Oscar S. Gifford’s Family

Oscar S. Gifford, first superintendent at the Canton Asylum for Insane Indians, was the exception to the rule–he did not live on the asylum grounds as most asylum superintendents did. He already had a home in Canton, and his assistant, Dr. John F. Turner, had a family who needed the rooms set aside for the superintendent. Gifford had a room at the asylum where he could spend the night if needed, and boarded a horse there, as well.

Gifford married Phoebe Fuller in 1874 and had a son named Oscar Bailey, who grew up in Canton and eventually became a pharmacist in Minnesota. Bailey and his wife lived in Minneapolis,  but visited  Canton frequently and were able to enjoy the hospitality offered within a large, comfortable home.

Gifford had been a widower several years before he married Jenny H. Rudolph in 1899; they had a daughter named Frederica.  The Giffords entertained frequently, were involved in community affairs, and belonged to many clubs. Jenny Gifford was instrumental in bringing a fine library to Canton through a donation from the wealthy philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

Andrew Carnegie

Lincoln County Court House, circa 1902, Canton SD



2 thoughts on “Oscar S. Gifford’s Family

  1. Carla Joinson Post author

    I’m afraid I never had a reason to look too deeply into his actual home situation. He was married to Phoebe Fuller in 1874 and had a son, Bailey. He was widowed and later married Jenny Rudolph in 1899, with whom he had his daughter, Frederica. She was a young child while Gifford was superintendent of Canton Asylum.

    Is there anything in particular that you’d like to know about him? I have a little biographical info that I would be happy to share.

  2. Terrie swanson

    Would like to know more about him and his family, I live at 522 east 2nd canton sd. Wonder if there was any history in his home residents, I wonder if anyone stayed here, I heard that he might have had the young children stay at his home.

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