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Douglas County is located in the eastern region of South Dakota and was established in 1873. The county is home to approximately 3,000 people and possesses a long and interesting history. Here are seven facts about Douglas County's past that may surprise you.

1. The Dakota Territory’s First Post Office: In 1873, a year after South Dakota became a territory, the first U.S. post office was established in Douglas County. The postmaster was a man named John A. Wells, and the office was located in the small town of Armour.

2. The Creation of the "Douglas" Name: The county was originally named "Culbertson County" after a prominent territorial legislator. However, after Culbertson's death in 1879, the state legislature renamed it in tribute to Stephen A. Douglas, the famous Illinois Senator.

3. Douglas County's Offer of Free Land: In the early 1900s, the area that is now known as Douglas County offered free land to anyone who would settle and farm it. The land was located in the northwest corner of the county and was available for homesteaders willing to improve it.

4. The Flood of 1952: In July 1952, Douglas County was hit by a devastating flood. The Vermillion River overflowed its banks, causing widespread damage and destruction. Approximately 300 people were evacuated, and many lost their homes.

5. "The Hanging Judge": Judge Daniel B. Goss was a prominent figure in the early days of Douglas County. He was known for his no-nonsense approach to law and order and was dubbed "The Hanging Judge." He presided over several high-profile cases, including the execution of a man convicted of murder.

6. The Clara Barton Red Cross: The American Red Cross played a crucial role in providing disaster relief after the 1952 flood. The organization's volunteers, led by the legendary nurse Clara Barton, established a relief center in the town of Armour and provided assistance to the affected families.

7. The Pike Expedition: In 1806, explorer Zebulon Pike and his team made their way through what is now Douglas County as part of their famous expedition. They camped along the Vermillion River, and Pike noted in his journal the beauty of the surrounding area.

These are just a few of the many interesting facts about Douglas County's rich history. From the first post office to famous explorers, this area has a fascinating past that continues to shape its present and future.

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