District of South Dakota
About the District of South Dakota
Meet the U.S. Attorney
The office of the United States Attorney for the District of South Dakota sees its roots in the United States Attorney for the District of Dakota Territory. Including parts of what are today Nebraska, Montana, and Wyoming along with all of what is North Dakota and South Dakota today, Dakota Territory was largely Lakota land ceded to the United States by the Yankton Treaty in 1858. In Sioux languages, Dakota means “allies.” Dakota Territory officially became an organized territory on March 2, 1861, shortly before Abraham Lincoln took his office. In 1863 the size of the territory was reduced to the area that is today North and South Dakota. From 1861 to 1883, the territorial capital was Yankton, now South Dakota. In 1883, the territorial capital was moved to Bismarck, now North Dakota, where it would remain until statehood. Coincidentally, the first governor of the Dakota Territory was President Abraham Lincoln’s own personal physician, William A. Jayne. The first territorial court of Dakota Territory was established in 1861 in Yankton. The first United States Attorney for the District of South Dakota was William E. Gleason.