Anoka County, organized on May 23, 1857, almost a year before Minnesota became a state, is located in the eastern part of the state, about midway between the northern and southern boundary limits. It is bounded on the north by Isanti County, east of Chisago and Washington Counties, south by Ramsey and Hennepin Counties and west by Hennepin and Sherburne Counties, and southwest by the Mississippi River.
The first white men known to have trod the ground that became the County of Anoka were (about 1680) Father Louis Hennepin, a Franciscan monk, and two companions. According to the record kept by Father Hennepin and still preserved, a band of over 100 Indians captured them near Lake Pepin and planned to kill them, but finally decided to keep them for slaves. A few miles below St. Anthony Falls the canoe of the white men was destroyed and they were compelled to walk the long weary miles to Mille Lacs Lake where the villages of the Sioux were located. They remained with their captors. Father Hennepin gave the river, along whose full length they traveled, a more beautiful name than it now bears. He called it the St. Francis (from which St.