Miner County, South Dakota

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Miner County, South Dakota
Map of South Dakota highlighting Miner County
Location in the state of South Dakota
Map of the United States highlighting South Dakota
South Dakota's location in the U.S.
Founded 1880
Named for Nelson Miner and Ephriam Miner
Seat Howard
Largest city Howard
 • Total 572 sq mi (1,481 km2)
 • Land 570 sq mi (1,476 km2)
 • Water 1.6 sq mi (4 km2), 0.3%
 • (2010) 2,389
 • Density 4.2/sq mi (2/km²)
Congressional district At-large
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website www.minercountysd.org

Miner County is a county located in the U.S. state of South Dakota. As of the 2010 census, the population was 2,389.[1] Its county seat is Howard. The county was created in 1873 and organized in 1880.


The area is situated on the site of Dakota Sioux trails that connected two sites of cultural significance to the Dakota people, the pipestone quarries in southwestern Minnesota and the Sioux Crossing of the Three Rivers, near present-day Fort Thompson.[2] South Dakota Highway 34 now roughly follows this route.

The Fort Ridgely and South Pass Wagon Road, also known as Nobles Trail, was the first road in Dakota Territory and passed through the area. It was built in 1857, connecting Fort Ridgley, Minnesota with South Pass in Wyoming Territory, along the Oregon Trail. The Minnesota and Powder River Road of 1865 also passed through the county.[2]

The boundaries of present-day Miner County experienced several changes during territorial times. The county was originally established in 1873 by the South Dakota Territorial Legislature when Hanson County was divided into several parts.[3] It was named after Ephriam Miner, a territorial legislator, and Nelson Miner, a territorial legislator and captain in the 1st Dakota Cavalry. At the time, Miner County spanned the southern half of present-day Miner and Sanborn counties; Bramble County (now extinct) spanned the northern portion of these counties.[4] In 1879 the legislature combined Miner, Bramble, and portions of Wetmore counties and eliminated the latter two. The new Miner County was organized the following year with Forestburg named the capitol. In 1883 the county was divided, with the western portion being renamed Sanborn County and the eastern portion retaining the name Miner County. Howard was named the county seat of Miner County.[4][5]

In 1881 the Milwaukee Road railroad opened tracks in Miner County that followed Fort Ridgely Road from east to west, connecting Madison to Woonsocket.[6] The Chicago and North Western railroad opened tracks from Hawarden, Iowa, to Iroquois, crossing northwest across the county in 1882.[6] Both of these railroads have since abandoned their tracks in the county.

The first homesteader in Miner County was Matthew A. Moore, in 1878. Significant homesteading started in 1879 and concluded in 1884, when all available government land had been claimed. Settlers were primarily Norwegian, German, Danish, Welsh, Irish and Swedish.[7]

On August 28, 1884, the second known photograph of a tornado was taken in Miner County.[8]

The current Miner County Courthouse was built in 1938 by the Great Depression-era Public Works Administration.[7]

On June 13, 1943, two B-17 bombers from the 393rd Bomb Group of the Sioux City Army Air Base collided while on a training exercise over Miner County. One of the planes crashed immediately, and the other made a controlled landing in a creek bed several miles away. Eleven airmen were killed.[9]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 572 square miles (1,480 km2), of which 570 square miles (1,500 km2) is land and 1.6 square miles (4.1 km2) (0.3%) is water.[10]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 363
1890 5,165 1,322.9%
1900 5,864 13.5%
1910 7,661 30.6%
1920 8,560 11.7%
1930 8,376 −2.1%
1940 6,836 −18.4%
1950 6,268 −8.3%
1960 5,398 −13.9%
1970 4,454 −17.5%
1980 3,739 −16.1%
1990 3,272 −12.5%
2000 2,884 −11.9%
2010 2,389 −17.2%
Est. 2014 2,316 [11] −3.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[12]
1790-1960[13] 1900-1990[14]
1990-2000[15] 2010-2014[1]

As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 2,884 people, 1,212 households, and 789 families residing in the county. The population density was 5 people per square mile (2/km²). There were 1,408 housing units at an average density of 2 per square mile (1/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 98.75% White, 0.52% Black or African American, 0.31% Native American, 0.10% Asian, 0.10% from other races, and 0.21% from two or more races. 0.62% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 1,212 households out of which 28.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.50% were married couples living together, 5.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.90% were non-families. 32.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the county, the population was spread out with 25.50% under the age of 18, 5.60% from 18 to 24, 22.70% from 25 to 44, 22.30% from 45 to 64, and 23.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 99.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $29,519, and the median income for a family was $36,667. Males had a median income of $25,297 versus $20,469 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,155. About 8.20% of families and 11.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.70% of those under age 18 and 13.20% of those age 65 or over.




Census-designated place[edit]


The county is divided into sixteen townships:

  • Adams
  • Beaver
  • Belleview
  • Canova
  • Carthage
  • Clearwater
  • Clinton
  • Grafton
  • Green Valley
  • Henden
  • Howard
  • Miner
  • Redstone
  • Rock Creek
  • Roswell
  • Vermillion

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 25, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "South Dakota State Historical Society Markers" (PDF). South Dakota State Historical Society. Retrieved 28 Nov 2015. 
  3. ^ "DT, ND, SD: Individual County Chronologies". publications.newberry.org. Retrieved 2015-11-28. 
  4. ^ a b Robinson, Doane (1904-01-01). History of South Dakota. B. F. Bowen. 
  5. ^ "Dakota Territory, South Dakota, and North Dakota: Individual County Chronologies". Dakota Territory Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. The Newberry Library. 2006. Retrieved March 30, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "South Dakota's Railroads" (PDF). South Dakota State Historic Preservation Office. p. 80. Retrieved 28 Nov 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Prairie Tamers of Miner County, South Dakota. Prepared by the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration in South Dakota. 1939. 
  8. ^ "AMS Journals Online - Error". doi:10.1175/1520-0477%281984%29065%3c0360%3aetp%3e2.0.co%3b2.  line feed character in |title= at position 20 (help)
  9. ^ "The Crash of the Flying Sioux - South Dakota Historical Markers on Waymarking.com". www.waymarking.com. Retrieved 2015-11-28. 
  10. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved March 28, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  12. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 28, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved March 28, 2015. 
  14. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 28, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved March 28, 2015. 
  16. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°01′N 97°37′W / 44.02°N 97.61°W / 44.02; -97.61