Dwight I. Todd was born December 19, 1877, at Burr Oak, Michigan, to James A. and Marien (Smith) Todd. He graduated from high school there in 1896. Todd held a variety of jobs including teaching, meat sales, and locating homesteaders in the Dakotas. In June 1903 Todd married Jessie V. Drake of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Shortly after, they moved to Bottineau, North Dakota. They relocated in the fall of 1905 to Barr Butte Township, near Jessie's brother Ed Drake. In the fall of 1908, they moved to Stony Creek, close to Williston. Dwight and Jessie Todd had four children: Almeda Mavourneen, Petra (Pete), Kenneth, and Norman (Bud). Jessie Todd died in Fargo in 1930 of undiagnosed cancer. Dwight Todd then moved back to Michigan until 1966, when he moved to Williston to live with his daughter, Mavourneen.
Todd became active in the Socialist Party partly in response to the influence of Jessie Todd's brother, Charles Drake, who worked on the 1908 national presidential campaign of Eugene V. Debs. Todd worked on party organization in Williams County for over ten years, but by the Depression he had become disillusioned with the Socialist Party and concentrated his efforts on farm-related concerns. Todd's involvement with the Farmers Union began with a desire to improve the economic conditions for the farmers through cooperative and mutual organizations which he strongly supported.
Intellectually, he embraced those political philosophies involving socialism, communism, and cooperative associations, but he did not accept the philosophy of public ownership of farm land. Todd was a voracious reader, and his personal library was said to be the largest in Williams County. Little of philosophical or political interest escaped Todd's rumination during his active lifetime.
Todd died in October 1968 at Williston at the age of 90. (See Wonder of Williams County, Vol. 2, page 1822-23).
Donation; Acc. #82-1000
The Dwight I. Todd Papers date from 1890-1983 and have been divided into six series:
Series 1: Correspondence
Series 2: Records of Political Activities
Series 3: Publications
Series 4: James A. and Marien Smith Todd Papers
Series 5: Miscellaneous
Series 6: Photographs