Organization of Marshall County, South Dakota

Organization Of Marshall County

     Marshall County was originally a part of Day County. In March, 1885, the legislature passed a bill to divide Day County and create Marshall County north of the township line of 124, and to be divided by a vote of the people, May 2d, 1885. Division was carried by a large majority, although there was bitter opposition in the southern part f what is now Marshall County. The bill provided that Marshal county shall assume the Day county indebtedness in proportion to the assessed valuation of the new county in 1884, which was one-third, and in the final adjustment of affairs between the two counties, Marshall county assumed a debt of $7,000. Marshall County cast 600 votes last year and, according to the June census of 1885, has 2,187 inhabitants. The assessed valuation of 1885 was $400,000 in round numbers. Governor Pierce ordered an election, July 22, 1885, to elect officers and locate a county seat. The county seat was located at Britton.

First Election

     This election will long be remembered as a most bitterly contested one, by the farmers' ticket and county ticket parties. The farmers' convention met in Britton, July 4, 1885, and put the following ticket in the field:
Henry Gerberich.
Commissioners Ralph Hay, Ole Ruswick.
Register of Deeds, Geo. C. Wilson.
District attorney, T. B. McDonough.
Probate Judge, Francis Jewell.
Surveyor, Samuel Denton.
Treasurer, D. Greenhalgh.
Sep't. of Schools, C. A. Tuck.
Sheriff, Ezroe Boyd.
Assessor, Joseph Corlis.
Coroner, E. L. Howe.
Wm. Johnson.
Justices C. H. Loveland.
E. M. Ireland.
LP. C. Howell.
Geo. West.
Constables Jno. Murry Denton and Manning Smith.

     The county convention was held in Britton, July 18, and put the follow candidates in the field:
Jno. H. Waite.
Commissioners S. H. Marsh, E. M. Ireland.
Register of Deeds, J. E. Dyer.
Sheriff, Ezroe Boyd.
Treasurer, C. M. Furber.
District Attorney, T. B. McDonough.
Probate Judge, W. R. Brown.
Assessor, J. B. Dunne.
Sup't. of Schools, Mary Wolf.
Surveyor, A. C. Poore.
Coroner, P. F. Hibbard.
Justices P. C. Howell, Wm. Plaisted, Robert White and R Dunne.
Constables M. Smith, A. E. Sherl, J. B. Dunne and J. Rook.
Clerk of the Court, E. A. Cooper (Appointed).
     The principal contest in this election was for the office of Register of Deeds and County Clerk; J. E. Dyer was elected by a small majority. Mr. Boyd declined the nomination on the farmers' ticket. Mr. Cleary, of Newark, was put on the ticket.
     The farmers' ticket carried the day, with above exception, and Britton was chosen temporary county seat, but will undoubtedly remain the county seat. The Britton town site syndicate agreed to furnish 'office room for county officials to January 1st, 1887, free of rent.
     D. T. Hindman and S. A. King were appointed commissioners in 1884 to represent North Day County (now Marshall County). Both declined a nomination the following election.


     In the fall of 1883 the Dakota & Great Southern Railway was surveyed through our county, and the following summer was graded; but not until this summer, 1886, did we realize our fondest anticipation-the railroad: The cars reached the new townsite of Langford in Hickman township, one mile north of county line, July 1st; and are now laying the track at the rate of one and one-half mile per day. This road is now under the management of the C. Al.
     St. P. R. R., and extends from Andover to Harlem, in Sargent County, a distance of fifty-seven miles. This road extends through Marshall County from south to north, about ten miles east, of the west county line, or very nearly through the center from east to west. Another railroad, connecting Aberdeen, in Brown county, and Duluth, has been surveyed through our county, grade stakes set and grading commenced. It runs diagonally across the northern part of Marshall County and crosses the Milwaukee road between four and five miles north of Britton. With two railroads giving us about sixty miles of railroad in the county, and an outlet in all directions, our railway facilities are all that could be desired. No more long journeys with heavy loads, requiring two or three days and exposure to all kinds of weather, for the old pioneers of Marshall county; the railroads are at our doors, and after harvest, will be ready to carry our produce to market. With our railway facilities and magnificent agricultural resources, capital and immigrants will seek the gem of "Jim" River Valley-Marshall County.
     Commencing at the south county line we have Langford, just platted, and as yet has but a few houses; but business places are being built as fast as possible, and there is considerable excitement among business men in the rush to establish themselves. (See Hickman Township).
     Britton, the county seat, is about fourteen miles north of Langford, along the line of railroad, and is situated on a commanding site. (See Miller Township).
     Newark is ten miles north of Britton, and is located in a good farming country. (See Newark Township).
     There is a probability that two more towns will be located in the county on the Aberdeen & Duluth railroad.

First Birth and Death

     First Child born in Marshall [county, so far as the author could ascertain, is Minnie Roehr, of Newport, born July 14, 1883.
     First Death outside of Fort Sisseton, was Mr. Shorey, of Victor, who suicided January 1, 1883. He was a bachelor and, in all probability, had an attack of insanity when he committed the deed.


     A "tenderfoot" would be surprised to see the numerous, neatly painted and furnished school-houses in Marshall County. Well may we feel proud of our school-houses, and the fact that we have a class of citizens that appreciate education. There are at present thirty-four school-houses and twenty-seven licensed teachers in our county. To appreciate the progress made in this direction, let the reader bear in mind that three years ago there was not a single school-house in Marshall County; the above figures show that we have averaged ten school-houses built each year.
     Our school-tax is somewhat burdensome at present as we must support our schools by direct taxation; the reserved school sections 16 and 36 in each township will not be available until our Territory becomes a State; after which we will have one of the richest perpetual school funds in the Union.

School Government

     Each school township has a director, treasurer and clerk, and each school district a moderator. Pupils in a township can go to any school most convenient, and the school age is from seven to twenty-one years. Women are allowed to vote at school meetings.
     School-houses are built by bonding, the bonds are issued in denominations of $100 and $500 bonds, redeemable after eight years and payable at the expiration of fifteen years; semi-annual interest at the rate of eight per cent per annum. The bonds can not be sold for less than ninety-five per cent of face value, and usually sell at par or at a very small discount, which shows that eastern capitalists have confidence in our future.

Religious Denominations

     As yet there are no churches in the county, but religious services are held in school-houses and private houses. Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, German Evangelical Association, Congregationalists and Catholics have church services in all parts of the county. The Welsh settlers of Hickman and Lowell townships have their regular Sabbath school and church service in their native language.

First Sabbath School And Church Organization

     The writer is indebted to Mrs. A. A. Warren for the following:
     In June, 1883, a Sunday school was organized in Lowell township, at the house of A. A. Warren, where it was held each Sunday after that till October, when it was held at the house of Rev. G. L. Beach. The same month a Presbyterian Church organization was formed; Rev. G. L. Beach, pastor.

Nativity And Character Of Settlers

     A large percentage of our settlers are native born Americans, from Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota, and in fact from every northern state from Maine to California, and representatives from every province of British America. Newark has a native from the far-off arctic Iceland. Perhaps twenty-five per cent of the settlers are Scandinavians and Germans; of Germans there are perhaps only a dozen families. Wales and England have a few representatives; the. Welsh are mostly in Hickman and Lowell townships. The writer has personally visited each township of the county collecting material for these pages, and has generally been treated with courtesy and hospitality, for which the citizens have his thanks. It would be difficult to find a class of settlers anywhere that are better informed, educated and intelligent, than the citizens of Marshall County.

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