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Governor # 3: Andrew E. Lee.

Governor # 3: Andrew E. Lee

Field review by the editors.

Pierre, South Dakota

In office 1897-1901

The street corner statue of Andrew Lee looks unhappy, and he was. Born in Norway, elected governor by a margin of only 319 votes, he entered office in 1897 in the midst of a scandal: state treasurer William Taylor had disappeared, along with much of South Dakota's money. Former governor Arthur Mellette went bankrupt and died young after paying off his share of the debt. Lee, one of the richest men in the state, was not going to let that happen to him. He ordered that all of the remaining cash in the South Dakota treasury be brought to the state capital and counted.

The Trail of Governors statue, by sculptors Lee Leuning and Sherri Treeby, shows Lee with a scowl on his face and a pistol conspicuously wedged into his jacket pocket, standing protectively with one foot on some of the bank strongboxes used to transport the cash. Fortunately for Lee, all of the leftover money was accounted for. He was reelected, barely -- this time by 370 votes -- then, unlike Arthur Mellette, enjoyed a long retirement. He died one day after his 87th birthday.

Also see: Trail of Governors

Governor # 3: Andrew E. Lee

108 E. Missouri Ave., Pierre, SD
In Pierre's downtown business district on the northeast corner of S. Pierre St. and E. Missouri Ave.
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