Lawrence County - Civic Life & History
The Laramie Treaty of 1868 established the region as part of the Great Sioux Reservation, but the first expedition of American soldiers explored the Black Hills only six years later, in 1874. What came to be known as the Black Hills Expedition was commanded by Colonel George Armstrong Custer. It was organized to search for gold, inventory natural resources, and scout sites for future forts. The 1,000-man expedition entered the Black Hills through the prairie foothills and alpine forests of what would later become Lawrence County.
Lawrence County was formally organized by the Dakota Territorial legislature in 1877. With the discovery of gold, the population of Deadwood mining camps quickly exploded, and the county grew to13,218 in 1880. Lawrence has maintained a slow but steady growth for 130 years to its present population of 24,218.
Museums, Libraries & Archives
The Lawrence County Historical Society offers oldtimers and newcomers alike an opportunity to learn more about the people and events that have shaped the county. The historical society publishes an online newsletter called Historical Marker.
The High Plains Western Heritage Center in Spearfish explores the history of the five-state high plains region that includes portions of North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska.
Historical Photos and Documents Online
The Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress has more than 40 images related to Lawrence County available online. They include images made by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration during the 1930s. Other pictures document historic buildings in the county including the Anderson Dairy Ranch in Centennial Valley.
The Denver Public Library has images of Deadwood, Lead and the Homestake Mine from the late 1800s.
The Association of Religion Data Archives provides county-by-county statistics on membership in churches, synagogues and other religious organizations across the country. A 2010 survey of churches in Lawrence County provides only a partial reflection of religious adherence in the area. A majority of people (13,749) were not identified with a specific religion or denomination. Of those who did respond, 3,283 people were members of Mainline Protestant churches. Catholic churches accounted for 2,153 congregants, while another 4,900 people in the area were listed as Evangelical Protestant. For a graph showing religious affiliation in Lawrence County in 2000, click here.