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This Day in Minnesota History

January 11, 1680

Father Louis Hennepin, exploring the Mississippi River north from Illinois by canoe, is captured by a group of Dakota. During his captivity he is the first white man to see the Falls of St. Anthony, which he names for his patron saint. On July 25, explorer Daniel Greysolon, the Sieur Du Luth, would arrange for Hennepin's release.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 11, 1811

Henry Jackson is born in the state of Virginia. He would move to St. Paul in 1842 and rent a place from Pierre "Pig's Eye" Parrant. A trader and merchant, he would serve as the city's first postmaster and its first justice of the peace.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 11, 1835

Thomas Williamson and Alexander Huggins organize a church at Fort Snelling, probably the first Protestant church in Minnesota. Although Gideon H. and Samuel W. Pond had started their Dakota mission the year before, they had not yet organized a church. The French had a Catholic mission on Lake Pepin in the 1700s, and Father Lucien Galtier would establish a Catholic church in Mendota in 1840. The First Presbyterian Church of Minneapolis descends from the fort's church.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 11, 1835

English traveler George Featherstonhaugh reaches Fort Snelling. He had been hired by the U.S. War Department to explore the geology of the Upper Midwest. He continues up the Minnesota River to Lake Traverse, and in 1847 he would publish the book A Canoe Voyage up the Minnay Sotor .

This Day in Minnesota History

January 11, 1844

Samuel R. Van Sant is born in Rock Island, Illinois. The state's fifteenth governor, serving from 1901 to 1905, he would establish the State Board of Control to handle issues affecting criminals and the mentally disabled. He died on October 3, 1936, in Attica, Indiana.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 11, 1849

Minnesota Territory is divided into three judicial districts. The first district, the region between the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers, holds court in Stillwater and is presided over by Aaron Goodrich. The second, the lands north of the Minnesota River and west of the Mississippi River, holds court in St. Anthony, with Bradley B. Meeker as judge. South of the Minnesota River is the territory of Judge David Cooper, whose court is in Mendota.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 11, 1856

Thirteen New Ulm residents establish the state's first chapter of Turnverein . The Turnverein motto is "a sound mind in a sound body," and members sponsor social, educational, and physical events.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 11, 1858

Wadena County, named for a trading post on the Crow Wing River, is formed.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 11, 1858

Minnesota becomes the thirty-second state. The enabling act for statehood had been passed on February 26, 1857, and the state's constitution was written that summer and ratified in October. Full statehood had been held up by southern senators who wanted Kansas to enter the Union as a slave state. Finally approved by Congress, the bill is signed by President James Buchanan. Word of statehood would not reach St. Paul until May 13.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 11, 1859

The Athenaeum, a structure dedicated to educational lectures and social events for Germans, opens in St. Paul.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 11, 1862

The troops of the First Minnesota Infantry Regiment occupy the town of Berryville, Virginia, where they find the print run of the local paper half completed. Members of the company print their own four-page edition, which contains humorous news about the army and the war. Copies of this paper are rare and valued Civil War memorabilia.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 11, 1863

The Mississippi, Pillager, and Lake Winnibigoshish bands of Ojibwe sign a treaty with the U.S. government that consolidates and expands the Cass Lake, Lake Winnibigoshish, and Leech Lake Reservations into the Leech Lake Indian Reservation in north-central Minnesota. The treaty, which would be renegotiated in 1864, requires numerous Ojibwe living elsewhere in the state to move to Leech Lake.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 11, 1865

Little Six and Medicine Bottle, leaders in the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, are executed at Fort Snelling. In December of 1863 they had been captured in Canada by Major Edwin A. C. Hatch, who had no authority to retain them, and returned to the United States for trial.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 11, 1869

The Lindbergh colony of Swedish settlers, headed by Mans Olsson Lindbergh, arrives in St. Paul. The group would eventually settle in Sherburne County.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 11, 1876

Ada Louise Comstock is born in Moorhead. She would become the first dean of women at the University of Minnesota and then, beginning in 1912, serve as dean of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. Although she in effect ran the school from 1917 to 1918, she would not be given the title of "acting president" because of her gender. She would become the first president of the American Association of University Women in 1921 and serve as president of Radcliffe College from 1923 to 1943.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 11, 1877

The Tom Brown Foot Ball Association, an exclusive club for football players, is formed in Minneapolis.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 11, 1883

Henry Wilson, a "professional burglar," and his pal Frank Wilmar, a horse thief, are caught by an alert janitor and the sheriff as they attempt to escape from the Ramsey County jail in St. Paul. They had stolen a sledgehammer from workmen and nearly managed to pound a hole through the stone floor of a cell into the basement.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 11, 1887

President Grover Cleveland is in St. Paul for the second day of a three-day visit to the state. Former governors Henry H. Sibley, Alexander Ramsey, and William R. Marshall accompany him in his travels around the area.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 11, 1888

The University of Minnesota Law School opens with thirty-two students and one faculty member, Dean William S. Pattee.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 11, 1888

The Town and Country Club is founded in St. Paul. First located on the shores of Lake Como, in 1891 the club would move to its present location near the Marshall Avenue Bridge. A golf course, originally tomato cans sunk in a pasture, is set up in 1893, and it is now the second oldest course in the country.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 11, 1891

The Duluth, Missabe and Northern Railroad is established by the Merritt brothers to carry iron ore from the Mesabi Range to Lake Superior ports. Leonidas Merritt had discovered iron near Mountain Iron the previous November.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 11, 1893

Wanda Gag is born in New Ulm. An author and artist, she would write and illustrate the children's classic Millions of Cats .

This Day in Minnesota History

January 11, 1895

After a sensational trial, Harry T. Hayward is hanged in the Minneapolis jail for the murder of Katherine Ging, owner of a fashionable dressmaking establishment. He had arranged for her to be killed so that he could collect her life insurance money.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 11, 1896

A special train brings ten carloads of Minnesota Ojibwe to see the Buffalo Bill Wild West show in Ashland, Wisconsin, which in turn causes many whites to come see the Indians.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 11, 1899

In an effort to control speeding bicyclists, the St. Paul police department establishes a squad of twelve bicycle officers to patrol the roads and sidewalks, keeping the public safe from "scorchers." The speed limits are set at six miles per hour on sidewalks and eight on streets.

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