Ramsey County History magazine offers a wide variety of articles on the people, places and history of Ramsey County.
Volume 26, Number 3: Fall 1991
The 150th Anniversary of the Naming of the City: St. Paul and the Rush to Settlement—1840 to 1880
Author: Virginia Brainard Kunz
St. Paul’s earliest years recounted by the dean of Ramsey County historians. The essential information and vital characters are all here: Father Galtier, the chapel and the name, Phelan and Hays, Perry and Gervais; Louis Robert, Joe Brown, and Henry Jackson; the creation of Minnesota Territory; Harriet Bishop and Matilda Rumsey, et al. The demographics of settlement are covered, from the ousting of the Dakota through the arrivals of the Germans and Irish, among others; and St. Paul’s growth from swampy hamlet to genuine city, not forgetting the Swedish and Jewish and African-American contributions. Included are the great builders, John Ireland and James J. Hill, statehood and Alexander Ramsey, St. Paul in the Civil War, the beginnings of the local railroad industry. This is an excellent primer for the city’s early history.
PDF of Kunz article
Who WAS Pigs Eye Parrant, Anyway?
Author: Ronald M. Hubbs
Everything that is known about St. Paul’s first settler, in less than two full pages. He was an illiterate, intemperate, ill-mannered and itinerant fur trader and whiskey seller who hung around Fort Snelling for a few years in the mid- to late 1830s. Exiled from the fort in 1838, he occupied two successive claims in what became St. Paul, and gave it its first informal name. By 1845 he was gone.
PDF of Hubbs article
Forgotten Pioneer: Abraham Perry and the Story of His Flock
Author: Patrick R. Martin
The story of early settler Abraham Perry, written by a great-great-great-great grandson. Perry (born Perret) was lured from Switzerland to the Selkirk Colony in Manitoba in 1820. When that failed, he and family came to Fort Snelling. A dozen years later the Perrys and others were expelled from land surrounding the fort and moved downriver near Fountain Cave. They were forcibly moved again in 1840. Perry died in 1849. Son Charles later settled near Lake Johanna in Arden Hills, raised a large family, and lived to 1904. His son William ran a “blind pig” that later turned into a legitimate resort known as Perry’s Beach on Lake Johanna in 1898. “Through the three Perry men, the Perry name has become part of Ramsey County’s heritage.”
PDF of Martin article
What’s Historic About This Site? Highland Park’s Reminder of Its Past: The Davern and Colvin Homes
Author: Robert J. Couser
A profile of neighboring houses in Highland Park built by distinguished St. Paul families. William Davern came to St. Paul from Ireland in 1849. He farmed, became a citizen, served in the legislature, owned Pike Island for a while, and generally prospered. Son William and grandson Joseph became prominent citizens also. The article traces the ownership of and alterations to their 1862 farmhouse. Alexander Colvin came to St. Paul from Canada in 1897. He was chief of surgery at Ancker Hospital from 1919 until his death in 1948. Sarah Tarleton Colvin was a nurse, suffragist, political activist, and member of the state board of education. The Colvins built two houses at 1175 Davern in 1909. “Today the homes of these early citizens serve as distinctive reminders of Highland Park’s past.”
PDF of Historic Site
Noah Adams, Saint Croix Notes: River Mornings, Radio Nights (New York: Norton, 1990).
John R. Borchert, America’s Northern Heartland: An Economic and Historical Geography of the Upper Midwest (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987).
Monica Rangitsch, Good Living Among Good People: A History of North St. Paul (North St. Paul, Minn.: North St. Paul Historical Society, 1991).
PDF of Book Reviews