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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 27 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 27 of 99)
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stake, and being- unable to decipher it, pulled it up and brought it to
town. He was informed it was a serious oifense, and went back to
replace it, but could not find the place from whence he had taken it.
He finally took up some land west of the river, and getting a little
broken and fitted for a crop, came to town to advise what crop to
raise. He fell in with one Robinson, who told him the best paying
crop he could raise was nutmegs — that their cultivation was easy —
that they grew rapidly and would mature in a short season — that
they were easily gathered, g-rowing on low bushes, and brought a
good price. Talcott bought all the nutmegs he could get in town,
Robinson instructing- him to plant them shallow and to put a little
stick by every nutmeg planted, and Cephas followed instructions,
and Robinson followed him, and stole all the nutmegs. Talcott was
too good for this country, and Robinson went farther west.



HISTORY OF MINNEHAHA COUNTY. 249

RAISIXC; A CHURCH DICBT.

E. W. Caldwell is well known as a g-ood story-teller, and it is
also well known that he considers it a g-rave offense to allow the color
of a g-ood story to fade out while being- told to his hearers. The
writer heard him on several occasions repeat an appeal made by a
professional church-debt-lifter at an early day in one of the churches
in Sioux Falls to liquidate the debt on the church in which he was
speaking-. On one occasion the writer had a stenog-rapher take down
the lang-uag-e as it fell from Cal's lips, which was as follows:

"Mv dear Brethren! I want to impress upon you the g-reat fact
that for every dollar you g-ive in this cause or any other cause in
which the g-ood Lord is interested. He will pay it back to you many
fold. You may relv upon this as a principle to which in all church
history there is not a sing-le exception. As an illustration of it I
will tell you of an incident which came under my own observation.
We were undertaking- to raise the debt which laid as an incubus upon
the church at Fort Dodge, and I was undertaking- to raise a subscrip-
tion from the brethren. There was one member of the church, who
was eng-aged in the gfrain business, that is, not exactly as you mig-ht
sav, in the business of buying- the real g-rain, but something- that I
believe they call op/ioi/s, and he had a g-reat deal of money invested
in these options; and I went to him and asked' him to contribute
SI, 500 towards raising- this debt. He protested, that his funds were
so closely tied up that he did not feel justified in using- any of his
money outside of his business. I impressed upon him, as I desire to
impress upon vou, that the money that he mig-ht contribute towards
pa\ing- this obligfation, would result in the Lord's repaying- him.

Finally he was induced to contribute the amount that I requested;
and l)rethren, I want to say to you, that sooner even than I expected,
the amount was paid to him again. As I was saying-, he was eng-ag-ed
in the g-rain business, and had boug-ht a g-reat deal at a price, which,
had there been a tremendous crop, would have occasioned him con-
siderable loss; but ver}' shortly after he made this contribution,
there came sweeping- down over this country tremendous hordes of
those pestilential insects that destroyed the crops and left the harv-
est fields a bare ruin. The result was that directly the price ()f
grain went up so enormously that this dear brother who had contri-
l)uted so larg-ely towards the Lord's service, was rapaid more than
a hundredfold. ^ And so it is my brethren, that the Almig-hty pays
particular attention to promoting- the interests of those who have
maintained His interests."

CHARLFvS NORTON'S BH^I) FKHiS.

Sioux Falls, like all new towns, had its full cpiota of practical
jokers. It is necessary for all communities to have a certain amount
of amusement, and if it does not come to them throug-h the ordinary
channels, it is supplied in some other way. Theatrical troupes did
not visit Sioux Falls during- the first few years of its existence, and
trained bears and hand organs were rarely seen upon its streets. To
make up for the deficiency in the line of amusements, practical jok-



250 HISTORY OF MINNEHAHA COUNTY.



ing" was resorted to, and occasionally resulted in considerable merri-
ment, especially to those who were closely allied to the principals.

Strang-e as it may seem to those who have become acquainted
with Charles L, Norton during- the last few years, \'et, it is a fact
that during- his early residence in Sioux Palls he was a person who
would "bear watching-." He seemed to enjoy the discomfiture of
those upon whom he could play a practical joke, and he was always
sure to have a circle of confederates to help him enjoy the fun. To
such an extent had he added to his list of victims that the whole field
was pitted ag-ainst him, and here is one of the g-ood thing-s that was
successfully worked upon him.

One day while eng-ag-ed in work at the station he received a tele-
gram from Conductor Parker, who was coming- in charg-e of a train
from St. Paul, which read as follows: "Two tramps aboard have g-ot
a fine bird dog-, will sell for ten dollars. Do you want it?" The
chicken season was just dawning-, and Charlie didn't know for cer-
tain the tramps had stolen the dog- — the dog- was cheap — he wanted
a dog-, and this appeared to be the dog- he was looking- for, and so he
teleg-raphed back: "Buy him." The train came and the dog- was
delivered and the money paid to Parker. Charlie noticed that Cap-
tain Bourne — a lumber dealer in Sioux Palls — g-ot off from the
train, accompanied by a g-ood looking- strang-er, who afterwards
proved to be a man b}' the name of Poster on a chicken excursion —
but no tramp. Charlie tied the dog- in the freigfht room, but about
an hour after, upon g'oing- to see him, found he was g-one — rope and
all. He went after that dog-, and he found him over town in company
with Parker, Poster, Captain Bourne and several other cong-enial,
convivial spirits, and the}' all seemed as happy as thoug-h thev were
spending- some one's money instead of their own. He soon learned
that Poster had, what is called, a superior title to that dog-, and that
Captain Bourne g-ot Parker to teleg-raph Norton for authority to
purchase the dog for him.

He took the matter philosophically, didn't complain and did not
try to g-et his money back — in fact, that had been spend before he
found out all the facts. But he did sit down and g-ive away to resent-
ful feelings, and plan for revenge. The mere sight of a bird dog
made him wild. All through that fall and winter he seemed absent
minded — in a sort of deep study — but when spring came, and the
chickens began to hatch, his accustomed cheerfulness returned,
although his friends noticed that there was a "way off look" in his
left eye when he met Captain Bourne.

He discussed all summer with Captain Bourne the pleasure of
chicken hunting, until that gentleman was enthused with the idea
that there was nothing like it. During all this time Charlie was
making friends with an old dog belong-ing to one of his neig-hbors.
He i)etted and fed him, and taught him to follow him.

This dog- had one thing in common with a bird dog-, and onlv one,
and that was — he was a dog. His neck and tail were about the
same in circumference, but his size and color were about right. He
took this dog down to the Milwaukee depot, and by some hypnotic
influence induced the agent to join in his wicked scheme for revenge.



HISTORY OF MINNEHAHA COUNTY. 251



The dog- was tied up at the depot, and Charlie went to Captain
Bourne's office and told him the Milwaukee ag-ent had a fine dog- left
with him which he proposed to sell at auction. Bourne wanted the
dog-, and he and Charlie went down and looked him over, and by the
use of extravagant praise of the dog-'s g-ood points Bourne paid the
Milwaukee ag-ent fifteen dollars, and took the dog up to his office.
As soon as Bourne was gfone, Norton g-ot the fifteen dollars and went
up town to see his friends, and sent the owner of the dog- after him.
Captain Bourne, althoug-h of a sweet mild disposition (so the old
settlers say) gfot ang-ry, and wag-ed active war upon the owner of the
dog. But the captain had to yield to what is called "the force of
circumstances" and the dog- went with the man who had the superior
title.

AN INCIDENT AT LONE ROCK.

Lone Rock was frequently visited by the residents of Sioux Palls,
and it was a favorite spot for fishermen to while away a few hours
catching- pickerel. At an early day a man by the name of Dan Harnet
resided in Sioux Falls. He was an excentric character and afforded
the people a g-reat amount of amusement. As a practical joker
his name was first on the list. Another resident at the same time,
was one Honev-Lake Smith. He came from California, and had there
been proprietor of a ranch called Honey-Lake, hence he was known
here in Sioux Palls as Honey-Lake-Smith. He claimed to be a prize
fisherman in California, and his fishing- exploits, as told by himself,
would not suffer by comparison with the tales of Munchausen. Dan
Harnet was a betting- man. He was ready at all times and under all
circumstances to w^ag-er any and everything- in his possession, and all
the property of his friends and relatives besides, upon any debatable
question that mig-ht arise.

He was tired of Honey-Lake's fishing- stories, and offered to bet
him S20 that he could catch more pickerel with hook and line out of
the Sioux river in two hours than Honey-Lake could.

The bet was promptly taken, and Harry Corson chosen as ref-
eree, and Dan Harnet selected Lone Rock as his position to fish.
Honey-Lake selected a position a little below, where he could see the
top of Lone Rock, and Corson took a position on shore near a small
pool of water, but where Honey-Lake could not see him. Time was
called, and Harnet soon caug-ht a pickerel w^hich was thrown over to
Corson, who announced that he would put the pickerel in the pool.
Harnet threw out his line, and Corson fastened the pickerel already
caug-ht to Harnet's hook, after which Harnet passed the fish over to
Corson ag-ain, in fact, this was repeated as often as these heathen
Chinese dared to do it. The same operation was g-one throug-h with
in all about fifteen times, and each time the pickerel was g-iven an air-
ing-, Dan shouted, and Honey-Lake could see the pickerel on its jour-
ney from Lone Rock. The California adjectives indnlg-ed in by
Honey-Lake were numerous and emphatic.

When the time was up, Harnet had only twf) fishes and Honey-
Lake the same number. Corson and Harnet started home, telling-
Honey-Lake the fish were safe in the pool, but there were so many



252 HISTORY OF MINNEHAHA COUNTY.



that thev would send some one for them. They succeeded in g-etting-
Honey-Lake up town without his looking- in the pool, and the money
was paid over to Harnet. It was not long-, however, before Honey-
Lake learned the real facts in the case but as he was invited to the
entertainment given by Harnet in celebrating- his victory, he resig-ned
himself pleasantly to his fate.

THEY SAW THE GOAT.

DAKOTA LADIES GET A GLIMPSE OF HIS MASONIC MAJESTY.

From St. Albans, Xt., Weekly Messeiitter.

The "g-oat" which is supposed to do active service at all reg-ular
and special communications or assemblies of the Masonic, Odd Pel-
lows and other fraternities has for ag-es past piqued the curiosity of
many "outsiders" — and especially has the existence of that myster-
ious animal been a source of anxiety to the portion of the fair sex
whose husbands are on familiar and friendly terms with the aforesaid
"butter." A private letter from South Dakota to a St. Albans g-en-
tleman relates an instance in which this never-dying- curiosity was at
least temporarily satisfied; and as it is too good to keep we give it
away — confidentially of course.

The (Trand Armv of the state mentioned were holding- an annual
meeting- in a certain busv town, and, as a proper accompaniment,
came also a g-athering- of the Woman's Relief Corps. It so happened
that the latter held their meeting- in the Masonic hall, and some wicked
wag- decided that he would introduce the "traditional g-oat" to the
ladies by way of convincing- them that the animal was a "stern real-
ity." The billv-g-oat was procured, and during- an intermission he
was shut up in a side room, with a label "Private" on the door. The
scheme worked well. A damsel of inquiring turn of mind tried the
door. So did the billy-g-oat. He made a bold rush, pushed throug-h
the opening-, and with a bleat bounded into the midst of the women in
the ante-room, very much to their amazement. Then consternation
set in as the terrible stories of the devastation wrougfht by the ma-
sonic g-oat were recollected by these defenseless females. Taking-
refuge in chairs and on tables was of no avail, for "Billy" was ag-ile;
and the janitor (Frank Kunerth) had to be called in to take hold of
both horns of this dilemma and lead him away. It was a case where
the Relief Corps needed relief; and some of those women are now
ready to believe that "the goat" is no myth, but instead an incon-"
venient combination of horns, hoofs and "trying*" disposition.

CHARLES BARRETT'S NARROW ESCAPE FROM BEING
BURIED ALIVE.

The election of Harrison for President in 1888, was celebrated
in Sioux Falls with a g-ood deal of enthusiasm, both natural and in-
spired, and it is owing- to this fact, that in g-athering- up the frag -
ments, that as little as possible may be lost, we chronicle the follow-
ing- episode.

Every one knows Charles Barrett, and favorably too, for he is a



HISTORY OP^ MINNEHAHA COUNTY. 253



o-ood fellow, and is entirely satisfied with a residence in this world of
cloud and sunshine, and would not exchano^e it for anv ])lace he can
possibly hope for in the future.

He had been tempted by some of the "unterrified" to make
sundry little bets, that Harrison would be elected, and in fact had
yielded to the temptation (with g-reat reluctance, of course, believing-
it was morally wrong- to bet upon any event).

Cig-ars, a little money here and there, parcels of clothing-, and
also a very fine silk hat had been won by Mr. Barrett. He was feel-
ing- happy — the country was safe — the little tokens of his g-ood I'udg -
ment were in his possession, in fact, he felt g-enerous to a fault. The
boys had decorated his new silk hat with mottoes, and in doing- so, had
made it a very tall hat, and in fastening- the decorations had punctured
it full of holes, and all this without any protest being- made. He took
his friends, or his friends took him down to the "Mint" and what
hapi^ened is best told in his own lang-uag-e:

"I drink beer occasionally, but seldom anything- strong-er, but
the bo3's wouldn't take anything- but "red bug- juice," and of course,
I had to take it with them. We drank several times, and I found I
was dizzy andlig-ht-headed, but the other fellows seemed to be all rig-ht,
and it made me a little mad. I thoug-ht they were trying- to g-et me
drunk. It occurred to me that my stomach was empty, and if I could
only g-et a g-ood lunch, I could g-o back and do them up. So I slipped
out, intending- to go across the street to a restaurant and fill up. As
it happened Booth's undertaking- establishment was next door to the
restaurant, and I g-ot in there by mistake. Booth was in, and seeing-
my condition said to me: "Charlie, come into the back room and lie
down awhile, it will do you g-ood." I thoug-ht so too, and went int'o
his back room and lay down on a loung-e, and was asleep in no time.
I don't know how long- I slei)t, but after awhile I woke up, and look-
ing around found I was in a room with a lot of coffins. I thoug-ht I
was laid out. I couldn't remember of being- sick or hurt. I saw that
silk hat, and then I thoug-ht I had been run over, taken up for dead,
and delivered over to an undertaker. I felt of my head, arms and
leg-s and body, to see if I had been smashed, but I could not find any
trouble. I made a little stir, and was trying- to g-et up, when Booth
came in, put his hand on my shoulder, and said: "Charlie lie down."
1 thoug-ht he was a gfoing* to put me in a coffin, and I had g-ot to act at
once to keep from being- buried. I commenced on Booth, and he shed
his clothes in no time, and I can see him now crawling- on his hands
and knees to g-et awav from me. When I had g-ot rid of him, I made
for the back door, went over a three foot railing- to the g-round eig-ht
feet below. I landed all rig-ht and ran for assistance, and coming- into
a small company of men, told them Booth was trying- to bury me alive.
Of course, I was very soon on my way home in a hack. I paid Booth
S35.00 damag-es when I g-ot down town, and made up my mind that
"bug juice didn't ag-ree with me."

A little incident connected with this affair occurred about the
time Barrett was flying- up the back alley. Booth pulled his clothes
tog-ether, went to the front door, and seeing- Captain Parliman, said:
"Cap, Charlie Barrett is in here crazy, come in and quiet him down!"



254 HISTORY OF MINNEHAHA COUNTY.



Capt. Parliman looked at Booth and replied: "I don't want any of it
in mine, I am not g'oing- in there," and lookin<j- Booth over ag^ain he
added: "and I don't think you had better go in yourself."

BUCHANAN BROTHERS' GREAT SHOW.

Sometime in the future it is possible that some enterprising- citi-
zens of this county may org-anize a show and g-o on the road with an
ambition to rival the show fame of P. T. Barnum. In order that they
and their friends may not claim it to be the first enterprise of the
kind origfinated in this county, we propose to put on record, so far as
it can be done in a work of this kind, the fact that on Thursday,
May 12, 1898, "Buchanan Brothers' Great Show" — "Two shows com-
bined in one" exhibited in the city of Sioux Falls. It was a pure and
simple Minnehaha county product, and this w^as the first time this
g-reat ag-g-reg^ation of Aerialists, Gymnasts, Acrobats, Riders, and
Arenic Specialists exhibited under canvas. The Buchanan Brothers
were citizens of Sioux Falls, and the enterprise and energ-y displayed
in g-etting- tog-ether this combined circus, menag-erie and museum,
struck the ordinary citizen as being- a prima facia omen of success.
But it was a wet season, and when they left Sioux Falls and went on
the road they had a dampness to encounter, which overpowered their
well laid plans to amass a fortune in the show business. After about
thirty days the ag-g-reg-ation ceased to ag-gfreg-ate, and finally stranded
at Pipestone, Minnesota. Everyone in Sioux Falls, where the Bu-
chanan boys are well known, reg-retted the misfortune that overtook
them; but, nevertheless Minnehaha county can still point to her
Queen Bee mill, and several other monuments of her enterprise.

RAINMAKING.

During- the month of May, 1894, there were frequent newspaper
notices of persons traveling- about producing- rain to order in such
quantities as people wanted. From these articles it appeared that
these rain mag-icians would g-o to a drouth stricken country and
contract with the muncipal authorities or other equally intellig-ent
people to produce a certain rainfall, within a certain period, for a
certain consideration. Upon scanning- the articles carefully it ap-
peared that the consideration paid was the most certain, the period
the next, and the rainfall the least certain event to happen. In some
cases rain fell within the period named, but it was usually where the
people could have consistently claimed that the Great Ruler had for-
g-otten his children if rain had not fallen within the time fixed. Of
course, every community has a certain percentag-e of people who are
ready to believe in any claim put forth w^hichthey cannot understand,
and especially if it is opposed to all natural laws, sense and reason.
Minnehaha county had people of this sort, and they came to the
conclusion after waiting- a long- time for much needed rain, that the
relations were somewhat strained between the Great Arbiter of
earthly events and the inhabitants of the Sioux Valley, and that
something- must be done at once to g-et the much needed moisture.
A few of the citizens of Minnehaha county came before the board of
county commissioners on the 7th day of June, and among- them our



HISTORY OF MINNEHAHA COUNTY. 2dD



esteemed friend Estabrook, who was supported by a petition with
forty sig-natures, and asked the board to appropriate not to exceed
$800 for the purpose of procuring- a certain rainmaker by the name
of Jewell with his g-as tube and box trap to come to Sioux Falls, mix
up his chemicals and wet down Minnehaha county as it should be.
He said "it is no praying" scheme — that's failed, but this man is a real
rain producer, and rain seems to follow him, and he seldom can gfet
in out of the wet, and that the people of Minnehaha county who had
crops which were suffering* for water would never be satisfied if this
man and his moisture extractor were not broug-ht to Minnehaha
county and set at work." It was sug-g-ested that there were not
more than four or five gfallons of moisture in the atmosphere within
fifty miles of Sioux Palls, but this didn't phase him, for he replied
"more or less, we want what there is and the people are entitled to
it." A resolution was introduced in accordance with the prayer of
the petitioners, but it was lost. It did not, however end the matter.
The drouth became more pronounced, and the demand for the rain-
maker Mr. Jewell became more clamorous, and in some way he was
induced to come to Sioux Palls about the 18th day of June. On the
19th day of June there was an informal meeting- of the county com-
missioners, or some of them at least, and neg-otiations were entered
into between the board and Jewell for producing- a rainfall in the
County of Minnehaha. There is no record of the proceeding-s, and
the writer is compelled to rely upon his memory for what follows.
Jewell knew what he was talking- about, and assured the commission-
ers that he had conducted fifty-one experiments, and had been
successful fifty-one times. He said, among- other thing-s, that he
could produce rain under any circumstances, althoug-h it would not
be so copious if high winds prevailed and the temperature was below
fifty deg-rees, but with both of these obstacles in his way he could
still milk the atmosphere. At Des Moines after the weather bureau
had announced there were no prospects of rain and there was no
moisture in the atmosphere within a circle of 100 miles of the city,
he liberated the g-as in the box car he was traveling- about in, and it
shot up into the ethereal canopy throug-h his three little tin tubes —
and the parched earth was drenched with water. He assured the
commissioners he had no trouble in making- contracts for producing-
rain, and that his success had been so uniform and remarkable that
only very relig-ious people objected to rain contracts, and they solely
upon the g-round that it was an insult to Providence, who knew best
when to send rain. This seemed to remove the last obstacle in
Commissioner Schaetzel's mind, and they all commenced to talk
business. Commissioner Lee wanted the g-as to enter the atmosphere
at the g-eog-raphical center of the county, and said he should insist
upon it, so that in case the rainfall should not be uniform in quantity
throug-hout the county the taxpayers couldn't blame the commission-
ers. Emerson said he wanted each commissioner district to g-et the
same quantity of water per acre, and he had taken the liberty to ask
Mr. Jewell when he first met him whether this could be done, and if
he would do it if a contract was made, and Mr. Jewell replied, that
all he wanted was the loan of a county map while he remained in



256 HISTORY OF MINNEHAHA COUNTY.



Sioux Palls, and he would see to it that the rainfall was uniform
throug-hout the county. Commissioner Colton said: "The northwest-
ern part of the county won't kick if they don't ^et quite so much rain
as thev do down nearer the machine — we had quite a shower up
there a few days ago, and the crops are not suffering' so much as thev
are a little further south. I am for letting- Mr. Jewell do his work
where he thinks he can do it to the best advantag-e." Before the
contract was drawn the commissioners tried to induce Mr. Jewell to
make the payment conting-ent upon his producing- a certain amount
of rainfall within a g-iven time, but they found that the g-entleman
who was endeavoring- to make his fifty-second contract a very prudent



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 27 of 99)