Anoka County Minnesota
(Indian tongue meaning "on both sides," as it lies on "both sides" of the Rum River)
Andover-Grow Anoka Bethel Blaine Burns Cedar-Oak Grove Centerville Circle Pines
Columbia Heights-Hilltop Columbus Township Coon Creek-Coon Rapids East Bethel
Fridley Ham Lake Lexington Lino Lakes Linwood Ramsey Spring Lake Park Soderville St. Francis
The "ANOKA" Potato The "POOR FARM" "KLINE SANATORIUM"
"THE EIGHTH REGIMENT-1862" "THE PHILOLECTIAN SOCIETY-1890"
"THE ANOKA PUBLIC LIBRARY - 1905"
"LADIES OF THE G.A.R. - FIRST VETERANS HOME IN THE STATE BUILT IN THE CITY OF ANOKA- 1898"
1860 - MANOMIN COUNTY (Fridley, Col. Hgts, Spring Lk. Park) TO SECEDE FROM UNION
A collection of historical sketches and family histories compiled by members
and friends of the Anoka County Historical Society. Published & Copyrighted by
The Anoka County Historical Society
Anoka County, organized on May 23, 1857, almost a
year before Minnesota became a state, is located in the
eastern part of the state, about midway between the
northern and southern boundary limits. It is bounded on
the north by Isanti County, east of Chisago and
Washington Counties, south by Ramsey and Hennepin
Counties and west by Hennepin and Sherburne Counties,
and southwest by the Mississippi River.
The first white men known to have trod the ground that
became the County of Anoka were (about 1680) Father
Louis Hennepin, a Franciscan monk, and two
According to the record kept by Father Hennepin and still
preserved, a band of over 100 Indians captured them
near Lake Pepin and planned to kill them, but finally
decided to keep them for slaves. A few miles below St. Anthony Falls
the canoe of the white men was destroyed and they were compelled to walk the long weary miles
to Mille Lacs Lake where the villages of the Sioux were located. They remained with their captors.
Father Hennepin gave the river, along whose full length they traveled, a more beautiful name than it
now bears. He called it the St. Francis (from which St. Francis Twp. took its name), but it later
became known as the Rum.
Anoka County lies on both sides of the Rum River which enters the county about 20 miles north of
where it enters the Mississippi. The first house in Anoka County was built in 1844 on the east bank
near the mouth of the Rum River by Joseph Belanger, a fur trader in the employ of William
American Fur Company on the upper Mississippi. This building was abandoned as a fur post after
a couple of years but it was used many times, temporarily, by new settlers as one after another
came, established his own home and left the old building for someone else's use.
Other traders came to the post in 1846 and 1847 and a community started to grow as early as 1850 in the neighborhood of Anoka in what is now Ramsey Township. A wooden bridge, the first over the Rum, was built in 1853 and this activity brought people to Anoka. That same year construction of a dam was begun, with logs for the piling being cut near Round Lake and floated down the river. As more settlers came into the area, the community was given the name Anoka from the Indian tongue, meaning "on both sides", or "from both sides", as houses and buildings started rising on both sides of the Rum River.
One of the first acts of the Minnesota Territorial Legislature, which convened in 1849, was the organization of the counties of Washington, Ramsey and Benton. The Rum River was the dividing line between the two latter counties, and so the territory now embraced in Anoka County formed a part of both. In 1856, Sherburne County was detached from Benton and that portion of territory lying east of Sherburne County and west of Rum River was also detached and became a part of Ramsey Co.
By an act of the Legislative Assembly, passed on the 23, May 1857, Anoka Co. was organized with the same boundaries as today with the exception of the southeastern tip of the County. The organization at that time did not include the Twp. of Fridley which was organized the same day as Manomin (or Mahnomen as it was also spelled) County. Manomin county contained the exact lines of the former Twp. of Fridley including Columbia Heights and was organized through an error, intentional or otherwise. On the 12, April 1870, a petition, signed by a majority of voters of Manomin Co., for admission as a township, was presented to the County Commissioners of Anoka County, was granted.
The Governor, Samuel Medary, appointed as the first board of commissioners for Anoka County E.H. Davis, J.P. Austin and Silas O. Lum, with George W. Putnam as clerk. These commissioners met at Anoka and appointed the following county officers: Sheriff, James C. Frost; Treasurer, James M. McGlauflin; Coroner, Jos. C. Varney. Eight townships were created: Anoka, Watertown, Round Lake, Bethel, Columbus, St. Francis, Oak Grove and Centerville. The name Watertown was soon changed to Dover and a little later to Ramsey. There were only three voting precincts, Anoka, St. Francis and Columbus. Round Lake Township was later changed to the Town of Grow.
"SOME FIRST THINGS"
"History of Anoka County" copyright 1905
1. First explorer - Louis Hennepin, 1680
2. First mention of Rum river - By Jonathan Carver, who visited it in 1766.
3. First white residents - Joseph Belanger and associates, 1844
4. First house - A trading post built by Joseph Belanger and associates for William Aitkin, 1844
5. First road - The Red River trail, crossing Rum river at the Upper Ford.
6. First potato crop - Raised by Capt. S.P. Folsom, 1848
7. First corn crop - Raised by William Noot near King's island, 1848
8. First breaking for permanent cultivation - Six acres in front of I.W. Patch's house in the town of
Ramsey. Broken by Cornelius Pitman, 1850.
9. First ferry across Rum river, 1851
10. First ferry across the Mississippi at Anoka - Launched Sept. 11, 1855
11. First bridge across Rum river - Built by Orin W. Rice, 1853
12. First bridge across the Mississippi - Built by Horace Horton, 1884
13. First sermon - Preached at the funeral of Mrs. Penuel Shumway, Jr., in July, 1851
14. First resident clergyman - Rev. Royal Twitchell, who held services in the old trading post where
he lived in 1852
15. First religious organization - A Methodist class organized December 10, 1854
16. First Church - Built by the Congregational Society in 1857. It stood on the present site of
St. Stephens church.
17. First school - Taught by Miss Julia Woodman in the "Old" Company Boarding House,
18. First school house - The "Third Avenue School House" built just south of the present Library
building, fall of 1855
19. First dam on Rum river - Begun about August 1, 1853
20. The first saw mill - Began running in August, 1854. The power was supplied by the Anoka dam.
The same year Charles Peltier built a saw mill in Centreville.
21. First flour mill - Begun about June 1, 1854; completed in January, 1855; burned Feb. 24, 1854
22. First store - That of Edward P. Shaw, built in the spring of 1854. Mr. Shaw sold goods to some extent,
however, at his father's house in the fall of 1853
23. First advertisement of a business concern - That of Edward P. Shaw's store, printed in the
St. Anthony Express, June 17, 1854
24. First singing school - Taught by Josiah F. Clark in the winter of 1855-56
25. First Cornet Band - Organized in 1861. Included in the membership were James Miller,
W.W. Waterman, Harvey F. Blodgett, J.F. Clark, C.H. Houston, L.H. Hubbard, Elias Pratt, N.W.
Curial and W.J Miller
26. First Library Association - Organized about May, 1859
27. First newspaper - Anoka Republican, published by A.C. and E.A. Squire. The first issue appeared
August 25, 1860
28. First white child born in the county - Fernando Shumway, born March 22, 1851. Died March 25, 1900
29. First post office - Established at Itaska in May 1852
30. First post office at Anoka - Established in the winter of 1853
31. First wedding - Harvey Richards and Laura Nichols, in the winter of 1855-56