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Evening Republican
Evening Republican
Contributed by Loren H

Description: First Hutchison Residents

Date: November 18 1929

Source: my granary

Two pioneer babies join the family of the Evening Republican-first residents from Hutchison county. They are Ed Bray of Olivet and T W Maxwell of Parkston, who came with their father's families to the James river, finding homes on the twenty fourth day of March, 1870. Cold weather for the little fellows to dig in but they were soon at home in their dugouts on the east side on their claim two miles south of the James river, near neighbors on their claims two mile southeast of where Olivet is now. Tom and Ed wre cousins about two years old at the time.
The two families came to Sioux City on the train and rode up the Missouri river on the Nelly Peck as far as Yankton where they outfitted and became pioneers. Mr Bray is still living on his father's homestead and says he has the first timber claim that was proved up in the United States.
They soon had sod houses but when the Russians came they hired them to make what was called mud houses.These wre kind of hand made brick that stood well.
The first white boys born in Hutchison county was born in the Maxwell family soon after they came and they named him James River Maxwell.
The Bray and Maxwell families combined farming and stock raising on their farms. There was not much variety to it but lots of steady application. In the spring of the year they kept guards out nights watching for prairie fires. One prairie fire came all the way from Sioux Falls to threaten them. Another burned all the way up from
Springfield.
School privileges for the children were poor. They were not far from Olivet but now the flood and now mud and again the cold or the storms made crossing the river to school a hard task and Mr
Bray says he thinks he did not go to school twelve months all together in his life time. The young folks went about on horseback mostly when the boys became young men. Later they had the horse and top buggy and still later the spring wagon was much used when there were more things to haul to and from town.
Mr Maxwells father had private night school some of the time. He was the first county superintendent in Hutchinson county that Mr Mazwell remembers. Though he lived along the Jim river many years, he could not swim and when has 66 years old he was crossing the river in a boat one day and fell out and drowned near the shore.
Mr Maxwell married Anna Nicholson in 1899 and Mr Bray married Sophia Dilger in 1903. The ladies were both from families of old timers and have stood by and helped to make the wild country the well improved country it is now.
Both of the men are Catholics, belong to the Wooodman lodge and vote the Democratic ticket.
Another old timer that crowds the boys for length of residence in Hutchinson county is H T Mowry who came in May, 1870 and took a homestead near Milltown. He came to Yankton in Dakota territory in 1869. The last twenty years he has made Parkston his home. Mr Mowry is an enthusiastic member of the Grand Army of the Republic and plans to spend the coming winter in the Soldiers Home in Hot Springs S D.
Mr Mowry is a Methodist and votes the Republican ticket.

Submitted: 10/07/07 (Edited 10/07/07)

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