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COUNTIES OF THE UNITED STATES
State of Minnesota

How were Minnesota counties named?

County                       County Seat           Population
======                       ===========           ==========
Aitkin County                Aitkin                15,301
Anoka County                 Anoka                 298,084
Becker County                Detroit Lakes         30,000
Beltrami County              Bemidji               39,650
Benton County                Foley                 34,226
Big Stone County             Ortonville            5,820
Blue Earth County            Mankato               55,941
Brown County                 New Ulm               26,911
Carlton County               Carlton               31,671
Carver County                Chaska                70,205
Cass County                  Walker                27,150
Chippewa County              Montevideo            13,088
Chisago County               Center City           41,101
Clay County                  Moorhead              51,229
Clearwater County            Bagley                8,423
Cook County                  Grand Marais          5,168
Cottonwood County            Windom                12,167
Crow Wing County             Brainerd              55,099
Dakota County                Hastings              355,904
Dodge County                 Mantorville           17,731
Douglas County               Alexandria            32,821
Faribault County             Blue Earth            16,181
Fillmore County              Preston               21,122
Freeborn County              Albert Lea            32,584
Goodhue County               Red Wing              44,127
Grant County                 Elbow Lake            6,289
Hennepin County              Minneapolis           1,116,200
Houston County               Caledonia             19,718
Hubbard County               Park Rapids           18,376
Isanti County                Cambridge             31,287
Itasca County                Grand Rapids          43,992
Jackson County               Jackson               11,268
Kanabec County               Mora                  14,996
Kandiyohi County             Willmar               41,203
Kittson County               Hallock               5,285
Koochiching County           International Falls   14,355
Lac Qui Parle County         Madison               8,067
Lake County                  Two Harbors           11,058
Lake Of The Wood County      Baudette              4,522
Le Sueur County              Le Center             25,426
Lincoln County               Ivanhoe               6,429
Lyon County                  Marshall              25,425
Mahnomen County              Mahnomen              5,190
Marshall County              Warren                10,155
Martin County                Fairmont              21,802
McLeod County                Glencoe               34,898
Meeker County                Litchfield            22,644
Mille Lacs County            Milaca                22,330
Morrison County              Little Falls          31,712
Mower County                 Austin                38,603
Murray County                Slayton               9,165
Nicollet County              St. Peter             29,771
Nobles County                Worthington           20,832
Norman County                Ada                   7,442
Olmsted County               Rochester             124,277
Otter Tail County            Fergus Falls          57,159
Pennington County            Thief River Falls     13,584
Pine County                  Pine City             26,530
Pipestone County             Pipestone             9,895
Polk County                  Crookston             31,369
Pope County                  Glenwood              11,236
Ramsey County                St. Paul              511,035
Red Lake County              Red Lake Falls        4,299
Redwood County               Redwood Falls         16,815
Renville County              Olivia                17,154
Rice County                  Faribault             56,665
Rock County                  Luverne               9,721
Roseau County                Roseau                16,338
Scott County                 Shakopee              89,498
Sherburne County             Elk River             64,417
Sibley County                Gaylord               15,356
St. Louis County             Duluth                200,528
Stearns County               St. Cloud             133,166
Steele County                Owatonna              33,680
Stevens County               Morris                10,053
Swift County                 Benson                11,956
Todd County                  Long Prairie          24,426
Traverse County              Wheaton               4,134
Wabasha County               Wabasha               21,610
Wadena County                Wadena                13,713
Waseca County                Waseca                19,526
Washington County            Stillwater            201,130
Watonwan County              St. James             11,876
Wilkin County                Breckenridge          7,138
Winona County                Winona                49,985
Wright County                Buffalo               89,986
Yellow Medicine County       Granite Falls         11,080


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HOW WERE MINNESOTA'S COUNTIES NAMED?
(from the Assn. of Minnesota Counties)

Aitkin: Scottish-born fur trader William Alexander Aitkin
Anoka: Sioux or Dakota word meaning “on both sides”
Becker: George Loomis Becker, former St. Paul mayor, state senator, brigadier general and St. Paul and Pacific Railroad land commissioner
Beltrami: Giamcomo Beltrami; discoverer of the Bloody (Red Lake) River and the Mississippi River
Benton: Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton; enactor of homestead land laws
Big Stone: Big Stone Lake
Blue Earth: Named for the bluish-green earth in the region
Brown: Joseph Renshaw Brown; drummer boy, soldier, Indian trader, lumberman, pioneer, speculator, sounder, legislator, politician, editor and inventor
Carlton: Rueben B. Carlton; early settler and member of the first senate (1858)
Carver: Jonathan Carver; explorer and writer of the northland, traveled with the Sioux on the Minnesota River
Cass: Statesman Lewis Cass
Chippewa: Chippewa River
Chisago: Named after the largest lake in the county
Clay: Statesman Henry Clay
Clearwater: Clearwater River and Lake
Cook: Major Michael Cook; brave Civil War soldier
Cottonwood: Cottonwood River
Crow Wing: Named for an island shaped like a raven’s wing at the junction of the Crow Wing and Mississippi Rivers
Dakota: Named after the Dakota Tribe of Indians
Dodge: Henry and August Caesar Dodge; father and son politicians of the time
Douglas: Stephen Arnold Douglas; know as “little giant,” adversary of Abe Lincoln
Faribault: Jean Baptiste Faribault; trader among the Sioux
Fillmore: Millard Fillmore; US President (1850-1853)
Freeborn: William Freeborn; second mayor of Red Wing
Goodhue: James Madison Goodhue; Minnesota’s first printer and editor
Grant: Ulysses Simpson Grant; Civil War general and US President (1869-1877)
Hennepin: Father Louis Hennepin; missionary, explorer and author
Houston: Sam Houston; general and political leader
Hubbard: Lucius Frederick Hubbard; editor, soldier, businessman, and first governor 1882-1887
Isanti: Tribal name of the area
Itasca: Lake Itasca
Jackson: Henry Jackson; first merchant, postmaster, and justice-of-the-peace in St. Paul
Kanabec: Named after the Snake River, Kanabec is Ojibway for “snake”
Kandiyohi: Dakota Indian name meaning “where the buffalo fish come”
Kittson: Norman Wolfred Kittson; leading pioneer, fur trader, and mayor of St. Paul
Koochiching: Cree Indian name of uncertain meaning given by Ojibways to Rainy River and the falls and rapids
Lac qui Parle: French, meaning “lake who speaks”
Lake: Named after Lake Superior
Lake of the Woods: Named after the lake that forms the county’s northern border
Le Sueur: French-Canadian Pierre Charles Le Sueur; trader and explorer
Lincoln: Abraham Lincoln
Lyon: General Nathaniel Lyon; killed in the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, Missouri
Mahnomen: Ojibway word for wild rice
Marshall: William Rainey Marshall; pioneer merchant, banker, soldier, and governor (1866-1870)
Martin: Henry Martin, who came from Connecticut in 1856 and purchased thousands of acres in this and other counties
McLeod: Martin McLeod; a pioneer fur trader who became president of the Territorial Legislature Council in 1853
Meeker: Bradley B. Meeker; territorial legislator, Minnesota Supreme Court Justice and charter member of the Minnesota Historical Society
Mille Lacs: Named after the lake the French called “Thousand Lakes”
Morrison: William and Allen Morrison; pioneer fur traders who explored the Mississippi headwaters
Mower: John El. Mower; pioneer lumberman who served both the Territorial (1854-55) and State Legislatures (1874-75)
Murray: William Pitt Murray; Territorial Legislator and president of its council, also a state representative and senator
Nicollet: Joseph Nicolas Nicollet; a French-born geographer and explorer who mapped the Itasca Lake basin in 1836
Nobles: William H. Nobles; a wagon maker and road builder who served in the Minnesota Territorial Legislature in 1854 and 1856
Norman: Named after the early Norwegian (Norsemen or Norman) settlers
Olmsted: David Olmsted; first mayor of St. Paul who was also an editor and a publisher
Otter Tail: Ottertail Lake and River, named by the Ojibway for its long, ancient sandbar shaped like an otter’s tail
Pennington: Edmund Pennington; a railroad man who become president of the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railway
Pine: Named for the great forests of white and Norway pine which once flourished in the county
Pipestone: Named for the red pipestone, or catlinite, which was venerated and quarried by Indians
Polk: James Knox Polic; US President (1845-1849)
Pope: General John Pope; explorer and soldier who assisted Generals Sibley and Sully in the 1863-64 campaign against the Sioux Indians
Ramsey: Alexander Ramsey; Minnesota’s first Territorial Governor (1849-1853) and the second mayor of St. Paul (1855)
Red Lake: Red Lake River, named by the Ojibway for the river’s red sand and reddish water
Redwood: Named after a river believed to be named for a slender bush whose red bark the Dakota mixed with tobacco for smoking
Renville: Joseph Renville who led the Sioux warriors for the British against the US in the War of 1812
Rice: Henry Mower Rice who aided in negotiating Indian treaties and became one of the first two Minnesota Senators
Rock: Named for a large rocky outcrop or plateau, know as “The Mound”
Roseau: Roseau Lake and Roseau River
St. Louis: St. Louis River which was given its name by French explorer Verendrye
Scott: General Winfield Scott who served in the War of 1812 and was American troop commander in the Mexican War (1846-1848)
Sherburne: Moses Sherburne; a Territorial Supreme Court Justice from 1853- 1857, he helped to compile Minnesota’s statutes
Sibley: Henry Hastings Sibley; fur trader, pioneer, and first governor of Minnesota (1858-1860)
Stearns: Charles Thomas Stearns; distinguished pioneer resident of St. Cloud
Steele: Franklin Steele; a prominent Minneapolis pioneer and charter member of the Minnesota Historical Society and member of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents
Stevens: Isaac Ingalls Stevens; a statesman who requested this county be named for him seven years after a clerical error denied him that honor in 1855 for Stearns County
Swift: Henry Adoniram Swift, Minnesota’s governor in 1863
Todd: John Blair Smith Todd; commander of Fort Ripley from 1849-1856
Traverse: Lake Traverse
Wabasha: Named for a three-generation line of great Sioux chiefs named Wabasha
Wadena: Wadena Trading Post, built on the old Crow Wing-to-Pembina Trail
Waseca: Dakota or Sioux word translated as “rich,” “fertile” and “plentiful”
Washington: George Washington
Watonwan: Watonwan River, a Dakota name believed to signify “where fish-bait abounds”
Wilkin: Colonel Alexander Wilkin, an attorney, state marshall and soldier who was killed in 1864 during the Battle of Tupelo, Mississippi
Winona: Named after a Dakota woman of distinction, Winona, who was a cousin of the last of the three chiefs named Wabasha
Wright: Silas Wright, New York lawyer and politician
Yellow Medicine: Yellow Medicine River, the Dakota or Sioux Pajutzaee (“yellowplant root diggings”)


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