Life & Culture

A Tradition of Excellence

Story Highlights

  • Knowledge is power
  • The Future Of Possible
  • Hibs and Ross County fans on final
  • Tip of the day: That man again
  • Hibs and Ross County fans on final
  • Spieth in danger of missing cut
Among the early free African-American settlers who arrived in the 1790s was Pierre Bongo, who worked for the Northwest Fur Company. He married an Ojibwe woman and in 1802 they had a son named George. George Bongo also married an Ojibwe woman.

As a result of George’s background, he became fluent in several Native American languages as well as French. This made him popular as an interpreter. George became a voyager for the American Fur Company. He later became independent fur trader and acquired much wealth and prominence int he settlement.

Some African Americans came as servants or slaves of the officers an agents and trademens who live at the Fort Snelling Military Post. James Thompson was born a slave in 1799 and brought to Fort Snelling in 1827 by the storekeeper of the post. He married a Sioux woman and became fluent in the language. In 1830s a Methodist minister arrived looking for an interpreter who could him in his efforts to minister to the Indians. Thompson agreed to help this missionary, so Bronson, the missionary, bought his freedom for 1200. Thomas became one of the first original settlers of St. Paul. He must become very prosperous, because eh later 2000 feet of lumber, 1500 roof shingles and sum of money toward the building a Methodist church on Market street in St. Paul.

Blacks Migration To Minnesota


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