Thursday, December 09, 2010

Counting Counties

Lake Minnetonka touches two counties. Hennepin County and Carver County. I discovered the Smithtown Bay, Carver County connection while researching Captain Jonathon Carver, a British explorer (born in Connecticut).
I noticed the sharp line Carver County cuts on it's Northern border. Not a natural line,but an arbitrary one decided by a politician or a surveyor.
I do not know... yet.
So how did Minnesota, a State of perhaps 5,000 people in 1850 come to be dividedinto so many counties? I have taken this from the Association of Minnesota Counties:

"When Minnesota became a territory in 1849 its territorial governor, Alexander
Ramsey, proclaimed that the same laws as those existing in Wisconsin would govern the new Minnesota Territory. This, combined with the fact that much of
the migration to Minnesota came through Wisconsin,caused the development of both strong county and town forms of government as had been the case in
Wisconsin, New York and Michigan. The first Minnesota counties were Benton, Isanti, Ramsey Wabasha, and Washington established on October 27, 1849. Three other counties, Mankahto, Pembina and Wahnata were created by Laws 1849 but there is no historical evidence to indicate that they were ever organized - or abolished. Fifty-seven of the present 87 counties were established during the territorial period which ended in 1857. Lake of the Woods County was the last one established in Minnesota. It was created by popular vote from territory that had been part of Beltrami County."

What was/is the thinking behind creating and maintaining 87 separate counties?


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