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On this day in 1855 and 1862...

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17 of Minnesota's 87 counties are created.

In 1855, 12 are named for people that have been significant in the state's history: Brown is named for territorial legislature and territorial house of representatives member Joseph R. Brown; Carver for explorer and writer Jonathan Carver; Dodge for politician and one-time Wisconsin Territory governor Henry Dodge; Faribault for fur trader Jean Baptiste Faribault (the city would later be named for his eldest son Alexander); Freeborn for member of the territorial legislature and western U.S. explorer William Freeborn; Mower for Stillwater lumberman and architect John E. Mower; Olmsted for the first mayor of St. Paul David Olmsted; Renville for fur trader and translator Joseph Renville; Stearns for legislator and St. Cloud developer Charles Thomas Stearns; Steele for pioneer and idea-man behind the first Mississippi bridgeat Hennepin Avenue Franklin Steele; Todd for Fort Ripley commander and delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives John Blair Smith Todd; and Wright for east coast Democrat Silas Wright.

In 1862, five more counties were named, three for bodies of water (Chippewa County for the Chippewa River, Big Stone for Big Stone Lake, and Traverse for Lake Traverse), two for men with Minnesota connections (Pope for general John Pope who led the Army of the Mississippi in the Civil War, and Stevens for the first Washington governor Isaac Stevens who also served as a general in the U.S. Army).

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