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Daniel M. Frost


Born on this day in 1823, Daniel Marsh Frost is most familiar as a brigadier general in the Confederate Army. But before the Civil War, Daniel Frost played an important role in the development of Dakota Territory.

While serving in the Mexican War, or shortly thereafter, Frost met fellow West Pointer John Blair Todd, a cousin of Mary Todd Lincoln. Forming a partnership in 1856, Frost and Todd embarked on a variety of endeavors including Frost, Todd & Company, a fur and store trade business on the Upper Missouri River with posts established as far north as Fort Atkinson near Like-a-Fishhook, the Mandan-Hidatsa village.

Less than a year into their partnership, Todd and Frost turned to another source of profit: land. Forming the Upper Missouri Land Company to speculate in town sites, one of their sites, Yankton, became the first capital of Dakota Territory.


Lamar, Howard Roberts. Dakota Territory 1861-1889: A Study of Frontier Politics. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1956.

Sunder, John E. The Fur Trade on the Upper Missouri, 1840-1865. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1965.

Wilson, Wesley C. "General John B. S. Todd, First Delegate, Dakota Territory." North Dakota History 31, no. 3 (1964): 189-194.