L. B. Hanna

Louis Benjamin Hanna (August 9, 1861 – April 23, 1948) was the 11th Governor of North Dakota.

Louis Benjamin Hanna
11th Governor of North Dakota
In office
January 8, 1913  January 3, 1917
LieutenantAnton Kraabel
John H. Fraine
Preceded byJohn Burke
Succeeded byLynn Frazier
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from North Dakota's at-large district
In office
March 4, 1909  January 7, 1913
Preceded byThomas Frank Marshall
Succeeded byVacant
Member of the North Dakota Senate
In office
Member of the North Dakota House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
BornAugust 9, 1861
New Brighton, Pennsylvania
DiedApril 23, 1948 (aged 86)
Fargo, North Dakota
Political partyRepublican


Louis Benjamin Hanna was born in New Brighton, Pennsylvania. His parents, Jason R. and Margaret Hanna died when he was a small boy, leaving him to be raised by his aunts. Louis Hanna grew up and received his education in Massachusetts and New York. He came to the Dakota Territory in 1881 with his brother, Robert C. Hanna and began farming near what is now Hope, North Dakota. He was married on November 18, 1888, to Lottie L. Thatcher (1864-1933) and they had four children.[1]


He sold his land in 1882 and moved to Page where he began his career as a businessman. He started a retail lumber company, then expanded into grain handling. Soon he needed banking facilities, so he opened a private bank at Page. The bank became a state bank, then became the First National Bank of Page, with Hanna as the president.

From 1895 to 1897, Hanna served in the North Dakota House of Representatives. Hanna moved to Fargo in 1899, serving as vice president of the First National Bank of Fargo.[2] Hanna took on the North Dakota Senate from 1897 to 1901, and again from 1905 to 1909, representing the Fargo district this time.

In 1908, Louis Hanna was elected to represent North Dakota in the United States House of Representatives where he served two terms, from 1909 to 1913. Without any lapse between positions, he became the eleventh Governor of North Dakota in 1913 beating Frank O. Hellstrom in the race. The four years in Bismarck as Governor of North Dakota were largely spent attacking the $300,000 debt inherited by Hanna upon assuming office. At the end of four years, the entire amount was paid off; in addition, the bonded debt of nearly one million dollars was reduced to $462,000. A teacher's retirement and insurance fund was created and an inheritance tax law was sanctioned.[3]

During Hanna's term the governor, his family, and a committee went to Norway. On July 4, 1914 at Christiania (Oslo), they presented the people of Norway with a statue of Abraham Lincoln. The statue, by North Dakota sculptor Paul Fjelde, is located in Frogner Park in Oslo.

Legacy and death

King Haakon VII decorated Gov. Hanna as a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav of the First Rank. Governor Hanna served as chairman of the Liberty Loan drives in 1917 and 1918. During World War I he served in France as a captain in the American Red Cross. He was cited as an officer of the French Legion of Honor by the French government. Hanna continued his business interests in agriculture, banking, and other enterprises until his retirement. In 1924, Louis Hanna handled presidential campaign of Calvin Coolidge in North Dakota. He died in 1948, aged 86, in Fargo, North Dakota.[4] [5][6] He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, Fargo, Cass County, North Dakota.


  1. "L. B. Hanna". Soylent Communications. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
  2. "L. B. Hanna". Soylent Communications. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
  3. "L. B. Hanna". National Governors Association. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
  4. North Dakota Governors - Louis B. Hanna
  5. Guide to Research Collections
  6. Manuscripts by Subject - Business / Commerce

Further reading

  • Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3 (Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978)
  • Rice, Charles Elmer A History of the Hanna Family (Damascus, Ohio, A. Pim & son. 1905)
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Thomas Frank Marshall
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Dakota's at-large congressional district

Succeeded by
Henry Thomas Helgesen
Political offices
Preceded by
John Burke
Governor of North Dakota
Succeeded by
Lynn Frazier
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