Churches of Bon Homme County, Dakota Territory: A Varicolored Tunic
Review by Edna Boardman, Bismarck, North Dakota
Of 60 churches that once opened their doors in Bon Homme County
southeastern South Dakota, five remain, three of them dating to
county’s settlement period. Some of the persons who built
churches came from the eastern United States in the wake of the
War. Others, including families who came directly from the Old Country,
were Norwegians, Hollanders, Czechs, Irish, English, Scots, and
A large contingent was made up of Germans whose families had lived
Russia for about a century, now known as Germans from Russia. The
had a scattering of Indians, most of whom had been obliged to move
reservations, blacks, and Jews.
The denominations were as varied as the ethnic roots of the settlers:
Reformed, Congregational, Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, Evangelical
Lutheran, Dutch Reformed, Mennonite, and Hutterite Anabaptist. A
others came and went, leaving barely a trace.
When Kinsley identified Bon Homme County’s churches and located
information about them, she faced the dilemma of what to include.
opted for brevity. She clusters them by denomination, provides black
and white pictures where possible, tells a bit about their founding
life span, and gives the names of the charter members and earliest
ministers. For a very few churches, she lists all of the ministers.
the case of lesser-known denominations, such as Hutterites, she
includes a thumbnail history of the group. She tells a bit more
the names of the persons involved in the creation of some of the
churches. Many of the churches themselves were made of a local material
called chalkrock, which may not have been as easy to work as the
Persons with an interest in prairie churches or who had family
settled in eastern South Dakota will enjoy this book and thank Kinsley
for her considerable work in putting it together. For their
convenience, she has even indexed the names.
to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested
by contacting Michael