History of Anoka County, Minnesota

In the preparation of this volume information has been supplied from so many sources that to specify a few would seem to be invidious. Old settlers who are still resident and many who are now dead or who have removed elsewhere, have given many hours of their time to going over the facts within their knowledge. Files of old newspapers of St. Paul, St. Anthony and Minneapolis, as well as those of Anoka, have been consulted with considerable care, and have been invaluable in fixing dates. Thanks are due to the librarian and assistants of the Minnesota Historical Society and of the Minneapolis Public Library for their uniform courtesy in furnishing necessary books and newspaper files. Valuable information has been supplied by Capt. S.P. Folsom, of St. Paul, and by Daniel Stanchfield, C.D. Dorr, Colonel Francis Peteler, and the late Colonel John H. Stevens, of Minneapolis. Thanks are also due to Mrs. George H. Wyman and Mrs. I.A. Caswell for the articles contributed by them on the Philolectian Society and the Public Library, respectively. The task of collecting biographical sketches has proven to be one involving an immense amount of labor. No doubt many names have been omitted which are quite as worthy of mention as those which have been included, but this has been due in large part to the neglect in supplying us with the necessary information on the part of those to whom blanks were sent. Nevertheless, the sketches here given are believed to be fairly representative of the people of the county, past and present. Those who have aided the enterprise by subscription will have the satisfaction of knowing that their assistance has made possible the preservation in permanent form of the early annals, as well as the early pictures, before they should have been wholly lost or destroyed.


Table of Contents

Chapter I, Prehistoric 1
The First White Men 3

Chapter II, Carver and Pike 13
The Battle of Rum River 19

Chapter III, The First House 23

Chapter IV, Traders and Prospectors 37
The First Colony 43
Permanent Settlement 45

Chapter V, Naming the Town 51
The First Store 57
Another Indian Battle 62

Chapter VI, Prosperity in "Fifty-five" 65
The First Fourth of July Celebration 68
A Period of Speculation 75

Chapter VII, The Panic of "Fifty-seven" 79
Ginseng 87

Chapter VIII, The Last Indian Battles 89
Political 93
A Tilt with King Alcohol 94
Beginning of the Civil War 97
The Eighth Regiment 101

Chapter IX. Returning Prosperity 105
Farming in Anoka County 107
Reclaiming Marsh Land 110
Education 113
Crime 118

Chapter X, City of Anoka 120
The Philolectian Society, by Mrs. George H. Wyman 141
The Anoka Public Library, by Mrs. I.A. Caswell 146
Town Organizations 155
Champlin 170
Dayton 175

Chapter XI. Biographical 177


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The ancient inhabitants of North America generally known as Mound Builders have left numerous traces of their existence in Anoka county and vicinity, but among these there are no ruined fortifications, such as exist in some parts of the country. This would seem to indicate the absence of enemies and perhaps a somewhat sparse population. Where the population was denser, as along the Mississippi a few hundred miles farther south, there have been found some elaborate defensive works.