Yankton, a S. E. county of Dakota, separated from Nebraska by the Missouri river, and intersected by the Dakota; area, about 520 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 2,097. The Dakota Southern railroad terminates at the county seat. The river bottoms are very fertile. The chief productions in 1870 were 18,225 bushels of wheat, 8,855 of Indian corn, 15,075 of oats, 12,459 of potatoes, 7,000 lbs. of wool, 5,060 of butter, and 3,177 tons of hay. There were 348 horses, 479 milch cows, 1,315 other cattle, 965 sheep, and 288 swine. Capital, Yankton, which is also the capital of the territory.
Yankton, a city and the capital of Dakota territory, county seat of Yankton co., on the N. bank of the Missouri river, 980 m. above its junction with the Mississippi, and 7 m. above the mouth of the Dakota, about 500 m. W. by N. of Chicago; lat. 42° 45' N., Ion. 97° 30' W.; pop. in 1870, 737; in 1876, locally estimated at 3,600. It is beautifully situated on a smooth plateau, surrounded on the north and west by smooth high slopes. The river bank is here high and protected by stone. The site comprises about 800 acres. The streets cross each other at right angles, those running E. and W. being 80 ft. wide and those N. and S. 100 ft., except Broadway, which is 130 ft., and Douglas avenue, 120 ft. The buildings are chiefly of wood, but there are many brick and stone blocks and residences. The city is the W. terminus of the Dakota Southern railroad, which connects at Sioux City, Iowa, with lines for the east. The shipments of produce and receipts of lumber and farm machinery are important. It is the point of reshipment of government supplies for many military posts and Indian agencies on or near the river above.
The Missouri river transportation company runs ten steamers of from 250 to 400 tons from this point during the season of navigation as far as Fort Benton, Montana. Yankton is also a depot of supplies for the Black hills. There are four large grain elevators, railroad machine shops, a foundery and machine shop, a tobacco and cigar factory, two breweries, two flouring mills, a national bank, two private banks, and two large hotels. The city has excellent free public schools, including a high school, with fine new buildings and an enrollment of more than 600 out of a school population (5 to 21 years) of 867. A daily and three weekly (one German) newspapers are published. The territorial library contains 2,100 volumes, that of the historical society 1,300, and the ladies' library 600. There are seven churches (Baptist, Congregational, Episcopal, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, and Roman Catholic). - Yankton derives its name from the Yankton band of Sioux Indians, who formerly occupied the site as their council ground. They ceded the region to the United States in 1859, when a trading post was established.
The city was incorporated in 1869, and reincorporated in 1873.