Area History

This region of Northern Minnesota is rooted in a rich history. The settling of the Lake of the Woods region began in 1688 when Jacques De Noyon came from Three Rivers, Quebec to become the first white man to view the waters. Pre-historical evidence dates back more than 5,000 years, perhaps extending back 10,000 years to ancient people who followed the retreating glacial ice into the area.

Following Jacques De Noyon’s arrival in 1688, there are no known expeditions to the Lake of the Woods area until Pierre La Verendrye came with a party of more than 50 men in 1732. La Verendrye found northern Minnesota populated by Cree, Monsonis, Assiniboine and Sioux Indians. The Ojibwe had not yet pushed as far west as Lake of the Woods. The La Verendrye party was a victim of Indian warfare when Father Aulneau and 19 other men were massacred on an island in the lake by the Sioux war party which had set out to attack a Village of Cree. Today there are two islands on the lake which are identified as Massacre Island. Each has its supporters for being the site of the Massacre. History for the next 75 to 100 years was characterized by the onset of the voyageurs and rivaling fur trading companies.