Kingsbury County Genealogy Society
Kingsbury County History

Kingsbury County Information:

Kingsbury county is still a very rural county. It is very dependent on agriculture.  Some small plants are open in the county but many work in Huron, Brookings, and Madison. 

Lake Thompson has changed to the largest lake in the state. Rains in the 1980's caused Albert, Spirit Lake, Whitewood, Preston and Thompson to swallow up hundreds of acres of farm land. Fishing is year round sport. Most fisherman drive in for the day. The area is a prime duck and goose area. 

De Smet still has the "Little House on the Prairie" pageants each year. Other heritage sites are buffalo wallows, Indian mounds, Swett's Grove, and Ingalls and Harvey Dunn homesteads.

The state of South Dakota started  recording vital records in 1905.  Some records are available before then but most of the information is gleaned from newspapers, church, propate and land records.  

Below is a brief history of the county and George W. Kingsbury's Biography.

This information appears in Chapter LXXIV of "History of South Dakota" by Doane Robinson, Vol. I (1904), pages 392-407 and was scanned, OCRed and edited by Joy Fisher, This file may be freely copied by individuals and non-profit organizations for their private use. Any other use, including publication, storage in a retrieval system, or transmission by electronic, mechanical, or other means requires the written approval of the file's author. This file is part of the SDGENWEB Archives.

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Named for George W. Kingsbury, editor, of Yankton. Created by legislature of 1873, but rearranged by Brown bill of 1879. Organized by Governor Howard December 15, 1879. Explored by John C. Fremont in 1838, who surveyed and named the lakes Preston, for Senator Preston, of North Carolina, and Albert (Abert), for Senator Abert, of Florida. Jacob Hanson was the first settler at Lake Albert, 1873. The principal settlement came with the railroad in 1880, from which time Arlington, Lake Preston, DeSmet and Iroquois date. The Hawarden line was built in 1883 and the Milwaukee in 1887. Thomas H. Ruth was commissioner of school and public lands, 1891-95; Charles Stromback, oil inspector, 1890-1893; Thomas Reed, regent of education, 1883-5; J. F. Halladay, state auditor, 1903; Carter P. Sherwood, food and dairy Commissioner, 1901. Area, 834 square miles. Population, 1900, 9,866. Company E, First South Dakota, in Philippines, was recruited here.

George W. Kingsbury Biography

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This biography appears on pages 1126-1127 in "History of Dakota Territory" by George W. Kingsbury, Vol. V (1915) and was scanned, OCRed and edited by Maurice Krueger, This file may be freely copied by individuals and non-profit organizations for their private use. Any other use, including publication, storage in a retrieval system, or transmission by electronic, mechanical, or other means requires the written approval of the file's author. This file is part of the SDGENWEB Archives. If you arrived here inside a frame or from a link from somewhere else, our front door is at


George W. Kingsbury, who has written and compiled this History of Dakota Territory, is a citizen of Yankton, where he has resided since March, 1862. He came up from Junction City, Kansas, at that time. He was born in a farm home, on the west branch of the Mohawk river, in the town of Lee, Oneida County, New York, December 16, 1837. His father, Charles Backus Kingsbury, was born at Norwich, near New London, Connecticut, September 21, 1802. His grandfather, Asa Kingsbury, was born in Connecticut, about 1750. In 1776 he enlisted in Colonel John Ely's regiment, at Norwich, and served during the Revolutionary war, becoming a sergeant in 1878 or 1879. These items are gathered from the official records in the War Department, at Washington. He married after the war and resided at Lebanon, Connecticut, until early in the eighteenth century, when he emigrated to New York and settled at Turin, Oneida county. G. W. Kingsbury's mother was Ruama Barnes, born at Leyden, Lewis county, New York, December 21, 1805. Her father was Abram Barnes and was born at New Haven, Connecticut, in 1777; her grandfather was John Barnes, also a native of Connecticut. Her mother was Ruama Kennedy, born at Bedford, Westchester county, New York, in 1777. The Barnes family settled near Turin early in the eighteenth century. The father of George W. Kingsbury removed from Lee to Utica in the same county in 1843, and in Utica the son attended the common schools, and in time learned the trade of a printer. He was one of the carrier boys of the Utica Morning Herald while a school boy, and served his apprenticeship as a printer in the office of the Utica Daily Evening Telegraph, published by Thomas McQuade and James McIver, and also in the office of the New York Baptist Register, owned by Dolphas Bennett and was published at Utica. At the age of eighteen, with the consent of his parents, Mr. Kingsbury removed to Watertown, Wisconsin, to work with civil engineers on the Watertown & Madison Railroad, of which, a cousin, Sylvester Barnes, was chief engineer. This was in 1856. In the fall of 1857 a financial panic, nation-wide, came on; work was suspended on the railroad, and on all lines under construction, and the subject of this sketch spent the following winter employed as a printer, on the Daily Pantagraph, at Bloomington, Illinois. In the spring of 1858 he went to St. Louis, secured passage on a Kansas bound steamboat (there were many of them at that time), arrived at Leavenworth in May, when what was known as the Utah war was impending and Leavenworth was a principal outfitting point for the government. The young man concluded that there was an opportunity here for employment that would enable him to see much of the western country at the expense of the government, by engaging as a driver in the ox-trains that were then loading up. Accordingly he went out to Fort Leavenworth where the ox corrals were located, and spent a portion of one afternoon witnessing the yoking up of several hundred oxen and the "hawing" and "geeing" that was required to get them into the train. He returned to the city in early evening, and the next morning found employment as a compositor on the Daily Ledger. Two months later, in July, he was at Junction City, at the confluence of the Smoky Hill and Republican rivers, three miles west of Fort Riley. He had been engaged by the Town Company to do the mechanical work on their weekly newspaper, which was to be called the "Junction City Sentinel." He found that the Town Company had purchased a hand press and a lot of type from some parties in another town, but parts of the press were lacking, as were numerous other indispensable accessories. These had been ordered from St. Louis by Mr. Lincoln, a compositor from the New York Tribune, who had come out and taken a claim nine miles from Junction, which he visited every Saturday. The editor, Benjamin Keyser, a lawyer, a returned Californian, and an able writer, prepared his salutatory, probably read it to the leading settlers, and all were clamorous to see it in print, though all were informed of the incompleteness of the printing machinery; but anxious to gratify the urgent demand, the salutatory was put in type, placed on a galley, locked up, the inking fairly well done, and a readable proof taken and delivered to the editor. This printing was the first that was done in Kansas west of Topeka, and at that time Colorado, as Arrapahoe county, was part of Kansas. The Junction City Sentinel was finally issued. It was the first newspaper west of Topeka. Mr. Kingsbury spent the winter of 1861-2 at Topeka, the capital, employed on the state printing—the state of Kansas having been admitted to the Union in 1861, and in March, 1862, he came to Dakota, as has been stated. He began the publication of the Weekly Dakotian in May, 1862, with Frank M. Ziebach as silent partner. Mr. Ziebach had established the paper in June, 1861, and continued it for several months during the election campaign—and retained a half interest in the property and business, when in 1862, the publication was resumed. As the first "Dakotian" had been a Douglas democratic newspaper, and the new Dakotian a republican journal, political party prudence suggested the formation of the partnership in the name of Mr. Kingsbury who was a republican. Mr. Kingsbury continued in the printing and publishing business at Yankton for full forty years, during which time there were a number of new papers started which were consolidated subsequently with the Dakotian. In 1875 the Daily was started by M. S. Bowen & Company, Mr. Kingsbury representing the company, and in 1902 he disposed of the plant and good will, and retired from the publishing business. On the 20th of September, 1864, George W. Kingsbury, of Yankton, and Lydia Maria Stone, daughter of Nathan and Laura Stone, of Lawrence, Kansas, were married at the home of the bride's mother, near Lawrence. They came directly to Yankton, traveling by steamboat from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Council Bluffs and the remainder of the journey by stage. Three sons were born to them in the course of the following twelve years— George Wellington, Theodore Horace, and Charles Stone—all of whom are living and reside in South Dakota, except the second boy who is in California. Lydia, the wife and mother, died February 1, 1898, and after a few years the little family was broken up,— the home practically abandoned. The History of Dakota Territory, to which the reader of this sketch was introduced at its beginning, was, however, entirely prepared under the old home roof—erected in 1864—the only home and dwelling the family ever occupied.