Biography of Herman Winterer of Valley City North Dakota

Herman Winterer, born on January 1, 1857, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pursued a successful career as a lawyer despite humble beginnings. After completing his education at the University of Minnesota and the University of Iowa, he settled in Valley City, North Dakota, in 1883. Initially partnering with Judge Seth Mills, Winterer quickly established himself as a capable lawyer. He held the position of state’s attorney for Barnes County and declined several judicial positions. Besides his legal work, Winterer actively participated in various organizations and served as the president of the Game and Fish Board of Control for North Dakota. He married Emma A. Myrick in 1887, and they had four children.

Herman Winterer, a native of Philadelphia, Penn., was born January 1, 1857, and is a son of Otto and Francisca (Kohlifrath) Winterer, both natives of Ettenheim, Grand Duchy of Baden, Germany. The father learned the locksmith’s trade in his native land and, after coming to this country in his early manhood, worked in a locomotive shop in Philadelphia and was married there. In 1858, he settled with his family on a land claim in Sibley County, Minnesota. Nine years later, in 1867, the family moved onto a farm in Nicollet County, near Lake Prairie, where he lived until the time of his decease, in 1889. His wife died in 1882, leaving a large family of children.

Our subject made good use of the educational advantages he had in the district schools and, by studying at home at odd times during his boyhood, helped himself by teaching so that he was able to attend the high school at Le Sueur. His aim and desire were to fit himself for the legal profession, and with that in view, he entered the University of Minnesota in 1877 and completed a four-year course of study, graduating from the law department of the University of Iowa in 1882.

In the spring of 1883, Mr. Winterer went to Valley City, North Dakota, and began his career as a lawyer. He had no capital other than his native abilities but, firm in his determination to succeed, faced every discouragement with courage and soon made his influence felt. A few months after settling in Valley City, he became associated as a partner with Judge Seth Mills, whose decease soon afterward left Mr. Winterer to carry on the practice alone for a time. Later, his younger brother, Edward, joined him; the firm being Winterer & Winterer—a name that soon became well known through a successful and growing practice.

Mr. Winterer has been somewhat active in political matters, and in 1890, he was elected state’s attorney for Barnes County on the Democratic ticket, by a large majority in a hotly contested election. Two years later and again in 1894, he was re-elected by a unanimous vote of the county, and at the end of his term, his brother became his successor in the office. His conduct of the office was efficient, with some of the important matters litigated being certain tax cases growing out of the Northern Pacific land grant.

Mr. Winterer has declined judicial positions on several occasions, preferring the emoluments of his practice, which takes him into the state and federal courts of North and South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa. In 1898, he was admitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Winterer takes an active interest in affairs aside from his professional work. He was president of the board of education of Valley City for ten years. He was for many years vice-president and is now president of the First National Bank of Valley City.

He belongs to the State Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and has served as president of the District Bar Association. Recently, he was one of the twelve lawyers recommended to the governor of the state for appointment to the supreme judgeship. He is vice-president of the Middle West Fire Insurance Company, which does business throughout North Dakota and parts of Minnesota, deals largely in real estate, and owns several valuable farms. He is actively involved with fraternal orders, being a past grand commander in Masonry, a member of the Knights of Pythias, a member of El Zagol Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Fargo, and a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen.

Mr. Winterer is a lover of hunting and fishing and currently serves as president of the Game and Fish Board of Control for the state of North Dakota.

On January 1, 1887, Mr. Winterer married Emma A., daughter of Mr. Cyrus G. Myrick, of Le Sueur, who was noted for her learning and scholarly attainments.

Mrs. Winterer is an alumna of the Le Sueur High School and is a woman of culture and refinement, who presides with dignity and womanly grace over their happy home. They have four children, namely: Florence Nightingale, Franceska Eloise, Hermione, and Harriet Marion.


C.F. Cooper & Company, History of the Red River Valley, Past And Present: Including an Account of the Counties, Cities, Towns And Villages of the Valley From the Time of Their First Settlement And Formation, volumes 1-2; Grand Forks: Herald printing company, 1909.

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