William Henry Harrison Beadle

DSU Archives, General Beadle File

William was born in Liberty Township, Park, County, Indiana.  William Beadle was named in honor of General William Henry Harrison who was the former Governor of Indiana and a close relative.  When it was time for William to pursue higher education he decided to attend the University of Michigan in 1857 where he received his degree in law.  After college he was commissioned on September 4, 1862 into the Union Army as a 1st Lieutenant.  However, he became ill and was later discharged on March 4, 1862 but was well at the time of his discharge.  After some time he entered the Veterans Reserve Corps as a Major on June 13, 1864 and was discharged two years later on March 6, 1866 as a Brigadier General.  In 1869 President Grant appointed him the, “Surveyor General of Dakota Territory,” which he held for four years.  From March 1879 to April of 1885 General Beadle was appointed to the position of Superintendent of Public Instruction which was his greatest service to the Dakota Territory during this time.  Four years later he was appointed to the spot of President of Madison State Normal School.  When he took the office of Presidency in August of 1889 at the Normal School; the faculty consisted of 8 instructors, 2 supervisor’s teachers, 191 students in the Normal School and 80 in the Model Department which was the grade school.  During this time he recognized a need for adequately trained teachers in an agricultural territory.  He also felt that it was essential that the teachers be able to handle rural children.  After six years he stepped down from the Presidential position in 1905 but continued on as faculty until 1912.  In addition to being the President of the University he assisted in organizing the South Dakota Education Association. 4

DSU Archives, General Beadle File

After he retired from teaching at the then State Normal School the school decided to change their name to General Beadle Teachers College in dedication to the beloved President, faculty member, General and teacher.  In addition to the school being named after him Beadle County was also named after him.  There also stands a statue of the General currently on the west side of campus and there also stands a statue of him at the capital in Pierre, South Dakota. 5

 General Beadle led a great and productive life when it came to everything that he did and few will ever be able to simulate what he accomplished.  In many individuals minds the General would be considered one of the pioneering educators of Dakota State.  After his many years of great service William Henry Harrison Beadle lived out the remainder of his life at his step-daughters home in San Francisco, California until he passed away on November 18, 1915. 4

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Completed by Spring 2004 Class of English 401
Last updated Spring 2004