Sending the 1st South Dakota Volunteer Infantry off to War

Contributed by Wendie Thomas,  great-granddaughter of Cpl. William Schmoker, Co. L
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The following article, taken from a clipping from an unknown newspaper details how the ladies of Terry, South Dakota sent the boys from the area near Deadwood off to war.  Among those mentioned in the article are Mrs. Pruitt [Addie Rufner], who is the sister-in law of Cpl William Schmoker of the 1st South Dakota Volunteer Infantry, Co. L.  and Miss Mary Rufner will become Schmokerís sister-in-law after the war when William married F. Alma Rufner.

The Article:


Presented to Soldiers by Terry Ladies.

Their Farewell Souvenirs.

War has a bright side, as well as a dark one, and while many young men have volunteered to fight for their country, and went away with their hearts full of patrioism, and a smile upon their lips, they have left just as many mothers and sweethearts and loving friends behind them to silently and bravely bear the sorrow of parting, and the irrepressible thought that perhaps many of them may never return. With this thought in mind Mesdames Pelham, Teal, Pruitt and Miss Mary Rufner of this city devised a way whereby they could show their patriotism, and at the same time give each of the soldier boys a pretty and fitting souvenir, to remind them of the loved onesat home. The ladies purchased the material necessary to make artificial flowers, a quantity of ribbon, striped red, white and blue, and several dozen small flags. They then went to work with a will, assisted by Mrs. Si. Oliver and Miss Della Traul in making handsome little boquets, with natural geranium leaves for a background, and attached to each boquet was one of the small flags, the whole being tied with the ribbon bearing the national colors.

They made 116 boquets. Messrs Pelham and Pruitt, accompanied by their wives, traveled by carriage to Spearfish where the boys were awaiting orders. Just before the boys took their departure for Whitewood, from which place they took the train for the east, the ladies appeared with the flowers, and the boys, their hearts touched by the tribute paid the, formed a line. Mr. Pelham carried the flowers, and the ladies walked from one end of the long line to the other and pinned one of the pretty souvenirs on each manly bosom. Captain Gray was given a handsome bunch of natural flowers, which were donated by Mrs. M. D. McIntosh. Three rousing cheers were given for the ladies of Terry, in which the whole town joined. Shortly after ward they departed. The ladies then returned home, accompanying the volunteers as far as the Half-way house, but as the boys disappeared around the bend in the road the ladies hearts were filled with mingled feelings of joy and sorrow-joy to think that they had been the means of creating for the boys one bright spot on the walls of memory, and sorrow when they thought of the friends and relatives they might never see again.


Thomas, Wendie,  great-granddaughter of Cpl. William Schmoker, Co. L., Article was found in the corporal's personal papers.

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