The county seat is Benson. Swift
County was established February 18, 1870. This county was named after Henry
Adoniram Swift, the governor of Minnesota in 1863. It is located in the west
central part of Minnesota and consists of 757 square miles (2,000 km2)
with 3 tiers of 7 townships each. The Swift County Courthouse was built in 1897
and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
The City of Benson is the County seat of Swift County. The railroad tracks run
through the center of the town of Benson and divide the downtown business districts
with parks on each side of the tracks.
The Indians had grievances against the
government including delays in sending annuities which caused near starvation
several times. In August, 1862, an Indian rebellion broke out in Minnesota. The
warfare reached the settlements just getting started in the northeastern part
of Swift County. By the latter part of September, 1862, the Indian War was
almost over but the settlers hesitated to venture back to the prairie country
of Swift County until 1865 when all danger was apparently over. Scandinavians
and Germans were in decided majority among the early settlers. A number of them
came with the honor and privileges of Civil War veterans.
In 1869, the St. Paul & Pacific
Railroad had reached Willmar and the following year it arrived in Benson.
The railroad company determined the number of future trading centers
(Kerkhoven, DeGraff, Benson, Randall) in the county by locating sites at
intervals of approximately 8 miles (13 km).