Welcome to Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota

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A brief history of Yellow Medicine County

          Prior to 1849, Yellow Medicine County, was under federal jurisdiction and was officially known as a part of Wisconsin Territory. At this time the territory was mostly inhabited by the Chippewa Tribe to the north and Dakota Tribe to the south. In 1849, Yellow Medicine became part of Minnesota Territory and was a part of Dakota and Wabasha counties. According to the treaties of 1850, when tribes of the Sioux surrendered title to their lands in Minnesota, a tract of land ten miles wide on each side of the Minnesota River was reserved as Dakota Territory. In 1852, Dr. Thomas Williamson, a medical missionary with the Presbyterian Church, established the Pejuhatazizi Mission. "Pejuhatazizi" is a Dakota name meaning "Yellow Medicine", the name of a plant used by the Dakota for medicinal purposes and where the county name originates.The government established the Upper Sioux Agency in 1854 in what is now Sioux Agency Township. During the Sioux Uprising of 1862, the Agency, missions, and several white settlements were destroyed and as a result of the uprising the Dakota lands were declared forfeit. Consequently, white settlement began again in 1865. At this time Yellow Medicine was a part of Redwood County, MN. The early settlers were largely Scandinavian and German with smaller concentrations of English, Irish, Czech, and Bohemian.

          Yellow Medicine County was created by a legislative act on March 6, 1871. A board of three commissioners met on January 1, 1872 in Yellow Medicine City, which became the first county seat. In the spring of 1874, Granite Falls became the county seat and the first courthouse, containing a court room and three small offices, was completed on the site of the present jail. In 1888, this building was replaced with a two story stone structure which still acts as the court house today on Ninth Avenue in Granite Falls. Twenty-one townships and ten communities were established in the new county between 1871 and 1890. The communities include Granite Falls, Canby, Clarkfield, Wood Lake, Echo, Hanley Falls, Porter, Hazel Run, St. Leo, and Burr. A Dakota settlement of about 150 people is located three miles south of Granite Falls. Each community is authentic and has its own rich history to portray to their visitors.

(Source: http://www.co.ym.mn.gov/ )


Upper Sioux Community

The Upper Sioux Community is  located in Minnesota Falls Township along the Minnesota River.The land has been the homeland to the Dakota Oyate Nation for thousands of years. Following the U.S./Dakota Conflict of 1862 the Dakota were either exterminated, forcibly removed to reservations located somewhere else, or voluntarily fled to avoid harm. In 1938, 746 acres of original Dakota lands in Minnesota were returned to the tribe and the Upper Sioux Community came into existence. Total land currently stands at 1,440 acres. In 1990, The Upper Sioux Community became a sovereign nation.

To read The Upper Sioux Community's full history, please follow this link: Upper Sioux Community Pezihutazizi Oyate History

Contact Information: 5722 Travers Lane, PO Box 147, Granite Falls, MN 56241    Phone: 320-564-3853

(Source: Upper Sioux Community and Wikipedia)


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County Information

Founded March 6, 1871
Parent County: Redwood

Seat: Granite Falls
Largest city: Granite Falls

Townships Cities

Burton Township
Echo Township
Florida Township
Fortier Township
Friendship Township
Hammer Township
Hazel Run Township
Lisbon Township
Minnesota Falls Township
Norman Township
Normania Township

Omro Township
Oshkosh Township
Otis Township
Posen Township
Sandnes Township
Sioux Agency Township
Stony Run Township
Swede Prairie Township
Tyro Township
Wergeland Township
Wood Lake Township

Granite Falls (part)
Hanley Falls
Hazel Run
St. Leo
Wood Lake

A small part of Granite Falls extends into Chippewa County

*Former and current townships and cities are included in this list


Online Data

Website Updates:

December 2016

BIOS: G. Halvorson, Ole Heimark, Lewis E. Larsen, Timan Lee, N. J. Nelson, Ole Olson, Theodore Stoltenberg

HISTORY: Lisbon Township



November 2016

BIOS: D. W. Sherman, E. H. Sorlien, Andrew Steele, James Walker, S. M. Yearly

OBITS: Ludwig Gunderson, Myrtle Haugen, T. R. "Ray" Mauland



October 2016

BIOS: George S. Johnson, Peter Kelehan, J. F. Langmaid, George L. Letts, B. H. Monroe, J. Q. Parke

CRIME NEWS: Mrs. John Purvis



Septembe 2016

BIOS: A. Buffum, Scott Bundy, Lewis Dibble, Joseph Doncaster, A.O. Dotseth, T.C. Ellingson, Joseph Falkingham, Halvor Gullikson, John Kise, Osmend Knutson, I. Kolhei, O. L. Lovsner, M. T. Myhre, Robias Reishus, Reier Swendson

HISTORY: Minnesota Falls Township, Normania Township


August 2016

HISTORY: Otis Township and Granite Falls (many pioneers, early settlers, and businesses named)



July 2016

NEWS- LOCAL HAPPENINGS: October 3, 1935 (Tyro, Omro-Tyro, Hazel Run township, Hazel Run)- many names!



June 2016

CHURCH NEWS: parishes of St. Leo and Canby 1901-Rev. A. Rinke and Rev. Rand, Rev. E. E. Findsley 1901

NEWS- LOCAL HAPPENINGS: O. S. Reishus 1895, New land owners 1902 (many names)

NEWS-VISIT/TRAVEL/RELOCATION: W. W. Dunning, Jacob Klossner Jr., John Parker, N. P. Rodnas



MAY 2016

NEWS- BUSINESS: Drying plant and Elevator Company (1956)

NEWS- LOCAL HAPPENINGS: 1935 Clarkfield Advocate (and surrounding areas)

PHOTOS- Spring Creek Church confirmation class mid-1930's



APRIL 2016

NEWS- CLUBS & LODGES: American Legion Auxiliary

NEWS- POLITICAL:1935 Clarkfield Commissioner election


OBITS/DEATH NOTICES:Gregory Brandt, Bennie O. Dyrdahl, Grace Foss, Selmer Foss, Amanda Gullickson, Ragna Gunderson, Melvina Haaland, Myrtle Haaland, Louise Hagren, Elsie Hoffman, Melvin Halvorson, Lewis Rysdahl, Mathilda Rysdahl, Wayne Tongen, Amanda Varpness, Esther Willander




MARCH 2016

BIOS: Dr. Malvin M. Hauge

HISTORY:  Clarkfield Hospital/Town

OBITS/DEATH NOTICES: Raymond Peter Larson




BIOS: Michael Dowling

CHURCH NEWS: Steve & Marilyn Edmund, Lutheran Brotherhood (I. F. Fagerlie, M. O. Vik, Rev. J. E. Akre, Carl Berg, Oscar Shefveland and Alex Christensen)


Clarkfield Town History: Community Memorial Hospital (Interviews with: Dr. Haug, Mae Christensen, Hallie Vik, Mrs. Neil Larsen), Creamery, Dairy Industry, Dustin' Off Some Old Ones (1894, 1906, 1916, 1926, 1936, 1946), Fire Department, Newspapers, Telephone Company

MILITARY NEWS: Wood Lake battlefield monument

NEWS- BUSINESS: New Bus Line 1946

NEWS- CLUBS & LODGES: Boyscout Troop No. 255 (1956), W.C.T.U.

NEWS-COURT: Fort Totten Indians (Ignatious Court, Aaroon Hoop, J. Sherman and John Wood)

NEWS- FAMOUS:  Gov. Lynn Frazier, I. F. Fagelie

NEWS- ILLNESS/INJURY/SURGERY: Hospital News 1932 (Chester Hayes, Ingvald Lynner , Noble Steffenson, Jim Stroup, Mrs. Charlie Whitemore), Leprosy in Granite Falls


NEWS- MARRIAGE: Eischen-Roles, Haugen-Colston, Johnson-Evjen, Knutson-Friberg

NEWS- MISC: Andrew Anderson, Clarkfield Clothing House, Inga Lynner, Firearms Training Program for Boys & Grils (1956- Many Names), A. T. Olson

NEWS- POLITICAL: County Repubilicans, Farmer-Businessman Party, H. P. Bengston, Stickers (G. O. Homme vs. Oscar C. Snortum), Yellow Medicine County prize for most votes

NEWS- SPORTS:  Clarkfield High School Football All-State Team (Irving Anderson & Odell Swang)

NEWS- WEATHER: Clarkfield, Multiple towns damaged from large storm (many names listed)

OBITS/DEATH NOTICES: Mrs. John Afdem, Emma Hartfiel

SCHOOL: Clarkfield Senior Class Play 1946, Clarkfield School Musical 1946, Farm School, News from 1914 ( Frances Anderson, Minnie Anderson, Orton Anderson, Josie Friberg,  Mrs. Harriet Gordon,Vivian Hulteen, Mildred Kittleson,  Hazel Lein, Evelyn Silver), Radio (Ardine Berkvam, Jr., Allen Larson, James Olson, Galen Wilson, and John Grooters),

PHOTOGRAPHS: Clarkfield Confirmation Class (Circa 1911)

WILLS/PROBATE: William Albert Kelm, Ida F. Priebe, Tilda M. Vig



BIOS: Martin E. Tew

CENSUS: Population 1880

CHURCH NEWS: Norwegian Lutheran Church, Paul Mork, Esther Paulson


MILITARY NEWS: Arlyn Anderson, Leon Anderson, Ward Cornelius, Henry Jacobson Jr., Arden Morland, Robert Nelson, William Smith, Emil Weber, Delmar Willander

MILITARY WAR STORIES: Big Eagle, Mrs. Hayden

NEWS- BUSINESS: Gorden Tailoring, The Northwestern Telephone Company

NEWS- CARDS OF THANKS: Simon Gunderson

NEWS- CLUBS & LODGES: 4H, Clarkfield Lions, Hazel Run Legion & Auxiliary, Prairie Rangers Saddle Club, Spring Creek Homemakers, Swede Prairie Hustlers

NEWS-COURT: Fort Totten Indians (Ingatius Court/Frank DeMars/James Grant), Gov. Burnquist/A.S. Jergenson, Judge G. E. Qvale, Sisseton & Wahpeton Indians/Ignatuis Court

NEWS- CRIME: John J. Wilbur

NEWS- EXECUTIONS: Schwalier/Bassannella

NEWS- ILLNESS/INJURY/SURGERY: Bernhart Allson, Andrew Chesvold, Frank Gensvold, Halvor Hegna, Almyra Hoiland, Maurer, Clinton Paulson, August Wilson

NEWS- FAMOUS: Hon. William Jennings Bryan


NEWS- MARRIAGE: Virginia Berdine and Richard Pratt, Florence Bjorklund and Roy Anderson, Emma Lindstrom and Lewis Johnson

NEWS- MISC: Baker, Mons Bratherg, Thomas Evanson, Halvor Gulickson, Mr. Ide, Ellen Jacobson, Hans P. Moe, John Reese, Thea Rollefson, Ole Stevens, Clarkfield Dry County

NEWS- SPORTS: Corn Husking (several articles)

NEWS- WEATHER: P.O. Haugen Fire

OBITS/DEATH NOTICES: Louise Aanes, Henry Braasch, Simon Erickson, Severin O. Erie, Gunder Gunderson, Lars B. Gunderson, Alvin Hagren, Martin A. Lee, Otto Malkow, Rev. Paul Moen, Iver Olson, Hon. Benjamin F. Pillsbury, Rev. A. L. Riggs, Anna Rodness, Rev. Scheitel, Hilda Weeks

PHOTOGRAPHS: Clarkfield Class of 1912 & 1926, Spring Creek Lutheran Church 1960 (3 photos)

SCHOOL: Annual board meeting


Prior Updates


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Adjacent Counties
Lac qui Parle County (north)
Chippewa County (northeast)
Renville County (east)
Redwood County (southeast)
Lyon County (south)
Lincoln County (southwest)
Deuel County, SD (west)



Places to research geneaology in Yellow Medicine County


  • Property Records Division

    • 180 8th Avenue, Granite Falls, MN  56241

    • Phone: (320) 564-3132

    • Fax: (320) 564-0927

    • Office Hours:  8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday thru Friday, Closed on Holidays


  • Clarkfield Public Library: 812 10th Avenue, Clarkfield, MN 56223                 
    : 320-669-7651

  • Canby Public Library: 110 Oscar Avenue N, Canby, MN 56220                      
    Phone: 507-223-5738

  • Granite Falls Public Library: 155 Seventh Avenue, Granite Falls, MN 56241    
    Phone: 320-564-3738


* Please call businesses above to confirm hours and dates haven't changed before visiting *

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