J. R. Brown founded Henderson in 1852 as a freighting center for goods going up the Minnesota River to the Indian agencies and Fort Ridgely. The valley had opened to settlement, and Brown intended to supply food, lodging, and goods to the newcomers as well as wood to the steamboats that carried them. His newspaper, The Henderson Democrat, helped attract settlers.

Traverse des Sioux History Center

Located just outside of St. Peter, Traverse des Sioux became a meeting place and depot for traders as well as a crossing place for Dakota. It was generally the head of navigation on the shallow, winding Minnesota River. Brown was instrumental in persuading the upper bands to come to the treaty-making and in getting the traders paid for past credit they had given the Indians.

Fort Ridgely State Park

Brown opened up the "Fort Road" from Henderson in 1852 and began freighting supplies to Fort Ridgely with ox teams. Follow the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway (CH 5, CR 51, and MN 19) through Morton, left on CH 2.

Camp Release Monument

Defeat at Wood Lake caused many Dakota to decide to give themselves and their prisoners up. Among the prisoners were Brown's wife, children, and grandchildren. Brown was present when the friendly Dakota turned over 269 captives at Camp Release near this marker on September 26, 1862.

Sica Hollow State Park

In 1893, Brown located a trading post on the crest of the hill east of the park on the Indian trail that passed over the Coteau des Prairies. Brown used the Sica (Bad) Hollow post as a base for trading as far west as the James River. (The site of this post is on private land and cannot be visited, but do visit this unique park.) A splendid view of the coteau can be had from the Nicollet Tower 3 miles west of Sisseton.