MEMOIRS OF GENERAL WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON BEADLE
A. M., LL. D.
With Editorial Notes by Doane Robinson
from "South Dakota Historical Collections, Vol. 3", 1906
transcribed by Karen Seeman
William Henry Harrison Beadle
General Beadle's long and faithful service, his extended opportunities for observation, his scholarly training and philosophical turn of mind combine to make his recollections of the many years he has spent upon Dakota soil of peculiar value to the student of our history, and it is with genuine satisfaction to the state historical society that he has consented to reduce his observations to writing and permit their publication herewith.
The reader will not fail to be impressed with the charitable impulses which constantly influence the views of the veteran educator, the broad optimism of his faith in South Dakota and her people, nor deem his work less valuable because he has minimized the faults of the pioneers and exalted their virtues. This is the almost inevitable tendency of all broad, catholic and generous men, when they arrive at the reminiscent stage in their lives and look back upon the long pathway over which they have traveled. Whittier says: "Those good old times; all times when old are good," and it is a providential provision that the good should survive in memory and the evil be forgotten; and while the unfeeling cataloguer of historical facts may discover many things which will lead him to disagree with General Beadle's exalted opinion of the lives and motives of some individuals, no thoughtful student can fail to agree with his conclusion that in the mass the pioneers were a worthy, virile, earnest people, actuated by high hopes and righteous motives for the upbuilding and welfare of the Dakota commonwealth.
If any should differ relating; to some of the details of the narrative, they should at all times remember that the point of view makes large difference in the appearance of an object or impressions of an event. It is rarely possible to establish with unerring accuracy the details of any period. Every trial of an issue of fact in courts of justice determines that truth. Men of equal opportunity for observation and of equal integrity will constantly be found diametrically opposed as to a certain state of facts. It is only the great events that are indisputable, and in the chronicling of the chief occurrences which have been as beacon lights along the highway of South Dakota's development into the grand commonwealth she has come to be, General Beadle is an indisputable witness.
The following biographical sketch or General Beadle was contributed, to the Anemone, a publication of the students of the State Normal at Madison, in 1905, by Mrs. May Beadle Prink, the daughter of tho subject.
William Henry Harrison Beadle, the oldest son and fourth child of James Ward and Elizabeth (Bright) Beadle, was born January 1, 1838, in Parke county, Indiana. His ancestry is mingled Scotch, English and Dutch. The house of hewn logs, in which he was born, had been built wholly by his father's hands the year before; for in those days not a third of the land was cleared, and there were dense forests between farm and farm. He early learned to swing the axe and follow the plow, and his elementary education was obtained at a subscription school in a log schoolhouse.
After the most persistent effort he gained his father's consent to go away to college, choosing to use $1,000 for this purpose instead of accepting a farm offered by his father. In the autumn of 1857 he entered the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and although handicapped by insufficient preparation in. Greek, he soon took high rank in the class; was one of the speakers at the junior exhibition and one of the twenty-four members of the class who spoke at the commencement. His college mates early recognized his executive ability and talent for leadership, by selecting him for prominent positions in all college organizations.
Soon after graduation, in 1861, he enlisted in the union army, was made first lieutenant and then captain of Company A, Thirty-First Indiana Volunteer Infantry, participating in the campaign in west Tennessee, until the surrender of Corinth, Mississippi. He then aided in organizing and drilling the Twenty-Sixth Michigan Infantry, at Jackson, and was tendered the post of adjutant of this regiment. In the autumn of 1862 he was commissioned to recruit for the First Michigan Sharpshooters, and was commissioned lieutenant colonel of that regiment January 1, 1863. In July, 1863, he participated in the pursuit of the confederate general. John H. Morgan, and in August proceeded to Chicago to guard rebel prisoners, on which duty he continued until March 17, 1864, when the regiment joined the Ninth Army Corps at Annapolis, Maryland.
After a very severe illness he was discharged from that regiment, June 13, 1864, and was appointed major in the United States Veteran Reserve Corps. He was brevetted lieutenant colonel of United States Volunteers. March 13, 1865, "for gallant and meritorious services during the war." He served in northern Virginia, in defenses south of the Potomac, where he commanded a brigade for a time, and in Washington, where on Lincoln's second inauguration, in 1865, General Beadle had command of the military guard in and about the capitol. He was mustered out and honorably discharged March 26, 1866, with rank of brevet brigadier general.
He entered the law department of Michigan university in the same year of his discharge and was graduated LL. B. in March, 1867. He had been given the degree A. M. in 1864, and in 1902 his alma mater conferred upon him LL. D.
He married Ellen S. Chapman in May, 1863. at Albion Michigan, and Dr. Henry P. Tappan, president of the University of Michigan, journeyed from Ann Arbor to perform the ceremony.
General Beadle engaged in the practice of law at Evansville, Indiana, in 1867, and at Boscobel, Wisconsin, in 1868-69. In the latter year he was appointed surveyor general of the territory of Dakota, and from that time, leaving behind him the associations of his boyhood days and of his university and army life, he may he fittingly known as the Dakota pioneer.
This sketch was written at the request of Doane Robinson, secretary of the state historical society, who desired that it deal with reminiscences and have the form of a memoir. It is prepared largely, from memory, aided by such of my reports and circulars as remain in my possession. All original records that were preserved in the office of the territorial superintendent of public instruction were left in that office in Bismarck when the territory was divided and the two states admitted into the union.
This document was prepared under other very serious difficulties. It was requested, and some work was done upon it, in the fall of 1905. Early in the winter I slipped upon an icy sidewalk and fell upon my right band, which was badly bruised and broken, so that I could write hut little for several months. When I had resumed work this spring I was seriously ill for several weeks and compelled to abandon all work for some time. The result is that nearly all the paper has been prepared in the month of July. I could not rearrange or rewrite the paper, and am unable to employ a stenographer. I can only trust that it will not be an entire disappointment. An effort was made to add to reliable history.
In March, 1869. General J. D. Cox, secretary of the interior, and President Grant appointed the writer United States surveyor general for Dakota territory. He had some practical knowledge of engineering and land surveys. Conferences were held with the commissioner of the general land office and the chief of the division of surveys, and a perfect understanding was agreed upon —that the duty was to secure the careful and correct survey of the public lands, that it was to be performed in a faithful and fearless way and free from political dictation. Late in April came a drive of nearly two days' duration from Sioux City, Iowa, to Yankton, in a private conveyance, and many times we had to stop and cut the gumbo, mud and grass from the wheels. My companion had been an officer in the Dakota troop in the Indian war of the "outbreak," as it was called, and had seen much of the territory. We talked much about the lands and soils and the prospects of the future state to be then founded. A territorial government from the first hour is and feels itself to be temporary. Statehood is always in view. Some things arc done as carefully as if all were permanent. It is well when the settlers feel that their homes, their business, their schools, their churches, their neighbors and their own characters are as permanent as if real statehood were accomplished. On that journey the school lands were mentioned and I then opened to my companion the theory that these were the great trust of the future commonwealth and should be absolutely secured from waste and cheap sales.
The writer was not without strong incentives in this direction from boyhood, in Indiana, where an early migration from southeast of the Ohio river had left a large per cent of illiteracy. He had seen a school system there created that by its excellence and vigor had redeemed the state, placing it fairly equal to the best. There he had heard the farmers and laboring men talk of the new constitution, of free schools, and of the improvidence in managing the school lands. In Michigan, from 1857 to 1861, when in college, he had heard similar but more advanced discussions and had heard the founder of this common school system appeal to the people to make good by taxation the waste of the school lands, and show how cheaply they had been sold as compared with the seventy-two sections for the university. Later, in Wisconsin, he had heard the shameful story of waste there, and had secured a copy of the Illinois school laws of 1830-33, which authorized the local officers to sell school lands at $1.25 and $2.50 per acre. These and many similar ideas were recalled as we looked over this virgin land, and resolute purposes were already formed to aid Dakota, if possible, to make a nobler record.
Thus the schools and this endowment were live issues in my mind on the day I first saw Dakota.
This slow journey over the broad Missouri bottom had other points of interest. At Sioux City I was told that Dakota was all right, but that some little corners in it were "tough" and had a somewhat lawless population, and that the southeast corner of Union county was one of them. My comrade held a similar idea, and though we started late we did not stop for lunch till we were fifteen or eighteen miles from Sioux City. The public has heard of crimes in that little corner, from time to time ever since, yet this does not affect the good name of Union county, much less of South Dakota, while whole chapters of history arc written about two crimes that occurred in Dakota territory, as if its fame were to be forever tarnished by them. Occasional space writers, thirty odd years later, rehash the stuff until an impression is given to some that such was the character of life in those early days. They may be referred to in their time, but are mentioned now to say that the writer does not believe in that kind of history as a true report of their times or of any period in South Dakota.
Stopping at Elk Point an hour or more, we met Eli B. Wixson, W. H. H. Fate, H. H. Blair and other prominent citizens, and began to form a high opinion of Dakota people. Certainly the twenty or more that were met there would leave such an impression upon anyone. In the many years since we have known the people of Union county, have seen them suffer, endure, and wonderfully prosper as they deserved. Having been privileged to were the badge of its old settlers' association, its motto can be quoted as true: "Our Hardships were Mutual; Our Friendship is Perpetual." That night we literally "bunked" in the log cabin of Mr. Fisher at Green Point, now Burbank. Messrs. Fisher and Rudd later built a mill and founded Lodi, Clay county. Dragging on through the mud. we visited Vermillion for an hour, meeting Hon. Horace J. Austin, James McHenry, and many others. Taking dinner at the home of Franklin Taylor (the present site of Meckling), we reached the Dakota river, were ferried over and arrived in Yankton about 10:30 p. m. At Washington I had met a number of Dakotans, including Judge Kidder, and from him had accepted some letters of introduction to others. Knowing him well all his life afterwards, we were good friends and I was glad to support him for delegate to congress in 1875 and 1877.
On May 3rd I took possession of the office of surveyor general, succeeding Gen. William Tripp. Having made careful inquiry in Washington and learned that Col. I. N. Higbee of the office was a most trustworthy and capable man, I had sent word to him and he then became and remained the most efficient chief clerk of the office. He was strongly commended by Hon. William B. Allison, then a member of congress from Iowa. Phil. K. Faulk, a one-armed soldier, was a clerk. A little later E. H. Van Antwerp, a graduate of Union college, was made draughtsman, and Ed. F. Higbee was an assistant. Both these are still in the government service. Mr. Ephraim Miner of Yankton, a most respected citizen, was for some time an efficient clerk, and Mr. Thyge Dahl was also employed. The boundaries of the Yankton Indian reservation had been marked in part and, under authority of the general land office, I sent M. K. Armstrong, to complete this and he established the remainder of the west and all of the north boundaries. If careful inquiry were made it would be found that probably the Indians secured a larger area than they were legally entitled to. Other contracts were let, one to Horace J. Austin, one of the most faithful deputies under the office. There were not many experienced surveyors and two were employed from Wisconsin, whom I knew. With one of these came Richard F. Pettigrew 14 as a member of the crew, and they worked in the northern part of Minnehaha county. Mr. Pettigrew settled at Sioux Falls and later received contracts from me and my successors, as Col. Grigsby ,a did. Even a small contract was a decided help to a young man in those early days. Among others, Hon. Alexander Ramsey of Minnesota had commended to me Mr. Geo. N. Propper of Yankton, and I gave him employment. Then attack began to be made upon the policy of the office, more especially on account of this particular contract. There had been politics in Dakota the year before, and many good men were strongly opposed in the conflict. Between three candidates, the less than 4,000 votes were nearly evenly divided, but Hon. S. L. Spink was elected by a small plurality.
He and his supporters deemed themselves the true and regular Republicans. Of course I met many others, who were Republicans then and ever since, who took the other view. In any event these gentlemen desired and claimed much of the patronage, and sought appointments at Washington in which they were not successful. I had employed Mr. Propper in good faith, but was not well pleased with him and declined to repeat the employment though asked to do so by such excellent men as F. J. DeWitt and others. Then, of course, Mr. Propper was unfriendly.
Such men as M. T. Woolley, Horace J. Austin, R. F. Pettigrew and many others were deemed the straightest of Republicans, and in the north part of the territory such highly competent men as Geo. G. Beardsley and Charles Scott were given contracts. Several others might be named. The patronage was wanted, however, and my removal was sought. While Doane Robinson has recorded in his history that I was removed from office because I supported Hon. W. A. Burleigh for delegate, let me say that this is an error. I was not removed, and Mr. Lott S. Bayless was really appointed receiver of the Yankton land office, not surveyor general. Early in the spring of 1873 Mr. Wm. P. Dewey M of Wisconsin became my friendly successor, and I preferably went to the field behind my compass. While a native of Indiana, I was appointed from Wisconsin. There are a number of similar but all trifling errors. These are made in the body of the history, but would be corrected by reading the official registers later in the work.
When one arrives in so new a land as Dakota then was, one looks around actively and searches for information, and I read every available book or report at an early, day. The history of the territory could be taken fresh from the lips of Major Hanson, M. K. Armstrong, former governors Newton Edmunds and Andrew J. Faulk, Judge Kidder and those who had roamed over parts of the area as soldiers or surveyors. One became acquainted rapidly and readily in those days, and within two years it seemed that I knew nearly every family in the territory, whether they lived in town or country. There was something unusually cordial in the greetings, and one soon felt at home in the new land. It was not long before long drives into the country showed me the remarkable fertility of the soil. The air was purer even than now, and I had soon penetrated to Sioux Falls and the intermediate region and to Bon Homme, and as far as the present Scotland. In 1870 I had the honor to deliver the address at Canton on the 4th of July. By actual count there were almost exactly 300 people there. This included nearly the entire population from northern Union county to beyond Sioux Falls, and it was a goodly people in a delightsome land. When we struck Eden (the present Hudson) on the evening of the 3rd we found great hospitality with Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Ball; and saw "Buck" Wheelock and a few others who had helped to make the place deserve its name. On the way up, at Fairview and near Canton we passed farms that seemed already well improved.
In the forenoon of the 4th the people assembled in every form of conveyance, and with teams made up of yoke cattle as much as horses. There were a few who had stylish horses, buggies and harness. On the road from the north that ran down by Holsey's store, an ox team was driven by a strong and good looking Norwegian girl, and the wagon was filled with young people. Some of these buggies tried to pass her team, but she had the track and they found some ruts on the side. The brave driver, knowing that in snow or mud or in a jam her oxen and stout wagon were safest, whipped up to a lively trot. The buggies pressed on over the bumps to pass her, but springing up and standing erect on the seat, her hat dropping back upon her neck, she called with whip and voice upon the steers for their best effort, bringing the long gad alternately upon the near and off animal. Her team was not slow and swept on with increasing speed, and she won the forty-rod race and the cheers of the crowd. In Canton such well known gentlemen as Hon. O. S. Gifford, Will Cuppett, Mr. Harlan and several men prominent in these days were already "old citizens," having been there from one to three years.
At Sioux Falls we slept on the "ground floor" in one of the stone barracks of Fort Dakota. The troops were gone, but the military reservation had not been legally vacated. About a dozen enterprising young men were "camping" until congress should act and title could be secured and they could again start what all were sure would be the chief city of the state. A little way south of the barracks Charley Howard38 kept a little store. That was about all there was of Sioux Falls. Starting upon the return we were told that the best ford was just above the little island, in front of Howard's store, and entering the stream with the checks loose we stopped at the middle to let the horses drink. One of them soon began to paw the water and, refusing to start, lay down in the stream. With active pulling and whipping he got up and we went on with the laughing cheers of the little party who were seeing us off.
Let me testify here that this trip took us through Vermillion, Richland, Eden, Canton and Sioux Falls, and nowhere did we see an intoxicated man, not one, even in the crowd at Canton. Nowhere did we see men offering spirits to one another. Nowhere was it suggested by anyone. Many other trips were taken and the people very generally were sober, industrious and good citizens.
The people of Yankton were, it seemed, devoted to legitimate business, to trade and industries, to schools and churches. There were in the river towns saloons and gambling, but they did not dominate or characterize the towns. Occasionally, when a term of the United Stales district court was held, there would be collected from along the river above as witnesses or criminal defendants a rough and coarse crowd. Discharged soldiers passing through would take the opportunity for a little "celebration." Roustabouts from the steamers would seek the resorts. Miners would come down from Montana in "mackinaw" boats, sell their gold dust, and some would have a spree. Boisterous or even fighting men were rarely arrested, but were taken out of the public view and cared for. All the rowdyism or drinking or gambling was in public view, but nine-tenths of the people of Yankton had nothing to do with it. Bismarck in 1872-3-4-5-6-7 was much more largely given to the vices.
There were few regular farms any where in the sense that we see them now everywhere, but there were many good beginnings, and a hopeful spirit prevailed among the people. A slender line of settlement extended from Elk Point to several miles beyond Sioux Falls in 1871; from Vermillion to the north line of Clay county, and from Yankton to near Scotland and nearly to Springfield. The hardy Norwegian people were prominent along the Sioux, the Brule and over the Missouri bottom lands from the Dakota to the Vermillion and in the northeast part of Yankton county. Few of these people came to the towns. They were of an intelligent and capable class, not the lower peasantry, bur the better tenant class in their old home. They were later followed by their congeners, the Danes and the Swedes, but not in nearly equal numbers. We speak now with pride in the fact that so very large a per cent of our population is native born, but this misleads if it implies that their fathers and mothers were so largely native. The Scandinavians began and continued in lives marked by industry, integrity and religious devotion. This is not said in offensive comparison as to others. I am a defender from full knowledge of the qualities of practically all the elements that from the first made up our population, and mention these facts now for use later in this memoir. One of the earliest prominent rural landmarks in Yankton county was the white Lutheran church on the elevation where is now the town of Mission Hill. It was erected in 1869. These people had largely come directly from their mother land. They and their children spoke only the native tongue, and slowly learned English because of their considerable settlements where there were so few Americans. So they opened many private schools where instruction was given in their own tongue and the catechism of their church was taught. Over the regions now most populated by these people, whether in Yankton, Clay, Turner, Lincoln, Minnehaha, Moody, Brookings. Deuel. Lake or Kingsbury counties, the rural churches rise in testimony alike that they are true to their faith and that they are faithful farmers.
An item in the Sioux City Times of June 3, 1869, says: "Eight hundred Norwegians are en route between Chicago and Sioux City, bound for Dakota." By the census of 1900 there were 33,473 Scandinavians in the state and. with those of Scandinavian parentage, were 38 per cent of the total population.
It would be less than just not to mention some other peoples that came in mass or considerable bodies. These were the Bohemians of Bon Homme and Yankton counties and the Russian-Germans who came to Hutchinson and adjacent counties. They were faithful to their churches and creeds, and for some time held strongly for schools in their own languages. Indeed, the Russian-Germans have maintained schools that are parochial or religious in their character to the present time. Some of the youth of the Scandinavian and other peoples are now sent to schools of their creed and language in other states, and Lutheran schools are successful at Sioux Palls and Canton, and a Russian-German school is maintained at Freeman. These elements are mentioned as others, like the Hollanders in Douglas county and the large Russian-German population in McPherson, Walworth and Campbell counties might be, though of later date, to show that problems and difficulties were to be met in school extension and the creation of a common, general sentiment for statehood and other aims in later years. For some years there was an effort to have the territorial laws printed in the Norwegian language, and, if so, in the German also. Newspapers were later published in the German and Norwegian languages at Yankton and Sioux Falls respectively. Though the elements of the early population were thus varied and mixed, they were of sound quality and all came up later well qualified to share honorably and effectively in the making of the commonwealth. After so many years and as age approaches, no one can charge me with political motive when I stand firmly in defense of the people of the early days, and of those of the worthiest period in South Dakota history, the nine years just previous to the state's admission to the union. The principal motive in writing this paper is to make clear to the present day and to history the labors, the aims and the splendid worth of the people that brought about the division of the old territory, the saving of the school, lands, and the creation of a state under the Sioux Falls constitution of 1885. Necessarily prominent in all this is the creation and development of our school system.
Something may be said of how the territory became known in its lands and resources. The soldiers of 1862-3-4 saw the parts of the territory over which they passed at an unfavorable time on account of the severe drought of 1863 and the hardly less serious one of 1864. Such impressions must leave their effects. Indeed, it was a little later than this that some very poor work was done in surveys by one or two persons in parts of Turner and Minnehaha counties and, perhaps, in limited degree elsewhere, on the theory that "the lands would never be settled and ought not to have been accepted from the Indians." The few explorers who had traversed parts of the territory, Nicollet" and Fremont, and the military expeditions or reconnoissances of Gen. Harney and Lieut. Warren gave the government a very fair general map of the country. Fremont, though he secured the name of Pathfinder, was not a great explorer and would have little fame were it not he was the son-in-law of the great Senator Benton," became a candidate for the presidency and has some romance woven about his name. Nicollet and Warren were real and faithful explorers. As these men traveled and camped they noted distances and frequently fixed camping places or natural features by careful astronomical observations. Upon these data and general descriptions as well as the travel of traders and steamboats, the government constructed outline maps. It was the business of the land surveyors to fill in the details.
The general courses of streams, the location of hill groups and ranges, of the lakes and the Black Hills, of the coteaus and similar water sheds and landmarks, were fairly definite; but the details between the determined points were inaccurate until progressive surveys defined every part, and now, in 1906, the last mile is run and measured. In later years the United States has surveyed the whole region anew, has geodetically triangulated the state, accurately determined the heights and levels, the surface and subterranean water supply, and, in co-operation, our state geologist has traced lines of glacial drift and developed well the geology of the state. In the main the rest is left for man to do; to prospect and mine for the gold and tin and to tap and delineate the artesian area, to discover and claim the cement and other useful clays, to test the soils, to quarry the rocks and to take to himself the vast unappropriated wealth of nature. The doing of all this and the men who did it have covered the state with enterprise, extended a network of railways and covered the available area with cities and towns, with farms and homes, and filled the state with schools and churches. Such is the progress of a worthy and capable people in a rich, new land. As the prospect is now so bright and the condition so happy, so. I beg my readers to believe, it was hopeful and faithful and worthy in the earliest days. The great things and high promises of today would not be ours, if any large element had been unfaithful in the beginning.
Interesting things occurred as the surveys extended. Going up the west side of the Dakota river in June, 1873, with, I believe, the first party to traverse its nearly entire length, we were surprised, some thirty miles above where Huron is, to find a considerable river flowing from the west and apparently a small one coming beyond it from the north, and we had to travel west some ten miles or more to the abrupt land where Redfield lies. That and similar features in many parts were lacking upon our previous maps. And it seemed double trouble the next morning, when midway between the mouths of Turtle and Snake creeks, that a band of Yanktonais Indians under Drifting Goose crossed the Dakota from their summer tepees on the east side, halted us, demanded that we leave with them all we had and return whence we came." There were 130 or 140 of them, men and women, in blankets, no weapons visible. The women began to sing a weird cry, men caught our front horses by their bridles and another began to unhitch the tugs. We were all armed, seven of us. I had a double-barrelled shot gun and a pocket full of buckshot shells. Pointing my gun a moment at others to drive them back, I handed my gun to the driver, caught the Indian by the arm and shoulder, and with a tremendous effort whirled him around and away, quickly rehitching the tug I took my gun, pulled hack both hammers and held it to my shoulder pointing it at the nearest; then laying one hand upon the hook of the tug I warned them back and held up my gun again. The men, other than the drivers, stood along before the wagons, and all had guns or revolvers in hand. My men perfectly understood that under no provocation were they to fire until after. I did. The declaration of hostilities was in my hands. Fortunately, the Indians gave way somewhat and did not disclose their weapons that were under their blankets, though they were probably not numerous. Speaking to the teams to start, we formed behind them and walked backwards some distance, holding our guns at "a ready." There had been a little conference at first and small presents of food and tobacco offered and dropped on the ground for the Indians. We could not afford to fight; one wounded man would disable us. We had no desire to harm the Indians, and had not been sent as missionaries to them.
A little while later in the summer M. T. Woolley of Yankton and his surveying party were fired on by these Indians; bullets hit his wagons, and he was driven away. In 1878. when Horace J. Austin and I were surveying in northern Spink county, in close association, for protection, with Thomas Marshall and his men, one of the latter's party, Mr. Zach Sutley was caught three miles from camp, robbed, stripped and caused to run for his life while shots were fired after him. These are samples of some experiences surveyors met with.
In 1872 the Northern Pacific railroad pushed suddenly from Fargo, a town of three or four houses, toward Bismarck. Except the seventh guide meridian, from a point above Fargo to the international line near Pembina, there was no land survey done in the northern part. The railway land grant was wide; the company wanted definite townsites, and desired their grant generally surveyed. The general land office instructed me to proceed to where the capital of North Dakota now stands and there establish a new base line and a new prime meridian, in order that surveys might he opened in that section. In reply it was urged that a better way would be to carry the ninth and tenth standard parallels from the Minnesota line to the Missouri and run the intermediate guide meridians, as checks upon their correctness. This was approved by telegraph, and. selecting George G. Beardsley and Charles Scott, then of Minnesota, hut long after honored residents and surveyors in North Dakota, the plan was very successfully accomplished. From there the surveys were opened all along the line and to the north and south. Thus the same system was extended throughout that state. It seems that such a plan would have been wiser than the one later adopted for a new Black Hills meridian. The base line for surveys in Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota and the Dakotas was run west from the mouth of the St. Francis river in Arkansas, from which the fifth principal meridian was run north.
The counties of Campbell, Walworth and Potter are smaller than planned by the legislature that created them, because when the standards that bound them on the north and south were later run and measured, they were found to be from six to ten miles shorter then the old map indicated. From within North Dakota to the mouth of the Cheyenne river the Missouri is farther east then previous information had indicated. Another similar point is involved in the fact that M. K. Armstrong "moved the forty-ninth parallel of latitude a mile or two north of its original location." When he carefully ran the seventh guide meridian north in the Red River valley his measurements showed the understood international boundary to be really that much farther south than astronomy later located it. The British had again invaded the United States. The international commission later correctly located the parallel and marked the line to the summit of the Rockies with permanent monuments, as well as with tin cans and empty bottles! Without mentioning other features and the experience of many individuals, or when the last live buffalo was seen, or where Beardsley killed the bear, or Gus. High's camp was destroyed by a prairie fire, or less important facts, we leave this department, because another is to write the history of the land surveys. We must add that in course of many years the writer on long journeys passed over a large part of the old territory, saw all its features and the beginnings of many of its new settlements. The effect of all this and of an extended acquaintance among the people created a great confidence in the future of the country and an enduring enthusiasm for its progress. Some preacher or moralist might find in some of this texts and illustrations of what was to occur as the people of the south half became acquainted with their heritage and with one another and corrected their bearings and tested their social and institutional maps, derived a philosophy that guided them into the righteous accomplishments of 1879-1889.
The Early History and Its Philosophy
Two histories of the early times are extant, that of Hon. M. K. Armstrong; and that of Secretary Doane Robinson, the latter of which is much influenced in the times from 1859 to 1872 by that of Mr. Armstrong, though much additional matter precedes and accompanies it.38 The work of Mr. Armstrong relates mainly to the very beginnings of white settlements, of which he himself was a member. He deals only with the earliest period, and not with the later rapid growth and expansion, and cannot, therefore, follow developments, trace results, and deal with the social, institutional and political progress. Since 1874 he rarely even visited South Dakota. His work has the grandiloquent and one might almost think, the burlesque title of "The Early Empire Builders," and gives an extreme picture of frontier and border life and the early political contests when he saw little more to tell. He writes largely of persons and their conflicts, of striking scenes and the most extravagant incidents, such as the reporter for a sensational press might delight in, rather than the more serious work of which there was already some that gave promise. It is, however, difficult for any writer who did not then live here to justly weigh motives, aims and deeds in a community so small, so dispersed and so varied in elements as Dakota prior to 1877.
It requires more than a population of a few thousands of people, largely speaking four languages and not yet in many cases acquainted with the United States or its history and republican government, through coming because of that and loving it loyally, to develop serious policies and permanently to pursue them. Not earlier than 1879, at least, was there something like an organized popular sentiment and a general thought toward the creation of a state. It was somewhat like the England before the seventeenth century, which set free the great middle class of that nation and started a real career of colonization and commerce. Before that its discoverers, explorers and would-be colonizers were mere soldiers of fortune, sailing by grant of their queen, and none rose higher than the great fighter and half pirate, Drake, though I would not ascribe the latter's character to any one of our early leaders. Later, the people of England began to colonize America; and Virginia. New England, Maryland and Pennsylvania laid the real foundations of the United States. The germs of our national life were planted there.
.Yet, notwithstanding the intensity of political contests and individual ambitions, much had been done in beginnings, seeds of purpose had been planted. Ideas had begun to germinate and men had begun to create and to promote public sentiment and like Governor Edmunds, to organize policies which arc realized in the present state. Good laws had in the main been enacted, and something like permanence was indicated in the creation and enactment of the excellent codes of 1877, and the organization of schools, churches and society generally. Public schools were beginning to fuse the nationalities into a common capability and pride of citizenship. At the time of the opening of the territory in 1859, and for very many years afterward, the conditions of life were far more primitive than the younger generation of the present can realize. Nearly all the actual settlers were honorable, worthy and energetic as any now are, but life and opportunity were limited, and the results of the hardest labor could not materialize in such comforts as all now enjoy. There were no such wealth, luxuries, culture, amusements and higher enjoyments as are now available to most if not all. The world has been revolutionized in material things, in customs, in travel, in decent pleasures, and, most of all, in habits of thought.
The people of the nation were engaged in a mighty struggle for existence as a united and free republic. The civil war and its immediate effects lasted long, to create hesitation and doubt. The Indian wars of 1862-4 profoundly affected the growth and delayed the development of the territory. But it tested the quality of the people and sifted the population of the useless, while it brought over half the adult males under arms to defend the settlements and their homes.
Then every problem was to be solved, the soil and climate were to be tested and practice and experiment were to be tried until these were harmonized in permanent success. At the same time the people were to study and learn one another, and trust was to be created among men. The best ability then to serve society and lay foundations for the future was often personal courage and hardihood. A wilderness was to be occupied and subdued. A scanty living was to be secured while homes were made, and a republican form of government was to be created and conducted with a small and scattered constituency composed of diverse elements, to very many of which immediate local interests were of more concern than the welfare of the whole. With bodies of Scandinavian, German, Bohemian, American, and other people, each speaking only its own language, there was yet no comprehensive commonwealth. Many of these struggling men and women of personal courage and stalwart vigor had also high elements of integrity and capacity, and from beneath the rudeness of their lives in those days have blossomed the nobility of high citizenship and the sturdy quality of state builders. The rough border ways began early to change to civilized life.
First the French, then the English and the American, entered the region. The voyageur, the trapper and a little later the priest penetrated the wilds and threaded and re-threaded the lands from the great lakes to the Rocky Mountains. The American Fur Company and American missionaries followed quickly the explorations of Lewis and Clark, as did the Astor expedition under Lieut. Hunt. Later still came the military expedition of General Harney, the exploring tours of Nicollet and of Fremont, of Lieut. Warren. Captain Reynolds and Dr. F. V. Hayden, giving names to natural objects that remain. The traders, the Indian agents and the army posts increased, and dependent white men attached to these became located in the country. Then the state of Minnesota was created, leaving Dakota unorganized, and an actual civil settlement began at Sioux Falls and in a small degree elsewhere. Then in 1861 the territory of Dakota was created by congress, and early in 1862 was organized. There was then a mixed population, among which were many capable and excellent people, but it was fringed with Indian traders, army and Indian contractors, trappers, frontiersmen and half-breeds who shared the streams and the bordering woods with the still wild Indian. Most of these classes of pioneers thought little of the fair valleys and fertile plains that lie in our state, and framed no visions of the farms, the towns and institutions that were to come. Still, at the time of opening of the territory by the Indian treaty of 1859, the white man had come to stay.
Brief Political Sketch
It is not permitted by the nature or purpose of this paper to deal at length with general political and civil history. That has not yet been written with full correctness by anyone. Neither the work of Mr. Armstrong, which is special, personal and narrow, nor the large and orderly volume of Mr. Robinson, with so many researches of value, is true in all respects. Each lacks the essential element of historic perspective. The work of Mr. Robinson has by far the greater value, as an orderly collection of important facts, but it is subject to some of the criticisms that are so merited by the other. I have only the kindest feeling personally toward its author, yet must in a measure reflect upon features of the volume when it fails, as I think, to grasp the elements, understand the social development, see the institutional upbuilding and understand how this state came to be. Without a purpose to misrepresent he (and Mr. Armstrong much more so) has made errors, positive and negative, relating to persons and to public events, by exclusion and by inclusion, and by not seeing the great power of our people, outside of politics and official life, to make the commonwealth. Mr. Robinson has later shown that he might now write a history of South Dakota that would be very highly creditable and more reliable than most works of this kind in any state. These authors have sometimes followed a partisan record and have magnified and belittled individuals at the cost of the general movement of popular opinion, development and public service. Both give unequal importance and space to different affairs and do not see the life, civic and moral, of the people. They fail to trace the steady progress of ideas, the social, civil and institutional development, the progress of education, the blending of all our people into a commonwealth of ideas and purposes, until everywhere all could join in that salute to the national banner which ended with, "One country, one language, one flag!" This is the great thing for the future historian to do. He must have the keen analysis of causes and effects. In other words, he must have the true historical perspective. This paper does not profess to do this work, but only to supply a little more material to him who shall do it."
The descriptions given by Hon M. K. Armstrong of his campaigns for delegate to congress and the earlier accounts of legislative sessions are by a man twice elected to congress and respected in office and business, yet they can hardly be believed as full and true pictures of the times. They are special and extravagant scenes that he figured in, not the common ways of the people. In letters to a Sioux City newspaper he sought to besmirch Governor Jayne and other officers and, in 1862, to defeat him as a candidate for delegate to congress. Mr. Armstrong was a Democrat in politics, intensely devoted to his party, He came in 1859, before the national defeat of his party was probable, and there is ample reason to believe that had it been successful in 1860 he expected to be officially doing some of those things that he ridicules others in the performance of. Ambition and disappointment had something to do with his motives. While Mr. Robinson gives some space to detract from the fame of a few and to declare Burleigh a possible criminal, he follows Armstrong in the bizarre setting given to others, leaving Armstrong, by inference, the hero of the story. Mr. Armstrong was fond of such kind of writing and kept if up in some form till late in his life. Upon the men of the better day it made no particular impression, and it is not and never was full or fair history.
They were capable people who managed and directed the work of those early legislatures. The laws they passed were creditable. Even if a few from "up river" or elsewhere were given to excesses, the men who drew the statutes, located the capital and the courts, as well as the university, calculated skillfully upon the future and organized a decent government and provided for public education. In the doing of all this, and it was considerable, there were parliamentary conflicts and alignments of parties and factions that occur in every legislature of the present day. There was more struggle and excitement then because of less system, and the boss was unknown or would not be obeyed. There was free manhood in it all.
In 1870, after mild skirmishing, the county conventions met and elected delegates to the territorial Republican convention, which met at Vermillion. Hon. S. L. Spink, then delegate to congress, and Hon. Walter A. Burleigh, a former delegate, were candidates for the nomination. Both had formerly been accepted as Republicans. Burleigh came originally from Maine, immediately from Pennsylvania, and Spink came from Illinois. Both had been for some years in the territory. Burleigh had been not simply a Republican, but an abolitionist; was a radical believer in the rights of man, and of marked individuality and forcefulness, sometimes given to bitterness of feeling and vulgar reproach toward opponents, though this was individual and not general. He had many personal friends that he kept long, among those who opposed his candidacy. The contest did not have much warmth and had no bitterness until after the convention.
When the convention assembled, September 6, 1870, it was called to order by the proper officer of the territorial Republican committee and nominations were made for temporary chairman, one by the supporters of Mr. Spink, and Hon. Aaron Carpenter of Clay county by the supporters of Dr. Burleigh. Mr. Carpenter was, upon full roll call, regularly elected. There were some contests and neither side in those voted. Mr. Carpenter took the chair and thereupon Mr. Spink and his supporters withdrew from the hall and held a convention elsewhere. I was a member of the convention, voted for Mr. Carpenter, remained under him, and voted for the nomination of Dr. Burleigh, which was made unanimous by that body, as the nomination of Mr. Spink was by the other convention. In the convention I moved, and the resolution was adopted, that thereafter what was then known as the "Crawford county system" should be used by the party in its nominations. This system was named after Crawford county, Pennsylvania, in which it had sometime been in use. It was the germ of the "primary election" or improved caucus system now prominent in political discussions. I may say that I was already tired of Dakota politics; at least desired that it should act upon a more strictly representative plan. The resolution was never obeyed.
Mr. Spink had insisted that I and the patronage of the office I held should be employed in the support of himself and his faction, which he claimed, of course, was the only Republican party in the territory worthy the name. In support of Dr. Burleigh. I made a number of speeches, and "regularity" was the burden of our argument. Generally each was supported with the argument that he could accomplish more for the territory than the other; in fact, this was a common argument in all delegate contests. The alleged support of Andrew Johnson by Dr. Burleigh when delegate before had truth in it, but that support was of the most trifling consequence in the house of representatives, because the delegate had no vote therein, and it was really, as such matters usually are, a skillfully pursued plan of good fellowship to secure patronage, in which 1 always understood it was successful. Mr. Spink had little success in that respect as a Republican, with a strictly Republican administration. The ordinary appropriations were made, but needed increase failed. Only a small amount, some $15,000, was appropriated for surveys. None of this was used by me in support of Dr. Burleigh. Men were employed because they were capable surveyors, and their work stands the test of time. Not one dollar was collected from any person in the employ of the office for any political or other purpose, and it is my recollection that much more than half of them supported Mr. Spink and were employed later without respect to this fact. I have never believed in or practiced the use of political or any public office or patronage for the support of a candidate or a party, and I rigidly held to that rule in 1870 and again in 1872. If any employee contributed to the support of Mr. Spink, it is unknown to me, and was his private act. Hon. M. K. Armstrong was nominated by the Democratic party and was elected by a small plurality over Dr. Burleigh and a little larger one over Mr. Spink.
As to the campaign, it was far less than clean and admirable all around. By his own book Mr. Armstrong confesses the methods he employed, and his statements must be taken as true and, barring his liking for that style of writing, as probably indicating more than he narrates. A majority of the officials and many who had been and desired to be, supported Mr. Spink; and every dollar of their patronage was given to his cause. Much has been written and quoted as history to show that Dr. Burleigh had become rich as an Indian agent, even through fraud and other crime; that he used this wealth freely to corrupt voters, opening markets in principal towns and paying farmers beyond market prices for stock and produce. In its broad statement it is not true. He did not pay ordinary campaign expenses. Observing his campaign, I saw and could see no such free use of money. It was by hearsay from some other county. It all, doubtless, rests upon a very few facts. Of two I heard specifically at the time and, seeking proof, found it in one case only, and at a later date. Armstrong declares that the campaign of one month cost him about one thousand dollars a day. So he is understood to declare plainly. This appears most extravagant and practically impossible. Nor did it come to anybody's knowledge at that time that Burleigh was rich, that he had a fortune, even if he had been dishonest in Indian affairs. He had been four years delegate (1865-9) and it seems to have cost him about all the salary to live at Washington. His fortune did not appear in any bank accounts or in more visible forms of property. Nor was Armstrong so rich a man as such declared expenditures would indicate. But for his own declaration it would not be credible to one then living in Dakota that he expended over one fifth the sum claimed.
Armstrong served credibly as a delegate and gained some reasonable appropriations that helped the territory. He bore the reputation of business and personal integrity and deserved it. He had warm personal friends in the other factions and probably got some votes from them. W. A. Burleigh was a singular man. He had friends who had no confidence in him. He was an extreme self-styled Calvinist in belief and declared that he was created and predestinated to do all and singular the things that he did do. And it afterwards appeared that he had done many things that he ought not to have done. He was a coarse man at best, and in some society was vulgar. This campaign ended his higher political ambition and hopes.
Let me say that later it was my pleasure to work with most of the leaders in the cause of Mr. Spink, in many public ways, and I remained on terms of personal friendship with them and do now with those who happily survive. It is my special desire not to reflect upon the honor or personal integrity of these gentlemen. We had higher work to do. There came better service of town and state to most of us, and we did not quarrel about times that were not satisfactory to any. When some of them desired my removal from the office of surveyor general, I reported the whole matter to Gen. J. D. Cox, secretary of the interior, and he approved my official course. In a letter he said: "Your report is received and I am greatly pleased with its tone and the principles of action it avows. In such a course I shall support you to the extent of my power, and you shall not suffer if I can prevent it." When late in the winter of 1873 I left the office, I had a letter from the commissioner of the general land office expressing his regret that I did not continue, and expressing his warm approval of my service as such officer.
In 1872 the political contest was of much longer duration and was more intense than that of 1870. The convention met at Canton, already a considerable town and giving promise of the beauty that now marks it. It was held on May 21st and had been preceded by a hard struggle that continued till the election in October. Though preferring the election of Hon. G. C. Moody, because he was the ablest, best fitted and most deserving, 1 did not attend the convention. The course of its action was not very unlike that at Vermillion, leaving, as I was led to believe, Judge Moody the rightful candidate for delegate to congress. The friends of Judge Brookings followed his standard after as before the meeting. Judge Brookings was not in my opinion in any sense the representative man that Judge Moody was. Mr. Armstrong was again elected.
Both bodies sent delegates to the Philadelphia convention, and all four were admitted to cast the vote for the territory, and they were harmonious in their action. They did me the honor to name me as the member for Dakota of the National Republican committee for four years. While I served the committee and spoke in some of the states for the candidates, I made no use of the position whatever in the campaign in Dakota, though I supported and voted for Judge Moody. Later it was used to aid the harmonious action of the party in 1874, when Hon. J. P. Kidder was nominated and elected delegate by a united party. In this and his re-election in 1876 he had no more ardent supporter than myself. We were all aiming at better things. The territory was developing and increasing in population and wealth. In 1876-7 the Black Hills were opened and a rush occurred to that region. The Northern Pacific railroad had been completed to Bismarck in 1873. The Dakota Southern railroad was built from Sioux City to Yankton, the track reaching that city very early in 1873. The northwestern railroad was pushed over the eastern line of the territory in 1872 and completed to Watertown early in 1873. Activity was general. There was no lack of it in politics at any time. There were now three distinct sections, the southeast, the north, and the Black Hills. Combines and "logrolling" were the result in politics and in legislatures. Granville G. Bennett had come to Vermillion as judge of the district court. In 1876 he had served with credit, while judge, as a member of the commission to codify the laws. A gentleman of taste and culture, he delivered occasional lectures, lie was a man of high moral worth, kindly manner and very pleasing address. He made no enemies. He was especially acceptable to that large and growing body of citizens that now began to shape opinion toward statehood and education. Having been associated with him in work upon the codes, I had become attached to him and supported his candidacy with zeal. The convention was
held at Yankton on August 22, 1878. Judge Bennett resided in Yankton, and as a member of the delegation from that county I was more active than on any other political occasion in Dakota. There were several candidates, and their support ran from but one or two votes up to a fair number. The Black Hills were really favorable to Judge Bennett and would not combine with the north, as was often the case later. So Judge Bennett was nominated after a long struggle and many slow changes toward him.
In the last ballot several changes were quickly made and his nomination was declared. A committee awaited upon him and presented him to the convention late in the evening, and all was apparently satisfactory. After the adjournment of the body and the next morning the leaders from the north and a few others began to say that if this and that change had not been made something else might have happened, and the next morning on the train east from Yankton there were not less than four men who believed they might have been nominated. Each was figuring it out to his own satisfaction that lit- would have been the man, sure. When they all reached home and looked it over there were several politicians who came to the conclusion that Judge Bennett was not just their kind of a man; that he ought not to have been nominated: it was not good politics from their points of view. Finally, some of the gentlemen began to say that he was not fairly nominated, or was not really nominated at all! Some of these certainly were led to regret that some North Dakota votes had been cast for him. and finally a part of them decided that it would be advisable to defeat him. The attempt was made.
Hon. Bartlett Tripp of Yankton was induced to accept the Democratic nomination. He was and is one of the ablest men and finest lawyers and judges the territory and state have numbered in their citizenship. A man of dignity and power, he bore himself like a leader and won the respect of the people. Judge. Bennett made a dignified and worthy canvass. He was supported very earnestly by many men. but by none more zealously than by John R. Gamble of Yankton. Bennett was elected by about 2,000 majority. This was a beginning of political differences between the north and south that finally led to separation, and other causes tremendously aided. When speaking for Judge Bennett in this campaign I used to sec many former soldiers of the union in the audiences. Judge Bennett had been a gallant Iowa soldier and was in that charge on the left at Donelson when the confederate defenses were first entered and held. It was my delight to picture that scene when, late in the February afternoon, the right of Grant's army had checked the enemy's advance and driven it back and were lying down in the snow behind trees and logs, expecting an order to charge. We heard cheers two miles away after the partial cessation of musketry fire. Then cheers rose nearer, and repeatedly nearer, till finally an orderly galloped along behind our lines and shouted: "The flag of the Iowa troops is over the enemy's works!" Then we cheered. Often the old soldiers cheered in the audiences. They voted for Bennett, too. It is not out of place to say that thousands of brave soldiers helped make up the population of the territory and were one of the many reliable elements that co-operated to bring to a successful issue the questions of division, admission and the school lands.
Judge Bennett was a friend of the newer life in the territory, of the better things sought for by a rapidly increasing element.
Under the administration of Governor William A. Howard and before, the insane of the territory were cared for in the hospital for such unfortunates at St. Peter, .Minnesota. That state was able no longer to give them room, Governor Howard had a wooden hospital erected upon the school section northwest of Yankton, where the state institution is still located. It was at first not intended to remain there permanently. It was not right, as it was not lawful, to appropriate a section reserved for the benefit of schools to any other purpose, but it was compromised, and Judge Bennett secured the passage of a bill by congress giving that section to the territory and future slate for the uses named, and authorized the selection of another section from the public lands for school purposes in place of it. At the request of the governor I selected the best section that I could find, then available, laying on Turtle creek, Spink county, about five miles west of Tulare. Judge Bennett had resided at Vermillion as judge, and felt an interest in the university that had been located there by the first legislature; so he secured the passage of a measure that authorized the selection of the seventy-two sections of land as endowment of the university of the future state. Having become very familiar with the surveys and lands, I gladly set about the selection of these also. One complete list was made up and transmitted to the secretary of the interior. Hon. R. F. Pettigrew had become delegate to congress. As history shows, Mr. Pettigrew had ready tendency toward disagreement with governors when he was often a member of the legislature. Except with Governor Pierce, in 1885, it appears that he antagonized every governor; but the capital in 1885 was at Bismarck, not at Yankton, the scene of his former struggles, and he had other interests there. As delegate he had some difficulty with Secretary Kirkwood of the interior department, and the selections were not made. In the delay many of the sections were covered by the incoming flood of settlers. Another complete selection was made that suffered in the same way. I then went direct to Secretary Kirkwood and secured appointment as "special agent of the interior department, without compensation or pay of expenses," with authority to select the lands and report the selections to the United States land office for the district in which they might lie. Notice of the appointment was sent to the land officers and they were very prompt and accommodating. The earlier selections that were lost included seventeen sections of land laying just south of the present town of Miller, the county seat of Hand county, and others in Brown, Spink and Beadle counties. The final selection was not so good, but was much more valuable than could have been made after statehood.
The political deals were often very unsatisfactory to large elements of the party and of the people, but the nominee of the Republican party was regularly elected. The interests, purely political in their nature, that had opposed Judge Bennett's nomination and election secured his defeat for a renomination. Hon. R. F. Pettigrew was a candidate, but apparently the great majority desired the nomination of Hon. Geo. H. Hand, who had been United States attorney, secretary and acting governor, and was a man of the highest merit and worth, deserving in every respect of the honor and familiar with the territory and all its people and best interests. His life was one of the highest integrity, generosity and manly trustworthiness, and he died mourned by as large a proportion of our people as any public man we have lost. Another candidate was J. B. Raymond, who had served some time as United States marshal, and gave his attentions mainly to the northern part of the territory, where he secured enough support to prevent a majority for Hand. Mr. Pettigrew threw his votes to Raymond, nominating him. This was one of the trades that became too common when the great territory had three distinct sections, ready to form combines. These were more frequent between the north and the Black Hills, and they all tended powerfully to develop the demand in the southeast section for division. The defeat of Hand was not soon forgotten, though the feeling was more directed against the north than against Mr. Pettigrew. Thus short terms of service and incapable men like Mr. Raymond and other causes left the territory with but little steady and useful influence at Washington. In some respects we accomplished more under Armstrong than we did under Raymond. In one respect Armstrong served well. He labored without offense to the political majority in congress for the useful appropriations. The appropriations for surveys had been inadequate; the tide of immigration was crossing our whole eastern border, and school lands would be lost in the richest areas and along the Northern Pacific railroad unless surveys were rapidly advanced. He aided effectively in securing $60,000 for their extension in 1872. That year the Northwestern road built to Kampeska and projected the Pierre line. The people were pushing tip the Sioux valley and the Dakota valley, while in the north they were beginning in many counties. As early as possible many deputies were at work, but the money was inadequate. So the Northwestern railroad company deposited $10,000 additional in the treasury of the United States for surveys, and with this we were able to complete the survey of their old Winona and St. Peter land grant that extended to the Sioux river, and the Sioux valley was surveyed fully, saving many original school sections from lawful appropriation by settlers prior to survey. Generally it may be said that there were many able men in the territory, but only a few of these represented us in congress, and those not for any continuous period. This misfortune was due alike to the character of territorial politics, to the combines, and to the fact that many of the ablest men did not desire the office. Other opportunities were more inviting.
As it was in this higher office, so it was to some extent in the legislature. The earlier bodies were probably more representative of the ability of the people than many later ones for some time. Indeed, taking the legislatures down to that of 1879 and considering the newness and inexperience of the people and the lack of tests to discover the best men, every session showed a considerable number of really able men. And many very capable men were re-elected for many years. The number in each chamber was small for some years, but was slowly increased by congress as population grew and spread. Such men as John H. Shober, M. K. Armstrong, W. W. Brookings, Enos Stutsman, A. W. Puett, George M. Phinney, George P. Waldron and others were certainly creditable members of the first legislature, and many of them continued in successive bodies for many sessions. Into the second legislature came also such able men as Lasse Bothun, D. T. Bramble, John W. Boyle, A. J. Harlan (speaker), Knud Larson and N. J. Wallace, all respectable citizens and capable and useful in different lines. Into the third session came skillful and trained men such as George W. Kingsbury, William Shriner, Franklin Taylor, Albert Gore and others; with many who had served from the first. The fourth session added such worthy men as Major J. R. Hanson and George Stickney, who met in the chambers more than half of their associates who had served creditably in former bodies. Into the fifth assembly came such excellent men as John W. Turner, A. L. Van Osdel, T. C. Watson, E. C. Collins, Horace J. Austin, A. M. English, S. C. Fargo18 and G. B. Bigelow (speaker).
Thus the membership continued to preserve former experience and to gather new men of character and varied ability, and we find as presidents of the council John H. Shober, M. K. Armstrong, N. J. Wallace, Horace J. Austin, Emery Morris, Alexander Hughes, John L. Jolley, W. A. Burleigh and others. In the speaker's chair served such men as A. W. Puett, W. W. Brookings, Gen. J. B. S. Todd, G. C. Moody and Geo. H. Hand, and some of these two or three times. Into the membership, from time to time, came new men, including Chas. H. McIntyre, Hugh Fraley, I. T. Gore, M. M. Hoyt, Eli B. Wixon, W. W. Benedict, Aaron Carpenter, F. J. DeWitt, Torger Nelson, Alfred Abbott, G. P. Bennett, J. Shaw Gregory, R. T. Vinson, W. M. Cuppett, O. B. Iverson, Ephraim Miner, Amos F. Shaw, Captain Nelson Miner, O. F. Stevens, Captain A. B. Wheelock, E. A. Williams, Martin Trygstad, John Thompson, G. W. Harlan, Gen. M. W. Sheafe, Clark S. West and many more who lived to honor the territory or state and reflect credit upon our citizenship. This is a miscellaneous and perhaps unequal selection down to 1877, and upon it I declare that I knew nearly every one of them then, or later, and many fellow members, and I do not believe these men brought any discredit upon the territory. There were exceptions, men who were rough, intemperate or otherwise incapable, and there were scenes of levity and tricks of procedure, and selfish personal or local interests and differences that rose to quarrels, but these were not the characteristics, the dominant motive and acts. We do not believe in the theory of history that does not mention the really excellent and often superior work done, but selects the extraordinary occasions or persons and makes of them the principal feature. Even if some such affairs arc given prominence in local report at the time, it is like taking the history of a city from its police columns. It may interest or amuse for a day, it may be extraordinary here and there, but it is not the history of legislation. South Dakota has no reason, on the whole, to be ashamed of its early legislation. As stated above, there was a prominence of individuality, there was no strict and binding system by an organized majority party, there were no bosses, rings or combines of a serious nature. There was more tendency toward these later, when more public revenues, the location of institutions and the removal of the capital and experience gave opportunity In truth, the state has seen as much politics as the early territory did. At the present writing there is a campaign on as remarkable in many features as any of those earlier ones. The denunciation on both sides is in more courteous form, but the war is fully as intense. We can see a contemporary campaign in Iowa where the struggle for the governorship is of a more striking character than that for nomination of candidates for delegate in Dakota in 1870 and 1872. We reflect upon like scenes in Minnesota and Wisconsin. It is a safe statement that the great mass of the people in our early days, though so differently situated, had an equal degree of self-respect. Personal following was more likely then, individuality was strong, and organization less powerful than now.
The Codes of 1877
The legislature of 1875 passed an act that authorized the governor to appoint a commission to revise and codify the laws. An effort in this direction had been made by the legislature of 1872-3, which authorized C. J. B. Harris, of Yankton to codify the laws, but the legislature of 1875 refused to adopt the report of Mr. Harris. His was not a complete codification or revision, but contained much good and useful work and he deserved pay for it that he never got. He was an honest, capable, faithful man. The governor appointed Hon. Peter C. Shannon, chief justice of the supreme court, Hon. Granville G. Bennett, associate justice, and Hon. Bartlett Tripp, one of the ablest attorneys Dakota ever had. These gentlemen were all able, were familiar with the legislation of the territory and its policy, and each had special fitness unlike that of the others. They organized promptly and appointed me secretary of the body and treated me throughout much as if I were an associate member, though they left the clerical work to me. In those days we did not have stenographers and typewriters to do all that. Indeed, in all my work in South Dakota, whether this or as superintendent of public instruction, or as president of the Madison state normal, I have never had a stenographer, typewriter or clerk, unless I hired one occasionally myself, and that was very rare. Practically the entire body of the codes passed finally under my pen, though some original drafts were made by Judge Bennett and less by Judge Shannon. The judges were appointed to the board, as was Mr. Tripp, because they were willing to do the work for small pay, having salaries and incomes from other sources. They received eight hundred dollars each for the service; my own pay amounted to about three hundred dollars! The judges were required to hold terms of court and attend to duties at chambers, causing many intervals when one or both could give no immediate attention to the codes, while early in the summer of 1876 Mr. Tripp had a severe illness and went to Maine for convalescence, returning late in the fall. He then took up the duties again and the commission had his valuable assistance in preparing the practice codes. So it comes about that the secretary worked first with one and then with another, and rarely with two members of the commission, the latter being upon special features reserved for such occasions. Thus it became necessary for the secretary to be fully posted upon the views, plans and even habits of thought of the different members, and to be able to make clear to one the special views of another when conflict might arise. Then the members met one another at times in the course of other duties and exchanged views and suggestions.
From the first the commission laid down a general plan, after careful consideration, including the contents and order of the codes and the principles that should govern the whole scheme. It was first resolved to completely revise and codify the entire body of the laws and make it a harmonious whole. To this end there would be a political code, a civil code, a code of civil procedure, a probate code, a justices code, criminal code and code of criminal procedure. It was resolved, as a matter of course, to change the general policy of the territory and county and local government as little as practicable and to be guided by the laws and precedents of the states from which our people and laws had been drawn, and to improve in system and completeness the good beginnings already made. The codes were to be a pleasing advance to the bar and the people, and not a surprise and radical change in any respect. There was a careful study of the session laws, seriatim, from the first, though the commission was already familiar with these. The laws were good in general, but more or less incomplete and somewhat motley in order, symmetry and fullness. All must necessarily comply with the requirements and be subject to the limitations of the organic act, which was our only constitution.
Judge Bennett and the secretary began the actual work upon the political code and took the discipline of experience together. He was a ready writer, a practical man, and had good general and legal facility of expression. The first section of the codes that was written was that making Yankton the scat of government (as it had been). There was a clause therein that might have had consideration by the makers of our state constitution, that the legislature should meet there unless called by the governor "to meet elsewhere in times of pestilence or public danger." We have every cause to hope that such a provision will never be needed. In 1875 Hon. John L. Jolley had secured the passage of a good measure on county government, and this was the basis for that chapter. So throughout the best elements or suggestions of acts were used and in each case developed into completeness. The legislatures had shown a preference for the New York codes. California had them in more complete form, modified to suit their tribunals and civil system. We had the report of the New York (Field) code commission upon the entire subject. There was much study and discussion toward a clear understanding of the whole subject, and upon some points, such as corporations, some differences, but all sessions and all final action were harmonious. While working with Judge Bennett, at Vermillion, upon the political code, the construction of the civil code was entered upon by the secretary, with Judges Shannon and Tripp at Yankton. Judge Bennett's method was to write out fully what he specially desired and to give clear notes and references to statutes of Dakota and the states to guide in other lines. Judge Shannon's method was to make notes and memoranda and to hand these to the secretary for his guidance, and occasionally he drew in full some sections or groups of sections on marriage and divorce, husband and wife, or upon railroads and minor matters. Thus, from the former incomplete code of Dakota, from the Field report in New York, California code and original work, grew the full civil code. Upon this the entire commission labored at times, and at others Judges Shannon and Bennett together, but on the whole Judge Bennett had more complete charge of the |political. the probate, the justice's and the code of civil procedure, while Judge Shannon had nearer full charge of the civil code, and all worked more together upon the procedure codes. Thus Judge Bennett dictated notes to me upon the probate code and I then wrote it out in full. In like manner, substantially, other work was done. Thus it all went forward and nearly up to January 9, 1887, when the legislature met. Miss Haskell, a member of Judge Tripp's family, completed the secretarial duties most satisfactorily. The entire commission was together much upon the practice codes, at the last, and upon the careful general repealing chapter, which must preserve personal and vested rights, continue all proceedings and he very careful not to repeal any of the early legislative divorces! Interesting points arose in all the work, and some provisions that appear so smooth and matter-of-course were not got into such shape without more than one effort. It was my own suggestion or work that certain exemptions, including the homestead, heirlooms, family Bible, etc., were made "absolute." This clause is or long was peculiar to South Dakota. It does not occur in the California or other codes, and it is worth noticing that in that state there are frequent contests over and loss of homesteads. We permit the owner to file a description of the homestead to specify it more particularly, but do not require it. In California the cases are numerous under their less definite statute. The statute prepared by Hon. G. C. Moody concerning the "head of the family" and cognate ideas was preserved exactly, because the people then understood it fully and were attached to its provisions. The people were sensitive upon ''exemptions" and other points, and these were treated with great care wherever they appeared. Hut within a year after the passage of the codes a California decision gave a new meaning to a section in their probate code that ours followed, and Hon. John R. Gamble secured an amendment to our law by the next legislature.
At the fall election I had been chosen a member of the house from Yankton county. It came about without self-seeking and cost me neither time nor money, as I was busy upon the codes at the time and understood the matter was looked after kindly by members of the commission and by members of the bar and other prominent citizens. When the legislature assembled, the question of the organization of the house was most prominent. Some friends had it in mind to elect me to the speakership, but at a consultation of many leading members it was by all agreed that it would be better to elect Hon. D. C. Hagle of Hutchinson county speaker, which was done, and he appointed me chairman of the judiciary committee. Mr. Theodore A. Kingsbury, a brother of Hon. Geo. W. Kingsbury, was elected and served as a most efficient chief clerk. It was thus made easy for the chairman of the judiciary committee to have a perfect understanding with the speaker and the chief clerk upon all matters of importance, and this was of much advantage toward the clean and complete work done by the legislature of 1877. Hon W. A. Burleigh was chosen president of the council and Major J. R. Hanson its secretary.
After the prompt organization of the two houses, the message of Governor Pennington was received, and he sent the manuscripts of the code to the house and they were all immediately referred to the judiciary committee. This committee was thus the center of interest for both bodies. Its members were honest, worthy and capable men. The great question for them and the house was: "Would the legislature take up and pass the entire codes, complete and systematic bodies of law, and refuse all special legislation and all amendments inimical to the harmony and efficiency of the codes as a whole." The excellent feeling from the first and the cordial agreement upon the organization were assurances to this happy end, and there was soon ample proof that the house was solid on this plan. It was composed almost wholly of sensible, capable and worthy men.
The judiciary committee insisted upon leaving affairs relating to the codes largely to its chairman, and after a few minutes' conversation would direct him to prepare the required reports and present them as "by the committee." Thus the responsibility centered and increased and no recommendation was ever challenged or its execution defeated. To get the house at work we at once introduced the probate code, and it was the first passed. The codes were not introduced as one entire bill, but one after another all were passed in good shape. By the general repealing act at the close all were made to take effect July 1 of that year, by which time they were printed in excellent form in one volume. Several of the bills for codes were printed so that all had copies. All must be read at length, though it ought in truth to be said that the chief clerk learned by private advice where he could skip without harm, and sometimes by unanimous consent the reading of parts was omitted, but nothing of special interest was ever omitted. Thus the house was kept busy throughout the session and often held long sittings, to secure progress; with practically every member present all the time. My seat was in the extreme right-rear of the chamber, and against the bar that separated the house from the public lobby in the rear. Then the whole house was before me in speaking and explaining features of the codes, and I was on my feet much of the time. But two or three minor amendments were made, and these were good ones. The house was not satisfied with the provisions concerning chattel mortgages, as the treatment of The subject was new and rather technical. After a few minutes debate the committee was directed to amend this feature and their report was adopted, originating the long familiar chattel mortgage law.
The house paid little attention to the council, which, having little to do, had some petty troubles of its own, but it took up and passed the bills, I believe, without amendment. There were many able men in the council and several of them, to my knowledge, watched our proceedings closely, carefully studied the codes, and were able to urge upon that body the wisdom of adopting them. There was more tendancy toward special legislation by that body, as at first the understanding was not so clear and specific on that matter as in the house. A sample will suffice, and it was the worst. Hon Judson La Moure of the Pembina district was a member of the council and had special and personal interests in view, as well as the faithful service of the public welfare. His most earnest desire was to secure the passage of a special and local act chartering a ferry across the Red River of the North at Pembina. He came to me about it and I told him that the codes by general law provided for all such cases. This would not do; his bill must be passed; it was very important; and he finally assured me that if I did not favor his measure I would suffer for it. He wished me to understand, very distinctly that it was an important thing to him and his friends, and if it was not passed I would hear from him unpleasantly. I carefully explained to him that the codes covered all such subjects by general laws, and that the house had decided that it would not enter upon the business of special legislation. His anger was somewhat marked and his expression firm and somewhat vigorous as he departed, resolving upon retaliation the rest of his days. This was all in private and was not reported to the house, but that body promptly killed his local bill. Excepting trifling points like the foregoing, the session passed most pleasantly, though the work for some was constant and hard. Whether from the Black Hills or elsewhere special legislation was denied, or, when necessary to define and organize new counties, it was made to conform to the codes. It was an excellent body of men and did its work thoroughly well and in a manner as clean and honorable as the best legislatures anywhere perform their duties. Those who like something lively could find little of interest in the daily grind and have made trifles important, but most things of this nature reported about that body the reader may set aside as having no foundation whatever. If the stories about other legislatures have no better foundation, then is my belief assured that they were generally honorable and useful representatives of the people. Certainly here was one body that I saw and knew well in its every act, and I know that it was a body that reflected credit on the territory, made an honorable page in our history, and that almost every member led a clean, decent and respectable life and performed his duty in a most commendable way. I do not believe that it was so much better than others of our early days, but I do know it was a credit to our history.
This work of the legislatures of 1875 and 1877, in making the "Revised Codes of 1877,'' performed a work of lasting usefulness. These laws added dignity to the territory, to the people and their tribunals. They were a great step forward, indicated the rise of a commonwealth of ideas and higher purpose, and led the way toward the golden age of Dakota accomplishment till, in 1885, the constitution of South Dakota was made at Sioux Falls. At the same time the Black Hills had been opened, public education was advanced and common public enterprise, civic pride and Dakota patriotism were promoted.
It is not the purpose of this paper to discuss public men and leaders generally, but only as they come into public events and under the light of movements of importance. Except Governor Jayne, I knew all the leaders in territorial affairs and most of them for a long time, and was on terms of personal friendship with most of them. Mr. Spink became a Democrat and later a Democratic candidate for delegate to congress, but this was his privilege and he appeared to be sincere, lie was an eloquent public speaker and an able advocate before juries. He was greatly esteemed personally by a large circle of friends, independent of politics. One August, I was engaged in land surveys about thirty miles north of Jamestown ; Mr. Spink's son was one of my chainmen. A man in a buggy drove up. asked for him and handed him a telegram. When Mr. Spink read it he uttered a shriek —"O-o-o-h!"—and immediately ran away from us. continuing for thirty or forty rods. We went after him, induced him to return, supplied him with money and he accompanied the messenger to Jamestown and went to Yankton by rail through St. Paul. Never have I met with a case where a son was so profoundly affected by the death of his father, who was to him the greatest and best of men. It affected him all his life.
Judge W. W. Brookings was not an able lawyer or judge, but was a very enterprising and active man of affairs, pushing private and speculative enterprises until his death a few months ago. The great credit given him in newspaper notices after that event for securing the railroad from Sioux City to Yankton in 1872, did not seem just. An unauthorized special session of the legislature was held, which passed an act to empower Yankton county to issue $200,000 in bonds as a subsidy for that road. The majority vote of the county supported the bonds and, after an act of congress validated the issue but changed the terms of the contract, the courts declared them null and void. Then the contract was adjusted in some way and the bonds were issued, delivered and sold. I did not vote for the issue of the bonds. While the need of a railroad was great and its advantages were marked and the people generally are not blameworthy in the matter, it all seems hardly an affair that reflects great honor upon any one, unless it were the people of Yankton county and city for the great sacrifice they made to develop all that region. The road did not serve Yankton interests except as they were decidedly its own, and in the usual way of railroad juggling it soon passed into the bands of one of the great corporations, a most useful part of a great system.
Dr. W. A. Burleigh spent considerable time in the territory of Montana, where he served as a member of its constitutional convention. We have seen that he was elected from Yankton county to the legislative council of 1877 and was chosen its president. When that body, very near the close of its session, when a bare quorum was present, unseated Mack and seated McHench of the Fargo district, Burleigh resigned the presidency. He had no other public stations. I have known but few, if any, that believed that he had profited by great frauds upon the Indians when agent of the Yanktons, or that he gained wealth by any means, or at alt. He had many close friends to his death, and in some way deserved them.
George H. Hand died as he had lived, loved and respected by all and his funeral was attended from all parts of South Dakota. He gave his long residence and hard labor to the public welfare and served the growing commonwealth most faithfully. Hon. John R. Gamble was a somewhat later leader, an able lawyer and a skilled politician, always a Republican. He supported Judge Bennett most vigorously in 1879, and long co-operated with Mr. Pettigrew and other leaders north and south. He was elected as a member of congress in 1891. but died before taking his seat. Mr. Gamble never took a part in the statehood movement, though he did not oppose it. In this respect he was in contrast with his younger brother, Senator Robert J. Gamble, who was a friend of the movement and of the plans to save the school lands. Closely associated with Dr. Joseph Ward, he was a supporter and officer of Yankton College and favored the best ideas in the whole movement of the people toward statehood. Senator G. C. Moody was a successful man. He had political opponents, but few personal enemies. He espoused the right cause if he could see it. From the first he was a friend of the statehood movement and became one of its leaders. Many have been the regrets that when chosen a United States senator in 1889 he die! not draw the long term, when the lot was cast, as the state would have then probably enjoyed the benefit of a long service by him as , senator. He was remarkable for keenness in the practice of law and never made a mistake in the record. A man of fine memory, he could dictate formal records, orders, findings, motions and all forms, processes, judgments and decrees with great readiness and accuracy. He and Hon. Bartlett Tripp were the leading lawyers of the territory, and when they met in a great case it was an occasion of interest. A steamboat had been chartered at St. Louis and ordered to Yankton for service of a big transportation company. It arrived, reported for duty and lay there long awaiting it, but was not used. It sued for $5,000 damage, with Mr. Tripp as its counsel and Judge Moody for the company. The trial was a battle of giants and every point was ably contested, in practice, in evidence and in rules of law. Judge Tripp won. Soon after Judge Moody was appointed as United States judge for the Black Hills district and then their battles ceased. Judge Shannon presided. Between him and Judge Tripp there was not the best of feeling always, but perfect courtesy. A steamer was sunk near Bon Homme island and the mate and crew claimed the large salvage they made. On the vital point Judge Shannon ruled against Mr. Tripp, who asked a little delay, went to his office and took up a cart load of text books and decisions which were piled high on the tables in the court room. Mr. Tripp read from them, one after another, elementary writers and court decisions, in his firm, decided tone, for an hour or two till finally Judge Shannon begged him to desist. Mr. Tripp told in brief how much more there was exactly to his point and expressed his desire to read them all, if there were any doubt whatever. Judge Shannon said there was not, and reversed his ruling and decided for Mr. Tripp. It was a ponderous exhibition of stern and confident power, and the mate and crew did not win. Judge Tripp is a man of great dignity of bearing and force of character. Other men will be mentioned in writing of later events.
Two Celebrated Cases
In 1873 I was engaged in public land surveys, running township lines, between Jamestown and Bismarck. At the time here spoken of, September 13th, our camp was considerably north of the railroad track. Rising early I was hauled in a wagon a few miles and walked the rest of the way to a siding seventeen miles west of Jamestown, where I caught the train cast. Buying a copy of the Bismarck Tribune, I saw in blazing head lines that Jay Cooke 107 had failed and that Secretary Ed. S. McCook had been mortally wounded by a pistol shot from P. P. Wintermute, a Yankton banker. Here was the panic of '73, later attributed to the "crime of 73," as the gold standard was called, that affected us all so seriously, and the homicide that has influenced hundreds of men ever since. The proceedings against Wintermute went on. He was promptly arrested and guarded, indicted for manslaughter at the October term, released on heavy bail, this indictment quashed in January, 1874, held in custody, indicted for murder in April and tried in May and, after three weeks of contest, convicted of manslaughter, which was reversed on appeal to the supreme court. A change of venue was then taken to Clay county, where, upon trial before a jury of that community, he was acquitted. The excitement in Yankton and the strong feeling previously existing between opposing factions there, which was greatly intensified by this event, caused the case to be reported everywhere. The prominence of the men, especially General McCook, led to newspaper discussion in remote cities. Thus it came about that the result of the final trial was criticised and reflections were cast upon South Dakota. The entire affair was most deplorable. Yet I have never heard any facts alleged or any serious and unbiased opinion expressed that reflected upon the integrity of the court or the Clay county jury before and by whom the acquittal was made. There is not and never has been in the territory or state a more reputable, law-abiding and justice loving citizenship than that of Clay county. Having heard the Yankton trial throughout, I must honestly state that I would have been satisfied with some degree of manslaughter, but can sec how a jury of integrity might acquit.
The other celebrated case is that of "Jack" McCall, hanged for the murder of "Wild Bill" Hickok in Deadwood in 1876. The court which had its seat at Yankton, Chief Justice Shannon presiding, had jurisdiction over all the region west of the Missouri till government and courts were established in the Black Hills. and Mr. Wm. A. round was United States attorney. The trial came on in 1877. McCall was convicted, and was executed under United States Marshal Burdick on the school section near where now stand the buildings of the hospital for the insane. Probably all was as it should have been: but the case has been made nearly as prominent in public annals as the Wintermute case, and the two have been written about more or less ever since by newspapers and historians, the repeated telling of the stories and the extreme importance given to the cases have been extravagent, to say the least, and have been so placed in the public mind as to cause a sort of belief that "of such were the territorial days generally." The fame of territory and state have suffered seriously and many of our present citizens express wonder that so bad a state of human society could exist. The fact is it did not exist. That two homicides of prominence occurred in twenty odd years in a new country, one in Yankton and one in the mining camp of earliest Deadwood, is not remarkable. The only cause for making them thus prominent should not be to proclaim the territory as lawless, but rather to show that they were so exceptional and unusual in a vast region whose inhabitants were so generally law abiding. That is the truth. One was acquitted, the other hanged. Conviction in both cases occurred in Yankton, but the first was set aside by as honorable a supreme court as we ever had, and acquittal followed in one of the best communities in the commonwealth. We decidedly object to giving bad repute to South Dakota under such circumstances. It is no more due than reputation for crime would be for the county of Union, one of the best in the state, from the first, because a considerable number of crimes have occurred down in that little corner, near Sioux City, between the Sioux and the Missouri. Both would be wholly unjust.
In a legal aspect both trials had points of interest. Leonard Swett of Chicago, the friend and associate of Abraham Lincoln "on the circuit" in their early days, was associated with Hon. Bartlett Tripp. Hon. G. C. Moody and others in Wintermute's defense. In my view Mr. Swett made his most effective speech in the opening. He prepared the minds of the jury for his later view of the case and in a large measure argued it before the evidence was submitted, not the case proper, but the theory. He read from celebrated self-defense cases and others showing that even if one party made the attack and then retreated while the other followed up and became the attacking party, the situation changed and the killing of the final assaulter was self-defense. It was probable in the minds of nearly all listeners to his opening that the verdict would not be for murder. This was the first case in South Dakota that an official stenographer was used; he came from Chicago. Before this, when Judge Barnes was impaneling a jury, I had. at his request, written in long hand the questions and answers, and in almost entire fullness, being then a very rapid writer. In the McCall trial it was essential to show that the homicide was within the judicial district. Jurisdiction must appear affirmatively. There were no surveys of any kind in the Black Hills. The boundary between Dakota and Wyoming had not been run and marked; was simply the twenty-seventh meridian west from Washington. The evidence had related to Dead wood and some neighboring points, none of them located. Oliver Shannon, Esq. was defendant's attorney and objected to some of this testimony, showing its kick of certainty and that no definite point was made or jurisdictional fact settled by any of it. This was an error of judgment. Had this point been saved till the case was closed and submitted to the jury, the point would have prevented conviction. But now Mr. Pound opened a new line, introduced the official publication of Custer's report of the expedition and the astronomical location of Bear Butte. Thus the men from the Black Hills were put on the stand, one after the other, to show how far Deadwood was from Bear Butte and many other facts that took the better part of a day. Jurisdiction was established, as it seemed it would not have been but for this objection. The only object, however, in mentioning these two cases is to declare that they were rare, exceptional and contrary to the whole tenor of events in Dakota; that they derive their prominence because of this, in large measure, and that Dakota had really all the time a law abiding population. the most so of any new territory.
The Grasshopper Plague
While a good degree of prosperity prevailed throughout the territory and plenteous harvests were falling before the sickle, and large numbers of new settlers were taking their free homesteads, the first grasshopper visitation began in August, 1874. The pests came in great clouds from the far northwest and settled down upon fields and gardens, which they soon destroyed. They would eat almost anything vegetable, would cut off the heads of wheat by eating the tender part of the stem just below, would strip the succulent corn of foliage and ears, and would eat onions down below the surface of the ground. The invasions affected Nebraska and Kansas even worse than Dakota, and northwest Iowa as far as Fort Dodge was almost devastated.
Mistaken courage and pride caused the people and public officers to believe that the damage was not overwhelming, that the settlers could pass through the crisis without great suffering and that cases of special suffering would be relieved by friends and relatives. But when a severe winter came upon them and fuel and food and clothing and comforts of every kind were lacking, and illness began to follow upon exposure and want, the need for help become manifest. It seems to one almost impossible that suffering from want, and almost famine in some instances, could ever have arisen in such counties as Yankton, Clay, Turner, Lincoln, Minnehaha or Moody, where abundance brings continual thanksgiving now, but it was too evident to disregard. Though in the fine autumn and even early winter the hopeful people did all in their power to prepare and save, when the heavy snows, the storms and cold of January came, the cry was heard for help. The people were largely in their first homes on the prairies, little houses and shanties, often with thatched roofs, and "dugouts" in the sides of hills, made of a few posts and covered with poles and brush and over all the earth as the warmest available covering. The virgin prairies were beautiful in the summer time, but while they supply food for animals, they furnish practically nothing for man. The buffaloes migrated from them in the autumn, the elk and deer went into the hills and timber away from man, and the antelopes died in great numbers when the snowfall was great. The soil was rich, as we all know, but it must be plowed and planted and there had been little time for this in the year or two only that many had been there, and the grassshoppers had taken the patches of grain and the gardens.
Then relief began to be sought individually and by neighborhood, or volunteer county agents. The governor, John L. Pennington, former Governor Newton Edmunds and others moved in the matter. The governor issued an appeal to the general public. A general relief association was formed, with former Governor Edmunds at its head, and Governor Pennington gave me a written commission to go east and gather relief in the rich centers. I had been over parts of the border region looking up the condition and personally knew the need. We had gone into the little homes of the people and had seen hunger and bare want, to most of which we were able to give but slight aid. Going across from Sioux Falls, irregularly, toward Yankton, consultations were held with leading men. In southern Turner county. I believe it was, though the precise spot is not recalled, Judge Shannon and I entered one of those "dugouts," built as above described. In the corner was a bed, the frame made of posts driven in the earth floor, and with ticking filled with straw for the bed. Upon it lay the wife and mother, too ill to rise. The father was clad in coarse, cheap clothes, patched and reinforced with pieces of sacks and scraps of old remnants, and upon his feet were shoes plaited of straw, reinforced with strings and diverse kinds of cords. The two children, scantily clad, were hovering over the stove, in which the fuel was hay or straw, watching hungrily their father prepare from a little milk and flour of some kind a dish that he hoped his thin and feeble wife might be able to eat. Judge Shannon was generous, and I helped a little. Such things we saw, and all degrees of need.
You know how it is apt to be in any such case. Not all people are unselfish ; possibly we are not always so. Some people would go out into the world and collect money and property in the name of charity, and there was lack of responsibility as well as inequality in its bestowal. I told the governor that I would go only upon the condition that mine was the sole general commission, and it was so made in its express terms. We wanted a sure basis of confidence for the public charity. Thus equipped, I went to Chicago, called upon Lyman J. Gage, then cashier of the First National Bank, who knew me, to find approach to some Chicago money. He first said that he believed he had not given enough himself, and handed me his check for $100. I asked him to make it to Newton Edmunds, which he did. Then Secretary Randolph of the board of trade was seen. After some discussion he called a meeting of the directors, who heard me about ten minutes and ordered an announcement to the open board and a collection. Mr. Randolph made the announcement, and in twenty minutes some $1,400 was paid in, which he remitted to Governor Edmunds. The next trip was to Lansing, Michigan, where Governor Bagley and some state senators contributed, and the governor gave me an open letter to the people of Michigan which was published in the Detroit papers. A public meeting was called by the mayor, in the opera house. Here was the liveliest time I met with. Four or five gentlemen were there from Nebraska and wanted everything. Nebraska was so much larger and more important than Dakota! I wanted equal chance, right and favor. The meeting was a big one, and representative. The Nebraska gentlemen were to speak and tried to monopolize the meeting. I readily agreed to speak last. They had their own time, and their dignity and smooth persuasion were great. I saw in the audience several whom I knew, two of my former professors in the law department of Michigan university and several classmates of the literary department. At last my time came, and the audience had remained. I felt as if the very future of Dakota was in my hands, as it was in my heart, and I spoke with all my power and judgment and feeling. Some cheers came at last, and a final triumph that was most enjoyable. Dakota got its share, and they remitted to Governor Edmunds. "This was the rule, not to touch the money, but to have it sent to the chairman. Indeed I had to get financial help personally from a classmate till I could "get money from home." A similar division was secured at Toledo, Ohio, and the trip was soon ended. I know nothing precise about the funds, but Governor Edmunds told me on my return that the remittances were about $4,600. Colonel Tom Brown of Sioux Falls had secured several hundred dollars, and in a thousand ways individuals secured help. It resulted that the suffering was relieved and seed grain was supplied to needy in the spring. These two or three years were a severe trial upon the young territory. There has been no other to compare with it. Considerable sickness was induced by the hard times, and the total of suffering can never be summed up. The people were marvelously brave, hopeful and loyal. They stayed by, and saved their homes. They were ready to do even all the good things they accomplished in later years. The territory never had a better people than those who faced this trial and won the victory tor themselves and for Dakota.
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