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This week in state history


March 6, 2020

Historic Minnesota events with anniversaries this week.

March 6

1857 The U.S. Supreme Court renders the Dred Scott decision, in which the justices declare that enslaved Missouri man Dred Scott, not being a citizen but rather property, has no right to bring suit. Scott had lived at Fort Snelling and in other “free” areas with his owner, Dr. John Emerson, and he claimed that residence in free states and territories made him a free man. While living at Fort Snelling from 1836 to 1838, Scott married Harriet Robinson, an enslaved woman owned by Indian agent Lawrence Taliaferro. Scott lived as a free man shortly after the decision, but died in September of 1858.

March 8

1892 A blizzard sweeps across Minnesota, with the temperature going from 30 degrees to below zero within moments. Longtime residents in Carlton called it the worst storm in their recollection, as did residents across the state. Carlton reported winds of 50 to 60 mph and more than a foot of snow. Several deaths occurred in the storm, including a man frozen to death on the Fond du Lac reservation. Other deaths came in the form of train wrecks and collapsed buildings.

1920 The U.S. Supreme Court settles a boundary squabble between Minnesota and Wisconsin over control of the Duluth harbor, finding in Minnesota’s favor.

March 10

1804 The Upper Louisiana Territory, including present-day Minnesota west of the Mississippi River, is formally transferred from France to the United States in a ceremony in St. Louis.

March 12

1877 Duluth, having suffered a loss of population, give up its city charter following an act passed the month before in the legislature allowing it. In four years, its population sank from 5,000 to 2,500 and its valuation from $2.5 million to $586,000. Its debts were more than the valuation of its real estate. By October, Duluth is officially relegated to village status. It would not regain a city charter until 1887.

This column is derived from and developed by the Minnesota Historical Society and its partners.


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