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 68 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 68 of 99)
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eral of the g-ood citizens of Sioux Falls that he was g-uilty, and al-


most satisfied Dr. Roberts that Mr. Walts actualh- stole the ni(»nc\-
v\ght before his eyes that he supposed he had sent a\va\-. A public
meeting- was called in reference to the matter, and althouo-h Mr.
Walts was not without friends who believed in his innocence, the
;L;-reater number of those present believed him o-uilty. Mr. Wajts,
however, remained in the office, and the detectives continued their
work, and althouo-h no letters containino- monev were rej^'istered from
Sioux Palls, still the mail was tampered with. The following- August,
a detective put some marked money in the mail and acc()m])anie(l it
alono- the sta^jfe route. The stao-e stoi)ped at Blair for dinner, and
when the detective paid his bill some of the money he had marked
and mailed was paid to him in making- chano-e. This sohed the mvs-
tery. The son of the proprietor of the hotel where the stay-e ahvavs
stopped for dinner had charge of the mail at that place and he was
the person who had been robbing the mail and successfully avoiding
detection for nearly a year. He had neatly cut open the end of the
letters upon which the directions were printed, abstracted the con-
tents, and then with a little mucilage closed it again. When the let-
ters arrived at their destination the persons receiving- them would
find them apparently all right, and then would according to direct i(»n
tear or cut off this end and destroy all evidence of the manner in
which the letters had been robbed. He was promptly arrested, tried
and convicted and sent to the penitentiary. Mr. Walts was exceed-
ing-ly happy over the outcome, and his friends in Sioux Falls were
emphatic in saving: "I told you so!"

On the first day of December, 1871, Mr. Walts upon the resigna-
tion of John Bippus as countv superintendent of schools was ap-
pointed by the county board to fill the vacancy, and held this office
two years. In 1873 he was appointed clerk of the district court for
Minnehaha countv, and held this office until the appointment of W.
D. Stites by Judge Garland, which appointment took effect April VK
1888. He made a good official, and it was well known to the bar and
all persons doing- official business with him that he was perfectly
honest and reliable. He has frequently been employed as surveyor
since residing in this county, and he has the honor of ha\ingdone the
surveying for the first village plat filed for record in Minnehaha
county. In November, 18%, he was elected county surveyor on the
fusion ticket and in April, 1898, he was elected city justice of the cit\
of Sioux Palls. He has no enemies, and is highly esteemed as a
neighbor and citizen.

Waples, Robert Coulter, was born at Cape Henlopen, Dela-
ware, January 15, 1817. When about twenty years of age he went
to Dubuque, la., and in connection with his two brothers built the
Waples House, now the Julian. He then engaged in the real estate
business at different places in Iowa, and lived in Washington Terri-
torv two years. He came to Sioux Palls on the 2(>th day of Aug-ust,
1878, but went immediately to Plandreau, where he engaged in the
lumber trade until sixteen" months later, when he was burned out.
He then located at Sioux Palls, and resided there until his death,
which occurred on the 7th day of January, 1890. In 1885, he built
the Waples Block. He was generallv known in Sioux Palls as C<»m-


modore Waples, and the history of his title is an amusino- illustra-
tion of how easily a title may be acquired that will stick to a man as
long- as he lives. He went to LeMars, Iowa, to go into business, and
as he stepped off the train a man accosted him as Commodore Van-
derbilt, and from that day he was always known as Commodore
Waples. Mrs. Waples is still living- in Sioux Falls, and she re-
marked to the writer: "I have never been on the cars since I got off
the Omaha on the 26th day of August, 1878." Mr. Waples was a
man of fine appearance and courtly manners, and every inch a real
commodore. He was liked by everybody, and Mrs. Waples is g-reatly
beloved by a host of friends.

Watson, Jesse B., was born in Nelson. Madison county, N. Y.,
September 8, 1840. In 1850, he removed with his parents to Chicka-
saw county, Iowa, and his father entered the first land in that county
during- that year. When thirteen years of ag-e the subject of this
sketch started for his old home in New York, working- his way as
best he could. He remained there until the spring- of 1857, at which
time he went to Galesburg-, 111., worked on a farm one year, and then
was employed one year by the Rev. Jonathan Knox, president of
Knox colleg-e. In the fall of 1865, he went to Fremont, Neb., and
from there to Sioux City, where he was employed to carry the mail
between that point and Fort Randall. During- the spring- and sum-
mer of 1861 he rode a mule, with two mail-bag-s as companions, back
and forth a distance of one hundred and forty miles. In the fall of
1861, was employed by Surveyor Moses K. Armstrong- in surveying-.
In February, 1862, enlisted in Company A, Dakota Cavalry, and the
following- summer was stationed at Sioux Falls until the Indian mas-
sacre in Minnesota, when the company was ordered to Yankton. He
served three years and three months in the cavalry, and during- this
time the company was eng-ag-ed in protecting- the small settlements
on the upper Missouri, and went with the Sully expedition across the
Yellowstone. After being mustered out, he went to Chickasaw
county, Iowa, and remained a \^ear, and then went to Sioux City
where he was employed in the quartermaster's department until fall.
He soon after took up a homestead at the mouth of Jim river, which
he afterwards exchang-ed with Governor Todd for city lots in Yank-
ton. In 1870, purchased some woo'dland near Vermillion, erected a
saw mill and manufactured lumber until the fall of 1878, when he
purchased a fourth interest in the Webber & Shaw flouring- mill at
Sioux Falls, and moved there. This mill went out bodily during- the
high water in 1881. He was next employed in the (Jueen Bee mill
until it stopped doing- business. He was inspec£or of wheat, and run
the warehouse when it was under the Senev management, and as-
sisted in shipping- out 80,000 bushels of wheat to Minneapolis when it
ceased operation. He then eng-aged in buying- wheat one year with
A. (t. Seney, one year w-ith J. H. Stockton, and the following year
with the Parmley Brothers at the Seney warehouse. In 1891, took
charge of the oatmeal mill, and remained its manager until the winter
of 18%. In 1897, went to Kansas and took some stock in a mining-
enterprise in connection with E. B. and J. B. Meredith, but sold out
his stock, and commenced mining on his own account. He still re-


sides with his family in Sioux Falls. He was xilla^v truslcc in IS?')
and 1881, and after the incorporation of the city of Sioux brills in
1883, was elected alderman from the Fourth ward, and a.^-ain in 1S8').
He has also served one term on the city school board. Mr. Watson
has always been recoo-nized as one of Sioux Falls most enterprisini^-
citizens, and is hig-hh' esteemed bv all who know him.

Welliver, Winfield S., was born in (Greenwood. Columbia
county, Pennsylvania, May 18, 1847; went with his parents to Illinois
in 1856; was reared on a farm, and attended the public schools until
seventeen years old, when he commenced clerkinjj- in a store, in
which employment he remained twelve years, the last six years at
LeMars, Iowa. In 1879 he was elected clerk of the courts "of Ply-
mouth county, Iowa, and held the office by re-elections until 188*).
During- this time he had charg-e of the probate business of the county.
On the 20th day of March, 1889, he arrived in Sioux^Falls, and has
since resided there eng-ag-ed in the real estate business. He was one
of the charter members of Giblem Lodg-e of A. F. and A. M. of Le-
Mars, and was at one time its Worshipful Master. Mr. Welliver is
a reliable business man, and is a hig-hly esteemed citizen.

Wells, Rollin J., is a native of Illinois, and was born June 24,
1848. He completed his education at the Michig-an University, stud-
ied law^ and was admitted to the bar in 1878. The same year he came
to Sioux Falls, where he has since resided. At the ag-e of hfteen
vears he enlisted in the military service, but his father objected to
his remaining- in the service at that ag-e and secured his return home.
During- the entire time of his residence in Sioux Falls he has been
eng-ag-ed in the practice of law, and was admitted to practice before
the supreme court of the United States in 1888. In addition to his
professional work he has been connected with several business enter-
prises in Sioux Falls, particularly in the building- of the motor line
to East Sioux Falls. He is a g-ood lawyer, a g-ood neig-hbor. an enter-
prising- business man, public-spirited, and an independent, uprighl

Werner, John W., was born in (xermany on the 28th (la\ of
January, 1858, and attended school until lie was fifteen \ ears of ag'e,
when he emig-rated to the United States with an uncle, and located
at Corning", New York. He w^as at this ag-e put in charge of a retail
clothing- store, and remained there until 1880, when he went to Rock-
ford, Illinois, and eng-ag-ed in the same business until he removed to
Sioux Falls, arriving- there the first day of April, 1883. He has since
then been eng-ag-ed in the clothing- business at Sioux Falls, and then-
are but few merchants who have been eng-ag-ed in business in the cits
for so long- a time. Business, and strictlv business, occupies his
time, althoug-h he keeps posted upon the current events of the day.
He was never a candidate for office, and does not appear to be matri-
monially inclined, althoug-h his social (pialities are well develo])ed.
He is a Pfood citizen, and well liked l)^ all who know him.


Weston, Oliver P., was born at Corinth, Saratoga county, New-
York, July 22, 18v3*). He received a common school education, and at
the ag-e of eighteen commenced a two years' apprenticeship as car-
penter and joiner at his native place. In 1860 he went to Portage,
Wisconsin, and worked for a railroad company. In the spring of
1862 enlisted in Co. C, 23d Wisconsin Vol., and served three years;
then engaged in mercantile business at New Lisbon, Wisconsin. At
Christmas, 1867, he was married to Miss Martha E. Smith of Cole-
rain, Massachusetts. He remained at New Lisbon until 1869, and
then went to Port Dodg-e, Iowa, and engaged in the lumber and liv-
ery business until 1870, when he sold out and moved to Vermillion,
South Dakota, where he remained until the spring- of 1872, when he
came to Sioux Palls with T. C. Harthorn, and assisted in the erection
of the W^ebber & Harthorn flouring mill. He then engaged in the
building and contracting business until 1874, when he entered into a
co])artnership with Andrew Peterson in the furniture and carpenter
l)usiness, which continued until 1880, when he sold his interest to his
])artner, and since then has taken thing-s leisurely, enjoying his ac-
cumulations. He was one of the trustees of the villag'e of Sioux
Palls in 1880; was county coroner several years, and a member of the
school board thirteen years. Mr. Weston is an influential and
highly respected citizen, and he and his estimable wife have a host
of friends, and are highlv esteemed bv all who know them.

W^HEELER, George E., was born in Brooklyn, New York, Jan-
uary 22, 1860; w^hen quite young- he moved to Melrose, Massachusetts,
where he was educated in the public schools, and graduated from the
hig-h school. He came to South Dakota in 1879, and in 1880 became
secretary and treasurer of the Cascade Milling- Co., which positions
he has held since then. He was a member from Minnehaha county
of the South Dakota legislature in 1895, and was one of the most in-
fluential members of that body. He introduced w^hat was known as
the "Wheeler Bill," and the same, in substance, which was passed
by the next legislature in reference to the control of railroads. It
was finally defeated, but its introduction and discussion educated
tlie people up to such a point that a majority of all parties voted for
it in 1897. Mr. Wheeler is one of the most popular men in the citv,
and deservedly so, for while he is an enterprising citizen he never
meddles with the affairs of others. He is a good neighbor, social
and companionable, and as a business man is in the front rank.

Wheeeock, Arthur B., w^as born at Royalton, Winsor county,
Vermont; received a common school and academic education. In the
fall of 1853 he went to Milwaukee, Wis., where he lived until the war
broke out. On the 19th day of April, 1861, he enlisted and served
three months in an infantry regiment and then served four years in
the 7th Wisconsin battery. During the war he was promoted, and
became captain of the battery. After the war he engaged as fore-
man in the construction of railroads two years, and then took up a
homestead at Hudson, Lincoln county, this state, where he engaged
in farming twenty years. Prom 1870 to 1872 he was a representa-
tive in the territorial legislature, and was a county commissioner in

O. p. \VESTr)X AXL) Wife.


"Lincoln county two years. In 1888 he moved to the citv of Sioux
Falls, where he has since resided. He was chief of police two years,
and from May, 1892, until May, 1898, was city justice. He is a man
of g-ood sense, well informed, is a respected citizen, and has a h(»st
of friends.

Whipple. Homek J., is a native of Charlestown, N. H.,and was
born November 30, 1844. He spent his early life on a farm, attended
the common schools and completed his education at the Newburx-
Seminary and CoUeg-iate Institute at Newbury, Vt., where he grad-
uated in 1869. The same year he went to Marshall county. Iowa,
where he eng-aged in teaching. During the winter of 187<i 1 he
taug-ht a hig-h school in Alden, la. In A])ril, 1871, he came to Da-
kota Territor\' and took u]) a pre-emption in Lincoln county and a
homestead on the northeast quarter of section 35, in Sioux Emails
township, and afterwards a tree claim on the northeast quarter of
section 24, in Clear Lake township in this county. He taught the
first public school in Sioux Falls after the erection of a school build-
ing in the winter of 1873-4, and during- the same years was Probate
Judg-e and County Treasurer of Minnehaha county. He held the
office of County Superintendent of Schools for six successive years,
commencing- with 1887. In addition to his official work he has car-
ried on farming- and occasionally' taug-ht school. Mr. Whipple has
always been a careful, conser\ative official, and is highly respected
as a neig-hbor and citizen.

White, Edward P., is a native of Spring-field, Vermont, and was
born November 2(), 1847. He was educated in the common schools
and at the Leland & Gray seminar}' at Townshend, Vermont, and
also at the Spring-field business colleg-e at Springfield, Massachu-
setts. He worked in the Estey Org-an Works at Brattleboro, Ver-
mont, for twelve years. In Ma}-, 1884, removed to Sioux Falls, and
worked as stenog-rapher. In 188(), was employed b\' the New Eng -
land Loan & Trust Co., of Des Moines, Iowa, and in 1887, was ap-
pointed official Court Reporter of the 4th Judicial District of the
Territory of Dakota, and occupied that position until the establish-
ment of the state courts of South Dakota, when he was again ap-
pointed to the same office of the Circuit Court of the 2d Judicial Cir-
cuit, and of the County Court of Minnehaha county. He held these ap-
pointments until January, 1894, when he removed to Chicago. \\r
was an honest and competent official. During- his residence in Sioux
Falls he gfave instruction in shorthand and tyjiewriting, and also
worked u]) a shorthand system of his own, which is now in use, and
considered to be very sim])le, and at the same time complete.

Wilkes, William A., was born in Fremont, Ohio, in 184.5. He
was educated in Marion, Ohio, and at the ag-e of eig-hteen years re-
moved to Dodg-e county, AVisconsin. He studied law, and was ad-
mitted to the bar in 1871; then practiced law at Rochester, Minne-
sota, and at Colorado Spring's, Colorado, and was elected prosecu ting-
attorney of El Paso county two years. In 1878 he removed to Sioux
Falls, where he has since resided. In connection with his profes-
sional work he entfap-ed in the real estate business f<jr some vears.


In 1893, and cio-ain in 1897, he was nominated judge of the Circuit
Court of the Second Judicial Circuit by the Populist part^^ but was
defeated b}- Judg-e J. W. Jones, the Republican nominee. At the
"•eneral election in 1896 he was elected judg-e of the Countv Court of
Minnehaha county, and re-elected in 1898. While at the bar he was
eno-ag-ed in some of the leading- cases before the state tribunals, has
always taken an active part in public affairs, and is a g-ood citizen.

Wilkes, Rev. Eliza Tupper, was born at Houlton, Maine; was
fitted for coUeg-e in New EngJand, and g-raduated from the State
University of Iowa; was educated for foreig-n mission work; entered
the Unitarian ministry in 1868, and took charg-e of the Universalist
church at Neenah, Wis., the same 3"ear; in 1869, was married to Wil-
liam A. Wilkes at the last mentioned place; moved from there to
Rochester, Minn., where she had charg-e of a Universalist church; in
1872, removed to Colorado Spring-s, Col., where they resided six
years, and during- part of that time she preached in the Unitarian
church at that place; came to Sioux Falls in 1878; was one of the fore-
most workers in the establishment of the Sioux Palls Public Library
and the Ladies History Club; started the project of building- All
Souls church, and labored zealously until the work was accomplished;
has been pastor of the Unity church at Luverne, Minn., for the last
twelve years, except three years, when she was assistant pastor of
the Unitarian church at Oakland, Cal. With such a record of g-ood
works, comments would be superfluous.

WiLLEY, Warner E., was born in Vermont, November 9, 1837.
When eleven years old he removed with his parents to New York,
and worked on a farm until 1858. Being- then twenty-one years old
he went to Minneapolis, Minn., where he eng-ag-ed in lumbering- for
twenty years, except during- the time he was in the military- service.
He was quite successful in his business, and when he came to Sioux
Falls in 1878, had considerable city property in Minneapolis. He
built the Commercial House situated where the present hotel with
the same name is located, and was its landlord until the spring- of
1883, when he moved it back and built a new hotel on its site. This
hotel was destroyed by fire on the 6th day of November, 1883, and at
the same time a livery stable full of fine horses belonging to Mr.
Willey was also consumed. The loss was a severe one, but the fol-
lowing- year he built the present Commercial Hotel. After operat-
ing- this hotel for about a year he sold it, and in connection with his
son-in-law, Roy Williams, purchased the old Merchants Hotel, and
enlarged, refitted and operated it until 1897. Thev also built the
Willey & Williams block on Main avenue. Mr. Willev w^as one of
the trustees of the village of Sioux Falls in 1881-2, and alderman
from the Second ward in 1883-6-7-8, and in 1889 was elected mavor of
the city of Sioux Falls. In 1898, he was again elected alderman from
the Second ward for the term of two years. During the civil war he
enlisted in Company A, 1st Minnesota Volunteers, "was wounded at
White Oak swamp, and upon his recovery was discharged; he then
re-enhsted in Company C, 11th Minnesota, and served until the close
of the war. Captain Willey is one of the best known men in the

Rkv. Eliza T. Wii.kks.


county, and has a host of friends. He makes a o-ood olVuial, is inde-
pendent and enterprisinu-, and is a respected citizen.

Williams, Oka, was born on a larm in Dallas county, Iowa, on
the l()th day of January, 1862. He was educated in the i)ul)lic schools
and o-raduated from the hi<>-h school at Adel, Iowa, where he afti'r-
wards was employed as assistant principal. In 1881, purchased an
interest in the Dallas county Democrat, and became its editor. In
1885 sold his interest in this paper, and took the position of cit\ edi-
tor of the Des Moines Register, published at Des Moines, Iowa. In
1895 became city editor of the Sioux City Journal, and subsequenth-
was its manao-ino- editor. In 1807 went "to Omaha and was employed
as editorial w^-iter on the Omaha Bee. In Aug-ust, 1898, came to
Sioux Palls, and since then has been the editor of the Sioux Palls
Daily and Weekly Press. Mr. Williams is a professional newspai)er
man, and an able, independent editorial writer, and his comin^- to
South Dakota has materially streng-thened the editorial fraternit\- in
the state.

Williams, Roy, was born at Hazel Green, (xrant county, Wis-
consin, July 12, 1856. His early life w^as spent on a farm and in the
common schools. He also attended the State Normal school at
Platteville, Wisconsin, for three years. In 1881 went to Sioux City
and for eigdit months was trayeling- ao-ent for a book concern located
at that place; then became trayeling- salesman for the Crrinnell
Barbed Wire company, of Grinnell, Iowa, until October 1884, when
he remoyed to Sioux Palls and took the position of clerk in the Com-
mercial hotel. In the latter part of 1885, entered into a copartner-
ship with W. P. Willey in the hotel business, under the firm name of
Willey & Williams, and the property now known as the Merchants
liotel, was purchased, enlarg^ed and fitted up and opened to the public
in 1886 by this firm. Until 1897 the Merchants was conducted by
them, and secured its share of public patronage. Mr. Williams had
the superyision of the hotel, and \vas yery popular with the trayeling
]:>ublic as well as with his townsmen. In 1888 was elected a member
of the Board of Education of the city of Sioux Palls, and in April
1889, was appointed by Governor Mellette a director of the State
Board of Charities and Corrections, and w^as president of the board
two years. In 1892 and 1893 was city auditor. In April, 1893, was
elected mayor of Sioux Palls by a handsome majority, and this was
to quite an extent owing- to his personal popularity, as he had two
strong- candidates to defeat. About the time of his election local jx)-
litical complications arose which made it difficult for him to inaug-u-
rate or prosecute successfully any measure for the g-oyernment of the
city. In May, 1898, was appointed assessor of the city of Sioux Palls,
and is the assessor of the city at the present writing- and is now en-
g-ag-ed in the farm implement business. He is a social g-ood fellow,
has a larg-e circle of friends, and is hig-hly esteemed as a citizen.

WiNSOR, Curtis H., \vas born at Elkhorn, Wisconsin, June 14,
1847; attended Racine colleg-e for one year and then commenced the
study of law; in March, 1867, was admitted to the bar by the Circuit
Court of Walworth county, Wisconsin; in Aug-ust, 1871, came to Da-


kota, and eno-a^-ed in the practice of law at Canton until April, 1873,
when he removed to Sioux Palls; remained there until June, 1875,
then went to Kenosha county, Wisconsin, and returned to Sioux
Falls in January, 1878. During- his residence in Sioux Falls he had
as partners in his law practice, in 1873-4 John Bippus, in 187')-81.
Frank H. Winsor, his brother, who afterwards removed to Mitchell,
South Dakota, in 1882-6 L. S. Sweezy, and on the 1st day of January,
1877, the firm of Winsor & Kittredg-e was established, and continued
until October, 1895, when Mr. Winsor removed to the city of New
York, and became associated with the firm of Chandler, Maxwell Sc
Phillips of that city. He was the first to litig-ate a case in the dis-
trict court in the counties of Lincoln, Minnehaha and Moody, and had
been in the practice of law in the Territory of Dakota and State of
South Dakota more years than any other practicing- lawyer when he
removed to New York. Mr. Winsor has a wide circle of acquaint-
ances in the Northwest, all of w^hom are his friends. He is a gfood
law\'er and a g-ood advocate, and while a member of the Dakota bar,

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 68 of 99)