Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Saturday, August 31, 2019

September 3- Chris Hills, “Forgotten Prospectors of Tinton”

Sept 3, 2019 at 7:30

Chris Hills will present
the "Forgotten Prospectors of Tinton" on Sept 3 at 7:30 for the first presentation of the season for the Spearfish Area Historical Society at the Spearfish Senior Citizens Center.

Public is welcome.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Tom Louks will present "A Visual History of Spearfish/Dakota Territory - 1875 to 1910" on March 5

The Tuesday March 5 presentation will be on "A Visual History of Spearfish/Dakota Territory - 1875 to 1910 Postcards and Stereo Views" by Tom Louks.

This program of the Spearfish Area Historical Society was originally scheduled for Oct 2018 but is now being presented on March 5, 2019 at 7:30pm at the Spearfish Senior Citizens Center. 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

"An Evening with a Wyoming Cowboy" -- Wilbur Newland

Wilbur Newland
 Wilbur Newland presented "An Evening with a Wyoming Cowboy" on Jan 8, 2019 for the Spearfish Area Historical Society at the Spearfish Senior Citizens Center. 

Wilbur Newland shared cowboy stories (such as cowboy bedroll etiquette), and recited cowboy poetry and Shakespeare for 72 people at the event. 

Backdrops included a typical cowboy tent, a rodeo painting, and a rolling screen presentation of beautiful Black Hills and SD prairie photographs. 
Wilbur Newland "An Evening with a Wyoming Cowboy" - Jan 8, 2019 Spearfish Area Historical Society

Monday, December 3, 2018

"Ft. Meade - Dakota Territory" presented by Randy Bender

Randy Bender presented "Ft. Meade - Dakota Territory" through songs, stories and interchanging costumes to approximately 110 people at the Spearfish Senior Citizens Center on Tues Dec 4, 2018.   

Randy's characters were real people who were buried at the Ft. Meade Cemetery (located at the top of the hill south-west of Ft Meade with a great view of Bear Butte).

Besides the great characters portrayed, there were tidbits of information about Ft. Meade soldiers who were also tasked to do carpentry work, care and shoe-ing for horses (a farrier), and just about anything.  Pay was $13.00 a month.  Sturgis was know as "Scoop Town" because it scooped up a soldier's pay. 

In 1901, Ft Meade forbid wine and beer sales at the Fort, so the sales soared in Sturgis.

Ft. Meade was known as the "Peace-keeper Post", making strides at keeping the peace in difficult times.

In 1892, Ft. Meade was instrumental in starting the ritual of standing and removing hats for the playing of the Star Spangled Banner.  Soon, all U.S. Military Institutions were following that ritual.  In 1931, the song was made the U.S. National Anthem.  Randy led the audience to sing a rousing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. 

Randy brought in antiques from the Fort and also a recent find to be placed at the Ft. Meade Museum.  It is a remnant of the U.S. Prigate Constitution ship keel made into a picture frame with a print picture of the ship.


Monday, November 26, 2018

"Lewis & Clark Through South Dakota" by Larry Reuppel

Larry Reupple presented "Lewis & Clark through South Dakota" on Tuesday, Nov 13, 2018 to ninety attendees for the Spearfish Area Historical Society at the Spearfish Senior Citizens Center.
Larry Reuppel at the Spearfish Area Historical Society Nov 13, 2018 presenting "Lewis & Clark through South Dakota"

In 1801, Thomas Jefferson became the third President of the United States.   Spain owned the western land mass in North America and in 1801 signed a secret treaty to transfer it to France.  The United States had no port south in the gulf and was eager to gain a port in New Orleans.  Instead of just the gulf area, France offered the entire land mass of 828,000 sq miles for $15 million.  And so in Dec 1803 America bought the Louisiana Purchase for just 3 cents per acre. 

Jefferson commissioned Merriweather Lewis to explore the new territory.  Lewis offered William Clark the chance to team up with him.  The mail was so slow that Clark was within 24 hours of missing out on the job.  Lewis & Clark   They obtained a 55' x 8' keelboat that could be sailed, rowed, and pulled to venture west, starting from Pittsburg down the Ohio River to camp north of St Louis in the winter of 1803-'04.  From there, they hired 44 men to join their "Corps of Discovery".

On May 14, 1804, Clark and the Corps joined Lewis in St. Charles, Missouri and headed upstream on the Missouri River in the keelboat and two smaller boats at a rate of about 15 miles per day. Heat, swarms of insects and strong river currents made the trip arduous at best.

The day before they made it to Dakota Territory, On August 20, 22-year-old Corps member Sergeant Charles Floyd died of an abdominal infection, possibly from appendicitis. He was the only member of the Corps to die on their journey.
Lewis & Clark map (photo of Larry Rueppel's map)

Their journey into Dakota Territory started on August 21, 1804 with a buffalo hunt and Lewis becoming ill of arsenic poisoning.  They ventured to Spirit Mound north of Vermillion and the James River where they met three Yankton Sioux Indian boys.  They Yankton Sioux were peaceful and accepted the Jefferson Peace Medals - a coin stamped with the image of a handshake.  They were warned of the Teton Sioux further north on the Missouri River.

Lewis & Clark logged new animals into their journals in South Dakota such as a "barking squirrel" (prairie dog) and a "prairie wolf" (coyote).

Near the middle (south to north) of South Dakota, they encountered the Teton Sioux, who were not friendly but a large group agreed to met with the Corps.  There were four chiefs and Lewis thought one was the head chief so offered a coat and hat to him.  This very much angered the other chiefs and the Corp barely made it out on the river, with the Teton Sioux yelling and taunting them along the banks for a long while.   

In early October, the first reference to the Black Hills was made in Lewis & Clark journals as the "Black Mountain".   By late October, they met a friendly Indian tribe the Arikara.  And on Oct 24, they made it to what is now the  North Dakota border.

A little less than two years later, on Aug 20, 1806, they arrived on the northern border of South Dakota on the return journey down the Missouri River.   Going north they had averaged 10 miles a day to journey through South Dakota.  On the return trip they made anywhere from 43 to 81 miles per day.   Going up river through South Dakota took 64 days while the return took 15 days.  

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Industrializing the Black Hills -- Mines, Railroads, and People by Dr.David Wolff

South Dakota State Seal

One hundred and ten people attended the Sept 4, 2018 Spearfish Area Historical Society's first program of the 2018-19 season with Dr. David Wolff presenting "Industrializing the Black Hills -- Mines, Railroads, and People".  

Did you know that the SD state seal/logo was design in 1885 and approved in 1889?  It features a smokestack of a smelter, but there was no smelter industry in the state at the time. 

Where was the payout gold found in the Black Hills?  Along Deadwood Creek and Whitewood Creek.

Was there any violence in the early years of the Black Hills Gold Rush?   Sadly, yes.  There were instances of claim jumping and stage hold-ups.

Who got the winning stake? The Homestake deposit was discovered by Fred and Moses Manuel, Alex Engh and Hank Harney in April 1876, during the Black Hills gold rush.  A trio of mining entrepreneurs, George Hearst, Lloyd Tevis, and James Ben Ali Haggin, bought the claim from them for $70,000 on October 18, 1877.  The Homestake deposit was a 600' x 1500'  claim. An 80-stamp mill began crushing Homestake ore in July 1878.  The partners sold shares in the Homestake Mining Company and listed it on the New York Stock Exchange in 1879. 
Homestake Gold Mine, Lead, SD in 1900

What happened to the Homestake Mine?  George Hearst died in 1891, 14 years after stepping onto the Homestake depost.  Thomas Grier took over as manager and, together with Charles W Merrill, set up cyanide processing plants to retrieve the gold at 90% recovery -- the slime plants.  Many more claims were added, for a total of 300 claims by 1900.  The mining company grew from a handful of employees to 2,000, employing mostly immigrants hailing from all over Europe, although over half were Cornish or English.  From 1890 to 1910, the Lead area had the most diverse population in South Dakota. 

The Homestake Mine was in production for 124 years until the end of 2001.   In 2002, the Homestake Mining Company was merged into the Canadian-based Barrick Gold Corporation.  Local offices and employees continue to control and monitor land management and environmental aspects from the massive mine.

Monday, October 1, 2018

2nd Program - Oct 2 at 7:30pm "A Visual History of Spearfish/Dakota Territory - 1875 to 1910 Postcards & Stero Views" by Tom Louks

"A Visual History of Spearfish/Dakota Territory - 1875 to 1910 Postcards & Stero Views" by Tom Louks   

Oct 2, 2018 at 7:30pm at Spearfish Senior Center

Note:  This program was cancelled due to Tom Louks' car accident, from which he is recovering.