Thomas STERLING, Congress, SD (1851-1930)

Senate Years of Service:

STERLING, Thomas, (brother of John Allen Sterling), a Senator from South Dakota; born near Amanda, Fairfield County, Ohio, February 21, 1851; moved with his parents to McLean County, Ill., in 1854; attended the public schools and graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University at Bloomington in 1875; superintendent of schools of Bement, Ill., 1875-1877; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1878 and commenced practice in Springfield, Ill.; city prosecuting attorney 1880-1881; moved to the Territory of Dakota and located in Northville, Spink County, in 1882; moved to Redfield in 1886 and continued the practice of law; district attorney of Spink County, Dak., 1886-1888; member of the State constitutional convention in 1889; member, State senate 1890; dean of the college of law of the University of South Dakota at Vermillion 1901-1911; elected in 1913 as a Republican to the United States Senate; reelected in 1918, and served from March 4, 1913, to March 3, 1925; unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1924; chairman, Committee on Civil Service and Retrenchment (Sixty-sixth Congress), Committee on Civil Service (Sixty-seventh Congress), Committee on Post Office and Post Roads (Sixty-eighth Congress); engaged in the practice of law in Washington, D.C., and also served on the faculty of National University Law School; appointed by President Calvin Coolidge in 1925 as field secretary of the Commission for the Celebration of the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of George Washington; died in Washington, D.C., August 26, 1930; interment in Cedar Hill Cemetery.


Pressler, Larry. âThomas Sterling.â In U.S. Senators from the Prairie. Vermillion, S.Dak.: Dakota Press, 1982, pp. 63-69; Tingley, Ralph B. âThe Crowded Field: Eight Men for the Senate.â South Dakota History 9 (Fall 1979): 316-36.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present