Okobojo is a ghost town that once thrived on the rolling prairie smack-dab in the center of what would later become known as the great state of South Dakota. Issac McGannon was the first of our clan to settle there, arriving in March of 1883. Not far behind Issac was his brother-in-law, John S. Green, who was traveling with his 12 year old son Will. They surveyed the area and chose what they thought was the best land for their families. On April 9th of 1883 the government opened up the land east of the Missouri River for settlement and people poured onto the prairies of the Dakota Territory. R.J. Courtney wrote that by fall of '83 there were 250 buildings in the Okobojo area (see Okobojo Stories).
The townspeople that once busied these streets were mostly hardworking farmers and ranchers. Nearly all of them grew their own food and kept livestock. Among them were a few professionals - an innkeeper, a postman, a teacher, a grocer, a blacksmith, and a printer - Great Grandpa Will was the printer. He printed the local newspaper, The Okobojo Times, every Thursday at the Okobojo print shop. Will apprenticed under Steve Travis while in his teens and became the Editor under J.W. Glessner in his 20's. Later, while in his 30's, he married Glessner's daughter and, years later, when Will was 40, they purchased the print shop. Will became the Publisher and his wife Madge became the Editor.
Will spent many months during his 40's and early 50's laid up in a sanitarium suffering from the lingering effects of Malaria. Will had contracted the disease while serving with the 1st South Dakota Volunteers in the Spanish American War and it's effects had been crippling. Madge, and their young children, Willis, Cathy and George, struggled to get the farm chores done each day during his long absences but the real challenge was getting the paper out every Thursday. Will died in 1922 and Madge and the kids continued running the print shop for a few more years without him. Madge also sold insurance--which she advertised prominently in her newspaper-- to make ends meet. Soon Cathy needed a college and George needed a high school so Madge sold the print shop and moved the family to Huron for a few years. She rented a huge three story house and turned it into a boarding house.
The Greens' returned in 1927 but as George states in his memoirs, "When one goes back it is never the same. You can wish and pretend with all of your might but it is never the same". The Okobojo Times had been purchased by the Onida Watchman and within a year it would be dissolved due to lack of patronage. Okobojo was drying up. By the end of the "Dirty Thirties" only a few of the toughest Okobojoans continued trying to glean survival from that barren land. The Greens, the McGannons and the Glessners were among those few. more>>