|Lawrence County derives its name from its
first county treasurer, Colonel John Lawrence, (1839-1889). It
is located on the western border of South Dakota. It is bordered by Butte County on the
north, Meade County on the east, Pennington County on the south and the State of Wyoming
on the west. The cities of Deadwood, Lead, Spearfish, Whitewood and the township of St.
Onge are located within Lawrence County. The County Seat is located in historic Deadwood.
At the session of the Dakota Legislature of 1874-1875, acts were passed
which established the limits and jurisdiction the counties of Lawrence and Custer. It was
not until February 22, 1877, however, that a treaty with the Sioux Indians was ratified
which ceded the Black Hills to the United States, finally allowing formal organization of
Lawrence, Pennington and Custer counties.
Lawrence County was officially organized in April, 1877.
The boundaries extended from the two branches of the Cheyenne River on the east; to
Wyoming on the west; to the Belle Fourche River to the north; to Pennington County on the
south. However, the organization of Butte County in 1883 and Meade County in 1889 reduced
the county to less than half of its original size, making it the smallest in area of the
Black Hills counties. Nonetheless, it was considered to be the most important, containing
one-half the population and wealth of the Black Hills. The assessed valuation for Lawrence
County for 1903 was nearly 11 million dollars.
Originally, the Governor served as a commissioner in each
of the three counties, and two commissioners were selected from within each county. It was
decided by the governor and the two commissioners that the county seat for Lawrence County
would be in Crook City. However, the decision met with such opposition that it was
reversed. The first board meeting was called to order in Crook City, then adjourned to
Deadwood without any public business being transacted. Later, a general election made
Deadwood the permanent county seat. See Lawrence County
Lawrence County has a rich and illustrious history spanning
over 100 years. It is home to Homestake Gold Mine, the worlds longest producing gold mine.
Deadwood, at one time the largest town in South Dakota (and the Dakota Territory), was the
central hub for trade and transportation in the region. "Wild Bill" Hickock, a
well known scout, and eventually a frontier Marshall, was shot and killed in Deadwood in
1876. Calamity Jane, a pony-express rider and army scout, settled in Deadwood in the late
1800's, and is buried next to Wild Bill Hickock in the Mount Moriah cemetery in Deadwood.