History of Hare's Point

John T. Hare and his family moved to what is now Hare's Point, Lake Madison, Wentworth, South Dakota in the fall of 1871. They left Fillmore County, MN in September and traveled to what was then Dakota Territory. After arriving in October, they found an abandoned trapper's shack on the east end of the lake and made their home for the winter. During that first winter they lived on what they caught and hunted. The nearby lake provided water and the wooded area provided a heat source.  The lake also provided ice for refrigeration.  They were able to store ice blocks throughout the summer months in the ice shack and kept their foods cold.

The next spring. John T. and his sons began building their home, which is currently still being used by his grandson and family. 

The barn that is still being used on the farm was built in 1916.  John Hare, a nephew of John T. died after a fall from the east end of the barn, which is very tall.  The picture is taken from the east end of the building - 2001.  

This farm has been owned by the Hare family since 1871. It was pre-empted at that time and later homesteaded. The original homestead papers are on display at the farm house.

Robert Hare, a grandson of John T., and his wife Shirley and their children recently were honored with a Century Farms recognition. They could have received this award many years ago (1971), however, due to the busy lifestyle of farming and lake property owners, it later became convenient for them to apply for the honor.


John T. Hare

John T. Hare was born in Plattsburgh County, New York on April 7, 1830 He was the fifth child born to Daniel and Susan Hare

Daniel was a British soldier in the Revolutionary War, but was unwilling to fight against the American Colonists.  He deserted from the army and settled in New York.  Daniel died when John T. Hare was five years old.  There were 7 children (George, Charles, Eliza, Lydia, John T., Ira and Daniel) in all and after their father's death, they all helped their mother keep the farm going.  They helped to plant and harvest crops and take care of the livestock.

When John T. was 22 years old he married Maria Huggins in 1852 and had 2 children, William in 1853 and Mary in 1856.  They farmed near Plattsburg, New York.

Tension was growing between the north and the south.  In 1861, John T. and 2 brothers Ira and Daniel, and a cousin Sidney Hare, enlisted in the Union Army, Company C of the 16th Infantry New York Volunteers. Ira, Daniel and Sidney were killed.  John T. suffered from mental anquish at the loss of his loved ones and obtained an honorable discharge on November 11, 18862 at Stafford, Virginia.

After serving his duty, he returned home and found his wife, Maria,  had passed away.  He then raised his 2 children on his own.  He met Mary Matilda Kidd, daughter of Lewis and Abigale Kidd, and married in 1866.  In the spring of 1869 they decided to leave New York for the west.  They had 4 children, Henry, Mary, Nell and Ira in addition to William and Mary.  The family traveled to Fillmore County, Minnesota in 1869 to join  John T.'s brother, George who left for Minnesota in 1853.  Here a daughter, Carrie, was born in 1870.  Their stay in Minnesota was short.  In September of 1871, they left for Dakota Territory.  It took them 4 weeks to make the journey to what is now eastern South Dakota.

They came upon Lake Madison where there were plenty of trees and water.  They quickly prepared for the coming winter and settled in a vacant shanty and began building a log home.  The pre-emption allowed for the purchase of 160 acres of land at $1.25 per acre.

The Hare family was the second to settle in Lake County, South Dakota.  They were the first in what is now known as the Wentworth Community.  John T. Hare took 3 claims on Lake Madison.  What is now Wentworth Park he gave to a man and his family from Sioux Falls to gain neighbors in the community.

In the spring of 1872, John T. and son Henry (William) completed a more spacious log  cabin four their family. 

In 1873, Governor John A. Burbank of Yankton, appointed John T. and Herman Luce and Joseph Depuis as County Commissioners.  John T. served until 1875.  He also served as County Justice in 1875 and County coroner in 1876.  Henry served as constable in 1874.  

John T. and Mary Matilda Hare had five more children, Frank in 1873, Fred in 1874, Abbie in 1876, Laura in 1887 and Lewis in 1878.

The family lived through the hard times with patience and courage.  The whole family worked together, but there were fun times, too.  There were lots of activities at the lake, both in summer and winter.

There also were still Indians camped around Lake Madison.  Ira said they would come on the days that his mother baked bread.  They would give them a good share of it and sometimes a calf for meat, but they never had any trouble with the Indian natives of Lake County.

In 1876, other families began to settle in the area.

On November 17, 1884, John T. traveled to Mitchell, Dakota Territory to sign homestead papers for their property.  The original papers remain at the family farm today.

John T. and Matilda played an important part in the growth of Wentworth and Lake County, South Dakota.  Their homestead grew to be a prosperous and attractive farm.  Their children married and spread out in the community.

Frank was the first child born to John T. and Matilda in Dakota Territory.  He was born at the homestead and lived there all his life.  He was a bachelor for many years.  He ran a resort known as "Frank's Place" for several years.  He also had a store which he kept stocked with camp supplies, soft drinks, candies and fishing equipment.  He had boats to rent, swings and picnic tables.  Many Sunday's saw the area filled with people and strings of fish caught.  When the lakes went dry in the 1930's, he sold the store and began farming again.

In 1916, the family along with friends and neighbors built a barn on the farm.  A nephew, John Hare, who was a local saloon owner,  died from a fall from the peak of the barn on the east end, while working on it.  A man named Schrader was crippled in the fall.  The barn is known as the "big red barn on the north side of Lake Madison" and people navigated the lake by seeing by barn as a landmark.  The barn is still standing today and in great shape.  See a picture of the barn.

John T.'s father was born to David and Avis Hare in 1798 and his family settled in New York state.  Daniel and Susan were married in 1818 and lived in Plattsburg, NY.  Daniel died at age 44 on November 19, 1835.  They had 7 children George, Charles, Eliza, Lydia,  John T., Ira and Daniel.

John T. - family

William Henry (Henry) - born in 1853 in Plattsburg, NY and died in the early years

Mary born in 1856 in Plattsburg, NY - married John Huntamer November 12, 1874 at Wentworth, SD

Nell - born in 1867 in Plattsburg, NY 

Ira - born 1/29/1868 at Plattsburg, NY

Carrie - born 12/27/1870 at Fillmore County, MN and died 5/3/1900

Frank Leslie - born in 1/29/1873 on the farm at Lake Madison, Wentworth, SD and died in 1/27/1948

Fred - born 8/22/1874 at home and died 7/22/1899

Abbie born in 1876 and died in 1944

Laura Louise - born in 1877 and died in 1943

Lewis - born 5/23/1878 and died 3/23/1945

more to come -

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