Evan Thomas McDonald, the son of Jessie and Lucy McDonald was born in Calliope, Iowa on January 8, 1880. The family moved to Iowa Falls about 1885. There Tommy went to a country school taught by a Miss Georgie Griffith. The summer he was nine years old he worked for a farmer in Iowa driving a team of mules.
Jessie McDonald and his two older sons, Elmer and Alva came to South Dakota and filed on land near Hot Springs. After he filed on this land a hole in the ground as discovered that had wind blowing out of the earth. The McDonalds saw the possibilities of this hole in the ground becoming a tourist attraction. They named it Wind Cave and developed it so that they were taking people through it for sightseeing tours, in the late 18 hundreds and early 19 hundreds.
In 1892 Tommy with the rest of the family came to Hot Springs to make their home. He didn’t like the cave and wouldn’t help his father and brothers in it. In the fall of 1893 when thirteen years old he left home. He spent that winter with the Clifford family near Interior. When he was fifteen years old he carried mail by pony express between Interior and Scenic. When he ran away from home at thirteen his greatest desire was to own his own saddle horse. He never outgrew his liking for horses. His most unusual horse was a brown curly horse. It was curly all over and that and the fact that he was as good a saddle and cutting horse Tom prized him over all the other good horses he had thru the years. He didn’t go back home ‘till he was 18 years old.
Did You Know?
Winds caused by changes in barometric pressure are what give Wind Cave its name. These winds have been measured at the cave's walk-in entrance at over 70 mph. The winds at the natural entrance of the cave attracted the attention of Native Americans and early settlers.