Jeremiah and Martha (Bennett) Rogers

Immigrants from Wisconsin and Iowa to Brule County, South

Jeremiah and Martha Rogers. From Doris Matucha Photo Album.

Jeremiah Rogers was born in Pennsylvania in 1849. He was descended from a family line that originated in Yorkshire in England. Jeremiah’s grandfather, Samuel, immigrated to America in 1800 and married there in 1808. Jeremiah and Martha Bennett, who was born in Wisconsin also in 1849, were married in Red Mound, Wisconsin in 1875. They had six children – George, James, William, Jeremiah Jr (who went by “Jay”), Edna, and Paul (who died in infancy). The family left Wisconsin and migrated west, living first in Iowa and then South Dakota. The first three children were born in Wisconsin, Jay in Iowa, and the last two in South Dakota.

Jeremiah and Martha took out a homestead in Brule County, South Dakota in 1889, about four miles east of Bijou Hills. Two of Jeremiah’s brothers, Samuel and William, also made the trip to South Dakota and took out homesteads in Brule County. Subsequently, Jeremiah and his family moved around a good bit, living at different locations in South Dakota and at Bemidji, Minnesota. Jerry and Martha lived out their lives in South Dakota and are buried at Union Cemetery near Bijou Hills.

Jay Rogers, the fourth child of Jerry and Martha, started his family with Bessie Cummings in the Missouri River “Breaks” not far from Bijou Hills.  Jay Rogers was born in Iowa and walked into South Dakota when his parents moved there when he was a child.
Jay met and married Bessie Cummings in the Bijou Hills area, and the family lived near the Missouri River in “Rogers Draw” near Snake Creek. Jay operated a ferry at that location for a time.

Jay and Bessie had nine children: Ferne, Helen, Vernon, Ruby, Dorothy and Doris (twins), Phyllis, and Evelyn. Unfortunately, Bessie died of bowel obstruction when the youngest child was only about two years old. Jay never remarried, and the children closely bonded as they more or less “raised each other”. Jay and his sister Edna embraced the Two-By-Two faith, which strongly affected both of their families and descendants. Jay lived to over ninety years old. He and Bessie are buried at Union Cemetery, near the graves of Jeremiah and Martha Rogers.


Webpage Credits

Photo of Jeremiah and Martha (Bennett) Rogers

Life History of Jeremiah and Martha (Bennett) Rogers

Rudd, Iowa Stopover on Way to South Dakota

Rogers Homestead in Brule County, South Dakota

Land Ownership by Jeremiah Rogers’ Brothers Samuel and William Rogers

Family of Jeremiah and Martha Rogers

Ancestor and Descendant Chart for Jeremiah Rogers

Families of Jeremiah and Martha Rogers’ Children

James Rogers

George C and Flora M (Covey) Rogers

William and Rhoda Belle (Covey) Rogers

Jeremiah (“Jay”) and Bessie Leona (Cummings) Rogers

Edna Maethorne Rogers and Earl Victor Peterson

Jeremiah’s Parents Samuel and Elizabeth (Harding) Rogers

Jeremiah’s Grandfather Samuel and Mary (Akroyd) Rogers

Jeremiah’s Great Grandparents Samuel and Ann (Gaunt) Rogers

History of Brule County from Andreas, 1884

History of Bijou Hills from Wayne Surat Website


Webpage Credits

Thanks go to Jean Rosenkrantz for her extensive research for “Weavers of a Legacy1“, the best available source for Rogers family
history information. Click here for full text of “Weavers of a Legacy. Thanks also to Pat Surat of Bijou Hills for providing Union Cemetery lot certificates for George Rogers and Jay Rogers.

Photo of Jeremiah and Martha (Bennett) Rogers

A portrait photo of Jeremiah and Martha Rogers is shown below. The date of the photo is unknown.

Photo from Doris Matucha
Album 7: “Jerry & Martha Rogers. Dad’s father & mother. Married October 10, 1875.”

Life History of Jeremiah and Martha (Bennett) Rogers

As noted above, Jeremiah Rogers was born in Pennsylvania in 1849. He was descended from a family line that originated in Yorkshire in England. Jeremiah’s grandfather, Samuel, emigrated to America in 1800 and married there in 1808. Jeremiah and Martha Bennett, who was born in Wisconsin also in 1849, were married in Red Mound, Wisconsin in 1875. They had six children – George, James, William, Jeremiah Jr (who went by “Jay”), Edna, and Paul (who died in infancy). The family left Wisconsin and migrated west, living first in Iowa and then South Dakota. The first three children were born in Wisconsin, Jay in Iowa, and the last two in South Dakota. Jeremiah and Martha took out a homestead in Brule County, South Dakota in 1889, about four miles east of Bijou Hills. Two of Jeremiah’s brothers, Samuel and William, also made the trip to South Dakota and took out homesteads in Brule County. Subsequently, Jeremiah and his family moved around a good bit, living at different locations in South Dakota and at Bemidji,
Minnesota. Jerry and Martha lived out their lives in South Dakota and are buried at Union Cemetery near Bijou Hills.

A detailed family history of Jeremiah and Martha Rogers has been prepared by Jean Rosenkrantz in “Weavers of a Legacy” and is shown below.

Generation 8: Jeremiah Rogers and Martha Bennett

Jeremiah “Jerry” Akroyd Rogers, was born May 4, 1849 at Muncy, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. Jeremiah was known by his nickname and will be referred to as Jerry in this narrative. His childhood years were spent with his family in Columbia, Juneau and Vernon Counties in southwestern Wisconsin. This was during the same time frame as Solomon and Lydia Bennett lived in Iowa County, Wisconsin also in southwestern Wisconsin. Although Iowa County does not border any of the counties where the Rogers lived, the geographic barrier apparently was not a huge obstacle to the romance between Jerry Rogers and Martha Bennett, daughter of Solomon and Lydia Thurber Bennett. The Rogers and Bennett families were related, and Jerry and Martha were third cousins. They married October 10, 1875 at Red Mount, Vernon County, Wisconsin. (Solomon Bennetts ancestry is the subject of chapter 5, and Lydia Thurbers ancestry is the
subject of chapter 6.)

Jerry and Martha were parents of James born 1876 , George born 1877, and William born 1879 all in Wisconsin; Jeremiah, Jr. (Jay) born 1884 in Iowa; and Edna (this writers paternal grandmother) born 1888 and Paul born 1893 in Dakota Territory. Paul died in infancy. The biographies of the Rogers will, for the most part, end with the generation of Jerry and Martha. The story of their son, Jay, will be the exception because his life lends insight into the history of the life and times of hardy pioneers of the South Dakota homestead era. The biography for their daughter, Edna Rogers, who married Earl Peterson, will be taken up in A Legacy of Courage, a book still in progress as of this writing.

Since Jerry was a lumberjack, the family almost always lived near a river. Their first three children were born in Wisconsin. In 1880 or 1881 Jerry moved the family to Panora, Guthrie County, Iowa on the Middle Raccoon River. By
1885 the family was living in Charles Mix County, Dakota Territory. That territorial census for enumeration district 127 lists the family as Jeremiah Rogers age 36, Martha 37, James 9, George 7, William 5, and Jerry Jr. age 1.

On April 2, 1885 Jerry formally applied for a homestead at the Mitchell Land Office for 160 acres at a cost of $1.25 per acre in Brule County, Dakota Territory.[6] Witnesses to the application were Fred Jones, David Miller, Charles C. Sower (spelling questionable), and John H. Richardson all of Bijou Hills, Dakota Territory. Other papers in the homestead file give the occupation date of the homestead as September 25, 1885.

Neighbor Fred Jones notes in the “testimony of witness” form that he can see Jeremiahs house from his own house, and that he sees Jeremiah an average of once a month. In answer to the statement, “Explain how you know he has resided there,” Fred Jones writes, “I see them there and seeing is believing.” Another neighbor, Charles Lowe, who also completed the “testimony of witness” form noted, “I see claimant perhaps an average of three times a week. He comes to the post office at Bijou Hills for his mail, and my house is about 1/4 miles from the post office. I also see him haul wood past my house. Sometimes I pass his house and see him at work on his farm.”

Jerrys “testimony of claimant” form confirms that the family had lived in Guthrie County, Iowa before their move to Dakota Territory. His family consisted of his wife and four children. The improvements on this homestead were listed as a 20 x 30 frame house one story, shingle roof, a 14 x 24 foot cattle shed with pole sides and hay roof, a 14 x 23 stone stable with hay roof, 40 acres under cultivation and two good mules. Farm implements were a wagon, 2 plows, 2 harrows and other small articles; domestic animals were 5 horses, 2 cows, 4 yearlings, 6 hogs and 40 chickens. Furniture consisted of 2 beds, 1 stove, 1 bureau, 1 cupboard, 1 sewing machine, 8 chairs and “other articles too numerous to mention.” The crops were 20 acres of wheat, 5 acres of corn, 15 acres of flax in 1886 and 15 acres of wheat in 1887, 5 acres of flax, 10 acres of oats and 10 acres of corn. In answer to the statement, “Explain what you mean by actual continuous residence,” Jerry wrote, “I live, sleep and eat there.”

Jerrys brothers, Samuel R. Rogers (4) and William G. Rogers, also homesteaded in Brule County, South Dakota. On November 17, 1894 Jerry bought more land in Brule County, South Dakota.[7] Whether Jerry ever lived on that land or just farmed it is unclear.

The Rogers had a nomadic reputation which the paper trail seems to confirm. In 1900 they lived in Clark County, South Dakota per the federal census. This was some distance from their homestead in Brule County. Jerry, James, George and William were working as day laborers according to that census.

By 1905 the state census shows Jerry Rogers in Charles Mix County, LaRoche Township, post office Chandler. He was working as a herder as was 21-year old Jay. The only other child still at home was Edna working as a housekeeper. In 1909 Jerry homesteaded 80 acres in Charles Mix County, Patent #98931 dated December 23, 1909.[8] This parcel of land was on the northwest border of the county which joins Brule County opposite LaRoche Island (later renamed Colombe Island). The December 23, 1909 date appears to be the Final Proof date rather than application date on this land record so Jerry must have moved to Charles Mix County sometime before the 1905 census.

Oral history as preserved by several Rogers family historians adds some colorful threads to the Rogers saga. Following is an interview by Eldon “Bud” Rogers with Henry “Hank” Rogers (1916-2006).[9]

On the trail to South Dakota, probably between 1884 and 1886, Jeremiah “Jerry” Rogers, Martha, his wife, and their four children were coming from Iowa to Dakota. Jerry always carried several rocks under the seat of the covered wagon in which they traveled. The purpose was to throw rocks at stray dogs that would at times harass the team of horses pulling the wagon.

As they were going through one small village, a couple of men who had come from the saloon and were obviously badly overly filled with alcohol, thought they would have some fun with these travelers. So each of them took hold of the two rear wheels of the wagon, and were attempting to stop the wagon. Apparently the drunks were laughing and yelling and having a real good time, they thought. But Jerry wasnt amused so he reached down and got a good-sized rock from under his seat, reached around the side of the wagon and threw the rock at the one on his side. As luck, or maybe skill, would have it the rock found its target. It happened to be the mouth of the reveler. At that point the merry making ceased, and Jerry looked around the side of the canvas of the covered wagon to see the unhurt drunk helping pick up the other drunks teeth.

After settling in South Dakota, Jerry often would seek employment away from home. Having lived in Wisconsin in prior years, he must have been familiar with opportunities in that state. On one occasion he was in Wisconsin helping move log rafts down river, probably to a sawmill. Men would ride on the logs in order to keep them from jamming. They would use pike poles to guide the logs and help keep their balance. One of the men was a smart aleck and took his pike pole and rolled the log Jerry was riding causing Jerry to fall into the water. To make matters worse, it was winter and the water was very cold. Fortunately Jerry was able to regain his position on top of the logs rather than under them. Now, Jerry has been reported to have a short fuse, but he kept his composure until he was in a position to return the favor. The smart aleck, however, wasnt as adept at recovery. Apparently it took Jerrys nemesis some time to get his head above the water surface just before his air supply was totally depleted. In any event, Jerry didnt have any further difficulties from his fellow log roller.

In another instance involving water, Jerry was working on a bridge construction project. The boss was on one end of the bridge and Jerry had some tool on the other end of the bridge, and the boss wanted the tool on his side. It seemed as though the boss wasnt overly polite in requesting the tool be brought over to him. Of course, Jerry was getting a little “warm under the collar” from the bosss verbiage, but started across to meet the boss. They met somewhere in the middle and one thing led to another and both men fell into the river. The water was ten to twelve feet deep and had a silty, gravely bottom. When they next appeared above the waters surface, the bosss head was rather bloody. Jerry was able to get a handful of the river bottom and apply the same to the head of the boss. Unfortunately for the boss there were a few rocks in that hand full of river bed. At that point, Jerrys boss had lost his desire to fight. There had been a “meeting of the minds” so to speak.

Jerry took his son, Jay, to work on a wheat harvester. Their job was to remove the straw from the thrasher after the wheat had been separated from the heads. The amount of wheat wasnt very great when compared to the amount of straw; consequently the removal of straw was a huge part of the operation. Jerry was working very hard. Although Jay was in his mid teens, he was not adept at doing physical work according to Hank. Anyhow, the straw pile was getting bigger and bigger. The man running the thrashing crew was getting a little unhappy so he proceeded to call on Jerry to increase his output. The only problem, the boss used some descriptive words that Jerry was not willing to accept. Jerry with pitch fork in hand proceeded to chase the boss all around the threshing machine including under the long belt from the steam engine to the thresher all the while yelling and screaming bloody murder. Needless to say, that was the last day Jerry and Jay participated on that harvest crew, but that evening and night they walked 17 miles to another harvest crew and went to work the next morning.

On the subject of harvest equipment, the power to operate a thresher came from a steam engine. They were huge, cumbersome and slow moving. A fellow whose name has been lost in the oral history operated a moonshine still on the big island in the Missouri River. There was about 70 acres of farm land on that island. Staying ahead of the “revenuers” was always a challenge for a still operator. One way to eliminate smoke from the process was to not use a fire to heat the water to make steam, but to use a steam engine which was piped from the engine to his still. Smoke from a steam engine wasnt as likely to attract attention. The steam volume, however, was too great for the capacity of the still and there was a huge explosion. The moonshiner was injured but lived.

The story is told that there was a “still hog” living at this particular island still house. It was the hogs job to eliminate the waste material (the mash). Of course, there was enough alcohol left in the mash so that hog would eat until he passed out. After a few hours the hog would regain consciousness, go back to the feeding trough, eat his fill, pass out and continue this routine ad infinitum.

Jerry was likened to a “river rat,” living near the water and at one time on the “big” island. The Missouri River flooded while Jerry lived on the island. He dug his home into the side of a bank on the highest point of the island, and lived like the cave dwellers of old. He was safe from the rushing waters but not from a passing dead cow that he caught in the rushing flood waters. From the dead cow Jerry caught anthrax which in those days was certain death. Jerry was a mighty tough hombre and even survived anthrax.

He rarely dressed warmly in the winter. His usual attire consisted of a vest which he held together with a large horse blanket type safety pin even though the vest had buttons and button holes.[10]

Hank said his granddad often found things. At a 4th of July party at the Snake Creek Ferry in about 1921, Jerry offered Hank a vest that smelled like camp fire smoke and Hank turned it down. At the same time he offered Hanks brother, Clease, an old WWI flat brim campaign hat which Clease also refused. Jerry ranted at the boys for being ungrateful. Hank recalls that the articles smelled like smoke because of Jerrys dugout home which was heated somewhat like a tepee. He was also suspicious of how Jerry may have obtained the loot.

Jerry Rogers died July 10, 1929 from chronic nephritis (kidney disease). He is buried in the Rogers family plot in Union Cemetery, Bijou Hills, South Dakota with his wife, Martha Bennett Rogers, who died of cancer on October 16, 1922. Martha Bennett Rogers ancestry-Bennett and Thurber-continues in chapters 5 and 6 respectively.

Rudd, Iowa Stopover on Way to South Dakota

As noted, the Rogers family lived for a time in Rudd, Iowa before arriving in South Dakota. Several photos taken were while the family was still in Rudd and still survive. Jay Rogers, son of Jeremiah and Martha, had a collection of old photos that included the following picture of the family home in Rudd, Iowa, near the birthplace of Jay. More information on Jay Rogers appears further down on this webpage.

Jay’s entry on the back of the photo: “Our family picture – about 1900 – at Rudd, Iowa – Jim George Will Jay & Edna – & mother & father – & cousin Harley Bennett – & cousin Leon Skewis”

Rudd is in north-central Iowa near Mason City, as shown on the maps below. The upper map includes Chamberlain, South Dakota, not far from the subsequent homestead at Bijou Hills, to show the distance the family traveled to the homestead. Red Mound, Wisconsin, where Jerry and Martha were married is very near the “triple point” of the boundaries of Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota.

Rogers Homestead in Brule County, South Dakota

Jeremiah and Martha obtained a homestead at Bijou Hills, southern Brule County, in about 1889. It consisted of 160 acres, 80 acres each in Sections 26 and 27, in Eagle Township (T101N, R69W) of Brule County. A topographic map showing Bijou Hills as well as land records are shown below; section lines have red boundaries. The homestead records are below the map.

Topographic map showing Bijou Hills in Eagle Township. Sections 26 and 27, with red boundaries are also shown. Below the map are the land records for Jeremiah, Samuel and William Rogers.

A portion of the land ownership map for Eagle Township — from the Centennial Atlas of Brule County1, 1884-1984 — is shown below with the 160-acre homestead of Jeremiah Rogers.

Map of a portion of Eagle Township, showing the locations of Jeremiah Rogers’ homestead claim in the northwest corner of Section 26 and the northeast corner of Section 27.

The correct reference for the two parcels is as follows: W½, NW¼, Sec 26 and E½, NE¼, Sec 27.

An image of the entry in the homestead record for Jeremiah Rogers for Section 26 is shown below. Note that both the parcel in Section 26 and 27 are noted in one entry for Section 26.

Entry in homestead log book for Jeremiah Rogers homestead. Entry is shown in four parts, from left to right, with overlap.A portion of adjacent entries (above and below) is captured to ensure completeness of the entry for Jeremiah.

The entry appears to read as follows (column title followed by entry):

Parcel: Home E½ NE¼ 27 & W½ NW¼ (25)

Section: 26 (includes entry for parcel in Section 27)

Township: 101

Range: 69

Acres: 160

Purchase Money: 10–

Name: Jeremiah A. Rogers

Date of Sale: April 2, 1885

Number of Receipt and Certificate of Purchase: 27347

By Whom Patented: Mitchell Converted to Cash Entry 15495 Mitchell Jan 11/88

Jeremiah and Martha were not lucky in the 160-acre parcel of land they received in Bijou Hills because of two characteristics of the land – slumps and rocks – which made the land unsuitable for cultivation. A cut-out portion of the above topographic map is provided below. It shows the 160-acre homestead on the south slope of the hill.

Shown below are two northward views of the homestead location on the south slope of the hill. The photos are overlapping, with the top view more westward and the lower view more eastward. The two photos clearly show the active slumping that is taking place. Note in particular the hummocky land surface.

The active slumping is also indicated by the “head scarps” of the moving material in thr westward view below. The light strips are soils that have been exposed as the slump creeps downhill and “pulls away” from underlying material. The rate of movement of the slump is too fast for grass to become established on the exposed soil.

Here’s what the slumps look like from above, as found on GoogleEarth. Note in particular the dramatic example on the right, with a head scarp on the north end, a zone of downhill flow, and a terminal lobe on the south end. The Rogers Homestead is approximately located over the three smaller and older slumps on the left side of the photo.

The other main problem with the homestead is the abundance of rocks located at and near the top of the hill, which makes tilling of the land almost impossible. The layer of rocks on the hilltop is, in fact, why the Bijou Hills are there, because the layer is more resistant to erosion than the surrounding softer sedimentary rock. The shale substrate below the rock layer is not only soft, but it is also subject to slumping on steeper slopes, as shown above. The photo below was taken at the edge of the hilltop and looking down the slope.

Land Ownership by Jeremiah Rogers’ Brothers Samuel and William Rogers

Shown below is a portion of the land ownership map for American Township, just west of Eagle Township, from the Centennial Atlas of Brule County1, 1884-1984. The land parcels for Samuel and William Rogers are indicated as follows:

Samuel R Rogers: SW¼, Section 25 and NE¼, Section 34

William G Rogers: NW¼, Section 33; E½, NE¼, Section 32; and E½, SE¼, Section 32

Also shown is a parcel for Charles A Cummings (SE¼, Section 35), who became a relative of Jeremiah and Martha Rogers when their son, Jay, married Bessie Cummings — daughter of Charles. Jay and Bessie Rogers are described at length further down on this webpage.

Southeast portion of American Township showing the location of the homesteads of William G Rogers (two adjoining parcels), Samuel R Rogers (two separate parcels), and Charles A Cummings (one parcel).


The location of Bijou Hills in southern Brule County, southeast of Chamberlain, is shown in the map below.

C. S. Hammond & Company Atlas – 1910

Source: imgurl= 

A photo of Bijou Hills is shown below.


Family of Jeremiah and Martha Rogers

The photo below of the four boys is from a collection held by Jay Rogers. Jay identified the boys in his handwriting on the back
of the photo.

Jay Rogers entry in pencil: “Jay & George Jim Will – Rogers – Rogers Family.” Entry in ink: “I and my brothers – Jay – Taken by BP Skewis – at – Bijou Hills S Dak – in about 1890 – George Jim & Will – & Jay”

The following photo, from Jean Rosenkrantz’s “Weavers of a Legacy”, includes James, George, William, and Jay. It was apparently taken later than the above picture and includes Edna.

Jeremiah and Martha Rogers with their five surviving children, as identified in the picture.

Ancestor and Descendant Chart for Jeremiah Rogers

A summary chart showing ancestors and descendants of Jeremiah is shown; click here for a much more complete version that has been prepared by Jean Rosenkrantz.

1John Rogers ( – 13 Aug 1711) & Elizabeth Squire ( – 29 Oct 1713)

|—2 William Rogers (5 May 1667 – 8 Jun 1740) & Elizabeth Unknown ( – 16 Jun 1749)

|—|—3 John Rogers (16 May 1672 – )

|—|—3 Joseph Rogers (3 May 1702 – )

|—|—3 Benjamin Rogers (23 Sep 1705 – 21 Nov 1792) & Ann Pearson ( – 22 Jun 1793)

|—|—|—4 Joseph Rogers (25 Dec 1735 – ) & Elizabeth Holmes (About 1734 – )

|—|—|—|—5 Joseph Rogers (20 May 1757 – 6 Dec 1757)

|—|—|—|—5 John Rogers (29 Oct 1758 – 20 Jul 1759)

|—|—|—|—5 Samuel Rogers (1 May 1760 – 29 Jan 1828) & Ann Gaunt (1762 – 24 May 1823)

|—|—|—|—|—6 Samuel Rogers (6 Dec 1782 – 7 Feb 1857) & Mary Akroyd (1 Aug 1791 – 17 Dec 1836)

|—|—|—|—|—|—7 Hannah Rogers (9 Jan 1810 – 29 Aug 1810)

|—|—|—|—|—|—7 Mary Rogers (13 May 1811 – 23 Jan 1872) & John Woodley

|—|—|—|—|—|—7 Margaret A Rogers (21 Oct 1813 – 23 Jan 1880) & Amasa Benjamin Winchell

|—|—|—|—|—|—7 Jacob Rogers (23 Dec 1815 – 5 Apr 1870) & Almira Santee

|—|—|—|—|—|—7 Samuel Rogers (15 Dec 1817 – 29 Aug 1895) & Elizabeth Harding (11 Jan 1820 – 4 Jul 1910)

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—8 Mary E Rogers (31 Jan 1842 – 21 Mar 1853)

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—8 George H Rogers (12 Aug 1843 – 2 Nov 1856)

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—8 James P. Rogers (16 Mar 1845 – 27 May 1923) & Jennie Dudley

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—9 Dorothy Rogers,

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—9 Girl2 Rogers,

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—8 Emmaline (“Emma”) Rogers (1 Apr 1847 – 6 Nov 1916) & Nelson E (“Nels”) Emmons

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—9 May Emmons

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—9 Laura Emmons

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—9 Celia Emmons

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—9 Wildie Emmons

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—9 Amanda (Kit) Emmons

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—8 Jeremiah Akroyd Rogers (4 May 1849 – 11 Jul 1929) & Martha Marie Bennett
(22 Feb 1849 – 16 Oct 1922)

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—9 James Rogers (4 Feb 1876 – 11 Jul 1919)

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—9 George C Rogers (25 Aug 1877 – 31 Aug 1925) & Flora M (Flory) Covey (29 Oct 1886 – 28 Jul 1954)

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—10 Vera Mae Rogers

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—10 Opal Marie Rogers

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—10 Richard George Rogers

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—10 Millicent Rogers

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—10 Edna Rogers

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—10 Henry Rogers

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—10 Marion Rogers

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—10 Clease Rogers

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—10 Glenn Rogers

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—10 Letha DeVee Rogers

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—9 William (“Will”) Rogers (23 Mar 1880 – 7 Feb 1960) & Rhoda Belle (“Belle”) Covey (16 May 1886 – 12 Dec 1978)

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—10 Paul William Rogers (16 Oct 1907 – 24 Mar 1983) & Bessie Elizabeth Lake. Married 8 Nov 1930.

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—9 Jeremiah (“Jay) Lee Rogers, Jr (1 Jan 1884 – 16 Jan 1978) & Bessie Leona Cummings (6 May 1889 – 31 Oct 1929)

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—10 Ferne Leona Rogers

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—10 Vernon Jay Rogers

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—10 Helen Belle Rogers

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—10 Ruby Mae Rogers

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—10 Dorothy Ellizabeth Rogers

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—10 Doris Mildred Rogers

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—10 Phyllis Lorraine Rogers

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—10 Evelyn Bessie Rogers

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—9 Edna Rogers (10 Feb 1888 – 17 May 1979) & Earl Victor Peterson (10 Aug 1987 – 25 Oct 1956)

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—10 Cecil Duane Peterson

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—10 Verdus Bert Peterson

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—10 Eva Irene Peterson

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—10 Howard Solomon Peterson

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—10 Steven Marion Peterson

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—10 Colvin James Peterson

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—10 Alpha Ruth Peterson

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—9 Paul Rogers (25 Dec 1893 – )

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—8 Sarah Rogers (9 Feb 1852 – 9 Apr 1852)

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—8 Samuel Richard Rogers (19 Nov 1854 – 11 Jul 1923) & Melva E. (“Melvie”) Mobley

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—9 Richard Rogers

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—9 Henry Rogers

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—9 Emmons Rogers

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—9 Jerry Rogers

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—9 Jessie Rogers

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—9 Mabel Rogers

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—8 William George (“Will”) Rogers (7 Jul 1861 – 12 Oct 1932) & Emma M (“Emmy) Mobley

|—|—|—|—|—|—7 Elizabeth A Rogers (3 Jun 1820 – 2 Oct 1875) & William VanDyke

|—|—|—|—|—|—7 Richard Gaunt Rogers (16 Oct 1822 – 23 Jan 1874) & Mary Bly

|—|—|—|—|—|—7 Jeremiah Akroyd Rogers (22 May 1826 – 20 Jan 1877) & Phebe Salmon

|—|—|—|—|—|—7 John Rogers (14 Aug 1828 – 1828)

|—|—|—|—|—|—7 George Higgins Rogers (6 Nov 1829 – 12 Feb 1847)

|—|—|—|—|—|—7 Sidney ? Rogers

|—|—|—|—|—|—7 Will ? Rogers

|—|—|—|—|—6 Joseph Rogers (13 Aug 1785 – )

|—|—|—|—|—6 Jonathan Rogers (7 Oct 1785 – )

|—|—|—|—|—6 John Rogers (11 Feb 1787 – )

|—|—|—|—|—6 William Rogers (17 Mar 1788 – )

|—|—|—|—|—6 Hannah Rogers (13 Feb 1790 – )

|—|—|—|—|—6 Richard Rogers (15 Jul 1791 – )

|—|—|—|—|—6 David Rogers (29 Jul 1793 – )

|—|—|—|—|—6 Martha Rogers (8 May 1796 – 4 Feb 1798)

|—|—|—|—|—6 Benjamin Rogers (28 Sep 1797 – )

|—|—|—|—|—6 Reuben Rogers (8 Dec 1798 – )

|—|—|—|—|—6 Jacob Rogers (1 Feb 1880 – )

|—|—|—|—5 Anna Rogers (29 Jan 1764 – )

|—|—|—|—5 Benjamin Rogers ( – 29 Jul 1766)

|—|—|—|—5 Martha Rogers ( – 17 Jan 1768)

|—|—|—|—5 Benjamin Rogers ( – 8 Nov 1769)

|—|—|—|—5 William Rogers ( – 29 Jun 1771)

|—|—|—|—5 Joseph Rogers (Circa 1772 – 30 Nov 1791)

|—|—|—4 Benjamin Rogers (28 Aug 1737 – )

|—|—|—4 Reuben Rogers (23 Mar 1739 – )

|—|—|—4 Ann Rogers (20 Feb 1742 – )

|—|—|—4 William Rogers (1 Sep 1745 – )

|—|—|—4 Hannah Rogers (27 Dec 1745 – )

|—|—|—4 Ann Rogers (12 May 1750 – )

|—|—3 Ann Rogers (11 Apr 1708 – )

|—|—3 James Rogers (27 Oct 1711 – 7 Oct 1713)

|—|—3 John Rogers (6 Aug 1713 – )

|—|—3 George Rogers (3 Feb 1715 – 7 May 1716)

|—|—3 Frances Rogers (1 Apr 1717 – )

|—|—3 Martha Rogers (24 Apr 1719 –

|—2 John Rogers (16 May 1672 – )

|—2 Anne Rogers (14 Jun 1674 – )

|—2 Richard Rogers (24 May 1677 – )

|—2 Elizabeth Rogers (1 Jan 1679 – )

|—2 Susannah Rogers (3 Mar 1681 – )

Families of Jeremiah and Martha Rogers’ Children

The following description is of the children of Jeremiah and Martha, from oldest to youngest, with photos and other images where available. Their sons George and Will married sisters Flora M and Rhoda (Belle) Covey.

1. James Rogers

Little information on James Rogers has yet been located for this webpage. He apparently suffered from severe epilepsy and died from that affliction without having married or leaving descendants.

2. George C and Flora M (Covey) Rogers

Ferne Roggow wrote a nice summary of George Rogers and his family which appeared in the Saga of Sully Flats2. The writeup is shown below.

George C. Rogers was born August 25, 1876 in Thief River Falls, Wisconsin to Jerry and Martha (Bennett) Rogers. Jerry and Martha were homesteaders in Wisconsin where also worked as a lumberjack, tracking into Minnesota with his fellow workers on log drives.

George was four years of age when his family moved to Rudd, Iowa. Charles Mix County in the Dakotas was opened to homesteaders. The Rogers family trailed on to Charles Mix County in a covered wagon. They settled on the northwestern border, opposite La Roche Island, later designated as Colombe Island. George plowed with oxen when he was 15 years old. His mother, taking butter and eggs to town, would drive two extra miles out of her course to bring George some confection to enjoy while he was working. The family purchased a farm near Bijou Hills, later moving to the west side of the river. They located near Snake Creek ferry where they lived until their deaths.

George C. Rogers and Flora M. Covey were married in Wheeler, S. D. in 1905. Flora was born October 29, 1883 in La Roche Twp., Charles Mix County opposite the tip of La Roche Island to M. R. and Mariah (Orcutt) Covey. The family moved over to Brule County where Mr. Covey was elected to the State Legislature in 1890-91 – the first State Representative from Brule County. The Dakotas had separated and South Dakota became a state of the union in 1889. In 1897 the family followed the Indian trails into Gregory County, settling in a log cabin on the Mullen allotment. Again Mr. Covey was elected a legislator to Pierre, representing Gregory County prior to 1908. M. R. and Mariah Covey were the parents of nine children: Bryon, Martha, Ed, Harry Goldie, Flora, Belle, Etta and Lee.

George and Flora (Covey) Rogers made their home on the east side of the river, opposite La Roche Island in the log cabin with a dirt floor. George worked as a lumberjack cutting posts and logs on the river and also on LaRoche Island. The local sawmills cut the logs into board lengths to be sold by the lumberyards. Flora worked alongside George hewing down the logs in the timber. The older children cared for younger ones while she was away from the cabin. The family moved to Arlington in 1916, where they worked in the harvest fields and on the railroad. When they returned to the Wheeler area the children attended the Red, White N’ Blue School near Geddes. George worked as a farm laborer on the farms there.

The family again returned to Gregory County and farmed the Jacob Smejkel homestead in Turgeon Twp. August 30, 1925, George C. Rogers passed away at his farm home. The family moved up to the west side settling, on a plot opposite the top of La Roche Island (Colombe) on the river bank. In the 30’s Flora journeyed to Oregon with her daughter Letha and sons, Richard, Henry, Clease and Glen. Her older children were married and established here in Gregory County. Flora M. Rogers died in Oregon, October 28, 1954.

George and Flora Rogers were the parents of Vera, Opal Teel, Richard, Millicent, Edna, Henry, Marion, Jay, Clease and Glen.

Ferne also placed pictures of George and Flora Roger in her albums. They are shown below. George is reported to have died of cancer of the jaw, which is indicated by the bandage in the photo. After George died, Flora migrated to Oregon to join her sister, Rhoda Belle (Covey) Rogers, and husband William Rogers and their family. That family had moved to Oregon previously.

Ferne (Rogers) Roggow entry: “My Uncle Geo – down on the creek. Dick – Hank – Uncle Geo – Opal – Milly – A Flora with baby Leatha – Edna – Marion – Clease. Glen in front. 1925.”

The photo above also appears in Helen (Rogers) Tagtow Byrum’s album and is labeled slightly differently: “Uncle George Rogers family. Dick, Hank, Glen, George, Flora, Vera, Opal, Millie, Marion, Clease, Leatha the baby.”

The following photo was taken of four of the boys quite a bit later.

From Doris Matucha’s Album B3, p17: “Dick, Hank, Clease, & Glen Rogers. Cousins.”

Pat Surat of Bijou Hills found the certificate for George Rogers’ burial lot at Union Cemetery; it is shown below. The certificate indicates that Lot 163 was purchased on February 13, 1926 by Mrs Geo. Rogers for $5.00.

3. William and Rhoda Belle (Covey) Rogers

Jay Rogers had a photo of his brother Jim, shown below, in his collection. Also shown is Jay’s handwritten entry on the back of the photo. Will’s wife apparently used her middle name and was known as “Belle”.

Jay Rogers entry: “Brother, Will Rogers – about 1901 – he has gone to his – reward years ago – July 6th 1970 – Jay”

Ferne Roggow had a picture of Belle (Covey) Rogers and her son, Paul, in one of her albums.

Ferne Roggow’s handwriting: “Aunt Bell – Cousin Paul”

The following photo is from Helen Byrum’s album.

Helen’s handwriting: “Dad, Will, Bell, 1950.”

Show below from one of the Ferne Rogers albums is Bessie (Lake) Rogers, daughter-in-law of Will Rogers (wife of Paul William Rogers)

4. Jeremiah Lee (“Jay”) and Bessie Leona (Cummings) Rogers

Jay Rogers, Jeremiah and Martha Rogers’ fourth child, was born in Iowa and walked into South Dakota when his parents moved there when he was about four years old. Jay met Bessie Cummings in the Bijou Hills area, and the couple was married there on May 11, 1911. The family lived near the Missouri River in “Rogers Draw” near Snake Creek. Jay operated a ferry at that location for a time. Jay and Bessie had nine children: Ferne, Helen, Vernon, Ruby, Dorothy and Doris (twins), Phyllis, and Evelyn. Unfortunately, Bessie died of bowel obstruction when the youngest child was only about two years old. Jay never remarried, and the children closely bonded as they more or less “raised each other”. Jay and his sister Edna embraced the Two-By-Two faith, which strongly affected both of their families and descendants. Jay lived to over ninety years old. Both Jay and Bessie are buried at Union Cemetery, near the now-extinct town of Bijou Hills in Brule County.

Additional information on Jay and Bessie Rogers is available on a companionwebpage.

Photo of Jay and Bessie Rogers

Ferne’ Roggow included the following picture, taken about 1920, of Jay and Bessie and their first three children, Ferne, Vernon and Helen, in her photo album.

Ferne’s handwritten caption: “Dad. Mom. Ferne by Mom. 6 yr old. 1912. Vernon by Dad knee. 3 yr old. 1915. Helen on his lap. 1-1/2 yr old. 1917.”

Photo Label by Ferne Roggow:

Biography of Jay and Bessie Rogers

Ferne (Rogers) Roggow, oldest child of Jay and Bessie wrote the following excellent summary of the lives of her parents for The Saga of Sully Flats(p. 274).

Jay L. Rogers,a Missouri River ferry pilot and owner, was born January 1, 1884 in Pelnora, Guthrie County, Iowa to Jeremiah and Martha (Bennett) Rogers. In 1888, in a covered wagon, Jeremiah, Martha and their five children drove their oxen to Bradley, South Dakota. The older boys, George, William and Jay walked beside the wagon from Nora Springs, Iowa to Bradley; James and Edna (a baby) rode in the wagon with the parents. In Bradley the boys worked on the railroad and the threshing crews. They were paid $2 per day tending the separator and engineering. The other boys pitched bundles and earned $1.50 per day’s wages. Jay and William went to Wisconsin where they worked in the logging camps and walked back to South Dakota. they made their bed at night in straw piles along the route. The family moved to a farm which Jeremiah had purchased in Bijou Hills.

In 1900, when Jay was sixteen years of age, the family moved over to the west side of the Missouri River across from the end of Sabens timber. In a log cabin they lived on their 80 … in Section 1, Turney Township.

Jay L. Rogers was married May 1, 1911 to Bessie Cummings at Bijou Hills, South Dakota. Bessie was born May 6,1889 in Bijou Hills to Charles and Dora (Porter) Cummings of Bijou Hills. Jay and Bessie Rogers lived in Bijou Hills the first year of their marriage. Jay and his father, Jeremiah, purchased a threshing machine and did custom work around Geddes. They moved to Minnesota where Jay worked in the timber until 1912 when the family returned to Bijou Hills. Bijou Hills is shown as a small range of hills in the southern end of Brule County where there was once a trading post built by Louis Bissonette.

In 1914 Jay took over the Snake Creek ferry boat, The City of Platte, which.he piloted for seven years. Jay narrates, “The first ferry at Snake Creek was put in by Guy Federli when Gregory County was opened up to homesteaders. Guy went down and bought a ferry in the city of Vermillion. He knew there would be a rush of land seekers for homesteads when the time came. Gregory County was opened by lottery. They registered and drew a number. The number entitled the holders to a certain one-fourth of the land when the drawing came. The number “1” choice of all the homesteads in Gregory County was drawn by Sanford Boiles. He drew the quarter where the city of Gregory is today.

Guy Federli ran the boat through the land seekers rush that year or maybe two years. It must have been around 1900 or 1901-02. Guy sold the boat to a man (I think the name was Drake) who bad come up the river on the old snag boat, Mandan. He ran it one year; another guy bought it but only ran it for a short time. He sold the ferry to Alfred Johnson and Jacob Hammer. The old boat became pretty old and was about to sink. Alfred and “Jake” had to built the boat which I ran for seven years. When Alfred had his ranch sale. he said if I would do the crossing for the sale, he would give me his share. This is how I came to own The City of Platte. In 1918-19 1 sold out to Elden McMullen and his father. The old boat was about shot; Elden and I became partners. We built a new boat in 1920-21. I went through the whole thing; I called the inspector to measure it when it was done. I had to call the collector from Pembina, North Dakota. He was the collector of customs and Pembina was the home port of all inland waterways. It was christened the Snake Creek Ferry.”

In 1921 Jay sold his interest to Squire (Elden) McMullen and the family moved to Turgeon’s Place, now called Roger’s Draw. They lived there two years and moved to Iona in January over the ice-covered Missouri River. Jay went into partnership with George Tagtow and piloted the ferry boat called the Phyllis-Lorraine. The family lived near the river by the ferry landing. A year later, 1925, they moved back to Turgeon’s Place.

The mother, Bessie Cummings Rogers, passed away October 30, 1929. This left Jay to raise the eight children. “He kept us all together and we went through the dirty 30’s. He fished and sold fish; trapped animals; sawed lumber; cut wood-, and worked at odd jobs about the country to make a living.”

In 1937 Jay had a sale and sold out. He purchased an International truck; over the box he stretched a cover. This truck transported the Rogers family to Oregon. Jay and his daughters picked berries and hops during the summer in Oregon. On the way to Oregon they camped in Nampa, Idaho for a week and picked peas. Ferne Roggow was the cook; her daughter Violet was a baby. She could no follow out to the fields so she did the cooking and baking. She sold bread to the Mexican people and they loved it!

In August of 1937 they motored back to South Dakota. Jay and his daughters cut wood for sale. He was offered a job of cutting lumber by George Hollenbeck of Iona. After a while he went to Oacoma and from there he went to Pierre. In 1945 he operated a sawmill for Fred Root of Pierre, South Dakota; he lived in a log cabin near the sawmill. Finally he settled down in Reassau. Jay, 91 years of age, lives with his daughter Helen Byrum who lives twenty miles east of Pierre -near DeGray Hill, where there was once a store and filling station. Jay has one sister, Edna Peterson, 86 years of age, who lives in Ridgefield, Washington.

Some years ago a hunter from Minneapolis bought a gun; engraved on the barrel was “Jay L. Rogers–Snake Creek Crossing, Platte, S.D.”

Jay L. and Bessie Rogers became the parents of eight children: Ferne married Robert Roggow, children Violet, Ralph and Raymond; Vernon married Gladys Flaherty, children Rodney (deceased), and Jim; Helen married George Tagtow (deceased), @hildren Roger and Sandra; Helen married Ray Byrum (deceased), a son Kim; Ruby married George Ludemann, children Donnie, Luetta, Kyla, and Marva; Dorothy married Tomas Baker, a daughter Sharron; Doris married Paul Matucha (deceased) children George and (three daughters deceased, Florence,’ Judy, and Lorna); Phyllis married Claude Grimshaw, sons Tom and Joseph; Evelyn married W. McClintock, children Larry, Lana, Connie, Cindy (deceased), Dennis, Lyle, and Randy.

–Ferne RogersRoggow

The Saga of Sully Flats, 1976, p. 274

5. Edna (Rogers) and Earl Victor Peterson

A photo of Edna (Rogers) Peterson and her son, Verdis Peterson, appears in Ferne Roggow’s photo album. The photo also includes William Rogers in his later years, with wife, Belle (Covey) Rogers in their later years.

Ferne Roggow handwriting: “1951. Aunt Belle. Uncle Will, Verdus, Aunt Edna” From one of Ferne’s albums

An article in the May 28, 1899 edition of the New York Times, shown below, records the death of Charles Peterson and six children in a cyclone near Bijou Hill. The article is shown below. Edna’s husband, Earl Peterson, was the sole surviving child of the catastrophe.

Jeremiah’s Parents Samuel and Elizabeth (Harding) Rogers

Jean Rosenkrantz has authored an excellent summary of the lives of Samuel and Elizabeth Rogers, which is shown below, starting with their photographs.

The following biography of Samuel and Elizabeth Rogers is from “Weavers of a Legacy”

Generation 7: Samuel Rogers and Elizabeth Harding

Samuel Rogers (3) born December 15, 1817 in Muncy, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, now carries on the direct-line descendancy for some of you readers. He married Elizabeth Harding, daughter of James Harding and Sarah
Warren Harding on December 2, 1840 in Lycoming County. (Harding and Warren biographies are narrated in chapter 4.) Samuel and Elizabeth were the parents of Mary born 1842, George born 1843, and James born 1845 all in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania; Emaline born 1847 in Wisconsin, Jeremiah Akroyd born 1849 at Muncy, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, Sarah born 1852 in Juneau County, Wisconsin; Samuel born 1854 in Vernon County, Wisconsin; and William born 1861 in Juneau County, Wisconsin.

The U. S. federal census trail for Samuel and Elizabeth includes:

1850 Columbia County, Wisconsin

Westpoint Twp., 715/715, Samuel Rogers 33 farmer born PA, Elizabeth 30 born PA, May E. 8 born PA, George H. 7 born PA, James P. 5 born PA, Emiline 3 born WI, Jeremiah 2 born PA

1860 Juneau County, Wisconsin

Kildare, 1034/925, Samuel Rogers 42 farmer $1000 value of real estate born PA, Elizabeth 40 born PA, James 15 born WI, Emeline 13 born WI, Jeremiah 11 born PA, Samuel 5 born WI

1870 Vernon County, Wisconsin

Town of Sterling, Post Office West Prairie, Samuel Rogers 51 lumberman $1500 value of real estate born PA, Elizabeth 49 keeping house born PA, James 25 sawmill operator born PA, Emeline 23 domestic servant born WI, Jeremiah 21 farm laborer born PA, Samuel 15 born WI William 7 born WI, Mary Wesley 6 born MN, Nelson Emmons 30 day laborer born PA

Note: Emeline Rogers married the boarder Nelson Emmons on June 12, 1870 one day after this census was taken.

1880 Vernon County, Wisconsin

Town of Sterling, Elizabeth 60 born PA, S.R. Rogers farm hand son 25 born WI, W. G. Rogers farm hand son 18 born WI

Birth places of the children on the census indicate this family was on the move during a 20 year period from Lycoming County, Pennsylvania to Wisconsin where Emeline was born in 1847 and then back to Pennsylvania by 1849 where my ancestor Jeremiah Akroyd was born in Lycoming County and then again to Wisconsin. In 1850 Samuel was farming in Westpoint Township, Columbia County, Wisconsin. (In this census Samuel (3) was a neighbor of Thomas Molyneux whose deceased wife, Hannah Rogers Molyneux, was Samuels aunt.) It appears the family then moved to Juneau County, Wisconsin where Sarah was born and died in 1852. By 1854 Samuel had moved on to Vernon County, Wisconsin if birth place information is correct for Samuel Richard Rogers (4).

In 1860 Samuel (3) was in Juneau County, Wisconsin where he owned land valued at $1,000 and was farming. By 1870 he was living in the town of Sterling, Vernon County, Wisconsin and working as a lumberman. In 1880 Elizabeth was still living in the town of Sterling with the two youngest sons, Samuel (4) and William, and she was boarding a school teacher. Samuels whereabouts in the 1880 census is unknown.

On October 28, 1875 from Sterling, Vernon County, Wisconsin, Samuel wrote a letter to his sister, Margaret Winchell, and her husband, A. B. Winchell. Margaret and Amasa were probably living in Iowa where Margaret died in 1880, but this letter does not give that information. The spelling is so poor that my first impulse was to grab my red correction pen or retype it correctly. I did neither. Instead I humbly typed the letter verbatim (with a few blanks that I couldnt decipher) with a deep appreciation for my great great grandfather who, with limited education, eked out a living from the land and rivers and raised children who became hard-working, productive citizens.

My Dear Sistter Margret Winchell & Brouther A B Winchell Whee Recivd your Kind letter of the 14 ints in Due time of the sad inteligence of the Death of our Dear Sister E A Vandicke it appears Dear Sister She is Done withe the trobles & triels of this van world_______ Sin whee ar all Reseible whell at present & hope By the Blesing of god thiss May find you & all of your Dear family enjoying the Same Blessing. I would like to Know verry much to hear how Harvey & his family & all the Rest of your Childrens familys are getting allong you say you whant me to tell whare our Daughter Emma lives She lives at the Grand Rappds Wood County Wisconsin Emmailine & Dear little familey is getting allong verry Nislley he husband is Dowing verry well at the guiler Bissiness his name is Nellson Emmons________our Son Jerramiah A Rogers what Marred abought a year aggo our Son J P Rogers is in Kanses going to Scooll Jerimiah & Samuel is runing a thrashing machine this fall I have sold two thirds of our plase to Jerimiah & Samuel toe years agoe

My Dear Sister you Speak of Ellizebeth & me coming to se you this whinter But I am Doutfull whe will not So Sittiutated as to come this year But it mabe possible another year I whas Down to Se Brouther Jerimiah in Michigan (St. Joseph) last Septtember a year ago I found his Elath (?) rather poor he as lost the yuse of one of his eys he whas in rather Depresed The Woodleys familley ar all in ioway Escsept Samuel Woodley I Doee Sinserlley hope you will So Kind as to anser this line & plea to have the rest of the familley wright to us if thay will to enny of them (?) Our family they will anser you must eccuse Me for not ansering your letter I thought you whant us Both to let you our ages My age is December 15th 1875 I will be 58 yeares old & Ellizebeth age 56 years old of January 11th 1876

Ellizebeth Jones (joins) me with love you all from you

Brouther Samuel Rogers

In an earlier letter to his sister, Margaret Winchell, dated December 22, 1872 from Sterling, Vernon County, Samuel (3) inquires about her family and asks her children to write to him. He also writes that Elizabeth has been to Pennsylvania to visit family and friends in the “old home country.” He mentions his brother, Jeremiah Rogers, was losing sight in one of his eyes. Samuels son, Jeremiah, was working in the woods and his son, James, was running the sawmill for him.

Land Records

The earliest land record from a thick Homestead file for Samuel Rogers (3) is a Pre-emption Homestead Affidavit, filed January 13, 1887 for Lots 3 and 4 and S1/2 of NW1/4 of Sec. 9, T100, R71 to homestead entry original No. 9206, Charles Mix County, Dakota Territory. On November 21, 1889, Samuel completed Homestead Affidavit for the above land in Charles Mix County. Improvements listed on this affidavit were a sod house, 13 x 16 feet, and 18 acres under cultivation valued at $100.00.[2]

On October 3, 1892, Samuel (3) filed the Intention to Make Final Proof form at Wheeler, South Dakota. Witnesses listed on this form were his neighbors-Jacob Barnett, Edgar Barnett, Andrew Johnson and Henry Ford. On November 19, 1892, Samuel completed the Homestead Proof-Testimony of Claimant form showing his age as 74 years, his address as Bijou Hills, Charles Mix County, South Dakota[3] and his birth place as Pennsylvania. He writes in answer to the question about date of actual residence, “In the fall of 1885 to January 10, 1887, good sod house, 12 x 15 feet, 130 rods of fence, good well and 18 acres of breaking; total value of said improvements, $175.00. Family consists of “myself and wife-I have resided continuously on this land since January 10, 1887. My wife lives with her son and refuses to live with me.” Jacob Barrett and Henry Ford also verify that the claimant lived alone on the property as his “aged and infirm wife prefers to live with her married son.”

Looking back 100 years later at this glimpse into the marriage of my great great grandparents, it seems most of my gender could muster up a little compassion for a 70+ year old, sick ladys refusal to live in a 12 x 15 foot sod house on the prairie. There, of course, could have been other circumstances besides ill health and poor living conditions involved. Regardless of the circumstances, such a stand in the1890’s surely must have met with some degree of social disapproval.[4] The relatives left behind in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania probably were not aware of the marital discord and living arrangements of Samuel (3) and Elizabeth as a news item in The Now and Then reports, “He (Samuel) and his wife, Elizabeth Harding, celebrated their golden wedding in December 1890. They are living in Bijou Hills, South Dakota, and are said to be enjoying a healthy and vigorous old age.”[5]

Samuel (3) died on August 29, 1895 probably on his farm in Charles Mix County. A well-preserved gravestone marks his final resting place in the Union Cemetery, Bijou Hills, South Dakota.

In spite of Elizabeths apparent ill health, she lived to the age of 90 and died July 4, 1910 in St. Cloud, Minnesota. She was survived by Emmaline who died in 1916 in Grand Rapids, Wisconsin; James who died a missionary in India in 1923; Jerry who died in Charles Mix County, South Dakota in 1929; Will who died in Chehalis, Washington in 1932; and Samuel who died in Manor, Washington in 1834. The informant on her death certificate is S. R. Rogers of 1118 3rd (or 8th) Ave. S., St. Cloud, Minnesota. Elizabeth was probably living with her son, Samuel, at the time of her death. She is buried with her husband in the Union Cemetery at Bijou Hills, South Dakota.

Grave Site of Samuel

and Elizabeth Rogers

Union Cemetery, Bijou Hills,

South Dakota

Photo by Jean Rosenkranz

Elizabeth (Harding) Rogers and son, William “Will” Rogers

Photo courtesy of Mavis Rogers

Jeremiah Rogers’ Brother, Samuel

The photo below is of Jeremiah Rogers’ Brother, Samuel, and his wife, Malva (Mobley) Rogers, with their oldest
child, Richard Rogers.

From Jay Rogers photo collection: “Uncle Sam Rogers – & Aunt Malva x Richard.”

Martha Bennett’s Parents, Solomon and Lydia (Thurber?) Bennett

Pictures of the parents of Martha (Bennett) Rogers are shown below.

From Jay Rogers photo collection: “Gr pa Bennett – Dads Gr pa – Salaman”

George and Harley Bennett, brothers of Martha Bennett, are shown below with their mother.

From Jay Rogers photo collection: “Uncle Geo & Harley – Bennett – & Grandmother Bennett – Rudd – Iowa – 1897”

Martha Bennett’s Sister, Ora (Bennett) Skewis

Martha Bennett’s Sister, Ora, is shown below.

From Jay Rogers photo collection: “Aunt Aurie – Skewis – my mothers – sister’

Martha Bennett’s Sisters Allie, Marian and Ora are included in the photo

From Jay Rogers photo collection: “Aunt Allie – Marian & Ora. Their little sister – and Edna Rogers – 1898”

Earlier Ancestors of Jeremiah Rogers

Jean Rosenkrantz’s summary of Jeremiah Rogers grandparents — Samuel and Mary (Akroyd) Rogers — from “Weavers of a Legacy” is shown below.

Generation 6: Samuel Rogers (2) and Mary Akroyd

Samuel Rogers (2) was born at Bramley, three miles west of Leeds, Yorkshire, England on December 6, 1782 and christened on December 25, 1782. His birth date was taken from his family Bible, and the christening date is from parish records researched by Mr. D. H. Barron of Yorkshire.[9]

Samuel (2) emigrated from England in 1800, one year before the emigration of his parents and siblings. He arrived at the Port of Philadelphia on the ship Molly from Liverpool, England, Nathaniel Calvert, Master, on October 4,1800.[10] At the age of 18, Samuel apparently was already quite an enterprising young man. He found employment in Philadelphia, and in May of 1801 rented 103 acres from William Parkinson in Blockley Township, Philadelphia County “the greater part of Mill Creek Farm. [11] This piece of property had well-constructed buildings and established fruit trees. It must have been a very welcome sight to his parents and siblings who arrived in the summer of 1801 after their nearly 3-month sea voyage.

Samuel (2) married his first cousin, Mary Akroyd, on March 13, 1808 at Christiana, New Castle County, Delaware[12] where he and his brothers had been operating a woolen factory at Mill Creek Hundred, New Castle County for several years. Ten children were born to Samuel (2) and Mary:

Hannah born and died in 1810 in Delaware

Mary born 1811 in Delaware or Pennsylvania married John Woodley and died in 1872 in Columbia County, Wisconsin

Margaret born 1813 married Amasa Benjamin Winchell and died 1880 in Franklin County, Iowa

Jacob born 1815 married Almira Santee and died 1870 in Reynolds County, Missouri

Samuel (3) the direct-line ancestor born 1817 married Elizabeth Harding

Elizabeth born 1820 married William VanDyke and died 1875 in Reynolds County, Missouri

Richard Gaunt born 1822 married Mary Bly and died 1874 in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania

Jeremiah Akroyd born 1826 married Phebe Salmon and died 1877 in White Pigeon, Michigan

John born 1828 and died in 1828 in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania

George born 1829 and died in 1847 in Centre County, Pennsylvania

By 1810 Samuel (2) had moved from Delaware to Lycoming County, Pennsylvania and built a woolen mill, a dam and sawmill at the Forks of the Loyalsock Creek. It isnt clear just when Samuel moved his family from Delaware-certainly not until he had built a house for them; thus the confusion as to whether Mary was born in Delaware or Pennsylvania. The woolen mill was built near the abutment of the covered bridge at Forksville. Seven houses were also constructed for the Rogers families and employees. Jonathan and William remained in Delaware until they were able to close the business there in 1813 and then rejoin Samuel (2) at the new plant on the Loyalsock.[13]

During the War of 1812 the Rogers brothers had lucrative government contracts to supply Kersey cloth for the army uniforms as previously noted. To expand on this story, it is reported that they had used several teams to transport their fabrics to Philadelphia and bring back raw material and merchandise-a six-weeks round trip. Brothers Richard and David were the chief teamsters and were on the road both winter and summer. They each had a heavy Canistoga wagon with a team of eight horses. There were few bridges on the creeks and rivers that had to be crossed and none at all on the Loyalsock. Between Hillsgrove and Forksville, a distance of nine miles, they had to ford the Loyalsock Creek 16 times. The horses were never blanketed and seldom enjoyed the luxury of a stable. We might assume that living conditions for Richard and David while on the road were not much better than that of their horses.

In 1816 the Rogers sawmill and factory were swept away by a ravaging flood of the Loyalsock Creek. This flood was so devastating that the only remnant ever found was a large dye kettle used for dyeing the blue Kersey cloth. It was discovered several months after the flood in a deep hole about a mile below the Forks which became known as the “Dye Kettle Hole.” The old dye kettle itself was hauled by oxen teams to the new woolen factory below Forksville.[14] Today it is housed at the Sullivan County Historical Museum in Laporte, Pennsylvania.

In 1817 Samuel (2) and Jonathan bought property on Muncy Creek near the borough of Muncy in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania where the enterprising brothers built a frame building to house a new woolen factory. They also built a grist mill, plaster mill and sawmill all of which were operated in connection with the woolen mill.[15] In 1826 the woolen mill was destroyed by fire. After this disaster Samuel (2) and Jonathan dissolved their business relations, and Samuel bought out Jonathan’s interest. Jonathan returned to the Forks where he established another woolen factory that same year. He operated that factory until his death in 1830.

After the fire, Samuel (2) immediately turned his attention to building an even larger, 3-story woolen factory on Muncy Creek, this time of brick. The Muncy Mills consisted of a corn, plaster and sawmill as well as the cloth factory. He was engaged in that operation from about 1827 until 1840.

Samuel suffered his most devastating loss on December 17, 1836 with the death of his wife, Mary. She had punctured her wrist with the tongue of a Jews harp. Although the wound itself was seemingly minor, it apparently became infected and resulted in her death.[16]

Samuel Rogers


Photo Courtesy of Mavis Rogers

In 1841 Samuel (2) moved to Hightown in Union County, Pennsylvania where he managed and operated the White Deer Woolen Mills for about five years.[17] A news clipping, dated September 27, 1845 from an unidentified newspaper, notes “a fire at Samuel Rogers woolen factory at the mouth of White Deer Creek totally consumed the factory. The machinery was insured by Lycoming County Mutual in the amount of $1800.” I can find no other record of this second fire, but the account in the newspaper is most likely correct and would account for Samuel (2)s move to Brier Creek, Columbia County, Pennsylvania in 1846. There he leased a woolen mill with his sons, Richard G. and Jeremiah A., and continued the business for another eight years until his retirement in 1854. He returned to his farm at Carpenters Run in Muncy Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania where he owned 1800 acres of timberland on Bear Creek. At the east and south branch junction of this creek, Samuels sons, Richard and Jeremiah, built a woolen mill in 1854. Richards sons, George, Samuel and Judson, continued that business through another generation of woolen mill workers.

Although most of the literature review about Samuel (2) deals with his woolen mill endeavors, there are also references that give us clues about his other interests and his personality. Several sources refer to him as a highly esteemed citizen. It was also noted that he was a close observer, thoughtful, kind-hearted, and possessed good judgment.[18] He had a massive frame, but it was his social abilities that commanded respect and attention. He was the originator and one of the first directors of the Lycoming Mutual Fire Insurance Company, an institution organized in 1840. In a few years it had developed into one of the foremost mutual fire insurance companies in the whole country. After Samuels personal experience with fire loss, it is hardly surprising that he would be the director of a fire insurance company.

Samuel Rogers, (assume this to be Samuel, Jr. rather than Samuel, Sr.) along with Powell Bird and a William King, played a major role in the establishment of the first school in Lycoming/Sullivan County.[19] These three were district trustees in 1816 when widow Sarah Huckell conveyed a small
plot of land at Forksville for a schoolhouse. A July 4th celebration was held by the local settlers to begin clearing the land, and the school was officially opened on December 1, 1816.[20] Moses Rogers, Samuel (2)s youngest brother at the age of 10, made biographical history as the bearer of
water to the school construction workers.[21]

Samuel (2) was a member of the Baptist Church as were most of the other English families on the Loyalsock. He was one of the chief organizers of the First Baptist Church established at Muncy Creek. Although it appears he had been a Baptist all of his life, he was not baptized into the church until April 25, 1823 at the Rogers factory at Muncy. Samuel is credited with organizing the first Sunday School in the Muncy Valley and frequently served as moderator of the Northumberland Baptist Association.[22]

A story that surely adds some colorful threads to Samuels biography follows:

He (Samuel) was often applied to by acquaintances for advice in business matters, and sometimes in the event of domestic trouble. In case of family feuds he was shy, however, it is said in giving counsel. He once had a disagreeable experience as a domiciliary peace-maker. When a young man, on the way with his family to locate on the Loyalsock, while stopping at some settlement for rest and refreshment, he came to the house of a married couple who were engaged in actual hostilities. The weaker vessel seemed to be suffering the most damage, and was apparently worthy of the most sympathy. He kindly advocated peace. Finding kind words ineffectual, he finally felt obliged to protect her by taking her liege lord by the neck. The result was that the woman instantly turned on him in defense of her husband, and the combative twain fell upon him and gave him a fearful thrashing. Such vigorous reproof, he said, was enough to last him his life-time.[23]

The 1850 Lycoming County census shows Samuel (2) living in the home of his son-in-law, William Vandyke, and daughter Elizabeth. Samuel died of apoplexy on February 7, 1857 at the home of his son, Jeremiah, in Plunkets Creek Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. He was buried in the Emanuel Church graveyard, Muncy Creek Township, but later both his and his wifes remains were buried in the Muncy Cemetery, Muncy, Pennsylvania.

Samuel left a will dated February 10, 1849 and proved February 13, 1857. By mid-1800 standards, he was quite a wealthy man. Excerpts and abstracts from his will that might be of interest include:

_bequeath to my son Jacob Rogers all my real estate on the east branch of the Loyalsock Creek where John R. Riley now lives

_bequeath to my son Samuel all that track (sic) of land and appurtenances thereon that William Rogers and widow Bryan now occupy (plus several other tracts to Samuel)

_bequeath to my sons Richard G. Rogers and Jeremiah A. Rogers the remainder of this farm I now reside on which is not sold to them by article with all the appurtenances and two undivided third of the two additional tracks (sic)

_bequeath to my daughter Elizabeth Ann Van Dyke all of my Track (sic) of land Warrantee Peter Beck Jr. situated in Plunkets Creek Township, Lycoming County with all the appurtenances thereon which is now leased to John Davis.

_Samuel Rogers Jr. is to pay to Mary Woodley my daughter three hundred dollars

_daughter Margaret Winchell to receive $150 after four years plus $50 in bank notes

_E. A. Van Dyke $650 one year after my departing this life[24]

Samuel and Marys children, who were not listed in Samuels will, had all died before 1849.

Jeremiah’s Great Grandparents Samuel and Ann (Gaunt) Rogers

“Weavers of a Legacy” by Jean Rosenkrantz also has a summary of the great-grandparents — Samual and Ann Rogers — that is shown below.

Generation 5: Samuel Rogers (1) and Ann Gaunt

This generation continues from chapter 1.

Samuel Rogers (1) with his wife, children and brother, George, immigrated from Liverpool in the summer of 1801 and joined his son, Samuel (2), in Pennsylvania. The sea voyage was rife with danger and tragedy. The calamities of the voyage as told by Ann Gaunt Rogers have been preserved
in The Now and Then Rogers biography as footnoted.[1] Ann related that when her little ones cried for water, she gave them bits of hard, dry toasted bread to chew and abate their thirst. She told of the death of baby Jacob, 5 months old, who died from the dreaded smallpox outbreak and was buried at sea. After the ship had anchored about three miles from shore, some drunken sailors accidently set a fire and nearly burned down the ship. The rendition in the above source states that Uncle George had his leg badly scalded during the fracas. Four-year old Benjamin was missing when the family was ready to disembark. Joseph, 17, rushed back to the berths and found his brother asleep. Finally, the family arrived on American soil with 10 of their 14 children. Besides the child who died at sea, they had buried Abram, Elizabeth and Martha in England. Four more children would be born in their new homeland.

Samuel (1) did not stay long on the rented farm near Philadelphia. In 1802 he entered into a lease agreement with land agent Joseph Priestley, son of the eminent Dr. Joseph Priestley of Leeds, whom the Rogers would have known before immigration as the Priestley families were woolen cloth workers and dressers of West Riding. The elder Priestley was the discoverer of oxygen, a friend of Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, and the pastor of a congregation at Northumberland where he had settled in 1794.[2] The lease agreement with Joseph Priestley, Jr. was for 145 acres of choice land at the Forks (of the Loyalsock Creek) for $2.50 an acre for a period of five years without paying either rent or interest.[3] At the end of the five years Samuel Rogers (1) formally purchased the land from Joseph and Eliza Priestley by deed dated August 15, 1807. The legal description of the land is typical of such transactions in the 1700’s and early 1800’s referencing trees, stone heaps, posts and the middle of a creek. Samuel (1) cleared the land and built a cabin with the help of his 16-year old son, Jonathan, and moved his family into the cabin in the spring of 1802. The original house was located below what is now the Forksville Cemetery and was the first dwelling in the community that would later become the town of Forksville.

Although Samuel (1) apparently did not pursue the milling and weaving industry after emigration, he did deed land to his sons, Samuel (2), Jonathan and William, on the Loyalsock Creek for the purpose of building a woolen mill. The deed for this transaction was dated June 22, 1810 between “Samuel Rogers of the township of Shrewsbury in the county of Lycoming in the state of Pennsylvania and Ann his wife of the one part and Samuel Rogers, Jr., Jonathan Rogers and William Rogers of Mill Creek Hundred, Newcastle County, State of Delaware of the other part.” The three “boys” paid their father $40 for this tract of land which was “part or parcel of a tract of land conveyed by Joseph Priestley and wife of the town and county of Northumberland…to Samuel Rogers (1) by Indenture on the 15th day of August 1807, recorded in Book F, page 243, Recording of Deeds office, County of Lycoming. In this deed Samuel (1) reserved for himself the right of a road and ferry directly across the creek from his dwelling house. The Rogers brothers first erected a saw-mill, constructed a dam and then built the first woolen factory in that part of the country on their newly purchased parcel of land. This mill and factory provided employment for the English settlers and established communications with other nearby settlements on the route to Philadelphia.

Imagine, if you will, the pioneering experience of our Rogers in this yet untamed, virgin land-a land where there were yet no bridges to cross the many creeks, no stores, no churches, no mills, and, of
course, no woolen factory. Before the first roads, settlers often traveled on the Loyalsock by canoe to visit their neighbors. The first roads were wagon trails. One of the early Loyalsock settlers, Samuel Wallis, built a pack horse road in 1793 known as the Corson Road to transport supplies to the first
surveyors along the Loyalsock. This road started at Muncy, climbed to the summit of the Allegheny Mountains and then to the Loyalsock at Hillsgrove and up the Loyalsock to the Forks. Other roads in that early time frame were named for the settlers who carved out the first trails such as Hills Road, French Road and “Road to Eldreds.” The roads connected the various settlements to taverns, grist mills, saw mills and distilleries. The first significant road into the area was the Gennessee Road between Muncy and Monroeton which connected central Pennsylvania to the Gennessee River. By 1806 the Susquehanna and Tioga Turnpike was under construction which connected with the Gennessee Road. Another road of particular interest to this family history was a road built in 1810 from Forksville to the Edkin Farm on Muncy Creek. It is this road that the Rogers brothers traveled by horse, wagon and sled to transport goods and supplies from Philadelphia to build their woolen factory at Forksville.[4]

The Baptist Church known as the “Little Muncy Baptist Church” was organized in 1817 and formally established October 7, 1822. The original members included “Samuel Rogers (1) and Nancy Guant, (sic) his wife, Richard Rogers and Harriet Stanley, his wife, and Gittyann Rogers and Isaac Rogers.”[5] This same source claims that Samuel Rogers was a Baptist when he emigrated from England. This is probably true since the family was active in that denomination. It should be noted that Samuel Rogers (1) and Ann Gaunt, however, were married in the Church of England so it is unknown when they switched denominational loyalties.

Ann Gaunt Rogers died May 24, 1823 and Samuel (1) died January 29, 1828. Samuels obituary reads: “Samuel Rogers, died on the 29th ult., after a lengthy illness, at the Forks of Loyalsock Creek. On the following day a funeral sermon was delivered upon the occasion by Rev. Clark, after which his remains were interred in the family burying ground at that place. He, during the latter period of his life, held the responsible station of Deacon of the Forks of Loyalsock Particular Baptist Church.”[6]

Rogers Family Grave Marker

Fairmount Cemetery

Forksville, PA

Copyright (c) 2005 Robert Sweeney and Inndividual Contributors to the Sullivan County Genealogical Web Page. All rights reserved. Used by permission of the owners.

Fairmount Cemetery

Forksville, PA

Copyright (c) 2005 Robert Sweeney and Inndividual Contributors to the Sullivan County Genealogical Web Page. All rights reserved. Used by permission of the owners.

History of Brule County from Andreas, 1884

As noted above Jeremiah and his brothers William and Samuel obtained homesteads in southern Brule County, near Bijou Hills. A history of the county3, published in 1884, is shown below.



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 43º 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:

For Chamberlain236

” Southwest quarter of Section 30, Town 103, Range 6961

” Brulé City

” Kimball

” Red Lake

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.


Steps looking to the incorporation of Chamberlain as a village were taken early in 1882, and at a meeting of the board of county commissioners held April 3, 1882, a petition for an enabling act was presented to the board and favorably considered. The question was directed to be submitted to the people and an election ordered for April 17, at which time there were cast in favor of incorporation sixty-one votes, against forty-eight votes, and the proposition was declared adopted. The first election for village officers was held in the same month, and resulted in the choice of the following persons: Trustees, George Wright, J.M. Lane, S.W. Duncan: Clerk, M.A. Fuller: Attorney, J.M. Long, Treasurer, S.D. Stoddard, Marshal, John Foster.

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.

History of Bijou Hills from Wayne Surat Website

Jeremiah and Martha Rogers obtained their homestead near Bijou Hills in southern Brule County. A brief history of Bijou Hills is shown below.


The history of Bijou Hills runs deep. In the early 1900’s my grandmother, Ruth Surat recalls several things. In Bijou Hills she remembers a bank, hotel, blacksmith, grocery store, a Ford dealership, and a pool hall which her brother, Floyd Houska, owned. Their father, Ed Houska, was the postmaster of Bijou Hills from Aug. 7, 1942 until Aug. 31, 1957. My great-grandpa was the last postmaster in Bijou Hills because in ’57 the post office was discontinued and the mail was sent to either Academy or Chamberlain.

– Wayne Surat

When Brule County Was Young…

The first settlement in Eagle Township was at the town of Bijou Hills, which was the name of the range of hills close by. About the year 1869 a Frenchman by the name of Proteau built a log roadhouse at this place and it was known as the Bijou Hills roadhouse until a post office was established and from that time on the name was Bijou Hills. The military road running to Fort Thompson, Fort Sully and other points up the Missouri River ran by the house. This road was also a part of what is know in history as the Missouri River Trail, which started at St. Louis, Mo., and followed the river for nearly its entire length, with branch roads leading to the Black Hills and other important places. For year this was one of the most traveled roads in the Northwest.

Soldiers going back and forth between the forts, mule train hauling supplies for the forts, ox trains with freight for mining camps and settlements, adventurers and home seekers, all added to the travel over its trail. Road houses were built along the road where water could be had and generally about a day’s journey part. When the Bijou Hills road was built there was a large pond of water by the place, but this finally dried up and wells had to be used.

Proteau’s wife was a Negro woman by the name of Jane there were a number of kinky haired children about the place. There were sheds for the oxen or horses and always plenty of hay. Jane was a good cook, so that the Bijou Hills roadhouse became one of the most popular along the routes.

In 1873 Proteau sold out to a man named Jones, who with his quarter breed Indian wife ran the place until 1877 when he sold to John R. Lowe, who with his wife Amelia, came from Brule City to make Bijou Hills their home.

The land was still a reservation so that all that changed hands was the buildings. Mr. Lowe improved the place, put in a stock of goods and obtained the post office. His brother, Charles Lowe, Sr., carried mail from Bijou Hills to Rosebud Agency, a distance of about 100 miles to the northwest, crossing the river at Rosebud Landing. He used ponies and a buckboard while the mail was brought to Bijou Hills by what was called the Wyoming Stage Line. It was equipped with fine stage coaches, called “White Tops” because of the color, and generally were hauled by 4 good horses. These continued until the railroads put them out of business.

On July 6, 1882, Mr. Lowe had the present town site of Bijou Hills laid out and platted and lots were sold for different business enterprises.

The old road house was abandoned except that for some time it served as a school house for the settlement. Boys and girls came a considerable distance, for school opportunities were scarce. A.I. Troth was the teacher and his son, Lyson G. Troth, who was later State Secretary of Agriculture, was one of the pupils. The building was also used for the religious services, and other public gatherings. One of the most enjoyable occasions of those early days was a G.A.R. entertainment held at the old road house to start a fund with which to erect a G.A.R. Hall. There was some very good talent among the boys. Robert Bayles, who was something of a singer and comedian, was the center of attraction.

The first patent to land in Eagle Township was issued to Samuel Boothby on April 20, 1882. This land is now owned by Anton Kott. Boothby Bros., of which Samuel was one, were next to Lowes in making what was intended as a permanent settlement in the township. Their ranch was at the east end of the hills where John Duba and Anton Kott now live. They kept fine stock, but neither the Boothbys nor their cattle were used to blizzards. When the winter of 1880-1881 came, although they had plenty of hay, they were unable to get the cattle to the hay, or hay to the cattle, so when spring came they were so near out of business that they gave up ranching. They were not so ingenious as J.R. Lowe, who finding it impossible to get around with a team on account of the deep snow, sewed several cow hides together to form a large, flat surface, and fastened ropes to this. He and his hired man hauled it over the snow to the nearest hay stack, and after loading on what they could haul, they pulled it over the snow crust to the cattle. This was continued until spring and in that way Mr. Lowe saved most of a large herd.

– newspaper article on the history of Bijou Hills,

Nowadays, the structures in Bijou Hills are slowly diminishing. Buildings which have stood for nearly 100 years are now beginning to crumble as a result of age. Also in the past year or two, my Dad and I have been tearing down the old buildings to clear space. The structures in Bijou Hills that are still standing consist of my parent’s house, Grandma’s house and garage, the church, two trailer houses, and one old building my father and I have yet to tear down.

– Wayne Surat


In the early 1920’s, Bijou Hills had a population of 350 people. The “roaring 20’s” were a very promising period not only to the residents of Bijou Hills, but to the entire United States. There were a number of businesses in Bijou Hills including a pool hall, which my great-uncle Floyd Houska owned, and a small convenience store which my grandparents would soon own. When the stock market crashed in 1929 and the Great Depression hit in the 30’s, people started gradually packing up and leaving Bijou Hills. By the 1940s-50s, the population in the town of Bijou Hills was scarce, not even reaching a total of 10! However, Bijou Hills was still a popular place. The only two businesses in the town, the pool hall and convenience store, attracted several people from around the area during the week and especially during the weekend. My father can remember “the town being full” during the late 40’s and early 50’s. By the 1980s, the pool hall was no longer running but my grandparents still kept the store going. Even I can remember farmers stopping by for a pop and some chips. At the present time, in the actual town of Bijou Hills, only 3 people reside there: Wayne, Pat, and Ruth Surat… my father, mother, and grandmother.


Throughout the period I lived in Bijou Hills, it was suprising how many people came to the area requesting information on relatives who had lived and/or been buried near the Bijou Hills area. We directed many of these people to the Union Cemetery. The Union Cemetery is located 1 1/2 miles west of Bijou Hills, SD. The only information I received for this entire site via the internet is a list of the deceased who rest in Union Cemetery. I came upon the list while visiting The most recent list they had was updated in 1994, and since then, there have been several other burials in Union Cemetery, including my grandfather, Alvin John Surat, which is represented by the gravestone below.


1Rosenkrantz, Jean, 2006, Weavers of a Legacy — Ancestors and Descendants of Samuel Rogers (1760-1828), Ann Gaunt (1762 1823), Yorkshire, England and Allied Families: Privately Published, 151 p. Online.

2Centennial Atlas Limited, 1984, Centennial Atlas of Brule County, 1884-1984: Watertown, SD, Centennial Atlas, p. BR-8 and BR-16

3Gnirk, Adeline S, 1977, The Saga of Sully Flats: Gregory, SD, Gregory Times-Advocate. 299 p.

4Andreas, AT, 1884, Historical Atlas of Dakota: Chicago, R.R. Donnelly, Lakeside Press, 220 p.

Webpage History

Webpage posted January 2009. Updated June 2010 with extensive additions of images and explanatory text for a booklet for a family reuinion picnic in Pierre on June 20. Updated December 2015 with addition of photos and information on the homestead.