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Scotland, South Dakota
By Lu Hickey


It seems that General Campbell thought there should be a stage route for mail from Yankton and that a post office should be established.  He wanted to call the place Gunnville but father and the other Gunns refused their permission..The General swore and said:  "We will call it Scotland, then!"  and Scotland it was and Scotland it is.

*excerpted from The Gunns of Kinlochlaggan: A Scottish Disapora by Kathy Gunn Sullivan.

In the spring of 1870, General Charles T. Campbell established a stagecoach stop for the Firesteel Trail.  This stop, which included his residence, an inn, a general store and a large horse barn became the original town of Scotland South Dakota.  Campbell, along with about 100 families of Scottish and English ancestry, located this stop on a flat area beside Dawson Creek, about a half-mile southeast of the Chalk Rock Museum.  In 1879, Campbell encouraged his friend Alexander Mitchell to build a railroad line through Scotland from Marion Junction which was northeast of Scotland.

When the railroad arrived in 1880, the town moved "upland" to meet it onto land owned by John Stafford who deeded the land to the railroad and platted 80 acres for the new town.  With the railroad spurring new growth, other additions were platted by Phillip Becker, Johanna, Bertha, and Sara Korb, John Lawler and Abel Stafford.  By 1884, Scotland's population was up to 1200 with railroad service connecting it to the east and south.  By 1891 the population had risen to 1500 but was beginning to feel the effects of new homesteading in Charles Mix County and points west.

Scotland remained a strong business town through both World Wars and the Great Depression, Saturday and Sunday nights being excessively active nights--the theater held 400 and would have two showings to sold-out houses, while the stores and cafes' stayed open until midnight to accommodate the crowds.

This is but one of hundred stories of westward expansion after the Civil War by the hearty Scots whose homes on the east coast were destroyed by war.  The western frontier held a mystique for freedom and justice the Scots, Irish and English and German emigrants could not resist.

Scotland South Dakota is a thriving community with excellent medical facilities, strong schools and many churches and other amenities that comprises a Small Town with a Big Heart.


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