Ramsey County History Magazine: Volume 13-2 Spring/Summer 1977

Ramsey County History magazine offers a wide variety of articles on the people, places and history of Ramsey County.

Volume 13

Volume 13, Number 2: Spring/Summer 1977

The Plowing of America: Early Farming Around St. Paul
Author: Rodney C. Loehr
An anecdotal piece: a quick summary of early settlement in St. Paul and how people acquired farmland (and the money to buy it.); a description of typical frontier dwellings; the crops grown; dealing with the chronic labor shortage; tools and implements; the use of animals; fencing; heating; dealing with mosquitoes; and amusements. “As one looks back on early Minnesota, one is impressed by the enormous amount of hard work that was necessary to tame the wilderness. Tools were few, machinery was primitive, and energy came from the muscles of humans and animals.”
PDF of Loehr article

Tough Times: The Sometime Fortunes of Boxing in Early Minnesota
Author: Junior Pioneer Association of Ramsey County, Minnesota
“Prize fights were rare in St. Paul during the early days, no doubt because fights could be seen for free on the streets or at the levee almost any day.” The first recorded (and illegal) match was held in 1869. The sport’s popularity grew in the 1870s and ‘80s, and celebrated bouts were held in the metropolitan area, often in the country so as to evade the police. By the mid-1880s regular matches were held openly in downtown St. Paul. In time local fighters of some reputation were developed, many of them Irish. Governor William Merriam put the stop to a Bob Fitzsimmons middleweight championship bout to be held in the city in 1891 and apparently got the Legislature to ban it the next year. That send the sport underground, and for a while wrestling passed it in public interest. The popularity of fighter Mike Gibbons helped revive boxing, and the state ban was lifted in 1915.
PDF of Boxing article

The Not-So-Peaceable Kingdom: Religion in Early St Paul
Author: Dennis Hoffa
St. Paul began as a mostly Catholic village, to the extent that religion was practiced. “The beginnings of Protestantism as a force within the community centered around the establishment of Harriet Bishop’s Sunday School [in 1847].” Many Yankee settlers arrived in the 1840s, bringing with them some anti-Catholic feeling. As the city grew, newly arrived Yankees, northern Germans, and Swedes added to the Protestants; Irish and south Germans increased the ranks of Catholics. By 1850, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians had all organized churches in the city. Lutherans soon followed, with their churches divided ethnically, Swedish and German. Catholics developed “national” churches too. The Jewish religious society was founded in 1856. “From St. Paul’s earliest days, the presence of organized religion in the community has been strong and its influence has to be taken into consideration in the history of the city.”
PDF of Hoffa article

PDF of Board of Directors