Charles Stewart, a Scotsman saddened by the death of his first wife, Margaret McNab, left his infant daughter with his paternal grandparents and headed west from his native New York to begin a new life
It was the early 1850s when Stewart arrived in the territory that was to become southeastern Minnesota. Here he saw the Root River as a potential power source for a flour mill. He received permission to dam the river, which created Lake Florence, a longtime attraction in Stewartville, the city named in Stewart''s honor. The area Stewart settled was known for its rich, fertile soil, its abundant timber stands, its wildlife, and its natural water supply, including the river.