We have thus far traced the progress of Baptist missionary work from its beginning along the Missouri river, until it reached the nearer settlements further north and west. Eighteen Baptist churches had been organized, and most of them were under the care of faithful pastors. They had passed through all of the trying experiences common to pioneer life. After the hard struggle to establish homes, the discouragements that follow a financial crisis, and the unexpected blighting of abundant crops by repeated invasions of grasshoppers, better times were beginning to dawn.
Rapidly increasing immigration led to the opening of many new settlements, and added strength to those already existing. Several lines of railroad were projected, and some of them were in successful operation. Along these new railroads flourishing villages and ambitious young cities grew up with wonderful rapidity. In many of these localities churches were soon organized. Among these new organizations were Centerville and Madison in 1878, Goodwin in 1879, Huron, Brookings, Watertown and Big Stone City in 1880, Mitchell and Montrose in 1881, Aberdeen, Arlington, Egan and Chamberlain in 1882, Armour, De Smet and Spencer in 1883, Ipswich, Parkston and Pierre in 1884, and Elkton in 1885.
The official relation of Rev. G. W. Freeman to the missionary work ended October 1, 1873. Rev. J. N. Webb, D. D., whose headquarters were at Ashland, Nebraska, was appointed by the American Baptist Home Mission Society, district secretary for Nebraska and Dakota Territory. His term of service began February 1, 1875, and continued until October 1, 1877. The field then occupied by the Baptists was seven or eight counties in the southern portion of the territory. He made several visits to this growing field, assisting the pastors, encouraging the churches, and occasionally exploring the regions beyond.
Nearly all of the pioneer missionaries, with commendable perseverance, remained at their posts of duty, enduring hardships and making sacrifices now unknown. Some of them continue until now, but are yielding to the infirmities of age, and waiting for the rest that is beyond. Others have ceased from their labor, and their works follow them. To the list of those mentioned in the preceding chapter should be added the names of some who came a little later, but wrought faithfully and well. Rev. T. H. Judson came in 1872. He was pastor at Elk Point, Vermillion, and Hurley, and did itinerant missionary work at several points where most needed. He died at Hurley, March 17, 1884. Rev. A. W. Hilton settled first in Turner county, in 1874. He was pastor on several fields, including Parker, Hurley and Sioux Falls. He was a man of commanding influence, strong in his convictions, and fearless in expressing them. He died at Calumet, Turner county, September 20,1882. Rev. J. R. Eldridge, after a long and successful ministry in New York and Wisconsin came to Dakota in 1878. He was then well advanced in years, but served as pastor at Bloomingdale, and supplied other churches as his health would permit. He died October 6, 1884. Rev. Walter Ross, in 1878, established a home at Oak wood Lake, where a church was soon organized. He has also served as pastor of the churches at Estelline, Arlington, Hetland, Centerville and De Smet.
Between the James and Missouri rivers, Rev. J. E. Saunders and others were establishing churches at Armour, Chamberlain, Parkston, Plankinton, Kimball and White Lake. Rev. J. P. Coffman led in the work at Mitchell and Alexandria, Rev. G. S. Clevenger at Brookings, Elkton and Bushnell; Rev. A. S. Orcutt at Watertown, Rev. G. H. Annis at Goodwin, Rev. E. M. Bliss at Aberdeen, Rev. Geo. A. Cressey at Huron, and Chaplain G. D. Crocker at Pierre and Blunt.
With the rapid increase in population there was special need for the constant care and leadership of a superintendent of missions, who could be all the time on the field, watching- developments, seizing strategic points, and taking advantage of desirable opportunities for the organization of churches. It was necessary for Dr. Webb to devote most of his time to Nebraska. His visits to Dakota were helpful and encouraged the workers, but they were necessarily limited in number, duration, and the extent of territory covered. During an exceedingly important period in the history of the Baptist cause in South Dakota, from October 1, 1877, to August 1, 1880, it had no one who could be constantly engaged in personal oversight of the work.
This led to the discouragement of pastors who were practically alone, and most of them on very large fields which required all of their time and labor. Important centers of influence, where churches ought to have been planted, were not occupied at all, or not until the favorable time to take possession had passed by. Occasionally a pastor, possessed with a burning zeal to multiply organizations, would organize churches wherever four or five Baptists could be found, in localities that gave no promise whatever of future growth. With rare exceptions these churches died in their infancy. Their names appeared once or twice in the early minutes of associations, and then they were dropped from the roll. In the early days it was impossible to foresee where railroad lines would be constructed, and sometimes villages and churches were established where growth would be impossible, when rival villages were located a few years later at railroad stations, only a few miles distant, and starting under more favorable conditions.
For these and other causes a good many of the early churches, once in existence, became extinct. Among them are the following: Yankton, Lodi (American), Gayville, Sunny side. Fountain, Oakwood, Silver Lake, Castlewood, Big Stone, Ordway, Redfield, Alexandria, Howard, Columbia, Blunt, Sand Creek, Vilas, Afton (Carthage), Beulah (Alpena), Beulah (Sioux Falls), Clear Lake, Groton, Andover, Webster, Grade Siding, Marion, Dayton, Miller, St. Lawrence, Salem, Wessington Springs, Garfield, Bijou Hills and Myron. ' Only five of these churches had houses of worship, and one of these, at Myron, was a sod house, which in a few years was destroyed. Most of the others passed out of existence for want of a home, or because of unwisdom in the organization, or in the location of the church. Four of these churches were organized in the first decade (1868-1878), three in the third decade (1888-1898), and all of the others during the boom period of the second decade (1878-1888). In some cases not only the churches, but the little villages or settlements in which they were located have ceased to exist.
As a general rule churches that have become extinct came to their end mainly for want of a house of worship. A homeless church is like a homeless family or individual; it becomes a wanderer from place to place, roving about from schoolhouse to hall or empty storeroom. Much of the time it can have only occasional services. It finds it difficult to secure a pastor, and lacks the facilities for obtaining the full benefit of his labors. Its congregations are irregular in attendance. It can accomplish but little in revival work, and is not in a condition to satisfactorily gather in the fruits of a revival.
On the other hand, the church that has an attractive and comfortable house of worship, is able to draw others besides its members to hear the sound of the gospel. The local habitation is evidence to the community that the church is there to stay. It is a center of influence for good which is respected by all, even if it is not utilized by all of the people. The thought of the stability and permanence of a church organization has much to do in influencing the people to identify themselves with it as members, or in attendance on its services. It has what the homeless church cannot have, an established place for the prayer and covenant meetings and the Sunday school.
It is not claimed, however, that the possession of a suitable place in which to hold religious services, is in every case, especially in a new state, a sure guarantee of the permanency of the church organization. Churches have been established in localities where growth was impossible. Houses of worship have sometimes been unwisely located, through the mistaken belief that it is better to accept from some enterprising real estate dealer, the gift of a lot in the suburbs, than to buy a corner lot in the center of the city or village. It happened several times, in the early development of South Dakota, that new villages, whose enthusiastic inhabitants supposed would become cities, were side tracked by the construction of railroad lines, which built up other localities. Illustrations of this have been numerous. The once promising village of Fountain is a thing of the past, having been absorbed by Brookings and Aurora. What was originally the church at Huston became the church at Armour. The churches organized at Swan Lake and Finlay were removed and the names and locations changed to Hurley and Parker. A preaching station at Sioux Valley, north of Elk Point, became the church at Le Roy, and this, after other changes of location and name, became Akron. Experience has also shown that it is possible for town-site companies to hold out inducements and create expectations that are never realized. A few churches that were organized in territorial days, and secured chapels, have died, and a few others are dying, but this result is due to the fact of unwise location of the organization, or of the church building, or internal dissensions, or later local conditions that could not be foreseen at the time these churches were organized.
At the beginning of the first decade, in 1868, there were only two Baptist churches in existence, in South Dakota. At its close there were eighteen churches. During this period, though often under discouraging conditions, faithful services were rendered by pioneer laborers, among whom were G. W. Freeman, E. H. Hurlbutt, J. J. McIntyre, T. H. Judson, J. L. Coppoc, A. W. Hilton, J. P. Coffman, V.B. Conklin, Wm. T. Hill, P. H. Daram, Theodore Hessel, Nils Tychsen, E. Sandquist, A. B. Nordberg, A. J. Furman, E. M. Epstein, and others.
Early in the second decade, beginning in 1878, churches began to increase in number more rapidly. Railroad companies were extending their lines in nearly every direction, and the abundant crops, especi¬ally from 1880 to 1883, encouraged immigration. It was natural that under such favorable conditions all lines of missionary work were strengthened and extended. New churches were planted, pastors were secured and houses of worship were built. According to the census of 1880, the population of Dakota Territory had increased to 135,189, including 28,024 in the north and 107,156 in the south half of the territory. Scores of new cities and villages were founded. Everybody was enthusiastic and hopeful. Expensive public buildings were erected. The people in each locality were sure that they would win in the struggle for the location of county seats, and becoming railroad centers, and out rival their competitors in population and supremacy.
Under these conditions, so favorable for rapid growth, and when personal oversight of missionary work was so essential, Rev. Edward Ellis was appointed by the .American Baptist Home Mission Society to serve as general missionary for Southern Dakota. He entered upon his work August 1, 1880, with characteristic enthusiasm and zeal. A large number of churches were organized. For most of these pastors were obtained, and wherever practicable houses of worship were built. A majority of the new pastors were young men, thoroughly educated, and full of energy and zeal. Many of them have left their impress on the state whose future destiny they have helped to mould and shape. Among these who came during that period in the work of church organization, securing church homes, and training their people in Christian service were E. B. Meredith, S. G. Adams, H. E. Norton, S. J. Winegar, J. Edminster, Geo. A. Cressey, C. N. Patterson. J.C, Burkholder/F. H. Newton, J. E. Saunders, Jacob Olsen, J. R. Eldridge, L. M. Newell, M. Barker, C. G. Cressey, Edward Godwin. S. S. Utter, E. M. Bliss, F. M. Horning, C. H. McKee, G. H. Parker, C. W. Finwall, Andrew Johnson, J. B. Sundt, O. Olthoff, B. Matzke, J. Engleman, and others who came later in the decade.
For ten years from the organization of the Southern Dakota Baptist Association, at Vermillion, June 5, 1872, it was the only one in South Dakota. As the number of churches increased another became necessary, and the Sioux Valley Association was organized at Brooking June 9-11, 1882. Sixteen churches, all new organizations, united in forming this body. It soon became evident that this new association covered too large a field, since it extended as far south as Madison and Egan, and as far north as Aberdeen, Ipswich and Big Stone City. A third association became a necessity. The James River Association was organized at Columbia, October 10, 1884. The Scandinavian Conference or Association was organized at Lodi, December 31, 1874. It was intended at first to serve mainly the purpose of a missionary society, and the Scandinavian churches continued, until 1886, to report by letter and delegates to the Southern Dakota and Sioux Valley Associations. Since then, the number of Scandinavian churches having increased, they maintain their own organization. The German Association was organized at Plum Creek, near Bridgewater, June 17, 1887. The South Dakota Baptist Convention began its organization at Lake Madison July 1, 1881. The detailed history of these associations and the state convention will be given in later chapters.
During this decade each of the leading denominations had reached a condition of strength and courage to undertake to establish denominational schools of the higher grade. Before becoming a state the territorial legislature had located a state university at Vermillion, an agricultural college at Brookings, and normal schools at Madison and Spearfish. Early attention was given to the establishment of denominational schools. The first of these was located by the Congregationalists at Yankton; the Methodists planted theirs at Mitchell; the Presbyterians at Pierre; and the Baptists, Episcopalians and Scandinavian Lutherans at Sioux Falls. A separate chapter will be devoted to a historical sketch of Sioux Falls University.
During the first decade only one German Baptist church was organized. This was done at Emanuel's Creek, April 26, 1876, by Rev. J. Wendt. The second organization was at Big Stone City, May 9, 1880, under the leadership of Rev. J. Engler. Missionary work was carried on among these people in several localities by Rev. P. Reichle and Rev. J. Croeni. Stations were established and maintained, but the conservative and careful policy of the Germans was carried out, and the organization of churches was usually delayed until the number of members at each of these stations was large enough to be self-supporting. The German Baptist church at Plum Creek was organized June 9, 1883. Others followed at Madison May 1, 1885; at Emery February 24, 1886: and Eureka June 16, 1886. Rev. O. Olthoff came to Dakota Territory in 1884. As the result of his earnest labors some German churches were organized, and later co-workers have helped to increase the number. A detailed history of the German and German-Russian Baptist churches of South Dakota is recorded in another chapter.
Reference has been made to Rev. Edward Ellis, the second general missionary on this field. His labors began August 1, 1880. He came with the rapidly increasing tide of immigration. The services that he rendered were greatly needed and appreciated. In many of the new cities and villages springing up over the prairies, were Baptists who were pleading for church organizations and pastors. He was of a sanguine temperament, full of energy and enthusiasm, and had unbounded faith in the future of South Dakota. He never considered the possibility of a failure, but was always sure of success. The spirit of the times was in sympathy with the zeal of this earnest leader in missionary work. The people were then full of courage and hope, and liberally responded to his appeals. It was easier then, than in the later period of financial depression and crop failures, to establish churches and secure the needed funds for building shelters for their comfort and protection. He led in the organization of twenty-six new churches, thirteen of which, in a few years became extinct, and in the erection of sixteen houses of worship. His term of service continued five years, or until August 1, 1885. During this period, with the consent of the Board of the American Baptist Home Mission Society, he spent six months, in 1882, as supply for the church at Sioux Falls, and superintending the building of their house of worship, three months in 1883, assisting in the establishment of Sioux Falls University, and one year as its financial agent. The time regularly devoted to missionary work in the state was a little more than three years.
In August, 1886, Mr. Ellis was appointed by the Home Mission Society to serve as district secretary for Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. His experience as general missionary helped to qualify him for efficient service in this new relation to the cause of home missions. Having served four years as district secretary he returned, in August, 1890, to Sioux Falls, to give needed personal attention to business interests there. In March, 1892, he went to Milwaukee, Wis., and organized the Bay View Baptist church in that city, and became its pastor. While attending the Wisconsin Baptist State Convention, at Hudson, he died suddenly, after a few hours of painful illness, on Thursday, October 6, 1892. Impressive memorial services were con-ducted at Hudson, and the funeral services were held at Milwaukee. The pastors of the city were his pall bearers, and his mortal remains were buried in Forest Home Cemetery.
Edward Ellis was born in North Wales in 1842. He was converted and baptized at Pewaukee, Wisconsin, in 1857, and he began preaching when he was fifteen years old. His studies at Beaver Dam were interrupted by the civil war. He enlisted in the twenty-second Wisconsin regiment. With the exception of several months spent in Libby prison, he served with his regiment until the end of the war. He then entered Colgate University and afterwards completed the full course of theological study at Morgan Park. While there he organized and served as pastor of the First Baptist church of Englewood, Chicago. He afterwards organized and was pastor of the South Baptist church in Milwaukee. From there he came to South Dakota in 1880, to become general missionary. He was descended from an eminently religious family. Some of his ancestors were among the best known ministers in Wales. As a preacher he was enthusiastic, forcible and strictly evangelical. He was a genial companion, an inspiring co-worker and a successful leader. He has left an impress for good on the times and places in which he lived and labored.
The first half of the second decade, from 1878 to 1883, was the period of greatest activity in both secular and religious work in Dakota Territory. The whole country was flooded with immigration literature, giving enthusiastic descriptions of bonanza wheat farms, and railroad companies were pushing their lines in every direction. Immigration to the territory increased wonderfully, and nearly all desirable government land was taken by eager settlers. Many new cities and villages were established. Town site companies and real estate agents were numerous and active. Any enterprise, religious or otherwise, that gave promise of helping to build up a community, received prompt and hearty support.
It was the boom period in the history of Dakota. But booms are never permanent. A reaction is inevitable. The last half of the second decade witnessed the reaction that followed the overdoing of its earlier years. Many business enterprises that were begun under encouraging conditions were left unfinished. Many young cities whose enthusiastic founders predicted for them rapid growth and metropolitan dignity, are now older and wiser, and are still far from the promised goal. These disappointed hopes and the failure to accomplish cherished expectations in secular affairs, had a depressing1 effect on religious work. Plans for the organization of churches, or building houses of worship, were in many localities necessarily postponed, and in some cases permanently abandoned. In our denominational work faithful pastors on existing fields persevered in their efforts to hold the ground already occupied. Here and there a new church was established and a shelter secured, but progress was necessarily slow. The relation of Rev. Edward Ellis, as general missionary, continued nominally until August 1, 1885, but it was practically ended a year earlier to enable him to serve as financial agent for the Sioux Falls University. Until 1888 there was a period of four years during which there was no state superintendent of missions on the field.
Of the Baptist history of South Dakota down to 1888, the author has carefully recorded facts as he has learned them from various sources, including early records, and the statements of surviving pioneers. The history of this last decade (1888-1898) comes within the scope of his own observation and experience, as it covers the period of ten years of his relation to the work as state superintendent of missions. Quae-que ipse vidi, et quorum pars fui. His personal relation to the field and the workers during all of these years, has given him a knowledge of its present and prospective importance, and of their fidelity and devotion. The wonderful tide of immigration in the earlier years of the preceding decade brought many thousands of people to establish homes in South Dakota. Its refluent wave took back with it the restless spirits who are always at the front of every new movement, but never remain to do the hard work, and make the sacrifices necessary for its permanent establishment. The workers of the last ten years have had to labor under unfavorable conditions, and make slow progress, though with greater effort than is necessary with those who catch the rising tide, and are borne along on the crest of the wave.
Dakota Territory was still in existence at the beginning of this decade. Its division occurred in 1889, and the new states of South Dakota and North Dakota were then admitted into the Union. For some time the question of statehood occupied the special attention of the people, who were passing from the irksome condition of territorial dependence on governmental guardianship, to the enjoyment of the privileges and exercise of the long-denied rights of citizenship. After putting in motion the machinery of statehood, there were several years of drought and crop failure, which caused a good many hopes of the establishment or the enlargement of religious work to fail of their realization. In a number of places the failure of the crops was total, and in others so nearly total as to prevent the carrying out of long-cherished plans for the building of houses of worship, or providing means for the settlement and support of pastors. Still later came the general financial depression throughout the country, and its attendant difficulties. All of these things tended to check the progress of the work. It is characteristic, however, of the people of South Dakota that, though they are often cast down, they are not destroyed. They will rally after disappointment and try again. There have been numerous instances of heroic courage and fortitude, under many difficulties, which can be developed only through severe trials, and which illustrate the courageous spirit and unfaltering devotion of the hardy pioneers of this new state.
Until the beginning of this decade nothing had been done to establish Baptist churches in the Black Hills. Other denominations had been occupying the ground there since 1870, and had become firmly established. The first Baptist church in the Black Hills was organized October 31, 1888, at Deadwood. Others followed in rapid succession, and there are now seven churches, five of which have attractive houses of worship. The present number of members of churches comprising the Black Hills association is 383. Our cause there is full of interest and promise for the future.
When the present state superintendent of missions for South Dakota entered upon his work in April, 1888, there was not a self-supporting church on the entire field, except one among the German Russians. The churches were all dependent upon the American Baptist Home Mission Society for aid in the support of pastors. This long-continued condition of dependence had not served to develop the spirit of benevolence and self-reliance. Contributions to all benevolent objects were few and small. Better conditions now prevail. A large number of the churches have become self-supporting, and others will soon reach that desired goal. Generous offerings are now made for missionary work. The plan of co-operation between the South Dakota Baptist Convention and the American Baptist Home Mission Society was adopted in 1891, and has been heartily approved by the churches, and through its practical working they have come into a clearer understanding of the duty of each state to foster its own needy fields, by increasing its own missionary resources.
Old methods of work have in large measure given way to newer and better plans, to meet the changed and improved condition of thing's in the state. In the beginning- of 1888 there were four associations, one Scandinavian, one German and two American, the Southern Dakota and the Sioux Valley associations. An extinct association in the northern part of the state was resuscitated and reorganized in September, 1888. The Black Hills association was organized in August, 1890. In 1893, to meet the growing- needs of the churches, five new American associations were organized east of the Missouri river. It will not be long until it will be necessary to organize another association in the northeast corner of the state.
In the state organization of the Baptist Young-People's Union, in 1891, a new element of strength and helpfulness came into auxiliary relationship with the state convention. Many good results have already followed the application of the consecrated energy of the young people of the churches to missionary work. Their sympathy has been enlisted, and their practical co-operation assured, in the increasingly important work of evangelizing the state. During this period women's mission circles have been organized in most of the churches. The study of missionary literature and plans of work, has increased the efficiency of the Christian women of the churches, and they have been faithful helpers in promoting the primary object of a state convention, the prosecution of missionary work within the state.
An intelligent and commendable zeal has characterized the work among the Scandinavians, Germans and Russians of South Dakota. There are still large, and as yet unreached, communities among these nationalities, and active measures are being taken to bring them under the influence of the Gospel. The population of South Dakota, according to the national census of 1890, was 328,808. The state census of 1895, not-withstanding the intervening years of drought and crop failures, showed a slight increase, the total being 330,975. The native born inhabitants number 240,000, or about seventy-three per cent of the total population. The foreign-born inhabitants were 91,000 or twenty-seven per cent of the entire population of the state. Of the 240,000 native born inhabitants, over thirty-three per cent, or about 80,000, were born of foreign parents. According to this showing, more than one-half of the present population of the state were born in foreign lands, or of foreign parentage.
Of the foreign-born population, the nationalities most largely represented are the Scandinavians, the Germans and the Russians. Of the Scandinavians there came to us from Norway, 19,257; from Sweden, 7,746; and from Denmark, 4,369—total, 31,373. There came also from Germany, 18,188; from Russia, 12,398; from other Germanic nations, 2,985—total, 33,561. These five leading nationalities, and their children, comprising so large a proportion of our total population, furnish an attractive field for Baptists. Though gratifying results have been accomplished, still greater efforts should be put forth to secure their evangelization. Other denominations have accomplished something among the Germans, but Baptists are the only people who have been able to reach the Scandinavians of the state. There are now among the Germans and Russians of South Dakota fifteen Baptist churches, having twenty-four houses of worship, and 1,280 members. Among the Scandinavians there are now nineteen Baptist churches, having twelve houses of worship, and 907 members. The most cordial and friendly relations exist between the Baptist of these various nationalities and American Baptists, and representatives are annually sent by them to the state convention, to convey their fraternal greetings.
When the author's official relation to the work in South Dakota began, in April, 1888, he found on the rolls of the associations the names of seventy-one churches, having a reported membership of 2,816. There were at that time thirty-one houses of worship and three parsonages. Twenty of these churches were then extinct, leaving fifty-one nominally live organizations. Since then sixty new churches have been organized and forty-seven houses of worship have been built, or secured by purchase, and fifteen parsonages.
The following is a list of new churches organized during the last decade, giving the name of the place and county, and the date of organization or recognition:
Six of these churches—St. Lawrence, Beulah (West Sioux Falls), Groton, Salem, Huffton and Freedom— have become extinct on account of changed local condi¬tions and the removal of the members to other localities.
Following is a list of forty-seven houses of worship built or purchased during the last decade, giving the name and county, the date of dedication, and the value of the property:
During this decade of church organization, and building houses of worship, fifteen parsonages have been built or purchased, valued at $11,500. The total valuation of church property secured during the last ten years, including parsonages, is $108,930.00. In addition to the forty-seven new houses of worship erected, a majority of the older church buildings have been extensively repaired and improved. There are now in South Dakota seventy-eight Baptist houses of worship and eighteen parsonages. The total reported valuation of Baptist church property in the state is $201,600.00. There are at this time 106 Baptist churches with a total reported membership of 5,786. A careful and conservative policy has been followed in the matter of church organization. It has not been deemed wise to multiply organizations in localities that give no promise whatever of future growth. The fact of an organization involves the necessity, during a number of years, of obtaining the funds necessary to aid in the support of a pastor and building a house of worship. The financial conditions that have existed for several years have placed limitations on our ability to do some of the things that have been desirable. With the prospective coming of better times these restrictions will be in a large measure removed, and there will be greater opportunity for expansion and growth.
A few pioneer Baptists were engaged in Sunday school work at Yankton in 1864 and 1865, but the first distinctively Baptist Sunday school in Dakota was organized several miles north of Elk Point, by Rev. G. W. Freeman, in a log house on the banks of the Sioux river, March 26, 1871. Its first superintendent was Dr. John Tremaine. This school came into existence a few days after the organization of the Baptist
church, which, under the various names of Sioux Val-lay, Leroy and Portlandville, is now known as Akron. Other Sunday schools were organized in 1871 and 1872 at Vermillion, Lodi, Yankton, Swan Lake, Elk Point and Big Springs, but for several years no statistics were given concerning them in the early reports of these churches to the association. In more recent years, and especially since 1881, this department of Christian work has been under the superintendence of earnest and capable leaders, who have done much to encourage and stimulate the workers. B. S. Wales served as Sunday school missionary from December 1, 1881, to May 1, 1887; David P. Ward, from July, 1888, to September 1, 1895, and Frank D. Hall since October 1, 1895.
When the Southern Dakota association was organized at Vermillion, in June, 1872, a resolution was adopted which emphasizes three important points, especially worthy of the consideration of Baptists—first, that every one who loves Christ ought to be deeply interested in Sunday school work; second, that every church ought to have its own school under its own control; and third, that a union school should be favored only as a last resort. Our churches generally, especially in later years, have been acting according to these accepted maxims. Though every Baptist church should have a Sunday school of its own, and some of our churches have successfully conducted mission schools, yet there has never been a year when the number of Sunday schools exceeded the number of churches. Ten years ago there were 63 schools reported, having 504 officers and teachers, 3,528 scholars, and a total membership of 4,032. There are now in the state, ac-cording to the statistical reports from the Sunday schools to the associations, 86 schools, having 732 officers and teachers, and 6,330 scholars enrolled, with an average attendance of 3,989. During these years the reported number baptized from the schools is 1,378. Amount contributed for benevolence, $3,038.31; for expenses, $19,231.90. Total amount raised for both objects, $22,270.21.
The last decade has been fruitful in results along- all lines of work. Taking the number of members reported in 1887 as a basis—2,816, there have been added to the churches by baptism, 4,561; by letter, 2,595; by experience, 804; by restoration, 144. Whole number of additions, 8,104. Total diminutions, 4,384. Net gain in membership, 3,720. The total reported contributions for expenses and benevolence from the beginning of missionary work in South Dakota, in 1864, amount to $570,356.86. Three-fourths of this amount, or $400,955.97, have been contributed during the last ten years.
Previous to 1888 no statistical tables appeared in the records of the convention giving a summary of the work done and results accomplished by missionaries under appointment on mission fields in this state. Since then such tables have been annually compiled from the quarterly reports, and they have been published in the South Dakota Baptist Annual. From these tables the following summary of missionary statistics covering the last ten years is here given:
Number of Missionaries 432
Churches supplied 533
Out-stations supplied 449
Weeks of labor 16,123
Sermons preached - 45,234
Prayer meetings attended 22,378
Persons and families religiously visited 102,883
Bibles and Testaments distributed 2,144
Pages of tracts distributed - 237,217
Number of persons baptized on mission fields - 3,518
Number received by letter and experience - - - - 1,814
Paid for building houses of worship $ 32,729 20
Paid for repairing churches, or parsonages- 11,733 02
Paid on church debts------- 14,274 90
Contributions for local missions - - - - 2,322 58
Contributions for State Missions 3,184 91
Contributions for Home Missions - - 2,828 08
Contributions for Foreign Missions 4,321 97
Contributions for Publication Society 1,016 73
Contributions for Christian education 1,247 48
Contributions for other benevolent objects- 3,957 61
Church expenses (including building, repairs and debts) 293,547 25
Total for benevolence -. - - - - - 18,879 36
Total from Sunday schools for expenses — 8,655 59
Total from Sunday schools for benevolence- 1,924 24
Total amount raised by Sunday schools 10,559 83
Total amount raised by churches - - 312,426 61
Total amount raised by churches and Sunday schools. 322,986 44
The first three items given show the aggregate for the time named—ten years. The average number of missionaries annually under appointment has been 43; churches supplied, 53; out-stations supplied, 45.
Some of the early pioneers in South Dakota having passed away, they are known to the writer of this review only by the records concerning them, and their works that have followed them. Others, who yet survive, he has come to know and appreciate for the work they have done, the sacrifices they have made, and for their personal worth. Of the work and the workers, during the last decade, he has been able to bear record from personal knowledge. Faithful services have been rendered under many difficulties and discouragements. The period of upheavals and booms, and visionary forecasts of an improbable future for South Dakota, is a thing of the past. Religious work has been conducted along lines that promise permanency and stability. The transition from pioneer experiences, to settled and stable conditions, has rendered necessary a recasting of methods of work. In adjusting themselves to existing conditions, and helping to mould and shape the destiny of a new state, the spirit that has actuated all classes of the workers has been worthy of the highest commendation. Harmony has prevailed in all their councils, and unity of feeling and effort has characterized their work.
In this and the preceding chapters, the author has furnished a general outline of the field, and the work that has been done upon it. In several succeeding chapters will be given interesting sketches of the personal experiences and personal reminiscences of some of the pioneer missionaries. They have been requested to freely tell to this, and the generations following, the story of hardships endured, and sacrifices made, and results accomplished, as they themselves saw them and shared in them.
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