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Lawrence Ingalls

Lawrence Ingalls
Lawrence Ingalls

Eminent Farmer

County: Meade

Lawrence Ingalls came to western South Dakota in 1908 when several families filed for “desert” and homestead claims in the Opal, South Dakota area. As people with less tenacity and determination left the land his father bought their land holdings and the ranch grew. They brought with them black cattle and started the first Angus herd in western South Dakota. In 1938 they purchased registered stock and the Ingalls herd became one of the first purebred Angus herds in the area.

He married Marie Vig in 1927 and managed the home place. He had already served on the township board for nine years and was township assessor. Even though death took his wife when the youngest of five children was only 16 months, Lawrence managed to carry on with both his community work and the additional responsibility of providing for the needs of his family.

He was appointed to treasurer to the school board to fill a position left by his wife. He was active in livestock improvement efforts in the area, and served on the Weed Board, the Meade County Extension Board.

He wanted his children to belong to 4-H but leadership was scarce so in 1942 he tackled the job himself, organizing the Happy Hustlers 4-H Club which was later combined with the Happy Homemakers Club. The club has an outstanding record of achievement and not only provided training for his own children but has served a similar role for 13 of his 21 grandchildren.

He was appointed to the Board of the Grand Electric Cooperative in 1949 and has been a champion of the rural electric idea ever since. His house, built in the early 1950’s, was the first in the area to include electric heating installations. In 1967 he was selected to represent the South Dakota REA on a People-to-People tour of six countries.

In 1953 he remarried, this time to Mrs. Ann Mildrew, a neighbor woman who had been widowed. His children include Mabel, who is now the wife of Clavin Stomprud, a Mud Butte, South Dakota, rancher; Elaine is Mrs. Neal Rowett, the wife of a Spearfish, South Dakota, insurance agent; Virginia married Melvin Brandt who is an electronics teacher in Sturgis, South Dakota. Hugh ranches near Maurine, South Dakota, and Dale is in partnership with his father at Opal, South Dakota.