Sunday, November 20, 2016

On This Date in Minnesota History: November 20

November 20, 1970 – This beautiful 1871 Gothis/Italianate house in St. Peter, Minn., was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on this date. It was built and lived in by the first mayor of St. Peter, Eugene St. Julien Cox.

The Eugene St. Julien Cox House

Historical Marker Text

The Eugene St. Julien Cox House

In 1871, Eugene St. Julien Cox, a man of eccentric tastes and “great vigor of mind” built this picturesque neo-Gothic Italianate house noted for its towered cupola, small balconies, and carved eaves.

Cox began his law career in 1857 and built a thriving practice in the frontier village of St. Peter. After brief service as a Union officer in the Civil War, Cox enrolled fifty men into the “Frontier Avengers and led this unit in the defense of New Ulm during the Dakota War of 1862.

After the wars, the “affable and genial and always daintly dressed” Cox was elected St. Peter’s mayor. This was followed by his election to the Minnesota Legislature, first as a representative, later as a senator. In 1877, he was elected judge of the ninth judicial district. Within four years the Minnesota House impeached Judge Cox and the Senate organized a high court for trial purposes. He was mainly charged with intoxication “caused by the voluntary and immoderate use of intoxicating liquors, which disqualified him for discharge of his official duties.” In 1882, after a sensational five-month trial which included seventeen hundred pages of testimony and a petition for acquittal signed by four thousand people. Judge Cox was convicted and removed from his office as district judge by a bare two-thirds vote of the Minnesota Senate. Nine years later, the legislature passed a resolution “vacating, annulling, and expunging all the proceedings of the impeachment and trial.” Nevertheless, E. St. Julien Cox left Minnesota and died in Los Angeles on November 3, 1898.

The house remained in the Cox family until 1969, when it was donated to the Nicollet County Historical Society for preservation and restoration. In 1969, this property received the first grant awarded by the Minnesota Historical Society, as a part of the newly created State Grants In-Aid program, created for the preservation and restoration of Minnesota’s historical sites.

Photos taken by Pamela J. Erickson. Released into the public domain Nov. 6, 2016,
as long as acknowledgement included.


If you are interested in finding out more about your family history in Minnesota, I specialize in researching  genealogical and historical records in Minn. and western Wis., including:
census records,  birth records,  death certificates, obits, grave site photos, ship passenger lists, marriage records and declarations of intent/naturalization records.  I will visit locations to research local history and county records, as well as take photos. Quick turnaround on MNHS records.  Both short searches and family history reports.

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