Paul Higbee, local historian, shared the story of "Governor Tom Berry, the Cowboy Governor 1933-1937" on Dec 5, 2017 with the Spearfish Area Historical Society at the Spearfish Senior Citizens Center. Paul Higbee wrote the book "South Dakota's Cowboy Governor Tom Berry: Leadership During the Depression" published July 10, 2017.
As South Dakotans endured the Great Depression and the worst of the Dust Bowl, they elected a cowboy from Belvidere as their governor. Tom Berry rode in the 1902 cattle round up ordered by President Theodore Roosevelt and later was called "Cowboy" or by his first name in meetings with President Franklin Roosevelt.
A Democrat, Tom Berry was the second Democrat by 1933
to win the Governorship and became the 14th Governor of the state by campaigning to the people. He would stop wherever there was a crowd, and then proceed to regale the people with stories and good jokes. Some compared him to the great Western humorist Will Rogers.
|Governor Tom Berry|
Of 31 Governors of SD, Tom Berry was only one of four from West River (west of the Missouri in the state).
Paul Higbee's book is available and local bookstores and online.