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Chief Buffalo land claims

 Collection
Identifier: S3642

Scope and Contents

The materials in this collection concern disputed claims regarding land in present day downtown Duluth, Minnesota that was initially granted to the Ojibwe Chief Buffalo.

The collection contains seven land abstracts (1871-1895), an agreement (September 11, 1856) between Benjamin G. Armstrong and Frederick Prentice and a three-page, 1953, letter to Duluth Mayor George W. Johnson from attorney Arthur Roberts about the Mayor’s inquiry of "the possibility of determining the location of the so-called Chief Buffalo Rock."

The abstracts only mention Chief Buffalo as having disposed of the land. There are no actual deeds.

Dates

  • 1883-1953

Conditions Governing Access

Open for use in the Kathryn A. Martin Library, Archives and Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

Administrative History:

In the 1880s, Frederick Prentice, was the assignee and holder of the Chief Buffalo Claim who attempted to enforce his claim against various owners and occupants of land in the area. The claim was to a tract of land one mile square in the center of what now constitutes the business district of Duluth. One corner of the description of the plot of land was anchored by a large stone or rock – 40 feet square – a well-known landmark. Two of those actions were tried: Prentice vs. Stearns, (C.C.Minn. 1884) and Prentice vs. Northern Pacific Railway Co. (C. C. Minn. 1890). Prentice was unsuccessful in each case. Notwithstanding that fact, his claim still constituted a cloud upon the title to the land in the City, particularly in the area comprised in the Plat of Duluth Proper, Third Division. A third action to clear that cloud was brought by Duluth Storage and Forwarding Company vs. Prentice (C. C. Minn. 1892). According to A. Roberts, the printed record in Duluth Storage and Forwarding Company vs. Prentice contains the depositions of a number of early settlers or visitors to Duluth who testified as to the location of the Chief Buffalo Rock: James D. Ray, Samuel C. McQuade, John R. Carey, William Nettleton, William A. Farr, and George R. Stuntz.. A three-page, 1953, letter to Duluth Mayor George W. Johnson from attorney Arthur Roberts about the Mayor’s inquiry of "the possibility of determining the location of the so-called Chief Buffalo Rock."  Roberts says, in conclusion, "If any structure were to be marked as the site of the rock, it probably should be the building now occupied by General Electric Supply Corporation, No. 102 West Michigan Street, standing on Lot numbered 16 in Block numbered 11, Central Division of Duluth."

Extent

9.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

The materials in this collection concern disputed claims regarding land in present day downtown Duluth, Minnesota that was initially granted to the Ojibwe Chief Buffalo.

Physical Location

This collection is located at the University of Minnesota Duluth Archives. For more information about this collection or to make an appointment, contact us at libarchives@d.umn.edu or 218-726-8526.

Related Materials:

NEMHC Biographical Files - Armstrong, Benjamin J.

NEMHC Biographical Files - Prentice, Frederick B.

General

This collection is part of the Northeast Minnesota Historical Collections, which are housed in the University of Minnesota Duluth Archives at the Kathryn A. Martin Library, and are on permanent loan from the St. Louis County Historical Society.
Title
Guide to the Chief Buffalo land claims
Author
Finding Aid Authors: Staff.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University of Minnesota Duluth Archives and Special Collections Collecting Area

Contact:
Kathryn A. Martin Library
University of Minnesota Duluth
416 Library Drive
Duluth MN 55812-3001
(218) 726-8526