Justice Burleigh Spalding (N.D. Supreme Court)

On this date in 1853, Justice Burleigh F. Spalding of the North Dakota Supreme Court was born in Craftsbury, Vermont. After being educated in Craftsbury, Spalding attended Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont where he graduated in 1877. He studied law in Montpelier, Vt. and was admitted to the bar in 1880. In 1880, Spalding along with his brand new bride moved to Fargo, which was then a rough and tumble town located in the Dakota Territory. Spalding began practicing law and a career in public service and was very active in the Republican Party. From 1882-84, he served as the Superintendent of Public Instruction for Cass County and served on the Commission to relocate the capital of the Dakota Territory in 1883. After North Dakota entered the union in 1889, Spalding was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and served in the 56th Congress (March, 1899 to March,1901). Spalding chose not to seek renomination. However, after a second congressional seat was added to North Dakota, Spalding ran for that seat and again served in the U.S. House of Representative for the 58th Congress (March, 1903 to March, 1905). Spalding ran and was unsuccessful in getting renominated for another term. However, in 1907, Governor John Burke appointed Burleigh Spalding to serve as a Justice on the North Dakota Supreme Court. Justice Spalding won election to the post to which he was appointed in 1908. In 1911, he was made Chief Justice of the North Dakota Supreme Court when Chief Justice David Morgan resigned because of ill health. In 1914, Justice Spalding was defeated in the general election in his reelection attempt by Justice Adolph Christianson. Justice Spalding left the bench at the beginning of 1915 after almost 8 years of service. He moved back to Fargo and resumed law practice. Spalding would later enter the banking business and was an organizer and first President of the Merchant’s National Bank of Fargo. Justice Spalding died on March 17, 1934 at age 80 in Fargo, ND.