South Dakota was originally part of the Dakota Territory, which also included present-day North Dakota, and parts of Montana and Wyoming.
Corson County, located in the state of South Dakota, has a rich history that dates back to its original inhabitants, the Lakota Sioux Native American tribe. This area was their ancestral land, and they lived off the vast prairies and abundant wildlife. European settlement began in the 19th century when the United States government forced the Sioux to cede their lands through treaties.

In 1871, Corson County was officially established and named after Datus Corson, a prominent politician and land surveyor. The county quickly became a hub for ranching and agriculture, with settlers drawn to the fertile soil and vast open spaces. Cattle ranching became a major industry, and many European immigrants, particularly from Germany and Scandinavia, came to the area to establish their homesteads.

The region experienced a boom in the early 1900s when the construction of the Milwaukee Road railroad brought increased economic opportunities and facilitated the transportation of goods. Towns like McLaughlin and Wakpala grew rapidly as trading centers and served as important stops along the railway. However, the Great Depression in the 1930s dealt a severe blow to the county's economy, causing widespread poverty and forcing many residents to abandon their farms.

Despite the challenging times, Corson County has remained resilient. Today, agriculture continues to be a significant part of the economy, with ranching and crop farming being the primary industries. The county is also home to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, which covers a large portion of its land. Native American culture remains vital, and the reservation hosts powwows and cultural events that celebrate the Lakota Sioux heritage. Over the years, Corson County has evolved, adapting to changes and embracing its cultural diversity while maintaining a connection to its unique historical roots.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Corson County, South Dakota.

  • 1862 - The Homestead Act is signed into law, encouraging settlement in the Dakota Territory.
  • 1889 - Corson County is established on January 8, named after Reverend H. L. Corson.
  • 1890 - The county seat is established in McIntosh.
  • 1892 - The Milwaukee Road railroad line reaches Corson County.
  • 1893 - The town of McIntosh is platted and officially incorporated.
  • 1910 - The population of Corson County reaches its peak at over 5,000 residents.
  • 1928 - The current Corson County Courthouse is constructed in McIntosh.
  • 1933 - The Dust Bowl hits the area, causing economic hardship for farmers.
  • 1978 - A tornado strikes McIntosh, causing significant damage to the town.
  • 1999 - A major flood occurs in Corson County, displacing many residents.