The Life and Times of Martin McLeod~McLeod County from 1813 to 1860
The McLeod County Historical Society, as a part of its Mission to preserve, understand, and share the history of McLeod County, has researched and compiled the following information, presented as excerpts, from our 2011 theme history booklet. The booklet explores the Life of Martin McLeod, for whom our county is named, and the area that would become and is now the State of Minnesota.
We are focusing our research on the years that McLeod lived, 1813 to 1860, and the social and political events that affected his decisions and shaped his life. His involvement in the fur trade, territorial issues, and early statehood of Minnesota are covered, along with a deeper look into his interpersonal relationships with family, friends, and peers. Through this research, we hope to gain a better understanding of our state and county’s early history, as well as the man for whom our County is named.
“The Life and Times of Martin McLeod, McLeod County from 1813-1860” history booklet can be
purchased through the MCHS Gift Shop. Just call, e-mail, or check out our gift shop tab!
Minnesota and McLeod County
History from 1813-1860
In the years 1813 to 1860, the area that was to become Minnesota and McLeod County witnessed some of most extreme social and cultural changes seen in the area to date. The transformation from almost exclusively indigenous Native American cultures in the early 1800 to the massive influx of Anglo populations from the North, South and East rapidly transformed the state. This dramatic change occurred so quickly that it could be witnessed within one lifetime.
Martin McLeod in his short life, compared to our standards not only witnessed these social and cultural shifts, but was an active participant in shaping the history of the state of Minnesota and McLeod County. The following excerpts give an overview of the many different cultural influences that had an impact on the future state of Minnesota. Native American, Spanish, English, French and American ownership and influences created the world that Martin McLeod decided to explore, work, and live in. Along with this cultural diversity, another strong influence in the region and in McLeod’s life was the monstrous demand of the fur trade industry. Another major factor in the life of Martin McLeod and in his exploration of Minnesota was his involvement with a little known military expedition that would fail in its mission to establish an “Indian Kingdom”, but managed to secure McLeod’s future in Minnesota and lead him to be the namesake of McLeod County.