of a Politician," Eide, Marlene. Horizons: 37-39.
"North Dakota Oral History Project Interviews," Sprunk, Larry J., ed. North Dakota History, (43:2): 29, 34.
Who's Who for North Dakota, "Usher L. Burdick, Lawyer and Statesman," 27.
Who's Who for North Dakota: A Triennial Biographical Directory, (North Dakota State Historical Society), 1954.


00049-00001       Freight train wreck, Brockton (Mont.), February 1917
00049-00002       Star Eyes and White Lily at St. Michael Mission, 1937
00049-00003       Major James McLaughlin's funeral                          
00049-00004       Cattle and Percheron horses raised by Usher L. Burdick, 1919
00049-00005       Short horn heifer raised by Usher L. Burdick, Williston (N.D.)      
00049-00007       Two Percheron mares on Burdick Farm, Munich (N.D.), 1953
00049-00013       Cattle & Percheron horses raised by Usher L. Burdick                     
00049-00014       Theodore Roosevelt National Park, July 1924
00049-00015       Sioux Children at St. Michael Mission, August 1937
00049-00016       Sioux Children at St. Michael Mission, August 1937
00049-00017       Commissioners at Fort Yates, D.T., Major James McLaughlin in center with goatee, Fort Yates (D.T.)        
00049-00018       Dr. Henry R. Porter or Dr. William Porter                               
00049-00019       Charles Eastman                              
00049-00020       Main Street, west side, Mandan (N.D.) 

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