|SD State Facts|
|Territory: Mar 2, 1861|
|Statehood: Nov 2, 1889|
|Borders: IA, MN, NE, ND, WY, MT|
|SD Land Ownership Maps|
|SD Maps & Atlases|
|SD Birth, Marriage & Deaths|
|SD Military Databases|
|SD Record Collections|
|SD Historical Newspapers|
|Create a Free Family Tree|
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
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
- Sheyenne, Deuel, Brookings, Minnehaha, Lincoln, Jayne, Hutchinson, Charles Mix, Gregory, Todd, Bon Homme, Yankton, Clay, and Cole Counties was the original 14 counties created 1862.
- Jones County was the last county created on January 15, 1917.
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
- Jones County (1,006) is the least populated county in South Dakota.
- Minnehaha County (169,468) is the most populated county in South Dakota.
South Dakota City Facts
South Dakota’s 10 largest cities (2018 est.) are:
- Sioux Falls (181,883) is in Minnehaha County and Lincoln County
- Rapid City (75,443) is in Pennington County
- Aberdeen (28,562) is in Brown County
- Brookings (24,509) is in Brookings County
- Watertown (22,153) is in Codington County
- Mitchell (15,680) is in Davison County
- Yankton (14,700) is in Yankton County
- Pierre (Capital) (13,980) is in Hughes County
- Huron (13,696) is in Beadle County
- 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
|County||Created||Created From||Named For||County Seat||Notes|
|Aurora County||01 Oct 1879||Cragin and Wetmore Counties||Aurora, Roman goddess of dawn||Plankinton|
|Beadle County||22 Feb 1879||Buchard, Clark, Kingsbury, and Spink Counties||In honor of William Henry Harrison Beadle (1838-1915); a brevet brigadier general in the American Civil War, lawyer, educator and administrator, and chief surveyor of Dakota Territory||Huron|
|Bennett County||09 Mar 1909||Lugenbeel, Shannon, Washabaugh, and Washington Counties||In honor of Granville G. Bennett (1833-1910); a lawyer and a justice of the Supreme Court for the Dakota Territory||Martin|
|Bon Homme County||05 Apr 1862||Unorganized Territory||French word meaning “good man”||Tyndall|
|Brookings County||05 Apr 1862||Unorganized Territory||In honor of Wilmot Brookings (1830-1905), a Dakota Territory Supreme Court justice||Brookings|
|Brown County||01 Oct 1879||Beadle County||In honor of Alfred Brown, a territorial legislator||Aberdeen|
|Brule County||14 Jan 1875||Charles Mix County||Brulé Sioux Native Americans||Chamberlain|
|Buffalo County||08 Jan 1873||Unorganized Territory||The abundant American Bison||Gann Valley|
|Butte County||02 Mar 1883||Harding County||Buttes in the region||Belle Fourche|
|Campbell County||08 Jan 1873||Buffalo County||In honor of Newton B. Campbell, a territorial legislator||Mound City|
|Charles Mix County||08 May 1862||Unorganized Territory||In honor of Charles Eli Mix (1810-1878), a commissioner of Bureau of Indian Affairs||Lake Andes|
|Clark County||08 Jan 1873||Hanson County||In honor of Newton Clark, a territorial legislator||Clark|
|Clay County||10 Apr 1862||Unorganized Territory||In honor of Henry Clay (1777-1852); a U.S. Senator from Kentucky and prominent 19th Century political figure||Vermillion|
|Codington County||15 Feb 1877||Indian Lands||In honor of Reverend G.S. Codington, a territorial legislator||Watertown|
|Corson County||02 Mar 1909||Indian Lands||In honor of Dighton Corson, a Justice of the South Dakota Supreme Court||McIntosh|
|Custer County||11 Jan 1857||Indian Lands||In honor of General George Armstrong Custer (1839-1876); a major general in the American Civil War and a lieutenant-colonel in the Indian Wars. key figure in the Indian Wars. On June 25, 1876, at the Battle of Little Bighorn in Montana Territory, he was killed along with his entire detachment in an action known as “Custer’s Last Stand”||Custer|
|Davison County||08 Jan 1873||Hanson County||In honor of Henry C. Davison, a prominent merchant and early settler||Mitchell|
|Day County||22 Feb 1879||Clark County||In honor of Merrit H. Day, a territorial legislator||Webster|
|Deuel County||08 Jan 1873||Brookings County||In honor of Jacob S. Deuel, a territorial legislator||Clear Lake|
|Dewey County||09 Mar 1883||Armstrong County and Indian lands||In honor of William P. Dewey, a territorial surveyor-general||Timber Lake|
|Douglas County||08 Jan 1837||Charles Mix||In honor of Stephen A. Douglas (1813-1861); a U.S. Senator from Illinois and advocate of popular sovereignty as a middle ground in the slavery debate||Armour|
|Edmunds County||08 Jan 1873||Buffalo County||In honor of Newton Edmunds(1819-1908); a Governor of Dakota Territory||Ipswich|
|Fall River County||06 Mar 1883||Custer County||Fall River||Hot Springs|
|Faulk County||08 Jan 1873||Unorganized Lands||In honor of Andrew Jackson Faulk (1814-1898); a Governor of Dakota Territory||Faulkton|
|Grant County||08 Jan 1873||Codington and Deuel Counties||In honor of Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885); commanding general of the Union Army during the American Civil War and 18th President of the United States (1869-1877)||Milbank|
|Gregory County||08 May 1862||Unorganized Territory||In honor of John Shaw Gregory, a territorial legislator||Burke|
|Haakon County||03 Nov 1914||Stanley County||In honor of King Haakon VII of Norway (1872-1957)||Philip|
|Hamlin County||08 Jan 1873||Deuel County||In honor of Hannibal Hamlin (1809-1891), a Vice-President and United States Senator from Maine||Hayti|
|Hand County||08 Jan 1873||Buffalo County||In honor of George H. Hand, a territorial legislator||Miller|
|Hanson County||13 Jan 1871||Buffalo and Deuel Counties||In honor of Joseph R. Hanson, a major in the U.S. Army in the Indian Wars and early settler||Alexandria|
|Harding County||26 Feb 1909||Unorganized Lands||In honor of J.A. Harding, a Speaker of the House for Dakota Territory||Buffalo|
|Hughes County||08 Jan 1874||Buffalo County||In honor of Alexander Hughes, a territorial legislator||Pierre|
|Hutchinson County||08 May 1862||Unorganized Territory||In honor of John Hutchinson, a territorial legislator||Olivet|
|Hyde County||08 Jan 1873||Buffalo County||In honor of James Hyde, a territorial legislator||Highmore|
|Jackson County||08 Mar 1883||Stanley County||In honor of J.R. Jackson, a territorial legislator||Kadoka|
|Jerauld County||09 Mar 1883||Aurora County||In honor of H.A. Jerauld, a territorial legislator||Wessington Springs|
|Jones County||15 Jan 1917||Lyman County||In honor of George W. Jones, a territorial legislator||Murdo|
|Kingsbury County||08 Jan 1873||Hanson County||In honor of George W. Kingsbury and T.A. Kingsbury, brothers and territorial legislators||De Smet|
|Lake County||08 Jan 1873||Brookings and Hanson Counties||The lakes within the county||Madison|
|Lawrence County||11 Jan 1873||Unorganized Territory||In honor of John Lawrence (1839-1889), a territorial legislator||Deadwood|
|Lincoln County||05 Apr 1862||Unorganized Territory||Lincoln County, Maine||Canton|
|Lyman County||08 Jan 1873||Unorganized Territory||In honor of W.P. Lyman, a territorial legislator||Kennebec|
|Marshall County||10 Mar 1885||Day County||In honor of Marshall Vincent, a Day County Commissioner||Britton|
|McCook County||08 Jan 1873||Hanson County||In honor of Edwin McCook, a Secretary of Dakota Territory||Salem|
|McPherson County||08 Jan 1873||Buffalo County||In honor of James B. McPherson (1828-1864), a major general in the American Civil War and was killed at the Battle of Atlanta||Leola|
|Meade County||07 Feb 1889||Lawrence County||In honor of George Meade (1815-1872), a major general in the American Civil War and a civil engineer best known for defeating Confederate General Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg||Sturgis|
|Mellette County||09 Mar 1909||Lyman County||In honor of Arthur C. Mellette (1842-1896), the last Governor of Dakota Territory, the first Governor of the State of South Dakota, and an American Civil War veteran||White River|
|Miner County||08 Jan 1873||Hanson County||In honor of Nelson Miner and Ephriam Miner, brothers and territorial legislators||Howard|
|Minnehaha County||05 Apr 1862||Unorganized Territory||Sioux term for “waterfall”||Sioux Falls|
|Moody County||08 Jan 1873||Brookings and Minnehaha Counties||In honor of Gideon C. Moody, Speaker of the House for Dakota Territory||Flandreau|
|Pennington County||11 Jan 1875||Unorganized Territory||In honor of John L. Pennington (1821-1900), a Governor of Dakota Territory||Rapid City|
|Perkins County||26 Feb 1909||Butte and Harding Counties||In honor of Henry E. Perkins, a state senator||Bison|
|Potter County||14 Jan 1875||Buffalo County||In honor of Joel A. Potter, a territorial legislator||Gettysburg|
|Roberts County||08 Mar 1883||Grant County||In honor of S.G. Roberts, a territorial legislator||Sisseton|
|Sanborn County||09 Mar 1883||Miner County||In honor of George W. Sanborn, president of the Milwaukee Railroad||Woonsocket|
|Shannon County||11 Jan 1875||Fall River County||In honor of Peter Shannon, a territorial legislator||Hot Springs|
|Spink County||08 Jan 1873||Hanson County||In honor of S.L. Spink, a Secretary of Dakota Territory||Redfield|
|Stanley County||08 Jan 1873||Unorganized Territory||In honor of David S. Stanley, commander of Fort Sully||Fort Pierre|
|Sully County||08 Jan 1873||Potter County||Fort Sully, itself named after General Alfred Sully||Onida|
|Todd County||09 Mar 1909||Meyer and Tripp Counties||In honor of John Blair Smith Todd (1814-1872), a territorial delegate to Congress||Winner|
|Tripp County||08 Jan 1873||Unorganized Territory||In honor of Bartlett Tripp, a Chief Justice of the Dakota Territorial Supreme Court||Winner|
|Turner County||13 Jan 1871||Lincoln County||In honor of John W. Turner, a territorial legislator||Parker|
|Union County||07 Jan 1864||Unorganized Territory||The union of the American states||Elk Point|
|Walworth County||08 Jan 1873||Buffalo County||Walworth County, Wisconsin||Selby|
|Yankton County||10 Apr 1862||Unorganized Territory||Yankton Sioux Native Americans||Yankton|
|Ziebach County||01 Feb 1911||Armstrong, Schnasse, and Sterling Counties||In honor of Frank M. Ziebach, a publisher and major in the U.S. Army during the Indian Wars||Dupree|
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 County, Pennington 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.