Our history goes back to the 1800’s when many pioneers came to this portion of the Dakota Territory to settle. Many were of German and Scandinavian ancestry but most were native-born Americans from Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and other northern states.
The first settlers here often arrived by immigrant trains with their stock and household goods. They went to the nearest railroad station of where they intended to locate and then they would travel by horseback, wagon or on foot to the site where they wished to live and built their homes according to their means. Some were built of sod, others were just dugouts. In 1882, the broad expanse of land which is now the town of Britton was just that – many acres of wilderness prairie land without a home in sight. During the spring of 1883, a few “claim shacks” were built on the future town site.
Britton was chosen as a temporary county seat because city promoters agreed to furnish free room for county officials for two years. The first county election was held on July 23, 1885, and after meeting in several different locations, the Marshall County courthouse was built in 1907 where it still stands today.
The town people depended on the farmland for its prosperity too. During the late 1890’s the town had known a recession, then a disordered economy in 1919 and a depression in the 1930’s.
Many changes have taken place since the first claim shanty was built in 1884. However, one thing that has not changed is the people’s spirit, determination and their positive view to build and maintain a community of which they can be proud, and to preserve this community for future generations.