Jacob Vandenberg Brower
(1844–1905) was a prolific writer of the Upper Midwest region of
States who championed the location and protection of the
utmost headwaters of the Mississippi and Missouri
born in Michigan and moved to
In 1862 he served with Henry Hastings Sibley
against the Sioux
war he was County Auditor and County Attorney for Todd County,
Minnesota. The City of Browerville, Minnesota,which he originally plotted, is named in his
acting as surveyor he visited Lake Itasca to settle a dispute over the source of the
The issue was whether Nicollet Creek at the southern tip of the
Lake Itasca and flows into the lake was the official start of the
Mississippi. Brower followed the stream through swamps, ponds to
Lake Hernando de Soto. Brower spent five months on Lake Itasca and
eventually ruled that since the Nicollet Creek was intermittent
stream it did not qualify as the source.
Brower was to lead a campaign to stop logging around Lake Itasca by
companies owned by Friedrich
. On April 20, 1891 the state legislature by a
margin of one approved the plans for a state park.
The official visitor center for the park is now called the Jacob V.
Brower Visitor Center and Brower is often referred to as the
"Father of Lake Itasca."
late 1800s he questioned the conventional wisdom that Meriwether Lewis had discovered the true
source of the Missouri
River on August 12, 1805, above Lemhi Pass on the Continental
Divide at the source of Trail Creek.
maps, he said the source should be 100 miles further away at the
source of Hell Roaring Creek at about 8,800 feet on Mount
Jefferson in the Centennial
Mountains on the Montana side of the Continental
Once again there were streams higher and further on the mountain
but they were also intermittent. In 1888 he visited the site of Brower's
Spring and left a metal tablet with his name and
In 1896 he published his findings "The Missouri: It's
sources ultimately drained into the Jefferson River which combines with the
Madison River to form the Missouri at
Headwaters State Park.
- Minnesota State University Biography
- Ohio River By John Ed Pearce, p44 1989 - ISBN
- Minnesota DNR Park Info
- The True Utmost Reaches of the Missouri - Montana
Outdoors - July-August 2005