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

. (page 26 of 99)
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 26 of 99)
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left, and Captain John Duffy was in command of our company. In
1868, I think it was, about eig-ht or ten men took up land on the military
reservation along- the Sioux river north of town, and commenced cut-
ting- timber and building- log- houses. A detachment of our company
was sent out (and I was one of the men sent) to arrest them and
bring- them in. They w^ere arrested, broug'-ht in, and put in the
guard house for two or three days, and then Captain Duffy let them
g'-o, after promising- they would keep off the reser\ation. Some of
these men are now living- on the same places where we arrested them.
When I came to Sioux Falls there was an old steam boiler lying on
the bank of the river w^est of the island, but I don't know where it
came from, and whether it was ever in use in Sioux Falls or not.
The men usually had pretty g-ood supplies, sometimes a little short,
but were comfortable and contented."

Since obtaining the foreg-oing- statement from Mr. Fleit/, the
writer met Mr. John H. Holsey of Canton. He was a member of
Company D, and said: "the company marched out of Sioux City



Sunday afternoon, June 3, l^i)6, camped that nig-ht live miles from
Sioux City, on the Dakota side of the Big- Sioux river, Monday nig-ht
camped on Brule creek, Tuesday nig-ht at Nixon's, Wednesday nig-ht
at Pattee sloug-h, Thursday nig-ht at Canton, and marched into Sioux
Palls Friday, June 8, at two o'clock in the afternoon."


The cuts for this illustration and the one on pag-e 29 were made
from photog-raphs obtained from Amos Brougfhton of Tishoka, N. Y.,
who procured them while on a visit at Sioux Falls in 1870. It has
been frequently said to the writer by old residents of the city that
the earliest date any photog-rapher visited Sioux Falls was in 1872;
that the pictures of Sioux Falls claimed to have been taken in 1871
were in fact taken in 1872, and thoseof 1872takenin 1873. One thing-
is certain, the soldiers were in Sioux Falls when the picture of the
officers' quarters was taken, and they left here June 18, 1869.

John Holsey, when shown our illustrations said: "I recog-nize
them very well. Col. Knox was down to the Missouri river to Yank-
ton, I think, and brougfht a photog-rapher back with him in an ambu-
lance. In this picture of the officers' quarters Col. Knox is sitting- in
front of the door, with his orderly standing- behind him. Ed. Brougfh-
ton sits facing- the Colonel, and Charley Howard is sitting- with his
back to the building-, with his little daug-hter Mamie standing- by him.
Mr. Howard at this time was living- in Sioux City and was up on a
visit to his sutlers' store then in charg-e of Ed. Broug-hton. The
other illustration represents the barracks as they were at that time,
and the tarpaulin covering- the ])arrels and bagfs of provisions at the
end of the barracks looks familiar. The photographer took several
pictures at the time, and I feel sure these were taken in the fall of
1866, or in 1867."


The officers' quarters faced the east, and was located on the
south lot where E. J. Daniels' store now stands, and the photoo-raph
of the same must have been taken from the northeast of the building-,
as the whole contour of what is now the city west of Ninth street
appears in the backo-round. When the other picture was taken, the
camera must have been placed southwest of the officers' quarters.


After having- obtained a biog-raphical sketch of Mr. Fowler's life
down to the time he arrived in Sioux Falls, the remark was made to
him: "You have seen a o-reat many changes since coming- here in
1870?" His reply to this remark was taken down by a stenographer
and is as follows: "Not many chang-es, but g-reat many improve-
ments have been made in Sioux Falls since I came here. When I
came. Colonel Allen had a g-rocery store in the barracks, the post
office was in his store and he was postmaster. Cyrus Walts clerked
for him and was deputy postmaster. W. S. Bloom had a stock of
hardware and gfroceries also in the barracks, and C. V. Booth and
John McClellan had each a room in the same building-. I worked for
Jeptha Duling- in his stag-e barn the first winter. East of the bar-
racks on the bank of the river a man by the name of Moulton had a
g-eneral store in an old gfovernment building-; the old g-overnment
stables were a little east of this building* on the bank of the river.-
Frank Raymond kept hotel in what was called "Old Steve's House"
it was on the bank of the river east of where the Emerson block now
stands. In the west tier of barracks Hiram Caldwell (who died a
few years ago at Hartfordj lived with his family, and Joe Dickson
and his brother Tom lived there too. Duling- was running a stage
from Sioux Falls to Yankton. Afterward, when Stevenson had
this line, I drove for him — used to drive through in a day, change
horses and deliver the mail at Turnerville, Swan Lake and Clay
Creek. When I came here, C. K. Howard had a stage line from
Sioux Falls to Elk Point; there was an express messenger on this
line. There w^as also a pony express from Sioux Falls to Flandreau,
run by Lew Hulitt. Howard had a stock of goods in the old sutler's
store."^ This store was built of logs and fronted east, and was lo-
cated east of Phillips Avenue near where the E. L. Smith block is
now. South of the store, Howard kept a hotel in the building which
has been recently used for a butcher shop, and now stands opposite
Dr. Robert's residence on 12th street. Cash Coats and a ^half-breed
bv the name of Mark Wells, clerked in Howard's store. There was
a" place called "The Dive," it fronted east, and you had to go down
a step or tw^o to get into it; it was built of stones, logs and dirt, and
was the dirtiest place on earth; this hole was north of Howard's
store. In the spring of 1871, True Dennis came to Sioux Falls and
started a blacksmith shop in the store building Moulton had vacated.
R. F. Pettigrew built a small office that spring al)out opposite of
where the Commercial House is now; it was just south of the bar-
racks. There is a little building still standing nearly opposite the
Commercial House which was built about twenty feet south of the
west barracks at that time bv a man named Prescott. In 1871 Joe


Dupries built the Central House, which is still standing- on the same
spot, but greatly altered and enlarg-ed. Mr. Dupries was a g-enuine
Frenchman. In the fall of 1871 a Mr. Leonard taug-ht school in a
sod shanty on the side hill near where the brewery is now. He lived
in a shanty on his claim a little west of town. He was partially in-
sane, and we boys used to g^o and stay with him nig-hts for fear he
mig-ht commit suicide if left alone. There w^as an old man we called
"Dutch Charlie." He was an old trapper and had a shanty on his
claim near were the linen mill is now. Everybody was afraid of him.
James Stevenson built a larg-e stone house for a hotel where the
brewery is now, but he never finished it so he could occupy it. He
was the Stevenson who succeeded Duling- in running- the stage line
to Yankton. In 1872 he had a pony livery stable — not a horse in the
outfit. The same year a man by name of Caster built a butcher shop
east of the Central House. In 1871 a lawyer by the name of McLaury
built an office where the Metropolitan block is now, but moved it off
the next year, when the Episcopal church was built there. In 1872,
McLaury built a residence and an office with a basem.ent where the
Emerson block is now; there was a meat market in the basement and
"Billv Bainbridge" was the butcher and Captain Dick was with him.
They had a g-ood choir in the Episcopal church in those days — I
sung- in it myself. Before the church was built the meeting-s were
held in any place where a room could be had. In 1872, a bakery and
restaurant was started in the barracks by a Mr. Boardman. He
afterwards moved north and put up a building- about where the
Merchants Hotel is now. In 1872, a man by name of Dixon, who had
been a clerk in Boston came to Sioux Palls with $8,000 and boug-ht all
the land he could see. He soon had more land than money. He built
the building- on the northwest corner of Main avenue and Eig-hth
street. J. D. Cameron built a bank building- a little north of the
Cataract. C. O. Natesta & Brother had a general store just north
of Cameron's bank. Napoleon Boutcher, fresh from Canada, opened
a shoe shop opposite to where Daniels' store is now, and he used
to charg-e the boys as high as $20 for a pair of boots, but he made the
finest boots I ever saw. In 1870, a Mr. Botsford took up a claim of
40 acres where Meredith's addition is now. He married the cook of
the Cataract Hotel. He was the first miller that came to Sioux Palls,
and he was always planning to build a mill but could not raise the
money. When I first came to Sioux Palls in the fall of 1870, we all
turned in and helped build Covell's two-story sod mansion, and a sod
barn over 100 feet long. They were located south of the street car
track, opposite the present Covell buildings. There was a large
family of Harthorns — the old man and his wife. Prank, Dan, Jim
and Tom, his boys. Harthorn senior lived out near Clark Coats.
Prank had a pre-emption claim south and east of the culvert under
the Illinois Central railroad on the east side of the river, and he had
a shantv in the rocks a few rods northeast of the culvert. I slept
with him one night and I had to crawl in on my hands and knees. In
the winter of 1872 I taught school in the barracks. I still have a
certificate to teach school, dated December 28, 1872, signed by Cyrus
Walts, superintendent. During the winter of 1873, Prank Porde,


John Porcle and myself lived in a log- shanty on the hank of the river
west of town. We had no knives or forks, and used to cut our food
with jack knives. I used to go over to Puller's, a half a mile south,
and o-et about three square meals a week; g-ot there about meal-
time and they would ask me to eat with them — and I consented.
There was no work to be had that winter, and we used to pull up
maple trees in Fuller's g-rove (a natural grove) and sell them in town
for what we could get. We ate a good many beavers that winter —
cooked them in the sod as we had no stove. Prank Porde took a
soldier's black blanket, folded it and laid it on a table and cut out a
pair of trousers with a shoe knife and sewed them himself. Dressed
in these, a buckskin shirt and a pair of moccasins he used to attend
the dances in town. He made a cap from a wolfskin, with two tails
attached to it, which he wore on all occasions. I remember a little
experience I had in 1871. There was an odd character known as
"Israel Putnam," who had taken up a claim one mile east of Dell
Rapids in the bend of the river. I went up and stayed with him a
few days. The mosquitos were so bad that we had to sleep under
a wagon box. They stampeded the horses one night and we had to
g-o about ten miles after them the next day. There was not a house
then where the city of Dell Rapids is now located. Well, in those
days society wasn't g-raded an3^where in these parts; the Indians
were about as g"ood as anybody, and they used to come from Plan-
dreau to Sioux Palls in droves, and the merchants used to trustag-ood
many of them for g-oods. When I hear people now talking- about
hard times, I always think of the early seventies in Minnehaha


In an interview relative to the early days of Sioux Palls, Mrs,
Phillips informed the writer of many interesting incidents which
occurred at that period, and which are given below in her own lan-

"The first sermon I heard in Sioux Palls was preached by a
Methodist minister by the name of Cuthbert, One day I was in my
kitchen and heard some one say "howdy!" I looked around and saw
a tall gentleman standing- in the kitchen door, and he again said
"howdv!" I had lived south, and knew what howdy meant, so I said
"howdy!" and asked him in. He then asked me if he could hold re-
ligious services in my house. I told him my husband would provide
a place for him somewhere in town; but he said he did not want any
other place than my house. He waited until the doctor came home,
who gave him permission to use our rooms, The\' were neatly car-
peted, and the clerical strang-er ejected so much tobacco juice and so
indiscriminately that at last I spoke to him about it, when he apolo-
gized and said he would be more careful. He held meetings Satur-
day evening-, and Sunday morning- and evenintr, and Monday I had to
go all over my carpets on my hands and knees and clean them of
tobacco juice. On Sunday I provided dinner for himself and famil}-,
consisting of eight persons, and, as all our provisions came from
Sioux City, taking it all tog-ether, these meetings were quite a tax


Upon our hospitality. In those early days a Mr. Rio-o-s, pastor of a
Presbyterian church in Lockport, Illinois, and the Rev. Dr. Ward
also preached in Sioux Falls. The first church org-anized \Yas the
Episcopal, and this org-anization erected the first church building-.
Mrs. Clark G. Coats and myself started the first Sunday school.
We had happy times in those days. Every one went to church and
Sunday school, even Charley Howard (in his shirt sleeves).

I remember the blizzard of 1873, very distinctly. It came with-
out warning-. The doctor had just taken the pony and started for
the river, and I was taking- up dinner in the kitchen. The stove pipe
ran up throug-h the roof in place of a chimney, and all at once some-
thing- struck that pipe with a crash. It was the blizzard. I looked
out the window, and saw the doctor a little ways from the house
hang-ing- on to the pony. For some time he could not move away from
where he stood. It was a terrible da}'. I had a servant g'irl at the
the time by the name of Foster whose brother and sister were lost in
the blizzard in Benton, where the family resided.

I remember an amusing- incident, which I saw from my window,
in connection with the store building- near the barracks. Col. Allen
had purchased it, but the Delaneys occupied it, and he wanted to g-et
them out. He tried to persuade them to g-ive possession, and one
day he became so urg-ent that Mrs. Delaney, who was a larg-e woman,
jVicked up a tea kettle of boiling- water and started for him, and the
colonel ran away just as fast as he could."


As will be seen from his biog-raphy, Mr. Nelson settled in Ma-
pleton during- the summer of 1866. At that time his only neig-hbor
was John Thompson, who lived about two miles up the river on his
claim. Mr. Nelson had erected his cabin in the woods near the Big-
Sioux river, where he thoug-ht himself safely hidden from the pio-
neer's most dreaded foe, the roaming- Indian. Everything- was quiet
for a few months, and no unusual sound disturbed the stillness of the
prairie. But one evening- during- the fall, just about sundown, while
he was chopping- wood near the cabin, unearthly yells and howls sud-
denly reached his ears. In shorter time than it takes to tell it, he
dropped his ax, ran into the cabin, and g-athering- up what valuable
papers he had, brought his f rig-htened wife and baby out of the cabin
and around the bend of the river, where they remained until quite
dark. They then crossed a little valley to a small lake surrounded
l)y tall g-rass in which he hid his wife and child. Having- placed them
where he thoug-ht they would not be discovered, he shouldered his
rifle and started for John Thompson's place. Upon arriving- there
he was surprised to find the family quietly eating- their supper, while
he had expected to find them all butchered by the Indians. After
having: briefly told of the approaching- dang-er, he returned for his
wife and child, whom he safely broug-ht to Mr. Thompson's house.
During- this trip he heard something- moving- throug-h the g-rass near
him. He cocked his rifle and quietly awaited the approach of the
stealthy steps of what he thoug-ht to be an Indian, but fortunately


was found to be only a deer. It was temptino'ly near for a "food shot,
hut for fear of attracting- the attention of the Indians he did not fire.
The next morning-, in company with Mr. Thompson and Ole Gil-
seth, he went down the river, and nearly opposite his cabin he dis-
covered two Indian tepees. They then g-ot behind a tree and called
to the Indians, which seemed to g-reatly surprise them, and g-ather-
ing- up their belong-ing-s, they hastily left the place without further


An account of this trip appeared in an issue of the Syd Dakota
lOkko in November, 1895, and thinking- it would prove interesting- to
the readers of this work, a translation of the same is g-iven below.

Ole ( ). (rilseth and John J. Aasen, Jr., left (xoodhue countv,
Minnesota, in the fall of 18()6, with the intention of joining- theii*
friends, John Thompson and John Nelson, who had settled in the
Sioux Valley in Dakota during- the spring- of that year. Ole J. Aasen,
who then lived in the vicinity of Kenyon, in the same county, drove
them to Faribault. From there they took post horses to St. Peter,
where they found a man who was g'oing- to Redwood, and drove with
him to that place. They then continued their way on foot, each car-
rying- a bundle of clothes and a rifle. Thus far they had ])ut up no
provisions for their trip, thinking- thev would buy some from a famih'
they knew, who lived on a farm some distance from Redwood. But
evening- came with not a house in sig-ht, and they spent the nig-ht on
the open prairie. The next morning- it was cloudy, the sun could not
be seen, and they were unable to tell what direction to follow, but
they decided to try and find the farm they had looked for the dav be-
fore, and which they believed could not be very far off. Early in the
afternoon a g-rove came into view, and thinking- this must be the
place, they walked briskly on, hopeful of being- in plenty time for a
^ood supper. However, the g-rove was farther away than it- at first
appeared, and it was not until late in the evening- they reached there,
only to find, instead of friends and shelter, the dreaded wigfwams of
an Indian camp, with their still more dreaded occupants. Having-
the terrible massacre of 1862 in the western part of Minnesota still
fresh in their minds, even starvation could not induce them to g-o
near the Indians, but with trembling- hearts and careful steps they
succeeded in reaching- the other side of the g-rove, without being- no-
ticed, and here they spent the night in a larg-e tree, Mr. Gilseth
keeping- vigfilant watch, with his hand on the rifie until the break of
dawn, when, thankful for their scalps thoug-h starving-, they con-
tinued their wandering westward. That day they could not even find
anv water. Towards evening- they noticed a storm was approaching-,
and it being- late in the fall and quite cold, they wrapped all their


clothes about them and laid down, trying" to rest. Soon the storm
broke loose. It was a terrible storm of snow and rain, and con-
tinued until towards morning-, when it cleared up and they could see
the sun ag-ain. They now took a southwesterly course, thinking- thev
had g-one too far north. That evening- they reached a few small
lakes, the shores of which were frozen, but farther out they discov-
ered a flock of ducks swimming- about in the open water. Mr. Gil-
seth sent a shot into the flock, and two big ducks was his reward.
Now, at last, there was to be a feast! Roasted duck! But ag-ain
they were doomed to disappointment. The storm had wet them
throug-h to the skin, and their matches were useless. Consequently,
no fire, no steak; and the ducks were eaten raw.

After having- rested throug-h the nig-ht and breakfasted on an-
other piece of duck, they continued their journey. During- that da}'
they discovered a wagon track, which they followed, thinking it must
lead to some settlement. It was very indistinct, and sometimes even
lost, but it was fortunately found again. Towards evening Mr. Aasen
became so weak and tired that he told Mr. Gilseth to continue his
way alone, but after having slept awhile he felt so much better that
they resumed their walk, though they were obliged to leave their
bundles of clothes, only carrying- their rifles. They walked about
that whole nig-ht, and in the morning found themselves by a river
which they supposed to be the Big Sioux river. But now the ques-
tion arose whether to follow the river up or down to reach their des-
tination. Finally they decided to follow the river on its course down-
ward. Soon they came to a hay-stack, and thinking that now they
must surely find some people, they made a thorough search, but no
one could be found. Later the}^ came to a bend in the river, which
they forded in order to shorten their way, and following the river the
whole day and part of the night finally came across some new-mown
hay raked up in small piles, and near by found a wagon box which
Mr. Gilseth recognized to be the same that John Thompson had
taken with him from Goodhue county.

Encouraged by these discoveries they looked around further,
and soon found a door to a dug-out on the hillside. Here they
knocked, and this time they were not disappointed, as a friendly voice
from within bid them enter. Opening the door they found a room
occupied by two white men, who, they soon learned, were hunters
stopping there while hunting game in the vicinity. This was near
where Dell Rapids is now located. The wagon box they had seen
proved to belong to Mr. Thompson, the hunters having on their trip
from Sioux Palls borrow^ed the same from him. The starved and tired
wanderers were well received; the hunters abandoned their bed in
their favor, and slept on the floor, and the following morning drove
them down to Jobn Thompson's, where they received a hearty wel-
come. And thus ended their perilous journey, and two more sturdy
pioneers were added to the young setlement.

Mr. Gilseth took up land in Mapleton township, which he gradu-
ally improved for a future home. The first three years he only staid
on his claim long- enough to keep his rights under the homestead law,
the other part of his time he worked out. During this time he came


to the conclusion that "it is not g-ood for a man to be alone," and in
the spring- of 1870, returned to Goodhue county, worked there dur-
ing- the summer, and in the fall, in company with quite a number of
new settlers, came back to Minnehaha county. In this company was
a Miss Anna P. Moe. Shortly after their arrival the first marriag-e
ceremony in this county was performed by Pastor Christensen: and
Ole Gilseth and Anna P. Moe since then have managed the Gilseth
farm in unity and concord.

Mr. Aasen took up land in sections twenty and twenty-nine in
Sverdrup township, there he still resides and has a g'ood, comfort-
able home.




Amono- the early arriv^als in Sioux Falls was one Cephas Talcott.
If he was not an orio-inal character he was at least a little peculiar.
While looking- for land one day, he was returning- to Sioux Falls and
came by the burial place of Governor Masters, the Amidons and
those of the soldiers who had died during- the time Sioux Falls was a
military post. The burial place was located on the resident lots of
the late Justin A. Pettig-rew, and the officers in charg-e of the mili-
tary post had enclosed the g-rounds and put up the following- notice:
"Anybody interfering- with the government burial g-round will be
guilty of and punished for a misdemeanor." Talcott came into the
villag-e wild with delig-ht. He had made a discovery. He had found
a claim unoccupied almost in the heart of the villagfe. He finally
said: "I will have it understood that no g-osh darn Miss D. Meanor
can hold down a claim and live in another place." On one occasion
when out on the prairie looking- for land, he found a government

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 26 of 99)