Nance, Ethel Ray (1899–1992)

Ethel Ray Nance was an African American activist and writer. During the 1920s, she broke various racial and gender barriers in Minnesota, participated in the Harlem Renaissance movement, worked as a secretary for the National Urban League, and contributed to Opportunity magazine. In later decades, she went on to work for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society.

Spear, Allan Henry (1937–2008)

Allan Henry Spear was the first openly gay man in the United States to serve as a state legislator. In 1993, he won a twenty-year fight to include the LGBT community in Minnesota's Human Rights Act. He served as president of the Minnesota Senate for nearly a decade, taught history at the University of Minnesota for thirty-five years, and was a lifelong lover of travel, food, music, and literature.

Pfaender, Wilhelm (1826–1905)

As an active member of the Turner movement, Wilhelm (William) Pfaender proposed creating a town in Minnesota Territory specifically for German Americans. Together with other immigrants, he helped to found the town of New Ulm in 1857.

Francis, Nellie (1874–1969)

Nellie Francis pressed the limits of what an African American woman was permitted to achieve in early twentieth-century Minnesota. She was a churchwoman, clubwoman, suffragist, organizer, singer, civil rights worker, patriot, and wife to Minnesota’s first African American diplomat, William T. Francis.

Warren, Gouverneur Kemble (1830–1883)

Gouverneur Kemble Warren, topographer, Civil War veteran, and accomplished engineer, served his entire career with the U.S. Army. During his service, he mapped the tributaries of the Mississippi River and transcontinental railroad routes. As the first district engineer in St. Paul, he worked to preserve St. Anthony Falls and designed the nation’s first reservoir system. Glacial River Warren, which carved the Pleistocene channel now followed by the Minnesota River, is named for him.

Lowe, Anna Sheerin (1861–1933)

Anna Sheerin Lowe became Minnesota’s first female sheriff when the Murray County Commissioners appointed her to fill her husband’s unexpired term in 1923. Faced with the difficulty of enforcing Prohibition laws, Lowe fulfilled her duties as sheriff and won the respect and gratitude of the community for her three years of service.

Weyerhaeuser, Frederick (1834–1914)

Frederick Weyerhaeuser was a prominent, self-made lumber capitalist and millionaire in the Midwest during the Gilded Age. Nicknamed "the Lumber King" and "the Timber King" during a time when lumber ranked alongside iron and the railroads as a source of industry, Weyerhaeuser created a syndicate that controlled millions of acres of timberland. The syndicate also controlled sawmills, paper mills, and processing plants.

Ericksen, Theresa (1868–1943)

After graduating from Northwestern Hospital’s School of Nursing in 1894, Theresa Ericksen led a life of service as a healer, teacher, and promoter of public health and nursing education. Her legacy has ties to the Minnesota Nursing Association, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Christmas Seals, and Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

Francis, William T. (1869–1929)

William T. Francis, Minnesota’s first African American diplomat, served as U.S. Minister and Consul to Liberia, West Africa, from 1927 until his death. He investigated and reported on Liberian government complicity in the forced labor of Liberian men and died in Monrovia of yellow fever on July 15, 1929.

Kiewel, Charles E. (1875–1969)

Charles Kiewel continued his father Jacob’s brewing legacy by owning and managing multiple breweries, including Kiewel Brewing Company in Crookston. His diverse business interests, from creameries to a farm to a bank, set him apart as one of Crookston’s most well-known businessmen.

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