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Lyman R. Casey


Theodore Roosevelt wasn’t the only New Yorker who renewed himself in North Dakota. Lyman Rufus Casey, born on this date in 1837, came to Carrington in 1882. The climate agreed with him after “sickness of a serious character” had forced him into early retirement 10 years earlier. Casey was a businessman trained in hardware. He worked in firms in Detroit and Baltimore, and his time in North Dakota led to a new career as general manager of the Carrington & Casey Land Company, which oversaw farming operations. Casey’s boyhood in New York’s Genesee Valley set him up nicely to manage the 5,000 acres under his care.

In 1889, twenty-three days after North Dakota’s admission to the Union, he became the state’s second senator. After ten rounds of ballots and six other nominees, state senators and representatives unanimously appointed him.

Casey had little public service experience before his election to the Senate. He had chaired an irrigation committee and was a Foster County commissioner for a couple of years. His contemporaries praised his business skills and speaking talents. An 1892 biography said he looked “more like a scientific litterateur than a farmer” and was “a delightful conversationalist.”

While serving in the Senate, Casey chaired the railroad committee. He was a member on agriculture and forestry committees and developed executive departments and seaboard transportation routes. Casey even put his prior irrigation experience to use on a select committee to irrigate and reclaim arid lands. He served one term in the U.S. Senate, losing his party’s nomination in 1893. He returned to the East, to New York City, and later to Washington, D.C., where he died in 1914 at age 77.

Dakota Datebook by Jack Dura


Huff, G.B. (1892). Biographies of the present senators of the United States. Chicago, IL: Mize & Stearns Publishing Co. Retrieved from:

"https://books.google.com/books?id=GZlQAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA411&lpg=PA411&dq=%22Lyman+R.+Casey%22&source=bl&ots=0oBeFNc_Cg&sig=FgZ6D-jZrApNDyCBfO_C0zIP3bc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjSy6O_ifvLAhVBkYMKHaMIDCMQ6AEINDAJ#v=onepage&q=%22Lyman%20R.%20Casey%22&f=false" https://books.google.com/books?id=GZlQAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA411&lpg=PA411&dq=%22Lyman+R.+Casey%22&source=bl&ots=0oBeFNc_Cg&sig=FgZ6D-jZrApNDyCBfO_C0zIP3bc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjSy6O_ifvLAhVBkYMKHaMIDCMQ6AEINDAJ#v=onepage&q=%22Lyman%20R.%20Casey%22&f=false

State of North Dakota. (1890). Journal of the house of the first legislative assembly begun and held at the capitol at Bismarck, November 19, 1889 to March 18, 1890. Bismarck, ND: Tribune Printers and Binders. Retrieved from:

"https://books.google.com/books?id=94mLUzgik_4C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false" https://books.google.com/books?id=94mLUzgik_4C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

"http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=c000227" http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=c000227