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Canton is a city in and the county seat of Lincoln Countymarker, South Dakotamarker, United Statesmarker. The city was named by Norwegian settler and former legislator James M. Wahl. The population was 3,110 at the 2000 census. The estimated population as of July 1, 2007, was 4,127.


Canton is located at (43.302254, -96.590810) , along the Big Sioux River across from Beloit, Iowamarker.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.0 square miles (7.7 km²), of which, 3.0 square miles (7.6 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (1.01%) is water.

Canton has been assigned the ZIP code 57013 and the FIPS place code 09500.


As of the census of 2000, there were 3,110 people, 1,209 households, and 824 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,053.4 people per square mile (407.0/km²). There were 1,286 housing units at an average density of 435.6/sq mi (168.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.43% White, 0.32% African American, 0.80% Native American, 0.58% Asian, 0.03% from other races, and 0.84% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.48% of the population.

There were 1,209 households out of which 35.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.9% were married couples living together, 9.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.8% were non-families. 28.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.07.

In the city the population was spread out with 28.1% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 27.6% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 16.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 93.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $38,654, and the median income for a family was $46,058. Males had a median income of $31,121 versus $20,902 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,891. About 2.0% of families and 4.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.1% of those under age 18 and 7.8% of those age 65 or over.

Canton Indian Insane Asylum

In 1898, Congress passed a bill creating the only 'Institution for Insane Indians' in the United States. The Canton Indian Insane Asylummarker (sometimes called Hiawatha Insane Asylum) opened for the reception of patients in January, 1903.

Many of the inmates were not mentally ill. Native Americans risked being confined in the asylum for alcoholism, opposing government or business interests, or for being culturally misunderstood. A 1927 investigation conducted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs determined that a large number of patients showed no signs of mental illness. The asylum was closed in 1934. While open, more than 350 patients were detained there, in terrible conditions. At least 121 died.

Land was set aside for a cemetery, but the Indian Office decided that stone markers for graves would be an unwarranted expense. Today, the cemetery (121 names) is located in the middle of a golf course in Canton. No one knows the cause of death of the incarcerated or why they were even at the asylum. The National Park Service has recently added the cemetery to the National Register of Historic Places.

Notable Natives

Popular culture

On July 21, 2008, Stephen Colbert made a comment on The Colbert Report about John McCain making a campaign stop in Canton, Ohiomarker, and "not the crappy Canton in Georgiamarker." The comment resulted in a local uproar, which prompted Stephen to apologize for the story during his July 30, 2008, show, insisting that he was incorrect and that the "real" crappy Canton was Canton, Kansasmarker, after which he made several jokes at the town's expense resulting in another uproar from local residents and Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius. On August 5, 2008, Colbert apologized to citizens of Canton, Kansas, then directed his derision at Canton, South Dakota by calling it "North Dakota's dirty ashtray" and satirizing the town in song. Though local reaction was relatively mild, Colbert apologized to the people of Canton, South Dakota on August 12, 2008, then continued this running gag by calling Canton, Texasmarker, an "incorporated outhouse." This jab at the Texas town had been predicted by Governor Sebelius at the end of her July 31, 2008 remarks.

See also


  1. Microsoft Word - Norwegian-American guide 2006-07
  2. South Dakota Historical Listing Legislator Detail James M. Wahl
  3. DeLorme (2001). South Dakota Atlas & Gazetteer. Yarmouth, Maine: DeLorme. ISBN 0-89933-330-3

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