Meigs (Meiggs) Family History and Genealogy


Sylvanus Randall Meigs

Sylvanus Randall Meigs (#875) was born in North Monroe, New Hampshire, on May 17, 1839, the third child of Church (#483) and Nancy (Paddleford) Meigs. He moved with his family to Malcom, Iowa, in the spring of 1855.

When the Civil War broke out, Meigs enlisted as a private in company E, 4th regiment of the Iowa Volunteer Calvary in February, 1861, and was discharged in Atlanta, Georgia, on August 8, 1865. Army records indicate that at the time he was 24, 5' 10" tall, had blue eyes, fair complexion, dark hair and in good health. 1

Meigs returned to Malcom, Iowa, but in about 1882 word arrived of a newly opened territory for homesteading in the Dakota Territory. "Sylvanus accompanied by his brother-in-law Norman Bates left their families to try their luck finding a suitable homestead location. After filing on these places they sent for their families. This was known as Highmore Station, they with several other families, were all migrating by railroad to the area." 2 He was appointed Assessor on July 11, 1885, by Governor Ordway and elected Sheriff of Hyde county in the election of 1886 and held the office for six years. 3

"We remember at an early day when L.E. Whitcher, A.N. Gerhart, S.R. Meigs and Frank Drew, tired of the monotony of every day business life, sought a brief recreation by a trip to the river, not to fish, but to gather the luscious plums which grew in abundance along the banks of the Missouri and other streams. The local paper had it at the time that they formed a complete organization with Meigs as guide and scout, Whitcher as hunter, Drew as cook, and Gerhart as general rustler. They arrived on the banks of the river and went into camp about ten o'clock, but having forgotten or neglected to take a lantern along they had to feed their horses, get wood, and cook their supper in a strange country and in the darkness of night. They labored under difficulties, and soon all hands had to quit and fish Whitcher out of Joe Creek, into which he had fallen trying to get wood and water; and Gus, in trying to fix the horses for the night got tangled up in the picket rope and all rolled down a bank fifteen feet high into the creek; it took the efforts of the other three to rescue Gus and the horses. The next day they got a mouthful or two of plums only, and in this respect the trip was a failure, so the following day they started home towards night, so late that darkness came upon them, but they traveled on and soon on the broad prairie realized that they were lost, and actually knew not where they were or whither they were going; indeed the points of the compass were a blank to them. Upon a discussion as to the merits of the situation it was concluded that Whitcher should hold their horses while the rest of them, down on their knees, would hunt for the traveled road. Meigs went north, Drew east, and Gerhart west, but unsuccessful in their search, they got back to the wagon. Then they got into a wrangle as to which way was north, and which [?], and over this they about exhausted them-selves and the vocabulary of expressive adjectives, but finally concluded to get aboard and let the horses go where they liked, and thus they traveled until they came to a house where they stopped for the rest of the night, but what house they could not determine. Meigs declared they were in Hand county, for no such habitation existed within the confines of Hyde. Gus said it was the Harrold school house, and Whitcher said he didn't care a goldarn where it was, he was going to lay down on the floor and go to sleep. This they all did, and when the light of the morn-ing enabled them to locate themselves, they found they were within half a mile of Meigs' own home in a house owned by D.S. Warner. Such experiences on trips of that kind are more enjoyable than the plain uneventful going and coming, for when it is all over there is something to make the heart bubble over with mirth and laughter at the unexpected predicaments in which they are caught." 4

Meigs was again elected Sheriff in November, 1906, and held the office until his death on February 11, 1908. "He was of a most genial nature, always in good humor and loyal to his friends. As a soldier he was brave and undaunted and his record as such stands among the best. He always went along with the rest of the old settlers through the hardships of the early days, but by industry and economy he acquired a competence and at the time of his death was in good circumstances financially. He had many friends who lament his sudden death, and the affectionate regard of all was manifested at the funeral, which was conducted by his Masonic brethren, and by the pastor of the Congregational church. A good husband and father, good citizen and a good man went from us when Mr. Meigs died." 5

He married Georgianna Bates in Malcom, Iowa, on September 26, 1861. Georgianna died in January, 1911. Their children were:





Simeon Sylvanus




Bessie m. Erwin Stowell 11-12-1919








Sylvester Bates



Frank Paddleford




Austin Paddleford



1. From S.R. Meigs' military service records, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
2. "The Hyde Heritage History Book," Hyde County Historical Society, 1977.
3. J.B. Perkins, "History of Hyde County, South Dakota," 1908 page 40-51.
4. J.B. Perkins, page 143-145.
5. "Obituary of S.R. Meigs," The Herald, Highmore, South Dakota, February, 1908


Copyright (c) by Rick Meigs