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The speaker is an 80-year-old White man with a high school education from Yankton, South Dakota; he was recorded in 1966.



County: Yankton
State: SD

Commentary:
Located on the Missouri River in the far southeastern part of South Dakota, Yankton was selected the capital of the Dakota Territory in 1861 but was considered by many to be too far on the edge of the Territory for this honor, which it held until 1883. It was an outfitting point for parties going to the Black Hills during the gold rush starting in 1876. The population today is approximately 14,000. The speaker discusses the early settlement of the area.
Inf: Well, several different nationalities settled this area. Mostly in the rural areas. There are sections of Yankton County and the surrounding area that are uh, settled by, oh, German groups, Scandinavian, Bohemian. Those nationalities sort of uh, settled in the same areas. So we had parts of the county that were Scandinavian, parts German, part Bohemian. And of course, some Yankees.

FW: What do you mean by Yankees?

Inf: Well, they were the American people that uh, that come out here from the wes- from the East. We had uh, immigration into this area from the uh states east of us, Iowa, Illinois. And, uh, people came out from those states and settled here on the farmlands, more particularly than in town.

We had uh some Negroes here, quite a little, uh Negro colony. They had uh, many of them had worked on the steamboats in the days when navigation on the Missoura was a, very uh, active business. But when navigation ceased, much of the help on the boats uh settled in the towns like Yankton, and other towns that had been established along the river. Consequently we had a, quite a large Negro population in the early days. Always have had some Negroes here.

FW: What, what part or what role have they played in the community?

Inf: Well I recall that uh, some of them uh had followed the plastering trade. And uh, quite a few of them were engaged in that business. [Clears throat.] There was a major settlement in this uh country, Negro settlement uh, of uh farming people. Most of them came up from Missoura.

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