Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Profile: Jud LaMoure

Judson LaMoure was the Nestor of the public men of Dakota - [140] years ago he was a public official, serving as sub-agent to the Brule Sioux; 137 years ago, he made his first appearance in a Dakota legislature. His service in the legislature, was almost continuous from that time until his death, which occurred in March, 1918. He represented the Pembina district in the state senate, from the time of the creation of the state. He was one of the early pioneers, who experienced every phase of the development of this country, from the wilderness state, and he had a notable part in the shaping of the affairs of the territory and the state. His influence, which was considerable in the earliest territorial times, never waned, and he was known as one of the big men of the senate, and therefore of the state.

Judson LaMoure was born in Freighsburgh, Quebec, March 27, 1839. His education was completed with two years in the Academy of native town, and he came to the American west when he was twenty years of age. When he arrived at Davenport, Iowa, March 2, 1859, he was very close to the confines of civilization, and he remained on the frontier until th march of progress carried civilization to the vanishing point on this continent. In 1860 he joined the rush of gold seekers to Pike's Peak, but did not find it the El Dorado he was looking for. In the fall of that year, he came into Dakota Territory and settled in Union county, and for years was engaged much of the time in the transportation business with H.D. Cooge and Company. He became familiar with the Indians and received an appointment as sub-agent, was stationed on the Missouri, at the mouth of the White Earth river. His career was at once adventurous and educational, and he became a man of influence. In 1870 he gave up his connection with the Indians and moved to Pembina county, where he opened a farm, and his ability presently called him to public life.

His legislative career included a term in the territorial assembly in 1872 and in 1876 he was elected to the council. In 1889 he was elected to the state senate, and re-elected at every succeeding senate election until he retired from active political life at the close of the twelfth legislative assembly. In the Republican party, with which he affiliated, Senator LaMoure was always a power, and one of the big figures at all party gatherings and conventions. He was chairman for many years of the committee on appropriations and regarded as one of the best informed men in North Dakota affairs, and most influential in shaping legislative policy. Senator LaMoure went into the mercantile business in Pembina in 1878, and also had business interests in Neche. He was a through believer in adequate educational facilities for the children of the state, and was at all time watchful of the work of the common schools, and of the higher educational institutions. He was married to Miss Minnie Ella Nelson, December 3, 1874. They had six children. Mrs. LaMoure died at Nisswa, Minnesota, September 22, 1911; and Senator LaMoure died in Florida, March 16, 1918.


Mention his role in the attempt to properly identify and maintain the Pembina Metis Cemetery early on - In 1893, State Senator Judson Lamoure sponsored an appropriation bill for $500 through the North Dakota State Legislature to purchase and maintain the site. Unfortunately, it was never implemented and the site fell into the hands of a private landowner. (from Ruth Swan's "The history of the Pembina Métis cemetery : Inter-ethnic perspectives on a sacred site")

In 1873, Judson LaMoure led a rescue party into a horrific blizzard to find and save a group of laundry women and small children accidentally left behind by George Armstrong Custer when the 7th Cavalry apparently got lost in a whiteout.

Source: 1919 North Dakota Blue Book

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