Grignon, Antoine (1829–1913)

Antoine Grignon was a French-Indigenous interpreter and fur trader who lived and worked along the Mississippi River between Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, and St. Paul, Minnesota. With Ho-Chunk (Winnebago), Dakota, and French roots and a bilingual education, Antoine, like many mixed-race people, was frequently called upon to interpret or negotiate for the US government.

Schall, Thomas D. (1878–1935)

Thomas D. Schall was twice a self-made man: first in rising from rural poverty to become a lawyer, second in recovering from an accidental blinding to serve twenty years in Congress.

Vessey, John W., Jr. (1922–2016)

From his teenage enlistment in the Minnesota National Guard through his retirement as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff forty-six years later, John W. Vessey Jr. served his country through several wars and many peacetime assignments. After retiring from the Army, he was appointed as envoy to Vietnam to resolve issues about missing American military personnel.

Carty, Rev. Denzil A. (1904–1975)

Rev. Denzil Angus Carty was an Episcopal priest and civil rights leader who fought against discrimination in Minnesota—particularly in the City of St. Paul. He was the rector of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in St. Paul for twenty-five years, from 1950 until his retirement in June 1975.

Babcock, Charles Merritt (1871–1936)

As state highway commissioner (1917–1933), Charles Babcock established high standards for funding and building roads throughout the state of Minnesota. His plans for taxation and construction allowed modern roads to reach every corner of the state.

Tanbara, Ruth Nomura (1907–2008)

In August of 1942, Ruth Tanbara and her husband, Earl, were the first Japanese Americans to resettle in St. Paul as a result of President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. They assisted the St. Paul Resettlement Committee during World War II and remained in the city after the war’s end, becoming life-long community leaders in St. Paul.

Lindbergh, Charles A., Sr. (1859–1924)

Charles August (C. A.) Lindbergh, father of the aviator Charles Augustus Lindbergh, was a Little Falls lawyer who represented Minnesota’s Sixth District in the United States Congress for five terms. He was a leader of the progressive wing of the Republican Party and opposed the United States’ entry into World War I. As the nominee of the Nonpartisan League, he waged an unsuccessful campaign to unseat Governor Joseph Burnquist in the bitterly fought 1918 gubernatorial Republican primary.

Probstfield, Randolph M. (1832–1911)

Randolph M. Probstfield is commonly considered Clay County’s first European settler-colonist. A farmer in the Red River Valley, he was a local leader in politics, education, and agricultural development from his arrival in Minnesota in 1859 until his death in 1911.

Roc, Augustin (1787–ca. 1857)

Augustin Roc was one of several generations of the Couilland dit Roc family who traded and lived on the upper Mississippi and St. Peters Rivers. As the nature of the trade between Europeans and the local Dakota people evolved, Roc moved, gradually progressing up the Mississippi River. In addition to trading, Roc worked for the United States as an interpreter because of his knowledge of and connections with the Dakota.

Burns, Dr. H. A. (1883–1949)

Dr. Herbert Arthur (H. A.) Burns was named superintendent of the Minnesota Sanatorium for Consumptives (Ah-Gwah-Ching) in 1928. Over the next fourteen years, he brought crucial changes to the institution that improved patient care, housing, therapy, and recreation.

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