So Minnesota: An unlikely friendship formed at LeDuc Historic Estate in Hastings

Joe Mazan
Updated: September 15, 2020 06:08 AM
Created: September 08, 2020 05:08 PM

There are many historic homes across Minnesota. 

One house in Hastings built during the Civil War has a unique history that brought the North and South together. 

General William LeDuc and his wife Mary built the LeDuc Historic Estate in 1865.

While serving in the Civil War, LeDuc met George Daniels, a slave who escaped the Confederate Army and fought for the North. 

After the war, LeDuc gave Daniels a job working on his land in Hastings. Daniels and his wife lived in a home on the back of the property.  At the time Hastings had a population of 2,500, and only 14 of its residents were African Americans. 

"He couldn't read or write when he got here," Mariah Ring with the LeDuc Historic Estate said. "Daniels wife used to write letters requesting his payment."

Over the years, LeDuc and Daniels built a strong lifelong friendship.

"The fact that he and George became such good friends and that George was so loved and respected by the family is really quite amazing, especially for the time period," Ring said 

Daniels learned to read and write. He later moved to South Dakota where he farmed land and became a member of the town school board. When Daniels died in 1917, all businesses in the small South Dakota town where he lived closed out of respect to his memory.  

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