Hughes County, SD

Hughes County is located in the approximate center of the state and of the North American Continent. Hughes County was organized in November of 1880 and named after Alexander Hughes. It ranks 45th in county size, with approximately 741 square miles. Pierre was selected as the county seat, and when the state organized in 1889 it was also given the honor as the new capitol city.

Mitchell disputed Pierre's selection as state capitol for several years, finally giving up the fight to have it changed about 1903. Due to its location on the river (Missouri), it was an early center of river trade. In 1863, the army established a post called Ft. Sully about four miles from what is now Pierre. It was active there until it was moved north on the river to Sully County in 1866. The very southern area of the county as set aside for the Crow Creek Indian Reservation.

Some of the early settlers in the area were J. P. Laughlin, Joseph Reed, Burt Dickey and Eva Dix. Prior to these hardy people there were many trappers and hunters that came and went on the other areas, some stayed.

In 1883, three small communities were organized in Hughes County to the east of Pierre. They were Blunt, Harrold and Canning. All had several businesses in their early years and schools and postal service. Blunt and Harrold still are active. In the 1890's Blunt had about 1,500 people with a decline to about 500 in 1935. Both Harrold and Blunt had newspapers in the 1800's, and for some years after that. Originally the site of Canning was called Paxton, and it was the little village of Paxton that in 1880 had the first official post office. The first school district in the county was formed in 1881 which started the operation of several area school houses. For about six years Pierre had "Pierre University" in operation but due to financial problems it was moved to Huron about 1898. In 1891, the "Pierre Indian Leaning Center" was started under the name of the "Pierre Indian School", and remains active to this time.

Early churches in the area were Methodist, Catholic, Presbyterian. The first organized church groups started about 1881.

The city of Pierre was organized in 1883 with a population of about 1,800. With the coming of the railroad from the east in 1880 and its ferry business across the river with Ft. Pierre to the west it established a busy trade industry. Like all new towns it soon had many business ventures. One of the earliest, if not the first settler of note in Pierre, was Anson Hilger. In 1887, the arrival of Charles I. Hyde was the beginning of one of the largest family business operations that was notable in the area. Today, with the Oahe Dam just upstream on the Missouri River, Pierre is a center of fishing and water sport activity. The Cultural Heritage Center opened by the State of South Dakota provides visitors with an interesting place to study the history of South Dakota.

The topography of Hughes County is varied from rolling plains to the more rugged Missouri River Breaks. The area has nine soil associations, ranging from deep loam type in the northwest to claypan and clayloam in the east central. Crops vary with the markets but wheat, corn, soybeans and hay are the main types through the years. Approximately 55% of the usable land is grazing for livestock. Precipitation ranges on an average of 16-18 inches. Some irrigation is now practiced along the river and Lake Oahe.

Sponsors of Hughes County, SD


Since the founding of our communities, organizations, businesses and citizens have stepped forward to build and serve their community. Click on any of the logos below to learn about those who made this website possible! If you would like to learn about becoming a sponsor CLICK HERE!

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Towns of Hughes County, SD


The small towns of the Midwest are rich is history and a great way of life! Below you can visit and learn about the small towns we call home! If you would like us add your town CLICK HERE!

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Businesses of Hughes County, SD


The businesses of our towns are truly the lifeblood of each community, click on any businesses below to learn about them, to learn how to add your business to your town and county page CLICK HERE

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Community Organizations of Hughes County, SD


Small towns and rural communities throughout the Midwest are looking for ways to strengthen their economies, provide better quality of life, and build on local assets. Here you will find the organizations that stabilize, preserve, and revitalize the small towns and rural areas alike. To submit your organization to be included on your town and county page CLICK HERE!

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Events of Hughes County, SD


The small towns of the Midwest have long shared pride in their communities through festivals and events! Citizens from each community, working together, continue to offer entertainment options that not only appeal to their citizens, but visitors to their community! Below you will find festivals and events you are sure to want to attend! If you would like to have (DST) include an annual festival or event on your town and county page CLICK HERE!

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Faith Communities of Hughes County, SD


Throughout the years faith organizations have not only been an essential part of a town's religious life, but its community life. Below you will find stories about these organizations, If you would like to induct a faith organization to be added to your town and county page CLICK HERE!

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Points of Interest of Hughes County, SD


The communities of the Midwest have a lifestyle unique to their region — rich in history and points of interest like no other! Below you will find points of interest you are sure to want to visit! To nominate a landmark, historic location, museum, etc. as a point of interest on your county and region page CLICK HERE!

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Citizens of Hughes County, SD


The citizens from our towns for generations have exhibited a pride in community and a enterprising spirit! Click on any of the citizens below to learn more about them. To nominate a citizen to be added to your town and county page CLICK HERE!

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Veterans of Hughes County, SD


Veterans come from many walks of life and whether a veteran has severed two decades ago or two days ago, they have made our freedoms possible. Below you will find stories about many who have served. If you would like to nominate a veteran to be included on your town and county page CLICK HERE!