South Dakota was still a relatively new state when Canton’s ex-mayor, Oscar S. Gifford, made good on his hope to have an Indian insane asylum built there. Dakota Territory had been created in 1861, and took its name from the Dakota Sioux word meaning “allies.” This huge tract of land included what became North and South Dakota, and most of Montana and Wyoming. Two years later, the territory was reduced to the area of North and South Dakota only.
By the late 1880s, the northern part of the territory had about 190,000 people in it, and the southern part about 340,000. These numbers justified statehood. North Dakota became the 39th state and South Dakota the 40th, on November 2, 1889.