Daneville Heritage Association meets Jan. 15

Daneville Heritage Association meets Jan. 15 A public meeting for people interested in the Daneville Heritage Association, Inc. has been called by the directors for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 15, at the City Hall in Viborg.

The purpose is to obtain information, ideas and support from people in the "Daneville" (Viborg) area that are interested in any type of historic preservation.

The Daneville Heritage Association, Inc., was recently organized at Viborg as a non-profit corporation. Its purpose is to preserve the history, genealogy and heritage of the original Danish settlers, their descendants, and all other people and history in the greater Viborg ("Daneville") area.

The immediate emphasis of this long-time wish of many, is to establish a museum to preserve collected artifacts of historical value in the community.

Named in the Articles of Incorporation as incorporaters are, Melanie Parsons, Alphie A. Peterson and Lester R. Lauritzen. These, plus John Overby and Wayne F. Petersen, constitute the initial board of directors.

Parsons, Hurley, operates an insurance agency in Viborg in conjunction with her husband Jan's tax preparation office. Peterson is a retired Viborg resident. Overby, Viborg, is manager of the Merchant's State Bank in Viborg.

Petersen is a retired Viborg resident. Lauritzen is a retired farmer south of Davis with a Centerville address.

The board chose Parsons as president; Peterson as vice-president; Overby as secretary and Lauritzen as treasurer. They have adopted a set of by-laws for DHA.

Two classes of members are provided for. Any one contributing $100 or more in a 12-month period becomes a life-time voting member. All other interested people may be volunteer members at no charge by application, and will have opportunity to participate in the heritage preservation work of the association.

The unused former Gross Hatchery building in Viborg has been donated to the association by the family of the late Dr. Ron Lockwood, DVM, for DHA's initial museum building.

The book, South Dakota, Our Town, informs us that the first Danish immigrants arrived in the Viborg vicinity in 1827. Preceding Viborg, there were two Danevilles in the vicinity, plus other settlements at Spring Valley, Center Point and at Swan Lake, the first county seat in Turner County. Swan Lake lost its county seat and businesses when the railroad came through Centerville, Hurley and Parker in 1883. Other communities in the "Daneville" area include Pearson Corner, Frea Community, Hooker, etc.

When the railroad came through from Sioux Falls to Yankton in 1893, the settlement moved a half-mile north up the hill to the section line intersection where the railroad came through. One of the men providing land for the town, suggested the name Viborg, after a large city in Denmark.

A survey of the family histories in the area towns' centennial history books reveals that Viborg had about 90 to 95 percent Danish immigrant-and-descendent population. Hurley to the north follows with about 80 to 85 percent.

Irene to the southwest also had a sizeable Danish heritage. Gayville, about 25 miles to the south, had a Danish colony and a Danish Lutheran church.

The east-central South Dakota town of Howard, and the Hetland/Badger area also had Danish settlements and Danish Lutheran churches, as did th nearby Tyler-Lake Benton area in southwest Minnesota

At one time this area was reported as the largest Danish colony in the United States.

The Daneville Heritage Association is endeavoring to have its museum open and some artifacts on display by the annual Danish Days celebration in Viborg in July. It is also intended to have the first DHA Annual Meeting there the Friday night of Danish Days.

Anyone interested in the Daneville Heritage Association may write to Box 177, Viborg, SD 57070.

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