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Staples has its roots in the lumber and railroad industries.  After the Minnesota territory became a State, townships were formed and usually named for a prominent person in the larger settlements.  The Dower and Staples families were settled west of what is now Staples and their lumber ventures brought the first settlers.  The lake was named for the Dower family that the settlement was named Staples Mills for the Staples family.  The township was also named Staples.  Later expansion brought the name of Presto to the incorporated village, which was changed to Staples within two years.  Homesteaders offered land grants by the railroad later joined the early lumber workers.  These beginings came about in the late 1880's and the early 1890's.

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Todd County was created on February 20, 1885 (Organized in 1873) from Cass County.  The county was named in honor of John Blair Smith Todd, commander of Fort Ripley (1849-56); general in the Civil War; delegate in Congress from Dakota Territory, 1861 and 1863-65; governor of Dakota Territory, 1869-71.