South Dakota

Sanborn County South Dakota

County History


from "Dakota", 1885

Compiled by O. H. Holt

transcribed by Karen Seeman




This county lies toward the southeastern part or the Territory, and contains an area of about 576 square miles, or 868,640 acres.


The general surface is gently rolling prairie, and the soil principally a black, vegetable mold, though in some localities it is of a more sandy nature. In depth it averages nearly two feet, and is underlaid throughout by a clay subsoil.


Sanborn county is situated on the Southern Minnesota division of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway, due west from La Crosse, Wisconsin, 890 miles. It is what was once the western half of Miner county, and is as fine a county of land as is often seen.


The far-famed James or Dakota river meanders through the county from north to south nearly in the centre of the county, and hence it lies in the very heart of the James River Valley. A part of the county east of the river has been settled for some time, and has many improved farms with from fifty to one hundred acres each already under cultivation, and the quantity and quality of the crops that have been produced are not surpassed by any section of the Territory.


The country west of the river can almost be said to be the stockman's paradise. The grass starts earlier in the spring and keeps green later in the autumn than in any other section of the Territory, and the hay produced from it will keep stock growing and in good condition through the winter without grain.


Woonsocket, in the western part, on the line of the railroad, was first settled in 1883, and has since experienced a rapid and prosperous growth. The city contains upward of sixty business houses, two banks, a graded school, jail, a large flouring mill, four church organizations and three newspapers.


Forestburg, on the James river, is the oldest town in the county. Letcher and Diana are prosperous and growing towns, the former near the south line, and the latter near the eastern line of the county. All of these towns are situated on the several branches of the railroad.



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