Grant County, Minnesota

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Early History

History of Douglas and Grant Counties, Minnesota; Their People, Industries, and Institutions.
CONSTANT LARSON, editor-in-chief. In two volumes.
Minnesota History Bulletin, Volume 2 by Theodore Christian Blegen, Minnesota Historical Society, 1917-1918 – Transcribed by AFOFG TK

The histories proper of the two counties are made up of intermingled historical narratives, statistical material, and accounts descriptive of present-day conditions. Of special interest to students of Minnesota history are the portions which deal with the situation in this region at the time of the Sioux outbreak of 1862 and with the process of organizing the counties. The former accounts furnish an admirable illustration of the double effect of the Indian war in retarding and in advancing settlement. In the matter of county organization a number of interesting features are brought out. Each county was created at a time when there were few, if any, settlers in that part of the territory. Douglas County was created in 1858, the very year in which permanent settlement began. The next year, however, according to this account, "a move was started to organize Douglas for administrative purposes . . . and an election was held. . . . Not all of the settlers were willing thus to assume the responsibilities of government and it is narrated that only a few voted. The returns of the election therefore were not recognized by the authorities and the election was held to be void. . . . Not long after," the governor, under legislative authorization, appointed a board of commissioners, who, in turn, appointed a register of deeds, a sheriff, and a probate judge. "This organization was maintained until the time of the Indian outbreak, when it . . . was abandoned and all records that had been made were lost." It was not until 1866 that a permanent and complete organization was effected. Grant County, created in 1868, was first fully organized in 1873. The governor had previously appointed three county commissioners, and it is said that "in 1872, Peter N. Smith and Henry Secor, two lawyers from Otter Tail county, came down and induced the county commissioners to appoint a full set of officers, with Secor as auditor and Smith as county attorney. These officers evidently never held their positions legally, as they left no official record, and their presence here is known only through tradition.

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