Sunday, May 22, 2011

South Dakota Oil Prospects -- Sturgis Area

My grandfather homesteaded in this area back in the early 20th century, but over the years the land has been sold and resold, I suppose, and to the best of my knowledge "we" hold no mineral rights there. But for those interested, it looks like there might be a bit of oil in this area also.


  1. Amazingly so did my great grandparents...Deadwood SD, knew all the rough and tumble characters from that era...have a great letter about the travails of getting there. if I can find it I'll post it truly a great story. so NOW>

    Wonder if the Huang in the article was a decendent of the may chinese who made the work force during the gold rush?

  2. I bet you are correct about Mr Huang.

    Yes, I visited Deadwood often (every summer) growing up in Williston. Our family would vacation in the Black Hills. Dad grew up in Newell, South Dakota. We had relatives in Lead, SD. We enjoyed the "faces" and the cemeteries. Knew the mine well. The area has changed a lot since then.

  3. This is interesting and 10 to 1 says our respective families knew one another;

    OT...Personal interest story I've just copied from my mothers old papers and letters about her grandfather. Fascinating story from a far different time.


    JAMES LAWLER was born in Dublin Ireland in June 1845. He immigrated from Ireland when times were hard, and landed in Brooklyn NY in March 1862. He obtained employment as a shipwright making 13 trips across the Atlantic ocean. He served as a shipwright on a merchant marine vessel during the Civil War. On one occasion, he recalled for members of his family, the ship was chased by a British Man of War, this was during the Civil War but the Merchant ship was not captured.

    JAMES became a naturalized citizen in New York City on Oct. 23rd 1872. He resided at No. 136 Ave C New York. His occupation was listed as machinist. JAMES had previously worked as a bridge carpenter on the original Union Pacific Railroad west of Cheyenne Wy at Fort Laramie in 1867 and 1868.

    After a treaty was signed with the Indian Chief Red Cloud at Fort Robinson in Nebraska he went to Yankton to work on Fort Randall. At the age of 31 JAMES left Yankton for the Black Hills, bringing horses, machinery and equipment to build mills in the new gold camps. He went from Yankton to Sidney Ne and from there through Red Canyon to Custer SD.

    The Party came up Whitewood Creek until they reached the waterfalls. But were forced to go back around the falls due to ice and snow. They were then attacked by a war party of Indians at Speigels Gap. JAMES LAWLER was shot below the eye by a poisoned arrow. And a favorite dog was killed in the skirmish. They were however able to run off the Indian raiders.

    They immediately left for Deadwood. Coming up the creek where the Northwestern Railroad tunnel is now located. The party was obliged to let wagons and horses over cliff by rope into a canyon to avoid a war party in lower Spruce Gulch.

    Getting as far as Crook City where they became snowed in. During this time JAMES served as the chairman of a committee to lay out Crook City, with the plan to leave for Deadwood as soon as the weather would permit. At Crook City there were problems between members of the party leadership, a duel ensuedd with Shannon killing Bryant, who was the brother of this parties leader.

    LAWLER reached Deadwood on March 8th 1876. The first thing the party did was to build shelter of Logs the men cut. The party left for Golden Gate, above Central City where LAWLER and partner Frenchy La Beaux staked a quartz claim they called ERIN. Frenchy, JAMES partner, designed and made the very first Black Hills Gold jewelry, with the ore from this claim.

    JAMES was also part owner of a placer claim on upper main street of Deadwood mining claim #97 at 800 Main st. this claim extended from the city water tower, across main and up to Williams St. This was a placer claim that yielded a lot of gold.

    When LAWLER had been in Deadwood Gulch for about ten years, a Young woman named Helen Eugenia Linn arrived to visit her sister, Mrs Norman Sutherland. Miss Linn was a teacher at Indian schools in Kansas and Nebraska, she arrived in Deadwood by stage coach.

    She met JAMES at Carbonate Camp a booming mining camp. They decided to get married. Miss Linn returned to Kansas where she waited until JAMES had built them a home, they returned to Deadwood together on the first passenger train to ever come into the hills called the B & M, later to be known as the Burlington. The marriage occurred in December 1892. JAMES was a member of The Black Hills Pioneers and a charter member of the first I.O.O.F.

    JAMES worked mostly in mining mill construction and superintending mining and gold stamp mills, through his death in 1914.

  4. My grandfather was born in 1886 in Trondheim, Norway. He emigrated in 1907, and worked on the railroad in Minnesota/South Dakota area before his wife suggested homesteading in western South Dakota. He had originally thought of joining the gold miners in the Black Hills, but my grandmother convinced him to stay with the railroad, and then homestead.

    They could not have picked a drier, less hospitable place for farming. But they survived and raised five children, who in turn, had many children (their grandchildren), including me.

    I may be dreaming, but I think I recall folks talking about Frenchy Le Beaux (or however it's spelled) when I was growing up and visiting the Black Hills.