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GHPS learns about the life of Martin McLeod

John Lofdahl of Hutchinson, known for his participation in historical re-enactments regarding the fur trade in the Upper Midwest, visited the Glencoe Historic Preservation Society (GHPS) during its annual meeting Tuesday, Sept. 19, to give a short presentation on Martin McLeod, the founder of McLeod County.
Lofdahl — historically dressed for his presentation — brought a variety of items to help him tell the story about Martin McLeod, the history of the fur trade and why the fur trade was such an important source of economic prosperity for Minnesota and the United States. Some of Lofdahl’s trade items included fur skins, a trade gun, an iron knife, gunpowder, copper kettles and a wool blanket.
Martin McLeod was born in Montreal, Canada, in 1813. “As was typical, he came from a large family in Montreal,” said Lofdahl. “His father probably had a farm and he was probably one of the younger brothers. So, what is he going to do? He’s not going to care for the farm. He’s gotta do something else. He was looking for adventure, so in 1836 or 1837, he headed out this way with a man (James Dickson, who was intent on raising enough men to help Texas gain their independence). He had quite the adventure. He came through the Great Lakes, probably went through Grand Portage … went through what is now Duluth, and they got out into the east Dakotas.”
Thanks to a journal kept by McLeod, it is known that Mcleod experienced shipwreck, arrest, freezing conditions and starvation during this journey. McLeod himself did not finish the trek to Texas, but instead ended up in Minnesota.
It was at this time that Martin McLeod met Henry Sibley and came to work for him at the American Fur Company.
For more about McLeod County's founder, see the Sept. 27 print edition of The Chronicle.