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County History

Hutchinson County was created in 1862 by the Legislative Assembly and was named for John S. Hutchinson, who was the first secretary of Dakota Territory from 1861 to 1865. It was organized by 1871 by the legislative assembly. Maxwell City was named county seat and held that honor until October 14th, 1883, when Olivet, the oldest town in the county, was named the county seat. It is the smallest county seat in the state and up until new construction in 2018, used the oldest courthouse in the state. 

In 1874, the Legislative Assembly created Armstrong County out of a part of Hutchinson County with Milltown as the county seat. The counties were reunited in 1879, but Armstrong County officials refused to return the county records until the court forced them to in 1881. 
Settlers came in to the county from Canada, Illinois, Indiana, Russia, and Germany. In fact, the whole county is steeped in the German tradition of industrious farmers. Mennonites from the Black Sea, Hutterites from the Swiss Alps, and mixed in between, a few other Germans made up the bulk of the population. 

In 1877, the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad built a line northeast to southwest through the county and the towns of Freeman and Menno were laid out. Actually Freeman, whose name was supposed to be Menno, got its name switched with Menno when a railroad official accidentally nailed the wrong signboards on the depots. In 1882, another branch of the same railroad was laid in the west half of the county and Tripp and Parkston were settled soon afterward.  

Towns in Hutchinson  County included Beardsley, Clayton, Dimock, Freeman, Kaylor, Menno, Olivet, Parkston, and Tripp. 

The population of the county in 1925 was 13,769, in 1940 was 12,668, in 1950 was 11,423, in 1960 was 11,085, in 1970 was 10,379,  in 1980 was 9,350, in 1990 was 8,262, in 2000 was 8,060, in 2010 was 7,339, and was 7,282 in the last census in 2020.