An Overview of Goodhue County History

In March 1853 Goodhue County was created by Minnesota's territorial legislature. It was formed from the original Wabasha County, which lay between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.

Ayer, Elizabeth Taylor (1803–1898)

Elizabeth Taylor Ayer's life spanned nearly the entire nineteenth century. In an era when women rarely had professional careers, her work as a teaching missionary gave her more status and independence than most women enjoyed.

Bagone-giizhig (Hole-in-the-Day) the Younger (1825–1868)

Bagone-giizhig, known in English as Hole-in-the-Day the Younger, was a charismatic and influential chief who played a key role in relations between the Ojibwe and the U.S. government in Minnesota. Yet he won as many enemies as friends due to his actions during the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 and his claim to be the leader of all Ojibwe. In 1868, Bagone-giizhig was assassinated by a group of other Ojibwe from Leech Lake. For many years the real reason for this killing remained a mystery.

Battle of Shakopee, 1858

The last in a long series of violent conflicts between Dakota and Ojibwe people took place on the banks of the Minnesota River north of the village of the Dakota leader Shakpedan (Little Six) on May 27, 1858. Dozens of Ojibwe and Dakota warriors engaged in fighting that claimed lives on both sides but produced no clear victor.

Beargrease, John (1858–1910)

The US Congress ordered the beginning of mail service from Superior to Grand Portage, Minnesota, in 1855, but service was spotty. John Beargrease and his brothers came to the rescue. They began covering a regular mail route between Two Harbors and Grand Marais in 1879.

Bender, Charles Albert (1884–1954)

The National Baseball Hall of Fame credits Charles Albert Bender with inventing the slider, a curveball with extra speed. Like his patented pitch, Bender's life course was a circuitous one, beginning on the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota.

Bonga, George (c.1802–1874)

Fur trader and translator, George Bonga was one of the first black men born in what later became Minnesota. His mother was Ojibwe, as were both of his wives. Through these relationships, Bonga was part of the mixed racial and cultural groups that connected trading companies and American Indians. He frequently guided white immigrants and traders through the region. Comfortable in many worlds, Bonga often worked as an advocate for the Ojibwe in their dealings with trading companies and the government.

Carver County

Carver County, founded in 1855, is home to the Minnesota and Crow Rivers, along with 125 lakes. Located southwest of the Twin Cities, it is part of the seven-county metro area.

Carver, Jonathan (1710–1780)

Jonathan Carver was an explorer, mapmaker, author, and subject of controversy. He was among the first white men to explore and map areas of Minnesota, and including what later became Carver County. While French explorers had been in the area earlier, they did not leave behind detailed maps or journals of their travels as Carver did.

Eastman, Charles Alexander (Ohiyesa), (1858–1939)

Famed author and lecturer Charles Eastman was raised in a traditional Dakota manner until age fifteen, when he entered Euro-American culture at his father's request. He spent the rest of his life moving between American Indian and white American worlds, achieving renown but never financial security.

Godfrey, Joseph (c.1830–1909)

The U.S.–Dakota War of 1862 was a turning point in Minnesota history. Joseph Godfrey, an escaped slave, joined the Dakota in their fight against white settlers that summer and fall. He was one of only two African Americans to do so.

Greysolon, Daniel, Sieur du Lhut (c.1639–1710)

Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut, was born in Lyons, France around 1639. Greysolon was a nobleman, and quickly rose to prominence in the French royal court. He traveled to New France (Quebec, Canada) in 1674 at the age of thirty-eight to command the French marines in Montreal.

Hennepin, Louis (c.1640–c.1701)

Father Louis Hennepin, a Recollect friar, is best known as an early explorer of Minnesota. He gained fame in the seventeenth century with the publication of his dramatic stories of the exploration of the Mississippi River. Father Hennepin spent only a few months in Minnesota, but his influence is undeniable. While his widely read travel accounts were more fiction than fact, they allowed Hennepin to leave a lasting mark on the state.

Hiawatha and Minnehaha, by Jacob Fjelde

Jacob Fjelde's sculpture Hiawatha and Minnehaha has stood in Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis since the early twentieth century. Now a popular fixture of the park, its placement there was originally controversial.

Lake Winnibigoshish, Leech Lake, and Pokegama Falls Dams

Winnibigoshish, Leech Lake, and Pokegama Falls Dams were built in the Mississippi Headwaters during the late 19th century. These structures preceded the construction of the Headwaters reservoir system and played key roles in flood prevention and river control during the 20th century.

Lower Sioux Agency

The Lower Sioux Agency, or Redwood Agency, was built by the federal government in 1853 near the Redwood River in south-central Minnesota Territory. The Agency served as an administrative center for the Lower Sioux Reservation of Santee Dakota. It was also the site of key events related to the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.

Meyer, Roy Willard (1925–2007)

Roy W. Meyer's studies of the Dakota and United States policies dealing with them brought about thoughtful public conversation during the late 1960s and 1970s, a time of social turmoil in the country.

Myers, Ruth A. (1926–2001)

Ruth A. Myers was known as the “grandmother of American Indian Education in Minnesota.” A persistent voice for American Indian children and their families, Myers focused on education policy. She focused on learning opportunities for American Indian children. She also worked for curriculum and resource materials that reflected the American Indian history and culture for all Minnesota learners.

How the Ojibwe Have Shaped the State

Our Historical Role in Influencing Contemporary Minnesota

Expert Essay: Thomas D. Peacock, member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe and author of many books and articles on Ojibwe history and culture, reflects on the Ojibwe influence on Minnesota, from language, literature, and the arts to education, economics, and politics.

Pipestone Indian Training School Baseball Team

Pipestone Indian Training School—a boarding school in Pipestone, Minnesota, for Dakota and Ojibwe boys and girls—fielded popular and often successful student baseball teams from 1893 until the 1920s.

Sawmills, Red Lake Indian Reservation

Since the first sawmill was built near Red Lake in 1856, the harvesting and processing of timber has been a significant part of the local economy. It has provided an enduring source of income for the Ojibwe living in the area that is now the Red Lake Indian Reservation.

Tatankamani (Walking Buffalo) "Red Wing" (c.1755–1829)

Tatankamani (Walking Buffalo) was a leader of the Mdewakanton Dakota in the upper Mississippi Valley. White settlers who met him as they advanced into the region in the early nineteenth century came to know him and his village as Red Wing.

The "Half-Breed Tract" and Scrip

The 1830 Treaty of Prairie du Chien set aside 320,000 acres of potentially valuable land west of Lake Pepin for "half-breed" members of the Dakota nation. The move set off a series of events that would enrich a number of early Minnesotans, none of Indian heritage.

The Battle of Birch Coulee, September 2–3, 1862

The Battle of Birch Coulee, fought between September 2 and 3, 1862, was the worst defeat the United States suffered and the Dakotas' most successful engagement during the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. Over thirty hours, approximately two hundred Dakota soldiers pinned down a Union force of 150 newly recruited U.S. volunteers, militia, and civilians from the area, holding them until Henry Sibley's main army arrived.

The Ho-Chunk and Blue Earth, 1855–1863

In 1855 a federal treaty moved the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) people from their reservation near Long Prairie to a site along the Blue Earth River. The Ho-Chunk farmed the area's rich soil with some success, but drew the hostility of white neighbors who wanted the land for themselves. Though they did not participate in the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 they were exiled from Minnesota during the conflict's aftermath.

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