On February 20th, 1892, the Western South Dakota Stock Growers Association held its first meeting in Rapid City at the Harney Hotel. Thirteen men attended the gathering, including the association’s first president and mayor of Rapid City, James M. Woods. The organization would go on to become the present-day South Dakota Stockgrower’s Association.
James M. Woods served as Rapid City’s seventh mayor and was in office from 1890-1894. Woods moved to the Rapid City area in 1883 and purchased tracts of land along Elk Creek. Shortly after moving into the region, he formed the Woods, White and Woods Cattle Company with his brother, W.S. Woods, who was the president of the National Bank of Commerce in Kansas City, Missouri. The company came to be valued at one million dollars and over 20,000 head of cattle by 1885.
Woods also had a passion for horses, and was instrumental in organizing the first horse roundup in 1887 at Brennan Station. By 1891, Woods had acquired a ranch in Rapid Valley along Rapid Creek. On April 26th of that year, the Black Hills Horse Breeders Association was organized and Woods was elected as its president.
Although Woods was instrumental in the formation of the Western South Dakota Stock Growers Association, he served as its president for just 70 days—from its inaugural meeting on February 20th 1892 to April 21, 1892.
A list of past presidents for the South Dakota Stockgrower’s Association can be found on the association’s website. Learn more about James M. Woods and other past mayors of Rapid City on the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s website.