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Copyright 1915 




CHAPTER I 1151090 








































woman's WORK 764 













Probably no subject is of greater historic interest to the people of the state 
than the development of the natural resources. South Dakota did not start out 
on the perilous but prosperous voyage of statehood with either a bankrupt treasury 
or a dearth of resources that could be made useful. Three very important resources 
shone above all others when the young state began its career, namely: (i) The 
mines; (2) the plant products, and (3) the live stock industry. All three had 
grown wonderfully under the sunny skies of territorial existence, but had in 
reality only well commenced. In addition and only of secondary importance, 
were the following additional means of resource : ( i ) Lignite and coal beds ; 
(2) artesian water supply; (3) cement formations; (4) building stone; (5) fer- 
tile soil; (6) available moisture for crops; (7) abundant timber in the extreme 
western part and along many streams; (8) extension of the corn growing area; 
(9) introduction of drouth resistant plants; (10) irrigation and intensive farm- 
ing; (11) improvement of live stock; (12) diversified farming and rotation of 
crops ; ( 13) extension of the fruit growing area ; ( 14) oil and natural gas deposits ; 
(15) available water power; (16) the intelligent, mixed and industrious popula- 
tion; (17) healthful climate; (18) large amount of annual sunshine; (19) wild 
game for food, furs, pelts, etc. 

But there were also serious drawbacks which had to be taken into considera- 
tion here as in every other state and if possible overcome, as follows: (i) Gen- 
era! prejudice against the West and particularly the western half of the state, due 
to unfair and unfounded reports that the region was a semi-desert and largely 
tminhabitable ; (2) lack of moisture for crops sometimes in certain portions; (3) 
danger from late May and early September frosts which might cut down the 
crops ; (4) tracts of soil or subsoil that required study and special manipulation 
to reward the agriculturist; (5) occasional severe winters that endangered live 
stock and violent storms that damaged crops ; (6) want of forests and timber 
in the central and eastern portions (7) occasional hot winds that wilted crops in 
July and August; (8) difficulty of irrigating the soil which contained alkali; (9) 
lack of good drinking water in certain restricted sections. 

It may be said generally that everyone of these resources except two or three 
have been advanced and expanded far beyond the hopes and dreams of the first 
Vol. in— 1 



settlers. The mines have become among the greatest producers in the world and 
the supply seems inexhaustible. The plant products have far surpassed all expec- 
tations — agriculture, horticulture, etc. The corn belt now covers nearly the whole 
state. The live stock industry first expanded marvelously on the ranges, but has 
since diminished there, but has vastly increased on the small farm. All of the 
other resources mentioned above have been elaborated, improved and utilized 
until South Dakota now is, and has been for nearly a score of years, at the head 
of the states in the annual value of products per capita. The mines, the plant 
products and the live stock industries are given elaborate treatment elsewhere 
in these volumes. 

The drawbacks have been largely overcome or wholly removed. People now 
in all parts of the country know that the state is one of the best for husbandry 
in the whole country. Irrigation and reservoirs supply the moisture lacking; 
quicker growing and maturing crops evade the frosts; the soil is better under- 
stood and more wisely handled; plants adapted to the soil, temperature and 
moisture have been procured or developed; better buildings and feed suppHes 
render the winters less damaging; forests are being grown; vegetation and 
moisture temper the hot winds; alkali is sub-drained from soils, and good 
drinking water is secured everywhere. Thus South Dakota with its prosperous 
business and its happy homes will compare favorably with any state in the Union. 
The territorial growth was at first slow and spread from the eastern portion 
of the state particularly in the southeastern corner. The rush for the Black 
Hills which occurred principally in 1876 was followed the next year by a great 
impulse in settlement throughout the Hills region and the eastern part of the 
territory. The homesteading movement of 1877 gave great hopes to the few 
settlers that the territory would rapidly become densely populated, but this 
movement did not last long. There came a reaction. Conditions here were 
vastly different from what they were further east and south. New and insuper- 
able obstacles had to be encountered, such as prairie fires, devastating floods, 
early and late frosts, and drought that dried up every leaf of vegetation. This 
condition drove many of the first homesteaders from the territory, but after a 
few years or early in the eighties, there came another homesteading movement 
which continued until after statehood was secured. The admission of the state 
in 1889 and the opening of the Big Sioux Reservation were alone sufficient to 
bring here thousands of settlers. 

When the new state came into being in 1889-90, although there had been 
a great onrush of settlers, there was much discouragement and many failures, 
and in many portions of the young state destitution was painfully present and 
apparent. The officials of the new state on more than one occasion were com- 
pelled to appeal to the generosity of the people in the East for means to keep the 
settlers in certain portions of the state alive until they could realize on their 
cattle or their crops. The great financial depression which swept the whole 
country at that time added to the dismay and distress which prevailed in this 
section of the Union. This depression reached its climax in 1893, but the crop 
failure in 1894 and the robbery of the state treasury in 1894-5 completed the 
depression and the distress. A few years later another reaction occurred and 
since the late nineties South Dakota has been prosperous and contented perhaps 
as much so as any state in the Union in proportion to population. Late in the 


nineties, pioneer conditions over most of the state were changed. Schools were 
in successful operation, churches were numerous and well attended and the 
towns and villages began to prosper in accordance with the development of the 
rural districts. 

The possibilities of securing an abundant water supply from the artesian 
system were developed early in the eighties and the number of wells rapidly 
increased. By December 31, 1889, Yankton County alone had seventy artesian 
or semi-artesian wells in operation. They were sunk and used mainly by the 
farming community, but many were located in the towns and villages where 
they were first developed. At this time about half a dozen wells were in the 
towns of Yankton County and all the others were on the county farms. The 
first artesian well in Dakota Territory was sunk on the hill at Yankton early in 
1880. It was put down 485 feet and yielded 300 gallons per minute. In 1881 
another was sunk at the Germania House; it was 380 feet deep and yielded ten 
gallons per minute through a 2-inch pipe. In 1882 one was sunk at the Morrison 
Hotel, Yankton, to the depth of 275 feet and yielded twenty gallons per minute. 
In 1883 five more were sunk in Yankton County. After that date one was sunk 
in 1884, five in 1885, eight in 1886, thirteen in 1887, fourteen in 1888, and twenty 
in 1889, thus making a total of seventy in Yankton County in nine or ten years. 
All yielded a total of 11,133 gallons per minute. This gave over sixteen million 
gallons per day of twenty-four hours. The construction of wells mainly for 
domestic use had progressed notably since the first one was sunk; they could 
now be put down for from $50 to $100. During these nine or ten years the 
remainder of the basin was not idle in the artesian well movement. Similar 
wells were sunk in many portions of the James River Valley, few going down 
more than 1,000 feet, but flowing water was secured. By June i, 1890, the 
following was the condition of the artesian wells in this state : 

Depth of Depth of Flow in 

No. of Shallow Deep Gallons per 

County Wells Wells Welk Minute 

Beadle i i 600 

Bon Homme 6 512 736 210 

Clay ISO 20s 500 55 

Davison 10 97 288 3 

Grant 12 30 117 17 

Hanson 50 70 315 260- 

Hutchinson II 3 154 26 

Jerauld 2 o o 3 

Lincoln 12 32 70 3 

McCook II 85 193 41 

Miner 66 60 284 16 

Sanborn 92 60 600 89 

Turner 30 24 340 18 

Yankton 74 ' 225 645 38 

Totals 527 1388 

The artesian basin in South Dakota had become well defined in 1890. Union 
County marked the southern end of the artesian area. The northern limits were 
in North Dakota. The eastern limits were on the divide between the James 
and Big Sioux valleys. At this time South Dakota had the largest flowing wells 


of any state in the Union, though the largest thus far did not deliver much over 
3,000 gallons per minute. It was necessary to reach what was known as the 
Dakota sandstone before the artesian supply was obtained. As this sandstone 
dipped toward the north it became necessary to go deeper in that direction. One 
of the most notable wells at this time was at Huron, where an abundant supply 
was reached at the depth of about nine hundred feet. Artesian water was 
deemed invaluable at this time, and all farmers who could afford to do so 
secured home wells or combined with their neighbors for that purpose. In many 
towns and villages artesian power companies were organized to utilize the pres- 
sure of the wells. One was organized at Yankton with a capital of $100,000; 
another at Wolsey. The Wolsey artesian wells were famous the world over; 
so were those at Woonsocket. One well had a pressure of 150 pounds per 
square inch. At Springfield the artesian wells were equally famous; through 
an 8-inch pipe there a column of water was thrown 123/2 feet high. The same 
well threw a stream 26 feet high through a 6-inch pipe; 62 feet high through 
a 4-inch pipe ; and •/"] feet high through a 2-inch pipe. One of the wells at 
Springfield at first developed a flow of 3,293 gallons per minute. Another of 
the wells there threw a stream 16 feet high through an 8-inch pipe ; 2>^ feet high 
through a 6-inch pipe; 68 feet high through a 4-inch pipe; and 96 feet high 
through a 2-inch pipe. These wells were used to furnish power for a flouring 
mill. In January, 1891, tlie most important wells in the state were as follows: 
At Huron, where the flow was 1,668 gallons per minute; Aberdeen, 1,215; Mel- 
lette, 1,215; Redfield, 1,261; Hitchcock, 1,240; Columbia, 1,399. ^t Risdon's 
farm near Huron the flow was over 3,000 gallons per minute and the pressure 
was over 200 pounds to the square inch. It threw a stream of water 125 feet 
high through a 2j/-inch pipe. Flouring mills at Yankton, Hitchcock and 
Springfield were operated by water power. The pressure in these wells varied 
from one hundred to one hundred sixty-six pounds to the square inch. The 
following table shows the most important wells in the state on May i, 1891 : 

Size of Flow in Gal- 
Wells Depth Pipe Pressure Ions per min. 

Woonsocket, City Well 840 6 120 1,152 

Woonsocket, Mill Well 850 7 125 1,800 

Hines Well 742 3 131 455 

Wolsey Well 860 6 150 1.500 

Plankinton, City Well 850 6 91 224 

Springfield Well 900 6 i6o 3.200 

Kimball, City Well 640 4 20 1S5 

White Lake, City Well 863 6 35 1,000 

Huron, Risdon's Well 1.060 6 200 3,000 

Aberdeen Well 1,100 6 125 1,215 

Yankton, Cement Well 650 6 50 1.300 

Brick Yard Well 705 6 43 1.455 

City Well 860 6 18 880 

Insane Hospital Well 680 4 10 600 

The artesian wells developed many varieties of drinking water within the 
state limits. The temperature of the water in the eastern portion was usually 
cold enough for drinking purposes. In the region west of the Missouri River, 
many wells sunk at a later date spouted comparatively warm water which was 


greatly relished by live stock, particularly during the cold months. The water 
from many of the wells possesses valuable mineral properties and can be used 
largely as a means of restoring inert bodily functions and for the improvement 
of health generally. In the extreme western portion of the state many valuable 
mineral springs were early discovered and enlarged and are to this day one of the 
valuable assets of the state. The Hot Springs at the town of the name in Western 
South Dakota have become famous the world over, and thousands of people 
visit them annually for the curative effects of the water. Many wonderful 
recoveries from various physical and mental disorders have been ascribed to 
these famous waters. To aid in the effect upon patients, the surroundings there 
have been beautified until the scenery seems like fairyland. The waters at Hot 
Springs were famous as early as the eighties and began to be advertised exten- 
sively for their curative effects. At that time a daily stage ran from Pierre to 
Rapid City and thence branches conveyed health seekers to the springs. 

In 1893 Chamberlain struck one of the greatest spouting wells in the state. 
At first it was reported to throw 8,000 gallons per minute through an 8-inch 
pipe, but later the quantity was fixed approximately at 3,300 gallons per minute. 
Thus it was equal to the famous wells at Springfield, Huron, Woonsocket and 
elsewhere. In 1893 artesian wells were sunk at Pierre and west of the Missouri. 
At Dry Run, six miles from Pierre, flowing water was struck at a depth of 
1,200 feet. This point was 300 feet higher than Pierre. This was one of the 
first indications that the artesian basin extended west of the Missouri River. 
Congress appropriated money for sinking artesian wells at the different Indian 
agencies of the state. It was about this time that Colonel Edwin S. Nettleton of 
the Government Irrigation Investigation Commission announced that the James 
River Valley artesian basin covered about forty thousand square miles ; that 
the artesian rock dipped somewhat sharply to the north ; that water was reached 
at a depth of from five hundred to six hundred feet near Yankton; that it was 
necessary to go from fifteen hundred to seventeen hundred feet deep at Devil's 
Lake; that the dip of the Dakota sandstone from Yankton to Devil's Lake was 
about seven hundred feet; that the eastern extension of the basin reached over 
into Minnesota, and that its western limits were still undefined, but were far 
west of the Missouri River. Already by 1894 artesian water had been struck 
almost as far west as Deadwood. In 1895 the Black Hills Artesian Wells Com- 
pany was incorporated and offered their services to sink wells in any portion 
of that district. The United States Government at this time made a thorough 
investigation of the subterranean waters of the state. The deepest wells in the 
state in 1895 were near DeSmet, where it was necessary to go over sixteen 
hundred feet deep to secure flowing water. 

In the spring of 1893 the artesian well at the Pierre Indian School was down 
1,191 feet, had a 6-inch bore, yielded 500 gallons per minute, and had a closed 
pressure of 165 pounds to the square inch. The water was about 92° temper- 
ature, had strong magnetic properties and contained a considerable quantity of 
natural gas. 

In 1893 the governor noted the great development of artesian wells in the 
James River Basin and said that the work was due almost wholly to private 
enterprise, owing to the fact that the law which permitted townships to issue 
irrigation bonds was somewhat indefinite and defective. As it now existed the 


artesian basin, he said, covered the whole region between the James and Missouri 
rivers and extended east of the James River to the boundary of the state and 
in all probability extended west of the Missouri to the Black Hills. At this time 
he announced that there were ninety-nine deep artesian wells in operation in 
the state; that they were from three to ten inches in diameter; that they were 
from six hundred to one thousand feet deep, and that they had an average 
closed pressure of nearly one hundred pounds to the square inch and an average 
flow of about seven hundred gallons per minute. He noted that many farms 
were being irrigated, and that most of the artesian water was being used for 
domestic purposes. In a few towns and villages the pressure of the wells was 
being used for power purposes, such as pumping, electric lighting, operating 
flour mills, etc. He noted that such power was being used on flour mills at 
Hitchcock, Yankton, Mellette and Woonsocket. 

Many of the wells which were at first denominated artesian, were really not 
such because they did not strike the Dakota sandstone. Many of the wells sunk 
on farms were no deeper than two hundred fifty feet. While it is true that there 
were probably over three hundred artesian wells proper in the state in 1891, it 
is also true that there were several thousand others which were yielding so called 
artesian water for domestic purposes. Up until the present time (1915) artesian 
wells have continued to be sunk in all parts of the state and occasionally one of 
great power is secured. 

The following is the result of the analysis of water from the Locke Hotel 
well. Pierre, the table showing grains and decimals of a grain in a gallon of water : 

Silica 1.050 

Ferric Oxide and Alumina 070 

Calcium Carbonate 4-935 

Magnesium Carbonate 1.855 

Sodium Carbonate 43.360 

Calcium Chloride 693 

Magnesium Chloride 1.844 

Sodium Chloride 184.569 

Sodium Lithate 1.250 

Sulphates Trace 

Total Solids per gallon 239.626 

The artesian water will continue to have its uses forever, owing alone, if for 
nothing else, to the medicinal qualities which it contains. It may be said that 
the whole artesian supply is a medicinal one, good for nearly all human ailments 
and sufficient, if the water be rightly used, to correct many disordered bodily 
functions. The following is the analysis of the city artesian water at Yankton, 
the figures showing so many grains and decimals of a grain in a gallon of water : 

Chloride of Sodium 1.346 

Chloride of Lithium 102 

Chloride of Magnesium 9.914 

Chloride of Calcium 5.314 

Bromide of Sodium 124 

Sulpliate of Lime 92-345 

Sulphate of Baryta 025 



Bicarbonate of Lime 4.816 

Carbonate of Iron 196.367 

Alumina 1.246 

Total Solids per gallon 311-599 

As late as 1904 and even down almost to the present, large gushers were 
obtained in the James River Valley. One at Woonsocket threw a 2-inch stream 
100 feet high and the sinkage of this well did not interfere with the others in 
the same village. As early as 1890 fine mineral springs were located near 
Chamberlain on American Island. The water had a temperature of about 80° 
and flowed from a spot which the river never reached. At this time there was 
not much diminution in the flow. 

By 1904 it was estimated that there were in round numbers 2,400 genuine 
artesian wells within the limits of South Dakota. There was but little decrease 
in the flow, though some of the wells had lost their h'gher pressure. Professor 
Todd, state geologist, said that the decline in pressure was due no doubt to the 
large number of wells which had reached and drawn upon the artesian supply 
below the Dakota sandstone. He suggested that there should be a decrease in 
the waste which was constantly going on from all wells. The wells have 
continued to increase in number and usefulness throughout the state down to 
the present time. By February, 1908, there were in Faulk County alone 314 
flowing wells, though many had but little pressure. It was not many years 
before that date that the first artesian well was secured in that county. In 
January, 1913, there were twenty-four flowing wells in Spearfish, Lawrence 
County. In the Bad River Valley the artesian water often has a temperature 
of from 128° to 138° Fahrenheit. A recent well at Edgemont yields water with 
a temperature of 120° ; this well is 2,970 feet deep and the water is said to be 
soft and suitable for domestic purposes. In 1910 it was estimated that there 
were at least sixty-five artesian wells in operation in South Dakota west of the 
Missouri River. The flow from these wells varies from ten gallons to six hun- 
dred gallons per minute. The three wells at Pierre supply 1,500 gallons per 
minute. The new well at the Pierre Indian Schools is said to flow 6,000 gallons 
per minute, but this is probably a mistake of the state engineer. The total 
amount of water supplied by the artesian wells of the whole state would be liard 
to estimate. If there are a total of 3,000 wells and they flow an average of 
thirty gallons per minute, the total quantity supplied in a day of twenty-four 
hours is 129,600,000 gallons. Much of this water flows away and is wasted so 
far as the wants of man are concerned — a serious drain on the natural resources. 


Flow in 

Number Gallons 

County of Wells per Minute 

Aurora 100 6,000 

Beadle 55 

Bon Homme 20 10,000 

Brown 75 16,000 

Brule 35 24,000 

Buflfalo 6 600 


Flow in 

Number Gallons 
County of Wells per Minute 

Butte 6s i.Soo 

Charles Mix ^-j ii,ooo 

Clay ; 230 3,500 

Davison 250 12,000 

Day 12 6do 

Douglas 25 14,000 

Edmunds 400 6,000 

Fall River 3 540 

Faulk 30 3,000 

Grant 10 300 

Gregory 30 2,000 

Hand 80 7,000 

Hansen 55 1,000 

Hughes 25 10,000 

Hutchinson 50 2,000 

Hyde 65 1,600 

Jerauld 14 1,600 

Kingsbury 45 3,000 

Lawrence 12 1,000 

Lyman 14 1,000 

McCook 10 300 

McPherson 40 1,800 

Marshall 35 3,000 

Meade 8 360 

Miner 60 3,000 

Pennington 2 lOO 

Potter 6 300 

Sanborn 100 7,000 

Spink 800 70,000 

Stanley 17 700 

Sully 10 600 

Turner 18 i.ioo 

Walworth 8 300 

Yankton 50 12,000 

Indian Reservations 2 700 

Grand Total 2,909 255,800 

In the spring of 1913, an artesian well was sunk at Edgeinont and proved 
to be one of the greatest spouters ever struck in the United States. It had a 
flow of 700 gallons per minute or more than one million gallons in each day of 
twenty-four hours. The distinguishing feature of the water was its high tem- 
perature, the register showing 126°. The water was unusually pure and could 
be used for domestic purposes. It was one of the deepest wells in the country, 
the drill going down a distance of 2,970 feet. Drilling was in progress for about 
two years and the cost was many thousands of dollars. 

The lakes also furnish a large supply of water for all purposes. The impor- 
tant lakes are Pickerel, Kampeska, Poinsett, Hendricks, Andes and McCook 
east of the Missouri River, and Sylvan west of that river. They are natural 
reservoirs and thus must be classed among the state's resources. 

In his speech when dedicating the South Dakota building at the World's Fair 
in 1893, Governor Sheldon declared that the resources of no portion of the 


country had been so glaringly misrepresented as those of South Dakota; that 
for years the entire East had unfairly denominated the country west of the 
Missouri as a desert; that on the other the soil was intensely rich in plant food 
and that soils in places were eighty feet deep ; that South Dakota was a desirable 
place for residence ; that .no stock was permitted to run at large ; that no fence 
law was in operation east of the Missouri River; that the farmers had already 
learned that growing wheat alone was unprofitable and had adopted mixed 
farming and rotation of crops ; that the area upon which corn could be grown 
had. been extended from a small section in the southeastern portion of the state 
northward and westward until practically the whole state had been covered; 
that few states could surpass South Dakota in the rearing of horses, cattle, 
sheep, hogs and poultry; that the Black Hills were thick with pine and other 
timber; that the state was rich with gold, silver, lead, tin, iron, stone for build- 
ings, gypsum, lime, plaster, stucco, cement, granite, jasper, etc. He stated that 
on June 30, 1893, the bonded debt was but little more than one million dollars, 
the most of it bearing only 4% interest ; that the funding warrants outstanding 
were comparatively few in number; that the taxation was very low, being but 
two mills on the dollar, with provisions for a slight increase in case of deficiency ; 
that no state had better health ; that cases of malaria and consumption were few, 
and that the aurora borealis was finer than in any other state in the Union. 

"Self-deception, even when intended to deceive others, never pays. The 
people of South Dakota must squarely face the most important question ever 
raised in the state, and the sooner they do so, the sooner they will solve it and 
insure their prosperity. It may be humiliating to admit it, but it is the solemn 
truth that a large portion of the counties in the state in a considerable number 
of years lacks sufficient moisture. Except in the eastern quarter crops are not 
certain. There are years of abundant rain and phenomenal yields, but they are 
succeeded in many cases by the opposite extremes. The average of success is 
not high. This result is not due to the soil. The unanimous testimony of 
observers shows that the black loam of Dakota and the porous subsoil surpass 
in productive and lasting power any others known. Given ample moisture and 
the crops are wonderful in amount and quality. The problem is to secure this 
moisture, and upon its solution depends in a large measure the resources and 
the future welfare of the state. The solicitation of widespread immigration, the 
investment of capital, the construction and enlargement of railroads, the erection 
of cities, the advancement of market facilities, the lowering of individual taxes 
and the vast increase in the wealth of the state depend upon this solution. It 
behooves the people, therefore, to give marked attention, first, to the question 
whether the desired moisture can be secured, and, second, if so, what is the best 
means for securing it." — Sioux Falls Argus-Leader, 1891. 

"A greaf mistake is being made in not gathering the statistics of the products 
of farm and factory in this state. The moneyed men of the East and even those 
of the nearby western cities of Chicago, St. Paul and Minneapolis are not aware 
of the resources of this state as they exist at present. Railroad building and 
the investment of capital need not be expected where the community do not ofifer 
inducements. This state has many such inducements to oiifer capitalists at 
present, but the lack of officially collected statistics hampers anyone interesting 
himself in the welfare of the state and its people by a proper presentation of 


facts as they exist. A reasonable sum of money invested in securing such data 
would add annually to the tax-paying property of the state investments which 
would pay in taxes alone many times the amount of the outlay necessary to 
collect the statistical information needed." — State Register, September, 1899. 
Soon after this article was published the Legislature made ample provision for 
collecting and publishing the important statistics of the state. Under the able 
supervision of Doane Robinson all important matters concerning the resources 
and products are now published annually or biennially at state expense. Much 
of the statistical matter after 1900 in these volumes came from these publications. 
For the fiscal year 1893-94 the commissioner of labor endeavored to collect 
complete statistics concerning all the natural productions of the state. It proved 
to be more difficult than he expected, owing to the lack of funds with which to 
prosecute his investigation. Three methods were open as follows : ( i ) To secure 
the information by uniform schedule blanks sent to persons from whom the 
facts were expected; (2) through public hearings; (3) through the efforts of 
special agents. His means limited the commissioner to the first of these methods. 
He sent out numerous letters of inquiry to many farmers in every county, but 
on the whole the answers were evasive, incomplete and often jocular. He learned, 
however, that the highest average value of farms was in Yankton County; that 
Brown was next highest, and Pennington lowest. The highest average members 
of families was in Lake County and the lowest in Clark and Douglas counties. 
The largest number of acres to the farm was in Spink County; next came 
Brown and next Custer. The farm productions were usually poorest through 
the mining counties. The percentage of mortgages on farms was about 48. 
Clay County showed the highest average number of bushels of wheat to the 
acre — 18.55; Buffalo County was very low, showing an average of 5.3. The 
average of the whole state was 11.37 bushels. Clay County showed the highest 
returns in oats, 37 bushels to the acre, and Buffalo the lowest, 8 bushels. The 
average to the state was 21 bushels. Clay County was also highest in barley, 
rye and flax. Brown was the lowest in rye and Charles Mix County, the lowest 
in flax. The commissioner said : "In Clay County the rainfall was sufficient for 
the needs of agriculture. In Buffalo County it was not, and this tells the whole 
story." The average yield of wool to the animal was 7.08 pounds. The heaviest 
fleeces were in Codington County — over 9 pounds to the animal. The commis- 
sioner sent out the following question to farmers and laboring men : "What in 
your opinion would better the condition of the farmers and laboring men ?"■ To 
this question 170 replies were received from all parts of the state. The opinions 
were almost as numerous as the individuals, but as a whole they expressed the 
belief that intelligent and hard work with economy would be better than anything 
else to improve the farmer's condition. The commissioner said : "These answers 
are widely distributed and come from all parts of the state. They are amusing 
in many instances and are entertaining and generally instructive. Some of them 
of course seem but to illustrate the familiar and well known habit of many of 
the American people of attributing all the ills that flesh is heir to, all the accidents 
and all the distress, each phenomenon of earth and each portent of the sky, to 
political causes. Two points of interest stand out in bold relief in the economy 
picture of this state as painted by this testimony of the farmers. The first is 
that the mania for raising wheat alone must be abandoned so that the agricul- 


tural interests can prosper; and the second is that, except in the southeastern 
portion of the state, the tilling of the soil cannot be uniformly successful without 
an increase of moisture either natural or artificial." 

The development of corn growing in South Dakota has been one of the 
unexpected but hoped for wonders of agricultural development. At first it was 
grown in limited quantities and with doubtful results in the southeast corner of 
the state. Steadily the area has been extended northward and westward until 
now almost the whole state may be considered within the corn belt. This has 
been accomplished mainly through the selection of hardy varieties and the proper 
seed. It was thought at first that the old Indian Ree corn would have to be 
grown in the northern portions of the state exclusively, but soon the Dent and 
Flint varieties were adapted to the soil, moisture and climate conditions so that 
now corn can be grown in all portions of the state and is one of the principal 
assets and resources. 

One of the natural resources, particularly in early times on the ranges, was 
the bufifalo and grama grasses, often classed as the same by the ranchmen. Even 
to this day they may be classed as an opportqne and valuable state asset. The 
grama belongs to the genus Boutelua and the bufifalo grass to the genus Bulbilis. 
The two are found closely associated, growing near each other, but not often 
together. Mesquite grass was also to be found here. There are numerous other 
wild grasses which made possible the vast buffalo and cattle ranges of early and 
later times, among them being wheat grass, red top, blue joint, wild rye, beard 
grass, bur-grass, witch grass, Koeleria, marsh grass, sand grass, several members 
of the pea family, etc. Several cure while standing, with all their nutritious 
qualities preserved, so that they furnished good food for live stock all winter, 
even under the deep snows. Without these grasses the bufifalo could not have 
subsisted and thrived here. The Indian also could not have remained without 
the bufifalo for food and clothing. The great cattle industry was thus rendered 
possible and profitable. Wild game has been a valuable asset for fur, pelts and 

The quartemary age was important to what is now South Dakota. During that 
time the part east of the Missouri River was covered with immense glaciers that 
brought down vast quantities of soil which they gathered up on their way during 
hundreds of years. As the glaciers melted during their retreat northward the soil 
was dropped and constitutes much of the surface of the state east of the river. 
The western edge was approximately where the Missouri River now is and the 
streams running from its glaciers formed the present stream now known by that 
name. While this was going on east of the river, the western part of the state 
was modified by the combined action of rainfall, rivers and lakes being cut and 
eroderl throughout most of its area while deposition was building up some of the 
smaller portions until the surface was left in its present condition. Thus the west- 
em portion had its original surface swept away while the eastern portion had its 
original surface covered with a new coating now called glacial drift. This glacial 
deposit is of two kinds, till or boulder clay which is non-stratified, and stratified 
drift which is made of beds of shale. These are divided into drift sheets and drift 
sheets and drift hills. The drift sheets are subdivided into till or boulder clay in 
which is non-stratified and stratified drift. The drift hills are subdivided into 
Moraines, Osars and Butte ridges. From this drift comes much of the soil east 


of the Missouri River. Thus the soil of South Dakota which is used for agricul- 
tural purposes is mainly brought down from further north. At a still later period 
came the alluvial formations which were made in the main by streams. The geo- 
logical history of the state is of great interest, but will not be treated here except 
to show the origin and nature of the soil. 

The Missouri River divides the state into two nearly equal geographical divi- 
sions. It also divides the state into two pretty well defined characters of soil. 
As the soil makes agriculture and as agriculture makes and will make the history 
of South Dakota, the consideration of the soil east of the Missouri River is of 
wide importance from a historic standpoint. That portion of the state east of the 
Missouri River would not be well developed, would not have its fine rich farms 
and its prosperous cities and villages were it not for the rich soil which 
covers the greater portion of this area. Practically the entire surface east 
of the Missouri River, with comparatively small exceptions, is covered with 
drift deposits. The soil thus brought here from northern latitudes is more or 
less mixed and all greatly varying in character, but on the whole is exceedingly 
fertile, as is proved by the large crops that are grown east of the Missouri River. 
Over the glacial drift has come with the centuries since the deposit was made, a 
deep formation of vegetable mold, being usually deep and black and rich with 
every form of plant food. As the Missouri River was the approximate western 
boundary of the glacial movement, the soil west of the river is mostly composed 
of the crumbled primeval strata which existed there, but which east of the Mis- 
souri has been covered by the drift .deposits and the vegetable mold. Generally 
the soil east of the Missouri possesses uniform characteristics of fertility, with 
the exception that here and there where no such deposits were made or were 
thinly made, the original strata appear on the surface and have all the properties 
and characteristics of the soil west of the river. In the lake region east of the 
Missouri the soil is deep and black, while in other sections it is mixed with sand, 
and in some places of limited area the black gumbo predominates. This bed rock 
originated from the decomposition of shales which constituted the primeval 
formation of these localities. This decomposed material contains an abundance 
of plant food with the exception perhaps of humus. In other localities an abun- 
dance of humus is found even in the black gumbo soil. Usually the sub-stratum 
of glacial drift consists of heavy clay, intermingled with which are frequent 
deposits of gravel, sand, chalk and other material. 

It should be stated that the agricultural history of South Dakota, particularly 
east of the Missouri River, dates from the year 1857 and that a considerable 
portion of this area has been successfully and continuously cultivated since 1859. 
The fertility of much of this soil is proved by the fact that over fifty harvests 
have been taken from many thousands of acres throughout Eastern South 
Dakota without impairing their fertility. Probably the average cultivated time of 
the region east of the Missouri is about twenty-five years. This is sufficient to 
prove that the soil generally is as fertile as any in the country. There are excep- 
tional areas along the Missouri and on the uplands between the river courses, but 
the observation applies as a whole to the region east of the Missouri. In early 
times wheat was grown almost exclusively, but gradually the chemical elements 
necessary for its growth became deficient, whereupon diversified farming was 
substituted with excellent and gratifying results. However, there are fields east 


of the Missouri which have produced bountiful crops of wheat continuously for 
forty years. These are exceptional tracts and the practice of growing a single 
crop thereon until the soil becomes exhausted is neither commendable nor advis- 
able. Diversified farming, rotation of crops and proper fertilization will main- 
tain the fertility of nearly all of South Dakota soil permanently. The products 
of the soil of South Dakota for five years from 1905 to 1908 inclusive increased 
in value from $116,792,000 to $185,434,000. The increase from 1907 to 190S 
was over $25,000,000. This did not take into account wild hay, but included 
wheat, corn, oats, barley, flax, spelz, cultivated hay, potatoes, vegetables, fruit, 
dairy products, poultry and eggs, honey, live stock, wool and hides, minerals and 
other stone. Of course the chief object of the agriculturist should be to maintain 
the productiveness of his soil. Science has come to his rescue and shows him 
how this can readily be done. 

So much has been said and written concerning the good and bad qualities of 
South Dakota soil that the ups and downs of the controversy merit the consid- 
erations of history. Particularly have the qualities of the soil west of the 
Missouri River received the attention of critics and new settlers. When inves- 
tigated nearly all the contradictory claims are found to emanate from persons 
whose pocketbooks are affected. Apparently the only ones to tell the exact truth 
are the geologists and the state and United States soil experts. The tract west 
of the Missouri River is a part of the great central plains which extend from 
the Rio Grande northward far into Canada and from the foot of the Rocky 
Mountains eastward well across the Mississippi Valley. At the time of the last 
glacial epoch these plains were nearly level, but since then streams and floods 
have eroded them until they are now cut up more or less into hills, ravines, etc. 

The character of the soil in any region depends upon two great groups of 
factors, viz.: (i) The character of the material from which it is derived; and 
(2) the processes by means of which this material has been converted into a 
medium capable of supporting plant growth. The first has to deal with soil- 
farming material; the second with soil- farming processes. These two sets of 
factors are intimately associated, and a given soil condition is always the resultant 
of a defined combination of these soil-farming factors. Uniformity in the factors 
will give uniformity in soil, or a soil type, while any variation will as certainly 
result in a change in its character. Therefore, a knowledge of these factors is 
essential to a proper understanding of the soils of any region of South Dakota. — 
(Reconnoissance Soil Survey of Western South Dakota.) 

There can be no doubt that a good soil is one of the chief, if not the chief, 
assets or resources of a county, a state or a nation, as all admit the cultivation 
of the soil is the foundation of human development and civilization. Notwith- 
standing this fact is it not remarkable that only during the past generation or so 
have soil qualities and productiveness been studied and their mysteries revealed 
in this country? Prior to thirty years ago about all that was known of the soil 
was what had been handed down like the myths of the ancients from father to 
son. This was due to the fact that the masses were still mainly uneducated and 
thus did not know how to improve their economic conditions, and to the further 
lamentable fact that they were purposely held back by their standpat rulers. 
"Follow your father, my son, and do as your father has done," was necessarv 
while they were uneducated and while those who were informed failed or refused 


to tell them how to improve. In the United States no great advance in the crude 
agricultural methods of the farmers were made until the experiment stations 
and the Department of Agriculture began the work of improvement and reform. 
At first even the agricultural colleges were unable to advance along scientific 
agricultural lines, because they had neither the expert instructors nor the exact 
and comprehensive text books. Thus it occurred that until field and garden 
experiments were made and continued to be made there was not sufficient knowl- 
edge for an advance. The real advance came with the experiments that proved 
what course to pursue — that supplied the knowledge necessary for the forward 
movement. Since then the advance has astonished the whole country, has revo- 
lutionized methods of husbandry and has quadrupled the prosperity of every 
state in the Union. All of this is absolutely true of South Dakota. At first the 
agricultural college here, like those of other states, was in the thralldom of 
politicians and classical students and was diverted from its mission as prescribed 
in the act of Congress which gave it creation. Even when several of the early 
professors meekly suggested what the real object was, they were disdained and 
treated like the clodhoppers they were assumed to be by the agricultural dilettanti 
who dictated the school's curriculum. It was only when the experiment stations 
and the Department of Agriculture began to advance with the glittering blades 
of the fields that the agricultural college authorities waked to a realization of 
what their mission really was and how far they had fallen from their bounden 
duties. Now all are united here — are a triple entente — to place better methods 
in the hand and brain of the South Dakota husbandman. 

But the most astonishing fact in this connection is the lethargy exhibited by 
nearly all farmers of South Dakota in accepting the conclusive experiments which 
have been proved beyond doubt by the experiment stations, the agricultural col- 
lege and the Department of Agriculture, or even in admitting that these authori- 
ties can benefit farming methods and practices. Methods fully substantiated and 
verified by dozens of experiment stations throughout the United States and 
Canada fifteen or twenty years ago are still laughed at by thousands of farmers 
in this and every other state. But in spite of the scoffers, the ignorant and the 
prejudiced these advances have worked their way into field operations, first being 
adopted by the more intelligent and progressive farmers and then imitated by 
their more benighted neighbors. 

As a foundation it is admitted that one who cultivates the soil should possess 
first of all a good knowledge of soil elements — should make a study of its con- 
stituents and of its possibilities under various moisture, heat and other climatic 
conditions. Particularly is this true in South Dakota where the character of the 
soil varies so widely and the crop environments are so numerous and seemingly 
so contradictory. West of the Missouri River the up-thrust of the Black Hills 
has brought to the surface every stratum from the earliest Archean to the latest 
cenozoic. Of course, from these strata is formed all the soil of the state, except 
what was brought here from a distance by the glaciers. The oldest rocks west 
of the Missouri are in the Black Hills and consist of granites, schists and gneisses 
which furnish stony soils which are vastly different from the soil of the plains. 
They are rich with plant food. Owing to the dip of the strata their edges only 
are exposed and hence the area of their usefulness is limited. Where they occur 
near the Hills the surface generally is too broken for profitable agriculture. 


They form narrow areas which encircle the Hills. Thus, not much of the soil 
below the Benton and Niobrara groups appears on the plains proper west of 
the Missouri, so that the greater portion of the soil there is derived from later 

These strata are composed largely of what is known as Pierre shale. It outcrops 
along the Missouri River and extends westward nearly to the Hills which are 
enclosed by its two arms. The Pierre shale consists of dark to slate-covered 
clayey shales of several closely related varieties, which form a group known as 
the Pierre series. The heavy or clay member of the series predominates and 
where the shales outcrop this member stands out distinct and characteristic from 
all others. 

The northern third of the area west of the Missouri is composed largely of 
soft sandstones and sandy shales of the later Cretaceous time. These rocks form 
a distinct group of soils called the Morton series. In the south central section 
west of the Missouri are extensive Tertiary deposits consisting here of the White 
River group (Oligocene) below and the Arikaree group (Miocene) above. In 
the main these formations are light in color. The White River deposits are a 
pale flesh-colored to almost white silt loam which often embraces beds of fuller's 
earth. North of White River this silt loam changes to silty clay or nearly pure 
clay. The Arikaree formation is similar, but contains much more sand and less 
clay and therefore furnishes soils of a lighter and more porous texture. Thus 
the White River and the Arikaree deposits furnish soils of silt loam, silty clay 
loam, and silty clays with varying (sometimes large) quantities of sand. All 
are called the Rosebud series. In the White River group area are the Bad Lands. 
A special formation of the group, containing much sand, is called Hermosa or 
Hermosa loam. 

Along the Cheyenne River are gravel terraces and here the soils have been 
placed in the Cheyenne series. It is presumed that these terraces were formed at 
the time that portion of the state east of the Missouri River was covered with 
glaciers. The present valley of the Missouri probably formed the western 
extension of the ice fields, though small sections of the ice field may have depos- 
ited soil here and there west of the river. In the southwestern part of the state 
are heavy sand deposits from the Arikaree formation. Here are found sandy 
loam called Dunesand, Gannette fine sand and .Smithwick sandy loam. 

The above and a few other different formations have formed all the soils 
west of the Missouri River. But what were the processes that converted these 
rocks and strata into soils and how did they influence the character and proper- 
ties of such soils? While it is true that the chemical constituents of the strata 
had much to do with the character of the soils, it is likewise true that climatic 
conditions contributed not a little to the same end. Soils formed under sub- 
humid to semi-arid environments always differ greatly from those formed under 
extremely moist conditions. The former contain more soluble material, owing 
to the fact that they have not been leached as much as the latter. Thus the 
soils of the semi-arid districts, especially the shales, yet contain large quantities 
of soluble mineral salts which cut an important figure in agriculture. Excessive 
accumulations of these salts occur here and there. Much lime and other soluble 
material exert an important effect upon the organic supply of the soil. They 
serve to humify the organic matter, giving the soil a dark appearance which the 



Soil Groups and Types Proportion of type 

Level Very Very 

to Rolling Hilly 

Rolling to very and 

Hilly Broken Total area 

Soils from Sandstones and Shales : Percent. Percent. Percent. Acres 

Morton fine sandy loam 55 27 18 2,430,720 

Morton loams 68 27 3 3,744,000 

Morton clay 100 .. .. 9,216 

Morton gumbo 92 7 I 396,288 

2. Pierre Series — • 

Pierre loams and clay loams 86 13 1 2,421,504 

Pierre clays 49 26 25 7.789.824 

3. Miscellaneous — 

Spearfish loam 41 28 31 200,448 

Soils from Unconsolidated Calcareous Deposits : 

1. Rosebud Series — 

Rosebud fine sandy loam .' 62 22 16 599,04o 

Rosebud silt loam 64 30 6 2,626,560 

Rosebud silty clay loam and clay 90 10 . . 205,056 

2. Miscellaneous — 

Hermosa loam 94 6 . . 1 19,808 

Bad Lands (a) .. 100 935.424 

Bad Lands Basins (b) 75 .. 25 292,608 

Aeolian Soils : 

1. Dunesand 46 54 .. 656,640 

2. Gannett fine sand 100 . . . . 57,6oo 

3. Smithwick sandy loam 33 67 . . 69,120 

Soils of the Gravel Terraces; 
I. Cheyenne Series — 

Cheyenne loams 96 4 ■ • 311.040 

Alluvial Soils : 

1. Wade Series — 

Wade fine sandy loam 100 .. .. 223,488 

Wade loam 100 . . . . 235,008 

Wade clay loam and clay 100 .. .. 7^.336 

2. Miscellaneous — 

Orman clay 100 . . . . 327.168 

Tripp silt loam 100 . . . . 99.072 

LTndiff erentiated alluvial soils 100 . . . . 663,552 

Rough Stony Land and Uncertain Soils 12 88 2,004,480 

Total 56 23 21 26,496.000 

(a) Are derived in part from sandstones and shales. 

(b) This is much dissected by deep, narrow erosions, although the general surface is 
nearly level. 


agriculturalist has learned to value highly. But the semi-arid regions west of the 
Missouri do not have their due proportion of humus or organic matter and hence 
do not as a rule contain as much essential plant food as do the sections of the 
state east of the Missouri. Still the western lands generally contain enough 
humus to warrant crops from fair to excellent in many portions, particularly 
where the land is nearly level either on the uplands or along the streams. 

In this state where the soils have been formed from many strata or rocks 
possessing widely different composition, all will be found to vary accordingly. 
They have therefore been classified through a knowledge of the underlying, 
formations from which they were derived, as follows: (i) Soils formed from 
sandstones and shales; (2) soils formed from unconsolidated or loosely con- 
solidated, light-colored calcareous deposits; (3) soils of aeolian origin; (4) soils 
of the gravel terraces; (5) soils of alluvial origin; (6) soils derived from crystal- 
line rocks; (7) soils formed from limestone. These soils are described more in 
detail in the preceding table, which will be readily understood. 

The Morton fine loam has an average depth of about ten inches and consists 
of a light-brown fine sandy loam, there being more sand present in places than 
in others. On the crests of the ridges it is lighter than on the sides. The subsoil 
is usually a light brown or gray fine sandy loam usually lighter in color and 
heavier than the surface soil ; it varies from three to six feet deep. This member 
is derived from the light-brown or gray sandstones of the Laramie group. It 
is found mainly in the northwestern part of the state. It may be seen nearly to 
the Missouri, and on the divide between Grand and Moreau rivers. Other small 
patches are here and there. This is fair farming soil and may be depended upon 
if the moisture be sufficient for profitable crops. Root, grain and grass crops 
do well if the moisture is sufficient. The Morton loams are intermediate between 
the fine sandy loams and the clay loams and clays. It is common in Harding, 
Perkins and Meade counties and is seen here and there in east Pennington and 
west Stanley counties. It supports buffalo and grama and other native grasses. 
Morton loams are very productive and have been eagerly sought by home- 
steaders. Vegetables and grains, including corn, do well. The Morton clay is 
not so good for cultivation. It is sticky; it puddles and cracks when drying, 
and does not furnish a suitable seed-bed. It is found in but a few small spots in 
the state. Wild grasses do well on this soil. If managed properly it will grow 
the grain and tame grasses, especially pasture grasses. The Morton gumbo soil 
has from one to three or four inches of fine sandy loam, silt loam or light clay 
loam and a subsoil of fine sandy loam to a heavy sticky clay which sometimes 
occurs in layers. It is probable that this gumbo soil was caused by the alkali 
which was either present in the rocks or had accumulated by means of seepage. 
As will be seen from the table this gumbo has a considerable area. Large patches 
are in Meade and Perkins counties and on many the wild grasses grow while 
others are wholly unproductive. The Morton gumbo is unsatisfactory for agri- 
cultural purposes owing to the alkali, the puddling and its influence on adjoining 

Next south of the Morton soils comes the Pierre series of soils — gray to black 
heavy clayey shales. The surface soil is yellow-brown and under it is a heavy 
subsoil. All is derived from the Pierre and Graneros shales. The series varies 
from a loam to a heavy clay. The Pierre texture is that of loam, rather high in 


silt, or a heavy silt loam, although this varies from a loose friable loam through 
a silt loam to a silty clay loam, possessing some of the sticky nature of the Pierre 
clay or gumbo. Considerable organic matter is mingled with this soil. From six 
to twelve inches deeper a lighter-colored, heavier material is encountered; it 
breaks up into cubes. It is a heavy silty clay loam varying to silty clay. From 
three to six feet down it merges into gray or slate-colored shales. Near Belle 
Fourche the surface soil of this series is a brown loam often tinged with red 
dish iron stains. On all the Pierre and Morton soils bare spots upon which noth- 
ing grows occur. There are other phases of this soil in places here and there 
west of the Missouri. There is considerable of this soil in the State, as will be 
seen from the table. In general these soils are very desirable" for farming, being 
among the best in West South Dakota, though only a small per cent has been 
placed under cultivation. While the heavier areas are somewhat sticky and 
require careful handling to secure a good seed-bed, the greater portion can be 
cultivated without much difficulty. They retain moisture well and insure good 
crops if this is properly conserved. Corn, wheat and oats do well on this soil, 
which is covered with native grasses in the native state. The Pierre clays are 
called gumbo owing to their heavy, sticky nature, and range from a silty clay 
through a silty clay to a heavy clay ; color yellowish-brown to dark brown with 
variations. The subsoil, down from six to ten inches, is a silty clay to heavy clay 
of a gray to yellowish-brown color verging to black. Lime spots often occur. 
Soft shale usually occurs down from three to six feet. This soil cracks very 
much upon drying and thus opens the subsoil and enables the farmer to get a 
better seed-bed. It occurs in many spots or tracts over this part of the state. 
Stanley and Lyman counties are largely composed of this soil — mainly of the silty 
clay loam and silty clay, with large tracts of the heavier clay or gumbo. The 
Pierre clays come from the Pierre and Graneros shales, mainly the latter, and 
are the most extensively developed soils in West South Dakota. They cover 
almost the entire east central part of the state west of the Missouri ; in fact the 
country for many miles west of the Missouri consists almost wholly of these 
so-called gumbo soils. Nearly all of Stanley and Lyman counties, north Gregory 
and Tripp counties and the southern and eastern parts of the Cheyenne reserva- 
tion are occupied by these heavy formations. Northeast of Belle Fourche is a 
large tract; another is in Fall River County. The Pierre clay tracts are mainly 
devoted to grass, pasture and hay ; the principal grass is the western wheat-grass, 
which does well generally on this soil. Where there is more silt the grama and 
buffalo grasses abound mixed with the wheat-grass, the latter yielding hay. 
Where this grass is very scanty the soil is liable to be too heavy and tenacious 
for satisfactory tillage. Where the grass is heavy, with much grama and buffalo, 
the soil is more desirable for cultivation. The Pierre clays are strong soils, but 
their sticky nature makes them less easy to cultivate than those with more silt. 
If plowed when too wet they break into hard clods which resist pulverization ; 
they become too hard to cultivate if allowed to get dry. They hold moisture 
well, but require mulching. If cultivated at the right time they break into small 
granules which form a satisfactory dust mulch. If tilled properly the gumbo 
becomes surprisingly mellow, especially if there be present a fair supply of humus. 
Thus, where the conditions are right and can be so maintained, good crops of 
corn, wheat, oats, rye. barley, flax and emmer or speltz can be and are grown. 


Much of the odium cast upon these soils is due to the farmer's not knowing how 
to manage them. The very heaviest wiU no doubt be left to pasture, but the 
great bulk will in time yield profitable returns to the husbandman who learns 
how to use them. Many farmers who have come here from the East and 
farther south and who have tried to put their old practices in operation, have 
failed, not because the soil and climate are not right, but because the conditions 
are different, soil new and peculiar and rainfall much smaller. The Govern- 
ment experiment station at Belle Fourche is on this gumbo soil, and the results 
there show that the soil is good for agriculture if managed wisely. The soil 
needs greater tillage at just the right time and under the best conditions ; 
then the results are certain and satisfactory though the cost is greater. There 
are in the United States over seven hundred different kinds of soil, and when 
a farmer jumps from one to another widely different and tries to put his old 
practices in operation, he is certain to meet rebuff at first or until he masters 
the new soils and environments. 

The Spearfish loam is a red soil that encircles the Black Hills : it is silty 
loam with much sand in the finer grades ; occasionally it is almost black from 
the inclusion of organic matter — humus. Below are beds of gypsum, the depth 
of which determines the value of the surface soil for purposes of agriculture. 
There are considerable tracts where the surface soil is not deep enough to sup- 
port crops. The soil contains a large percentage of silt and fine sand and comes 
from the Spearfish formation of the triassic period. It is confined to the Black 
Hills and may be seen in Spearfish Valley, in Centennial Flat, in Martin Valley 
and in other smaller strips. Much of this soil is benefited by irrigation. Where 
deep enough and other conditions are correct, this is one of the most productive 
farming soils in the state. Its texture and natural fertility adapt it to a wide 
range of vegetation. It is excellent for fruit and truck crops. Corn, alfalfa, 
potatoes and the small grains do well here. All crops of this climate are suc- 
cessful on this soil. 

The Rosebud soils are the lighter colored Tertiary deposits and consist of 
dark gray or brown surface soils with light-colored, almost white, very cal- 
careous subsoils. The silt loam predominates. The Rosebud fine sandy loam is 
deep and is dark gray to brown loamy fine sand to fine sandy loam, often with 
much silt. It is derived from the Arikaree formation, and is found mainly in 
Tripp, Todd and Gregory counties and along Little White River in the Pine 
Ridge Reservation. Wild grass grows on it with profusion — sand grass, needle- 
grass and blue joint. Crops do well providing organic matter is supplied. As 
a whole the soil is very sandy, as will be seen from the table. Compost is neces- 
sary. The Rosebud silt loam is very silty, containing from fifty-five to sixty-two 
per cent of that material. The color is a light ashy gray to a dark brown, 
depending on the organic matter involved. The subsoil is a light or brown silty 
loam. It is loose and friable and is easily tilled. Its tendency to wash or erode 
must be guarded against. The Bad Lands represent a body eroded tract that 
was once covered with the Rosebud silt loam. This soil comes from the White 
River beds and the Arikaree formation. It covers the greater part of the Pine 
Ridge Reservation east and south of White River. Here it is broken only by 
the Bad Lands along the river and the Dunesand along the southern border. It 
is also found west of White River and in Tripp, Todd and Gregory counties. 


and elsewhere. This soil supports vegetation well. Except in eroded spots 
the entire surface in a native state is covered with wild grasses, blue grama 
usually predominating. Wheat grass does well, but not as well as on the Pierre 
series. On the hill slopes and in the shehered valleys pine and cedar groves 
appear. Much of this area is held by the Indians and used for grazing. Where 
tested this soil has produced abundant crops when the conditions were suitable. 
Wheat, oats, corn, flax, rj'e, barley and emmer do well. Apples, plums, grapes 
and cherries are grown satisfactorily. Potatoes and other vegetables flourish. 
But suitable moisture is all important and is not always present. The Rosebud 
silty clay loam and clay consists of six to twelve inches of brown or grayish- 
brown heavy silty loam to silty clay loams with a subsoil of heavy silty clay 
loam or silty clay. Where the heavy clayey stratum comes to the surface the soil 
is sticky when wet and cracks widely upon drying, resembling the Pierre clays 
or gumbo, and the term "white gumbo" is often applied to the lighter colored 
material. They contain a large percentage of clay, silt and very fine sand. They 
are confined to the country from Wall south and east to Kadoka. Grass, par- 
ticularly the pasture or grazing varieties, grow vigorously on this soil. Wheat 
grass grows well on the clay type. Wheat, oats and corn do well on the silty 
clay loam, but not so well on the clay. 

Many tracts all over the northwestern states are called "bad lands," but the 
most distinctive area is in South Dakota in the Laramie formation in the north- 
western part and in the White River group in the southwestern part. These 
lands were produced by the rapid erosion of soft rocks, the silty soils and the 
underlying soft silty shales melting away before the swiftly flowing streams. 
The soil varies. In the Big Band Lands it is Rosebud silt loam. Here and 
there Pierre shale and clays show up. On the Little Missouri are areas of 
Morton silt loam and fine sandy loam. The Big Bad Lands are between the 
White and Cheyenne rivers and Cedar and Cottonwood creeks and cover several 
townships. Other small tracts are found. The Bad Lands are adapted to graz- 
ing and in part to forestry. While much of the surface is bare of vegetation, 
the tops of the buttes, the filled-in valleys and the arrested slopes are usually 
covered with buffalo, grama and other grasses. Sage brush, weeds and shrubs 
grow on the lower flats. Cedar grows in the valleys and pine on the buttes. As 
will be seen from the table the Band Lands cover a large area which will never 
be very valuable for agricultural purposes, but will be good for grazing and 
forestry. The Bad Lands basins have a soil that varies from a silt loam to a 
heavy clay, the larger portion being yellow silty clay. Other varieties are found. 
The basins represent areas where erosion has been checked on a common level ; 
here they have become covered with the material washed down from the higher 
lands. They appear as strips along valleys and at the foot of Bad Land walls. 
The largest area extends from near Kadoka almost to Cheyenne River. These 
basins are excellent for pasture and good for general farming. Wheat, oats 
and corn succeed. Generally these basins are best for mixed farming. 

The Hermosa loam varies in texture, though in general the soil is a dark 
brown heavy loam with an average depth of about fourteen inches. The sub- 
soil is a lighter colored loam. Both soils have a large percentage of clay, silt 
and very fine sand (see table). They are derived from the weathering of the 
Tertiary rocks, consisting of calcareous sandstones and conglomerates washed 


down from the Black Hills. The principal tract extends from Rapid Creek to 
Lame Johnny Creek between the Black Hills and the Cheyenne River. This 
loam is good farming land. It holds moisture quite well and is not as difficult 
to cultivate as are the gumbo soils. All small grains do well. Corn and potatoes 

The Aeolian soils have been formed almost wholly from the action of the 
winds and are mostly sand with considerable silt and clay intermingled here and 
there. Not much can be done with them for farming purposes. On the Dune- 
sand are found sand grass and blue joint. Weeds and wild roses flourish and 
yucca abounds. Here are found good grazing lands. On the tracts where silt 
and clay are found corn, potatoes, oats, etc., are grown. The Southwick sandy 
loam is from eight to twelve inches deep and is a brown sandy loam, and the 
subsoil is twenty-four to thirty inches below and is a loamy sand. This soil is 
better for agriculture than the Dunesand. Sand of all grades predominates. 
This soil also is derived from wind agencies. A large tract lies west of South- 
wick, south of the Cheyenne River and west of the Northwestern Railroad. 
Nearly all of this soil has been taken up by homesteaders. About all farm crops 
do well here. This sandy loam is excellent for garden truck, melons, potatoes, 
etc. It is too sandy to withstand severe drouths. Mulches aid the retention of 
moisture. The Gannet fine sand is a name applied to the soils of the obstructed 
valleys and flats among the sand hills; it has no uniform composition, but gen- 
erally is a dark loamy sand containing considerable humus. These soils are used 
for hay meadows, for which they are well adapted. Sections containing silt and 
clay are good for general farming. Corn, oats and potatoes do well. 

The soils of the Cheyenne Gravel Terraces are composed of materials brought 
down by streams from the Black Hills and are derived from a great variety of 
rocks. They have brown surface colorization and light brown subsoils, which 
are beds of sand and gravel. The texture is sandy loam to loam and sometimes 
clay loam. The loam proper is extensively developed. The Cheyenne type 
consists of brown loam to silty loam underlain with a heavier loam. The per- 
centage of silt and clay is large. Course sand and fine gravel make the soil 
gritty. The principal tract is in Stanley County. The Cheyenne loams are 
valued highly for farming. Wheat, corn, oats, rye and potatoes are grown 
extensively. Where the sand is abundant truck crops and melons do well. 
Native grasses abound. Good drinking water is obtained at a depth of from 
twenty-five to forty feet, an important fact. 

The Alluvial soils are of recent stream deposition and compose the bottom 
lands of this area. They show great diversity in composition owing to their 
widely different sources of origin. When derived from the Morton soils they 
are called Wade series; when derived from the Pierre soils the Orman clay is 
the result ; and when derived from the Rosebud silt loam the Tripp silt loam is 
obtained. The Wade series show all types from sand to clay. The sandy loam 
is used for pasture, sand grass being the principal forage. It is productive and 
well suited to agriculture — wheat, corn and oats. Care must be used to con- 
serve the moisture. The loam is easy to cultivate, retains its moisture well, is 
favorably situated for irrigation and is very productive. It is one of the best 
soils in West South Dakota. There is a large tract around Harding and along 
the Little Missouri River. The clay loam and clay are heavy soils well adapted 


to the production of various grasses and forage crops, but are difficult to till and 

The Orman clay is found mainly along Owl and Indian creeks near Belle 
Fourche. It closely resembles the Pierre clay. It is a grayish-brown to dark 
brown silty clay to pure clay and has a heavy clay subsoil. It is sticky when wet, 
and is often classed with gumbo. In drying the surface cracks, and if stirred 
when wet hard clods form and resist agricultural processes. This soil is good 
for pasture, but not so good for cultivation. Grass is scarce and cactus and 
sagebush abound. When irrigated, as at Belle Fourche, this soil shows vast 
changes. Much alkali is found, particularly down past eighteen inches, and irri- 
gation brings these salts to the surface to the detriment of crops. This alkali 
must be evaded if agriculture is to be successful. 

The Tripp silt loam often contains considerable sand, but is mainly composed 
of silt. It is found in the bottoms of White and Little White rivers. Native 
grasses and elm, ash, willow and cottonwood grow in this soil. Generally, crops 
do well — corn, wheat, oats, potatoes and other vegetables produce large crops. 
This soil would give excellent results under irrigation. The water of the rivers 
would be excellent for this purpose and could easily be impounded. 

The undifferentiated alluvial soils show great variation in color, texture and 
constituents. They are usually dark brown in color and contain much organic 
matter. One of the soils is the Vale fine sandy loam, often with a subsoil of 
clay loam. Dry farming and irrigation farming are practiced with this soil ; good 
crops are the result. When the rainfall is deficient the dry farm crops yield 
but little more than the seed. Much of this soil is now under irrigation from 
the Redwater Canal and immense crops are produced — alfalfa from 5 to 7 
tons per acre at three cuttings, oats 60 to 70 bushels and wheat 25 to 30 bushels. 
Fruit succeeds on this soil. Nearly all the valleys of the Black Hills district are 
adapted to farming where the moisture is sufficient. Generally, the soil in the 
Cheyenne and White River Valleys is good for farming. Owing to the abrupt 
topography and to the rocks, much of the Black Hills can never be used for 
farming:. Tracts under cultivation there are numerous. 


Gold was known to exist in the Black Hills when Spanish adventurers from 
Mexico first began to invade what is now known as the states of Arizona and 
New Mexico. The expedition of Coronado, which first crushed the Indians to 
the northward, crossed Texas, Oklahoma and part of Kansas, in search of this 
gold field, alluring reports of which had reached the Spanish conquerors of the 
"Land of the Montezumas." The expedition, being doubtful of results and 
encountering violent opposition from the natives, turned back disappointed when 
about half way across Kansas. No doubt at a later date the early French and 
Spanish trappers, fur traders and explorers from down the Missouri and Mis- 
sissippi rivers learned about the gold of the Hills when prospecting on the head- 
waters of the former stream. Again in the '60s gold was found there by white 
settlers from the eastern, middle and western states. In 1875 the first definite 
and reliable discoveries were made, and no sooner were the facts known along 
the Mississippi and farther to the eastward than scores of hardy, fearless and 
determined men poured in a flood westward despite the Indians and regardless 
of the law. All of this is described elsewhere. But the actual discoveries that 
thrill the heart, the stakes and strikes, the contests over rich outcrops and leads, 
the skirmishes with the Indians and the contests with the troops sent to remove 
them, the wild, daredevil and lawless proceedings that attended every step of 
progress, have never been told and never will be, because unobtainable. How- 
ever, a few striking events have been preserved. 

In the spring of 1876 Mose Manuel and his brother, Fred Manuel, while 
prospecting found a quantity of rich float near where the Town of Lead is now 
located. This was the first discovery, so far as known, of the greatest gold 
bearing lode known to the world. At the time of the discovery snow was still 
deep on the ground and in spite of their best efforts, they could not follow the 
track of the float. As soon as the snow had melted Mose wanted to start out 
again and search for the lode, but his brother objected. However, Mose insisted 
and at last found the rich lode on the side hill. He turned to his brother and 
with tears in his eyes, said : "Hank, this is surely a homestake." This term was 
then in common use and merely meant enough money to take a fellow where 
he wanted to go — back to the states. The mine thus came to be called the 
Homestake. In 1905 Mose Manuel died, but his discovery will live forever and 
will benefit millions of people throughout all the future. 

The gold in the Hills is found in six different associations: (i) Veins of 

ferruginous quartz; (2) strata of slate mineralized and altered by action of 

water; (3) in conglomerate forming the layer of Potadam sandstone; (4) in 

Trachyte porphyry; (5) in deposits of slate and rocks; (6) in placer gravels 



resulting from decomposition and erosion of the above formations in the Ter- 
tiary and recent times. The first discovery of gold in the Black Hills by white 
man was on French Creek early in August, 1874. Traces of gold have been 
found in glacial deposits throughout the state, but the quantity is insignificant. 
Silver ore occurs either in connection with gold or lead. The production is con- 
siderable, but it does not begin to equal that of gold. In 1893 the silver 
production was $181,527, while that of gold was nearly four million dollars. 

By 1890 the minerals of the Black Hills, particularly the gold, had awakened 
the whole world. For fourteen years it had remained for the comparatively 
few residents of the Hills to develop its rare resources and show the world the 
marvelous richness of its mines. By 1890 capital from all portions of the world 
had sought investment in the rich deposits of the Hills. At first capital was 
suspicious, fearing the "wildcat" and "blue sky" schemes of every description 
which manifestly and unquestionably had found abundant footing in this por- 
tion of the country. By 1890 large sums of capital had come here not only 
from the eastern states but also from Europe, and the big mining companies 
had begun to crush the swindlers and show that the wealth of the Hills was 
all that had been dreamed of by the country in its wildest and most ardent 
moments. The Homestake and Holy Terror companies were two of the first to 
reveal thoroughly the wonders of the mines in the Hills and paint the fascination 
of the scenery. Others had begun to secure foothold in the '80s and the extent 
of the gold deposits began to be measured with some degree of accuracy. The 
geological ring which encircled Mount Harney and contained the gold was first 
found to outcrop at several places south of Lead City. Rich gold ores were 
found at Ruby Basin, Bald Mountain, Black Tail and near Deadwood and else- 
where. So prosperous had become mining operations by 1890 that the output 
of the Homestake mines during two weeks in July, was $140,000 in gold. As 
time passed new deposits were discovered not only in the Hills but in many 
adjoining districts. Pay dirt was struck on Sage Creek, Siebach County, in 
April, 1891. In September, 1891, twenty-two cars loaded with gold ore mostly 
from Lawrence County, reached Omaha for reduction in the large smelter of 
that city. Many of the most prominent men of the Black Hills accompanied 
this train to Omaha to assist in the delightful task of advertising the wealth of 
that region. The Omaha smelter at this time employed about one thousand per- 
sons, and the owners were anxious to secure the trade of the Hills. The train 
was met by a delegation of Omaha citizens 100 miles from that city and a joyous 
and exhilarating time was enjoyed by all. By September, 1893, the placer mines 
on Deadwood Creek had been abandoned. They had been commenced in the 
early spring of 1876, but now the waters of the creek were clear for the first 
time in seventeen years, it was said. 

In 1893 the Black Hills mineral region proper embraced the counties of 
Lawrence, Pennington and Custer, but Fall River and Meade likewise contained 
productive mines. In Lawrence County was the chief gold mining industry, the 
center of which was Lead. There the Homestake Mining Company operated 
with many mills, sawmills, blacksmith shops, machine shops, foundries, boiler 
shops, systems of waterworks and about one thousand five hundred men. The 
wages paid by the Homestake Company at this time varied from two and one- 
half dollars to five dollars per day. The Deadwood-Terra and Caledonia mines 






of the Homestake group were at Terraville. These mines were closed from 
June, 1893, to August, 1894, and 300 men were thrown out of employment. At 
Bald Mountain, five miles west of Lead, were rich mining regions known as 
Ruby Basin, Fan-Tail Gulch, Nevada Gulch, Portland and Annie Creek. The 
ores from this region were not free milling like those of the Homestake group, 
but were refractory and required special treatment. The names of the mines 
in this vicinity were Ross-Hannibal, Horseshoe, Golden Reward, Double Stand- 
ard, Little Bonanza, Tornado, Welcome, Hardscrabble, Boscobel, Buckston and 
Mark Twain. The Golden Reward Company owned the Deadwood smelter and 
the Chlorination Works. The men here were paid about the same as at the 
Homestake Mines. The term Carbonate Camp was given to the mining region 
eight miles northwest of Lead, where both gold and silver were found. It was 
officially described as "a gold and silver camp with an abundance of siliceous 
gold ore croppings, with as yet but little development." The mines here were 
called Iron Hill, Ajax, Pocahontas, U. S. Grant, Victory, Red Cloud, Transit, 
and Yankee Boy. About five miles north of Lead a gold mining section was 
known as Garden City. At Galena, twelve miles southeast of Lead, was a valu- 
able silver mining deposit. The mines here were called Two Bears, R. B. Hayes, 
Silver Queen, Bullion and Hester A. Black Tail was the name of a mining 
region about one and one-half miles north of Lead where the following gold 
mines were operating: Marion, Wells Fargo, American Express and Esmerelda. 
At Central City, one mile northeast of Lead, were several gold mines, one of 
which was called Columbia. Near Lead, over the hill, was Yellow Creek, and 
along its banks were rich gold mines. This ore was refractory, but assayed as 
high as $258 to the ton. The Alma Mine was being opened at this time. In 1893 
the South Dakota Mining Company, with headquarters at Deadwood, became 
the owners of a group of mines on Annie Creek at Bald Mountain. This was 
largely an English company, at the head of which was E. W. Locke, of London. 
Among the industries of Meade County the quarrying of building stone was 
early of great importance. At Doyle Station on the Fort Pierre & Black Hills 
Railway, extensive quarries were opened at this time by the Black Hills Quarry 
Company. They procured a pure sandstone of three distinct colors, pink, white 
and red. This stone ran in strata of from one to twelve feet in thickness, per- 
mitting the quarrying of the stone in immense blocks for any and every building 
purpose. Already this company was furnishing large quantities of stone for 
building purposes over a considerable extent of the United States. The greatest 
source of wealth of Meade County, however, was agriculture. Choice farming 
land lay in the north and east portions. Sturgis was the agricultural center of 
the Hills and was the home of the Black Hills Exposition Company, which 
already had inaugurated a perpetual series of harvest festivals to be held annu- 
ally. At these displays were shown apples, pears, plums and grapes of the 
Black Hills Nursery at Rapid City; a fine display of cheese and butter from the 
Sturgis Creamery; fruit, jellies, preserves, apples and plums from private 
orchards. Hereford cattle were also shown at this exposition by G. B. McPher- 
son. Many fine imported horses were also exhibited. The vegetable entries 
could scarcely be surpassed anywhere in the United States. The inauguration 
of this exposition enterprise was mainly due to the efforts of John Scollard, of 


The mines of Pennington County were principally gold, the most notable 
being J. R., about twenty miles from Rapid City, Summit, Keystone and Standby. 
In this county also was the center of the tin mining industry of the Hills. Per- 
haps the most noted was Harney Peake, with headquarters at Rapid City. 

Custer County was the seat of gold and mica mining, the leading mines being 
Northern Star, Mecca and Placer. In this county, in connection with mica 
mining, was an axle grease factory. In 1904 the buildings and equipment were 
completed and in a short time Sylvan City and other points were lighted by 
electricity. At this time a rich strike of gold was discovered at Holy Terror 
Mine near Keystone. The ore was free milling and ran about forty dollars to 
the ton. A stamp mill was being erected by the Holy Terror Company. 

In Fall River County the quarrying of building stone in immense quantities 
was already in progress. The stone was beautiful, very hard and promised great 
utility. Near Hot Springs several extensive quarries had already been opened. 
Among these were the Patrick and Moody quarries, which turned out red and 
white sandstone ; the Evans, a cream-colored sandstone ; the Odell, a red sand- 
stone similar to that obtained at the Patrick, Harney and Moody quarries. In 
the vicinity of the latter two, on Lame Johnny Creek, was mined a beautiful 
quality of kidney marble, which took a high and mirror-like polish. Another 
valuable feature of Fall River County was the natural springs of mineral water. 
Already they were famous throughout the world. 

The gold production of the Hills in 1893 was $4,053,500. The gold mines 
were Homestake, Highland, Deadwood-Terra, Caledonia, Big Missouri, Hawk- 
eye, Minerva, Cokimbus, Bartholemus & Wilson, Standy, Minnesota, Keystone, 
J. R., Red Cloud, Golden Reward, Rapid City, D. & D. Smelter and Two Bears. 
The amount of placer gold obtained this year was only $32,000. The gross value 
of the silver produced was $9,346.64. 

Governor Mellette in his message to the Legislature in 1893 dwelt on the 
vast importance of mining in South Dakota. He declared that the advance in 
that industry had been phenomenal — that the previous two ye,ars had shown 
marvelous mining developments and evolutions. A notable fact, he said, was-- 
the great increase in the quantity of silver bullion that was then being taken out. 
Though considered but a secondary product, the yearly output amounted to 
about $250,000. However, the greatest advance in the mining industry, he 
stated, had been in the successful treatment of the refractory gold-bearing ores. 
These high grade and other rich ores had long baffled the genius of invention and 
the skill of science in the efforts to extract the metal with profit. Persistent 
experiment aided by the school of mines, had succeeded after many years in 
solving the problem and now, in 1893, the governor declared, the many large 
mills in operation and the many more in various stages of completion proved 
how successful had been the discoveries of new methods of reducing the ores. 
He said: "The ores after perfect trituration and roasting are subjected to a 
chemical treatment of chlorine in vast iron retorts, which process carries oft" the 
precious metal, thus yielding most satisfactory business results. The profitable 
treatment of these ores, which are numerous in extent, marks the beginning of 
a new and most important era in the development of the mineral resources of 
the state and has increased by 335'j per cent the shipment of gold bullion from 
the Hills. The output from the low grade free milling ores of the Homestake 


group of mines bids fair to continue indefinitely with excellent results. The 
entire gold bullion product of the mines will reach $5,cx)0,ooo during the present 
year, while during the same period $10,000,000 of foreign capital has been 
invested in mining property and $500,000 expended in the erection of new plants ; 
but the crowning success of our mineral industries during the past year has been 
the putting in successful operation by the Harney Peak Milling and Mining 
Company a large and thoroughly equipped mill for the reduction of tin ores, 
which product will be placed upon the market early in the present month. It 
seems now a well-established fact that South Dakota will before many years 
be producing bulk tin sufficient to meet the entire demand of the United States 
for this immense product, to pay for which we now send abroad annually over 
$25,000,000. The future of our state as a mineral producer is now assured 
here; mining prospects never looked better." He noted that the mines of the 
state employed a total of about 13,000 men and complimented Titus E. Corkhill, 
state mine inspector, for what he had accomplished to protect the lives of the 
miners. He stated that the inspector had decreased accidents in mines fully 50 
per cent. The inspector had in one year investigated 250 complaints and made 
300 official inspections. 

Up to May, 1894, the Black Hills had produced a total of $56,000,000 in gold 
alone. Associated with the ores taken out were silver, copper, tin, antimony, 
iron, nickel, lead, uranium, mica, graphite, asbestos, salt, all varieties of build- 
ing stone, granite, sandstone, white and colored gravels, porphyry, brick clay 
both white and red, clay pottery, cement rock, limestone, gypsum, and many 
other natural products. 

From a distance the Hills form a striking picture. They occupy an elevated 
tract and are heavily timbered, principally with white pine, which at a distance 
make them appear black, and hence the name. All the strata of rock has been 
shoved up edgewise, forming a circle around the central point at Harney Peak. 
The entire region is about as large as the State of Connecticut. It was and is 
the only heavily timbered portion of South Dakota. Around the Hills is an 
excellent agricultural soil and the water of the springs is sweet and abundant. 

Late in 1894 the state mine inspector made a complete report showing the 
condition of mining in the Black Hills. There were then in operation upon a 
paying basis fifteen companies, which produced in 1894 613,500 tons of ore, 
yielding $3,354,891. During the year there were thirteen accidents in the mines, 
of which eight were fatal. As a whole the miners were contented. Tlie Home- 
stake and its associated mines were the prominent ones in Lawrence County. 
In Pennington County were five large and active companies. The Old Charlie 
Mine in Custer County was in operation this year. The most noteworthy event 
in mining circles was the development of the McArthur Forest or cyanide proc- 
ess for the recovery of gold and silver from refractory ores. This process was 
put in operation and proved of the greatest value throughout the mining regions 
of this state. About a year before a cyanide plant was erected in Deadwood 
under the supervision of J. S. Childs and had a capacity of abotit sixty tons per 
day. The Golden Reward Company, in addition to their chlorination plant, com- 
pleted also in 1894 a cyanide plant with a capacity of 100 tons per day. The 
Homestake Mining Company had erected an immense air compressor plant and 
had added 20 stamps to the Homestake or 80-stamp mill, making a lOO-stamp 


mill. In addition the Homestake Company had thoroughly overhauled and 
remodeled their mills and added concentrators. The Bullion Company near 
Galena erected new housing works. The Holy Terror Company about the same 
time purchased the Hardscrabble or Ruby Basin field for $50,000. Prospecting 
was indulged in quite extensively this year, and placer mining was quite active. 
The discovery of free-milling ores in Pennington and Custer counties was a 
notable event. The total gold production of 1894 was $3,401,891. 

Early in 1895 the Golden Reward Mining Company showed as the product 
of six days work a flat brick worth $17,000. That company had recently made 
important discoveries. About the same time the Holy Terror Company made a 
rich strike at Keystone. At a depth of eighty feet they found ore that assayed 
$100 per ton. This discovery caused a rush for that locality. In 1894 the 
Government brought suit against the Homestake Mining Company for $700,000 
for having cut a large amount of valuable timber from the natural forests. In 
the spring of 1899 the mines of Lawrence County enjoyed the greatest period of 
prosperity in their history. Many new strikes of gold, silver and copper were 
made. An important event was the establishment of smelters in the Black Hills. 
In the '90s the companies used the old iron process to separate the gold from the 
ore. In the Black Hills were large veins of auriferous pyrite. This was found 
to be an excellent flux for the separation of gold from the ore. Almost every 
year new discoveries and new processes of ore reduction were discovered either 
by the Government or by some one of the companies engaged in mining. The 
product of 1901 amounted to about eight million dollars in gold from the entire 
region of the Hills. In ten months the following amounts were taken out by 
the different companies; in this operation there were employed 3,207 men: 

Homestake $4,303,997.57 Imperial 180,000.00 

Golden Reward 1,223,688.99 Spearfish 165,000.00 

Horseshoe .' 575,000.00 Deadwood-Standard 20,000.00 

Holy Terror 180,000.00 Golden Slipper . .■ 20,000.00 

Portland 84,000.00 Placer 100,000.00 

Clover Leaf 80,320.00 Alder Creek 45,231.00 

Dakota 150,000.00 Intermittent Producers 50,000.00 

Rossiter 90,000.00 

Wasp No. 2 75,000.00 Total $7,342,217.56 

"The wealth of the Black Hills has been known for years and yet the Hills 
have not been developed one hundredth part as they should have been for the 
reason that unscrupulous men have sand-bagged capital and made willing 
investors afraid to touch properties that would pay hundredfold. Fortunately 
for the Hills, the railroads which have only recently been completed to the cen- 
tral portions, have let the light in on the real wealth of the varied resources 
and now capital is stealthily and steadily creeping in and developing the riches 
which man's dishonesty has kept imprisoned. The so-called white people of 
the Hills are now getting the upper hand and are realizing how much they have 
suffered from the schemes and machinations of the daylight highwaymen who 
preferred a salted prospect of tenderfoot to selling a good property for a round 
price. Abandoned works are to be found in all parts of the Hills, but a future 
for the Hills and the wonderful resources which they now contain seems assured. 
Good property can be now secured at reasonable prices and new processes are 


being discovered to extract the gold from formerly rich but refractory ores. 
The black times are past and the prospects for the future are now so good that 
it would not be surprising if another generation made what have been the Black 
Hills of the present day, the Golden Hills of South Dakota." — Minneapolis 
Times, January, 1895. The Times stated in the same article that the Black Hills 
were one of the wonderlands of the world ; that it had been thrown up by vol- 
canic action from the level plains and that they contained almost every mineral 
known to mankind and nearly all of them in paying quantities. It noted the 
presence of gold, tin, nickel, platinum, coal beds, excellent water, heavy pine 
forests and beautiful scenery. 

During the year 1897 ten deaths from accident occurred in the mines of the 
Black Hills. The refractory ore mines produced $2,219,287.58. The names of 
the refractory mines were as follows: Golden Reward, D. & D. Horse Shoe, 
Bonanza, Wasp No. 2, Dividend, Clifton & Ashton, Carroll Group, Harrison, 
Little Blue, Wasp Mining Company, Wasp No. 4,' A. J. Smith, Dacy, Rua, 
Balmoral, Buxton, Eva H, and Yellow Creek Gold Mining Company. The 
Golden Reward produced the most, over six hundred and eighty-two thousand 
dollars. The product of the free milling mines during the same year was $3,511,- 
200. The free milling mines were as follows : Homestake, Highland, Dead- 
wood-Terra, Holy Terror, Columbus, Dead-broke, Sunnyside, Grizzly Bear, 
Hawkeye and Burlington. There were other mines which failed to make reports, 
among them being Durango, Swamp Eagle, Kicking Horse, Placer, and a few 
others which produced about one hundred thousand dollars. This includes 
both gold and silver. The amount of silver was very small. Close estimates 
were made in a few cases. In several instances it was impossible to secure a 
record of the output. The total output was about double what it was in 1S94. 

At this time, T. J. Grier was superintendent of the Homestake mines. This 
was the best mine of free milling ore in the United States. A depth of 800 feet 
had been reached and within sight was an unlimited amount of ore. Thus far 
three shafts had been put down — Star, Old Abe and Ellison. The Ellison was 
the newest one, having been put down in 1896. Great care was used at this time 
to prevent accidents. About four hundred stamps were constantly at work in 
the Homestake Mine. The concentrates were saved and sold to the Deadwood 
smelter. Every scheme known to the scientists or miners was employed to save 
gold. The Highland Mine was under the same management as the Homestake 
Mine. It had a shaft 500 feet deep. The cage was large enough to carry two 
cars of one ton each. This mine was connected by tunnels with the Deadwood- 
Terra and Homestake mines. A mill of 140 stamps was kept at work here. 
Richard Blackstone was superintendent of the Deadwood-Terra Company. This 
was located at the head of Bobtail Gulch, a tributary of Deadwood Gulch. It 
had been a producer since the early days, was owned mostly by the Homestake 
stockholders, and in early times paid large dividends. The shaft was being 
sunk now down to the 800-foot level, and the ore chute or ledge was about three 
hundred feet west of the shaft. At this time the Caledonia Mine had been idle 
for a number of years, but was good property and could be worked from the 
Deadwood-Terra Mine. There was no timber used in this mine, as the ore was 
broken down and was left under foot with just enough taken away to make it 
convenient for the miners to work. 


The Columbia Mine was located at Saw Pit Gulch. Christian Ruth was fore- 
man and manager. This property was located in early days, but had remained 
idle most of the time and had not yet been thoroughly developed. Ruth & Lard- 
ner were the owners. In 1895 ^ shaft 200 feet deep was sunk and a vein of 
high grade free milling ore was found. A ten stamp mill was set at work. 
Black Trail Gulch, a tributary to Deadwood Gulch, had several good mines, 
among which were the Dead Broke, Carroll Group and Kicking Hor^e. The 
Dead Broke was owned and operated by Nelson & Godfrey. The ore was what 
is called cement, which is gravel cemented with clay, constituting an auriferous 
stratum. It was free milling and had rich pockets. A ten stamp mill was at 
work. The Carroll group of mines consisted of twelve mining claims in the 
Black Tail Gulch. These mines were being actively worked in 1897. Over 700 
feet of drifts had been driven and 400 feet of shafts sunk. The output of first 
class ore in the summer of 1897 was from 15 to 25 tons per day, ranging from 
$25 to $65 per ton in gold and 2 ounces of silver. 

The Kicking Horse property was in the Carroll group and was regarded as 
very valuable. There were several chutes of high grade ores. It was owned by 
Godfrey & Johnson. The C. O. D. group consisted of sixteen full claims and 
was owned by a party of eight men. Thus far nothing had been produced. A 
shaft had been started and it was the belief that the whole property was valuable. 
It was east of the Kicking Horse Mine. There were several small yet valuable 
mines around Lead, among them being Durango, Harrison, Golden Crown, 
Golden Summit, Swamp Eagle, Iowa and Reddy. The Durango was owned 
by Foley, Sullivan & Cusick. The Harrison was operated by the Harrison Min- 
ing Company. The Golden Crown, Golden Summit, Iowa and Reddy were 
bonded during the year, but had not yet been worked. The Swamp Eagle had 
been worked a portion of the year and yielded handsome profits. There were 
large returns in working many of these smaller mines. For instance, the Har- 
rison mines with five men working every day in the year at $3.50 per day, real- 
ized $6,387.50. This sum deducted from the total output left $34,719.30 to pay 
for supplies, shipping, milling, etc. 

On Yellow Creek were a number of important mines. Already several for- 
tunes had been made there. Two Bit Mines were valuable. A large body of 
ore was found in the Hardin shaft at a depth of 200 feet. It was iron pyrites 
and was valuable for use in smelters. This was a Chicago company. The shafts 
being worked were the Hardin, Great Eastern, Chicago, Two Bit, Great North- 
ern and Hardin Standard. Several others were being sunk. The Clifton and 
Ashton mines were in Nevada Gulch. They had produced well and were under 
the same management as the Bonanza. Ragged Top Camp was five miles west 
of Bald Mountain. Several promising strikes had been made there. Seams of 
ore had been found from two to four feet thick. The ore was high grade, rang- 
ing from fifty dollars to five hundred dollars per ton. The Dacy Shaft here was 
down 430 feet. 

The Deadwood & Delaware property was situated south of the Golden 
Reward and Horseshoe mines at Bald Mountain and was a steady producer. 
F. R. Carpenter was superintendent. The ore in 1897 was taken from the 
Fannie and Union shafts. Other shafts were being sunk. 



The Golden Reward Consolidated Mining and Milling Company owned and 
controlled the Tornado, Sundance, Ruby, Bell, Steward and Daisy mines. Frank 
C. Smith was superintendent. This property was located west of Lead City about 
four miles, in what was commonly known as Bald Mountain. It embraced 
ninety-nine full claims. At this time the Tornado was the principal one being 
worked. The ore was treated at Deadwood in the chlorination plant of the 
company. The Town of Terry was built on the ground owned by the Golden 
Reward Company. 

The Horseshoe Mining Company owned property south and west of the 
Tornado Mine and also the Mark Twain property at Portland. They conducted 
a chlorination plant at Pluma. During the summer this year they sunk a new 
shaft called Mogul and a large body of ore was found at a depth of 300 feet. 

Rua Mine was situated at the head of Squaw Creek and was discovered in 
i8g6. A. C. Hallam was superintendent. This mine was purchased by the Two 
Johns Mining Company of Chicago. Dividend Mine was situated near Portland. 
Its ore was sent to the Deadwood smelter for treatment. The Bonanza Mine 
was located near Terry and was doing well. Buxton Mine had been worked 
under a lease. Omega Mine was at Terraville east of Father DeSmet Mine. 

The National Gold and Silver Mining Company had a shaft 260 feet deep on 
its property and several hundred feet of tunnels. Thus far they had encountered 
nothing of much promise. The Deadwood Development Company was composed 
of thirty-five business men of the Black Hills who spent in 1897 $2,500 in pros- 
pecting; their most promising field thus far was at Two Bit Gulch, near the 
famous Hardin property. Bear Gulch and Nigger Hill Mining District were in 
the western part of Lawrence County, fifteen miles from Spearfish. Placer 
mining was done here in early days and more recently quartz ledges had been 
found. A quantity of tin ore had been discovered here recently. There were 
valuable properties at Garden City, Lone Camp, Carbonate Camp, Grizzly Gulch 
and elsewhere. 

The Legislature of 1897 passed an important law concerning smelters and 
dry crushing plants, which regulated the operation of these properties. A com- 
pany called the Smelters & Dry Crushing Plants operated three of these proper- 
ties for the reduction of refractory ores. They were called the D. & D. Smelter, 
Golden Reward Chlorination and the Kildonan Chlorination. Both the Reward 
and Kildonan had in connection a small cyanide plant for the treatment of the 
dust that arose from the crusher. The men who worked the crusher wore 
sponges over their noses and mouths while at work. 

Never had the mining interests in the Southern Hills looked brighter than 
in 1897. The tin excitement, which had occurred here formerly, was now, 
strange to say, regarded as a misfortune to that part of the country, and by 
many was regarded as a misfortune to the Black Hills generally. It was even 
said that the people of that vicinity had kept prospecting and making discoveries 
on the claims until they had partly succeeded in restoring confidence enough to 
interest capital to invest in them; and it was believed by many that if those 
interested could now make a success, the Southern Hills would again rank high 
among the mining industries of the world. It was not believed at this time that 
the Southern Hills had received fair play. As a rule when capital had been 
invested there, the company hired some one who was incompetent to take charge 


of the property, because he reported himself as a miner and they could hire 
him for small wages. This was characteristic of the attempts made there in 
many cases. It was realized by experienced mining people that good mine prop- 
erty could be easily spoiled through mismanagement. An incompetent manager 
at small wages was the most expensive one that could be employed. There were 
jealousies and rivalries, and lies were told for business advantages. 

The St. Elmo Mine was about four miles south of Hills City and was located 
in the early days by prospectors. It had been neglected for many years. The 
Eldorado was doing some work near there at this time. The Grizzly Bear was 
in the Southern Hills and was being worked on a small scale. The Sunnyside 
Mine was a steady producer, three miles north of Hill City. They had a five- 
stamp mill. The ledge was not large, but yielded a steady profit. The shaft 
had reached the 260-foot level. The Holy Terror Mine was well known and 
was one of the best producers in the Hills ; its shaft was 500 feet deep. The 
Bismarck and Big Hit mines were being worked on a small scale; their value 
was recognized. As a whole the mines of the Hills in 1897 were being worked 
better than usual, but not to any extent compared with the amount of ore in 
sight. Many of the mines known to contain large quantities of valuable ore, 
were shut down or held in check. A number of mines had been hushed inten- 
tionally for business reasons. 

In 1897 a big fire in the Homestake mines, which could not be controlled for 
a long time, caused a loss of one-third of the year to the employes of the com- 
pany. It was necessary to flood the mine in order to control the fire in the end. 
A strike in the Bald Mountain district tied up affairs in that region about the 
same time. In November, 1901, a big strike of 2,800 men employed by the 
Homestake Company tied up operations for a long time. In 1910 several lock- 
outs at the Homestake Mine again shut off the supply and employes. In spite 
of these difficulties the gold product amounted to between seven million and 
eight million dollars. In 1912 the output of gold in the Black Hills was the 
largest in the history of the state — $8,035,596. In 1913 the output fell consider- 
ably short of that in 1912. 

The yield of mineral wealth from the Black Hills in 1900 was one of the 
largest in the history of the state. The silver mined was worth $300,000, 
wolframite $50,000, Spodumene $25,000, copper for shipment $75,000, lead 
$10,000, mica $10,000, paint pigment $5,000, tin $3,000, gold $10,000,000; total, 
$10,478,000. The year 1900 saw vast improvements in mine development and 
particularly in the methods of ore treatment. During the year shafts were 
sunk deeper than usual with very satisfactory results. Several entirely new 
mining districts were opened, many shafts were sunk, and a few new and rare 
minerals were discovered. Remarkable advancement in the treatment of low 
grade ores due to the experiments that had been made with the cyanide proc- 
ess was made. Also new methods for the mining of placer gold were inaugu- 
rated, and electricity was successfully employed in the separation of gold values 
under the chlorination process. The outlook for the future was never better 
than at this time. 

In the spring of 1901 the Blue Lead Copper Company commenced the work 
of erecting a fifty-ton smelter at Sheridan, seven miles east of Hill City. This 
copper company was one of the oldest in the Hills, having been in operation 



nearly a quarter of a century. The outcropping of the ore on the surface 
of the ledge was unusually abundant, and the rock carried an average of 7 per 
cent copper. The ledge had already been stipped, shafts had been sunk at inter- 
vals, and ore in paying quantities had been found at depths of from fifty to 
seventy-five feet. At this time a tunnel was being constructed near the water 
level with expectation of striking the main ledge of copper or beneath an ash 

During the winter of 1900-01 a cave was discovered west of Custer, which 
proved to be one of the largest in the Black Hills country. Several miles of 
passageways were soon explored and the chambers were rivals in many ways 
of some of the best in Wind Cave. A strong current of air swept out from the 
entrance as at Wind Cave. The character of the crystal work therein was 
different from that of either Wind or Crystal cave. It was a theory for a time 
that this cave was in some way connected with Wind Cave. 

Early in 1901 the Oilman Syndicate of Denver purchased 500 acres of 
choice mining ground in the Ragged Top mining district adjoining the ground 
of the Spearfish Company of Colorado Springs. The consideration was about 
one hundred thousand dollars, of which 10 per cent was paid down. Large 
bodies of ore had been disclosed there and its treatment by the cyanide process 
was commenced. About this time the District Court decided for the plaintiff 
in the case of P. B. McCarty vs. Holy Terror Company, Judge McGee render- 
ing the decision for $7,000. This case was one of great value and interest, and 
its result was anxiously awaited by all of the miners of the Hills. Mr. McCarty 
demanded an accounting of the ore taken from the Holy Terror and Keystone 
No. 4 claims, the latter being a portion of the Holy Terror mines. The ques- 
tion was whether a partner could be cheated out of his interest by the other 

At the close of 1902, mining operations in the Black Hills were in prosperous 
condition. All of the principal working mines were in Lawrence, Pennington 
and Custer counties. New and improved precautions to prevent danger and 
accidents had been adopted and were in operation. Means of exit had been 
greatly improved and the mines were better ventilated than ever before. The 
companies and individuals were obedient to law, but notwithstanding all this 
the result was that thirteen persons had lost their lives and nine had suffered 
serious injury. These accidents were unfortunate, but were beyond the con- 
trol of the employer and were due mainly to the fact that life saving and acci- 
dent preventing methods had not yet been perfected. They resulted purely 
from circumstances beyond the control of the companies or the miners them- 
selves. During the year there had been no strikes nor ill feeling. In fact the 
mines of the Hills this year enjoyed unprecedented prosperity and activity. 
The older establishments had improved their facilities for increasing their ore 
tonnage and bullion output. Several plants for the treatment of tailings had' 
been or were being installed. Several new companies had been organized and 
a number of capitalists from Colorado, Utah, Montana and the East had come 
to the hills and purchased large tracts of mineral lands and were making 
preparations for active operations. Much money had likewise come from East- 
ern South Dakota, and several companies composed wholly of persons within 
the state had been organized. Investments during 1902 were greater than 


during any previous year. Experiments to lessen the cost of mining and reduc- 
ing ores were constantly in progress and every up to date improvement was 
promptly secured and put in use. 

The Black Hills Mining Men's Association was organized in September, 
1901, with forty members. By the close of 1902 there were 188 members, 
which number included representative mine owners from Lawrence, Penning- 
ton and Custer counties, a number from other counties and honorary members 
from outside states. The association had accomplished much good by uniting 
the men, perfecting and systematizing their work and in promoting good con- 
duct among their ranks. They had combined with workmen belonging to other 
unions for the purpose of strengthening and perfecting their system of work. 
They planned to protect outside investors from unfair and questionable methods 
in the promotion of mining companies and enterprises and to save the mining 
industry from dishonor. In 1902 the next session of the American Mining 
Congress was fixed at Deadwood and Lead. At this time the directors of the 
Mining Men's Association were Harris Franklin, S. W. Russell, W. S. Elder, 
of Deadwood; R. H. Driscoll, George Nix, of Lead; John Gray, Terraville; 
John Blatchford, Terry; C. H. Fulton, Rapid City; J. E. Pilcher, Custer. 

The results of mining operations in 1902 were notable and gratifying. The 
means of transportation and treatment were greatly improved. The old diffi- 
cult problem of extracting gold from refractory ores had been solved by the 
cyanide process which was now employed to great advantage and profit in many 
mines. It multiplied the number of mines and revived many old ones that were 
supposed to be exhausted because only a low grade ore remained. Ores of 
very low value could be profitably handled by the new method. Large quanti- 
ties of ore not previously considered as mineralized material were discovered 
and the fields were expanded. Already many such bodies of ore were being 
successfully and profitably handled under the new process. For these and other 
reasons the mining operations had greatly advanced in prospect and in actuality. 
Mining in the Hills at last was reduced to simplicity, security and practical 

The mining operations of Lawrence County in 1902 were known and con- 
spicuous throughout the world. The Homestake Company with six stamp mills 
containing 900 stamps and with two cyanide plants was running on full time. 
During the year the Father DeSmet Stamp Mill was started after an idleness 
of several years. Cyanide Plant No. 2 was completed and commissioned. It 
received the tailings from the stamp mills by means of pipe lines. The Home- 
stake Company purchased the property and franchises of the Deadwood-Terra 
Company. The latter was crushing at the rate of 104,000 tons a month, the 
average gold per ton being about $3.55. The Ellison Hoist at Lead, which had 
been long in building, was completed this year at a cost of $250,000. It was 
connected with the stamp mills at Lead by a steel tramway spanning Gold Run 
Gulch. The Homestake Company employed about 1,700 laborers, all of whom 
were paid standard miner's wages. 

The Golden Reward Consolidated Mining and Milling Company operated 
continuous this year their 400-ton smelter at Deadwood. It worked chiefly 
with ores from the company's mines at Bald Mountain and Ruby Basin. The 
smelter handled considerable ore from other mines. They completed the cyanide 


plant at Deadwood and there treated ores of too low a grade to justify smelting. 
Large quantities of ore were in sight. The cyanide plant was located where the 
chlorination plant was burned four years before. This company in production 
and number of men employed was next to the Homestake. 

The Horseshoe Mining Company was organized in 1902 and within a few 
months became one of the largest and strongest in the state. It increased its 
acreage, purchased the new 300-ton smleter of the National Company at Rapid 
City, established a cyanide mill of 300-ton capacity at Pluma, and commenced 
to build a new cyanide plant at the Mogul mine in Ruby Basin. It was planned 
that the latter should handle 1,000 tons a day. The crushing was accomplished 
by two large machines and pulverized by 120 stamps. Forty-eight tanks were 
built. When completed the new plant was designed to treat 1,600 tons of ore. 
Up to this time the company had sent to outside smelters considerable of its 
ore. Late in the year shipments of custom ore for the smelter were received 
from various mines. The company had enormous ore reserves in its mines. 

Spearfish Gold Mining and Reduction Company built a cyanide plant on 
the site of the original mill which was burned in October, 1901. Late in 1902 
it was treating 300 tons per day. About the same time is declared its first 
dividend of $9,000. It was producing about $25,000 a month during the latter 
part of the year. The ore was in blanket formations near the surface and was 
quarried after several inches of soil had been removed. The mine and mil! 
were connected by a steam tramway and all were electrically lighted. 

Deadwood-Standard Gold' Mining Company owned 500 acres of mineral 
land adjoining Spearfish property and operated a cyanide plant of 125 tons daily 
capacity. The ore was similar to that found in the Spearfish group. In addi- 
tion the company had considerable ore lying near the surface which could be 
mined at light expense. 

Wasp No. 2 Mining Company made two cleanups per month at its 100-ton 
cyanide plant on Yellow Creek. Every fifteen days the company deposited a 
bar of bullion in the United States assay office. The mill was run on shale ore, 
potsdam, quartzite and porphyry which contained from two to five dollars in 
gold per ton and was well adapted for cyaniding. The ore was mined in open 
pits and delivered at nominal cost to the mill. It appeared in flat beds some- 
times more than twenty feet thick. A tramway was extended through a tunnel 
between the mill and the open cut from which the ore was taken. 

The Dakota Mining and Milling Company was engaged in wet crushing ore 
at Deadwood. The ore was obtained from Gunnison, Jackpot, Lucy and Rehl 
groups of claims near Portland. During the year ten additional stamps were 
obtained, making thirty in all owned by the company. The ore was obtained 
at light expense from outcrops lying near the surface and was hauled eight 
miles by railroad. In sight was enough ore for operating the plant several years. 

Imperial Gold Mining Company started a new cyanide plant at Deadwood 
in the spring of 1902. It was of different type from other cyanide plants in 
the Hills. It was built on a level instead of on the side of the hill and the ore 
was handled by automatic methods. The plant had three buildings, one devoted 
to crushing machinery, one to solution and leaching tanks, and one to the 
power plant. During the fall it ran about 125 tons per day. At this time they 
were securing a large roaster to be used on ores in which oxidation had not 



taken place. At this time the company obtained most of its ore from Black 
Tail Gulch, where the company had 300 acres patented; a shaft reached to 
quartzite and several strong bodies of siliceous ore were exposed. The com- 
pany owned mineral land near Crown Hill Station, where there was a consid- 
erable quantity of fair grade cyanide ore. It likewise owned a tract west of 
Spearfish River near Beaver Creek. 

The Columbus Consolidated Gold Mining Company was organized in 1902. 
It owned 625 acres north of the Homestake mining properties and extended 
northward nearly a mile along the strike of the Homestake system of ore veins. 
The property included the old Colonel shaft on Saw Pit Gulch, which was 200 
feet deep, with a lo-stamp mill in connection. This property was being recon- 
structed and already was being operated. The company bought the 20-stamp 
crushing cyanide mill built at Gayville many years before by the Baltimore- 
Deadwood company and operated by the Portland company under lease for 
the past two years. In 1902 the company was operating on siliceous ore from 
the Rossiter and Dalton groups of claims on Sheep Tail and Black Tail Gulches. 
On one of the claims was a series of siliceous ore chutes overlying the vertical 
slates and was situated so as to be mined at light cost. Underneath was a perma- 
nent ore supply, however. A number of strong fissure veins of free milling 
ore which was being developed by the Columbus shaft were here. 

The Clover Leaf Gold Mining Company had an enlarged stamp mill from 
twenty to sixty stamps and a new hoist was commissioned; the shaft was deep- 
ened and two new levels were established. Thirty of the sixty stamps were in 
operation, and a new Prescott pump capable of lifting 1,000 gallons of water 
per minute was being built and installed. A machine shop, dry house and assay 
office were added. A hospital was furnished by the company and a resident 
physician was placed in charge for the benefit of the employes. This company 
in the fall employed forty-five men underground and about thirty on the surface. 

The Black Hills and Denver Gold Mining Company was a reorganization 
of the Highland Chief Mining Company by local and Colorado men. The com- 
pany owned the Champion and adjacent mining claims and a .50- ton stamp 
crushing cyanide plant in Spruce Gulch near Deadwood. A number of labor- 
saving improvements were added during the year. 

The Boston-South Dakota Mining Company operated a mill in Black Tail 
Gulch and placed in considerable new machinery. It had forty stamps, and 
late in the year its mill was leased to the Jupiter Gold Mining Company. The 
latter company was organized by Colorado and local men. It purchased the 
Gustin Resumption No. i and Resumption No. 2 claims in Black Tail Gulch; 
It had a 40-stamp mill on the property of the Boston-South Dakota Company. 
Preparations to build a cyanide plant were in operation. Visible was a large 
supply of cement ore having good uniform value and being amenable to 

The Hidden Fortune Gold Mining Company owned 240 acres parallel to the 
Homestake property. A main working tunnel ten feet wide and seven feet 
high was driven 2,000 feet between parallel veins of free milling ore with cross 
cuts at frequent intervals. A large amount of high grade siliceous ore was 
being taken from the Potsdam ore overlying the vertical formation. This ore 
was near the surface and easily reached. Considerable of the ore assayed S^oo 


per ton and was sacked for shipment. A wet crushing cyanide plant was being 
built by the company on Whitewood Creek, three miles below Deadwood. 
There large improvements were contemplated. Preparations for cyanide 
processes were in operation. The mine and mill were connected by the Bur- 
lington and the Elkhorn railroads. 

The Penobscot Gold Mining Company operated a 40-stamp wet crushing 
cyanide plant at Garden City near the close of the year This company was 
organized the early part of 1902 by Chicago and Michigan capitalists for the 
purchase of several hundred acres of valuable mineral land at Garden City, 
including the reorganization of the Penobscot mines. Over 700,000 feet of 
lumber and timber were used in its construction. It was designed to have a 
capacity of 6,000 tons of ore per month. Increased capacity was in process 
of completion. The main shaft was back of the mill and was equipped with 
modern housing apparatus. The ore was then trammed from the shaft house 
to the top of the mill. 

The Cleopatra Mining Company was preparing for active operations. A 
shaft was being sunk to quartzite and the company owned a 50-ton cyanide mill 
which was idle a portion of the year. 

The Alder Creek Mining Company had a new 60-ton cyanide plant on Yellow 
Creek and was running on quartzite ore from the Little Blue Panzy and asso- 
ciated claims which had been purchased by the company. Formerly this com- 
pany was in California. The company was principally composed of capitalists 
from Des Moines, Iowa. 

Oro Hondo Mining Company was organized in 1902 and purchased about 
1,000 acres adjoining the Homestake Mine on the south. A shaft was started 
and equipped with machinery to sink 2,000 feet to reach the Homestake series 
of ore veins. The ore was coarse, interstratified with schist and showing gen- 
erally the characteristics of Homestake ore. The shaft had air compressor and 
drills. The Pluma Gold Mining Company, located near Lead, had a main shaft 
300 feet deep fitted with steam house and other modern conveniences. A cross 
cut was being built to the westward on the 300-foot level. Recently the com- 
pany purchased the Hawkey e land adjoining the Pluma claim, also the Hawkeye 
40-stamp mill at Pluma stationed on the Burlington Railroad. The mill was 
connected at Pluma with Hawkeye mines by aerial tramway over 600 feet long 
by which the ore was carried from the mill by buckets. Large deposits of 
quartz conglomerate or cement, could be seen on the Pluma and Hawkeye 
property overlying the vertical measures. 

The Globe Mining Company was doing considerable work in tunnels and 
drifts near where the vertical ore bodies came together. They operated west 
of Lead a short distance. The company had lately started a shaft near the 
bottom of Nevada Gulch. The Golden Cross Mining Company operated a 
lo-stamp mill near the head of Two Bit Gulch late in the year. The ore was 
treated by cyanide process. The company had reorganized and had constructed 
several new ore chutes. It owned about three hundred acres of mineral land 
and began running full time in January, 1903. 

Other companies in Lawrence County were the following: Carbonate Silver 
Extraction Company, which worked tailings at the Iron Hill mine and mill, 
treating the same with cyanide; Iron Hill mine, being worked under a lease, 


treating its ores with concentrated machinery ; Anaconda Gold Mining Company, 
which owned 400 acres near Bear Butte and Elk creeks and obtained a free 
milling ore; Manilla Gold Mining Company was taking out good ore on Elk 
Creek; Clover Gold Mining Company had a shaft down 307 feet in Nevada 
Gulch; Black Hills Building & Developing Company was engaged in dividing 
the ore from the bottom of the 700-foot shaft near Kerb Station. The com- 
pany owned several hundred acres near Homestake property; Pierre Gold Min- 
ing Company was engaged in working the ore near Deadwood Gulch. It 
shipped its ore to the reduction works. With this ore came valuable quantities 
of sylvanite and white iron showing fluorine stains ; the Portland Mining Com- 
pany operated a wei crushing cyanide plant at Gayville, treating about fifty 
tons a day, but in September turned its property over to the Columbus com- 
pany; the Montezuma mine was situated just outside the limits of Deadwood. 
Within a short time this company had sent 27,600 tons of ore-carrying iron 
pyrites to the Golden Reward smelter at Deadwood. The ore carried about 
$200 in gold, per ton proper; Gladiator Consolidated Gold Mining Company 
owned a group near Deadwood Gulch, northwest of Lead. The company was 
preparing to operate extensively; Universal Gold Mining and Milling Company, 
which had taken a two-year lease on thirty-two acres of mineral land on Annie 
Creek belonging to South Dakota Mining Company. Already they were working 
the siHceous ores ; Ak-Sar-Ben Gold Mining Company was composed of 
Nebraska and Illinois men who organized during the summer of 1902, and 
purchased thirty-two acres on Sheep Tail Gulch and sixty acres on Annie 

The mines of Pennington County were equally as prosperous and successful 
as those of Lawrence County during the year 1902. The Holy Terror Company 
operated fifteen stamps at the Keystone mill with ore from the old slopes on 
the Holy Terror mine. It shipped concentrates part of the year to the Horse- 
shoe Mining Company's smelter in Rapid City. A cross cut was being driven 
to the Keystone vein on the 1,100-foot level of the Holy Terror shaft. 

The Ohio-Deadwood Gold Mining Company owned a tract of 475 acres 
along Little Rapid Creek, half a mile from the Town of Rochford on the 
Burlington Railroad. A direct tunnel was started on a fissure vein of free 
milling ore, and an air compressor and air drills were at work. 

The Columbia Gold Mining Company owned two tracts, one on Silver 
Creek near Rochford and the other near Castle Creek south of Rochford, all 
aggregating about six hundred acres. Development work was in rapid prog- 
ress throughout the year. This company was composed largely of Eastern 
South Dakota capitalists. 

Golden West Mining Company was recently organized by Chicago capital- 
ists. They purchased the Benedict and Yellow Bird group of claims and other 
adjacent tracts, aggregating 300 acres, in Hornblend camp, five miles south- 
west of Rochford. They reached several strong fissure veins of free milling 
and concentrating ore. A small Chilean mill was on the ground. 

The Black Hills Copper Company built a cross cut from its 800-foot level 
over 100 feet to the westward to reach a vein of copper-bearing ore. A shaft 
was equipped with steam house and machine bearing drills. This company 
had a lease on the Benedict group of claims, which was finally sold to the 






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(jolden West Gold Mining Company. The Copper Cliff Mining Company pro- 
duced both copper and graphite. It made several shipments of graphite or 
plumbago to Chicago. This product was of superior quality. 

Other companies operating in Pennington County were the following: 
Ajax Gold Mining Company was at work on the main ledge in the Standby 
mine at Rochford. The Cochran mine was under bond to the Cochran Gold 
Mining Company and much exploration work was done. The Gregory Mining 
Company was doing exploration work in the Old Montana mine. The Empire 
State Mining Company had a bond on the Golden Slipper mine and was run- 
ning a 5-stamp mill on ore from the main vein. Several valuable cleanups 
were made at the Stab mill. The Lakota Gold Mining and Production Company 
was formed during the year by Peoria men and secured possession of the 
Grizzly Bear mine 5J4 miles east of Hill City. They dismantled the old 
lo-stamp mill and planned a modem plant in its place. Gertie Mining Com- 
pany operated a shaft near Hill City, which was destroyed by fire five years 
before but had been replaced. In 1902 it had a new stamp house, air com- 
pressor and drill and a self-dumping skip. It mined both gold and tin. The 
Mt. Etna Gold Mining Company, formed of both eastern and local men, pur- 
chased the Lucky Boy group of claims near the Town of Keystone, put down a 
shaft and installed a steam housing plant. Tycoon Gold Mining Company, 
composed chiefly of Cedar Rapids (Iowa) men, owned the Ranger group of 
claims near Keystone and a lo-stamp mill. This company was carrying on 
systematic development work and were installing a system housing plant. The 
Sunbeam Gold Mining Company operated a tract of mineral land on Friday 
Gulch and a shaft was put down 140 feet and a high grade free milling ore 
was obtained in a vertical vein. The company had a steam house, air com- 
pressor and drill, also a saw mill and several new buildings. 

The mines of Custer County were prosperous in 1902. The Northern 
Star Mining Company had a lo-stamp mill nine miles from Custer. The mill 
had sufficient power to run forty stamps and was designed for a cyanide plant 
in connection. The working shaft was over three hundred feet deep on a strong 
vein of free milling and concentrated ore. Explorations under ground were in 
progress. It was composed of Omaha and Council Blufifs capitalists. 

Saginaw Gold Mining Company conducted deep explorations ' this year 
with diamond drills. At a depth of 550 feet they found that the main ledge 
of ore contained excellent value and a quantity larger than indicated at the 
outcrop. A steam housing plant, air compressor and drills were installed. The 
ore veins here dipped sharply. 

Grantz Gold Mining Company was organized during 1902 by the Black 
Hills and Colorado men. It acquired possession of the St. Elmo mine and a 
lo-stamp mill and still later purchased the Roosevelt and Aspen group of mines, 
thus securing 300 acres all told. They started a new shaft on St. Elmo prop- 
erty and at a depth of 115 feet made a cross cut. A large vein of rich free 
milling gold ore was discovered in the Northwest and Aspen groups. It carried 
free gold and excellent values in telluride of bismuth, sylvanite and calaverite. 
This vein was open about three hundred feet. Several new buildings, including 
an assay office and dwelHngs for the employes, were erected. 


The Black Hills Porcelain, Clay and Marble Company did much good work 
in 1902. A carload of mica containing thirty tons was shipped monthly to a 
manufacturing concern in Cleveland, Ohio. They were under contract to 
furnish this quantity each month during one year. The mica was of excellent 
quality and large deposits were discovered. The company was operating sev- 
^eral quarries of different varieties of marble. They likewise purchased land 
where gold deposits had been discovered. The Clara Belle Gold Mining Com- 
pany sank a perpendicular shaft to a considerable depth to catch the fissure 
vein of gold-bearing ore. Thus far the vein had been worked by incline shafts. 
On the property was a two-stamp Tremain quartz mill that was operated with 
some success owing to the richness of the ore. Late in 1902 experiments with 
tin ore were made at this mill. By special process a considerable quantity of 
metallic tin was saved. 

For ten months during 1902 all of the mills except the Homestake, which 
reported for twelve months, yielded the following gold product: Tons of ore 
milled 1,621,601; gold value $7,342,227.56; total nvunber of men employed 
3,207. Thomas Gregory was state mine inspector in 1902. He lived at Lead. 

In 1902 the authorities of the state agreed that the mining outlook had never 
been better or more auspicious. The old mines were apparently as good as 
new, and new strikes were made in nearly every part of the Hills. The new 
reduction processes were much better than the old and yielded a much greater 
product from the same quantity of ore. In 1902 the total output of the Hills 
in gold was $8,811,000, and the entire output of the Hills in minerals of every 
description was $10,417,000. For twenty-seven years prior to January i, 1903, 
the Black Hills produced over one hundred and thirty million dollars' worth of 
gold alone. Many new strikes were made in the north and central portions at 
this time. Large quantities of silver and copper were obtained. The output of 
silver, and copper in 1900 was estimated at $1,500,000. In all, there were nearly 
forty different varieties of minerals that were being obtained from the Hills, the 
leading ones being gold, silver, copper, tin, nickel, antimony, cobalt, galena, 
graphite, mica, iron and arsenic. There were about thirty others. 

In October, 1903, a very valuable collection of gold nuggets and curios 
gathered at great expense by M. R. Russell, of Deadwood, was sold to B. W. 
Carlow, of Boston, for a large sum of money. It was one of the finest and most 
valuable private collections in the United States and had required many years 
to secure it. Aside from the intrinsic value of the gold, the collection possessed 
great worth owing to the many rare and notable nuggets taken from the local 
placer beds. One was taken from a mine on Bear Creek and possessed almost 
exactly the shape of a bear; the gold therein was worth about fifty dollars. 
Another specimen worth about the same in value was shaped like the American 
eagle with wings outspread. The collection consisted of specimens taken from 
all the mines of the Hills. Presumably this collection is still at Boston. 

The American mining congress which assembled in the Black Hills in 
September, 1903, was an event of great importance to the state and the nation. 
The twin cities, Deadwood and Lead, vied with each other in preparing a 
splendid welcome for the delegates and members. The streets and the most 
prominent buildings were gaily decorated with bunting and brilliantly illum- 
inated with electric lights. In the Bullock Hotel of Deadwood was arranged 


a complete and interesting display of all the ores and minerals of the Hills. 
Lead opened to the inspection of the visitors its splendid exhibit of ores with 
illustrations of the various mining processes. In one collection was an admir- 
able arrangement of representative samples of the Homestake ore body show- 
ing their general relations to one another on eleven lOO-foot levels and of the 
hanging and foot walls. On the evening of September 7 an elaborate reception 
was given to all delegates at Franklin Hotel, Deadwood. Governor Herreid 
was present. On the 8th the congress was called to order by President Richards, 
of Idaho, in the skating rink, which had been transformed into a brilliantly 
decorated auditorium for the purpose. The invocation was rendered by Bishop 
Stariha of Lead, who showed his conscientious courage in a petition to the 
Almighty that "the Divine Majesty might speedily cease to be outraged by 
constant labor on the Sabbath day." Governor Herreid welcomed the delegates 
to the state in an eloquent and fitting address. Mayor McDonald welcomed 
them to Deadwood. An appropriate and encouraging letter from President 
Roosevelt was read. The invitation to President Roosevelt was written on an 
i8-carat gold plate 3 inches by SJ^ inches. He replied that he could not be 
present. President Richards responded fittingly to the various cordial and 
welcome addresses. Mrs. Dignowity, of Philadelphia, read an attractive poem. 
In response addresses were given by J. L. Webster, of Omaha, and Congress- 
man E. W. Martin, of Deadwood. In the afternoon came in succession the 
president's annual address ; then speeches by Secretary Shaw of the Roosevelt 
cabinet on "The Importance of Mining to Other Occupations ;" N. H. Darton 
on "What the United States Geological Survey Is Doing for the Black Hills ;" 
J. W. Abbott on "Good Roads for Mines;" J. D. Irving on "Ore Deposits of 
the Northern Black Hills;" E. W. Parker on "Coal;" C. W. Merrill, superin- 
tendent of the Homestake cyanide plant, on "The Metallurgy of the Home- 
stake Ores;" J. E. Todd on "The Geology of South Dakota;" George E. Roberts, 
director of the mint, on "The Supply of Gold;" John Blatchford on "Ore 
Deposits in the Northern Black Hills ;" C. C. O'Harra, of Rapid City, on "The 
Geology and Mineralogy of the Black Hills ;" John L. Webster, of Omaha, on 
"Money, Metals and Other Influence on Civilization;" E. H. Elftman, of Colo- 
rado, on "Ores of the San Juan District," and Mr. Bartlett, of Cleveland, on 
the "Mechanical Drying of Clays." 

These various topics brought out every phase and purpose of the mining 
industries. The sessions of Tuesday and Saturday were held in Deadwood 
and those of Wednesday and Friday in Lead. Thursday was spent in excur- 
sions to Spearfish, to the mines of the Reliance and Golden Reward companies 
and to the lower levels of the Homestake mine, a privilege which was rarely 
granted to anyone. The visitors were taken down to the 700-foot level, where 
they were shown the practical and wonderful operations of taking out the ore. 
Over five hundred men were taken at once on this trip without discomfort and 
without having their clothes soiled. The weather was cold, and before the 
congress closed nearly six inches of snow fell at Deadwood. At this congress 
there was selected for permanent exhibit at the State University a fine collection 
of specimens of the different ores. One specimen showing several dollars' 
worth of free gold from the Uncle Sam Mine was presented by S. W. Russell, 
and another was a rich specimen of horn silver from Iron Hill Mine presented 


by Mr. Bagley. Portland, Oregon, was selected as the place for the next 
meeting of the congress. 

No mining school of the United States is better situated for giving prac- 
tical instruction in mining and metallurgy than the South Dakota School of 
Mines. It is located within a few miles of the various ore districts of the Black 
Hills gold fields. "Though several of the schools in the East have perhaps 
better facilities for research they can not compare with the South Dakota 
institution in the practical work of the mines. The school occupies the same 
relation to mining that the experiment stations do to scientific agriculture. The 
mining men of the Hills take great pride in the institution and afford the students 
every reasonable consideration and facility for the inspection and study of the 
detailed operation of the plant. The Hills region undoubtedly affords the best 
field for the special study of gold mining and gold metallurgy of any in the 
world. Succeeding the development of the cyanide process for the reduction 
of certain refractory gold ores a large number of mills have been erected and 
put into operation where the student of the school can study every phase of 
this extremely important process. There are mills which employ the wet 
crushing process, the dry crushing process, stamp amalgamation in conjunction 
with the cyanide process, all of which give the student unequaled opportunities 
for the study of all the processes. The great stamp amalgamation mills of the 
Homestake Company which have become famous and are complete in every 
detail, give the students the best insight possible into the principles and details 
of gold milling. Although the Black Hills are in the main a gold milling field, 
still an excellent opportunity to study smelting processes is afforded. The 
large smelting plants of the Golden Reward Company of Deadwood and the 
Horseshoe Company of Rapid City are open to the students for inspection and 
study. The school is situated but a few hundred feet from the latter plant. 
Through the courtesy of officials students are admitted to the Horseshoe plant 
whenever desired. The process carried on here and at the Golden Reward 
plant is known as pyritic smelting. The plants treat the siliceous ores, smelting 
them with iron and some copper pyrites. The product of gold and matte con- 
tain the gold and silver which is shipped to the Denver and Omaha plants for 
further treatment and refinement." — State Mine Inspector. 

At this time one of the shafts of the Homestake Mine was 1,400 feet deep. 
This company had a complete plant, hoisting engines, gallows frames, 
pumps, compressors, etc., which gave the student every opportunity to study 
modem mining machinery and methods. Plans of mining and the timbering 
of mines could be seen here in perfection. While many students made individual 
trips to the mines for study, the actual work of the school in the practical study 
of mining and metallurgy was carried on under the direction of the professor of 
the department. The whole of the mining and metallurgical part of the course 
was divided into the various proper subjects on which lectures were given dur- 
ing the last two years of the four-year course. When a practical illustration 
was necessary the body of students in charge of the professor visited the prop- 
erty and there inspected and studied the feature under discussion aided by the 
lecture of the professor. A stmimer school of from four to six weeks duration 
was usually conducted. 


During 1903 the production of gold decreased somewhat owing to the shut- 
ting down of the Golden Reward Smelter at Deadwood in March, caused by 
the walkout of the employes. Its continued idleness greatly reduced the pro- 
duction and caused great inconvenience and suffering among the workmen. All 
other mines in the Black Hills showed an increase in production, while there 
were three more producers than ever in operation during 1902. The gold 
production of 1903 was $7,159,400.70, and of 1902, $7,342,227.56. According 
to the state mine inspector's report the total number of fatal accidents during 
1903 was eight. The number of fatal accidents in 1902 was thirteen. In a 
measure the decrease in fatalities was attributed to improved operations in 
mine work and to greater care used by the mining companies for the safety of 
their men. 

In the fall of 1903 there were many indications that the annual gold produc- 
tion in the Hills would be materially increased by the 'discovery that a peculiar 
black sand taken from the placer bars of French and Rapid creeks contained 
a large percentage of gold. Samples of this sand concentrated from the gravel 
below the sluices where all the gold had been collected by the common method 
employed in placer mining, yielded by fire assay $60 in gold per ton. These 
sands when crushed were found to be amenable to the cyanide process and 
showed that a profit could be made whenever the sands were found in sufiicient 

In 1904 the gold product of the Hills was valued at $7,090,481. The total 
mineral value of these products was estimated at almost $9,000,000. The state 
authorities in estimating the resources of South Dakota annually, invariably 
figured in the minerals of the Hills, which assisted in building up the actual 
product records of the state. In 1904 South Dakota was fourth in gold pro- 
duction in the United States. Alaska, which was part of the United States, 
produced $9,000,000 and South Dakota $7,270,000. During the 1904-5 session 
of the Legislature and of Congress, new mining laws were put in operation 
and proved excellent. There were at this time 3,500 workmen on the rolls of 
the South Dakota mining companies. The average pay of the principal workers 
was $3.50 per day, helpers $3, mill hands $2.50. The total gold products of the 
Hills in 1903 were $7,159,400. 

In January, 1905, the employes of the Golden Reward Smelter, numbering 
nearly one thousand, went on a strike at Deadwood. The strike was caused 
by the arbitrary laying off of one man employed as a helper on the feed floor 
of the smelter. Eight men who made complaint at this action were at once 
discharged by the superintendent, whereupon all the other employes peremptorily 
demanded reinstatement of the eight men as well as the helper. Wages cut no 
figure in this strike, because the men received the highest wages in the United 
States for this class of work. At this time Harris Franklin was general manager 
of the Golden Reward Company, which ranged next to the Homestake in the 
number of men employed and the quantity of ore handled. The smelter at Dead- 
wood had been treating 500 tons a day, not including what was handled at the 
cyanide plant. At this time the cyanide mills of the Wasp and Alder Creek Min- 
ing companies on Yellow, a mile from Lead, were adding from $23,000 to $25,000 
a month to the gold product of South Dakota. Of this amount the Wasp was 
yielding about fifteen thousand dollars monthly and the Alder Creek Mine about 


ten thousand dollars. Their mills were working on Cambrian quartzite and 
porphyry with some shale. The ores were low in gold product, but the profits 
resulted from rapid and economical handling. In sight of these concerns was 
ore that would last for many years. As soon as the men had left the Golden 
Reward Smelter, the fires in the furnaces were drawn and the doors were shut. 
The Deadwood Labor Union, a branch of the Western Federation of Labor, 
held a meeting and concluded to stand by the strikers. Satisfactory settlement 
was finally efifected. 

At no time in the history of the Black Hills has it been unusual to make new 
and valuable strikes of high grade ore running up into thousands of dollars to 
the ton. Such discoveries were expected and accepted as a matter of- course. 
Often they occurred in rapid succession. In the spring of 1905 such a strike 
was reported at one of the lower levels in the Homestake Mine, and this exceeded 
almost every other strike" in the richness of the ore. It was at first stated that 
an average of $1,000 to the ton was taken from this ore, but this later was found 
to be an over-statement. The vein was of considerable size and from the dip 
it was thought to extend to the surface. 

In 1905 a company known as the Black Hills Traction Company filed articles 
of incorporation and prepared to build a trolley line between Spearfish and other 
valley towns and the Northern Hills section. Henry Keates became president 
of the new organization and J. F. Summers vice president. The company was 
capitalized for $400,000 with $50,000 paid up. It was planned to have the cars 
running over at least a portion of the line by November. In time this road 
was constructed. 

In 1905 Nicholas Treweek, Sr., of Lead, was appointed mine inspector for 
South Dakota. He was one of the best mining experts in the Black Hills. For 
many years he was mine foreman for the Homestake Company and was later 
in charge of the Cloverleaf Mine. He succeeded Thomas Gregory, who had 
served for the previous two years and had given general satisfaction. 

During the year 1905 still better measures were adopted for the safety of 
the employes in all the mines of the Hills. The number of deaths from accident 
was still too large. While many unquestionably resulted from the carelessness of 
the employes themselves, still the precautions and safety appliances needed 
improvement. The kindest relations existed between employer and employe. 
In fact, there were no complaints from either against the other. Several of the 
producing mines in 1904 were idle in 1905 and had turned their attention to 
development work, particularly in enlarging their treating capacity in order to 
lessen the cost and facilitate operations. The state mine inspector reported that 
all companies and individual operators had faithfully complied with the require- 
ments of the law. In 1905 there were fourteen serious accidents, eight of which 
were fatal. This number was still too large, and renewed measures to prevent 
such loss of life were taken by all the companies. 

The following figures show the tonnage of ore mined and milled, number of 
men employed and the production by companies during the past year: 

Tons. No. Employed. Production. 

Alexander Maitland 48,000 no $ 320,000.00 

Clinton Mining & Mineral Co 78,171 10 10,754.74 

Dakota Mining & Milling Co 39,9io 47 120,337.69 


Tons No. Employed Production 

Gilt-Edge Maid Gold Mining Co 28,000 2S 1 10,005.00 

Golden Reward Cons. G. M. & M. Co 48,000 150 391,350.69 

Hidden Fortune Gold Mining Co -2i>235 75 80,724.24 

Homestake Mining Co 1,437,400 2,800 5,080,000.00 

Horseshoe Gold Mining Co 50,440 75 379,172.00 

Imperial G. M. & M. Co 52,250 95 251,000.00 

Lundberg, Dorr & Wilson 27,500 20 184,400.00 

Portland Mining Co 120,722 65 8,905.59 

Spearfish Gold Mining Co 68.493 20 157,918.80 

Wasp No. 2 Mining Co 51.150 52 86,324.96 

Placer Mining 10,000.00 

Total 2,080,271 3,547 $7,191,553.71 

In 1907 the output of the mines was considerably less than in former years, 
due to the fact that several of the heaviest producers had been closed down 
owing to labor troubles. In addition a fire in the Homestake Mine lessened the 
production of that plant alone about six thousand dollars. The labor union had 
asked for an eight-hour day and after considerable maneuvering had succeeded 
in securing it. Perhaps no year showed a greater degree of care to prevent 
accidents than 1907. The appliances and facilities for prompt and effective 
rescue were better than ever before. As a consequence the fatal accidents were 
fewer in number, there being but six in 1907. There were seven the previous 
year. The non-fatal accidents in 1907 were three and in 1906 fourteen. There 
was thus a steady improvement for the safety of the employes. The big fire in 
the Homestake Mine was the most striking event of the year. It started in 
No. 5 slope on the 500-foot level. Owing to the large amount of carbonic acid 
gas that was liberated in the passages, it was found next to impossible to reach 
the fire with hose. But efforts were made, the men working in 15-minute shifts, 
to flood the mine, and the streams from the hose were turned in and left running 
three days, but the cave-ins prevented during part of the time the water from 
reaching the fire. Attempts to reach the fire by running cross-cuts from the foot 
wall drift to the fire were made, but this was found impossible owing to the 
heated condition of the rock. On April 12 the complete flooding of the mines 
commenced and by the 29th the water had risen to a point seventy-eight feet 
above the 300- foot level. At the same time, to prevent delay, the company made 
preparations to unwater the mine as soon as the fire should be subdued. This 
process began on May 30. Four skips of 1,000 gallons each, two skips of 500 
gallons each and two skips of 2,000 gallons each, besides other methods, were 
adopted to remove the water. During this work more than 600,000,000 gallons 
of water were hoisted. During all this hazardous work not a life was lost nor 
limb broken. 

The condition of the mining operations in the Hills in 1908 was never better 
nor more prosperous. Greater attention was paid to the security of life, and 
every provision known to modern mining operations was adopted to prevent 
accidents. In case of suffocation or injury measures for prompt rescues or 
assistance were up with the times. The system of mine ventilation was vastly 
improved and among the best in the country. Generally the mines of the Hills 
were dry, and few were so wet as to require the continual working of pumps. 
Thus far the precautions for safety and health were so thorough that mining was 


regarded as safe as any other business operation. Mine managers complied with 
the laws better than formerly, because they found it best for their interest to do 
so. In smaller mines protection from fire was greatly improved. During the 
year the mines of the state produced in gold and silver bullion $7,459,850. This 
was a large increase over the output of former years. Several mining companies 
did not report this year and their production was not included in these figures. 
The principal companies were as follows : Homestake, Mogul, Golden Reward, 
North Homestake, Imperial, Wasp No. 2, Gilt-Edge Maid, Portland, Lundberg, 
Door & Wilson, Minnesota, Branch Mint, Standby, and a few others. Placer 
mining realized about $10,000 in gold and silver bullion. During this year the 
Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company produced about eighty-five 
thousand dollars' worth of mine run mica. The total tonnage of all the gold 
mining companies was 1,938,000. The total number of men employed was 3,560. 
The Homestake employed 2,650 men, Mogul Company 225, Golden Reward 140 
and the others all less than one hundred each. This total did not include the 
number of men employed in placer mining. The serious fire in the Homestake 
Mine in March, 1907, which generated poisonous gases and resulted seriously, 
was desperately fought and was finally conquered. This casualty had done much 
to cause the mining authorities and the state inspector to improve the conditions 
surrounding workmen in the mines. A thorough study was made of how to 
overcome the efi^ects of poisonous gases which had been inhaled. The result 
was a vast improvement within a comparatively short time of the surroundings 
under which the miners worked. 

Mining operations in 1910 received a serious setback owing to strikes and 
other opposing causes. Operations were interrupted almost wholly for several 
months during the year. In addition the mill of the Wasp No. 2 Company was 
destroyed by fire January 25, 1909, which caused a considerable decrease in the 
total production of the Hills. In October, 1909, a mass meeting of the Lead 
City Miners' Union No. 2 and the Central City Miners' Union No. 3 passed 
resolutions demanding all ex-members who were in arrears to reinstate and 
place themselves in good standing with the union. On October 25 the union 
published in the local newspapers the proceedings of a meeting held on October 
24, when resolutions were passed calling upon all workers under the jurisdiction 
of the unions to join the organization. They further resolved that all men 
neglecting or refusing to become members in good standing of the local union in 
whose jurisdiction they might be working would be declared unfair to the union. 
They also resolved that the members of the unions would thereafter refuse to 
work with any and all men who should thus become unfair to the organization 
or refuse to comply with the provisions of the resolutions. On November 10, 
1909, the Homestake Mining Company commenced suit in the United States 
Court against the Lead City Miners' Union No. 2 to recover damages resulting 
from the intimidation of non-union employes, and a week later the same com- 
pany issued the following notice : "That the Homestake Mining Company will 
employ only non-union men after January i, 1910. The present scale of wages 
and the eight-hour shift will be maintained. All employes who desire to remain 
in the company's service must register at the general office of the company on or 
lief ore December 15, 1909." The registration required them to sign the follow- 
ing card : "I am not a member of any labor union and, in consideration of my 


being employed by the Homestake Mining Company, agree that I will not become 
such while in its service." On November 21 a strike was voted by the union 
which was referred by wire to the Western Federation of Miners officials at 
Denver, Colo. This course was approved and the strike was set in progress. 
On November 24 the Homestake shut down its works and immediately after- 
ward the mines of the Bald Mountain district ceased operations. Thereafter 
nothing was done until January 19, 1910, when the Homestake Company again 
commenced operations, requiring each employe to sign the card previously pre- 
pared before going to work. Within forty-five days after resuming operations 
the Homestake Mining Company was again running to its full capacity, and 
soon after the other companies involved in the strike were likewise in full oper- 
ation. A large number of the old employes returned to work. In 1910 the 
mines produced in gold and silver bullion $5,201,304. This decrease was diie 
to the strike. The ore tonnage handled this year amounted to 1,523,903 tons 
and the number of men employed was 3.331. In 1910 the Westinghouse Electric 
& Manufacturing Company increased the output from its mines at Custer to a 
total of 1,856,409 pounds of mine run mica. At this time the company had three 
mines in operation, were installing new and more modem machinery and 
employed here 1 10 men. 

In 1910 the School of Mines at Rapid City was doing a work of great value 
to the mining industries of the state. Its rigid investigations of all mining and 
metallurgical problems were productive of the most important results. At this 
time graduates of the school held responsible positions in the mines of the Hills 
and throughout the West generally and were doing much for the development 
of the state's mineral interests. The mining course of study, particularly in the 
line of electrical engineering and metallurgy, was greatly added to and strength- 
ened and much valuable apparatus was installed and used. At the close of 1910 
the alumni of the institution numbered sixty-nine, nine of whom had been given 
diplomas the previous June. The degree of Engineer of Mines had been con- 
ferred upon thirteen graduates of the institution. In 1910 the total attendance 
was sixty-five. 

During the year of 1912 the mining industry of the Hills enjoyed a greater 
degree of prosperity than ever before. Steadily it had been getting upon a more 
substantial basis each year. The production of gold in 1912 was the largest 
total since the establishment of the office of state mine inspector. The qualitv 
of ore treated showed a large increase, and the average value of the ores milled 
was greater than ever. Many new works were under way or contemplated, 
which meant still further development and prosperity. Old plants were enlarged, 
new mills put in operation, additional ore bodies discovered, and the outlook at 
this date was exceedingly bright. The mines were managed better than before 
and fewer accidents under ground than in any former year had resuhed. With 
4,000 men employed in 1912 there were but three fatal accidents under ground. 
The number previously had been as high as fourteen and the lowest six. 

The Lawrence County mines were exceedingly prosperous. The Homestake 
Company had the best year in its history. The entire plant maintained the highest 
standard of efficiency. Of the 2,600 employes there were only two fatalities. 
The company's big Spearfish hydro-electro plant was finished and put in opera- 
tion ; this represented an outlay of more than $1,000,000. In October the com- 


pany was using 2,850 electric horse power in its mills and hoists, and the com- 
bined capacity of the Spearfish and Eaglewood hydro-electric plants was 5,450 
horse power. During the year the company erected at Lead a recreation building 
for the comfort and pleasure of its employes. It likewise purchased 1,000 acres 
of mining ground lying north of and adjoining its property. This purchase 
included the Columbus and Hidden Fortune ground, together with the surface 
mines. The Homestake Company in 1912 produced $6,596,000 in gold bullion, 
this sum being taken from 1,529,474 tons of ore. During the year the company 
paid in dividends $1,310,400. 

The Golden Reward Company operated steadily throughout the year and con- 
structed a roasting plant at Astoria Mine in the Ruby Basin district at a cost of 
about fifty thousand dollars. Crude oil was used for fuel. This plant had a 
capacity of seventy-five tons per day. After the ore was treated it was shipped 
to the company's cyanide mill at Deadwood. The company experimented much 
with roasting dilTerent ores to improve the extraction of the metal. During the 
year this company turned out $323,846 from 52,583 tons of ore. One hundred 
and thirty-three men were employed. 

The Mogul Mining Company lost its mill at Pluma by fire in March. After 
the fire the company shipped its ore to Lundberg, Dorr & Wilson at Terry. 
During the year the company produced $242,568 from 59,384 tons of ore. About 
eighty or ninety men were employed. 

The Wasp No. 2 Mining Company at Flat Iron operated steadily throughout 
the year except for about forty days in January and February. They installed a 
new No. 6 Gate's crusher. This company was the first in the Hills to use a 
steam shovel for removing surface dirt and waste from the top of the ore body. 
The ore here cost the extremely low price of $1 a ton to be mined and milled. 
The mill capacity was 500 tons per day. The gross value of the bullion produced 
during the year was $308,596 from 158,840 tons of ore. About 100 men were 
employed and $85,000 was paid in dividends. 

The Trojan Mining Company in the Bald Mountain district enlarged its 
scope of operations this year and made substantial improvement about the mine 
and mill. Several new places were opened from which ore was taken. The 
capacity of the mill was enlarged from about one hundred and eighty tons daily 
to about four hundred tons. They mined during the year 62,061 tons of ore 
and employed 118 men. Lundberg, Dorr & Wilson, at Terry, operated steadily 
during the year. It handled much custom ore, largely from the Mogul Mines. 
From its own mine it produced %•]■] ,'2.()'] from 21,264 tons of ore. 

The Victoria Gold Mining Company made several important improvements 
and extensions. There were found several large chutes of fair grade ore on 
this property. The mill operated during only the latter part of the year, but 
extracted $14,675 from 3,247 tons of ore. The Victoria Extension Company 
was owned and operated by the same men who controlled the Victoria. It made 
extensive developments and opened large bodies of high grade ore which 
required treatment by the cyanide process. 

Richmond Operating Company at Galena was a steady producer in 1912. 
As it was a close corporation, statistics were not given out. Near there was the 
Merritt Mine leased by H. C. Osterman, who did considerable development 
work. The Imperial Company at Deadwood was not in operation. 


The Bismarck Consolidated Mining Company near Wasp No. 2 handled 
about three hundred tons of ore daily, and the Deadwood- Standard Company 
under lease handled about three thousand five hundred tons during the running 
season. The Pluma Company was preparing for active work. The Northern 
Homestake property was developed below the quartzite level by a shaft sunk 
600 feet deep. Cross-cuts were extended out with the expectation of reaching 
vertical veins. The Minnesota Mining Company was idle part of the year. The 
Echo Alining Company at Midland did considerable work. 

This year the Deadwood Homestake Mining Company was organized to take 
over the McHugh, Garfield, Montezuma and Whizzer's properties adjoining the 
Homestake Mine on the east. 

Others in Lawrence County which operated more or less during the year 
were Gilt Edge Consolidated Mining Company, Black Hills Consolidated Min- 
ing Company, Black Hills Consolidated Mining Company, Evans Consolidated 
Mining Company, Deadwood Zinc & Lead Company, Custer Peak Mining Com- 
pany, Heidelberg Group in the Two Bit district ; Kriemer Gold Mining & Milling 
Company, Mineral Hill Mining Company, Anaconda Mining Company, Puritan 
Mine, Eagle Bird Mine, Republic Mining Company, Ruby Mine and a few others. 
The ore of the Deadwood Zinc & Lead Company was rebellious in character 
and contained zinc, lead, gold and silver. The Custer Peak Company produced 
considerable copper pyrites which carried gold as well as copper. The Kiemer 
Company produced a highly mineralized porphyry ore. The Mineral Hill Com- 
pany mined ore carrying both gold and nickel. 

The mines of Pennington County were prosperous and quite extensively 
operated during 1912. At the Golden King property on Silver Creek, new shafts 
were sunk and a fine vein of pyritic ore was discovered. At the Fair View Mine 
active development work was in progress. The owners of the Crown Mine did a 
small business. The same of the Golden West Mine. The Denver Company 
developed considerable mining property. The Hymalulu Company, near Mystic, 
secured good results on a mill test of certain ore.. At Silver City much develop- 
ment work was done. The dredge at Mystic was at work during much of the 
summer. In the Hill City district the Golden Slipper Mine produced consider- 
able bullion. The Forest City Company operated most of the year. Their mine 
was in fine condition and their plant was equal to the requirements. This 
property was promising at the time. The Hill City Company showed up several 
large veins and prepared for future operations on a large scale. The Golden 
Summit Mine yielded several thousand dollars in high grade ore. At Keystone, 
the Etta Mine yielded several car loads of spodumene ore which commanded 
a good price on account of the lithia and phosphoric acid. At Rapid City U. S. 
Gypsum Company produced stucco, building tile, terra cotta, etc., to the value of 
$31,000. It employed twenty-seven men and had a capacity of thirty-five tons 
daily. The Dakota Plaster Company at Black Hawk placed on the market con- 
siderable gypsum products. 

The Custer County mines in 1912 were quiet. About the only gold property 
worked was the Heartwell Mine, where much development was under way. The 
mica industry was also quiet. Mr. Peterson shipped a considerable quantity of 
mica this year from his property three miles east of Custer. Fine blocks of mica 
were taken out and shipped to St. Louis. Several old dumps of the Westing- 


house Company were sorted and the mica taken from them was also shipped to 
St. Louis. 

In Fall River County operations in the mines were somewhat limited this 
year. At Hot Springs two large quarries were worked steadily, producing high 
grade sandstone whicli had a market value of $80,000. This stone was steadily 
coming into favor. Practically every large building that was being erected in 
the western part of the state was either built of this stone or it was used for 
trimming purposes. 

In March, 1915, for the first time in its history, the Homestake Mining Com- 
pany paid off its employes in paper money. This fact led to much speculation 
and it was asserted in financial circles that the action was in accordance with the 
national policy to reserve the gold supply of the United States, which was in 
danger of being depleted by the enormous demand caused by the great war rag- 
ing in Europe. It was stated that the banks in all parts of the country were 
instructed not to pay drafts from Canada, but to hold them for collection, and 
that there was a growing belief that gold was likely in a short time to be worth 
a considerable premium. Accordingly banks in South Dakota and other sections 
of the country increased their gold reserves and paid out in the main only cur- 
rency and silver. 

In July, 191 5, the Rapid City Quarries Company, with a capital stock of 
$500,000, was duly chartered by the secretary of state. The incorporators were 
Isaac M. Humphrey, Harry M. Jones. John C. Hainez and J. P. Eisentrant of 
Rapid City ; G. A. Hanson of Hot Springs ; and J. D. Mount of Belle Fourche. 
They prepared to place a large amount of available building stone on the market. 

The copper deposits of South Dakota are numerous and extensive and their 
development is rapidly taking place. They are found amid the Archaean rocks 
which show copper deposits from 50 to 500 feet in width. At the Blue Lead 
there is a large quantity of gossan ore. In sinking through the deposits the 
miners reached a decomposed portion of the bed. Much surface copper also 
has been found in the Hills. It consists of malachite, red oxide, native copper 
and copper glance. The ores at first showed about 35 per cent of pure copper 
or about seven hundred pounds of metal copper per ton. In the vicinity of 
Galena there is silver-bearing galena found in considerable quantity. In several 
places the ore is principally carbonate of iron and silver. Considerable iron has 
been found in this state and has been worked to some extent. Extensive deposits 
of siliceous iron ore are in the Archaean rocks on Boxelder Creek and elsewhere. 
In some places the formation has a thickness of over fifty feet. Several hills 
are largely composed of it. Such deposits are found on Rapid Creek. Ores of 
manganese have been found in the Hills ; nineteen tons of this metal were shipped 
from Custer County in 1892. The ores showed as high as 46 per cent of this 
mineral. Nickel is likewise found in the Hills at several points. It appears in 
the form of pyrrhotite on Spring Creek and elsewhere. 

As early as 1890 the cement deposits at and near Yankton were being worked 
profitably. The product was a cement-like clay and was the next formation 
immediately over the chalk-rock deposits and in places was about fifteen feet 
thick. Thus far it was the only deposit of that character that had been found 
along the Missouri River. Near the chalk deposits was a potters' clay which 
likewise proved valuable. At a later date cement deposits were found at other 


places along the Missouri River in South Dakota. As early as 1891 they were 
found to outcrop in the vicinity of Chamberland and Mitchell, companies were 
formed and cement has been made to a considerable extent down to the present 

In the summer of 1890 about three thousand acres of chalk land west of 
Yankton was sold to English parties for about sixty thousand dollars. Their 
plan was to commence manufacturing cement on a large scale for commercial 
purposes. The company prepared to be in active operation by September. Pro- 
fessor Free was secured to make a geographical survey of the tract. His report 
was forwarded to the English purchasers. The capital represented by the English 
concern is said to have been $5,000,000. Another large company began work 
about the same time in the vicinity of Yankton. The rock and clay had been 
tested for two years and had been pronounced excellent in every way for the 
manufacture of cement. It showed a much greater per cent of strength than 
the product of the famous English cement mines. 

Specimens of graphite, but not in large quantities, are found in the Hills. 
The granite of the Black Hills yields in places a considerable quantity of mer- 
chantable mica. Occasionally sheets fifteen inches in length are found. Among 
the building stones are the splendid granites of the Black Hills region and the 
no less excellent stone called the Sioux Falls granite or jasper found in the 
eastern part of the state. This gives South Dakota an excellent variety and 
quality of building stone. Beds of excellent sandstone are likewise found in the 
eastern and the western portion. Several large mines are on the James River. 
No limestone is found in the eastern part of the state except the chalk-stone 
which is found near Scotland, Springfield, Mitchell, Brandon and other towns. 
The same stone is known in Kansas as magnesian limestone. Its composition 
is really argillaceous chalk. It is widely exposed at a few points on the Missouri 
River between Yankton and Chamberlain. In the Black Hills deposits of lime- 
stone are found in the carboniferous rocks. Porphyry is found in the Black 
Hills. Different varieties are called trachyte, rhyolite and phonolite. Green 
porphyry is extensively exposed near Tilford and is as durable as granite and is 
more easily worked. 

Cements, glass, sands, etc., are utilized extensively in this state. From the 
rich beds of the Triassic period are obtained inexhaustible supplies of gypsum. 
Several mills for the manufacture of plaster of paris and stucco have been 
established in the state. In 1891 the crude gypsum which was ground to land 
plaster amounted to 1,560 short tons and was valued at $4,680. The quantity 
used for plaster of paris was 2,055 tons, valued at $4,938. Within the state 
are also found potters' clay near Sioux City and elsewhere; fire clay in the 
Black Hills ; brick clays at numerous places ; and an abundance of stone and 
gravel in many portions of the state. In 1895 there was found near Hill City 
a deposit of lithographic stone, which, while not as valuable as the product 
obtained from Europe, was suitable for many lithographic purposes. About the 
same time there was found in Custer County a considerable quantity of fuller's 
earth, the vein being about twenty feet thick. 

Coal in one form or another was known to exist in North Dakota and South 
Dakota from the early settlement. Indeed it was found here by Lewis and Clark 
on their way up the Missouri River in 1804-5. The quality was poor but it 


would burn and furnish heat and that was what the early settlers wanted. It 
began to be mined in the districts where it was found at the time of the first 
settlement and afterwards as wells were sunk many reports were circulated 
concerning the finding of lignite or coal. It remained for the state or Govern- 
ment authorities to investigate and report finally to what extent lignite or coal 
could be found probably in South Dakota. In 1889 there were mined in Dakota 
Territory 28,907 short tons of coal, of which amount 7,292 tons were from 
ranchmen's diggings and local mines. The total product was valued at $41,431. 
The coal field upon investigation was found to cover the region northwest of a 
line drawn from Turtle Mountains through Burley County to the south line of 
the Black Hills. Small quantities were found here and there south of this line. 
The diggings were mostly on the Northern Pacific Railway and on the Missouri 
River in 1891. There were also a few mines being worked in the Black Hills. 
Lignite or brown coal of a fair quality was found. It was good for heating and 
for steam and the beds varied in thickness where found from four inches to 
twelve feet. In the autumn of 1890 about five hundred men were employed to 
work in the coal mines near Spearfish. There were two excellent veins, one 
from seven to nine feet thick and the other from eleven to fourteen feet thick, 
and about sixty carloads per day were taken from these mines. Small quantities 
of lignite or coal were found in Yankton and Turner counties about this time. 
The supply of timber in the Black Hills combined with the supply of coal and 
lignite, gave that region abundant fuel in early days. There was much pros- 
pecting for coal throughout both of the Dakotas at this time. Strong indications 
were found at numerous places, but generally the supplies were quickly exhausted. 
A shaft that was sunk near Rapid City passed through several valuable forma- 
tions. Good indications of coal were found at Red Canyon as early as the sum- 
mer of 1889. North of the Hills near Hay Creek a vein was found. Another 
was found about the same time in Butte County and still another near the 
Wyoming line. The most of this product was a hard shiny lignite which burned 
readily, evolved great heat and left little ash, but it was far from being as good 
as anthracite. In 1892 it was planned to bring North Dakota lignite down the 
Missouri River in barges for distribution from Pierre, Chamberlain and other 
points. By 1894 large quantities of coal were being mined in the Black Hills. 
One company worked 700 men and shipped five trainloads per day. Coke ovens 
were at work also. More or less coal has been taken out of the South Dakota 
mines since that time, but the quantity is too small to settle the question of fuel 
in this state. In 1904 a vein of lignite of good quality was struck four miles 
from Mansfield, Brown County. Seven other shafts were sunk there with the 
hope of obtaining coal in quantities; only a comparatively small amount was 
secured. One bed of lignite from three to twenty-three feet thick and seven 
miles long, was reported to have been discovered in this part of the state. A 
company was organized at Aberdeen to work this product. They succeeded in 
taking out a considerable quantiity. They had trouble with floods of water, 
etc., which poured into the shafts. 

There are three horizons of coal or lignite in the state, namely: Carbonifer- 
ous, Dakota and Laramie. The first was evidently formed under conditions not 
favorable to the formation of coke. The result is a form of lignite which is used 
to considerable extent, but its value is limited. In the upper part of the Dakota 


formation near Centerville and in the extreme southeast corner of the state 
occur small quantities of lignite. In the Laramie formation are large beds of 
lignite from five to eight feet in thickness, and over the northwestern portion of 
the state a considerable quantity of this formation has been mined from the 
earliest time for commercial purposes. Peat deposits are found upon the east 
and west coteaus outside of the first morains. There are oil and coal lands in 
Meade County on Mason Creek and on Black Flats. Not long ago about thir- 
teen thousand acres in that section of the state were leased for commercial 

The rich tin deposits in the Black Hills were discovered about the year 
1881-2 and at first did not attract much attention. Thereafter and previous to 
1890 a period of excitement would occasionally arise, but would soon subside 
because no concerted and effective attempt was made to open the deposits. The 
best deposits were found to be in Custer and Pennington counties and occupied 
a tract of about twenty to forty miles extension. At the time of the gold excite- 
men of the '70s, tin was not considered, was overlooked in the excitement over 
the gold discovery, but later was called to the attention of prospectors and 
capitalists. In the gold placer beds were found the earliest specimens of tin ore. 
They appeared as small nuggets of black ore in the gold washings and were 
called "black-jack." At first no one knew what it was, but finally specimens 
were sent to the assay office, whereupon it was discovered that they contained 
a large percentage of tin. This news at once created great excitement second 
only to that caused by the discovery of gold itself. At once many ledges were 
staked for tin. The first claims proved to be rich in the ore. Its value was soon 
established beyond question. New York capitalists sent large amounts of money 
here for the purchase of claims and the commencement of operations. About 
1883 they put up the first mill for the reduction of the ore. After this mill 
had made a splendid cleanup, it was closed down and reports were circulated 
that the ore could not be worked and possessed no commercial value. This 
caused the excitement to die out for a while. A little later it was discovered that 
the purposes of these reports was to enable certain holders to secure an advantage 
in the market. 

In the meantime the miners made investigations on their own initiative and 
learned that the ore possessed great value. The New York men were known as 
the Etta Company. It was then learned that they had been buying everything in 
sight that looked like a tin prospect. Soon this company had immense properties 
of tin ledges in the Hills. The Etta Company, after spending about eight hun- 
dred thousand dollars, found that their yield was still unexhausted. As they 
needed more capital they negotiated with London industries and succeeded in 
securing large additional sums of money for development purposes. Various 
reports concerning the worthlessness of the mines were circulated, but those 
who had made experiments never lost faith in the richness of the ores. James 
Wilson took with him to England 80,000 pounds of the ore, which there was 
thoroughly tested and found to be of great value. In about 1887 the Etta Com- 
pany consolidated with the Harney Peak Tin Mining and Manufacturing Com- 
pany, and the united organization became the largest tin mining concern in the 
Hills. By 1890 this company owned 10,000 acres of ore land and had invested 
over two million dollars. At this time two Chicago companies were interested 


also in the tin possessions. The Glendale Tin Company was the first one to cast 
tin pigs for commercial purposes. The Tin Mining Company, another Chicago 
concern, was capitalized for $150,000. Cyrus H. McCormick, Mr. Hibbard, of 
Hibbard, Spencer & Bartlett, and H. W. Fowler, of the Fowler Roller Mill 
Company, became large holders of the stock. 

Tin ore or cassiterite (binoxide of tin, as it is technically called) is found in 
various parts of the world. Up to this date the principal supply had come from 
Wales, Australia and Southern Asia. A few deposits had been discovered in 
South Carolina and North Carolina. The Black Hills deposits were shown by 
assays to be the richest in the world and the supply seemed to be practically 
inexhaustible. Blasters were thrown out yielding ore with as high as from 15 to 
25 per cent of metal. The prospect for immense milling works in the Hills was 
never better than at this time. Coal was found in abundance near ; the petroleum 
fields of Wyoming were within easy distance; timber was found in abundance 
within a few miles; splendid water power for at least six months in the year 
could be readily obtained, so that the outlook for the tin mines of the Black 
Hills seemed at this time unimpaired and unexcelled. There were in sight at 
this time 500,000 tons of the ore. The Glendale Company prepared to put in a 
smelting plant by January i, 1891. The Harney Peak Company likewise planned 
to commence smelting during the summer of 1890. 

The Black Hills tin belt somewhat resembles a semi-circle in shape with the 
Harney Peak in the center and includes an area of about thirty miles in length 
and five miles in width. Tin ledges are found throughout this belt and they are 
generally continuous, well defined fissure veins of mica schist, the rock being a 
siliceous slate. The ore occurs in the form of cassiterite crystals from a micro- 
scopic size to those that weigh 100 pounds or more. There crystals are some- 
times found near one \yall and at other times are disseminated through the ledge 
matter. The ledges vary from a few inches to ten feet or more in width. In 
1890 the outlook for the continued rapid development of the tin industry was 
never better. Near Custer City the outlook was most encouraging. A large 
force was busy at Tenderfoot Camp and an additional force had been put on at 
Tin Reef where the company's boarding house was located and being enlarged. 
Another strong force was at Flora, the noted Willow Creek Bonanza, one and 
one-half miles north of the city, the number of men employed there being con- 
stantly on the increase. Large quantities of machinery had been ordered by 
the Tin Reef and Willow Creek properties. It was estimated that the aggregate 
number employed in this vicinity was about two hundred men. The tin ore of 
this region did not require roasting like the ore of Great Britain and other coun- 
tries of Europe. The Harney Peak Company tin mines cost about three million 
dollars, that amount having been spent thereon by July, 1890. At this time work 
on several small railway lines in the Hills was commenced. They were designed 
to be used in conveying the product of the mines to market. The above company 
first planned to place 12,000 tons of tin on the market annually. The owners 
of Etta Mines had large and valuable properties ; in fact, they owned valuable 
tin mines in all parts of the world and endeavored to manipulate the product of 
the Black Hills to their own advantage, but were unsuccessful. The tin belt in 
the Hills, it was found, reached from Hayward to Custer along the northwestern 
side of Harney Ranch. The Harney Peak Company assayer made tests on new 




ore three times every week and on every mine in the Hills. It was found that 
there was four times as much tin in the ore as in the ore obtained at Cornwall, 
England. At Hillside there were in operation in 1891 the Cowboy, Coats, Gerta, 
Nevada, Adda and Coloron tin mines. In 1893 the tin mills shut down for a 
time, owing to labor troubles, and much hardship to the employes resulted. The 
South Dakota Mining Company had serious difficulty with its employes. Soon 
afterward other companies were involved in the same trouble and there was a 
considerable lapse of time. The Big Palmer Gulch gold field was discovered 
about 1893. Here tin had been found when placer mining was first commenced 
on the gulch. These discoveries were apiong the first in that portion of the Hills. 

Shafts were early sunk or wells were bored in Hughes, Sully, Hyde, Hand 
and Potter counties to a considerable depth, and not only artesian water but both 
oil and natural gas in considerable quantities were secured. One of the first 
strikes of natural gas was in the artesian well sunk at the Indian School in 
Pierre in 1892-3. The gas was shown to be in considerable quantity and at once 
at was utilized by the inhabitants. Other wells there gave similar results, and 
altogether they furnished probably half enough to meet the wants of the 
inhabitants. The natural gas subject at Pierre cut an important figure during 
the capital contests. Few wells were sunk in this portion of the state that did 
not give strong evidences of valuable oil and natural gas supplies. West of the 
Missouri for a considerable distance the same products were shown to exist. 
North and south from Pierre for many miles along the Missouri all deep wells 
gave these results, but the excitement died out when investigation showed that 
the supply was exceedingly limited and was being rapidly exhausted. In 1893 
there was an oil excitement five miles west of Fort Pierre, where 1,200 acres 
were quickly filed upon as mineral claims, buildings were put up and a small 
town was started. Since that time oil and natural gas have been found in 
numerous wells that have been sunk in this portion of the state. In 1903 Huron 
found oil and a small quantity of natural gas in one of its wells, but not enough 
to be of commercial value. At this time Emil Branch was state oil inspector. 
A real estate concern known as the Gas Belt Company flourished at Pierre for 
many years. In 1904 a deep well sunk at Pierre supplied a large amount of 
gas. It did not seem to afifect the supply in the other well at first, but later both 
wells began to fail in this product. At this time it was estimated that tlie two 
gas wells alone supplied about two hundred thousand cubic feet of fairly good 
gas per day. At a depth of 1,300 feet on the Scotty Phillips ranch, a short dis- 
tance west of Pierre, excellent artesian water and a considerable supply of gas 
were obtained. The well was sunk to secure water to be used in irrigating alfalfa. 
In 1907 the Gas Belt Exposition was held at Pierre and was largely attended by 
persons interested in that product. 

The first practical test of gas at Pierre for power was conducted in Novem- 
ber, 1898. It was applied to operate the Hyde Grist Mill. The engine was of 
forty-four horse power, but was run at thirty-five horse power. It required about 
thirteen cubic feet of gas per hour to run the mill. The supply from the well was 
from sixty thousand to seventy-five thousand cubic feet per day. In 1898 the 
city sank another well. In 1897 gas was found in a well which was sunk at 


The approximate value of natural gas produced in South Dakota in 1899 
was $3,500; 1900, $9,817; 1901, $7,255; 1902, $10,280; 1903, $10,775; 1904, 
$12,215; 1905! $i5>200; 1906, $15,400; 1907, $19,500; 1908, $24,400; 1909, $16,- 
164; 1910, $31,999; 191 1, $16,984; 1912, $30,412 for both North and South 
Dakota. No record seems to have been kept prior to 1899. In 1912 there were 
34 wells in this state producing gas and in all there were 403 domestic and 3 
industrial consumers. Domestic gas was sold for 70.8 cents per thousand cubic 
feet. The gas in this state comes wholly from artesian wells and is limited to the 
counties of Hughes, Lyman, Stanley, Sulley, Potter and \\'alworth. In these 
counties owners of ranches where artesian wells have been sunk and where the 
gas has been obtained use it for domestic and other purposes. At the Indian 
school near Pierre is an artesian well which produces a considerable flow of water 
and natural gas. At Fort Pierre the wells supply considerable gas which is used 
for power at the waterworks and for domestic uses by the inhabitants. The same 
is true of Pierre on a more extensive scale. Power to supply water for irriga- 
tion purposes is furnished here and there by the consumption of this gas. Late 
in 1912 the number of artesian wells in the state, from which this gas was obtained 
for the various uses was thirty-five. The gas pressure varies from thirty to 
sixty pounds. A pumping plant operated by a natural gas engine was installed 
at the Indian school to aid in irrigating the gardens and fields connected with the 
school. Two gas wells were abandoned in 1912. The supply thus far is limited. 
Pierre and Fort Pierre are the only two cities in the state which are supplied with 
this gas. They use it steadily both for domestic and public service. 



Dakota Territory was informed by telegram from Washington, D. C, on 
May I, 1888, that President Cleveland had signed the Sioux Reservation Open- 
ing Bill. This intelligence caused intense joy throughout the whole territory, 
particularly in the towns along the Missouri River. The inhabitants in those 
districts held formal celebrations to voice their joy at the opening. There were 
left of the Big Sioux Reservation in Dakota the following tracts still under the 
domain of the Indians: (i) Upper Brule or Rosebud; (2) Lower Brule; (3) 
Cheyenne River; (4) Oglala or Pine Ridge; (5) Standing Rock. In addition 
a new but small reservation was created from the old Crow Creek and Winne- 
bago Reservation on the east side of the Missouri River. The Yankton Reserva- 
tion, also on the east side of the river, was left intact. The latter had never been 
a part of the Great Sioux Reservation which originally included every foot of 
Dakota west of the Missouri River and south of the Cannon Ball River. The 
Treaty of 1875 took a large slice from the western side of the original Sioux 
domain, and the new treaty of 1888 was planned to remove a large portion of 
the remainder. The five smaller reservations under the proposed law of 1888 
were all of the Sioux tribe, the ownership being divided among the various 
bands. The Yanktonaise, the Crow Creeks, and the Yanktons at Yankton were 
members of the great Sioux family, and were related to the Sioux of Pine Ridge, 
Rosebud, Lower Brule, Cheyenne River, and Standing Rock agencies west of the 
Missouri River. 

The territory to be surrendered under the bill of 1888 included all of the 
(then) counties of Nowlin, Scobey, Delano, Choteau, Rinehart, Martin, Wagner; 
nearly all of Ziebach, Stanley, Sterling, Jackson, Pratt and Presho, and portions 
of Hettinger and Todd. The big opening of the Government tract between the 
Rosebud and the Pine Ridge agencies, and the big opening between the Cheyenne 
and the Standing Rock agencies were for the purpose, so far as possible, of 
dividing the large tribe and separating them so that they could not unite for an 
attack upon the whites. 

The title of the act in Congress was "An act to divide a portion of the reser- 
vation of the Sioux nation of Indians in Dakota and to separate the reservation 
and then to secure the relinquishment of the Indian title to the remainder, and 
for other purposes." The act really opened to settlement the entire Sioux Reser- 
vation, with the exception of the five comparatively small reservations mentioned 
above. The Santee Sioux and others in the northeast part of the state received 
satisfactory allotment. 

The Government Indian Commission left Washington for Bismarck July 14, 
1888, for the purpose of securing, in accordance with law, the signatures of a 


three-fourths of the adult males to the treaty agreement. The design was to leave 
Bismarck and pass down the Missouri River and visit the agencies in succes- 
sion. A member of this commission was Rev. W. N. Cleveland, a brother of 
the President. The Cheyenne Agency Indians included the Minneconjous, Sans 
Arcs, Blackfeet and Two Kettles. The commission first visited Standing Rock 
Agency, arriving there in July. A conference was called, the object of the visit 
was explained and the Indians were asked to sign the agreement. Under the 
direction of their leaders and under still other influences, all refused to do so. 
John Glass was one of the eloquent leaders of the opposition. Governor Church, 
who was present, used every eiifort in his power to induce the head chiefs to sign 
the agreement, but was unsuccessful. Other prominent chiefs present were liig 
Head, Circling Bear, Long Dog, Mad Bear, Rain-in-the-Face, Gall, a speaker of 
great power and eloquence. Running Antelope, and others. Sitting Bull, not being 
a chief, did not participate in the conference, but his baneful influence on the out- 
side in opposition to the agreement was probably stronger than that of any chief 
present. The cattlemen and the squaw-men were equally influential in preventing 
the Indians from signing the agreement. 

Thus in succession the commission visited the various agencies, but were 
imsuccessful in every instance. By September, after about two months of hard 
work, the commissioners had succeeded in securing only about one hundred sig- 
natures to the agreement. One of the first to append his signature was Bowed 
Head, who made an appeal to the members of his band that overcame the objec- 
tions of White Ghost, chief of the Crow Creek Indians. Bishop Hare was present 
at several of the conferences but did not have sufficient influence to induce the 
Indians to sign the agreement, or else in secret did not desire then to do so. 

The commissioners, though baffled at the start, did not give up the struggle, 
but continued their efforts, directing their work to the bands that were most 
easily influenced. By September 12th, three-fourths of the adult males at the 
Lower Brule Reservation had signed the agreement, which fact caused the com- 
missioners to hope that they could approach the other agencies with greater 
promise and leave with a greater degree of success. 

The Government made very liberal offers. Secretary of the Interior \'ilas 
offered to increase the $1,000,000 to be set apart under the agreement to the 
credit of the Sioux tribe, to $2,000,000 as an extra inducement to secure the 
signatures of the Indians. It was provided that they should be paid $1 an 
acre for all land sold within three years, 75 cents for all sold within two years 
thereafter, and 50 cents an acre for the remainder. Congress, it was provided, 
should have the right after five years to sell the remainder at 60 cents an acre. 
In addition the Indians were to receive large herds of cattle, horses and many 
implements. Still the Indians refused to accept the proposition. Sitting Bull 
and Gall held out perhaps stronger than any of the others against the proposition 
of the Government. The negotiations were continued for several months, and the 
chiefs were invited to visit Washington to confer with the authorities with the 
hope that the influences there might cause them to change their minds. Chief 
Glass was sent to represent his tribe, which act roused the wrath of Sitting Bull, 
who seemed to think that he should have secured that pleasure, distinction and 
honor. Upon the return of Chief Glass another sitting of the commission was 
held at Standing Rock Agency, on which occasion Black Thunder delivered an 


eloquent address against signing the document and was cheered loudly by hun- 
dreds of his warriors. Young White Cloud finally yielded and announced his 
intention of signing the agreement. At this act Sitting Bull became intensely 
angry and moved his hand as if to shoot Young White Cloud, and caused a score 
or more of Indians to rush upon the young warrior, but all were promptly halted 
by Chief Gall, who thus probably prevented an open conflict at the conference. 
Sitting Bull, however, promptly left the conference, whereupon Black Thunder 
soon afterwards broke off the pow-wow. John Glass was a member of the Black- 
feet Sioux and was poisoned by young Indians acting, it was later shown, under 
the influence of Sitting Bull. He recovered from the poison. At the Cheyenne 
Agency among the first to sign the agreement were White Swan, Yellow Hawk, 
Crow Eagle and Little Bear. A number of Indians finally offered to sign the 
agreement provided they were allowed $1.25 an acre instead of 75 cents. In the 
end the commission failed to secure enough signatures to make the agreement 
binding and efl^ective. During this period Delegate Gifi'ord worked hard at Wash- 
ington for the reduction of the great Sioux Reservation. 

The failure of the commission in 1888 caused the people of the state to 
redouble their efl:'orts to secure the opening of the reservation at a later date. 
\'ery active work in Congress was commenced in December, 1888, with this 
object in view. Senator Jones of Arkansas introduced the measure in the Senate. 
John H. King, of Rapid City, and ex-Congressman J. J. Kleiner, of Pierre, were 
sent as special representatives to Washington to use every reasonable eflfort for 
the passage of the bill. All this action was taken in response to the suggestions 
of the commission who had recommended strong measures. The commission 
had discovered that one of the chief obstacles to success was the established 
custom of Congress to support the Indians in idleness. This fact had been 
prominently mentioned by the newspapers and public speakers of South Dakota 
for many years. It was insisted that even the whites themselves would deteriorate 
in civilization if placed under the same conditions and environments. No wonder 
the Indians wanted no change and refused to sign the agreement that threatened 
to cut off their livelihood and end their influence with the Government. 

The Gilford bill of 1889 provided for opening the Sioux Reservation with- 
out the consent of the Indians, and was first introduced in December, 1888, as 
Congress had re-convened succeeding the November election. It was announced 
soon afterward, no doubt in view of this proposed drastic course, that the Indians 
had signified their willingness to sign the opening bill in accordance with the 
terms oft'ered them during the summer of 1888. Numerous amendments were 
offered in House and Senate to tlie Gifford bill. One provided for the payment 
of $1.25 per acre for all land settled upon during the first ten years after the 
opening and 50 cents an acre for the remainder. Although many attacks were 
made upon the provision of the bill which fixed the opening without the consent 
of the Indians, that measure was not changed because it was believed that the 
threat contained therein would be sufficient to force the Indians to the Govern- 
ment's terms. 

Early in 1889 many persons, among whom was M. H. Day, contended that 
the new Sioux bill was too liberal, as it gave the tribe $10,000,000 for lands which 
really did not belong to the Sioux, but which were taken at war from other 
nations ; and that the lands as a whole were not worth over 50 cents an acre. 


The Gifford bill, with some amendments, became a law in February, 1889. 
Upon receipt of the news early in the latter month that President Harrison had 
signed the measure, intense enthusiasm again broke forth throughout the whole 
territory, particularly in the Black Hills and along the Missouri River. Numerous 
public celebrations with bonfires, speeches and parades were carried into effect 
with great enthusiasm. At Chamberlain a grand inaugural reservation ball was 
held as a part of the celebration. Young men dressed and painted as Indians 
galloped through the streets and held war dances in open places with all the 
enthusiasm characteristic of Indian gatherings. At the same time a mock sitting 
of the Sioux Commission, which had failed the previous year, was held to voice 
the regret, if not the contempt, which the citizens felt for the failure to secure 
signatures to the agreement. 

In April, 1889, the new commissioners under the Gift'ord bill came to Dakota 
for the purpose of putting the law into effect. These commissioners were Gen. 
George Crook, Hon. William Warren of Missouri, and Hon. Charles Foster of 
Ohio. They were required to visit the Indian tribes and secure the signatures of 
the Indians to the opening agreement. Late in May they arrived at Valentine, 
Neb., and thence went to the Rosebud Agency to secure the signatures of the 
Indians there first. 

Both of the commissions of 1888 and 1889 found that the Indians were influ- 
enced against signing the opening agreement by persons or organizations difficult 
to trace and to circumvent. The Indian Defense Association, at the head of 
which was Dr. T. E. Bland, editor of the Council Fire, a paper conducted in the 
interests of the association and of the Indians, took a strong position against 
the signing of the agreements by the natives. At all times the commissioners 
found that the association effectually either blocked the progress of the proceed- 
ings, or threatened to do so, until the demands of the Indians for certain con- 
cessions were complied with. Doctor Bland, especially through his paper, said 
that the law of 1889 in particular was unjust to the Indians, and that its measures 
were bulldozing and should be resisted. It was stated at the time by many news- 
papers of the state that Doctor Bland caused Red Cloud's opposition. John Gall 
and Glass in the end said that they signed the measure because they had come 
to believe it was the best terms the Indians could get from the Government, and 
that if they did not sign the Government probably would use coercive measures, 
would take the lands in any event, and would give the Indians no supplies, 
annuities, etc. 

During the proceedings of the commission, Bishop W. H. Hare, of Sioux 
Falls, leader of the Episcopal Church in South Dakota, took much interest in the 
opening of the reservation. He requested General Crook to open the proceedings 
of the commission with prayer and services from the Episcopal prayer book. It 
was reported that General Crook was unwilling to grant this request, declaring 
that he was not there for "any such damned nonsense." This offended the dignity 
and religious sentiment of the good bishop, who thereafter offered no encourage- 
ment to the Indians to sign the agreement. As his influence was exceedingly 
strong with the Indians, the proceedings for a time seemed blocked, or at least 
checked. Senator Pettigrew finally induced Bishop Hare to modify his position 
somewhat, after which no further opposition was offered by him. 


The secretary of the interior, Noble, promptly refused to listen to the impli- 
cation or the direct charge that the Government would be less than fair in all 
dealings with the Indians. The Council Fire came out immediately afterwards 
advising the Indians not to sign the agreement unless their expenses should be 
borne by the Government and unless the secretary should agree that no part of 
the expense should be taken from the money due the natives. The attitude of 
the Indian Defense Association was so unusual, so independent of the Govern- 
ment and so officious, that the secretary determined to enforce at once the rights 
of the Government. It was thereupon announced that the Indians were not an 
independent nation with which the United States must treat, but were wards of 
the Government and that all the lands belonged to the United States. He further 
intimated that dealings with the Indians would be carried on by the Government 
without the help or interference of the Indian Protective Association. Thus at 
once the secretary of the interior and the Indian Protective Association, as rep- 
resented by Doctor Bland, failed to agree on all material points. Doctor Bland 
with much asperity demanded to know the nature of Secretary Noble's Indian 
policy and upon being refused such information and being told that such a demand 
was wholly unbecoming, meddlesome and obtrusive, came out with severe articles 
in the Council Fire covertly but specifically advising the Indians not to sign the 
agreement or treaty unless certain important concessions were made. 

The Indian commissioners held their first council at the Rosebud agencies 
on June 3, 1889. Nearly all of the most prominent Indian chiefs and medicine 
men were present, including delegations from all the other agencies. The sig- 
natures needed by the commissioners to make the agreement successful and bind- 
ing were as follows: Rosebud, 1,130; Pine Ridge, 946; Standing Rock, 825; 
Cheyenne, 563; Lower Brule, 230; Crow Creek, 212; total, 3,906. This number 
constituted the legal three-fourths of the 5,207 Sioux who were over eighteen 
years of age. When the commission began independent action it found at once 
that the Indian Protective Association and others having influence over the 
natives had circulated among the Indians statements of the case which were 
prejudicial to the duty and prerogative of the commission and were calculated to 
influence and prevent the adult Indians from signing the agreement. White 
Ghost, Drifting Goose and Bull Ghost from the Crow Creek Agency promptly 
opposed the signing of the treaty. They disclosed the fact that a certain church 
man had advised them not to sign the agreement at that time and jiad created 
considerable opposition and ill-feeling against the commission. White Ghost was 
an eloquent speaker, had much influence at the Crow Creek Agency, and used 
his power openly and ably against the commission. He did much to influence 
the 117 young Indians who had recently graduated from Carlisle University and 
were regarded with much esteem and respect by the whole tribe. White Ghost, 
as an orator, was fully the peer of John Glass, the famous Standing Rotk orator. 
He was even more wily as a politician than Red Cloud. He had influence over 
the 1,200 Indians who were partly civilized and very prosperous on Crow Creek 
Reservation. Other very strong leaders in opposition to the commission were 
Sitting Bull, Gall and John Glass. All seemed determined not to sign the agree- 
ment, and at the start all used every influence in their power to prevent the suc- 
cessful conclusion of the commission's duties. Gall openly declared in a speech 
that it was only another attempt of the whites to crowd the Indians from their 


lands. No doubt another of the strongest influences which prevented the Indians 
from signing the agreement at the start, was the fact that as long as the con- 
ferences continued, as long as they refused to sign and as long as they delayed 
the work of the commission, they were treated royally by the Government, and 
were given free rations, including plenty of fresh beef and other articles of 
consumption and wear. 

By June lo, 1889, the commission had secured 825 signatures to the treaty, 
all at the Rosebud x\gency. By July they had secured 260 out of 300 at the Lower 
Brule Agency. At this time, in addition, they had 530 signatures from Pine 
Ridge and 1,125 from Rosebud. Red Cloud and Sitting Bull were the most 
determined and immovable in their opposition to signing the agreement. They 
really favored the old Indian policy of primeval tribal relations, while all the 
younger Indians who had come more in contact with the whites and had felt 
the enchantment of civilization, favored the new way of human progress and the 
alluring customs of the whites. Red Cloud, in spite of all the commission could 
do, had a large following at Pine Ridge, and all held out against signing the 
agreement. At this time about two hundred and fifty of the Pine Ridge Sioux 
adults were abroad with the Buft'alo Bill show. It was believed by the commission 
that all of the males with Buffalo Bill could be influenced by him and would 
sign the agreement. In a short time the necessary signatures among the Santee 
and Ponca Indians were secured. By July 15, 1889, the commission had secured 
2,495 signatures out of 4,064 that were necessary to make the agreement binding 
under the law. The condition on this day is shown by the following tables, there 
being 1,568 more names needed: 

Agencies Males 

Rosebud 1,384 

Pine Ridge i ,260 

Santee 250 

Flandrau 80 

Lower Brule 308 

Crow Creek ■ ■ 2S0 

Cheyenne 755 

Standing Rock -•......■. • • . • 1,1 18 

Totals 5.435 4.064 2,495 

It was learned about this date that several of the South Dakota cities that 
were aspiring for the state capital were advancing money at the Cheyenne Agency 
to defeat the ratification of the bill and the signing of the agreement by the 
Indians. It was stated by several newspapers that this action was taken by the 
friends of several cities that hoped and expected to, secure the removal of the 
state capital in the end from Pierre to the James River Valley. On July 27, 1889, 
the Press and Dakotan said : "The perpetrators will not abate their efforts and 
the public will condone the wrong in a general verdict that there is nothing really 
iniquitous in whatever an aspirant for a capital may do. This is a lesson our 
aspiring towns should have learned from the infamy surrounding the capital 
deal of 1883 when men were openly bought and publicly bulldozed and other 
species of infamous manipulation resorted to." 

■e- fourths 

Signed by 

July IS, i88c 
















By July 26, 1889, the commission had concluded its work at all the agencies ex- 
cept Standing Rock. At the others they had secured 3,028 names. They thereupon 
proceeded to Standing Rock, where it was necessary to secure 878 signatures. 
It seemed at this stage that they were bound to win in spite of the desperate 
efforts of Red Cloud, Sitting Bull and others of the hostiles who still held out 
stubbornly against every effort to win them over. 

The Indians at Standing Rock Agency were the most difficult ones to induce 
to sign the agreement. For many days John Glass, Mad Bear, Big Head, Bear 
Face, Deer Heart, Fire Heart and Sitting Bull held out against every inducement 
that could be offered by the commission and against other efforts of the Govern- 
ment. Finally the first six mentioned above signed, but Sitting Bull still remained 
obdurate and defiant. He did everything in his power to break up the council 
and prevent the chiefs from signing. Finally Gall yielded and signed. At this 
time word was received that Major Randall had secured many other signatures at 
the Cheyenne Agency after the departure of the commission. This result was 
announced and had a subduing effect upon the Indians who still refused to sign 
at Standing Rock. At last, however, enough signatures were secured to cover 
the number required, whereupon the work of the commission was over. Sitting 
I'.ull held out to the last and left the council angry with the whites and with the 
Indians who had signed. Thus at last after more than ten years, the hopes of 
the whites in South Dakota were realized and the great reservation was soon to 
be opened to settlement. No sooner was the news known throughout the state 
than celebrations were held in almost every city and town and many schoolhouses 
to voice the delight that was felt over the result. 

It was known during the efforts and works of the commission that Red Cloud 
had opposed the signing of the treaty owing to the influence of Doctor Bland's 
Council I<~ire. This fact became absolutely proved soon after the completion of 
the work of the commission. No doubt Doctor Bland and the Indian Protective 
Association were sincere in what they believed were just attempts to protect the 
legal rights of the Indians; but when their judgment ran counter to that of the 
Government officials the case assumed an altogether different aspect. They were 
placed in an attitude not only of opposition, but of hostility, to the attempts of 
the Government to open the reservation in the interests both of the Indians and 
the whites. This was one of the first important steps of the Government to 
inaugurate its new policy of opening to white settlement all the reservations, of 
allotting tracts of land to the Indians, of breaking up the old tribal relations and 
of compelling the Indians to disperse their bands, to live on their ranches and to 
adopt in a large measure the business and domestic customs of the whites. 

There was intense rejoicing in the Black Hills, which for so many years had 
been effectually separated from the eastern portion of the state. While it was 
not known that the opening would mean the construction of railway lines west 
of the Missouri River, it was confidently hoped and expected by the inhabitants 
of the whole state that such would be the result. 

In the fall of 1889 all matters were temporarily postponed upon receipt of 
the news that owing to the lateness of the season and to the hardships that were 
sure to result to the new settlers, the opening of the reservation would be post- 
poned until the following year. In the meantime the necessary preliminary work 
for the opening of the reservation, the ratification of the commissioners' work 


by Congress, and other necessary steps would be taken. In January, 1890, Chief 
John Grass and other distinguished Indians, visited Washington and addressed 
the House Committee on Indian Affairs. They stated that all they wanted was 
that the promises and agreements just made by the Sioux commission would be 
faithfully carried into effect. Sitting Bull was intensely angry at this time, 
because he was not permitted to go to Washington with Grass, Gall, and others. 
He was angry at the whites and at Grass and Gall as well. He called the 
latter two traitors who had deserted their tribe and joined the whites. At this 
time Judge Plowman, of the Black Hills, was called by Crowdog the "Little man 
with the big voice." By January 16, 1890, the news was received that President 
Harrison would formally issue a proclamation as to the date when the Big Sioux 
Reservation would be thrown open for settlement. Knowing that the opening 
could not be far distant, the opening months of 1890 brought large delegations of 
"boomers" and "sooners" to all the towns along the Missouri, ready to invade 
the reservation as soon as the proclamation should announce the opening. 

It was at this time that provision for the opening of the Indian Industrial 
School at Pierre under Prof. Crosby Davis, superintendent, was provided for. 
The Government appropriated $35,000 for this purpose and the school, it was 
announced, would be opened as soon as practicable, with from sixty to seventy 
Indian students enrolled at the outset. It is a singular fact that the number of 
appHcants for teachers' positions in this industrial school was almost overwhelm- 
ing. Bishop Marty was the author of a prayer book of nearly two hundred 
pages in the Sioux language which was issued about this time. 

The Sisseton Indian Reservation consisting of about one million acres and 
occupied by about one thousand five hundred Sisseton and Wahpeton Sioux 
Indians, was situated in the extreme northeast corner of the state, a small portion 
being in North Dakota. It was wedge shaped, about seventy-five miles long north 
and south and fifty miles wide along its northern end, and its southern extremity 
was near Watertown. It was set apart at an early date, long before there was any 
survey by the Government. The Indians themselves, upon being removed from 
Minnesota, asked for the tract and in general fixed its boundaries. Within a 
few years prior to 1889, the Indians there took lands in severahy, but left about 
seven hundred and fifty thousand acres to be sold to the whites. No step to open 
this land to settlement had been taken, but now in the spring of 1889, a movement 
to open this land to homesteaders and other purchasers was inaugurated. At this 
time Gabriel Renville was head chief of the Sisseton Sioux. On May 21 he and 
nine other head men of the tribe held a council and discussed whether they should 
then surrender a portion of the reservation to the whites. General Pease was 
present and took part in the discussion. All enjoyed a huge dinner and then 
adjourned to a grove where speeches were made and a general discussion of the 
subject ensued. The white committee which had been appointed to confer with 
the Indians were Gen. H. R. Pease, A. S. Crossfield and D. W. Diggs. Governor 
Mellette was also present on this occasion. Rev. Charles R. Crawford, half 
brother to Chief Renville, was present and offered prayer at the commencement 
of the proceedings. The first speech was made by Chief Renville. He asked on 
behalf of the Indians that they be given at once patents for their tracts of land 
in severalty; also that their past due annuities, which had been provided for under 
the Treaty of 1851, amounting to about three hundred and forty-three thousand 


dollars, should be paid them without further delay. The matter was not con- 
cluded at this conference; but an agreement was finally reached by December, 
1889, whereby the Indians agreed to sell nearly one million acres at $5 per acre, 
and the Government agreed to pay back annuities to the amount of $350,000 and 
a bonus of $18,400 per year for twelve years. The Government also ratified a 
bill allowing $2,600 for the right-of-way of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul 
Railway across the reservation. It was provided that every resident Indian, 
regardless of age or sex, should receive 160 acres. It was discussed during the 
proceedings that in the survey of the reservation the Indians had been cheated 
out of 48,000 acres of land. It was also shown that during the Civil war Chief 
Renville and twelve other Indian scouts were not paid for five months of arduous 
service on behalf of the Government. Chief Renville accordingly asked to have 
this amount allowed and requested that it be paid in cash and not in shoe-pegs 
and overalls. When all necessary action had been taken, it was shown that 
about eight hundred and eighty thousand acres of land were left for sale to the 
whites, after the Indians had received their allotments. In October, 1890, the 
President signed the Sisseton and Fort Randall reservation bills. In the Sisseton 
Reservation 80,000 acres were scheduled to be sold for not less than ten dollars 
per acre. Early in 1890, 30,000 acres at the Fort Randall Reservation were 
thrown open to settlement. Late in November, 1889, Eliphalet Whittlesey, sec- 
retary of the Board of Indian Commissioners; C. A. Maxwell, chief of the land 
division in the office »f Indian affairs ; and D. W. Diggs, of Milbank, were appoint- 
ing commissioners to negotiate with Sisseton and Wapheton Indians in South 
Dakota for the sale of their surplus land. 

In the spring of 1889 the Yankton Sioux Indians offered to sell about seven 
townships of their reservation on the east side of the Missouri and at this time 
the remaining Indians there selected their land in severalty. 

Even before the result of the Sioux commission's work was known, a caravan 
of Oklahoma land boomers arrived and camped at Pierre in May, 1889, prepared 
to push into the reservation and select claims as soon as they could legally do so. 
At this time also a similar movement was inaugurated at Chamberlain and oppo- 
site Standing Rock Agency. The Indian themselves, seeing the inevitable, though 
unwilling to admit it, were already engaged in selecting the tracts which they 
desired to own in case the tribes were divided and the system of allotment was 
practiced. So great became the pressure that here and there along the Missouri 
and elsewhere, irresponsible whites began to invade the reservation several 
months before sufficient Indians had signed the agreement to make the bill bind- 
ing. While the commission was still at work and the Indian bands were still at 
their old places on the reservation, white adventurers crossed the Missouri and 
fastened themselves on the choicest tracts of land. The Government promptly 
ordered bodies of troops along the Missouri to prevent at all hazards the invasion 
of the reservation at Pierre, Chamberlain and elsewhere. Notices warning all 
boomers' to keep off the reservation were posted at conspicuous places along the 
frontier. The opening of about eleven million acres, much of which was excel- 
lent land for farming, was an event of great importance to home seekers not only 
in the United States but in all of Europe. It also meant the payment of an 
immense sum of money to the Indians in the end. Thus it was believed that 
prosperity for both the whites and the Indians was sure to follow the opening of 


this immense tract of land. No wonder the pressure to enter the reservation was 
enormous and was pushed beyond legal limits by adventurous men. Secretary 
Noble issued a warning that all whites must remain outside of the great reserva- 
tion until they could legally enter. In this notice he called attention to the expe- 
rience of the Black Hills settlers who had really gone there, many of them, 
before they had a legal right to do so. He further announced that the Indian 
police would aid the army in preventing the illegal invasion of the reservation. 
At this time Fort Bennett was the Government military station at the Cheyenne 
Reservation. It was an outpost of Fort Sully, five miles away, with the Missouri 
River between them. In May, 1889, Fort Bennett was ordered abandoned and 
troops were sent to Fort Sully. In spite of the warning of the Government and 
the energy of the troops and Indian police, many "boomers" entered the Sisseton 
and the Big Sioux reservations. However, the most of them were promptly 
removed by the authorities. Strange as it may seem, the "boomers," though 
opposed by the press and the soldiers, were encouraged to enter the reservation 
by the adjacent white communities who desired above all things to see the speedy 
and extensive settlement of the reservation and were willing that the "boomers" 
should have amply leeway to secure permanent homes. 

Three classes of land claimants at least had to be reckoned with, namely : 
squaw-men and half-breeds, the full-blooded Indians, and the whites. Many 
squaw-men and half-breeds lived at Fort Pierre and other towns along the Mis- 
souri bordering on the reservation. These men determined to have the first selec- 
tion of land after or before the reservation was opened. As a matter of fact, the 
whites who claimed possession at Fort Pierre were really speculators or adven- 
turers who were endeavoring to force out men who had been there a dozen years 
as squatters and possessed at least a shadow of right to the soil. Generally the 
newspapers denounced the stampede of new settlers into the reservation, but it 
must be admitted that the people of the state along the Missouri as a whole, 
welcomed the appearance of the many white settlers. It did not matter to them 
that many of the prospective settlers were being deceived as to the value of the 
soil, the character of the climate and the prospects of success at agriculture. The 
object desired was the speedy settlement of the resen'ation, and accordingly the 
people generally were calloused as to how that was accomplished or executed 
before the soldiers performed their duty. Scores of squaw-men, "sooners" and 
"boomers" were ejected from the reservation. The squaw-men with their dusky 
wives had the advantage, because they were not interfered with by the soldiers. 
This caused almost an open war between the "sooners" and the squaw-men, to 
which the soldiers soon put an end. 

In the Treaty of 1875 between the United States and the Sioux nation of 
Indians, provision was made for a strip of land extending from Pierre to the 
Black Hills to be used as a road for freighters and for the conveyance of the 
United States mail, to be known as the "Black Hills Trail." Fort Pierre was 
made the starting point, and the treaty included the temporary transfer of a tract 
of land one mile square on the land where old Fort Pierre was located. This 
latter land was entirely occupied by the Northwestern Transportation Company 
until the completion of the first railway into the Black Hills in 1885, when it was 
abandoned. Old Fort Pierre was abandoned in 1882, and it then seemed right 
that all the land there should revert to the Indians, but trappers, squaw-men, and 


half-breeds who had lived there long before the fort was in existence, remained 
after the fort, the trading company and the Government had abandoned the land. 
About this time the Dakota Central Railway, by an agreement with the Sioux 
Indians, acquired the right to occupy a section of land at the mouth of Bad River, 
opposite the City of Pierre, and paid for the privilege by installments. Such 
agreement and occupation were recognized as valid by an act of Congress 
approved March 9, 1879. This mile square embraced what is now the site of 
Fort Pierre on the west side of the Missouri River, on both sides of Bad River 
at its mouth. That stream divided the tract into two almost equal parts. On the 
north side was Fort Pierre, a prosperous town in 18S9-90, and there resided 
about twenty families of prosperous squaw-men, half-breeds, etc., who were 
engaged in raising a few cattle, trading with the Indians and with each other, 
and cultivating a few acres of corn. They occupied the land by permission of 
the Indians and the grace of the Government. 

By January, 1890, matters at Fort Pierre were seriously complicated and open 
hostilities were threatened and even commenced. The mile square was divided 
into two nearly equal parts by Bad River. In the fall of 1889 about twenty 
families of whites lived on the northern side of the river and had been there for 
some time by agreement of the Government and the Indians for purposes of 
barter and trade with the Indians. Already Fort Pierre was a great cattle center 
and a few fields of corn and other grain were cultivated on the adjacent bottom. 
When it became clear in the fall of 1889 that the reservation would be opened 
soon, many speculators crossed the river and squatted on the mile square. The 
half breeds endeavored to drive them back but stubborn resistance was offered. 
On the southern side of Bad River was a half breed family named Traversy that 
owned nearly all the good land in that vicinity. The white squatters and "soon- 
ers" went en masse to the southern side of the river one night and before the 
half breeds were aware of their doings, had laid out a town, erected temporary 
buildings and constructed fences with the intention of permanently occupying 
the place. Immediately the half breeds organized, assaulted the squatters and 
■'sooners," routed them and chased them back across the river. During this 
affray, several persons were injured. The prospective squatters were backed by 
the Fort Pierre white settlers. At once information of what had transpired was 
sent to the military authorities at Fort Bennett. Four companies were promptly 
dispatched to the mile square with orders to prevent all settlers from locating 
west of the river or on the mile square. Tomahawk, a Sioux Indian, concluded 
that if the Traversy half breeds could hold land there, he certainly could also. 
He had lived at or near Fort Pierre for about fifty years. Accordingly he laid 
claim to a strip of land extending across the mile square from north to south, 
which took in the entire east half of the tract, including Fort Pierre and also 
including about half of the tract claimed by the Traversy heirs. This act still 
further compHcated matters. The settlers continued to appear on the west side 
and continued to traffic in town lots in that vicinity. This was about the situation 
on February i, 1890. 

At this time "boomers" were gathering in large numbers at Chamberlain, 
Pierre and other points along the east side of the Missouri River. Finally word 
came that President Harrison would sign the Sioux bill on February 7th, and all 
made preparations for the rush, but were kept back by the troops until the signal 


should be given. On February loth came a telegram to all South Dakota, that the 
President had issued his proclamation opening the reservation and that it went 
into effect immediately. The news was received at Pierre about 3.30 P. M. A 
local newspaper said : 

"Men had stood in great crowds on the streets all day anxiously awaiting 
news and when it was known, a mighty cheer went forth and the scene of excite- 
ment beggared description. The crowd made a break for the river bank and 
participated in a grand rush for the other side. When the news was made known 
in the state house by the firing of a cannon, the members of the Legislature arose 
from their seats and gave three long cheers and a motion to adjourn went through 
as soon as it could be heard. Flags floated from every building and several 
bands played. Those who did not go across in the rush kept up the general 
hurrah in the city until nightfall. Teams hitched to wagons had been stationed 
all along the river bank on this side all day and countless boomers remained by, 
ready to make a start for the promised land. When the word was received each 
team, with the wagon filled with men, started and many races were had to see 
which would gain the other side and be the first to get on the choice quarter sec- 
tions of the famous mile square. They found no hindrance in crossing the 
river, the ice being sound." 

However, upon reaching the other side, they were all halted by a wall of 
troops. The soldiers had not received word announcing that the reservation had 
been opened and accordingly opposed any further progress of the movement. 
Soon nearly one thousand angry men were collected in front of the troops, 
demanding that they should be permitted to advance. All were told by Colonel 
Tassin, who was in command, that they must return, because he had received no 
orders to permit them to advance. Down the river two miles below East Pierre, 
the "boomers" succeeded in crossing the river and soon were seen climbing the 
hills and locating claims, but they were pursued by the soldiers and all that could 
be found were compelled to return. At Fort Pierre another attempt was made to 
break through the line of troops and about five hundred were surrounded and 
arrested, several suffering wounds during the encounter. The "boomers" made 
desperate eft'orts to evade the soldiers or break through their line, but on the 
whole they were unsuccessful. 

At Chamberlain an immense crowd of "boomers" was ready for the rush. It 
was arranged that as soon as news of the opening should be received, a cannon 
should be fired, whereupon the boomers of a prospective town site on the west 
side of the river were to advance across the river at full speed and set up the 
houses which they prepared in advance. A large body of "boomers" was col- 
lected and secreted on American Island ready for the rush when the cannon 
should soimd. As soon as the report of the cannon was heard, the rush was made. 
A local paper described the scene as follows : 

"Immediately all were in motion and teams with loads of lumber started on 
a dead run across the river, but it was plainly evident that the local town-site 
'boomers' had secured an important advantage by reason of their closer proximity 
to the lands. It was a grand sight, viewed from the high bluff's where several 
thousand people had gathered, to see as many more take- part in this exciting 
event. Indian police numbering 100 had been placed as a guard to prevent any 
premature invasion, but they stood dazed and helpless as they viewed the great 



and irresistible rush for the reservation. A most novel sight was the moving of 
a large building under which had been placed heavy timbers and wheels. This, 
like the other wagons, was pulled across the river by galloping horses. It took 
but a few minutes for several sections on the valuable bottom to be literally cov- 
ered by claimants and it will take a score of lawyers to solve the problem as to 
who are the rightful owners. Many other intending settlers rushed promptly into 
the uplands and began at once the erection of houses. The Indian police are 
entirely inadequate to evict the 'boomers.' That night the settlers encamped on 
their claims." 

The tract to be opened extended westward from the Missouri to the forks 
of the Cheyenne and lay between White and Cheyenne rivers. Another large 
tract consisting of about six counties and extending north from Belle Fo'urche 
and Cheyenne rivers to the northern boundary of South Dakota, was also included. 
Many boomers assembled at Niobrara and prepared to cross as soon as the open- 
ing should be announced. On February I2th orders were received by military 
authorities to cease all opposition and to permit the "boomers" to enter the reser- 
vation and locate their claims. It was estimated that about five thousand people 
were in the rush westward from Fort Pierre alone. Many of them had horses 
and wagons in which they carried lumber with which to build houses and fences, 
plenty of provisions and other homesteading equipment. Nearly the same num- 
ber rushed westward from Chamberlain. Probably no town in the state was 
established quicker or more expeditiously than Oacoma on the bottom just west- 
ward across the river from Chamberlain. 

In the spring of 1889 sixty white settlers were living on the Crow Creek and 
Winnebago reservations, but had no patents to their lands. They had entered 
the reservation under the proclamation of President Arthur of February 27, 
18S5, which act of the President opened there 331,980 acres of the reservation to 
settlement. The proclamation was immediately followed by a rush of settlers 
and soon every quarter section had a house and an occupant. On April 17th, of 
the same year, President Cleveland issued a proclamation withdrawing such lands 
from market and ordered those who had located thereon to leave the reservation. 
Many did so and others did not, and an attempt to eject them failed. Thus in 
the spring of 1890 those squatters or claimants asked for relief under the Sioux 

The Bland educational bill in Congress in the spring of 1890, which provided 
for the education of the Indians, was amended by United States Senator Moody 
to the effect that the four new states which were then being admitted to the 
Union should be given a proportionate amount of the fund thus set apart for 
the education of the Indians. This amendment passed and gave to South Dakota 
about two hundred thousand dollars instead of $60,000, which it would have 
received had not the Moody amendment prevailed. In April, 1890, Indian Com- 
missioner Morgan estimated that there would be $660,483 for the education of 
the Sioux Indians of South Dakota ; of this sum about $92,600 was planned to 
be used for the construction of buildings and $173,883 for the support of the 
Indian pupils. At this time the Government was behind $1,322,796 in money 
that was due the Indians under the Treaty of 1868. As a matter of fact the 
Government had not during any year since the war done as it had agreed to do 
under the Indian treaty. 


What became known as the Messiah craze in 1890 is said to have been started 
by a Nevada Indian named Wovoka, otherwise known as Jack Wilson, who had 
been reared by a family of that name near Pyramid Lake, Nev. Whether 
Wovoka's delusion came from one of his dreams or was the result of a religious 
enthusiasm created by the whites will probably forever remain a question of 
doubt and dispute. Of course the missionaries taught the Indians that Christ 
was to reappear in person on the earth, but it is claimed that Wovoka was told 
in a dream to do as he did. The facts are that within a comparatively short 
time after he had started the craze, practically all of the tribes west of the Mis- 
souri had given themselves up to the frenzy and extraordinary proceedings which 
characterized the movement. 

Knowledge of the Messiah craze reached the Sioux nation in the summer of 
1889 through letters received at Pine Ridge from Indian tribes in Wyoming, 
Montana, Utah, Oklahoma, and various portions of the two Dakotas. These 
letters were interpreted by William Selwyn, who informed the Indians of their 
import. Immediately the Pine Ridge Sioux became great interested. A great 
council was called to discuss the subject. Among those who took an active part 
at the start were Red Cloud, Little Wound, American Horse, Man Afraid of 
His Horses, and others. It was believed that the new Messiah would restore the 
Indians to their old hunting grounds. With this belief came the determination to 
send a delegation to Nevada to learn more of the movement, and to ascertain 
if possible the wishes of the new Messiah. This delegation consisted of Broken 
Arm, Yellow Breast, Good Thunder, and Flat Iron, from the Pine Ridge Agency; 
Short Bull and another from the Rosebud Agency; and Kicking Bear from the 
Cheyenne Agency. These Indians visited Wyoming, Utah, and Montana, and 
soon confirmed the reports that had been received concerning the advent of the 
Redeemer. They were gone all winter on this mission, and, in the meantime, 
their long absence and the reports which arrived from the West, caused intense 
and increasing excitement among the Sioux in the Dakota territory. The reports 
led all to believe that the Messiah had actually appeared near the base of the 
Sierras, that he had had once been killed by the whites, and that he bore on his 
body the scars of crucifixion. The Indians who were prompted by the teaching 
of the missionaries construed at once the return of the Messiah to mean that 
the whites would be banished from the loved domains of the natives and that 
they themselves would again be placed in possession of their old hunting grounds 
with buffalo and other wild game. This conclusion was the inevitable result of 
the belief that the Messiah had returned to redeem the earth. No doubt the 
simple teachings of Wovoka were distorted and misconstrued by the Sioux and 
other tribes to meet their own national grievances, wrongs and wounds. 

In April, 1890, the delegates who had been sent West returned to Pine Ridge 
and made their report. A council was promptly called to consider the momen- 
tous question and their proceedings were reported to Major Gallagher, the Gov- 
ernment agent. Those Indians who had counseled hostile measures, among whom 
were Good Thunder and two others, were arrested and placed in prison for a few 
days. The agent saw at once that serious trouble might be expected unless the 
Indians were controlled from the outset. At this juncture, Kicking Bear, who 
had just returned from a visit to the Arapahoes, announced that the Indians of 
Cheyenne River were already holding the Ghost Dance and that they could see 


and talk with their dead relatives while engaged in the dance. This declaration 
kindled anew the wildest religious enthusiasm and hostilities were again openly 
threatened. This placed the missionaries, agents and other whites in the posi- 
tion that they must either support the movement or oppose the Messiah on the 
one hand, or deny that the real Messiah had come. Red Cloud in open council 
declared his belief in the craze doctrines and said that the Indians must obey 
the directions and commands of the Messiah. Another great council was called 
on White Clay Creek and was held by thousands of Indians in spite of the Gov- 
ernment agent, and thus the Ghost Dance was formally commenced, with Short 
Bull and his immediate followers acting as leaders of the riotous and threaten- 
ing ceremony. Within a day or two nearly all of the Indians at Pine Ridge were 
enthusiastic and demonstrative in their adhesion to the new doctrine. The craze 
spread rapidly to all portions of the Dakota reservations, though the real dis- 
turbance was confined to Pine Ridge, Rosebud, Hump's band of Minneconjous 
on Cherry Creek belonging to the Cheyenne River Agency, and Sitting Bull's 
band on Grand River belonging to the Standing Rock Reservation. 

It must be admitted that independent of the religious movement, the Indians 
had just complaint at this time against certain designing and unscrupulous men 
who had taken advantage of the occasion to incite an outbreak, hoping to benefit 
themselves thereby. At first the Indians apparently had no definite design to 
attack the whites, but soon, it was alleged, they planned such an outbreak through 
the influence of these men. Many things contributed or were made to contribute 
to the hostile attitude of the Indians against the whites. The signing of the 
Treaty of 1889, a recent and painful event, by which the Great Sioux Reservation 
was broken up, was in part used as a pretext or cause why the Indians should 
assail the whites. Both Red Cloud and Sitting Bull argued now and had argued 
previously that under the new treaty the Indians would be more than ever at the 
mercy of the whites. They declared further that the annuities and rations, both 
very important to the Indians, would probably be cut oflF. It was also recalled 
to the Indians having a hostile intent, that the Black Hills Treaty of 1876 was an 
injustice and had been secured by misrepresentations and that the Indians as a 
whole had never agreed to such treaty. At this time also the Indian department 
of the Government had made it known that the intentions were to compel the 
Indians to become self supporting and to break up the old tribal relations and live 
like the whites. It was also true that the years 1889 and 1890 were disastrous 
ones in the history of Dakota's agriculture and stock raising. Owing to the 
intense drought thousands of white settlers were compelled temporarily to relin- 
quish their homes on the Dakota plains and seek subsistence elsewhere. All of 
these circumstances contributed to furnish what seemed to be excellent reasons 
why the Indians should openly revolt against the whites, in view of the believed 
fact that the Messiah had again come to give the Indians the justice which they 
had failed to secure from the Government. Short Bull, in part, claimed super- 
natural powers and announced a hostile version of the Messiah theology. Under 
his teachings large numbers of the Indians were led to believe that, if they 
should act promptly at this juncture, the unjust and mercenary whites would 
be miraculously crushed and driven from the coveted domain of the Indians. The 
Messiah had come to right all wrongs, and this was a great wrong, they claimed. 


About this time also, or early in the autumn of 1890, while the Ghost Dance 
was in progress and at its height, Major Gallagher, the Government Indian 
Agent, was succeeded by Doctor Royer, whose appointment, like that of many 
other Indian agents of the time, was purely political and not because Major 
Gallagher was not wanted. Doctor Royer was wholly inexperienced in handling 
Indian problems and was apparently unequal at this critical emergency to influ- 
ence the Indians to remain at peace with the whites. Being at a loss what to do, 
he called upon the military for support, an act very unusual and one that was 
promptly resented by the Indians as one of open hostility to their interest and 
the Messiah. Under previous agents, such as Doctor McGillicuddy and Major 
McLaughlin, the Indians had ever been at peace with the whites because they 
were well treated and thoroughly controlled by the executive ability and fair 
mindedness of these agents. They had introduced home rule or tribal rule 
under a force of Indian police who had been drilled in regular cavalry and 
infantry tactics and had, under the agent, maintained absolute control of the 
younger Indians, but under Doctor Royer a momentous change took place. He 
possessed no control over them and made the mistake of calling upon the military 
arm of the Government at this critical and irritable time, an act which kindled 
the wrath of the younger members. 

The Messiah Dance continued to increase in fervency and intensity and spread 
with astonishing rapidity from tribe to tribe throughout the entire West. Hun- 
dreds of Indians danced incessantly until they fell exhausted on the ground 
and many never recovered from the violent exertions which it was claimed by 
the leaders were necessary to secure the vast results expected from the coming 
of the Messiah. 

The cattlemen were the first to sound the coming danger of the settlers. In 
May, 1890, reports of the danger arrived at Chamberlain, Pierre and other 
exposed points along the Missouri River. In November, 1890, the friendly 
Indians and half breeds began to reach Pierre with thrilling stories of the Messiah 
craze. All along the Missouri companies of citizens were at once formed to 
prevent any trouble before the arrival of the troops. It was noted by the news- 
papers that for the first time in the history of the settlement, whites and Indians 
were all talking fluently in the Sioux language. From all directions west of the 
river came reports of the capture of cattle by the hostile Indians. At Gettys- 
burg the citizens organized, put out sentries and prepared for emergencies in 
case the bells should ring and the whistles should blow. In April, 1890, Governor 
Mellette telegraphed to Gen. Nelson A. Miles, at Chicago, stating that Scotty 
PhilHps, who owned 1,000 head of cattle west of the river near Fort Pierre and 
had lived at the mouth of Grindstone Butte Creek, thirty miles up Bad River, 
with his half-breed family since 1879, and a Mr. Waldron, another large cattle 
man, who lived seven miles down the river from the Phillips place, had left their 
homes on the 25th and had come to Pierre with a message that the Indians were 
gathering from all points and concentrating for an attack upon the whites. These 
men stated that the Indians were gathering at the mouth of Pass Creek, that 
messengers were passing swiftly back and forth between the bands, that all were 
defiant and surly and were boasting of the whites they had killed in the past 
and declaring that they intended to repeat the grim performance. One of the 
chiefs declared, it was stated, that Phillips was raising horses for the Indians 


to ride and that hunting and killing cattle was as pleasant and profitable for the 
Indians now as hunting and killing buffalo had been in the past. Phillips 
announced that Yellow Thigh was the leader of a gang of twelve Indians who 
were armed with Winchester rifles and were intent on hostilities. He stated that 
within a few days he had lost twenty cattle killed, and that Waldron had lost 
seven. Phillips and Waldron were apprised of the doings of the Indians by the 
friendly half-breeds who came from the Indian camps to the homes of the 
whites. At this time the Pass Creek dances had been in progress for about a 
month and the greatest excitement prevailed. Many declared that during the 
dance they saw the spirits of their departed friends. Short Bull's headquarters 
were there. He had announced himself as the true Messiah and'the news had 
spread like the wind in all directions. There were on Pass Creek about one 
thousand lodges and nearly fifteen hundred armed warriors, so it was reported. 
Both Phillips and Waldron stated that every day for some time past, Indian run- 
ners had passed their places conveying intelligence of the Messiah craze and the 
uprising of the Indians from camp to camp with incredible speed day and night. 
Upon receiving this information. Governor Mellette called for i,ooo guns and an 
abundance of ammunition to be shipped to Huron and other towns and asked to 
have military posts established at Chamberlain and Forest City. This action of 
the governor was taken because he had implicit confidence in the judgment, intel- 
ligence and character of Scotty Phillips, who was widely known for his upright 
character and was liked by all the Indians, half breeds and whites alike. He 
served with distinction as a scout through the Sioux troubles of 1875-76 and 
through the Cheyenne troubles of 1879. 

News continued to pour into Forest City, Pierre, Chamberlain and other towns 
concerning the craze and the hostile movements of the Indians far back on the 
reservation. No doubt Short Bull, who claimed to be the Messiah, did more 
than any other Indian except perhaps Sitting Bull to stir up excitement and 
incite the Indians to attack the whites. He announced at the councils and the 
dances that he was the Messiah and had come to crush the whites and place the 
Indians in possession of their former domain. Everywhere surveyors returned 
to the settlements, having been warned by friendlies to leave the reservation. 
At Gettysburg streets and outskirts were picketed, and all retreating and defense- 
less settlers were given accommodation at O'Niell's and Francis Hall's. Arrange- 
ments for the citizens to assemble instantly upon signal were made. Scores of 
friendly Indians and half-breeds arrived at Pierre with all sorts of rumors and 
tales. This was about the condition on November 28th. By this time General 
Carpenter of Governor Mellette's staff had succeeded in organizing companies of 
citizens at Campbell, Walworth, Western McPherson, Faulk, Potter and Sully 
counties and had equipped them with arms and ammunition. About this time 
the imminence of danger was believed at Pierre to be dissipated and accordingly 
Governor Mellette reported the situation less ominous and critical. He stated to 
the Government authorities that in many sections of the reservation the Ghost 
Dance was subsiding, that rumors of open or threatened hostilities were largely 
groundless and that the Indians as a whole, though much aroused by the craze, 
remained on their reservations. He announced that if any attack should be made 
by the Indians, it would probably occur in the vicinity of the Bad Lands. He 
also stated that in his opinion the state militia could handle the situation. While 


this conclusion was true as a whole, the outlook in the vicinity of the Bad Lands 
continued to grow worse. Several thousand Indians had gathered there and 
were making open threats of attacking the whites, while at the same time they 
were destroying property and killing cattle. Several cabins near Wounded Knee 
Creek were burned. Gall and Glass were friendly, but Sitting Bull was like 
adamant and seemed determined upon war. 

By December 8, i8go, it becapie generally known to the whites that abouf 
two thousand Indians were entrenching themselves in the Bad Lands, much of 
the work being done, of course, by about five hundred squaws. About the same 
time a few skirmishes between cowboys and Indians occurred near Buffalo Gap. 
Bishop Haire in a statement to the public said that the trouble was not due to 
food or lack of it, but was due to the treaty for the big reservation which was 
not well understood by the Indians. The latter, under former treaties, had felt 
aggrieved because they had depended largely upon oral promises which were 
usually not kept. The facts, he said, were stated plainly to the leading chiefs who 
did not communicate all the circumstances to the Indians as a whole. Hence they 
now felt themselves imposed upon and cornered, and therefore, being under 
the excitement of the Ghost Dance, resisted any attempt to restrict or control 
them. The bishop did not ascribe the outbreak to the hope or belief that the 
Messiah would restore the Indians to their former rights. From the border came 
the news from time to time of further skirmishes between cowboys and small 
parties of Indians. It is estimated that between three thousand and four thou- 
sand head of cattle were driven into the Indian camps and many were killed for 
subsistence. Kicking Bear was an emissary of Sitting Bull and both were in 
direct communication with Short Bull, the alleged Messiah. Red Cloud was 
hostile, but was too old to take part in active hostile demonstrations. Two Strike 
was the friend of the whites. 

In response to the request of Governor Mellette, the Government sent to 
Huron about seven thousand rounds of ammunition, of which about four thou- 
sand rounds were sent to Pierre and a considerable quantity to Rapid City. In 
December all settlers in Cheyenne Agency departed for Fort Bennett, where they 
were given protection. Many Indians continued steadily to depart for the Bad 
Lands. At Sturgis fifty picked men were armed and organized to check any 
hostile movement. Small bands of hostiles were scattered throughout the reser- 
vation and the whites residing therein hastily departed for the settlements. 
Spotted Tail was in reality a distinguished chief and warrior. In fact it is said 
that Spotted Tail was a warrior and Red Cloud was a horse thief. In the moral 
code of the Indians there was but little difference between the two, because a 
successful horse thief was almost as valuable to a tribe as was a successful 
warrior. All Indian nations respected the courage and ability to successfully 
steal horses or any other valuable property of aij enemy. 

As soon as the Government concluded to resort to hostile measures, there 
was no hesitation and the soldiers were moved with great rapidity to the positions 
assigned them. General Miles had command of the military department of the 
Missouri. Gen. John R. Brooke was ordered to take the field with his troops. 
On November 19th, the first body of soldiers arrived at Pine Ridge and soon there 
were concentrated there over eight troops, one battalion and several companies. 
At Rosebud there were two troops of the Ninth Cavalry and other reserves. 


Between Pine Ridge and Rosebud were seven companies of the First Infantry. 
Another considerable body was located north of Pine Ridge. At Buffalo Gap 
on the railroad were three troops and near Rapid City were six troops. Seven 
companies were near the southern fork of the Cheyenne River, and a short dis- 
tance further east were three more troops and a squad of Crow Indian scouts. 
There were also small garrisons at Forts Meade, Bennett and Sully. The object 
in stationing the troops was to place them in such a position that they would 
separate as far as possible the dififerent bands of Indians and be in position to 
strike with greatest effect at the opportune moment. The hostiles first gathered 
in the Bad Lands under Short Bull and Kicking Bear. In order to prevent the 
Indians of Cheyenne River and Standing Rock reservations from reaching the 
Bad Lands, seven companies were stationed along the Cheyenne River. Within 
a short time nearly three thousand soldiers were in the Sioux country ready for 
any emergency. General Miles made his headquarters at Rapid City to be as 
near as possible to the center of disturbance. 

It has been maintained by excellent authorities that the sudden stampede of 
the Indians to the Bad Lands was not due to their design to concentrate in an 
attack upon the whites ; just the reverse. It was declared by many who were 
familiar with the plans of the Indians at the time that their flight was due almost 
wholly to the belief that they were about to be attacked and annihilated by the 
soldiers, who seemed to be rapidly concentrating at central points. Commissioner 
Morgan and the leading Indians themselves afterwards declared that this was 
the view taken by the Indians. While the Messiah craze would have no doubt 
continued in any event and might, probably would, have been succeeded by an 
attack on the whites, the rush to the Bad Lands, it was declared, was caused by 
the fear of an attack from the whites. At this time the Sioux nation numbered 
about twenty-five thousand individuals and had from six thousand to seven thou- 
sand warriors. It is a known fact that of this whole number only about seven 
hundred were concerned in the movement to the Bad Lands. Many of the 
Christian Indians took no part in the disturbances. Thus the flight to the Bad 
Lands seems to have been the result of a panic at the appearance of the troops. 
On the other hand, it is true that the troops were not ordered out until requests 
for their services had been sent by the civilian authorities. General Miles said 
that it was not until the civil authorities had lost control and had declared them- 
selves powerless to preserve peace that the soldiers took the field. During the 
entire disturbance Commissioner McLaughlin at Standing Rock persistently 
and consistently maintained that he could control the Indians under his juris- 
diction without the aid of the troops. 

The withdrawal of the Indians to the Bad Lands served to sever every com- 
munication with the whites and accordingly prevented those who could control 
them from exerting their good offices. Of course all the bad element fled to the 
Bad Lands. There Short Bull, Kicking Bear, Sitting Bull, and others, deter- 
mined upon hostilities, found they could control the semi-hostile masses without 
interference or hindrance. After the stampede to the Bad Lands had occurred, 
the reservation as a whole was quiet and orderly. The dances were stopped, the 
friendly Indians went to their camps or homes and all became comparatively 


One of the first steps of the troops and of the Indian agent was to secure 
the arrest of the leaders in the Bad Lands. In order to accomplish this William 
F. Cody, well known as Buflfalo Bill, who had much influence with all the 
Indian chiefs, was asked to get in communication with Sitting Bull and to effect 
his arrest at a convenient time. McLaughlin, the agent, believed that measures 
to arrest Sitting Bull or other leaders should not be made at this time, because 
under the exciting circumstances such an attempt would be misconstrued. He 
thought that the friendly designs of the whites should first be made known 
generally to the Indian refugees in the Bad Lands. It was known that Sit- 
ting Bull had deliberately destroyed the pipe of peace which he had kept in his 
house since iSSi. He announced that he wanted to fight and was willing to die. 
In the meantime McLaughlin made himself familiar with the movements of 
Sitting Bull and the other leaders and made preparations for their arrest at the 
proper time. Several dates were fixed for the accomplishment of these results, 
but circumstances compelled postponement. 

Finally, in order to prevent Sitting Bull and others from an open act of 
hostility, McLaughlin determined to arrest him on the morning of December 15th. 
He planned to effect the arrest with a body of Indian police assisted by a detach- 
ment of troops, the latter to be placed within supporting distance. It was aimed 
to arrest him at his house on Grand River at daylight. Red Tomahawk had charge 
of the Indian police and Captain Fechet had charge of the troops. At daybreak 
on December 15th, the police and Indian volunteers numbering forty-three, 
under the command of Bull Head, surrounded Sitting Bull's house. They found 
him asleep on the floor and arousing him told him he was a prisoner and must go 
with them to the agency. He expressed his willingness to do so, but upon learn- 
ing that his friends were gathering to resist he changed his mind and refused to 
go, calling upon his followers to rescue him from the police and volunteers. At 
this moment Bull Head and Shave Head of the police were standing on each 
side of him and Red Tomahawk was guarding him from the rear, while the rest 
of the police were endeavoring to clear a way through the crowd that had gath- 
ered. Suddenly Catch the Bear fired and wounded Bull Head in the side. The 
latter instantly turned and shot Sitting Bull through the body. At the same 
moment also Sitting Bull was shot through the head by Red Tomahawk. Shave 
Head received a shot from the crowd and fell to the ground where lay Bull Head 
and Sitting Bull. Catch the Bear, who fired the first shot, was promptly killed 
by Alone Man, one of the police. All of this occurred within a few seconds 
and precipitated a desperate and bloody hand to hand fight between the police 
force of forty-three men and more than one hundred of the armed and desperate 
followers of Sitting Bull. The trained police were more than a match for their 
assailants, whom they drove to a strip of timber near by and then returned and 
cared for their dead and held the ground until the arrival of Captain Fechet with 
his reserves. Hawk Man, one of the police, taking desperate chances and being 
aided by Red Tomahawk, eluded the hostiles and carried information of the 
engagement to the military authorities. Upon the approach of the soldiers the 
Sitting Bull warriors retreated to Grand River and thence turned southward 
across the prairie and Cheyenne River. The troops did not pursue the Indians, 
believing that nothing could be gained by so doing, and returned to assist in 
caring for the wounded. This fight, which had lasted but a few minutes, resulted 


in the death or mortally wounding of six policemen, including the two officers, 
Bull Head and Shave Head, and in the death of eight of the hostiles, including 
Sitting Bull and his son. Crow Feet, age seventeen years, and in several wounded. 
While the battle was in progress, the women of the hostiles attacked the police 
with knives and clubs, but were easily disarmed and placed in one of the houses 
under guard. In his report on this engagement McLaughlin paid the highest 
praise to the bravery and gallantry of the Indian police. Couriers were sent to 
the fleeing Indians by McLaughlin with inducements to come at once to the 
reservation and surrender and nearly two hundred and fifty promptly complied, 
one-third still remaining out. The latter in part surrendered a little later by 
joining Big Foot, or going to Pine Ridge. 

On December i8th the Bad Land group of warriors attacked a party of white 
men on Spring Creek and Major Tucker with loo troops was sent to their 
assistance. About this time nearly one thousand Indians who had fled from 
Pine Ridge upon the appearance of the troops, returned to their homes. At 
the same time there were about fifteen hundred Indian fugitives camped upon 
Cheyenne River in the vicinity of Spring Creek. 

The death of Sitting Bull and the dispersion of his band removed one of 
the most vexatious elements of hostility. However, there remained Hump with 
a baud of nearly four hundred warriors and Big Foot with nearly as many 
more, all in camp near the junction of Cherry Creek and Cheyenne River. This 
band had been dancing almost incessantly and were sullen and ready for hostili- 
ties. The authorities decided at once to get into communication with Hump, 
and having succeeded in doing so, induced him to dissuade his people from any 
hostile movement. Hump complied with all his promises and promptly enlisted 
as a scout under Captain Ewers. This adroit movement was accomplished by 
Captain Ewers, who still further showed his skill, ability and diplomacy by 
conducting the northern Cheyennes from North Pine Ridge to Tongue River in 
Montana, a distance of over three hundred miles, in the most rigid weather and 
without an escort of troops and without the commission of a single hostile act 
by the Indians. 

The next movement of the authorities was to secure the remainder of the 
Sitting Bull fugitives who had not come in, but had fled south to their friends 
and near relatives on Cheyenne River. This was accomplished through the skill 
and diplomacy of Ewers, Hale and Angel. The movement was under the 
command of Capt. J. H. Hurst. There remained out a considerable band under 
Big Foot, whose camp was at Deep Creek, a few miles below the fork of the 
Cheyenne River. To Colonel Summer was assigned the task of managing this 
hostile band. Enormous complications were involved in the attempt to circum- 
vent this body of hostiles. Small bodies of the Indians connected with the band 
were induced to join the friendly Indians. The majority, however, retreated to 
the Bad Lands, where they made preparations for battle. This movement was 
due in a large measure to rumors which reached the Indians that the whites 
intended to slaughter them. At this time nearly three thousand troops were 
on active duty in the Sioux country. They were more than sufficient to defeat 
the hostile Indians in any engagement that might occur. 

While it was believed that a battle was imminent, attempts to prevent such 
finality continued to be made by the white authorities and friendly Indians. On 


December 27th the entire hostile camp left their stronghold in the Bad Lands 
and moved toward the agency at Pine Ridge. They were closely followed by 
the troops, all bodies of which kept within supporting distance of each other. 
It was at this time that the hostile Indians became divided into friendlies and 
hostiles, which resulted in an open quarrel between the two factions. Two 
Strike and his party departed for the agency, while Kicking Bear and Short 
Bull with the irreconcilables moved farther into the Bad Lands. On Christmas 
day a body of Cheyenne scouts who were encamped on Battle Creek north of 
the Bad Lands were attacked by a body of hostiles commanded by Kicking 
Bear. Several were killed and wounded on both sides, but the hostiles were 
finally driven off. Attempts were made at this juncture to intercept Big Foot's 
body of friendlies and they were reached on December 28, a short distance west 
of the Bad Lands. Big Foot had made no stop, but had continued his march 
toward Pine Ridge. Upon seeing the troops approach, he raised a white flag 
and asked for a conference, but was told by Major Whiteside that he must 
surrender unconditionally at once, which he accordingly did. This band of 
Indians moved on with the troops to Wounded Knee Creek about twenty miles 
northeast of Pine Ridge Agency, where camp was struck. At this juncture 
Major Whiteside was re-enforced by four additional troops of the Seventh 
Cavalry acting under the orders of General Brooke. The white force now 
numbered eight troops of cavalry, one company of scouts and four pieces of 
light artillery consisting of a number of Hotchkiss guns, the total force num- 
bering 470 men in opposition to a total of 106 warriors, all that remained of 
Big Foot's band. 

The battle of Wounded Knee occurred on the morning of the 29th. The 
Indians were approached with friendly communications, and they pitched their 
tents on the open plain and were there surrounded on all sides by the soldiers. 
They hoisted a white flag as a sign of peace. Not to be deceived, the militar>' 
authorities made full preparation during the night to suppress the Indians 
should they show hostilities the next morning. Big Foot himself was ill with 
pneumonia in his tepee. The next morning when the Indians were asked to 
deliver their arms, they failed to do so, though they showed no hostile move- 
ments. The soldiers were directed to search their tents for their rifles. The 
result was greatly to excite first the women and children and then, in conse- 
quence, their husbands and brothers. At this juncture, Yellow Bird, a medicine 
man, precipitated a hostile movement of the Indians. Apparently on signal, 
he threw a handful of dust into the air, whereupon Black Fox, a young Indian, 
drew a revolver that had been hidden in his blanket and fired at the soldiers, 
who instantly replied with a volley directed at the body of warriors and so near 
that the fire of the guns almost reached them. At this volley nearly half of the 
hostile Indians fell to the ground. The survivors sprang to their feet, threw 
off their blankets and made a desperate resistance in a hand to hand struggle 
against the troops. Few of the Indians had guns, but nearly all had revolvers, 
knives and war clubs which were still carried by the Sioux. At the same time 
the Hotchkiss guns which had been turned on the Indian camp sent a shower 
of shells and bullets crashing among the tents where the women and children 
had cautiously gathered to watch the proceedings. This movement upon the 
defenseless women and children was wholly unnecessary, brutal, indefensible, 


and served to inflame the surviving male Indians to a furious and desperate 
resistance. Proper diplomacy could have wholly prevented this unfortunate 
outcome. Soon nearly all of the male Indians were killed or wounded and the 
remainder were sent flying off to the ravine that was not far distant. The 
women and children also made haste to reach the ravine, but were shot down 
and killed or wounded by the pursuing and maddened soldiers. The pursuit 
was nothing short of a massacre of fleeing women, helpless children and a few 
surviving warriors. For a distance of two miles from the camp, bodies of 
women and children, mangled and bloody, were found during the next few 
days. Most of the men, including Big Foot, were killed at the camp. This was 
the bloody and inexcusable outcome of the conference which it was expected 
would result in the surrender of the Indians on the morning of the 29th. It 
must be admitted that the conflict was due largely to the mismanagement of 
the military authorities and to the anger of the soldiers, a number of whom had 
never before been engaged in open hostilities with the Indians. While it is true 
that the first shot was fired by an Indian, it is Hkewise true that the hostile act 
of Yellow Bird could have been prevented had the right course been taken with 
the hostiles early in the morning. 

In his message to the Legislature in January, 1891, Governor Mellette paid 
considerable attention to the Indian war. He reviewed, somewhat in detail, all 
the movements that had taken place down to date. His views are here given. 
He stated that the hostilities had resulted from a growing discontent among the 
Indians as a result of their being compelled to change their mode of life and 
leave the lands ; that this discontent had been nurtured by unscrupulous and 
vicious leaders through the agency of the ghost dance, which, he stated, had 
been adroitly substituted in the guise of a religious frenzy for the war dance. 
The war dance, as was well known, was used to incite savages to warfare, but 
had been forbidden among the Indians by the Government. The insubordination 
resulting culminated in the collection of bodies of defiant Indians on the out- 
skirts of the agencies, west of the Missouri River. There they were incited to 
frenzy and were soon ready for the uprising. Steadily they grew more domi- 
neering and insolent on the Upper Cheyenne, White and Bad rivers until finally 
they became openly defiant and at last began pillaging and robbing the settlers 
and conveying the plunder to a general rendezvous in the Bad Lands between 
the forks of the Upper White River. The governor stated that the prompt 
action of the United States troops in breaking up the smaller camps and the 
early death of Sitting Bull, the real leader of the disaffected, did much to check 
the uprising at the commencement. He further stated that at the outset the 
arms and ammunition on hand, consisting of about five hundred stands, were 
distributed among the settlers adjoining the reservation where the demand was 
most urgent. There the few settlers became equally well organized for their 
own protection under the aides of the governor. A little later 1,000 additional 
stands of arms were secured from the secretary of war. They were likewise 
placed where they would probably do the most good in emergencies. The 
governor recognized the valuable and unselfish services of Col. M. H. Day and 
Col. V. T. McGillicuddy in the Black Hills district, where all the active dem- 
onstrations thus far had occurred. He noted that Colonel Day had organized 
a troop of 100 volunteers who for several weeks had patrolled the Cheyenne 


River opposite the principal hostile camp between Battle Creek and Spring 
Creek and restrained marauding bands from raids upon the deserted homes 
and other property of the settlers. This command had three sharp engagements 
with the Indians near Phinney's ranch and succeeded in totally dividing them. 
The governor reported that no depredations had been committed by the Indians 
east of the Missouri River and that he had no apprehension that any would be 
in that section of the state. However, he expressed the belief that the demand 
for protection to property from the settlers on the Upper Cheyenne, White and 
Bad rivers should receive prompt and generous response from the citizens. 
Legislature and general Government. In a measure, the general Government, 
according to Governor Mellette, was under obligations to sustain much of the 
expense, because, in opening the lands to settlers, many whites had been placed 
in a critical position in the midst of presumed civilization, and for this situation 
the United States was really responsible. It was therefore the duty of the 
United States to protect the people, said the governor. However, in case the 
Government should not do so, then the state must undertake the task and should 
be provided with adequate means by the Legislature. Governor Mellette noted 
with some feeling that he was placed in the trying position of being constantly 
beset with calls for aid and being powerless to render help. He called attention 
to the fact that the supreme law making body of the state could be lawfully 
employed in this emergency, and recommended that provisions should at once 
be made for maintaining a volunteer troop which could .be instantly called into 
existence for the defense of their firesides near the center of hostility. He 
insisted that stringent laws should be passed by the nation and the state, pro- 
hibiting the selling and furnishing of arms and ammunition to the Indians, and 
should be strictly enforced. Arms in the hands of the Indians, he declared, 
were a constant menace to the settlers and were an immovable obstacle to the 
control and civilization of the Indians. He hoped that in the adjustment of 
the difficulty the customary governmental policy of rewarding the perpetrators 
of deeds of violence by extra rations and supplies would not be exercised in 
this instance and hoped that the doctrine of rewards and punishment would be 
applied among the Indians as it was applied among the white communities. 
The object of such a step would be to encourage the large mass of Indians who 
were well disposed and had refrained from hostilities to remain faithful to their 
obligations to the white people. 

A trenchant and notable address on the Indian troubles was delivered at 
Vermillion in January, 1891, by Rev. W. A. Lyman, who said: "Some think 
that the red men have been starved into war, others say they have not. In either 
case the actual responsibility for the slaughter that has taken place must rest 
upon the whites. Some blame the Government for not keeping faith with the 
savages. If the charge of perfidy be true, Washington surely is putrid with 
guilt. It seems to me evident that the responsibility must be shared by the 
church. If the Government has owed them blankets and beef and other articles 
which they never secured, the church by covenant, not with Sitting Bull or Red 
Cloud, but with Jesus Christ, the king of heaven's hosts, has owed them a 
knowledge of the uses and economy of these articles. If the Government has 
made the mistake of allowing them firearms, the church has neglected her duty 
of long since raising them out of the preference of rifles, butcher knives, rat-tail 




files and whisky instead of plows, seeders and mowers. If some agents and 
settlers have cheated them in buying their blankets and rations, the church has 
cheated them by withholding from them a proper appreciation of the value of 
these things. If some have stolen from them their regular allowance, the 
Christian Church has used in dress and travel and many luxuries what should 
have given them the bread of life and put them out of the power of dishonest 
agents. There would be no Indians in arms today against the United States 
flag if the church had seen to it that there were no heathens within our borders. 
Our Government is composed of a Christian people, therefore the guilt lies on 
all, but especially upon the church, which is the Christian agency of the Gov- 

It was about this time that a famous speech of Red Cloud concerning the 
Messiah craze was published in an eastern religious paper. It was as follows : 
"We felt that we were mocked in our misery ; we had no newspapers and no 
one to speak for us or take our part. We had no redress ; our rations were 
again reduced. You who eat three times each day and see your children well 
and happy around you, cannot understand what a starving Indian feels. We 
were faint with hunger and maddened with despair. We held our dying chil- 
dren and felt their little bodies tremble as their souls went out and left only a 
dead weight in our arms. We ourselves were faint and the dead weighed us 
down. There seemed to be no hope on earth and God appeared to have for- 
gotten us. Some one had again been talking of the Son of God and had said, 
'He has come.' The people did not know, they did not care; they snatched at. 
any hope, they screamed like crazy men to God for mercy. They caught at the 
promises which they heard he had made." 

On New Year's day, 1891, Henry Miller, a cattle herder, was killed by the 
Indians near the Pine Ridge Agency. He was the only non-combatant killed 
by the Indians during the campaign. During the whole period of hostilities no 
raid outside of the reservation was made by the hostiles. Most of the cattle 
captured were taken because they were necessary for subsistence. Early in 
January Red Cloud, Little Wound and other immediate followers, would have 
come to the agency had not Two Strike, Short Bull, Kicking Bear and other 
hostiles threatened to kill the first one who should depart for the agency. 
However, from this time forward, in spite of the hostiles, small bands began 
to desert and return to the agency. In the meantime the troops were moved 
rapidly to positions where they could check any further hostile demonstrations. 
A small skirmish occurred on Grass Creek January 3d, and another on Wounded 
Knee Creek on January 5th. At this stage General Miles successfully made 
overtures for peace with the leaders so that by January 12th the whole body 
of hostiles, numbering in all about four thousand, were camped within sight of the 
agency and had sued for peace. By the i6th of January all had surrendered 
and hostilities had ended. 

One of the offers of General Miles was that the civilian or political Indian 
agents would be removed, and men experienced in Indian affairs would be 
appointed in their places. They were promised that Capt. J. H. Hurst would 
be made agent at Cheyenne River, Capt. J. W. Lee at Rosebud, and Capt. 
F. C. Pierce at Pine Ridge. The latter was soon relieved by Capt. C. G. 
Henney. After the surrender of the main body about twenty of the leaders. 

Vol. Ill— 6 


among whom were Kicking Bear and Short Bull, were sent as hostages to Fort 
Sheridan near Chicago until all danger of further hostility should be over. 
Among the leaders who surrendered were Little Wound, Little Hawk, Crow 
Dog, Old Calico, Lance, High Hawk and Eagle Pipe. On January 30, 1891, 
the Dakota Indians in the state numbered 19,068, among whom were 1,356 
males and 1,467 females at Cheyenne River Agency; 1,003 males and 1,101 
females at Lower Brule Agency; 2,675 males and 2,858 females at Pine Ridge 
Agency; 2,646 males and 2,735 females at Yankton Agency; 767 males and 
755 females at Sisseton Agency. The others were at Crow Creek and Rosebud 

Since 1891 the events in Indian affairs have been comparatively few, scat- 
tered and unimportant. In the spring of 1891, 568 settlers who had been 
evicted from Crow Creek Reservation by President Cleveland, petitioned to 
have their claims allowed. The amount claimed was over two hundred and five 
thousand dollars. 

In the early nineties the Pine Ridge Indians who had been friendly to the 
Government during the war of 1890 and had remained its steadfast friends 
ever since, found much fault because they were not treated as well as those who 
had been hostile or stubborn during the Messiah craze. They declared, in 
effect, that hostiles received better treatment from the Government than Lhe 
friendlies did. But they were soon pacified. 

In April, 1892, the Sisseton Indians, having taken out their allotments, signi- 
fied their wish to have their reservation on Lake Traverse and Lake Kampeska 
thrown open to settlement. About this time the plan to enlist Indians in the 
regular army was formulated. In July, 1892, Senator Pettigrew's bill in Con- 
gress provided that the Fort Randall military reservation lands should be wholly 
devoted to school purposes. There were about ninety-six thousand acres thus 
turned over to education. 

The admission of South Dakota to the Union threw a flood of light on the 
management of Indian affairs in this state. Numerous errors and mistakes in 
management were promptly corrected and in a short time the Indian schools 
were both efficient and well managed. The rights of the Indians were better 
protected than ever before. Senator Pettigrew was active in this work and 
deserves much credit for the excellent results which followed. In October. 
1892, he delivered a strong address on citizenship to the Indians at Sisseton. 

Soon after this date the Dakotas of this state were located on nine reserva- 
tion agencies and four citizen communities as follows : The citizen communities 
were Sissetons in Roberts and Marshall counties, Yanktons in Charles Mix 
County, and the Santees at Flandreau and Minnesota River. The nine reserva- 
tions contained the following: Santees in Knox County; Brules at Rosebud 
Agency; Oglalas and a portion of the Minneconjous at Pine Ridge; Lower 
Brules at Lower Brule Agency, also Yanktonais at Crow Creek; Minneconjous, 
Two Kettles and Sans Arcs at Cheyenne River; Blackfeet and Uncapapas at 
Standing Rock ; Upper Yanktonais and Sans Arcs also at Standing Rock. There 
were good and prosperous Indian schools at Flandreau, Chamberlain, Pierre and 
Rapid City and prosperous elementary schools throughout the reservations. 
There were also denominational schools conducted by the Catholics, Congre- 
gationalists. Episcopalians and Presbyterians. 


The buildings put up at the Lower Brule Agency were extensive and excel- 
lent. Over forty thousand dollars was spent on the buildings alone. It required 
1,000 wagonloads of lumber for their construction. The Pine Ridge Indian 
church convention was a notable affair in Indian circles in September, 1893. 
The Indian appropriation bill of August, 1894, provided for the surrender of 
168,000 acres on the Yankton Indian Reservation to settlement upon proclama- 
tion of the President. There were twenty townships the most of which were 
to be thrown open. This reservation dated back to 1859, before which date the 
Sioux Indians had owned all of South Dakota south of the 45th parallel of 
latitude and east of the Missouri River. 

During the congressional session of 1893-94 Congressman Linton delivered 
in the House a speech of unusual power in opposition to the continuance and 
establishment of Catholic and other religious schools among the Indians. Over 
five million copies of this speech were circulated all over the country. Seven 
carloads of paper and wrappers were consumed. He showed in his speech both 
the benefits and objections to the denominational schools among the Indian 
tribes. The wide demand for the speech showed a strong undercurrent of 
opinion throughout the country against the contmuance and efl:ects of such 
educational institutions. 

In September, 1894, upon request of the Indians and settlers, the name 
Forest River Agency was changed back to Cheyenne River Agency as it had 
formerly been. It was announced late in 1894 that the Yankton Indian Reser- 
vation would be duly opened for settlement early the following year. The 
Indians had taken their allotments and the remainder of the land had been 
surrendered. On May 21st the opening occurred. There was a rush of settlers, 
but not as great as had been expected. The land was partly in Charles Mix 
and partly in Douglas County. 

In April, 1898, the Rosebud Reservation was swept by the most destructive 
fire that had occurred in the state during nine years. In April, 1898, the Crow 
Creek Indians held several meetings and decided to assist the United States 
Government in its war with Spain. 

This year Senator Pettigrew introduced in the Senate a bill for the estab- 
lishment of an insane hospital for the Indians at Canton. It provided for an 
appropriation of $45,000 and a tract of 100 acres to cost about thirty dollars 
per acre. This bill became a law and the hospital was accordingly built. In 
April, 1899, J. B. McCloud presented a claim against the state for $2,700 which 
he showed was due him for supplies which he had furnished the militia during 
the Indian war of 1890. The Legislature appropriated $500 toward the claim, 
but Governor Lee vetoed the bill. In December, 1899, the Indian Department 
upon investigation reported that there was yet due the Sioux Indians for their 
ceded lands the sum of $687,000, which sum was to be divided between the 
approximate twenty thousand members of that tribe. By 1901 there was not 
a single blanket Indian within the limits of the state. All had adopted the 
habits and customs of the whites. They lived on farms, had schools and 
churches, dressed like the whites and were largely agriculturalists and stock 
growers. In October, 1901, the secretary of the interior did away with compul- 
sory education among the Indians. This order was due to the actions of the 
sectarians in increasing the number of denominational Indian schools. In Feb- 


ruary, 1902, the Yankton Indian Agency, the oldest in the state, was aboHshed 
by the Government. 

In 1902 Indian Commissioner Jones issued peremptory orders requiring 
members of the Rosebud Indian Reservation either to work or go hungry. This 
was at first regarded as a severe blow at the spirit and dignity of the Sioux, but 
in the end it prevailed in accordance with the plans of the Government for the 
industrial management of the natives. In fact, by 1903 the Sioux had accepted 
what to them was the lowest degradation to which a red man could be subjected, 
the habit of steady work. At first they were required to do day labor, then 
gradually the work became steady. It was declared with emphasis by the Indian 
agents and by the instructors at the Indian schools, that it was not the lack of 
disposition on the part of the Indians to work, but it was due to the inefficient 
and stupid attitude of the Government in not giving them the opportunity. 
Within less than one year many of the younger Indians were earning money 
cheerfully for themselves and their families. The only difficulty at first was in 
providing steady and profitable work for them. It had already been proved that 
the Sioux were willing to work if they were given the opportunity. They 
objected to temporary jobs, when half or three-fourths of their time was spent 
in vice and idleness. It thus became a serious question with them, a question 
which in large measure had to be solved by the Government, as to what they 
could do steadily to earn a living. Indian Commissioner Jones declared in 
■ 1903 that he had 8,000 able-bodied Sioux who were persistently clamoring at 
his door for something permanent to do. Indian Agent Brennan of the Pine 
Ridge Reservation uttered a similar declaration. 

After gold was discovered in the Black Hills region claimed by the Sioux, 
the Government sought to secure the Hills by purchase. The Sioux demanded 
$7,000,000, whereupon the commissioners laughed and the Sioux left the council 
ready to fight. Red Cloud interfered and in part effected the treaty of 1868. 
This provided that for thirty years the Sioux should be given rations and for a 
considerable time thereafter were likewise to be helped until they should become 
self supporting. By 1898 these thirty years had expired, but many of the Sioux 
were no nearer self support than when the treaty was signed, because the 
Government had not helped them to become so, as was promised and had been 
expected. In 1902 Commissioner Jones directed the agents to announce several 
months in advance that the regular and customary rations would be withdrawn 
July I, 1903, and the Sioux were thereupon told that they would oe given work 
by which they could obtain more food and clothing than they had ever received 
before. With July came grumbling and discontent. The older Indians were 
stubborn and implacable, but the younger members were prepared for labor. 
One day three Indians asked the Rosebud agent for work, which was given 
them. At night they showed their money to their tribesmen, with the result 
that ere long many were set at work. At first they were employed by the 
Government upon the roads at $1.35 per day, and when this work became slack 
they were put to work upon bridges. As soon as the Indians learned how easy 
it was to earn money, they became insistent for permanent work at good wages. 
To give them employment the Government thereupon carried out various reser- 
voir and irrigation schemes, 'constructed storage tanks for stock, etc. Three 
large reservoirs were built in Wakpamini District, four in Medicine Root Dis- 


trict and six in .Pass Creek District. A dam built entirely by Indians was 
located near the Pine Ridge Agency, contained 3,500 cubic yards of earth and 
made a reservoir 1,000 feet long and 10 feet deep. The Government thus car- 
ried out with Indian labor solely all the work necessary to be done on the 
reservation, whereupon the Sioux were forced to leave to secure employment 
elsewhere. In 1903 for the first time a few Sioux helped shock wheat and barley 
in the northern counties of Nebraska and in Charles Mix County, S. D., at 
$2 per day. In the fall of 1903 about two hundred and fifty Sioux from Rosebud 
and Pine Ridge agencies helped on the construction work of the extension of 
the Elkhorn Railroad to Bonesteel. Several secured permanent employment as 
section hands. A few of the younger Indians became cowboys for ranchmen, 
and a few others secured work with ditching gangs. Red Elk of the Pine Ridge 
Agency conducted a ferry on White River at Westover. A son of Sitting Bull 
became a locomotive fireman on a South Dakota railroad. It was soon learned 
from these and other instances that the Indians made competent workmen 
when they were given opportunity and instructed what to do. 

The Flandreau Indians were already self supporting and had been for a 
number of years. The Sissetons, Santees and Yanktons, all of whom had 
received allotments in severalty, did considerable work, although they usually 
leased their lands to white men for enough rent upon which to live. A great 
majority of the Sioux were yet confined to the reservation in the semi-arid 
district where the land could not be used generally for agriculture, but was 
amazingly suited for grazing. A small proportion of the Indians there already 
owned herds of cattle; in fact, the Pine Ridge Indians at this time owned a 
total of about fifty thousand head. The Indians were not good cattle raisers. 
They found it easier, even if not so profitable, to lease their lands to the ranch- 
men. Agriculture without irrigation was difficult in this portion of the state, 
and as irrigation was too painstaking and elaborate for the patience or industry 
of the Indians it was out of the question. All whites realized at this time that 
to transform the Indian into a working man required time, care, patience and 

An important problem on the Rosebud Reservation early in 1903 was the 
status to which the Indians of mixed blood were entitled among their fellows. 
At this time the Indians of mixed blood were not supported by the Indian 
Department, nor were they permitted to enjoy the rights of citizenship. Their 
names had been stricken from the agency rolls, yet the Interior Department 
continued to exercise its power over them. To meet this condition of affairs 
they drew up a petition, signed it numerously and forwarded it to Senators 
Gamble and Kittredge and Representatives Martin and Burke. The petition 
read as follows : "We, the undersigned mixed blood Sioux Indians residing 
upon the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation, do most respectfully petition you 
to introduce and use your utmost endeavors to pass an act allowing all of the 
mixed blood Sioux Indians now residing upon the aforesaid reservation, to 
sever entirely their tribal relations with the Rosebud Sioux Indians, that they 
may receive patents for the lands they have taken by allotment in severalty and 
receive all moneys and credits which may be due them from the United States 
Government according to the treaties between the Government of the United 
States and the great Sioux Nation of Indians. It is understood that the passage 


of this act does not work a forfeiture of any money to be paid to said Rosebud 
Sioux Indians for any land now within the boundaries of the aforesaid reserva- 
tion which may be purchased by the Government of the United States from 
said Indians subsequent to the passage of this act." The principal reason 
advanced for this action was that because the names of all the mixed bloods had 
been stricken from the rolls at the agency, they in consequence received neither 
beef rations nor annuities. 

During the spring and summer of 1903, many allotments were made on the 
Cheyenne River Reservation. It was estimated by Colonel Knight, the allotting 
agent, that it would require at least four years more to permanently locate the 
Indians on these tracts. When this should have been accomplished there would 
be a large acreage, the agent stated, which would not be taken, but would 
become the property of the Indians in common to be used in any way they 
thought best for the interests of the tribe as a whole. When an Indian thus 
took his allotment for himself and family it became the property of the family 
and could not be disposed of for twenty-five years. 

Under an order of the Interior Department in 1904, the money paid the 
Indian heirs was not given them in a lump sum, but was handed out by install- 
ments in order to prevent swindlers from cheating them out of part or all that 
was paid them. From 1868 to 1904 over fifty-five million dollars was paid to the 
Sioux Indians. Of this sum more than thirty-six million dollars was paid after 
1875 when the Black Hills were first invaded by the whites. 

In 1905 an Indian skeleton was unearthed in Charles Mix County, to which 
was appended a silver medal which had been bestowed by President Jefferson 
on an Illinois Indian. 

The Indians of Cheyenne River Agency late in 1904 held a well attended 
meeting to discuss the delay in the matter of payment of money due them for 
rentals for their leases and for the right to use a cattle trail across the northern 
end of their reservation. They appointed delegates at this meeting to visit 
Washington to inquire into the matters which they desired adjusted. The 
delegates were Ed Swan, Percy Phillips and Walter Swiftbird, who were bright 
members of the young and progressive element on the reservation. 

In the spring of 1905 President Roosevelt authorized the payment of $100,000 
to the Sisseton and Wahpeton Indians of South Dakota. This sum was 
distributed from the principal of their trust fund held in the United States 
treasury, owing to the disastrous failure of crops among them for two years. 
One object of the distribution was to enable the Indians to purchase seed and 
another was to assist with food and other supplies the very old and helpless 
members of the tribe. Connected with this distribution of funds came the 
pathetic story of the gradual descent of the tribe into debauchery, that had 
been called to the attention of the Indian office for years. Ten years previously 
the Sisseton and Wahpeton tribe of Indians had $1,699,800 in the treasury 
drawing 5% interest. The tribe was then self supporting, was progressive, 
had learned rapidly the ways of the whites and had become good citizens or as 
good as Indians ever become. But other subtle influences were at work and 
gradually the Indian officials became aware that schemes or plots to secure 
the withdrawal of a certain amount of the Indians' trust fund from the deposit 
for direct circulation among the tribe were in progress. Soon afterwards 


$100,000 was withdrawn under authority, then other sums followed from time 
to time, until by 1905 not more than one-half of the large sum above mentioned 
remained for the use of the Indians. By reason of this constant withdrawal 
of money and its misuse by the Indians and no doubt others, they soon ceased 
to be self supporting; grew worthless, lazy and drunken. Many became little 
better than gamblers and all drifted steadily back toward savagery and extinc- 
tion. It was stated by a high official in the Indian Department in 1905 that it 
was the positive opinion of thoughtful men that the downward career of the 
Indian tribes was mainly due to the pernicious and hazardous practice of with- 
drawing their funds from the treasury and giving to every man, woman and 
child a portion of the total amount set aside for distribution purposes, as it 
tended to make them indolent and wasteful and in consequence to drift from 
responsibility and respectability to degradation by easy and alluring stages. 

In March, 1905, it was thought by many visitors to the Sioux Reservation 
in Western South Dakota that a change for the better had taken place in the 
warriors since the Government had required all able-bodied male Indians to 
work for their living rather than to depend upon the Government for support. 
The change certainly vastly improved the melancholy and abject condition of 
the squaws. The warriors had at last discovered that manual labor was not 
disgraceful nor degrading and would not result in death from heart failure at 
such radical change in their condition. Instead of the squaws doing all the hard 
and menial labor while their lords and masters spent their time in smoking and 
boasting as was the custom under tribal relations, the warriors now watered 
the horses, carried the water, chopped firewood, and did the chores and other- 
wise assumed their rightful portion of the burdens of married life. 

This year about three hundred Indians were put to work at road making 
within the boundaries of the Cheyenne Indian Reservation. They were likewise 
required to build dams across the gulches at road crossings for the purpose of 
holding water in storage. By this time the number of Indians who had given 
up their government rations and taken to work had been materially increased. 
It was now realized and admitted that before many years every able-bodied 
Indian on the reservation would be earning his living and perhaps supporting a 
family instead of depending on the government issue of supplies. They were 
paid $1.25 per day in cash and were privileged to make purchases wherever 
they pleased. With this money the Indians themselves soon learned that they 
could live better and far more independently than on the government rations. 
They were now learning to look out for themselves, an accomplishment that 
never could come to pass under the old tribal system. 

In the spring of 1905 the Indians at the different agencies in the western 
part of the state formed cattle associations of their own and conducted them 
after the practices of the white men. They alone planned to conduct a round-up 
on the reservation each year and to look after their own cattle, which were rap- 
idly increasing in number. While thus engaged they could prevent the trespassing 
of stock on the reservation. They planned to hold such stock for damages, or 
if not claimed by a certain time, to sell them for the benefit of the Indians. They 
"rode the range" extensively this year and held their annual round-up much 
after the fashion of the white man. 


After a while the Indians of the Cheyenne Reservation came to the conclu- 
sion through sorry experience that the leasing of their lands for pasturage had 
not on the whole been satisfactory to them. It brought them an annual revenue, 
but, although the sum was large, it did not seem so when divided among S,ooo 
Indians. Previous to the leasing, many of them had gathered together large 
herds of cattle, but upon adopting the lease system these herds steadily began 
to diminish or disappear. Now, when it was concluded to give up leasing, they 
realized that it would be a difficult thing for them to do and require much time 
before they could expect to become again the possessors of large herds. 

The Sisseton Indians at this time protested against the manner in which they 
were given their payments. The Indian Department ruled that all money due 
Indians under eighteen years of age should be retained. As fully 75% of the 
Sisseton Indians were under eighteen years of age, and as the proposed payment 
was for $100,000, the government policy would permit the payment of only 
$25,000. This, it was claimed, would work a serious hardship upon the Indians. 
These matters came out upon an investigation by Maj. James McLaughlin, the 
veteran inspector of the Indian Bureau. At this time it was estimated that these 
Indians owed almost five hundred thousand dollars. 

An important case before the United States District Court at Sioux Falls in 
1905 was that of Mrs. Jane E. Waldron vs. Black Tomahawk, which directly 
involved the ownership of a tract of land adjoining the townsite of Fort Pierre. 
Judge Carland conducted the case. It was considered important because other 
cases of similar import were in progress throughout the country at this time. 
While a tract of land was the immediate bone of contention, the rights of mixed- 
blood and full-blood Indians was also involved in the case. Mrs. Waldron had 
a trace of Indian blood in her veins, but was a refined and highly educated 
woman. Black Tomahawk was a full blooded Sioux Indian. The tract of land 
involved had been in litigation ever since the opening of the Sioux Reservation 
in February, 1890. As a result the Government issued to Black Tomahawk a 
patent to the land. Mrs. Waldron now sought to have the patent set aside and 
the land awarded to her. She was a member of the Two Kettle Band of Sioux 
Indians which occupied the Cheyenne River Reservation. She had established 
her residence on the land in controversy in July, 1889, and ever since had resided 
thereon with her family. After she had settled on the tract. Black Tomahawk 
claimed the tract as his allotment. It was charged that he was induced to make 
this claim by several townsite boomers who evidently were using him as a cat's 
paw to secure this land in order to place it upon the market. Black Tomahawk 
in due time applied for a patent to the land and after the case had been fought 
through the local and general land offices and before the secretary of the interior, 
he was granted a trust patent to the tract. This patent was approved by the 
secretary of the interior in December, 1898. The patent was issued to him 
because the department held that Mrs. Waldron was not an Indian in the full 
meaning of the term. A little later Indian Agent Hatch was instructed to remove 
Mrs. Waldron and her family from the land. She thereupon instituted suit. 
Judge Carland decided the case in her favor. He stated that Black Tomahawk's 
settlement on the land was not done in good faith, but was accomplished in the 
interest of other persons. This was considered an important decision becaus** 
it defined the rights and status of full-blood and mixed-blood Indians. 


The old Indian church in Stockholm Township, Grant County, was still stand- 
ing in 1905. It was then planned to destroy it, but finally a subscription was 
taken up, the building was purchased and finally deeded to the State Historical 
Association. This church was constructed of logs in 1876, was used as a mission 
and was devoted to the Indians until a better one was constructed near the 
agency north of Milbank. In 1905 a picnic and memorial services were held in 
this structure and among the speakers were Rev. Daniel Renville, the first Indian 
preacher and the first and only preacher the mission ever had, and Rev. John P. 
Williamson, a missionary among the Indians of South Dakota. Mr. Williamson's 
father, Dr. T. S. Williamson, was one of the first missionaries among the Sioux, 
starting a mission at the trading post of old Dan Renville, an Indian, at Lac Qui 
Parle, Minn., in 1835. 

The right of the Indian agent to place all money belonging to Indians from 
the sale of their inherited lands in a United States depository and allow the money 
to be paid out only on an order from the Indian agent was a question of much 
importance on the reservations. A short time before this A. J. McKeever, of 
Sisseton, obtained a judgment against Titus White, an Indian who had money 
due him as an heir to some inherited Indian lands. An execution was issued and 
the sheriff levied upon such money which was in a United States depository. 
The bank refused to turn the money over to the sheriff except on an order from 
the Indian agent. The sheriff thereupon went before Judge McCoy in Aberdeen 
and asked for an order requiring the bank to turn the money over to him to be 
applied on the execution. The United States district attorney objected and the 
court decided that the proper manner would be for McKeever to bring suit 
through the sheriff' for the money in the hands of the bank, which course would 
enable the court to handle the subject. 

In the summer of 1905 it was ascertained by Doane Robinson that tuberculosis 
was one of the prevailing diseases among the South Dakota Indians. Fifty years 
before it was unknown to the tribe. The reports from the Sisseton Indians 
showed that nearly all of that tribe were infected with the virus of this disease to 
a greater or less extent. On the Rosebud Agency 68 out of 130 deaths in 1901 
were caused by tuberculosis. In 1905, 80% of the deaths were from the same 
cause. Tuberculosis prevailed on the Lower Brule and Crow Creek reservations, 
the greatest number of deaths thereon being from that disease. At the Cheyenne 
Agency the disease was prevalent and caused a greater number of deaths than 
any other. On Standing Rock Reservation 64% of the deaths were due to this 
disease in 1904 and 75% in 1905. On the Yankton Agency tuberculosis and old 
age were the chief causes of death. 

In the spring of 1906 Allotting Agent Gunderson of the Grass Agency gave 
the head of every Indian family 640 acres, each single person under eighteen 
years of age 320 acres, and each child 160 acres. In addition he gave each head 
of a family a team of mares, a wagon and harness, cow, farming implements and 
$50 cash. Besides this the Indians there had about two hundred and fifty thou- 
sand dollars in the treasury. There was very little good land left at that agency 
after the Indians had received their allotments. All valuable lands fronting on 
water courses had been taken up some time before, and prior to the spring of 
1906 nearly all of the level flats had likewise been allotted. 


It was quite clear by this time that the Indians, if properly taught the princi- 
ples of economy and industry, would soon become, in the main, industrious and 
thrifty citizens. This was particularly emphasized by the progress of the past 
three or four years at the Crow Creek Agency under the able administration of 
Major H. D. Chamberlain, agent. His report showed that the Indians at this 
agency had made almost phenomenal progress for four years ending with the 
close of 1905. They were almost wholly independent of the Government so far 
as rations and money considerations were concerned. 

In the summer of 1905 an investigation into the practical working of the 
Indian leasing system for grazing purposes was conducted at the Cheyenne 
Agency under the direction of the Interior Department and an attorney repre- 
senting the Indian Rights Association. The big cattle raisers who for many 
years had enjoyed a free range and had made millions of dollars out of the 
business, now complained that the leasing system was not working to the satis- 
faction and advantage of the Indians. This investigation resulted from their 
complaint. Previous to three years earlier, a few big stockmen and cattle syndi- 
cates in Sioux City, Omaha, Chicago, Kansas City and elsewhere, grazed thou- 
sands of head of horses and cattle on the Indian lands within the Cheyenne 
Reservation absolutely free except for small sums paid to squaw men and half 
breeds who possessed enough influence over the other Indians to secure this 
immunity. In 1901 Major Ira Hatch, the agent of the reservation, took steps to 
clear the Indian lands of the trespassing stock. It was at this time estimated 
that 90,000 head of cattle were grazing upon the lands owned by the Indians, 
for which the latter received nothing. The total value of this number of cattle 
at $30 a head was $2,700,000. As a result of the leasing system the Indians had 
already received in rentals $298,000, or nearly twenty-five dollars for every man, 
woman and child on the reservation, the total population being about twenty-five 
hundred. As the time now approached when the leases would expire and as the 
citizens were aware of all the circumstances, the cattle barons sought to retain 
the hold on the reservation which they formerly possessed and tried to achieve 
their object through the Indian Rights Association. 

At the hearing of the conference over the complaints many significant facts 
concerning the unusual conditions came to light. One change made at once by 
the conference was an order requiring the government agents to accompany the 
round-up outfits to the leased pastures to oversee the proper branding of the 
Indian cattle. Nearly every Indian announced a considerable decrease in his 
herd since the leasing propositions had been in force. Among the reasons they 
gave was that the large herds of the leaseholders kept the Indian cattle from the 
water and likewise destroyed their hay lands. On the other hand the lessors 
alleged that the Indians were fencing larger tracts than they were entitled to 
under their allotments and keeping their cattle in the pastures away from the 
water-holes. Black Body was almost the only Indian called upon who expressed 
himself satisfied with the existing conditions. While he admitted that his herd 
had decreased since the pastures were re-leased, he said he had about seven 
hundred dollars in an Everett bank and was doing well. 

In August, 1905, a census of the Indians on the Cheyenne River Reservation 
showed a total of 2,526. This was an increase of fifty-three over the census of 
the previous year ; forty-nine of the increase were Indians transferred here from 


Pine Ridge, they rightfully belonging to the Cheyenne Reservation. They had 
been at Pine Ridge since the Indian war of 1889-90. 

By the close of the year Allotting Agent Carl Gunderson had completed the 
field work of allotting their lands to the Cheyenne River Reservation Indians and 
had gone to Standing Rock Reser\-ation with the same object in view. All the 
Indians on the Cheyenne River Reservation had been thus located, but there was 
likely to be some conflict or change, and matters were not wholly settled. Mr. 
Gunderson reported that the allotments absorbed about 30% of the reser^'ation 
and that the remainder would some time in the future be opened to settlement. 
The land taken by the Indians was mainly in the vicinity of their old home camps 
and did not comprise, by any means, all the best farming lands in the reservation. 
When the remainder is thrown open, thousands of excellent acres will be offered 
to settlers. 

By 1905 the Indians at the Faulkton and Crow Creek agencies were exceed- 
ingly prosperous and contented. They had adopted in many particulars the ways 
of the whites, were generally industrious and law abiding and were fast becoming 
independent of the Government and largely self supporting. Since 1900 they 
had prospered more than ever before, as had their institutions. 

To meet the United States Supreme Court decision that the allotment of 
lands to the Indians was sufficient to constitute them citizens with the incidental 
right to buy liquor whenever they chose the same as white citizens, Congressman 
Burke, at the congressional session of 1905-06, introduced a bill postponing the 
right of citizenship upon the Indians until the formality of the transfer had been 
fully complied with after May 8, 1906, and providing that the allottees should 
be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States until they should 
acquire full citizenship under the law. It was really a trust period designed to 
fit the Indians for sober and sane citizenship. In May, 1906, Crow Dog and 
Red Cloud finally though unwillingly accepted their allotments in severalty and 
were given the rights of citizens subject to the above trust period and provisions. 

Previous to the time when the Lone Wolf decision of the Supreme Court of 
the United States was rendered in 1903, it was generally assumed and supposed 
by the whites that the Indians possessed an inalienable right to the lands which 
had been granted them by the treaty of the Government. In this case, however, 
it was held that the Indians occupied the same position that minor children did 
among the whites and that Congress could dispose of their lands as it saw fit. 
All congressional acts thereafter and all governmental dealings were in accordance 
with this decision. Thus it came to pass that within six years thereafter move- 
ments to open every foot of the reservation lands west of the Missouri River 
were taken. This settled the fate of the Indians and placed them on the path of 
civilization, law and order. It really forced them to become farmers and good 
citizens. The action also meant that thousands of acres of excellent land would 
at last be thrown open to homesteaders. The bill making provision for opening 
all Indian lands not allotted became a law in January, 1910. Already all of this 
land was surrounded with white settlements. On the Standing Rock and Chey- 
enne reservations were about six thousand Indians all of whom were thus required 
to take allotments and to become self sustaining. Many of the old Indians who 
could not easily surrender their former fixed and loved habits and customs were 
intensely grieved at this outcome. On the other hand the younger Indians, with 


scarcely an exception, were delighted with the change and cheered with the 
alluring prospects of becoming civilized like the white people. 

In January, 1908, the Sisseton and Wahpeton Indians began action against 
the United States under the treaty of 185 1 to secure the remainder of the annui- 
ties which had not been paid them since the Civil war. Under the treaty of 185 1 
these annuities had been promptly paid until the time of the Sioux outbreak in 
Minnesota in 1862 when the payments were suspended by the Government. The 
suit amounted to a total of $788,971, of which $305,000 was cash. Senator 
Gamble this year introduced in Congress a bill for the payment of these annuities 
to the claimants. The bill became a law. The total claim of both the South 
Dakota and the Minnesota Indians at this time was in round numbers $1,500,000. 

In March, 1908, under a recent decision of the Interior Department and in 
accordance with the Indian treaty of 1889, each married Indian west of the 
Missouri River, especially those located on the Cheyenne and the Standing Rock 
reservations, was given the right to take 320 acres in addition to the allotted 640 
acres which had been given previously to each head of a family. It was provided 
that this land should not be disposed of for twenty-five years except with the 
definite and special permission of the Government. This made the head of a 
family the owner of 960 acres. It was estimated that the land in twenty-five 
years would be worth at least $50 an acre, in which case each Indian family 
would possess property worth at least $48,000. At this time there were about 
three thousand of these native families that were affected by these provisions. 

It should be noted as a conspicuous fact that on the soil of South Dakota, 
the North American Indian finally accepted his destiny, namely, to live at peace 
with the whites and to assimilate domestic rules and civilized customs. It was at. 
this time that the demand arose generally over the state that in the new capitol 
building at Pierre the mural decorations should represent local historic scenes 
in which the Indians should be fittingly represented. The mural ornamentation 
was designed to be historical rather than allegorical. 

By January, 191 1, the Indians of the Sisseton Reservation in the northwestern 
part of South Dakota had made rapid progress toward civilization. Maj. S. A. 
Allen, the agent, said that 75% were full bloods and of that number 65% were 
agriculturists, were thrifty and had proved themselves fairly successful as 
farmers. The reservation was eighty miles long and forty miles wide and con- 
tained about two thousand Indians. 

In the spring of 191 1 another meeting of the Sioux Indians at Cherry Creek 
was held for the purpose of perfecting an organization to secure from the gen- 
eral Government payment for the Black Hills territory which was opened to 
settlement in 1876. The Sioux still claimed that the right to go into the Black 
Hills was never granted by their nation and that the whites were wrongfully 
allowed to go into the territory under a false treaty which was signed by only a 
few of the chiefs. At this time they had no idea whatever that the territory 
would be restored to them, but they beHeved they should be paid cash for the land. 
Another meeting of similar purport was held at Lower Brule Reservation in 
November, to which all the bands of the Sioux were asked to send representatives 
to further complete the organization with the object of pushing the claims. The 
Government contended that even if the whites were admitted into that country 
without the consent of a majority of the Sioux, that defect was corrected in the 


treaty of 1889 by which the territory between the Missouri River and the Black 
Hills was open to settlement, and in the same treaty the opening of the Black 
Hills section was ratified. However, the Sioux were determined to test their 
rights in the courts. 

Ihe annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs for 19 14 gave the 
following facts concerning the Indians of the Cheyenne Reservation : On the 
reservation were 2,691 Indians; of these 1,293 spoke English and 1,174 could 
read and write the English language; $33,050 was received from crops raised 
and sold by the Indians; $30,000 was received from the sale of live stock; 
$49,551 was received from leases; $120,480 was received from the sale of lands; 
$47,188 was derived from the proceeds of Indian labor; 800 Indians were reported 
as self supporting. 

In the spring of 1915 an old time roundup of cattle was had on the Rosebud 
Indian Reservation adjacent to the Town of White River. Between twenty-five 
and thirty expert riders were engaged in this roundup and were provided with 
about two hundred and fifty saddle horses. It required two weeks to complete 
the roundup. The cattle were found in unusually good condition after their 
winter's grazing on the open range. Most of the cattle belonged to the Indians. 
In June, 1915, Frank E. Brandon, superintendent of the Indian Department in 
South Dakota, was authorized by Cato Cells, commissioner of Indian affairs, to 
put on an exhibit of Indian agricultural practice at the state fair. All of the 
Indian agencies of the state, eight in number, and the Indian schools at Flan- 
dreau, Pierre and Rapid City, besides many native rural schools, prepared 
exhibits. A boys' Indian band was one of the attractions of the display. Space 
was reserved by the Federal Government in the west end of the horticultural 
building. The Government at this time disapproved of Indian villages and wild 
West shows at agricultural fairs. It was expected that the Indians would make 
exhibits at state fairs thereafter on the same basis as white men. Valuable 
medals, silver cups, etc., were offered them by the state fair authorities. 


In opening the reservation in 1890, the first act was to survey the land. This 
was necessary before the settlers could establish the boundaries of their claims. 
George W. McLean, special allotting agent of the Government, maintained that 
the Indians should have the first claims on the reservation lands. He thereupon 
permitted them to select the tracts they desired and they in consequence chose 
those which had been occupied by the squatters. More than twenty surveyors, 
many of whom lived in this state, were soon at work laying out the lines. H. J. 
Austin of Vermillion secured a contract from Surveyor General Sullivan to run 
a base line from the Missouri River westward to the state line and then to run 
guide lines north and south twenty-four miles apart for the use of the section 
surveyors. The east part of the reservation was surveyed first in order that the 
land there might be thrown earliest into market. On February 10, 1890, President 
Harrison issued a proclamation opening the reservation to settlement. At the 
same time there were opened two new land districts, one at Pierre and one at 
Chamberlain. The commissioner of the general land office approved the con- 
tracts submitted by Surveyor General Sullivan for the official survey of the 


Great Sioux Reservation. This was a big task, but was accomplished on time. 
There had been appropriated $100,000 by the Government to cover the costs of 
this great survey. At this time the commissioner granted the first installment of 
$65,650, under the appropriation toward this expense. At Chamberlain in April, 
1890, during the first three days, there were filed eighty homestead, twenty-five 
pre-emption and ten timber claims on the Crow Creek lands. 

In March, 1891, it was announced that settlers on the recently ceded Sioux 
Reservation land would be allowed to perfect title after fourteen months' resi- 
dence upon payment of $1.25 per acre, or after five years' residence without being 
required to make any cash payment. When these lands were first thrown into 
the market, the law required residence of five years and cash payment of $1.25 
per acre before patent could be secured, while homesteaders in all other portions 
of the country could secure patent after residence of five years or commute at 
the end of six months' residence and perfect title upon payment of $1.25 per acre. 
This discrimination against Sioux lands had a tendency to discourage settlement 
and served to turn the tide of immigration into other sections of the United 
States, and accordingly there was much complaint from the citizens and authori- 
ties of South Dakota. This equalization of the conditions of settlement, it was 
afterwards found, had a strong tendency to stimulate and encourage immigration 
into this state. 

Stanley, the county made famous by containing the "mile square," is possessed 
of other interesting items of history. Here on the hill at Fort Pierre was planted 
the famous Verendrye leaden plate in 1743. It was in this country that the Ree 
and Sioux nations of Indians struggled for final supremacy. A short distance to 
the north of Fort Pierre is the scene of the first important battle of the tribes, 
the trenches still remaining to mark the battleground. A little further to the 
north and west, on one of the bluffs, is the memorable spot where the last stand 
of the ill-fated Rees was made. Here they were finally defeated and almost 
exterminated and the Sioux became the possessors of the "Land of the Dakotas." 
Thus the Sioux could rightly claim the land only by conquest. 

The act of February 10, 1889, which provided for the opening to settlers of 
the Great Sioux Reservation west of the Missouri River, also specified that after 
the lapse of five years all that remained unsettled should be sold at 50 cents per 
acre. As this law expired on February 10, 1895, many settlers immediately there- 
after entered and laid claims to extensive tracts of the best that remained. 

In 1897 the act of Congress gave South Dakota one year in which to select 
lands for the state from the abandoned Fort Randall Reservation. This year 
expired on August 29th. Accordingly, State Commissioner Lockhart made an 
examination of the land, but none of it seemed of sufficient value for state pur- 
poses. However, the school lands were taken at this time and all was later 
thrown into the market. The state had large demands against the Government. 
It claimed 5 per cent of the amounts paid to the general land office by settlers 
for land in the ceded portions of the Sioux, Sisseton, Wahpeton and Yankton 
reservations, amounting in all to about ten thousand dollars. It also claimed 
5 per cent of the aggregate sum of $1.25 per acre of the lands in Pine Ridge, 
Rosebud, Lower Brule, Crow Creek, Cheyenne River and Standing Rock reserva- 
tions in this state. The total amount thus claimed by South Dakota was about 
seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars. The state likewise claimed a percentage 


of tlie value of the lands alloted to the Indians on the Sisseton and Yankton 

In August, 1898, the registrars of the various land offices in South Dakota 
reported to the commissioner of the general land office the following classifi- 
cation of state lands: (i) Unappropriated and unreserved; (2) surveyed and 
unsurveyed; (3) reserved; (4) appropriated and entered. In all there were 
within the state in round numbers 11,000,000 acres of Government land subject 
to entry. There were seven land districts at this time as follows: (i) Rapid 
City with a total of nearly 7,500,000 acres subject to entry; (2) Pierre with over 
1,700,000 acres subject to entry; (3) Chamberlain with over 1,200,000 acres sub- 
ject to entry; (4) Aberdeen with nearly 300,000 acres subject to entry; (5) 
Huron with nearly 125,000 acres subject to entry; (6) Watertown with about 
75,000 acres subject to entry; (7) Mitchell with about 50,000 acres subject to 
entry. Secretary Bliss of the land office approved for patent in South Dakota 
3,961 acres in the Huron district for the school of mines; 2,953 i^i the Pierre 
district for educational and charitable institutions; and 1,121 acres in Aberdeen 
district for the agricultural college. In the spring of 1900, 10,000 acres of the 
Yankton Reservation were taken up under the new homestead bill. The land 
was located mainly in Charles Mix County. By June ist only about 1,500 acres 
were left. 

In 1901 there was constant friction between the state and federal authorities 
in regard to the jurisdiction over offenses committed on Indian reservations. 
Owing to this friction it not infrequently happened that offenders had gone 
unpunished. This year a bill was passed by the South Dakota Legislature, 
relinquishing to the United States the exclusive privilege of apprehending, con- 
victing and punishing such offenders and to pay the bills therefor. 

In December, 1889, Registrar M. H. Harris ruled that the Omnibus Bill 
admitting South Dakota as a state did not repeal the Pre-emption Law and that 
entries could be made as before. It was claimed by the opposition that the Pre- 
emption Law of 1841 was repealed by this bill, but was admitted that those of 
1836 and 1843, equally as good, were not. Many persons in South Dakota 
beHeved that the Pre-emption Law had served its purpose in this state and should 
be repealed, as it gave speculators a chance to take and keep all the best land. 
If it was repealed the Homestead Act for real settlers would prevail and thus 
benefit the whole state. It was declared at the time that 80 per cent of pre- 
emption land in South Dakota had been taken by speculators. The old law pro- 
vided that a settler should be permitted ( i ) to acquire a quarter section by living 
on it five years and paying the land office fees; (2) to acquire a second quarter 
section by growing a certain number of trees for five years and paying the land 
office fees; (3) to acquire another quarter section by improving it and paying the 
Government price and the land office fees. The latter two provisions were in 
time repealed, because they gave speculators too great an advantage. It was 
argued in 1904 that if it was fair to give 480 acres as above in 1864, it was 
fair to give 640 acres west of the Missouri River in 1904. Congress finally came 
to recognize the obstacles when it became known that forest growing on the 
plains was very difficult and wholly unprofitable. Accordingly, that body repealed 
all except the 160-acre homestead clause. One class of people argued in 1904 
that the 640-acre homestead would deprive the state of many settlers, because 


the larger the farms the fewer the owners and residents. They declared that 
the matter was being pushed by the land-grabbing bureau and that there was no 
general demand for such a law; but the truth was there were thousands of acres 
west of the Missouri River that could not be profitably irrigated and were season 
after season only fit for the ranges and would be suitable for nothing else for 
many years or until whittled down by density of population. 

In 1903 Congressman Burke introduced in the House a bill providing for 
the opening to settlement of 600,000 acres on the Rosebud Indian Reservation. 
This bill was duly considered, but failed to become a law. In January, 1904, 
the same bill with some changes was reintroduced. The price per acre v.'as fixed 
at $2.50, although Indian Commissioner Jones asked that the price be placed at 
$5 per acre. He finally receded from his position when it became clear that $5 
per acre was too much for the land. The South Dakota members of Congress 
in 1903 had made a strenuous fight to secure the passage of this opening bill 
but had failed. In that bill was a provision appropriating $25,000 for the Rapid 
City School of Mines. Perhaps this and similar amendments were the load- 
stones which dragged the bill of 1903 to its death. The bill of 1904 eliminated 
all such riders, fixed the price at $2.50 per acre, but was vigorously opposed by 
several of the House members. Kittredge in the Senate supported the bill. The 
entire delegation of South Dakota in Congress fought all in their power for its 
passage. The most of the land lay in Gregory County. However, President 
Roosevelt opposed one feature of the bill. He declared his belief that most of 
the land there was worth more than $2.50 per acre. In the end the price was 
fixed at $4 per acre. The House had fixed the price first at $2.50 and then at 
$3 per acre, but the Senate raised it to $4, passed the bill in that form and it 
was promptly signed by the President. During this controversy a commission 
was appointed by the President to go over the land proposed to be opened and 
estimate its value. To this proposition Congressman Burke assented. The result 
was the conclusion to raise the price to $4. There were to be 2,500 claims of 
160 acres each, or a total of 400,000 acres, opened to the whites. 

It was at this time that Congressman Burke secured the assistance of Presi- 
dent Roosevelt and Secretary of the Interior Hitchcock to postpone leasing the 
Indian lands in the two Dakotas for a short time in order to circumvent a scheme 
of rich real estate dealers to secure the land and cheat small ranchmen out of 
their possessions. This scheme was thoroughly discussed in Congress, and the 
act of Congressman Burke was applauded by the people of this state. 

During the winter of 1903-04 the settlers in the northern part of South 
Dakota likewise demanded a similar opening of portions of the Cheyenne Reser- 
vation. In that reservation were many thousand acres of good land which 
were lying idle and should be populated with prosperous agriculturalists, it was 
declared. They demanded that allotments should be made to the Indians and 
that from time to time tracts of the surplus should be opened to settlement. 

The passage of the bill opening the lands in Gregory County was not secured 
without opposition. From that section of the reservation came all sorts of objec- 
tions, suggestions and plans, but in the end all were finally reconciled to the 
measure. It was provided that sections 16 and 36 throughout the entire tract 
should go to the schools of South Dakota. At first it was proposed that the 
state, like an individual, should pay the Indians for this land, but this contention 


was finally dropped. In due time the registration of prospective settlers com- 
menced at Bonesteel, Fairfax, Yankton, Chamberlain, and perhaps other points. 
In all there were filed 106,326 claims. This meant that over one hundred thou- 
sand people who filed claims would be disappointed, but it was realized by the 
inhabitants of the state and made the most of by the newspapers and orators 
that the opening would bring here many thousands of men who desired homes 
and that outside of the Rosebud Reservation were hundreds of thousands of 
acres well fitted for agricultural purposes which could be bought at much less 
than $4 per acre. This fact was called to the attention of the public and no 
doubt contributed in a large measure to the large number of filings made on the 
Rosebud Reservation. Those who filed no doubt thought that in case they 
should fail to secure one of the Rosebud homesteads, they could readily secure 
tracts equally as good elsewhere in Western South Dakota. 

The total filings at Bonesteel were 35,064; Fairfax, 8,690; Yankton, 57,434; 
Chamberlain, 6,136. The center of interest during the registration for homesteads 
in the Rosebud opening was at Bonesteel. The officials of the town, in order 
to secure money to cover necessary expenses during the emergencies, were too 
free in granting licenses for all sorts of games. The result was that the town 
liecame filled with crooks, bums, law breakers and scalawags of every description, 
all of whom apparently united to make as much money as they could out of 
everyone who came there to register. Soon stealings and hold-ups were numerous 
and all gambling games ran without hindrance. Finally the disorder and riot 
became so threatening that the officials were compelled to interfere to prevent 
the town from being practically captured by the law breakers. The law-abiding 
citizens united, went to the hardware stores, took possession of all arms and 
promptly arrested forty-five crooks of all sorts and placed them in a bull-pen, 
which was guarded by 100 armed citizens ; but as this did not seem to check the 
lawless proceedings they began the systematic work of hunting out the rascals 
in all parts of the town, scattering them from their haunts like rabbits from the 
sagebrush. Finally the law breakers were driven to one end of the town where 
they halted and threatened to shoot any citizen who should approach them. To 
circumvent any hostile act of this sort, the armed citizens promptly covered them 
with rifles, whereupon the law breakers drew back and lowered their weapons. 
They were informed by Mayor Berg that they must at once leave the town and 
the officials enforced this command by driving them a mile from the corporate 
limits. At this time forty-five of the worst ones were still under guard in the 
bull-pen. Upon reaching the distance of a mile the crooks suddenly began to 
break in all directions and rush back to the town, firing as they ran, but immedi- 
ately the battle commenced. A volley was poured into their ranks by the police 
and eight or ten of the crooks were wounded and in the return fire four of the 
police were seriously shot. This fire checked the stampede and compelled the 
lawbreakers to stop and obey the commands of the legally constituted authorities. 
However, as they seemed to be unable to leave, all were arrested, driven back 
to the town and placed under guard in the new bull-pen. This act of the authori- 
ties greatly incensed the gamblers who claimed they had paid con^paratively 
large sums for immunity to run their gambling establishments as they pleased. 
However, their protests were not heeded, and the authorities from this time for- 
ward enforced law and order as well as could be expected under the riotous 
proceedings. This was called the "Battle of Bonesteel." One gambler was killed 


and two others were dangerously wounded. The authorities have ever since 
been blamed in a large degree for the criminal and unfortunate proceedings. In 
their zeal to secure large license fees, they gave the gambling fraternity, as it 
was asserted, and no doubt true, almost unlimited authority to carry on their 
practices. In August Governor Herreid went to Bonesteel to learn of the actual 
conditions there and ascertain if troops were needed to control the unlawful 
element. He told the authorities that he was unwilling to order the troops there 
to aid the city in granting illegal licenses to secure revenue to pay the expenses 
of the registration office. He was informed that the services of the troops were 
not needed and that the law-abiding citizens could and would control the unlaw- 
ful element and maintain order. He was told by many that at the outset the 
police and town authorities were to some extent in league with the gamblers, and 
that as the crowd continued to gather the law breakers took control of the 
establishments and endeavored to run the city in the interests of crime and out- 
rage. It was further stated that when the proceedings of the gamblers and thieves 
became too menacing, the city authorities revolted, though they did not revoke 
the licenses for which they had collected goodly sums of money. 

It was provided that the registration in Rosebud could not be affected through 
the use of the mail or through an agent except in the case of qualified soldiers 
or sailors. Each person could register but once and was required to give his true 
name. The registration at Chamberlain was moderate compared with that at 
Bonesteel and Yankton. At the latter city enough special officers were put on 
to keep the crowd in order and facilitate the registration. The crowds at Yank- 
ton broke all previous records. Hundreds slept in line at the land office, day and 
night, for a considerable time, to be in readiness to make their filings. On one 
day in July nearly seven thousand were thus registered. It was estimated that 
more than one thousand people were in line one morning at one time, having 
slept there all night. At 4 o'clock in the morning the lines were joined by 1,000 
more until they extended one block and a half from one office and nearly as far 
on Capital Street at another office. A carload of ready eatables came from 
Sioux City and was sold to the men waiting in line. The rush in the city and 
especially on the trains was something that had never been witnessed before in 
this state. It was noted that many of the applicants were clerks from scores of 
eastern cities. Many who came out did so merely to take a chance at the game of 
drawing, and in case they should win they were ready to sell out for the best 
price they could secure. It is a fact that not over half of those who succeeded 
in drawing homesteads, embraced the opportunity of completing their purchases. 
After they had won and had learned the nature of their claims, they sold out 
for the best price they could secure and either entered other tracts or returned 
East whence they came. Many did not go to their claims at all, but sold out upon 
general representations. These lands were called the "Surrendered Tracts." 
They were again turned over to home seekers in October, on which occasion 
there was another rush to secure them. It must be admitted that much of the 
land thus surrendered was secured by speculators who had no intention whatever 
of becoming settlers, but who made the effort simply to make money later out of 
the sale of the tracts in case they won. 

It was developed at a later date that much of the lawlessness at Bonesteel 
was due to the rivalrv between ambitious and unscrupulous town-site companies 


whose interests conflicted. Geo. W. McLean, special alloting agent, investigated 
the conflicting rumors and interests from the Town-site of Oacoma, over which 
so much strife was engendered during the opening of the Big Sioux Reservation. 
He Hkewise investigated similar contests at the opening of the Rosebud Reser- 
vation. In regard to the Oacoma contest he decided after thorough investigation 
that the two Indians, Iron Nation and Useful Heart, who had claimed the 
land there, had no legal rights thereto and this finding was reported to the Cham- 
berlain Land Office, whereupon the registrar there threw out the claims of the 
Indians and received and accepted the filings of white settlers who showed legal 
and valid claims to the land. It was shown that certain unscrupulous white men 
had used the names of the Indians as a cloak to cover up their own fraudulent 
intentions and actions. 

The State of South Dakota through its authorities was given the lead in 
selecting lands for school purposes. The school authorities of the state were 
empowered to fix the town sites. In selecting land they were accused of taking 
more than they were allowed by law. This protest came from the Indians, who 
declared that the school authorities had chosen 6,660 acres more than the two 
sections in each township aggregated, but it was later shown that this selection was 
permissible owing to the fact that many of the school sections had been squatted 
upon by the Indians. Thus the state was permitted to indemnify itself for those 
losses by choosing other tracts, which came to be called "indemnity lands." To 
prevent confusion the state was given the first right to select its indemnity lands 
before the tract was thrown open to settlement, but they were forbidden to select 
more than two sections in any one township. 

The commissioner of the general land office at Washington expressed the 
opinion that the population of the state would be increased by 100,000 as the 
result of opening the Rosebud Reservation. He based this view upon two points : 
(i) It would bring in many new famihes who were lucky enough to draw quar- 
ter sections; (2) the many thousands of others who came out to register and 
who would thus see the state at its best — crop time — would buy homes and 
become permanent residents. 

The 640-acre Homestead Bill became a law, and by December, 1904, nearly 
all of the best tracts to the westward had been filed on. Already the Government 
and the state were figuring how to dispose of the interior tracts to the best 
advantage. By increasing the size of the homestead to 640 acres, more would 
be sold, it was figured, and thus a larger area would be placed under taxation 
and more general farmers would be brought to the state. This was the logic of 
the situation. This law was called the Gamble-Martin Bill. These men argued 
in Congress that, owing to the wild and trying conditions west of the Missouri 
River on the old Sioux lieservation, settlers would not buy the land and live on 
it unless extra inducements were oflfered. On the other hand it was declared 
that the object of the measure was to enable the cattle-men to have cowboys 
take up the land and afterwards deed it to them to be converted into ranges. It 
was noted that up to January i, 1905, the big Sioux Reservation had been open 
to the settlers for fifteen years and that out of 8,550,000 acres thereof, only 
1,342,420 acres had been filed on and only 687,700 acres had been proved up. 
The facts then were that the conditions of settlement were too severe for the 
homesteaders and therefore it was manifest that extra inducements must be 


held out or the tract would remain uninhabited indefinitely. The big cattle kings 
were mostly aliens. All this discussion or controversy showed the importance of 
irrigation and forestry west of the Missouri River, both of which propositions 
received fresh stimulus and propulsion at this time. 

Homestead rights went to any man of age or married, to single women of age, 
to deserted wife or to widow, providing none of them owned i6o acres in any 
state or territory. The entrance fee was $4, paid in person. The claimant was 
required to live five years on the land, or after fourteen months of actual resi- 
dence, with certain improvements, could perfect title by paying from sixty cents 
to one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre. Great improvement in the land and 
homestead laws was made in 1904. The great object of the citizens was to secure 
more settlers, as the inhabitants as a whole favored far more liberal laws for 
homesteaders. Thus in 1904 they supported the 640-acre homestead proposal, 
because it was believed that the offer of so large a tract would induce many settlers 
to come who otherwise would not. 

"There is in progress an agitation of a proposition to open to general settle- 
ment the several Indian reservations of South Dakota. There are 20,000 Indians 
in the state and all but about three thousand of them are located upon the four 
immense reservations of Rosebud, Pine Ridge, Lower Brule and Cheyenne. 
The Rosebud Reservation alone, containing over three millions acres, would 
give to each Indian a quarter section of land — men, women and children — and it 
has been demonstrated that those Indians who take land in severalty and occupy 
it make the most rapid progress towards civilized self support. Vast tracts of 
unused land afford only a roaming ground for their occupants, keeping alive the 
nomadic instinct and interfering with the development of the home sentiment 
that constitutes the first and most important step in the domestication of the red 
man. The land occupied and not utilized by the Indians would become productive 
under the ownership of the white homesteader and would create those neces- 
sities with which the Indians had to be supplied while they are attaining a con- 
dition of self maintenance. The arguments are all in favor of the disintegration 
of the reservations and the division of the land among red and white occupants. 
South Dakota should insist upon farm settlement of its entire area." — Sioux Falls 
Press, October, 1904. "The white people need the lands and the Indians are 
making no good use of them and would be infinitely better off without them. 
The Cheyenne River Reservation, especially, is ripe for opening, and the Indians 
residing thereon are in good shape to take lands in severalty and assume the 
ways and adopt the pursuits of civilization." — (Same.) 

The Treaty of Laramie in 1868 specifically defined the boundaries of the Big 
Sioux Reservation. That treaty specified that the reservation could not be opened 
to white settlement unless three-fourths of the adult male Indians should sign an 
agreement to that effect. In 1875, when the invasion of the Hills for gold was 
imminent, a commission was appointed by the Government to negotiate with the 
Indians for the right to mine gold in the Black Hills. This was believed to be 
a wise step in view of the fact that white men in any event would invade J:he 
Hills, thereby causing conflicts with the Indians. The commission assembled all 
of the Teton tribes at Red Cloud Agency on September 20, 1875. Sen. W. B. 
Allison, of Iowa, was chairman of the commission. He asked the Indians if they 
were willing to give to the white people the right to mine gold and other precious 


metals in the Black Hills for a fair and just consideration as long as such minerals 
could be found. He stated that if they were willing the United States would 
pledge that when the gold should be exhausted the Hills would be surrendered 
absolutely to the Indians to do with as they pleased. Strong opposing influences 
were present at this conference. Regardless of the fact that the Government was 
willing to be more than fair in its offers, great opposition was encountered to 
any compromise or deal whereby the whites could secure a footing in the Hills. 
For twenty days the commission talked, argued and presented its proposition, 
but the Indians, through their agents and interpreters, hedged and stubbornly 
refused to come to an agreement. The result was that this commission absolutely 
failed to secure what was wanted by the Government. No doubt its failure was 
mainly due to the fact that the commission did not understand Indian nature and 
that the opposition was too influential, determined and strong. 

In 1876 the Government, seeing that the Hills would be invaded by large 
numbers of white men and knowing that such a result would be succeeded by 
bloody encounters with the Indians, made another effort to come to terms with 
the natives. Newton Edmunds and Bishop Whipple were actively concerned in 
the new movement. They resorted to different tactics. In order to evade the 
alleged friends of the Indians who would strenuously oppose any deal whatever, 
the new commissioners instead of calling the Indians together in conference 
went among them quietly and secured the signatures of many of the chiefs and 
leading men to an agreement to relinquish the Black Hills absolutely to the 
whites. They succeeded in securing many of the leading men, if not three-fourths 
of them, and on the strength of their report the Hills were declared open by the 
Government. At once serious opposition to the alleged cession" and to the inva- 
sion of the Hills was offered by the Indians and their representatives; but the 
settlement and invasion, based on the signed agreement, went on just the same 
with the result that the Hills were soon peopled with the whites. From that time 
forward the Indians, as a whole, declared that they never had consented to sur- 
render the Hills nor had agreed as a body that the whites should have the right 
to mine minerals in that region. They further insisted that not only were they 
misled as to the intentions of the Government by the commission of 1876, but 
that the tribe as a whole had never consented to the cession of the Hills to the 
whites for any period. They denied the cession even though they were willing 
to permit the whites to carry on mining operations there. The bill of 1875 pro- 
vided that such an agreement should be signed by three-fourths of the adult 
male Indians. This gave the tribes a precedent for their proceedings of 1876. 
The Indians accordingly insisted that before the Hills could be ceded or even 
leased it would be necessary for the Government to secure the signatures of three- 
fourths of the adult males. 

This was the statement of the Indians concerning the Black Hills cession of 
1876, during the controversy which again arose over the problem in 1904. At 
the latter date the Indians insisted upon being paid for what they claimed they 
had been cheated out of in the Black Hills. The Government, however, refused 
to entertain any proposition of a re-transfer of the Black Hills to the Indians. 
The fact was that the Treaty of 1876 was valid in every particular, and was an 
absolute necessity to prevent a general war at the time with all the Indians of 
the Dakotas, Wyoming and Montana. While it is true that nearly all of the 


leading chiefs and medicine men signed the agreement, it was not done in open 
council nor were the terms known generally by the Indians. In July, 1904, a 
convention of the leading Sioux Indians were called at Cherry Creek to consider 
the matter. They were asked to review and discuss the old Treaty of 1876 by 
which the Hills were claimed to have been ceded to the whites. The object of 
this conference, it was openly stated, was to demand the return of the Black 
Hills to the Indians or adequate pay therefor or war. The inference, if not the 
intent, was that war would follow a refusal to reopen the question and pay the 
Indians for the Hills. There were present between five thousand and six thou- 
sand Indians. All Sioux agencies and tribes were represented. It was shown 
the whites that in order to secure this result the Sioux nation had formed com- 
plete organizations at every agency of the reservation. There were six inde- 
pendent though closely united organizations, each having a president, secretary 
and a body of trained soldiers. Regular meetings had been held for some time 
and funds were collected to purchase food and pay expenses. He Dog, one of 
the leaders at the Pine Ridge Reservation, announced to the open conference that 
his society had over three hundred and fifty soldiers who had collected over one 
thousand dollars in cash to meet general expenses. He insisted that the Indians 
should stick together and insist that the Government should right the wrong that 
had been done the nation in 1876. Big Mane, a prominent Sioux orator of the 
Lower Brule Reservation, likewise demanded that the Government should right 
the wrong that had been done the tribe, and insisted that all should stand 
together and under the United States flag fight for their rights, if necessary. 

Owing to the extreme cold during the winter of 1904-05, many of the win- 
ners of claims on the Rosebud Reservation during the drawing of the previous 
summer abandoned their property, an act which caused the forfeiture of their 
rights. February was the last month for them to file and as the weather was still 
intensely cold many were forced to forfeit their claims. Hundreds arrived by 
every train, but were unable to carry out the legal requirements to protect their 
rights. The most of them had not even had shacks built. 

In the spring of 1905 the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Henry J. King 
and Mrs. Eliza Reynolds, homestead claimants, for a tract of land adjoining 
Chamberlain on the northern side, a part of which the newly projected railway 
Hne to the Black Hills would cross in its approach to the Missouri River. Since 
1885 this land had been subject to contest between the homestead and townsite 
claimants. Already the homesteaders had been awarded a judgment in the United 
States Court of Appeals. The land at this time was very valuable. 

This year Congress was asked to pass a free home bill for the Rosebud Reser- 
vation, by which the settlers who drew claims and had been paying installments 
thereon would be relieved of the burden of these payments. It was thought here 
that if the Cherokee Strip could secure such an act Rosebud Reservation also 
should be able to do so. Many men who had taken claims had spent their last 
dollar and were hard pressed and the bill was projected for their relief. On 
August 8, 1905, the first anniversary celebration of the opening of the Rosebud 
Reservation was celebrated in the true wild west style at Herrick and elsewhere. 
Among the attractions were Indian dances, buffalo chases after modem buffalo, 
festivals on the Ponca, and the genuine old fashioned Indian pow-wows. Excur- 
sions were run from the white settlements to these points. 


In the summer there were at one time thirteen Government cases against 
prominent ranch owners along Bad and White rivers, who were charged with 
having illegally fenced Government lands. These were only a few of the number 
charged with the offense. It was rumored that half a dozen more were guilty. 
The Government took necessary steps to stop this practice at once. 

In 1905 there was much complaint from many persons who had obtained home- 
steads on the Rosebud Reservation at $4 per acre. They formally asked the 
Government authorities to have a portion of that sum abated, on the ground that 
$4 per acre was far more than the land was worth, and that hundreds of other 
tracts west of the Missouri River and equally as good could be secured for $1.25 
per acre or less. 

There was in existence at this date a syndicate which had for its object a 
contest for the homestead entries in the ceded portion of the Rosebud Indian 
Reservation, thus putting the settlers to serious trouble and expense. The settlers 
formed a protective organization with the object, first, of discouraging such con- 
tests of homestead entries, and, second, of fighting the syndicate to a finish in 
the courts and otherwise. The object of the movement was to form a permanent 
protective association to consist of every homesteader on the ceded lands. In 
several instances already contests had been instituted against the entries of home- 
steaders, but the contestants usually offered to withdraw their suits, providing 
the homesteaders interested would pay them a satisfactory sum. Many home- 
steaders were induced to comply with the demand rather than have a cloud on 
their land titles. The first contests were genuine, but later, when schemers 
found that on slight pretext they could do the same and thus secure goodly sums 
of blood money, this association was formed to check such unfair and dishonor- 
able practices. 

In 1905 a large protesting meeting was held at Hill City by settlers on the 
Forest Reserve, who had been unable to secure titles to their lands. They num- 
bered about one hundred and came not only from Pennington County, but from 
Custer and Lawrence counties as well as from the State of Wyoming. There 
was much open excitement over the situation. A number of the ranchers wanted 
to apply to the Government for permission to lease the land, while others believed 
it wiser to ask for the right to buy. As a matter of fact they really agreed on 
only one thing and that was that they must keep their homes. Many had lived 
on their small plots of ground for many years and had improved and cultivated 
them with the intention of making them their permanent homes. Secretary Wil- 
son had held up the order of removal in the spring of 1905 for a period of one 
year, during which time all were then required to tear down or remove their 
property from Government land. Finally, after much diversity of opinion, an 
organization known as the Black Hills Forest Reserve Home Builders Associa- 
tion was formed, and a committee was appointed to communicate with South 
Dakota congressmen in regard to the subject. They were instructed to ask for a 
bill to be passed by the next Congress allowing all settlers on the reserve, whether 
they had used their right of homestead or not, the privilege of homesteading their 
land by paying therefor $2.50 per acre. 

In June, 1906, the elaborate plan of opening the Rosebud Reservation west of 
Gregory County in what is now Tripp County was first set in motion. Many 
insisted that this should be done in the interests of the whites, the Indians and 


the state, but action was postponed. It was at this time that the Watertown land 
office was consolidated with the Aberdeen land office. 

The drawing of claims in the Lower Brule Reservation was made at Pierre 
from October 7 to 12, 1907. Between three hundred and four hundred new farms 
were drawn, and, as the land as a whole was exceptionally good, nearly that 
number of families located permanently thereon. In October, 1907, owing to 
the striking improvements in agricultural methods in the Black Hills, a large 
entry of Government land was made in the vicinity of Rapid City and elsewhere. 
There were 150 applicants at the land office there in one day. Twenty-four thou- 
sand acres were thrown open to the homesteaders. 

In 1908 the opening of reservation land in Tripp County again became a 
paramount question. Upon the proclamation of the President, the registration 
began on October 7th and continued until the 17th. This was one of the notable 
openings in recent years. In all there were 114,769 registrations with only about 
four thousand homesteads to be drawn. The rush was enormous and dangerous, 
but the experience at Bonesteel was sufficient to spur the authorities to take 
extreme measures to preserve order, which they accordingly did. On the first 
day nearly fifteen thousand persons filed their applications at Dallas, S. D., among 
whom were a number of women. They were thus permited to acquire homesteads. 
At O'Neill, Neb., registrations for this opening were likewise made, and Cham- 
berlain was another of the central points of registration. 

In 1909 the question of opening the Cheyenne River and Standing Roclc 
Indian reservations was thoroughly discussed and analyzed by the press and 
speakers of the state. There was a general and pronounced demand at this time 
that all Indians within the state should be given allotments and that the remainder 
of the land left over on the reservations should be thrown open to settlement of 
the whites. In a short time this demand was actually carried into effect. There 
were 10,000 homesteads thrown into market, and in all there were 80,142 regis- 
trations from October 4th to October 23d. The land office at Aberdeen alone 
registered approximately twenty-eight thousand in one week. Many hundreds 
filed their applications at Pierre. The crowds were large but orderly and were 
mainly homeseekers. 

Under the law of February, 1910, 1,400,000 acres in the Rosebud and Pine 
Ridge reservations were ordered opened to setttlement under a bill which passed 
Congress at that time. The conditions were similar to those of the Cheyenne 
River and Standing Rock reservations ceded lands. This large opening was 
mainly in Mellette and Washabaugh counties, but it did not occur in 1910. It 
was postponed until 191 1, when the tract was thrown open by proclamation of 
the President. In all 53,388 persons registered at Gregory, Dallas, Chamberlain 
and Rapid City. The largest number, 14,448, registered at Dallas. 

In the fall of 191 1 the allotting agent, Bates, raised an important point against 
the state selection of indemnity lands on Pine Ridge Reservation. He held that 
lands claimed by the Indians, whether allotted or not, were exempt from state 
or private selections. He expressed the opinion at the time that there would be a 
shortage on the reservation to fill the claims of the Indians which would reach 
practically two hundred thousand acres and that the natives had the first 
claim. Agent Bates and State Land Commissioner Brinker united in an attempt 
to secure a ruling of the general land department on this disputed point and sue- 


ceeded. They realized that if the department should hold with the allotting agent 
the state would be forced to go outside the reserve to secure lands to indemnify 
it for sections i6 and 36 which were taken in Indian allotments. 

In the spring of 1913, O. W. Lange, assistant attorney for the interior depart- 
ment, came to Rapid City and began an investigation of the operations of 
special agents of the land office who were charged with conducting a system of 
espionage to the detriment of homesteaders in proving up on land in Western 
South Dakota. At the same time he prepared to look into the Chamberlain- 
Gregory-Carter land office matter. This was a sectional quarrel which had grown 
up partly in political circles and had become so violent that it was found neces- 
sary for Washington authorities to intervene. A short time before quitting 
office, President Taft consolidated the Chamberlain and Gregory land offices and 
removed them to Carter. When President Wilson took the reins of govern- 
ment, he revoked the Taft order and reapportioned the district, attaching a part 
thereof to Pierre and a part to the Gregory office. This arrangement was as 
unsatisfactory to the people there as President Taft's order had been. This 
investigation, in part, was occasioned by the memorial to Congress of the South 
Dakota Legislature in 1913, a part of which read as follows: "There has grown 
up in the practice of the general land office of the Federal Government, a system 
of espionage that works extreme hardship on many of our settlers upon home- 
stead lands and this espionage permits the most serious abuses of the recom- 
mendation power held by the inspectors of the general land office. There, 
however, came under the notice of many of our citizens, cases in which some 
men, who had selfish purposes to serve in getting rid of some homesteader who 
stood in their way and by entering protest to the final proof of settlers who were 
honestly hoping to establish themselves upon new farms, had brought much hard- 
ship and needless expense upon the settlers who thus protested. We believe that 
the long delays in securing patents to lands that have been homesteaded have 
caused, in some cases, large losses to the state in tax revenue. The uncertainty 
of obtaining title to certain lands has caused this land to be deemed a fluctuating 
security and rates of interest to be high and losses small, thus hampering the 
legitimate growth of the state." The assistant attorney prepared to settle this 
whole question and in the end succeeded. 

In the spring of 1913, a general council of the Sioux Indians of the Cheyenne 
River Reservation was called June 23d, on the Trees Camp and all male Indians 
over eighteen years of age on the reservation were asked to attend. The object 
was to secure the removal of the agency office to a more central place on the 
reservation. This was accomplished. At this time the agency was on the Mis- 
souri River just opposite Forest City and a long distance from the western end 
of the reservation. In the olden times when they were not busy, the Indians made 
no complaint against covering this distance, but now, since they had settled 
down to farming and caring for live stock, the time lost in making the trip had 
to be taken into consideration. In the summer of 1913, the Indians generally on 
the reservations west of the Missouri River refused to renew their leases to 
range lands owned by them. They planned to devote their lands in part to 

The annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, in March, 1914, gave 
the following statistics : "The figures apply only to the Indians of the Cheyenne 


Reservation, but those of the other reserves will also be of interest. These only 
are given with the hope that the Indians and their friends will follow them up to 
inquire if the figures are true, and to enable the Indian to know how rich he is — 
on paper. There are 2,691 Indians on the reservation; 1,293 speak English and 
1,174 read and write the English language. The sum of $173,370 is expended in 
per capita and trust fund payment ; $33,050 was received from crops raised and 
sold by Indians; $30,000 was received from the sale of live stock; $10,632 was 
expended in issue of rations; $49,551 was received from leases; $120,480 was 
received from the sale of lands ; $35,472 was received from interest on trust 
funds; $6,100 was paid out to fulfill treaty obligations; $47,188 was derived from 
proceeds of Indian labor; 53 Indians are regularly employed and $18,705 is paid 
to them; 800 Indians are reported as self supporting." 

The homestead law passed by Congress early in 191 5 provided that 320 
acres instead of 160 acres could be filed on; that any person who had an 
unproved-up filing on 160 acres, could file on 160 acres adjoining; that this land 
must be "non-mineral, non-irrigable, unreserved and unappropriated surveyed 
public lands which did not contain merchantable timber ;" that entry men or entry 
women who had an unperfected homestead filing of 160 acres and a desert filing 
of 160 acres, might acquire still another 160 acres additional under the enlarged 
homestead law; but one entering an enlarged homestead first or increasing his 
filings to 320 acres could not afterwards make a desert land entry ; that the second 
year of the entry one-sixteenth of the total area must be cultivated; that the 
third year double this, or one-eighth, must be under successful cultivation ; that 
all entries must be made under the three-year residence law and must be proved 
up within five years; and that the entry fee on 320 acres should be $18 and on 
160 acres $14. Filings were ordered made at Belle Fourche. 

Under the new law the occupation of five-acre tracts in the National Forest 
Reservation is allowed, but the lessees will not be permitted to acquire perma- 
nently these tracts in the end as has been suggested and hoped. This law is a 
part of the 1915 agricultural appropriation bill and says: "Flereafter the secre- 
tary of agriculture may, upon such terms as he may deem proper, for periods not 
exceeding thirty years, permit responsible persons or associations to use and 
occupy suitable space or portions of grounds in the national forests for the con- 
struction of summer homes, hotels, stores or other structures needed for recrea- 
tion or public convenience, not exceeding five acres to any one person or 
association; but this shall not be construed to interfere with the right to enter 
homesteads upon agricultural lands in the national forests as now provided by 
law. At the expiration of the lease, unless renewed, the land will revert to the 
Government." The object of the law was to secure the abandonment of tempo- 
rary structures in order to offer inducements for permanent improvements and 
other advancements for recreation and amusements. In 19 15 this law attracted 
great attention all over the country and particularly in the vicinity of the 
national forests. The law became instantly popular in the Black Hills. 

In March, 1915, it was announced that a list of heirship and non-competent 
Indian lands would be offered for sale in May at Mobridge. These tracts were 
scattered over Standing Rock Reservation and were ordered sold upon the fol- 
lowing terms: One-fourth down, one-fourth in two years, one-fourth in four 
years and one-fourth in six years, the deferred payments to draw 6 per cent 


interest. Previous to this time, all sales of Indian lands in Standing Rock Reser- 
vation had been for cash only. It was believed that the new terms and propo- 
sitions were more liberal and would accordingly bring in a greater number of 
settlers. The early opening of all land that was left of the entire reservation 
was predicted at this time. 

While the act of February 14, 1913, provided for the opening of the surplus 
and unallotted lands of the Standing Rock Reservation, no provision for regis- 
trations or entry had been made up to the spring of 1915. That act of 1913 
provided that the price of lands entered or filed upon three months after the 
opening should be $5 per acre; between three and six months after the opening 
should be $3.50 per acre and after six months, $2.50 per acre. It also provided 
that the land should be subject to entry without registration. This was an 
important change over all previous customs. A recent homestead law of Congress 
is merely an extension to South Dakota of the 320-acre law, which has been in 
operation in Montana and several other states since 1909. It amended the orig- 
inal law so as to permit applications for entry to be filed before the lands had 
been designated as subject to the provisions of the act. Such applications it 
was provided were to be held without action until after the land had been 
examined, when, if found subject to entry under the act, the applications would 
be allowed a place on the record. Additional entries could be made by persons 
holding homestead entries on lands of the character contemplated by this law 
where adjoining land of the same character could be obtained. Cultivation of 
one-sixteenth of the entry was required the second year and another one-six- 
teenth the third year. 

Late in March, 19 15, President Wilson approved the opening to settlement of 
several thousand acres in Standing Rock Indian Reservation in the two Dakotas. 
It was shown that after the two states had made the selections to which they 
were entitled, there would remain in South Dakota about forty-seven thousand 
acres subject to entry. No general time for registration was set. In South 
Dakota the filing were fixed at Timber Lake. There were in all 1,300,000 acres 
in the reservation, but after all allotments had been made, it was shown that there 
would be a total of about three hundred thousand acres subject to white settle- 
ment. Under the act of Congress the secretary of the interior was given the 
right to bestow citizenship on such Indians as he believed fitted for the duty. 
In order to investigate thoroughly, the secretary sent Colonel McLaughlin, the 
well known Indian agent and inspector, and F. A. Thackery, another able 
inspector, to the reservation to make investigations and to learn what the Indians 
wanted and for what duties they were fitted. Their report was satisfactory and 
accordingly the secretary of the interior prepared to admit many of the Standing 
Rock Indians to citizenship under certain restrictions. 

The laws of much interest to homesteaders or prospective homseteaders, 
enacted in 1915 by Congress, were as follows: The appropriation of $14,000,000 
to be expended on reclamation work in 1916; the creation of a board of review 
in land cases in the office of the secretary of interior; authorizing the President 
to provide a method of opening lands restored from reservations or from with- 
drawal; allowing the husband to select the residence of both parties in case of 
intermarriage between homesteaders; allowing two periods of the five months' 
absence privilege to the three-year homestead law ; allowing the homestead entry 


woman to perfect her claim although she might lose her citizenship by marrying 
an alien ; allowing a deserted wife of a homesteader to submit proof of his claim 
and receive patent in her own name; extending to South Dakota a part of the 
enlarged homestead law permitting 320-acre entries ; terminating entries under the 
enlarged homestead law where parties had partially exhausted their 160-acre 
homestead rights. 

In the summer of 191 5 Judge Elliott of the United States District Court 
handed down an important decision concerning homestead owners. The decision 
confirmed their right to a homestead exemption of the value of $5,000 against 
all indebtedness except a mortgage. This decision came from a case against 
a Lincoln County farmer who resided on a quarter section which was incumbered 
with mortgages and judgments to over $16,000. A referee in bankruptcy decided 
against the farmer, but his decision was reversed by 'Judge Elliott. The judge 
also held that the homestead holder might select the land on which the dwelling 
house was situated, to the value of $5,000; and that if the homestead and other 
lands were sold to satisfy mortgages the other lands must first be sold and the 
portion reserved by the owner as his homestead exemption could be sold only to 
make up any deficiency in the payment of mortgages. He further held that if 
it was necessary to sell such homestead to make up the full amount of the mort- 
gage, the homestead owner was entitled to receive the amount above the amount 
of the mortgages to the extent of $5,000 before any portion of the proceeds 
could be applied to the payment of general creditors. Thus the decision held that 
the $5,000 homestead exemption was confirmed as against all claims except a 

On July 27, 1915, Secretary of the Interior Lane issued an order opening for 
settlement a large tract of farming land in Harding, Perkins and Corson counties, 
the order to be effective September loth. The lands were offered at homestead 
prices and without residence requirements and thus presented an unusually 
attractive land offer. Some of the tracts were grazing, others were fine farm 
land and very little comparatively was worthless. The price of the grazing land 
was fixed at from four dollars to seven and one-half dollars per acre, and the 
farming tracts from six dollars to fifteen dollars per acre. The reason for this 
sale of Indian lands was because there was a surplus, and the Government pre- 
ferred to sell a portion and use the funds to buy live stock and farm machinery in 
order to encourage farming operations among the Indians on the reservation. It 
was also believed that the white people adjacent on such lands sold would cause the 
Indians to respond more quickly to the proffers and inducements of civilization. 

The Committee on Federal Relations of the General Assembly, to which was 
referred Governor Herreid's communication relative to the Sisseton Reservation 
and of the likelihood of the property reverting to the United States because of 
noncompliance with the grant, recommended that the lands and profits from the 
land should be diverted to the fund for the benefit of the militia. Several mem- 
bers of the committee were in favor of asking Congress to grant the reservation 
to the state for reform school purposes and suggested that the reform school 
should be removed from Plankinton to the new place owing to the superior 
fertility of the land. It was thought the richness of the land would make the 
institution self sustaining. This proposal, however, did not meet the favor of 
the majority of the committee. 



The education of the Indians was resumed again with much zeal by the Gov- 
ernment, state and denominational authorities soon after the Messiah war. The 
Episcopalians and Presbyterians already had excellent schools among the Yank- 
tons. The Catholics had well attended schools on several of the reservations. 
There were two Government schools at the Yankton Agency with about one 
hundred and fifty pupils and with Colonel Foster as instructor. Two-thirds of 
the students there were females. This institution was well equipped and probably 
was not surpassed in discipline by any school in the state. The Indian school 
building at Pierre was constructed in 1890-1 and was a large brick structure 
surrounded by many small buildings, all constituting an Indian educational insti- 
tution not surpassed anywhere in the West. There were separate dormitories 
for the boys and the girls. The studies were thoroughly classified, and the most 
experienced and wisest authorities were consulted as to the courses best adapted 
for Indian students. There were bathrooms, iron bedsteads and everything nec- 
essary for the comfort of the school. The institution was under the supervision 
of Superintendent Davis, with Dr. C. C. Sprague as attending physician. In 
1892 Senator Pettigrew, in Congress, made an effort to secure an appropriation 
of $100,000 for the Indian schools at Chamberlain and Rapid City. He also 
endeavored to secure an appropriation of $187,000 for the Crow Creek Indian 
Commission to make up a deficiency, and $11,600 as an installment on the claims 
due the Yankton scouts for services in 1864. 

At Flandreau is Riggs Institute, one of the largest and best equipped schools 
for Indian education in the United States. For many years the Government 
maintained there a day school for Flandreau Indians, but in 1891 Congress 
appropriated $75,000 for the erection of an industrial training school for native 
youths residing in this section of the country. This appropriation act provided 
for the purchase of 160 acres of land located about half a mile north of the 
village and for the erection of three large brick buildings with a capacity for 150 
pupils. These structures were built. On July i, 1892, W. V. Duggan became 
the first superintendent. During the first two years the school passed through 
many trying and critical experiences owing to lack of supplies, defects in the 
buildings, and lack of method to carry into effect to the best advantage the 
objects of the institution. The Indians themselves at the start had not reached 
the stage of development to give the school proper support, so that as a whole 
the opening of the institutes was more or less crude, unsystematic and unsatis- 
factory. In March, 1894, Leslie D. Davis was transferred from Pine Ridge 
Agency to the Riggs Institute as superintendent. With his several years of 
experience in Indian school work and with his thorough knowledge of Indian 
character and requirements, he soon filled the institution to its fullest capacity. 
Steadily thereafter the school prospered and became popular with the Indians 
of all the reservations in the state. It was now realized, therefore, that here 
was an excellent location for a large Indian training school. At this time Senator 
Pettigrew was chairman of the United States Senate Indian Committee, and 
through his efforts additional land and much larger and better buildings were 
secured, so that by 1899 there were eight brick and three frame structures at the 
institute with a capacity for 350 pupils. The title of the institute was changed 


from the old name to Riggs Institute in honor of S. R. Riggs, one of the famous 
pioneer missionaries among the Sioux Indians. In March, 1900, Charles F. 
Pierce, who had for thirteen years been stationed among the Santee Indians in 
Nebraska and the Oneida Indians in Wisconsin, succeeded Mr. Davis as superin- 
tendent of the institute. His large experience in Indian school work admirably 
qualified Mr. Pierce for his duties. He promptly mastered the situation as 
Mr. Davis had done and soon the institute was the most successful of its kind in 
the United States. The corps of instructors and employes was selected under 
his supervision and recommendation and was extremely efficient. By the sum- 
mer of 1903 the attendance numbered 380, ranging in ages from six to twenty 

At this time the whole United States was divided among large reservation 
schools such as Carlisle, Riggs, Genoa, and others, each being allotted certain 
reservations or localities from which to gather its pupils. It was required that 
pupils must have been in attendance at some of the reservation graded schools 
before being permitted to enter these more advanced institutions. Riggs Insti- 
tute was allowed to gather its pupils from the reservations of Wisconsin, Min- 
nesota, South Dakota and Nebraska, and on its rolls in 1903 were found Oneidas 
from Wisconsin, Chippewas from Minnesota, Sioux from the Dakotas and Win- 
nebagoes from Nebraska. The pupils were enrolled for a period of not less than 
three years, during which time they remained in school. They were clothed, 
fed, educated and cared for at Government expense. Congress annually making 
an appropriation of $167 per capita to meet this expense. They were likewise 
transported to and from their reservation homes free of charge by the Govern- 
ment. By 1900 this school and others like it had become largely filled by mixed- 
bloods or so-called "white Indians" to the exclusion in many cases of the full- 
blood Indian. In 1903 the Government issued an order shutting out the "white 
Indians," and thereafter only pupils of more pronounced Indian blood were 
received. In the summer of 1903 tliere were at Riggs Institute about 35 per 
cent three-quarter-bloods, 34 per cent half-bloods and 13 per cent quarter-bloods 
or less. Previous to about 1898 it was a difficult matter to induce the adult full- 
blood Indian to accept the advantages of an education, but after that time, owing 
to the rapid settlement of the reservations by whites and because the Indians 
and whites were living near neighbors in many cases, the full-blood Indians 
began to realize that the white men through their education had much the 
advantage in the business world. This caused the full-blood Indians to com- 
mence sending their children to the schools. 

The curriculum of the Riggs Institute about 1900 embraced both literary and 
industrial studies and followed an elaborate program sent out from Washington 
by Miss Estelle Reel, the general superintendent of Indian schools. The aim 
of the course of study was to give the Indian child a practical knowledge of the 
English language, and to equip him with the facilities to become a self support- 
ing citizen as speedily as possible. The literary work covered about the same 
ground as the eight grades of the public schools. Miss Louise Cavalier, prin- 
cipal teacher, under whose direction were six additional instructors, all of whom 
had been specially selected for this particular work, dispensed all of the instruc- 
tion at the institute. Vocal and instrumental music was taught ; connected with 
the school was a concert band of thirty-six pieces and an orchestra under the 


leadership of Fred E. Smith, who for several years was solo cometist in the 
famous Carlisle College band. For the purpose of teaching industrial work the 
school was divided into two sections ; one for the literary department and the 
other for industrial training. All pupils were required to devote at least half of 
their time to industrial or domestic training. As the institute was known as a 
boarding school, all domestic work was carried on by the girls. This department 
was under the supervision of. Mrs. Roma F. Ewbank, chief matron. Girls were 
taught how to cook, wash, iron, cut and make their own clothes and do all kinds 
of house work. In consequence the girls were well dressed, ladylike and neat in 
appearance and their quarters were scrupulously clean and neat. Connected with 
the institute was a well equipped hospital under the management of a trained 
nurse. The general health was excellent owing largely to the care exercised in 
selecting the pupils, all of whom were required to pass a physical examination 
before being received. In the hospital the girls were taught how to care for the 
sick, administer simple remedies, to act in emergencies and were given other 
instruction necessary for their duties. The industrial training for the boys con- 
sisted in farming, which included gardening, and the care of stock, carpentering, 
tailoring, harness making and engineering. R. A. Voy had charge of the agricul- 
tural department where boys of all ages were given systematic training in scien- 
tific agriculture. The farm consisted of 480 acres of excellent soil. In 1902 
the institute produced 2,100 bushels of potatoes ; 400 bushels of beets ; 400 bushels 
of onions; 500 bushels of turnips; 60 bushels of carrots and 6,000 heads of cab- 
bage. On the farm was kept a herd of full-blood short-horns, and ten head of 
horses were there for daily use. 

The object of all of this instruction was to prepare the Indian to be thrown 
upon his own resources so that the annuities in the end could be stopped. As 
many of the students possessed allotments of fine agricultural land, this branch 
of instruction was of the titmost importance. The elementary principles of scien- 
tific agriculture were taught in class rooms, among the subjects considered being 
germination of seeds in different soils; selection of seed; testing the vitality of 
seeds in boxes and jars ; management of model gardens ; transplantation of plants ; 
selection of soils ; rotation of crops ; fertilization, and many others — all planned to 
fit the student for the practical management of his own farm. In the carpenter 
shop the boys were taught the use of hammer, saw, square, compass and other 
tools necessary for the construction of buildings, etc. Painting, calsomining and 
whitewashing were also taught. This department was under the direction of O. B. 
Olson. A well equipped harness and shoe-shop also was conducted by J. T. Ed- 
worthy. Other pupils were taught to make and repair harness and shoes. Dur- 
ing the summer of 1903 over twenty sets of harness which had been made wholly 
by the pupils were on exhibition at the institute. The tailor shop was managed by 
Joseph James, a young man of Indian blood and a graduate of Haskell Institute. 
Here the boys' uniforms, school suits and underclothing were made. The engi- 
neering department was managed by E. D. Selby. Here the Indian youth learned 
about power, heating, lighting, sewerage and pure water. Five large boilers fur- 
nished the steam with which the classes were instructed. On the bank of the Big 
Sioux River a half mile distant was the pumping plant with a capacity of 15,000 
gallons per hour. The older students were permitted to operate the engine, 
dynamo, etc. The plan of the organization and management was of the semi- 


military style, everything moving with the precision of a machine. At this time 
W. A. Harris was chief clerk of the institute. A complete record was kept of 
every transaction. The weekly issue of subsistence at this time was about as 
follows : 2,400 pounds of flour, 2,200 pounds of beef, 300 pounds of dried fruit, 
300 pounds of sugar, 36 pounds of coffee, 12 pounds of tea, 150 pounds of beans, 
50 pounds of rice, 50 pounds of lard, 150 pounds of bacon, 100 pounds of salt, 
6 pounds of pepper, 35 bushels of potatoes, 5 bushels of onions, 5 bushels of tur- 
nips, and 170 gallons of milk. A stated allowance of clothing was given to each 
student. Each boy was allowed one uniform, one school suit, one work suit, an 
extra pair of pants, three pairs of overalls, four pairs of shoes, five shirts, together 
with underclothes, socks, hats, caps, etc., per year. Each girl was allowed five 
dresses, six suits of underwear, five skirts, si-x pairs of hose, four pairs of shoes, 
one pair of rubber, one coat or cloak and other smaller articles. 

Few whites realized at this time how far and well the Indian had advanced in 
school-book education. At the Pine Ridge Agency in 1903 were thirty-three 
Indian schools with an aggregate attendance of 1,180. There was a reservation 
boarding school, at which 230 pupils were in attendance. There were thirty-two 
district schoolhouses, each under the control of a man and his wife. The Holy 
Rosary Mission of the Catholics had a school which was attended by 180 pupils. 
It was largely through the work of the church missions that the Indians were 
mduced to take up generally the task of securing an education. At this time 
Bishop Stariha of the Catholic church claimed 7,000 Catholic adherents among 
the Sioux. 

The Government fund for the support of sectarian Indian schools for 1905 
was given to Holy Rosary School with 200 pupils at Pine Ridge Agency ; Immacu- 
late Conception School with sixty-five pupils at Crow Creek ; St. Francis School 
with 250 pupils at Rosebud. The fund thus distributed amounted to $108 for 
each pupil and came from the appropriation of the Government for the industrial 
schools of the Sioux and other tribes. 

"Boarding schools conducted on the basis on which the Government conducts 
those established for the benefit of the Indians, are an anomaly in our American 
scheme of popular instruction. They furnish gratuitously not only tuition, but 
food, clothing and permanent shelter during the whole period of a pupil's attend- 
ance. In plain English they are simply educational almshouses with the unfortu- 
nate feature, from the point of view of our ostensible purpose to cultivate a spirit 
of independence in the Indians, that the charitable phase is obtrusively pushed 
forward as an attraction instead of wearing the stamp which makes the almshouse 
wholly repugnant to Caucasian sentiment. This tends steadily to foster in the 
Indian an ignoble willingness to accept unearned privileges ; nay more, from learn- 
ing to accept them he presently comes by a perfectly natural evolutionary process 
to demand them as rights and to heap demand upon demand. The result is that 
in certain parts of the West the only conception his white neighbors entertain 
of an Indian is that of a beggar as aggressive as he is shameless. For the contin- 
uance of over twenty-five non-reservation schools there is no longer any excuse. 
We spend on these now nearly two million dollars a year, which is taken bodily 
out of the United States treasury. The same spent for the same number of years 
on expanding and strengthening the Indians' home schools would have accom- 
plished a hundred fold more good, unaccompanied by any of the harmful effects 


upon the character of the race. The non-reservation schools ought to be dropped 
off one by one, or two by two, so as to produce the least practicable disturbance of 
condition, but the beginning of this gradual dissolution ought to be no longer 
deferred." — Francis E. Leupp, commissioner of Indian affairs, December, 1907. 
He suggested two methods of abolishing the character of these schools as 
exclusively Indian. ( i ) Open them to the youth of all races as training schools 
for some branch of Government service; (2) give or sell the schools to the states 
or counties where they stand. It was shown that the average cost to the Govern- 
ment of a pupil in the non-reservation boarding schools was $250 per annum and 
to pupils in the day schools from thirty-six to sixty-seven dollars, depending on 
the enrollment in a single school. The following Indian schools were in operation 
at that date in South Dakota : 

Number of Average 

Schools Employes Capacity Enrollment Attendance 

Pierre 17 180 158 148 

Flandreau 88 375 4^1 392 

Chamberlain 23 200 247 215 

Rapid City 27 250 272 247 

Totals ISS i.ooS 1.098 1,002 

In April, 1909, Congress enacted that over one million dollars should be dis- 
tributed among the Indian schools in South Dakota as follows: Cheyenne River 
schools $4,153, Crow Creek $21,620, Lower Brule $49,615, Pine Ridge $5,597, 
Rosebud $255,625, Sisseton $204,133, Yankton $588,866. 

Contributed by Doane Robinson 

On Sunday afternoon, February 16, 191 3, a party of school children were 
playing upon a bare shale hill within the village of Fort Pierre. Harriet Foster, a 
miss of thirteen, observed a piece of metal obtruding from the earth, and, placing 
her toe under a corner of it, lifted it out of its resting place. Observing printed 
characters upon it, one called the attention of George O'Reilly, a fifteen year old 
companion, to it, and he picked it up and endeavored to decipher the inscription, 
but being unable to translate it, took it to his father. Thus, after 170 years, was 
recovered a memorial to one of the most interesting and significant facts in the 
history of the West ; the claiming of the region for France and definitely determin- 
ing the point where the Verendrys reached the Missouri upon their return from 
the west. Where they were between the time when they left the Mandans, on 
July 23rd, and their return to the Missouri on March 19, is a subject of much inter- 
esting speculation. They were themselves of the opinion that they had reached 
the Rocky Mountains, and the French writers have uniformly taken that view. 
The weight of opinion among modem writers, however, is that they reached the 
Bighorns and were there turned back. The report does not make it appear pos- 
sible that they could have gone even so far as the Bighorns. 

To arrive at a reasonable conclusion as to the distance traveled, one must con- 
sider their speed upon known routes. They would probably make their maximum 
speed when traveling known routes to attain definite ends. They left Fort La 


Reine, fresh and enthusiastic, to go over a known route, a distance of less than 
two hundred miles, to the Mandans, and traveled at about the rate of nine miles 
per day. They were forty-six days upon the return from Fort Pierre to the Man- 
dans, a distance by the convolutions of the river of 320 miles, or seven miles per 
day. From the Mandans to Fort La Reine, in company with a party of Indians, 
they were thirty-eight days, or about five miles per day. It seems not improbable, 
therefore, than in an unknown country, with no definite object in view, and subject 
to the whims of the tribes they visited, they traveled not more than five or six 
miles a day, and that it is scarcely possible that they made more than seven miles. 
They traveled twenty days southwesterly from the mouth of Heart River, near 
Washburn, N. D., which probably brought them to about the big bend in the Little 
Missouri River. Here they stayed for a month and then moved on in a more 
southerly direction, meeting and visiting with various bands of Indians, which it is 
not possible to identify, though there is ground for the belief that the tribe of the 
Beautiful Men were the Crows, as that people especially prided themselves upon 
their pulchritude, and that the Norse Indians were the Cheyennes. Presently 
they came to the Indians of the Beautiful River. Perhaps this statement afifords 
a bench mark from which we can reckon. The Sioux, from time immemorial, 
called the Cheyenne River of South Dakota and its north branch, Wakpa Waste — 
that is. Beautiful River. The French gave to its north branch the name it still 
bears — Belle Fourche — undoubtedly simply adopting the Siou.x name. It is not 
a violent assumption to suggest that the Sioux may in turn have adopted the name 
given the stream by their predecessors, and that Verendrye's Belle Riviere was, 
in fact, our Cheyenne, or the north branch, the Belle Fourche. 

Not far from the Beautiful River, they came upon the Bow Indians, who were 
leading to war all the neighboring bands against a people whom Verendrye calls 
the Snake Indians. Historians have assumed that these people were, of course, 
the Shoshones, but the character assigned to them does not at all comport with 
the known characteristics of the Shoshones. The description, however, exactly 
applies to what we know of the Kiowas, who at that period infested the Black 
Hills. In this connection it should be noted that all of the western Indians meta- 
phorically designated their enemies as "snakes." It will be recalled that the word 
"Sioux," itself, is derived from the Algonquin word for "snake," applied to the 
Dakotas because they were enemies. Therefore, it may be and even appears 
probable, in the light of all the circumstances, that Verendrye's Snakes were the 
Kiowas of the Black Hills. The Frenchmen determined to accompany the valiant 
Bow upon this military enterprise. With the mountains in plain sight, they set- 
tled the families of the warriors in a camp, and very slowly and cautiously 
indeed did they approach the enemy. Twelve days did they proceed before they 
reached him, only to turn in terror to flee back to the camp of their families, 
which they "reached upon the second day of their retreat." They could travel 
when they put their minds upon it. They reached the noncombatant camp on 
February 9th and remained there five days, while a severe blizzard raged, bur}-ing 
the earth in two feet of snow. On February 14th they set out in company with 
all the Bow Indians, compelled to live off the country as they traveled in a south- 
easterly direction. Such a band could not, under the conditions, have moved more 
than five or six miles daily. On March ist they appear to have stopped ten days 
while awaiting the return of their men sent oft" to visit Little Cherry. On the 


ANBO XXVI.-R.BOSI 1.^30%'^^ I -'a 

:i.tv5TB.:2SiMC fwsiMc - Don;s: .v..-a.7R;'.-r>E- 

1- :^v. ts -.vKARacu 


Obverse— In the 26th year of the Reign of Louis XV for tlie King 
to the Most Illustrious Sir Lord ilarquis de Beauharnais, 1743. Pierre 
Gaulthier la Verendrye deposited. 

Reverse— Deposited by le Chevalier de Lar. Witnesses le Louis la Lou- 
dette, A Miatte. On the 30th day of March, 1743 



15th they joined Little Cherry two days from the Missouri, evidently remain- 
ing in the winter camp two days, and finally, on March 19th, reaching the Missouri 
at the mouth of Bad River, the present site of Fort Pierre, S. D. 

The best evidence of where the Verendryes were when at their extreme western 
point, is determined by the distance it is probable they might have traveled from 
the date when they started east on February 14th and the time they reached the 
Missouri on the 19th of March. The extreme total is thirty-four days, less twelve 
days in which they probably did not travel, or twenty-two days actually upon the 
road, and at six miles per day they could have come 132 miles from the non- 
combatant camp. 

In view of these considerations, I am led to suggest the probability of the 
following conclusions : The Bows, the Belle River Indians and the Little Cherries 
were the allied Arickaras and Pawnees. Historically, the Arickaras are known 
to have resided in the vicinity of Fort Pierre at that time. The Bows, a people 
who built forts and planted grain, were manifestly of the same family. The 
"People of the Serpent" were the Kiowas, hereditary enemies of the Arickaras 
and Pawnees, then living in the Black Hills. That the noncombatant camp was 
upon some of the lower waters of some of the streams that debouche from the 
Black Hills and enter the south branch of the Cheyenne from the west. That the 
mountains reached and described by the Verendryes were the Black Hills, and 
that they were not at any time west of the Dakotas. That manifestly the return 
party could not have traveled a greater distance than from the Black Hills and 
the Missouri in the time assigned. 

That the only argument in opposition to these conclusions is the general state- 
ment of V'erendrye that the general course pursued outward was to the south- 
west. He states that their course was not direct, that sometimes it was nearly 
south, and in the wanderings from day to day it would have been a very easy 
matter for them to lose the course. Certainly it cannot be conceived that in com- 
pany with a very large number of women and children upon the return trip they 
traveled faster than the average for other known routes. The only portion of the 
trip in doubt is the distance between the noncombatant camp and the mountains, 
but this thy covered in two days, which would show it to be no great distance. 



Among the urgent reasons why South Dakota wanted statehood were (i) 
the bad government under the carpetbag executives of the territorial period. No 
doubt the complaints of the citizens were just when they declared that the terri- 
tory had been miserably ruled by crafty politicians who usually had no interest 
in its welfare and who occupied their positions solely for the money that could 
be made therefrom. (2) The finances of the territory were in bad condition 
and getting worse. The laws under which the territorial government was con- 
ducted were so slack, vague and inefficient that corrupt practitioners found 
official positions an easy medium through which to fleece the departments and 
line their own pockets. (3) Because the territory was too large, sparsely settled 
and lacking in community interests to be well managed by one administration. 
(4) Admission meant increased population, greater prosperity, increased rev- 
enue, better laws, wiser administrations and purer government. It was believed 
that statehood would add at least 25 per cent to the value of all property, besides 
bringing in a large amount of outside capital. At the date of statehood (1889) 
Dakota Territory had twelve public institutions as follows: Two penitentiaries, 
two insane hospitals, two universities, two normal schools, one agricultural col- 
lege, one school of mines, one school for deaf mutes and one reform school. 
Of these nine were located in what is now South Dakota and three in North 
Dakota. In dividing the territory these institutions and other important matters 
had to be taken into consideration. South Dakota with nine state instittuions, 
was required to pay North Dakota with only three state institutions, a considerable 
sum of money for this advantage. When it became clear that Dakota Territory 
would be divided and that two states would be formed therefrom, the portion 
which expected to become South Dakota assumed the following debt of the old 
Dakota Territory: 

South Dakota assumed : 

Insane Hospital bonds, Yankton $210,000.00 

Deaf Mute School bonds, Sioux Falls 51,000.00 

State University bonds, Vermillion 75,000.00 

Penitentiary bonds, Sioux Falls 94,300.00 

Agricultural College bonds, Brookings 97,500.00 

Normal School bonds, Madison 49,400.00 

School of Mines bonds. Rapid City 33,000.00 

Reform School bonds, Plankinton 30,000.00 

Normal School bonds, Spearfish 25,000.00 

Soldiers' Home bonds. Hot Springs 45,000.00 

North Dakota assumed : 

Insane Hospital bonds, Jamestown 266,000.00 

North Dakota University bonds. Grand Forks 96,700.00 

Penitentiary bonds, Bismarck 93,600.00 

Refunding the Capitol Building warrants 83,507.46 



In February, 1889, a telegram received in this state that the lower house of 
Congress had receded from every contested proposition and that admission 
was sure, was welcomed with celebrations and hosannahs generally. The bill 
as passed provided for the resubmission of the Sioux Falls constitution, for a 
separate submission of the prohibition clause, and required that the voters should 
pass on the changes of boundary between the two Dakotas, should settle the 
name of the state, and at the same election, should choose all necessary state 
officers. When this should have been accomplished and the fact had been certi- 
fied by the proper officers, it was provided by the bill that the President could 
then issue his proclamation admitting South Dakota to the Union. This federal 
law was signed February 22, 1889. It admitted South Dakota as a state. The 
election occurred in October, 1889. The proclamation of the President was 
issued November 2, 1889. Thus all necessary steps for the legal admission of tlie 
new state were taken. 

At the election in 1889 Pierre was chosen by a large majority to be the tem- 
porary capital after a campaign of great energy. The people of that city in 
anticipation of the result had begun a frame capitol building, but it was not 
ready for the first Legislature which assembled about the middle of October. 
Accordingly the Senate met in the old schoolhouse which for a long time had 
been used as the Grand Army Hall and later became Riverview Hotel. The 
House convened in the Hughes County court room. At the Wells House in East 
Pierre, were the governor and state officers. When this old building was finally 
torn down the material was used in the construction of the Catholic Academy 
on the hill. By January, 1890, when the first Legislature reassembled after the 
October adjournment, the Locke Hotel was ready for their reception. Likewise 
the frame capitol building was ready for the assembly and the state officers. 
Hon. S. E. Young, who had served as speaker of the House in October, con- 
tinued to occupy that position at the January session. Later on he became 
superintendent of the State School at Plankinton. 

Late in October a special train carrying J. M. Whitman, general manager 
of the Northwestern Railway Company; John E. Blunt, chief engineer; P. 
Holenback, assistant general superintendent; H. R. McCullough, general freight 
agent ; and J. S. Burke, assistant superintendent of the South Dakota division, 
arrived at Pierre. They came to confer with the city authorities concerning 
freight and station land, tracks, grades, etc. They at once transferred to the 
city Capitol Hill — ten acres — where it was proposed a temporary building should 
be erected, and agreed to erect the following spring at a cost of about five thou- 
sand dollars a fine brick station house and depot, providing the city would post- 
pone temporarily the opening of certain streets across the tracks. They announced 
that it was the intention of the company to reserve all their lands to the northwest- 
ward for the use of shops, a roundhouse, division terminals, a bridge across the 
river, etc. 

Pierre formally celebrated her capital victory on November 15, on which 
occasion Governor Mellette and other prominent men delivered addresses. Soon 
after this event the city settled down to business. At a meeting of the citizens 
John J. Kleiner, L. W. Albright, Dr. W. M. Blackburn, W. H. Glisker and J. A. 
Johnson were appointed a committee to receive formally the Legislature and the 


state officials on October 15th, the date set for the first meeting of the state 

Important problems in 1889 were prohibition, statehood, constitution, tem- 
porary capital and first state officers. The election of October, 1889, settled all 
this and quieted the nervous tension that had prevailed for so many years. In 
December, 1889, South Dakota was divided into two census districts in anticipa- 
tion of the census to be taken by the Government in the summer of 1890. The 
state was the fortieth admitted to the Union and North Dakota was the forty- 
first. These two states and Washington and Montana were admitted under the 
same act. Although the admission of the state was certain long before that 
event, yet on November 2, 1889, when President Harrison formally declared 
South Dakota a member of the Union, many formal celebrations were held in 
every part of the state to give vent to the enthusiasm which had been held in 
subjection for ten or twelve years. President Harrison signed the proclamation 
at 3.40 o'clock P. M. November 2, 1889. Immediately thereafter. Senator 
Moody sent forth the telegram to the state as follows : "North and South Dakota 
proclamation issued. We are a state." 

When the state was admitted, the assessed valuation of all property was 
about one hundred million dollars and at that time the indebtdeness was about 
one million dollars and there was very little cash on hand. Concerning the 
administration of Governor Mellette, Doane Robinson said in the Sioux Falls 
Press in March, 1910: "The way was uncharted and he displayed a patience 
and wisdom which will always distinguish him and commend his memory to the 
respect of the people who annually come to give him higher veneration. He 
was the first of a succession of good men who filled that office." The annual 
cost to administer South Dakota was about six hundred and seventeen thousand 
dollars in 1889. This covered all expenses including interest on bonds and terri- 
torial and state expenses. The public institutions alone cost about two hundred 
and twenty-four thousand dollars. The tax amounted to about three hundred 
and thirty thousand dollars. Thus the receipts were not sufficient by a con- 
siderable sum to meet the annual legitimate expenses. The constitution provided 
that the state could run up an indebtedness of $100,000, but even then the receipts 
would amount to but $430,000, which left a deficit of more than two hundred 
thousand dollars which must be met either by economy or by some other method. 
It was suggested that if necessary, several or all of the state institutions could be 
dispensed with. It was incumbent on the Legislature to find a way out of the 
darkness. Many suggestions were off'ered as to the manner of economizing on 
state management. It was pointed out that the law relating to the insane asylum 
could be so changed that the counties could be required to take care of the insane. 
It was further argued that the $500,000 debt limit meant that that sum could be 
run up as a debt over and above the amount of the old territorial debt which was 
to be paid by South Dakota. There was a senseless craze about state economy^ 
a craze that was wholly unnecessary and should have- been wholly prevented 
by the able men who managed the state government in its infancy. While the 
constitution provided that but two mills could be assessed for ordinary expenses, 
yet it further provided that in emergencies, such as deficiency, two mills addi- 
tional could be levied. Thus the constitution provided a remedy. Not only 
that, but its measures were eminently wise because the restrictions of the two 

^;i ''^1 a/4 


tlie Constitutioiinl Conventions of 1883, 1885 and 1881). topvtlier 
with otliei- historic conventions 

In this Iniildiny 


mill clause would cause strict economy which was necessary for the young state 
in order to get out of debt and to remain out. The difficulty that arose was one 
of politics. It became a fashion for politicians and all others seeking public 
favor to raise a great hue and cry about economy. In fact the officials often 
seemed to vie with each other in cutting down to the bone important appropria- 
tions that were necessary for the life and prosperity of state institutions and 
state progress. All of this cry of economy was in a measure a necessity under 
the constitution, but was also a political dodge for the officials to curry favor 
with the people. All agreed that the state must have whatever was necessary 
to carry on legitimate expense and propel the commonwealth on its stride 

South Dakota became a state under somewhat difficult circumstances. The 
labor conditions were in a chaos. From the ranks of both old parties had come 
a revolt and the populists became a power in the state. This was a period of 
great depression, but it was hoped that the opening of the Great Sioux Reserva- 
tion would so increase population that South Dakota would not feel so severely 
the depression resulting from hard times. There had been two successive crop 
failures due to drought. Owing to this fact many new settlers who had little 
or nothing upon which to live left the state and returned to the East, and South 
Dakota suffered from the depressing stories told by these families. 

All things considered, the constitution of 1890 was an admirable document 
fully up with the times and amply sufficient to advance the state in prosperity 
and safeguard all the rights of the inhabitants. The constitutional convention of 
1890 was a notable gathering. At that time the state was full of adventurers 
and speculators and the convention itself had among its members cranks of all 
classes and perhaps actual criminals. This constitution was not a new measure. 
Three times were the people called upon to enact and re-enact it, but in spite of 
all opposition they managed to keep the virtues which had accumulated and 
been made part of the constitution during a period of ten years. One measure 
which came through and which has been the salvation of the schools, was the 
provision that no school lands should be sold for less than ten dollars an acre. 
W. H. H. Beadle has been given credit for this important constitutional measure 
and has been duly honored for the good it has done the entire state. The people in 
October, 1889, determined at the polls to keep all the merits of the old constitution. 
The state officers had been chosen in anticipation of the adoption of the old 
constitution, but the act of admission required that a new election should be 
held. The young state was lucky in having able, honest and experienced men to 
set the wheels in motion. The big four at this time were A. C. Mellette, gov- 
ernor; R. F. Pettigrew and G. C. Moody, United States senators; and A. J. 
Edgerton, of the Supreme Court. The two congressmen were O. F. Gifford 
and J. A. Pickler. There were many other able, honest and careful men who 
assisted in starting the new state on its journey upward. 

The State of South Dakota having no swamp and saline lands was awarded 
other tracts in lieu thereof by the United States Government. In 1889 Congress 
gave the School of Mines an allotment of 40,000 acres; Reform School 40,000 
acres ; Deaf and Dumb Asylum 40,000 acres ; Agricultural College 50,000 acres ; 
State University 40,000 acres ; State Normal Schools 80,000 acres ; State Capitol 
50,000 acres; other charitable institutions 170,000 acres; total 500,000 acres. 


Mineral lands were examined for this allotment. School lands, it was provided, 
should be located elsewhere if they were found to contain minerals. The officials 
promptly took measures to survey large portions of the new state. 

In the spring of 1891 the Government called for bids for the survey of the 
boundary line between North Dakota and South Dakota. At its last session 
Congress had appropriated $25,000 to pay the expenses of this survey. The 
initial point of the boundary line was the intersection of the seventh principal 
meridian and the Big Sioux River. From that point a survey was made to the 
Sisseton and Wahpeton Reservation, a distance of iiYz miles. Across the 
reservation an original survey of nearly thirty-three miles was then made. Thence 
westward another original survey was made to the Missouri River a distance of a 
little over one hundred and forty-five miles. From the river westward another 
original survey to the Montana line, distant over one hundred and seventy-one 
miles, was projected. This made the distance of -the southern boundary of 
North Dakota and the northern boundary of South Dakota 3613^ miles, of which 
157 miles had already been surveyed. The boundary line was marked with 
stone monuments at intervals of half a mile. These monuments were 10 inches 
square, 7 feet long and weighed 1,200 pounds. On the north side of each monu- 
ment were the letters N. D. and on the south side the letters S. D. 

In his message to the Legislature January, 1890, Governor Mellette called 
attention to the fact that the finances of the state were the most important subject 
for the immediate and mature consideration of the Legislature. He submitted a 
statement of the financial condition of all the departments. This statement 
showed that the bonded debt at the time of the admission of the state was $710,000, 
of which $116,000 bore 6 per cent interest; $125,000, 5 per cent interest; $317,000, 
45/^ per cent interest, and $152,500, 4 per cent interest. The state also owed from 
seventy-five thousand to one hundred and fifty thousand dollars of territorial 
funding warrants, and in addition South Dakota was required to pay North 
Dakota $46,500 to adjust accounts between the two states up to March 8, 1889. He 
stated that South Dakota had overdrawn its rights from the territorial fund and 
that the amount due from this state had thus been increased to about $150,000. 
He noted that there had been refunded on insurance hospital bonds $77,500 and 
on penitentiary bonds $35,000. Both were refunded at the lower rate of 4 per 
cent interest. The State treasury had received $84,441.93, of which $38,407.70 
was in bond funds. He estimated the total expenses of the state for one year at 
$508,222.50 and the receipts at $335,326.68, leaving a deficiency of $172,905.82. 
The clause in the constitution concerning the subject of annual tax was as follows : 

"The Legislature shall provide for an annual tax sufficient to defray the esti- 
mated ordinary expenses of the state for each year not to exceed in any one year 
two mills on each dollar of the assessed valuation of all taxable property in the 
state to be ascertained by the last assessment made for state and county purposes. 
And when it shall appear that such ordinary expenses shall exceed this income of 
the state for such year, the Legislature shall provide for levying a tax for the 
ensuing year sufficient with other sources of income to pay the deficiency of the 
preceding year. And for the purpose of paying the public debt the Legislature 
shall provide for levying a tax annually, sufficient to pay the annual interest and 
the principal of such debt within ten years from the final passage of the law 
creating the debt, provided that the annual tax for the payment shall not exceed 


in any one year two mills on each dollar of the assessed valuation of all taxable 
property in the state as ascertained by the last assessment made for state and 
county purposes." 

The Governor after taking all figures into consideration estimated that the 
deficit for 1890 would amount to $236,719.75. He admitted that the state could 
contract a debt to meet the deficiency, but not to exceed $ioo,ocx), so that even if 
the state should conclude to raise $100,000 the deficiency still would be $136,719.75. 
Governor Mellette then recommended the following course : "To meet the emer- 
gency it is recommended, first, to annul all appropriations made by the territorial 
Legislature and to cover into the* general fund all unexpended balances remaining 
to each account on the first day of January, 1890. Then ascertain as near as may 
be the floating indebtedness of the state at the date of its admission into the Union 
and provide for its liquidation by the issue of bonds and proceed to make a 
careful estimate of the amount that will occur from a two mill levy during the 
current year and also the year ensuing for ordinary expenses. Then it is advised 
that you take the list of estimated expenses and provide for those first which are 
actually indispensable under careful and economical management and divide the 
remaining sum available among the other public institutions and administrative 
departments so as to serve best the public interests, in no event permitting a 
deficiency to exceed the limit of $100,000 permissible by the constitution." 

The governor commented with some strictures upon the reports from the 
penitentiary, the reform school, and the insane hospital. He expressed the belief 
that the labor of prisoners should be made available by the state and that steps 
to this end should be taken at once. He suggested that the granite quarries near 
Sioux Falls would be a suitable place in which the prisoners could be employed. 
In this connection he said, "From observation of its practical operation the execu- 
tive is strengthened in the former conviction that the fixing of the punishment of 
criminals within the discretionary limits allowed by the statute should be left to 
a jury rather than to the court. The freeman's right to a trial by his peers is 
believed to owe its value as much to this principle as to the determination of the 
question of his guilt. It would seem the peculiar and fitting province of the jury 
to fix the term of punishment upon the sliding scale which must ever modify 
judicial sentences. It is believed such verdict is more easily acquiesced in by the 
criminal, and that punishment is thus rendered uniform and more in accord with 
the popular living sentiment whose sanction is so necessary to the support of 
criminal statutes." 

In reference to the reform school at Plankinton he said that the institution 
had been in operation for two years and "It is believed in some instances its 
inmates have been committed rather as to an orphan or foundling asylum than to 
a penal reformatory." He asked that an inquiry be made for the purpose of 
learning just how the institution was conducted in this particular. In speaking 
of the building there he said "The building was constructed at a reckless expendi- 
ture and more than one-half of it has been fitted and extravagantly furnished as a 
home for the management." He recommended that the building should be remod- 
eled and fitted for a shop-room and for the other necessary accommodations and 
pursuits of the inmates. 

The governor referred in detail to the management of the insane hospital at 
Yankton. He stated that the institution had been well conducted notwithstanding 


it had received a large increase of inmates in 1889. He said that the inhuman 
and murderous practices usually or often in vogue in similar institutions elsewhere, 
should not be countenanced by this state. He asked for an investigation as to 
whether expenses of these inmates should not be borne in part by the counties 
where the institutions were situated. He thought the law of transportation 
reearding inmates should be modified. The officers in charge of such institutions 
should be sent after the inmates, he stated. 

Governor Mellette said that the constitution placed the penitentiary, insane 
hospital, school for the deaf and dumb, and the reform school under a State 
Board of Charities and Corrections ; that such board consisted of five members, 
and that the state was under obligations to pay them for their services. He said, 
''The wisdom of this single system of management of these institutions is apparent 
to all who have had experience in such service and ought to result in the saving of 
many thousands of dollars annually to the state besides being of marked benefits 
to the public service." 

The governor urged a liberal policy toward the railways of the state, the 
continuance in power of the Board of Railway Commissioners, the appointment of 
commissioners of insurance, banks and loans and of labor, all to be elected by the 
votes of the people. He recommended that wages be made the first lien on prop- 
erty, that penalties for a violation of the prohibition law be enacted, that means 
for the enforcement of such law be provided, that irrigation be fostered, and that 
representation in the Legislature be reduced. He urged that the commissioner of 
immigration should be better provided with funds so as to be more serviceable in 
his duties, and demanded that all necessary measures to protect the citizen in the 
free and untrammelled use of the ballot be adopted. 


Arthur C. Mellette 1889-93 

Charles H. Sheldon 1893-97 

Andrew E. Lee 1897-01 

Charles N. Herreid 1901-05 

Samuel H. Elrod 1905-07 

Coe I. Crawford 1907-09 

Robert S. Vessey 1909-13 

Frank M. Byrne 1913-17 

In his message to the Legislature in January, 1891, Gov. A. C. Mellette stated 
emphatically that the most important question for the consideration of the Legis- 
lature was the finances of the state. He declared that the financial conditions 
were embarrassing and that the revenue system could be scarcely worse ; that the 
state should have at once a systematic and efficient code of revenue laws ; that 
such laws should restrict expenditures ; that disaster was sure to come unless the 
revenue laws were revised and codified; that members of the Legislature from 
counties where there were state institutions, who considered themselves agents 
of their communities to procure large appropriations for such institutions, should 
consider whether they wanted a warrant for $1 worth looc on the market, or a 
warrant for $200 worth looc on the market; that the state must live within its 
income under the constitution ; that there were outstanding against the state in 
warrants the sum of $46,000, upon which were endorsed the words "Not paid 
for want of funds" and bearing 7 per cent interest and being at a discount on 



Andrew E. Lee, 1S96-1900 

Charles N. Herreid, 1900-1904 

A. C. Mellette, 1889-1894 CliarU'S H. Sheldon. 1S94-1S96 



the market; that the state had recently issued $100,000 in bonds to meet current 
expenses and thereby the state indebtedness had been increased to the maximum 
allowed by the constitution ; that the state government therefore must retrench or 
suffer disaster. He further showed that from November 6, 1889, to November 
30, 1890, the total state receipts amounted to $500,542.70; that the future receipts 
were sure to fall short of this amount; that the sum of over thirty thousand dollars 
received from the territorial treasury would not be duplicated in the future ; that 
the receipts of the past were under territorial law which allowed a three-mill tax 
levy ; that under the new state constitution the tax levy was limited to two mills 
except in extreme emergencies ; that also the railway tax procured under the ter- 
ritorial law was greatly reduced under the state law; that $100,000 in bonds 
which were recently issued must also be deducted from the receipts; that there- 
fore these various reductions amounting to nearly three hundred thousand dollars 
would leave a deficiency for the coming year of about two hundred and thirty- 
seven thousand dollars ; that this sum would be reduced by various other receipts, 
so that the actual deficit would amount to about one hundred and seventy-five 
thousand dollars. The state assessment at this time was $110,000,000 and the 
two-mill tax thereon would furnish a revenue of $220,000 if all should be col- 
lected; besides there were about twenty thousand dollars in fees from the state 
auditor and other departments so that the total receipts for the fiscal year 1891 
would amount to about two hundred and forty-three thousand dollars. The Gov- 
ernor further proved that the first State Legislature had made specific appropria- 
tions to the amount of $417,014.24. After various additions and deductions the 
state expenditures for 1890, the governor said, were found to be $415,452.76 with 
only $243,000 in receipts. Thus the Legislature must either retrench to the 
amount of over one hundred and seventy-two thousand dollars, or adopt some 
other method of carrying the state through the year. 

He suggested two important steps that might be taken : ( i ) All offices as far as 
possible should be dispensed with, others should be consolidated and the salaries 
of still others should be reduced; (2) definite expenses for all officers of the 
state should be fixed so that such limit could not be exceeded except through viola- 
tions of the law. The governor further said, "Then prune down to the lowest 
amount consistent with the public welfare the appropriations for the public insti- 
tutions, closing some of them entirely if necessary. The county might bear the 
expenses of transportation of the inmates to the penal and charitable institutions 
or it might pay into the state treasury monthly a fixed sum in part for their main- 
tenance. The latter is believed to be more equitable, since the expense for trans- 
portation would be nothing to the county where the institutions are located, but 
might be burdensome to remote counties. At the same time it is suggested as a 
temporary expediency that the number of students admitted free to the educational 
institutions be limited to a certain number from each county to be designated by 
county authorities, and that additional students be required to pay into the state 
treasury a tuition fee in part maintenance of the institution or let it be paid by 
the county of the student." 

The governor said that the two-mill levy was designed to cover merely the 
ordinary expenses of the state and that a liberal construction of the constitution 
permitted the levy of an additional mill to cover any emergency deficit that 
might arise. However, he insisted this should not be done unless it was exceed- 


ingly iinportant and necessary. He believed that a new constitution would no 
doubt greatly benefit every state institution, because they were now under far 
more liberal regulations and were managed by more competent and responsible 
boards. As a matter of economy he recommended that insurance on public build- 
ings be dispensed with and that the actual expenses of each institution should be 
specifically provided by suitable appropriations. He spoke severely against 
expenditures which were not definitely permitted, and declared that the admin- 
istrative agents of the state should be held accountable for the enforcement of 
the law. 

In general terms he spoke well of the management of the state institutions. 
He recommended that the Hospital for the Insane, at Yankton, about which some 
complaints had been made, should be put in the best possible condition so that it 
would stand in the front rank of such institutions. The average number of 
patients was 264 and was rapidly increasing. Superintendent Livingston, against 
whom certain charges had been made, had been investigated and exonerated by 
the special committee. 

He stated that the penitentiary at Sioux Falls was a model institution of its 
kind. On December i, 1890, it had ninety-six inmates, of whom only one was a 
woman. He recommended that a system of labor should be introduced for the 
benefit of the prisoners and the remuneration of the state, and suggested the 
establishment of a knitting plant, but later a binding twine plant was located 
therein. He believed that the authority given the governor to sell certain peni- 
tentiary lands should be revoked. In regard to the Deaf Mute School at Sioux 
Falls, he recommended a reduction in the salaries of several of the officials. He 
likewise recommended a reduction in the expenses allowed the Reform School at 
Plankinton, and spoke well of the management of the Soldiers' Home at Hot 
Springs, which then contained forty inmates. He stated that the fund received 
by the Agricultural College from the Government would be sufficient except 
for certain emergency expenses which had been anticipated. The Goverimient 
allowed the institution $15,000 in 1890 and $16,000 in 1891. 

In regard to the State University at Vermillion, which had an enrollment 
of 435 students, he stated that excellent and progressive work had been done, 
but that the available funds were not sufficient to meet all the requirements of the 
rising institution. As this institution was wholly dependent upon state appropria- 
tions and tuitions, he called the attention of the Legislature to the absolute 
necessity of providing for its actual needs. He recommended the abolishment 
of the normal department. He spoke well of the Madison Normal School and 
the Spearfish Normal School, the former having an attendance of about one hun- 
dred and eighteen. He particularly asked for better care of the Spearfish 
Normal School, as it was the only public institution for general educational 
work in the Black Hills region of the state. In regard to the School of Mines, 
which had eleven males and five female instructors, he recommended that surplus 
assistants should be dropped and that the "luxuries" such as music, fine arts, 
etc., should be removed and only the "substantials" retained. He noted that 
the blind children of the state were cared for at the Iowa State School for the 
Blind at a cost of about $300 each person per year. This expense included tui- 
tion, clothing, supplies, etc. The cost to the state in 1890 for its blind patients 
was $1,051. 

Samuel H. Eliod, 1904-1906 

Robert S. Vesse.v, 1908-1912 Coe I. Crawford. 1906- 



In his message of 1891, Governor Mellette specially recommended general 
supervision of corporations about as follows: (i) One commissioner of rail- 
roads and warehouses in place of the present board of three; (2) one commis- 
sioner of insurance and corporations other than for railways and warehouses; 
(3) the commissioner of labor and statistics be given the additional duties of 
immigration commissioner and be required to arbitrate questions of dispute 
between corporations and their employes. He recommended that each commis- 
sioner above named be given original jurisdiction in the affairs pertaining to his 
office, and that enlarged powers be given to the railroad commissioner so that 
he could have control of charges and especially could have the power to adjust 
damages for the killing of live stock, the setting of prairie fires, etc. He also 
requested that the commissioner of other corporations should be specially charged 
with the duty of assessing banks and other moneyed corporations up to the limit 
of their just proportion and have control of the strict enforcement of the usury 

Governor Mellette in his message of January, 1893, said that the three years 
just passed had shown the wisdom of the demand for the admission of South 
Dakota to the Union, because the several state departments had been more 
economically managed than ever before, were under abler and wiser control 
and the state had accordingly received a better reputation as a place of residence 
and a field for labor and prosperity. He stated that the ordinary expenses, by 
means of rigid economy, had been brought within the bounds of the sum provided 
Iiy the two-mill tax on the assessed valuation of the state without having occasion 
to resort to the emergency levy provided in the constitution. The collection of 
reveiuies was all important though extremely perplexing, he declared. Ta.x 
reform was urgently needed. The State Board of Equalization and Assessments 
had done its best under the circumstances and restrictions, but uniformity of 
tax as demanded by all could not well be secured under the constitution and the 
existing laws. The tax on farms could perhaps be well adjusted and equalized, 
but on the property of cities uniformity was out of the question. He said "The 
task is more difficult as to city and village real estate, entirely impractical as to 
stocks and corporative property, while it is an impossibility when directed to 
merchandise and miscellaneous personalty." He said that the formation of a 
state board with due authority would be necessary to carry out any measure that 
would insure uniformity in taxation of municipalities. 

The governor noted that the railways of the state covered 2,703 miles and 
were valued at $8,916,342, or an average of $3,298 per mile. Concerning the 
railways he said, "A most rigid examination into the affairs of the railroads of 
the state, shows that since the organization of the state government most divisions 
have been operated at a loss, so that the fiscal value only could be considered, 
and upon this they are rated as near as might be on an equality with other 
property. This condition, however, cannot continue in the present general pros- 
perity of the state." The state tax on railways had been apportioned and collected 
without delay or confusion, but the same could not be said of the state tax on 
telegraph, telephone and express companies, all of which had refused to pay their 
state taxes for 1891 on the pretense of exorbitant valuation. This was true 
notwithstanding the fact that the entire valuation of the Western Union Tele- 


graph property in the state was only $223,620, on which it was earning at the 
time a handsome dividend. 

The governor stated that payments of the three funding warrants of $53,000 
each and interest, which had been assumed by South Dakota in its settlement 
with North Dakota, were finally accomplished after much difficulty. The entire 
bonded debt of the state June 30, 1892, was $1,040,200. Of this debt the state 
treasurer had succeeded in refunding at a lower rate of interest $92,500. "I renew 
my recommendation to the first and second legislatures that every territorial 
and state statute providing for the expenditure of public money be formally 
repeated, except such items as are included in the general appropriation bill so 
that the state officials may know beyond question, the amount to be by each 
expended." He further stated that it was the duty of the Legislature under 
the constitution to appropriate by specific enactment the public money to be 
expended for the benefit of the state. He said, "A reference to these acts will 
show that they involve the payment annually of from $100,000 to $280,000 by the 
state which the legislatures have failed to take into account of public expenditure 
and for which they make no provisions. Besides the legality of such expenditure 
in many cases cited which have not been adjudicated by the Supreme Court, is 
left in doubt and subject to the construction of some state official. Much embar- 
rassment during the past year has resulted from the failure of the former legis- 
latures to do their duty by either repeahng specifically these statutes or appropriat- 
ing funds to meet their requirements. The present executive has resisted the 
payment of all claims against the state since its organization where a specific 
appropriation has not been made therefore by the State Legislature." The 
governor observed that the growth of the commonwealth was shown by the 
large number of domestic corporations, 675 of which had been created and of 
these about two hundred were for charitable and benevolent purposes. He said 
that the attorney-general had been called in consultation in an attempt to divert 
and checkmake certain movements that were intended to rob the state of its 
school lands. He notes that the reports of the state superintendent showed that 
in 1892 there were 87,317 persons of school age in the state and that the average 
enrollment was 73,962 for the past two years ; that the average number of 
teachers employed was 4,298, the total wages paid $1,381,481 and that there were 
3,253 school buildings of all kinds. The governor noted particularly that 599,360 
acres had been granted by the government as an endowment fund for the edu- 
cational institutions of the state, and that of this acreage 474.671 had already 
been selected. 

In regard to the state institutions, the governor spoke at considerable length 
and with considerable criticism and feeling. The report of the regents of education 
showed that the educational institutions were in prosperous condition. The 
governor stated that he did not believe it wise to expand these institutions unduly 
until the common schools should have been brought up to a higher standard 
in order to become feeders of the higher institution of learning. He said that 
there had been much confusion, ill-will and annoyance in the management of 
these institutions due to the unfortunate conflict of authority and resulting antag- 
onism between the state regents and the local trustees. He asked that the jurisdic- 
tion of each board be definitely defined by an act of the Legislature. He spoke 
of the troubles at the State University and of the hard and conscientious work 


that had been performed there by the faculty to bring the institution up to the 
standard of other state universities. 

The governor referred somewhat in detail to the management of the peniten- 
tiary, the reform school and the asylums and delineated with excellent effect 
what had been accomplished by these institutions. He spoke well of the exacting 
work that had been done by the public examiner in the financial institutions of 
the state. Also, he warmly commended the work of the state oil inspector, labor 
commissioner, board of health, pharmacy board and dental board. He gave 
statistics to prove that there had been a wonderful advance in the mining industry 
of the state. 

The governor said that the railways of South Dakota showed great progress 
in equipment and efficiency, the total earnings in 1891 and 1892 being $8,494,831.94 
and the expenses of maintenance and operation, $512,448.78. He noted that often 
the railways were taxed to their utmost and then could not meet the requirements 
at crop moving times. The railway commissioners could not prevent this block- 
ade. The governor said that the railroad board was little more than an advisory 
board under the law. However, the railways showed a disposition to comply as 
far as practicable with the requests of the board and to do their utmost to meet 
requirements at critical times. At this time H. J. Rice was president of the 
Board of Railway Commissioners and had occupied that important position since 
the organization of the state. The governor again urged that there should be 
but one railway commissioner and that such officer, the public examiner, and 
the attorney-general, should be constituted an appellate board to consider and 
adjust important railway problems. 

In January, 1893, Governor Sheldon assumed the duties of chief executive. 
In his message to the Legislature he spoke particularly of the rapid settlement 
of the state, the vast production of grain, the immense herds of live stock and the 
phenomenal development of every industry. He recommended an adequate 
appropriation for a state exhibit at the World's Fair, and further asked that the 
citizens who had advanced money for the construction of the World's Fair build- 
ing should be reimbursed by the Legislature for their outlays. 

He said, "A large amount of land granted us by the Government for state 
and educational purposes, still remains unselected for want of means to defray 
the expenses of its selection and certification. Wisdom would seem to indicate 
that these lands should be secured as speedily as possible, because our most 
valuable land is taken by settlers under our homestead law. An appropriation 
for this purpose will be asked by the state, and it is believed a reasonable amount 
should be granted." He stated that Congress had given South Dakota one section 
of land in the Sisseton military reservation, together with the fort buildings 
thereon, all to be used by the state for military purposes, but to revert to the 
Government if not so used. He urged that action should be taken to save this 
property to the state. He recommended that the oil inspection law both as to 
kerosene and gasolene be revised and that the duties and power of the oil inspector 
should be increased. He further asked for the inspection of steam boilers, owing 
to the fact that numerous deaths had been caused by the explosion of steam 
boilers connected with threshing machines. 

He noted that there was much complaint throughout the state over the dis- 
crimination in freight rates shown by the railways. He did not believe in an 


indiscriminate war on railways, because he realized their value and importance 
to the state. They were among the pioneers of the inhabitants. On the other 
hand the railroads could do nothing without the people, were valueless without 
their aid and support and should not be permitted to become their masters. He 
therefore urged that unfair and unwise discrimination by the roads should be 
prevented and that they in turn should be treated with fairness and justice. He 
noted that there were many serious objections to taking the office of railway 
commissioner into politics. It meant that the railways themselves would thus 
be forced into political strife in South Dakota with the resulting injurious con- 
sequences. He expressed the belief that the governor should be authorized to 
appoint the railway comnjissioners. 

He further noted the prosperous condition of the various state institutions. 
Their importance, he declared, was admitted, and their usefulness should not 
be infringed. They were entitled to have suitable appropriations, but should not 
be permitted to become one-sided or inefficient in management nor indiscriminate 
and reckless in the use of public funds. He observed that the Soldiers' Home 
had already proved its value and success and declared that it was not a charity 
but a duty which the Government and the state owed to the old soldiers and to a 
grateful and appreciating public. 

The message of Governor Sheldon to the Legislature in January, 1895, dealt 
elaborately on the problem of revenue. The newspapers of the state had per- 
sistently demanded immediate reform in this regard, and the governor now 
stated it was the duty of the Legislature to meet the wishes of the voters. He 
noted particularly that the scanty revenue was insufficient to maintain properly 
the institutions of the state and particularly those founded for penal and chari- 
table purposes. At this session, after transmitting his message to the Legislature, 
he sent a hurried correction or amendment to that body the next day, owing to 
the fact that he had spoken well of the administration of State Treasurer Taylor, 
who had just been pronounced a defaulter. He stated that when the message 
was written he believed his statement to be true, but that recent developments 
convinced him otherwise. The next day Kirk G. Phillips, the incoming treasurer, 
presented a statement showing that Taylor was short $367,023.84. The Legisla- 
ture on receiving this information offered a reward of $2,000 for his apprehen- 
sion. After due investigation at Pierre one of the marvels of the defalcation 
was the apparent fact that Taylor had succeeded in keeping his shortage from 
the knowledge of the other state officials. 

Under the laws of the state, the governor had power to appoint certain other 
officials whenever in his judgment it seemed to the interest of the state to do so. 
Governor Sheldon therefore, for what he believed to be sufficient cause, removed 
President Shannon from the State Board of Regents upon the charge of misap- 
propriating state funds, which accusation Mr. Shannon promptly denied. Soon 
thereafter Governor Sheldon appointed Dr. J- J- Collier of Brookings to the 
place occupied by Mr. Shannon. He likewise prepared to remove Regents Hale 
and Finnerud, both of whom were enjoined from acting as state regents. The 
matter thereupon passed into the jurisdiction of the courts. Governor Sheldon 
held that Shannon had caused to be drawn to himself a voucher of $150 from 
the experiment fund of the Agricultural College for services rendered, which 
act was forbidden by the statute. There was grievous trouble at the same time 

Present fiovernor of South Dakota 


between Mr. Shannon and President McLouth over the forced resignation of 
tlie latter. The State Supreme Court enjoined Mr. Shannon from acting as 
regent, and about the same time the same court enjoined Governor Sheldon from 
removing others of the regents; but the governor refused to be bound by the 
decision of the Circuit Court against him and was accordingly brought before 
tiie tribunal on the charge of contempt. Judge Campbell issued restraining orders 
against all members of the board of regents until they had had time to pass on 
the Sheldon-Shannon imbroglio. In August the case was argued in the Supreme 
Court. Early in May, 1896, the Supreme Court sustained the act of the board 
of regents in making removals from the faculty of the Agricultural College. 
This act apparently sustained Governor Sheldon in filling vacancies that had 
occurred on the board of regents. 

As a consequence of his experience, Governor Sheldon, upon retiring from 
ofrice in January, 1897, recommended that the chief executive of the state should 
be given greater power for the removal of officers who had been appointed by 
himself. As it was the governor, he said, was a mere figurehead. He was unable 
to remove an officer appointed by himself no matter how urgent or imperative 
the cause. "Without such power how could a governor see that such officials 
appointed by himself were honest or carried out the laws?" he asked. 

In his first message to the Legislature in January, 1897, Governor Lee recom- 
mended the enactment of the Iowa railway law ; legislation to regulate the liquor 
traffic; the separation of school institutions from politics; improved registration 
and better election laws; improvement of arid school lands so that they could 
be sold ; improvement of the oil inspection law, and improved revenue laws. He 
said among other things that he had been elected to the office from the ranks of 
the plain people who hoped and expected he would give them a practical business 
administration, therefore he was determined to conduct his administration along 
that line. He brought with him, he said, no practical training in statecraft, but 
depended upon the Legislature to help him put in operation the reforms which 
the party that had elected them had demanded both during the campaign and at 
this session of the Legislature. The people wanted wholesome laws that would 
promote the common welfare. Although elected by partisans they must now 
represent the whole state and not a partisan faction, he declared. One of the 
most important problems was that of economy, but it should not be carried to 
the point of detriment to the public service. He suggested that all state officials 
should save time as well as money and thus serve the state in both particulars. 
He urged the Legislature to do work at the commencement of the session and 
not to wait until near the close and then be obliged to kill many meritorious bills 
or put on the party club in order to force them through the assembly. He 
insisted that the appropriation bill should be reported not later than the thirty- 
fifth day of the session in order that due deliberation on the appropriation for 
every object or institution might have due consideration. He said: "We have 
no right to waste the people's time or draw public money for services not ren- 
dered, and if by conscientious and arduous labors we can shorten the session 
and save expense to the state, we can do nothing that will be more thoroughly 
approved by our constituents." He appealed to his party members of the Legis- 
lature who were in the majority not to disappoint the constituents who had 
trusted them by placing them in power. 


The governor then took up the different topics which he considered of 
greatest importance. He advised that a statute regulating railroad freight and 
passenger tariffs should be passed. He pointed out that the majority of the 
Legislature and state administration stood pledged to the people ■ under the 
Huron platform to enact the Wheeler bill, which was a substantial copy of the 
Iowa railway law. This law, the governor maintained, had withstood all the 
assaults of the railways in the courts of that state. "It was matured long before 
and finally introduced at a session of the Fourth General Assembly, and after a 
terrific struggle was defeated by the pernicious corporation which had infested 
the capitol at every session of the Legislature since the organization of the state. 
The necessity for the enactment of a law governing the railroad carrying traffic 
had been painfully apparent for many years and the people have been frequently 
promised the relief they sought, but up to the present time the promises made 
have been ruthlessly broken and the lobby which has controlled party caucuses, 
and conventions, dictating nominations and appointments, has insolently defied 
public demands and successfully defeated every effort to overthrow its domina- 
tion. This lobby cannot flourish unless it finds public servants that can be fooled 
or bribed." He urged the immediate passage of the measure before the lobby 
could have time to offer any serious obstacles or opposition. He spoke partic- 
ularly of the discrimination practiced by the railroads against the people in the 
different portions of the state. Farmers were unjustly and seriously discrim- 
inated against, the railway charges to market on freight being almost twice as 
much to some portions of the state as to others. In the same way the cities and 
towns were discriminated against. He cited instances where there was a vast 
difference in the cost of marketing corn from different parts in the state. In 
this connection he said, "Rates on corn from all points in the central part of the 
state are greater per bushel than the first cost of the corn in the southern part 
of the state. This entirely prohibits internal commerce and forces the shipment 
of corn to the Chicago market. The demand for the passage of this law is there- 
fore legitimate fruit of railroad abuses." He also noted the vast difference in coal 
rates to different parts of the state. He cited as instance that the rate to Sioux 
City from the nearest coal mine, a distance of about four hundred and thirty 
miles, was $1.76 a ton and to Vermillion, only thirty-three miles further on, was 
$2.30 a ton. Rates for passenger service were equally bad, according to the 
governor. While such rates should be the same as in Iowa and Minnesota, they 
were proportionately much higher. The people had submitted for a long time out 
of consideration for railroad companies to whom the state owed so much, but 
now patience, he declared, had ceased to be a virtue. Nothing unreasonable 
was asked of the railroads, but he insisted that they should share the reversions 
as well as the prosperity which attended the people in their endeavors to build 
up the state. He did not want the railroads to operate at a loss, "but we do insist 
that they shall discontinue the practice of assessing against their customers rates 
which will yield profits over and above operating expenses on millions of dollars 
of watered stock." He was not hostile to the railroads, but wanted justice 
extended to all the people. 

He called particular attention to the needs of the higher educational institu- 
tions. He stated that they should be such as all citizens would be proud to sustain. 
He believed "their usefulness has been impaired and their good name well nigh 


ruined by the scandals which have grown out of their mismanagement." How- 
ever the governor did not specify in what respect the institutions had been mis- 
managed. The fact was they had been well managed, but had been torn to frag- 
ments by the personal rivalries and ambitions of those having them in charge. 
He asked that all such institutions should be permanently divorced from politics. 
He further intimated that sectarianism had probably crept into several of these 
institutions and had done more or less damage. He urged that sectarianism 
should be rigidly excluded from the state institutions by the board of regents. 
He expressed the belief that the board should be elected by the people and not 
be appointed by the governor as it gave the latter too much power. He said, 
"There is no disposition, so far as I know, to disrupt or disorganize any of these 
institutions, but there is urgent necessity for their reorganization upon a basis of 
greater usefulness and broader culture. The appropriations for these institu- 
tions should be liberal, but not extravagant. The time has come when no more 
institutions should be created simply for jobbing purposes or to tickle ambitious 
localities, but those we have should be decently maintained." 

He stated that in his opinion the schools of the state generally should be made 
more useful to the people who maintained them. He spoke in severe terms 
against the school book trust which seemed to have absolute control of the books 
used by the schools of this state, and in this connection said that such organization 
had maintained a lobby at every Legislature to control the .school book supply 
and management. He thought the state should publish its own books. 

He stated further that the state printing was costing too much and should be 
investigated. He favored the registration of voters in order to protect the ballot 
from fraud and from colonization, which had been practiced to some extent 
ever since territorial times. He deprecated betting at elections and declared that 
all such gambling devices and intrigues should be throttled by the Legislature. 

He favored the early organizations of all unorganized counties which desired 
such action in order to place the citizens thereof in a position to prevent and 
punish crime. 

He urged that help should be given to counties which contained school land 
that was arid or otherwise likely to be unproductive, and suggested that wells 
should be sunk at public expense for the purpose of securing water to irrigate 
school lands and spoke particularly of a few such tracts in Meade County. He 
asked that the laws of the state which were now scattered, conflicting and confus- 
ing, should be collected and codified in accordance with the unanimous desire 
of the judges and the courts. The laws of Dakota Territory had been compiled 
in 1887, but now the volumes were so scarce that they were worth from $18 to 
$20 a volume. Hence he urged that under the state government a new code 
should be prepared, because many laws had been repealed, new ones passed, and 
others become obsolete. 

He referred to the Taylor defalcation and said that the Legislature should now 
ascertain the exact status of the matter. He suggested that the Legislature 
should help in giving the state a suitable exhibit at the Trans-Missouri Exposition 
to be held in Omaha. He questioned whether the oil inspector's office should be 
abolished,* and thought it was better perhaps to amplify the power of the oil 
inspector rather than to do away \Vith the office and thus flood the state with oil 
so poor that it had been rejected by other states. 


He spoke at considerable length on the question of revenue and taxation and 
said he had estimated that all receipts had fallen short of actual necessities, and 
hence the state at all times was hard up and compelled to issue temporary war- 
rants and to pay interest thereon. As another result the State Board of Equaliza- 
tion had steadily levied a deficiency tax, and the constitutional limit of two mills 
had been continually exceeded. This had caused much criticism, discussion and 
ill feeling, particularly during the political campaign. The hard times had caused 
a heavy delinquency, but no one was to blame. The practice of issuing revenue 
warrants to be sold for money with which to keep the state's paper at par, was 
humiliating and expensive, he declared. "The temptation under this system is 
strong to issue these revenue warrants months in advance for necessary money, 
thereby furnishing capital at the expense of the people for favorite banking 
institutions — a very profitable privilege to the banks, but a practice which no 
prudent man would employ in his own business. He believed that a constitutional 
amendment, as had been suggested, to increase the regular tax from two to three 
mills would not be favorably received by the state at this time. He thought the 
Legislature must seek new fields to get money. "Our laws relating to ta.xation 
do not give satisfaction. Indeed the question of taxation is difficult of solution. 
No system can be made to suit everybody." He believed that the Legislature 
should remedy the weakness. He stated that corporate property was not propor- 
tionately taxed in South Dakota. Particularly, the railways were taxed only 
about one-tenth of their actual valuation. He called attention to the current 
statement that in the range country west of the Missouri River there was a vast 
amount of property that continually escaped or evaded taxation. It was rumored 
that 200,000 head of cattle in that district were not taxed. This fact was inex- 
cusable and ridiculous. The cattle at this time were owned largely by foreign 
corporations. In any event the Legislature should consider the question of their 
suitable assessment and taxation. 

In a special message to the Legislature on January 9, 1897, Governor Lee 
urgently asked the Legislature to pass an immediate resolution demanding that 
State Treasurer Phillips be required to produce and have counted the state funds 
in his possession before his official bonds should be approved. The governor 
states that he had no authority to count the money and therefore asked the Legis- 
lature to carry this investigation into effect. He said he had learned that the 
treasury contained only $282, while there should be over two hundred and fifty 
thousand dollars. The republican press throughout the state promptly scored 
Governor Lee for his course in compelling Treasurer Phillips to produce the 
cash in the state treasury. Mr. PhiUips signified his willingness to have the 
money counted and promptly issued a statement showing that the funds in his 
possession were distributed in the banks of Chicago, Pierre, Deadwood, Yankton, 
Spearfish, Lead and Rapid City. In all he had deposited in these banks, he 
stated, $282,639.22. In the Pierre banks alone was a total of $71,897.32. The 
charge made by Governor Lee against State Treasurer Phillips was that he 
loaned the state money to banks and pocketed the interest received thereby. The 
governor took the position that this interest was part of the state funds proper 
and that the state treasurer should return it to the treasury. He claimed that this 
was a real shortage which amounted to about fifty-two thousand six hundred and 
fifty-three dollars. The political opponents of Governor Lee declared with much 


emphasis that in asking the Legislature for super-official authority to count the 
money in the state treasury, he was actuated wholly by political motives. They 
declared that the step was taken by the populists with the anxious expectation of 
finding some irregularities, if not worse, in the treasurer's office. A thorough 
search by the investigating committee and a count of all the money in the posses- 
sion of the treasurer, showed no irregularities whatever and cleared that official 
from all suspicion and charges. 

The cash in the Black Hills banks and elsewhere was brought to Pierre under 
the guard of a detachment of Company K, of the Dakota National Guard, from 
Huron. The amount thus brought from the Hills was found to be $188,060. It 
was duly counted by the so-called "third house" which assembled in the Hotel 
Locke. Another train loaded with state gold was stuck for a while in a deep 
snowdrift in Minnesota while soldiers guarded the treasure. "The sensation of 
the day, the 22nd, was the appearance of a company of militia, which boarded the 
train at Huron as escort for the state cash in transit from Chicago. Under this 
guard and with the attendance of six armed messengers who had accompanied 
the money from Chicago, a procession formed at the express office and marched 
to the Capitol building, where the funds were counted by the legislative committee 
appointed for this purpose. The military escort was requested by the state treas- 
urer as a precaution against robbery. When the cash is shipped out Company K 
will escort the funds to the state line. The funds on deposit in the three Pierre 
banks, amounting to $71,000, were also taken to the state house under militia 
escort. The count was completed and the committee reported they found in the 
treasurer's office, the full amount of the state funds and the governor will approve 
Treasurer Phillip's bond." — Press Cor. January 23, 1897. The counting of the 
state cash was attended with many interesting and ludicrous features. The joint 
committee appointed for that purpose was amusingly denominated the "third 
house." They had regular sessions in the Locke Hotel and a large concourse of 
cowboys, inquisitives and legislators gathered to witness the proceedings. The 
leader of the committee was designated Squatter Governor Ballard. In charge 
of the work of counting were Gen. G. A. Silsby yclept state treasurer and the 
commission was manfully guarded by "the bell boys militia company of the 
Locke." The "third house" attracted far greater interest and attention for a time 
than did the regular houses. All assumed that the movement was one calculated 
to kindle amusement, and jokes of every color, garb and description were cracked 
at the expense of the movement and the officials. 

At the legislative session of 1899 the message of Governor Lee proved one of 
the first most important topics for consideration. It was so extremely long, 
forceful and critical that many members of both houses favored not reading it, 
but it was finally read to both houses jointly. Much of the message was saga- 
ciously devoted to answering the many pungent criticisms of his administration. 
Another large section was devoted to Kirk G. Phillips who had conducted more 
or less of a crusade against the governor since his first inauguration. Lie reviewed 
the merits and demerits of the various cases he had instituted in the courts 
against Auditors Mayhew, Hippie and Anderson ; and said the acquittal of 
Mayhew by Judge Gaffay was uncalled for, officious and unjust. He declared the 
judge had decided in positive and contemptuous defiance of a rule of law laid 
down by the Supreme Court. It was owing to these adverse rulings, he declared, 


that he had directed the dismissal of similar suits which he had commenced against 
other officials. He thus took the position that the rulings of the court were unfair 
and unjust, and that by reason of that fact, he was unable to proceed and conse- 
quently had ordered the cases dismissed. 

The governor took up in detail the report of the railroad commission which he 
said was doing good and satisfactory work for the state, and he asked that they 
should be given a larger appropriation to enable them to continue their duty. He 
sustained his veto of the insane hospital appropriation of two years before, 
but observed that the state could better meet such expenses and expansions at the 
present time. He recommended that the statute be so changed as to allow the 
land commissioner to invest state funds in state securities. He devoted much 
space to the question of permitting state officials to accept interest on public 
funds. This was the open charge he had made against Kirk G. Phillips during 
the campaign of 1898 and was the nature of the suits which he had contemplated 
bringing against other state officials. The governor asked for reform in the 
law concerning brand fees. He commended the idea of a referendum, but con- 
sidered the Moody question of free text books more or less of a hobby. The 
entire message was burdened with a review of the vexatious obstacles which the 
governor had valiantly encountered during the two years of his administration. 
He took up in detail and reviewed with apt discrimination the progress that had 
been made by the state institutions, and said that the work done by all was com- 
prehensive, effective and along the line of improvement. He expressed a belief 
that the state had enough state institutions, but that the number already in exist- 
ence should be furnished with adequate means for potent operation. He warmly 
congratulated the state on the adoption of the progressive principle of direct 
legislation, and expressed the sincere opinion that it was the duty of the Legis- 
lature to make this path easy and clear for subsequent administrations in this state. 

He observed that the state was nearly out of debt, which fact was due in the 
main to better crops and thus better times. He noted that the liquor license 
receipts amounted to $60,000, and said that the total state revenue in two years 
amounted to $3,905,024.46 and that the disbursements amounted to $3,405,506.02. 
The state debt from January i, 1897, to January i, 1899, he said, had been reduced 
$554,501.60, and the net debt on the latter date was $738,300. He asked what 
should be done with the interest on the state funds which had been deposited in 
various banks by the treasurer. Kirk G. Phillips. He stated that an investigation 
of the treasurer's books had shown that they had been doctored, and he declared 
that it was the duty of the Legislature to look into the matter. He boasted of 
the passage of the amendment on initiative and referendum, and insisted that it 
was the bounden duty of the Legislature to put these reform measures into active 
operation. The amendment for state control of the liquor traffic had carried at the 
election of 1898, therefore it was now incumbent on the Legislature to provide 
for a state dispensary law in accordance with the pronouncement of that elec- 
tion. He stated that some action concerning the fellow servant problem should 
be taken and recommended eight-tenths of a mill as a permanent appropriation 
fund for the state educational institutions to be apportioned among them accord- 
ing to their proportionate needs. He reviewed in detail the questions of assess- 
ment and taxation and insisted that radical reform was necessary. He showed 
that 60 per cent of the burden of taxation was now placed upon the land, and 


that in a considerable portion of the state, land was assessed at its full value and 
that in no case was it assessed at less than one-third of its value ; and that bank 
stock, moneys, and credits, and all forms of profit-bearing securities, practically 
escaped taxation. Live stock, he said, was assessed all it could legally stand. 
Railways escaped taxation and so did other large corporations throughout the 

In speaking of the railways he said, "These institutions have grown so bold 
and audacious that they appear to believe the state was created for them to 
plunder. During two sessions of the state board of assessment I have made 
a conscientious efYort to increase railroad valuations, but being unaided by any 
member of the board except the auditor, I found the task practically hopeless. 
It is an outrage upon the state that this class of property dictates how much 
taxes it will pay and this outrage has been rendered unbearable by the frequent 
insolent declarations of the railway representatives before the board, that their 
companies would pay no rnore taxes unless they were allowed virtually to fix 
their own valuations." He said that the railways did not make an honest and 
comprehensive return of their annual earnings to the state. He cited instances 
where both the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul and Chicago and Northwestern 
railways had brazenly shown that their earnings had steadily decreased instead 
of increased during the previous seven years. He called attention to the fact 
that the big mining companies of the Black Hills escaped taxation except upon 
a ridiculously small portion of their property. The annual product of the hills, 
he said, was $8,000,000, while their tax was a mere bagatelle. 

At the legislative session of 1899 Governor Lee vetoed many bills, more 
perhaps than any other governor thus far during statehood; but not as many 
as Governor Church had vetoed during his term as territorial executive. While 
the republican newspapers severely criticised Governor Lee for many of his 
acts, no one questioned that he was conscientious, honest and fair minded; and 
all were pleased that he could not be blufifed, bullied or bull-dozed by politicians 
or other self-seekers. All admitted his courage and sound judgment, even 
though they might oppose his politics. 

The following important measures were vetoed by Governor Lee : Perman- 
ent educational levy ; depository act ; sugar bounty bill ; pure caucus bill ; increase 
in judges' salaries; license to steam engineers; to abolish days of grace; to allow 
non-English reading voters to have help in marking ballots ; to prevent a man's 
name from appearing twice on a ballot ; to establish a Normal School at Water- 
town ; to establish a Normal School at Aberdeen ; appropriation for Springfield 
Normal School. He gave his reasons for every veto, and his friends accepted 
his views as reasonable and wise. On the other hand he was rigorously 
criticised by the republican press of the state. 

In his retiring message to the Legislature in 1901 Governor Lee opened by 
saying that nothing of grave importance had disturbed the growth and tran- 
quillity of the state during the past two years. The tide of immigration had 
set in toward South Dakota with great strength, and the increase of population 
from 1890 to 1900 was 22 per cent. He noted that the public health generally 
throughout the state was good; that peace had been constant and unbroken; that 
the education of youth had advanced at rapid and felicitous strides; that the 
total of state school funds had already reached the vast amout of $3,372,926.16, 


and that it was now yielding annually for the support of public schools about 
two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. 

Governor Lee said that so long as the present crude system of assessment 
and taxation prevailed the question of revenue would be all important and one 
of extreme difficulty. As the state was bound to increase rapidly in wealth and 
population, it was necessary that the Legislature should provide for its propor- 
tionate and harmonious development; that all stages of growth should be 
weighed and considered in order that justice might be done and ail property 
owners be required to pay their just proportion of the public expenses. The 
revenue law was wholly inadequate, was cumbersome, confusing and out of 
date and should be amended or killed. The state had steadily been borrowing 
next year's revenues and paying interest thereon to meet this year's expense until 
the Hmit in this unwise respect was almost reached. Now the heads of the 
state institutions asked for appropriations amounting to a total of $930,000, and 
he noted that this sum was greater than had been the total expense of maintain- 
ing the institutions during any previous biennial period prior to 1899. He called 
attention to the fact that the state auditor had just announced that by July i, 
1901, the state deficit would amount to between $150,000 and $200,000. He 
stated that there were three ways open through which to meet this deficiency : 
(i) To register warrants at a high rate of interest and take them up as rapidly 
as the increasing revenue permitted; (2) to issue bonds which though at a 
lower rate of interest would cost more than registered warrants in the end: 
(3) that the business like way was to tax all the property of the state in an 
equitable manner, instead of allowing railroad, telegraph, telephone, express and 
mining corporations to escape their just burden of taxation. He said that the 
state board of equalization had pretended in 1899 and 1900 to raise the railway 
assessments, but that the increased valuations were really and injustly placed 
upon other over-taxed forms of property held by the people. The increase on 
other property was so great, said the governor, that the railroad companies 
actually paid less money proportionately into the state treasury than they had 
previously paid under smaller valuations. He recommended that in order to 
avoid the undue influence of the railway companies over the state board of 
equalization an assessment law should be enacted giving assessors power to fix 
the valuation of railway property within such counties. ,He recommended that 
the telephone and telegraph companies should be placed under the authority of 
the railroad commissioners who should be given power to regulate railway rate 
charges. He said that telephone charges were outrageously high — that the rates 
charged the previous year were more than the cost of construction and operation 
and that a reduction of 50 per cent should be made thereto in all justice. He 
believed the state should buy up the existing telephone lines or build and operate 
its own system. 

Concerning the finances of the state, Governor Lee said that they were as 
a whole in as good condition as could be expected. Expenses were high and 
getting higher and the revenue was low and getting worse. On June 30, 1899, 
the cash balance was $537,110; on June 30, 1900, it was $555,701. Registered 
warrants had been issued on which the interest charge at 7 per cent amounted 
to $4,891. These warrants were worth par. He said: "It seems absurd that 
a state should tie its hands by the creation of separate funds and be forced to 


pay interest on its own money or suffer depreciation of its paper. For two 
years the banks in which the treasury deposits its funds, have held nearly half 
a million dollars belonging to the different state funds and still the state has 
paid the banks interest to keep its general fund warrants at par. We have paid 
the bank cashiers 7 per cent to transfer our money from one state fund to 
another. Some method should be devised to allow a safe transfer of funds and 
avert the further registration of general fund warrants. The books of the 
treasury disclosed no interest paid to the state by depository banks although 
there is the best of reason for believing that the practice of receiving interest 
on state deposits indulged in by former treasurers is still in vogue. It was 
proved by the bank books that ex-Treasurer Phillips had received interest on 
daily balances on state funds deposited in the Dakota National Bank at Sioux 
Falls, and that someone had endeavored by the use of chemicals to destroy the 
evidence of the offense. The amount of this shortage on interest received from 
various banks was estimated to be over fifty thousand dollars. I placed the 
findings of the public examiner before the last Legislature and the attorney 
general. Both made the treasurer's offense their own by neglecting to protect 
the public interest." Governor Lee thereupon recommended the following reforms 
in the office of the state treasurer: (i) The treasurer should be paid a salary 
commensurate with his duties and responsibilities; (2) his bond should be in- 
creased to the full amount of his liabihty, it being now only one-half the amount 
of money collected and disbursed each year; (3) a depository law to force banks 
to pay interest on state deposits or else the funds should be locked in the state 
iron vaults. The governor further said: "There can be no good reason offered 
why a state treasurer should be permitted to enjoy a sinecure by which he makes 
from twelve thousand to fifteen thousand dollars per year at the expense of the 
people." He noted that the state debt had been reduced by $248,000 in two years 
and that the total indebtedness June 30, 1900, was $613,300. He recommended 
that the Legislature appropriate $28,662 for the purpose of refunding to the 
counties the amounts advanced by them to bring back to South Dakota the First 
Regiment from the Philippine Islands. 

In 1901 Governor Lee recommended the following: A law governing and 
controlling corporations ; improvement of railway freight and passenger rates : 
prohibition of the sale of oleomargarine; repeal of the wolf bounty law which 
he said had cost the state $40,000 in two years and was probably both fraudulent 
and unjust ; correction of weaknesses and errors in the liquor laws ; a law to 
compel officers of state institutions to furnish bonds for the safe conveyance into 
the state treasury of all revenue collected by them. 

In his message to the Legislature in January, 1901, Governor Herreid recom- 
mended that the board of regents of the state educational institutions be increased 
from five to seven members ; that the office of commissioner of immigration be 
re-established in order to better enlighten the world as to South Dakota's agri- 
cultural, live stock, dairying and mineral resources ; that the governor be given 
adequate power to remove undeserving officials who had been appointed by him- 
self ; that the office of state veterinarian be made a salaried one and the duty of 
the office be made to include a study and investigation of the causes of infectious 
diseases; that the office of dairy and food commissioner be created and that 
official be empowered to enforce the pure food law. 


At this session, out of sixteen recommendations by Governor Herreid, all 
except three were adopted. He had recommended no assisting committee; how 
to mark ballots, a name to appear but once on the ballot; a secretary for the 
board of regents; appropriation for a geological survey; power of governor to 
remove officers ; a salaried veterinary surgeon ; a new state fair board ; appropria- 
tion for the state fair; the pure food and dairy commissioner to be elected by the 
vote of the people; legislation for the Soldiers' Home; organization of the 
State Historical Society; appropriations. These were the measures approved by 
Governor Herreid, and were passed by the Legislature. 

The message of Governor Herreid to the Legislature of 1901 was pronounced 
by the press to be a strong document. "It has the twentieth century ring, and 
there is not a despondent or discordant note in the whole composition," said a 
republican newspaper. One of the first subjects considered by him was that the 
election of igoo revealed a grave defect in the election laws which should be at 
once remedied by the Legislature. "Experience has demonstrated that a ballot 
law which permits the name of a candidate to appear on the ballot more than 
once for the same office leads to confusion and fraud," he observed, and there- 
fore recommended that this defect should be promptly corrected. 

He advised the Legislature to sustain liberally the state educational system 
and expressed the opinion that the number of members of the board of regents 
should be increased from five to seven and that the board should be given the 
services of a secretary. 

He said that South Dakota had for years been famous as a great wheat pro- 
ducer, and that now the state was known far and wide as a great live stock and 
dairy producer. He insisted that the tide of immigration should be directed to 
the undeveloped fertile lands of the state, and that the office of commissioner 
of immigration should be re-established. He further advised liberal appropria- 
tions and support of farmers' institutes. 

He said that South Dakota had developed astonishingly in mineral wealth and 
that its mine products of the future were established and certain without doubt 
or question. He noted that Prof. J. E. Todd, of the state university, had prepared 
a scholarly and valuable report on certain phases of state geology ; had done so on 
an exceedingly small appropriation ; and had been at great expense. It was 
proper that he should be suitably recompensed. 

He declared that the present insane and chaotic condition of the statutes 
relative to the powers of the executive in removing his own appointees caused 
him to earnestly insist that this Legislature "should take some action upon the 
subject. As the law is at present, there is no doubt that some appointees may be 
removed at the pleasure of the executive and as little doubt that others cannot be, 
while as to the large majority of such appointees the law is ambiguous and uncer- 
tain. Since the executive, as is ever the case, is charged with the acts of his 
appointees, his power to remove them should not be uncertain and he should be 
given complete and absolute power over his subordinates to remove them at pleas- 
ure should he deem their actions derogatory to his administration." He there- 
fore, unhesitatingly and courteously requested the Legislature to give him such 

He remarked that the live stock industry of the state was assuming gigantic 
proportions and that the present laws did not suitably protect and care for this 


class of property. He recommended that the state veterinary surgeon should 
be paid an adequate and liberal salary, should be given authority to establish 
quarantine to prevent the spread of animal diseases, and should be empowered to 
investigate and study the subject in order to prevent animal diseases from secur- 
ing a foothold and from spreading over the state. He noted that the state fair 
had become a valued and established state institution, and that its wise manage- 
ment and proper conduct, its usefulness and powers should be studied and devel- 
oped by the Legislature. 

The governor said that in 1899 the Legislature had prudently enacted a pure 
food law, but that it had remained inoperative because there was no provision 
made to put it in operation. He recommended the creation of the office of dairy 
and food commissioner with full power to investigate those subjects from the 
standpoint of health and success. 

He favored a new legislative apportionment and said that one of the duties 
of this Legislature was to abrogate the partisan inequality existing in the state 
under present district limits. He questioned whether the state should make an 
appropriation for an exhibit at the Pan-American Exposition, but spoke favor- 
ably of an appropriation for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. 

In regard to the soldier's home the governor promised to see that the insti- 
tution should be well managed, and he asked that necessary appropriations be 
made in order that the inmates whom the state and nation admired, respected 
and revered, and to whom they owed so much, could be properly cared for. He 
expressed the wish that the Legislature after mature deliberation would select 
the right man for United States senator, and promised that as governor he 
would obey the mandate of the people who had placed him in this responsible 
and honorable position. He noted that the people during the campaign and in 
the platforms had indicated what they wanted him to do and he promised faith- 
fully to carry out their wishes to the best of his ability. At this time he recom- 
mended the establishment of a state historical society and hoped that an ample 
appropriation therefor would be made. 

In his message to the Legislature in January, 1903, Gov. C. N. Herreid 
called attention to many important wants throughout the state. He noted the 
deaths of three prominent citizens, James H. Kyle, John L. Pyle and Frank J. 
Washabaugh. He called particular attention to the wonderful prosperity that 
had come to the state within the past two or three years. Never before had 
South Dakota advanced so rapidly along every avenue of prosperity. Two 
years previously the state administration had been changed in political com- 
plexion by the will of the people who had placed the republicans again in power, 
and he ascribed much of the unexampled prosperity to the proper management 
of state institutions under this change of government. He observed that he had 
filled numerous vacancies with men well qualified to carry on the official duties 
of the state. He said, "Impressed with the belief that the affairs of the state 
should be managed according to the rules of business recognized by managers 
of great and successful organizations, my first efforts to apply these convic- 
tions came in the selection of men to fill the various responsible positions in the 
service of the state. I soon found that my ideals of good government were not 
easily put into practice. Whenever I have believed that the public service could 
be made better I have ignored applications for appointments and even the recom- 


mendations of my best friends in order to carry out my convictions of duty. 
Generally speaking, the offices have been seeking the men. Sometimes it has 
required a personal appeal to their sense of duty as good citizens to assume 
definite official burdens which to them meant neither honor nor reward. I have 
constantly endeavored to enforce the doctrine that the offices were not created 
for the benefit of any individual or class of individuals, that with each position 
there were certain peculiar duties and responsibilities and that whenever any 
official fails to measure up to the requirements of the position he must step out 
willingly, if possible, but if not, then expeditiously by order of the appointing 
power. The act of the Legislature of 1901 giving the governor power to uncere- 
moniously remove officials is a most important step toward good government." 

In his message the governor entered into details concerning the financial affairs 
of the state. He announced that the bonded debt during the fiscal year ending 
June, 1902, had been reduced $185,000. Of this sum only $35,000 was matured, 
all the remainder being paid before maturity and in this way the state had been 
saved in interest alone about $43,000. During the previous five years the bonded 
debt had been reduced $710,700 by a small, almost imperceptible, tax levy, thereby 
reducing the annual interest from $59,000 to $10,000. The remaining bonded 
indebtedness was $427,500. There was also outstanding in revenue warrants 
$150,000, bearing 4^4 per cent interest and falling due April i, 1903. They had 
been issued May i, 1902, in accordance with the law of 1895, and in accordance 
with the practice that had been established during nearly all former administra- 
tions. The governor showed that the issue of the revenue warrants was made 
necessary by the large appropriations of the Legislature of 1901. He said, "The 
Legislature which convened January 8, 1891, was confronted with a variety of 
deficiencies and claims against the state created by the various boards that have 
been administering the affairs of the state." In all there were seventeen of such 
claims aggregating a total of $68,386.08. In addition the Legislature had seen 
fit to appropriate $180,790 for new buildings and other permanent improvements 
of the state institutions. All of this combined made a total deficiency of $258,- 
356.08. As the state had greatly increased in importance and magnitude and as 
its institutions and offices had all widened greatly in their duties and functions, 
there was now, the governor said, a much larger demand than even before for 
more money to pay the expenses of all state departments. It had been found 
necessary to put on many additional clerks and to widen the sphere of operations 
of all state institutions, all of which had increased the expenses and exhausted 
the available funds. It was therefore incumbent upon this Legislature to make 
liberal appropriations to meet the altered and enlarged conditions. The gov- 
ernor said: "'These expenditures exhausted the funds in the treasury available 
for current expenses and produced the anomalous condition of warrants 'not 
paid for want of funds' and drawing interest while the cash on hand in the 
state treasury December 30, 1902, was $727,248.81. This unfortunate state of 
affairs has been caused by legislative appropriations in excess of the revenues of 
the state and by failure to enact legislation that will enable the safe investment 
of the accumulating school funds. During the last few years the state has lost 
thousands of dollars in interest paid on revenue warrants and registered war- 
rants and a vastly larger sum by accumulating funds lying idle in the treasury. 
Your attention is directed to this extraordinary expenditure aggregating more 


than two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. This sum is so much in excess of 
the revenue of the state that the difference between the expenditures and the 
revenues will continue during the present biennial period, as appears from the 
report of the state auditor. From the estimate of the auditor it will appear that 
the inherited deficiencies will be carried forward and that it will require another 
deficiency levy to pay current expenses and balance the extraordinary appropri- 
ations of two years ago. The ofiicials charged with the financial aft'airs of the 
state are helpless to eft'ect a remedy. The appropriations are made by the Legis- 
lature, the revenues of the state are limited, but the power of the Legislature to 
pass appropriation bills for lawful purposes is unlimited." 

The governor stated that the permanent school fund on June 30, 1902, was 
$4,084,566.59, of which amount $538,511.06 was idle in the treasury. The 
schools had thus lost $16,000 in interest in one year. The school land commis- 
sioner stated that the school fund would undoubtedly reach $31,000,000 in the 
end if all the rest of the school land brought only $14.60 average per acre, as it 
had brought thus far. What to do with this large trust fund was the most impor- 
tant question of the day. The governor advised that it be invested at the best 
rate practicable consistent with absolute security. The Legislature should care- 
fully consider the question and provide how this should be accomplished. He 
remarked that the state treasurer's bond of $250,000 was not high enough, 
because quite often the total amount in his possession was from two to three 
times as large. The condition of the treasury at this time is shown by the follow- 
ing figures : 

Cash on hand July i, 1900 $ S55>70i-37 

Receipts for year ending June 30, 1901 1,738,587.24 

Total June 30. 1901 $2,294,288.61 

Cash on hand July i, 1901 $ 764,888.46 

Receipts for year ending June 30, 1902 2,174,257.47 

Total June 30, 1902 $2,939>i45-93 

Cash on hand July i, 1902 840,525.40 

"On June 18, 1902," said the governor, "the cash in the treasury was $1,103,- 
710.58." For these reasons he urged that the treasurer's bond should be 
increased. He did not believe that the usual surety or guaranty bond was free 
from objections, though good in many respects. In case of a general panic such 
surety company might fail, in which case the bond would be worthless. On the 
other hand, a bond with from 50 to 100 good local or state names would be 
certainly reliable and sufficient. 

Concerning the inspection of illuminating oils the governor in 1903 said. 
"I am informed by the oil inspector that he has been continually deceived, ham- 
pered and annoyed by representatives of oil companies who evade the existing 
laws with impunity." He therefore recommended that the oil inspector be called 
before the Legislature to give all information possible in order that the laws 
might be effective and suitable. 

The governor said that the attorney-general was at this time investigating 
the subject of requiring fraternal societies of all kinds to pay tax; recommended 


an appropriation for the state geologist who recently had made important dis- 
coveries concerning the artesian water supply, but had not been paid commen- 
surate with his services; noted that the report of the state veterinary surgeon 
showed that great progress had been made in controlling all stock diseases in 
South Dakota; said that the report of the state mine inspector, Thomas Gregory, 
showed that enormous advances had been made in the mining industr}' of South 

The governor commended the report of the state board of embalmers; said 
that the report of the state engineer of irrigation showed that great changes had 
taken place in the problem of irrigation in South Dakota and that great advances 
had already been made; announced that the reports of all state institutions showed 
that all state buildings had suffered great decay, that many were old and dilapi- 
dated, and he therefore asked for an appropriation of $30,000 to make repairs on 
these buildings; observed that the project for good roads throughout the state 
had made a notable advance within a few years ; said that good roads like good 
streets made good homes and economized time, saved money and reduced wear 
and tear of vehicles and horses ; suggested that the old custom of working out 
the poll tax be repealed and that the road officer having the responsibility of 
good roads on his shoulders should be appointed ; asked for the enforcement of 
the game law, said that pot hunters should be abolished wholly, insisted that 
all hunting out of season should be adequately punished, and asked that the 
transportation of game out of the state be prohibited. 

The governor said that the board of pharmacy should be divorced from the 
pharmaceutical association and that such association should not be allowed to 
dictate bondsmen, nor redistrict the state, nor fix annual license fees, nor foist 
upon the board a secretary and treasurer, nor pay the salary and traveling 
expenses of its officers out of the funds belonging to the state treasury'. He 
declared that the Legislature should determine whether the time had come to 
repeal the free range law ; also when the time should come that the 750,000 
acres in the free range could be made a source of revenue to the school and 
endowment funds. He made several recommendations concerning aid to the 
state fair and concerning the expense incurred by state officers in going to San 
Francisco to formally name the battleship South Dakota. 

Every governor of South Dakota, from Mellette down to Herreid, had 
urgently asked the Legislature for power to remove their appointees, but all had 
been denied this authority. Governors Sheldon and Lee demanded this power 
for a specific purpose, while Governor Herreid demanded it on general principles, 
with the expectation no doubt that he might have urgent need for its use. The 
election of a certain man to the governorship is undoubtedly preceded by the 
opinion among the people that certain measures should be carried into effect, 
and that such official should have sufficient power to enable him to carry out the 
policy and principles which ser\'ed as the basis of his election. Often political 
principles were at stake. Sometimes economic principles cut the greatest figure. 
More than once in the history of South Dakota the management of the state 
institutions was more important than any other problem, and yet for reasons 
not altogether clear, or for none at all, the Legislature had refused thus far to 
grant such power to the state executive. Governor Sheldon had urgent need 
for such power when he attempted to remove Regent Shannon from the state 


board, but in this case there were equal chances that Shannon was right and 
Governor Sheldon was wrong. Perhaps it was right that this prerogative was 
too sweeping and drastic to be given the governor. Governor Lee unhesitatingly 
dismissed every appointee who proved unfaithful to his trust. However, many 
believed that in his zeal for upright official conduct he carried matters to an 
unwarranted extreme. It was no secret that Regent Spafford and Regent Blair 
did not in some way measure up to the requirements of Governor Lee. More 
than one newspaper declared that the inability of the governor to remove these 
men was the bar of salvation between the state institutions and a political revo- 
lution. With such power it was seen that the governor if so disposed might 
become domineering, autocratic and might make the executive office one that 
was offensive and crushing to the management of various state departments. A 
governor controlled by malice or consumed with political ambition could nullify 
the power of every state board and arrogate to himself control of the board of 
charities, board of regents, superintendent of the reform school, superintendent of 
the insane asylum, warden of the penitentiary, and president and faculty to 
every state educational institution. On the other hand, a prudent, wise and honest 
governor could and should carry into effect the policy and principles of the 
dominant party if he were given such power. Thus it was regarded as a matter 
of honest opinion based upon personal judgment, whether such power should be 
granted to the state executive. 

Governor Elrod said in 1905 that the natural tendency of things was for 
much property to escape taxation and as real estate was the most tangible and 
accessible it was compelled to bear the greatest burden of taxation. Thus the 
homes which should carry the lightest burden were compelled to bear the heav- 
iest. If anything escaped taxation, he declared, it should be the homes of the 
people. At the present time about 75 per cent, of the tax was paid on other 
than personal property. This condition should be rigorously changed by neces- 
sary legislation. Money lenders concealed their cash, bonds and mortgages and 
escaped investigation while real estate and homes sustained the cities, the schools 
and the state. The state wanted and must have revenue. The people wanted 
equitable assessment and taxation. It was therefore the duty of the Legislature 
to meet this requirement without delay, evasion or equivocation. 

The governor remarked that this Legislature was probably the ablest in per- 
sonnel of any that had yet assembled in the state. "You will fail in your duty 
if you do not remedy some of the gross inequalities in the present tax laws. 
Let us put aside politics, schemes and combines for larger appropriations and 
each and every one aid the clearest and wisest heads in bringing forth an impor- 
tant tax code, one that will be fairer and more equitable to our people and one 
that will put up the tax on much property that now escapes taxation. * * * 
Candidly and seriously, the most important question before the Legislature is the 
problem of taxation, and if this Legislature does not do its duty it will be the 
most important question for the next and each succeeding Legislature until it is 
rightfully settled. South Dakota is behind the times in handling taxation 

He noted that the telegraph and telephone charges throughout the state were 
unjustly high and burdensome and needed suitable regulation. He further said 
that the time had come to lower the rate of interest. "It is a shame that any 


citizen can be required to pay such a rate. It is not fair to borrower, neither is 
it consistent with sound banking principles." 

Inasmuch as the people had recently voted to amend the law relating to the 
loaning of the permanent school funds, he believed that the Legislature should 
provide the method of determining the amount of such fund which should be 
invested from time to time, but that great care should be used. 

He observed that cattle mange had appeared in several places in the state 
and suggested that steps to check the disease should be taken at once. He recom- 
mended that each township be required to construct a dipping plant when directed 
to do so by the county board, such plant to be under control of township super- 
visors, and each township to bear the expense of construction. As the national 
Government was making strenuous efforts to stamp out this disease, this state, he 
declared, should not hesitate to help the movement. 

The governor recommended the construction at the earliest practicable date 
of a twine plant at the penitentiary for the following reasons: (i) Useful em- 
ployment for the inmates; (2) reduction of the cost of twine to the farmers; 
(3) if well managed such a plant would place a profit in the state treasury. 
Therefore, concluded the governor, if the revenue of the state warrants it, an 
appropriation for this purpose should be made. He asked the Legislature to 
establish the parole system and provide for the indeterminate seiitence of con- 
victs. He also asked that a chaplain be permanently provided for the peniten- 
tiary, and said that a kind word from a good man at the right time could not be 
overestimated in its excellent effect upon convicts — that the penitentiary should 
be governed largely by kindness. 

He said that the main building of the soldier's home needed repairs and 
recommended that a reasonable appropriation be made to give the old soldiers 
proper housing and care, both of which seemed lacking. He noted that Gen. S. 
J. Conklin had asked for $70,000 for the national guard, but he expressed the 
belief that half this sum would be sufficient. A little later when the Legislature 
granted the $35,000 appropriation asked by Governor Elrod for the national 
guard. General Conklin resigned his position. 

The governor noted that South Dakota was emphatically an agricultural 
state and that therefore the state board of agriculture should by all means be 
provided with sufficient means to take suitable care of the agricultural interests. 
The Legislature should provide for holding farmers' institutes under the super- 
vision and direction of the agricultural college. He said, "Every state in the 
Union save South Dakota and Arkansas provides for these institutes. Our 
people are prone to do too much poor farming and plant too much poor seed. 
If the institutes did nothing but instruct our farmers how to select seed corn, 
we would in five years' time double our corn crop in quantity and quality." Con- 
cerning the primary law and its effects when put into operation, the governor 
said: "With our appropriations exceeding our revenues and with no safe or 
adequate capitol building, we do not think it advisable for the state to go into the 
experiment business. If once such a law is enacted at least 90 per cent of all 
offices will be filled by men who live in towns and cities and it will be only a 
question of time until the rural districts would be unrepresented." This was 
the opinion of many citizens at this date. He declared that a primary law would 
be expensive and unfair, would raise taxation, would place the unworthy rich 


man in office and leave the struggling poor man no part in carrying on the impor- 
tant affairs of the state. He believed that a good caucus law would answer 
every purpose. The governor observed that the time had come for the construc- 
tion of a suitable capitol building and recommended that plans for a structure to 
cost $500,000 should now be adopted and a reasonable appropriation be made by 
this Legislature with which to commence its construction. He said, "For the 
purpose of defraying extraordinary expenses and making public improvements, 
or to meet casual deficits or failures in revenue, the state may contract debts 
never to exceed, with previous debts, in the aggregate $100,000, and no greater 
indebtedness shall be incurred for the purpose of repelling invasion." He recom- 
mended that one wing of the capitol building be constructed in 1905, and noted 
that if the present frame temporary capitol building should be burned the invalu- 
able Supreme Court Hbrary and all state files and records, which neither time 
nor money could ever replace, would be totally destroyed. 

The governor expressed the emphatic belief that the salary of the attorney- 
'general was miserably low and wholly inadequate to meet the dignity and require- 
ments of that important and responsible office and that it should at once be 
increased to a suitable amount. 

He stated that the regulation of railroads was a question of vast importance 
not to this state alone but to the whole country ; that the railroad rate bill pending 
in Congress was one indication of what would likely happen soon in every state 
of the Union and that South Dakota should not be behind the others in effecting 
such regulations. He said, "Railroads are public servants, and should serve the 
people well and reasonably. They should be managed with due regard to the 
interests of the people. The state should treat them fairly and they in return 
should respect the rights and wishes of the people. If existing laws were not 
adequate to protect the rights of the people, laws that are such should be 

He recommended economy in all transactions of the Legislature. He talked 
at considerable length about assessment and taxation, became humorous and sar- 
castic concerning the state's weaknesses in these particulars, dwelt on the won- 
derful progress made by the state during the past four years and made the 
following boasts : (i) Splendid educational institutions; (2) normal certificates 
for teachers; (3) state aid to high schools; (4) management of state school and 
public lands; (5) effective work of the public examiner; (6) probability of the 
early commencement of a new state house. 

By 1905 the state fair had become an institution of great advertising value 
to the state and the governor thereupon, for that reason alone, if no other, rec- 
ommended a liberal appropriation for its maintenance and expansion. He called 
the attention of the pure food commissioner to the frightful adulterations of 
nearly every article of food disposed of within the state limits, but noted the 
excellent work that was being done by the commissioner to end this alarming 
state of affairs. In March, 1905, a meeting of the county auditors and the board 
of equalization at Pierre was glowingly and exultantly pronounced by the news- 
papers a grand success. Every feature of their work was disctissed, analyzed, 
compared and extolled. New rules generally were agreed upon, made uniform 
and accepted cheerfully by the county auditors present. 
Toi. m— 1« 


After 1905 South Dakota was no longer a crestfallen and a borrowing state. 
The farmers generally had paid off their mortgages, had large sums of money to 
invest or loan and all had available and swollen bank accounts. From 1897 to 
1905 inclusive, the statistics of the state showed a marvelous increase of wealth 
in every department of industry. The appropriations of the Legislature in 1905 
for the biennial period amounted to $1,702,354, including railways, express com- 
panies, etc. This was more than $210,000 less than it had been two years before. 
The general appropriation bill of 1905 amounted to $1,347,310. 

The law of March, 1905, provided for an annual joint meeting of the county 
auditors and the board of equalization to consider the questions and problems of 
assessment and taxation and provide for the employment of tax ferrets by county 
boards. In 1905 both Governor Herreid, the retiring executive, and Governor 
Elrod, executive-elect, gave revenue and taxation the first consideration in their 
messages to the Legislature. This showed how important, even momentous, the 
question had grown in South Dakota. The inevitable climax of improvement was 
swiftly approaching. Reform and advancement in taxation was now demanded 
with such emphasis that the legislators could barely hold put against odds. In 
1905 the state valuation of property of all kinds was $199,326,081. 

In 1905 Mrs. Mellette won her legal fight to retain possession of her home- 
stead property in Watertown. This case had vexed the courts for many years, 
for sentimental reasons mainly, but at last was settled in her favor. Governor 
Mellette had been on Taylor's bond to the amount of $50,000. Upon his defalca- 
tion the governor loyally and squarely turned over to the authorities all his prop- 
erty, including the homestead. It was now generally demanded by the citizens 
and was so held by the courts, that this homestead of the Mellette family should 
be exempt from this unfortunate obligation. 

The governor recommended that the railroad commissioners should be au- 
thorized by law to employ experts to ascertain the actual value of all railway 
property in the state, with the following two principal objects in view: (i) In 
order to make such valuations the basis of freight and passenger rate schedules ; 
(2) in order to learn the actual value of railway property so that the state board 
of equalization could make correct, adequate and just assessments. In this con- 
nection he said, "I earnestly recommend this subject to you as one of the greatest 
that demands efifective legislation at your hands." 

In January, 1907, Governor Elrod in his message to the Legislature made 
numerous requests, suggestions and recommendations. He asked for an anti- 
pass law, for an immigration commissioner, and for a new primary law; dwelt 
on the rapidly increasing importance of improving the common schools and the 
high schools ; noted the excellent condition of the state penal and charitable insti- 
tutions ; estimated the expense of the state militia for two years at $30,000 ; 
showed that the condition of the soldiers' home was satisfactory and never bet- 
ter ; asked for a permanent memorial in honor of Governor Mellette ; advised a 
heavy appropriation for the new state capitol; explained the fallacy of agitating 
the question of withdrawing school lands from sale by noting that if the lands 
were handled as wisely in the future as they had been in the past it would require 
307 years to sell what remained; called the attention of the Legislature to the 
importance and wisdom of revising the revenue law; asked for an adequate 
appropriation for the state fair; suggested that the state should aid in the rapid 


and specific development of the forestry industry; pointed out the surprising 
expansion of the corn growing area and the improvement in the quahty and 
value of the corn itself ; asked for a more prudent and stringent game law ; 
insisted that the state should at least help to construct better roads ; recommended 
that the rate of interest be reduced from 12 per cent to 10 per cent; and asserted 
that the divorce law was too liberal and farcical. 

The administration of Samuel Elrod as governor of South Dakota from 1905 
to 1907 was generally regarded as one of the most practical, straightforward, 
honest and sincere that had ever been given the state. He did not possess uncom- 
mon intellectual qualities, nor exceptional oratorical gifts ; was not high-headed 
nor egotistical and was exactly the opposite of a bigot. The result was that his 
administration was practical, successful and satisfactory. 

His last official act was to call upon State Treasurer Collins for a statement 
of the condition of the treasury. Mr. Collins reported that the state had no 
bonded debt and had a floating debt of only about $217,600. By January i, 1910, 
the net debt was $875,418, showing a net increase in three years of $657,607. 
During those three years, namely, 1907, 1908 and 1909, the following perma- 
nent improvements were made; this was the principal cause for the increase of 
the debt: Aberdeen Normal, $82,109.84; Insane Hospital, $53,588.45; Madison 
Normal, $40,025.18; Penitentiary, $60,167.85; Soldiers' Home, $48,793.73; School 
of Mines, $19,505.53 ; Agricultural College, $79,957.72 ; Deaf and Dumb School, 
$5,000; Live Stock Pavilion, $2,000; Redfield Asylum, $26,122.75; Manual 
Training School, $4,999.61; Spearfish Normal, $51,522.11; State Fair buildings, 
$53,000; State University, $84,729.89; other amounts, $516.93; total, $612,019.05. 
The total assessment for 1910 was $337,702,289. 

In January, 1907, the state was still under the apportionment made in 1897. 
Much dissatisfaction now arose over this condition of affairs. The state had 
grown rapidly and had gone far beyond the old apportionment and a change was 
needed and demanded. So sharp had been the criticism concerning the wrong 
use of the contingent fund upon which the state administration for many years 
had drawn for various expenses, that Governor Elrod adopted the course of 
keeping such money separate from all others and of giving a faithful account of 
how every dollar was spent. 

Governor Crawford's message to the Legislature in January, 1907, was one 
of the strongest, most unique and unusual that had ever been delivered in the 
state. As Senator Benton said of Senator Douglas's arguments embodied in the 
Kansas-Nebraska bill in 1854, so it could be said of this message that the gov- 
ernor "injected a stump speech into the belly of his message." The message was 
forcible, direct, comprehensive and a terse and candid presentation of pro- 
gressive principles and contemplated reforms. He made numerous recommenda- 
tions after analyzing the most momentous questions that would likely come before 
the Legislature. His first sensational utterance was that he intended to compel 
by civil action two former governors to return to the state treasury several thou- 
sand dollars which they had drawn by means of the alleged illegal and uncon- 
stitutional acts of the last Legislature. Being the first insurgent governor and 
having been elected upon a platform of stringent reform principles and upon the 
profuse pledges of himself and associates to institute far-reaching and much- 
needed reforms in all departments of the state government, he caused every 


feature of his message to bear the manifest and undoubted marks of insurgency. 
His remarks scintillated with public progressiveness and glowed with the most 
urgent calls for official reform. He charged that the state governors had taken 
without right sums of money for "perquisites" ever since 1901, that the amotmts 
varied from $500 to $1,500 annually, that such sums had been taken by the 
unaccountable authorization of the Legislature and that the fund thus drawn 
upon was- called "contingent" and had not been recognized when the constitu- 
tion had been framed or when the laws had been passed. He referred in 
unequivocal terms directly to an alleged political intrigue which had been found 
to permeate nearly every state institution to the detriment of the public service 
and to the curtailment of their growth and development. 

He brought out convincingly and succinctly what he denominated as the 
"transparent subterfuges" adopted by state officials to gain "perquisites" not 
intended or permitted by the constitution or the laws. In this connection he said : 
"I consider it my duty to call your attention to what I am convinced has been 
an unconstitutional attempt of prior legislators to circumvent the plain and 
emphatic inhibitions of the constitution." He declared it unlawful for the 
Legislature to allow the governors to take installments of what was called the 
contingent fund. He said that any appropriation invading this fund was a sub- 
terfuge of the Legislature and any such law was wholly void because unconsti- 
tutional, and that officials who received portions of the fund could be compelled 
under civil action to give a full accounting of every dollar they received. He 
announced that he intended to ask the attorney-general to look into the matter 
and take whatever action he deemed best. He proposed a rule of civil service in 
the conduct of state institutions and declared that there was in existence a system 
of political intrigue or mismanagement which threatened the life of the State 
University at Vermillion, destroyed much of the influence of the Agricultural 
College at Brookings and involved several other state institutions in disastrous 
personal, political and contemptible wire pulling. 

He further said, "First, in practice, there are no sufficiently clear and well 
defined limits as to the scope within which a given educational institution is 
confined in its work. As a result there is a growing tendency to overlap and to 
work at cross purposes ; constant temptation on the part of one to enlarge its 
plan so as to receive students who more properly belong to the other. This 
condition should not exist between institutions which belong alike to the state, 
and which are maintained by taxes imposed upon all the people. Each institution 
should be given strong support in the work it is designed to do and should be 
built up to the highest point of efficiency, but there should be a clearly marked 
line fixing the limits within which it is to perform that work. I am looking at 
the matter with perfect impartiality and with the desire to be just and fair to 
each institution ; and I submit that it will be better for each and all of them to 
have their several courses of study and lines of work so clearly defined that each 
will perform its function in the most acceptable manner to the state without 
overlapping the work of another, and that they be held strictly to these channels, 
and that the expenditure of public funds in their aid be kept strictly within the 
limits prescribed by law. Great care, of course, should be used in fixing these 
limits so as not to impair the usefulness of each, but they should be made clear 
and specific and when made should be strictly adhered to. 


"Second, there is a feeling of uncertainty and insecurity among many who 
are connected with these institutions, which grows out of a fear that, regardless 
of merit and faithful service, their tenure of position is in constant danger from 
personal intrigue and partisan politics ; and that merit and faithfulness must yield 
to favoritism and the political 'pull.' There should be no ground for concern 
on this account. The time has come when it should be made clear and emphatic 
that the fixed and permanent policy of the state is to place the management of 
these institutions entirely above all question of political expediency and favorit- 
ism. A rule of civil service should be applied to the administration of the public 
institutions of the state. They are maintained by taxation upon all the people. 
The purpose of the state to deal with them along non-partisan lines should be 
declared so emphatically that no faithful and efficient president, superintendent, 
professor or employe need have any fear of losing his place through intrigue, 
favoritism, factionalism or changing political fortunes. He should be made to 
feel that he can rest implicitly upon the assurance that the only test of his right to 
continue in the service of the state is his faithful and efficient performance of 
duty and his worthiness." 

He said that many of the buildings of the state institutions had been hastily 
constructed and poorly planned many years before, had become worn out and 
dilapidated and should now be replaced with buildings in keeping with the dignity 
and wealth of the state. In regard to the school lands he quoted from the com- 
missioner's report as follows : "On the 30th day of June, 1906, there were only 
7 cents of the permanent school funds uninvested and lying idle in the state 
treasury; the balance of said fund, consisting of $3,267,489.52 loaned in the 
several counties of the state, and $1,540,097.56 in deferred payments in school 
lands sold, making a grand total of $4,807,587.08, is now drawing interest. Of 
this amount, $998,403.19 in loans and $1,540,097.56 in deferred payments, is 
drawing 6 per cent interest and the balance $2,269,086.33 is drawing 5 per cent 

The governor further said that while the unsokl public lands were rapidly 
advancing in value, it was of very doubtful wisdom to continue selling them. He 
expressed the opinion that the best tracts should be withheld from the market. 
He recommended, with the commissioner, that a minimum price be fixed at $20 
instead of $10, as under the constitution. It was shown at this time that the 
average price of sale of such lands from 1891 to 1894 was $13.56 per acre; from 
1895 to 1898, $12.76; from 1899 to 1902, $15.86; from 1903 to 1906, $26.85 per 
acre. He therefore believed that the best interest of the state required that such 
lands should be at once withheld from sale and that the price per acre for all lands 
sold in the future should be raised. He recommended that the wages of the 
Supreme Court clerk be fixed by law either as fees or as a salary. He made this 
recommendation because investigations and current reports indicated that such 
officer was receiving larger wages than any other state official. At this time the 
governor and each member of the Supreme Court received a salary of $3,000 
per year, circuit judges $2,500, attorney-general $1,000, other state officials $1,800. 
None of these officials, he declared, could receive under the law any perquisites 

The governor insisted that the pledges publicly and widely given during the 
late political contest and the principles enunciated in the -'nsurgent platform 


should be faithfully and rigidly carried into effect. He dwelt at length upon the 
evil effects of free tickets, free passes, franks, etc., and declared that all should 
be prohibited. He asserted that this Legislature was in honor bound to enact 
an efficient anti-pass law. He insisted that circuit judges and other officials 
when traveling in the interests of the state should be allowed every legitimate 
expense in addition to their salaries provided by law. He noted that the national 
Congress had recently enacted an anti-pass law, but believed that document did 
not reach the evils within the hmits of South Dakota; therefore he recom- 
mended that the Legislature should enact an anti-pass law similar to the one 
adopted by Congress. 

"Experience, observation and exceptional opportunities for noticing the effect 
of these favors upon men have thoroughly convinced rne, as they have many 
others, that the most seductive and dangerous influence at work in the field of 
politics and in official life today is the pass. It benumbs sensibility and acts Hke 
an opiate in dulling the edge of conscience. It is equivalent, nay, it is more than 
equivalent, to the money its possessor would otherwise have to pay for the priv- 
ilege it confers, because the recipient is flattered by the compHment paid him 
and persuades himself that receiving or using the pass is not in any sense a 
bribe but rather an act of courtesy due to him because he has become a dis- 
tinguished citizen of the state. Its influence is everywhere in caucuses, conven- 
ventions, legislative halls, courts and juries. Administrative, executive and 
ministerial officers, as well as party organizations and committeemen, come within 
the range permeated by its mystic power. Congress recognized the necessity of 
abolishing it, and the states are rapidly following with effective legislation. No 
half-way measure should be passed; the evil must be abolished root and branch. 
Deal with it as men acting under your oaths to execute the commission given you 
by the people who sent you here." 

The governor' dwelt at length on the evil influence and effects of the lobbies 
present at every legislative session, and called attention to the fact that other 
states had passed anti-lobby laws or laws restricting and controlling such influ- 
ences or bodies. He said there was no wish to prevent the fullest hearing on all 
problems affecting public interest ; and that lobbies, if working within their right 
sphere and functions, should not and would not need to be molested. The legiti- 
mate lobbyists, he said, should receive courteous treatment and should have their 
purposes fully considered by the Legislature. The blow of a lobby law, like that 
of other laws, was aimed at vice and not at the proper exercise of the duties of 
citizenship. The object of the law was to nullify the practice too often present 
to gain the legislative ear by unscrupulous means. 

The governor considered the character, functions and operations of primary 
laws in general, traced their evolution and development generally in the United 
States, and contended that their main object or one of their main objects was 
to prevent trusts, unworthy corporations and private interests from controlling 
mass meetings, conventions, legislatures and other public bodies, and to end 
forever the corruption of public officials with offers of money and position. He 
further said, "The question confronting the people of this state and indeed the 
people of all the states, is whether they shall in fact rule by selecting their 
administrative, legislative and judicial officers, and whether such officers shall be 
sufficiently free from undue influence by public service corporations to enable the 


state to control and regulate these interests; or whether such officers shall be 
selected by such corporations and the state be ruled by them. This is the ques- 
tion. No amount of sophistry and evasion can set it aside. It is the issue before 
the American people today. No reasonable and fair minded person desires to 
treat the corporations unjustly, or in a spirit of prejudice and demagogism, but, 
on the contrary, wishes to give them a square deal. The trouble is not with the 
corporation in its rightful place. It begins when the great corporate interests 
refuse to submit to regulation by law; when they seek to prevent control through 
unfair means by granting special favors to public servants for the purpose of 
placing them under obligations which hinder a faithful discharge of public duty ; 
by going into nominating conventions and establishing partnership relations in 
politics with party nominees for mutual co-operation in controlling party organ- 
izations by such means as free transportation dealt out lavishly to convention 
delegates and party committeemen, by large contributions to campaign funds so 
that they may claim immunity from legislative restriction. These abuses exist. 
Any man who affirms otherwise is either blind or reckless of the truth. The 
political machine and the public service corporations are in partnership every- 
where. The purpose of the primary election in nominating a ticket is to get a 
direct expression of choice of candidates from the people. Under such a law the 
power of directly expressing his choice remains in the hands of the voter, who is 
allowed to say by his ballot who should be placed upon the ticket of his party 
as its candidate for Congress and for state, legislative and county officers; also 
who should be selected as the candidate of his party for United States senator. 
The object is to preserve the right of choice in its purity in the individual voter. 
It gives him a weapon of defense against the encroachments of the machine-cor- 
poration alliance. You will find that the principal objections urged to a state 
wide primary are the following: First, that it is too expensive and bars poor men 
from office; second, that there is no limit to the number of candidates, and the 
person receiving the highest number of votes may, notwithstanding, receive only 
a minority of the votes cast ; third, that voters of the opposition party vote at the 
primary of the party of which they are not members and force weak candidates 
upon it whom they will afterward help defeat at the polls ; fourth, that in country 
politics it results in the success of towns and denies to the country a fair repre- 
sentation upon the ticket." 

The governor answered at length the numerous objections which had been 
offered to the value and utility of a primary law, and in this connection gave a 
full exposition of the views of the progressives concerning the nature of such a 
measure. He insisted that the state should have an adequate primary law, and 
further declared that there should be a public accounting of campaign funds in 
order that the corrupt use of money could not be implied to influence or alter 
proper legislation. "The corrupt use of money to influence votes and to carry 
elections is a danger which attacks the very foundation of representative govern- 
ment. When assessments are made and money collected for the purpose of car- 
r\'ing on political campaigns, the public welfare is involved in its expenditure. 
If it is used to buy votes, make bets upon results, pay for whisky and treats, and 
debauch the morals of men, it sows the seeds of a rottening cancer. If no respon- 
sibility to account is placed upon the men who receive and disburse it, they may 
collect it for one purpose and spend it for another; they may embezzle it with 


impunity, or use it against the very men who paid it. To assert that no legal 
checks or restraints should be placed upon the use of money in political cam- 
paigns and elections, is to take a position that is little less than monstrous." 

The governor said that all persons in the state conceded that the assessment 
and revenue laws were crude and inadequate. Previous governors had referred 
in detail to their imperfect and ineffective nature, had discussed them and ana- 
lyzed them and all the legislatures thus far had failed utterly to meet the require- 
ments by correcting one of the greatest obstacles to the progress of the state. 

"The franchises of public service corporations organized in this state and the 
privileges to do business and hold property in this state granted by its laws to 
non-resident public service corporations are of very great value, and the law 
prescribing a rule for assessing the property of these corporations whose property 
is a kind possessed of marvelous earning power, omits all reference to the value 
of the franchises, and in fixing values no reference is made to increased value 
on the part of the property of these companies lying between towns and cities, 
where they have depots, machine shops, enlarged grounds, sidetracks, general 
offices and personal property of great value. The terminal grounds and depot 
buildings of the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad Company and of the 
Chicago & Northwestern Railroad Company with rights of way in the City of 
Deadwood and of Lead worth many thousands of dollars, are valued under the 
law at the same rate per mile as one mile of single track over the open space of 
land in Custer or Fall River or Pennington counties. With one of the richest 
gold mines in the world in its midst, the average value of mineral lands in Law- 
rence County is only $91.66 per acre; total number of acres of mineral lands 
in the county is 44,770 and the total assessed valuation thereof, $3,908,235. With 
2,734 miles of Western Union Telegraph lines in the state assessed by the state 
board at $240,000, and 20,723 miles of telephone wires in the state assessed by 
the same board at $780,293, and the property of the express companies assessed 
at $139,298, and the Pullman Company assessed at $22,500, we find all this 
property going entirely free of road tax because the tax levy is made upon it by 
the state board exclusively and no equivalent to the road tax is levied at all." 

By 1907 the state had paid off its entire bonded debt, but had outstanding 
a floating debt of $217,101.04. These figures were published in the of 
1907. On November 8, 1907, the floating debt was stated to be $500,643.38. 
There was a 3 mill levy for the fiscal year 1907-08 ; also a one-fourth mill levy for 
a twine plant at the state penitentiary, which measure had been carried at the 
November election, 1906. The total assessment in 1907 was $260,640,077. This 
included all corporate property. The state board fixed the assessable property, 
exclusive of corporate property, at $237,582,181. In 1908 the assessed valuation 
was in round numbers $268,000,000. The tax levy amounted to $1,214,933.42. 
In November, 1908, the state owed a total of $779,501. This debt had been 
incurred in anticipation of the annual tax levy of 1908. 

The most conspicuous events of history in South Dakota from 1890 to 1908 
were the following: The Messiah Indian war of 1890; delinquency of State 
Treasurer Taylor, 1895; Spanish-American war ei?orts of 1898; capitol removal 
contest of 1904; opening of Rosebud Reservation lands in 1904; construction of 
railway lines west of the Missouri River in 1905-06; opening of Pine Ridge 
Reservation lands in Tripp County in 1908. 


In his message to the Legislature of 1909 Governor Crawford made many 
specific recommendations for the improvements of the pubHc service. Among 
his earnest requests were the following: (i) Insurance of bank deposits; {2) a 
tax commission for the general good of the state and particularly to compel large 
concerns with vast personal property interests to disclose their taxables ; he 
declared there was too much valuable personal property in the state that wholly 
escaped the search of the assessor and therefore was lost to taxation; {3) in 
regard to the capitol building fund, he stated that 40,586 acres had been sold for 
$293,195.10; of this sum $110,512.82 was on hand to be applied toward the con- 
struction of the building; these lands were the endowment from the Government 
for this purpose ; it was necessary, he said, to raise about $400,000 more with 
which to complete the building; he suggested that in order to finance the project 
to completion it would be well to renew the former special appropriation of 
$200,000 from the general fund for two years, and to issue $100,000 of capitol 
building bonds, all to be repaid in the end from the sale of capitol lands; (4) to 
give the railway commissioners extra power and authority over express, telegraph 
and telephone organizations, owing to the fact that under the existing laws these 
organizations were not adequately controlled and were practicing various fraudu- 
lent operations on the public; (5) that the Legislature should pass an indetermi- 
nate sentence law as had been recommended by the board of charities and cor- 
rections ; in this connection his message was forceful and eloquent and reached 
the sentimental side of the question ; he pleaded that due consideration should be 
extended to young convicts whose subsequent lives would, in a large measure, be 
determined by the treatment they received while confined by the state; (6) that 
young convicts should be given short terms for first ofi'ense and then be sur- 
rounded with uplifting influences in the penitentiary, and for good behavior be 
granted liberties upon pledge of reform; (7) that there should be a permanent 
state parole officer who should make a study of the system or law of paroling 
convicts and should have absolute control of their movements after the law had 
once been defined; (8) to regulate banks which had too many liberties in this 
state; (9) to increase the number of the Supreme Court to five; f 10) to increase 
the salary of the attorney-general. 

Governor Vessey's inaugural message of 1909 was a little unusual in its tone 
and innovations. Many of his terms were unexpected but all were received seri- 
ously and duly considered by the State Assembly. Many citizens were present to 
hear what the governor had to say. He had the courage to speak out his convictions 
on all questions of state government. However, neither the outgoing nor incoming 
governor seemed to have sufficient courage to point out and analyze and hold up 
for inspection, the serious difficulties that had involved several of the state institu- 
tions. He made many useful recommendations to the Legislature, among them 
being the following : ( i ) To carry into effect the pledges and platforms of the 
party having control of state affairs; (2) indeterminate sentence of convicts; 
(3) restrictions of the powers and privileges of banks; (4) important amend- 
ments to the primary law; (5) enlargement of the office of immigration com- 
missioner; (6) a new road law; (7) a revision of the insurance code; (8) severe 
penalties for white slavery; (9) a hospital for inebriates to be maintained by 
one-half of the license fees of the state; (10) two additional supreme judges. 


Many laws of South Dakota previous to 1909 were extremely deficient in 
several important particulars. They doubled taxation on property represented 
in mortgages from 1889 to 1909. Reforms had been repeatedly called for by 
many eminent men for years, but no change for the better had been made. 

In 1909 the total state debt was $1,083,472.18. In order to meet the interest 
on this debt and to carry on current affairs of the state, it was necessary in 1909 
to levy the full 4 mill tax permitted by the constitution. The total assessment of 
the state in 1909 was $321,070,665. In 1908 it was $283,696,268. There was thus 
a material increase from 1908 to 1909 due to the increased expenditures growing 
out of a larger and more expensive state government. 

Governor Vessey's message in 191 1 was regarded as a wise and worthy state 
document, somewhat brief, but was full of suggestions for thought on the part 
of the legislators. He pointed out where legislation was needed and lacking, and 
indicated how certain laws should be enforced. He stood pat on the subject of 
temperance and how to deal with the liquor traffic. He spoke particularly of 
the rapid strides made in education and declared that the educational institutions 
from the university down to the common schools were doing a great work for 
the state. He did not point out, however, in what respect any great progress or 
advancement had been made in the rural schools. His assertion was sweeping 
but was not applicable to the common school which had received very little atten- 
tion and had made less advance during the previous quarter of a century. He 
believed that to withdraw any part of the aid from the educational institutions 
would result in retreating the state in its highest development. He spoke of the 
great progress which the state had made in all its varied industries and its numer- 
ous departments. Education had advanced with unexpected strides and the 
population had increased even more than had been hoped. He noted particularly 
the wonderful improvement that had been made in agricultural methods during 
the previous two years. He asked the Legislature not to retard the state institu- 
tions by lack of appropriations, but at the same time recommended economy 
and business methods. He warmly praised the management of the state institu- 
tions and declared that they were never in better condition and were steadily 
advancing onward and upward. He suggested thatpart of the wages of convicts 
should be given to their families. He expressed the opinion that the primary 
law was a vital public measure and that it was still inadequate to meet the dispen- 
sation of justice to all factions in the political field. He thought that party 
interests should not be made to conflict on the ticket. He advised the Legislature 
to pass additional laws discouraging the sale and use of intoxicants ; asked that 
a larger salary be paid the attorney-general ; suggested better wages and enlarged 
powers for the state board of health ; called for better roads ; insisted on better 
farming along scientific lines; advised a liberal appropriation for the national 
guard; asked for an appropriation with which to build a suitable governor's 
mansion at the state capitol, and urged that a constitutional convention be held 
to revise the old organic law. 

It was charged in 191 1 and 1912 that Governor, Vessey during his second 
term continuously neglected his duties, absented himself from the capitol and 
devoted the most of his time to his private interests in other parts of the state. 


In March, 1912, he visited San Francisco and while there selected the site of 
the South Dakota Building on the grounds of the Panama-Pacific Exposition. 
With him was a party of prominent citizens and officials of South Dakota. 

In January, 1913, Governor Vessey in his final message to the Legislature 
urged greater diligence and activity upon the Legislature at the commencement of 
the session. He pointed out that it was customary to give very little considera- 
tion to the bills until a week or two before adjournment, at which time it was too 
late to pay them proper and adequate consideration. As it was, he declared, the 
rush at the close of each session permitted many objectionable laws to evade 
scrutiny and study. This, he declared, occasioned later much unnecessary litiga- 
tion and expense in the courts and much annoyance and waste of time to rout 
out and eradicate undesirable legislation. He asked that far better care and much 
larger appropriations be given to the tuberculosis hospital at Custer. He recom- 
mended that criminals quite often should be given conditional sentences and be 
afforded an opportunity to assist their families. He recognized the importance 
of good roads and asked that additional laws for their maintenance be passed. 
He spoke particularly of the amendments necessary to the educational laws so 
that the people of the rural districts could have much better schools. He recom- 
mended the passage of a law empowering the governor to remove a minor official 
who refused or neglected to carry out his plain duty under the law, and stated 
that many complaints on this score came to his office. He also dwelt upon the 
subject of the transfer of various tracts of state land in the Black Hills. 

Governor Byrne's message to the Legislature in January, 1913, was broad and 
sensible. While pointing out many errors and shortcomings in the management 
of state affairs, he praised the progress and management as a whole. He sharply 
criticised the federal courts, made important recommendations relative to good 
roads, dual boards of control and more efficient system of taxation, a so-called 
blue sky law and other measures. He favored giving the Richard's Primary Law 
a fair trial and thus agreed with the voters at the election in November. He 
recommended that saloons be limited in the ratio of not more than one to each 
1,000 people. He gave his views also concerning prison labor, farmers' insti- 
tutes, inheritance tax, brewery ownership of saloons, official service and many 
other popular subjects of that day. He suggested greater economy in all depart- 
ments of the state government, and was pleased to announce that the management 
of the insane hospital at Yankton was excellent and that the institution was a 
model of its kind. He recommended that an additional hospital for the insane 
be built at or near Watertown owing to the great size and rapid growth of the 
institution and to its overcrowded condition at Yankton. There were nearly one 
thousand inmates in that asylum at this date. He recommended that another 
building for the feeble minded should be erected elsewhere and that the new 
institution should be called the Northern Hospital for the Insane. He noted that 
the deaf mute school was well conducted and in prosperous condition. This 
institution, he said, was growing rapidly and needed up to date improvements. 
The governor opposed prison contract labor because he believed that it interfered 
with the dignity and good repute of labor outside of that institution. He recom- 
mended that nearly all state educational institutions be provided with instruction 
in agricultural extension work. He noted that the appropriation of $1,000,000 by 
the International Harvester Company for special extension work in agriculture 


was a timely reproof to the various state governments and was a striking example 
of what the farmers really required. He urged a summer school at each of the 
state normal institutions and the establishment of an industrial and manual train- 
ing school at Aberdeen. He approved the able report of the state educational 
association, and agreed with the recommendation of the board of regents con- 
cerning the annual appropriations for the state institutions, but disagreed with 
the board that a special tax should be levied for the sum needed to carry on the 
institution. He said that this would only lead to worse confusion than before. 
The present arrangement of giving to each a stinted sum annually was awk- 
ward, cumbersome and unscientific. Under the present method the annual 
appropriations for the state institutions were inconsistent and unappreciated. He 
declared that the whole unwieldy and confusing plan of handling and managing 
the institutions of the state should be overhauled and regenerated. The state 
already had two general boards with more or less specific duties, namely : the 
board of regents and the board of charities and corrections, each of which con- 
sisted of five members. The duties of the board of regents differed much from 
those of the other board. The latter was permitted to purchase supplies, while 
the former were required to put new educational projects into execution. He 
suggested that the board of regents be reduced to three members, be made wholly 
non-partisan and non-political and be given control of both classes of institutions, 
educational, charitable and penal, and that the members of the board be paid sal- 
aries. The powers of the board of regents should be enlarged and made more 
definite, and they should be required to administer the educational policies and 
direct the instructors, etc. 

The governor further said that the earnest efforts to secure satisfactory 
freight and passenger rates had not been successful. He said that the state should 
be and could be made secure in its rights and that the laws should prevent the 
railways from evading lawful rates for their own betterment as well as that of 
the stale. In January, 1913, within thirteen minutes after the governor had 
signed the railway rate bill, the federal judge at Sioux Falls, who was sent a 
telegram from Pierre that the measure was a law, had signed the restraining 
order on the state officers not to put it into operation. The railways were doing 
all in their power to defeat the object of the bill, and this course of action had 
been in successful progress for many years, or ever since the original rate bill 
was passed by the Legislature in 1897. By January, 1913, no final decision of 
the new case, begun in 1909, had been reached. The 2j^ cent rate had been held 
up in the courts ; various suits had been pending for from two to six years 
merely for the purpose of checking or preventing as long as possible the enforce- 
ment of the law. These actions were begun in the federal courts where the 
railroads wanted them, and thus the government was arrayed in apparent oppo- 
sition to the states. Governor Byrne insisted that the Legislature should proceed 
at once to remedy this mischievous and unwarrantable condition of affairs. He 
said, "The people do not so much complain of any specific decision by the courts 
as of the contemptuous way in which the railways trample on state laws and 
hinder the officials in the performance of their duty to enforce the laws when any 
decision or judgment on the merits of such laws has been ordered." He recom- 
mended that the railway commissioners be required, like other state officials, to 


live at the state capital, be paid salaries and be required to devote all their time 
to their duties. 

He called attention, as every governor had done since 1889, to the well-known 
fact that assessment and taxation in South Dakota were both extremely defective 
and ineffective. He noted with emphasis that real estate and poor men bore 
the heaviest burden of taxation, while personal property and rich men managed 
in a large measure to escape the law. In this connection he remarked, "The con- 
stitutional provisions do not permit a perfectly scientific and equitable system 
of taxation." He therefore recommended the establishment of a permanent tax 
commission with ample powers to meet all emergencies, the commission to be 
wholly non-partisan and to consist of three members. He suggested that the inher- 
itance tax law should be amended because as it now stood it was practically 
useless, and insisted that it was the duty of the state authorities to carry into 
effect the Richard's Primary Law, which had recently been adopted by the vote 
of the people. He called attention to the importance of doing something in 
regard to the Corrupt Practice Act. referred to the evasions and abuses of the 
consitutional law authorizing the application of the initiative and referendum, 
and spoke particularly of how easily signatures to petitions could be secured by 
purchase. He said that it was commonly reported that in two instances in the 
past the referendum had been invoked against laws passed by the Legislature 
where money had been paid to secure signatures. He believed that corporations 
should be prohibted by law from using threats, either express or implied, to 
compel employes to vote in the interests of such organizations. He declared 
that the public printing was needlessly and excessively expensive, double what 
was fair and right, and that the work was no better. Wanton oversight and inat- 
tention by the authorities caused this additional expense. He recommended 
the establishment of a state printing plant and bindery and a thorough revision 
of the laws concerning this subject, and revealed the fact that it was customary 
for printers to charge twice for matter set up only once for both House and Sen- 
ate. He asked that a bank deposit guaranty law be passed, that banks be required 
to give a guaranty for deposits ; that a blue sky law be enacted ; that the construc- 
tion of good roads throughout the state be continued ; that farmers' institutes and 
short courses be encouraged and cared for by the Legislature and the state, and 
that the state fair receive adequate support from the Legislature. 

He said that the 9 o'clock closing law had proved a- striking success through- 
out the state, and recommended that a law be passed to allow one saloon to every 
one thousand population or less and one or more for each additional thousand 
population. He urged that a law should be passed preventing breweries and 
wholesalers from conducting retail liquor establishments : that a survey of the 
water resources of the state, west of the Missouri River, should be made with a 
view of impounding the water to be used in dry seasons or dry months, and that 
a liberal appropriation for the state militia be made. 

At the session of the Legislature in 191 5, Governor Byrne took a strong and 
inflexible position against certain contemplated appropriations which he believed 
should not be made. He said, "For the Legislature to attempt surreptitiously to 
defeat these actions now is inexcusable. It is your plain duty to defeat these appro- 
priations, and I urge it with all the vehemence in my power." He took the posi- 
tion that several former state treasurers had drawn from the treasury unlawfully. 


the interest on state funds which had accrued in banks where they had placed the 
money on deposit. The governor asked for an appropriation which he beheved 
should be made for the prosecution of former state treasurers who had withheld 
this interest on state funds. But the Legislature did not see the subject in the same 
light that the governor did, and accordingly, notwithstanding the urgent language 
used by the governor, they took no action on the recommendation. They believed 
that they were competent to judge whether former treasurers had been slack or 
overreaching in their methods, and that they themselves, were competent to pass 
on such measures without special intimations or instructions from the state execu- 
tive. When the general appropriation bill came up for final consideration, early 
in March, 191 5, Governor Byrne addressed the Legislature in a special and urgent 
message in which he insisted that vigorous action should be taken by the Legis- 
lature to push these interest suits against former state treasurers. The Legis- 
lature had a short time before adopted as a part of the legislative record a 
concurrent resolution providing that any amounts which had been lost by past 
state treasurers through bank failures should be allowed them as an offset against 
claims; that any extraordinary claims which had been forced against treasurers 
should also operate as an offset, and that the amount of interest which might be 
claimed by the state should be upon the basis of interest secured on state funds 
since the provision for the payment of interest to the state instead of to the 
treasurers had been adopted. This action had not met the approval of the gov- 
ernor, and hence was followed by his special message and his recommendation 
for the commencement of court action. 

Early in March, 191 5, Governor Byrne vetoed six items in the general 
appropriation bill, cutting out a total of $49,050 from the items covered by the 
Legislature. The special items which the governor vetoed were as follows : From 
the insurance department appropriation $17,000, on the ground that the law pro- 
vided that the office should exist on its receipts and appropriations; he declared 
this appropriation illegal ; from the railroad commissioners' appropriation, $4,000 ; 
from the militia department association's appropriation, $18,000; from the clause 
carrying the Richard's Primary Law into effect, $8,000, which appropriation, 
the governor asserted, was not a valid charge against the state ; from a deficiency 
appropriation of $1,050, on the ground that special departments must exist on 
their fees ; from the "blue sky" provision on the ground that it was illegal ; from 
the livestock fund for the Cottonwood Experiment Station, $1,000 appropriation, 
on the ground that such an experiment was not advisable at this station. At the 
same time the governor vetoed the bill providing that the tenure of office of county 
superintendents should run to June i, on the ground that unnecessary confusion 
would be caused thereby. He likewise vetoed the bill which attempted to change 
the existing public building inspection law permitting towns to have loose chairs 
in halls where motion pictures were shown, on the ground that such arrange- 
ment would make it unsafe for the public. Owing to his firm and independent 
attitude on these various appropriation bills the governor was subjected to severe 
castigation by the press and the speakers of the state. It was insisted that the 
constitution which said that "No money shall be paid out of the treasury except 
upon appropriation by law and on warrant drawn by the proper officer" left it 
optional for the governor and the Supreme Court to pay out without any formal- 
ity the money received in the miscellaneous or special fund without the interven- 


tion of a legislative appropriation. It was said at this time that in 1906 the full 
amount paid out of the miscellaneous fund was over $21,000 and that in 1914 
the amount thus paid out was nearly three hundred and ninety-eight thousand 
dollars. It was argued that aside from the specific restriction of the constitu- 
tion, former rulings or holdings of the governor and of the Supreme Court were 
to the effect that such money could be paid out without any legislative action or 
interference. It was argued by others that when such sums could be taken and 
spent annually from the special state funds without legislative appropriation, 
what reliance could be placed upon figures of the state officials concerning actual 
expenses and appropriations. It was argued that constitutional "perquisites" and 
unconstitutional appropriations from the miscellaneous funds were not per se 
illegal, but were really moral questions and the principles or rights could be 
settled only by suit against members of the Supreme Court. It was charged by 
several newspapers that the Supreme Court had by skillful language changed 
the thought and intent of the constitution, and that the only remedy for pro- 
cedure or misconduct of this kind was a jury trial provided for in the judicial 
recall of the amended Richard's Primary Law. 

In rejecting the bill providing for the state printing. Governor Byrne encoun- 
tered severe abuse from the printers of the state in the spring of 1915. He 
believed that the printers were being paid far more than was necessary to secure 
good and satisfactory work. Evidence showed that such was the fact. The 
governor had previously discovered that there were many apparent discrepancies 
in the printing contracts which had been awarded to the concerns doing the state 
printing. Any irregularity on their part was promptly denied by the printing 
companies, but the fight continued with considerable bitterness. In the end many 
suspicious facts concerning state printing were revealed to the public, with the 
result that important reforms were demanded generally by the public. The press 
unitedly continued to abuse the governor, but the people applauded his course in 
ferreting out and exposing the fraudulent operations. There was much diversity 
of opinion concerning the justness of this attitude taken by the governor. Many 
held that he was correct in vetoing the insurance commissioner's allowance, 
thereby leaving the matter solely to the judgment of the insurance commission 
to spend what was deemed fit of the $50,000 that came to the department from 
fees and taxes. Others argued that the system was too loose and flexible and 
that the time had arrived when an exact amount to be spent by every department 
and official should be fixed by the Legislature and when the pay of superintend- 
ents be established on an exact and reasonable basis. State Insurance Commis- 
sioner O. K. Stablein said in this connection : "The laws of the state require that 
the state insurance department must be self sustaining and that all expenses must 
be paid out of the income. Last year the income was $30,000, while the expenses 
of the department were only about eight thousand dollars. We turned back into 
the general fund of the state approximately twenty-three thousand dollars. We 
had absolutely no use for an appropriation from the State Legislature and inas- 
much as such an appropriation is illegal, it was very wisely vetoed by Governor 

Governor Byrne was persistent in his efforts to press to conclusion suit 
against the alleged delinquent state treasurers even though the Legislature refused 
to make provision to assist him in this course. He was convinced that former 


treasurers had received perquisites to which they were not justly entitled. It 
was brazenly argued by many newspapers that if had been conceded before the 
election of the state treasurers that they were to receive interest on the surplus 
funds deposited in banks to compensate them for the extra hazard of protecting 
the funds and that there was no constitutional provision to prohibit such a step. 
This unworthy answer did not satisfy the governor. Suit was instituted against 
the estate of Kirk G. Phillips, former state treasurer, and against his bondsmen. 
The case came to trial, but the state was defeated. In this suit the state under- 
took to recover more than fifty thousand dollars alleged to have been received 
by Mr. Phillips as interest on deposits of state moneys in his custody. The state 
was represented by Attorney-General Caldwell and E. E. Wagner, of Sioux Falls, 
former United States district attorney. The Phillips estate was represented by 
Judge W. G. Rice and Judge A. J. Plowman, while the interest of the bondsmen 
was guarded by Messrs. Martin and Mason. The arguments on the demurrer 
continued an entire day and evening, the defendants evading the issues and con- 
tending that the statute of limitations operated against the possibility of recov- 
ery. During the progress of the trial the attorney-general became convinced that 
the state could not recover, and hence agreed that , suit should be discontinued. 
It seemed that on the face of facts the only successful court contest with state 
treasurers would lie against C. H. Cassill, whom the statute of limitations did not 
protect. It must be admitted that all the former treasurers had made as much 
money as possible by loaning the state funds, owing to the fact that their salary 
of $i,8oo per year was comparatively small, that their responsibility was very 
great, and that the state laws did not prevent them from thus loaning the money 
in their possession. It was admitted that the campaigns revealed these facts and 
that no serious objection had ever been offered to the proposition that state 
treasurers, owing to their great responsibility, should be permitted to make these 
loans and to pocket the interest. Whether this custom was satisfactory to the 
people of the state cut no figure in view of the refusal or failure of the Legislature 
to take specific action to remedy the existing condition of affairs. 

Early in 191 5 the public charge of former State Auditor Henry B. Anderson 
that the state administration could be conducted for $500,000 less than was being 
spent attracted general attention. He was asked to come before a joint commit- 
tee of the Legislature to explain what he meant by this charge. In his reply he 
admitted that he may have placed the amount too high, but insisted that the 
amoimt was approximately correct. He declared that if purely business methods 
were applied to all departments of the state and to all its institutions, a large 
sum could be saved. He pointed out that an immense sum could be saved annu- 
ally by consolidating all the normal schools at one point in the central part of 
the state to be under one management, and declared that all the state institutions, 
both penal and educational, could be placed under a board of control not to exceed 
three members and that this board could be required to devote their entire time 
to looking after these state institutions, thereby saving another large sum. This 
course would reduce the thirteen members of the two state boards to but three 
members, thereby saving thousands of dollars annually in hotel expenses, railroad 
fare, salaries, etc. He further pointed out that the board of control of three 
members could be authorized by law to make a tax levy each year not to exceed 
a fixed rate of mills to pay the running expenses of all the state institutions and 


other needs, and that this board could apportion the money so raised to the dilTer- 
ent institutions in accordance with definite regulations and with their particular 
needs. Of course all of this would require an amendment to the constitution, 
but it would be a movement in the right direction and should be made at once by 
the Legislature. Although this matter had been presented to the voters of the 
state at the last election and had been defeated, this did not prevent the Legis- 
lature, he asserted, from taking action to educate the people as to the wisdom of 
this procedure. 

Governor Byrne early in 191 5 said : "In the case of the judges of the Supreme 
Court there is no provision of the constitution, express or implied, requiring them 
to reside or maintain offices at the capital, but it is clearly in the public interest 
that they do so, though it is well known that in some states the judges of the 
higher courts do not live or maintain offices at the seat of government. The 
constitution requires that at least two terms of the Supreme Court shall be held 
each year at the seat of government. If the judges continued to reside at their 
homes instead of coming to the capital and giving their entire time to the services 
of the state they would unquestionably be saving themselves much in living 
expenses. Also, if they continued to live at home no one could question the 
validity of a law providing for the payment of personal expenses when coming 
to the capital to hold terms of court. In North Dakota when the Supreme Court 
judges reside away from the capital the Legislature provides for each in addition 
to an annual salary of $4,000 the sum of $100 per month for personal expenses 
when such judge was away from home in the discharge of the duties pertaining 
to this office and for other necessary expenses. If payment of such expense is 
constitutional, can it be claimed that a law providing for payment of part of 
their personal living expenses incurred in the service of the state and incidental 
to and a necessary result of their residing at the capital is unconstitutional? If 
it is unconstitutional to provide money to pay the personal expenses of the circuit 
judges in the discharge of their duties, it must be just as unconstitutional to 
pay the other expenses of the courts which the constitution does provide for." 

In regard to the expense account of the railroad commissioners the governor 
early in 1915 said: "In my first message to the Legislature I urged the impor- 
tance of requiring the members of the board to reside at the capital and remain 
in continuous session as a board, and because of the meager salaries paid them, 
which would not support their families at the capital, I urged that some allow- 
ance for personal expenses be made to each commissioner who would so enter 
upon his duties. The Legislature embodied these recommendations in the laws of 
1913. I knew I performed a valuable service in bringing about this change and 
I surely have no apology to make for it." 

In March, 1915, Governor Byrne said: "Much of the talk about the laws for 
the payment of expenses of the governor and other officials incurred in the dis- 
charge of their official duties being unconstitutional is mere captious criticism by 
interested parties and is not made in good faith. Those who want to prey on 
the government need not be expected to want the governor and other officials 
constantly on the job at the capital. The Hippie Printing Company pretends to 
be much interested because of the extravagance of what they call unconstitu- 
tional provisions for the payment of such expenses, including rent for a home at 
the capital for the governor. An examination of the vouchers on which they 


drew for years suggests that they may not be wholly disinterested in this matter. 
For instance, this company was paid for the 1912 publicity pamphlet $13,795, 
and the 1914 publicity pamphlet of approximately the same number of pages was 
furnished by another house at a cost of $2,544. Thus the Hippie company seems 
to have received in excess of a fair profit $11,251, which was taking down 
excess profits in good sized chunks. It is almost equal to the governor's entire 
salary for four years. * * * Largely, I believe, because of the inadequacy 
of the salaries we pay our officers, we have had too much absentee government in 
the past. I have been trying to establish the policy of requiring officers to give 
their time and attention to the duties of their ofiices in the interest of the public." 
In July, 1915, a test case was instituted by the governor against the state 
treasurer to decide whether the interest paid on the daily balances of the perma- 
nent and income public school fund, should be paid into the school fund or the 
general fund of the state treasury. The law stated that all interest collected on 
such balances should be paid into the general fund while the constitution pro- 
vided that no income received on school funds, should ever be diverted from 
that purpose. The treasurer had been placing this interest in the general fund 
and the object of the test case was to find where it should be legally placed. 


Perhaps no single feature of South Dakota history sheds so much Hght on 
all conditions of growth and advancement in the state at the time as do the 
several prolonged and elaborate capital contests. The rivalry was so vigorous, 
intense, audacious and remorseless that every item of information was laid bare 
for the historian by the capital committees, the local boards of trade, the news- 
papers, and generally by the elaborate, studied and acrimonious campaigns. In 
details, research, artifice, abuse, personality and misrepresentation they far dis- 
count and surpass any political campaign ever conducted in the state. These con- 
tests were proper and legal, because it was the privilege of any town or city to 
aspire to this great distinction and honor; but when they resorted to the tactics 
that are not even allowable in politics for power and position and in business 
for commercial advantage, they were striving far beyond the domain of their 
acknowledged rights. When they went beyond what may be considered strictly 
honorable measures to achieve success, their course, while no more reprehensible 
than is that of many active business men, professional men and politicians of 
today, reached within the boundaries of criminality, dishonored the contestants 
by unbecoming and disgraceful conduct, and cast a shadow upon the fair name 
and fame of the young state. 

As will be learned in detail elsewhere in these volumes, one of the first con- 
tests for the capital site after it became clear that Dakota Territory would be 
divided into two states before long occurred in 1885, when the question was sub- 
mitted to a vote of the people with the following result : Huron, 12,695 ; Pierre, 
10,574; Chamberlain, 3,232; Sioux Falls, 3,338; Alexandria, 1,374; scattering, 
613. The large vote for Pierre indicated this early that at least three important 
principles were taken into consideration by the voters, viz. : ( i ) The location of 
the capital in the geographical center of the state; (2) the belief that in the end 
the great reservations west of the Missouri River would become thickly populated 
with white people; (3) the envy or jealousy of the towns in the James River 
Valley against one another, each wanting it, but being unwilling to let either of 
the others have it, thus fearing injury to its own material growth. 

Again in 1889, immediately after the passage of the enabling act, the contest 
for the temporary capital sprang into life and action. At first there were many 
aspirants, among which were Watertown, Chamberlain, Mitchell, Pierre, High- 
more, Huron, Woonsocket, St. Lawrence and Miller united, Redfield. Aberdeen, 
Madison, Alexandria, Sioux Falls, Yankton and perhaps others. No town was 
too small and unpretentious to covet the honor. Gradually the least desirable 
ones were eliminated by popular opinion until Huron, Pierre, Chamberlain, Sioux 


Falls, Mitchell, Watertown and Redfield alone remained as the real and active 

In the spring of 1889 the Sioux Falls Commercial Club voted that that city 
was in the race for the temporary capital, but R. F. Pettigrew opposed this action 
for prudential reasons and favored Pierre. He realized that Sioux Falls could 
not hope to be the permanent capital and that if the temporary capital should be 
located there the fact would bar out other permanent state institutions that might 
otherwise be secured. Redfield was a vigorous aspirant for the honor, particu- 
larly after July. Aberdeen assumed the role of a compromise contestant — a sort 
of dark horse — hoping to secure the prize when the others should fail through 
jealousy to settle on a mutually satisfactory candidate or aspirant. The James 
E-iver towns all favored the location in that valley, but could not agree among 
ihemselves as to location. All of them at first opposed Pierre with many mani- 
festations of indignation and self sacrifice. At this time Yankton favored Sioux 
Falls for temporary capital, because that city previously had opposed the removal 
of the capital from Yankton and because both Pettigrew and Grigsby, residents 
of Sioux Falls, had previously worked and voted in the Legislature to prevent 
the removal of the Supreme Court from Yankton to Mitchell. Pierre and 
Chamberlain were favored by the Black Hills. 

Late in August, 1889, the Woonsocket Capital Investment Company, a strong, 
moneyed corporation, decided to cast all its influence and efforts in favor of 
Pierre. That company claimed to control 10,000 votes. They estabHshed an 
•office in Pierre and began to work for that city. They at once secured much 
land near the limits and did everything in their power to boom Pierre as well 
as the real estate in that vicinity. At this time the big Locke Hotel was projected 
and commenced and electric lights could be seen for the first time on the streets. 
The action of this company roused the indignation of Mitchell, Huron, and the 
other capital possibilities. Both of those cities organized for the fight and raised 
large sums of money with which to conduct the campaign. In fact about half a 
dozen James River towns, seeing now the strength of Pierre, organized and 
united in part to oppose to the bitter end the ambition and pretentions of that 
town. Even Chamberlain joined them, owing to its jealousy of Pierre. As a 
matter of fact the Woonsocket Investment Company was a private organization 
to make money out of real estate deals and speculations. It went to Pierre, be- 
cause it believed that town had much the best chance to become the capital site, 
both temporary and permanent. Aberdeen was so indignant at the conduct of 
this company that her citizens heW a big mass meeting and denounced this act 
of a money making and private institution as a contemptible interference with a 
purely state affair that affected all the people and should be above greed, selfish- 
ness and private schemes and intrigues. Major Barrett of the Aberdeen Repub- 
lican charged that this movement of the Woonsocket Investment Company was 
a dastardly attempt to buy the votes of the citizens in favor of Pierre. For this 
charge he was assaulted and thrashed by Ordway Johnson, a member of the 
company, but did not retract what he had said. 

Many newspapers in the Black Hills, including the Times, favored Sioux Falls 
for the temporary capital, because that was the only city in the state that could 
take care of the Legislature and the crowds. The Times said of Huron that at 
the dates of the democratic and republican conventions many persons were forced 


to sleep on cots in halls, that the meals were bad and that conditions were 
even worse in Pierre, Chamberlain, Mitchell and Watertown. 

The Woonsocket Investment Company did not claim to be anything but an 
organization to make money. It sold many lots at Pierre for reasonable prices. 
It held the ground that Pierre was bound to win unless a combination that could 
beat it should be formed ; but the combination of towns to secure the capital for 
the James River Valley was a rope of sand which fell to pieces readily when 
either of the towns involved saw its chances fade in the dim distance. If at this 
time these towns had united on one location and if they had stood by and fought 
for that spot, the capital today would be in the James River Valley instead of in 
Pierre. Neither of these towns would concede the capital to either of the others, 
hoping for its own success and in the end actually voting in favor of Pierre. 

By the middle of September Aberdeen was out of the race — was too far north, 
and Pierre was far in the lead and gaining new voters every day. Watertown 
was too far to the eastward and Redfield did not have a very strong and enthusi- 
astic following. At Pierre the Capital Investment Company reorganized, had 
two offices and sold hundreds of lots in the city and suburbs at rather high prices 
based on the supposition that the capital would come to Pierre. Another argu- 
ment in favor of Sioux Falls was that the state would not be put to any expense 
for buildings, a statement that could not be made with truth about any of the 
other contestants. 

At a secret meeting held in Aberdeen on September 5, 1889, it was disclosed, 
so the newspapers said, that the Woonsocket Investment Company had applied 
for tracts of land at low rates to all the capital aspirants of the James River 
Valley, but had been turned down by each in succession and had thereupon gone 
to Pierre where the land was forthcoming. It was later openly claimed that this 
was a fact. 

On September 13th, Redfield withdrew from the race and came out in favor 
of Huron for the temporary capital site. It was claimed that Huron money 
accomplished this withdrawal and support. About the same time Yankton was 
accused of selling its support to Sioux Falls for from three to four thousand 
dollars. Other similar charges and counter charges were afloat in the Sunshine 

Finally, in October the election was held, with this result : Pierre, 27,096 
votes; Huron, 14,944; Watertown, 11,970; Sioux Falls, 11,763; Mitchell, 7,516; 
Chamberlain, 2,414; scattering, 44. Pierre had wisely anticipated this victory 
and had prepared for an elaborate celebration. On October 3, when the long 
train pulled up at the station, about five hundred people, all warm friends of 
Pierre, stepped off amid cheers and joyous acclamations, waving banners on 
which were emblazoned the words, "Pierre is the Capital." At once the whole 
population turned out and bedlam for a season reigned. Bells were tolled, engine 
whistles were blown, guns were shot off, cannons were fired and a genuine love 
feast of delight swept the young city for thirty minutes. The leading men were 
called out, both in the street and at the opera house, and compelled to give voice 
to the joy that possessed the city. A large number of Two Kettle's Indian band 
was encamped on the river and they too soon joined in the revelry with an 
energy that dwarfed the transports of the whites, but their enthusiasm was for- 
given and even applauded under the extaordinary circumstances. At night the 
revelry was continued with fireworks, torches, bonfires, etc. 


"For the capital honor Chamberlain, Huron, Mitchell, Pierre, Redfield, Sioux 
Falls and Watertown entered the race, and each organized a strong propaganda 
backed by vast sums of money secured through subscription or the issue of 
municipal bonds and warrants, and the interest in the capital fight overshadowed 
the interest in the constitution or any other topic at that time before the people. 
To say that it was a campaign of wholesale corruption of voters is to put the 
matter in its mildest form. Practically every newspaper in the state was subsi- 
dized in the interest of some candidate and many voters were subsidized by all of 
them. From the standpoint of public morals it was a most unhappy time." — • 
(South Dakota Historical Collections.) "Under the terms of the constitution 
the permanent seat of government was to be determined by another vote of the 
people in the fall of 1890 and Huron, Pierre and Watertown announced them- 
selves as contestants for the prize. However, before the campaign fairly opened, 
Huron, through negotiations with the Watertown people and for a substantial 
consideration, induced the city to withdraw from the race, so the issue was fairly 
drawn between the cities of Huron and Pierre. It v\?as another campaign over 
which it is perhaps charitable to throw the mantle of obscurity. Both cities 
bankrupted themselves to secure funds to prosecute the fight, Pierre being again 
victorious by the vote of 41,876 to 34,852." — (Same.) 

The people of Watertown entered the capital contest in 1889 against the 
advice of the local newspapers and secured third place with an alleged expenditure 
of $96,000. In 1890 Pierre offered Watertown a bonus to again enter the race 
in order probably to draw as many votes as possible from Huron. There was a 
general demand all over the state early in 1890 that the election the next fall 
should settle permanently the capital site. Huron showed such strength early 
in this campaign that Pierre became alarmed and organized at once for a relent- 
less fight to the finish. With Pierre the great object was to draw by hook or 
crook as many votes as possible from Huron. All over East South Dakota, par- 
ticularly the James River Valley, there at first arose a preponderating movement 
for Huron. At a big mass meeting held at Howard a Huron capital club was 
organized from the citizens in several counties near that town. 

At this time it was a recognized fact that nearly all the newspapers of the state 
outside of those cities were purchasable by either Pierre or Huron, so that because 
any newspaper supported either town it was not an absolutely certain indication 
that it was best adapted for the capital site. It was true then as now that indi- 
vidual voters could be induced for small sums to poll their votes for either town. 
This fact induced both cities — Huron and Pierre — to raise large sums of money 
with which to buy newspapers, voters, supporters and influence generally. Pierre 
in this regard possessed far greater means than Huron. The former had many 
rich men, shrewd financiers, who did not hesitate to supply the means to carry 
on a strenuous and undeviating campaign. Huron was not so fortunate or 
unfortunate and soon "went broke." 

In July both Pierre and Huron made ample preparations to entertain the 
editorial excursion from Pierre across the reservation to the Black Hills and 
return in order to win their support in the capital contest. Pierre's object was 
to secure favorable notices for the region west of the Missouri while Huron's 
object was to secure a statement of the defects of the region. Pierre bought at 
St. Louis twenty-five large tents for the accommodation of the editors on tbe«r 

. tV. 


One year old 

\li:\V OF J'IKRBE IN 1907 


trip to the Black Hills. It also enlisted extra freight wagons to carry the tents, 
wire mattresses and luggage. A load of ice was taken along to cool the lemon- 
ade, mineral water and other seasonable, refreshing and harmless drinks. It also 
provided thirty carriages to carry four passengers each. P. F. McClure had 
charge of the details. A courier was sent in advance to select the most agreeable 
spots for the encampments and to make every thing there fresh and attractive. 
The excursion terminated at Rapid City whence the editors dispersed through- 
out the Hills. Later all came back as they went out. It was stated that Pierre 
also paid the expenses of the editors on their return. All of this made Huron 
very envious and sarcastic. 

Four principal points were urged by Pierre why she should be given the per- 
manent capital, viz.: (i) Two miles of street railway; (2) the Presbyterian 
University; (3) a large brick packing house; (4) the geographical center. At 
this time the best business lots in Pierre were valued at about three thousand dol- 
lars and good residence lots at from one hundred to three hundred dollars. The 
Pierre Board of Trade stated in September that the city had many hotels with 
a total capacity of 1,000 guests and that three of them — the Locke, five stories; 
the Park, four stories ; and the Wells, three stories — were conceded to be the best 
in the state. Huron charged that Pierre's chief drawbacks were inconvenience 
to reach and lack of accommodations. 

"In the capital fight of 1890 the Pierre promoters carried on the most demor- 
alizing campaign of debauchery ever known in the West. Their agents were 
everywhere and bought every man who would sell his influence or vote. It was 
the most disgusting and degrading slush campaign ever inaugurated, and the 
vast boodle fund collected by Pierre and disbursed with such brazen impudence 
did much to give the state a serious set-back in the eyes of honest people. Pierre 
afterward repudiated her debts and bond obligations and her organs now ( 1904) 
charge Mitchell with trying to buy somebody or something. Pierre secured the 
location of the capital through open and corrupt boodle methods, and boodle alone 
gave her victory over Huron and the latter went broke trying to match Pierre's 
corruption. Had the question been left to an honest expression of the people 
at the polls, Huron would have won out easily and no man will question the 
truth of the statement. Pierre bought the capital in 1890, just as she is trying 
to hold it now." — Mitchell Republican, June 4, 1904. 

"The great effort Pierre is putting forth at the present time to divert the 
attention of the voters from the main issue of the campaign is simply amusing. 
The cry that Huron abuses portions of the state is becoming very musty. Huron 
says that the State of South Dakota is a most wonderful state, containing within 
its borders sufficient undeveloped wealth to rival in time the rich states of the 
Atlantic sea-board. Huron says without fear of contradiction that all portions 
of the state are not adapted to the same purposes. It has said that the Black 
Hills was purely a mining country. It has said and says again that the reservation 
is not adapted to agriculture." — Huronite, 1890. 

In 1890 Watertown presented reasons why that city would and should become 
the state capital: (i) Extensive railroad system; (2) accessibility; (3) soon to 
be on trans-continental lines; (4) gateway to the state; (5) manufacturing cen- 
ter; (6) financial advantages; (7) large public halls; (8) unrivaled hotels; (9) 
excellent pubHc schools; (10) many churches; (11) cultivated and intelligent 


society; (12) pure drinking water; (13) two beautiful lakes near by; (14) 
sightly location and good drainage; (15) metropolitan conveniences and accom- 
modations; (16) close relation with all the large trade centers; (17) her location 
would be suitable for the capital. 

"Pierre claims that the glorious account hitherto given of the unfolding 
wealth of South Dakota is all true. Huron, and the Sioux Falls Press for it, 
claim that this account is half a lie. Pierre says that the muUitudes may be 
joyous, because there are lands of plenty beyond the Missouri. Huron denies 
this and proclaims the land beyond the Missouri to be a desert and incapable of 
sustaining a large population. * * * jf Pierre is right in claiming that the 
country west of the reservation is rich and fertile, Eastern South Dakota will 
reaHze and receive great benefit from proximity of so fair a land. Otherwise 
she may suiifer the result of participation in the gloom of the desert. But Pierre 
is right and Huron and the Sioux Falls Press are wrong, as is proven by the 
great incoming tide of population already dashing beyond the Missouri in the 
direction of the setting sun to shores as fair and fruitful as any in the Land of 
the Dakotas. * * * West of the Missouri River the great Sioux Reservation 
has stretched as forbidden ground ever since before Pierre was founded. Now 
this reservation is open and there are 11,000,000 acres of land ready for settle- 
ment. The soil is rich and there is room and sustenance there for two million 
people and more. This does not include the Black Hills country. It is the 
recently ceded lands which lie west of the Missouri and east of the Black Hills." 
—Pierre Daily Chronicle, August 29, 1890. 

In 1890 so hard was Huron pressed for campaign funds that it sold the city 
waterworks to a private corporation, but the newspapers there declared that this 
step had nothing to do with the capital question. In November, 1896, the Supreme 
Court decided that this conveyance was illegal and the waterworks reverted to 
the city. 

"If the Huronite would devote one-half the space in presenting tangible argu- 
ments in favor of Huron for capital that it does in villifying and slandering 
Pierre and other portions of the state it would command more respect of its 
readers. During the last two years it has made a regular business of slandering 
different portions of the state under the delusion that it was helping to build up 
Huron. The result is that its scurrilous articles have been published over the 
entire East and have affected not only immigration but the values of realty 
throughout the state. If the editor of that paper can see nothing good in the 
state he should be pensioned by the Legislature and sent back to Iowa where he 
came from." — Pierre Daily Chronicle, August 29, 1890. 

"The Observer has question before the foresight and judgment of the 
Huron Capital Committee in pursuing a course of willful and base misrepresenta- 
tion of sections of the state — notably the reservation — for the purpose of gain- 
ing votes for the state capital. * * * Wonder what will be the next piece of 
infamy to try and gain a few votes by defaming one section of the state to build 
up the interests of a few realty holders in a selfish town." — Redfield Observer, 
August, 1890. 

"The virtuous howl of indignation from Pierre over the fact that some of 
the people of South Dakota who believe that the capital will be located at Huron 
and in consequence of that faith have made investments in Huron property, comes 


with poor grace from a town that encouraged and reaped its reward from the 
notorious and glowing 'Capital Investment Company,' which succeeded in hood- 
winking thousands into the support of Pierre last year, but which, realizing that 
the jig is up so far as Pierre's chances for the permanent capital are concerned, 
has disbanded and gone out of business at the old stand, leaving their dupes 
throughout the state in the lurch and not in a very amiable frame of mind, either, 
as Pierre will learn later on if she does not realize it now. It is very likely that 
she does realize that the 'Capital Investment Company' was a poor investment 
for her and for that reason is now vigorously raising the cry of 'stop thief to 
deter people from investing in the Huron property." — Bowdle Pioneer, August, 

"Huron is waging a wide open war for the capital, giving reasons why each 
part of the state should come to her support ; while Pierre contents herself with 
denying imaginary slanders and heaping abuse upon her opponent." — Big Stone 
City Wave, August, 1890. 

"What could be a stronger argument for Huron as the capital than the fact 
that almost every spontaneous gathering of the people in convention is at Huron. 
No popular assemblies of the people were called at Pierre. This of itself ought 
to be conclusive that Huron is the more natural and convenient place for the 
capital. It would be an unnatural freak to compel people by law to go into an 
isolated place for public gathering. The almost weekly conventions at Huron is 
a constant argument for her claims." — Aberdeen News, August, 1890. 

"Pierre is trying to patch up broken promises and with them lay a foundation 
for a campaign. Cute little circulars made of 'loud' paper are floating over the 
county, telling the dear people that the 'Capital Investment Company,' or the 
confounded imposition conspiracy, is still on earth and will be ready to do busi- 
ness some time in the 'glorious approximately.' Of course those who nursed this 
'abnormal growth' from well filled purses and for their pains got lots on the 
gumbo hills seven miles from the Town Pierre, will regard said little circular 
as a treasure and pay a few more assessments on said gumbo hills that the 
progenitors of the now defunct movement may live a little longer on the people. 
Will they ? Well, not in this neck o' the woods. One purgative of the above type is 
sufficient for the average citizen and is more than enough for many who took the 
bait and got hooked last year in Pierre tackle." — Egan Express, August, 1890. 

"There hasn't been a public gathering at Pierre since the adjournment of the 
Legislature. Why? Simply because the average Dakotan can't raise wheat 
enough to pay his fare such a distance, and there is barely time between seeding 
and harvest to make the trip." — Leola Northwest, August, 1890. 

"Irrigation or emigration — which?" — Mitchell Republican. "Irrigation and 
immigration." — Daily Huronite, August 19, 1890. 

"The reason we support Huron's candidacy for the capital is through no 
hostility to Pierre. What we now say in relation to Pierre's manifestly fraudu- 
lent census is not said from any hostile spirit. Neither is it said with any rela- 
tion to the capital contest. The City of Pierre has made a grossly false and 
fraudulent return of her population. In returning 3,200 she has nearly doubled 
the number of her actual inhabitants. Of this there is no doubt or question. In 
so doing she has intentionally defrauded every other community in the state. 
Watertown, Aberdeen, Mitchell, Redfield, Brookings, and every town that has 


made honest returns are equal sufferers from Pierre's mendacity. Pierre has 
robbed these towns of their equal representation in the Legislature. * * * 
Instead of the tenth city, which she is, Pierre will rank third if this fraud goes 
unchallenged. * * * There is but one way to prevent this fraud: Let rep- 
resentatives of the defrauded towns meet immediately arid by proper representa- 
tion to the census bureau secure an investigation and recount of the mendacious 
municipality."— Courier News, Watertown, August, 1890. 

"About the middle of September an earnest request in writing was forwarded 
to the Pierre Board of Trade by one of the most prominent officers of the Farmers' 
Alliance Company asking for a proposition for property to be donated to that 
company for manufacturing purposes. The proposition was made in writing 
and under it the citizens of Pierre guaranteed to the Dakota Farmers' Alliance 
Company land and dockage on the Missouri River for manufacturing purposes 
of the value of $200,000, absolute deeds of the same to be placed in escrow and 
to be delivered to the said Farmers' Alliance Company as fast as required for the 
purpose of improvement. This offer was decHned for the reason — as was plainly 
stated at the time — that it did not contain a bonus to some of the high officials 
of the company to work the deal through and we have good reason to suppose 
that the offer has been absolutely suppressed from the general members of the 
Farmers' Alliance for the reason that Huron gave the required bonus instead. 
It is well for any corporate company to know that the officials who are handling 
their money and doing their business and at the same time pretending to be 
laboring for the great good of the masses are allowing no opportunity to slip 
to gather in such inside money as they may be able to put in their own pockets 
for the sale of such influence as they may possess either to different political 
parties, or to different capital aspirants. It is fair to infer that that official who 
demanded 'boodle' from Pierre has in sending out his circulars in favor of Huron 
been influenced by a personal money consideration to himself. In other words, 
the Dakota Farmers' Alliance Company and the Dakota Farmers' Alliance gen- 
erally — both excellent institutions — are being bought and sold on the market to 
the highest bidders by a few would-be leaders in whom they have confidence. 
The editor of the Ruralist has the proud satisfaction of knownig that while last 
year he worked for Pierre on his convictions, he has this year sold his convictions 
for money and received the pay therefor." — Pierre Capital, October 29, 1890. 
In this connection the editor of the Ruralist said, "Pierre men are lying to our 
people in every possible way. They have printed on the back of their map that 
Pierre has offered to the alliance land to the value of $200,000, which is absolutely 
and unqualifiedly false." 

"It will be remembered that at the opening of the present campaign for the 
permanent capital the people looked with dismay at the prospect of having three 
candidates for the honor, neither of which could probably secure a majority over 
the other two. It indicated a continuation of the contest for two years after the 
next election — a contest of which the people have had already enough. Afterward, 
when Watertown very wisely withdrew from the capital race, there went through 
the state a sigh of relief at the prospect of a speedy termination of the turmoil. 
With only two candidates in the field the capital question would be settled at the 
next election. In fact it was very soon after the beginning of the campaign 
practically settled in favor of Huron by the overwhelming public sentiment every- 
where apparent. 


"Suddenly the capital sky is murky again. There are signs of a sort of cyclone 
in the air. Mysterious telegrams in many concatenations appear in papers out- 
side of the state (curiously one must go away from home to get the news) 
announcing that a powerful syndicate with millions of money is about to gobble 
up the capital. It is a kind of a Louisiana lottery 'combine,' with oceans of 
money to bribe right and left. From all accounts in outside papers (telegrams 
are easily sent) the North Dakota lottery whirlwind was a gentle zephyr compared 
with the coming capital boom. What city is to be the child of such good fortune 
at the hands of so rich and generous a syndicate? Yankton, Mitchell, Sioux 
Falls, Redfield, Madison or some other place having the necessary facilities for 
the capital ? No, but Wolsey ! Some gang of speculators parading in the papers 
as a rich syndicate is going, so report says, to put Wolsey in the capital race. 

"This wild-cat scheme is attributed to Pierre influence. In her desperation 
to avoid the certain defeat which awaits her with only herself and Huron in the 
field, Pierre seeks, it is said, to put a third candidate in the field. It is known 
that she tried hard to persuade and hire Watertown to be her cat's paw, and the 
present scheme of putting Wolsey forward is alleged to be a dernier resort after 
the same plan, to bolster waning fortune. If Huron can be prevented by fair 
means or foul from getting a majority at the next election, Pierre can retain the 
seat of government for two years more and thus secure an opportunity to reim- 
burse herself somewhat and gain time to scheme for another trial. 

"The plan is too visionary and too desperate to succeed. There is too much 
trickery and corruption in sight at the outset to give it any standing before the 
people. They do not propose to have any speculative syndicate, however rich, 
step in and by corrupt means defeat the will of the people. The extra thousands 
of dollars it will cost the tax-payers to continue the capital at Pierre and to 
conduct the extra campaign two years hence can not be put out of sight. Be- 
sides, the business interests of the state demand that these capital wrangles shall 
cease, that the people may settle down to work. The new fake will not take." — 
Aberdeen News, August, 1890. 

"Now that Pierre has shown her hand and put Wolsey into the fight in order 
that she may retain the 'temporary' (capital), all good citizens, having the inter- 
ests of the state at heart, and wishing to end this whole capital business, should 
turn in and not only vote but work for Huron. Huron wishes this question 
settled now. She made great sacrifices to get Watertown out of the race — so 
that this campaign might end the fight. Pierre bitterly opposed that effort then 
and did everything in her power to get Watertown into the race. Failing in this 
she has now made the attempt to foist Wolsey into the race. As her efforts at 
Watertown failed, so now this one must. Those who wish to see the fight ended 
now, and they are thousands of the best men in the state, will turn to Huron as 
their guiding star and vote for the town that in good faith is making every 
effort possible to end the fight now." — Daily Huronite, August 19, 1890. 

"Pierre, with but one line of railroad, is and for years to come will be a 
comparatively inaccessible place. Located remote from the center of population, 
away from the bulk of the people, it is an inconvenient location for the people, 
involving a great loss of time and a large expense of money to reach it. It is 
therefore a most inconvenient and inaccessible location and should never for an 
instant be thought of as a proper place for the location of the permanent capital 


of the state. Huron being the most convenient and accessible place in the state 
is the right place for the permanent capital. "^ — Daily Huronite, August 19, 1S90. 

"The last faint effort of the now doomed town on the Jim to meet her finan- 
cial obligations is one of the worst frauds ever attempted to be perpetrated upon 
the people of the state. Having run short of funds with which to carry on 
her corrupt campaign, Huron has now had printed an immense lot of scrip, rep- 
resenting over two million dollars. This scrip has the same appearance as a bank 
note or any paper money, and purports to be redeemable at its face value if 
Huron gets the capital. This so-called money is being passed off onto farmers 
and the uninitiated in consideration for work and votes for Huron. This scrip 
is not and never will be worth any more than the paper it is printed on — whether 
or not Huron should be the capital. It is a fraud and a snare to catch unsus- 
pecting victims. Having failed to float her $60,000 bogus school bonds, Huron 
is compelled to use some pretext for money and to keep up appearances of meet- 
ing her obligations in some way. How can she pay up $2,000,000 when her 
assessed valuation does not now reach that sum ? She is now so deeply in debt . 
that financial institutions refuse to buy her bonds whatever. Will any voter in 
South Dakota accept payment for his services in Huron scrip when he knows 
that Huron cannot now pay her debt. Huron cannot even pay the interest on 
her huge indebtedness and it is common talk among her citizens that Huron will 
make no attempt to pay up her immense debts after election." — Pierre Capital, 
October 29, 1890. 

"The question before the people is, shall the capital of South Dakota be 
located in the exact center of the state, with faith that our state will be developed 
equal to Minnesota and Iowa, or shall we admit that it will not grow any more 
and locate it with reference to its present population?" — Pierre Board of Trade, 
October 28, 1890. 

"It is rumored that Huron is about to formally withdraw from the capital 
race, and the reason given therefore is that the fair village has run short of 
funds caused by her inability to float her fraudulent school bonds." — Pierre 
Capital, October 29, 1890. 

"Huron's brass band campaign has busted her. A number of her hired bands 
throughout the state have ceased playing for her because she has not 'put up' as 
per agreement. But her capital committee is writing the boys that she will get 
there pretty soon — just as soon as she sells these $60,000 school bonds." — Pierre 
Capital, October 29, 1890. 

"Pierre's campaign will vindicate the rights of South Dakota. Pierre workers 
have never lost sight of the fact that the whole state is all right and that Pierre, 
if chosen, will be the permanent capital of the whole state and not a portion only. 
Under the vigorous and patriotic blows of our workers the 'barren waste' stories 
were beaten to death so far as the people of our state are concerned. The lovers 
of justice and fair play from all parts of the United States have commended 
the manly position taken and heroicly defended by Pierre. The herculean efforts 
of Pierre and her friends saved our state from the most stupendous calamity that 
ever befell any state, viz. : The loss of her good name. South Dakota has been 
saved, but the injury already done by Huron's 'barren waste' yarns will remain." 
— Pierre Capital, October 29, 1890. 



"The latest railroad news from Huron is to the effect that a company has 
been formed and the right of way received for a new line of railway running 
from Huron to the moon. The people of Huron are almost beside themselves 
with joy over the prospects of their new road. This road has nothing whatever 
to do with the capital contest. It is purely a business speculation and will be of 
inestimable benefit to Huron as a suburban resort for the capital boomers after 
November 4."- — Pierre Capital, October 29, 1890. 

A critical examination of the above newspaper extracts necessitates the state- 
ment that they were intensely partisan and shaped in favor of the city they sup- 
ported. They reveal that both cities in order to win resorted to any and all 
tactics short of such open and notorious violations of the law as would place them 
in the courts. However, it must be admitted, as before stated, that their methods 
and campaigns were no worse nor objectionable than those adopted and put in 
operation almost every year in the United States by business and political organ- 
izations. All will admit that it made no serious difference to the state as a whole 
whether the capital was located at Pierre or at Huron. This fact serves to 
remove the contest from the charge that a great, momentous and vital issue to 
the whole state was at stake or was involved, and reduces the contention to a 
struggle between the two cities and the individuals thereof for their own profit 
and benefit. Of course, both cities endeavored to make it appear that they were 
working for the sole salvation of the state, just as parties and politicians try 
to make the populace believe that their defeat means a dreadful calamity to the 
county, state or nation. The result of the vote on the capital site question in 
October, 1890, is shown below : 















Bon Homme 















Charles Mix 





























......... 646 





... 1 029 






Counties Pierre 

Hyde 398 

Jerauld 371 

Kingsbury 349 

Lake 742 

Lawrence 2,776 

Lincoln 952 

McCook 699 

McPherson 781 

Marshall 748 

Miner 466 

Minnehaha 2,738 

Moody 533 

Meade 1,290 

Pennington 1,916 

Potter 535 

Roberts 227 

Sanborn 301 

Stanley 202 

Spink 537 

Sully 574 

Turner gio 

LTnion 951 

Walworth 480 

Yankton i ,346 




















Tot:il 41,969 34,610 


No sooner was the capital located at Pierre in 1890 than the citizens there 
redoubled their efforts to have the capitol building ready for the Legislature in 
January, 1891. They erected a substantial frame structure by the voluntary gifts 
of the people and had it ready on time. It was said to be the only frame capitol 
building in the United States and was used until the new statehouse was ready 
in 1 9 10. 

The permanent location of the capital at Pierre in 1890 did not satisfy Huron, 
nor thousands of citizens in the eastern part of the state, as shown by the above 
large vote for Huron. Thus, immediately after the election, that city and others 
began to kindle interest in the question of resubmitting the capital location again 
to the voters. Newspapers recommended submission and at every session of the 
Legislature attempts to secure the passage of such a resolution or bill were made. 
The old objections to Pierre, the ambition of other cities and the material interests 
of real estate and other business concerns, served to keep the fires of capital 
removal burning while the wounds of the former contest were healing. The 
expenses had been enormous and the burden was hard to bear for many years. 
The cities involved, including Watertown, were in the end compelled to go to 
court to secure relief on their bond issues. 

However, as soon as the afflicted cities were convalescent, the tireless, ambi- 
tious and determined James River Valley again began skirmishing in the direction 
of the Pierre capital outposts. At the legislative session of 1895 a bill for the 
resubmission of the capital question to the voters was introduced at the instigation 
of Huron, but was defeated. 

Again at the legislative session of 1897 a similar bill in the interests of Huron 
was introduced and was supported and pushed by a strong lobby from that city, 
among whom was R. O. Richards. On this occasion it was involved with the 
United States senatorial contest and perhaps with other political or business 
ventures and intrigues. Judge Plowman, a senatorial aspirant, was particularly 
active in favor of resubmission. It was confirmed that the friends, of Judge 
Plowman who had supported Pierre in the capital contest of 1890 now worked 
for the bill in favor of Huron, and that in exchange Huron agreed to furnish 
enough republican votes to aid the populists in crowding their measures through 
the Legislature. The removal resolution was introduced early in the session and 
was at first regarded pretty much as a joke, but when the powerful lobby began 
action Pierre became anxious, if not frightened. Soon the whole Legislature was 
excited and alert on the question. On January i6th a majority of the Senate 
committee recommended the passage of the resolution, while the minority favored 
a postponement owing to the large amount of other important matters to be con- 
sidered at that session. On the 20th the resolution came up in the Senate and 
was supported by Hinckly on behalf of Huron and by Horner and others on 
behalf of Pierre. There was a keen contest, but finally Senator Fairbanks, of 
Deadwood, settled the question in favor of Pierre by declaring that the Black 
Hills would oppose any change in the location of the capital site. In the Senate 
fifteen votes were cast for the removal and twenty-four against it. Many threats 
of what would be done two years hence were made. 

Fully anticipating that the capital removal question would again come up at 
the legislative session of 1899 Pierre laid her plans with consummate skill and 
succeeded in electing A. Sommers, of Grant County, speaker of the House; he 


had formerly lived at Pierre and, of course, was opposed to removal. His elec- 
tion meant that no action on the question would be taken that session unless 
some combination strong enough to override his dictum could be formed. 

Again in 1901, when the removal question was certain to come before the 
Legislature, the friends of Pierre marshaled their forces and reelected Mr. Som- 
mers speaker of the House. His opponent was Mr. Wilmarth, of Beadle County. 
Again it was at first believed that there would be no contest during that session. 

"Congressman Burke has taken the capital question out of issue. Sommers 
was chosen speaker of the House two years ago because of his friendship for 
Pierre. That was one of the considerations which made him speaker this time. 
Burke never fails to take care of Pierre and in the division of the spoils which 
took place at Aberdeen, Burke played for Pierre, which the others conceded, as 
they usually do when it does not conflict with their plans. The alacrity with 
which Wilmarth was taken out of the speakership contest is another card in the 
capital game. Wilmarth lives at Huron." — Cor. Yankton Press and Dakotian, 
January 10, 1901. 

"It is slyly hinted that a movement is on foot among the insurgent republi- 
cans at Pierre to remove the state capital to Mitchell. No question that Mitchell 
could offer many natural and acquired inducements for a state capital abiding 
place." — Press and Dakotian, January 15, 1901. 

At this session the Legislature (1901) was so rent by other important inter- 
ests and contentions that the capital removal contest figured more prominently 
than ever before since 1890. Suddenly, on March 2d (only a few days before the 
close of the session by limitation), the chairman of the Committee on Elections 
and Privileges of the House introduced a capital removal resolution in favor 
of Mitchell, which at once kindled violent opposition. Thirty-eight roll calls and 
other dilatory tactics were employed by the friends of Pierre to defeat the 
measure, but in spite of their utmost endeavors it passed the House by the vote 
of 57 to 26 and was promptly sent to the Senate. This contest was spectacular in 
the extreme. The Senate divided itself in three factions — one with 16 members 
for Pierre; one with 19 or 20 members for Mitchell; one with 7 or 8 members 
who demanded certain special appropriations and the remaining members inde- 
pendent. The appropriation members organized and agreed to support the capi- 
tal removal members providing the latter would agree to their appropriation plans. 
It was then learned that Pierre was free to do this, but that Mitchell was not, 
because several of its supporters were opposed to the special appropriation 
interests. First Mitchell displayed its power in the Senate by defeating the bill 
for the special appropriations and at this time commanded about twenty-five 
votes. The nine members from the Black Hills voted solidly against Mitchell's 
interests. Soon the combination for the capital removal bill went to pieces, owing 
to the strong opinion among the members generally in favor of the usual appro- 
priations. Watertown drew out of the affair and announced it would support 
Pierre, Englesby delivering a strong speech against the removal bill. He declared 
that the bill had been sprung for the sole purpose of defeating or killing the 
special appropriations. The anti-appropriation members caucused and deter- 
mined to continue the fight with the hope of forcing the governor to call an 
extra session to renew the capital and other contests and they resumed their 
warfare on the appropriation measures. They were defeated at every angle and 
finally were compelled to give up, though raging at their antagonists. 


Thus it will be seen that the capital resubmission question had been defeated 
at four sessions of the Legislature — 1895, 1S97, 1899 and 1901 — by the foresight 
and adroitness of the Pierre tacticians. They had accomplished this result by 
studied and systematic maneuvers and by crushing attacks at the right time or by 
subtle evasions and flank-movements when the enemy was asleep or demoralized. 

This contest served to stimulate Mitchell's capital aspirations to a marvelous 
degree. Huron could not make another fight alone, because it was nearly bank- 
rupt and lacked the means. On the other hand, Mitchell was flush and hopeful, 
because its efforts in 1901 had apparently shattered the belief that the capital 
must necessarily remain permanently at Pierre. From all parts of the state there 
came to her pledges of support and cheering words of encouragement. But the 
contest of 1901 had shown Mitchell that it would be no easy matter to change the 
location of the capital, and accordingly it came to pass that Huron, Redfield and 
Mitchell determined to unite and support the one of the three that should be 
chosen in caucus to contest the location of the capital site with Pierre. The 
three cities, in November, 1902, appointed committees which met and decided on 
the plans of campaign. This action was more or less secret, and perhaps all the 
details have not yet been revealed or may never be. 

At the beginning of the legislative session of 1903 the State Register, a Pierre 
newspaper, asked the question why it was not better to discuss measures of unit- 
ing the two extremes of the state with railroads instead of troubling over the 
removal of the capital and declared that the same effort that was then being put 
into the capital removal movement, if put into the construction of the railroads, 
would settle the whole problem. Instead of bringing the capital back east to the 
railroads, take the railroads on west to the capital. The Sioux Falls Press said 
that while the capital of the state was most inconveniently located there were 
other things of more importance than its removal to the population and trans- 
poration center, that one of these was the construction of a railroad across the 
cattle country to the Black Hills, and that there were matters of greater impor- 
tance than making some town feel good by giving it the capital. 

When the Legislature assembled in January, 1903, the capital removal subject 
was on every tongue and in every mind. Before any other action was taken all 
agreed that a caucus of the whole Legislature should determine which of the 
three cities — Huron, Redfield or Mitchell — should be chosen to contest with 
Pierre for the capital site. This caucus was held on January 7th and resulted 
as follows : Mitchell, 81 ; Huron, 19 ; Redfield, 7 ; the votes being cast by 107 
out of a possible 132 members. The victory of Mitchell was so overwhelming 
that the other two cities at once disappeared from public view and were heard 
of no more except to grumble or criticize or fight Mitchell. The latter won 
largely by securing a powerful following in the Legislature and by obtaining 
the support of the Milwaukee Railroad Company. Hunter and McLeod were 
the Mitchell leaders, though Gold, Ringsrud and others assisted. 

No sooner was Mitchell chosen than Pierre took up the gauntlet and began 
the battle to defeat the coming removal resolution. Its leading supporters were 
Cummins, Burke and Stewart. The campaign was really on before the resolu- 
tion was introduced. Upon receipt of the news of their victory the citizens of 
Mitchell enjoyed a joyfeast which ended with a celebration at night, in which 
all participated. The fact is that as soon as it was certain that a removal resolu- 




tion in favor of one of the cities would surely pass there was a stampede of 
nearly the whole Legislature to support the measure. 

The utter inability of Pierre to select the speaker of the House, as it had done 
at two or three of the previous sessions, was alone regarded as sufficient proof 
that the measure would pass. Brown, of Aberdeen, was elected speaker, and 
N. P. Bromley, M. C. Betts, G. S. Hutchinson, A. J. Porter, J. M. Johnston, W. 
C. Graybill and F. W. Ryan were the House committee that had charge of the 
removal resolution. At this organization of the House the capital removal element 
ruled with mighty hand. They played for the support of the Black Hills by 
appointing the chief clerk — McLamore — from that section of the state. The 
removal resolution was at once introduced in the Senate by Mr. Abel, the proposed 
amendment to the constitution being as follows : 

"The permanent seat of government of the State of South Dakota is hereby 
located at the City of Mitchell, in the County of Davison. This article shall be 
self executing and in full force and effect from and after 12 o'clock M., on the 
15th day of December, A. D., 1904." 

On January loth this resolution passed the Senate by the decisive vote of 
thirty-nine to five, on which occasion Senator Bennett made a strong speech in 
favor of retaining the capital at Pierre. The resolution came up in the House on 
the I2th. Mr. Bromley, of Spink County, moved a suspension of rules and the 
adoption of the resolution, but his motion was defeated by a large majority and 
the resolution was placed on the regular call or order. The next day it passed 
by a large majority. It provided that the voters of the state should decide at 
the November election of 1904 where the permanent capital should be located. 
At once the battle was commenced. It was stated that Mitchell had at this 
session a lobby of about twenty-five of its best business men. Soon after the 
resolution was passed, Pierre, not to be outdone by Mitchell, succeeded in 
working up a powerful lobby for the purpose of having the resolution rescinded 
and by the last of February had secured the promise of many members to support 
the new movement. For a time considerable excitement and tumult again reigned, 
but quiet was finally restored when it was learned that Pierre would not get 
sufficient support to pass the rescinding measure. 

"Pierre feels that if the Legislature felt like passing that resolution it was 
all right to have it passed, but Pierre does not feel that the capital is Jocated at 
Mitchell as yet, by several rows of apple trees. Without attempting to go into 
details I can say that Mitchell will be practically alone in her fight for the 
capital. I mean by that she will not have the assistance of either Huron or 
Redfield when to comes to removing the capital from Pierre, although these 
two towns went into the caucus with the understanding that if neither one of them 
succeeded in being chosen the candidate against Pierre they would turn in and 
support Mitchell. And of course Mitchell had agreed to do the same thing if one 
of the other towns was named against Pierre. Both Redfield and Huron are 
very much displeased with the tactics pursued by Mitchell in the fight to secure 
the adoption of the removal resolution. Redfield and Huron men who were 
in Pierre when the resolution was adopted openly said that when the capital 
removal question gets before the people they will use some of their energy and 
influence against Mitchell." — (Ivan W. Goodner in Sioux Falls Press, January 
14. 1903-) 


The capital contest between Pierre and Mitchell began before the Legislature 
of 1903 had adjourned. The fight was to continue until November, 1904, and 
therefore each city prepared for the most vital eposide in its career. Complete 
organizations were effected, large sums of money were provided and every step 
to win even by extreme procedure was taken during the early part of 1903. 
During the summer of that year action was well advanced along all promising 
lines. The newspaper supporters of the two cities fired the early shots; indeed, 
continued their cannonade until after the election of November, 1904. 

The Kimball Graphic and Howard Spirit were very ardent supporters of 
Mitchell; they accused all newspapers of the state which supported Pierre with 
being "Pierre contract sheets." The Pierre newspapers charged that the Graphic 
and the Spirit were the paid servants of Mitchell. Charges and counter-charges 
flew thick as snowflakes. In September, 1903, Mitchell refused Hughes County 
a place in the com palace. The Mitchell News maintained that the reason for 
the refusal was because the Hughes County exhibit had really been collected in 
Stanley County. The Howard Spirit made much of the alleged "buffalo hunt 
from the steps of the capitol" in the fall of 1903 and left the impression that the 
country west of Pierre was still almost the exclusive domain of buiTaloes, coyotes, 
grey wolves and savages. Both Pierre and Mitchell made an unwise mistake 
almost from the start, viz. : Pierre left the impression that all the land west of 
the Missouri River was good or excellent and called all persons or papers 
"knockers" that disputed this inference and Mitchell left the impression that all 
such land was fitted for cattle ranges only and would never be suitable for agri- 
culture. Both were partly right and partly wrong. 

"The Mitchell Republican now says that Lyman County is all right even if 
it is west of the river, but that it is a matter of latitude. Just the same Mitchell 
was too much of a coward to allow Hughes County exhibit at their corn palace. 
Didn't want any comparisons to be placed on its statements that most of the state 
is no good." — Pierre Capital Journal, September, 1903. This was denied by the 
Republican, which said that lack of space was the reason. 

In October Mitchell charged Pierre with attempting to buy up or bribe as 
many newspapers of the state as possible and printed and circulated a copy of the 
alleged contract which every newspaper editor was required to sign, and which 
provided that each should receive his pay by installments. 

"The Pierre fellows brought the reservation into the capital campaign and 
tried to scare the people into the belief that if the capital was taken away from 
Pierre, it would be a reflection on that part of the state. The only reflection will 
be through the instrumentality of Pierre in bringing into prominence the reserva- 
tion as an agricultural country, which up to the present time has never been looked 
upon in that light. * * * The state has always been referred to as divided 
into three sections — mineral, grazing and agricultural — the former in the hills, 
the second on the reservation and the last east of the Missouri River. We do 
not mean to say that agriculture is not practiced at all west of the river, for it is; 
but at the same time the great stretch of country is and always has been regarded 
as the grazing section of the state." — Mitchell Republican, October 16, 1903. 

"If there is any virtue in capital location — and there seems to be from all 
indications — the hills had better let go of its love of fifteen years and work for 
the interest of number one. In other words, let the rest of the state know that 


the hills country is not tied down to a reminiscence of bull-train days, but wants 
another railroad if removal of the capital will help bring it." — Sturgis Record, 
October, 1903. 

On October 12, 1903, the Aberdeen News declared that, judging from devel- 
opments thus far, the newspaper end of the capital campaign was certain to be 
superheated a long while before the vote on the question would be taken, that 
already several were so warm that adjectives were done to a "frazzle;" that, as 
this was the first off-year in the history of the state, it should be permitted to 
pass without disturbance; that, on the other hand, an issue that was ready and 
had to be threshed over might as well be settled at once; there was no need to 
become over-zealous or passionate because after the contest was over all would 
have to continue to live together in the state; that the contest would be a real 
benefit because it would settle the capital location and lead to the erection of a 
suitable capitol building in which to preserve the records. The News said, 
"Capital removal has been used as a club before every Legislature and has 
figured in the disposal of many questions upon which it could have only a cor- 
rupting influence," and therefore it welcomed a permanent settlement of the 

"The state will be obliged to erect a building of its own or to improve the 
present one in any event, and the sooner the work is begun the better. Mitchell 
knows this as well as any one; in fact no sooner had the capital removal reso- 
lution been passed last winter than one of Mitchell's spokesmen introduced a bill 
for the construction of a new statehouse. No doubt by utilizing the new city 
hall and the Carnegie library, Mitchell might be able to house the state govern- 
ment in some shape for a brief period, but this would only emphasize the neces- 
sity of the new capitol." — Aberdeen News, November 2, 1903. 

"The Huronite says, 'Loyalty to Huron and its material interests compels 
this paper to fight for Pierre. The Huronite is willing to take its chances in 
a fight of this kind — defeat would be sweeter than victory at the measureless 
price of disloyalty to its own people.' There you are ! It's that sentiment that 
prevails everywhere that has brought to Pierre the support she is receiving all 
over the state." — Pierre Free Press, November, 1903. 

"Speaking of this loyalty, what have the Huron people to say of the mass 
meeting that was held in that city a month or so before the Legislature met, 
wherein it was agreed to sign the capital removal compact with Redfield and 
Mitchell and stand by the proposition until the capital was removed from Pierre? 
At that time Huron believed she had a cinch on the capital, but events that devel- 
oped later showed the hollowness of her strength over the state and she now 
claims that it is to her interest to keep the capital at Pierre when for ten or twelve 
years Huron has moved heaven and earth to pry the capital loose from its 
location. We wonder if disloyalty enters Huron's mind with reference to the 
agreement with Huron and Redfield?" — Mitchell Republican, November 30, 1903. 
Late in November, 1903, the Armour Herald stated that in the capital con- 
test of 1890 Pierre won over Huron because the money of the former was 
more judiciously placed; that Huron spent cash freely and lost, because both 
could not win; that the capital should have gone to Huron, the logical loca- 
tion, but money sent it to Pierre ; that location cut no figure ; that while it may 
have cost Huron a large sum, that was the consideration that landed the capital 
at Pierre, "a hundred and fifty miles from civilization." 


In December, 1903, the Lesterville Ledger stated that Pierre would never 
be the center of population any more than it was then ; that it was very doubtful 
whether it could maintain the place it then held in that regard; that though 
much land between Pierre and the Black Hills was being taken up, such fact 
was no proof that the population there was increasing materially; that many of 
such filings were taken up by cattlemen and their cowboys ; that it was extremely 
doubtful whether that section would ever have the population that east South 
Dakota then had; that already the settlement there was sufficient to interfere 
with the cattle industry, particularly with the large dealers; and that the smaller 
cattle raisers had thus far not been very successful. The paper further said: 
"So when the country will not produce much corn and wheat, what is there 
in it that will make the population grow to compare with that of the eastern 
part of the state? Could it support a dense population if it had one? If it is 
all like the country west of the river from 100 to 125 miles between Chamberlain 
and Pierre there is not much danger that yet for ages the population will become 
so great as to make Pierre the center of population. We do not believe that 
portion of the state is useless and a barren desert ; far from it. We believe that 
the time is coming, and not in the far distance, when something will be found 
that is adapted to that country and will make it valuable. It is a rich stock 
country and will make a fine dairy district when developed along that line. The 
Milwaukee road will give to the people of the Black Hills as good or better 
facilities for reaching Mitchell as any other road will give them to reach 
Pierre. As a matter of fact, Mitchell will always be nearer to the center of 
population than Pierre." 

In December, 1903, the Garretson News observed that when the capital was 
located at Pierre in 1890 it was argued that it would have a tendency to develop 
that part of the state ; that no such result had followed ; that the territory west 
•of the Missouri was settHng or not settling regardless of the capital location; and 
that the location should be estabHshed strictly on its merits of meeting the 
wants of the people. 

In December, 1903, the Mitchell Republican remarked that filings did not 
make settlers; that many claim shanties were being carted off bodily, showing 
that they were not occupied ; that the reservation (in addition to the central 
location), composed of the richest grazing land in the country, seemed to be 
the only capital stock that Pierre had and that she was using it simply to work 
up sympathy for herself when anybody referred to it other than as an agri- 
cultural country. 

"Sneering allusions to a buffalo hunt to be held on the range west of 
Pierre and the characterization of that city as a wild west village, unfitted for 
that reason to be the capital of 'efifete' South Dakota, will not make votes for 
Mitchell in the capital contest. The offense lies not so much in what is directly 
stated as in what is very plainly inferred. The same sneering allusions have 
been made time and again by the same parties to all that vast and important 
stretch of territory lying north of the limits of Davison county. A year ago, 
for the same reason, the News did not feel warranted in circulating a supple- 
ment prepared at Mitchell for the purpose of advertising the Corn Palace, and 
again this year circulated the corn palace supplement only in Aberdeen, being 
unwilling to give even a tacit sanction to the egotism and misinformation which 


the supplement contained. In the minds of these people there is nothing north 
or west of Mitchell worth mentioning — nothing flourishes save wolves and 
coyotes, and the whole territory is crude, undeveloped and untrustworthy. This 
year's Corn Palace supplement referred to Aberdeen as the extreme northern 
point at which com could be raised successfully, the acme of successful corn, 
culture being at Mitchell, of course, while the fact that Grant county, north 
of Aberdeen, is a great corn producer, as are also Roberts, Day, Marshall, 
McPherson, Edmunds, Walworth and Campbell counties, besides a number of 
counties in North Dakota. Campbell county, considerably north of Aberdeen, 
has produced more corn acre for acre in any given term of years than Davison 
county has produced; so have Brown, Grant, Roberts, Day, Marshall and all 
the remaining counties on the north tier, while Sully and neighboring counties 
lying right on the border of what Mitchell calls the land of starvation, are not 
surpassed for agricultural products by any group of counties in the state. 
Mitchell is conducting its capital campaign on the basis that a vote for Mitchell 
will have to be construed as a vote against the good name of twenty good 
counties in the best state in the Union. Witness the cordon of knockers through 
which settlers and land buyers have to pass to reach Aberdeen, Huron or Red- 
field on their way to points either east or west of those cities. "^Aberdeen News. 

In December, 1903, C. B. Billinghurst, of Pierre, charged Mitchell with 
sending paid men out to the region west of the Missouri River to work up 
material to knock that portion of the state. 

"Two years ago last Thursday the Clarion set the capital ball rolling, and 
that something has come of it is evident by the action of the last Legislature 
and the existence of well organized committees at Pierre and Mitchell to conduct 
a red hot campaign." — Mitchell Clarion, January, 1904. 

"Nearly twelve months before the Clarion was born the capital committee 
was at work perfecting plans for the meeting of the Legislature where Mitchell 
was so successful, and all through that year a great deal of work was accom- 
plished in unifying the forces all over the state. It was the request of the com- 
mittee that the newspapers of Mitchell should keep absolutely quiet about capital 
matters, in order that the work could be made more effective and without arous- 
ing too much discussion over the state. The papers worked in harmony with 
the committee on this and all other matters and refrained from saying anything 
of Mitchell's aspirations." — Mitchell Republican, January 8, 1904. 

"The Record has always been firm in its belief that the best interests of the 
Black Hills lie in the removal of the capital from Pierre and its location at 
Mitchell. The reasons for this indisputable fact lay along the same lines used' 
by the Pierre boomers for the past fifteen years — railroad business. The only- 
alleged reason ever advanced by Pierre for the retention of the state capital is 
that old, wornout and threadbare argument that if the state capital was kept 
at Pierre the Northwestern Railroad would build across from there to the Hills 
as sure as fate. For fifteen years we have heard that cry; and for fifteen years 
the Northwestern has had one profitable line running into the Black Hills 
through the Nebraska country, with no more intention of building a costly 
bridge across the Missouri at Pierre and running another line through the Bad 
Lands parallel to its own system than of building to the moon. Mitchell is 
located on the Milwaukee road, which has reached Evarts, on the Missouri,. 


and is going to build to the coast. It cannot and will not pass the Black Hills 
country without building in here, and thus we will have a direct route to the state 
capital if it is at Mitchell. The people of the Black Hills can't lose anything 
by the change. We have dug in the old rut like Wind moles for fifteen years, 
swearing by Pierre — and for what? Nobody knows, except that we used to 
have bull trains across the reservation in early days." — Sturgis Record, 
January, 1904. 

"What ought to be Redfield's position in reference to the all-important capi- 
tal question? It may as well be presented in the light of facts in the case, 
leaving to individual judgment conclusions as to what obligation really exists. 
From the first, representatives in the Legislature from Spink county for several 
sessions worked to secure removal. Our representatives were among the fore- 
most in organizing for resubmission in the Legislature of 1901. In the fall of 
1902 when the writer returned from a visit to Missouri, he found the city 
organized for the purpose of securing the removal of the capital from Pierre. 
In the discussion of the question it was assented to by all that the passage of 
the resubmission resolution could not be secured in the Legislature until the 
aspiring towns should combine on some mutual plan. Redfield took the initiative 
in bringing the three aspiring cities under the compact for us to create sufficient 
removal sentiment to secure passage of the resolution in the Legislature. To 
accomplish this the compact further specified that the name of the city to be 
inserted in the resubmission resolution be selected by vote in the caucus of such 
members as favored removal, and that the three cities would abide by the decision 
reached in said caucus. Mitchell won out in the caucus and was named in the 
resolution, and Mitchell is now the competitor with Pierre in the coming con- 
test. Under all the circumstances what would Redfield have expected of 
Mitchell, providing Redfield had been successful in the caucus? To answer 
this last question ought to aid in deciding what position Redfield is in honor 
bound to take." — Redfield Press, January, 1904. "In strong contrast to this 
is the position of the Huronite, whose editor was a party to the compact. When 
this editor saw that Huron was left out of the capital removal proposition, he 
folded his tent and slunk away to the support of Pierre."^Mitchell Republican, 
January 19, 1904. 

"In this talk that is being engendered by the Pierre press bureau or capital 
committee concerning what they claim has been said by the Mitchell supporters 
about the reservation country, the Mitchell capital committee feels that not one 
word derogatory has been said or has emanated from our press bureau which 
can be construed as doing an injustice to that part of the state. The Republican 
defies the News (Aberdeen) to reproduce one article that has emanated from 
the Mitchell campaign committee that has ever cast one reflection on the reser- 
vation country. The Pierre committee was the first to inject the reservation 
country into the campaign, and after they set their straw man they tried to hide 
behind it when it was justly attacked and then threw up their hands and cried 
over the state for sympathy. Among the first statements sent out by Mitchell 
in this capital campaign was one to the efifect that this city was in the center 
of population— the place that was most accessible. Before this time Pierre had 
always referred to the reservation country as the greatest grazing region in the 
West and as a beef producer it could not be excelled. The outside papers have 


always been generous and advertised that section as the great cattle range of the 
Dakotas, and it was never looked at in any other light. But Pierre could see that 
there was no possibility of its becoming the center of population in lOO years, 
so long as the reservation was used as a cattle range. It was at this juncture 
that Pierre commenced to talk about agricultural conditions out that way, which 
were as foreign to the reservation, and are now, as one can imagine. When 
Mitchell simply reiterated what Pierre has always mentioned with reference to 
the great range country we are then accused of knocking the state, or one part 
of it." — Mitchell Republican, January 26, 1904. 

At the election for the temporary capital in 1889, as before stated, Pierre 
received 27,266 votes, Mitchell 7,793, out of a total of 77,i75- Pierre carried 
twenty-six counties. In the contest of 1890 Pierre carried thirty-one counties. 
At both elections she distanced all her rivals. This showed that Pierre was the 
favorite and would be again in 1904, it was argued by the Pierre supporters. 

"But for the Missouri river barrier no sane man believes that the two rail- 
roads with four terminals on the banks of that river would not have built 
across to the western border of our state long ago. The Milwaukee stops at 
the river at Springfield, Chamberlain and Evarts. The Northwestern stops at 
Pierre. Once across the river, those roads would open a vast area to profitable 
agriculture. The area has been producing millions annually in the form of live 
stock. For pasturage winter and summer it is without a parallel in the whole 
temperate zone. And yet our Mitchell boomers would give it no more considera- 
tion than some foreign country." — Groton Independent, February, 1904. 

"Despite the handicap to immigration due to the lack of railroads, the section 
of the state mentioned is making rapid gains in population and wealth. A new 
town is being started across the river and about thirty miles below Pierre. It 
will start with a number of mercantile firms and a newspaper, and promises to 
be a flourishing village from the beginning. A large number of newspapers have 
also been established during the past year in towns across the river. The influx 
of settlers to the west part of the state has caused this activity, and the settlers 
continue to pour into the west and north parts of the state, regardless of the 
fact that Mitchell boomers persistently deride those portions of South Dakota." 
— Aberdeen News, February 19, 1904. 

"The land west of the Missouri river in South Dakota will in time prove 
just as valuable for farming purposes as that east of the Big Muddy. In fact 
it is already proving so, as the experience of settlers west of the river who have 
ventured to devote their attention to farming rather than to stock raising exclu- 
sively has abundantly proven within the past year. The big ranges across the 
river are destined to become in a great measure a thing of the past. The big 
cattlemen are already seeking other sections. The soil in Western South Dakota 
is too rich to remain forever as the domain of the cattle kings. It will always 
be a great cattle country, but within a few years the cattle will be owned by 
the farmer who raises a few dozen head rather than by the stockman with his 
hundreds and thousands of head. This change is taking place so rapidly that 
it will be an injustice to the settlers in that section to remove the capital from 
its present location in the center of the commonwealth to Mitchell in the southern 
part of the state. The removal of the capital from Pierre would not only injure 
that town, but would prove a hard blow to the newly developed interest in the 


country west of the river and to the northern part of the state east of the river. 
It would have a tendency to confirm, in the opinion of residents of other states, 
the misleading statements sent out from Mitchell regarding the lack of fertility 
of the soil and the lack of rainfall in those portions of the state would retard 
immigration to an extent unrealized even by the Mitchell boomers themselves." 
— Aberdeen News, February 20, 1904. 

The unfairness of this article was in the inference it conveyed that all of 
the country west of the Missouri river was fertile and had an adequate supply 
of rainfall. 

The Clear Lake Courier observed in February, 1904, that the people of the 
state had no intention of moving the capital to Mitchell or anywhere else. 
About the same time the Sioux Falls Forum stated that the changes in popu- 
lation since 1890 were far more favorable to Pierre than to Mitchell, for in 
the counties which were then favorable to Mitchell there had been the greatest 
increase in population, and that it predicted Pierre would again carry off the 
honors, as it should, by an overwhelming majority. The Brookings Press 
remarked that the Mitchell newspapers were engaged in a jangle over the ques- 
tion of which one was entitled to the credit for the discovery of the capital 
removal possibility; and that perhaps after election the papers would conclude 
that "it wasn't such a devil of a discovery after all." 

"When Mitchell commenced to talk of being the center of population and of 
its accessibility then it was that Pierre introduced the great range country as 
being capable of producing agricultural products. Bringing that range country 
without any particular sign of population to the attention of the public, it was 
the intention and aim of the Pierre people to show that agriculture was the 
leading feature, and that in time the range would be settled with people. With 
that idea scattered over the state it was the supposition that the people could 
be impressed with the idea that the center of population would in the years to 
come move toward the present capital site. When this range country was 
legitimately brought into the capital campaign and it was referred to simply as 
a grazing country with Pierre for absolute authority, then Mitchell was accused 
of 'knocking' that part of the state. Would it be an injustice to the Black 

Hills section to say that agriculture was the paramount issue in its business life ? 

Try it once and see how quick those Hills people would take it up. On the same 
basis the range country can legitimately and honestly be referred to as not 

being particularly adapted to agriculture when the experience has all been the 

other way." — Mitchell Republican, February 23, 1904. 

"The people of this state have no intention of moving (the capital) to 

Mitchell, or anywhere else. Outside of a few real estate boomers the thought 

of removing the capital from Pierre has never entered the minds of the people 

of this state." — Clear Lake Courier, February, 1904. 

"When the capital resolution was brought up in the Senate for a vote it 

passed that body in this way: Mitchell, 39, Pierre 5. Later it was taken up 

in the House and the vote on the removal bill stood this way: Mitchell 70, 

Pierre 16." — Mitchell Republican, February 26, 1904. 

Pierre argued that in a short time the Northwestern Railway Company 

would build westward from that city to the Black Hills, and that the Milwaukee 

instead of building westward from Chamberlain to the Hills, would extend its 


line northwestward from Evarts and not touch the Hills. This argument was 
advanced to induce the Hills to support Pierre for the capital site. 

"True it is that a number of states have their capitals located some distance 
from the geographical centers. Those capitals were located when the states 
were first admitted, and have never been removed in spite of the fact that the 
locations are now far from the center of population. The people of those states 
are wise enough to refrain from packing up their statehouse effects and removing 
them to some new location every time some ambitious town springs into the 
ring with a yearning for capital honors.'" — Aberdeen News, February 29, 1904. 
At the same time the News declared that despite the protests of the Mitchell 
newspapers the literature sent out by that city in the early stages of the contest 
misrepresented the northern as well as the western parts of the state, and that 
such assertions would not aid Mitchell in this contest in the minds of all think- 
ing people who believed in the ultimate development of the whole state. 

In spite of the fact that Pierre and Mitchell were desperate rivals for the 
capital site and had their respective followers, who were equally strenuous and 
determined, the great majority of the people were in the main neutral and 
looked wholly from the viewpoint of the state's welfare. They saw readily 
that the capital should be near the geographical center, providing other con- 
siderations were equal and harmonious. All realized that much of the state west 
of the Missouri was semi-arid, but all believed that within a comparatively 
short time it would be made amply productive and habitable. They thus were 
of the opinion, despite the reasonableness and undisputableness of many of 
Mitchell's contentions, that the capital should remain at Pierre. This belief 
continued to swell in magnitude as the campaign advanced, and as the citizens 
realized that the western part would in time become populous and prosperous. 
People saw that it was more of a local fight than one for the benefit of all the 
population fifty or one hundred years hence. So in the end the good sense of 
the people settled the question at the polls. But the two cities and their ardent 
supporters continued the bitter war of misrepresentation and abuse. 

"Without reference to the capital question, but solely with regard for the 
reputation and financial interests of the state at large, the News wants to pro- 
test once more against the slanders upon the western counties that are now 
being published in its sympathetic newspapers in syndicate style by the Mitchell 
capital committee. This week's installment of exchanges again contains syndi- 
cated articles relative to conditions in the western counties that are shamefully 
full of misrepresentations and perversions of fact. The counties are held up 
to scorn as being uninhabitable except by cowboys and coyotes, and in all 
respects unfruitful." — Aberdeen News, March i, 1904. 

"The News cannot substantiate a word of the above. Why doesn't it pub- 
lish one of those syndicated articles it tells about, and let its readers judge 
whether Mitchell is slandering any part of the state." — Mitchell Republican, 
March 2, 1904. 

"The opposition to Mitchell in the capital campaign seems to think that the 
state capital is sort of a real estate commodity — that it must be left at Pierre 
in order to act as a lodestone to attract settlers thither. Well, the capital has 
been there for fourteen years and the development has been almighty slow — in 
fact there has been none at all. If there was anything in a possible success of 


agriculture on the reservation it would have been apparent long before this. 
If the country out there is worth anything at all the people will move there 
without the capital at Pierre, and to attract the people to the reservation simply 
because the capital is adjacent and then have a succession of crop failures would 
be the worst thing that could happen to the state, for instead of one portion 
being blamed for crop shortage the whole state would receive the black eye." — 
Mitchell Republican, March 3, 1904.^ 

"Everyone familiar with the acts of the last Legislature knows that the bill 
to remove the state fair from Yankton to Huron was a part of the program 
framed up by the removal promoters of Mitchell, Huron and Redfield. To 
pacify Huron in her defeat, Mitchell gave her the state fair. Mitchell looked to 
her own interests when she entered the capital combination. She is now placing 
her ambition above the good repute of the state by advertising that two-thirds 
of the South Dakota land is fit for nothing but a cow pasture." — Interview 
Dakota Herald, March 11, 1904. 

"South Dakota has the soil, the climate and the natural resources; all she 
needs is the people to develop these resources. And the people are coming, 
coming by the hundreds and by the thousands. It will not be many years until 
the prairies of South Dakota will be as thickly covered with towns and villages, 
with farmhouses, schoolhouses and churches and as thoroughly criss-crossed 
with lines of railroad as Iowa now is." — Aberdeen News, March 14, 1904. 

"Like thousands of others, the writer was caught by the specious plea that 
the capital ought to be placed at Pierre, because it was the geographical center 
of the state, under the erroneous supposition that as the state developed it would 
become accessible to all sections, reckoning little of the topography of the coun- 
try around Pierre and its inadaptability to anything but grazing, which makes 
it impossible of settlement and development like agricultural regions."— Dell 
Rapids Tribune, March, 1904. 

In March, 1904, the Sioux City Journal advised both sides to boost, not 
knock, whereupon many papers of the state and all speakers recommended the 
same course ; but others argued that boosting should not be carried to the extent 
of lying about the true conditions in order to secure more settlers. It was 
openly stated that thousands of settlers had been induced to come to the state 
through misrepresentations of the true conditions. The truth is there was a 
great difference of opinion concerning the possibilities of the land west of 
Pierre. Time has proved in a measure that both contestants made claims not 
countenanced by facts and pushed the campaign beyond prudence in an effort 
to win the capital. While Mitchell's contention that the lands west of Pierre 
were good for little except grazing, the claim of Pierre that in time nearly all 
would be valuable for general agriculture is reasonably certain to be fulfilled 
according to the recent statements of the Department of Agriculture. 

"Why doesn't Mitchell go down to Washington and stop Congressman 
Burke from opening the Rosebud reservation to settlement? Mitchell grafters 
know there is no chance for a man to make a living on the cattle range. It is a 
moral wrong for the Government to spoil a good cattle range for poor agri- 
cultural settlement. Will she do it?" — Brookings Register, March, 1904. 

"Don't be silly now. The opening of the reservation will show that there 
is about as much difference between Gregory county and millions of acres of 


unoccupied Government lands west of Pierre as between Brookings county 
and the average run of gumbo plains between here and the Rockies. Not only 
does Gregory county lie east of Pierre, but it has for the most part a better 
soil for agricultural purposes than some of the counties east of the Missouri, 
and as much rainfall as its near neighbors. Yet it will be a great object-lesson — 
watching 75,000 people trying to get 2,500 quarter sections at $500 each and 
having to live on the land five years with millions of acres in Pierre's agricul- 
tural district awaiting claimants at 50 cents an acre and no questions asked." — ■ 
Kimball Graphic, March, 1904. 

"To one who knows something of the perfidious methods employed by 
Pierre when it debauched the voters of the state in the last capital campaign, 
when by direct purchase it unlawfully secured possession of the seat of gov- 
ernment, it occurs that Pierre should be the last spot on earth to cry 'conceived 
in iniquity and carried out by perfidy' — for of all the rotten deals in the history 
of the West — conceived in iniquity and carried out in perfidy — was that same 
capital campaign as carried out by Pierre. The scandalous manner in which 
Pierre money dispensed by Pierre boomers was handled in that campaign still 
smells to heaven. In that campaign Pierre brazonly handed every voter that 
could be inveigled into her unholy scheme from $1 to $20 for a vote, and not 
only handed out the money, but prepared and compelled the voter to cast the 
ballot so prepared. That was the time when Pierre fraudulently bonded the 
town and "blowed in" from $600,000 to $1,000,000, with which it bought the 
seat of government. That is the town that for years never paid a cent of 
interest on the bonds thus illegally issued and finally secured a compromise with 
its bondholders by which they were forced to throw off all accumulated interest 
and accept 30 cents on the dollar of the original amount involved. Had Huron 
spent a tithe of the money in such an unholy manner, Pierre could never have 
had a ghost of a show in securing the capital. Not only did Pierre use thou- 
sands upon thousands of dollars illegitimately, both on and after election day. 
but her emissaries further debauched the voters on election day with barrels 
of whisky and kegs of beer until in some instances the election was turned into 
a drunken orgie. Not only did all this occur, but to make the matter still 
worse, Pierre had prepared some 10,000 fraudulent votes which she purposely 
held back, hoping she might have a majority without them, but ready to have 
them counted if necessary to defeat her rival, Huron, should that number turn 
the scale in favor of Pierre. And after election some of the citizens proudly 
boasted of this fact. That is the town that now professes to be 'holier than 
thou.' " — Mitchell Republican, March 15, 1904. 

Just before this time the Pierre State Register had said that all those who 
were instrumental in any way of submitting to a vote of the people the capital 
removal question were "plundering pirates and that the plot was conceived in 
iniquity and partially carried out by perfidy in the resolution, * * * the 
game being to hinder the development of the state and thereby plunder the 

In order to answer the geographical center argument of Pierre, the Miller 
Gazette showed that nearly thirty states of the Union did not have their capi- 
tals very close to the geographical center, and that Maine, New York, Massa- 
chusetts, Rhode Island, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Washington, Nevada, 


Utah, Montana and Colorado and others had capitals- far from the center. That 
paper argued that the center of population and not the geographical center as 
such was the paramount issue. None of the above states had sufi'ered, because 
their capitals were easily and quickly accessible. The Gazette then said: "Now, 
what about our state ? The capital has been located at Pierre for about fourteen 
years. Has it grown? Have any institutions of learning been established there 
to assist the town? Have good people been there to make homes? We would 
answer, 'Yes,' but are they there now? The Presbyterian college has been 
removed to Huron, and many good people have removed from the capital city. 
* * * It is a matter of fact that there is a less number of people in and 
around Pierre today than there was years ago. We therefore say that the 
geographical question is one of minor importance. What will be best for the 
greatest number of people, is the question." 

In March, 1904, the Yankton Press and Dakotan took the position that the 
Huron Huronite and the Aberdeen News were trying to defeat Mitchell's aspi- 
rations for the capital on the ground that if the capital contest could be ripened 
generally, Huron and Aberdeen would then have another chance to secure the 

"No one will deny that people have always been satisfied with Pierre for a 
permanent capital since the first meeting of the Legislature here in 1889. No 
one will deny the fact that it will cost the state hundreds of thousands of 
dollars to move the capital and thousands upon thousands more for suitable 
buildings if it should go to Mitchell." — Pierre Dakotan, March, 1904. 

"The Dakotan will not deny that at every session of the Legislature during 
the past fourteen years an effort has been made to secure the removal of the 
capital from Pierre. These sessions have always caused Pierre citizens sleepless 
nights and days of torture until adjournment, for fear that in some way a 
removal resolution would be passed. The nightmare had an awakening in the 
last session. Think of the people who have attended the sessions at Pierre 
during the fourteen years, and the cussing that the state capital has got because 
of its inaccessibility. Despite what the Dakotan says with reference to the 
expense of moving the capital to Mitchell, it will not cost the state one dollar 
to move its headquarters. All that will have to be done will be to box the 
records and ship them to Mitchell, and the expense will readily be lifted from the 
state's shoulders by this city."^Mitchell Republican, April 2, 1904. 

"This is a live stock country, and a good one, too. In time to come it may 
prove to be suited to other industries, but nothing has been brought forward 
yet that seems at all likely to supersede stock raising as the chief industry. Our 
advice to the producers of this great range is to raise live stock." — Fort Pierre 
Stock Journal, April, 1904. 

"The above appearing in a paper published in the great range country, just 
across the river from Pierre, seems somewhat significant and can be no harder 
'knock' on the country than has been falsely charged up to Mitchell. Can 
Mitchell be charged with casting any reflections on that part of the state where 
the official organ of the stock growers makes such a statement? The only 
issue that Pierre has in setting forth the agricultural possibilities of that section 
is to endeavor to make a showing of a population over there for capital pur- 
poses." — Mitchell Republican, April 7, 1904. 


"In order to make her bluff stronger, Mitchell offers to give the use of half 
a dozen imaginary buildings located in various parts of the village for capital 
purposes. She would have the Senate in one end of the town, the House in 
the other, and the state offices and committee rooms scattered hither and yon 
in the numerous old shacks about the burg — a regular merry-go-round. Pierre 
will relieve her of this annoyance and humiliation."- — Pierre Dakotan, April, 1904. 

"The capitol building that Mitchell will present for the state's use is one 
that will accommodate every officer of the state, with fireproof vaults and suffi- 
cient rooms for the Senate, House and committee rooms. This building is under 
construction now." — Mitchell Republican, April 9, 1904. 

"The Mitchell newspapers are now arguing that God in His infinite wisdom 
created the country west of the river as a stock country, and not as a farming 
country. The southerners used to contend during Civil war times that the Lord 
had created the negro especially for slavery. There is reason for the belief 
that the Mitchell boomers know no more about the Lord's designs than did the 
southerners in the '60s." — Aberdeen News, April 22, 1904. 

"South Dakota will be the center of attraction for homeseekers from now 
on until after the drawing for the Rosebud lands takes place. The people from 
older states who contemplate trying their chances on the Rosebud will do them- 
selves a favor if they take time enough to look over the state pretty well while 
they are here for the drawing. If they are among the lucky ones and secure a 
quarter section of Rosebud land, well and good. If they should not draw a lucky 
number they should remember that there are thousands of acres of cheap land 
in other sections of South Dakota which are as good as any farming land on 
earth and can be bought for but little more than what the rent on farm lands 
in the older states amounts to. South Dakota offers such abundant openings 
to the homeseekers that no one should become discouraged should he fail to 
win in the Rosebud drawing." — Aberdeen News, April 25, 1904. 

The Aberdeen News on May 11, 1904, declared that the Mitchell news- 
papers continued to publish heated arguments to prove that the western half 
of the state was unfit for farming purposes, that the settlers continued to pour 
into that section as well as into the northern part of the state, and that those 
who had been there long enough to raise a crop had no reason to be dissatisfied 
with the results. There can be no doubt that the News misrepresented the 
western part of the state, certainly by implication and perhaps by direct 

"The center of population is traveling toward the Northwest at a rapid 
rate, as anyone who has kept posted upon the influx of new settlers into South 
Dakota can testify. When the census of 19 10 is taken it will without doubt 
be found that the center of population is much nearer Pierre than Mitchell." — 
Aberdeen News, May 20, 1904. 

Pierre maintained that Mitchell ignored that nearly all the state institutions 
were located in the section of the state occupied by Mitchell and that to ask 
for the state capital was an imposition upon the rest of South Dakota. 

"The range country west of the Missouri River has been visited with 
copious rains this spring," said the Aberdeen News of May 23, 1904. "As a 
consequence the new settlers who persist in farming that country despite the 
protests of Mitchell are practically assured of good crops. The Lord seems to 


have overlooked Mitchell's pointer that He made that part of the state west of 
the river for grazing purposes solely." 

The Pierre Weekly Dakotan of May 26, 1904, said that the Cheyenne River 
round-up, which was slated to leave Fort Pierre on a certain day, had been 
detained on account of a recent rain and that it was impossible for the wagons 
to move in the gumbo, so that the date was postponed until the mud should 
dry up. This led the Mitchell Republican of June nth to remark that the 
country west of Pierre must be fine for agricultural purposes, when a small 
rain would render the gumbo soil so muddy and thick that a wagon could not 
pass through it. 

"Thirteen thousand homestead filings within the past two years in the 
Pierre, Chamberlain and Rapid City land offices and the western part of the 
Aberdeen land office is a splendid showing of the growth the state has made 
in the period named in the country along the Missouri River. Thirteen thousand 
filings mean a vast increase in the population of the state and they also mean 
that the center of population has moved to the northward and westward to 
quite an appreciable extent within that time. The filings show that the people 
of other states are taking advantage of the free homes and of the cheap lands 
offered in South Dakota at a rapid rate. When in addition to the number of 
filings are added the many thousands of people who have purchased lands out- 
right and come to make their homes in South Dakota, the story the next census 
will tell is certain to be one that will attract general and favorable attention to 
the state." — Aberdeen News, May 26, 1904. 

"The Pierre capital committee is studiously endeavoring to make it appear 
that the cattle industry on the great range of the reservation has been smashed 
to smithereens by the 'immense' number of settlers who are even wading the 
Missouri River to get to the rich agricultural lands across from the waning 
capital city." — Aberdeen American, May, 1904. 

"The capital of the state is not located to boom or to hold up the price of 
real estate; neither is it with justification to be held at the wrong place simply 
because, under the stress of excitement or misunderstanding, the people at the 
beginning voted it to the wrong place. The capital ought never to have gone out 
of the Jim River valley, and the argument between Huron, Redfield and Mitchell, 
which brought about the passage of the resubmission bill, was to enable the people 
to correct the mistake. The mere fact that Pierre approaches the geographical 
center is of no force. The center of population would be of some importance, 
but accessibility is of more consequence. The time will not come in the next 100 
years when Pierre will be as near the center of population as Redfield, Huron 
or Mitchell. The reason of this is that the vast stretch of country west of the 
Missouri River in our state cannot until present conditions are changed main- 
tain but a comparatively small population. The reverse is true of the eastern 
part of the state."- — Mitchell Republican, May 19, 1904. 

"The Mitchell people have sent out a circular in which the claim is made 
that the cost to the people should removal occur would be nothing. But little 
investigation is needed to prove the falsity of this claim, as well as the com- 
panion claim made by Mitchell that the business ofifices of the state should be 
near the center of population. South Dakota has a half million people. It is 
safe to say that not one South Dakotan in a hundred ever has occasion to go to 


the itate capital. The expense in the land department would be vastly in- 
creased by the removal, as that department is growing more rapidly than the 
offices of governor, secretary, auditor and treasurer combined. When this 
increased cost is taken into consideration, with the difference in cost in fuel 
and light at Mitchell, compared with Pierre's natural gas facilities, it will be 
perceived that the question of cost is all in favor of the present capital. It 
should also be remembered that this cost will not be temporary, but will continue 
as the years roll by." — Aberdeen News, June 3, 1904. 

In May, 1904, Pierre supporters announced that with an unfailing supply of 
natural gas at that city for lighting and heating purposes those two problems 
for the state were easily solved. 

"The people of South Dakota are not going to soil their reputations to 
benefit a few real estate speculators who want to make a quarter million dollars 
out of the taxpayers by unloading a capital site on the state at so much per. 
The great majority of the people are honest, and with honest people the inter- 
ests of the state and Pierre are perfectly safe."- — Egan Express, June, 1904. 

"In a temporary aberration of mind the editor of a Mitchell newspaper 
last week advocated the opening of the Cheyenne River reservation, describing 
the lands as being as fertile and productive as those of any other section of the 
state, and this in spite of the fact that the main argument of the Mitchell organs 
has been that the country west of the Missouri River is totally unfit for any- 
thing but grazing purposes. The Mitchell newspapers are naturally inclined to 
boost instead 'of knock, and even the exigencies of a capital removal campaign 
cannot prevent them from occasionally reverting to old-time habit and saying 
a good word for the state — even that portion of it lying outside of that magic circle 
drawn around Mitchell at a distance of a hundred miles." — Aberdeen News, 
June 7, 1904. 

"Only the most pitiable selfishness, the most inexcusable greed and the 
disregard of the rights of the people in other portions of the state can prompt 
any one to vote to change the capital from where it was permanently located 
fourteen years ago. We hope every taxpayer will take a map of our state, look 
up locations of our various state institutions and verify our statements, and 
then ask themselves the questions: Is the proposed removal in the interest of 
the people who pay the taxes? Or is it in the interest of real estate speculators 
who want the people to throw away the best location in the state and pay them 
a quarter million of dollars for a location not nearly as good? The taxpayers 
who can figure out in favor of a removal will be few and far between if they 
give due consideration to all the facts." — Canton News, June, 1904. 

"Pierre is getting mad and calling hard names, which in our opinion is no 
argument. Pierre sees the handwriting on the wall. The people of South 
Dakota are after the truth and Mitchell is dealing in that very article, to the 
discomfiture of Pierre." — Wakanda Mail, June, 1904. 

"No thoughtful person will be misled by Pierre's wild cry of 'Expense, 
Expense!' in connection with capital removal. It will not cost the state one 
cent to remove the records to Mitchell, and it will save thousands of dollars 
every year in mileage and transportation charges by having the capital accessible 
to the people of the state. * * * j^ the matter of expense to the state and 
to the individuals who have business at the capital, everything is in Mitchell's 
favor." — Fulton Advocate, June, 1904. 


"What interest has the state in Pierre more than in any other town? The 
location of the capital is a purely business proposition and it should be deter- 
mined by the convenience to the general public. So far as devedopment of 
country west of Pierre is concerned the removal would make no dilYerence 
whatever. That development will depend entirely upon the productiveness of 
that country. The country west of Chamberlain has been developing more 
rapidly than that west of Pierre, and that is certainly not due to any capital 
location. So far as the property interests of the state are concerned, the state 
would be the gainer by the removal, as the grants offered by Mitchell are 
more valuable than those that have been given by Pierre." — Scotland Citizen, 
June, 1904. 

"Just how the Pierre capital promoters are going to make the people think 
it will raise the taxes to remove the capital from Pierre to Mitchell is a purely 
vegetable pill that is hard to swallow. The City of Mitchell oft'ers the use of a 
beautiful structure absolutely free of charge as long as the state wishes, while 
the Pierre people will endeavor to have the state build a $1,000,000 building. 
Why not make a business proposition of it and place the capital nearer to the 
people? They are the ones who have to pay the bills." — White Rock Journal, 
June, 1904. 

"Pierre is not and never will be the center of wealth nor the center of 
population in this state. During the rapid advancement of the last few years 
in this state none of it has been in the vicinity of Pierre." — Geddes Record, 
June, 1904. 

"A few years ago the Presbyterians moved their college from Pierre to 
Huron. When a town gets so all-fired sleepy that it cannot hold a Presbyterian 
college it's a pretty solemn place for a state capital." — Vermillion Republican, 
June, 1904. 

"It won't cost the state or the taxpayers a dollar to move the capital from 
Pierre to Mitchell. All such talk by Pierre and her workers is pure nonsense. 
Instead of costing nothing, the state will save thousands of dollars. Look at 
the extra mileage. There is but one question in this capital matter — the greatest 
good to the greatest number." — Sioux Falls Soo Critic, June, 1904. 

"The Pierre champions are very persistent in their assertion that every 
Mitchell supporter is knocking against the country around Pierre. There is 
a highly amusing side to this assertion. In almost the same breath they tell 
about the knocking against the country around Pierre they tell of the wonderful 
immigration into that very section. If the Pierre 'special' writers tell the truth 
about the influx of settlers Pierre ought to be grateful rather than angry. It is 
always amusing to hear them object to knocking, then tell how the country 
around Pierre will be ruined if the capital is removed. Could Mitchell supporters 
say anything worse about that section? What a strange country that must be 
and what queer people live in it." — Garretson News, June, 1904. 

"For the convenience of a large majority of people in all parts of the state 
Mitchell is the logical location for the capital for the next fifty years, and in all 
probability for all time." — Wagner New Era, June, 1904. 

"Talk about capital removal being a land booming scheme! Capital removal 
is not asked for to benefit the land in the eastern part of the state, but to 
accommodate the people of the state and facilitate the public business. The 


retention of the capital at Pierre is a land booming scheme — as its advocates 
openly proclaim. 'Remove the capital,' they cry, 'and you knock the value of 
the country west of the river.' What utter nonsense to claim that the capital 
can make or unmake the western part of the state." — Fulton Advocate, 
June, 1904. 

"You can purchase land in the suburbs of Pierre for $10 per acre. Land 
in the suburbs of Sisseton sold three years ago at $40 per acre. Yet Pierre 
has been the capital for about fourteen years, which goes to show that there is 
nothing in the cry of the Pierre boomers that if the capital is removed the state 
lands will depreciate in value. Even if it were not a stock country the fact 
that the land can be had for the filing and is then not taken is assurance enough 
that if the capital remained there for all time or was removed to Mitchell 
tomorrow the land on the range would be worth no more or less." — Sisseton 
Courant, June, 1904. 

"The Pierre Capital-Journal, in speaking of the arrival of a party of home- 
steaders, says : 'Dozens of them are filing on at the land office without going 
out to see the land, as they were met by friends who had been out and made 
the selections for them.' This indicates very clearly the character of the people 
who are filing on land west of Pierre. Actual homesteaders do not depend on 
having 'friends' select land for them." — Kimball Graphic, June, 1904. 

"Five different conventions met at Mitchell last week. Will somebody tell 
us how many conventions have ever met at the 'Geographical Center' ?" — Gar- 
retson News, June, 1904. 

"The Mitchell city council has made a tender to the state for the use of the 
new city hall building for capital purposes just as long as it desires free of 
charge, and in fact will make a deed to the state to make its ground sure of 
retaining the building as long as it is wanted for state purposes. The city 
council has a right to do this and will do it. The state can use this building 
for a period of twenty years, if need be, and all this time the lands that have 
been set aside for the erection of a capitol building will increase in value, so 
that the real estate will not have to be sacrificed in order to erect a capitol 
building. The Pierre people can talk all they want to about the present state- 
house being adeqvtate for years to come, but the people can rest assured that if 
Pierre wins in the fall election the Legislature will not be in session twenty-four 
hours until a bill is introduced for the purpose of making an appropriation for 
the erection of a capitol building, which will be done in order to set at rest the 
possibility of another removal resolution being brought forth." — Mitchell 
Republican, June 11, 1904. 

In June, 1904, a Chamberlain correspondent of the Kimball Graphic said, 
in reference to the reservoir filings that Pierre claimed were being taken out 
west of the Missouri, that if the filings made at the Pierre land office produced 
no greater results than those made at the Chamberlain land office it would be 
some time before a second Noah's ark would be needed west of the state capital. 
It further declared that the reservoir filings were pure shams, like many other 
fakes in the land business ; that the bill providing for water rights was originally 
intended to protect from interference the reservoirs constructed by the Mil- 
waukee road for stockmen who drove their cattle through to Chamberlain for 
shipment ; that a large number of these reservoir claims had never been seen 


by the parties filing; that most of them were made by persons who thought 
they would be able 'to cover up' some of the public lands and hold up for a good 
sum any person making a homestead entry on them; that the Interior Depart- 
ment, seeing into the matter, issued an order permitting any person to file a 
homestead over these water filings, such entry to be subject to the right of the 
reservoir declarent; that under the law the one who filed the declaratory state- 
ment must build a dam within two years; that though the time had now elapsed 
on many of the fihngs only one such filing out of 924 had been completed; that 
there were only ten or twelve more that had submitted proof showing any 
attempt whatever to comply with the law ; that therefore not over one in fifty of 
the filings had been made in good faith ; and that many of such fihngs on water 
rights had been cancelled by the Interior Department in cases where the home- 
steads had been filed on the same tract and the time limit had elapsed and noth- 
ing had been done. 

The Pierre capital committee, in June, 1904, sent for publication to its news- 
paper supporters through the state this announcement : "When the permanent 
capitol building is built it will cost at least $15,000 a year ta^c for fuel and light 
and elevator power, if it should be at Mitchell where fuel will have to be pur- 
chased. With natural gas at Pierre the state can put down an artesian well, and, 
with its own natural gas, furnish fuel, lights and elevator power free, as well 
as furnish water for sewerage. The state appropriated as much as $12,000 a 
year ten years ago for fuel and light at the Yankton hospital. Now the appro- 
priation is included in the $76,000 a year appropriation and amounts to $15,000 
a year. The permanent capital at Pierre means a saving of $15,000 to $25,000 
for fuel and water alone. The state will spend $1,000,000 tax between 1901 
and i960 for fuel, light and water for the statehouse and grounds if the capital 
goes to Mitchell. The state can get an artesian well on its own ground at 
Pierre for $30,000 that will save this million-dollar fuel bill. If you favor the 
coal trust and $20 coal, like one year ago, vote for Mitchell." 

In reply to this the Mitchell Republican said that when Pierre was spending 
$20 per ton for coal during the winter of 1903-04 there was an abundance at 
Mitchell for $11 per ton, owing to the cheaper transportation; that the total 
appropriation for the maintenance of the capitol building at Pierre amounted to 
but $3,600 a year, and "this in face of the fact that you can throw a cat through 
the shack and not hurt the cat — a building that has by its draughts of cold air 
caused the death of several members of the Legislature and laid a score or more 
on sick beds at every session;" that Pierre would have to demonstrate that the 
gas claimed to be there could be had; that at the present time there was no 
more than enough to supply the capital committee and that would all be utilized 
before the campaign was over; that the business concerns of Pierre used kero- 
sene, benzine and acetylene gas in preference to the natural gas; that natural 
gas everywhere there was a rank failure or fraud for lighting purposes ; that in 
about six years Pierre had drilled five wells at a cost of about $150,000, and 
had no more gas than when the first well was completed; that recently when 
the last "great gusher" was completed the well bored just preceding it stopped 
flowing and the town was out of gas completely until connection was made 
with the new well ; that if any other than Pierre (whether the State of South 
Dakota or not) should attempt to put down a well he or they would be enjoined. 


as it had been fully demonstrated that another well would cut the city off 
from its supply; that therefore the talk of supplying the statehouse with gas 
was "pure rot;" that many days now the gas was shut off in order to let the 
receivers fill up; that in winter it was cut off from i to 6 P. M. every day; 
that owing to the high price a family using it constantly would have to pay 
four times the price of coal; that in Ohio and Pennsylvania were hundreds of 
dry holes, any one of which spouted more gas in a minute than Pierre ever 
saw or would see — whole districts that produced it in unlimited quantities that 
now "would not make a good smell;" that "Pierre doesn't know what good gas 
looks like, and yet sends out a cock-and-bull story and asks intelligent people to 
believe it." 

In June, 1904, there were strong indications that the Milwaukee railroad 
would soon be put through from Chamberlain to the Black Hills, and later on 
to Tacoma and Seattle. The company had out its engineers and was buying 
land all along the proposed line for stations, etc. 

"The Northwestern railroad controls the entire traffic of the Black Hills. 
Does anyone honestly think the road will build across to the Hills until the 
Milwaukee forces it to do so? Are the taxpayers willing to pay the mileage 
of officials nearly 200 miles past Mitchell indefinitely? We don't care a whit 
about the aspirations of Pierre or Mitchell in this matter, but we want the 
question settled right." — Wakonda Mail, June, 1904. 

Late in June, 1904, the Pierre Capital-Journal observed that several of its 
people were contemplating trying chances in the drawing of Rosebud lands, and 
that others would go down there through the boom for a few days to assist in 
locating work. This remark induced the Mitchell Republican to say that it 
did not understand why the Pierre people should be willing to pay $4 an acre 
for Rosebud lands when they could get land "just as good" west of Pierre foi 
50 cents an acre. 

Early in July, 1904, the Redfield Press said that two years before every 
voter in Redfield was in favor of removing the capital ; that a capital committee 
was selected by the citizens to help secure the passage of a removal bill; that 
the committee freely discussed and without a dissenting vote wisely decided 
that a bill could not be passed unless some scheme was agreed upon whereby 
the three aspiring towns, Redfield, Huron and Mitchell, could be unified in their 
efforts to pass the bill; that the plan of unification was originated by Redfield, 
which took the initiative in approaching the other cities, and that all agreed to 
"stand pat" on the result of a caucus where the choice of a town to be named 
in the bill should be made by the members of the Legislature. In the conference 
of the three cities all agreed that either of the towns was preferable to Pierre as 
the capital. The legislative caucus named Mitchell, the submission bill was 
passed with only 17 voters against it, and the other two towns were thus bound 
to support Mitchell. 

Accessibility, center of population, lower taxes, free use of building, donation 
of capitol building site — were the strong points in Mitchell's favor, so it was 
declared by the supporters of that city. They continued to hold that Pierre's 
only claim was its geographical location in the center of the state. They further 
asserted that "there is absolutely no other reason for maintaining the capital at 
Pierre ; that fourteen years had exploded the geographical location claim ; that the 


country west of Pierre could take care of itself just as other sections of the state 
had built themselves up without the aid of a capital, and that if the land was 
good no capital would be necessary to induce people to settle upon it. If it is 
not good for agriculture then all the capitals in kingdom come can not induce a 

The Clark Republic asked the question, "Take the great ex-Sioux Reservation 
west of Pierre and place it in Illinois, New York or Ohio and how long would it 
remain vacant? Don't everyone speak at once, please. Does not that seem to 
utterly demolish the question as to ultimate occupancy?" The Mitchell sup- 
porters answered that no one denied that the great plains bet\Veen Pierre and the 
Black Hills will contain many more people than at present, that the state now had 
but about fifteen thousand population west of the Missouri River outside of the 
Black Hills and only about fifty-seven thousand all told west of the river; that 
the great influx of population in Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South 
Dakota was into the eastern sections of all four states; that there was a reason 
for it ; that for a long time to come the same disparity would qxist between the 
population of the western and the eastern sections of all of these states; and 
that the object of a state capital was to subserve the wants of the majority of 
the citizens. 

In July the Mitchell papers stated that the Pierre papers advertised land for 
sale in Hughes County at from $2 to $4 per acre — three-quarter sections for 
$666.66, one for $325, and one for $983.33 — and this in spite of the fact that 
the country had been settled for twenty-three years and Pierre had had the capital 
for fourteen years. 

"It will be in order for the Mitchell papers to explain after the vote in the 
capital question is canvassed in November, that the arguments they resort to in 
discussing the capital removal project, especially in reference to the northwestern 
portion of the state, are for campaign purposes solely and should not be believed. 
But in the meantime persons outside of South Dakota who are unacquainted with 
conditions here, may possibly believe the statements of the knockers, to the great 
disadvantage of the state, and it is also extremely probable that the real estate 
men of other states will find excellent use for the Mitchell arguments when they 
undertake to divert the tide of immigration from South Dakota to their own 
states. The statements of the Mitchell newspapers that the western part of the 
state is unfit for anything but cattle ranges, and that the population of the state 
from the Jim River westward is decreasing rather than increasing, as the Howard 
Spirit said in effect a few weeks ago, is calculated to harm the whole state for 
many years to come if the people of South Dakota stamp such arguments with 
their approval by voting in favor of capital removal." — Aberdeen News, July 2, 

"Not one man in a hundred in this state ever has actual business at the state 
capital and the hundredth man usually goes on a pass. To judge from the state- 
ments of the Mitchell organs you would think that every man, woman and child 
in South Dakota made a religious pilgrimage to the state capital every year, that 
a dollar or two more or less in the expense of getting there would work great 
hardship upon the people of our commonwealth." — Rapid City Journal, July 6, 


"In a discussion of the capital question, the Mitchell Gazette in speaking of 
Pierre says, 'The same old free range country, the same old prairie dog, wolf 
bounty, brand inspection, round-up, cowboy and gumbo knot of fourteen years 
ago.' Yet the Mitchell papers become indignant when accused of knocking." — 
Aberdeen News, July 6, 1904. 

"If the South Dakotan is a fair man, he does not believe in deceit, hypocrisy 
and tall-timber lying. He doesn't want the state settled up, if to do it we must 
misrepresent and bamboozle poor settlers into squatting upon those alkali hills 
among those prairie dog towns." — Sioux Critic, July, 1904. 

"Whenever you meet a man that favors Pierre for the capital you will know 
that he has either been seen by the Pierre Boodle Board of Trade or he is from 
Yankton. If he is from Yankton he is for Pierre because he is sore at Mitchell; 
and if he is not from Yankton and favors Pierre he has been told that he is a 
good fellow and has been given a little coin to treat his friends and make votes 
for Pierre." — Lesterville Ledger, July, 1904. 

"Such arguments as the above may cause the people of South Dakota to rush 
to the polls to endorse them by voting for Mitchell, but they are far more likely 
to arouse a just resentment against the men who thus villify half of the state 
for purely selfish purposes." — Aberdeen News, July 16, 1904. 

"Most of the lands now being so eagerly taken in the three states (Minne- 
sota, North Dakota and South Dakota) were formerly considered unfit for agri- 
culture. Those in the Dakotas were considered too dry, while those in Minnesota 
were objected to because they were in the timber country. But the large increase 
in the number of persons going into the cattle business on a small scale has led 
to the taking up of thousands of homesteads west of the Missouri River. More- 
over it is by no means so certain as it was once thought to be that the western 
part of the Dakotas cannot be used for farming. The introduction of new crops 
and improved methods of cultivating the soil where the rainfall is limited make 
it possible now to accomplish what would have been impossible a few years ago. 
In South Dakota the lack of railway facilities has retarded settlement in the 
western part of the state. Lines now projected will make a great difference." — 
Aberdeen News, July 13. 1904. 

In July the question of capital removal was debated at the Canton Chau- 
tauqua, C. E. Deland and E. W. Caldwell speaking for Pierre and O. L. Branson 
and N. P. Bromley, for Mitchell. Although the weather was bad, about three 
thousand persons heard this debate, the two cities sending special delegations to 
witness the result and estimate public opinion. Each was accompanied with 
boomers and bands and the streets were paraded by the delegations bearing 
banners, mottoes and driving special floats. The decision was left to the voters 
in November. 

In July the Huronite declared that it was the influence of the Milwaukee 
Company that made Mitchell the candidate for capital removal, that the Legis- 
lature, uncontaminated by the railroad lobby, was not in favor of removal, that 
after the vote on the resolution had been taken there was a general desire for a 
reconsideration, but that the pressure brought to bear by the railroad prevented 
such action. The editor of the Huronite (John Longstaff) was a member of the 
Legislature at the time. He had worked for Huron in 1890 when that city was 
a capital aspirant, and in January, 1903, at the legislative session had worked for 


Huron in the caucus when Mitchell was selected. Now, in July, 1904, he declared 
that the war was really waged by the Milwaukee and the Northwestern Railway 
companies; that the Milwaukee Company wanted the capital at Mitchell on its 
line to the Black Hills, that the Northwestern wanted it retained at Pierre, and 
that the two companies furnished much of the money that was used by both 
cities to advance their capital ambitions. 

"Mitchell has never said a word derogatory to the western part of the state, 
and the northwestern part has never been brought into the controversy except 
by the Pierre supporters who wanted to work a continuation of the sympathy 
racket for the capital city. Mitchell has simply maintained that the western part 
of the state has been set apart by the very nature of things as a grazing country 
and all these years it has been the pride of the state as being the most wonderful 
grazing country in the United States. In the campaign of 1890 John LongstafiE 
of Huron had this same thing to contend with and Pierre called Huron a knocker 
and that sort of thing, but nevertheless that part of the state continued as a 
grazing country up to the present time and the indications are that it will con- 
tinue to be after the capital fight is over. Pierre never talked agricultural features 
for the grazing country until they saw it was necessary to have some people 
over there in order to combat Mitchell's idea of the center of population. * * * . 
Doubtless people will move out to the reservation to live, but for every family 
that goes out there five will settle in the country that is contiguous to Mitchell. 
The reservation will serve the purpose for which it is intended and Pierre and her 
entire hosts can not change the trend of the times." — Mitchell Republican, July 
19, 1904. 

In July the Watertown Public Opinion said it was reported that Mitchell had 
voted $100,000 in bonds with which to conduct the capital fight. "Is the capital 
worth it to the town? It won't be in the case of Mitchell, for she will have to do 
as Watertown is now doing — pay the obligation without getting any returns for 
the investment, excepting some dearly bought experience." In reply the Mitchell 
Republican said, "We can assure Brer Corey that the bonds were issued for the 
purpose of extending the water mains and sewers of the city. Has not Mitchell 
just as good a right and as much need for adding water mains and sewers for 
its growing population as has the City of Aberdeen, which this spring voted even 
a larger sum for the same purpose ?" 

In order to refute the statement that its offer of a site for the capital was 
not made in good faith, Mitchell circulated the following covenant in July, 1904 : 

"To the Sioux Falls National Bank, Sioux Falls, S. D. 

"Gentlemen: I herewith hand you warranty deed executed by A. E. Hitchcock 
and Louise L. Hitchcock, husband and wife, containing full covenants of war- 
ranty running to the State of South Dakota for blocks 36, 37, 48, 49, 50 and 
51, located in the addition adjoining Mitchell on the northwest and an abstract of 
title thereto showing a good and clear title in A. E. Hitchcock free from all 
incumbrances. There are about eighteen acres in this property and it lies in a 
very sightly place for state buildings and reasonably near the center of the city. 
You are to deliver this deed to the proper authorities of the State of South' 
Dakota upon the following conditions, viz. : First, that the vote of the people at 
the November election in 1904 shall locate the state capital at said City of 


Mitchell; second, that thereafter the State of South Dakota by the Legislature 
shall adopt a joint resolution locating the site of a permanent building upon said 
lands and accepting conveyance therefore. 

"(Signed) A. E. Hitchcock." 

The receipt of this deed was acknowledged by the Sioux Falls National Bank 
through D. L. McKinney, president. 

In July, 1904, the Fort Pierre Fairplay announced that Professor Carpenter 
had just written that the gumbo shale and clear near there were the finest material 
in the world for Portland cement and that samples of the finished product would 
be forwarded within a short time. In reply a Mitchell paper said : "What's the 
use of those fellows out there making a pretense of having just as rich agri- 
cultural lands as those on the east side of the river when they will publish such 
items as the above? They must be a queer kind of agricultural products 
that will grow in soil which is calculated to make good cement blocks. All that 
Mitchell has ever said about the lands out there is that it is not capable of produc- 
ing agricultural products in paying quantities and we don't know of any better 
authority for support of the proposition than the above item. Now, if there is 
any knocking in this it can be charged up to that reservation paper." 

In July, 1904, the Brookings Register said : "Mitchell wants the capital removed 
from Pierre to that city because it believes it will enhance the value of the prop- 
erty of every resident of that city, and of every farmer for miles around and 
materially assist in further developing the country." The Mitchell Republican 
replied that it was well understood that property in Pierre was not now worth 
any more than it was fourteen years before, and in fact not so much; that 107 
members of the Legislature, when they considered the question of capital removal, 
selected Mitchell as the contestant with Pirre for the honor and did not figure in 
the least how much Mitchell might make or lose in the contest. That was the 
difference between the Brookings Register and 107 members of the Legislature. 

"Taking the capital away from Pierre would leave without a single public insti- 
tution an area extending from Aberdeen, Redfield and Plankinton on the east to 
Rapid City on the west — an area including two-thirds of the entire state. Is it 
to be presumed that such an area would be content to be thus deprived for any 
great number of years? Would it not be inevitable that crusades would be inaugu- 
rated before long seeking to capture a due share of these seventeen public institu- 
tions monopolized by one-third of the state? In case of such efforts at reprisal 
the matter would be determined by a majority of the Legislature. Who can 
insure Brookings or any other locality now having a public institution that a com- 
bination for capturing two or three of these institutions might be made? The 
strongest possible guaranty against such a combination would be to allow this two- 
thirds of the state to retain the capitol." — Brookings Press, July, 1904. 

"The people of South Dakota believe in the whole state from Sisseton to 
Belle Fourche and from Elk Point to Deadwood. They believe the whole state 
will in time be settled with thrifty, prosperous people, and they are not going to 
let a mere matter of temporary convenience influence them to remove the capital 
off in one corner of the state to the permanent harm of the commonwealth as a 
whole." — Aberdeen News, July 23, 1904. This was said in reply to the Dell 
Rapids Tribune which objected to keeping the capital far off from the center of 


population for 50 to 100 years and thus inconveniencing the bulk of the popula- 
tion in the eastern part of the state. 

In July, 1904, the fact was published that the Milwaukee Railroad Company 
intended to build at once an extension of its line from Chamberlain to the Black 
Hills and thence on to Puget Sound. The news was circulated at the same time 
that the Northwestern intended to extend its line on the west side of the Missouri 
from Bonesteel to Fort Pierre, but said nothing about the extension of the North- 
western from Pierre to the Black Hills. Friends of Pierre in the Black Hills 
denounced the publication of this item, and declared it was merely intended to 
keep Mitchell in the capital fight. Already the friends of the two railroads — Mil- 
waukee and Northwestern — were divided on the capital question, those of the 
former favoring Mitchell and those of the latter, Pierre. Even the newspapers 
of the Black Hills were similarly divided. It was openly stated by the Mitchell 
supporters that the Black Hills had never been benefited one dollar by the loca- 
tion of the capital at Pierre. Just the reverse, because, in all journeys by rail 
from the Black Hills to Pierre and return members of the Legislature, lawyers 
and others were compelled to go "round Robinhood's bam" at great expense or 
take the two day trip by stage across the plains or reservation. During the capital 
fight of 1890 the Black Hills was promised a speedy construction of a line from 
Pierre to that part of the state, but by 1904 had done nothing except to com- 
mence on a line from Bonesteel to Fort Pierre. In 1904 the Black Hills were 
914 miles by rail from Pierre and with no outlook by July for any relief except 
from the Milwaukee through Chamberlain. 

At this time (July, 1904) the journey from Deadwood to Pierre by rail was 
as follows : Leave Deadwood at 6 o'clock P. M. ; reach Sioux City, Iowa, at 
3.55 P. M. the next day; remain in Sioux City until 10.19 A. M. the third day, 
then take train via Alton, Iowa and Hawarden, Iowa, and get to Huron, S. D., 
in time for supper ; then catch train so as to arrive at Pierre at 2 A. M. the fourth 
day. To reach Mitchell from Deadwood the route was — leave Deadwood at 6 
P. M. and reach Sioux City at 3.30 P. M. the next day ; take Milwaukee train at 
4.45 P. M., spend an hour and a half at Yankton and reach Mitchell at 10 P. M. 
In this connection the Black Hills Blade, at Lead, said : "But when the Milwau- 
kee shall have completed its line to the Hills you can enter a sleeper at 10 o'clock 
P. M. in Deadwood and wake up in Mitchell the next morning for early break- 
fast. These are facts and they cannot be disputed. It is for the Hills people to 
say which they prefer. The Northwestern road has benefited the Black Hills, 
but its work has had in it no element of generosity. It has never laid a rail except 
for its own benefit. Its fare was 5 cents a mile for years, then it reduced to 4. 
Its freight rates have been increased instead of decreased. The people of the 
Hills, except the men who ride on passes, have paid for all the accommodations 
they have received. That they may keep on the pass list they will try to persuade 
the voters that Pierre is the place for the capital to remain and that the Black 
Hills may be hostile to the extension of the Milwaukee road. These are facts for 
the voter to ponder." 

In August, 1904, the Chancellor News remarked that fourteen years before 
Pierre had "stood pat on a bobtail flush" — the D. P. & B. H. R. R. fake— and 
had "won the pot ;" that she had "stood pat" for years and milked the national 
treasury for a $40,000 appropriation for the "ice harbor" in which to moor the 


wreck of a pontoon bridge where the ice waxed thick enough to drive cattle and 
horses across; that she "stood pat" and got $100,000 for a "federal building" 
where the builders could cook their meals with "buffalo chips ;" and that pos- 
sibly with a handful of fraudulent land filings "stand pat" was the best and only 
way to play the game out. 

In August, 1904, the Redfield Press said that it was worse than futile for 
the Pierre papers to try to smooth over the character of a capital campaign run 
by Pierre when she won the capital by a small majority ; that Pierre as a city 
and Hughes County were both involved in a bonded indebtedness from which 
they could never free themselves ; that although Pierre had readjusted some of 
her bonds on a basis of 50 cents on the dollar, yet no man who knew the situation 
but would make, if he held any of the bonds, another large discount for cash; 
that the Woonsocket Capital Company fake brought a large vote, but the suckers 
received nothing from it ; that deeds of lots were used of which not 10 per cent 
ever had the taxes paid by those who received the lots ; that money in Spink 
County was openly used at the polls and that it was not the unbiased judgment 
of the people that ever put the capital at Pierre. 

In August, 1904, the Pierpont Signal, among other observations, remarked 
that somebody had imagined that somebody had said something at some time 
about the land west of Pierre ; that the Pierre papers were now doing their best 
to air this imaginary saying far and wide and talking about the harm this 
imaginary statement had done the state; that nobody had said anything detri- 
mental to the western half of the state and even if they had all the newspaper 
talk in South Dakota wouldn't change the lands, conditions, climate or soil west 
of the Missouri River. 

Pierre claimed that the United States in early times looked at the whole west- 
ern country as Mitchell now looked at the land in South Dakota west of the Mis- 
souri. At first the Northwest Territory was so regarded; then the prairie lands 
were thought to be unfit for farming ; then the explorers announced the existence 
of a great American desert west of the Missouri; then Northwestern Iowa and 
Western Minnesota were condemned; then the same reflections were cast on 
Dakota Territory — on even the Big Sioux and the James River valleys ; and now 
the region west of the Missouri was condemned by Mitchell and its supporters. 
Pierre declared that the soil and climatic conditions might be different, but all in 
the end would be conquered by the husbandman. It called attention to a similar 
blunder made by General Sibley in 1863, republished in the Aberdeen News of 
August 6, 1904, as follows: 

"The region crossed by my column between the first crossing of the Cheyenne 
River and the Missouri Coteau is for the most part uninhabitable. If the devil 
were to be permitted to select a residence upon earth he would probably choose 
this particular district for an abode. Through this vast desert lakes fair in the 
eye abound, but generally their waters are strongly alkaline and intensely bitter 
and brackish. The valleys between them reek with sulphurous and other dis- 
agreeable vapors. The heat was so intolerable that the earth was like a heated 
furnace and the breezes that swept along its surface were as scorching and suffo- 
cating as the famed sirocco."- — (From report of Gen. H. Sibley, 1863). "The 
particular region described is that from Cooperstown to Steel, now one of the 
richest portions of North Dakota, farming lands ranging in price from $25 


upward. The reference of the Mitchell knockers to the west of the Missouri as 
'gumbo,' 'prairie dog,' 'rainless desert,' etc., are as absurd as time has proved 
the opinion of General Sibley, quoted above, to be. And the Mitchell knockers 
cannot plead ignorance as an excuse for their misrepresentations." — Aberdeen 
News, August 6, 1904. 

"When John Longstaff was moving heaven and earth to get the capital re- 
moved from Pierre to Huron he never had any conscientious scruples of 'putting 
the state seal of approval upon the removal of public institutions.' This, John 
now claims, would be the result of moving the capital from Pierre to Mitchell. 
Charles McLeod, of the Aberdeen News, is also much afraid that if the capital 
is moved that there might be a possibility of Aberdeen's losing its normal 
school. It is strange how a man's ideas are dwarfed when they get on the oppo- 
site side of the fence. The two are putting up a Pierre capital campaign bluff." 
Mitchell Republican, August 10, 1904. 

In August, 1904, the Webster World declared that Pierre owed the state 
$20,000 in back taxes and was bonded for $350,000 which the state some day 
would become responsible for should the capital remain at Pierre. 

Said the Dell Rapids Tribune in August, 1904, "The Pierre people cannot 
present a single good argument for the retention of the capital at Pierre. They 
are putting in their time wailing that the supporters of Mitchell are injuring the 
state. The 106,500 applications for the 2,500 quarter sections of Rosebud lands 
show how little ground there is for their wailings. It will not injure the state to 
remove the capital to a more accessible point, nor does it injure the state to say 
it ought to be done." 

The Scotland Citizen said in August, "The State of South Dakota doesn't 
need any presents. It is able to buy a capital site and to erect its own buildings 
if need be. The great purpose in removal is to locate the capital where it will 
be convenient for the public. At Mitchell it will always be convenient for the 
great majority of the people — at Pierre never." 

The Vermillion Republican of August, 1904, declared that "for the space of 
about three weeks the partisan press supporters of Pierre's tottering prospects 
in the capital campaign have kept up a small-bore fusilade along their entire 
firing line, their range all concentrated on a straw dummy of their own setting up, 
towit: That the removal of the capital from the frontier to a more populously 
and commercially central point will start the removal of all other state institutions 
from their present respective and satisfactory anchorages to some other though 
as yet undesignated place or places. The sound of this snap-shot style of argu- 
ment is now dying away and its yellow smoke is clearing off. Not a single col- 
lege, normal or other school, asylum or prison-pen has been loosened from its 
moorings, and nobody residing in the towns where these had been originally 
placed has been hurt. . . . All this blow by the Pierre blase buzzers about 
capital removal's affecting the university, or the agricultural college, or the 
asylum for the blind, or the penitentiary, or the school of mines, is the merest 
buncomb, and our suggestion is to treat it as it deserves — just bluff it down, cough 
it down, sneeze it down, hoot it down, and then give Mitchell a still larger ma- 
jority than was intended before played out Pierre resorted to such tricky tactics." 

"No one outside of Mitchell questions the agricultural possibilities of Day and 
Brown counties, but if their railroad facilities ended at Big Stone and Huron 



would the residents of those counties be raising grain today, or would they be 
raising products which they could either hand to the market in concentrated form, 
such as wool, or else be driven to market as sheep and cattle ? A little common 
sense applied to a question is worth tons of such rant as is being put out by the 
Mitchell crowd."- — Pierre Capital- Journal, August, 1904. 

"We are not knocking nor slandering the western part of the state, as Pierre 
claims whenever facts are stated or statistics referred to. Proving statements 
and being honest with the people is not knocking, and Pierre will find it difficult 
to create a sentiment in its favor, as it is trying to do, by continually harping 
about 'knocking the state' and 'Mitchell's campaign of slander.' Pierre knows 
that in this campaign it is necessary, in order to get the support of any conscien- 
tious voter, to prove that the country between Pierre and the Hills will be as 
thickly populated as the country east of the river. It has been attempted during 
the last six months to lead the people to believe that that country is not a cattle 
country, but better fitted for agricultural purposes. It has claimed that the 
country is rapidly settling up and that the ranches are being vacated and that 
the homesteaders have been rapidly moving in. Its purpose has been to 
deceive the people into believing that it will be the center of populations." — 
Mitchell Republican, August 16, 1904. 

The Redfield members of the tri-city agreement were Z. A. Grain, W. C. Kiser, 
T. S. Everett, E. C. Isenhuth, H. P. Packard, S. E. Morris and W. F. Bruell. 
The three committees agreed that all who participated in the tri-city caucus and 
agreement should work for a resubmission resolution in the Legislature, that they 
owed their allegiance to the city winning out in legislative caucus and were in 
duty bound to stand by that city until the votes were counted. Afterward the 
members of the Redfield committee were interviewed with this result : Mr. Kiser 
said, "We entered into a compact with Mitchell and Huron that we would work 
jointly for resubmission and each city for itself would strive to win votes and that 
all three would be bound by the result of a caucus of all the legislators who favored 
resubmission. That caucus was to determine which city should be pitted against 
Pierre. It was well known that but one city would be named in the resolution. 
After the question of which city should be inserted should have been decided, 
then all were to favor the resolution, which they did, and to stand by the 
outcome. The reason that led to the formation of the tri-city compact was 
because there was found to be a strong sentiment throughout the state in favor 
of removal. But from all sides there was doubt of its practicability, because, it 
was said, if either of the three towns shall find they cannot get it they will work 
to prevent resubmission and Pierre will beat the movement by playing one against 
the other. That this opinion was well based appears from the position that Huron 
now takes." Mr. Isenhuth said, "I propose to keep the faith by doing to others 
just as I would have expected them to do to Redfield. There was no question as 
to the nature of our compact and further, there is no question that it was the 
only way to secure a vote." Mr. Packard stated that Huron was as firm in 
promising support to the winning city as the other two; that Huron was out- 
spoken against Pierre as the capital, that the whole trend of the discussion in 
joint committee was that "any old place in the James River Valley" was prefer- 
able to Pierre; that it was part of the agreement that all three cities were to 
work for themselves and to work for removal. Mr. Morris said all were to work 


for the removal bill ; that each committee was to do its best for its city ; that the 
choice of the legislative caucus was to determine the city to be pitted against 
Pierre ; that there was a disposition with all the three committees to hedge when 
it came to making promises of support to the successful city; that it was not 
in his opinion implied in the contract that the other two should support the suc- 
cessful one at the polls. "It was argued," he said, "that the committees could 
not bind their constituents, and yet the logic of the combination was so forceful 
that the individual members of the committee seemed to acknowledge that their 
allegiance would be due to the city that might win out. I would certainly have 
expected their support had Redfield won. There was no question that all mem- 
bers agreed that any one of the three cities was preferable to Pierre." Mr. Everett 
testified that he had been a member of the Legislature three times, that at every 
session the discontent of the Pierre location was manifested and that this discon- 
tent had grown until resubmission was an easy matter. N. P. Bromley said, "I 
was a member of the Legislature, but not a member of the tri-city committee. I 
was asked to enter into an agreement with the members-elect from Beadle and 
Davison counties and did so at the request of the committee. In my opinion 
the three committees were removalists of the rankest kind and all seemed not 
only to agree that any one of the three towns was preferable to Pierre for the 
capital, but they were emphatic and outspoken. The very fact of entering into 
the compact is reason enough for me to feel that I am bound to support the town 
that won out and was named in the resolution by my vote and the vote of 
every member of the Legislature from the three counties." 

In August, 1904, the Canton Times observed that the capital buttons issued 
by Mitchell conveyed the idea by the pictures of the capitol building thereon that 
the structure was to be given to the state permanently; and it furthermore 
observed that Mitchell promised that not a cent would it cost the state to remove 
the capital, all of which the Times refused to believe. The Mitchell papers 
defied the Times to show where they had ever said that the building to be 
given permanently to the state and insisted tjiat the City of Mitchell would pay 
every cent of the cost of removal. They further asserted that the Pierre sup- 
porters were forced to misrepresent matters in order to lay the foundation for 
an attack on Mitchell. 

In August the Groton Independent insisted that before the capital was 
removed Pierre should be paid the $80,000 which it had invested in property 
for the state and which was accepted by the action of the state and that it should 
also be reimbursed for its expenses in the present campaign — a defensive one 
resulting from its acquirement of the capital as a result of the act of Congress 
which legally established there the temporary capital. 

Early in September the Scotland Citizen-Republican remarked that "nothing 
has transpired since the meeting of the last Legislature to make Pierre more 
desirable as a capital location than it was at that time. The opposition now mani- 
festing itself against Mitchell from places that have always before been crying 
for capital removal can only be attributed to jealousy and in this feeling the 
people generally have no sympathy and should rebuke it. The strength of Pierre 
lies in the fact that no other town fears her supremacy, but a town that is so far 
removed from the people that it is beyond the reach of competition is hardly an 
appropriate place for the seat of government." 


"Pierre is up in the air and all at sea for campaign material and she is put- 
ting the whole press bureau at work concocting imaginary reasons why the capital 
shouldn't be removed and in so doing ignoring all of the main issues on which 
she has been beaten to a standstill." — Kimball Graphic late in August, 1904. 

"About the only argument put forth in favor of retaining the capital at Pierre 
is that its removal would ruin the City of Pierre and take away all the value 
from the lands adjacent to the city, particularly those lying between the river 
and the Black Hills. Talk about knocking! No worse criticism could be made of 
the country than to say that its value depends entirely upon the fact that it is 
located near the capital of the state. Such talk is all bosh. It simply places Pierre 
and its adjacent territory in the position of paupers. The people of the state 
are under no obligation to pay tribute to keep up any city." — Scotland Citizen- 
Republican early September, 1904. 

"Pierre is slandering South Dakota. Pierre by its misrepresentations is 
knocking the whole state. In attempting to mislead the voters to believe tliat the 
land west of the Missouri is as good for farming purposes as the land in the 
eastern part, Pierre is giving a black eye, so to speak, to the entire state. Men 
who came West and failed in the Rosebud drawing went over the land west of 
Pierre and from the papers of that city learned that the land in the eastern 
part of the state was no better than the land west of the Missouri River. They 
did not care to look any farther. Pierre cannot deceive the voters of the state, 
but she can deceive the residents of other states and in so doing injure the entire 
state. Governor Lee says, 'The removal of the capital will not cause the lands 
lying west of the river to decrease in value any more than it has caused them to 
increase. Farmers settle upon land on which they can live and it is not to the 
advantage of the state to get settlers by misrepresentation. We have a grand 
state, but there is no state in the Union that is all good, and when each portion 
of our state is used for what it is best adapted, the best results will be secured.' 
Pierre should discontinue its campaign of misrepresentation, the results of which 
are beginning to injure the reputation of the entire state." — Mitchell Republican. 

In 1903 many opposed the capital location on the ground that the railroad 
therefrom westward to the Black Hills had not been built, though promised 
continuously as far back as 1889-90, or longer. "We have hugged that bull 
train phantasmagoria until it is almost a sacrilege with some to think of any place 
but Pierre. It happened that Pierre was the last place from which the stage 
coach lumbered and the bull train crawled before the Elkhorn Railway struck 
this country. If the last terminus had been Bismarck, N. D., or Sidney, Neb., 
some of us would have maintained that one of these places should be the capital 
of the state ; and our reasoning would be a mighty sight more logical than now, 
because either place is more accessible to the people of the Hills than Pierre. And 
Pierre hasn't overlooked anything. It has showered prodigious professions of 
love for the Hills, claiming our support as a matter of absolute and arrogant 
right. Her whole claim for support for twenty years lias been based upon the 
assertion that some time the Northwestern Railroad would parallel its own line 
into the Hills. Many of us have taken that assertion seriously, grumbled a 
little about dying of old age — and supported Pierre. As a matter of fact the 
citizens of the Hills should and will take this capital relocation question just as 
it seems to be forced on us. We have voted and 'plugged' for the present loca- 


tion thirteen or fourteen years, not because of accessibility or desirability, but 
because of a promise of a railroad across the country. If the building of a rail- 
road is contingent let us give Mitchell and the Milwaukee road a chance. We 
can't be any worse than now and taking Pierre's only argument as gospel truth, 
we will be infinitely better off in the matter of railroad connection. Every voter 
of the Black Hills should study this matter seriously. Mitchell seems to be hav- 
ing her troubles against the location on the east side of the river. For various 
reasons there is a sentiment against the relocation in the eastern section, to over- 
come which will require a most continuous and adroit campaign on the part of 
the city's boosters. Despite Pierre's disadvantages from the standpoint of rail- 
road accessibility the jealousies of contemporary cities and the fact that relocation 
will be expensive, handicaps Mitchell greatly. But whether beaten or not one 
cannot help but admire the whole-hearted manner in which the citizens of that 
city have taken up the fight." — Sturgis Record, September, 1903. 

In September it was argued by Mitchell that, while most of the soil west of 
the Missouri River was good, the rainfall was not sufficient for the wants of 
agriculture, but was ample for range purposes; that a quarter section was not 
sufficient for the support of a family ; and that therefore the bill pending in Con- 
gress, which provided that homesteads of 640 acres could be filed on, was just 
and was intended to meet the semi-arid conditions by making each claim large 
enough for a small range, the assumption being that each section would contain 
enough farming land in addition to support at least one family. 

"There wasn't a word said about the country around Pierre until the boomers 
there began to tell fairy stories about the waving corn fields, the tall grains, the 
great productiveness and the general superiority of the country around them on 
both sides of the river in Hughes, Sully, Lyman, Stanley and other counties to 
any other part of the state. When we read that we had to say something or 
explode. * * * Where is their prosperity? In the money they made out 
of the suckers who were green enough to buy some seven hundred thousand dol- 
lars worth of bonds which the good people of Pierre afterwards repudiated? 
If this is their progress and prosperity we want none of it in ours." — Hudson 
Hudsonite, September, 1904. 

During the summer and fall of 1904 both Pierre and Mitchell secured free 
transportation for all persons who desired to visit those cities — Pierre from the 
North- Western and Mitchell from the Milwaukee. Many thousands of people 
took advantage of these oflfers. The two railways were sharply engaged in the 
ontest. It was said that the North- Western refused to connect with the Mil- 
waukee, when asked to do so, in order to bring speedily the crowds that wanted 
to see the corn palace at Mitchell. Hughes County had an exhibit on that 
occasion, but in a separate building. The corn palace was never grander than 
it was this year. Sousa's Band was present at great cost and the display of 
grain, grass, vegetables, fruits and particularly corn, had probably never been 
surpassed in the state up to that time. There were free concerts each day and 
the palace was kept open until tne election in November in order to help entertain 
the crowds that were brought there free by the railroad to see whai might be the 
new state capital. 

"When the Mitchell Capital Campaign Committee adopted the knocking 
method it committed a mistake that will cost it dear. All the experience of by- 


gone years shows that from the time the Pilgrim Fathers arrived on Plymouth 
Rock until Mitchell decided it wanted to become the capital of South Dakota the 
East has always knocked the West and the West has always overcome prejudice 
and false report and misrepresentation of every description and triumphed over 
its enemies. History will repeat itself in the capital campaign in South Dakota." 
— Aberdeen Daily News, September 5, 1904. 

"Faulk County secured first place at the state fair at Yankton and Hughes 
County second place, with Bon Homme third. The fact that Hughes persists in 
getting so close to the front at every state fair is but another example of that 
provoking stubbornness of the people living in the neighborhood of the Missouri 
River who persist in turning a deaf ear to the assurances of the Mitchell people 
that their part of the state is a barren waste, making a fair cow pasture in favor- 
able seasons, but utterly unfit for farming purposes." — Aberdeen News, Septem- 
ber 20, 1904. 

"Mitchell seldom overlooks an opportunity to make a fool break when the 
capital removal contest is involved. Its latest eft'ort in that line was its refusal 
to allow Hughes County space in its com palace exhibit. The action of the Pierre 
people in renting a room in the Widmann Hotel in which the products of the fine 
farms of Hughes County will be fittingly displayed will effectually counteract 
the efforts of the refusal of space in the corn palace and will place the Mitchell 
Capital Committee and the corn palace management in a very embarrassing 
position." — Aberdeen News, September 22, 1904. 

"Hughes County exhibit at the Mitchell Corn Palace is now a standing joke 
throughout the state." — Alexandria Journal. "The Journal forgot to explain, 
however, that the joke is on the Mitchell fellows who have been referring to 
Hughes County as a barren waste. Notice the Pierre and Mitchell newspapers 
closely and you will see that the Pierre papers are doing all the chuckling over 
the incident, while the Mitchell papers are occupying columns of space with 
labored explanations of how it happened that Hughes County's exhibit at the 
Widmann Hotel, barred out of the corn palace, so greatly outclassed some of the 
exhibits from counties within the magic hundred-mile circle." — Aberdeen News, 
October 15, 1904. 

"Railroad extensions do not depend upon so small considerations as the 
location of a state capital. If Mitchell has told the truth about the barrenness 
of the region west of the Missouri no railroad is going to expend millions of 
dollars traversing the desolate region. If the Mitchell people have been lying, 
as is generally understood among all South Dakotans who know anything about 
the region west of the river, the Milwaukee and the Northwestern will push 
across the country west of the Missouri from Pierre and Evarts as soon as the 
prices of material and the wages of labor make the move practicable." — Aberdeen 
News, September 19, 1904. 

In September, 1904, Mitchell announced positively that as soon as the capital 
should be located at that city the Milwaukee company would at once extend 
their line westward from Chamberlain to the Black Hills, and pointed to the 
surveys, etc., that were then in progress west of the Missouri to confirm its state- 
ments. Pierre answered that this was only another dodge to secure the favor and 
support of the Black Hills. 


"If the Milwaukee intends building to the Hills it will build no sooner nor 
no later, on account of the location of the state capital. The Milwaukee will 
not build to the Hills, if it does build there, solely for the purpose of securing 
the patronage of the Hills people who may have occasion to visit the state capital. 
On the contrary, it will build because it wants its share of the freight and pas- 
senger traffic from the Black Hills to the twin cities and Chicago. And the 
Black Hills knows that as soon as one great railroad system starts to build across 
the country from the Missouri River to the Hills, the other will also commence 
operations and the Milwaukee is as likely to build from Evarts as from Cham- 
berlain, while the Northwestern will certainly build from Pierre alone. Thus 
the Black Hills' chances to obtain direct commurtication by rail with the state 
capital and the eastern part of the state are far better with the capital at Pierre 
than at Mitchell." — Aberdeen News, September 23, 1904. 

"What South Dakota needs is more railroads and more people on her 
broad and fertile acres. Shall we vote to condemn one-half of the state and then 
expect capital to come to our assistance in the further development of a great 
state?" — Huron Huronite, October, 1904. 

"This is not a railroad fight. The state capital does not belong to the rail- 
roads. It belongs to the people. The people pay the bills. It is the people's 
fight. The removal question must be settled by the people for themselves and 
not for the railroads. Naturally a railroad will favor the location at a place on 
its lines." — Aberdeen Daily News, October 29, 1904. 

"The only 'barren waste' in the state is the waste of time and money in this 
capital removal deal by the Mitchell knockers." — Hitchcock Leader, October, 

"There is one advantage that is coming in this capital fight and that is that 
most citizens will have a better idea of the ^hole state than they would have 
ever learned without this campaign. There is no doubt that the western part 
of the state is in a pioneer stage, but that is no proof that it will not develop in 
the future and provide homes for the enterprising settler. Local interests should 
not be considered in locating the capital of the state." — Gary Inter-State, 1904. 

"Western South Dakota is giving the people in the eastern part of the state 
an object lesson in the agricultural possibilities of the 'barren waste.' A collec- 
tion of grain, grasses, vegetables and fruits has been made at Belle Fourche, 
Rapid City and Hot Springs, and the exhibit has been placed in a car and brought 
east of the river for display in as many localities as possible before election. The 
object of the display is thus stated by the Belle Fourche Bee: 'The Mitchell 
crowd has been so persistent in knocking the western part of the state, in order 
to make votes for Mitchell for capital, that the citizens of this section have decided 
to show the people of the eastern section that this is not a 'barren waste' and that 
Mitchell has been guilty of willful and gross misrepresentation. The farmers and 
fruit growers gladly present their products for the exhibit, as they resent the 
instdt thrown at the west end of the state and are only too glad to be given 
an opportunity to repair if possible the great injury to the entire state that is 
resulting from the slanderous misrepresentations made by Mitchell knockers in 
order to secure the removal of the state capital to their city." "This probably is 
the first instance in history in which the people of one portion of a commonwealth 
li;i\-e felt compelled to thus defend themselves against the slanders of another 


portion. It is likely that after Mitchell's disastrous blunder in attempting to 
throttle a Hughes County display at the corn palace, the knockers down there will 
know better than to try to keep this Belle Fourche exhibition car outside the city 
limits. It is equally likely, however, that the consummate liars who declared 
the Hughes County exhibit to be a fraud will attempt to discredit this west of 
the Missouri display in one way or another. In the meantime they have not 
undertaken to secure that $i,ooo forfeit which Pierre has deposited as a guaranty 
that her exhibit at Mitchell was absolutely and wholly and entirely as repre- 
sented." — Pierre Press Bureau, 1904. 

"By the middle of December (1904) Mitchell will have a beautiful granite 
building all completed ready for tne reception of the Legislature in January, a 
building especially designed for a temporary capitol building and ample in 
dimensions for all purposes for years to come. It will have separate halls for both 
branches of the Legislature, governor's rooms, committee rooms. Supreme Court 
chambers, offices for the state t^fficials and roomy fire proof vaults for all the 
state records and the Supreme Court library. The use of this magnificent build- 
ing is donated to the state free of charge until the people feel able to erect a 
state house of their own. If Pierre is successful in retaining the capital, it 
promises its citizens for their contributions a $1,000,000 capitol building at once. 
There's where the expense comes in. * * * The total amount of state taxes 
expended by the state auditor for 1902 was $656,315.71. Of this amount the 
counties east of the Missouri River pay all but $70,000. The vast area of the 
state lying west of the Missouri outside of the Black Hills, pays less than $15,000 
of state taxes — and the state has been settled for thirty years. The territory 
within one hundred miles of Mitchell alone pays an annual tax of $456,156.36, 
or over 70 per cent of the state total." — Mitchell Republican, October 23, 1904. 

"This is not a railroad fight. Were it simply a contest between the Milwaukee 
and the Northwestern for commercial supremacy the News would certainly take 
off it.*; coat for the Milwaukee. But the latter has been led into this thing against 
its own good judgment. Then again it is all the same to the Milwaukee whether 
it earns a dollar at Aberdeen, or at Mitchell, or at Chamberlain, or at Sioux Falls, 
or at Sioux City. Mitchell bases its capital campaign on the promise that the 
northern and western portions of the state are no good. No conscientious South 
Dakotan having knowledge of the facts and with due regard for the value of his 
own land and the 200,000 acres of indemnity and endowment land owned by the 
state, can afford to endorse this contention. Over and above everything are the 
interests of the whole state and of distinct localities. The Milwaukee will prosper 
with the development of the whole state of South Dakota." — Aberdeen News, 
October 31, 1904. 

"Pierre is in the corn belt, potato belt, rain belt and fruit belt, and Mitchell 
is jealous about it. South Dakota is your state. All of your state is good. A 
vote for Pierre is a vote for your whole state." — Pierre circular, 1904. 

"If the capital should be removed on the claim made by Mitchell that the 
west two-thirds of the state is unfit for agricultural purposes, removal would be 
an endorsement of Mitchell's claim and a warning to the homeseeker not to 
settle in that section of the state where most of the state lands are situated. The 
result would be that the locality where the state lands are would not be settled 
or developed and the state would realize nothing from these lands. Every citizen 


has an interest in the result of the campaign. Mitchell's hope of success lies in 
her ability to undermine the confidence of the voters in the west two-thirds of 
the state." — Letter, Pierre Board of Trade, 1904. 

"It is not true that Western South Dakota is not capable of development. 
No richer country can be found in the Northwest than that section lying west of 
the Missouri River in this state. Its soil unsurpassingly fertile, as fine samples 
of grain and grasses and vegetables can be shown from this section as from the 
James River Valley. Stock raising has been the chief industry up to date because 
of its profitableness and the inadequate railroad facilities. The time was when 
Eastern and Southeastern South Dakota was a stock range. All that Mitchell 
has said or can say derogatory to Western South Dakota has been said about the 
James River Valley ; about the Sioux and Vermillion River valleys ; about North- 
western Iowa ; about the entire West. The entire West and Northwest has been 
built up in opposition to the 'knocker.' " — Pierre circular, 1904. 

"People would think that an ambitious, hustling town like Mitchell would be 
too proud to aspire to become the capital of a state of which at least half is 
barren, desolate and fit only for the prairie dogs such as the Mitchell newspapers 
claim the western half of South Dakota is." — Aberdeen News, October 22, 1904. 

"When this law was enacted and it became known to those seeking homes, 
such a tide of immigration set in as had not been seen in the State of South 
Dakota since the early '80s and the wave of immigration has been growing 
higher and higher every year since. So eager are the homesteaders for the land 
that they push fifty, sixty and even seventy miles beyond railroad points in order 
to get a quarter section of this land. The men who do this are farmers from 
Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and Eastern South Dakota, men who 
know good land and what a good farming country is. This fact alone gives the 
lie to the calumnies uttered against the country. At the present rate of settle- 
ment the entire area of this vast reser\'ation country will within a few years 
be appropriated by homeseekers." — Pierre circular, 1904. 

"When in 1889 the Great Sioux Reservation stood like a Chinese wall barring 
the onward steps of progress — when the commission headed by General Crook 
came to a standstill in its work of securing the votes of the Indians and defeat 
stared it in the face, Pierre came to its rescue and furnished the means which 
made it possible to proceed with the work. Pierre and Rapid City some years 
ago joined hands to secure the building of a railroad from Aberdeen to Rapid 
City and today have a plant consisting of grade, right of way and terminals, 
which could not be duplicated for less than $500,000. Aberdeen and other cities 
encouraged and helped on the work." Pierre circular, 1904. 

Generally the Black Hills continued to favor Pierre for the capital site. The 
Black Hills Press said, "What has Pierre done — what are her sins of omission 
or commission that she must needs be deprived of the capital? Fourteen years 
ago the state occupied a building which ever since has served the purpose of a 
capitol. It has served the purpose thus far. That the state has not erected a 
grand and stately capitol building is not the fault of Pierre, nor does it weaken 
her in the estimation of fair minded men to decry and belittle the building which 
she years ago gave the state and which was thankfully accepted. To find fault 
now with the state house is like 'looking a gift horse in the mouth.' The argu- 
ment advanced by IMitchell that Pierre is not the place for the capital because 


of the unsettled conditions of the country west of the former city is the rankest 
kind of an insult to the hundreds and hundreds of hard working and prosperous 
ranchers who have settled up this country." — Whitewood Plaindealer. 

"Even if Mitchell is more accessible, which it is not, the ordinary farmer, 
stockman, business man and mechanic cares not a whit about it. They have no 
call to go to the capital and hence are not concerned over its relocation." — Black 
Hills Press, Sturgis. 

"The Hills people favor Pierre, there is no question about that. They know 
that the Northwestern road will roll cars into the Hills just as soon, if not sooner, 
than the Milwaukee, as Pierre is much nearer to the Hills than Mitchell. They 
see no reason why the capital should be removed ; they see nothing to be gained 
by moving." — Black Hills Union, Rapid City. "The capital is where it should 
be and at the rate the country between Pierre and the Black Hills is settling it 
will ere long be near the center of population as it is now the geographical center." 
■ — Buffalo Gap Republican. "Butte County wants the capital to remain at Pierre. 
The population west of the Missouri in ten years will be greater than the east. 
This is one reason why the capital should remain at Pierre." — Belle Fourche Bee. 
"The people of the Black Hills have waited long for a railroad across the reser- 
vation and may wait longer, but it is certain that when the railroads are convinced 
that there is money in it they will build across and not before. When the country 
is settled the logical place for the capital is at Pierre." — Hot Springs Times- 
Herald. "The whole capital removal proposition is ridiculous." — Northwest 
Post, Belle Fourche. "We believe that the people of the Hills are heartily tired 
of these capital removal spasms and are satisfied that whenever the country 
between Pierre and the Black Hills becomes more thickly settled a road will be 
built from Pierre to Deadwood." — Central City Register. "The talk that the 
Milwaukee will build if the capital is moved to Mitchell, is ridiculous. If the 
Milwaukee builds Pierre will still be the most convenient point for the Black 
Hills people. If the Northwestern builds Pierre will still be the most convenient 
point for the Black Hills people. Should a railroad with headquarters in Florida 
decide to build a line from the Missouri River to the Hills, Pierre would still be 
the nearest to the Hills. No railroad is going to spend millions of dollars just 
because the capital of South Dakota may be located at Pierre or Mitchell. The 
railroads are not doing business on love. And if the Milwaukee builds it will 
be to acquire new territory; and if the Northwestern builds it will be to dispute 
honors with the Milwaukee. It is purely a matter of dollars and cents. It is but 
natural that the Black Hills people should desire that the capital should remain 
at Pierre, railroad or no railroad." — Lead Call. "An item has been going the 
rounds of the press headed 'Butte County for Pierre.' That isn't anything so 
very strange for all the Black Hills counties are evidently for Pierre. If some 
newspaper should have the temerity to run an item declaring any Hills County 
for Mitchell it would really be something of a sensation." — Hot Springs Star. 
"It is clear from the indications that the voters are going to consider the benefits 
of the capital location to the state as a whole rather than to any certain locality." 
■ — Custer Chronicle. 

From the middle of October until election day in November eight regular 
passenger trains and two specials ran into Mitchell daily loaded with passengers. 
The number of trains which entered Pierre was not so numerous, but it was 


stated that that city had secured 20,000 free passes for its visitors. Both cities 
ended their campaign in a blaze of mingled dejection and hopefulness, of lies 
and prayers, of abuse and laudation. 

"Vote Tuesday to place the capital within range of the people. It has been 
in the center of the cattle range long enough. The people use the capital of the 
state; the cattle do not. A great range country as exists west of Pierre is not 
subject to the same large settlement that the agricultural portion is. East, north 
and south of Wolsey live the people who pay the taxes and who comprise 75 
per cent of the population of the state." — Mitchell Republican, November 5, 1904. 

Mitchell said in October that Pierre had spent $100,000 for the railroad grade 
between Aberdeen and Pierre; that the project had fallen through because Aber- 
deen had not done its share of the work; that Pierre now owned the grade and 
right of way; that Pierre's object was to secure Aberdeen's support in the capital 
contest; that with this railroad and with the capital at Pierre not only Aberdeen 
but the whole northwestern part of the state both east and west of the Missouri 
would be far better situated than with the capital at Mitchell ; and that therefore 
Aberdeen supported Pierre. Mitchell backers also contended that Huron had 
confidently expected to be the city selected by the legislative caucus to oppose 
Pierre; that when it was defeated by Mitchell it absolutely abrogated its tri- 
city agreement; that this course was taken because Huron knew that if the capital 
were once located at Mitchell its chance to secure the prize would be gone forever 
while if it were retained at Pierre another opportunity to secure it might occur 
and that Huron felt piqued because of its defeat by Mitchell in the caucus and 
was thus partly instigated by revenge. 

"At one time the City of Pierre owed bondholders, at the face value of the 
bonds, something like six hundred thousand dollars. Of this amount about one 
hundred thousand dollars was expended upon the railroad grade between Aber- 
deen and Pierre. The bonds were held by wealthy speculators, who purchased 
them at a discount. The panic of 1893 threw the financial world into confusion. 
In the year 1901 an agreement was made between the City of Pierre and the 
bondholders by which the entire issue of $600,000 of bonds was surrendered and 
destroyed and new bonds to the amount of $242,000 were issued in full of all 
obligations. Today Pierre's bonded indebtedness is less than two hundred thou- 
sand dollars. This indebtedness can in no manner be made alien upon the state's 
property at Pierre. Title to the twenty acres of land was never vested in the 
City of Pierre. It was the property of the Northwestern Company and was 
deeded to the state by the railroad company in 1890. The City of Pierre is today 
in the best financial condition of any city in the State of South Dakota thanks 
to her natural gas wells. The net income of the City of Pierre from the sale of 
natural gas and water to its citizens, after deducting all expenses, more than 
pays the interest on her bonds." — Aberdeen News, November 4, 1904. 




A. W. En-EKT 




Pierre Board of Trade 


Vice President 





Capital Committee 






Pierre, South Dakota, Nov. I, '04. 

Pierre otonwe itancan kte cin he hecetu. Mokoce icokaya wanka. Minisose 
iwiyohpeyata wicasa ota ayapi. Pierre dehan otonwe itancan wanka. He 
yujujupica sni. Waunkanhejapi sni, nakas. Wicohande tanka — woskate heca 

Pierre etanhan mazacanku wiyohpeyata kagapi kta. Pierre en dehan tipi 
oitancan qa unpica wan yuhapi. 

Mitchell ekta iyawaja sni. Otonwe itancan dehan yujujupi qa ekta ehdepi 
iyececa sni. Heconpi kinhan wahpaye kajujupi (taxes) wankan ayapi kte. 

Heconpi kinhan woonspe makoce tanka tehan wiyopeyapi kte sni — woonspe 
makoce kin ota wiyohpeyata wankanakas. 

Mitchell otonwe ehan maka wiyopiyapi na wicasa tonana wijidiciyapi cinpi. 
Pierre otonwe itancan kte kansu iyohpeya po. 
Yours truly, 

John Sutherland. 

This letter 
secure for Pierr 

in the Sioux tongue and was sent out by the Pierre Board of Trade 
the support of the Indians in the capital contest of 1904. 

"We the undersigned voters, property holders and citizens of Beadle County 
interested in the future welfare of our great State of South Dakota as a whole, 
view with regret and emphatically resent the apparent attempt to discredit and 
disparage some portions of this great state in the hope of sectional and personal 
gain thereby. If, as has been and is asserted and sent broadcast over the whole 
country by the campaign committee of Mitchell, the central half of our state is 
practically a desert, it would be an absurdity to place the capital west of Water- 
town, Sioux Falls or Yankton. If it is necessary in order to move the capital 
from Pierre to Mitchell to declare that at least one-half of our great state is a 
barren waste, then if for no other reason, should we as citizens of a great state 
who are vitally interested in its general welfare emphatically denounce such 
methods, and we believe that the best interests of this country and of every man 
who owns a foot of land within its borders will be fully conserved by the reten- 
tion of the state capital at Pierre, because it will help develop the country west 
of us and thereby help us and thereby promote the ultimate extension of our 
railways to the Black Hills, and we cannot afford to serve notice on the outside 
world that the country west of us is useless and worthless. Therefore let us 
work for the good of the whole state. All has its usefulness and it will not be 
long before it will be sought after and made to yield support to a great and pros- 
perous people." 

This was signed by many citizens of Beadle County and was the expression 
of a mass meeting held at Huron just before the November, 1904, election, when 
the capital contest was to be decided. 




County Mitchell 

Aurora 925 

Beadle 35i 

Brown 1,200 

Brookings 630 

Bon Homme 1,455 

Brule 1,012 

Buffalo 62 

Butte 194 

Campbell 205 

Charles Mix 1,532 

Clark 596 

Clay 1,076 

Codington 491 

Custer 102 

Davison 2,305 

Day 1,278 

Deuel 431 

Douglas 1,113 

Edmunds 460 

Fall River 114 

Faulk 118 

Grant 705 

Gregory 31S 

Hamlin S42 

Hand 150 

Hanson 1,167 

Hughes 13 

Hutchison 1,943 

Pierre's majority 









1. 103 












1. 167 







Counties Mitchell 

Hyde iS 

Jerauld 476 

Kingsbury 556 

Lake 1,147 

Lawrence 1,625 

Lincoln 1,814 

Lyman 295 

AlcCook 1,430 

McPherson 380 

Marshall 465 

Miner 698 

Minnehaha 2,761 

Moody 800 

Meade 213 

Pennington 309 

Potter 45 

Roberts 1,176 

Sanborn 1,006 

Stanley 61 

Spink 958 

Sully 10 

Turner 1,629 

Union 1,494 

Walworth 235 

Yankton 1,216 




















86 1 




1. 137 




.41.155 58,617 

The joy at Pierre over the news of victory was intense and almost ecstatic. 
The people of the proud little city could scarcely hold themselves within the 
bounds of prudent and moderate demonstration. The battle had been waged 
with the Pierre pluck, determination and ambition, but the cost cut no figure 
compared with the results. Soon all settled down to bind up the wounds and to 
resume the happy days of progress and prosperity which had preceded the cam- 
paign of intrigue, bitterness and recrimination. 

Mitchell, S. D., November 9, 1904. 
Hon. John Sutherland, 

Pierre, S. D. 

I wish to congratulate you on your magnificent victory in the face of great 

obstacles. Pierre is entitled to the capital forever. 

H. L. Bras. 

^^ ., ^ Pierre, S. D., November 9, 1904. 

Hon. H. L. Bras, 

Mitchell, S. D. 

I thank you for your generous congratulations. You made a good fight, but 

sentiment proved to be against you. 

John Sutherl.'V.nd. 

Pierre laid its success in a large measure to three things : ( i ) The army of 
voluntary workers in the field; (2) the voluntary help and friendship of the Chi- 


cago & Northwestern Railway Company, and especially of Alexander Johnson; 
(3) the hard work and able speeches made aknost daily at the statehouse by 
John L. Lockhart. 

"Mitchell started into the campaign with an idea that it would be something 
like a pink tea or a Sunday school picnic. Pierre knew better from experience, 
and Mitchell does now."- — Capital Journal, November 9, 1904. 

"For weeks the people of South Dakota have been enjoying a holiday. Rail- 
road passes have been as free as Dakota ozone itself. The capital will remain 
in the center of the state where it belongs and where the people of South Dakota 
have now thrice said it should be. As soon as the wounds received in the heat 
of conflict are healed Mitchell will acknowledge that all parts of the state are 
mighty good places in which to live — infinitely superior to any other region on 
earth. And in time even Mitchell will admit that Pierre after all is the proper 
location for the capital of a state possessing the richness of soil and the even dis- 
tribution of population that South Dakota is sure to have ere many years roll 
by." — Aberdeen News, November 9, 1904. 

"During several weeks before election the Milwaukee and Northwestern 
railroads in South Dakota were crowded with passenger traffic. Not only were 
the regular trains compelled to run a large number of extra coaches, but extra 
trains, crowded to the limit, were every day features during the capital cam- 
paign." — Aberdeen News, November 11, 1904. 

"Mitchell has called a public meeting for the purpose of having the way to 
'skin Pierre in progress and prosperity' and 'become the leading city of the Jim 
River Valley and the state regardless of the capital location. That is the proper 
South Dakota spirit." — Aberdeen News, November 14, 1904. 

"The Pierre Free Press predicts that within two years the capital city will 
have at least two new railroads and one or two lines will extend west of the 
river." — Aberdeen News, November 15, 1904. 

After the election had determined that Pierre should retain the capital 
Mitchell at once took the position that owing to the treachery of Huron and 
other cities of the James River Valley, which had pledged it their support, that 
city would thereafter oppose any further action for capital removal. This stand 
was taken to defeat Huron's future aspirations. But Huron denied such hopes 
or expectations. It was said at this time that Mitchell's debt was $159,000 in 
addition to $25,000 in school bonds. The Aberdeen News declared Mitchell's 
debt to be almost four hundred thousand dollars. The city took its defeat phil- 
osophically and at once proceeded to make the most of the advertising it had 
received. But the citizens could not readily forgive Sioux Falls for giving Pierre 
a large majority. The business men of Mitchell were so incensed that they 
determined to boycott that city and really did so for a while, depriving it of 
thousands of dollars worth of trade. They said, "If Sioux Falls likes Pierre 
so well let it go there for its business. We want nothing more to do with the 

On the night of the election the citizens of Mitchell — men and women — gath- 
ered at the new city hall to hear the returns. Women were well represented, 
because their societies had worked unceasingly in relays during the strenuous 
fall campaign and all were nearly worn out. It was estimated that through their 
efforts the city had fed nearly or quite one hundred thousand persons during 


the campaign. Chairman Bras of the compaign committee was present. Every 
movement was dramatic in the extreme. The whole city held its breath and 
anxiously listened for the expected and hoped-for cry of victory. But as the 
unwelcome returns were received showing Pierre ahead hearts sank at first, but 
later became buoyant with confidence and self reliance amid the wreck and con- 
fusion of defeat. A large mass meeting was called and it was determined that, 
as the city would be greatly benefited by the advertising in spite of defeat, a new, 
greater and grander city should be then and there founded. The city had spent, 
it was admitted, over one hundred thousand dollars in the contest, but more than 
that amount had been left there by visitors. Then they had the splendid city 
hall, better hotels, finer residences — in fact every heartbeat of the city was keyed 
to a higher standard of harmonious action and advancement. All of this, it was 
determined, should be retained, augmented, dignified and ennobled. "Greater 
Mitchell!" was the shout. 

"Whether Pierre is convenient or inconvenient, it has a firm grip on the seat 
of government. The inability of the people to unite upon a choice of a suc- 
cessor is Pierre's safeguard." — Sioux Falls Press, November i6, 1904. 

"Jealousy on the part of other cities in the state, a feeling in other quarters 
that Pierre had won the capital by two hard-fought contests, and a sympathy 
widespread for a town badly debt-ridden and with practically nothing to sustain 
it but the seat of government, defeated Mitchell's aspiration to be the capital of 
South Dakota last Tuesday by a large majority. However, the fact that Mitchell 
was able to muster over forty thousand votes out of less than one' hundred thou- 
sand shows how widespread and extensive is the dissatisfaction of South Da- 
kotans with the present location of their seat of government. Mitchell put up 
a fair and honest campaign, untainted by bribery, the illegitimate use of money 
or abuse and slander. We are willing to leave time to demonstrate whether 
the hundred or more newspapers wrote the truth of the possibilities of Pierre's 
ever becoming as near the center of population and as convenient of access as 
Mitchell is. Had Mitchell had $100,000, or a sum approaching it, at the begin- 
ning of the campaign — a quarter of the sum expended by Pierre in 1890 — there 
would have been a different story to write. Not one dollar has been spent in 
the campaign that came from the sale of bonds, all reports to the contrary not- 
withstanding. The disposition to let the capital stay where it is unless Mitchell 
was willing "to put up' liberally was one of the hardest factors to contend with. 
Mitchell declined to do anything of that sort. Harry L. Bras managed the 
Mitchell campaign ; he it was who defeated the Huron and Redfield committees 
two years before in the Legislature. No fault can be found with his manage- 
ment of the campaign. The Mitchell people put up a square and manly contest, 
because she had nothing to lose and much to gain. Pierre had everything to lose 
and nothing to gain. The prestige and advertising that Mitchell has received, 
to say nothing of the 40,000 votes cast for her, is worth all the fight cost and 
more." — Kimball Graphic after election, November, 1904. 

When the campaign of 1904 was over there was a general demand, particu- 
larly from Pierre, that in order to settle the capital question forever a new, large 
and adequate statehouse should be built. Mitchell warmly seconded this move- 
ment. At once the financial steps necessary were duly considered. The state 
had 85,000 acres for this purpose and at once proceeded to use this asset as a 
basis for raising the necessary funds. 


A state capitol commission was created and consisted of the governor, secre- 
tary of state, auditor and commissioner of school and public lands. They were 
given full authority to erect the building and to dispose of the capital lands to 
meet the expenditures. The building was patterned after the new Montana 
statehouse and thus all the cost of securing plans were avoided. C. E. Bell, of 
Minneapolis, was the architect of the Montana building and was employed to 
assist on the South Dakota building. The commission, accompanied by Mr. Bell, 
visited Helena, Mont., and thoroughly inspected the statehouse there. Next they 
investigated the subject of building material, both inside and outside of the state. 
On August 8th the contract for the foundation of the east wing was let to C. Lep- 
per, of Minneapolis, and the work was completed before winter set in, the 
material being drift granite found near Pierre. 

Then arose the question of material for the superstructure. Generally over 
the state there existed a strong feeling that only South Dakota material should 
be used in the construction of the building; but upon investigation it was found 
that the famous Sioux Falls granite or jasper would be much more expensive 
than the well known and popular building stone of Bedford, Ind. Complica- 
tions arose, court action to gain time was taken, and finally the whole matter 
was postponed until the -next meeting of the Legislature. It is a fact that the 
question of what building material should be chosen cut quite an important 
figure in the political campaign of 1906 and in the selection of the members of the 
Legislature. In this election three of the four capitol commissioners were 
changed, Crawford, Himing and Dokken taking the places of Elrod, Halladay 
and Barch, the other member being Wipf. 

The Legislature of 1907 made several important changes in the capitol build- 
ing law, among which were ( i ) limiting the total expenditure for the building 
to $600,000, and (2) providing that South Dakota stone should be used in the 
structure if the cost was not increased thereby over 5 per cent. By this time 
the foundation of the east wing had cost $17,695.94, and building fund on hand 
amounted to $84,405.83. On June 4, 1907, the contract for the construction of 
the building was let to O. H. Olson, of Stillwater, Minn., his bid being $540,525, 
the lowest among several. He figured on the basis of Ortonville granite, Sioux 
Falls jasper and Bedford limestone, but in the end Marquette Raindrop stone 
was substituted for the Sioux Falls jasper. There were delays and a continu- 
ance of the work was postponed until 1908, and in the meantime it was decided 
to raise the whole structure two feet higher than originally intended. Great 
progress was made in 1908 and work was not suspended until December 19th. 
The remaining work was nearly all finished in 1909. The marble, mosaic and 
scagliola elements were added in the spring of 1910. 

The cornerstone was laid June 25, 1908, under the ritual of the Grand Lodge 
of Masons, Grand Master J. J. Davenport, of Sturgis, officiating. In the stone 
was deposited a box containing many articles of state and local interest. The 
orator of the occasion was Gen. W. H. H. Beadle, who was introduced by Gover- 
nor Crawford. His oration was one of singular beauty, sentiment and eloquence 
He reviewed the history of the state with much power, picturing the memorable 
scenes which had transformed this prairie land into a populous domain of golden 
fields and blissful homes. His inspiration swept out over the dead years and 
recalled the historic epochs when humanity and civilization had made their 


greatest leaps to higher ideals in education, religion, liberty and law. In strong 
terms he painted how this young territory of the Northwest had struggled for 
civic liberty even as the grandfathers had struggled in 1776 and the fathers in 
1861. He spoke with tenderness of the colossal men and women who had built 
up this splendid civilization from the sod shanty to the castellated mansions of 
the present golden days. Every great step of advancement was noted with power 
and pathos. He closed with a glowing prediction of the prosperity and glories 
that were to come. 

The decorative work in the big statehouse deserves special notice. While the 
building was being constructed — near its finish — it was suggested that it should 
be decorated with historic scenes, emblems and allegories from the experiences 
of the state. When the Federation of Women's clubs assembled at Pierre in 
August, 1908, the following resolution was passed after due discussion and 
deliberation : 

"Resolved, That' the Federation of Women's clubs of South Dakota earnestly 
favors provision by the Legislature and capitol commission of the new state 
capitol befitting the wealth, culture and dignity of a great commonwealth ; that 
the provision for interior decoration should be not less than five per cent of the 
entire cost of the structure and the mural decorations, should be made only by 
American artists of the highest skill and repute; that to this end, if it be deemed 
expedient, we should favor a small amount of decoration of the highest order 
rather than to accept anything less than the best ; and that the clubs composing 
this federation be requested to petition the Legislature to make such provision as 
will begin a scheme of decoration that will result in providing ultimately in the 
state capitol mural paintings that will be an inspiration and an educational force 
to the people of the state." 

In the end this decoratic plan was carried out by the capitol commission 
under the guidance of W. G. Andrews of Clinton, la., who secured the services 
of Edward Simmons for five scenes, Charles Holloway, three scenes, and Edwin 
H. Blashfield, one scene, for the leading chambers. The richness, beauty and 
historic significance of the work justify the effort and the expenditure. 

On June 30, 1910, the fine building, fully completed, furnished and decorated, 
was appropriately dedicated. Governor Vessey introduced Doctor Storms, of 
Iowa, the orator of the occasion, who delivered an address of unusual literary 
probity and merit. He dwelt with great force and effect on the life, achievements 
and death of Abraham Lincoln, who had helped to save this great nation from 
disruption, had made South Dakota an illuminated possibility and reality and had 
given the Government its second birth of freedom and its baptism of blood and 

The dedication ceremonies were conducted by Pierre Lodge, Independent 
Order of Odd Fellows, under a special dispensation of the Grand Lodge. The 
ritual was special and was composed by Otto Linstad, C. E. Swanson, C. B. 
Billinghurst and Charles S. Whiting. An immense audience witnessed the beau- 
tiful and stately ceremonies. Company A, National Guard, preserved order. 
The Fourth Regiment Band furnished the music. 


The first State Legislature met at Pierre on October 15, 1889. The representa- 
tives assembled in the Hughes County Courthouse and the senators in the Pres- 
byterian Church. John Rudd was promptly chosen temporary chairman of the 
house and S. E. Young, after a short contest, was elected speaker by the vote of 
118 to 14, his opponent being R. B. Hughes. Everybody present seemed to be in 
delightful spirits. The senate was called to order by Lieutenant-Governor 
Fletcher, but S. J. Washabaugh of the Black Hills presided until the eligibility of 
Mr. Fletcher to that position should be determined. About 2 o'clock in the 
afternoon all of the state officials and several of the circuit judges, formally took 
the oath of office on the porch in front of the courthouse. One of the largest 
and most enthusiastic crowds ever assembled in Pierre up to that date gathered 
to witness these interesting proceedings. Chief Justice Bartlett Tripp adminis- 
tered the oath of office to all the state officials. Both of the legislative houses 
adjourned to participate in this historic event, and intense interest in the pro- 
ceedings was shown by the officials and the citizens. Thus at last after many 
years of vexatious delay South Dakota as an official entity became- a reality. 
Immediately after these proceedings both houses reassembled in their chambers, 
but without doing any business at once adjourned until 2 o'clock on the after- 
noon of the 1 6th. 

The first proceeding of supreme importance before this Legislature was the 
election of two United States senators. The republicans and the democrats massed 
their forces, held their caucuses, and on the first informal ballot the vote stood as 
follows : Moody 85, Edgerton 67, Pettigrew 98, Wardall 44. A motion was there- 
upon made that this informal ballot be made formal. The motion promptly carried 
and the result was received with repeated cheers and other demonstrations of 
enthusiasm and delight. The four candidates above named were then proudly 
marshaled before the audience and one at a time were required as one newspaper 
said to "show their colors." All responded with excellent effect and met every 
expectation. Col. J. L. Jolley introduced Mr. Pettigrew as the "Pickerel States- 
man" amid great applause. Mr. Pettigrew was fully equal to the emergency and 
delivered one of his terse and brilliant addresses. Judge Moody likewise deliv- 
ered an eloquent speech that completely captivated the audience. Judge Edgerton, 
a great favorite in the young state, spoke with great feeling and signified his 
submission to the action of the caucus and said, "The voice of the people is the 
will of God." Mr. Wardall, in a short speech, told what was expected of the 
young state. 



At the October election in 1889, really the first election for the state, the 
principal offices were filled as follows: For governor, Mellette (R.) 53,129, 
McClure (D.) 23,441 ; Supreme Court judges. First district, Corson (R.) 54,110, 
McLaughlin (D.) 21,809; Second district, Kellam (R.) 54,150, Windsor (D.) 
22,697; Third district, Bennett (R.) 53,635, Van Buskirk (D.) 22,697; for con- 
stitution 76,411, against constitution 3,247; for prohibition 39,509, against pro- 
hibition 33,456; for minority representation 34,309, against it 45,497. Thus a 
complete republican state ticket was elected. Other state officers chosen were: 
Fletcher for lieutenant governor; Ringsrud, secretary of state; Taylor, auditor; 
Smith, treasurer; Pinkham, school superintendent; Parker, commissioner of 
school and public lands; and Dollard, attorney-general. 

At the legislative session of January, 1890, Speaker Young continued to 
occupy his post, because this session was merely a continuance of the previous 
October session which had adjourned to this date. There were in the house seven 
lawyers, two editors and over one hundred farmers. At the commencement of 
the session both houses took considerable time in perfecting their organizations; 
appointing regular committees, fixing the compensation of officers, and adopting 
necessary rules. The hotels were full of guests, mainly of citizens of the state 
who desired to witness the interesting proceedings of the first session. Of the 
total legislative membership of 169 there were present 160. The newspapers 
stated that for every legislative office there were present about a dozen applicants. 

Perhaps the most important questions before this session at first were the 
following: Prohibition, codification, railroad legislation and the control of the 
trusts. Both the prohibition and saloon elements were represented by powerful 
lobbies ; the former had prepared an elaborate and stringent bill under' the direc- 
tion and guidance of the State Enforcement League. . The saloons were repre- 
sented by able lawyers with abundant means, and there was every indication from 
the start that a desperate battle would be waged to gain the ascendency or any 

The final report of the Constitutional Convention Committee fixed the legis- 
lative apportionment at forty-five members in the senate and 124 members in the 
house. At once the first Legislature prepared the constitutional amendments, 
which were to be voted on at the November election, 1890. They were as follows : 
( I ) To increase the state debt to $500,000 in certain emergencies ; (2) to prevent 
Indians who maintained tribal relations from voting; (3) to strike the word 
"male" from the section of the constitution relating to elections and the right of 

This first session was one of great importance to the state, because in reality 
it did much fundamental work which affected every interest in South Dakota. 
The members from the start duly considered the vastly important problems of 
temperance, prohibition, suffrage, homestead exemption, omnibus appropriation 
measures, abolishment of the office of commissioner of immigration, an amendment 
to the constitution that Indians living in tribal relations should not be allowed the 
right of citizenship; preventing the remarriage of divorced persons within three 
years; providing an engineer of irrigation; appointing a commission on seed 
wheat, etc. It was stated by the press that under the new constitution, the fol- 
lowing measures must be passed by the first Legislature: (i) Specifying in 
what courts and how and in what manner the state might be sued; (2) providing 


for the punishment of bribery and corruption; (3) concerning the method of 
applying reprieves and the omission of fines; (4) indicating the duties of state 
officers; (5) establishing the jurisdiction of new courts; (6) making returns of 
election for governor and lieutenant governor; (7) publishing and distributing 
Supreme Court decisions; (8) publishing and distributing state laws; (9) appoint- 
ing or electing the state's attorney; (10) fixing terms of court and providing for 
the transfer of cases to other districts when judges had been attorneys in the 
same suits; (11) providing for the submission of the question of female suffrage; 
(12) providing for the investment of school funds; (13) protecting school lands 
from trespass; (14) organizing counties and locating county seats; (15) organiz- 
ing townships; (16) classifying municipal corporations and restricting their tax 
levying powers; (17) levying the annual tax; (18) taxing banks, corporations 
and loans; (19) exempting from taxation horticultural and similar societies and 
common schools and other educational institutions; (20) limiting the issue of state 
warrants; (21) buying territorial bonds and interests; (22) appropriating money 
for general expenses; (23) providing for a state board of charities and correc- 
tions; (24) enrolling and organizing the militia;' (25) providing a board of 
regents of education ; (26) providing for the removal of officers by the gov- 
ernor; (27) regulating the organization of corporations ; (28) controlling railroad 
commissions; (29) providing an election for the location of the permanent state' 
capital; (30) enforcing prohibition; (31) providing for a commission of immi- 

By the last of February both houses were busy rushing the bills from the com- 
mittee rooms to the chambers. Each house had established a calendar commit- 
tee to facilitate the dispatch of business. The duty of this committee was to see 
that all the most important bills were considered first, so that if any should be 
slighted they would be those of lesser importance. A bill to divide the state into 
congressional districts was duly considered, but was opposed on the ground that 
it was mainly in the interests of special candidates and that the prohibitionists 
desired its passage because they hoped thereby to secure representation in congress. 

At this time there arose a protest from all parts of the state against the large 
size of the Legislature. Many newspapers declared that two-thirds of the mem- 
bership would be amply sufficient and that the present body was unwieldy, slug- 
gish, lacked motion, that bills were duplicated and that all work lagged through 
the confusing and cumbersome methods of both houses. A bill to reduce the 
size of the Legislature was introduced and considered amid much confusion and 
caustic personalities. Many members seemed willing for the reduction, but the 
paramount question of reapportionment was one that could not so readily be sur- 
mounted. The attorney-general expressed the opinion that the reapportionment 
must necessarily be based upon the state or federal enumeration. As there had 
not been an enumeration of any importance since 1880, and a new government 
census would be taken within a few months, it was finally concluded to let the 
question go over until the next session. * 

On February 27th a special press report said : "The lower house is fortunate 
in having among its members five clergymen. These gentlemen, in the absence of 
the chaplain, sometimes do the praying. An amusing scene took place in the 
house last week. It seems that Reverend Cummings is the editor of a paper, and 
in a recent issue of such he took occasion to score one of his brother lawmakers 


of his profession. Reverend Powell's attention was called to the attack and he 
arose to a question of privilege and for about ten minutes the clerical fur flew in 
all directions. These sedate members called each other Hars and used other 
language that is not usually heard in theological circles. The sinners present did 
all they could to encourage the sport and the crowded lobby enjoyed the fun." 

By March 3, 1890, 391 bills had been introduced in the house and 224 in the 
senate. Many had been disposed of by this time, and the governor had signed 
already a total of seventy-six bills and resolutions. The temperance bill had 
been passed amid the hosannas of the temperance people and had been duly and 
prornptly signed by the governor.. The vigorous fight on the appropriations had* 
ended ; the slain had been buried. The Rhines' voting machine bill had suffered 
defeat. The railroad fare bill was likewise unceremoniously and coldly turned 
down. ]\Iany farmers of the Legislature valiantly supported the railway rate bill 
and the usury bill, but both were ingloriously defeated in the end. The temper- 
ance or prohibition bill having passed, it now became a certainty, so it was 
thought by many, that all saloons would be required to close on or before May ist. 
A singular and almost unaccountable fact was that this Legislature cut down the 
appropriation for the state university to $25,000. In this connection the Dakota 
Republican of March 13th said : "At about 2 o'clock .A. M., Saturday, the Legis- 
lature saw fit to grant the very modest sum of $25,000 in support of the state's 
highest educational institution, the University of Dakota. We are profoundly 
gratified that, in its wisdom, it made an allowance of even such moderate dimen- 
sions, for at times it has looked doubtful if any sum would be appropriated for its 
maintenance. From time to time there has cropped out a vast deal of jealousy, 
sectionalism and narrowness. To steer against this tide successfully has required 
vigilance and ability on the part of the friends of the university and the friends 
of progress. The appropriation, by dint of self sacrifice and rigid economy, will 
in some way sustain the institution the coming year. The present able and accom- 
plished faculty will remain intact. The work will go on here ; there may possibly 
be deficiencies in the fuel and contingent and other items, but they can be pro- 
vided for in the future. Another year the people of the state may have come to 
their senses and their representatives may be more awake to the future rather 
than indulge in the sleepy habit of looking backward." 

The Legislature of 1890 did much that was meritorious and very little that 
was discreditable. It had many serious difficulties to overcome, and succeeded 
better than had been expected by many faultfinders and critics. The faults as well 
as the merits of the constitution began this early to be perceived and measured. 
One hundred and eighty-three bills became laws at this session, and a few were 
vetoed by the governor. Among the measures which passed were the following : 
Limiting the state indebtedness to $500,000 ; a memorial to Congress asking about 
the Crow Creek Reservation claims ; providing for a committee to procure seed 
corn for the state ; a memorial to Congress concerning the Fort Randall Military 
Reservation ; another for the dyking of Big Stone Lake ; relating to decreasing 
the size of the Legislature ; concerning the Soldiers' Home at Hot Springs ; making 
an appropriation for the maintenance of public institutions ; giving aliens certain 
property rights ; locating the boundary line between North Dakota and South 
Dakota ; a memorial to Congress concerning Indian depredations ; a memorial to 
Congress to set aside camping grounds for the state militia; providing for the 


appointment of a board of regents and a board of charities and corrections; 
authorizing railways to build across school and public lands ; creating a State 
board of equalization; authorizing county commissioners to buy artesian well 
outfits; providing for the transportation of insane persons at county expense; 
shortening penitentiary terms for good conduct and paroling meritorious prisoners ; 
the inspection of illuminating oils ; defining the jurisdiction of county courts ; 
creating a commission to adjust the claims growing out of the Yankton asylum 
affairs ; establishing a board of pardons and defining its duties ; encouraging the 
production of sugar and the growth of sugar beets ; providing for a constitutional 
amendment giving women the right of suffrage; accepting grants of land from 
the Government; authorizing circuit judges to hold court in each others' places; 
regulating the issuance of marriage licenses ; regulating and prohibiting the manu- 
facture and sale of intoxicating liquors ; creating the office of state engineer of 
irrigation; encouraging timber culture; prohibiting the killing and trapping of 
quail; creating the office of mine inspector; compelling railway companies to post 
notices of the time of arrival and departure of trains; providing for the assess- 
ment and taxation of railway companies, telegraph companies, etc. ; providing 
for the destruction of noxious weeds ; memorializing Congress for the opening of 
the Yankton Reservation under the homestead law ; the same asking for 5 per 
cent of the proceeds of the sale of public lands in South Dakota since June 30, 
1880; the same asking for the opening of the Crow Creek Reservation; the same 
asking for that body to authorize the Commissioner of Lands to select lands for 
the State University ; to submit the permanent capital question to the voters ; 
authorizing the state to issue bonds to cover the outstanding current debt of 
$100,000; regulating the construction of artesian wells and the ditches leading 
therefrom ; regulating and controlling insurance companies, etc. ; regulating the 
practice of pharmacy; creating the bureau of labor statistics and providing for 
the appointment of a commission ; regulating grain, warehouse and other inspec- 
tion ; providing a military code for the state; making railroads responsible for 
fires set by their engines ; reorganizing civil townships ; providing an investigating 
committee for the insane asylum, the penitentiary and the deaf mute school; limit- 
ing the expenses of the penal, charitable and educational institutions ; abolishing 
the territorial board of education and transferring its duties to the state supei'- 
intendent of schools. 

Thus the most important laws passed by this first session were the following: 
(i) For the submission of a constitutional amendment for woman's suffrage; (2) 
creating the office of state engineer of irrigation; (3) to encourage timber cul- 
ture; (4) creating the bureau of labor; (5) for the destruction of noxious weeds; 
(6) regulating artesian well construction; (7) providing penalties for the unlaw- 
ful transportation of liquors; (8) encouraging the production of sugar and the 
raising of sugar beets; (9) for the enforcement of the prohibition clause of the 
constitution; (10) reducing the size of the Legislature; (11) establishing boards 
for the state institutions; (12) submitting the permanent capital question to the 

Considerable unfavorable comment concerning the personnel of this first legis- 
lative body was made at the time and much even worse was said afterward ; but 
the facts remained that the work done by it satisfied the people of the state. 
Then all had the good of the state first at heart and that feeling ruled at this 


session. Personal considerations did not predominate then as they did at a later 
date, and the obscure members remained in the background and permitted the 
real leaders — the men of brains and wisdom — to dictate the measures that should 
become laws and to shape the policy of governmental affairs. Of course, there 
were present members who knew more about bull-whacking and cow-punching 
than they did about law-making, but that objection has been a continuous one 
down to the present day. There can be no doubt that fully half the members of 
the first Legislature were wholly unfitted to determine the best measures to be 
adopted by the young state. Many were without education, knew little concerning 
law, were wholly unfamiliar with governmental problems and had only a vague 
and evanescent conception of the duties of citizenship under civilized customs. 
One newspaper in 1890 declared that the first Legislature contained law-breakers, 
crooks, gamblers and other undesirable characters. For this reason, and as a 
matter of economy, it was demanded that the legislative body be cut down in size 
and session duration. 

After a sharp contest C. X. Seward, of Watertown, was elected Speaker of 
the House in January, 1891. Robert Buchanaan, of Sioux Falls, was his oppon- 
ent. In the republican caucus Buchanaan on final vote received forty-two votes 
and Winslow twelve. The independents, however, had control of the House and 
placed Mr. Seward in the speaker's chair. The contest was close; Seward 
received sixty-two votes and Buchanaan sixty-one. Seward was named at the 
fusion caucus of the democrats and independents. However, the republicans 
succeeded in organizing the Senate, thus making the two houses antagonistic. 
Seward was realjy a republican, but had recently joined the independent move- 
ment. He was not elected by the Farmers' Alliance independent movement, but 
was chosen by the combined independents and democrats ; and thus was an inde- 
pendent in the strictest sense of the word. In order to secure the election of 
Mr. Seward two republicans of Brown County who claimed seats in the House 
were displaced and two independents were seated in their chairs. This gave the 
independents a majority of three in the House. Of course, it was maintained 
by the republicans with much vigor and bitterness that the act was unjust, high- 
handed, and one outrageously carried into effect by the independents in order 
to secure control of the House. 

Among the important measures before the Legislature of 1891 were the fol- 
lowing: To elect a United States senator; to pass a resubmission bill; to make 
necessary appropriations for two years ; to adopt the Australian ballot ; to pass 
a new school law; to provide a state apportionment; to elect railway commis- 
sioners by vote of the people ; to tax mortgages ; to pass an iron-clad usury law. 
The mortgage and usury laws caused bitter and piolonged contests in both 
houses. The Farmers' Alliance and the independent party prepared for a relent- 
less contest to secure what they wanted. Present at this session were the boards 
of trustees and other heads of nearly all the state institutions. 

Late in January a bill which occasioned much controversy prohibited the hold- 
ing of land by non-resident aliens. This bill was earnestly and strenuously 
opposed by the Black Hills members of the Legislature on the ground that it 
tended to keep out foreign capital which was greatly needed to open the immense 
mines and work them with profit. In response to the wishes and demands of the 
Black Hills people the law was amended to meet their requirements. Another 


important bill whicli occasioned considerable debate was one authorizing town- 
ships to sink and control artesian wells. Other important measures were the 
following : Passage of an adequate appropriation bill ; adoption of the Australian 
ballot; adoption of a new school law that united the independent district and the 
township systems ; providing for irrigation in townships which sank artesian 
wells ; a new fence law on the Sioux Reservation ; cutting down the number of 
members of the Legislature; establishing uniformity of text-books in county 

By January 20, 1S91, with one fouth of the session already gone, not a bill 
had been passed by both houses of the Legislature. In all ninety-one bills had 
been introduced in the Senate and sixty-six in the House, covering many ques- 
tions of vast importance to the state. Nearly every effort of the Legislature thus 
far had been spent in the difficult and engrossing task of choosing a United States 
senator. However, this proceeding did not interfere materially with work on the 
bills and on legislation in general. No session began early to pass bills ; usually 
even where there was no United States senator to be elected, few if any bills were 
passed until late in January. The object, of course, was to give the members 
abundant' time to study and fully weigh all the measures. When the time came 
for them to be passed the work it was claimed was then comprehensive, expedi- 
tious and mature. During the first three or four weeks there were numerous 
contests for seats, but as a whole legislation progressed satisfactorily. 

Among the bills considered early in the session in 1891 were those concerning 
the immigration bureau, railway commission, mine inspector, state engineer, 
irrigation, commissioner of labor and statistics and women's board of visitors. 
All political parties represented in the Legislature were surprisingly intent on 
making it appear that they were influenced solely and strongly by the demands of 
constituents that the affairs of the state be very economically administered. This 
ruling sentiment was always manifest. While the fight over the United States 
senator was in progress, many members took little interest because they considered 
that the proceedings were far too expensive if not wholly unnecessary. To carry 
out this view of the minority. Senator Washabaugh introduced a joint resolution 
that the Legislature adjourn on February 14. He argued that the time which 
had been unnecessarily spent in various dilatory political tactics and in the drawn- 
out selection of a United States senator, should have been spent in the considera- 
tion and passage of bills ; that if such had been the case the session could have 
been adjourned by the middle of February after having maturely considered 
every bill that had been introduced. However, the majority of the members did 
not quite agree with him and the minority, and accordingly defeated his bill, 
although by a very small margin, the vote in the Senate being twenty-two to 
twenty-three against the Washabaugh resolution. As soon as the United States 
senator had been chosen, the entire Legislature turned all their attention and 
efforts to the consideration of the bills that had been introduced. Then they 
began to pass both houses with great rapidity, or were consigned to the capacious 
waste baskets. Many fundamental laws essential to the growth and prosperity 
of the new state, were duly considered and deliberately acted upon by this early 
legislative body. Among the important bills that became laws were the following : 
(1) That ten years' successive residence on land under claim and color of title 
made in good faith by any person who had paid all taxes assessed at that time. 


should be held and adjudged sufficient to entitle the holder to the property; this 
did not apply to school and other public land; (2) that taxes should become 
delinquent on the first Monday of February of the year following the assessment 
of such taxes and to draw interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum until paid ; 
(3) authorizing the civil townships to sink artesian wells and to bond themselves 
therefor; (4) to purify the ballot and to punish violations thereof; (5) to pre- 
vent the sale of fire arms and ammunition to Indians and half breeds ; (6) author- 
izing counties to build all bridges where the cost exceeded $100; (7) authorizing 
counties to issue sufficient warrants to complete payments for court-houses, jails 
and other county buildings ; (8) to confer jurisdiction of county courts in probate 
matters upon circuit courts ; (9) to refund $92,500 insane hospital bonds bearing 
4j4 per cent interest at the new rate of 4 per cent interest; (10) to change the 
name of Dakota Agricultural College to South Dakota University; (11) to 
authorize the board of regents to hold farmers' institutes at the Agricultural 
College for instruction of farming and dairying; (12) limiting the tax levy in 
cities to ten mills and limiting the bonded debt of municipalities; (13) accepting 
grants of money from Congress to aid in the maintenance of the Agricultural 
College; (14) reducing the number of grand jurors to six, the jury panels to 
eight, and fixing the number to indict at five persons. 

Many other important laws were passed, but these seem to have been the most 
useful. Among the joint resolutions and memorials which became laws were 
the following: (i) Accepting the capitol grounds at Pierre from the North- 
western Railway Company and the new frame capitol building at Pierre from the 
City of Pierre; (2) making special arrangements for opening the Sisseton and 
Wahpeton reservation; (3) a memorial to Congress to make the coinage of silver 
free and unlimited and a legal tender for all debts both public and private; (4) a 
memorial to Congress for an amendment to the Constitution to be submitted to 
a vote of the people providing for the election of United States senators by direct 
vote of the people; (5) asking national aid to disarm the Indians and to reim- 
burse stock men for cattle lost through Indian raids and otherwise; (6) asking 
Congress to station four companies at Fort Randall for the protection of the 
white people against possible Indian raids; (7) asking for a fort at Oelrichs, 
Fall River County, for the protection of settlers from Indian depredations ; 
(8) asking Congress to make the Soldier's Plome at Hot Springs a national home 
for veteran soldiers. A resolution which was vetoed by Governor Mellette, 
authorized the governor to deed to the United States the title of the state to the 
Soldier's Home in case Congress should make an appropriation for the aid thereof. 
There were many other resolutions, memorials and bills which became laws. 

As a whole the work of this Legislature was excellent. Perhaps the only 
serious complaint was over the time spent in the selection of the United States 
senator. As it came to be believed throughout the state that this prolonged action 
was unnecessary, expensive and burdensome, there arose a general feeling that 
the United States senator should be elected by a direct vote of the people. This 
demand became so urgent at this session that the above memorial to Congress to 
that effect was finally passed. Scores of other problems of vast importance to 
every department of the entire state were consigned to oblivion or to the tender 
mercies of a subsequent session. An attempt to abolish the normal and prepara- 
tory departments of the State University was defeated after a sharp contest in 


both houses. It was really an attempt at economy, but was wrongly applied. 
The resubmission bill consumed much time of this Legislature, but was finally 
defeated. Among the other subjects that were considered were wild cat banking, 
the fence law, the cutting down of all appropriations, the abolishment of capital 
punishment, taxation of mortgages, and abolishment of the office of oil inspector. 

By the time the session was half over the Senate had acted on fifty-one bills 
of which seven had become laws, while the House had acted on fourteen bills of 
which only two had become laws. As the Senate was republican and the House 
was independent, the republican newspapers throughout the state called attention 
to this fact. Any delay was noted particularly by the public press. It was the 
belief that the. Legislature could have passed all its laws after due deliberation in 
about half the time actually spent. As the expenses of the assembly were about 
twelve hundred dollars per day, it was claimed and particularly by those who pro- 
fessed to be trying to economize, there was an opportunity to show what they 
could accomplish. 

Under the new apportionment law passed in March, there were 43 state sen- 
ators in place of 45 and 83 representatives in place of 124. 

The Legislature of 1893 was the most violent and disorderly thus far held 
in the state. Considerable radical legislation was commenced. Nearly all measures 
were particularly striking. Perhaps railway legislation cut the least important 
figure though the most urgent. The Legislature commenced earlier than usual to 
report bills from the committees and to act upon them as a whole in the chambers 
proper. The resubmission problem was one important measure that was early 
considered. The prohibitionists and the liquor people both had present able and 
influential lobbies, each of which seemed well supplied with funds. Several ladies 
ably and openly represented branches of the prohibition movement this session. 
Another important movement was the step to make a thorough investigation of 
all the state institutions through special committees and otherwise. The Agricul- 
tural College which had been rent with dissentions and embroiled in trouble for 
some time was thus investigated. There were twenty-one charges in the indict- 
ment brought against this institution by the committee. Sixteen of the charges 
referred to political intrigues and the unlawful use of money. The condition of 
the institution, reported the committee, could not have been more serious and 
damaging. All of the disorderly and irregular proceedings were fully detailed 
and exposed by the legislative committee. 

This legislative session at the start was uncertain as to its political cast and its 
probable action on all legislation required by the people. The uncertainty consisted 
in the fact that the republicans again controlled both houses, that there were 
many new and inexperienced members, that the resubmission question was para- 
mount, that a new and improved divorce law was wanted, that the maximum 
freight charges on railways were to be fixed, that an appropriation for the 
Columbian Exposition was demanded, that military armories were needed through- 
out the state, and that the Australian ballot law required improvement and amend- 
ment. In addition numerous questions concerning agriculture and the manage- 
ment of the affairs of state institutions and departments were to be considered. 
From the start the question of resubmission became a living and vital issue. It 
had passed the House in 1891, but had been killed in the Senate. Now again in 
1893 a similar bill was reintroduced. The old leaders of the session of 1891 were 


absent. New members had taken the place of Buchanan, Melville, McCormick, 
Wickham and Sheaf e. Mr. Dollard, the former attorney-general, was now a mem- 
ber of the Senate. Also, present as senators were Colonel Starr and W. A. Bur- 
leigh. These three men were thoroughly famiHar with state affairs, but nearly 
all the other members of the Senate were untried and unknown and therefore 
what they could do or would do was a matter of doubt to all, including them- 
selves, perhaps. 

The legislative caucus enjoyed a Hvely battle when it came time for the elec- 
tion of speaker; there were placed in nomination James M. Lawson, Daniel Dwyer 
and J. S. Bean. Lawson had been named by the republicans, Dwyer by the 
democrats, and Bean by the independents. The final vote stood Lawson 59, Dwyer 
5, Bean 14. In the early caucuses of all the parties the importance and promi- 
nence of the resubmission question was plainly manifest. Colonel Starr of the 
Black Hills was active as a strong advocate of a liberal appropriation for the 
Columbian Exposition because the whole Hills region desired above all things 
to be well represented at the great fair in Chicago. Another bill of importance 
provided for a constitutional amendment for the submission of a prohibition clause 
at a .special election at which women should have the right to vote. Another bill 
provided for a joint resolution for a constitutional option amendment with 
municipal local option and state liquor inspection. An important feature of com- 
manding and at one time vital interest at this session was the combine of the 
farmers to control, prevent, or block legislation unless their demands were corn- 
plied with. This organization became known as the "Donahue Combine," and 
was at first under the leadership of Robert O. Donahue, who for a time had 
absolute control of the combine and the combine had absolute control of the 
House. This made Mr. Donahue the master and autocrat of the House. He 
was a shrewd, practical and able farmer; and arrayed his forces to carry into 
effect whatever measures the fanner members of the Legislature desired. A little 
later another combine was formed and became known as the "Gold Combine." 
It seems to have been in part at least a split in the ranks of the "Donahue 

Much ill-will, anger and vindictiveness were shown by the members over the 
prohibition, re-submission, and license questions. Although re-submission was 
badly defeated the battle still continued, owing to the intense and strenuous efforts 
that were made to reopen the question. Members in order to get revenge for 
imaginary slights or wrongs began blocking legislation amid severe personal 
castigations. This antagonism continued with much bitterness for almost a week ; 
in fact did not wholly cease until the adjournment. 

The "Farmers Combine" adopted and laid out a regular and specific slate or 
program for every official proceeding. Those who had been elected to this Legis- 
lature by the farmer's movement were pledged to certain reforms and definite 
laws of economy and policy which required of them rigid action along specific 
lines. Accordingly, the majority began retrenchment by an attack upon every 
state department requiring an appropriation. Although the World's Fair was 
thought to need at least $75,000 for an adequate state display, only $50,000 was 
appropriated, though $10,000 additional was given to the Women's State Com- 
mission. The Legislature also after a grilling contest abolished the office of 
commissioner of labor and statistics and the engineer of irrigation. It likewise 


transferred the duties of the railway commissioner to the secretary of state, treas- 
urer and attorney-general, and also made the commissioner of school and public 
lands the commissioner of immigration. These changes effected largely by the 
combine saved the state about fifteen thousand dollars, it was estimated. The 
Farmers' Combine became so rigid, domineering, one-sided and high headed, that 
the republicans held a special caucus for the purpose of devising almost any means 
to break the organization. However, on a test of the capital removal bill, the 
combine showed it still had control of the Legislature. The same result appeared 
when the resubmission bill came up for consideration. 

Charles McCoy was given the credit of devising the scheme to secure con- 
trol of the House, which was finally adopted and carried into effect against severe 
opposition by Speaker Lawson. This movement outwitted the farmers com- 
bine. Mr. McCoy was assisted by Bush Sullivan in planning and managing this 
combine. Lawson as speaker was high-handed, arbitrary; but necessarily so 
because he had a partisan and definite duty to perform. He ran the entire House 
without hesitation or scruple wholly in the interest of the combine. The real 
object of McCoy's designs was the overthrow of Governor Sheldon's plans, 
programs and administrative measures. Toward the latter part of February 
there was a reaction against this movement owing to its arbitrary measures, 
whereby a majority of the House revolted and turned against the combine and 
supported the measures recommended by Governor Sheldon. 

It was noted by the newspapers that during this session of the Legislature 
there was present the largest, most powerful, and one of the most corrupt lobbies 
that had ever assembled either in the territory or in the state. In these days it 
was customary whenever any interest desired the passage of the law to send to 
the Legislature a strong lobby of able and influential men or women well sup- 
plied with money with which to pay expenses and to buy influence and votes. 
Such was the lobby of 1893. Nearly every important bill was sustained or 
opposed by a determined lobby. The farmers' combine had declared that the 
World's Fair bill should not pass the House until the bill providing that the rail- 
road commission should be elected by the people had passed the Senate. Thus, 
this and other measures were not considered on their merits, but on the strength 
of money and influence which so vigorously supported them. Bills were pitted 
against bills; and a system of log rolling and corruption hardly ever seen before 
even in South Dakota at times ruled the Legislature. The question of removal 
of the capital was thus pitted against the question of re-submission. In every 
direction were intrigues and cabals; and over all scandal and corruption often 
ruled with autocratic power. 

The Legislature of 1893 enacted 170 bills into law and created four new offices 
as follows: (i) Supreme Court reporter; (2) A state agent at Washington, D. C, 
to guard the school and public lands of South Dakota; (3) a state commissioner 
to adjust territorial and state delinquent taxes; (4) a state surveyor. It enacted 
five important railway laws as follows : ( i ) Compelling the construction of side 
tracks; (2) requiring closer connections of different systems at their crossings; 
(3) providing for the election of the railway commissioners by vote of the peo- 
ple; (4) compelling the use of fireguards and Y-switches ; (5) obliging the con- 
struction of side tracks at points between stations when they were as much as 
twelve miles apart. This Legislature also made provision for two constitutional 


amendments both concerning the superintendent of public instruction. It also 
passed a law condemning warehouse sites and prohibiting the dockage of grain; 
a new revenue measure ; a new school code ; for a state board of health and for a 
state pharmacy board ; extending the period for the redemption of mortgages to 
two years before foreclosure ; and prohibiting trusts. The code was given amend- 
ments, nearly all of which were for the benefit of poor debtors. One was against 
oppressive garnishment and another for the limitation of action in judgment and 
the extension of mechanic's liens. The first half of the session was not very 
promising. Little had been done up to the 15th of February except to consider the 
bills that had been introduced and the wants of the state departments and insti- 
tutions. Accordingly, fearing that the session would thus continue to the end, 
the newspapers succeeded in kindling complaint. The Vermillion Republican 
said, "Nearly one month has been consumed by the Legislature at Pierre in pass- 
ing a single bill — that of providing a chair for an ex-governor. We hope next 
month it will be able to digest and pass at least double that number of bills for 
the benefit of the commonwealth's future governors." 

Early in February the re-submission bill, after passing through many vicissi- 
tudes of attack and repulse, was defeated, the speaker's vote being necessary to 
accomplish this result. Immediately thereafter another bill was introduced to 
amend the constitution by replacing the prohibition clause with a license clause. 
Almost from the start Speaker Lawson and Governor Sheldon worked at cross 
purposes over the World's Fair bill, and both ably and adroitly carried matters 
to the utmost limit to win. Lawson vigorously opposed any appropriation of 
consequence; Governor Sheldon insisted that it would be disgraceful and ex- 
tremely injurious if South Dakota should not be properly represented at Chicago. 
Another bill which occasioned a sharp contest was one for the removal of the 
capital from Pierre to Huron. In order to make this bill seem ridiculous another 
was introduced to remove the Agricultural College to Miller. 

At the legislative session of 1893 about one hundred and seventy bills became 
laws. This number was about one-third of the total bills introduced. .A^s a whole 
the Legislature of 1893 did good and effective work and generally satisfied the 
people. The combines really worked by devious and questionable ways to secure 
the passage of good laws. Even bills that were pitted against bills were needed 
for commercial development or for local advancement and were not of them- 
selves unworthy and undesirable. As a whole the Legislature was honest, but 
the methods of legislation could not have been more objectionable. 

At the legislative session of 1895 the following important measures were 
before both Houses at the start: Contest for speaker; election of United States 
senator to succeed Mr. Pettigrew; regulation of railroad rates; re-submission of 
the prohibition question ; state aid to irrigation ; woman suffrage ; adoption of 
Torren's land title system; general appropriation bill. At the republican caucus 
Mr. Pettigrew was named for United States senator and C. T. Howard for 
speaker of the House. At this session there was present a powerful lobby in 
favor of woman suffrage. In attendance were several of the most prominent 
women of the state to urge the measure in person. They were assisted by able 
lawyers and had apparently abundant supply of ready money. Also present was 
a strong lobby for prohibition; for re-submission; for state aid to irrigation; for 
a constitutional convention and for other measures. The most exciting event was 


the defalcation of State Treasurer Taylor and the large reward which was 
offered and the efforts which were made for his apprehension. The services of 
the Pinkertons were enlisted to find him. His bondmen were looked after also. 
Another measure duly considered was a revenue commission bill with a member- 
ship of nine. It was declared at this session by prominent men that South Dakota 
was not yet ready for a railway rate law. This was the position taken by the 
republicans at the commencement of the session and had been their position dur- 
ing the previous campaign. Now, however, they reversed their opinion and 
favored the enactment of such a law, but could not agree upon its terms and 
measures. Members were too drastic in their views of railroad reform ; others 
were unduly moderate, and a few insisted that any law which restricted or ham- 
pered, the operation of the railways would react with teUing and disastrous effect 
upon the commercial interest of the state. At this session the populists intro- 
duced a referendum bill which was reported adversely by the House committee. 
Railroad bills were introduced in both Houses early in January and the fight 
thereon was commenced at once. A prominent feature at this session was the 
ability, power and influence of the railroad lobby. Several of the prominent rail- 
road officials were present to aid the cause. The railroad companies had gone 
so far in order to secure the favor of the people that they had offered to pay 
their tax in advance in order to help out the state government during the embar- 
rassment over the Taylor defalcation. It was asserted on the floor of the House 
ihat the companies had taken this course in order to secure the favor of the Leg- 
islature and as a stroke of good policy to prevent the passage of a rigid railroad rate 
bill. The fight over this rate bill was one of the liveliest, most strenuous and 
severe of the session. The bill which was reported by the committee and con- 
sidered in open session gave the commission the right to fix the rates and pre- 
vented the president of the road from doing so. This measure was copied from 
the law in force in Iowa. The bill did not necessarily mean lower rates, but 
meant fair rates for both the railways and the public, and prevented railways 
from becoming arbitrarj' and unjust. The bill finally failed of passage, owing, 
it was declared, to the attitude of the jobbers of Sioux Falls ; but the fact was 
that the railroads were too influential and succeeded in preventing its passage. 
They had sufilcient strength to induce many members to fight with them, and their 
reasons and methods were efficient because they could show on the face that 
their receipts were comparatively small and their expenses in this new country 
were unusually high. The railways had really what was called "a working ma- 
jority in the Legislature" in 1895 ^^'^ therefore the result was that no railway ■ 
rate bill was passed. 

At this session of the Legislature there was present a strong lobby to contest 
to the utmost any such changes in the divorce law as had been suggested and 
recommended by certain persons who favored the bill because it increased their 
fees. Among the leaders were Bishop Hare, of Sioux Falls ; Rev. W. H. Thrall, 
of the Congregation Home Missionary Society; Doctor Shanefelt, of the Baptist 
Home Missionary Society, and Mrs. Emma Cranmer, president of the Woman's 
Christian Temperance Union. These prominent individuals were assisted by 
able lawyers and a desperate fight was made against the proposed changes. One 
of the provisions of the bill was to make three months instead of six months 
the residential period in order to secure a divorce. The clergymen throughout 


the state vigorously opposed the new bill and appealed to the people to petition 
the Legislature to kill the measure. These proposed amendments to the divorce 
law caused one of the liveliest battles during this historic session. It was revealed 
that a strong element of moneymakers in the state desired to have the law so lax 
that persons in other states desiring divorces could come here and after a very 
short residence, the payment of round sums, and very little other hardships could 
secure a release from their matrimonial tangles and miseries. In a measure they 
succeeded in accomplishing their object. 

During the entire period of this session it was noted by the newspapers that 
there was a continuous undertone or suppressed sentiment to remove the capital 
of the state from Pierre to Huron. However, in the end the measure was de- 
feated in the Senate by the vote of 29 to 16. 

Another important memorial was one in favor of the free coinage of silver. 
The measure asked that the secretary of the treasury be required to receive silver 
bullion and to coin it at the rate of 412J/2 grains to the dollar, the seigniorage to 
belong to the United States. It required that the bullion should be paid for 
in silver dollars, and that silver dollars could be turned into the treasury, and 
certificates therefor could be obtained. The question of bi-metalism was not 
touched upon. 

On January i8th the Senate passed a joint resolution calling for a constitutional 
convention. This seemed appropriate in view of the fact that twelve amend- 
ments to the old constitution had already been proposed. The constitutional con- 
vention measure died in the committee rooms. On January 22d the Senate passed 
a resubmission bill which- had previously been passed by the House. The vote in 
the Senate was 24 for to 19 against. 

One of the important bills of this session was introduced by Mr. Kingsbury, 
of Yankton, and provided for the appointment of a commission to investigate 
and report on how to use the Missouri River water for irrigation. They were 
asked to investigate the sources of supply and to explain fully the practical methods 
of carrying irrigation into effect. Another bill was to authorize townships to 
issue bonds to a limited amount with which to f)rocure means to sink artesian 

One of the measures passed under suspension of rules was a resolution creat- 
ing a commission of three to ask Congress to take immediate action in behalf 
of the depressed and deplorable financial, business and industrial interests of the 
whole country. 

The bill to take a census of the state every five years in accordance with the 
constitution meant that there must necessarily be a new apportionment of the 
state every five years. This was rendered necessary by the fact that many counties 
were growing rapidly, others were decreasing in population, and still others were 
merely remaining stationary. The bill to take a census every five years was 
probably fought harder than any other of the session. The constitution concern- 
ing the measure was mandatory, consequently it was necessary for the Legisla- 
ture to pass a bill, it was declared, in order to carry out that mandate. 

By February i, 1895, over three hundred bills had been introduced in both 
houses, but many had yet received no consideration outside of the committee cham- 
bers. One provided for the settlement of the boundary between Clay County and 
Nebraska, due to a change in the bed of the Missouri River; and another for 


a new judicial district consisting of the counties of Codington, Deuel, Clark and 

About the middle of February the woman's suffrage bill passed the Senate 
almost unanimously, but was promptly defeated in the House preliminary vote 
by 40 to 39. When it came up for final consideration in the House on February 
22d, it was lost by the vote of 40 against to 34 for. 

By February 20, 1895, the Legislature had settled down to a close, rapid and 
critical examination of all bills and was busy all day and far into the nights. At 
this time both bodies were holding committee meetings in the mornings and regu- 
lar sessions twice a day. Until about two weeks before this date, nearly all work 
had been done in the committee rooms. It was noted by the press that an unusu- 
ally large number of bills was killed in the House, while only a comparatively 
few were annihilated in the Senate. 

Upon the adjournment of the Legislature early in March both houses had 
passed other important measures among which were the improvement of legis- 
lative rules ; improved railway regulations ; great retrenchment owing to Taylor's 
defalcation; amendment of the general school law; advanced legislation on irri- 
gation and artesian wells; special legislation concerning irrigation for the benefit 
of the Black Hills, etc. 

At the election in 1895 four constitutional amendments were submitted to 
the vote of the people as follows : A joint resolution concerning the manner of 
submitting amendments to the constitution; a joint resolution for an amendment 
to the constitution concerning state institutions; a joint resolution proposing an 
amendment to the constitution relating to monopolies and trusts; a joint resolution 
relating to prohibition. 

In January, 1897, the Legislature from the start considered two very impor- 
tant bills, namely : a railroad measure and the capitol removal problem. Mr. Col- 
vin was chosen speaker of the House after a close contest on January 6th. During 
the previous campaign all parties had openly and avowedly favored the regula- 
tion of the railways of this state. The railways on the other hand opposed such 
legislation or restriction. They had an able lobby present at the legislative session 
and declared with. much emphasis and many statistics that such a law would 
grievously injure the people as well as the railways. 

Notwithstanding the excitement and confusion incident to the senatorial con- 
test, both houses began active work on the bills almost from the start. Among 
the first events was the reading of Governor Lee's message. This document laid 
bare the policy of the populist administration. After the reading of the message 
many bills were introduced and considered from time to time among which were 
the following : Capital removal question ; appropriations for the expenses of the 
state officers ; railroad bills ; appointment of a public examiner ; regulating the 
charges of express companies; requiring lobbyists to register; fixing a maximum 
telegraph rate ; fixing a maximum passenger rate at 3 cents ; increasing the 
Supreme Court judges to five. During the first week many resolutions, but no 
bills, were passed by both houses. 

The republican minority took every advantage possible in order to prevent 
the fusion majority from securing absolute control of the leading committees and 
of the Legislature. The first question of importance considered was the election 
of the United States senator. At the same time bills of all kinds were introduced, 


committees were appointed, lobbyists appeared like vultures and the historic halls 
and corridors of Locke Hotel became headquarters for new intrigues, maneuvers 
and combines. Judge Palmer early and vigorously introduced a stringent rail- 
road bill in accordance with the recommendation of Governor Lee. The Wheeler 
bill having also the same object in view was introduced in the Senate. In the 
House iVIr. Dollard also introduced another comprehensive railroad bill. Thus 
there were three railroad measures pending in the Legislature almost from the 
start. This was the culmination of the sentiment which had ruled the populist 
movement during the vindictive and analytical campaign of 1896. 

Prohibition was another fitful subject that came prominently before the Legis- 
lature at this time. S. H. Cramer represented the prohibitionists. Another early 
bill was one to codify the laws. This bill provided for an appropriation of 
$30,000, and was favored emphatically by Judge Palmer, U. S. G. Cherry and 
other lawyers. 

Perhaps the capital removal bill at the start created as much interest as any 
other. Huron sent to Pierre a strong, audacious and persistent lobby headed by 
John Longstaff and A. E. Chamberlain. Pierre was discreetly and capably rep- 
resented by Coe. I. Crawford. 

At the end of the eleventh day more than 100 bills had been introduced, but 
only two had been passed by both houses. One extended the time for the state 
treasurer to make his report, and another made an appropriation for legislative 
expenses. Among other early measures considered were the following: To 
prohibit making chattel mortgages except for seed grain; a cigaret law, the age 
limit being eighteen years; to amend the constitution with a referendum; fixing 
the salaries of states' attorneys ; fixing the time to elect circuit and supreme judges ; 
a resubmission bill ; to prohibit railroad passes except to state officials, their em- 
ployes and members of the Legislature; a constitutional amendment fixing the 
tax limit at 3 mills with a further increase in case of deficiency ; requiring bicycle 
riders to dismount until teams could pass and to give signal upon passing from 
the rear ; paying bounties as follows : $1 on coyotes, $3 on gray wolves and $5 on 
mountain lions, the state to pay the bounties through counties and the owners to 
have the pelts; a joint resolution to Congress to secure an amendment to the con- 
stitution providing for the election of United States senators by direct vote of the 
people. After fourteen days the railroad bills were still unsatisfactory though 
they had each suffered many amendments. The opponents of the bills on all 
occasions employed dilatory tactics to prevent or delay action. Judge Palmer,' 
the leader to sustain the movement, was asked at all times, scores of questions 
particularly from those who opposed the measure. 

In order to facilitate action a sifting committee was proposed for each house, 
but after due consideration the measure was defeated. The bill to create the 
office of commissioner of insurance, with an appropriation of $5,000, was delayed 
for some time. Bouck's license bill became a law in January. The general license 
was fixed at $300, half of which was to go to the county and half to the state. 
Wholesale beer licenses were fixed at $600 ; wholesale whisky and brandy license,; license to manufacture spirituous liquors, $1,000. 

No bill during this session created more ill will and bitter contest than the one 
providing for the abolition of the Board of Charities and Corrections. During 
the contest open war with arms was threatened on more than one occasion. The 


populists and republicans were vastly divided on the question. The resisting 
board which the populists under Governor Lee sought to remove was a republican 
organization. The populists desired to disband this board and to substitute one of 
their own in its place. On the last day of the session many members of the 
Senate went to the hall armed with a grim determination never to surrender ex- 
cept in proper and legal manner their rights and prerogatives. 

Late in January and early in February, 1897, the snow was so deep in the 
vicinity of Pierre that the railroad was blockaded and but two mails were received 
in two weeks. Members who attempted to leave for home temporarily, became 
stuck in the drifts at Highmore. The Senate was deadlocked over several meas- 
ures. The railroad bill had passed both houses and had become a law. It had been 
cut to pieces, gingerly patched up and had the appearance of a vague and dis- 
connected piece of legislation. In the end many republicans voted in its favor, so 
ihat the populists could not claim all the credit for its passage. The bill was rigid, 
but not unjust. 

The Equal Rights Association had present a strong lobby in support of the 
bill for woman suffrage. The liquor question was also duly considered at this 
session. Mrs. Simmons and other members of the W. C. T. U. were steadily 
at work with the Legislature. The dispensary system and the high license bill 
were being pushed vigorously by a strong lobby contingent. It was called the 
Stevens Bill. The Legislature served an order on State Auditor Mayhew to show 
cause why he should not pay the members 10 cents a mile instead of 5 cents a 
mile. This was a move to test the constitutionality of the amendment that had 
carried at the general election two years before. The amendment had reduced 
the mileage from 10 cents to 5 cents. The woman's suffrage amendment success- 
fully passed both houses late in February, 1897, and became a law. The Bouck 
liquor license bill likewise passed both houses late in February. About this time 
the committee reported in favor of the proposed amendment for the removal of 
the state capital from Pierre to Huron. The oleomargarine bill passed and be- 
came a law. Perhaps the most important enactment of this session was that for 
a referendum and initiative amendment to the constitution. Early in March the 
osteopathy bill succeeded in passing both houses. Another bill that occasioned 
sharp debate was the one fixing the bounty on coyotes at $1. gray wolves $3, and 
mountain lions $5. After the capital removal bill had been defeated the populists 
had no serious difficulty in managing the Legislature. The liquor bill provided 
for state control of the sale of intoxicants, and the bill required that the ques- 
tion should be submitted to the vote at the general election in 1898. At this 
session the state insurance department was established. The request by Governor 
Lee to permit the executive to have authority over the educational institutions was 
considered unfavorably; he was refused such power over the charitable and penal 
institutions because of the immense patronage which such a power would carry. 
The truth was the Board of Charities and Corrections were unwilling to surrender 
the political advantages which they exercised in controlling those institutions. 

Other important measures at this session were : A uniform educational bill 
which affected district schools ; general appropriation bill with the items reduced ; 
an experiment station at Highmore; registration of live stock brands; dedication 
of certain school lands to the reform school ; abolishing the Board of Charities 
and Corrections ; sifting committees for the Legislature : boiler inspection ; safe 


keeping of public funds; change in the boundaries of the Third and Fifth judicial 
circuits ; to enforce the clause in the constitution requiring control of monopolies 
and trusts ; defeat of the capital removal measure ; full investigation into the Tay- 
lor defalcation; bounties on coyotes, wolves and mountain lions; passage of a 
general appropriation bill; creation of the office of insurance commissioner; abol- 
ishing grace on notes, drafts, etc. ; establishing a school of osteopathy and allow- 
ing it to issue certificates to practice the healing art ; valued policy insurance meas- 
ure defeated; asking Congress for an amendment to the Constitution providing 
for the election of United States senators by direct vote; the regency education 
bill ; defeat of the bill to appropriate $20,000 for exposition at Omaha ; resolutions 
asking United States senators from South Dakota to vote for the free and un- 
limited coinage of silver without regard to the action of any other nation; giv- 
ing Mrs. Governor Mellette the family homestead; a legislative apportionment 
bill providing for 44 senators and 88 representatives; a commission to revise 
the revenue laws ; prohibiting the alien ownership of land ; an appropriation to 
supply the deficiency at the soldier's home. At this session 341 bills were killed 
in the House alone. Early in March Governor Lee signed the liquor license bill. 
An important measure was the one extending the term of office of the present 
Circuit and Supreme Court judges to one year and providing for their election 
at general elections. The Legislature voted in favor of submitting the question 
of state control of the liquor traffic to a vote of the people at the next general 
election. About five hundred bills in all failed to pass the two houses; fifty-three 
were lost or stolen. The osteopathy bill was vetoed by Governor Lee on the 
ground that it had a tendency to encourage fraudulent practitioners. Nine new 
revenue laws went into effect July i, 1897. 

Other important measures considered by this Legislature, were the following: 
Mileage of members and their per diem; fixing a time when the state treasurer 
should file his bond; per diem and expenses of presidential electors; a joint reso- 
lution to count the state cash; asking members of Congress to support a free 
homestead act; asking Congress to make Ft. Meade a military post; asking the 
Government to investigate the alien ownership of land ; providing that the gover- 
nors of South Dakota and Nebraska should fix the boundary between the two 
states ; the Palmer railroad law ; no appeals from lower courts when the amount' 
involved was less than $75. 

In June, 1897, the Aberdeen News said: "The more the legislation enacted 
by the populist aggregation of last winter is looked into the worse it appears. It 
got scarcely anything straight and what it did get straight was by accident, and 
much of that was afterwards spoiled by the incompetency of the clerks. As a 
matter of fact the aggregation was not interested in measures but in spoils and 
the wreaking of revenge upon the state officers and private individuals." But 
this was a partisan view though partly correct. Similar complaints were justly 
applicable to the proceedings of every legislative session. All things considered 
the work performed by this session, though somewhat revolutionary and con- 
fused, was in line of progress and reform that had been charted by the populists. 

At the legislative session of January, 1899, A. G. Sommers was chosen speaker 
of the House, and Senator Gunderson of Clay County was elected president pro- 
tem of the Senate. It was generally admitted that this Legislature as a whole was 
one of the ablest assembled in the state for many years. Among the members 


were men of probity, character and eminent ability. Thus the session at the 
start gave promise of great usefuhiess' if ability, high character and experience 
were taken into consideration. One of its first acts was to comply with Governor 
Lee's request for an investigation of the charges against State Treasurer Phillips 
and into the official conduct of Oil Inspector Dowell. 

The session was at first quite orderly, with few violent or extraneous episodes ; 
but later both houses were thoroughly animated and aroused by the message of 
Governor Lee. When this had been maturely considered the majority turned 
their attention to the accumulating bills. At first the governor's message was 
not received by the republican majority after the usual custom, no doubt partly 
out of revenge against the populists who two years previously had in a similar 
irregular fashion refused at first to receive Governor Sheldon's message. Later 
it was formally received. Immediately after the session opened Mr. Phillips 
announced that he would contest the right of Governor Lee to occupy the executive 
chair. At first he was supported by many republicans who maintained that until 
the Phillips contest should be devided Lee was not certainly the governor. No 
doubt the refusal of the republican majority to receive Governor Lee's message 
was in part at least due to the Phillips-Lee contest. 

Among the bills considered early at the session of 1899 were one to amend the 
constitution, one to permit the loaning of school funds in amounts as high as 
$1,000 to a single person, and one to increase the amount that could be loaned 
on land to 75 per cent of its assessed valuation. Other important bills 
were for a state dispensary and for the initiative and referendum. Three bills 
for a dispensary were before the Legislature: One by Gunderson, supported by 
the extreme prohibition sentiment; one by Hanton, favored by the brewing com- 
panies, and one by Stiles, supported by practical business men, was a somewhat 
stringent but reasonable license measure. 

By January 12th many bills had been introduced and all were under considera- 
tion. Three different bills for a state dispensary were introduced. Another meas- 
ure provided the State Board of Assessment and Equalization should be placed 
under the control of the governor, secretary of state, auditor, land commissioner 
and the railway commissioners. Another early bill provided for the establish- 
ment of two additional normal schools. A memorial to Congress urged the mem- 
bers from this state to support any action taken at the treaty of Paris. Early in 
January resolutions supporting the administration's management of the war passed 
the Senate by a fair majority. A substitute resolution of a little different pur- 
port, that was introduced was defeated by the vote of 26 to 16. Among other 
early bills introduced in the two houses were the following : For the destruction 
of noxious weeds ; for a deficiency at the soldiers' home ; for a state dispensary ; 
reducing the legislative session to thirty days ; fixing the legal rate of interest at 
8 per cent ; exemption of homesteads valued at $2,500 with eighty-five acres or a 
town lot ; appointing a state veterinarian ; the necessary work to enable a person 
to hold a mining claim ; a tax on bequests and inheritances which were over 
$5,000; several investigating committees were asked for; for a postal savings 
bank; to sink experimental artesian wells in Custer and Fall River counties; to 
exempt cemeteries and public property from taxation; to establish a state board 
of embalmers; to permit insurance against tornadoes and lightning; to make the 
killing of live stock by railways prima facie evidence of carelessness on the part 


of the railway companies; a petition from the citizens of Brown County asking 
for an appropriation to pay unpaid premiums awarded at the state fairs of 1893 
and 1894; recommending the substitution of a commission in the place of the 
state treasurer on the State Board of Assessment; a resolution of praise and 
pride for the South Dakota volunteers in the Philippines ; providing for a state 
board of examiners; making the setting of prairie fires a felony; to protect wild 
game ; for a normal school at Watertown ; abolishing the fees of insurance com- 

The Senate passed its first bill January 12th. Other questions and problems 
considered by both houses were a petition from the Northern Black Hills for the 
establishment of an experiment farm in that section of the state; and to increase 
the salaries of supreme judges to $3,000 and circuit judges to $2,500. The legis- 
lative expense appropriation bill was the first to pass both houses and be signed 
by the governor. Others considered at a later date were the following : To classify 
cities according to their population ; establishment of a twine-making plant at the 
penitentiary and appropriating $35,000 for the necessary buildings and equip- 
ment; an amendment to the constitution requiring certain educational qualifica- 
tions for superintendents of schools. By January 25th the Senate had not con- 
sidered many of the important bills, but had spent much of its time in settling 
contests for seats and in discussing recent and prospective political measures. 
The referendum and the dispensary bills were yet in committee. The House was 
even behind the Senate in the consideration of the important bills. However by 
January 26th both houses had settled down to hard work. The measure to increase 
the salaries of judges was defeated in the Senate, but was reconsidered. Those 
who opposed the bill declared that judges received better pay than teachers and 
several state officials. The anti-pass bill received prolonged and careful atten- 
tion. Another bill considered required railways to carry bicycles as baggage. 
This bill, it was said in the newspapers, was made the football of the Senate, the 
lobbies and the railway commission. Other measures considered were a bill to 
attach an island in the Missouri River to Clay County for taxation and judicial 
purposes; joint resolution for the return of the First South Dakota Regiment 
by the Suez Canal route ; to pay Joseph McLeod for supplies furnished the volun- 
teers during the Indian war of 1890-91 ; this bill was cut down and passed the 
Senate. Governor Mellette in 1891 did not believe it was a just claim. Senator 
Gunderson's bill to tax railways, telephone, telegraph and express companies, pro- 
vided a new method of making valuations. The registration law was early con- 
sidered in the House. 

By January 31st other important bills which had been considered were as fol- 
lows: Courts of conciliation; methods by which railway commissioners might 
compel express companies to adhere to certain fixed rates ; for a permanent annual 
endowment for all the educational institutions upon a per cent basis as follows : 
State university, 34J4 per cent; Madison normal school, 17 per cent; agricultural 
college, 12J/2 per cent; Spearfish normal, 15 per cent; Springfield normal, 9 per 
cent; school of mines, 12 per cent. 

The resolution asking Congress to support the treaty with Spain brought out 
a full partisan discussion of imperialism and expansion. Both sides expressed 
themselves passionately and unreserv^edly on this political problem. Other ques- 
tions were the election of United States senators by direct vote ; to prohibit bonds- 


men from transferring their property without notice; to permit taxes to be paid 
in two equal instahnents ; fixing maximum rates for express companies ; to aboHsh 
professional juries; to appoint a commission to apportion the remaining acreage 
of the state endowment lands to institutions not yet in actual existence, but which 
the state had already provided for; referendum measure; fixing the jurisdiction 
of justices of the peace in organized counties; to encourage the organization of 
reading circles ; authorizing the use of Granthan's Code as the official code of the 
state; fixing the compensation of county supervisors; to prevent the denudation 
of timber lands without the payment of taxes; to prevent the employment of rela- 
tives of the regents of education ; to levy taxes for sinking artesian wells and to 
issue bonds therefor; authorizing counties to fund their outstanding current debts; 
requiring the Board of Charities and Corrections to establish classes in the peni- 
tentiary for the education of convicts, the classes to be conducted by other con- 
victs ; for a constitutional amendment extending the term of the governor to four 
years and the terms of the members of the Legislature to four years; to restore 
the circle at the head of party tickets; how to collect tax on transient herds of 
cattle ; allowing mutual insurance companies to write three-year risks ; to prevent 
shipment of cattle by unauthorized persons; to abolish the grand jury in certain 
cases ; to empower school districts to issue overdue coupon bonds ; for a constitu- 
tional amendment allowing greater latitude in the investment of permanent school 
funds ; to prevent the adulteration of milk, cream and dairy products ; for the 
protection of large game. 

Not much progress was made in the passage of bills until after the middle 
of February. The Aberdeen and Watertown Normal School Bill passed both 
houses, but was vetoed by the governor. They were called industrial schools, 
but had all the features of normal schools. There was a strong and outspoken 
sentiment throughout the Legislature in February for the consolidation of several 
of the state educational institutions. All efforts for new buildings at the state 
institutions were checked until after the appropriation bill had been considered. 
Then the question of consolidation was taken up and duly studied and discussed, 
but was found to be in the main unwise and impracticable. It was believed about 
the middle of February that the permanent endowment bill would succeed in both 
houses, and nearly all members seemed pleased to have the appropriations for 
the state institutions taken from politics and settled thus in permanent fashion. 
The dispensary bill was duly analyzed and weighed by both houses. In the Senate 
were four different bills on this subject. 

The House in February considered the following measures : To abolish the 
office of insurance commissioner; denouncing Pettigrew and thanking Kyle for 
their attitude on the Philippine insurrection; percentage appropriation bill for 
state institutions : this bill, which had a limitation rider, passed both Houses, but 
was vetoed by the governor who took the ground that a fixed and permanent tax 
for the state institutions would check their growth and limit their usefulness. 
The Senate promptly passed the bill over the veto, but in the end the Plouse 
could not do so. The attitude of the republicans on the resolution denouncing 
Pettigrew and thanking Kyle encountered the severest opposition from the popu- 
lists who declared, that it was "partisan bunkum." The republicans vigorously 
attacked the views of the populists concerning Aguinaldo, the leader of the 
Philippine revolt on the Island of Luzon. The populists introduced counter reso- 


lutions justifying Pettigrew in his course toward the administration, but they 
were promptly voted down in the House. During this session the members 
of the House seemed to dehght in political controversy and intrigue, while the 
Senate seemed more sedate and less flamboyant. By the 20th of February about 
four hundred and seventy-live bills had been introduced in both houses but only 
ten had become laws. Among the measures which were considered by both 
houses at this time were the Cooper revenue; oil inspection: placing telegraph 
companies under the railway commission; pure caucus; state desopitary; regis- 
tration of voters ; prevention of swine disease ; wolf bounty ; convict labor ; postal 
savings bank ; requiring public officers to buy local supplies in this state ; penalties 
for fraud by elevator companies. In the general appropriation bill, the article 
providing for the maintenance of the Springfield Normal School was stricken out. 
The bill to license the practice of osteopathy passed both houses. There were 
severe and sarcastic attacks upon the vetoes of the governor at the close of this 
session. The republican newspapers of the state commented with intense sever- 
ity upon his attitude on many important measures. 

By February 27th the House and Senate sifting committees were doing excel- 
lent work in presenting the more important measures first and calling attention 
to the actual needs of the state. A resolution in the House endorsing Governor 
Lee's veto of the Aberdeen and Watertown Normal School Bill was laid on the 
table. The Senate passed the House General Appropriation Bill. The Aberdeen 
Normal Bill passed the House by the vote of 52 to 32. The House likewise 
passed the new revenue bill and the judicial salary bill which had been amended 
by allowing the governor a salary of $3,000. It had been defeated in the House 
by a vote of 44 to 38, but was reconsidered. In the House the Watertown Nor- 
mal Bill failed to pass over Governor Lee's veto, the vote being 40 to 39. The 
measures considered or reconsidered late in the session were oil inspection, hos- 
pital at the soldiers' home; new buildings at several state institutions; making 
prairie fires a felony; for a Ninth Judicial Circuit; to resubmit the dispensary 
proposition; providing for a state board of agriculture; providing for a state 
fair board of five members and $2,000 a year for premiums; requiring convicts 
at the penitentiary to furnish stone for public buildings; to prevent fraud by 
joint stock companies; pure food measure; water supply at the soldiers' home; 
to pay the people of Plankinton for the building which they erected for the 
reform school; allowing counties to redeem tax titles; providing for a deficiency 
in legislative expenses; to apply the initiative and referendum to towns and 
municipalities ; a general game measure ; depository for state funds ; regulating 
the practice of osteopathy; to increase the tax levy in the state; prohibiting state 
officers to take 'railway passes; empowering cities to issue bonds for water 
supply, etc. 

Among the bills which became laws were the following : Making Ft. Meade a 
military post; establishing a branch of the National Soldiers' Home at Hot 
Springs ; establishing postal savings banks ; supporting the treaty of the Govern- 
ment with Spain; asking Congress for pay for Indian allotment lands made by 
the Government; asking greater powers for the Interstate Commerce Commis- 
sion; securing the records of the convention that framed the state constitution 
asking for a free homestead law ; also for a constitutional amendment for greater 
latitude in the investment of state school and endowment funds ; to resubmit the 


dispensary amendment to the constitution ; fixing terms of Circuit Courts ; estab- 
lishing an encampment of state mihtia at Huron ; to prevent operators from 
divulging contents of telephone conversations and telegrams ; preventing the spread 
of swine diseases; ofifering a bounty for coyotes, wolves and mountain lions; 
adopting Granthan's Code as the official code of the state; appropriating money 
for the deficiency in mustering in South Dakota troops during the spring of 
1898; furnishing water supply at the soldiers' home; collecting a tax on transient 
herds of cattle; permitting citizens to pay their tax in two annual installments, 
March and October; providing for free attendance of soldiers and their children 
at the state educational institutions ; placing a circle at the head of party ballots ; 
specify the work necessary to be done to maintain mining claims; empowering 
foreign railways to connect separate lines; providing for cyclone insurance; 
providing for the inspection of cattle brought into this state; establishing county 
reading circles; passmg a pure food law; providing for the registration for elec- 
tions; specifying how the initiative and referendum should be carried into efi'ect; 
establishing a feeble minded school at Redfield; paying J. B. McLeod for ex- 
penses in furnishing supplies during the Indian war of 1890-91 ; regulating the 
practice of osteopathy; a new large game law; abolishing days of grace on 
notes, drafts, etc. ; making an appropriation for the hospital at the soldiers' home ; 
a general appropriation bill; a revenue law aimed to secure the assessment of 
all taxable property; applying the provision of the initiative and referendum to 
towns and municipalities; creating a State Board of Embalmers and licensing 
embalmers; general education bill; to prevent timber lands from being stripped 
without payment of taxes thereon ; establishing an Industrial and Normal School 
at Aberdeen and donating 401,000 acres of state land for its maintenance. This 
measure became a law without the governor's signature. 

This was one of the most useful sessions ever held thus far. Almost from 
the start all irrelevant, useless and cumbersome measures were sifted out and 
consigned to oblivion. The time spent by the members, with a few striking excep- 
tions, was devoted to measures of great moment to the state. Practically no time 
was spent in wrangles over unimportant and incongruous bills. The discussions 
were more dignified and becoming than usual. However, this session was not 
without fault. It was far too parsimonious in the appropriations for growing 
and ambitious state institutions. It took no step to improve the inefficient and dis- 
graceful taxing system that ever since 1889 had been a crying shame to the state. 
Like nearly all the other sessions of the Legislature it had too many men who 
knew more about how to round up cattle than to make laws. However, unwit- 
tingly, a few of the wild counties and not a few of those that could have done" 
better sent men who knew how to make friends at the polls even if they did not 
know how to make laws. 

In 1901 Burke and Crawford were both candidates for the United States 
Senate. There was not much excitement at the opening of the legislative ses- 
sion of 1901, because the republicans had an overwhelming majority and could 
do about as they pleased. As a matter of fact, the Legislature was firmly under 
the control of Congressmen Burke and Gamble, United States Attorney Elliot, 
United States Marshal Kennedy, and Charles McLeod. These men prepared the 
slates, and controlled the republican majority of the Legislature. The Minnehaha 
County delegation split over the early issues raised in the House. That dele- 


gation was finally turned down in the House because they endeavored to organ- 
ize that body against the republican majority, but were effectually defeated and 
finally disregarded. Late in January both Houses of the Legislature met in sepa- 
rate caucuses and voted in favor of Gamble for United States senator. The 
vote in the Senate stood Gamble 38, Pettigrew 5 ; in the House, Gamble 75, Petti- 
grew 8. The most active candidates were Burke, Crawford, Pickler and Ster- 
ling, who were in pursuit of Mr. Kyle's chair in the Senate. In spite of their 
ambitions Mr. Gamble secured the nomination and was duly elected. This was a 
success for the republican machine. Probably the work of this Legislature in 
the early stages was more routine or slate work than ever before. The ordinary 
legislator had but little to say concerning the settlement of the important meas- 
ures. A prominent feature of this session was the difference of personnel between 
the two Houses and the formation of combines to check or thwart the slate of 
the majority. They came to be called the "Bosser Crowd" and openly declared and 
conducted war against the republican political machine and boss rule. It was 
asserted by the press that their combine was oath-bound, and therefore, in prin- 
ciple, just as intolerant and unfair as was the republican machine. 

A. Sommers was elected speaker of the House, and J. M. Lawson was chosen 
president pro tern of the Senate. Charles N. Herreid succeeded Andrew E. Lee 
as governor of the state. George W. Snow became lieutenant-governor, and thus 
the president of the Senate. Wilmarth, of Huron, was a candidate for speaker, 
but was defeated because his election would have meant the passage of a bill 
for the removal of the state capital to Huron. 

The Legislature of 1901 was composed of men whose average ability ranked 
high for South Dakota. The political campaign of the previous year had been 
one of intense conviction and personality and the members were yet keyed up 
to a high pitch for the music of the session. As in former sessions bills were 
introduced from the very start, but were not elaborately considered until certain 
important or preliminary measures had been disposed of. Among the early bills 
were the following: Requiring railway companies to fence their right of way; 
empowering cities to regulate and suppress billard rooms, card rooms and other 
places of pubhc resort that might prove offensive; allowing juries to find verdicts 
in civil cases by three-fourths concurrence; the object of this bill was to annul the 
custom which permitted one or two men to defeat the will of the majority on 
the jury and thus prevent the attainment of justice; for the establishment of a 
law department at the state university; approprating $75,000 for a permanent 
farmers' institute ; to improve illuminating oil ; dividing the state into two con- 
gressional districts instead of electing two congressmen at large as has been done 
since the state was organized. Should this measure pass it was proposed that 
James River would be the dividing Hne between the two districts. 

Another act providing for the payment of deficiencies in various state funds, 
made it criminal for state institutions to contract a debt on acount of the state 
except in pursuance of law — left them no reasonable discretion. All state insti- 
tutions suffered by this unnecessary, too rigid and contemptible piece of legis- 
lation. One authority said at this time, "The provisions of the constitution of 
South Dakota relating to the appropriation of money by the Legislature, the limi- 
tation of state debt and the fixing of taxes for state purposes, are salutary and 
guarantee the continuation of the policy of economy in public expenditure which 


has from the first characterized the state government and kept the state's credit 
at so superbly high a standard." Others declared that while this might be true, 
it was also certain that the rigid constitution and laws concerning state debt had 
robbed the commonwealth of the large internal improvements necessary to make 
much of the land productive and habitable — that the superb credit of the state 
amounted to nothing, when immense tracts of state land remained unsettled for 
want of state improvement which the rigid constitution and laws prevented. The 
newspapers at this time declared that South Dakota appropriations were smaller 
comparatively than those of any other state. More than one newspaper called 
the Legislature parsimonious and niggardly. They declared that at a time when 
a splendid start instead of a mere makeshift should have been made the false cry 
of economy had robbed the state of a dozen years of development. 

At the session of 1901 the Legislature prepared for a new apportionment. 
Under the constitution of 1889 the Legislature consisted of 45 senators and 124 
representatives; in 1891 they were fixed at 45 senators and 86 representatives. 
Now in 1901, it was proposed to make the Senate consist of 33 members and the 
House of 65; thus saving the state $112,000 annually. 

By the latter part of January other bills considered were the following : Rais- 
ing the age of consent to eighteen years ; providing for local option by counties ; 
providing for general prohibition ; to turn the fees from the office of the clerk 
of the Supreme Court into the treasury and fix his salary at $1,500; prohibiting 
the sale of tobacco to minors under twenty years of age; creating the office of 
state sheep inspector; providing a permanent levy for the various state insti- 
tutions ; increasing the levy of counties to more than eight mills to meet expenses 
and bonded indebtedness. The latter was a Black Hills measure and was intro- 
duced because many of the counties there were unable to meet the charges under 
the eight mill limitation. The Senate committee which had under consideration 
the House resolution of sympathy with the English people on the death of Queen 
Victoria, returned an adverse report on the ground that it was not a matter for 
official action and that the fiag on the State House should be placed at half mast 
in honor of American citizens only. Other bills considered were providing for 
the creation of election precincts in states ; legalizing the incorporation of one or 
more cities ; fixing terms of court in the Eighth Judicial Circuit ; governing orders 
of judgment; permitting cities to refund bonded indebtedness; preventing the 
manufacture and sale of cannon crackers and air guns. There was sharp con- 
troversy over this bill. Other measures were providing for a state board of 
agriculture of seven members ; a food and dairy commission bill ; providing for the 
expense of the insane patients where there arose a question as to what county 
to charge it against; making sheriffs collectors of personal property taxes; to 
create a state library board; to allow boards of equalization to adjourn from 
time to Lime instead of from day to day ; providing for surveys of section lines 
in unorganized townships; to allow the establishment of two or more precincts 
in a township; providing for the discharge of mortgages owned by deceased 
parties; fixing grades of punishment for the crime of perjury; cutting down the 
amount of bounty paid for wolf scalps and limiting the amount to be paid in one 
year to $5,000; prohibiting the killing of antelope for ten years; for settlement 
of indebtedness between villages and townships ; giving heirs of deceased persons 
the right to bring suit within one year after their death; memorializing Congress 


to remove the sand bar at the mouth of the James River; to elect county com- 
missioners by vote of the whole county. This encountered much opposition from 
the fusionists. Memorializing Congress for election of senators by popular vote ; 
changing the time of election of Supreme and Circuit Court judges to general 
elections ; to make quit claim deeds absolute title ; providing for the dissolution of 
cities with less than two hundred and fifty population; memorializing Congress 
for a treaty opening a portion of Rosebud reservation in Gregory County; appro- 
priating 25,000 acres of land to the blind school at Gary ; authorizing railroads to 
extend or alter their line of roads and to build branches and extensions and make 
alterations; requiring the establishment of waste gates at mill dams; regulating 
the notice to be given for road work ; requiring a non-resident to appoint a resi- 
dent agent in his district ; fixing the weight of speltz at forty-five pounds to the 
bushel; providing for making loans of school funds at a minimum of 5 per cent. 

There were sharp fights over many of these bills. The proposition to increase 
the number of regents of education encountered sharp opposition. The bill failed 
although Governor Herreid strongly recommended the change. The governor 
promptly signed the bill creating the Department of History. This act was made 
an important event of history. Many prominent men of the state assembled to 
see this bill signed. Among them were Bartlett Tripp, Major Pickler, Judge 
Dillon, E. C. Ericson, the judges of the Supreme Court, the state officials, many 
ladies and a considerable group of distinguished citizens. The pen used was after- 
wards presented to the Historical Society and was a beautiful one of gold and 
ivory exquisitely and appropriately engraved with the head of a Dakota Indian. 
President Droppers and Professor Young, of the university, appeared before the 
Legislature to explain the needs of that institution. Special interests cut a consid- 
erable figure at the middle of this session. Almost desperate efforts were made 
by representatives of such interests to secure favors or advancements. At this 
time it was a popular belief throughout South Dakota that the treasury was wholly 
at the mercy of the state institutions. As a matter of fact exactly the reverse was 
true. At no time was any state institution ever given an appropriation which it 
did not urgently need and which it did not use to the excellent advantage of the 
state. The cry of enocomy now as in years past was used as a club to subdue 
and keep down the institutions whose growth gave the state its best name and 
gave it the greatest advancement in the estimation of the other states of the 
Union. There was a cry at this session that the state institutions desired to con- 
trol the appropriations, but it was shown that they were powerless to do so be- 
cause two-thirds of the legislative members came from counties which had no 
state institutions and which had no worthy object in eliminating the necessary 
appropriations for the state institutions. 

In 1901 the Legislature was asked to establish farmers' institutes in all parts 
of the state similar to those in Minnesota. Several bills concerning this question 
were introduced. Up to this time the agricultural college had maintained super- 
vision of the farmers' institutes, but as the money available was too small in 
amount, satisfactory progress had not been made; and therefore a new bill pro- 
vided for the organization of farmers' institutes in every county. At this session 
a bill for the establishment of school libraries, prepared by S. C. Hartranft, 
county superintendent of Brown County, was presented to the Legislature. An- 


other bill introduced was for a state exhibit at the Pan-American Exposition, 

One of the most important measures considered was that concerning educa- 
tion. Joint committees had agreed upon the measure which if passed, if was 
believed, would eliminate any objectionable features of the existing law. Also 
unsettled was the pending question of whether to give the governor power to 
remove appointive officers. The attorney-general expressed the opinion that the 
regents of education and the board of charities and corrections were subject to 
removal, but several senators, likewise lawyers, believed that those boards could 
be removed only by impeachment. When the question growing out of the attempt 
of Governor Sheldon to remove Regent Shannon was in the Supreme Court, Judge 
Fuller dissented from the opinion of the court. The majority held that the gov- 
ernor had no inherent power of removal. It was therefore realized that should 
the pending bill pass it would necessarily have to be sustained by the Supreme 
Court to be of any avail. Both Houses had passed the bill prohibiting the sale of 
cannon fire crackers or any dynamite crackers or any cracker more than three 
inches in length. The bill taxing transient merchants with bankrupt stocks and 
fire sale stocks to the amount of $75 to $100 a month license passed both Houses. 

About the middle of February the Legislature were deeply immersed in the 
difficult task of discussing and analyzing the bills that had been introduced. 
The repeal of the wolf bounty law was reconsidered and the subject at once 
became very much alive. Other measures considered were the following : Allow- 
ing each senator and representative to name ten pupils in some state institution 
free of tuition ; fixing the penalty for desecration of the American flag at a fine 
of $100; to allow reassessment of taxes under certain conditions; requiring town- 
ships to make repairs on bridges where the cost did not exceed $20 ; to repeal the 
act providing for the destruction of noxious weeds. The temperance committee 
of the Senate reported on four liquor bills and recommended the passage of 
two of them. One of the bills recommended was drawn, it was said, by the State 
Liquor Dealers' Association. It prohibited the sale of liquor by druggists. The 
other bill empowered city councils to regulate, restrain and suppress drinking 
places. Another provided for the increase of saloon licenses and another em- 
powered city councils and mayors to close saloons for cause. The question of 
equal suffrage was settled by the adoption of an adverse committee report. Other 
bills were one appropriating $1,000 for the expense of the investigating commit- 
tee ; exempting drummers from the provision of peddler licenses ; fixing the power 
and scope of the Northern Normal School at Aberdeen ; reconsideration of the 
anti-cigarette bill ; discussion of the bill giving the governor power to remove 
constitutional officers ; to provide a chaplain for the penitentiary at a salary of 
$1,000; extending the jurisdiction of townships over villages; providing penalties 
for refusal to answer legal inquiries; allowing husband or wife to manage, con- 
trol or mortgage property when one has been insane for one year; changing the 
manner of selecting jurors; providing the manner of settling accounts between 
townships and villages ; providing for separating cities into wards ; appropriating 
$35,000 for expenses of criminal prosecution in unorganized counties ; requiring 
applicants for admission to the bar to show three years' reading in school or office; 
attaching an island in the Missouri River to Clay County ; authorizing cities of the 
second and third class to issue waterworks bonds ; requiring all money collected 


by state boards and heads of institutions and receipts from endowment lands to 
be turned into tiie state treasury to be paid out for the benefit of the respective 
institutions upon warrants of the state auditor; conferring greater powers on 
managers of the children's home; prohibiting salaried state officers from receiv- 
ing fees ; memorializing Congress to increase the annual allowance for pupils at 
the Indian schools ; providing for the Ninth Judicial circuit. On the first motion 
the latter measure in the House came within one vote of passing. It was re- 

The following is the joint resolution passed by the Legislature in response 
to the investigation of state institutions demanded by Ex-Govemor Lee early in 
1901. "Whereas Ex-Governor Andrew E. Lee in his message to the Legislature 
of the state made charges specific and general against the former management 
of the Hospital for the Insane at Yankton, the penitentiary at Sioux Falls and 
the reform school at Plankinton, alleging theft, embezzlement, robbery, etc., on 
the part of the various heads of these institutions and also the Soldiers' Home at 
Hot Springs, who were removed by the fusion board of charities and corrections. 
Now, therefore, be it resolved, that a joint committee from the Senate and House 
of Representatives consisting of three senators and four representatives be 
appointed and that such committee be and is hereby authorized to make an investi- 
gation into the management of said institutions up to the present time and report 
thereon and to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of docu- 
ments and to issue subpoenas therefor." Representative Benedict was chair- 
man of this committee. 

Late in February both houses were busy with the following bills : To change 
the boundary between Meade County on the one hand and Lawrence and Pen- 
nington counties on the other; to change the estray laws by allowing publication 
in local papers; appropriating $15,000 for a girls' dormitory at the school for 
deaf and dumb ; requiring guard railings on town and county bridges ; providing 
regulations for the state board of examiners ; placing children's homes under the 
control of the board of charities; amending the game laws by making the end of 
the season for killing ducks April 15th and limiting a day's bag to twelve birds; 
governing the taxation of range cattle; providing for recording laws probated 
in other states ; providing for teaching physical culture in the public schools ; a 
compromise on the wolf bounty measure; providing penalties for the destruction 
of telegraph or telephone lines by steam threshers ; providing penalties for tam- 
pering with or tapping telegraph wires ; empowering towns with 350 population 
to maintain waterworks ; authorizing the governor to remove certain officers with- 
out giving any reason for his action; providing punishment for trespass upon 
state lands; appropriating $1,000 to pay the judicial expenses of Gregory County 
prior to its organization ; providing penalties for the transportation of diseased 
swine; memorializing Congress for the better preservation of the pine on the 
Black Hills Forest Reserve ; permitting further consolidation of tax levies ; en- 
larging the powers of cities to suppress the sale of intoxicating liquors; a license 
bill which prohibited druggists from handling liquor; providing for the collection 
of delinquent personal tax by the sherifif instead of by the treasurer; providing 
for the jjrotection of large game; requiring a deposit before beginning action on 
a tax deed ; fixing the manner of levies for town libraries ; allowing county seats 
to be moved from the point ofl^ a railroad to a point on a railroad on a petition 


of tifty-five per cent of the voters; memoralizing Congress for an interstate drain- 
age canal to join Big Stone Lake and Lake Traverse; requiring road supervisors 
to fill abandoned wells and other dangerous excavations; providing for the ap- 
pointment of administrator pendente lite and for codification and revision of laws 
making the governor, secretary of state and attorney general, a board of super- 
visors and providing for the appointment of two attorneys to act with the attorney 
general for that purpose and appropriating $13,000 to cover expenses; joint reso- 
lutions donating the chair refused by Ex-Governor Lee to the State Historical 
Society; allowing the use of abbreviations in the tax list; providing for counsel 
for indigent criminals and fixing an attorney's fee at $25 ; preventing the sale of 
stocks of goods of defrauded creditors; fixing the salary of state veterinarians at 
$1,200 per year; changing the name of the Aberdeen School of Technology to 
the Normal and Industrial School ; requiring all incidental funds received by any 
state institution to be turned into the treasury and be drawn out by auditor's war- 
rant; to remove the refonu school from Plankinton to lands owned by the state 
near Watertown ; to appropriate $1,300 to Mrs. T. M. Evans for extra work 
performed at the Soldier's Home in 1899; compelling threshing machine opera- 
tors to plank bridges before crossing ; compiling the redemption laws prepared by 
the State Bar Association; fixing the rate of interest at 10 per cent; exempting 
compounders of medicine from the provisions of the dealers' license law. 

Late in February and early in March, 1901, many important bills were con- 
sidered by the Legislature. Both houses now worked day and evenings until the 
termination of the session. The general education bill and the wolf bounty bill 
were concurred in by both houses. The House appropriation committee reported 
in favor of appropriations as follows: State university, $40,000; Aberdeen nor- 
mal, $30,000; agricultural college, $50,000; school of mines, $20,000; Springfield 
normal, $18,000, and similar amounts for several of the other educational institu- 
tions. Other important measures considered were the following: The care and 
lease of the Ft. Sisseton Military Reservation ; giving Faulk County an additional 
term of court; giving officers of the Children's Home additional power to recover 
misplaced children ; advancing the salaries of county judges twenty-five per cent ; 
proposing a constitutional amendment providing that sixty per cent of the voters 
should have power to move a county seat to a railroad ; making the minimum sal- 
ary of registers of deeds $4,000. The committee on appropriation in the Senate 
introduced a general bill carrying $958,800. This was about $50,000 less than 
provided for in the House bill. Other bills were providing penalties for trans- 
portation of diseased swine ; defining how ballots should be marked on mixed 
tickets ; placing organization of children's homes under the control of the Board 
of Charities and Corrections; preventing the adulteration of linseed oil; to sub- 
mit a constitutional amendment permitting an additional indebtedness for the 
purpose of securing water, sewers, street railways, telephone system and a light- 
ing j-ilant ; memorial to Congress for legislation giving the United States courts 
absolute jurisdiction in Indian reservations; providing regulations for the election 
of officials of mutual insurance companies so that all would not go out at once ; 
limiting the risks of county mutual companies to farms ; placing mutual insurance 
companies under the control of the State Insurance Department; providing for 
the testing of scales ; providing for a new board of commissioners of the Sol- 
diers' Home; fixing a specified time for the expiration of terms of members of the 


state boards; making intoxication a misdemeanor; state sheep inspection. This 
bill was fought vigorously but finally carried; a liquor license measure; one re- 
quiring county commissioners to be elected by the whole county ; donating certain 
property to Dell Rapids for street purposes ; abolishing the Railroad Commission ; 
several deficiency bills ; one for the reorganization of the Board of Charities and 

During the session of 1901 over 200 bills and joint resolutions were enacted 
into laws, being the largest number at any session since the organization of the 
state. The most important Senate bills adopted were as follows : Providing for 
continuance of cases in court where attorneys or litigants are members of the 
Legislature ; providing for the selection of official papers by county commissioners 
regardless of the politics of the paper; providing for the collection of delinquent 
personal tax by the sherifif instead of the treasurer ; appropriating money to reim- 
burse counties and persons who assisted in returning troops from San Francisco ; 
to prevent killing antelope in the state for ten years ; to prevent the name of any 
person from appearing on the ballot more than once; appropriating $20,000 for 
legislative printing; granting to counties the whole of the liquor license fee; set- 
ting aside 25,000 acres of state land for the benefit of the blind school at Gary; 
providing for the refunding of bonds by cities; the taking of depositions of non- 
residents in civil suits ; legalizing the incorporation of Revillo ; prohibiting the 
manufacture, sale and use of air guns and cannon crackers ; providing for the 
division of cities into wards and the election of aldermen ; making a judgment 
complete when it had been signed and entered on the record by the clerk of court ; 
a general law governing the manner of incorporation of cities, towns and villages ; 
appropriating $2,500 for expenses incurred in criminal prosecutions in unorgan- 
ized counties; providing that a director in a state bank must hold at least five 
shares of the stock; providing for a statement to the state auditor of apportion- 
ment of endowment funds; fixing the salary of the state veterinarian at $1,500; 
fixing the terms of the members of the Soldiers' Home; providing methods of 
securing homes for neglected and ill treated children ; general education bill ; 
making terms of county commissioners four years and making them elective; 
relating to limitation of actions to recovery on tax sales ; allowing towns of 300^ 
population to bond for waterworks and fire apparatus ; attaching an island in the 
Missouri River to Clay County for school purposes ; fixing qualifications for ad- 
mission to the bar; fixing the responsibilities of owners of steam threshers; pro- 
viding a penalty of life imprisonment for kidnaping and holding for ransom with 
threats ; fixing a penalty for tapping telephone and telegraph lines ; allowing an 
executor to bring action or continue action after the death of the principal ; appro- 
priating money for the expense of setting aside school lands ; appropriating $11,470 
for a building at the Madison Normal School; appropriating money to A. J. 
Mosier for expense in organizing the first South Dakota regiment ; giving threshers 
first lien on grain for cost of threshing; requiring railroads to fence their tracks 
along enclosed fields ; providing for the preservation and care of a permanent 
camp and parade ground at Ft. Sisseton ; general liquor law ; legalizing the incor- 
poration of Elkton ; classifying county courts and fixing salaries of judges on a 
basis of population ; making the adulteration of liquor or sale of adulterated liquor 
a misdemeanor; fixing terms of court in the Sixth Judicial Circuit ;. giving officers 
of cemetery associations the right of eminent domain in extending cemetery 


boundaries; providing for the establishment and maintenance of public ditches; 
making the teaching of humane treatment of animals compulsory in the public 
schools ; empowering county commissioners to employ assistant counsel for state's 
attorneys; reducing the State Board of Equalization by dropping the superin- 
tendent of instruction and the attorney general ; providing that all taxes should be 
spread on record under the head of consolidated tax; allowing levy by states for 
construction of library buildings and maintenance of libraries ; giving to the gov- 
ernor authority to accept any grants or devises made to the state; making a cer- 
tified copy of a public record admissible in evidence; requiring the heads of all 
state institutions to pay into the state treasury all fees and funds coming into 
their hands; providing for flood gates in mill dams; allowing live stock to be 
assessed at the home ranch. 

The following Senate joint resolution also became law: Memorializing Con- 
gress for continuance of the Sisseton Indian Agency J the same to make Ft. 
Meade a permanent regimental post ; the same for national aid to the State School 
of Mines; a resolution providing for an investigation committee to look into the 
charges made by Ex-Governor Lee against the heads of state institutions ; author- 
izing the custodian of the state house to present to Ex-Governor Lee his official 
chair; a memorial to Congress for an appropriation to remove the sand bar from 
the mouth of the James River; same to increase the annual allowance for pupils 
at the Government Indian school; a resolution providing for submission of an 
amendment to the constitution to allow county seats to be removed to a railroad 
town by a vote of sixty per cent of the people; memorializing Congress for the 
drainage of Red River Valley; confirming the Hatch and Morrill grants to the 
State Agricultural College; memorializing Congress for the purpose of amend- 
ing the Constitution in order to elect United States senators by a vote of the 

The following were among the bills passed by the House in 1901 : Fixing 
terms of court in the Third Judicial Circuit, also in the Seventh Judicial Circuit ; 
fixing the salary of governor at $3,000 per year and circuit judges at $2,500 per 
year; creating the law department of the state university; appropriating $2,500 
deficiency for transportation of prisoners to the penitentiary; providing that jus- 
tices of the peace and other officers of towns must file bond in all counties where 
the town lies in more than one county ; fixing a tax in addition to all other taxes 
of 25 cents per head per month on cattle of non-residents which are grazed in the 
state ; fixing the order in which demands against estate should be paid ; creating 
a state historical society; creating a state board of agriculture of five members 
appointed by the governor and appropriating $3,000 a year for two years when 
proof should be furnished that no liquors were sold nor gambling allowed on the 
fair grounds ; providing for the investment of the permanent school funds in state, 
county and municipal bonds; ceding to the United States Government, jurisdiction 
over crimes committed on Indian reservations; providing for the payment of 
village and town assessors by the county ; authorizing counties to issue refunding 
bonds to take up old indebtedness ; transferring the fish fund to the state general 
fund; providing for the issuance of bonds by boards of education of cities of 
the first class ; licensing transient merchants ; providing for the expenses of insane 
]5atients ; making the provision of the registration law apply to all elections ; giving 
the governor power to remove constitutional officers not liable to impeachment; 


allowing county boards of equalization to adjourn from time to time; making 
the office of city assessor elective instead of appointive; reorganizing the State 
Board of Charities; dividing the cost of construction of bridges between counties 
and townships; fixing penalties for the transportation of diseased swine; to pre- 
vent the desecration of the United States flag; authorizing eight justices of the 
peace in counties of over 20,000 population when organized into townships ; pro- 
viding for maintaining guard rails on bridges; amending the law relating to the 
drawing of juries; allowing husband or wife to mortgage property to pay debts 
or for maintenance when the other is insane; permitting reassessments for local 
improvements; fixing grades of perjury; how to mark ballots when a mixed 
ticket is to be voted; general provision for township organization and govern- 
ment; fixing the fee for defense of an indigent criminal at $25; creating the 
office of food and dairy commissioner; authorizing a foreign administrator or 
executor to bring action in the courts of the state ; providing for regulating the 
practice of dentistry ; a general military law ; fixing punishment for trespass on 
state lands ; authorizing the Board of Charities and Corrections to investigate 
affairs at the Children's Home; providing penalties for the adulteration of lin- 
seed oil; to prevent fraud on hotel keepers; repealing the law prohibiting the 
sale of firearms to Indians ; general law for the protection of large game ; a 
general wolf bounty law; sidewalk construction in cities; mutual fire insurance 
companies to be under the insurance commissioner ; changing the time of election 
of supreme and circuit judges to the general election; changing the boundaries 
of Mead County; allowing villages to become separate voting precincts under 
certain conditions; reorganization of the Board of Regents of Education; gen- 
eral appropriation bill carrying a little over $1,000,000; compel suit on a note 
to be brought in the county in which the defendant resides; general printing' 
liill; providing for a commission to revise and codify the laws. 

The following joint resolutions which were passed originated in the House: 
Memorializing Congress to establish an Indian industrial school at or near 
Everett ; the same for election of senators by popular vote of the people ; a resolu- 
tion providing for the submission of a constitutional amendment for the reduc- 
tion of interest rates on state funds, school and public lands ; memorializing Con- 
gress to restore the Sisseton Indian Agency; the same to take steps to check 
the ravages of the pine beetle in the Black Hills forest reserves; the same for 
the passage of the Grout bill ; submission of an amendment to the constitution 
to allow an increase or limitation of indebtedness for the purpose of securing water 
and municipal improvements ; memorializing Congress to protect the banks of the 
Missouri River in the southeast part of the state; the same for laws giving the 
General Government exclusive jurisdiction over crimes committed on an Indian 
reservation ; the same for full title to the state of the old Ft. Sisseton Military 
Reservation; the same asking that Maj. A. S. Frost be advanced to brigadier 
general on the retired list. 

The Legislature in 1901 during its sixty days session passed 188 laws and 
21 joint resolutions. Many were merely amendments to the statutes. The most 
important measures which become laws were as follows: Creating a food and 
dairy commission ; providing for a revision of the laws ; establishing a law de- 
partment at the State University with Thomas Sterling as dean ; creating a 
department of history and placing its management in the hands of the State 


Historical Society; providing for circulating libraries in the country school dis- 
tricts ; a scavenger tax bill designed to dispose of real estate upon which owners 
had defaulted in payment of tax; appropriations for the biennial period ending 
June 30, 1903, of $1,396,791.32 or half of that sum for each of two years. This 
amount included the sums intended for the educational and charitable institu- 
tions to the amount of $237,320 and for the state government expenses and the 
support of the charitable and penal institutions. 

The amendments to the constitution voted at the general election in 1902 were 
as follows: (i) In relation to the change in location of county seats; (2) to 
increase the limit of county, township and municipal district indebtedness to 
5 per cent; (3) to reduce the rate of interest on school fund loans from 6 to 5 
per cent. 

At the legislative session of January, 1903, the state capital removal question 
was of great importance from the very start. Even before the members assem- 
bled the fight commenced. Mitchell, Huron and Redfield contested earnestly to 
see which could oppose Pierre. As soon as Mr. Brown of Aberdeen was elected 
speaker, it was admitted that the capital removal advocates had a majority in 
the House. At the same time the re-submission sentiment was strong in the 
House and promised to pass that body. Another important question was whether 
the state should be represented at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis. 
Another was whether a binding twine factory should be established at the peni- 
tentiary. Still other measures were — how to increase the revenue of the state; 
to change all incorporations with annual fees ; to change the free range law west 
of the JXIissouri River; completion of the new state code by the commission ap- 
pointed two years before; concerning the school funds. The Government was 
asked whether the school lands and funds should be sold or leased and what 
should be done with the funds in either case. By March 5th the school fund 
amounted to about five million dollars, of which about one-half million dollars 
was idle in the treasury. It could not be loaned under the existing constitutional 
restrictions, the rate of interest being too high. Under the system there were 
large tracts of school land which could not be leased. The question was how to 
manage both the cash balance and the idle land to the best advantage of the 
schools. The Senate proposed an amendment to the constitution to give greater 
power to the school authorities so that $5,000 of school money could be loaned 
to a single individual ; but that such loan should not exceed one-third of the cash 
valuation of the land on which the loan was made, and that the rates should 
not be less than five per cent on school funds thus loaned. . The Senate favored 
that money should be loaned on state bonds, county bonds, school bonds, and 
similar evidences of indebtedness in South Dakota. The plan of the Senate was 
to withdraw one-half of the land from sale and to sell the remainder for cash. 

At the legislative session of 1903 Senator Williamson was elected president 
pro tem of the Senate. Troop B of the state militia escorted Governor Herreid 
from the Locke Hotel to the State House where all the state officers were sworn 
in by Chief Justice Corson. The Senate members were sworn in by Judge Haney 
and the House members by Judge Fuller. A joint caucus of the republicans 
called to select a candidate for the United States Senate was presided over by 
Mr. Lawson, of Aberdeen. Senator Kittredge, as described elsewhere herein, 
received the nomination for both the short and the long term. John Bowler 


received the democratic vote. This Legislature consisted of 120 republicans and 
twelve democrats. One of the interesting measures considered by this Legisla- 
ture was that relating to fire insurance. The bills required companies doing 
business in the state to pay the full value of the policy, and the measure thus 
became called "The valued policy act." It provided further that no two or more 
companies should enter into a compact for fixing rates. Another measure that 
roused both Houses was the step of a combine in the Legislature to appropriate 
$100,000 for the establishment and maintenance of four additional normal schools 
in the state. The Mitchell RepubHcan declared this was a gigantic robbery, and 
that newspapers in towns where other state institutions were located were induced 
to keep silent for fear of having their own institutes removed or interfered with. 

The House at this session was controlled by a combination formed for the 
declared and specific purpose of carrying into eflfect certain measures which 
included large appropriations from the treasury. The St. Louis fair appropria- 
tion bill was at first postponed in order that the combine could have further time 
for its manipulation. The Valued Policy Bill likewise was postponed until the 
combine could study its features and mature their methods of attack. The com- 
bine became certain that they could control insurance legislation and therefore 
favored that the measure shovild be postponed. This organization was in excellent 
working condition by February nth, with Messrs. Bromley and Longstaflf among 
the most active and prominent leaders. It became called the "Third House," 
owing to the large number of lobbies which at all times sought the favor and sup- 
port of the combine members. 

Among the early measures considered was that of changing the sessions of 
the Circuit Court of Charles Mix County from" Wheeler to Geddes. The question 
of code revision was taken up and both Houses were addressed by Judge Tripp 
who explained much in detail what had thus far been done by the code commis- 
sion of which he was a member. They had compiled the laws, made them read 
homogeneously, cut out much matter relating to the territory, rewritten several 
absurd provisions in accordance with the recent decisions of the courts, left out 
a few vicious laws, and made one change in the justice code, to-wit : Allowing 
parties who in good faith made an attempt to appeal from the justice courts and 
failed, to furnish a sufficient bond and be granted the right by the Circuit Court. 
Other early bills introduced were as follows : Valued policy of insurance to be 
contested; to amend the liquor laws so there could be county option as well as 
town, township and city option. It was explained that this bill meant that a county 
might prohibit the sale of liquor under a license throughout the county, but could 
not force a license system upon any town, township or city if such should vote 
to the contrary. 

For the first time in the history of South Dakota Legislature, the old English 
parlimentary practice concerning engrossing and enrolling bills was dispensed with 
at this session in order to hasten action on the code bills. The custom of printed 
engrossment and enrollment bills had been in practice in South Dakota at all ses- 
sions of the Legislature since 1893. An early bill provided for an appropriation 
of $50,000 so that the state could be properly represented at the Louisiana Pur- 
chase Exposition. Strange to say there was sharp opposition to this bill from 
the start. Another was for the inspection of illuminating gas. One, a resolution 
concerning the disposal of endowment lands, was designed to withdraw them from 


sale ; another fixed the salary that should be paid county school superintendents. 
One bill provided that all counties that were supporting insane patients should 
convert the money into a maintenance fund for the maintenance of the State 
Insane Hospitals. Other bill's were — providing for fence viewers ; providing that 
Circuit Courts could be held locally in a county besides at the county seat; pro- 
viding that special prosecuting attorneys could be appointed if necessary; appro- 
priating the balance of the public lands, consisting of about 20,000 acres, for the 
support of the insane asylum; providing that graduates of the law department 
of colleges should be admitted to practice without an examination; appropriating 
lands for the national sanitarium; providing for the adoption of the revised codes; 
providing for the investment of the permanent school fund; excluding certain 
tracts of land from the corporate limits of cities ; inspection of horses snipped out 
of the state; how the capital stock of banks should be assessed; removing the 
permanent capital from Pierre to Mitchell ; establishing and vacating lands for 
public highways ; appropriating $50,000 to pay premiums at the state fair ; extend- 
ing the lives of bank corporations; authorizing a survey of state lands by the 
Government of the United States; declaring the waters of the artesian basin 
public property ; designating depositories for civil township funds. 

Among the bills considered later were the following: Ceding lands in Fall 
River County for a national sanitarium; limitations of judgments; relating to 
instructions to juries; a barber license law; encouragement of county fairs; how 
to invest the permanent school fund; fixing terms of court in the Fourth Judicial 
District; $2,500 to be used in mounting birds for the State Historical Society; 
fixing the wages of county assessors at $5 per day each ; a public morals bill ; 
$50,000 for an armory at the state university; elevated platforms at railway 
stations; prohibiting football playing; for a state sheep inspector; for the estab- 
lishment of a bell signal system in the mines; to abolish days of grace; fixing 
maximum telegraph rates; $30,000 for the improvement of the Springfield 
Normal School Building; licensing peddlers; locating the state fair grounds per- 
manently at Huron ; $40,000 for buildings at the state fair to be expended under a 
commission of five; $65,000 for buildings at the Agricultural College at Brook- 
ings; $60,000 for the maintenance fund of the Agricultural College; for uniform 
assessment of live stork ; fixing certain boundary lines between South Dakota and 
Nebraska; naming the anemone as the state flower and accepting as the state 
motto the words "I Lead;" attaching territory to independent school districts 
and detaching the same; assessment and taxation of the product and proceeds of 
the mines ; creating a library commission ; allowing cities of less than 2,000 to elect 
aldermen and school boards ; allowing mutual insurance companies to extend their 
membership to adjoining counties ; a memorial to Congress to ratify the Rosebud 
Treaty so that Gregory County could be opened to settlement ; numerous deficiency 
measures; making larceny of live stock grand larceny; prohibiting the sale of 
tobacco to minors ; granting certain ferry licenses ; fixing the salary of commis- 
sions of the Soldiers' Home at $3 per day ; regulating the practice of veterinary 
medicine; $135,000 for new buildings and repairs at the insane asylum; with- 
drawing school and public lands from sale and providing for their long lease; 
fixing the pay of the members of the board of agriculture at $3 a day; a law 
regulating auctioneers ; to establish an experiment station at the school of mines ; 
providing that cities which employed city superintendents of schools should not 


be taxed for county superintendents ; the qualifications necessary to secure teach- 
ers' certificates; promoting agriculture and the holding of county fairs; how to 
appeal from justice courts; qualifications of town officers; protection of large 
game ; city assessments of special improvements ; a classified assessment of live 
stock; providing that the penitentiary should furnish stone for the state capitol; 
to fix the state treasurer's bond at $1,000,000; asking for the repeal of tariff on 
lumber; how to collect delinquent personal property tax; to fix the pay of road 
commissioners at $2 per day; placing all mutual insurance companies under the 
control of the insurance commission ; for the inspection of sheep about to be 
driven into the state; for a board of medical examiners to be appointed by the 
governor; for the establishment and management of township teachers' institutes; 
fixing the duties of the state board of agriculture; making county treasurers 
custodians of the funds being raised for starving Finlanders; appropriating 
$24,000 for the Spearfish Normal School Building; appropriating money for 
the construction of cottages at the Soldiers' Home; concerning the bonding of 
school district debts ; appropriating $50,000 for an armory at Huron ; making 
Sabbath breaking a misdemeanor; authorizing the incorporation of electric 
street railway and power companies; limiting street car franchises to twenty 
years ; empowering county commissioners to appropriate money for the expenses 
of county fairs ; concerning the redemption of foreclosure of mining claims ; pen- 
alties for giving away or selling liquor to minors or drunkards ; providing for the 
admission to practice medicine; protection to quail; to place county insane funds 
directly in the hands of the asylum authorities; regulating the order of employ- 
ment in mines ; $50,000 appropriation for a twine plant at the penitentiary ; pro- 
viding that school levies should be in specific amounts ; to prevent public officers 
from securing profits on public supplies; to increase the limitation of the state 
bonded debt beyond $500,000; to provide militia encampment grounds at Lake 
Kampeska ; for the incorporation of telegraph companies ; providing how to draw 
juries in counties that had not been organized into townships; how to raise a 
gauge and standard of fees for obtaining articles of incorporation. The existing 
law was $10 for each set of articles, but this was found to be too expensive because 
the cost was often greater than $10. The object was to shut out all fraudulent 
concerns. Giving the board of equalization greater power in making assessments 
of mining property; making several important improvements in the insane fund 
laws ; providing for the establishment of township high schools by the vote of the 
townships ; compulsory education of Indians who had received allotments and 
become citizens; how to invest school funds; providing for a board of fence 
viewers; providing for a state board of medical examiners consisting of seven 
members divided among the three leading schools of medicine as follows: four 
Allopaths; two Homeopaths, and one Eclectic and providing for examinations 
before being admitted to practice ; giving county courts sole power was lodged in 
the Circuit Courts except in counties having 20,000 population or more; a bill 
legalizing defective acknowledgment of instruments aft'ecting real property. This 
was mainly copied from the law of California. Fixing the salaries of the mem- 
bers of the board of regents; a uniform sewerage law of the state; several bills 
changing the liquor laws; the valued policy bill; the latter two were bitterly and 
savagely discussed in both Houses of the Legislature; many severe personalities 
were indulged in and personal encounters were often narrowly averted. A bill 


for the examination of persons desiring to practice medicine; authorizing the 
department of public instruction to issue teachers' certificates of the second grade; 
$70,000 appropriation for the National Guard ; the general appropriation bill. 

These were a few of the many bills before both Houses. The newspapers of 
the state early in March congratulated the Legislature on overcoming the power- 
ful influences of the insurance lobby that had worked energetically at Pierre dur- 
ing the entire session. The valued policy bill passed the House, went quickly to 
the Senate and passed that body by a vote of 25 to 15, and was promptly signed 
by Governor Herreid. Immediately thereafter the insurance lobby through its 
many newspaper supporters throughout the state denounced in severe terms the 
course of both the governor and the Legislature. The valued policy proposition 
embraced the following points : That the insurance companies which had placed 
a valuation on a piece of property while it was in existence and had written a 
given amount of indemnity on it, should not be permitted after the property had 
been destroyed and the premiums had been collected on the policy valuation, to 
urge or assume that the valuation was placed too high. This bill assumed that 
the company should and must fix a fair valuation in advance and not collect 
excessive premium and then endeavor to cut down the indemnity. This bill 
occasioned the severest fight probably at any session of the Legislature, owing to 
the large insurance lobby and to the intense eflfort they made to defeat the bill. 
Toward the last of the session both houses worked through committees during 
the forenoons and evenings. No more bills could be introduced in the House, but 
up to this time there was no such prohibition in the Senate. Late in the session a 
banking act was introduced. Other measures considered late were providing that 
school districts sending their graduates to high schools should pay the tuition; 
providing that the state board of equalization could assess state property as high 
as $100,000,000; considering all features of the wolf bounty measure. When the 
bill providing for a state flower was before the Legislature many amusing inci- 
dents occurred. One member insisted that the sunflower should be the state 
flower. Another wanted the wild rose. Several ludicrous suggestions were 
oflfered, but in the end the anemone, pasque flower, the anemone patens, was 
finally accepted. 

About the middle of February Christian Science for the first time was for- 
mally recognized by the Legislature. At this time the Anti-free Range Bill was 
defeated. Early in March the question of taxing mining stock came up and 
received at every session violent opposition from the Black Hills members. The 
bill taxing mining stock was finally defeated. An appropriation of $2,500 for 
the improvement of Wind Cave Park was passed. 

At the legislative session of 1903, 297 bills were introduced in the House and 
233 in the Senate. In 1901 282 bills were introduced in the House and 235 in the 
Senate. In 1903, 244 bills passed both houses and became laws while in 1901 only 
209 bills passed and became laws. Among the more important measures in 1903 
were the following : Two amendments to the constitution to be voted on, namely : 
Removal of the capital and important changes in the management of the school 
fund; the Carroll Bill which raised the aggregate assessment to $100,000,000; 
this bill gave the state board authority to correct fraud and inadequate assess- 
ment ; also, at its discretion, to levy an additional two mill deficiency tax provided 
by the constitution ; an amendment to the Louisiana Purchase Fair Appropriation 


Bill, instructing the state commission to act in conjunction with the Black Hills 
Mining Men's Association in making up the South Dakota display. The appro- 
priation for this fair was $35,000. The anti-football bill was killed in the Senate 
early in March, and the anti-rebate insurance bill was vetoed by Governor 

Among the important bills which were prominent near the close of the session 
was the following: Providing a 2 mill deficiency levy owing to the extra ex- 
penses for the state institutions and to the warmth of the battle over the state 
capital site. By the ist of March over one hundred bills had been signed by the 
governor and were laws. There were fully as many more yet to consider. It 
was provided that the session laws of this term should be printed apart from 
the revised code. One of the most important measures which became a law was 
the one creating a board of medical examiners. This occasioned a revolution in 
the state medical rank, especially in the requirements necessary to practice. Huron 
secured the state fair and Watertown the National Guard encampment. The 
State Board of Equalization was authorized to raise the total assessment to $100,- 
000,000, but no higher. The salaries of county judges and circuit judges were 
raised. The Ninth Judicial Circuit was created. 

Notwithstanding the hilarity and exuberance at the close of the session this 
Legislature was a business one throughout and one of the ablest that had thus far 
assembled in the state. Less than the average number of bills was introduced 
and greater than the average number became laws. The Legislature did great 
work despite the excitement at all times over the insurance and the capital contest 
problems. It was one of the most expensive sessions ever held in the state. For 
the first time it was called the $2,000,000 appropriation session. The actual 
amount of the appropriations was about one million nine hundred thousand dol- 
lars. The session was liberal and fair, broad and progressive, met the expecta- 
tions and hopes of the state institutions and the people who loved to see the state 
advance and passed into history as one of the most useful ever held in South 

At this time it was figured that the revenue for two years would be $1,160,000. 
In spite of this the legislative appropriations amounted, as above stated, to nearly 
two million dollars. It was necessary therefore to meet the deficiency, which was 
done by the 2 mill emergency levy. Nearly all the requests for appropriations 
were approved by the citizens generally for the first time in the history of the 
state. Particularly the needs of the educational institutions, though large, were 
not objected to when the Legislature met the wishes of the people. Of course it 
was realized that the 2 mill deficiency levy was merely a temporary expedient, and 
that some permanent means to make the annual revenue meet the annual expend- 
itures should be provided or overcome. However this Legislature shirked the 
responsibility of engrafting upon the statutes any law making a decided tax 
change or authorizing an election for a constitutional amendment that would efiFect 
the desired tax change. The Legislature, as all others had done, simply left the 
matter for a subsequent session to consider and settle. The Legislature passed sev- 
eral important bills restricting and controlling corporations. South Dakota was 
now added to the list of over twenty states that required insurance companies to 
pay the full value of policies. Of course the capital removal bill which passed 
at this session was an extremely important measure and stirred up the Legisla- 




ture and the state even more than the insurance measure did. The session made 
sweeping changes in the qualification of teachers and the nature of teachers' cer- 
tificates. Immediately after the passage of the laws, State Superintendent G. W. 
Nash sent out a special circular concerning the changes. 

At the legislative session of January, 1905, there was no friction and very little 
ill will. The committees were soon selected and began action promptly. J. L. 
Browne was chosen speaker. One of the first bills introduced provided for the 
parole of prisoners at the penitentiary. At the commencement of the session there 
was a vigorous debate on the 640-acre memorial resolution to be sent to Congress. 
Many believed that the memorial was calculated to hurt the state. In fact, sev- 
eral members of the Legislature declared in open session that the adoption of the 
resolution would hurt South Dakota more than the Taylor defalcation, and would 
jnit the state back twenty-five years. At this time there was a bill in the United 
States Senate, introduced by Kittredge, providing for an appropriation of $52,500 
for the construction of dams at Lake Poinsett and Lake Kampeska. This bill 
was finally defeated in spite of the vigorous support given it by the South Dakota 
delegation. A bill to memorialize Congress to protect the farmers from the devas- 
tation of overflows on the Missouri River was another measure considered at 
this session. 

On February 8th Mr. Carroll introduced the primary election bill in the House. 
At once this measure received the full consideration of the Legislature. The 
twine plant bill for the penitentiary was likewise well considered and finally be- 
came a law. It provided for an appropriation of $70,000 to be met by a tax 
levy, all to be voted by the tax payers. Early in March the House voted for the 
abolishment of the normal school at Springfield. The Deadwood water condemna- 
tion bill was defeated in spite of the desperate fight made in its support by the 
Black Hills members. In spite of much opposition the Springfield Normal School 
secured its appropriation early in March. At this time the State Live Stock Com- 
mission was duly appointed by Governor Elrod. For the second time the travel- 
ing library project was killed at this session. The resolution to make the taking 
of a pass by a public official a felony was killed. The Legislature successfully 
cleared up the perplexing problem of the Sioux Falls waterworks system. The 
lobbies of this session were comparatively small and weak, although several im- 
portant measures were before both houses for consideration. 

Among other measures of importance considered by the Legislature in Jan- 
uary, 1905, were the following: An inheritance tax revenue law which although 
interesting and thoroughly discussed did not kindle the enthusiasm occasioned 
by other bills ; a bill to make all assessors responsible to the state instead of to the 
counties. This bill occasioned prolonged and critical debate. The object was to 
do away with the existing method of choosing county assessors. The separation 
of the assessment system from county affairs and other local influences was de- 
manded. The plan of the bill was to abolish all local assessors and transfer the 
general power of that office to the State Board of Equalization under which all 
county assessors, it was provided, should thereafter work. Thus the plan was to 
make assessments under the direction of the State Board of Equalization. Under 
the old plan the assessors were responsible to the community and would do as they 
were told or were requested concerning the valuations of property in order to 
secure reelection. Under the old system the assessor was thus both the victim 


and the beneficiary of the property holders of a community or county. He was 
at the mercy of the people and did as they requested and not as the law required 
and hence placed the valuation far too low under the constitution. He did it how- 
ever because the great majority of the people wanted it. The secret was that the 
people desired existing assessments not to be disturbed. Mainly for this reason 
no advance in the method of assessment and taxation had been made since the 
admission of the state. It was now argued that were the assessors placed under 
the state board and were they made independent of local influences, they could 
much more easily be required to assess valuations somewhere near actuality. At- 
torney General Hall at this time expressed the belief that fully $100,000,000 of 
taxable property in the state was steadily escaping assessment and taxation under 
the old loose and inefficient system. This question was thoroughly discussed by 
both houses. 

The legislative session of 1905 began at first with no great prospect for the 
introduction of critical or debatable measures. Later one problem assumed an 
attitude of considerable importance and was a matter of sharp contention near 
the close of the session. It was the primary election amendment petition which 
was signed by about 8,864 voters and asked for the submission of the primary 
question to a vote of the people. It really was the constitutional provision for 
the initiative thus making its first pronounced appearance. Almost from the start 
there came hints and innuendos that the petition would be smothered in the com- 
mittee rooms. However, the fact that it was mandatory on the Legislature unless 
fraudulently secured, was sufficient to convince the people that in the end it 
should pass. 

A few of the first bills considered were the following: Providing for a hos- 
pital for the insane at Watertown ; changes in the Soldiers' Home management : 
the dipping of live stock ; the capital commission ; several sharp and acrimonious 
contests for seats in both chambers; a joint resolution providing for the comple- 
tion of the work of the commission to settle the boundary between Nebraska and 
South Dakota ; prohibiting the practice of veterinary surgery except by graduates 
of reputable veterinary colleges ; changing the terms of county courts to March ist 
of each year instead of January ist; for a stone library building on the state 
house grounds and appropriating $20,000 to cover its cost; compelling long dis- 
tance telephone companies to make connections with locals ; a convict parole law ; 
permitting sureties on bonds to limit their labilities ; memorializing Congress for 
the passage of the 640-acre homestead act, to which there was from the start to 
finish sharp opposition ; repealing the old wolf bounty law, which step was bit- 
terly opposed by the representatives of several counties ; making homesteads sub- 
ject to mechanics' liens; providing a state license for motor cars and limiting the 
speed of such vehicles to twenty miles an hour in the country and from four to 
ten miles in cities ; an appropriation for a deficiency at the Soldiers' Home ; author- 
izing county commissioners to erect county buildings without a vote to that effect 
from the people ; to list for taxation range horses separately from draft horses ; 
providing for the taking of the state census and vital statistics ; reducing the con- 
tract rate of interest from 12 per cent to 10 per cent; this reduction was fought 
to a finish by the bankers; measures covering the management of the state 
land offices and afi^airs; to throw open the Cheyenne reservation to settlement; 
increasing wolf bounties ; basing the salaries of county auditors on property val- 


lies ; to prevent the introduction of noxious insects into South Dakota ; to authorize 
counties to fund outstanding indebtedness ; to protect jack rabbits from slaughter 
from May ist to September isth ; to send a joint committee to investigate the man- 
agement of the Soldiers' Home ; to regulate the playing of football ; to encourage 
tree planting on school grounds; the introduction of the jack rabbit bill was due 
to the course taken by the Sioux Falls firm that had contracted to supply the 
French market with 10,000 jack rabbits, had secured expert marksmen and were 
luisily engaged securing that number of animals ; when the seriousness of the bill 
liecame manifest, sportsmen in both houses favored the bill in order to protect 
the rabbits; increasing school fund loans on farm lands; appropriating $10,000 
for the expenses of farmers' institutes; to allow county commissioners $100 
for the arrest of horse thieves ; providing for the payment to owners for animals 
killed by the state veterinarian ; memorializing Congress for an amendment pro- 
viding for the election of United States senators by direct vote ; this measure had 
been favorably considered by nearly every former Legislature ; it kindled much 
interest at this time because the republicans had not asked for this measure in 
their platform ; the bill was really regarded as a test of the proposed primary law 
measure ; many deficiency bills ; giving the Legislature greater power over drain- 
age matters ; memorializing Congress for an appropriation to build levees and wing 
dams on the low bank of the Missouri River near the James ; to legalize acts of the 
town antl city councils, county commissioners and township boards of trustees 
in the granting of liquor licenses where the same had not been authorized during 
the past year by vote of such cities, towns or townships; empowering cities to 
condemn property to obtain suitable waterworks plants or access to water outside 
of the city limits ; to revise the irrigation code ; for a twine plant at the peni- 
tiary; providing that unmarried men should have no property exemptions; to pre- 
vent druggists in no license towns from selling liquor except upon physician's 
prescription ; appropriating $15,000 for the improvements of the state fair grounds 
at Huron ; to amend the laws concerning the qualification for teachers' certifi- 
cates; appropriating $52,500 for a building at the normal school at Aberdeen; 
making the open season to cover September and October only ; preventing the 
shipment of fraudulent dairy products out of the state ; allowing a verdict of 
three-fourths of a jury in civil action ; authorizing counties to incur indebtedness 
for drainage purposes ; a ditch and drainage code ; amending the fish laws that 
carp could be caught at any time ; making father and mother equal guardians of 
minor children ; inviting seed grain lecturers of the Northwestern Railway to 
address the Legislature ; making notes for medical service non-negotiable and 
making it a misdemeanor to promise a cure and fail; fixing $100 penalty for false 
statement as to physical condition for the purpose of receiving public aid ; mak- 
ing it a misdemeanor for either parent to withhold the necessaries of life from 
minor children ; making the second conviction for petit larceny a penal offense ; 
to limit the tuition for pupils to $2 per month ; requiring owners of land to keep 
the weeds mowed down along highways ; declaring all unnavigable waters of the 
state to be public property for irrigation purposes ; limiting the cause for divorce 
to acts committed in the state or by residents of the state committed outside of 
its borders ; to repeal the law allowing pupils to be sent to high schools at the 
district expense ; legalizing liquor licenses granted in the past two years where 
a new license election had been held ; allowing county boards $200 for the arrest 


of each horse thief ; providing day schools for the deaf ; memoriahzing Congress 
against the commutation provisions of the 640-acre homestead act; requiring to 
be taught in the public schools the efifects of alcohol on the human system; ap- 
propriating $3,500 for a deficiency at Spearfish Normal ; allowing magnetic healers 
to operate in the state ; both houses of the Legislature listened to lectures on the 
subject of seed grain by Professors Wheeler and Chilcott of the Agricultural 
College; dividing the members of the Board of Regents between the different 
political parties ; providing for the regulation and control of trust companies ; pro- 
hibiting the sale of tobacco to children under twenty years of age; allowing 
guardians to transfer realty; providing for uniform text books throughout the 
state ; allowing members of the Legislature $10 per day for their services. 

The debate on the question of electing United States senators by direct vote 
caused one of the liveliest debating tilts of the session. Other measures considered 
were : Making abandonment of a family a misdemeanor ; appropriating $500 for 
land office filing fees for endowment lands ; fixing the liability of banks for re- 
sponsibility of forged paper at six months after the return of a check to a cus- 
tomer; to make the season for chicken shooting two months of each year and 
the duck season five months ; authorizing the employment of an assistant state's 
attorney; authorizing cities to issue bonds to pay judgments; appropriating $2,500 
to conduct seed grain experiments at the State Experiment Station ; providing that 
no inmate of the reform school should be retained there after reaching maturity ; 
fixing the tuition in all state educational institutions at the same figure. Another 
lively debate, one that became extremely acrimonious, was over the bill to control 
life insurance companies of the state; defining the liability of railways in dam- 
age suits. 

When the session of 1905 was two-thirds over the first vigorous conflict on 
the primary election measure ensued in both houses. Intense opposition to the 
measure arose and as equally intense a fight was made in its support. First the 
opposition took the ground that the petition was insufficient, having been illegally 
prepared and having many names not rightfully entitled to a place thereon. In 
the end this point resulted in the defeat of the measure. Other measures were 
— providing that the Regents of Education should not be appointed from the 
counties where the institutions were located ; a measure by the women of the state 
for a bill to establish another library and a state library commission of five mem- 
bers, the latter to be composed of the state superintendent and four others 
appointed by the governor; an exemption bill for dentists, the same as the law 
gave doctors ; asking that blacksmiths be given a special lien law, because they 
gave over all property to their clients; permitting mutual insurance companies 
to write old line life insurance; amending the oil law and sending Professor 
Shepard of the Agricultural College to Kansas to secure a supply of oil from that 
state for analytical purposes. Much Kansas oil was used in South Dakota at 
this time and there was much complaint ; however, the analysis showed that the 
Kansas oil was even better for illuminating purposes than the product dispensed 
generally by the Standard Oil Company. 

There was much discussion over the problem of where mechanical engineer- 
ing should be rightfully taught in South Dakota. There was great difference of 
opinion whether it should be taught at the Agricultural College or at the State Uni- 
\ersity. The Legislature looked at the problem of hypothecating the endowment 


lands even at a low rate of interest with much doubt and misgiving, because they 
realized that another series of dry years might make the sale of such lands quite 
impossible at $io per acre for a long time to come. Other measures were — making 
the lightning rod notes non-negotiable; requiring non-residents who desired to 
practice law in South Dakota to show five years experience and an endorsement 
from the Supreme Court ; to exempt fraternity and beneficiary organizations from 
all taxation ; a measure by the retail liquor dealers to make the vote upon the 
proposition of sale of intoxicants final unless another vote was petitioned for; to 
prevent county boards from issuing licenses for the sale of liquors in towns, town- 
ships or cities where the people had voted against such sale ; reconsidering the 
wholesale liquor bill which had been defeated in 1903, the present movement being 
to negative the existing liquor law. 

Among other important measures considered by the Legislature late in the 
session of 1905 were the following: To define swindlers and confidence men; 
requiring hail insurance companies to deposit guaranty funds before doing busi- 
ness in South Dakota ; making it a misdemeanor to run a threshing machine on 
Sunday; regulating and changing the pure food law; for a state inspection of 
intoxicating liciuors ; making it a misdemeanor to sell adulterated intoxicating 
liquors; elaborate consideration of the primary election bill; memorializing Con- 
gress for pure food laws; providing for a state song; making it a misdemeanor 
to operate a bucket shop ; providing that when a vote was taken on the license 
question the result should remain in force and operation until settled by anothef 
vote ; to permit officers and guards at the penal institutions to use force of arms 
to prevent the escape of convicts or to prevent their injuring the keepers ; pro- 
hibiting county commissioners from granting retail liquor licenses within five 
miles of any Government contract work ; providing for the management and 
control of cemeteries ; providing for the appointment of tax ferrets ; to make 
the pure food commissioners the tester of liquors ; permitting cities to procure 
land by condemnation for sewers; for a twine plant and shirt factory at the 
penitentiary ; making it a misdemeanor to treat in a saloon ; to establish an insane 
hospital at Milbank, providing the town should donate 160 acres of land; to com- 
pel the committee to make a report on the primary election bill by February 20th ; 
requiring county treasurers to collect special assessment taxes of cities ; to apply 
the probate code to Indian lands; providing for the appointment of assessors 
instead of their election ; allowing circuit judge to call in another judge to hold 
a term of covirt in one county at the same time a term is in progress in another 
in the same circuit; to increase the limitation of county levies to 10 mills; cre- 
ating the office of state inspector of liquors ; consideration of the uniform school 
textbook bill. This measure was killed in the House by a vote of 56 to 30; to 
prevent hunting dogs from running at large from April to September; pro- 
viding for a constitutional amendment increasing the salaries of members of 
the Legislature to $500 for the session ; requiring that township fire-guards should 
be broken not later than July and should be dragged and kept clear of weeds ; 
payment of road tax in cash ; providing that liquor licenses should be paid by 
full years and prohibiting ex-convicts from engaging in the liquor business; 
making the license fee of non-resident hunters $10; requiring county auditors 
to keep plat books showing all landowners in the county ; a life insurance meas- 
ure; meat inspection in cities and towns; giving landlords a lien on the crops 


of tenants; providing for the assessment of real estate at its full value; a vig- 
orous fight on the $10,000 wolf bounty bill. The old law was $5,000. Several 
members endeavored to do away with any appropriation for wolf bounties; 
appropriating $13,000 for the state fair buildings at Huron; requiring the Agri- 
cultural College to make annual exhibits at the state fair; hottest fight of the 
session over the report of the committee on rules for the indefinite postpone- 
ment of the initiative petition for the primary election law; farmers' institute 
measures over which there was sharp contention. Mr. Freiberg maintained 
that the wolf bounty affected only four counties and that they should pay their 
own fees for wolf scalps ; appropriations to pay premiums at state fairs and 
fixing the salaries of the State Board of Agriculture. 

On February 22d the Senate committee announced that the primary peti- 
tion was so defective and had been prepared so irregularly, if not illegally, that 
it should be rejected, and accordingly by the vote of 25 to 21 the bill was de- 
feated. In the House a different conclusion was reached and the bill passed by 
the vote of 47 to 38. The problem before both Houses was whether the method 
of preparing the petition should be given a liberal or a strict construction. It 
was noted that many petitioners did not add their residences opposite their 
names nor their postoffice addresses except by ditto marks. Many had circu- 
lated the same petition on dift'erent sheets of paper and afterwards the head- 
ings were torn off and all the signatures were united. For these reasons the 
Senate refused to sanction the petition. Later the refusal was declared to be 
wholly a factional subterfuge in the republican party. It was declared by the 
friends of the petition that the republican bosses of the Senate desired the credit 
to themselves of introducing a primary bill that should become the law of the 
state. In 1905 Governor Elrod had the satisfaction of seeing every one of his 
recommendations, except one, passed by the Legislature. 

In January, 1907, the first vote for speaker of the House was as follows: 
Chaney, 39; Carroll, 38; Price, i. On the second ballot the vote stood: Chaney, 
41 ; Carroll, 36. The House and Senate voted separately for United States sena- 
tor with the following result : In the Senate Crawford received 23 and Lee 6 ; 
in the House Crawford received 94 and Lee 9. Frank M. Byrne was president 
pro tem of the Senate. At this session the Legislature passed the primary elec- 
tion measure, the county option bill, and amended the divorce bill so that per- 
sons would be compelled to live one year in the state before they could secure 
a divorce. 

The Legislature of 1907, it was charged, did not fulfil the promises and 
])ledges made in the party platform, but merely passed resolutions thanking and 
complimenting each other on what they had done, and then with self-satisfied 
and unctuous spirit adjourned. That was what the state press said of them. 
Early in March Mr. Glass, of Watertown, stated openly that "Since the Rail- 
road Commission was created the roads have with one exception selected all 
the members of the board and nominated them." It was true that perhaps there 
were more than one exception, especially when populism was in flower. Of 
course, if the railways were permitted to select the rest of the ticket, they did 
not intentionally omit the railway commissioner. The railroads through the 
republican machine prepared the slates, it was declared. Among the laws passed 
at this session were the following : Anti-lobby law : making Washington's birth- 


day a legal holiday ; limiting the working hours of railways employes ; anti-pass 
legislation; circuit judges to be allowed annually $500 expenses; investigation 
of Senator Gamble's and other state offices; election of United State senator; 
providing for equalization and transportation charges; for the domestic manu- 
facture of denatured alcohol; relief for home steam settlers; restriction and 
regulation of legislative lobbies; prohibiting corporations from contributing 
money for campaign purposes ; requiring an account of campaign funds ; reduc- 
tion of railway passenger rates to 2^ cents a mile; reciprocal demurrage; to 
compel track connections at junction points; the fellow servant act; to control 
commercial trusts ; to protect weak railway enterprises from being crushed by 
strong ones : for the supervision of telegraph, telephone, and insurance compa- 
nies, etc. 

At the session of the Legislature in 1907 the following bills, joint resolu- 
tions, etc., were passed : Memorializing Congress to extend the time required to 
begin settlement on homesteads; providing for the printing of legislative man- 
uals and handbooks; appropriating money for the per diem and mileage of 
members and employes of the Legislature; making orders of the railway com- 
mission presumptively legal and placing the burden of proof upon others ; memo- 
rializing Congress to pass laws providing for the safety of railway employes 
and travelers ; a general anti-pass law ; to make Fort Meade a permanent bri- 
gade post ; providing for expenses of circuit judges ; general reciprocal demur- 
rage bill; changing terms of court in the ninth district; extending the provi- 
sions of the parole law to the inmates of the reform school ; granting to the 
state capital commission power to raise money and construct a capitol building 
on the state grounds at Pierre; for the repeal of the tariff on lumber and saw 
logs ; applying the gross earnings system of taxation to railroads ; to prevent the 
issuance of Government licenses in prohibitory territory ; providing an annual 
tax of 234 per cent of premiums of foreign fire insurance companies and i per 
cent of premiums of state mutual fire companies as a special tax for firemen; 
attaching certain lands cut off by the Missouri River, to Union County ; requir- 
ing the filing of copies of certificates of election of clerk of Circuit Courts in 
the office of secretary of state; requiring mutual life insurance companies to 
make annual accounting to their policyholders; a general .drainage and levee 
code under the provision of the constitutional amendment attached in 1906; 
asking the national authorities for an order requiring the examination of claims 
of homesteaders by special agent before the patent issues; adopting sections of 
the civil code which were left out by the Legislature of 1905 when it adopted the 
work of the code commission ; preventing a druggist from filling a prescription for 
liquor more than once ; making a single election precinct of towns of less than 
five hundred population ; placing the Supreme Court Library under the control of 
the court ; declaring "blind pigs" and places where games are played for money, 
chips, or anything of value, to be common nuisances, to be suppressed as such; 
fixing fees for filing articles of incorporation and legal papers in the office of the 
secretar)' of state; requiring railroads to put in tracks at junction points: grant- 
ing to towns greater powers to enforce local option laws and making the illegal 
selling of liquor a misdemeanor; providing for the publication of the debates of 
the constitutional convention of 1885 and 1889; providing the manner of fund- 
ing the judgment debts of counties ; giving the Dakota Central Railway the right 


of way across the penitentiary farm at Sioux Falls; defining the crime of bur- 
glary by explosives; defining what should be due diligence in the collection of 
checks and drafts ; authorizing committing officers to subpoena and examine wit- 
nesses before issuing warrants for arrest; to prevent the fraudulent uses of 
implements and names of secret societies; providing the manner of appointment 
of mayors in cities where vacancies in that office occur; providing penalties for 
unlawful use of water and gas ; authorizing consolidation of funds in the office of 
the attorney general; fixing compensation of county assessors in counties of more 
than twenty thousand inhabitants when the county is not divided into civil town- 
ships; providing manner of justification of securities in cases of arrest and bail; 
creating a state board of osteopathic examiners; changing the laws in regard 
to admission to the bar ; providing a means of dissolution of corporations ; placing 
the legal department of the railroad commission under the control of the attor- 
ney general; placing the appointment of the weight and scale inspector in the 
hands of the governor; changing the name of the agricultural college to the 
state college of agriculture and mechanic arts; fixing fees of county surveyors 
at $4 per day ; legalizing irregularities in the incorporation of cities and towns ; 
providing for the compulsory education of the deaf and blind in the state schools 
provided for that purpose ; requiring the secretary of state to make a complete 
index of session laws ; defining the term prison and placing city jails in that 
class; asking Congress to open Crow Creek Reservation to settlement; placing 
the fees from sales of state land in the income fund instead of state general 
fund ; appropriating a sum for an electric plant for the state school for the blind 
at Gary ; providing for the election of overseers of highways by the electors of 
their various districts; requiring boards of trustees of incorporated towns to 
redistrict the same when petitioned so to do by at least half the electors of such 
town; providing for the assessment and taxation of the property of railroad, 
telegraph, telephone and express companies, other than the mileage on which 
they operate; prohibiting the sale of intoxicating liquors within one-third of a 
mile of any college or academy; atithorizing county commissioners to record 
books prepared by water users' associations as public records ; providing method 
of appeal from the decision of boards of equalization ; requiring judgment of 
justice courts to be docketed immediately after judgment is rendered; vacating 
certain streets and alleys at the state fair grounds ; changing the name of the 
reform school to the state training school ; providing for the protection of pheas- 
ants for fifteen years ; assenting to a certain grant of money from the general 
Government to the state agricultural college; authorizing assessors in counties 
with fifty or more congressional townships to begin their assessment of real 
estate the first of April ; providing the. compensation of counties for keeping 
prisoners other than their own; providing manner of extending the life of a 
corporation; making compulsory the registration of a certificate of purchase 
of real property on execution; allowing telephone companies to file trust deeds 
instead of chattel mortgages as an evidence of indebtedness; increasing the fees 
of county and town treasurers ; a general divorce law requiring residence of one 
year in the state and three months in the county before beginning suit and all 
hearings in open court; placing the duties of fire marshal in the office of the 
insurance commissioner ; appropriating money for a girls' dormitory at the agri- 
cultural college; providing for the publication of the reports of the state horti- 


cultural society ; appropriating money for repairs at the Madison Normal School ; 
appropriating surplus oil inspection funds to the agricultural college for pur- 
chasing apparatus for the laboratory; appropriating money for the use of the 
state court ; providing for organization and control of state banks ; proposing an 
amendment to the constitution to increase the salary of the attorney general; 
memorializing Congress to require more prompt delivery of telegraph messages ; 
prohibiting the adulteration of cigarettes and prohibiting the sale of cigarettes 
or tobacco to minors; providing for appointments of road overseers by a board 
of trustees of towns; appropriating $ioo for the expenses of the investigating 
committee; creating a state board of agriculture with a secretary who shall be 
ex-officio immigration commissioner ; appropriating money for premiums at the 
state fair; appropriating money for the erection of buildings at the state fair; 
authorizing cities to fund their bonded or floating indebtedness at a lower rate 
of interest at the vote of the council ; appropriating money for a building at the 
insane hospital; legalizing irregularities in the incorporation of towns; requir- 
ing county surveyors to approve town plats before they are filed; requiring local 
insurance companies to include their by-laws in their policies; providing for a 
chaplain at the reform school; fixing terms of court for the ninth circuit; put- 
ting into effect the referendum petition of the county option law ; increasing the 
salary of the mine inspector; authorizing and empowering the railroad commis- 
sioners to enter warehouses to examine the books of such concerns ; appropri- 
ating money to pay insurance premiums on the live stock pavilion at Mitchell. 
All of the above were Senate bills or resolutions. 

The following house bills or resolutions passed and became laws : Providing 
for an investigating committee for the investigation of state officers and congres- 
sional delegates; asking Congress to submit to the state a constitutional amend- 
ment for election of senators by popular vote; asking Congress to assist the Presi- 
dent to secure equitable adjustment of transportation charges: increasing the fee 
of town clerks and supervisors to $2.50 per day; general anti-lobby bill requir- 
ing registration in the office of the secretary of state of all legislative agents and 
attorneys; authorizing the granting of 30-year franchises to street railway 
companies if a vote of three-fifths of the electors is secured for the franchise; 
fixing the manner of issuing the patents to state lands where there has been a 
transfer of contract of sale; providing for supplying copies of Supreme Court 
reports to state officers; memorializing Congress to remove the restrictions from 
the manufacture of denatured alcohol; adding Lincoln's birthday to the legal 
holidays of the state; providing for supplying the law department of the state 
university with copies of the code and session laws; making wife desertion a 
misdemeanor and providing penalties for the offense ; limiting the time of con- 
tinuous employment of railway employes to sixteen hours; repealing the law 
creating the office of county beef and hide inspector ; providing for the destruction 
of noxious weeds on highways and private property ; establishing a department 
of legislative reference in the department of the state historical society; allow- 
ing sureties on official bonds to limit their liabilities on such bonds ; authorizing 
the consolidation of certain funds in the office of the state treasurer; memorial- 
izing Congress to open Tripp County to settlement; the same to pass a law 
increasing the powers of the Interstate Commerce Commission; a general pri- 
mary election bill for all state congressional, judicial and county officers; grant- 


ing to city councils power to destroy weeds, to clear snow from the sidewalks 
at the expense of the property ; requiring railway companies to pay double dam- 
ages for stock killed on their roads where they took their cases into court and 
judgment for the amount asked for is secured; authorizing city councils to fix 
saloon limits and to summarily revoke liquor licenses for the violation of the 
laws ; providing for supplying the state law library with Supreme Court re- 
ports ; providing voting qualifications for electors living in school districts which 
lie in two counties ; the employers' liability of fellow servant act ; providing for 
appeals in criminal cases instead of carrying them on writs of error; prohibit- 
ing the paralleling of railroad lines within eight miles without the consent of the 
railroad commission; a general hotel inspection law; empowering county com- 
missioners to appropriate not to exceed $1,500 for the erection of soldiers' monu- 
ments; authorizing the state land department to sell beetle infested pine timber 
on state land ; increase the per diem of judges and clerks of election to $3 per 
day; empowering state railway commission to fix railway passenger rates not 
to exceed 23^ cents per mile ; exempting members of volunteer fire departments 
from poll tax; authorizing circuit judges at their discretion to allow the jurors 
and bailififs $3 per day ; granting and dedicating to the public certain lands at 
Springfield for a street; prohibiting Sunday games and Sunday amusements for 
which a fee is charged ; giving a more liberal construction to the state referen- 
dum law; legaHzing deeds and other instruments related to real estate transfers 
by foreign corporations ; prohibiting law partners of county judges from prac- 
ticing in their courts; repeal of the law authorizing cities to sell or dispose of 
municipal water plants ; providing for double damages from loss of property by 
fire set by railroads if they take the case to court and judgment for the amount 
asked is secured; increasing annual levies for labor purposes from i mill to 
1 1/2 mills; providing for loaning sinking funds for incorporated towns; prohibit- 
ing the sale of liquor within 300 feet of a church or 200 feet of a school; pro- 
viding for the transfer of feeble minded and epileptic persons from the reform 
school to the Redfield Asylum for the Feeble Minded; providing for the pro- 
tection of all birds in the state, and their nests, with the exception of the hawks 
and blackbirds ; this was called the Audubon Bill ; giving electricians power to 
operate electrical baths for healing purposes ; authorizing officers of a corpora- 
tion to execute any instrument of transfer or assignment; legalizing the transfer 
of real property by a guardian in certain cases relating only to Indian lands ; 
appropriating money for the publication of a proposed constitutional amendment 
in igo6; providing by general law, for the division of organized counties under 
the provisions of the constitution ; dispensing with certain acts of administration 
in Indian land cases; fixing terms of court in the fourth judicial circuit; mak- 
ing it unlawful for a railway company to abandon an established station unless 
by consent of the railway commission; asking Congress to establish a depart- 
ment of mines and mining engineering; providing for the inspection of fruit 
trees offered for sale in the state and requiring dealers in trees to give a bond; 
extending the boundaries of Tripp County north to White River; authorizing 
a levy of i ;4 mills general state tax to create a fund for a twine plant at the peni- 
tentiary ; providing for the distribution of money received from the Government 
for sale of timber on forest reserves, 90 per cent to roads and 10 per cent for 
schools ; authorizing the railway commission to employ expert assistants and find 




the true cash value of railway property in the state for the purpose of fixing 
rates; asking Congress for an appropriation of $3,000 to turn the waters of 
West VermilHon River into Silver Lake; fixing terms of court in the sixth judi- 
cial circuit; limiting the number of saloons in a town to i to each 300 inhabitants; 
fixing terms of court in the first judicial circuit; making clerks of court ex-offi- 
cio superintendents of vital statistics; requiring a two-thirds favorable vote of 
the electors of an incorporated town for the expenditure of money for road 
improvements outside the limits of the state; limiting quasi-criminal cases to 
three years ; providing for protection of parties furnishing supplies or materials 
for public improvements ; authorizing county commissioners to appropriate money 
to aid county agricultural associations ; prohibiting unfair discrimination in prices 
between different points by dealers in commodities; placing county judges in the 
list of committee magistrates ; granting greater powers to trust companies and 
l)rotecting them in the use of the name trust ; allowing personal service of sum- 
mons on non-residents without publication ; requiring paint to be marked with 
the formula of the ingredients providing for pure paint and white lead; pro- 
viding for classification and sale of state lands, a certain per cent to be sold each 
year until one-fourth has been disposed of ; requiring stock foods sold in the 
state to be labeled with a formula of the contents ; making city assessors appoint- 
ive instead of elective ; authorizing cities to install and operate municipal tele- 
phone plants ; providing for a secretary of the state board of charities and cor- 
rections; providing for manner of loaning independent school district sinking 
funds and the class of securities in which they may be invested; amending the 
irrigation clause providing for the use of water for power and mining purposes 
as well as irrigation ; requiring the counties to pay expenses of the election of 
officers ; limiting the collection of fees with service of summons without officers ; 
directing the board of regents of education to make selections of lands for the 
use of the experiment stations west of the Missouri River; appropriating 25,000 
acres of endowment lands to the support of the state experiment stations ; appro- 
priating money for clerk hire in the department of history ; providing limit of 
time for beginning suit for personal damage; authorizing city councils, school 
boards and county commissioners to appropriate money for the construction of 
a sewer at the reform school ; appropriating money for the soldiers' home board ; 
providing for grading cream and prohibiting the manufacture of impure cream 
into butter; dispensing with the probating with non-residents of cities in certain 
cases; asking Congress to amend the enabling act of the state to allow the lease' 
of more than one section of land to any individual or company for longer periods 
than five years; providing that certified copies of papers in the department of 
history may be used as evidence in court ; regulating the practice of medicine ; 
allowing certificates to be granted without examination in certain cases ; raising 
the age of consent to eighteen years; repealing the honest caucus law of 1905; 
providing for protection of quail for five years ; fixing punishment for gambling ; 
providing inducements for the sinking of artesian wells upon leased state lands ; 
amending the law allowing the recovery of five times the amount lost in gambling 
for the benefit of the school fund and placing the beginning of the suit in the 
hands of the county superintendent of schools; fixing the salary of the clerk 
of the Supreme Court; providing for compulsory education of Indian children; 
asking Congress to require that all lumber placed on the market shall be the 


same as it is represented to be; asking Congress to appropriate money for the 
extermination of wolves; amending the laws of 1905 in regard to parties trans- 
ported to the school for feeble minded ; requiring operators of steam threshers 
to give bonds or take out insurance for fire losses; appropriating money for an 
addition to the live stock pavilion at Mitchell ; appropriating money for the pub- 
lication of the Supreme Court reports; appropriating money for the expenses of 
the committee to investigate the fair grounds at Huron; requiring surety com- 
panies to deposit with the state treasurer larger amounts. There were a number 
of other bills which were acted upon during the last few days in the session and 
which are not included in the above list. 

In January, 1909, both Houses of the Legislature took the oath of office, 
Presiding Justice Haney, of the Supreme Court, swearing in the senators, and 
Justice Whiting, the members of the House. Both Houses then met in joint 
session, while the new state officers were sworn in by Justice Haney. Governor 
Crawford, who was retiring, read his message, which was immediately followed 
by the reading of the message of the incoming governor, Vessey. At the recep- 
tion given by the governor, the gathering was the largest of the kind in the his- 
tory of the state. It was said it required over an hour for the party to pass the 
reception committee. After the inaugural ceremonies were out of the way, the 
lawmakers began the active work of introducing bills. 

Early in the session Coe I. Crawford was nominated for the United States 
Senate and the nomination was seconded by practically every other republican 
member on the floor. At the democratic caucus, Andrew E. Lee was nomi- 
nated and his nomination was likewise seconded by nearly all democrats pres- 
ent. The vote was strictly on party Hnes, Crawford receiving the republican 
support and Lee the democratic. In the senate the vote stood 45 for Crawford 
and 6 for Lee. The two legislative bodies met in the hall of the House on 
Wednesday of the first week and Mr. Crawford was declared to be duly elected 
LTnited States senator for the term expiring in 191 5. Senator Crawford was 
called out and delivered a short, pointed address in which he expressed his appre- 
ciation of the honor conferred and pledged his best efforts in the performance 
of his duties. He declared he had no malice on account of the bitter fight of 
the campaign and that no one need hesitate to come to him for any favor which 
they desired at his hand. He pledged his fidelity to the issues of the party which 
elected him and was heartily applauded. 

The first sharp contest was over the question of printing the House Jour- 
nals, several cutting speeches being made. One of the questions first considered 
concerned the sale of patent medicines and inquired to what extent they were 
adulterated and impure. Even on the first day, bills began to be introduced. 
Another provided for depositories for the state county funds; for pure drugs; 
for the establishment of a state inebriate hospital at Highmore; for increasing 
the number of members of the Supreme Court to seven ; for a 2-cent railway 
rate bill; for a bill prohibiting diseased sheep from being brought into the state. 
It was stated that should the state hospital for the inebriates be established, it 
should be supported by the saloon license fund. The people of Highmore formed 
an organization and were prepared to fight for this measure and were willing to 
pay a considerable sum to secure it. 


Other early bills introduced were the following : Providing for five members 
of the Supreme Court, in which bill an attempt to eliminate the Missouri 
River as a political dividing line was undertaken; good roads bill carefully pre- 
pared in order to avoid the objections which had wrecked the bill of a similar 
nature two years before; to prevent drinking on railway trains, the bill giving 
railway train operators police power to prevent such action, and making liquor" 
drinking under certain circumstances a misdemeanor ; making gambling on trains 
a misdemeanor; a proposed amendment to the constitution to allow an increase 
in state taxes to four mills annually in case that much should be needed; pro- 
hibiting the manufacture, sale or offering for sale of cigarettes anywhere in the 
state; requiring railways to put in track scales and to build and maintain joint 
stations at railway crossing points; prohibiting owners and stockholders of brew- 
eries from taking any part in the retail trade in South Dakota; requiring pre- 
cinct officers and county auditors to make immediate election returns outside of 
the official returns. 

The Legislature at this time required all lobbies to register and by the mid- 
dle of January the list was long and ominous. Among those present were rep- 
resentatives of the state dental association; the state veterinarian and the Audu- 
bon societies. Bills covering their wishes were being prepared. It appeared 
that several towns as well as Highmore were after the inebriate asylum. Dell 
Rapids wanted it. Miller also desired it. There was present during the early 
}3art of the session a railroad lobby in anticipation of the important changes in 
the proposed rate bills. One bill introduced early proposed to create six new 
counties on the Cheyenne and Standing Rock reservations. At an early date the 
Senate railway committee reported favorably on the 2-cent rate measure, elec- 
tric headlight and express bills. Perhaps at this time these subjects were the 
most important before the Legislature. Another measure a little later was the 
establishment of a state tuberculosis hospital at Custer. About this time the 
ecjual suffrage representatives present expressed dissatisfaction with the reso- 
lutions that had been introduced for their benefit, owing to the restrictions and 
limitations placed upon the voting rights of women. It was not satisfactory to 
the equal suffrage leaders and had been presented without their sanction and 
without consulting them. Another early movement was to change the school 
law in many important particulars, especially in regard to third grade certifi- 
cates which had been eliminated by the previous Legislature. The new measure 
proposed to restore third grade certificates. 

The resolutions to submit to the people the question of increasing the salary 
of the attorney general was changed so as to allow the Legislature to fix the 
salary. This passed the House by a vote of 67 to 33, after considerable oppo- 

By the middle of February both houses had settled down to hard work on 
the numerous bills that had been introduced. The 2 cent rate bill was one of the 
most important considered at this time. Attempts to postpone action on this bill 
were made in order to give members time to confer with their constituents dur- 
ing the coming recess. Other members took the position that the people of the 
state at the polls had decided in favor of the 2 cent rate bill, and that the word 
of a few constituents during recess should have no effect upon action of members 
concerning the bill. Other members opposed any action whatever. Other meas- 


ures now considered were the following: Memorial to Congress in favor of the 
640-acre homestead ; a bill making important changes in the clerk forces of the 
Legislature; a good roads proposition; and the Herd law. 

Another measure fought over was a bill to allow attorneys and physicians 
to use railway passes under certain restrictions. The Senate passed a bill re- 
quiring railway companies to report promptly all fatal wrecks to the Railway 
Commission ; authorizing the Railway Commission to appear in cases in which 
the state was interested; requiring railroads to report to the commission the 
number of elevators along their lines. R. O. Richards appeared before the 
election committee with his new primary election bill, which provided for the 
distribution of state patronage through legal procedure and made other important 

Late in February and early in March, 1909, the Legislature considered many 
important measures, among which were the following: Important changes in 
the school laws particularly concerning teachers' certificates; a movement for a 
state tax commission, the members to be three with regular salaries and full 
powers to examine witnesses and fix values ; appropriation bills both general and 
special ; cottages at the Soldiers' Home ; an appropriation for the completion of 
the new capitol building; the adoption of a military code for the state militia; 
Alexandria became a candidate for the Inebriate Hospital; to prevent the loca- 
tion of elevators to near railway tracks ; several initiative petitions were received 
to submit county option to the people at the next general election. One petition 
to this effect carried about eight thousand names. By the first of February, 
about thirty bills affecting railroads had been intorduced into both houses. A 
few were duplicates and the majority were trivial. The only railway bill which 
had made any progress so far was the 2 cent rate bill and the electric headlight 
bill. The railways were not making any serious fight against any of these meas- 
ures thus far. Both houses agreed on fixing February 15th as the last day for 
the introduction of new bills. An attempt was made to abolish the office of road 
overseer and to abolish all work to be done under contract. The Herd-law bill 
came up for consideration again. Early in the session the Senate passed a reso- 
lution memorializing Congress for free lumber and timber. A bill in the House 
to carry out the state request to select lands for forest reserve purposes and 
another to appropriate money for the manufacture and distribution of hog 
cholera serum at the agricultural college were discussed. The druggists' associa- 
tion of the state was responsible for the pure drug bill, but it had its enemies 
and resulted in a sharp fight in both House and Senate. An attempt to place 
the whole matter under the food commissioner was voted down. Finally the 
bill with some amendments passed the House by a vote of eighty-eight for and 
nine against. The House passed the bill to allow terms of court to be held in 
other places than the county seat. The house committee reported favorably 
on the Tuberculosis Hospital at Custer and also on the equal suffrage amend- 
ment to the constitution. Other bills debated were amending the manner of 
redemption of property sold on mortgage foreclosure; prohibiting the use of 
profane and abusive language ; calling upon Congress for a constitutional con- 
vention for amending the national Constitution to elect United States senators 
by direct vote ; memorializing Congress to make Fort Meade a brigade post ; 
aiithorizing cities to create park commissions ; providing for a state department 


of immigration ; putting telephone inspection under the railway commissioners. 
Several important insurance bills were likewise introduced at this time and were 
being considered. By the loth of February the railroad rate bill had become a 
law in this state, having been passed by the Legislature and signed by the 
governor. It provided for a 2 cent fare on railway ticket books. It was enacted 
against the better judgment and conscience of a large majority of both House 
and Senate. Many believed that the rate was too low for the railways of 
South Dakota at this time. No one wished to oppress the railroads and all 
decried any popular stampede and looked with regret on any action that was 
sustained merely by political motives. Others intimated that this action was 
caused by the protracted fight of the railways against the aj/S cent rate law — 
a measure of revenge. 

The closing hours and days of the Legislature of 1909 were fraught with 
numerous incidents of interest. The general appropriation bill received due 
consideration, and before being presented had been agreed to practically by both 
houses. There were numerous lobbies present, and many special matters were 
urged by their representatives. The warmest fight of the session in the House 
was over the Senate bill to give the state an equal number of peremptory chal- 
lenges with the defense in criminal cases. This was vigorously fought by the 
lawyers of the House and was opposed by members outside of that profession. 
However, lawyers were defeated and the measure passed. Special appropria- 
tions at this session were looked at with much suspicion. The first one up 
asked for $50,000 for buildings at Redfield Hospital. It was defeated, but came 
up for reconsideration. The next special bill was for an appropriation for extra 
buildings at the state university. This was likewise checked for a time. Both 
houses held afternoon and evening session near the close and devoted the morn- 
ing hours to committee work. In the Senate there was a lively fight over the 
drug bill. Another in the Senate was over the bill to divide the state into con- 
gressional districts. The Senate finally passed a bill to exempt certain railroads 
in the Black Hills from the provisions of the 2 cent fare law. It also passed a 
bill to punish the larceny of cyanide products, which bill had been badly defeated 
at a previous session. The House passed the amended primary law which cut 
out the double primaries every four years, eliminating county conventions and 
fixed the primary date in June ; allowed nominations in plurality vote ; cut out 
the 30 per cent provision of the old law and prohibited the county committee 
from filling vacancies on the ticket except in case of sickness or death. Another 
bill considered authorized cities of 5,000 population or more to create park 
boards and to grant the power of eminent domain for setting of poles and string- 
ing lines for electric power lines. Another fixed the salary of the secretary of 
the State Board of Agriculture. Another required a vote of the people before 
any new state institution could be created. Another regulated the management 
of farmers' elevators. Others were preventing sales of stocks of goods in fraud 
of creditors ; to commit dope fiends to the insane hospital at Yankton ; the anti- 
treat measure. The cigarette bill was finally passed by the Senate. A resolu- 
tion in the House provided for the acceptance of the buildings at the Chamber- 
lain Indian School as a gift from the general Government, with a proviso that 
a state school should be kept in existence there at which Indian children should 
have free tuition. This measure was abolished by the Legislature. An anti- 


trust bill received the favorable consideration of the Senate. A bee inspection 
bill was considered by the House having previously been passed by the Senate. 
The telephone companies were placed under the control of the Railway Com- 
mission by action of the House. 

About the middle of February, 1909, the following were among the important 
measures considered by the Legislature : The 2 cent rate law with the emergency 
clause attached. This was signed by the presiding officers of both houses and 
was promptly signed ten minutes later by the governor. The indeterminate 
sentence and parole officer bill was duly considered. So was the Carey Irriga- 
tion Act, which allowed private individuals to put in irrigation plants and secure 
land for the purpose. The bill for the tuberculosis hospital at Custer passed the 
House with but four dissenting votes. The State Board of Charities and Cor- 
rections asked the Legislature for $837,000 for the two years beginning July i, 
1909. This was required for the maintenance and repair of the buildings of 
the state institutions. Of this total, $211,000 was for the maintenance of the 
insane hospital and would come back to the state through the counties. Another 
question considered was the leasing of state school lands for agricultural pur- 
poses. Thus far nearly all the leases were for grazing or meadow pur- 
poses. Several members opposed this bill as unwise because they believed it 
would open too wide a field for the loaning of the school funds. Another bill 
was to restrict bank loans to three times the capital stock. The bill to reduce 
the interest on state warrants from 7 per cent to 6 per cent was amended at 
5 per cent and thus passed the Senate. At this time the members of the different 
state boards were assembling at Pierre in order to present their grounds and 
reasons for the appropriations and other assistance asked for. A maximum 
freight rate bill was considered. Also one reducing the specific gravity of gaso- 
line; a meinorial to Congress setting aside a township in the South Dakota Bad 
Lands as a national reserve. The Herd law was finally killed in the Senate. A 
bill in that body provided for a state flag to be a blazing sun on a blue field with 
the words "Sunshine State" in the arc, the flag to be one and one-third times as 
long as it was wide. The state tax commission problem received much atten- 
tion at this time. It was proposed to hold an election of legislative members 
for four years with one half holding over to be considered as a constitutional 
amendment. The Senate finally passed the bill locating the Inebriate Hospital 
at Highmore by a vote of 29 to 16. Another bill gave the state the same num- 
ber of challenges in criminal cases as were granted to the defense. This bill 
had been riddled by the judicial committee, but its supporter, Mr. Norbeck, 
succeeded in carrying the measure through. Several Senate members opposed 
the good roads bill, among them being Mr. Thorson. In the House an attempt 
to reverse an adverse judiciary committee report on the bill to allow three-fourths 
jury verdicts cases, was defeated by the lawyers present who opposed this 
measure. A bill to protect fur bearing animals caused confusion in the House 
because it included muskrats. This part was opposed by many members present. 
The Senate finally passed the House resolution for submitting to the people an 
amendment to the constitution allowing state lands to be leased for agricultural 
purposes. Another measure considered was one re-enacting the primary election 
law to cut out two primaries in presidential years and a few other changes. The 
House passed the bill making it a misdemeanor to drink intoxicating liquors or 


he drunk on a passenger train and giving justices general jurisdiction to deal 
with such cases. The proposed new Supreme Court districts were agreed upon 
by the middle of February by the sub-committee. The lines of the proposed 
districts were changed slightly from those in the original bill. The North Caro- 
lina bond bill cut considerable figure at this session. It was finally defeated in 
the Senate. 

The total number of bills passed by the legislative session of 1909 was 261. 
A few of these were vetoed by the governor. In addition there were several 
joint resolutions and memorials to Congress, the total number passed indicating 
that the session had been a busy one. It had been unusually void of exciting 
events, or any radical factional tactics. Bills which passed were as follows: 
Legislative appropriation for per diem and mileage of members ; to amend the 
justice's code; to amend the probate code; to create a board of dental examiners 
and regulate the practice of dentistry; to provide for immediate unofficial reports 
of primary elections and general elections ; the 2 cent a mile passenger rate bill ; 
to hold tenns of court in other places than the county seat when the county seat 
was more than three miles from the railroad ; to limit the time of commencing 
proceedings ; to make tax deeds ; to prohibit the use of abusive and obscene lan- 
guage; to require the teaching of vocal music in public schools; to require 
county treasurers to account for interest on public funds ; to prevent the adultera- 
tion of linseed and flaxseed oil ; a veterinarian practice law ; to require assign- 
ment of tax certificates; describing the manner of redeeming tax properties from 
sale ; to require the employment of teachers on three-fourths petition ; to change 
the name of the Deaf Mute School to the School for the Deaf; to appropriate 
funds for furnishing the Spearfish Normal ; to appropriate money for the land 
office filing fees ; to appropriate funds for per diem and expenses of electors ; to 
authorize county commissioners and town supervisors to establish highways ; to 
regulate the general powers of cities and incorporated towns ; to regulate the 
powers of trustees of incorporated towns; to provide for county aid to county 
fairs; to regulate the incorporation of independent school districts; to require 
real estate transfers to be reported to county auditors; to regulate elections in 
independent school districts ; to fix the time for holding court in the Fifth Judicial 
Circuit; to prescribe form of initiative and referendum ballot; to amend the 
civil code; to regulate the foreclosure of liens on mining property; relating to 
the sale of indemnity common school lands; protection of birds and their nests; 
making the possession of burglar's tools a felony ; attaching Meyers County to 
Lyman County for judicial purposes; appropriation for the National Guard; to 
regulate the service of summons in justices' courts ; to fix the jurisdiction in 
county courts ; to regulate boundaries of school districts including incorporated 
towns; appropriation to repair Science Hall at the State University; to ratify 
special assessment against state property in Minnehaha County; to legalize the 
incorporation of Wessington independent school district; to hold all city and 
town elections on the same date; to limit jurisdiction of newspaper libel to the 
county where the paper is published; to establish a tuberculosis sanitarium at 
Custer; relating to inspection of horses; to define the qualifications of county 
supervisors ; relating to the fees of charitable and benevolent societies ; relating 
to taxation in school districts containing towns ; printing appropriation bill ; for 
easement of right of way to isolated tracts of land; to increase the Supreme 


Court to five members; to provide for the reincorporation of charitable and 
benevolent societies whose charters have lapsed ; relating to county records ; to 
prevent gambling on passenger trains; to prevent drinking intoxicants on pas- 
senger trains ; to prevent the use of schoolhouses for public meetings ; legalizing 
courthouse bonds by the City of Woonsocket; to fix the time of court terms in 
the Eighth Circuit; providing for drainage of state lands; relating to oil inspec- 
tion ; to refund purchase money on illegal tax sale ; relating to accounts against 
incorporated towns ; creating a commission to plat grounds at Redfield Hospital ; 
to regulate the issue of school bonds; creating the County of Corson; relating 
to the conveyance of homesteads ; prohibiting the creation of deficiencies ; anti- 
cigarette bill; relating to penalties for refusal to perform official duties; fixing 
compensation of county commissioners; relating to land marks; authorizing the 
levy of a 2 mill deficiency tax; amending the primary election law; authoriz- 
ing electric light and power companies to acquire property under eminent domain ; 
anti-treating law ; relating to intoxicating liquors ; amendment of hotel inspection 
law ; relating to quit claim deeds ; fixing terms of court in the Sixth Circuit ; 
fixing jurors' fees; changing the name of the school for the blind; pure food 
law ; relating to county courts ; changing time of tax sales ; relating to the col- 
lection of city taxes and special assessments ; relating to hen lands granted by 
the United States Government ; relating to the Board of Medical Examiners ; 
creating a committee to examine accounts of state departments; relating to the 
issue of state warrants ; relating to dependent, neglected and delinquent children ; 
a new primary election law; appropriating funds for defending railway injunc- 
tion cases ; to establish a live stock sanitary commission ; authorizing an involun- 
tary bank deposit insurance association; the appropriation for experiment farms 
at Eureka, Cottonwood and Harding; to regulate and supervise telephone com- 
panies ; authorizing the state fair board to acquire property by condemnation 
proceedings; providing for the disposition of unclaimed dead bodies; to fix sala- 
ries of county auditors on basis of valuation ; to prohibit abduction, etc. ; appro- 
priation to pay assessments for grading streets adjoining capitol grounds; to 
regulate the salaries of resident officers for the State Hospital for the Insane; 
appropriation for the manufacture and distribution of hog cholera serum; to 
require railway stock yards to be equipped with watering troughs and feed racks ; 
to provide for county tree planting and cultivation; to regulate the compensa- 
tion of registers of deeds in counties having unorganized counties attached to 
them; appropriation for salaries of two additional supreme judges; amending 
the session laws of 1907, relating to the place of trial in civil actions ; relating 
to articles of incorporation and the election of directors ; authorizing counties of 
20,000 population to establish county hospitals ; relating to weights and measures ; 
limiting the time for commencing foreclosure of real estate mortgages ; to define 
a punishment for contributory delinquency; to create the office of public building 
inspector; authorizing cities of 5,000 population to create park boards; creating 
the new counties of Todd, Mellette and Bennett; to provide for a state dairy 
expert to prevent adulteration of cream products, creating state health laboratory ; 
providing for a central light and power plant at the State University; providing 
for an appropriation for the State Board of Agriculture and State Fair; relating 
to fencing of railroad tracks ; uniform rules of court practice act ; authorizing 
railway commissioners in proceedings before the Interstate Commerce Commis- 


sion; making defective instruments partial notice in certain cases; legalizing a 
certain bond issue for the City of Fort Pierre; requiring railroad companies to 
number warehouses; fixing time within which officers should qualify; electric 
headlight measure ; relating to the government of charitable and penal institu- 
tions ; county option submission law ; relating to the election of county commis- 
sioners; limiting the contingent liabilities of policy holders in mutual companies; 
limiting fire insurance companies, requiring viaducts at street crossings on order 
of railway commissioners; authorizing acceptance of lands granted to the state 
by act of Congress ; relating to the duties of railroad companies ; relating to 
issue of deeds in foreclosure of mortgages ; requiring certificates of inspection 
and weighing of grain to be forwarded to shipper; prohibiting any person from 
taking any intoxicating liquors or narcotics on the premises of any state institu- 
tion; providing for construction of sewers in cities and towns; amending the 
political code of 1903; relating to salaries of county judges; relating to corpora- 
tions; defining who should constitute the officers and employes of the Legisla- 
ture; requiring engrossing and enrolling bills to be done in