History of Marshall County Dakota

History of Marshall County Dakota title page

History of Waverly Township

Waverly township, with the exception of the northwestern part, lies on a gradual elevation which finally terminates in the hills. Two-thirds of this township is fine tillable land, the remainder good grazing land, being well supplied with, water. In the eastern part of the township there are two deep gulches or coulees about one mile apart and both running west. They must have contained very heavy timber years ago, judging from stumps still remaining, several feet in diameter. Wood contractors gobbled it, hauling it to the fort. What remained was taken by the settlers from all parts of the county. …

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History of Marshall County Dakota title page

History of Pleasant Valley Township

Pleasant Valley township lies east of Britton, and the ridge or elevation on which Britton is located extends across the northwest corner of the township and terminates in the southeast corner of White township on sections 35 and 36, where the Wild Rice passes through to the north. This termination is generally known as the “Gap,” and by the Indians called Spirit Earth, where they annually congregated to hunt buffaloes. The southeast corner of the township extends pretty well up into the Coteaus; there are several coulees containing excellent spring water. Near Mr. Ford‘s, on section 11, is really the …

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History of Marshall County Dakota title page

History of Britton, South Dakota

During the spring of 1883 a few claim shacks were built on what now comprises the town site of Britton; the squatters little dreaming that three years of ‘time would bring, them a railroad, a flourishing town and county seat. Wm. Ross, of Stena township, while tramping over this portion of Miller township the latter part of April, 1883, became tired and lay down. He fell asleep, and awoke when the sun was fast sinking in the western horizon; about twenty rods from him were eleven antelope quietly grazing, where Mr. Hindman‘s lumber yard now is, near the railroad, unconscious …

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History of Miller Township

Miller township is centrally located and the surface slightly undulating, with the exception of the quite prominent elevation upon which Britton is located. This low range of hills commences in the southwest corner of the township and gradually rises higher, and extends across the northwestern part of Pleasant Valley township into White township, where it abruptly terminates, Between this point , and the Coteaus there is a gap through which the Wild Rice flows north. All of this elevation is good farming land, and the best of water is easily obtained almost anywhere. This township was not surveyed until the …

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History of Stena Township

Stena township lies south of Dayton township, and until 1885 was divided and belonged to both Norwich and Hartford school townships. There is quite an apparent rise of ground from the south town line, to the north town line, gradually merging into the elevation mentioned in Dayton Township. Through the south tier of section there is a water course or coulee and the land is naturally level and in some places low. This township was not surveyed until August, 1883, and came in market the following October. They have now four school houses. In the fall of 1882, Geo. H. …

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History of Dayton Township

Dayton township lies in the northwest corner of the county, and the surface is quite rolling with the exception of an apparent depression or valley, or more properly, there is a low range of hills extending from the southeast corner of the township along the town line, west and then north, with a turn to the northeast, forming a semi-circle; in this semi-circle lies the valley mentioned, which contains the majority of the settlers. An abundance of water is obtained at a depth of fifteen to thirty feet. The soil in the valley is rich and productive, while the hills …

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History of Newark Township

Newark Township lies west of White township, and for school purposes was included in the same until last spring, when it was set off. The surface is slightly rolling and the soil fertile and productive. It was not until April 10th, 1883, that the settlement of the township began. On that day, Homer Johnson and his sons, Fred and Stark, located on section 14 and put up the first claim shanty in the township. Mr. Johnson was born in Ovid, Seneca County, New York, and came here from Plymouth, Michigan. On April 15th, 1883, P. C. Howell, C. and J. …

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History of White Township

White Township, with the exception of the spur of hills extending into the southern corner of the township from Miller township, is quite level. The Wild Rice slough runs through it to the north, Geo. W. White, originally from Ohio, came here from Richland county, Dakota, located his claim July 20, 1882. Wm. Linse, from Wilkin county, Minnesota, located his claim, Section 12, about or a short time prior to White‘s settlement. Nels Otland, on Section 14, was in all probability the first one in the township to commence improvements. The evidence on this point is very unsatisfactory and conflicting. …

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History of Victor Township

Victor Township lies in the northeast corner of the county, west of the Sisseton reservation and north of the military reservation and at present includes a strip three miles wide lying between it and the military reservation. The western part is quite level, while the eastern part extends up into the Coteaus. The principal part of the land in the hills is good farming land, free of stones and nearly all settled. There are five coulees emerging from the hills, four of which contain timber. Chas. Bailey, mentioned elsewhere, was the first settler on section 12. Peter Sirai, a native …

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Sketch of Charles Bailey

The following sketch of Charles Bailey, the first settler in what is now Marshall County, was obtained by the writer from authentic sources and from persons acquainted with him before is arrival here. The Baileys, of whom there were several brothers, lived in Browns Valley, Minnesota, whence the subject of this sketch waylaid a supposed rival in a love affair and shot him but not fatally. For this criminal offense he served some time in the penitentiary at Stillwater. He was finally pardoned before the expiration of his term, and in a few days married a young lady but fifteen …

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The Little Sod Shanty on the Claim

Personal Narrative by Samuel Denton

Looking for a Home in DakotaA Night in the Coteaus During a Terrible Snow Storm The following particulars were recently related to the writer by Mr. Samuel Denton “In June, 1882, Josiah True, Robert Lemmon and myself, rigged a boat on the running gear of a buckboard and with a good team left Avoca, Iowa, to hunt for a home in Dakota. We entered the territory at Sioux Falls and traveled north by the way of Watertown, Clark, Groton, Grand Rapids, Jamestown and Ft. Totten. Not finding a suitable location, we turned back at Ft. Totten and traveled in a …

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History of Marshall County Dakota title page

The Sisseton Agency

Chief Renville was born on the east side of Big Stone Lake in Minnesota, sixty-one years ago (1824). He is six feet tall, with regular features, showing traces of Caucasian blood. He is a descendant of a French trader by that name, and is an intelligent, shrewd man. He, like a few more of his tribe, still clings to polygamy, having three wives. He is the father of twenty children of whom fifteen are living; During the late Minnesota massacre he with quite a number of friendly Indians of his tribe did much to save white people and hunt hostile …

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Old Fort Sisseton

Military Reservation of Marshall County

The military reservation lies in the eastern part of Marshall County and contains about 128 square miles or 82,000 acres of land. Fully one-third of this area is splendid farming land, while the other two-thirds are good grazing and farming lands. There are numerous lakes, of which Skunk, Four and Nine Mile Lakes, are the largest. There is still considerable timber in the vicinity of the lakes and in the gulches. All the heavy timber has been used at the fort during the last twenty years. The scenery is grand and picturesque in many localities, especially in the vicinity of …

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Dakota Sod House

Pioneer Homes in Marshall County

The establishment of a home by pioneers in this country is an entirely different affair compared with the pioneer settlement of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois. Here the immigrant ships his stock and household goods to the nearest railway station, where he desires to locate. If the land is not surveyed he becomes a “squatter” and files when the land comes in market. If already surveyed he makes his filing or settles and then files. Settlers generally build according to their means. Houses built of sod are comfortable and cheaply built, but require so much labor that but few are built …

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How The Pioneers Adapt Themselves to Changes in Profession

Blunt, D. T., Correspondence to Chicago Inter-Ocean. The District Attorney of Potter County runs a milk wagon during vacation. A physician formerly of Union City, Kentucky, spent his first few months here as a day laborer while he had two diplomas hanging up in his room. A man who had a jewelry store in Leadville, Colorado, came to Blunt, and finding two jewelers here bought out a meat market and ran it for nearly a year successfully. A graduate of a Pennsylvania college who had read law two years got his first start in Wessington sawing wood at a hotel. …

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History of Marshall County Dakota title page

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 …

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History of Marshall County Dakota title page

Natural History of Marshall County

The western half of the county lies in the Jim River Valley and is comparatively level, while the eastern half lies on a plateau and includes a part of the Coteau Hills, which are rather broken and stony and extend from southwest to northeast, making an angle of 90 degrees in Pleasant Valley. Windy Peaks in Victor Township are said to be 2,026 feet above sea level. Although the hills are stony and broken in localities, there are many excellent pieces of farming lands and meadows and numerous coulees or gulches containing timber and springs. The buffalo, once so numerous, …

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Government of Marshall County

The executive branch of our government consists of a governor, secretary and marshal, all appointed by the president, for four years; the auditor, treasurer and superintendent of public instruction are appointed for two years by the governor and council. The legislature consists of a council of twenty-four members and a house of forty-eight representatives. The district system of schools prevailed until 1883, when the township system was introduced. A county superintendent governs the school affairs of each county and issues four grades of certificates; 1st good for two years, 2nd eighteen months, 3d one year, and the probation certificate good …

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History of Marshall County Dakota title page

Early History of Marshall County

Dakota Territory contained an area of 150,932 square miles, and was considerable larger than the six New England States, with the great Empire State, New York included. The great Missouri River, with its windings included, ran one thousand miles diagonally across the territory and navigable the entire distance. There were numerous lakes scattered throughout the territory, of which Devils Lake in the Turtle Mountain region is the largest. East of the Missouri River the country is a beautiful undulating prairie with the exception of the Coteau Hills. This magnificent agricultural region may properly be divided into two sections: the James …

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