The World of Work: History of Work in Minnesota


Land for Many People

“White Americans thought they were right to take the prairies and forests of Minnesota from Indian people. Many felt they were bringing the Indians a better way of life – one with less fear, suffering and hunger. Americans also thought they could put the land to better use. Living [the Indian way] meant that much land supported only a few people. Americans knew that if they cut the trees and plowed the prairies, they could feed many more on the rich fields of southern Minnesota.

“Thousands of people were waiting for that land. There were those who lived on rocky farms in new England and other eastern states. And there were people in countries like Germany, Sweden and Ireland who had no land at all.”

In 1848, the Minnesota Territory was established; and farms and small support communities had come into being in southern and central Minnesota. With the passage of time and the discovery of crops that thrived in shorter growing seasons, new farms and farm communities moved ever northward. [NL]

Farmers and Farm Families


Separating grain from chaff

Farmers separating grain from chaff by hand blower, ca. 1910

Minnesota Historical Society

Delivering wheat

Farmers bringing wheat to Moorhead, 1879. Elevator A
constructed by Bruns & Finkle in 1878 was first steam
operated elevator in the Red River Valley.

Photo by Ole E. Flaten
Ctsy Clay County and Minnesota Historical Society


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