“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Brookings in Brookings County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Medary Townsite

1857-58 1871-79

Medary Townsite Marker image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, August 5, 2018
1. Medary Townsite Marker

The Dakota Land Company of St. Paul, hoping to make this site the capital of a proposed Dakota Territory, started a town here, naming it for Samuel Medary, Governor of Minnesota Territory. Towns were also begun at Flandreau and Sioux Falls, the same year, 1857.

The site was settled when the Fort Ridgely and South Pass Wagon Road was built through here to the Missouri in 1857. Samuel A. Medary, son of the Governor, was the Engineer and Col. Wm. H. Nobles was its promoter and builder. A rock ford was made over the Big Sioux. The area of South Dakota east of the Big Sioux was ceded by the Yankton Sioux in 1859.

The Sioux under a Yankton chief, Smutty Bear, regarding the white settlers as trespassers, determined to drive them away. A warning was sent to the settlers by Dr. Thos. S. Williamson. Their leader, Franklin J. DeWitt, prepared the settlers to resist but finally agreed to leave peaceably in June 1858. The Sioux burned their buildings and destroyed their crops. Flandreau was evacuated and only Sioux Falls remained until the Sioux Uprising in 1862.

In 1869 permanent white settlement
Medary Townsite Marker image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, August 5, 2018
2. Medary Townsite Marker
began in this vicinity, again known as Medary, with the Trygstads, Jermstads, and Chris Baltrud. Settlers were of Norwegian and American stock. Brookings County was created in 1862. Medary was named as the county seat on Jan. 21, 1871 and so remained until 1879, when most of the stores and houses were moved north 7 miles to Brookings, as the railroad reached that point.
Erected 1957 by Brookings County Commissioners and State Highway Commission.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Native AmericansSettlements & Settlers.
Location. 44° 12.625′ N, 96° 47.237′ W. Marker is near Brookings, South Dakota, in Brookings County. Marker is at the intersection of 471st Ave and 219th St, on the right when traveling south on 471st Ave. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Brookings SD 57006, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. First Convention in Brookings County (a few steps from this marker); Medary (within shouting distance of this marker); Moody County (approx. one mile away); Brookings County (approx. one mile away); Brookings County South Dakota Veterans Memorial (approx. 6.8 miles away); Heart of Brookings
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(approx. 6.8 miles away); Brookings/Hillcrest Park (approx. 7 miles away); Coughlin Campanile (approx. 7.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Brookings.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 8, 2018. It was originally submitted on August 6, 2018, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 93 times since then and 23 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 6, 2018, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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Aug. 14, 2020