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History of Stearns County, Minnesota

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History of Stearns County, Minnesota

Two volumes

Available online at these locations:

Table of Contents

Volume 1:

CHAPTER I.NATURAL PHENOMENA. Advantages — Situation and Area — Natural Drainage— Lakes — Topography — Altitudes — Soil and Timber — Geological Structure — Cretaceous Beds — Glacial and Modified Drift — Material Resources — Waterpowers — Aboriginal Earthworks — Archaean Rocks

CHAPTER II. BEFORE THE WHITES CAME. Nature's Paradise — Earliest Human Inhabitants — Era of the Eskimo — Reign of the Indian — Prehistoric Indians — Indian Tribes — Dakotas — Ojibways — Ojibway-Dakota Conflict — Social Organization of the Ojibway — Origin of the Names Sauk and Osakis in this Region — Winnebagoes — Life of the Indian — By P. M. Magnusson

CHAPTER III. COMING OF THE WHITES. Groseilliers and Radisson — Le Sueur and Charleville — Fur Traders and Explorers — Zebulon M. Pike — His Account of Passing Stearns County— Lewis Cass— Expedition of 1832— J. N. Nicollet- Tide of Civilization Begins — By P. M. Magnixsson

CHAPTER IV. CHANGES IN SOVEREIGNTY. European Monarchs Who Have Ruled Over Stearns County — State and County Affiliations — In the Columbian Empire of Spain — In French Louisiana — Again Spanish — Once More French — Under the Stars and Stripes — By P. M. Magnusson

CHAPTER V. INDIAN TREATIES. Treatment of the Indian— Treaty of 1785— Dakota Treaty of 1837— Chippewa Treaty of 1847 — Treaty of Traverse de Sioux — Treaty of Mendota — Other Indian Treaties — Reign of the Ren Men Ends and the County of Stearns Is Opened to Settlement — By P. M. Magnusson

CHAPTER VI. DAWN OF CIVILIZATION. Sudden Transformation by Which the Arts of the White Took the Place of Centuries of Aboriginal Life — Stearns County's Share in the Evolution of Society — Completing Dr. P. M. Magnusson's Chapters on "The Realm of Stearns County Before Minnesota Was Minnesota"

CHAPTER VII. TERRITORIAL ORGANIZATION. Minnesota Admitted as a Territory — Ramsey Arrives and Perfects Preliminary Organization — Stearns County Included in Second Judicial District — In Sixth and Seventh Council Districts — Territorial Legislature Meets — Original Counties Created — Stearns in Dakotah and Wahnahta Counties — Attached to Ramsey County — Stearns in Cass County — Cass Attached to Benton for Judicial Pur- poses — Other Sessions of the Territorial Legislatures

CHAPTER VIII. COUNTY REPRESENTATION. Constitutional Convention — Minnesota Admitted as a State — Men Who Have Represented Stearns County in the Law-Making Bodies of the State — Congressmen Who Have Represented Stearns County in Washington— Boundary Lines of Legislative and Congressional Districts

CHAPTER IX. BIOGRAPHICAL REVIEW. Important Incidents in the Lives of Several Men and Women Who Have Been Prominent in the History of Stearns County — Causes Which Have Contributed to Their Success — Family Genealogy

CHAPTER X. COUNTY GOVERNMENT. Stearns County Created — First Commissioners Meet — Election Precincts Established — Board of Supervisors — Government Again in Hands of Commissioners — Doings of the Successive Boards to the Present— Nearly Sixty Years of Official Life

CHAPTER XI.COURT HOUSE AND JAIL. Early Efforts to Erect a Court House — Main Building Erected in 1864 — Additions and Alterations — Efforts at Securing a More Modern Building — Bond Issues — County Jail — Old Log Jail — Present Jail Erected in 1878— Title to Site

CHAPTER XII. PLATS, SITES AND NAMES. Complete Lists of All Plats Filed with the Register of Deeds — Locations, Proprietors and Dates — Some Forgotten Names and Places — Townsite Mania — Indian Names Still Preserved in the Geography of Stearns County — Significance of Watab and Sauk

CHAPTER XIII. POLITICAL HISTORY. Stearns Distinctly a Democratic County — Important Part Taken in Moves That Have Created the Government of the State and Nation — Statistics of the Various Elections — Men Who Have Been Placed in Office by Stearns County Votes — Interesting Side Lights on vents

CHAPTER XIV. IN THE EARLY DAYS. General Christopher C. Andrews Tells of Pioneer Times in Minnesota — Youthful Ventures — Arrival at St. Paul — Stage Trip to Crow Wing — Settling at St. Cloud — Reminiscences of the Pioneers — Frontier Experiences — Social Diversions — Recruits Raised for Civil War— Biography

CHAPTER XV. THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN STEARNS COUNTY. The Catholic Pioneers — Noble Work of the Early Fathers — Arrival of the Benedictines — Diocese of St. Cloud — The Vicariate — The Right Reverend Bishops — Diocesan Officials — Present Status — Statistics — Institutions — By Rev. Alexius Hoffmann, 0.S.B.

CHAPTER XVI. CATHOLIC CHURCHES IN STEARNS COUNTY. Story of the Organization, Growth and Progress of the Parishes — Devout Fathers Who Have Led a Worthy People Into the Higher Ways of Life — Privation and Sacrifice — Notable Results — Structures Around Which Have Centered Many of the Activities of the County— By Rev. Alexius Hoffmann, 0.S.B

CHAPTER XVII. ST. JOHN'S ABBEY. The Benedictine Order — Colony Founded in Stearns County — The Rothkopp Property — Congregations Established — Privations of the Fathers — Noble Souls Who Have Been in Charge of the Community — Removal to St. Joseph — Establishment at St. Cloud — Permanent Location at Collegeville — Help from the Old World — Erection of the Buildings — Indian Work — Present Status of the Community— By Rev. Alexius Hoffmann, 0.S.B

CHAPTER XVIII. COLLEGIATE INSTITUTIONS. St. John's University— Story of the Struggles Which Made the Present Success Possible— The New St. John's— Present Courses Established — Distinguished Alumni — Student Activities — St. Benedict's Academy — Ideal Institution Prepared by the Sisters for Girls and Young Women— By Rev. Alexius Hoffmann, 0.S.B

CHAPTER XIX. ST. BENEDICT'S CONVENT. Arrival of the Sisters of St. Benedict in Minnesota — Boarding School Opened — First Convent Erected — Removal to St. Joseph — Colonies Sent Out — Privations and Denials — Orphanages — Indian Mission Work — Hospitals Established — Home for the Aged — Present Activities—By Rev. Alexius Hoffmann, 0.S.B

CHAPTER XX. CATHOLIC PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS. Catholics Inaugurate Educational Work in This County — Devoted Work of the Members of the Order of St. Benedict — Value of Christian Schooling — History of the Organization, Growth and Success of the Various Church Schools — By the Right Reverend James Trobec,Titular Bishop of Lycopolis, Egypt, and Former Bishop of St.Cloud

CHAPTER XXI.BIOGRAPHICAL REVIEW. Facts in the Early Career and Later Success of People Who Have Helped to Make Stearns County — Founders and Patriots — Names Which Will Live Long in the Memories of the Residents of This Vicinity — Stories of Well Known Families Who Have Led in Public Life

CHAPTER XXII. BANKS AND BANKING. Story of the Organization and Growth of the Financial Institutions of Stearns County — Lives of the Men Upon Whom the Stability of These Banking Houses Depends — A Brief History Compiled by W. W. Smith, Vice-President and Cashier of the First National Bank of St. Cloud

CHAPTER XXIII. PHYSICIANS AND SURGEONS. The Pioneer Doctor — His Ethics, Work and Influence — Palmer and Hunter the First to Locate in This County — The Empirics — Medical Societies — Growth of the Profession — Sketches of the Men Who Have Practiced in Stearns County— By James H. Beaty, M.D.

CHAPTER XXIV. DENTISTS AND DENTISTRY. Importance of Dentistry — Pioneers in the Profession — First Dental College Opened— Ideals and Ethics — Anaesthetics — Historical Notes — Brief Biographies of the Men Who Have Practiced in Stearns County — By Lawrence P. Leonard, D.D.S.

CHAPTER XXV. OLD SETTLERS' ASSOCIATION. Early Attempts at Organizing the Pioneers — The Present Administration — Record of the Officers and an Account of the Meetings — Thrilling Stories of Frontier Life Told by Those Who Lived Through the Privations of the Early Days — Reminiscences

CHAPTER XXVI. TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION. Red River Carts — Pemmican — Transporting Furs and Supplies — Steam- boats — Stage and Express Lines — Roads — Legislature Establishes Territorial Thoroughfares — Romantic Adventures of the Surveyors — County Board Lays Out Roads — Bridges — Ferries — Licenses and Locations

CHAPTER XXVII. RAILROAD DEVELOPMENT. Land Grant Roads — Five Million Dollar Loan — William Crooks — James J. Hill— First Railroad to St. Cloud— Minneapolis & St. Cloud— St. Cloud & Willmar Branch — Removal of Headquarters — Railroad Strike — Northern Pacific — Crossing into St. Cloud — Brainerd Branch — Twin City and St. Cloud Connection — Agents — Statistics —Station—Soo Line— Other Proposed Roads

CHAPTER XXVIII. THE GRANITE INDUSTRY. Location of Deposits — Quality and Availability — Early Efforts at Quarrying — Present Quarry Firms — Manufacturers' Association — Texture and Color — Importance and Possibilities — Opinions of the Newspapers

CHAPTER XXIX. BENCH AND BAR. Fourth Judicial District and Its Judges — Seventh Judicial District and Its Judges — The Probate Court — Municipal Courts — Early Cases and Lawyers — Bar Association — Leading Cases — Conclusion —By James B. Jenks

CHAPTER XXX. TRAGIC EVENTS. Unhappy Incidents in the Life of Stearns County — Murder and Suicides — Accidents Which Have Resulted in Death — Rivers and Lakes Prove Fatal to Many Youths — Railroads and Unruly Horses Claim Their Share of Victims — The Tragedies of Nearly Six Decades

CHAPTER XXXI. FIRE LOSSES. Damage Wrought by the Destroying Element in Stearns County During Half a Century — Dwellings, Stores, Hotels, Barns and Business Blocks Reduced to Ashes — Estimate of Damages and Insurance

CHAPTER XXXII.CYCLONE DISASTERS. Cyclone of 1886 — Ruin and Disaster Follow in Wake of Terrible Storm — List of Those Killed — Acts of Heroism — Minor Atmospheric Disturbances — Severe Damage Done at Various Times by Wind and Storm

CHAPTER XXXIII.SIOUX UPRISING. Inception of the Outbreak — Agency Attacked — Country Devastated — Fort Ridgley Attacked — Situation in the Minnesota Valley — Minnesota Aroused — Birch Coulie — In Northwestern Settlements — Anxiety as to Chippewas — Need of Supplies — Sioux Driven from the State — By C.F. MacDonald — Stearns County Events — Hole-in- the-Day Murdered — Early Indian Encounters

CHAPTER XXXIV. STEARNS COUNTY SOLDIERS. Service Rendered the Nation in the Civil and Indian Wars — Early Debates — Call for Troops — List of Those Who Enlisted from the Various Townships — Regiments in Which They Served — Other Items— By J. I. Donohue

CHAPTER XXXV. MINNESOTA STATE REFORMATORY. Location Selected — First Board Appointed — Administrations of Superintendents Meyers, Lee, Houlton, Randall, Reed, and Scott — Buildings, Grounds, and Equipment — Ideals and Inspirations — Daily Life of the Inmates — System of Parole — Starting Life on a Higher Plane— By Principal Keeper F. H. Whitney

CHAPTER XXXVI. ASSESSED VALUATIONS. Compilation of Statistics, Showing the Wonderful Progress in the Development of Stearns County — Totals for the County and Individual Statements of the Three Cities — Moneys and Credits

CHAPTER XXXVII. BIOGRAPHICAL REVIEW. Interesting Facts Gleaned from the Life and Career of Many of the County's Leading Men — Pioneers Who Helped to Subdue the Wilderness — Citizens Who Have Come Later and Taken Their Share in the Growth and Progress of the County — Leading Men

Volume 2:

CHAPTER XXXVIII.THE COUNTY'S STANDING. Natural Advantages— Modern Comforts— Population— Farm Statistics — Tax Valuations — Growth of Dairying — Cereals — Animal Industry — Roads — Lime Burning — Birds — Telephones

CHAPTER XXXIX. ST. CLOUD STATE NORMAL SCHOOL. Minnesota Normal Schools— Normal School Idea — The St. Cloud School — Legislation Passed, Appropriation Made, Site Selected — School Opens — First Building Completed — First Graduation — Early Faculty Members — Statistics and Appropriations — Principals and Presidents — School for Practice — Dormitories — State Normal Board — Alumni Association

CHAPTER XL. HORTICULTURE. Work of the Pomologists — The Collegeville Station — Early Efforts and Later Successes — Personal Experiences — Directions for Planting and Care, by Father John B. Ketzner, O.S.B. — The Belgrade Station — Muck Irrigation, by C. R. Sandvig — The Paynesville Station, by Frank Brown

CHAPTER XLI. OFFICERS AND COUNTY SEAT REMOVAL. Proposed County of Franklin — The Vote in Detail — Other Efforts at Division of County — Attempt to Remove County Seat to Albany —County Officers of Stearns County from 1855 to 1915

CHAPTER XLII. FAIRS AND DRIVING PARK. Association Organized — Site Selected — First Fair Held — Succeeding Meetings and Officers — District Association Organized — Agricultural Society — New Site Purchased — Present Status — Benton County Society — Its Fairs — Chicken Shows

CHAPTER XLIII. GOVERNMENT LAND OFFICE. The Sauk Rapids Office— Removal to St. Cloud— Changes in Boundaries of Districts- St. Cloud Office Discontinued in 1906 — List of Registers—Land Sales — First Entries in Stearns County

CHAPTER XLIV. WOMEN'S ORGANIZATIONS. St. Cloud Reading Room Society — Organization — History of the Library — Civic Work — Parks Beautified — Betterment of the Schools — Sanitation — Social and Literary Aspects — Officers — Sunshine Society — Delphian Society — Sorosis Society— Its Work, Officers and Ideals

CHAPTER XLV. BIOGRAPHICAL REVIEW. Pioneers and Later Comers Whose Industry has Built Up the County — Early Experiences in an Unsettled Country — Leaders in Country, City and Village— Family History of Well-Known Men

CHAPTER XLVI. CHRONOLOGY. Incidents in the Life of the County Gleaned from the Newspaper Files —Marriages and Deaths — Personal Items Regarding Hundreds of Early Pioneers and Later Residents — Industrial, Educational, Political, Social and Religious Notes

CHAPTER XLVII. TOWNSHIP AND VILLAGE. Early Precincts — Eleven Original Townships — Changes in Names and Boundaries — Thirty-Seven Townships at Present — Early Settlement and Organization — Pioneer Activities — Foundation and Growth of the Villages — Business Directories — Officers

CHAPTER XLVIII. STEARNS COUNTY SCHOOLS. Father Cornelius and His Work— Early School Buildings— Early School Supervision — County Supervision — Present Conditions — History of the Districts by Townships— Conclusion— By County Superintendent William A. Boerger

CHAPTER XLIX. INCIDENTS AND EVENTS. Destruction of the St. Cloud Visiter Printing Plant — Reminiscences of John Rengel — Reminiscences of George F. Brott — The Grass- hopper Scourge — Decoration Day — The Boom of 1887 — Some Old Landmarks — Indian Wedding — A Young Recruit — Freshets — Letter of P. Lamb — Experiences of a Pastor's Wife — Meteorological Statistics— Creameries — Lime and Brick — Miscellaneous Notes

CHAPTER L. THE NEWSPAPER PRESS. Early Efforts — The Pioneer newspapermen — St. Cloud — Sauk Centre — Melrose — Albany — Belgrade — Cold Spring — Freeport — Holdingford —Kimball— Paynesville — By Alvah Eastman

CHAPTER LL POSTAL HISTORY. Pioneer Mail Facilities at St. Cloud — Growth of the St. Cloud Offices — Dates of Establishment and Lists of Postmasters — By C. D. Grinols, Postmaster at St. Cloud

CHAPTER LII EARLY ST. CLOUD. Beauties and Advantages — Testimony of Early Travelers — Upper, Middle and Lower Town — Wilson Names and Plats St. Cloud — Early Buildings — German Colony Arrives — Brott and Curtiss Plat St. Cloud City — Developments in Middle Town — Controversy Over Title — Lowry and His Upper Town — Middle Town Gradually Becomes the Business Centre — Ancient Copy of the Minnesota Advertiser — Early Business Activities

CHAPTER LIII. ST. CLOUD SCHOOLS. Father Wittman's School — Everett School — Union School — Independent School — Washington and Jefferson Schools— High School Work Inaugurated — Districts Consolidated — Lincoln and Franklin Schools Industrial and Physical Training — Board of Education — Independent District Improvements — Site Controversy — Early Educational Efforts — St. Cloud University of Minnesota — St. Cloud Seminary

CHAPTER LIV. ST. CLOUD CHURCHES. First Baptist — First Methodist Episcopal — St. John's Episcopal — Presbyterian — Unitarian — German Evangelical — Swedish Baptist — Norwegian Lutheran — Christian Science — Congregational — Universalist

CHAPTER LV. ST. CLOUD ORGANIZATIONS. The Masonic Bodies— The G. A. R. and Its Auxiliaries— Elks— Odd Fellows and Rebekahs— United Workmen and Degree of Honor — Modern Woodmen and Royal Neighbors — Woodmen of the World and Woodmen Circle — Equitable Fraternal Union — Court of Honor — Modern Brotherhood of America — Commercial Travelers — Eagles — Camels — Modern Samaritans — Degree of Pocahontas — Lady Maccabees — Order of Vasa — North Star Benefit — Independent Foresters — Royal Arcanum — Knights of Columbus — Catholic Order of For- esters — Lady Foresters — Hibernians and Auxiliary — St. Joseph's Benevolent Society — Ladies' Benevolent Association — Catholic Club — Humane Society — Health League — Social Clubs — Ladies' Organizations — St. Cloud Automobile Club — Commercial Organizations

CHAPTER LVI. MUNICIPAL ST. CLOUD. Government of the City — Officers Year by Year — Street Improvements — Public Utilities — Bond Matters— Doings of the Council — The Commission Form of Government — By P.J. Seberger, Mayor of St. Cloud


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  • ''[[Space: History of Stearns County, Minnesota| History of Stearns County, Minnesota]]'' (H.C.Cooper, Jr. & Co, Chicago, Illinois, 1915), Vol. , [ Page ].
  • <ref>[[#History of Stearns County, Minnesota|History of Stearns County, Minnesota]] </ref>

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