Bancroft News

How one town grew


Billie Sargant of Huron gave a very interesting explanation of “Epiphany” at the Presbyterian Church on Jan 10.

On Jan. 8, Linda Perry drove to Madison to share her sister Joanne Jensen's birthday with her and her niece Darla.

Larry Martens managed to get the protective mitt off and played havoc with his PIIC Line, over the weekend, so that will have to be reinstalled, maybe today. He is moving all his limbs more, so that's good too. Apparently, he's fighting to get 'out of that bed.’


Quoting from the book, “Bancroft South Dakota, How One Town Grew,” by Gary Lee Jerke.

Only a few short years ago, this was open country, and new settlements were beginning. It started with a post office known as Bartram Corners, and then a town named for that first postmaster. Now some 5-6 years later, Bancroft became the new name for the town, and growth was the objective. Little did it realize that the railroad which brought it life at one time would someday be replaced by those “new-fangled horseless carriages” which would begin to take business out of town and its people to other places.

It was not always this way - from 1888 until the 1940's - the town did grow. It did so to the point where the population peaked at about 175 people, and no houses could be found to live in. All the houses on Main, Costello and Water Streets were filled, and people were enjoying what they had achieved. The railroad brought business into town from area communities, as can be seen by the following taken from the April 11, 1912 Register: Chas. Dawley was here from De Smet Sunday after two loads of household goods shipped over the Great Northern.

People were coming from miles around to stay in the Delmonico Hotel and the Argyle House and to see the shows on top of the Agnew Store where magicians performed their tricks or where on a given night, a dance would be held. Down the street at the community hall, silent movies were being shown. Or perhaps a person simply desired to stay overnight and be off the next day again to Huron, Watertown or some other destination easily reached by rail. This then, is how one town grew.

Baseball has been played here ever since there was a town. From 1900-1910, one could watch the Bancroft Greybacks play. And a thrill it was as it was seldom that a game was won until the last of the ninth. Many of the games were played in a pasture across from the home of Pauline Claassen or the Albert Rusche farm. The team at the time and some of the positions were: Basil Dill, (p), Leon Dill (c), Clarence Nenaber(c), Byron Dill (1b), Mr. Bartholomew (ss), Arden Jencks (of) Dan Costello, Floyd Dill, George and Ray Perry.

Another early team around 1915-1916 composed of farm boys were divided into the Horribles and the Terribles, playing from one farm to another. That team was composed of Carl Weerts or Hermann Claassen (c), Frank Kenny or Ed Rusche (p), Ernie Rusche (3b), Harm Dirksen, Wm. Dirksen, Henry and Walt Rusche.


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