Custer County, South Dakota Biographies

 

Bale, George B.

Caple, Sherman L.

Carrigan, Denis

Crary, Charles C.

Fitch, Seymour N.

Gaylord, George W.

Hartgering, James

Kubler, Joseph

Lemmon, George E.

Pilcher, Joseph E.

Stewart, Frank M.

Tubbs, Newton S.

Westfall, John

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





History of South Dakota, Vol. 2
by Doane Robinson
B. F. Bowen & Co., Publisher
1904
Contributed by Jim Dezotell

JOHN WESTFALL, one of the enterprising farmers and stock raisers of Custer county, was born in the southern part of Louisiana. He remained in his native state until a youth of fifteen and then left home, going to Illinois, where he was engaged in different kinds of manual labor during the ensuing four years, spending the latter part of that period in the city of Rock Island, from which place he went to Omaha, Nebraska. When nineteen years of age he left the latter state for South Dakota, making the trip to the Black Hills via Sidney and arriving at Harney when that flourishing city was little more than a mining camp. He remained one year prospecting in the vicinity and then went to Deadwood, where he followed mining about the same length of time, meeting with fair success in his operations. Returning to Harney, he sold several claims which he had previously located and after living in that town and vicinity until the spring of 18S2 took up his present ranch three miles from Hermosa, on Battle creek, where he has since been engaged in agriculture and the livestock business, devoting especial attention to cattle raising.

In addition to his home place Mr. Westfall has acquired considerable real estate in the neighborhood, much of which has been reduced to cultivation and otherwise improved and he is now in comfortable circumstances, with flattering prospects of a long and prosperous business career before him.


History of South Dakota, Vol. 2
by Doane Robinson
B. F. Bowen & Co., Publisher
1904
Contributed by Jim Dezotell

JOSEPH E. PILCHER, proprietor of the largest drug house in Custer, was born in Racine, Ohio, on August 18, 1851. He attended the public schools of his native county until about sixteen years of age, when he went to Indiana, and for some time thereafter worked on a farm in Jefferson county, that state, later taking a commercial course in an Indianapolis business college. In 1878 Mr. Pilcher went to Colorado, where he entered the employ of the Santa Fe Railroad Company, which was then constructing one of its lines through that country, and after working there for some time he assisted in building branches of the same system in New Mexico and Arizona, remaining with the company in different capacities until 1880. In the latter year he made a business trip to Europe, returning in the fall of 1881, and immediately thereafter came to the Black Hills, locating at Deadwood, where he engaged in the hotel business, conducting the same until the spring of 1883, when he disposed of his interests in that place and changed his abode to Custer City. After devoting his attention for the greater part of a year to mica and gold mining, Mr. Pilcher, in the spring of 1884, accepted a position with the Adams Express Company, being appointed to a local agency in Nebraska, but later he was promoted traveling auditor of the company, and in that capacity visited various parts of New Mexico, and other western states and territories, discharging his duties in an able and business-like manner until his resignation, in August, 1886. After severing his connection with the above company, Mr. Pilcher returned to Custer City and, entering politics, was elected the same year register of deeds for Custer county, which position he held until 1891, proving an exceedingly efficient and popular official; meanwhile, in the fall of 1890, he was appointed assistant secretary of the state senate, in which capacity he served two terms, and in 1893 was sent to Chicago in charge of the Black Hills mineral exhibit at the World's Fair. Returning to Custer City, he resumed mining in various parts of the Hills, but not meeting with the results anticipated, he discontinued that line of work three years later and purchased a drug store, to which business he has since devoted his attention, building up a large and lucrative patronage.

Mr. Pilcher is still interested in mining and owns considerable mineral property in the Black Hills, some of which is quite valuable and from which he reasonably hopes to realize a fortune. As an authority in all matters relating to the mining industry, he is frequently consulted by experts and others, and in 1898 he had charge of the large mineral exhibit of the Black Hills at Omaha. He has devoted much study to mining in all of its phases, has made many valuable researches and original investigations, being a scientific assayer, as well as a graduate of the School of Mines at Rapid City, one of the most thorough institutions of the kind in the world. Mr. Pilcher is a Republican in politics, and for a number of years has been an active party worker and an influential factor in the public affairs of his city and county. He is now second vice-president of the Black Hills Mining Men's Association, and he is also interested in various other local enterprises for the promotion of the material welfare of his adopted state. Fraternally he is a Mason, in which order he has held various official positions, and he also holds membership with the Modern Brotherhood of America and the Knights of
Pythias.

Mr. Pilcher, on April 10. 1886, entered the marriage relation with Miss Jennie Thornby, of New York, and is now the father of two sons, Rufus J. and Warren T. Pilcher.


History of South Dakota, Vol. 2
by Doane Robinson
B. F. Bowen & Co., Publisher
1904
Contributed by Jim Dezotell

NEWTON S. TUBBS, of Custer City, is a native of Oneida county. New York, and dates his birth from November 22, 1853, having first seen the light of day in the town of Weston, near which the parental homestead is situated. His youthful years were spent on his father's farm, where he early learned the lessons of industry, thrift and self-reliance, which have so materially influenced his subsequent life, and in the public schools he received a modest educational training. When a mere lad he began working for himself and so assiduously did he apply himself that at the age of sixteen he found himself the possessor of several hundred dollars, which he judiciously invested in land, thus early in life becoming a tiller of the soil upon his own responsibility. A hard worker and good manager, he took advantage of every opportunity to improve his condition, and it was not long until he was regarded one of the most energetic and successful agriculturists of the community in which he resided. He continued to cultivate his farm and prosper until 1879, when he disposed of his interests in York state and started west, arriving at Cheyenne, Wyoming, on March 24th of that year. Shortly after reaching his destination Mr. Tubbs engaged in dairying near Cheyenne, in connection with which he also bought cattle, meeting with encouraging success in both lines of business. Later he discontinued his operations in Wyoming and in the fall of 1879 drove through with an ox-team to the Black Hills and took up land adjoining Custer City which place, at that time, was an insignificant hamlet, consisting of a few log shacks and occupied by a transient population, attracted thither by the prospect of gold. Having faith in the future growth and ultimate prosperity of the town, Mr. Tubbs decided to make it his permanent place of abode; accordingly he began improving his land, and in a short time started a dairy, which he operated for several years with profitable results, also established a cheese factory, which in like manner proved the source of a handsome income. While prosecuting these enterprises he turned his attention to stock raising, beginning on a small scale, but gradually enlarging the business until within a comparatively short time he had it established upon a firm basis with every prospect of continued success. In the fall of 1882 he went to Cheyenne and bought one thousand head of sheep, which he drove through to the Hills and herded on a large tract of fine grazing land near Red Canon, about ten miles from the Cheyenne river. This was the first attempt at sheep raising in the Black Hills country and to Mr. Tubbs belongs the honor of being the father of the industry in southwestern Dakota. From that time to the present his business has steadily grown in magnitude and importance until he is now the largest and most successful sheep raiser in the state, owning extensive tracts of land in various parts of the country and running from sixteen to twenty-five thousand head every year.

In addition to his large live-stock interests Mr. Tubbs is identified with various other enterprises, notable among which is the Edgemont Irrigation and Improvement Company, an undertaking inaugurated in 1895 to carry water from the Cheyenne river to a large area of surrounding country for the purpose of reclaiming and reducing to cultivation lands which up to that time were little better than dry, sterile wastes. This laudable object, however, failed of accomplishment by reason of the financial embarrassment of the company, after which Mr. Tubbs secured the entire canal and lands to the amount of ten thousand acres, taking possession of the property in January, 1903. He is now rapidly pushing the enterprise to completion and when finished it will doubtless make him one of the wealthiest men in the west, as the canal is the largest artificial waterway in the state, and the land when properly irrigated will be among the richest and most productive in Dakota.

Mr. Tubbs has manifested commendable zeal in all of his undertakings and possesses the ability, judgment and fertility of resource essential to the prosecution of large and important enterprises. He is not only a broad-minded, public-spirited man of affairs but tactful, shrewd and a natural leader who in business knows no such word as fail and who labors for the public good while advancing his own interests. His home, adjoining the corporate limits of Custer City, is perhaps the finest and most costly private residence in this part of the state, and he has been exceedingly liberal in surrounding himself and those dependent upon him with the conveniences and comforts of life and all the luxuries which large wealth and refined taste suggest. He was married in Custer City, August 3, 1883, to Miss Jennie Page, of Illinois, the union being terminated by the death of the loving and faithful companion, after a happy wedded experience of nearly nine years' duration. Mrs. Tubbs departed this life on the 22d day of March, 1902, leaving besides a husband three children to mourn her untimely loss, namely: George, Page and Alice. Mr. Tubbs holds membership with several secret fraternal organizations, belonging to the Masonic lodge at Custer City, also to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Modern Woodmen of America, Knights of the Maccabees and Ancient Order of United Workmen, at the same place, being an active worker in the different orders.


SHERMAN L. CAPLE

Sherman L. Caple, owner and manager of The Sheridan Music Co., ex-legislator; secy-treas. The Mid-Continent Oil Co.; (Dem.) b. August. 17, 1864, Monroe, Iowa; s. of Nimrod and Margaret (Fry) Caple; educ. Pub. And H. S. Monroe, Iowa; taught school several terms in South Dakota, and then engaged in stockgrowing in Custer, Pennington and Fall River counties, South Dakota, until 1903; engaged in general merchandise business in Custer, South Dakota, 1902-5; located in Sheridan, Wyoming, 1905, and engaged in grocery business; organized The Cash Supply Co., in Custer, S. D., and removed it to Sheridan; is now the principal stockholder of this concern; organizer and manager of The Sheridan Music Co., since Dec. 1908; county auditor, Custer county, So. Dakota, two years; mem. Wyo H. of Rep., 1913-15; mem. I. O. O. F. Address: Sheridan, Wyoming.
[Source: Men of Wyoming, By C. S. Peterson, Publ 1915. Transcribed by Anna Parks]


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

FRANK M. STEWART.

Frank M. Stewart, of Buffalo Gap, is a well known representative of the live-stock interests of South Dakota and as a director of the American National Live Stock Company exercises a great deal of influence in the management of the affairs of that powerful corporation. He is also connected in important capacities with many other concerns in the state and is one of its leading citizens. He is not only known for his business ability and important connections but also because of his marked public spirit and his capacity for friendship and his warm-hearted hospitality.

Mr. Stewart was born in Livermore, Indiana county, Pennsylvania, on the 11th of February, 1860, a son of Thomas G. and Josephine (McFarland) Stewart, both natives of Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania. In his early manhood the father engaged in the retail mercantile business at Livermore, but later became a wholesale grocer of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and Baltimore, Maryland. He was connected with the business life of Baltimore from 1868 until 1886, when he retired from active life. He passed away in that city in the spring of 1890 after surviving his wife for many years, her demise occurring in 1869.

Frank M. Stewart, the only child born to his parents, attended school in Johnstown, Pennsylvania; Winchester, Virginia; and Baltimore, Maryland. When seventeen years of age he became associated with 1m father in business and was given charge of the books. He remained in the employ of his father until he was twenty-six years of age, when he moved westward and settled at Buffalo Gap, South Dakota. He homesteaded land and immediately engaged in ranching. Success has attended his labors from the first and he is now interested in a ranch of six thousand acres in Custer county. He also owns, a tract of land in Fall River county and in 1893 began breeding Hereford cattle. He believes in raising full blooded stock and now has about two hundred head of pure bred Herefords, as fine a herd as any in his part of the state. He also has sixty pure bred Percheron horses, having begun to raise that breed in 1910. He devotes about five hundred acres of land to raising alfalfa and is enthusiastic over the possibilities of that crop in South Dakota. Since its organization in 1896 he has been a director of the American National Live Stock Company and for eight sessions represented the live-stock interests in the state legislature. He is vice president of the Dakota Power Company, of Rapid City; ex-vice president of the First National Life Insurance Company, of Pierre; and is now serving on the board of directors of that institution; secretary and third owner of the Evans Hotel at Hot Springs; and president of the Hot Springs Gypsum Products Company.

On the 22d of January, 1884, Mr. Stewart married Miss Rose B. Taylor, a daughter of Mortimer and Sarah Jean (Burns) Taylor. The father was born in Loudoun county, Virginia, and the mother in Towson, Maryland. In early life Mr. Taylor engaged in the mercantile business in Baltimore but later turned his attention to railroading. He served for a time as captain of the Home Guards and his military record was a creditable one. He
passed away on the 17th of April, 1897, and his wife died about 1873. To their union were born nine children, of whom Mrs. Stewart is the youngest. Mrs. Stewart attended school in Loudoun county, Virginia, and Baltimore, Maryland, but the greater part of her education was acquired under private tutors. She has become the mother of two daughters. Sara Jean graduated from the All Saints Episcopal Boarding School at Sioux Falls with the class of 1904, was for four years a student in the Peabody Conservatory of Music of Baltimore, Maryland, and for one year attended the American Conservatory of Music of Chicago. In 1910 she studied under William Shakespeare, of London, England, and is a thoroughly trained musician. She has an exceptionally fine voice and has gained a considerable reputation as a singer. Belle also graduated from the All Saints Episcopal School at Sioux Falls and in 1910 graduated from the Hannah Moore Academy, of Baltimore. In that year she and her sister were given a trip abroad as a graduation present from their parents and for four months visited the places of greatest interest in Europe. The family are noted for their delightful hospitality and are welcomed in the best social circles of the state. They are sincerely interested in all projects that have as their object the betterment of civic conditions and no good cause appeals to them in vain.

Mr. Stewart is a democrat and has served upon a number of the state committees. For four years he was a member of the state brand committee under appointment of Governor Lee and for a similar length of time served on the state live stock committee, being appointed by Governor Elrod., Governor Vessey made him a member of the state live stock sanitary board and he was an influential factor in the work of all of the committees on which he served. Since its organization in 1892 he has. been secretary-treasurer of the Western South Dakota Stock Growers Association and for one year had the honor of serving as vice president of the American National Live Stock Association, He was the first president of the Buffalo Gap Fair Association and although he has many interests of state or national scope, he has always found time to aid in the management of the affairs of his home locality and Buffalo Gap has profited in many ways from his experience and practical wisdom.

Fraternally Mr. Stewart is widely known, belonging to Washington Lodge, No. 3, A. F. &. A. M., of Baltimore, Maryland, which was instituted in 1770; Hot Springs Chapter, No. 33, R. A. M.; Battle Mountain Commandery, No. 15, K. T., of Hot Springs; Black Hills Consistory, No. 3, A. & A. S. R., of Dead wood; and Naja Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S., of Dead wood. He also holds membership with Martha Chapter, No. 22, O. E. S., of Hot Springs, of which he was patron for four years, and likewise is identified with the Modern Woodmen of America of Hot Springs. His wife and daughters belong to the Eastern Star and also to the Royal Neighbors.

When Mr. Stewart removed to the Black Hills he was in very ill health, having suffered from asthma for years, and he was not expected to live very long. He found the climate very beneficial and after proving up upon his homestead removed his family to Buffalo Gap, where he erected his present beautiful residence, the finest in the town. While living upon his ranch he had a number of exciting experiences, due to the unsettled condition of the country and the resentment of the Indians toward the white men. From pioneer times Mr. Stewart has taken a prominent part in promoting the welfare and advancement of not only his section but the whole state of South Dakota and has left the impress of his individuality upon Its history. He believes enthusiastically in the great future in store for the northwest and finds his greatest pleasure in doing something to promote the welfare of the state which he has served so ably for many years.


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

GEORGE E. LEMMON

The history of the west is a familiar story to George E. Lemmon. A native of Utah, he has spent much of his life on the frontier and was the founder of the town of Lemmon, in which he now makes his home. He was born at Bountiful, forty miles from Salt Lake City, May 23, 1857, a son of James H. and Lucy E. (Whittemore) Lemmon, who were natives of Ohio and Illinois respectively. They were married in Marengo, in the latter state, and soon afterward went to California. The father had made the trip to the Pacific coast in 1847, before gold was discovered, in the second emigrant train to cross the plains, and was engaged in merchandising, in freighting and in various other enterprises. He also participated in the Oregon Indian war from the start to the finish. Returning to Illinois in 1852, he was married and with his bride again made the trip to the far west. Their first child, Hervey, was born in an emigrant wagon when they were crossing the plains. Mr. Lemmon took with him a herd of thoroughbred Durham cattle, and being held up by the winter weather in Utah, he bought a farm at what was then Grantsville but is now Bountiful. There the family lived for six years and it was during that period that the birth of George E. Lemmon occurred. The following spring the father continued the trip to California with his freighting outfit of fifteen or twenty wagons and after spending that summer and the following winter in California returned to Utah, where he lived until 1859, when he removed to the vicinity of the present site of Hastings, Nebraska, and established a stage station at that point. In 1866-1867-1866 be was one of the subontractors engaged in building the Union Pacific Railroad through Ogden, Utah, to the vicinity of Salt Lake City. He died at his home in Nebraska in 1903, having long survived his wife, who passed away in 1875. He was always prominently identified with livetock interests, raising, buying and selling cattle and horses on an extensive scale. He was also a well read man and one of considerable influence in the community in which he lived.

George E. Lemmon was reared on the plains and was educated in the public schools of the different localities in which the family home was maintained. In 1870 he was in the employ of J. W. Iliff, the cattle king of Wyoming, and in 1877, before reaching his twentieth birthday, he purchased his first bunch of cattle and his connection with the cattle business has been continuous, while the growth of his business has made him one of the prominent cattle men of the western country. For three years he resided at Ogallala, Nebraska, and in 1880 removed to Buffalo Gap, in the Black Hills district of South Dakota, within twenty-five miles of the Bad Lands. He transferred the base of his operations to the Moreau river in South Dakota in 1888 and thence went to the Grand river in 1892, there operating prominently as a stockman until 1907, when the town of Lemmon was established. At that time he held extensive government land script and assisted the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul engineers in laying out the route for the building of the transcontinental road. Knowing that the route was the only available one through that part of the country, he bought extensive land scripts with the view of establishing town sites and the town of Lemmon was located on his holdings. Thirty days after the establishment of the first bank in the town he bought an interest in the institution and acted as president thereof until he disposed of his stock in the early part of 1914.

Mr. Lemmon was married in 1886 to Miss Bertha Reno, of Buffalo Gap, South Dakota, by whom he had three sons, namely: James H., who is engaged in the banking and cattle business; Roy E., a ranchman residing in Meeker, Colorado; and George R, who is a ranchman of Red Lodge, Montana. For his second wife Mr. Lemmon chose Miss Rosella Boe, of Deadwood, South Dakota.

Fraternally Mr. Lemmon is a Mason, belonging to the lodge in his home town. In politics he is an earnest republican and for many years served as county commissioner of Fall River county, South Dakota, of Adams county, North Dakota, and of Perkins county. He continued in that position in Perkins county from its organization until January 1, 1915, when he refused to continue longer as an incumbent in that office. He now concentrates his attention upon his land holdings and he still operates in the purchase and sale of cattle. At one time he had the largest cattle pasture in the United States, having under fence eight hundred and sixty-five thousand four hundred and twenty-eight and one-half acres which he held under lease. He was at one time the largest cattle operator in the country and in this connection he is widely known. Every phase of western life is familiar to him and in his chosen line of business he has taken advantage of the conditions offered by the west, finding excellent range for his cattle on the open prairies. He has keen business insight and sagacity, is ready in resource and at all times is capable of wisely meeting a situation. His operations have been carried on most extensively and his success is the merited result of his ability.


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

JAMES HARTGERING.

James Hartgering has had wide experience as a civil and mining engineer and has gained a reputation in those lines that is statewide. He was born in Ottawa county, Michigan, on the 22d of September, 1852, the third in a family of six children, whose parents were Alexander and Josephine Hartgering. The father was a teacher by profession and was a veteran of the Mexican war.

James Hartgering entered the public schools of his native county at the usual age and after completing the course offered there attended the Grand Rapids Business College. Some years later he attended the engineering school of the South Dakota School of Mines. Before entering that institution he had worked for a time at the carpenter's trade. In 1877 he came to the Black Hills, where he engaged in placer mining to some extent, but later followed the trade of a millwright and built or installed many of the early stamp and other mills of that section. Since taking up the work of engineering he has completed many important government contracts and in 1897 did much of the work connected with the official geological survey of the Black Hills district. For three years he was city engineer of Rapid City and for two years was county surveyor of Custer county. He is counted among the leading engineers of the state and one of the ablest authorities on civil and mining engineering in western South Dakota. He has made a thorough study of geology, natural science and astronomy and is one of the best informed men on geological formation of the Black Hills. For many years he was an active member of the American Society for the Advancement of Science; is a member of the American Geographic Society; and a member and director of the South Dakota Engineering Society.

Mr. Hartgering has a number of valuable mining interests, a fine ranch in Custer county, is a stockholder in the Security Savings Bank of Rapid City and a stockholder and director of the Ranchman’s State Bank of Fairburn, South Dakota.

On the 21st of March, 1883, Mr. Hartgering was united in marriage to Miss Jennie M. McRae, a daughter of John McRae, who was a native of Scotland but a resident of Ottawa, Canada. To this union five children have been born, namely: Constance M., a graduate of the University of Minnesota, who is now teaching in a high school at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; James F., deceased; Genevieve, also a graduate of the University of Minnesota and now instructor in domestic arts at the State Agricultural College at Brookings; John McRae, who graduated from the South Dakota State School of Mines and the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts and who is now mechanical engineer for the city of Detroit, Michigan; and Francis B., a graduate of the South Dakota State College and now assistant principal of the schools of Hecla, South Dakota, and teacher of chemistry, domestic science and German.

Mr. Hartgering is a republican with independent tendencies and fraternally is a Mason, having taken the third degree in the Scottish Rite, and belonging also to the commandery, the Shrine and the Eastern Star. In attaining prominence in his chosen profession he has not forgotten the duty that he owes to his community and has always been found ready to
aid in furthering the public welfare.


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

HON. GEORGE W. GAYLORD.

Hon. George W. Gaylord, judge of the county court of Custer county and a resident of the city of Custer, was born November 29, 1844, in Lee county, Illinois, a son of Lucian and Olive (Moore) Gaylord. The father, who was born in New York state, became a pioneer of Illinois, whence he removed to St. Louis and afterward to Minnesota.

Judge Gaylord pursued his education in the common schools of Illinois, of St. Louis and of Minnesota and remained upon his father's farm near Anoka, Minnesota, until October, 1861, when, with patriotic spirit aroused, he enlisted for service in the Second Minnesota Battery of Light Artillery, with which he served throughout the war, receiving his discharge on the 17th of August, 1865, at St. Paul. He entered the service as a private and rose to the rank of first lieutenant. In various important battles he participated, including the engagements at Perryville, Murfreesboro, Stone River, Chickamauga and Mission Ridge and was also with Sherman on his campaign to Atlanta. At Perryville he was wounded in the left hip. He made an excellent record as a soldier and officer, never faltering in the performance of duty and inspiring the men who served under him with much of his own zeal and valor.

After the war Judge Gaylord assisted his father in conducting a hotel in St. Cloud, Minnesota, until 1867 and later returned to Belleville, Illinois, where he became proprietor of a foundry. After conducting that business for a number of years he sold out in 1883 and for some time was in Minnesota and Kansas City, Missouri. He then removed to Custer, South Dakota, on the 9th of April, 1886, and for many years has been prominent in mining affairs in his section of the state, being principally interested in tin mines, in which he is still a large stockholder. His ability has led to his selection for various important and responsible positions. For six terms he served as justice of the peace and his fair and impartial decisions "won him golden opinions from all sorts of people." He is now serving for the fifth term, or tenth year, as county judge and upon the bench has made a splendid record.

In 1876 Judge Gaylord was married at Belleville, Illinois, to Miss Mary Badgley, a daughter of David Badgley, a merchant. Mrs. Gaylord passed away March 15, 1913, leaving three children: Mrs. Olive Geisel, who has two children; Benjamin Ogle, living in East St. Louis; and David, of St. Louis, who has five children.

In his political views Judge Gaylord is a stalwart republican and fraternally he is connected with General Steele Post, No. 94, G. A. R., of Custer, of which he is serving as commander. He is ever a courteous, dignified gentleman, recognized as a friend to those in need. It is said that he has more friends than any other resident of his county owing to his upright life and his fidelity to principle in public office and in private connections.


History of South Dakota, Vol. 2
by Doane Robinson
B. F. Bowen & Co., Publisher
1904
Contributed by Jim Dezotell

JOSEPH KUBLER is a native of the province of Alsace, Germany, where his birth occurred on August 23, 1854. He attended the schools of that country until his seventeenth year, after the Franco-Prussian war, when he left home and came to the United States, landing in New Orleans, thence after a short time went to Jackson, Mississippi, where he remained about two years, during which he was variously employed.  From the latter place he went to St. Louis, Missouri, later to Kansas City, thence to Omaha, Nebraska, and finally, in 1873, made his way as far west  as Denver, Colorado.

Shortly after reaching his objective point, he entered a newspaper office, to serve an apprenticeship at the printing business. It was while thus engaged that the Black Hills country was opened, and in the spring of 1876 he engaged with Mervick & Laughlin, who took a newspaper outfit to Custer City, to work in their office. Reaching their destination, these gentlemen while waiting for part of the material and stock of paper, issued a circular announcing to the people that their publication would appear in due time, but before the supplies arrived the gold excitement at Deadwood broke out, the effect of which was to cause a rush from Custer City, until the latter place was almost depopulated. Moving their plant to Deadwood, Messrs. Merrick & Laughlin, assisted by Mr. Kubler, issued, on June 8th of the above year, the first number of die Black Hills Pioneer, a sprightly, well-edited local sheet, devoted to the mining and other interests of the town and surrounding country, and which under the original management was regularly issued for some years thereafter. Mr. Kubler severed his connection with the paper and returning to Custer City, purchased, in partnership with A. D. Clark, a newspaper plant, that had been brought to the place some time previously, and on September 4th of the same year the first number of the Custer Chronicle was issued under the new management. After publishing the paper jointly for a period of five years, Mr. Kubler purchased his partner's share, since which time he has been sole proprietor, the Chronicle under his able editorial and business management growing steadily in public favor the meanwhile, until it is now not only one of the oldest newspapers in the Black Hills, but also one of the most successful, as well as one of the ablest and most influential local sheets in the state. Mr. Kubler has a well-equipped office, supplied with all the latest and most approved machinery and appliances, and the Chronicle is not only well edited, but is neat in its mechanical makeup and a model of typographical art, ranking in every respect with larger and much more pretentious metropolitan papers. Strongly Republican in politics and a zealous partisan, Mr. Kubler has never sought office or public position of any kind, believing that he can better promote the interests of his party through the medium of his paper than in any other way. He has attended many of the county, district and state conventions since locating in Custer City, and has wielded a strong influence in these bodies, being recognized as a safe and judicious counsellor. In May, 1900, he was appointed postmaster of Custer City, and was reappointed in May, 1904, and has since discharged the duties of the position in a creditable and business-like manner.  Mr. Kubler is a thirty-second-degree Scottish-rite Mason, also belongs

to the Mystic Shrine, and for a number of years has been a member of the blue lodge at Custer City, having served several terms as master of the same, besides holding various official positions in the other branches of the order with which he is identified; he also holds membership with the Pythian brotherhood, being one of the active workers in the lodge, which meets in the city of his residence. Mr. Kubler is one of the most enterprising men in the Black Hills, has always stood for progress and improvement and, although of foreign birth, he is intensely American in his inclination and tendencies, being a loyal supporter of the government under which he has achieved such marked prestige and success. 

Mr. Kubler, in July, 1883, was united in marriage with Miss Louisa Katsch, of Germany, but at the date noted a resident of Custer City, the following children being the fruit of the union: Joseph W., William L., Carl H., Eva, Frank, Grace and Louisa.


History of South Dakota, Vol. 2
by Doane Robinson
B. F. Bowen & Co., Publisher
1904
Contributed by Jim Dezotell

CHARLES C. CRARY, liveryman. Custer City, was born in Lake county, Ohio, on the 6th day of August, 1845. He was reared and educated in his native state and remained at home until 1863, when he joined Battery C, First Ohio Light Artillery, with which he served until the close of the rebellion, experiencing many of the vicissitudes and fortunes of war during his period of enlistment. He was honorably discharged in June, 1865, and returning to Ohio immediately thereafter, remained with his parents until 1867, when he went to Marshall county, Iowa, and engaged in farming. After spending the ensuing ten years in that state as a fairly prosperous tiller of the soil, Mr. Crary, in the spring of 1877, started for South Dakota, his objective point being the Black Hills, which region he reached the following June, stopping for a time at Deadwood, where he earned his livelihood by hauling logs. Later he worked for a while in the mines near that town, and then, with a party of prospectors, started for Lost Cabin, narrowly escaping from the hostile Indians on the way. After traversing a considerable part of the country and meeting with but indifferent success in his search for gold, Mr. Crary finally arrived at Bozeman, where he purchased a couple of ponies and a little later returned to the Black Hills. Reaching Cattle creek, he again began prospecting, but after spending a year and a half in that locality, part of which time was devoted to locating mining claims at Grand Junction, he went to Custer City, which place he has since made his home.

In 1884 Mr. Crary engaged in the livery business at Custer City, to which line of activity he has devoted his attention from that time to the present, meeting with flattering success in the undertaking. his barn being the largest and most complete establishment of the kind in the place. Meanwhile he was identified with another enterprise of no little moment, having, in 1890, with a friend by the name of James Clark, taken up mining claims on the present site of Sylvan Lake, and the year following a movement was set on foot by them and another party to dam a stream so as to fill a natural depression with water, thus creating one of the most beautiful little lakes to be found in any part of Dakota. This lake, which embraces an area of fifty-five acres, lies about six thousand one hundred feet above the level of the sea, and the situation is noted far and wide for beauty and romantic scenery, as well as for its pure air, equitable temperature and the remarkable healthfulness of the climate. The creating of this artificial body of water and establishing a health and pleasure resort was undertaken by Messrs. Crary, Clark and Spencer and shortly after locating their respective claims these gentlemen set about to carry their intention into effect. In due time the work of damming the water was successfully accomplished, after which the advantages of the place were extensively advertised with the result that within a comparatively brief period people from all over the country were attracted to the spot and it soon gained the reputation it has since sustained, as one of the most attractive resorts in the state. Mr. Crary erected a small cottage in 1890, which he continued to occupy of summer seasons for several years thereafter, and in 1896 he and Mr. Spencer became sole owners of the place. Two years later, however, he disposed of his interest to his partner, who is now owner and proprietor, and the resort has continued to grow in public favor until the large hotel and other places of entertainment are now taxed to their utmost capacity to accommodate the visitors that annually flock there to spend the summer seasons. Mr. Crary has made a success of all of his undertakings, has done much to promote the material welfare of Custer City, and takes an active part in municipal affairs and enjoys worthy prestige as a wide-awake business man and public-spirited citizen. He owns considerable city property, besides having valuable mining interests in the vicinity and in other parts of the Black Hills. In politics he is unswerving in his allegiance to the Republican party, being one of its standard bearers in Custer county, and he has also served the people in public capacity, having for several years held the responsible office of county commissioner.

Mr. Crary, in 1886, contracted a matrimonial alliance with Mrs. Alice (Weisner) Crary, a native of Ohio, the ceremony being solemnized in Custer City.


History of South Dakota, Vol. 2
by Doane Robinson
B. F. Bowen & Co., Publisher
1904
Contributed by Jim Dezotell

SEYMOUR N. FITCH, the leading dry-goods merchant of Custer City, is a native of New York, born in Rome, that state, on December 24, 1863. He was educated in the schools of the above city and there remained until his nineteenth year, when he left home to achieve his own fortune, going first to Des Moines, Iowa, where he held, during the two years following, a clerkship in a wholesale confectionery and cigar store. Resigning his position at the expiration of that time, Mr. Fitch, in the spring of 1882, came to South Dakota and after working on a ranch near Custer City about one year, became identified with the mercantile interests of the town by purchasing an interest in the dry-goods and clothing house of Bartell & Smith, succeeding the former partner in the business. Under the name of Smith & Fitch, the new firm grew rapidly in public favor and soon commanded the bulk of the trade in the lines of goods handled. The original building was a small structure, the capacity of which was in due time found entirely inadequate, accordingly a large addition was subsequently made and from the beginning a series of continued successes attended the enterprise. His partner dying in 1889, Mr. Fitch purchased the entire interest and became sole proprietor and as such enjoyed uninterrupted prosperity until October, 1901, when his establishment was almost destroyed by fire, entailing a loss conservatively estimated at twenty thousand dollars. This disaster, which would have been discouraging to the majority of men, served to stimulate the enterprising spirit of Mr. Fitch, as he immediately began rebuilding and within a comparatively short time recovered from his loss and was again on the high road to prosperity. The new building, in every respect larger and superior to the former structure, is one of the finest business houses in Custer City. It is now stocked with full lines of dry goods, clothing, gents furnishing, etc., and the business conducted within its walls exceeds in magnitude that of any similar establishment in the southwestern part of the state.

In addition to his commercial interests Mr. Fitch is also engaged quite extensively in the live-stock business, owning, in partnership with his cousin, Newton S. Tubbs, a large ranch near Edgemont, which is being devoted to sheep raising. The latter enterprise, under the efficient management of Mr. Tubbs, is successfully conducted and has proved the source of a very liberal income to both proprietors. While first of all a business man, Mr. Fitch is by no means indifferent to other matters in which his fellow citizens are interested, being a zealous Republican politician and an enthusiastic worker in local, district and state affairs. In recognition of his valuable services to his party, also by reason of his peculiar fitness for the position, he was elected some years ago treasurer of Custer county, discharging the duties of the office with credit to himself and to the satisfaction of the people. He also served on the board of county commissioners and in  that capacity was untiring in his efforts to inaugurate various public improvements. Fraternally Mr. Fitch is identified with the Knights of Pythias, belonging to the lodge in Custer City.

On January 9, 1890, in Custer City, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Fitch and Miss Helen Willis, of Springwater, New York, the fruit of the union being one daughter, Gladys M.


History of South Dakota, Vol. 2
by Doane Robinson
B. F. Bowen & Co., Publisher
1904
Contributed by Jim Dezotell

DENIS CARRIGAN, president of the First National Bank, Custer City, is a native of Canada, born in the city of Montreal, on the 31st of October, 1845. Mr. Carrigan spent his childhood and youth in his native place, receiving a good education in the schools of Montreal, and remaining there until twenty years of age, when he left home to achieve his fortune and carve out his own destiny. In 1866 he went to Omaha, Nebraska, and entered the employ of the Union Pacific Railway Company, remaining with the same until the line was constructed as far west as Sidney, Nebraska, which point was fixed upon as a terminal of a division of the road. Believing that in due time a thrifty town would spring up at this place, and seeing as he thought exceptional opportunities for business advancement, he severed his connection with the company and erected a store building on the present site of Sidney, which aside from the railroad was the first improvement in the town. Buying a stock of general merchandise, he was soon in the enjoyment of a profitable business, which continued to grow in magnitude as the population of the town increased, and in the course of a few years he found himself on the high road to prosperity.

In the spring of 1876, when the Black Hills were opened for settlement and Custer City sprang into existence, Mr. Carrigan started a branch store at the latter place, under the management of S. M. Booth, the venture proving remarkably successful. After running the latter store until 1879 he exchanged it for valuable real estate in Custer City, he meanwhile continuing his business at Sidney, which by the time indicated had grown largely in volume and earned him a fortune of no small proportions. In addition to the local trade it supplied various points in the Black Hills with merchandise, thus doing an extensive wholesale as well as a large retail business and proving profitable far beyond the original expectations of the proprietor. In connection with his mercantile interests, Mr. Carrigan also devoted considerable attention to live stock, having come into possession of a fine ranch about thirty-two miles west of Sidney, where he kept large herds of cattle, from the sale of which he realized liberal returns.

In the fall of 1880 Mr. Carrigan disposed of his mercantile and real-estate interests in Sidney and the following spring moved to Custer City, where in November of the same year he established a private bank, of which he was sole proprietor and business manager, this being the first financial institution not only in Custer City, but in the southern part of the Black Hills country. Mr. Carrigan managed the institution under the name of the Bank of Custer until 1890, in October of which year it was reorganized as the First National Bank, of Custer City, he being elected president, which relation he still sustains. In addition to his position as executive head of the bank, Mr. Carrigan is also the principal stockholder and the institution under his able management has been successful from the beginning, the business at this time being large and far-reaching and second to that of few banks in the state. 

Mr. Carrigan is a safe and conservative financier, familiar with every branch of the business in which he is engaged, and is well informed upon monetary questions in their relations to the varied interests of the country. In addition to banking he has done considerable in the line of real estate, owning at this time a large amount of city property, besides his ranch, in which he still has valuable live-stock interests. A stanch supporter of the Democratic party and an untiring worker for its success, he has steadily and persistently avoided partisan politics and refused to accept office, although he at one time consented to serve as county commissioner, and also acted for a number of years as school treasurer. 

Mr. Carrigan is a thirty-second-degree Scottish-rite Mason, also a Knight Templar, and for a number of years has. been a zealous member of this ancient and honorable fraternity. Mr. Carrigan owns a beautiful home in Custer City, the presiding genius therein being a lady of beautiful character and varied culture, to whom he was united in the bonds of holy wedlock on May 24. 1871, the ceremony having been solemnized in the city of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Mrs. Carrigan, who before her marriage bore the maiden name of Louisa McWhinnie, is a native of Illinois, but has spent the greater part of her life in the west.


History of South Dakota, Vol. 2
by Doane Robinson
B. F. Bowen & Co., Publisher
1904
Contributed by Jim Dezotell

GEORGE B. BALE is a native of England and dates his birth from November 25, 1867. He first saw the light of day in Norfolk and spent his early life in that place, receiving a good education in the schools of the same, and remaining with his parents until eighteen years of age. Severing home ties in the spring of 1885, he came to the United States, making his way direct to Watertown, South Dakota, where he remained for a brief period, after which he traveled extensively over various western states and territories, going as far as the Pacific coast. Being pleased with Dakota, he finally returned to this state, and took up a pre-emption on the "Divide" near Battle creek, Custer county, where he engaged in farming, but the venture not proving successful, he left his place and for some time thereafter was employed by a horse dealer, to whom his services proved of great value. Later Mr. Bale began buying and selling horses upon his own responsibility, and in due time worked up an extensive and lucrative business in the vicinity of Battle creek. In 1890 he changed his location to the Cheyenne river, where he continued running horses until 1897, when he effected a co-partnership in the business with C. W. Arnold, the two greatly extending the scope of their operations, buying up all the outfits in a large area of territory and within a short time achieved the reputation of being the largest and most successful horse dealers in the western part of the state. The firm thus constituted lasted until 1902, in which year the subject withdrew from the partnership and purchased the ranch on Battle creek, twenty-three mines east of Hermosa, where he has since lived and prospered, as a cattle raiser, devoting considerable attention the meantime to the improvement of his place. In addition to the live-stock business, Mr. Bale also carries on farming, the greater part of his land being irrigated and easily susceptible to tillage. He raises abundant crops of grain, vegetables and fruits, which with the returns from his cattle sales yield him a handsome income every year.  He belongs to the Masonic lodge at Hermosa, and, like the majority of intelligent and progressive citizens, manifests an abiding interest in public and political affairs, giving his support to the Republican party. 

On November 11, 1901, Mr. Bale and Miss Nettie Bower, of South Dakota, were united in the holy bonds of wedlock, the marriage resulting in the birth of one child, a son who answers to the name of George J.

 

 

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