Lynn Frazier

Lynn Joseph Frazier (December 21, 1874  January 11, 1947) was a politician from North Dakota, serving as a U.S. Senator from 1923 to 1941 and the 12th Governor of North Dakota from 1917 until being recalled in 1921. He was the first American governor ever successfully recalled from office. The only other time a gubernatorial recall has been successful was in 2003 to California Governor Gray Davis.

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
DiedJanuary 11, 1947(1947-01-11) (aged 72)
Riverdale, Maryland
Resting placeHoople Cemetery, Hoople, North Dakota
Political partyRepublican/Nonpartisan League
Lottie J. Stafford (m. 19031935)

Cathrine Behrens Paulson (m. 19371947)
Alma materUniversity of North Dakota
ProfessionFarmer, Teacher


Frazier was born in Medford, Minnesota. His family moved to North Dakota when he was six years old. Prior to his career in state and national politics, Frazier was a farmer and school teacher.[1] 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, graduating with honors in 1902. He was twice married – to Lottie J. Stafford, with whom he had five children, from November 26, 1903 until her death on January 14, 1935,[2] and his second wife, Catherine Paulson, a widow whom he married in 1937.[1][2]


After running in the Republican primary as the Non-Partisan League candidate, Frazier was elected Governor in 1916 with 79% of the vote. 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. 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 private-business-led grassroots movement to press for his recall. The movement succeeded, and in 1921 Frazier was the first governor to be successfully removed from office.[3] Independent Voters Association member Ragnvald A. Nestos was elected in his place.

After the recall, Frazier was elected in 1922 to the United States Senate, again as the NPL candidate on the Republican ticket. He served until losing a bid for re-election in 1940, being unseated in the Republican primary by William Langer.

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.[4]

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


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

See also


  1. "Lynn Frazier". National Governors Association. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  2. "Lynn J. Frazier Papers" (PDF). North Dakota State University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-05-19. Retrieved 2013-07-07.
  3. "Lynn Frazier". Soylent Communications. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  4. 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.

Political offices
Preceded by
L. B. Hanna
Governor of North Dakota
Succeeded by
Ragnvald A. Nestos
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Porter J. McCumber
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from North Dakota
Served alongside: Edwin F. Ladd, Gerald Nye
Succeeded by
William Langer
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