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 4 of 99)
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ulation of Sioux Falls became as larg-e as in the spring of 1862.

The first sutler at Sioux Falls was A. F. Havward, who came



with the establishment of the post in May, but he afterwards sold
out to Charles K. Howard.

At the legislative session beg-un in December, 1865, and con-
cluded in January, 1866, a memorial to Cong-ress was passed, pray-
ing- that a small number of bloodhounds mig-ht be placed at each mili-
tary post, for the better protection of the lives and property of the
citizens from the small bodies of Indians, who were frequently
skulking- in the tall weeds and timber along- the streams, for the ])ur-
pose of theft or murder. Cong-ress was also memorialized for the
establishment of a mail route from Sioux Palls to Ponca, Nebraska,
by way of Brule Creek and Elk Point, with weekly service thereon.

In the summer of 1866, a number of families settled in the
county, among- whom were John Nelson, John Thompson, Wm.
Melvin, S3dvester Delaney, John J. Aasen, Jr., and Ole O. (yilseth.

Nelson and Thompson left Goodhue county, Minnesota, with
their wives, on June 4. They came across Iowa, and after leaving-
Spirit Lake saw no white people until they reached Fort Dakota.
They took up land about ten miles from the fort, and Thompson is
still living- where he first settled. Melvin and Delaney took up land
in the same vicinity. Melvin soon left for Kansas, but the log- house
he built is still standing- about three-fourths of a mile north (tf
Thompson's place and is occupied by Ole L. Ploren and family. An


account of the privations and hardships endured by Aasen and Gil-
seth in reaching- Dakota, as translated from an issue of the Syd
Dakota Ekko, published in November, 1895, will be found in the
chapter of reminiscences.


At the next session of the leg-islature, which convened at Yank-
ton on December 4, 1866, and adjourned January 12, 1867, a memo-
rial to Cong-ress was passed, praying- that a road be laid out and
established from Elk Point up the Big- Sioux Valley to Fort Dakota,
and asking- an appropriation of ten thousand dollars for that purpose.
As all supplies for the fort were transported by teams from Sioux
City by way of Elk Point, a road from the latter place to the fort was
a necessity. A memorial was also passed asking- that the unex-
pended balance of a previous appropriation amounting- to three thou-
sand dollars, be applied to improving- and bridg-ing- the main traveled
road from Sioux Palls to Yankton by way of the upper James river

In 1867, Ole Gunderson, Poster Gunderson, Martin Gunderson,
John Johnson, Larson Sweet, J. Larson, Ole J. Arnson and their
families settled in the county.

During- the session of the leg'islature which beg-un December 26,
1867, at Yankton and concluded January 10, 1868, an act was passed,
to reorg-anize Minnehaha county. John Nelson, John Thompson and
William Melvin were appointed county commissioners and Edward
Broug-hton reg-ister of deeds.

In the spring- of 1868, John O. Lang-ness and Sivert and Gullick
Kringfen started west, from Minnesota, to find a place suitable to
org"anize a colonv. They found no place that suited them so well as
the Sioux Valley, and returning- to Minnesota they came back in the
fall, bring-ing- with them a larg-e number of Scandinavians, among-
whom were the following-: Gudmund T. Ravlo and his sons, who
are still living- in the county; Nils Iverson, Iver and Nils Nilson, Rol-
lof Pederson, J. Krog-stad, Lars Kvarnmo, Jens Berg-, Peder and
Thomas Paulson; Paul A. Risvold and his two sons, Andrew and
Peder Risvold; Gudmund Dalemo, Ole Thompson, Guttorm Eklo and
his son Peter Mag-nus; John Bruaas, who settled at Baltic; Halvor
Nvhus, Thorsten and Jonas Nassau and Ole Houg-tro. O. B. Iverson
and Ole Berg-erson settled in Split Rock, and John Walker also set-
tled there about this time. John Lang-ness broug-ht with him a whip-
saw, which was in constant demand in constructing- the houses the
settlers beg-an to build. Ole Thompson and Mr. Lang-ness would saw
two hundred feet of boards with this saw in a day, John Thompson
sent to the "old country" for one of these saws, and afterwards
procured another nearer home, and there were two or three others in
use in this vicinity. This method of manufacturing- lumber by the
early settlers aifords a striking- illustration of the limited advantag-es
and resoiirces of pioneer days.

John Anderson Ole and Gunder Thompson settled about two
miles from the present city of Dell Rapids. Ole Thompson used to
help the Indians break their lands, and as his plow accomplished the
purpose far better and in much shorter time than their implements,
they g-ave him the name of "Maka-jubbedu-tanka" or "The g-reat land-

A larg-e number of settlers came into the county during- 1869, and
several people located at Sioux Palls and eng-ag-ed in business.
Among- them were N. E. Phillips, R. P. Pettig-rew, John Hunter,


Jephtha Duling-, Clark (I. Coats, and D. B. Reynolds. Mr. Dulin.o-
broug-ht his family, and moved into a cabin built bv one of the sol-
diers very near where the Burlino-ton depot now stands. At that
time the only women Mrs. Duling- found in Sioux Palls were Col.
Duffy's family, and two of the soldiers' wives. Mrs. Duling-, however,
was accustomed to the privations of frontier life, liaving- lived with
her husband at Fort Randall from 1863, until his discharg-e in lSf)5,
and then on a ranch in Charles Mix county until they removed to
Sioux Falls. Later on Mr. Duling- biiilt a house on the bank of the
river near the cabin in which they first lived. In 1874, during- a
heavy wind, he was struck by the roof of an old shed and instantly
killed. Mrs. Duling- soon after removed to Dell Rapids, where she
married James H. Bishop, and resided until her death, which oc-
curred Aug-ust 18, 1894.

In those early days the only place where supplies of anv kind
could be purchased was at the sutler's store kept by C. K. Howard,
and the prices paid would delig-ht the hearts of the merchants in
Sioux Falls nowadays, who have to contend with numerous competi-
tors and keep up in the race of "cut prices." Then a spool of thread
sold for fifty cents, calico was fifty cents a yard, and molasses two
dollars a gallon.

During- the legislative session in 1868-9, a memorial to Cong-ress
was passed, stating- that Fort Dakota was no long-er needed as a pro-
tection to the settlements on the Big- Sioux, and praying- that it mig-ht
l)e removed to Medarv, sixtv-five miles north of Sioux Falls, which
resulted in the militarv post at Sioux Falls being- vacated on the 18th
day of June, 1869.

In 1870 the military reservation was opened to settlers, and
immig-ration steadily increased. Among- those who came were Nils
Xoreg-aard and Nils Lauritsen from Denmark, who took up land
along- the river below the present site of Dell Rapids. James Nisbet,
A. W.Hunt, Wm. Dockstader, John Hoy, Mr. Richardson, and Byron
D. Graves settled west and south of Dell Rapids. John Bippus, and
Colonel Charles Allen settled at the Falls, and Dr. J. L. Phillips
and John McClellan returned during- this year to the scene of their
old labors. Dr. Phillips came in June, and broug-ht his family, and
they moved into the officers quarters, located where E. J. Daniels'
store is now.

At the advent of Mrs. Phillips, there were only seven white
women in Sioux Falls; and during- the summer, in connection with
Mrs. C. G. Coats, she established the Pioneer Union Sunday School.
It was during- this year that social matters began to have a stand-
ing- in the community.

The spring of 1871, opened auspiciously for Minnehaha county,
and a larg^e number of the most desirable class of citizens came to
Sioux Falls and the surrounding country to make for themselves
permanent homes. Improvements on quite an extensive scale were
made during this year. R. F. Pettigrew built an office, Joe Dupries
the CentrafHouse, W. H. Corson the Cataract Hotel, Wm. Van Eps
a large store building; all of which were occupied for business pur-
poses. During the fall of this year the first residence was built at


Dell Rapids, then known as Dell City. The residents at the close of
the year felt greatly encourag-ed by what had been accomplished
during; the year, and were hopeful that 1872 would materially in-
crease their prosperity and lessen the privations of pioneer life.
They were not destined to disappointment.

During- 1872, new industries sprung- up in Sioux Palls and Dell
Rapids, and considerable land was taken up in the county by actual
settlers; a saw mill was built at Dell Rapids by Dennis Rice, and a
store building- was erected during- the summer; a newspaper outfit
arrived the latter part of April, and the Dell City Journal soon made
its appearance. In Sioux Falls several building's were erected; C.
K. Howard build a store 20x64 feet; Charles Hamilton, a photog-raph
g-allerv; an Episcopal church was built; John McKee established a
harness shop; J. J. Hancock, a shoe store; Blade & Castor, a meat
market; Edwin Sharpe a lumber yard; and a bakery and restaurant
were also among-the new business enterprises. A weekly newspaper
was started by W. R. Kiter on the 10th of April; the fourth of July
was celebrated on the Island, and R. F. Pettig-rew delivered the
oration; the "Dive" was torn down, and a temperance society org-an-
ized. Artemas Gale, Melvin Grig-sby, and Thomas H. Brown w^ere
among- the new settlers during- this year.

It has not occupied much space in g-iving- in detail the improve-
ments in the entire county prior to 1873, but during- this year so
much was done towards the development of this section that a g"en-
eral statement must suffice. Immig-ration set in early, and the Sioux
Falls Pantag-raph is responsible for the statement that "the prairies
were teeming with schooners from the states." On the 15th day of
May the Sioux Falls Independent, a weekly newspaper edited by C.
W. McDonald, made its first appearance. The land office was opened
for business in Sioux Falls June 9, and on that day seventy-three
declaratory statements, sixty homestead and six cash entries were
made, covering- 22,240 acres of land. The Webber & Hawthorn
g-rist mill commenced operation May 20. It appears from the Sioux
Falls Pantag-raph, in its issue of Aug-ust 27, that there were thirtv-
two building-s in process of erection at that time in Sioux Falls. At
the close of the year the Sioux Falls Independent enumerated the
building-s completed during- the preceding- six months, and the list
comprised twenty-five business building-s and fifty-nine residences;
thirteen of these building-s were two stories hig-Ji. A schoolhouse
was also built, 22x40 feet. The Methodist cong-reg-ation had at the
close of the year a church building- 20x 20 feet nearly ready for occu-
pancy; and during- the summer thirty thousand brick were manufac-
tured by D. H. Tolbett. In the issue of the Sioux Falls Pantag-raph
of July 10, it appears that the barracks had been purchased by True
Dennis, and in its next issue, July 23, "the barracks have been taken
down and removed;" so there need be no question as to when these
old landmarks of Indian warfare disappeared from the public view.
At the close of the year Sioux Falls had eight lawyers, three physi-
cians, two resident ministers, twenty carpenters, five masons, two
hotels, two restaurants, two lumber yards, two blacksmith shops,
two hardware stores, two meat markets, two wheelwrig-ht shops, two


l)akeries, one paint shop, one barl:)er shop, one liverv stable, two
dealers in agricultural implements, and six g-eneral stores. It is
needless to add that the people of Sioux Palls enjoyed the holidays
in 1873, so much having- been accomplished.

During- the winter of 1873-4 social affairs eng"ig-ed the attention
of the residents of Sioux Falls as never before; church socials, balls,
sleig-h rides, "and other festivities," as one of the local newspapers
expressed it at the time, were of frequent occurrence.

With the coming- of spring- quite a larg-e number of people ar-
rived in the county to settle, and some of the townships had their
iirst settlers about this time.

But the year 1874, which beg-an so promising-, will long- be re-
membered by the older inhabitants as a year of adversities. Multi-
tudes of g-rasshoppers visited this section, and complete destruction
followed in their wake. All the crops were destroyed, and a larg-e
number of the settlers who had expected to raise enoug-h to supply
their wants were doomed to bitter disappointment. To meet this
emerg-ency a society was org-anized, and T. H. Brown visited the
east and obtained a larg-e quantity of clothing- and food, which was
distributed by the society; and S534.68 in money was also raised for
the same purpose. The improvements during- this year would not
compare favorably with the year preceding-, but several residences
and a few business building's were erected in Sioux Falls, and Vallev
Springs township had its first school and — marriag-e.

The events which make up the history of the county to the be-
ginning- of the year 1875 have been stated in the chronolog-ical order
of their occurrence, and comprise the most important events that
transpired during- her transition state — from the home of the savag-e
to the dawn of civilization.

It was during- the early seventies that Minnehaha county passed
throug-h the most trying- stag-e of her existence, and it is fortunate
that the settlers were composed of men of remarkable energ-y and
enterprise. During- this period, mills, stores, shops, churches and
schoolhouses were built, reg-ular terms of court were established; the
affairs of the county came under the control and management of a
board of commissioners; projects for better transportation facilities
were being considered, and the liniitations of r)ioneer life were fast
disappearing. 114.27/6

How to best present to the reader the events that have trans-
pired since then, has been a source of considerable anxiety to the
writer. At first it was thought the better way would be to continue
to chronicle the events in the order of their occurrence, but as the
work progressed it became evident that this method was impractica-
ble, especially after determining to give an account of the settlement
and development of each township and municipality by itself, includ-
ing a large list of biographical sketches of the residents.

The plan was therefore adopted of first giving an account of the
county commissioners' proceedings, courts and other kindred sub-
jects in which all the people of the county are equally interested, to
he followed bv the local history of each township and municipality.



In December, 1857, the o-overnor of Minnesota Territory ap-
pointed the following- named persons, all of Sioux Falls City, as
county officers for Big- Sioux county as defined by the legislature of
Minnesota, a portion of which consisted of what is now Minnehaha
county: James L. Fiske was appointed judge of probate; W. W.
Brookings, district attorney; J. L. Phillips, justice of the peace;
James Evans, sheriff; James Allen, register of deeds, and ex officio
county clerk; William Little, James McBride, and A. L. Kilgore,
commissioners; but no record of their proceeding's has been found.

The only record of any proceedings ever had by the Board of
County Commissioners for the County of Big- Sioux which we have
been able to obtain is taken from The Democrat published at Sioux
Falls City February 18, 18G0, and reads as follows:

"January 28, 1860.

" Met pursuant to adjournment.

"Present: Messrs. White, Kelts, and Greenwav. Mr. White
in the Chair.

"Mr. White requested that the report of the Committee on
County Buildings be postponed until the next meeting of the Board,
which was agreed to.

"Mr. Green way moved that the Board confer with the Commis-
sioners of Buchanan county, with a view to securing their co-opera-
tion in erecting a bridge across the Big Sioux, at some suitable point
near the falls. Motion adopted.

"Mr. White sug-g-ested that a bridge be built across the Slip-up
creek, and, on motion, it was ordered to be put under contract
at once.

"Mr. Kelts moved that a county road be constructed from Sioux
Falls City to the limits of Big Sioux county, to intersect the Medary
rjad. Passed.


"Mr. Greenway moved that the last Saturday of each month
hereafter be the reo-ular meetiiii;- dav of the Board, Which motion

"Mr. Greenway introduced the following- resolution:

"'Resolved, That the Board will receive sealed proposals for the
erection of a court house and jail up to the first dav of June next.

"Mr. Greenway moved that rent at the rate of S3U0 per annum,
he paid for the use of such offices in M'Call's block, as mav be required
for county purposes, until the completion of the countv ])uildin,o-s,
which motion passed, yeas, 2; nays, 1.

"Mr. Kelts moved that the meeting- now adjourn, which motion
prevailed and the Board adjourned until the last Saturdav in

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

Probably the first County Warrant ever drawn under any show
of author it V within the present limits of Minnehaha county was
drawn by these commissioners. It is now in the hands of Arthur
C. Phillips, Esq., and reads as follows:

"Sioux Falls Citv, Januarv 13, 18()0.
"No. 1. ■ ' S3.00.

"Pay to Samuel J. Albrigdit three dollars.
" James "M. Allen, Clerk. "C. S. White,

" Pres. pro tern Co. Com."

fMr. White was killed bv the Indians two or three vears later in
Minnesota. Mr. Kelts, at the time he was commissioner, had a
claim on the land where Levi S. Carter now resides, north of the
City of Sioux Falls, and soon after went to Montana. Mr. Green-
wav was a Virginian, and after a short residence here he and his
wife went further west .

The first territorial leg-islature, which beg^an its session at
Yankton, March 17, and concluded May 15, 1862, enacted chapter
twenty-three of the session laws providing- for county officers.

It required only twenty legal voters to organize a county, and
when organized it was to have the following county officials, viz.:
three county commissioners; a register of deeds, who was also ex
offieio clerk of the county board, sheriff, judge of probate, coroner,
justice of the peace, constables, county surveyor, and district attor-
ney. The duties of countv commissioners were prescribed, and their
compensation fixed. The governor was authorized to nominate and
with the advice and consent of the council, appoint such officers, to
hold their respective offices until the first general election and their
successors had qualified.

During this session 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, were legalized; the County of Minnehaha was established,


and the following- county officers appointed by the g-overnor: Judg-e
of probate, J. B. Amidon; reg-ister of deeds, Harry Masters; sheriff,
J. W. Evans; commissioners, Wm. Stevens, Wm. Amidon, and B. C.
Fowler; justice of the peace, James McCall.

As already appears, all the settlers in this vicinity were driven
away by the Indians during the summer of this year, and no records
of official proceeding's by these officials can be found.

By an act of the leg'islature approved January 4, 1868, the County
of Minnehaha was reorg-anized, with boundaries as established by
the leg-islature in 1862. John Nelson, John Thompson and William
Melvin were appointed county commissioners, and Edward Broug-h-
ton, reg-ister of deeds. The commissioners were empowered to
appoint all other officers necessary to complete the org-anization of
the county. There are no records of their official proceeding's, but
on the 3ist day of December, 1871, the leg-islature passed an act
leg-alizing- the official acts of the commissioners, the reg-ister of
deeds, and Ole Berg-erson as justice of the peace of Minnehaha

On the 8th day of January, 1873, an act of the territorial leg-isla-
ture fixing- the boundaries of a larg-e number of counties was ap-
proved, and the boundaries of the County of Minnehaha as they now
exist were then established.

The first record of the proceeding-s of the Board of County Com-
missioners of Minnehaha county commences with the 13th dav of
February, 1871, and the following- comprises a brief summary of
their official acts from that time to June, 1898.

"Sioux Falls, D. T., February 13th, 1871.

"Pursuant to call the Hon. Board of Commissioners met at the
store of W. S. Bloom for the transaction of such business as mig-ht
properly be broug-ht before them. Present, Ole Berg-erson and
John Thompson. On motion John Thompson was chosen chairman
of the board. On motion the board decided to hold their meeting-s
at W. S. Bloom's store until more suitable rooms were provided.
The official bond of John Walker as sheriff with Ole Berg-erson and
Hans Larson as sureties was examined and approved. The official
bond of Bernt S. Peterson as constable and Peter Knutsen and Knut
Peterson as sureties was examined and approved. The official bond
of Ole B. Iverson, probate judge and county treasurer with Charles
Allen and John McClellan as sureties was examined and approved.

"On motion adjourned to the next reg-ular meeting- first Mondav
in April, A. D. 1871.

"Attest: W. S. Bloom, County Clerk.

"Minnehaha County, D. T."

April 3, 1871.
Commissioners met and transacted the following- business:
The county was divided into districts as follows: All of the countv
south of township one hundred and two west of range fortv-eight, dis-
trict number one; all the county east of range forty-nine, district
number two, and all of the county north of township one hundred
and one, and west of range forty-eight, district number three. The


official bond of W. S. Bloom as reg-ister of deeds and countv clerk-
was examined and approved. A petition of the citizens of district
number two was read, approved and g-ranted, asking- for a road from
a point on the southeast quarter of section twenty-one, township
one hundred and one, rang-e forty-eig-ht in Minnehaha county, where
the Blue Earth City mail route crosses the said quarter section, and
from thence to cross the Big- Sioux river at what is known as the
Iverson crossing-, and from thence to Sioux Falls, following- section
and quarter lines where practicable. Knut Knuteson was appointed
justice of the peace in district number two. Ole J. Aasen was ap-
pointed constable in district number three, and John McClellan was
appointed constable in district number one. The following- named
persons were appointed road supervisors for their respective dis-
tricts: John McClellan, district number one; Amcjs (). Bursem,
district number two; John Langness, district number three. James
A. Hand was appointed superintendent of public instruction for the
county. The account of Prank O. Wisner for printing- tax lists,
amounting- to ten dollars, was examined and allowed, and warrant
ordered drawn on receipt of warrant book.

At the next meeting- of the board, a special one, April 12, 1871,
there were present John Thompson chairman, Charles Allen and
Ole Berg-erson. A petition from the citizens of Split Rock, asking-
for a road commencing- at the southeast corner of section thirtv-
three, in township one hundred and one, rang-e forty-eig-ht, thence
north along- the east line of said section, and on the section lines as
far as practicable to the northeast quarter of section four of said
township and range, and that the county surveyor be requested to
locate and establish said road, was g-ranted. The appointment of
James A. Hand as superintendent of public instruction was re-
scinded, and he was appointed county attorney, and John Bippus
was appointed suDerintendent of public instruction. The abstract
of taxable property was received from the county assessor. The
account of John O. Walker for forty-eig-ht dollars for services as
assessor was presented and allowed. The county surveyor was
ordered to lay out and locate road number one as soon as possible,
following- section and quarter lines as far as practicable. The

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 4 of 99)