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

Thoen Stone

Thoen Stone Marker image. Click for full size.
October 16, 2021
1. Thoen Stone Marker
Inscription.  Gold was first discovered in the Black Hills by General George Custer's expedition in 1874. Or was it? There is some evidence that gold was actually discovered in the northern Black Hills in 1834 by a group of seven men who came here in 1833 specifically to look for it.

Fifty-three years later, in 1887, Louis Thoen and his brother Ivan were searching for foundation material around Spearfish when they found an inscribed piece of sandstone at the base of Lookout Mountain. The stone appears to describe the gold seekers' fate.

Save for one, the entire group had been killed by American Indians, who did not want trespassers on their sacred land. Ezra Kind, the lone survivor, etched a record of his situation into the stone. Kind wrote, "got all of the gold we could carry our ponys all got by the Indians I hav lost my gun and nothing to eat and indians hunting me"

Some question the stone's authenticity. Did Louis Thoen really discover the stone, or did he create it? That question remains, but the gold seekers' families verify that the men did go west

Far right: Louis Thoen c. 1912
Right: The
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Thoen Stone as on display at the Adams House and Museum in Deadwood, SD

Erected by the South Dakota State Historical Society, a Preserve America grant, and the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission. Images courtesy of the Adams Museum and House.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Exploration. A significant historical year for this entry is 1887.
Location. 44° 28.903′ N, 103° 52.101′ W. Marker is in Spearfish, South Dakota, in Lawrence County. Marker can be reached from Thoen Stone Road, 0.3 miles south of St Joe Street. Located at Thoen Stone Monument in Spearfish. Can be found at the top of a small hill up a short winding path from Thoen Stone Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Spearfish SD 57783, 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. A different marker also named Thoen Stone (here, next to this marker); The Mail (approx. ¾ mile away); Spearfish Canyon Flora and Fauna (approx. 4.6 miles away); Spearfish Canyon Through Time (approx. 4.6 miles away); Frawley Brothers Upper Ranch (approx. 7.8 miles away); Center of the Country (approx. 7.9 miles away); Theodore Roosevelt “The American” (approx. 7.9 miles away); Mount Roosevelt (approx. 7.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Spearfish.
Related marker.
Thoen Stone Marker & Thoen Stone Monument image. Click for full size.
October 16, 2021
2. Thoen Stone Marker & Thoen Stone Monument
Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
Also see . . .  South Dakota Public Broadcasting article on the Thoen Stone. (Submitted on October 19, 2021.)
Thoen Stone Monument Area image. Click for full size.
October 16, 2021
3. Thoen Stone Monument Area
Entrance to Thoen Stone Monument Road image. Click for full size.
October 16, 2021
4. Entrance to Thoen Stone Monument Road
Credits. This page was last revised on October 21, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 19, 2021. This page has been viewed 243 times since then and 11 times this year. Last updated on October 20, 2021. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 19, 2021. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 3, 2024