South Dakota


Name, county seat, area (in sq miles)

Aurora, Plankinton, 708.  Aurora County was named for Aurora, the Roman goddess of the dawn.  The county was created by an act of the legislature on February 22, 1879 and organized by the appointment of three commissioners in 1881.  the first meeting was held on August 29, 1881 at which time Plankinton was made the county seat.  This action was ratified by a vote of the people at the general election in November 1882.

Beadle, Huron, 1,259.  Beadle County was created in 1879 and organized in 1890.  It was named in honor of Brig. General William Henry Harrison Beadle, pioneer scholar, educator, lawyer, legislator and soldier.  Cavour was the first town in Beadle County.  Governor Ordway appointed three commissioners in 1882 to organize the county.  The board met in Huron in July of 1880 to appoint county officers, and named Huron as the county seat.

Bennett, Martin, 1,185.  Bennett County was created in 1909 and organized in 1912.  Prior to 1912, Bennett County formed a part of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.  Although the county was created in 1909, it remained attached to Fall River County for judicial purposes until 1911.  The first election and county commissioners meeting was held in Martin in April 27, 1912.  A decision on the location of the county seat took some time and discussion.  At the general election held in November 1912, Martin was chosen.

Bon Homme, Tyndall, 563.  A French voyageur, exploring the Missouri River on an early expedition, was probably responsible for the naming of Bon Homme County.  This name was first applied to a 2,000-acre island in the river.  Bon Homme, a town that sprang up near by and took its name from the island, was the earliest settlement in the county.  When the county was organized in 1862 by an act of the first territorial legislature, they named the county for the village, which was made the county seat.  In 1885 Tyndall was named the county seat.  An attempt to change the name of the county from "Bon Homme" to Jefferson" i 1885 was not approved by Governor Edmunds.

Brookings, Brookings, 794.  The history of Brookings County begins with the act, which authorized its first boundaries on April 5, 1862.  Its area at that time included parts of Moody, Lake and Kingsbury Counties but was reduced to its present dimensions in 1873.  On January 13, 1871 the first commissioners were appointed to organize the county and Governor Burbank named Medary as the county seat.  The town of Brookings was laid out in early October, 1879.  There was a rush to the new town and Medary was moved almost bodily to Brookings.  The question of the county seat came up at the November election and Brookings won over two other contestants.  Bitter feelings and accusations of fraud followed, but Brookings became the legal county seat and the records were moved to the new town during the closing days of 1879.  The establishment of the Agricultural College and experiment station at Brookings was by an act of the Territorial Legislature on February 21, 1881.

Brown, Aberdeen, 1,713.  Brown county was created in 1879, organized in 1881, and named for Alfred Brown who was a member of the legislature of 1879.  Governor Ordway appointed three commissioners in July 1880 and Columbia was named as the temporary county seat.  Columbia was the first town to be organized and the first elections in Brown County was held in Columbia in 1880.  The Milwaukee railroad reached Aberdeen in late 1880 and the Northwestern Railroad in 1882.  To remove the county seat required a two-thirds vote until in 1887 when it was changed to a majority vote.  In that same year, Aberdeen obtained a majority vote over Columbia, however, in 1889 the county seat was ordered back to Columbia.  It was again submitted to the general election in 1890 and the vote was in favor of Aberdeen.  The Brown County Courthouse, Aberdeen, was dedicated on March 24, 1904. 

Brule, Chamberlain, 819.  Brule County was organized in 1879.  In September of 1879 Governor Howard appointed county commissioners, who then held their first meeting in Brule City, September 20, 1879.  A general election held on November 4, 1879 named Brule City as the county seat.  The railroad reached Chamberlain in the spring of 1881 and at the election in the fall of that year, the county seat was moved from Brule City to Chamberlain.

Buffalo, Green Valley, 471.  Buffalo County was created in 1864 and organized in 1871.  It was among the first counties to receive a name and place on the map of the old Territory of Dakota, and was, at one time, the largest county with the limits of the present State of South Dakota.  In 1868 it included the present counties of Buffalo, Brule, Jerauld, Aurora, Sanborn, Davison, Hanson, Miner, McCook and part of Lake.  Governor Pierce appointed county commissioners in October of 1884 and Duncan was designated as the temporary county seat.  Several county seat propositions were considered at a meeting in January 1885, and Green Valley was declared the county seat.  As was the case in many counties, a fight to move the county seat ensued.  The site for the new county seat was known as Buffalo Center.  After the protests and legal battles were over, Green Valley was again named the county seat in April of 1888.

Butte, Belle Fourche, 2,240.  Butte County was established in 1883.  The county was formed as an outgrowth of a fight over the location of the capital of the Dakota Territory.  In January 1883 a session of the Territorial Council was held to determine if Yankton would remain the capital of the Dakota Territory.  The session created 59 new counties and a bill passed to divide Lawrence County into two counties, Lawrence and Butte.  Governor Ordway designated Minnesela as the county seat.  By 1894 Minnesela was a defunct community.  Belle Fourche had built a 2-story building and offered it to Butte County if they would move the county seat to Belle Fourche.  Following a brief fight, Belle Fourche won by a landslide.

Campbell, Mound City, 736.  Campbell County was surveyed in 1883-84 and organized on petition to Governor Ordway in the spring of 1884.  The first session of the board of county commissioners was held at Le Grace in April 1884.  All parts of the county were rapidly settled after the establishment of the new town of Mound City in 1884.  Mound City, who derived its name from the near-by Indian mounds, became the county seat in 1888.

Charles Mix, Lake Andes, 109.  A territory described as all the land from Sioux Point up the Missouri to Medicine Creek, then east to the Minnesota line and south to the starting point, except the Yankton Indian Reservation, was opened to settlement by proclamation of President Lincoln in 1861.  The bill creating Charles Mix County outlined the boundaries.  The county was surveyed into townships in 1867 and sub-divided the next year.  In 1874 President Grant issued an order withdrawing this county from public settlement.  In 1879 the land was re-opened by order of President Hayes and efforts were begun to organize the county.

Clark, Clark, 958.  The first settlement in Clark County was in June 1879.  In May of 1881, the governor appointed county commissioners who then met and organized the county.  They passed a resolution declaring that the Clark House, owned and  kept by Mrs. M. E. Greenslet, be designated as the official headquarters.  The house was 1/2 mile north of where the present county seat of Clark County now stands.  The Chicago and Northwestern railway reached the townsite of Clark in June 1882.  Clark, the county seat, is the largest town and is located in almost the exact center of the county.  It was settled in the fall of 1882.

Clay, Vermillion, 412.  The modern settlement of Clay County began in 1859 when the land was opened for legal occupation.  In 1862 the county organization was effected and commissioners and officers were named.  The city of Vermillion was founded in 1859 and incorporated in 1873.  It was named for either the old Fort Vermillion or for the near-by Vermillion River.  In 1862 the territorial legislature located the State University in Vermillion, but nothing was done until 1882 when Clay County voted $10,000 in bonds to construct a building.

Codington, Watertown, 688.  Until February 1877, Codington County was a part of Hamlin County.  The purpose for the dividing of the counties was to help some town site boomers  to establish a county seat for Codington County near Lake Kampeska.  The county was organized for municipal purposes in August 1878.  Kampeska was the county seat.  When election day came in November 1878, a full vote was polled, the principle issue being the county seat question.  The Winona and St. Peter Railroad Company spared no opportunity to get settlers back form the east to vote for Watertown as the new county seat.  Watertown won and has been the county seat since 1878.

Corson, McIntosh, 2,473.  Corson County was created by an act of the legislature passed and approved March 2, 1909.  Prior to that, the area was part of three separate and distinct counties: Schnasse, Dewey and Boreman.  The county was named in honor of Dighton Corson, a Justice of the South Dakota Supreme Court.  It remained unorganized until July of 1909 when an election was called by Governor Vessey.  The people voted on the location of the temporary courthouse with the contest being between McIntosh and Morristown.  McIntosh won but was challenged again in 1910.

Custer, Custer, 1,558.  Custer County was organized in April, 1877 and named in honor of General George A. Custer.  Custer City was originally the county seat  but it was later moved to Hayward City where the county commissioners first held their meetings.  However, Hayward City was found to be beyond the limits of Custer County and the county seat was permanently fixed at Custer City (now Custer) October 10, 1879.

Davison, Mitchell, 436.  Davison County, created in 1873 and organized in 1874, was named for Henry C. Davison, prominent merchant and politician of Bon Homme and Davison Counties.  The coming of the railroad was the beginning of a new era for Davison County.  Mitchell, at the center of a large territory, soon became the most important town in central South Dakota.  Mitchell was settled in 1879 and is the county seat.  Mitchell was named for Alexander Mitchell, president of the Milwaukee railroad at the time.

Day, Webster, 1,029.  The settlement of the territory which now forms Day County began in 1880.  The county was organized under the territorial laws by a board of commissioners appointed by Governor Ordway.  The first meeting of the board was held in Webster on January 2, 1882 and the town of Webster was named county seat.  On May 2, 1885, a special election was held in the county submitting the question of dividing the county.  The result was in favor of division and Marshall County was taken from the northern part of Day County.

Deuel, Clear Lake, 624.  Deuel County was created in 1862 and organized in 1874.  A sawmill gave Jacob S. Deuel, for whom the county was named, a start in Dakota Territory in 1860.  Gary was made the county seat and remained so until Clear Lake became a town of importance, when it was moved to Clear Lake.  Clear Lake takes its name from a near-by lake.  The town was settled in 1884 and incorporated in 1900.

Dewey, Timber Lake, 2,303.  Dewey County was created in 1883 and organized in 1910.  The county was named for William P. Dewey, Territorial surveyor-general from 1873 to 1877.  In September 1910 a petition was presented to Governor Vessey asking for the organization of the county along the lines and boundaries of the then unorganized county.  A special election was held in November to organize the county and elect officers.  Timber Lake was named the county seat.

Douglas, Armour, 434.  The first legal organization of the county was completed by the meeting of the commissioners and appointment of a full set of county official in 1882.  They named the town of Huston as temporary county seat.  The election of 1882 changed the county seat from Huston to Grand View.  Later in 1894, Armour became the county seat.

Edmunds, Ipswich, 1,146.  Edmunds County as created in 1873 and organized in 1883  The county was named for Newton Edmunds, an New Yorker, who became the second Governor of Dakota Territory.  The county was organized by a meeting of the Board of County Commissioners appointed by Governor Ordway.  The Board voted to locate the county seat at Edmunds.  On October 2, 1883, a town was plotted and given the name of Ipswich.  Lots were sold at auction and at once the moving of disappointed boom towns, Freeport, Edmunds and Georgetown to Ipswich commenced.  On November 1, 1883 the Board of County Commissioners met in the one remaining building at Edmunds and voted to move the county seat to Ipswich.

Fall River, Hot Springs, 1,740.  Fall River County organized as a county in Dakota Territory in November 1883 and Hot Springs was chosen as the county seat.  The county was once known as Forsythe County.

Faulk, Faulkton, 1,000.  During the winter of 1873 the territorial legislature passed a bill creating several counties among which was Faulk.  Faulk County was named in honor of Governor Faulk.  LaFoon became the first county seat in 1883 and might have remained so if the coming of the Northwestern railroad had not aided Faulkton, when the county seat was moved in 1886.

Grant, Milbank, 682.  Grant County was organized in 1878, however, no business was ever transacted, no elections held, as required by law, and the organization appeared to have gone by default.  The county was attached to Deuel County for judiciary purposes.  In June, 1878, a new petition was presented to the Governor asking for organization.  the first county commissioners board meeting was held June 17, 1878 and the county seat temporarily located at Inkpa City.  Soon after the town of Milbank was erected action was started to make it the county seat.  An election was held in November 1881 between 3 different towns.  Milbank claimed to have won.  The matter went to court and Milbank was named the county seat.

Gregory, Burke, 1,016.  Gregory County was named for C. H. Gregory, an officer in the U.S. Army stationed at Ft. Randall.  A rivalry for county seat honors sprang up between Fairfax and Bonesteel, which for several years was the source of considerable controversy.  In 1898, the county was organized by order of Governor Lee.  Fairfax received a majority of votes in an August 1898 election and was declared the county seat.  As early as 1906 an effort was made to move the county seat farther west, but efforts failed.  In 1916 the matter was again brought up and after one of the bitterest fights in the county's history the seat was moved to Burke.

Haakon, Philip, 2,196.  Haakon County, organized in 1915, was named for Haakon VII of Norway because of a large number of Scandinavian settlers.  Prior to 1914, the area now known as Haakon County formed a part of Stanley County.  Because of the enormous size of the county and the great distances to travel, the electors submitted a request to the voters to divide Stanley County.  The result of the election was to divide Stanley County into three parts, one to remain as Stanley County with Fort Pierre as the county seat, one to be called Jackson County with Kadoka as the county seat, and Haakon County with Philip as the temporary county seat.  The battle between towns for the location of the county seat developed into a lively, although one-sided race.  Philip was selected by a large majority at a general election in March 1916.

Hamlin, Hayti, 511.  Hamlin County was created in 1872 and organized in 1878.  It was named for Hannibal Hamlin, Vice-President under Abraham Lincoln.  The county seat was located at the Spalding ranch.  Following an election in November of 1878, the county seat was located at Spalding.  There were four contests for county seat honors, the first occurring in 1884 when the seat was moved from Estelline to Castlewood; the second in 1890 when Bryant made an attempt; the third in 1910, when Hayti made its first bid.  Although Hayti was victorious, the contest was taken to court and Castlewood was declared the winner.  Four years later, Hayti tried again and was successful.

Hand, Miller, 1,437.  Hand County was created in 1873 and organized in 1882.  It was named for George H. Hand, U.S. Attorney for the Dakota Territory.  The first county commissioners meeting was held September 1, 1882.  The town of Miller was named county seat, but not without a battle with St. Lawrence.

Hanson, Alexandria, 435.  The county was formally organized in January 1871 and named for Major Hanson who had settled in the area in 1870.  the county seat was temporarily located at Rockport.  The town of Alexandria became the county seat in 1880.

Harding, Buffalo, 2.671.  Harding County was established in 1881 and named for J. A. Harding, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Dakota Territory at that time.  An 1898 general election changed the boundaries of Butte County to include Harding County.  In 1908 it was separated from Butte County and again became Harding county with its present boundaries.  Buffalo became the county seat in November of 1910.

Hughes, Pierre, 741.  Hughes County derived its name from the Honorable Alexander Hughes, one-time member of the territorial legislature.  The county was organized by order of Governor Ordway and its official existence commenced in November 26, 1880 with a county commission meeting.  Pierre, being the only town in the county, was designated as the county seat.  The citizens of Pierre won for their city the permanent location of the state capital in a vote in 1890.

Hutchinson, Olivet, 813.  Hutchinson County was established with its present boundaries in 1871.  The county seat was located at Maxwell City where it remained until October 14, 1883, when it was voted to locate the county seat at Olivet.  In 1873-74 the legislative assembly divided the county and the north half being named Armstrong County.  By legislative act, the counties were reunited in 1879.

Hyde, Highmore, 861.  The present boundaries of Hyde County were fixed by Chapter 21, laws of 1883.  For recording purposes Hyde County was attached to Hughes County.  Following the usual tug-of-war over the county seat location, a compromise was reached and the county seat permanently located at Highmore in 1884.  The name of Hyde County came from James Hyde of Vermillion, who was a member of the territorial legislature when the county was organized in 1873.

Jackson, Kadoka, 1,869.  Jackson County was created in 1914 with the county seat at Kadoka.  Previous to this time it was a part of Stanley County.  Early historical sketches indicate Jackson County was named for President Andrew Jackson, however, it is now considered certain that it was named for J. R. Jackson, a member of the Territorial Legislature when the original Jackson County was created in 1883.  Following the various legislative shuffles Jackson vanished from the map.  First, the northern part of Jackson was joined to Stanley County and the southern half part of Washabaugh.  Finally in 1914 Stanley County was split up and Jackson County was reborn as it is today.

Jerauld, Wessington Springs, 530.  The legislature of 1883 divided Aurora County and named one of the two new areas Jerauld County.  The county was named in honor of H. A. Jerauld, a territorial legislator in 1883 when the county was crated and organized.  Governor Ordway appointed county commissioners and Wessington Springs was named the county seat.

Jones, Murdo, 1,193.  As an unorganized county, Jones County was called Pratt.  Lyman County, which was unorganized and heavily in debt, persuaded Presho and Pratt Counties to join.  Almost immediately the fight to separate began.  In 1907 the legislature passed a law describing how the counties should separate.  The vote failed.  In 1910 they voted again and lost and in 1916 they voted once again and the proposition carried.  Murdo is the county seat.

Kingsbury, De Smet, 838.  Kingsbury County was named after two brothers, George W. and T. A. Kingsbury, who were prominent in the affairs of the territory and members of several territorial legislatures.  In December, 1879, Governor Howard, territorial Governor for Dakota, appointed county commissioners.  After a bitter struggle between De Smet and Lake Preston, the voters chose De Smet as the county seat.

Lake, Madison, 563.  Lake County was created by a legislature act of January 1873 and named because of many beautiful lakes that lie within the boundaries of the county.  The county commissioners were appointed by the Governor in September 1873 and Madison (Old Madison), located on the bank of Lake Madison, was made the county seat.

Lawrence, Deadwood, 800.  Governor Pennington appointed commissioners in April 1877 to organize the county.  Deadwood was made the county seat.  The county was named in honor of Colonel John Lawrence, the county's first treasurer.  Colonel Lawrence had been a member of the territorial legislature, superintendent of the Sioux City and Fort Randall Wagon Road and a colonel on the staff of Governor Faulk.

Lincoln, Canton, 578.  Lincoln County was named for Lincoln County, Maine, the birthplace of Wilmont W. Brookings, and created by an act of the territorial legislative act on December 30, 1867.  Canton was named county seat by the same legislative act.

Lyman, Kennebec, 1,640.  Lyman County was created by the Dakota Territorial Legislature in 1873 and organized in 1893.  The county was named for Major W. P. Lyman, a member of the territorial legislature in 1873.  Oacoma was the county's earliest town and first county seat.  When Lyman and Jones County separated, Presho and Kennebec were the chief rivals of Oacoma for the honor of county seat.  Following an election, the county seat was moved to Kennebec in 1923.

Marshall, Britton, 839.  Marshall County was organized in March 1885 and originally included a good portion of Day County.  The division of Day County was put to a vote in 1885.  An election in July 1885 resulted in election of officers and naming Britton as the county seat.  The county was named in honor of Marshall Vincent, one of the area's foremost citizens and a county commissioner.

McCook, Salem, 575.  McCook County was organized in January, 1879 and named for Edwin S. McCook, Civil War General and secretary of Dakota Territory in 1872.  The county seat was located at Cameron.  A great deal of controversy surrounded the location of the county seat.  At an election in November of 1879 it was given to Cameron.  But the next year the vote went to Bridgewater and in 1882 Salem won the vote.

McPherson, Leola, 1,137.  McPherson County, created in 1873 and organized in 1885, was named for Brig. General James B. McPherson, one of the outstanding Union officers of the Civil War.  The county seat is located at Leola.

Meade, Sturgis, 3,471.  Meade County, created in 1889, organized in 1889, was named for Fort Meade, which was garrisoned as a U.S. military post in 1878.  The Fort was named for General George Meade, Union Commander of the Battle of Gettysburg.  Meade County is the largest county in South Dakota and has a land area of well over 2 million acres.  It is larger than the combined areas of Delaware and Rhode Island.  the county seat is located at Sturgis.

Mellette, White River, 1,307.  Mellette County was created in 1909 and organized in 1911.  The county was named for Arthur C. Mellette, who was the last governor of Dakota Territory and the first governor of the state.  The first election in Mellette County was held in May, 1911.  County commissioners and officials were elected and White River was named the county seat.

Miner, Howard, 570.  Miner County was created in 1873 and organized in 1880.  It was named for Captain Nelson Miner of Vermillion and Ephriam Miner of Yankton, both of whom were members of the Territorial Legislature in 1873.  In 1880 Territorial Governor Ordway named three commissioners.  Forestburg and Howard were contending for the county seat.  Howard's victory was said to be due to the large number of graders from out of state working on the railroad.  Following a legal battle with citizens from Forestburg, the records were delivered to Howard.

Minnehaha, Sioux Falls, 809.  Minnehaha County was created in 1862, organized in 1862, and reorganized in 1868.  Minnehaha is an Indian word used to describe a falls in a river.  The county seat is located in Sioux Falls, one of the first town developments in the county.

Moody, Flandreau, 520.  Moody County, created and organized in 1873, was named for Col. Gideon C. Moody, Speaker of the House in the Territorial Legislature of 1874-75, associate justice of the Territorial Supreme Court from 1878 to 1883, and one of South Dakota's first two U. S. Senators from 1889-1891.  The first county commission meeting was held in August, 1873.  The county seat issue was referred to the voters in November 1881 and Flandreau was favored over Egan.

Pennington, Rapid City, 2,776.  Pennington County, created in 1875 and organized in 1877, is shaped like a great tomahawk and covers over a million and a half acres.  It was named for John L. Pennington, Governor of Dakota Territory from 1874 to 1878.  Governor Pennington named commissioners in 1877 and their first meeting was held at Pactola.  The commission later met at Sheridan, which was made the county seat.  A vote of the people in November, 1877 made Rapid City the county seat.

Perkins, Bison, 2,872.  Perkins County, created in 1908 and organized in 1909, was named for Henry E. Perkins, a native of Vermont, who was a lawyer and State Senator from Sturgis from 1903-1911.  Perkins was instrumental in securing the passage of the act that created the county.  The first meeting of the county commissioners was held at Lemmon in February 1909.  Both Bison and Lemmon wanted to serve as county seat of Perkins County.  Many hearings were held, and the legal battle ended in a vote of the people on January 9, 1909 that Bison won by 14 votes.

Potter, Gettysburg, 1,693.  Potter County, created in 1875 and organized in 1883, was created as Ashmore County, in honor of Samuel Ashmore of Elk Point, a member of the Legislature of 1872-3.  Later the name was changed to Potter in 1877 to honor Dr. Joel A. Potter, a member of the Legislature of that year.  The first county commission meeting was held at Forest City on December 27, 1883 to locate a county seat.  In January 1885, after a court fight the town of Gettysburg was named county seat and the records were moved to that location.

Roberts, Sisseton, 1,101.  Roberts County, created and organized in 1883, has a name of unknown derivation.  One theory has it named for S. G. Roberts, a book publisher who was a member of the council in the Territorial Legislature.  The county seat was originally located at Travare.  Wilmot wanted the county seat and a court battle followed.  Travare won but the records were taken by force and moved to Wilmot where it stayed until 1898 when by a similar situation the records were taken from Wilmot to Sisseton.

Sanborn, Woonsocket, 569.  Sanborn County, created and organized in 1883, was named for George W. Sanborn, who was division superintendent of the Milwaukee Railroad at the time the railroad was built through Sanborn County.  At the first election in 1884, Forestburg, Letcher and Woonsocket were all bidding for the county seat.  Rumor has it that Woonsocket may have won by the votes of the railroad graders working on the line.  A recount failed to change the results.

Shannon, none, 2,094.  Shannon County, created in 1875, was organized and signed a Home Rule Charter in August of 1982.  The entire county is included within the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.  Shannon County contracts with Fall River County for the duties of auditor, treasurer and register of deeds.

Spink, Redfield, 1,504.  Spink County was created in 1873 and organized in 1879.  It was named for S. L. Spink, who was a secretary of the Dakota Territory from 1865 to 1869.  The county seat was first located at Old Ashton in 1879.  The county seat issue was an issue at subsequent elections but none of the other towns could come up with a majority vote.  Despite the rivalry among the towns, court battles and injunctions, the seat remained at Old Ashton, until 1885 when an act of the legislature located the seat at Ashton.  In the fall of 1886 another election was held and Redfield became the permanent location of the county seat.

Stanley, Fort Pierre, 1,443.  Stanley County, created in 1873 and organized in 1889, was named for Brig. General David S. Stanley, who for many years was commander at Fort Sully in Sully County, across the Missouri River from Stanley County.  The first county officers were elected immediately after the organization in 1889.  Fort Pierre was selected as the county seat after a spirited contest with the old town of Stanley.

Sully, Onida, 1,007.  Sully County, created i 1873 and organized in 1883, was named for Fort Sully, a Missouri River military post, and its builder and commander General Alfred Sully.  The county seat is located at Onida.  In 1884 and election was held between Onida, Clifton and Fairbank for the location of the county seat.  Onida had the majority, but the result was challenged in court.  The judge ruled in favor of Onida.

Todd, none, 1,388.  Todd County was created in 1909 and organized in December of 1981.  A Home Rule Charter was signed January 1, 1983.  The county was named for John Blair Smith Todd, who was the first delegate to Congress from Dakota Territory.  The county contracts with Tripp County for the duties of auditor, treasurer and register of deeds.

Tripp, Winner, 1,614.  Tripp County, created in 1873, organized in 1909, was named for Bartlett Tripp, who held the office of chief justice of the Territorial Supreme Court from 1886 to 1889.  An election was held June 1, 1909 for the organization of the county, election of county officials and selection of the county seat.  Lamro was chosen for the county seat.  After the general election in 1910, Winner was chosen as the county seat.

Turner, Parker, 617.  Turner County, created and organized in 1871, was named for John W. Turner, a member of the Dakota Territory Legislature of 1865-66 and 1872, and Superintendent of Public Instruction in 1870-1871.  Swan Lace City was named the county seat.  With the arrival of the railroad, the question of removing the county seat from Swan Lake City started and what is know as the "county seas war" followed.  After a long an bitter fight, the county seat was moved to Parker in 1885.

Union, Elk Point, 460.  Union County, created in 1862, organized in 1862, was originally named Cole for Austin Cole, a member of the first Territorial Legislature.  Two years later, in 1864, the boundaries were rearranged and the name was changed to Union because of sentiment for the Union side of the Civil War.

Walworth, Selby, 708.  Walworth County, created in 1882, organized in 1883, was named for Walworth County, Wisconsin by settlers from that area.  The first county seat was Scranton, which was later added to and called South LeBeau.  The voters decided in November of 1884 that the county seat should be moved to Bangor, the center of the county.  The long struggle for the county seat began in the summer of 1900 between Selby and Bangor.  This battle continued until early in 1908 when the court gave the seat to Selby.

Washabaugh.  No longer exists.  It was the southern half of what is now Jackson County.

Washington.  No longer exists.  It was part of what is now Shannon County.

Yankton, Yankton, 522.  Yankton County was named for the Yankton tribe of Sioux Indians who lived in this region at the time settlement was begun in 1858.  The first legislature for Dakota Territory convened under the Governor's call at Yankton, March 17, 1862.  At this session Yankton was made the permanent capital of the Territory and a bill was passed establishing Yankton County.

Ziebach, Dupree, 1,962.  Ziebach County, created and organized in 1911, was named for Frank M. Ziebach.  He established the Weekly Dakotan, was appointed captain of the militia during the Indian outbreak of 1862 and was popularly called "Governor" Ziebach.  Governor Vessey sign the bill creating Ziebach County on February 1, 1911 and authorized a special election to be held April 4th to choose county officers and the location of the county seat.  Dupree was elected as county seat by nearly a unanimous vote.

The above information comes from the South Dakota Association of Counties website.






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This page was last updated 02/01/12