Ramsey County History Magazine: Volume 38-1 Spring 2003

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

Volume 38

Volume 38 Number 1: Spring 2003

Sitting Bull and His 1884 Visit to St. Paul: ‘A Shady Pair’ and an ‘Attempt on His Life’
Authors: Mark Diedrich, adapted by Paul D. Nelson
Sitting Bull, a symbol of Native American resistance, once came to St. Paul, an event not well covered in local newspapers. The Lakota agent at Standing Rock Reservation, who was coming to the city to make purchases, asked the famed Indian leader to accompany him, probably to try to “acculturate” him. Sitting Bull’s objectives in coming were to learn about the white world and to make a case for immediate government help for his people. He arrived on May 14, 1884 and visited many places, including the Cathedral of St. Paul, Indian Mounds Park, a telephone company, and Ft. Snelling. While most residents were curious, there were many who felt the man was still an enemy. Sitting Bull returned again in September, on his way to New York, and there may have been an attempted assassination of him.
PDF of Diedrich article

The St. Paul Fireman Who Rose to Command the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment at Gettysburg
Author: Patrick Hill
Captain Wilson Farrell of Company C of the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry had been a member of a volunteer company at one of St. Paul’s small fire stations. He served as a young man in the war with Mexico and came to St. Paul in 1856. The First Minnesota was in the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863 and held the line at a huge cost. During the battle the officer in command fell and Farrell had to take over. Unfortunately, it was not for long. He was mortally wounded by a rifle shot to the head and was buried for a time at Gettysburg. His local Odd Fellows lodge brothers retrieved his remains and brought them to Oakland Cemetery where he rests next to his wife.
PDF of Hill article

The Volunteer Hook and Ladder Company
Author: Virginia Brainard Kunz
This is a short article on Wilson Farrell’s Pioneer Hook and Ladder Company, which was established in 1854. Like other groups of this type, its members were elected and had to buy their own ladders, buckets, and rope. Arson, prompted by the desire to loot, was a frequent cause of fires that this hook and ladder company had to extinguish.
PDF of Kunz article

Oakland Cemetery and Its First 150 Years—Pioneers, Politicians, the Public Share These Grounds,
Author: Arthur W. (Chip) Lindeke III
The Oakland Cemetery Association was formed on June 24, 1853. The cemetery is the resting place for many famous people including Alexander Ramsey and Henry Sibley. In 1884, it incorporated the Christ Episcopal Cemetery and in 1904 took over the Zion Cemetery. The site now covers a hundred acres between Jackson, Sylvan, Magnolia and Sycamore streets. The Cemetery Association hired architect Horace Cleveland to design Oakland Cemetery after its expansion.
PDF of Lindeke article

Roots with the English—St Paul’s First German Methodist Church
Author: Helen Miller Dickison
The First German Methodist Church of St. Paul was founded in 1852, a time when German immigration to Minnesota was soaring. In that year the congregation built a church on Sixth Street between Broadway and today’s Wall Street. By 1858, they needed a larger building and constructed one abutting the older one. They also bought land in Woodbury for camp meetings. The congregation used the Methodist model of study classes and had “admonishers” who warned parishioners of lapses in Christian behavior. The congregation moved again into a new church on Olive and Eleventh in 1892 that was designed by Cass Gilbert. It contained a splendid organ. Services in the new building gradually transitioned from being conducted in German to English. For many years the congregation struggled to pay off its debt for the building and over time parishioners came to dislike the changes happening to the neighborhood around the building. When a railroad agreed to buy the church and land, the congregation moved again, this time to Fairmount and Saratoga streets where it has worshipped since 1917.
PDF of Dickison article

Growing Up in St. Paul: ‘Homer Van Meter, a Member of the Karpis Gang, Was Shot Across the Street from Our House’
Author: Bernice Fisher
The author grew up at 193 West University Avenue. One of her vivid memories was when Homer Van Meter, a member of the Dillinger gang, was shot to death across the street from her house. Memories of the Depression are included in this article as well as her thoughts about residents of a nearby boarding house that were a part of her life. The author considered the two most important things in her life were the Capitol Drug Store on the corner and a hamburger place on Rice Street. She and her mother went everywhere on the streetcar to shop, to attend one of several different movie theaters, or to venture to Minneapolis. Because religion was important part of her family life, she attended St. Louis Church and learned to read French.
PDF of Fisher article

PDF of Letters to the Editor