Five men are known to have settled in Douglas County in 1858. Three of the men, named Holmes, Grant, and Sanford, settled in what became known as Homes City on Grant Lake. Two brothers, Alexander and William Kinkead claimed land along Lake Agnes and Lake Winona. The site was selected for its natural beauty, abundance of water, and timber. It was in 1858 that a company was formed that established the first business; the new company was set up to advertise and sell the newly formed lots. How else would a town develop without Realtors?
Alexander Kinkead became the first postmaster and his log home became the Alexandria Post Office.
During the summer of 1858, the U.S. Army cut a trail through the brush, woods, and prairie from St. Cloud to Fort Abercrombie near the North Dakota border. A frontier stagecoach made stops at Osakis, Alexandria, Chippewa (Brandon), Evansville, and westward. With the stagecoach were men looking for opportunities for the future. Among these were a few men with their families. The Alexandria settlement soon included several log homes.
In 1861, less than four years after their arrival in Douglas County, the civil war broke out and Alexander and William Kinkead were inducted into the Union Army. More recent settlers and the George Kinkead family remained.
Then, in the summer of 1862, the Sioux uprising occurred. At the governor's request, the settlers were asked to flee to more populated areas where the union soldiers could provide protection. The settlers took what possessions they could carry in the wagons and fled to the safety of Sauk Centre and St. Cloud. Very few of the original settlers ever returned, so ended Alexandria’s first beginning.
After a few years a resolution was made to end the Indian uprising and the area was resettled. A small party of men from New York came to the wilds of Minnesota to hunt and fish. Among them was William Hicks, former editor of the “New York Post”.
Just how the ownership passed from the Kinkeads and several others during the four years from 1862 to 1886 is shrouded in the passing of time. William Hicks was able to purchase the Alexandria town site with Indian script and his family began their life on the Minnesota frontier in 1867.
With the civil war ending, more settlers came to the area. Thomas Cowing and William Hicks built a sawmill on Long Lake, now known as Lake Latoka. Hicks saw many things that needed to be done. He gave the land for the Kinkead Cemetery and the first school. Three churches were built on the land he and his wife provided. He also started the first newspaper, The Alexandria Post. Hicks built the first flour or grist mill and farmers came from miles away to have their flour ground.
In 1889, the government land office was moved from Sauk Centre to Alexandria. In 1893, less than seven years from the time Hicks first opened his office in Alexandria, most of the farmland had been claimed by the swarm of homesteaders the roadway brought west. It must have been a wild and wooly, hurry surrey time in spite of travel with oxen, horses, covered wagons, and stagecoaches.
Eight years after first coming to Alexandria, William Hicks died. Some of his family continued to live in the area for many years. Today there are neither Hicks nor Kinkeads living in Alexandria. However, for many property owners you might notice the name Hicks listed as the original owners on your property abstract.
This information was obtained from the Douglas County Historical Society.