Ramsey County History magazine offers a wide variety of articles on the people, places and history of Ramsey County.
Volume 1, Number 1: Spring 1964
Sod Shanty on the Prairie: Story of a Pioneer Farmer
Author: William L. Cavert
A brief recounting of some basic facts about the Gibbs family and their house and farm. Heman and Jane Gibbs came to St. Paul in April 1849 and quickly moved onto the 160 acres in Rose Township that they had acquired by claim. For Jane it was a return to Minnesota; she had grown up with missionaries to the Dakota near Lake Calhoun. Their first house was mostly underground and mostly sod. He farmed, she hunted and fished. In 1867–1869 Jane and Heman built the farmhouse that in 1949 became a museum.
PDF of Cavert article.
‘…Conclude It My Duty to Enlist & Therefore Enlisted…:’ The Diary of a Civil War Soldier
Author: Hal E. McWethy
Newell Burch joined the Union army in August of 1862 in Jamestown, New York. Slightly wounded at Chancellorsville and captured at Gettysburg, he spent the rest of the war a prisoner in Virginia and then Andersonville, Georgia. He kept a diary, which he later added to and revised. Burch moved to Minnesota many years later. This article, extracts from the diary plus editorial enlargement, came from his son-in-law. The excerpts deal with camp life, his capture, and then life in prison. At Andersonville, Burch suffered from illness, injury, and the terrible conditions before being released on April 21, 1865. The original diary is at the Minnesota Historical Society.
PDF of McWethy article.
Wolves, Indians, Bitter Cold …: A Fur Trader’s Perilous Journey
Daniel Hunt came to St. Anthony, Minnesota, in 1857 and, like so many others, engaged in the fur trade. He served in the Civil War, married, and settled in St. Paul, where he lived until his death in 1891. In the winter of 1859 Hunt traveled by dog sled from Fort Garry in Canada to St. Anthony, a three-week journey that he described in his diary and in a letter written thirty years later. It was a very hard trip. Hunt ran into cold, heavy snow, illness, fire, an encounter with an angry Ojibwe; he also hired, and then held by force, an Ojibwe boy as a guide. The original diary and letter are at Ramsey County Historical Society.
PDF of FurTrader article.
St. Paul’s Municipal Forest and Its 50 Years of Growth
Author: John H. Allison Sr.
In the spring of 1914, the University of Minnesota’s Department of Forestry and the Saint Paul Water Department undertook to create a pine and spruce forest near Lake Vadnais. The initiators of this project believed that woodlands would contribute to the purity of the city’s water supply. This project eventually became the John H. Allison Forest. The author, for whom the forest was named, recounts how the project came about.
PDF of Allison article.