Friday, April 12, 2024
Dakota County Historical Society
To preserve, interpret and promote the history of Dakota County.


"A dozen miles or more down the Mississippi from St. Paul is Grey Cloud Island, a singular formation rising out of the river..." write a Pioneer Press Journalist in 1894.  Long inhabited by Native Americans, treaties forced their removal.  Starting in the 1860s, a small community of predominantly mixed-heritage people bought property on the island where they farmed and raised families.  The book chronicles their lives over a hundred-year period from the fur trade era to the 1940s, and addresses the complexities of family relationships, work, and ongoing migration. "The first burials, from 1873, were from early French-Canadian families..." reads a plaque at the Grey Cloud Island Cemetery.  Stone markers reveal names with little additional information--Civil War veterans, mothers and fathers, babies--there are over 100 unmarked graves.  These are the stories of the families--Bourcier, Brunell, LaBathe, Leith, Mavis, McCoy, and Turpin--told by their descendants.


Visit one of these Dakota County Historic Sites