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Harnett – Corrections to History of Brule City

Brule City corrections

Located on the big bend of the Missouri River south of present day Oacoma. By Ron and Charles Harnett, 2000

Ron Harnett
PO Box 6634
Sevierville, TN 37864-6634

1 March 2000

I write you regarding a publication my father Charles obtained during his recent fact-finding trip to Brule County. The publi-
cation is titled, “Maka Teepee 1880 to Chamberlain 1980.” The 1980 copyright is held by the Brule County Historical Society
of Pukwana, SD.
Page 6 of this publication, under the heading “Introduction”, contains the following statement: “It [Brule City] was sur-
veyed in late 1874 by D. Harmon and S. E. Howard on SE 1/4 of Sec. 2  and the SE 1/4 of Sec. 3, town 102 and range
  I regret to inform you that this statement is mistaken in more than one way.
My father, brother, and I have been engaged in continuing genealogical research, and this research has led to the discovery
of information regarding my great-uncle, Daniel Harnett. It was Daniel Harnett (not “D. Harmon”), who, with E. C. Howard
(not  S. E. Howard”) laid out Brule City. Also, the land descriptions (sections) are reversed.
These facts are born out by A. T. Andreas’ “Historical Atlas of Dakota”, 1884: “In June, 1874, the town [Brule City] was
laid out by D. Harnett and E.C. Howard on the southwest quarter of Section 3, Town 102, Range 72.”  While Andreas was
correct about Dan Harnett and E. C. Howard, he was in-correct about the location of Brule City.
An original deed record dated January 28, 1875 states: “Brule City is situated on the SW 1/4 of Section 2 and the SE 1/4
of Section 3 in Township 102, Range 72, west of the fifth principal meridian, situated in the Territory of Dakota.” This state-
ment is confirmed J.M. Winters, County Surveyor, on Nov 20, 1874.
The same deed record (dated January 28, 1875) continues: Ed C. Howard (attorney-in-fact), Dan Harnett, A.W. McFar-
land, S.K. Winne, Coonan & McDonnell, and Henry Ford, “being the owners of the land contained in Brule City and having
caused a survey of the same to be made, and a map thereof to be drawn, and the blocks, lots, streets and alleys to be marked
as shown by said map (on the margin of which this is written), to the end that the same may be recorded and henceforth be
deemed a town or a village by the name of Brule City, and we do hereby set apart for public use as highways, former all
the land included in the streets and alleys as shown by said map. The disposition of the land as shown by said map being with
our free consent and in accordance with our wishes.” (Notarized by District Court in and for Woodbury County, Iowa.)
I bring these errors to your attention so that the Brule County Genealogical Society can provide a more accurate history of the beginnings of Brule City which may be relied upon, and enjoyed by, future generations.
Sincerely yours,
Ron Harnett

Charles Harnett
3016 Hatcher Mtn Rd
Sevierville TN 37862

February 15, 2000

Thanks a million for all the good information you’ve provided on Chamberlain. My sons and I are going over it closely for
useful info to add to Daniel Harnett’s biography. Your suggestions were all good ones. Probably most productive was the
Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre where I found original probate records that filled in a lot of missing blanks in the story of
Daniel Harnett. Despite this success, there’s still a lot to do there —
I suspect his purported suicide in Deadwood was more likely murder. He was only 39, had lots of money, property, and
gold mines and was about to close a big deal on one of them when for no apparent reason he suddenly decided to end it all.
Unfortunately, he appears to have made some bad choices for associates. I’ve uncovered evidence that there’s more involved
but it’ll take a lot of digging to prove it –130 years after the fact!
Incidentally, you might be interested that Daniel Harnett is misidentified in one of the opening pages of the book you lent me
— as D. Harmon.
You may be familiar with A. T. Andreas’ “Historical Atlas of Dakota” (1884) where, after a nice description of Brule
County (and Chamberlain), he states: “The earliest settlements were made in the great bend of the Missouri river, where a
town known as Brule City was founded and became a considerable business point. “On the 2d day of august, 1873, D.W.
Spalding, M.F. Coonan, M.H. Day, H.M. Leedy, C. McDonald, James and D. Harnett,  J. McManus and E.C. Howard, all
from Emmetsburg, Iowa [Daniel and Howard were actually from Sioux City], via Yankton,  with their own teams, arrived and located at and near Brule City, where they found one James Somers, one of those wandering characters who were in the habit of  forming matrimonial alliances with the Indians and casting their lot with the red children of the prairie. He was living on the site of the town, but how long he had been there is not stated. George Trimmer and James Blankerton had also been living for some time on Dry Island below Brule City.
“Spalding and his company located claims in Towns [Townships?] 102 and 103, Range 72. After filing their claims at the
land office in Springfield they returned to the east, but came back in the following spring, about the last of April, and permanently located in the county.” [I doubt this last statement, at least so far as James and Daniel Harnett are concerned — James, my grandfather, had a family in Springfield, Illinois and Daniel was operating a successful business in Sioux City.]
Daniel made a number of trips to the Brule City area, and on one trip laid out the streets. He and his two brothers, Jonathan
and James filed claims there but never settled so far as we know. They later sold their claims. Daniel was looking into setting up
a ferry at Brule City around 1873-4 and was dealing in property around that time there, even though President Grant decided
that the site lay on Indian lands and ordered further settlement stopped [later rescinded].
Most of our information has come from actual deed records and from articles about Daniel in the Sioux City Times of that
NOTE: Daniel’s wife was Emma Cartwright. They were married in Sioux City in 1867. We  know virtually nothing more
about her except she was involved with him in many land transactions up to 1873 in Yankton. There’s an outside chance she
might have had kin in your area.

Charles Harnett

One Response to Harnett – Corrections to History of Brule City

  1. Barbara Speck

    What an interesting read. Nice to see the information on Brule City and the corrections. I always wondered about the Harmon person and I thought Brule City was in Lyman County. Am I wrong? I’m getting older and not as sharp as I used to be and have a hard time getting the brain to work with me. Thanks again, barbara