Hand County, South Dakota
Hand county was created Jan. 8, 1873, and organized in 1882.
It was named after George H. Hand. It consists of townships 109-116
north, of ranges 66-70 west 5th P. M. The County Seat is Miller.
The first settler was Henry Kile, on Turtle Creek, in 1880. Hand
county has a total area of 912,640 acres.
114 N. Range 69 W
113 N. Range 68 W
109 N. Range 66W
114 N. Range 66 W
114 N. Range 70 W
115 N. Range 67 W
110 N. Range 70 W
109 N. Range 70 W
115 N. Range 69 W
114 N. Range 68 W
113 N. Range 66 W
110 N. Range 69 W
112 N. Range 66 W
113 N. Range 69 W
116 N. Range 70 W
110 N. Range 67 W
Hiland township was named for Charles Hiland, who lived on the south
shore of Cottonwood Lake.
114 N. Range 67 W
115 N. Range 68 W
111 N. Range 66 W
116 N. Range 67 W
111 N. Range 68 W
112 N. Range 69 W
112 N. Range 68 W
109 N. Range 69 W
Mondamin township was originally proposed to be named "Greeves"
township, as it was the Greeves family who were the first to settle that
area; but one of the Greeves women objected, suggesting "Mondamin" instead.
110 N. Range 68 W
Ohio township was named by a group that came from Ohio.
115 N. Range 70 W
116 N. Range 68 W
111 N. Range 67 W
116 N. Range 66 W
Pleasant Valley Township
109 N. Range 68 W
Ree Heights Township
112 N. Range 70 W
113 N. Range 70 W
111 N. Range 69 W
Rose Hill Township
110 N. Range 66 W
St. Lawrence Township
112 N. Range 67 W
116 N. Range 69 W
Spring Hill Township
111 N. Range 70 W
Spring Lake Township
109 N. Range 67 W
115 N. Range 66 W
113 N. Range 67 W
Ames was a post office, located southward from Miller, along the
Chicago and Northwestern Railroad.
Bailey was a post office located in southwestern Hand county, along
the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad.
Bates was a post office about 20 miles south of Wessington, in southeastern
Hand County, along the Chicago and Northwestern railroad.
Bramhall was a small community located 5 miles west of Ree Heights.
It came into being in September of 1882. At one time they had a newspaper,
The Bramhall News. But when it was realized that there was not a
sufficient water source, the town quickly died out.
Burdette was a small community about 20 miles northeast of Miller
and 17 miles west of Tulare, started by James O. Dean about 1883.
A church was organized there about 1885, but due to the shortage of ministers,
the church was eventually combined with the Carlton church. When
the railroad did not include Burdette, the town died out.
Located in Cedar township, the town had a doctor, dentist and blacksmith
in the late 1800's, before disappearing.
Danforth is located in southern Hand County, 32 miles southwest
The town of Dean was platted in June of 1884 in Spring Lake township,
and was originally to be named "Spring Lake". The town at one
time had a newspaper, the Spring Lake Star, but eventually all that was
left was a post office.
Helmick was a small town in Wheaton township, about 10 miles south
of Rockham, which at one time had over 100 citizens, and a post office,
among other businesses.
Houdek was a post office in northwestern Hand County, 16 miles southwest
The community of Howell was platted in June of 1883 in northern
Hand county, 16 miles north of Miller, developing quickly into a town boasting
a general store, drugstore, school, cobbler shops, blacksmith shops, a
grocery store, saloons, a hotel and a livery barn, as well as a doctor,
attorney, a post office, and a land office. There was a mail route
from Miller to Howell, run three times per week. There was also a
route from Howell to a post office named "Helmick" in Wheaton township,
also run three times per week. Howell was located north of Miller,
near the Faulk county line. It was expected that the Milwaukee railroad
would be built southward from Orient, but when that didn't happen, the
town died out in less than ten years.
The community of Jamesville was platted on land owned by Frederick
S. and Maria Winslow, on March 31, 1884, on the southeast quarter of section
33, Ontario township, north west of Miller. Street names were to
be Milwaukee Ave., Lake St., Chicago Ave., and Main St., but the town was
Millerdale is the location of the Hutterite colony, 9 miles south
and 2 miles west of Miller. The Hutterites came from Milltown, and
bought the land from Ed Miller.
Mr. and Mrs. W. T. Love owned the original site of Ree Heights.
It is located 10 miles west of Miller, along the Chicago and Northwestern
railroad line. "The Review", established in 1911, was the local newspaper,
edited in 1925 by E. J. Hey. The population in 1925 was 312.
St. Lawrence is about 35 miles west of Huron, about 1 mile east
of Miller. It was named after the county and river in New York.
The local newspaper was the "Hand County News", established in 1907, and
edited in 1925 by J. L. Flint.
The town was platted on June 24, 1884 by Oliver H. Pruner.
On March 2, 1885, he sold the first two lots to the Union Church of Spring
Lake, O. F. Smith, Trustee. Two years later, 3 more lots were sold
to the Methodist Episcopal Church. Two other buildings were erected,
one of which was a blacksmith shop. The Spring Lake Civic Townships
Clerk's record of March 20, 1886, shows Michael Mills and Charles Minnick
were appointed constables. Other names mentioned were W. Williams,
E. H. Williams, Joseph Douthett, George E. Cazaly, W. Hyde, Louis Otto,
J. L. Holmes, L. Porter, S. W. Blaine, David Erwin, S. S. Keeler,
Archie Burns, Amos Winegar, R. A. Sherman, W. Crecelius, L. A. Wiliams,
Arthur Pugh, P. J. Babcock, Frank Phinney. Some of the street names
from the plat were Main, Ash, Maple, Green, West, Carroll and Spring Lake
Tennis was a post office in northern Hand county.
Near the site of Vayland, about 8 miles east of St. Lawrence,
in 1883, a post office was granted, known as Silex. The town never
developed, however, and the post office was discontinued in 1891.
Later, another town was started here, but since there was already a point
along the railroad named Silex, it was suggested that the town be called
"McVay" in honor of the prominent McVay family, but the family requested
that the town be given another name. "Vayland" was the result.
In the early 1900s, and town had a restaurant, hotel, bank, blacksmith,
post office, general stores, barber, lumbershop, livery barn, train depot,
and several elevators.