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Kittson County History


The Indian history of Kittson County dates back to 6500B.C. One of the two known complexes of the Arvilla Indian tribe is locatedimmediately south of the Lake Bronson State Park on CR 10. These moundswere first researched by the late Dr. Jenks, University of Minnesota, andhis field staff in 1936. The other complex is located near Arvilla, NorthDakota.

In early 1976, the Minnesota Historical Society petitionedto have this historic site placed in the Federal Registry.

Other tribes definitely known to have lived in KittsonCounty were the Cree, and later the Sioux and Chippewa entered the regionin their spread northward and east.

A frenchman named La Verendrye, out of Montreal, Canada,discovered the Red River of the North in the year 1734. In 1774, the Hudson'sBay Co. entered the district, setting up a post near Pembina. By 1843, thefamous Red River oxcarts came into use and Norman W. Kittson made use ofthem on a big scale, transporting furs between Pembina and Mendota.

During the years that Minnesota was a territory, 1849 to1858, the area which today is Kittson County did not possess a single villagelarge enough to have a name until St. Vincent was founded in 1857.

During the 1860s, nearly all traffic and communicationswere suspended in consequence of the Indian revolts.

By 1872, the railroad was completed as far north as Moorhead.As soon as word got out that the railroad was coming through, large landcompanies, such as the Ryan-Donaldson interests, went out and gained controlof extensive tracts of land.

In 1878, the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad branch linereached the Canadian border, and in 1879 the county seat of Hallock wasplatted. About the same time, the towns of Kennedy, Donaldson, Humboldt,and Northcote were founded.

The county was first settled by the Scotch, Irish, andEnglish coming down from Canada. The immigrants who came after those largeholdings were taken, were mostly Swedes and Norwegians who had to settlefurther east in the bush country as it was called then. About the same timethe Polish settlers came.

Between 1904 and 1905, the Soo Line Railroad was extendedthrough the eastern part of the county, the last land rush took place, andthe villages of Karlstad, Halma, Bronson, Lancaster and Orleans were founded.

The western part of the county is devoted mostly to grainfarming while the eastern half is more of the diversified type.

A great deal has been accomplished through Federal Agenciesin Kittson County, the largest of these has been the construction of a damat Bronson, which created a reservoir called Lake Bronson.

The lake and state park facilities are enjoyed annuallyby thousands of people from North Dakota, Manitoba, Canada and Minnesota.

Source: Visitors Guide to Kittson County, Published May19, 1999 by the Kittson County Enterprise based on information compiledfrom Kittson County History Book.


TheHistory of Kittson County - by Mrs. Ruth Easton, Mr. N. O. Folland, Mrs.Lillian Lapp, Mrs. Mary McFarland, Mrs. Martha Roberts

Lillian Lapp, Mrs. Mary McFarland, Mrs. Martha Roberts