Margaret “Maggie” Wylie Mellette


Margaret “Maggie” Wylie Mellette

Birth Date

6 August 1842

Death Date

29 November 1938


First Lady of South Dakota

Biographical Text

Margaret Wylie Mellette, who went by “Maggie,” was born to Rebecca Dennis and Theophilus Wylie in Bloomington, Indiana, on 6 August 1842. She was very artistic and painted one of the earliest known renditions of the IU trident logo on a teacup that is now on display in the Wylie House. She attended the Monroe County Female Seminary and the Glendale Female College near Cincinnati, Ohio. She met Arthur Calvin Mellette (1842-1896) while he was boarding at her parents’ home as a student at Indiana University, and they were married at the Wylie House on 29 May 1866. They then settled in Muncie, Indiana, where Arthur practiced law and edited the local newspaper. They had four sons: Wylie (b. 1867), Charlie (b. 1869), Anton (b. 1872), and Dick (b. 1874). The Mellettes moved to the Dakota Territory in 1878 in part because it was thought that the climate would benefit Maggie’s poor health. Arthur eventually became the governor of the Territory and then the first governor of the state of South Dakota. Maggie was widowed in 1896 and spent the rest of her life in Pittsburg, Kansas. She died on 29 November 1938 and is buried in Watertown, South Dakota.


Margaret Wylie Mellette (1843-1938) copy.jpg
Arthur Calvin Mellette, 1842-1896


“Margaret “Maggie” Wylie Mellette,” Wylie House Exhibits, accessed July 16, 2024,