Brulé County is situated in Southern Dakota, on the left bank of the Missouri River with its south boundary resting on the first standard parallel of the Dakota survey. It is centrally in latitude 43ş 40´ and the 22d meridian of longitude west from Washington, passes through Range 68. It is bounded north by Buffalo County, south by Charles Mix County, east by Aurora County and west by the Missouri River which divides it from the Indian reservation.
The county contains twenty-one full congressional towns and fractions of seven others making about 23 1/3 townships, or 840 square miles equivalent to 537,600 acres. The principal stream is the Missouri which washes its western boundary through a course, measuring its windings of about forty miles. It has the usual bordering of bluffs and bottom lands, though the latter are nowhere very broad in Brulé County. There are not many islands in the channel of the river, American Island at Chamberlain being the largest and most important. A smaller one lies opposite the southwest corner of Ola township.
Smith's Creek, or more properly the south branch of Crow Creek, which discharges into the Missouri river in the southwest part of Buffalo County, drains the northern portion of the county, and American Creek, which flows into the Missouri at Chamberlain, drains the most part of two townships. Aside from these there are no streams of consequence in the county.
Near the center of Red Lake Township in the midst of broad and beautiful depression, or natural basin in the prairie, ten or twelve miles long by six wide, is a most bewitching sheet of water called Red Lake, nearly five miles in length by one and a half to two miles in breadth and a great place of resort for millions of wild fowl in the spring and fall. This lake covers by computation of the United States surveys 3,640 acres. A small creek rising about five miles southeast of the lake finds its way into it in rainy seasons, but the lake has no apparent outlet. There is a small, marshy spot at its western extremity. A small lake covering 200 acres lies in the northwest part of Highland Township, and another lies partly in Lyon Township and partly in Buffalo County. There are a few other natural ponds in Smith and Kimball townships, and scattering marshes mostly of small dimensions, in various parts of the county, the largest one being in the northeastern part of Cleveland Township.
The great bulk of Brulé County is a broad and beautiful prairie, broken only by the famous Bijou Hills in the southwest, the bluffs along the Missouri River and the lesser ones along the two principal creeks. The bluffs of the Missouri have a maximum elevation above the river at low water, of about 250 feet; the city reservoir at Chamberlain having an elevation of: 35 feet.
The Bijou Hills, situated in Eagle and America townships, cover an area of eight or ten square miles, which is broken up into picturesque ridges, peaks and ravines, much after the manner of the Wessington Hills in Hand and Jerauld counties. The summits of these hills are excellent for grazing purposes.
The Winnebago Indian reservation extends into the county on the north about ten miles.
About the only natural timber in the county is found around Chamberlain, at the mouth of American Creek and on American Island, where there are considerable groves of cottonwood.
The soil of the county is a deep loam of exceeding richness well adapted to the production of grass, small grains, flax, Indian corn and vegetables, in this respect ranking among the best in Dakota. Already there are extensive stock ranches and the time is not far distant when dairying will be among the prominent industries.
For school purposes the county is divided into twenty-two townships, which will probably adopt civil organization in the near future.
The first school taught in the county was at Kimball, where a three month's term was taught by Benj. F. Ochsner, commencing December 19, 1881. There were nine pupils in attendance.
The first district was formed at Brulé City, May 24, 1881. The first public examination was held at Brulé City, October 25, 1881. E.L. Drury, the present county superintendent, was the only applicant, and walked fifteen miles to secure the first certificate granted in the county.
The first report of the superintendent, made in 1881, showed sixty children of school age within the county. In 1882 the number had increased to 133, and in 1883 the number was 1,209. There were also at the latter date twenty-eight school buildings in the county.
The earliest settlements were made in the great bend of the Missouri river, where a town known as Brulé City was founded and became a considerable business point.
On the 2d day of august, 1873, D.W. Spalding, M.F. Coonan, M.H. Day, H.M. Leedy, C. McDonald, James and D. Harnett, J. McManus and E.C. Howard, all from Emmetsburg, Iowa, via Yankton, with their own teams, arrived and located at and near Brulé City, where they found one James Somers, one of those wandering characters who were in the habit of forming matrimonial alliances with the Indians and casting their lot with the red children of the prairie. He was living on the site of the town, but how long he had been there is not stated. George Trimmer and James Blankerton had also been living for some time on Dry Island below Brulé City.
Spalding and his company located claims in Towns 102 and 103, Range 72. After filing their claims at the land office in Springfield they returned to the east, but came back in the following spring, about the last of April, and permanently located in the county.
In May, 1874, James McHenry of Vermillion, brought a steam saw mill into the county and put it in operation at Brulé City. C.M. Cliff also came up on the same boat with McHenry, bringing a stock of general merchandise, which he opened in Brulé City. In June, 1874, the town was laid out by D. Harnett and E.C. Howard on the southwest quarter of Section 3, Town 102, Range 72.
In July of the same year P. Nelson brought in a colony of Norwegians, Swedes and Danes, who settled around Brulé City.
There was some misunderstanding regarding this region, many believing it was included in the lands ceded by treaty with the Indians; but it seems the United States government took a different view of the matter, and in January, 1875, President Grant issued and order declaring certain portions of this region as still constituting a part of the Indian lands, and warning settlers to keep away from them. The lands were not again open for settlement until August 8, 1879, under an executive order of President Hayes.
In consequence of this state of things Nelson's colony all left the country and eventually settled elsewhere. Nelson went with them in the fall of 1874, but returned with his family the next year and settled at Red Lake, in the fall of 1875, where he established the first ranche on the prairie in Brulé County.
Among those who came in with the Nelson colony was the firm of Erzggrabber & Henningson, who opened a store. Following the order of the President, according to Mr. Spalding's recollection, all the settlers left the country excepting himself, M.H. Day, A. Petersen, James Somers, George Trimmer and H.M. Leedy.
The only additions to the settlement between the executive orders of 1875 and 1879 were the following: In June, 1875, the families of D.W. Spalding and H.M. Day arrived; in July the family of J.R. Lowe reached the place, and in September P. Nelson and C.P. Christensen and their families arrived and settled permanently. In the spring of 1878 H.G. Stout located at Brulé City, and later in the season J. Sieck and F.W. Hemingway settled in the place. In the spring of the last named year E.M. Bond made a settlement at the Bijou Hills, and established a ferry on the Missouri River, which is still called "Bond's Ferry."
Soon after the re-opening of the reservation to settlement, in August, 1879, a dozen or more families settled in the county. Among these were J. Scales, E.G. Oliver, M.J. Smith, L. Somers, George Hall, Charles Collins, A.C. VanMeter, L.W. Lewis, T.B. Wall, S.C. Tooker, T.H. Myers, George Rifsnider, J.H. Whitlock, H. Pilger, and the Lemear family.
The original county of Brulé was established by an act of the Territorial Legislature passed at the session of 1873-4, the boundaries, as given in the act, including towns 101, 102, 103 and 104, in ranges 67, 68, 69, 70, 71 and 72.
The first commissioners appointed by the Governor were George Trimmer, James Blankerton and H.M. Leedy, who proceeded to organize the county, and appointed the following officers: Register of Deeds, M.H. Day; Treasurer, D.W. Spalding; Sheriff, J. Somers; Surveyor, J.M. Winters; Assessor, -- Erzggrabber; Coronor, C.M. Cliff; Justice, J.M. Winters; Constable, Wm. Lewis. By the act the county seat was fixed at Brulé City.
During the time between 1875 and 1879, while migration and settlement in the county were forbidden by executive orders, the few who remained kept up the county organization in a nominal manner, and regular elections were held every second war.
Immediately following the President's order of August 9, 1879, re- opening the lands to entry and settlement, a petition was drawn and affidavits filed up setting forth the necessity for a county organization, and presented to Governor Howard. The petition is said to have included fifty-four names, when at the same time it is clained there were only twenty-three voters in the county. Irregularities and even fraud have been charged in connection with these transactions. A portion of the people considered the original organization as still binding, while others contended that it was rendered null and void by President Grant's order of January, 1875.
However the facts may be, Governor Howard granted the petition, and on the 8th of September, 1879, appointed as commissioners Marvin H. Somers, A.C. VanMeter and Fred C. Livermore, with authority to re- organized the county.
The above-named gentlemen met at the office of Charles Collins in Brulé City on the 20th day of September, elected Fred. C. Livermore chaiman of the board, and appointed the following county officers: Register of Deeds, Charles Collins; Judge of Probate, J.R Lowe; Sheriff, J. Sieck; treasurer, F.W. Hemingway; Surveyor, F. H. Meyers; Justices, J. Lemear, Jr., E.W. Daily, L.W. Lewis; Constable, M. Lemear.
At this meeting the county seat was re-located on the northwest quarter of Section 13, Town 102, Range 72. This action remoced the county seat as first located, about one mile to the northwest, upon land owned by Charles Collins, one of the commissioners.
At a subsequent meeting held on the 4th of October-following, the court house in Brulé City was designated as the polling place for the general election to be held on the 4th of November. At this meeting the county was divided into three commissioners districts. A. Peterson, M. Somers and Charles Collins were appointed judges of election.
At the first election the following named gentlemen were chosen county officers: Commissioners, P. Nelson, E.M. Bond, A.C. VanMeter; Register, D.W. Spalding; Judge of Probate, F.B. Wall; Treasurer, S.C. Tooker; Sheriff, J. Sieck; Assessor, H.G. Stout; Coroner, George Rifsnieder; Superintendent of Schools, B.N. Somers; Justices, L.W. Lewis, E.M. Bond, J.H. Whitlock; Constables, F.H. Meyers, C.H. Lewis, Henry Pilgrim.
At a meeting of the board held April 28, 1880, the following resolutions, moved by Commissioner Nelson, were unanimously adopted:
"WHEREAS, The Board of County Commissioners of Brulé County did heretofore at a meeting held in December, 1879, declare that the town site of one Charles Collins was and is Brulé City; and whereas, on examination of the records of said Brulé County it is apparent that there was a town site of the name of Brulé City platted and recorded some four years prior to the location of the town site of Charles Collins. Therefore, it is resolved that the said action of the Board was illegal, and that the town of Brulé City is located on the southwest quarter of Section 2, and the southeast quarter of Section 3, Town 102, Range 72, as shown by the records of said Register of Deeds; and, as according to the acts of said old board, Brulé City received the majority of votes east, Brulé City is declared to be the county seat."
It was further "resolved that the Board recognize the southwest quarter of Section 2, and the southeast quarter of Section 3, Town 102, Range 72, as the county seat."
As the settlement of the county progressed it became apparent that the county seat was not in the most convenient locality, and in September, 1880, a petition was presented to the Board of County Commissioners asking that the question of a change be submitted to the people of the county. The board accordingly ordered an election and appointed the vote to be taken on the day of the next general election, to be held November 8, 1881.
The vote resulted as follows:
" Southwest quarter of Section 30, Town 103, Range 69……………………………61
" Brulé City…………………………………………………………………………19
" Red Lake…………………………………………………………………………1
Since this date the county seat has been at Chamberlain, where it is likely to remain. No county buildings have yet been erected, the courts and county officers being accommodated temporarily in rented buildings. This state of things, however, will probably not continue long. Brulé County is naturally rich, and its people, like those of every other county in Dakota, are public spirited, in a remarkable degree, and will soon provide the necessary accommodations.
The following is a list of the present county officers:
Commissioners, J.R Lowe, Henry Pilger, Roy S. Taylor;
Register of Deeds, D.W. Spalding;
Judge of Probate, J.B. Long;
Clerk of Courts, D.W. Spalding;
Sheriff, E.P. Ochsner;
Treasurer, R.J. Andrews;
Superintendent of Schools, E.L. Drury;
Surveyor, J.H. Whitlock;
Coroner, A.M. French;
Justices, C.C. Morrow, John S. White, W.A. Porter, James Ployhart.
The earliest settlers on the site of Chamberlain were J.T. Stearns, John H. King, G.G. Clemmer, N.W. Beebe, and D.W. Mott, who came from Hampton, Iowa, by road to Mitchell, and from there with teams, and reached the place in August, 1880. They were particularly struck with the beauty of the location and the evidences on every band of its future prominence, and quickly reached the conclusion that here in a few years would be built up one of the best cities on the Upper Missouri River.
Previous to this time, General John D. Lawler, connected with the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad Company, had covered portions of the present town site with serip. The new comers being greatly pleased with the country and this location in particular, negotiated for an interest in the property and located land adjoining it. A new company was formed and incorporated under the laws of Iowa and Dakota called the Dakota Land and Town Lot Company, with a nominal capital of $25,000. John H. King was elected president, J.T. Stearns, secretary, and D.W. Mott, treasurer of the company. Copies of the articles of incorporation were filed at Yankton and the company established a branch office with a resident agent at Chamberlain, and commenced business.
On the 16th of September, 1880, Henry Pilger located on the town site of Chamberlain and became the first actual permanent resident of the town. He erected a canvas tent and opened a restaurant, and in November following added a frame building and enlarged his business. This restaurant was located on the site of the present railway freight house, near the river, at the mouth of American Creek. In the spriing of 1881 he removed it to the site of the present city hotel, which he commenced to build on the 1st of October, 1881.
Alexander Inglis and J.T. Stearns pitched their tents in the place on the 4th of October in the same year, and were shortly after followed by J. Sieck.
The second building erected on the town site was the office of the Dakota Land and Town Lot Company, on the corner of Main street and Mott avenue in October. This was an important building, for we find that within its walls during the following winter were domiciled the Brulé County Bank, the post office, the Dakota Fire and Marine Insurance Company, the printing office of the Dakota Register, and lastly, Dickinson and Humphrey's stock of goods. The building was sixteen by twenty-four feet in dimensions.
The third was a saloon building on Main street below Mott avenue, put up in November by E.K. Taylor. In the same fall Charles H. Pease erected a building on the corner of Main street and Clemmer avenue, and opened the pioneer hardware store.
The fifth building was erected on Main street, north of Clemmer avenue by C.S. Highley.
A post office was established in May, 1881, and S.D. Cook was the first Postmaster. Alexander Inglis was the first mail carrier. On the 7th of June following, the construction of the Register block was commenced by Messrs, Pease, Dickinson, Humphrey, Inglis and Cook. The erection of the Brulé House was commenced in June, 1881, by the Chamberlain Building Association, and during the season a large number of buildings were erected. The following from the Dakota Register of June 8, 1881, will give a good idea of the place at that date:
"CHAMBERLAIN, DAK, June 8, 1881.
"Chamberlain now has twenty-five places of habitation and business including houses, tents and shanties. Several thousand feet of lumber are arriving each day, and business has commenced in earnest.
"The Dakota Register will be issued Thursday, June 16th, and will be a thirty-two column paper, all printed at home on S.D. Cook's mammoth steam power press. While merchants and all classes of business men are coming rapidly to Chamberlain, we particularly desire and want, in addition to those now contemplating a settlement here, a steam flouring mill, a planing mill, with sash and door factory, a brick yard, a wagon factory, two blacksmiths shops, a cigar factory, a laundry, two No. I physicians. These are all wanted and needed, and will find a grand opening here, as well as many other kinds of business men.
"About thirty buildings are now under contract and building, mostly two stories high.
"The high water that damaged most of the sister towns in the Missouri Valley this spring left the Chamberlain town site (which we assert is positively the finest on the Big Muddy), forty-five feet above the highest point reached by the flood, and the water was not at any time within twenty-five feet of the lowest lot on the town site, which is located immediately on the bank of the river on as fine a plateau as ever graced the banks."
The steamer landing in front of the town, commonly called the "levee" on the western waters, is claimed, and with good show of reason, to be the best on the river between Bismarck and Kansas City, and old river men say that during the past twenty-five years it has remained unchanged. The banks of the river are composed of heavy compact clay, or marl, in which are frequently imbedded fine gravel and pebbles, the whole mass resting the action of water almost equal to rock formation.
The original plat of the town was made in October, 1880, being a part of the west half of Section 15, Town 104, Range 71. The first addition, a part of the west half of the same section, was made in August, 1882. The second addition, another part of the same section, was made in May, 1883, and the third in the same month; the latter comprising lots, 2,3,4 and 5 in the south half of the northwest quarter, and in the south half of Section 15, Town 104, Range 71. With its contemplated additions the city plat covers nearly two square miles.
The village organization did not seem to satisfy the ambition of the people long before the advisability of procuring a city charter began to be discussed, and during the session of the Legislature for 1882-3 a petition asking for incorporation under a city form of government was presented to that body. The prayer of the petitioners was granted and the town was duly incorporated.
At the first election under the new charter, held April 1, 1883, the following persons were elected to the several positions named; Mayor, R. Sturgeon; Aldermen, T. Kilfeather, George Miller, A. Inglis, E.C. Newberry; Justice, C.C. Morrow; Clerk, H.W. LeBlonde; Assessor, W.A. Porter; Treasurer, S.G. Stoddard; Attorney, J.A. Stroube; Marshal, John Foster.
Chamberlain has one of the finest locations in the Upper Missouri valley. The bulk of the town occupies a commanding situation on a natural "bench" or terrace of the valley, elevated above all possible floods, and extending back to the sloping bluffs a distance of half a mile or more. The Crow Creek Indian reservation is in full view north of American Creek, and the great Sioux reservation lies opposite on the west side of the Missouri, with the Lower Brulé Agency in plain view about five miles down the river. In front of the town in the center of the stream stretches American Island, nearly two miles in length by a half mile, or more, in breadth, and shaded by handsome groves of timer. This island has lately been ceded by the government to the city of Chamberlain for a public park.
The town has advanced in population, wealth and improvement at a very rapid rate since the heavy migration to Dakota set in in the spring of 1882, and now contains a population of from 1200 to 1500 people, with broad, well laid out streets and a large number of good buildings.
Among the more conspicuous institutions are the following:
Water works. - In the summer of 1883 a vote of the people was taken on the question of bonding the city for $15,000 for the construction of water works, and carried the affirmative by a decided majority. The bonds are drawn to run fifteen years.
The construction of the works was begun in the fall of 1883. A crib has been placed in the Missouri River a short distance above the mouth of American Creek, and the pumping works are situated near the river on the grounds of Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Company. The distributing reservoir is located in the public park on the most elevated point in the city, 235 feet above mean stage of water in the Missouri River, and has a capacity of 525,000 gallons. Its upper diameter is 105 feet, and its lower 70 feet. It is constructed in the most thorough manner of brick laid in puddled cement. The motive power is supplied by a Henry A. Worthington, double-acting engine. The mains have been laid on Main, Railroad, Sanborn, and Beebe streets and Clemmer avenue. These and the supply pipes are five inches in diameter and laid in white lead cement, five and a half feet below the surface of the ground. There are ten street hydrants located at convenient points for fire purposes, and two public watering hydrants, one in Park square, and one at the corner of Clemmer avenue and Sanborn street. The work was superintended by B.B. Colborne, civil engineer of Chamberlain. The plans and designs were furnished by W.C. Stripe, civil engineer of Keokuk, Iowa.
Chamberlain Rolling Mills.—These well known mills were erected in the summer and fall of 1883, by Messrs. J.F. Sisson & Co., at an expense of over $20,000. The building, which is a four-story frame, is 36 by 70 feet in dimensions and substantially built, with a capacity of 150 barrels every twenty-four hours. It has ten full sets of rolls and one run of buhrs, with a full complement of the best and latest improved machinery, and constitutes a very important addition to the manufacturing interests of Chamberlain.
Insurance.—The Dakota Marine and Fire Insurance Company of Chamberlain was organized in April, 1881, under a general law of the territory. The incorporators were John H. King, John T. Stearns, F.M. Goodykoontz and A.G. Kellam. Its nominal capital is $100,000, with $25,000 paid in. It is doing a god business in various portions of Dakota and building up rapidly. Its business is confined to the insuring of farm property and live stock.
The first year's total business amounted to $4,200. In 1883 the premiums received reached the respectable sum of $35,000. The amount of property at risk in 1883 was $1,530,370, and the aggregate losses, $3,893.77. The company possesses a fund over and above all liabilities of $4,000.
Banking.—There are two banks in the city—the Brulé County Bank and the First National Bank. The Brulé County Bank, the oldest in the county, was organized under the general law of Dakota, and commenced business in June, 1881.
Its capital stock is $50,000. The following is its board of directors: A.G. Kellam, president, Chamberlain, Dak.; Alex. Inglis, vice-president, Chamberlain, Dak.; E.W. Skerry, cashier, Chamberlain, Dak.; J.H. King, Chamberlain, Dak,; N.W. Beebe, Hampton, Iowa; D.W. Mott, Hampton, Iowa; G.G. Clemmer, Hampton, Iowa.
The Bank of Chamberlain was first opened for business in June, 1882. The firm included D.H. Henry, Patrick Henry, A.G. Chase, Charles Eddy, and C.A. Greeley. In May, 1883, they organized as the First National Bank with a capital of $50,000. The officers are as follows: D.H. Henry, president; Patrick Henry, cashier. Directors—D.H. Henry, N.W. Eggleston, P.J. Gerin, A.G. Chase, C.A. Greeley, Patrick Henry.
CHURCHES.—There are organizations of Congregationalists, Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians and Catholics. The Congregationalists organized in 1881, under the supervision of Rev. W.B. Hubbard, a graduate of Beloit, Wis., and Yale colleges, who labored industriously to build up a church and succeded so well that a fine house of worship was erected in 1882, at a cost of over $2,000, of which sum $339 was contributed by New England churches, $450 by the Congregational Union, and $300 by Hon. Selah Chamberlain, of Cleveland, Ohio, after whom the city was named. To the present writing (May, 1884) this is the only church edifice in the place; but improvements follow so rapidly upon each other that other spires will be pointing heavenward, quite probably, before our work is in the hands of subscribers.
SCHOOLS.—The city of Chamberlain constitutes and independent school district and has a fine school building costing $1,500, which accommodates 300 pupils.
The town boasts of a fine opera house, erected at an expense of $12,000; two good hotels costing about $10,000 each: several others less expensive, but comfortable; a large foundry and machine shop; a brick manufactory; forty or fifty mercantile firms, and every variety of trade and business usually found in cities of like importance. The professions of law and medicine are well represented, and there are flourishing organizations of Masons, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Grand Army of the Republic, Young Men's Christian Association, etc.
THE PRESS.—The first nespaper established in Brulé County was the Dakota Register, at Chamberlain, in June, 1881, by S.D. Cook. In August, 1882, it was purchased by J.H. King and its name changed to Chamberlain Register. It has a large circulation for a new country and is ably conducted.
The Dakota Democrat was first published July 13, 1883, by the Democrat Publishing Company, of which John La Fabre was general manager, C.N. McGroarty managing editor, and C.A. Blair superintendent. On the 7th of January, 1884 the firm changed to La Fabre & McKibben. John La Fabre is editor.
The Brulé County Live Stock Association was organized in April, 1882, with the following officers and directors: E.C. Stevens, president; E.W. Skerry, secretary; Major A.G. Kellam, treasurer; Alexander Inglis, superintendent and general manager. Its object is the importation and breeding of fine blooded stock of various kinds, though at present the company is making a specialty of sheep raising. The "ranch" proper consists of over 1,000 acres of fine rolling prairie land, to which they hold government title; and the company control altogether 2,500 acres. The land is conveniently located on the east bank of the Missouri River, four miles south of Chamberlain, and having a frontage of two miles upon the river. There are several good watering places along the stream and a number of living springs, near the largest of which the principal corral is located. The corral is supplied with water by means of a system of pipes which furnish a constant and unfailing supply through the season. There is a considerable quantity of growing timber on the company's land, which, in every essential, is a beautiful and valuable piece of property.
Alexander Inglis is a native of Scotland, where he was connected with sheep husbandry for several years. He afterwards became a resident of Australia, where he was actively engaged in similar pursuits for a number of years. In 1880 he came to the United States and located in Dakota with a view to engaging in his present avocation. He has taken great interest in the growth and development of the social and industrial interests of the Missouri Valley. He is a member of the Dakota Land and Town Lot Company; vice-president of the Brulé County Bank; director of the Dakota Fire and Marine Insurance Company, and adjuster for the institution; and also fills the position of secretary and treasurer of the Chamberlain Building Association.
Main street in Chamberlain was handsomely graded in 1883, at a cost of $1000. The streets are lighted by lamps at the principal corners, and the town is assuming city airs.
There are beginnings of a fire department in the form of a hook and ladder company, of which H.C. Mussman is captain, and a hose company commanded by John Foster. There are twenty men in each company, and the apparatus cost, complete, in the neighborhood of $2,000. J.M. Greene is chief of the department.
Chamberlain has a promising future before it, and stranger things have happened than its becoming the capital city of a new State. It is centrally located for South Dakota, and when the division of the Territory is accomplished, will be a competing point for the highest honors.
KIMBALL.—The following facts concerning the early settlement and upbuilding of this enterprising place were furnished by J.W. Orcutt, Esq., a prominent business man of Kimball.
The town was laid out in September, 1880, and for a time known as Siding No. 48. Afterward it was called Andover, and later by its present name, which was bestowed in honor of one of the engineers of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway.
Henry Schneider filed a claim on the southeast quarter of Section 3, Town 103, Range 68, in the fall of 1879, and made proof on the 11th of March, 1880. On the 26th of March he transferred his interest to Gen. John D. Lawler.
J.W. Orcutt arrived in the place in June, 1881, and found the following persons located in the township: E.P.D. Kimball, W.F. Whitney, Charles and William A. Ochsner, W.H. Curtiss, W.C. Morris and W.E. Newman. These parties had located claims in the fall of 1880, and made permanent settlement in the spring of 1881.
In September, 1881, Mr. D. Warner, from Painesville, Ohio, purchased the town site of the railway company. He also owns 400 acres of fine land adjoining the town site, which will probably be laid out in additions at no distant day.
The first business building in the town was a frame 16 by 20 feet, erected in June, 1881, by H.S. Davis, in which he opened a stock of groceries. On the 4th of July the Kimball House was raised and rapidly completed by L. Richards. During the same month Mr. J. Welch built a small hotel where the Taft House now stands. In August O.P. Ochsner erected a building in which he established the hardware business. Messrs. Hay & Caesar also erected a store building. In October, 1881, G.W. & J.A. Smith put up a lumber office to accommodate their increasing business, which had been established in June previous under the management of J.W. Orcutt. It was the first lumber-yard in the place and the first west of Mitchell.
In the spring of 1882 the present hotel known as the Taft House, was erected by E.B. Taft, and from that time the growth of the town has been rapid and steady. Its present population is estimated as high as 1,000.
The place was organized under a village incorporation in the spring of 1883. The first trustees were J.W. Orcutt, D.E. Wells, George Bloeser, Louis Richards, D.G. Hay; Clerk, H.S. Dunlap; Treasurer, L.A. Foote; City Justice, Dennis Ryan; Assessor, A.M. French; Marshal, John B. Ryan.
In the spring of 1883, J.W. Orcutt, and D.H. Henry, President of the First National Bank of Chamberlain, formed a partnership and opened a private banking business in Kimball, which they are successfully conducting.
The Bank of Kimball was organized April 1, 1883, with a capital of $30,000, furnished by F.A. Gale, President of the First National Bank of Canton, D.T. It does a general banking business. President, F.A. Gale; Vice-President, H.E. Gates; Cashier, L.A. Foote.
A grain elevator having a capacity of 20,000 bushels, was erected by Messrs. Bassett, Huntting & Co.
SCHOOLS.—The town has the graded system and a fine school building, erected in the fall of 1883, at a cost of $2,000.
CHURCHES.—The Presbyterians organized a church September 4, 1881, and erected a house of worship in the summer of 1882, at a cost of nearly $2,000.
The Methodists organized about the same time as the Presbyterians, and will probably have a comfortable edifice by the time this work is delivered to subscribers.
The Baptists organized a society in June, 1883, and the Lutherans in August of the same year.
The Catholics have no regular organization, but services are conducted once a month by Rev. Father Flanigan.
SECRET ORDERS.—A.F. & A.M. Kimball Lodge No. 44. Organized in April, 1883.
I.O.G.T. Lodge No. 51. Organized August, 1883.
A.O.U.W. Kimball Lodge No. 13.
O.O. of H. Sublime Hut No. 76. Organized in August, 1883
There is also a flourishing Post of the Grand Army of the Republic.
NEWSPAPERS.—The Kimball Enterprise was the first paper established in the place; R.W. Butler and D.G. Hay, proprietors. The first issue appeared April 12, 1882. In June following P.H. Ryan purchased Butler's interest, and the name was changed to the Kimball Graphic August 17, 1883. In July, 1883, D. Warner purchased Ryan's interest, and subsequently became sole owner. C.R. Tinan is editor.
The Brulé Index was established in June, 1882, by S.D. Cook. The first issue appeared on the 7th of the month. In May, 1883, the Kimball Publishing Company purchased the property, and on the first of January, 1884, sold to the present proprietors, Messrs, Willis & Hammond. Both journals are well conducted, and have a good patronage.
Kimball contains eight or ten attorneys and real estate agents, two physicians, two banks, five religious societies, five civic orders, two newspapers, about twenty mercantile firms, a grist mill, seven lumber and coal dealers, three good hotels, and the usual variety of small dealers and mechanics.
PUKWANA (the Peace Pipe), is a lively and growing town on the railway ten miles east of Chamberlain. A town has been laid out, and there are several business firms on the ground, including lumber, groceries and general goods, a law and real estate office, a post office, etc. A fine country surrounds the place, and its prospects are first class.
At this point in Town 102, Range 70, is a post office with Cyrus H. Clark as postmaster, and a thrifty farming community in the vicinity. There is also a lime kiln at this point.
At this point is a post office kept by Capt. J.R. Lowe, who also is engaged in keeping a hotel and selling groceries. He owns a splendid farm of 480 acres, and has a fine herd of cattle.
Other post offices in the county are PLOYD, KIRKWOOD, DUNLAP, PLAINFIELD, LYONVILLE and RED LAKE. Red Lake in Town 103, Range 70, is a beautiful sheet of water, surrounded by an excellent farming country. RED LAKE POST OFFICE is located on Section 26, Town 103, Range 70, about two miles southeast of the lake. Valuable deposits of clay for the manufacture of brick and tile are found in the vicinity of the lake. Chamberlain parties have put several boats and sail craft on the lake, and it will eventually become a fine sporting and pleasure resort.
Brulé is one of the best counties in Dakota, and is rapidly increasing in population and wealth. Being on the line of one of the most important railways in the northwest its producing classes will be sure of a good market, and its growing business points are most favorably located for trade and commerce.