South Dakota Genealogy Trails

Clark County, South Dakota

County History

Dakota 1885
Compiled by O. H. Holt

Clark county embraces thirty-three townships and is forty-eight miles from north to south by twenty-four from east to west.

Throughout the county the settler can find land of almost any description. There is the undulating prairie, interspersed with natural meadow, well adapted for mixed farming, in the eastern part. Through the centre run the "Coteaus," forming the divide between the great valleys of the Big Sionx on the east and the James river on the west, and making one of the best locations in the country for sheep and cattle ranges, while on the west stretch the magnificent wheat fields of the "Jim River Valley."

The soil is similar to that in other counties in this part of Dakota, being a sandy loam from one to three feet deep, with a subsoil of yellow clay mixed with small lime pebbles. It is a soil that is well adapted to the raising of both the large and small grains.

The county is one of the best watered in the Territory, having a large number of small, beautiful lakes scattered through the eastern and central part the west is well watered by the numerous streams that have their rise in the range of hills that traverse it from north to south. In the northern part are numerous lakes. In the southern part are Willow, Antelope and others. These lakes, though not very large, have clear, sweet water, and are "gems."

The Chicago & North-Western Railway runs through the county, from east to west, nearly in the centre, and affords rapid and easy connection with the rest of the world, both east and west.

All branches of farming are being carried on in the county, among them that of stock raising is taking a very prominent part and with the greatest success.

The town of Clark is the county seat of Clark county: it was laid out in 1882 and has exhibited a wonderful growth. It has two chnrch buildings, belonging to the Congregational and Methodist denominations, a splendid graded school, three hotels, two newspapers, two banks, two lumberyards and two grain elevators. Other branches of business are well represented.

The town is within a mile of the geographical centre of the county, on the Winona & St. Peter branch of the Chicago & North-Western Railway. Raymond and Elrod, both on the line of the railroad, are steadily growing towns.

HISTORY OF Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Growth,
Sioux City Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881

transcribed by Karen Seeman


West of the populous county of Codington is the rich and fertile county of Clark. Among the first settlers, if not the first settler, was John Bailey, who located in the northern part of the county in 1878. The first persons to take land about the County Seat, were M. V. B. Hutchinson, Frank Hoskins, S. J. Conklin, and Mrs. M. E. Greenslet, who located land on the same day in September, 1879. Clark is the County Seat of Clark County, and is located on section 6, town 116, range 57. The county was organized May 23d, 1881. The officers appointed were: Commissioners: M. V. B. Hutchinson, John Bailey, James Hosraer. Sheriff: Mervin Wait. Register of Deeds: J. A. Williams. Treasurer: R. W. Day. Judge of Probate: S. J. Conklin. Superintendent of Schools: Walter Hern. Assessor: David Hern. Surveyor'S. Yeomans. Justices of the Peace'S. G. Updyke, William M. Tripp. Clerk of the Court: E. F. Conklin. The extension of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad from Watertown is already graded as far as the County Seat of Clark County. The description of the nature and character of the soil, applied to the counties generally in Southeastern Dakota, applies equally to Clark County.


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