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Page 54 text:
Q.. l 3
A symbol of those early days were the cowboys, many of whom are well known. They became members of
our present community. Of these rugged individuals, Mrs. Emily Hall wrote in her account, "l found them to
be the most generous and kind hearted class of people I have met." Mrs. Bastion, early hotel owner in this area,
gives almost the same opinion.
These cowboys rode the range and took part in the spring and fall roundups. Tom Jones was one of the very
early foreman of the wagons. Many an evening was spent around the campfire after a meal prepared by the
chuck wagon cook .
Through the severe blizzards, droughts, floods, and prairie fires, these hardy pioneers continued to live,
laugh, and share their sorrows. Many memories of those days are still alive in the hearts and minds of our people.
Although Midland was named in l89O,
it really had its start in the fall of 1906 when,
on December 16, the railroad was extended
from Pierre. This began the homestead caval-
cade which lasted until l9ll when one of
the driest yeals in the history of the west river
hit the country and sent many back east. In
about T919 much of the north side of main
street was destroyed by fire. These buildings
were later replaced by the C . E . Murray
Store and the Legion Hall.
Arriving on that first train was Julia
Talledge, still a resident of Midland. Julia
worked in the Nationcil Bank for many years,
and since has held positions at the state
capitol at Pierre and county offices in Philip.
Page 53 text:
ju Lilre deginning . .
Before the turn of the century, when the west was still the "wide open spaces" of rolling hills and great
expanses of prairie, the town of Midland was founded. In l89O, Charlie Russell came from Buffalo, New York,
to Pierre, during the capital boom in l888 and '89, In the spring of l89O, soon after the territory was closed
as a reservation and thrown open to white settlement, Mr. Russell organized a company, plotted a site, and
called the town Midland, because of its position midway between Pierre and the Black Hills. He opened a store
and later a hotel which was operated by Mrs. Emily Hall, mother of Mrs. Jennie Russell. Mrs. Hall had orig-
inally settled at the Nowlin site.
Wagon loads of goods were
freighted from Pierre to stock
the Russell store . Customers
were ranchers, cowboys, and
many Sioux who traveled the
Spotted Tail Trail from the
ln those days, Mr. Russell
said his doors were never locked
and nothing was stolen until
the railroad brought hobos,
civilization, and the need for
law and order.
Mr. Russell and Jennie Hall were married in i895 and their daughter Grace was the first white child born
in Midland . She was also one of the first two graduates of Midland High .
Life in this "promised land" seemed ideal to the few early settlers. A dream of prosperity, plenty of game,
wood, water, and sunshine was the bright hope of the future .
ln the midst of this peaceful existence, during the month of
Q November, came rumors ofa Sioux uprising . Scouts warned the pioneers
that the path of the war party would perhaps head through Nowlin.
Settlers, including Mrs. Hall and her three daughters, one of whom was
Mrs. Jennie Russell, spent a cold and fearful night on the banks of Bad
River. About fifty families gathered at Midland and began the long
sixty-mile wagon train trek to Ft. Pierre and safety. Spending the nights
sleeping on hay and under cattle sheds, and the days traveling their
weary way, the party arrived, after three days, at Ft. Pierre where they
remained until the spring of '89, when Mrs. Hall returned to Midland
and opened the hotel which she continued to operate for seven years.
One of the disastrous. events of the early day was the blizzard of
May 5, 1905 which wrote a tragic story across the pages of the westem
ranch life. Beginning as a rain which lasted two days, the storm came
suddenly, sending temperatures below zero. Bewildered livestock drifted
into creeks and draws and were covered with snow or died of exposure
ln the same year, another blow struck the pioneers . On July 4, Bad
River flooded its banks causing ranchers along the river to flee their homes
in the dark hours of the night or early moming . Lives were lost and much
Page 55 text:
ln the very early days there were no churches and pioneers worshiped in their own homes in the way which
best met their particular need .
The Presbyterian Church, now the Lutheran Church, was completed in 1906 and a few years later the Catholic
Church was built. In I948 the Open Bible Church was established . A Methodist congregation also had a build-
ing below the school hill. Reverend Weiruch, Ft. Pierre, was the pastor for many years. Reverend Tell was
another early minister ofthe Presbyterian Church .
A pioneer Sunday School superintendent,
Mrs. A . Beiler, inspired many a youth with
Christian ideals. Those recognizable in the
photo are: Milbum Fose, George Taggart, Frank
Dinsmore, George Minard, Mrs. Beiler, Oscar
Lane, Forrest Buchanan, Ronald Robertson,
Cecil Fose, Glen McCracken, Burton Beiler,
Hall Snow, Roy Abrahamson, George Anderson,
Wulf Reinschmidt, Unidentified, Melvin
Ravenscroft, Gale Fose.
The scene of much of Midland's school and community life was the "Opera House" constructed in about
1908 at the approximate site of the present Irene Long home.
Echoing voices of the past, this building held memories of home talent plays, dances, movies, bazaars,
Christmas programs featuring the huge community tree, high school basketball contests, proms, dramatic pro-
ductions, and graduation exercises.
Destroyed by fire in l926, the loss was keenly felt, For students and community were deprived of a meeting
place until the present Legion Building was erected in l929.
dozifcfkr ZLAQ fizfnre.
Midland, at one time, boasted an orchestra, and for many years, a
band, under the direction of V . L . Ferguson .
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