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Kingsbury County independent. : (DeSmet, Kingsbury County, S.D.) 1894-1929
Place of publication:
DeSmet, Kingsbury County, S.D.
Geographic coverage:
  • DeSmet, Kingsbury, South Dakota  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Fred W. Wright
Dates of publication:
  • Began 1894; ceased 1929.
  • English
  • De Smet (S.D.)--Newspapers.
  • Kingsbury County (S.D.)--Newspapers.
  • South Dakota--De Smet.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01206790
  • South Dakota--Kingsbury County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01215892
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Available on microfilm from: State Archives, South Dakota State Historical Society.
  • Description based on: Vol. 14, No. 37 (May 20, 1904).
  • Merged with: DeSmet news, to form: The DeSmet news and Kingsbury County independent consolidated.
sn 00065130
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Kingsbury County independent. May 20, 1904 , Image 1


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Kingsbury County Independent

The Kingsbury County Independent started publishing in De Smet, South Dakota, in 1894 under the ownership of George W. Lattin with Fred W. Wright as printer. When Editor Lattin left to serve as a captain in Company E, 1st South Dakota Volunteer Infantry, in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War, he sold the Independent to Wright.

The Friday newspaper cost $1 per year until Sept 23, 1910, when the price increased to $1.50. The eight-page, six-column publication took its readership from Kingsbury County, and regularly carried county commissioners' reports, legal notices, railroad schedules, city ordinances, and serialized fiction, including stories about Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle. Two common topics of Wright's early editorials highlighted his dislike of both dogs and the Daily Argus-Leader of Sioux Falls.

The Independent was predominantly Republican in outlook, with many articles praising Presidents T.H. Roosevelt and W.H. Taft. However, Editor Wright wrote scathing articles criticizing Republican South Dakota Senator Alfred B. Kettredge both during Kettredge's terms of office and after he failed to be re-elected in 1909. Wright did not have much patience with politics in general, stating "Up to date the present session of Congress has been about the most useless in the history of the country." Wright supported the Republican-Progressive League in 1910, citing the need to clean up corruption in the government, especially the influences of "party bosses", "The Machine", railroads, and lobbyists who, he maintained, controlled appointments to congressional committees.

A popular topic of the Independent was health, with articles in nearly every edition about medical discoveries, new treatments, and preventing disease. In early 1904 Wright supported South Dakota's state chemist who was under attack for enforcing pure food laws. Tuberculosis, pasteurization, and increasing food safety were favorite subjects, along with several articles about the illegality of selling spoiled eggs. Wright criticized the Argus Leader, stating that the latter ". . . is having a spasm because of the ruling of the pure food commissioner regarding patent medicines."

From its beginning the Independent always published weather forecasts as well as both high school and college sports news, starting with baseball and adding football, track, and basketball reports. Local high school news included notices of teachers' examinations and lists of graduates. Wright always published detailed reports on the grain harvest as well as agricultural information columns. After 1909 several articles outlined game laws, reminding hunters that it was illegal to hunt without a license. The Independent also carried columns from nearby communities such as Bancroft, Erwin, Manchester and Drakola.

Wright backed the city of Pierre against Mitchell in a very bitter fight for the site of South Dakota's Capitol. After Pierre won, the Independent detailed the building of the Capitol itself and the adjoining Capitol Lake. Other articles covered the construction of the Belle Fourche Dam, begun in 1906, which was the largest earthen dam in the world at that time. The Independent also reported on the openings of the Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, and Rosebud Indian reservations for settlement, including the results of lotteries which awarded homesteads. National and international news were also featured. On June 6, 1929, the Independent merged with the De Smet News to form the De Smet News and Kingsbury County Independent Consolidated.

Provided by: South Dakota State Historical Society – State Archives