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 91 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 91 of 99)
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OiEN, Heinming H.,is a native of Norway, and was born in 1843.
He emigrated to the United States in 1872, and resided in Minnesota
two years. In 1874 he came to this county and settled in Dell
Rapids, taking up the southeast quarter of section 25 as a homestead,
where he has since resided. He now owns 600 acres of farm land in
this county, of which 320 acres are situated in section 25, 120 acres in
section 36 in Dell Rapids, and the balance in the town of Log-an. He
has a g-ood farm with g-ood improvements, and is an industrious,
hard-workin,g man, and a g-ood citizen.



Sawykr, E. T., is a native of Canada, and was horn October 25,
1826. He removed to the United States with his parents when a
small lad; was educated in the common schools, and worked on a farm
until he was twent3'-one years of ag-e. He eng-ag-ed in farming in
Vermont, Wisconsin and Iowa, and came to this countv from Iowa
in December, 1874, pre-empting- a quarter section of land in Dell
Rapids, where he has since remained. He has been a member of the
town board several years, and is highly esteemed as a citizen.

Staudenraus, Jacob, was born in Germany, October 2, 1832.
He came to Wisconsin in 1866 and lived there until 1877, when he re-
moved to this countv. He took up a homestead in sections 11 and 12
in Dell Rapids township, to which he has since added 2M) acres of
land. He has been a successful farmer, lives on his homestead, and
has a g-ood farm,

Thompson, Charl?:s L,, was born in Delaware county, Ohio,
December 20, 1844; removed with his parents to Wisconsin in 185:>,
and resided there until April 1, 1887. At that time he removed to
Dakota and located in this county, purchasing the southwest quarter
of section 12 in Dell Rapids for SI, 800, on which he erected farm
l)uildings at a cost of about SI, 500. He resided at this place until
in 1894, when he rented the farm and returned to Wisconsin to take
care of the aged parents of his wife. While living in Dell Rapids he
was an active participator in affairs of the town, and was electeil
chairman of the town board two years. Near the close of the civil
war he enlisted in the military service, and served until August 14,
1865. Mr. Thompson had the confidence of his neig-hbors and towns-
men, who reg-retted his removal from the state.

Thompson, Gunerius, is a native of Norway, and was born
March 7, 1857. He emigrated to the United States with his parents,
who settled in Goodhue countv, Minnesota, in 1865. In October,
1868, they removed to this county, and settled in Dell Rapids town-
ship. The subject of this sketch is now one of the largest and most
successful farmers in Minnehaha county, owning- 1,028 acres of farm
land in Dell Rapids and Sverdrup. He has been a member of the
tow^n board of supervisors of Dell Rapids township four years, and
is highly esteemed as a neig'hbor and citizen.

Thompson, Ole, the subject of this sketch, was born in Nor-
way on the 19th day of August, 1849, He emigrated to the United
States in 1866, and lived in Goodhue county, Minnesota, until he re-
moved to Dakota and settled in this county in 1868; all his posses-
sions at that time being one pair of oxen and a cow. He secured a
pre-emption, which he proved up and sold for S600; then filed on 160
acres as a homestead, and also took a timber claim. He has one of
the finest farms in the county and owns in all about 700 acres of land
in Dell Rapids township. He has been a successful farmer, but in
common with other pioneers, has had some discourag^ing drawbacks
and losses to crops by grasshoppers and hail storms. He has been
supervisor of the town board and director of the school board for
several years. He is one of the most sturdy and reliable citizens in
the countv.



Thompson, P. G., was born in Goodhue county, Minnesota,
June 6, 1868. In the spring- of 1869 he came with his parents to this
county, where he has since resided, except in 1888, when he went to
Norway, where he visited his parents' birthplace, and saw a great
deal of the old country. He resides in section 30, Dell Rapids town-
ship. In 1892 he was elected town treasurer, and bv re-elections
held the office for three successive years. He is a good farmer, and
an enterprising- and respected citizen.

Railroad Bridge at Dell Rapids.


The citv of Dell Rapids located on the Big- Sioux River, in the
northern part of the county, is one of the most attractive and sub-
stantial cities in the state." Its development has been the outgrowth
of a demand for a commercial center in one of the richest agricul-
tural sections of the Big Sioux Valley. It fortunately has had no
boom, and hence has escaped the blig-hting- effect that is sure to fol-
low such a visitation. Business failures have been few and far be-
tween, and dilapidated structures and unoccupied buildings are not
to be seen at Dell Rapids.



Dells un thl Sioux River.

In June, 1871, Peter Morse, then a resident of Osage, Iowa,
while on an exploring expedition in the Sioux Valley, came to this
point, and, although he was not the first to discover the Dells, he was
the first to seriously consider the natural advantages the place of-
fered for the building of a town. He appreciated the fact that the
rich and fertile vallev surrounding, would soon become the abode of
thousands of homeseekers; that the Dells of the Sioux river were
picturesque, and that the water power was ample, when harnessed
to the wheels of industrv, to aid materially in commercial enterprises.


But he needed assistance to secure the prize, and hastening- home,
obtained the co-operation of Prank and Dennis Rice, two brothers,
who were practical mill men, and also B. D. Graves, and in July fol-
lowing-, Mr. Morse returned with his three friends to the Dells to
eng-age in business.

Prior to this time pre-emption filing-s had been made covering-
the water power and the present location of the business portion of
the city, but Dennis Rice soon secured this by purchase.

A post office was established January 1, 1872, and Albion Thorne
was appointed postmaster. This year Prank Rice commenced build-
ing- a flouring- mill, but in 1874, sold it to Wm. VanEps, who g-reatly
improved it, and in 1877, built a stone dam across the river in place
of the old dam.

In 1874, a boat was built, which was paid for by subscription,
and a ferrv established. The first bridg-e across the river was built
in 1877, but was carried awav bv the hig-h water in the spring- of

At first the place was known as Dell City, and among- the early
enterprises was the publication of the Dell City Journal by J. C.
Ervin in the spring- of 1872. On June 11, of that year, Mr. Ervin was
married to Miss Clara Wyatt, the Rev. C. M. Allen, a Presbyterian
clerg-ymen, performing- the marriag-e cermony. Their daug-hter
Pearl was the first child born in Dell Rapids and the principal busi-
ness street was named for her.

During the spring- of 1872, the settlement rapidl}- increased. In
]\Iay of that year a Union Sabbath School was organized, and existed
for ten years, when the different religious denominations commenced
establishing Sunday schools of their own. In July and Aug-ust, 1872.
the Baptist and Presbyterian churches were org-anized, a full history
of which appears below. The Pourth of July, 1872, was duly cele-
brated, and there were ninet3^-nine persons present.

The first railroad train"^ reached Dell Rapids on the 17th day of
September, 1880, and caused g-reat rejoicing-. Everything- that could
make a noise was broug-ht into requisition to properly celebrate the
occasion; the citizens paraded the streets, and Albion Thorne and R.
S. Alexander made speeches.

Albion Thorne put in an appearance where the city of Dell Rap-
ids is now located on the 12th day of Aug-ust, 1871. Upon being in-
terviewed in reference to the early settlement of Dell Rapids, he
said: "The first time I was ever at Dell Rapids I found there two
men. Prank Rice and George Porester. They had a sort of habita-
tion on the northeast corner of the southeast quarter of section 9, on
what is now block N, in the city of Dell Rapids. They had piled up
some stones about five feet high, around a space of about seven feet
square, and had covered the top with poles over which they had
spread a covering of hay. In this hut they had a bed of hay. I
camped with them a week. Their cooking room was in front of their
residence, and was as large a kitchen as I ever saw. Prom this time
on, I was back and forth from Beloit, Iowa, until I took my family
there. I helped to build two houses in Dell Rapids. The first one
was built where it now stands, on block 22, and it is the only house

Albion Thorne.


])uilt in the early days oi the city that remains standing- where it
was orig-inally liiiilt. This house was built by Dennis Rice. It was
a frame house, and the lumber was drawn from LeMars, Iowa. The
second house was built for Gilbert Rice on the southwest quarter of
section 10, but he never occupied it. I moved into it, and lived in it
until May, 1872. E. F. Metcalf lived with me durino- the winter of
1871. Durino- the fall of that year, Frank and Dennis Rice 1)uilt a
dam across the Sioux river, and in the s])rin<>" of 1872 jiut u]) a saw

Now for a little of my own experiences. 1 had filed on the south-
east quarter of section 4. In March I found that I had to g-et out of
the house I lived in as earl\' as I could, so I borrowed a pair of horses
(I had a pair of oxen) of a man by the name of Sorenson, w^ho lived a
few miles up the river, and then I started for Worthing-ton for lum-
ber. I went by the way of Luverne and got there in two days, but
could find no lumber there, except flooring-, of w^hich I boug-ht two
hundred feet, and some windows, and started back. The sun and
wind made me blind, and when I g-ot about five miles westof Luverne
I could not see the road, and I g-ot lost. I had a compass wdth me,
from which I decided what course to take, and I struck the Split
Rock near Sherman about nig-ht, and the Sioux river two miles below
Dell Rapids about 10 o'clock at nigfht. Then I knew where I was
and I g-ot home at 11 o'clock, and staid in bed for about a week. I
built my house in April. It was 18 by 20 feet. The sides were
built of stone, the g-ables of logfs, and the roof was made of poles and
covered with sods. I used the lumber I g-ot for window casing-s and
doors, and I had a clay floor. I moved my wife, her sister and mv
oldest g-irl into my house on the 2d day of May, 1872. That nig-ht a
shower came up about 8 o'clock, and it rained until 3 o'clock the next
morning-. I had not filled up the crevices between the sods, and it
just poured dow^n through the roof. We stood up and held um-
brellas over the beds as much as we could until it stopped raining-,
and then we g-ot out. The water had soaked the clay floor, and when
we stepped we w^ent down six inches more or less. We started f(jr
Dennis Rice's house. From my house to the Sioux river it was one
unbroken sheet of water, and from that day to this there has ne\er
been so much water there as there was at 3 o'clock that morning-
when we g-ot out of our house. In some places it was more than
knee-deep, and I had to carry my folks over where it was deepest. I
afterwards got some cottonw^ood lumber from Elk Point and laid a
floor, fixed up the roof, and went back and lived there. In the spring-
of 1872, the water in the Sioux river was very high, and we saw
that we were about to be cut off from the rest of the world. We
had heard there was a boat about three miles down the river, and so
one day — it was Sunday — I got across the river on an ice gorge and
went down to R. S. Alexander's, about two miles south, and got his
team and went for the boat. It was with some difficulty I got it, but
I promised to pay a dollar a day for its use for seven days. I took
it up opposite to where the city is now, and managed to get it over
the river. In two days the owner came for it, and then we were in
trouble, but we bought it for seven dollars, and it took all the money


there was in the settlement to pay for it. It was the only means we
had of crossing- the river for two years. Knut Nelson made the first
tiling- on land within the present city limits on the south half of sec-
tion 9, but he abandoned it and then Cash Coats filed on the same
land, and he sold out to Dennis Rice.

The families of Dennis Rice and myself, and E. P. Metcalf, who
boarded with me, comprised the whole population that spent the
winter of 1871-2 within the present limits of the city of Dell Rapids.
R. S. Alexander and family lived about two miles south during- this
winter, they having- moved there the fall preceding".

To Peter Morse belong-s the honor of first deciding- to locate at
Dell Rapids. He was at the Dells in June, 1871, and it was he who
first induced the Rice brothers, B. D. Graves and others to come
there. I was the first postmaster, and the first mail carrier was
Lewis Hulitt, who commenced his services on January 1, 1872. He
used to carry the mail afoot, on horseback or in one of the most
primitive "pung-s" you ever saw, just as the weather and traveling-
rendered it the most feasible.

Thomas H. Davis, W. P. Oifford, James Nisbet, Peter Morse,
William Carr, Alonzo Mann, John W. Walters, Aug-ustus Chase,
James Chase and Daniel Jones came to Dell Rapids and took up land
in the vicinity, in the spring- of 1872. About this time O. J. Metcalf
and E. P. Metcalf came with their families.

Rig-ht here is a gfood place for a little inside history.

The Rice brothers were mill men, and what they meant to do
was to g-et an interest in the water power at Sioux Palls, so as to
control it, and then build mills at Dell Rapids and boom the town
with the hope of making- it the county seat. But it didn't work.
Early in 1872 there beg-an a strife as to where the town should be
built, which lasted three years. The first plat was made by Dennis
Rice on the south half of the south half of section 9; the second by
E. P. Metcalf on the southwest quarter of section 10; the third by
Peter Morse on the northwest quarter of section 10, and the fourth
by J. C. Ervin on the north half of the south half of section 9. It
was a merry war. They all wanted the business portion b-dilt
on their land. The first store was built on the southeast
corner of the northeast quarter of section 9, early in 1872, and
was occupied by B. D. Graves, who had located on the north-
east quarter of section 9. It is a mistake that is often made
by some of the early settlers of Dell Rapids in locating- the
first store near the mill. I worked on the first store building.
The store by the mill site, built by Mr. Cowan, who afterwards shot
himself, was the second store building- erected in Dell Rapids.
While speaking- of stores, there was a double store built near the
mill in 1873, and J. C. Graves and a Mr. Eukins occupied one side
for a hardware store, and John E. Hulitt the other side for a g-en-
eral store, and he resided in a wing- of the building-. The same year
a man by the name of Stone built a blacksmith shop nearly opposite
the stores. The same year Peter Morse induced Dr. Parker, Elder
Hill, Alonzo Mann and my mother to build on his land. After about
three years of this kind of work a compromise was eifected, and the


l)uil(linn-s near the mill site were moved to the present location of the

Well. I think vou have g-ot something- of an idea about the in-
fancv of Dell Rapids. I could g-ive you a g-ood many thing-s that were
events in our earlv settlement, but they would be similar to the ex-
])erience of all new towns, and interestino- perhaps only to the ])ar-
tici pants."


The first meeting- of the board of trustees of the village of Dell
Rapids was held March 24, 1879. The following- officers were pres-
ent and qualified according- to law: J. R. Richardson president,
W. C. Putnam clerk, G. A. Uline treasurer, B. D. (xraves, I. A.
Ang-el, W. E. Grossman and O. H. Smith trustees. On motion the
following- resolution was adopted: Resolved, That the bonds of the
treasurer and clerk be fixed at the following- amounts: Treasurer
S5()0 and clerk S250. The meeting then adjourned. The next meet-
ing- was held March 27, and the following officers were appointed:
L. S. Winsor poundmaster and marshal, G. A. Ang-el lire warden,
Thomas Lyons street commissioner, J. R. Richardson chief of fire
department. Albion Thorne was requested to act as attorney for
the ensuing vear. April 9, the license on liquor was fixed at one
hundred dollars. At this meeting a board of health was appointed,
consisting- of the president, B. D. Graves, and I. A. Angel. To
obviate the danger from prairie fires, fire guards were ordered to
be made around the villag-e, at various times during the fall of 1879.
November 4, J. A. Martin was appointed trustee to take the place
of B. D. Graves. The village purchased of Albion Thorne, part of
the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of section 4, town-
ship 104, rang-e 49 for a cemetery for S164.69. A calaboose was
ordered built. A bridge was also ordered built across the Rocky
Run where the territorial road crossed the creek, and December 2
the abutments were finished and grading beg-un.

1880. March 2, Mr. Grossman not being- present at the meet-
ing- was fined one dollar for non-attendance. April 7, C. S, Gif-
ford was elected marshal, L. N. Loomis clerk, and E. A. Ervin
street commissioner. Albion Thorne was retained by the board as
attorney for the ensuing year at a salary of S75. October 26, a
resolution was passed authorizing the president and clerk of the
villag-e to issue villag-e bonds to the amount of S10,000, with three
years bonded interest at seven per cent, in favor of the Southern
Minnesota Railway Extension Company on completion of their agree-
ment to run trains to Dell Rapids, and in accordance with a vote of
the villag-e at a special election held September 10. January 4, 1881,
on motion of Wm. Lovering it was ordered to appoint a committee
to see about procuring a lot for the Methodist church, in payment
for the one spoiled by the railroad company.

188L At the election held March 1, the following officers were
elected: president, G. A. Uline; trustees, O. H. Smith, J. A.
Martin, C. S. Gifford, Georg-e Hay ward; clerk, L. N. Loomis; treas-
urer, H. A. Cadd. Total number of votes cast 102. April 8, the


committee, after an investig-ation of the damage done to the Metho-
dist church lot by the railroad, reported that they considered S65 a
sufficient' remuneration. In the spring- of 1881, the high water car-
ried away the bridge. D. S. Stinson then, by contract with the
board, built and operated a ferry-boat, charging five cents for foot
passeng-ers and ten cents for teams. June 27, the committee ap-
pointed for the purpose reported that they had "hired a bridge built
by- Irving 'Angstead across the Sioux river for S350." The bridge
was paid for by subscription. December 6, L. N. Loomis resigned
as clerk of the board and J. H. Hall was appointed. March 28, 1882,
A. J. Bolster was made village clerk.

1882. "June 6, the special committee appointed to examine the
fiscal affairs and financial standing of the villag-e reported their in-
ability to discharge their duties and were discharged." J. H. Hall
was appointed as village attorney for the ensuing- year at a salary of
S35. Januarv 2, 1883, A. J. Bolster presented his resignation as
clerk of the village and Albion Thorne was appointed.

1883. At the village election held March 6, the whole number
of votes cast w^ere 100. The following officers were elected: presi-
dent, C. S. Gifford; trustees. G. H. Johnson, I. N. Lucas, Ebert
Wilde, George Whitman; M. R. Kenefick justice of the peace, Al-
bion Thorne clerk, G. J. Johnson treasurer.

1884. At the village election, the total number of votes cast were
107. The following officers were elected: president, C. S. Gifford;
trustees, Ebert Wilde, R. W. Howland, O. O. Sawyer and B. D.
Graves; clerk, Albion Thorne; treasurer, G. H. Johnson; justice of
the peace, L. C. Harrington; constable, J. J. Heyl; assessor, O. O.
Sawyer. Ebert Wilde refused to qualify as trustee and M. R.
Kenefick was appointed in his stead. At a special election held June
17, it was voted to issue bonds for S5,000 for the purpose of procur-
ing fire engines and suitable protection against fire. Total number
of votes cast 60, for bonds 53. October 7, Mr. Graves resigned and
Walter E. Grossman was appointed trustee. The same month it was
ordered to purchase a fire engine, hose cart and 800 feet of hose.

1885. President, M. R. Kenefick; trustees, W. E. Grossman,
I. N. Neher, W. L. Briley and R. W. Howland; clerk, Albion
Thorne: treasurer, J. A. Cooley; assessor, O. O. Sawyer. 169 votes
were cast for president, Mr. Kenefick receiving- 168. The building-
committee reported that a contract had been made wnth Albion
Thorne to build an engine house and cistern according to specifica-
tions for Si, 800 in village bonds. The contract was sfgned Novem-
ber 10th, 1884. Albion Thorne was employed as village attorney at
a salary of seventy-five dollars.

1886. President, R. W. Howland; trustees, O. O. Sawver, I.
N. Neher, J. A. Cooley and C. S. Gifford; clerk, Albion Thorne;
treasurer, G. H. Johnson; justice of the peace, L. H. Burk; consta-
ble, E. Hoag-; assessor, Fergus Thompson. Mr. Gifford refusing to
qualif}^ W. D. Keller was appointed trustee in his stead. Mr. Kel-
ler also refusing to qualify, S. P. Peters was appointed trustee. S.
H. Burk refusing to qualify for justice of the peace, O. H. Smith was
appointed by the board. Fergus Thompson also failed to qualify as


assessor and ( ). ( ). Sawver was appointed to fill the xricancw April
24, 188(), Mr. Neher resigMied and W. L). Keller was a])])()inted trus-
tee to lill the vacancy.

1887. President, C. S. Gifford; trustees, Peter Morse, W. 1).
Keller, I. N. Neher and E. J. Elliott; clerk, E. E. Griswold: treas-
urer, (i. H. Johnson; justice of the peace, L. C. Harring-ton; con-
stable, D. C. Ward; assessor, H. Noble. May 24, a committee was
api)ointed to ascertain the cost of street lamps, and three lamps were
purchased in June and placed, one at the southeast corner of La
Delle and Pearl, one at the northwest corner of Orleans and Pearl
and one at the northwest corner of Orleans and Main streets.

1888. President, G. H. Johnson; trustees, J. A. Cooler, J. E.
Farg-o, N. J. Hartman and M. W. Griswold; clerk, Albion Thorne;
treasurer, E. J. Elliot; assessor, H. Noble; justice of the peace, S.
H. Burk; constable, E. Hoag-. Number of votes cast, 222.


Upon a petition of the required number of qualified electors
of the village of Dell Rapids a special election was called for Decem-
ber 13, 1888, to determine the question whether the villag-e should
become a city under the g-eneral law. The election was held and 134
ballots were cast, of which 126 were for city org-anization.

1889. A special election was held January 8, 188^), for the elec-
tion of citv officers which resulted as follows: Mayor, E. J. Elliot,
aldermen, J. A. Cooley, Wm. Williamson, W. J. Sibbison, O. H.
Smith, G. A. Willard and G. A. Uline; treasurer, M. R. Kenefick;
justice of the peace, S. H. Burk. Number of votes cast 183.

At this date the financial standing- of Dell Rapids was as follows:

Total liabilities S21,621.K)

Total resources 9,423.4(1

The first meeting- of the city council was held January 11, 188*).
Albion Thorne was appointed auditor. The rules and regfulations
g-overning- the villag-e of Dell Rapids were adopted until such time as
citv ordinances could be passed. H. S. Samson was appointed chief
of police January 25. April 1, 1889, the first annual election of city
officers was held and resulted as follows: Total number of votes
cast, 1st ward 38, 2d ward 76 and 3d ward 48. Mayor, E. J. Elliot:
treasurer, M. R. Kenefick; justice of the peace, L. C Harring-ton;
alderman, 1st ward, G. E. Bowerman. J. C. Brodie; 2d ward, G. H.
Smith, W. J. Sibbison; 3d ward M. W. Griswold, Jerry Law. In
October at a special election E. S. Tresidder and James H. Bishop
were elected aldermen to fill vacancies caused b\- the removal of J.

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 91 of 99)