This history was taken from the 1884 Andreas Atlas and is for noncommercial use only.
Copyright (c) 1998 by Garnett J. Zsedeny
This county is the second one west of the Missouri River, on the lime of the Northern Pacific Railway, and is bounded on the north by the unorganized counties of Williams and Dunn, on the east by the organized county of Morton, on the south by the unorganized county of Hettinger, and on the west by Billings and Villard, also unorganized. It comprises an area equal to about six townships north and south, and Ranges from 91 to 98. The west boundary, according to the legislative act, is the 103rd meridian of longitude west from Greenwich, which has not been definitely determined on the map of Dakota. It probably passes through Range 98, near the east side, a little west of the butte known as Malakoff. Only a small portion of this county, equal to about fourteen congressional townships had been surveyed when this work went to press. The total area includes about forty-two townships equivalent to 1,512 square miles, or 967,680 acres.
The northeast part of the county is drained by branches of the Big Knife River, the middle portions by the Heart and the north fork of the Cannon Ball River, and the southern by the south fork of the last named stream.
The topography of this county is very similar to that of Morton County, except that the bluffs along the streams are less pronounced, and there are possibly fewer buttes and sharp hills. Lignite abounds in many localities in the county and sandstone outcrops occasionally. The settlements as yet are mostly confined to the immediate vicinity of the Northern Pacific Railway.
Stark County has but lately begun to be developed, the first settlements having been made at Gladstone, Dickinson and Glenullin in 1882, by colonies from Ripon, Wisconsin and vicinity. These colonies were formed through the labors of Rev. J.R. Letss, of Dickinson. The county was organized May 25, 1883, by H.L. Dickinson, James Collister, and James G. Campbell, commissioners. Mr. H.L. Dickinson was elected chairman of the board, and the following county officers were appointed: N.C. Lawrence, Register of Deeds; R.E. Lawrence, Treasurer; Wm. Gibson, Probate Judge; J.L. McKittrick, Clerk of Courts, and Wm. Cushkelly, Sheriff. The surface of the county is gently undulating, and agricultural pursuits are more diversified that in the eastern counties.
Dickinson, the county seat, and named in honor of the chairman of the first board of county commissioners, was settled in the spring of 1883 and now has a population of about 300. The enterprising people have built a fine school house, two churches, and a large number of stores and dwellings. There are good hotel accommodations and it is in every way a model you western town.
In 1883, the Northern Pacific Railroad Company built extensive repair shops and established the terminal facilities usual at the end of divisions; this being the end of the first freight division of the Missouri grand division.