HISTORY OF SPEARFISH SOUTH DAKOTA.

 

 

THE DISCOVERY OF GOLD IN THE BLACK HILLS OF DAKOTA WAS ANNOUNCED BY GENERAL CUSTER IN 1874.

 

SPEARFISH WAS LOCATED IN A GOLD RICH AREA NOT FAR FROM THE CAMPS OF DEADWOOD AND LEAD. WITHIN A YEAR THOUSANDS OF ENTHUSIASTIC WOULD BE PROSPECTORS SWARMED ON THE AREA IN THE HOPE OF MAKING A FORTUNE.

 

GOLD DIGGING WAS A TOUGH BUSINESS AND LIFE WAS HARD. IN THE EARLY DAYS, GOLD NUGGETS AND DUST WERE FOUND LYING IN THE BOTTOM OF STREAMS AND IN VEINS WITHIN THE ROCK FACE. SOON, THESE AREAS BECAME ‘ PINCHED OUT ‘ AND MORE CONVENTIONAL MINING PROCESSESS WERE ADOPTED.

 

SOME LUCKY PROSPECTORS MADE A FORTUNE, AND IF CLEVER ENOUGH MANAGED TO HOLD ON TO THEIR WEALTH AND EITHER INVEST WISELY OR LEAVE THE AREA. OTHERS HOWEVER, SPENT THEIR GAINS ON WHISKEY, GAMBLING AND WOMEN.

 

THE EARLY MINERS NOT ONLY HAD TO DEAL WITH DISEASES SUCH AS SMALLPOX AND CHOLERA BUT ALSO FROM BEING ROBBED BY FELLOW PROSPECTORS. ROAD AGENTS ( HIGHWAYMAN ) WOULD SWOOP ON TRAVELLERS, KILLING AND LOOTING THEM. LAW AND ORDER DID NOT EXIST. DRUNKENESS WAS RIFE AND MURDER WAS COMMON. THE OTHER BIG PROBLEM WAS INDIAN ATTACKS. THESE WERE COMMON AS THE SIOUX TRIBE CONSIDERED THE BLACK HILLS AS SACRED GROUND AND THE WHITE MAN AS TRESPASSERS. THE TREATY OF LARAMIE IN 1868 HAD GIVEN THE BLACK HILLS TO THE SIOUX AND MADE IT ILLEGAL FOR THE WHITE MAN TO INHABIT. BUT THE DISCOVERY OF GOLD SOON CHANGED THAT !!

 

 

THIS WAS THEIR HOME. TRADING POSTS WOULD BE SET UP. TENTS WOULD SOON BE REPLACED WITH WOODEN SHACKS, WHICH THEN WOULD BECOME HOUSES TO THOSE WHO WERE SUCCESSFUL. SALOONS AND EATING HOUSES WERE ESTABLISHED TOGETHER WITH OTHER BUSINESSES SUCH AS DOCTORS, DENTISTS AND GENERAL STORES. SCHOOLS, CHURCHES AND OTHER INSTITUTIONS WOULD QUICKLEY FOLLOW. THIS IS HOW A TOWN WOULD GROW AND DEVELOP.

 

 

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