History

History of Yankton County

Yankton County played an early and important role in the history of Dakota Territory and the state of South Dakota.

Bordered on the south by the Missouri River, the county is named for the Yankton band of Sioux Indians who lived in the area since the early 1700s. Pierre Dorion was the first non-native person to reside here. Dorion married a Yankton Sioux woman 20 years before the arrival of Lewis and Clark in 1804.

The first known white woman to visit Yankton County was Pelagie LaBarge, traveling on the Missouri River in 1847 on a steamboat piloted by her husband. Major William Lyman was the first known white settler in Yankton County in 1857. Lyman established a ferry across the James River along with a small trading post.

In 1861, the territorial government was established with the City of Yankton designated as the first capital of Dakota Territory. The year 1861 also saw the first official newspaper, “The Weekly Dakotian,” published in Yankton. Steamboat trade flourished here until 1873 when the first railroad line connected Yankton and Sioux City, Iowa.

The first school, held in the home of Dr. Abram Van Osdel, opened in December of 1862. Governor Howard selected Yankton County as the site for the hospital for the insane in September of 1878. Yankton lost the fight to retain the status of Territorial Capital in 1883 when the capital was moved to Bismarck, ND.

The rich history of Yankton County is preserved through many landmark buildings, historical sites and the written word.

Announcements

Yankton Soil Conservation District
Friday, July 16, 2021

The Yankton County Conservation District would like to present their Summer Newsletter! To read the newsletter CLICK HERE!

Yankton County
Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The Yankton County Commission approved a Temporary Ordinance for Medical Marjuana on June 15, 2021. To read the temporary ordinance CLICK HERE.

Yankton County Highway Department
Monday, April 5, 2021

We are currently in our Summer Hours, which are 6:30am thru 5:00pm Monday through Thursday.

Main Phone:
605.260.4400

Address:
321 West 3rd Street, Suite 100 Yankton, SD 57078

Office Hours:
9:00am - 5:00pm CST, Monday-Friday
Closed on Holidays, Saturdays, & Sunday

Yankton County © 2021. Developed by Intuvio Solutions.