Big Stone County
Founded: 20 February 1862

• Named after Big Stone Lake. The name was a translation of a Sioux name for the outcrops of granite and gneiss found in the Minnesota Valley nearby.
Evidence of recent prehistoric occupancy of Big Stone County by an Indian-like race abound. Following the Indian outbreak, western Minnesota was practically deserted, except for soldiers stationed at various points, who patrolled the frontier to protect the settlements farther east. Thus, Sioux bands of Sisseton and Walperton continued for some years to wander over the nearby Dakota prairies to which they had fled. Fear of all Indians was intense at this time. Settlement of the Big Stone area was thus delayed. In August 1870, there were 6 houses in the County, and 2 families. Following Government surveys made in 1871 and 1872, people came in gradually, and by the spring of 1875, there were 85 families in the County.

Major Industries: Farming, granite mining.

Population: 5820 (2000 Census)

Cities: Barry, Beardsley, Clinton, Correll, Graceville, Johnson, Odessa, Ortonville.

County Seat: Ortonville


Total: 522 sq. miles.
Land: 497 sq. miles
Water: 31 sq. miles


Big Stone County is situated on the western border of the State almost midway between the north and south boundaries. It has Traverse County and a part of Stevens County on the north, Stevens and Swift Counties on the east, Lac qui Parle County and the Minnesota River on the south, and the Minnesota River, Big Stone Lake and the State of South Dakota on the west. The county has a total area of 522 square miles of which 31 are water.

Recreational opportunities:

Hunting and Fishing.

Public Recreation Sites
• Ortonville Golf Course.
• Graceville Golf Course.
• Toqua Park
• Big Stone Lake State Park
• Bonanza State Park and Education Center.
• Minnkota Archery Range.
• Big Stone Federal Wildlife Refuge

Upcoming Events
• Big Stone County Fair, July 12 to 15, 2007.
• For a complete list of events in Big Stone County, visit

Thanks to the Big Stone County Website for the information!

Information gathered by Eric Anunobi, Sesquicentennial Fellow

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