Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




The process of settlement on the American frontier has traditionally been a topic of extensive study for both geographers and historians. Especially intriguing has been the conquest of the vast treeless prairie—an environment remarkably foreign to settlers from the woodland east and Europe. Until fairly recently, however, scholars have tended to look at this process in rather general terms. Studies typically deal with large areas and base their conclusions on the assembly of widely scattered and isolated pieces of information. As John Fraser Hart states in his book. The Look of the Land, “We need far more detailed and intensive investigations of the interaction of land alienation policies and initial settlement, and their impact upon the contemporary rural landscape of the United States.” The aim of this study is too make a contribution toward this need by investigating in detail the process of settlement in a five township area of South Dakota. Three basic aspects of the settlement process that will be examined are the process of land acquisition, the patterns of land ownership, and the formation of communities. These three areas, in particular, lend themselves to detailed work and stand out in literature as areas of intense interest.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Land settlement -- South Dakota -- Brookings County

Cities and towns -- South Dakota -- Brookings County -- Growth



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University