County History

On April 27th, 1857, the eighth Minnesota Territorial Legislature convened for a special session to consider various matters which had not been acted upon during their regular session earlier that year. Chief among those matters was to decide on the incorporation of multiple counties into the Minnesota Territory.

Along with 11 other counties, Martin County was incorporated into the Minnesota Territory on May 23, 1857. The county seat was a village given the name Fair Mount, which referred to the way it was situated above and beside the Central Chain of lakes, giving it a fine outlook across the lakes and adjoining countryside. The name was later shortened to Fairmont.

Martin County is believed to be named after one of two men: Morgan Lewis Martin, a US congressional delegate from the Wisconsin Territory who introduced the act to organize the Minnesota Territory, or an early settler from Connecticut who ran several businesses during the pre-territory era named Henry Martin.

Martin County’s present boundaries cover 730 square miles and are comprised of 20 Townships and 10 cities (Ceylon, Dunnell, Fairmont, Granada, Northrop, part of Ormsby, Sherburn, Trimont, Truman, and Welcome). Its borders include: Watonwan County (north), Blue Earth County (northeast), Faribault County (east), Kossuth County, Iowa (southeast), Emmet County, Iowa (southwest), and Jackson County (west).

According to the 2010 census, there were an estimated 20,843 residents living in Martin County. Of those, 21.9% are under 18 years of age, 24.1% are over 65, and 54% are between 18 and 65.

For more information, please visit the Martin County Historical Society.