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John Blair Smith Todd

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Collection Summary

Title John Blair Smith Todd
Span Dates 1902-1939
Bulk Dates (bulk dates, 1939)
Quantity .25 linear ft.
Printed Material
Location     Archives and Special Collections, University Libraries, University of South Dakota.

John Blair Smith Todd was born to Doctor and Mrs. John Todd in Lexington, Kentucky on April 4, 1814.  In 1827, Todd’s family moved to Springfield, Illinois.  He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York from1832-1837.  Todd became a commissioned second Lieutenant in the sixth Infantry on July 1, 1837.  After graduating from West Point, Todd fought in the Seminole War (1837-1842) and the Mexican-American War (1846-1848).

On March 25, 1845 Todd married Catherine S. Hoffman, the daughter of Colonel William Hoffman.  They had nine children, two who died in infancy.

After the wars, he served at several frontier posts such as Jefferson’s Barracks, Missouri, Fort Snelling and Fort Gaines, Minnesota.  (Fort Gaines was later renamed Fort Ripley.)  In1855, Todd served under General Selby Harney in an expedition against the Dakotas.  Todd resigned from the military in 1856 and became Post Sutler, a military licensed trader, for Fort Randall, Dakota Territory.  After gaining much experience in trade along the Missouri river, Todd and Daniel March Frost, a fur trader from Sioux City, Iowa, formed the trading firm of Frost, Todd and Company in 1857.  The company was involved in creating many trading posts along the Missouri River.  Some of these posts developed into the towns of Bon Homme, Yankton and Vermillion.  Todd was also involved with bringing about the Treaty of 1858, in which the Yankton Sioux Tribe gave up their rights to Eastern Dakota.  This Treaty opened Dakota up for settlement.  In 1861 Todd was elected to the United State Congress as a Delegate for Dakota Territory.  He served in Congress until 1865 when his second bid for election was defeated.  After his defeat, he ran for the Territorial House of Representatives.  That election was successful and he also became Speaker of the House from 1866-1867.  In 1868, he ran again for United States Congress but was defeated.  Todd died in Yankton, SD on January 6, 1872.  Counties in Minnesota and South Dakota are named for J.S.B. Todd.

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