Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Census of a New Town

1857 Minnesota Territorial Census of St. Vincent...
[Click to see larger image]
The above image is of the actual 1857 census of my hometown.  If you look at the enlarged image, you will note it says that at this time, the town existed in the "...County of Pembina, Territory of Minnesota." Kittson County did not exist yet.

That year was a momentous year for St. Vincent.  It was the year it was FIRST incorporated.  First, because it was incorporated twice. 

Recently, that was brought to my attention.  Then, when going through my posts-in-draft, I found one from July 2007 that said the same thing - here I had 'known' the original dates of incorporation and had forgotten over the past three years, getting sidetracked with other stories.  Right now, for instance, I have over 140 posts in draft, which is typical of this blog - there is always PLENTY to write about - the problem is finding the time to research and write about it all.  I think people would be surprised at how rich the history of a small town can be, but you shouldn't be.  Real life has a way of providing plenty to talk - and write - about...

ST. VINCENT Township, organized March 19, 1880, is opposite Pembina, N.Dak. Its name had been earlier given, before 1860, to a post of fur traders here, in honor of the renowned St. Vincent de Paul, founder of missions and hospitals in Paris, who died September 27, 1660, at the age of 80 years. The city [of St. Vincent] in sections 2 and 11, located on the site of an XY Fur Company trading post, was incorporated as a village on May 23, 1857, and again on March 8, 1881; it had a station of the Great Northern Railway in section 2, and at St. Vincent Junction in section 6; its post office began in 1878. - Minnesota Place Names: A Geographical Encyclopedia, by Ward Upham1
It's just a theory of mine, but I bet the reason that St. Vincent incorporated in 1857, is because they knew the [Minnesota] territory was organizing to become a state, which it eventually did the following year.  It was preparing to position itself as a town with potential, a town that had something to offer new settlers coming into the area. 

1 - From what I can tell, Mr. Upham is a well-regarded geologist, so a trustworthy source.  Which led me to wonder why Humboldt celebrated their centennial in 2007, when according to Upham, it shouldn't be until 2019...?

HUMBOLDT, a city in sections 23 and 26 of St. Vincent Township, was incorporated as a village on September 29, 1919; its post office was established as Fairview in 1889, changing to Humboldt in 1896, a name selected possibly to honor the many former German stockholders of the Great Northern Railway when it was completed in 1878, or to commemorate Baron Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), an eminent German scientist and author, who in 1799 to 1804 traveled in South America and Mexico.