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Biography of William Henry Roddle

This biography appears on pages 1469-1470 in
"History of South Dakota" by Doane Robinson, Vol. 11 (1904)

William Henry Roddle, one of the pioneer settlers of what is now the attractive city of Brookings, is a native of the Badger state, which has made many contributions to the personnel of the best citizenship of South Dakota. He was born on a farm in Kenosha county, Wisconsin, on the 28th of December, 1850, being a son of William and Mary Roddle, the former of whom was born in England and the latter in New York city. For many generations the Roddle family has been identified with agricultural pursuits in the south of England, while the ancestors of the subject's mother were among the first to settle in what is now New York city, the lineage being of Holland Dutch extraction. The parents of the subject removed in 1860 from Wisconsin to Wilton, Waseca county, Minnesota, residing there until the time of their deaths, and were numbered among the sterling pioneers of that state.

William H. Roddle received his rudimentary education in the district schools and passed his boyhood days on the homestead farm, later continuing his studies in the public schools. In 1869, at the age of nineteen years, he secured a position as apprentice in a hardware establishment in Waseca, Minnesota, where he remained for the ensuing decade, during the last three years a member of the firm of J. M. Robertson & Company, at the expiration of which, in 1879, he came as a pioneer to the territory of Dakota and took up his residence in the little village of Medary, the then county seat of Brookings county. In October, 1879, he established himself in the hardware business in Brookings, South Dakota, meeting with success in the prosecution of the enterprise, with which he continued to be actively identified until 1896, when he disposed of his interests in this line. He took up the study of law a number of years ago and finally determined to complete a thorough course of technical reading, the result being that he thoroughly informed himself in the science of jurisprudence and was admitted to the bar of the state in 1901, since which time he has been successfully engaged in the practice in the city in which he has for so many years maintained his home, being a member of the well-known and representative law firm of Hall, Lawrence & Roddle.

In politics Mr. Roddle has ever been found staunchly arrayed in support of the principles and policies of the Republican party, in whose ranks he has been an active and efficient worker in South Dakota, both under the territorial and state regimes. In 1892 he was elected treasurer of Brookings county and was chosen as his own successor in 1894, thus serving four consecutive years. In 1896 he was the candidate of his party for the office of secretary of state, being victorious at the polls, where he secured a gratifying majority, and giving a most able and discriminating administration of the affairs of the important office. The popular appreciation of his services in this capacity was significantly manifested in 1898, when he was elected to succeed himself. Mr. Roddle is one of the prominent and appreciative members of the ancient and honored Masonic fraternity, and has the distinction of being past grand master of Masons of the state. His affiliations are with Brookings Lodge, No. 24, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Brookings Chapter, No. 18, Royal Arch Masons; Brookings Commandery, No. 14, Knights Templar; El Riad Temple of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, in Sioux Falls, and Brookings Chapter, No. 15, Order of the Eastern Star, while he is also identified with Brookings Lodge, No. 40, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in his home city, being one of its charter members.

On the 1st of January, 1876, Mr. Roddle was united in marriage to Miss Fannie R. Stevens, who was born in Waushara county, Wisconsin, on the 21st of June, 1856, being a daughter of Royce F. and Lucinda M. Stevens. Of this union have been born two daughters, Mary E., wife of F. J. Alton, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Anna F., who died in infancy.

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