Joseph R. Brown is born in Harford County, Maryland. A drummer boy at Fort Snelling, he would learn the Dakota language and, later, be the first white man to explore Minnehaha Creek and to see Lake Minnetonka. A prominent pioneer, he would be a trader, a member of the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature, a participant in both the Stillwater Convention and the Minnesota Constitutional Convention, the editor of the Minnesota Pioneer and the Henderson Democrat, and an officer during the U.S.–Dakota War. He would also be the first lumberman to float logs down the St. Croix River and would stake out the first road from St. Paul to Prairie du Chien. He died on November 9, 1870.


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