South Dakota

Clay County, South Dakota


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Who's Who in South Dakota, Vol. 2
By O. W. Coursey
Educator School Supply Co., Publisher, 1916
Transcribed and contributed by Jim Dezotell



"Politics in this country has gotten to be one continuous performance," said A. F. Allen, managing editor of the Sioux City Journal, to the writer, not long since. Yes, the "performance" is continuous, because the performers are so numerous and the occasions are so continuous.

One of the strong men of the state who got caught in the whirlpool of politics in his younger days, and kept on "playing the game" until he landed in the United States senate, is Dean Thomas Sterling of Redfield, now of Vermillion.


Ohio, in addition to being the "mother of presidents," is also the mother of many other prominent men. That state gave birth to Senator Sterling, February 21, 1851. He was, therefore, a lad of 14 when Lincoln's tragic death occurred. His father was Scotch-Irish, his mother German. It is from this mixture of bloods that many of our best citizens have been developed.

When "Tom" was four years of age, his parents removed with him to McLean county, Illinois, and settled on a farm near LeRoy. Here the boy grew to manhood, doing the heaviest kind of labor. His parents were poor and he received very little early schooling. Finally his latter teens were upon him. He yearned for an education. An old friend of the family told us recently that when he started off to school at Illinois Wesleyan, his father took him to town on a load of brooms which they had made from broom corn raised on their own farm; sold it, spent the money for some books for the lad and gave him the balance of the cash - a little over a dollar. It was therefore up to him to make his own way through school. The room he secured did not have in it a single piece of furniture. It's only equipment was a small woodstove. He did his own cooking, sat on a box, used a box for a table and the floor for a bed. Out of these surroundings, seasoned with a sturdy determination, came forth the man who was afterwards to be a United States senator; and up from the same conditions, slightly improved, rose his distinguished brother, John A., who is today a member of congress from Illinois. It is not only a strange, but a commendable incident, that two brothers should be members at the same time of the two branches of the greatest legislative body on earth.


Senator Sterling was admitted to the bar at Springfield, Ill., in 1878. During the years of 1880-81, he served as city attorney at Springfield. But in 1882, he came west and settled at Northville, Spink county, this state, where he took up the practice of his profession. After a couple of years he moved to Redfield. He served as state's attorney for Spink county in 1886-87; was a member of the constitutional conventions of 1883 and 1889, and was the first state senator from Spink county. He was made chairman of the judiciary committee, and as such he rendered invaluable service to our young state which had just been admitted to the union.


Senator Sterling was recognized as one of the leading members of the bar of the State long before he went to Vermillion to take charge of the law department there. Whenever an important case was on for trial in his county (Spink) he was usually found in the case on one side or the other.

One of the most important civil cases ever tried in Spink county was the case of Bopp vs. C. & N. W. Ry. Co. In this case Agnes Bopp brought suit for damages against the Railway Company for the death of her husband in an accident that occurred in a wreck between Aberdeen and Redfield. The deceased was a young man of rare attainments and drawing a good salary from the Cary Safe Co. At that time the amount of recovery for death by wrongful act was not limited by statute, and suit was brought for $75,000 damages. The case was fiercely contested. Senator Sterling conducted the prosecution, but the defendant was ably represented by Senator Coe I. Crawford and A. W. Burtt of Huron with local attorneys at Redfield. The case occupied eight days in trial. In closing the case Senator Sterling made one of the most effective pleas ever heard in the Court room. The room was packed, and as Senator Sterling proceeded in his masterly argument the silence of the audience was impressive. At the conclusion of his argument an attorney from Wisconsin who was present in the Court room came forward and said with tears in his eyes, "Mr. Sterling, I have heard Spooner and I have heard Vilas, and I have heard some of the best arguments ever heard in the Courts of my State, but I have never heard a more effective plea than the one you have just delivered." The jury was out but a short time and returned a verdict of $30,000 in favor of the plaintiff. This was probably the largest verdict that was ever returned as damages for death by wrongful act in the State up to that time.

When Senator Sterling went to Vermillion his ability as a trial lawyer had preceded him and his assistance was eagerly sought in the more important cases that were tried in Clay county. He assisted in the Clark murder case, and the Edmunds murder case and in other important litigation.


During those early days in Spink county, Mr. Sterling practiced law, handled real estate and loaned money for eastern parties. The hard times came on. Many of the loans made by him became valueless. Rather than see any of his clients suffer, Tom Sterling assumed responsibility for every poor loan and paid off every dollar of these obligations. It was the response of conscience and "sterling" manhood to a moral obligation - he was not obligated in the least under the law. These old loans kept his "nose on the grindstone" for years; but he paid them off and preserved his manhood. Nothing more concerning the character of Tom Sterling need be written.


In those eventful pioneer days in Spink county, there were two young lawyers, each named Tom, who were the direct anthitheses of each other - Tom Walsh and Tom Sterling. Walsh was a democrat; Sterling a republican. Each was a good lawyer, a good speaker and a good fellow. They had the opposing sides on practically every big law suit in Spink county. Despite their political and professional rivalry, they always remained firm friends. Long years ago, Tom Walsh went to Montana. On March 4, 1913, they met each other at Washington, D. C. - Walsh as junior United States senator from the great state of Montana, and Sterling as junior senator from our own progressive young commonwealth. Again, after many years of separation, they meet on common ground, and vie with each other for supremacy.


A college of law was established at our state university in Vermillion in 1901. The regents of education looked around faithfully for a man of ripe scholarship, broad experience and exemplary manhood, to assume the deanship of this new law school. One man in the state seemed pre-eminently fitted for the task. That man was the sage of Redfield, Hon. Thomas Sterling. The position was tendered to him; he accepted it, and it is needless to say that he made good and surpassed the expectations of his most admiring friends. Sterling is one of those few lawyers in the state who take time to read the Bible and to keep up on the classics. He can quote more Shakespeare, offhand, than any other lawyer or politician in the state. His Sunday addresses to young men reveal his own unimpeachable character, and they show the scope of his study and the trend of his intellect.

He remained at the head of the law school from October, 1901, till June, 1911, when he resigned to "play the game," on a large scale. During his deanship, a large number of capable and brainy young fellows had graduated under his instruction. Many of these are now practicing law throughout the state; some are state's attorneys, and a few are county judges. One of them, Royal C. Johnson, is at present attorney general of our state. (He has since been elected to congress). When their old professor plunged into politics for the United States senatorship, he had this array of alumni from his law school, as a natural organization throughout the state, on whom he could rely. They "put him over."

This was not the first time that he was a candidate for the United States senate. In 1901, when Kyle was elected, Sterling was also a candidate, and on one ballot, he lacked but five votes of winning. After his defeat, one of his friends who was a member of the "Kyle" legislature, stepped up to him and said, "Tom, I hope to have the privilege of voting for you for United States senator again some day when my vote will count." That friend is a member today of our present legislature, from another county, and he voted for Tom Sterling for United States senator and his vote did count! This article will scarcely issue from press until he will have been sworn in as United States senator, and the ambition of a life time will have been realized. It pays to "play the game" good and hard, even if it does require a "continuous performance."


At Fairbanks, Alaska, on July 4, 1915, in an address delivered by the Hon. James Wickersham, delegate to congress from Alaska, at the laying of the cornerstone of the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines, the speaker, in relating the serious and devious ways that a bill establishing this school had in its course through congress to a final and successful end, paid the following compliment to United States Senator Thomas Sterling, of our own state:

"As a boy in 1877 I entered an office in Springfield, Illinois, and took up the study of law. In an office nearby another young fellow, named Tom Sterling, was similarly engaged. We studied together and passed through the same general course which led to admission to the bar upon a successful examination before the supreme court of the state. After admission we went west to grow up with the country, and it thus happened that when the opposition to my school bill seemed to doom it to defeat I turned to Hon. Thomas Sterling, IL S. Senator from South Dakota, for help. He was a prominent member of the senate committee on public lands, and at my request he introduced the bill in the senate in the same form that it was recommended for passage in the house. When the senate committee met to consider the bill I was present to explain its provisions and to urge its favorable report. Senator Smoot of Utah, a member of the committee, criticized me for taking up the time of the committee, when, as he declared, every one knew there was no possible chance to get the bill passed by the senate, even if it were favorably reported, before the 63rd congress must adjourn on the 4th day of March. I pleaded with him and the members of the committee to report it favorably anyway, since a favorable report would be of great assistance before the next session, even if we failed to pass it in this. Senator Smoot finally withdrew his objection and at 12 o'clock, noon, just as the senate was convening in regular session the committee voted to report it favorably and instructed Senator Sterling to make the report and take charge of the bill. Five minutes later Senator Sterling stood on the floor of the senate with the very short but favorable report in his hand. It often happens that the machinery of legislation does not move promptly on the opening of the morning hour, and it so happened now. Instantly Senator Sterling asked leave to report the bill and thereupon moved that the rules be suspended and the bill passed, and when Senator Smoot came in a moment later he was surprised to find what he had declared to be impossible in that congress, was done - our bill had passed the senate and was on its way to the house for passage. But for the happy accident, and Senator Sterling's square chin, the bill might not have passed before another congress."

Who's Who in South Dakota, Vol. 2
By O. W. Coursey
Educator School Supply Co., Publisher, 1916
Transcribed and contributed by Jim Dezotell



Hanover, Pennsylvania, is a small village on the railroad that connects the historic town of Gettysburg with the city of Baltimore. During the civil war, it was the nearest decidedly Union town, to the latter place. Here, in the spring of 1865, three promising baby boys were born within a period of two and a half months. Hanover is only a few miles from the famous Gettysburg battlefield. This battlefield had been appropriately dedicated by President Lincoln in his immortal speech. The civil war was nearing its close. Abraham Lincoln had become the idol of the North. His eldest son's name was Robert. So what more natural thing could have happened than that these three "Union" babies should each have been named "Robert Lincoln?" And so we have Robert Lincoln Hamme, today a post-office employee at Hanover; Robert Lincoln Young, now a wholesale fruit dealer in Omaha, and Robert Lincoln Slagle, president of our state university at Vermillion.

His ancestors were German. The family settled at Germantown, Penn., a few years after the old colony was founded.

His early education was secured in the public and the private schools of Hanover. Then he matriculated at Lafayette college in 1883; received his Bachelor of Arts degree four years later, and was elected to the "Phi Beta Kappa."


In September, 1887, he came to Dakota and accepted the professorship of natural science in the Collegiate Institute at Groton. In the what? In the Collegiate Institute! Yes, sir! Gracious! Never heard of it. No, well, that's not strange. What was the year? 1887. The school closed shortly thereafter. What if it did? Who was to blame? The writer has a most distinct recollection of having hauled a load of oats, consisting of 108 bushels to market on a beautiful fall day, that same year, and of having received for the entire load $12.70; also of having marketed a load of forty-two bushels of wheat the same fall, for which he received $13.44. Not many youngsters were going to be permitted to attend "collegiate institutes" while they and the old folks were receiving such prices as these for their products.


Professor Slagle left the state in 1888 and went to Johns Hopkins university, where he took up graduate work. In the summer of 1891-92, he did laboratory work at Harvard and in the Museum of Hygiene of the U. S. Navy Department. He earned and was given his Doctor of Philosophy degree by Johns Hopkins in 1894. The same year he took his Master's degree at Lafayette College.


After completing his work at Johns Hopkins, he served as assistant under Professor Atwater, at Middleton, Conn., and in New York City.

Still, there remained in his memory visions of the West, of Indian summer days, of beautiful mirages, and of treeless plains whose horizons were bounded only by the curves of the earth. He longed to come back to a country that had outgrown the "dry time." And so in the fall of 1895 when he was elected professor of chemistry in our state college at Brookings, his ambition was realized and again he came West.

Two years later, he was transferred to the department of chemistry in the State School of Mines at Rapid City, and the next year he was made president of the institution. Land of opportunity! Blessed are the opportunists who keep pace with their opportunities. Shakespeare was pretty wise when he wrote :

"There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at its flood, leads on to fortune."

Dr. Slagle was at flood tide. He made good at Rapid City for eight years; and on January 1, 1906, the regents of education called him back to Brookings and installed him as president of our State College at that place, in which he had formerly been a humble professor.


He remained at the head of the State College for eight years. During the summer of 1913, Dr. Gault resigned the presidency of the State University at Vermillion. At that time, Dr. Slagle had been for eighteen successive and successful years under the regents of education in this state - professor of chemistry in two of our institutions of higher education, and subsequently president of them both. There wasn't a flaw in his record. He was recognized by the brainy men of the East as one of the most exact scholars in the State. So, on December 5, 1913, the regents of education met at Vermillion, and without any application from Dr. Slagle or any endorsements of him from anybody, they elected him president of our State University.

He promptly resigned at Brookings and went to Vermillion where he assumed charge of the school February 2, 1914. The faculty and students gave him a most cordial welcome; the city of Vermillion received him with open arms. Confidence in the institution was promptly restored throughout the State. President Gault had been gone for seven months and the institution was running without a regular presidential head - the deans of the various colleges alternating in charge of affairs. In a year the regular college enrollment had increased 31 per cent. This, without counting any of the 170 summer school students.


Here is a great record - the record of a great man. Dr. Slagle is a powerful thinker. Said the mighty Emerson, "I count him a great man who inhabits a higher sphere of thought into which other men may rise with labor and difficulty." This is the sphere of thought inhabited by Dr. Slagle. One can only rise to the same level with him through years of patient toil and research. This is the way he got it ; others must achieve it likewise.

And yet, withal, Dr. Slagle is one of the most simple, most democratic and most companionable men in our state. He is as chummy with the boys of our state university as though they were actually his room mates. On the other hand he maintains - even while mingling so freely with them - that beautiful manly dignity that commands respect and invites admiration. Only the born teacher and disciplinarian can do this. In his natural manners Dr. Slagle reminds one of Shakespeare's couplet :

"I dare do all that may become a man:
Who dares do more is none."

There can be no doubt that God gives to every man special talents to do certain things: this becomes their natural field of work. To succeed they must find it. Dr. Slagle found his - the school room. Carlyle immortalized this thought in his literary gem:

"Blessed is he who has found his work;
Let him ask no other blessedness."

Thus is Dr. Slagle blessed - thrice blessed. And through this blessing, coupled with his pure manhood, he is blessing others; for, in the language of Browning:

The world wants men - pure men,
Who can not be bought or sold;
Men who would scoff to violate trust;
Genuine gold.

The world wants men - pure men,
Free from the taint of sin,
Men whose lives are clean without
And pure within."

"Conquer thyself!" wrote Burton, "Till thou hast done that thou art a slave." Robert L. Slagle, the moral man, makes Robert L. Slagle, the physical man, and Robert L. Slagle, the mental man, both his slaves. His great heart rules; and out of it springs a manhood that makes others more manly who have heard or felt its throbs.

Again he is a sympathetic man - one thoroughly enthused with his work. For some time three eastern schools have been struggling to get him away from South Dakota. Two of them have offered him salaries far in excess of what he is receiving, but he has steadfastly refused, and to each offer has said: "No, I like my boys and I have a mission here to perform." Perhaps, after all, his soul has been lighted up with a spark from Cotton's pen :

"If solid happiness we prize,
Within our breast this jewel lies,
And they are fools who roam."


At Rapid City, Dr. Slagle was a member of the Black Hills Mining association. He is also a member of the American Chemical society, of the Free Masons, the Sons of the American Revolution, and of the Episcopal church.

However, any mention that might be made of him, without including Mrs. Slagle, would be incomplete. Her maiden name was Gertrude A. Riemann, and her home was in Philadelphia. She and Dr. Slagle were united in holy matrimony at St. Paul in 1896.

Mrs. Slagle was quite as democratic in her manners as is her distinguished husband. She was a lady of strong literary tastes, always congenial and refreshing, and was for several years instructor in English at the State School of Mines. Mrs. Slagle, after a painful illness, passed away December 3, 1915.


 Rev. J. S. Bascom - pastor Congregational church, Vermillion, D. T. Was born in Chicago in 1845; was educated at Beloit college, Wisconsin; graduated iu 1866; and also a graduate of Chicago theological seminary in 1870. His first locations were at Odell and Peru, Illinois. From there to Vermillion,Dakota, in 1880. Married Lora E. Whitney, a native of Massachusetts; have two children - Mabel P. and Harry W.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881. ] 

L. H. Barron, Vermillion, D. T. Born in Mount Morris New York, in 1844; he came to Dakota Territory in 1876; married Miss Yeomans in 1868.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.]

J. W. Belcher, was born in Tompkins county, New York, in 1846; came west in 1879 and settled in Turner county, Dakota, where Parker is now located. [History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.]

C. C. Bridgman, was bom in Hard wick, Vermont, in 1846; came west in 1S74 and located in Vermillion, Dakota; served in the army in the lst Vermont artillery, in the army of the Potomoc, under Colonel Warner. Has beeu county superintendent of Clay county, Dakota, three terms (six years). Was also superintendent in Vermont two years, and followed teaching six years. Has been deputy postmaster the past seven years. Married M. E. Hay ward, of New Lisbon, Wisconsin.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.]

 F. N. Burdick, was born in Windham county, Vermont, in 1834. Graduated in medicine at the University of Vermont, in 1859; came west to Sycamore, Illinois, in 1862; then went into the army and served nine months as assistant surgeon of the 88th Illinois. After that he moved to Elgin, Illinois, where he practiced medicine three years. From there he moved back to the east and practiced medicine in the city of Pittsfield until the latter part
of 1869, when he embarked in the newspaper business in Lancaster, Pa. Then went to Philadelphia where he ran a greenback paper called The Labor Tribune, until the campaign in the fall of 1872. In 1873 he moved to Vermillion. D. and is now editor of the Vermillion Republican, and also practices medicine. Since he has been in Vermillion he has been United States examining surgeon; was chairman of the Vermillion delegation to the Territorial convention. [History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.]

 A. I. Charrlin - born in Sweden in 1840; came to America in 1870, and settled in Iowa, then moved to Missouri; from there back to Iowa, and from Iowa to Dakota. Served in the military in Sweden, five years. Married Annie Martha Anderson, of Norway; have four children - Ole, Johnnie, Albert and Julius. [History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.]

 Winthrop Chandler - born in Courtlandt county, New York, in 1810. He came to Wisconsin in 1841; in 1856 he removed to Iowa; thence in 1877 to Dakota; he married Margaret Grant in 1857. Mr Chandler was engaged in the practice of law at Dubuque, Iowa, for some time.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.] 

H. A. Copeland, judge of probate; born in Greenseth, Ind., in 1827; came to Dakota in 1871; has been judge of probate since 1877; married Elizabeth Head in 1849; they have six children. [History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.]

 C. C. Eves, was born in Morgan county, Ohio, in 1839; came west in 1851, and located in Muscatine county, Iowa. Served in the army four years and two months, under Col. Hatch, in the 2d Iowa cavalry, in the army of the Mississippi; served under Gens. Grant, Sherman and others. Married Rebecca Lyon, of Indiana; have three boys; Lincoln L., Henry H. and Clyde C. [History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.]

 J. W. Grange, was born in Iowa in 1847, June 20th; came to akota in 1872; married Frances Oakley, a native of Wisconsin; have one child, named Harry.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.] 

H. E. Hansen, register of deeds; born in Norway in 1841; came to America in 1861. His first location was in Chicago, but he soon after removed to Columbia county, Wis. In 1862 he enlisted in the 23d Wisconsin volunteer infantry and served until close of war. Came to Dakota in 1872, and settled in Vermillion; was elected to his present position in 1876; married Lena Aiston, a native of Norway; they have two sons and two daughters.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.]

 N. Hansen, was born in Luxemburg in 1848; came to America in 1862 and settled in Dubuque. Came to Dakota in 1872; he has served as town treasurer three years, and was city alderman three years. He married Amelia Zink, of Wurtemberg; they have two children - Charles T. and Albert.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.]

 Jonathan S. Hart, was born in Canada West in 1843; came to the United States in 1855; settled iu Columbia county. Wis ; from Wisconsin he came to Dakota in 1874; married Marietta Woodworth, a native of Minnesota; have thiea children -Carrie O., Manda M., Charles A. [History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.] 

Hayward, Frank E., was born in New York in 1853; came west with his parents in 1858, and settled in Wisconsin. From Wisconsin he came to Vermillion, Dakota; married R. C. Bradford, of Elgin, Illinois; have lost by death, one child.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.] 

Alfred Helgeson, was born in Sweden in 1850; came to America with his parents in 1852, and settled in Wisconsin. Went to Philadelphia, where he received his education and studied the drug business. Prom there went to New York, where he lived five years; then moved to Dakota, arriving there in 1877.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.] 

Conrad Hunn, was bom in Milwaukee, Wis., in 1856; came to Dakota in 1876. Went into business August 30, 1881. He formerly ran a meat market in Springfield, D. T. Married Nora Robson, of Dakota; have one child, named Bell, aged six months.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.] 

Sivert Johnson, born in Norway in 1852; came to America in 1873, and settled in Vermillion, Dakota. Married Caroline Skonhovd, a native of Norway; have one son, named Justin E.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.]

 Hon. John L. Jolley, born in Montreal, Canada, in 1840; in 1857 he came to Columbia county, Wisconsin; in 1862 he enlisted in the 23d Wisconsin volunteer infantry, and served until 1865; he then came to Vermillion and was engaged in the land office until 1873. Although not an office-seeker, Mr. Jolley has been a member of the legislature, two sessions in the house and two sessions in council. He married Harriet J. Grange, a native of Iowa. They have one son and two daughters. [History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.]

 A. H. Lathrop, was born in Racine, Wisconsin, in 1842; then moved to Sioux City, Iowa, and from there to Dakota, where he arrived in 1868. Served in the army thirteen months in the 43d Wisconsin volunteers, under Byron E. Paine; was sergeant during the time; has been register of deeds in Vermillion. Married Mary E. Winslow, of Wisconsin. Have four children - Clara, Hattie, Mary, Dora. [History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.] 

Ed. Lackous, was born in Norway in 1846; came to America in 1861; settled in Storey county, Iowa. Business transacted at the rate of $600 per month. Has served in the official capacity of city marshal and road overseer. Married Julia Lewis, of Norway; have five children - Minnie, Stewart, Lena, Ed., infant. [History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.] 

A. E. Lee, was bom in Norway in 1847. Came to America in 1850, and settled in Madison, Wisconsin. Came to Dakota in 1861), and settled in Vermillion. Married Annie Chappell, a native of Wisconsin; have one child, named Jessie. [History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ] 

John Ledene, was born in Sweden in 1846; came to America in 1868, and settled in Vermillion. Married Hannah Nelson, a native of Sweden; have one child, named Carrie S. [History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ] 

C. F. Lotze, was born in Ohio in 1851; came west in 1875, and settled in Michigan; thence to Vermillion, D. T., in 1879, where he embarked in the jewelry business. Was in Vermillion at the time of the ice gorge, and suffered great losses by the same. [History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ] 

Martin J. Lewis, banker; was born in Orleans county, New York, in 1843. He came to Columbia county, Wis., in 1815, with his parents; in 1869 he removed to Vermillion and in company with Mr. Thompson engaged in merchandising, which business he continued until 1875, when he engaged in the banking business with Messrs. Inman and Thompson, establishing the bank of Vermillion.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ] 

A. B. Lowrie, was born in Scotland in 1845; came to America with parents in 1846, and settled in New York; then moved to Pennsylvania; thence to Wisconsin, Fondulac county; and from Wisconsin to Dakota in 1872, and settled at Riverside; came to  Vermillion in 1880. Served four and one-half years in the army, under Col. C. C. Washburn. Married Delia G. Wilbur; have three children - Susie G., Bell, Frank R., (Sophia, age 8 years, died February, 1881.) Mr. L. is also one of the proprietors of the City Flouring Mill.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ]

 H. J. H. Lunde, born in Norway in 1847; came to America in 1869; settled in Whitewater, Wis.; came to Dakota, August 8, 1877.   Married Frina H. Thoresen.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ] 

James H. Lynch, was born in Galena, Ill., in 1853; in 1868 he moved to Dakota; in 1876 he went to the Black Hills, where he has been engaged in mining and dealing in mining stocks until the present time, 1881. He married Mary J. Lackey, of Canada, Province of Ontario. He has served three years as deputy sheriff in the Black Hills, and also three years as deputy assessor in that place.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ] 

George H. McDonald, sheriff of Clay county, D. T.; was born in Scotland, eight miles from the city of Glascow, in Lennoxshire, August 17th, 1846; came to America and settled in Buffalo, N. Y.; from Buffalo he moved to Canada; thence to Iowa; thence to Dakota, and settled in Vermillion. Have been appointed for a time U. S. Deputy Marshal for district of Dakota; has been city marshal here for three years; deputy sheriff three years and sheriff three terms. He married Sarah Burk, of Milwaukee, Wis. She is a daughter of Bernard Burk of Wisconsin.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ] 

J. E. Norelius, was born in Sweden in 1857; came to America in 1869, and settled  permanently in Dakota.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ]

 A. S. Oakley, was born in Cayuga county, New York, in 1825; came west in 1853; came to Vermillion, D. T., in 1869; married Sarah A. Bellman ; have two children: Frances O. and Charles F. [History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ]

William A. Paul, was born in New York in 1833; came west to Wisconsin, 1845; in 1878 moved to Dakota; served in the army three years and two months under General Pope's division; was a non-commissioned officer; married Ruth Hopkins, of Wisconsin; have three children - Alice M., Eva M., Henry Arthur.  [History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ] 

William Pendergast, station agent, Vermillion; was born in Polo, Ogle county, Illinois, in 1860; came west with parents and settled at Rockwell, Iowa.   Came to Dakota in February, 1880; first stopped at Canton and Sioux Falls, and in September, 1881 came to Vermillion.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ]

Andrew Pickett, was born in Canada, in the Province of Ontario, 1834; came to Dakota in 1869, and settled in Clay county; married Ellen Knowles, of Maine; have three children - Annie M., Eleanor J., John F. [History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ]

 George G. Porter, was born in Maine, Nov. 30, 1842; came west in 1867 and settled in Dakota in 1868; served in the army 21 months, in the 8th Maine infantry, was in the commissary department most of the time. Has been county commissioner three years, also a member of the city council. Married Julia Russell, a native of Vermillion, D. T.; have two children - Orville G. and an infant.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ]

 A. A. Quarnberg, born in Sweden in August, 1849; came to America in June, 1869, and settled in Clay county, Dakota; married Lydia M. Norelius, a native of Sweden; have one child, named Roland A.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ] 

R. M. Rasmussen, was born in Denmark in 1834; came to America in 1862 and settled in New York; then went to Boston. Served in army three Months, in 2d Mass. Cavalry, "Co. L," when he was discharged, owing to an injury received; then moved to Chicago; thence to Omaha; thence to Dakota. Married Lina Hansen, a native of Denmark; have three children - Charley, Mary and Emma.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ] 

Captain J. S. Runyan, was born in Northumberland county, Pa., Sept., 1842; came west in 1867, and settled in Sioux City, Ia.; in 1872 he moved to Dakota, and engaged in the livery and hotel business; he served in the army lour years, in the "93d Pa.Infantry, Co. H., Volunteers," under Col. C. W. Eckman; was Brevet Captain. He married S. E. Brewer, a native of Pa.; have three children - Charles N., Sharpless R., Bessie C. [History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ] 

B. F. Reeve, was born in Canada in 1844; came to the U. S. in 1850 with parents, and settled at Maquoketa, Iowa; came to Dakota in August, 1878. Was postmaster in Iowa two years. Married N. Gertie Smith, of Maquoketa, Iowa; have two children - Alice G. and Estella B.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ] 

G. T. Salmer, was born in Norway, in 1845; came to America in 1866; settled in Chicago for six months; then moved to Wisconsin; thence to Sioux City, Iowa, where he lived three years; he then moved to Dakota, and settled in Vermillion. Served in the military in the "old country" one year. Married Sarah Hansen, of Norway; have two children - Joseph and Clara. [History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ]

 Prof. Samuel Seccombe, principal Vermillion High Schools' was born in East Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 23d, 1855. Is a graduate of Amherst College; graduated in the summer of 1879; prior to that he attended Phillips1 Academy; has been teaching in Colorado, the past two years. Married America J. Hinton, a native of Kansas. [History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ] 

T. S. Stanley. was born in Vermont in 1836; came west in 1852, and settled in Erie county, N. Y.; then moved to Delevan, Wis.; from Wisconsin went to Michigan, and settled at Mason; from Michigan he moved to Dakota in 1870. Married Maggie Newton, of N. Y.; have five children, Mary, Bertie, Lyman, Kay and Carl.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ]

 Wm. Shriner, county treasurer of Clay county, Dakota, born in Pennsylvania in 1822; came to Dakota in 1861; was elected to his present office in 1876. Married Harriet Pitman in 1859; they have five children.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ] 

C. G. Shaw, P. M., born in Galesburg, New Hampshire, in 1843; came to Dakota in 1866; has been P. M. eight and one half years. Married in 1872 to Abbie M. Laughton, of Maine; they have one child.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ]

H. E. Vaughn, was born in Illinois, in Gennessee county in 1852; came west in 1854 with parents, and settled in Decatur county, Iowa; came to Dakota in 1867; he is now (1881) deputy sheriff of Clay county; he married Christine Oleson, of Illinois; have one child, named Raymond A. [History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ] 

Geo. Wheeler, was born in Illinois, in 1847; from Illinois he went to Wisconsin; thence to Omaha, Nebraska; thence to Dakota, he served in the army two years, under Sylvester, of Castle Rock, Wis., in the 12th infantry; he was with Gen. Sherman in his great and memorable march; he married Emily Murdock, of Illinois; they have three children, Ida, Rennie and Mattie.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ] 

George Williams, was born in Canada in 1833; came to the United States in July 1872, and settled in Vermillion, Dakota; married Mary Ann Fletcher, of England; have seven children - Davia, Eliza, Noah, Alice, George, Edward, Alfred, Willis. (Have buried three children, named Alice, George and Gordon). [History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ] 

J. T. White, was born in Vermont in 1824; came west in 1871, and settled in Dakota in 1872; has been tax collector for city school; he married M. R. Fox, of N. Y. state; have six children - Amy A., Bertha M., Josiah R., Edwin M., Mabel S. and Rose P.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ]

 Wm. Spowage, was born in England 1827; came to America in 1854, and settled in Pennsylvania; he then removed to Stephenson county; Illinois, and from there to Dakota in 1867; he served in the army one and a half years under Gen. Canby, in the "47th Illinois Infantry." At present time (1881) is chairman of the board of supervisors for the town of Meckling; has also been school director for several terms; married Ann Cox, of England; have three children - Annie, John and Nellie; a son, Thomas, was drowned in the flood in the spring of 1881.[History of Southeastern Dakota, Its Settlement and Groth, Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1881.  ]

History of South Dakota, Vol. 2, by Doane Robinson

B. F. Bowen & Co., Publisher, 1904

Contributed by Jim Dezotell

B. F. CAMPBELL, born Machias, Maine, 1838. Served in Civil war and earned rank of colonel. Register United States land office at Vermillion, 1879. Postmaster Sioux Falls, 1889-93. Died, 1897.

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


Norway claims John L. Anderson, a farmer of Clay township, as a native son, his birth having occurred there in 1848. His parents, Andrew Erickson and Corina (Anderson) Anderson, were lifelong residents of the land of the midnight sun. The father was a farmer and shoemaker and thus provided for the support of his family, which numbered nine children: Edward, a retired farmer residing at Philip, South Dakota; Marne, the wife of Otto Helgerson, of Clay county; Antone, of Vermillion; Annie, deceased; John L.; Ole, residing in Vermillion; Caroline, the wife of John Hanberg, of Sioux Falls; Mena, who married Erick Erickson, of Idaho; Emelie, the widow of Peter Holmquist and a resident of Rapid City, this state; and Ana, the deceased wife of Andrew Charline.

John L. Anderson grew to manhood in Norway and attended school there until he was fifteen years of age, when he commenced working for others. Upon attaining his majority he emigrated to America and settled in Spirit Mound township, Clay county, this state. In 1870 he took up a homestead of one hundred and sixty acres which was prairie land, barren of trees. He soon planted trees and they have now grown to a large size. After proving up on his claim be worked in the Black Hills of South Dakota for a time and also found employment on the river boats running from Yankton to Sioux City, Iowa. He worked at whatever he could find to do until some time in the '80s, when the country had become sufficiently settled to make it feasible to devote his time to farming. For a number of years he engaged in the cultivation of the fields but for some time past has made his home in town, renting half of his quarter section and cultivating the remaining eighty acres himself. He raises a number of hogs and cattle as well as a variety of crops and his land yields him a good annual income. He has made four trips to his native country and each time has remained there for several months.

Mr. Anderson was married on the 19th of January, 1909, to Miss Elida Moe, a native of Christiania, Norway, and a daughter of Clement and Emma (Hansen) Moe, both of whom were natives of that country.

Mr. Anderson is a socialist in his political views and his religious faith is that of the Lutheran church. He lived in this state when it was an unsettled frontier district and has witnessed the transformation that has changed it into a prosperous agricultural and mining section and is proud of the fact that he was one of those early settlers who laid the foundation for its present prosperity.

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


Upon a farm on section 2, Gayville precinct, Yankton county, resides James N. Blodgett, whose identification with Dakota covers a period of forty-six years. He arrived in this state on the 1st of June, 1669, the family coming by wagon from Polk county, Iowa, The father, Myron Blodgett, was a native of Massachusetts and in early life went to Indiana, where he married Phoebe Harris, a native of that state. She died leaving one son, Omar G., who is now living in Polk county, Iowa. Mr. Blodgett next removed to Tama county, Iowa, where he met and married Sarah Cronk, a native of Ohio, and they remained in Tama county until 1863, when they became residents of Polk county, Iowa, settling fourteen miles east of Des Moines, where they lived for six years. There was no railroad beyond Sioux City when the Blodgett family passed through on their way to Dakota. The father secured a claim in Clay county, a mile southeast of Gayville, using his homestead right, but soon abandoning that tract, he purchased land two miles west of Gayville, where he lived until his death on the 16th of April, 1883. In the meantime he had carefully and persistently cultivated his farm and had extended its boundaries by additional purchase until he was the owner of three hundred and fifty-five acres, of which he secured a quarter section by preemption. His widow long survived him, dying December 14, 1911, when she lacked but five days of being seventy-nine years of age. After his death she married Rev. P. N. Cross, an early settler of Clay county, who has made his home at Pipestone, Minnesota, since his wife passed away. Although born in 1833 he is still quite active for one of his years. James N. Blodgett and his brother, who lives upon the old homestead, are the only surviving children.

James N. Blodgett was born on a farm in Tama county, Iowa, November 19, 1854, and remained with his parents until the father's death, after which he started out in business life on his own account. For a year he rented the home place and then', in 1885, purchased a part of his present farm, to which he has added until he now has three hundred and sixty acres of rich and arable land. At the time he made the purchase the only building upon the place was a log house. A small grove had also been planted. This he enlarged by adding many other trees, and as the years have gone by he has added all the modem equipments and accessories to his farm, making it a model property. He has erected a commodious residence, substantial barns, granary and other outbuildings for the shelter of grain and stock, and today has one of the most fertile and best improved farms in the county, the fields annually returning to him substantial harvests as the years have gone by. Conditions today, however, are in marked contrast to those of the early pioneer period, for he and his father's family suffered from the hardships, privations and trials incident to pioneer life. During the flood of 1881 the water was around their house for three weeks and most of the time stood in the house from one to three feet deep, the family being obliged to live in the second story during that period. Mr. Blodgett had purchased an Indian canoe for a watering trough and when the flood came he used it to get to high ground for provisions and to look after the stock. He also helped his neighbors rescue their cattle and horses, which were being carried away by the flood. The cattle and horses owned by Patrick Dinneen floated through Mr. Blodgett's farm on two straw stacks and grounded in Clay county a few miles below. Mr. Blodgett lost but two or three shoats and one cow, while some neighbors lost nearly a hundred head of cattle besides smaller stock. Previously he had purchased an old warehouse in Gayville, had moved it to his place and put it on a high foundation. On the floor of this building he kept in safety between thirty-five and forty head of cattle, seven horses and forty hogs, losing but the few mentioned above. When the blizzard of January, 1888, occurred, James N. Blodgett was employed by the firm of Bagstad & Aaseth and was in Gayville when the blizzard struck. He was warned not to start home, but he felt that he should be there and made his way through the blinding storm, proceeding along the road until he came to a slough near his home and then passed along the bank of it to the grove and on to the house. Prairie fires were of frequent occurrence in those early days and James N. Blodgett saw from his father's home one fall thirteen places on fire at one time, but their own home escaped.

On the 23d of February, 1883, Mr. Blodgett was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Douglas, a native of Greenwich, Connecticut, and a daughter of Archibald and Catherine (Smith) Douglas, who in the spring of 1880 came to Dakota and bought a farm in the Volin precinct, where Mrs. Blodgett afterward taught school near Marindahl. They were living there when the flood of the spring of 1881 swept through the valley and they too suffered, as did many of their neighbors, being forced to live for three weeks in the second story of their house. To Mr. and Mrs. Blodgett have been born four children: Kathleen, who is now the wife of L. N. Aaseth, of Gayville; Artinca, the wife of G. L. Alstrup, who cultivates the farm of his father-in-law and occupies a part of the family home; George W., who is associated with Mr. Alstrup in the operation of the home farm; and Roy N., a student in the South Dakota State College at Brookings.

The family have been reared in the faith of the Methodist Episcopal church, to which the parents belong. Mr. Blodgett is a republican in his political views and, although not an office seeker, keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day. He holds membership with the Modern Woodmen of America and his daughter Artinca is connected with the Royal Neighbors. Every phase of frontier life in Yankton county is familiar to James N. Blodgett, and he is among those who have contributed to the development and improvement of the county which is today enjoyed. His life has been a busy and useful one, and the careful management of his farming interests has in time brought to him a substantial success that numbers him among the prosperous farmers of the community.

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


As president of the Vermillion National Bank, Charles Henry Barrett is a prominent figure in financial circles of that city. He was born in Saratoga Springs, New York, April 5, 1859, a son of Artemus and Fidelia R. (Brown) Barrett. The father was a hatter and engaged in that business until he retired from active life. Ho died at Saratoga Springs in 1904 but his widow survives and makes her home in Bernardston, Massachusetts, with a daughter. Mr. Barrett was twice married, his first union being with Miss Lovisa Close, of New York, by whom he had three children: John R., a retired business man residing in Los Angeles, California; Beebe R., deceased: and Lovisa A., the widow of E. H. Potter, and a resident of Bayonne, New Jersey. To the second marriage four children were born: Addie P., who married Rev. Eugene Frary, a Congregational minister of Bernardston, Massachusetts: Charles Henry; Orie L.. who is at home; and Frederic A., a linotype man of Newtonville, Massachusetts.

Charles H. Barrett passed his boyhood days in Saratoga Springs and there attended school, being graduated from the high school in 1875. For the following three years he taught school and worked in his father's hat store but at the end of that time removed to Manchester, Iowa. He arrived there in 1878 and taught school there for two years. In 1880 he took a position as bookkeeper with a large mercantile concern, with which he was connected for three years. He then entered the employ of Conger Brothers, bankers, as bookkeeper and teller, remaining in that capacity for four years, and in 1887 removed to Vermillion. South Dakota, in company with L. T. Swezey. They purchased the Clay
County Bank, which they reorganized and conducted under that name until 1904, when they took out a national charter and changed the name to the Vermillion National Bank. Mr. Barrett was cashier of the institution until the death of Mr. Swezey in 1912, when he was elected president. He is thoroughly familiar with the practice and policies of the bank and is also well informed as to banking conditions in the country at large. His is very efficient as president of the bank and under his direction its continued growth is insured. The safety of funds on deposit is the first consideration of the officers of the institution but they extend credit to individuals and business houses, thus promoting the commercial development of Vermillion. The bank pays good dividends and enjoys the full confidence of the public. Mr. Barrett is not only president and a director of this bank but is also interested in the Bank of Wakonda. this state, he and his associates buying it in 1903 when it was in danger of collapse. They reorganized it and placed it upon a sound financial basis and it has since been a paying institution and has come to be regarded as one of the strong banks of this section. Air. Barrett was one of the organizers o; the Vermillion Hotel Company and is an executive officer of that corporation. His standing among the bankers of the state is indicated by his election in 1910 as president of the South Dakota State Bankers' Association.

Mr. Barrett was married, September 17, 1889, to Miss Laura L. Dunham, a native of Manchester, Iowa, and a daughter of Francis and Mary A. (Stark) Dunham, both natives of Vermont. The father, who was an educator, passed away in 1880, but the mother survives and makes her home in Manchester, Iowa. To Mr. and Mrs. Barrett five children were born: John F. and Ruth, both of whom died in infancy: George, who died in 1909, when fifteen years of age; Charles S.f now twelve years of age; and Marjorie, who died in infancy.

Mr. Barrett is a progressive republican and for several years has served as city treasurer of Vermillion. For ten years he was a member of the city council. He has always taken an interest in politics but has not been a politician in the sense of office seeking. His connection with the Congregational church and the Masonic order indicate the principles that govern his life. In the latter organization he has taken high rank, belonging to all of the bodies from the blue lodge to the commandery in the York Rite and also to the Shrine. He has served as worshipful master and has held other high offices in the lodge. He is now treasurer of the blue lodge and also of the chapter. His fraternal associations also include membership in the Modern Woodmen of America. He has done his full share in promoting the development of his city along all lines and takes great pride in its advancement and prosperity.

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


C. E. Prentis, one of the pioneer merchants of South Dakota, actively identified with the business interests of Vermillion, was born September 30, 1847, in Dane county, Wisconsin, a son of John and Catherine P. (Williams) Prentis, who were natives of Massachusetts and Vermont respectively and descendants of early New England families. The father was a farmer by occupation and about 1830 made the overland trip to Wisconsin, where he engaged in general agricultural pursuits until his death.

C. E. Prentis attended the public schools of his native county to the age of eighteen years and then went east to Poughkeepsie, New York, where he pursued a course in Eastman's Commercial College. Later he returned to Madison, Wisconsin, where he secured a position as bookkeeper, acting in that capacity for about one and a half years. Consideration of the opportunities offered in the west led him to the belief that he would find it profitable to try his fortune in Dakota and in company with a friend and associate, A. E. Lee, he determined to engage in general merchandising at Vermillion. It was about the middle of the year 1869 that Mr. Lee reached that place and selected a site in what is now known as the bottoms. A small building was erected and a few months later Mr. Prentis removed to Vermillion, arriving in September, 1869. Both then went to Chicago, where they purchased a stock of general merchandise and the firm of Lee & Prentis was thus formed and launched into business. From the beginning their enterprise prospered, reliable business methods, unfaltering energy and perseverance winning for them a growing trade. Later a two-story brick building was erected, which they occupied until 1881, the year of the big flood. The little village grew apace and with the increase in its population their trade became larger and larger, for straightforward business methods commended them to public support. With the growth of Vermillion the business center of the city was removed from the bottoms to the present site of the town and in 1881 Lee & Prentis erected their present building, in which they have continued successfully to the present time. Their house is not only widely
known throughout Clay county but also over the greater part of South Dakota and is the largest establishment of its kind in the county. Moreover, in point of continuous existence theirs is the oldest business house in North or South Dakota and has become one of the most important. It meant much in pioneer times when trade facilities were few in their section of the state and it has ever kept abreast with modern progress.

Mr. Prentis, however, has not confined his activities to merchandising alone. He recognized the future value of farm lands throughout the west and began making investments, being at one time the owner of over seven thousand acres in Clay county. In 1914, when prices had greatly advanced he sold practically all his holdings in Clay county, although he still has property in other sections of the state. He and his partner, Mr. Lee, own and operate a fine ranch of sixteen thousand acres in Nebraska and Mr. Prentis is a stockholder in and vice president of the Citizens Bank & Trust Company of Vermillion.

On the 7th of November, 1872, Mr. Prentis was united in marriage to Miss Mary F. Stanley, who died September 14, 1906, leaving a daughter, Kathryn, the wife of Robert Howe Munger, of Sioux City. On the 2d of September, 1909, Mr. Prentis wedded Mrs. Belle (Stanley) Bell, a sister of his first wife.

In his political views Mr. Prentis has long been a stalwart republican and has filled a number of local offices, to which he has been called by the vote of his fellow townsmen, serving at the present time as mayor of Vermillion. He also became the first charter member of the Congregational church, in the work of which he has ever taken an active and helpful interest. He is likewise a member and vice president of the Vermillion Commercial Club and he is a Mason, belonging to the blue lodge, chapter and commandery of Vermillion, and to El Riad Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Sioux Falls. He is a lover of outdoor life and enjoys traveling. In nature he is quiet and unassuming but is most kind hearted and public spirited. His business life has not been void of the trials and tribulations that constitute the struggle of pioneer days and many residents of this part of the state are grateful for the credit and favors extended them in the period of financial depression caused by the grasshopper scourge and other incidents of pioneer life. The record of Mr. Prentis is a most creditable one. There have been no esoteric chapters in his life history but a manifestation of indefatigable industry and unswerving integrity in all his business dealings.

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


Charles Roscoe Clark, who passed away in Clay county, was for many years connected with railroad work but at the time of his death was operating his father-in-law's farm in that county. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1861, a son of George and Mary (Brown) Clark, both natives of New York state. The father died in Cheyenne, Wyoming. To him and his wife were born the following children: Albert, a resident of Seattle, Washington; Charles Roscoe; Lura, deceased; Bush, a resident of Colorado; Clarence, a conductor on the Union Pacific Railroad residing at Rawlins, Wyoming; Sidney, whose home is in Cheyenne, Wyoming; Daisy, the wife of Anthony Christensen, of Cheyenne; and Fulford, a resident of Douglas, Wyoming.

Charles R. Clark was reared in Michigan, to which state his parents had removed when he was a child. At the age of seventeen he left home and worked on farms in Nebraska and Wyoming for some time. Later he was in the employ of the government, driving a stage coach from Cheyenne to Yellowstone Park. Subsequently he engaged in railroad work and in time became a passenger conductor. Later he was for three years yardmaster in Cheyenne, Wyoming. In 1900 he removed to Clay county, this state, and assumed charge of his father-in-law's homestead, which he operated successfully until his death in 1908. His widow owns the farm, which comprises one hundred and sixty acres of good land, and his sons are operating the place.

Mr. Clark was married May 20, 1890, to Miss Christina Olson, a native of Sweden, who accompanied her parents to this state when but five years of age. Her father took up a homestead in Clay county in 1870, the place now owned by Mrs. Clark. He passed away in 1905. To Mr. and Mrs. Clark were born three children: George Andrew, whose birth occurred in 1891; Clarence Oscar, who is twenty years of age; and Charles Roosevelt, a boy of thirteen who is in school.

Mr. Clark was a stanch republican in his political belief and fraternally was connected with the Red Men, the Modern Woodmen of America and the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He also held membership in the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen. He had many friends in Clay county and there was much sincere regret at his demise, for he was a man of sterling character and agreeable personality.

History of Dakota Territory, Vol. 5 by George Washington Kingsbury 1915
trancribed by Pamela Hamilton


Ernest W. Crane, founder and proprietor of the Crane Automobile Company of Yankton, is a native of Turner County, South Dakota, born March 3, 1879. His father, J. A. Crane, still resides in Centerville, this state. He was born in Ohio and came to South Dakota, or what was then Dakota territory about 1867, in company with his father, William Crane, who established the family home in Vermillion, Clay County, and there opened the first blacksmith shop in the Dakotas. J.A. Crane wedded Minnie Hall, a native of London, England who came to the Dakotas with her parents. She died in the year 1889. Ernest W. Crane is the eldest in a family of five, having two brothers and two sisters, the others being: Arthur a farmer living near Beresford, Lincoln County South Dakota; Forest, a house mover of Sioux Falls; Nettie the wife of Reuben Saville, of Centerville, South Dakota; and Myrtle, the wife of Burt Cune, also of Centerville.

Ernest W. Crane was born on a farm, but his father later built the first hotel at Centerville, Turner County, and in that establishment the boy largely spent his youthful days. He was educated in the public schools, which he attended to the age of sixteen years, after which he was employed at farm labor for two years. He then engaged in blacksmithing and house moving in connection with his father and when about twenty-five years old purchased his father's house moving outfit and began business on his own account. In 1903 he removed to Yankton, where he continued operations as a house mover, his business, however, extending over a wide section of the state. He became particularly well known in the southeastern section of South Dakota and he continued his activities along that line until 1913, when he embarked in the automobile business in Yankton, establishing a first-class garage. He now has the agency for the King motor car and the Carnation car and in addition he conducts a general repair and storage business and deals in all kinds of automobile accessories and supplies. He has been very successful in the new venture, his business growing rapidly.

In 1903 Mr. Crane was married to Miss Marie Nelsen, a native of Denmark, and they have one son, Harvey. Mr. Crane holds membership with the Modern Brotherhood of American and his political indorsement is given to the republican party. He is well informed concerning important political issues, but is not an office seeker. His entire life has been spent in the northwest and has been one of intense and well directed activity, his energy and utilization of opportunity bringing to him the success which he now enjoys.

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


W. L. Cusick is a prominent and well known firmer of Clay county, owning six hundred acres of land, three hundred and sixty of which are located in that county, and two hundred and forty in Stanley county. He was born upon the farm on section 27, Fairview township, where he still lives, in 1875, a son of Nelson W. and Annie (Ledew) Cusick. The father was born in New York state and the mother in St. Mary, Iowa, in 1857. The father came west when a young man and first located in Michigan, but afterward removed to Dakota territory in the early '60s, becoming one of the pioneers of Clay county, where he entered a homestead and also a preemption claim. In company with Cornelius Andrews and Jonas Meckling he platted the town site of Burbank in June, 1873. He fanned and raised stock until his death, which occurred in 1889 when he was in his sixty-fourth year. He was an excellent business man and was one of the wealthy men of the county at the time of his death, owning thirteen hundred acres of land situated in Clay, Union and Yankton counties. During the Civil war he enlisted in Company A, Volunteer Dakota Calvary, under Captain Nelson Miner, which was organized chiefly to protect settlers from Indian outbreaks, etc. In political matters he adhered to the democratic party but never sought office for himself. In 1894 his widow joined him in death when in her thirty-sixth year. To their union were born six children, three sons and three daughters: W. L., of this review; Mollie, the wife of James Hitchcock, of this state; William, of Clay county; Carrie, the wife of W. A. Chaussee, of Clay county; Lillie, deceased; and John, a resident of Montana.

W. L. Cusick was given excellent educational opportunities, as he was a student in the University of South Dakota after finishing the course in the local schools. When he began his active business career he turned his attention to farming and stock-raising, which he still follows. He is residing upon the old homestead where his birth occurred and owns six hundred acres of land, three hundred and sixty of which are in Clay county and the remainder in Stanley county. He is progressive, energetic and businesslike in all that he does and his extensive interests are well managed and yield him a large annual income.
In 1897 Mr. Cusick was united in marriage to Miss Emma O. Russell, a native of Lincoln county, South Dakota, and a daughter of C. S. and Catherine A. Russell. Her parents removed to South Dakota from Iowa in 1876, and previous to living in the latter state they were residents of Wisconsin. The mother was born in Pennsylvania and the father in Ohio. He passed away in 1900 and was survived by bis widow for nine years. He was a veteran of the Civil war, having served faithfully and gallantly in the Union army, and was familiarly known as Uncle Sam in his neighborhood. All of his six children survive and they are as follows: W. R., a resident of Lake Andes, South Dakota; Mrs. Ida L. Sherman, living in Hotchkiss, Colorado; Mrs. Abbie J. Smith, a resident of Berkeley, California; Calvin L., who lives in Vermillion, this state; Mrs. Cusick, the next in order of birth; and Mrs. Katie May Hopson, who makes her home in Winnifred, South Dakota. To Mr. and Mrs. Cusick have been born five children: La Verna whose birth occurred in 1898 and who is now attending high school; Frank R., born in 1900; Lee Wallace, born in 1902; Corinne M., in 1907; and Arthur Burdette, in 1910.

Mr. Cusick it a democrat in his political allegiance but has confined his political activity to the exercise of his right of suffrage. Fraternally he belongs to the Knights of Pythias, the Modern Woodmen of America and the Yeomen, and in his life exemplifies that spirit of brotherhood which is the basis of all fraternal organizations. He has won at the same time material success and the sincere respect and esteem of those who know him, as his integrity and honor have been no less marked than his business ability.

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


Clay county has been the residence of Jefferson K. Denison during his entire life, being born there in 1872. He is a successful farmer and stockman, residing on section 18, township 93, range 51, and is well known in his locality. His parents, Franklin and Hannah M. (Steele) Denison, natives of Vermont and Pennsylvania respectively, came west before their marriage and settled in Clay county, Dakota territory, where they met and were united in wedlock. Franklin Denison took up government land in Prairie Center township and in the early days operated a sawmill on the Missouri river bottoms, but later devoted his time to farming. At the time of his death he owned four hundred and sixty acres of land, which has been divided among his heirs. He passed away December 13, 1910, having survived his wife for nine years, her death occurring December 4, 1901. He was a republican in early manhood but subsequently became an adherent of the populist party, though returning in his allegiance to the republican party some time before his death. In his family were four sons: Jefferson K., of this review; Charles F., of Prairie Center township; John C, who resides on a part of the homestead; and Frank S., who died when twenty years of age.

Jefferson K. Denison was educated in the schools of Clay county and by assisting his father gained detailed knowledge of agriculture. When eighteen years of age he began for himself and three years later purchased his first piece of land, comprising two hundred acres, which he still owns. In addition to this he now holds title to five hundred and sixty acres, three hundred and forty of which lies in Clay county and two hundred and twenty in Lyman county. With the exception of two hundred acres all of his land is under cultivation and that is in pasture. He is a stockholder in the Farmers Elevator at Vermillion and is one of the well-to-do and prosperous men of his county. He is alert, enterprising and prompt, performing tasks at the time when they may be done with the least exertion and with the greatest results, and his success is the logical outcome of his good management.

In 1897 Mr. Denison was married to Miss Nettie Van Steenberg, who was born in Pennsylvania, a daughter of Edgar and Emily Van Steenberg. Both her parents were born in New York state, where the father was a millwright and the owner of a sawmill. After removing to Pennsylvania he continued to follow that occupation until his demise, which
occurred in 1912. His wife had preceded him a number of years, as she was called to her reward in 1900. In their family were six daughters and one son: Ira, a resident of Jefferson county, Pennsylvania; Mrs. Mattie Lockwood, of Clay county; Mrs. W. A. Dunn, of Ohio; Nellie, a resident of Ashtabula, Ohio; Mrs. Allen Blair, of Jefferson county, Pennsylvania; Mrs. Denison; and Mrs. Wade Haugh, of Jefferson county, Pennsylvania; Mrs. Denison was educated in the State Normal School of Pennsylvania and taught for four years in that state, after which she came to South Dakota.

Mr. and Mrs. Denison are members of the United Brethren church and contribute of their means and of their time to the work of that organization. He is a republican but has never desired office, being content to limit his political activity to the exercise of his right of franchise. Fraternally he is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America. He has many friends in that order and also among those who have come in contact with him in other relations of life.

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


Much of the wealth of South Dakota is agricultural wealth and the prosperity of the state is largely dependent upon the prosperity of the farmer. Among those who are aiding in the agricultural development of Clay county is John Calvin Denison, who was born in Jackson, Dakota county, Nebraska, April 11, 1878, a son of Franklin and Hannah Malissa (Steele) Denison, natives respectively of Vermont and Pennsylvania. The father was employed at farm labor until the outbreak of the Civil war, when he entered the Union army, remaining at the front until the close of hostilities. He then removed to Iowa and walked from Le Mars to Sioux City, as there were then no railroads in that section of the country. Sioux City was but a small village and it was often difficult to obtain supplies of various kinds. On one occasion he even had to file threads on a piece of pipe which he needed in the construction of a sawmill which he was erecting near Sioux City. He also took up a homestead just across the line in South Dakota, which is now owned and operated by our subject. In addition to the quarter section that he homesteaded Mr. Denison, Sr., preempted a one hundred and sixty acre tract and also took up a timber claim. After a number of years he sold his sawmill and removed to his farm, where he resided until he retired in 1898. He spent the greater part of his remaining days on the Pacific coast and in Chicago. Just before his death, however, he returned to the homestead and passed away there December 13, 1910. His wife had gone to the home beyond in December, 1901. Their family numbered four children, as follows: J. K., a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this work; Charles F., a farmer of Clay county, South Dakota; John C, of this review; and Frank Sidney, who died in 1898 during the Spanish-American war while in the service of the United States government.

John Calvin Denison was six years of age when he was brought by his parents to the farm which is still his home. He grew to manhood there and attended country school nearby. During the winter of 1896 he was a student in the University of South Dakota and then entered York College at York, Nebraska. During his vacations he learned the carpenter's trade and after leaving school spent three years traveling over Colorado and the Pacific coast states. In 1901 he returned to South Dakota and took up his residence at Deadwood. He remained there for three years and worked at his trade, but in the fall of 1904 he returned to the homestead and rented a part of the land until his father's death. At that time he fell heir to one hundred and forty acres of it and since coming into possession of his farm has made many improvements thereon. At the time of his father's demise there were no buildings upon the tract, but he has since erected a large two-story residence and adequate barns and outbuildings.

Mr. Denison was married on Christmas Day, 1901, to Miss Viola Carpenter, a native of Iowa and a daughter of Augustine Carpenter, who was born in Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Denison have two children: Winfield Eugene, whose birth occurred November 23, 1902; and Gladys Leota, born December 28, 1904.

Mr. Denison is a republican but quite liberal in his views and has served in a number of local offices. He has for the last three years been clerk of the town board and is serving his second term as school clerk. He was for one term school treasurer. His religious faith is that of the United Brethren church and his fraternal affiliations with the Modern Woodmen of America. He is one of the most esteemed residents of Prairie Center township and has many personal friends, who value highly his good opinion.

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


Goodman Ellison, a well known farmer of Clay county, was born in Pleasant Valley township, that county, August 29, 1869, a son of Bjorne and Anna (Johnson) Ellison, both of whom were natives of Norway. The father was seventeen years of age when, in 1861, he accompanied his parents to America and in that same year enlisted in the Union army for service in the Civil war, remaining at the front for three years. He subsequently took up land on his soldier's right and later proved up on a homestead, all of his land being located in Clay county. He passed away June 3, 1877, and his widow died many years later, June 19, 1913. They were the parents of five children: Thore O., a farmer of Spirit Mound township, Clay county, Goodman; Albert, who is farming in Clay county; Isaac, an agriculturist of Miner county; and Joseph V., a retired farmer living in Vermillion. In 1878 the mother became the wife of Fred Knutson, a native of Norway, who in 1870 emigrated to the United States and located in South Dakota, taking up a claim in Turner county. He now resides upon the Ellison homestead. To the second marriage of the mother of our subject were born three children: Ingeborg, who died in infancy; Ida, the wife of George Jensen, a farmer of Clay county, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this work; and Alice.

Goodman Ellison was reared upon the homestead and assisted in the work of the farm until he was twenty-two years of age. His education was limited, as there was little opportunity for obtaining a schooling in those days. When a young man of twenty-two years he bought one hundred and sixty acres of school land, upon which he lived for a year. He then sold that place and bought another quarter section thirteen miles southeast of his first farm. When the second property came into his possession it had but few improvements, but he immediately set to work to develop his place and it is now one of the best farms of the county. The fields are well fenced, everything about the place is kept in excellent condition and the buildings arc commodious and well adapted to their purposes. Mr. Ellison owns another farm, which comprises two hundred and forty acres, and it is also all under cultivation. He does general farming and also feeds cattle for the market. He is a stockholder in the Spirit Mound Telephone Company of Clay county and was one of the organizers of the Farmers Elevator Company of Vermillion.

On the 16th of March, 1893, Mr. Ellison was married to Miss Carrie Nelson, a native of South Dakota and a daughter of Erick and Matilda (Larson) Nelson, both of whom were born in Norway but emigrated to the United States in J856. They were among the pioneer settlers of South Dakota and the farmer was a freighter during the Civil war. To their union were born twelve children: Nels, of California; Ole and Lewis, deceased; Rachel, the wife of George Thorson, of Vermillion; Chris, who is farming in Clay county; Mrs. Ellison; Belle, the deceased wife of Peter Leikvold, of Clay county; Ossie, the wife of Harry Hutcliffe, a farmer of Clay county; Ole, the second of the name, who is farming near McMinnville, Oregon; Mary, the wife of Roy Piersol, of Clay county; and two who died in infancy.

Mr. and Mrs. Ellison have six children: Etta, who is at home; Terence, who is a graduate of Augustana College at Canton, South Dakota, where he took both the academic and business courses, and is assisting his father with the work of the farm; and Amy, Elmer, Lester and Amos, who are attending the district school.

Mr. Ellison is liberal in his political views, owing no allegiance to any party leader. He has served upon the school board for nine years and now is clerk of that body. His religious allegiance is given to the Lutheran church and he takes an active part in its work. He finds much pleasure in motoring and has attained a degree of prosperity that permits him considerable leisure time. He values even more than his material success the goodwill and esteem of his fellow citizens, who know him to be a man of upright character and sterling worth.