David J. Erickson

David J. Erickson. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

His duties as a lawyer, real estate man and legislator have given Mr. Erickson a very busy program of usefulness since coming to Duluth eight years ago. His name has become widely known throughout the state as an able public leader of that type which merits public confidence and esteem.

Mr. Erickson was born at Warren, Pennsylvania, December 3, 1888, son of L. P. and Christine (Anderson) Erickson. His parents were natives of Sweden, and his father came to this country about 1870, locating in Warren county, Pennsylvania. He is still living, at the age of seventy-seven. For many years he was an active farmer and was one of the pioneer settlers of Elk township of Warren county, where many years ago he bought 120 acres of land covered with dense timber. He has developed this farm and for many years his specialty has been dairying, and he made his own example a powerful influence in bringing into the county a good line of cattle and horses. He is a Republican and a member of the Swedish Mission Church. Of his nine children, eight are living, David J. being the youngest.

He attended a country school in Pennsylvania, also the Corydon Grammar School, graduated from the Warren High School in 1908, and in the fall of the same entered Pennsylvania State College, where he was a student in 1908-09. following that with the regular law course of the University of Michigan, where he graduated with the degree LL. B. in 1912.

In November, 1912, a few months after graduating in law, Mr.Erickson came to Duluth and was employed by the law firm of Abbot, Merril & Lewis until August, 1913. I He was admitted to the Michigan bar in June, 1912, and in June, 1913, took the Minnesota bar examination and was admitted as a practicing attorney in this state in Tuly. On September 1, 1913, he formed a law partnership with William A. Pittenger, which continued until March 1, 1914, under the firm name Erickson & Pittenger. Since then Mr. Erickson has handled a large general practice alone, with offices in the West End, near Twenty-first avenue, West.

September 21, 1914, Mr. Erickson was one of the incorporators of the Consolidated Realty Company, and has been president from the beginning. This company has been successfully engaged in a general real estate business in the city, to its special credit being assigned the handling of the sale of the Merritt Park Division and the platting of Grant Park Addition to Duluth, which was put on sale September 1, 1919. The directors of the company are David J. Erickson, president; C. A. Carlson, vice president and secretary, and H. T. Lundgren, treasurer.

Well established in his profession and in business, Mr. Erickson first became a candidate for an important office when he was elected to the Minnesota Legislature from the Fifty-ninth District in November, 1917. He was re-elected for his second term in November, 1919.

During the 1917 session he served as a member of the committee on banks and banking, general legislation, military affairs, state normal schools, workmen’s compensation, towns and counties. During that session he was interested in increasing the workmen’s compensation from fifty to sixty per cent. Another subject that received a large share of his attention was promoting the marketing of farm products in the larger cities and states, and with that in view he was author of the bill providing for a State Department of Foods and Markets.

During the 1919 session Mr. Erickson was instrumental in enacting a law providing for a State Department of Agriculture, and also sponsored an amendment of this law authorizing the commissioner of agriculture to establish local markets in municipalities throughout the state. In the session of 1919 he was chairman of the committee on corporations and a member of the committees on education, reconstruction and relief, judiciary, and appropriations. With his colleague, Mr. Bernard, he sponsored the fire relief appropriation in the appropriations committee for the relief of the fire-stricken districts in Northern Minnesota. He was also an influential member during the special session of the legislature called by the governor, September 8, 1919. In that he was also a member of the appropriations committee, which looked after the soldiers’ bonus bill, and the bill providing for fire prevention in Northern Minnesota. He was also on the committee on markets and marketing, which drafted the cold storage legislation enacted during the special session. This committee also had charge of carrying out the program of legislation called for in the governor’s message in reference to the high cost of living. In the special session Mr. Erickson opposed the enactment of tonnage tax on iron ore, thereby expressing the sentiment of his constituency and also his personal convictions that such a tax is unfair to the iron industry of Northern Minnesota and to the people in general. During this special session Mr. Erickson was author of the bill providing a City Market in the city of Duluth, a bill that passed the house without a dissenting vote, but failed to pass the senate. He was also a member of Mayor Magney’s committee to investigate the high cost of living in Duluth.

Fraternally he is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America, and is a member of the West End Commercial Club. June 2, 1917, he married Miss Frances Sykes. Her father was an Englishman, while her mother was born in Minnesota.

Sources:

  • Woodbridge, Dwight and John Pardee, eds. History of Duluth and St. Louis County Past and Present Vols. 1 – 2. C. F. Cooper & Company, Chicago: 1922.
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