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Fur traders settle in Lyon County

Joseph LaFramboise, a trader in the employ of the American Fur Company, established a home in Lyon County in 1835. He built a home and a trading post in the Lynd woods along the Redwood River. LaFramboise was the first recorded white man to settle in the county, according to A.P.Rose, researcher and author of the “History of Lyon County, 1884-1912.”

As early as 1826 LaFramboise, registered as a trader, established a trading post on the headwaters of the Des Moines River in Murray County.

For two years LaFramboise and his family were residents of the future Lyon County where he served as agent for the fur company in bartering with the Indians. LaFramboise was described by his son (in an interview obtained by the South Dakota Historical Society in 1900) as a “much married man.” Joseph LaFramboise Jr.’s mother was the daughter of Walking Day, and his father’s second and third marriages were the daughters of Sleepy Eye followed by his last marriage which was to Jane Dickson. In 1837 LaFramboise moved to the mouth of the Cottonwood River and later to Nicollet County. He died in 1856.

Joseph Jr., and his brother Alexander held claims (but never lived in) Lynd Township after the 1862 massacre. They sold these claims in 1867 to A.W. Muzzy and E.P. Langdon, early settlers of the village of Lynd.

In May of 1855 James W. Lynd established his trading post on the Redwood River. The groves of trees along the Redwood had always been a favorite camping ground of the Indians, and so this site was a model one for barter with the natives. Lynd was successful in conducting business by trading sugar, blankets, calico, tobacco, ammunition and possibly whiskey for the pelts of the numerous fur-bearing animals in the area. When this post was destroyed by fire it was moved down the river (a short distance from the present village of Lynd) where he built a log cabin which he used both as a home and place of business. It is unknown how long Lynd conducted business in Lyon County before moving to the Lower Sioux Agency — six miles from Redwood Falls — where he established a store.

Lynd was a prominent person in the affairs of the frontier country and served as a member of the state Senate in 1861. He was one of the first victims of the Sioux massacre, meeting his death while in a store at the Lower Sioux Agency. Lynd Township was named in his honor in 1872.

Another white settler who ventured far from the limits of civilization and built a home in Lyon County in 1855 was Aaron Myers and his family. They settled on the northwest quarter of Section 31, Amiret Township, where they lived for two and a half years. Myers trapped and traded with the Indians and grew some corn as well as garden produce.

Myers was known among the Indians as Siha Sisrinna (Small Feet) as well as Doctor, because he successfully treated several of the Indians who had “sore eyes” and took care of those who were sick and injured. He got along well with the Indians.

At some time, the Myers moved to the Lake Shetek settlement, according to records prepared by Dr. H.M. Workman (early settler of Tracy). The Myers family was present during the massacre of 1862 but was able to escape without being injured; however, Mrs. Myers later died as a result of exposure during the Sioux Uprising.

Although recorded history tells us that white settlers were living on all sides of the future Lyon County prior to the outbreak of the Sioux War, this area was left destitute of white inhabitants after the departure of Lynd and Myers and remained so until several years following the massacre.

Sources: History of Lyon County 1884-1912 by A.P. Rose; “Tracy Headlight Herald,” August 1962.

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