Hon. Burleigh F. Spalding

Hon. Burleigh F. Spalding, member of congress from North Dakota, has attained distinction as one of the ablest members of the Fargo bar. In this profession probably more than in any other success depends upon individual merit, upon a thorough understanding of the principles of jurisprudence, a power of keen analysis, and the ability to present clearly, concisely and forcibly the strong points in his case. Possessing these necessary qualifications, Mr. Spalding is accorded a foremost place in the ranks of the profession in this state, and stands today one of the most esteemed members of the Fargo bar.

He was born in Orleans County, Vermont, December 3, 1853, and is a son of Rev. Benjamin P. and Ann (Folsom) Spalding, also natives of the Green Mountain state. As a Methodist Episcopal minister the father engaged in preaching in Vermont and New Hampshire for many years, but is now living retired with our subject, having come to North Dakota in 1882. The paternal grandfather, Noah Spalding, was a school teacher of Vermont, and was a politician of some note, while the maternal grandfather, Rev. Moses Folsom, was a Free Baptist minister of New Hampshire and Vermont. The Folsom family was founded in the United States in 1638, the Spalding in 1619. Our subject has one brother and two sisters. The brother is now living in Salt Lake City, Utah. The elder sister lives in Traill County, and the younger is a professor in Pomona College, California.

In his native state, Burleigh F. Spalding was reared and educated until eleven years of age, when he left home, and for five years worked on farms in New Hampshire and Vermont for his board and clothes and the privilege of attending school. At sixteen he engaged in clerking in a country store for forty-eight dollars per year, but later received seventy-two. For some time he worked at St. Johnsbury, Vermont, and then attended the Lyndon Literary Institute, and later the Norwich University, from which he was graduated with the degree of B. Ph., in 1877. The following year he taught in an academy at Albany, Vermont, and next read law for two years with Gleason & Field at Montpelier. He was admitted to the bar in Vermont, March 15, 1886. He served as clerk of the state legislature in 1878.

On the 31st of March, 1880, Mr. Spalding came to Fargo, North Dakota, and for one year was in partnership with S. G. Roberts in the practice of law. Later he succeeded to the entire practice of the firm and admitted Charles F. Templeton to a partnership. That connection continued for six and a half years, or until Mr. Templeton was appointed judge of the Grand Forks district. In 1891 George H. Phelps because a member of the firm, and in June, 1893, Mr. Newman was also taken in, but in 1897 Mr. Phelps retired, and business was then carried on under the name of & Spalding until 1898, when Mr. W. S. Stambaugh was admitted to the firm and the name was changed to Newman, Spalding & Stambaugh. This is one of the strongest law firms in the state, and they enjoy a large and lucrative practice.

On the 25th of November, 188o, Mr. Spalding was united in marriage with Miss Alida Baker, of Vermont, a daughter of David and Emily (Cutler) Baker, and by this union five children have been born, namely: Deane B., Frances F., Roscoe C., Burleigh M. and Carlton C.

Mr. Spalding organized the Merchants' State Bank of Fargo, which was started as the Dakota Savings Bank, and re-organized in 1890. He served as its first president, and is quite prominent in business as well as professional circles. During his residence in this state he has taken a very important part in public affairs and is a recognized leader in political circles. He served as superintendent of public instruction from 1882 to 1884, and in 1883 was elected a member of the board of commissioners to relocate the capital. In 1889 he was elected to the constitutional convention, served on the judicial, school and public lands committees, and was also a member of the joint committee to divide the archives and property of the states. In 1898 he was nominated and elected a member of congress over the Fusion (Democratic, Populist and Silver Republican) candidate by a majority of 9,932 votes, and is now most creditably and satisfactorily filling that position. He has been a delegate to nearly all the state and territorial conventions of the Republican Party during his residence here, and in 1896 was chairman of the committee on resolutions. He was chairman of the Republican state central committee in 1892 and was a member of the same for three years. In 1896 he was elected to the same position from Cass County, and has taken a prominent part in campaign work, being a strong and able debater and an orator of note. He is a thirty-second-degree Mason, a Knight Templar and a member of the Sons of the American Revolution. Socially he is deservedly, popular, as he is affable and courteous in manner and possesses that essential qualification to success in public life, that of making friends readily and strengthening the ties of all friendships as time advances,

Source:  Compendium of History and Biography of North Dakota 1900 Page 177

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