The Minnesota

‚ÄčTerritorial Pioneers

Established May 11, 1897 - Incorporated 1924

2007 Pioneer of the Year

Pioneer of the Year

Previous Award Recipients

Ruth Emma MacNabb (1923-2009)


Ruth was born on July 18, 1923 in Carver County, Minnesota, to Otto and Ida (Grapentine) Heitkamp.  She was a descendant of William and Henriette (Grabenkamp) Pottschmidt.  He settled near Shakopee, Minnesota in October 1857, where he started farming.  Ruth was the oldest of 6 siblings (3 sisters and two brothers)  who helped work the farm.  She was proud to say that as late as the 1930s they did not have electricity on the farm and that they did their homework by candlelight. 


She married Elmer MacNabb in 1942 and they settled in Belle Plaine and eventually moved to the Minneapolis area where they raised a family of 1 daughter and 2 sons. One of them, Richard MacNabb, was president at the time of this award.  She had 7 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren. 


Ruth joined the Pioneers in 1983 and her husband Elmer soon joined her in 1986.  She was asked by Dr. John Arnold to come on the board in the late 1980's and she served on the Board of Directors until she passed away.  She held the office of Assistant Treasurer, and was named an honorary Vice President in 2008.  She worked tirelessly at the State Fair Log Cabin and became a very active member of the State Fair Committee in 1995, doing all the scheduling of the demonstrators for that 12 day period.  Also, as part of this committee, she cleaned, dusted and helped set up the display at the Log Cabin.  She donated cleaning supplies, artifacts, time and effort to the Pioneers.


She demonstrated dedication, loyalty, support and a true love of the Minnesota Territorial Pioneers and her family.  She was extremely proud of her ancestors and the part they played in the development of our Minnesota Territorial history. MTP was proud to recognize her as the Pioneer of the Year for 2007.


Ruth passed away in March of 2009.