"Pussonally speakin'," as they say in New England, I like a thoroughbred. I like the man who can march to known defeat, without a whimper, and take his medicine, and smack his lips, and lie like a pirate when he says, "it's good." I like the chap who can finish as well as he can score. I cannot refrain from admiring the man who can take success or failure with even mind; the grim, steady, true-souled chap who can break the shaggy nut of experience, and whose poker face will not disclose to the onlooker whether he found within a kernel that was sound or one that was not. J. F. Halladay, editor of the Iroquois Chief, former state auditor, managing bank director, astute political manager, steadfast friend, as true a soldier as ever carried musket, or ate hardtack, or slept in the trenches, is one—a thoroughhred. I mean—and it is about him that the "Who's Who" column concerns itself today. A man who can spend his last ten cents for a good cigar is a thoroughbred, and that is what "Dick" Halladay did when twenty-eight years ago he crossed the border into Dakota territory to begin a career which has been a credit to himself, a joy to his family, and a pride to his hundreds of personal friends.

J. F. Halladay was born in Kansas but he must not be blamed for that. It was a good while ago—in 1860—and he got out of that state as soon as he could. At the age of fourteen his education was completed so far as school is concerned, but it isn't completed yet, for each year adds to his better equipment for the things that count—just as it always does with the man who keeps everlastingly doing things. He came to what is now South Dakota, twenty-eight years ago, from Beatrice, Nebraska. It was an overland trip, and Dick was absolutely "broke" after he had bought that choice Havana, but he was a millionaire in pluck and purpose and he set out to make good. He got a job on a Huron morning daily, filed on a claim between Iroquois and Cavour, looked wise, and began to hustle. In January, 1888, he went to Iroquois and for two years worked on the Herald but two years later got a position in the Bank of Iroquois. He resigned this place in 1883 and started the Iroquois Chief with a partner, whom he bought out two years later, and ever since he has been the editor of one of the most influential weekly newspapers of the state. Only a short time ago, he became a stockholder in the Farmers & Merchants Bank of Iroquois, of which institution he is a now one of the managing directors.

In politics, Mr. Halladay is a stalwart. He has always been active, and everybody always knows just where Dick Halladay is at. He is not only not a trimmer, but he cannot understand the man who is. Hence his closest fiends are men of the same sturdy type, who stay put, and won't wobble, and who fear defeat less than they do the play to the galleries.

President Harrison appointed Mr. Halladay to position of postmaster at Iroquois, and he served for four years giving way to a democrat named by President Cleveland. He was appointed to the same position by President McKinley and served all told nine years as postmaster, resigning in 1902. Eight years ago, he was brought out for state auditor. He received the support of practically every republican paper in the state and was unanimously nominated. His public work was of a particularly high grade and he was renominated and re-elected by a big majority He was a member of the Herried and Elrod administrations which made such a fine record in reducing the floating debt of the state and paying off the bonds, and as state auditor he took an important part in that work.


Mr. Halladay was elected secretary of the South Dakota State Press association when it was a feeble and struggling association and served for seven years doing much to build the association up to its present standard. He was also honored by being selected as president of the association. Dick has hosts of friends everywhere in the state, but literally everybody in the newspaper bunch like him and most of them are his warm personal friends.

Mr. Halladay has never followed politics for a business, but simply for his love of the game. He has been mixed up in the game since 1883. Only twice in twenty years has he failed to attend the state convention as a delegate from Kingsbury county and he isn't a "boss" either. He is simply a "good guinea" with a genius for making and holding friends, and with plenty appetite for hard work. When the republican party split into two factions, Mr. Halladay lined up with his friends on the stalwart side, and he has been aggressively with that element ever since. In the primary fight between Kittredge and Crawford, Dick was "called from the plow" to help manage the stalwart end of it, and last spring the press bureau for the stalwarts was placed in his exclusive charge. At the conclusion of the campaign, his work was everywhere highly commended and one of the leading insurgent newspapers declared that "Halladay is the best political editor in the state."

When Mr. Halladay was a candidate for a second term as state auditor, Coe I. Crawford was a candidate for the nomination for governor. Insurgency had crept over the line into Kingsbury county, and the convention of that county wanted to give their support to both Crawford and Halladay, and passed resolutions to that effect. The action was unexpected and unprecedented, Dick was fighting Crawford, and the action of the convention would give out the impression that Hallady had sold out his friends. He met the situation like a thoroughbred. When the resolutions were adopted, Dick asked for permission to address the convention, and when he appeared on the platform, was greeted with cheers, the delegates supposing that he was about to make the usual speech of thanks. Instead he plainly pointed out that the double-header endorsement was a stone around his neck that he refused to carry, that it put him in a false light before the people of the state, and would hamper him in the state convention. He therefore announced his refusal to accept the endorsement by his home county, under the circumstances, and declared his purpose to go to the state convention and make a fight on his own merits, without the support of his home county. This he did, The anti-Crawford people controlled the convention and Halladay was unanimously renominated. Old politicians said at the time that this was the nerviest political move that had ever come under their observation.

Mr. Halladay was a member of the first capital commission that adopted plans and selected the material for the new state house. The judgment of the first commission was criticised at the time by some, and among them were many of Halladay's best friends, but its judgment was later vindicated when the new commission, consisting of members of the rival faction, erected the building in strict accordance with the first commission's plans, although they had made a campaign issue of the fact that the first commission had chosen Bedford stone instead of home material.

In May, 1886, Mr. Halladay was married to Carrie E. Hammond, of Iroquois. They have two children—Edna May, 20 years old, who is now taking a college course and music at the Wesleyan University of Mitchell, and Clinton Frank, 18 years old, who is studying in the engineering department of the State College at Brookings. Mr. Halladay's family life is ideal—as many South Dakotans know who have been entertained in the beautiful and cozy home at Iroquois. Dick says he is hen-pecked, and I guess maybe he is, but that is simply another proof of his good stuff. He is a wise man who lets a good wife "boss" him in the home.

The Iroquois Chief which is simply Dick Halladay in print has always been a strong and unswerving republican newspaper. It has been on the job all the time, and its influence in western Kingsbury and eastern Beadle counties always shows up when the returns ccme in.

Mr. Halladay is not a rich man—but I want to correct that statement. He is. Any man is rich who has a beautiful and interesting family, a good business, a big bunch of friends in every town and county in the state, and the abiding respect of all who know him, and who is always counted on to steadfastly and bravely adhere to what he believes and to those in whom he believes. In the things that really count in this strange experience that we call life, Dick Halladay is one of the richest men in the state, and he has reason to look back over the twenty-eight useful and busy years spent here with the complete satisfaction of a man who has done a man's work and has done it well.

—By C. M. Day.


©2002, Virginia A. Cisewski
All Rights Reserved