Minnesota missionary letters offered at Swann

Swann Auction Galleries is to sell a major archive of letters from a family of missionaries on the Minnesota border during the 19th century.

The majority were sent by brothers Samuel and Gideon Pond, who took up their religious callings in 1833 – while both were in their early 20s.

Minnesota Missionary letters

The Pond brothers moved to Minnesota from Washington, DC in the early 1830s 

Together they moved to the wilderness to live among (and attempt to convert) the Dakota Sioux. They would transcribe the first written alphabet of the Dakota language.  

The Minnesota Territory was incorporated in 1849, only becoming an official state of the union in 1858.

Many of these letters date to long before the earliest waves of settlers arrived in the region and offer a fascinating glimpse into how Minnesota changed in just a few short years.

In first letter, dated 1834, Samuel Pond writes of how “Gideon & I mean to build us a log house this summer...7 or 8 miles from the mouth of the St. Peters River...The Indian Agent here wished to have us build there.”

Later letters reference the devastating toll of the Indian wars of the 1860s and the arrival of the towns and railroads.  

Today you can still see Gideon Pond’s house in the Pond-Dakota Mission Park near the city of Bloomington, Minnesota.

The letters are expected to sell for around $30,000-40,000.

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