Hon. Theodore William Dwight

1865 - 1938

”Hon. Theodore William Dwight, conducting a real-estate, loan and insurance business as a member of the firm of Knowles, Dwight & Toohey, has achieved a creditable measure of success in business circles and at the same time has become a prominent representative of political interests and activity in the state, being one of the recognized leaders of the republican party in South Dakota. He makes his home in Sioux Falls, to which city he removed in 1901. Wisconsin claims him as a native son, his birth having occurred in the town of Oregon, Dane county, March 12, 1865. His parents were Edward Wolsey and Elizabeth (Foote) Dwight, both of whom were natives of New York and representatives of prominent old American families. The grandfather, Benjamin Dwight, was likewise a native of New York and the direct descendent of Rev. Timothy Dwight, D. D., one of the early presidents of Yale College, and of Rev. Jonathan Edwards, the eminent divine of New England in colonial days.

The common schools afforded Theodore W. Dwight his early educational opportunities. He attended the high school at Evansville, Wisconsin, and afterward entered the high school at Red Wing, Minnesota, from which he was graduated with the class of 1885. He then went to Brooklyn, Wisconsin, where he secured a clerkship in a general store, thus receiving his initial business training, and in 1888, when twenty-three years of age, he came to South Dakota, settling at Bridgewater, McCook county, where he opened a general store. He was not long in building up a good trade and there he continued in active business until 1901, when he removed to Sioux Falls. His stock of goods, however, was removed to Emery, South Dakota, and Mr. Dwight took in a partner, who has charge of the business there. On moving to Sioux Falls Mr. Dwight embarked in the wholesale confectionery business, in which he continued for three years as secretary and treasurer of the Anthony-Dwight Company, which was incorporated under the laws of the state. This business also grew and developed along substantial lines, becoming one of the important commercial enterprises of the city. After three years Mr. Dwight sold out and turned his attention to the insurance, real-estate and loan business, forming a partnership with E. F. Knowles, while later C. T. Toohey was admitted under the present firm style of Knowles, Dwight & Toohey. Mr. Dwight is a man of determined spirit, carrying forward to successful completion whatever he undertakes, and his well formulated plans have brought him a substantial measure of prosperity.

On the 20th of August, 1889, at Red Wing, Minnesota, Mr. Dwight was united in marriage to Miss Jennie M. Brink, a daughter of Charles R. Brink, who was a soldier of the Civil war. They have two children: Helen, born February 6, 1895; and Edward Brink, born November 24, 1899.

The parents hold membership in the Presbyterian church and Mr. Dwight is connected with several fraternal and social organizations. He is a Royal Arch Mason, a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. He is secretary of the Sons of the American Revolution of South Dakota and he belongs to the Country Club. His political allegiance has always been given the republican party since age conferred upon him the right of franchise and he is an active worker in party ranks. Appreciation of his service and capability came to him in 1899 in his election to the state legislature and he is now a member and vice president of the state board of regents, his term to continue to 1915. He was treasurer of the republican state central committee during the campaigns of 1908 and 1910 and his powers of organization came into good play in this connection. In 1913 he was president of the Commercial Club and he has been an interested and helpful factor in all that pertains to municipal welfare as well as general progress. He looks at life from the standpoint of an enterprising, progressive man who recognizes the duties and obligations as well as the privileges of citizenship.”

George W. Kingsbury, History of Dakota Territory, Vol. 4 (Chicago: S. J. Clarke, 1915) pp. 218 – 220.

Theodore Dwight died at the age of 73 in 1938 and was buried in Mt. Pleasant on May 7th of that year. His wife Jennie lived on until 1949 reaching the age of 81. They rest in Block 10, Lot 2 of the cemetery, directly west of the Gale-McKennan lot.