Monday, July 18, 2011


Huron's temperature was 109 degrees at 7:30 p.m. last night. Remember the early residents settled Beadle County wearing long sleeves, long underwear, long skirts and petticoats--before electricity and air conditioning. Ice only came from the Huron Ice Company cut from the river the previous winter. I don't think I could have done it....

Wild, Wild Huron - 1881 - John Walter BRETON

John Walter BRETON was appointed railway [telegraph] operator at Huron, Dakota Territory, June 25, 1880.  From his memoirs...

[Source: Mike BRETON, Geneal Familial, Used with permission, paragraphs and punctuation added]

In the year 1881 I was acting (as) Railroad Agent for the C and NW ry [Chicago & Northwestern Railroad] Huron and at that time the frontier life at Huron was

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Newspaper Index, July 21, 1942--August 2, 1970

In the South Dakota Room at the Huron Public Library sits an old-fashioned wood card cabinet.  The cabinet houses my second obscure, excellent resource: Index to select South Dakota items in the local newspaper from July 21, 1942, to August 2, 1970.  While the index is far from complete, it deserves a first look whether you are researching a person, place, or event.

Now you know all (well, two) of my secrets for researching local history....

Huron - How did it get its name?

Chaplain, this is for you....  Today I'd like to share two obscure, excellent sources for local history.

The first is A Place-Name Study of Beadle County, South Dakota, written by Leta JAMES 1908-1978.  The daughter of Frank W. JAMES and Florence Lorena GARDNER, Miss JAMES interviewed or corresponded with 123 residents and former residents to prepare her master's thesis at the University of South Dakota.  The manuscript was published in 1939.  You can read the background of this one-of-a-kind document in The Evening Huronite, Tuesday, September 12, 1939, page 3, column 1 "Research Student Reveals Source of Place Names In Beadle County...".

Huron, page 20
The county seat and largest town in the county with a population of 11,733.  Located in Theresa, Valley, Clyde, and Custer T. on the James R., at the center of the county.  Established upon extension of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad.  Founded by the Western Town Lot Co., and platted June 5, 1880.  Named by Marvin Hughitt, President of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad for the Huron Indians.  The name itself is believed to be a corruption of the French word meaning "wild boar," given this tribe of Indians because of their wild and unkempt appearance.  (Beadle Plats of Entries I, p. 67, Robinson's Ency., p. 367; Stennett's History of Place Names, p. 85; Mrs. J. P. Walsh)