Small Town News


70 People Attend Historical Tour

The Burke Gazette of Burke, South Dakota

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The Gregory County Historical Society's Burke/Herrick/Lucas area tour was held on Monday, October 12th as two busloads and four van loads took part in the tour. The group left from the Burke Civic Center and first journeyed to the Jack Sully home/shooting/cemetery and nearby Buchanan Sanitarium sites. From there the tour continued to Lucas and reviewed former sites of Lucas businesses, churches, etc.

Following the stop at Lucas the tour continued to old townsite of Wade, which was the predecessor of Lucas. The tour continued on to the sites of Mullen, the Camelback of Gregory County and site of Day Post Office and store and western terminus of "The Five Mile Ferry." The group continued on Highway 1806 to Whetstone to view the site of the Whetstone Agency. The Whetstone Agency existed from 1868 until 1871 when it was relocated to Rosebud. Approximately 1800 Native Americans drew their subsistence at Whetsone prior to relocation to Rosebud. D.C. Poole's "Live Among the Sioux of Dakota" gives an excellent history of the agency.

The tour continued on to the site of the "Old Reservation Line" approximately two miles west of Bonesteel. Proceeding westward the tour viewed the townsite of St. Elmo at the upper end of Lake Berry, and then viewed the site of "The Berry Lake Murder" where the body of Betty Schnait was discovered after she was kidnapped while babysitting in Sioux Falls. From there the group journeyed to the site of the Lewis Sanitarium on the Henrietta Krier farm.

The last stop was made at "Pete's Ranch, now the farm of Dorothy Smizer where photos were taken of the group. Pete's Ranch often played host to barn dances and was made famous by a "cowboy" fight involving Chris Colombe, Jesse Ellston and many others. The "Pete's Ranch" raucus had its roots in an earlier dance held in the areas of Snake Creek. The Pete's Ranch battle was written up in "True West" magazine.

The tour finished the afternoon/evening with an excellent dinner at the Burke Civic Center catered by Stella's Restaurant. From all reports a good time was held by all!

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Original Publication Date: October 21, 2015

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