January 3, 1871: Luke Marvin takes his seat in St. Paul

On this day in St. Paul in 1871, Duluth pioneer Luke Marvin took his seat in the state capitol as the representative from northeastern Minnesota. It was the first time St. Louis, Cook, and Lake Counties had appropriate representation in over ten years. In 1860, the Minnesota Legislature was reduced from thirty-seven senators and sixty-nine representatives to twenty-one senators and forty-two representatives. At the same time, St. Louis, Lake (which then included what is now Cook County), and Carlton counties were put in the Third district—along with sixteen other northern counties. While physically these counties combined to make up almost half the state, the changes entitled them to only one senator and three representatives. This all but prevented the so-called “lake” counties from pushing legislation, as they had no representation and had to pay a substitute to put forward any bills that would help their cause. In 1871 the state permitted the lake counties to have one representative in the house, and Luke Marvin had been selected to fill that roll the previous November. Thanks to Marvin, northeastern Minnesota was more recognized during that year’s legislative session. Membership of both houses was enlarged to forty-one in the senate and 106 in the house. St. Louis, Lake, Carlton, Itasca and Cass counties became the Twenty-ninth district, and were allowed one senator and one representative.

Luke Marvin (Image: Zenith City Press)