Biography of Martin V. Redding

Martin V. Redding, a native of Luxembourg, Germany, served as a devoted soldier in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Wounded in battle, he displayed unwavering loyalty to his regiment and maintained strong ties with his fellow veterans through the Grand Army of the Republic. After the war, he settled in Verona, Wisconsin, before becoming a pioneer in Brown County, South Dakota. Engaged in farming and community development, Redding contributed significantly to the region’s progress. He also served as a respected member of the state legislature, advocating for the state militia and championing educational initiatives. His family, deeply rooted in education and community service, added to his esteemed reputation.

MARTIN V. REDDING, who is representing Brown County in the state legislature, is a native of Luxembourg, Germany, where he was born on the 12th of December, 1843, being a son of Anton and Mary Redding, who emigrated to America when he was a lad of ten years, settling in Dubuque County, Iowa, in which state they passed the remainder of their lives, the father devoting his attention to agricultural pursuits. Our subject had received the rudiments of his education in the national schools of his fatherland, and after the removal to Iowa continued his studies in the public schools as opportunity afforded. He was but eighteen years of age at the outbreak of the war of the Rebellion, but his loyalty to the Union was forthwith manifested in no uncertain way, since in October 1861, he enlisted in Company F, Eleventh Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, having been at the time a resident of the state mentioned. With this regiment, he served until the close of the war, representing a period of but a fortnight less than four years since he was mustered out in September 1865, receiving his honorable discharge at Mobile, Alabama. His command was in the Mississippi Valley from St. Louis to Texas, and later was on duty at Mobile when it proceeded to Fort Blakely, and later was under General Curtis in Missouri and Arkansas. At Vicksburg, on the 22nd of May 1863, while participating in the charge, Mr. Redding was wounded in the right leg, and the injury was so severe as to render it necessary for him to remain in the field hospital for three weeks and for six weeks in the hospital at Memphis, when he was sent to the general hospital in St. Louis, where he remained six months, at the expiration of which he rejoined his command in New Orleans. At the expiration of his first term of enlistment, he veteranized and was granted a thirty days’ furlough, which he passed at his home in Wisconsin. All the members of his regiment re-enlisted with the exception of about thirty, who were captured while with Banks on the Red River expedition. Mr. Redding participated in all of the notable engagements in which his regiment took part and his record was that of a gallant and faithful soldier of the republic. He has ever kept in touch with the members of his regiment, which is rapidly being decimated by the one invincible foe of humanity, death, and to all of the men who served so faithfully during the great conflict his sympathy and interest are accorded and are shown in his affiliation with that noble organization, the Grand Army of the Republic. He is a member of General Rowley Post, No. 112, at Frederick, and is commander of the same at the time of this writing, being one of the most prominent and popular members of the organization.

After the close of the war, Mr. Redding took up his residence in Verona, Wisconsin, where he was engaged in farming until 1882, when he came to Brown County, South Dakota, and took up a homestead claim of one hundred and sixty acres on section 3, township 127, seven miles west of the present village of Frederick. Here he has ever since continued to reside, having aided materially in the development and progress of this section of the state and being one of only four in the locality who came here as early as 1882. He gives his attention to diversified farming and stock growing and is now the owner of a well-improved landed estate of three hundred and twenty acres. Mr. Redding was connected in a prominent way with the organization of Allison Township, which was named in honor of James P. Allison, who was a ranchman on Elm River, where he took up his residence in 1879. Our subject has served in various township offices and has been for fourteen years a member of the school board of his district. In 1900, he was elected to represent his county in the state legislature and was chosen as his own successor in 1902, serving during the seventh and eighth general assemblies and being an active and valued member of the legislative body. He served as a member of the committees on military highways and bridges, penal institutions, and state militia, having been chairman of the last-named. He is a staunch advocate of maintaining a well-organized and equipped state militia, for the conservation of home interests and for the support of the national government when demanded, and through his efforts in the legislature, the state militia of South Dakota was placed on a firm basis, an appropriation of seventy thousand dollars being secured from the state for its proper maintenance. He is an able speaker, and on the floor of the house, his voice was heard in the effective championship of those measures which met his approval, and he was one of the leaders in securing the establishing of the Northern Normal and Industrial School in Aberdeen and is called the “father” of the circulating library bill, which passed the legislature of 1900 after being twice defeated. He has ever given a staunch allegiance to the Republican party and has been an active worker in its cause and prominent in its councils, having been frequently a delegate to the various county, state, and congressional conventions. He and his family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and he is identified with Frederick Lodge, No. 51, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in Frederick, having passed the official chairs in the same and having also represented it in the grand lodge of the state.

At Verona, Wisconsin, on the 12th of October 1880, Mr. Redding was united in marriage to Miss Helen A. Root, who was born in Tonawanda, New York, whence her parents removed to Wisconsin when she was six years of age. The three children of this union all remain at the parental home — Carolyn Genevieve, Sarah Nathalie, and James Nathaniel, and both daughters are successful and popular teachers in the public schools of Brown County, while the family occupies a prominent position in the best social life of the community.


Robinson, Doane, History of South Dakota: together with mention of Citizens of South Dakota, [Logansport? IN] : B. F. Bowen, 1904.

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