Biography of Hon. Thomas L. Bouck

Hon. Thomas L. Bouck, a distinguished figure among South Dakota’s public men and a leading member of the Grant County Bar, has built an impressive career marked by high official positions and the successful discharge of responsible duties. Born on January 29, 1865, in Fulton, New York, he hails from a prominent farming family with a legacy dating back to colonial times. Bouck’s legal aspirations led him to complete his studies at Albany Law School, after which he established a thriving practice in Milbank, South Dakota. Throughout his career, he held esteemed positions such as county judge, state senator, and mayor of Milbank, while maintaining personal popularity that transcended political differences.

HON. THOMAS L. BOUCK.— Holding a worthy prestige among the public men of South Dakota, and a leading member of the Grant County Bar, the career of Hon. Thomas L. Bouck presents much that is interesting and instructive, having risen to high official station and demonstrated in different spheres the ability to discharge worthily responsible duties. Mr. Bouck was born January 29, 1865, in Fulton, Schoharie County, New York, and is the only son of Samuel Bouck, a prominent farmer and a descendant of one of the old Dutch families. The Boucks were there represented in colonial times, and several of the name bore gallant parts in the Revolution, as well as in the various Indian wars. Samuel Bouck lived a long and useful life, dying in March 1897, at his home in New York. His wife, Mary M. Aroman, survived him until July 1902 and lies beside him in the old cemetery at Middleburg.

Thomas L. Bouck attended Hartwick Seminary, and, deciding to make the legal profession his specialty, entered the Albany Law School, completing the prescribed course in 1886, immediately after which he came to South Dakota and opened an office in Milbank. Here he soon won recognition and in due time built up a large and lucrative practice. For a number of years, his name has appeared in connection with nearly every important case tried in Grant County. He was elected the first county judge in 1889 and served by successive re-elections for three terms. In 1897, he was elected to the state senate, serving as such during two sessions. Serving throughout on the judiciary committee and as a member of the temperance committee, he secured the present liquor legislation. Mr. Bouck was several times appointed city attorney, and in 1893 he was the Democratic candidate for circuit judge, failing of election by the small margin of only seventy-eight votes. In 1903, he was further honored by being elected mayor of Milbank, which office he still holds. Mr. Bouck’s personal popularity is only limited by his acquaintance, and many of his warmest friends and admirers hold political opinions directly opposite to his own. Not endorsing Bryanism, Mr. Bouck became identified with the Republican Party in 1900.

Mr. Bouck is the possessor of an ample competence, much of his means being invested in city real estate. In addition to a fine residence, one of the most attractive homes in the city, he owns a large two-story, fifty-foot-front brick block, and he also has valuable agricultural and livestock interests in the country, owning several earning farms.

Mrs. Bouck was formerly Miss Margaret L. McCarthy, the marriage occurring on the 14th of July, 1898. She was born in Luverne, Minnesota, her father, Michael McCarthy, being one of the early pioneers and widely known citizens of that state. They have two children, Thomas L. and Margaret L. Fraternally, Mr. Bouck is a Knight Templar Mason, and he is also connected with the Pythian and Red Men brotherhoods.


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

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