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Pierce County


The county government of Pierce County was organized on this day in 1889. Located in north-central North Dakota, the county is named for United States Senator and Dakota Territory Governor Gilbert Ashville Pierce.

Gilbert Pierce was born in East Otto, New York on January 11, 1839. After finishing grade school, Pierce moved to Indiana and began attending the University of Chicago Law School. When the Civil War broke out, Pierce left his studies to enlist as a second lieutenant. Eventually he rose to the rank of chief quartermaster. Pierce returned to his studies at the conclusion of the war. In 1865, he passed his bar exams and began his practice in Valparaiso, Indiana, where he served politically in several local and state positions. Pierce resigned as the assistant financial clerk of the United States Senate in 1871 in order to become the editor of the Chicago Inter-Ocean newspaper. While working in the newspaper business for the next twelve years, Pierce wrote several books and plays. In 1884, Pierce travelled to Dakota Territory. He was appointed Governor of Dakota Territory until North Dakota’s admission as a state in 1886, at which time he resigned.





Written by Jayme L. Job