Biography of Richard H. Booth

Richard H. Booth, a respected pioneer of the northwest, has been a prominent contractor and builder in South Dakota for over thirty years. Born in Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1826, he honed his carpentry skills and established himself as a skilled artisan. Moving to Sioux Falls in 1870, Booth dedicated himself to constructing significant public and private buildings, including the first church in the county. He was known for his integrity, public spirit, and commitment to the Democratic Party. Despite nearing the age of eighty, Booth remained active in his profession and was revered as a highly esteemed citizen of Sioux Falls.

RICHARD H. BOOTH, of Sioux Falls, one of the honored pioneers of the northwest, has been a resident of what is now the state of South Dakota for more than thirty years, and has long held precedence as one of the leading contractors and builders of this section. He is now nearing the age of four score years but is hale and hearty and is still active in business and one of the well-known and highly honored citizens of Sioux Falls.

Mr. Booth was born in the city of Poughkeepsie, New York, on the 20th of September, 1826, being a son of Richard and Nancy (Wood) Booth, the former of English and the latter of Holland ancestry. The father, who was born in December 1777, died in 1838, and the mother, born February 16, 1787, died in March 1863, both having continued residents of the Empire State until the close of their lives, while the former was a successful and prominent manufacturer of woolen cloths, his factory being equipped with the most improved machinery known at that time.

The subject received his early educational discipline in the schools of his native state, and when seventeen years of age, he entered upon an apprenticeship at the carpenter’s trade, becoming an expert artisan. Upon attaining his majority, he engaged in business upon his own responsibility as a contractor and builder, and to this important vocation he has ever since continued to devote his attention while his integrity of purpose and his well-directed efforts have been the factors which have brought him a high measure of success. In 1847, Mr. Booth took up his residence in New York City, and his marriage was celebrated the following year. He passed the summer of the year 1852 in Minnesota, whence he returned to New York, where he continued to make his home until 1855 when he took up his abode in the then small town of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, whence he removed eight months later to St. Paul, Minnesota, of which now attractive city he was likewise a pioneer. In April 1861, he took up a farm in Goodhue County, that state, and was thereafter engaged in farming and in the work of his trade until 1870 when he came to Sioux Falls, Dakota, arriving in the embryo city on the 11th of July. He entered a homestead claim of one hundred and sixty acres of government land in Sioux Falls Township but has continuously resided in the city and given his attention to contracting and building. He has erected many important buildings of public and private order, and among the number may be mentioned the original Cataract Hotel, the Van Epas block, the Minnehaha County courthouse, and the deaf-mute school buildings, besides other public buildings and many of the finest residences in the city in which he has so long retained his home. Mr. Booth has the distinction of having erected the first church edifice in the county, the original Protestant Episcopal church, in Sioux Falls. He was a member of the directorate of the South Dakota penitentiary at the time of the erection of its substantial buildings, retaining this incumbency four years, and for several years, he was the building inspector of Sioux Falls. He has ever been recognized as a public-spirited citizen and as one of a progressive attitude, and while he has shown a deep interest in local affairs and is a staunch adherent of the Democratic party, he has never been a seeker of official preferment. His religious faith is that of the Baptist church, and fraternally he is identified with the Masonic order, holding membership in Minnehaha Lodge, No. 5, Free and Accepted Masons.

In Poughkeepsie, New York, on the 17th of December, 1848, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Booth to Miss Sarah C. Boulett, who was born in Ulster County, New York, being a daughter of John P. and Elizabeth Boulett. Mr. and Mrs. Booth celebrated their golden wedding anniversary at their home in Sioux Falls in 1888, and the occasion was made a memorable one through the kindly offices of their wide circle of devoted friends. Of their children, we enter the following brief record: Richard J. and Frederick M. have followed in the footsteps of their father and are successful contractors and builders of Sioux Falls; Ida May remains at the parental home; Alice L. is the wife of David B. Durant, of this city; and Charlotte is the wife of Charley A. Boggs, of Mitchell, this state.

In conclusion, it may be said that the honored and influential citizen with whom this sketch has to do is the owner of valuable realty in the state and that he has also been engaged in the real estate business in Sioux Falls since 1890, his books ever showing desirable investments, while he also makes a specialty of financial loans on real estate security.


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

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