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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Alexandria in Douglas County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Red River Ox Cart Trails

 
 
Red River Ox Cart Trails Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 19, 2015
1. Red River Ox Cart Trails Marker
Inscription.
† † † † † For some 40 years in the mid-19th century, two-wheeled wooden carts drawn by slow-moving oxen creaked and groaned over the rough trails from colonies on the Red River near Lake Winnipeg to St. Paul, 400 miles to the southeast.
† † † † † The overland trade between the Canadian settlements and St. Paul began in 1835 as an illegal trade bypassing the Hudsonís Bay Company monopoly in the Red River of the North region. Within a few years trains of several hundred carts hauled more than $250,000 worth of furs, pemmican, and buffalo robes to St. Paul and carried back food, medicine, dry goods, and other supplies.
† † † † † The six-foot high cart wheels, held together by wooden pegs and rawhide, were ungreased and set up a squeal that could be heard for miles. Driven by the mixed-blood Bois Brule traders in their red sashes, beaded caps and moccasins, the carts traveled about 15 miles a day. Mud and mosquitos were an almost constant plague. Their mid-summer arrival in St. Paul provided steamboat passengers to the frontier city of St. Paul an unexpected attraction.
† † † † † Over the years the trails were changed. Some times alternative routes were used because of weather and at times it was dangerous for the Ojibway-related traders to pass through the Dakota Indianís territory. The first trail used moved south across
Red River Ox Cart Trails Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 19, 2015
2. Red River Ox Cart Trails Marker
the plains of North Dakota, turning eastward into the Minnesota River Valley and finally winding northward into St. Paul. A later trail called the Woods Trail moved up the Mississippi River to the mouth of the Crow Wing River near Brainerd, turned west to Detroit Lakes and then north into Canada. Yet another trail followed the Red River to near Moorhead and then turned southeast towards St. Paul. Todayís I-94 follows parts of that trail. Traces of the old trails can still be found today in Otter Tail, Wadena, and Crow Wing counties; as well as, in other locations.
 
Location. 45° 50.235′ N, 95° 20.64′ W. Marker is in Alexandria, Minnesota, in Douglas County. Marker can be reached from Interstate 94, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is located in the rest area on the northbound side of I-94. Marker is in this post office area: Alexandria MN 56308, United States of America.
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceRoads & Vehicles
 
Red River Ox Cart Trails Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 19, 2015
3. Red River Ox Cart Trails Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 19, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 384 times since then and 75 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 19, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.
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