The History and Founding of Corcoran

The first inhabitants living in the region now known as Minnesota were members of paleo-indian tribes who settled in the area as early as 7,000 years ago. The area that is now Hennepin County was home of the Dakota, or Sioux, people for hundreds of years prior to European exploration. The Ojibwe, who migrated to Minnesota in the mid-1600's, generally lived to the north. The Dakota and Ojibwe had well-established societies based on hunting and gathering when French explorers and fur traders first passed through the area in the 17th century. Father Louis Hennepin explored the region in 1680 and named the waterfalls on the Mississippi River (in what is now Minneapolis) St. Anothony Falls. France claimed territory comprising Minnesota west of the Mississippi River and the United States purchased this area from France in 1803. In 1825, the United States established permanent control over the area with the completion of Fort Snelling at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers.

The United States government established the Minnesota Territiory in 1849. In 1851, the Dakota signed treaties ceding most southern and western Minnesota to the United States, formally opening western Hennepin County to settlement by American and European farmers. Yankee Benjamin Pounder, was the first white settler to arrive in 1855, building a house in the current section 25. He was followed in a few days by Irishman Patrick B. Corcoran, one of the founders of the town. Patrick Corcoran located in Section 23 where he and his wife Anna (Fian) Corcoran eventually farmed 640 acres. The first French settlers in 1855 were Michael Patnode and his son Peter, Stephen and George Archambeau, Michael and Peter Raymond, Joseph Dupont, Joseph Scott and many others, all settling in the south part of town.

The first school in Corcoran was a quaint 12 x 16 log house, and was built by one of the City's founders, P.B. Corcoran. The school was built in the winter of 1857, P.B. Corcoran was the first teacher and the first class included sixteen scholars. His next enterprise was a general store, which was started in a log house under a thatched roof and located on the west side of town. The general store business increased so rapidly, P.B. Corcoran was inclined to build a larger general store, this time with a shingle roof. In just a few short years, a larger store was again needed, this time P.B. Corcoran built 30x40 foot building with two stories. The P.B. Corcoran General Store carried the largest stock of general merchandise in town. The upper story of the general store was used for town meetings and public entertainment. A short period later Mr. E. Huot also established a second store with a fair stock of goods to service the growing community. P.B. Corcoran was also the first postmaster in town, and used his home as the post office. His weekly mail trips ran each Saturday and included routes from Osseo to Rockford. Dupont Post Office was later established in 1875 by Joseph Dupont, who was also postmaster of the establishment.

The town was organized at a meeting held at the house of P.B.Corcoran, May 11th, 1858, and at the same meeting, town positions were established. Israel Dorman was nominated as temporary Chairman, John Molan as Moderator, and Pat Braw as temporary Clerk. Officers elected included Supervisor Israel Dorman, Chairman P.B. Corcoran and Chairman John P. Kleresy, Town Clerk Pat Bra, Assessor Thomas Riley, Collector Michael Patnode, Overseer of the Poor Francis Garnieen, Justice of the Peace Israel Dorman and Peter Patnode, Constables J. Burret and John Coon. At this meeting, the town was named Corcoran, in honor of P.B. Corcoran, its founder.

How one of Corcoran's first residents made their way.
Joseph Morin was born in Montreal in 1810, where he lived for 30 years; went to Michigan in 1840, stayed about one year, then worked four years at Lake Superior shipyards. He was married in 1844 to Lissette Landeau. In 1845 he started for Minnesota with a birch bark canoe; accompanied by his wife, followed the Black River for 15 days, then packed their few things and carried the canoe, on foot, to the St. Croix River, which they reached in one day. They followed it to the Mississippi, then to the St. Paul, where they remained for 11 years. Moving to Corcoran in 1856 they built a home and had 11 children.

Some of the first settlers and residents
Robert Adcock - 1855, one of the oldest settlers in town, married to Margaret Burk
Octave Boucher - 1867, married to Delaina Greenwood
Patrick Corcoran - 1855, one of the first settlers, married to Anna Fian
William Corcoran - 1855, married to Catherine Crawford - later Mary Burke
Dennis Daniel - 1866, married to Mary Hennesee
Joseph Degardins - 1855, married to Miss T. Scott
Moses Dufour - 1870, married to Rosette Lasart
Joseph Dupont - 1856, married to Angelina Fortin
John Fian - 1855
Hugh Keran - 1856, married to Margaret Branagan
John McDonnell - 1855, married to Sarah Crawford
Francis Morin - 1855, married to Alice O'Hearn
David Noonan - 1857, married to Margaret Hayes
Jacob Oswald - 1873, married to Caroline Kothrada
Christian Ranking - 1859, married to Katrine Heagleman
Frederich Reinking - 1855, married to Charlotte Schafer
Fred Schutte - 1855, married to Minnie Schomaker
F.W. Webb - 1870, married to Elizabeth Barrows
Peter Weinand - 1858, married to Mary Swagert
August Westphal - 1866, married to Emily Long

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