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Kittson County History

Kittson County's History goes back to 6500 B.C.

The Indian history of Kittson County dates back to 6500 B.C. One of the two known complexes of the Arvilla Indian tribe is located immediately south of the Lake Bronson State Park on CR10. These mounds were first researched by the late Dr. Jenks, University of Minnesota, and his field staff in 1936. The other complex is located near Arvilla, ND.

In early 1976, the Minnesota Historical society petitioned to have this historic site placed in the the Federal Registry.

Other tribes definitely known to have lived in Kittson County were the Cree, and later the Sioux and Chippewa entered the region in the 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's Bay Co. entered the district, setting up a post near Pembina. By 1843, the famous Red River oxcarts came into use and Norman W. Kittson made use of them on a big scale, transporting furs between Pembina and Mendota.

During the years that Minnesota was a territory, 1849 to 1858, the area which today is Kittson County did not possess a single village large enough to have a name until St. Vincent was founded in 1857.

During the 1860's, nearly all traffic and communications were 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 land companies, such as the Ryan-Donaldson interests and the James J. Hill railway interests, went out and gained control of extensive tracts of land.

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

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

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

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

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

The lake and state park facilities are enjoyed annually by thousands of people from North Dakota, Manitoba, Canada, and Minnesota as well.

This information was compiled from Kittson County History Book