Alexandria in Douglas County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Red River Ox Cart Trails
† † † † † 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
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. Marker is located in the rest area on the northbound side of I-94. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Alexandria MN 56308, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Roads & Vehicles •
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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 629 times since then and 74 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on July 19, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.