The city of Fergus Falls, platted in August, 1870, on a site that had been selected and named in 1857, was incorporated as a village February 29, 1872 and as a city march 3, 1881. Within the City Limits, along a course of about three miles, the Red river (now named the Otter Tail river) descends nearly 70 feet, having originally comprised here a nearly continuous series of rapids, flowing over boulders of the glacial drift. The county seat was first located in 1868 at Otter Tail City and was removed to Fergus Falls in the later part of 1872. The township of this name was
James Fergus, for whom the township of Fergus Falls and city were named, was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland, October 8, 1813. “At the age of nineteen he came to America with the idea of improving his fortune.”
Source: The Book “Minnesota Geographic Names: Their Origin and Historic Significance” Volume 17 – 1920 By Warren Upham”
Read more about James Fergus on the Township of Fergus Falls page.