Representation of Houston County, Minnesota
From: The History of Houston County, Minnesota
Edited by: Franklyn Curtis-Wedge.
H. C. Cooper, Jr. & Co.
Winona, Minn. 1919

COUNTY REPRESENTATION

On July 7, 1849, Alexander Ramsey, the first Minnesota territorial governor, issued a proclamation, dividing the territory into seven council districts and ordering an election. The settlers scattered on the west bank of the Mississippi river at Jefferson and Brownsville in Houston county, were included in the first district, which was described as follows: The St. Croix precinct of St. Croix county, and the settlements on the west bank of the Mississippi south of Crow village to the Iowa line.

1849. The first territorial legislature met on September 3 and adjourned November 1. The first district was represented in the council by James S. Norris, of Cottage Grove, and in the house by Joseph W. Futter, of Cottage Grove, and James Wells, from the head of Lake Pepin.

1851. The second territorial legislature met January 1 and adjourned March 31. The first district was represented in the council by James S. Norris, of Cottage Grove, and in the house by John A. Ford, of Red Rock, and James Wells from the head of Lake Pepin.

By the apportionment of 1851, the original division of the territory into counties having,been made in 1849, the counties of Wabasha and Washington, with the precincts of St. Paul and Little Canada (Wabasha county to be one representative district), were made to constitute the fourth district. Wabasha then included Houston county.
1852. The third territorial legislature assembled January 7, and adjourned March 6. The fourth district was represented in the council by Lorenzo A. Babcock, of Sauk Rapids and St Paul, and in the house by Fordyce S. Richards, of Reed's Landing.

1853. The fourth territorial legislature assembled January 5 and adjourned March 5. The fourth district was represented in the council by Lorenzo A. Babcock, and in the house by James Wells. This legislature created Fillmore county, March 5, 1853, and Houston county, which had been a part of Wabasha county since Oct. 27, 1849, became a part of Fillmore county. But the boundaries of the fourth district, until the apportionment of 1855, remained as established by the apportionment of 1851.

1854. The fifth territorial legislature assembled January 4 and adjourned March 4. The fourth district was represented in the council by William Freeborn, of Red Wing, and in the house by O. M. Lord of Minnesota City. This legislature created Houston county, February 23, 1854, defining the boundaries of the county as they remain to the present day. But as stated, although Houston county was established by this legislature, the boundaries of the fourth district remained until 1855, the same as defined by the apportionment of 1851.

1855. The sixth territorial legislature assembled January 3 and adjourned March 3. William Freeborn represented the fourth district in the council, and Clark W. Thompson, of what is now Houston county, in the house. Mr. Thompson was a Canadian who came to Minnesota in 1853 and engaged in milling in Houston county until 1861. He was a member of the Republican wing of the Constitutional Convention. He was superintendent of Indian affairs for the Northern superintendency from 1861 to 1865, and afterwards engaged in railroad construction. He died in 1885 on his farm at Wells.

By the apportionment of 1855 Houston, Fillmore and Mower counties became the eighth district.

1856. The seventh territorial legislature assembled January 2 and adjourned March 1. The eighth district was represented by Clark W. Thompson of Houston county and Benjamin F. Tillotson, of Fillmore county, in the council; and by W. B. Gere, of Fillmore county, Samuel Hull, William F. Dunbar, William B. Covell and Martin G. Thompson in the house.

1857. The eighth territorial legislature assembled January 7, and adjourned March 7. Clark W. Thompson and Benjamin F. Tillotson again represented the eighth district in the council. The representatives in the house were William B Gere, D. F. Chase, W. J. Howell, John M. Berry and M. G. Thompson. An extra session of this legislature assembled April27 and adjourned May 23, 1857.

March 3, 1857, congress passed an act authorizing the people of Minnesota to form a state constitution. Each council district was to be represented in this convention by two representatives for each councilman and representative to which it was entitled. The constitutional convention, consisting of 108 members, was authorized to meet at the capital on the second Monday in July to frame a state constitution, and to submit it to the people of the territory. The election was held on the first Monday in June, 1857. July 13, the delegates met, but a disagreement arising in the organization, the Republican members organized one body and the Democrats organized separately. Each of these bodies, claiming to be the legally constituted convention, proceeded with the work of forming an instrument to be submitted to the people. After some days an understanding was effected between them, and by means of a committee of conference, the same constitution was framed and adopted by both bodies. On being submitted to the people, Oct. 13, it was ratified.

The eighth district, consisting of Houston, Fillmore and Mower counties, having two councillors and five members of the house, was entitled to fourteen delegates. Of the fourteen declared elected, thirteen were Republican and one Democrat. The Republicans were: Alanson B. Vaughn, C. W. Thompson, John A. Anderson, Charles A. Coe, N. P. Colburn, James A. McCann, H. A. Billings, Charles Hanson, H. W. Holley, John Cleghorn, A. C. Butler, Robert Lyle and Boyd Phelps. The Democrat was James C. Day. But the seats of Coe and Lyle were contested, and while they were seated in the Republican wing, their Democratic contestants were given seats in the Democratic wing. On the general Democratic ticket in Houston county, one of the three divisions of the eighth district, O. W. Streeter received 378 votes, and his Republican competitor, C. A. Coe, received 329 votes. But the returning board, being Republican, alleged irregularities in Streeter's vote and issued the certificate to Coe. The Democratic wing of the Convention, after the split, admitted Streeter. The Democrats also late in the session, August 11, admitted Thomas H. Armstrong from Mower county. On the face of the returns, Robert Lyle received a majority of thirty one over Armstrong, but the Democrats claimed that the pool book at Austin showed that thirty nine residents of Freeborn county, outside of the eighth district, had voted for Lyle, thus leaving Armstrong a majority of eight legal votes. With three members in the Democratic wing and thirteen in the Republican wing, the eighth district had sixteen delegates in the Constitutional convention instead of the fourteen to which it was entitled. Several of the members from this district took an active part in the work of the convention. On the question of allowing negroes to vote, Messrs. Colburn, Holley, Cleghorn and Phelps voted in favor of the proposition and C. W. Thompson against it. On the question of a compromise between the two wings, Day, of the Democratic wing, remained bitterly opposed to the last. Messrs. Holley and Billings of the Republican wing voted against the adoption of the final joint draft of the constitution, but finally affixed their signatures to it.

By the apportionment of 1857, set forth in the state constitution adopted October 13, 1857, Houston county was constituted the tenth district, with two senators and three representatives.

1857-58. The first state legislature assembled December 2, 1857. On March 25, 1858, it took a recess until June 2 and finally adjourned August 12. The state was admitted May 11, 1858. It will, therefore, be seen, that, although this legislature is called the first state legislature, nevertheless it assembled in territorial times. The tenth district was represented in the senate by James C. Day and O. W. Streeter, and in the house by Edmund McIntyre, J. B. Le Blond, and Daniel Wilson.

1858-59. No session was held in the winter of 1858-59, mainly owing to the protracted session of 1857-58, which was believed to render unnecessary another one following so soon, the legislature of that year having so provided by enactment.

1859-60. The second state legislature assembled December 7, 1859, and adjourned March 12, 1860. The tenth district was represented in the senate by E. H. Kennedy and Frederick Gluck, and in the house by J. A. Anderson, C. A. Coe and George Timanson.

By the apportionment of 1860, Houston county became the thirteenth district. It was assigned one senator and one representative.

1861. The third state legislature assembled January 8, and adjourned March 8. The thirteenth district was represented in the senate by Thomas McRoberts, and in the house by J. B. Le Blond.

1862. The fourth state legislature assembled January 7, and adjourned March 7. The thirteenth district was represented in the senate by Charles H. Lee, and in the house by D. L. Buell.

On account of the Indian outbreak in 1862, an extra session was called by the governor. It assembled Sept 9 and adjourned Sept. 29.

1863. The fifth state legislature assembled January 6 and adjourned March 6. The thirteenth district was represented in the senate by Charles H. Lee, and in the house by D. L. Buell.

1864. The sixth state legislature assembled January 5 and adjourned March 4. The thirteenth district was represented in the senate by Daniel Cameron and in the house by Thomas Conniff.

1865. The seventh state legislature assembled January 3 and adjourned March 3. The thirteenth district was represented in the senate by Daniel Cameron, and in the house by F. N. Goodrich.

1866. The eighth state legislature assembled January 2, and adjourned March 2. The thirteenth district was represented in the senate by D. L. Buell, and in the house by J. P. Shaller.

By the apportionment of 1866 Houston county was still the thirteenth district. It was to have one senator and two representatives.

1867. The ninth state legislature assembled January 8 and adjourned March 8. The thirteenth district was represented in the senate by D. T. Temple, and in the house by B. S. Andrew and E. H. Kennedy.

1868. The tenth state legislature assembled January 7 and adjourned March 6. The thirteenth district was represented in the senate by George F. Potter, and in the house by J. P. Shaller and Isaac Thompson.

1869. The eleventh state legislature assembled January 5 and adjourned March 5. The thirteenth district was represented in the senate by G. F. Potter, and in the house by Tosten Johnson and Isaac Thompson.

1870. The twelfth state legislature assembled January 4 and adjourned March 4. The thirteenth was represented by D. L. Buell, and in the house by W. E. Potter and Nathan Vance.

1871. The thirteenth state legislature assembled January 8 and adjourned March 3. The thirteenth district was represented in the senate by D. L. Buell, and in the house by Timan Gilbertson and Tosten Johnson.

By the apportionment of 1871, Houston county was constituted the first district, with one senator and four representatives.

1872. The fourteenth legislature assembled January 2 and adjourned March 1. The first district was represented in the senate by D. L. Buell, and in the house by W. F. Weber, John P. Smith, P. Rosendahl and L. R. Hall.

1873. The fifteenth legislature assembled January 7, and adjourned March 7. The first district was represented in the senate by E. Thompson. and in the house by Tosten Johnson, A. Beard, M. L. Cooper and P. H. Rosendahl.

1874. The sixteenth legislature assembled January 6 and adjourned March 6. The first district was represented in the senate by E. Thompson, and in the house by William McArthur, M. J. McDonald, E. W. Trask and David Taylor.

1875. The seventeenth legislature assembled January 5 and adjourned March 5. The first district was represented in the senate by J. H. Smith, and in the house by John McNelly, William M. Snure, M. J. McDonald and E N Goodrich.

1876. The eighteenth legislature assembled January 4 and adjourned March 3. The first district was represented in the senate by J. H. Smith, and in the house by W. E. Potter, M. J. Donnell, John McNelly and E. D. Northrup.

1877. The nineteenth legislature assembled January 2 and adjourned March 2. The first district was represented in the senate by John McNelly, and in the house by Anthony Huyck, William G. McSpadden, M. J. McDonnell and John A. Eberhard.

1878. The twentieth legislature assembled January 8 and adjourned March 8. The first district was represented in the senate by John McNelly, and in the house by Edmund Null, Andrew Bye, Christof Evanson and Charles Fetzner.

1879. The twenty first legislature assembled January 7 and adjourned March 7. The first district was represented in the senate by D. L. Buell, and in the house by Anthony Demo, J. M. Riley, W. E. Dunbar and E. F. West.

1881. The twenty second legislature assembled January 4 and adjourned March 4. The first district was represented in the senate by J. B. Shaller, and in the house by H. H. Snure, O. B. Tone, H. F. Kohlmier and Lewis Redding.

An extra session was called for the purpose of considering the legislation at the regular session relating to the state railroad bonds, which was declared unconstitutional by the supreme court. The session commenced October 11 and closed November 13.

By the apportionment of 1881, Houston remained the first district, with one senator and two representatives.

1883. The twenty third state legislature assembled January 2 and adjourned March 2. The first district was represented in the senate by James O'Brien, and in the house by T. Paulson and E. Potter.

1885. The twenty fourth state legislature assembled January 6 and adjourned March 6. The first district was represented in the senate by James O'Brien, and in the house by Ole S. Olson and Alex. McLaren.

1887. The twenty fifth state legislature assembled January 4 and adjourned March 4. The first district was represented in the senate by Tosten Johnson, and in the house by George F. Potter and C. Bunge, Jr.

1899. The twenty sixth state legislature assembled January 8 and adjourned April 23. The first district was represented in the senate by Tosten Johnson, and in the house by John McNelly and James C. Kelly.

By the apportionment of 1889, Houston county remained the first district, with one senator and one representative.

1891. The twenty seventh state legislature assembled January 6 and adjourned April 20. The first district was represented in the senate by J. C. Kelly, and in the house by Anthony Demo.

1893. The twenty eighth state legislature assembled January 3 and adjourned April 18. The first district was represented in the senate by J. C. Kelly, and in the house by John J. Hohl.

1895. The twenty ninth state legislature assembled January 8 and adjourned April 23. The first district was represented in the senate by E. K. Roverud, and in the house by Con Metcalf.

1897. The thirtieth state legislature assembled January 5 and adjourned April 21. The first district was represented in the senate by E. K. Roverud, and in the house by H. R. Briggs.

By the apportionment of 1897, Houston county remained the first district, with one senator and one representative.

1899. The thirty first state legislature assembled January 3 and adjourned April 18. The first district was represented in the senate by E. K. Roverud, and in the house by W. M. Selby.

1901. The thirty second state legislature assembled January 8 and adjourned April 12. The first district was represented in the senate by E. K. Roverud, and in the house by James E. Bosworth. An extra session was called for the purpose of considering the report of the tax commission created by the act of 1901. The extra session convened February 4, 1902, and adjourned March 11, 1902.

1903. The thirty third state legislature assembled January 6 and adjourned April 12. The first district was represented in the senate by O. G. Laugen, and in the house by James E. Bosworth.

1905. The thirty fourth state legislature assembled January 3 and adjourned April 18. The first district was represented in the senate by O. G. Laugen, and in the house by Iver G. Otterness.

1907. The thirty fifth state legislature assembled January 8 and adjourned April 24. The first district was represented in the senate by J. Q. Briggs, and in the house by O. B. Nelson.

1909. The thirty sixth state legislature assembled January 5 and adjourned April 22. The first district was represented in the senate by J. Q. Briggs, and in the house by O. B. Nelson.

1911. The thirty seventh state legislature assembled January 3 and adjourned April 19. The first district was represented in the senate by F. A. Duxbury, and in the house by F. L. Farley.

An extra session was called for the purpose of enacting a state wide direct primary law applicable to all state officers, a corrupt practice act and a reapportionment law. The extra session convened June 4, 1912, and adjourned June 18, 1912.

1913. The thirty eighth state legislature assembled January 6 and adjourned April 19. The first district was represented in the senate by F. A. Duxbury, and in the house by A. C. Johnson.

By the apportionment of 1913, Houston and Fillmore counties were made the first district, with one senator and one representative at large. Each county had one representative.

1915. In the thirty ninth state legislature the first district was represented in the senate by F. A. Duxbury, and in the house by Ralph J. Parker, John J. Sliter and S. D. Baker. John J. Sliter was the representative from Houston county.

1917. In the fortieth state legislature the first district was represented in the senate by F. A. Duxbury, and in the house by Ralph J. Parker, C. W. Hale and John J. Sliter.

1919. In the forty first state legislature the first district was represented in the senate by John W. Hopp, and in the house by Ralph J. Parker, John J. Sliter and C. W. Hale.


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