Alexander Faribault

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Portrait of Alexander Faribault

Alexander "Alex" Faribault (June 22, 1806 – November 28, 1882) was an American trading post operator and territorial legislator who helped to found Faribault, Minnesota and was its first postmaster.

Born in Prairie du Chien, Michigan Territory, his father was the fur trapper Jean-Baptiste Faribault. His mother was Elizabeth Pelagie Ainse, a half-Dakota daughter of Joseph-Louis Ainse, a British superintendent at Mackinac.[1] He was considered mixed-blood.

Alexander Faribault married Mary Elizabeth Graham in 1825. Mary was a member of another prominent French-Dakota family. This helped contribute to Faribault's successful business enterprises.

He owned a trading post and in 1851 served in the Minnesota Territorial House of Representatives.

During the Dakota War of 1862, he fought in the Battle of Birch Coulee, the bloodiest battle in the war for American soldiers.[2] During the siege, Alexander Faribault pleaded for peace. Speaking Dakota, Alexander pleaded to Big Eagle, "You do very wrong to fire on us. We did not come out to fight; we only came out to bury the bodies of the white people you killed."[3]

After most Dakota were ordered into exile from their Minnesota homelands in 1863, Faribault sheltered a number of Wahpekute and Mdewakanton people on his farm.[4]

His son-in-law was William Henry Forbes, who also served in the Minnesota Territorial Legislature. Faribault died in Faribault, Minnesota,[5][6] after suffering a "paralytic shock" (stroke) the previous month.[7]

His house, the Alexander Faribault House, was built in 1853 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[8]


  1. ^ "Settlement of Pike Island Claim Asked by Pierz Heir". The St. Cloud Daily Times. May 3, 1930. p. 11. Retrieved October 23, 2018 – via Open access icon
  2. ^ Carley, Kenneth (1976). The Dakota War of 1862. St Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press. ISBN 978-0-87351-392-0.
  3. ^ Anderson, Gary (1986). Little Crow: Spokesman for the Sioux. St Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press. ISBN 0-87351-196-4.
  4. ^ "Who Was Alexander Faribault?". Religions in Minnesota. Carleton College. Retrieved April 25, 2022.
  5. ^ Minnesota Legislators Past and Present-Alexander Faribault
  6. ^ "City of Faribault, Minnesota-History". Archived from the original on 2014-01-14. Retrieved 2014-01-13.
  7. ^ "The Hon. Alex. Faribault". Mower County Transcript. October 4, 1882. p. 4. Retrieved October 22, 2018 – via Open access icon
  8. ^ Nord, Mary Ann (2003). The National Register of Historic Places in Minnesota. Minnesota Historical Society. ISBN 0-87351-448-3.