S.D. Revealed
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S O U T H   D A K O T A

Early Firsts & South Dakota History | Links | Information Sources

1888 Map of South Dakota showing Black Hills
1888 Map of South Dakota
showing Black Hills region

Early Firsts in the Dakota Territory
- The first white men known to have been upon South Dakota soil were Francois and Louis Joseph Verendrye, Louis La Londe and A. Miotte in 1742.
- First white resident, probably Pierre Dorion (or Durion) who seems to have settled at the mouth of James River about 1780.
- First house erected by white men, the Trudeau house, was on the bank of the Missouri River near White Swan, Charles Mix County, in November 1794.
- First engagement between US troops and Indians in South Dakota was the fight of Ensign Prior's men with the Arickara in 1807.

- First permanent white settlement was at Fort Pierre, 1817 by Joseph La Framboise
- First white woman to come into the region, Pelagie LaBarge, wife of Joseph LaBarge, captain of the steamboat, "Martha," in 1847
- First white child born in South Dakota, Mary Houston Atkinson, at Fort Pierre, January 8, 1857.
- The State flag was designed by Ida M. Anding, legislative librarian in 1909.

Early South Dakota History
As late as 1794 the Arickara tribe of Native Americans maintained a hold in the central part of what is now South Dakota. In approximately 1743 the Sioux tribe began to expand out to the Missouri River eventually taking complete control of this section.

Dakota, whose Indian name signifies "leagued" aptly describes her population, drawn from every State of the Union. Attempts at settlement for agricultural purposes date from 1856, but the handful of pioneers, confined to the most southerly counties, were constantly harrassed and frequently driven from their homes by hostile Indians, so that the increase of population was not noticeable until after the close of the civil war.

Congress created the Territory of Dakota in 1861, and President Lincoln, in the same year, appointed Hon. William Jayne, of Illinois, the first Governor (territorial).

The national census of 1860 gave Dakota a population of less than 500; that of 1870, 14,000; of 1880, 135,000, and give years later the number had increased to 415,610. In 1888 the population was estimated at 640,823.

South Dakota and North Dakota, twin States, were admitted at the same moment, and no one knowns which proclamation was first signed. On November 2, 1889, President Benjamin Harrison was ready to sign the proclamation admitting North and South Dakota to the Union. He called in Secretary of State James G. Blaine and a number of gentlemen of North and South Dakota who were in Washington, together with correspondents of
the newspapers who report White House doings. Mr. Halford, private secretary took the two proclamations placed them under a newspaper and shuffled them back and forth until he could not tell which was first and then, keeping them covered, exposed just enough of each to permit the president to sign at the bottom. Again shuffling them he turned them over to Secretary Blaine, who at once telegraphed the governors of North and South Dakota.

This was the first instance in the history of the US of "twin states.
North and South Dakota entered the Union at the same moment." There were 38 states previously in the Union; North Dakota and South Dakota are the thirty-ninth and fortieth, but which takes precedence can never be known.

1893 - Chicago World's Fair Exhibit: Mammoth Crystal Cave. Horticultural Building -- Reproduction of the mammoth crystal cave situated near the city of Deadwood, S.D.

South Dakota Maps - old and new

Other South Dakota Links

History of South Dakota, by Robinson, Doane, 1856-1946. Internet Archive, 1904 | Volume 1 | Volume 2 |

History of Dakota Territory, by Kingsbury, George Washington, 1837-; Smith, George Martin, 1847-1920, Internet Archive, Published 1915l | Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3 | Volume 4 Biographical |

South Dakota Timeline - from World Atlas

The Early History of the Dakotas ("The Dakota Metropolis) -
May 1891 from the New England Magazine - Cornell Online Library

Dakota - the History of the Dakota Territory - Harper's new monthly magazine, 1889, Cornell Online Library

South Dakota History & Genealogy - USGennet

South Dakota Fast Facts & Trivia

"Pa-ha-sa-pah, or, The Black Hills of South Dakota," by Peter Rosen - 1895 (online book, Google Books)

"Geological map of the Black Hills of South Dakota & Wyoming," by Samuel Scott - 1897 (Google Books)

Information Sources
1. Doane Robinson's encyclopedia of South Dakota, Pierre: The author, 1925, 1004 pgs.
2. Harper's new monthly magazine, Volume 78, Issue 463, December 1888
3. Manufacturer and builder: The Exhibits at Chicago; New York, July 1893, pp. 155-156

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