Welcome to Nobles County GenWeb
Page updated: Wednesday, 04-Feb-2015 04:47:02 MST
Nobles County was first occupied by the Sisseton Sioux. The first white man to set foot on the land was Joseph Nicollet who came to map out the area in 1842. Nicollet named Lake Okabena (there were two Lake Okabenas at the time), Lake Ocheda, East and West Graham Lake and the Kanaranzi Creek.
The first settlement was near Graham Lakes in 1846. Nobles County was established May 23, 1857, and organized October 27, 1870. The county was named for William H. Nobles, who was a member of the Minnesota territorial legislature in 1854 and 1856. In the autumn of the latter year he began the construction of a wagon road for the U.S. government, crossing southwestern Minnesota and Nobles County, to extend from Fort Ridgely to the South Pass in the Rocky Mountains. This work was continued in 1857 but was not completed. Nobles County was created by the Minnesota Legislature on May 23, 1857, just before the full force of the Panic of 1857 was felt. Settlers were further discouraged from coming by the Spirit Lake Massacre of 1857. In this incident, a band of Sioux ruthlessly murdered settlers in Spirit Lake and along the Des Moines River in Jackson and Cottonwood Counties. The few whites in the area were understandably reluctant to stay.