by Robert S. Thompson

Day County is located in the northeastern section of South Dakota, and is surrounded by the counties of Roberts and Grant to the east, Clark and Codington to the south, Spink and Brown to the west, and Marshall to the north. The Prairie Plains area, a continuation of the prairies of Iowa and Minnesota, is subdivided into the James Basin, the Prairie Hills (Coteau des Prairie) and the Minnesota Valley Lowlands. The land of Day County lies mainly within the Prairie Hills, with a small western section extending into the James Basin. The Day County Prairie Hills' elevation is 600 feet higher than the Minnesota Valley to its east, and 300 feet higher than the James Valley to the west.

Day County is one of the largest East River counties, ranking 28th out of 67 counties in total land area. Except for a small area in the northeastern part of the county, it is rectangular in shape, extending 37 miles east to west, and 30 miles in width from north to the south. The area itcovers is approximately 1,061 square miles, or 648,400 acres, 91% of which is farmland.

During the long geological past, four different glaciers extended over most of the eastern half of South Dakota. These great ice sheets created the surface of the land; the prairie, the lakes, the gravel, the boulders and the soil. Even the James River Valley was the result of glacier action. Day County is just one segment of the development of the Prairie Plains.

The topography of Day County from the west to the east consists of two separate sectionsdivided by the Bristol Moraine, a range of hills angling north and northeast from Crandall in the southwest part of the county to the west side of Independence Township. The land which lies in the James Valley is fairly level, while the bordering hills extend like gradual waves of contrasting variations. Mud, Antelope, and Pickerel Creeks are the principal carriers of run-off water, and drain into the James River. The Prairie Coteau east of the Bristol Hills varies from steeply sloping to rolling plains, with even some fairly level areas in Troy, Rusk, and Egeland townships, and around some of the lakes in the eastern part of the county. Much of the drainage flows into the numerous lakes, sloughs, and kettles.

The county land surface supports a variety of the slopes, streams, wild plants, and agriculture.Originally the Prairie Plains area was referred to as the "long-grass country," in contrast to the Great Plains further west, which was known as the "short grass" country. One report of the United States Department of Agriculture classified the soil of the county into nine types, which explains the variety of agriculture not only within the county, but even on some of the farms. Almost all of the soil of the county consists of the Barnes-Parnell type, except for a small area in the extreme northwest which is Fargo-Biarden. Both types are sub-classifications of Chernozem soil, which covers much of eastern South Dakota and even extends west of the Missouri River in the southern part of the state.


The continental climate of South Dakota accounts for the extreme temperatures of summer and winter, as well as for the rapid fluctuations of the temperature. A thirty-eight year record at the weather station near Webster revealed that the average frost-free growing season was about 132 days. The extremes in temperature during the same period were 108 Ffor the high and -44 F for the low. The average July temperature was 70 F, and the average January temperature was 9.2 F.

As essential to agriculture as the soil and temperature is the rainfall. The same weather stationrecord revealed an average precipitation of 1.51 inches in the winter; 7.16 inches in the spring; 9.13 inches in the summer; and 3.02 inches in the fall, and the annual average was 20.82 inches. Significantly, the greatest share of the rainfall comes in the spring and summer during the growingseason. There have been poor harvests when the annual rainfall was average but came at the wrong time, and good harvests when the annual rainfall was below average but came at the right time. Thecombination of the soil and climate combinations have produced small grains, row and forage crops.


Many centuries before the first white men come to this land which is now called South Dakota, numerous groups of Indians lived here. Remnants of those cultures have been found, and it is likely that there were additional peoples for whom no evidence has been found. The Indians called the Mound Builders lived mainly in eastern South Dakota, along streams and lakes, especially in the Big Stone Lake and Big Sioux River areas, as well as in Day County. They left their record on the land in the form of mounds of earth, which were primarily used as burial chambers. It is believed that they occupied this area from about 500 A.D. to about 800 A.D. Later, the Arikara Indians migrated from Nebraska and Kansas to the Missouri River, settling in the central part of South Dakota during the sixteenth century. In 1832 they moved into North Dakota and joined the Mandan Indians. It was the Arikaras who provided the Sioux with the horse when the latter arrived in South Dakota.

The Sioux, or Dacotah, are the Indians most people associate with South Dakota. Their history probably goes back to the Ohio Valley. Even before Columbus discovered America, they were driven out of that region by the Iroquois Indians, some moving east and others journeying westward. In what is now Wisconsin and Minnesota they lived as forest people, and competed with the Cree and Chippewa Indians for that land. The Crees and Chippewas came into contact with the French fur traders from the east, and later dealt with the English, who expanded their Hudson Bay fur trade after gaining that region from the French. Both the Crees and the Chippewas obtained guns from the white fur traders and were thereafter able to put greater pressure on the Sioux. That pressure and the need for food pushed the Sioux people west.

The Teton Sioux, in their westward migration, reached the Black Hills just about the time of the beginning of the American Revolution. The Yanktonnais Sioux eventually had the land south of Devils Lake in what is now North Dakota, and the land between the Missouri and James Rivers as their hunting grounds, which placed them north of the Yankton Sioux. Many Sioux fled to Dakota Territory by way of Big Stone Lake because of the uprising of the Minnesota Sioux Indians from 1862 to 1868. Their presence in Dakota Territory soon involved some of the Yanktonnais in the conflict. The military constructed posts as bases from which to separate the friendly Indians from the hostiles. This was the purpose for the construction of Fort Wadsworth in 1864. It was renamed Fort Sisseton in 1876. This fort was for the purpose of protecting the Sisseton and Wahpeton Indians who were in the lake region west of Big Stone Lake.

The Sisseton Reservation was established in 1867 by Congress, which said that the Indians had forfeited their rights in the Minnesota Uprising. The reservation extended southwest of Traverse Lake to Lake Kampeska and northwest to Re Ipehan which took a shape of a flat iron. The reservation was opened for white settlement in 1892.

The culture of the Day County Indians has changed drastically since the 1880's. Their society is no longer based on hunting and fishing, but is in many ways similar to that of the whites. The tepee has been replaced by the frame house; the children attend the same schools as the white children; the automobile provides transportation; entertainment often comes from television or movies; and there has been inter-marriage between many Indians and whites. But increasingly, the Indian peoples look back on the culture of their forefathers with the same pride and interest with which the whites look back on their ancestral pasts.


The first white settler in Day County was Francis Randell (Rondell), a fur trader for the American Fur Company who had established a fur post on the James River. About 1850, he made his home at Rush Lake. Upon his death in 1896, he was buried at the Indian Church at Enemy Swim. Other early settlers in Day County prior to 1880 were: Albert Barse in 1876, E.P. Owen and G.W. Spencer in 1877, Theodore and Louis Schafer in 1879, and Joseph Gruba, Matt Rees, John Hedke, Joseph Helvig, Paul Kurkowski, D.W. Paul and sons, W.M. and J.L. Oscar Stevens, and George and Thomas Burns. It was in the lake region with its available timber, where these people selected their claims.

The period from 1878 to 1887 is called the Great Dakota Boom, a time when almost all the land east of the Missouri River in Dakota Territory was occupied by settlers. For Day County, the heavy migration started in 1880. The 1880 census listed the population of Day County as 97. In 1890 it was 9,168, or almost 100 times more people in one decade.

There were several reasons why the Dakota Boom had not happened earlier. Dakota Territory was organized in 1861, but there was not a great rush to the new land. The westward movement had declined at that time. The Civil War engaged the energy of the country from 1861 to 1865. The post-Civil War boom was ended by the Panic of 1873, which continued for several years. The Panic of 1873 halted the railroad construction which later would contribute much to the Great Dakota Boom. The damage done by the grasshoppers from 1874 to 1876, plus some dry years in the west, discouraged many people.

There were also events during the 1870's that laid the foundation for the Great Dakota Boom. The discovery of gold in the Black Hills attracted many people. Of these who were disappointed in not finding the expected wealth in the Black Hills, many were then attracted to the agricultural land they had traveled through. In fact, the land of Dakota drew more settlers than did the gold of the Black Hills. New technical advances in farm machinery, such as plows more suitable to prairie soil, self-binding reapers,and new flour mills that were capable of milling spring wheat, made the land more attractive. The extension of the railroads through Dakota, was the strongest factor in attracting settlers to the new land.


In 1877, the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Company decided to extend into Dakota. It was soon followed by the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad Company. The latter started from Ortonville, Minnesota in 1880 and reached Aberdeen in 1881. From the townsite west to Aberdeen, the railroad built sidings at about ten mile intervals, which explains the quick appearances of the Day County towns of Waubay, Webster, Bristol, and Andover. The policy of the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St.Paul Railroad, in contrast to that of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, was not to precede the settlers, but rather extend westward with them.

In 1887, the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad Company extended a branch line from Andover north to Harlen, North Dakota. This led to the development of Pierpont Village in Day County. Also in 1887, the company built a line from Bristol south to Madison, leading to the development ofButler Village, and finally, in 1896, it was forced to construct a side-track to the village of Lily, and to build a depot the next year. These two extended branches gave Day County railroad service both north and south.

The Minneapolis and St. Louis Railroad, building from Watertown to Aberdeen, crossed the southwest corner of Day County. The village of Crandall was developed because of that railroad line. The last railroad built in Day County was constructed in 1914 by the Fairmont and Veblen Railroad Company. It extended to Roslyn and Grenville, and on to Eden in Marshall County. The Soo Line tookover that track in 1916.


The white settlers of Day County may be divided into two groups, the native-born Americans and the immigrants from foreign countries. There were both similarities and differences in the two groups. Regardless of background, they were all seeking land or other opportunities to be found in the new territory. Many had to endure a lower standard of living than they were accustomed to for a few years until improvements were made. Some did not remain, but returned to their former homes or sought other areas in which to live.

As in other regions, the native whites often were living near the land before moving to it. Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois contributed large numbers of Day County settlers, but there were others who came from as far away as New England. Some of these became the merchants or professional people of the new communities. This was because they had the capital or necessary credit to establish a business, or were already professionally trained as doctors, lawyers, ministers or teachers. Artisans, such as blacksmiths and carpenters, usually settled in villages or towns rather than homesteading. The native farmer often knew better than the foreigner which land in the new area was best for farming. But when farming conditions were poor, the native American was more apt to move from the region.


The 1890 census recorded 5,873 native-born and 3,295 foreign-born residents of Day County. Of the latter, there were 1,582 Norwegians; 751 Germans; 348 Swedes; 165 Canadians; 68 Irish; 67 English; 63 Danes and 38 Scots. An early study of the population of the county showed that the native Americans were found chiefly at the foot of the Coteau in Andover, Farmington, Homer, and Union townships, with lesser numbers in Troy, York, Wheatland, Egeland, Butler, Rusk, Morton Central Point, Racine, and Raritan townships. The Norwegians were found In Lynn, Independence, Liberty, Raritan, Nutley, and Grenville townships, and in Highland, Wheatland, Scotland, Valley, Butler, Rusk and Morton townships in lesser numbers. The Germans were in Highland, Wheatland, Scotland, Valley, Butler, Rusk, Morton, Webster, Racine and Nutley townships. The Swedes were mainly in Kidder and Webster townships. The Poles were in the Grenville area, and the Scots were at the foot of the Cad in Scotlandand Oak Gulch townships. The English, Irish, Dutch, and others were so dispersed that one cannot identify settlements in comparison to the other ethnic groups. Regardless of their backgrounds, many common experiences were shared by the early settlers.


Those who arrived before the railroads came in wagons pulled by horses or oxen, and a few even walked. The railroad provided another mode of travel, making it possible for the settlers to bring more supplies with them, and it supplied them after their arrival. The railroad moved the agricultural products to the markets as well.

The settlers acquired the public land by three land laws, the pre-emption, the homestead, and the timber culture acts. It was possible for some to obtain a quarter of land through each law, but this was seldom done. Speculators often obtained the land first, which meant that the bonafide settlers, the ones who wanted to establish their homes and live on the land, had to purchase it from the speculators.

Having little capital, the settlers had to be very conservative. Lumber was scarce and costly. Frame shanties, dug-outs, and sod-houses were the three types of dwellings constructed on the farms, with the sod-houses being the most common of the three. Many of the dwellings were nine by twelve feet in dimension, but some were larger. The sod-houses were cooler in the summer than the frame shanties and warmer in the winter. However, the settlers built frame houses when they could afford them and used the sod-houses for farm animal shelters, as granaries, and for other purposes. Today the sod-house is a symbol of the farm family on the prairie, just as the log cabin symbolized settlement in wooded areas. Each was constructed in the hope that the hard labor of conquering the land would lead to a higher standard of living in the future.

The breaking of the sod to prepare the land for crops was a slow and difficult task. A fourteen-inch plow pulled by a team of four horses or oxen could break one or two acres a day. Settlers without sufficient animal power would have to employ neighbors who were equipped to do the work. On some farms, it took several years to completely break the sod. The first season often provided a very limited crop, but usually a garden of corn, potatoes, and other vegetables was also planted

Settlers often supplemented their incomes, when not engaged in their own farm work. Their labor was needed at times in the towns, especially if they had some skills. Both their labor and teams were needed by the railroads for construction work, but usually on a short-term basis, until the lines were completed. Some settlers were able to do some fur-trapping. Ironically, the greatest demand for temporary help was during planting and harvesting time, when the settlers had to stay home to work their own farms.

The need for water and wood and the scarcity of both was a major concern to the settlers. It is not surprising that some of the first pioneers settled near the lakes and trees in the eastern part of the county. Both surface wells and deeper wells were used, and later windmills and artesian wells helped many of the farmers. There was illness from impure water, and hardship because of the lack of an adequate supply of water for many families.

The lack of trees in much of Day County, and the high cost of coal because of shipping charges, created a fuel problem. Buffalo chips, and more often cow chips, which were also called buffalo chips, were used. Twisted hay was burned in stoves made for hay-burning. Many of the settlers had come from wooded areas, so with government encouragement, they planted groves of trees. Although adverse growing conditions caused the failure of many groves, there were others that survived and helped to change the landscape.

Prairie fires and blizzards caused much suffering and even deaths, but these disasters are so well reviewed in several of the family histories that they will not be covered here. As the years passed, better shelters and communication reduced the danger of the blizzards, and with more sod broken and improved road construction, the threat of prairie fires has also been lessened, although neither is thought of as belonging only to the past.

The social life that developed during the pioneer days has been changing since that time, although some of the early aspects have been modified more than others. The extreme isolation of many of the first settlers no longer exists because of the changes, in transportation and communication. In the early days; neighbors cooperated by sharing labor when there was a need. Even to this day, times of illness or death often bring assistance in planting or harvesting a crop. But today that assistance is provided with tractors, combines, or other modern equipment, rather than with the horse and threshing machines of the earlier period.


Early in the settlement of the county, there was a strong movement to construct rural schools for the children. These first schools were often taught by teachers who had no more than an eighth grade education; the length of the school term was short; and some parents were indifferent to the idea of education for their children. Yet as time passed, the teachers became better qualified, the school term lengthened, and the curriculum broadened. After World War II, the rural one-room school began to decline in the county, and then, for several reasons, became a thing of the past. For one reason, farms were growing in size, reducing the number of farms and farm families, which in turn decreased the number of students. Also, the higher qualifications of teachers raised their wages and the cost of operating the schools. Finally, better roads and school buses led to the closing of all of the rural elementary schools, and the children are now being sent to the town schools. Because of these improved conditions, a high school education is more accessible to rural students now than it was in the past There are still many people in Day County who received all or part of their educations in the rural schools, and others who taught in the rural schools. These people now look back on their experiences and can recall both advantages and disadvantages of those early schools.

The towns of Day County, like the rural communities, established schools as quickly as possible. Having greater populations and tax bases, the town schools usually forged ahead of the rural schools. Having two or more elementary teachers, the town schools assigned fewer grades to each teacher, and the teachers devoted more time to each grade as well as to individual students. Parochial elementary schools were established by the Catholics in both Webster and Grenville. Several churches conducted Saturday or summer schools dealing with religion and language for their young people. Before World War I, many parents felt that an elementary education was sufficient for their children, but this number decreased thereafter, and by the 1920's a majority considered high school education necessary.

Most of the towns added a high school to their elementary school as soon as they were able to do so. For example, the first graduating class at Webster was from a two-year program. Webster, being the largest town and having the greatest tax base, was able to be the Day County leader in education. The high school was able to have a broader curriculum, as well as more extra-curricular activities. As in other counties throughout the years, there was much athletic rivalry between the high schools.

The town schools have had many changes since World War II. Andover, Pierpont, Lily and Butler have closed their doors, and their students now attend other schools. Because of the shortage of teachers and the rising cost of education, the parochial schools are no longer in operation. More parents, both rural and urban, no longer consider a high school education to be sufficient for their children, but send them on to trade schools, colleges, or universities.


Like the schools, the churches were founded in Day County as quickly as possible. Still, there were deaths before churches were established, necessitating burials without church ceremonies. Some of these dead were buried in unmarked graves and the exact location later forgotten, with only the knowledge of the death and burial remaining. The settlers felt the need for churches to provide religion for youth and adults alike, with baptisms, Sunday-school classes, church services, marriages and funerals the major activities. At first, many church services were held in private homes, until the churches could be organized or the church structures built. People often associated with neighboring churches until their own churches were organized.

There were many Lutheran churches in the county for Scandinavians and Germans, and the Catholic Church served Germans, Poles, Irish, and others as well. There were churches of different denominations, but in fewer members The churches have changed over time just like the rest of the society For example, many of the early churches had their services in the native languages of their congregations, such as Norwegian or German. But subsequent generations preferred that the English language be used as proficiency and interest in foreign languages diminished through the years. Some churches compromised for a time, having one service in the native tongue and the other in English. Eventually, however. all services there in English. One example of this struggle over which language should be used for the church service might not have happened in Day County, but does illustrate the issue. A Norwegian Lutheran congregation was discussing whether Norwegian or English should be used, and debate was becoming quite vocal. Finally, an older Norwegian lady said to the congregation that she was against using the English language because she knew that God would not understand a prayer in English! Church records tell the history of each congregation. Most of the present church buildings are replacements for earlier structures.


Since the first settlers started to farm in Day County, there have been continuous changes in the methods of farming. Improved technology in machinery, better seed development, commercial fertilizers, and scientific conservation methods all contributed to these changes. The federal farm programs since the 1930's have also had an impact on farming in the county. Some of these changes have led to a greater specialization in farming in recent years, in contrast to the more general type of earlier years.

The early technological advances were more beneficial to the farmer's work than they were to the farmer's wife. When rural electric power was extended into Day County after World War II, a tremendous change came to the farm both inside and outside the home. The farms soon had power and illumination in the barn and other buildings, with milking machines, milk coolers, and electric motors for the pumps and running water were soon to follow. Electric power brought even greater changes for the farmers. Electric lights, kitchen appliances, automatic fur- naces and modern bathrooms made the farm home similar to town homes, and added to the comfort of the wife and family.


The eleven villages and towns of Day County were established to provide goods and services to the farmers. Since then, these communities have continued to exist for the same reason, with changes in the goods and services over the years, just like the changes that have come to the farms.

The construction of the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad from east to west across Day County led to the establishment of the first communities. Waubay was platted in 1880, and the first general store was built there in 1881. There were a few settlers near or at the location of Webster in 1880, and it was platted in 1881. Holmquist, the last settlement of Day County, dates back to 1903. There was a hotel constructed at Bristol in 1881. There are two different dates for the year that Andover was platted, 1880 and 1881.

When the branch line of the railroad wall extended north from Andover, Pierpont was platted in 1886. Both Butler and Lily were platted in 1887 when the branch of the railroad was extended from Bristol to Madison, South Dakota. Roslyn and the new Grenville were platted in 1914 with the coming of the Fairmont and Veblen Railroad. The original Grenville, which dates back to 1885, was moved to accommodate the railroad. The village of Crandall was platted in 1907 when the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railroad crossed the southwest corner of the County.

The trade areas of the towns and villages were mainly determined by the distances that farmers could travel conveniently with horses within a day's time, do their trading or business, and return home. As the automobile and the truck replaced horses in the twentieth century, the trade areas of the towns were changed, often to the disadvantage of the smaller villages and towns of the county.

The services and goods that the towns provided for both the rural and urban population were determined to a large extent by the population they served. The railroad with its depot and grain elevators provided commercial contact beyond the community. Later, with the construction of highways, automobiles, trucks and buses would supplement and then compete with railroad services. A variety of stores, banks, newspapers, and hotels contributed much to commercial activities. The professional classes consisted of doctors, dentists, lawyers, pharmacists, teachers, and clergymen.

The towns of Day County, like the farms, have changed considerably since the early years. Some of the smaller towns that at one time had doctors and dentists were never able to replace these persons when they moved, retired or died. In time, the lawyers concentrated in Webster because it was the county seat. Eventually, most of the small-town newspapers were forced to close because the business was not sufficient to support them. The blacksmith shop, the harness shop and the livery stable were replaced by garages and filling stations. The hotels were closed, although a few have been replaced by motels. Even the grocery stores have changed to mainly self-service, and new items such as frozen foods and packaged cookies and crackers have replaced the bulk cookies, the cracker barrels and the 48-pound sacks of flour that were supplied years ago.


The political history of Day County extends back to the early 1870's. In 1873, the Dakota Legislature created Greely County, which consisted of the present counties of Day and Marshall except for the six southern townships of Day County. In 1879, the Territory legislature changed the name from Greely to Day in honor of Merrit Day, who was a member of the legislature from Bon Homme County. A mass meeting was held in Webster in June of 1881 for the purpose of getting a petition signed to organize a county government, but there was not enough support for the move at that time. A second meeting was held in December, enough signatures were obtained to meet the territorial requirement, and the petition was sent to the governor. The governor then appointed a three-man temporary commission, and a county election was held later in 1882.

The fight over the permanent location of the county seat of Day County was similar to the conflicts in many other counties during that time. There were usually two or more towns involved in the struggle and often more than one election would be necessary. In the first election for the temporary location of the county seat, Webster received 99 votes, Waubay received 72 votes, and Bristol received 9 votes.

The Webster supporters hoped that the construction of a courthouse would assure the town of the permanent location. Lack of funds delayed the construction, so donations were raised by the people of Webster and the surrounding area and given to the county government to complete the work.

Andover, which had not been a contender for the county seat in the election of 1882, soon challenged Webster, and the issue was not settled until the election of 1885. The citizens of the Andover area believed that the people in the western part of the county would support their bid. At that time, because of the Indian reservation and the military land in the northern part of the county, the settlers tended to settle in the west, so that area seemed likely to support the Andover location over that of Webster, which was located in the extreme southeast part of what was then Day County. In 1884 and 1885 the two newspapers, the Webster Reporter and Farmer and the Andover Gazette, supported their own towns and carried on a verbal warfare with each other over the issue. More important than the battle of the newspapers, however, was a plan devised by the Webster supporters to have the county divided into two counties. This plan would give the people in the northern..part their own county, and thus remove some of the support for Andover. Those in the northern part of the county favored the idea, because it would give them their own county seat. The legislature was persuaded to pass a referendum bill which would divide Day County into two counties, and add six townships from Clark County to the southern county if the voters of those townships so desired.

The Andover supporters opposed the proposed division of the county on the grounds that such a division would lead to higher taxes, more county officials, and less influence, because the counties would be smaller. On May 2, 1885, the election was held, with interesting results. The total vote was 1,857, with 1,144 favoring the division and 713 opposing it. In the northern part of the county, which would become Marshall County, the voting was 546 for and 77 against. In what is now Day County, the voting was 598 for and 636 against division. The six townships of northern Clark County, Egeland, Wheatland, Highland, Troy, York and Oak Gulch-voted to become part of Day County. In the November election of 1886, Webster was officially made the county seat of what is now Day County. The old court house was completed in 1893. It was replaced by a new building in 1903.

In the early settlement period, the native whites had political advantage over the foreign settlers because the former had an understanding of the political institutions which the latter lacked. This advantage declined as the immigrants became more informed about the politics of the country, and ended with the next generation. Traditionally, the Republicans held the advantage over the Democrats in the county, with the exception of a few precincts. The populist of the 1890's and the Nonpartisan League during and after World War I caused some political concerns in Day County, but neither proved to be a major concern for long.

The depression years of the 1930's combined with the New Deal farm and relief programs caused a shift from the Republican to the Democratic party in Day County. Day has for some time been listed as one of the strong Democratic counties in the northeast section of the state, but the Republican party has continued to have some successes. For example, Sigurd Anderson was elected governor of the state in 1950, and again in 1952. He was the second person from Day County to be elected Governor, the first being Charles H. Sheldon from Pierpont in 1892 and 1894.

The history of Day County has been one of many changes, some small and-others large, since the land was settled. The federal census of 1920 put the population of Day County at 15,194. It was the last census to show a growth for the county. The census of 1930 showed a decease of 588, which was the least decrease since 1920. The preliminary figures of the 1980 census put the population of Day County at 8,106. The decreasing population has been apparent in the number and sizes of the farms, in the disappearance of the rural and small- town schools, in the closed businesses, and in the empty buildings in some communities. More of the county's high school graduates now attend vocational schools, colleges and universities. Yet while many of the younger people seek opportunities outside the county, others remain to farm as their parents and grandparents had. Some have become part of family businesses, while others have become engaged in other businesses found in the towns. Some residents have lived only parts of their lives in the county, while several generations of other families have lived here. Apparently frequent change will continue to be a part of life in Day County.



J. Olson Anders, From Selbu to the Dakota Prairie, Recollections of Frontier Life on the Middle Border. Private Printing. No publisher or date.

J. Olson Anders, The Making of a Typical Prairie County: Day County, South Dakotan South Dakota Historical Collections, XXXVI (1972).

Alan L. Clem, Prairie Stale Politics, Popular Democracy in South Dakota, Public Affairs Press, Washington, D.C. (1967).

Alan L. Clem, South Dakota Political Almanac, The Dakota Press, The University of South Dakota, Vermillion, South Dakota (1969).

M. Lisle Rees (Second Edition). Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration, South Dakota, A Guide To the State: Second Edition. Hasting House, New York. 1952.

L. Leonard Jennewein and Jane Boorman (Eds), Douglas Chronical. "A Recipe For Nationality Stew," Dakota Panorma, Midwest-Beach Printing Co., Sioux Falls, South Dakota (1961)