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MINNESOTA: A STATE GUIDE

    Historical Survey

    From Wilderness to Commonwealth

  1. ALTHOUGH the drama of Minnesota spans three centuries, the actual transition from wilderness to Commonwealth has been crowded into less than a hundred years. Two and a half million people today spend their lives in the State, and few recall the aborigines and pioneer settlements. Yet the grandfathers of these few were of the generation that shot buffalo and built stockades, and the fathers were of the time that brought forth homesteads and towns. The shadow of a priest in his martyrdom seems hardly to have melted away before the figures of miners, loggers, artisans, and farmers strained across the land. The turmult of construction and scarcely been stilled before the baton rap of a symphony conductor brought an audience to attention in Minneapolis.

  2. The prologue of the story and its link with the legendary Vineland of viking sagas may have been written on the unearthed and oft-disputed Kensington Rune Stone. Some believe that the stone recounts the visits in 1362, of a company of thirty Norsemen. Three centuries of silence, and then recorded history takes up the tale. The French explorations of the Northwest began, and with the echo of civilized voices on the watercourses, the curtain rose on the picturesque company who were to enact the first scene in the Minnesota drama.

  3. They came from the stockades and settlements on the St. Lawrence, and pushed boldly westward by the Great Lakes until their paddles dipped at last into the narrow reaches of the upper Mississippi. Royalty across the seas listened covetously to stories of vast and rich domains that promised salvation to their impoverished empires. The land of the Sioux and Chippewa, for centuries safeguarded by obscurity, was suddenly thrust into the glare of European politics.

  4. Bidding for the favor of their monarchs, the soldiers and titled adventurers braved discomfort and death, appropriated lands, and established forts to support their claims. Traders made their hazardous way over lake and stream, carrying firearms, cutlery, and trinkets to exchange with the Indians for the prized peltries for which courtiers abroad were clamoring. Explorers, attracted by the mirage of a Northwest passage, pushed through the wilderness to draft the first crude maps. Catholic missionaries, fired by proselyting zeal, exulted in their opportunity.

  5. With explorer, trader, soldier, and priest came the voyageur, and woven in and out of the pattern is the glowing story of the coureurs de bois. Unlicensed and outside the law, the coureurs penetrated the great woods on foot or in canoes, with the sure knowledge of Indians. Theirs was a knowledge hard-won. It was their stock in trade, and they prudently kept secret what they had learned, even while they saw their dashing countrymen from beyond the Atlantic risk their lives and fortunes in its quest.

  6. Radisson and Groseilliers, Du Luth (his name, variously spelled, was probably Du Lhut), Father Hennepin and his companions Accault and Auguelle, De Noyon, Perrot, Le Sueur, La Verendrye with his sons and nephew--all strode the stage in leading parts, while in the background raged European wars, dissensions between the Canadian and Louisiana Governments, conflicting ambitions of patrons, rivalries between traders, and perennial troubles among and with the Indians.

  7. Radisson and Groseilliers, returning to Montreal in 1660 with a fleet of canoes, which they had loaded with rich furs on their second voyage to the west, gave to the civilized world its earliest authentic news of the native tribes of the Great Lakes region, and demonstrated the potentialities of a vast wealth lurking in the forests. The adventurous Du Luth appeared on the scene in 1679. One of his first acts, when he had sufficiently impressed the Indians with the glory and loving kindness of the King of France, was to lay claim to the whole area in the name of his ruler. For 11 years he traveled up and down the shores of Lake Superior and explored the triangle between the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers.

  8. Hennepin and his companions, Auguelle and Accault, all sent by La Salle, ascended the upper Mississippi from the Illinois country in 1680 and, although taken captive by a band of Sioux, got as far as Mille Lacs After turning southward Hennepin and Auguelle discovered and named the Falls of St. Anthony, which they had barely missed on the upward journey. (The meeting between Du Luth and Hennepin downstream from the mouth of the St. Croix where Du Luth had gone, drawn by rumors of white "spirits," must surely have been one of the most dramatic encounters in Northwest history.)

  9. Perrot, for some twenty years a leading fur trader in the region, established himself for a while near the foot of Lake Pepin, and in 1689 claimed the area in the name of his monarch. Le Sueur, a companion of Perrot built a fort on Prairie Island, near Red Wing, in 1695. Five years later he erected another near the site of Mankato, to which he came not by the usual Great Lakes route but by boldly ascending the Mississippi from the Gulf. It was from this post that he transported to France two tons of blue-colored earth, supposing it to be copper ore, only to discover that it was worthless clay.

  10. Stockades occupied intermittently at Fort Beauharnois, later called Frontenac, from 1727 to 1754, brought De Gonnor and Guignas who opened the first mission in the upper Mississippi Basin, and Captain St. Pierre, long prominent as a leader in New France. (School books tell of the meeting of this gallant officer with Washington at French Creek Pennsylvania, in 1753, when the young Virginia surveyor brought a letter from Governor Dinwiddie, protesting the encroachments of the French.) In the north, De Noyon discovered the Lake of the Woods about 1688 and between 1731 and 1749 La Verendrye and his sons established the canoe route from Lake Superior to Lake Winnipeg, built a line of forts reaching as far as the present site of Calgary on the upper Saskatchewan in Alberta, crossed the upper Missouri, and probably sighted the Black Hills.

  11. By this time, however, French influence was beginning to wane. Traders and Indians were negotiating with English buyers on Hudson Bay and with merchants in Albany and New York. With the outbreak of the French and Indian War, loyal Frenchmen withdrew from the region and hurried east to the scene of conflict. They had explored and opened the way to the Minnesota area; they had quieted the suspicions of the Indians and taught them the uses of firearms and whisky; they had established the beginnings of the fur trade. There remained, as evidence of their passing, hundreds of colorful place names and a scattered host of half-breed progeny.

  12. French claim to the North American Continent was relinquished in 1763. (By a secret pact signed the previous year, New Orleans island and all French land west of the river had become the nominal possession of Spain, although that nation made no attempt to occupy or explore the upper river country.) English and Scotch proprietors, whose headquarters were in Canada, now took over the French and half-breed traders, who continued to act as intermediaries with the Indians. A half century of British domination of the fur trade followed, and with it a series of bitter conflicts between rival interests. Three great concerns operated here. the Hudson's Bay Company, chartered in 1670; the Northwest Company, which developed from a partnership formed in 1783; and the XY Company, organized in 1798. (The Northwest Company gradually absorbed the business of the Hudson's Bay Company south of the international boundary, and in 1804 took over the XY Company.)

  13. In charge of the posts were factors and clerks whose powers were almost absolute over the voyageurs and Indians alike, for already many tribes were beginning to lose the arts of their ancestors and depend more and more on the whites for their subsistence.

  14. The area between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi passed into the possession of the newly established United States in 1783. Twenty years later, through the Louisiana Purchase, the young Nation acquired the land west of the river. British companies, however, continued to occupy thelr posts and Indians to follow their leadership well into the next century.

  15. It was during the period of British trade dominance that Jonathan Carver, a New Englander approved by British officials, and Zebulon M. Pike, a young officer of the United States Army, made their famous journeys.

  16. Carver spent the winter of 1766-67 with the Indians of the Minnesota country. During that time he ascended the Mississippi a short distance above the Falls of St. Anthony and made one trip up the Minnesota River. In the spring he visited an Indian burial ground, now the site of St. Paul, and entered the cavern since known as Carver's Cave. Carver published the book of his travels in 1778, when Europe's attention was drawn to the revolt of the American Colonies. Much of it was plagiarized from earlier accounts, yet it became a best seller. The book was translated into several languages and aroused widespread interest in England's Minnesota domains. (A lasting reminder of his visit is the perennial appearance of claimants in St. Paul with "Carver Script," by which they hope to gain title to rich areas in the heart of the most populous region of the State. This scrip, secured from speculators who succeeded to the interests of Carver's heirs, is based on an assumed agreement between Carver and the Indians. According to its terms the Sioux chiefs ceded to him a vast tract of Minnesota and Wisconsin territory. Congress argued the matter for twenty years before it finally repudiated the alleged treaty.)

  17. To Pike was entrusted the duty of extending Federal authority over the newly acquired United States territory. From St. Louis he set out in 1805 with twenty soldiers and spent the winter on the upper river. He explored the banks as far north as Leech and Cass Lakes. For 60 gallons of whisky and $200 worth of baubles, he acquired military sites at the mouths of the St. Croix and the Minnesota Rivers. (The latter site embraced most of the area now occupied by the Twin Cities.) But he had no sooner departed than the fur traders hauled down his American flags and resumed their illegal activities, which were to be a factor in fomenting the War of 1812. The Indians, whom he thought he had reconciled to American rule, continued their allegiance to the British and, with a few exceptions, fought for the Canadians again as they had in 1776.

  18. The final vestige of British authority was swept away with the treaty of Ghent in 1814, and the last British soldiers left Prairie du Chien a few months later. Congress passed a law denying fur-trading privileges to all but United States citizens. After 1816 the Northwest Company was entirely replaced in the area by John Jacob Astor's American Fur Company The rank and file of the fur trade personnel again transferred its allegiance Minnesota had become part of the United States.

  19. The westward surge of settlers that followed the peace treaty necessitated the policing of the borders. Col. Henry Leavenworth arrived in 1819 and camped his troops on the site of the future Mendota. An additional $2,000 and a generous supply of rum were given to the Indians. The post was moved across the Minnesota River and in 1820 Colonel Josiah Snelling started the construction of the fort which now bears his name, but which until 1825, was called Fort St. Anthony.

  20. Soon after the soldiers arrived, the superintendent of farming from Lord Selkirk's ill-fated colony at Pembina stopped at Fort St. Anthony on the way to Prairie du Chien for supplies. In 1821 an agent for the American Fur Company whose post was near the fort drove a herd of cattle to the colony and brought back with him five Swiss families who squatted on the military reservation. These five families are significant as being the first strictly agricultural settlers in the State. In succeeding years many more of the colonists were driven down by Indian troubles, fur company rivalries, severe weather, and flood. They lived on the fort lands until when, expelled from the reservation, they moved a few miles down the Mississippi and founded St. Paul. In May the Virginia, first steamboat to navigate the Mississippi from St. Louis, reached the fort. Here, on the first steamboat to come to the community of St. Anthony Falls, in 1823, Major Lawrence Taliaferro brought the first group of Negro slaves to come to Minnesota for which satisfactory records can be found. Later freeing all of his slaves, Major Taliaferro for 20 years exercised a wise supervision over the Indians and performed the ceremony which united one of his former slave girls to Dred Scott, whose status later was to become a national issue. Between 1821 and 1823 the garrison at Fort St. Anthony built the grist mill and the sawmill which formed the nucleus of the future Minneapolis.

  21. To Mendota (until about 1837, called indiscriminately St. Peter's and Mendota) came Henry H. Sibley in 1834 as resident partner and manager of the American Fur Company. He was destined to be one of Minnesota's most distinguished citizens. His post was the river terminus for the tonnage of furs brought from the Red River country in the slow and cumbersome Red River oxcarts. These carts played a picturesque part in Minnesota's history. First used as early as the twenties, by the middle of the forties they were made up in long trains of 50 to 100. They bumped along the trail at the rate of 20 miles a day, their ungreased wooden wheels screeching a cacophony that could be heard for miles. Within the next 15 years about 500 of these carts were in constant use, making regular scheduled trips.

  22. The fort, with the Indian agency and fur trading post opposite at Mendota, became the hub of Northwestern civilization. Here were entertained the explorers who added to the geographic knowledge of the country, among them Henry R. Schoolcraft, who in 1832 visited the headwaters of the Mississippi and named Lake Itasca.

  23. Negroes figured in the early history of the fur trade. Among them were Pierre Bonza, or Bonga, servant to Alexander Henry when the latter in 1800 had charge of the Northwest Company's Red River brigade, and Bonza's son, George, voyageur for the American Fur Company. Having served satisfactorily as personal servant and joint keeper of a fur trading post, Pierre Bonza in 1804 became an interpreter for the Northwest Company on the lower Red River. In 1820 George Bonza acted as interpreter for Governor Lewis Cass at Fond du Lac, later achieving wealth and prominence as an independent trader at Leech Lake.

  24. Catholic missionaries continued their efforts among the Indians but also administered to the white settlers. Protestant missionaries visited the Mendota fort as early as 1829 and laid plans for work among the natives. Soon thereafter many bands of Sioux and Chippewa had their resident Protestant missionaries and agricultural teachers. The Chippewa tongue had already been reduced to print, and in 1834 the Pond brothers came to the fort and later evolved a phonetic transcription of the Sioux language. They succeeded in preparing a dictionary, making a Sioux version of a portion of the Gospels, and establishing a school with 6 Indian pupils who were later joined by 15 more. The territory's first Christian church for whites was organized for the Presbyterians of Fort Snelling in 1835. Downstream the first church building for the settlers was completed by the Rev. Father Lucian Galtier in 1841 and dedicated to St. Paul. From the church the future capital city which grew up there took its name.

  25. With the cession of the triangle between the St. Croix and the Mississippi in 1837, lumber towns sprang up along the St. Croix. The first post office was opened at Point Douglas at the mouth of the St. Croix in 1841, and in 1846 offices were opened at St. Paul and Stillwater. The first school to be regarded as public was started in a blacksmith shop in St. Paul in 1847. The first parochial school also started in St. Paul in a log hut four years later.

  26. In 1847 settlement began on the east side of the Falls of St. Anthony. Two years later the first of a group of dwellings on the west side was erected. Bridges were to spring from these two hamlets and merge them into the city of Minneapolis.

  27. In the closing days of the pre-Territorial period, the Sioux and the Chippewa still claimed and occupied the vast tract westward from the Mississippi to the Missouri River. (The only excepted territories were those of the military reservation of Fort Snelling, and the Indian reservation of Long Prairie to which the Winnebagos were transplanted under the protection of the soldiers of Fort Gaines, afterward Fort Ripley. ) St. Paul, the river town, St. Anthony, the sawmill town, and the smaller trading settlement, Mendota, were grouped within a few miles of the Minnesota-Mississippi junction. The majority of the other settlers were living at isolated points along the lower St. Croix River, where the biggest town was Stillwater, only 15 miles downstream from the sawmill village of Marine. French-Canadian voyageurs lived at Wabasha and Traverse des Sioux, at Lac qui Parle the half-breed Joseph Renville lived on an almost feudal scale with his relatives and friends.

  28. A few fur traders maintained scattered posts in the wilderness, with the families of their employees as more or less permanent residents. (The more populous were at Fond du Lac (Duluth), Crow Wing, Sauk Rapids, Elk River, Swan River, Long Prairie, and Lake Traverse.) Missionaries and agents were still living with the Indian bands. Far to the northward at Pembina the bois brûlés were engaged in trapping and trading furs. The only strictly agricultural life was at Red Rock, Cottage Grove, Lakeland, and Afton in the Mississippi-St. Croix delta, and in the nearby settlement stretching northward from St. Paul to Little Canada.

  29. In this period none of the points of settlement was self-sustaining. Aside from wild game and fruits, and the little produce raised on the few small farms and in family gardens, everything required by the whites--even most of the fodder for their livestock--was brought from the outside by steamboat. The dwellings were mostly of logs, some surrounded with stockades. Fallen trees provided the bridges, roads were mere trails, stores were housed in one-room buildings, schools and churches had made scarcely a beginning. From December to April the hamlets were often without mail for weeks at a time, and isolated settlers received none at all. (News of the national election of November 1848 did not reach St. Paul until January of the following year.)

  30. The opening of the land office at St. Croix Falls in 1848 brought the first great wave of settlers. The majority of these pioneers were lumbermen from Maine, farmers from the mid-Atlantic States, tradesmen and craftsmen from the cities. They were an independent lot and had grown up in an atmosphere charged with politics. At the time their numbers approached 5,000, they had begun to ask for a local government. (The list of the region's allegiances is an amazing one. Parts of this land, in some cases all, had been successively under the flags of France, England, Spain, the Colony of Virginia, the Northwest Territory, and the Territories of Louisiana, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Iowa, and Wisconsin.)

    Territorial Expansion

  31. A convention called to meet at Stillwater August 26, 1848, took preliminary steps toward the organization of Minnesota Territory. To aid his Minnesota friends, John Catlin, recently secretary of the Territory of Wisconsin, set forth the "benign fiction" that he was obliged to act as Governor of that portion of the territory not included in the boundaries of the new Commonwealth. As such, he obligingly established his "capital" at Stillwater, and issued a call for an election to choose a Territorial delegate to Congress. The selection fell upon Henry H. Sibley, who also had been named by the convention. At Washington, after considerable debate, Sibley was seated, January 15, 1849, ostensibly as a delegate from the equivocal section of the Territory of Wisconsin, in reality the representative of the people of Minnesota. The adroit Stephen A. Douglas helped him to pilot the bill through Congress and on March 3, 1849, the Territory of Minnesota was formally created; its boundaries to the north, south, and east were those of today, and the western line the Missouri and White Earth Rivers. Minnesota had discarded its swaddling clothes and had begun an independent existence.

  32. The first Territorial Legislature assembled in the dining room of a St. Paul hotel on September 3, 1849, summoned by the new Governor, Alexander Ramsey, whom President Zachary Taylor had appointed from among his eastern supporters. One of the legislature's first acts was the establishment of a system of free education.

  33. St. Paul was incorporated as a town on November 1, 1849, having been platted two years before. A newspaper was started there on April 28, 1849 as the Minnesota Pioneer, the previously announced name, Epistle of St. Paul, having been regretfully discarded. This, and other publications that soon followed, painted glowing pictures of Minnesota's rich possibilities, and did much to increase immigration in the new Territory.

  34. Soon it was evident that the whites could not be restricted to their comparatively small portion of the vast area included within the Territory's boundaries. Already prospective settlers were turning eager eyes toward the rich timber and prairie lands of the Indians, and were held back with increasing difficulty.

  35. In 1851, through the treaties of Traverse des Sioux and Mendota, the Sioux were induced to relinquish their claims to much of the land in Iowa and in the present Minnesota and South Dakota, and to move to a tract reserved for them along the upper Minnesota River. The land ceded by these treaties amounted to more than 28 million acres, some of which is among the richest farm land in the world. By later negotiations, the Chippewa, at La Pointe, Wisconsin, in 1854, and at Washington in 1855, relinquished their claims to lands north of Lake Superior and in the north-central areas, tracts greatly coveted for lumbering operations.

  36. After the proclamation February 24, 1853, of the Sioux treaties, a great tide of immigration began to flow into the southwestern part of the Territory. Steamboats on the Mississippi, the Minnesota, and the St. Croix were crowded with passengers and cargo; all the river landings bustled with colorful activity, as with every boat new arrivals disembarked and departed on stagecoaches over the newly constructed Government roads.

  37. Many boarded the boats at Galena, Dunleith, or St. Louis. Others made the tedious journey overland in prairie schooners, driving their cattle, fording streams, and camping by the way. A few hoped to make their fortunes in commercial or professional fields, but the majority were eager for lands offered by the Government at a cost of $1.25 an acre, proof of occupancy, and cultivation.

  38. Pioneer homes began to dot the wilderness, at first chiefly in the hardwood country nearest the watercourses. Breaking and clearing the land was a laborious task with the limited facilities at hand, and comparatively little was at first cultivated. But by the close of 1854 about 500,000 acres had been sold in Minnesota; in 1856 more than 1,000,000 acres were transferred to settlers, and in 1858 nearly 2,500,000 more.

  39. Villages sprang up almost overnight. The clatter of grist mills was heard on a dozen streams. Merchant milling had its first substantial beginnings in the St. Anthony vicinity in 1854, and soon Mississippi River traffic began to swell with shipments of wheat and flour to eastern and southern markets.

  40. Sawmills were overtaxed to supply required building materials. Lumbering emerged as a major industry that choked the rivers with logs. From the Red River valley there poured into St. Paul an ever increasing quantity of furs. Land offices, hotels, and livery stables were crowded with patrons. Post offices opened so rapidly that by 1856 they numbered 253. Railroads were chartered and endowed with extensive land grants. A capitol, erected from Federal funds at a cost of $32,000, was occupied in 1853.

  41. Cultural life followed the pattern of the eastern tradition. The pioneers established churches, public schools, and academies, organized reading circles and singing classes, and maintained lyceums and lecture courses that brought to the wilderness many a distinguished visitor. A university (afterward the State university) was chartered in 1851, a building erected in St. Anthony (Minneapolis), and a preparatory department opened that fall. The Baldwin School, later to be revived as Macalester College, began its teaching in St. Paul in 1853. Hamline University was established at Red Wing in 1854 by the Methodists, and St. John's at St. Cloud in 1857 by the Benedictines.

  42. In the meantime settlement had started at the west end of Lake Superior where a trading post and mission known as Fond du Lac had long been located. As early as 1853 a road was cut through the pines from Superior on the Wisconsin side to the lumber camps on the St. Croix. When, in 1855, a canal was built around Sault Ste. Marie Falls in Michigan, the "Head of the Lakes" was in direct water communication with the ports of Europe through the St. Lawrence River, and with New York City through the Erie Canal. Soon after the Chippewa treaties were signed in 1854-55, several villages were laid out on the Minnesota shore of Lake Superior. Among these, Duluth, of which the plat was filed in 1856, soon established its ascendency--absorbing no less than seven other villages.

  43. By 1857 the white population in Minnesota Territory had increased to 150,037. Two-thirds of the adults had come from the eastern States, the other third was composed largely of Irish, Germans, English, and Canadians, with a sprinkling of the earliest Scandinavians. Climatic conditions, together with the anti-slavery views of the settlers, gave no encouragement to slavery in this territory. The Negro population of Minnesota, before or after the Civil War, has never been large.

  44. With the rapid increase of settlement came the era of speculation which started in 1855 and reached its climax in 1857. Great tracts of prairie land recently obtained for $1.25 per acre were sold as "improved" by the preemptors for $5.00 an acre, the improvements often consisting of a mere brush hut or log lean-to and perhaps a few rods of broken sod. Town sites were platted by the hundred. Many of them were not surveyed, their locations were often uncertain, yet these "paper" lots brought high prices from buyers here and in the East. In the older settlements, a bit of land held for $500 in the morning might well sell for $1000 before nightfall. Sharpers moved in, their offices a sidewalk and their stock-in-trade a glib tongue, a roll of maps, a package of blank deeds, and alleged inside information concerning the route of a railroad. Eastern capitalists sent St. Paul bankers large sums which found ready borrowers at 3 percent a month. Every settler felt himself a prospective millionaire, and the public imagination soared high with greedy hope.

  45. The "wild riots of financial adventure" came to an abrupt end. After the collapse of eastern business in August, the panic of 1857 cast a blight over the entire country. When the news reached Minnesota, cash and credit promptly disappeared, and with them thousands of speculators who had been caught unaware. Land agencies closed their doors. Wildcat currency was soon refused. Trade took the form of barter, but there was little enough to barter.

  46. One effect of the financial debacle was to turn the attention of the pioneers more seriously to farming. Although the possibilities of the soil had been long known, prior to 1857 there had been comparatively little agricultural development. Many of the pioneers who had planted crops were discouraged by insect pests, drought, and prairie fires. But the collapse of their get-rich-quick schemes forced hundreds away from the towns to seek a living from the soil. By the following spring the cultivated acres of the Territory had more than doubled in number.

  47. The growing tension between Indians and whites became more and more evident during Territorial days. Two trifling quarrels, involving the Sioux and Chippewa, led to minor outbreaks, and although promptly quelled left in their wake apprehension and unrest.

  48. Financial straits, Indian scares, rumbling premonitions of the Civil War could not dampen the enthusiasm and self-confidence of the Territory. The population grew by leaps and bounds as European peasants continued to pour into the land. More and more desirable seemed those land grants bestowed by Congress. Representation in Congress was essential to many plans, but now especially to the success of the longed-for railroad to the Pacific. Surely the time was ripe to demand the dignity of statehood.

    The New State

  49. On May 11, 1858, Congress admitted Minnesota to the Union. From the outset, the proposal aroused violent debate in Congress. But the difficulties were at last overcome and boundaries fixed. The Enabling Act was passed in 1857. Jubilant, Minnesota chose to consider the battle won, and after an election of officers and delegates and the adoption of a constitution, the delegates ignored many legal technicalities and not only met in legislative session but passed many forward-looking bills. Henry H. Sibley was elected to the office of Governor, but it was a full seven months after the constitution had been adopted before Congress actually added the north Star to the national flag. During that time all the sectional bitterness and tricky politics of pre-Civil War days seem to have been brought into play. On May 24th, 1858, the first State officers took their oaths of office and the next week the legislature reconvened. The first gubernatorial election (October 1859) following Minnesota's actual entrance into the Union placed Alexander Ramsey in the Governor's chair and initiated a series of Republican victories that lasted many decades.

  50. In his message in 1860 Governor Ramsey pointed out the extraordinary gains in agriculture that had taken place in the past 10 years. With a population now of 172,023, Minnesota had 22,000 farms and had produced on them during the previous years, 400,000 bushels of wheat, nearly 4,000,000 bushels of oats, and about 2,000,000 bushels each of corn and potatoes.

  51. Telegraphic communication was established in 1860 between the Twin Cities and the outside world, and provision was made for the founding of three normal schools; of these Winona's opened at once and thus became the first of this kind west of the Mississippi.

  52. Scarcely had the young State begun to recover from the panic of 1857 when the summons to war drew from it thousands of young men. The day on which the news of Fort Sumter's capture reached Washington found Governor Ramsey in the Nation's Capital. He immediately hastened to the War Department and offered 1,OO men from Minnesota, "the first tender of troops from any quarter after the fall of the Charleston fortress." One day after the publication of Lincoln's war proclamation, Ignatius Donnelly, Acting Governor, issued a call for the First Regiment. It was assembled rapidly enough to replace almost at once the regular Army units at the frontier posts and to reach the Potomac in time for the first Battle of Bull Run. The part it later played at Gettysburg is well known to all familiar with Civil War history. (Before the final muster-out, a total of 21,982 had enlisted from Minnesota.)

  53. The first contingent of troops had hardly reached the front before the families at home were confronted with one of the most serious Indian uprisings in the country's history. Sioux problems had by no means been solved by the treaties. While various bands had moved to their reservations, it was not long before they showed an increasing tendency to roam and so greatly did they annoy the settlers that many wished to have them completely removed from the State. The Indians on their part had many grievances: their leaders were alarmed by the weakening of tribal integrity and customs through contact with the white man's civilization much resentment was felt against agency traders who charged them unfairly for supplies; often the Government agents were charged with distributing food unfit for consumption. In the summer of 1862 the need for Civil War supplies superseded all other obligations, and neither money nor sufficient food was forthcoming for the Indians. Then occurred the incident that fanned the long-smoldering bitterness into flames.

  54. In August four roving Indians killed three white men and two women after challenging them, with apparent friendliness, to a contest in target shooting. Frightened by the possible consequences of their deed, they fled to their tribesmen. After a long argument the chiefs and braves voted to stand by their fellows and to anticipate the inevitable reprisals. Could they hope for a better opportunity than this to drive out the hated invaders and to repossess their ancient hunting grounds, when so many of the soldiers had gone to the white man's war? The entire Sioux Nation of about 7,000 united in the uprising and 1,500 braves took the warpath.

  55. From the Lower Agency near Redwood Falls on August 18th, they swept across the Minnesota River, slaughtering family after family and sparing only those women and children whom they wished to take captive. So swiftly did they move that within a few days more than 400 whites were killed, and many more taken prisoner.

  56. A company of soldiers sent from nearby Fort Ridgely was ambushed and almost wiped out, but the heroic defense of the post, to which hundreds of refugees had fled, kept the Indians from sweeping down the valley to the more populous settlements on the north side of the river. On the south side it was the German settlement of New Ulm which barred them. Here 1,500 inhabitants, refugees, and volunteer defenders met and withstood an attack which almost annihilated the town and cost so many lives that the survivors despairingly abandoned it for weeks after the Indians had withdrawn.

  57. Nearly 2,000 Indians and half-breeds of both sexes were either captured or voluntarily surrendered soon afterward. About 400 were given military trial, of whom 306 were condemned to death, and 18 sentenced to imprisonment. The names of 303 prisoners were telegraphed to President Lincoln who commuted the death sentence of all but 39. He maintained that while all those proved guilty of murder and rape should be executed, those accused merely of having fought in open battle merited the treatment of prisoners of war. For this leniency the general sentiment of the State turned bitterly against him, as it did against the formerly beloved Bishop H. B. Whipple, who had acted as special advocate for the condemned.

  58. The compensation awarded to the settlers and the reimbursement to the State were paid from the Sioux trust funds, annuities were stopped, and all title to the reservation lands was wiped out.

  59. Throughout the sixties education was a lively concern of State and county officials. The older counties were well provided with elementary ungraded schools, and in the larger centers "union schools" offered graded and high school studies. Even in the new areas most settlers were close enough to a school to give their children at least a few months' education each year. The need for trained teachers became urgent.

  60. The second normal school was opened at Mankato in 1868 and the third, at St. Cloud, quickly followed. After a revision of tangled finances, the university reopened its preparatory department in 1867. Two years later it was fully established under a chancellor, William Watts Folwell, with a department of elementary instruction, and a college of mechanic arts. In 1863 a State school for the deaf was established at Faribault. A department for the blind was added to the school in 1866, and an asylum for the insane established at St. Peter.

  61. Neither Civil War nor Indian uprisings could slow the development of the State. Monetary inflation, bountiful crops, soldiers' pay, plenty of work at good wages, all contributed to an increasing prosperity. Government indemnity of Indian depredations stimulated industry. Within three years after the Homestead Act of 1862 more than 1,000,000 acres had been taken over by 9,529 persons. The census showed a population of 250,099 with 18 counties not reporting. Six hundred thousand acres were now under cultivation. Railroad work had been resumed and by 1862 the first line was carrying passengers and freight between St. Paul and Minneapolis. Before the close of 1865, the railroads were operating over 210 miles on various routes.

  62. The returning soldiers and the comrades who followed them were promptly absorbed into civilian life, and their discharge pay further augmented the circulation of money. For development of all the new State's resources more and more workers were demanded. A State board of immigration was formed and, with the railroads and other organizations, issued thousands of pamphlets in a variety of languages to broadcast the opportunities Minnesota offered. Agents appointed to attract desirable settlers and to facilitate transportation opened offices in the East and abroad. By 1870 the population had leapt to nearly a half million (439,706). Of these Europe had added 59,390 Scandinavians and 48,457 Germans. The urban population was now approximately one-third that of rural districts.

  63. Although the cultivated area had practically trebled in five years, lumbering was still the major industry in the 1870'S. Sixty percent of the farmland was planted in wheat. A new process and the middlings purifier produced a superior flour from spring wheat; they soon made Minneapolis one of the principal flouring centers of the world. Modern farm machinery was purchased in increasing quantities, and by its use the so-called "bonanza farms" harvested their thousands of acres.

  64. During the first few years of the seventies, too, came the rapid expansion of the railroads. Until after the Civil War, the rivers were the principal highways for the shipping of both lumber and wheat. Retarded by the State's foreclosure on all railroad properties in 1860, railroad construction had been relatively slow. But once underway it developed at a lively speed. By the early seventies the Twin Cities could choose between two routes to Chicago; they were connected with Duluth and thus by the Great Lakes with the eastern markets, and with the West as far as the Red River.

  65. With the railroads came the further extension of settlement into the open prairies. There sod houses and dugouts rather than log cabins served as pioneer habitations, but it was not long before these primitive shelters were replaced by neat frame houses supplied by the expanding sawmill industry. Villages, their sites arbitrarily selected by railroad officials, usually started with a boxcar station. This was quickly surrounded by store, church, schoolhouse, and homes. Of the older hamlets left without benefit of railway, some were moved to new locations, many others were abandoned gradually. Grain elevators and municipal water towers became characteristic features of the Minnesota landscape.

  66. While the newcomers to the State were contentedly working their new farms and building their homes, many farmers in the older settlements were far from satisfied with what they considered a bare subsistence for their years of hard work. Bumper crops of wheat were of little value, they complained, with markets far from home, railroads discriminating against them through excessive rates, and agents grading the grain falsely. It was to adjust such farmer problems that Oliver Kelley, a Minnesota man, founded in Washington, in 1867, the Patrons of Husbandry. Popularly called the Grange, the movement spread more rapidly in Minnesota than in any other part of the country, and by the close of 1869, 40 of its 49 Granges were located in this State. Through these Granges, the farmer could not only air his grievances, but by the endorsement of Granger candidates he was able to carry his discontent to the legislature. The series of Granger Acts, all benefiting the farmer, resulted. The first of these was passed in 1871 and three years later the Grangers were in control of the legislature, where they succeeded to some extent in regulating railroads and grain dealers. A change of attitude on the part of railroads and public opinion modified these acts considerably the following year, and Granger influence waned. If the Grangers had not been able to solve the railroad problem, at least they had awakened an entire people to the fact that a problem existed, and for the first time in Minnesota history the voices of the farmer and the working people had been heard. In 1876 the Supreme Court fixed the authority of a State Legislature to regulate fares and rates.

  67. Industrial expansion was the keynote of the 1870's, but the decade also was marked by a series of disasters. The first was a blizzard that swept over the Northwest in 1873 and took the lives of 7o persons on the prairies. The national financial panic, which in 1873 followed the collapse of the Jay Cooke interests, was felt throughout the State, but it was Duluth that bore the brunt of the disaster. That city was wholly dependent for its boom on Jay Cooke's promise to make it the lake terminus of his proposed continental railroad; it was rendered almost totally bankrupt in a few days and suffered a reduction in population from 5,000 to 1,300.

  68. Even more grievous to the State at large was the invasion of the Rocky Mountain locust, commonly called the grasshopper. The plague affected only localized areas the first year, but in 1876 the insects invaded 29 counties, devouring every leaf and green spear, attacking even clothing and wood. Private subscriptions and legislative appropriations were needed to keep thousands of prairie settlers from starvation. The Governor appointed April 26, 1877, a day of State-wide prayer for relief. That spring the grasshoppers hatched as usual, but, when fully grown, took wing and by the middle of August had disappeared.

  69. The decade's calendar of misfortunes was completed in 1878 with an explosion of flour dust in a Minneapolis mill. It cost 18 lives and laid waste a large part of the milling district. After this catastrophe improved safety devices were promptly introduced all over the country.

  70. The rapid growth of the grain and railroad industries brought still another influx of immigration during the eighties. By 1885 the population had passed the million mark, and now the towns were growing five times as fast as the rural districts. The need of modernized school buildings became acute and in 1887 the State school tax was adopted. Compulsory education, textbook legislation, and State aid soon followed.

  71. After the Rochester cyclone of 1883, Dr. William Worrall Mayo, a local health official, was offered the convent of the Sisters of St. Francis to care for 100 injured victims. Six years later this order opened St. Mary's Hospital, which they placed under the supervision of Dr. Mayo and his now famous sons, and it was here that "the Mayo boys" did the work that brought them their first national recognition.

  72. The outstanding event for Minnesota in the eighties and nineties was the development of the ore resources through which the State was to become the richest iron-producing region in the world. 1n 1884 the first carload of iron ore was shipped from the Vermilion Range via Lake Superior to eastern markets. Eight years later the first carload was shipped from the Mesabi Range. Cities sprang up in the pine forests of the Lake Superior region and grew apace with the swift progress of the industry. The panic of 1893 resulted in the transfer of most of the mining properties to the Rockefeller interest and temporarily halted the growth of the mining towns. Slavs for the first time poured into the State to work in the mines. At first the majority of the newcomers were Finns who brought a fresh knowledge and sympathy for co-operative living and trading that had a far-reaching effect. Finns, however, like little farms better than mines, and before long had surrendered their places at the mines to Czechs and Slovaks.

  73. With the growth of urban industry, labor restlessness in the cities added its voice to the agrarian protest. The Farmers' Alliance movement began to show its potential strength in Minnesota in 1881. By 1886 the alliance joined forces with the Knights of Labor and drew up a strong railroad and labor platform which it pressed the Republican Party to accept in full. By its successful backing of candidates pledged to the support of agricultural and labor interests, the coalition virtually controlled the legislature. In 1890 it strode out upon the political field as a definite third party. Two years later the Populist Party was born, largely through the efforts of Ignatius Donnelly, Minnesota's prophet of political experiment. This new national party absorbed many political elements, among them the Farmers' Alliance. When its candidate for Governor won second place in 1894, a third party became for the first time the dominant minority. Four years later John Lind was swept into office on a fusion of Democrats, Populists, and Silver Republicans, and the long conservative Republican regime had been broken.

  74. During the panic of 1893 the Northern Pacific Railroad failed, and when it was reorganized James J. Hill and his associates acquired much Northern Pacific stock. Toward the end of the century, Hill, eager to connect with the eastern States through an independent route to Chicago, wished to purchase the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy. But Edward H. Harriman, who controlled the Union Pacific also needed this link in the transcontinental chain, for it was the only one then available. A buying duel drove Burlington stock to such heights that Harriman finally withdrew, leaving Hill in possession of nearly 97 percent, half of which he turned over to the Great Northern, the other half to the Northern Pacific. Harriman next proceeded to buy up Northern Pacific stock, hoping to gain control. The duel between the two "empire builders" was renewed with a new fury. Fortunes were made and lost and the Nation watched while stocks rose to staggering heights. When peace was finally declared Harriman was granted his connection over the Burlington, while Hill remained in control of the two northern roads, and of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy.

  75. In 1898, when the State was 40 years old, builders laid the cornerstone of its present capitol. This domed building, designed by Cass Gilbert, was regarded in the nineties as a model of its kind. It was Minnesota's third capitol. The first, built in 1853, was destroyed by fire in 1881, and was replaced two years later by the brick building on the same site.

  76. The declaration of war with Spain in 1898 found Minnesota with three regiments of militia. These units were brought to full strength by volunteers and mustered into service as the Twelfth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Regiments of Minnesota Volunteer Infantry; the Fifteenth was added later. The State furnished in all about 8,500 men for the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection.

    After 1900

  77. The foundations of present-day Minnesota were well laid when the nineteenth century merged with the twentieth, and the State now faced the future with a lively optimism. The frontier had been conquered, and it was commonly believed that Minnesotans faced only the pleasant task of marching with the rest of the Nation along the unobstructed path of progress. Great business and great fortunes were now, potentially at least within the reach of the poorest immigrant boy. Fame and success were to be the reward--if in less measure--for all who had talent for the arts or sciences. The only requisite was that everyone should work.

  78. Miracles had been performed in converting a vast wilderness into a thriving Commonwealth in a little more than four decades. Now the pioneer Territory not only had grown up, it had caught up. If thousands of acres of rich forest lands had been laid waste, Minnesota in 1900 still ranked with the leading lumbering States. If the great flow of golden wheat had begun to slow down a little, the flow of golden butter had been steadily increasing in volume each year. Much was being learned of the advantages latent in co-operation, and co-operative groups already had begun to produce finer butter and to improve the profitable marketing of all dairy products--of livestock, eggs, and poultry. For a decade at least, more favorable railroad rates and easy credit from the rapidly multiplying local banks were to quiet the worst apprehensions of the farmer.

  79. Minnesota's history during these years was not unlike that of her sister States. As manufacturing developed, the rural population began to drift in increasing numbers to the cities. The motorcar came and changed the customs of city dweller and farmer alike. In 1907 the legislature installed a State-wide tax for road building, and the next year the automobile license law began to yield additional highway revenue. The self-starter and short skirts for women came into common use at about the same time. Women drivers on the newly paved roads no longer seemed conspicuous, and the feminine demand for political "rights," first raised by Minnesota women in the seventies, grew more and more insistent. Movies and mounting railroad rates gradually reduced to a minimum the pleasant visits of metropolitan stars and road-shows at the Opera House, but the Art Institute and the Symphony Association stimulated a growing interest in cultural pursuits. The Mayo brothers' famous clinic already was attracting the attention of the medical world. A small boy was growing up in Little Falls who would some day become a symbol of adventure and enterprise in the air.

  80. In 1911 still another iron-bearing region was added to the mining area of the State, when the first shipment of ore left the new Cuyuna Range. Four years later the United States Steel Corporation opened its big steel plant in the suburbs of Duluth. By the end of the second decade Minnesota was leading all the States in the value of iron ore produced and was supplying seven-tenths of the Nation's output.

  81. In 1915 came an event long dreamed of by the entire country, but one destined to prove a setback to the State's advance. The Panama Canal was at last a reality, and Minnesota saw with dismay the great tonnage of lumber and of goods from the Orient, which had poured through her gateways, now permanently diverted into another channel. This was a severe blow not only to the railroads but to attendant industries--a loss from which the State has not yet recovered.

  82. When the United States entered the World War in 1917, Minnesota had a seasoned militia of three regiments of infantry, and one of field artillery, all of which already had seen active service on the Mexican border The State gave a total of 123,325 men to the service. In addition about 20,000 volunteers were enrolled in the Home Guard. They were employed later in the areas devastated by forest fires. During these years a commission of safety was created and endowed with extraordinary powers over the internal activities of the State.

  83. From the close of the Civil War Minnesota had clung tenaciously to such national policies as were advocated by the Republican Party, although on rare occasions Democratic Governors (by reason of unusual personalities or local dissensions) had succeeded in carrying State elections. Then in 1912, Theodore Roosevelt's Progressive platform caused many a staunch voter to swing over to his support. But it was not until 1932 that the North Star State broke its lifelong precedent and voted for a Democratic President.

  84. Toward the close of the second decade of this century the third party movement once again forced itself into State politics, and once again it was the rebellious farmer who initiated the agitation. The Nonpartisan League was organized in North Dakota in 1916 by Arthur Charles Townley, a Minnesotan. It met with a dramatic success in that State and promptly was extended to twelve others. The farmers of Minnesota, especially those in the western wheat-growing districts, had for several years been smarting under what they charged was unjust discrimination on the part of the railroads, banks, and elevators, and this new proposal to voice their discontent was welcomed with enthusiasm. Early in 1918 Townley established his headquarters in St. Paul and organized the Minnesota Nonpartisan League. An alliance with the State Federation of Labor was effected and an independent candidate for Governor endorsed. The name Farmer-Labor was adopted hastily, to comply with a ruling by the attorney general that the name of a candidate on a ticket must have a party designation. Although the Republican candidate won the contest, the election made the Farmer-Laborites the second dominant party. Thereupon a plan to make permanent the co-operation of the agricultural and labor groups was formulated. In five years the combined forces gained a full Farmer-Labor representation in the United States Senate. In the 1936 election this party secured control of all but two of the State offices. It captured the lower house, a majority of Congressional Representatives, and both seats in the Senate.

  85. Long the main labor market of the Northwest, the Twin Cities have been the storm center of an industrial revolt that has been characterized not only by political protest but by industrial disturbances of considerable magnitude. Strikes have been frequent and bitter in Minneapolis, where organized labor has repeatedly tested its strength, and in the Range towns where the open shop has been a perennial issue. However, discontent has in a large measure relied upon the ballot in the struggle for social justice, and although many problems remain to be solved, a constantly increasing number of welfare enactments have placed the State well in the vanguard of socially-minded Commonwealths.

  86. Minnesota suffered severely in the widespread drought of 1934. Thousands of acres of its fertile soil were converted into fine powder that day after day swirled in great clouds over towns and countryside. Farm fences were buried in sand and dirt, and farmers saw with despair their cherished topsoil lifted from their fields and piled in great mounds miles away. Rivers, ponds, and lakes went dry, and many communities were left without a water supply. Seeds shriveled and thousands of cattle starved to death for lack of forage.

  87. In the western triangle that tapers from the Dakota lines to Minneapolis, conditions were the worst. Here the crops were a total failure and it was mainly in this region that the millions appropriated by Congress for food, feed, and seed were dispensed. In the northwestern triangle, on the other hand, there was practically no drought at all, and farmers of North and South Dakota began to drive their starving cattle into this favored area. But Minnesota needed every blade of her grass, and Governor Olson issued a decree that no cattle should cross the State borders. He followed up his order by a National Guard patrol. This mobilization was so unusual that it received national publicity as "The Cow War," although very little disorder resulted.

  88. The drought brought to the fore the more chronic problem of soil erosion, and resulted in a series of promising agricultural experiments. Among them strip-cropping (in which plantings in contour strips are substituted for square fields) and the terracing of slopes are perhaps the most hopeful. In the succeeding years the rainfall gradually increased until in 1937 it approached normal.

    Government

  89. The portions of Minnesota on either side of the Mississippi fell under the jurisdiction of numerous governments and territories before their final union in the Territory of Minnesota. On January 9, 1840, St. Croix County, Wisconsin, was established, with Dakotah (later absorbed by Stillwater) for the county seat, and thus became the first local government unit in the Minnesota region.

  90. Its early association with Wisconsin led to the adoption of that Territory's general statutes. Since Wisconsin had taken its statutes from Michigan, Minnesota's laws are indirectly based on those of Michigan.

  91. The Organic Act creating the Minnesota Territory in 1849 contained an unusual provision for the first election, i.e., the extension of franchise and the right to hold office to every free white male resident over 21, irrespective of nationality and citizenship. The insertion of a similar franchise provision in the schedule of the State Constitution was unusual in the history of the States, and it aroused bitter opposition in Congress to Minnesota's petition for Statehood. The body of the State Constitution, adopted October 13, 1857, had a less inclusive provision (Article VII, Section I) restricting the franchise to citizens and to mixed and pure blood Indians who had adopted the customs of white civilization.

  92. In October 1857 after passage by Congress of the Enabling Act a legislature and a full slate of State officers were elected. Although the State was not yet in the Union, this legislature in 1858 passed bills and even amended the constitution. After admission to statehood on May 11, 1858 the officers were legally installed, and the legislature reassembled and affirmed their previous acts.

  93. One of the acts of the first State legislature in 1858 was the submission to the electorate of the "Five Million Loan Bill," by which the State issued bonds for the financing of railroad construction. When the scheme collapsed in 1860, these bonds were repudiated by the voters, and it was not until 1881 that a settlement of fifty cents on the dollar was ratified. The demands of the powerful Patrons of Husbandry resulted in the Granger Law of 1871, regulating fares, charges, and other policies of the railroads. Stringent but ineffective, this law was followed by a second in 1874. A year later, however, a new law, much less drastic, permitted the roads to operate without severe legal restraint. A decision of the United States Supreme Court in 1876 nevertheless fully confirmed the disputed right of the legislature to regulate the railroads as "common carriers."

  94. Woman suffrage made its first appearance on the Minnesota horizon in 1875, when a constitutional amendment gave women the right to hold office and vote in school affairs. In 1898 these provisions were extended to include public libraries.

  95. General chaos in the administration of public funds led to the creation in 1878 of the office of public examiner, whose duties are now performed by the department of banking and the State comptroller.

  96. Other early acts of the legislature included establishment in 1901 of the first compulsory primary election law applicable to an entire State, and regulation of campaign and election procedure, culminating in the Corrupt Practices Acts of 1895 and 1912.

  97. Minnesota, one of the first States to discuss administrative reorganization, delayed the adoption of such a plan until 1925, when the commission of administration and finance was established. The commission is popularly known as the Big Three and controls State records, budgets, purchases, and the erection of State buildings.

  98. From the time when a generous Congress granted Minnesota two sections of land in each township for school purposes instead of the customary one, the schools of the State have been well endowed. Minnesota has the largest public trust fund of any State in the Union with the single exception of Texas. The greatest source of this fund is the Mesabi Range where the State owns land on which 27 opened iron mines are situated. Under the constitution, the principal of the fund is inviolate, and only the interest can be used for the purpose of the original grant.

  99. Indictment of the officers of a newly organized regional milk-distributing agency resulted in the co-operative laws of 1919, protecting co-operative organizations and regulating their operations.

  100. The State board of health, established in 1872 (the third of its kind in the Union), and the State board of control, which in 19O1 took over all charitable and correctional functions, were among Minnesota's early efforts in the field of social legislation. The Child Labor Law of 1909 was followed by a minimum wage act for women and minors in 1913; a still larger advance in child welfare legislation occurred in 1917, when the legislature enacted 37 laws for the protection of children. The first Minnesota Workmen's Compensation Law was enacted in 1913. The office of public health nurse was created in 1919; the Minnesota General Hospital was founded in 1921, and the psychopathic hospital was authorized two years later. Additional child welfare legislation regulated the employment of children in street trades, theaters, and other public amusements.

  101. Outstanding for its long-distinguished service to the State is the Minnesota Historical Society, supported almost entirely by legislative appropriation.

  102. Government is carried on by a bicameral legislature (one of two in the Union elected on a nonpartisan basis), an executive department, and boards and commissions created by the legislature but separate from it. The executive council, composed of the Governor, Secretary of State, State auditor, treasurer, and attorney general, enjoys considerable power between legislative sessions.

  103. One hundred and thirty-one members of the house of representatives are elected for 2-year terms, during which they receive salaries of $1,000. The senate numbers 67 members who are elected for 4-year terms and are paid $1,000 per biennial session. The Governor, elected every 2 years, receives a $7,000 yearly salary. He is commander of the State militia and possesses veto power in addition to the usual powers of the chief executive. Other State officers are Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, treasurer, and attorney general. All are elected for 2-year terms. Three members of the railroad and warehouse commission are elected for 6-year terms.

  104. The judicial department is composed of the supreme court, district courts, courts of probate, justices of the peace, and such other inferior courts as may be established by the legislature. Important State boards and commissions whose officers are appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the senate, include the commission of administration and finance; department of agriculture, dairy, and food; department of commerce; board of control (in charge of State institutions); department of education; department of health; department of highways; historical society; department of labor and industry; and the department of taxation.

  105. The 87 counties are governed by local county boards of five members, one of whom is chosen chairman. Exceptions are St. Louis County which, because of its size, has seven commissioners, and Ramsey County which has six, although it is the smallest in the State. The usual county officers include an auditor, treasurer, register of deeds, sheriff, attorney, judge of probate, surveyor, coroner, clerk of court, superintendent of schools, and in many places a court commissioner.

  106. Of the 96 municipalities now classified as cities, 24 operate under special charters or general acts and 72 under home rule charters. The State is unique in that the cities constituting the home rule group comprise approximately one-fourth of all the cities in the United States operating in this manner. Only 18 States have any home rule cities and in not one of the others does the number even approach Minnesota's.

  107. Municipalities were given constitutional home rule by a constitutional amendment approved in 1898, which granted them the power to frame, adopt, and amend their own charters while remaining "consistent with and subject to the laws of this State." The consensus is that home rule has in no sense impaired State interests but has in fact promoted local welfare through the facility with which it provides for the enactment of special laws designed to meet local needs.

  108. To become a home rule municipality the city must draw up a charter. This may be none other than the old charter with a few minor alterations. Then it must be adopted by four-sevenths of all voters. Several villages have advanced to the status of a city by the adoption of such charters. For a charter amendment a three-fifths vote is required. There are now 639 incorporated villages in the State.

  109. Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth, the three cities of the first class (those with more than 50,000 inhabitants), have home rule charters. The list also includes two of the second class, St. Cloud and Rochester (20,000 to 50,000 inhabitants), all seven of the third class (10,000 to 20,000), and 59 of the 82 fourth-class cities (10,000 inhabitants or less). Five cities, Anoka, Albert Lea, Columbia Heights, Morris, and White Bear Lake, operate under the city manager form of government; 16 under the commission form; and the remainder under the mayor-council form. Of the three largest cities, Minneapolis alone has mayor-council government. Two cities occupy odd positions in legal classifications: Belle Plaine enjoys the distinction of being the only borough in the State refusing to reincorporate as a city, and Hibbing, with a population of 15,000, is still known as a village--the largest in the State.

  110. The State legislature may provide general laws relating to affairs of cities in all four population groups.


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