The town was named for H. E. Bonesteel, early day freighter. Its first postmaster was Francis M. Safeser, 1 August 1892. By 1905 it had 754 people and had made the Big Time Headlines. It came about this way. In 1902 the railroad reached Bonesteel and in 1904 the eastern part of the Rosebud Reservation, the west part of Gregory County, 385,817 acres, enough land for 2,412 one hundred sixty acre homesteads was to be opened to filing. Registrations for the drawing were held at Yankton, 57,432 filings; Fairfax, 8,700; Chamberlain, 6,100 and Bonesteel, 35,176. Chances on the drawing were 1 to 46. It was a royal holiday, trains running night and day; everything "wide open" and the gamblers, confidence men and underworld of 1904 flocked to Bonesteel for a chance to mulct the gullible who came to file.
On July 18th, 4,000 plus registered at Bonesteel. Jim Nelson, the police chief, retired and then as one newspaper stated: "until the citizens organized and with the aid of Patsy Magner, Stanton, Bob Calahan and other sporting men of the better class drove the gang out of town after a sharp fight the town was practically in the hands of the thugs." Magner said there were 200 of them and their slogan was "stand for no pinch." Under the headlines "BONESTEEL HAS HOT EVENING” it was said "the bad men simply mobbed the officers, took their clubs and guns, pounded them up and took their stars." One tough was killed, two wounded and two "fly cops" Harrison and Stambaugh wounded. Sheriff Taylor asked for troops but things quieted down.
That was the "Battle of Bonesteel."
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Long time sports enthusiast and community benefactor, Bob Hausmann Sr. is honored with the dedication of the Bonesteel Baseball Field. Bob coached peewee and midget teams early in his baseball life, and then worked on the sidelines as a member of the American Legion and Knights of Columbus. Bonesteel baseball benefited from Bob’s tireless promotion of America’s game for the youth in the area. With the help of the community, Bob played an important part in getting chain link fence, new backstop, ag lime infield, new score board and dug outs installed on a renovated field. Bob also worked on promoting the John Weddle teener tourney in Bonesteel with everything from lining up umpires to taking down the flag after the game. Bob was the voice of Bonesteel baseball for over forty years, announcing every game. With his winning smile and positive attitude, Bob invited players from other towns to play on Bonesteel’s winning teener teams. Bob’s work was a big part of the reason for Bonesteel’s success with appearances in four state tournaments and one state championship. Bob created opportunity for area youth to make wonderful memories on his filed in the great name of baseball. Story credit Bonesteel Enterprise
Bob Hausmann Sr.