ROBERT J. GAMBLE
OUR SENIOR SENATOR
Obedient to divine command, nature gave to Robert J. Gamble, a commanding physique. Tall,
wedge-shaped, erect, he typifies that perfect form so greatly admired by the British, and used by
them as a model in the selection of their armies. With a rather large, but well-shaped head,
symmetrically poised on a short neck which holds it majestically above a pair of broad, massive
shouldersit gives to him a striking appearance that commands respect and invites both
admiration and envy. Again, his silver hair, his high, wide forehead, his pleasing cast of
features and his neatly trimmed gray moustacheall combine to give him a personal charm
that is peculiarly magnetic.
Senator Gamble has often been reputed to be "the best dressed man in Washington." This does
not signify that he is the most expensively dressed man in our national capital but rather that
he is the most tastily dressed. And this is no fault! Clothes and manners largely make up the
gentleman. A term in the United States senate is six years. It now pays $45,000. plus clerk hire,
car fare and minor incidentals. On this basis a senator can afford to wear decent clothes and
give due consideration to his person. South Dakota is proud that she has at Washington a man who
is a leader instead of a trailer in this important matter. Just now we recall having seen him at
a public banquet a few years since, at which all who were present commented among themselves
relative to the exquisite good taste in which the senator was clad. On this occasion he wore a
splendid, fulldress, evening suit, with a low-cut white vest; a white, bow necktie; gold nose-glasses,
white kid gloves, and high-heeled shoes. Recently when he arrived in Chicago to sit as a member
of the Lorimer investigating committee, an observing reporter of the "Chicago Daily News" detected
at first glance the dainty harmony of the senator's clothes, and he became so infatuated with his
perfection of attire that he gave considerable space in his article to a comment on the blending of the senator's gray suit with his silvery-gray hair, and
other points of interest.
Senator Gamble is a New Yorker by birth, he having come into being near the little
town of Akron in Genosee county, that state, February 7, 1851. His father, Robert Gamble, Sr ,
was Scotch-Irish; correlatively, his mother, Jennie Abernanthy-Gamble, came from the north of
Ireland. The elder Gamble was a descendant of Major Root Gamble, who, as a soldier from Virginia,
distingusihed himself during our Revolutionary war. The senator's mother was a second cousin of
President Andrew Jackson.
During the second year of the Civil warat a time when Robert Gamble, Jr., was but
eleven years of agehis parents removed to Dodge county, Wisonsin, and settled on a farm
near Fox Lake. Here young Gamble grew up as a farm lad; attended rural school in the winter, and
finally taught school and earned sufficient money therefrom to put himself through college. In
1874 he graduated with honor from Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisconsin, and in 1909, the
same institution honored him with his LL. D.
Senator Gamble was united in marriage in 1884 to Miss Carrie S. Osborne, of Portage,
Wisconsin. Her people go back to the early colonists of Massachusetts. To their union have been
born two sonsRalph and George. The former graduated from Princeton with the class of
1909, and the latter is now a student of the same institution.
SENATOR ROBERT J. GAMBLE
LAW AND POLITICS
In 1875, the year following his graduation from Lawrence University, Mr. Gamble was admitted to the Wisconsin bar. Like Governor Herreid, Frank Crane,
Doane Robinson, Governor Vessey and others who have become prominent in the public life of our
state, he at once struck out for Dakota and settled at Yankton. It might well be recalled that
at that time the only railroad in the state was a stub-line running in for a few miles near the
southeast corner; that Yankton was little more than an Indian village under the white man's
regulation; that it had to be reached either by boat, or else by stage which forded streams and
made its way between Indian settlements. Such were the conditions of western life when young
Gamble settled in Dakota Territory to work out his own destiny.
At Yankton he became associated in law practice with his brother, John R. Gamble. The latter
was a very brilliant, capable man. John was elected to congress in 1890, but died the next
spring before he could take his seat. He was succeeded by Colonel John L. Jolley. Two years
later, in 1894, Jolley was succeeded by Robert J. Gamble. In 1896, Gamble was again a candidate
for congress, but he was defeated by the populist wave which swept the state, losing however by
only 182 votes out of 83,000. Encouraged by his showing he "came back" in 1898, ran way ahead of
his ticket and was again sent to congress. Two years later he grew more ambitious and measured
strength with Richard F. Pettigrew for the United States senatorship,winning by the peculiar
and triumphant majority of 113 to 13. In 1907 he was re-elected to the senate by the state
legislature. In the natural course of events, he was a candidate for renomination at the primaries
in June, 1912.
Senator Gamble has never been rated as a public speaker, yet in this respect he deserves far
more credit than he has ever received. We heard him deliver the address at the laiyng of the
corner stone of the new government building in Pierre, a few years since, and if we are competent,
even in a small measure, to judge of the merits of the address, it was certainly a superlative
masterpiece of oratory. In the recent campaign in South Dakota he made a series of the ablest
addresses that were presented to the people of the state by any man in public life. He has an
effectual delivery, and his personality aids him greatly in holding attention.
Senator Gamble has always been a quiet worker. His political mill has ground considerable
legislative flour, but his machinery has been kept well oiled, so that it has not made a great
deal of noise. After an extended investigation of the congressional record, we ourselves were
dumfounded at what he had quietly accomplished. The records show that he not only voted for the
following bills, but that he was otherwise active in securing their passage:
An Act providing for free homesteads on the public lands, approved May 17, 1900. He was very
active in behalf of it and was accorded the honor of making the closing speech in the house on
behalf of the measure. By its provisions it relinquished in favor of the settlers on the public
lands of South Dakota, and payment for the lands involved, exceeding six millions of dollars.
An Act known as the Gold Standard, Refunding, and Banking Act, approved May 14, 1900.
An Act requiring common carriers engaged in interstate commerce, to make full reports of all
accidents, to the Interstate Commerce Commission, approved March 3, 1901.
Act to provide for the construction of a canal connecting the waters of the Atlantic and
Pacific oceans, approved June 28, 1902.
The Reclamation Act of June 17, 1902.
An Act to expedite the hearing in Anti-trust Cases, approved February 11, 1903.
An Act to establish the Department of Commerce and labor, approved February 14, 1903.
An Act providing for the reorganization of the Consular service of the United States,
approved April 5, 1906.
The Denatured Alcohol Act, approved June 7, 1906.
The Employers' Liability Act, approved June 11, 1906.
An Act enlarging the powers of the Interstate Commerce Commission approved June 29, 1906.
The Pure Food and Drug Act, approved June 29, 1906.
An Act to promote the safety of Employees and Travelers upon railroads by limiting the hours
of service, approved March 4, 1907.
An Act reducing the cost of transportation of the mails, approved March 2 1907.
An Act creating a Bureau of Mines, approved May 16, 1910.
Act creating a Court of Commerce and enlarging the powers of the Interstate Commerce
Commission, approved June 18, 1910.
An Act authorizing the admission of New Mexico and Arizona to statehood, approved June 20, 1910.
An Act to establish Postal Savings Banks, approved June 25, 1910.
An Act providing for the Publicity of Contributions made for campaign purposes, approved
June 25, 1910.
An Act authorizing the President to make withdrawals of public lands in certain cases,
approved June 25, 1910.
An Act authorizing the issue of twenty millions in bonds for use in completing irrigation
projects, approved June 25, 1901.
Senator Gamble was very active during the last session of Congress in seeking to promote
legislation upon the subject of conservation. He is a member of the Committee on Public Lands
in the Senate, that had this subject under consideration.
Senator Gamble has taken an active interest in the opening of the Indian reservations west
of the river, and he took the initiative in the opening of the lands in Gregory and in Tripp
counties, aggregating about one million and a half acres.
Two years since he passed a bill opening three million of acres on the Standing Rock and
Cheyenne Indian reservations, and during the past years two bills opening about one million
five hundred thousand acres on the Rosebud and Pine Ridge Indian reservations, and also passed
through the senate two bills opening the remaining lands of on the Standing Rock and Cheyenne
reservations, aggregating two million two thousand acres.
The area opened under these bills aggregates upwards to ten millions of acres and leaves
practically about two million five hundred thousand acres still within the reservations which
soon it is expected will be opened to settlement. The appropriations carried on the foregoing
bills in payment by the government for the school lands aggregate nearly eight hundred thousand
Some years since he passed a bill referring to the Court of Claims the matter of the
Forfeited Annuities of the Sisseton Indians and a judgment was recovered in their favor which
was affirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States, aggregating nine hundred thousand dollars.
An examination of the Congressional Record shows that Senator Gamble has succeeded among
other matters, in enacting the following legislation of interest to his state. The following
measures passed both houses during the present session of congress and are now laws:
Senate Bill 183 provided for the opening to settlement of approximately 800,000 acres of
land on the Rosebud Indian Reservation and carries an appropriation of $125,000 for the payment
by the government to the Indians for land for the benefit of the common schools of the state.
Senate Bill 2341 provides for the opening to settlement of approximately 750,000 acres of land
on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and carries an appropriation of $125,000 for the payment by the
government to the Indians for the benefit of the common schools of the state.
Senate Bill 3788 providing for the payment to Horace C. Dale, administrator, for reimbursement
for property taken for agency purpose on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservaton, $2,515.
Senate Bill 4473, providing for the payment to Rasmus K. Hafses, a contractor of Aberdeen,
S. D., for balance withheld on account of construction of an Indian School at Bismark, N. D.
Senate Bill 193 providing for the payment of the amount due James D. Elliott for services as
United States District Attorney for South Dakota, $2,500.
Senate Bill 6736 referring to the Court of Claims for determination by that Court as to the
title of the Yankton Indians to the Pipestone Reservation in Minnesota.
Senate Bill 4016 extending the time for the completion of a bridge across the Missouri river
at Yankton for the Winnipeg, Yankton & Gulf Railway Company.
Sneate Bill 6229 extending the time for the completion of a bridge across the Missouri river
at Yanton for the Yankton, Norfolk & Southern Railway Company.
Senate Bill 187 for the erection of a public building at Rapid City to cost $100,000, which
was included in the omnibus public building bill.
Senate Bill 2925 to increase the limit of cost for the public building at Sioux Falls from
$100,000 to $190,000, which was increased by the omnibus public building bill to $200,000.
Senate, Bill 186 for the erection of a public building at Brookings to cost $75,000, which
was included in the omnibus public building bill.
Amendment to the omnibus building bill providing for the purchase of a site for a public
building at Madison, $10,000.
Amendment to the omnibus building bill providing for the purchase of a site for a public
building at Redfield, $10,000.
Senator Gamble also reported Senate Bill 3286 providing for the increase in the payment for
the school lands on the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Indian Reservations for $1.25 an acre
to $ 2.50 an acre, and substituted a house bill therefore, which passed the senate.
Senator Gamble also introduced and passed through the Senate in addition to the foregoing,
the following measures:
Senate Bill 5121 for the restoration of annuities to the Sante Sioux Indians, which refers to
the Court of Claims the matter in difference between these Indians and the Government on
forfeited annuities, which are claimed by the Indians to aggregate something like $1,000,000.
Senate Bill 640 to establish a U. S. Land Office at LeBeau, S. D.
Senate Bill 7676 providing for the payment to the Mission Farm Company and certain
individuals for damage occasioned by fire on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, $6,500.
Senate Bill 3284 providing for the opening of all the remaining surplus and unallotted lands
in the Standing Rock and Indian Reservation in North and South Dakota embracing 1,123,000 acres
and carrying an appropriation of $180,000 for the payment to the Indians for lands for the
benefit of the common schools of the state.
Senate note Bill 3285 providing for the opening of all the remaining surplus and
unallotted lands in the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in South Dakota embracing 1,210,000
acres and carrying an appropriation of $160,000 for the payment to the Indians for lands for the
benefit of the common schools of the state
In addition to the foregoing Senator Gamble passed through both houses, and they are now
laws, twenty-three special pension bills for the veterans of the Civil War, residents of