Nobles County
Nobles County Government Center in Worthington
Nobles County Government Center in Worthington
Map of Minnesota highlighting Nobles County
Location within the U.S. state of Minnesota
Map of the United States highlighting Minnesota
Minnesota's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 43°40′N 95°46′W / 43.67°N 95.76°W / 43.67; -95.76
Country United States
State Minnesota
FoundedMay 23, 1857 (created)
October 27, 1870 (organized)
Named forWilliam H. Nobles
SeatWorthington
Largest cityWorthington
Area
 • Total723 sq mi (1,870 km2)
 • Land715 sq mi (1,850 km2)
 • Water7.5 sq mi (19 km2)  1.0%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total22,290
 • Estimate 
(2022)
21,947 Decrease
 • Density31.2/sq mi (12.0/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district1st
Websitewww.co.nobles.mn.us

Nobles County is a county in the U.S. state of Minnesota. As of the 2020 census, the population was 22,290.[1] Its county seat is Worthington.[2] Nobles County comprises the Worthington, MN Micropolitan Statistical Area.

History

1874 map of Nobles County - Note that six townships had yet to be named
Soils of Nobles County[3]
Buffalo Ridge

Nobles County was first occupied by the Sisseton Sioux. The first white man to set foot on the land was Joseph Nicollet who came to map out the area in 1842. Nicollet named Lake Okabena (there were two Lake Okabenas at the time), Lake Ocheda, East and West Graham Lake and the Kanaranzi Creek.

The first settlement was near Graham Lakes in 1846. Nobles County was established May 23, 1857, and organized October 27, 1870.[4] The county was named for William H. Nobles, a member of the Minnesota territorial legislature in 1854 and 1856. In Autumn 1856 he began the construction of a wagon road for the US government, crossing southwestern Minnesota and Nobles County, to extend from Fort Ridgely to South Pass in the Rocky Mountains. This work was continued in 1857 but was not completed.[5] Nobles County was created by the Minnesota Territory legislature just before the full force of the Panic of 1857 was felt. Settlers were further discouraged from coming by the Spirit Lake Massacre of 1857, where a band of Sioux murdered settlers in Spirit Lake and along the Des Moines River in Jackson and Cottonwood Counties. The few whites in the area were understandably reluctant to stay.

During the summer of 1867, a mail route was established from Blue Earth through the Graham Lakes settlement to Yankton, South Dakota. In January, a Post Office was established in each settlement. The population in the spring of 1870 was 117 and nearly doubled by fall. County Government did not start until 1870. The first railroad, the St. Paul & Sioux City Railway, was built in 1871. This later became the Chicago Northwestern Railroad, and is now operated by the Union Pacific Railroad.

In 1871, a group of men from Toledo, Ohio organized a company to locate a colony of settlers in some western county. After traveling 20,000 miles in the Midwest, they decided on Nobles County and by the spring of 1872, hundreds of people came in and took up land. Worthington was platted in 1871,[6] and became the county seat in 1873. The Worthington & Sioux Falls Railway was established in 1876. This led to rapid settlement in Rushmore, Adrian, and the western portions of the county.

The 1860 census of Nobles County showed 11 families, 35 persons, (3 from Norway, 3 from Bavaria, 1 from Ireland and the rest from the eastern states).[7] In 1880, the population was 4,435. In 1895, the population was 11,905, and in 1970, the population was up to 23,208. In 2000, the population was 20,832, and the 2010 census showed a population of 21,378.[8]

Haying operation in Nobles County 1895 (E.F. Buchanan photo)

COVID-19 pandemic (2020)

In May 2020, Nobles County had the fourth-highest per capita COVID-19 infection rate of any county in the United States. About one of every 17 residents had tested positive, with 1,319 cases.[9][10]

By June 29, 2022, the county had 7,104 cases and 60 deaths.

Economy

This county has farming and meat packing.

Geography

Map of Nobles County from 1882 Geological Report[11]

Nobles County is on the southern side of Minnesota. Its southern border abuts the northern border of the state of Iowa.[12] The county has a total area of 723 square miles (1,870 km2), of which 715 square miles (1,850 km2) is land and 7.5 square miles (19 km2) (1.0%) is water.[13]

Transit

Major highways

Adjacent counties

Lakes

Protected areas

Geology

Nobles County sits atop the Buffalo Ridge, a large expanse of rolling hills in southwestern Minnesota reaching a height of 1,995 ft (608 m) ASL. The Buffalo Ridge marks the most southerly extent of the last glaciation, and extends 60 miles (97 km) through Lincoln, Lyon, Pipestone, Murray, Rock, and Nobles counties. It is a drainage divide separating the watersheds of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Because of its elevation and constant winds, Buffalo Ridge has become a major site for wind energy. Over 200 wind turbines stand along the Ridge.

Buffalo Ridge is part of the inner coteau and is the highest point of the Coteau des Prairies in Minnesota.[14] Its bedrock is formed of Cretaceous shale, sandstone and clay that lie above the pinkish-red Upper Precambrian Sioux Quartzite.[15] These units are covered in most areas by thick deposits of glacial drift, which consist of up to 800 ft (240 m) of pre-Wisconsin age glacial till left after the glaciers receded. The inner coteau is made up of extremely stream-eroded glacial deposits of pre-Wisconsin glacial drift, which is then covered by a 6-15' (1.8-4.6m) thick deposit of a wind-blown silt called loess.[14] This covering results in the creation of an area with long, gently sloping hills. Loess is an easily eroded material, resulting in few lakes and wetlands in the inner coteau area. Loess however promotes well-established dendritic drainage networks flowing into the Missouri River and Minnesota River systems.

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.Note
186035
1870117234.3%
18804,4353,690.6%
18907,95879.4%
190014,93287.6%
191015,2101.9%
192017,91717.8%
193018,6183.9%
194021,21513.9%
195022,4355.8%
196023,3654.1%
197023,208−0.7%
198021,840−5.9%
199020,098−8.0%
200020,8323.7%
201021,3782.6%
202022,2904.3%
2022 (est.)21,947[16]−1.5%
US Decennial Census[17]
1790-1960[18] 1900-1990[19]
1990-2000[20] 2010-2020[1]

2020 census

Nobles County, Minnesota - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010[21] Pop 2020[22] % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 14,365 12,147 67.20% 54.50%
Black or African American alone (NH) 727 978 3.40% 4.39%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 67 66 0.31% 0.30%
Asian alone (NH) 1,144 1,329 5.35% 5.96%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 7 41 0.03% 0.18%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 25 42 0.11% 0.19%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 223 416 1.04% 1.87%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 4,820 7,271 22.55% 32.62%
Total 21,378 22,290 100.00% 100.00%

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.

2000 census

Age pyramid of county residents based on 2000 census data

As of the census of 2000, there were 20,832 people, 7,939 households, and 5,517 families in the county. The population density was 29.1 per square mile (11.2/km2). There were 8,465 housing units at an average density of 11.8 per square mile (4.6/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 86.50% White, 1.07% Black or African American, 0.31% Native American, 3.98% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 6.64% from other races, and 1.43% from two or more races. 11.16% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 47.0% were of German, 8.3% Dutch and 8.0% Norwegian ancestry.

There were 7,939 households, out of which 32.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.80% were married couples living together, 6.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.50% were non-families. 26.50% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.11.

The county population contained with 26.50% under the age of 18, 8.20% from 18 to 24, 26.60% from 25 to 44, 21.30% from 45 to 64, and 17.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 99.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $35,684, and the median income for a family was $43,076. Males had a median income of $27,853 versus $20,346 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,987. About 8.20% of families and 11.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.30% of those under age 18 and 12.50% of those age 65 or over.

Communities

Cities

Census-designated place

Unincorporated communities

Townships

Politics

Nobles County voters have tended to vote Republican in the past several decades. In 67% of national elections since 1980, the county has selected the Republican Party candidate (as of 2020).

United States presidential election results for Nobles County, Minnesota[23]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 5,600 64.26% 2,933 33.65% 182 2.09%
2016 5,299 61.39% 2,733 31.66% 600 6.95%
2012 4,581 53.77% 3,793 44.52% 146 1.71%
2008 4,368 49.56% 4,244 48.16% 201 2.28%
2004 5,159 56.05% 3,898 42.35% 147 1.60%
2000 4,766 53.72% 3,760 42.38% 346 3.90%
1996 3,769 41.60% 4,106 45.32% 1,186 13.09%
1992 3,548 35.73% 3,756 37.82% 2,626 26.45%
1988 4,348 46.28% 4,953 52.73% 93 0.99%
1984 4,876 50.77% 4,619 48.09% 110 1.15%
1980 4,706 45.40% 4,703 45.37% 956 9.22%
1976 4,503 41.95% 6,034 56.21% 198 1.84%
1972 4,951 47.04% 5,464 51.91% 110 1.05%
1968 4,451 44.04% 5,171 51.16% 485 4.80%
1964 3,517 35.31% 6,431 64.57% 12 0.12%
1960 5,636 53.20% 4,947 46.70% 11 0.10%
1956 5,196 56.23% 4,036 43.67% 9 0.10%
1952 6,340 65.25% 3,351 34.49% 26 0.27%
1948 3,203 38.21% 5,090 60.73% 89 1.06%
1944 4,149 54.61% 3,413 44.93% 35 0.46%
1940 5,104 56.34% 3,919 43.26% 36 0.40%
1936 2,601 32.22% 4,919 60.94% 552 6.84%
1932 2,417 35.35% 4,343 63.51% 78 1.14%
1928 3,676 56.01% 2,862 43.61% 25 0.38%
1924 2,835 46.10% 421 6.85% 2,894 47.06%
1920 4,420 79.64% 982 17.69% 148 2.67%
1916 1,413 50.39% 1,280 45.65% 111 3.96%
1912 605 20.78% 994 34.15% 1,312 45.07%
1908 1,432 56.78% 925 36.68% 165 6.54%
1904 1,732 70.52% 622 25.33% 102 4.15%
1900 1,709 57.68% 1,101 37.16% 153 5.16%
1896 1,568 54.84% 1,204 42.11% 87 3.04%
1892 894 44.24% 664 32.86% 463 22.91%

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ Nelson, Steven (2011). Savanna Soils of Minnesota. Minnesota: Self. pp. 69-70. ISBN 978-0-615-50320-2.
  4. ^ "Minnesota Place Names". Minnesota Historical Society. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  5. ^ "Warren Upham's Minnesota Places: A Geographical Encyclopedia". Archived from the original on June 20, 2007. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c Upham, Warren. Minnesota Geographic Names, pp. 376-79. Accessed March 17, 2019
  7. ^ United States Census Bureau: 1860 Census (accessed March 17, 2019)
  8. ^ "Nobles County History - Nobles County, Minnesota". Archived from the original on January 11, 2011. Retrieved June 11, 2010. Nobles County Government Website
  9. ^ See "Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count" The New York Times May 15, 2020.
  10. ^ See Joe Barrett, "Coronavirus Threatens a Minnesota Farm Town’s Economic Engine: JBS meatpacking plant turned Worthington into a global melting pot; now officials worry as it reopens" Wall Street Journal May 22, 2020
  11. ^ The Geology of Minnesota Archived July 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ a b c Nobles County MN Google Maps (accessed March 17, 2019)
  13. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  14. ^ a b DNR, Minnesota DNR, http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/ecs/251Bc/index.html.
  15. ^ Anderson RR (1987) Precambrian Sioux Quartzite at Gitchie Manitou State Preserve, Iowa. Centennial Field Guide Vol. 3: North-Central Section of the Geological Society of America: Vol. 3, No. 0 pp. 77–80. [1]
  16. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Counties: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2022". Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  17. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  18. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  19. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  20. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 27, 2010. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  21. ^ "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2010: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Nobles County, Minnesota". United States Census Bureau.
  22. ^ "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Nobles County, Minnesota". United States Census Bureau.
  23. ^ Leip, David. "Atlas of US Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved October 10, 2018.

43°40′N 95°46′W / 43.67°N 95.76°W / 43.67; -95.76