South Dakota Genealogy Trails

Bon Homme County, South Dakota



from "Dakota", Compiled by O. H. Holt, 1885

Transcribed by Karen Seeman

The county of Bon Homme lies in the southeastern part of Dakota, the State of Nebraska and the Missouri river forming its southern boundary. It comprises an area equal to about seventeen townships, or 618 square miles, equivalent to 391,680 acres.

The principal streams are Choteau, Emanuel and Snatch creek. There are several islands in the Missouri, at the south boundary, the principal one being Bon Homme island, which contains 2,000 acres.

The surface of the county is considerably diversified in consequence of the streams, and consists of bluffs, extensive bottom lands, and undulating prairie uplands.

Timber is quite plentiful along the water courses, and it is claimed that this county contains more timber than any other prairie county in the Territory.

The soil is similar to that of all the southern portion of Dakota, consisting of a rich, black loam which produces the usual grain crops and vegetables in great profusion. The bottom lands offer excellent pasturage, and stock raising is an important and profitable industry.

The county was organized in 1862, and has ever since experienced a steady and prosperous growth.

The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway runs south and southwest through the central part.

Scotland is the most important town in Bon Homme county. It is situated in the northeastern part, on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway; was first settled in 1880, and now contains a population of 1,000, three fine schools, eight churches, a tow mill and a jail.

Bon Homme, Springfield, Tyndall, Tabor and Running Water are growing villages, and promise to become important towns.

HISTORY OF Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Growth,

Sioux City Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881

Transcribed by Karen Seeman


The townsite of Bon Homme is about one mile square. The land was originally granted by the Government to Zephyr Rencontre, a Frenchman, who came up the Missouri River about seventy years ago, at which time he was but fifteen years of age, and who died about two years ago.

Bon Homme was incorporated in 1867, but the incorporation fell through in consequence of lack of attention to the elections. In the autumn of 1876, N. G. Cogan started a small paper at Bon Homme under the name of the Bon Homme County Democrat. After publishing it for eight months, he enlarged the paper and
changed the name to the Dakota Citizen, which latter was published by him as an independent paper. In February, 1880, he moved his office and material to Scotland, this county, where he continued to publish it for a year and a half, when he sold the establishment to the present publishing firm.

Bon Homme has one church edifice, and several church denominations, who hold services in the school house and Court House.  There is a good school house, and a large attendance of pupils.  School is taught about nine months in the year.

The first Postmistress was Mrs. Francis Rounds; the first wedding occurred in 1860, a Mr. Grant and Miss Hattie E. Bradford being the contracting parties; the first birth was in the family of Mr. Grant in 1862 - Miss Emma Grant, now residing at Bon Homme; the first death was that of Mr. Grant. There are two stores, two hotels, a blacksmith shop, a church and school house in Bon Homme, and also-by way of parenthesis'a jail.

Among the attractions of the place are its beautiful scenery and location. The town lies about eighty feet above the Missouri. Opposite the town is Bon Homme Island, covered with an immense forest of about 4,000 acres. This Island is now being used by Charles N. McCollum, who has an extensive wood-yard, and is engaged extensively in the stock-raising business. Many others have live stock on this Island. Cattle live there all winter without hay, and are always in good condition in the spring.

HISTORY OF Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Growth,

Sioux City Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881

Transcribed by Karen Seeman


The name for this thriving town, was proposed by Gen. Charles T. Campbell, from the fact that he, with three other families of the early settlers, were of Scottish derivation. The names of those who were on the ground at the time the town was named, are: Joseph Gunn, John Gunn, Mrs. Hugh Gunn, and Charles Sanborn.  Gen. Campbell was the first settler on Dawson Creek, on the old Firesteel Road to Yankton, and came in June, 1871. This location subsequently became the townsite of Scotland. Next came John Stafford and his four sons, with their families. These last families came in 1872, from Canada. About one hundred Canadian families came during the next year or two. The members of the Russian settlement came in 1873.

Scotland was platted by the Railroad Company, Gen. Campbell and John  Stafford donating eighty acres of land for the townsite. The town was incorporated in March, 1881, by an act of the Legislative Assembly. The first locomotive of the C, M. & St. P. Railroad Company arrived at Scotland in  November, 1881. The Company is now grading a road from Yankton to Scotland. The prospects are that the C. & N. W. Railroad Company, in their survey from LeMars, will make a crossing at Scotland.

The first town officers were: Trustees: J. Brinkerhoff, President; Charles Max, H. A. Reeves, W. V. Williams, Martin Hofer. Treasurer: George Josman. Clerk: William A. Robinson. Marshal: John Clark. The population of Scotland is about 600. It is located on section 8, town 96, range 58, in the northeast corner of Bon Homme County.

The staple articles of shipment are cattle, flax, wool and wheat.  It is estimated that $100,000 worth of wool, and 150,000 bushels of flax have been shipped from Scotland during the current year. The average shipment of flax per day from Scotland, during the months of September and October, was 2,000 bushels. It is generally conceded that Scotland is destined to become one of the great wool
markets of the West.

The soil is a black loam, a little sandy, and from two to four feet in depth. It presents to the eye an undulating appearance just right for good drainage. The uplands produce the " blue joint red top " and bunch grass in abundance. This portion of the county is well watered, there being streams every few miles, emptying themselves into the James River. The only timber, which is a scarce article, is along the James River. Wood for fuel is obtained from the Missouri River, which is distant eighteen miles.

A flouring mill, three miles below Scotland, on the James River, is owned by Maxwell & Parmenter, and has three run of stone, with the improved machinery for turning out the patent flour.

The first postoffice was established at the old village in 1872, with Charles Sanborn as Postmaster. Gen Campbell at that time controlled the mail routes between Yankton and Firesteel.

Mention of the establishment of the Dakota Citizen at Scotland, and its removal from Bon Homme, by A. J. Cogan, editor and proprietor, is made in the account of Bon Homme. The paper is Democratic in politics, is a seven-column quarto, and has a .circulation of about 300.

The first store was established in 1873, in the old village, by John Stafford; in the spring of 1872, the first hotel - the Campbell House - was completed and opened to the public, with Gen. Campbell as proprietor.

The first school was begun in 1874, in the room over John Stafford's store, with Wesley Douglas as teacher, and with an attendance of forty pupils. In 1876, a school house was built by subscription, at a cost of $500, and was also used as a church. The present school building was erected in August, 1881. and cost $2,000. Bonds running ten years were issued in payment. It is a frame building, of two stories, 50 by 30 feet in dimensions, with two departments.   Mrs. Dollard is the Principal.

There are two church buildings, erected by the Presbyterians and the Methodists. The Catholics, Lutherans and Evangelists are about to erect edifices.

The Presbyterian Society was organized by Revs. A. K. Baird and M E. Chapin in October, 1879. Services were at first held in the M. E. Church. Their present church edifice was completed during the present year. It is a frame building, cost about $2,000, and was dedicated July 17th of the current year, Rev. W. S. Peterson preaching the dedicatory sermon. Its membership is about twenty. The first officers of the Society were: Elders: James Gibbon, Thomas Thyme. Trustees: Christian Shautz, William Hebbert, George Gunn.   Rev. H. P. Carson is the pastor. The Methodist Episcopal Society was organized in 1876, with Rev. Mr. Cook as the pastor. The building is 40 by 22 feet in dimensions, is of chalkstone, cost about $500, and was erected in 1876.   Rev. Mr. Pearce is the present pastor.

The Scotland Brass Band dates its organization from March of the present year.   Prof. Geo. L. Rice is the Leader.   There are eleven members in all.


President: J. Brinkerhoff.

Trustees: Charles Max, H. A. Reeves, W. V. Williams, Martin Hofer.
Treasurer: George Josmann.
Clerk: William A. Robinson.


Attorneys: Andrew J. Faulk, Jr., Robert Dolland.

Agricultural Machinery: Foskett and Reeves, Chaldek Brothers, Alfred Brown.
Banks: Gale and Bogert.

Blacksmiths: M. M. Boyles, Beyerle and Wiedenbach; John Stickle.
Boots and Shoes: George Josmann.
Barber: O. L. Ogden, Edward Fellen, Henry Fix. John Clark, George Musslemann.
Druggist: J. F. Weber.
Furniture: John Esaack, Edward Fallen.

General Merchants: A. W. Lavender, Martin Hofer, Stafford and Williams, Henry Sieler, Frederick Becker, Jacob Kusler.
Grain Dealers: W. H. Curtis, B. F. Wise, Alfred Brown.
Hotels: Campbell House, Scotland Hotel.
Hardware: Foskett and Reeves, Landman and Schmierer.
Harness and Saddles: J. M. Fogarty.
Livery: J. Brinkerhoff.

Meat Market: John Schliesmann, James Hanscot.

Newspapers.-The Dakota Citizen, with A. J. Cogan as editor and proprietor.

Physicians: Dr. Munn, Dr. Cartwright.

Saloons: Martin Hofer, George Linley, George Steagr.

Shoemaker: Anton Arens.

HISTORY OF Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Growth,

Sioux City Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881

Transcribed by Karen Seeman


Springfield was founded by John A. Burbank, at that time Governor of Dakota. The town was organized in 1869. The first house was built in the summer of 1870 by Luman N. Judd, who was then Register of the Land Office, the building being used as an office. The first settlers were: Luman N. Judd, Ogden Marsh, John L. Turner, Isaac Hawthorne, William Emmons, John A. Lee, George Lee, Philip Stimal, Nathan McDaniels, J. E. Russell, Samuel Henderson and George Snow, who came in 1870. In 1871, the following persons came: L. D. F. Poore, George Mead, Clark Rowe, I.; James, A. F. McAuley, Michael Griffin, E. W. Wall, R. T. Wood, B. H. Wood, and others.

The town was platted by John A. Burbank, in 1869. He purchased one hundred and sixty acres, for the townsite, of John A. Lee and George Lee. Springfield was incorporated in the winter of 1879, by an act of the Legislative Assembly. The first town officers were: Mayor: John L. Turner. Aldermen: George Hefner, James Stephens, Mr. Van Curren. Clerk: Fred. Gassmann. Treasurer: A. T. Stillie. Justice of the Peace: A. T. Bridgman. Marshal: Charles Klemine.

Springfield was incorporated by the County Commissioners in 1872. In 1876, this action was decided to be illegal, and consequently all official business that had been transacted in pursuance thereof, was null and void.

The C., M. & St. P. Railroad was built to Springfield in 1879, the first train arriving at that point in the autumn of that year. The population of Springfield is about 300. The town is located on the southeast part of section 23, the northeast part of section 26, and in part of section 24, township 93, range 60.

The first postoffice in this neighborhood was established at Emanuel Creek, two and one-half miles north of the present town. Nathan McDaniels was Postmaster. The present Postmaster of Springfield is Michael Griffin. The postoffice was removed from Emanuel Creek to Springfield in 1870, when John L. Turner became Postmaster.

The first school house was built in 1872, and cost about $400. It was 18x34 feet in dimensions. The first teacher was Miss Volverton. The present school house was built in 1879, is a brick structure, and cost $3,000. It is a large and handsome building, and has two departments. It is now being used as a Territorial Normal School, with Prof. Critchett as Principal, Misses Robb and Seccombe, Assistants.

The ground has already been secured, and paid for by subscription, upon which to erect a Territorial Normal School building, in pursuance of the provisions of a recent Legislative enactment. It is scarcely necessary to add that the citizens of Springfield are now earnestly in favor of the "old flag and an appropriation."

The district school is now held in a building rented for that purpose, which it is expected to use until the Normal School building is  erected, when the district school will be moved back to its old quarters.

The first store in Springfield was started in 1870, by John L. Turner, in one of Ogden Marsh's buildings, with a stock of goods invoicing from fifty to sixty dollars,which business has since developed into great dimensions, and is one of the leading establishments of Southeastern Dakota. The firm name now is Bonesteel & Turner. William Emerson started the International Hotel in 1870.

The first death to occur in Springfield was that of Ogden Marsh in 1872; the first marriage, A. P. McAuley and Mary Griffin, in 1873, at the residence of Michael Griffin, Rev. Father Sommereisen, of Yankton, officiating; the first birth, a daughter born to Ogden Marsh and wife, in 1871.

Samuel Henderson, of Wisconsin, started a saw mill at Springfield in 1870, and sawed the first lumber that was sawed in Bon Homme County.

The Congregational Society was organized by Rev. Stewart Sheldon, of Yankton, November 4th, 1881, with a membership of seven. Services were held in the school house until the Society purchased their present church edifice, which is worth probably from $1,000 to $1,200. The dimensions of the building are 24 by 36 feet. Rev. T. M. Binks was the first pastor. He was succeeded by Rev. Mr. Kirk; the order of succession to the pastorate thereafter being: Rev. C. L. Hall, Rev. J. C. Beekman, Rev. Charles Seccombe. The first officers were:    Deacon: Samuel Hitchcock. Clerk: H. J. Smith. Treasurer: Ira J. Smith.   Trustees: Samuel Hitchcock, George Owens, Ira J. Smith.   Present officers:   Deacon: Samuel Hitchcock. Clerk: Ira J. Smith. Treasurer: John Fry. Trustees: Samuel Hitchcock, W. W. Benedict, John Fry.

St. Stephen's Catholic Society was organized in 1880, with a membership of about fifty. Services were at first held at the residence of Michael Griffin. Their church building was erected in 1880, at a cost of $2,000, and is 50 by 30 feet in dimensions. A presbytery is to be erected on the church lot -during the coming spring. This church was built by subscription in the spirit of undenominational liberality. Rev. Father A. Carolan was the first pastor, and was succeeded by Rev. Father Daniel Vincent Collins, the present incumbent, who is using efficient energy in behalf of his promising Society.


The Springfield Times was established July 27, 1871, with L. D. F. Poore as editor and proprietor. It was a six-column folio, and its publication was continued under this management until June of the present year, when the paper was purchased by John Todd, who is now the editor and proprietor. The paper was changed in August, 1878, to a six-column quarto. It is Republican in politics, and has a circulation of 450.

The Yankton and Ft. Sully Telegraph Line wag completed to and beyond Springfield during the year 1871, and was contracted through to the point of destination, Ft. Sully. As soon as completed, the line was put in operation. The first office this side of Yankton was established at Springfield, in the office of Dr. Agersborg, and under his charge.

Hope School was organized in 1879, by the Episcopalians, under the care of W. H. Hare, Biship of Niobrara, Neb. There are twenty-six young Indians in process of instruction at this institution. Two teachers are employed. Hope School is held in the building which was formerly the International Hotel. All the common branches are taught. It derives its support from the School Mission, which even furnishes clothing, and is doing a a-good work, the pupils making remarkable progress. Mount Zion Lodge No. 6, A. F. & A. M., was instituted in 1876, with seven charter members, as follows: J. L. Turner, Daniel Niles, D. E. Wood, D. H. Wood, A. T. McAuley, George Mead, Edwin Benedict.    The Lodge now occupies Masonic Hall, a commodious room, handsomely carpeted and furnished. The Lodge contemplates the erection of a brick building, to cost $2,000. Its first officers were: B. E. Wood, W. M.; J. L. Turner, S. W.; Daniel Niles, J. W.; George Mead, Secretary; A. F. McAuley, Treasurer. Present officers: C. T. McCoy, W. M.; M. H. Day, S. W.; T. Alexander, J. W.; G. W. Snow, Treasurer; F. W. Gasmann, Secretary. The membership is fifty-five. Meetings are held Tuesday evenings of each month, on or before the full of the moon.

Springfield Lodge No. 7, I. O. O. F., was instituted December 11th, 1875. Charter members: L. D. F. Poore, Thomas B. Eagle, H. A. James, B. R. VanCurren, John Petre, Edward F. Bushnell, F. W. Sutliff, Geo. W. Snow. First officers: Thomas B. Eagle, N. G.; Geo. W. Snow, V. G.; E. L. Bushnell, Secretary; H. A. James, Treasurer. Present officers: J. W. Armstrong, N. G.; B. R. VanCurren, V. G.; J. H. Stephens, R. S.; H. A. James, F. S.; M. H. Day, Treasurer. The membership is about thirty-seven. Meetings are held in Bushnell's Hall, which was purchased by the Lodge about one year ago.



Mayor -John Turner.

Aldermen - George Hefner, James Stephens, V. R. Van Curren.

Clerk - Fred. Gassmann.

Treasurer - A. T. Stillie.

Marshal - Charles Klemme.

Justice of the Peace - A. T. Bridgman.



Attorneys - George W. Sterling, P. A. Saunders.

Agricultural Implements - Covell and Grant, Bonesteel and Turner, Geo. Hefner, Griffith and Taylor.
Blacksmith - V. R. VanCurren.
Carpenter - James C. Hutton.
Collection and Loan Agency - J. C. Klemme.
Druggists - Bonesteel and Turner, Dr. Charles Carlin.
Dray age - John Brown.
Grocer - E. W. Monfore.
Grain Dealers - Bonesteel and Turner.

General Merchants - Bonesteel and Turner, L. Schnerdtmann, J. Jungermann.

Hotels - Baskin House, James H. Baskin; Springfield House, Mrs. M. E. Love.
Hardware - Griffith and Taylor, George Hefner.
Harness and Saddles - James H. Stevens.
Insurance - Sterling and Klemme.
Lumber - Rockwell and Morgan.

Livery - Fred. Culver.

Meat Market - Robert Cowgill, Joseph Robson.
Millinery - Mrs. H. A. James.

Newspaper - Springfield Times, John Todd, Editor and Proprietor.

Physicians - James L. Camp, Charles Carlin.

Postmaster - Michael Griffin.

Shoemaker - Fred. J. Smith.

Saloons - James E. Russell, A. F. McAuley.

Tinner - John Fry.


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