CANISTOTA’S SEVENTY-FIFTH ANNIVERSARY 1884 - 1959
A SHORT HISTORY OF THE FIRST SEVENTY-FIVE YEARS OF LIFE IN
CANISTOTA, SOUTH DAKOTA
Originally written by JOHN H. SCHLUETER and WENDALL ANDERSON in 1959
Transcribed by KENNETH THOMAS, firstname.lastname@example.org, with permission of WENDALL ANDERSON in 1997
Copyrighted 1959 by J. Schlueter and W. Anderson
In commemorating the 75th anniversary of the city of Canistota,
it seems only fitting and proper that this publication be
dedicated to the pioneers of that city and it’s surrounding
community. To these men and women go the credit of not only
founding our little city, but also providing many of the fine
advantages we enjoy today, as citizens of Canistota and
community; as well as the state of South Dakota and this great
nation of ours. Theirs has been the inspiration that has caused
others to carry on the work of keeping this community one of
which we of today, are proud to be a part of.
We can picture this community in early 1884. A vast prairie, with
but a smattering of settlers scattered among the wide acres. Here
and there a homesteader’s shack, inhabited by families, who had
moved here from eastern states -- led on by the many stories of
great opportunities of the Dakota Territory.
Their’s was not an easy life! At times it seemed that everything
went against them -- even nature herself. The winters were
severe, with extreme cold and raging blizzards. The summers were
hot, and often dry, during which time they saw the crops on which
they had worked so hard, wither away because of the lack of
moisture and the hot sun. It was during those summers that the
prairie fires were a constant threat, not only to crops and
homes, but life itself. Threats of Indian uprisings were also
prevalent, much of the time.
However, even though some did give up and head back east, there
were many pioneer families who did not give up, but stayed to
fight for their homes.
These were the fine people who had the faith in this community.
The task was indeed difficult; the trials and tribulations
numerous. However, it was their foresight and energy that built
the churches, the homes, schools, farms and businesses which are
a part of our present living.
May we, the generation of today, build with the confidence and
sureness, as they did who came before us.
FORERUNNER OF CANISTOTA AND
FIRST COUNTY SEAT OF McCOOK COUNTY
No history of Canistota would be complete, without first
beginning with a few paragraphs concerning the little town of
Cameron, which made its early appearance on the great plains of
this area, sometime in the 70’s.
On June 15th, 1878 Wm. S. Wells, David Manary and Isaac Manary
met at Cameron to organize McCook county, with the following
officials chosen on that same day:
John D. Cameron, register of deeds; Walter Price, treasurer;
James Manary, sheriff; Andrew Burger, superintendent of schools;
Simon Wells, county judge; G. D. Gross, attorney and surveyor;
John Hutchinson, Chris Soft and Peter Muench, justices; H. G.
Miller, David Manary and Lars Harris, constables. Cameron was
named the county seat.
J. D. Cameron, founder and namesake of Cameron, had the town
platted in August of 1878, but did not get around to filing the
plat until July 27th, 1880. He did not plow the furrows marking
the streets and alleys until the following August.
At the time of the platting of the town-site, Mr. Cameron, it is
said, offered a lot to anyone who would build on it. In testimony
of his faith in the new town, Mr. Cameron built the Cameron
Hotel. Another hotel, the McCook Hotel, was built by Peter
The Cameron Pioneer, formerly the Rockport Pioneer, made its
first appearance under a Cameron date line on May 2, 1879.
Cameron was growing, having a total of 32 buildings, with at
least three going up every week. Advertisers in the first Pioneer
included Clark and Bullard, Pioneer Store; Cameron’s Store;
Cameron and McCook Hotels; Wells House; Lidden and Avery, Lumber;
Tabor Brothers, flour and feed; Davis and Co., and Stockman and
Co., contractors; Dr. D. A. Smith; George Highsley, blacksmith;
Fred Roever, hardware and tinsmith; Howard and Berry, saloon.
There was a stage from Cameron to Sioux Falls, with two trips
daily. The little town had awaited the appearance of a railroad
from Sioux Falls, through Cameron, and on to Mitchell. However,
the chances had slipped fast and soon were forgotten.
By the time that the Pioneer reached Volume 2; Number 1, in 1880,
the Cameron ads were very meager. The stage, which had been
running twice a day, had changed and there was a tri-weekly stage
from Sioux Falls to Rockport. Some of the businesses had now left
the town and had moved to Marion Junction and Bridgewater.
Cameron was putting up a good fight to hold the county seat.
However, because of its location and the fact that it was not a
railroad town, the fight was lost in May of 1880, and Bridgewater
became the county seat.
However, Bridgewater’s good fortune was also short-lived. An
election was held in 1882 to name the county seat. After the
votes were canvassed it was found that 887 votes had been cast,
giving Salem the nod for the honors, by a margin of 66 votes.
In 1883, the Chicago, Northwestern Railroad built its line from
Hawarden to Huron, by-passing Cameron. A new town-site was laid
out about a mile northwest of Cameron, and is now known as
Canistota. That was the end of the little town of Cameron.
JOHN D. CAMERON
The following is an excerpt taken from the files of the Clipper
of March 18, 1915, concerning Mr. John D. Cameron, founder of the
town of Cameron:
"John D. Cameron was one of the best known men in the territory
of Dakota during the time of his residence here. He was the
central figure in many of the early day experiences. He was a
brilliant man and a man with the nerve to tackle most any
proposition which looked as though it might yield money. He was a
plunger of plungers and like all such men had his ups and downs."
Religious Services Begin In 1878
Most of the early settlers in this area were people, who had in
earlier years immigrated from European countries and had settled
in eastern states. Many were deeply religious people, and it was
not long before the need of spiritual guidance for themselves and
their children became a necessity.
A Sunday school was started in Cameron in July of 1879, with I.
G. Carter as superintendent. The first preaching service in
Cameron was announced in September of 1879, with Joshua Watson as
the preacher. Mr. Watson came to this community in 1878, and was
soon active in religious work in this area. Services were held in
a school house. The Presbyterian church was established in the
small town on June 10, 1879.
In March of 1880, the Rev. Andrew Mueller, a Lutheran Missionary
at large for South Dakota, first came to this community, and
began preaching services in school houses and homes of the area.
As the community became more thickly settled more men took up the
work and various church congregations were established.
Churches of Canistota and
The history of our church begins back in the year 1878. In that
year the town of Cameron, which was located about one mile
southeast of Canistota, was established. The First Presbyterian
Church of Cameron was organized on Tuesday, June 10, 1879, with
thirteen members, by a commission from the Presbytery of Fort
Dodge. Ministers present for the organizational meeting were Rev.
E. H. Avery and Rev. W. S. Peterson. Two ruling elders were
elected and installed.
The first religious services were conducted by Rev. Peterson in
October, 1878. In the summer of 1879 Rev. J. B. Currens began his
labors at Cameron in connection with Bridgewater and other
points. Rev. Currens was a missionary who lived in Parker. In
June 1880, Rev. T. A. Shaver took up his residence at
Bridgewater. He also preached at Cameron and Marion Junction
until the fall of 1881. He was followed by Rev. Thomas Bayne
whose headquarters were in Montrose.
Many of the buildings were moved out of Cameron when the railroad
failed to materialize. However, when the Northwestern Railroad
did come through the area, the town of Canistota was started. The
church of Cameron was transferred to Canistota, and a church
building was erected. It was the first church building in town,
and other denominations used the building until they could build
In 1913 a basement was put under the building. In more recent
years the basement has been modernized, and an oil furnace added.
The sanctuary has also received attention through memorial gifts.
In 1953 the organ was added.
Over sixty years ago the Missionary Society was organized by Miss
Anna McCauley. The Ladies Aid has been very active through the
years. In more recent years the Missionary Society and the Ladies
Aid have worked as one group called the Ladies Aid. A missionary
program is part of each meeting.
Other organizations have contributed to the growth of the church.
The choir has provided music for the worship service and special
occasions. The Mariner’s Club, organized in 1949 by a group of
young adults, has served in many ways. The Church School has
provided training and instruction in Christian living. The
Westminster Fellowship has been a source of leadership training
and fellowship for the growth of the church.
The Presbyterian Pastors who have served our church are as
follows: William Peterson, J. B. Currens, T. A. Shaver, Thomas
Bayne, Thompson, A. C. McCauley, C. I. Wilkins, Benjamin Swede,
A. C. Roos, Lloyd Jackson, and Robert I. Larsen. At present Rev.
August Ewert is supplying our pulpit.
Some early Church School superintendents are as follows: Tom
Toland, Walter McCullough, Mrs. Mae Rose, Mrs. Anna Haas, and
Mrs. Annie Halgerson.
Since its beginning at Cameron we feel that our church has been
an active force in the growth and development of our community.
The Lord’s blessing has supported her in her work. "The Faith of
our Fathers" must be our faith as we follow in their steps
seeking ever to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the
knowledge of God’s love to our world.
It was in March, 1880 when the Rev. Andrew Mueller, missionary at
large for Dakota, first came to this community to serve the
scattered Lutherans with the Word and Sacrament. Seven Lutheran
families were found northeast of the present site of Canistota,
and the first Lutheran service was held in the Conrad Kirchner
home. The first child baptized in the region was Elizabeth, the
daughter of Mr. And Mrs. Peter Beisel.
More Lutheran families were found in other parts of the community
and for a number of years services were alternately held at
various homes and school houses. It soon became evident that in
order to adequately serve Lutherans in this community, services
should be held in Canistota. The first service was held on the
second Christmas Day of 1884 in the George Buehner store
building. Services were then held regularly in various places in
After Easter of 1885 the people decided to organize a
congregation. About twenty members signed the constitution. In
May of that year the congregation called its first pastor,
graduate Phillip Laux, who had previously preached here as a
student. He was promised an annual salary of $200.00. Pledges
were taken for a parsonage, and in short order pledges amounting
to $400.00 had been received.
The board of directors then purchased three lots and erected a
parsonage and barn. The parsonage still stands on the same
location, and is now owned and occupied by the Tom Richey family.
Rev. Laux established a parochial school, and classes were held
in the newly erected parsonage. Services were now held in the
newly erected public school building.
On February 26, 1892, the congregation decided to erect a new
church building 30 x 50 feet, with a height of 16 feet and a
balcony with a depth of 14 feet. They decided on a church tower
of a proper height, some 60-65 feet. The contract for building
the church was given to Mr. Herman Lembcke of Sioux Falls for
$1950.00. The corner stone of the new church was laid on May 26,
In 1902 a new parsonage was built, north of the new church
structure, and dedicated on December 8 of that year. Three years
later a second room was built onto the parochial school building.
In 1907 the interior of the church building was renovated with
tin covering the walls and ceiling.
In 1911 a new Vocahn organ was purchased for $500.00. During the
next two years the property was beautified by the planting of
trees. In 1912 the congregation decided to join Synod as a voting
member. In the same year the Ladies Aid, which has been in
existence for some time, formally organized.
Electric lights were installed in both the church and parsonage
in 1913. On July 10th of the same year, the first English service
was held, and conducted by Rev. August Sauer, pastor of the
church at that time. During the following year a new school house
30 x 50 feet, was constructed and is still used as an educational
building for Sunday School, Saturday School and Vacation Bible
In 1918 the young people organized a Walther League and joined
the International Walther League of North and South Dakota. The
young people still have a Walther League. And are still
affiliated with the national organization.
For some years, the need of a remodeled or new parsonage was
discussed, and finally in 1929 the present parsonage was
constructed. The old parsonage was retained and was used as the
home for teachers of the parochial school.
The church had a Sunday school for many years, but in 1938 was
reorganized with six teachers. The same year the Pastor began
editing the Sunday bulletin, and has been continued until the
present time. The first vacation Bible school was started in
During the same year, the old parsonage was sold for $400.00, and
the money was used to start a building fund for a new church
structure. The same year the Ladies Aid purchased a used pipe
organ for the congregation.
In 1946 a Men’s club was organized. Later that group became
affiliated with the Lutheran Laymen’s League. During the next
year repairs were made to the church building to the extent of
installing a new furnace and repainting the structure.
At the annual meeting in 1949, a committee was chosen to consult
with an architect, regarding the the building of a new church
structure. However, later the project was dropped for the time
By the time of the annual meeting of 1950, the need of a new
church structure became more apparent, and a planning committee
was selected to look further into the prospects of building. At a
special meeting in February of the same year, the plan for
enlarging the church by an addition of 30 by 42 feet was adopted.
Ten days later the congregation voted unanimously to proceed with
the plans for rebuilding, enlarging and brick facing the church.
Church furniture was purchased by the Ladies Aid at a cost of
$4,063.00. Some items of furniture was donated as Memorials and
the Dossal Box by the Mens Club.
On August 6, 1950 the corner stone laying was held, with the Rev.
Elvin Marquardt then of Brooklyn, N. Y., a son of the
congregation, preaching the sermon.
The new building was dedicated on Sunday, November 26, 1950. The
dedication ceremonies were conducted by the Rev. P. R. Albrecht,
pastor of the church. The morning dedication services were
conducted with the Rev. A. C. Oberheu preaching the sermon. In
the afternoon services were held with the sermon by the Rev. R.
C. Beisel, then of Sioux City, Iowa. Rev. Beisel is also a son of
That evening a fellowship program was given by the organizations
of Zion Lutheran church.
After the dedication services the congregation was able to
complete the payment for the remodeling and building of the new
Shortly after this the congregation purchased the new Connsonata
electric organ, which had been loaned to them for their
dedication services. Since then the entire church property,
bordering elm and fourth streets has been enclosed with curb and
Pastors who have served Zion Lutheran church include: Rev.
Phillip Laux, 1885-87; Rev. Leopold Krueger, 1888-91; Rev. Herman
Meyer, 1890-93; Rev. Karl Karsetensen, 1893- 1904; Rev. A. F.
Breihan, 1905-10; Rev. August Sauer, 1910-23; F. Freese, 1923-36;
Rev. A. C. Oberheu, 1938-49; and Rev. P. R. Albrecht 1950-.
Teachers, other than the pastors, who have taught in the
parochial school included: F. W. Finke, 1915-17; Julius Strelow,
1918-19; Teacher, 1921 to November 1922; Walter Korte, 1925-28;
Helen Freese, 1928-29; Elmer Eggert, 1929-30; and Edwin Rohlck,
1930-33. In the fall of 1933, because of depression and rough
financial problems, the congregation did not open their school,
and it has not been opened since that time.
The congregation has grown through the years and now numbers 385
communicant and 530 souls.
The Rev. J. P. Jenkins, pastor of the Methodist church in Salem
preached a few sermons in the newly platted town of Canistota in
During, the following year, 1884, Rev. Wm. Thomas, pastor of the
Methodist church in Bridgewater came to Canistota and occasionaly
preached to the people. About this time B. D. L. Dudley came to
town and engaged in business. At this time a class of seven
members was organized. Those who were charter members were: Mr.
And Mrs. Dudley, Mr. And Mrs. Samuel Tarrell, Mr. And Mrs.
Christian Bolle and Mrs. A. Scobie. The Salem and Canistota
churches were served as a charge for the following three years.
In 1885 the class was increased to nine members by the addition
of Mr. And Mrs. James Knox. Public services were held in a school
building, which was destroyed by fire. Then services were held in
the C. and N. W. depot and later in an unfurnished saloon
building; and then during the period from 1886 until 1893 in the
Presbyterian church building.
In 1886, the class was increased to seventeen by the joining of
Mrs. John Manary, Mr. Sherman, Sr., Mr. And Mrs. Spaulding, Sr.,
the Misses May and Carrie Morgan and Miss Jessie Scobie.
In 1893, under the pastorate of Rev. J. G. Corwin, the Canistota
church was served from Bridgewater.
The Rev. W. Underwood served the Bridgewater and Canistota
churches during the years 1893-1896. It was during this time that
the Canistota church was built. The building was started during
the month of Oct. 1895 and finished at a cost of $2,000.00. The
church extension society loaned $250.00 and the Ladies Aid paid
$500.00. The church was dedicated free of debt.
In 1900, the Rev. Mr. Miller was appointed to Canistota, with the
Riverside congregation attached. In 1901, the Riverside group was
detached from Canistota and two country points were added, with
the Rev. W. A. Thurston being appointed pastor. A parsonage was
built during this time, costing $1,100.00.
It was during the second pastorate of the Rev. I. P. Potter that
the addition was built on to the parsonage, which greatly
increased its capacity, as well as its appearance.
Many improvements have been made since the church was raised and
a full basement built. The entrance, which had been to the south,
was relocated on the east side of the building.
The parsonage was built in 1902 and in about 1913, a two story
addition was built, adding two rooms to the house, greatly
improving it. In 1934, the water and sewer were brought in and
the new bath room added, making it a very comfortable home.
Later, however, it was felt, by the members of the congregation
that a new home should be built for their ministers, and so in
1954 the old parsonage was sold, and in the following year, Rev.
Royal Marty and family moved into the congregation’s new
parsonage, which is a ranch type dwelling.
The church has made a steady growth, down through the years. The
congregation now numbers 254 members.
Plans are now being made for a new House of Worship, and a
building fund for such purpose has been started.
The following pastors have served the Canistota Methodist
congregation: The Rev. J. P. Jenkins, Primo Donna, fore runner,
the John the Baptist of all that has come to pass; Wm. Thomas, L.
B. Wiles, M. E. Nickerson, J. G. Corwin, Wm. Underwood, R. N.
Kratz, N. L. Nitch, J. P. Potter, A. W. Thurston, Rev. Mr.
Hendricks, Rev. Mr. Knight, I. B. Sevey, F. Ondrozeck, J. R.
Krins, I. P. Potter, Edgar E. Saxton, O. P. Jackson.
O. M. Freeman, J. Herbert Spencer, C. Eldon Stuck, Rev. Stimpke,
Geo. Walton, C. E. Bates, E. E. Vernon, C. C. Boslough, Rev.
Glade Sietsema, Rev. Arthur Gould, Rev. C. D. Bullock, Rev.
Robert Barter, Rev. John Whalley and Rev. Royal Marty, the
Services in the Riverside area were begun in 1880, by Joshua
Watson, who had been born in 1844 in England. Upon his arrival in
the United States, in 1866, Mr. Watson settled in the state of
Wisconsin, where he remained until moving to this area in 1878.
He settled on a farm in Grant township, in the Riverside
In 1869, while still in Wisconsin, Mr. Watson had obtained a
license as a local preacher, and when he came to this area he
kept up his work in the religious field.
After starting Sunday schools and holding church services in
various places in the county, he began holding services near his
home, in the Riverside school house. This group of people was
granted a Certificate of Corporate Existence on June 10, 1885.
The congregation was named "The First Methodist Episcopal Church
of Grant Township, McCook County, Dakota."
Special services, such as Christmas programs, were held at the
Watson home and the children stood at the front of the room
beside Mr. Watson to speak their pieces.
It was decided to build a new church structure on a parcel of
ground donated by Mr. Watson. George Hoiten was contracted to
build the building for $115.00, for a church 24 x 36 x 14. The
contract was dated November 7, 1891. The only other hired labor
was that of Thomas Cotie, who did the mason work. The total labor
bill was $152.90. and the total cost of the building was $951.06.
At the time of the dedication, the debt of the church was only
The first minister to serve the church was Rev. Corwin, who began
preaching there in 1892. He also served congregations in
Canistota, and Bridgewater. His salary consisted mostly of gifts
from his congregations. His total salary in 1893 was $549,
In 1893, Rev. Corwin was succeeded by Rev. Underwood. It was
during his ministry that the Ladies Aid society and the Epworth
League were organized.
During the ministry of H. T. Hitch, who came there in 1898,
diptheria broke out in the community and the daughters of Rev.
and Mrs. Hitch, Mr. And Mrs. William D. Tarrell and Mr. And Mrs.
Albert Edwards, all died of the dread disease.
During the early years the Riverside congregation was at times
with the Canistota circuit, then with Bridgewater, and finally
back to Canistota. Hard times at the turn of the century brought
a drop in membership.
In 1907, the church was served by the Rev. F. Ondrozeck. He later
married one of the girls of the community, Florence Banning.
On Thursday, July 23, 1925, tragedy struck the church in the form
of lightning. It was in the evening, and was first discovered by
Mrs. Stark, who was staying with Mrs. Ed Hillary. She immediately
telephoned for help, and many people responded to the call. Much
of the moveable property inside the structure was saved, but the
church building was a complete loss.
Commenting on the fire, the Conference Year Book, 1925 stated "In
face of crop failure in that region, the heroic people are re-
building, and on September 24th, ground was broken for the
basement of a new and modern church. The work is being rushed to
complete the building before severe cold weather sets in." The
building, however, was not completed by winter.
Beginning with the first Sunday after the fire, services were
held in the Old Settlers picnic tent, which had been erected in
the grove on the Watson farm, located just across the road south
of the church grounds. When cold weather came, the Harry Sperling
home was chosen as the place for services. Beginning in December,
services were held in the church basement.
The new Riverside church was dedicated on Sunday, November 28,
1926. Three services were held that day, and noon and evening
meals were both served in the church basement. That morning there
was a $600 indebtedness, which was taken care of that day. Among
those participating in the dedication program were Rev. Harper,
Humboldt; Dr. Mahony, Dakota Wesleyan; Dr. Jenkins, district
superintendent; and a Dr. Klein. Mr. Joshua Watson, founder of
the church, gave a short talk at the morning services.
The new pulpit and pews were given to the church in 1928, by Dr.
A. S. Ortman.
On October 18, 1942, the church celebrated its 50th anniversary,
with 60 active members. Special speakers for the event were Dr.
I. B. Wood, Sioux Falls; Dr. F. E. Lockridge, Mitchell; and Rev.
E. E. Vernon, a former pastor.
Since 1946 there has been an annual Daily Vacation Bible school.
The Bible schools are well attended, with usually about 32
In 1950 several new improvements were made, including a new oil-
burning furnace at a cost of $2040.00. The old 110 volt light
plant was also sold, and the church started receiving its
electricity through the REA. $165.00 was also spent for the
redecorating of the interior of the church building.
The Sunday school has been an important part for the Riverside
church. It is now divided into four departments, each having a
teacher and an assistant teacher. Attendance each Sunday ranges
from 30 to 50.
In the 1920’s many of the Riverside men played on a powerful
baseball team, which competed against many other teams of the
nearby communities. Zeb Cannon was the outstanding pitcher for
The Ladies Aid society was organized in 1885 with 14 members,
with the first meeting held on December 17th. The ladies held
dime socials, and suppers for the purpose of making money and
fellowship. Many quilts and comforters were also made. Money
earned by the ladies has been used for many things including
coal, oil, ministers salary, church improvements, etc.
The youth choir was organized in recent years, and is made up of
children of elementary grades. The director is Mrs. Clifford
The Methodist Youth Fellowship has also been organized, with
about 15 members. This group meets once each week, and composes
the young people’s choir.
Ministers who have served this congregation include: Rev. Corwin,
Rev. Underwood, Rev. R. N. Kratz, Rev. Miller, Rev. H. T. Hitch,
Rev. I. P. Potter, Rev. I. B. Sevy, Rev. Hendricks, Rev.
Ondrozeck, Rev. J. R. Krins, Rev. E. E. Saxton, Rev. O. M.
Freeman, Rev. J. Herbert Spencer, Rev. C. E. Stuck, Rev. J. J.
Stimpke, Rev. George T. Walton, Rev. C. A. Bates, Rev. E. E.
Rev. Boslough, Rev. G. W. Sietsema, Rev. Richard O. Moberly, Rev.
William Winfree, Rev. Charles N. Thompson, Rev. Lyman Kern, Rev.
E. E. Whiteside.
ST. JOSEPH’S CATHOLIC
A meeting was called March 7, 1894, for the purpose of electing a
committee to act as building committee for the building of a
Catholic church in Wellington township. Nick Reecy, Sr.,
chairman; J. T. Fritz, Frank Kueter, Wm. Beck, Sr., Theo. Homan
and J. B. Even were elected. Up to this time Masses had been said
at the Reecy home and the Even school house, for those who were
unable to travel the long distance by horse and buggy to Hartford
or Parker, and for those that were unable to fast that long.
The plans were to build the church 50 x 36 x 18, with the spire
five feet high on a twelve foot base. The Alter space was 18 x
24, with the sacristy on each side 8 x 7 x 8. Mr. Lampkie of
Canistota drew up the plans. He also offered the lowest bid and
was awarded the contract for the sum of $3,000.00. He was to have
it completed by October 1, 1894. Mr. Charles Beaumont donated
five acres of land for the church, with the understanding that if
the was moved or torn down, this land would be reverted to its
original owner. Bishop Marty consented to the building of the
church, so everyone looked forward to its completion.
1894, turned out to be a dry year, and although farmers planted
their crops, no spring rains were in evidence. The fore part of
the summer continued dry. By June 11, 1894, their crops were a
complete failure, and another meeting was called for the purpose
of stopping the erection of the church. However, the decision was
lost by a unanimous vote, and work continued with members
contributing their labor to bring down the cost of the structure.
According to the contract, the name of the church was the "German
St. Joseph Catholic Church." Mr. Nick Reecy, Sr., and Wm. Beck,
Sr., were named the first trustees. The first Mass was said by
Father Links, but Father Grabig was the first parish priest. He
drove a livery team from Bridgewater every Sunday to say Mass.
The first children to be baptised in the new church were Mannie
Beck, John Even, Bernard Mathieu, Henry Ziegler and Catherine
Beaner. They had all been born during the construction of the
church, and all were baptised the same day.
The first marriage performed in the church was performed on
January 8, 1895, when Annie Beck and Herman Stalting became man
and wife. Mr. Feckler was the first person buried in the church
In the early days, the church used benches as alters and this
continued until March 5, 1906, when the congregation purchased
light oak with gold trimmed alters. Materials were also purchased
this same year for a new confessional. Father O’ Hara acted as
chairman. He and Father Birk were the priests serving Wellington
In 1908, Fathers Monaghan, Sack and Schnider served as priests.
All had other parishes to attend to, so Wellington had a new
priest nearly every Sunday. During that year the fence and walk
were put in with Lizzy Beck donating the new front gate.
In 1909, Mr. Kienie of Humboldt built the new rectory. During the
first part of the year, the congregation was served by Father
Brady. On September 1, 1909, Father Victor was assigned to the
parish, and he moved into the new parish house on October 29,
In the early years both confirmation and first communion services
were held in the church, with the priest driving many miles on
Saturdays to teach catechism to the young people of the parish.
Following Father Victor, Father Hussy served the parish for a
short time, and in 1913 Father Luwig was assigned to Wellington
and stayed until 1930. Following this the church was made a
mission of Humboldt, with the same priest serving both
congregations. Father Manning, who then served the two
congregations lived in Humboldt, so St. Joseph’s rectory was left
vacant. For some time it was rented out, and in 1939 it was
purchased and moved by the William Kueter family to their farm.
In 1903 the choir society held a picnic in the Reecy grove. With
the money received from the picnic they purchased the church’s
first organ and other little things needed to make the little
church the well equipped and fine church it is yet today. As the
first picnic was such a big success they were continued annually.
The ladies always served a big supper in the evening, and this
was followed by a program. As they continued to grow, the Alter
society was formed, to assist in the promotion of the big day.
All of the ladies of the parish belonged to this society and the
picnics were continued until 1943. All but one of the picnics
were held in the Reecy grove.
The Altar society remained very active through the years, until
the financial status of the church looked well, after which the
group became inactive.
In 1944, the parish celebrated its fiftieth anniversary with the
Bishop attending. Father Manning, who had served the people so
faithfully for fifteen years, passed away.
Father Brady came to Humboldt after Father Mannings death and
stayed with both parishes until 1947, when Father Corne, the
present priest was assigned to the two parishes.
People have very fond memories of the parish’s sixty five years.
Couples have been married and babies have been baptised, and yes,
the church has seen sorrow too, with the little cemetery filled
with the graves of the people who struggled in the early years to
build it and those who have helped to keep it operating so
efficiently ever since.
SPRING VALLEY BAPTIST
Located 8 miles south east of Canistota, South Dakota.
For a good many years a group of Baptists held their meetings in
a school house 8 1/2 miles south east of Canistota, South Dakota,
Spring Valley No. 4.
At about that time they were still affiliated with the German
Baptist Church of Emery, South Dakota. Different pastors served
the group, one was Rev. J. J. Valkenaar. Later on Rev. O. Olthoff
of Emery would come out two Sundays a month. Services would be
held in the German language and would be held Sunday forenoon and
afternoon. On the other Sundays they would have Sunday school and
one of the older men would have a short service.
However, in 1906 the group decided they would organize and become
a church by themselves. So a meeting was held on November 29,
1906. Delegates were present from Avon, Chancellor, Delmont,
Emanuels Creek and Emery besides our own group. Rev. R. Haak was
chosen as chairman. After careful examination and consideration
it was decided to organize the group as the Spring Valley German
Baptist Church. The name Spring Valley was the name of the
The incorporation had been taken care of. There were only 17
members at the time.
Rev. O. Oolthoff continued to serve them for many years. All of
the service and the Sunday school were still in the German
In 1914 there was a chance to buy the Baptist church building at
Bridgewater. Due to members moving away services were
discontinued there so we decided to buy it. We hired a mover to
move it to its present location but he only brought it part way,
and then deserted it, so another mover was hired and he brought
it safely to its destination.
Dedication of the church was held September 27, 1914, Rev. John
Valkenaaar, the oldest pastor in the group gave a talk to the
young people. In the evening Rev. D. Van Gerpen, preached an
English sermon. This was just a start of more English to be used.
In May 1917 Rev. E. Bibelheimer became pastor and at this time it
was decided to go in with Unityville. The pastor would preach two
Sundays a month at each church. Expenses were shared. By this
time some of the classes in one Sunday school were using some
During World War I all German services were forbidden. The use of
the German language was so strictly forbidden it caused hardships
at times. In a letter from Rev. E. Bibelheimer, he wrote how a
convention at Unityville and the conference at Tyndall, were all
prepared in the German language when the order came. So several
of the pastors went to Pierre to see if they could get permission
to at least use some German at these places. But no permission
was given. Another thing at that time was the flu epidemic. Rev.
Bibelheimer wrote that while at first he hesitated going into
homes where the flu was, the Lord protected him and he went into
many homes to visit the sick but never got it himself. He also
reported that he had three weddings and two funeral while he was
here. The weddings were: Elmer Knecthel and Lena Johnson; Dick
Johnson and Mrs. Annie Buseman; and Fred Buseman and Lena
After the war was over the German language could again be used
and then some of the older folks wanted to go all the way and
have it all German again. While we understood the reaction of the
older folks we had to think of the younger generation too. Rev.
Bibelheimer had said more than once "We must look into the
future." In 25 years or less he said "There would be an English
speaking church in Spring Valley or there would not be any at
all." How true this was as now we are an English speaking church,
with no German at all.
In 1945 the Spring Valley church decided they wanted a full time
Pastor, so discontinued sharing with Unityville. Rev. Kenneth
Nelson was our Pastor at the time. It was then that our Parsonage
in Canistota was purchased. This was a real undertaking for our
small group, and we are very thankful to Vern Knox of Canistota
who was so very helpful with the legal part of the purchase, also
loaning us part of the money. The Parsonage was dedicated
November 11, 1945. A service was held at the church in the
afternoon and "open house" at the Parsonage after the service.
Since then we have made improvements at the Parsonage, also at
the church. At first we used kerosene lamps in the church; then
gas, but now Northern States Power Company has taken over. In
August 1952 the steeple of the church was struck by lightning so
it had to be taken down and a lower steeple was made.
In January, 1933 a ladies Mission Circle was organized under the
leadership of Mrs. J. Rott. There were five members, Mrs. J.
Rott, Mrs. Harry Johnson, Mrs. John Woltzen, Mrs. Albert Holkan
and Mrs. Katie Buseman. Of these there are three charter members
left, Mrs. John Woltzen, Mrs. Harry Johnson and Mrs. Katie
Buseman. We still meet once a month, if possible, and as the name
implies we stress Mission. We now have ten members.
A young People’s Society was started and has been kept up during
the years, even if at times there were not many young people
left, but they have been faithful. In many ways the young people
have found their place in church work, for which we are truly
thankful. They have acted as ushers, Sunday school teachers,
Sunday school secretary and treasurer, and helped with Bible
school, some have been pianists, both for Sunday school and
church. Among those were Adeline, Delores, Vernetta and Clara
Buseman; Lucile Woltzen, Mrs. K. Buseman and Lorene Johnson.
Lorene has served faithfully as pianist for many years. Space
will not permit to name all who have helped in so many ways. We
are happy to see the younger generation taking their place in the
work for the Lord. Membership at present is 60. Two charter
members are still living, Mrs. Annie Johnson, now in a Nursing
home in Madison, and Mrs. Katie Buseman of Canistota.
Some amusing things happened at times, but we do read, "Necessity
is the Mother of Invention." At one Christmas program it was
impossible to get an evergreen tree, so a plum tree took its
place, but the children were happy anyway.
I would like to mention several oldtimers who, as you might say,
were Pillars of the church. E. E. Johnson served as Deacon and
treasurer for many years and he also was ready to serve as Pastor
when the regular Pastor was gone. He also donated the ground for
the church and cemetery. Klaas Buseman served many years as
Deacon, Sunday School teacher and church clerk. He kept the
minutes in the German language while his granddaughter, Clara
Buseman, served as the English clerk. Fred Johnson was janitor
for many years. John E. Johnson was Deacon and he was
Superintendent of the Sunday School for 24 years. Another old
timer was Remer Heyer who served in various ways. Services are
still held twice every Sunday and when possible there is also a
Thursday evening prayer meeting.
For a number of years there has been a Daily Vacation Bible
school held each summer.
Several have gone out for Christian Service. Miss Emma Buseman
married a minister, Rev. Wm. Knauf. Mona Benninga married Rev.
Wayne Rohrs. Ed Woltzen and Richard Oller are also in Christian
We were served by various students during summer vacation or
while waiting for a new Pastor. They were Charles Knapp, Will
Voight, Donald Wilcox and Alvin Auch. The following Pastors have
served us since we organized as a church by ourselves. They were
Rev. O. Olthoff, E. Bibelheimer, Herman Lohr, Jacob Rott, Wm.
Sturhahn, Arthur Schultz, Kenneth Nelson, Alvin Wetter, Eldon
Seibold, Gordon Huisinga and the present Pastor is Walter Goltz.
Our present Sunday School superintendent is Marlyn Davis; Sunday
School secretary and treasurer, Harry Johnson; Church clerk, Mrs.
John G. Buseman.
May we as the Spring Valley Baptist church continue to serve the
Lord and Master and be a witness to others.
The Mulhall Boom...
One of the factors in the settlement of Canistota communities in
the late nineties, was the Mulhall boom. During the later years
of the last decade of the nineteenth century, this group, coming
from the Sioux City area, came into this part of South Dakota and
bought up a large amount of land.
Groups of carpenters then came into the country and built houses
and barns on the various quarters of land held by this group. The
houses were of the 1 1/2 story variety, and were about 14 x 26
feet in size. The barns were of the shanty roof type, large
enough for from four to six head of horses. The farms were then
sold for $2800.00 per quarter, and paid on the crop payment
The boom of immigrants settling these farms then came in 1898,
according to reports from some of the old-timers.
Although there were a lot of Mulhall farms in the area, one that
is probably known by most of the people here, is the Clarence
Tarrell farm, north of Canistota. This farm was originally
purchased from the Mulhalls’ by H. I. Johnson, who later sold it
to Mr. Tarrell and then moved out to the west coast.
Organizations and Clubs..
The businessmen of Canistota, down through the years, have had
their civic organizations. They have at various times been
called, the "Commercial Club" and the "Community Club." These
various clubs have flourished for a few years at a time, then
would dwindle down and be forgotten for a few years.
Looking through the files of the Clipper it can be seen that
these groups have done much for the city from time to time.
Included in their projects were the securing of roads leading
into the city; attempts to get a lake and other recreational
facilities for the community; farmer-merchants fellowships and
get-togethers; free movies; free entertainments; graveling bees;
and many other notable projects.
Much credit for making Canistota for what it is today goes to the
businessmen and farmers who have been members of these
organizations from time to time.
In 1952, after some years of a commercial club, it was decided to
attempt to have a Lions club for the city of Canistota. A meeting
of business men was held at the Ortman clinic on February 19th,
1952 for the purpose of organizing such a club.
At that meeting it was decided to have a Lions club, and
temporary officers were elected as follows: C. D. White,
president; Dale Kostboth, vice-president; Dr. Stanley Weiland,
secretary-treasurer; Vernon Klinkel, Lion Tamer; Terry Connolly,
tail twister; and John H. Schlueter, Dr. Herbert Ortman, Bertie
Kostboth and Dale Knox, directors
On Friday evening, April 18 of that same year, the charter night
was held at the Lutheran church. A program was held, with Dean
Patterson as the speaker of the evening. District Governor Frank
J. Winfield, presented the charter to the new club. Lion Webster
of the Parker Lions, our sponsor, presented the president with a
gong and gavel, compliments of the Parker group.
The Lions club has continued to grow during the past seven years,
and has done much toward civic improvements in the city. One of
their projects have been the sponsoring of baseball in the city.
During the past years they have sponsored the Corn Belt League
team from Canistota. One year they played host to the district
amatuer baseball tournament. Some years ago they took over the
sponsorship of the junior-junior baseball program of the city. It
continued to grow to the point where it was found necessary to
start another group of younger boys, called the midgets.
The group played an important part in helping promote the main
street paving project and the building of the new addition to the
Canistota public school.
In 1955 they sponsored Miss Connie White as Canistota’s
representative in the Miss South Dakota Pageant at Hot Springs.
Miss White brought home honors for not only herself and the Lions
Club but also for the entire city and community, by winning the
title of "Miss South Dakota" and representing the state in the
Miss America contest.
Each year, the group has sponsored an annual athletic banquet for
boys participating in athletics at the local high school. This
has become an event looked forward to by all our high school
The Lions International, has as one of its main projects, the aid
to the blind and sight preservation. Again the local club has
come forward with help to the blind, and has helped in having the
eyes of needy children fitted to glasses.
This year the Lions club has been active in the drive to build a
medical center in Canistota. This building will be completed and
The club now has a total of forty eight members.
The early files of the Clipper show that Mr. Hammond used much
space in the columns of his paper to spread the message of the
dire need of good fire protection for the village of Canistota.
He advocated for years, the need of a water system for the
purpose of fire protection.
Finally in 1909, interested people agreed that the time had come
for a water system to furnish fire protection for the city. It
was also stated that said water system could be used for
commercial use if desired. However, before the village could be
bonded, it was necessary to take a census to see if the
population had reached a total of 350 people which was the
minimum population required before a village could bond itself.
The census was taken in March of that year, and showed a total of
379 people living within the corporate limits of the village.
On April 6, 1909, the board opened the bids for a new tower and
tank, and laying of water mains. The contract was then let to W.
L. Bruce for a total of $8,960.00. It was at that time that the
work on putting up the present tower and tank was begun. Lew
Landsdowne did the ditch work for the mains, doing all the
digging by hand. It was found that a new well and pump were also
needed, and July 31 of that year the new pump was started and
water was being pumped into the new supply tank. Total cost of
the project came to about $11,000.00 according to the Clipper of
The next thing needed was a fire department, so a meeting for the
organization of such a group was held on August 25, 1909, with C.
J. Uecker acting as temporary chairman and Ben Graf as temporary
secretary. At that same meeting the new group was named
"Canistota Volunteer Fire Department."
Officers elected to hold office until the regular November
election included John F. Muehl, foreman; Ben Graf, secretary;
Geo. H. Dawson, treasurer; and E. D. Ritter, W. C. Uecker and M.
J. Beisel, trustees.
The first regular election named the following fireman as
officers of the group: J. E. McCarty, Chief; Wm. Timmerman ,
Chas. Uecker, assistant chiefs; J. F. Muehl, foreman; Wm. Vellow,
Fred Haas, assistant foreman; Ben Graf, secretary; Chas. Uecker,
treasurer; and J. F. Muehl, Hardy Van Woert and Chris Spaulding,
In the early days the equipment included hose carts that were
pulled to the scene of the fire by hand. However, at the Feb.,
1914 meeting it was agreed to pay the draymen a fee for pulling
the carts to the fire. It was decided to pay the first drayman at
the station a fee of $2.50, and the second one $1.50 for the job.
As a result, it became quite a race among the draymen of the
village to see who could be the first at the station, after a
fire call. The next year, it was decided pay $1.00 to the drayman
taking a hook and ladder truck to the fire.
The local department’s First Annual Fireman’s Ball was held on
April 16, 1920. The music was furnished by the Uecker’s Bros.
Orchestra. The group also served a supper at the ball, netting
$31.85 from the supper and $69.62 from the ball, which included
$38.50 in donations.
On March 26, 1923, it was decided to pay each member a fee of
$.50 for each meeting attended; and a fine of $.25 for each
On July 28, 1924, it was decided to buy an electric fire siren
with three horse motor for the sum of $200.00. The following
month central was instructed to blow siren at 7:00 o’clock every
morning with the exception of Sunday mornings. The first time the
siren was used to call the fire department into action was on
October 22, 1924, when they were called to the Mrs. Chas Kostboth
residence to put out a blaze in the barn.
During the 1920’s a chemical cart was added to the department’s
equipment. It too, had to be drawn to the fires, and when called
to out-of-town fires, it was usually loaded into a truck and
hauled to the scene of the fire.
In 1931, the chemical truck became motorized, when it was mounted
on a used Model A Ford. Later the one hose cart was also mounted
on another Model A, and both are still in existance and in use by
the department today.
The department celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary on August
27, 1934 with a supper for the firemen and their families at the
Pink Hall. Entertainment was furnished by John Uecker’s "Kid
Band." According to the minutes of that date, the fiftieth
anniversary will be in August of this year, 1959.
After some time of stressing the needs of a pumper truck for the
city of Canistota; the firemen’s dream became a reality in 1945,
when such a truck was purchased by the city of Canistota. The
election, asking the voters of the city for permission to buy
such a truck was held on April 17, 1945 and carried by a vote of
In 1953, firemen saw the need of another pumper truck __ one that
could safely be used for farm fires. Meetings were called to
discuss matters of a rural fire truck with farmers and land
owners of this area. Farmers became interested, formed an
association, and collected enough money through a membership
drive to find it advisable to order a new farm truck.
The new farm truck went into use during the year 1954, and now
the local department has the use of two fine pumper trucks,
modern in every way, besides the old hose cart and chemical
The MERRY MATRONS EXTENSION CLUB was organized in 1930.
Mrs. Joiner, formerly of Syracuse, N. Y., was Home Agent, Mabel
Watson was Chairman and Margaret Snow was Secretary and Treasurer
In 1936 Mabel Watson attended the "Extension Federation of Womens
Clubs" at Washington, D. C., as a representative of McCook
The officers for the years respectively for 1937-41 were Mabel
Watson, President; Pearl Watson, Vice President; and Opal Ortman,
Secretary and Treasurer. Annabelle Brake was Home Agent.
The new officers for 1941-42 were Bertha Way, President; Pearl
Watson, Vice President; Opal Ortman, Secretary and Treasurer.
Miss Dorothy McLaughlin was Home Agent. One of the most
interesting projects of the year was a "Book Club" of which Zina
Shebal was chairman. Another interesting project was "Music
Appreciation," which was planned and given by Vivian Raab at each
Officers for 1942-43 were Bertha Way, President; Mabel Watson,
Vice President; and Opal Ortman, Secretary and Treasurer. There
were eighteen members.
Officers for 1943-44 were Opal Ortman, President; Vivian Raab,
Vice President; and Mabel Watson, Secretary and Treasurer. There
were nineteen members. Twenty - two County Home Extension Club
Women entered feature stories in the "Country Feature Writing
Contest." Zina Shebal placed 1st in the division of "How to Put
Extension Club practice to Work for Me." Bertha Way received
honorable mention. Vivian Raab ranked second on "How Home
Extension Clubs Helped our Community."
The 1944-45 officers were Opal Ortman, President; Martha Leesch,
Vice President; and Pearl Watson, Secretary and Treasurer. "The
Come Join Us" and "Merry Matrons" entertained at a tea, in the
library for the Reading Chairmen and Librarians of the County.
Mabel Watson and Robin Merritt poured. Grace Simons, Home Agent
and Miss Mercedes McKay, state librarian from Pierre were guests.
Officers for 1946-47 were Lillian Apland, Pres.; Alma Scott, Vice
Pres; and Pearl Watson, Sec. And Treasurer.
1947-48 officers were Eleanor McKay, Pres.; Lillain Apland, Vice
Pres.; and Pearl Watson, Sec. And Treas, "Tom Brennemans
Breakfast" sponsored by McCook County Extension Clubs, was held
in Salem, with 28 ladies present from Canistota.
1948-49 same officers held over. Twenty-one members. Two boxes of
clothing was sent to Germany.
1949-50 officers Emman Wittrock, Pres.; Dorothy Anderson, Vice
Pres.; and Pearl Watson, Sec. And Treas.
1950-51 officers, Lyda Wingert, Pres.; Hertha Jerman, Vice Pres.;
and Pearl Watson, Sec. And Treas. Mrs. Richard Kaufman was Home
1951-52 same officers held over. Grace Simons was Home Agent.
1952-53 officers were Hertha Jerman, Pres.; Mabel Watson, Vice
Pres.; and Pearl Watson, Sec. And Treas.
1953-54 officers were Jennie Davis, Pres.; Mabel Watson, Vice
Pres,; and Pearl Watson, Sec. And Treas.
1954-55 same officers held over.
1955-56 same officers held over. Club studied "Drivers Manual" as
a project to promote "Traffic Safety."
1956-57 officers were Delores Weiland, Pres.; Eleanor McKay, Vice
Pres.; and Pearl Watson, Sec. And Treas. The Club used Indian
Pottery or a Hobby Booth at Salem on Achievement Day.
1957-58 officers were Lennie Tarrell, Pres.; Eleanor McKay, Vice
Pres.; and Pearl Watson, Sec. And Treas. Lillian Apland passed
away. Mabel Watson was honored as 25 year member at fall meeting
1958-1959 same officers held over. From previous year. Mary
Fleming is our Home Agent. Our club has always given a dollar a
year to the Susan Wilder Student Loan Fund at Brookings.
COME JOIN US
The Come Join Us Extension Club was organized in the fall of 1930
at the home of Mrs. Martin DeKramer with about ten or twelve
ladies joining at the time. Some of the charter members still
During the years there have been 79 ladies join the club and the
average membership has been about 24.
Some have passed away during these years, dropped out or moved
Lessons given during these years have been on all phases of home
making including, preparing foods health, music, reading,
gardening, child care, care of the sick, entertaining,
decorating, canning Christmas gifts and many others.
The club has contributed to various types of welfare work and to
various funds including cancer fund, polio fund, Red Cross and
Children’s Home. This past year, 1958 , they gave cookies to the
people in the Home for Aged at Marion.
Two members attended the Rest Camp in the Black Hills, namely
Mrs. Ben Neuberger in June 1948 and Mrs. Ralph Wrage in 1946.
Some years the club has made trips to various places of interest.
This year 1959 a trip by bus is planned to visit the Feeble-
Minded School at Redfield.
An Extension Club is a very interesting group to work with and a
very worthwhile organization.
The Busy Do’ers Extension Club was organized February 16, 1956.
The first meeting was held at the home of Mrs. Duane Wrage, with
seven women present. The third Thursday of each month was set as
regular club date. The club now has eleven members, who are:
Catherine Tieszen, Joy Parry, Jean DeKramer, JoAnne Addy, Lois
Nugteren, Audrae DeNuei, Dorothy Wrage, Gerry Waechter, Eunice
Otto, Lanelle DeKramer and Lorene Hora.
In addition to the regular County Extension Activities, the Busy
Do’ers also have an annual tour, family night, annual picnic and
entertainment at the Fern’s Room.
Since its organization, the Busy Do’ers have sponsored a Safety
Poster Contest and have contributed to the Sioux Falls Children’s
Home, Hollister School for Retarded Children, Mental Health,
Yankton State Hospital, Susan Wilder Fund, and Pennies for
In October of 1916, twelve farm women met at the home of Mrs.
Myrtle Niedert and formed a study club- "The Ruris Duodecim." The
charter members were Mrs. Myrtle Niedert, Mrs. Ethel Smith, Mrs.
Eva Boyer, Mrs. Mae Mitchell, Mrs. Arleigh Niedert, Mrs. Louilia
Williams, Mrs. Maude Seely, Mrs. Jennie Niedert, Mrs. Bertha
Blohm, Mrs. Ruth Blohm, Mrs. Maude Schmitt and Mrs. Dennie Vader.
Of this group Mrs. Arleigh Neidert and Mrs. Mae Mitchell are
still active club members.
The first officers of the club included Mrs. Myrtle Neidert,
president; Mrs. Ethel Smith, vice president; and Mrs. Eva Boyer,
The "Country Dozen" chose as their motto "Utile dulci,"
useful with the agreeable, and planned their programs to fit the
motto. For a time the Ruris Duodecim was affiliated with the
General Federation of Women’s Clubs.
In the early years, the members planned two social gatherings in
addition to their regular meetings. The club was divided into two
groups and the six ladies in each group took turns providing
dinner and entertainment for all members and their families. The
entertainment included minstrel shows, skits, music and
After World War I, Ruris Duodecim adopted a French war orphan and
more recently has sent "Care" packages overseas.
The club is still active and members meet monthly to discuss
current events, music, literature, and enjoy a social afternoon.
The Canistota Specials 4-H Club was organized in the year 1944 by
Rev. Sietsema with the following boys as charter members; Dale
DeKramer, Lyle DeKramer, Carol Stanga, Tom McMartin, and Dean
In 1945 G. W. Sietsema became the leader with eight members in
From 1946 to 1947 Wm. McMartin was the leader with ten members.
Ben White was the leader for the years 1948-50, with five members
the first year, nine members in 1949 and eleven members in 1950.
In 1951 Merle Switzer was leader with fourteen members. Norman
White, a member was a delegate from South Dakota to attend the
Nation Club Congress.
From 1955 to 1957 Dale DeKramer was leader with sixteen members
the first year, fourteen members the second year and seventeen
members in 1957.
The year of 1958 found Lester Ortman as leader, with thirteen
members. Leon rage, a member, was a delegate from South Dakota to
attend National Club Congress.
This year with Dale DeKramer as leader, there are fifteen members
who are as follows: Roger Morrow, Terry Ortman, Craig Tieszen,
Carl and Merlin Murra, Glenn Addy, Leon Wrage, Tommy Klinkel,
Steve Clark, Darrell Lauck, Alvin and Glen Scott, Wayne Ortman,
Douglas Tyler and Ronnie Addy.
The projects the club members undertake are: gardening, beef,
sheep, swine, dairy, handicraft, crops and poultry.
W. C. T. U.
The present Women’s Christian Temperance Union organization was
started about thirty-seven years ago, but we’ve been told that
there was also an organization here in pioneer days.
The object of this organization shall be to promote the
principles of total abstinence from all intoxicating drinks; to
labor in all Christian and practical ways for the complete
abolition of the liquor traffic, both state and national; to
educate the individual in all religious, temperance, ethical and
scientific principles of right living. And to pledge ourselves to
labor and prayer that all this founded upon the Gospel of Christ
may be worked into the customs of society and the laws of the
land to hold and to enforce the prohibitory law, both state and
There is also an organization for the children here called "The
Loyal Temperance Legion" or L. T. L.
We hope to have an organization for the young people too, which
is called "The Youth Temperance Council" or Y. T. C.
The White Ribbon Recruits are the children under six years of age
and whose mothers promise to teach them total abstinence. We have
had children made Little Recruits at various times during the
year past and hope for more.
Canistota has had an active Odd Fellow Lodge since 1901. It was
on May 4th of that year, that the new organization held its first
meeting, with the following six charter members:
C. F. Swartz, Edward Hillary, W. S. Scott, C. F. Malcomb, A. H.
Hazel and H. L. Johnson.
The first officers elected at that first meeting were C. F.
Swartz as Noble Grand; W. S. Scott, Vice Grand; and Ward
Fallgatter, secretary. Grand officers signing the charter were
Therow Brown, Grand Master and H. J. Rice, Grand Secretary.
The local lodge has been very active during the past fifty-eight
years. They have always helped support the Odd Fellow’s home at
Dell Rapids, and at least one of their members, Lou Landsdowne,
spent his later years in that home.
One of their members, E. A. Dunn, was the Grand Master of South
Dakota for the year of 1956. Another member, Marvin McKay, is at
present the deputy Grand Master.
In the early days the members of the Masonic Lodge and of the Odd
Fellows joined in building a lodge hall, which still stands, and
is commonly known as the "Pink Hall."
At that time they purchased the John Hollander hotel, which stood
on the lots now occupied by the Canistota Auto Company. The
building was torn down by members of the lodge, moved over to the
site of the Pink Hall, and used as lumber in building the present
hall. With the exception of the chief carpenter, who was in
charge of the work, the building was built entirely through
The Odd Fellows now have a membership of 55.
The Morning Glory Rebekah lodge was instituted on September 4th
1911, by Sister Edna B. Dan, president of the Rebekah assembly.
The following were charter members:
Alpha Spaulding, Mary McCarty, Mary Rooney, Mary Graham, Maggie
Spaulding, James Spaulding, E. G. C. Amy, Ethel Smith, and
On that same evening, the degree staff from Parker, South Dakota,
came, and the following class of candidates were initiated into
membership: Albert Allen, Louis Arno, Alice Arno, Walter Bergen,
Rose Bergen, Tom Murphy, Oren Amy, D. M. Godfrey, David Manary,
R. W. Moore, J. E. McCarty, Frank Bise, Nellie Bise, Hattie
Murphy, J. C. Pasek, May Pasek, Robert Rooney, Bert Snow,
Margaret Snow and Otto Snow.
Sister Mary Rooney was elected and installed as the first Nobel
Grand of Morning Lodge at this institution. Alice Amy, Nellie
Bise, Mae Godfrey, Hattie Murphy and Arleigh (Hammond) Neidert,
were also among the Nobel Grands to follow in the early years of
this organization. Many good deeds were performed by the Sisters
and Brothers. They included children’s day programs, entertaining
Grand Lodge officers, donating for a library at the I. O. O. F.
HOME, with each member making these donations. To help the
treasury, they also held bake sales, ice cream socials, suppers,
The early members were very active in attending the district
meetings, and county meetings, and visiting other lodges and
putting on degree work.
In the year of 1936, the Rebekahs had a food stand for Sports
For a period of seven years, the members met in the afternoons in
the homes of the Sister members to save the price of the hall
rent. This was from 1937 to 1944. After that they again held
their meetings in the Pink Hall, so that brother members might
meet with them.
In 1918, Brother and Sister Mitchell transferred their membership
here from Iowa. Carrie Addy, Mabel Watson, Bertha Way, and Olga
Lortscher are among our members who have had a long membership in
the local lodge. Charles Smith, one of the charter members is
still a member of our lodge.
The lodge has been honored by having a Grand Master of the
Brother’s lodge, as a member. Brother E. A. (Jack) Dunn, served
as Grand Master in the years of 1955-56.
Brother Marvin McKay, another member of the Rebekah lodge, is at
the present time 1958-59, acting as Deputy Grand Master.
At the present time the group has a membership of seventy-nine.
Sister Hertha Jerman is the present Noble Grand. They have an
active degree staff, Rebekah Circle, and a Past Noble Grands’
club. Both of the social circles are a great benefit to the
lodge, helping in many ways. At the present time the members of
the Past Noble Grands’ club are making quilts for the new
addition at the Odd Fellows Home in Dell Rapids.
ORDER OF EASTERN STAR
Patience Chapter No. 61 received its charter in 1900 with the
following fifteen people as charter members: Eva Lange, Worthy
Matron; J. P. Schaller , Worthy Patron; Margaret Fallgatter,
Assoc. Matron; Josie Armstrong, Abbie Collins, Lizzie Cowen, Fred
Dudley, M. A. Lange, Ida McKillop, Jessie McKinnon, P. H.
Schaller, Jennie Staples, H. N. Van Woert, Minnie Van Woert,
Melissa Van Woert.
We now have 63 members; five of whom received the degrees more
than fifty years ago.
During the last 59 years several members in the chapter have been
honored by the Grand Chapter of the State of South Dakota.
Louila Williams, Grand Ada, 1928.
Helen B. Kostboth, Grand Page, 1935.
Pearl Dickinson, Grand Representative of the State of Washington,
Dora Klinkel, Committee on Addresses, 1947.
Helen Kostboth, Grand Representative of California, 1947-1950.
Dora Klinkel, Grand Page, 1948.
Opal Ortman, Grand Page, 1949.
Opal Ortman, Grand Electa, 1950.
Noah Ortman, Asst. Grand Sentinal, 1953.
Clifford White, Asst. Grand Sentinal, 1950.
Opal Ortman, Grand Historian, 1953.
Nerita White, Grand Representative of the State of California,
Winnieburt France, Grand Representative of Alberta, Canada.
The following people have been either Matron or Patron of
Patience Chapter and are now Past Matrons and Past Patrons.
Past Matrons - Eva Lang, Margaret Fallgatter, Melissa Van Woert,
Abbie Collins, Minnie Van Woert, Alice Slemmons, Lulu Schwartz,
Alice Amy, Alice Collins, Mable McCullough Galaher, Edna McKillop
Moore, Grace Galvin, Della Davidson, Winnieburt France, Cora
Dawson, Iva Scott, Pearl Gordon.
Libbie Graham, Louilla Williams, Beth Halgerson, Hazel Knox,
Bernice Potter, Cecil Hanson, Hazel Shaw, Ethel Smith, Alice
Smith, Helen B. Kostboth, Pearl Dickinson, Anna Moore, Irene
Tyrrel, Pearl Watson, Margaret Snow, Minnie Ebeling, Myrna
McGregor, Olga Lortscher, Dora Klinkel, Vivian Raab, Hertha
Jerman, Bess Reid.
Opal Ortman, Marguerite Dickinson, Alma Scott, Elizabeth Stanley,
Nerita White, Leonora Tyler.
Past Patrons: P. P. Schaller, H. N. Van Woert, Geo. O. White,
John Kilkup. W. J. McCullough, Harry Davidson, Ray Beck, B. G.
Williams, B. B. Shaw, Geo. Potter, Geo. Moore, Harry Collins, R.
Everett Raab, Clifford White, John Stanley, Noah Ortman, Harold
Our present Matron is Leonora Tyler, and our present Patron is
During the early years of the organization, the "Pink Hall" was
the center of Social Life in the community. Star night was a big
night for the members. As soon as chapter closed, Wes Cornwall
would get out his fiddle, tune it up and soon everyone was on the
floor dancing well into the night, many times until 4:00 in the
morning. Other times the Masons were invited, with all having a
good time while George Dawson and Fred Dudley put out the wash
boiler of milk and what an Oyster stew those two could turn out.
Each year The Grand Matron of South Dakota comes to visit us. On
that day we have both afternoon and evening meetings with a
lovely luncheon and dinner.
The order of the Eastern Star is a Christian Charitable
Organization. During the past 59 years many needy members have
been helped. The Grand Chapter has a fund called E S T E A R L
which we small chapters support, whereby any worthy boy or girl
wanting an education to become a minister or any line of
religious work will be sent to school. They also have a fund from
which any boy or girl may borrow in order to stay in college. One
of our own local girls was helped by this.
We meet the first and third Tuesday of each month. Visitors of
other Chapters are always welcome. We have good times together
and remember our older members, also our sick, with gifts of
flowers, cards, May baskets, Easter baskets, and Christmas gifts.
We also honor our new mothers with a gift for the baby. We send
money and gifts to the Orphans Home at Sioux Falls. Any older
member of the Order of the Eastern Star who does not have a home
or someone to care for them can find one at our Eastern Star Home
at Redfield, South Dakota.
LODGE NO. 13 A.O.U.W.
During the years of Canistota history, several lodges have been
started and then disbanded in later years. Among them was Lodge
No. 13, A.O.U.W. Little of its history can be found today.
However, in checking the files of the Clipper, we note that the
following officers were elected on Dec. 12, 1902.
A. L. Van Eaton, W. M.; Hardy Van Woert, P. M. W; Al Staples,
Foreman; Joseph Velow, Overseer; Hardy Van Woert, Recorder;
William Mock, Financier; R. H. Armstrong, Receiver; C. A.
Rodgers, Guard; Jas. Manary, I. W.; Richard Bolan, O. W.; Hardy
Van Woert, Delegate; and Richard Bolan, Alternate.
DEGREE OF HONOR NO. 96
Another such early lodge, of which we have learned little of it’s
history, is the Degree of Honor lodge. In December of 1902, the
following officers were elected to this lodge, according to early
Mary Buchhanan, Past Chief of Honor; Mary Graham, Chief of Honor;
Ella Cornwell, Lady of Honor; Cora Dawson, C of C; Afphie
Spaulding, Recorder; Mary Rooney, treasurer; George Dawson,
Receiver; May Stevens, Lady Usher; Joseph Velow, I. W.; W. E.
Cornwell, O. W.; Representative to Grand Lodge, Mary Buchhanan;
and Alternate, Ella Cornwell.
Another of the early day lodges of which we have learned little,
was the Yeoman lodge. In an election of officers in January of
1903, the following were elected:
H. F., W. E. Cornwell; Trea., C. R. Bolan; Cor., Mrs. A.
Spaulding; Master Acc’ts., Joel Smith; Physician, Mrs. Pool;
Overseer, Mrs. Mary Buchanan; L. R., Mrs. Maggie Jewell; L.
Rebecca, Mrs. Mary Graham; Watch, Chas. Smith; Sent’l., James
Malloy; and Guard, Alva Jewell.
The history of Lodges in Canistota is continued elsewhere in this
County of McCook . . .
McCook county is located in the east-central section of South
Dakota. Its southeastern corner is about 36 miles west of the
point where Iowa and Minnesota join South Dakota.
H. C. Miller was the first settler locating at Miller Gulch on
the Vermillion river in 1871. The county was created in 1873 and
organized in 1878.
The county has a total area of 366,720 acres, with an average
elevation of 1,400 feet above sea level. Corn has been the
leading crop since 1910.
In the early days the two railroads intersecting the county made
it easy to reach a railroad market from any point in the county.
It was stated that there was not a place in the county that was
over 12 miles from a railroad market.
Today, the county has three main highways intersecting it.
Federal highway 16 from east to west, in the southern part of the
county; state highway 38 from east to west, through the center
and Federal highway 81, from north to south through the center of
the county in the other direction. All are hard surfaced roads.
The county has had many schools __70 being the number listed in
1931, according to Clipper files. Today, many of the rural
schools of the county have closed, sending their children to the
five city schools in the county. The five city schools all
maintained accredited high schools.
Towns of the county are Salem, county seat and largest city;
Bridgewater, Canistota, Montrose and Spencer.
Military . . .
Canistota, at one time had a military band. Perhaps one of the
few small towns in the state that could boast of such an
organization. The following was taken from the first issue of the
"Very few towns in the state the size of Canistota , can boast of
a military band of 23 pieces."
"They have only recently been appointed Company Band of the 1st
S. D. S. G. And are furnished a complete military uniform and
will go into camp with the regiment at Huron on August 14th, with
flying colors, and we are confident will leave a pleasing
impression of Canistota and her people.
"Following is the instrumentation: Tuba, John Schlueter; Bb Bass,
George Dawson; Slide Trombone, Bud Spaulding; 1st Tenor, Will
Velow; 2nd Tenor, Victor Fallgatter; 1st Alto, Lee Meyers; 2nd
Alto, Wm. Derrick; 3rd Alto, Ed. Buchanan; Solo Alto, Phil
"Solo Bb Cornet, Elmer Amy, Charles Rose, and Frank Sherwood; 1st
Bb Cornet, Henry Schlueter; 2nd Bb Cornet, Orin Amy; Solo Bb
Clarinet, Claude Swafford; 1st Bb Clarinet, Henry Schaller; and
2nd Bb Clarinet, Wm. Dunkelman."
American Legion Auxiliary
The unit to the Jernade Post 162 of the American Legion at
Canistota, was organized on February 27, 1923, with eleven
charter members. The charter members were: Mrs. Cora Dawson, Miss
Libby Dawson, Miss Edith Dawson, Mrs. Lester Mock, Mrs. Mary
Darby, Mrs. L. G. France, Mrs. Louila Williams, Mrs. Charles
Pucta, Mrs. John Apland, Mrs. Martin DeKramer and Miss Mary
The first president of the group was Mrs. B. G. Williams. The
name was formed from the first letter of each man’s name that had
served from Canistota.
At the time of the founding of the group and the American Legion
Post held their meetings in the "Pink Hall," at a cost of $25.00
per year rent.
There was only one gold star member at the time of the founding
of the organization, Mrs. L. G. France, who was a Gold Star
By May of the same year there were twenty-four members. At the
present time there are eighty members, four of whom are charter
Mary Rechtenbaugh has held the office of secretary from 1925 to
the present time.
Jenarde Unit has had the honor of having one of its members, Mrs.
Dora Klinkel, hold the office of District President, Department
President, and National committee woman.
There are five Gold Star mothers, who are members of the unit at
the present time. They are Mrs. Edith Bowen, Mrs. Lyda Wingert,
Mrs. Rose Bergen, Mrs. Nancy Watson and Mrs. Neil Zuraff.
On the 24th of February, 1920, fifteen ex-service men of
Canistota and community met in the Masonic Hall for the purpose
of organizing an American Legion Post. The following were the
fifteen signers or pledges required to form the post:
Geo. A. Mock, Wm. V. Stevenson, Carl O. Peterson, A. A. Breihan,
Charles L. Mock, Oren H. L. Amy, A. M. Johnson, Emanuel L.
Rechtenbaugh, George S. Potter, Gilbert N. Graham, Thomas K.
Graham, Willis K. Crowhurst, Boise G. Williams, Roy Jarratt anl
The number, 162, was assigned by Department Headquarters. The
name "JERNARDE," was derived from the first letter of the surname
of men gassed or wounded in action.
The rooms above the Farmers State Bank were leased for club
rooms. The charter was given March 1st and by the March meeting
there were 25 members. A. A. Breihan was elected the first
By the end of the next year the Post suffered a lack of interest
from members. Meetings were neglected and the clubrooms were
rented by another renter. The December meeting was held in the
Lumber Yard offices and it was decided that they would lease new
club rooms and try to arouse new interest. Funds were raised
through dances, basket socials, etc. Ten rifles were ordered and
received in time for the Memorial day service of 1921.
In June of 1921, it was decided to discontinue rental of club
rooms as it was difficult to raise funds. The furniture was sold
and no regular meetings were held. Special meetings were held at
one of the member’s business places when a meeting was necessary.
However, they did continue active participation in observance of
Decoration Day, military services, etc. At the beginning of 1923,
they came back into activity again and held regular meetings -
most of them in the city hall.
After the organization of the Auxiliary unit, it was decided to
have both groups meet on the same night, and rented the Pink Hall
for their meetings. It still was difficult to keep up enough
interest and activity to preserve the organization. Members feel
that it is due to the interest and work of a relatively small
group that kept the charter during those times.
Records between 1924 and 1934 are missing, and therefore little
of the group’s history during that time is available.
By the October, 1934 meeting, membership had increased. Meetings
were still held irregularly, but with better attendance at the
meetings. During the years that followed dances were held, with
Vern Gordon in charge. The Auxiliary served lunches after nearly
Although during these years the finances of the group were not
too good, the records show that the members always came through
with donations to worth-while causes.
In 1940 the local Legion started sponsoring a local boy to attend
Boys State. At the May meeting of that year, Lyle DeKramer was
the first boy to be selected to attend this event. That same year
the Legion entered a float in the Sports Day parade and started
furnishing the color guard for Sports Day parades.
In 1941, with the draft calling local boys into the service, the
Legion started entertaining draft groups before leaving for the
service. The following year they recommended that a local air-
raid warden be appointed and on December 14th from 10 to 10:30
p.m. the members assisted city officials in their first blackout
During the World War II years, the group donated Emblem playing
cards to servicemen and did other services for the benefit of the
men in uniform.
By October 1945, membership was increasing rapidly with the
return of servicemen from this community. Legion members were
becoming interested in having a home of their own. At the
December meeting of that year Martin DeKramer offered the rental
of the 2nd floor of the Recreation Parlor for a place of meetings
and club rooms. The group voted to accept the rooms and went to
work to raise necessary money by holding dances in the Pink Hall.
The new Legion rooms were occupied in April of 1946. New members
and a new home gave new life to the organization. Improvements
were gradually added to the rooms.
In 1946 the Legion sponsored junior baseball and an independent
basketball team, along with the usual other functions. The
commercial club and Legion went 50-50 on expenses of a new
location for the Unknown Soldiers Monument at the cemetery, that
In 1947 the building fever arose again with the possibility of
purchasing a surplus building at the Air Base in Sioux Falls. The
community was polled for pledges. Lots were purchased east of the
Creamery and a full sized basement constructed. A building
approximately 32’ x 150’ was purchased and moved to the site.
Funds were raised by borrowing money from the people of the
community on a non-interest basis, same to be pro-rated back as
the funds became available. About $6700.00 was raised in this
way. Many also donated labor, equipment, etc. The new Legion Hall
was opened for its first public function on Sports Day of 1948.
Since that time many improvements have been made in this
building. The building has not only been used as a home for the
American Legion and Auxiliary, but has played an important
community part, as used for other purposes by other groups and
For many years the hall, heat and lights have been donated for
the use of the Teen-Age canteen as sponsored by the Auxiliary.
The Post Colors were purchased from a Memorial Fund donated by
Mrs. Edith Bowen.
In 1935, the Legion divided the costs with the Lions Club for the
purchase of 36 flags to display on Main street.
During the years, the Legion has maintained a high degree of
participation in Legion Activities, along with many civic
Lighting System ...
A notable change from the life of the pioneer to modern times,
has been brought about by the advent of electrical power for
lighting and power.
In the day of the sod shanty and the early settlers’ home, the
only means of light was from the open fire of burning buffalo
chips or twisted hay, and the use of tallow and a rag wick in an
open dish. Later the candle made its appearance.
As the years rolled by, the "bright" light of the kerosene lamp
and lantern made quite an improvement. Later, some homes and farm
places used the new asceteline light system. These did not prove
too successful, as many feared to use them because of the danger
The gasoline mantle lamp brought forth a great improvement in
later years, but certainly did not come up to the present day
For many years the city dwellers had the use of electricity,
first for light only, and later for power and other uses.
The invention of the home light plant, which charged batteries,
which were then used for lights came into use among the farm
people. In the late thirties and early forties, with the advent
of REA (farm electricity, via the power lines) in some of the
eastern states, many local farmers bought up the used plants and
began to enjoy the modern electric light.
For some years, the private power companies furnished electric
power to a few farms along their lines, but this was not a
general practice. In 1948 and 1949, the McCook County Cooperative
was formed, and by the end of ‘49 the majority of farmers of the
county were enjoying the same electric conveniences enjoyed by
their "city" cousins.
Blizzard of ‘88 ...
The early settlers of this area experienced extreme hardship and
dangers from the prairie storms that hit this sparsely settled
country -especially before the turn of the century. One storm
that has remained in the minds of local old-timers down through
the years was the blizzard of ‘88.
January 12 of that year dawned clear and very mild, with just a
few large snow flakes falling. Snow during the night had brought
the level of snow t 12 to 16 inches. A south-easterly wind was
being enjoyed by the settlers.
At about 11:00 o’clock in the morning, the wind changed to the
northwest, bring in a severe snow storm and hitting with such
suddenness, that many were unable to find shelter without
experiencing difficulty. With the change of wind, temperatures
took a sudden drop and continued falling, until thermometers
showed the temperatures at a minus 52 degrees by the next
One death was reported in the immediate territory. A young man,
Billy Henderson, who lived with his parents a few miles north of
Canistota, was watering four head of cattle and two horses about
sixty rods from home when the storm hit. Apparently he then tried
to bring the animals home, and lost his way.
The next day the horses were found at a neighbor’s barn and the
cattle were found frozen to death about twenty rods from the well
where they had been watered. The body of the young man was not
found until the next April.
Most of the horses that were out in the storm were apparently
able to stand the severe weather, and lived. However, most of the
cattle that did not reach shelter lost their lives.
In some of the schools, the teacher kept the children with her
during the entire night. In one school, the teacher made a rope
of the scarves – tied one end to the front of the school
building, found her way to the barn, where the fuel was stored,
and tied the other end to that building. Then she had the older
boys follow the rope with one hand as they brought the coal,
wood, and cobs from the barn to the school building.
One of the problems of the teachers who had their children at the
school that night, was to keep the children busy with stories,
games, etc., so that they would not become panicky.
Canistota Newspapers . . .
According to the records of the Canistota Clipper, this city has
had but two newspapers during its seventy-five years of
The first newspaper printed in Canistota was the Canistota
Courier, which started printing here in the year of 1898. The
editor and publisher was a man by the name of Perkins, according
to Clipper files. Apparently, the newspaper was printed for only
twelve issues. Evidently at that time, the editor figured it was
a better deal to get out of our town and look for fields
elsewhere. We have never been able to find any existing copies of
Canistota was then without a newspaper until August of 1901, when
the Canistota Clipper was established. The first publishers were
J. F. Halliday, publisher of the Iroquois Chief; and Claude
Swafford. Mr. Swafford came to Canistota and took over the
management of the Clipper. Later that same year, Mr. Swafford
purchased Halliday’s interest in the Clipper and became sole
owner and publisher.
In announcing their intent of running a newspaper in Canistota,
Swafford and Halliday, in their first issue of the Clipper
In casting about for a location we were attracted to Canistota by
the lively appearance presented by the town, by the apparent
enterprise of its people, by the improvements it was making and
by the rich and thickly settled country surrounding it. After
looking Canistota over the die was cast. We resolved then and
there that Canistota needed a newspaper and we needed Canistota.
No bonus was asked for and no special favors requested. The
situation resolved itself into a simple business proposition. Our
intention is to give the town a good local newspaper and in
return only ask for such patronage as the merits of the paper
entitle it to; expecting to give full value for every dollar
expended with us.
We have put in a new and up-to-date printing plant-and paid for
it-believing that the town is entitled to something better than
the average second-hand outfit that is usually put into towns of
this size. With us this is no experiment. We are not wondering
whether we will be here a year from now. We know we will and for
a good many years after that and we built for a permanent
Apparently Mr. Swafford’s health became poorly and he sold the
paper to Mr. J. L. Hammond of Iroquois in 1902. Mr. Hammond
continued the operation of the Clipper and became one of the most
quoted small town editors in the state of South Dakota. Local
subscribers of the Clipper still enjoy reading the early day
excerpts from Mr. Hammond’s papers, as found in the "Early Files"
section of the present-day Clipper.
The first power press was added to the Clipper printing equipment
in 1906, by Mr. Hammond. The power was furnished by a gasoline
engine, which furnished power for the Clipper during the entire
remainder of Hammond’s career as publisher of the paper.
Mr. Hammond, with the help of his family, continued publishing
and editing the Clipper until his death the latter part of 1928.
For a few months members of his family continued the work of the
In 1929, Mr. W. W. Brady, at that time publisher and editor of
the Marion Record and the Turner County News at Parker, purchased
the Clipper and continued its publication. During the years with
Mr. Brady at the helm, the Clipper remained a very newsy and
In June of 1934, John H. Schlueter purchased the Clipper from Mr.
Brady, and moved the shop to the building known as the "Buscher
Building," then located just east of what is now the Municipal
bar. In 1937, the present Clipper building was purchased by the
Schlueters and the plant moved to that location. During these
years a new linotype, and other modern printing equipment was
added to the shop.
In November of 1953, Mr. Schlueter leased the Clipper to Mr. Emil
Wolff of Lake Andes. He remained as the publisher and editor of
the paper until November of 1955.
In November of 1955, the present publisher and editor, Wendell
Anderson, leased the paper from Schlueter. It is the official
newspaper for the city of Canistota, the Canistota Independent
School District and the county of McCook.
Early Political History
Little can be found about the political history of Canistota
prior to the year 1900. Minutes of the council meetings since
January 30, 1900 have been found, and here are some of the
excerpts from said early day minutes:
It appears that ordinance 1 of the village of Canistota called
for the licensing of dogs, and was adopted at the regular
February meeting of the year 1900. Council members of that date
were: J. A. Beaner, chairman; R. H. Armstrong and C. F. Swartz,
trustees; and F. M. Staples, clerk. The regular meeting date was
set for the first Monday of the month, at 7:30 p.m. This is the
time still held for the regular meetings of the city council.
Apparently the village had just been incorporated at that time,
for the treasurer gave a receipt to the township for $188.89, the
same being the sum apportioned to the new village by the
township. To help things along for the new village, the Old
Soldiers gave a donation to the village treasurer in the amount
of $50.00. One bill was allowed at the February meeting, in the
amount of $6.00 for repairing the well.
Sidewalks were also the issue of the day-not the familiar cement
sidewalks that we know today __ but rather, the plank or wooden
sidewalks that have often heard the old-timers talking about. In
April of the same year the board accepted the bid of H. Van
Woert, A. Bolan, M. Fallgatter and J. A. Beaner for the
construction of the new sidewalk. Specifications for the new
sidewalks included the following: "On the west side of Fourth
street between Free Ave. and Elm street the walks should be five
feet and four inches in width and made of two inch planks __
cross planks. "Streets were also in need of improvement for the
board made a 6 mill levy for road and street purposes.
The April, 1900 election found the following elected to office:
M. Fallgatter, chairman; R. H. Armstrong and C. F. Swartz,
trustees; and P. H. Schaller clerk.
After four years, some lawlessness around the village must have
been in evidence, for the board called for bids for a jail
"suitable for the use of the village."
A contract for graveling streets was let in 1902. The contract
called for fifty loads of gravel hauled on the streets of
Canistota. The gravel was to be hauled in a wagon of average
length, and with a fourteen inch box at least level full.
Contract price was $1.25 per load.
In June, 1904, the petition of Adolph E. Engelcke, for permission
to conduct a saloon within the incorporated village of Canistota
In July of the same year, the board granted permission to Voshart
and Graff to put in tieing rings in the sidewalks for the benefit
of their customers to tie up their teams.
Sport Day . . .
During the past years, Canistota’s Annual Sport Day has become a
tradition for the people of the little city and its community.
Down through its many years, Sport Day has not been sponsored by
any one group within the city. It has had its own organization,
and its committees have included men and women of not only the
city, but the surrounding community as well.
Canistota’s first Sport Day was held on July 26, 1907. The
program started early, with a band concert at 9:00 o’clock in the
forenoon. This was followed with a baseball game at 10:00 with
Canistota and Humboldt meeting for a purse of $60.00. At 1:00
o’clock a field of eighteen events was held for the street sports
feature of the day.
The afternoon ball game was played with Parker and Ramsey
crossing bats for another $60.00 purse. The program also included
horse races and a gun shoot. A bowery dance was held in the
evening. The feature for the kiddies was Noggle’s merry-go-round.
Following the event, it was stated that a conservative estimate
of the crowd was 2500 people. Comments by visitors included:
J. F. Halliday of the Iroquois Chief: "It was a big day. Fencing
in that street was a good plan."
Mrs. Gilbert of the Salem Pioneer Register: "When Canistota holds
its next Sport Day, I’ll be there."
S. M. Angus of Humboldt: "Canistota always does things right."
The second annual Sport Day was held on July 14, 1908. Another
big day was held, with two baseball games, street sports, two
bands __ the Bridgewater and Monroe groups, horse races and the
usual array of street sports.
The big feature of the day was the Riverside "Fantastic Parade."
Old-timers here will perhaps remember the fine parade, the first
of a series of fine parades put on by the Riverside group on the
various Sport Days.
Another feature was the ball loop. This was a high platform and
slide deal, in which a man rolled down the slide from a high
point, made a loop and rolled out at the end.
Only once has Canistota held a two day event for Sport Day, and
that was held on July 16 and 17th of 1909. The program included
baseball games, all kinds of sports, band concerts, free circus
acts and bowery dances.
An electric lighted ferris wheel and a 20th century merry-go-
round made their appearances at this celebration. Since that time
Sport Day sponsors have always felt that it was much better to
put on a one day celebration – and keep that event filled with
plenty of activity.
Down through the years, many have held the offices of committee
chairman, secretary, treasurer, etc. However, to the people who
have been around for the first thirty some years of Sport Days
still have the memory of one man – who stands out in the minds as
"Mr. Sport Day." That man was C. J. Uecker, who held the position
of "Marshall of the Day" from the first Sport Day on through
until the Sport Day preceeding his death in 1942.
Mr. Uecker indeed was a familiar Sport Day legend. From early
morning until late at night, we can remember him, astride his
horse, delivering programs, nailing them in available places, and
operating the P. A. system of his day – the megaphone. The death
of one horse, Billy, which he had used during twelve consecutive
Sport Days, brought sorrow to the many Sport Day followers.
In the years following Mr. Uecker’s son, has been an important
figure in the long line of Sport Days. For many years he has done
a magnificent job as Sport Day parade chairman __ not just a one
day job for John. For, the minute the parade is over, he starts
making plans for the next year’s event.
During the years, Canistota has brought outstanding bands to
Sport Day. They include such organizations as the Chicago,
Northwestern Railroad band out of Chicago; the world famous
Monahan Post band of Sioux City, Iowa; the Mitchell Municipal
Band, the 147th Artillery Band out of Mitchell, the Worthington,
Minn., band and many others.
During the past quarter century, Sport Day has become well known
in this part of South Dakota for the fine array of fireworks as
shown each Sport Day evening.
In the ‘30’s the annual "booster trips," advertising
were started, and continued for quite a number of years. The
first booster trips were one-day affairs in which a large caravan
of automobiles filled with Sport Day boosters from Canistota,
would visit neighboring towns. As they came into the various
towns, several trips were made around the town, announcing their
arrival with the blowing of automobile horns. Then after stopping
on the main street, a band would play several numbers, while the
Canistotans would hand out, and place Sport Day bills, stop and
visit with friends, and talk up the next Sport Day.
In later years, the Booster trips were held in the evening, with
three or four towns on each of three evenings. The caravan, at
times would include over fifty automobiles, several truck loads
of the youngsters, and one bus for the use of the band.
Since 1907, Sport Day has been held each year (and for many years
on the second Thursday of July), with the exception of the years
1943, 1944 and 1945, during World War II.
The 1959 Sport Day is really a triple event. On that day, July 9,
Canistota is celebrating not only its annual Sport Day, but also
its seventy-fifth anniversary and the fiftieth Annual Sport Day.
It will truly be a golden and diamond event.
History of Canistota . . .
As stated earlier in this book, the little village of Cameron was
the shopping center for the settlers of this area, until it was
learned that a proposed railroad from Sioux Falls, through
Cameron and on to Mitchell would not materialize. Then Cameron
began falling apart, and its end was inevitable.
In 1883, the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad built its line
between Hawarden, Iowa, and Huron. As the line extended, various
station sites were selected, among them the station on the
Northeast quarter of Section 34, Canistota township.
The first recorded owner of this piece of property was Michael
O’Brinem who received title on June 20, 1897. Later transfers
showed the ownership changing, first to Nora B. Cameron, then on
to Mrs. Laura W. Walker, Major Thomas S. Free, Albert Keep, and
finally the Western Town Lot Company in June of 1883. On July 14,
1883, the Western Town Lot Company, with Albert Keep its
president and J. B. Redfield, its secretary, prepared the plat of
the new town, and giving the townsite to the public. Said plat
was filed in the office of the register of deeds, McCook county,
South Dakota, on July 24, 1883 at 9:00 p. m., and duly recorded
in Book "A" of Plats, on page 12.
The original plat included twenty-two blocks, and was bordered on
the north by Clay street (now known as highway street); and on
the south by Oak street, which still bears the same name, and
extends on west along the half section line to the mile line road
one-half mile west of Canistota. The west edge of the original
plat was bordered by sixth street, which at that time extended
across the whole west edge of town, but is now only two blocks in
length between Wood street and Free avenue. Railroad street was
the east border.
Other streets running east and west , from north to south, were
Wood street, Elm street, Free avenue, and Pine street, all of
which remain the same.
Named After Canastota, N. Y.
One of the men connected with the building of the new railroad
was Major Free, who had formerly lived in Canastota, New York. He
was given the privilege of naming the new townsite, and named it
Canastota, in honor of his home town. However, at the time of
applying for a Post Office, here, a clerical error was made and
the Post Office showed Canistota as the name of the town. For
years, the Post Office showed the name as Canistota, and the
Railroad continued it as Canastota.
The difference in the name continued for many years. In December
of 1908, Postmaster J. A. Beaner had a new post office sign
painted and placed on the post office building, according to
instructions from the postal department. The new sign read:
"Canistota Postoffice, Canistota, South Dakota."
The first building to be constructed in Canistota was the
building now used by the Canistota Municipal Bar. This was built
by the Fetzner Brothers, Joe and Charley, in 1882. The bottom
part was used by the brothers as a general merchandise store, and
the upstairs rooms were used for living quarters. Mr. Fetzner
also became the towns first postmaster.
First Store By Fetzners
While their store was being built the Fetzner’s had a small 10 x
12 building just east of their new store, which they used for the
sale of groceries, etc. This store resembled our present day
fireworks stands, etc., as a part of the front wall was on hinges
and came down to be used as a shelf from which to sell things. At
night the shelf would be shoved up and the store closed.
Everything was sold from groceries, to shoes, dry goods, oil and
The second building to be started here is still on the scene and
is now the home of Ben’s Tavern. This building was built by J. P.
Schaller and was used as living quarters for the Schaller family.
Mr. Schaller then started the first lumber yard in Canistota,
which was located on the railroad grounds, east of the present
Gamble store and south of the depot. He later sold the lumber
yard to Queal and Co. Part of the building was situated on what
is now Free Avenue.
Schaller Builds First Flat House
After selling the lumber yard, Mr. Schaller decided to go into
the grain business and built an elevator – known as a flat house
– on the site of the present center elevator. A short time later,
Peave and Co. also built a flat house for the grain business.
This structure was located on the site of the Commander Elevator,
recently purchased by the Shanard Elevator Co. A third flat house
was built a short time later, located south of the Peave Co.
building, and for many years was known as the "South House." This
was a farmer owned business, and closed in the thirties. The
structure was torn down a short time later.
In 1884, another general merchandise store was built on Free
avenue (Main street). This was built by B. D. L. Dudley. The
building still stands and is still being used as a general store.
It is the west half of the store building now being occupied by
Connolly's store. The building was of two story construction,
with the upper story being used as living quarters. Mr. Dudley
also handled drugs in his store.
Besides operating the store, Mr. Dudley also served as a
Methodist minister for a number of years. His early church
services were held in various school houses, and in the homes of
Other early business establishments included the George Hazel
blacksmith shop which was established in 1883. The Sherman's
reportedly kept the first boarding house in the new town.
When the railroad company built its depot, living quarters for
the agent were built at the same time. The early depot was of two
story construction, with the upper rooms used as the living
quarters for the agent and his family. This arrangement continued
for a number of years, until a fire originating in the living
quarters, did considerable damage to the building. In building
the depot, the company eliminated the upstairs, and the building
blossomed out as a one story building, and the agent and his
family had to make other arrangements for living quarters.
Depot Serves As Community Room
In the early days of the town, the south waiting room of the
depot served the community for many different occasions. It
served as a place for church services and for public meetings. It
was even known to serve as a theatre for the presentation of a
medicine show at one time.
In the start of the town, the railroad also built dwellings for
their section men - Dick Bolen and Mike Nolan. We have been
unable to find out if those structures are still being used, or
where they were built.
However, we have learned that the first dwelling to be built in
the town was built by J. P. Schaller, after he sold his Main
street building. This dwelling is located across the street just
south of the Presbyterian church building. It is now the home of
Mrs. Lela Kostboth.
Another one of the early buildings and homes, was built on Main
street and still stands there. It is known as the "Bee Hive," and
houses the Lindbloom Barber shop, and a number of living
apartments. This building was built by Mr. E. P. Amy, and was
used as both a home and a rooming house for some years it was
known as the Amy House.
Mr. Amy also built the first livery stable in town. It was built
on the site of the present Clark barn, and was built in 1885 or
1886. Mr. Amy operated this livery stable for a number of years.
Pimperton House Built
Later Mr. Amy sold the house and the barn to Julius Kruschke, and
built a hotel on the lots now used by the Ortman Clinic. At that
time the hotel was known as the Pimperton House. Later it was
called the Commercial House, and later, for a number of years as
the OK Hotel. The building continued as a hotel until after the
completion of the new Ortman Hotel, after which it was torn down.
Other Main street buildings came as the years went by. We are
unable to show the improvements made on Main street, in a strict
chronological order. However, we do have information on some of
the buildings and will tell of their early uses.
For many years the present Gamble store building was used as the
home of the Canistota Clipper. The newspaper plant was moved
there during the early years of J. L. Hammond's ownership.
According to the early Clipper files, it would appear that the
building had been used as a post office, just prior to its being
moved to its new home.
Fred Dudley built the old Farmers State Bank building (Leesch's
building) for bank purposes. He was also the man back of the
establishment of the banking business there.
Town Gets New Post Office
The building now housing the McCue Cafe was built by J. A.
Beaner, to be the new home of the Canistota Post Office. Mr.
Beaner was the postmaster at that time. Other postmasters during
the years included Lyman Berret, G. H. Kostboth, Pat and Marjorie
Hazen, Dr. Winfield Clark and Bertie Kostboth, the present
postmaster. When the new post office building, which is still
housing that office was built by R. L. Hazen, the old post office
building was sold to Fred Butters, who for many years ran a cafe
there. Herman Giegling built the present Meat Market building,
and ran that business until selling it to C. W. Beck, who had
learned the meat cutting trade in Hudson, South Dakota.
The building now occupied by the Artist Museum was built about
1895 by Herman Lembke, to be used as a hardware store. Later John
Muehl purchased an interest in the business and it became Muehl
and Lembke. Later Mr. Lembke sold his interest to John Buscher
and the establishment became known as Muehl and Buscher. Just
west of that building, Peter Muench built a building that housed
the Canistota Clipper during the thirties, and later burned down,
when housing the Wormann ice cream store. This building was
originally built for a saloon.
The Kirchner building, now the home of the Christian Fellowship
Center was built by J. C. Reinich and used as a hardware
building. Later, when Scott and Uecker operated that business, a
warehouse was built to the west of the building. Later this was
changed from a warehouse into a cafe by Chas. Pucta. It now
houses the Canistota Clipper.
Doctor's Office on Main Street
The Crowhurst Electric building was originally used as a doctor's
office, with Dr. Cowan as the doctor. Later it housed Rant
Buchhanan's barber shop for many years.
In 1908 work started on the new stone building to be used as the
home of the Citizen's State Bank. Officers of this bank included
Chas. Kostboth, Anthony Waechter, John Fischer and others. This
building remained in use as a bank building until 1930, when
Canistota's last bank, The Canistota State Bank closed. In more
recent years it has been the location of the Canistota Exchange
and the Ward Clark law office.
The Boom's Cafe building was originally built by Staples, for his
grocery store. Later it was sold to the Hamm Brewing Co., and
used as a saloon. It was then known as Spoodle's. with the advent
of the prohibition area, the building was turned into a cafe and
has been such since that time.
A small office building stood on the site of Spicer's Chevrolet
Garage for many years. It was then moved to make room for a new
theatre building, which Dr. S. S. Clark planned to build there. A
full basement was dug and walled up, but later it was decided to
build the theatre where it now stands. The open basement remained
there for many years. In the thirties, the southeast corner was
filled and the band stand moved there. Since then the entire
excavation has been filled.
George Buehner built a store building and home just west of that
location, now the North Side Rooming House. Mr. Buehner ran a
grocery store at the location. Later it housed a number of
businesses, including a harness shop, shoe repair, cream station,
and undertaking parlors.
Second Lumber Yard Built
The present Canistota Creamery building is what remains of the
former Thompson Yard Co. It originally was the Queal and Co.,
second yard, and was later sold to the Thompson Yards. It was
later consolidated with the Carpenter Lumber Co., and all moved
to the present Lumber yards building.
John Hollander built a frame building on the corner where the new
Standard Station now stands. He operated a furniture store there,
and later sold it to M. J. Beisel, who continued in the furniture
and undertaking business there. He later sold the building and
the business to W. J. McCullough.
The present jewelry store building was built by H. H. Schlueter
and has been used for that purpose ever since then.
The building to the east, was formerly the Snow Bros. barber shop
and was built by the two brothers, Bert and Otto. The present
Gift Shop was the residence of Hank Spaulding and family and also
housed the barber shop.
The building originally standing where the large Drug store sign
now stands, was built by a Gortmaker and was used as a bowling
alley, and later a saloon. In later years G. F. Watson ran a
store in it, and still had it there when most of the building was
destroyed by fire.
First Bank Building
The present Drug store building was the first bank building in
town. It was built by the Mullhal Bros., who operated a bank
there, later selling it to Robert Armstrong. Later his brother ,
Wm. J. Armstrong, also entered the bank, and then they went into
partnership with Fred Dudley, and moved the business to his
building, and ran it under the name of Farmers State Bank.
The present Dairy King building was built by Fred Klueber in
1891, where he ran a harness shop. In 1895, he sold the building
and business to E. D. Schlueter, who continued to operate it
until his death.
A grocery store stood , where the Ortman Hotel now stands. It was
built by Frank Elliott, who later sold it to Julius Kruschke and
brother. The building was later moved to the F. H. Marquardt lot,
south of the theatre, and is still used by his son for his well
The Farmers Union Supply Co. purchased their building (Now the
Farmers Store) form Jack McKinnon, who had built it for a drug
store. McKinnon then built the building to the east (McKillop
Hardware) and used that for his drug store.
The original O and R store originally stood on the lots west of
the old Commercial Hotel. In later years it housed the Snow
Bros., barber shop and later the Markee barber shop. It was moved
to its present site on the railroad grounds, where Bert Parker
ran a cream station. Later the business was taken over by his
son-in-law, R. T. Lortscher, who then added a line of groceries.
The building has been added to and changed a number of times
since the grocery store was started there.
As settlers moved here, the need for mail service was desired.
Before the coming of the railroad, the mail was brought up from
either Marion or Sioux Falls. David Manary, who homesteaded the
farm on which Robert Budds now live, was the first official
postmaster of the community, and his post office was known as the
Cameron post office.
The Mail Arrives In Canistota
After the arrival of the train service in Canistota John Fetzner
was appointed the first postmaster and had his office in the
front of his store building. In later years, the postoffice was
also housed in the present Pletan building, the building formerly
west of the drug store, the present Gamble store, and the McCue
Cafe building. The present postoffice building was built by R. L.
Hazen in 1931.
By 1903, it was deemed necessary for other means of
communications, and a stock company consisting of Jack McKinnon,
Jim McKinnon, A. G. Engelcke, Dr. Cowen, and others was formed
for the purpose of putting in a telephone system for Canistota. A
franchise was given by the town board.
Telephone Co. Has 20 Patrons
The first central office was located in the building now used by
the McKillop Hardware. At the completion of the line work here,
there were 20 phones on the list. However, in the next three
years five rural lines were added, increasing the list of
Later the switchboard was moved to the Clipper office. The
service at the time was from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p. m. Cables were
unknown here at the time, and the crossing of lines was a common
event. A short time later the stock company sold their lines to a
Mr. Thompson, who managed the company until 1914. Thompson, at
that time sold the business to John Smith, who later moved to
Beresford. Smith put in cables and moved the location of the
central office to the McKillop residence on Main street, now the
home of Mrs. Celia McCue. This remained the central office for
Smith sold out to the Dakota Central, who hired Mrs. D. Driggs as
the local manager, D. Driggs as line man and Pearl Gordon and
Vera Watson as operators. In 1920 Pearl Gordon became manager of
the local office and held that office (or chief operator) until
the advent of the dial system in August of 1958.
The Dakota Central, a subsiduary of the Northwestern Bell
Telephone Co., later gave up its holdings here to the mother
company. Today, patrons of the Canistota exchange are enjoying a
very modern dial system telephone service.
Canistota continued its growth and was considered an up and
Population At 379 In 1909
By 1909, a special census showed the population at 379 people. By
the time the federal census was taken in 1910, there had been an
increase of population in the amount of 29, bringing the total to
408. At that time it was the smallest of the towns in McCook
county, with Salem showing a total of 1097; Bridgewater, 934;
Spencer, 506; and Montrose, 422. The federal census of 1920
showed the total at 594. The latest federal census, of 1950, gave
the city a population of 679.
Canistota had an electric light plant for many years. In later
years the plant was run by Henry Schaller, who had two gasoline
engines and two generators, usually referred to as the large
generator and the small generator. The power would start into the
lines just before dark and the residents would enjoy electric
lights until about 11:00 o'clock. During severe thunder storms,
the old signal of three short blackouts would warn patrons that
within the next few minutes the power would be shut off for the
night. Then those still awake in the west part of town could see
Mr. Schaller heading home, with the aid of a kerosene lamp.
Daytime Power Two Mornings
On Monday mornings power would be on for a couple of hours, thus
giving Canistota housewives the opportunity to do their washings
in the electric washer. The housewife of the day had to have her
washing timed perfectly so that she would be completed by the
time the power was shut down. On Tuesday mornings, in later
years, power was on for a short time so that ironing could be
done. If not completed in that time, it had to be finished by gas
iron, or later at night.
City Goes Into Business
In 1920, the city purchased the plant from Mr. Schaller and ran
it as a municipal plant. However, after the first nine months,
the records showed the city had lost a total of $1,746.38 through
the operation of the plant during that time.
On March 1, 1921, the city had a bond vote for the purpose of
allowing the council to bond the city to the tune of $21,000.00
for the purpose of getting Northern States Power into town. The
issue carried by a vote of 169 to 4.
After connecting with the highline the city continued to sell the
current to local users, after purchasing it from the power
company. Profits from this operation made only enough to pay the
interest, so the entire set up was sold to the Northern States
Power Co. this company continues to give Canistota excellent
power service today.
The town continued under the same pattern of other small South
Dakota towns for a number of years. Then, in the late twenties,
activity here increased to a large degree, brought about by the
large number of patients visiting the famed Ortman Clinic, seven
miles south of town.
Thousands Come To Ortman Clinic
Amon Ortman, who had been a farmer there for many years, had
become nationally known for his work in treating the bones and
nerves. The number of people coming to him for help grew from a
small group each day, to hundreds and then thousands. By this
time he had encouraged his brother, Noah, to assist him in the
The small building that they had used for treating soon became
too small and a large clinic and hotel were put up on the farm
place. Soon the hotel was far too small to handle the large
crowds and people started coming to Canistota in the search of
rooms. The local railroad station became a busy place with
hundreds of people disembarking and embarking here weekly. A
large bus and several taxies were kept busy hauling the patients
to the farm in the country.
The Drs. Ortman saw the need of a new large hotel. Several towns
in the neighborhood were attempting to get them to build in their
cities. Canistotans too, saw the value of such a place in their
city and convinced them to build in Canistota.
First the old Commercial House was purchased and used for the
patients until the new four story Ortman Hotel was completed in
the spring of 1929.
The doctors continued to do their treating on the farm. Finally,
with ever-increasing crowds, treating rooms were built within the
new hotel building, and the doctors began giving their treatments
Drs. Ortman Build New Clinic
Later, the desirability of having a complete clinic building was
seen, and the new Ortman Clinic was built just west of the hotel.
Since the original building, two additions have been made. It now
includes a large waiting room, ten treating rooms, and two
Since that time the Drs. Herbert W. Ortman, Ervin Ortman, Stanley
Weiland and Dennis Ortman have been added to the staff. In April,
1956, Dr. A. S. Ortman, the founder of the Ortman Clinic, passed
away. The others are continuing their practice here.
With large crowds visiting Canistota each week, it was soon seen
that the city would need a modern sewer and disposal system. An
election was held for the issuance of bonds for that purpose and
for the purpose of extending the water mains. The bond issue
carried by a large majority. Work was begun immediately, and
Canistota became one of the first small cities in the state to
have such a complete and modern water and sewer system.
With the continued growth of the city, another extension of water
and sewer mains and the need of another city well was seen, and
another bond election was held for that purpose. Again, the issue
carried by a large majority. As a result, the city has been able
to furnish an abundant water supply, and all building lots find
the water and sewer available.
Canistotans saw the advantage of good roads in the early days. As
early as 1916, business men were attempting to get the proposed
highway from Sioux Falls to Mitchell to pass through this city.
In fact, in October of that year, it did look like they were
going to accomplish their purpose. Later, however, when the final
draft of the new road was made, it missed Canistota by 3 1/2
miles to the south. However, during the past ten or fifteen years
they were able to get two fine oiled roads leading into the town.
The first was from highway 16 to the town from the south, and the
second from highway 81 from the west.
The Graveling Bee
The early residents of the city, also saw the need for good
streets within the city. When it was decided to gravel Main
street farmers and businessmen alike pitched in and worked
shoulder to shoulder in a graveling bee. Farmers furnished wagons
and teams, truckers furnished trucks, and the rest of the farmers
and townspeople worked in the pits, shoveling the gravel into the
wagons. Several such bees were held.
Difficulty was had in keeping Main street from cutting up,
especially in wet weather. On two different occasions, the street
was oiled, but in both instances, soon deteriorated. Finally in
1952, it was decided to pave Main street from Railway street to
fourth street. This work was done that summer, and Canistota now
has a fine cement paved street.
During the years Canistota has had some mighty fine baseball
teams. In the earlier years those teams included the Greys and
the Clippers. Among their early opponents were the Ramsey,
Montrose, Greenland and Canistota Township C. P.'s.
Later the town was represented in various amateur leagues
including the Corn Belt and the Old State league.
In 1946, a group of interested businessmen saw the advisability
of having a lighted field for night games. Work was started
toward getting the wheels in motion for such a project that
winter. By June 8, 1947, the city had its lighted diamond, and
that night the first night baseball game was played here.
Canistota won the game by a 13 to 0 score over Salem.
During the seventy-five years of the city's history, it citizens
have worked hard to make it a city which one would proudly call
"home". It is a clean city of well kept homes, a fine school, a
new city hall, fine business places, and a neat city park.
Canistota Public Schools . . .
Canistota's school history goes back to the town of Cameron,
where the the first school in the community was held, back as far
as 1878. As the town of Cameron disbanded and the new town of
Canistota started to spring up, the citizens thought of the need
of educating their children.
According to some of the old timers, a small school house stood
in the south west part of Canistota at that time. However, we
have been unable to find any direct comment of that school in any
of the historical material we have gone through.
In 1883 a new public school was built on the lot where William
Wendland's home now stands. This dwelling is often referred to as
the old John Blohm house. During the 27 years this school
building was in use, the school had but eight grades.
See Need Of New School
By 1909, it was found that if the school was to be adequate a new
building would have to be built. After spending the latter part
of that year looking over plans and estimates, the school board
brought the proposition to a vote on January 31, 1910. The
question to be voted called for a bond issue of $8,825.00 and was
carried by a vote of 92 to 43. The board then bought the block,
still being used for school purposes, from Henry Van Woert for a
price of $1200.00 The new building was completed during the year
1910 at a cost of $17,000.00. dedication was held on December
30th of that year.
The new building was built of granite. The basement furnished a
boiler room, a chemical laboratory and a play room. In a short
time the play room was changed to a class room as the school
expanded. The second floor contained one large room (primary
room) and two smaller class rooms, which were used by the grade
school department. The top floor contained an office and library
combined, a large assembly room and three smaller class rooms.
This floor, as well as the basement was used for high school
By 1923, school board officials feared that if an addition to the
school building was not built, the school would probably lose its
accredition. As a result, on May 15 of that year a $33,000.00
school bond issue was voted on, and lost by a margin of 122 to
87. The proposed new addition was to include a high school
gymnasium, and much of the opposition to the new structure seemed
to be that "we can't afford to build a play room for the school
First Graduating Class in 1915
After the 1910 building came into use, the additional high school
grades were added to the course, and by the spring of 1915, the
first graduating class from Canistota high school emerged. Only
one student made up the class, and that was Lester Ward.
By 1928, the grade enrollment had shown little increase. However,
the high school enrollment had shown a large increase during the
preceding ten years, and again the need of an addition to the
school house was felt. As a result, on May 4, 1928, the voters of
the district had the opportunity to vote on a $25,000.00 bond
issue for the purpose of building the addition to the school
building. This time the voters brought out a favorable vote of
200 to 67.
Work was soon started on the new addition. This part of the
school held a large auditorium and assembly and one class room on
the top floor, and a gymnasium and dressing rooms on the ground
floor. There was no basement.
On Monday, November 26, 1928, the new addition was completed and
the high school students moved out of their old assemblies and
into the new one. By the time school let out for Thanksgiving
vacation on November 28th, students and teachers were pretty well
settled in their new school accommodations.
Stone School Building Burns
However, late that night fire broke out on the old part of the
building, and burned to the ground. Canistota and Salem firemen
put up a gallant fight, and when it was seen that the old
structure could not be saved, their entire efforts were put forth
to save the new building. In this they were successful, although
much smoke damage was done, both to the building and the
No Vacation Because of Fire
That night students looked forward to an extended vacation - but
they did not realize that the members of the board of education
would not leave a stone unturned in their efforts to get school
back to normal. On Monday morning, classes were again resumed -
classes were held in the Methodist and Presbyterian churches, in
the Lutheran school building, lumber yard offices and the Pink
Hall. The high school assembly was held at the Clark Theatre.
Later the assembly at school was used, and the gynasium was ready
By the next spring contracts had been let for the new building.
By the next fall the new building was ready for occupancy. The
basement contained the boiler room, a science laboratory and a
class room. On the ground floor there were three grade class
rooms and the top floor had four class rooms and the
The school continued to grow in size and scholastically. By 1955,
the need of more class rooms and a more adequate gymnasium were
seen. After considerable study, the school board and the city
council decided to try a joint venture in the building of a new
auditorium. The school would then divide the old gymnasium into
class rooms, thus giving an adequate gymnasium-auditorium and the
needed class rooms.
School Bond Issue Carries
On November 8, 1955 two bond elections were held. In the one, the
electors of the school district voted on a $100,000.00 bond issue
and the voters of the city decided on a $15,000.00 issue - both
for the erection of the new school building. The school district
carried their bond issue by a vote of 277 to 100. The city's bond
issue carried by a 262 to 88 margin.
Work was started the next spring on the new building. The
$115,000.00 was sufficient to build the new auditorium and to
make the changes in the old gymnasium. However, there would not
be enough money to furnish the new plant.
A group of interested citizens then organized the "School
Equipment Fund" group, which set out to raise enough money to
furnish the new building. Rabbit hunts, Sport Day stand, Rummage
Sales Bake Sales, Gun Shoots, and many other projects were held
by this group, as well as the various organizations of the town
to help raise the necessary funds. They were very fortunate in
the fact that the Ortman Foundation offered to match any amounts
collected by this group, dollar for dollar.
Equipment Fund Raised Locally
At the close of the drive, the School Equipment Fund had
collected nearly $11,000.00 and with the matching of the Ortman
Foundation, the total reached near the $22,000.00 mark. As a
result the new gymnasium-auditorium has some of the finest
bleachers of any school on the state. The school lunch equipment
is also among the best.
On the evening of January 3, 1957, the new building was dedicated
and a full house was present for the dinner and program that
followed. The featured speaker of the evening was Paul Harvey,
renowned radio newscaster and commentator. Another celebrity
present was Governor Joe Foss, who gave a short talk and
introduced the speaker.
The new auditorium gymnasium has a regulation size basketball
court, and bleachers that will hold about 1200 spectators. On the
south end is a spacious stage for presentation of high school
plays, etc. Below the stage are the dressing rooms, and a shop
room, for the newly added shop course.
One of the finest school lunch kitchens is included in the
building, and since that date local school children have been
enjoying the fine hot school lunches.
The old gymnasium was remodeled, ceilings were lowered, and now
has three beautiful grade class rooms, and boys and girls rest
That spring the Canistota Hawks basket ball team swept through
the district and regional tournaments and entered the state
tournament for the first time since the fine basketball team of
1917. The 1957 team did not fare as well in state tourney play,
as did the team of forty years before. For the 1917 team ended up
in third place among twenty some entries.
However, the 1957 team gained valuable basketball tourney knowhow
in the tourneys of that year, and came storming back in 1958 to
again sweep through the district and regional tournaments and get
back into state tournament play.
After defeating Deadwood in first round play, then doing away
with Fairfax in the semi-finals, the local lads came back to take
the state championship game. In that game, after leading for much
of the game, they came up with an eight point deficit in the
closing seconds of the fray only to come back and tie up their
opponents, Corona, as the gun announced the close of the
regulation play. In the overtime period they scored the only two
points of that period to take not only the game, but the state
The next day the twelve members of the team, their student
manager, and their coach, Doug Cowman were met by one group of
fans north of Salem, another at Highway 81 west of town and more
people in town. Over 1500 people were at the gymnasium that
afternoon to give them a royal welcome home.
Canistota has had other athletic teams. The first football game
in the history of the local school was played on Saturday,
November 5, 1921, with Salem taking a 25 to 0 count over the
local eleven. About that time Canistota and Salem played another
game in Salem, which was perhaps one of the first football games,
if not the first in thew state to be broadcast over the airwaves.
That was the day of the wireless telegraph. Herbert Schlueter had
a wireless receiver in his father's jewelry store, and young Sahs
(Adolph's boy) had a wireless code sender at Salem. He moved his
equipment out to Salem football field and sent the action of the
game (via wireless code) to the receiver of young Schlueter, here
in Canistota. Canistotans received quite a thrill as the code was
deciphered here, and the action of the game unfolded.
For many years there was no football team, until the fall of
1946, when six man football was started here, and the Cornbelt
conference teams started a six man football conference. In the
fall of 1948, the six man brand was changed to eight man
During the years, the local high school has been accredited by
the North Central Association. Local students have done well, as
they left this school and entered the various colleges of the
Today, a large percentage of Canistota high school graduates are
going on to places of higher learning each year.
With the closing of many of the rural schools of the area, both
the high school and grade school are showing marked increases.
When school opens for the 1959-60 school term, there will be
eight rooms for the eight grades, with a teacher for each grade.
This is the first time in the history of the school that this has
been added. In the past few years, an additional grade teacher
has been added every other year.
The following is a list of Canistota high school graduates down
through the years.
CLASS OF 1915 -- Lester Ward.
CLASS OF 1916 -- Libbie Dawson, Lee Armstrong, and Senn Simmons.
CLASS OF 1917 -- Ursula Beisel, Katherine Kostboth, Elsie
McMillan, Myrtle McKillop, Winfield Clark, and Theodore Slemmons.
CLASS OF 1918 -- Vera Slemmons, Alice McMillan, Florence Collins,
and Reah Dawson.
CLASS OF 1919 -- Ava Hammond, Lisette Dunkelmann, Pearl Starkey,
Vera Watson, and Glenn Mitchell.
CLASS OF 1920 -- Mae Welzin, Caroline Klueber, Ella Harvey, Stowe
McKillop, and Ward Halgerson.
CLASS OF 1921 -- Dorothy Bates, Cora Sauer, Lillie Giegling,
Mildred Fischer, Clifford Smith, and Roy Ritter.
CLASS OF 1922 -- Herbert Schlueter, Cleo Rooney, Wm. Wendland,
Elizabeth Addy, Vivian Starkey, and Leone Kostboth.
CLASS OF 1923 -- Clifford Littlechild, Mildred Bates, Alice
Reecy, John Dickinson, Roy White, Walter Watson, Ben Armstrong,
Gaylord Markee, Nellie Sanford, Lucile Fleming, Amelia Husman,
Marie Mock, and Hazel Hammond.
CLASS OF 1924 -- Helena Laity, Opal Reid Tarrell, Eunice McDade,
Irma Starkey, Neva Ritter, Lillie Woltzen, Nita Beck, Marie Reid,
Frank Collins, Lyle Niedert, Clifford White, John Stanley, and
CLASS OF 1925 -- Mabel Kirchner, Ruth Godfrey, Alice Harvey,
Martha Hinrichs, Hertha Jerman, Loretta Hinrichs, Fred Langelett,
Robert Armstrong, Truman Markee, and Lyle Kostboth.
CLASS OF 1926 -- Mary Moore, Mary Watson, Hazel Cannon, Verna
Ewert, Earl France, Reuben Beisel, Clark Amy, and Oliver White.
CLASS OF 1927 -- Rose Giegling, Helen Muehl, Johanna Ahrendt,
Lucile Smith, Vera Fischer, Arthur Parry, Arno Ewert, Robert
Weiland, Alvin Schlueter, and Stanley Hibbison.
CLASS OF 1928 -- Marie Hinrichs, Kathryn Schaller, Elaine
Sanford, Hildagarde Glock, Ernest Wrage, Dale Kostboth, Fern
Kostboth, Jerry Ondrozeck, Arno Faber, Erma Ewert, Amon Hopf,
Pearl Huss, Edward Beck, Alice Stanley, Emma Zafft, Lenore
Freese, and Ward Clark.
CLASS OF '29
Tom Armstrong, Bud Dawson, Helen Armstrong, Maxine Laity, Lois
Hammond, John Schaller, Viola Bellack, Vernon Eichhorn, Earl
White, Russell Shabino, Violet Harvey, Myrtle Schmidt, Lenora
Lindbloom, Josephine Gosch, Leona Sessler, Josephine Ecklund, and
CLASS OF 1930 -- Bessie Bergen, Marvin Edwards, Ina Ewert,
William France, Clifton Haas, Cecelia Hartman, Clifford Hinrichs,
Edith Jerman, Clarence Kirchner, Leonard Schlueter, Victor
Schlueter, Dwight Van Woert, Lyle Weiland, Henrietta Wingert, and
CLASS OF 1931 -- Eleanor Bise, Harry Dawson, Mildred Spicer, Lola
Reid, Vivian Tarrell, Edna Clark, Viola Watson, Selma Hartman,
Walter Johannsen, Dorothy Driggs, Ruth Sperling, Marvin Larson,
Nellie Swenson, Earl Weiland, Clifford Moore, John Schlueter, and
CLASS OF '32
Mildred (McCullough) Sherkenback, Russell McCullough, Marie
Kirchner, Daisy Stanley, Myrtle Lobien, Dale Stanley, Ruby
Starkey, Maxine Snow and Mary K. Bowen.
CLASS OF 1933 -- Edward Haas, Joy Rose, Beryl Knox, Virgil Dove,
Cora Rauch, Alta Krantz, Mabel Parry, Viola Gordon, Viola Reid,
Gene Beck, Orval White, Margaret Bormann, Bonnie Slemmons,
Virginia Stanley, Bertie Kostboth, Kenneth Leesch, Margaret
Bellack, Herman Sperling, Margaret Jerman, Agnes Gaarder, Walter
Visser, Helen Kostboth, Ben Weiland, Dorothy Jerman, Seth
Crowhurst, Lila Mae Bise, Mary Tarrell, and Francis Wieman.
CLASS OF 1934 -- Mona Lobein, Kenneth Wieland, Evelyn Bergen,
Donald Dawson, Helen Jansa, Leonard Neuberger, Clifford Schopp,
Theodore Hinrichs, Robert Davidson, Vera Townsend, Alta Sperling,
Bernard Lobein, Marion Dove, Viola Tarrell, Earl Cooper, Rosella
Kirchner, Lucille Tarrell, Harry Addy, Etta Visser, George
Schlueter, and Kathleen Grey.
CLASS OF 1935 -- Ida Albright, Irene Bellack, Mildred Berry,
Esther Bormann, Norma Freese, Lois Fluegel, Shirley Hultin,
Edward Kostboth, Robert Kostboth, Ursula Krantz, Arline Leesch,
Pearl Neuberger, Herbert Ortman, Loella Rose, Kathryn Shebal,
Gladys Schoff, Adeline Tieszen, and Lloyd Townsend.
CLASS OF 1936 -- Ardelle Armstrong, Leland Addy, Beulah Bellack,
Glenn Crowhurst, Kathryn Cooper, Dorothy Husman, Vernon Klinkel,
Dale Knox, Goldie Moore, Maxine McKillop, Clarence Ortman, Robert
Sanford, Evelyn Timmerman, Florence Wieman, Albert Woltzen, and
CLASS OF '37
Helen Spicer, Gale Snow, Maxine Knox, Dale Fischer, Martha
Tieszen, Velma Krantz, Doris Gray, Forrest Rose, Ardelle
McAllister, Howard Tarrell, Eugene Kirchner, June Sohm, Evelyn
Kostboth and Clifford McCue.
CLASS OF '38
Lavon Jansa, Boyd Monroe, Beverly Hultin, Donald Van Woert, Pearl
Brunken, Lois McKillop, Earl Wieman, Ray DeKramer, Virginia
Kirchner, Wesley Gordon, Jean France, Lloyd Tieszen, Hugh Watson,
Marion Tarrell, Milda Marquardt and John Bowen.
CLASS OF '39
Velma Gordon, Fern Jerman, Irene Krantz, Ada Mae Rose, Marian
Williams, Veryl Schulte, Paul Tschetter, Delmar Halgerson,
Lawrence Parry, Darrell Monroe, Stanley Weiland, Norman Bergen,
Pauline McKillop, Vera Erickson, Mona Hutchinson, Eileen
Kostboth, Evelyn Noordsy and Irene Kirchner.
CLASS OF '40
Harold Krantz, John McKillop, John McGregor, Lester Steffen,
Archie Gordon, Lois Spicer, Verna Krantz, Inola Krumvieda, Elaine
Shebal, Louise Woltzen, Rosalyce Bowen, Myrtle Bormann, Bonita
Richey, Adeline Jansa, Lois DeKramer, Darleen Moore, Opal
Deuchars, Charles Driggs, Jerry Dawson, and Walter Nielson.
CLASS OF '41
Loren Brunken, Leonard Cooper, Lyle DeKramer, Dale Hartman, Jean
Jennings, Robert Kirchner, Mary L. Knox, Lee McGregor, James
McKillop, Jean McKillop, Helen I. Mehlbrech, Harold Merritt,
Lester Ortman, Gerald Parry, Mary A. Rose, Kenneth Sessler,
Gladys Tieszen, John Tieszen, Ruth Tschetter, Dale Uecker, Lester
Wittrock, and Dorothy Wrage.
CLASS OF '42
Constance Clark, Ardith McKay, Ruth Oberheu, Eileen Krantz, Ervin
Ortman, Jessie Rose, Lloyd McCue, Vernon Tarrell, Calvin
Kostboth, Gordon Noordsy, Loren Marquardt and Virgil Haron.
CLASS OF '43
Dorothy Bormann, Grant Bowen, Ray Buseman, Margaret Clark, Dale
DeKramer Robert Fluegel, Dorothy Gordon, Marie Jennings, Bernice
Klinkel, Roy Gordon, Lavern Knox, Arleen Krumvieda, Neva
Laufmann, Mary McGregor, Irene Ortman, Chad Reid, Robert Uecker,
Klass Wingert, Marie Wrage, Gerhardt Marquardt.
CLASS OF '44
Alice Parker, Clyde Ackerman, Donald Langlett, Vesta Ortman,
Jerald Cannon, Frances Tieszen, Veronica Wingert, June Halgerson,
Rose Krumvieda, William Cooper, Merle Switzer, Lillian McMartin,
Maxine Tarrell, Duane Wrage, Mary Bormann, Donald McKillop,
Orville Buseman, Catherine Noordsy.
CLASS OF 1945 -- Marvin Cooper, Lavone F. Harms, Edd C. McGregor,
Delores K. Noordsy, Verna E. Peters, Glenn R. Parry, Ralph J.
Tieszen, Vivian S. Woltzen, Joy A. DeKramer, Donald F. McCue,
Walter E. Marquardt, Robert C. Oberheu, Herbert Papendick, Dale
N. Townsend, Velna M. Wingert, Laberta Weins, and Harold F.
CLASS OF '46
Delmont Bennett, Virginia Bergen, Theresa Fischer, Kieth Graham,
Donna Mae Kuhns, Leonard Marquardt Arlene McKillop, Thomas
McMartin, Kenneth Merritt, Bonnie Root, Shirley Stevens, Ilene
Struck, Muriel Tarrell, Anna Tieszen, Lela Mae Weiland, Betty
Wells, Gene White, Donald Wingert, Beverly Wittrock. Jean Root
CLASS OF '47
James Tieszen, Robert Haas, Harold Parker, Robert Bracker, Eugene
Deuchars, Ferne Cooper, Betty Brinkman, Donna Schlueter, Barbara
Monroe, Georgianna Krantz and Varro Schnose.
CLASS OF '48
Irene Matthaei, Marilyn Gunderman, Evelyn Neuberger, Frances
Bergen, Dora Lee Janisch, Shirley Tarrell, Gertrude Bormann,
Dorothy Scott, Ralph Wrage, Luverne Wittrock, Tom Neuberger, Bob
Bowen, Merlyn Way, Dean Shabino, Charles Jarratt, Lowell Bergen,
Don Watson and Carol Stanga.
CLASS OF 1949 -- Jean Dawson, Pat Donelan, Betty Hutchinson,
Betty Koepp, Dorothy Matthaei, Doris Morrow, Dennis Ortman, Theo.
Thompson Jr., Dean Ward, Marvin Wingert, Dean Wittrock, Edith
Wrage, and Phyllis Wrage.
CLASS OF '50
Darlene Dunn, Phyllis Neuberger, Floyd Gaarder, Ruby Oller, Larry
Gaarder, Dorothy Ortman, Dean Graham, Robert Papendick, Maxine
Hoiten, Shirley Root, Loren Jarratt, Donald Schlueter, Dale
Klockman, Loren Scott, LeRoy Klockman, Shirrel Shay, Jerry
Lindbloom, Harley Watson and Norman White.
CLASS OF '51
Ardell Woltzen, Keith Tieszen, Dale Ward, Norman Papendick, Norma
Wittrock, Jean Bracker, Mary Ann Neuberger, Donald Lortscher,
William Struck, John Fischer, Martin Marquardt, Patricia McCue,
Kathleen Ericksen, Richard Oller, Janette Elliott and James
CLASS OF '52
Edward Fischer, Barbara France, Richard Jarding, Donna Johnson,
Beverly Kunkel, Robert Parker, Ronald Marquardt, Billy Root,
Robert Schlueter, Betty Ann Stanley, Bonnie Tarrell, Joe Thomas,
Donna Turner, Kenneth Voeltz, and Robert Wingert.
CLASS OF '53
Evelyn Addy, Shirley Anderson, Marilyn Bracker, William
Dickinson, Virginia Eichhorn, Beverly Flick, Allan Giegling,
Alice Matthaei, Howard McCorkell, Rita Neuberger, Joan Nielson,
Richard Schlueter, Garry Scott, Leona Tarrell, Lester Tieszen,
Gene Ward and Connie White.
CLASS OF '54
Virgil Bakken, Martin Beisel, Delores Dunn, Donna Dunn, Patricia
Faber, Roger Hanson, Janet Janisch, Beatrice Jarding, Connie
Klockman, Duane Klueber, Shirley Klueber, Delores Magill, Nona
McKay, Joan Morrow, John Neuberger, Wayne Parry, Gerald Schlueter
and Jerry Scott.
CLASS OF '55
Sharlo Strong, Donald Dawson, Elizabeth Giegling, Duane Root,
Robert Ward, Bonnie Faber, Arnold Papendick, Gloria Monson,
Marcia Wingert, Bernice Addy, Arlene Bormann, Myrna Carey, Julie
Tyler, Billie Wendland, Peggy Polchow, Roger Albrecht, Darrell
white, Elaine Tieszen, Gene Theel, and Phyllis Nielson.
CLASS OF '56
Richard Kostboth, Sharon Klueber, Lyle Giegling, Donald
Rechtenbaugh, Rodney Klunkel, Lowell Funk, Joyce Monson, James
Anderson, Allen Dunn, Mary Tyler, Grant Matthaei, Gary McKay and
CLASS OF '57
Delores Matthaei, Bill Addy, Jim Spicer, Dennis Martens, Kenneth
Scott, Carol Wells, Eddie Scott, Brenda Neuberger, Diann Hanson,
Linda Kostboth, Larry Addy, Bill Longshore, Donald Beisel, Jerry
Klockman, Judy Parry, Loren Schlueter, and Vernetta Buseman.
CLASS OF '58
Arlys Harvey, Steve Clark, Jerry Kruse, Keith McKay, Gale Pletan,
John Schmidt, Larry Neuberger, Margaret Rechtenbaugh, Robert
McKay, Joyce Johnke, Gilbert Stickfort, Derrold Tieszen, Wayne
Ortman, Wayne Tieszen, Mary Dawson, Arla Millar, Roger Faber,
Lester Parry and Deanna Krumvieda.
CLASS OF '59
Audrey Scott, Raymond Tieszen, Lois McCorkell, Roland Klueber
Jr., Delores Monson, Virgil Koepp, Jean Damon, Dennis Weeldreyer,
Ardelle Korkow, Glenn Addy, Janice Anderson, Donna Garner, David
Kostboth, Allen Schlueter, Ronald Wendland, Sandra Krumvieda,
Eugene Bormann, Ronald Ondrozeck, Robert Dawson, Delores
Stickfort, Norma Klunkel, Harry Johnson and Gary Lukes.
On August 24th, 1894 several men of the community of Canistota
gathered in the upstairs room of The Hollander Building and
formed a lodge of Master Masons. They named it Prudence Lodge.
They met by a dispensation granted to them by the Grand Master of
The following Master Masons were in attendance: J. P. Schaller,
F. J. Muench, J. A. Beaner, James Goforth, John M. Bayard,
Richard Bolan, Frank Elliot, John Dickinson, Will A. Lange, D. M.
Slemmons, B. D. L. Dudley, F. V. Punteney and one visitor, M.
The lodge grew and prospered and on June 12th, 1895 a charter was
granted and Prudence Lodge No. 119 A.F. and A.M. was duly
constituted, and officers were elected and installed.
The lodge outgrew its quarters in The Hollander Building and met
in the High School Building while its new home was being built.
In the late summer of the year 1900 they moved into their
building owned jointly by A. O. U. W. and Masons Shortly after
this the Odd Fellows purchased shares of stock in the building,
and it is at present jointly owned by the Masons and Oddfellows.
The building is governed by a board of trustees -- 3 of each
organization being on the board.
The building is in good repair, and is a land mark of the
community. It is known as the Pink Hall. All of the organizations
are very proud of their home, and many improvements have been
completed by the I. O. O. F., Rebekahs, Order of the Eastern Star
and Masons by working together in complete accord.
Order Of Home Guardians
On December 24th, 1901, a local chapter of the Order of Home
Guardians was organized in Canistota by L. D. Milne, Supreme
Secretary, and J. S. Knox, who had been spending some time here
in working up the membership.
This group was a South Dakota organization with headquarters in
Canton. The officers elected were as follows:
President, Leland S. Meyers; Vice President, Robert Blakely;
Secretary, W.C. Uecker; Treasurer, Fred Youngberg; Marshall, W.
J. McCullough; Chaplin, Henry Meyer; Inside Guardian, Elmer
Heisig; and Outside Guardian, Wm. Leesch.
There may have been other lodges started here during the years,
but no information, regarding them was found available.
50 Years Medical Practice . . .
In the early history of the settlement of the prairies, the
medical doctor played a very important part in community life, as
he does today.
With the exception of three or four years, Canistotans have been
served by Dr. Dickinson, since the 2th day of July, 1904. For it
was on that day, young Dr. W. E. Dickinson moved to Canistota
with his wife and six weeks old son, to set up his medical
practice here. A few months after his death in 1945, his son, Dr.
John H. Dickinson, began his medical practice in Canistota, and
still continues to do so.
At the time Dr. W. E. Dickinson started here, there were two
medical doctors in the town - namely Dr. Slemmons, who had been
here for a number of years, and had now given up his practice,
because of illness, and Dr. Cowen, who later left here for the
Cottonwood, South Dakota area. Later, Dr. Rance also began a
practice, here, but left two years later.
The life of Dr. Dickinson and other doctors of this community,
was not an easy life in those days. Transportation was bad at
many times, both in the winter and summer months. Roads were
little less than trails, and heavy rains and snow storms often
left them next to impassable.
Before the advent of the automobile, Dr. Dickinson kept six
horses at all times. These were on his buggy in the days without
snow, and on a "jumper" after the snow fell in the fall. The
doctor, and his wife who often accompanied him on his calls to
"hold the lamp and otherwise assist him," were at the mercy of
the cold and wintery blasts in the cold weather, as the "jumper"
had no heater or top as do the cars of today.
At times, the six horses were not enough to take care of the
doctor's needs, and many times he had to go to the livery stable
to hire one of their rigs and teams.
Dr. Will played an important part in fighting the worst epidemic
to hit this area - the flu, in 1918. This was an epidemic which
swept the nation, and nearly everyone became sick at once. Not
only did everyone become sick at once, but many lost their lives,
including the doctor's aunt, Mrs. El Van Woert of this city, and
his mother at Montrose.
Entire families became sick at once, with no one in the home well
enough to take care of them. Thus the need of a central location
for the ailing was needed. The schools were closed, so the doctor
and others soon made a hospital out of the school house, where
volunteers helped in caring for those who were victims of the
During the early days of the epidemic, the doctor worked day and
night, hoping that he would be able to keep on caring for the
sick, without contracting the illness himself. However, the
doctor, who had not been too strong after a siege of typhoid
fever while serving in the armed forces in the Phillipines,
during the Spanish-American war, finally dropped from the
disease, coupled with exhaustion.
For the first twenty-four that he was confined to his bed, a
bedside telephone was kept busy, with people calling for medical
advice. The doctor continued to prescribe medicine, and L. G.
France, local druggist, at that time, checked the prescriptions
and filled them, giving relief to many people in this manner.
The following day Mrs. Dickinson wired Washington, explaining the
communities dilemma and asking for aid. A short time later they
sent a Dr. Clark out from Sioux Falls to give medical attention
to those in the make-shift hospital and in the homes. Before he
was able to get here, a doctor came out from Salem to help, but
could not keep it up, as his presence was needed in his city
because of the same epidemic.
Prior to the outbreak of the flu, doctors in the area were called
in for a meeting with armed forces officials. Doctors were needed
in the service, as well as at home. Volunteers for service were
asked for, and Dr. Dickinson was among those to volunteer. An
attempt was made to leave one doctor for each 500 population,
however, as the need became greater in the service, the doctor
received his commission as a captain.
The day after he became sick with the flu, he received a telegram
asking him to report within three days to Omaha, to enter the
service. The next day, however, a second telegram asked to
disregard the first wire. The following day, another wire came,
asking him to disregard all previous wires, as the Armistice had
been signed. However, at the time, the doctor was too sick to
know about any of the telegrams.
In 1928, Dr Dickinson, who had been very interested in
psychoatric work, decided he would like to enter a hospital in
Lincoln, Neb., and take further training along those lines. He
persuaded Dr. Alvin Clauser, a son of Dr. Clauser of Bridgewater,
to come here and continue his practice in the Canistota
In about 1930, Dr. Clauser decided to give up his practice here
and to move to the state of New Mexico to continue his medical
work. Canistotans then persuaded Dr. Dickinson to return to
Canistota. He returned here in 1930.
He then continued to work at his practice here, until illness
forced him to retire from his profession a short time before his
death in 1945.
After the VJ Day of World War II, Dr. John Dickinson, who had
been in the service, arrived in Canistota to spend sometime
visiting. While here, Canistotans encouraged him to stay right
here to take up his medical practice, which he did and has
continued to do so.
Although enjoying more modern conveniences, Dr. John and other
doctors of the area, still have their problems of
transportations. The high powered cars of today, can cover a lot
of ground in a short time, but still have their difficulties of
getting through snow banks. Illness is no respecter of time or
seasons, and the doctor is called out to care for the ill on some
pretty stormy nights.
The people of Canistota and community still realize the
importance of having a medical doctor in their midst, and this
year are building a new medical center for the use of the medical
doctor, and also a dentist, if one is available.
Dam on Vermillion River . . .
During the summer of 1958, Canistota folks had the opportunity of
seeing a dream of many years, become a realization. It was the
completion of the large dam across the East Vermillion river,
east of this city, which will back up the water, forming a
In 1945 it was suggested to the State Game, Fish and Parks
commission, that they look into the possibilities of making an
artificial lake on the east branch of the Vermillion river, and
placing a dam where highway 16 crosses the river. A few weeks
later their engineer came out and looked over the possibilities,
and suggested that if such a lake were built, the dam be placed
near the spot that the present dam is located. Enthusiasm ran
high at the time and for some months following. However, it was
dropped until January, 1957, when a united effort of sportsmen of
this area brought the matter back into the lime light.
At a meeting of these men in Pierre that month, representatives
from Sioux Falls, Parker, Marion, Bridgewater, Montrose and
Canistota were appointed to act as directors of the Vermillion
Lake Association, with Peter Noordsy, Canistota, as it's
Even though this area has had little precipitation during the
past year and a half, the lake now has a surprising amount of
water in it.
During the summer of 1959, more than a million fish were planted
in these waters. At the same time, the Vermillion Lake
Association, with the cooperation of McCook county, the State
Game, Fish and Parks commission, and others, have leveled and
sanded a beach area, which will be ready to accommodate swimmers
after the lake has filled.
In Closing . . .
In writing the history of Canistota, we have attempted to give an
accurate account of the happenings in the city and community,
from the day of the "prairie schooner" to the present time.
Time and space made it essential that we be brief, and as a
result many happenings had to be omitted, and others touched on
Material for the booklet was gleaned from early files of the
Canistota Clipper; from accounts given us by oldtimers,
especially L. M. Sessler, who has lived here since the later
'70's; an early high school annual; written histories of churches
and organizations, as compiled by members of their respective
groups. We are sincerely grateful for the help given us by many
of you, in compiling the contents of the book.
Originally copyrighted in 1959 by John H. Schlueter and Wendell
Such copyright remains with them. I mearly transcribed their
original work for its preservation and use on the USGENWEB,
Transcription for USGENWEB, SDGENWEB, copyrighted 1997 by Kenneth
©McCook County GenWeb 2000-2008