Ramsey County History – Winter 2015: “October 1857: The Kochendorfers Arrive in St. Paul”

Daniel C. Munson

October 1857: The Kochendorfers Arrive in St. Paul
Author: Daniel C. Munson

Johan and Catherine Kochendorfers were German immigrant farmers in central Illinois who along with their four children moved to Minnesota Territory in 1857. In November of that year, Catherine wrote a long letter in German to her sister in Illinois. Translated by a Kochendorfers descendant, the letter is reprinted here with its vivid description of the family’s arduous journey to Minnesota and what they experienced in their first months in St. Paul. The Kochendorfers, now with five children, moved in the spring of 1862 to homestead on land near the Redwood Falls. In August 1862, both parents and one child were killed in the US Dakota War. The surviving four children escaped to safety at Fort Ridgely and later to St. Paul, where both parents and their youngest child are buried in Oakland Cemetery.
PDF of Munson article