To Lareau Web Parlour
St. Paul - the Beginnings
Home to thousands of Native Americans for centuries, the earliest known name for St. Paul is that which it was called by the Indians: IM-IN-I-JA SKA, which, translated into English means "White Rock", it's name having been taken from the high limestone bluffs in the area. In 1819, the sound of soldiers and construction first disturbed the silence of the forest and rivers at the confluence of the Minnesota and the Mississippi
rivers. The imposing gray walls of Fort Snelling soon overlooked the rivers from a vantage point high
above on the steep cliffs. It wouldn't be long before the inevitable squatters camp grew up in the
shadow of the fort, and the thriving community of Mendota grew nearby. And the original inhabitants,
as everywhere else in the New World, would be shunted off to find new homes wherever the
invading Europeans would allow them to settle.
Soon, the more privileged military officers and the residents of Mendota, became disturbed at the life style of the
residents of the squatters camp, most of whom were refugees from the ill-fated Selkirk Colony in
Manitoba. They were especially disturbed about the activities of a notorious, though popular, retired
fur trapper whose talents had been turned to moonshining, Pierre "Pig's Eye" Parrant. The whiskey trade
quickly infuriated the straight-laced Major Talliaferro, Ft. Snelling's Indian Agent, who soon issued a proclamation banishing
the squatters from lands controlled by the Fort. This forced them to move down the river to the northeast, just outside the Fort's
This site, then known as Fountain Cave, was located near what is now in the southern part of St. Paul, Minnesota. A small
monument today marks a spot on the riverbank near where the small group settled. Soon after they set up their new squatter
camp, Major Taliaferro decided they were not quite far enough out of his sight, extended the jurisdiction of the Fort to include
the Fountain Cave site, and sent his soldiers to burn the new encampment. The settlers were again forced to move further
down the river, this time settling on the north bank in what is now part of downtown St. Paul.
Who? Where? What?
It is the intent of this site to provide an alphabetical guide to the persons, the places, and the things that
loom important in the history of this interesting city. We're concentrating here on the years immediately leading
up to the incorporation of St. Paul in 1849. This includes the colorful period when our town as known as Pig's Eye,
Lambert's Landing, and finally St. Paul. This is when Pig's Eye Parrant's tavern was the watering hole for rivermen
serving on Louis Robert's steamboats, and the population consisted of fur trappers, Native Americans, discharged
soldiers, and lots of other folks with itchy feet and lofty dreams. The muddy swamp they settled is today one of the most pleasant
and liveable cities in the United States. Hopefully, this document will encourage the reader to pick up one of the
many fine books on the history of the capital city of Minnesota.
Select a Volume
Sources / Bibliography
- HB - Hiebert, Gareth D. (ed.). Little Canada: A Voyageur's Vision. Stillwater (MN), Croixside Press, ©1989.
- HG - Hage, George S. Newspapers on the Minnesota Frontier 1849-1860. St. Paul, Minnesota Historical Society, ©1967.
- IP - A Brief History of the Irvine Park District. St. Paul, Historic Irvine Park Association, nd.
- KO - Kane, Lucile M. & Alan Ominsky. Twin Cities: A Pictorial History of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. St. Paul, Minnesota Historical Society, ©1983.
- KU - Kunz, Virginia Brainerd. The Mississippi and St. Paul. St. Paul, Ramsey County Historical Society, ©1987.
- KZ - Kunz, Virginia Brainerd. St. Paul: Saga of an American City, Woodland Hills (CA), Windsor, ©1977.
- LN - Lanegran, David A. St. Anthony Park: Portrait of a Community. St. Paul, District 12 Community Council, ©1987.
- LP - Larpenteur, A. L. Reminiscences and Recollections of St. Pasul & its People, 1843-1898.
- LR - Lareau, Paul J. & Elmer Courteau. French-Canadian Families of the North Central States. St. Paul, Northwest Territories French & Canadian Heritage Center, ©1980-83.
- MN49 - Minnesota Territorial Census 1849. Minnesota Genealogical Journal, Park Genealogical Books, ©1997.
- MN50 - Minnesota Territorial Census 1850. Minnesota Genealogical Journal, Minnesota Historical Society, ©1972. (Out of Print)
- MP - Minnesota Pioneer - the First Newspaper in St. Paul (Volume & Issue #1).
- RCM - Ramsey County MN Marriage Records.
- SN - Sandeen, Ernest R. St. Paul's Historic Summit Avenue. St. Paul, Macalester College, Living Historical Museum, ©1978.
- WM - Williams, J. Fletcher. A History of the City of Saint Paul to 1875. St. Paul, Minnesota Historical Society, ©1983. (Out of Print)
Special thanks are in order to Al Dahlquist, Minifroggy@aol.com, of Little Canada, MN, a former President of the Minnesota Genealogical Society and expert on Minnesota History who provided hundreds of citations and references especially for the 1849-1850 period, and corrected many errors.
Found errors? Have suggestions? Send us a message right here!
EMAIL - PAUL J. LAREAU - HOME PAGE
135 E Viking Dr #301, Little Canada, MN 55117 (USA)