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.

Nelson, Rensselaer (1826–1904)

From statehood in May 1858 until May 1896, Minnesota had one resident federal district court judge. His name was Rensselaer Russell Nelson.

Gág, Anton (1858–1908)

Anton Gág, the father of Wanda Gág, carved out a career as a painter of portraits, landscapes, and historical subjects. He also decorated homes, ran a photography studio, and designed murals for churches and other buildings. The Minnesota State Capitol displayed his most famous painting, “The Attack on New Ulm during the Sioux Outbreak, Aug. 19-23, 1862,” from 1923 to 2014.

Densford, Katharine J. (1890–1978)

Katharine Densford was a pragmatic leader of American nursing as it gained political and academic recognition in the 1940s and 50s. She is remembered as a stateswoman whose leadership of Minnesota’s flagship school of nursing at the University of Minnesota provided the model for nursing education throughout the state and nation.

Hausler, Charles A. (1889–1971)

Over his long career, the architect Charles A. Hausler had a major impact on the built environment of St. Paul. As the first person to hold the office of city architect, he designed many public buildings, including the three branch libraries funded by Andrew Carnegie. He also designed churches, commercial buildings, and homes in a variety of styles, including Classical Revival, Prairie School, and Art Deco.

Kolthoff, Izaak Maurits (1894–1993)

Izaak Maurits Kolthoff was a professor of analytical chemistry at the University of Minnesota from 1927 to 1962. He published over a thousand papers, wrote more than a dozen books, and created and edited the first comprehensive treatise of analytical chemistry. He also played a key part in the development of synthetic rubber during and after World War II. He is known as the “father of modern analytical chemistry.”

LeDuc, William Gates (1823–1917)

William Gates LeDuc played a variety of parts in Minnesota’s transition from territory to statehood. A “jack of all trades” who never found great success in one endeavor, he counted former presidents, governors, generals, and supreme court justices among his friends by the time of his death in 1917.

Strohfus, Elizabeth (Betty) Wall (1919–2016)

Elizabeth (Betty) Wall Strohfus fell in love with flying airplanes in the 1940s and became a Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) during World War II. She fought for WASP veteran recognition in the 1970s, and from the 1990s until her death, she traveled across the country to tell her story and inspire others.


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