|This 1860 visiting
card depicts Ellen Penshred, a "nurse and very dear friend"
to the Alexander Faribault
family; family members called her "Mamma Ellen."
1870 census documents indicate that Ellen was a Dakota or
mixed-blood woman born in 1828. Information from Faribault
family descendants states that she accompanied Alexander's
grown son, William, to his new home in St. Louis, but, becoming
homesick, returned to Faribault to live with Alexander's daughter,
Julia. Family records note that she died in 1895 and is buried
in the Faribault family plot in Calvary Cemetery.
Town founder Alexander Faribault had at least two homes
in Faribault. He built a Greek Revival home (now open to
the public at 12 1st Avenue Northeast) in 1853 as he completed
his transition from fur trader to town proprietor. In 1856
he constructed a new home on the bluffs, which he later
sold to the State School for the Blind. As the son of a
French-Canadian fur trader and a Dakotah woman, Faribault
had the cultural and linguistic knowledge to move easily
between these worlds. When land treaty outcomes and the
Dakotah War compounded difficulties for the Dakotah, Faribault
maintained his ties, providing employment in his flour mill
and, as suggested by this photo, in his home.