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German Immigration to the Minnesota River Valley Frontier, 1852-1865 by Bryce O. Stenzel

About the Author

Bryce O. Stenzel was born and raised in rural Mankato, Minnesota. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Teaching and a Master's Degree in History from Minnesota State University, Mankato. He teaches full-time at the elementary and secondary levels as well as offers Community Education classes on historical topics throughout the year.

As a costumed historical interpreter, Stenzel portrays Abraham Lincoln. He is a member of the Association of Lincoln Presenters and a member of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. His first book, Abraham Lincoln: Man of the People was p      ublished in 1996. He has since published two other books; Mankato Milestones, 1852-2002: The Historians Handbook of Facts and Folklore from the Mankato AreaGerman Immigration to the Minnesota River Valley Frontier 1852-1865; and four playbooks, Lincoln for the Stages, Two Men, One Dream, To Bind the Nation’s Wounds: Lincoln’s Last Days, and "...His Truth is Marching On...". When he's not teaching, writing or portraying America's 16th president, Stenzel enjoys travel and photography.


German Immigration to the Minnesota River Valley Frontier, 1852-1865

Wir Stammten aus Deutschland nach Hausen Minnesota
"We originated out of Germany and have come home to Minnesota"

By Bryce O. Stenzel

The major role played by German immigrants on the settlement and development of the Minnesota River valley frontier has been underestimated. Contrary to popular myth, Germans were some of the first white settlers to occupy the region, causing later immigrants of other ethnicities to receive more attention by historians. The large number of German immigrants that came to the Minnesota River valley frontier made them seem invisible. The German presence was taken for granted; because it seemed to have always been there. Most notably, the fierce desire of the German immigrants to assimilate into American society, while retaining some of their cultural heritage caused them to be ignored as well.

Through research involving books, journal articles, written interviews, letters, government documents, maps, photographs and newspapers, it was revealed that the German immigrants came to the Minnesota River valley frontier seeking economic opportunity after it was denied them in central Europe. In the process, they helped to shape the course of history in both Minnesota and the rest of the United States. This is the German Immigrant's story, as told by one of their descendants.

The geographical area of the Minnesota River valley includes the counties of Blue Earth, Brown, Carver, Dakota, Faribault, Hennepin, LeSueur, Nicollet, Scott and Sibley.

73 B/W photographs and illustrations
Hard Cover, 136 pp.
ISBN: 0-9713168-3-X
Retail: $28.95 Sale $25.00
Reviews & Comments


Bryce Stenzel’s book, German Immigration to the Minnesota River Valley Frontier 1852-1865, is a fascinating journey into Minnesota’s past! Stenzel blends an expansive history of the Minnesota River Valley and German immigration. Both are essential to understanding Minnesota’s history. Stenzel’s book is a must read!
~ Jefferson Spilman, supervisor of The Landing, Shakopee, MN.