Biography of William C. Lampson

William C. Lampson, born July 17, 1831, in Medina County, Ohio, was a pioneering farmer in Moody County, South Dakota. He was the son of Riley and Betsy (Gilford) Lampson, both of New England descent. After teaching and farming in Illinois, Lampson moved to South Dakota in 1884, transforming 320 acres of wild land in Fremont Township into a productive 690-acre ranch known for its Galloway cattle and Shropshire sheep. A dedicated Republican and community servant, he was deeply involved in local education and Masonic activities. Lampson married Harriet A. Dean in 1855, and they had five children, with three surviving to adulthood: George R., Albert, and Frank E.

William C. Lampson is a native of the old Buckeye state, having been born on a farm in Medina County, Ohio, on the 17th of July, 1831, and being a son of Riley and Betsy (Gilford) Lampson, both of whom were born in Vermont, being representatives of families established in New England in the colonial era of our national history, while the ancestry is of English extraction on both sides. The paternal great-grandfather of the subject was a valiant soldier in the Continental line during the war of the Revolution. The father of our subject followed the vocation of farming throughout life, having removed from New England to Ohio in 1829, where he became the owner of nine hundred acres of government land, the same being a veritable sylvan wilderness at the time of his securing the property. He attained a high degree of success as an agriculturist, having removed to McHenry County, Illinois, in 1855, and there became a prosperous farmer. His death there occurred in 1859, and his wife passed away in 1888. They became the parents of three children, William C., the immediate subject of this sketch, who is the only survivor; and George R. and Mary M., who are deceased.

Mr. Lampson was reared under the sturdy discipline of the homestead farm in Ohio and received his education in the common schools of the old Buckeye state, while as a young man he was for some time a successful teacher in the district schools. He accompanied his parents on their removal to McHenry County, Illinois, and became the owner of the farm upon the death of his parents, there continuing to be engaged in agricultural pursuits until 1884, when he disposed of the property and came to South Dakota, purchasing three hundred and twenty acres of arable land in Fremont Township, Moody County, the tract having at the time never been furrowed by the plowshare, all being in its wild state. He has since added to the area of his landed estate until he now has a valuable ranch of six hundred and ninety acres, the greater portion being available for cultivation, while in the intervening years he has transformed the wild land into a fertile and productive farm, upon which are to be seen substantial and well-equipped buildings, making the ranch one of the most attractive to be found in this section of the state, while all this is the tangible evidence of the high degree of success which Mr. Lampson has gained since coming to the state, with whose development and material progress he has thus been prominently identified. Mr. Lampson devotes his attention to diversified farming and to the raising of high-grade livestock, giving special preference to the registered Galloway cattle, of which he has sold many fine animals for breeding purposes, while he now has an excellent band of registered and graded Shropshire sheep.

In politics, Mr. Lampson accords a staunch allegiance to the Republican party, and he takes a deep interest in the cause of the same, having been a delegate to various state and county conventions, but never having been a seeker of official preferment. His interest in the cause of popular education has been of an insistent sort, and he has served as a school officer for the past thirty years. He has been a member of the Masonic fraternity since 1860, and is now affiliated with Lodge No. 11, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, at Flandreau.

On the 17th of October, 1855, at River Styx, Ohio, Mr. Lampson was married to Miss Harriet A. Dean, who was born and reared in Medina County, Ohio, being a daughter of Ansel and Emeline (Munson) Dean, her father having been a successful farmer. Of the five children born to Mr. and Mrs. Lampson, three are living, namely: George R., who is a prominent farmer and veterinary surgeon of this county; Albert, who is likewise a representative farmer of the county; and Frank E., who is engaged in business in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota. William C. died at the age of twelve years, and Edgar G. at the age of twenty-one years.


Robinson, Doane, History of South Dakota: together with mention of Citizens of South Dakota, [Logansport? IN] : B. F. Bowen, 1904.

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