Mansfield, South Dakota

Mansfield is an unincorporated community in Brown County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 93 according to the 2010 census. Located just west of highway 281, it is approximately 18 miles south of Aberdeen, the third largest city in South Dakota. The James River Valley near which Mansfield is situated, is some of the richest farmland in the state. Additionally, this area is widely known for its large variety of game and is a popular pheasant hunting venue

This information was sent to us by our contact in Mansfield, South Dakota:

In l88l-l882, many homesteaders settled in this area and every quarter of land was soon taken. One of the first settlers in our area was John Mansfield, who came here with his parents, Michael and Mary Mansfield, as well as several brothers and sisters. John homesteaded on the land, which would soon become the site of the village of Mansfield. Thus it bears his name.

The family migrated here from Ireland. Mansfield reached its peak in population and activity in the l9l0 to 1920 period, with about 200 being the most people to live here at any one time. At that time, it was a very self-sufficient community, with about 25 businesses.

They included hotels, all manner of merchandise stores, a bank, elevators, harness and livery shops, pool halls and saloons, the post office, the depot with the Chicago Northwestern railroad, lumber yards, blacksmiths, doctors, and a jail which was used only once (for an inebriated fellow to sober up in). Many passengers rode the several trains, which entered and left the village each day. When automobiles became more and more popular, Mansfield, as all small villages, was adversely affected.

It became easy, and pleasant, to drive to nearby large cities to shop, to attend plays and movies. Mansfield is in a rather unique situation. The main street is the dividing line between Spink and Brown counties, leaving the town divided in that way. It is also in two townships, Northville, and Warner, and, since it was never incorporated, the two townships share responsibility for the streets, etc.

The one town-wide organization is the well company. There is delightful cold water from a deep artesian well and for $25.00 a year, a resident can use all the water a person desires. However, if the system should ever develop trouble, each share holder would be expected to pay a fair share to finance repairing the problem. A few people in the village are connected to the WEB water system from the Missouri River. At the present time, 100 friendly people live in the village. They cooperate with each other whenever there is a need, and there is much volunteer work in the town.

The population remains fairly stable. People commute to Aberdeen or Redfield to work. Both are county seat towns nearby. All the homes in Mansfield are occupied, and people are very proud of their yards and homes. There are 35 houses presently in town. Mansfield has very few businesses at this time, because it is too close to Aberdeen to compete. There is a good bank, an implement repair shop, a large grain elevator, a rummage shop (sponsored by a local church), an upholstery shop, and a bar and restaurant. In the early years, the Methodist Church was organized, but later they disbanded, and all joined the Presbyterian Church just being built.

That church will soon celebrate its 100th year anniversary. The Lutheran Church (Trinity) just west of the village, is already over 100 years old. People in a small village really depend on each other, and help one another, because they need to and want to. A family in need can call on anyone in town. Mansfield has one thing that no other town in this area has. One couple in town has moved 7 old buildings from the country to a large lot own in the village and recreated a Pioneer Village. All the buildings are restored and the visitors get an idea of what life was like before the turn of the century. Children no longer go to school in the village.

The school was closed in l968, a year of reorganization in this area. They now ride a bus to a large school in the nearby town of Mellette. The school was built for grades K-12, and children from 6 other area towns attend there, all of them having closed their schools as Mansfield did. Mansfield has all the usual service clubs and patriotic organizations. Everyone stays very busy. It is a good place to raise a family. It is close to the advantages that Aberdeen offers, yet friendly as only a small village can be. Someone once said that in Mansfield everyone not only knows all the people but can call each dog by name.

The village celebrated its centennial in June of 1982 with a big parade and celebrations, which swelled the population for a couple of days to 1,000. Then again in l989, the state’s centennial was celebrated with a similar “whing-ding”. A very nice park was developed in 1989 as a lasting legacy, and a time capsule was buried. The names of over 300 pioneers and present day citizens of this area are listed on a monument in the park.”