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Christian Education and Institution Building in St. Paul   pig’s eye, with its handful of residents, mainly whiskey traders and a few French-Canadians, was one of only a few white settlements in the Minnesota Territory in 1838. Yet it was less a settlement than a loose collection of people living within a few miles of one another at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. The majority of the inhabitants in the region were Native Americans—Dakota, primarily, but some Ojibwa—who had long since established winter villages and ceremonial centers on the lakes and rivers of the area, and particularly here, where the two rivers met. But during the period, French-Canadian immigrants and mixed-race peoples, along with a variety of trappers,whiskeytraders,andotherentrepreneurs,hadcomeontheheelsof the U.S.Army,whichhadestablishedafortattheconfluencein1825.Pig’sEyecame into being only because the U.S. Army’s Fifth Regiment kicked the whites off the military reserve’s perimeter in the late 1830s. Fed up with the impact of the alcohol trade on the native peoples technically under their charge, the military brass expelled the whites for illegally inhabiting lands that the U.S. government hadnotyetopenedtosettlement.Someof thoseoccupantsundoubtedlymoved on down the river, but the Mississippi is narrow and readily crossed here in its upper ranges, and many simply relocated to the other side (the east bank) of theMississippiRiver,aregionnotcontrolledbythemilitary.Amongthosewho relocatedwasPierre“Pig’sEye”Parrant,perhapsthemostnotoriousof thewhiskeytraders ,whoseemstohavelenthisnametotheroughsettlementontheeast bank.Pig’sEye,then,asthesettlementcametobeknown,wasclearlynotfounded with much thought to permanent settlement, much less institution building.1  | nature & revelation Soon,however,signsof changebecameapparent.In1841,FatherLucienGaltierarrivedasamissionarytotheregion .Welcomedwithopenarmsbythesmall community,inwhich,if anyreligiousgroupdominated,itwasFrench-Canadian Catholics, Galtier set about establishing a permanent church and succeeded in erecting the Chapel of St. Paul on land on the river bluff donated by two of the settlers. The residents, as historian Mary Lethert Wingerd explains, were “so delighted with their first community institution that they rechristened the river settlementinitshonor.”2 Withtheseefforts,then,institutionbuildinginSt.Paul began.Overthenextseveralyears,avarietyof civicleaderswouldemerge,intent on establishing the benefits of eastern American cities in this frontier area. It may seem an unusual choice to begin a study of Macalester College with aportraitof earlySt.Paul.Afterall,thecollegewasnotchartereduntil1874,and it did not open its doors as a postsecondary institution until 1885, all well after the founding of Pig’s Eye and even quite a while after the Minnesota Territory had become a state in 1858. Yet the opening of the college was the culmination of decades of work by several individuals deeply involved in establishing the institutions of the eastern United States—the churches, schools, and governmentstructures —inthelittlerivertownonthebanksof theMississippi.Though Macalester came rather late in the process of institution building in St. Paul, its roots reach deep into the city’s very origins. Those roots lead directly to Edward Duffield Neill, a man of multiple interests and occupations: missionary, preacher, educator, and historian. Neill, as this chapter will show, conceived of the very idea of a Christian college on the frontier and struggled for decades to make that idea a reality. This conception of a Christian college was part of a broader endeavor on the part of many individuals to build a city through the establishment of government, development of land, and founding of civic institutions. This is the story of how Macalester College fit into that process of early community building. Institution Building in the Early Years in St. Paul Neill, a native of Philadelphia, stepped off the deck of a steamboat called the SenatorontotheJacksonStreetpieratSt.PaulforthefirsttimeonApril21,1849, at the age of twenty-six. He had boarded the boat two days earlier at Galena, Illinois, where he had been living for the past two years. There he had launched his career as clergyman. The Presbyterian Synod of Galena had granted the youngeasterner,freshoutof AndoverTheologicalSeminaryinMassachusetts,a Christian Education and Institution Building in St. Paul |  preachinglicenseand,later,ordination.Onthestrengthof thisadvancement,he had married his sweetheart from back home, with whom he had corresponded foryears:NancyHallof SnowHill,Pennsylvania.ShehadjoinedhiminGalena, and the two had begun a life together, knowing that they would soon be leaving the relatively settled region of Illinois for the vast reaches of the newly opening frontier, for Neill’s vocation lay in missionary work. Within months, the American Home Missionary Society sent him up the Mississippi River to Minnesota, where the tiny village of St. Paul was in need of a Presbyterian presence.3 At the time of Neill’s arrival in St. Paul, the village was rugged. It had lost its unpleasant original name only a year before. White...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780816673346
Related ISBN
9780816656264
MARC Record
OCLC
648711615
Pages
424
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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