On This Date In Twin Cities History - February 6, 1857
On this date in 1857, during the last session of the Minnesota Territorial Legislature, councilman William D. Lowry introduced a bill to remove the state capitol from St. Paul to St. Peter.
The bill passed the state Council by a vote of 8-7 on February 12. After a failed fillibuster, the House then passed the bill on February 18 by a vote of 20-17. The bill was returned to the Senate to be enrolled and engrossed and sent on to the governor for his signature.
On February 27, the enrolled bill landed on the desk of the chairman of enrolled bills, Jospeh Rollete.
On February 28, a ‘call of the council’ was requested which required any absent members be sent for. When the roll was called, only councilman Jospeh Rollette was missing. The doors to the council chambers were ordered closed and the council was essentially quarantined until Rollete returned. For the next 5 days, the council remained sequestered in its chambers.
Finally on March 5 around 1:00 PM, the council adjourned. Two days later on March 7, the time limited by law for the continuation of the Session of the Territorial Legislature had expired and the Council adjourned without sending the bill on to the governor.
Joseph Rolette had simply taken the engrossed and enrolled bill with him when he left the the capital on February 27. He did not return to the chamber until after session ended. As to his whereabouts no knows for certain. Except for Rollette’s actions and other subsequent legislative and legal processes, the capitol of Minnesota today would be located in the city of St. Peter.