Pioneering in Dakota Historical

Pioneering in Dakota Historical (HM1WKL)

Location: Roslyn, SD 57261 Day County
Country: United States of America

N 45° 27.382', W 97° 30.602'

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Prairie Fires

Pioneering was never easy. In Dakota, drought, and grasshoppers, blizzard, and prairie fires were all occupational hazards. In sparse timbered areas, the settlers lived in dugouts and sod houses, enduring the hardships common to all frontiersmen.

Betsy Dalager, a widow with five children, accompanied by her mother, Guri, (Mrs. Peder Anderson Schobakken) migrated from Glenwood, Minnesota to Raritan township, Day County in May, 1884, by oxdrawn wagon. By 1886, they had a house, a barn, a well, several cows, and the vitally necessary plowed fireguards. On April 17, John Dodd, living three miles to the south, set a fire to burn out his slough. A strong window took his fire beyond his control. It fired the haystacks near the barn. Betsty and Guri, in seeking to save the livestock, were trapped by the fire in the burning barn. Betsy ran out, her clothes aflame and jumped into the well. The barn became Guri's funeral pyre. The children had sought safety in the plowed firebreak and after the hot earth had cooled, helped their mother out of the well. Betsy lived through a long battle with burns, but rheumatism left her a cripple. For 36 years this slight figure in a wheel chair was the symbol of the indomitable spirit which had brought her to Day County.

This episode happened four and one quarter miles west from
this marker. This marker is designed as a tribute to the courage of those who suffered tribulation and deprivation in the settlement of Day County. It is believed by kinsman to be the first recorded death by a prairie fire in what is now South Dakota.

Erected by the great grandchildren of Guri Schobakken, who 80 years later called South Dakota their home.
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Year Placed1967
Placed BySouth Dakota State Highway Commission and Herman Chilson, Borchild Peters, Esther Chilson, and Clara Lee
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, January 19th, 2017 at 9:03am PST -08:00
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)14T E 616496 N 5034728
Decimal Degrees45.45636667, -97.51003333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 45° 27.382', W 97° 30.602'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds45° 27' 22.92" N, 97° 30' 36.12" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)605
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near SD-25, Roslyn SD 57261, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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