South of Miner and east of McCook, is Davison County, not more remarkable by reason of the fertility of its soil, and the beauty of its landscapes - characteristics of the noted James River Valley throughout - than for the fact that it contains, as its County Seat, the growing town of Mitchell - a city of great expectations that are being rapidly realized.
The first settlements of Davison County date from about the year, 1872. John Head came in this year, and built the first frame house in the county. H. C. Green, Israel Green and Joseph Piatt came in 1873; Luke Lowell, John Lowell and Mr. Norton, in 1874; Martin Blakesly. Peter Smith, R. F. Allerton, A. S. Curtis and A. J. Curtis, in 1875.
The officers appointed in pursuance of the organization of Davison County, were: Commissioners - John Head, Levi Hain, Luke W. Lowell. Sheriff - I. M. Tyrrell. Clerk and Register - Parkhurst. Treasurer and Judge of Probate - John Lowell. Surveyor - -I. Green.
The first election occurred in 1878, at which the following officers were elected: Commissioners - A. J. Curtis, Thomas Watson, H. C. Green. Sheriff - A. S. Curtis. CUrk and Register - R. F. Allerton. Treasurer - John Morris. Surveyor - Israel Green. Present officers: Commissioners - Thomas Watson, A. J. Curtis, Carl Eilers. Sheriff - T. H. Wilson. Treasurer - H. C. Applegate. Assessor - Charles Huntington. Clerk and Register - J. K. Smith. Superintendent of Schools - Rev. E. C. Downs. Judge of Probate - L. W. Warren. Surveyor - Israel Green.
The remarks elsewhere concerning other localities of the James River Valley are equally pertinent to Davison County, to enter into a detailed description of whose soil, and its characteristics, would therefore be needless repetition.
This county is in the very centre of that rich section known as Southern Dakota, scarcely an acre of its land being untillable. There is but little timber in the county, except the heavy growth along the Jim river and Firesteel creek, and what has been grown in artificial groves. The population of the county is 10,000. Davison county is situated in the famous Jim River Valley - noted far and wide for its fertility and productiveness; a region possessing vast and inexhaustible resources, and which is attracting the attention of the entire agricultural world. This county seems to combine, more than any other section in the West or Northwest, the elements essential to successful husbandry. Soil, climate and water all tend to reward the efforts of the agriculturist, and, while it is admirably adapted to the growth of nearly all the cereal and vegetable crops known to more southern latitudes (including corn, oats, wheat, rye, barley, flax, sugar cane, broom cane, potatoes, cabbage, turnips, fruit, etc.), it is peculiarly adapted to stock and dairy pursuits. The abundance of good water and the numerous and excellent tracts of grass land all favor this latter branch. Vacant lands are plentiful in Davison county, and rare opportunities are found for the thrifty and intelligent settler. The Government Land Office at Mitchell offers peculiarly favorable chances to secure magnificent farming lands at a very low rate.
Mitchell is the headquarters for buyers and sellers of lands in all this vast region. Good unimproved land can be had from $8 to $10 per acre. Mitchell is the county seat of Davison county, and claims 4,600 inhabitants. It is situated at the junction of two branches of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway. It was commenced in 1879 and has ever since experienced a steady and most prosperous growth. The location of a district land office has contributed largely to the city's development, and its situation in the heart of the James River Valley is also an important factor. Valuable building material is plenty in the vicinity, and includes the white chalkstone of the Missouri Valley, a reddish sandstone, and the famous Sioux Falls quartzite. A fine school building was erected in 1880 at a cost of $6,000. Ground for the erection of another of similar size has recently been purchased. One of the two principal colleges of the Methodist Episcopal Church has been located at Mitchell, and the buildings are now in process of construction. A fine court bouse and prison has been recently built, at a cost of $35,000. Six churches, four banks, three flouring mills, and a lame foundry and machine shop are among the other industries represented. An extensive aud prosperous brick manufactory has furnished the material for many of the best blocks. Three excellent hotels are in successful operation.
Mount Vernon and Arlandton are both villages of promising growth. Rome, Emsley, Victor and Chanka are small postoffices in different parts of the county.
Contributed by Suzanne Folk
Delegate in Congress - O. S. Gifford
Governor - G. A. Pierce
Secretary - J. H. Teller
Treasurer - James W. Raymond
Auditor - E. W. Caldwell
Surveyor General - Maris Taylor
Superintendent of Public Instruction - A. S. Jones
Chief Justice of Supreme Court - Alonzo J. Edgerton
United States District Attorney - John E. Garland
United States Marshal - Dan Maratta
J. K. Smith County Clerk and Register
W. C. Metcalf Clerk of District Court
E. C. Wa[??]ng Probate Judge
R. F. Alterton Sheriff
John Tatman Sr. Coroner
R. D. Prescott Treasurer
C. M. Cooley Superintendent of Schools
A. J. Waterhouse Attorney
J. J. Bingham Surveyor
J. W. Oltman Assessor
Commissioners - District No. 1. A. Plat[??]e; District No. 2, W. N. Blackman; District No. 3, M. D. Lewis; District No. 4, G. B. Kelsey; District No. 5, M. M. McDonald
F. A. Huggins Mayor
D. W. Ward Treasurer
Winslow Abbey Police Justice
J. F. Kimball Clerk
F. M. Durell Marshal
J. L. Ham[??] City Justice
F. W. Ca[?????] Assessor
Board of Aldarmen
First Ward - F. M. Hammer, R. R. Rogers
Second Ward - R. D. Welch, M. F. Bloss
Third Ward - Louis Beckwith, Mo[??] Olstad
Fourth Ward - R. F. Dundas, Henry Ahren
Board of Education
First Ward - G. B. Orswell, G. M. Wallace
Second Ward - O. O. Stanchfield, G. W. Hunter
Third Ward - M. F. Dunham, L. Beckwith
Fourth Ward - E. B. Dracy, R. N. Kratz
President - M. F. Dunham
Secretary - O. O. Stanchfield
Superintendent - H. E. Kratz