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James S. Green


Senator James S. Green of Missouri passed away on this date in 1870. Senator Green is often credited, along with Representative Galusha Grow of Pennsylvania, with the organization of Dakota as a federal territory in 1861. As chairman of the Committee on Territories in the Thirty-fifth and Thirty-sixth Congresses, Green was responsible for both initiating and moving Senate Bill 562 through the Senate. The bill called for the creation of Dakota Territory and for the creation of Nevada Territory.

James Green was born near Rectortown, Virginia in 1817. He attended public school there until he moved to Alabama, and then Missouri in 1838. In Missouri, he studied law, and was admitted to the state's bar in 1840. He began practicing law at Canton and Monticello, before becoming involved in state politics. In 1844, he was a presidential elector on the Polk and Dallas ticket. The following year, he served as a delegate to the State's Constitutional Convention. From 1847 to 1851, he served on the Thirtieth and Thirty-first Congresses in the House. During the next four years, he served as the Charge d'Affaires to Colombia and the Minister Resident in Missouri. He was re-elected to the House in 1855, but did not take his seat, as he was also elected to join the Senate. He served as a U. S. Senator from 1855 to 1861.

In one of his last acts as Senator, Green initiated the organization of Dakota Territory on February 15th, 1861, in the form of Bill 562. On February 26th, Green called the bill up for vote in the Senate; the bill passed without objection. Only days later, Green's colleague, Galusha Grow, called the bill up in the House for a vote, where it was also passed. On March 2nd, President James Buchanan approved the bill, and Dakota Territory was created. Of course, the original Dakota Territory was much larger than most people today realize, encompassing all of North and South Dakota, Montana, most of Idaho, and parts of Minnesota and Nebraska. In 1863, the Territory of Idaho was created from parts of Dakota Territory, and Montana was later carved from this second territory. Parts of Wyoming were added to Dakota in 1864, until the Wyoming Territory was created in 1868. Later, the southern portion of Dakota Territory was attached to Nebraska, leaving the area of what would later become North and South Dakota.

Dakota Datebook written by Jayme L. Job