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 3 of 99)
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an election will be held for the following named officers, to-wit:

"A Governor, a Secretary of tlie Territory, a Deleg-ate to Con-
gress, four members of the Territorial House of Representatives,
two members of the Territorial Council, a Judge of Probate, a Dis-
trict Attorney, three County Commissioners, a Sheriff, a Register
of Deeds, a County Treasurer, a Coroner, two Justices of the Peace,
two County Assessors, and tw^o Constables.


"Election to be held in the 1st Precinct at the Dakota House; 2(1
Precinct, at the house of Henrv Masters; 3d Precinct, at the house
of Charles Philbrick.

"J. M. Allen,
"Clerk Board Co. Commissioners.

"Dated this ()th day of Auo-ust, A. D. 1859."

Mr. Albrig-ht's narrative also ignores the fact, that Henry
Masters was elected g-overnor by the legfislature in 1858, and here
ao-ain we find in the issue of November 8, 1859, of The Democrat, the
following' notice of the death of Gov. Masters:


"Since our last issue Dakota has been called upon to mourn the
death of one of her oldest, ablest and most honored citizens. Henry
Masters, her Governor, has been called from his sphere of labor and
usefulness on earth, to that bourne from whence no traveler returns.
His demise occurred on the fifth day of September last, after an ill-
ness of about ten da3's, and in the fifty-third year of his ag"e. "

We also find in The Democrat of Aug-ust 26, 1859, an advertise-
ment of S. J. Albrig-ht and J. M. Allen of Sioux Falls City, Dealers
in Real Estate, under the firm name of Albright & Allen, and in
their list of references the following-: "Hon. Henry Masters, Gov-
ernor of Dakota Territory."

This would seem to settle the question that Henry Masters was
W-x^ first g-overnor.

It is not an important matter, but the statement by Mr. Al-
bright that "Henry Masters was orig-inally a Massachusetts man,
and removed here from Dubuque, Iowa, with his familv and effects"
should be corrected. Gov. Masters was born in Bath, Maine, and
came from the city of Brooklyn, N. Y., to Sioux Falls, his family
remaining- in Brooklyn, with the exception of his son Harry, who
came here someHsime after his father, probably in 1859. Gov. Mas-
ters, on one occasion at least, preached a sermon in Sioux Falls,
the first sermon preached in the county, and probably the first
within the present limits of the State of South Dakota. It was in
support of the Swedenborg-ian faith.

On the 10th day of August, 1859, a convention was called to meet
in Sioux Falls City to nominate a candidate for delegate to Congress,
and, as Mr. Albright says in his narrative, "a few days subsequent
to the adjournment of the convention, the community was startled by
the information that he (Gov. Masters; had been stricken with apo-
plexy at his home, and that death had followed the stroke," and as
Gov. Masters died on the 5th day of September, it is undoubtedly
true that there was a convention held on September 3, and was the
onlv convention held that year, for it is a fact that candidates for
other offices were nominated at this time.


In reference to the nomination and election of Judg-e Kidder for
delegate to Congress in 1859, we do not hesitate to affirm that the fol-
lowing- statements can be fully substantiated. Judg-e Kidder came
from St. Paul to Sioux Palls late in Aug-ust, 1859, and was nominated
for deleg-ate to Cong-ress on Saturday, the 3d day of September, and
left Sioux Falls for St. Paul the forepart of the following week; that
before the election took place, A. G. Fuller, who was absent at the
time the convention was held, returned to Sioux Falls, and was so
displeased with the fact that Judge Kidder had been nominated in-
stead of himself, that the name of Judge Kidder was taken from the
ticket and Mr. Fuller's substituted, and Mr. Fuller was voted for in
the Sioux Valley. After the election Mr. Fuller went to St. Paul,
and it was arranged between the two candidates that Judge Kidder
should have the election, and a return was made from Pembina show-
ing that Kidder had a majority over Fuller, and he received the cer-
tificate of election.

Gov. Masters was nominated for governor at this convention,
but his death created a vacancy on the ticket, Mr. Albright soon
after the convention went to St. Paul, and during his absence his
name was put on the ticket for governor in place of Henry Masters.
Mr. Albright was elected governor, but, we are informed, did not
qualify, and was displeased with his election, stating that he would
prefer to be a member of the House, and its speaker, the same as he
was the year before, and a certificate was issued to him as a member
of the House.

At the top of the first editorial column of The Democrat in its
issue of November 8, 1859, the following appears:


"An unavoidable absence eastward, prolonged beyond desire or
expectation, and our inability at the time of departure to procure
mechanical aid in our office, must be our apology for the hiatus of
several numbers which has occurred in the publication of the Demo-
crat. A like occurrence has been provided against as far as may be
in the future, and we trust that our readers will, in view of the causes
which led to it, excuse the one just passed."

The last issue of The Democrat before this, was on the 26th day
of August, 1859.

When the second session of the legislature convened on Wednes-
day the 2d of November, 1859, it adjourned from day to day until
Monday, the 7th, for want of a quorum. On that day Mr. Albright
was nominated speaker by Representative C. Cooper, and was elected
unanimously, and acted as such during the session of the leg-islature,
which adjourned on the 18th of the same month. A bill was intro-
duced in the House (H. B. No. 5) "providing for the death or resigna-
tion of the governor" passed by the House on November 14, and by
the Council November 16. It is a disputed question who was the
governor after the death of Gov. Masters, but, according to the best
information obtainable, we are confident that this bill No. 5 made the


Hon. W. W, Brooking-s (who was then President of the Council) ex
officio Governor. He sig-ned the certificate of Judg-e Kidder's elec-
tion as deleg-ate to Cong-ress "W. W. Brooking-s ex officio Gov-
ernor," and sent it to him at St. Paul, but Judg-e Kidder sent it
back requesting- him to sig-n it as "Acting- Governor," which he did.
The members of the leg-islature were as follows:


Midway and Rock counties — J. B. Amidon, W. W. Brooking-s.
Big- Sioux and Pipestone — L. B. Atwood, James McCall.
Vermillion and Yankton — Joseph Scales, J. B. (Trecnway.


Midway and Pipestone counties — J. W. Evans, C. Cooper, J. E.
Peters, William Stevens.

Bio- Sioux — John Rouse, Georg'e Preudenreich, R. M. Johnson.
S. J. Albrig-ht.

Vermillion and Rock — William Little, Albert Kilg-ore, Amos

The council org-anized by electing- W. W. Brooking-s, president,
C. S. White, secretary, B. Jarrett, messeng-er, M. V. B. Pisk, ser-

The members of the House were sworn in bv J. McCall, and
organized b}' electing S. J. Albrig-ht speaker, L. W. Stuart clerk,
John Kelts serg-eant-at-arms.

It is hardly probable that any members of this leg-islature were
residents of Vermillion or Yankton counties. In looking- up their
residences, and especially the places where elections were held, we
have come to the conclusion that no votes were cast in the Missouri
Valley. The Hon. J. R. Hanson, now residing- at Yankton, was a
resident of that place in 1859, and in response to a letter written him
in reg-ard to the matter, he says: "There was a public meeting- held
at Yankton November 8, 1859, which declared among- other things as
follows: "W^e do not approve of any election that has been held, nor
will we participate in any that may be held in any portion of this
territorv for the purpose of electing- a delegate to Congress, but we
trust in the wisdom and justice of Congress to provide us with a
legal form of government at an early day." Copies of this resolution
were ordered sent to Vermillion, Big Sioux, Bon Homme and Atkin-
son to be read at meetings to be held at those places. This resolu-
tion was subsequently adopted at Vermillion, but I don't know about
the other places.

"Prom the foregoing it is fair to presume that no vote was had
for delegate to Congress, representatives to a legislature or terri-
torial officers. My personal recollection is that we did not partici-
pate in that election."

This would seem to settle the question that this provisional


g-overnment was participated in almost exclusively by Big- Sioux
county, and especially so when the members of the leg-islature,
Greenway, Brooking-s, Amidon, Evans, Peters, Little, Kilg-ore, Scales,
Stevens and Shaw, accredited to Midway, Rock, Pipestone, Vermil-
lion and Yankton counties, were well known residents of Big- Sioux

We are indebted to the columns of The Democrat for a partial
report of the proceedingfs of this leg-islature. Memorials to Cong-ress
to extend a territorial g-overnment over Dakota, to recog-nize Judg^e
Kidder as a deleg-ate, to recog-nize and ratify the laws passed, and to
establish a land office at Sioux Falls, were passed. A bill providing-
for filling- a vacancy in case of the resig-nation or death of g-overnor,
and bills for fixing- the boundaries of Big- Sioux county, and estab-
lishing- the counties of Scott and Buchanan, were passed. Bills pro-
hibiting- the setting- of prairie fires, the running- at larg-e of cattle and
swine, the incorporation of the Sioux Falls Manufacturing- Co., and
the establishing- of supreme and district courts were killed. Joint
resolutions appointing- a public printer, providing- for the printing- of
the laws passed, and instructing- the deleg-ate to Cong-ress to ask for
the appropriation of S6,000 to defray the expenses of the g-ov^ernment
of Dakota for the current year, were passed.

The year 1860 was a very quiet one, the settlers anxiously
awaiting the result of Judg-e Kidder's efforts in their behalf. Very
few immig-rants came. Among- those were J. B. Amidon and familv.

The year 1861 saw the hopes and expectations of the ambitious
population realized. March 2, President Buchanan approv^ed the bill
for the org-anization of Dakota Territory, and President Lincoln
hastened to perfect the government by appointing- the following- offi-
cers in accordance with the org-anic act: William Jayne of Illinois,
g-overnor; John Hutchinson of Minnesota, secretary; P. Bliss of
Ohio, chief justice; L. P. Williston of Pennsylvania and J. L. Will-
iams of Tennessee, associate justices; W. Gleeson of Maryland, dis-
trict attorney; W. F. Schaffer, United States marshal.

By a provision of the org-anic act, Dakota was made a distinct
land district, and G. D. Hill of Michig-an appointed surveyor-g-eneral.
The name of "Dakota" was g-iven to the territory for the reason that
the numerous tribes of Indians who had inhabited this reg-ion from
the earliest times known to the whites bore the g'eneral name of
Dakotas, althoug-h each tribe had its peculiar name aside from the
g-eneral one.

The officers appointed by the president at once entered upon the
discharg-e of their duties, and in June of the same year Dakota had a
regular g-overnment. On the 13th day of July, 1861, Governor Javne
issued his first proclamation, dividing- the territory into judicial dis-
tricts and assigning- the judg-es for each.

July 29, 1861, Governor Javne issued his second proclamation,
dividing- the territory into leg-islative districts, and appointing- Sep-
tember 16, for a g-eneral election, when members of the legislature
and a deleg-ate to Cong-ress should be elected.

The first district comprised the Big- Sioux Valley, and to this
district was assigned two councilmen and four members of the House.


The first g-eneral election held in the new territory was an ex-
ceeding-ly interesting- one. There were three candidates for delegate
to Cono-ress: Capt. J. B. S. Todd, independent; A. J. Bell, union;
and C. P. Boog-e, the people's candidate. Of 585 votes cast, Todd
received 397, and was declared elected by the board of canvassers,
who issued to him the certificate of election as the first deleg"ite to
Cong-ress from Dakota.

The members of the leg-islature elected from the first district
were as follows: Council, Austin Cole and W. W. Brooking^s; House,
J. C. McBride, Christopher Maloney, Geo. P. Waldron and H. S.

The first leg"islature convened March 17, ltS()2, at Yankton, that
place having- been desig-nated by the g-overnor as temporary capital.
At this session an act was passed establishing- the County of Minne-
haha, and authorizing- the governor to nominate, and with the consent
of council, appoint the county officers.

The following- officers were elected: judge of probate and treas-
urer, J. B. Amidon; register of deeds, Harry Masters; sheriff, J. W.
Evans; commissioners, Wm. Stevens, Wm. Amidon, and B. C.
Powler; justice of the peace, James McCall.

An act was also passed legalizing- the official acts of James M.
Allen as register of deeds, and James McCall as justice of the peace
for the County of Big Sioux as organized under the authority of Min-
nesota. A memorial to Congress was also passed, praving for the
establishment of a military post at Sioux Palls City for the protec-
tion of the settlers.

During the previous winter. Company A, Dakota Cavalry, con-
sisting of ninety-six men under Captain Nelson Miner, was organ-
ized and mustered into service in April, and a detachment of this
company was stationed at the Palls. J. B. Watson, John McClellan
and A. P. Shaw were members of this company.

The spring and summer of 1862, were full of promise to the
young County of Minnehaha, and had the Indians remained quiet all
would have gone well with her. Pate, however, decreed otherwise,
and the bright anticipations of the little band of pioneers who had
toiled and endured so faithfully, were soon to be destroyed.

In August the Indian uprising- beg-an again, and horrible massa-
cres on the frontier of Minnesota were perpetrated. The news did
not reach the Palls until some time afterward, but on the 25th of
August an event occurred, which caused consternation among the
settlers. This was the murder of Judge J. B. Amidon and his son.
They left their home in Sioux Palls City early in the morning, to cut
some hay on their land about a mile north, taking their dinners with
them. When night came and they did not return, Mrs. Amidon be-
came alarmed and notified the soldiers, who, fearing the worst, at
once started in search of them. Not until the next morning was
their search rewarded and their worst fears realized. They were
found in a cornfield, adjacent to the hayfield. Judge Amidon, lying on
his face, with a bullet hole through his back, and the son farther
back in the cornfield, his body covered with arrows. It was evident
that the judge had died instantlv, but the boy had survived long


enoug-h to draw a number of arrows from his body. While the sol-
diers were searching- for the murderers a number of Indians ap-
peared on the bluff with the evident intention of attacking- the villag-e,
but on the return of the soldiers, they fled and escaped in the
timber alonof the river.

The settlers were now thoroug-hly alarmed, and when a day or
two later messeng-ers arrived with the news of the fearful massacres
on the frontier, and with orders from the gfovernor for the soldiers to
proceed to Yankton and bring- the settlers with them, they hastily
g-athered up such property as could be easily carried and, with heavy
hearts, abandoned the earthly possessions they had fondly called
their own.

After their departure the Indians entered the villag-e, destroyed
everything they found, and set fire to the building-s. They ended
the pioneer labors of the old Smith press by throwing- it into the
river, where it laid until 1871, when it was rescued and placed on
exhibition in the town. A part of it was sold to True Dennis, at
that time popularlv known as the "villag-e blacksmith," and the bed
lay for some time near where E. B. Smith's furniture store is now lo-
cated, but Hiram Caldwell, living- north of Sioux Falls, took it home
and used it for a door step. R. P. Pettig-rew discovering- the use to
which it was being- put, and thinking- it should be preserved as a relic
of the first newspaper enterprise in the county, g-ave Mrs. Caldwell
five dollars for it, and now has it in his possession. Mr. Pettig-rew's
brother Fred has the spindle. The Indians carried the type away
with them, and some of it afterwards found its way back to the settle-
ments in the form of ornaments to the pipes which they made of

Two months later a number of men with a small party of soldiers
under Captain Miner came back to the deserted villag-e in the hope
of finding- and taking- back with them some of the movable property
which had been left behind in their hasty flig-ht. They found the
house which had been occupied by W. W. Brookings (standing- nearly
where the Milwaukee depot is now located), and two others still left,
the fire having died out without consuming the buildings as the
Indians had expected. Among other things found and saved were
some valuable papers belong-ing- to Mr. Brooking-s, which were kept
in a trunk and were partially burned.

By October of this year all the settlements in the Sioux Valley
were abandoned, and most of the settlers left the country. A few
in Yankton and Bon Homme counties gathered at Yankton, where a
good stockade had been built, and remained there through the
troublous times, not knowing what moment they might be attacked
by the savages and their lives sacrificed. For nearly three vears the
Sioux Vallev remained almost deserted. A long and disastrous In-
dian war was feared, and the settlements were unguarded and de-
fenceless, and murders and depredations were frequent.

The second session of the territorial legislature convened on the
first day of December, 1862, at Yankton, and after two weeks of con-
testing and quarreling, was finally organized. The acts passed,
relating directly to Minnehaha county, were as follows: the counties


of Clay, Lincoln, Deuel, Minnehaha and Brookintrs were made the
second council and representative district, and entitled to a repre-
sentation of three members of the Council and six meml)ers of the
House. The counties of Clay, Cole, Lincoln, Minnehaha, Brookino-s
and Deuel were constituted the first judicial district of the territory,
with the seat of jurisdiction at Vermillion, and the first Tuesday of
May in each year appointed for the court to convene. Memorials to
Cong"ress were also passed, praying" for the establishment of a mail
route from Mankato in Blue Earth county, Minnesota, to Port Ran-
dall in Dakota territory via Sioux Falls, and for the establishment
of a military post at Sioux Falls for the protection of the settlers.
The latter is giyen in full as a picture of the state of afl^airs in Da-
kota at that date, and reads as follows:

"To the Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War:

"Your memorialist, the leg-islative assembly of the Territory of
Dakota, would most respectfully represent that the frontier settle-
ments of western Minnesota, northwestern Iowa, and southern Da-
kota will require for several years to come, military protection to
g-uard the inhabitants and their property from the attacks and
plundering- of roaming- hostile bands of Indians who are constantly
ravag-ing- that section of country; further, that all the frontier settle-
ments of southwestern Minnesota, northwestern Iowa, and almost
the entire valley of the Big- Sioux river in Dakota, have been depop-
ulated during- the past summer throug-h fear of hostile Indians, the
inhabitants having- been partially butchered in several of these set-
tlements; further, that for the last six years, the Minnesota Sioux
and the Yankton Sioux have been in the habit of coming- down the
river of the Big- Sioux, to a rendezvous near Sioux Falls, then mak-
ing- that a base, strike off into northwestern Iowa and southern Da-
kota, where they steal, ravag-e and harass the settlers, then escape
before any assistance can arrive from either Forts Randall or
Ridg-lev, and had it not been for the soldiers stationed at Sioux
Palls during the late massacre in Minnesota, it is more than proba-
ble, that a larg-e number of the settlers in this territory would have
met with the same fate as those of the State of Minnesota: There-
fore, your memorialist would most respectfully ask, that a military
post be established and occupied at an early day as possible on the
Big- Sioux river, in the vicinity of Sioux Falls. Your memorialist
would further represent that said Sioux Palls is about half way be-
tween Forts Randall and Ridgley, on a direct line with the same,
and that a military post at said point would not only protect the im-
mediate vicinity of Sioux Falls, but would amply protect the frontier
settlements oi southwestern Minnesota, northwestern Iowa, and
southern Dakota. A small force of cavalry stationed at said post
would be able to keep all hostile Indians north and west of aline run-
ning- from Fort Ridg-lev in Minnesota to Port Randall in Dakota.
Further, vour memorialist would represent that there is abundance
of building- material at said Sioux Palls, and your memorialist will
ever pray.

"Approved January 2, 1863."


At the leg-islative session in 1863-4, nothings affecting- Minnehaha
county was done, and it still remained deserted.

At the fourth session of the leg-islative assembly, beg-un in
Yankton on the 5th day of December, 1864, and concluded January 13,
1865, the following- memorial was passed:

"To the Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War:

"Your memorialists, the Leg-islative Assembly of the Territory
of Dakota, would most respectfully represent, that the safety of the
people of southern Dakota and northern Iowa from the attacks of
hostile bands of Indians require the establishment of two small mili-
tary posts — one on the Big- Sioux river in the vicinity of Sioux Falls,
and one at the point on the Dakota river near a straig-ht line between
said Sioux Falls and Fort Randall. Sioux Falls is about half way
between Fort Randall, Dakota, and Fort Ridgley, Minnesota, and
your memorialists are of the opinion that such posts would g-ive
better protection to southern Dakota, than the system heretofore
adopted, besides being- far less expensive; therefore your memor-
ialists pray for the establishment of such military posts; and as in
duty bound will ever pray.

"Resolved, Thatacopv of this memorial be sent to the Secretarv
of War, Hon. J. B. S. Todd and Hon. A. W. Hubbard.

"Approved, January 12, 1864."

In response to this prayer, on May 1, 1865, a military post was
established at Sioux Falls, and Company E, Sixth Iowa Cavalry,
under Captain Eicher, was ordered to take possession of the post.
A tract of land ten miles long- and seven miles wide, comprising- the
present township of Sioux Falls; sections 13 to 36, inclusive, of
Mapleton township; sections 13, 24, 25 and 36, Benton township, and
sections 1, 12, 13, 24, 25 and 36 Wayne township was set apart for a
military reservation.

Barracks were built by this company during- the summer of
1865, also a stone house called the commissary building-, as shown in
the accompanying illustration. The barracks were located in part
on what is now Phillips avenue, between Seventh and Eig-hth streets,
the south end being- about 125 feet north of Eig-hth street. The
larg-er building- was about forty feet in width and thirty feet of the
south end was west of the westerly limit of Phillips avenue, and
nearly the entire north end was in Phillips avenue. A portion of
the building- at the rig-ht was built in 1866.

On the 8th day of June, 1866, Company D, Twenty-second U. S.
Infantry, under Col. Knox, arrived at Sioux Falls to relieve the
cavalry, which left the same day the infantry arrived, only Dr. Nislev
and Mr. Pratt, the hospital steward, remaining-.

With the establishment of a military post in the Big- Sioux
Valley peace and safety were secured, and g-radually immig-ration
.began, though slowly at first, and it was not until 1869 that the pop-

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 3 of 99)