Small-town newspapers of the last century and earlier provided a popular service to readers by extensive reporting on local news. One of Canton, South Dakota’s newspapers, The Sioux Valley News, typically ran “local interest” items in its weekly edition, and did not discriminate on the basis of age, gender, or race when reporting. A few items in the May 29, 1914 edition illustrate the breadth of coverage:
— Harry Milliman was in Canton Saturday training his eye on the needs of the grocers of the town.
— John Hall an Indian patient at the Asylum [for Insane Indians] passed away last week. He came to the Asylum from Sacaton Arizona, but his remains were buried here.
— Will Ellingson was down from Harrisburg on Sunday, sampling his mother’s Sunday dinner.
— John Chavis, an Indian from La Guna, N.M. was in Canton last week to take home with him, his daughter, who has been receiving treatment at the Asylum, and whose complete restoration to mental health permitted of her return home.
— P. S. Puckett is building a garage on his Capitol Hill property. When asked why he was building one so large he said that he wanted one large enough so, should necessity require that he could move into it.
— Dr. Hummer and his family took last Monday’s train for Washington, D.C. where they will spend their summer’s vacation visiting at the homes of the parents of both Dr. and Mrs. Hummer and with other relatives and friends.
The latter item meant that the Asylum would be without a physician unless Dr. Hummer had made arrangements for a fill-in.