Linfred advocates May 29, 1876 as the day Spearfish was "born." He concedes that welcome signs to the city cite 1888 as its beginning. 1888 was a tough year for the city, since the local government ran out of money, and there was a divisive election surrounding a move to initiate an alderman form of government.
Linfred cited earlier historical research done by Father Eugene Szalay, who wrote about some of the early Spearfish pioneers. Among them was John Johnston, who helped organize the "Centennial" party that forged their way from Ames, Iowa, to the Black Hills in search of gold in 1876. Fourteen men with two loaded wagons fought blizzard-like storms on their trek through Sioux City and over the old Elkhorn route. Johnston was also recognized as having the "distinction of establishing, in connection with one Captain Gardner, the first newspaper published in Spearfish city...."