Ramsey County History Magazine Volume 56-1 Spring 2021

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

A Fort Snelling History Mystery: The Lost Barracks and the Twenty-Fifth US Infantry Regiment
Author: Matt Flueger
Historic Fort Snelling celebrated its bicentennial in 2020. After 200 years, it’s not surprising that a lot has been written about this place, which still stands today on a bluff at the convergence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers. Despite all of the books, articles, and documentaries that have been produced about the military garrison, its role in US wars, and in decisions that affected the lives of the Dakota and a number of enslaved people in the nineteenth century, there are still untold histories to be shared. Author Matt Flueger presents an account of a “lost barracks” that stood for no more than a decade in the late 1800s and was quickly forgotten. And yet, it was home to a number of soldiers stationed at the fort between 1878 and 1888, including the members of the African American Twenty-Fifth US Infantry Regiment, who lived there the longest. Flueger’s work and discovery of a previously unknown photograph enhances the fort’s long history.
PDF of M. Flueger article

Historical Sleuthing: Solving the Mysteries of Fort Snelling through Archaeology
Author: Jeremy L. Nienow

As a related write up to Matt Flueger’s “The Lost Barracks and the Twenty-Fifth US Infantry Regiment” article, author Jeremy Nienow shares a short history about the archaeological work at Fort Snelling over many decades. Nienow explains how traditional excavation techniques and emerging high-tech methods have helped archaeologists uncover information that has continuously revealed more about the fort and helped the Minnesota Historical Society develop the historic site. As MNHS prepares to open a new visitor center in an old 1904 barracks in 2022, it’s clear that there are more mysteries to be solved—excavations that revealed unexpected artifacts, a previously unknown building, evidence of a fire, and the location of a long “lost barracks.” And the work continues. As Nienow says in his article, “There is always another shovel test to be placed at Fort Snelling.”
PDF of J. Nienow article

Correcting Mystery and Myth:  Not Everything You’ve Heard About Pig’s Eye Parrant is True
Author: Matt Goff
Most any St. Paul native is familiar with a character in local history named Pig’s Eye. The man lived in and around what would eventually become St. Paul, Minnesota, on and off from 1829 to 1844. This unflattering nickname was bestowed upon Pierre Parrant by early residents and historians. There’s not a lot of concrete information about the supposedly unpleasant bootlegger. Yet, over nearly two centuries, many have been taught to believe that the city was first named Pig’s Eye, and Mr. Parrant was, indeed, its “first resident.” A third story tells of Parrant’s loss of property through a footrace at the behest of a local justice of the peace. Author Matt Goff has been fascinated with these tales for years—and after extensive research, he argues that these three well-known Pig’s Eye stories are just that—stories—that should be corrected and acknowledged in the city’s long and rich history.
PDF of M. Goff article

Spring 2021 Book Reviews