South Dakota

Edmunds County South Dakota

County History



1885 County History

1885 Newspaper Listing






Dakota 1885
Compiled by O. H. Holt



Edmunds county is comprised of ranges 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 73, 78, In townships 121, 122,128,124. Range 66, east of Edmunds county, is not, at present, within the limits of any county, but will, undoubtedly, be annexed to Edmunds at the next session of the legislature.

The first settlement of Edmunds county dates from the fall of 1882, when a few claims were taken in the eastern portion, and one or two as far west as range 68. Organization was effected August 27, 1883, by the appointment and qualification of Dr. L. F. Delfendorf, C. N. Skillman and L. A. Barbour as commissioners. Since that date the original commissioners engaging in business, in connection with which they could not attend to the affairs of the county, have tendered their resignations, and Messrs. D. I. Mercier, D. W. Garfield and L. G. Sims have been appointed to fill the vacancy.

Of all counties in Central Dakota claiming rapid development, none can claim precedence to Edmunds. Not more than a dozen claims were taken as late as March, 1883. Then commenced that vast emigration from all parts of the East. Aberdeen being reached by both the Chicago, Milwaukee & St Paul and the Chicago & North-Western Railways, was naturally the objective point for Central Dakota, all land east of that point having been taken and the tide of settlement moving rapidly to the
west. In a few weeks all of ranges 66, 67, 68, and part of 69, were covered by "squatters." Some passed over the slightly rolling country in 69 and 70 and located in 70 and 71. Three new towns, Freeport, Edmunds and Georgetown, were started in range 68, and Roscoe in range 70. Houses were built in a day, and teams immediately set to breaking. Thousands of acres were broken in the months of May and June. Corn and potatoes were raised on the sod, also some small grain. The spring of 1884 opened, but with not so large an immigration as the previous year. The settlement
was mostly in the western portion. A number of farmers located in the northern portion of the county, with large herds of cattle. The year 1884 has been favorable to crops. At most times there was sufficient rainfall, and wheat, oats, corn, flax, barley, buckwheat, sugar-cane, potatoes, turnips and all varieties of garden vegetables were raised in abundance. The first wheat marketed in the
county was raised by Jacob Keifer and sold to L. B. Edmunds, August 21, 1884. In the summer of 1883 the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Company extended their road, west of Aberdeen, twenty-six miles, and started the new town of Ipswich, October 2, 1884; daily trains have been running since then. Ipswich is a town of about 700 inhabitants. There are in it twelve hotels, two weekly newspapers, three hardware stores, ten dry goods and grocery stores, about twenty real estate offices, two elevators, six lumber yards, etc., etc.

There are sixteen schools established in the county, and more will be started soon. Five church organizations flourish here.

The county is devoid of timber; water is obtained by digging from twelve to twenty feet. The soil is deep, varying from one to seven feet. In places granite boulders of glacial formation are found, but not in sufficient quantities to prevent the land from being cultivated.

Good quarter sections of land are selling for $500 to $1,600, according to nearness to the railroad. Tree-claim relinquishments may be had at $50 to $400. Government land may still be obtained in ranges 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, and claims are being taken every day. Parties wanting good land should come soon, as each one takes the best that is left. This is truly the Eden of ten counties in Central Dakota, over which the writer has traveled. Corn, averaging seventy-five bushels per acre, has been raised on sod in range 70. Beets weighing sixteen pounds, and wheat averaging twenty-five bushels
per acre, have also been grown.

Carpenters get from $2 to $3 per day. Day laborers, $1.50; per month, $20. Teachers, $20 to $45. Even at very low wages a person can make money rapidly in Dakota by taking up government land and holding it while working.

Edmunds county will soon lake its place with the leading counties of Dakota. The railroad is bound to traverse it from east to west, and undoubtedly a road from the south will pass through it on the way to Bismarck. The coal fields recently discovered in the Sioux Reservation, on the west side of the Missouri, are much better than at first supposed. Beds seven feet deep have been found. This settles the fuel question for Edmunds county, in fact, for all of Central Dakota.

Dakota 1885
Compiled by O. H. Holt

Dakota Tribune.................Ipswich
Edmunds County Gazette........ Ipswich


Edmunds County

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