LaVerendrye Brothers, exploring for France, become the first white
men to leave proof of their
presence in South Dakota. They bury a lead plate on a hill on the west
bank of the Missouri River near
present day Fort Pierre to claim the area for France.
1760--The Sioux Indians, having been
pushed out of Minnesota by the Chippewa, first reach the Missouri River.
their way to the Missouri, the Sioux drove the Omaha Indians from the Big Sioux
and James River valleys.
Sioux arrival at the Missouri ignites a long war with
the Arikara for control of the Missouri Valley in central
1794--The Sioux war with the Arikara
comes to an end about 1794, with the Sioux driving the Arikara
out of central
1803--The United States makes the
Louisiana Purchase from France. The area that will become South Dakota is part
of the Purchase.
1804-1806--The Lewis & Clark
Expedition traveled from St. Louis to the Pacific. The expedition passes through South
Dakota twice. While camped near the mouth of the Bad River in 1804, the
expedition raises the United States flag on 25 September 1804. This is the first
time the U.S. flag was flown in South Dakota.
William Clark and
routes of Lewis and Clark expedition
1817--Joseph LaFramboise starts a fur
trading post at the site of present day Fort Pierre. This marks the
the oldest continuous white settlement in South Dakota.
1823--Arikara Indians attack a fur
trading party led by a General Ashley. Twelve of the fur traders were killed
eleven wounded.This fight is one of the first fights between Indians and whites
in South Dakota.
News of the attack on the Ashley party resulted
in the launching of a punitive expedition against the Arikaras.
was under the command of Col. Henry Leavenworth. The troops consisted of six
of the 6th U.S. Infantry and several groups of fur traders. A group of
Sioux accompanied the troops.
The expedition resulted in the capture of several
villages and the death of a number of Arikara. This expedition
was the first
military campaign in South Dakota.
1825--Treaties are signed with a number
of Indian tribes in South Dakota.
1831--The Yellowstone becomes the first
steamboat to travel on the Missouri River in South Dakota.
Acting for the American Fur Company, Pierre
Chouteau, Jr., builds Fort Pierre Choteau as a replacement for
LaFramboise's old post.
1838-1839--Nicollet and Fremont conduct
several exploration expeditions through South Dakota.
1855-1857--The U.S. Army
buys Fort Pierre in 1855 and uses it as a military post. The poor
site and the establishment of Fort Randall in 1856 causes the Army to abandon
Fort Pierre in 1857.
Although the Army leaves, people continue to live at the
1855-57--Lt. G. K. Warren conducts a
series of explorations and surveys in Dakota and Nebraska.
result in some of the first maps of western South Dakota. The 1856 expedition
was a reconnaissance of the Missouri River intended to determine feasible sites
for military posts.
1857--The white influx into South Dakota
receives a boost with the establishment of a settlement
at the site of present
day Sioux Falls.
Yankton Sioux sign a treaty which cedes much of eastern South Dakota to the
States and opens the land for settlement. White settlers continue to
enter South Dakota. A provisional
government is established, but it is not
recognized by Washington.
Three major participants in the Yankton
Treaty: Smutty Bear who opposed it; Charles Picotte who was the interpreter
and profited from it; and Strike-the-Ree, Yankton chief who was resigned to
white settlement saying that, "The white men are coming like maggots. It is
useless to resist them....Many of our brave warriors would be killed, our
women and children left in sorrow, and still we would not stop them".
1859-1860--White settlers continue to
come to South Dakota. Another attempt at establishing a
is made. This attempt also fails to obtain Washington's recognition.
1860-61--J.B.S. Todd, an
early promoter of Dakota Territory and brother-in-law of Abraham Lincoln,
to Washington, D.C. to lobby for territortial statis for Dakota. (J.B.S. Todd - Dakota Profile)
1861--Dakota Territory is formally established. The legislation creating
the new territory is signed by President James Buchanan. The new territory
includes the present states of South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, and most
of Wyoming. William Jayne of Illinois is
appointed as the first territorial governor.
First capitol of
Dakota Territory, Yankton
1862-1865--The War of the Outbreak
occurs. The war started in Minnesota with the Santee uprising
of 1862 and spread
into Dakota. Several towns, including Sioux Falls, were evacuated until the end
hostilities. The war resulted in several forts being built in Dakota.
Dakota's contribution to the war
against the Indians consisted of two troops of
volunteer cavalry and a number of militia units.
1865--The Edmunds Commission, headed by
Governor Newton Edmunds, negotiated a series of treaties
the Indians in Dakota. These treaties brought about a temporary end to
treaty is signed with the Sioux ending the Red Cloud War of 1866-1868. Among
the provisions of the Ft. Laramie Treaty of 1868 is a clause that continues
the Great Sioux Reservation. The area contained in this reservation included
the Black Hills. (Dakota Profile - Spotted Tail)
Commission at Ft. Laramie, Wyoming, 1868 Shown from right of center pole are
Gen. Harney, Gen. Sherman, Gen. Sanborn, General Augar, Gen. Terry, Gen.
Henderson and Asa White, commission secretary.
Dakota Southern Railroad becomes the first railroad to operate in South
Dakota, running from Vermillion to Sioux City, Iowa. The road was completed
to Yankton in 1873.
Judge Brookings, first locomotive in Dakota Terr. on the Dakota Southern RR.
on Oct 1st, 1872
1874--Rumors of gold and the need for military posts on
the Great Sioux Reservation in the Black Hills area result in the Black
Hills Expedition of Lt. Col. George A. Custer. In addition to troops,
Custer's expedition included a large corps of scientists and several miners.
Gold is discovered in the vicinity of present day Custer and the Black Hills
gold rush begins.
Custer with grizzly
bear in the Black Hills, 1874,
William H. Illingworth Collection, SDSHS
1876--Whites continue to enter the area
of the Great Sioux Reservation. Many of the intruders go
to the Black Hills to
look for gold. The failure of the Army to keep whites out of the Hills angers
Sioux and war begins. The most notable event of the war is the defeat of
Custer and the 7th Cavalry
at the Little Big Horn in June.
gold in the Hills brought the rush of 1876. Thousands of miners converged on
Deadwood Gulch and nearby areas. Many people who came to the Hills were not
able to find a paying claim and ended up mining the miners by providing
supplies, entertainment and other services. Stories about gambling and
violence during the Gold Rush may have been exaggerated, but it did bring
some colorful characters to the area. Famous gunfighter Wild Bill Hickok was
shot to death playing poker in Deadwood's Saloon #10. Calamity Jane, who
claimed that she and Wild Bill were lovers, is buried next to him in Mount
Moriah Cemetery, also in Deadwood.
treaty ends the Black Hills war. The United States Government assumes control of
the Black Hills.
Native Americans are ordered to return to their reservations and agencies.
(Dakota Profile - Spotted Tail)
1878-1887--This is the period of the
Great Dakota Boom. Settlers pour into Dakota. The railroads provide a
incentive to settlement. Agriculture and industry both prosper.
1880--The Chicago & North Western
Railroad becomes the first railroad to reach the Missouri River when its
reach the new town of Pierre late in the year. Although building west at the
same time as the North
Western, the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad will
not officially reach the Missouri at
Chamberlain until early 1881.
1883--By 1883, Dakota Territory had been
reduced to what is now the States of South and
North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana
having been organized as separate territories. The
northern part of the
territory had grown in population to the point that the center of population
was no longer in the Yankton area. This population shift led to the major event
of 1883, the removal
of the territorial capitol from Yankton to Bismarck. The move caused much
bitterness among the
people of southern Dakota. The capitol removal resulted in the first attempt to
get southern Dakota
admitted to the Union as a separate state. Washington refused to recognize the
1885--The discontent created by the
capitol removal in 1883 sparked a second attempt to
create a State of Dakota out of the southern half of the territory. Voters in southern Dakota
state constitution and elected a full slate of state officers. The legislature
state officials convened in Huron and organized the new state government.
were also chosen for the new state. Once again, Washington refused to
1886-1887--Droughts bring the prosperity
of the Great Dakota Boom to an end.
1888--A major blizzard strikes the
eastern part of southern Dakota. The blizzard
hits in January. Over 35 people
die as a result of the storm.
1889--White settlers continue to look
with longing at the vast lands of the Great Sioux
Reservation. After the failure of an effort in 1888 to get a land cession agreement, the
Crook Commission of
1889 secures the signing of an agreement with the Sioux that
opens new land for
white settlement. The Sioux agree to move onto reservations with
statehood movement finally bore fruit. On February 22, President Cleveland
signed the Omnibus Bill creating the States of North Dakota, South Dakota,
Montana, and Washington. Dakota Territory formally ceased to exist on 2
November when President Harrison signed the documents formally admitting
North and South Dakota to the Union as the 39th and 40th states. Harrison
purposely shuffled the documents as he signed them so that no one would know
which state was admitted first. Pierre is chosen as the temporary capitol of
1889-1897--Drought in the late 1880s and
a depressed national economy in the early
and mid 1890s led to this period being called the Great Dakota Bust. The flow of
dropped off greatly. Some settlers left South Dakota to return to their previous
The state's economy slowed down, but recovered as the nation came out of the
depression in the late 1890s.
1890--Pierre is chosen as the permanent
capital of South Dakota. A number of
challenges to Pierre's status come in
The land cession agreement of 1889, the cut in
beef rations, and crop failures brought
the Sioux to the brink of starvation and
hopelessness. It added to the resentment
toward the white man and their
promises. They were no longer free to roam the plains.
The great buffalo herds
were gone, and food was inadequate. In the summer of that year,
hope comes to them in
the form of the "Ghost Dance," so called because they believed
magical dance would bring back the dead and the buffalo as well as eliminate
whites. Non-Indians living near the reservation became frightened and demanded
protection, leading to the Wounded Knee Massacre.
In the fall of 1890, the army moved west
to force the Indians to stop performing the
Ghost Dance. In one of the first
skirmishes, Sitting Bull was killed while being arrested
by tribal police. On
the Cheyenne near Belle Fouche,members of Big Foot's camp hear
Bull's death, panic and flee south to the Badlands. When they reached the
Badlands, they are captured by soldiers and taken to a small village called
On the morning of Dec. 29, 1890, the soldiers gathered the Indians
and prepared to search
them for weapons. Someone fired a shot, and then soldiers
began shooting the Indians.
Several hundred Indians, men, women and children,
died that day, most of them unarmed.
The Wounded Knee Massacre is sometimes cited as the final conquest of the Sioux.
batteries which participated in the massacre at Wounded Knee
1895--In his opening address to the
legislature on January 8, newly reelected
Charles H. Sheldon praised outgoing treasurer Walter William Taylor
for his efficiency, faithfulness, and the energy and zeal which he displayed in
the management of the office of the treasury. The next day, January 9, governor
Sheldon asked that his words of praise for Taylor be stricken from the official
It had just been discovered that Taylor, a former Redfield banker, had
fled to South
America and the state's treasury was short $367,000.
(see Volume 15 Number 2
of South Dakota History for more on Taylor's embezzlement of the
Lee, a Populist, is elected as the third Governor of South Dakota.
the first non-Republican governor. Only five other men who were not
have served as governor, four being elected and one succeeding to the
upon a resignation.
1898--The Spanish-American War is fought.
The Ist South Dakota Infantry is called
into federal service and is sent to the Philippines. The regiment misses the
against the Spanish, but does see combat during the early months of the
Insurrection in 1899. Besides the infantry regiment, South Dakota contributed
troops to the 3rd U.S. Volunteer Cavalry, commanded by Col. Melvin Grigsby of
Sioux Falls. The 3rd Cavalry spent the entire war in training camps in the
1900--The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul
Railroad reached the Missouri River at Evarts
in northern South Dakota. Evarts
quickly became a major shipping point for cattle
from western South Dakota.
1904--Land on the Rosebud Reservation is
opened for white settlement. The land office
for the opening was at Bonesteel.
Chaotic conditions at Bonesteel prior to the opening
and the threat of trouble
on the opening day caused Lt. Gov. Snow to mobilize National
Guard troops from
Sioux Falls to protect the land office and keep order during the opening.
actual opening proved to be uneventful.
1904--Pierre's position as capitol of the
state was challenged by Mitchell. Some
people in the eastern part of the state
felt that the location should be closer to the
bulk of the state's population. A
bitter election campaign pitted eastern interests
against those of western South
Dakota. The campaign has been characterized as
an extended holiday for the
entire state. Both the Chicago & North Western Railroad,
which served Pierre,
and the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul, which served Mitchell,
numbers of visitors to both cities at greatly reduced rates or on
The inability of eastern South Dakota to act as a united body resulted
in a wide
margin of victory for Pierre. As an outgrowth of this capital fight, the 1905
legislature initiated the process that led to construction of a permanent
capitol building in Pierre.
1906-1907--Both the Chicago & North
Western and the Milwaukee Road build west from
the Missouri River to Rapid City.
The North Western beat the Milwaukee to Rapid City by
Development of western South Dakota was greatly aided by the establishment
two direct rail links with eastern South Dakota and eastern markets.
1906--The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul
Railroad begins construction of its Pacific Coast Extension.
The Extension, when
completed in 1909, gave the Milwaukee a line to the Pacific coast and put South
Dakota on a transcontinental rail line. The town of Evarts was abandoned when
the Milwaukee decided
to cross the Missouri at the new town of Mobridge.
work on the Missouri River bridge at Mobridge.
1908--The cornerstone of the new capitol
building is laid.
The first steps are taken to open large parts of
the Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Indian
Reservations to white settlement.
The land is formally opened in 1909.
|1910--The new Capitol
building in Pierre was opened for use. Designed by the same architects who
designed the Montana capitol, the new capitol ended the possibility of new
fights over the site of the state Capitol. Although growth in the size of
state government required an addition to the Capitol building in the 1930s
and the construction of several separate office buildings, the building
opened in 1910 has continued to serve as the Capitol to the present day.
1916--The 4th South Dakota Infantry was
one of many National Guard regiments mobilized for
service on the Mexican border. The regiment was stationed near San Benito,
Texas. The South
Dakotans saw no action and returned home in March 1917. One battalion of the
back in Federal service several months later guarding bridges against possible
1916--Peter Norbeck was elected as the
ninth governor of South Dakota. Norbeck was the
first governor actually born in
South Dakota. His election continued the tradition of Republican
state politics. After two terms as governor, Norbeck went on to serve in the
States Senate. He died in office during his third term.
United States was involved in World War I. South Dakota's major contribution
to the war was the 147th Field Artillery Regiment. The 147th was created out
of half of the 4th South Dakota Infantry and two batteries of Oregon
National Guard Artillery. The 147th saw heavy action as it provided
artillery support for ten different American and French divisions. The
regiment received numerous decorations and citations from both France and
the United States. After the war's end, the 147th was retained as part of
the South Dakota National Guard.
Borglum begins work on the Mount Rushmore monument. The monument contains
the faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and
Abraham Lincoln. Borglum's work had its origin in the desire of State
Historian Doane Robinson to have a monument to American history created in
the Black Hills. Although never completed, the Rushmore monument is still a
major tourist attraction.
Bulow pardons Poker Alice, 78, after she is convicted on a bootlegging
charge. Gov. Bulow was said to be reluctant to send a white-haired old lady
to prison. Poker Alice was a gambler/madam from Stugis whose enterprises
catered to the soldiers at Ft. Meade.
Dakota is hit hard by the Depression. Drought and dust created severe
problems for agriculture. The Civilian Conservation Corps and the WPA
provided many jobs. The CCC was instrumental in providing much forest
conservation work in the Black Hills.
- President Franklin D. Roosevelt creates Badlands National Park.
1940--In November, the 147th Field
Artillery Regiment of the South Dakota National Guard is called
service. The regiment is assigned to Fort Ord, California.
1941--The 147th Field Artillery performs
well at Fort Ord, prompting troops of the regular army 7th
Infantry Division to
talk about having the 147th assigned as the divisional artillery. In November,
147th is ordered to overseas duty in the Philippines. The regiment was in
Hawaii at the end of November.
The regiment's convoy was a week west of Hawaii
when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The
attack on Pearl Harbor caused the
147th's convoy to be rerouted to Australia. For a time during the
end of 1941
and the early months of 1942, the 147th was the only major Allied unit
in the Darwin area.
Gutzon Borglum, 74, dies on
March 6 after having worked on Mt. Rushmore since 1927. His son, Lincoln
Borglum, finishes the Shrine of Democracy on October 31.
1941-1945--The United States was involved
in World War II. South Dakotans were involved in
the fighting in Europe, Africa,
and the Pacific. The most notable contribution by a South Dakota
unit was made
by the 147th Field Artillery during its service in the Pacific. The 147th was
reorganized in 1943 into the 147th and 260th Field Artillery Battalions. The
147th was the last field
artillery regiment to be reorganized by the Army. The
147th Battalion built a solid record of
combat service in New Guinea and the
Philippines as part of the 158th Regimental Combat Team.
The 260th Battalion
spent the rest of the war driving trucks. These two battalions were the only
units of the South Dakota National Guard to maintain a specific South Dakota
identity during the war.
The battleship U.S.S. South Dakota was
launched in 1941. Entering active service in 1942, the
became one of the most decorated American ships of the war. She saw
duty in the Pacific war as well as spending a short tour of duty in the
The South Dakota was the flagship of Admiral Chester Nimitz
at the time of the Japanese
surrender. Often referred to as "Battleship X," the
South Dakota was decommissioned
in 1947 and scrapped in 1962. A
memorial to the South Dakota was created in Sioux Falls
after the ship
1944--The Pick-Sloan Plan for development
of the Missouri River was passed by Congress.
This plan resulted in the
construction of four dams on the Missouri River in South Dakota.
The dams are
Fort Randall, begun in 1946; Oahe, begun in 1948; Gavins Point, begun in 1952;
and Big Bend, begun in 1959. All four dams were completed by the late 1960s.
1947--In response to Indian requests for
a monument similar to Mount
Rushmore to honor Indian heroes, Korczak Ziolkowski
began work on
Crazy Horse Mountain in the Black Hills. The work was to be a
in the round of the Oglala Sioux leader Crazy Horse. Though it was
not finished at Ziolkowski's death in 1982, the Crazy Horse site
is a major
1948--Blizzard hits northeastern South
Dakota. The National Guard
is called out to assist in clearing roads.
1949--Blizzard hits South Dakota early in
January. Air drops of hay
are required in much of central and western South
CNW line from Pierre to Rapid City was blocked for several
1950-1952--The United States participated
in the Korean War.
Several South Dakota National Guard units were called into
service, but none of them saw combat. The 196th Regimental
upheld South Dakota's outstanding National Guard
tradition by outperforming
units of the regular army, both in
training in Colorado and on active duty in
|1952--A major flood on
the Missouri River proves the wisdom of the Pick-Sloan Act. Flood damage is
severe in Pierre, with much of the town inundated. The flood causes damage
all through South Dakota and in downstream states. The severity of the flood
provided additional justification for construction of the Oahe Dam.
Flood on main street,
electric generating station at the Oahe Dam is completed. Oahe is the
largest of the six Missouri River Pick-Sloan dams, with a generating
capacity of 700,000 kilowatts. With completion of the Big Bend Dam and
generating station several years later, the Missouri River dams achieved a
generating capacity of over 2,000,000 kilowatts of electricity.
- The Pathfinder Atomic Power Plant built by Northern States Power Company
near Sioux Falls begins producing electricity. It was considered the world's
first all-nuclear power plant. After only one year's operation, however,
it was converted to a conventional power plant because of technical
Late 1960s--All four of the
Pick-Sloan dams in South Dakota are completed.
Along with the Fort Peck Dam in
Montana and the Garrison Dam in North Dakota,
the South Dakota dams have
contributed to electric power production, recreation,
flood control, navigation,
irrigation, public water supplies, and fish and wildlife development.
1973--South Dakota was rocked by Wounded
Knee II and the Custer Court House Riots.
Wounded Knee II was the occupation of
the town of Wounded Knee by members and
supporters of the American Indian
Movement. The Custer Courthouse Riots occurred
during the trial of several
Sioux in Custer. These two events appear to be a highwater
mark for A.I.M. One
result of the activity by A.I.M. has been an increase in demands
by the Sioux
for the return of the Black Hills to Sioux control.
1974--As a result of the shortage of
doctors in South Dakota, the legislature
created a medical school for the
University of South Dakota.
Kneip became the first man to resign as governor when he
resigned the office
in July 1978 to become U.S. Ambassador to Singapore.
Kneip was the fifth
non-Republican governor and only the fourth Democrat to be governor.
Richard Kneip's lieutenant governor, became the first man
to serve as governor
without being elected to the office. Wollman became
governor upon Kneip's
resignation. Kneip's resignation came seven weeks
after Wollman was defeated in
the Democratic primary for governor.
Wollman served as governor for just over
five months until the inauguration of
William Janklow in January 1979.
1980--The Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul &
Pacific Railroad abandons several
thousand miles of track and withdraws from the
Pacific Coast. The abandonment
affected more than half of South Dakota's total
railroad mileage. The lack of rail
service caused by the abandonment created
severe problems for South Dakota
agriculture. The Milwaukee was persuaded to
keep the mainline through northern
South Dakota open to Miles City, Montana, so
that coal shipments could continue
to a power plant at Big Stone City, South
Dakota, on the Minnesota border.
1981--Governor William Janklow calls a special session of the state
to deal with problems caused by the Milwaukee abandonment. The
result of the
special session was the purchase of much of the abandoned
Milwaukee track in
South Dakota. This purchase was used to form the base for an
essential core rail
system in the state. Much of the purchased track was leased
to the Burlington
Northern Railroad for operation.
1982--The Milwaukee pulls out of South
Dakota completely when it abandons
all track west of Ortonville, Minnesota, in
March. The importance of the mainline
to agriculture and the Big Stone power
plant resulted in the State purchasing the
line from Ortonville to Miles City,
Montana. Burlington Northern Railroad assumed
operation of the line under a
lease-purchase agreement. With the purchase of the
Milwaukee mainline, South
Dakota owned railroad track in Montana, North Dakota,
South Dakota, and Iowa.
1986--The Chicago & NorthWestern Railroad
ended its long association with
central South Dakota and the city of Pierre when
the NorthWestern sold its line
from Rapid City, South Dakota, to Winona,
Minnesota to the L. B. Foster Company
of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. The sale came
about because of intense opposition to
abandonment of the line between Huron and
Rapid City. The NorthWestern had tried
to abandon the part of the line between
Pierre and Rapid City in 1983, but the ICC
blocked the abandonment. The sale
stopped another abandonment attempt. The
Rapid City-Winona line is now being
operated by the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern
Railroad. The NorthWestern retained
a spur line into Sioux Falls and a line from Chadron,
Nebraska through Rapid
City to Colony, Wyoming. With the Milwaukee already gone from
South Dakota, the
sale of the Rapid City-Winona line removed all but a small portion of the
railroads which were instrumental in the settlement and growth of South Dakota.
Mickelson was elected as the 28th governor of South Dakota.
the son of George T. Mickelson, who was governor from 1947-1951.
He was the
first son of a governor to become governor. Mickelson defeated Democrat
Lars Herseth in the contest for governor. Herseth is also the son of a former
1987--South Dakota began operation of a
state sponsored lottery. The lottery began
after voters approved a ballot
measure in 1986 calling for establishment of a lottery.
A fire in December destroyed a block of the
historic downtown area of Deadwood.
This fire was the latest in a series of
disasters that have plagued Deadwood throughout its history.
1988--South Dakota suffers from severe
drought conditions. The drought had its
beginnings in the fall and winter of
1987, when rain and snow amounts were far
below normal. Farmers and ranchers in
many parts of the state were faced with partial or
total crop failures and
severe lack of feed for cattle.
Lightning caused a large forest fire in the
Black Hills in July. Helped along by existing
drought conditions, the fire
destroyed approximately 16,000 acres in the vicinity of
Custer State Park and
Mount Rushmore. The fire burned for over a week before
it was contained.
South Dakota voters approve a constitutional
amendment that will allow limited
gambling in the city of Deadwood. Before
gambling could go into effect, the
legislature would have to pass appropriate
regulations and the voters of
Deadwood would have to approve gambling in a
1989--Deadwood voters approved the
gambling measure and a state board
established to oversee the games and
establish the regulations.
The state legislature voted to expand the state
lottery by adding video
game machines to the scratch-and-match games already in operation.
Only certain games and low limit wagers were to
be allowed on the machines.
- William Jayne 1861-186
- Newton Edmunds 1863-1866
- Andrew J. Faulk 1866-1869
- John A. Burbank 1869-1874
- John L. Pennington 1874-1878
- William A. Howard 1878~1880*
- Nehemiah G. Ordway 1880-1884
- Gilbert A. Pierce 1884-1887
- Louis K. Church 1887-1889
- Arthur C. Mellette 1889
|State of South Dakota
- Arthur C. Mellette, R
- Charles H. Sheldon, R
- Andrew E. Lee, P 1897-1901
- Charles N. Herreid, R 1901-1905
- Samuel H. Elrod, R 1905-1907
- Coe I. Crawford, R 1907-1909
- Robert S. Vessey, R 1909-1913
- Frank M. Byrne, R 1913-1917
- Peter Norbeck, R 1917-1921
- William H. McMaster, R 1921-1925
- Carl Gunderson, R 1925-1927
- William J. Bulow, D
- Warren E. Green, R 1931-1933
- Tom Berry, D 1933-1937
- Leslie Jensen, R 1937-1939
- Harlan J. Bushfield, R 1939-1943
- Merrell Q. Sharpe, R 1943-1947
- George T. Mickelson, R 1947-1951
- Sigurd Anderson, R 1951-1955
- Joseph J. Foss, R 1955-1959
- Ralph E. Herseth, D 1959-1961
- Archie M. Gubbrud, R 1961-1965
- Nils A.Boe, R 1965-1969
- Frank L. Farrar, R 1969-1971
- Richard F.Kneip, D 1971~1978**
- Harvey Wollman, D
- William J. Janklow, R
- George S. Mickelson, R
- Walter Dale Miller, R 1993-1995
- William J. Janklow, R 1995-2003
- * William A. Howard died April 10, 1880.
- ** Richard F. Kneip resigned July 24, 1978, to become Ambassador
- *** George S. Mickelson died in a plane crash April 19, 1993
- R - Republican D - Democrat P -