Territorial Legislature
Photo courtesy of South Dakota State Historical Society

     The first legislature of Dakota Territory met in 1862. It was in Yankton. The lawmakers were a tough bunch. They felt strongly about things. Where would the permanent capital be? Where would the university be? These were important questions. Each town wanted to get these things to help it grow. Sometimes the members of the legislature had fistfights. One member wrote letters to the newspaper. He wrote that the "congress" was biting and kicking at each other like wild ponies. The name stuck. People called the legislature the Pony Congress.