South Dakota




Butts, Milton Wallace

Eccles, John Crawford

Payne, E. D.





History of Dakota Territory, George W. Kingsbury, Vol. 4, 1915

One of the prominent and successful business men of Belle Fourche is Milton Wallace Butts, who is a dealer in ice, coal and fuel and also conducts a livery and transfer business. He was born in Linn county, Kansas, October 2, 1881, a son of Milton Wallace and Cynthia A. (Dunham) Butts, natives of New York and Ohio respectively. The father emigrated from New York to Illinois and thence to Indiana, where his marriage occurred. He later removed to Kansas and in 1862 went to Cerro Gordo county, Iowa, where he followed agricultural pursuits during the remainder of his life, passing away in 1902, eight years after the death of his wife, who died in 1894.

Milton Wallace Butts was the fourth in order of birth in a family of five children and his educational opportunities were those afforded by the schools of Cerro Gordo county, Iowa. When but seventeen years of age he began farming rented land in Iowa, being so occupied until twenty-one, when he removed to St. Onge, South Dakota. He worked for others for a few years upon farms and was then employed in Belle Fourche for a year. Following that he was on the range for two years and then engaged in the transfer business in Belle Fourche until 1896. In that year he was elected sheriff, but after serving for a year joined the rush to the Alaskan gold fields, spending two years at Dawson City and three years at Cape Nome. Although his mining ventures did not prove a financial success, he has never regretted going and can never forget his many experiences in the far north. He went from Dawson City to Cape Nome, a distance by trail of over eighteen hundred miles, with a dog team, leaving the former place on the 16th of February and arriving at Cape Nome on the 2d of April.

Upon leaving Alaska Mr. Butts returned to Belle Fourche and engaged in the transfer and livery business. For some time he had from fifteen to twenty-five driving teams but of later years has kept but six driving teams, while he uses from six to eight teams in the transfer business. He also deals in ice, coal and fuel, which is proving a profitable venture. Mr. Butts and his partner own a whole block of valuable city property, including their livery and transfer barns, but the ice houses, storehouses, coal sheds, etc., are located elsewhere.

Mr. Butts was married in June, 1904, to Miss Pearl Helm, a native of Mitchell county, Iowa. Her parents, William and Keziah (Davis) Helm, were both born in Wisconsin, whence they removed to Iowa, spending the remainder of their lives in that state. The mother died in 1903 and the father in 1914. Mr. and Mrs. Butts have a son, Wallace, whose natal day was June 20, 1908.

Mr. Butts is a democrat and, as before stated, was elected sheriff of Butte county in 1S96 but resigned in 1897 to go to Alaska. For three terms he has been a member of the city council of Belle Fourche and casts his vote for many measures that have proved of value to his municipality. He belongs to the Masonic order, holding membership in all of the Scottish Kite bodies from the blue lodge to the consistory and having also crossed the sands of the desert with the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. He is likewise identified with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and not only in the organizations named but also in business and social circles is highly respected and esteemed.

"History of Dakota Territory" George W. Kingsbury, 1915


John Crawford Eccles is well known to the hardware trade throughout the state of South Dakota as he has one of the leading stores of the kind in the state and is the largest shipper along that line in the Black Hills district. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, August 27, 1859, a son of-James and Margaret Claffy) Eccles, both of whom were natives of Pennsylvania. The father, who was a merchant tailor, emigrated with his family from the Keystone state to Michigan, where he continued in business, and both he and his wife passed away in the Wolverine state.

Mr. Eccles of this review is the sixth in a family of eight children and was reared under the parental roof. He attended school first at Battle Creek, Michigan, and later at Tecumseh and Charlotte, that state. In 188I he came to South Dakota and located in Deadwood, where he was employed by the Starr & Bullock Company in their hardware
department. After one year in their employ he was taken into the firm, which became Starr. Bullock & Eccles. They opened the first hardware store in Sturgis and Mr. Eccles continued in charge of that establishment until 189C or 1897, when he sold his interest in the firm and went to Juneau, Alaska, where he bought a stock of men's furnishings at a bankrupt sale and conducted business for about six months. On disposing of his interests there, he returned to Deadwood, South Dakota, and entered the employ of Avers & Company, dealers in hardware, with whom he remained for seven years. At the expiration of that period he removed to Belle Fourche and purchased the Mortimer & Cock Hardware Company's stock. This was in 1904 and in the intervening years he has been most successful in the conduct of his business and now carries the largest stock of hardware in western South Dakota and the largest stock of wire in any state. His business occupies two floors in the main store and he also uses three large warehouses. He is recognized as the largest hardware shipper in the hills. His success is founded upon those unchanging principles of business which must be the basis of enduring prosperity, namely, knowledge of the stock
carried, honesty in all transactions and never-failing courtesy. He carries a full line of paints, oils, shelf and heavy hardware, farm implements, wagons, buggies and wire fencing of all kinds. In addition to his large retail trade he does an extensive jobbing business.

Mr. Eccles was married January o, 18S7, to Miss Elizabeth Maria Ash, a native of Yankton, South Dakota, and a daughter of Henry Clay and Mary Culver (Reynolds) Ash, the former born in Allegany county, Maryland, on Christmas Day, 1827, and the latter in Ohio in 1830. The mother died January 23, 1905, in Yankton, and the father passed away in Sturgis, February 12, 1909. He was a charter member of the first Masonic lodge established in Dakota territory, which was located at Yankton, and was well known in the Masonic fraternity. He and his wife were the parents of five children: Benjamin Cowdin, who resides near Faith, South Dakota, and operates an extensive stock ranch, while his family live in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Julia, the wife of Charles Bates, of Yankton; Harry Clay, who was born in 1858 and died July 25, 1904, in Colorado, where he had gone for his health, which had become impaired while he was .prospecting in Alaska; William Bartlett, a resident of San Diego. California, where he is engaged in the real-estate and loan business; and Mrs. Eccles.

Mr. and Mrs. Eccles have four children. John Crawford, Jr., born May 25, 1889, is associated with his father in the hardware business. He married Miss Katherine Pearson, a native of Missouri, who was brought to Belle Fouche by her parents when but an infant. A daughter. Anna Elizabeth, has been born to this marriage, her natal day being June 25, 1914. The second son, Marston Ash, was born November 8, 1891, and married Miss Ethel Hall, a native of Belle Fourche. He is also associated with his father in the hardware business. Charles Bates, whose birth occurred June 7, 1893, is operating a two thousand acre stock ranch in Montana which is owned by Eccles &. Sons. Although the ranch is in Montana the postoflice is Boise, Idaho. Mary Margaret, the only daughter, was born June 4, 1S95, and is the wife of Lynn Chunning, cashier of the State Bank of Baker, Montana.

Mr. Eccles is a democrat but has been too busy with his business affairs to hold office. He is identified with the Knights of Pythias and the Modern Woodmen of America and in those organizations has made many friends, while he holds the respect and esteem of his fellow citizens, who recognize the fact that his financial success has been won by superior business ability and tireless energy and that it has not been gained by taking advantage of others.

History of Dakota Territory George W. Kingsbury, Vol. 4, 1915

E. D. Payne is the president and founder of the J. C. Elliott Company, a wholesale and retail mercantile business conducted at Lemmon. This is one of the important commercial enterprises of the western part of the state and the energy, insight and ability which E. D. Payne displays in the conduct of his interests mark him as a valued citizen. He was born in Berlin, Wisconsin, December 15, 1863, a son of Ansyl F. and Julia A. (Palmer) Payne, both natives of Indiana, where they were reared and married. Subsequently they removed to Wisconsin and in 1871 went to Nebraska, where they spent their remaining days upon A farm.

E. D. Payne was educated in the common schools and remained at home until his sixteenth vear, when he became a wage earner, working with the surveying crew of the Union Pacific Railroad, which was being built from Columbus to Fullerton and thence to Cedar Rapids, Nebraska. Mr. Payne was engaged on the survey of this section and subsequently became identified with the livery business at North Loup, Nebraska, where he continued for a year or more. He then went to the northwestern part of the stale and afterward he and his employer established a livery business in Hemingford, Nebraska, where he continued until 1888, when he opened a lumberyard at Alliance, that state. He was prominently identified with various business enterprises there until 1897, when he came to South Dakota, settling at Lead, where he became very actively and helpfully connected with important business interests of the town as a member of the W. H. Dacy Grocery Company, with which he was connected for six years. He next removed to a ranch south of Grand River, in what was then Butte but is now Perkins county, and engaged in the cattle business for four years. When the railroad was built through the county and the town of Lemmon was established, he erected the first building on the site and opened the first general mercantile store. J. C. Elliott was in his employ and subsequently became connected with Mr. Payne in incorporating the business, the latter becoming president of the company, with Mr. Elliott as the secretary and treasurer and business manager. This is one of the most important commercial interests of the western part of the state, business being conducted along both wholesale and retail lines, their constantly growing trade now covering a wide territory. Mr. Payne is also identified with the I. T. Skiles Lumber &, Mercantile Company, operating at Lemmon and at Chance, South Dakota, and was formerly connected with a mercantile house at Meadow, South Dakota, but disposed of his interest there in 1903. He now has extensive land holdings in Perkins county and the importance of his business connections places him with the foremost men of the town.

In 1897 Mr. Payne was united in marriage to Miss Bessie Beckwell, of Alliance, Nebraska. They occupy an enviable position in social circles and theirs is a hospitable home, its good cheer being enjoyed by many friends. Each change which Mr. Payne has made in his business connections has marked a forward step in his career. His entire course has been characterized by an orderly progression, resulting from the wise utilization of his time, talents and opportunities, and he is today standing in the foremost rank of the business men of Perkins county.



Copyright © Genealogy Trails with Full Rights Reserved for Original Contributors