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Thomas Frank Marshall


A politician and businessman who served North Dakota in Congress was born on this date in 1854. Thomas Frank Marshall was born in Missouri and educated in Wisconsin before coming to Yankton, Dakota Territory, in 1873 as a surveyor. He had left the state normal school at Platteville, Wisconsin, two months before graduating due to poor health and low funds, but many years later, not long before his death, he did receive his diploma, awarded by the school’s board of regents.

Marshall wore many hats in Dakota Territory. He was a surveyor for fifteen years, and he ran a grocery store. He got into banking, which brought him to the town of Oakes on the North Dakota side of the territory. Marshall bought an interest in the local bank, becoming its cashier and manager. He later bought out the other investors, became sole owner and nationalized the Oakes bank in 1902. Marshall also organized the Marshall-McCartney Company, one of the state’s largest holding operations, overseeing elevators and other dealings. Marshall interest in other banks, too – at Cogswell, Gwinner, Forbes, Williston, Trenton and Spring Brook.

Marshall found an outlet for his political streak as an “earnest Republican.” He was an early mayor of Oakes, and he served in the State Senate from 1892 to 1896. Marshall’s first campaign for Congress fell short by one party delegate, but in 1900, he won a seat in Congress and served until 1909. Marshall was also a candidate in North Dakota’s first senatorial primary, but lost with 33 percent of the Republican vote when 40 was required. In 1912, however, Marshall won the national committeeman seat in the first national primary held to elect the office.

In his personal life, Marshall married Eva Grigsby in 1878. They had no children, but raised his business partner’s son after the death of the boy’s mother. Marshall was also a Mason of Fargo’s El Zagal Shrine. He died in 1921 in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, and was buried in his beloved Oakes.

Dakota Datebook by Jack Dura


"http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=M000163" http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=M000163

Lounsberry, C. A. (1919). Early history of North Dakota: Essential outlines of American history. Washington, DC: Liberty Press. Retrieved from:

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Lounsberry, C. A. (1917). North Dakota: History and people. Chicago, IL: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company. Retrieved from:

"https://books.google.com/books?id=LtswAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA545&lpg=PA545&dq=%22thomas+frank+marshall%22+north+dakota&source=bl&ots=xoI3DZKBVB&sig=h_qWnvZT4ZZEG3EBDHdPiysnNus&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwistfTytsbKAhXEloMKHZQYDu4Q6AEIODAG#v=onepage&q=%22thomas%20frank%20marshall%22%20north%20dakota&f=false" https://books.google.com/books?id=LtswAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA545&lpg=PA545&dq=%22thomas+frank+marshall%22+north+dakota&source=bl&ots=xoI3DZKBVB&sig=h_qWnvZT4ZZEG3EBDHdPiysnNus&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwistfTytsbKAhXEloMKHZQYDu4Q6AEIODAG#v=onepage&q=%22thomas%20frank%20marshall%22%20north%20dakota&f=false