Once more we ask "Who's Who in South Dakota?" and this time the pendulum stops over the little town of Parkston, twenty-two miles south of Mitchell, on the Milwaukee railroad. Aside from the unfortunate death of Anges Polreis, and the two murder trials which grew out of it, this town might scarcely ever have been heard of outside of the immediate community in which it is situated, were it not for the fact that there resides therein a great overpowering personality —a leader in the educational thought of the state, a man of unyielding convictions, Professor Charles H. Lugg.

The searchlight of educational thought is reaching out into the dark unknown, seeking hidden truths, just as the silvery moonbeams flicker themselves across the bosom of a placid lake and penetrate the dark recesses in the under-brush along the opposite shore. Back of this investigation as one of its unyielding pilots, stands Charles H. Lugg. Ever alert, deep, far seeing, well balanced —he has been associated with practically every advanced educational movement in the state for nineteen years.

Lugg has repeatedly declined to become a candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction. His reasons for it are that the $1,800 salary attached to the office does not justify the cash out-lay necessary to secure it; furthermore, that among the leading politicians in both factions of his party there has come to the surface a strong disposition to use this particular office for "trading stock," and that if he entered the fight—even with all the backing which had been pledged to him—there is no telling where he might land.


Our subject was born on a farm at Geneva, Minnesota. He got his early education in the rural schools. Later he attended the high school at Albert Lea. Upon leaving the high school he entered the country schools as a teacher. Although his salary was comparatively small, through rigid economy he managed to save enough money in a few years to put himself through Valparaiso University.

His next move was to come to South Dakota where he took charge of the graded schools at Olivet, in the year after he had done his first country school teaching in Minnesota. The death of his mother early the next summer compelled his return to Minnesota where he remained for a year. Returning to South Dakota in 1893, he was elected principal of the Parkston graded schools.

Lugg's first task was to prevail upon the good people of Parkston to extend their course of study and to educate their children at home. It took him several years to get a new high school building and a three-year course of study; yet with that persistence characteristic of the man he stuck to his convictions until he succeeded.


After nine years as principal at Parkston, the people of Hutchinson county called him into a larger field of service and made him county superintendent of schools. He was re-elected and served four years, from 1902 to 1906. In the latter year his services gained state reccgnition and he was called to the presidency of the state educational association.

Lugg also received other recognition. He was made chairman of the committee that revised our common school course of study, and Governor Elrod appointed him a member of the commission that revised the school laws of the state.

Upon the completion of his county superintendency, Professor Lugg was made assistant principal of the Parkston schools. In the spring of 1909 when the principal, Professor Karns, resigned to accept the principalship at Wessington Springs, Lugg succeeded him as principal at Parkston. He is still there, and he seems to have a life lease on his job.

This year when Lugg refused to become a candidate for state superintendent, his party prevailed upon him to become a candidate again for superintendent of Hutchinson county; but he remained firm and declined the honor. Lugg knows from experience that the county superintendency leads nowhere; that if a man has a good job at home it is best to keep it, unless one has determined to give up educational work and desires to use the county superintendency as the jumping-off place.

Professor Lugg is a broad-minded, rational Christian gentleman. He finds God in Nature instead of merely between the lids of an unauthenticated book. Go with him into the Bad Lands, and Lugg will begin to point out to you the finger prints of God in the furrows of the sedimentary dunes; accompany him through the Black Hills, and he will point you to the same signs in the grooves of the rocks; sit with him on his lawn at the twilight hour, and he will show it to you in the tinted glow of the sunset; ride with him at night, and he will show it to you in the shaggy cirrus and in the twinkling stars.

Ah! the reason for it all is that Lugg has been trained to observe. May his great life find itself being repeated in the lives of those whom he has had the privilege to train!


©2002, Virginia A. Cisewski
All Rights Reserved