Skip to main content

“South Dakota History” features fur trade dogs, Beadle County schools, Laura Ingalls Wilder

The spring 2023 issue of “South Dakota History,” the quarterly journal of the South Dakota State Historical Society, features articles on fur trade dogs, schools in Beadle County, and selected blogs from the historical society’s Laura Ingalls Wilder Pioneer Girl Project website.

David C. Beyreis offers an examination of the Northern Great Plains’ oldest domesticated animal, the dog. Although the introduction of the horse precipitated momentous changes for Plains peoples, dogs continued to occupy important roles in daily life. “People worked with dogs, ate dogs, and discussed the benefits and annoyances of the creatures,” explains Beyreis. “Indeed, dogs provide a useful window through which to view how diverse groups on the Great Plains constructed concepts about each other’s character and culture.”

In “Unprecedented yet Unheralded: Beadle County Schools during the Great Dakota Boom,” Connie Goddard employs school data to analyze the quick population growth along the James River valley in the 1880s. The railroad facilitated the surge of newcomers, bringing nearly 10,000 of them to Beadle County. These pioneers valued education and ensured that school systems developed quickly and broadly in their newly built towns.

Finally, the journal’s Historical Musings section reprints blogs inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Pioneer Girl.” Edited by the historical society’s Pioneer Girl Project director Nancy Tystad Koupal, these reprinted blogs from the Pioneer Girl Project website explore various research questions around Wilder’s writings. Topics include gophers, beads, locusts, and Wilder’s 150th birthday.

Members of the South Dakota State Historical Society will receive their copy of the issue in the next few weeks. “South Dakota History” is a benefit of membership in the South Dakota State Historical Society. For information on membership, call (605) 773-6000. To purchase individual issues, call (605) 773-6009 or visit

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 in Pierre. For questions or memberships, call (605) 773-3458 or visit for more information. The society also has an archaeology office in Rapid City; call (605) 394-1936 for more information.