My maternal grandfather, Dan Dean Myers, was born in Onawa, Iowa, in 1886. His life story is compelling enough, I think, to interest even those who may not be directly related to him.
Dan married Lillan Drayer in 1909, and moved to a homestead in southwestern North Dakota, near Leipzig (now called “New Leipzig”). They didn’t stay on the homestead long, but soon sold or traded it, and acquired the general store/post office in the tiny village of Thunder Hawk, SD, on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation.
Several of his children, including my mother, were born in the living quarters behind this store. In 2003, I visited Thunder Hawk and photographed the ruins below, which I believe to be of the same building. Some local residents told me that it had housed the general store until after World War II, then was a tavern until the 1960’s.
The building to the left of the ruins, also abandoned, had been the post office after it was separated from the general store, according to my informants. There are today no businesses or public facilities in Thunder Hawk, only a handful of run-down homes and a large, abandoned Indian Agency schoolhouse.
From time to time, religious revival meetings were held on the reservation or in the nearby farm country. Dan was a confirmed skeptic, and was known to argue with or heckle the preachers. His preferred pastimes were hunting, fishing, and motorcycle racing.