Dana Reed Bailey.

History of Minnehaha county, South Dakota. Containing an account of its settlements, growth, development and resources ... Synopsis of public records, biographical sketches .. online

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Online LibraryDana Reed BaileyHistory of Minnehaha county, South Dakota. Containing an account of its settlements, growth, development and resources ... Synopsis of public records, biographical sketches .. → online text (page 24 of 99)
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prior to the institution of such Fine system. We call your attention
to the larg-e sums of money that have been expended in the attempt
to enforce the prohibitory law, and request that no further l^urdens
of this nature be imposed upon the citizens and taxpayers of this

The county commissioners on the 10th day of Aug-ust, 1893,
Commissioner Colton absent, passed a resolution (see proceedings of


commissioners of that date) requesting" the state's attorney to desist
and refrain from bring-ing- any action either civil or criminal under
the prohibition act, unless fully satisfied that a conviction could be
had; and also gave a little advice to the court in the matter. We do
not refer to this for any other purpose than to show that there was
an "irrepressible conflict" always being- wag-ed, whenever the ques-
tion of prohibition was broug-ht into the courts in Minnehaha county,
and that the impression prevailed that it was impossible to enforce the
law. That the utility of any law can be determined best by its en-
forcement is conceded; that unwise or odious laws had better be re-
pealed than evaded, will be conceded by all g-ood citizens, and that it
is not within the province of those appointed to enforce the laws to
so manag-e as to make them a dead letter, will also be admitted; but
notwithstanding- all this, it is a fact that can not be controverted,
that it is the laws, and only the laws, that meet with the approbation
of the public, that are heartily and successfully enforced.

The leg-islature of 1895, submitted the question to a vote of the
electors at the g-eneral election in 1896, whether article twentv^-four
of the constitution should be repealed. The prohibitionists at once
beg-an active work to defeat the proposed amendment, and, on the
other hand, those in favor of the license system were not idle. It was
a well foug-ht campaig-n throug-hout the state. The result was a vote
31,901 /(>»;-, and 24,910 ao-a/zist the repeal. At the next session of the
leg-islature (1897j a hig-h license law was passed. It is evident that
the law makers intended to cover the whole field of licensing-, re-
stricting- and reg'ulating- the sale of intoxicating- liquors in such a
manner as to remove some of the most objectionable features that
usually attend the retailing- of intoxicating- liquors as a beverag-e. It
has several prohibitive clauses, namely:

No one who has served a term of imprisonment in the peniten-
tiary can obtain a license, and no one convicted of keeping- a dis-
orderly house after the enactment of the law- will be permitted to
receive a license. iSlo person under twenty-one years of ag-e can ob-
tain a license for selling- intoxicating- liquors, and no person without
first obtaining- a certificate sig-ned bv twenty-five leg-al voters residing-
in the precinct where he proposes to eng-ag-e in business; "that he is
a person of g-ood moral character, and one who can be safely trusted
to eng-ag-e in the business or calling- of selling- intoxicating- liquors at
retail," and no person under twenty-one years of ag-e can become a
bartender in a saloon. It is made the duty of all venders of intoxi-
cating- liquors to keep the windows or doors of their respective places
of -business unobstructed by screens, blinds, paint, or other articles,
and to have the windows so located that there may bean unobstructed
view from the main street into the entire room, and no partitions,
tables, chairs or seats are permitted in the place of business, and no
g-ames are allowed. All places where intoxicating- liquors are sold
are required to be closed on Sunday, and on all election days from six
o'clock in the morning- until six o'clock in the evening-, and on each
week day nig-ht from and after the hour of eleven o'clock until five
o'clock the succeeding- morning-. It is made unlawful for any person
to sell, furnish or g-ive away any intoxicating- liquors to any minor,


or intoxicated person, or to anv person in the habit of o-ettin^- intoxi-
cated, or to any person when forbidden in writino- so to do by the
husband, wife, parent, child, truardian or employer of such person,
or the supervisor of the township, or the president or trustee of a
town, mayor of a city, or the board of county commissioners of the
county where such person shall reside or temporarily remain.

Ag-ain there is a local option feature. At the annual municipal
election held in any township, town or city, the question of g-rantino-
permits to sell intoxicatino- liquors at retail, must be submitted to
the leo-al voters upon the petition of twenty-five leo"il voters of such
township, town or city, and if a majority vote ag-ainst the o-rantini;-
of permits then the g-ranting- of permits is prohibited.

Upon the business of manufacturing- or selling- spiritous or in-
toxicating- liquors at wdiolesale an annual license of one thousand
dollars is required to be paid; upon the business of selling- brewed
and malt liquors at wholesale, six hundred dollars; and upon the
manufacture of same, four hundred; and upon the business of retail-
ing intoxicating liquors, the sum of four hundred dollars must be
paid to the county treasurer, and such further sum not less than two
hundred dollars, nor more than six hundred dollars to the township,
town or city where the business is to be eng-ag-ed in, as such town-
ship, town or city may by ordinance require.

All persons before eng-ag'ing- in the sale of intoxicating- liquors
are required to g-ive a bond in the sum of two thousand dollars, with
two g-ood sureties, conditioned, that they will conform to all the re-
quirements of the law and pav all judg-ments for damag-es or fines
imposed for the violation of any of its provisions.

The foreg-oing-, althoug'h not a full summary, comprises the main
features of the law under which the manufacture and traffic in intox-
icating- liquors is now being- conducted in South Dakota.

But the leg-islature of 1897 did not stop with the enactment of a
hig-h license law, but passed the following- joint resolution:

"Be it resolved by the Senate, the House of Representatives
concurring- therein: That the following- amendment to the constitu-
tion of the State of South Dakota is hereby ag-reed to, and which
amendment, when approved and ratified, shall become part of the
constitution as Article twenty-seven thereof.

"The manufacture and sale of intoxicating- li(|uors shall be under
exclusive state control and shall be conducted by duly authorized
ag-ents of the state who shall be paid by salary and not by com-
missions. All liquors sold shall be first examined by a state chem-
ist and the purity thereof established.

"The leg-islature shall by law prescribe reg-ulations for tlie en-
forcement of the provisions of this article and jn-ovide suitable and
adequate penalties for the violation thereof."

This amendment was submitted to the electors at the g-eneral
election in November, 1808, and was ratified by them by a majority
of 1,613. The vote in the county was 1,340 for, and 1,097 ag-ahis/
its ratification. This matter was scarcely alluded to during- the cam-
paign, and was not made a party measure. The vote itself is evi-
dence of the fact that a large proportion of the people did not take
enoug-h interest in the measure to reg-ister their votes.


We say "it is the law under which the manufacture and sale of
intoxicating- liquors is now being- conducted" that is, if it can be law-
fully conducted at all. As seen above, it was incumbent upon the
legislature of 1899 to enact a law for its enforcement, but when it as-
sembled there proved to be such a contrariety of views entertained
by the members that no measure proposed could obtain the neces-
sary votes to secure its passage, and the leg-islature adjourned with-
out enacting- any law upon the subject.

One thing- is certain, the State of South Dakota has a remarkable
record upon the liquor question; license, local option, prohibition,
and hig-h license, and now, althoug-h the constitution of the State pre-
scribes that "the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors shall
be conducted by duly authorized agents of the State, who shall be
paid a salarv" for so doing, the State is not manufacturing or selling-
intoxicating liquors.

It is evident that the people of the State in the near future will
endeavor to rescue the subject from its present entanglement, but
what the end will be, no one would dare to predict.


On the 3d day of March, 1879, Congress passed an act which
provided that settlers upon unsurveyed lands could have the same
surveyed by applying to the surveyor g-eneral and depositing money
with some assistant treasurer or other designated depository of the
United States to defray the expenses of the survey. Upon the money
being deposited the depository was instructed by a circular issued
by the commissioner of the general land office to issue triplicate cer-
tificates in the sums not less than S200 each, that the settler had de-
posited such sums, the original certificate to be sent to the secretary
of the treasurer, the duplicate to surveyor general of the district in
which the land was situated, and the triplicate to the settler. The
triplicate could be used by the settler in payment for public land,
and it was assignable to other parties for the same use. Large sums
of this scrip were issued. At first it sold at a discount, but the de-
mand for it had so increased in 1881 that it left but a small margin.
The certificates were printed upon paper ordinarily used for blanks,
and no methods were used in their manufacture to make them diffi-
cult to counterfeit.

It was at this stage of affairs that John D. Cameron, then a resi-
dent of Sioux Falls, conceived the idea of counterfeiting this scrip.
A large amount of it was manufactured. Of course, at a discount of
eig-ht per cent it was an object for bankers and land agents in locali-
ties where parties wished to pay for g-overnment land to have scrip
on hand to supply their customers.

To put this into circulation, a bogus firm under the name of
Burt & Miller of St. Louis, Mo., sent circulars to the banks and land
agents all over the Northwest that they could furnish this scrip, de-
signated as Santa Fe Scrip, at the discount above named.

The First National Bank of Sioux Falls ordered $5,000 of it, and


the McKinney & Scouo-al Bank SI, 000. The scrip ordered hv the
First National Bank came to John D. Cameron, and he claimed that
he had been appointed ao-ent for the sale of the scrip in Dakota, but
the bank havino- become suspicions, refused to take it. McKinnev &
Scou^al had expressed the mone\' in payment of the scrip ordered,
but were warned in time to stop its delivery by the express company.

C H. Winsor of Sioux Falls was sent to St. Louis to look up
Burt & ]Miller, but he was unable to find the parties comprisino- the
hrm, althoug-h an office of Burt & Miller was found furnished with a
table and two chairs with a boy in chartre.

But it was a short-lived swindle. The bo<j-us scrip was an exact
counterfeit of the origfinal. The conspirators — for Cameron had ac-
complices — after procuring- the paper and type sent a printer from
Beloit, la., to Canton, S. D., where he printed the boo-us scrip.

P. A. Haverold of Sioux Falls, was employed to fill out the scrip,
but the prospect of g-ettino- considerable money in a very short time
induced him, while in an intoxicated condition, to disclose to an im-
portunate creditor his expectations of soon having- all the money he
wanted. The creditor was (juv Weed, deput}^ United States mar-
shal, and he succeeded in getting- from Haverold a pretty full account
of the knavish scheme of the conspirators. Weed reported what he
had learned to the United States authorities, and they promptly in-
stituted a thoroug-h investig-ation which resulted in the arrest of
Cameron on the 3d day of May, 1882, and the seizure of his office
papers which furnished considerable incriminating- evidence ag-ainst
him. At the next term of the United States court at Yankton,
Cameron, W. D. Russell of Yankton, and E. E. Carpenter of Beloit,
were indicted charg-ed in substance with counterfeiting- this scrip
and conspiring- to defraud the g-overnment. A larg-e number of wit-
nesses were summoned in the case, about forty being- from Sioux
Falls. There was a leng-thy trial of the case, but it did not result
favorably to the g-overnment. On two occasions it was continued
over the term, and finally a chang-e of venue was taken to St. Louis,
Mo. At the first term there the case was continued, althoug-h the
usual number of witnesses were in attendance. At the next term
the case was abandoned by the g-overnment. It was an expensive
case to all parties concerned, and especially to Mr. Cameron, who
not only paid out a larg-e sum of money in his defense, but was com-
pelled to lie in jail some time, being- unable to procure bail. Another
feature of the case was the suspicion in the community that the
escape of Mr. Cameron from punishment was owing- to the fact that
there were other parties than those indicted who were g-reatly
interested in his acquittal, fearing- if he was convicted he mig-ht make
disclosures that would be unpleasant for them to meet.


Joseph Sampson, who has been a resident of Sioux Falls for sev-
eral years and engag-ed principally in g-rading- work upon streets and
railroads, was expelled from the city council on June 7, 1895, and his
office of alderman from the Sixth ward declared vacant. Mr. Samp-
son has been a prominent figure in Sioux Falls. He was active in


politics, particularly in everything relating to city aifairs. He was
appointed street commissioner in 1889, and again in 1891, and held
the office until November 16, 1892. At the city election in 1893, he
was elected alderman from the Sixth ward, and in 1894, he was
elected president of the council. Mayor Williams, owing to severe
illness, left the city for medical treatment on the 20th day of March,
1895, and thereupon Mr. Sampson became the acting mayor of Sioux
Falls, and so remained until the 6th day of May, 1895. During the
time he w^as acting mayor he collected from the disorderly houses in
the city $767.50. This was deposited in the Union National bank to
his credit, and checked out by him on the 27th day of April, as he
said, for the purpose of paying- certain persons the amount of their
claims against the city. This he did not do, but left the city in the
early part of May for Wyoming, where his wife had gone a short
time before. He was elected alderman from the Sixth ward at the
city election in April, and qualified as such at the proper time. Soon
after he left, the question as to what had become of the money be-
longing to the city that he had checked out in April, was brought to
the attention of the city officials, and when they were unable to find
that it had been used for any lawful purpose, or that it had been left
with anyone in the city, the matter was taken before the grand jury
and they returned an indictment against him for embezzlement. Mr.
Sampson was easily located at Sundance, Wyoming, and the sheriff
at that place took him in charge upon instructions received from the
county officials of Minnehaha county, and Sheriff Hubbard went to
Sundance with a warrant for his arrest and brought him to Sioux
Palls. Soon after his return to Sioux Falls, he was arraigned upon
the indictment, and when the time arrived for him to plead, his coun-
sel, John E. Garland and Joseph Kirby, made a motion to quash the
indictment, for the reason that Sheriff Hubbard had assisted in
drawing the grand jury for the April term of the circuit court, hav-
ing at the same time suits, in which he was a party, upon the calen-
dar for trial. This motion was sustained by the court, and Mr.
Sampson was held in bonds of $1,000, to answer at the next term of
court upon the same charge. A good many rumors were in circula-
tion in the city as to what had become of the money. But, as Mr.
Sampson had not accounted to the city. Alderman Lien, at the regu-
lar monthly meeting- of the council on the 3d day of June, offered a
resolution, which was adopted without a dissenting- vote, calling- upon
Mr. Sampson to appear before the council on June 7, to show cause
why he should not be expelled from the council. The preamble to
the resolution set up the facts in reference to his obtaining- the
money, and his official connection with it, and that he was a member
of the city council. On the 7th day of June the council met, and
there was a large attendance to witness what was anticipated w^ould
prove to be a "great moral show." The proceedings were tame. No
dramatic features appeared. The resolution was read, and Mr.
Sampson denied that the city council had any authority to expel him,
and also denied that the allegations in the charge were true. He ad-
mitted drawing the money, and said he still had it in his possession,
but that he "would not turn it over until the injunction served on


him was dissolved, and the criminal proceedinofs a^'ainst him
dropped." When throut^h with his defense, the roll was called upon
the resolution, and the vote stood eleven for (Mr. Sampson voti no-
no), and Mr. Sampson was declared to be no long-er a member of the
city council of Sioux Palls. It only remains to add that the char<»-es
were investig^ated by the next g-rand jury, but no indictment was


The Countv of Minnehaha was the most populous county in the
Territory of Dakota for fifteen years prior to its division and admis-
sion into the Union as the states of North and South Dakota,
and since that time it has had a larg-er population than any other
countv in the State of South Dakota. Owing- to the fact that it has
the larg-est citv in the state within its limits, the politics of the
countv has a sort of metropolitan air that is not found elsewhere in
the state. During- the early days no county had g-reater influ-
ence in territorial affairs than Minnehaha, and the respective parties
were able to maintain party lines upon territorial issues. Until
18%, the republican party had a g-ood working- majority in the
countv, but it must be admitted that a good deal of g-uerrilla warfare
was carried on in respect to county officials, and now and then the
unexpected would happen and a nominee of the weaker party or an
independent candidate be elected. But the g-reat influence of the
county in territorial and state politics has been larg-ely due to the
fact that it has been the home of a larg-e number of leaders not only
in one partv org-anization but in all. It must be conceded that it is
the political center of the state, the Mecca that all aspirants for office
visit, the l:)irthplace of political schemes for the public welfare.
There is no place in the state that enjoys the reputation of having-
discovered so many men qualified to serve the public as Sioux Falls.
At least, the statesmen in Sioux Falls seem to act as a sifting- com-
mittee, and when an aspirant for office is found wanting- in availability
he g-enerallv has time to devote to his ordinary pursuits. Yes, Min-
nehaha county is a g-reat county for politics, and it bids fair to re-
main so for some years to come. During- the last decade there has
been but few removals from the ranks of its politicians, by death or
otherwise, while on the other hand new political prodig-ies have
claimed the attention of the public. The time may come when the
disease known as political death may invade the political ranks in
Minnehaha county, but so far, althoug-h several politicians have been
supposed to be dead, it has turned out in the end that they were only
hibernating- for a season. For political thrift, enterprise and energ-y,
for earnest, vig-orous effort with no ulterior selfish end in view but
the public gfood, for self-abneg-ation and subserviency of all personal
ambition, the politicians of Minnehaha countv of all deg-rees, big-,
little, and diminutive, war horses, mules and colts, taken collectively,
bv pairs or individually, are the peers of any similar ag-g-reg-ation on
the continent.




Thomas Eg-an, a native of Tipperary, Ireland, on Sunday, Sep-
tember 12, 1880, at his home eio-hteen miles northwest of Sioux Falls,
murdered his wife Mary Eg-an. The circumstances of the murder
were peculiarly horrible and brutal. Eg-an was in the habit of beat-
ing his wife, and on this day he sent his two boys away from the sod-
shanty in which they lived, and then attacked his wife. He threw a
piece of rope around her neck, and proceeded to strangle her, and
beat her about the head with a hard wood picket until she became
unconscious, and her scalp was laid open to the skull. He then
threw the body through the trap-door into the hole used as a cellar,
where it remained until Tuesday, when it Avas discovered. A coro-
ner's jury was summoned and Egan arrested and lodged in jail. Af-
ter unavoidable delays the trial came off in November, 1881, and the
prisoner was convicted of the murder of his wife. A motion for
a new trial was overruled, and he was sentenced to be hung on Fri-
day, January 13, 1882. The counsel for the defense was L. S. Swezey
assisted by C. H. Winsor, while the prosecution was conducted by
the district attornev, J. W. Carter, assisted bv E. Parliman and A.
M. Flagg.

An appeal to the supreme court was perfected January 4, 1882,
which staved proceedings under the sentence, until May 13, when
the supreme court affirmed the judgment of the district court, and
on Mav 29, Egan was re-sentenced, the date of the execution being
fixed for Thursdav, Julv 13, 1882. Throuo-h no fault of the officials


in charge, owing- to the accidental breaking- of the noose at the first
drop, and the consequent excitement, it was not until the culprit had
been dropped the third time that the execution was successfully ac-
complished, and while the scene was harrowing", it seemed but the
just retribution for so horrible a crime. This was the first execu-
tion in Minnehaha county, and the second one in Dakota. Joseph
Dickson was the sheriff.

There are two incidents in connection with this deplorable trag'-
edv that are worthy of record. One is the changing- of the date fixed
upon for Egan's execution to accommodate the publisher of a news-
paper, and as E. W. Caldwell was the publisher, we will give the de-
tails in his own langfuag-e:

"I went to Judg-e Kidder and asked him if there was anything- in
the law which required that a man should be hung- on Friday, and he
said there was not. I then told him that I ran a weekly paper, which
I issued on Thursday, and if Eg-an was hung- on Friday, I would
either have to postpone the issue of my paper, or hold the account of
the hang-ing- a week later, neither of which I wanted to do. He asked
me if I had seen Judg-e Carter, the prosecuting- attorney, and I said
I had not, but I would; so I went to Judg-e Carter, told him the cir-
cumstances, and asked him if it would make any difference to him.
He said it would not; he didn't care when the man was hung-, if he
was only hung-. I then went back to Judg-e Kidder, who finally said
that he had intended to appoint Friday, July 7, for the hang-ing-, but
as that was so soon after the Fourth, it mig-ht put a damper upon the
celebration, and if it would be any accommodation to me, he would
fix it for Thursday, July 13. I told him that would just suit me, and
so he did. Afterwards I was telling- Mr. McLoney of it, and he took
me to task for depriving- the poor man of one day of life. I replied
that I did not deprive him of a day, on the contrary I was the means
of prolong-ing- his life six days."

The other event was the burning- of the Eg-an homestead. The
fact of the burning- was not so important as the fact that it resulted
in the discovery of a poetess in Minnehaha county, who had hitherto
been unknown to fame. It was printed at the time in one of the
Sioux Falls newspapers and read as follows:

Online LibraryDana Reed BaileyHistory of Minnehaha county, South Dakota. Containing an account of its settlements, growth, development and resources ... Synopsis of public records, biographical sketches .. → online text (page 24 of 99)