The life of Ed Lemmon, a man who played a tremendous role in developing western South Dakota, will be examined at the January meeting of the History and Heritage Book Club.
Dr. Nathan Sanderson of Pierre will discuss his book “Controlled Recklessness: Ed Lemmon and the Open Range” at 7 p.m. CST on Tuesday, Jan. 5, at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre.
The meeting is free and everyone is welcome to attend.
“Ed Lemmon was a cowboy, a cattleman, a town founder and an amazing South Dakotan. Sanderson is the first to write a researched biography of him,” said Michael Lewis, president of the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation.
The foundation is the nonprofit fundraising partner of the South Dakota State Historical Society. The foundation and the South Dakota Historical Society Press, which published “Controlled Recklessness,” host the History and Heritage Book Club.
Lemmon (1857-1945) was a full-time cowboy at age 20 and a range manager at 23. He was an owner of one of the largest cattle outfits operating in western South Dakota, the Flying V. In 1902, Lemmon had the largest pasture in the world – 865,000 acres. He also guided the Milwaukee Railroad west across the Missouri River, and helped found several towns, including Lemmon, S.D.
“Not only did Lemmon have a great personal story, he was instrumental in the growth and development of the northern Great Plains,” Sanderson said.
The title “Controlled Recklessness” emerged from the two competing sides of Lemmon’s personality, Sanderson said. He was an organized cattleman who employed a methodical approach to open range cattle ranching, but also a fun-loving cowboy who took tremendous, often unnecessary risks.
As Sanderson noted, “The internal battle between these two aspects of his personality is a key part of what makes him an interesting individual.”
“Controlled Recklessness” is available at the Heritage Stores in the Cultural Heritage Center and the Capitol, and from several online retailers.
For more information about the History and Heritage Book Club, call (605) 773-6006.
About the South Dakota State Historical Society
The South Dakota State Historical Society is a division of the Department of Education. The State Historical Society, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is headquartered at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. The center houses the society’s world-class museum, the archives, and the historic preservation, publishing and administrative/development offices. Call (605) 773-3458 or visit www.history.sd.gov for more information. The society also has an archaeology office in Rapid City; call (605) 394-1936 for more information.
About the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation
The South Dakota Historical Society Foundation is a private charitable nonprofit that seeks funding to assist the South Dakota State Historical Society in programming and projects to preserve South Dakota’s history and heritage for future generations.