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Walworth County History

Walworth County was created in 1873 and organized in 1883. It was named for a county in Wisconsin by the same name by the early settlers who came from there.

The area of Walworth County has been occupied by Native Americans for many centuries. The Missouri River provided transportation for them and for the early fur traders who came up from Saint Louis, Mo. Later steamboats would ply the water far to the north of Walworth County.

The first settlements were along the Missouri River, including Scranton, LeBeau, Evarts and Bangor.

LeBeau was first a trading post named for Antoin LeBeau who came to the area in 1875. His name was a corruption of "leBeouf," the buffalo, which he was said to resemble. A post office was established in 1880. In 1907 LeBeau became a large cattle shipping center for cattle raised west of the Missouri and brought to LeBeau which was the Minneapolis-St. Paul railroad terminal. First destroyed most of the town in 1910 and the rest in 1911 when it became abandoned. Evarts' post office was established in 1905. During the same period as LeBeau, Evarts was the terminal for the Milwaukee Road making it the second shipping point. In 1909 the Milwaukee Road was looking for a suitable spot to cross the Missouri River, but couldn't find one in the Evarts area so moved the railroad five to ten miles northwest and found suitable foundation in the Mobridge area. Evarts was then abandoned in favor of the new site.

Akaska is said to have been named for two Sioux words which either meant "a woman who lives with several men" or "to eat up." A post office was established in 1907 and is still in operation. The area now is known for its fishing and many families have fishing cabins in the area.

Lowry was established and named for a Minneapolis and St. Paul Railroad official in 1907. Although it still has a post office, most of the little town has disappeared.

A small settlement was established on the edge of Blue Blanket Lake and named Blue Blanket. It had a post office from 1886 to 1901. It has since disappeared.

Bangor was the first county seat. Located about five miles south of the present site of Selby, Bangor's post office was established in 1885. Bowdle in Edmunds County was the end of the Milwaukee railroad for many years because of the poor railroad bed farther west. Then in 1900 more suitable soil was found in the Mobridge area and the railroad was extended towards that point.

Java was founded by the laborers laying track to the west. Starting out as a small shack the town grew and a post office was established in 1901. It is said that the laborers started calling the settlement Java for the fine coffee served there.

During the building of the Milwaukee railroad, small town were established about every seven to eight miles. Selby is about eight to ten miles west of Java. It's post office was established in 1900 and soon the little town became the bigger town. In 1920 and 30's Selby grew enough to challenge Bangor for the County Courthouse. Selby won in 1920??? and has been the site of the courthouse ever since.

Mobridge was also named by the track layers. The end of the railroad during the time the bridge was being built. Some say it was named by the short-cut used by a telegrapher was sent a message about the MObridge. The name stuck and now the town is the largest in the county. A post office was set up in 1906 and Mobridge serves a large area both east and west of the Missouri River.

Glenham is another stop for the Milwaukee railroad. Buildings were moved from the defunct towns of Evarts, LeBeau, Briscoe and Bangor. A post office was granted in 1901 for the little village in the glen. Most of the people in the area are of Norwegian descent.

Theodore was a small village in the southeastern part of the county. It had a postoffice from 1883 to 1893. There is no longer any buildings on the site. Many of the people in this area are of German-Russian descent.

Several other post offices that were short lived were Beulieu, Corey, Eckis, Flora, Kingman, Reigstadt, Smalley, South LeBeau, and Spiry.

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