County: Fall River
A love for his work coupled with experience and constant study made John Robertson, Hot Springs, one of the leading fruit growers of South Dakota. For his service and leadership in this phase of agriculture, State College bestowed upon him the Eminent Farmer citation.
Those who know Mr. Robertson and the circumstances under which he labored in creating his fruit farm in western South Dakota, can truly appreciate his contribution to his community, his state and to agriculture. Out of a barren hillside, he literally carved a garden spot of fruit trees and berry bushes; and through untiring labor, made himself a great fruit grower and an authority on horticulture.
Through lectures at Farmers’ Institutes, he carried his inspiring messages and practical information on fruit growing in South Dakota to thousands of people. Scarcely a community in the state does not bear the impress of his work in the way of farm orchards and garden fruits. Mr. Robertson also disseminated information through the medium of farm papers and through private correspondence.
Mr. Robertson was born at Northville, Ohio, June 13, 1866. When he was three years old, his parents moved to Dodge County, Nebraska. John was the oldest of a family of 14 children. He grew up on the farm, working with his parents and for a neighbor. When he was 22, he set out for the Black Hills.
Following a brief period of driving mules on a railroad and working as section hand and boss, he filed on a claim of 150 acres in June, 1892. It was a rough tract, but had good water, so eventually Mr. Robertson was able to build up the twenty-acre fruit farm which was later used as a laboratory for testing fruit varieties for South Dakota.
Mr. Robertson served many years as vice-president of the State Horticulture Association; was treasurer of the school board, president of the rural telephone company of Hot Springs, and horticultural editor of The Dakota Farmer.