Stanley County, South Dakota
History of South Dakota, Volume 1
By Doane Robinson
Transcribed and contributed by Janice Rice
ERNEST JASPER LACY
ERNEST JASPER LACY, present official surveyor of Stanley county, South Dakota, was born November 2, 1873, at Austin, Minnesota, the son of John S. and Katherine (Gibbs) Lacy, natives of Ohio and New York respectively. The father, a farmer by occupation, removed to South Dakota in 1881, and built the first hotel at Roscoe, later known as Egan, which he conducted for a time, subsequently, by reason of financial embarrassment, changing his residence to the subject's ranch, six miles west of Flandreau, Moody county.
Ernest J. was but four years of age when his parents moved to South Dakota, and from that time to the present his life has been mainly spent within the boundaries of his adopted state. His early experiences on the farm were similar to those of the majority of country lads, and he grew up with a practical acquaintance with agricultural labor in its various phases, attending of winter seasons the public schools of his neighborhood. As stated in a preceding paragraph. his father met with severe business reverses, resulting in the loss of nearly all of his property, which, with failing health that followed, reduced the family to somewhat straitened circumstances. These misfortunes occurring when Ernest J. was a youth of twelve, he nobly gave up some of his ambitions and started out to make his own way in the world, and at the same time to assist his parents. Leaving school, he joined a surveying party under F. W. Pettigrew, hoping to save from his salary money sufficient to prosecute his legal studies, after contributing a certain amount to the object above noted. He started with this party in the summer of 1895 as flagman, discharging his duties faithfully and well, and while thus engaged concluded to give up the idea of studying law and turn his attention to civil engineering. He made such rapid progress in the latter profession that during the summers of 1896 and 1897 he was given charge of a party running a transit, under the direction of Mr. Pettigrew, and the winter of the latter year he spent drawing plats and writing notes of the self-same survey. From 1898 to 1900 inclusive Mr. Lacy was joint contractor with Mr. Pettigrew in surveying government lands in South Dakota west of the Missouri river, and during those years he had personal charge of a party that helped survey over four thousand miles of the general domain, an experience beneficial to him in many ways, especially in that it enabled him to master the principles of his profession and become a skillful and thoroughly reliable surveyor.
In addition to engineering Mr. Lacy is also largely interested in the live stock business, owning since 1900 a fine sheep ranch in Stanley county, on which he makes his home and which, plentifully stocked with the best grade of sheep obtainable, yields him a large share of the liberal income he every year receives. He has made many valuable improvements on his property, which have added greatly to its beauty and attractiveness, and in addition to his live stock interests he is at the present time vice-president of the South Dakota Horticultural Society. He is also engaged in real estate business in connection with his other lines of endeavor, and since has been official surveyor of Stanley county. Mr. Lacy was reared a Republican, but of recent years he has been practically independent in politics, though inclining somewhat towards the Prohibition party. He supports the candidates best qualified, mentally and morally, for the positions to which they aspire, but keeps himself well informed relative to the leading questions and issues of the day, on all of which he has strong convictions and decided opinions.
Religiously Mr. Lacy is a Methodist, and he exemplifies his faith by his daily life and conversation, being a liberal contributor to the local church with which himself and wife are identified, and a supporter of all charitable and benevolent institutions and enterprises. Reference is made in a preceding paragraph to' Mr. Lacy's limited school privileges during his youth, and how his education was interfered with by circumstances over which he had no control. With a laudable ambition to make up in part at least for this deficiency, he afterwards entered high school at Sioux Falls, where he pursued his studies with great assiduity until completing the full course, graduating with a high standard of scholarship in the year 1894. While attending the above institution he was a member of Company B, South Dakota National Guards, and in due time rose by successive promotions from private to the rank of second lieutenant. In a general examination on tactics and drill he had the honor of standing second to but one member of the organization in the state, making ninety-nine points out of a possible hundred, an achievement of which he and his friends feel deservedly proud. September 11, 1900, Mr. Lacy was happily married to Miss Estelle Mae Lyman, whose father, Lewis Lyman, was one of the early pioneer settlers of Minnehaha county. Standing forward as one of the representative young men of his county, and as one of its most intelligent, enterprising and valued citizens, Mr. Lacy owes his pronounced success in life solely to his own efforts and is clearly entitled to the proud appellation of a "self-made man." He possesses great force of character and a pleasing personality, which, combined with fine social qualities and superior professional ability, make him not only a useful man in his day and generation, but also popular with all classes and conditions of his fellow citizens. Warm-hearted, affable and pleasing in address and manner, he numbers his friends by the score and the respectable position he has already reached in professional, business and social circles is indicative of the still greater and more influential career that awaits him in the future.
History of South Dakota, Volume 1
By Doane Robinson
Transcribed and contributed by Janice Rice
CHARLES J. LAVERY
CHARLES J. LAVERY, M. D.— Fort Pierre, Stanley county, has an able and popular representative of the medical profession in the person of Dr. Lavery, who is a native of the old Empire state of the Union. He was born in the town of Clinton, Clinton county, New York, on the 5th of February, 1867, and is a son of John and Jane (Coulter) Lavery both of whom were born in the fair Emerald Isle, the former in County Armagh and the latter in County Mayo. William Lavery, the paternal grandfather of the Doctor, was likewise born in County Armagh, Ireland, whence he emigrated with his family to America in 1831, locating in Ontario, Canada, near Huntington, and not far distant from the line of New York state. He there engaged in farming and there passed the remainder of his long and useful life, while the old homestead is still in the possession of his descendants. The father of the subject remained at the parental home until he had attained the age of seventeen years, when he removed to Chateaugay, Franklin county, New York, where he was residing at the time of the outbreak of the war of the Rebellion, when he showed his intrinsic loyalty by promptly tendering his services in defense of the Union. In 1861 he enlisted, in response to the President's first call, as a private in the Ninety-sixth New York Volunteer Infantry, with which he served until the close of his three months' term. He then re-enlisted in the same regiment and was made first lieutenant of Company A. He participated in many of the most notable engagements of the great conflict, including the battles of the Wilderness, Seven Oaks. Lookout Mountain, Shenandoah and many others, while he continued in active service until practically the close of the war, having received his honorable discharge on the 25th of January, 1865. He then returned to New York and took up his residence on the farm which he had purchased, in Clinton county, and there he continued to make his home, honored by all who knew him, until his death, which occurred on the 29th of July, 1896, while his devoted wife passed away on the 14th of November, 1902. They became the parents of three children, Charles J.. William Burns and Ellen M., the subject of this sketch being the eldest, the other two dying in childhood. William Burns at the age of six years and Ellen M. when but eight months old. Dr. Lavery was reared to the sturdy discipline of the homestead farm, and received his rudimentary education in the district schools of the locality, after which he completed a course of study in the high school at Churubusco, New York. He began the study of medicine in 1885 with Dr. M. S. Carpenter, of Ellenburg Center, New York. In 1886 he was matriculated in Starling Medical College, in Columbus, Ohio, where he continued the study of medicine and surgery under the most favorable conditions for the ensuing two years, when his health became so impaired as to demand his withdrawal from school, and he then passed about two years on the home farm, fully recuperating his energies. He then came to the west, taking up his residence in South Dakota in 1890, on the 18th of February of which year he passed the required examination entitling him to the degree of Doctor of Medicine and to practice his profession in the state. He had in the meanwhile continued his technical studies and advanced himself to high proficiency in his chosen profession.
From 1890 until 1893 the Doctor devoted his attention to practice at Fort Pierre, this state, and then took ; a post-graduate course of six months' duration in the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Chicago. Holding nothing less than the most perfect professional knowledge as satisfactory in a personal way, he then took a post-graduate course in hospitals in the city of Toronto. Canada, and later a special hospital and clinical course in hospitals under professional control of the celebrated McGill University, in the city of Montreal. The Doctor then made a visit to his old home, where he remained a brief interval, at the expiration of which, in April, 1895, he returned to Fort Pierre and resumed the active practice of his profession, in which he has met with most gratifying success. His services have been self-abnegating and often arduous, as he has been frequently called to minister to those forty, fifty and even one hundred miles distant from his home, while in nearly all such cases he has had to make the journey on horseback or with team and vehicle, and often over country little traveled. His devotion to his profession and to the cause of suffering humanity has been shown in the labors which he has thus performed, while he has been specially successful in his surgical practice, in which he has attained a high reputation and a business excelled by that of but few physicians in the state, if indeed any. He has the best standard and periodical literature pertaining to his profession and keeps in close touch with the advances made, while once or twice each year he visits certain of the leading metropolitan hospitals and medical colleges for the purpose of further study and investigation, while in his office will be found all the newest appliances and most recent instruments for the treatment of disease, both medical and surgical.
The Doctor served for a number of terms as county coroner, and was also county physician for several years, while he also had the distinction of being the first superintendent of the first board of healtli of. Stanley county, and has ever since been an active and valued member of the board. In 1900 he was elected a member of the board of trustees of the South Dakota State Medical Society, at the annual meeting, in Aberdeen, and at the annual meeting of 1903, at Mitchell, he was selected, with Dr. Rock, of Aberdeen, to represent the state association at the meeting of the American Medical Association at Atlantic City, New Jersey, in May, 1904, and in August, 1903, he was elected secretary at the organization of the Fourth District Medical Society and was re-elected in December, 1903. Dr. Lavery was the first president of the Republican League of Stanley county, which was organized in 1890, and served until 1894, taking a most active part in the party work in the county. In 1896 he showed the courage of his convictions by transferring his allegiance to the Democratic party and supporting Bryan for the presidency, and he has since been a prominent advocate of the principles of this party. He has attained the thirty-second degree in the Scottish Rite Masonry, being identified with Oriental Consistry, No. 2. at Yankton, South Dakota, and at the time of this writing he is worshipful master of Hiram Lodge No. 123, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, in his home town, and is a member of the Royal Arch chapter and Eastern Star in Pierre. He is also identified with the Sons of Veterans, the Knights of Pythias, and the Ancient Order of Limited Workmen. He is a thoroughly loyal citizen of his adopted state and deeply interested in all that conserves its prosperity and advancement. On the 20th of February, 1895, Dr. Lavery was united in marriage to Miss Matilda I. Widmeyer, of Clearwater, Manitoba, she having been a daughter of Charles Widmeyer, an extensive and prominent farmer of that section of the Canadian northwest. Mrs. Lavery entered into eternal rest on the 6th of October, 1896, leaving one child. Ruble St. Elmo, who was born March 22, 1896. On the 14th of October, 1897, the Doctor wedded Miss Margaret Ethel Whitney, of Emmettsburg, Iowa. She is a daughter of Dr. Joshua J. Whitney, who was surgeon of the Eighteenth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry during the war of the Rebellion, and who later became one of the pioneers of Fort Pierre, South Dakota, where he opened what was probably the first drug store in the town and being one of the most influential citizens of this locality up to the time of his death, on the Sth of October, 1890, at the age of sixty years. Dr. and Mrs. Lavery have one child, a little girl, born January 14, 1904. They are both communicants of the Protestant Episcopal church, both having been brought up in that belief. The Doctor is warden of the church in Fort Pierre and always has been an active church worker.
History of South Dakota, Vol. 2
by Doane Robinson
B. F. Bowen & Co., Publisher
Contributed by Jim Dezotell
DOUGLAS CARLIN, representative of Stanley and Lyman counties in the state senate, and one of the successful farmers and stock growers of this section of the state, is a native of the state of Illinois, having been born in Greene county, on the 20th of August, 1855, and being a son of Thomas J. and Mary (Kelly) Carlin, who were likewise
born and reared in that state. William Garland, the grandfather of the subject, was born in the old Dominion state, where the family was established in the colonial days, and he became one of the early pioneers of Illinois, where he was engaged in agricultural pursuits until his death. He was associated with his brother Thomas, who later became one of the early governors of the state. The parents of the subject of this review are still living in Illinois, and the father, who has attained the venerable age of seventy-five years, has devoted his active life to farming. He served as register of deeds and clerk of the circuit court for a period of twelve years and is now living retired, in the town of Carrollton. His three children are all living, and the subject of this review is the only son.
Douglas Carlin passed his boyhood days in his native county, and received his rudimentary education in the public schools, after which he continued his studies in a school conducted by the Christian Brothers in the city of St. Louis, Missouri, entering the institution at the age of fifteen and remaining in the same for a period of four
years. He then returned to his home and there attended school until he had attained his legal majority, when he was appointed deputy sheriff of Greene county, in which capacity he served one year, at the expiration of which, in 1877, he came to Bismarck, Dakota territory, and thence proceeded down the Missouri river to Fort Yates, where he joined his uncle, General William P. Carlin, who was in command of that military post. The General served with distinction during the war of the Rebellion, with the rank of major general, and was retired a number of years ago with the rank of brigadier general, while he now resides in the city of Spokane, Washington, in which state he has extensive real-estate interests. Upon reaching Fort Yates the subject was appointed quartermaster's clerk, and there served in that capacity until June, 1881, when he was ordered to Pierre by the chief quartermaster and there assigned to the supervision of the shipping department, issuing supplies to the different military posts up and down the Missouri river, including Fort Meade. He retained this position until 1885, when he was given a clerical office in the
department of the interior and assigned to the Cheyenne Indian agency, where he continued in active service until the autumn of 1890. He then resigned his position and located on the Cheyenne river, where he has since been successfully engaged in the raising of cattle and horses, having a ranch of open range, well-improved and carrying on his enterprise on a large scale. He gives preference to the Hereford breed of cattle, keeping an average herd of about five hundred head, while he also raises an excellent grade of draft and road horses. In politics Mr. Carlin gives an unwavering allegiance to the Democratic party, and in 1899 he was elected a member of the board of commissioners of Sterling county, while in 1902 he was elected to represent his county in the state senate, in which body he has proved a valuable working member. Fraternally the Senator is identified with the Masonic order and the Ancient Order of United Workmen.
On the 27th of August, 1887, Mr. Carlin was united in marriage to Miss Marcelle Dupree, who was born at Fort Sully, this state, being a daughter of Frederick Dupree, who resided in this section of the Union for sixty years, being a prominent and influential figure in the pioneer history of the state. He died in June, 1898, on his ranch, in Sterling county, at the advanced age of seventy-nine years. Of him individual mention is made on other pages of this work.
Mr. and Mrs. Carlin have six children, namely: Lilly, Thomas, Walter, Laura, Bessie and Ruth.
History of Dakota Territory, George W. Kingsbury, Vol. 4, 1915
ANDY C. RICKETTS.
The record of Andy C. Ricketts in public service is well known and is a most creditable one, for capability and fidelity to duty have ever marked his public activities. He is one of the adopted sons of South Dakota, his birth having occurred in Charleston, Coles county, Illinois, September 29, 1875, his parents being Joshua T. and Louisa Anna (Bensley) Ricketts.
He attended the schools of Fort Pierre, the family having come to this state during his early boyhood. After his textbooks were put aside he became actively connected with the meat market and thus received his initial business training. He has held various public offices to which he has been called by his fellow townsmen, who recognize in him the qualities of progressive citizenship. He filled the office of city treasurer, was also chosen city auditor and was elected to represent the first ward in the city council. He has been school treasurer of Fort Pierre and was first elected clerk of the courts of Stanley county, in November, 1908, to which office he was reelected in November, 1910, 1912, and 1914. He is discharging the duties devolving upon him with promptness and efficiency. He is also treasurer of the Fort Pierre volunteer fire department. In his political views he is a republican, having supported the party since attaining his majority. He is in thorough sympathy with its principles and purposes and therefore gives to it unwavering
On the 9th of November, 1904, Mr. Ricketts was married at Fort Pierre to Miss Mable E. Barkley, daughter of John M. Barkley. They have many warm friends in the city where they reside and their home is a hospitable one, its good cheer being greatly enjoyed by their many friends. Fraternally Mr. Ricketts is connected with Hiram Lodge, No. 123, A. F. & A. M. of Fort Pierre; Pierre Chapter, No. 22, R. A. M., of Pierre and the Elks Lodge, No. 444, of Huron, South Dakota. Almost his entire life has been spent in the northwest and its spirit of enterprise and progress finds an exponent in him.
History of Dakota Territory, George W. Kingsbury, Vol. 4, 1915
JULIUS H. JOHNSON.
The student of history does not have to carry his investigations far before he learns that the northwest owes its development, progress and upbuilding to the Scandinavian race. The strong and sterling characteristics of those who claim their nativity in, or trace their ancestry to Norway, Sweden, or Denmark have been continuously manifest as factors in the material progress and the political and moral welfare of this section of the country. While a native of Iowa, Julius H. Johnson is descended from Scandinavian ancestry, his record being a proof of the facts stated above, he ranks today among the able lawyers of South Dakota, possessing comprehensive knowledge of the law with ability to accurately apply its principles. He is, moreover, an orator of considerable power and a deep and logical thinker, not only upon legal problems but also concerning the great vital principles affecting the welfare of state and nation. He practices law at Fort Pierre but has been heard many times upon the lecture and political platforms and thus bas become widely known throughout the state.
A native of Humboldt, Iowa, Mr. Johnson was born July 13, 1872. His parents were pioneers in Wisconsin and moved to Iowa in 1871. The father. Ole Johnson, was a successful farmer, but died in 1874 leaving the mother, Mrs. Anna Johnson, whose first husband had died in the Civil war, with a family of small children to raise. She is now past eighty and is making her home with her son Julius at Fort Pierre.
Julius H. Johnson spent his early youth on the farm where he worked early and late in addition to attending school, later continuing his education at the Red Wing Seminary at Red Wing, Minnesota, where he was graduated with the class of 1894. In 1900 he was graduated from the University of Minnesota with the degree of Bachelor of Literature, and the following year he received the degree of Bachelor of Laws from the University of Iowa. For three years Mr. Johnson was engaged in the practice of law in Clinton, Iowa. Then he removed to South Dakota, where he has since won distinction as an able and learned member of the bar. He was appointed city attorney of Fort Pierre and served for six years. In 1908 and 1910 inclusive he served Stanley county as states attorney. In this time he secured fifty-nine convictions of criminals in the circuit court and also fifty-four convictions in justice court. The thoroughness and care with which be prepares his cases, combined with clear and cogent reasoning have been the salient features of his success.
On the 19th of June, 1901, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Julius H. Johnson and Lydia B. Carlsson were married. Their only child, Charlotte Amelia Johnson, was born at Clinton, Iowa, May 6, 1902. Extended mention is made of Mrs. Johnson elsewhere in this work in connection with her club work and her efforts in behalf of equal suffrage.
Mr. Johnson is a progressive republican and secured the endorsement of the conservation and irrigation plank in the republican platform of 1912. He has lectured extensively on political economy and few men have as comprehensive and accurate knowledge of the subject. Fraternally he is a Master Mason, and in 1913 he filled the office of noble grand in the Odd Fellows lodge at Fort Pierre. He has likewise been master workman in the Ancient Order of United Workmen and belongs to the Modern Woodmen of America. He is secretary of the Commercial Club of Fort Pierre and is deeply interested in every vital problem affecting the welfare, upbuilding and progress of the municipality and of the commonwealth. He has traveled extensively in Europe and while abroad studied governmental questions in England, Norway, Sweden and Germany. His views are comprehensive, his reasoning clear and his decisions are logical.
History of Dakota Territory, George W. Kingsbury, Vol. 4, 1915
CLAUDE A. BENNETT.
Claude A. Bennett, judge of the county court of Stanley county, who since 1908 has been an active representative of the South Dakota bar, was born on the 18th of April, 1882, six miles west of the city of Canton, in this state, his parents being Millard and Mary Bennett, who settled on a homestead in Lincoln county in 1874. The father was a native of New York born of English parentage and the mother a native of Illinois and of Welsh descent. Both are residents of Canton at the present time. They were pioneers in the development of the great west, recognizing its possibilities and aiding in the work of reclaiming the broad acres for the purposes of cultivation and improvement.
Judge Bennett mastered the elementary branches of learning and qualified for entrance into the Canton high school from which he was graduated in 1898. He subsequently became a student in the Yankton College from which he won the Bachelor of Science degree upon graduation with the class of 1904. Subsequently he became a student in Chicago University,completing the course there in 1907 and in 1913 Yankton College conferred upon him the Master of Arts degree. He closely applied himself to his law studies and his careful preparation has constituted the foundation of his success at the bar. He settled at Philip, South Dakota, on the 11th of May, 1908, and there entered upon the active practice of law, winning a large clientage that connected him with much of the important litigation tried in the courts of his district. His ability in handling intricate and involved legal problems led to his selection for the office of county judge of Stanley county and following his election he removed to Fort Pierre on the 1st of January, 1913. He is now upon the bench and his decisions are strictly fair and impartial, being based upon a comprehensive knowledge of the law and the equity of the case.
On the 28th of August, 1912, at McLaughlin, South Dakota, Mr. Bennett was united in marriage to Miss Irene M. Harris, who is a daughter of Mrs. Anna Harris of McLaughlin, and who was born in Beadle county, South Dakota, in 1885. Judge and Mrs. Bennett attend the Congregational church in which she holds membership and he belongs to the Masonic fraternity, being affiliated with Philip Lodge, No. 153, A. F. & A. M.; Pierre Chapter No. 22, R A. M.; and Capital Commandery, No. 21, K. T. He has always been an earnest republican in his political views, believing firmly in party principles, yet he has never allowed partisanship to interfere with the faithful performance of his judicial duties.
History of Dakota Territory, George W. Kingsbury, Vol. 4, 1915
W. L. CUSICK.
W. L. Cusick is a prominent and well known firmer of Clay county, owning six hundred acres of land, three hundred and sixty of which are located in that county, and two hundred and forty in Stanley county. He was born upon the farm on section 27, Fairview township, where he still lives, in 1875, a son of Nelson W. and Annie (Ledew) Cusick. The father was born in New York state and the mother in St. Mary, Iowa, in 1857. The father came west when a young man and first located in Michigan, but afterward removed to Dakota territory in the early '60s, becoming one of the pioneers of Clay county, where he entered a homestead and also a preemption claim. In company with Cornelius Andrews and Jonas Meckling he platted the town site of Burbank in June, 1873. He fanned and raised stock until his death, which occurred in 1889 when he was in his sixty-fourth year. He was an excellent business man and was one of the wealthy men of the county at the time of his death, owning thirteen hundred acres of land situated in Clay, Union and Yankton counties. During the Civil war he enlisted in Company A, Volunteer Dakota Calvary, under Captain Nelson Miner, which was organized chiefly to protect settlers from Indian outbreaks, etc. In political matters he adhered to the democratic party but never sought office for himself. In 1894 his widow joined him in death when in her thirty-sixth year. To their union were born six children, three sons and three daughters: W. L., of this review; Mollie, the wife of James Hitchcock, of this state; William, of Clay county; Carrie, the wife of W. A. Chaussee, of Clay county; Lillie, deceased; and John, a resident of Montana.
W. L. Cusick was given excellent educational opportunities, as he was a student in the University of South Dakota after finishing the course in the local schools. When he began his active business career he turned his attention to farming and stock-raising, which he still follows. He is residing upon the old homestead where his birth occurred and owns six hundred acres of land, three hundred and sixty of which are in Clay county and the remainder in Stanley county. He is progressive, energetic and businesslike in all that he does and his extensive interests are well managed and yield him a large annual income.
In 1897 Mr. Cusick was united in marriage to Miss Emma O. Russell, a native of Lincoln county, South Dakota, and a daughter of C. S. and Catherine A. Russell. Her parents removed to South Dakota from Iowa in 1876, and previous to living in the latter state they were residents of Wisconsin. The mother was born in Pennsylvania and the father in Ohio. He passed away in 1900 and was survived by bis widow for nine years. He was a veteran of the Civil war, having served faithfully and gallantly in the Union army, and was familiarly known as Uncle Sam in his neighborhood. All of his six children survive and they are as follows: W. R., a resident of Lake Andes, South Dakota; Mrs. Ida L. Sherman, living in Hotchkiss, Colorado; Mrs. Abbie J. Smith, a resident of Berkeley, California; Calvin L., who lives in Vermillion, this state; Mrs. Cusick, the next in order of birth; and Mrs. Katie May Hopson, who makes her home in Winnifred, South Dakota. To Mr. and Mrs. Cusick have been born five children: La Verna whose birth occurred in 1898 and who is now attending high school; Frank R., born in 1900; Lee Wallace, born in 1902; Corinne M., in 1907; and Arthur Burdette, in 1910.
Mr. Cusick it a democrat in his political allegiance but has confined his political activity to the exercise of his right of suffrage. Fraternally he belongs to the Knights of Pythias, the Modern Woodmen of America and the Yeomen, and in his life exemplifies that spirit of brotherhood which is the basis of all fraternal organizations. He has won at the same time material success and the sincere respect and esteem of those who know him, as his integrity and honor have been no less marked than his business ability.
History of Dakota Territory, George W. Kingsbury, Vol. 4, 1915
JUDGE JOHN F. HUGHES.
Judge John F. Hughes, of Fort Pierre, who is sitting on the bench of the sixth judicial circuit of South Dakota, is now serving his second term in that office and is recognized as a jurist who adds to a thorough knowledge of the law an unbiased mind and the ability to decide a question solely upon its merits. He was born in Scott county, Iowa, November 26, 1856, a son of John and Eliza (Parks) Hughes, both natives of the north of Ireland, the father born in County Monaghan and the mother in County Armagh. John Hughes resided for seven years in Scotland, but in 1848 came to America and for a time engaged in contracting with a cousin. About 1852 he located near Davenport, Iowa, and for a time worked as a farm hand, but eventually became the owner of land nine miles north of that city, where he spent the remainder of his life, dying on the 22d of May, 1882. He gave his political allegiance to the democratic party and held a number of local offices. His wife died March 1, 1894. Their marriage was celebrated in Iowa and they became the parents of two children, of whom our subject is the elder.
Judge John F. Hughes attended the country schools of Scott county, Iowa, and subsequently took a classical course in St. Vincent's College at Cape Girardeau, Missouri. He resided upon the homestead during the period of his minority and when sixteen years of age, owing to his father's illness, he assumed charge of the operation of the farm. Before he was eighteen years old he began teaching near Davenport, his first school being located three miles from the city. Later he taught school in his home district. While teaching he took up the study of law in Davenport and for some time continued his studies, teaching at intervals. In 1883 he was admitted to the bar and in the fall of that year he made his way to Dakota territory and took up a preemption near DeSmet, but a few days afterward went down the river and a little later removed to Pierre. In the winter of 1882 he returned to Iowa, but in the following spring located in Pierre, where he engaged in the practice of law. He soon gained recognition as a lawyer of ability and built up a large and lucrative practice. He specialized in trial work, handling both criminal and civil cases, and the court records show that he won a large percentage of favorable verdicts for his clients. He recognised the fact that success in court depends first upon careful preparation and overlooked no point that might have a bearing upon the case. This habit of careful study of all phases of the case combined with his power of skillful and convincing presentation of his arguments caused his colleagues to recognize the fact that he was an opponent worthy of their best steel. During the period following the election of 1896, when Governor Lee was chosen for chief executive of South Dakota, Judge Hughes was retained as counsel for the governor in all litigation resulting from actions of defeated politicians. Judge Hughes ably represented his client and by prompt and accurate work secured the election of Kelley and Freeman Knowles to congress. He has held a number of offices in the path of his profession, having been city attorney of Fort Pierre and having served for four years as states attorney of Stanley county. He is now serving the first year of his second term as judge of the sixth judicial circuit, the excellence of his record having won him reelection without opposition and with the indorsement of all parties. His ability and strict integrity have gained him not only the confidence of the people but also the unqualified respect of the members of the bar of the circuit.
Judge Hughes has also been connected with business interests of Pierre for a number of years. For some time he engaged in the real-estate and insurance business and for three years was a partner in J. D. Hilger & Company, who owned and conducted a clothing store. About 1890 he began dealing in live stock on an extensive scale and still raises and sells many fine horses. He owns a half section of land adjoining Fort Pierre, which he personally operates, devoting it chiefly to the raising of alfalfa. He also owns two sections of land about four miles from Fort Pierre and has a number of other sections under lease, the entire tract being operated as a stock farm by his son, who is also financially interested in the property. Judge Hughes likewise owns valuable property in Pierre and Fort Pierre. In 1901 he removed from Pierre to Fort Pierre and at that time homesteaded the farm which he owns adjoining the latter place. However, he did not remove his office to Fort Pierre for a number of years.
Judge Hughes was married June 29, 1886, to Miss Helen Feeney, who was born in County Galway, Ireland. Her father, Patrick Feeney, died in Ireland, but her mother, who bore the maiden name of Margaret Connally, accompanied her family to Hughes county and passed away in Pierre. Mrs. Hughes was only about ten years of age when she came to this state. An uncle had previously settled in Hughes county and had the only house between Huron and Pierre and was well known in that section of the state. To Judge and Mrs. Hughes have been born thirteen children, namely: Felan, who operates the stock ranch before mentioned and who married Miss Florence Chamberlain; Francis, a rancher and stockman of Stanley county; Helen M., who teaches music and reading in the Fort Pierre high school; Kiran, who graduated from the high school with the class of 1915; Mary, who also graduated in 1915 and was the valedictorian of her class; Leo and Katherine, both attending high school; Loretta, Joseph, Irene and Josephine, all attending school; and two who died in infancy.
Judge Hughes is a republican and his advice is often sought in local party councils. In addition to the offices which have already been mentioned, he has held a number of positions of trust and honor. For four years he was receiver of public moneys in the Pierre land office, for several years in the early '90s he was chairman of the board of commissioners of Hughes county and for four years he was a member of the board of education of Pierre. During the various campaigns for the location of the capital, Judge Hughes took a moat active interest in supporting Pierre and has always been an earnest worker in behalf of any movement that would benefit his city or county. His religious faith is that of the Roman Catholic church and fraternally be is connected with the Knights of Columbus. He is not a club or fraternity man, but prefers to spend his leisure time at home with his family, to whom he is devoted. He possesses a naturally keen mind which has been disciplined by thorough training, and seldom fails in quickly distinguishing between the essential and the nonessential in any issue that arises in the work of the courts. His record as a lawyer and as judge is one of which he has just cause to be proud and he has been equally successful in his business enterprises. Although his official duties and his private interests have made heavy demands upon his time and attention, he has, nevertheless, found opportunity to assist in bringing about the advancement of his community along lines of civic and moral progress, and his public spirit has added to the esteem in which he is held wherever known.