Sherburne County, Minnesota

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The Sherburne County Courthouse is located at 13880 Highway 10, Elk River MN 55330; phone: 763‑241‑2700.


Beginnings [1]

Prior to its organization, Sherburne was part of Benton county. It was named in honor of Judge Moses Sherburne, an appointee to the bench of the supreme court of Minnesota Territory. The county is bounded on the north by Benton, on the east by Anoka and Isanti counties, and on the south by the Mississippi river. It is somewhat irregularly timbered with pine and hardwood, interspersed with oak openings, rolling prairie lands and natural meadows. The surface is generally undulating. A prominent ridge of high land, from three to five miles wide, extends from Elk river in a northeasterly direction into Anoka county. The county is well watered by tributaries of the Mississippi, Elk and St. Louis rivers, and has besides many clear and sparkling lakes. The soil is mostly sandy loam with clay subsoil, and valuable granite quarries are found in the northern tier of towns.

David Faribault was the first settler or trader, he having established a post on the Elk river in 1846, where he made a garden and raised potatoes. In September, 1848, H. M. Rice and S. P. Folsom bought Faribault's improvements, and Folsom moved his family to the place and built a log cabin on what is now Auditor's addition to Elk River village. He was succeeded in the ownership by Pierre Bottineau.

The county was organized in 1856, under territorial law. The governor, Willis A. Gorman, appointed J. H. Stevenson, Ephriam Nickerson and Eli J. Cutter commissioners (Stevenson being chairman); Eli Houghton, treasurer; H. J. Putnam, register of deeds; Andrew Boyington, judge of probate; John G. Jamieson, county attorney; Orlando Bailey, sheriff. The first commissioners' meeting was held at the house of Joseph Brown, at the village of Humboldt, which was made the county seat and so remained until 1867, when it was removed to Elk River village. The county was attached to Benton for judicial purposes until 1862. Prior to this Mr. Brown's house was used for county commissioners' meetings and for court rooms until burned down some years later, when the commissioners met at the house of John E. Putnam.

A court house was built at Elk River on lots donated by J. Q. A. Nickerson, the village donating $1,000 and the county the remainder necessary for the building.

Prior to the formation of the state government, the county was divided into election precincts. The first term of district court was held at Humboldt in December 1862; Judge C. E. Vanderburgh, presiding; J. E. Putnam acting as clerk. The first commissioners who held their meeting at Elk River were H. Houlton, chairman; A. Boyington and O. Bailey. The first meeting were held at the house of J. Q. A. Nickerson.

  1. Folsom, W. H. C., (E. E. Edwards, editor), Fifty Years in the Northwest, 1888, Minnesota Pioneer Press Company, Saint Paul

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