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Lynn Frazier
United States Senator
from North Dakota
In office
March 4, 1923 – January 3, 1941
Preceded byPorter J. McCumber
Succeeded byWilliam Langer
12th Governor of North Dakota
In office
January 3, 1917 – November 23, 1921
LieutenantHoward R. Wood
Preceded byL. B. Hanna
Succeeded byRagnvald Nestos
Personal details
Lynn Joseph Frazier

(1874-12-21)December 21, 1874
Medford, Minnesota, U.S.
DiedJanuary 11, 1947(1947-01-11) (aged 72)
Riverdale, Maryland, U.S.
Political partyRepublican (NPL faction)
Lottie Stafford
(m. 1903; died 1935)
Cathrine Behrens Paulson
(m. 1937)
EducationMayville State University
University of North Dakota (BA)

Lynn Joseph Frazier (December 21, 1874 – January 11, 1947) was an American educator and politician who served as the 12th Governor of North Dakota from 1917 until being recalled in 1921 and later served as a U.S. Senator from North Dakota from 1923 to 1941. He was the first American governor ever successfully recalled from office. The only other American governor to ever be recalled is Gray Davis, who was recalled in 2003.

Early life

Frazier was born in Medford, Minnesota. His family moved to North Dakota when he was six years old. He graduated from Grafton High School in 1892, and Mayville Normal School in 1895. He completed his bachelor's degree at the University of North Dakota and graduated with honors.[1][2][3] Prior to his career in state and national politics, Frazier was a farmer and school teacher.[4][3]

Frazier intended to become a doctor, but the unexpected deaths of his father and brother forced him to take over the family farm.[5]


After winning the Republican primary as the Nonpartisan League candidate, Frazier was elected Governor in 1916 with 79% of the vote.[6][7]

Frazier was extremely popular and implemented several reforms such as the establishment of the Bank of North Dakota and the North Dakota Mill and Elevator, which have been a lasting legacy of the Nonpartisan League election success until today.[8]

During the 1919 national coal strike, Governor Frazier took a unique approach to the strike. He declared martial law, took over the mines with United Mine Workers of America contracts and ran them in cooperation with the union.[9][10]

He was re-elected twice, in 1918 and 1920, but an economic depression hit the agricultural sector during his third term and resulted in a successful private-business-led grassroots movement to press for his recall. In 1921, Frazier was the first governor to be successfully removed from office.[11] Independent Voters Association member Ragnvald Nestos was elected to his place.[8][2]

After the recall, Frazier was elected in 1922 to the U.S. Senate, again as the NPL candidate on the Republican ticket. He served until losing a bid for re-election in 1940, when he was unseated in the Republican primary by William Langer.[8][2][12]

Personal life

Frazier was twice married, to Lottie J. Stafford, with whom he had five children, from November 26, 1903, until her death on January 14, 1935,[13] and to Catherine Paulson, whom he married in 1937.[4][13]

Death and legacy

Frazier died in Riverdale, Maryland, on January 11, 1947, at the age of 72. He is buried in Hoople Cemetery, Hoople, North Dakota.[8]

Governor Frazier is portrayed in the 1984 Nebraska Public TV documentary Plowing up a Storm.

Further reading

  • Erickson, Nels (1986). The Gentleman from North Dakota: Lynn J. Frazier. State Historical Society of ND. OCLC 1020761771.

See also

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by Republican nominee for Governor of North Dakota
1916, 1918, 1920
Succeeded by
First Nonpartisan League nominee for Governor of North Dakota
Succeeded by
Preceded by Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from North Dakota
(Class 1)

1922, 1928, 1934
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Governor of North Dakota
Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. Senator (Class 1) from North Dakota
Served alongside: Edwin F. Ladd, Gerald Nye
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee
Succeeded by


  1. ^ Hylton, J. Gordon (2012-07-18). "Who Was Gov. Lynn Joseph Frazier?". Marquette University Law School Faculty Blog. Archived from the original on 2023-04-29. Retrieved 2023-05-19.
  2. ^ a b c NDSU Archives. "Lynn J. Frazier Papers | Special Collections Finding Aids". Retrieved 2023-05-19.
  3. ^ a b North Dakota (1919). North Dakota Blue Book. Bismarck, N.D. p. 559.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  4. ^ a b "Lynn Frazier". National Governors Association. 7 December 2010. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  5. ^ Bank of North Dakota. "Lynn Frazier". The BND Story. Archived from the original on 2021-12-02. Retrieved 2023-05-19.
  6. ^ North Dakota (1916). "REPUBLICAN VOTES, PRIMARY ELECTION JUNE 28, 1916" (PDF). North Dakota Secretary of State. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2023-04-11. Retrieved 2023-05-19.
  7. ^ North Dakota (1916). "Party Votes, General Election, November 7, 1916" (PDF). North Dakota Secretary of State. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2023-04-11. Retrieved 2023-05-19.
  8. ^ a b c d State Historical Society of North Dakota. "Lynn J. Frazier - North Dakota Governors Online Exhibit - Exhibits". Archived from the original on 2023-05-11. Retrieved 2023-05-19.
  9. ^ Perlman, Selig and Philip Taft. History of Labor in the United States, 1896–1932. Volume IV Labor Movements. MacMillan: NY, 1935. p. 525; and Jeremy Brecher. Strike. South End Press: Boston. 1999. pp. 150–151.
  10. ^ Shilts, Thomas (1996). ""To Prevent a Calamity Which is Imminent": Governor Frazier and the Fuel Crissi of 1919" (PDF). North Dakota History. Bismarck, N.D.: State Historical Society of North Dakota. 63 (1): 6–20. ISSN 0029-2710. OCLC 6781857. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2022-07-09.
  11. ^ "Lynn Frazier". Soylent Communications. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  12. ^ North Dakota (1940). "Consolidated Ballot Votes, Primary Election, June 25, 1940" (PDF). North Dakota Secretary of State. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2022-11-12. Retrieved 2023-05-19.
  13. ^ a b "Lynn J. Frazier Papers" (PDF). North Dakota State University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-05-19. Retrieved 2013-07-07.
This page was last edited on 24 October 2023, at 16:08
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