The Minnesota Motor Corps was the first militarized organization of its kind in the United States. Comprised of volunteers and their vehicles, the corps existed for the duration of World War I. It provided disaster relief, transported troops, and aided police. The Motor Corps’ services proved crucial, but many viewed it as a state-sponsored police force that infringed on the rights of citizens.
National Guardsmen searching for survivors in the wreckage of the Sea Wing, 1890. The men at left are standing in the Sea Wing’s attached barge, Jim Grant. The Lake City steamer Ethel Howard is in the background.
The July 13, 1890, capsizing of the steamer Sea Wing on Lake Pepin and the deaths of ninety-eight of its passengers horrified Minnesota and the nation. The accident ranks among the most deadly on America’s inland waterways.