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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Pierre in Hughes County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Oahe Mission School and Chapel

-1877-

 
 
Oahe Mission School and Chapel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, April 2, 2021
1. Oahe Mission School and Chapel Marker
Inscription.  Stephen Return Riggs became a Missionary to the Sioux in Minnesota in 1837. Thomas L. Riggs was born in 1847 and twenty-five years later was delegated to serve the Teton Sioux on the Missouri. His first Station, Hope, was west of the Missouri, opposite Ft. Sully. On December 26, 1872, he married Nina Foster and his son, Theodore, was born in July, 1874, at Hope Station, which they soon left, to serve 300 Two Kettle and Sans Arc Sioux at Bogue, soon called Oahe Station, in a log building. A School and church were necessary. Lumber to create it was brought by the steamer "Durfee" in June, 1877and by September, Riggs, one carpenter and Indian labor had created the present chapel whree the annual Dacotah church meeting was held. Two young Indians, Samuel Smiley and David Lee were baptized and Roan Bear (Clarence Ward) was married to Estelle Dupree. Oahe "a place to stand upon", as near as the Sioux language came to a foundation, became the religious center of huge area.

The building has not been changed since it served as school and church. Some blackboard writing of Louisa Irvine, his second wife, who survived Thomas, has been preserved.
Oahe Mission School and Chapel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, April 2, 2021
2. Oahe Mission School and Chapel Marker
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The bell, inscribed "Wakan Tanka Ohala Po", (Praise ye the Lord) is the gift of a New England Congregational Church. Thomas L. Riggs' own faith. Its original site was 11 miles upstream and is now under 150 feet of water.

It is open for church services of any denomination and likewise for marriages by any clergyman. Contact state historical society, Pierre.
 
Erected 1965 by State Historical Society and Highway Commission.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & ReligionNative AmericansSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical month for this entry is June 1877.
 
Location. 44° 27.485′ N, 100° 23.154′ W. Marker is in Pierre, South Dakota, in Hughes County. Marker is at the intersection of South Dakota Route 1804 and South Dakota Route 204 on State Route 1804. Located in a pull over next to a South Dakota State Tourism Center. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 20037 SD-1804, Pierre SD 57501, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Oahe Mission (here, next to this marker); The Lewis and Clark Expedition (approx. 1.1 miles away); A Changing Landscape (approx. 1.1 miles away); The Oahe Dam & Lake (approx. 1.1 miles away); Stilling Basin (approx. 1.8 miles away);
Pastor Thomas L. Riggs image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, April 2, 2021
3. Pastor Thomas L. Riggs
Sioux Indian Mosaic (approx. 2 miles away); Turtle Effigy (approx. 2 miles away); Centre of Missouri Valley History (approx. 2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Pierre.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 9, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 9, 2021, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 39 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 9, 2021, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.

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May. 12, 2021