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Suzanne Hovik Fuller

Suzanne Hovik Fuller

While doing genealogy research at the Moody County Historical Society Museum in Flandreau, SD, I started reading the original copies of The Egan Express. The editor wrote that his office and home was the first building on that plat of land that was to become Egan, Dakota Territory. As a former newspaper reporter at The Minneapolis Star, I immediately saw that I was reading how this little village was actually founded, not how it might have happened. My second thought was I needed to write a book about this history for fourth grade students studying South Dakota history.

My great-grandparents and their two daughters moved to Egan at this time and they became the inspiration for the fictitious family that would carry my book forward. Their personal history, letters, recipes, book report, autograph book, tea set and bell added authenticity to the narrative. I referenced more than 260 newspaper articles from The Egan Express, 1880-1881, as I wrote about the town’s rich history, including that winter of “perpetual elemental fury.”

The book, "The Girl Who Moved to the Town That Wasn't There," published by the Siouxland Heritage Museums, has won two awards: the 2021 WILLA Literary Award for Children’s Fiction and Nonfiction and a silver finalist award for children’s fiction from the Midwest Independent Publishers Association. It was also mentioned by Mankato author, Cindy Wilson, on her list of ten favorite books.

ABOUT THE BOOK: Pa stopped his oxen at the top of the hill. Pointing down into the valley, he announced, "There's our new home." But all ten-year-old Virgie saw were two houses and trampled grasses. There was no town. No school, no stores, and worst of all-no children. Virgie didn't know it yet, but loneliness would be the least of her challenges on the harsh prairie of Dakota Territory.

COPIES AVAILABLE AT THE DEEP VALLEY BOOK FESTIVAL or order from Siouxland Heritage Museum. Click the link for the book and use the comment form to contact the museum to purchase.

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