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Ragnvald A. NestosThirteenth Governor

  • Residence: Minot, Ward County
  • Years Served: 1921-1925
  • Date of Inauguration: November 23, 1921
  • Age at Inauguration: 44
  • Politics: Republican (Independent Voters Association)
  • Born: Voss, Norway - April 12, 1877
  • Died: July 15, 1942 - Minot, North Dakota

Political Background:

  • 1919: North Dakota State House of Representatives
  • 1912-1914: State's Attorney for Ward County
  • 1921-1925: Governor of North Dakota

Governor Ragnvald Anderson Nestos was a native of Norway. One of ten children, he was sixteen and spoke no English when he came to the United States to live with his aunt and uncle at Buxton, North Dakota. He entered the first grade at Buxton and attended school in between working odd jobs and working at lumber camps out of state. Four years later, in 1884, he passed the teachers' examinations and taught in a country school. He completed studies at Mayville Normal School (teachers' college) while homesteading in Pierce County. In 1904 he graduated from the University of North Dakota and moved to Minot, where he began practicing law with attorney C. A. Johnson.

Gover Nestos, George Bangs, Will O'Connor, Alice Nelson Page and other state officials
Governor Nestos with George Bangs, Will O'Connor, Alice
Nelson Page, and other state officials. Nestos (second
from left, back row) was elected to a second term as
governor. He supported state-owned industries, even
though he was backed by the Independent Voters'
Association IVA), a group which opposed state ownership
of industries.

Nestos was elected governor in a recall election that removed Governor Lynn Frazier and the other two members of the Industrial Commission from office. It was a time of bitter political discontent and bickering between the NPL (Nonpartisan League, which supported state-owned industry) and the IVA (Independent Voters Association, which opposed state ownership of Industries).Nestos worked hard to make the new state-owned businesses (State Mill and Elevator and the Bank of North Dakota) a success. He also campaigned against illiteracy. During his administration, North Dakota came into national compliance for registering births and deaths, and North Dakota had a full-time health officer for the first time. He ran for and completed a second term of office. Governor Nestos never married. He received national recognition for his work on behalf of the Boy Scouts of America and the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America.Governor Nestos was North Dakota's only governor voted into office in a recall election.

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