In 1882 a man by the name of Frank B.Ward came to Dakota Territory from Carthage,
NY to work with surveyors for the Western Town Site Company. Frank liked what he
saw and brought his wife and daughter from NY to live here. Originally the town site
was on the bank of the Redstone Creek, but is was decided that a better location
was to be had so the buildings were moved to the present location of Carthage. Frank
Ward persuaded the Town Site Company to name the town after his hometown in NY. J.A.
Windedahl homesteaded the land that is the site of the town but sold it to the Western
Town Site Company of which Frank B. Ward, founder of the city was in charge. Mr.
Ward named the streets for his brothers, Franklin, Thomas, Buell, and Harris. Because
of this honor, Frank Ward said he would reserve a lot and present it to the first
boy born in Carthage. A son arrived at the James Coughlin home in time to claim the
lot and the boy was named Carthage James Coughlin. Mabel Rodney was the first girl
born in our town. At age of 6 months Carthage had a population of 250, 34 businesses,
one lawyer, one doctor, one resident minister, four Church Societies, and a school.
Carthage residents took pride in their town's appearance and the conveniences of
sidewalks, (2 inch pine planks), cross walks, a telephone system, first jail, and
town well, roads and bridges leading into the town were added. At the turn of the
century and the early 1900's Carthage was prospering and growing.
Then on June 10th 1910 a tragic fire struck the business district. On that fateful evening almost half of the Carthage businesses were burned to the ground. The newspaper account read, "Carthage has been dealt a staggering blow, and though she will rise from the ashes a rejuvenated city, it will take time and much money. But the grit of our people is phenomenal and their spirit will accomplish wonders." The town did "come back" and has both suffered and prospered over the years, but it still remains a town whose people have grit and spirit and whose motto and goal is "Carthage, here to stay."
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