Roseville Early History
The first settlers to the area were, of course, American Indians. The Indian trail that led to their ricing and fishing areas in Forest Lake and Hugo ran across Rose Township. Dakota tribes used this trail extensively, which increased their contact with the Euro-American settlers. A reunion occurred when Cloudman’s (Dakota) band was traveling on the trail and discovered that their childhood friend, Jane Gibbs, who, with her foster missionary family, had lived with them as a small child near Lake Harriet, now lived near the trail. Following the abandonment of treaty-promised payments (food rations, supplies, and money) and then the Uprising of 1862, the Indians were forced from the area.
“The last time these good friends came was in May, 1862. A large body of them on horseback camped on the little knoll across from our house…They were sullen and despondent. Well do I remember the dramatic gestures of their chief as he eloquently related their grievances.”
Abbie Gibbs Fischer, daughter of Jane and Herman Gibbs, c. 1915
1840 to 1850
Roseville was settled by farmers in the 1840s. In the spring of 1843, Stephen Desnoyer settled with his family in what would soon be known as Rose Township. Later that year Isaac Rose and his family, arriving by boat from Illinois, settled near Desnoyer. In 1849, Heman and Jane Gibbs settled at the present-day corner of Cleveland and Larpenteur in the newly-named Ramsey County and and Minnesota Territory. In 1850 the federal government ordered a land survey, Isaac Rose was the surveyor, and the township in which he lived received his name.
Isaac Rose, daguerreotype c. 1850 …
for whom Township and subsequently Roseville was named
“We went to St. Paul on the Otter… When mother saw ‘Pig’s Eye,’ as St. Paul was then called, she did not like it at all…On landing, we climbed up a steep path…We found only six houses there.”
Missouri Rose Pratt, daughter of Isaac Rose, c. 1870
As a community, the settlers established a town government. In 1858 Rose Township organized a voting precinct, elected town officers, and levied taxes. Early settlers such as D. Baker, E. Larpenteur, W. Hendrickson, and W. Aldrich, held government offices. The population of the township in 1860 was 499, by 1880 it had risen to 877. Early immigrants to the area moved from the eastern United States, Germany, Prussia, Ireland, Canada, and Norway.