The Postal History of Mitchell, Dakota Territory
Mitchell was born of the railroad’s westward expansion. In 1879, two railroads were headed into Davison County: one from Yankton, Dakota Territory, and one from Sanborn, Iowa. Railroad officials preferred directing the construction toward existing settlements; however, Firesteel (at the time, the county seat of Davison County) was deemed flood-prone. Several enterprizing businessmen quickly siezed the opportunity, platting a town some two miles west of Firesteel. Mitchell was established as the new railroad junction town, named in honor of then-president of the Milwaukee railroad, Alexander Mitchell.
The post office at Mitchell, Dakota Territory was established Nov 17, 1879 with John W. Walsh as the first postmaster. Although Mitchell quickly grew into the dominant commercial center of the area, it was only the fourth earliest post office established in Davison County, following Firesteel in 1871, Chanka in 1875, and Morriston in 1876. This exhibit encompasses the postal history of Mitchell, Dakota Territory (1879 to 1889). Mitchell, Dak. Dec 20 (1880) postmark in blue on first issue government postal card. Earliest known postmark from Mitchell, Dakota Territory. Only known example of this type postmark.
Mitchell, Dakota Territory – Postmark Devices
Mt Vernon Davison Co., Dakota Terr
L.P. Sherman Ft. Thompson Dak.
Dear Bro. I am about to answer your letter of March 12th. which I received March 16th 1882. I am very much pleased to hear that you and Valentine are doing so well and getting so high wages. I was informed in your letter that your position now is Agency Overseer and Store Keeper, and are getting a Salry of 75 Dollars per month, and I seene in your letter that Valentine is Agency Clerk, and is getting 100 Dollars per month, in your letter you write that you cant get a place for me now at Crow Creek Agency Dak. and that there is now show for me now. if we would get a Scool here this winter that would probably do me just as much good I think we will have a School here by next winter. I am bound to learn something and I will do so too. Bro John A is thinking about going to Crow Creek Agency Dakota Terr Bro Valentine wrote him some time ago and wrote him that he could get him a place for about 50 Dollars per month. I think we can get along along this summer, the weather down here changes considerable March 14th we had quite a Hurricane and a thundershower March 20th had quite a Blizzard but now the snow is most all gone and it is very nice and warm. …we had to quit diging on the well because we had no more Boards to Board it out and whitout having it Boarded out where we can dig from now on it will cave in because the Blue Clay is getting so wet that it will cave right in. we are now down 55 feet. we found some large pieces of Coal in the well.
…I must close my writeing for this time all well hoping that you all are the same of your Bro
Joseph A. Sherman
Mt Vernon Davison Co., Dakota Terr
Mitchell, Dakota Territory – Bank Corner Cards
Mitchell, Dakota Territory – Hotel Corner Cards
Mitchell, Dakota Territory – Attorney Corner Cards
Mitchell, Dakota Territory – Other Business Usages
Mitchell, Dak. Jan 5, 1883 postmark in black on government postal card. “Dakota Advocate” magazine back ad.
Mitchell, Dakota Territory – Official Usages
Mitchell, Dakota Territory – Territorial Fairs
Mitchell, Dak. Jul 25 300PM 1888 postmark in black with duplex killer on 2c green banknote stamp. Western Loan and Trust Co, Mitchell Dakota corner card. Illustrated ad showing Mitchell as “The Railway Metropolis” (numerous other eastern South Dakota towns also proclaimed themselves as the railway hub). In addition, this cover features a discrete advertisement within the address area for the Fourth Annual Territorial Fair of Dakota.
Mitchell, Dakota Territory – Agent and Railway Post Office Markings
Calmar & Chamb W.D. R.P.O. Jun 12, 1888 postmark in black with light cork killer on 2c brown banknote stamp. The Calmar (Iowa) to Chamberlain line of the Milwaukee system ran for 399 miles. The “W.D.” denotes the “Western Division” of the route. Sanborn House, Mitchell, Dak corner card noting ‘Bus to and from all Trains.