South Dakota

Todd County South Dakota


REIFEL, Benjamin, a Representative from South Dakota; born on the Rosebud Indian Reservation near Parmelee, Todd County, S.Dak., September 19, 1906; attended Todd County rural schools; B.S., South Dakota State College, 1932; M.A., 1949, and a Ph.D., 1952, in public administration, Harvard University; served in the United States Army as a lieutenant colonel from 1942 to 1945, with service in Europe; employed by the Department of the Interior since 1933, resigning as Aberdeen area administrator in the Bureau of Indian Affairs in March 1960; elected as a Republican to the Eighty-seventh and to the four succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1961-January 3, 1971); was not a candidate for reelection in 1970 to the Ninety-second Congress; was a resident of Estelline, S.Dak., and Largo, Fla., until his death in Sioux Falls, S.Dak., on January 2, 1990.
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-Present; transcribed by A. Newell.

History of Dakota Territory, George W. Kingsbury, Vol. 4, 1915
There are many progressive and successful farmers in Bon Homme county and among them is numbered James Donnelly, of Running Water precinct, who is one of the oldest residents of the county in point of years that he has lived in the state. He was born near Madison, in Dane county, Wisconsin, April 19, 1851, a son of Frank and Nancy (Keegan) Donnelly, both natives of County Monaghan, Ireland. They were married on the Emerald isle in 1850 and in the same year emigrated to America, settling in Dane county, Wisconsin, where the father, who was a blacksmith, worked at his trade. In 1861 they came to South Dakota with their family and the father took up a squatter's right in what was then known as Todd county, Dakota territory, but which was later added to Nebraska, it being situated in that part of Knox county, Nebraska, that lies between the Niobrara and the Missouri rivers. The region was not then surveyed and white settlers were few and scattered. In 1864 the government desired to assign that region to the Ponca Indians as a reservation and ordered the settlers to vacate. They had to move in 1866 but eventually Mr. Donnelly got pay for the buildings he had erected. He crossed the Missouri river, settling in Running Water precinct, Bon Homme county, Dakota. The stockade of the Ponca agency was erected on the land where Mr. Donnelly had settled as a squatter. Upon locating in Bon Homme county he took up both a preemption claim and a homestead claim and later filed on a timber claim, thus becoming the owner of a considerable body of valuable land. He resided upon his farm until 1901, when he and his wife removed to the cottage on the farm where his son James resides. The father passed away there October 1, 1902, at the age of seventy- six, and the mother died in April of the same year when seventy-seven years of age.
James Donnelly was a lad of ten years when he accompanied his parents on their journey from Wisconsin to South Dakota, which was made with ox team. They camped along the way and it was six weeks from the time they started until they reached the point on the Niobrara where settlement was first made. Our subject received valuable training in farm work and gained such scholastic knowledge as was afforded by the district schools of that time. At the age of eighteen years he began his independent career, herding cattle furnished by contractors for the Indians of the reservation. For six years he was thus employed, living in the open for ten months of the year, January and February being usually spent at home or at the agency. After his marriage, which occurred in 1873, he took up a homestead claim and resided on it until 1880, when he took up a timber claim, on which he has since lived. His residence was a log house until 1899, when he built a large modern dwelling. He owns four hundred acres of land on section 12, Running Water precinct, which is the home farm, and has eighty acres of pasture land on section 14, which is a part of his original homestead. He follows general farming and stock raising and as his methods are practical and his industry untiring his labors secure him a good annual income.
Mr. Donnelly was married in Yankton on the 23d of June, 1873, to Miss Kate Mulleague,
a native of Ireland and a daughter of Barney Mulleague. Their family numbers- nine children. Francis A., residing on a farm two miles east of his father, married Josephine Dolin, by whom he has one child. James is the owner of a claim near Draper, in Lyman county. Winnie married Lawrence Malone, who is farming near Running Water, and they have two children. Annie, a graduate of the Fremont (Neb.) Normal School, is the wife of L. C. Dace, a resident of Fremont. May attended the State University of South Dakota at Vermillion and is now at home. Margaret was a student at the Fremont Normal School and later entered the State University of Nebraska at Lincoln, from which institution she was graduated and is now a stenographer in that city. Kate, a graduate of the Springfield Normal School, is employed as a clerk in the postoffice of that city. Zoie, who attended the Normal School at Fremont, Nebraska, taught school at Niobrara in 1913 and 1914, and her home school in 1915. Laura, who completes the family, is now attending the State University at Lincoln, Nebraska.
Mr. Donnelly is a democrat and his religious faith is indicated in his membership in the
Catholic church. He enjoys looking back to the early days of his residence in the state and among his reminiscences is the account of a three days' storm in April, 1873. At that time he was at Green Island, Nebraska, herding horses. There were a number of disastrous floods, the worst, however, being in the spring of 1866. During the time of the Indian uprising many of the white settlers fled the country but Mr. Donnelly and his family found refuge at the Ponca agency. He remembers seeing Custer's men arrive by boat and secure lodgment in the homes of Yankton and has many other recollections that link the present with that past which seems so far away when the difference in the conditions of life is considered. As a pioneer settler of the state be is entitled to and receives honor and respect, and his personal qualities are such as to win and retain the friendship of those who are closely associated with him.


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