Hon. Joseph M. Devine

Hon. Joseph M. Devine, lieutenant-governor of North Dakota, was born in Wheeling, West Virginia, March 15, 1861, a son of Hugh E. and Jane (McMurray) Devine, the former a native of Ireland, the latter of Virginia. His father was educated in Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, and became a professor of botany. In 1830 he came to the United States with his parents and settled in Virginia. His death occurred at Wheeling in 1885. In his family were five sons, two of whom are now residents of North Dakota.

In West Virginia Joseph M. Devine grew to manhood, and was educated in the common and high schools of the city of Wheeling and afterward graduated in the classical course at the State University. The following year he came to North Dakota and located in LaMoure County, where he followed farming for one year and still owns land, to the cultivation and improvement of which he yet devotes a part of his time and attention.

In 1886 he was elected county superintendent of schools, and most acceptably filled that office for ten years. He was made state lecturer for the schools of North Dakota in 1890 and still fills that position. He was made chief clerk of the fourth session of the legislature; in 1896 was elected lieutenant-governor and re-elected in 1898. He filled the office of governor from April, 1898, to January 1, 1899, after the death of Governor Briggs. His various official duties have been discharged in a most commendable and satisfactory manner and have gained for him the confidence and respect of all.

In 1896 he was elected one of the delegates to the Republican National Convention held at St. Louis, and was made one of the vice-presidents of that convention; also appointed one of the committee to notify the president of the action of the committee.

In 1897 he was made vice-president of the National Sound-Money League, which position is still held. In this capacity he has written several articles upon finance, which were published and copied extensively in eastern papers.

His work in behalf of education in North Dakota has been potent and far reaching. Much of the state's general system of education is due to his untiring efforts. In his capacity of state lecturer he has delivered many addresses on educational, literary and historical subjects, which have been received everywhere with popular approval and have been extensively commented upon, both in this state and others.

Since casting his first presidential ballot he has been an ardent supporter of the men and measures of the Republican Party. At the age of twenty-two he left North Dakota and, at the special request of the Republican state executive committee, stumped his native state in the interests of the presidential campaign of that year. As a campaign speaker he is among the best in the west; his style has been unusually clear, forceful and eloquent; his arguments always comprehensive and yet compact. Truth, passion, conviction and good judgment are the qualities that have made his public utterances powerful and effective. He believes what he says and his heart is always in his words. As a lecturer on literary and historical subjects he is always in demand, and, perhaps, in this field appears at his best. Instructive, interesting and entertaining, with a richness of illustration unsurpassed, and with a knowledge of the subject matter always full and complete and that evidences the hard student that he is.

Socially Mr. Devine is a thirty-second-degree Mason, a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias.

Source:  Compendium of History and Biography of North Dakota 1900 Page 165

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