Time to reveal how last week’s five Morrison County Influentials were influential. To refresh your memory (and mine!), here are numbers 11-15:
11. Captain Napolean Jackson Tecumseh Dana
12. Henry M. Rice
13. James Green
14. Captain John Blair Smith Todd
15. John Irvine
These men were all partners in building the first dam and sawmill at the “small falls” in Little Falls in 1849. The waterfall was located where the current Little Falls dam is now located. The first dam is often called the James Green dam. From what we can gather of the historical record, James Green was the sweat equity for the dam and sawmill. He was the on-site man in charge of operations. The other men in the partnership were primarily investors in the project, but some of them had ulterior motives.
Henry M. Rice, who was behind a number of large early Minnesota projects, was a major player in a treaty that established a Winnebago Indian reservation on the west side of the Mississippi River in central Minnesota. The reservation was bordered by the Long Prairie, Crow Wing, Watab and Mississippi Rivers. The Winnebago were moved into this area from Iowa. The Winnebago were brought in to serve as a buffer between the warring Ojibwe and Dakota Indians. Because the Winnebago didn’t appreciate being in the middle of things, a fort was planned to offer them some protection.
The construction of the fort was probably the primary motive for the dam and sawmill. Captains Todd and Dana, on the list of Influentials, were military officers who were stationed in this area. Captain Todd, for whom Todd County was named, was the first commander of the fort, which was originally called Fort Gaines, but soon became Fort Ripley. Captain Todd later became governor of Dakota Territory (1869-1871). Captain Dana later served as a Brigadier General during the Civil War.
Other than being a co-partner and investor in the dam and sawmill project, little is known about how else John Irvine contributed to the Morrison County area. He did, however, plat the Irvine Park neighborhood in St. Paul in 1849, along with Henry Rice.
There was one other co-partner in the first dam and sawmill who didn’t get listed last week, so we’ll make him number 16:
16. Allan Morrison
He was influential in another way, so we’ll let you chew on that for the next week. Here are the rest of this week’s Morrison County Influentials:
17. William Morrison
18. James Fergus
19. Calvin Tuttle
20. William Sturgis