Today’s South Dakota counties did not always exist in the present form. They went through many different changes in the space of a few short years. South Dakota Counties were first formed while part of the Dakota Territory, and after that the South Dakota Territory.

South Dakota Territorial Counties

The Dakota Territory was created from Nebraska and unorganized territories on March 2, 1861. Yankton (1861–1883) and Bismarck (1883–1889) was the territorial capitals. There were originally 10 South Dakota counties when it was first organized as the Dakota Territory in 1862.

The State of South Dakota entered the union as the 40th state on November 2, 1889.

South Dakota Counties Today

Today, South Dakota is divided into 66 counties. States bordering South Dakota are IowaMinnesotaNebraskaNorth DakotaWyomingMontana.

Todd County and Shannon County are the only counties in South Dakota which do not have their own county seats.

Hot Springs in Fall River County serves as the administrative center for Shannon County. Winner in Tripp County serves as the administrative center for Todd County.

Fun Facts about South Dakota Counties

Counties by Year

County Size Facts

  • Meade County (3,471 sq mi) is the largest county in South Dakota.
  • Clay County (412 sq mi) is the smallest county in South Dakota.

County Population Facts

South Dakota City Facts

South Dakota’s 10  largest cities (2018 est.) are:

  1. Sioux Falls (181,883) is in Minnehaha County and Lincoln County
  2. Rapid City (75,443) is in Pennington County
  3. Aberdeen (28,562) is in Brown County
  4. Brookings (24,509) is in Brookings County
  5. Watertown (22,153) is in Codington County
  6. Mitchell (15,680) is in Davison County
  7. Yankton (14,700) is in Yankton County
  8. Pierre (Capital) (13,980) is in Hughes County
  9. Huron (13,696) is in Beadle County
  10. Spearfish (11,688) is in Lawrence County

Boundary Changes of South Dakota Counties from 1812-1979

This Interactive Map of South Dakota Counties show the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county, extinct county and unsuccessful county proposal from 1812 to 1979.

List of South Dakota Counties

List of Old Former / Extinct South Dakota Counties

South Dakota contains some counties that no longer exist because they were discontinued, renamed or merged with another county. These are important for genealogy research purposes.

The below counties formerly within the area of the State of South Dakota no longer exist:

  • Armstrong County, South Dakota (1873-1879): Armstrong County was first created by the Dakota Territorial Legislature in 1873 in the southeastern part of the state, taking its territory from Charles Mix County and Hutchison County. The county was short lived and never fully organized. In 1879 it was annexed into Hutchison County
  • Armstrong County, South Dakota (1883-1952): In 1883 Dakota Territory created a new county west of the Missouri River and named it Pyatt County. The county was formed from unorganized lands and parts of Cheyenne, Dewey County (then named Rusk) and Stanley County. The county was never formally organized, and was attached to Stanley County for governmental purposes. In 1895, the county was renamed Armstrong in honor of Moses K. Armstrong, a pioneer in the territory who lobbied for territorial organization and later served in the Territorial Legislature and as a territorial delegate to the United States House of Representatives. The county originally covered much of the souther part of what is now the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. 1898 part of the county was annexed to Stanley County to the south. The western portion was lost when Ziebach County was created in 1911. In 1952, given its small population and with much of the best landed flooded by the Oahe Dam, the county was abolished and annexted into the southern part of Dewey County.
  • Ashmore County was formed in 1873 and renamed Potter County in 1875
  • Beadle County (old) was formed in 1873 and was abolished in 1879; became part of Brown County
  • Boreman County (1873–1909): Created by Dakota Territory from unorganized lands in 1873. Lost territory to North Dakota when South Dakota became a state in 1889. Abolished in 1909 when it became part of Corson County.
  • Bramble County was formed in 1873 from Hanson County, it was abolished in 1879 and became part of Miner County
  • Bruguier County was created in 1862 from unorganized area, it was abolished in 1864 and became part of Buffalo County and Charles Mix County
  • Burchard County was created in 1873 from Hanson County, it was abolished in 1879 and became part of Beadle County and Hand County
  • Cheyenne County was created in 1875 from Pratt County, Rusk County, Stanley County and unorganized area, it was abolished, 1883; became part of Jackson, Nowlin, Pyatt, and Sterling.
  • Choteau County was created in 1883 from Martin County, it was abolished, 1898; became part of Butte and Meade
  • Cole County was created in 1862 from Hanson County, it was named changed to Union in 1864
  • Cragin County was created in 1873 from Hanson County, it was abolished, 1879; became part of Aurora
  • Delano County was created in 1875 from Lawrence County and unorganized area, it was abolished, 1898; became part of Meade
  • Ewing County was created in 1883, it was abolished in 1890
  • Forsythe County was created in 1875 from unorganized area, it was abolished, 1881; became part of Custer
  • Greeley County was created in 1873 from Hanson County, it was abolished, 1879; became part of Day
  • Jayne County was created in 1862 from Yankton County and Unorganized area, it was abolished, 1871; became part of Hanson, Hutchinson, and Turner
  • Lugenbeel County (1875–1909): Created by Dakota Territory from unorganized lands and Meyer and Pratt Counties in 1875. Abolished in 1909 when it became part of Bennett and Todd Counties.
  • Mandan County was created in 1875 from unorganized area, it was abolished in 1887 and became part of Lawrence County
  • Martin County was created in 1881 from unorganized area, it was abolished in 1898 and became part of Butte County. Was attached to Lawrence County.
  • Meyer County was created in 1873 from unorganized area, it was abolished in 1909 and became part of Mellette County and Todd County
  • Nowlin County (1883–1898): Created by Dakota Territory in 1883 from Cheyenne and White River Counties. Abolished in 1898 when it became part of Lyman County and Stanley County.
  • Pyatt County (1883–1895): Created by Dakota Territory from unorganized lands in 1883. Renamed Armstrong in 1895.
  • Rusk County was created in 1873 from unorganized area, it was renamed Dewey County in 1883
  • Schnasse County (1883–1911): Created by Dakota Territory from unorganized lands and part of Boreman County in 1883. Lost territory to North Dakota when South Dakota became a state. Abolished in 1911 when it became part of Ziebach County.
  • Sterling County (1883–1911): Created by Dakota Territory from Cheyenne County. Abolished in 1911 when it became part of Ziebach County.
  • Stone County was created in 1873 from Hanson County, it was abolished in 1879 and became part of Brown County and Day County
  • Todd County (old) was created in 1862 from unorganized area, in 1890 Todd disestablished and attached to Charles Mix County. It was abolished in 1897 and became part of Gregory County
  • Washabaugh County, South Dakota: (1889-1979) The eastern part of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is now under the control of Jackson County.
  • Washington County, South Dakota: (1883-1943) was merged into Jackson CountyPennington County and Shannon County
  • Wetmore County was created in 1873 from Hanson County, it was abolished in 1879 and became part of Aurora County and Miner County
  • White River County was created in 1875 from Pratt County and unorganized area, it was abolished in 1898 and became part of Jackson County
  • Ziebach County (old) was created in 1877 from Pennington County, it was abolished in 1898 and became part of Pennington County

 

COUNTY County, South Dakota

Created on DATE from LAND. COUNTY County was renamed to COUNTY County on November 7, 1907.

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