OKOBOJO  RECOLLECTIONS

By Isaac McGannon in 1892

The township of Okobojo was surveyed by William Ashley Jones in 1882. The first settler was Peter Brennan, who appears from the surveyor's report to have had a ranch near the present town of Okobojo at the time of the survey. The land came into market April 9, 1883. Among the early settlers, known as squatters, still living here may be mentioned: H. G. Pease, November 6, 1882; I. McGannon, March 6, 1883; R.  McGannon and J.  S.  Green, April 2, 1883; L. H. and J.  C. Bruner, April 7, 1883; and A.  C.  Gleason, April 3, 1883.

The first store was opened in the town of Carson in June '83 by Bruner brothers. The first and only saloon was started by William Wolfe in July, but it soon died for want of patronage. The first probate judge was M. Sweney, of Okobojo. The first paper in the county, known as the Sully County Watchman, was issued at Carson, April 21, 1883. The first township school officers were elected June 30, '83, and the first schoolhouse was built at Okobojo in November of the same year by I. McGannon. Its cost was about $450. The first school commenced January 21, 1884, and closed April 15, following. Miss Ethel Colby was the teacher.

Miss Colby's pupils were: Albert, Annie and Eddie Snyder; Oswald and Frenchie Sweetland; Willie, Charlie and Hugh Green; Angle and Gussie Henderson; Ray Colby, Laurence Beadle, Frank Grose-close, Willie Parsons, Austin Wood, Lilburn Crumbaker, Charlie Glessner and Belle Beadle. Miss Colby afterward married John Hineman and moved to Iowa.

Since the erection of the first schoolhouse we have built three additional ones, and have held a grand total of eighty-eight months of school. The first religious services were held by Chaplain G. D. Crocker of Fort Sully on the third Sunday in June, 1883. Since that time we have had services regularly, Rev. Clark Louden filling his appointment every two weeks for the past three years.

The first Sunday school was organized at Okobojo in July, '83, with William Hamilton superintendent. We have had Sunday school continuously since then, except in the coldest weather in winter.

The first organ in Okobojo was owned by Col. E. P. Bruner. The first steam flouring mill was built in 1884 by T. J. Brownlee, work being commenced October 6, 1884. The first load of wheat was marketed at the mill by Stull Bros., at 53c per bushel.

In 1884 the whistles of steamboats on the Missouri river were-heard at Okobojo. Forty to fifty teams passed through Okobojo daily. The old stage coach from Pierre to Bismarck, carrying mail and passengers, passed through Okobojo, John Johnson (Swede John), now of Fairbank township, being one of the coach drivers. John was an expert, and knew how to handle the ribbons. The first postoffice was established at Okobojo July 1, 1883, with M. Sweney as postmaster. The first marriage in Sully county took place in Okobojo on July 25, 1883, Judge M. Sweney officiating. The contracting parties were William Oman and Miss Hattie Kelm.

The first birth in Okobojo was that of Arlie M. Carpenter, on February 26, 1884.
S. A. Travis arrived in the township September 28, '83 with a load of lumber for his shack.
Philip Murphy and  A.  C.  Gleason  both lost their houses by fire.
The  number  of  inhabitants  in  the  township  at  this  time  is   146.

 

 

 

Letter from Issac McGannon

Pierre, South Dakota.

April 21, 1920.

Mr. Leonard McGannon,

Evansville, Indiana,

 

            Well yours of the 17th inst., received and must say I was glad to hear from you, as you Father and I were always great chums form small boys.  I think I was about three years older he, I am now seventy-two since last August.  Now I will proceed to give you a history of our ancesters as near as I can.

 

            Your Great Great Grandfather and my Grandfather, Derby [Darby?] McGannon, was born and raised and married a widow (I have forgotten her name) at Belfast, Ireland and came to America and served seven years in the Revolutionary War.  After the was settled in Virginia and moved from there to Jennings Co., Indiana.  He was the father of Thomas, Zachariah, John Reuben, Alexander and Hugh McGannon and five daughters, all lived to be married and raised families. 

 

            The oldest, Thomas, was your Great Grandfather, He was the father fo John, Anderson Samuel and Thomas.  John was your Grandfather, who was just two years younger than Hugh, who was my Father and the youngest of the family.  Your Grandfather has six sisters, all married and raised families.  Some of them are living at Vernon.

 

            Uncle Thos. And Uncle Zach, were both in the Battle of New Orleans with Jackson and all had boys or grandchildren in the Civil War and the Spanish American War and no telling how many relatives in the World War.  I have never heard of one of them being a traitor to the government or ever having been arrested for any crime or misdemeanor, so you can feel proud of your ancesters and relatives. 

 

            As far as I know wer have relatives by the name of Moulden living in Kentucky, across the river form Madison, Indiana.

 

            Uncle Zach raised but one boy, James.  He had two or three boys, they were living near Paris, N. W. of Madison, Indiana the last time I heard of them.

 

            Uncle John had four boys, but only two grandsons named McGannon married and living in and near Litchfield, Minn,. I visited them last winter after I left Illinois.

 

            Uncle Reuben had three sons and two daughters.  They moved to Iowa about the time I was born and afterwards went to Kansas, some of their children live in Kansas City.  I was visiting one of my sisters, who lives in Enid, Oklahoma, and a lady she was well acquainted with came in and sister gave me an introduction and she said that name sounded good to her for she was raised by one of Uncle Reubenís girls.  So she told me about the McGannons in Kansas City, so if I go there again, I will hunt them up.

 

            Uncle Alexander only had two boys, both died single.  I had three brothers.  Alexander died at Nashville during the Civil War.  Brother S. D. died in 1887 from effects of measles.  Brother Reuben died the 1st day of November 1918, he was married and had three children, one boy and two girls, all married and doing well, living twenty miles north of Pierre.  

 

[Note added later] Sister Martha M. Boyles lives in Enid, Oklahoma.  She has four boys and one girl, all married.

 

Sister Susan M. Stine lives in Minneapolis.  I visited her three weeks after I left illinois in the winter.  She has one girl and two boys.  The girl works in the Great Northern Railroad office, the youngest boy in a wholesale house and the other boy in an Auto Repair Shop in Kansas City.  They are well fixed. 

 

            I had five own sisters and one half sister.  Two died in infancy and one after she was married but left no family.  My half sister died here in Pierre sixteen years ago.  She raised three boys, one is in the Emigration Department, stationed at Portland, Oregon, one is on a farm twenty miles north of Pierre in Sully Co., S. Dakota, the other owns property and is in business here.  I lost my wife after having been married five years but she left me two little girls, but I raised them, gave them a fair common school education and they are both married and both have four children.  The oldest one lives here and has two girls and two boys.  The oldest one is ten years old, she is taking music and plays some pieces very nicely and the other two are learning fast at school.  The youngest boy is past four, he and I keep things moving at home for I live with them or they with me for we all occupy one house.

 

            My youngest daughter married a man by the name, Hugh M. Smith, they live on a farm three miles from Chelbanse, Illinois, about eight miles south of Kankakee.  Her oldest girl is a graduate of both Texas and Illinois High School and was teaching at $100.00 per month when I was there and her second girl was in high school but I think it is crowding too much for fourteen and fifteen year old children. 

 

            I donít know anything about your Uncle Thos. Family.  The last I heard they were living in Kansas.

 

            No, I never knew one of the name to be a Catholic, neither have I ever known any of them being steklers for any church or creed but their main creed has been to do to others and they would like to be done by and I believe if the world would do that we would have less strikes, holdups and murders in the world.  Donít you?

 

            Now, I think this is about all you will care to try to decipher from one of my age, that can hardly see to write, except under the most favorable circumstances but canít stop without saying we have a fine country here and one of the best climates I ever saw.   I told them in Fla,. after I had been there a week, I would have to come home to get warm, at least I shivered more there in that time than I had in thirty-seven years here.  It is true it gets cold here but you donít shiver.  Now, if you find any one there that is thinking of changing locations, tell them of S. Dakota and give them my address and I will help them all I can.  Land is advancing here very fast now, some school land sold for $102.00 per acre, nine miles out from Pierre but the terms was what did it, you can still get food land from $20 to $40 and Pierre is the Capital of one of the best states in the Union.

 

             Hoping I have told you news that will be appreciated, I close, hoping to hear from you again, I am,

                                                                                    Your cousin,

I. McGannon

Issac