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:

September 2017

BIOS: (All bios are from Arthur P. Rose's The History of Yellow Medicine County 1914)- Halvor S. Berg, Charles Friberg, Henry Hill, Mathias Jenson, Herman Milbradt, Gorham Powers, O. E. Stevens



August 2017

HISTORY: Burton Township, Echo Township, Florida Township, Fortier Township, Friendship Township, Hammer Township, Hazel Run Township, Norman Township, Omro Township, Oshkosh Township, Posen Township, Sioux Agency Township, Swede Prairie, Tyro Township, Wergeland Township, (many early settlers named in all)



July 2017 (All items from Arthur P. Rose's The History of Yellow Medicine County 1914- more bios coming soon!)

BIOS: Joseph Fortier, Ole Iverson, Henry Mooney, George Olds, John Swenson, John Winter

HISTORY: Lisbon Township, Minnesota Falls Township, Normania Township, Otis Township, Sandnes Township, Stony Run Township, Wood Lake Township (many early settlers named in all townships)


May 2017

BIOS: L. W. Olson, John Purington, F. Robson, Lorenzo Satchwell, Daniel Smith, Henry T. Sowl, O. J. Swan, H. N. Tibbils



March 2017

BIOS: A. H. Cook, R. B. Cooley, S. A. Hall, J. F. Hannah

HISTORY: Wood Lake



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


Prior Updates


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North Dakota -- South Dakota -- Minnesota -- Wisconsin -- Michigan

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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