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.
Hollace Lincoln Hopkins, a prominent figure in South Dakota’s business and political history, has left an indelible mark on the state. As the manager of the Sioux Valley Land Company and the founder of The Independent newspaper, Hopkins achieved widespread recognition and influence. He played an instrumental role in the expansion of the land company and actively participated in local and state politics. With a deep commitment to the welfare of his town, Hopkins tirelessly worked to advance its social, moral, and material progress. Beyond his professional pursuits, he was actively involved in the Pythian Order and cherished family life with his wife, Encie Plank, and their four children.