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 of Marshall County

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.

Railroads and Towns of Marshall County

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.


Hickman, George; History of Marshall County, Dakota: Its Topography and Natural History, and Sketches of Pioneer Settlers, with the Names of Actual Settlers where They are From, and where They Live; Also the Military and Sisseton Reservations; J.W. Banbury, 1886.

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