Location: Minnesota, United States
Surnames/tags: minnesota us_history
This space was created for genealogists in Wikitree to assist in researching persons born in Minnesota.
Timeline of Minnesota
- 1659-1660 - French fur traders Médard Chouart and Pierre-Esprit Radisson explore western end of Lake Superior and environs.
- 1673 - French explorers Marquette and Joliet discover the upper portion of the Mississippi River.
- 1679 - Frenchman Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Luth meets with Dakota native Americans near Mille Lacs.
- 1683 - Catholic Missionary Father Louis Hennepin returns to France after exploring the area that later became Minnesota and being held captive by the Dakota to write the first book about Minnesota, Description de la Louisiane.
- 1745 - The Ojibwa Indians defeat the Dakota Indians at the Kathio, driving the Dakota into southern and western Minnesota.
- 1763 - Spain receives Louisiana Territory (includes Minnesota west of the Mississippi River) from France in compensation for its loss of Florida during the Seven Years War. Great Britain wins claim to what is now eastern North America (east of the Mississippi River) and Canada.
- 1770-1804 -
- Grand Portage (Minnesota) evolves into the western fur-trading headquarters of the British Empire in North America.
- British troops stationed in Minnesota act as only military force in Minnesota during the American Revolution.
- Fur trading continues to be the main source of commerce in Minnesota through the early 19th century.
- 1775-1783 - American Revolution
- 1783 - The newly formed republic of the United States of America wins the eastern portion of Minnesota (from the Mississippi river east) from Great Britain in the American Revolution.
- 1787 -
- Eastern Minnesota officially designated part of the American Northwest Territories of the United States of America.
- David Thompson, working for the North West Company (fur-trading) completes the first formal mapping of Minnesota.
- 1800 - France acquires Louisiana Territory from Spain.
- 1803 - The United States of America purchases Louisiana Territory from France, gaining ownership of the western portion of Minnesota. Boundary disputes with British Canada keep British fur companies in Minnesota until 1818.
- 1805 - Lieutenant Zebulon Montgomery Pike leads the first United States expedition through the Minnesota country.
- 1812-1814 - War of 1812 between the United States and Great Britain with their Dakota, Winnebago, and Ojibwa allies.
- 1815 - Peace treaty negotiated between the Dakota Indian nation and the United States government. First American fur traders enter Minnesota.
- 1818 - Northern boundary of Minnesota fixed at the forty-ninth parallel. Boundary negotiations with British Canada continue until 1931. Lawrence Taliaferro instated as first United States Indian agent at Fort Snelling.
- 1819 - Begins construction of Fort St. Anthony on land purchased from the Dakota Indians for $2000 US.
- 1819, Aug 24 - Colonel Henry Leavenworth and the Fifth Infantry arrive in Mendota to build what will become Fort Snelling at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers
- 1820 -
- Colonel Josiah Snelling of the Fifth United States Infantry arrived, and, on taking command, changed the site to where Fort Snelling now stands.
- Virginian Lawrence Taliaferro becomes the Indian agent at Fort Snelling. Respected by the Indians for never making promises he could not keep, he works hard for 20 years to rid the fur trade of whisky and cheating. At last, in poor health and tired of the government's broken promises, he resigns
- 1823 -
- The Virginia is the first steamboat to reach Fort Snelling. Needed supplies are missing from the cargo, though the boat does carry the umbrella-wielding Italian count Giacomo Beltrami
- Abigail Snelling starts a Sunday School at Ft. Snelling for the children.
- 1825 - The post continued to be called Fort St. Anthony until 1824, when, upon the recommendation of General Scott, who inspected the fort, it was named Fort Snelling, in honor of its founder. Here, where traffic could be controlled on two major rivers, Fort Snelling was completed in 1825
- 1827, Aug 25 - Minnesota's first post office is established at Fort Snelling.
- 1830 - Seth Eastman comes to Fort Snelling as a captain. In his spare time, he learns the Dakota language and observes details of their lives. His subtle sketches, watercolors, and paintings become an invaluable record of the scenery and Indian life around the fort.
- 1832 - Henry Schoolcraft credited with finding the source of the Mississippi River at Lake Itasca, Minnesota with his Ojibwa guide Ozawindib.
- 1836 - Creation of Wisconsin Territory which encompassed Minnesota.
- 1837 - Land-cession treaties negotiated with the Dakota Indians and the Chippewa Indians for United States rights to a portion of land between the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers. This new land stimulates the lumber industry in Minnesota.
- 1841 - Chapel of Saint Paul built. Later it would serve to name the state capitol which sprang up around it.
- 1838-1848 - St. Paul, St. Anthony, and Stillwater (Minnesota's first towns) founded.
- 1848 - Wisconsin admitted into the union as a state, leaving residents of the area between the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers (current day eastern Minnesota) without a territorial government or legal system.
- 1849 -
- Minnesota Territory formed with present day eastern and southern boundaries set. The population amounts to less than 4000 people, not including persons of pure Native-American heritage.
- Law provides for free public schools to be open to all people between four and twenty-one years of age.
- Minnesota Historical Society formed to collect, publish, and educate people about Minnesota history.
- James Madison Goodhue begins publishing Minnesota's first newspaper, the Minnesota Pioneer.
- 1850 - Treaties concluded at Traverse des Sioux and Mendota with the Dakota Indians whereby the Dakota ceded their lands east of the Red River, Lake Traverse, and the Big Dakota River and south of a boundary line between the Dakota and Chippewa in 1825. In return the Dakota received $1,665,000 US, $1,360,000 of which was set into a trust fund, of which the interest would be distributed to chiefs partly in cash, partly in supplies, and partly in education and civilization funds. The vast majority ended up being used to pay off Indian debts to white traders. Wheat becomes a major crop in Minnesota.
- 1851 - Charter granted to the University of Minnesota, the first collegiate institution in the territory.
- 1853-1857- Population explosion occurs in Minnesota from 40,000 people in 1853 to approximately 150,000 people in 1857.
- 1854 - St. Paul becomes a city with a total area of four square miles.
- 1855 - Die Minnesota Deutsche Zeitung (The Minnesota German Newspaper), Minnesota's first non-English newspaper, rolls off the press for the first time in St. Paul.
- 1857 - The Dred Scott Decision is rendered by the United States Supreme Court, where a Missouri slave, Dred Scott, sued for his freedom based in part upon his residence in Minnesota. Amidst the sectional and racial animosity sweeping the nation, the court ruled Scott remained a slave. The residents of the Minnesota territory ratify the state constitution almost unanimously. The Panic of 1857 sends prices skyrocketing. Banks bust and businesses fail. Depression lingers until 1861.
- 1858 - Newspaper promotion of the Minnesota Territory prompts over one thousand steamboat arrivals in St. Paul, filled with settlers. On May 11 Minnesota becomes the thirty-second state admitted to the Union of the United States of America. State seal adopted by the Minnesota Legislature.
- 1858-1859 - Henry Sibley instated as first governor of Minnesota.
- 1859 - First Minnesota State Fair held.
- 1861 - Civil War of the United States begins. Minnesota volunteers one thousand men for service in the Union Army. Minnesota eventually provides 24,000 men for service in the Union Army for fighting in the Civil War or the Indian Outbreak.
- 1862 - The Dakota Conflict sweeps across Minnesota with a series of attacks motivated by hungry Dakota enraged by the failure of land treaties and unfair fiscal practices of local traders. By the end of the conflict 486 white settlers would be dead. On December 26 thirty-eight Indians were hung at Mankato. Minnesota's first railroad is completed, connecting Minneapolis and Saint Paul.
- 1863 - At the Battle of Gettysburg the First Minnesota Regiment makes a heroic charges, losing 215 of 262 men.
- 1865 - Civil War of the United States ends.
- 1868 - Mankato receives a city charter. The Minnesota Legislature authorizes establishment of the 2nd State Normal School in Mankato (now known as Minnesota State University, Mankato).
- 1873 -A three-day blizzard hits Minnesota in January, killing seventy Minnesotans.
- 1878 - 68.98% of tilled land in Minnesota devoted to wheat production, the high point for wheat farmers in Minnesota. After five consecutive summers of devastating infestations of Rocky Mountain Locusts (called the great Grasshopper Plague) which thrived on wheat, farmers decided to diversify, and wheat production was slowly replaced by other crops and dairy farming. A massive explosion in a Minneapolis flour mill kills 18.
- 1880 - Telephone communication begun between St. Paul and Minneapolis.
- 1881 - St. Paul is destroyed by fire.
- 1883 - Mayo Clinic founded by Dr. William Worrall Mayo in Rochester, Minnesota after a tornado sweeps through Rochester, killing 35. With his two sons, Dr. William James Mayo and Dr. Charles Horace Mayo, he begins a clinic world-renowned for its dedication to the latest advances in medicine and surgical procedures.
- 1884 - Minnesota iron ore begins to be exported heralding the dawn of iron mining in Minnesota. Over the next two decades mines spring up on the Mesabi, Cuyuna, and Vermilion iron ranges, spurring the rapid growth of mining cities such as Evelyth, Chisholm, Virginia, and Hibbing, Minnesota as well as the port cities of Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin.
- 1886 - Sauk Rapids is flattened by a tornado. Seventy-nine people die. St. Paul holds its first winter carnival.
- 1887 - St. Paul hosts the first ski tourney in the Midwest.
- 1888 - Western Minnesota receives a major blizzard on January 12 which takes 109 lives.
- 1890s - Electric streetcars become commonplace in large Minnesota cities.
- 1893 - The Minnesota state flag, designed by Amelia Hyde Center of Minneapolis, is accepted by the Minnesota Legislature. Virginia, Minnesota destroyed by fire.
- 1894 - A massive forest fire caused by clear-cut logging debris encompasses Hinckley, Minnesota and several other nearby communities. Over four hundred die.
- 1898 - The Spanish-American War begins. Minnesota, the first state to volunteer, raises four regiments, one of which serves in the Philippines. Disease proves to be the biggest killer, with combat fatalities accounting for only four Minnesota soldier deaths. Farmer Olof Ohman finds a stone tablet with runic carvings on it in his field near Kensington, Minnesota. The runes indicate a party of Viking explorers passed through that area in 1362. Initially considered a hoax, it was accepted by the Smithsonian Institution in 1948. Opinions differ, but most academic sources today doubt its veracity.
- 1899 - Minnesota's lumber industry reaches its peak. By 1930 only 1/3 of the state would remain forested, with very little of that virgin growth.
Formation of Current Minnesota Counties
|County||County Seat||Established||Created From||Name Origin|
|Aitkin County||Aitkin||1857||Pine County, Ramsey County||William Alexander Aitken (1785-1851), early fur trader with Ojibwa Indians|
|Anoka County||Anoka||1857||Ramsey County||Dakota word meaning "both sides"|
|Becker County||Detroit Lakes||1858||Cass County, Pembina County||George Loomis Becker, former state senator and third mayor of Saint Paul (1856–1857)|
|Beltrami County||Bemidji||1866||Unorganized Territory, Itasca County, Pembina County, Polk County||Giacomo Beltrami, Italian explorer who explored the northern reaches of Mississippi River in 1823.|
|Benton County||Foley||1849||One of nine original counties; formed from residual St. Croix County, Wisconsin Territory.||Thomas Hart Benton (1782–1858), former United States Senator from Missouri (1821-1851)|
|Big Stone County||Ortonville||1862||Pierce County||Big Stone Lake, a lake located in the county|
|Blue Earth County||Mankato||1853||Unorganized Territory, Dakota County||Blue Earth River, a river that flows through Minnesota|
|Brown County||New Ulm||1855||Blue Earth County||Joseph Renshaw Brown (1805-1870), member of Minnesota territorial legislature (1854-55) and prominent pioneer|
|Carlton County||Carlton||1857||Pine County,||Rueben B. Carlton (1812-1863), early settler and state senator (1857-1858)|
|Carver County||Chaska||1855||Hennepin County, Sibley County||Jonathan Carver (1710–1790), early explorer and cartographer of the Mississippi river.|
|Cass County||Walker||1851||Dakota County, Pembina County, Mankahto County, Wahnata County||Lewis Cass (1782–1866), senator from Michigan (1845–1857) and United States Secretary of State (1831–1836)|
|Chippewa County||Montevideo||1870||Pierce County, Davis County||Chippewa River, a river that flows through Minnesota|
|Chisago County||Center City||1851||Washington County, Ramsey County||Chisago Lake, a lake located in the county|
|Clay County||Moorhead||1862||Pembina County||Henry Clay (1777-1852), Kentucky statesman and ninth secretary of state of the United States (1825–1829)|
|Clearwater County||Bagley||1902||Beltrami County||Clearwater River and lake, both features located in the state|
|Cook County||Grand Marais||1874||Lake County||Named for Civil War veteran Major Michael Cook of Faribault, who was also a territorial and state senator 1857-62|
|Cottonwood County||Windom||1857||Brown County||Cottonwood River|
|Crow Wing County||Brainerd||1857||Ramsey County||Crow Wing River|
|Dakota County||Hastings||1849||One of nine original counties.||From the Dakota language, after a local tribe Dakota, meaning "Allies"|
|Dodge County||Mantorville||1855||Rice County, Unorganized Territory||Henry Dodge (1782–1867), twice governor of Wisconsin.|
|Douglas County||Alexandria||1858||Cass County, Pembina County||Stephen Arnold Douglas (1813-1861), former United States Senator from Illinois (1847-1861)|
|Faribault County||Blue Earth||1855||Blue Earth County||Jean-Baptiste Faribault (1775-1860), early settler and fur trader|
|Fillmore County||Preston||1853||Wabasha County||Millard Fillmore (1800-1874), thirteenth president of the United States (1850-1853)|
|Freeborn County||Albert Lea||1855||Blue Earth County, Rice County||William S. Freeborn (1816-1900), member of the Territorial Legislature|
|Goodhue County||Red Wing||1853||Wabasha County, Dakota County||James Madison Goodhue, the first newspaper editor in Minnesota.|
|Grant County||Elbow Lake||1868||Stevens County, Wilkin County, Traverse County||Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), eighteenth president of the United States (1869-1877)|
|Hennepin County||Minneapolis||1852||Dakota County||Father Louis Hennepin (1626-1705), early explorer of the Twin Cities area in the 17th Century|
|Houston County||Caledonia||1854||Fillmore County||Sam Houston (1793–1863), the second and fourth president of the Republic of Texas and seventh governor of Texas|
|Hubbard County||Park Rapids||1883||Cass County||Lucius Frederick Hubbard (1836-1913), ninth governor of Minnesota (1882-1887)|
|Isanti County||Cambridge||1857||Ramsey County||Division of the Dakotas called the Izatys, meaning [those that] dwell at Knife Lake, after where they resided.|
|Itasca County||Grand Rapids||1849||One of nine original counties; formed from residual La Pointe County, Wisconsin Territory.||Lake Itasca, source of the Mississippi River (located in northwestern Minnesota).|
|Jackson County||Jackson||1857||Brown County||Henry Jackson, member of the first territorial legislature and the first merchant in St. Paul|
|Kanabec County||Mora||1858||Pine County||From the Ojibwa language Kan-a-bec-o-si-pi (Ginebigo-ziibi), meaning Snake River, which flows through the county|
|Kandiyohi County||Willmar||1858||Meeker County, Renville County, Pierce County, Davis County, Stearns County||From the Sioux language for "buffalo fish"|
|Kittson County||Hallock||1879||Pembina County||Norman Kittson (1814-1888), businessman and mayor of Saint Paul (1858-1859)|
|Koochiching County||International Falls||1906||Itasca County||From the Ojibwa language Gojijiing (Place of inlets), which was the Cree name for Rainy Lake and Rainy River.|
|Lac qui Parle County||Madison||1871||Redwood County||French phrase meaning "lake which talks".|
|Lake County||Two Harbors||1856||Itasca County||Lake Superior, which forms one of its edges|
|Lake of the Woods County||Baudette||1923||Beltrami County||Lake of the Woods, a lake located within the county.|
|Le Sueur County||Le Center||1853||Dakota County||Pierre-Charles Le Sueur (1657-1704), fur trader and early explorer of the Minnesota River Valley|
|Lincoln County||Ivanhoe||1873||Lyon County||Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), sixteenth president of the United States (1861-1865)|
|Lyon County||Marshall||1871||Redwood County||Nathaniel Lyon (1818–1861), United States Army general killed during the Civil War|
|McLeod County||Glencoe||1856||Carver County, Sibley County||Martin McLeod early pioneer and member of the territorial legislature (1849–1856)|
|Mahnomen County||Mahnomen||1906||Norman County||Ojibwa word meaning "wild rice".|
|Marshall County||Warren||1879||Kittson County||William Rainey Marshall (1825-1896), fifth governor of Minnesota (1866-1870)|
|Martin County||Fairmont||1857||Faribault County, Brown County||Morgan Lewis Martin (1805-1887), delegate to Congress from Wisconsin Territory|
|Meeker County||Litchfield||1856||Davis County||Bradley B. Meeker (1813–1873), Associate Justice of the Minnesota Territorial Supreme Court (1849–1853)|
|Mille Lacs County||Milaca||1857||Ramsey County||Mille Lacs Lake, a lake located within the county.|
|Morrison County||Little Falls||1856||Benton County||William & Allan Morrison, fur trading brothers|
|Mower County||Austin||1855||Rice County||John Edward Mower (1815–1879), member of the Minnesota territorial legislature in the 1850s|
|Murray County||Slayton||1857||Brown County||William Pitt Murray (1825–1910), Minnesota statesman and member of the territorial legislature (1852–1855) and 1857|
|Nicollet County||St. Peter||1853||Dakota County||Joseph Nicolas Nicollet (1786–1843), early explore and cartographer of the Upper Mississippi River|
|Nobles County||Worthington||1857||Brown County||William H. Nobles, member of the Minnesota territorial legislature in 1854 and 1856|
|Norman County||Ada||1881||Polk County||Early Norwegian, also known as Norman, settlers.|
|Olmsted County||Rochester||1855||Fillmore County, Wabasha County, Rice County||David Olmsted, first mayor of Saint Paul and member of territorial legislature (1849-1850)|
|Otter Tail County||Fergus Falls||1858||Pembina County, Cass County||Otter Tail Lake, a lake located within the county|
|Pennington County||Thief River Falls||1910||Red Lake County||Edmund Pennington (b. 1848), executive of the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad|
|Pine County||Pine City||1856||Chisago County, Ramsey County||Giant forests of Eastern White Pine and Red Pine that flourish in the county|
|Pipestone County||Pipestone||1857||Brown County||Name of a sacred Dakota quarry of red pipestone found in the county|
|Polk County||Crookston||1858||Pembina County||James K. Polk (1795-1849), eleventh president of the United States (1845-1849)|
|Pope County||Glenwood||1862||Pierce County, Cass County, Unorganized Territory||John Pope (1822–1892), United States Army general during the Dakota War of 1862|
|Ramsey County||Saint Paul||1849||One of nine original counties; formed from residual St. Croix County, Wisconsin Territory.||Alexander Ramsey (1815-1903), second governor of Minnesota (1860-1863)|
|Red Lake County||Red Lake Falls||1896||Polk County||Red Lake River, a river that flows through Minnesota.|
|Redwood County||Redwood Falls||1862||Brown County||Redwood River, a river that flows through Minnesota.|
|Renville County||Olivia||1855||Nicollet County, Pierce County, Sibley County||Joseph Renville (1779-1846), interpreter for early explorations of the Louisiana Purchase|
|Rice County||Faribault||1853||Dakota County, Wabasha County||Henry Mower Rice (1816-1894), former United States Senator from Minnesota (1858-1863)|
|Rock County||Luverne||1857||Brown County||Large rocky plateau located within the county, known as "the mound."|
|Roseau County||Roseau||1894||Kittson County, Beltrami County||Roseau River and Roseau Lake, both of which are located nearby|
|Saint Louis County||Duluth||1855||Itasca County, Newton||Saint Louis River, a river that flows through Minnesota|
|Scott County||Shakopee||1853||Dakota County||Winfield Scott (1786–1866), United States Army general who served from (1808–1861)|
|Sherburne County||Elk River||1856||Benton County||Moses Sherburne (1813–1873), Associate Justice of the Minnesota Territorial Supreme Court (1853-1857)|
|Sibley County||Gaylord||1853||Dakota County||Henry Hastings Sibley (1811-1891), first governor of Minnesota (1858-1860)|
|Stearns County||St. Cloud||1855||Cass County, Nicollet County, Pierce County, Sibley County||Charles Thomas Stearns (1814-1888), early settler of St. Cloud and member of the Minnesota territorial legislature (1849-1858)|
|Steele County||Owatonna||1855||Rice County, Blue Earth County, Le Sueur County||Franklin Steele (1813-1880), early settler of Minneapolis and developer of Saint Anthony Falls|
|Stevens County||Morris||1862||Pierce County, Unorganized Territory||Isaac Ingalls Stevens (1818-1862), first governor of Washington Territory (1853-1857)|
|Swift County||Benson||1870||Chippewa County||Henry Adoniram Swift (1823-1869), third governor of Minnesota (1863-1864)|
|Todd County||Long Prairie||1855||Cass County||John Blair Smith Todd, commander of Fort Ripley (1849-56); general in the Civil War; delegate in Congress from Dakota Territory (1861 and 1863-65); governor of Dakota Territory (1869-71)|
|Traverse County||Wheaton||1862||Pierce County, Unorganized Territory||Lake Traverse, a lake located in the county.|
|Wabasha County||Wabasha||1849||One of nine original counties.||Named after M'dewakanton Dakota Indian Chief Wabasha III|
|Wadena County||Wadena||1858||Cass County, Todd County||Wadena Trading Post, in turn for a Ojibway word meaning "a little round hill".|
|Waseca County||Waseca||1857||Steele County||Dakota word meaning "rich and fertile"|
|Washington County||Stillwater||1849||One of nine original counties; formed from residual St. Croix County, Wisconsin Territory.||George Washington (1732-1799), first president of the United States (1789-1797)|
|Watonwan County||St. James||1860||Brown County||Watonwan River, a river that flows through Minnesota.|
|Wilkin County||Breckenridge||1858||Cass County, Pembina County||Alexander Wilkin (1820-1864), Minnesota politician and soldier killed in the Civil War|
|Winona County||Winona||1854||Fillmore County, Wabasha County||Named after Wee-No-Nah, Sister or Cousin of Chief Wabasha III|
|Wright County||Buffalo||1855||Cass County, Sibley County||Silas Wright (1795-1847), former United States Senator from New York (1833-1844)|
|Yellow Medicine County||Granite Falls||1871||Redwood County||Yellow Medicine River, a river that flows through Minnesota.|