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John MillerFirst Governor of North Dakota

  • Residence: Dwight, Richland County
  • Years Served: 1889-1891
  • Date of Inauguration: November 20, 1889
  • Age at Inauguration: 46
  • Politics: Republican
  • Born: Dryden, New York - October 29, 1843
  • Died: Duluth, Minnesota - October 26, 1908

Political Background:

  • 1888: Territorial Council of Dakota
  • 1889-1890: Governor of North Dakota

Most of John Miller's life was spent in bonanza farming and related business. In 1878, Miller and his partner Jeremiah W. Dwight came to North Dakota and purchased 17,000 acres of rich Red River Valley Land in Richland County. They organized the Dwight Farm and Land Company with a board of thirteen directors to manage operations of the huge bonanza farm. Though Miller had no political aspirations, he was persuaded to run for governor. Once in office he demonstrated that he could not be bribed or swayed by powerful political forces. He resisted the efforts of outside lobbyists, most of the state's newspapers, and influential politicians such as Alexander McKenzie, and refused to allow the Louisiana Lottery into North Dakota. After declining to run for office again, Miller returned to manage and expand his bonanza farm operations. In 1896 the John Miller Land Company was organized with offices in Amenia, North Dakota, and Duluth, Minnesota. The company's purpose was "the buying and selling of grain, produce, and merchandise; the handling of grain and produce on commission; and the purchasing, owning, leasing, and operating of elevators." In 1906 the Chaffee-Miller Milling Company was incorporated with Miller as its president to acquire and manage public and private grain warehouses, and to manufacture and sell flour, feed, and other mill products. John Miller was a wealthy bonanza farmer in the Red River Valley. He returned to agriculture after serving as governor, and expanded his business ventures to include buying and milling wheat in North Dakota and Minnesota. Constitutional convention parade at Bismarck, July 4, 1889.

Before he became North Dakota's first governor, John Miller's only political experience was his participation in the 1889 Constitutional Convention.

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