A stamp celebrating the centenary of Minnesota as a United States territory was issued on March 3, 1949, in Saint Paul, the state's capital. The vignette features a westward-bound pioneer and a Red River ox cart.
The Red River ox cart, a two-wheeled cart made entirely of wood and pulled by oxen, was frequently constructed using buffalo sinew due to the shortage of nails on the frontier. Mid-nineteenth-century fur traders and pioneers pushing onto the western frontiers of Canada and the US used the carts. The Red River Ox Cart Trail extended from fur trading posts such as Pembina and St. Joseph in the Red River Valley to St. Paul, Minnesota. Traders carried furs to St. Paul and returned with supplies. The creaking sound their wooden axles made was distinctive.
Deputy Third Assistant Postmaster General Robert E. Fellers spoke at the First Day Ceremony. He noted, "The 100th anniversary of Minnesota's becoming a territory is an important event in the history of our country. The highest honor the Post Office Department can pay in recognizing the event is the issuance of a commemorative stamp. Since the first Territorial Legislature met at Saint Paul, it is only natural that the first day sale of the stamp be held here."
Charles R. Chickering of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing designed the stamp, having referred to a sketch by Miss Florence Glindmier for the Minnesota Historical Society, one of the organizations promoting the stamp. C.A. Brooks engraved the vignette; G.A. Payne engraved the outline frame, panel at the bottom, lettering, and numerals.
- Bureau Specialist. West Somerville, Massachusetts: Bureau Issues Association, Inc. (August 1949), 185-186.
- Glass, Sol. United States Postage Stamps, 1945-1952. West Somerville: Bureau Issues Association, Inc. (1954), 139-140.
- Western Stamp Collector. Mill City, Oregon. (April 24, 1948), 3.
- "Red Rive Ox Cart". Nation Master. statemaster.com/encyclopedia/Red-River-ox-cart (accessed May, 2009)
Steven J. Rod