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Page 11 text:
HISTORY OF THE ATHOL COMMUNITY
When my grandparents carne to South Dakota in 1885, Athol was a boomtown.
It consisted of two big hotels, one was where the hall was before it burned, a
hardware store, a saloon post office harness shop, two livery barns one was
where Lloyd Kegler built his house, a lumber yard that was run by Frank Booth's
father two elevators, a drugstore two general stores a shoe shop a blacksmith
shop, a brewery where Roy Brown now lives, and a barber shop The population
is estirnated to have been five thousand people
The town was supposed to have been built a mile north of where :lt now stands
and it was called Myrtle City because the first baby born in the settlement was
named Myrtle It got its name Athol from an English train conductor who first
called it that It was the name of a famous armor used by a House of Lords In
England., The name stuck and finally it was changed to Athol
It was three years after my grandparents came to South Dakota that they
had the blizzard of '88 It was the severest ever experienced in this area The
storm struck Athol about nine o clock on the morning January twelfth 1888 The
pupils had just arrived at school It was a blinding blizzard until three o clock
the next morning A teacher, Miss Stansfield who taught the Percival school
north of here was frozen to death as she tried to get to Percivals
all night They turned their tearn loose tipped the sled upside-down and crawled
under it Their fingers and toes were frozen but otherwise they were unhurt
Mrs Reed s sister in law and a little boy were caught in a school house
west of here They didn t have any fuel but she put a pair of gloves on hirn and
kept hirn walking all night Her hands were slightly frozen but fortunately there
were no other injuries
My grandfather Galvin, and his brother were caught in the blizzard but
managed to reach home safely
Some of the other early settlers were my grandmother and her brother,
John O Connor several Wllhelms, Schwenns, Alvin Grover, Dan McDole who
kept a livery barn and hotel Robert and Frank Twiss, and Corbin Ingalls Drs
Wood and Edward were also early settlers
The first school had only ten grades in it The first teacher was Lotty
Witheral who was sixteen years old There was no high school the first few
years In 1911 the present school building was built
Slnce the boom, the town has slowly disappeared until it consists of only
about a fourth of what it did In the beginning there were four passenger trains
each day ln tlrne the town will probably disappear altogether
A family who lived south of town had several young men out ln the storm
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