Beresford

The Beginning...The City of Beresford was founded in 1883 by the Chicago Northwestern Railroad.  The Western Town Lot Company, which platted the City, was a Early Beresfordreal estate development company owned by the railroad.  The city was named after Lord Charles Beresford, an Irishman who became a prosperous admiral in the British Navy, and who invested in the railroads.  The cities of Alcester, Ireton, Hawarden, Hurley and Parker were also named after railroad investors.

A resolution was passed on July 12, 1884, by the Union County Board of Commissioners, that upon a majority vote of the residents of Beresford, the city would be incorporated as a town.  The store of Jerome Mangan was the polling place.  Thus, the entity of Beresford, Union County, Dakota Territory, was created.  After its incorporation, the city was divided into five districts and the following trustees were elected to make up the first town council:  P.C. Stukey, D.C. Choquette, Ed Johnson, G.S. Joscelyn, and W.B. Glidden.  The City Clerk was J.R. Carleton, the Treasurer, C.A. Potter, the Accessor was J.B. Booker, the Marshal was John Davis and P.E. Maynard was the Justice of the Peace.

First Merchants...The first structure that was built was that of D. Choquette, (pronounced Sackett by the pioneers). In this place Mr. Choquette operated Beresford's first saloon.  The structure was later destroyed by fire.  David Stephen, a man who thrived on new business adventures, was the first general store merchant in the area.  In 1872, his general store was open for business at Stephen's homestead, two and one-half miles south of the present site of Beresford.  This Scotsman, David Stephen, who had been born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1841, gave the cheerful name, Sunnyside, to his store and the post office he maintained on his farm.Stephen's Store

Like other pioneers, Stephen planted broom corn.  He planted a few acres of broom corn to make a supply of brooms to sell in Sioux City so his freight wagon for store supplies would not have to run empty on the trip down to Sioux City.  It was a three-day trip of broom selling and buying supplies.  Mrs. Stephen and their children ran the store in his absence.

Business was good at Sunnyside, but Mr. Stephen thought it could be even better at Calliope (now Hawarden), Iowa.  Mr. Stephen constructed a large store there, moved his goods from Sunnyside and continued to buy grain, hogs and cattle at Calliope, Iowa.  In 1883, the railroad was being built and the Beresford people wanted Mr. Stephen back.  They showed their sincerity in this popular businessman by offering him three lots in town.  David accepted this offer and moved his store building, which still stood at Sunnyside, to the west part of his lots.  later he built a new store building facing east on the corner of North and Third.  This was named the Farmers Exchange, owned and managed by David Stephen, his wife and six children. 

The Railroad...Any historical account of the birth and growth of Beresford would be seriously lacking without considering the effects of the railroad.  The rails were the determining factor of when and where the town would sit.  Considering the recent struggle just to maintain rail service, it is difficult to imagine a time when rail companies, in fervent competition, raced each other to crisscross the northern plains with iron rails; however, such was the case in the mid to late 1800's and, in the First Beresford Depotprocess, thousands of prairie towns were spawned.  History related that villages sprung up on rumor alone that the rails were heading in that direction, only to vanish if it chose another route. So, in the fall of 1882, when the Hawarden-Iroquois Line of the Central Division of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad finished its grade to the Sioux River, the rumor quickly spread that, at the return of warm spring weather, the line would push on with even greater fervor.  This was exciting news to the area settlers who had been tempered by years of drought and grasshoppers and were eager to establish a center of commerce. Then the Western Town Lot Company revealed the site of the depot, which hasn't changed since, constructed of town buildings soon began.  

The Pioneers...J.E. Sinclair is spoken of as the first grain buyer in Beresford, he operated in a flat house across from the depot.  Al Richards came from LeMars, Iowa at a very early date and building an elevator, operated it for several years.  It was owned by the Beresford Grain Company.  Slagle's elevator then followed, that company being engaged in grain buying.  Dr. White was the pioneer doctor, along with Dr. A.V. Elliott, who also settled in Beresford during the early days. The first harness maker was George Bruehler.  

Banking...The early banking history of the town is of special interest.  C.A. Potter came in from his farm northeast of town, and started the Bank of Beresford.  He was a good banker, but banking in those days was done under difficulties, and when A.J. Ames came along and offered to buy him out, he sold. Mr. Ames was of a speculative nature, and did much for the development of the town, but was not able to overcome the fact that he purchased the bank without funds, and it eventually went broke.  By this time, the place of business had been moved from the Beresford State Bankoriginal site to a central location on Main Street. There were few laws for the protection of the depositors' money, and all who had money in the bank lost it. H.J. Meidell came from Clear Lake, where he had been interested in the lumber business, and securing added capital, purchased the fixtures of the defunct bank, and revived the institution.  Later it became the Beresford State Bank.  In an early day, also, the Schatezels came from Freeport and established the Union Banking Company on the corner.  They were good bankers, and made good, but were severe with their customers.  Later the bank was organized with O. Ofstad as president, and Albert Hegness as cashier.  It is of interest to note that the formality of organizing the town corporation was not gone through with until the following year, 1884.

Source
Beresford, South Dakota Centennial Book 1884-1984

Original Midi Composition by Bruce DeBoer
Compositions are copyright 1999 by Bruce DeBoer
 "It Takes Two Wings to Fly." from Winds of Time