- Saint Paul Early Settler, 1799-1884 -
James Thompson arrived at Fort Snelling as a slave in 1827. He married an Ojibwe woman and learned the language. In the 1830s, he was hired by missionary Alfred Brunson as an interpreter. Thompson's success on Brunson's behalf prompted the missionary to purchase Thompson's freedom. Thompson became one of Saint Paul's first settlers and a man of property. He eventually donated materials and money in the 1840s for the construction of the city's first Methodist church, formerly at 352 Market Street in downtown Saint Paul.