Dakota Datebook

Thomas S. Kleppe

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Born on his family’s homestead near Kintyre, ND in 1919, Thomas S. Kleppe became the first native North Dakotan to serve in a presidential cabinet. Appointed by President Gerald Ford in 1975, Kleppe served as secretary of the Interior Department until this day, January 20, 1977.


During his 15 month tenure, Kleppe approved the sale of oil and gas drilling rights off the coast of Southern California; announced a ban on lead pellets used in shotgun shells for hunting waterfowl; and blocked the construction of a hydroelectric dam in North Carolina in order to preserve the scenic mountain waterway and hundreds of residential homes.


According to former President George Bush, a close friend and honorary pallbearer at Kleppe’s funeral in 2007, “…he represented the best in public service. He loved North Dakota and he loved his country.”


Dakota Datebook written by Christina Sunwall




The Bismarck Tribune- http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2007/03/06/news/local/129880.txt

National Homestead Monument of America- http://www.nps.gov/home/historyculture/upload/MW,pdf,KleppeBio,b.pdf

The Washington Post-




This text and audio may not be copied without securing prior permission from Prairie Public.

Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

« Go Back

Award-winning radio, television, and public media services that educate, involve, and inspire the people of the prairie region.

Donate Now

Breaking News

Follow Us On Social Media