How did Cass County get its Name?

From "Vignettes of History," by Bill Burnson;
(No date on the article. Possibly from the Walker Pilot-Indepenent.) Excerpted by Sue Eikenberry.

No Minnesota county (leaving out Washington and Lincoln) is honored by a more illustrious namesake than our own Cass County . The County name memorializes the distinguished soldier and statesman Lewis Cass. Born in 1782, Lewis Cass was a successful attorney by 1803; Colonel, then Brigadier General during the War of 1812; Governor (1813-1830) of the Michigan Territory (which included most of present Minnesota and parts of three other states); and negotiator of twenty-two treaties with Indian tribes. He was Secretary of War in President Jacksonís Cabinet 1831-1836; Minister to France , 1836-1842; U.S. Senator 1845-1848 and 1849-1857; and Secretary of State in the Cabinet of President Buchanan, 1857-1860. He also was a presidential candidate in 1848.

Lewis Cass led an expedition into our North Country with experts in topography, mathematics, and medicine, an official recorder, several political figures, and a young mineralogist named Henry Schoolcraft, who was destined to achieve historic fame. The expedition also included ten Native Americans, ten bearers or voyageurs, a squad of seven soldiers, an interpreter, and many assistants. The expedition was neither pleasant nor particularly successful. However, it received great publicity in the East. The name of Upper Red Cedar Lake was changed to Cassina, and later, to Cass Lake . In addition to Minnesota ís Cass County , city, and lake names, there are Cass counties in Michigan and North Dakota , plus numerous Cass townships and cities in these other states, including cities named Cassopolis, Cass City , Cassville and Casselton.

Lewis Cass could never have dreamed of the many lovely cabins and homes surrounding the lakes of Cass County today.


Photo courtesy of the

Chicago Historical Society.

Daguerreotype taken c. 1850-1855.

From the collection of the Cass County Historical Section, Walker, MN

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