Wheat in Southern Minnesota

Photo of Red Wing's Main Street crowded with ox carts and pedestrians, ca. 1860.

Friedriech & Kempe on the south side of Main Street between Bush & Plum Streets, Red Wing, ca. 1860.

Minnesota Historical Society Photograph Collection, Location no. MG6.9 RW3.1 r1 Negative no. 8287

Western Minnesota and Dakota were settled slowly, but there was no reluctance to grow wheat in southeast Minnesota. Between 1862 and 1867 Red Wing was the largest primary wheat market in the world.

In 1862, Reverend George Biscoe reported "Minnesota or that part of it known as Cottage Grove has gone to wheat. Men work in wheat all day when it does not rain, lounge around talking about wheat when it is wet, dream about wheat at night and I fear go to meeting Sabbath Day to think about wheat."

Letter of Rev. George Biscoe to his sister, August 21, 1862.