On This Date In Twin Cities History - January 24, 1881

On this date in 1881, suffering from dyspepsia, heart disease, and depression, Justus C. Ramsey, younger brother of statesman Alexander, commits suicide in St. Paul. After winning $10,000 in a lottery, Justus had arrived in Minnesota from Pennsylvania in 1849, invested heavily in real estate, and served in the territorial legislature. In early August 1862 he was one of a party that attempted to deliver an annuity payment in gold from the U.S. government to Dakota Indians. The Civil War delayed the gold’s arrival from Washington and put the Dakota in a state of deprivation and near-starvation, factors leading to the U.S.-Dakota War that erupted on August 18. Ramsey and his companions reached Fort Ridgely on August 20, the day before it was attacked, and remained there during the siege. Unable to disperse the money, the party later returned with the kegs of gold to St. Paul. (MNopedia)