Dodge County History


photo by Jonathunder

Dodge County was originally inhabited by American Indians, as many counties in Minnesota were. This area was a common hunting and battle ground for the Mdewakanton Sioux, often fighting the Sauk and Fox Indians who had wandered into their territory. The first white person to visit Dodge County, however, is not known. It is believed by some that a French fur trader from Canada was the first, setting foot on its soil in the spring of 1655. Guides deemed this area unsafe due to the Natives living there. But, it was not until over two hundred years later that the locality truly came to life.

It was in 1853 that government surveyors set lines for the townships. A year later, the Mantor brothers, along with Eli P. Waterman, established their claims, which would later be an important town to the area known as "Mantorville." Still a year later, in 1855, Dodge County was organized for local government. In the first few years of growth, its main settlers were Germans and people of Scandinavian descent, mostly Norwegians. With increasing growth and improvement, Dodge County was officially placed in the Fifth Judicial District by the State Constitution on May 11, 1858. Its name, given in honor of Wisconsin governor Henry Dodge, lives on with pride for its colorful past. The Dodge County Courthouse, designed by E. Townsend Mix and built of locally quarried limestone in 1865, is the oldest working courthouse in Minnesota.

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Dodge County Coordinator

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