145 years, but who’s counting?

Black Hills Pioneer printing office Deadwood Dakota Territory, circa 1877. Pioneer file photo

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Today, June 8, 2021, marks 145 years of the Black Hills Pioneer publishing the local news. Our presses run daily in an effort to fairly report on the stories that impact our neighbors in the communities we serve.

We share a long history with the Black Hills.

In May of 1876, the discovery of gold in the Northern Black Hills brought a stampede of fortune seekers and soon after all of the services needed to establish a community, including a newspaper of record. W. A. Merrick and A.W. Laughlin brought in their printing equipment by wagon, set up shop, and on June 8, printed the first edition off the presses in Deadwood, becoming Dakota Territory’s first newspaper. They reported that “Bustle and confusion was prevalent everywhere. Each day and almost each hour witnessed the arrival of greater or less parties of gold seekers who, finding some eligible location to corral their wagons or pitch their tents, immediately mixed with the throng and became one of us.”

That same month, less than 3 weeks later, the pages of the Pioneer reported on the defeat of Lt. Colonel George A. Custer and the 7th Cavalry at the hands of Plains Indian warriors during the Battle of the Little Bighorn in Montana Territory that took place June 25-26.

Our newspaper has been here when it counts. We cover life, death, and everything in between as the keepers of the permanent record. Our staff of 35 workers, and over 60 carriers is made up of citizens of the communities we serve in Lawrence, Butte, and Meade counties. They are your neighbors, parents at your school, fellow volunteers, customers, friends, and family.

Pioneer reporters cover government at all levels including county commissions, city councils, school boards, and more, on behalf of you. We serve as a watchdog for transparency, openness, proper procedure, the facts, and accountability on how your community is governed and your tax dollars are spent.

On the pages of our newspaper, we publicly celebrate births, birthdays, graduations, marriages, anniversaries, personal and professional achievements, awards, and retirement. We honor those who have died on our obituary pages.

We’re here for the victories of our sports teams and to show support in their defeat. We inform you about all of the good things happening in our schools and in the community, and shine a light on the tough issues we must face together.

When your business has been around this long, you become part of the permanent fabric of the community, and with that comes an even stronger obligation do it right. Over the years, we have expanded to become the legal newspaper of record for several governmental entities in the Northern Hills. The Black Hills Pioneer is the official newspaper of the following:

Lawrence County: City of Lead, City of Deadwood, Central City, City of Spearfish, City of Whitewood, and St. Onge Township. Lead/Deadwood School Dist., Lead/Deadwood Sanitary Dist., Lawrence County, Spearfish School Dist.

Butte County:  City of Belle Fourche, Butte County, Belle Fourche School Dist., City of Newell, Newell School Dist., Nisland Township

Meade County:  Sturgis School Dist., Meade County, City of Sturgis, Vale Township, City of Piedmont

Our Nation’s Center News weekly newspaper is the legal paper for City of Buffalo, Harding County, Harding Co. Schools

Our free society demands an independent press. It’s an exciting time to be in the news gathering industry. As the Black Hills Pioneer serves more readers than ever before, through print, website, and digital edition platforms, we are grateful for your continued support. The work we do here at the local newspaper relies on the support and generosity of our readers and advertisers, something we’ve always been fortunate to be able to count on.

We look forward to the next 145 years of history in the making in our beautiful, beloved Black Hills. We hope you continue to count on us.

On behalf of our entire staff — be well.

Letti Lister, is the President & Publisher of Seaton Publishing, South Dakota.

She and her husband Scott raised their children Chris and Madiera in Spearfish. Scott and Letti have both worked at the Black Hills Pioneer for over three decades.

To read all of today's stories, Click here or call 642-2761 to subscribe to our e-edition or home delivery.

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