John T. Belk, a prominent and successful businessman in Codington County, South Dakota, was born in Illinois in 1860. After gaining a practical education, he worked in various industries before settling in South Dakota and acquiring land. Belk’s diligent management of a grain business earned him the trust of the G.W. Van Dusen Company. Alongside his business pursuits, he actively participated in politics, supporting the Republican party and serving as a respected legislator. Belk was also involved in fraternal organizations and held a high position in the Pythian fraternity. He married Jennie Hazlett in 1893, and they had three children.