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Full text of "The history of Renville County, Minnesota"

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THt NEW YORK , 
PUBLIC LIBRARY 



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^CLtuAn. S, AcU-t. 



THE HISTORY 

OF 

RENVILLE COUNTY 

MINNESOTA 



COMPILED BV 

FRANKLYN CURTISSAVEDGE 

Mernlipi iif ilie Minnesota Historical Society, editor of tlie Histories of Winona, 

Wright, Fillmore, Freeborn, Mower, Dakota, Rice, Steele 

and Goodhue Comities, Minnesota. 

ASSISTED BV 

A LARGE CORPS OF LOCAL CONTRIBUTORS 

UNDER THE DIRECTION AND SLPERVISION OF 

HON'. DARWIN S, HALL, 
HON. DAVID BENSON and 
COL. CHARLES H. HOPKINS, 

Renville Conntv Pioneer Association Committee. ' 



ILLUSTRATED 



^^OT.UME I 



CHICAGO 
H. C. COOPFR JR. & CO. 

1916 



-0 ilEW YORK 
PUBLIC LIBRARY 



''•^ 



ASTOR, LENOX AND 

TILBEN FOUNDATIONS 

R lt25 L 



TO THE 

STURDY PIONEERS OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

WHO, AMID INNUMERABLE HARDSHIPS, BLAZED THE WAY 

FOR THE PRESENT GENERATIONS; 

AND TO THEIR 

DESCENDANTS AND SUCCESSORS 

THESE VOLUMES ARE DEDICATED 
BY ALL WHO HAVE ASSISTED IN THEIR CONSTRUCTION 



FOREWORD 

It is witli a feeling of eoiisiilerable satisfaction ami ])leasiire 
that the publishers pi-esent this history for the api)i'oval of the 
people of Renville county. The undertakinjr lias uot been an 
ea-sy one, the difYieulties have .i)een many, so nianv indeed that 
this publication would not have been possible witlmiit tiic lil)ei'aL 
assistance of the citizens of the county. The chief contributors 
and editors have given freely of their time and talent; business 
men, ehui'ch officers, numieipal, township, fraternity, association 
and corporation officials, manufactui'ers, professioiml men and 
bankers, often at a great personal sacrifice, have laid aside their 
regulai- duties to tell of their communities and special interests; 
educators have written of theii- schools, and nuui and women in 
all walks of life have given the information at their command 
regarding themselves, their families, their activities and their 
localities. To all of these the readers of this work owe a lasting- 
debt of gratitude, and to eaeli one the publishers extend their 
heartfelt thanks. 

In handling the vast amount of material gathered for this 
work, it has been the aim of the entire staff to select such matter 
as is authentic, reliable and interesting. Doubtless facts havc 
been includcfl iliat many will deem of little moiiieiit, but these 
same facts to otliei-s may be of the deepest import. It may be 
also that some facts have been omitted that many readei's woidd 
like to .see included. To such readers we can only say that to 
publish every incident in the life of the connty would be to issue 
a work of many volumes, ami in choosing such iriaterial as would 
come within the limits of two volumes we believe that the matter 
.selected is that which will prove of greatest interest to th<^ 
greatest numbiT of i-eaders, and also that which is most worthy 
of being handed down to future generations, who in these vol- 
umes, in far distant years, may read of their large-souled. i-ugged- 
bodied ancestors and predecessors, who gave up theii' homes in 
older communities to brave the i-igors of pioneer endeavor. 

A lew omissions may be due to some of the people of the 
county, themselves, as in man\- in.stances repeated requests for 
information have met with no response. In such eases infoi-mation 
gathered from other sources, while authentic, may he lacking in 
copious detail. 

Before passing hasty judgment on apparent errors, one should 
consider carefully, not relying on tradition or memory. In many 
cases we have found that persons' memories are faulty and tradi- 

V 



vi FOREWORD 

tion erroncon.s wlicu measured by the standard of official records, 
even in- the case of comparatively recent events, while in many 
instances families are under the impression tliat their forebears 
arrived in the county long- before it was possible for them to do 
so. We have endeavored to follow a uniform system of the 
spelling of proper names, although various spellings of even the 
most familiar names appear in the neM'spapers and records. 

The biographies have been gathered with care from those most 
interested, and with a few exceptions liave been revised and eor- 
i-eeted by the sub.ieet of the biography or by a relative or friend. 
As verification of all the details is impossible, the editors disclaim 
responsibility for any errors therein, the opportunity having been 
given the various families for making any corrections desired. 
This, however, refers to the dates, incidents and sequence of 
events; all personal estimates being the work of the editors and 
inserted in biographies only after consultation witli tlie various 
members of the staff. 

All available authorities have been consulted. Among such 
authorities whose works have been used and in many cases 
quoted copiously are: The Histoi'y of the ^linuesota Valley 
(1882); Minnesota in Thive Centuries (1908); the histories of 
southern and central ^Jinnesota counties, by the editor of the 
present work; the various publications of the state of Minnesota 
and the United States government; as well as the publications 
of the Iowa, Wisconsin and ^linnesota historical societies, and 
many other biographical, historical, and arelueological works of 
reference. The files of the newspapers of this and neighboring 
comities have been carefully perused, as have the county, town- 
shii). village, city and church records. Hundi'etls of minute-book.^ 
liave been scanned and thousands of letters and original manu- 
scripts carefully examined. To all those M'ho have extended us 
eoiu'tesies during our search of these records we extend our 
thanks. 

In gathering material from so many sources, a paragi'ai)li from 
a newspajier in one place, a few lines from a pamphlet somewhere 
else, a half a chapter from some other work, it lias not been 
possible in every case to give credit for authorship. It should 
be stated, liowevei', that much of the Indian Massacre material 
contained in this work is from tlie i)en of Major Return I. 
lloleombe, in Minnesota in Three Centuries, edited somewhat, 
liowever, to suit the present purpose. 

The board of revision for the present history has consisted 
of Darwin S. Hall, (Tiarles H. Hopkir.s, David Benson, F. L. 
Puffer, M. D., Judge Richard T. Daly, M. J. Dowling. J. R. Landy, 
Judge C. N. Matson. Henry Dunsmore, W. E. Mori-is, H. W. 
Leindecker, Edward O'Connor, Timothy O'Connor. J. M. George, 
O. T. Ramsland, Frantz G. Nellermoe. William B. Strom, II. W. 



FOREWORD vii 

Shoemaker, William Wichmaii, F. A. Schafer, Amalia M. Bengtson, 
Ole 0. Eiu'stvedt, A. T. Elliiigboe, John G. Wordes, Nels 0. Berge, 
John Bakke, Frank II. Hopkins, Julius L. Jaeohs, Peter P. Dustrud, 
John 1. Johnson and many others. 

These people, and those whose names appear at the head of 
the various eha]iters, are but few of those who have assisted in 
making this woi-k possible. We have takrn advantage of every 
available soiiree of information and liaxc lalH)i-cd earnestly to 
secure eoneiseness and aeeuraey. 

That tliis liistoiy is faultless we do not pivsuiue; it is pi'ohably 
not within tlic jjowei' of man to arrange a woi'k of this Icind 
witliout iniiioi- mistakes of one sort or another; tliat it ■will meet 
with the unqualified approval of all we dare not expect; but we 
trust that the great merit of the work will ovei-balance any short- 
comings that may be discovered; and our fort}' years in this 
line of endeavor assures us that the histoi-y will increase in value 
year after year. 

Our association Avith the peoijle of Renville county has been 
a pleasant one. We have conscientiously performed our task, 
and in placing the history in the hands of those whom it most 
concerns our hope is that we have done our work well. 

H. C. COOPER JR. & CO. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

CHAPTER I. 
NATURAL PHENOMENA. 

PAGE 

Advantages — Situation and Area — Natural Drainage — 
Topograpliy — Altitudes — Soil and Timber — Arehean 
Rocks — Gneiss and Granite — Cretaceous Beds — Glacial 
and Moditied Drift — Underground Waters — Natural 
Resources 1 

CHAPTER II. 

PREHISTORIC INHABITANTS. 

Nature's Paradise — The Coming of Man — The Eskimo — The 
Mountl Builders — Purpose of the Mounds — Life and 
Habits of the Mound Builders — Location of the Mounds 
— Excavations and Discoveries 20 

CHAPTER HT. 
INDIAN OCCUPANCY AND TREATIES. 

The Dakotas — Life. History and ILd^its — Wapetons — Sisse- 



tons — Treaties — Visit to Washington — Trealies of Prairie 
du Chien — Doty Treaty — Preliminaries to the Pinal 
Session — Treaty of Traverse Des Sioux — Ramsey Inves- 
tigation — Treaty of 1858 — Agencies and Forts 



25 



CHAPTER IV. 
CLAIM OF TITLE. 

Spain — France — England — United States — Louisiana Pur- 
cha.se — Louisiana District of Indiana — Tjouisiana Terri- 
tory — IMissouri Territory — Michigan Territory — Wiscon- 
sin Territory — Iowa Territory — Minnesota Territory — 
Minnesota State ". '. . . 52 

CH.APTEJi V. 
EXPLORATIONS AND SURVEYS. 

Grosseilliers and Radisson — Hennepin and Duluth — LeSueur 
— Carver — Long. Keating and Beltrami — Pembina Ref- 
ugees — Catlin — Nicollet and Fremont — Allen — The Mis- 
sionaries — The Fur Traders — Chronology — Surveys.... 64 

ix 



X CONTENTS 

CHAPTER VI. 
JOSEPH RENVILLE. 

PAGE 

Of Freueh and Indian Blood — Ediu-atcd in Canada — Starts 
Life as a Courier — In War of 1812 — Serves as British 
Captain — In the Fur Ti-ade — Brings First Seed Corn to 
Minnesota — Literary Work — His Triumphant Deatli. ... 82 

CHAPTER VIL 

RIVER NAVIGATION. 

Indian Days on the ilinnesota — ilaekinaw Boats — Early Voy- 
agers — Period of Steam Navigation — Names of Boats 
Whicii Reached the Upper Stretches of the River — 
Gradual Reduction in River Traftic 88 



CHAPTER VIII. 
LAND OFFICE RECORDS. 

Original Claimants to Renville County Land — Roll of Honor 
of Those Pioneers Who First Cleared the Laud and 
Erected Cabins — Old Settlers Who Braved the Rigors 
of Pioneer Endeavor 98 

CHAPTER IX. 
CAUSES OF THE OUTBREAK. 

Early Friendship — Dissatisfaction ■with Treaties — Unjust 
Treatment — Inkpadoota ilassaere — Officials Demand 
that Indians Capture Renegades — Little Crow to the 
Rescue — Delayed Payments in 1862 — Indians Starving — • 
Stupidity of Agent — Indians Turbulent — Marsh and 
Sheehan to the Rescne 114 

CHAPTER X. 
THE SIOUX OUTBREAK. 

Day Dawns Calm and Beautiful — Church Services — The Rice 
Creek Renegades Rob a Plen's Nest — Quarrel Among 
Braves as to Their Courage — Killing Starts — Miscreants 
Tell Their Story to the Chiefs— Little Crow Bows to the 
Inevitable and Reluctantly Consents to Lead His Men to 
Battle — Genei'al ]\Iassaere Begins — Weeks of Horror — 
Battles and Murders — Indians Subdued — Little Crow 
Killed— Peace 139 



CONTENTS xi 

CHAPTER XI. 
REDWOOD FERRY AMBUSCADE. 

PAGE 

Captain ilaisli and His Company Start on Expedition — Fugi- 
tives Met — Ferry Reached — Parley with Indian — Con- 
cealed Indians Start Firing — Attemjjt to S^vim River — 
Captain Marsh Drowned — Casualties — Disastrous Re- 
sult 155 

CHAPTER XII. 
BATTLE OF BIRCH COOLEY. 

Second Expedition Sets Out — Encampment at Birch Cooley 
— Attacked hv the Indians — Heroic Defense — Inaction 
of Rescue Part\ — Relief by Sibley 162 

CHAPTER XIII. 
CAPTURED BY THE INDIANS. 

Reminiscence of ^linnio Bnoe Carrigan — Pioneers Arrive — • 
Dawn of Fatal August Morning — Parents Killed — Sisters 
Murdered — In the Indian Camp — ]\Ieeting Playmates — ■ 
Scenes of Cruelty — Arrival of Soldiers — Release — Con- 
clusion 1 69 

CHAPTER XIY. 
CAPTIVE AMONG THE SIOUX. 

Experiences of jMrs. N. I). "White, of Beaver Falls — Unrest 
Among the Indians— News of the Uprising — Desperate 
Flight. — Capture — Wedge Killed — Henderson Injured — 
Mrs. Henderson and Children Burned — Scenes of Horror 
— Eugene White Killed — Boy of Twelve Escapes — Cap- 
tives Taken to Crow's Village — Life Among the Indians 
— Removal — Incidents of the March — Rescue — Camp 
Release — Scenes of Delight — Reunion — Retro.spection. . . 195 

CHAPTER XV. 
EARLE'S REMINISCENCES. 

Thrilling Exijei'iences of a Boy During the Sioux Massacre — 
Beaver Creek Settlement — Pioneer Incidents — Trouble 
Brewing — Warned by Squaw — News of the ^lassacre— 
Flight for Safety — Surrounded by Indians — Woman. Chil- 
dren and Fi-iend Killed — Women. Children and Wounded 
Abandoned by Whites — Brave Boy Gives Life for His 
Father — Party Separates — Rescue — Defense of Fort 
Ridgely — Cowardice of Some of the Citizens — -Valor of 
Others — Expedition to Bur,y Bodies — Battle of Birch 
Cooley — Discharged 219 



xii CONTENTS 

CHAPTER XVI. 
COUNTY GOVERNMENT. 

PAGE' 

Original Counties — Wabashaw — Dakotali — Pierce and Nicol- 
let — Renville — Changes iu Boundaries — Lincoln — Elec- 
tion Legalized — County Commissioners — County Officers . 2-tC 

CI lAl'TKK XV IL 
COUNTY REPRESENTATION. 

Territoi'v Organized — Council Districts — Tcri-itorial Legisla- 
ture — Renville iu the Sixth, Seventh and Tenth Council 
Districts — Constitutional Convention — State Legislature 
— Members Who Have Represented Renville County — 
Congressional Repi-csentatiou 262 

CHAPTER XVIH. 
CREATION OF TOWNSHIPS. 

Various Acts of the ("ounty Coiniuissioners by Which the 
Townships of Renville Count>- Have Assumed Their 
Present Boundaries — Dates of First Elections 277 

CHAPTER XTX. 

PIONEER EXPERIENCES. 

Stories of the Tribulations and Joys of Frontier Life Told by 
Men Who Underwent the Rigors of Early Settlement — 
Blizzards and J)isasters — Long Trips in Wintry Weather 
— Sod Houses and Ox Teams — Grasshoppei-s and Indians 283 

CHAPTER XX. 
BIOGRAPHICAL REVIEW. 

Facts in the Early Career and Later Success of People Who 
Have Helped Make Renville County — Founders and 
Pati'iots — Names Which Will Live Ijong in tlie Jlemory 
of Residents of Tliis A'icinity — Stories of Well-Known 
Fanulies Whicli Have Led in Public Life H07 

CHAPTER XX r. 
HORTICULTURE. 

Wild Berries and Fruits — Early Difficulty with Ti-ee Raising 
— Fruits Best Grown Here — Apples for Swine — The 
Orchard as an Asset — The First Nursery — Growth of the 
Lidustry in Renville Comity — Present Nurseries — The 
Old Home with Fruits and Flowers — By Hem-y Duns- 
more .323 



CONTENTS xiii 

CHAPTER XXll. 
PROGRESSIVE ENTERPRISES. 

PAGE 

Urban and Hiiral Telephone Companies — Milling Companies 
— Grain Companies — Agricultural Organizations — Fair 
Associations 533 

CHAPTER XXI 1 1. 
EARLY SETTLEMENT. 

Nearl)\- Stations — First Settlers in Ilenville County — La Croix 
at Bireli Cooley — Cairo — Beaver Falls — Flora — Hawk 
Creek — Sacred Heart — Flight of Settlers — Pioneers 
Return and iloderu Era Begins — An Ancient Atlas. . . . 544 

CHAPTER XXIV. 
VILLAGES PLATTED AND INCORPORATED. 

Thirteen Plats Recorded^Snrveys, Locations and Owners — 
Incorporated Cities and Villages — Date of Incoi-poratioii 
— Village Limits 5(Jl 

CHAPTER XXV. 
POSTOFFICES. 

Beginning of Sy.stem- -Early Uttiees in Renville County — 
History of Present OfSccs — Postmastei- ajid Locations — 
Discontinued Postoffiees — Forgotten Names 568 

CHAPTER XXVI. 
OFFICIAL TRANSACTIONS. 

Story of the Doings of the County Conniiissioners — The 
County Seat Fights and Successive f!ourthouses — Names 
of County Officials and What They Did While in Office- 
Estimate of Men and Motives — (Compiled from the 
Auditor's Records 578 

CHAPTER XXV II. 
FORT RIDGELY. 

Establishment — Notable Soldiers Stationed There — Volun- 
teer Troops Arrive — Poorly Located — Iuadec|uatt." for 
Defense — Left Almost Deserted — Indian Massacre Starts 
— Marsh Starts for Redwooil Ferry — Disa.ster — Refugees 
Swarm to the Fort — Sheehan Returns — Renville Rangers 
Return — Prepai'ations for Defense — Attack of August 20 
— Attack of August 22 — Thi-illing Tales of Danger and 
Daring— Indians Withdraw— Relief— The Story of De- 
fender Adam Rieke — Cluii'les II. Hopkins and His Woi'k 
Which Has Resulted in the Fort Ridgely State Park GIG 



xiv CONTENTS 

CHAPTER XXVIII. 
URBAN SCHOOLS. 

PAGE 

Story of the Growtli of tln' Ediu/atioual Systems in Kenville 
County's City and Village Schools — High Seliool Courses 
— Associated Schools — Domestic Science — Manual Train- 
ing — Agriculture 654 



INDEX TO BIOGRAPHIES 



Abralianison, Charlps 4(lSt 

Alirciis, Henry 498 

Anistbauer, Frank H 369 

Anilorson, Andrew J 478 

Anderson, August B 415 

Anderson, John 390 

Armstrong, .lames H 441 

Armstronu;, Thomas A 492 

Avery, Delbert G 385 

Barficneeht, August K 325 

Barfknecht, Albert W 326 

Barnard, John oO± 

Baumann, Sr., .Joseph 346 

Behriis, Kdnnind 497 

Bengtson, Amalia M 461 

Beiigtson, b'ev. Andrew 461 

Borg. Kdward 368 

Bergley, Andrew A 366 

Bertelsen. ('hrist i!47 

Bethkc, Herman 368 

Biebl, George A 351 

Bird, Charles .' 498 

Blad, August 377 

Bind, Gustave 372 

Bla.l, .lohn M 371 

Bogonia, Isaac 336 

Borden, F.lwin Roy 456 

Borden, .lohn 456 

Bovum, Ole H 362 

Boyum, Ole J 508 

Brand.jord, .Jonas 335 

Braiin, Henrv John 412 

BreeUe, Carl' 488 

Bregel Brothers 353 

Bregel, Kdwanl 352 

Bregel, William 352 

Brevig, (). L 498 

Briggs, Alonzo P 324 

Brown, Anton 366 

Brown, Kdward H 515 

Brown, .James 473 

Tirunner, .John 355 

Bruss, Herman F 398 

Burggren, I'erry August 417 

Burgstahler, August 396 

Bush, .lolui Itenry 414 

Butler. Hen jamin Jason 484 

Butler, Fdward J 440 

Byhoffer, Theodore 323 

Carrigan, Kdward .James 327 

Carrigan, Harry 328 

Carrigan, Hugh 327 

Carrigan, .lohn H 329 

Carrigan, :Miihael 328 

Carrigan, Owen 328 

Carrigan, William J 329 

Carson, Hugh J 348 

Carson, .Jonathan 1 350 

Christiansen, Anton 501 

Clobes, Jlenrv 413 

Coffin, Krwin T 316 

Colbv, Kdgar T> 417 



Dahl, Amund 448 

T)aun, August T 504 

Day, Bert J 494 

Bodge, Lorrin 442 

J)unsmore, Henry 459 

Brake, James 476 

Fggert, .lohn 31H 

Efstad, John H 369 

Enger, Emil A .■i5;i 

Erieson, Elias Martin 372 

Ericson, Halvor 378 

Eriekson, Andrew S 507 

Eriekson. John W 410 

Farrar, Albert L 591 

Parrell, .Jeremiah 498 

Farrenbaoh, Jjoonard 507 

Feeter, Joseph H 469 

Fehr, Henry 474 

Fenske, August E 350 

Finlev, William 399 

Firle,' Charles K 348 

Fischer, Fred J 467 

Fiseher, John 410 

Follingstad, I.ouis M 40:^ 

Forsvth, George 510 

Foss', John E 513 

Fox, Sr., Frederick J 481 

Fri(d;son, Christian H 341 

Frickson, Henrv 341 

Fritz, Rev. Emi'l G 414 

Funk, Robert H 408 

Funk, Samuel H 407 

Garske, Stephen 450 

Gerald, Ivor 429 

Geray, Anton 393 

Glesener, Charles 381 

Grady, B. T 499 

Grasmon, Holm E 347 

Hable, Chester Henry 465 

Hable, Lewis 465 

Haedt, William 400 

Hage, Peter M 3.-iS 

Hager, .Joseph 419 

Hager, William J 419 

Hagestad, Mathias O 365 

Hagevold, Ole 365 

Hall, Marv Bunlop McLaren 310 

Hall, Dar'win Scott 307 

Halverson, Henry 510 

Hanschen, Henrv AV 475 

Harrier, AVilliam M 314 

JIaubrich, Anthonv V 387 

Heikka, ^Michael. .' 340 

Hertel, Ernest 443 

Hinderman, .Jacob M 351 

Hippie. Henrv 499 

Hodgdon, Amos E 322 

Hodgdon, Elmer Nathan 321 

Hodgilon, Orrin 318 

Hogstad, John O .367 

Hoimyr, Ole P .337 

llnkanson, George E 419 



XV 



INDEX TO BIOGRAPHIES 



Holm, Herman 338 

HoueU, Theodore 470 

Houck, Floyd 435 

Houffly, Simon 497 

Isaacson, John Oscar 343 

Jaeolius, Holger 497 

Jensen, Frederick 512 

Jensen, Hans 5l;i 

Jewell, Leonard II 3S2 

Johnson, Alexander .Michael.... 37(i 

Johnson, John L 471 

Johnson. Justin 429 

Johnson, Martin 43(1 

Johnson. William A 3(53 

.lung. August K 447 

Kellv, llathias K 336 

Kellv, Ole Ti ; 334 

Keltgen, William 388 

Kern, .lohn M 3.S7 

Kettner. Rev. Luilwig Herman. . '■'•'• 

Kiecker. Edmund 4^2 

Kiecker, Otto \V 514 

Kiecker, Reinhard T ' 41:1 

Kirwin. Luke H 509 

Knott, Nicholas T 401 

Korsmo, Ole A 339 

Kretsch. Frank A 514 

Kuester, Henrv 518 

Kurth, William :;.'!n 

Lambert, Leon E :i91 

Lanimers, Charles :i<')l 

Lammers, William F 478 

Landsteiner, Henry J 354 

Larson, Arthur 50.S 

Leasmau. (ieorge W 4211 

Lee, Halvor J. 499 

Lenander, Peter 408 

Lenander, Xels 4()3 

Lenz, Ferdinand 517 

Logan, Hugh H :!89 

Lund. August 459 

Lunil, Christian P 511 

Lunder. OustaA- 421 

McCall, .Veil J :'.97 

McEwen, Bowman C 3,15 

JIcEwen, Charles Dwight 315 

McGowan, James H 39:i 

ilcGowan, William D 499 

McLaren, Harlev E 430 

Mahlke, Gustav 482 

Manthei, Julius 40S 

^farlowe, Charles B 355 

.Marquardt. Charles 441 

Mathison, .Martin 439 

Mattson, Peter A 499 

Maxwell. James Henry 44 t 

Mcgquier, George H 499 

Melwold, Anton E 364 

Menz, John E 488 

Mihm, Henrv 483 

Miller, .lohn 472 

Monson, Nils 1 500 

IVFosher, .iacoli 425 

jrun.lahl. Hans F 340 

^rurnan. -fames L 339 

:\Iusil, Frank .1 395 

Narvestad, C. 499 

Neitzel, C. F 446 

Noitzel, Oscar A 447 

Xelson. John G 432 

Xelson, Xels O .363 



Nelson. Olot" 50(; 

Xelson, Peter G 431 

Nelson, William .\dolph 331 

.\enow, Gust 406 

Nenow, Herman B 406 

.N'esburg, .\uilrew 361 

Nesburg, Gunder 360 

Xesburg, Ole O .'iOO 

Ness. Jens S 343 

Xestande, John P 520 

Nestande, Peter 333 

Nester, John 491 

Newholm, .lohn P 427 

.\ewton. Otis W 390 

Nixon. Charles H 464 

.Xordskog, Ole 428 

Okins. James P 311 

Olson Brothers :'.85 

Olson, John if ■ 490 

Olson, Lars 342 

Olson, .Vels J 358 

Olson, Peter B 392 

Olson, Peter 385 

Olson, Peter P 370 

Paar, Martin W .382 

Palmer, .-Vlbert .1 517 

Palmer, Jacob P :!49 

Patton, J. P 499 

J'aul.son, Ande P 3.59 

Paulson. Nels 4.33 

Peterson, .\lf red H 359 

Peterson, Gunerus 344 

Peterson, O. F 499 

Phillips, Jr.. Xavier 383 

Pier<'e, Sr., William S 518 

Poetschat, George 475 

Powers, William 493 

I'relwitz, .\ugust 449 

Prehvitz, Sr., .\ugust 449 

Quiglev, Hartlet 493 

Kaitz,'Levi A 472 

Rehstock, Ernest W 422 

Keuber, Christian H 451 

Revier. Sr., Paul 384 

Renville, .Mrs. .Marv B 499 

Rice, John H 486 

Richards, Gibson A 312 

Rieke, Angiis V 500 

Rieke, Gustav A 349 

Rieke. Henrv H 359 

Rieke, Williiim P 505 

Rockmann, Clu'istian 374 

Rovainen, Isaac W 335 

Runke, John H 331 

Ruona, Hialmer 342 

Ruona, W'illiam S 516 

Saifert, George J 453 

Sausele, Fred W 402 

Savela, Carl .343 

Savela. Jr., John .T 453 

Savela, Sr., .Tohn .1 452 

Savela, Henry J 452 

Savela. Louis .343 

Schaffler, Charles 500 

Schanindt, Martin 333 

Schirnier, Franz 357 

Schniechel, Herman 496 

Schnichels. ilathias 446 

Scott, Elias Evans 457 

Sell. Reinhard E 407 

S.lie|i|iard, Ben.iamin F 450 



INDEX TO HlOUKAl'lllKS 



xvu 



Shi'iipiud, liii S 317 

Sliocnialu-r. Henry W 404 

Simnioiis, Robert E SOo 

Simmons, Thomas S7!i 

Sing, Henry B HW 

Stasson, Frank 506 

Stewart. Lewis J 35:! 

Strom, Nels H 334 

Tliomjisoii, Christopher 521 

Tliompson, Engebret 503 

Thompson, John 45.t 

Toob\ Patrick E '. 462 

Tinnos, Heiirv 466 

Tis.lell, Thomas H 3S6 

Tollifson, Brinfrel 42(i 

Tompkins, James H 444 

Torbenson. Thomas 424 

Torbort, Charles F 435 

Torbert, JaniPS G 434 



ririck, William 435 

Voeks. Herman J 515 

Voelz, Emil A 405 

Voltin, Joseph 357 

Watrner, Jacob C 509 

Wallace, Asa M 500 

Warner, John 454 

Wellner, Charles 345 

Wonz, Charles 436 

Wepplo, I'eter J 480 

White. Nathan D 500 

Wichmann, Diedrich 502 

Wielir, Augnst 438 

Wiehr, Robert 374 

Wimlhorst. William 4!15 

Wismaii. (Jeor}.'e W 437 

Wolff. E.Iwin B 476 

Wolff, Robert 477 

Wood, James 487 






/"^'^^SSJ 



INDEX TO PORTRAITS 



Aiicli'i'soii, -Mr. mill Mrs. An- 
drew .) 47,s 

Avery, Delbert G., and family.. :\H'> 
Bethke, J[r. ami Mrs. Herman.. :i(is 

Boyum, Ole .1., ami lamilv .50s 

Bu'sli. yU: and ifrs. .lolni Henrv 414 
Butler, Mr. and iirs. Kdwanl .1.'. 440 
Hntler, ^^r. and Mrs. Benjamin 

.hiscin 4,S4 

Byliollcr, .\lr. and Mrs. Tlieodore ;i2:i 
<'liristiaiison, Mr. and AFrs. Anton '>()] 
Cotlin, Mr. and Mrs. Erwin T. . . :!](i 
Colby, Afr. and Jtrs. Edgar L. . . 417 

County (^nrt House o7S 

Dahl, Amund 448 

Drake, Mr. ami Mrs. James.... 47fi 
Dunsniore. Henrv and Familv.. 4i)i) 
Elstad, >tr. and Mrs. .lolm U. . . .iiil) 

Felir, Henrv, and familv 474 

Field, Hans ". .SOii 

Firle. Cliarles H MS 

Fis(dier, John, and familv 410 

Fox, Sr., Mr. and Mrs. Fred- 
erick J ISl 

Glesener, Cliarles, and familv... :i.Sl 

Hall, Darwin S ' 

Frontispiece Steel Engravings 

Hall, .Mr. ami Mrs, Darwin S. . . 307 
H.uilirich, Anthony V., and 

family ' .S87 

Himlerman, Mr, ami ^[rs, .lacob 

M ■>:,] 

Hogstad, .lohn O., stock farm. . . MT 
Hoimyr. Ole P., and familv.;.. X',7 

Houcdi, Mr. and >rrs. Floyd 4.3") 

Honck, Mr. and Mrs, Theodore. . 470 

Indian Chief 2.T 

Jensen, Mr. and Jfrs, Hans .51.3 

Johnson, .Instin, and family,... 429 
Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. Martin.. 4.'!ii 
Johnson, William A,, and familv IWA 
Kennedy, Air. and Mrs, William .■iS7 

Kern, .lohn M., and family 387 

Kettner, Rev, Ludwig Herman, 

and family ,",77 

T^easman, George W 420 

Lcnander, Mr, and Mrs. Peter,, 468 

Little Crow ]39 

Logan, Hugh H .3,S9 

Lund. :\rr, and Mrs. Christian P, .ill 
Jfany Years Ago 278 



.\lanthei, Julius, ami family..., 408 

Menz, ,Iohn E., and family' 488 

Mihm, Henrv, an.l familv' 483 

Musil, Prank J 395 

.Veitzel, C. F 446 

Xelson, Peter G,, and family,.. 431 
.\esburg, Andrew ()., and family 361 
-Vesbnrg, Mr. and Mrs. Ole 0... 360 

Xess, Mr. and Mrs. Jens S 343 

Xestande, John P., aucl family.. 520 

Xestande, Peter 333 

.\i.\on, Charles H 464 

Okius, Mr. and Mrs, James P. . . 311 

Old Log Cabin 289 

Olson, Nels J., and family 358 

Olson, John M. . 490 

Olson, iVTr. and Mrs. Peter B 392 

Olson, Mr. and Mrs, Peter O 385 

0.\ Team 196 

Peterson. ^Mr. and Mrs. (Uinerus. 344 
Prelwitz, Mr. and Mrs. August. . 449 
Raitz, Mr. and Mrs. Levi A. . . . 472 
Rebstock, Mr. and Mrs. Ernest 

W 422 

Rockmann, Mr. and .Mrs. Chris- 

tiiin 374 

Rovainen, Mr. and Mrs. Isaac W. 335 
Knona, William S., and family., 516 
Sausele, Fred W,, and family'. , . 402 
Savela, Sr,, John .1., and family 452 
Scott, Mr. and Mrs. Elias Evan's 457 
Shoemaker, Mr. and Mrs. Francis 404 
Shoemaker, Henry W., and 

family ' 404 

Simmons, Thomas and family... 379 

Stasson. Frank ' , 5O6 

The Old Way 283 

'rii<iui]ison. Mr. and Mrs, Christ. 521 
Thomjison, Mr. and Mrs John.. 455 

Tinnes, Henry 466 

Tinnes, Mr. and Mrs, Lafe 466 

Timms, Henry. Cabin , . ; 32 

Tompkins, Mr, and Mrs, James 

H 444 

Toole, Mr, and Mrs, Patrick E,, 462 
Torhenson, Thomas, and family, 424 
Voelz, Kmil A., and family,..".. 405 
Wagner, Mr. anil Mrs. .lacob C. 509 
Wiehr, Mr, and Mrs, Robert... 374 

Wimlhorst, William 495 

Wichman, WilliarTi, Birtliiil,nce. . 32 



CHAPTER I. 

NATURAL PHENOMENA. 

Advantages — Situation and Area — Natural Drainage — Topog- 
raphy — Altitudes— Son and Timber — Archean Rocks — Gneiss 
and Granite — Cretaceous Beds — Glacial and Modified Drift — 
Underground Waters — Natural Resources. 

On its splendid course through the mighty state to which it has 
given its noble name, the turgid Minnesota passes no fairer land 
than that which it touelies from Hawk Creek to Camp, where, 
well tilled and populous, Reuvilh' county stretches away in 
siglitly prospects. 

A fertile country of rich, black soil, its surface divided into 
rolling land and prairie, beautified by meandering streams, inter- 
spersed with stately groves, the county has advantages of loca- 
tion and surface which have made it one of the best agricultural 
and stock raising counties in the state. 

The elevation of this stretch of land above the sea, its fine 
drainage and the dryness of the atmosphere give it a climate of 
unusual salubrity and pleasantness. Its latitude gives it corre- 
spondingly longer days in summer and during the growing sea- 
sons about one and a half hours more of sunshine than in the 
latitude of St. Louis. The refreshing breezes and cool nights in 
summer prevent the debilitating effect of the heat so often felt in 
lower latitudes. The winter climate is also one of the attractive 
features. Its uniformity and its dryness, togetlier with the bright 
sunshine and the electrical condition of the air, all tend to 
enhance the personal comfort of the resident, and to make out- 
door life and labor a pleasure. 

Embracing, as the county does, so pleasing a prospect to the 
eye, and so fruitful a field for successful endeavor, it is natural 
that the people who from the eai'liest days have been attracted 
here should be the possessors of steady virtues, ready to toil and 
to saerifiee, that their labors might l)e crowned with the fruits of 
prosperity and happiness. 

While tliere are no large cities, there are many thriving busi- 
ness centers along the two lines of railroad. These places have 
had their share in the general commercial upbuilding of the com- 
munity, furnishing excellent trading and shipping facilities for 
the rural districts as well as for their own people. 

The agricultural neighborhoods are the scenes of peace, pros- 
^perity and contentment. The homes are substantially built, and 

1 



2 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

furnished with the eomforts aucl eouveiiieiices of modern life ; 
stock is humanely housed and well pastui-ed : the farm land is 
extensively tilled and productive ; aud the churches and schools 
which are seen on every side testify to an interest in tlie higher 
things of life by a law-abiding, jDrogressive and prosperous people. 

It is indeed in its men and w'omen, rather than in its stores 
and commerce, its grains and vegetables, its live stock and fruits, 
that Renville county takes her greatest pride. From her hamlets, 
from her business centers and from her farms have gone forth 
those who have taken an important part in the activities of the 
world, and who, whether in commerce or statesmanship, in the 
professions or in the trades, have maintained tliat steadfastness 
of purpose, and staunchness of character, that mark true Renville 
county men and women wherever they may be found. 

Unusually blessed by nature with deep soil and abundant 
natural resources, and endowed with a Avealth of historic and 
prehistoric lore, tlie county is indeed a fitting home for the sturdy 
people who have here made their dwelling place. Hard-working, 
progressive, educated and i^rosperous they have appreciated the 
gifts which nature has spread for them and have adiled their own 
toil, and the fruit of their intellect, to tlie work of the elements, 
making the county one of the beautiful spots of the earth. On 
the slopes graze well-keiit cattle, on the pi'airie droves of swine 
find sustenance, chickens and turkeys wander about the yards 
aud fields, ducks aucl geese find food to their liking in tlie many 
shallow i)ools, horses and colts canter al)out tlie fields, and the 
tilled lands respond to the efl:'orts of tlie sjU'lng time sower and 
planter with a wealth of harvest in thi' summer and autumn. On 
nearly every quarter section is reared a comfortable home and 
commodious barns, while from the crest of every swell of land 
are visible the churches and schools wherein the people worship 
the Giver of all (lifts and educate their children. Thus blessed 
by God and beloved by man, the county today stands for all that 
is ideal in American life, and is forging ahead to wider influence 
and more exteiule<l opiiortiiiiity. 

Renville county, surpassed by few lands in the state for the 
fertility of its soil ; its bountiful sui)[ily of domestic timber and 
pure water; its surface of swelling lands and rolling prairies; 
and its adaptation to every variety of agricultural product, lias 
furnished to the citizens material wisely improved by them for 
substantial wealth, good homes and sound public institutions, 
economically and ju-udently administered; where law and good 
order, industry and sobriety have always been u]3lield and 
observed ; where the eomforts and jirovisions for the enjoyment 
of life are evenly distributed, and where, in the future, as in the 
past, "peace and happiness, truth and .iustice, religion aud piety, 
will be established throughout all generations."" 



HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 3 

Situation and Area. Renville county lies in the central part 
of the south hall' of Minnesota. Its southern boundary is the 
Minnesota river, this county being midway between Big Stone 
lake and ilankato, the limits of the portion of this river in which 
it flows southeast. The length of Renville county from east to 
west is forty-eight miles, and its greatest width is thirty miles. 
Its area is 981.31 square miles, or 628,036.58 acres, of which 
6,385.69 acres are covered by water. 

The full Congressional townships are : Wang, Erieson, Crooks, 
Winfield, Kingman, Osceola, Brookfield, Boon Lake, Preston Lake, 
Hector, ilelville. Bird Island, Troy, Emmet, Henryville, Norfolk, 
Palmyra, Martinsburg, Wellington, Brandon and Cairo. The 
townships of Hawk (Jreek, Sacred Heart, Flora, Beaver Falls, 
Birch Coolcy and Camp are made irregular by the course of the 
^Minnesota river. 

On the west and north lies Chippewa coiinty, on the north 
lie Kandiyohi and Meeker counties, on the east is McLeod county, 
on the east and south is Sibley county, on the south is Nicollet 
county, and on the southeast separated from this county by the 
Minnesota river are Yellow Medicine, Redwood and Brown 
counties. 

Natural Drainage. About three-fourths of this county are 
drained to the Jlinuesota rivei'. Beaver creek, some twenty miles 
long, Ij'ing wholly within this county, and Hawk creek, about 
thii'ty miles long, rising in Kandiyohi and Chippewa counties, 
and flowing through the west end of Renville county, are its 
largest streams ti-ibutary to the ^Minnesota river. Several smaller 
creeks also join the Minnesota river in this county, inchiding 
Middle creek in Flora, about three miles long: Birch cooley (the 
term coulee, also spelled coulie and anglicized to cooley, meaning 
a water-coui-se, especially when in a deep ravine, was applied by 
the French voyageurs to this and manj^ other streams, mostly in 
the country farther northwest), in the township to which it gives 
its name, about seven mile« long, and Three Mile creek in Camp, 
about three miles long. From Cairo, the most southeastern town- 
ship of this county. Fort creek and Mud or Litthi Rock creek 
flow southward into Ridgely in Nicollet count}'. 

Nearly one-fourth of Renville county 07i the noi-theast is 
drained to the Mississippi by Buffalo creek and the South brand) 
of the Crow river. The chief sources of Buffalo creek are in the 
townships of Brookfield, Boon Lake and Preston Lake. 

The last two named townshi])s contain several lakes, the 
largest of Avhich are Boon lake, three miles long from southwest 
to northeast, lying in the northwest quarter of the township to 
which it gives its name; Preston lake, one and a half miles long 
from north to south and nearly a mile wide, in the northea.st 
quarter of Preston Lake township; and Lake Alice, close north- 



4 HISTORY OF KEW'ILLE COUNTY 

west of the last, about a mile long from north to south and three- 
fourths of a mile wide. Fox lake, four miles long from east to 
west, lying about half in this county and half in Kandiyohi 
county, is crossed by the north line of Kingman. Long or Lizard 
lake, extending three miles from east to west, but narrow, is 
situated about tive miles farther southwest in Winfield. Frequent 
sloughs, from a few hundred feet to two or three miles long, and 
occasional small lakes were found originally throughout the cen- 
tral and western parts of the coiiuty, mostly trending from north- 
west to southeast, or approximately in this direction. Some have 
now been eliminated by ditching. On the southeast, a lake about 
a mile long lies at the center of Wellington, and JMud or Little 
Rock creek flows through another lake of about the same length 
in the southeast quarter of Cairo. Marshes are frequent through- 
out the county, nearly every farm having small "swales," which 
are as yet untillable. but which ditching and tiling will transform 
into valuable crop land. 

Topography. Renville cou)ity is covered by the glacial drift 
so deeply that it has no outcrops of the bed-rocks, except in the 
Minnesota valley, and in the valleys of Beaver creek. Birch Cooley 
and Fort creek, near their junction with the Minnesota. The 
minor topographic features of this county, excepting within the 
Minnesota valley, are therefore due to the form in which the 
surface of the drift-sheet was moulded at the time of its deposi- 
tion, here a gently undulating broad cxiianse of nearly uniform 
average heiglit. and to the eroding effects of rains, rills and 
streams since that time, principally exhibited in the excavation 
of water-courses, varying in size from tiny channels of rivulets 
to deeper gullies, ravines, and the valleys of rivers. The undula- 
tions of the surface rise with long slopes only five to ten or twenty 
feet above the depressions, and in an extended view these irregu- 
larities are merged in the almost level and apparently limitless 
jjrairie. The contour of Hector, Melville, Osceola, and Uie west 
part of Brookfleld is more undulating or rolling than most other 
parts of this county. Kame-like hillocks, composed of sand and 
gravel, are seen near the north line of section .5, Hector, forty 
feet above the depression on their north side. East of this tract 
the contoiu' as usual is nearly level, and Boon lake. Lake Alice 
and Preston lake lie only about Hfteen feet below the general 
surface. 

Tlie Minnesota valley cuts this monotonous expanse by bluff's 
which descend 175 oi' 200 feet. This valley here varies in width 
from one to two miles, or rarel,y three miles, as at the south side 
of Sacred Heart township. Its bottomland contains many out- 
crops of gneis.sic rocks, which rise fifty to one hundred feet or 
occasionally one hundred twenty-five feet above the river. The 
tributaries of this valley also flow in channels which they have 



HISTORY OF KEXVILLK COUNTY 5 

eroded to a slight depth ahjiig tlicir upper portions, but which 
increase in depth to their junction with the Minnesota valley, 
being in the lower part of their course one hundred to one hun- 
dred fifty or one hundred sevonty-fivc feet deep, and an eighth 
to a q\iarter of a mile wide. The bluti's of the Minnesota valley 
are also indented by frequent short cooleys or ravines, eroded 
by the rivulets which flow in them, issuing from perennial springs, 
or in many instances kept running only through the more wet 
portions of the year. Scarcely a half mile of the bluff can be 
found without such indentations. Tiie length of these ravines is 
usually only a few hundred yai'ds, but some are a half nule or 
a mile long, and then tluMr sui)ply of water, being from deep 
sprintrs, is less atfeeted by droughts than the lai-ger streams. 

Altitudes. The highest land of Renville county is in its north- 
ern i)ai-t. from Hector and Brookfield Avestward to Lizard lake, 
the swells of the undulating praii'ie there being 1,100 to 1,125 
feet above the sea, wliilt> the depressions containing sloughs or 
lakes are mostly below 1.100. The valley of the Minnesota river 
where it leaves the cotnity is its lowest land, being 796 feet above 
the sea; but its bluffs, rising 200 feet, have their tops only about 
a hundred feet lower than the highest part of the county twent.y- 
five to thirty miles farther north. 

Estimates of the average height of the lownsliips are as fol- 
lows: Boon Lake, 1,085 feet above the sea; Preston Lake, 1,075; 
Brookfield, 1,100; Hector, 1,090: INFartinsburg, 1,0G5; Wellington, 
1,040; Cairo, 1,015; Osceola, 1,110; Melville, 1,090; Palmyra, 
1,160; Bandon. 1,135; Camp, 1,000; Kingman, 1,110; Bird Island, 
1,080; Norfolk, 1,145; Birch Cooley, 1,000; Winfield, 1,090; Troy, 
1,065; Henryville, 1,0:{0; Beaver Palls, 990; Crooks, 1,075; 
Emmett, 1,060; Flora, 1,000; Eriekson, 1,060; Sacred Heart, 1,030; 
Wang, 1,040: and Hawk Creek, 1,010. The mean elevation of 
Renville county, dei'ived from these figures is 1,055 feet. 

Soil and Timber. The black soil is from one to one and a 
half feet deep, and grailually changes in the next foot to the yel- 
lowish color which cliiuaclcrizcs the drift near the surface. In 
sloughs and on the hottomland of the Minnesota river, however, 
the thickness of the IVitilc Mark soil is often fi-oiii two to four 
feet. 

Nearly all of Kcnvillc county is pi-airic. or natural niowing- 
land and i)asture, needing only jilowing and sc<'ding to i)i-ci)ai-e 
it for harvest. Timbei' occurs along the bluff of the Minnesota 
river, and in a narrow licit along the river's course, but most of 
the bottondand is treeless. The valleys of Hawk and Beaver 
creeks, Bii'ch cooley, and the small creeks in Camp and Cairo, 
are also wooded; and groves are found on the borders of Boon 
lake. Lake Alice, ami Preston hd<c. 

All the groves now seen in the prairie parts of the county, 



6 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

away from the watercourses and lakes, liave been planted. Every 
house has a stately grove as a windshield, and no farm is now 
without a plentiful supply of timber. 

In the early days several acres in what is now Bird Island 
township was heavily wooded; sloughs and swales forming an 
island which was thus protected from the ravages of prairie 
tires. 

Birch cooley takes its nHiue from the paper or canoe birch 
(Betula payrifera, ^Marshall), which occurs plentifully on this 
creek, some of its trees attaining a diameter of one foot, in sec- 
tions 28 and ii:.! of Birch (Jooley township. It is also found, but 
only sparingly, on Beaver creek, and on Wabashaw creek in Red- 
wood county, while farther southwestward in the state it is 
absent. Other species of trees in this county include basswood, 
sugar maple and white or soft maple, box-elder, wild plum, white 
and green ash, white and red or slip-soft maple, box-elder, wild 
plum, white and green ash, white and red or slippery elm, hack- 
berry, bur oak. irnnwood, poplar, Cottonwood and red cedar. 

Archean Rocks. The Minnesota valley on the boundary oE 
Renville county, excepting south of Hawk Creek township, con- 
tains frequent or in most portions abundant ledges of gneiss and 
granite, in some places inclosing masses of hornblende schist. 
For twelve miles above Beaver Falls, to tlie west line of Flora, 
these rock-outcrops fill the whole valley, oeciu'ring on each side 
of the river, and rising fifty to one hundred twenty-iive feet 
above it. Between Beaver creek and Birch cooley the outcrops 
are mainly on tlie north side of the Minnesota, rising in their 
highest portions one hundred feet above the river. Below the 
mouth of Birch cooley they are mostly on the soutii side, occurring 
in great abundance for two miles above and three miles below 
the mouth of Wabashaw creek. 

Near the east line of section HO, Beaver Falls, a quarter of a 
mile north from the ford of tlie Minnesota river, the rock is gray 
gneiss, weathering to reddish gray, apparently almost vertical, 
with its strike east northeast. At the east side of the road this 
gneiss is crossed by a nearly vertical vein, one to three feet wide 
of coarsely crystalline feldsjiar and quartz, extending within sight 
fifty feet. These strata are also exposed in the valley of Beaver 
creek one and two miles above its junction with the Minnesota 
valley. The mill-dam at the village of Beaver Falls is nearly 
within the line of strike of the gneiss described north of the 
ford, and a similar gneiss, with nearly the same strike, is found 
here. Its dip is fifteen degi'ees south southeast. At the dam, one 
mile northeast from the last, is an extensive exposure of gray 
gneiss, also with east northeast strike; it is nearly vertical or has 
a steep dip to the south southeast, and in some portions is much 
contorted. Veins, six to eighteen inches wide, of coarsely crystal- 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 7 

line flesh-colored feldspar, coinciding with the strike, are common 
here. 

In the valley of Birch Coolej% about one mile above its entrance 
into that of tln^ jMinncsota, are large exposures of granite, holding 
interesting veins, faulted and divided portions of which were 
figured and described by Prof. Winchell in the Second Annual 
Report of the State Geological Survey. One of these veins, com- 
posed of granite and four inches wide, is traceable two hundred 
and fifty feet, running sontliwest. Other extensive outcrops of 
granite or gneiss, i)ai-t]y decomposed, apparently dipping south, 
southeast and southwest, form tiie sides of this valley or ravine 
below the mills. 

Two miles southeast from the mouth of Birch Cooley, a low 
outcrop examined on the north side of the river is granitoid 
gneiss, containing a large proportion of fiesh-colored feldspar. 
This is in tlie northwest quarter of section 10, Birch Cooley. At 
an excavation for building a house near by, in the southwest 
quarter of section 3, a bed of decomposed gneiss was noted, show- 
ing a dip of twenty degrees to the west northwest. Ledges were 
next seen on the iiorth side of the river three miles below the last, 
in the vicinity of the line between Birch Cooley and Camp, 
extending a half mile westward and rising ten to twenty-five feet 
above the bottomland. Another small outcrop, the most south- 
eastern observed in tiiis county, occurs about five miles farther 
soutiieast, being on tlie north side of a small round lakelet in the 
bottomland, probably in the east part of section 34, Camp. 

The most northwestern exposure of rock noted in Renville 
county is in the northeast quarter of section 16, Sacred Heart, 
where a ledge of gneiss rises about fifty feet above the river. One 
to three miles farther west, but on the south side of the river, it 
has more prominent and extensive outcrops. In the next six or 
seven miles northwestward to the west line of this county no 
rock-exposures were found. 

Arcliean gneiss and related crystalline rocks doubtless also 
underlie the drift upon this entire county, being continuous from 
the Minnesota river northeast to the syenite, granite and gneiss 
exposed in Stearns, Benton and Morrison counties and in the 
nortli part of tlie state. 

Decomposed Gneiss and Granite. In the portion of the JMinnc- 
sota valley adjoining this county, the outcrops of gneiss and 
granite are frequently found to be more or less decomposed, 
being changed in their upper part to a soft, earthy or clayey 
mass, resembling kaolin. Tliis condition of the rock, as observed 
by Prof. Winchell in its exposure on Birch cooley, has been 
described by him as follows : 

"A substance was met with here for the first time which was 
afterwards seen at a number of places. Its origin seems to be 



8 HISTOKY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

dependent on the granite. Its association with the granite is so 
close that it seems to be a result of a change in the granite itself. 
It lies first under the drift, or under the Cretaceous rocks, where 
they overlie the granite, and passes by slow changes into the 
granite. It has some of the characters of steatite, and some of 
those of kaolin. In some places it seems to be a true kaolin. It 
is knoM-n by the people as 'Castile soap." It cuts like soap, has a 
blue color when fresh, or kept wet, but a faded and yellowish 
ash color when weathered, and when long and perfectly weath- 
ered is white and glistening. The boys cut it into the shapes of 
pipes and various toys. It appears like the pipestone, though 
less heavy and less hard, and has a very different color. It is 
said to harden by heating. This substance, which may, at least 
provisionally, be denominated a kaolin, seems to be the result of 
the action of water in the tuiderlyiug granite. Since it prevails 
in the Cretaceous areas, and is always present, so far as known, 
whenever the Cretaceous dei>osits have preserved it from disrup- 
tion by the glacier period, it may be attributed to the action of 
the Cretaceous ocean. In some places it is gritty, and in others 
it may be completely pulverized in tlie fingers. A great abund- 
ance of this material exists in the banks of tlie Birch Cooley 
within a short distance of its mouth." 

Samples of this substance were analyzed by Prof. S. F. Peck- 
ham, who reported it as follows: "A dull-green, amorphous min- 
eral, unctuous and soapy to the toucli. Fractixre uneven, coarse- 
ly granular. Hardness, 1.5. Easily cut with a knife, giving 
a smooth surface. Specific gravity, 2.562. Lu.stre dull, waxy, 
with very minute pearly scales. Color mottled, dull-green to 
grayish-green, apoque, scales translucent. When wetted it ab- 
sorbs water and softens, but does not become pla.stic. In closed 
tube it gives water. B. B. infusible. Gives the color with co- 
balt, which is indistinct from excess of iron. Is decomposed 
by hydrochloric acid, leaving a white insoluble residue contain- 
ing only a trace of iron. The oxidation of the iron varies ac- 
cording to the extent of the exposure. The following are the 
mean results of three closely concordant analyses : silica, 37.88 
per cent; ferric oxide, 15.78; alumina, 26.96; magnesia, 1.74; 
potash and soda, 0.95 ; water, 15.88. A trace of lime was not de- 
termined. These results show the mineral to be allied to Fah- 
lunite, vai-. Huronite of T. S. Hunt. See Dana's llineralogj', ed. 
1870, p. 48.5." 

Many exposures of this decayed gneiss and granite were ob- 
served in the ravines of creeks and in excavations for roads 
along the lower portion of the Minnesota valley bluffs through 
Camp, Birch Coolej-, Beaver Falls and Flora. In the west part 
of section 21, Beaver Palls, near the foot of the descent to Red- 
wood Falls ferry, decomposed gneiss is seen in the gutter at 



mSTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 9 

the east side of the road along a distance of about thirty rods, 
declining in height from sixty to thirty feet above the river. 
The depth to which the decomposition extends in this locality is 
at least ten feet. The decayed rock here is cream-colored or 
nearly white. It is generally gritty with particles of quartz 
distributed through its mass, and also contains veins of quartz one 
to two inches thick, and of feldspar (Kaolinized) one foot thick. 

Cretaceous Beds. Cretaceous beds are found in many places 
along the Minnesota valley, lying on the Archaean rocks and 
separating them from the glacial drift. Before the ice age 
Cretaceous deposits probably constituted the surface generally 
throughout western Minnesota, but tliey were in large part 
eroded by the ice, supplying much of its drift, beneath which 
their remnants are now concealed, excepting where they have 
become exposed to view in deeply excavated valleys. 

On Fort creek in section 31, Cairo, and in the adjoining edge 
of Nicollet county, beds of Cretaceous clay or shale occur, con- 
taining in one place a thin layer of limestone and at another 
point a seam of clayey lignite, or brown coal, about one and a 
half feet thick. Three miles west from Fort creek, a bed of 
graj'ish white Cretaceous clay, levelly stratified, was seen to a 
thickness of seven feet in an excavation on the upper side of the 
river road, near the foot of the bluff, in the north edge of the 
northeast quarter of section 34, Camp, at a height of about forty 
feet above the river. Close west from this point, another exca- 
vation beside the road was in decomposed gneiss or granite. 
At Eedwood Falls and within a few miles to the southeast, near- 
ly opposite Beaver Falls, layers of Cretaceous lignite have been 
explored in the bluffs of the Redwood and Minnesota rivers 
without finding any deposit of lignite sufficiently thick to be 
profitably worked, and it seems very unlikely that such will be 
discovered in this state. 

Most of the observations of Cretaceous strata aloug this 
portion of the ilinnesota vallej- have been in its southwestern 
bluffs and on its southern tributaries. Besides the localities on 
Fort Creek and in Camp township, the only further notes of 
Cretaceous outcrops in Renville comity are the following, re- 
corded by Prof. Winchell in the second annual report. 

"At a jioiut two miles below the Lower Sioux Agency, sec- 
tion 10, township 1112, range 34 (in Birch Cooley), on the north 
side of the Minnesota, a small creek .joins the river. Up this 
creek, about thi'cc-quarters of a mile from the river bluflfs, the 
Cretaceous ap]ieai-s in its banks. A conci-ctionary marl, or 
apparently limy earth, of a white color, crumbles out under the 
projecting iuvL It appears in fragments of an inch or two, or 
sometimes larger, with angular outline. The surfaces of these 
pieces show a great number of round or oval spots, or rings, 



10 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

which seem to be foriin'il liy the sections of conecetioiis inclosed 
in the mass. It is rather liard when dry, and nearly white. It 
is associated witli a Idue clay, the relations of which cannot here 
be made out. 

"At a point a little further up this creek appears a lieavy 
deposit of concretionary, rusty nuirl ... in heavy beds that 
fall oit' in large fragments, like rock. The tirst impression is 
that the bluff is composed of ferruginous conglomerate, but 
there is not a foreign pebble in it. Every little round mass has 
a tliiu shell which is easily broken, revealing either a cavity 
or a loose, dry eai'th. These concretions ai-e generally not more 
than one-fourth or one-half inch in diameter; seen eighteen feet. 
Under this is the light, concretionary cla}' or marl already de- 
scribed.'" 

Glacial and Modified Drift. Glacial striae were seen in sev- 
eral places on till' Irdges of gneiss at the dam at Beaver Falls, 
bearing S. 60' E., referred to the true nu'ridian ; and again in 
the uortliwest quarter of section 10. IJircli Coolcy. Iia\ing the 
same direction. 

The unmodified glacial drift, or till, with comiiaratively small 
associated deposits of modified drift, covers this comity to an 
average depth of about a hundred and fifty feet, as shown in 
the Minnesota valley, where it has been cut through by fluvial 
erosion. The till here has the yellowish color near the surface, 
due to Aveathering, and the dark and bluish color below, which 
it possesses generall.v throughout the western two-thirds of this 
state. 

Red till, having the same color with that which is spread over 
northeastern iliunesota, was observed at only one locality in 
Renville county. This was at the northeast corner of the mill 
in section 18, Camp, where a section, exposed three rods in 
length and twelve feet in height, consisted wholly of this red 
till, excepting two or three feet of soil and gray till on the sur- 
face. It is in the lower part of the ^Minnesota valley bluff, about 
fifty feet above the river. Sevei'al other such exceptional de- 
posits of red till in the great area of blue till covering western 
]Minuesota and eastern Dakota are noted iu volume 1, page 628, 
"The Geolog.y of IMinuesota," where their origin is attributed to 
an ice-current reaching southwestward from Lake Superior 
across Minnesota in the early glacial epoch when the ice at- 
tained its maximum extent aiid depth. Another explanation of 
the red color of the till in these isolated localities is suggested 
by Prof. Wiuchell, who thinks that it may have been caused by 
the glacial erosion of red shales and sandstones lying near on 
the north, coloring the drift locally in the same waj- as it was 
colored over a large area by derivation from such rocks abovit 
Lake Superior. As this part of Minnesota is almost universally 



HISTORY OF liENVlLLE COLNTV 11 

drift-eovered, the luulerlying rock-foi'iiiatioiis are only iiartially 
knowu. No decisive evidenee for this view is found, but nuieh 
probability is given to it by the occurrence of red shales in the 
deep well at ;\rankato and of red qnartzyte in Nicollet, Cotton- 
wood, Pipestone and liock counties, similar to the Lake Superior 
rocks and belongings with them to tlie same Potsdam period. 

Boidders are only sparingly jjresent in tlie till of this region, 
excepting on the blutls of the ilinnesota valley and its larger 
tributaries, where they seem to have been left in the process 
of erosion, and also at a few localities in the west part of the 
county, where they occasionally occur in remarkable abundance 
along the course of sliijht depressions on the general surface 
of the drift-sheet. In the ilinnesota valley boulders were seen 
especially plentiful on the bluffs through liirch (Jooley township; 
and in the valley of Hawk creek they abound on its east bluff 
■within a quarter of a nule south from the bridge in the north- 
east quarter of section 17, Hawk Creek. Many boulders were 
noted in a depression extending from north to south, about thirty 
feet deep and a sixth of a mile wide, crossed by the highway 
and railroad near the middle of sections 1 and 12, Sacred Heart; 
also in similar north-to-south hollows, about ti'U feet below the 
average level, a third of a mile and again about one mile west 
of Olivia. These depressions were probably water-courses dur- 
ing the departure of the ice-sheet, and their boulders may be- 
long to the stratum of rocky drift apparently a biu'ied moraine, 
which is observable along the Minnesota valley and within a few 
miles north fi'om it through Chippewa, Swift and Big Stone coun- 
ties. The size of these rock-fragments seldom exceeds five feet. 
Most of them are granite, syenite, and gneiss; several of horn- 
blende schist wei-e observeil in sections 10 anil I'i, Sacred Heart, 
but elsewhei'e few or none; of this rock are found; magnesian 
limestone, which is everywhere present, making about half of the 
gravel in the lii'itt, usually su])])lies a small proportion, perhaps 
one in twenty, of the large boulders, and even occurs rarely in 
blocks or slabs ten feet or more in extent. 

An interglacial forest-bed is inclosed in the drift upon a 
considerable area near the centi-e of this count}'. At Olivia sta- 
tion, in section 7, Bird Island, a well was yellow till, picked, ten 
feet; softer but more rocky blue till, nine feet; very hard blue 
till, one foot ; and (|uicksand, four feet. A log, ajiiiarently tama- 
rack, eight inches in diameter, with several smaller sticks and 
twigs, lay across this well, indieilded in the top of the quicksand. 
They were chopj)ed otf at each side. G. "W. Burch, two miles 
southwest from this, in section 24, Troy, found yellow till, 
eighteen feet: dry, yellow sand, four feet; soft blue till, fifteen 
feet; black loam, perhai)s an interglacial soil, tM'o feet; and gray 
quicksand, four feet, its upi)er part containing a log and smaller 



12 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

sticks like tlie foregoing'. Several other wells within one or two 
miles about Olivia show similar remains of a deeply buried for- 
est-bed, overlain by till. 

Terraces apparently formed in the till of the general drift- 
sheet were observed at two places on the Minnesota valley hluti's, 
one being in section 21, Hawk Creek, lying about forty feet be- 
low the top of the bluit' and extending nearly a mile between the 
creek and the river, and the other in Beaver Falls : lying twenty 
to forty feet below the top of the bluff, from an eighth to a quar- 
ter of a mile wide and extending two miles, with a slight descent 
from northwest to soutlieast. These terraces are quite notice- 
able from the opjiosite side of the river. Seen from that dis- 
tance, they show Hat outlines, contrasting with the somewhat un- 
dulating higher land. 

Kame-like moimds and small short ridges of gravel and sand, 
extending ten or twenty rods and rising fifteen to twenty-five 
feet above the general level, are scattered over most portions of 
this and adjoining counties. These small ileposits of modified 
drift lie on a surface of till, and are attributable to the action 
of streams produced in the final melting of tlie ice-sheet. Oc- 
casionally such a gravel knoll is quite isolated, distant a half 
mile or more from any other. They are sometimes coarse gravel, 
with pebbles or rounded stones up to a foot or more in diameter; 
again they are fine gravel and sand, interstratified and obliquely 
bedded. When they form short ridges, their trend in the central 
and west parts of this comity is pi'evailingly from northwest to 
southeast, and from west to east in its east part, but they are 
mostly only twice or three times as long as they are wide, and 
no distinct series was noticed. In Brookfield, Osceola, Hector, 
Melville, Bird Island, and Birch Cooley, numerous mounds of 
this kind were observed. An excavation to the depth of seven 
feet in one which is nearly round and twenty feet high, situated in 
or near the southwestern quarter of section '2, Bird Island, shows 
it to consist of gravel and sand irregularly interbedded in layers 
three to eight inches thick. Its pebbles, more than half of which 
are limestone, are mostly less than two inches in diameter, but 
rarely as large as six inches. 

Modified drift occurs also within the slieet of glacial drift 
forming the thin layers or seams of water-bearing gravel and 
sand so often struck in well-digging, and occasionally beds of 
considerable thickness. A section extending vertically forty feet 
in modified drift that seems to be a part of the drift-sheet, being 
probabl.y overlain by till, was observed in section 27, Camp, at 
the east end of the mill-dam on Three Mile creek where it enters 
the Minnesota valle.y. In descending order, this was coarse 
gravel, four feet, containing pebbles up to about one foot in 
diameter; gravelly sand, five feet; coarse gravel, cemented by 



fflSTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 13 

iron-rust Cliinonite), tliruo ft'i't ; and obliquely sti-atifietl sand and 
fine gravel, about thii'ty feet. 

No terraces of modified drift were found in the ])art of the 
Minnesota valley bordering this county. 

A fossiliferou.s layei- of jiostglacial gravel lies in the east 
bank of Hawk ereek in the southeast quarter of section 8, Hawk 
Creek towiisliip, three to fifteen I'ods north from the highway 
bridge. The valley of the ereek is here about seventj'-five 
feet, deep, inclosed by bluffs of till. In its bottom a terrace 
of gravel and sand, about twenty rods wide, borders the stream, 
above which its Iieight is fifteen feet. On the slope from this 
terrace to tlie ereek the outcropping edge of a layer of fine gravel 
about two feet thick, six to eight feet above the water, differs 
from tiie bank above and below by being cemented with calcare- 
ous matter, and in this bed many shells are found. These have 
been determined by R. Ellsworth Call, as follows : SphiPriuni 
striatinum, Lam., Valvata tricarinata. Say, Amnicola limosa, Say, 
Gyraidus parvus, Say, a Goniobasis, probably G. liveseens, Menke, 
and representatives of the genera Unio. Anodonta and C'ainpel- 
oma. J\Ir. Call states that all these species are found living in 
this region, and that the four named with certainty are also 
common in the loess of Iowa. 

Minerals. M. Abbott, of Hector, some thirty-five years ago, 
came into i)ossession of a beautiful mass of amethyst crystals, 
found about a foot below the surface, a few rods south of the 
railroad station at Hector. The entire mass was about twelve 
inches long and foui- inelies wide, attached to a layer of nearly 
black rock, about a quarter of an inch thick, m which were fre- 
quent minute crystals of pyrite. For this base the amethyst crys- 
tals rose three and a half inches, tlie largest having a diameter 
of two inches. Some of these large crystals contained in the 
faces of their terminal pyramids, particles and ii'regular ciys- 
tals of jiyrite, up to an eighth of an inch wide and a third of 
an inch long. Tiic mass showed no signs of glacial wearing. 
It was possibly brought to this region by the Indians or early 
French explorers. 

A deposit of travertine, or "petrified moss" was foinid by 
Ole Deason, situated on the soutli side of the wooded ravine, 
sixty feet deep, in the northwest quarter of section 22, Hawk 
Creek township. It was of a light gray color, more compact 
than usual, and enclosing impressions and casts of leaves and 
twigs. Two exposures of it were seen about four rods apart 
each showing a thickness of six or eight feet. 

(Note. The above resume of the Geology of Renville county 
was written by Warren Upham, from notes gathered by him in 
1879, and published in the second volume of Geological and 
Natural History Survey of Minnesota, 1882-1885.) 



14 HISTORY OF REX^'ILLE COUNTY 

UNDERGROUND WATERS. 

Surface Features. The .suiface of Keiiville county consti- 
tutes foi- tile must jiart a very gently undulating drift plain cov- 
ered with a plexus of lakes, ponds, and .swamps. The monotony 
of this plain is interrupted only along the southwestern margin, 
where ^Minnesota river flows through a valley one to three miles 
wide and 17.") to 200 feet deep, and wiiere many short, rugged 
tributar\' gorges dissect the level uplands. ^Vlueh the greater part 
of the county still retains the gentle prairie tojiograjihy inherited 
from the Pleistocene epoch, and is (piite uniiioditied liy ]iostglaeial 
erosion. 

Surface Deposits. The glacial drift is found everywhere ex- 
cept in i)arts of the ^Minnesota valley and its tributaries, where 
underlying formations are exposed. Owing to irregulai-ities in 
the surface on which it rests its thickness varies somewhat, but 
in general increases from the ^Minnesota valley eastward and 
northward, attaining a maxinuim of more than 400 feet, and hav- 
iug an average for the county of perhaps 250 feet. The follow- 
ing table shows the thickness of the drift and the altitude of the 
surface upon which it rests in the different localities of the 
county : Renville, thickness of drift, 264 feet : altitude of sur- 
face on wliicli drift rests, 790 feet. Olivia, thickness of drift, 
297 feet : altitude of surface on which drift rests, 770 feet. Bird 
Island, thickness of drift, 280 feet ; altitttde of surface on which 
drift rests. 800 feet. Hector, thickness of drift, 438; altitude 
of sin-face on which drift rests, 635 feet. Buffalo Lake, thick- 
ness of drift. 340 feet : altitude of surface on which drift rests, 
725 feet. ]\Iorton. thickness of drift, 0: altitude of surface 
on which drift rests, 850 feet. Franklin, thickness of drift, 122 
feet ; altitude of surface on wdiieh drift rests. 900 feet. Fairfax, 
thickness of drift. 202 feet: altitude of surface on which drift 
rests, 840 feet. 

The beds of sand and gi'avel, wiiicli occur at diffei-ent depths, 
constitute the water-bearing members of the di-ift. The sttpplies 
from the shallow beds ai-e generally meager and are readily 
affected by drought, but the yield of the deeper zones is gener- 
ous and permanent. In many places at or near the base of the 
drift there is a thick stratum of sand and gravel that will fur- 
nish large quantities of watei". In the sotithern part of the county, 
where the drift is not as thick as elsewhere, the underlying for- 
mations are sometimes penetrated Ijefore a satisfactory supply is 
obtained. 

Througho\it most of tlie county the water rises nearly to the 
surface, but no flowing wells have been reported. In the vicinity 
of the ^Minnesota valley the head is lower than el.sewhere, be- 
cause of the water lost through the numerous large springs in 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 15 

the valley. The followiiitr table sliow.s the height to ■which 
the water rises in the various village wells: Renville, depth to 
to]) of water, 50 feet; head above sea level, 1,005 feet. Olivia, 
(lejith to top of water, 14 feet; head above sea level, 1,065 feet. 
Bird Island, depth to top of water, 30 feet ; head above sea level, 
1,050 feet. Hector, depth to top of water, 12 feet; head above sea 
level, 1,000 feet. Buffalo Lake, depth to top of water, 10 feet; 
head above sea level, 1,055 feet. Frankliu, deiJtli to top of water, 
50 feet; head above sea level, 970 feet. Fairfax, depth to top of 
water. 80 feet; head above sea level, 960 feet. 

Throughout the uortlu'astei'ii pai't of tlir (•(luiity tln' water 
from the deep beds of the di'lt't is lower in total iiiiuei-alization, 
total hardness, and pennanent hardness than that from the shal- 
low sources. In the southern and western parts of the county, 
where the tlrift has only a moderate thickness, the ditference be- 
tween the shallow and deej) waters is less marked. 

The deep-drift water differs both from the shallow-drift water 
and from the Cretaceous water which exists west of this 
county. In its content of calcium and magnesium it is intermedi- 
ate between the two — the shallow-drift water containing large 
amounts, the Cretaceous water small amounts, and the deep-drift 
water modei-ate amounts of these elements. In its content of 
sodium and [jotassium the deep-di-ift water approximates rather 
closely to the shallow-drift water, both containing moderate 
quantities of these I'lements, whereas the Cretaceous water con- 
tains large quantities. In its content of sulphates it differs sharp- 
ly from the other two in that it is low in this constituent, whereas 
they are very high. These differences seem to indicate that the 
deep water in this county is not derived entirely from the over- 
lying drift nor from the Cretaceous to the west, nor yet from a 
mingling of the waters from these two sources. 

An interesting phenonu'uon noticed in the noi'thern pai-t of 
the county is the presence of inflammable gas which is brought up 
ill small (piantities with the water from a number of the deejjer 
wells. 

Cretaceous and Archean Rocks. .\t \aii(Mis points along the 
valley of the ^Minnesota are found outcrops of stratified rocks con- 
sisting of blue, black, green and white shales, and of marl, lime- 
stone, coal, sand, sandstone, etc. The section exposed is every- 
where thin and changes within short distances from one kind 
of material to another. In some ])laees Cretaceous fossils have 
been found in these deposits and there is little doubt that they 
are all Cretaceous in age. The outcrops that have been de- 
scribed in this county can be smiiiiied up as follows: 

1. In sec. 10. T. 112 N., R. 34 \V.. on the north side of Minne- 
sota River, up the valley of a small creek, are outcrops, describeit 
bv N. H. Winchell, of concretionarv marl or limv earth of a 



16 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

white color, which he refers to the Cretaceous. 2. "VVarreu Up- 
liam described exposures of Cretaceous clay or shale along Fort 
Creek, in sec. 31, T. 112 N:, R. 32 W. At one place these contain 
a thin layer of limestone and at another a seam of clayej- lignite. 
He also described an exposure near the foot of the bluff of the 
Minnesota Valley, in the NE. 14 sec. 34. T. 112 N., R. 33 W., which 
consists of gray Cretaceous shale visible to a thickness of 7 feet. 
3. C. W. Hall described an exposure of white sandstone along 
the wagon road in the same section, and also in the gorge of 
Birch Coulee at the border of sees. 32 and 33, T. 113 N., R. 3-i W., 
and in sec. 28, T. 113 N., R. 34 W. This sandstone is exposed 
for 12 or 1.5 feet. 

Beneath the Cretaceous rocks is a white or nearly white uoii- 
calcareous clay which consists largely of kaolin. In some places 
it is entirely free from grit, in others it contains embedded grains 
of quartz, and in still others it is free from grit at the top but 
contains embedded quartz grains at the bottom. This clay was 
described by X. H. Winchell. It has been encountered in many 
wells in Renville county and in other parts of southwestern IMin- 
nesota where granite is reached in drilling, and without doubt 
owes its origin to the decomposition of the granitic rocks on 
which it rests. Where it is thin and contains embedded grains 
of quartz it is probably the undisturbed granitic residuum, but 
where it has a considerable thickness, is free from quartz grains, 
and contains iuterbedded layers of grit it has evidently been 
handled by water and is a sedimentary rather than a residual 
deposit. If this sedimentation took place at the time when the 
Cretaceous seas invaded the region, as would seem probable, 
it is a sort of basal formation belonging to the Cretaceoiis. Evi- 
dently it is not always possible, especially in well sections, to 
locate the precise boundary between the granitic residuum and 
the Cretaceous. In the maps and sections the white clay is in- 
cluded with the granitic residuum except where it is evidently 
Cretaceous. Thougli this method is somewhat arbitrary it rep- 
resents the facts as acexu'ately as is feasible. 

Beneath the white clay there is generally decomposed granite, 
which plainly sliows its origin and which gradually gives place 
downward to the firm, unaltered rock. 

The Cretaceous rocks are nowhere thick and are absent in 
some parts of the county : the white clay is found chiefly in the 
southern part. In some places the Cretaceous rocks, the white 
clay, and the decomposed granite have all been swept away by 
the invading ice sheets, and the glacial drift rests immediatelj- 
upon hard granitic rock. 

Along the line of the Chicago. ^Milwaukee and St. Paul Rail- 
way, in the east (Hector and Buffalo Lake") the glacial drift 
seems to rest directly upon the granite, but in the west fRenville. 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE fOT-XTY 17 

Olivia, and Bird Island i a ciTtain amount of shale and decom- 
posed granite forms the transition between the drift and the un- 
altered granite. It is not everywhei-e certain at what point the 
boundary should be dniwii between the Cretaceous and the gran- 
itic residuum. 

The following sections of wells are j;iven to illustrate the 
character of the formations in the soutlieiri part of the county: 

Section at Fairfax (mill well). — Yellow boulder clay, thick- 
ness, 20 feet; blue boulder clay, thickness, 165 feet; sand, thick- 
ness, 1 foot ; blue boulder clay, thickness, 16 feet ; white, putty- 
like material containing grit (water), decomjiosed granite (wa- 
ter,) thickness, 36 feet. 

Well section at Franklin. — Yellow boulder clay, and blue 
boulder olay, thickness. 110 feet: sand and gravel, thickness, 12 
feet. 

Well section at Morton (Catholic church). — Coarse gravel, 
thickness, 40 feet; white clay, thickness, 75 feet; sand (water), 
thickness, 3 feet: white clay and sandstone, thickness, 27 feet. 

Section of well one mile north of ]\Iorton, on the farm of 
John Eder. Yellow boulder clay and blue boulder clay, thick- 
ness, 120 feet ; white clay, thickness, 17 feet ; sand and gravel 
(hard water), thickness, 3 feet. 

Section of well two and a half miles north of Morton, on the 
farm of Peter Kavney. Boulder clay and "Hardpan,"" thick- 
ness, 120 feet; soft, sticky, blue-clay withoiit grit, thickness, 2 
feet; sand (water), thickness, 3 feet. 

Section of well four miles north of Morton, on the farm of 
John Jones. Yellow boulder clay and blue boulder clay, thick- 
ness, 124 feet; white clay, thickness, 6 feet. 

Section of well foui- miles north of Franklin, on the farm of 
John Drury. Boukler clay, etc., thickness, 130 feet; white clay, 
thickness, 168 feet. 

The following table shows the approximate depth to the 
granitic surface and its altitude above sea level in the various 
localities of the county: Granite Falls (Yellow Medicine Coun- 
ty), depth to gi'anitic rock, at surface; altitude of granitic sur- 
face, 900 feet. Renville, depth to granitic rock, 325 feet; alti- 
tude of granitic surface, 730 feet. Olivia, depth to granitic rock, 
345 feet : altitude of graiutic sui'face, 730 feet. Bird Island, depth 
to granitic rock, 345 feet; altitude of granitic surface, 730 feet. 
Hector, depth to granitic rock, 438 feet; altitude of granitic 
surface, 635 feet. Buffalo Jjake, dejjth to granitic rock, 340 feet; 
altitude of granitic surface, 725 feet. Morton, depth to granitic 
roek, at surface; altitude of granitic surface, 850 feet. Frank- 
lin, (bottom of white clay), depth to granitic rock, 150 feet; 
altitude of granitic surface, 860 feet. Fairfax (bottom of white 



18 HISTORY OF EEXMLLE COUNTY 

claj'), depth to granitic rock, 230 feet; altitude of granitic sur- 
face, 810 feet. 

In the nortliern part of the county attempts to obtain water 
in the formations beneath the drift liave generally failed, but in 
the southern jiart a number of wells have been reported which 
derive their supplies from laj'ers of sand or sandstone encoun- 
tered after the Cretaceous deposits or the white clay have been 
entered. This is true of nearlj- all the wells whose sections are 
given above. The mill well at Fairfax, which derives its water 
from grit and decomposed granite below a layer of the white ma- 
terial, received a rather severe test. The following statement 
was made by one of the drillers in this county: 

■"Beneath the clay (glacial drift) there is a white formation, 
in general from 30 to oO feet thick, beneath Avhieh there is rotten 
granite and then liard red granite. The white material is at 
first soft and putty-like but changes into a harder formation 
containing grit. This gritty white uuiterial and the decomposed 
granite usually contain a good supply of water." 

The water from beneath the white clay is of various mineral 
character, much of it being very hard but some being similar to 
the deeper drift water. 

City and Villag-e Water Supplies. The larger centers in Ren- 
ville county are all excellently supi)lied with water, adequate for 
household use, and fire protection. The water-towers which crown 
every municipality are a characteristic feature of the landscape. 
Private wells are still in extensive use in the city and the villages 
because for cofi:"ee making and a few other purposes the supply 
from private wells is much sujiei-ior to the supply from the 
artesian wells. 

Farm Water Supplies. In the northern part of the county 
most of the farms are supplied from shallow bored wells which 
end in the upper portion of the drift and yield meager and un- 
certain quantities of hard water, but there are a few deeper 
drilled wells similar to the village anil railway wells along the 
Chicago, ^Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway. The deep wells are 
superior to the shallow ones in the following respects: (1) The 
water is softer, (2) the yield is larger and more permanent, and 
(3) there is less danger of pollution. In the southern part of 
the county there are more drilled wells. These range from 2 to 
6 inches in diameter, and from less than 100 to more than 300 
feet in depth, but are generally between 100 and 150 feet. They 
generally end in the glacial drift, but a few penetrate the under- 
lying formations, as has already been explained. The shallow 
wells have hard water but some of the deeper ones yield water 
which is softer. Six-inch drilled wells are recommended for 
farm purposes in all parts of the county. 



HISTORY OF REN VI LI. K COUNTY 19 

Summary and Analysis. 'I'lii- piincipal sources of water are 
the deposits of saml and gravel which oecur at various depths 
intei-bedded witli tile boulder elay or lying iiiiniediately below 
it. The shallow deposits furiiisli only small sui)pli<'s but the 
deeper ones generally yield abundantly. ^Moreover, the shallow 
water is hard and the deepei- watn- is eonnnoidy mueh softer, 
especially in the northeastern part of the eonnty. Below the 
glacial drift the ili'ill generally ]ienetrates thin layers of blue 
or green shale "soapstone," a Mliite elay, or ordinary decom- 
posed granite. In the southo-n jiarl of Ihe eounty wain- is ob- 
tained in some places from sandy layers in these beds, but at 
best they constitute oidy an uncertain source. Granite has fre- 
quently been enrounlei'ed at depths ranging u|i to 4.')0 feet. 
It will not yield water and no water-bearing formation occurs 
beneath it. 

(Note. The foregoing article regarding the Underground 
Waters of the County is based on a governnnnit report on the 
''Underground Waters of Southern IMinnesota," by 0. E. Meiii- 
zer. jjublished in llt(l7. 

Natural Resources. The greatest natural resource of Ren- 
ville county is in its fertile soil. Waterpowers have been devel- 
oped in several places. Tiie natural groves in the ravines ami 
along the watercourses, and the domestic groves on the prairies 
furnish abundant timber supply. Lime inis been buined at 
various times from lime-stone boulders; ;ind biicdv has been at 
times an important industry. Some <(uarrying has been carried 
on, and especially in the neighboi'hood of ilort(ui some excellent 
granite h;is been obtained. Morton is the only ]ilace in the state 
where gneiss is (juarried. The water-sujjply, as already noted, 
is abundant. Ti'accs of gas have been found, the old village 
well at Hectoi' being especially uotalile in this i-egard. However 
geologists declare that such gas is mei'cly the I'esult of vegetable 
decomposition, and that tiu're is no gas to be found in commer- 
cial ((uantities in this i-egion. 



20 IIISTOKV (»K KK.WIl.l.E COrXTY 

CliAPTEK 11. 
PREHISTORIC INHABITANTS. 

Nature's Paradise — The Coming of Man — The Eskimo — The 
Mound Builders — Purpose of the Mounds — Life and Habits 
of the Mound Builders — Location of the Mounds — Excavations 
and Discoveries. 

Sc'ienti.st.s dcclari' that in tlic Glacial period, tiiis n^gion was 
several times covered with a great ice sheet at recurrent intervals. 
When for the last time the glacier receded, and its melting 
waters subsided, it left behind an area that in a few years be- 
came a wonderfully diversified and beautiful region. Verdure 
took the place of glaring ice and swirling waters. The smiling 
expanses of gently rolling prairie, beautiful and virgin, dipping 
here and there into swales and pools, or even into sparkling lakes, 
covered in the siunnier with luxuiiant grass and spangled with 
flowers, were caressed by perfumed bi-eezes, untrod by human 
foot, and unmarred by human handiwork. In tlie ravines and 
along the watercourses were dense forests and tangled under- 
brush. And this varieil landsca|)e fairly quivered with animal 
life. The American bison, eoinmonly called the Ituffalo, ranged 
the prairies, countless bii'ds of all kinds flew over its surface, 
great flocks of watei'fowl lived in its nmrshes and pools. In the 
edges of the wooded ravines, aiitlered aniinals such as the deer 
and the elk, and the lai'ger fur-l)earing animals such as the bear, 
were found in greatest profusion. All tlie smaller animals com- 
mon to this climate found a home here. Prairie aiid woodland 
presented a scene of teeming life and ceaseless animal activity. 

A country so bountiful and inviting to man, wiietlu'r ])rimitive 
or civilized, would remain nninliabite(l only while undiscovered. 
At some period of the earth's history, mankind in some form 
took up its aliode in what is now Renville county. How many 
ages distant that iiei'iod was no one can tell. Tt is evident that 
man followed very closely the receding of the last glacier, if in- 
deed he had not existed here previous to that time. A discussion 
of the possibilities of the existence of man in Minnesota during 
Glacial, Inter-Glacial and Pre-Glacial ages is beyond the scope 
of this work. It has been made a sjiecial subject of study by 
several Minnesota savants, and many notable articles have been 
written concerning evidences that have been discovered. 

ilany scholars ai'e of the O|)inion that in all probability the 
first inhabitants of the nortln-rn jiart of the United States were, 
or were closely related to the ICskimo. While the data are very 
meagre, they all point that way. The Eskimos seem to have 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COIN TV 21 

i-eiriaiiird on tlir Atlantic scaliDai-il as lati' as the arrival i)f tlie 
Sfaiiilinavian iliscovercrs of the cK'Vcntli eentui-y. foi- tlicir do- 
scriptiou of tlie aborigines wlioni they call "skriiliiigar" (a 
term of eoutempt about equivalent to '"runts") is much more 
consoiiaiit with tin- assumption that these were Eskimos than 
Indians. 

So possibly it is pei'missible to i)icture the first liuinan inliabi- 
tants of Renville county as a small yellowisli-brown skin-clad 
race, identical with the qiiartz workers of Little Falls, slipi)ing 
arouuil nimbly and (piictly in the woods and dells, subsisting 
mainly on lish, but also partly on tlie chase. Their homes were 
doubtless of the simplest descriptions, and their culture not 
above absolute savagery. 

The Eskimos seem to have followed more or less closely the 
edge of the last receding glacier. Whether they were forced out 
by a stronger race or whether they found the bleak shores of 
the Arctic seas more suited to their physical make-up than the 
fertile regions further south is only a matter of conjecture. 

Scholars are of the opinion that the next inhabitants of 
]\Iinnesota were tribes of the Siouan stock, in other words the 
ancestors of the present Sioux (Dakota) Indians. These peoples 
of the Siouan stock appear to have built the mounds of southern 
^Minnesota, i'ossibly they lived in Renville cotmty. These Siouan 
peoi)ie were possibly driven out by the ])eoples of the Algonquin 
stock, whereupon they eventually took u]) their homes in the 
neigliborhood of the upper valley of the Ohio river and possibly 
elsewhere. How nuiny centni'ies they lived there it is impossible 
even to estimate. In the nirantinic the Algonquin ])eoples prob- 
ably occupied the ^Minnesota region, and possibly Renville coun- 
ty. They did not make mounds. Some five hundi'cd years ago 
the Siouan Mound Builders were driven out from their homes in 
the uppei' Ohio )-egion where they had erected the mounds that 
are now the wonder of tlie world, antl a i>art of them found their 
way to the homes of tiieir ancestors in the nppir Mississippi 
and the ^Minnesota I'iver i-egion. The mouiuls built here by tiiese 
peoples were inferior to the ones built by their ancestors. In 
coming up the valley it is possible that these Mound Builders 
drove from tlie ^Minnesota regions the intruding Algonquins. 

The Siouan ^louiid Buihlers, returning some live hundred 
years ago from the Ohio region were doubtless the builders of 
the moinids in RcTiville county, though there are possibly some 
mounds in this count.v built b\- the Siouan people during their 
previous occupancy of the region. 

The Mound Builders. Not so nuuiy years ago, there was a 
wide-spriiKl iiclicf that the Mound Builders were a mysterious 
people of high culture resembling the Aztecs, and differing from 
the Indian in race, habits and customs. Now scholars are luiani- 



22 PIISTOKY OF KEN\-1LLE COUNTY 

inoiis ill tlu'ir belief that the Moiiiul Builders were merely the 
ancestors of the Indians, doubtless, as already related, of the 
Sioux Indians, and not characteristically differing from tliem. 
These Mound Builders are the earliest race of whose actual resi- 
dence in Kenville county we have absolute evidence. While 
Renville cannot boast of mounds of such gigantic proportions as 
some other parts of the I'nited States, nor of such grotesque 
formations as the serpent mound of Ohio, yet the moiinds of 
the county are sufficient in number, kind and distribution, to 
present a rich field for archaeological inquiry, as well as supply- 
ing evidence that Renville county Avas well populated by this 
ancient people. 

Tlie larger groujis are invariably situated near the water- 
courses and usually on the lofty terraces that give a command- 
ing view of magnificent prospects. Such a distribution of the 
mounds finds its explanation in the fact that the river banks 
afford excellent sites for habitations, and the rivers aff'ord routes 
of travel in times of i)eaee and war. Above all the .streams 
furnish two substances absolutely necessary for the maintenance 
of life, namely water and food. The Mound Builder was not slow 
in picking out picturesque places as a location for his village 
sites. Tlie distribution of the mounds bears ample proof of 
this. Anyone who visits the groups cannot fail to be convinced 
that the Mound Builders were certainly guided in the selection 
of tlie location for tlie mounds by an unerring sense of beauti- 
ful scenery and a high appreciation and instinctive love of nature 
as well as by otiirr factors. 

Purpose of the Mounds. The mounds of Renville county are 
both oblong and round, varying from a swell of land to several 
feet in height. Other varieties have also been found. The ar- 
rangement of mounds in the various groups does not seem to 
depend on any definite rule of order, but seems to result from a 
process of inouml building, extending over a considerable period 
of time, each site for a mound being selected by the builders 
according to the space, material, or topography of the locality. 

Undoubtedly each mound was placed -for some definite pui'- 
pose on the spot where it is found today, but wliat the purpose 
of any particular mound was may be difficult to say. The spade 
often partially tells us what we want to know, but sometimes it 
leaves us as much as ever in the dark. When the interior of a 
mound reveals liuirian bones, then the inference is that tlu' mound 
served as a tomb, but intrusive burials, that is burials made long 
after the mounds wcit built, coniiilicate the problem. But when 
a mound can be opened A\'ithout revealing any trace of human 
remains or of artificial articles, it seems safe to conclude that not 
all the mounds wer-e built for burial purposes. The erection of 
such ;i large nuiiiber of mounds as exist along the Mississippi and 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 23 

its tributaries in Minnesota must have required an enormous ex- 
penditure of time and labor. The tools with which all the work 
was done were probably wooden spades rudely shaped, stone 
hoes and similar imj)lements which indicate a low degree of in- 
dustrial culture. Where the whole village population turned out 
for a holiday or funeial, a large mound coidd be built in a much 
shorter time than if the work was performed by only a few 
individuals. The surface of the laiul adjoining the mounds in 
Renville county, and in fact all the moiinds of this vicinity, fre- 
quently shows plain evidences of where the material was ob- 
tained for the construction of the mound. All in all, the regu- 
larity, symmetry and even mathematical exactness with which 
the mounds are built show considerable skill and taste. The 
reader can picture to himself the funeral scenes, the wailings 
of the sorrowing sui-vivors, and the flames of the funeral pyres 
which were sometimes built. Or one can picture the mourning 
relatives waiting beneath the tree in which the body has been 
suspended on a seaifold while the elements are stripping the 
bones of flesh pi'e|)aratory to their interment. 

Life and Habits of the Mound Builders. Modern scientists 
iniitc in th<' belief that the IMounil Jiuiidci's were Indians, the 
ancestors of the Indians that the early settlers found here. The 
old theory of a race of Moimd Builders superior in intellect and 
intelligence to the Indian has been exploded by archaeological 
research, thougli a few of the oldei' text books advance the now 
obsolete theory. 

The evidences that the race of ]\Iouii(l Uuildeis was a race of 
genuine Indians are many. Indians are known to have built 
mounds. The articles found in the mounds are the same as the 
articles found on the Indian village sites nearby. Invariably a 
large group of mounds has nearby evidences of sueli a village. 
The articles found in the mounds and on the village sites arc such 
as the Indians used. 

We do not know what hnnmn beings flrst beheld the beauti- 
ful lakes and prairies of Renville county and claimed them as 
tlieir home. We may lu'ver be able to look be\-oii(l the veil or 
penetrate the mists that enshroud the history of the past, yet 
we are not left in utter darkness. The relics tell us many in- 
teresting stories. 

Tomahawks, battle clubs, spear heads and arrows signify war 
and the chase. The entire absence of great architectural remains 
show that the JIoiuul Builders lived in frail homes. The dearth 
of agricultural implements speaks of the absence of any but the 
most primitive farming. Ash-pits and fireplaces mark the bare 
ground as the aboriginal stove. Net-sinkers imply the iise of 
nets; ice axes the chopping of holes in the ice to procure water; 
stone axes, a eiuinsy device foi' s]ilitting wood: ston(> knives 



24 HISTORY OF KEXVJLLE OOl'MTY 

were for sealpiug, cutting meat aud leather and twigs; countless 
flakes mark the ancient arrow maker's workshop; cracked bones 
show the savages" love for marrow; shell beads, charms and 
ornaments iu the shape of fish and other designs reveal a primi- 
tive desire for ornamentation ; chisels and gouges recall the mak- 
ing of eauoes ; sun-dried pottery made of clay mixed with coarse 
sand, clam shells or powdered granite and marked with rows 
of dots made with a stick, thumbnail or other objects, or else 
marked with lines, V-shaped figures or chevrons, all are an 
index of rather a crude state of pottery making. The hand siij)- 
plied the lathe and the wheel. 

All of these things tell us something of the habits and con- 
dition of the Mound Builders and are further evidence that the 
Mound Builders ditt'ered in no important manner from tlie In- 
dians found lit-n- liy the early explorers. 

The people were rude, semi-agricultural, warlike, ignorant of 
all metals except copper, hunters with stone arrow and spear, 
naked in warm weather and clothed with the skins of the butf'alo 
and bear in winter. Their skill in art was confined to the making 
of such domestic utensils and such weapons of war and of the 
chase as were tleinanded for the personal comforts and physical 
necessities. The.v have left no literature, and these heaps of earth 
and a few rude pictures scraped in soft stones, together with a 
few crude relics, are our only source of information regarding 
this once powerful people. 

Location of Mounds. Thr artificial mounds of Renvilh- county 
have never been adequately surveyed or excavated, though many 
interesting studies have been made of tliem. A volume entitled 
■"The Aborigines of Minnesota," ])ul)lished by tiie ^Minnesota 
State Historical Society in 1911, contains a valuable i'es\iiue of 
these explorations and studies as follows : 

Mounds near Three-mile creek, southeast quarter, section 27, 
township 112, range 33, about 100 feet above the bottondand of 
the Minnesota river, on cultivated land. This is a grouji of nine 
tiunidi loosely disti'ilnited along the blufl"'. the largest being fifty- 
foiir feet wide and three feet high, there lieiiig two of this size. 
Surveyed November 7, 1887. 

Mounds two and a half miles above Hawk Ci-eek, northwest 
quarter, northeast ((uartei'. section 19, townshij) 11'), range 38, 
about ninety feet above the river. This grouj) embraces three 
moinids, of which one is broad-elongated. Surveyed October 25, 
1887. 

Group near the mouth of Beaver creek, (a) west side, north- 
east quarter, northeast quarter, section 28, township 113, range 
35, on eiiltivated laud, about 100 feet above the river. The group 
contains tliree small mounds, one being elongated, (b) South 
half, northeast quarter, section 27, east side, about ninety feet 




INDIAN I IIIKF 



TH>: NFVV yAf" 






HISTORY OF KFA'VIIJ.E CorXTV 25 

above the bottoinlaiid. Tliis group eiiihi-aces but two tuimili, 
one of wliicli lias a short extension sixteen feet wide and one 
foot high. 

In Renville eouuty the following lone mounds have been noted 
and UH'asured, viz.: Six miles below Birch ("ooley, southwest 
quai'ter, section 17. townslii]) 112, range 38, about 130 feet above 
the river; forty-two feet by four and a half feet. 

Two and a half miles below Birch Cooley ereek. northeast 
((uartei'. section 10, township 112-34, about 125 feet above the 
bottomland : twenty-five feet by one and a half feet. 

Two miles below Birch Cooley cfeeK'. northeast quarter, north- 
west quarter, section 10, township 112. lange 34, about 125 feet 
above the bottomland ; thirty feet by two feet. 

Three-quai'ters of a mile west of Bireli Cooley creek, south- 
east quarter, northwest quarter, section 32, township 113, range 
34, about 100 feet above the bottomland; thii'ty feet by two feet. 

Opposite Yellow Medicine, west half, northwest quarter, sec- 
tion 19, township 115, range 38, about ninety feet above the rivei , 
forty-six feet by two and a half feet. 

Opposite YelloM- ^Icdicine, west half, northwest quarter, scl.- 
tiou 20, township 11-"), lange 38, about ninety feet above the bot 
toni ; fifty feel by two and a half feet. 

Opi)osite Yellow .Medicine, southeast quarter, southwest quat- 
ter, section 18, township 11."), range 38, about seventy feet above 
the bottomland; a lone, broad-elongated nioimd ; sixty-six feet 
bv thirtv-six feet bv two anil a half feet. 



CHAPTER TIT. 
INDIAN OCCUPANCY AND TREATIES. 

The Dakotas — Life, History and Habits — Wapetons — Sissetons — 
Treaties — Visit to Washington — Treaties of Prairie du Chien 
— Doty Treaty — Preliminaries to the Final Session — Treaty 
of Traverse Des Sioux — Ramsey Investigation — Treaty of 1858 
— Agencies and Forts. 

The archeology ami anthi'ojiology of tlu' American Indian is 
still in its infancy. But a few fundamental facts stand out in 
bold i-elief. We are told by scientists that man is of great 
antiquit\' in .America; and tli;it though the aborigines' blood is 
doubtless mixed with later arrivals in many localities and tribes, 
still, barring the Eskimo, the fundamental race characteristics are 
the same from Hudson Bay to Patagonia. Hence a common 
American ancestry of great antiquity nnist ])r predicated of the 
whole Indian i-aee. 



26 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

If an imaginary line is drawn east and west tlirough the south- 
ern boundary of Virginia, then except for the northM-est corner 
of British America, tlie Red Men in the territory north of this 
line and east of the Rocky mountains, including the larger part 
of the United States and British America, are and have been for 
centuries almost exclusively of just three linguistic stocks: Iro- 
quioan, Siouan and Algonquian. The one reason for classing 
these Indians into three ethnic stocks is th^t the vocabularies of 
their languages do not seem to have a common origin. Otherwise 
these Indians are so familiar physically and psychically that even 
an expert will at times find it hard to tell from appearance to 
which stock an individual belongs. These three stocks are in 
mental, moral and physical endowment the peers of any American 
aborigines, though in culture they were far behind the Peruvians, 
Mexicans and the nations in the southwestern United States. 
But their native culture is not so insignificant as is the popular 
impression. Except the far western bands who subsisted on the 
buffalo, they practiced agriculture: and in many, if not in most 
tribes, the products of the chase and fishing supplied less than 
half their sustenance ; their moccasins, tanned skin clothing, bows 
and arrows, canoes, pottery and jtersonal ornaments evinced a 
great amount of skill and not a little artistic taste. Their houses 
were not always the conical tipi of bark or skins, but were often 
very durable and comj)aratively comfortable and constructed of 
timber or earth or even stone. 

The Dakotas. As to how these stocks came originally into 
this territory there is no certain knowledge but much uncertain 
speculation. Here we shall be content to start with the relatively 
late and tolerably probable event of their living together, in the 
eastern part of the United States, some five centuries ago. Algon- 
quians lived on the Atlantic slope, the Iroquois i)erhaps south of 
Lake Erie and Ontario, and the Siouans in the Tipper Ohio valley. 
These Siouan peoples had possibly previously occupied the upper 
Mississippi icgion, but for some reason had left there. At any 
rate, a century or so before the arrival of Columbus, found them 
for the most part in the upper Ohio valley. Wliat peoples, if any, 
were in the meantime living on the j)lains of the upper ^Mississippi 
is not definitely known. Of the Siouan peoples we are interested 
in the main division of the Sioux, more properly the Dakotas. 
Probably because of the jjressure of the fierce and well organized 
Iroquois, the Sioux, perhaps about 1400 A. D., began slowly to 
descend the Ohio valley. Kentucky and the adjacent parts of 
Ohio, Indiana and Illinois were certainly at that tim(> a primitive 
man's paradise, and the anabasis begun under compulsion was 
enthusiastically continued from choice. They reached the con- 
fluence of the Oliio and the Mississippi. Probably here they fii'st 
encountered the buffalo, or bison, in large numbers. Tlie spirit 



TIISTOUV OF KKWTIJ.E COUNTY 27 

of adveiitiirt' aiul the pi-cssint' of au increasing population sent 
large bands up the Mississippi. When the Missouri was reached 
no doubt some followed that stream. Those who kept to the 
Jlississippi were rewarded as they ascended the stream by coming 
into what was from the viewpoint of primitive man a richer coun- 
try. Coming up into Minnesota a forest region was encountered 
soon after jiassing tlirough bcautiftd Lake Pepin. Soon a roar- 
ing cataract blocked tlie way of tlie Dakota canoes. St. Anthony 
Falls, of whicli now scarce a remnant is left, thundered over its 
ledge among the leafy boskage of banks and islands. Slowly 
but surely up the stream pushed the Uakotas. Kum river was 
reached, and its friendly banks were doubtless for many seasons 
dotted with the Dakota's tipis. But wheu the hunter-explorer's 
eyes first rested on the wide expanse of Mille Lacs, he rightly 
felt he had found a primitive paradise. M'dewakan, the Spirit 
lake, the lake of spiritual spell, soon became the site of perhaps 
the largest permanent encampment or headquarters of the Sioux. 
From there they scattered wide. Some of the bands discovered 
the upi)er Minnesota river region and here settled. These return- 
ing Sioux, it is believed, were the builders of all or nearly all of 
the Renville county mounds, though some may have been built 
by their ancestors before tliey were expelled many centuries 
earlier. The Renville county mounds, though less in size and 
smaller in number, have the same interest as those found in Ohio, 
and whicli this same people ai-e believed to have constructed. 

The name "• Dakota,'' which these Indians applied to them- 
selves, means "joined together in friendly compact." "Sioux" 
is a contraction of the word Nadowessioux (variously spelled), 
the French version of the Chippewa word meaning "Little 
Adders," or figuratively, "enemies."' 

Tlie Sioux were in many ways the highest type of the North 
American Indian, and were physically, perhaps, among the highest 
tyi)es that mankind has reached. Living free lives close to the 
democracy of natui-e, they saw no advantages in organized govern- 
ment ; living on the boundless sweeps of the prairies and in the 
limitless forests, they saw no virtue in that civilization which 
shackles mankind to a daily routine of i)etty duties and circum- 
scribes life to the confinement of crowded cities and villages. 

Tlieic was 710 written code of law. Tradition and custom 
alone dictated the conduct and morals of the Sioux. The spirit 
of this traditional law was as stern as the Mosaic law of the Holy 
Scriptures, "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." A favor 
was never forgotten, Jieither was a wrong. Possibly no race has 
ever been so true to its standards as was the Sioux. Punishment 
swift and sure was meted out to those who departed from these 
precepts. 

Just as Jehovah revealed himself to the Hebrews as a spirit. 



28 IIISTOEY OF RENVILLE COr.XTY 

permeatiiifr all space and all matter, the great Creator who 
breathed iu and through all tilings, so had the Great Spirit 
revealed himself to the Sioux. The Sioux found God everywhere. 
The waterfalls, the winds, the heat, the cold, the rains and the 
snows, the trees and the birds, the animals and the reptiles, all 
were "wakon, '" spiritual mysteries in which God spoke to them. 

In an age when civilized Europeans were having their blood 
drawn fi-oiii tlii'ir veins by a barber as a panacea for all diseases, 
and believing implicitly in the curing powers of witches" brews 
made of such ingredients as snake "s eyes and rabbit's claws, the 
Sioux was bringing tiic ailing back to health by the use of sweat 
baths and simple herbs. 

But with the coming of the white man a great ciuinge took 
place. Outspoken, absolutely truthful, tlie Sioux was no match 
for the lyiug tongue of the white, by which he was robbed of 
much more than by the white man's gun and powder. He was 
no match against the insidious vices of alcohol and lust which the 
white man introduced. 

The life of the red man before he came in contact with our 
so-called civilization, and even later when he had secured luithiug 
more than his gun, knife and kettle, was, though iirimitive and 
coarse, not mean nor base. The Indian was healthy and sound 
in mind and hotly, wholesome as the woods through which he 
hunted. 

He was jjoor and improvident, it is true, living from hand to 
mouth, and taking little thought of the morrow. But this was 
not moral noi- i)hysical shifth-ssncss, it was a part of his rrligion. 
His creed pledged him to poverty; with Goil's boundless riches 
spread aroimd about him. iiis faith forbade his taking more than 
was uecessar^• for his iimucdiatr needs. No one was richer than 
another. All footl was shared. A frii'nd was always welcome 
to help himself at any time. 

The chief was usually the man who by force of personality 
could command sufficient respect to hold the j)osition. While 
there is no evidence that the office of chief was hereditary, never- 
theless from the coming of the white man each tribe seems to 
have had its royal dynasty, handing the ruling power of chief 
from father to son through several generations. War and hunting 
parties, however, were led by any brave who could gather a 
sufficient number of friends about him. One brave might be 
chief of one expedition and another brave of a succeeding expe- 
dition, while the permanent chief of the baud seems to have 
occupied more of a civil position, deciding ilisjiutes and giving 
counsel. 

Wabasha, living at Ke-ox-ah (Winona), seems to have been 
the great overlord of the .'\Ie(lawakanton Sioux, and he likewise 



IITSTOKV OF REXVII.LE COrXTV 29 

si'onis to have been iTcogiiizi'd as ruler by many of tlic other 
brauches of the Sioux. Each l)and likewise liatl a pirinanent 
chief, and as noted each expedition that M-as made ii;id a tem- 
porary chief. 

All ill all, the linliiin as he was before the coiiiiiif>; of the white 
man, is deserving of all lionor and respect. And horrible though 
the warfare was tliat he later waged on the wliites who had 
secured his lands, terrible ami wanton as was the revenge he 
took on defenseless men, women and children occupying his 
ancient domains, bitter though the feeling against him iiuust of 
necessity be by those whose loved ones were ravished, multilated 
and murdered, nevertheless the methods of the most civilized and 
modern warfare have taugjit the world that between the motives 
of the wildest savage ami the mo.st cultured soldier there is little 
difference when a man finds himself fighting for existence against 
those whom he believes to have Avronged liim. The Indian's 
method was to torture and mutilate, to strike such terror that 
the enemy would forever after fear him. The civilized method 
likewise mutilates, terrorizes and strikes sudden death against 
those equally defenseless and inoffensive as were those the Indian 
massacred. The Indian, regarded and treated by the whites as a 
little loM-er than an animal, with even his treaty rights disre- 
garded, struck, in the only way he knew, in behalf of the con- 
tinued existence of himself and of his wife and babes, against a 
race -whose desire for broad acres was ever driving the Red Man 
and his family further and further from the sweejis over which 
his forefathers had ranged. 

Evil (lays indeed came for the simple child of the forest, when 
as scum on the advancing frontier wave of civilization came the 
firewater, the vices and the diseases of civilized man. Neither his 
physical nor his spiritual organization is prepared to withstand 
these powerful evils of a stronger race, and the primitive red man 
has often, perhaps generally, been reduced to a ])itiful parasite 
on the civilized community, infested with the diseases, the vermin 
and the vices of the white man and living in a degradation and 
squalor that only civilization can furnish. 

The white man took from the Indian all his primitive virtues, 
and gave him none of the virtues of the white man in return. 
He taught the red man all of the evils of civilization before he 
was advanced enough to accept its advantages, and tried to iual<c 
him conform suddenly Avith those habits of life which with the 
white race has been the (leveloiJiiii-nt of ages. Thus burdened 
with the white man's vices, his own natural mode of living sud- 
denly made impossildi". driven liere and there by the onru.sh of 
civilization, cheated and defrauded by traders and government 
officials alike, the Indian has degenerated until he is only a 
travesty on the noble kings of the forest who once held swav 



30 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

ill tile upper Mississippi aud the Minnesota valleys. But a eliauge 
is uow coming with an awakened public conscience. Aud the 
results are encouraging. The census seems to iudicate that the 
Indian is no longer a vanishing race. Steady and considerable 
progress is made in his civilization, and his physical condition is 
improving. 

Wapeton Dakotas. Information as to the occupancy of tlie 
Minnesota valley during the era of the early explorers is some- 
what vague. After tlie Dakotas in prehistoric times came up the 
Mississippi river, and in the upper reaches of that river estab- 
lished their homes, the IMedewakanton and several subsidiary of 
the Sioux made their lieadquarters about Mille Lacs, ranging 
the rivers and forests and prairies from that point to unknown 
distances. Probably some bands became permanently separated 
from the main band. In the days of the early French explorers, 
the Medewakantons were still living at Mille Lacs. The Warpeton- 
wans, apparently closely allied to the IMedewakantons. were rang- 
ing the territory west of the upper Mississippi river, between the 
Crow and the Crow Wing rivers. 

The Chippewas drove the Sioux from the ilille Lacs region, 
and the deposed tribes esta))lislied themselves at various points. 

The location of the several bands inhabiting Southern JMinne- 
sota in 1834 has been told by the missionary, S. W. Pond, who 
came to ^Minnesota that year. He has written: 

"The villages of the ^Medewakantonwan were on the Minne- 
sota and Mississippi rivers, extending from Winona to Shakopee. 
Most of the Indians living on the Minnesota river above Shakopee 
were Warpetonwan. At Big Stone lake there were both Warpe- 
touwan and Sissetonwan, and at Lake Traverse, riianktonwan 
(Yankton), Sissetonwan and Warpetoii\\ an. Part of tin' Warpe- 
kute lived on Cannon river aud part at Traverse des Sioux. 
There were frequent intermarriages between these divisons of the 
Dakotas, and they were more or less intermingled at all their 
villages. Though the manners, language an<l dress of the different 
divisons were not all precisely alike, they were essentially one 
people."' 

Thus, at that time, Renville county was Wapeton (spelled 
Warpetonwan, Wahpetou and Warpeton) country, through the 
Sissetons, the Yanktons and the Medawakantons were not far 
away. 

Nicollet in his map of the state placed the Wapetons along 
the ]\Iinnesota river in this part of the state, and the Sissetons in 
the southwestern part of the state. 

However, Sleepy Eye"s village of Sissetons appears to have 
been located for a time at least in the vicinitj' of the mouth of 
the Little Rock, not far from the present area of Renville county. 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 31 

INDJAN TREATIES. 

From prehistoric days up to tlic time of the treaties signed at 
Traverse des Sioux, July 23, 1851, and at Mendota, August 5, 

1851, ratified and amended by the United States Senate, June 23, 

1852, and proclaimed by President ilillard Fillmore February 24, 

1853, the land now embraced in Renville county remained in the 
nominal possession of the Indians. Before this treaty, however, 
several agreements were made between the Indians of this vicinity 
and the. United States government, regarding mutual relations 
and the ceding of lands. The first of these was the treaty with 
Pike in 1805, by which land at tlie moutlis of the Minnesota and 
St. Croix rivers was ceded to tlie government for military pur- 
poses. 

Visit to Washington, hi 1S16, the War of 1812 having been 
brought to a close, the Indians of this vicinity made peace Math 
the United States and signed treaties placing the Sioux of this 
neighborhood "in all things and in every respect on the same foot- 
ing upon which they stood before the late war." Perpetual peace 
was promised, and it was agreed that "every injury or act of 
hostility committed by one or the other of the contracting par- 
ties against the other shall be mutually forgiven and forgotten." 
The tribes recognized the absolute authority of the United States. 
After Ft. Snelling was established, the officers at various times 
engineered peace pacts between various tribes, but these were 
usually quickly broken. 

In the spring of 1821 the first delegation of Sioux Indians 
went to Washington to see their "Great Father," the president. 
A delegation of Chippewas accompanied, and both were in charge 
of ]\Iajor Lawrence Taliaferro. Wabaslia. then properly called 
Wa-pa-ha-sha or Wah-pah-hah-sha, the head chief of the band at 
AVinona ; and Little Crow, head of the Kaposia band ; and Wah- 
natah, were the principal mt>mbers of the Sioux delegation. When 
the delegation had gone as far as Prairie du Chien, Waba.sha and 
Wahnatah. who had been intluenced by traders, desired to turn 
back, but Little Crow i)ersuaded them to continue. The object of 
the visit was to secure a convocation of all of the upper Missis- 
sippi Indians at Prairie du Chien, to define the boundary line of 
the lands claimed by the separate tribes and to establish general 
and permanently friendly relations among them. The party made 
the trip in keel boats from Fort Snelling to Prairie du Chien, and 
from there to Pittsburgh by steamboat, thence to Washington and 
other eastern cities by lanil. 

Prairie du Chien Treaty of 1825. This ti-eaty, signed August 
ID, was of impoi'tance to the Indians who ranged Renville county 
in that it fixed certain general boundaries, and confirmed the fact 
that the present county lay entirely in Sioux territory. The 



32 HISTORY OF KENNMLLE COUNTY 

treaty was partifipated in by the ( 'liippcwii. Sank (Sac) and Fox; 
Menomiuee, Iowa, Sioux, Wiunebago : and a portiou of tlie Ottawa, 
Chippewa and Potawatomi tribes living on the Illinois. 

The line between the Sionx and the confederated Sauks and 
Foxes extended across a part of noi-tiiern Iowa. It was declared 
iu the treaty to rnn np the L'pi)er Iowa (now the Oneota) river 
to its left fork, and up that fork to its source ; thence crossing the 
Cedar river to the second or upper fork of the Des Moines, and 
in a direct line to the lower fork of the (.'aluuiet (Big Sioux) 
river, and down that river to the Missouri river. On both sides 
of this line extended a tract which eanie to l)e known as the 
■'Neutral Strip," into which the Winnebagoes were later moved 
as a butit'er between the Sioux and their enemies to the South. 

The eastern boundai-y of tlu' Sioux territory was to eoiumence 
on the east bank of the ^Mississippi ri\er o|)posite the month of 
the "loway" river, running back to the bluffs and along the 
bluffs to the Bad Axe I'iver, thence to the mouth of the Black 
river, and thence to half a day"s march, below the falls of the 
Chippewa. East of this line, generally speaking, was the Winne- 
bago country, though the ^lenominee country lay about Green 
Bay, Lake ^Michigan and the ililwaukee river, and the !Menoiiiinees 
claimed as far west as the Black river. The Chippewa country 
was to l)e to the north of tile Winnebagoes and Jlenominees, and 
east of the northern line of the Sioux country, the line between 
the Chippewa and the Sioux beginning at a point a half a day's 
uuirch below the falls of the Chippewa, thence to the Red Cedar 
river immediately below the falls, thence to a point on the St. 
Croix river, a day's paddle above the lake at the mouth of that 
river, and thence nortliwestward across the present state of 
iliiniesota. The line crossed the Mississipi)i at the month of the 
Watab river just above St. Cloud. Thus both sides of the ]\Iissis- 
si]>iii diH'ing its course along Renville county were included in 
Sioux territory. 

The boundary lines were certainly-, in many respects, quite 
indefinite, and whether this was the troidjle or not, in any event, 
it was but a few months after the treaty when it was evident that 
none of tlie signers were willing to be governed by the lines estab- 
lished, and hardly by any others. The first article of the treaty 
provided: "There shall be a firm and peri)etual peace between 
the Sioux and the Chijjpewas ; between the Sioux and the con- 
federated tribes of Sacs and Foxes; and between the 'loways' 
and the Sioux." But this provision was more honored in the 
breach than the observance, and in a little time the tribes named 
were flying at one another's throats and engaged in theii- old- 
time hostilities. 

Second Treaty of Prairie du Chien. In 18:^0 a second treaty 
with the Northwest Indian tribes was held at Prairie du Chien. 




HENUY TIMM'S CAlilN 





•■P I 





WILLIAM WK'IIM \\ S I ;l i;'lll I'l.Ai 'K 



HISTORY OP RE.WILLE COUNTY 33 

A iVw weeks previous to tlie convoeatioii, wliieh was begun July 
15, a party of Wabasha's band of Sioux and some Menominees 
ambushed a party of Fox Indians some twelve or fifteen miles 
below Prairie du Ghien and killed eight of them, including a sub- 
chief called the Kettle. 

The Foxes had their village near Dubuque and were on their 
way to Prairie du Chieu to visit the Indian agent, whom they 
had apprised of their coming. They were in canoes on the Mis- 
sissippi. As they reached the lower end of Praii-ie du Pierreaux 
they paddled up a narrow channel M'hich rau near the eastern 
shore, where their concealed enemies opened fire. The Foxes 
returned to their village, bearing their dead, while the Sioux and 
Menominees went home and danced over their victory. A few 
weeks previously the Foxes had killed some of Wabasha's band 
on the Red Cedar river, in Iowa, and the Sioux claimed that their 
part in the Prairie ilu Pierreaux affair was taken in retaliation for 
the Red Cedar affair. In .lune of the following year a large 
number of Menominees were camped on an island in the Missis- 
sippi, less than a half a mile from Fort Crawford and Prairie du 
Chien. One night they were all drunk, "men, women and chil- 
dren." Two hours before daylight the Dubuque Foxes took 
dreadful reprisal for the killing of their brethren at Prairie du 
Pierreaux. Though but a small band, they crept into the Menom- 
inee encampment, fell upon inmates, and in a few minutes put 
a number of them to the gun, the tomahawk and the scalping 
knife. Thirty Menominees were killed. When the entire Menom- 
inee band had been aroused the Foxes, without having lost a man, 
retired, crying out in great exultation that the cowardly killing 
of their comrades at Prairie du Pierreaux had been avenged. 

Because of the Prairie du Pierreaux affair the Foxes at first 
refused to be present at the treaty of Prairie du Chieu, but finally 
came. Delegates were present from four bands of the Sioux, the 
Medawakantons, the Wapakootas, the Walipatons and the Sisse- 
tons, and also fi-om the Sacs, Foxes and lowas, and even from the 
Omahas, Otoes and Missouris, the homes of the last three tribes 
being on the Missouri river. 

At this treaty the Indian tribes represented ceded all of their 
claims to the land in Western Iowa, Northwestern Missouri and 
especially the country of the Des Moines river valley. 

The Medawakanton Sioux, Wabasha's band, had a special 
article (numbered 9) inserted in the treaty for the benefit of their 
half-breed relatives. 

The Sioux also ceded a tract of land twenty miles wide along 
the northern boundary of Iowa from the Mississippi to the Des 
Moiiii's: eoiisiilcratinn $2,000 in cash and $1,200 in Tiierchandise. 

The Doty Treaty. The Doty Treaty, made at Traverse des 
Sioux (St. Peter), in July, 1841, faile.l to be ratified by the United 



34 HISTORY OF KENVILLE COFNTV 

States Senate. This treat.v embodied a Utopian dream that a 
territory of Indians could be established, in which the redmen 
■would reside on farms and in villages, living their lives after the 
style of the whites, liaving a constitutional form of government, 
with a legislature of their own people elected by themselves, the 
governor to be appointed by the president of the United States. 
They were to be taught the arts of peace, to be jiaid annuities, 
and to be protected by the armies of the United States from their 
Indian enemies on the west. In return for tliese benefits to be 
conferred upon the Indians, the United States was to receive all 
the lands in wlmt is now IMinnesota, the Dakotas and northwestern 
Iowa. This ceded land was not to be opened to the settlement of 
the whites, and the phui was to have some of it reserved for 
Indian tribes from other i)arts of the country who should sell their 
lands to the United States, and who. in being moved here, were to 
enjoy all tiie [n-ivileges whieli had been so l)eautifully jilanned 
for the native Indians. But no one can tell what would have been 
the result of this experiment, for the Senate, for ])olitical reasons, 
refused to ratify the treaty, and it f:iilcd of going into effect. 
This treaty was signed by the Sisseton, Wahpeton and Wahpa- 
koota bands at Traverse des Sioux, July SI. 1841, and by the 
Medawakanton l)ands at ^Mendota, August 11 of the same year. 

Preliminaries to Final Session. No other events or incidents 
in all tuiir have beiMi of more importance in their influence upo)i 
the character and destiny of Minnesota than tlie negotiations 
with the Sioux Indians in the summer of 18r)l, commonly known 
as the Treaties of Traverse des Sioux and Mendota. As a result 
of these ti'eaties a vast region of coinitry htrge enougii iind natu- 
rally rich enough for a kingdom was released from the sway of its 
owners and opened to white settlement. 

Prioi' to these events only tile hinds in Minnesota east of the 
Jlississippi river were open to 'white occupation. Tlu^ fine, fer- 
tile expanse to the westward was forbidden ground. The waves 
of immigration were steadily rolling in and beating against the 
legal bai'rier in increasing volume and growing forces; and as 
opposed to the demand of the whites for land and power the 
rights and necessities of the Indians were of little winght. A 
decent I'cgard for the opinions of mankind and also a fear of the 
revenge that the Indians might take, demanded, however, that the 
government go through the form of a i)ureliase, and that some 
sort of price, even if I'idiculously small, lie jiaid for the I'elin- 
quished land. 

In liis message to the first Territorial Legislature Governor 
Kamsey recommended that a memorial to Congress be prepared 
and adopted praying for the purchase by treaty of a large extent 
of the Sioux country west of the Mississippi. ' Accoi-dingly a 
lengthy petition, very earnest and eloquent in its terms, was, aftei' 



nisTolv'V OF KE.Wll.LE COUNTY 35 

considerable delibciiition. drawn up, liiially adopted by both 
houses and didy prcsnitcd to Congi'ess. This was in October, 
I)ut already the national autiiorities hatl taken action. 

In June, 1849, Orlando Brown, Commissioner of Indian affairs, 
atldressed an official letter to Thomas Ewin<i. then Secretary of 
the Interior, recommending iiegotiations with the Sioux, "for the 
purpose of purchasing their title to a large tract of country west 
of the I\Iississippi river." The comiinssioner said that the object 
of the purchase was. "in ordci- to make room for the immigrants 
now going in large numbers to tlic new territory of Minnesota, 
as the Indian title has been extinguished to but a comparatively 
small extent of the country within its limits." Secretar.y Ewing 
approved the report and selected Governor liamsey and .loliii 
Chandlers, the latter a former territorial governor of Iowa, as 
commissioners to make the propo.sed treaty. 

In his annual irport tor 1848 Commissioner Brown had recom- 
mended an appropi'iation to tiefray the expenses of a Sioux treaty, 
but Congress failed to make it. So desirous was he for the treaty 
in 1849 that lie was willing to pay the attendant expense out of 
the "small current apinopi'iatioiis" for his office, and so he 
warned Ramsey and Chambers that "the strictest economy in 
all your expenditures will l)e necessary." He said if they waited 
for a sjjecial ap])ro])riation from the next Congress the treaty in 
its complete form would be iiostponed for two years, and in the 
meanwhile there would be increasing ti'ouble between the Indian 
owners of the land and trespassing settb-rs. 

In August. 1849. Commissioner Bi'own adilressed a lengthy 
letter to Governors Ramse\- and ('liamliers iid'ormiiig tliem of 
their apjiointment as conunissioners to make the treaty and 
instructing them ])artictdarly as to their duties in the preuuses. 
The instructions were nut only elear, but very elaborate and com- 
prehensive, and so far as the\' eoidd be given tiie commissioners 
were told just what to do and just how to do it. The fact that some 
of the directions were luiwise and unwarranted was due to the 
misinformation on the subject which the commissioner iiad 
received, and his consequent lack of knowledge as to the situation. 
For example, in describing the territory which the commissioners 
were to actpiirc. Commissioner Brown expressed the oi)inion that 
it contained "some 20, ()()(), 000 of acres," and that "sonu' of it," 
no doubt, contained ■"lands of excellent quality." With respect 
to the probable wortli of the country to the United States the 
commissioner expressed the oi)inion that, "from its nature, a 
great part of it can never be more than vei'_\- trifling, if of any, 
value to the government." The country was more valuable for 
the purpose of a location for homeseekers than for any other jmr- 
pose, and Commissioner Brown realized that "only a small part 
of it is now actually necessary for that object." 



36 HISTORY OF KENVILLE COUNTY 

The eoiiteiiiplated and directed treaty with the Sioux in the 
fall of 1849 Avas not held as contemplated. On repairing to 
Traverse des Sioux in October, Commissioners Ramsey and Cham- 
bers found that a large majority of tlie Upper Indians were 
absent on their fall hunts. Coming down to Mendota, they found 
the greater part of the Lower bands were absent gathering wild 
rice, hunting in the Big Woods and elsewhere, and those still in 
the villages were, under the circumstances, unwilling to engage 
in any important negotiations. 

At Mendota, however, a treaty was made with some of the 
chiefs of the Medawakanton and Wapakooto bands providing for 
tilt' ])urehase, on reasonable terms, of what was known as the 
"Half-Breed Tract,'" lying west of Lake Pepin, and wliicli had 
been set apart for tlie Sioux mixed bloods by the treaty of July 
15, 1830. The tract comprised about 384,000 acres of now well 
known and valuable country. The purchase was to be completed 
as soon as possible, and the money given to tlie mixed blood bene- 
ficiaries in lieu of the lands. The treaty was duly forwarded to 
Washington, but never ratified by the Senate. In 1850 the agita- 
tion for a more comprehensive treaty resulted in the important 
negotiations of the summer of 1851, and the subject of the Lake 
Pepin Half Breed Tract was put aside and soon forgotten. 

At last, in the spring of 1851, President Fillmore directed that 
a treaty with the Sioux be made and appointed conimissioners to 
that end. The pressure upon him could no longer be resisted. 
The Territorial Legislature had repeateilly memorialized Con- 
gress, Ramsey had written, Sibley and Rice liad I'easoned and 
pleaded, and Goodhue and the other Minnesota editors liad well 
nigh heated their types in their fervid exliortations to the 
national authorities to tear down tlie barriers and allow the 
eager and restless whites to grasp the wealth of tlie great inland 
empire now furnishing home and sustenance to its riglitful owners. 
Already many settlers, as reckless of their own lives as they were 
regardless of the laws of tlieir country, wt-rc squatting witliin the 
forbidden area. 

The traders were esi)ecially desirous that a treaty be made. 
It was the practice in such negotiations to insert a provision in 
tlie treaty that tlie "just debts" of the Indians should be paid 
out of the amounts allowed Ihem. The American P^ir Company — 
then Pierre Chouteau, Jr., & Company — represented by Sibley 
and tlie various sub-traders claimed that the Sioux of Minnesota 
owed tlieiii in the aggregate nearly .4;500,000 for goods they had 
received in past times: the accounts, in some instances, were dated 
twenty years previously. If a treaty were made, all of the 
accounts, both real and fictitious, and augmented to suit the 
traders' fancy, would probably be declared as "just debts" and 
2)aid out of such funds as might be allotted the Indians. That the 



HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 37 

traders, including the firm of Choteau, Jr., & Company, did all 
th(\v could to have a treaty made may readily be believed. 

Under a paragraph in the ludiau appropriation bill oi' 1851, 
appi-oved February 27, all Indian treaties thereafter were to be 
negotiated by "ofReers and agents'" connected with the Indian 
Department and selected by the ])rcsideiit. The appointees were 
not to receive for thcii' service in such cases any compensation 
in addition to their rcjjidar salaries. Previously treaties had been 
negotiated on the jtai-t of the government bj' special agents, who 
were generally not connected with the public service and who 
were paid particularly and liberally for these services. 

In consideration of the great extent of country to be possibly 
acquired, and the importance of the treaty generally, President 
Fillmore appointed to conduct it, on the part of the government, 
two prominent officials of the Indian Department. These were 
Governor Alexander Ramsey, ex-officio Indian Commissioner for 
Minnesota, and Luke Lea, the National Commissioner of Indian 
affairs. The instructions given them were in the main those of 
Commissioner Brown, two years before, to Ramsey and Chambers 
when it was designed that the treaty should then be made. 

Treaty of Traverse des Sioux. Commissioner Lea arrived at 
St. Paul, OH the steaiiilioal Excelsior, June 27. On the twenty- 
ninth he and Governor Ramsey left Fort Snelling on the boat for 
Traverse iles Sioux, the site of the council ground selected for the 
treaty with the two upper bands of Sioux, tin; Wahpatons and 
Sissetons, who occupied the country of the Upper Minnesota 
valley. On board of the Excelsior were some beef cattle and other 
supplies, to b(» furnished the Inilians during the negotiations. 
There wei'e also on board about twenty-five white persons who 
went up as excursionists and as sightseers and witnesses of the 
proceedings. 

Tile Kxeelsior landed at Travei-se des Sioux early on the moni- 
iiig of ^Monday, June 80. This was a well known locality. Here 
the Sioux, in early days, were M'ont to cross the Minnesota, on 
their Avay between the Caniu)n river country and Swan lake, and 
the ford bore the French equivalent for the "crossing of the 
Sioux. ■■ From the earliest days thei'e had been a trading post 
here and in 1843 Reverend Kiggs and his associates had estab- 
lished a mission at the site. In the summer of 1849 this station 
was in charge of Reverend Messrs. Robert Hopkins and Alexander 
G. Iluggins. The missionaries had comfortable i-esidences, and 
there was a frame mission house nea.tly jiainted and well fur- 
nished. 

There was also at "The Ti'averse, '" as it was often called, the 
trading houses of Alexander Graham and Oliver Faribault, with 
residence cabins and other log outbuildings; there was also the 



38 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

old log warehouse in which the Doty treaty of 1841 had been 
made and signed, while scattered along the ridge to the rear were 
thirty or more but?alo skin tepees, occupied by Indian families 
belonging to Chief Red Iron's band of Sissetons. Ten miles to 
the northwest was the village of Chief Sleepy Eye's Little Rock 
baiul of Sissetons numbering two hundred and fifty. The site of 
the Traverse, where the town was afterwards laid out, is two 
miles east of St. Peter, or seventy miles southwest of St. Paul. 

Word had been sent to all of the Sisseton and Wahpeton bands 
— the Upper bauds, as they were often called — that a treaty was 
to be held at the Traverse early in July. They were notified to 
be present ; not only the chiefs, but the head men — the war leaders 
and principal orators of the band — were to participate in the 
deliberations. A large brush arboi' was erected, under the super- 
vision of Alexis Bailly, and lieiieath this comfortable shade the 
treaty negotiations were to be held. A number of beeves M'ere 
slaughtered and boxes of hard-tack opened to feed the expected 
visitors, while baskets of champagne and other refreshments were 
offered for tlie entertainment of the wliite visitors. But the 
arrival of the reluctant Indians was long delayed, and it was not 
until July 18 that the representatives of the last bands came in, 
very tired, very hungry and not favorable to the purpose for 
which the council was calleil. They were heartily welcomed by 
the designing whites and bountiftilly fed on fresh beef, pork and 
hard-tack, but were refused whisky or other spirits, the wliites 
desiring all that for themselves. 

There were ])resent on the part of the Indians the two head 
chiefs and the principal sub-chiefs of the bands, as well as their 
liead soldiers, chief speakers and prominent men of all classes. 
On the part of the whites were Commissionei's Lea and Ramsey; 
Dr. Thomas Poster, the seci'etary; and Alexander Faribnidt and 
Eeverend S. R. Riggs, interjireters. Other prominent white spec- 
tators, some of whom acted as witnesses to the treaty were: 
James M. Goodhue, editor of the Minnesota Pioneer, who made 
and published a daily report of the proceedings; Frank B. Mayer, 
a noted artist from Baltimore ; ^Major Nathaniel ]\leLean, Sioux 
Indian agent at Fort Snelling ; Doctor Thomas S. Williamson, the 
missionary at Kaposia ; Judge James H. LockM'ood, of Praii'ie du 
Chien, who had ascended the Minnesota far above Patterson's 
Rapids in 1816 ; Richard Chute and wife, then a newly married 
couple from Indiana ; H. H. Sibley, Colonel C. Henderson, Joseph 
R. Brown, W. H. Forbes, Hugh Tyler, Reverend Alexander G. 
Huggins, Martin McLeod, Henry Jackson, A. S. H. White, Wal- 
lace B. White, Alexis Bailly, Kenneth McKenzie, Hercules L. 
Dousman, Franklin Steele, F. Brown, William Hartshorn, William 
G. Le Due, Joseph La Frambois, Sr., James ilcC. Boal, and sundry 
French voyageurs, traders' employes and retainers, all of whom 



HISTORY OF RENATLLE COUNTY 39 

were entertaiiu'il siiinptuDiisly with (Iclicidiis viiiiuLs, aiid many 
with fiery spirits and rare wines at the government's expense. 

While waiting for the Indians the whites diverted themselves 
in varions ways, but chiefly in observing the Indian danees and 
their other customs. It was intended to formally observe the 
Fourth of July. Reverend Robert Hopkins, one of the local mis- 
sionaries, was drowned while bathing in the Minnesota, and the 
intention was abandoned. 

July 11 occurred the marriage of two mixed blood people, 
David Faribault and Nancy Winona McClure. They were a fine 
looking couple, attracted general admiration, and the whites gave 
them a pretentious wedding reception. The groom was a son of 
John B. Faribault, the pioneer trader, and the bride was the 
natural daughter of Lieutenant James McClure of the regular 
army, who was at one time stationed at Fort Snelling and died in 
Florida during the Seminole War of 1837 ; she had been reared by 
her Indian grandmother and educated and Christianized by Rev- 
erend Messrs. Riggs and Williamson. 

The ceremony was performed by Alexis Bailly, the trader, 
who had been commissioned a justice of the peace. The wedding 
reception was followed by an elaborate banquet prepared by the 
whites, and at which there were a number of toasts presented and 
responses made. Referring to her marriage reception years after- 
wards Mrs. Faribault wrote: "I have often M'ondered how so 
nuieh cham])agne got so far out on the frontier."' After the wed- 
ding festivities the Sioux girls, to the number of twenty or more, 
had a "virgin feast," in which none but vestals of undoubted 
purity were allowed to participate. 

The Indians, as noted, came in from time to time in no haste 
and evidently much opposed to parting with their lands. Nearly 
all of the women and children were brought along. Chief Sha- 
kopee, of the Lower bands of the Sioux, was in attendance a 
great part of the time. On the tenth a band of twenty Cliippewas 
attacked a party of six Sisseton Sioux forty nules above Lac Qui 
Parle and killed and scalped five of them ; the sixth, a boy, escaped 
by running. The Sioux went out and found their tribesmen 
blackening in tlic sun; the bodies had been beheaded and hiath- 
soinely mangled. The father of two of the murdered children 
came into the Traverse July 15, bringing the tragic news. He 
took part in the treaty, but sat with his face blackened because 
of his bereavement. 

July 18 the council opened under the brush arbor. Governor 
Ramsey opened the proceedings with a short speech and was fol- 
lowed by Commissioner Lea, who in explanation of the desires of 
the white authorities nuide a lengthy address, with uuieh in it 
about the inefl'alde goodness and gigantic greatness of the "(ireat 
Fatliei-" of tile Indians (the President) and his unselfish desire 



40 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

that they sell to him all of their lands as far west at least as 
Lake Traverse and the Big Sioux river down to the ■western 
border of Iowa, retaining only enough laud for their actual resi- 
dence. The Sissetons and Wahpatons claimed the countr}' from 
Traverse des Sioux westward to the Hue indicated and the com- 
missioners Avauted all of it. After the speeches of the commis- 
sioners, iu order that their Avords might "sink deep into the 
hearts" of the Indians, the council adjourned. 

The following day, Saturday, the nineteenth, the council was 
opened with a speech from Star Face (or "The Orphan," as the 
whites called him) after a long silence and apparently much 
reluctance to speak, and when he spoke he said simply that all 
his young men had not arrived, and he was very sorry that the 
council had opened without their presence, or that, as he expressed 
himself, the commissioners were "not willing to shake hands with 
those that are behind." He said he understood that some one 
had been sent to meet them on the road and turn them back, and 
this made him feel very bad. 

Then Sleepy Eye, the old Sisseton chief, who had been one of 
the signers of the Prairie du Chicn treaty of 1825, had visited 
Washington, and had his portrait painted, in 1824, rose and said: 

"Fathers: Your coming and asking me for my country makes 
me sad; your saying that I am not able to do anything with my 
country makes me still more sad. The young men who are coming 
(of whom Star Face had spoken) are my near relatives, and I 
expect certainly to see them here. That is all I have to say. I am 
going to leave and that is the reason I spoke." 

Then, tiarning to the other Sissetons he said: "Come; let us 
go away from here." Instantly there was great confusion. The 
Indians left the arbor and were greeted with shouts by their 
brethren. There were indications that the council was at an end, 
and there was much excitement. 

Governor Ramsey, however, knew the circumstances and neces- 
sities of the Indians who had assembled. Calmly he said to the 
interpreter: "Tell them that as our stock of provisions is short, 
and they seem indisposed to talk, there AAdll be no further issue 
of provisions to them." Commissioner Lea added: "Tell them 
they must let us know by this evening if they really wish to treat. 
If we do not hear from them by that time we will go below early 
tomorrow morning." The coTUicil then adjourned and orders 
were given to get boats ready and to prepare to move in the 
morning. 

The word that tlie.y were to be given nothing more to eat pro- 
duced great consternation among the Indians. Coming, as they 
had, far from their homes, and solely for the benefit of the whites, 
they had supposed that at least they were to be furnished pro- 
visions while attending the conference, especially in view of the 



HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUXTV 41 

riotous good times tliat the whites were enjoying out of the 
expense fund. Hunger faced the Indians and their families on 
their long journey back to their villages. The white men were 
clearly saj-ing: "Give us your land at our own terms or we 
will get it anyhow without a pretense of terms. "We are in a 
hurry, do not delay us, do not wait until all your men get here ; 
enter into this treaty as we have arranged for you to do, or take 
your wives and children and go hungry until you can get back 
home and get something to eat. It nuitters not to us that at our 
request you have come here and given up gathering food for 
weeks, do as we want you to or staiwe." Foreseeing the inevitable 
the Indians agreed to again go into council on the following Mon- 
day, and the officials knowing that the cause of the white man 
was already won ordered that food should be distributed. 

On Monday, the twenty-first, the council opened at noon. The 
first speaker was Sleepy Eye, who sought to explain his viewpoint 
of the events which had transpired. He said: "On the day 
before yesterday, when we convened together, you were offended, 
I hear, at what was said. No offense or disrespect was intended. 
"We only wanted more time to consider. The young men who 
made a noise were waiting to have a ball play, and not under- 
standing English thought the council was over, and as they did 
so made the disturbance, for which we are very sorry." 

Chief Extends-His-IIead-Dress — or Big Curly Head, as the 
whites called him — a Sisseton sub-chief, said : "I am not speaking 
for myself, but for all that are here. We wish to understand what 
we are about before we act — to know exactly the proposition 
made to us by the commissioners. The other chiefs and all our 
people desire that you will make out for us in writing tlie par- 
ticulars of your offer for our lands, and when we have this paper 
fully made out we will sit down on the hill back tliere (indicating) 
consult among ourselves, come to a conclusion, and let you know 
what it is." 

Commissioner Lea then quickly prepared on paper the terms 
desired hy the United States, which had been declared verbally 
at a previous meeting, and which were as follows : 

"The Indians will cede to the United States all their lands in 
the State of Iowa, as well as their lauds east of a line from the 
Red river to Lake Traverse, and thence to the northwestern cor- 
ner of Iowa. The United States will (1) set apart a suitable 
country for the Indians on the upper waters of the Minnesota river 
for their future suiiport; will (2) pay, say, ili] 25,000 or .$i;iO,000 
to them to enable them to arrange their affairs preparatory to 
removal, to pay the expense of removal, and to subsist themselves 
for a year after removal — part of the above sum to be paid in 
money and the other part to be paid in goods and provisions; 
will (3) pay the Indians an annuity of $2.5,000 or $30,000 for 



42 HISTORY OF RENNILLE COINTY 

many years — say thirty or forty years — part iu money, part in 
goods and provisions, and part to be applied to such other bene- 
ficial objects as may be agreed upon." 

The Indians deliberated over the words of these provisions 
and let tliem "sink into their hearts "" for two days and nights. 
There was great divergence of opinion among them, the inter- 
preters said. The majority seemed to realize that their lauds 
were of great value to the T'nited States. But they had no 
proper conception of the actual value in ilollars and cents of the 
great domain which they were about to sell. Their idea of num- 
bers was limited, and they seemed to think that one hundred and 
forty-five thousand dollars and seventy-tive cents was far more 
money than a million dollars, because the latter was the shorter 
phrase and did not souiul so imjiosing and formidable. When, 
therefore, the conniiissioners made an offer, the poor unlettered 
Indians did not know whether it was a fair one or not. Of course 
they appealed to their traders and missionaries, who \niderstood 
the Dakota language, but the explanations offered hardly 
explained. Missionaries, traders and officials alike were deter- 
mined that the land should be oi)ened to white settlement. The 
work of tlu'se traders and missionaries in finally eft'ecting the 
treaty was constant and very valuable to the whites. The sei'v- 
ices rendered by Reverend Riggs, one of the official interpreters, 
were most important. "While the Indians were considering the 
white men's proposition, Riggs. Sibley, ]\IcLeod, Brown and Fari- 
bault were sent for at all hours of the day and night to explain 
to the various bands the provisions of the treaty and their 
application. The Indians, justly suspicious, would not be satisfied 
with the meaning of any provision until at least three white men, 
acting singly, had read it and interpreted it fully. 

July 22, the Indians, after much deliberation, proposed cer- 
tain amendments, which they said they would insist upon as a 
Ijart of their treaty. These amendments were practically unim- 
portant and the commissioners readily accepted. The treaty 
was then prepared and on the following day was signed by the 
contracting parties by Commissioners Lea and Ramsey and the 
chiefs and the head men of the Sisseton and Wahpeton bands 
of the Sioux. The ceremony of signing was somewhat impressive. 
After the white commissioners had affixed their names the 
Indians selected the one of their number who should sign first. 
This was Chief Eeen-yang 3Ian-nie, or Running Walker (some- 
times called "Big Gun"), chief of the Lake Traverse band of 
Sissetons. Boldly he stepped upon the platform and touched 
the goose (luill pen in the hands of Dr. Foster. Next came Chief 
Star Face, or "The Orphan." The commissioners tried to hasten 
matters and to conclude the signing as soon as possible, but at 
one time there was a hitch in the proceedings. 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 43 

Old Sleepy Eye, who liail sakl at the outset that he was sad 
at heart because lie had to sell his eountiy, now arose, to the 
great apprehension of the whites, and begged to say a few words. 
He said that many of the Indians, young men and soldiers, had 
without consulting their chiefs, conehuled that the country which 
they were asked to sell was worth .1>3,r)00,01)(). hut that the com- 
missioners were trying to get it for a less sum. Th(> young men 
had a right to be made sati.sfied. He also demanded otiuu- con- 
ditions : 

"You will take this treaty paper home and show it to the 
Great Father," said Sleepy Eye, "but Ave want to keeji a copy 
here so that we may look at it and see whether you tell us the 
truth or not — see whether you have changed it. As to paying 
our debts to our traders I want to pay tliem wluit is right, but T 
would like to know how much 1 owe them. If they have charged 
me ten dollars for a gun 1 want them to tell me, and if they have 
chargetl me ten dollars for a shirt I want them to tell me that. 
I am a poor man and Jiave difficulty in maintaining myself, but 
these traders have good coats on. The prairie country in which 
I live has not nuudi wood : I live along with the traders, and they 
are also poor, but T do not want to have to provide for them. I 
think it will be vei-y hard upon us when the year becomes white, 
and I would like to have some provisions given nie foi- the winter. 
I would like to have what is mine laid on one side : then when 
we have tinished this biisiness I will know how many of my rela- 
tives I can have mercy u])on.'" 

Colonel Lea assured Sleepy Eye that the money which the 
United States would pay for the Indian land would amount to 
more tlian the young men desired — to more than .i^;j,.')UO,U()(J. He 
sharply reproved Sleepy Eye and said: "We think it fortunate 
for our red brothers that they have not entrusted the entire 
treaty to Sleepy Eye. because they would not have made so 
gooii ;i bai'gain \'itr themselves as they have." As a matter of 
fact the amount named in the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux was 
less than half of the amount Sleepy Eye requested. Out of the 
sum named in tlie treaty the traders and cost of I'emoval were 
to be paid. Of what remained the Indians were not to receive one 
cent — merely the interest for a certain number of years. Even 
some of this interest was to be used to pay white teachers and 
white fai-mers. And as a climax the payment of that part of 
the interest which remained was, just before the massacre, with- 
held and delayed under various pretenses. Even were the amount 
named in the Treaty of IMendota added to the amount named 
in the Treaty of Traver.se des Sioux the total still falls far short 
of $.3,500,000. 

Then Thunder Face, or "Limping Devil," a sub-chief of the 
Sissetons, whose village was on the )n'esent site of the late Gil- 



44 HISTORY OF RENVILLE CorXTV 

fiUau farm, in Redwood oouuty, came forward and signed. He 
was followed by Sleepy Eye, who came gravely forward and 
touched the pen. "Big Curly" was next, but after reaching the 
platform he said: "Before I sign I want to say that you think 
the sura you will give for our land is a great deal of money, but 
you must well understand that the money will all go back to the 
whites again, and the country will remain theirs." The Blunt- 
Headed-Arrow, or "The Walnut," the Handsome Man, the 
Gray Thunder, the Good Boy and other noted warriors and head 
men signed in order. Paee-in-the-Middle was introduced by his 
father, "Big Curly," who said: "This is my son; I would like 
you to invest him with the medal which you have given to me 
by my right as chief. He is to succeed me and will keep the 
medal for you." Red Day next signed and was followed by 
Young Sleepy Eye, nephew of and successor to the old chief upon 
the latter 's death in 1859. They were followed by old Rattling 
lloccasin, chief of a small band which generally lived in the 
neighborhood of the great bend of the Minnesota. Old Red Iron 
-was the first Wahpaton chief to sign. 

The treaty was signed by the following Sisseton and Wah- 
paton chiefs, head men and chief soldiers: 

Chiefs— Running Walker, or ' ' The Gun ; ' ' Star Face, or ' ' The 
Orphan:" Thunder Face, or the "Lame Devil;" Sleepy Eye, 
Extends the Train of His Head Dress, Walking Spirit, Red Iron 
and Rattling (or Sounding) Moccasin. 

Head Men— Blunt-Headed-Arrow, or "The Walnut;" Sound- 
ing Iron, the Flute, Flies Twice, Mildly Good, Gray Thunder, 
Iron Frenchman, Good Boy, Pace in the Middle, Iron Horn, Red 
Day, Young Sleepy Eye, Goes Galloping On, Cloud Man, the 
Upper End, the Standard or Flag, Red Face (2) (there were two 
Red Faces), Makes Elks, Big Fire, Moving Cloud, the Pursuer, 
the Shaking Walker. Iron Lightning, Reappearing Cloud, the 
Walking Harp that Sounds, the Iron that Shoots Walking and 
Standing Soldier. 

Of the Indian signers Red Iron and Sleepy Eye were the most 
prominent of the chiefs. The head-man, "Goes Galloping On" 
(or Anah-wang Manne in Sioux), was a Christian Indian and a 
member of Reverend Riggs' Hazelwood Republic. He had been 
baptized under the name of Simon Anahwangmanne, and M^as 
commonly called Simon by the whites. He distinguished himself 
by his fidelity to and services for the whites during the outbreak 
in 1862. The Iron-That-Shoots-Walking was a Christian comrade 
of Simon and called by his white brethren Paul Mazah-koo-te- 
manne, but commonly Paul or Little Paul. He well nigh immor- 
talized himself during the outbreak by his efl:'orts in behalf of 
the white prisoners. 

As soon as the signing was completed a considerable quantity 



111«'J'UKY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 45 

of i)rovisions and otlK-r i)resonts, iucluding silver medals, were 
presented to the Indians. These presents, which had been fur- 
nished by the government, had been piled up and displayed some- 
what ostentatiously, under guard, while tlie treaty was under 
discussion. The eomuiissioners announced that the presents would 
be distributed "just as soon as the treaty is signed," and the 
announcement was sufficient to hasten the signing, and even to 
remove nuuiy objections to the terms of the treaty. The members 
of the rank and file of tlie great Indian host present kept con- 
stantly calling out : "Sign! sign! and let tlie presents be given 
out." 

July 23, the next morning after the treaty had been signed. 
Chief Star Face, or "The Orphan," and his band in their fullest 
and richest dress and decoration, with all the animation they 
could create, gave the butfalo dance and other dances and diver- 
sions for till' entertainment of the wliite visitors. A delegation 
accompanied the commissioners to the river when they embarked 
for Fort Snelling that evening and gave them a hearty goodbye. 

A similar treaty was signed at Mendota, August 5, by the 
lower bands of the Sioux, the Medawakantons and the Wah- 
pakootas. 

When the ceremony of signing the treaty was completed, 
both at Traverse des Sioux and Mendota, each Indian signer 
stepped to aiiotlici- table, where laj- another paper, which he 
signed. This was called the traders" paper and was an agree- 
ment to pay the "just debts" of the Indians, including those 
present and absent, alive and dead, owing to the traders and the 
trading comj)aiiy. Some of the iiccounts were nearly thirty years' 
standing and the liidiaiis who contracted them were dead. It 
was afterward claimed that the Indians in signing the "traders' 
paper" thought tiiey were merely signing a third duplicate ox 
the treaty. The matter of payment had been discussed, but 
Sleepy Eye had justly demanded an itemized account, and the 
Indians had siii)i)ose(l that this request was to be i-omplicd with 
before tlie\ agreed to pay. 

The entire territory ceded by the Sioux Indians was declared 
to be: "All their lands in the State of Iowa and also all their 
lands in the Territory of Minnesota lying east of the following 
line to-wit: Beginning at the junction of the Buffalo river with 
the Red river of the North (about twelve miles north of Moor- 
head, at Georgetown station, in Clay countjO ; thence along the 
western bank of said Red river of the' North, to the mouth of 
the Sioux Wood river; thence along the western bank of said 
Sioux Wood rivei' to Lake Traverse; thence along the western 
shore of said lake to the southern extremity thereof; thence, in 
a direct line, to the juncture of Kanipeska lake with the Tehan- 
Ka-sna-duta, or Sioux river; thence along the western bank of 



46 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

said river to its point of intersection witli tlie uoi-tlu-rn line of 
the State of Iowa, iuehiding all islands in said rivers and lakes." 

The consideration to the upper bands was the reservation 
twenty miles ^vide — ten miles on each side of the ilinnesota — 
and extending from the western boundary to the mouth of the 
Yellow Medicine and Hawk creek, and $1,665,000, payable as 
follows : To enable them to settle their alfairs and comply with 
their pi'esent just engagements, and to enable them to remove 
to their new reservation and subsist themselves for the first year, 
$275,000. To be expended under the direction of the President, 
in the erection and establishment of manual labor schools, mills 
and blacksmith shops, opening farms, etc.. $30,000. The balance 
($1,360,000) to remain in trust with the United States and five 
per cent interest thereon, or $68,000 to be paid anniuilly for fifty 
years from July 1, 1852. This annuity was to be paid as follows: 
In cash, $40,000 ; for general agricultural improvement and civili- 
zation fvind, $12,000: for goods and i)rovisions. $10,000, and for 
education, $6,000. 

The written copies of the Traverse des Sioux and the ]\Ieudota 
treaties, duly signed and attested, were forwarded to Washing- 
ton to be acted upon by the Senate at the ensuing session of Con- 
gress. An unreasonably long delay resulted. Final action was 
not had until the following siuumer, when, on June 23, the Senate 
ratified both treaties with important amendments. The provi- 
sions for reservations for both the upper and lower bands were 
stricken oiit, and substitutes adopted, agreeing to pay 10 cents an 
acre for both reservations, and authorizing the President, with 
the assent of the Indians, to cause to be set apart other reserva- 
tions, which were to be within the limits of the original great 
cession. The provision to pay $150,000 to the half-bloods of the 
lower bands was also stricken out. The treaties, with the changes, 
came back to the Indians for final ratification and agreement to 
the alterations. The chiefs of the lower bands at first objected 
very strenuously, but finally, on Saturday, September 4, 1852, at 
Governor Ramsey's residence in St. Paul, they signed the amended 
articles, and the following Monday the chiefs and head men of 
the iipper bands affixed their marks. As amended, the treaties 
were proclaimed by President Fillmore, February 24, 1853. The 
Indians were allowed to remain in their old villages, or, if they 
preferred, to occupy their reservations as originally designated, 
until the President selected their new homes. That selection was 
never made, and the original reservations were finally allowed 
them. Congress on Julj' 31, 1854, having passed an act by which 
the original provisions remained in force. 

The Ramsey Investigation of 1853. During the greater part 
of the year 1853 public attention in Minnesota and elsewhere 
in the country was directed to an official investigation of the con- 



IIISTOKY OF UE.WILLE COl XTV 47 

duct of ex-Governor Ramsey in connection with the payment to 
the representative of the traders of money to which the Indians 
supposed themselves entitled under the treaties of 1851. The 
Indians protested against paying any of their money in discharge 
of their debts to the traders. They had at both treaties signed 
a paper providing for the payment of these debts, but subse- 
quently claimed that the nature of the "traders' paper" they 
had signed was misrepresented to them as merely another copy 
of the treaty. 

At Traverse des Sioux the Indians' pi'otest against paying 
the traders took the form of menace and violence on the part of 
Chief Red Iron and liis band, and quiet was secured only by the 
soldiers present tlirough the seizing and imprisoning of Red Iron. 
But Governor Ramsey was firm in his purpose that the traders 
should be paid. At Traverse des Sioux he paid a representative 
of the traders $210,000 which, he said, "paid $431,7.35.78 of Indian 
indebtedness;" at ilendota he paid a representative of the traders 
$70,000, which, lie said, "accoi'ding to the ti'aders" books of account 
[uiid $129,885.10 of indebtedness." 

In December, 1852, charges of conspiracy with II. H. Sibley, 
Franklin Steeple and others to defraud the Indians; that he had 
made uidawfnl use of tlie pviblic funds by depositing them in a 
private bank and exchanging government gold for the bills of 
that bank ; that he had been guilty of tyrannical conduct toward 
the Indians in connection with the payment of the .sums due them, 
were made against Governor Ramsey. The authors of the 
charges were Madison Sweetzer. of 'Traverse des Sioux, and 
Colonel D. A. Robertson, of St. Paul. Sweetzer was a trader, wlio 
had rather recently located at Traverse des Sioux and was con- 
nected willi a rival company to that ol' pierre Choteaii. -li-.. & 
Company, the corporation to whicli Sibley, Steele and the others 
charged with conspiracy belonged. Colonel Robertson was the 
editor of the Minnesota Democrat, \\lncli was the organ of the 
factioii controlled by II, ^1. Rice, tlu-ii the opponent of Sibley 
and Ramsey. 

Tlir allegations against Governor Ramsey were, that lie liad 
paid the traders various sums of money without the I'ight to do 
so. and that for so doing he had l)cen i)aid by the beneficiai'ies, 
ami thus, in effect, had been lii'ihecl to violate the law and his 
duty. 

.\t the i-eqnest of ]\Ir. Sibley, tlieu ilie di'legate iii Congress, 
Senator Gwin of California secured the passage of a Senate reso- 
lution ("April 5, 1853.) ordering the investigation of the charges 
against the ex-governor. At the same time the governor's 
accounts as paymaster under the treaties were held nji until the 
investigation should be concluded. President Pierce appointed 
Richard il. Young, of Ohio, and Governor Willis A. Gorman, of 



48 HISTOKY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

Minnesota, commissioners to investigate, during which testimony 
Avas given by ^hiilison Sweetzer. Dr. Charles Wolf Borup and 
Joseph A. Sire. 

The investigation and the taking of testimony began at St. 
Paul July 6, and was concluded October 7, 1853. A large number 
of witnesses were examined — whites, Indians and mixed bloods. 
Some of the most prominent citizens of the Territory testified — 
Sibley, Brown, McLeod, Steele, Forbes and Alexander Faribaidt, 
the traders; Reverends Riggs and Williamson, of the mission- 
aries; Dr. Thomas Foster, Captain W. B. Dodd, Henry Jackson 
and David Olmsted, of the citizens ; Waba.sha, Little Crow, 
Wacouta, Red Iron, (irey Iron, Shakopee, the Star and Cloud 
Man, of the Indians; Captain James ilonroe, of the army; Indian 
Agent Nathaniel McLean, and many others. 

Commissioner Young made an official report of the investiga- 
tion to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, which bears date 
December 20, 1853. This report criticised, the conduct of Gov- 
ernor Ramsey in depositing the government funds in a private 
bank and in paying out large amounts in bills and drafts on that 
bank to beneficiaries under tlie treaty. It also contained some 
strictures on various other features of the governor's conduct. 
It did not, however, find him guilty of conspiring with the traders, 
nor of being paid b\' tlie tradci-s foi- the part he took in bringing 
about the signing of the treaties. February 24, 1854, Senator 
James Cooper, of Pennsylvania, a member of the Committee on 
Indian Affairs, presented a report to the effect that Governor 
Ramsey had been acquitted by the committee of all impropi'iety 
of conduct, and that one of the complainants. Colonel D. A. 
Robertson, had retracted his charges. The resolution was con- 
sidered by unanimous consent and the committee discharged. 

As a matter of fact, the guilt, if guilt there was, was shared 
by all. The whites desired that Minnesota be opened to settle- 
ment, the tradei-s demanded vast sums for the goods which they 
had already sold to the Indians on credit, the only way the 
Indians could be persuaded to sign the treaties was through the 
influence of the traders, and the traders would not consent to 
serve unless the Indians were compelled to sign the "traders' 
paper." Probably the Indians had no idea what they were doing 
when they signed the paper, and even of the treaty which they 
knowingly signed they had no adequate conception, and the 
white men who negotiated it were well aware that if the Indians 
realized the truth about what they were doing they would never 
sign even the treaty, to say nothing of the "traders' paper." It 
was not a crime of individuals, it was merely one of the steps by 
which one race through guile, trickery and force of numbers 
and superiority of war equipment was supplanting another and 
Tuore primitive people. 



IIT^TORY OF KF.XVTIJ.E rOJ-XTY 49 

Treaty of 1858. June 19, 1858, the goveruineiit made a treaty 
witli eertaiii selected chiefs and braves of the Medawakantou, 
Wahpakoota, Sisseton and Wahpaton bands of Sioux for the 
cession of their reservation, ten miles in width, on the north 
side of the Minnesota, and extending from the west line of the 
State to Little Rock creek, four miles east of Fort Ridgely. The 
area purchased amounted to about 8,000,000 acres, and the price 
to be paid was subsequently (but not until .June 27, 1860) fixed 
by the Senate at thirty cents an acre. The Indians agreed that, 
in the aggregate U)v the four bands, the sum of $140,000 might 
be taken from the purchase price to pay their debts owing to 
the traders, or, as the treaty expressed it, "to satisfy their just 
debts and obligations." 

The influx of white settlers into the country of the Minnesota 
valley, where were some of the finest lands in the State, had been 
very large after the Indian title to the greater part of the 
country had been extinguished. The magnificent domain com- 
prising a great part of what are now the southern portions of 
Renville, Chippewa, Swift and Big Stone counties was looked 
upon with covetous eyes by the homeseekers. The waves of 
imnugration beat against the legal barrier which surrounded this 
fine fertile expanse, and there was a great clamor that the bar- 
riers be removed. "The counti-y is too good for the Indian," 
said the whites. The Indians themselves had not to any con- 
siderable extent occupied the north half of their reservation. 
Their villages and nearly all of their tepees — except about Big 
Stone lake — were situated in the south half. But a majority of 
the Indians, owing to their previous experiences, were opposed 
to selling any portion of their reserve. Some of the head chiefs 
and the headmen, however, were willing to sell the north side 
strip if they could get a good price for it. Major Joseph R. 
Brown, then the Sioux agent, consulted with them and at last a 
manber of them agreed to accompany him to Washington to 
make a treaty. Not all of the sub-chiefs nor all of the head-men 
could be induced to go; some of them were opposed to the sale 
of the land, and others were afraid of the results of a hostile 
public sentiment. If required all of Major Brown's great 
influence with the Sioux to effect the important negotiations. 
The Indians went to Washington in something like imposing 
array. Major Brown gave high silk hats and other articles of 
the white man's adornment to those who would wear them, and 
there accompanietl the party a retinue of whites and mixed 
bloods from Minnesota. A. J. Campbell (commonly called "Joe" 
Campbell) was the official interpi-eter, but assisting him was the 
shrewd old Scotchman, Andrew Robertson, and his mixed blood 
son, Thomas A. Robertson. Otiicr members of the niiifv were: 



50 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

Nathaniel R. Brown, John Bowling, Charlie Crawford and James 
R. Roche. 

On behalf of the L'nited States the treaty was signed by 
Charles E. Mix, then Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Sisseton 
and Wahpaton Indians who signed it were these: 

Sissetons and Wahpatons — Chiefs, Red Iron, Scarlet Plume, 
and Extends His Train. Headmen: Stumpy Horn, The Planter, 
Walks on Iron, Paul ilali-zali-koo-te-ilannc .lolm Olher Day. and 
Strong Voiced Pipe. 

The small number of dignitaries named assumed to act for the 
entire Sioux of Minnesota. It is not a matter of surprise that 
there was dissatisfaction among the bands on account of the 
limited list of their representatives on so important an occasion. 

After the treaty had ])een signed the Indians were sumptu- 
ously entertained, given broadclotli suits, high hats, and patent 
leather shoes to -wear, and had a grand good time, all at the ex- 
pense of the Government. They were photographed and taken 
to the theatres, and allowed to return home by way of Balti- 
more, New York, Philadelphia and Cliicago. When they re- 
turned to Minnesota their tales of the magnificence and strength 
of the whites were listened to by their people with interest and 
in some measure reconciled them to what had been done. 

The opening of the '"north ten-mile strip,"' as the land was 
called, was of great benefit to the development of Minnesota, 
at least for a time. Settlers came in considerable nximbers and . 
the country was improving rapidly when the Civil War inter- 
rupted the peaceful course of eveiits. Then in 1862 came the 
Sioux Outbreak and all of the civilization on the ten-mile strip 
was pushed oil' by a great wave of blood and fire. 

Agencies and Forts. Tlie reservations as o\itlined in the 
treaties, embraced a tract of land twenty miles wide, ten miles 
on each side of the Minnesota, extending from tlie movith of the 
Little Rock (Mud creek) westward to Lake Traverse. The di- 
viding line between the Upper and Lower reservations was a 
line drawn north and south through the mouth of Hawk Creek. 
Thus Renville county for a ten mile strip along the Minnesota 
was in the Lower reservation, except for a strip west of Hawk 
Creek. 

Tlie removal of the Indians to their reservations was inter- 
mittent, interrupted and extended over a period of several years. 

With the establishment of tlie new Indian reserve and tlie 
removal of the Indians thereto, came tlie necessity of a new 
milittiry post in IMinnesota. The concentration of so man.y In- 
dians upon an area really small in comparison with the country 
a part of wliich they had occupied, and all of which they claimed 
to own, rendered the situation important and worthy of atten- 
tion. A iiiilitai-y post was iieeessai'v to preserve order sliould 



HISTORY OF EENVILLE COUNTY 51 

tlu' Indians become dissatisfied. There were to be two Indian 
agencies for tlie Indians on the reservation. The Upper agency, 
for the Sissetous and Walipatons, was established near the mouth 
of the Yellow Medicine and the Lowei% for the Medawanton and 
AVahpakoota bands, was placed about six miles east of the mouth 
of the liedwood. Both agencies were on the south bank of the 
Minnesota river. 

Tlie matter of the new military post was called to the atten- 
tion of C. 31. Conrad, then Secretary of War, and General Win- 
field Scott, then commanding the regular army, by Delegate 
Henry H. Sibley. 

General Scott concuj-red in Sibley "s recommendation, and 
the Secretary of War approved it, and issued the necessary or- 
der. In the fall of 1852 Captain Napoleon Jackson Tecumseh 
Dana, then of the quartermaster's department, and Colonel 
Francis Lee, then in command at Fort Snelling, were ordered 
to select a suitable site for the new fort, "on the St. Peter's 
river, above the mouth of the Blue Earth." 

In tlie latter uart of November, with an escort of dragoons 
from Fort Snelinig and after a three days' march in the snow, 
the officers reached Lafrauiboise's- trading post, at the Little 
Rock. Five miles above the Rock, on the crest of the high bluff 
on the north side of the ilinnesota, the site was fixed. 

The new post was named Fort Ridgely, in honor of Major 
Randolph Ridgely. a gallant officer of the regular army from 
Maryland, wlio died of iiijui-ies received at the battle of 
iIontere\-. 

When Fort Ridgely was estalilislinl Foit Kiley, Kansas, was 
ordered built. At the sauu^ time Fort Dodge, Iowa, and Foi-t 
Scott, Kansas, were ordered discontinued and broken up. 

Fort Ridgely took the place of Fort Dodge, and Fort Riley 
was substituted for Fort Scott. The fii-st garrison at Ridgely 
was composed of Companies C and K of the Sixth Infantry, and 
the first commander was Captain James Monroe, of Company-K. 
Companies <' and K wint up on the st(>amboat West Newton 
from Fort Sueiliny, luit lalcr were joined by Company E, wiiich 
marched across the count i\ from l-'oit Dodge, and arrived in 
June, 18.5.3, when woi'k on the buildings was begun. When Com- 
pany E arrived its captain, lirevel Major Samuel Wootls, ])revi- 
ously Well identified with .Minnesota history took command by 
virtue of his rank. The woik of constructing the fort was in 
charge of Captain Dana. The further history of Foi't Ridgely 
is found elsewhere in tliis Axoik. 



52 IIISTOKV OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

CHAPTER IV. 
CLAIM OF TITLE. 

Spain — France — England — United States — Louisiana Purchase — 
Louisiana District of Indiana — Louisiana Territory — Missouri 
Territory — Michigan Territory — Wisconsin Territory — Iowa 
Territory — Minnesota Territory — Minnesota State. 

Th(_' history of the early goverumeiital jurisdietiou of the 
valley of the Minnesota river is formulated with some difficulty, 
as, prior to the nineteenth century, the interior of the country 
was so little known and the maps upon which claims and grants 
were founded were so meager, as well as incorrect and unre- 
liable, that descriptions of boundaries and locations as given 
in the early treaties are vague in the extreme, and very difficult 
of identification with present-day lines and locations. 

The Hon. J. V. Brower. a scholarly authority uiion tliis sub- 
ject, says ("The Mississippi River and Its Sources'" i : "Spain, 
by virtue of the discoveries 'of Cohuiibus and others, confirmed 
to her by papal grant (that of Alexander VI, May 4. 1493), may 
be said to have been the first Eui'0i)ean owner of the entire valley 
of the Mississippi, Init slie never used this claim as a ground 
foi' taking formal possession of this ])art of her domains other 
than incidentally involved in I)e Soto's doings. Tlie feeble ob- 
jections whicli she made in the next two centin-ies after the 
discovery to other nations exploring and settling North America 
were successfully overcome l)y the force of accomplished facts. 
Tile imme of Florida, now so limited in its application, was first 
applied by the Spaniards to the greater part of the eastern half 
of North America, commencing at the Gulf of ^Mexico and pro- 
ceeding northward indefinitely. This expansiveness of geograph- 
ical view was paralleled later by the definition of a New France 
of still greater extent, which practically included all the conti- 
nent. 

"L'Esearbot, in his history of New France, written in 1617. 
says, in reference to this: "Thus our Canada has for its limits on 
the west side all the lands as far as the sea calleil the Pacific, 
on this side of the Tropic of Cancer: on the south the islands of 
the Atlantic sea in the direction of Cuba and the Spanish land : 
on the east and the northern sea which bathes New France; 
and on the north the land said to be unknown, toward the icy 
sea as far as the arctic pole." 

"Judging also by the various grants to individuals, noble and 
otherwise, and 'companies," which gave away the country in 
latitudinal strips extending from the Atlantic westward, the 



HISTORY OF RENVJLLE COI'NTY 53 

English were not fai- bdiind tlie Spaniards and Freneli in this 
kind of etfrontcry. As English colonists never settled on the 
ilississippi in pursuance of sucli grants, and never performed 
any acts of authority there, such shadowy sovereignties may be 
disregarded here, in spite of the fact that it was considered neces- 
sary, many years later, for various states concerned to convey 
to tlie United States tlicir more or k'ss conflicting claims to ter- 
ritory ■which lay far to the westward of their own actual borders. 
■"Tlius. in tlie most arbitrary nuuuier, did the Jlississippi 
river, though yet unknown, become the property, successively, 
of the Iberian, (iaulisli and Anglo-Saxon races — of three peo- 
ples who, in later times, by di|)l()iiiacy and force of arms, strug- 
gled for an actual occupancy. Practically, lidwever, the upper 
]Mississippi valley nmy be considered as having been in the first 
place Canadian soil, for it was Frenchmen from Canada who 
first visited it and traded with its various native inhabitants. 
The further prosecution of his discoveries by La Salle, in 1682, 
extended Canada as a French possession to the Gulf of Mexico, 
though he did not use the name of Canada nor yet that of New 
France. He preferred to call the entire country watered by 
the ilississippi river and its tributaries, from its uttermost source 
to its mouth, by the new name he had already invented for the 
pui-jMise — Louisiana. The names of Canada and New France 
had been inditferently used to express about the same extent of 
territory, but the name of Louisiana now came to supersede them 
in being applied to the conjectural regions of the West. Al- 
though La Salle has apiilied the latter expression to the entire 
valley of the Mississi])])i, it was iu)t generally used in that sense 
after his time; the U])|)er |)art of the region was called Canada, 
and the lower Louisiana; but the actual dividing line between 
the two provinces was not absolutely established, and their 
names and boinidaries were variously indicated on published 
maps. Speaking generally, the Canada of the eighteenth cen- 
t>iry included the Great Lakes and the country drained ])y their 
ti-ibutaries : the northern one-foiu'th of the i)resent state of 
Illinois — that is, as much as lies north of the mouth of the Rock 
river; all the regions l.ving north of the noi'thern watershed of 
the IMisso)u-i, and finall.v the valley of the ujijier Missouri itself." 
This would include Renville county. 

But it is now necessary to go back two centuries previous 
and consider the various explorations of the Mississippi upon 
whicli M'ere based the claims of the European monarchs. Pos- 
sibly the mouth of the Mississippi had been reached by Spaniards 
previous to 1541, possibly Hibernian missionaries as early as 
the middle of the sixth century, or Welsh emigrants (Madoe), 
about 1170, discovered North America by way of the Gulf of 
Mexico, but historians gave to Fei-uando de Soto and his band of 



54 HISTORY OF REXVllJ.E COUNTY 

advt'iitiirers the credit of having: beeu tlie first white men to 
actually view the ^Mississippi ou its course tlirougli the interior 
of the coutiueut aiul of being tlie fii'st ones to actually traverse 
its waters. De Soto siprhted the ^Mississippi in ilay, 1541, at the 
head of an exiJedition in seai'cli of gold anil jireeious stones. In 
the following spring, weary, with hope long deferred, and worn 
out with his adventures, De Soto fell a victim to disease and 
died May 21, 1541. His fdllowers, greatly reduced in number by 
sickness, after wandering about in a vain .searching, built three 
small vessels and descended to the mouth of the ^Mississippi, 
l)eing the first white men to reach the outlet of that great river 
from the interior. However, they were too weary and discour- 
aged to lay claim to the country, and took no notes of the region 
through which they passed. 

In 1554 Jauu's Cartier, a Frenchuian, discovered the St. Law- 
rence, and explored it as far as the present site of Quebec. The 
next year he ascendecl the river to ]Mont Real, the lofty hill for 
which Montreal was named. Thereafter all the country drained 
by the St. Lawrence was claimed by the French. ]Many years 
later the King of France granted the ""basin of the St. Lawrence 
and all the rivers flowing through it to the sea."' to a company, 
whose leader was Champlain, the founder of Quebec, which be- 
came the capital of New France, whose then unexplored territoi-y 
stretclied westward, to well within the boundaries of what is now 
ilinnesota. In 1613-15 Champlain explored the Ottawa river, 
and the Georgian bay to Lake Huron, and missions were estab- 
lished in the Huron country. ^Missionaries and fur traders were 
the most active explorers of the new possessions. They followed 
the shores of the Great Lakes and then penetrated further and 
further into the wilderness. As they went they trieil to make 
friends of the red men. established trading posts and raised the 
Christian cross, hi 1(141 Jogues and Rayiidia\dt, Jesuits, aftci- a 
long and perilous voyage in frail canoes and bateaux, reached 
the Sault Ste. ilarie, where they heard of a large river, the ^Mish- 
is-ip-e. flowing southward to the sea, and of a powerf\d Indian 
tribe dwelling near its headwaters. Stories of vast fertile plains, 
of numbei'less streams, of herds of buffalo, and of many jjcople, 
in regions fai' to the west and south, roused missionaries and 
traders anew, and the voyages and trips of the explorers became 
more frequent. 

In 1659-60 Radisson and Grosseilliers, |)roceeding westward 
from Lake Superior, possibly entered what is now ilinnesota. 
They spent some time in the "forty villages of the Dakotas, "' 
possibly in the vicinity of ]Mille Lacs, and were, it has been con- 
tended, the first white men to set foot on the soil of this state. 
Tlie contention that these adventurers spent a part of the years 
1655-56 on Prairie Ishnxl. in the ^Mississippi just above Red Wing, 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 55 

is (lis|iiitf(l by some historians, lint still forms an interesting 
subject for study and conjecture. 

Some writers also claim tliat tlie Pi-enchniau, Sieur Nicollet, 
who should not be confuseil \vitli the Nicollet of a later date, 
reached the Mississippi in 1639. 

Rene Menard, a Jesuit missionary, reached the Mississippi in 
1661 by Avay of Wisconsin. Tills was twelve years prior to its 
discovery by Marquette and Joliet, and to Menard historians in 
general give the honor of the discovery of the upper waters of 
the great river. Menard ascended the Mississippi to tlie mouth 
of the Black river, Wisconsin, and was lost in a forest near the 
source of that stream while attempting to carry the gospel to 
the Ilurons. His sole companion "called him and sought him, 
but he made no reply and could not be found." Some years 
later his camp kettle, robe and jirayer book were seen in the 
possession of the Indians. 

In the summer of 1663 the intelligence of the fate of Menard 
reached Quebec, and on August 8, 1665, Father Claude AUouez, 
who had anxiously waited two years for the means of convey- 
ance, embarked for Lake Superior with a party of French trad- 
ers and Indians. He visited the ^Minnesota shores of Lake Supe- 
rior in the fall of 166.'), established the Mission of the Holy Spii'it 
at La Pointe, now in Wisconsin, and it is said "was the first to 
write 'Messipi,' the name of the great river of the Sioux coun- 
try," as he heard it pronounced by the Chippewas, or rather as it 
sounded to his ears. 

May 13, 1673. Jaques IMarquette and Louis Joliet, the former 
a priest and the latter the commander of the expedition, set out 
with five assistants, and on June 17 of the same year reached the 
Mississippi at the present site? of Prairie du Chien, thence con- 
tinuing down the river as far as the mouth of the Illinois, which 
they ascended, subsequently reaching the lakes. 

In 1678, the Sieur De Luth, Daniel Graysolon, under commis- 
sion from the governor of Canada, set ovit from Qnebee, to ex- 
plore the country west of the Lake Superior region. He was to 
take possession of it in the name of the king of France, and 
secure the trade of the native tribes. De Luth entered Minne- 
sota in 1679, reaching the great Sioux village of Kathio at Mille 
Lacs, on July 2. "On that day," he says, "I had the honor to 
plant His Majesty's arms where a Frenchman never before had 
been." 

In 1680 Accault planted the French royal arms near the 
source of the Mississippi. 

La Salle, however, was tiie first to lay claim to the entire 
valley in the name of his sovereign. After achieving perpetual 
fame by tlic discovery of tin- Ohio I'iver (1670-71), he conceived 



56 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

the pLan of reaching the Paeitie by way of tlie Northern Missis- 
sippi, at that time unexplored and supposed to be a waterway 
connecting the two oceans. Fronteuae, then governor-general 
of Canada, favored the plan, as did the king of France. Accord- 
ingly, gathering a eompanj- of Frenchmen, he piu-sued his way 
through the lakes, made a portage to the Illinois river, and, Jan- 
uary 4, 1680, reached what is now Lake Peoria, in Illinois. From 
there, in February, he sent Hennepin and two companions to ex- 
plore the upi)er ^Mississippi. During this voyage Hennepin and 
the men accompanying him were taken by the Indians as far 
north as Mille Lacs. He also discovered St. Anthony Falls. 
Needing reinforcements. La Salle again returned to Canada. In 
January, 1682, with a band of followers, he started on his third 
and. greatest expedition. February 6, they reached the ]\Iissis- 
sippi by way of Lake ilieliigan and the Illinois river, and March 
6, discovered the three great passages by which the river dis- 
charges its waters into the Gulf. Two days later they re-as- 
cended the rivei' a sliort distance, to find a high spot out of the 
reach of inundations, and there erected a cohiinn and planted a 
cross, proclaiming with due ceremony the authority of the king 
of France. Thus did the wliole Mississippi valley pass under the 
nominal sovereignty of the French monarchs. 

The first definite claim to the upper ^Mississippi is eml)odied 
in a paper, still preserved, in the colonial archives of France, 
entitled "The record of the taking possession, in his majesty's 
name, of the Bay des Puants (Green bay), of the lake and rivers 
of the Ontagamis and ]Maskoutins (Fox river and Lake Winne- 
bago), of the river Ouiskonclie (Wisconsin), and that of the 
Mississippi, the country of the Nadouesioux (the .Sioux or Da- 
kota Indians), the rivers St. Croix and St. Pierre (^Minnesota), 
and other places more remote. May 8. 1689." (F. B. "Calla- 
han's translation in 1855, published in Vol. 9, page 418, "Docu- 
ments Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New 
York."") This claim was made by PerroT, and the ]iroclamation 
is supposed to have been issued from Fort St. Antonie on the 
nortlieastern shore of Lake Pepin, about six miles from its mouth. 

The previous proclamations of St. Lusson in 1671 at the out- 
let of Lake Superior, of De Lutli. in 1679. at the west end of the 
same lake and at ^lille Lacs, strengthened tlie French claims of 
sovereignty. 

For over eiglit decades thereafter, the claims of France were, 
tacitly at least, recognized in Europe. In 1763 there came a 
change. Of this change A. N. Winchell (in Vol. 10, "Minnesota 
Historical Society Collections"") writes: "The present eastern 
bo^tndary of Minnesota, in part (tliat is so far as the ^lississipjn 
now forms its eastern boundary), has a history beginning at a 
very early date. In 1763, at the end of that long struggle during 



TirSTOKY OF REXYTLLE CorXTY 57 

whieli England jjasscd many a mile post iu her i-ace for world 
empire, while France lost nearly as much as Britain gained — 
that struggle, called in America, the Fi-ench aud Indian War — 
the Mississijtpi river became an international boundary. The 
articles of the definite treaty of peace were signed at Paris, on 
February 10, 1763. The seventh article made the ilississippi, 
from its source to about the 31st degree of north latitude, the 
boundary between the English colonies on this continent and the 
French Louisiana. The text of the article is as follows (Pub- 
lished in the "(lentlciiian's Magazini'," ^^tl. 33, jiages lL'1-126, 
March, 1763) : 

"VII. In order to re-establish peace on solid and durable 
foundations, and to remove forever all subjects of dispute to 
the limits of the Ri-itish and Fi-eueh Territories on the continent 
of America; that foi' tiie t'uture the confines between the do- 
mains of his Britannic majesty and those of his most Christian 
majesty (the king of France) in that part of the world, shall be 
fixed irrevocably by a line drawn down the middle of the river 
^Mississippi, from its source to the river Iberville, and from 
thence, by a line drawn along the middle of this river, and the 
Lake Maurepas and Pontchartrain, to the sea." The boundary 
from the soui-ce of the river farther north, or west, or in any 
dii'eetion, was not given; it was evidently supposed that it 
would lie of no im])ortance for many centuries at least. 

This seventh article of the definite treaty was identical with 
the sixth article in the preliminary treaty of peace signed by 
England, Spain and France, at Fontainbleau, Xovember 3, 1762. 
On that same day, November 3, 1762, the French and Spanish 
representatives had signed another act by which the French 
king "ceded to his cousin of Spain, and his successors forever 
* * * all the country known by the name of Louisiana, including 
New Orleans and the island on which that city is situated." This 
agreement was kept secret, but when the definite treaty was 
signed at Paris the following year,' this secret pact went into 
effect, and Spain at once became the possessor of the area 
described. 

.^t the close of the Revolutionai-y War, the territory east of 
the Mis.sissippi and north of the 31st pai'allel passed under the 
jurisdiction of the I'nitcd States. By the dclinitr ti-caty oF 
peace between the United States and Great Britain, ratified at 
Paris, September 3. 17H3. a part of the northern boundary of 
the United States, and the westei'u boundary thereof was estab- 
lished as follows: Commencing at the most northwestern point 
of the Lake of the Woods, and from thence on a due course west 
to the Mississippi river (the Mississippi at that time was thought 
to extend into what is now Canada), thence by a line to be 
drawn along the mi<ldle of .said ^Vfississijipi rivi'r until it shall 



58 HISTORY OF KEXVILLE COUNTY 

intersect the northernmost part of the 31st degree of north lati- 
tude. (U. S. Statutes at Large, Vol. 8, page 82.) 

In 1800, by the secret treaty of San (or Saint) Ildefonso 
(signed October li. Spain receded the indefinite tract west of 
the Mississippi to France, which nation did not, however, take 
formal possession until three years later, when the formality was 
made necessary in order that the tract might be ceded to the 
United States. Napoleon, for France, sold the tract to the United 
States, April 30, 1803. The region comprehended in the "Loui- 
siana Purchase,'" as this area was called, included all the countiy 
west of the ^Mississippi, except those portions west of the Rocky 
mountains actually occupied by Spain, and extended as far north 
as the British territory. 

By an act of congress, approved October 31. 1803, the presi- 
dent of the Ignited States was authorized to take possession of 
this territory, the act providing that "all the military, civil, and 
judicial powers exercised by the officers of the existing govern- 
ment, shall be vested in such person and persons, and shall be 
exercised in such manner as the President of the t'nited States 
shall direct." (United States Statutes at Large, Vol. 2, page 
245.) 

December 20. 1803. Loui.siana was formally turned over to 
the United States at New Orleans, by il. Lanssat. the civil agent 
of France, who a few days previous (November 30) had received 
a formal transfer from representatives of Spain, Renville coun- 
ty was included in the Louisiana purchase. 

It will therefore be seen that the territorial claim of title 
to Renville county was first embraced in the paper grant to 
Spain, May 4. 1493, It was subsequently included in the indefi- 
nite claims made by Spain to lands north and northwest of her 
settlements in Mexico, Florida and the West Indies; by the 
English to lands west of their Atlantic coast settlements, and 
by the French to lands south, west and southwest of their Cana- 
dian settlements. The first definite claim to territory now em- 
bracing Renville county was made by La Salle at the mouth of 
the Mississippi, March 8, 1682, in the name of the king of 
France, and the second (still more definite) by Perrot, nor far 
from the present site of "Winona, May 8, 1689. This was also a 
French claim, France remained in tacit authority until Febru- 
ary 10, 1763. when, upon England's acknowledging the French 
authority to lands west of the Mississippi, France, by a previous 
secret agreement, turned her authority over to Spain. Octo- 
ber 1, 1800, Spain ceded the tract to France, but France did not 
take formal possession until November 30, 1803, and almost im- 
mediately, December 20, 1803, turned it over to the United States, 
the Americans having purchased it from Napoleon April 30 of 
that year. 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 59 

March 26, 1804, tlie area that is uow Renville couuty -was 
included in the Louisiana district as a part of Indiana, and so 
remained until Mareli 3, 1805. From March 3, 1805, to June 4, 
1812, it was a part of Louisiana territory. From June 4, 1812, 
until August 10, 1820, it was a part of Missouri territory. From 
August 10, 1821, until June 28, 1834, it was outside the pale of 
all organized government, except that congress had general juris- 
diction. From June 28, 1834, to Api'il 20, 1836, it was a part of 
Michigan territory. From April 20, 1836, to June 12, 1838, it 
was a part of Wisconsin territory. From June 12, 1838, to De- 
cember 28, 1846, it was a part of the territory of Iowa. The 
admission of Iowa as a state left what is now Renville county 
without territorial alifiliation until March 3, 1849, when Minne- 
sota was admitted as a territory. In the meantime, however, im- 
portant events were transpiring. 

December 18, 1846, IMorgan L. IMartin, delegate for Wiscon- 
sin territory gave notice to the house of representatives that at 
an early day he would ask leave to introduce a bill establishing a 
territorial government of Minnesota. The name which was the 
Sioux term for what was then the river St. Peter (Pierre) and 
has now beconu' the official designation was, it is believed, ap- 
plied to the proposed territory at the suggestion of Joseph R. 
Brown. It is a composite word and while there is some differ- 
ence of opinion as to the exact meaning, the most generally 
accepted is "sky tinted water," which is a very satisfactory and 
poetical even if not accurate interpretation. The real meaning 
is blear water or cloudy water or milky water, the river at cer- 
tain stages in the early days having the appearance of what 
we now call a "mackerel sky." The bill was introduced in the 
lower house on December 23, 1846, by Mr. Martin. This bill was 
left to the committee on territories of which Stephen A. Doug- 
las of Illinois was the chairman. During its consideration by 
congress, the hill underwent various changes. After reported 
back to the house the name Minnesota had been changed by 
Mr. Douglas to Itasca : a word formed by taking syllables from 
the Latin words Veritas caput, meaning the true head. ]Mr. 
Martin immediately moved that the name Minnesota be placed in 
the bill in place of Itasca. Congressman Winthrop proposed the 
name Chippewa, another from the word 0.jibway, a tribe of 
Indians then inhabiting the northern part of Wisconsin and 
Minnesota. -Congressman Thompson of Mississippi, was opposed 
to all Indian names and wished the new territory named for 
Andrew Jackson. Congressman Houston of Delaware, spoke 
strongly in favor of giving to the new territory the name of 
Washington. Of these proposed names only one, Washington, 
has been preserved as the name of state or territory. After 
many months, counter motions and amendments. Minnesota was 



60 HISTOHV OF KKXVILLE COUNTY 

retained in the bill wiiieli with a minor change passed the hovise. 
In the senate it was rejected. 

A second attempt was made two years later. January 10, 
1848, Stephen A. Donglas, who having in the meantime been 
elected to the United States Senate from Illinois, became chair- 
man of the committee on territories in that body as he had previ- 
ously been in the Hon.se, gave due notice to the senate that "at a 
future day" he would introduce a bill to establish the territory 
of ^Minnesota. He brought in the bill February 23. It was sev- 
eral times read, was amended, referred to committee and dis- 
cussed, but congi'ess adjourned August 14 without taking ulti- 
mate action on the proposition. 

In the meantime Wisconsin was admitted to the Union May 
29, 1848, and the western half of what was then St. Croix county 
was left outside the new state. The settled portions of the area 
thus cut olf from Wisconsin by its admission to statehood privi- 
leges were in the southern part of the peninsula of land lying 
between the Mississippi and the- St. Croix. 

The people of this area were now confronted with a serious 
problem. As residents of the territory of Wisconsin they had 
enjoyed the privileges of citizenship in the United States. By 
the creation of the state of Wisconsin they were disfranchised 
and left without the benefits of organized government. Thus, 
Stillwater, which had been the governmental seat of a growing 
county (St. Croix\ was left outside tlie pale of organized law. 
Legal minds disagreed on the question of whether the minor 
civil officers, such as justices of the peace, created under the 
territorial organization, were still qualified to exercise the au- 
thority of their positions. At a meeting held at St. Paul, in 
-July. 1848, the citizens of that (then) village considered the 
question of the formation of a new territory. August 5 a meet- 
ing of citizens of the area Avest of the St. Croix was held at 
Stillwater, and it was decided to call a general convention at that 
place, August 26, 1848, for a three-fold purpose: 1 — To elect 
a territorial delegate to congress. 2 — To organize a territory 
with a name other than Wisconsin. 3 — To determine whether 
the laws and organization of the old territory of Wisconsin were 
still in effect now that a part of that territory was organized as 
a state. In the call for this meeting, the signers called them- 
selves, "We, the undersigned citizens of Minnesota territory."' 
The meeting was held pursuant to the call. Action was taken in 
regard to the fir.st proposition by the election of II. H. Sibley, 
who was authorized to proceed to Washington and use such ef- 
forts as were in his power to secure the organization of the ter- 
ritory of Minnesota. In regard to the second proposition, a 
memorial was addressed to the President of the United States, 
stating the reasons why the organization of Minnesota territory 



HISTORY OF RENVILLK ((HXTY 61 

was uecessary. Tin- third proposition presented technical points 
worthy of the attention of the wisest legal minds. The state of 
Wisconsin had been organized, but the territory of Wisconsin 
had not been abolished. Was not, therefore, the territory still 
in existence, and did not its organization and its laws still prevail 
in the part of the territory that had not been included in the 
state? A letter from James Buchanan, then secretary of state 
of the United States, expressed this view in a letter. If the terri- 
torial government was in existence would it not give the resi- 
dents thereof a better standing before the nation in their de- 
sire to become Minnesota territory? Might not this technicality 
give the delegate a seat in congress when otherwise he must, 
as simply the representative of an unorganized area, make his 
requests in the lobby and to the individual members? John 
Catlin, who had been secretary of the territory of W^isconsin 
before the organization of that state, declared that the territory 
still existed in the area not included in the organized state and 
that he was the acting governor, Territorial Governor Henry 
Dodge, having been elected United States Senator. According- 
ly, the people of the cut-off portion organized as the "Territory 
of Wisconsin," and named a day for the election of a delegate, 
John H. Tweedy, the territorial delegate from Wisconsin, having 
gone through the form of resigning in order to make the new 
move possible. In the closely contested election held October 
30, 1848, Sibley won out against Henry M. Rice and accordingly 
made his way to W^ashington, technically from the "Territory of 
Wisconsin," actually as a representative of the proposed terri- 
torj' of Minnesota. As a matter of fact, indeed, Sibley, living 
at Mendota, had ceased to be a citizen of the territory of Wis- 
consin in 18:58, when Iowa territory was created, and was a 
resident of tlir part of Iowa territory which the organization of 
the state of Iowa liad left without a goveriiinent, rather than of 
that territory in question (between the ]\Iississi[)pi and the St. 
Croix) which tli(> admission of Wisconsin as a state had left with- 
out a govei-iuiient. Sibley was, however, after mTich opposition, 
admitted to congress and given a seat .lanuary 15, 1849, but not 
without much discussion as" to whether excluded territory was 
entitled to contiiuied political existence and representation, after 
a state has been created out of part of a territory. 

Mr. Sibley devoted himself assiduousl.y to securing the passage 
in the United States senate of the bill for the creation of the ter- 
ritory of ^linnesota which had been introduced at the previous 
session and met witli gratifying success. His efforts in the house 
of representatives were less satisfactory, political questions enter- 
ing largely into the matter, and it was not until March 3, 1849, 
the very last day of the session — and tlnii only through the 
strenuous worl< of Senator Stejihcn A. Douglas, that he sue- 



62 lllSTUKY OF KE.WJLi.E (OlMY 

eeeded iu seeuriug the passage of the bill. This was tiiially doue 
under suspension of the rules, the previous opposition having 
been unexpectedly withdrawn. 

As passed the act read as follows: "Be it enacted. * * * 
That from and after the passage of this act, all that part of the 
territory of the United States which lies within the following 
limits, to-wit : Beginning in the Mississippi river at a point 
where the line of 43° and 30' of north latitude crosses the same, ' 
thence runniug due west on said liiu:', wliieh is the northern 
boundary of the state of Iowa, to the northwest corner of the 
said state of Iowa ; thence southerly along the western boundary 
of said state to the point where said boundary strikes the Mis- 
souri river; thence up tlie middle of the main channel of the 
Missouri river to the mouth of the "White Earth river: thenee 
up the middle of the main channel of the White Earth river to 
the boundary line between the possessions of the United States 
and Great Britain ; thence east and south of east along the boun- 
dary line and between the possession of the United States and 
Great Britain to Lake Superior: thence in a straight line to the 
northernmost point of the state of Wisconsin, in Lake Superior; 
thenee along the western bcnmdary of the state of Wisconsin to 
the Mississippi river ; thence down the main channel of said 
river to the place of beginning, and the same is hereby erected 
into a temporary government by the name of the territory of 
Minnesota." 

This being before the days of railroads and telegraphs in the 
West, the good news did not reach St. Paul until thirty-seven 
days afterwards, when it was bronght by the first steamer com- 
ing from the lower river. 

At the time of the organization of Minnesota as a territory 
the country was described as being "little more than a wilder- 
ness." Tliat which lay west of the Mississippi river, from the 
Iowa line to Lake Itasca, had not yet been ceded by the Indians 
and was unoccupied by the whites save in a very few instances. 
On the east side, in this more immediate vicinity, were trading 
posts with the cabins of a few employes at Sauk Rapids and 
Crow Wing. Away up at Pembina was the largest town or 
settlement wuthin the boundaries of the new territory, where 
were nearly a thousand people, a large majority of whom 
were "Metis" or mixed bloods, French Crees or French 
Chippewas. 

In "Minnesota in Three Centuries" attention is called to the 
fact that at this time the east side of the Mississippi, as far 
north as Crow Wing, Avas being settled here and there by people 
who had come to the countrj' when it had been announced that 
the territory was organized. The settlers were almost entirely 
from the Northern States, many being from New England. The 



HISTORY OP KENVILLE COrXTV 63 

fact that the state -wliicli would succeed the territory would be 
a free state, witJiout slavery iu any form, made it certain that 
the first settlers would be non-slaveholders, with but few people 
from the Soutliern States interested or in sympathy with South- 
ern ideas. 

The people of the territory of Minnesota were not long con- 
tent with a territorial government. In the words of A. N. 
Winehell, "December 24, 1856, the delegate from the territory 
of Minnesota introduced a bill to authorize the people of that 
teri'itory to form a constitution and state government. The 
bill limited the proposed state on the west by the Red River of 
the North and the Big Sioux river. It was referred to the com- 
mittee on territories, of which I\Ir. C4row, of Pennsylvania, was 
then chairman. January 31, 1857, the chairman reported a sub- 
stitute, which differed from the original l>ill in no essential re- 
spect except in regard to tlie western boundary. The change 
there consisted in adopting a line through Traverse and Big 
Stone lakes, due south from the latter to the Iowa line. The 
altered boundary cut off a nari'ow strip of territory, estimated 
bj' Mr. Grow to contain between five and six hundred square 
miles. Today the strip contains such towns as Sioux Falls, 
Watortown and Brookings. The substitute had a stormy voyage 
through congress, especially in the senate, but finally completed 
the trip on February 25, 1857." 

The enabling act, as passed and approved February 26, 1857, 
defined the boundaries of Minnesota as follows: '"Be it enacted 
* * * That the inhabitants of that portion of the territory of 
Mimiesota which is embraced within the following limits, to-wit: 
Beginning at the point iu the center of the main channel of the 
Red River of the North, where the boundary line between the 
United States and the British possessions crosses the same; 
thence up the main channel of said river to that of Bois des 
Sioux river ; thence (up) the main channel of said river to Lake 
Travers; then up the center of said lake to the soiitliern extrem- 
ity thereof; thence in a direct line to the head of Big Stone lake; 
thence through its center to its outlet ; thence by a due south line 
ern boundary of said state to the main channel of the Mississippi 
to the north line of the state of Iowa; thence east along the north- 
river; thence up the main channel of said river and following 
the boundary line of the state of Wisconsin, until the same inter- 
sects the St. Louis river; thence down said river to and through 
Lake Superior, on the boundary line of Wisconsin and Michi- 
gan, until it intersects the dividing line between the United 
States and the British possessions ; thence up Pigeon river and 
following said dividing line to the place of beginning; be and 
tlu' same are thereby authorized to form for themselves a consti- 
tution and state government, bj- the name of the state of Min- 



64 HISTOKV OF KEWILLE CUL'XTV 

nesota, aud to come into tin- I'liioii on an equal tooting witii tlie 
original states, according to the federal constitution. "" 

These boundaries were accepted without change aud are the 
boundaries of the state at the present time. The state was ad- 
mitted May 11, 1858. 



CHAPTER V. 
EXPLORATIONS AND SURVEYS. 

Grosseilliers and Radisson — Hennepin and Duluth — Le Sueur — 
Carver — Long, Keating and Beltrami — Pembina Refugees — 
Catlin — Nicollet and Fremont — Allen — The Missionaries — • 
The Fur Traders — Chronology — Surveys. 

The French explorers fi'om the settlements in Canada and 
about the Great Lakes gradually began to penetrate toward Min- 
nesota. At various times traders, atlventurers and priests disap- 
peared from these settlements. What deaths they met or what 
experiences they underwent will never l)e known. What places 
they visited in the wilderness of the upper Mississippi is lost to 
human knowletlge. With the seventeenth century, however, 
the area that is now Minnesota began to be known to the civil- 
ized world. But it was not until the closing months of that 
century that any recorded exploration was made of the ilin- 
nesota river. 

To understand Pierre Charles Le Sueur's trip ufi a jiortiun of 
that river in the fall of 1700 it is necessary that a few of the earlier 
Mississipjii river explorers should be considered. 

Grosseiliers and Radisson. The meager accounts which these 
two explorers have left of their two expeditions which are 
supposed to have penetrated into ]\Iinnesota, are callable of more 
than one interpretation. Dr. Warren Upham believes that Gros- 
seilliers and Radisson, the first known white explorers of ]Minne- 
sota, entered it near the southeast corner, and proceeded up the 
Mississippi through Lake Pepin to Prairie Island, just above 
Ked Wing. Here the French explorers and the Indians that ac- 
companied them, together with otlier Indians, spent the year 
1655-1656. Thus when Cromwell ruled Great Britain and Ire- 
land, when the Puritan theocracy was at the height of its glory 
in New England, and when the great emigration of Cavaliers 
was still going on to Virginia, Minnesota saw its first white man 
— unless indeed the Scandinavians visited this region centuries 
before, as the Kensington Stone avers. 

About New Years, 1660, if we may trust Radisson "s narra- 
tion and its interpretation, our ""two Frenchmen'" are again in 



HISTORY OF KENVILLE COUNTY 65 

^liiinesota. Traveling; with a big band of Indians, tlicy passed 
a severe January and February, with attendant famine, prob- 
ably (according to Prof. Winehell) at Knife lake, Kanabec coun- 
ty. According to Hon. J. Y. Brower (in his monograph 
■'Kathio, " 1901) the lake was called Kuife lake and the Dakota 
tribe of this region the Knife tribe (Issanti) because early that 
spring deputations of Dakotas came to the encampment and 
here for tlie tirst time ])rocured steel knives from the white men 
and from the Indian band that was Avith them. Until this time 
the Stone Age had ruled supreme in the realm of Renville, but 
now we may well suppose that within a short time many an enter- 
prising brave cherished as his most precious possession one of 
these nuigie knives that cut like a stroke of lightning. Yery soon 
after meeting tliese Dakotas at Knife lake, Grosseilliers and 
Radisson went to the great Dakota village at Mille Lacs, and 
were there received with every mark of friendship and respect. 

Now follows the story of a seven days' trip to the prairie 
home of the "nation of the Boefe" (buffalo), that is to say, the 
Dakotas living farther west and south. This story seems likely 
to be fiction, but if it is true, there is a fair chance that it was 
to the region between the Big Bend of the Mississippi river and 
the prairie region of the Minnesota valley. This was possibly 
the nearest and most accessible buffalo country from Mille Lacs. 
So it is possible that these two Frenchmen were the first white 
men to approach Renville county. But the supposition favored 
bj- AYinchell is that they went due south. However that may be, 
it is certain that with Grosseilliers and Radisson the first glim- 
mer of Europr;ni civilizalion reached Renville coinit.y. 

Hennepin and Du Luth. Robert Cavelier, better known in 
history as the Sieur de la Salle, who had Iniilt a fort near Lake 
Peoria, Illinois, decided in February, 1680, to send from there an 
expedition up the Mississippi. For this task he selected three of 
Ms associates. Accordingly, on February 29, 1680, Father Hen- 
nepin, with two companions, Picard dn Gay (Anthony Auguelle) 
and Michael Accaidt (also rendered d'Accault, Ako, d'Ako and 
Dacan), the latter of whom was in military command of the 
party, set out in a canoe. They paddled down the Illinois to 
its mouth, where they were detained by floating ice in the Mis- 
sissippi until March 12. On the afternoon of April 11, Avhile 
on their way up the ^lississippi, they were met by a band of 
Sioux on the warpath against the Illinois and Miami nation. 
Being informed, however, that the Miamis had crossed the river 
and were beyond their reach, the Indians turned northward, 
taking the Frenchmen with them as captives. The journey up 
the river occupied nineteen days. 

At the end of the nineteen days, the party landed near the 
present site of St. Paul, and then continued by land five daj'S 



66 lllSToKV OF KE.WILLE COUNTY 

^mtil they reached the Mille Lacs region. There Aqiiipaguetiu, 
the chief who had previously been unfriendly to a certain extent, 
adopted Hennepin in place of the son lir had lost. The other two 
Frenchmen were adopted by other families. After several months 
in the Mille Lacs region, Hennepin and Pickard were given per- 
mission in July, 1680, to go down the Mississippi to the mouth of 
the Wisconsin, wliere they exjjected that Tja Salle would send 
them supplies. 

On their southward journey, accompanied by a Sioux chief, 
Ouasicoude (Wacoota) and a band of Indians, the Frenchmen 
descended the Rum river, and camped on au eminence opposite 
what is now the city of Anoka. Accault was left as a hostage. 
Continuing doAvn the river with tlie Indians, Hennepin and 
Pickard cauii- to St. Anthony Fails, which Hennepin named in 
honor of his patron saint. On July 11, 1680, while hiniting for 
the mouth of the Wisconsin river, the party was overtaken by 
Hennepin's savage adopted father. Aqiiipagtietin, witli ten war- 
riors. The two Frenchmen and tin- Indians then spent some tiuie 
in the vicinity of Winona, hiding their meat near the mouth of 
the Chippewa, and then hunting on the prairies further down 
the river, the old men of tlic ti'lhe watching on the I'ivei- bluffs 
for enemies while the warriors killed buffaloes. 

July 2;"), 1680, the ])arty encountered Daniel Graysolon. I)u 
Luth and five Frencli soldiers. There is sonu^ doubt about the 
exact spot where tliis meeting took place, but it was probably 
near the southeast coi'uer of ^Minnesota, or possibly a littlr further 
south. After the meeting, the eight Avhiti- men, accoiiipiiiiird liy 
the Indians, went up the river. Du Ijutli had been exi)loring the 
country of the Sioux and the Assiniboines. west of Lake Superior, 
for two years, and liad sccuriMl the friendshiii of these very 
Indians who had ca])tured Hennepin. Conseiiueiitly. when he 
learned wluit had lia]>peiied since he last saw them, he relinked 
them for theii' treatment of the priest, saying tliat Hennepin was 
his brothel-. The party reached the Issanti villages (tlie ^lille 
Lacs region) August 14, 1680. No mention is made of the route 
which they took. 

Toward the end of September the Fi'enclimen left the Indians 
to return to the French settlements. A chart of the route was 
given them l)y r)uasieou<le, the great chief. The eight Frenehmen 
then set out. Hennei)in gives the number as eight, though it 
would seem that the niunber was nine, foi' Hennepin and Pickard 
had met Du lattli with five soldiei's, and when reaching the Issanti 
villages they must have been rejoined by Accault, though pos- 
sibly the last named stayed witli the Indians and pui'sued his 
explorations. Tlu' jiarty passed down the Rum rivei- in the fall 
of 1680, and started the descent of the ilississippi. After reach- 
ing tlie Wisconsin they went up that river to the portage, thence 



IIISTOHV OK KHXVILLE CorXTV 67 

up the Fox river, thence to Green Bay, ami theiiee to the settle- 
ments in Canada. 

Aceaiilt, one of Hennepin s eoiupanioiis, had been left with 
tlir Indians near the present site of Anoka, when Hennepin and 
Ai'jiuille took the memorable down-the-river trip on whicli they 
met Du Lnth. Aecanlt took many journeys with the Indians, 
even visiting the Itasca region, and it is not improbable that he 
may have been taken to the region which lies north of the npper 
Minnesota river and southwest of the Big livwd of the Missis- 
sippi river. 

Le Sueur. From 1681 to 1699, Nicholas Perrot made nnmei'- 
ous trips to the country of the upper Mi.ssissippi river. Several 
of his posts were located in the vicinity of the lower end of Lake 
Pepin, which is an enlargement of tlie Mississippi river extending 
generally speaking from a short distance above Winona to a 
short distance below Red Wing. One of these expeditions was 
probably that of Charville and Pierre Charles Le Sueur, taken 
up the Mississippi above the Falls of St. Anthony, about 1690. 
They probably went as far as the outlet of Sandy Jjake. 

Le Sueur wrote an account of this trip to refute certain ficti- 
tious narrations by Mathieu Sagean. Of this, in his excellent and 
monumental work, '"IMinnesota in Three Centuries," in Vol. I, 
pp. 253-4, Dr. Warren Upham says: "Brower and Hill come to 
the conclusion that on the Mississippi at the outlet of sandy lake, 
a village of Sioux doubtless then existed, as it has also been dur- 
ing the last centui->' or longci- the site of an Ojibway village. The 
estimates noted, that the distance traveled above the Falls of 
St. Anthony was about a hundred French leagues, and that an 
equal distance of the river's course still separated the voyageui-s 
from its sources, agree very closely with the accurate measure- 
ments now made by exact surveys, if Le Sueur's journey ended 
at Sandy lake. 

"Very probably ('harleville, whose narration of a similar early 
expedition of a hundred leagues on the part of the Mississij)pi 
above these falls is preserved by Du Pratz in his 'History of 
Louisiana,' was a companion of Le Sueur, so that the two accounts 
relate to the same canoe trip. Charleville said that he was accom- 
panied by two Canadian Frenchmen and two Indians; and it is 
remarkable that Charleville, like Le Sueur, was a relative of the 
brothers Iberville and Bienville, who afterwards were governors 
of Louisiana." As in Le Sueur's description of the sources of 
the great river, Charleville also states that the Indians spoke of 
the Mississippi as having many sources. 

In the spring of 1695 Le Sueur and his followers erected a 
trading post or fort on Isle Pelee, now Prairie Island, just above 
Red Wing. Early in the suunner of 1695 he returned to ^loii- 



68 IIISTOKY OF KEXVILLE COUNTY 

treal with some Indians, among whom was a Sioux chief named 
Tioscate. the latter being the first Sioux chief to visit Canada. 
Tioseate died while in Montreal. 

In his journej-s to the Northwest, Le Snem- received reports 
from the Indians which led him to believe that copper was to be 
found near the place where the ^Minnesota river turns from its 
southwest to its northeast course. Therefore he received a com- 
mission to examine this mine and obtain from it some ores. In 
April, 1700, he set out with a i>arty of men from the lower Mis- 
sissippi settlements in a sailing and rowing vessel and two canoes. 
September 19 he reached the mouth of the ^Minnesota, and on the 
last day of the month, having reached the mouth of the Blue 
Earth river near the present site of the city of Mankato, he 
ascended that river about a league, and erected a fort wliicli he 
named Fort L'Huillier, named for a prominent officer in the 
service of the King of France. A short distance from the fort 
they located their "mine." They spent tlie ensuing winter at 
this fort, and in the spring of 1701 Le Sueiu- started down the 
river with a part of liis followers and with a load of green earth 
which he believed to be copjier. In due time he reached the 
Gulf of ^lexico. The party whom he had left at the garrison on 
the Bhif Earth followed him down the river at a later date. The 
fact that seven French traders who had been stripped naked by 
the Sioux took refuge in Le Sueur's fort on the Blue Earth, and 
the fm'ther fact that those Avhom he left at the fort, encountered 
while going down the Mississippi a party of thirty-six Frenchmen 
from Canada at tlie mouth of the Wisconsin, shows that aside 
from the explorers recorded in history, various Frenchmen, now 
luiknoAvn, penetrated the ui)per Mississii3j)i region from time to 
time even at that eai-ly day. 

The data secured by Le Sueur were used in the preparation 
of a map of the Nortlnvest country by William De L'isle, royal 
geographer of France, in 1703. Several of the larger and more 
important physical features of southwestern Minnesota were 
more or less accurately located. The Minnesota river appeared 
upon this nmp, being labeled E. St. Pierre, or Mini-Sota. Its 
course is somewhat accurately drawn. The Des Moines river 
also has a place on the map, being marked Des Moines, or le 
Moingona R., and its source was definitely located. There is noth- 
ing in the writings of Le Sueur, however, to lead to the belief 
that lie extended his exploration much farther up the Minnesota 
river than the mouth of the Blue Earth. 

Lahontan. Early historians have endeavored to identify the 
"Long Kiver"' of Lahontan with the Minnesota river of the 
present day. In case this identification were correct then a 
Frenchman sighted the fair area of Renville county only three 
years after Hennepin made his memorable voyage up the Missis- 



IIISTOHV OK HKWILLK CorxTV 69 

sippi. Modern liistoriiuis, liowcvcr, entirely diseredit tin- w ritings 
of this adventure)-. 

Baron de Laliontiiu is now regarded as tiic iiai-dii .\1 unrliausen 
of America. Ilis explorations and journeys to the upper ili.ssis- 
sippi region \vere prohably entirely fictitious and ■•Lcui-.' Ixiver" 
merely a creation of liis own imagination. 

Lahontan was born in France in 16()6, and as a soldier of the 
French enii)ire canu' to America in 1683 as a boy of seventeen 
years. The next ten years he spent in various i)arts of Canada, 
and there doul)tless heard the stories U|ii)u which he based his 
pretended journeys. In 109:] he deserted his post of duty in New 
Foundland and thereafter until his death, probably in 1715, he 
spent his life as an exile, liomeless and friendless, in Holland, 
Denmark, Spain, the (leiiuan jirovirfces and England. 

In 170;! at The Jla<jiie in Xetherlamls, Lahontan liad narra- 
tives of his jircti'iided travels published in tlii'ee volunies. wi'itten 
in his native l-'reneli language. Later in the same yvnv a revised 
edition of the work, entitled "New Voyages to North America," 
was issued in London. At present tliere are several otlur English 
and French editions. A translation was made into (iermau in 
1711 and into the! language of Holland in 1739. In this publica- 
ti(Hi Lahontan jjretended to have ascended the Mississippi river 
and to have discovered a tributary caUed "jjong River" flowing 
into tins river from the west. ITe gives in detail his many adven- 
turi's on tins "Long River." liid'ore he was disci-edited historians 
had many ai-gunuMits as to whether- Lahontan ascended the Root 
i-i\iT or the Miiniesota river, but we now know that lie was never 
within many linndi-cd miles of either. 

Carver. During the next sixty-six years after Le Sueur vis- 
ited the ^Minnesota ii\-ei- country no white man was in South- 
western Minnesota, so far as we know. Then, in November, 1766, 
Jonathan Carver ascended the ^linnesota. <'arver was a Con- 
necticut Yankee anil exploii'd the upper .Mississippi in the inter- 
ests of the British gov<'iiimeiit. 

Of his trip to this point Carver wrote: "On the twenty-fifth 
of November, 17(i(), [ returned to my caiioe, wliieh 1 had left at 
the mouth of the River St. I'ieii-e i Minnesota), and here 1 parted 
with regret from my yoniig friend, the prince of the Winne- 
bagoes. The river being clear of ice by reason of its southern 
situation, I fount! nothing to obstruct my passage. On the twenty- 
eighth, being advanced about forty miles, I ai-rived at a small 
branch that fell into it from the north, to whicii. as it had no 
naiiii' that 1 could distinguish it by, I gave my own. and the 
readei- will find it in the plan <d' my travels denomiiiiited ('arver's 
i-iver. About forty miles higher up I came to the f<u-ks of the 
Verd (Blue Eartli) and Red Marble (Watonwan i rivei-s. wliieh 
join at some little distance before they cuter the St. I'icrre. 



70 lIlSToliV OF KE.WILLE COUNTY 

■"Tlic Kiver St. Pierre at its junction with the Mississippi is 
about a lunidred yards broad and continues that breadth neai'ly 
all the way I sailed upoi] it. It lias a great depth of water and 
in some places runs very swiftly. About fifteen miles from its 
mouth are some rapids and much higher up are many others. 

■■I proceeded up this river about 200 miles, to the country of 
the Nadowessies (Sioux) of the plains, which lies a little above 
the fork formed by the Verd and Red Marble rivers just men- 
tioned, where a branch from the south (the Cottonwood) nearly 
joins the ilessorie (Missouri) river."" (The sources of the Cot- 
tonwood river are near those of Rock river, the latter being a 
tributary of the Missouri.) 

On the seventh of December he arrived at the most westerly 
limit of his travels, and as he could proceed no further that 
season, spent the winter, a period of seven months, among a band 
of Nadowessies (Sioux), encamped near what is now New Ulm. 
In his map lie draws three tepees opposite the present city of 
New Ulm on tlie north side of tlie Minnesota river and makes 
the statement, "About here the Author winter "d in 1766."" In 
his hunting and exploration he ascended the Little Rock (now 
Mud creek) into Cairo and Wellington town.ships. He says he 
learned the Sioux language so as to converse with tlieiii intelligi- 
bly, and was treated l)y them with great hospitality. In the 
spring he returned to the moutli of the Minnesota. 

His account of this is as follows: "I left the habitations of 
tliese hospitable Indians the latter end of April, 1767, but did not 
part from tliem for several days, as I was accompanied on my 
journey by near three hundred of them, among whom were many 
chiefs, to the mouth of the River St. Pierre. At this season these 
bands annually go to the gi-eat cave (now calli'd ('ai'Vfr"s cave) 
before mentioned, to hold a grand council with all the other 
bands, wherein they settle their operations for the ensuing year. 
At the same time they carry witli them their dead for iiirermeiit, 
bound up in buffalo skins.'" 

As already stated. Carver hunted witli the liulians over some 
of the great plains of Southwestern ^Minnesota wliicli. "aecoi-d- 
ing to their (the Indians") account, are unbounded and probably 
tei'iuinate on the coast of the Pacific ocean." 

From information received from the Indians Carver made 
some wonderful deductions as to the physical features of the 
country. In his narrative of the trip he wrote : "By the accounts 
I received from the Indians I have reason to believe that the 
River St. Pierre (^linnesota) and the ilessorie (Missouri ). though 
they enter the >\lississiiipi twelve hundred miles from each other, 
take their rise in the same neighborhood, and this within the 
space of a mile. The River St. Pierre "s northern branch (that is, 
the main river) rises from a number of lakes (Big Stone lake) 



TTTSTOl.'V OF HEXVTLLE rOTXTV 71 

near the Sliiiiiug iiiomitaiiis (the Coteau des Prairies), and it is 
from some of these also tliat a capital branch (Red River of the 
North) of the River Bourbon (Nelson river), which iiiiis into 
Hudson's bay, has its sources. * • « j ],;,y^, learned that the 
four most capital rivers of North America, viz., the St. Lawrence, 
the ;Mississippi, the River Bourbon (Nelson) and the Oregon 
(Cohunbia), or River of the "West, have their sources in the 
same neighborhood. The waters of the three former are within 
thirty miles of each other; the latter, however, is rather farther 
west. 

"This shows that these parts are the highest lands of North 
America; and it is an instance not to be paralleled on the other 
three-quarters of the globe, that four i-ivers of such magnitude 
should take their rise together and each, after running separate 
courses, discharge their waters into different oceans at the dis- 
tance of 2,000 miles from their source.'' 

Of the country through which he traveled Carver wrote : 
"The River St. Pierre, which runs through the territory of the 
Nadowessies, flows through a most delightful country, abound- 
ing with all the necessaries of life that grow si)ontaneously, and 
with a little cultivation it might be made to produce even the 
luxuries of life. Wild rice grows here in great abundance ; and 
every part is filled with trees bending under their loads of fruit, 
such as plums, grapes and apples; the meadows are covered with 
hops and many sorts of vegetables; whilst the ground is stored 
with useful roots, with angelica, spikenard and ground nuts as 
large as hens' eggs. At a little distance from the sides of the 
river are eminences from which you have views that cannot be 
exceeded by even the most beautiful of those I have alreadj' 
described. Amidst these are delightful groves and such amazing 
quantities of maples that tlu'v would ])roduce sugar sufficient for 
any luiniber of iidiabitants. '' 

Ft. SneUing- Established. With tiie establishment of Ft. Suell- 
ing, the area of Renville county became more widely known, as 
the soldiers, traders and visitors there made many trips up the 
river past the county. 

February 10, 1819, tlie Fifth Regiment United States Infantry 
was ordered to concenti-ate at Detroit preparatory to a trip which 
was to result in the maintaining of a post at the mouth of the 
St. Peter's (now Minnesota) river. After establishing various 
garrisons at different places, the troops started up the river 
from Prairie du Chien, Sunday, August 8, 1819. The troops num- 
bered ninety-eight, rank and file. They were accompanied by 
twenty hired boatmen. There were fourteen keel boats foi' the 
troops, two large boats for stores, and a barge for Lieut. -Col. 
Harry Leavenworth, the commander, and I\Iaj. Thomas Forsyth, 
the Indian agent. This expedition established at ]\lendota the 



72 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

military post now moved across the river and uow known as 
Ft. Suelling. 

May 10, 1823, tlie "Virginia,"' the first steamboat to navigate 
the upper Mississippi, arrived at Ft. Snelling, and thns wliat is 
now Renville county was placed in still closer communication with 
the outside world. On board, among others, Avere J\Iaj. Lawrence 
Taliaferro and James T'onstance Beltrami, the Italian explorer. 

Long, Keating, Beltrami. I'ndoubtedly white men. engaged 
in trade witli the natives or trapping antl lumting for the fur 
companies or for themselves, visited that part of south-central 
Minnesota which is now designated Renville county in the early 
part of the nineteentli century. But sucli men left few records of 
their operations, and our infornmtion concerning the exploration 
of the country is obtained almost wholly from expeditious sent 
out by the government. 

An early visitor to south-central Minnesota was Major Stephen 
H. Long. Long did not traverse Renville county, for near the 
present site of New Ulm tlie party crossed tlie ^linuesota river 
and followed its southern shore. 

In accordance with orders from the War Department, an expe- 
dition under tlie comnuind of Major Long, with a corps of scien- 
tists for observations of tlie geographic features, geology, zoology 
and botany of the Northwest, traversed the area of ^Minnesota in 
1823, passing from Ft. Snelling up tlie ^Minnesota valley, down 
the valley of the Red river to Lake Winnipeg, thence up the 
Winnipeg river to the Lake of the Woods, and thence eastM'ard 
along the international boundary and partly in Canada to Lake 
Superior. Prof, W^illiam 11. Keating, of the University of Penn- 
sylvania, was the geologist and historian of this expedition. One 
of its members or its guest in the travel from the fort to Pembina 
was Costantino Beltrami, a political exile from Italy, Ind. becom- 
ing offended, he left the expedition at Pembina and returned to 
the fort by the way of Red lake and the most northern sources 
of the Mississippi, traveling alone or with Indian companions. 

The boat party entered the mouth of the Minnesota river, tlien 
called the St. Peter, late in the night of July 2, and a stay of a 
week M-as made there, for rest and to visit the Falls of St, 
Anthony. 

Provided by Colonel Snelling ;it the fort with a in'W and more 
efficient escort of twenty-one soldiers, with Joseph Renville as 
their Dakota interpreter, and with Joseph Snelling, a son of the 
colonel, as assistant guide and interpreter, the expedition set 
forward on July 9 uj) tlie Minnesota valley, A part traveled on 
horseback, including Say and Colhoun, M'hile the others, includ- 
ing Long, Keating, Seymour and Renville went in four canoes, 
which also carried the bulk of their stores and provisions. It 
was planned that the land and river parties "should, as far as 



IIISTOKY OF RF.XVITJ.K COTA'TV 73 

practicable, keep company togetlirr. mihI iMii-aiii|i every iiieht, il 
possible, at the same place." 

Oil .Inly i:i they reached the vicinity of Traverse iles Sioiix 
(St. Peter), and encamped at a beautiful bend ol' the river, ealled 
the Crescent. Here the expedition left the canoes, reilueed ihe 
escort, and on .Iidy 1.") moved Avestward by the route of Swan 
lake. They now nundx-red in total twenty-four men. with twenty- 
one horses. The most southern part of th(> course of the .Minne- 
sota havin-; been cut off by the journey past Swan laki', this 
stream was again reached and crossed a short distance below the 
month of the Cottonwood river. Thence the ex])edition passed 
along the southweslern side of tlie valley, and across the eoii- 
tiguous upland prairies, to Lac (pii Parle and Big Stone lake. The 
latter lake was reached on -Tuly 22, and the Columbia Fur Com- 
pany's trading ])ost, at the southern end of Lake Traverse, the 
next day. Joseph Snelling returned to Ft. Snelling from Pem- 
bina by way of the Ked and :\linnesota rivers, thus passing Ren- 
ville county. 

Professor Keating mentions the Redwood river and states that 
the red pipcstone was said to exist on its banks three days' 
journej^ from its mouth. IMentieii is made of Patterson s I'apids, 
the Grand portage, the Pejehata Zeze Watapan (Yellow IMedi- 
cine) river, Beaver i-ivulct (Lac qui Parle rivei'i and other 
physical features. Interesting observations were recorded 
respecting the fauna and flora of tin' |irairii's. 

The Pembina Refugees. The memlieis of the I'embina (rolony 
in the Red ri\er valley -wi're among the pi'ople who passed Ren- 
ville comity during the era of exphu'alion. In the early winter 
of 1820 the I'embina colony sent a ilelegatimi to i'laiiie dn Chien 
for seed wheat, which could not be found nearer home. The men 
set out ini snow shoes and reaehecl their dest inatiim in three 
months. The route was by the way of the Ked river to Lake 
Traverse, then down the :\rinnesota, past i-'oi't Sie-lling, and 
thence down the Mississippi. At Prairie du Chicn 2.')0 bushels of 
wheat was ptirchascd at ten shillings (i|f2, .')()! i)er bushel. It was 
loaded into flat boats, which were, with mni'li hard labor, pro- 
pelled up the Mississippi to the St. P.-ter. tlnnee up that river 
to the portage near Lake Traverse. The boats and cargo were 
then trans])oi'tcd acro.ss to the Red river and tloated down that 
stream to Pembina. 

In 1827 a number of Swiss families left the K'ed river colony 
to make new homes for themselves within the I'nited States. 
They were accompanied by several families of French Cana- 
dians Avho had become "Selkirkcrs," that is, mcnd)ers of the 
Selkirk colony. The refugees came down the valley on the Red 
river — or nj) that stream — to Lake Traverse, and thence down 
the ;Miunesota (or St. Peter's) to Fort Snelling. .\lexis P>ailly 



74 1IIST()1;V OF RENVILLE CorXTY 

and others wlui had visitfil thr eolimists in their Ki-d i-ivcr honu's 
had infoniK'd them of the sii|)(M-iority of the AUjincsota country 
over tlie Assiniboine region, and assured them that they would 
be lieartily weleoine if they removed to the big, free, hospitable 
and favored company of the Stars and Stripes. 

Colonel Snelling gave the refugees a kindly reception and 
allowed them to settle on the military reservation, west of the 
Mississippi and north of the fort. The colonists at once set to 
work and built houses, opened farms, engaged in work at the 
fort, and were soon comfortable, contented and hopeful. All of 
the refugees spoke French. The French Swiss and the French 
Canadians seemed like kinsmen and dwelt together like brethren 
in unity. It is of record that among these people were Abraham 
Perry, a watchmaker, and Louis Massie, both Switzers, but the 
names of the other heads of families have not been i)reserved. 

July 25, 1831, twenty more Red river colonists arrived at 
Fort Snelling. Up to the year 1836 nearly 500 mort> had come, 
and by the year 1840 nearly 200 more, while from time to time, 
for many years, frost-bitten and famine-stricken fugitives from 
the Red river country fouiul rest for their feet, food for their 
bodies and comfort genei'ally in ^Minnesota. Hut only al)()ut one- 
half of these people remained here permanently. The others 
Avent further south — to Praii-ie du Chien, to Illinois, to ^Missouri, 
and some families join-neyed to Vevay, Indiana, the site of a Swiss 
settlement. 

Nearly all of tiie early residents of St. Paul were Red river 
refugees and their children. Many of the descendants of good 
old Abraham Perry were born in Jliiuiesota and are yet citizens 
of the state. 

Featherstonhaugh and Mather. Another exploration of 
southwestern ^Minnesota was made in the siunmer of 1S35 Ijy 
G. W. Featherstoidiaugh. an English gentleman. He bore the 
title of United States geologist antl was commissioned by Colonel 
J. J. Al)ert, of the Bureau of Topographical Engineers. Feather- 
stonhaugh proceeded up the Minnesota river to lakes Big Stone 
and Traverse, and to the high sources of the ilinnesota on the 
Coteau des Prairies west of these lakes. Featherstonhaugh was 
accom])anied by William Williams Mather. 

From Featherstonhaugh "s exiiedition resulted two works, one 
entitled "Report of geological reconnoisance made in 1835 from 
the seat of government by the way of Green Bay and the Wis- 
consin Territory to the Coteau des Prairies, an elevated ridge 
dividing the Missouri from the St. Peter's (Minnesota) river," 
printed by the order of the Senate in 1836, and the other "A 
Canoe Voyage \ip the ]\Iinnay Sotar, "" published in London in 
1847. 



TirSTORY OF HKXVIl-LK CorXTY 75 

Catlin. It was in 1837 that Gt'oi'<rf ('atlin. tlic famous traveler 
and Indian delineator, passed near this county on his way to visit 
the Pipestone quarries. 

He organized the expedition at the Palls oi' St. Anthony and 
was accompanied only by Robert Serril Wood, "a young gentle- 
man from England of fine taste and idueation," and an Indian 
guide. 0-kup-kee by name. 

This little party traveled horsebaek and followed tiic usnal 
route up the Minnesota. At Traverse des Sioux, near the pi'csent 
site of St. Peter, Mr. Catlin and his companion halted at the 
cabin of a trader, where they were threatened by a band of 
savages and warned not to i)ersist in their determination to visit 
the quarries. They continued on their way, however, crossed to 
the north side of the river at Traverse des Sioux, proceeded in a 
westerly direction, and crossed the Minnesota to the south t)ank 
near the mouth of the Waraju (Cottonwood), close to the present 
city of New Ulni. 

There Messrs. Catlin and Wood left the river and journeye<l 
"a little north of west" for the Coteau des Prairies. They trav- 
eled through the present counties of Brown, Redwood and Lyon 
and passed several Indian villages, at several of which they were 
notified that they must go back; but, undaunted, they continued 
their journey. Catlin states in one place that he traveled one 
hundred miles or more from the mouth of the Cottonwood, and 
in another place "for a distance of one hundred and twenty or 
thirty iniles" before reaching the base of the coteau, when he 
was still "forty or fifty miles from the Pipestone quarries." He 
declared this pai-t of the journey was ovei- one of the most beau- 
tiful prairie countries in the world. 

Most of Catlin 's distances were overestimated. The distance 
from the mouth of the Cottonwood to the base of the coteau 
where he came upon it is only about seventy-two miles in a direct 
line : then he was about thirty-six miles from the quarries. 

Nicollet and Fremont. From 1836 to 1843. mo.st of the time 
assisted by .lohn C. Fremont, afterward candidate for the presi- 
dency of the United States on the Republican ticket, Joseph 
Nicolas Nicollet prosecuted a geograi)hical survey of the upper 
Mississippi country. He explored nearly all portions of Minne- 
sota and many other parts of the country theretofore unvisited. 
His operations in south-central Minnesota were quite extensive. 
In 1838 Nicollet and Fremont made a trip to the vicinity of what 
is now Renville county. In the party were six men, the others 
being Charles A. Geyer, the botanist of the expedition; J. Eugene 
Flandin and James Renville. 

Nicollet and Fremont traveled from Washington to St. Louis 
and thence up the Mississippi river to H. II. Sibley's trading post, 
near the mouth of the ^Minnesota river. Thence they journeyed 



76 HIS'I'OKV OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

over the <^t'iicral route of travel ui) the east siile of tin- Minne- 
sota river, erossing: at Traverse des Sioux. They jiioecciled west 
across the ■"ox-bow," stopping at Big Swan lake in Nieollet 
county, and crossed the ^Minnesota again at the month of the 
Cottonwood. They i)roceeded uii tlie valley of the Cottonwood, 
on the north side of the river, to a i)oint near tiie present site of 
Lambei-ton, and then crossed to the south side of the river and 
struck across country to the Pipestone quarries. 

On Nicollet's map. issued in 1843. his route to tiie quarries 
is indicated by a fine dotted line. This map at the time it was 
issued was the most complete and correct one of the upper ]\Iis- 
sissippi country. It covered all of ^Minnesota and Iowa, about 
one-half of Jlissouri, and much of the Dakotas. AVisconsin and 
Illinois. The author gave names to many streams and lakes 
and gave the first rejiresentation of thi> striking topographical 
features of the western and northern parts of ^linuesota. He 
located, by astronouucal observations, the numerous streams and 
lakes and the main geographical features of the state, tilling in 
by eye-sketciiing and by itacing the intermediate ob.jects. On his 
map the country along the [Minnesota river is labeled Warpeton 
counti'X' and that furtJier south Sisseton coiuiti'y. 

After spending three da\s at the Pipestone (puiri'ii-s. where 
is now situated the city of Piju'stone. the Nicollet party visited 
and named Lake Benton (for ^Ir. Fremont's father-in-law. Sena- 
tor Benton) and then proceiMJed westwai-d into Dakota, visiting 
and naming Lakes Preston (for Senator Pi'eston), Poinsett (for 
J, R. Poinsett, secretary of wai'), Albert, Tliompson, Tetonkoha, 
Kampeska and Hendri<d\s. P>efore returinng to civilization Nicol- 
let visited Big Stone lake and other places to the north. lie 
returned to the Falls of St. Aiithon\' by way of .losi'])h ]{en- 
ville's camp on the Lac qui Parle. 

Allen. The next recorded visit of white men w;is in 1S4-1. 
when an exjtedition in charge of Ca[itain .1. .Mien eaiin' up the 
Des Moines river, operating ehietly to chart that and other 
streams. He jjassed through daekson, ( 'ottonwood ;ind .Murray 
counties and came to Lake Shelek. which he decided was the 
source of the Des Moines rivei-. lie gave that bc<ly of water the 
uame Lake of the Oaks and descriljed it as remarkable for a 
singular arrangement of the i)eninsulas running into it from all 
sides and foi- a heavy growth of timber that covered the penin- 
sulas and the bordei's of the lake. 

With Lake Shetek as temporary head(iuarters. Captain Allen 
extended his exjilorations in several directions. He proceeded 
due north from the lake and crossed the Cottonwood and later 
the Redwood near the present site of ]\IarsiiaH. When thirty- 
seven miles north of Lake Shetek he turned east and crossed the 
Redwood again near the site of Redwood Falls. From the mouth 



insTOKY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 77 

of the Rt'(hvood lie explored the south sliore of the i\Iiniifsota 
river several miles up and down and returned to Lake Shctek. 
The expedition then set out for the west and went down tlu; Big 
Sioux river to its month. 

"From Lizard creek of the Des Moines to the source of the 
Des Moines, and thence east to the St. Peter's is a range foi- elk 
and common deer, but principally elk," -wrote Captain Allen. 
"We saw a great many of the elk on our route and killed many 
of them : they were sometimes seen in droves of hundreds, but 
were always difficult to approach and very difficult to overtake 
in chase, except with a fleet horse and over good ground. No 
dependence coiild be placed in this country for the subsistence 
of troops marching through it." 

Fur Traders. — These explorers, Le Sueur, Carver, Long, Keat- 
ing anil lUltrami, Featherstonliaugh and Mather, Catlin, Nicollet 
and Fremont and Allen were men who gave their knowledge to 
the world, and their joui-neys in the Minnesota river region 
marked distinct epochs in its development. It should be under- 
stood, however, that even before 1700 Avhite men were probably 
passing Renville county with more or less frequency. The fact 
that several Frenchmen took refuge in Le Sueur's fort after being 
stripped naked by the Indians shows tliat white men visited this 
region even at that early date. 

Lae qui Parle, Big Stone lake and Lake Traverse made excel- 
lent fur trading points, and were probably locations of such from 
early in the eighteenth century. The furs from these posts were 
brought down the ^Minnesota and past Renville county in canoes. 

Of the several traders in the Minnesota valley toward the 
close of the eighteenth century one of the principal ones was 
Murdoch Cameron, a Scotchman. 

As early as 1783, Charles Patterson had a trading post in Ren- 
ville county. He was located in what is now section 29, township 
114, range 36 (Flora township), at the place long known as Pat- 
terson's rapids. The site of his post is now a popular picnic 
place. 

Charles Le Page, a Canadian, made a trip from the Yellowstone 
region in 1803. He reached the headwaters of the Minnesota, 
May 15, and with a band of Yanktons and Sissetons went on to 
Mendota. 

James H. Loekwood, the first white native of the United States 
to trade with the Indians of this locality, came up the Minnesota 
river in 1816, and maintained a trading post at Lac qui Parle 
for a little over two years. 

After Ft. Snelling was established, an Indian agency opened 
where the traders were requii-ed to obtain licenses from the agent. 
In 1826 the records of the agent show that Joseph Renville was 



78 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

at Lac qui Parle, aiul John Campbell at the mouth of tin- Cliip- 
pewa, both of which loeatious were not far from Renville eouuty. 
■William Dickson and Hazen P. ^Mooers were at Lake Traverse. 
IMooers was especially successful. It is recorded that in the sum- 
mer of 1829 "the di-y year," he made a trip from Lake Traverse 
to Ft. Snelling with 126 packs of furs, valued at 4^12,000. 

In 1833-^4 Mooers and Renville were at the same stations as 
in 1826. Joseph R. Brown, afterward a pioneer of Renville 
county, was on the ^linnesotii at the mouth of the Chippewa. 
Joseph Renville. Jr., was at the Little Rock on the Minnesota, at 
the mouth of the Jjittle Rock (Mud) creek, which flows for a 
part of its course in what is now Renville eount>'. Joseph La 
Framboise established himself at the mouth of the Little Rock 
in 1834. 

The Missionaries. In 1835 Thomas S. Williamson establishe^^ 
a mission at Lac qui Parle. In coming up the river as a mission- 
ary for the American Board of Foreign Missions, Williamson had 
met Joseph Renville. After surveying the situation carefvilly, the 
missionary concluded to accompany Mr. Renville to the latter "s 
home and stoi-e at Lac qui Parle and establish a mission station 
there. On Junr 23 his i)arty end^arked on the Fiu" Company's 
ilackinaw boat, which was laden with traders' goods and sup- 
plies, ami set out on a voyage up the Minnesota, then at a good 
stage of water. The boat was propelled by poles, oars, a sail, and 
by pulling the willows along the abrupt shores. Progress was 
very slow and eight days were required to reach Traverse des 
Sioux. From the Traverse the remainder of the journey was 
made in wagons and Lac qui Parle was reached July 9 — seven- 
teen days out from Fort Snelling. At Lac qui Parle Dr. William- 
son and his companions established themselves as religious 
teachers of the Wahpeton and Sisseton Sioux. 

Dr. Williamson was accompanied by his wife and child, Alex- 
ander 6. Huggins and family, and Sarah Poage. a sister of ilrs. 
Williamson. 

In 1852 another mission was established a few milps above thi* 
mouth of the Yellow Medicine river. In the summer of 1854, a 
new section, New Hope (Hazelwood) was built two miles from 
the Y^ellow Medicine station. 

These mission stations brought to the region of Renville 
county nearly all the early Protestant missionaries of ilinnesota. 
Some came up the Minnesota river, some took the trail on the 
south side of the river, and some took the trail through Renville 
county, which passed from the mouth of the Little Rock (Mud) 
creek along the prairie just back of the ravines. 

Chronology. Following is a summary of the history of Jliune- 
sota during the period of exploration: 

1635. Jean Nicollet, an explorer from France, who had win- 



HISTORY OF KEXN'ILLE COUNTY 79 

tered in tlic iicijiliborliood of (irccii lia\'. hroiifrlit to IMontft'nl tlu' 
first ineutiou of tlu- aborigines of ^Minnesota. 

1659-60. Grosseilliers and Radisson wintered Minonij; the Sioux 
of the Jlille Laos region, ^linnesota, being its first white exploi'ei'S. 
In a previous expedition, four .years eariiei-. tiie.v are tliouglit by 
some to have eonie to Prairie island, west of tiie main channel of 
the ^Mississippi, between Red Wing and Hastings. 

Kitil. Father Rene ]\Ienai'd left Kcwrnnaw, on lialic Supriior, 
to visit the Hurons. then in northiTn Wisronsin, and was lost 
near tlie sonrees of the Ulaek and ('liippcwa rivers. His breviai-y 
and eassoek were said to have hern found among the Sioux. 

1679. July 2, Daniel Greyselon Du Mint (Duluth) held a 
eouiudl with the Sioux at their ju-ineipal settlement on the shore 
of :Mille Laes. Dn Lhut, in June, KiMO. l)y way of the St. Croix 
river, reached the Mississippi and nu-t IIenni|iiu. 

1680. Louis Hennepin, after eai)tivity in the village of thr 
ilille Lacs Sioux, first saw the Falls of St. Anthony. 

1689. ]\ray 8, Nicolas Perrot, at Ins Fort St. Autoine, on the 
Wisconsin sliore of Lake Pejjiu, laid formal claim to the sur- 
rounding country for France. He built a fort also on the Minne- 
sota shore of this lake, near its outlet, as well as other posts. 

16i)0. (?) Le Sueur and ( 'harli'\-illi' ascciidt-d the ^lississippi 
above St. Anthony falls. 

1695. Le Sueur built a fort oi- trading post on Isle Pelee, now 
called Prairie islanil, above Lake Prpin. 

1700. Le Sueur established Fort L'Huiliier, on the Blue Earth 
i-ivei' (near tlie mouth of the Le Sueur), and first supplied the 
Sioux with firearms. 

1727. The French establisheil a fort on the present site of 
Frontenac on Lake Pepin. Forts were also erected on nearly 
the same site in 1727 and 1750. 

1728. Great flood in the Mississippi. 

1763. By the treaty of Versailles, France ceded Minnesota, 
east of the ilississippi, to England, and west of it to Spain. 

1766. Captain .Jonathan Carver visited St. Anthony falls and 
Minnesota river. He claimed to have iiuide a treaty with the 
Indians the following sr)ring. in a cave, aftei-waiil called ■"Cai-ver's 
Cave," within the present limits of St. Paul, at which he said 
they cediil to him an immense tract of land, long known as 
"Carver's Claim, "" but never recognized by government. 

1796. Laws of the Ordinance of 1787 extended over the 
Northwest territory, including the northeastern third of IMinne- 
sota, east of the ^Mississippi river. 

1798-99. The Nortli western Fur Company established itself 
in ^Minnesota. 

1800. May 7, that part of ^Minnesota east of the Mississippi 
became a {lart of Indiana b.v the division of Ohio. 



80 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

1803. Ai^ril 30, tliat part of Minnesota west of the ^Mississippi, 
for the preceding forty years in possession of Spain as a part of 
Louisiana, was ceded to the United States by Napoleon Bonaparte, 
wlio had just obtained it from Spain. 

1803-04. William Morrison, the lirst known white man to 
discover the source of the Mississippi river, visited Elk lake and 
explored the streams entering into the lake forming the head of 
the river. 

ISO."). Lieut. Z. M. Pike visited Minnesota to establish gov- 
eriiment relations tliere, and obtained the Fort Snelliug reserva- 
tion from the Uakotas. 

1812. The Dakotas, Ojibways and Winnebagoes, under the 
lead of hostile traders, joined the British during the war. Red 
river colony established bj' Lord Selkirk. 

1819. ilinnesota, east of the Mississippi river, became a part 
of Crawford county, IMichigan. Fort Snelliug established and a 
post at ilendota occupied l)y troops, under command of Colonel 
Leavenworth, ilaj. L. Taliaferi'o appointed Indian agent, arriv- 
ing April 19. 

1820. Cornerstone of Fort Snelliug laid September 10. Gov- 
ernor Cass visited Minnesota and made a treaty of peace between 
the Sioux and Ojibways at Fort Snelling. Col. Josiah Snelliug 
appointed to the connnand of the latter post. 

1823. The first steamboat arrived at Mendota, May 10. Major 
Taliaferro and Beltrami being passengers. Maj. Stephen H. Long 
explored 3Iiuuesota river, the Red river valley, and the northern 
frontier. Beltrami explored sources of the Mississippi. 

1826. Great flood on the Red river; a part of the colony 
driven to ilinuesota, settling near Fort Snelliug. 

1832. Schoolcraft explored sources of Mississippi river, and 
named Lake Itasca (formerly called Elk lake). 

1833. First mission established at Leech lake by Kcv. "\V. T. 
Boutwell. 

1834. The portion of Minnesota west of the 31ississi[ipi 
attached to Michigan. Gen. H. II. Sibley settled at Mendota. 

1835. Catlin and Featherstouhaugh visited Minnesota. 

1836. The territory of Wisconsin organized, embracing the 
part of iliunesota east of the Mississippi, the part on the west 
being attached to Iowa. Nicollet visited Minnesota. 

1837. Governor Dodge, of Wisconsin, made a treaty, at Fort 
Snelling, with the Ojibways, by which the latter ceded all their 
pine lands on the St. Croix and its tributaries ; a treaty was also 
effected at Washington with a deputation of Dakotas for their 
lands east of the Mississippi. These treaties led the way to the 
first actual settlements within the area of Minnesota. 



HISTOKY OF KEXXILLK COLWTV 81 

SURVEYS. 

Two of the townsliips in wliat is now Reuville county were 
survej-ed as early as 1855. Some were not survpyed until 1866. 
These surveys were made as follows : 

Preston Lake, township 115, range 31, was surveyed by Thomas 
Simpson, between August 17, 1855, and August 24, 1855. 

Boone Lake, township 116, range 31, was surveyed by Thonuis 
Simpson, between September 3, 1855, and September 10, 1855. 

Kingman, township 116. range 34, M-as surveyed by T. Barnes 
and G. E. Brent, between July 20. 1858, and July 25. 1858. 

Camp, township 112, range 33, was surveyed by William Roek, 
between September 22, 1858. and October 6, 1858. 

Cairo, township 112, range 32, M-as surveyed by Williaiii Koek, 
between October 3, 1858, and October 9, 1858. 

Wellington, township 113, range 32, was surveyed by T. Barnes 
and George E. Brent, between April 15, 1858, and April 20, 1858. 

Birch Cooley, township 113, range 34, was surveyed by T. 
Barnes and G. E. Brent. betAveoi July 10, 1858, and July 14, 1858. 

Birch Cooley, township 112, range 34, was surveyed by James 
L. Mowlin, between August 9, 1858, and August 16, 1858. 

Bandon, township 113, range 33, was surveyed by T. Barnes 
and G. E. Brent, between April 1, 1858, and April 27, 1858. 

Beaver Falls, township 113, range 35, was surveyed by N. R. 
McMahan, between September 15, 1858, and September 23, 1858. 

^lartinstuu-g, township 114, range 32, was surveyed by T. 
Barnes and G. E. Brent, between May 2, 1858, and May 5, 1858. 

Palmyra, township 114, range 33, was survej'ed by T. Barnes 
and G. E. Brent, between April 28, 1858, and April 30, 1858. 

Norfolk, township 114, range 34, was surveyed by G. E. Brent 
and T. Barnes, between July 15, 1858, and July 17, 1858. 

Heuryville, township 114, range 35, was survej'ed by N. R. 
Mc]\Iahan, between September 24, 1858, and September 30, 1858. 

Flora, townsliip 114, range 36, was surveyed by N. R. 
McMahan, between October 20, 1858, anil October 24, 1858. 

Hector, town.ship 115, range 32, was surveyed by T. Barnes ami 
G. E. Brent, between :May 7, 1858, and May 10. 1858. 

Melville, township 115, range 33. was siu-veyed by T. Barnes 
and G. E. Brent, between May 22, 1858, and May 27, 1858. 

Bird Island, township 115, range 34, was surveyed by G. E. 
Brent and T. Barnes, ])etween July 18, 1858, and July 20, 1858. 

Troy, township 115, range 35, was surveyed by N. R. McMahan, 
between October 12, 1858, and October 16, 1858. 

Winfield, township 116, range 35, was surveyed by N. R. 
McMahan, between October 18, 1858, and October 20, 1858. 

Osceola, township 116. range 33, was surveyed by G. E. Brent 
and T. Barnes, between :\Iay 17, 1858, and IMay 21, 1858. 



82 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

Brookfield, towiisliip 116, range 32. was survej'ed by George 
E. Brent and T. Barnes, between May 11, 1858, and May 16, 1858. 

Flora, township 113, range 36, was surveyed by N. R. 
McMahau, between October 1, 1858, and October 10, 1858. 

Emmet, townshij) 115, range 36, was surveyed by R. H. L. 
Jenett and G. G. Howe, between June 16, 1866. and June 23, 1S66. 

Sacred Heart, township 114, range 37, was surveyed by R. II. 
L. Jenett and G. G. Howe, between July 9, 1866, and July 16, 1866. 

Sacred Heart, township 115. range 37, was surveyed by R. H. 
L. Jenett and G. G. Howe, between July 2, 1866. and July 7, 1866. 

Hawk Creek, township 115, range 38. was surveyed by Jenett 
and Howe, between November 2, 1866, and November 9, 1866. 

Hawk Creek, township 114, i-ange 38, was surveyed by R. H. 
L. Jenett and G. G. Howe, between November 2, 1866, and Novem- 
ber 3, 1866. 

Kingman, township 116, range 36, was surveyed by R. H. L. 
Jenett and G. G. Howe, between June 26, 1866, and June 30, 1866. 

Eriekson, township 116, range 37, was surveyed by R. H. L. 
Jenett and G. G. Howe, between July 19, 1866, and July 24, 1866. 

Wang, township 116, range 38, was surveyed by Jenett and 
Howe, between Julv 24. 1866. and Julv 31. 1866. 



CHAPTER VL 
JOSEPH RENVILLE. 

Of French and Indian Blood — Educated in Canada — Starts Life as 
a Courier — In War of 1812 — Serves as British Captain — In the 
Fur Trade — Brings First Seed Corn to Minnesota — Literary 
Work — His Triumphant Death. 

Joseph Renville, for whom Renville county was named, was 
of mixed descent, and his story forms a link between the past and 
the present history of Minnesota. His father was a French trader. 
His mother was a Dakota (Sioux) of Little Crow's Kaposia band, 
M'hich was at various periods located at different jioints between 
the mouth of tlie Llinnesota and the mouth of the St. Croix, much 
of the time at the present .site of South St. Paul. She was related 
to some of the principal men of the Kaposia village. 

Thus with the daring blood of a French adventurer in one 
branch of his lineage, and the noble strain of the Sioux in the 
other, Joseph Renville was born at the Kaposia village aliout the 
year 1779, while the Revolutionary war was still raging. 

Accustomed to see no European countenance but that of his 
father, in sports, habits and feelings, he was a full Dakota youth. 
But his father, noting the activity of his mind, was not content 
that he should be entirely an Indian boy, and therefore before he 



HISTORY OF KEXVILLE COrXTY 83 

was ten years old took him to ( 'aiiaci;i. ami placiMl liim in IIk; care 
of a learned and saintly Catiiolic i)riest, under whose fostering 
and loving tuition he obtained a sliglit knowledge of the French 
language and the elements of the Christian religion. But the 
education thus started was bi-oken off, for upon llii- ih-ath of liis 
father the boy returned to Minnesota. 

As the youngster attained a proper age, Col. Robert Dixon, 
an Englishman in tlie employ of a British fur company, who 
traded with the iliiniesota Indians, liired him as a coureur de 
bois. While a mere stripling he had guided his canoe from the 
Falls of Pokeguma to the Falls of St. Anthony, and followed the 
ti-ails fron^ Mendota to the ^Missouri. He knew by heart the 
legends of his tribe. He ha<l distinguished himself as a brave, 
and as he grew older identified himself with the Dakotas more 
fully by follow'ing in tli(> footsteps of his fathei- and marrying 
a maiden of that nation. 

In 1797 he wintered in company with a Mr. Perlier near Sauk 
Kai)i(is. Zebulon M. Pike, who was in Minnesota in 1805-06, was 
introduced to him at Prairie du Chieu, and was conducted by him 
to the Falls of St. Anthony. This officer was pleased with him, 
and recommended him for the post of United States interpreter. 
In a lettei- to (leiiei'al Wilkinson, written at Mendota, September 
9, 1805, he says: "I beg leave to recommend for that appoint- 
ment Joseph Renville, who has served as intei'preter for the Sioux 
last spring at the Illinois, and who has gratuitously and willingly 
served as my interpreter in all my conferences with that tribe. 
He is a man respected by the Indians and I believe an liouest 
one." 

At the breaking out of the War of 1812 Colonel Dickson was 
employed by the British to secure the warlike tribes of the Noi'tli- 
west as allies. Renville received from him the appointment and 
rank of captain in the British army, and with warriors from the 
Ke-ox-ah (Wabasha's band at Winona), Kajiosia and other bands 
of Dakotas, marched to the American frontier. In 1813 he was 
present at the siege of Fort Meigs. One afternoon, while he was 
seated with Wabasha and the renowned Petit Corbeau (Little 
Crow), the grandfathei' of the Little Ciow of the Sioux uprising, 
an Indian presented himself and told the ehiefs that they were 
wanted by the liead men of llir otlirr nations that were there con- 
grcgatril. When they arrived at the rendezvous they were sur- 
prised to find that the Winnebagoes had taken an American cap- 
tive, and, after roasting him, had api)ortioned his body in as many 
dishes as there were luitions, and had invited tlnin to ])artici])ate 
in the fea.st. Both the ciiiefs and Renville were indignant at this 
inhumanity and Colonel Dickson, being informed of the fact; 
the Winnebago wlio was the author of the outrage was turned out 
of the <'amp. 



84 HISTORY OF REXVILLE COrXTY 

In Iblo Reuville accompanied the Kaposia eliiff to Drvmi- 
inoud's Island, who had been invited by tlie coinni;md;int of that 
post to make him a visit. On their arrival they were informed 
by the otHeer that he had sent for them to thank them in the name 
of His Majesty for the aid they had rendered during the Avar. 
He concluded by jiointing to a large pile of goods, Avhich. he said. 
Avere presents from Great Britain. Petit Corbeau replied that 
his people had been prevailed upon by the British to make war 
upon a people they scarcely knew and who had never done them 
any harm. "'Xoav, "' continued the brave Kaposia chief, "after 
we have fought for you, under many hardships, lost some of our 
people and awakened the vengeance of our neighbors, you make 
peace for yourselves, and leave us to get such terms as we can ; 
but no. we will not take them. "\Ve hold them and yourselves in 
equal contempt." 

For a short period after the war Renville remained in Canada 
and i-eceived the half ])ay of a British captain. He next entered 
the service of the Hudson Bay Company, whose posts extended 
to the ^lississijiiH and ilinnesota rivers. In winter he resided 
with liis family among the Dakotas: in summer he visited his 
trading posts, which extended as far as the sources of the Red 
river. 

In liSl9 Colonel Snclling commenced the erection of the mas- 
sive stone fort near the junction of the ilississippi and Minnesota. 
From this time Renville became more acquainted with the people 
of the Fnited States, and some of his posts being within the limits 
of the Rejiublic, he with several other experienced trajjpers, estab- 
HsIkmI a nrw romitany in 1822, Avhich they called the Columbia Fur 
Company. Of this new organization he was the presiding genius. 
When ]Major Stephen li. Long arrived at Fort St. Anthony, as 
Snelling was then called, in the year 1823. he l^ecame acquainte(l 
with Renville, and engaged him as the interpreter of the expedi- 
tion to exjilore the Minnesota river and the Red River of the 
North. The historian of the expedition, Professor William II. 
Keating, gave to the world one of the most interesting accounts 
of the Dakota nation tliat had ever been published, and he states 
that for most of the information he is indebted to Josi-ph Ren- 
ville, 

Shortly after the Columbia Fin- Company commenced its opera- 
tions the American Fur Company of New York, of which John 
Jacob Astor was one of the directors, not wishing any i-ivals in 
tlie trade, purchased their posts and good will, and retained the 
"coureurs de bois, " Under this new arrangement Renville 
removed to Lac qui Parle and erected a trading house, and here 
he resided luitil the end of his days. 

Living as he had done for more than a half century among 
the Ilakotas. owv whom he exercised the most unbounded con- 



HISTORY OF REWILLE ('()T-\TY 85 

trol, it is not surprising that in his advanced age he sometimes 
exhibited a domineering disposition. As long as Minnesota exists 
lie shonld he known as one given to hos|)itality. lie invariably 
showed himself to be a friend to the Indian, the traveler and the 
missionary. Aware of the improvidence of his mother's race, he 
used his inttnence towards the raising of grain. He was instru- 
mental in having the first seed corn planted on the Upper Minne- 
sota. An Indian never left his house hungry, and they delighted 
to do him honor. He was a friend to the traveler. His conver- 
sation was intelligent, and he constantly communicated facts that 
Avere worthy of record. His post obtained a reputation among 
explorers, and their last day's journey to it was generally a (luick 
march, for they felt sure of a warm welcome. His son was the 
interi)r«'1cr of Joseph N. Nicollet, that worthy man of science who 
explored this counti'y in connection with Jolm (". Fremont. This 
gentleman in his report to Congress pays the fullowiuir trilnite 
to the father and son : 

"I may stop a while to say tlial the residence of the Renville 
family, for a number of years back, has afforded the only I'ctreat 
to travelers to be found between St. Peter's and the British jiosts, 
a distance of 700 miles. The liberal and untiring hosi)itality dis- 
pensed by this respectable family, the great influence exercised 
by it over the Indians of this country in the maintenance of peace 
and the protection of travelers would denuuid, besides our grati- 
tude, some especial acknowledgment of the United States, and 
also from the Hudson Bay Company." 

The only traveler that has ever given any testimony opposed 
to this is Featherstonluuigh, an Englishman, in whose book, pub- 
lished in London in 1847, and styled a "Canoe A^'oyage up the 
Miiinay Sotor," he says: "On reaching the fort, Renville 
advanced and saluted me, but not cordially, lie was a <lai-k. 
Indian-looking person, showing no white blood, short in his 
stature, with strong features and coarse, black hair. * « * ]; 
learned that Renville entertained a company of stout Indians to 
the number of fifty, in a skin lodge behind his house, of extraor- 
dinary dimensions, whom he calls his braves, or soldiers. To these 
men he confided various trusts, and occasionally sent them to 
distant points to transact his business. No doubt ho was a very 
inti'iguing person and uncertain in his attachments. Those who 
knew him intimately supposed him inclined to the British alle- 
giance, although he professes great attachment to the American 
government, a circumstance, however, which did not prevent him 
from being under the surveillance of the garrison at Fort Snell- 
ing." 

The Rev. T. S. Williamson, of the Presbytery of Chillicothe, 
arrived at Fort Snelling in 1834; then returned to the East, and 
in 1835 came back with assistant missionaries. Renville warmly 



86 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY. 

welcomed him and rendered invaluable assistance in the establish- 
ment of the missions. Upon the arrival of the missionaries at 
Lac qui Parle he provided them with a temporary home. He 
acted as interpreter, he assisted in translating the Scriptures, and 
removed many of the prejudices of the Indians against the 
teachers of the white man's religion. His name appears in con- 
nection with several Dakota books. Dr. Watts" second catechism 
for children, published in Boston in 1837, by Crocker & Brewster, 
was partly translated by him. In 1839. a volume of extracts from 
the Old Testament, and a volume containing the Gospel of Mark, 
was publishecl by Kendall & Henry. Cincinnati, the translation 
of which was given orally by ilr. Renville and penned by Dr. 
Williamson. Crocker & Brewster in 1842 published Dakota 
Dowanju Kin, or Dakota Hymns, many of which ^\•ere composed 
with the help of Renville. The following tribute to his ability as 
a translator appeared in tlie ilissioiiary Herald of lS4(i, published 
at Boston : 

"'Sir. Renville was a remarkal)le nuni, and lie was remarkable 
for the energy with whicli he pursued such objects as he deemed 
of primary importance. His power of observing and remembering 
facts, and also words expressive of simple ideas, was extraor- 
dinary Though in his latter years he eoidd read a little, yet in 
translating lu' seldom took a book in his hand, choosing to depend 
on hearing rather than sight, anil I have often had occasion to 
observe that after hearing a long ami luifamiliar versi' read from 
the Scriptures, lie would immediately render it from the French 
into Dakota, two languages extremely unlike in their idioms and 
idea of tlu» words, and i-epeat it over two or thi'ee words at a time, 
so as to give fidl ojiportunity to write it down. He had a I'emark- 
able tact in discovering tlie aim of a speaker, and conveying the 
intended impression, when many of the ideas and words were 
such as Imd nothing corresponding to them in the minds and 
language of the addressed. These qualities fitted him for an inter- 
preter, and it was generally admitted lu' had no equal." 

It would be improper to conclude this article without some 
remarks upon the religious character of Renville. Years before 
there was a clergyman in ^Minnesota he took his Indian wife to 
Prairie du Chien and was mai-ried in accordance with Christian 
rites by a minister of tlie Catholic church. Before he became 
acquainted with missionaries he sent to New York for a large folio 
Bible in the French language, and requested tliose with him in the 
fur trade to procure for him a clerk who could read it. After 
the commencement of the ilission at Lac qui Parle, liis wife was 
the first full Dakota to be recorded as converted to Protestant 
Christianity. Before this, through the instruction of her husband, 
she had renounced the religion of her fathers. The following 
is an extract from a translation of Mr. Renville "s account of his 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 87 

wife's deatli : "I said to iier: 'Now, today, you seem very mtieh 
exhausted.' and she answered, 'Yes; this day, now God invites 
me. I am veniemberintr Jesus Clirist. who suffered for me, and 
depending on him alone. Today I shall stand before (!od, and 
will ask him for merey for you and all my ehildren, and all my 
kinsfolk.' 

Afterwards, when all her ehildi'en and relatives sat around 
her weeping, she said: "11 is holy day, sing and pray." From 
eai'ly in the moi-ninp she was speaking of God and telling her hus- 
band what to do. Thus she died in the faith of that Christ whose 
story was first taught her by Catholie ])riests and later by Pres- 
byterian missionaries. 

In 1841 Renville was chosen and ordained a ruling elder in 
the ehureh at Lae qui Parle, and from that time till his death dis- 
charged the duties of his office in a nuinner acceptable and profit- 
able both to the luitive members of the church and the mission. 
After a sickness of some days, in March, 1846, his strong frame 
began to give evidence of speedy decay. Dr. Williamson thus 
narrates the death scene: "The evening before his decease he 
asked me what became of the soul immediately after death. I 
reminded him of our Saviour's words to the thief on the cross, 
and Paul's desire to depart and be with Christ. He said, 'That is 
sufficient,' and presently added, 'I have great hope I shall be 
saved thi'ongli grace.' Next morning (Sunday) about eight 
o'clock I was called to see him. He M'as so evidently in the agonies 
of death. I did not tliink of attempting to do anything for him. 
After some time his bi'eathing becoming easier, he was asked if 
he wished to hear a hyuui. He replied, 'Yes.' After it was sung 
he said, 'It is very good.' As he i-eclined on the bed, I saw a 
sweet serenity settling on his cotintenance, and I thought that 
his severest struggle was probably passed, and so it proved. The 
clock striking ten, he looked at it and intinuited that it was time 
for us to go to church. As we were about to leave he extended 
his withered hand. After we left, he spoke some words of ex- 
hortation to his family, then prayed and before noon calmly and 
quietly yielded up his spirit." 

Sixty-seven years passed by, before he closc^d his eyes upon 
the world. The citizens of Kentucky delight in the memory of 
Daniel Boone; let the citizens of ^linnesota not forget Joseph 
Renville. 



88 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

CHAPTER YII. 
RIVER NAVIGATION. 

Indian Days on the Minnesota — Mackinaw Boats — Early Voy- 
agers — Period of Steam Navigation — Names of Boats Which 
Reached the Upper Stretches of the River — Gradual Reduc- 
tion in River Traffic. 

Jlinuesota received its name from the longest river which lies 
■wholly Avithin this state, excepting only its sources above Big 
Stone lake. During a hundred and sixt.y years, up to the time 
of the organization of Minnesota Territory, in 1849. the name St. 
Pierre, or St. Peter, had heen generally applied to this river 
by French and English explorers and writers, probably in honor 
of Pierre Charles Le Sueur, its first white explorer. The ab- 
original Sioux name Minnesota means clouded water (ilinne, 
water and sola, somewliat clouded), and Neill, on the authority 
of Rev. (lideon II. Poiul. poetically translated this to mean sky- 
tinted. The river at its stages of flood becomes whitishly turbid. 
An illustration of tlu^ meaning of the word has been told by 
Jlrs. Closes N. Adams, the widow of the veneralde missionary 
of the Dakotas. She states that at various times the Dakota 
women explained it to her by dropping a little milk into water 
and calling tlie wliitishly clouded water "JMinue sota." This 
name was proposed by General II. H. Sibley and Hon. ilorgan 
L. ilartin, of Wisconsin, in the years 1846 to 1848. as the name 
of the new territory, Avliicli tlius followed the example of Wis- 
consin in adopting the tith^ of a large stream within its borders. 

During the next few years after the selection of the terri- 
torial name ^Minnesota, it displaced tlie nanu^ St. Peter as ap- 
plied in common \isage by the white people to the river, whose 
euphonious ancient Dakota title will continue to be borne b}^ 
the river and the state probably long after tlie Dakota language 
sliall cease to be spoken. 

The Chippewa name for tlie stream, Ash-kubogi-sibi. "The 
River of the Green Leaf" is now nearly forgotten, and the French 
name St. Pierre is known only by historians. 

The picturesque river Avhicli gave oiu' commonwealth its name 
had always been an important feature in the geography and his- 
tory of this northwest country. 

The geologrst reads in the deep erosion of this valley, and in 
its continuance to Lake Traverse, which outflows to Lake Winni- 
peg and Hudson bay, the story of a mighty river, the outlet of 
a vast ancient lake covering the Red river region in the closing 
part of the Glacial period. What use, if any, the primitive men 
of that time made of this majestic stream, we know not. 



HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 89 

Many anil varii'il have been the scenes enaeti'd upon its hanks, 
scenes of tliiillinir adventure and glorious valor, as ■well as of 
liappy nierrinient and tender love. It was for centuries the 
arena of many a sanguinary conflict, and the blood of the loM'as, 
T);d<()tas, 0.jil)\\ ays. and white men, often niinoled freely with 
its Hood, 

For generations unknown tlu' only craft its bosom bore was 
the canoe of tlie Indian, Then came the French traders, with 
their retinue of voyagers, who made our river an avenue of a 
gi-eat conuiiercc in Indian goods and costly furs. For ovei- a 
Inuidred years fleets of canoes and ^Mackinaw boats, laden with 
Indian mei'chandise, i)lied constantly along the river's sinuous 
leugtli. The sturdy voyagers, however, left to history but a scant 
record of their adventurous life, A brave and hardy race were 
they, inured to every ])eril and hardship, yet ever content and 
happy : and long did tlie wooded bluffs of the iliniiesota echo 
with their songs of old France, 

Tlie first white men known to liavi' navigated the JMinnesota 
were Le Sue\ii' and his party of miners, who entered its nio^ith 
in a felucca and two row boats on S(>ptember 20, 1700, and 
reached the mouth of the Blue Earth on the thirtieth of the same 
month. The next spring ho carried with him down the river a 
])oat-loa(l of blue or green shale which he had dug from the 
blutt's of the Blue Earth, in mistake for copper ore. Much more 
profitable, doubtless, he found the boat-load of beaver and other 
Indian furs, which he took with him at tlie same time. This is 
the first recorded instance of freight transportalion on the I\Iin- 
uesota river. 

In the winter of 1819-20, a deputation of Lord Selkirk's Scotch 
colony, who had settled near the site of Winnipeg, traveled 
through Minnesota to Prairie du Cliieii, a journey of about a 
thousand miles, to purchase seed wln-al. On April 1."), IS'JO, they 
started back in three Mackinaw boa1s loaded with 200 bushels 
of wheat, 100 bushels of oats, and -iO bushels of peas. Duiing 
the month of ^lay they ascended tlie ^linnesota from its mouth 
to its source, and, dragging their loaded boats over the ])<)rtage 
on rollers, descended the Red river to their homes, which they 
reached early in June, 

The Mackinaw or keel boats used on the river in those days 
were open vessels of from twenty to fifty feet in length l)y four 
to ten feet in width, and capable of carrying from two to eight 
tons burden. 

They were propelled by either oars or poles as the exigencies 
of the river might require. The crew usually comprised from 
five to nine men. One acted as steersman, and. in poling, the 
others, ranging themselves in order upon a plank laid lengthwise 
of the boat on each side, would push the boat ahead: and as 



90 HISTORY OF KEXVILLE COUNTY 

eaeli, in rotatioii. reached the steru, he would pick up his pole 
aud start again at the prow. Their progress in ascending the 
river wonld be from five to fifteen miles per day. depending upon 
the stage of the watei- and the numlier of rapids they had to 
climb. 

Dr. Tliomas S. Williamson, the noted missionary to the In- 
dians, in describing his first journey up the valley of the Min- 
nesota, in June. lS3o. gives an interesting account of how he 
shipped his wife and children and his fellow helpers. Mr. and 
Mrs. A. G. Huggins. with their goods, on one of these boats, which 
was nine days in making the trip from Fort Snelling to Traverse 
des Sioux. 

In the correspondence of Mrs. S. R. Riggs, the wife of an- 
other famous missionary to the Sioux, is found a vivid picture 
of a Mackinaw boat, belonging to the old Indian trader. Phil- 
ander Prescott, in which she ascended tlie Minnesota in Septem- 
ber, 1837. It was about forty feet long by eight feet wide and 
capable of carrying about five tons. It was manned by a crew 
of five ])ersous, one to steer, and two on each side to furnish 
the motive power. Oars were used as far as to the Little Rapids, 
about three miles above Carver, and tin-nee to Ti'averse des Sioux 
poles were employed. The joiuuiey consumed five days. 

Illustrative of the size and capa<-ity of some of the canoes 
used by the traders, we find George A. IMel.eod in April, 1853, 
bringing down from I>ac qui Parle to Traverse des Sioux forty 
bushels of potatoes, besides a crew of five men. in a single canoe 
twenty-five feet long by forty-four inches wide, hollowed out of 
a huge Cottonwood tree. 

The first steamboat to enter the IMiiniesota river was the Vir- 
ginia on May 10. 1823. She was not a large vessel, being only 
118 feet long by 22 feet wide, and she only ascended as far as 
Mendota and Fort Snelling, which during the period between 
the years 1820 and 1848 were about the only points of importance 
in the territory now embraced within our state. Hence all the 
boats navigating the upper ^Mississippi in those days had to 
enter the Minnesota to reach these terminal jjoints. 

Except foi' these landings at its mouth, aiul save that in 1842 
a small steamei' with a party of excursionists on board ascended 
it as far as the ol<l Indian village near Shakopee, no real attempt 
was made to navigate the Minnesota with steamboats until 1850. 
Prior to this time it was not seriously thought that the river Avas 
navigable to any great distance for any larger craft than a keel 
boat, and the demonstration to the contrary, then witnessed, has 
made that year notable in the history of the state. 

On June 28, 1850, the Anthony Wayne, which had just ar- 
rived at St. Paul with a pleasure party from St. Louis, agreed 
to take all passengers for $225 as far up the ilinuesota as navi- 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 91 

gatioii was possible. They reached the foot of the rapids near 
Carvel', tiic fa|)taiii dcciiled not to continue tlic passage, turned 
the steaiul)oat hoiiicwaiil. Emidons of tlie Wayne's achievement, 
the Nominee, a lival boat, arranged another excursion July 12, 
ascended tlie Minnesota, passing the formidable rapids, placing 
her shingh! tiiree miU>s higher up the river. The Wayne, not to 
be outdone, on .luly IS witli a Ihird excursion party, ascended 
the river two or three miles below the present city of Mankato. 
The success of these boats incited the Karris' line to advertise a 
big excursion on the Yankee, and that steamer reached a point 
on the ilinnesota river, a little above the prt>seiit village of .Tnd- 
son, in Blue JOaith county. 

The steamer Excelsior, in the summer of 1851, conveyed the 
treaty commissioners, their attendants and supplies to Traverse 
des Sioux, and later the Benjamin Franklin, No. 1, ascended 
the river with a load of St. Paul's excursionists to witness the 
progress of the famous treaty. In the fall the Uncle Toby con- 
veyed to Traverse des Sioux, the first load of Indian goods under 
the new treaty. 

The springing up of embryo towns in the Minnesota ^'alley 
stimulated steamboat transportation, and during the early sea- 
son of 1852, the steamboat Tiger made three trips to Mankato. 
The midsummer i-ains having restored the navigable condition 
of the river, the Black Hawk was chartered in July for three 
trips to ilankato. She also made during the season two trips 
to Babcoek's Landing, ojiposite the present site of St. Peter, and 
one to Traverse des Sioux. The Jenny liind and Enterprise were 
also engaged in the ti-affic. 

Navigation was ojiened on the Minnesota in 1853 by the new 
boat, the (ii-eek Slave; the Clarion, also lU'w, entered the trade 
this year. 

Two events of 1853, of much importance in the development 
ol' the ^linnesota river trade, were the establishing upon its head 
waters of the Sioux Agencies and tiie erection in their vicinity 
of Fort Ridgely. The necessity thus created, of trausi)oi-ting to 
such a distance uj) the river the large quantity of supplies re- 
quired aniuially by both soldier and Indian, gave an impetus 
for years to tlie steand)oat traffic of the ^Minnesota. 

The West Newton, ('a])tain D. S. Harris, secured the eon- 
tract to eon\ey the troojjs with tlieir baggage fr-oni Fort Sncdling 
to the new i)0st. Slie was a small packet, 150 feet long and of 
300 tons burden, and liad been bought the summec before by the 
Harris brothers to compete with the Nominee in the Mississippi 
river trade. She left Fort Snelling on Wednesday, the twenty- 
seventh of April, 1853, having on board two companies of the 
Sixth U. S. Regiment, in command of Captains Dana and ]\Ion- 
roe. To helj) carry baggage, she had two barges in tow. The 



92 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

Tiger had also departed from St. Paul on tlie tweuty-fiftli, and 
the Clarion on the twenty-sixth, eaeh Avitli a eoiiiih- of barges in 
tow, lieavily loaded with siqiplies for the new fort and the agen- 
cies. Tlie "West Newton, being the swiftest boat, luissed the 
Clarion at Henderson, and the Tiger near tlie Big Cottonwood, 
and thence to tlie site of the new fort (Fort Ridgely) at the 
month of Little Rock creek, was the first steamer to disturb the 
waters of our sky-tinted river. 

The ilinnesota this year remained navigable all summer, and 
a number of boats ascended it to Fort Ridgely and the Lower 
Sioux Agency, Avhile others went to ^lankato and other points. 
The passenger travel, as well as the freight trade, was excellent. 

The Avinter of 1853-1854 was mild and open : the river l)roke 
up early without the usual freshet. Owing to the success of the 
prior season, the boatmen liad great expectations. They were, 
however, doomed to disappointment, ('aptain Samuel Hundiert- 
son, who owned the stern wheel steamboat Clarion, had sold it 
and purchased a fine new boat, 170 feet long with thirty-eight 
staterooms, which he called the ^Minnesota Belle, ilay 3, with 
a large load of innnigrauts and freight, he started up the Minne- 
sota. His new boat failed to climb the Little Rapids, near Carver, 
and he had to abandon the trip. A rainfall a few days later 
swelled the river, and enabled the Black Hawk to reach Traverse 
des Sioux. The Tola and Montello. during the summer, ran 
fairly regidar trips between Little Rapids and Traverse des Sioux 
supplementing the Black Hawk, Huud^olt and other boats plying 
below the rapids. 

Large keel boats, denonnnated bargt's, propelled after the 
ancient method by a crew of men with poles, became common on 
the river this year. Andrew G. ^lyrick placed two of these 
barges on the river in charge of the Russell boys. These vessels 
were from 50 to 60 feet long, 10 to 1- feet wide, and with sides 
four to five feet high, along the top of which was fastened a 
plank walk, for the use of the pole men. A small low cabin for 
the cook Avas built in the stern, and during foul weather a big 
tarpaulin Avas spread over the goods. A full crcAV consisted of 
a captain, avIio also acted as steersman, ten to a dozen pole men, 
and a cook. With a fair stage of Avater the usual speed up 
stream Avas twelve to fourteen miles a day, but if sandbars or 
rapids interfered a mile or tAvo Avould be a hard day's journey. 
Down stream, hoAvever, they Avould travel much faster. ]\[ost 
of the supplies for Fort Ridgely and the Sioux Agencies, as 
Avell as for all up river toAvus, had to be transported this year 
in such barges. 

The snoAvfall in the Avinter of 1854-1855 Avas again light conse- 
quently the Minnesota continued Ioav during the folloAving spring. 
Louis Robert, having the contract this year to deliver the Sioux 



HISTORY OF RENVIIJ.K COCXTV 93 

aiiiniitirs. Took tliriii up to the Agency late in Oetohcr in tli.' 
Globe, of wliieh Edwin ]iell was then captain. Witliin two miles 
of the landing the boat struck on a rock, and the goods had to he 
unloaded on the river hank. While Captains Roberts and l>cll 
■were gone to carry the Indian money, amounting to if;!K), ()()() in 
gold, to Fort Ridgely, the Indians, who were gathered in I'orce 
to divide the provisions, carelessly set fire to the dry grass, which 
was t|uickly couimunieated to the pile of goods, and most of tlicm, 
including tifty kegs of powder, Avere destroyed. 

Of his experiences, Captain Edwin Bel! had said: '"In IS."),') 
I had command of the steamer Globe, making trips on the ^liiine- 
sota river, and in the early fall of that year we carried supplies 
to the Sionx at Redwood Agency. The Indians would com<' down 
the river several miles to meet the boat. They were like a lot 
of children, and when the steamboat approached they would 
shout, 'Nito)ika Pata-wata washta,' meaning 'Your big fire-canoe 
is good." 'i'lu'V would then cut across Ihc bend, yelling until we 
reached the landing. 

"In the fall of that year. 185'), their sui)plies wei'c late, 
when T received orders from Agent Murphy to turn over to tiie 
Indians twelve barrels of pork, and twelve barrels of flour. As 
soon as we landed, we rolled the sup|)lies on shore. I was in- 
formed that the Indians Avere in a starving condition. It Avas 
amusing to see fiA'e or six of them rolling a barrel of pork up 
the bank. Avhen tAvo of our deck hands Avould do the Avork in hal!' 
the time. 

"A young Indian gii'l stood at the end of the gang plank, 
Avringing her hands and looking toAvard the boat, exclaiming 
'Sunka sanieha,' meaning 'They have my dog.' The cabin boy 
told me the cook had coaxed the dog on board and hitl it. I 
could speak the lauguage so as to be iniderstood, and 1 mo- 
tioned to the girl and said, 'Niye kuAva,' meaning 'Come here.' 
She came on board, and I told the cook to bring the dog to me. 
When the dog came, she caught it in her arms, exclaiming, 
'Suuka Avashta,' meaning 'Good dog.' She then ran on shore 
and up the hill. It seemed to me that Avhite people took advan- 
tage of the Indian Avhen they could, even steamboat cooks. 

"When the flour and pork Avere on level ground, the bai'rcd 
heads Avere knocked in, and the pork Avas cut in small strii)s and 
thrown in a ])ile. Tavo hundi-ed squaAvs then formed a circle, 
and several Indians handed the pieces of pork to the squaAvs until 
the i)ile Avas disposed of. The flour Avas placed in tin pans, each 
squaw receiving a panful. 

"Later, in the same season, Ave had an unfortunate trip. The 
boat Avas loaded deep. Luckily Agent IMurphy and Capt. Louis 
Robert Avere on board. We had in the cabin of the boat ninety 
thousand dollars in gold. About thri'c iiules beloAv the Agency, 



94 msTOKY OF KENVILLE COUNTY 

we rau ou a large boulder. After much effort, we got the boat 
afloat, ilajor I\Iiirphj- gave orders to land the goods, so that 
they might be hauled to the Agency. "We landed and unloaded, 
covering the goods with tarpaulins. There were about fifty kegs 
of powder with the goods. While we were unloading, the agent 
sent for a team to. take Captain Robert and himself, with the 
gold, to the Agency. Then we started down the river. We had 
gone only a few miles, when we discovered a dense smoke, caused 
by a prairie fire. The smoke was rolling toward the pile of 
goods, which we had left in charge of two men. When we 
reached the ferry at Red Bank, a man on horseback motioned 
us to land, and told us that the goods we left were all burned 
up and the powder exj)lo(led. This was a sad blow to the Indians. 

"The following is a list of the steamboats I'unuiug on the 
Minnesota river, during high water, in the year 1855 aud later: 
Clarion, Captain Ilumberson ; Globe, Captain Edwin Bell ; Time 
and Tide, Captain Nelson Robert ; Jeannette Roberts, Captain 
Charles Timmeus; ^lollie iloler, Cai)tain Houghton: ^Minnesota, 
Captain Hays: and the Frank Steele and Favorite, both side- 
wheel steamers. These boats were drawn off when the water got 
low; and wlien the railroad iiarallded the river, all boats quit 
running. 

"On the sixteenth day of December, 1895, I called on Gov- 
ernor Ramsey again, to talk over old tiiiu'S, forty-five years after 
my first call. What clianges have taken place since then! When 
I started to leave, I thought I would see how much the governor 
remembered of the .Sioux language. I said, 'Governor, nitonka 
tepee, washta." 'What did you say, captain?' asked the gov- 
ernor. I replied, 'Nitonka tepee, washta.' 'Why, captain,' said 
he, 'that means, my house is large and good:' aud, with a wink, 
'Cai3tain, let's have a nip.' Of course we nii)ped. and said 'IIo!' 
All old settlers will know the meaning of the Sioux exclamation, 
'Ho!'" 

A good fall of snow during the winter of 1855-56 caused an 
abundant supply of water in the river next spring. The navi- 
gation of the Minnesota for the season of 1856 was opened on 
April 10 by the Reveille, a stern-wheel packet, in command of 
Captain R. M. Spencer. Four days later, the Globe, with Nelson 
Robei't as captain, departed from St. Paul for the sanu; river, 
and she was followed the next day by the H. S. Allen. 

The Reveille was considered a fast traveler, and as an in- 
stance of her speed it is recorded that on hei' second trip of this 
year she left St. Paul at 2 p. m. on Thursday, April 17, with 132 
passengers and a full load of freight, and arrived at ilankato by 
Saturday; and that leaving the latter place at 5 a. m. the next 
day, .she reached St. Paul by 8 p. m. that evening, after having 
made twenty -four landings on the way. 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 95 

On Maj' 5, the Reveillf landed at jMankato » company of set- 
tlers numbering two or three hundred, known as the Mapleton 
Colony; and the following Saturday (May 10) the H. T. Yeatmau 
laiiilod at South Rend a company of Welsh settlers from Ohio, 
numbering 121 souls. The Yeatman was a large stern-wheel boat, 
about the largest that ascended the Minnesota, and this was her 
first trip. She contiiuied in the trade only a few weeks, while the 
water was high. Her captain was Samuel (i. Cabbell. Regular 
trips were made this year by several boats to Fort Ridgely and 
the Lower Sioux Agency, and some ascended to the Upper 
Agency, at the mouth of the Yellow Medicine i-iver. 

The time table of Louis Robert's fine packet, tlie Time and 
Tide, issued for this season, shows the distance from St. Paul to 
Yellow Medicine to be 446 miles. To an old settler who actually 
traveled on a ^Minnesota river steamboat in those early days, the 
idea of a time table may seem rather amusing; for if there was 
anything more uncertain as to its coming and going, or more void 
of any idea of regularity, than a steamboat the old time traveler 
never heard of it. Now stopping in some forest glen for wood, 
now tangled in the overhanging boughs of a tree with one or 
both smoke-stacks demolished, now fast for hours on some sand- 
bar, and now tied up to a tree to repair the damage done by 
some snag, while the i)assengers sat on the bank telling stories. 
or went hunting, or feasted on the luscious wild strawberries 
or .iuiey plums which grew abundantly in the valley, were com- 
mon occurrences in steamboat travel. IManj' a pioneer remembers 
the Time and Tide, and how its jolly captain, Louis Robert, 
would sing out with sonorous voice, when the boat was about to 
start, "All aboard! Time and Tide waits for no man," and then 
add. with a sly twinkle in his e.ve, "and only a few minutes for 
a woman." Though we of today may think such method of 
travel tedious, yet it had many pleasant featui-es, and to the 
people of that time, unaccustomed to the "flyers" and "fast 
mails" of today, it seemed quite satisfactory. 

The Minnesota river trade was unusually brisk in IS.")? owing 
to a good stage of water. Two new boats entered this year, 
the Frank Steele, a side wheel packet, owned by Captain W. F. 
Davidson, and the Jeannette Robert, a large stern wheel packet, 
owned by Captain Louis Robert. The total trips made during 
the season was 292, of which the Antelope made 105. 

The winter of 1857-1858 proved very mild, and the iliiuiesota 
river broke up unusually early and was kept in good navigable 
condition during the season. The Freighter was the only new 
boat to engage in the trade this year. There were 179 arrivals at 
Maukato from points above as well as below the former, though 
did not exceed twenty-five or thirty. The total number of trips 



96 IIISTOKY UF KE>;\1LLE COUNTY 

was 394. tlie Antelope again heading tlie list witli 1201 to her 
credit. 

In 18.59. the river hroke np early after a luihl winter, and 
the Freighter arrived at IMankato, the tirst boat, on ilareli 27, 
having left St. Paul two days before. An abundant rainfall kept 
the river in good navigable condition its entire length through 
most of the season. The Favorite, an excellent sidewheel packet 
of good size, built expressly for tlie ilinnesota trade by Commo- 
dore Davidson, entered as a new boat this spring. 

As the water M-as quite liigli in the ujjper Minnesota, Captain 
John B. Davis of the Freighter, conceived the idea of crossing 
his boat over from the j\Iinuesota to Big Stone lake and thence 
to the Red river, and accordingly about the last of June he at- 
tempted the feat. Whether the crew found too much whiskey at 
New Flm or the boat foiuid too little water on the divide, authori- 
ties differ. Init all agree tliat the captain and his crew came home 
in a canoe about the last of July, passing IMankato on the twenty- 
fifth of the month, having left his steamboat in dry dock near tlie 
Dakota liui-. The Freighter was a small, flat-bottomed, square- 
bowed boat. The Indians pillaged her of everything but the 
hull, and that, half buried in tlie sand aliout ten miles below 
Big Stone lake, remained visible for twenty or tliirty years. The 
captain always claimed that if he had started a month earlier 
his attempt would have been .successful. 

The navigation on the ^Minnesota in 1860, owing to the low 
water, was mostly confined to the little Antelope, in her trips to 
Shakopee and Chaska. Of 250 arrivals at St. Paul she had to her 
credit 198. The new boat Albany, of very light draught, also the 
Eolian, which had been raised from the bottom of Lake Pepin, 
where she had lain since the spring of 1858, and the Little Dorrit 
were put into the trade instead of the Frank Steele, the Time 
and Tide and the Favorite, which came up as far as St. Peter 
for a trip or two. The Jeanuette Robert managed to get up as 
far as Mankato a few times, and during a small freshet in July, 
made one trip to the Sioux Agency. 

The spring of 1861 opened with a big flood in the Minnesota. 
The first boat, the Albany, left St. Paul on March 30, and arrived 
at Mankato April 1. She was officered by J. V. Webber, captain 
(who was now the owner, having purchased her from the David- 
sou company in ilarcli), Warren (ioulden, first clei-k, and Moses 
Gates, engineer. It was claimed by the older Indians and traders 
that the upper Minnesota was higher this spring than it had been 
since 1821. In April the Jeannette Robert ascended farther up 
the river by two miles than any steamboat had ever done befoi'e, 
and might easily have accomplished what the Freighter attempted 
and failed to do in 1859, to wit, pass over into the Red river, if 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 97 

slif liad tried: for tlu' two rivers were united 1>\ tlieii- liigli Hood 
between lakes Big Stoue and Traverse. 

Tliis season the Minnesota Packet Company, of which 
Captain Orrin Sniitii was president, put two first class boats, 
the City Belle and Fanny Harris, into the river to compete with 
the Davidson an<l Robert lines. The Fanny Harris, on her first 
trip, wliieii oecui'red during the second week of April, went to 
Fort Ridgely. and brought down ]\Iajor (afterwards General) 
Thomas W. Slu-rnian and his battery to quell the southern rebel- 
lion, which liad just started. AVith her also went the Favorite, 
and brought down Major (afterward General) John ('. Pember- 
ton, with his comiiiand of eighty soldiers, the most of whom 
being southern men, were much in sympathy with their seceding 
brethren. 

The bai-ges of Cajitain Cleveland were kept busy in the traffic 
between Mankato and points below. The first siiipnuMit of wheat 
in bulk t'riuii the Minnesota was made in June of this year, 1861, 
on one of these bai-ges. It comprised 4,000 bushels, and was 
taken direct to T^a Crosse. Heretofore it had been shipped in 
sacks. ^Vlleat had now become the principal export of the val- 
ley. During the earlier years all the freight traiific on the river 
had been imiiorted, but by this tinu> the export of trains had 
grown to be an important item. With so many Indians in the 
valley the shipment of furs, whic-h at fii'st had been about the 
only expoi't of the coiuitry, still continued valuable; but furs, 
because of their small bulk, cut but little figure in the boating 
business. This year the value of the fui's from the Sioux Agen- 
cies was .$48,416; and from the Wiiniebago country, >|ill,600. 

From this time there was a gradual reduction in river traffic. 
In 1866 the St. Paul ami Sioux City railroad reached Belle 
Plaine, and connections were thei'e made with boats for points 
higher up the river. In October, 1868, ]\Iankato was reached, 
and in 1871 the Northwestern i-ailway reached New I'lm, which 
jiractically ended the navigation of the ^linnesota river. 

The Osceola, a small boat, owned by Mark 1). Flowers and 
Captain Hawkins, ascended the Minnesota as far as Redwood 
ooce in 1872. twice in 187:? and once in 1874, the water having 
been low and navigation difficult. In 1876, owing to high water 
in the spring, the Ida Fulton, and Wynian X came up the river; 
and ten years later one trip was made by the Alvii-a. For an- 
other ten years no steamboat was seen on the Minnesota until, 
taking advantage of a freshet in April, 1897, Cajitain E. \V. Durant 
of Stillwater, ran his boat, the Henrietta, a stern-wheel vessel 170 
feet long with forty staterooms, on an excursion to Henderson, 
St. Peter and IMankato. 



98 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

CHAPTER Vin. 
LAND OFFICE RECORDS. 

Original Claimants to Renville County Land — Roll of Honor of 
Those Pioneers Who First Cleared the Land and Erected 
Cabins — Old Settlers Who Braved the Rigors of Pioneer En- 
deavor. 

The original patents to land in Renville eouiity, Tipon which 
all snhseqiient deeds and transfers are based, were obtained 
chiefly under the pre-emption act, under the hoiuestead law, and 
from the i-ailroads. The first settlers obtained their homes under 
the i^re-emption act, by the provisions of which they were re- 
quired to make certain improvements, to live upon their land a 
certain length (if time, and to pay .^1.25 an acre. There were cer- 
tain restrictions as to tlie size of the claim and as to the eligi- 
bility of those who filed. Instead of jiaying money the settlers 
often paid soldiers" script which they had purchased at a dis- 
count. This script had been issued to soldiers, entitling each 
veteran to a certain nundjer of acres free. Few of the soldiers 
ever used this script to obtain land, and thousands of these 
papers fell into the hands of speculators, by whom they were 
sold to settlers. Under the homestead act. which replaced the 
pre-emption act, tlie government issued a p.iteut after a person 
had lived on an eighth oi' quarter section (according to location) 
for a certain i)eriod. and made certain improvements. Many of 
the people obtained their land from the railroads: many different 
railroads having land in Renville county. 

The folloM'ing transcriptions from the land office I'ecords gives 
the original owners of all the land pre-empted and homesteaded 
in Renville county. This is the roll of honor of those who dared 
the rigors of a pioneer country and started the first developments. 
The list is in the nmin accurate, though, througli carelessness of 
the land office registers and their clerks, the original entries are 
often misspelled, and transeri]>tions of more or less illegible hand- 
writing since that date have distorted some of the names in vari- 
ous ways. But esjx'cial eiforts have been made to insure accuracy 
in this printed list, and the names of thousands of old pioneers 
will be recognized. A few of the original claimants are still 
living, and many families are still residing on the original claim 
of their father or grandfather. 

In the following list, wliere a person's farm hiy in several sec- 
tions, or where a second claim was later taken in another section, 
only the first section of the first filing is given, except in special 
cases, for a constant repetition of names would needlessly cumber 
the rolls. 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 99 

Township 113, range 33 (Baridon). The first claim in this 
township was filed by John Ragain on October 5, 1867, section 20. 
1876 — Tver Jercniiason. 22; Iver Ivcrson, 22; Tollef Poderson, 
22; Mary Hansen, 26; Lars Olson, 26; Peter Olson, 26; John P. 
Nestande, 26 ; Iver Brandjord, 32 ; Gabriel A. Nelson 34. 1877 — 
John Kelly 12: Heirs of Michael Kelly, 12; Anthony Kelly, 12; 
Paul II. Kiuidson. 14; Andrew Dahlqnist, 14. 1878 — Gunerus 
Peterson. 2; Peter Pederson, 2; Ole Knudsen, 4; Patrick Cronin, 
4; Jeremiah Desmond, G: John Desmond. 6: Hans Carlson, 10; 
Karl Oleson, 10: Hans Gumpolen, 34; Ole Erickson, 34. 1879— 
Thomas Brick, 6; John Igo, 24. 1880— Daniel Hanlon, 6; Mar- 
garet Desmond, 6; Jeremiah O'Shea, 30; Joseph Thomas, 24. 
1881 — Thomas Brick, 6; James Hurley, 18; IMarthiniis Johanson, 
28. 1882— Patrick Cronin. 1883— Hans Carlson, 10; John Mc- 
Cabc. 20. 1885— Peder Ncstaiide, 2; Eriek Elleword, 10: Arthur 
Gribben, 20. 

Township 113, range 34 (Birch Cooley). The first claims were 
filed in iSfil. Fianeis LaBathe filed in section 29 and Louis La- 
Croix, Jr., in section 32. No other claim was filed until after 
the Massacre. The first claim filed after the Massacre was in 
1864. 1864— Heirs of John Zimmerman, 31, 32. 1865— Peter 
Weindger, 20; Martha Clausen, 28. 1866— Joseph Reno, 29. 1867 
— Robert W. Davis, 15; Darwin S. Hall, 27; Philip Vogtman, 
30; Benjamin R. Damsen, 31; Joseph JleCounell, 33; William 
Tracy, 34. 1868 — Frederick Blume, 18; John Conlon, 20; Henry 
J. Whiteher, 22 ; Samuel J. Bacon, 30. 1869— Dennis Larry, 26 ; 
Thomas 0. Connor. 26; John Delaney, 28; Joseph G. Dean, 29; 
John Kumro, 32. 1870 — Perry Burcli 6; John R. Weiiner, 15; 
George Bnery, 30. 31 ; Fi-ed Blume, 30. 1871— William Killmer, 
14; Wolfgang Weis, 19, 20; Joseph L. Preston, 21; Samuel H. 
Sands, 22 ; Patrick Ryan, 28 ; John Tracy, 28 ; Phineas Reynolds, 
29 ; Thomas Miller, 32 ; John Edget, 32 ; Randall M. Simmons, 32. 
1872— David R. Culver. 2; Arnold Jackson, 8; Willard Drury, 11; 
Michael Kiefer, 18; Adelmer Price, 18; Christian Blume, 18; 
George McCullock, 20; John Vogtman, 30. 1873— Andrew J. 
Sherwood, 2; Thomas Gilroy, 10; Patrick Quirk, 10: Rufus H. 
Baker, 14; John Foley, 14, 24; Henry Sheer, 18; Terance Brazil, 
Jr., 21 ; Alexander McConnell, 33 ; Christian C. Roe, 34. 1874— 
^larc-us Martin, 4; Heir of John ]\Iauley, 4; Peter Henry, 8; Owen 
T. Tubbs, 11; ^lichael Brick, 22; James Leary, 24; Jeremiah 0. 
Keef e, 24 ; William Fox, 26 ; Daniel Tracy, 34. 1875— James M. 
Eaton, 4; John Strawsell, 18: Rufus F. Richardson, 22; Patrick 
Delaney, 22; Michael Brazil, 29; Sanuiel J. Comstock, 30; Wil- 
liam Tracy, 34. 1876 — Robert Jones, 20; Michael Ragen, 24; 
David Shore, 24. 1877— :\Iiehael Toole, 34. 1878— John Carr, 8; 
James Carr, 8; John Drury, 14; Wesley Drury, 14. 1879 — John 
Landy, 24. 1880 — John Jones, 8; James Head, 14; John 



100 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

Desmond, 2-4. 1882— William H. Jewell, 22. 1883— Michael 
Ryan. 6. 

Township 112, range 34 (Birch Cooley). The first claims in 
this township filed before the Massacre were as follows : 1860 — 
Joseph Coursoll, Jr., 2, 11; Louisa Roi, 3, 10; Lillia La Croix, 4; 
Frederick La Croix, 4; Spencer La Croix, 4; John Magner, 11. 
1861 — Louis La Croix, Jr., .5 ; Antoine Young, 5. 1862 — June 2, 
Lucy "\Veeman Kawertewin, 6. The first claim after the Massa- 
cre was filed on November 10, 1862, by Mary S. Robertson, in 
section 6. 1865 — John Anderson, 13. 1868 — Nelson C. Frazier, 
3. 1869— John Klensler, 12, 1. 1870— Truman H. Sherwin, 4: 
Edward Kleinschmidt, 11, 12, 14; Holder Jacobus, 12. 1871— 
Maltris Persen, 1; David D. Frazier, 4: Ilobart B. Jackson, 10: 
Peter Lahlte, 12; Clemens Tredbar, 12. 1873— Even J. Trana, 2: 
Ole Johnson, 2 ; Sevald Iversen, 2 ; Iver Iverson, 2 ; William H. 
Po.st, 10. 1875.— Engebret Olson, 10; Hellick Anderson, 12. 1876 
— Tnlian Raisanan, 6. 1877 — Moses J. Griffin, 5. 

Township 116, range 32 (Brookfleld). The first claims in this 
township were filed by Edward K. Hitchcock, September 1, 1865, 
section 2: E. J. Tremper, August 7, 1865, section 12; David Har- 
rington. August 7. ]865, section 13; Walter G. Horton, August 
7, 1865, section 14: James Moore, October 7, 1865, section 15; Ed- 
ward Hitchcock, September 1, 1865, section 22. 1866 — Henry 
Jarret. 4: James A. Beaver, 6; C. H. Pettit, 8; Ezra Cornell, 10: 
Seth 0. Adams, 10: R. J. Mendenhall, 14: Eben S. Fisher, 15; 
George N. Fisher, 15 ; Adam Schreiver, 21 ; Henry Ritz, Jr., 21 ; 
James Edwards, 29; James A. Beaver, 29. 1867— Chas. T. Bar- 
kuloo, 6, 8. 1868— Jerome G. Todd, 2; Daniel G. Martin, 12. 
1871— Joseph Catterlin, 12: Hattie A. Waldron, 18. 1872— Alex- 
ander Camp, 26; Chas. E. Porter. 26; John Wilt, 26; Margaret 
Baker, 28; Edward K. Pellet, 34. 1873— John Booth, 24; Henry 
.Gerrand, 26 ; Tliomas F. Deming, 28 ; Dighton Grinde, 28 ; William 
Fleet. 28: George D. Stoddard. 28; George Taylor, 30; Edgar M. 
Ridout, 34. 1874— John Gerrard, 22; George L. Wilson, 34; 
Bartiuns Case. 34. 1875— Chas E. Porter, 22; William A. Cald- 
well, 34. 1877 — Aubrey M. Knight, 18; Thomas Simmons, 25; 
Benjamin J. Butler, 27; Abraham Slingerland, 27; l^ugal N. Mc- 
Call, 33; Neil J. McCall, 33; Edwin A. Kuiskern, 33; Preston 
Souther, 33; Julia D. Graham, 35. 1878— William A. Butler, 27; 
Thomas F. Deming, 28; John Hendrick, 31; Southard E. Cool- 
idge, 31: Joseph Ashbaugh, 34. 1879— Nelson N. Shafer, 24: 
Dugal M. MeCall, 33 ; Walter B. Graham, 34. 1880— Abner Daily, 
18 ; John Doyle, 30. 1883— George R. Peacock, 25 ; Thomas Sim- 
mons. 25 ; William B. Chandler, 25 ; Nathan C. Potter, 27 ; Hugh 
B. Cannon, 31 ; Arnold Cafes, 31 ; Preston Souther, 33 ; Clark Mc- 
Ewen, 35; Robert T. Whitnall, 35. 1884— John L. Farber, 8. 
188.5— Thomas M. Paine, 15; Charles H. Davis, 17. 



HISTORY OF REXVU.LE ColN'rv 101 

Township 116, range 31 (Boon Lake). I'Ih- tiist claiiu was 
ttlfd ill 1856 by George M. Michael in scetioii :i4. In iMil. \'. P. 
Kciiiiedy ami ^1. R. Hiulisill took elainis in sections 7 and 8, and 
IK) other elaiiu was tiled until after tlu' ilassaere. The first one 
aftei- the Massacre was tiled in 1864 by William Krenimiiiir in sec- 
tion 1-i. 186") — Francis R. ^laxwell. 4; Aujriistiis T. Perkins, 4; 
Will. E. Merrill. S, 9: E. P. Pussell, 29; Ira S. Shei.liard. 28, .'W. 
1866— B. G. Uiowii. 2: Ezra Cornell, (i : James ('. Ihxltidon. 20; 
.Tose])li 11. Diake, 27: Ilattic L. Pak.-i-, 28. :!4. 1867— Avery W. 
Chase, 2; Charles T. Barkuloo, (J; (i. K. (iilbert. 10; Albert Mar- 
quards. 12; Gottlieb Fredritz, 14; Carl Bohn, 14. 1868— .Martin 
Sinandt, 4; Henry Albert Schultz, 12. 1869— Ithamer Ilogue, 2; 
Charles Eggart, 12; Albert W. Potter, 18; Ira L. Gleasou, 18; 
James C. Hodgdon, 20; Frederick Wilbreight, 24; George R. 
Green, .32; George A. Gifford, 34. 1870— Ann M. Kinney, 10; 
Martin Ijohrens. 12; Cliristof Girehow, 14; August Seitilt, 14; 
:\Iaitiii .Mittwer. 22; John Rodman, 24. 1871— Hattie A. Wal- 
dron. 8; Henry C. Kulilmaiin, 14; Oiriii Hodgdon, 18; (ieorge D. 
Potter, 18; Ludwig Rannow, 22: William .M(d.aiighlin. 22; C. F. 
Eggert, 24; George D. Stoddard. 24: .loliii (iutheridge, 2(i : Henry 
T. White, 26: (ieorge S. Edner, 26; James W. Post, .'^O : James 
Chapman, 'iO : Walter G. Simmons, 30; Mary Mogarty. o4. 1872 
— Owen Carrigan, 22: -laiiU'S Carrigan. 22; George L, Wilson, 24; 
Alonzo P. ]>riggs, 26; Warnii I). Graham, 28; William Phare, 
28; William S. Pierce, :i() ; -lames .McKeoiigh, :!(); Thomas Den- 
ning, :!() : David Graham, .!() : John II. T.nsoii. :'() : Tiiiioth.v Mc- 
Keongh, ;!0 ; xMoses T. Ridoiit, .{2; Euey H. Case, 32; Samuel T. 
Green. 34. 1873— Ernest 1). Kirst, 14; August Reinke, 14: Elnora 
A. Potter, IS; John (i. I'.ouar. 20. 1874 — August Kressin, 2; A. 
Leopold Pfeil. 10; Fred Strei. 10; .Maiy Kerrigan, 22. 1875— 
Frederick Liiiser, 24; Soren Peterson. 24: lleinrieh Schewe, 24; 
William A. Robbiiis, 28. 1876— Joseph I. Fanar. 26. 1877— Lud- 
M'ig Lohreiiz, 19; Adol])h Lohreiiz, 19; Michael Brazel, 2."); John 
Rice, 35. 1878— Thomas E. Richard. 19: Daniel Weinkanf. 25; 
John McLaughlin, 27. 1879— Henry I'.. I'alnis. 7; HIislia (i. Deiii- 
son, 19; Nelson H. Shafer, 19; Andrew Jacolisoii. '25: John (iood- 
iiian, 35: Charles H. Sullivan, 35; W^illiam J. Sullivan, 35. 1880 
—Charles I). McKwen. :!1 ; Charles E. Slieppai'd. 34. 1883— Gib- 
son Richards, 19; Christian J. Skodt, 25; Kdgar 1). Kinney, 27; 
Maggie Hogarty, 27; Michael Carrigan. 27: Maggie Smart, 31; 
George Maddock, .31 ; (ieorge W. Hall, 35, 1882— Bowman C, .Me- 
Ewen, 31 : Howard L. McEwen, 31, 188-1 — (ieorge Bradfonl. 19; 
William J. Xewell, 27. ISS.5 — Hugh Carrigan, 27. 

Township 113, range 35 (Beaver Falls). The lirst claims on 
this township were tiled by Mary Renville, April 23, 1861, section 
12; Mary Jlartin. October 28, 1861, section 13; Sojihia Kenville, 
Ai.ril 23, 1861, section 22; Mary S. Robertson, Ai)ril 2:1. 1861, 



102 HISTOKY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

section 22; Martha C. Robertson, April 1. 1861. section 27. 1862 
— Isaac Renville, 20; ilary S. Robertson, 26. 1863 — August Lin- 
deruian, 7; John Meyer, 7; Nathan D. White, 15; H. W. Nelson, 
18; Terrace Eisenrich, 26. 1866 — David Carothers, 18; Benedict 
June, 26 ; James Carothers, 28. 1869— John H. White, 11 ; Walter 
Roe, 26. 1870— George Bureh. 1 : Roswell R. Corey, 8 ; Adelbert 
D. Corey, 8; Thomas F. Marsh, 10; Henry Ahrens, 11; William 
Co^van, 12; Diederich Wiehmann, 11 ; Nathan D. White, 18; Jolm 
Dagen, 24; Albert Dagen. 24; Fwd Bhuue, 25. 1871— Albert 
Sehafer, 1; Francis B. Hall, 4; Jane S. Greely, 6: Thomas H. 
Risinger, 8; Lycurgus Hall, 9; ^Marlow S. Spieer, 11; Henry 
Blume, 13; John S. G. Ilonner, 19; Homer Smith, 21; Henry 
Carstens, 24. 1872— William Hall. 4: Nora Swift. 10; Cliris- 
topluir Burcli, 10; Russel Butler, 12; John A. Bush, 18; Andrew 
Hunter, 23; John Arnott, 25. 1873 — Joseph Rourke, 2; David 
Ferguson, 2; Joseph Carrutii. 2; Darby Rourke. 2; William Hall, 
4; Frederick Ilaviland, 4; (icorge W. Sargent, 4; William Beck- 
mann, 6; Clark W. Corey, 6; Waltci' Clift, 7; Jasper Fisciu-r, 7; 
:\rarlow S. Spicer. 10; Joseph Kartak, 10; :\Iik.- Seheffler, 12; 
Friedcrick Starch. 12; William H. Davis, 18; Frederick H. Homei- 
er, 24; Andreas Pregler. 24. 1874 — Andrew Sandborn, 4; Andrew 
Jdliuson, 4; John Laijpiii. 24. 1875 — Iosei)li Zeis. 6; Myran C 
Brace, 18. 1H77 — Jonas Salsbury. 20. 1878 — Jonathan H. Bux- 
ton, 10; Albert H. Bisliop, 10; James H. Peters, 18. 1879— Na- 
thaniel Swift, 10. 1880— Bezalul G. McKay, 6. 1881— James H. 
Peters, 18; Clark W. Frink, 18. 1882— Nahum Stone. 23; Heirs 
of Caleb Rich, 8. 1883 — Lewis E. Morse, 2; Luman A. Colson, 21. 
1884 — James Carruth. 2; Robert Arnolt, 25. 

Township 115, range 34 (Bird Island). The first claims filed 
in this to\\iishi|i were in 1S74: April 7. Ls74. ('harles Humboldt. 
6; Decend.ier 23. 1874, Benjamin Feeder, 14; November 10. \f<~A. 
Marion Boyer, 28; October 6, 1874, Thomas W. (fage, 30. 1H7.5— 
Calvin Boyer, 28. 1876— Jonas E. Barker, 8; James M. Bowler, 
24; Nicholas O'Brien, 26; John Mcintosh. 8. 1878- Ben.iamin 
Feeder, 2; Jonas B. Landiert. 10; Joseph Feeder. 14; John Nester. 
18; George H. Miller, 18; Nahum Tainter, 24; Joseph S. Bowler, 
26; John Johnson, 34. 1879 — Selma Lawdon. 4; Jerome Balsley, 
30. 1880— Heirs of Edward Bowler, 2: Harlow I). Jackson. 20; 
James Curren, 30; Charles Huudjoldt, 6. 1881 — John Engstrom, 
2; Nettie C. Weems, 2; Alice L. Hickcox, 2; John J. Stearns, 4; 
Patrick Cidly, 10. 1882 — Tohn Ne.ster, 18; George Nester. 30; 
Joseph Sharbono, 32; Anthony Sanger, 34; Jonas E. Barker, 8; 
Joseph Hanns, 8 ; Heirs of Edward Bowler, 2. 1883 — Joseph 
Sharbono, Jr., 32; William Wolft", 20; William Morse, IS; Dennis 
Deasy, 10; Selma Lawdon, 4. 1884 — Byron H. Gates, 6; Jolm 
Engstrom, 12. 1885— Arnold Jackson. 32. 

Township 116, range 36 (Crooks). The first claim was filed 



HISTOKV OK HFANILLE COUNTY 103 

by Esten Backen, section 8, in 1872. 1873- .lolni .Johnson, 18; 
John Gist, 30. 1876— Albert E. Kinnc, 18. 1877— Anbivy :\r. 
Knight, 2, 6, 10; Job J. Pratt, 30. 1878— James McLaren, 4, G, 
14; Lewis P. Larson, 28; Edward C. Bakan, 28; Tollef Olsen, 28; 
James Mattson, 28; Jacob Olsen, 32; John Smith, 32. 1879 — Sam- 
uel F. Ralsen, 26. 1880— Peder Eberhardtsen, 18; Charles B. 
Gordon, 20 ; George F. Mikseh, 26. 1881— Claus A. Backen, 18 ; 
Franklin A. (iordon, 20; Albert Dagen, 24; Martin J. :\rattison, 
26 ; Lars L. Otncs, 34 ; Hans S. Andraa, 34. 1882— Mads O. Kul- 
tom, 20; Halstein F. Otos, 34. 1883— Frederick Shaller, 22; Mar- 
greth Sugmyi, 22; Onlbrand Chris Jansen, 28; John McKinley, 
32. 1884— Johann Grabow, 20; Nils Tengleson Grenson, 26. 1885 
— Samming Karlsen, 28; Ingebor J. Heimdahl, 30; Henry S. 
Crooks, 32. 

Township 112, range 33 (Camp). The first claims in this 
township were tiled in 1861 : William R. Laframboise, 22; Thom- 
as A. Robertson, 22, 23 ; George Gnin, 34. In 1862 Werner Boesh 
filed in section 22. No other claim was filed until after the Mas- 
sacre. The first claim filed after the Massacre was in 1864 — Hen- 
ry Graf, 19 : William Smith, 21. 1866— Esek J. Lokken, 20 ; Peter 
Hartman, 33. 1867— Peder Isaksen, 20; Ellen Smith, 21; Chris- 
tian Schlenysberger, 27. 1869 — Ole Johnson, 6 ; Comerick Moon, 
12: Thomas Tweet, 17; Helleck Peterson, 20; Andreas Schott, 21. 
1870— John Halvorson, 18: Thor L. Rudy, 18. 1871— Mikkel 
Haka, 5; Mathias Johnson, 6; Andrew Johnson, 5; Jorgen Gu- 
branson, 6; Henry Knauf, 9; Elizabeth Graf, 18: Martha Ander- 
son, 18 ; Robert B. Clark, 36 ; Nels Nelson, 36. 1872— Carl Nelson, 
6; Mathis Mathison, 20; John Gleason, 36. 1873^James Smith, 
2 ; John Martenson, 4 ; Andrew Louisson, 4 ; John Zahn, 4 ; Chris- 
topher Peterson, 6; Torkel Tweet, 8; John Tweet, 8; Johan Ped- 
erson, 10; Hans Peterson, 10: John Gallaher, 12; Andrew M. 
Nilsen, 22; Sivert Nilsen, 22; John A. Mathiesen, 35; Neils Ol- 
son, 26; Mathies 0. Lee, 26, 27; John O. Lee, 26; Andrew Ladson, 
26: Johan Halin, 27; Johainia Gustav Lottie, 34; John J. Eiiger, 
34. Ole O. Nesburg, 35 ; Maria Tesrow, 36. 1874— Antres Anter- 
son, 4; Christian C!hristopherson. 10; Torge Torgeson, 10; Thomas 
Devanah, 12; Daniel O'Neil, 12; Albert Wiehr, 13; Amund A. 
Berger, 13: John Gannon, 13; Thomas Horan, 14; William Foley, 
14; Peder Pederson. 20; Andrew 0. Hatlestad, 22; Nelse 0. Berge, 
23; Mathies O. Ilagestad, 23; Charles Skuttle, 23; Laurits H. 
Rund, 24: Erik G. Melvold, 24; Hans C. Gresraaen, 24; John Ol- 
son, 24; Halvor Hanson, 25: Gilbert Olson, 25; Louis Pederson, 
25. 1875— Patrick Campbell, 2; Patrick Jordan, 2; Jens Olson, 
14. 1876— James Maxwell, 2. 1877— Knud Ellisscn. 14. 1880- 
Louis J. Enger, 25. 1881— Margaret Foley, 14; Ole .). Dale, 23; 
Anders IL Bergley, 26; Peder Nelson, 27; Ole Jaeobsen Stensven, 
35.. 1882— Petter ( nmd.Tson, 13. 



104 HISTORY OF REXMLLE COl'xXTY 

Township 112, range 32 (Cairo). The first claims in this 
towiishiji Avi'i-c fiU'd by ]\lai-y Munifiird, section 31, on December 
17, 1861; by Adam S. Cristman on October 17. 1861, section 32; 
and Peter Laball, section 31, on April 30, 1861. 1863— Agatha 
Buelirer (Bueho? Buehro?), 22, 23. 1864— Baptiste Freynur, 31. 
1866— William Mills, 34 and 3.5. 1869— Adam Rieke, 35." 1870— 
Merritt J. Haines. 10; Abram Culver, 14; Rensselaer Barton, 20; 
George Rieke, 26. 1871 — Gartiner Tibbits, 10; ('has. A. Grow, 
10; Victor Rieke, 26; William Riekt>, 26; -loseph Lebaron. 2S : 
Samuel Marsh, 28; Anos G. Root, 29. 32; Wm. O. Root. 32; Len- 
nigs W. Root, 32. 1872— William Emerick, 10; Mason Philips, 
18; Jay n. Philips, 18; Squire Lamphier, 18: Trial Tibbits. 28: 
August Rieke, 34. 1873 — Amos Rolfe, 4; John ("arson, 4: James 
(3"Hara, 6: Alonzo R. Gleason, 12; Harrison Hatlley, 12; Taliesin 
Williams, 14; Torkel Eveusen, 18; Hans Evensen, 19: Zuirglius 
B. Pierce, 19; Christian Vogt, 20; Miranda Staats. 22: Chas. S. 
Knapp, 28; Marshall Vincent, 29: Miles P. Clark, 31: Daniel M. 
Hall, 32; Frederick W. Dieckmeier. 34. 1874 — Justus K. Dem- 
ing, 2; Thomas Greer, 4; Susan J. Dodge, 4: Walter (_'avin, 6: 
Henry W. Dodge, 8; James Drake, 14: Andr-ew Tlioini)son. 19: 
Casper Hansen, 19; Datis Rector, 20; Thonms (Jlsi-n. 20: Chas. 
H. Nixon, 22: George R. Orcult, 29; Marcus M. Biuk. 29; Ole 
Olsen, 29; Jakob Pederson, 30; Olai Nilson, 30; Nelson S. Read, 
30; Martin Jenson, 30. 1875 — Hugh Cai-son. 6: Ednioud () Tiara. 
8; Nils Peterson. 8; Sophia Bengston, 12; Hernum Reinke, 24: 
Hughgo Worthington, 24: Wilh.dm Sell, 24. 1876— Carl Bleck. 
2; Rudolph Paschke, 2; John N. Palmer, 2: Chas. Dieter. 12: 
^Marguerite Hopi>er, 22; Otto Kiecker, 24. 1877 — James O Ilara. 
6. 1878— August Bleek, 2; John Welch, 8; t^^eorge F. Thane, 14. 
1879— John Hanson. 2. 1881— Adam S. Cristman, 32: Mary 'SI. 
Hopkins, 34. 1883— Daniel O'Xi'il. 6. 1884 — Fi-edrrhdv Strw- 
art, 31. 

Township 115, range 36 (Emmet). The first claim was filed 
1872 by George Ott section 30. 1873 — Loana 'Brien. 8 ; Francis 
M. Crawford, 18; Luuneaus M. Williams, 18; Nelson W. Brooks, 
18; George D. Wilcox, 20; Griffith S. Williams, 22; General L. 
Dodge, 28, 30; Samuel Burnell, 28; James P. Okius, 32; Everett 
Wadsworth, 32 ; Loren A. Brooks, 32. 1874— Thomas Foster, 8 : 
Johnston Lowrey, 24. 1875 — John Dunican, 32 ; ilary Schultz, 
34. 1876 — Adolph Bierman, 6; Gunder Johnson Lee, 10: Deidrick 
Brummer, 20; Charles Pickthorn, 20; Carl Kauuenburg, 26. 
1877— Ole Hanson, 4; John W. Wiley, 18; Henrick Freudenthal, 
20; John Garvay, 22; Patrick Coulahan, 28; Catharine Dunican, 
32. 1878— Charles Rathboue, 4; Peder Johnson, 4; John L. 
O'Brien, 6; John Cole, 8; Ole Siminson, 10; Wilhelm Zachou, 
12 ; Dorotha Naeke, 14 ; Carl Hannemann, 26 ; Henrietta Ros- 
child, 26; Albert Roschild, 26. 1879— John Gunderson Lee, 10; 



niSTOin' OF HFAVII.LK COUNTY 105 

Fredei-ifk Standfurt, 14; William Yock, 14; Julius Di-n/in, 14; 
August Kaatz, 14; Sven Sainuclson Ostjiardcn. 18: Ellen A. Mul- 
downcy, 20; Potcr Foxhbveu, 20; (lottli.'l) Schindi'l, 24. 1880— 
Michael Schiudcl, 2 ; Alfred Syuu's, ti ; George Beiinison, 6 ; 
Carles Zaehou, 12; Ilopley K. Tibbitts. 18; Ilowai-d M. Tibbitts, 
18; John Warner, 22: Frederiek Kraniiii, 24: James Daly, 28; 
William Powers, :i2 : Johaiin Sriiiiiidt, :i4 ; John .I.-ns. 34. 1881 
— David Benson, 6; I'etter Pederson, 8; Ferdinand Droheim, 12; 
Paul llussock, 22. 1882— Frederiek Wieland. 2: Frederiek Lenz, 
10; Carles Hagedurn, 12: Carl Keetz, 22; Timothy :\luldo\vuey, 
28 ; Gottfried Grabou. 28 ; Hans Hottge, :5(). 1883— Keiner Mickel- 
sou, 4; Wilhelmina Zaehou, 12; Joseph Hraniek. 34. 1884 — Ilans 
Hogcnsou Nes, 10: James Foster, 20; Robert .Mid\inl(y, 22. 1885— 
Carl Carlson. 4: Frederiek W, Kottke. 24: Ki-edrriek I'.iitiiihofT, 
26; Bart hold Brnmmer, 30. 

Township 116, range 37 (Erickson). The first elaims in this 
township wei-e tiled b.v Paul Killi on .May 21, 1873, section 20; 
by Tolef Torgerson, July 12, 1873, section 22; by Anton O. 
Gerde, June 7, 1873, section 28; by .Marten P. Dustrudr. Jiiiir 10. 
1873, section 28; by Hans Ijarsen, Septeudjer 17, 1873, section 30; 
by Peter Hansou, .May 24, 1873, section 32. 1874 — .Magloiie Kobi- 
douz. 24. 187o— Ole Hansen, 32. 1.S77— Aid)rey M. Knipht, 2; 
James IF. Wilson. S; Oh' Krederickson. 34. l.'^78 — James 
I\I(djaren. 2: l)a\id L. llowr, A: Fi-ans Kngbretson. 20; Peder 0. 
Gerde, 20: her Hanson. 2S ; .lohn Sc-\-ers(in. 2S ; I'eter Peterson, 
28: Ole Johansen. 30: Hans Larseii, 30; I'eiler O. Dos- 
seth. 30: Ilalvor II. Skonberg, 32: Il.'iiry Paulson, 32; 
Kagnild Wolstad, 32; P<'ter (Inlbi'aiKlseii, 32: Kaicn O. 
Kolberg, 34. 1879 — Ole Ilelgeson l''yre. Is: Hans Han- 
sou, 22; Christian Chi-istolferson. 22; .Martin .iacobscn, 22; 
Lars 0. Milsteii. 22; Ivei- Thompson. 22; ('hi-istian K\cnson, 2(i : 
Peder Flanvicn, 26; Ole <!. Kuestang, 26; Anders Ciulbrandsen, 
26; Charles O. (ierde, 2.S ; Kli Kriekseu, 30; Iver Ol.sen, 30; Kber- 
hart Pederson, 34; Ole Olson, 34. 1880 — Georgia L. \'olengen, 
18; Severt Oleson, 18; Erick 0. Jerdee, 20; Glef Cliristianson, 34. 
1881 — Andrew Erickson, 14: Alphonse Gaii'd. 24; Gabriel 
Osnuuulson, 26. 1882 — lohn Hanson Sin'ljint;'. 14: Tosfen H. 
Wolstad, 14; Krick Hanson, 14; .Anders A. Skjefte, l^: Anders 
Lerohl, 18; Christian Christotfei'sou, 22; John Bi'edeson, 22; 
Louis G. Brisbois, 24; Johan S. Olcsen, 26. 1884 — Peter Sever- 
.sen, 28; Charh's Gerde 2S. 18S.-.— Finger L. Strand. 14. 

Township 114, range 36 (Flora). The first claim in this town- 
ship Avas filed on \o\-eiiiber 6, 1861, by Fii'ilrieli Stolz in section 
3o. No other claim was filetl until after the nuxssacre. The first 
claims after the nuissacre wer<' filed in 1864: Conrad Becker, 
18; Michael Gess, 18; heirs of Paul Kitzman, If); Henry Dryer, 
35. 1865— William Inualls, 22. ISIKI .Anna Lassen. 33. 1867— 



106 IIISTOKV OJ-' KK.WILLE COrXTY 

James W. Graves, 7, 18. 18(39— Edward T. Tillotsoii, 19, '20. 1872 
— Robert W. Davis, 30 ; Henry Engermau, 32 ; Henry Tinuis, 33, 
34; Bert Nichols, 34. 1873— L. M. Williams, 6; George D. Wil- 
cox, 6; Francis Crawford, 6; John Miller, 8; John Larkin, 18; 
Hannah Williams, 18; Griffith S. Williams, 20; William Sperber, 

26, 36; Christian Sperber, 34. 1874- William Jansen, 14: Peter 
Benger, 20; Carles Beckendorf, 20; John Beekeudorf, 20; Erail 
Framm, 24; Joachim Ahrendt, 24; Joseph Fisher, 28; Christian 
Schafer, 28. 1875— David Brown, 8; Oscar J. Shipley, 12; Gus- 
tavus Wanger, 14; Philip Williams, 18; Margaret Bean, 20: Louis 
Schafer, 28. 1876— John O'Brien, 8; James O'Brien. 8; Ferdi- 
nand Di-oheim, 8; Angu.st Uhlig, 22; Fred Stencamp, 22; Herman 
H. Hachman, 22; John Ahrendt, 24; Friedrich Schmidt. 24; 
Heinnieh Knek, 34. 1877 — ]\Iatthias Duniean, 4; Fritz Buck- 
holtz, 14; Henry Thompson. 18; George il. Frey, 20; John Fos- 
ter, 22; William Prodohl, 22; Charles Strong, 27. 1878— Bridget 
Duuican, 4; Elias Scott, 7; Ferdinand Beltz, 8; James H. Mur- 
phy. 10; William Pfaender. 19; Theodore Sehoning, 24; Fred- 
erick Fritz, 26; Julius Brielkrenz, 28. 1880— Thaddeus S. Hatth- 
away, 22; Emil Sehoning, 24; Henry Schafer, 24; James J. Chris- 
tie, 26 ; Leopold Wohlman, 28. 1882 — Augu.st Rauschke, 2 ; Johan 
Grabow, 10. 1883— Thomas Lowrey, 2: Charles Schaffer, 19. 
1884— Carl Laske, 4; John Foster. 27. 

Township 113, range 36 (Flora). The first claims in this town- 
ship were filetl by Spencer La Croix on February 1, 1861, sections 
2 and 3, and by Lilia La Croix on February 1, 1861. sections 2 
and 3. The first claim after the Massacre was tiled by Adam 
Pfeiffer on July 29, 1864, sections 1 and 12'. 186.5— Heirs of 
Wilhelm Schmidt, 2; Charles Lauer, Jr.. 12. 1866— John 
Schaef er, 1 ; Catharine Falkel, 2 ; Anna Lassau, 4 ; Carl vSimondet, 
12; John A. Hack, 13. 1868— Louis Thiele, 1, 12. 1869— Hiram 
Rich, 12 ; Caroline Jefferson. 12. 1870 — Caroline Jefferson, 12. 
1872 — Francis Shoemaker, 1, 2; James Ctaffney, 3. 1873 — Andrew 
Brandon. 2. 1875— Joseph Brown, 1. 1876— John IMcIntosh, 2. 
1879— John Schaefer, 1. 1880— Celia McCormiek. 12. 

Tow^nship 115, range 38 (Hawk Creek). The first claim in 
tliis townsliii) was filed on November 29, 1861, by Joseph Schaffer 
in section 16. He came back and secured land in section 21 in 
1869. No other claim was filed until after the Massacre. The 
first claims after the Massacre wei'e filed in 1867 ; Antoine 
Young, 28. 1868- Louis Kope. 21. 1869 — Joseph Marseh. 21 
22, 27; Maglidore Robideaux, 27. 1870 — Christian Oleson, 5; 
Olavies Hanson, 19 ; Peter Castiue, 35. 1871 — Benjamin F. 
Ingalls, 18 ; Hans Thorsen, 18, 19 ; Ole Olson, 26 ; Holston IL Otos, 

27, 34, 35 ; Louis G. Brisbois, 35. 1872— Isaac S. Earl, 20. 1873— 
Fredrick W. Brash, 8; Peder Simonsen, 8; John Christofersen, 
14; Mons Anderson, 14; Thorwald Hansen, 18; Knudt T. Rud, 20; 



HISTORY OF KKWILLE COUNTY 107 

Lewis Kope, 20; Halver Halverson, 22; Hans Hansen, 22; Ole 
Evenson. 22; Halsten H. Otis, 22; Halver Halgerson, 24: Peter 
Eriekson, 24; Andreas Anderson, 26. 1874— Lars Heudriekson, 
2; Hendrick Anderson, 2; John Hendrickson, 2; Olof Eriekson, 
2; Hendrick Eriekson, 2; Simon Johnson. 4; Paul C. Peterson, 
4; Benjamin X. H.joraa, 4: heirs of Toilet .lolinson, 4; Carl 
Jansson, 6; Magnus Anderson, 6; Haagan Olson Agrc, 10; Peter 
C. Peterson, 10; Karenus Olson Agre, 10; Nils Johnson, 10; Henry 
Henrickson, 12; Adam Jacohson, 14; John Lot', 14; John liing- 
berg, 14; Lars Johnson, 14; Elias Eriekson, 14; Peter Young, 18; 
Hans Christian Christianson, 22; Nils Olson, 24; Ole Hendrickson, 
24; Bertha Stener Jensen, 2G; Anders Berg, 26. 1875— Peter C. 
Peterson, 4; Hans Berge, 4; Erick Pederson, 4; Samuel A. Nord- 
strom, 6 ; Elias M. Lindquist, 6 ; Edward Mattison, 6 ; Ever Matti- 
son, 6; Phebe A. Stowe, 8; Green R. Midford, 8; Ole Mathiasson, 
10; H. Hendrick Skoybei'g, 10; Paul Gudbranson, 10: George 
Bachman, 20; Bernt Hogensen, 24; Helge H. Goodlie. 24; Kettel 
0. Bergan, 26. 1876— Harry Oleson, 24; Hendrick Eliasson, 24. 
1877 — Andrew Carlsson, 12; Andrew Hendrickson, 12; Johana 
Hansen, 22. 1878— Engebret Hansen, 8 ; Nels Elf son, 8 ; Ole Garst- 
son, 12; Gutaf Oleson, 12; Melker Egborn, 12; Andrew C. Hansen, 
Ti; Ai-iit .l(ili;iii Arntseii, 12; Thomas Sturm, 20. I,s7!)— Nils 
Henrickson, 2; Anders (i. Rude, 2; Henry Wilson. 5; Peder 
Simonsen, 8; Christian Fredrickson, 18; Johanna Behnert, 20; 
Ole P. Olson, 26. 1880— Nils Anderson, 10; Joseph Meyer, 17; 
Hans Hansen, 22. 1882— Christopher Hanson, 18. 1SS4— Peter J. 
Myre, 1 ; Anders G. Rund, 1 ; Halver Gregerson, 15; Ole Aslaksen 
Idegarden, 25. 

Township 114, range 38 (Hawk Creek). The first claims in 
this lownsliip wt-n- filed on July 20, 1,S68, by Francis Stay in 
section 1 and by David Carpenter in sections 1 and 2, November 
9. 1868. 1870— Peter Castine. 2. 1871— Lewis G. Brisbois, 2. 
1879— Paul Peterson, 1. 12. 

Township 115, rang-e 32 (Hector). The first claim was filed in 
187.J by Elijah Houek in section 2. 1874 — Charles A. Hamiseh, 
30. 1875— Morris P.. Foster, 26. 1876— John J. Clarkby, 2; Ilen- 
drik J. BloemrudMl, .34. 1877 — Augustus Brandt, 30; Julian S. 
Rowley, 82; James C. Edson, 34. 1878— Allen Parks, 2; Jolin 
Baker, 2; Sauniel S. Kline, 4; Flauel N. Baker, 10; Oscar II. 
Baker. 14: .lolm H. Butler, 20. 1879— Thaddeus S. Benson, 10; 
Charles II. Lamphier, 28: Cleveland T. Hall. 32. 1880- William 
H. Graham, 2; James Cummings, 10; Lawrence Doyle, 18; Wil- 
liams E. Perkins, 30. 1881— Henry W. Hall, 8 ; Kjel Olson, 18 ; 
Franz Adolph Green, 20; Gcoi-ge W. Leasman, 22; Peter Prelvitz, 
26; August Prelvitz, 26. 1882— Chancy Robbins, 2; Joseph 
Harris, 18 ; Samuel U. Hatten, 18 ; William C. White, 22 ; Charles 
Leasman, 24. 1883- Gustav Wolff. 18: James C. Ed.son, 34. 



108 UISTOKV OF RENVILLE COIXTV 

18.S4 — Sauiucl Leighty. (j ; Joliii B. Perkins, :{() : (iiist.-ivns (J. 
•Schmalz. '.i'2. 

Township 114, range 35 (HenryvOle). The first claims in this 
township were tlleil by James S. ('hiipiiian on August 18, 1869, 
section 34; and James W. Butler on November 5, 1869. section 35. 
1870 — Thomas Barkey. 34; Oscar Hodgson, 34. 1871 — (ieorge 
Nicholson, 23; James O'Neil, 26; James O'Neil. Jr.. 27: Kobeit 
Nicholson, 27; Carl Haltz, 33; John O'Neil. 2(i. 1872— David E. 
Smith. 30: Ileni'y J. Seely, 32. 1873 — lohii J. Schoregge. 2; 
Jacob Kri'll. IS; John Swoboda, IS. 28; .lolm Nicholson. 23; 
Patrick Barkey, 27; Friend S. Kinney, 3(J ; Wenzel Swoboda, 
32; Joseph Kartak. 32. 1874 — John Morgan, 12; Anthony Far- 
rell, 24; Joseph ('. :More. .■!2. 1875— Miles Sheerin. 6; Patrick 
O'Neil, 22; Dennis ilorris, 22; Anthony Garrity, 22: ilichael 
Holden, 2G: James Ilolden, 26; Thomas Nemitz, 28; Joseph Shari>, 
32; Elijah E. Comstock, 32; William O'Neil, 34; heirs of Charles 
O'Neil (deceased), 34. 1876 — John Morgan. 12; George J. Nich- 
olson, 23; George i;r<)\\ii. 24; Frank .M. Carlson, 30. 1877 — Gns- 
tavus McClure. 30; John Kelly. 22; James Barkey. 22; Anna W. 
Casey, 28. 1878 — lohn J. Schoregge. 2; Henry Schoregge, 10; 
August Zaske, 18; [Michael (ioliliish, 22. 1879 — Heirs of Barney 
Cunningham. 24; James ('. Doyle. 30. 1880 — Owen Heany, 14; 
ilichael Hean>-. 14. 1881 — Lawi-enee Hctuda. 21; James Barkey. 
22. 1883— Mai-y Dwoishak, 4: Frank Boiida. 4. 18,s4 — Tohn T. 
Kelly, 24; :\Iicliael Gari-ity, 24: Joseph Zeta, 33. 188.',— Willielm 
Kuglin. 20; Jonas J. P.iekel. 20; Fi-ed IIopp. 20. 

Township 116, range 34 (Kingman). The tiist claim in this 
township was tile(l by C. H. Pettit August 2, 1866. section 25. 
1869— F. 1). Hunt. 2; (Jeorge 1^. Wright. 6, 8. 14, 20; Dudley K. 
Johnson. 22. 1877— Aubrey .\1. Knight, 6. 10; isaai- :\Iar.\. 24. 
1878 — James ilcLaren. 14, 22; Henry N. Jones. 20; Erastus Foueh. 
26; John Pfeiffer, 30; Sullivan Adams (guardian), 34. 1880— 
Wallace M. Holbrook, 24. 1881— Setli T. Salter. 2(J. ls,s2— Adel- 
bert N. Wilson, 20; Isaac B. Porter, 24. 1883.— David Coons, 20; 
David Guptil, 30; John Brooten, •')2. 1884 — Sanuiel Anderson, 4; 
John Pfeiffer, 30; Sullivan Adams, 34. 

Township 115, range 33 (Melville). The first claim was filed 
in this to\\'iishi|) on Deceinljer 22. 187(1. by Jauu'S il. Bowler, in 
section 18. 1877 — Ferdinand Steffeii, 18. 1878 — Jessie S. liean. 
4; Charles E. :\Iattison. 18; Newton G. Poor. 18; Doia J. Califf. 
18; Anion McMullen, 32. 1879— George H. Megquiei-. 6. 1880— 
Lehn Hinds, 4; Noniian lli(kok, 8; George H. Raitz. 24. 1881 — 
Henry Hii)|)le. 6; .Matthew S. Rou.se. 10; Philip Kirchiier. 20; 
Ferdinand Wolfi', 20; llerinund (tlson. 20; Fi'aiik Garske. 26; 
Peter 0. IIoagste<i. 28; Ansmeii O. Hoagsted. 34. 1882— Jo.seph 
Daily, 12 ; Sweiiy L. Tiiines, 32. 1883- Edwin W. Wolif. 8 ; Edwin 
B. Wolff, 32; Ole 0. Evenseii, 34. 1884— Harriet G. ilegquier, 6; 



HISTORY OF KENVILLE COUNTY 109 

heirs of Sarali L. Tillotsoii, 6; Henry Hedtka, 14; Jacob Wit'hl, 
14. ISS.'i — Aixlrcw \'ikiiiL's()ii, )!0: Alrxaiiilcr Aiuifrson, 30. 

Township 114, range 32 (Martinsburg) . The first claims in 
this township were filed July 2, 187.!, by William Chalk in sec- 
tion 20. and by Thomas Torbcnson in section 18, October 21, 
1873. 1874 — Winfield S. Jones, 10. 1875 — James Smith, 28. 
1876— Friedrick Schwarz, 24. 1877— Henry Boland, 22. 1878— 
John M. Anderson, IS; Oliver L. Fellows, 30; James Hanna, 32. 
1S79— Johannes Borieson, 30. 1880--William Brown, 28. 1881 
— Samuel Gilbertson, 6; Eli Stone, 8; Luna W. Benson, 14; John 
W. Bartel. 14; William Callahan. 14; Martin Mathison, 18; Hal- 
fuerd Olson, 20; Joiianiies Arneson, 20; John B. Mahon, 22; 
Ferdinand Marquardt. 2(i : Fanner Dodge, 26. 1882— Gilford M. 
Nelson. 12: George Painter, 12; James Tompkins, 30. 1883— 
Albert Painter, 2; Henry Kolder, 4; Sven Pernson, 10; Kasper 
Macheldt, 24; Eugene I. Dodge, 26; Owen H. Rodgers, 34. 
1884 — Jose]ih Aimstrong, 12; Smith Dewers, 14; August 
Krieger. 2(i. 

Township 114, range 34 (Norfolk). The first claim in this 
townsliip was filed on October 7, 1870, by James 0. Toole, in sec- 
tion 26. 1S72— Peter St. Denis, 18. 1873— John W. Perry, 10; 
Darby Rourk, 10 ; John H. Brooks, 14 ; Samuel D. Childs, 26, 34 ; 
Adelmer Price, 28; Michael Gleason, 28; Charles H. Sherwood, 
30, 34; Silas Brooks, 32. 1874— Jerome P. Patten, 4; Edward M. 
Jurin. 4 : Libbens White, 6 ; August St. Denis, 18 ; Levi E. Sher- 
wood, 22: Edward INfahoney, 32. 1875— Calvin G. Hallock, 2; 
Aldin Hassan, 8; George D. Inghram, 20; James Murphy, 34. 
1876 — James White, 6 ; Reinhold Hummel, 6 ; Hiram S. Culver, 
6; :\richael Maloney, 18; Orange F. Warner, 20; William H. 
Anderson. 28. 1877 — Francis Wadenspanner, 2; Rose Connelly, 
12; Milton Nelson, 14; Peter Henry 24; John Stone, 34; Charles 
Bowler, 34. 1878 — Paul Revier, 26 ; .James Powers, 26 ; Dennis 
Murphy, 28; Elbert W. VanOruam, 30; William F. Bowler, 34. 
1879— William Kennedy, 18; John Hogan, 28; Philip Ryan, 80. 
1880— Timothy Kennedy, 28; Ebenezer Cuf!*, 30. 1881— August 
Fernkas, 12. 1882— Waldo Goodell, 14. 1883— Joseph A. May, 
8 ; Martin Stephens, 30 ; Thomas Butterly, 32. 1884 — Peter Hur- 
ley, 24. 1885— Christ Boehme, 10: Jolin Hurley, 24; Thomas 
Brady. 32; Alois Keindl, 22. 

Township 116, range 33 (Osceola). The first claims were 
filed in 1865. William J. Foster, section 27, 28; Thomas Dryden, 
33 and 34. 1866— C. H. Pettit, 13, 15, 17, 19, 23 ; William Pettit, 
19, 21, 25; James A. Beaver, 20; James A. Beaver, 26, 27. 1867 
— Aurelius Foss, 6; Gertrude Rank, 10. 1868 — William Dawson, 
10; Vincent D. Walsh, 14. 1871— Charles 0. Peter, 8; John S. 
Judd, 12. 1873— Ai Laflin, 2; Jeremiah S. Lillie, 4; Franklin 
Beibe, 12. 1876— Charles M. Stevens, 2; Henry J. Stevens, 4; 



110 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

James Luc-as, Jr., 22: ilichael Farreil, 24; James T. Liieas. Sr., 
32 ; Albertiue Wolf, 34. 1877— Charles P. Barnard, 8 ; Micliaella 
de Armes Dueras. 8 ; Lucretia F. Barrett, 8 ; James Rineliart, 22 ; 
Elam L. Ferry, 30; Charles H. Ferry, 30. 1878— James McLareu, 
2, 4; Luther Daily, 22: Benjamin F. Lindsley, 24; William Fulton, 
24; Hamlin V. Poor, 30. 1879— Melville A. Slawson, 18. 1882— 
James A. Thoin, 10; William T. Bower, 32. 1883— Thomas Mar- 
shall, 22. 1884— John A. Vick, 6; James M. Hibbard, 28. 1885— 
Charles Kenning, 18 ; Francis M. Daily, 34. 

Township 115, range 31 (Preston Lake). The first claims in 
this township were hied in the years is.jlj and 1857. October 3, 
1856. section 3, S. T. Darby: October 3, 1856, section 11, J. A. 
Michael; October 3. 1856, sections 14, 15, H. L. Benson; November 
6, 1857, sections 9, 10, Solomon IMorrow. 1862 — Lavinia Engle, 4. 
The first claims taken after the massacre were in 1864 : Oliver 
S. Mnnsell, 25, 26; Simon P. Sowers, 26; Beu.iamin C. Smith, 27; 
Aaron R. Sowers, 27 : Thomas J. Smith, 27, 28. 1865— J. E. and 
H. Thompson, 1, 2: Franklin J. Warren, 2; David Alway, 9; 
Helen E. Savage, 10, 15 ; Philip Shaw, 12 ; William A. Herring, 
12; Robert Alway, 12; William Rosser, 21: Miriam C. Simons, 
22 ; Betsy Miller,' 24 ; Oliver S. Mnnsell, 25. 1866— John B. Down- 
eraud, 1, 6 ; William S. Jackson, 1, 6 ; Albert W. Drake, 2 ; Emma 
L. ]Mnnsell, 5, 6, 19 ; James 0. Hatch, 5, 6, 8, 17 ; Hiram H. Davis, 
7; C. W. Mnnsell, 8, 17, 29: Thomas M. Martin, 13; Lorenzo D. 
Gilbert, 15; James H. Pennell, 18, 19, 31; Levi H. Bartlett, 21, 
22, 28 ; James P. Dimmet, 21 ; Frank C. Griswold, 24 ; John L. 
Root, 30; W. H. Richardson, 35. 1867— Amanda Green, 2, 3; 
Thomas E. Chilson, 4, 9; David Chilson, 9, 10. 1870— William A, 
Herring, 11; Minerva WaiTen, 15; Mary Kearn, 9. 1871 — Robert 
Alway, 8: William Rosser, 14; Ansel A. Lyman. 22. 1872— 
Ansel A. Lyman, 22. 1873 — George W. Hall, 2; George Maddock, 
6: William W. Padden, 12; Eli.jah Honek, 14; George Reeks, 15; 
Levi IL Bartlett, 28 ; Michael Engcl, 30 ; John E. Jones, 32. 1874 
— James A. Washburn, 4: Lyman Carr, 14; Henry F. Bartlett, 
22. 1875— Allison Houck, 14; William Brickey, 18; Amos B. C. 
Douglass, 30. 1876— Francis Maddock, 8; Henry L. Hawes, 24; 
Gilbert H. Hawes, 24; Curtis Rowen, 30. 1877— George W. 
Braley, 10; John Borden, 20; Eldridge E. Champlin, 24; Charles 
W. Zarnkee, 30. 1878— James McLaughlin. 34; Sylvanus H. Kel- 
log, 14. 1879— Mons Monson, 30; Erastus Jenkins, 13. 1880— 
William Matzdorf, 20. 1883— John L. Kelderhouse, 32; Sarah E. 
Robinson, 32 ; Frederick Gerber, 18 ; John E. Lewis, 18. 

Township 114, range 33 (Palm3rra). The first claims in tliis 
townsJiip were filed in 1873 by Tliomas Dougherty in section 18; 
Bringel Tollifson in section 4, and John King in section 32. 1874 
— David L. Green, 32. 1875 — Aubin Tollifson, 4; Nels Ericson, 
4; Eric Ericson. 8. 1876 — Ammon Tollifson. 10; Solomon Berg- 



IIlSTOin' OK RKX\II,LK CorXTV 111 

man, 22 ; Gustaf Anderson, 24 ; Per Anderson, 24 ; Karl Anderson, 
24; George Carney, 32; Jolni B. Anderson, 34; Andrew Jorgon- 
son, 34. 1877 — Lewis J. Tinnes, 6; Sven Iverson Gjerald, 12; 
Anton Christianson, 14; Alexander Johansen, 14; Ole A. Erick- 
son, 14; Torkild Gronnerud, 20; .Tohaiies Eriksou, 20; Carl ITokan- 
son, 22; Swen Alil, 22; Anton F. Jensen, 24; Johan B. Joluuison, 
26; John Anderson, 26; Andrew Larson, 26; Denis Lordan, 32. 
1878— Lafe Lavcssoii, 8; Gilbert Matheson, 12; John Pederson, 
20; John iMagnus Blad, 22; Analina Anderson, 34. 1879 — Ole 
Knutson, 22 ; Torris Jaeobson, 22 ; Nelson Reed, 28. 1880— Peter 
Erickson, 18; John F. Johnson, 24. 1881— Stork Eriekson, 8; 
Carl A. Mork, 10; Peter Erieson, 18; John A. Johnson, 26; Ole 
Halverson, 30. 1882 — Elias M. Erieson, 14 ; Lorens Erickson, 20 ; 
John Oleson, 30; Christopher Danielson, 32. 1883— John Peder- 
son, 12; Christian Jolmson, 30. 1884 — Ole Tinnes, 6. 1885— Ole 
C. Nordskog, 18. 

Township 115, range 37 (Sacred Heart). Tlic first claiin in 
tills tcwii.sliiiJ was iiiadi' June i), 1S71. by (.>lt' 1!. Dalii, section 32. 
1873— Nicholas M. Nelson, 12; William Tillisch, 26; John Hang,- 
28 ; Peter G. Peterson, 30 ; Carrie Johannesou, 32 ; Gilbert Syver- 
son, 32. 1874 — Ole P. Rice, 20; heirs of Sophia Peterson, 26; 
Anders Danelson, 34; Peter Siui(li|iiist, 34; Lars Jolian Berg, 34; 
Nils Nilson. 34; Ilendriek Persson, 34; Eriek Erickson, 34. 1875 
— Hendrick Hendriekson, 6; John Erickson, 6; Thomas Olson, 
6; Hendrick Olson, 6; Paul Erickson. IS; Johan VV. Rise, 22; 
Ole S. Manrnd, 22; August W. Rise, 22; Ingeburd Peterson, 22; 
Stephen Olson, 26; Johan Olson, 26; Anders Jouasson, 26; Mareni 
Anders Hognes, 26; Ole Johanesson, 28; Enibert Einerson. 28; 
Jacob Gaudnuison, 30; Eric Gnnderson, 30; Ole Olson. 30. 1876 
— Ole Anderson, 12; John Oleson, 14; Kari Rise, 20; ilarn 
Weimer, 22; Ole Sorensen, 24; Christina Lundquist, 34. 1877 — 
Carl Hansen, 2; Ilalvor Hanson, 4; Ole Christophson, 6; Hendrick 
Hendriekson, 6; James Hanson, 8; Johan II. Nordl)y, 14; Simon 
Peterson. 14; lirent Christensen, 20; Christian Christensen, 20; 
Ole Erickson. 22; John l'.cr>rqnist, 22; John M. Ilolmberg, 24; 
Jones (irand, 24; Carl O. Ilolmberg, 24; P. J. Petterson, 24; 
Ole Nelson, 28; Peter Cliristenson. :!(); Clnistoplin- Oleson, .30; 
Ole Christopherson, 30; John Suiuhiiiist. 34. 1878 — llalver Chris- 
tensen, 8; Hans (). Field, 8; Hans Halverson, 8; Knud Olsen Boe, 
10; Abraham Larson, 10; Tobias Hanson, 10; Lars Frederiekson, 
10; Charles C. Jolmson, 10; Ole S. Ostagaard, 12; Ilaagan Haa- 
gansen. 14; Ever Gnnderson, 18; Paul Erickson, 18; Anders 
Anderson. 18; Erick Johnson, 18; John Johnson, 18; Andrew 
Halverson, 18; Halver Christensen, 18; Brede Christensen, 20; 
John Peterson, 20 ; Henry Hendriekson, 20. 1879 — Gulick Nilson, 
2; Knndt Nilson, 2: Knud Asmundson, 4; Ole Syverson Eng, 8; 
H. Iloganson. 18; Josejih Anderson. 24; Paul Erickson, 24; 



112 IITSTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

Frederick Selirader, 2G ■ Ole Olsen, 31 ; ilaria Johnson, 32 ; Peter 
Oslie, 32: Kittil Giilliekson, 32. 1880— Aslaek Asmundson, 4; 
Guuneriiis Martinson, 8; Bersvend S. Hagen, 8; Ole Amundsen, 
12 ; John Johnson. 14 : Jolin Hang, 28 ; Ole Johaneson, 28 ; Hendrik 
Berg. 28. 1881— Peter B. Olson, 12; Ole Anderson, 12; Berger 
Skjonneson. 14. 1882— Ole Olson. 4. 1883— Peter Oleson, 2; 
Fiiig.'r ( liristopherson, 4 ; Ole Syverson Eng. 8. 1885 — Majestina 
Swansnn, 2. 

Township 114, range 37 (Sacred Heart). Tlie first claim was 
filed in 1868 by Francis Stay, in section 6. 1870 — John 0. Paine, 
12, 13. 18(59- Thor Helgeson. 5; Dortus L. Green, 8; Chris- 
tianson Charleston, 8; William F. Van Deyer, 13; Christian Gort- 
ter. 13; Daniel Ames, 24. 1871— Helick Olson, 5; Thomas Olson, 
T); Oj,. B. Dahl. .">: Bartel Larson. 6; Ole Heliekson, 6, 7; Thomas 
Ilaivorson, 7. S: Ole S. Rei.shus, 6. 1872 — Samuel Burnell, 12. 
1873 — Herman Halvorson, 4 ; Christian Christenson, 6 ; Iver Iver- 
son, 6 : German P. Green. 8 ; Dortns L. Green, 8 ; Nelson W. 
Brooks, 12; Loanna O'Brien, 14; William Beckman, 14; James 
P. Okens, 14: Charlotte Okeus, 14; Alfred P. Hale, 14; John Nor- 
man, 14. 1874 — Jonue Enestvedt, 10; Nellie Enestvedt. 10; Wil- 
liam Jan.sen. 12; Samuel Daniell, 14; Turae Horganson. 22. 1875 
— Gunder Sorenson, 2 ; Thor Sorenson, 2 ; Christian Olson, 2 ; Ole 
Olson, 2: John Olson, 2; John Beckman, 2; Peder Olson. 10; 
Phebe Brooks, 12. 1876— P^mma Wilson, 2; Nils Christian Emil 
Lilleby, 12 ; James P. Okens. 14 ; Peter Thommesson, 22. 1877— 
Hans Peter Olson Lillejord, 4; Andres Samuelson, 4; Mathias 
Sanuielson. 4; Peter Peterson, 4; Lars Erickson, 4. 1878 — Eliza- 
beth Peterson, 2; Annie L\ind, 10; Charles G. Johnson. 12. 1879 
— Mikkal Haagensen, 4; Nels Olsen, 4; Peter Martenson, 9; Ole 
0. Enstvedt. 10, 15 ; Ole Anderson, 22. 1880— Peder Gunderson, 
4: Lars Pederson, 10; Lars Larson Rude, 22; Halver Anderson, 
22 ; Eriek Nielson, 24. 1884— Annie Tostenson. 5. 1885— Maria 
Johnson. 5. 

Township 115, range 35 (Troy). The first claim was filed in 
1873 by David R. Culver in section 22. 1874— Jonathan White, 
24. 1875— Henry Luscher, 8; James L. White, 22. 1877— Iva J. 
Everson. 14; Amos Casey, 32. 1878— Jotham W. Hodsdon, 14; 
Orrin E. Buxton, 14; Thomas H. Risinger, 22; Charles Waldo, 
24; Peter Miller, 24: Dennis Plaley, 26; August Schendel, 30. 
1879— Paul Seeger, 18; James Heaney, 34. 1880— Jotham W. 
Hodsdon, 14: Wilhelm Reck, 20; Ferdinand Fritz, 32. 1881— 
John E. W. Peterson, 2; Gustav Reick, 20; Frank Heaney, 26; 
Joseph B. Converse, 28. 1882— Frank McCormick, 6; Andrew 
McCormiek, 6; James Flanuegan, 26; Herman Fritz, 32; Fred- 
erick Fritz, 32. 1883— Pear Olson, 2; R. Peter Peterson, 12; 
Michael Glenn, 26; Johnston W. Dowry, 30. 1884 — Benjamin F. 
Bvers, 6 : Robert Stelter. 18 ; William Sehoregge, 34. 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 113 

Township 113, range 32 (Wellington). The first claim on this 
towjisliip was tiled by Willis W. Coiuitryiiiiui .September 20, 1872, 
seetiou '62. 1873 — Denis Creadj^ 30; William Chalk, 32. 1874 — 
William Fahey, 18. 1875— Marshall Blodget, 2 ; John Garihy, 32. 
1876— Ellen Maloue, 30; Jolin Murphy, 34. 1878— Edward 
Hauua, 6; Ferdinand Hiuzman, 14; August Fritz, 14; Patrick 
Fahey, 18: James Larkin, 28; Patrick Larkin, 28. 1881 — Albert 
Kieeker, 22; William Carson, 22; Michael Coleman, 28. 1882— 
Bernhard Helwig, 12; Patrick Larkin, 28; Julius Sell, 34; Wil- 
helm Maneke, 2 ; Fritz Maneke, 2 ; Wilhelm Freyholtz, 24. 1883 
—Karl Hillmaini, 10; Julius Kieeker, 10; Peter Schoffka, 12; Her- 
man Kieeker, 26. 1884 — Edward Rodgers, 6 ; Fredrick Kieeker, 
10 ; James Ruddy, 20 ; Carl Baldwan, 26 ; William Borth, 34. 

Township 116, range 35 (Winfield). The first claim was filed 
in this township ou April 17, 1869, by Christian Michael in sec- 
tion 18. 1870- F. A. Atwater, 18. 1877— Friedrich Zinne, 28; 
Carl Ileuuing, 30. 1878— Eriek Lindquist, 2; Tidemand T^rick- 
son, 4; Nils A. Nilsou, 14; Ulrick Julson, 14. 1879 — John Erick- 
son, 2 ; John Snickare, 22. 1880 — Jul Ulrickson, 4 ; D. John John- 
son, 22; Falkert Hendricks, 30. 1882- Hans P. Olson, 22; Ole 
Julsen, 24. 1883 — Gustav Herrmann, 30; George P. Wilson, 32. 
1884 — Kristina Anderson, 22; John M. Anderson, 26; Emanuel 
Palinlund, 26; Ferdinand Zinne, 28. 1885- Fritz Dietmau, 20; 
John Ki-thor, 32. 

Township 116, range 35 (Winfield). The first claims were 
filed in 1869. Christian ilichael, section 18; W^illiam Biiethe, 
section 32; James T. Knaui', section 34; Peter N. Nystroni, sec- 
tion 34; Ferdinand Herrmann, section 34. 1870 — F. A. Atwater, 
18. 1877— Friedi'iek Zinne, 28; Carl Henning. 30. 1878— Eriek 
Lindquist, 2: Eriek Erickson, 2; Tidemand Ulrickson, 4; Nils A. 
Nilson, 14 ; Ulrick Julson, 14. 1879 — John Erickson, 2 ; John 
Sniekai'e, 22. 1880— Jul Ulrickson, 4; D. John Johnson, 22; 
Falkert Henricks, 30. 1882— Hans P. Olson, 22; Erik Jansou, 22; 
Andro Erickkson, 22; Ulrick Julson, 24. 1883— Gustav Herr- 
mann, 30; George P. Wilson, 32. 1884— Kristina Anderson, 22; 
John M. Andei'son, 26 ; Emanuel Palmund, 26 ; John Miller, 26 ; 
Ole Hedberg, 26; Anders Renstrom, 26. 1885 — Fritz Dietman, 
20; Carl Hennin<r. 30: John Kcther. 32. 

Township 116, range 38 (Wang). The first claims on this 
township were filed by Ingebraa J. Osnes November 1, 1871, sec- 
tion 30, and Christian Engbertson, July 10, 1871, section 33. 1873 
— Andrew Anderson, 32 ; Hans Olsen, 33 ; Andrew E. Rogen, 34 ; 
Ole Thomason, 2; John Brown, 6. 1874 — Sever Christopherson, 
6. 1875— Edgar Lampraan. 4; Gilbert Johnson, 34. 1876— Wil- 
liam J. Smith, 6; Ole Ackerland, 18; Ole Oleson, 18; Lars Eng- 
bretson, 20 ; Jens Christopherson, 20 ; Isaac Abrahamson, 20 ; 
Jjii'ol) Hanson, 20; Tver Nystuen. 26; P. A. Stmborg. 26. 1877 — 



114 HISTORY OF KEXVILLE COUNTY 

Ole H. Husebye, 4: Ole H. Holin. 1S7S— Knizd Anderson, 6; Ole 
Christopherson, 10; Hans Johnson, 12; Sj'A'ertli Gattornusen, 14; 
Christian Jonseu, 20; Lorutz Peterson, 20; Halvor Sibilrud, 20; 
Thomas Henreksou, 26; Mathias Magnusen, 32; Christian Evan- 
son, 34. 1879 — Anders 0. Etton, 4; Christopher Ilutchins. 6; 
Ingelbi-eckt Thomson, 8; Hans Anderson, 10; Ole 0. Belsem, 10; 
John Thor, 12; 0U> K. Williams, 12; Fosten Olson, 14; Knnd 
Knudson, 14; Elling Johnson, 14; Christian Arestad, 18; Halvor 
A. Skjoggerud, 20 ; Christian Olsen, 21 ; Lai's Gunderson, 22. 
1879— Thomas Christofferson, 22; Christian Toegersen, 28; Ole 
Erickson, 28 ; Charl Pettersen, 28 ; Ole E. Rogu, 28 ; Ole Elefson, 
32 ; Peter Johnson, 32 ; Eudre E. Rogen, 34. 1880— Lars J. Fryk- 
hmd, 12 ; Eriek Eriekson, 12 : Ole O. Strand, 12 ; Helge Evanson, 
14 ; Jens Olson, 22 ; Andrew Helgeson, 24 ; Anders Thomason 
Kjersten, 26; Gnllick Helgesen, 30: Loruts J. Romoe, 30; Knud 
Anderson, 34. 1881 — Thom Einghrieuson, 8 ; Andrew Anderson, 
10. 1882— Ole 0. Groo, 4; Ole Nelson, 10; John Peterson, 10; 
Thi-ond (X Kattevold. 18; Everet M. Strand. 22. 1883— Andrew 
T. Ellingboe, 4; Thrond I. Elliugboe. 4: George C. Ileon. 8: Cliris- 
topher Gulbranson, 8. 

CHAPTER IX. 
CAUSES OF THE OUTBREAK. 

Early Friendship — Dissatisfaction with Treaties — Unjust Treat- 
ment — Inkpadoota Massacre — Officials Demand that Indians 
Capture Renegades — Little Crow to the Rescue — Delayed 
Payments in 1862 — Indians Starving — Stupidity of Agent — 
Indians Turbulent — March and Sheehan to the Rescue. 

The Sioux outbreak was the culmination of a long series of 
injustices toward the Indians on the part of the whites. De- 
bauched, defrauded, degraded; forced by fear of the strength of 
the whites, and by misrepresentations, to dispose of their lands ; 
herded together on reservations; treated by the whites as half- 
witted children, cheated by the traders and starved by the stu- 
pidity of high olBcials at Washington, who, in addition to the 
unfair provisions of unjust treaties, imposed additional con- 
ditions ; the Indians, knowing the revenge that the whites would 
take for a murder already committed by some renegade braves, 
arose in their might, and for a time nearly succeeded in regaining 
their hereditary holdings. 

The relations of the Sioux Indians to the white trespassers 
on their lands were of a friendly nature from the time of the 
arrival of the first white explorer. Adventurers and traders 
came and went at Avill. The French, true to their policy, made 



HISTORY OF KFA\I1.LK (orXTV 115 

friends M-itli the Sioux, ;iii(l the English folh)\vod tlieir example. 
So deep "was the friendship existing between the Sioux and the 
British that they fought side by side in the Revolutionary War 
and in the War of 1812. 

With the people of the United States the Sioux wore no less 
tolerant, and until the great outbreak they remained faithful 
to the obligations of the treaty they made witli Zebulon M. Pike, 
in ISO.'), -n-itli the exception already mentioned of a short period 
iluring tlie War of 1812, -when the Sioux, knoM'ing little of the 
Americans, ami remembering their many obligations to the 
English, took up arms in bi'half of the Briti.sh king. Even dur- 
ing that period Red Wing's band remained loyal to the Stars and 
Stripes. 

There were, of course, isolated cases in which individual Sioux 
warriors wrought revenge for injuries received, just as there 
are illegal acts committed in civilized white communities. The 
despoiling of the French adventurers who, naked and bruised, 
songlit shelter in LeSueur's fort near Mankato in the winter of 
1700-01; the murder of Pagonta, "the Mallard Duck," at Men- 
dota by Ix-ka-tai)ay in 1761 ; the murder of the two cattle drovers 
by a few wild Sisseton Sioux near Big Stone lake in 1846; the 
killing of Elijah S. Teriy by men of the same tribe near Pem- 
bina in 1852; the shooting in October of the latter year of Mrs. 
Keener by Zv-yali-se were offenses in Avhich the Sioux as a nation 
had no part, for which the perpetrators only were responsible. 
In fact the Sioux boasted up to the time of the outbreak that 
never in all history had a white man been injured in the Sioux 
country with the approval of the Sioux as a people. 

Gradually, however, discontent grew up between the Indians 
and the whites, though an outward friendli)iess was maintained. 
The real causes of the final outbreak were the Treaties of 1851. 
The Sioux did not want to give uj) theii- land. They desired to 
live as they had lived through the countless centuries. In signing 
the treaties which relinquished their lands and condemned them- 
selves to a practical im])i'is(>iiiiiiiit on a reservation, the Sioux 
were bowing to the iiii'vitablc. 

Probably if tlir ti'caties luid inri'cly providi'd for 1hr ti'ansfer 
of their lands to the whites for a certain amount and the amount 
had been jiaid the Indians would have made the best of a bad 
bargain and on tlnii' reservations they might as time progressed 
have worked out their own |irol)l<Mii. lint tlierc were iiian,\' other 
provisions in tlie treaties. 

By the treaty of Traverse des Sioux, dated -Inly -I'.i, 1851, 
between the United States and the Sissetons and Wapatons, 
•$275,000 were to be paid their chiefs, and a further sum of 
$30,000 was to be expended for their- benefit in Indian imi)rove- 
ments. B.v the treaty of .Mendota. dated Augu.st 5, 1851, the 



116 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

I\[icla\\akantons and "\Vai)akiitas were to receive the sum of 
$200,000. to be paid to their chief, aud for an improvement fund 
the further sum of $30,000. Annuities were also to be paid for a 
certain number of years. The several sums, which were to 
become payable when the Indians reached their reservations, 
amounting in the aggregate to $555,000. These Indians, to whom 
they were payable, claimed they were never paid, except, per- 
haps, a small portion expended in improvements on tlie reserva- 
tions. They became dissatisfied, and expressed their views in 
council freely with the agent of the government. 

In 1857, the Indian department at Washington sent out Major 
Kintzing Priehette, a man of great experience, to inqiiire into the 
cause of this disaffection towards the government. In his report 
of that year, made to the Indian department. Major Pricliette 
says : 

"The complaint which runs through all their councils i^oints 
to the imperfect performance, or iion-fulfillment of treaty stipu- 
lations. Wlietlier tliese were well or ill foimded it is not my 
l^roviuce to discuss. That such a belief prevails among them, 
impairing their confidence and good faith in the goverinnent, 
cannot be questioned." 

In one of these councils Jagmani said : "The Indians sold tlieir 
lands at Traverse des Sioux. I say what we were told. For fifty 
years they were to be paid $50,000 per annum. We were also 
promised $305,000, and that we liave not seen." ]\Iapipa Wieasta 
(Cloud jMau), second chief of Jagmani "s baud, said: "At the 
treaty of Traverse des Sioux, $275,000 Avere to be paid tliem when 
they came upon their reservation ; they desired to know what had 
become of it. Every white man knows that thej' have been five 
years upon their reservation, and have yet heard nothing of it." 
When the treatment of the Indians became widely known tlie 
government coi;ld iio longer cover up the matter and decided to 
appoint Judge Young to investigate the charges made against 
the governor, of the tlien Minnesota territory, then acting, ex- 
officio, as superijitendent of Indian affairs for that locality. Some 
short extracts from Judge Young's report are here presented: 

"The governor is next charged witli having paid over the 
greater part of the money, appropriated under the fourth article 
of the treaty of July 23 and August 5. 1851. to one Hugh Tyler, 
for payment or distribution to the 'traders' and 'half-breeds,' 
contrary to the wislies and remonstrances of the Indians, and in 
violation of law and the stipulations contained in said treaties; 
and also in violation of his own solemn pledges, personally made 
to them, in regard to said payments. 

"Of $275,000 stipulated to be paid under tlie first clause oi 
the fomth article of the treaty of Traverse des Sioux, of July 
24, 1851. the sum of $250,000 was delivered over to Hugh Tyler, 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY • 117 

by tlie tijovurnor, for distribution aiiu)U!| the 'traders and "liall'- 
breeds, ' according to the arrangeraeut made by the schedule of 
the Traders' Paper, dated at Traverse des Sioux, July 23, 1851." 
(This "vvas the paper which the Indians declared they were told 
Avas merely another copy of the treaty. — Ed.) 

"For this large sum of money, Hugh Tyler executed two 
receipts to the governor, as the attorney for the 'traders' and 
'half-breeds;' the one for $210,000 on account of the 'traders,' 
and the other for .$40,000 on account of the 'half-breeds;' the 
first dated at St. Paul, December 8, 1852, and the second at Men- 
dota, December 11, 1852." 

"And of the sum of $110,000, stipulated to be paid to the 
Medawakantons, under the fourth article of the treaty of August 
5, 1851, the sum of $70,000 was in like manner paid over to the 
said Tj'ler, on a power of attorney executed to him by the traders 
and claimants, under the said treaty, on December 11, 1852. The 
receipts of the said Tyler to the governor for this money, $70,000, 
is dated at St. Paul, December 13, 1852, making together the sum 
of $320,000. This has been shown to have been contrary to the 
wishes and remonstrances of a large majority of the Indians." 
And Judge Young adds: ''It is also believed to be in violation 
of the treaty stipulations, as well as the law making the appro- 
priations under them." 

These several sums of money were to be paid to these Indians 
in o]nm council, and soon after they were on their reservations 
provided for them by the ti-eaties. In these matters the report 
shows the}' were not consulted at all, in ojjen council ; but on the 
contrary, that arbitrary divisions and distributions were made 
of the entire fund, and their right denied to direct the manner in 
which they should be appropriated. (See Acts of Congress, 
August 30, 1852.) 

The Indians claimed, also, that the third section of the act 
was violated, as by that section the appropriations therein referred 
to, should, in everj' instance, be paid directly to the Indians them- 
selves, to whom it should be due, or to the tribe, or part of the 
tribe, per capita, "unless otherwise the imperious interests of 
the Indians or some treaty stipulation should require the payment 
to be made otherwise, under the direction of the president.'-' 
This money was never so paid. The report further states that a 
large sum, "$55,000, was deducted by Hugh Tyler by way of 
discount and percentage on gross amount of payments, and that 
these exactions were made both from traders and half-breeds, 
without any previous agreement, in many instances, and in such 
a way, in some, as to make the impression that unless they were 
submitted to, no payments would be made to such claimants at 
an." 

And, finally the report says, that from the testimony it was 



118 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

evident that the money was not paid to the chiefs, either to the 
Sisseton, Wapatou or Medawakantoii bands, as they in open 
council requested ; but that they were eouipelled to submit to this 
mode of laayment to the traders, otherwise no payment woidd be 
made, and the money would be returned to Washington ; so that 
in violation of law they were compelled to comply with the gov- 
ernor's terms of payment, according to Hugh Tyler's power of 
attorney. 

The examination of this complaint, on the part of the Indians, 
by the Senate of tlie United States, resulted in "whitewashing"' 
the governor of Minnesota (Governor Alexander Ramsey), yet 
the Indians were not satisfied w^ith the treatment they had 
received in this matter by the accredited agents of the govern- 
ment. 

Neither were the Indians satisfied wtili the annual payments. 
They had desired that they receive the money promptly and in 
cash. Instead they received part of it in provisions, which gave 
the whites many opportunities for taking advantage of them, 
the market value of the provisions never being equal to the 
amount which was taken out of the Indian fund to pay for them. 
The Indians rightfully felt that they should be given the iiioney 
and allowed to do the purchasing themselves. 

Then, too, a certain amount of the money due the Indians 
each year was devoted to a "civilization fiuid," that is, for 
agency expenses, erecting ageney buildings, jiaying agents, teach- 
ers, farmers, missionaries and the like, thus making another 
drain on an already small sum. The Indian cotdd not view with 
calmness the luxury in which the whites were living on money 
which rightfully belonged to the Indian, while the Indian him- 
self was living in utmost jioverty, shut oft' from the rich sweeps 
of land where he had formerly received his sustenance. 

The action of the govci-nment in regard to the Inkpadoota 
massacre, so called, added force to tiie smouldering dissatisfac- 
tion. The Indians guilty of this tragedy were formerly nunnbers 
of Sioux liands, but their own acts, in many eases murder of com- 
panions and relatives, had shut them off from their owni people, 
so at the time of the 1S.')7 outrage they were renegades, outlaws, 
whose crimes against their own kinsmen had been such that the 
Sioux had driven them forth to wander the prairies like savage 
wolves, hated alike by Indian and Caucasian. 

For many years they were in constant trouble with the whites, 
their outlaw acts being many and black, though the authorities 
took no action against them. Sometimes, however, an outraged 
white settler visited summary ])unisliuient on his own account 
without waiting for tlie authorities. 

Early in ilareh, IS.'iT, Inkpadoota 's band of outlaws stole 
some horses and sleds from some settlers on the Little Sioux river, 



HISTORY OF REWiLLE COT^NTY 119 

aud oil Mart'li 8 coiiiiiieiiced their awl'ul slaughter on Lake 
Okoboji, in Dickinson county, Iowa. Spirit lake is connected 
with this lake by open straits, and though only one man was 
actually murdered on the hanks of Spirit lake the affair is usually 
called the Spirit lake massacre. 

March 26 came the massacre at Spriiigtield, in what is now 
Brown county, this state. Iiikpadoota, whose force consisted of 
but twelve fighting men, in addition to women and children, was 
pursued by several companies of soldiers. Many innocent Indians 
were fired upcn and maltreated, but Iiikpadoota was not cap- 
tured. 

In June came the time for the annual payments to the Indians 
at the agency. When the Indians gathered there to receive their 
money they were told that no payments would be made unless 
they (the Indians) should go out and capture lukpadoota. This 
command was made on the order of Indian Commissioner J. W. 
Denver. To the stupidity and stubbornness of this man Denver, 
Minnesota owes its Indian massacre of 1862. "Wise men in the 
territory suggested that the people of the territory be allowed 
to raise a troop of soldiers and go after Inkpadoota, supported 
by a detachment of cavalry. But these men were promjitly told 
by Secretary of War Floyd aud Commissioner Denver that no 
suggestions were desired and that the officials at Washington 
would handle the affair as they saw fit. 

Thus the weeks passed while the Indians endured untold suf- 
ferings of illness and starvation. They saw their wives and chil- 
dren hunger and sicken and die. The grasshoppers were eating 
up their garden produce and their corn fields and truck fields 
were spoiling of neglect M'liile they waited at the agency for the 
money that a great government owed them. And this great 
government, whose own well-armed and well-equipped troops 
had failed to caj)ture a small band of tw(>lv(> iiicii, though at one 
time only a few miles away from them, demanded that the starv- 
ing Sioux awaiting their payments arm and equip themselves 
and capture these outlaws, in whose doings they had no part and 
no interest. 

"Give us our annuities first, so that Ave can eat, and we will 
go after Inkpadoota," said many of the Indians. "The treaty 
I signed at Traverse des Sioux said our money would be paid us 
regularly, and nothing was said about our having to go out and 
bring in those who had killed white people. Ne-manka-Ha-yu- 
sha" (.skin your own skunk) . Thus spoke Chief Red Iron. Super- 
intendent Culh^n and Agent Flandran could only reply that they 
were acting under orders from Commissioner Denver and must 
obey him. But CuUen's heart was not in the work; he sent an 
agent, a Mr. Bowes, down to Dunleith, Illinois, then the nearest 
telegraph station to ^liniiesota, so that speedy communication 



120 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

could be had -with Washington, and he telegraphed Denver, 
repeatedly urging a repeal, or at least a modification of the 
obnoxious order, -nhich Cullen and Flandrau were as loth to 
enforce as the Indians -were unwilling to execute. But Denver 
was obdurate, and Secretary Floyd was haughtily indifferent. At 
last Cullen and Flandrau appealed to Little Crow to help them. 
They assured him that their superiors were determined that 
before the annuities were paid the peaceable Indians must pursue 
and destroy, or capture, Inkpadoota and all his band. If the 
Indians persisted in their refusal to do what was required there 
was the greatest danger of a bloody war between them and the 
whites, and nobody knew that better than Little Crow. He was 
asked to set an example by furnishing fifty men from his own 
bands for the expedition against the outlaws, and to command 
the expedition himself. "Your band shall first be furnished with 
abundant supplies," said Major Cullen. The chief at once con- 
sented, and visited the other chiefs and bauds to induce them to 
join him. 

On the eighteenth another council was held relative to the 
exjjedition against Inkpadoota. Cullen, Flandrau, Special Agent 
Pritcliette and Major Sherman represented the whites. A num- 
ber of new bright colored blankets and a fat beef were presented 
to each band for a feast. The Indians decided to undertake the 
expedition, with Little Crow in command, and no wiiite trooi^s 
to go. 

The lu^xt day, Sunday, July 19, the Lower Indians set out to 
join the Upper Indians at Yellow Medicine, and from that agency 
on the Wednesday following the entire party marched, Little 
Crow in command. ]\Iajor Cullen sent his interi^reter, Antoine 
Joseph Campbell, and three other half-breeds, John and Baptiste 
Campbell and John ilooers. The entire party numbered over 
one hundred men — IMajor Cullen says one hundred and thirty- 
one; Joe Campbell reported one hundred and six. I\Iajor Sher- 
man furnished a wagon laden with i^rovisions. drawn by six 
mules. 

The expedition set out for Skunk lake — now called Madison 
lake — about forty miles west of the Red Pipestone Quarry, in 
what is now Lake county, South Dakota. Joe Campbell kept 
a daily journal of the expedition, and from his itinerary, pub- 
lished with the superintedent's report, it is learned that two days 
after leaving Yellow Medicine the party reached Joseph Brown's 
trading post on the head of the Redwood ; here Glittering Cloud 
was elected conductor or guide of the expedition. The next day 
they encamped at the village of Lean Bear, head soldier of the 
Sleepy Eye band. Then via the "Hole in the Mountain," and 
Crooked river, the expedition reached Skunk lake on the after- 
noon of Julv 28 and found the outlaws. Meanwhile the outlawed 



IIISTOKV OF HKWILLE (OrXTV 121 

baiiil had quarreU'd aiul st'paratoil. Jiikpadoota and tliree other 
M-ari'i()rs, with a imiubfi' of woiiioii and tdiildren. had gone far 
to the westward. The otiier eiglit figliting men, with nine women 
and tliirteen cliildreu, had come eastward and encamped at 
Skunk lake, where there were dneks and fish in abundance. They 
occui)ied six lodges, which were distributed along the lake shore 
for three miles. The advance of Little Crow and his party had 
been discovered, and all the lodges had been deserted, and their 
ipmates had fled to another lake twelve or fifteen miles to the 
westward, then called by the Indians Big Driftwood lake, and 
now called Lake Herman. Little Crow had a mounted advance 
guard of seventeen men led by himself. They overtook the fugi- 
tives crossing the lake, and after a short parley commenced 
shooting, firing into an<l across the lake until the fugitives were 
far out of range. In all three women, three men and three chil- 
dren of the Inkpadootas were killed. It was never known or 
cared M'hether or not the women and children were killed delib- 
erately. 

Upon the return of Little Crow and his force with the two 
women ])risoners, one of them the widow of Shifting "Wind, who 
had been killed, they were notified that perhaps they had not 
done enough to secure the payment of their annuities ; the author- 
ities at Washington must decide. Commissioner Denver at first 
order(>(l that the payment and issue of supplies should be with- 
held until Little Crow should again go out and scour all the 
western country until he had destroyed the remaindrr of lukpa- 
doota's band. The representations and protestations of Super- 
intendent Cullen and of the department's special agent, Major 
Kintzing Pritehette, could not change the unreasonable and stub- 
born connnissioner. Little Crow and party returned to the 
agencies August 3. They and their women and children con- 
tinued to go hungry, as the sui)erintendent said, until about 
September, when, during Denver's absence from "Washington, 
Acting Commissioner Charles T. Mix directed Superintendent 
Cullen to make the payment and issue the supplies. Denver's 
unwise and unjust course was to have its effect five years later. 
The treaty of 1858 was not pleasing to the majority of the 
Indians. It was made at Washington by a few Indians picked 
by the white men for that purpose, and the braves declared that 
those who made the treaty had no authority to give away the 
Indian lands M'ithont the consent of the Indians as a whole. 

By this treaty the Sioux relinquished their lauds north of 
the Minnesota, and confined their reservation to a strip ten miles 
wide on the south side of that river. 

The treaty also elaborated a scheme for forcing the Indian 
to the white man's way of living. A civilization fund was pro- 
vided, to be taken from the annuities, and expended in improve- 



122 HISTOKY OF KEXVILLE COrXTV 

ments ou the lauds of such of them as should abaudon then- 
tribal relations, and adopt the habits and modes of life of the 
white race. To all such, lands were to be assigned in severalty, 
eighty acres to each head of a family. On these farms were to 
be erected out of the animities the necessary farm buildings and 
farming implements, and cattle were to be furnished them. 

In addition to these so-called favors the government offered 
them pay for such labors of value as were performed, in addition 
to the crops they raised. Indian farmers now augmented rapidly, 
until the outbreak in 1862. at whicli time about one hundred and 
sixty had taken advantage of the provisions of the treaty. A 
number of farms, some 160. had good, snug brick houses erected 
upon them. Among these was Little CroAv. and many of these 
farmer Indians belonged to his own band. 

The Indians disliked the idea of taking any portion of the 
general fund belonging to the tribe for the purpose of carrying 
out the civilization scheme. Those Indians who retained the 
" blanket. ■■ and lience called '"blanket Indians,"' denounced the 
measure as a fraud upon their rights. The chase was then a 
God-given right; this scheme foi-feited that ancient natural right, 
as it pointed unmistakal)!y to the destruction of the chase. 

The treaty of 18a8 had opened for settlement a vast frontier 
country of the most attractive character, in the Valley of the 
Minnesota, and the streams putting into the ^Minnesota, on either 
side, such as Beaver creek. Sacred Heart. Hawk and Cliippewa 
rivers and some otlier small streams, were flourishing settlements 
of white families. Witliin this ceded tract, ten miles wide, were 
the scattered settlements of Birch Coolie, Patterson Rapids, on 
the Sacred Heart, and others as far up as the Upper Agency at 
Yellow ^Medicine, in Renville county. Tlie county of Brown 
adjoined the reservation, and was, at the time, settled mostly by 
Germans. In this county was the floiu-ishing town of New Ulm, 
and a thriving settlement on the Big Cottonwood and Waton- 
wan, consisting of German and American pioneers, who had 
selected this lovely and fertile valley for their future homes. 

In the spring and summer of 1862 the several Sioux bands 
of Minnesota who had been parties to the Treaties of 1851 and 
1858 had, witli a few exceptions, all their villages within the 
prescribed limits of the reservation. The Yanktons were ou the 
Missouri river, in the region where the city of Yankton, South 
Dakota, is now located. They never came east of Lac qui Parle. 
The Sissetons were for the most part on the banks of Lake 
Traverse and Big Stone lake, though some were to the west- 
ward. The Wahpatons were near the Yellow ]\Iedicine. in the 
region known as the LTpper Agency. The Medawakautons and 
the Wahpakootas, the "Lower Agency Indians,"' had their bands 
along the south bank of the Minnesota, stretching from a little 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 123 

east of Yellow Medicine eastwanl to some four miles below Ft. 
Ridgely. 

The sub-baud of yiiakopee (Six, commouly called Little Six) 
was a mile and more west of the mouth of the Redwood river. 
All about the Lower or Redwood Agency were the other Medawa- 
kanton sub-bauds. The old Kaposia village of Little Crow was 
on the south side of thr :\limu'sota, a little west of the small 
stream called Crow's creek, nearly opposite the present village of 
Morton. Near Crow's village was the band of the Great War 
Eagle, commonly ealli'd Big Eagle ( Wam-bde-Tonka), and this 
had been the band of Gray Iron, of Fort Snelling. Below the 
agency was the sub-band of Wah-pahah-sha (meaning literally 
Red "War Banner), who was commonly called Wabasha, and who 
was the head chief of the Medawakauton band. Near him was the 
village of Wacouta (pronounced Wah-koota, and meaniug the 
Shooter), who was now chief of the old Red Wing band. In this 
vicinity was the band of Travelhig Hail, sometimes called Pass- 
ing Hail (Wa-su-he-yi-ye-dan). Old Cloud Man was alive, but 
old and feeble, and had turned over the chieftanship to Traveling 
Hail, formerly of Cloud Man's band of Lake Calhoun; and 
farther down the Minnesota, but along the crest of the high bluff 
bank was the band of Mankato, Mho had succeeded his father, 
the historic old Good Road, in tlie chieftainship of one of the 
prominent old Fort Snelling bands. The Wahpakootas were 
reduced to one band, whose chief was Red Legs (Ilu-sha-sha), 
although Pa-Pay was recognized as one in authority. The Wah- 
pakoota village was below Mankato 's on the same side of the 
river. 

In the spring of 1861 the Republican party came into national 
poM-er. I\Ia,jor William J. Cullen, the Democratic Indian super- 
intendent, was veiiioved, and Clark W. Thompson, of Fillmore 
county, was appointetl in his stead. Joseph R. Brown, agent for 
the Sioux, was removed, and his place taken by Thomas J. Gal- 
braith, of Shakopee. 

The new agent endorsed the policy and adopted the methods 
of his predecessor almost entirely. Especially did he endeavor 
to make the Indians self-supporting. Those who were already 
"farmers"' or "breeches Indians" were favored and encouraged 
in many Avays, and those who were still barbaric and blanketed 
were remonstrated with, and entreated to enter upon the new life. 

The autumn of 1861 closed upon the affairs of the farmer 
Indians quite unsatisfactorily ; their crops were light, the Upper 
Sioux raising little or nothing. Tlie cut worms had destroyed 
well nigh all the corn fields of the Sissetons, and the same pests, 
together with the blackbirds, had greatly damaged the. crops of 
the Wahpatons, Medawakantons and Wahpakootas. Agent Gal- 
braith M-as forced to l)uy on credit large quantities of pork and 



124 HISTORY OB^ RENVILLE COUNTY 

floTir for the destitute Indians. Under the direction of ^Mission- 
arj' Riggs, Avho lived among them, Agent Galbraith fed 1,500 
Sissetons and Wahpatous from tlie middle of December, 1861, to 
April 1, 1862, when they were able to go off on their spring 
hunts. He also fed and cared for a number of tlie old and 
infirm and other worthy characters among the Lower Indians; 
but for the assistance of the government numbers of these 
wretched savages would have starved during that hard winter 
of 1861-1862. The "farmer" Indians Avere kept at work during 
the winter making fence rails, cutting and hauling saw logs to 
the saw mills at the Upper and Lower Agency and other work, 
and in payment received regular issues of supplies for them- 
selves and families. 

Prior to 1857 the payment to the Indians under the treaties 
were made semi-annually. In that year Superintendent Cullen 
changed this practice to one payment a year, which, until 1862, 
had commonly been made about the tenth of June. This event 
was a great red letter day in the Indian calendar. It engaged 
attention for mouths before it came ; it was a pleasant memory 
for months afterAvards. Every beneficiary attended the payment, . 
and many of the Cut Heads and Yauktonnais. tliat Avere not 
entitled to receive anything, came hundreds of miles and swarmed 
on the outskirts of the camj), hoping to get something, hoAvever 
little, from the stock to be distributed. So there Avas ahvays a 
big croAvd present at the payment and a rare good time. 

The traders ahvays received a liberal .share of the money. For 
a year the Indians had been buying goods from them on credit, 
promising to pay in furs at the end of the hunting season. When 
default Avas made in the payment, Avhich Avas iuA'ariably the case, 
the balance Avas promised in cash "at the payment.'' The traders 
Avere therefore ahvays jjresent near the pa.y tables. Avith their 
books of account, and Avhen the Indian had- received his money 
from the government paymaster he Avas led over to his trader and 
asked to pay Avhat he OAved. The majority of the Indians were 
willing to pay their debts, but there Avere others Avho Avould not 
pay the most honorable debt if they could avoid it : usually the 
latter class OAved their traders more than the thirty dollars they 
had received. Sometimes for some years a detachment of sol- 
diers had been sent up from Fort Ridgely to preserve order. 

In 1861 the LoAver Sioux had been paid June 27, and the 
Upper Sioux July 18. On the seventeenth of June the ' ' St. Peter 
Guards," a ncAvly recruited company, AA-hich became Company E 
of the Second Minnesota, Captain A. K. Skaro, and the "Western 
Zouaves" of St. Paul, Avhich became Company D of the Second 
Regiment, Captain Horace H. Western, arrived by the steamer 
City Belle at Fort Ridgely as its garrison, taking the place of 
Company B, Captain Bromley, and Company G, Captain McKune, 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 1_':. 

of tile First Rcgiiiiriit. wliicli coiiiiiaiiies had been stationed at the 
post since ^lay. Captain JleKtine's company, however, remained 
at Ridgely until July 6. 

About tlie first of .July the Indians began cei'tain demonstra- 
tions indicating that they would make serious trouble if troops 
were stationed at the agencies and near the pay tables during 
the coining payments. They seemed to believe that the presence 
of soldiers on these occasions was to coerce them into paying 
debts to the traders, and they were opposed to the idea. They 
soon organized a "soldiers' lodge" (or a-ke-che-ta tepee) to con- 
sider the matter. A soldier's lodge Avas composed of wai'riors 
that were not chiefs or head soldiers, and who met by them.selves 
and conducted all tlieir deliberations and proceedings in strictest 
secrecy. Tlieir conclusions had to be carried out by the chiefs 
and head soldiers. If a war was contemi)lated tlie soldiers' lodge 
decided the matter, and fiom its deci.sion there was no appeal. 
Many other matters concerning the band at large were settled 
by the a-ke-che-ta tepee. 

It was believed by the whites that the soldiers' lodges on the 
Sioux reservation had determined on armed resistance to the 
presence of troops at the pay tables. Agent Galbraith and other 
white people about the agencies became greatly alarmed, and 
June 2.") the agent called on Fort Ridgely for troops to come at 
once to Redwood. The St. Peter Guards were promptly sent 
and remained at the Tjower Agency until after the payment, 
which passed off quietly. July 3 ]Major (lalbraith again became 
alarmed at the Indian signs and called for a strong force to come 
to Yellow ^ledicine. McKune's company of the First Regiment 
and Skaro's of the Second Regiment were at once started from 
Fort Ridgely, btit ten miles out were turned back. The next 
day Captain Western's company started for the Upper Agency, 
and on the sixth was overtaken by Captain Skaro's and the two 
companies reached the Y''ellow Medicine on the seventh, to the 
great relief of the agent and the other government employes and 
traders and their families, who were in great fear of tlie rebellious 
and menacing Indians, chiefly young men and reckless chai'acters. 
The payment at the Upper Agency was without disorder; the 
Indians paid their debts, but some of them were reportecl as say- 
ing that '"this is the last time'' they would do so. 

•luly 23 the two companies of the Second Regiment nunched 
back to Fort Ridgely. August 13 detachments of both companies, 
under Captain Western and jjieutenant Cox, were sent by Lieuten- 
ant Colonel George, commanding the post at Fort Ridgely, to the 
Spirit lake district, in Iowa, to protect the settlers in that region 
from the depredations of certain Indians, who, it was feared, 
contemplated another raid of the Inkpadoota character. The 
command was absent for two weeks. 



126 HISTORY iW R?:XVILLE COT-XTY 

About September 1 the Indians at and above Yellow Medi- 
cine became turbulent and frightened. On the eighth Company 
E. Captain Skaro, was dispatched from Fort Ridgely and reached 
the Yellow Medicine on the tenth. On the fifteenth Lieutenant 
J. C. Donahower, with twelve men of Company E, was sent to 
Big Stone lake as an escort to the government farmer, who was 
directed to secure from the Sissetons about the lake some horses 
which had been stolen by them and the Y^anktonnais from white 
settlers on the Missouri in southeastern Dakota. The lieutenant 
returned to Yellow Medicine with three of the recovered horses. 
The Sissetons and Yanktons stole aboiit thirty horses that sum- 
mer from Minnesota and Iowa settlers. September 23 Captain 
Skaro left Y^ellow Medicine for Port Snelling, where he joined 
his regiment, which, in a few days, was sent to the South. 

On the tenth of October, 1861, Companies A and B. of the 
Fourth Regiment, became the garrison at Fort Ridgely. Captain 
L. L. Baxter, of Company A, was commander of the post until 
in March. 1862, when the companies with the remainder of the 
regiment were sent to the Union army in front of Corinth. IMis- 
sissippi. 

Upon tlie organization of tlie Fifth ^linncsota Infantry, ]\Iarch 
29, 1862, three of the companies of that regiment were assigned 
to garrison duty at the Minnesota forts. To Fort Abercrombie 
was sent Company D, Captain John Yander Horek ; to Fort 
Ripley, Company C, Captain Hall ; to Fort Ridgely, Company B, 
Captain John S. Marsh. As Captain Marsh had not yet joined 
the company, and as Lieutenant Norman K. Culver was on detail 
as quartermaster, Sergeant Thomas P. Gere led the company on 
its march, in zero weather, through a deep snow, from Fort Snell- 
ing to Fort Ridgely. arriving at the latter jjost March 25. April 
10 Gere became second lieutenant, and on the sixteenth Captain 
Marsh arrived and a.ssumed command of the post. There were 
then at the fort, in addition to the otficers and men of Company 
B, Post Surgeon Dr. Alfred Muller, Sutler Ben H. Randall, Inter- 
preter Peter Quinn and Ordnance Sergeant John Jones, and a 
few soldiers' families living in cabins nearby. Sergeant Jones 
was in charge of the government stores and of six pieces of 
artillery of different calibers, the relics of the old artillery school 
at the post, which had been left by Major Pembertou when he 
departed for Washington with the last battery organization, in 
February, 1861. 

The IMinuesota Indian jjayments for 1862 were greatly delayed. 
They should have been made by the last of June, but the govern- 
ment agents were not prepared to make them until the middle of 
August. The authorities at Washington were to blame. For 
some weeks they dallied with the question whether or not a part 
at least of the payment should be made in greenbacks. Com- 



HISTORY OF REXVIIJ.K CorXTV 127 

missioner Dole, Superintendent Thompson and Agent Galbraith 
protested tliat the payment sliould be in specie. Not until August 
8 did Seeretarj^ Chase, of the Treasury, order Assistant Treasurer 
Cisco, of New York, to send the Indians' money in gold coin to 
Superintendent Thompson at St. Paul. The money — $71,000, in 
kegs, all in gold coin — left New York August 11 and arrived at 
St. Paul on the sixteenth. Superintendent Thompson started it 
the next day for the Indian country in chai-ge of C. W. Wykoff, 
E. C. Hatch, Justus C. Ramsej', A. J. Van Vorhees and C. M. 
Daily, and they, with the wagons coutainiug the preciovis kegs, 
reached Fort Ridgely. August IS. the first day of the great out- 
break. The money and its custodians remained within the fort 
until Sibley's army came, and then the money, in the original 
package as stated, was taken liack to St. Paul by tlie parties 
named M'ho had brought it up. 

Jleanwhile there was a most unhappy condition of affairs 
on the reservation. The Indians had been eagerly awaiting the 
payment since the tenth of June. On the twenty-fifth a large 
delegation of the chiefs and head men of the Sissetons and Wah- 
petons visited Yellow Medicine and demanded of Agent Galbraith 
to be informed whether tliey and their people were to get any 
money that year; they alleged they had been told by certain 
white men that they would not be paid because of the great war 
then in progress between the North and South. The agent said 
the payment would certainly be made by July 20. He then gave 
them some pi-ovisions, ammunition, and tobacco, and sent them 
back to their villages, promising to notify them when the money 
came of the exact time of the payment. He then went to the 
Lower Agency and counseled the people there as he had the 
people at Yellow Medicine, adding that they should busy them- 
selves in cutting hay for the winter and in keeping the birds 
from the corn. These Lower Indians had worked hard during 
the summer but their crops had not turned out well, owing to 
the numerous bird and insect pests, and their stock of provisions 
was nearly exhausted. Major Galbraith therefore issued them a 
supply of mess pork, flour, salt, tobacco and ammunition. 

Efforts have been made by many writers to show that the 
condition of the Indians was no worse than that of the white set- 
tler — that the Indian had a better chance to prosper than did 
the white pioneei'. 

But the circum.stances were much different. The pioneer had 
come prepared for the rigors of pioneer life. He had come hop- 
ing to better himself. It is true that in coming the pioneer 
brought eivili/.ation. But he did not come for that purpose. 
Much as we admire the pioneer, much as we appreciate the great 
good that he has done, deep though the debt we owe him may 
be, many though his hardships were, nevertheless there can be 



128 IIISTOKY OF KEN\'JLLE CurXTV 

no disguising the motive that broiiglit hiiu. He came because 
he expected to be more prosperous here tliau he had been in the 
place from ^vhence he came. 

The Indian liad no such hope, lie was not equij)ped for the 
mode of life that Avas thrust upon him. He had owned these 
stretches of land. He had lived in contentment. Through the 
chase lie had obtained a good living. When he gave up the op- 
portunity of Securing his accustomed dail.\- livelihood he was 
accepting the promise of a great nation that in exchange for 
his land he would be paid certain sums for his support. He had 
given up his land, he had given up his mode of making a living, 
he had moved to the reservation, he had kept his part of the 
bargain; yet the great government was breaking its ]iart of the 
bargain by every quibble and pretense possible. 

The sudden change of life had brought ructions among the 
Indians tliemselves. Some seeing that the white man by trick- 
ery and superior strength, was boinid to rule, urged that tlie 
Indians make the best of a bad situation and take uj) the white 
man's ways. These Indians were called the farmer Indians. 

There were others, however, who saw that the Indian was not 
adajited to the ways of the wliites. and saw only slavery and deg- 
radation in the Avays of the farmer Indians, nmny of whom were 
already dying of tubercular troubles as the result of their unac- 
customed mode of life. These blanket Indians, as they were 
called, believed in the old ways. They wanted the government 
to keep its promise and make its payments according to agree- 
ment, after whicli they wanted the government to leave them to 
lead their own lives in their own way. 

So these were arguments among the Indians, such matters as 
adopting the white man's habits, clothing, and customs, obeying 
instructions about not fighting the Chippewas, the election of 
chief speaker of the Medawakanton band. 

In the spring Little Crow, Big Eagle, and Traveling Hail 
were candidates for speaker of the band. There was a heated 
contest, resulting in the defeat of Little Crow to his great morti- 
fication and chagrin and that of his followers, who constituted 
the greater part of the blanket Indian party. His successful 
opponent. Traveling Hail, was a civilization Indian and a firm 
friend of the Avhites. 

In June, as the time for the payment approached, a number 
of the young ]Medawakantons and Wahpakootas formed a sol- 
diers' lodge, to consider the question of allowing the traders to 
approach the pay table. The chiefs and head men, according to 
custom, were not allowed to participate in the deliberations of 
this peculiar council, although they were expected to enforce 
its decisions and decrees. After a few days of secret consulta- 
tion the council sent a delegation to Fort Ridgely, which, through 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 129 

Post Interpreter (.>>uiiiii, asked Captain Marsh, t}ie commandant, 
not to send any soldiers to the payment to help the traders col- 
lect their debts. Captain Marsh replied that he was obliged to 
have some of his soldiers present at the payment, but they would 
not be used unless there Avas a serious disturbance ol" the peace, 
and on no account M'ould he allow them to be employed to collect 
the debts owing to the traders by the Indians. This reply greatly 
gratified the Indians and they returned to their villages in high 
glee boasting of what they had accomplished. 

The traders were indignant at the action of the Indian soldiers. 
They vowed not to sell the Indians any more supplies on credit. 
"You will be sorry for what you have done," said Andrew J. 
Myrick, who was in charge of his brother's trading house at 
Redwood, "you will be sorry. After a while you will come to me 
and beg for meat and flour to keep you and your wives and chil- 
dren from starving and I v/ill not let you have a thing. You 
and your wives and children may starve, or eat grass, or your 
own filth." The traders tried to induce Captain Marsh to re- 
voke his decision in their favor, but he would make them no 
promises. 

In July the Lower warriors convened another soldiers' lodge. 
This time the subject of discussion was whether or not they 
should go on the war-path against the Chippewas, who had re- 
cently given a lot of trouble. Incidentally the trouble about 
their debts came up, and it was finally decided that if the sol- 
diers guarded the pay tables, and their bayonets were employed 
as instruments for the collection of debts, the Indians would be 
forced to submit. This was the soldiers' lodge about whose pur- 
pose and plans so many startling and alarming statements were 
afterwards made bj- the whites. At the time too, the whites were 
afraid. On one occasion the Indians went down to Fort Ridgely 
and asked to be allowed to play ball (or la crosse) on the parade 
s^rounds. Captain Marsh refused to allow this, and it was after- 
wards printed that on the occasion mentioned the Indians had 
planned and schemed to get into the fort by strategem, and then 
massacre the garrison and every white person in the neighbor- 
hood. There was not the least ground for this false and unjust 
suspicion. 

The Upi^er Indians were in far worse moods than their breth- 
ren at Redwood. In addition to their dissatisfaction in regard 
to the delay in the payment, — for they needed assistance most 
sorelj' — they were incensed against the white authorities who had 
forbidden them to make war on the Chippewas. The latter made 
frequent forays upon the Sioux of the upper country. In May 
a hunting party of Red Iron's band was attacked on the Upper 
Pomme de Terre by a band of Chippewas and chased from the 
country, losing two men killed. About the twentieth of July 



130 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COTXTY 

the Chippewas slipped down and killed two Sionx within eighteen 
miles of Y'ellow Medicine. 

These instances stirred the blood of the Upper bands and four 
days later several hundred of them formed a war party and, 
stripped and painted, and yelling and shouting, marched by the 
Agency buildings and the camp of the soldiers and down the 
Minnesota in the direction of Major Brown's stone mansion and 
big farm, near where the Chippewas were supposed to be. The 
majority of the Indians were mounted, but those who were on 
foot went galloping along by the side of the cantering ponies and 
kept up with them easily. The Chippewas had retreated and 
could not be overtaken. 

About the fifteenth of August, only a few days before the 
outbreak, a man and his son of Red Iron's band were killed by 
the Chippewas, while hunting, a few miles nortli of the river. 
Their bodies were taken back to their village and exposed in 
public for a whole day. Hundreds of Sioux eame to see them. 
A war party of a dozen or more set out after the murderers, fol- 
lowed them up into the Otter Tail Lake eoniitry and did not re- 
turn to the reservation until nearly two weeks after the outbreak. 

Certain writers have frequentl.y declared that the outbreak 
was a long meditated and carefully planned movement of the 
Sioux and Chippewas in comliination : that Little Crow and Hole- 
iu-the-Day were in constant communication and engaged in pre- 
paring for the uprising for weeks before it occurred. The inci- 
dents given of the tragic events, the homicides, and tlie fights 
between the two tribes up to the very date of the Sioux outbreak 
prove the absurd falsity of the claim that they were engaged 
as allies in plotting against the whites. 

In the first part of July in this memorable .vear a brief pei-iod 
of excitement and danger began at the Yellow Medicine Agency. 
The Upper Indians became turbulent and menacing, and serious 
results were avoided only by the greatest care and the intelli- 
gent exercise of soimd judgment. 

As early as June 18. Captain Marsh, in command at Fort 
Ridgely, deemed it best, in anticipation of trouble among the 
Indians at the i)ayinent. to strengthen his forces. On the 
eighteenth Captain Hall ordered Lieutenant T. J. Sheehan. witli 
fifty men of Company B of the Fifth Regiment, from Fort Ripley 
to reenforee the garrison at Fort Ridgely. The Lieutenant an<l 
liis men ai'rived on tlie twenty-eightli, and the next day Captain 
Marsh started them and fifty men of Company B, under Lieu- 
tenant T. P. Gere for the Yellow Medicine, which post they 
reached July 2. They carried with them a piece of artillery, a 
twelve pound mountain howitzer, and plenty of ammunition. 
Lieutenants Sheehan and Gere were directed to obey the orders 
of Agent Galbraith and to preserve peace and protect Ignited 



HISTOHV OK KK.Wll.l.K (orXTV 131 

States property, "during the time of tlie annuitj- payment for tlie 
present year." Sheelian ranked Gere, and was given connnand 
of the detachment. 

When the .soldiers reached the Yellow Medicine, they found 
the Upper Indians already arriving in large numbers in antici- 
pation of the annuity payment, which was the prevailing and 
aksorbing topic. On the eighth a detachment of warriors, 
through Interpreter Quinu, had a l(>ngthy interview with the 
young officers. The Indians said: "We are the braves who do 
the fighting for our peoj)!!'. We sold our land to the Great 
Father, but we don't get the pay for it. The traders are allowed 
to sit at the pay table, and they take all our money. We wish 
you to keep the traders away from the pay table, and as we are 
now hiingry we want you to make us a present of a beef." The 
lieutenant answered that the payment regulations were in charge 
of Agent Galbraith, whose oi'ders they must obey; that they had 
no beeves or other provisions, save their own army rations, which 
they needed for themselves, but that they would toll the agent 
what the warriors had said. 

Every day brought accessions to the number of Indians about 
the Agency. On July 14, when Agent Galbraith arrived, he 
Avas astonished and alarmed to find that nearly all of the Upper 
Indians had arrived, that they were greatly destitute, and that 
they were clamoring for "Wo-kay-zhu-zhu-! Wo-kay-zhu-zhu-, " 
the payment ! the payment ! The agent asked them reproach- 
fully: "Why have you come? I sent you away and told you not 
to come back until I sent for you again. I have not sent for 
3^011 — why have you come?" The Indians i-ci)lie(l : "It was such 
a long time that we did not hear from you. that we feared some- 
thing was wrong. Then, because of the war in the south, some 
white men say that we will not get our money at all. We want to 
find out about all this. We are destitute and hungry. You may 
not have money, but you have provisions in that big house, and 
this is the time of the year that we should receive both our money 
and supplies; we want some of the supplies now. We will not 
leave our camps until we get our money and all." 

Major Oalbi-aith sent word of his predicament to Superin- 
tendent Thompson and asked for instructions. The superintend- 
ent answered that the agent was on the ground and must do as 
he thought best. The agent then issued, in scanty quantities, 
some rations of pork and flour and some cloth and other sup- 
plies to the most destitute and deserving. The Indians were 
grateful, and gave numerous dances and other entertainments 
as returns for the favors. 

To add to Major Galbraith 's perplexities, the presence of a 
large number of Yanktonnais and other non-annuity Indians was 
reported. On the day after his ai-rival he inspected the various 



132 HISTORY OF REXYILLE COl'NTY 

camps and found, to liis disgust and dismay, that there were 659 
lodges of annuity Indians, 78 lodges of Yanktonnais, 37 of Cut 
Heads, and five of uniudentified people, said to be Winnebagoes. 
Tliiic were more than 4,000 annuity Sioux and about 1,000 Yank- 
tonians and Cut Heads. Even a portion of Inkpadoota's band 
was reported to be out on the prairies. 

By -July 38, the Indians had eaten nearly all of their dogs 
and everything else of an edible character in their camps, and 
there was actual starvation among them. Still there was no 
payment and no issue of supplies. Down in the Minnesota bot- 
toms, almost hidden in the high and succident grass, were hun- 
dreds of fat cattle belonging to the settlers and to be had for 
the killing, and less than a day's march away were provisions of 
other kinds, enough to feed an armj', and to be had for the tak- 
ing. Lieuttniant Slieehan feared that the strain would not en- 
dure much longer, and sent down to Ridgely and brought up 
another howitzer. Galbraith, however, did not believe there 
was any danger, as the Indians were apparently quiet and peace- 
able. On the twenty-first the lieutenants interviewed Galbraith 
and plainly told him that did he not at once relieve the most 
pressing necessities of the Indians, he Avould be responsible for 
any casualty that might ensue. The agent agreed that he would 
at once take a census of the annuity people, issue an abundant 
supply of provisions, and then send them back to their villages 
to await the arrival of their money. 

On the twenty-sixth the counting took place. The enumera- 
tion was confined to the annuity Indians ; the Yanktonnais and 
Cut Heads were ignored. All of the people eligible to payment 
were assembled near the Government buildings, and a cordon of 
soldiers thrown about the entire concourse. Each sub-chief called 
upon the heads of families in his band to give the number of 
persons in their respective families and when the number was 
announced those composing it were sent out of the lines to their 
camps. The enumeration occupied twelve and a half hours. 

The Indian census had been taken, but still Agent Galbraith 
made no issue of provisions, as he had promised. The man seemed 
beside himself, in the perplexities of his situation. He was a 
drinking man, and it is said that he was intoxicated a great por- 
tion of the time in an effort to meet the dangers which confronted 
him with a "Dutch courage." 

The next day after the census was taken, or July 27, Major 
Galbraith sent Lieutenant Sheehan, with fourteen soldiers, four 
citizens and the ever faithful Good Voiced Hail, as a guide, on a 
futile and foolish chase after the half dozen of Inkpadoota's band 
reported to be hovering about the Dakota boundary, south and 
■west of Lake Benton. The men were all mounted and had two 
baggage wagons. After scouring the country in a vain search 



iiisTonv OK i{i:.\\ii,i.K corxTV 13;{ 

foi' trails or eveu signs, the detachment set out on tlir icturn 
trip and reached Yellow Medicine August 3. The failure to over- 
take the outlaws had a bad cttVct upon the Agency Indians, who 
derided the work of tlie soldiers and were confirmed in their be- 
lief that in matters pertaining to warfare of any sort. Indians 
could easil.y outwit Avhite men. 

Tlie fourth of August came but no paymaster was in sight, 
ami tliiTc had been no issue of provisions, save a few pieces of 
hard tack, for two weeks. Early in the morning of the fourth the 
Indians sent two messengers to Lieutenant Sheehan and informed 
him that later in the day, they were coming to the Agency to 
fire a salute and make a great demonstration for the entertain- 
ment of the white peojile, and especially the soldiers. "Don't be 
afraid,"' they said, ''for although we will do a lot of shooting 
we won't hurt anybody." 

About 9 o'clock till' soldiiTs were startled to see that, sud- 
denly aiiil -without having previously been seen, the Indians had 
surrounded the caiini and were pointing guns at them. The 
sentinels or camp guards were pushed fi'om their beats and told 
to go to their tents and stay there, and Private James Foster, 
of Com[)aii>' B. had ills gun wrested from him. At the same time 
several hundred mounted and armed warriors galloped up, yell- 
ing ami shooting, and began riding wildly about. The real ob- 
ject of this startling and thiilling dciiu)iistration was not appar- 
ent until th(> Indian leader dashed uj) to the Avest end of the Gov- 
ernment warehouse au<l struck its big door a i-esoundiiig blow 
with his tomahawk. \'ery soon the door was broken down and 
the Indians rushed in and began cari-ying away the big fat sacks 
of flour and the fatter slices of pork. 

According to Lieutenant Gere's account, the situation was 
now pei'ilous in the extrenu'. The soldiers were outnumbered 
seven to one by the I'xeited wai'riors, who wei-e priming, cocking, 
and aiming their guns only a hundred feet away. Pri\ate Josiah 
"W^eakley, of ('om])any ('. |)reeipitated a crisis. An Indian had 
pointed a gun at him, and the soldier swore a big mouth-filling 
oath and hastily capped and ainu'd his gun at the savage to re- 
sent the insult, lie was about to pull the trigger. Avlien Jim 
Ybright stl'nek down the gnu. and thus prevented the destruc- 
tion of the entire command and of every other white person at 
or about the Agency, h'or at that critical moment had a single 
lujstile shot been fired, by either white num or Indian, the great 
savage outbreak of a fortnight later would have begun and its 
first victims would have been the peopl(> of Yellow ]\[ediciiu'. 

Lieutenant Sheehan ordei'i'd his litth' eonimand to "fall in," 
and pi'oniptly ever\' man, gun in hand, si)rang into line. There 
Avas no shrinking and ajiparently no fear. It was soon realized 
that the ob.ject o\' the Indian attack Avas to secure the iivovisions 



134 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COFNTY 

in the warehouse M-herewith to feed themselves and their famish- 
ing women and children. Had the mnrder of the whites been in- 
tended, tlie bloody work would liave been begun at once. It 
seemed certain that the Indians would not fire the first sliot. 

But the peace must be preserved, even if it had to be fought 
for, and the Government property must be protected at all haz- 
ards. Lieutenant Gere had direct cliarge of the two cannon, and 
tlie men of his company had been trained by old Sergeant Jones, 
at Ridgley, to liaudle them. Taking tlie tarpaidin cover from one of 
the guns, wliicli was loaded with canister. Lieutenant (iere aimed 
it at the warehouse door, through which the Indians were crowd- 
ing, going for and returning with sacks of floiu'. From the 
cannon to the warehouse the distance was not more than 150 
yards: the ground was level, and the range point blank. 

Instantly there were yells of surprise and shouts of warn- 
ing, and the Indians fell l)aek on either side of the line of fire 
and the range of the gun, leaving a wide and distinct land or 
avenue between the cannon and the warehouse door. Lieutenant 
Sheehan now appeared with a dt'tachiiient of sixteen men, and 
that brave soldier. Sergeant Solon A. Trescott, of Company B, 
at their head. Down the lane with its living walls marched Shee- 
han and his little band straight to tlie warehouse. Reaching the 
building the lieutenant went at once to the office of Ma.ior Gal- 
braith, too impotent through fear, drink and excitement for any 
good. Sergeant Trescott and his ineii summarily drove every 
Indian from and away from the warehouse. Only aliout thirty 
sacks of flour had been taken. 

Lieutenant Sheehan stoutly (hniiamled that (lalbraith at once 
give to the Indians the provisions which really belonged to them, 
and thereby avert not only starvation but ju'obably war. But 
the agent, now that the soldiers were in line and their leader in 
his presence, became, through his "Dutch courage,"" very digni- 
fied and brave. He said that if he made any concessions to the 
Indians they would become bolder in the future, that tlie savages 
must be made to respect his iiosition and authority as their agent, 
and not attempt to coerce him into doing his duty. He then de- 
manded that Lieutenant Sheehan should take his soldiers and 
make the Indians return the flour they had seized and which their 
women were already making into bread. 

Sheehan had his Irish spirit thoroughly aroused, and at last 
forced the agent to agree to issue three days" rations of flour and 
pork to the Indians, if they would return to their cauii)s and send 
their chiefs for a council the next day. ^Meanwhile the Indians 
had assembled by bands about the warehouse and were addressed 
by their chiefs and head soldiers, all of Avhom said, in effect: 
"The provisions in that big house have been sent to us by our 
Great Father at Washington, but our agent will not let us have 



HISTORY OF IJKWII.I.K (OrXTV 135 

tlieiii, altlioufrli our wives ami cliihlrcii arc starving. These sup- 
plies are ours and we have a right to take them. The soldiers 
sympathize -with us and have already divided their rations with 
us, and when it comes to the point they will not shoot at us, but 
if they do, we can soon wipe them off the earth." 

The three days' rations were issued, but the Indians deelinea 
to return to their camps, unless they should first receive all that 
was due them. They again became turbulent and threatened to 
again attack and loot the warehouse. Lieutenant Sheehan moved 
up his entire command directly in front of the warehouse and 
went into fighting line with his two cannons "in battery." Then 
the Indians concluded to forego any hostile movement and re- 
turned to their camps. Their three days' i-ations had been well 
nigh all devoured before midnight. 

Agent Galbraith continued in his excited mood and eccentric 
conduct. Months afterward, in writing his official report and de- 
scribing the events of the fourth of August, he declared that when 
the Indians assaulted the warehouse they "shot down the Amer- 
ican flag" waving over it. His statement was accepted by 
Heard, who. in his liistoi-y, states that the flag was "cut down." 
Lieutenant Sheehan and the men who were under him at Yel- 
low Medicine all assert that the flag was neither shot down or 
cut down or injured in any way, but that when the trouble was 
over for the day the baiuu>r was "still there." August 5 the 
agent was still beside himself. lie declared that the loyal old 
Peter Quinn — who had lived in Minnesota among his white breth- 
ren for neai'ly forty years and was always faithful to his trust, 
even to his death in the slaughter at Redwood Ferry — was not 
to be trusted to connnunieate with tlie Indians. He ordered Lieii- 
tcnant Sheehan, who had brought Quinn from Ridgely, to send 
him back and he requested that the loyal old man be "put off 
the reservation." 

Sheehan could bear with the agent no longer. He accommo- 
dated him by sending Quinn away, but he sent the old interpreter 
with Lieutenant Gere, whom he directed to hasten to Fort Ridge- 
ly, describe the situation to Captain Marsh, and urge that officer 
to come at once to Yellow ]Mcdicin(> and help manage Galbraith. 
The captain reached Yellow Medicine at 1 :30 p. m. on the sixth, 
having come from Fort Ridgely, forty-five miles distant, by 
buggy in seven hours. 

August 7, Galbraith having been forced to agree to a sensi- 
ble course of action, he. Captain Marsh and Missionary Riggs held 
a council with the Indians. The agent had sent to Ilazehvood foi- 
Mr. Riggs and when the good preacher came, said to him appeal- 
ingly: "If there is anything between the lids of the Bible that 
will meet this ease, I wish you would use it." The missionary 
assured the demoralized agent that the Bible has something in 



136 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

it to meet even- case and any emergency. He then repaired to 
Standing Buffalo's tepee and an-auged for a general council that 
afternoon. The mfssionary gives this description of the pro- 
ceedings : 

"The chiefs and braves gathered. The young men who had 
broken down the warehouse door were there. The Indians ar- 
gued that they were starving and that the flour and pork in the 
warehouse had been purcliased with their money. It was wrong 
to break in the door, but now they would authorize the agent 
to take of their money and repair the door. The agent then 
agreed to give them some provisions and insisted on their going 
home which they promised to do." 

Captain Marsh demanded that all of the annuity goods, which 
for so long had been wrongfully withheld, should be issued im- 
mediately, and Reverend Riggs endorsed the demand. Galbraith 
consented, and the Indians promised that if the issues were made 
they would return to their homes and there remain until the 
agent advised them that their money had come. The agreement 
was faithfully carried out by both parties to it. The issue of 
goods began immediately and was continued tlirough the eighth 
and ninth. By the tenth all the Indians had disappeared and on 
the twelfth word was received that Standing Buffalo's and the 
Charger's band, with many others, had gone out into Dakota on 
buffalo hunts. On the eleventh the soldiers left Yellow ^Medicine 
for Fort Eidgely, arriving at that post in the evening of the 
following day. 

All prospects of future trouble with the Indians seemed now 
to have disappeared. Only the Upper Indians had made mis- 
chief; the Lower Indians had takeu no part nor manifested 
any sympathy with what their brethren had done, but had re- 
mained quietly in their villages engaged in their ordinary avo- 
cations. Many had been at work in the hay meadoMs and corn- 
fields. All the Indians had apparently decided to wait patiently 
for the annuity monej'. This agreeable condition of affairs might 
have been established six weeks earlier, but for the unwise, yet 
well meant work of Agent Galbraith, who should have done at 
fir.st Avhat he did at last. 

Believing that no good reason any longer existed for the pres- 
ence of so many troops at Fort Ridgely, Captain Marsh ordered 
Lieutenant Sheehan to lead Company C of the Fifth iliiniesota 
back to Fort Ripley, on the Upper Mississippi, the march to be 
made on foot, across the country, by the most direct route. At 
7 o'clock on the morning of August 17, the detachment set out, 
encamping the first night at Gumming 's Grove, near the present 
site of "Winthrop, Sibley county. 

After the troubles at Yellow Medicine were over a number 
of discharged government employes, French-Canadians, and 



HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 137 

mixed blood Sioux expressed a desire to enlist in the Union army, 
nndei- President Lincoln's call for "oOO.OOO" more. 

The Government \vas advancing iorty dollars of tlifir pros- 
pective bounty and pay to recruits, and as quite a number of the 
would-be volunteers were out of employment and money, the 
casli offer was perliaps to some as much of a stimulus to enlist 
as was their patriotism. A very gallant frontiersman named 
James fjorman, bnsicd liimself with seenring recruits for the 
pioneer company, which, because most of its numbers were from 
Renville county, was called the "Renville Rangers. "" Captain 
]\Iarsh had encouraged the organi/ation, and Agent Galbi-aith 
had used all of his intluenee in its behalf. August 12 tliirtx' men 
enlisted in the Rangers at Yellow Medicine and on the foiii'teentli 
twenty more joined the company at Rethvood. Galbraith and 
Gorman, with their fifty men. left Redwood Agency for Fort 
Snelling, where it M'as expected tlie company would join one of 
the new regiments then being formed. At Fort Ridgely Captain 
Marsh furnished the Rangers quarters and rations and sent Ser- 
geant James G. McGrew and four other soldiers with them on 
their ■way to the fort. At New Ulm they received a fi'W nu'n, 
and the entire eompaii\ , in wagons, reached St. Peter in the after- 
noon of the eighteenth. 

^Miicli that is false has been written regarding the cause of 
the Sioux Outbreak, many idle speculations have been indjlished 
as absolute fact. 

There certainly was no conspiracy between the Chiii])ewas and 
the Sioux; there were certainly no )'e[>i'esentatives of the southern 
Confederacy urging the Indians to revolt. Little Crow was most 
assuredly guiltless of having long i)lannetl a general massacre. 
Possibly, for such is liuman nature, the Indians, smarting under 
untold wrongs, may have considered the possibilities of driving 
out the Avliites and resuming their own ancient freedom. But 
no details had been i)laiuu'd upon. 'I'lie officials at AVashington 
and their representatives on the reservation were wholely and 
solely responsible for the great massacre. The spark which 
lighted the conflagration was tiie lawless act of a few renegades, 
but there woidd have been no blaze from this spark had not the 
whites, througii guile and dishonesty, been gi'adually increasing 
the disgust, discontent and resentment in the Red ilen's breast. 

The editor of tliis work holds no brief for the Indian. No one 
realizes more than he the sufferings of those iinu)eent settlers, 
those martyrs to civilization, who underwent untold horrors at 
the hands of a savage and infuriated race. In savage or civil- 
ized Avarfare, no acts of lieartless criielty can be excused or con- 
doned. In the wrongs to which the Indian liad been subjected 
the noble settlers of Renville county were guiltless. 

Civilization can never repay tlu' Renville county pioneers for 



138 IIISTOHV OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

tlie part tliey Jiail in extending further tlie dominion of the white 
man, for the part they took iu bringing tlie couuty from a wild 
wilderness to a place of peace, prosperity and contentment. 

The treatment of the Indian by the settlers of this county was 
ever considerate and kind, the red man was continually fed and 
warmed at Eenville county cabins. There is no condoning the 
terrible slaughter of these innocent, kind hearted, hospitable 
whites who in seeking their home in this rich valley were not 
unmindful of the needs of their untutored predecessors. 

It should, however, be remembered that however cruel, lust- 
ful and bloodthirsty the Indian showed himself to be, base, 
treacherous, barbarous as his conduct was, cowardly and mur- 
derous though his uprising against the innocent j)ioueers ; never- 
theless not his alone was the guilt. The otSeials who tricked 
and robbed him, whose stupidity and ineiBciency incensed him, 
whose lack of honor embittered him against all whites, they too, 
must bear a part of the blame for that horrible uprising. 

It should be remembered too, that the white soldiers battling 
for a great nation taught the Indian no better method than the 
Indian himself practiced. The Indian violated the flag of truce, 
and likewise the white soldiers fired on Indians who came to 
parley under the white flag. The Indians killed women and chil- 
dren, the white soldiers likewise turned their guns against the 
tepees that contained the Indian squaws and papooses. The In- 
dian mutilated the bodies of those who fell beneath his anger, and 
there were likewise whites who scalped and mutilated the bodies 
of the Indians they killed. The Indian fired on unprotected 
white men, and there were Avhite men too, who fired on iu:pro- 
teeted Indians who had no part in the outbreak. 

Neither side was guiltless. And the innocent settlers, espe- 
cially those heroic families living along the streams of Renville 
county paid the horrible price for the crimes of both races. 




^'^."o: 



To - CyA tt <l It-ti- _ 

^'tJ }e C ro^/ - 



jPUiLlC LIBRARy] 



ASTOR, LENOX \ND l 
ITILDEN ■•OffNOAnoNsI 



HISTOK'V OK HK.WII.l.K Cor.XTV 139 

CHAPTER X. 
THE SIOUX OUTBREAK. 

Day Dawns Calm and Beautiful— Church Services— The Rice 
Creek Renegades Rob a Hen's Nest — Quarrel Among Braves 
as to Their Courage— Killing Starts— Miscreants TeU Their 
Story to the Chiefs— Little Crow Bows to the Inevitable and 
Reluctantly Consents to Lead His Men to Battle — General 
Massacre Begins— Weeks of Horror— Battles and Murders- 
Indians Subdued — Little Crow Killed — Peace. 

Sunday, August 17, 18()2, was a beautiful day in western Min- 
nesota. The sun shone brightly, the weatlier was warm, and the 
skies were blue. Tlie eorn was in the green ear stage ; the wild 
gra.ss was ripe for liic liay mowing; the wlieat and oats were 
ready to be harvested. 

A large majority of the settlers and pioneers in the Upper 
Minnesota valley, on the uortli or east side of the river, were 
church members. Tlie large German Evangelical settlement, on 
Sacred Heart ereek lield religious services on that day at the 
house of one of the members, and there were so many in attend- 
ance that the congregation occupied the door yard. A great flock 
of ehiUlren had attended the Sunday school and received the 
ninth of a series of blue cards, as evidence of tlieir regular at- 
tendance for the nine preceding Sundays. "When you come next 
Sunday," said the superintendent to the children, "you will be 
given another blue ticket, making ten tickets, and you can ex- 
change them for a red ticket. "" But to neither cliihlren or super- 
intendent that "next Sunday" never came. 

At Yellow^ Medicine and Hazelwood there was an unusual 
attendance at the meetings conducted by Kiggs and Williamson. 
At tlu? Lower Agency Rev. S. 1). llinmau, the rector of the sta- 
tion, lield services in Sioux in the newly erected but uncom- 
pleted Episcopal cinircli and among his most attentive auditors 
were Little Crow and Little Priest, the latter a Wiiniebago sub- 
chief, who. with a dozen of his band, had been hanging about 
the Agency, awaiting the Sioux payments. Little Crow was a 
pagan, believing in the gods of his ancestors, but he always 
showed great tolerance and respect for the religious opinions 
of others. 

Altogether there was not liie siiglitcst indication or tlie faint- 
est suspicion of impending trouble before it came. There are 
printed statements to the effect that a great conspiracy had 
been set on foot, or at least planned ; but careful investigation 
proves these statements, no matter by whom made, to be base- 
less and unwarranted. Except the four perpetrators luibody was 



140 IIISTOKY OF liEXVlLLE COUNTY 

more startk'd or surprised upon tlie learning of tin- nuu'drr of 
the first -whites, than the Indians themselves. 

The Rice ( 'rrcl.; Indians werr ileserters from the l)ands Id wliii'li 
they riglitfully belonged, beeause they were diseontenti-d with 
conditions and hatl grievances against their chiefs or others of 
their fellow-clansmen. They were, too, malcontents generally. 
They did not like their own people: they did not like the whites. 
Not one of them was a Cliristian, and they hatl nothing but con- 
tempt for their brethren that hail become converts. !Many of 
them, however, wore white nu:-n's clotliing, and a few were good 
hunters and trappers, although none were farmers. They de- 
pended almost altogether for provisions upon their success in 
hunting and fishing. Detachments from the band were constantly 
in the big woods, engaged in luuiting, although in warm weather 
the game killed became tainted and nearly putrid liefore it could 
be taken home ; and from daylight until dark tlie river bank in 
front of their village M'as linetl with wonnui and children busily 
fishing for bullheads. 

On Sunday afternoon, August IT, the Rice Creekers held an 
open council, wJiicli was attended by some of Shakopee's hand 
from across the river. It was agreed to nudvc a demonstration to 
hurry up the jjaynu-nt, and tluit the next day every able-bodied 
man should go down to tlu> Tjower Agency, from thence to Fort 
Ridgely. and from thrnce to St. Paul, if necessary, and urge the 
autlujrities to hasten the pay day, already too long deferred. But 
nothing was said in the council about war. An hour or two later 
nothing was talked of but war. 

About August 12 twent\' Lower Tmlians went over into tlie 
big woods of ]\Ieeker and McLcod counties to hunt. Half a dozen 
or more of the Rice Ci'eek baud wrw of the party. One of Shako- 
pee's band, named Island t'loud. or Makh-pea "VVe-tah, had busi- 
ness with Captain George C. Whiti;oudi. of Forest City, concern- 
ing a wagon which the Imlian hail lid't with the captain. Reach- 
ing the hunting grounds in the southern jtart of ileeker county, 
the party divided. Island Cloud and four others proceeding to 
Forest City and the renmindri' eontijuiing in tin- townsliii) of 
Acton. 

On the morning of August 17 four Rii-e Crerk Indians were 
passing along the Henderson and Pembina I'oad, in the central 
part of Acton township. Three of them were formerly Upper 
Indians, the fourtli had a Medawakanton fatlier and a "Wahpaton 
mother. Their names, in English, were Brown "Wing. Bi'caks Up 
and Scattei's, Ghost That Kills, and Crawls Against: the last 
named was living at Manitoba in 1S91. Two of the foui- were 
dressed as white nu-n ; the others wrre partly in Indian costume. 
None of them was moi'c than tliirty years of age, but each seemed 
older. 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 141 

As these Iiiiliaiis were passing tlie house and premises of 
Robinson Jones, four miles soutli of the present site of Grove 
City, one of tliem found some hen's eggs in a fence corner and 
proceeded to appropriate them. One of liis comrades remon- 
strated against his taking tlie eggs because they belonged to :i 
white man and a discussion of the character of a quarrel resulted. 
To Return I. Ilolcombe, the compiler of this chapter, in June. 1894. 
Chief Big Eagle related the ])artieulars of this incident, as follows : 
"I will tell you how this was done, as it was told to me by all 
of the four young men who did the killing. * * * They came 
to a settler's fence and here they found a hen's nest with some 
eggs in it. One of them took the eggs when another said: 'Don't 
take them, for they belong to a white man and we may get into 
trouble.' The other was angry, for he was very hungry and 
Avanted to eat the eggs, and he dashed them to the ground and 
replied: 'You are a coward. You are afraid of the white man. 
You are afraid to take even an egg from him, though you are 
iialf starved. Yes, you are a coward and I will tell everybody 
so.' The other said, 'I am not a coward. T am not afraid of the 
white man, and to show you that I am not, I will go to the house 
and shoot him. Are you brave enough to go with me?' The one 
who had taken the eggs replied: 'Yes, I will go with you and we 
will see who is the brave.' Their two companions then said : 'We 
will go with you and we will be brave, too.' Then they all went 
to the house of the white man." (See Vol. 6, Minn. Hist. Socy. 
Coll., p. 389 ; also St. Paul Pioneer Press, July 1, 1894.) 

Robinson Jones -was a pioneer settler in Acton township. He 
and others came from a lumber camp in northern Minnesota, in 
the spring of 1857, and made claims in the same neighborhood. 
January 4. 1861, Jones married a widow named Ann Baker, with 
an adult son, Howard Baker, who had a wife and two young chil- 
dren and lived on his own claim, in a good log house, half a 
mile north of his step-father. The marriage ceremony uniting 
Jones and Mrs. Baker was performed by James C. Bright, a jus- 
tice of the peace. In the summer of 1862 Mr. and Mrs. Jones 
adopted into their family a deceased relative's two children, 
Clara D. "Wilson, a girl of fifteen, and her half brother, an infant 
of eighteen months. No eliiklrcii were born to Jlr. and Mrs. 
Jones after their marriage. 

Jones was a typical stalwart frontiersman, somewhat rough 
and unrefined, but well liked by his white neighbors. His wife 
was a congenial companion. In 1861 a postoffice called Acton 
was established at Jones' house; it was called for the township, 
which had been named by some settlers from Canada for their 
old home locality. In his house Jones kept a small stock of goods 
fairly suited to the wants of his neighbors and to the Indian 
trade. He also kept constantly on hand a barrel or more of cheap 



142 HISTORY OF KEXVILLK (Or.XTY 

whiskey which he sold by the glass or bottles, an array of which 
always stood on his shelves. He seldom sold whiskey to the 
Indians except when he had traded with them for their furs, but 
]\Irs. Jones would let them have it whenever they could pay for it. 

August 10, a young married couple, Mr. and ]\Irs. Viranus 
Webster, from Wisconsin, in search of a Minnesota homestead, 
came to Howard Baker's in their fine two-horse wagon and were 
given a welcome and a temporary home until they could select 
a claim. As Baker's rooms were small, the Websters continued 
to use their covered wagon as a sleeping apartment. Webster 
had about .$160 in gold coin, and some other money, and good 
outfit, including a fine shotgun. 

Tlie Ghost Killer and his three companions went to Jones' 
lionse, and according to his statement, made half an hour laterj 
demanded whisky, which he declined to give tlu'iii. He knew 
personally all of the four, and was astonished at their conduct, 
which was so unusual, so menaciug and threatening, that — al- 
though he was of great physical strength and had a reputation 
as a fighter and for personal courage — he became alarmed and 
fled from his own house to that of his step-son, Howard Baker, 
whithei- his wife had pr(>cedi'd liiiii (in a Sunday visit. In his 
flight he abandoned his foster children, Clara Wilson anil her 
baby brother. Reacliing the house of his step-son, Jones said, in 
ajiparent alarm, that he had liecn afraid of the Indians who had 
jilainly tried to provoke a quarrel with him. 

Although the Jones house, with its stores of whisky, mer- 
chandise, and other ai'tieles had been altandoned to them, the 
Indians did not oil'er to take a thing from it, or to molest iliss 
Wilson. Walking leisurely, they followed Jones to the Baker 
house, which they reached about 11 a. m. Two of them could 
speak a little English, and Jones spoke Sioux fairly well. What 
occurred is thus related in the recorded sworn testimony of Mrs. 
Howard Baker, at the inquest held over the bodies of her husband 
and others the day following the tragedy : 

"About 11 o'clock a. m. four Indians came into oin- house; 
stayed about fifteen minutes; got nj) and looked out; had the 
men take down their guns and shoot them oft' at a mark; then 
bantered for a gun trade with Jones. About 12 o '-clock two 
more Indians came and got some water. Our guns were not 
reloaded; but the Indians reloaded tlieirs in the door yard after 
they had fired at the nuirk. I went back into the house, for at 
the time I did not suspect anything, but supposed the Indians 
were going away. 

"The next thing I knew I heard the report of a gun and saw 
Mr. Webster fall; he stood and fell near the door of the house. 
Another Indian came to the door and aimed his gun at my hus- 
band and fired, but did not kill hiu^; then he shot the other bar- 



lIlSTOin' OF KK.WII.I.K COrXTV 143 

rel of the gun at liim, ami tlu'ii lie fell dead. My mother-in-law, 
Mrs. Jones, eanie to the door and another Indian shot her; she 
turned to run and fell into tlie butterj^; they shot at her twice as 
she fell. I tricii to get out of the window but fell down cellar. 
I saw airs. Webster i)ullins the body of hei' husband into the 
house; while 1 was in the ei'llar 1 heard firing out of doors, and 
the Indians ininiediately left the house, and then all went away. 
"Mr. Jones had told us that they were Sioux Indians, and 
that he M'as well aequainted with them. Two of the Indians had 
on white men's coats; one was quite tall, one was quite small, one 
was thick and chubby, and all were middle-aged; one had two 
feathers in his cap, and another had three. Jones said to us: 
'They asked me for whisky, but 1 could not give them any.' " 
(See History of Meeker county, 1876, by A. C. Smith, who pre- 
sided at the inquest and recorded the testinumy of Mrs. Baker.) 
In a published stateiiicnt made a few days later (See com- 
munication of :\1. S. Croswell, of Monticello, in St. Paul Daily 
Press, for Seiitember 4. 1862) Mrs. Webster fully corroborates 
the statements of ^Mrs. Baker. She added, however, that when 
the Indians came to the Baker house they acted very friendly, 
offering to shake hands with everybody; that Jones traded Bak- 
er's gun to ail Indian that spoke English and who gave the white 
man three dollars in silver "to boot," seeming to have more 
money: that Webster was the fir.st person shot and then Baker 
and ;\Irs. Jones: that an Indian chased Jones and mortally 
wounded him so that he fell near Web.ster's wagon, shot through 
the body, and died after suffering terribly, for when the relief 
party came it was seen that in his death agonies he had torn up 
handfuls of grass and turf and dug cavities in the ground, while 
his features were hoi'ribly distoi-ted. 

Mrs. Webster furtlici- stated that she witnessed the shooting 
from her covered wagon : that as soon as it was over the Indians 
left, without offering any sort of indignities to the bodies of their 
vietims. or to carry away any plunder or even to take away Web- 
ster's and Baker's four tine hor.ses, a good mount for each In- 
dian. Mrs. Webster then hastened to her dying husband and 
asked him wli\- the Indians liail shot him. He replied: "I do not 
know ; 1 never saw a Siou.x Indian before, and nevei- had any- 
thing to do with one." ]\Irs. Baker now ajijjeared from the 
cellar and, with ln-r two children ran into a thicket of hazel 
bushes near the house and eowi-red among them. As soon as 
Webster was dead and his body had been composed by his wife, 
she, too, ran to the bushes and joined Mrs. Baker. 

The two teri'or-stricken women weri^ considering, as best 
their mental condition would permit, what they should do, when 
a half-witted, half-dernented fellow, an Irishman, named Cox, 
came along the road. At once the women entreated him for 



144 IIISTOKV OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

assistance. Tlie poor imbecile onlj- grinned, shook his head and 
said to them that they were liars and that there had been no 
Indians here. When thej- pointed to the bloody corpses he 
laughed and said: "Oh, they only have the nose-bleed; it will do 
them good," and then passed on, crooning a weird song to a 
weirder tune. A few days later, the report was that Cox was 
a spy for tlie Indians and he was arrested at Forest City and 
sent under guard, via Monticello, to St. Paul, where, on investi- 
gation, lie was released as a harmless lunatic. 

Horrified and half distracted, Mrs. Baker and Mrs. "Webster, 
with the former's two children, made their way for some miles 
to the house of Nels Olson (who was afterward killed by the 
Indians), where they passed the night. The next morning they 
were taken to Forest City and from thence to Kingston and Mon- 
ticello. Their subsequent history cannot here be given. 

Soon after their arrival at Nels Olson's cabin Ole Ingeman 
heard the alarming story of Mrs. Baker and Mrs. Webster and 
galloped awa.y to Forest City with the thrilling news, stirring 
up the settlers on the waj'. He reached Forest City at six o'clock 
in the evening, crying, "Indians on the war path!" In an hour 
sixteen of the villagers, with hunting rifles and shotguns, M^ere 
on their way to Acton. It soon grew dark and nine of the party 
turned back. The other seven — John Blaekwell, Berger Ander- 
son, Amos N. Fosen, Nels Danielson, Ole Westman, John Nelson, 
and Charles Magnuson — pressed bravely on. Soon they were 
joined by another party of settlers headed by Thomas McGan- 
non. Reaching the Baker place, the settlers approached the house 
warily, lest the Indians were still there. In the darkness they 
stumbled over the bloody bodies of Jones, Webster and Baker, 
and fouuil the corpse of ilrs. Jones in a pantry. 

In the gloom of midnight the pioneers passed on to Acton 
post office. Jones' house. Here they expected to find the Indians 
dead drunk in Jones' whisky, but not an Indian was there. Pros- 
trate on the floor, in a pool of her virgin blood, and just as she 
had fallen when the Indian's bullet split her young heart in twain, 
lay the corpse of poor Clara Wilson. No disrespect had been 
shoAVU it and she had been mercifully killed outright — that was 
all. On a Ioav bed lay her little baby brother of two years, with 
not a scratch upon him. He had cried himself to sleep. When 
awakened he smiled into the faces of his rescuers, and prattled 
that Clara was "hurt" and that he wanted his supper. John 
Blaekwell carried him away and the child was finally adopted 
by Charles H. Ellis, of Otsego, Wright county. 

In a corner of the main room of the Jones house stood a half- 
filled whisky barrel, and on a long shelf, with other merchandise, 
was an array of pint and half-pint bottles filled with the exhila- 
rating beverage. The Indians had not touched a drop of the 



HISTOKY OF RENVILLE CorNTV 145 

stuff — so tlu'y themselves declared, and so appearances indi- 
cated. The numerous printed statements that they were drunk 
when they perpetrated tlie murders are all false. Moreover, 
Jones' statement that they wanted whisky and-"acted uglj'" be- 
cause he would not let them have it, may well be disbelieved. 
After he had fled from the house, disgracefully abandoning Clara 
Wilson and her baby brother, who were all that could say them 
nay, the Indians might have seized enough of the whisky to 
make the entire Rice Creek band drunk; and when they returned 
from Baker's and killed Miss Wilson they could easily have 
plundered Jones' house, not only of its wliisky, but of all its 
other contents, but this they did not do. Of all Jones' house- 
hold goods and his tempting stock of merchandise, not a pin 
was taken and not a drop of wliisky drank. At Baker's they 
were as sober as judges and asked for water. (See Lawson and 
Tew's admirable History of Kandiyohi county, pp. 18-19; also 
Smith's Historj' of Meeker county.) 

On Monday, August 18, about sixty citizens assembled at 
Acton and an inquest was held on the bodies of Jones, Webster, 
Baker, Mrs. Jones, and Clara Wilson. The investigation was 
presided over by Judge A. C. Smith, of Forest City, then pro- 
bate judge and acting county attorney of Meeker county. The 
testimony of ilrs. Baker and otliers was taken and recorded and 
the verdict was that the subjects of the inquest were, "murdered 
by Indians of the Sioux tribe, whose names are unknown."' The 
bodies had eluinged and were changing fast under the warm Au- 
gust temperature, and were rather hastily coffined and taken 
about three miles eastward to the cemetery connected with the 
Norwegian church, commonly called tlie Ness church, and all 
five of them were buried "in one broad grave." (See Smith's 
Histoiy, p. 17.) Some years later at a cost of ifioOO, the State 
erected a granite monument over the grave to the memory of 
its inmates. 

While the inquest was being held at the Baker house, eleven 
Indians, all mounted, appeared on the prairie ludf a mile to the 
westward. Tliey were Island Cloud and his party. The two In- 
dians that had come to Baker's the previous day, while the 
Cdiost Killer and his companions were tliere, and had left, after 
obtaining a drink of water, and before the murders, reported 
to the main party that they had heard firing in the direction of 
the Baker liouse. Ghost Killer and the three otliers had not since 
been seen, and Island Cloud and his fellows feared that the whites 
had killed them in a row, while drunk on Jones' whisky. (Island 
Cloud's statement to W. L. Quinn and others.) They were ap- 
proaching the Baker house to learn what had become of tlieir 
comrades when the crowd at the inquest saw them. Instantly a 
number of armed and mounted settlers started for them, bent on 



]46 niSTORV OF RENVILLE COT-XTY 

vengeance. The Indians. wlioUy unaware of the real situation, 
and believing that their four comrades had been murdered and 
that they themselves were in deadly peril, turned and fled in 
terror and were chased well into Kandiyohi county. Both whites 
and Indians in the vicinity of Acton were at this time wholly 
unaware and altogether unsuspicious of wliat a great conflagra- 
tion was then raging tlie ilinnesota valley and which had b(H'n 
kindled by the little tire at Howard Baker's cabin. 

All of tlie attendant circumstances prove that the murder was 
solely the work of tlie five persons that did the deeil, and tliat tliey 
liad no accessories before or after the fact. It was not perpetrated 
because of dissatisfaction at the delay in the payment, nor because 
there were to be soldiers at the pay table : it was not occasioned 
by the .sale of the north ten-mile strip of the reservation, nor be- 
cause so many white men liad left Minnesota and gone into tlie 
Union army. It was not tlie result of the councils of the sol- 
diers' lodge, nor of any other Indian plot. Tlie twenty or more 
Indians who left Rice Creek August V2 for tlie hunt did not in- 
tend to kill white people; if they had so intended. Island Cloud 
and all the rest would liave been present at and have participated 
in the murders at Baker's and Jones' and carried oS nuich port- 
able property, including horses. Tlie trouble started as has been 
stated — from finding a few eggs in a white man's fence-corner. 

After the murder of Clara Wilson — wlio, the Indians said, 
was shot from the roadway as she was standing in the doorway 
looking at them — the four murderers, possibly without entering 
the Jones house, went directly to the house of Peter Wicklund, 
near Lake Elizabeth, which they reached about one o'clock, when 
the family were at dinner. Wicklund 's son-in-law, A. ^I. Eckuud, 
who had a team of good young horses, had arrived with his wife, 
a short time before, for a Sunday visit at her father's. One of 
the Indians came to the door of the house, cocked his gun, and 
pointed it at the people seated around the dinner table. Mrs. 
Wicklund rose and motioned to the savage to point his gun in 
another direction. He continued, however, to menace the party 
and thus distract their attention while his companions secured 
and slipped away with Ecklund's horses. Then, mounted, two on 
a horse, the four rode rapidly southward. Some distance from 
Wicklund 's they secured two other horses, and then they pro- 
ceeded as fast as possible to their village at the mouth of Rice 
Creek, forty miles from Acton. 

They reached their village in tlie twilight after a swift, hard 
ride, which, according to Jere Campbell, who was present, liad 
well nigh exhausted the liorses. Leaping from their panting and 
dripping studs they called out: "Get your guns! There is war 
with the M-hites and we have begun it!'' Then they related the 
events of the morning. They seemed like criminals that had 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COIXI^- 147 

perpetrated some foul deed aud then, affriglited, apprehensive 
and remorseful, had fled to their kinsmen for shelter and protec- 
tion. Their story at onee created great excitement and at the 
same time much synipatliy for them. Some of their fellow vil- 
lagers began at onee to get ready for war, by putting their guns 
in order and looking after their ammunition supplies. Ho-ehoke- 
pe-doota, the chief of the Rice Creek bank — if he really held 
that position — was beside himself Avith excitement. At last he 
concluded to take the four adventurers and go and see Chief 
Shakopee about the matter. Repairing as .speedily as possible 
to the chief's village, on the south side of the river, near the 
mouth of the Redwood, they electrified all of its people by their 
startling story, which, however, many of them had already heard. 
Shakopee (or Little Six) was a non-progressive Indian, who 
lived in a tepee and generally as an Indian — scorning the ad- 
juncts of the white man. The story of the killing stirred him, 
and the excitement among his band, some members of which were 
already shouting the war-whoop and preparing to fight, affected 
him so that, while he declared tiiat he was for war, he did not 
know what to do. "Let us go down and see Little Crow and the 
others at the Agency," he said at last. Accordingly Shakopee, 
. the Rice Creek chief, two of the four young men who still smelled 
of the white people's blood they had spilled, and a considerable 
number of other Rice Creekers, and members of Shakopee 's band, 
altliough it was midnight, went down to consult witli the greatest 
of the Sioux, Tah Yahte Dootah, or Little Crow. Messengers 
were also sent to the other sub-chiefs inviting them to a war 
council at Little Crow's house. The chief was startled by the ap- 
pearance of Shakopee and the others, and at first seemed non- 
plussed and at a loss to decide. Finally he agreed to the war, 
said the whites of the Upper Minnesota mu.st all be killed, and he 
commended the young murderers for shedding the first blood, 
saying they had "done well." Big Eagle thus relates the incident: 
"Shako])ee took the young men to Little (^row's fi-ame house, 
two miles above the Agency, and he sal up in lud ami listened 
to their story. He said war was now dcclai-fd. Blood had been 
shed, the annuities wouhl be stopped, and the whites would take 
a dreadful vengeance because women had been killi-d. Wabasha, 
Wacouta, myself, and some others talked for peace, l)ut noljody 
would listen to us, and soon tiie general cry was: "Kill the 
whites, and kill all these eut-liairs (Indians ami liali'-bloods who 
had cut their haii' and jiut on white men's clotiiesi that will not 
join us.' Then a council was held and war was declared. Tlie 
women began to run hullcts and the uu-n to clean their guns. 
Parties formed and dashed away in the darkness to kill the set- 
tlers. Little Crow gave orders to attack the agency early next 
moi-uiug and to kill the traders and othei- whites there. 



148 IIISTOKV OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

■"When tlie Indians first came to Little Crow for counsel and 
advice lie said to them, tauntingly. 'Why do you come to me for 
advice? Go to the man you elected speaker (Traveling Hail) 
and let liim tell you what to do." But he soon came around all 
right." 

Between li and 7 o'cloel-; on thr moi'ning of jVugust IS. the 
first shot Avas fired and the first white man was killed at the 
Lower Agency and the dreadful massacre began. James "W. 
Lynd, ex-state senator from Sibley county, was a clerk in ]\Iy- 
rick's trading house at the Agency. He was standing upon a 
door step watching the movements of some Indians who were 
coming along with gnn.s in their hands and acting strangely. Sud- 
denly one of tliem named Mucli Hail, or Plenty of Hail (Tan- 
"Wah-su Ota), (until a few years since it was generally understood 
from the best authorities that the fatal shot was fired by Walks 
Like a Preacher, Avho died in prison at Davenport, but in 1901 
Much Hail, living in Canada, confessed that he was the one that 
killed Mr. Lynd.) drew up his gun and pointing it at Mr. Lynd, 
said: "Now, I will kill the dog that would not give me credit." 
He fired and iMr. Lynd fell forward and died instantly. 

The massacre then became general. The whites were taken 
quite luiawares and were easy victims. No women were killed, 
but some were taken prisoners ; others were allowed to escape. 
The stores presented sucli enticing opportunities for securing 
plunder of a greatly coveted sort tliat the Indians swarmed into 
and about them, pillaging and looting, and this gave many wliites 
opportunity to escape and make their way to Fort Kidgely, four- 
teen miles. Tlie ferryman, Hubert Miller (whose name was com- 
monl.y pronounced Mauley, and wliose name was printed in some 
histories as Jacob JMayley) stuck to his post and ferried people 
across to tlie north side until all had passed; then tlie Indians 
killed him. 

The Indians in large numbers crossed the Minnesota and be- 
gan their bloody work among the settlers along Beaver and 
Sacred Heart creeks and in the IMinnesota bottoms. A few set- 
tler.s — and only a few — were warned in time to escape. 

Shakopee's band operated chiefly in this quarter and the 
chief that night said he had killed so many white people during 
the day that his arm was quite lame. The other Lower bands 
went down into Brown county and directly across the river. 

The dreadful scenes that were enacted in the Upper Minne- 
sota valley on that dreadful eighteenth of August can neither be 
described nor imagined. Hundreds of Indians visited the white 
settlements to the north and cast and perpetrated innumerable 
murders and countless other outrages. Scores of women and 
children were brought in as prisoners and many wagon loads of 
phnider were driven into the Indian camps. White men, women, 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUXTY 149 

and children oL' all ages were murdered iiidiscriniinately, and 
under the most terrible circumstances. The bodies were 
commonly mutilated — sometimes shockinglj' — but very few were 
scalped. Oul}- one mixed blood Indian, Francois La Bathe (pro- 
nounced La Bat) a trader at the Lower Agency, was killed. 
About twenty mixed bloods joined tlie hostile Indians : the others 
who would not join were made prisoners. Many mixed blood 
women were violated and otherwise misused. That night a large 
number of the settlers' houses and other buildings were burned, 
but many houses were spared. Some of the Indians declared that 
they needed them to live in, the coming autumn and winter. 

There was no resistance worthy of the name. Very few set- 
tlers had fire-arms or were accustomed to them. There were 
nuiny Germans that had nevei' fired a gun in ;ill of tlieir 
lives. Then, too. the Indian attacks were wholly luiexpected. 
The savages approached their victims in a most friendly and 
pleasant manner and slew them without warning. Very often, 
however, the white man knew that he was to be murdered, but 
he made no attempt to defend himself. Some who Avere being 
chased by the Indians, turned and fired a few shots at their pur- 
suers, but withoiit effect. Though hundreds of white people were 
murdered bj- the Indians that day, not a single Indian was killed 
or severely injured. 

Down the Minnesota river on both sides below Fort Ridgley 
as far as New Ulm, and up the river to Yellow Medicine, the 
bloody slaughter extended that day. The fiendish butcheries and 
horrible killings beggar description. Here is one of many like in- 
stances: Cut Nose, a savage of savages, with half a dozen other 
Sioux, overtook a number of whites in wagons. He sprang into 
one of the vehicles in which were eleven women and children and 
tomahawked every one of them, yelling in fiendish delight as his 
weapons went crashing through the skulls of the helpless victims. 
Twenty-five whites were killed at this point. Settlers were slain 
from near the Iowa line in Jackson county, as far north as Breck- 
enridge, including Glencoe, Hutchinson, Forest City, Manannah 
and other places. Fourteen were killed at White Lake, Kandi- 
yohi county. The much greater number of whites were slaugh- 
tered, however, within the reservations, and in Renville and 
Brown counties. During the first week, it is estimated that over 
600 whites were killed and nearlj' 200 women and children taken 
captive. 

The "Whites at the Yellow Medicine Agency above the LoAver 
Agency, to the number of sixty-two, among them the family of 
Indian Agent Galbraith, escaped by the aid of John Otherday, a 
friendly Indian. 

When the news of the outbreak reached Fort Ridgley, Captain 
John S. Marsh, with forty-six of his men of Companj' B, Fifth 



150 HIST(>in' OF RENVILLE rOT'NTY 

Minnesota, started for the Lower Agency. He ^vas ambushed at 
Redwood Ferry, twenty-four of his men were killed and he him- 
self was drowned in attemptine: to cross the river. The survivors 
of liis eomniand liid in the thickets and woi-ked tiieir way back 
to the foi-t at night. 

The Indians attacked Foi't Kitlgley on the twentieth and again 
on the twenty-second of August, the latter day with 800 warriors. 
The force in the fort numbered 180 men, commanded by Lieuten- 
ant T. J. Sheehan. A small battery under Sergeant John Jones, 
of the regular army, did eti'ective service. There were 300 refu- 
gees in the fort. After many hours" fighting, the Indians i-etircd. 
Had they charged they could have captured the fort, but Indians 
do not tight in that manner. The saving of Ridgley was the sal- 
vation of the country below, as its capture would have enabled 
the Indians to SM'ee]) the valley. The loss of the garrison was 
three killed and twelve woiuided. 

The most momentous engagements of the Indian war Avere 
the attacks upon New Ulm, as the fate of moi-e than l.SOO people 
was at stake. The Sioux tii'st assaulted it on the tlay following 
the outbreak, but were driven off. That night Judge C. E. Flan- 
drau, of the Supreme Court, arrived with 12;') men, and the next 
day 50 arii\i'd from ilankato. Judge Flandrau was chosen to 
command. On August 23 the Indians, some 500 strong, again 
attacked tlie little city and suri-ounded it, apiiai'ently determined 
to capture it. The battle lasted five or six hours. The Indians 
set fire to the houses to the windward, and the flames swept 
towards the center of the city, where the inhabitants liad barri- 
caded themselves, and complete destruction seemed inevitable. 
The whites, under Flandrau, charged the Indians and drove them 
half a mile. They then set fire to and burned all the houses on 
the outskirts in which the Indians were taking shelter. In all, 
190 structures were destroyed. Towards evening the Indians re- 
tired. Thirty-six whites were killed, inchuling ten slain in a 
recounoissance on the nineteenth. Seventy to eighty wei'e 
wounded. 

Owing to a shortage of provisions and auuiiunition. the city 
was evacuated on August 25. The sick antl wounded and women 
and children were loailed into 153 wagons and started for Man- 
kato. No more pathetic sight was ever witnessed on this conti- 
nent than this long procession of 1,500 people forced to leave 
theii' homes and flee from a relentless foe, unless it l)e the pathetic 
picture, seen so many times on this continent of the Indians being 
driven from the lands of their ancestors by the no less i-elentless 
whites. 

Heard's history thus vividly portrays conditions in the Minne- 
sota valley at this period. 

"Shakopee. IJelle I'laiue ami Henderson were filled with fugi- 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COrNTV 151 

tives . Guards patrollfil tlio Olltski^ts, and attacd<.s were con- 
stantly apprclieiidcd. Oxen were killed in the streets, and the 
meat, Jiastily pre|)ai'ed, was eooked over fii'es on the gi'ound. The 
grist mills were sui-rendered by their owners to the public and 
kept in constant motion to allay the demand for footl. All 
tliought of proiiei'ty was abaniloned. Safety of life prevailetl 
over every other consideration. Poverty stared in the face those 
who had been aflluent. but they thoujjrht little of that. Women 
were to be seen in the street hanginfi on each other's necks, 
telling of their mutual losses, and tiie little terror-stricken chil- 
dren, surviving remnants of once happy homes, crying piteously 
around theii' knees. The houses and stables were all occupied by 
people, and hundreds of fugitives had no covering or sheltei' but 
the canopy of heaven." 

August 26, Lieut. -Gov. Ignatius Donnelly, writing to Gov. 
Alexander Ramsey, from St. Peter, said: 

"You can hai-dly conceive the panic existing along the valley. 
In Belle Plaine I found sixty people crowded. In this place lead- 
ing citizens assure me that there are between :3,000 and 4,000 
refugees. On the road between New Ulm and Mankato are over 
2,000; Mankato is also crowded. The people here are in a state 
of panic. Tiiey fear to see our forces leave. Although we may 
agree that much of this dread is without foundation, nevertheless 
it is producing disastrous consequences to the state. The people 
will continue to i)our down the valley, carrying consternation 
wherever they go, their property in the meantime abandoned and 
going to ruin."' 

Wlien William J. Sturgis, bearer of dispatches from Fort 
Ridgley to Governor Ramsey, reached him at Fort Snelliug on the 
afternoon of August 19. the government at once placed ex-Gov- 
ernor Henry II. Sibley, with the rank of colonel, in connnand of 
the forces to operate against the Indians. Just at this time, in 
response to President Lincoln's call for GOO, 000 volunteers, there 
was a great rush of Minnesotans to Fort Snelling, so that there 
was no lack of men, but there was an almost entire want of arms 
and equipment. This caused some delay, but Colonel Sibley 
reached St. Peter on the twenty-second. Here he was delayed 
until the twenty-sixth and reached Fort Ridgley August 28. A 
company of his cavalry ai'rived at the fort the day previous, to 
the great joy of garrison and refugee settlers. 

August 31 General Sibley, then encamped at Fort Ridgley 
with his entire command, dispatched a force of some 150 men, 
under the command of Maj. Josei)h R. Brown, to the Lower 
Agency, with instructions to bury the dead of Captain Marsh's 
command and the remains of all settlers found. No signs of 
Indians were seen at the agency, which they visited on September 
1. That evening they encamped near Birch Coulie, about 200 



152 HISTORV OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

yards from the timber. This was a fatal mistake, as subseqneBt 
events proved. At early dawn the Sioux, who had surrounded 
the camp, were discovered by a sentinel, who fired. Instantly 
there came a deadly roar from hundreds of Indian guns all around 
the camp. The soldiers sprang to their feet, and in a few minutes 
thirty were shot down. Thereafter all hugged the ground. The 
horses to the number of 87 were soon killed, and furnished a 
slight protection to the men, who dug pits with spades and 
bayonets. General Sibley sent a force of 240 men to their relief, 
and on the same day followed with his entire command. On the 
forenoon of September 3 they reached the Coulie and the Indians 
retreated. Twenty-eight whites were killed and sixty wounded. 
The condition of the wounded and indeed the entire force was 
terrible. They had been some forty hours wifliout Avater, under 
a hot sun, surrounded by bloodthirsty, howling savages. The 
dead were buried and the wounded taken to Port Ridgley. 

After the battle of Birch Coulie many small war parties of 
Indians started for the settlements to the Northwest, burning 
houses, killing settlers and spreading terror throughout that 
region. There were minor battles at Forest City, Acton, Hutch- 
inson and other places. Stockades were built at various points. 
The wife and two children of a settler, a mile from Richmond, 
were killed on September 22. Paynesville was abandoned and 
all but two houses burned. The most severe fighting with the 
Indians in the northwestern settlements was at Forest City, 
Acton and Hutchinson, on September 3 and 4. Prior to the battle 
at Birch Coulie, Little Crow, with 110 warriors, started on a raid 
to the Big Woods country. They encountered a company of 
some sixty whites under Captain Strout, between Glencoe and 
Acton, and a furious fight ensued, Strout 's force finally reaching 
Hutchinson, with a loss of five killed and seventeen wounded. 
Next day Hutchinson and Forest City, where stockades had been 
erected, were attacked, but the Indians finally retired without 
much loss on either side, the Indians, however, burning many 
houses, driving otf horses and cattle, and carrying away a great 
deal of personal property. 

Twenty-two whites were killed in Kandiyohi and Swift coun- 
ties by war parties of Sioux. Unimportant attacks were made 
upon Fort Abercrombie on September 3, 6, 26 and 29. in which a 
few whites were killed. 

There was great anxiety as to the Chippewas. Rumors were 
rife that Hole-in-the-Day, the head chief, had smoked the pipe 
of peace with his hereditary enemies, the Sioux, and would join 
them in a war against the whites. There was good ground for 
these apprehensions, but by wise counsel and advice. Hole-in-the- 
Day and his Chippewas remained passive. 

General Sibley was greatly delayed in his movements against 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 153 

tiif Indiiiiis In- insufficiency of supplies, want of cavalry and 
pi'oixM- supply trains. Early in September he moved forAvard 
and on September 23, at Wood Lake, engaged in a spirited battle 
■with 500 Indians, defeating them with considerable loss. On the 
twenty-sixth, General Sibley moved forward to the Indian camps. 
Little Crow and his followers had hastily retreated after the 
battle at Wood Lake and left the state. Several bauds of friendly 
Indians remained, and througli their action in guarding the cap- 
tives they were saved and released, in all ninety-one whites and 
150 half-breeds. The women of the latter had been subjected 
to the same indignities as the white women. 

General Sibley proceeded to arrest all Indians suspected of 
murder, abuse of women and other outrages. Eventually 425 
were tried by a military commission, 303 being sentenced to death 
and eighteen to imprisonment. President Lincoln commuted the 
sentence of all but forty. He was greatly censured for doing 
this, and much resentment was felt against him by those whose 
relatives had suffered. Of the forty, one died before the day 
fixed for execution, and one, Henry Milord, a half-breed, had his 
sentence commuted to imprisonment for life in the penitentiary; 
so that thirty-eight only were hung. The execution took place at 
Mankato, December 26, 1862. 

The Battle of Wood Lake ended the campaign against the 
Sioux for that year. Small war parties occasionally raided the 
settlements, creating "scares"' and excitement, but the main body 
of Indians left the state for Dakota. Little Crow and a son 
returned in 1863, and on July 3 was killed near Hutchinson by 
a farmer named Nathan Lamson. In 1863 and 1864 expeditions 
against the Indians drove them across the Missouri river, defeat- 
ing them in several battles. Thus Minnesota was forever freed 
from danger from the Sioux. 

In November, 1862, three mouths after the outbreak, Indian 
Agent Thomas J. Galbraith prepared a statement giving the num- 
ber of whites killed as 738. Historians Heard and Plandrau 
placed the killed at over 1,000. 

On February 16, 1863, the treaties before that time existing 
between the United States and the Sioux Indians were abrogated 
and annulled, and all lands and rights of occupancy witliin the 
State of IMinncsota, and all annuities and claims then existing 
in favor of said Indians were declared forfeited to the United 
States. 

These Indians, in the language of the act, had, in the year 
1862, "made unprovoked aggression and most savage war upon 
the L^nited States, and massacred a large number of men. Avomen 
and children within the State of Minnesota;" and as in this war 
and massacre they had "destroyed and damaged a large amount 
of property, and thereby forfVited all just claims" to their 



154 lllSTOIi'V CF KENVILLE COUNTY 

"monies and annuities to the United States,"" the act provides 
that "two-thirds of the balance remaining unexpended"' of their 
annuities for the fiscal year, not exceeding one hundred thousand 
dollars, and the further sum of one hundred thousand dollars, 
being two-thirds of the annuities becoming due, and payable dur- 
ing the next fiscal year, should be appropriated and paid over 
to three commissioners appointed by the President, to be by them 
apportioned among the heads of families, or their survivors, who 
sutfered damage by the depredations of said Indians, or the troops 
of the United States in the war against thera, not exceeding the 
sum of two hundred dollars to any one family, nor more than 
actual damage sustained. All claims for damages were required, 
by the act, to be presented at certain times, and according to the 
rules prescribed by the commissioners, who should hold their first 
session at St. Peter, in the State of ^Minnesota, on or before the 
first Monday of April, and make and return their finding, and all 
the papers relating thereto, on or before the first I\Ionday in 
December, 1863. 

The President ai)pointed for this duty, and with the advice 
and consent of the Senate, the lions. Albert S. White, of the State 
of Indiana: Eli R. Chase, of Wisconsin, and (_'yrus Aldrich, of 
Minnesota. 

The duties of this l)oard were so vigorously prosecuted, that, 
by November 1 following their appointment, some twenty thou- 
sand sheets of legal cap paper had been consumed in reducing to 
writing the testimony under the law requiring the commissioners 
to report the testimony in writing, and proper decisions made 
requisite to the payment of the two hundred dollars to that class 
of sufferers designated by the act of Congress. 

On February 21 following the annulling of the treaty with the 
Sioux above named. Congress jjassed an act for the i-emoval 
of the W^innebago Indians, and the sale of their reservation in 
Minnesota for their benefit. "The money arising from the sale 
of their lands, after paying their iudebtedness, is to be paid into 
the treasury of the United States, and expended, as the same is 
received, under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, in 
necessary improvements upon their uew reservation. The lands 
in the new reservation are to be allotted in severalty, not exceed- 
ing eighty acres to each head of a family, except to the chiefs, 
to whom larger allotments may be made, to be vested by jjatent 
in the Indian and his heirs, without the right of alienation." 

These sevei'al acts of the general government moderated to 
some extent the demand of the people for the execution of the 
condemned Sioux yet in the military prison at Mankato awaiting 
the final decision of the Presidnit. The removal of the Indians 
from the borders of Minnesota, and the opening up for settlement 
of- over a million of acres of superior land, was a prospective 



HISTORY OF KENVILLE COUNTY 155 

l)ciicfit to till' SUitc of iimiiciisc \'iiliif, hotli in its donicstie quiet 
and its rapid advaiici'inout in inatiM-ial wealth. 

In piirsnanei' of tlie acts of Coiigi-css, on April 22, and for the 
purpose of carrying them into execution, the condemned Indians 
were fii'st taken from the State, on board the steamboat Favorite, 
carried down the Mississippi, and confined at Davenport, in the 
State of Iowa, wliere they remained, with only such privileges 
as are allowed to convicts in the penitentiary. Many of tlicni 
died as the result of the confinement. 

On May 4, 1863, at six o'clock in the afternoon, certain others 
of tlie Sioux Indians, squaws and pappooses, in all about seven- 
teen hundred, left Fort Snelling, on board the steamboat Daven- 
port, for their new reservation on the Upper Missouri, above Fort 
Randall, accompanied by a strong guard of soldiers, and attended 
by certain of the missionaries and employes, the whole being 
under the general direction of Superintendent Clark "W. 
Thompson. 

CflAPTER XT. 
REDWOOD FERRY AMBUSCADE. 

Captain Marsh and His Company Start on Expedition — Fugitives 
Met — Ferry Reached — Parley with Indian — Concealed Indians 
Start Firing- — Attempt to Swim River — Captain Marsh 
Drowrned — Casualties — Disastrous Resvilt. 

The startling news of the tragic scenes at tJie Lower Agency 
reached Fort Ridgely at about 10 o'clock on that day (August 18, 
1862), but the extent and formidable cliai'aeter of the great 
Indian uj)rising were not understood until several hoiirs later. 
The messenger who bore the shocking tidings was J. C. Dickinson, 
the proprietor of a boarding house at the agency, and who 
brought with him a wagon load of refugees, nearly all women 
and children. Captain Marsh was in command of the fort, with 
his company (B, Fifth Minnesota), as a garrison. Lieutenant T. 
J. Sheehan, with Company C of the same regiment, had been dis- 
patched to Fort Ripley, on the Upper Mississippi, near St. Cloud. 

Sending a messenger with orders to Lieutenant Sheehan recall- 
ing him to Fort Ridgely and informing him that the Indians were 
"raising Hell at the Lower Agency." Captain Marsh at once i)re- 
pared to go to the scene of what seemed to be the sole locality 
of the troubles. He was not informed and had no instinctive 
or derived idea of the magnitude of the outbreak. Leaving abotit 
twenty men, under Lieutenant T. P. Gere, to hold the fort until 
Lieutenant Sheehan "s return. Captain Marsh, with about fifty 
men of his company and the old Indian interi)i-eter, Peter Quinn, 



156 HISTOKY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

set out for the agency, distant about twelve or fourteen miles to 
the nortliwest. On leaving Fort Ridgely the captain and the 
interpreter were mounted on mules; the men Avere on foot, but 
the captain had directed that teams, with extra ammunition and 
empty wagons for their transportation, should follow, and Gen- 
eral Hubbard's account, in Volume I of "Minnesota in the Civil 
and Indian "Wars," sajs that these wagons overtook the com- 
mand "about three miles out." 

In due time the little command came to the Redwood Ferry, 
but there is confusion in the printed accounts as to the exact 
time. Sergeant Bishop says it was "about 12 o'clock noon." 
Heard says it was "at sundown," or about 6 o'clock. Some of 
the Indians remember the time as in the evening, while others 
say it was in the afternoon. As the men were in wagons the 
greater pai-t of the way. the distance, allowing for sundry halts, 
ought to have been compassed in four hours at the farthest. Half 
way across the bottom the captain ordered the men from the 
wagons and marched them on foot perhaps a mile to the ferry 
house and landing. 

ileantinie on the way. the soldiers had met some fifty fugitives 
and seen the bodies of many victims of the massacre. 

The motives of the heroic and martyred Captain 3Iarsh have 
often been discussed by historians and others. He was an officer 
of sound sense and good judgment, and had already come in inti- 
mate contact with Indian life and action, and knew of their dis- 
content and their desiderate mood. 

"While hi' did not realize the general character of tlie massacre 
he nuist have tuiderstood that a considerable niunber of Indians 
were engaged in it. The language of his dispatch to Lieutenant 
Sheehan, however, would indicate that he at that time believed 
the trouble to be strictly local and confined to the Redwood 
Agency. 

Some historians have tliouglit that he had confidence that his 
force was strong enough to punish the guilty Indians and to bring 
the others to a sense of law and order. Other historians believe 
that he realized something of the danger before he left the fort. 
and that his realization of his danger increased as he continued 
on the journey, bitt that as a soldier and an officer he could do 
nothing else than to keej^ on until he met the murderous Indians 
and the God of Battles had determined the issue between them. 
Possibly he believed that the Indians upon seeing the uniformed 
soldiers would realize the enormity of their ofilense and the swift 
punishment which they were likely to meet at the hands of the 
organized and equipped military forces. Possibly he believed 
that the powerful chiefs Avould come to their senses at the sight 
of the soldiers and confer with him with a view to co-oi3erating 
with the government in punishing the guilty. 



HISTORY OF RENX'ILLE COl'XTV 157 

I'fli'r f.^liiiiin, till- olil interpreter witli his foi-ty yeafs" experi- 
eiu-e iiiiioiig the Sioux in Jlimipsota, knew tlie danger to be serious. 
On leaving Ft. Kidgely M-itli Captain Marsh and his men he said 
to Sutler B. H. Kandall : "I am sure we are going into great 
danger: I do not expect to return alive." Then witli tears in 
his eyes he continued: "Good-bye, give my love to all."" 

R. A. Randall, a son of B. 11. Randall, declares that his lather 
remonstrated with Captain Marsh, urging upon him the gravity 
of the situation and the necessity of staying at the fort to pro- 
tect the refugees who might seek safety there. Captain ilarsh 

at first listened to the remonstrance and ditenni 1 to stay at 

the fort. But later he changed his mind. He was a soldier, his 
di.ty was to punish the murderous assassins, and he coidd not 
sit idly in the fort while the guilty were allowed to go on their 
way to further crimes. "It is my duty."" he said to Sutler Randall 
as he started. 

There is some evidence that as the ferry was readied the cap- 
tain realized the peril of the situation and the hopelessness of his 
task with so inadequate a force, and had given, or was about to 
gi\-e. his men order to retire ,iust as they were fii'ed upon. 

Return I. Ilolcombe, the author of nearly all of this eha|)ter, 
sa.vs: "Tlie weight of evidence tends to prove eitiier that .Marsh 
did not realize the extent of tin- outbreak and tlic grave peril of 
his position, or else he was nobly oblivious to his own welfare and 
determined to do his duty as he saw it."" 

When Captain Marsh nud the men under. him reached the crest 
of Faribault "s Plill tliey saw to the southward, over two miles 
aM-ay, on the prairie about the agency, a number of mounted 
Indians; of course the Indians could and did see Marsh and his 
party. Knowledge of the coming of the soldiers had already 
reached the Indians from marauders who had been down the 
valley engaged in their dreadful work, and preparations were 
nuide to receive them. Scores of warriors, with bows and guns, 
repaired to the ferry landing, where it was known the party 
must come. Numbers crossed on the ferry boat to the north 
side of the river and concealed themselves in the willow thickets 
near by. The boat was finally moored to the bank on the east or 
north side, "in apparent readiness for the command to use for 
its crossing, though the dead body of the ferryman had been 
found on the road," says General Hubbard. 

Of the brave and faithful ferryman. Rev. S. D. Ilinman, who 
made his escape from the agency, has written : 

"The ferryman, Mayley, who resolutely ferried across the 
river at the agency all who desired to cross, was killed on tlie 
other side, jnst as he had passed the last man over. He was dis- 
emboweled : his head, hands and feet cut off and thrust into the 



158 lIIST'iKV OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

cavity. Obscure Frencliman though he -was. the blood of uo 
nobler hero dyed the batth'fiekls of Marathon or Thermopylae." 

Wheu tlie command reached the ferry landing only one Indian 
could be seen. Tliis was Shonka-ska, or White Dog', who was 
standing on the west bank of the river, in plain view. For some 
time he had been "Indian fanner"' at the Lower Agency, engaged 
in teaching- his red brethren how to plow and to cultivate the soil 
geiierally, receiving therefor a salary from tlie government. He 
had, however, been removed from his position, whicli had been 
given to Ta-o-pi (pronounced Tah-o-pee, and meaning wounded), 
another Christian Indian. White Dog bore a general good rejju- 
tation in the country until tlu' outbreak, and many yet assert 
that he has been misrepresented and unjustly accused. 

A conversation in tlie Sioux language was held between White 
Dog and Interpreter (^uinii, Ca]itain IMarsh suggesting most of 
the questions put to the Indian through tlu' interpreter. There 
are two versions of this conversation. The surviving soldiers say 
that, as they luiderstood it, and as it was interpreted by Mr. 
Quinn, White Dog assured Captain ^Marsh that there was no 
serious danger; that the Indians were willing, and were waiting, 
to hold a council at the agency to settle matters, and that the 
men could cross on the ferry boat in safety, etc. On the other 
hand certain Indian friends of Wliite Dog. who were present, 
have always elainunl that he did not use the treacherous language 
imputed to him, but plainly told tlie interpreter to say to the 
captain that he and his men must not attempt to cross, and that 
they should "go back quick." However. White Dog was sub- 
sequently tried by a military commission on a charge of dis- 
loyalty and treachery, found guilty, and hung at Mankato. He 
insisted on his innocence to the last. 

While the conversation between White Dog and Interpreter 
Quinn was yet in progress the latter exclaimed, "Look out!" 
The next instant came a volley of bullets and some arrows from 
the concealed foe on the opposite bank of the i-iver. This was 
accompanied and followed by yells and whoops and renewed 
firing, this time from tlie Indians on both sides of the river. They 
were armed chiefly with double-barreled shotguns loaded with 
"traders" balls,"' and their firing at the short distance was very 
destructive. Pierced with a dozen bullets, Interpreter Quinn was 
shot dead from his saddle at the first fire, and his body was after- 
ward well stuck with arrows. A dozen or more soldiers were 
killed outriglit and many wounded by the first volley. 

Although the sudden and fierce attack by overwhelming num- 
bers was most demoralizing. Captain ^larsh retained liis presence 
of mind sufficiently to .steady his men, to form them in line for 
defense, and to have them fire at least one volley. But now the 
Indians were in great numbers on the same side of the river, only 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 159 

a few yards away. They had secured possession of the log ferry 
house, from wliieh they could fire as from a block house, and 
they were in the thickets all about. Many of them were naked 
except as to breech clouts. Across the river near the bank were 
numbers behind the logs belonging to the ageney steam saw mill, 
and a circle of enemies was rapidly being completed about the 
little band. 

Below the ferry a few rods was a dense willow thicket, from 
two to ten rods in width anil running down the north or east 
bank of the river for a mile or more. Virtually cutting or forc- 
ing their way through the Indians. Captain IMarsh and fourteen 
of his men succeeded in reaching this thicket, from which they 
kept up a fight for about two hours. The Indians poured volleys 
at random from all sides into the thick covert, but the soldiers 
lay close to the ground and but few of them were struck. Two 
men, named Sutherland and Blodgett, were shot through the 
body and remained where they fell until afti>r dark, when they 
crawled out, and finding an old canoe floated down the river and 
reached Fort Ridgely the next day. Of a party of five that had 
taken refuge in another thicket three were killed before dark. 
One of the survivors, Thomas Parsley, remained in the thicket 
with his dead comrades until late at night, when he, too, escaped 
and made his way to the foi't. 

Gradually the imperiled soldiers worked their way througli 
the thick grass and brush of the jiuigle in which they were con- 
cealed luitil tliey had gone some distance east of the ferry. Mean- 
time they had kept iip a fight, using their ammunition carefully, 
but under the circumstances almost ineiifectually. The Indians 
did not attempt to charge them or "rush"' their position, for 
this was not the Indian style of warfare. Of the second great 
casualty of the day Sergeant John F. Bishop says: 

"About 4 o'clock i>. m., wlien our ammunition was reduced to 
not more than four rounds to a man. Captain I\Iarsh ordered his 
men to swim the river and try and work our way down on the 
west side. He entered the river first and swam to about tlie 
center and there went down with a cramp." 

Some of the men went to the captain's assistance, but were 
unable to save him. He was unwounded and died from the elfects 
of the paralyzing cramps whicli seized him. Some days aftei-w;nils 
his body was found in a drift, miles below wliere it sank. 

The ground where Captain Marsh and his company were 
ambuscaded was, as has been stated, at and about the ferry land- 
ing on the north side of the Minnesota river, opposite the Lower 
agency. From the landing on the south sid(> two roads had been 
graded up the steep higli bluff to the agency buildings, and from 
the north landing the road stretched diagonally across the wide 
river bottom to the huge corrugated bluffs, two miles or more 



360 lllSToiiV Ui-' iiE.WlLLE COUNTY 

away, at Faribault's Hill. The liill was so uamecl for David Fari- 
bault, a mixed blood Sioux, and a son of old John Baptiste P'ari- 
bault, and who lived at the base of the hill. He and his fanaily 
were made prisoners bj- the Indians and held during the outbreak. 
At Faribault's Hill the road divided, one fork leading up the hill 
and over tlie prairie to the eastward and northwest, running along 
the crest of the bluff to Fort Eidgely. The other followed the 
base of the bluff down the river. There were two or three houses 
between the ferry landing and the bluff, and at the landing itself 
was a house. All about the landing on the north side the ground 
of the main ambush was open : it is now covered with willows and 
other small growtlis of the nature of underbrush. 

After the drowning of Captain Marsh, the command, consist- 
ing of fifteen men, devolved upon Sergeant John F. Bishop. The 
men then resumed their slow and toilsome progress toward the 
fort. Five of them, including the sergeant, were wounded, one 
of them. Private Ole Svendson, so badly that he had to be carried. 
The Indians, for some reason, did not pi-ess the attack further, 
after the drowning of Captain Marsh, and all of them, except 
Ezekiel Eose, Vviio was Avounded and lost his way, reached Fort 
Eidgely (BishoiD says at 10 o'clock) that night. Eose wandered 
oft' into the country and was finally picked up near Henderson. 
Five miles from the fort Bishop sent forward Privates James 
Dunn and W. B. Hutchinson, with information of the disaster, to 
Lieutenant Gere. 

The loss of the Avhites was one officer (Caj^taiu Marsh) 
drowned : twenty-four men, including twenty-three soldiers, and 
Interpreter Quinn, killed, and five men wounded. The Indians 
had one man killed, a young warrior of the Wahpakoota band, 
named To-wa-to, or All Blue. When the band lived at or near 
Faribault this To-wa-to was known for his fondness for fine dress 
and for his gallantries. He was a dandy and a Lothario, but he 
was no coward. 

The aft'air at Eedwood Fei-ry was most influential upon the 
character of the Indian outbreak. It was a complete Indian vic- 
tory. A majority of the soldiers had been killed ; their guns, 
amnuinitiou and equipments had fallen into the hands of the 
victors; tlie first attempt to interfere with the savage programme 
had been signally repulsed, all witli tlie loss of but one man. 
Those of the savages who had favored the war from the first were 
jubilant over what had been accomplished and confident of the 
final and general result. There had been but the feeblest resist- 
ance on the part of the settlers who had been nuirdered that day, 
and the defense made by the soldiers had amounted to nothing. 
There was the general remark in the Indian camps that the 
whites, with all of their vaunted bravery, were "as easy to kill 
as sheep. 



HISTORY OF KENVILLE COUNTY 161 

Before tlie successful ambuscade tlu-re had \n-vn uppreliciisiou 
«moug iiiaiiy of the Indians that the outbreak would soon be sup- 
pressed, and tliey liad hesitated about engafriii^ in it. There were 
also those who at least were loyal and faithful to the whites and 
wotdd take no ]iai-t in tiie uprising. But after the destruction of 
Captain I\Iarsh and his eonniiand all outward opposition to the 
war was swept away in tin; wild torrent of exultation and 
enthusiasm created by the victory. Heard says: 

■"The Indians were highly JTibilant over this success. What- 
ever of doubt there was before among some of the propriety of 
embarking in tiic massacre disappeared, and the Lower Indians 
beeanu- a unit upon the question. Their dead enemies were lying 
all ai'ound them, and their camp was filled with captives. They 
had taken plenty of arms, powder, lead, provisions and clothing. 
The 'Farmer' Indians and members of the church, fearing, like 
all other renegades, that suspicion of Avant of zeal in the cause 
would rest upon them, to avoid tliis suspicion became more bloody 
and brutal in their language and conduct than tiie others." 

If Cai)tain ^larsh had succeeded in fighting his way across the 
river and into the agency, thereby dispersing the savages, it is 
probable that the great red rebellion would have been suppressed 
in less than half the tinu; which was actually required. The 
friendly Indians w-ould doubtless have been encouraged and 
stinudated to open and even aggressive manifestations of loyalty; 
the dubious and Ihc timid \\'ould have been awed into inactivity 
and quiescence. As it was, the disaster to ti:e little band of sol- 
diers fanned the fires of the rebellion into a gi'eat conflagration 
of nuu'der and rapine. 

Immediately after the desti'uction of Captain .Marsh's com- 
pany at the ferry Little Crow dispatched about twenty-five young 
mounted warriors to watch Fort Kidgely and its approaches. 
About midnight these scouts reported that a company of some 
fifty men was coming toward the fort on the road from Hutch- 
inson to Kidgely. Little Crow then believed that the garrison 
at Ridgely did not number more than seventy-five and that it 
would be a comparatively easy matter to capture the fort with 
its stores, its cannon and its inmates. At the time he did not 
know that the Renville Rangers had retui-ned from St. Peter and 
reinforced the garrison. 

Tuesday morning, August 19, Little Crow with 320 warriors 
from all of the Ijower bands except Shakopee's — only the best 
men being taken — set out from the" agency village to capture 
Fort Ridgely. Half way down dissensions arose among the rank 
and file. A majority wanted tO' abandon the attack on the fort 
temporarily and to first ravage the country south of the Minne- 
sota, and if possible seize New Tim. Little Crow urged that the 
fort be taken first, before it could be reinforced, but this prudent 



162 HISTORY OF KEXVILLE COUNTY 

counsel did not avail with those who were fairly ravenous for 
murder and plunder, which might be accomplished without 
danger, and cared less about the risk of attacking the fort, which 
would be defended by men with muskets, even though its capture 
would be a great military exploit. About 200 of this faction left 
and repaired to the settlements in Brown county about New Ulm 
and on the Cottonwood, Little Crow, with about 120 men, 
remained in the vicinity of the fort watching and waiting. 

The attack and siege of Ft. Ridgely. which took place after the 
Redwood disaster and before the Battle of Birch Cooley, is de- 
scribed elsewhere. 



CHAPTER XII. 
BATTLE OF BIRCH COOLEY. 

Second Expedition Sets Out — Encampment at Birch Cooley— 
Attacked by the Indians — Heroic Defense — Inaction of Rescue 
Party — Relief by Sibley. 

The incidents preceding the battle of Birch Cooley are briefly 
related. General H. H. Sibley occupied Fort Ridgely with his 
relief force on the twenty-seventh of August, nine days after the 
beginning of the outbreak. On the thirty-first he dispatched a 
force of about 150 men to the Lower agency with instructions to 
ascertain if possible the position and condition of the Indians, 
and to bury the bodies of the victims of the massacre which might 
be found en route. This force, which was under the command of 
Major Joseph R. Brown, the well-known prominent character in 
early Minnesota history, and then acting as major of a newly 
organized militia regiment, was composed of Company A, Sixth 
Minnesota Infantry, under Captain H. P. Grant : seventy mounted 
men of the Cullen Guards under Captain Joseph Anderson ; a 
detail of other soldiers from the Sixth Regiment and the militia 
force, seventeen teamsters with teams, and some unorganized 
volunteer soldiers and citizens. The next evening several of the 
citizens returned to the fort. 

The command reached the agency on the tirst of September. 
Captain Grant, with his company and the wagons, proceeded up 
the valley, on the north side of tlie Minnesota, to the mouth of 
the Beaver creek, thence up the creek about three miles, and then 
marched east about six miles to near the head of Birch Cooley. 
This portion of the command buried the bodies of Captain Marsh "s 
men killed at Redwood Ferry and those of perhaps forty citizens 
at various points on the route. On Beaver creek "some thirty 
bodies'" were buried, according to Captain Grant. On the way. 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 163 

too, in the Minnesota bottom, a German woman, named Mrs. 
.Tiistiiia Krieger, who had been badly wounded by the Indians, 
and was hiding in a marsh, was rescued and carried along. 

^lajor Brown and Captain Anderson, with the "Cullen 
Guards," crossed the river at the Redwood Ferry, went to the 
agency, buried the bodies of the slain there and went up the 
river, or westward, to the location of Little Crow 's village, which 
the Indians had abandoned a few days previously. Nothing was 
seen which in the opinions of Major Brown, who for thirty years 
had been intimate with the Indians and the country ; Major T. J. 
Galbraith, the Indian agent ; Alexander Faribault, for whom the 
city of that name was called, and his son, George Faribault, both 
mixed blood . Sioux, and Jack Prazier, a half-breed, indicated 
that a liostile Indian had been in that vicinity for four days, 
although careful examination was made. Reerossing the Minne- 
sota at a ford opposite Little Crow's village the party ascended 
the bluff on the north side and reaching the prairie rode east- 
ward to the Birch Cooley, where Captain Grant "s company had 
already encamped. 

The camp selected by Captain Grant was on an excellent site. 
It M-as upon level ground, convenient to wood and water, and 
less than half a mile from a road running between Fort Ridgely 
and Fort Abercrombie, on the Red River of the North. A growth 
of fairly good timber fringed the Cooley on either side, and in the 
chaiini'l was plenty of good running water. To the west, north 
and east stretched level prairie miles in extent. In his report 
Major Brown says : 

"This camp was made in the usual way, on the smooth prairie, 
some 200 yards from the timber of Birch Cooley, with the wagons 
packed around the camp and the team horses fastened to the 
wagons. The horses belonging to the mounted men were fastened 
to a stout picket rope, between the tents and wagons, around the 
south half of the tent. Captain Anderson's tents were behind 
these horses, and Captain Grant's were inside the wagons which 
formed the north half of the camp." 

The encampment was virtually, therefore, a corral in its form 
and general character. Captain Grant detailed thirty men, with 
a lieutenant and two non-commissioned officers, for a camp guard, 
and established ten picket posts — -or really ten camp po.sts — at 
equal distances around the camp. The guard was divided as 
usual into three "reliefs." Although in what might properly be 
termed the enemy's country, no danger of an attack was appre- 
hended, and therefore no picket posts worth the name were estab- 
lished. The camp guard posts were only about 100 yards from 
the corral. Major Brown assured the men that they might sleep 
as soundly "as if in their mothers' feather beds," and the weary 
soldiers lav down to rest in fancied securitv. 



164 HISTORY OF REXVII.LK COrXTY 

At the time of the battle tlie gromul was virgin prairie. Half 
a mile down the Cooler was the cabin and claim of Peter Pereau. 
a Frenchman, who had been killed and his family taken prisoners. 
A number of other settlers living farther down the stream had 
been killed and some of tlieir houses burned. The land where 
the battle was fought belonged to the government and was sub- 
sequently entered and occupied by William Weiss, from whom 
it was purchased by the State, in 1896. When ilr. W^eiss entered 
the laud, in 1865, the rifle pits dug by the beleaguered soldiers, 
the Ijones of the horses killed and other evidences of the fight 
were plaiidy visible. 

Of a truth the Indians had fallen back fi'om the Lower Agency 
to Yellow ^ledicine four days before ilajor Brown reached Little 
Crows village. During the siege of Fort Ridgely ilajor Gal- 
braith. the Indian agent, had sent Antoine Frenier, a gallant 
mixed-blood Sioux scout, from the fort up the valley, and Frenier 
had gone to a point near the Yellow Medicine and learned that 
large numbers of the Indians were there. But on his return the 
scout Avas cut oft' by scattering war parties and prevented from 
entering the fort, and was forced to make his way to Henderson. 

Wheu General Sibley arrived at Fort Ridgely he sent two 
good and wary scouts, George McLeod and William L. Quinn, 
to reconnoiter and to discover the Indians" position. They made 
the i^erilous ride to near the Yellow ^Medicine, discovered that 
the Indians were there in strong force and returned in safety. 
Quinn had been in charge of Forges' trading house at the Y'ellow 
Medicine, and his family Avere prisoners among the Sioux. Riding 
in the night in tlie Minnesota bottom, his horse shied at a dead 
body which, by the gleam of a flash of lightning, he saw was that 
of his former clerk, a Frenclnnan named Louis Constans. Evei'y- 
thing indicated that there were no hostiles east of the Yellow 
Medicnie. 

The Indians had left their villages about the Lower agency 
in some haste and alarm after their repulse and defeat at Fort 
Ridgely. With the exception of some scouts left behind to watch 
the whites, they retired to the Yellow Medicine and the moutli 
of the Chippewa river, where were the villages of the Wahpeton 
band, generally composed of Sioux not openly hostile toward the 
whites. In a few days the scouts reported that Sibley and bis 
command had reached Fort Ridgely and that New Ulm had been 
evacuated. Very soon the Indians determined to move down on 
the south .side of the Minnesota to New Ulm, to there cross the 
river and get in the rear of Fort Ridgely, and then their future 
operations would be governed by circumstances. At the same 
time 150 warriors were to go from the Yellow Medicine to the 
"Big Woods" and harass the counti-y about Forest City and 
Hutchinson, and seize a large quantitj' of flour, said to be at the 



HISTORY OF 1JKN\II,I.K (OrXTV 165 

(V'clai- mill, in that (luaittT. Little Cfow took charge of tiu' ""Big 
Woods" expedition in i)i'rsoii, sfiidiiii; the rest of his liaiid under 
(ifay IJird. a farmer Indian, Itnt now liittle Ci'ow's •'head sol- 
dier,"" down the riN'er with thi' other l)an<U of Waliasha. Waeouta, 
Ilusliasha, Mankato, Uiir Kagle, Shakopee and tiie rest of the 
Medawakantons and Wjihpakootas. The savage forces left the 
Yellow .Medicine on the thirty-tii'st of August, 

When, on the evening of Septenilicr 1, the advance of tlie 
Indians reached Little ('row"s villatie, on the high bluff on the 
south side of tlu^ ^Minnesota, they saw on the north side, out on 
the praii'ie, soiiu' miles away, ('a|)1;iin Anderson "s company, 
inarcliing from Beaver creek eastward toward the Birch Cooley. 
They also saw in the foi'iiier village signs that white men hail 
been there only a few liours before, and, from the trail made 
wlien they left, concluded that these were the men they cotdd 
see to the northwani. Some of the best scouts were soon sent 
across the valley to follow the movements of the mounted men, 
"creejiing aci'oss tJU' iirairie like so many ants."" A little after 
sundown the scouts returned with the inl'orniatiou thai the 
mounted men had gone into camp near tlu' lu-ad of i;ii-<-li ( 'ooley, 
and that they nund)ered about severd.\--fi ve men. At this time, 
ajul until they attacked, they did nut know of the presence of 
Ca])tain ({rant's comjjany. 

Had the Indians ])ersisted in their oiiginal phni to proci'ed 
(puetl.\- on theii' wa.\- <lown the south side of the river, unobserved 
by till' whites, and jiaid no attcntio}i to the company of motmted 
men they had (liscovei'e(i. the result would have been most dis- 
astrous. But, with their hundreds of warrioi's. the ti>m])tation 
to fall upon the small and ajipar-ently isolatiMl detachuuMit of 
seventy-five men was too gi'cat to the Imlian nature to be resisted. 
It was determined to surround the eainp that night and attack 
it at da.x'light the next morning. About 200 wai-rioi-s we)-e 
selected for tlu' undertaking. These wei-e mainly from the bauds 
of Red Legs, Gra.v Bird, Big Kagle and .Maid^ato. with soiiie fi'om 
Wabasha's and the other bands. There wei'e also some Sissetons 
and Wahpetons present. Little <'i-o\v himself, with ir)ll warriors, 
was off on the expedition to tfie liig Woods, towards Foiist City 
and Hutchinson. 

When darkness had come good ami lilaid< anci shelteiing. the 
Indians crossed the I'iver and valli\-. went up the hliitVs and 
praii-ie, and soon saw the camp oi- corral ol' the whites. Cau- 
tiously and warily they approached the camp and had no diffi- 
culty in surrouiuling it, for the sentinels were at such slioit dis- 
tance from it — not more than a hundriMl yards. The grouml was 
most excellent for a mere camping ground, hut badly chosen 
for a battlefield. On the east was the Bii'ch Coole>- with a high 
lilulf bank and fi-inged with tiiiibei'; on the noi'tli was a smaller 



166 HISTOKV OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

cooley or ravine running into the main eooley; on the south was 
a swale much lower than the camp : on the west was a consider- 
able mound, aud all these positions were commanding and within 
gunshot of the corral. The Indians could fire from concealed and 
protected situation, and nearly all of them had double-barreled 
shotguns loaded with buckshot aud large bullets called traders' 
balls. 

The Indians under Red Legs occupied the Birch Cooley east 
of the camp. Some of Jlankato's warriors were in the cooley and 
some in the swale to the south. Big Eagle's band was chiefly 
behind and about the knoll to the west, and Gray Bird's was in 
the ravine and on the prairie to the north. Big Eagle says that 
while thej' were Avaiting to begin the attack during the night 
some of the warriors crawled through the i^rairie grass unob- 
served to within fifty feet of the sentinels, and it was seriouslj' 
proposed to shoot them witli arrows — making no noise — and to 
rush the camp in the darkness. 

In the dark hour just before dawn Captain Anderson's cook, 
who was early astir, liad his suspicions of danger aroused by 
noting that some of the horses with lifted heads were staring 
intently toward the west and manifesting indications of uneasi- 
ness. Some fugitive cattle, wliieli had been gathered up and 
driven along with the eonunand, and which had been lying down 
south of the corral, rose up one after another and began to move 
sloAvly towards the corral, as if retreating from danger. The 
cook had quietly awakened his captain and was talking to him 
of Avhat he had seen when the alarm was given. 

Sentinel "William L. Hart, of Anderson's company, was on 
duty on the post between the eastern border of the corral and 
Birch Cooley. He was in conversation with Richard Gibbons, a 
comrade in his company. The dawn was coming faintly from the 
east when, looking in that direction, across the Birch Cooley, 
Hart saw what he at first thought were two calves galloping 
through the tall grass of the prairie towards the eooley. In 
another moment he saw that the objects were two Indians skulk- 
ing along as fast as they could run and trailing their guns at 
their sides. "They are Indians!"' cried Hart to his companion 
and fired. As if he had given the signal instantly there was a 
deadly roar from hundreds of Indians' guns all about the camp, 
and the battle had begun. In the rain of bullets. Gibbons was 
mortally wounded, but Hart I'an to the corral unhurt, and fought 
through the battle, living to become an officer on the police force 
of St. Paul, where he died in 1896. 

At the first alarm nearly all of the men instinctively sprang 
to their feet, and, in obedience to orders, Captain Grant's com- 
pany attempted to fall into line, and the swift, well delivered vol- 
levs of the Indians struck down thirty men in three minutes. The 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 167 

horses, too, tied at the borders of the corral, fell fast. Big Eagle 
says: "Owing to the white's men's way of fighting they lost 
many men; owing to the Indian's way of fighting they lost but 
few." The loss of the whites was twenty men killed, four mor- 
tall.v wounded, perhaps sixty wounded more or less severely, and 
nearly every horse killed. Of the horses of Major Brown's report 
says : "Every horse belonging to the command was killed except- 
ing six. which were left at the camp, being wounded and unable 
to travel." But Heard sa\s that every horse was killed but one. 
According to the Indians one of their number, named Buffalo 
Ghost, the eldest son of White Lodge, captvired a stampeded horse 
during the fight. Among the wounded were llajor Brown, Cap- 
tain Anderson, Captain Redfield and Indian Agent Galbraith. 
The Indian loss was small. According to Big Eagle, endorsed by 
Heard and sworn to by reliable Indians, it was two killed and 
"several wounded." 

About nine o'clock in the morning of the first day's attack the 
pickets at Foil Ridgely sent in word that they could hear firing 
in the distance to the northwest. Investigation made it certain 
that there was a battle in progress between Major Brown's com- 
mand and the Indians. Colonel Sibley at once sent a reinforce- 
ment. He dispatched Colonel Samuel McPhail, of the newly 
organized eomnumd called the Mounted Rangers, with fifty 
mounted men under the immediate command of Captain J. R. 
Sterrett and Captain C. S. Potter; three companies of the Sixth 
Regiment of Infantry (B, D and E) under Captains 0. C. Merri- 
man, J. C. Whitney and Rudolph Schoenemann, and two small 
cannon, mountain liowitzers, under Captain Mark Hendricks. 

The infantry and artillery were under the direct command 
of ^lajor R. N. McLaren, with Colonel MePhail, an old regular 
army man and an experienced Indian fighter, in eomnumd of 
the whole. In his report Colonel Sibley says that the whole force 
numbercnl 240 men. 

The expedition made a forced march to near the Birch Cooley, 
over the Foi't Abercrondiie road, guided by the somid of the con- 
tinuous fii-ing. On neai-ing the cooley a large force of Indians 
appeared to the left, or south, of the advance. A demonstration 
was made against them by Captain Meri'iman's company and they 
fell back. The command moved forward half a mile, when a very 
strong line of Indians, under Chief Mankato and other noted 
Indian wai-i'iois, api)eared in front and on the left flank. Colonel 
McPhail halted and prepared to fight. Two scouts of Captain 
Potter's company were sent forward, but soon had their horses 
shot under theui and were chased back to the column. 

The Indians were advancing, and had well nigh surrounded 
the command, when Captain Hendricks opened on them with his 
mountain howitzers and drove them back. Colonel ]\IcPhail, 



168 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COrXTY 

aeeording to his own report, ' " did uot deem it prudent to advance 
further." Sending two messengers, Lieutenant T. •]. Slieehau 
and William L. Quiun to Colonel Sibley with a reijort of the 
situation, he moved his force to a commanding i^osition about 
two miles east of the cooley, where he formed a strong camp, 
throwing up some ritle pits and awaited the arrival of Sibley 
with the general command from Fort Ridgely. 

As soon as McPhail's messengers, who rode swiftly, reached 
him, Colonel Sibley formed his men luuler arms and at once 
marched to the relief of the now two imperiled commands. He 
marched duriug the night, joining Colonel MePhail in the fore- 
noon of September 3, moved against the Indians and by noon, 
without any more serious fighting, they had all been cb'iven away 
from their positions about the cooley. Recrossiug the [Minnesota, 
they speedily fell back again to the Yellow ^Medicine. Colonel 
Sibley returned to Fort Ridgely. 

During the fight at the cooley the wounded whites were given 
the best surgical and medical aid possible by Dr. J. ^V. Daniels, 
assistant surgeon of the Sixth IMinnesota and special surgeon of 
the expedition. He had a hard and trying task, for he was under 
fire all the time, but he did his duty so faithfully and efficiently 
as to merit and receive the gratitude of the recipients for his 
faithful care and the praise of liis superiors and of all ^vlio knew 
of his services. 

At the close of the contest Colonel Sibley conveyed the 
wounded in wagons to Fort Ridgely ; the dead were temporarily 
buried on the battlefield. Subsequently all the bodies were 
removed by friends, with the exception of one. believed to be 
that of Peter Boyer (or Pieri'e Bourrier), a nnxed-blood Sio\ix, 
serving with Anderson's company, but belonging to the Renville 
Rangers, who was killed at the first fire Avhile on sentry duty a 
hundred yards west of the camp. A report that Boyer was killed 
while attempting to escape to his Indian kinsuu^n was never 
proven and is doubtless untrue. The bodies of the two Indians 
killed were buried during the fight in the Birch Cooley. They 
both belonged to Husha-sha"s baud of Wahpakootas; one was 
named Hotoinia, or Animal's Voice, and the other Wan-e-he-ya, or 
Arrow Shooter. 



nisTOKY nv \{K\yuAA<: corxTV ino 

CIIAI'TKU XIII. 
CAPTURED BY THE INDIANS. 

Reminiscences of Minnie Buce Carrigan — Pioneers Arrive — 
Dawn at Fatal August Morning — Parents Killed — Sisters 
Murdered — In the Indian Camp — Meeting Playmates — Scenes 
of Cruelty — Arrival of Soldiers — Release — Conclusion. 

Ill 1858 my |)arciits, (Jottt'rictl iiml Wilhc'liiiiiiii Kiicc with 
tlic'ir three chililrrii, August, Wiliicliiiin:i (iiiyscir) ;iiiil Augusta, 
ciiiiif from Gt-riiiaiiy to Aiiicrica ami sc'ttlrcl at J^"(ix iiakc, W'is- 
(•oiisiii. My sister, Amelia, Avas Ikhii \\vvr. 

Tu the spring of 1860, in comiiaiiy witii ti\e ntln r families, 
two of whom were named Lentz and Kitzmaii, \\e raiiic to Min- 
nesota. Tliough only five years old at tliat tiiiic, 1 distinctly 
I'emember many incidents of this journey. We all had o.\ teams 
and some other live stock witli us. .\11 the families were devout 
Christian members of the Evangelical clun'cli and. I rcincinlx'r 
VI' never traveled on the Sabbath. .\1 ('aniion Falls my motliiT 
I'i'll i'roiii tile vajion ami a wheel |iasseil o\-er liei' foot injuring 
it so severely that we were eompelled to stop. Till' other fam- 
ilies remained with us. 'J'lie men rented land and. possilily with 
the exee])tion of Mr. Lent/., put in rrops ol" i-orii and oats. It was 
too late for wheat. My sister Caroline was horn during our 
stay liei-e. l'ei-lia]is it was the intention of tin' families, at first, 
to remain at Cannon Falls at least a year. Hut in six weeks my 
mother having recovered from hei' injuries, they deeiiled to re- 
move farther westward. 

The previous year a ^Ir. Alannw ciler. a sini-iiidaw of .Mr. 
Lentz, had settled at Middle Creek in K'enville eount\. my iatliei' 
and .Mr. Lentz concluded to settle near him. .Mr. Kitzman ile- 
cide(l to I'emaiii at Cannon Falls. I do not know how long we 
were on the road from Cannon l-'alls to Midille Creek, but I re- 
nu'inber the evening when we rea(died .\lr. .Mannweiler whei'e we 
remained two days. Then my fatbei' took his laniily to a .Mr. 
Snnth. Soon he bought the I'iglit to a claim on which some land 
liad been broken and other improvemculs had liien made. Mr. 
Smitii and my father put u|) some hay for the cattle and father 
went to Yellow Medicine to work lor a month and put up hay 
for the government cattle at the Imlian agency. .Mother staid 
with Mi's. Smith during this time. When father ri'turiied he 
moved his famil\' into an old house nu his claim. .\11 the neigh- 
boring settlers tui-ned out to help us fix n|i our house so that 
we coulil live in it comfoi'tably. 1 think onis was oni' of nine 
families that lived there during tin' winter of 1860 and "61. In 
the spring of 1861 twenty families came in one jiai-ty and joined 



170 HISTORY Of^ RENVILLE COUNTY 

us. Mr. Kitzinan eanie up froui Canuoii P'alls and was the first 
settler at Sacred Heart Creek. 

• Our life on the frontier was peaeeful and tuieventful. All, 
or nearly all, of the families of our settlement were Germans — 
honest, industrious and God-fearing people. 

Early in the spring of 1861 arrangements were made to have 
a German nunister hold monthly religious services among us. 
A Rev. Brill was our first minister. We had no public scliool, 
which my father often regretted. On winter evenings our jiar- 
ents taught us to read German and we younger children learned 
to read a little in Sunday school. Religious services and Sun- 
day school were held at the houses of the settlers. The Indians 
from across the Minnesota river to the south of us visited us 
nearly every day and were always very friendly. We younger 
children could not speak a word of English, but most of us 
learned a little of the Sioux language and our parents learned 
to speak it quite well. All tlie settlers were in moderate, but 
fairly comfortable circumstances and though they liad to under- 
go many discomforts and some privations, all seemed happy and 
contented. 

In the spring of 1861 my father got a bad scare, but it turaed 
out all right for us, but not so lucky for the Chipi)ewa Indian 
that came near the Sioux reservation, ily father wanted to buy 
a gun of the Indians, and every old gun they could not use they 
brought to him to try. They all had guns to sell. The first gun 
that was brought to him was an old flint lock. Father went to 
examine it. He was in the house. The gun accidentally dis- 
charged, and shot a hole through the roof of our house. Father 
was so frightened he could not speak. I can see his white face 
yet as the smoke cleared. A few days later another Indian 
came along -with a gun. Father was standing under a tree in 
front of our house. An Indian came with a gun and wanted 
father to shoot at a stick that he stuck in the ground. Father 
picked up the gun and blazed away at it. He hit the mark all 
right, but the gun kicked him so hard he fell flat on his back. 
Mother and the Indian both laughed. This made father so 
angry he picked up the gun and was going to strike the Indian 
with it. Mother grabbed his arm, and told him it would cost 
him his life if he struck that Indian. Father seemed to under- 
stand her meaning and stood the gun up against the tree and 
walked into the house. The Indian grinned and took his gun 
and went away, and mother told father to quit his trading with 
the Indians. 

After that if an Indian came with a gun to sell father would 
not speak to him. One day soon after father's last gun trade 
a strange Indian came to our house about four or five o'clock in 
the afternoon. He asked my mother how far it was to Sacred 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 171 

Heart creek. IMy mother held up three liugers, indicating three 
uiik>s. He started on his journey. About half an hour after 
he had gone one of our cows that had a young calf four weeks 
old running with her came running up to the house without her 
calf and she acted as though she was crazy. My father was 
not at home and mother told my brother to go and follow the 
cow, for she had gone back again, and see what had happened 
to her calf. My brother followed the cow. Soon after he had 
gone my father came home and mother told him about it. He, 
too, M-i'ut to look for the calf. Soon they both returned bear- 
ing the dead calf home. The Intliau had cut its throat and cut 
oft' one hind quarter and left the rest on the ground. Father 
threw the dead calf on the ground and wont to work and skinned 
it. He remarked that the Indian was good to leave us some of it. 
The next morning my father came into the house and said to 
mother, "I am afraid I got into trouble the other day when I 
tried to strike that Indian with the gun. There are fifty Indians 
in our dooryard on horseback, all in war paint." Father sat 
down by the table. He seemed to be unable to move. Mother 
went out to see what they wanted. She soon returned laughing 
and told father they were not after him at all, but they were 
looking for the Chippewa that had killed our calf, and they 
wanted him to come and help them to find him. They had 
tracked him as far as our house. Father went with them as 
far as to where the calf was killed, and then came home. He 
told mother that he would sooner lose a dozen calves than to see 
the Sioux kill a Chippewa. In the middle of the afternoon they 
returned, bringing the Chippewa with them. They had over- 
taken him and got him alive. That suited them better, for they 
could torture him to death. Tlit-y wanted father to come over 
to the killing and the feast, but he refused. 

In the spring of 1862 so many i)eople came into the country 
that we did not know half of our neighbors. The church society 
was divided into two divisions, called the Sacred Heart and the 
Middle Creek divisions, and each had religious services twice a 
month, being held in dwelling houses nearest the center of the 
district. I remember the spring of this year that Mr. Schwandt 
and his family joined our colony. I saw them first at the house 
of Mr. Lentz. 

It was about this time that the conduct of our Indian neigh- 
bors changed toward us. They became disagreeable and ill- 
natured. They seldom visited us and when they met us, passed 
by coldly and sullenly and often without speaking. On one oc- 
casion SOUK! of them camped in my father's woods and began 
cutting down all the young timber and leaving it on the ground. 
My father remonstrated with them. He told them they could 
have all the timber and tepee poles they wanted for actual use. 



172 111-T()KV OF UH.WILLK COIXTV 

hut to It't the rest stand. When lie had si)okeii. a squaw eauglit 
uj) a large hutdicr knife and ehased hiiu away. lie eauie to the 
house and toM my niotlier of the affair, hut she only laughed 
at him for allowing an oKl squaw to drive him out of his own 
woods. At another time ahout a week hefore the dreadful out- 
break, my I)rothei- August eauu' home from 'Sir. Lentz" in great 
fright. He said that Mr. Lentz had eaught a nice sti'ing of tish 
in the ]\Iinne.sota river and brought them home. An Indian came 
into the house and deumndi'cl soir)e of them, '■(.io and eateh 
youi- own fish," said 31r. Lentz. The Indian tlew into a rage, 
and, among other things, said angrily, '•You talk most now but 
wait a while and we will shoot you with your own gun.'" !Mr. 
Lentz was the only luan who owned a gun in tlie neighliorhood 
and the Indians knew how defenseless W(> were. When my 
brother ha<l I'elated this ineideiit. father seemed strangely af- 
fected. He was silent for a -while and then reuuu'ked to August, 
"Well, boy. we have all to die soiin' time, and there is but one 
death," and then went out. 

The ])eaceful Sunday before the outbreak of the following 
day, services were held at Mr. Letton"s lionse, a mile and a half 
fi'om our plaei'. The Sumlay si-hool -was held before tlii- ]ireaeli- 
ing. Mr. ]\Iannweiler was the superintendent. As -was his cus- 
tom, he gave us childi-eu litth- blue cards on each of which a 
verse in scripturi' was ]irintrd and then. shoAviiig us some nice 
red cards, told us that if we etudd I'ejieat from nu_'mory the 
verse on our card the coming Sunday, he would give ns each 
one of them. We were all greatly i)leased at this. He closed 
the school just as tlm people were asseud)ling for cliurch and 
directed the children to reiuaiii out of doors during the services, 
for thei'e seemed to be a crowd coming and the house was not 
vei'.v large. I reuuMuber that thei'e wiis so large an attendance 
tliat most of the boys and uu-n sat outside in front of the open 
door. 1 think there were over a hun<lred adults and about thirty 
children at the church that day. Louis Tliiele and ilike Zitzlotf 
were sitting on a wagon tongue, while Thiele's little child was 
l)laying in front of them. Poor .Mike little thought that it Mas 
his last day on earth, lie was mai'ried to iMary Juni less than a 
year l)ef(U'e. They \vei-e both murdei'ed the next day. 'Slv. 7A\7.- 
loff was a brother to .Mrs. Inefeld, who was taki ii prisouei-. 
Mr. Thiele saved his life by jumping fi-om his wagon ami hiding 
in the woods. Within twenty-four hours after that meeting. 
not more than thirty of those jiresent reiiuiiued alive. The oth- 
ers, including Kev. '\\\\ Seder, had been murdered by the Indians. 

That di'eadful ^londa.v — August 18, LSH'J — my father was put- 
ting up hay a mile east of our house. 1 i-emeudier that dinner 
was a little late and father comi)laincd. He was in a hurry to 
finish Ids haying that he nugiit go to work again at Yellow 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE TOUNTY 173 

Medicine to put up hay for the ^ovorument cattle -wliere he could 
get good wages. Wlicii lie had started for his Avork, my hrother 
climbed on the roof to see wliore our cattle were. We had to 
keep watch of them as they ran at large on the praii'ie. Some- 
tiuu's the Indians wo\dd staiMi)ede them and we would have to 
liunt for days to find tliem again. When my brother came down, 
he tohl mother that lie heard shooting and some one screamed 
at Rosier s and that father was looking toward IMr. Hosier's 
house as far as he could see him. .Mother thought maybe the 
Indians were shooting at a nuirk and wanted August to go to 
Mr. Hosier's and borrow some sewing needles. We did all our 
trading at New Flm and often had to borrow such articles. 
When he returned he said. "O mother, they are all asleep. Mrs. 
and till- little boy were lying on the floor and the boy's ear was 
bleeding. The big boy was lying in the clay pit and was all 
covered with clay." 

yiy mother was standing by the table cutting a dress for my 
little sister when my brother returned. "O, my God," she ex- 
claimed, "the Indians have killed them. We must fly for our 
lives. You children stay here and T will go and call father." 
But my brother and I, refusing to I'emain in the house, were 
then told to hid.' in the cornfield on the south side where she 
and father would meet us. She then ran to tell father. My 
brother took the baby Bertha, aged three months, and I took 
little Caroline while Augusta, aged five years and three months, 
and Amelia, aged four, walked along Avith us. We had hardly 
reached the cornfield when the Indians came whooping and 
yelling around the west side of the field from :\Ir. Boelter's. We 
sat down and they passed us so closely that it Avas strange they 
did not see us. They rushed into our house and Ave Avent on. 
Looking back Ave saAV them throAviug out the feather beds and 
other articles. We reached the south side of the field safely and 
father and mother Avere already there. I think Ave Avould have 
been safe there at least for a time, but father, taking the baby 
from August started out on the oi)en prairie. Mother took Caro- 
line from me and tried to stop father, but it Avas useless. The 
terrible oircumstances must have unbalanced his nund, uatiu-ally 
being \'ery nervous. 

The Indians had cleaned out our house and Avere returning to 
Mr. Boelter's. As they were passing a little corner of the 
timber one of them saAV father and uttered a Avicked, piercing 
yell. It Avas but a moment Avhen the Avhole band, about tAventy 
men and some squaAvs, were upon us. My father began talking 
to the foremost Indian. My brother has told me that father 
asked them to take all his property but to let him and his family 
go. But the Indian replied in the Sioux language, "Sioux 
cheehe" (the Sioux are bad.). He then leveled his double bar- 



174 HISTOKY OF KEX\ILLE COUNTY 

reled shot guu and fired both barrels at him. He dropped the 
baby — she was killed — and running a few yards down the hill, 
. fell on his face dead. The same Indian then went to where my 
mother had sat down beside a stone with little Caroline in her 
lap. reloaded his gun and deliberately fired upon them both. She 
did not speak or utter a sound, but fell over dead. Caroline 
gave one little scream and a gasp or two and all was over with 
her. The cry rang in my ears for years afterward. My fatlier 
was thirty-three and my mother thirty years of age when tliey 
were so cruelly murdered by the Indians. 

How painfully distinct are all the memories of the scenes 
of this dreadful afternoon. While my motlier was being mur- 
dered I stood about ten feet away from her paralyzed with fear 
and horror, unable to move. The Indian began loading his gun 
again and was looking significantly at me and my sister Amelia, 
who sat by my side. Suddenly I regained ray self-control and, 
believing that I would be the next victim, I started up and ran 
wildly in an indefinite direction. Accidentally I came to where 
mj^ father lay. He had on a checked shirt, the back of which 
was covered with blood, the shot having passed clear through 
his body. That was the last thing I knew. The next thing I 
remember was an Indian holding me in his arms, looking into my 
face. I screamed and he put me down. My brother then told 
me not to be afi'aid as tliey would not kill us. but were going 
to take us with them. Amelia was also there, but being unable 
to see Augusta, I asked for her. "I have not thouglit of her," 
replied August (or Charley as we called him afterwards). "The 
last I know of her is when she told me to wait for her, but I 
couldn't." We three then rose and looked about for her. but 
could not see her. My brother asked an In<lian about her but 
the Indian looked at him coldly and replied, "Nepo. '" I knew 
the word meant "killed" or "dead," but I was not satisfied. 
I wajited to see her and told tlie Indian so, as good as I could. 
He took me by the hand, my brother and sister following, to 
where she lay. She lay on her face and, as I saw no blood upon 
her. I thought at first tliat she was alive, but when I turned over 
her body, and looked upon her little face, once so sweet and 
rosy, but now so pallid and ghastly in the blaze of the hot Au- 
gust sun, I knew the truth. I wanted to see no more, but was 
ready to go with the Indians as they were already waiting. 

We nuist now go back a little to where my father, mother and 
sisters were murdered and learn how my brother escaped the 
fate of the others. The second Indian fired at him, but as he 
was running, he missed him, the ball striking tlie ground right 
ahead of him. He fired again and missed him the second time. 
Then the Indian threw away his gun and ran after my brother. 
When he came up to him he kicked him in the side and knocked 



HISTORY OF KKXVIIJ,K COrXTY 175 

him down. The Indians believe tliat the Great Spirit protects 
those at whom they shoot twice and miss. They do not shoot at 
them again, but give them a chance to live. 

Some time after our capture we went back to Mr. Boelter's 
place. As we turned the corner of the woods I took the last look 
at our home. I have never seen it since, neither do I care to 
see it again, although it is not many miles from my present 
home. 

When wr came to the Boelter house we found tliat liie 
ludians had already murdered the most of the family. We saw 
three of the childreu lying among some logs between the house 
and the well. The right cheek of the oldest girl was shot 
away clear to the bone. They had thrown some clothes over 
the body of the second girl. My brother went to remove them, 
but the Indians called him back. I think they had taken the 
youngest child by the feet and beaten her over a log, for her 
dress was unfastened and her back was bare and was all black 
and blue. The birds were singing in the trees above them and 
the sun shone just as bright as ever. There was not a cloud in 
the sky. I have wondered how there could be so much suffer- 
ing on earth on such a perfect August day. After we saw the 
childreu the Indians took us to the house. I did not go in at 
first, but looked at Mrs. Boelter's little flower garden. She was 
the only woman in the neighborhood who had tame flowers and 
I used to wish that I could have some of them, but was afraid 
to ask her. Then it occurred to me that Mrs. Boelter was dead 
now and I could pick all the flowers I wanted. I gathered a 
handful and the next moment flung them back into the little 
flower bed. I did not want them. Mrs. Boelter was dead ; if I 
(lid not see her body I was sure of it, and was taking advantage 
of a dead person. How gladly she would have given me some 
had she known that I wanted some. I started to go into the 
house but my brother, who was standing at the door, stopped 
IMC. I waited a few minutes until he went away and then looked 
ill. Tliere lay Grandma Boelter on the floor with every joint 
ill her liody chopped to pieces. All that winter after the out- 
break 1 would dream about her and cry in my sleep over it. 
She was such a nice old lady and I thought so much of her. 

Michael Boelter escaped to Fort Ridgely, taking willi liim a 
baby belonging to his sister-in-law, Jn.stina Boelter, whose hus- 
band was killed. He was at his brother's place when the In- 
dians killed his own family. Mrs. Justina Boelter hid in the 
Minnesota bottoms with her two little children for nearly nine 
weeks, until found by some of General Sibley's soldiers from 
Camp Release, but during her wanderings one of her children 
died of starvation. W^hen found .she and her other child were 
iieai-lv d(>ad. ton. 



176 lllSTdKV OK KK.WILLK (orXTV 

After visiting tlie Bocltcr place iour or tive of the squaws 
started with iis and the plunder which they had obtained, for 
the Indian village south of the Minnesota river two miles from 
our liouse. We crossed over in a canoe and reached the reser- 
vation about four o'clock. The rest of the Indians started for 
I\Ii'. Lentz" place. 

Mr. Lentz and his entire family were saved excepting his 
son-in-law. ^Ir. I\Iannweiler. Mrs. Mannweiler had heard in 
some manner that the Indians were, killing everybody. She told 
them they must leave as qniekly as possible. Her liusband was 
already loading up and she and her sister, Augusta, went back 
to ilannweiler's to ride with them. Just as they were coming 
out of the woods the Indians shot Mr. Mannweiler at the wagon. 
Augusta Lentz Avas a little ahead of ]Mrs. Mannweiler. The In- 
dians caught lier and took her prisoner. Mrs. Mannweiler ran 
back to her folks and got away with them. They went through 
the open prairie and reached Fort liidgely safely. I learned these 
particulars from a friend of the Lentz family. 

The Indians lived in bark tents where we stayed the first 
night. They offered us something to eat, but I had no appetite. 
I\Iy sister was playing about the tent when I called her to me 
and asked her where she was when the Indians killed our 
mother. "Why,"' she answered, "I was sitting a little way from 
her playing with my flowers. They shot and shot. Back of me 
all was smoky, but no ball hit me." I thought at the time that 
it was too bad that she did not realize what had happened. But 
since I have often been glad that she knew so little of the 
terrible deed. The Indians let us stay together. We slept on 
bunks made beside the wall on one side of the tent with buffalo 
robes spread over us. 

The next morning when I awoke my brother was already up. 
We were sleejjing side by side with our clothes on. The Indians 
never undress when they go to bed. He was crying and the tears 
were rolling down his cheek. I could not think where we were, 
but all at once the horrible scene of the day before came back 
to me. 1 did not blame him for crying. I cried, too. If the 
earth would have opened then and swallowed me I would have 
been thankful. ]\Iy sister awoke with a scream antl asked, 
"Where are we? August, take me back home. I want to go to 
mother." This woke up the Indians and one of the squaws tried 
to take her but she screamed and clung to me. This was more 
than we could stand and we all cried out loud. An old Indian 
then went out and brought in an axe and told us that he would 
split our heads open if we did not .stop ci-ying. We tried to 
stop but the tears would come in spite of the axe. Just them 
an old Indian widow and her daughter (a girl about seventeen 
years old) came in. I knew them, as they used to come to our 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 177 

house. I jumped off tlie concli and ran to the young girl and put 
my arms around her arm and hugged her tightly. She put her 
other arm around my shouklers and took me out of doors. She 
seemed to know that I wanted protection. She did not kiss me, 
for Indians never kiss, but I wanted to kiss her so badly. The 
old lady picked up my sister and put her on her back as she 
would her own child and brought her out. She seemed to like 
the Indian mamma as she called her. My brother followed us, 
too. It seems wrong to me to call these two Indian women 
squaws, for tliey were as lady-like as any white woman and I 
shall never forget them. 

By this time breakfast was announced, which consisted of 
beef without salt, pancakes, made of flour and water with sale- 
ratus stirred in them, coffee and boiled corn. As they did not 
use salt in anything, I called for it, minisku yah, in their lan- 
guage, but they shook their heads, and replied, "waneeehe" (I 
could not have it). We ate but little breakfast, for their way of 
cooking did not suit us. After breakfast an Indian girl came 
in with Mrs. Smith's blue silk wedding dress on. This circum- 
stance made me so angry that I could have torn it off from her. 
Another Indian girl came in with Mrs. Kochendurfer's sunbon- 
net on and gave it to me, but I did not want it. I knew that 
Mrs. Kochendurfer must be dead, or they would not have her 
clothes, so I laid the bonnet down. The next girl that came 
along picked it up and took it along with her. All at once Ave 
heard a commotion outside and we all rushed to the door to see 
what was the matter. The Indians were bringing all the cattle 
of the neighborhood. The cows had not been milked the night 
before nor that morning and were neai-ly crazy. The Indians 
were riding behind them on theii- ponies, flourishing their whips 
and yelling like so manj- demons. The very earth seemed to 
tremble as they passed. Afterwards the oxen hitched 
to wagons were driven up and stopped before the tents. 
"These," said my brother, "are our oxen hitched to Mr. Rosier 's 
wagon." They were too lazy to iinload our load of hay and put 
the box on. (Jue black ox, "Billy,"" was liarnessed to a buggy 
and "Billy" seemed to feel proud of the distinction given him. 
He was owned bj' the widow and her daughter, who adopted my 
sister while she was a prisoner. The Indians then went to pack- 
ing up their goods and loading them on the wagons. 

We children were watching them when, all of a sudden, 
somebody stepped up behind me and threw a blanket over my 
head and picked me up and ran with me to a wagon, put me 
onto it and lield me fast. I kicked and screamed but they would 
not let me go. The wagon was in motion for about an hour be- 
fore they took off the blanket and then I looked in all directions 
but could see nothing of mv brother or sister and I did not see 



178 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

them again for over a week. My brotliei- said he was served in 
the same way. All that day we traveled. The prisoners had to 
go bareheaded in the hot August sun. At noon we stopped 
about an liour. A squaw told me to sit uuder the wagon and she 
threw a blanket over my head and made me sit there. Just 
before we started again she brought me some meat and pota- 
toes to eat. I never saw any bread from the time I left home 
until I got among the white people again. The squaw told me 
(evidently to keep me from running away) that they would shoot 
me if I took the blanket off my head. We traveled southwest all 
the rest of the day. I do not know how far we went nor when 
we stopped, as I think I was asleep, for I remember nothing 
about it. 

The party of Indians tliat I was with left the main force and 
about ten families. We stayed at this place just a week. The 
family I lived with consisted of an old squaw and her eighteen- 
year-old son. a young squaw and eight-year-old son and an old 
Indian. I think they were both his wives. He was the very 
Indian who killed both my parents. My brother told him so 
and he did not deny it. They had most of our clothing in their 
tent, even to my mother's dress and father's hymn book. One 
day the young squaw put on my mother's dress, a dark green, 
woolen one, and it just about fitted her. I looked at her and 
then laid down on the ground and burst out crying. I could not 
bear to see her. She seemed to know what I was crying about 
and took it off. She never put any of my mother's clothes on 
again while I was with her. The old Indian, his young wife, 
and her son, treated me well, but the old squaw and her son 
were mean to me. Wednesday morning the old squaw woke me 
at daybreak, gave me a tin pail and pointed to a nmd slough not 
far to the west of us. She wanted me to get some water, but I 
felt tired and sleepy and did not want to go. Seeing two Indian 
girls of about my size plaj'ing, I put the pail down beside them 
and pointed to the slough, but they shook their heads. They did 
not want to go either. The old squaw saw that her water was 
not coming, picked up a stick and came after me. I started 
to run, but just then the young squaw came out and took in the 
situation at a glance. She got a big cornstalk and gave the old 
squaw a terrible beating. Another young squaw came up and 
tried to take the cornstalk away from her, but she, too, got a 
whipping. I really felt sorry for the old squaw, but it also con- 
vinced me that the young squaw was my friend. She made the 
old squaw get the water herself. 

Wednesday, after breakfast, I thought I would investigate 
my surroundings and find out where I was. Close to our tent 
was a large house Avith a porch on the west side. A little ways 
east of that building, on a hill, was a white house. In this house 



HISTORY OP' RFAVILLE COUXTY 179 

lived an Indian family with ten childivn. It was the largest 
Indian family I ever saw, as most of them are small. The oldest 
of this family was a sixteen-year-old girl. Her face, hands and 
feet were all covered with sores. I was afraid of her and when- 
ever I saw her coming I would rnn away and hide. The young- 
est was a boy of about three years. He was a nice little fellow. 
He used to wear a calico shirt and a string of beads around his 
neck. "We played together by the hour. He talked Indian and 
I German, but we got along nicely. One day he came to visit me. 
He had forgotten to put on his shirt and wore only his string 
of beads, but he was a welcome visitor nevertheless. 

Not far south of this building on the hill was a small white 
house surrounded by a high garden fence. At this place was a 
white woman. I suppose she was a captive, too. Often slie 
would look over the fence at me, but she never came outside the 
gate. At the other house were five or six little white children, 
ranging from two to ten years of age. They were English. The 
oldest boy spoke to me and said the Indians wovdd kill me. 
I did not answer as I did not understand him. Then he spoke 
in Indian, "Sioux nepo nea." I understood and shook my head 
as much as to say that the.y had not killed me yet. About noon 
that day they disappeared, and I never saw them again while I 
was a i)i'isoner. 

The houses were all occupied by Indians and live or six fam- 
ilies lived in tents. On a small hill south of us was a raised plat- 
form five or six feet high, on which were two coffins. While 
we lived there they dug a hole and buried both bodies in one 
grave. When an Indian dies his body is placed in a long box and 
a shawl is tied over the top of the box. Then it is placed on a 
high platform until the body is completely decomposed or for 
about six weeks, when it is finally buried. 

Tliursday moi-ning a little white girl of four or five years 
was brought to our camp, I presume, from the main camp, about 
three miles distant. She was German and said her name was 
Henrietta, but could tell nothing else about hei-seif. 1 was vei-y 
glad to have her company. She lived with tiie family in the 
next tent to ours. Friday and Saturday we played together all 
day and soon were fast friends. 

The first Sunday after my captni'e whs llie loneliest i have 
ever spent. Henrietta did not come to see me, iind I sat down 
thinking of the previous Sunday. 1 wondered what a change 
the week luid brought. Wln-i-e were tlie ])eo])le now, who had 
been at i>\w church and Sunday s(dn»()l last Sunday? Were tiiey 
all izi heaven with the wings of angels? Would Mr. Mannweiler 
hold Sunday school in heaven and distribute the pretty red 
cards? Thus my childish thoughts ran. Suddenly I thought of 
my father's hymn book. 1 found it iuid in turning over the 



ISO HISTOKV OF KEXVILLE COU.XTY 

leaves 1 came ujioii the old familiar hyiim beginning, "How tedi- 
ous and gloomy the hours, "' I knew it by heart and sang: 

"Wie lange und sclnver wird die zeit 

Weuii Jesus so lange nicht hier ; 
Die blumen. die voegel, die freud, 

Vei'lieren ihr schoenheit zu mir." 

I sang the hymn about half tlirough and then my feelings 
overcame me and I laid down the book and had the longest and 
bitterest cry since my parents had been murdered. 

Besides the incidents already related, I remember nothing 
of interest until the moving of the camp. I think it was on 
Tuesday that the Indians woke me up earh^ They had break- 
fast in a liurrj', after which the tents were taken down and 
everything loaded on the wagons. Then began the moving. 
Of all the wild racing I ever saw this was the wildest. The 
Indians from the main camp caught up with us just as we were 
crossing the Redwood river. The stream was badly swollen on 
account of the big rains the week before. The Indians all got 
off the wagons and waded through. I screamed when the young 
squaw grabbed me by the arm and pulled me off the load and 
made me wade. She held rae by the arm or I would have per- 
ished, as the water was nearly up to my .arms. Just after we 
had crossed the river I saw one of our former neighbors, Mrs. 
Inefeld, with her baby. She was the first white prisoner I 
recognized. I spoke to her and she knew me at once. She 
smiled and asked me how many of our family had been killed. 
I answered that I thought all were dead but myself, as the In- 
dians had told me they had cut the throats of my brother and 
sister because they cried. The next day, however, to my de- 
light and surprise, I saAV them both. That day I also saw Mary 
Schwaudt and Augusta Lentz standing by the wagon, and met 
a Mrs. Urban and her five children. 

I wish I could describe this move as it should be described 
and do justice to it. Most of the teams were oxen hitched to 
wagons, a few horses and the rest Indian ponies with poles tied 
to their sides. These poles were tied together behind and then 
loaded with household goods. They did not ti'avel on roads as 
we do, but rushed across the prairie broadcast. U. S. flags, 
strii)ed shawls and bed .sheets were floating in the breeze side 
by side. The handsomest shawls made the best saddle blankets. 
Clock and watch wheels the best head-dresses, the most expensive 
jewels bedecked the Indians' breasts. I have never seen a P\)urth 
of July parade or a ragamuffin outfit equal this move. All day 
I was studying the new styles and for a while forgot all my 
troubles. I was completely carried away by the wild scene. Even 
the Indians, witli thcii' guns pointing at me, did not frighten 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 181 

me. I would sliut my eyes and think it would uot take long to 
die that way, but 0, those horrid butcher knives! I could not 
bear the sight of them and they were always sharpening them. 
"We camped in one large camp that night when we stopped. 
There must have been a thousand tents and it looked like a large 
city on the prairie. Henrietta and I were again companions for 
her tent was next to mine as before. We started out to find some 
playmates and found those already mentioned. I also saw my 
sister did not recognize me, which made me feel bad to think 
she had forgotten me in one short week. The Indians had put 
one of my baby sister's dresses on her. I asked her whose dress 
she had on and she said it was Bertha's. My brother was yok- 
ing a pair of oxen as we came up to see him. He was delighted 
to see me, as the Indians had told him they had killed me for 
trying to run away. He told me, with tears in his eyes, that the- 
Indians had killed our cow, "Molly," and could not bear to see 
oui- cattle killed, as it was all there was left of our home. Just 
then an Indian girl, with whom Henrietta lived, came and took 
us home. 

We stayed at this place about three days. In the evening the 
young braves would dress in their gala attire with their clock- 
wheel head-dresses on and would mount their ponies and practice 
riding and shooting on horseback. Sometimes they would hang 
on the side of the ponies and ride at full gallop, yelling as only 
an Indian knows how. Henrietta and I would sit and watch 
them and wonder how many Indians there were in this world. 
I told her it was full of them, as they had killed all the white 
people, and so it did seem to me just then. 

The evening before we moved an old Indian walked around 
from tent to tent, calling out something I could not understand. 
I went to one of the white women to find out what he said and 
she said that we were to move early the next morning and those 
of the prisoners that were not able to travel were to be shot. 
I was badly frightened, but I was saved after all. 

The next time we moved little Henrietta and I rode in the 
same wagon. As we were riding along a voice in the train be- 
hind us called out in German, "Say, you have Letton's oxen 
hitched to Mannweiler's wagon" Looking back I saw a hoy 
whom I knew, Ludwig Kitzman. Then Henrietta called out, 
"Why, there is Ludwig." Now I had a clew to Henrietta's 
identit}-. I called back to him, "Here is a little girl you know. 
I don't know who she is and wish you would tell me." Ludwig 
then ran forward to our wagon, and when he came up to us he 
said, in great astonishment, "Why, it is Henrietta Krieger, my 
dear little cousin." After a few minutes' conversation he went 
back to his wagon, promising to come again at noon. Every 
little while Henrietta would ask me if it was noon vet. Her 



182 HISTORA' OF KEXVILLE COFXTY 

father and some of lier brothers and sisters had been killed and 
her mother badly wounded. 

Lndwig came at noon and we had an enjoyable visit. I asked 
liim if we would always have to stay with the Indians and he 
told me not to wori'y about that as there were enough white men 
left to shoot oti' every Indian's head. I told him I wanted to 
run away, but did not know which way to go. "Don't try that," 
he said, ''or you will be killed. You are too little. The best 
thing we can do is to stay with them until the whites come and 
take us.*' I asked him where they would take us and he replied 
that he was going to his aunt in Wisconsin. When I told him 
that we did not have any relatives in this country he cheered me 
ui> the best he could and assured me that we would find friends 
somewhere who would care for us. 

Soon after this I was taken sick, and lost all account of the 
days. It must be borne in mind that at this time I was only seven 
years old. To those who may be inclined to question the ac- 
curacy of my memory of the incidents that I have related, I can 
only say that many of my old fellow prisoners fully corroborate 
my statements. The nature of these incidents impressed them 
on my youthful mind so deeply that I can never forget them. It 
is very common that incidents occurring in our childhood are 
better remembered than others happening in our maturity. 

While I was sick the master of our tent was absent for four 
or five days. His big l)oy took jiarticular pains to torment and 
abuse me. One evening he was sitting in the tent and throwing 
corn cobs at me, while his old mother was keeping up the fire 
and laughing at me. The .young squaw was outside. I stood 
it as long as I could and then I screamed as hard as I could. 
All at once the young squaw stepped in and caught him in the 
act. She seized a large ox whip and gave him a mo.st unmerci- 
ful thrashing and he cried like a baby. Then she gathered \ip 
all the corn cobs and brought them to me. She put one in my 
hand and then motioned for me to throw it at him. I did so 
with all the strength I had. Every time I threw a cob the young 
squaw would laugh and the boy cried. That was the time I got 
satisfaction, even if I was in an Indian camp. 

One morning the big boy brought my breakfast, but as I was 
about to eat it he jerked it away and said I needed no break- 
fast, for in a little while a man was coming to shoot me. The 
young squaw was out of doors and the rascal could act as meanly 
toward me as he pleased. I did not believe a word he said, but 
after breakfast an Indian did come in with a new gun. I was 
so frightened that I did not recognize him. Shutting my eyes I 
lay down, hardly alive. He came to me and said, "How do you 
do?" half a dozen times before I dared open my eyes. Then I 
saw it was the man of the tent, and I presume he knew nothing 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 183 

of what tlie boy had told ine. Tlic new gun probably belonged 
to some dead soldier. 

Another time when the young squaw went visiting I got lone- 
some and decided to find brother and see him a while. I found 
him, together with August Gluth and Ludwig Kitzman, in a 
patch of hazel brush picking nuts. They gave me some, and 
while we were talking together the big boy approached us. 
"There comes that big Indian boy after you," said my brotlier. 
"See, he is picking up a stick to take you home. Don"t you 
worry; we will take him home." Each of the boys picked up 
a stick and started for the boy. They said to him, "Pockajee" 
(leave). He scolded a while, but turned about and started for 
his tepee. The boys took me home and when we got there the 
old squaw scolded a while at the boys, and they laughed at her 
and called her "old crooked mouth" in German. When they 
left they told me if she or the boy whipped me to let them know 
and they would whip them l)oth. After the boys had gone the 
big Indian boy kicked me in the face and made my nose bleed. 
The young boy was at home, and I think he told his mother, for 
after that she would take me along when she went visiting. 

The next morning after this incident I heard a great com- 
motion again. On investigation I saw a most disgusting spec- 
tacle. Side by side, with their throats cvit and their feet in the 
air, lay a number of dogs. I returned to the tent sickened by 
the sight, but in a little while my curiosity got the better of 
my sensations and I went out again. By this time the Indians 
were singeing the hair ott' the dogs with burning hay. I recog- 
nized our little white poodle among the carcasses. The Indians 
had eight or ten kettles on the fire, and as soon as a dog was 
singed it was thrown into the boiling water. Perhaps they were 
only scalding them preparatory to cooking. I concluded they 
were cooking without preparation and resolved not to eat any of 
the meat if I had to starve. The men were about the kettle for 
several hours, the squaws not daring to come near. At last the 
women and children were driven out of the tent and only the 
men partook of the dog feast. Even the boys, to their great 
dissatisfaction, were not allowed to participate. We had to stay 
out till after midnight. For three nights they kept up their 
dog feast in adjoining tents. I have heard since that they were 
religious feasts and indulged in only by warriors, who on this 
occasion were preparing for battle. 

After the feasts were over all the warriors left camp on 
another murdering expedition. There were only old men, women 
and children left to guard the prisoners. 

One morning soon after the Indians had gone I saw a man 
dressed in white man's clothes. He was about of the same height 
of mv father and walked like him. For a moment I forgot 



184 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

everything and ran to meet him. Wlien I came up to him I saw 
that it was not my father and threw myself on the ground and 
cried as if my lieart would burst. He sat down beside me and 
tried to lift me up, but I refused to be comforted. After regain- 
ing my speech I told him, "Indian 'nepo' papa and mamma and 
I want to go 'tahah mea tepee' (far away to my home)." He 
sympathized with me, for there were tears in his eyes as he spoke 
to me. He asked me where my tepee was and I pointed it out 
to him. He took me by the hand and led me there. 

Tliat afternoon two young girls came to our tent and took 
me with them. They must have been half-breeds, as their com- 
plexions were much lighter than the other Indians and they 
lived much better. I think that George Spencer, the man whom 
I had seen tliat morning, sent them to get me. This family con- 
sisted of an old squaw, a young man and two young girls. They 
all treated me very kindly, in fact, made a pet of me. The 
young man would paint my face in their fashion and allow me 
to look at myself in his hand glass, but as soon as I could get 
out of doors I would rub off the paint. Their conduct toward 
me was so considerate that I really liked them. 

Once wliile witli them there was a dance in camp. The young 
man painted my face in the highest style of Indian art and took 
me and his sisters to see the performance. He put me on his 
shoulder and carried me the greater part of the way. At the 
dance ground a lot of poles were planted. Some M"itli red shawls 
tied to them, some with white bed sheets, and some with Amer- 
ican flags attached to them. There were no scalps in sight. The 
dancers stood in groups and jumped up and down Avhile others 
galloped wildly about on horseback. I was afraid they would 
run over one another, but they managed their horses very skill- 
fully, ily young Indian friend held me up on his shoulder so 
that I could have a fair view of the whole performance. 

After a week sjient with this kind family I went to live with 
another, consisting of an old scpiaw (a widow), a young man and 
a little girl of my size. The young man was a half-breed whom 
I had known before the outbreak. His family had camped in 
our woods in the spring of 1862. He came to our house one 
evening and father asked him in for supper. While they were 
eating he asked father if he could borrow our oxen. After con- 
sulting mother about it father decided to go along himself with 
the oxen as soon as traveling would be possible. The Indian 
was satisfied and they stayed in our woods for two weeks more, 
when father moved them and their household goods about twenty 
miles east. 

The boy always seemed to think so much of my father, and 
I have often wondered why he did not save his life, but per- 
haps he could not. While I lived with them I was half starved 



HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 185 

all the time aud was always sickly. Once when I was very 
iiuii^ry I saw au Indian girl put sonic potatoes in hot ashes to 
roast and then go off to play. I could not resist the chance of 
procuring a square meal even if })y questionable means, so I 
watched and waited until I thought the potatoes were cooked 
and saw that the girl was at play on the other side of the tepee, 
and then I took the potatoes back of another tent and ate them 
with great relish. 

After I had eaten the iiotatoes the Indian girl that had put 
the potatoes to roast went to look for them and found them 
gone. .She accused another Indian girl of taking them and gave 
her a good Avhipping. Ilere is a case where the innocent suf- 
fered for the guilty. 

The actions of the Indians were quite peculiar. Often on 
evenings they would gather in groups out of doors and relate 
tales of adventure and other stories. They would keep this up 
so late that one after another they would fall asleep and lie out 
of doors all night like cattle. 

I remember well the day of the battle of Wood Lake. It 
was near breakfast time when we heard the report of the first 
cannon. An old squaw, who was making a fire, jumped into 
the air so suddenly and violently that it seemed she had burned 
her foot and screamed something that sounded to me like "Hi 
be-dish kak," and she repeated these words again and again. 
The same cry Avas heard throughout the camp. I noticed that 
there were no warriors in cainii, but did not realize that they 
had gone out to battle. 

We got little to eat that day of the battle. Everything was 
in the greatest confusion. They kept up bonfires all that night 
and an incessant howling and screaming. The next morning I 
changed masters again. The old squaw -who kept my sister 
after we left the first camp was my new guardian. There were 
no men at this tent. There was one Indian family that often 
camped in our wood. The squaw used to eome to our house a 
great deal, and mother would show her how to bake bread and 
do a good many other things. Father used to call her nu)ther"s 
sister, because she was such a great friend of ours. While a 
prisoner I met her quite often and spoke to her, but she never 
answered me and acted as if she had never seen me. 

About this time we moved quite frequently, but I cannot 
remember the particulars. One day not long after the battle a 
young squaw came to our tent in a great hurry, aud after a short 
consultation they began to pack up my sister's effects. All the 
clothes I had were on my person. Soon they started Avith us to 
a hill or elevated place, where we saw a large number of Indians 
standing in a circle in the center of which a white tiag waved 
from a pole. There were a lot of prisoners entering the circle 



186 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUXTY 

tln-ough au opening in the line, and as none came out 1 con- 
eluded that they were going to kill all the whites, so I did not 
want to go. Two Indian girls took me and carried me in. 

Here I met my brother, August Gluth and Ludwig Kitzman. 
They greeted me most joyfully. ''We are going to be free now," 
said my brother. '"Tlie soldiers have licked the Indians and now 
they have to give us up."' I missed little Gustave Kitzman 
among the prisoners and asked for him. Mrs. Inefeld then told 
the story of his death. She and Gustave were staying with the 
same family. He used to run away to see his brother Ludwig. 
The Indians did not like this. Besides this he had a bad habit of 
pinching Indian children and pulling their hair. The day they 
killed him he was crying and wanted to see his brother. The 
Indians would not let him go. however. They then began 
sharpening their butcher knives and told her to go and get a pail 
of water. She took her hahy with her. The baby often cried 
and they had threatened to kill it. When she came back little 
Gustave was lying on the ground all cut to pieces. They then 
picked uj) the pieces and tied them up in a tablecloth while 
another Indian was digging the hole to bury him in. In half 
an liour all was done and little Gustave was no more. 

Ludwig Kitzman, August Gluth and my brother were always 
together when it was possible. They had to catch and yoke oxen 
for hours at a time. Most of the oxen had rope tied around their 
horns by the Indians so they could nmnage them. One night a 
big I'ain fell. The ropes tightened around the oxen's horns and 
they were nearly crazj- with pain. Ludwig told the Indians what 
ailed them, and they gave the boys butcher knives and they cut 
all the ropes. After that the boys were always kept busy driv- 
ing and attending the oxen. 

The boys told me what the white flag meant, and I was over- 
joyed to think that we would soon be free. In a little while we 
were marched to the other side of the camp, and they gave us 
tents which we were told to occupy until General Sibley and his 
soldiers arrived. Here I met quite a number of German prison- 
ers, among whom were little Jlinnie Smith, ilary Sehwant, 
Augusta Lentz, ilrs. Inefeld and her baby, ili's. Lammers and 
her two children, ilrs. Lang and two children, Mrs. Frass and 
three childi-en, ilrs. I'rban and five children. The last three 
ladies that I have mentioned were sisters. Mrs. Eisenreieh and 
her five children. I asked Mrs. Eisenreieh what made Peter and 
Sophy's heads sore, and she told me that the Indians hit them 
on the back of their heads with a tomahawk because they could 
not walk any faster when they came into camp. The back of 
their heads was one big scab. It made me sick to look at them. 
]\lrs. Krus and litr two children. Pauline Krus (Mr. Krus' sister), 
were missing, and anothci' girl by the nanic of Henrietta Xiehnls 



HISTOKY OF EENVILLE COUNTY 187 

(a cousiu of Augusta Lentz) could not be found. Tlu'se two 
girls were about twelve years old. Mrs. Krus said that they were 
hid among the Indians, and that the soldiers should find them 
or she would never go until they were found. When the soldiers 
came she told them about it. They told her that they would find 
them, and so they did, two weeks later, in another Indian camp. 
I reineinber how the soldiers cheered them when they calue. 
"When we reached St. Peter Henrietta Nichols found her father. 
How pleased she was to see him. Her mother and brother liad 
been killed. Here I met Minnie Smith. She was from our neigh- 
borhood and it was with them we stayed the first month we 
were in Minnesota. Minnie and I had always been great 
friends. 

I went to where she sat and asked her if the Indians had 
killed all her people. She nodded her head, but did not speak. 
Her bright blue eyes filled with tears in a moment. I tried to 
cheer her and offered her one of my sweet crackers that Mrs. 
Urban had given me, for I thought I had offended her. She 
shook her head and would not take it. The tears started to my 
eyes, for I did not know what to do and I did not want Minnie 
to be angry with me. Then Mrs. Krus came and told me that 
Minnie could not speak, as there was something wrong with her 
throat. I stayed with her until noon, when Mrs. Krus came and 
told me to go and play, saying as I went, "Minnie Smith will 
soon be an angel." I did not quite understand her statement 
and said, "Why Minnie is so good that she is an angel now." 
Mrs. Krus replied, "Yes, she will soon die and go to heaven." 
Minnie rallied a little and lived three weeks longer until we 
reached Fort Ridgely, where she was turned over to that kind 
nurse, Mrs. Elizabeth Muller, Dr. Muller's wife, who stayed at 
the fort. She took care of the sick and wounded and closed 
many dying eyes. She also closed ]\linnii' Smith's, for two days 
later she died. 

We waited tlii-ec days for the arrival of the soldiers. In the 
forenoon of the third day Pauline Urban, my little sister Amelia 
and I were playing in a wagon when Pauline all at once jumped 
on to the wagon seat, clapped her hands and pointing toward the 
south exclaimed, "Look at the stars! Look at the stars!" We 
all looked in that direction and we could plainly see the sun 
shining on the soldiers' bayonets as they marched along. Stars 
of Hope they seemed for all of us. We all got on the wagon 
seats or as high as we could get to see the soldiers. At last the 
officers rode into camp and there was a great deal of hand shak- 
ing between them and the chiefs. I thought they knew but little 
of how we had been treated. 

Tlie pi-isoners were now turned over to the soldiers and we 
were marched to their camp. Just as we reached the soldiers' 



188 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

camp the sun went down. The soldiers cheered us wlieu we 
reached camp, but it frightened me. I thought the Indians were 
trying to drive them back. 

;My sister and I were sent to the same tents with several 
others. We were nearly starved, as we had eaten almost nothing 
all that day. There were between ninety and a hundred prisoners, 
and it was no easy task to furnish them all with supper. My 
sister and I were so small that the soldiers overlooked us, but 
we were fortunate enough, however, to be able to share supper 
with some of our fellow prisoners. We stayed with the soldiers 
three weeks, and as rations were getting scarce and what there 
was was almost unfit to eat, we children were always looking 
for something to eat. In the northern part of the soldiers' camp 
there was a German baker who used to bake very nice bread. 
One daj^ we found the place and made him a visit. He treated 
us to a dish of beef soup and some bread. The next day we 
repeated our visit and he did not treat us again. Shortly after 
this we made the acquaintance of a boy named Ben Juni. He 
was more of a ladies' man, and whenever Ben got anything good 
to eat he would divide with us. Pauline always said he was the 
best boy in the lot. But I could not go back on my brother and 
Ludwig Kitzman. I have never seen any of my little friends 
of years ago, and I have often wished that time could turn back 
in its flight and Ave could meet again. How nnich I would give 
to see the bright and happy face of Pauline Urban. Henrietta 
Krieger was entirely forgotten after I made Pauline's acquaint- 
ance. Her mother was Avitli her. She had foiu' sisters and 
brothers. She told me she Avas going to meet her father soon, 
for he Avas aAvay some place Avhere he Avas safe. She Avas about 
the age of my sister Avbom the Indians had killed. Hoav I envied 
her. Her father, mother, sisters and brothers Avere alive and 
Avell, Avhile mine Avere dead. She could ahvays cheer me no mat- 
ter hoAv badly I felt. Her mother treated me and my sister as 
kindly as she did her OAvn children. 

While Ave stayed at Camp Release I heard some of the saddest 
stories I ever heard. These stories Avere told in English and Avere 
translated to me by Mary Schwandt. 

Mrs. Adams told the following .story: They Avere moA-ing to 
Hutchinson Avhen the Indians overtook them. The Indians shot 
at them and they jumped off the wagon. Her husband was 
Avounded and got aAvay, but she supposed he Avas killed. Then 
they took her baby from her arms and dashed its brains out on 
the Avagon Avheel. She Avas taken prisoner. She laughed while 
telling her story and said she could not cry for her child. 

Mrs. Minnie Inefeld told hoAV she Avent to her brother's 
house to tell them that the Indians were killing everybody. She 
left her husband loading up their household goods. When she 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 1.^:1 

iTturiHMl shr louiid liei- lmsl);iml lying on tlie floor with a butcluT 
knife in his heart. 

One (lay while we were staying at ('aiiip Rflease 'Mv. Thiele 
came into our tent. He told Mrs. Krus jiow the Indians had 
killed his wife and child. He assured li(>r tliat her liusband was 
alive and that slie would soon see him again. Tlii^n he went on 
talking about how he and half-breed JMoorc ))ni'icd the dead. 
Tliey had buried quite a number before he had courage enough 
to go and bury his wife and child. AVIkmi he came to their bodies 
the hogs had eaten most of them and tlH>re was nothing left 
but a few pieces of their clothes. He said In- kiirlt down beside 
them and cried, prayed and cursed the Indians all in one breath. 
He swore that lie would shoot Indian.s the rest of his life. At 
last the half-breed could stand it no longer and asked Thiele 
if he was going to kill him, too. Mr. Tliiele did not answer, at 
which ^loore threw down his spade and went away, leaving him 
to bury his dead alone. 

After burying what dead he could that day he started toward 
the fort, not earing where he went. With nothing to eat but 
corn and wild jilums he wandered until he met Sibley's men. 
He aske(_l the general to let him have some soldiers to bury the 
dead. General Sibley could not send a force until two weeks 
later, and then thei-e was nothing left of the bodies but the bones 
and their clothing. They simply dug a hole beside the skeletons, 
rolled the bones in and covered them uj). 

I stood ;Mr. Thiele "s talk as long as I could aud then asked 
him if he had bui-ied my folks. '"Who are you?" he asked. I 
told him 1 was ^linnie Buce, Fred Buce's eldest girl. He sliook 
hands with me and I sat down beside him. He kept repeating 
over and over again, "Poor Fred, poor Fred. How hard he 
worked and tlien had to leave it all behind." Suddenly, recol- 
lecting what I had asked, he answered, "Yes, child, I think I 
buried them. There W'cre five bodies we found on your father's 
place which we buried." Mr. Thiele's talk made me sick. All 
night I cried, and Mrs. Krus took good care of me. She told me 
stach a nice story, in her plain, simple way, that I never can 
forget it. She told me that after people w^ere dead nothing 
could hurt them, as they were angels then, and that Mr. Thiele 
had picked out such a nice place to bury my beloved ones in ; 
in a pretty meadow where the grass would always grow so green 
where the prairie lilies would breathe their fragrance over the 
graves of the departed, and where winter would come and 
cover up the graves with its beautiful white snow. She told 
me not to cry about my parents anj' more. Every time I felt 
like crying to think of the nice things she had told me. I tried 
my best to do as ilrs. Krus had told me and found it was much 
better not to cry. 



190 _ HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

Soon after this we broke up camp and moved. ]My sister and 
I got in the same wagon witli Ilattie Adams and Mary Schwandt. 
Wlien we halted in the evening my sister and I were both asleep. 
Our teamster was a young bo.y about eighteen or nineteen years 
of age. He picked me up out of the wagon as though I was a 
baby. I screamed, as it friglitened me so. He said he did not 
mean to frighten me. It was quite cold that evening and our 
clothes were very thin. I was also very unliap])y when 1 found 
out tliat Mary was gone and that I would see her no more. I 
tried not to cry, but the tears would come anyway. Our young 
friend, tlie team.ster. was a (ierman and lie felt very sorry for us. 
He baked us some pancakes and made some coffee. After sup- 
per he built a fire, got the blanket from the wagon and put it 
around ns both and told us to sit there until he fed his oxen. I 
sat there a while and finally getting tired of waiting I started 
to look up Hiy new acquaintance and his ox team. To my sur- 
prise I found one of the oxen was our black ox "Billy." I told 
the teamster of it and put my arm around "Billy's" neck. My 
new friend, tlie teamster, laughed and told me that "Billy" was 
a lazy ox, but he was going to use him better since he had 
learned his history. When his work was done we came back to 
the fire. We found a man sitting on a log by the fire, watching 
my sleeping sister. My young friend told me it was his sister's 
husband. They talked a long while about ns. Tlie new arrival 
asked me a great many questions about my people and where 
we lived. Finally he said he thought my father was alive. The 
soldiers had picked up a man near New Ulm badly wounded, 
who had walked many miles after he was sliot, and he thought 
that probably it was my father. I thought of what Thiele had 
said about burying my parents and told him of it. He said that 
Thiele had buried so many dead that he may have made a mis- 
take. I wish he had never told me this, as it only gave me false 
hopes, and when I found out the truth it made me feel more 
disappointed. 

The next morning we started for the fort. After an early 
breakfast a teamster took and put me in his wagon. While 
we were waiting for some more women and cliildren to come to 
the wagon I told our new teamster that I had a brother among 
the prisoners and wished he could go along, too. He consented, 
and as my brother came along just then he asked him. My 
brother answered that he was in no great hurry to 'get to St. 
Peter and would i-ather stay with the ox teams. I tried my best 
to get him to come, but he would not. He called me a cry baby 
and said I always wanted something. If we would have known 
then that we were not to meet again for two long years our fare- 
well would have been more affectionate. 

Among those who rode on our wagon were Ludwig Kitzman, 



IIlsToin" OF K'K.WIIJ^E COUNTY 191 

Mrs. Urban and Mrs. Krus with their children, an American lady 
with two children and a boj^ about eight or nine years old. It 
was very cold that morning, the wind blowing a perfect gale. 
Our teamster took oi¥ his overcoat and gave it to my sister and 
me to cover ourselves up with. The little American boy was 
shivering from the cold and also tried to get under the coat. 
I would not allow that, however, and slapped him in the face. 
That Avas too much for Ludwig Kitzinan, and he told me I was 
the meanest girl he had ever seen. I did feel ashamed of myself 
and offered the boy the coat, but the teamster settled the diffi- 
culty by giving him a horse blanket. 

All that day we traveled and passed many deserted houses 
with nice gardens, but no living thing in sight. Even the few 
hardy flowers that were left in the gardens looked sad and 
forsaken as we passed by. How desolate everything seemed. In 
the evening Ave stopped at a deserted farm house. There were a 
lot of stables around it and the log house looked something like 
ours did. My sister thought we were home when she saw the 
house. 

When we got inside she looked around and asked, "Where 
is father and mother?" I was obliged to tell her the whole sad 
truth, that we would never see our parents again. She cried so 
hard that the teamster picked her up and carried her to sleep. 

The next morning we started out early, as they wanted to 
reach Fort Ridgely that day. There were five or six horse teams 
which took the women and children. The rest of the teams 
stayeii behind and got to the fort later. Everything went well 
until about noon, when all at once we heard sliooting over the 
hill ahead of us. The teams all stopped and everything was in 
the greatest confusion. Some of the women and children wanted 
to run for the woods. Everybody was crying, some were praying 
and others were cursing. Just then we saw about forty Indians 
running for the very woods the women had been wanting to run 
to. One of the teamsters ventured to say that there were soldiers 
beyond the hill or the Indians would not be running, and so it 
proved, for just then a lot of soldiers appeared over the hill on 
horseback. One horse was carrying two soldiers. The ofifieers 
said that they had met the Indians and had exchanged a few 
shots with them, resulting in the killing of one of the soldiers' 
horses. While the officer was talking one of the women cried 
out, "0 look! There comes a whole army of Indians." We all 
looked in the direction she was pointing, and, sifi'e enough, there 
were a lot of men on horseback. It seemed like a large cloud of 
dust coining in our direction like a whirlwind. We could not 
tell whether they were soldiers or Indians, but as they turned 
out to be soldiers we were all happy to see them. They had been 
out scouting and, hciiriiig tlic shooting, came to see what the 



192 IIIs;TORV of RENVILLE COUNTY 

trouble was. After the excitement had died down no one seemed 
to care for anything to eat so we resumed our journey to the 
fort. 

About an hour after starting we saw a lone man coming 
across the praire toward us. As he came nearer Ludwig Kitz- 
man exclaimed, "It is Mr. Gluth!" and jumped off the wagon 
and ran towards liim. He spoke with the man about something 
for quite a while, at which the man dropped on the ground and 
cried like a baby. Some of the men went to see what his trouble 
was and found out that he was the father of August Gluth, a 
little ten-year-old boy who had been a prisoner with the Indians, 
and that this was the first news he had received that his son was 
alive. 

Before we reached Fort Ridgely a man driviug an ox team 
caught up with us and took Mrs. Lammers and her two children 
with him. She was the first prisoner we parted with on the 
road and many of the women ci-ied when they bade her good-bye. 
Afterwards I heard that the man was Mr. Rieke and that he 
married ^Irs. Lammers. 

At last we reached the fort, tired and hungry. The soldiers 
marched hs into the dining room, where supper was already 
wating for us. Soldiers were standing everywhere behind our 
cliairs to see that every little child had enough to eat. It was 
the first time in ten long weeks that we had eaten at a table like 
civilized people. When supper was over they took us to another 
room, where they made up some beds on the floor for us. 

The next morning they did not wake us as early as usual. 
After breakfast some of us children begged Mrs. Krus to let us 
see little I\Iinnie Smith. She had been turned over to Mrs. Muller 
for treatment. She consented to take us, and when we arrived 
at the hospital we found Minnie lying in a nice clean bed with 
her hair curled as nice as her mother used to curl it. She opened 
her blue eyes one moment and smiled. Then she closed them 
again, as if too tired to keep them open. IIow badly we tVlt ami 
all commenced to cry. The lady who stood at the head of the 
bed motioned for us to go. It was the last we saw of little 
]\Iinnie, for two days later she died and her troubles were ended. 
When we got back the teams were already waiting for us and 
we started for St. Peter. 

On our waj- to St. Peter we could see people in the field at 
work here and there, and also a few herds of cattle grazing in 
the meadoM-s. One jtlace we passed a man was waving his hat 
and calling to us. The teams stopped to see what he wanted. 
Presently two men with milk came up, while the teamsters 
cheered the men as they came and thanked them, that it was 
the greatest treat they could give us, for so many of the children 
had asked for milk. How greedily we drank it, and the men 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 193 

smiled as they watched us and said they were sorry that they 
had no more. 

That evening we reached St. Peter, where we were turned 
loose in an empty store. A fire was burning here, Avhich was a 
most welcome sight, as we were cold. Some kind person had 
carried in a few arms of hay for us to sleep on. We had but 
little for supper. The town was full of people who had fled from 
tlieii- lioincs. 

The next morning people came crowding in, bright and early, 
to look for friends. No one seemed to think of breakfast. Mr. 
Lang was one of the first to come in. His wife and two children 
stood just opposite the door. I never saw a more joyful meeting 
in my life. Those who had no friends were all crying. There 
was hardly a dry eye in the house. Mary Riefe came in next, 
dressed in the deepest of mourning. She looked over the crowd 
and never spoke a word. Sadly she turned to the door and 
walked out, having found none of her people. She was working 
away from home, when the Indians had killc'd nearly all her family 
and her lover. Afterwards she found two elder brothers who 
escaped. I held my sister by the hand, as I was afraid some one 
in the crowd might take her away, and I would not know what 
had become of her. 

People were still coming in to claim friends who were sup- 
posed to be dead. I could not help watching the door and 
thinking of the story the teamster had told me, but it was in 
vain — my father and mother never came. At last as the crowd 
was beginning to thin out Rev. Frederic Emde, of the Evan- 
gelical church, touched me on the shoulder and said he would 
take me. I told him that I had a little sister with me and wanted 
him to take her also. Mrs. Emde then came to us and took off 
her veil and tied it around my sister's head and a little shawl 
around mine. "While I was waiting for them to leave with us, I 
looked once more over the crowd. In one corner lay Ludwig 
Kitzman talking to a man and boy, and in another corner sat 
the little brown-faced boy of whom I have spoken before. He 
looked so sad and no one seemed to notice him. Often have I 
wondered what became of him. Mrs. Inefeld was looking out of 
the window with tears in her eyes, holding her baby so close to 
her. Her husband and all her folks had been killed and there 
was no one to claim her. Henrietta Krieger found her mother 
aftei'wards. How pleased she Avas to see her. 

At last Sir. and Mrs. Emde were ready to go. They first took 
us to a house, where we had breakfast, after which we went to 
a store to get us some shoes and stockings. Mr. Emde told him 
our story, at which he said he would make us a present of what 
we wanted. When we were dressed as comfortable as they could 
make us we started for New Ulm. It was about noon when we 



194 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

left aud did not stop until we i-eaclied a farm house that evening. 
The next day we reached John Muhs, a brother of Mrs. Emde, 
who lived six miles south of New Ulm. Mr. and Mrs. Muhs were 
my parents for the next two years and ray sister stayed with 
Mr. Emde. 

I told Mr. Emde of my brother, and lie promised that he 
would look for him when he went back to St. Peter. He found 
out that my brother had been picked up in St. Paul by another 
minister and later was sent to a family near Hutchinson. The 
man who took my brother was appointed our guardian and 
received quite a sum of money, about $1,200, for my father's 
personal property. This was too much for him to let go. As 
soon as he had ever.ything settled as he wanted it he came to 
Mr. Muhs and Mr. Emde and asked him to give me and my sister 
up to him, as he was well off and would adopt us. Finally ]\Ir. 
Muhs consented and turned us over to him. 

When we got to our new home we soon found out that our 
guardian owned nothing but a farm which he had bought with 
the money he so cunningly appropriated. As for schooling, Ave 
saw but little of it. I do not wish to speak unkindly of my 
guardian, as he really did not abuse me, and I think he would 
have done what was right, but he was not well and his wife was 
at the liead of the family. They have both passed away since 
and I will not judge them now. Of my father's property we 
never received one cent. 

When I was fifteen years old I started out iu the world alone 
to earn my own living. After I left them I fell into better hands. 
I worked out summers and went to school winters. Being already 
able to read in German, in time I received a fair ed\ieatiou. In 
1879 I married Owen Carrigan and am the mother of five chil- 
dren. My husband died in 1898. As to my sister Amelia, she 
left our guardian at the age of fourteen and went back to Rev. 
Emde. She later became Mrs. Reynolds of Minnea[)0lis. 

My brother left for Montana at the age of nineteen. When 
we were at Camp Release he came one day and told me that he 
had seen all the Indians that were to be hung, but the one who 
killed our parents was not among them. He cried and said, 
"Yes, he is a good Indian now. Just wait until I get big, I will 
hunt Indians the rest of my life aud will kill them, too, if I can 
find them.'" For two years after we parted he would write to me 
regularly, but then we heard no more of him. I am inclined 
to think that he was killed at the time General Custer made his 
last stand, for that spring I received his last letter. 

There are only three places that I would like to see again. 
One is the large flat lime rock on the bank of the Minnesota 
river where my brother and I used to go fishing. Years have 
passed and many a person has claimed my white rock since. The 



HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 195 

ludiaus tliat used to pass iis in their canoes so silently they 
seemed like ghosts, you could hardly hear the dip of their oars, 
have long since fled from the banks of the river and could not 
frighten now. The second place is the spring near my father's 
place, where my playmates and I used to pick the yellow lady- 
slippers. The third is the creek near our home where the lovely 
white cherry blossoms were so thick that they looked like a white 
sheet. Little Pauline and Minnie Kitzman, my sister Augusta 
and I brought our aprons full home to make garlands out of them. 
Years after, when I used to see the white cheri-y blossoms, I 
used to wish that I could go back and cover the graves of my 
little friends with the flowers they loved so well. 

"The flowers that bloom in the wildwood 
Have since dropped their beautiful leaves. 

And the many dear friends of my childhood 

Have slumbered for years in their graves." ' 



CHAPTER XIV. 
CAPTIVE AMONG THE SIOUX. 

Experiences of Mrs. N. D. White, of Beaver FaUs — Unrest Among 
the Indians — News of the Uprising — Desperate Flight — Cap- 
ture — Wedge Killed — Henderson Injured — Mrs. Henderson 
and Children Burned — Scenes of Horror — Eugene White 
KUled^Boy of Twelve Escapes — Captives Taken to Crow's 
Village — Life Among the Indians — Removal — Incidents of 
the March — Rescue — Camp Release — Scenes of Delight — 
Reunion — Retrospection. 

The story 1 bring to you includes what I saw and what 
occurred to myself and family during the most terrible Indian 
massacre that was ever known in our fair country. Fifteen 
thousand square miles of territory were overrun by the savages, 
and their trails in Minnesota were marked by blood and fire, 
while men, women and innocent children were indiscriminately 
butchered or made prisoners. 

I was born in the town of Alexander, Genesee county. New 
York, February 10, 1825, mj' maiden name being Urania S. 
Frazer, and I was married to Nathan Dexter White, October 1, 
1845. "We remained in New York state about two years, and 
then emigrated to Columbia county, Wisconsin, where we lived 
fifteen years. In the spring of 1862 we again turned our faces 
westward, and June 28 found us in Renville county, Minnesota. 

Little did we think how soon we should pass through the 
terrible ordeal that awaited us. We commenced the erection of 



196 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

our log eabiu at the base of the bluff in the valley of Beaver 
ereek, near its opening into the wide iliuiiesota river valley, 
■with stout hands and willing minds, looking hopefully forward 
to better times, for we thought we had selected the very heart 
of this western paradise for our home. Truly it was beautiful, 
even in its wild, uncultivated condition, with its gigantic trees 
in the creek valley, its towering bluffs and the sweet-scented wild 
flowers. A babbling brook formed a part of the eastern boundary 
of our land, and its broad acres of prairie made it desirable 
enough to have satisfied the wishes of the most fastidious lover 
of a fine farm. We had just got settled in our new log house 
when the Sioux Indians who lived near us began to be uneasy. 

Little Crow's village was siti;ated about six miles from our 
house, across the Minnesota river. His warriors numbered about 
eight hundred. These Indians, with their families, by reason 
of the scarcity of buft'aloes and other wild game, were largely 
dependent upon their annuities. They were supplied with pro- 
visions from the commissarj' stores at the Lower Sioux Indian 
Agency, near Little Crow's village, and they also received their 
annuities from the agent at this point. The summer of that 
eventful year was to all appearances very favorable to them, so 
far as crops were concerned. Their many cornfields, of nearly 
a thousand acres, bore promise of rich yield. We frequently saw 
the Indians on the tops of the bluffs overlooking our dwelling. 
They seemed to be watching for something. When questioned 
they said they were looking for Ojibways. I think they must 
have held war meetings or councils, for we often heard drums 
in the evening on their side of the Minnesota river several weeks 
before the outbreak. 

Reports came to us that some of the Indians had made a raid 
upon the eommissaiy stores at the Upper Agency, but we paid 
little attention to it, thinking it only a rumor. 

The annuity was to have been paid in June, but, owing to 
the Civil war that was then raging between the United and Con- 
federate States, the money was delayed. The Indians were com- 
pelled to ward off starvation by digging roots for food. Three 
or four weeks previous to the outbreak we could see squaws 
almost every day wandering over the prairie in search of the 
nutritious roots of the plant known to the French voyageurs as 
the "pomme de terre." With a small pole about six feet long, 
having one end sharpened, they dug its tap-root, which they 
called tipsinah, somewhat resembling a white English turnip 
in color, taste and shape. 

Many of the Indians had pawned their guns for provisions. 
My husband had taken several in exchange for beef cattle. 
Among them was Little Crow's gim. This manner of dealing 
with the white man was not satisfactory to them, and especially 



TH¥. WEW YOf^K I 
iMJ8LlC LIBRARY 



i v.uoR. LENOX. ^ND J 
i , n.DEN •■OUNOA.TION9I 



HISTOHY OF KK.Wll.l,!-: (orXTV 197 

to be conipi'llfil tlius to part witli their "inns was very liai'd. 
Knowing the treachery of the Indians, none of us should have 
been sui'prised when this desperate outbreak overwhelmed us, 
and yet wlien the eighteenth day of August, 1862. eaine, with its 
eioudless sky, not one of the scatterecl scttler-s was pre[)ared for 
lirntection against the eai-nage which was to overwhelm tiieiii. 

At tiiis timi' nearly every farmei- was busy making hay, but 
my husband fortiniately was on a trip to Blue Eai-th county, 
about sixty miles southeast of us. I say fortiinately, because 
every man stood in great danger of being killed, and in all prob- 
ability that wotdd have been his fate if he had been with us, as 
no men among the settlers were taken prisoners. 

The fii'st outbreak, the attack on oiu- fleeing party, and the 
beginning of my eai)tivity were on Monday, August IS, and I 
was released thii'ty-nine days afterward, on September 26. 

While 1 was busily engaged gathering up the clothing for 
the iiurpose of doing my washing on the morning of the out- 
break, my daughter Julia, fourteen years old, who had been 
assisting at the house of Mr. Henderson, about a half mile from 
us, whose wife was very sick, came running in, accompanied by 
a daughter of J. W. Earle. and breathlessly told me that the 
Indians were coming to kill us, and that I must go back with 
them quick. This frightened me, in fact, it seemed to strike 
me duiid); but. suddenly reeovering my thoughts, i immediately 
began i)lainung what we should take with us. Soon I came to 
the conclusion that it would be folly to attemi)t to take anything. 
But on moving husband's overcoat 1 caught sight of a large 
pocketbook that contained valuable p;ipers and some money. 
This I quiekly secured, and managed to keep it during all my 
captivity. 1 caught up my baby, five months old, and placed him 
on one arm, and took Ijittle ("row's gun in the other hand. My 
daughter also carried a gun. We hurriedly wended oui- way to 
the house of the sick iieigldior, ami thenee went to the house of 
Mr. Earle. 

There I found my twelve-year-old son .Millai'd, Avho had been 
herding sheep. Having learned of the li'()ul)le with the Indians, 
he had driven the sheep up and jnit tliein in the yard. Eugene, 
my oldest son. liad gone o\it on the prairie to bring in our colts, 
to keep them from the Indians, because they were collecting all 
the horses in the neighborhood to ride, as they said, in hunting 
Ojibways, that being the excuse they gave for lliis bold robbery. 
He found that the Indians had already got the eolts and were 
breaking them to ride, having them in a slough, where they coidd 
easily handle tlicin. ( 'onse((uenI ly lie came hack to the house of 
]\rr. Earle. On his way back he met .Mr. Wiclimann. a uei<ilil)or 
.inst fi'om the agency, who told hiui tiiat the Indians were killing 
all the white people there. 



19S HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

At the house of Mr. Earle twenty-seven neighbors were assem- 
bled, men, women and children. Teams of horses were soon 
hitched to wagons, and we started on our perilous journey. 

The Indians, anticipating our flight and knowing the direction 
we should be likely to take, had secreted themselves in ambush 
on either side of the road in the tall grass. On our arrival in the 
ambush twenty or thirty Indians in their war paint rose to their 
feet ; they did not shoot, but surrounded us, took our horses by 
the bits, and commanded us to surrender to tliem all our teams, 
wagons and everything except the clothing we had on. A parley 
with them in behalf of the sick woman was had by one of our 
number wlio could speak the Sioux language. The Indians 
finally consented that we might go, if we would leave all the 
teams, wagons, etc., except one team and a light wagon in which 
Mrs. Henderson and her two children had been placed on a 
feather bed. 

We felt a little more hopeful at getting such easy terms of 
escape, but our hopes were of short duration, for they soon 
became dissatisfied with the agreement they liad made and gave 
notice that they must have our last team, and we were forced 
to stop and comply with their demand. The team was given up 
and the Indians said we might go. Several men took hold of 
the wagon and we again started, feeling that tliere was still a 
little chance of escape. We had gone only a short distance when 
we M'ere made fully aw^ire of the treacliery that predominates 
in the Indian character. Tliey commenced shooting at the men 
drawing the wagon, ill-. Henderson and Jehiel Wedge, in corii- 
plianee with Mrs. Henderson's wishes, held up a pillowslip as a 
flag of truce, l)ut tlie Indians kept on firing. The pillowslip was 
soon riddled. Mr. Henderson's fingers on one liand were shot 
off and Mr. Wedge was killed. 

Then commenced a flight, a run for life, on the open prairie, 
by men, women and children, unarmed and defenseless, before 
the cruel savages armed with guns, tomahawks and scalping 
knives. Imagine, if you can, tlie awful sight here presented to 
my view, both before and after being captured — strong men mak- 
ing desperate efforts to save themselves and their little ones from 
the scalping knives of their merciless foes, wlio were in hot pur- 
suit, shooting at them rapidly as they ran. Before the Indians 
passed me the bullets were continually whizzing by my head. 
Those who could escape, and their murderous enemies, were soon 
out of my sight. In one instance a little boy was shot and killed 
in his father's arms. 

Woe and despair now seized all of us who were made cap- 
tives. The bravest among us lost courage, being so helpless, 
defenseless and unprepared for this act of savage warfare. With 
blanched faces we belield the horrible scene and clasped our help- 



HISTORY OF REN^■ILLE COUNTY 199 

less little children closer to us. Then fearful thoughts of torture 
crowded into our minds, as i\lrs. Henderson and her two children 
were taken rudely from the bed in the wagon, throM'n violently 
on the ground, and covered with the bed, to which a torch was 
applied. The blaze grew larger and higher and I could see no 
more! My courage sank as I wondered in a dazed, half-insane 
manner what would be our fate and that of other friends. The 
two little children, I was afterward told, had their heads crushed 
by blows struck with violins belonging to the family of Mr. 
Earle. The burial party sent out by General Sibley from Fort 
Eidgely found the violins, with the brains and hair of the poor 
little innocents still sticking to them, two weeks later. Mr. Hen- 
derson was afterward killed at the battle of Birch Cooley, Sep- 
tember 2. 

Nine of our number were killed here in this flight, among 
them being our oldest son, Eugene, then about sixteen years old. 
Eleven were taken prisoners, among these being myself, my babe 
and my daughter, fourteen years old. 

Seven made their escape, my twelve-year-old son being among 
them. They started for Fort Ridgely, a distance of twenty miles, 
thinking that there they would be safe, but, on arriving near 
the fort, thej'' could see so many Indians skulking around that 
they tliought it extremelj' dangerous to make any further effort 
to reach tlie fort. They then decided to go to Cedar Lake, a 
distance of thirty miles north. Their boots and shoes were filled 
with' water in wading through sloughs and became a great 
burden to them, so that they were compelled to take them off 
to expedite their flight. Consequently, in traveling through 
coarse wet grass, the flesh on their feet and ankles was worn and 
lacerated until the bones were bare in places. They could get 
no food and starvation stared at them with its gnawing pangs. 
They were hatless in the scorching sunshine, and were com- 
pletely worn out bj' wading through sloughs and hiding in the 
tall grass; in fact, doing anything to make their escape from 
the Indians. 

When within ten or fifteen miles of Cedar Lake the strongest 
man of the party was sent ahead for help, to get food for those 
who were unable to walk much farther. On reaching a rise of 
ground he turned quickly, motioned to them and then threw 
himself in the tall grass. The others of the party knew that this 
meant danger and hid themselves as quickly as possible. Soon 
sharp reports of guns came to their ears. They supposed, of 
course, that the young man was killed, but it was not so. These 
Indians, five in number, had been away on a visit, and conse- 
quently they had not heard of the massacre. They were retiirn- 
ing to Little Crow's village. The young man was not seen by 
these Indians, but tjie others had been seen before dropping in 



200 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COrXTY 

the grass. They fired their gims for the purpose of reloading, 
and soon tracked the party with whom my sou was to their hid- 
ing places bj' their trail in the wet grass. !My son noticed one 
of them skulking along on his trail and watching him very 
intently. He supposed that the Indian would shoot him, so he 
turned his face away and waited for the biillet tJiat was to take 
his life. What a terrible moment it was to a lad of only twelve 
years ! 

But as no shot was fired he turned his head to see what the 
Indian was doing. The Indian then asked him what was the 
matter. Fearing to tell the truth he told him that the Ojibways 
were killing all the white people in their neighborhood and also 
told how luiugrj' they were. 

The Indians gave them some cold boiled potatoes, turning 
them on the ground, and asked to trade for Little Cro\\-"s gun, 
which one of the party had received from me. Not daring to 
refuse, they gave them the gun, Avhich Avas a very handsome one. 
The Indians now left them and they managed to reach Cedar 
Lake, being the first to carry the news of the outbreak to that 
l)lace. My son traveled from Cedar Lake to St. Peter without 
further hardship. 

The day when the outbreak commenced my husband was on 
his return from Blue Earth county with Mr. and Mrs. Jacobson, 
parents of the sick Mrs. Henderson. Late in the afternoon, when 
within six miles of New Ulm, they met a large number of settlers, 
men, women and children, fleeing for their lives, who told them 
that the Sioux Indians had commenced a desperate raid upon 
the settlers in the vicinit.y of New Ulm, that many of them had 
been killed, and that the Indians were then besieging the village ; 
also that word from Renville county had been received, that all 
the settlers in the neighborhood of Beaver Creek and Birch 
Cooley were murdered, if they had failed to make their escape. 

Having remained Avith the fleeing party until morning, my 
husband started on his return to the home of Mr. Jacobson, a 
distance of tliirty miles. On his Avay back he saw farms deserted 
and cattle running at large in fields of shocked grain. At Madelia 
he found an assemblage of settlers contemplating the idea of 
making a stand against the Indians. They resolved not to be 
driven from their homes by the Sioux, thinking that they could 
defend themselves by building breastworks of logs which were 
at hand. Consequently mj^ husband remained Avith them one 
day and assisted in the building of the fortification, luitil reliable 
information came to them that there Avere so many Indians 
engaged in the outbreak that it Avould be impossible for them 
to make a successful stand. Therefore, after taking Mr. and Mrs. 
Jacobson to their home he started for St. Peter. Avliere he arriA^ed 
on Saturday, the tAventy-third day of August. 



IIISTOKV OF KK.WILLE ColXrV 201 

Tlicii' lie nut Millard, our twelve-year-old boy, who narrated 
to liiiu the dismal tidings of the outbreak; that his mother, sister 
and little baby brother Avere taken off by the Indians, and that 
Eugene was hit by a bullet in the leg while running in atlvance 
of him. He told how Eugene ran about a fourth of a mile after 
being wounded, then turned a little to one side of the eourse 
they were ruuuing and dropped into a cluster of weeds. The 
Indians were soon upon liim with their scalping knives. In cast- 
ing a look back lie saw tlimi apparently in the act of taking his 
scalp. 

^ly husband's team of horses anil his carriage M'ere i)ressed 
into military service at St. I'eter. He went with General Sibley's 
forces from St. Peter to Fort Hidgely, intending to go with them 
on their expedition against the Indians. But it fell to his lot 
to remain at the fort until after our release. 

When I was captured my captor seized me by the shoulders, 
turned me quickly around and motioned lor me to turn back. 
At this I screamed, partly for the purpose of calling Mr. Earle's 
attention to see that I w-as a prisoner, and he looked around. 
This I did, thinking that he might escape and give the tidings 
to my relatives and friends. 

•Just before I was capturetl my son Eugen(>, who was after- 
ward killed, passed me and said. "]\Ia. mm faster, or they will 
catcli you. " Tliis was thi> last tinu' I lieai'd liini s|ieak or saw 
liim, and he must have been killed soon afterwaivl. 

It was now' near the middle of the day: the heat of the sun 
Avas very intense and we (the captives) were all suffering for 
drink. 1 sat down a momoit to rest, and then thought of un- 
dress, which liad become very wet while wading through a 
slough, so I sucked some water fi'om it. wliieli ri'lieveil ni_\- thirst 
a little. 

We captives and a few of the Indians walked back to the 
house of J. W. Eai-le. The Indians entered tlie house and 
delighted themselves by breaking stoves and furniture of various 
kinds and throwing crockery through the wimlows. After they 
had completed the destruction of everything in the house which 
they did not w'ish to appropriate for their own use we were put 
into wagons and ordered to be taken to Little Crow's village. 
Members of families were separated and taken to different places, 
seemingly to add to our suffering by putting upon us the teri'ible 
agony of M-ondering where the other prisoners were and what 
was to be their fate. During this ride we passed several houses 
belonging to settlers who had been killed or had fled to save 
their lives. The Indians entered these houses and plundered 
them of many valuables, such as bedding and (dothing. On our 
way to the ^linnesota bottomland we hail to deseend a very steep 



202 IIISTOKY OF KFA'VH.LK COT-XTY 

bluff, where, by our request, tlie ludiaiis gave us the privilege 
of walking down. 

After reaching tlie foot of the bluft' our coiu'se was through 
underbrush of all kinds. The thought of torture was uppermost 
in my mind. I supposed that was why such a course was taken. 
There was no road at all, not even a track. "We were compelled 
to make our way as best we could through grape vines, prickly 
ash, gooseberry bushes and trees. After much difficulty in bend- 
ing down small trees in order to let our wagons pass over them, 
we finally reached the Minnesota river with many rents in onr 
clothing and numerous scratches on our arms. 

When fording the river, we were all given a drink of river 
water, some sugar and a piece of bread. The sugar and bread 
were taken from the house of one of my neighbors. Just as we 
were driving into the water the wagon containing my daughter 
with other captives was disappearing beyond the top of the bluff 
on the other side of the river. I thought again, "What will 
befall her?" 

We soon reached Little Crow"s village, where we were kept 
about a week. The village numbered about sixty tepees, besides 
Little Crow's dwelling, a frame building. Mrs. James Car- 
rothers, Mrs. J. W. Earle and a little daughter, myself and babe 
were taken to Little Crow's. On entering the house the ob.iect 
that first met my gaze was Little Crow, a large, tall Indian, walk- 
ing the floor in a very haughty, dignified manner, as much as to 
say, "I am great!" However, his majesty condescended to 
salute us with "Ho," that being their usual word of greeting. 
The room was very large. The furniture consisted of only a few 
chairs, table and camp kettles. A portion of the floor at one end 
of the room was raised about one foot, where they slept on 
blankets. His four wives, all sisters, were busily engaged pack- 
ing away plunder which had been taken from stores and the 
houses of settlers. They gave us for our supper bread and tea. 
Soon after tea Mrs. Carrothers and myself were escorted to a 
tepee, where we remained until morning, when we were claimed 
by different Indians. 

It happened to be my lot in the distribution of the prisoners 
to be owned by Too-kon-we-chasta (meaning the "Stone Man") 
and his squaw. They called me their child, or "big papoose." 
Their owning me in this manner saved me probably from a worse 
fate than death, and although more than a third of a century 
has elapsed since that event, strange as it may appear to some, 
I cherish with kindest feelings the friendship of my Indian 
father and mother. Too-kon-we-chasta was employed bj- General 
Sibley as a scout on his expedition against the Indians in the 
summer of 1863. He now lives across the Minnesota river from 
Morton, in Redwood county, on a farm. He and his squaw called 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 203 

on me sevei'al times when we were living near Beaver Falls. 
They manifested a great deal of friendship. There is a wide 
difference in the moral, character of Indians. 

Before retiring for the night we were commanded to make 
ourselves squaw suits. The squaws told us how to make them, 
and mine was made according to their directions. Mrs. Car- 
rothers failed to make hers as told, and consequently was ordered 
to rip apart and make it over. I put mine on while she was mak- 
ing hers as first told. When finished she put it on. We thought 
our looks were extremely ludicrous. She cast a queer gaze at 
me and then commenced laughing. I said to her that under the 
circumstances I could see nothing to laugh about. She replied 
that wc might better laugh than cry, for we had been told that 
the Indians would have no tears, and that thosi- who cried would 
be first to die. 

I also had to lay aside my shoes and wear moccasins. The 
last I saw of my shoes an Indian boy about a dozen years old 
was having great sport with them by tossing them with his feet 
to see how high he could send them. 

On the third day of my captivity I was taken out by my 
squaw mother a short distance from our tepee, beside a cornfield 
fence, and was given to understand that I must remain there 
until she came for me. After being there a short time, an old 
squaw came to me, and, leaning against the fence, gazed at me 
some time before speaking. Finally she said in a low voice, "Me 
Winnebago : Sioux nepo papoose," and then left. I never learned 
why I was taken out there, but have thought since that the 
Indians had decided to kill my child, as "nepo papoose" means 
"kill a baby;" that my squaw mother took me there for the 
purpose of hiding my child from the Indians, and that being 
afraid to give the reason herself she sent this old squaw from 
another tribe to tell me. 

During this week of tepee life the ludicrous alternated witii 
the sublime, the laughable with the heart-breaking and pathetic. 
We saw papooses of all sizes robed in rich laces and bedecked in 
many fantastic styles with silk fabrics, until one must laugh 
despite all their fearful surroundings. When the laugh died on 
our lips the terrible thought crowded into our minds. Where did 
these things come from? What tales could they tell if power 
were given them to speak? Where are the butchered and muti- 
lated forms that once wore them? My heart was crushed, my 
brain reeled, and I grew faint and sick wondering, or rather 
trying not to wonder, what would be our own fate. 

The Indians through plunder had on hand a good supply of 
provisions, consisting of flour, dried fruit, groceries of various 
kinds and an abundance of fresh meat. Their manner of cook- 
ing was not very elaborate; an epicure would not have relished 



204 IIISTOUV ()!-• KEXViJ.LE CorXTY 

it as -well as we did, until after being foreed by the pain or weak- 
ness caused by the want of food. Hunger will make food eooked 
after the iiuunicr of the Indians palatable. 

At times it seemed to me as though a hand had grasped my 
throat and was choking me every time I tried to swallow food 
so great was the stricture brought al)out by the fearful tension 
on the nervous system. Truly and well has it been said that no 
bodily suffering, liowever great, is so keen as mental torture. 

yiy squaw mother was our cook. She nuxed bread in a six- 
quart pan by stirring flour into about two quarters of warm 
water, with one teacnpful of tallow and a little saleratus. bring- 
ing it to the consistency of biscuit dough. She then took the 
dough out of the pan. turned it bottom side up on the ground, 
placed the dough on the pan, patted it flat with her hands, cut 
it in small ])ieees, and fried it in tallow. Potatoes they tisually 
roasted in the hot endjers of the camp fire. Their manner of 
broiling beefsteak was to put the steak across two sticks over 
the blaze, without salting, and in a few ndnutes it was done. 
Tripe was an extremely favorite dish among them, and they 
were quite quick in its preparation. The intestines were taken 
between the thumb and finger, the contents wei-c squeezed out, 
and then without washing the tripe was liroili-d an<l i)repared 
in regular Indian epicurean style. 

They follow tlieir white brothers in tlu-ir love for tea and 
eotfee, which they make very strong. They sometimes flavored 
their coffee with cinnamon. ^ly share of coft'ee was always given 
in a pint bowl with tiiree tabh'spoonfuls of sugar in it. I ate 
some bread, which, with my tea aiul coffee, composed my bill 
of fare while with them. In fact, I think I could not have eaten 
the most deliciotts meal ever pre])ared by civilized people while 
a prisoner among these savages, with my family killed or scat- 
tered as they were and my own fate still preying on my mind. 

The Indians Avere all great lovers of jewelry, as every school 
child knows. Every captive M'as stripped of all jewelr.y and 
other valuables in her possession. The Sioux did not wear rings 
in their noses, like some tribes : but eveiy other available place 
on the body was utilized to good advantage on which to display 
jewelry. Tlie clocks that had been j)lundered from many a 
peaceful home were taken to pieces and uuide to do service in 
this line of decoration. The large wheels were used for earrings, 
and the smaller ones as bangles on bracelets and arndets. 

They were also very protid of being able to carry a watch ; 
but their clothing, being devoid of pockets, lacked the most 
essential convenience for this purpose. (Jonsequently some of 
them M'ould, in derision, fasten the chain around the ankle and 
let the watch drag on the ground. 

You may think it strange that I took any notice of these 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 205 

little incidents. However trifling it may have been for me to 
observe their anties. it eertainly had the eft'eet partially to relieve 
me of the great weight that pressed so heavily on my mind. I 
looked at my poor little starving babe, and saw that lie was 
growing thinner every day from pure starvation. I thought of 
my luisbaud and children, whose fate 1 might never know. Had 
I given way to all the terrors of my situation I should not have 
been spared to meet my family or had any chance of escape, but 
should have met instant death at the hands of my cruel captors. 
My will sustained me and forced me to take note of these insig- 
nificant things, so that I might not sink or give up to the dread- 
ful reality I was passing through. I said to one of my neighbor 
captives, when we were first made prisoners, that I felt just like 
singing, so near did I in my excitement border on insanity. I 
liave thought since many times that, had I given up to the 
impulse and sung, it would have been a wild song and I should 
have eertainly crossed the border of insanity and entered its 
confines. Even now, after thirty-six years, I look back and 
shudder, and my heart nearly stops beating when these awful 
things present themselves fidly to my mind. The wonder to 
me is how I ever endured it all. 

The warriors were away all the time we were in Little Crow's 
village. They came back in time to escort us when we moved. 
They told us they had burned Fort Ridgely and Ncm' Ulm, and 
would soon have all the pale faces in the state killed. This was 
said, no doubt, to make our trials more painful, and that we 
might realize the full extent of their power. 

All the time I remained in Little Crow's village my bed, 
shawl and sunbonnet, covering for myself and babe, both night 
and day, consisted of only one poor old cotton sheet, and on 
our first move I gave it to an Indian to carry while we forded 
the Redwood river. Indian-like, he kept it. So my squaw mother 
gave me an old, dirty, strong-scented blanket, which I was com- 
pelled to wear around me in squaw fashion. 

On the fourth day of my captivity the squaws went out on 
the slough and came back with their arms full of wet grass, 
which was scattered over the ground inside the tepee to keep 
us out of the inud caused bj' the heavy rains. Every night when' 
I lay down on this wet grass to sleep I would think that perhaps 
I should not be able to get up again, and sometimes I became 
almost enough discouragiHl to wish that T would never be able to 
rise again, so terrible was my experience. 

I was frequently sent by the squaws to the Minnesota river, 
a quarter of a mile distant, to bring water for tepee use. At one 
time I passed several tepees where Indians and half-breeds 
camped. On my return they set up a frightful whoop and yell, 
which nearly stunned me with fear. However, I kept on my way, 



206 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

drew my old sheet closer aroimd me, and hurried back as fast 
as possible. As T entered our tejiee I drew a loug breath of 
relief. I was not sent there for water again. 

My sunbonnet was taken from me when I was first captured. 
The Indians used it for a kinnikinick bag. KinuikLnick is a 
species of shrub from which they scrape the bark to smoke with 
their Indian tobacco. They have some long pipes. Wliile smok- 
ing they let the bowl of the pipe rest on the ground. When this 
pipe was first lighted the custoui among them was to pass it 
around, each Indian and squaw in the company taking two or 
three puffs. I never saw a squaw smoke except when this long 
pipe was passed arouud. The pipe was not presented to me to 
take a puif. I believe this pipe was known as the pipe of peace. 
A week having elapsed since we were taken to Little Orow's 
village, and the warriors having all retiu-ned, an aged Indian 
marched through the village calliug out "Puckacheel Pucka- 
ehee!" before every tepee; then the squaws inuuediately com- 
menced taking down the tepees. We understood that the crier 
had given command for a move, but whither we did not know. 
Their manner of moving was very ingenious. Evei'y tepee has 
six poles, about fifteen feet long, which were fastened by strips 
or rawhide placed around the pony's neck and breast, three poles 
on eaeli side of the pony, with the small ends on the ground. A 
stick was tied to the poles behind the pony to keep them together 
and spread in the shape of a V; and on the stick and poles bun- 
dles of various kinds, kettles and even papooses were fastened 
when occasion required. It is astonishing to see the amount of 
service these natives will get out of one tepee and an Indian pony. 
After getting the wagons and the pole and pony conveyances 
loaded, and everything else in readiness, our procession was 
ordered to "puekachee," and away we went, one lunidred and 
seven white prisoners and about the same number of half-breeds 
who called themselves prisoners (they may have been prisoners 
in one sense of the word), eight hundred warriors, their fami- 
lies and luggage of various kinds. We had a train three miles 
long. On either side of our procession were mounted warriors, 
bedecked with war paint, feathers and ribbons, and they pre- 
sented a very gay appearance, galloping back and forth on eaeli 
side of this long train. Their orders were to shoot any white 
prisoner that ventured to pass through their ranks. This was 
done, of course, to intimidate the prisoners. I shall never forget 
the varied sights this motley procession presented to my view- — 
the warrior in his glory, feasting over the fact that he had killed 
or captured so many of his white enemies and thereby gotten 
his revenge for the great wrongs he had suffered from them ; and 
the innocent victims, the prisoners, so woe-begone, so heart- 
broken, so grotesque and awkward in their Indian dress, paying 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 207 

tlie penalty tluit tlie red man imagined tlie wliite man owed liim, 
for an Indian cares not whether it is the perpetrator of a wrong 
or not, if he finds some white victim whereon to wreak his 
revenge. 

Our cars were almost deafened by the barking of dogs, the 
lowing of cattle, the ''Puckachee! Whoa! Gee!" of the Indians 
in driving their teams of oxen, the neighing of horses, the bray- 
ing of mules, the I'attle of heavy wagons. In fact, to me it 
seemed like a huge chaotic mass of living beings making des- 
perate efforts to escape some great calamity. 

On we went with the utmost speed, the Indians seeming to 
be in great glee. We crossed the Redwood river about one mile 
from its entrance into the Minnesota river. The stream, swollen 
by recent heavy rains and having a strong current, was difficult 
and even dangerous to ford. Mrs. Earle, her daughter and 
myself locked arms while crossing. Mrs. Earle 's feet were once 
taken from under her, and she would have gone down stream 
had it not been for the aid received from us. A squaw carried 
my babe across. Every Indian and squaw seemed to be in a 
great hurry to cross first. They dashed pell-mell into the water, 
regardless of their chances to land their teams. 

On this march I had to walk and carry my child. I carried 
him on my arms, which was very disgusting to the squaws. They 
frequently took him from my arms and placed him on my back, 
squaw-fashion, but he always managed somehow to slip down 
and I had him in my arms again. Before noon I became so tired 
that I sat down to rest beside the road. The squaws, in passing 
me, would say "Puckachee!" But I remained sitting about ten 
minutes, I should think, when an old Indian came to me and took 
hold of my hand to help me up. I shook my head. He then had 
the train halt, or a pai-t of it, a .short time. I afterward learned 
that a council was held, the object being to come to some agree- 
ment as to how they would deal with me. Some thought best 
to kill me and my child ; others thought not. The final conclu- 
sion was to take my child, place him on a loaded wagon, and 
start the train. Then, if I did not "puckachee," they would 
kill nil- ami the l)ai)y also. They started, after putting the child 
on a wagon, and I followed, taking hold of the end-board of the 
wagon, which proved to be a great help to me to the end of our 
day's maicli. We followed up the Minnesota river valley until 
we came to Kiee creek, reaching that point about sundown, hav- 
ing traveled nearly eighteen miles. 

Our tepees were soon pitched, and everything quickly settled 
into the usual routine of tepee life. Then I wandered and 
searched around among the tepees to see if I could find ray 
daughter and other friends who helped to make this long train. 

After a short walk among the Indians and tepees, I was com- 



-'OS HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

pletely overjoyed at meetiug my daughter, wlioin I had not seen 
siuee Ave forded the jMinnesota river on the day we were made 
captives. It was like seeing one risen from the dead to meet 
her. She was as happy as myself. And oh ! how pleased we 
were that so far we had been spared not oulj- from death, but, 
worse than that, the Indian's lust. Killing beef cattle, cooking, 
and eating, seemed to be done in great glee in this camp. 

The fourth day of our stay here the command ■'Puckachee !" 
was sent along as before, and our gigantic motley cavalcade, with 
its strange confusion, was soon on the move westward again. 
We passed Yellow Medicine village, near which the Upper Sioux 
Agency was located. As we came in sight of it, we could see 
the barracks burning, also the mills situated at this point, where 
we crossed the Yellow Medicine river. John Other Day, who 
was a friend to the whites, and was the means of saving sixty- 
two lives, had his house burned to the ground. 

We stopped' after traveling a distance of ten miles, and re- 
mained there eight or ten days. That part of the train where I 
was, pitched their tepees beside a mossy slough, from which we 
obtained water for tepee use. The first few days the water cov- 
ered the moss and could be dipped with a cup. The cattle were 
allowed to stand in it, and dozens of little Indians were playing 
in it every day; consequently the water soon became somewhat 
unpalatable to the fastidious. However, we continued to use it. 
After remaining there three or four days the water sank below 
the moss. To get it then we had to go out on the moss and stand 
a few minutes, when the water would collect about our feet. It 
is astonishing how some persons will become reconciled to such 
things when forced upon them. 

A papoose was very sick, but nothing was given it to relieve 
the little sufferer. It died about sundown. They made no dem- 
onstration of grief when it died, nor mourned in the least; but 
after an hour or two the warriors returned, and I suppose that 
Avhen notified they must have given the mourning signal. A 
dismal wailing was then begun and was continued about a half 
hour. It stopped just as suddenly as it began, and not another 
sound was heard. I did not know when or where the remains 
were deposited, so stealthy were they in their movements. 

The death of this baby caused me to think of the probable 
death of my own. The little fellow was a mere skeleton. I was 
only able to get a small quantit.y of milk for him once in two 
days. This was all that kept him from starving. To hold him and 
watch him, knowing that he was gradually pining away, was 
what I hope no mother will ever be called upon to witness. 

It was no uncommon occurrence to see the Indians, just be- 
fore going out on a raid or to battle, decorate themselves with 
feathers, ribbons, and paint. The most hideous looking object I 



HISTORY OF KEN'VILLE COIX'IV 209 

ever beliuld was a large, tall Indian, who had besmeared his face 
all over with Vermillion red, and tlien had painted a stripe of 
green around each ej-e and liis mouth, tliiekly dotting these 
stripes with bright j-ellow paint. OtluTs would paint their 
faces red, and then apply a bright coat of yellow, which gave it 
a sunset hue, after whieli a blue flower was usually painted on 
each cheek. Some of them would daub their faces with some- 
thing that looked like dark blue clay, and then would make zig- 
zag streaks down their faces with their fingers, leaving a stripe 
of clay and, — well, a streak of Indian. 

The squaws seemed to take great pride in ornamenting their 
head and hair. They usually parted their hair in the middle of 
tlie forehead, plaited it in two braids, and tied the ends firmly 
with buckskin strings, on which were strung three large glass 
beads at the end of each string. Then they painted a bright red 
streak over the head where the hair was j)arted. I saw one squaw 
with five holes in the rim of each ear, from which liung five 
brass chains dangling on her shoulders, with a dollar gold piece 
fastened to each chain. 

After the warriors had completed the work of painting to 
their liking, they gathered in small squads, seemingly for consul- 
tation. They presented a very frightful appearance. Soon they 
began to gather in larger parties and start off in different direc- 
tions, for the purpose, as I supposed, of vietimiziug some innocent 
settler, ilany cattle were now being brought into camp, but no 
captives; which led me to believe that they massacred indiscrim- 
inately men, women, and children, and that proved to have been 
the case. The squaws seemed at all times to be highly elated over 
the good success the Indians had in bringing into camp beef cat- 
tle; "ta-ton-koes, " they called them. They were also well pleased 
with the false reports which the Indians made in stating that 
they had killed or driven nearly all the white people from 'SUn- 
nesota. 

To save labor iu harvesting and hauling corn and potators into 
caitip, we made many short moves from one enclosure to another. 
Cattle, horses and ponies, were turned loose in the fields of grain. 
As soon as the supply was exhausted, we moved on. At tlu^ end 
of one remove, I saw an old squaw with a very nice black silk 
shawl, which she had woim over her head, squaw-fashion, while 
on the move climb over a rail fence and throw the shawl on the 
ground in the potato field. Then with all her might she com- 
menced digging or scratching out potatoes with her hands, throw- 
ing them on the shawl until she had gathered nearly a half 
bushel, after which she gatliered up the corners of the shawl, 
threw them over her shoulder, and hurried away to the eampfire. 

For one reason we were always glad to move ; it furnished 
us a clean camp ground for a few days. But oli ! tlie thought that 



210 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

I was a prisoner in the hands of savage Indians, moving on farth- 
er and farther from rehitives, fi'iends and civilization, into the 
far Northwestern wihls, inhabited only by cruel savages wlio 
lived in tepees, and cold weather coining on 1 I met an old 
Frenchman, who had married a squaw and had lived with the 
Indians a long time. He could speak a little English. Judge 
what my feelings must have been when lie said to me, "I 'spect 
you'll all die when cold weather comes,'' meaning the white 
captives. 

Many times have I reluctantly retired for the night on the 
cold, damp ground, with my child on my arm, unable to sleep, 
thinking of friends and home. If by chance my eyes were closed 
in sleep, I would sometimes dream of seeing Indians perpetrating 
some act of cruelty on innocent white captives. Occasionally I 
would dream of having made my escape from my captors, and 
was safe among my relatives and friends in a civilized coixntry. 
But on awaking from my slumbers, oh ! the anguish of mind, the 
heart-crushing pangs of grief, to again fully realize tliat I was a 
prisoner still among the Indians, not knowing how soon I would 
be subjected to the cruelties of these revengeful savages! 

In order to make myself as agreeable as possible to them, I 
feigned cheerfulness, and took particular notice of their papooses, 
hoping tliat by so doing I would receive better treatment from 
them, which I think had the desired effect. Once I was unable 
to suppress my feelings while in the ])resence of my Indian 
father, who was quick to observe my gushing tears and heart 
throbs, which must have excited his s.ympathy for me. He said, 
through an interpreter, that lie would give me bread aud let me 
go; "but," said he, "the warriors will find you and kill you," — ■ 
as much as to say, "You had better remain with us." This was 
after we had gone so far from white settlements that it would 
have been impossible for me to make my way on foot and alone 
through the Indian countr.y. 

While in the camp beside the mossy slough, Little Crow and 
twenty or thirty of his chief warriors had a war council and dog 
feast. They occupied a place on the prairie a short distance out- 
side of the camp ground, where they seated themselves on the 
ground in a circle around a large kettle, hung over a fire, in 
which the carcass of a fat dog was being boiled. The ITnited 
States flag was gracefully waving over their detestable heads. 
What a contrast between this exhibition of hostile Indians and 
the gathering of loyal citizens of the United States under the 
stars and stripes, celebrating our nation's birthday! 

Tliese dusky savages seemed to have parliamentary rules of 
their own. One would rise, with solid dignity, and deliver liis 
harangue, after which they one by one would dip their ladles 
into the kettle of dog soup, until each had served himself to 



HISTORY OP RKNVILLE CorXTY 211 

soup. Then came anotlier speech and anotlier dip by all. Thus 
they alternated until all or nearly all had their say and had their 
aj)i)etite satisfied with canine souj). Dog soup by them is con- 
sidered to be a superb and honored dish. None but Indians of 
high rank were allowed to partake. 

Dog beef was sometimes cooked by hanging the dog in a 
horizontal position by both fore and hind legs under a pole over 
a fire, without being dressed, except that the entrails were 
removed. When dogs are cooked in this manner all are allowed 
to partake. 

These natives generally used their fingers in conveying food 
to their mouths. If their meat was too hard to crush with their 
teeth, or too tough to tear with their fingers and teeth, they 
would firmly hold the meat in their teeth and one hand, and, 
with a sharp knife in the other hand, cut the meat between the 
teeth and fingers. 

On the eighth or tenth day of our stay here the word "Pucka- 
cheel" greeted our ears, and everything was soon in readiness 
for a move, but it was a very short one. We stopped beside a 
small stream called Hazel Run. Beside this stream had been 
built residences for missionaries, which were burned to the 
ground soon after our tepees were pitched. 

After remaining here two or three days, we were given orders 
as before to move on, and went only three or four miles. On the 
way we passed several small lakes, and our train was stopped 
long enough near one of them to allow the squaws to do some 
washing. This was the first washing that had been done since 
my stay with them. The squaws' mode of washing their wardrobe 
was to walk into water two or three feet deep, then quickly 
lower and raise themselves, and at the same time rub with their 
hands. Their wet clothing was allowed to remain on them to 
dry. The squaws, in washing their faces, would take water in 
their mouths, spurt it into their hands and rub it over their 
faces, but used no towel. 

Here the sqiuiws began to |iay mucli attention to my i)Oor 
starving babe. They would juit their hands on his head and say, 
over and over, "Washta, waslita do," meaning "good, very 
good." When \Vf stopped to pitch the tepees again the Indians 
had wliat tliey called a horse dance. I did not leai'n whether 
it celebrate(l a pai-tieular event, or was mei'ely for amusement. 
Before tlie\- commenced it they decked their ponies with cedar 
boughs, and tiie warriors with feathers and ribbons. Then each 
warrior mounte<l his pony and jiaraded around in a nii-aningless 
manner, as it seemed to me. 

Soon aftef tills horse dance my s(juaw mother came to me in 
a very exeiteil manner, took iiold of me and fairly dragged me 
into the tepee, telling me that the Sissetons were coming to 



212 HISTORY OF KEXVILLE COUNTY 

take me off. Slie liastily threw an old blanket over me. and 
there I remaineil with my babe in my arms for liours. I finally 
fell asleep and must liave slept quite a while. Soon after wak- 
ing I was given to understand that I might go out. I learned 
that there were about a hundred and twenty-five of the Sisseton 
tribe with us. They remained three days and left camp, taking 
nothing but a few ponies with them. 

While in this camp my daughter came to me, crying as 
though her heart would break, and told me an Indian was coming 
that night to claim her for his wife. I did not know what would 
be best to do. After thinking the matter over I concluded to 
consult with a half-breed we called "Black Eobinson" in regard 
to the trouble. After hearing what I had to say he remarked, 
"An Indian is nothing but a hog, anyway. I will see what can 
be done about it." I returned and told my daughter what he 
said, and she returned to her tepee home, leaving me to worry 
over the great danger that threatened her. Time and time again 
I thought, "Will this terrible calamity that has come to us ever 
end? Fortunately we heard no more of this trouble. 

"While walking out one afternoon my attention was called to 
the way in which the squaws sometimes put their papooses to 
sleep. They were fastened on a board about eight inches wide, 
with a foot rest, and ornamented with net work at the head, 
made of Avillow-twigs. They were wrapped to the board, with 
their arms straight down by their sides and their feet on the 
foot rest, by winding strips of cloth around them. They cry and 
shake their heads a few minutes before going to sleep. In warm 
weather, unless it was storming, they were placed outside to 
sleep, in nearly an erect position. 

The Indians and squaws had rules of etiquette which they 
strictly observed, and would frequently admonish me concern- 
ing them. They would tell me how to sit on the ground, how to 
stand and how to go in and out the tepee door, which was very 
low. I think they must have considered me a dull scholar, for 
I could not conform, or would not, to all their notions of gen- 
tility. The Indians would frequently have a hearty laiigh to 
see me go in and out the tepee door. They said I went in just 
like a frog. The tepees were of uniform size, about twelve feet 
in diameter on the ground, with a door about three feet high, 
that is, merely a parting of the tent cloth or hides, of which 
latter the tepees were usually made. 

One dark and dreary rainy day I was put into a tepee made 
of buffalo hides. The perfume of the hides was not very pleasant 
to the smell ; however, it accorded well with my other surround- 
ings. "Why I was put into this tepee I know not, unless it was 
to be entertained by a Sioux quartette. I had only been in there 
a short time when four warriors came in, dressed in blankets. 



HISTORY OF KKN\Jr.I.E COUNTY 213 

with their faces shockingly painted -with war paint and their 
heads decorated w'ith long feathers. Surely they presented a 
fearful sight. Each had a stick about two feet long. They paid 
no attention to rae, but seated themselves, Indian style, on the 
ground in a circle in front of me, and beat time by striking on 
the ground with their sticks, at the same time singing, or saying, 
"Ki-o-wah-nay, ki-o-wah-nay, ki-o-wah-nay, yaw-ah — ah." After 
repeating this three times they would give a loud whoop and a 
sharp yell. This performance was continued three or four hours. 
There was no variation in the modulation of their voices during 
all this time. The horrors of this experience I can never forget. 
It seemed as though my reason would be dethroned under this 
terrible, monotonous chant. "When they stopped and iu single 
file walked out of the tepee I clasped my hand to my wiiirling 
brain and wondered if a more drearj' or greater mental sui¥ering 
could or would ever befall me. 

A few short removes now brought us to what proved to be 
the end of our journey, Camp Eelease. As soon as the tepees 
were set the squaws and Indians commenced running bullets. 
They had bar lead, bullet moulds and a ladle to melt lead in. 
They also had a large amount of powder which they had plim- 
dered, so they were well prepared to make some defense. They 
gave us to understand that thej' expected to have a battle in a 
short time with the white soldiers. Also they gave us the cheer- 
ing information that, if the white soldiers made an attack on 
them, we, the prisoners, would be placed in front of them, so that 
our rescuers' bullets would strike us and thereby give them a 
chance to escape in case of their defeat. We were now allowed 
to visit our friends a little while every day, and it was under- 
stood among us that if such proved to be the ease we would lie 
flat on the ground and take our chances. 

The expected battle was fought on the twenty-third day of 
September at Wood Lake, eighteen miles distant from our camp, 
the Indians making the attack on General Sibley's forces. A 
day or two before the battle there was a disagreement among 
the Indians. Some of them, I think, were in favor of surrender- 
ing to Sibley. But a large majority were opposed to it, conse- 
quently a removal of the hostile Indians fai-ther west took place ; 
how far I did not know. The captives they had were nearly all 
left with those who wished to surrender. 

We could distinctly hear the report of muskets during this 
battle. We were now in the greatest danger of all our captivity; 
for, with defeat of the Indians, they were likely to return and 
slay all the white captives and perhaps some of the half-breeds. 
The latter appeared to be somewhat alarmed, and consequently 
we were all put to work by "Black Robinson," throwing up 
breastworks. I was not a soldier, but soldier never worked with 



214 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

better will than I did to get those fortifications completed. I 
used a shovel: my squaw mother used an old tin pan. The 
remains of those breastworks are still visible. I am told. When I 
worked on them I liad no idea that I should ever take any pride 
in the remembrance of my labor on them, but I do, although at 
the time I felt as though it Avould be as well were I digging my 
own "narrow house."' We cannot afford to part with the remem- 
brance of any incidents of our lives, even though they were 
heavily burdened with suffering and sorrow. 

We were also made to construct breastworks inside the tepee. 
We sank a hole in the ground about eight feet in diameter and 
two feet deep, and placed the earth around the pit, thereby 
increasing the depth to about four feet. In this den eleven of 
us spent three nights. While the battle was raging tlie squaws 
went out with one-horse wagons to take ammunition to the war- 
riors and to })ring in the dead and wounded Indians. Once when 
they returned one squaw was giving vent to her feelings by 
chanting, or singing, "Y''ali! lio ho!" On making inquiry I was 
told that her husband had been killed. On the next two days 
after the battle we were almost constantly looking and longing 
to see the soldiers make their appearance on the distant prairie. 
The hostile Indians had returned to their camp before sunset 
on the day of the battle, and it was evident.to us by tlu'ir appear- 
ance that they had met witli defeat. But each day the sun went 
down, night came on and our expectation and ardent desires were 
not realized. Therefore we were compelled through fear once 
more to enter our own tepee and the dismal hole in the ground 
before mentioned, to spend the night, with fearful forebodings 
that the hostile Sioux might return and kill us before morning. 
Our tepees were guarded during the niglit by Indians who pre- 
tended to be friendly, but I could not sleep. 

Morning came with bright sunshine on the day of our deliver- 
ance, the twenty-sixth of September. Being so anxious to be 
delivered from oi;r present surroundings, we could not I'cfrain 
from gazing, as we had done on the two former days, nearly 
all the time in the direction of the battle ground, to see who 
should get the first view of our expected rescuers. 2\l)out ten 
o'clock in the morning, to our great joy and admiration, the 
glimmer of the soldiers' bayonets was first seen and pointed out 
to us by the Indians, before we could see the men. As they came 
nearer and nearer our liearts beat quicker and quicker at the 
increased prospect of oui- speedy release. 

When they had come within about a half nule of our camp 
the Indians sent a number of us to the Minnesota river for water, 
telling us the palefaces woidd be thirsty. They thouglit. as did 
the captives, that the soldiers would come right among us and 
camp near by, but they marched past about a half mile, where 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 215 

tho}- pitched their tents. A flag of truce was flying over every 
tepee. After the soldiers had passed by some of the Indians 
came in laughing, saying the -vvhitc soldiers were sueh old men 
that they had lost all their teeth. They had an idea that all of 
our young men were engaged in our civil war. The papooses 
were skirling around with a flag of truce, shouting "Sibilee, 
Sibilee!" as tliough tliey tliought it great sport. 

While the soldiers were pitching their tents the general sent 
orders for us to remain in the tepees until he came for us. This 
was a very hard command foi- us to obey, now that an oppor- 
tunity came for us to flee from our captors. 

The tepees were set in a circle. After about one and a half 
hours General Sibley marched his command inside of this circle. 
The general now held a consultation with some of the Indians, 
after which the soldiers were formed into a hollow square. The 
captives were then taken into this square by the Indian who 
claimed to have protected them during their captivity, including 
also those captives who had been left with them by the hostile 
Indians. Some had only one or two to deliver up ; others had 
eight or ten. Those who had the largest number to deliver 
brought them forward in a haughty manner. My Indian father 
had seven captives to give up. 

After all the white captives were delivered to the general in 
military style, the order was given to move to the soldiers' tents. 
I am sure every captive there offered up fervent and grateful 
thanksgiving that the hour of release had come. Right well did 
this ('amp Release come by its title. I believe every adult cap- 
tive has a warm place in her memory for this spot of prairie land, 
where so many destinies hung by a thread, with the balance 
ready to go for or against us. Every Indian, after having deliv- 
ered his last captive, walked directly out of this hollow square, 
and was conducted by a soldier to where he, I supposed, was 
kept under guard. 

This giving up or release of the captives was one of the most 
impressive scenes that it has ever been my lot to witness. Many 
of my fellow captives were shedding tears of joy as they were 
being delivered up. After reaching the tents prepared for us 
many commenced laughing; oh such joyful peals from some, and 
from others came a jerking, hysterical laugh. Others were 
rapidly talking and gesticulating with friends Avhom they had 
just met, as if fairly insane with delight in meeting relatives 
and friends and to be freed from their savage captors. And 
again there were others clapping their hands and whirling around 
in wild delight over the happy good fortune that had come 
to us. 

As for myself, T could only remain silent, as if an inspiration 
had eonie to me from the great beyond. T gazed at this assembly 



216 HISTORY OF KEXVILLE COUNTY 

of released captives Avliile in their manifestations of joy and 
happiness, tinctured Avith grief from the loss of dear friends and 
relatives, and in quiet satisfaction dreAV the fresh free air into 
my hmgs and thought what contentment and peace freedom 
brings to one Avho had been a cajitive among the Avild savages of 
the Northwest. None but those who have passed through the 
terrible experience can ever know the varied feelings and emotion 
which the deliverance produced. 

We still wore our squaw suits. Some of us were given quar- 
ters in what were called or knoAvu as Sibley tents, and others in 
smaller tents. It Avas noAv about four o'clock in the afternoon, 
and by reason of our not having had dinner, the soldiers treated 
lis to a lunch, consisting of light biscuit and apple sauce. It Avas 
not serA'ed after modern style. We simply gathered around tAVO 
large dishpans containing our lunch, and each helped herself. 
When supi^er time came the soldiers brought into our tent, pre- 
pared to be served, an abundance of rice, hardtack, coffee and 
meat. My lunch Avas the most delicious repast I ever enjoyed, 
it being the first Avhite cooking I had tasted since I ate breakfast 
in my OAvn home the day I Avas captured ; but my appetite for 
supper entirely failed me in consequence of having had the late 
lunch, and because of the excitement produced by our release. 
After the lirst day of our release a campfire Avas provided us and 
we had the privilege of doing our oAvn cooking. A guard was 
placed around our tents and campfire, the object, I suppose, 
being to keep aAvay all Avould-be intruders. 

My mind Avas noAV involuntarily absorbed in the strange 
sights of the afternoon. I could scarcely think a moment in 
regard to the condition or AA'hereabouts of my fanuly. I had 
not learned Avhether they all succeeded in making their escape 
or Avere all killed and scalped by the Indians. 

We remained Avith the soldiers ten days for the purpose of 
giving our testimony against the Indians. The soldiers Avere 
very kind to us, being ahvays careful to provide camj^fires for us, 
and seemed at all times to take delight in making us feel at home, 
or at least among civilized people. Three different times dur- 
ing our stay Avith them they serenaded us Avith songs. As the 
SAveet sounds of civilization greeted my ear the great contrast 
betAveen freedom and captivity among savages grcAv more promi- 
nent. I shall alAvays hold these l)rave soldiers in most grateful 
remembrance. 

In the forenoon of our last day Avith the soldiers, Mrs. David 
Carrothers, Mrs. Earle and myself Avere out consulting with a 
soldier (Mrs. Carrothers' brother) on the chances or prospect 
of our getting to St. Peter. After having talked the matter over, 
and Avhen Ave were returning to our tent, I caught sight of my 
husband, of Avhom I had not knoAvn Avhether he Avas dead or alive, 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 217 

accompanied li_\- J. \V. Earle. I leave you to imagine our feel- 
ings at this meeting, -words -would be inadequate. 

Mr. Earle and my husband, having learned of the release of 
thi'ir families, had engaged "William Mills, then of St. Peter, to 
go with a four-horse team with them to Camp Release, a distance 
of about 120 miles, for the purpose of bringing their families to 
St. Peter. They arrived at Camp Release about ten o'clock in 
the forenoon of the fifth day of October. Soon after dinner -we 
started -^vith om- husbands, children and Mr. Mills for St. Peter, 
without an escort. 

Whether or not our husbands were proud of us in our squaw 
dress we did not stop to question, for -we -were so glad to get 
started for civilization that we did not take a second thought to 
our clothing, but rode triumphantly into St. Peter in squaw cos- 
tume. Danger was thick around us on our joui-nej'. Conse- 
quently Mr. Mills hurried his team, forded the Redwood river 
soon after dark in the same place where -we crossed when going 
west with the Indians, and stopped for the night in a small 
Indian log hut. 

The three men stood on guard until tAvo o'clock, when, fear- 
ing the presence of stray Indians, we became uneasy and con- 
cluded to journey on in the night. We arrived at the Lower 
Sioux agency about sunrise, or where the village and the agency 
buildings had been located. All had been destroyed by fire. Here 
we visited the garden that had belonged to Dr. Humphrey, M-ho 
was killed, and also all the members of his family, while trying 
to make their escape, excepting one son. We found some onions 
and tomatoes and boiled a few ; with the government rations they 
made quite a good breakfast. 

While there I could almost see where our house was located 
on Beaver creek, and had a pretty fair view of the prairie over 
which we were so frightfully chased by hostile Sioux Indians. 
The sight brought back vivid remembrance in my mind of .just 
what transpired there on the eighteenth day of August. Before 
my mental eye was unrolled a panorama of fearful deeds per- 
petrated by the w-ild men of the Northwest, shockingly painted, 
and having their heads decorated with feathers according to their 
rank ; also the cruelties committed on innocent white people on 
that memorable day. I could see the Indians as they surrounded 
us with their guns presented at the men, demanding of them a 
surrender of all their teams, etc., to them. I could see men, 
women, boj's and girls in almost every direction in alarmed 
haste, closely pursued by Indians, shooting them. I could see 
two men holding up a flag of truce over a w-agon in which a sick 
woman and her two children lay on a bed. I saw again the blaze 
and smoke arising from the burning bed, where Mrs. Henderson 
and her t-^vo childi-en were put to death in a shocking manner. 



218 HISTOKY OF KEX\ ILLE COUNTY 

I saw my sou as he passed me in great haste when he said to me, 
"Ma, run faster, or they will catch you." Poor boy; his remains 
were never found. Tlien, after the first friglit was over, and the 
men and boys and their pursuers were out of sight. I could see 
myself with other captives walking back into captivity among 
a barbarous people, escorted by our cruel captors. 

We still journeyed on the south side of the Minnesota river 
until we reached the ferpy near Fort Kidgely, where we crossed 
the river, arriving at the fort about noon. On the road between 
the agency and the fort we saw the body of a man who had 
recently been killed, of which we notitied the military officials, 
who soon sent a burial party. 

We took dinner at the fort, and then traveled on until sunset, 
and stopped with a German over night. I think this Avas the first 
house we passed where people lived. During the night rain came 
down in torrents, which made the roads very bad. Still we 
traveled on in the morning, and arrived at St. Peter just in the 
shade of evening. Tn tlie outskirts of the village we were halted 
by the picket's "Who goes there?" Our answer was satisfac- 
tory, and we were then allowed to go on, and at nine o'clock 
were being hospitably entertained by a Mrs. Fisher. Here we 
exchanged our squaw outfit for new calico dresses, and really 
began to feel as thougli we were white folks again. 

My babe's weight was now just right pounds, and he was a 
little past seven months old. 1 found my twelve-year-old boy 
here safe and well, (hu- family was now all together excepting 
our oldest son, whose life was taken to satisfy the revenge of the 
Sioux warrior. My mind was now at rest, at least as to the 
whereabouts of my family, and we could begin to plan as to what 
we should do. We were among strangers and had but very little 
money. Our horses, cattle, sheep, farming implements, house- 
hold furniture, etc.. to the value of nearly three thousand dollars, 
had been all taken or destro.ved by the Indians. 

One afternoon, while my husband and I were conferring 
together about what was best for us to do, we were agreeably 
surprised by meeting an old neighbor just from our Wisconsin 
home, who had volunteered to carry financial aid to us, which 
had beeu donated b.v the neighbors. This aid was gratefully 
received and was a surjirise to us. We now could buy some neces- 
sary articles of clothing and pay our fare back to Wisconsin. 

After remaining in St. Peter about two weeks we took a 
steamboat for St. Paul. While there, at the Merchants' Hotel, 
a gentleman (a stranger to tis) called to talk with Mrs. Earle 
and myself about our captivity. After a short conversation he 
excused himself for a few minutes, and on his return gave each 
of us fifteen dollars. The landlady was very kind to us, and gave 
me many useful articles of clothing, which, as we were very 



IITSTOKY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 219 

destitute, were more tliau acceptable. We remained in St. Paul 
three or four days waiting for a boat to take us to La Crosse. 
There were no charges made against us for the hotel bill. 

It was near the middle of November when we took the boat 
for La Crosse, where we arrived at noon. Here we went aboard 
the ears for our old home in Columbia county, Wisconsin. On 
our arrival at the depot at Pardeeville the platform was thronged 
■with relatives and friends to greet us as restored to them from 
a worse fate than death. 

We remained tliere until the following March, when we 
returned to Rochester, Minnesota. The Indians having been sub- 
dued and peace restored, we ventured back in the fall of 186;i to 
our Renville county home, from which we were so suddenly 
driven by the Indians, and we liave ever since continued to live 
in this county. 



CHAPTER XV. 
EARLE'S REMINISCENCES. 

Thrilling experiences of a Boy During the Sioux Massacre — 
Beaver Creek Settlement — Pioneer Incidents— Trouble Brew- 
ing—Warned by Squaw— News of the Massacre — Flight for 
Safety— Surrounded by Indians— Woman, Children and 
Friend Killed— Women, Children and Wounded Abandoned 
by Whites— Brave Boy Gives Life for His Father— Party 
Separates — Rescue — Defense of Ft. Ridgely — Cowardice of 
Some of the Citizens — Valor of Others — Expedition to Bury 
Bodies — Battle of Birch Cooley — Discharged. 

At the outl)reak of the Sioux Indians in IMiiinesota in 1862, 
the settlement on the Beaver creek, Renville county, besides my 
father's, Jonathan W. Earle's family, consisted, .so far as I know, 
of Diedrieli Wiehmann and family. Frank W. Seliiiiidt and family, 
Mr. and :\Irs. N. I). White and family. S. R. Henderson, wife and 
two little girls about one and three years old; David Carrothers 
and wife and two children, David (Andrew ?) Hunter, and a 
young man named John Doyle. 

The Beaver creek, like all olhcr water courses in ^linnesota, 
runs in a valley much lower than the prairie land, the bottoms 
and sides of the bluffs being quite thickly timlxTi'd. The course 
is about north and south and the creek empties into the Minne-, 
sota river about two miles, from our location. 

About three miles ea.st from Beaver creek is the Birch Cooley 
creek and still farther east, about eighteen miles distant, was 
Fort Ridgely. West of Beaver creek, about two and one-half or 



220 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COT-XTY 

three miles, is another creek, emptying into the Minnesota river, 
on Miiich was a settlement of Swedes (Germans ?). The Red- 
wood Agency was distant about six miles and was in plain view 
from onr house. At the agency were stores, hlacksmitli shop, 
saw mill and so forth. The government maintained a physician, 
who treated the Indians and furnished medicines to them with- 
out cost, a head farmer to teach them how to conduct a farm, 
a sawyer, school teachers and so forth. Avith Avhom I became 
acquainted later. The missionary, a Mr. Williamson, whose 
father had also spent a lifetime as missionary among the Indians, 
was born and reared there and lived near the agency. 

Of course the greatest need after reaching the settlement was 
a house, and father lost no time in procuring lumber at the 
agency in exchange for a cow. The lumber was eottonwood and 
green, but it answered the need as frame and covering boards. 
As soon as it Avas enclosed, even before it was shingled, we moved 
into the new house, which consisted of two rooms, one down- 
stairs and one upstairs. 

We broke several acres of ground and planted it to corn, not 
expecting any crop except stalks which would serve as fodder 
for cattle during the winter. Father also went to St. Peter, sixty 
miles, and purchased a mowing machine, with which I began hay- 
ing. The country has numerous swales or low, wet places, some 
of them having water three or four feet deep in the center. The 
ordinary i)rairie grass Avas not tall enough for hay. but around 
the borders of the swales Avhere the ground was damp the grass 
grcAV to a good height, and farther in the swale was coA'cred Avith 
cat-tail and other flag higher than a man's head. It Avas in the 
grass about these swales that I began the Avork of making hay for 
Avinter, and must have secured thirty or forty tons before being 
obliged to abandon it. 

The cattle and sheep ran at large during the day, but Avere 
driven home and kept in yards enclosed by rail fence at night. 
The horses were always turned loose Avhen not at work, and 
they Avitli others belonging to the other settlers formed a herd 
of about twenty, Avhich ahvays ran free day and night, unless 
at Avork. 

On Sundays there was generally, or, at least, frequently, 
preaching by the missionary, Mr. Williamson, the ch\n-ch being 
Mr. Henderson's front yard. The pulpit Avas wholly imaginary, 
and for pews we used chairs, boxes, blocks of wood, or, Avlien 
all else failed, the ground. The music Avas congregational. 
, Father was a poAverful bass singer and played the soprano on the 
violin. Mr. Williamson also sang, and if I remember rightly 
Mrs. Henderson had a SAveet soprano voice. While the singing 
Avas not the best it certainly was not the Avorst I ever heard. 

The six Avorking days of the week Avere all busy ones for us 



IIlsToliV OK liKWlLLK CorXTV 221 

and evening generallj' found us tired. Still wu three older boj'S 
with our violins and sometimes Julia to play an aet-ompaniment 
on the nit'lodeou Avould furnish what, for those times, was pretty 
good music. Not one of us deserved to b(^ called a violinist, but 
we certainly were fiddlers, and in this capacity we spent nearly 
every everiiuf^ until bedtime. 

The sight of Indians was no more uncoiiinion than that of 
whites, for they visited us every day in pairs and groups, and the 
l)i'iiirie was dotted here and there with parties hunting a bulbous 
root, M-hieh they called "teepson,'" and used for food. It was 
called wild turnip by the whites. The ])lant was but a few 
inches liigh and had but one slender, straight root, which 
extended into the gi'oinid three or foui- inelies, where the bulb 
was formed, ami below this was tlie tap root and perhaps other 
smaller roots. The bulb was from one to tAvo and one-half or 
tlu-fc inches long and the largest were perhaps one and one- 
half inches in diameter. It was enclosed in a rind much like 
that of tlie turnip, wliieli, when peeled off, left the bulb white 
and firm, with no particular flavor, if I remember rightly. If 
li'ft to dry, in a few days the pul]> became almost as hard as bone. 
1 have dug and eaten many of these bulbs fresh and raw, and 
always imagined that they would be cjuite agreeable if ground 
up and used to thicken a soup or stew. 

The Indians dug them by means of sapling two and one-half 
or three inches in diameter and four or five feet long. This was 
sharpened at one end, the sharpening being all done on one side, 
giving the stick a sled-i-unner shape. To use it the Indian would 
strike tlie shai-pened end into the ground two or three inches 
from the plant, withdrawing and striking again in the same 
place, Tuitil with two or three strokes the point of the stick was 
forced inider the bulb, when, by pressing the top end of the stick 
down, the bulb was brought to the surface. 

The annual annuities were due in June, but owing to the diffi- 
culty in procuring gold or silver they had not yet been paid, and 
the Indians were all collected at the agency awaiting the day of 
payment. They were not well supplied with provisions, so were 
obliged to hunt such small game and birds as the country 
afforded, dig teepson, fish, and when able to buy beef cattle from 
the settlers, leaving their guns in pawn as security. So our 
visitors were numerous. As I had quite a fancy to be able to 
talk their language I improved every opportunity for learning 
it. I\Iany of them seemed to understand my desire and were 
willing to help me, so that in tjie few weeks we were there I 
aeqxiired the language sufficiently well to be able to comprehend 
them when they talked to me and make myself understood, but 
when they talked to each other it was almost impossible for me 
to understand. 



222 HISTORY OF KEXVILLE COT'XTY 

Father sold two head of eattle to them. For the first one he 
received two double-barreled shotguns as security, and for the 
second the gun of the head chief, Little Crow. This sale was 
made on Friday, August 15, only three days before the outbreak. 
Little Crow, with quite a party of Lidians and accompanied by 
3Ir. Robertson, a one-eighth breed, as interpreter, came and 
selected the steer, agreed to the price asked, and offered two 
guns belonging to his Indians as security. But father demanded 
Little Crow's own gun, a double-barreled shotgun with a yellow 
stock. I heard afterwards that the oi-igiual stock had been 
broken and this one was the work of an Indian, who had painted 
it a bright yellow. It was a splendid gun and was reluctantly 
left as a pa^vn, and not until after father had written out and 
signed an agreement for its return on receiving the stated sum 
of money. (Mrs. White tells a different story of the gun. It will 
be foTind in the chapter devoted to her experiences. — Ed.) 

Little Crow was the leading or head chief of the Sioux. He 
was tall, spare, with a nose like a hawk's bill, and sharp, piercing, 
black eyes. He was by no means good looking. He was known 
as the orator of the Sioux and had unbounded influence over the 
Indians, who always appeared very deferential to him. Little 
Crow's wrists were both very m^ich deformed. It was this fact 
that enabled a hunter afterward to identify this body. 

There was an old Indian who seemed particularly good- 
natured, M'ho visited us often, and with less than the usual reserve 
in his manner. Consequently we had a particular liking for him. 
He was called old Beaver Creek. I never learned what his real 
name was. 

So the few weeks of our stay passed rapidly and pleasantly 
away. No disturbing incident occurred except the severe sick- 
ness of ]\Irs. Henderson, which must have begun about August 1. 
Father had quite a knowledge of medicines and had taken along 
a good supply of medicine for family use, not expecting to be 
called on to treat anj^ others. But as there was no physician 
within a good many miles, except the government physician, 
Dr. Humphrey, at the agency, Mr. Henderson asked father to 
treat his wife, which father consented to do, but the case rapidly 
became dangerous, so father requested that Dr. Humphrey be 
called in consultation. This was done and he came. By appoint- 
ment he was to visit her again on Monday, August 18. The day 
came, but the physician did not see his patient. It was the last 
daj^ on earth for them both. 

Sunday evening, August 17, we boys played unusually late 
in the evening and our music seemed better than ever. Just 
before retiring Radnor stepped to the door for a moment, and, 
after listening, said, "How plainly we hear the Indian drums." 
Chalon and I went to the door and distinctlv heard them. This 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 223 

was something unusual, yet it did not disturb us. And so we 
went to bed and to sleep. 

The next morning, Monday, tlie eighteenth, father rose very 
early ami went on the roof to iinish shingling. On going out he 
noticed three Indiiius in a fence corner of the cow yard. This 
was very strange, yet it excited no fear. When called to break- 
fast father came down from the roof and, out of curiosity, went 
to the Indians and asked them why they were there. They told 
him something about Chippewa Indians, but he learned but little 
from them, so came in and we sat down to breakfast. While we 
were eating one of tlu; Indians, a magniticent specimen, over six 
feet tall, came in dressed in a breech cloth and covered with war 
])aint. He asked t'alliei' lor our two rifles, which, of course, were 
refused. They hung by straps to the joists over head and a 
bed stood directh' below them. Tlie Indian seemed determined 
to have them and stepped on tlie bed as though he were going 
to reach the rifles. At that father rose and said "No" witli a 
decided shake of his head and a look in his eyes which convinced 
the Indian that father meant all that he said. The Indian turned 
about and left the house, apparently much excited and angry. 

After breakfast we noticed several Indians trying to catch 
the herd of horses, but they, being afraid of the Indians, wouldn't 
be caught. Father went to the three Indians and asked why the 
other Indians were trying to catch our horses. They replied that 
some Chippewa Indians had killed some Sioux the night before 
and they wanted the horses to pursue them. Then father told the 
boys to go and find our horses and bi'iug them home. Accord- 
ingly Chalon and Radnor went east, thinking to find them on 
the prairie, where they usually were, while I went down the creek. 

At Hunter's I found that the Indians had driven the horses 
into a corner formed by a yard fence and a field fence. The 
Indians had formed a line across the opening and by gradually 
closing in hoped to capture the horses. I saw at once that our 
horses were not in the herd, so I was somewhat disinterested, but 
concluded to watch the proceedings. As the Indians closed in 
the horses became frightened, and finally one bolder than the 
rest made a dash and went through the line, followed by all the 
others. The Indians immediately went after them and soon had 
them back in the same corner, using the same tactics with the 
same result. Again they brought them in. This time they asked 
me to catch the horses for them. 1 said they were not mine and 
I couldn't catch tliem. They then asked me to get in the line 
with them and help catch them. At first I refused, but thinking 
that if I were in the line the horses would be apt to break 
towards me I changed my mind and took my place about the 
middle of the line. As I expected, when the horses turned they 
made directly for me, while I, shouting and wildly pawing the 



224 IIISTOKY OF RENVILLE (JOrXTV 

air, preteuded to do all I eould to stop them, but was really very 
earehil not to do so. I had done this twice, and while watcliiug 
the Indians out on the prairie after the herd, congratulated 
myself on the success of my scheme, believing that I would be 
able to continue it and so entirely prevent the Indians from catch- 
ing the horses. 

"While thus watching the chase, an old squaw came near and 
passed behind me but did not appear to see me, but she said in 
a low voice "puekashee tehan" (go away, or go far off). I 
turned to look at her, but she was watching the Indians so I said 
nothing, thinking she liad discovered my trick and wished to get 
me away before the horses could be brought back. However. I 
resolved to stay and did, with the same result. I was again 
watching the pursuit when the same big Indian who liad eutered 
our house and asked for the rifles stepped up and put liis left 
arm about my neck and hugged me hard, saying that he would 
like to scalp me and guessed he would before night. At tlie same 
time he struck me over the head with his lariat. Tliis treatment 
was entirely luiexpeeted and resented, for as his left arm was 
aromid my neck liis ribs on that side were fully exposed, and I 
gave liim so strong a puncli with my right fist tlmt lie emitteu a 
very loud grunt and immediately let go and walked off. 

I had caught a glimpse of old Beaver Creek, who was the 
only one that I knew. I tliought that surely he would exjilain 
the strange doings, but he refused to say a word to me. When I 
approached him he hastily turned away and seemed greatly 
excited. Still my suspicions were not aroused, for I thought all 
these strange acts were because of the Chippewa raid. I did not 
dream of any dauger to the whites. 

Believing that my little scheme had been discovered, and that 
I would not be allowed to practice it any further, and knowing 
that our horses Avere not in the drove, I made up my mind to go 
home. So I started on a lope, which was my usual gait when 
alone. Instead of taking tlie road wliieli was on the prairie. I 
went a little farther and entered the bushes, Avhich was the 
beginning of the timber of the bluff's. Tlie bushes were not 
thick and I eould run tlirough tliem as easily as in the road. 
Why I went into the bushes I really do not know, for I was not 
in the least frightened or excited. I had heard nothing alarm- 
ing and the little episode with the Indian was trivial. I simply 
obeyed a sudden impulse. Probably it was very fortunate that 
I did, for afterwards I remembered hearing several times the hiss 
and swish that ■\vo\ild be caused by an arrow cutting tlie leaves. 

I was home in a few minutes. Chalou and Radnor had 
returned with our horses, which were then secured about the 
house. I told father what was going on down at Hunter's, and 
said the Indians seemed determined to have tlie horses. He said 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 225 

they wouldn't get his without a fight, so I proposed that we take 
them to the agency and put them in charge of the agent. He 
considered a moment and then said that we might take them 
out on the prairie, where we could keep them away from the 
Indians. We had seven horses and colts, and if one or two were 
mounted the others would follow, so Chalon and I were to take 
them out. 

Chalon had something to do that delayed him a few minutes, 
but as soon as I had mounted I started eastward on the open 
pl-airie. Within a few minutes I saw a man in his shirt sleeves 
running towards our settlement from the direction of the agency. 
I rode up and found liim greatly excited, saying that the Indians 
were killing all the whites at the agency and that we must get 
away right off. It was our neighbor Diedrieh Wichmann. He 
continued towards his house Mhile I turned and, putting my 
horse to a run, started for home. 

In a few moments I met Chalon mounted on a fleet little mare. 
I briefly told him what I had heard as he rode along with me. 
As soon as he comprehended the situation he gave the word to 
his little mare, who seemed fairly to fly as she bore him home 
and past the house without stopping. On down to the creek he 
went, giving the alarm to Dave Carrothers' and telling them to 
go to our house, then to James Carrothers' with the same word. 
Hunter was not at home, so he went no farther. James Car- 
rothers and N. D. White had a few days before been selected as 
delegates to a political convention which met, I think, at 
Owatonna. Consequently both were absent. (Mrs. White gives 
another reason for this absence. — Ed.) Some one carried the 
word to Mr. White's people and father went to Henderson's. 
Soon all were collected at our house. The seats were removed 
from the spring wagon and two feather beds placed in the bot- 
tom, on which Mrs. Henderson was laid and her two little girls 
with her. The horses were hitched to one lumber wagon and 
two yoke of oxen attached to the other. Into these two wagons 
the women and children climbed and made themselves as com- 
fortable as possible. 

While these preparations were being made I was busy load- 
ing the guns. The whole stock of arms consisted of two rifles 
and three double-barreled shotguns, which father lield in pawn 
for cattle sold to the Indians. Of course, they were all muzzle 
loaders. I have often wondered what would have been the out- 
come if we had had Winchesters. One rifle carried about sixty 
to the pound, but the other was a very small bore, carrying 120 
to the pound. Both of these I loaded carefully and, because of 
the small bore of one, I put in two bullets. Next I loaded Little 
Crow's gun and one of the others, but for the third I had no shot 
so put in a few small stones. Our shot and bullets were all gone, 



226 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

aud only one flask of powder, partly filled, remained. This shows 
how utterly defenseless we were. 

All being readj* to start (we intended going to Fort Ridgely, 
eighteen miles di-stant), David Carrothers took the larger rifle, 
father took the small bore (loaded with two bullets), Chalon 
took Little Crow's gun, I took another, and Radnor took the one 
loaded with small stones. We started due east in the direction 
of Fort Ridgely. 

At the time of starting our party consisted of twenty-seven per- 
sons, men, women, children and two babes in arms, as follows: 
Father and mother and six children, S. R. Henderson and wife 
and two children, Mrs. N. D. White and four children, Dave 
Carrothers. wife and three children ; Mrs. James Carrothers and 
two children, Jehial Wedge and John Doyle. 

Within five minutes after starting we noticed sixteen Indians 
who suddenly rose to view about eighty rods southeast from us, 
and coming in a direction to cross our road a little ahead of us. 
At the same time I looked back and saw the three Indians who 
had been about our house fall in behind us. A^ery quickly the 
Indians had formed a line across our road, and gradually drawn 
in until we were entirely surrounded. When the leader made 
a sign for us to stop we did so. Mr. Henderson, who under- 
stood their language better than the rest of us, went forward to 
talk with the chief. We saw by signs and gestures that he was 
holding a very earnest council with them, which occui)ied about 
ten minutes. When he returned to us tlie Indians maintained 
their circle around us, though hardly any were visible, as they 
had concealed themselves in various ways. On his return Mr. 
Henderson told us that the Indians had at first told him that they 
intended to kill all of us, but after talking they offered to let 
us pass if we would give up all our teams and guns. Mr. Hen- 
derson told them that we would not give up our guns under any 
circumstances, and to this firm decision is due the fact that any 
of us escaped, for with us totally disarmed they would have slain 
all without any danger to themselves. 'Sir. Henderson also 
demanded to keep the colts and spring wagon, in which his wife 
was lying, and they also consented to this. It seemed that this 
was the best we could do, for we had only five guns against their 
nineteen guns, and three of ours loaded with shot aud stones, 
while theirs were all loaded with balls. And more than all, we 
had no ammunition to reload our guns. What better could we 
do? And besides, Mr. Henderson said that they had agreed to 
furnish us an escort to the fort, so that no other Indians should 
molest us. So the terms were accepted and Mr. Henderson gave 
the signal, whereupon the Indians came to claim their property. 
The women and children descended from the wagons which, with 
the teams, we turned over to the Indians, who immediately 



HISTORY OF EEWILLE CO IN TV 227 

detached them and then demanded the colts. Mr. Henderson 
protested and reminded them of the agreement. But they only 
said he could have a yoke of oxen. He tried to show them that 
he could not use the oxen because the iron neck yoke was bolted 
to the end of the buggj- pole so that the pole could not enter the 
yoke ring. This made no difference. They said they intended 
to have the colts anj'way, so we proceeded to unhitch the colts 
and give them up. 

In the meantime the women and children had started on and 
had gained quite a distance on the way. After giving up the 
colts, Dave Carrothers went to get a yoke of oxen which stood 
eight or ten rods away. As he went he broke down a weed and 
on reaching them he swung the weed over their heads in place 
of a Avhip and started towards us with the oxen. Just then an 
Indian stepped out, placed an arrow to his bow, and raised it 
threateningly at Carrothers, who saw the threat, left the oxen 
and came back to us. The Indians were standing about inter- 
mingled with us, their guns ready and both barrels at full cock. 
One unfortunate move on the part of any one of us would have 
resulted in the instant death of all. Why they did not kill us 
then and there I cannot understand. 

A hasty consultation and we decided to draw the buggy by 
hand. So two took hold of the ends of the neck yoke ; Mr. Hen- 
derson took one whippletree ; I took the opposite one ; while 
father and David Carrothers pushed behind. 

We relied on the promises of the Indians, so ti'avelcil rathei' 
leisurely. But I could not keep both eyes in front. To tell the 
truth I did not trust them as Mr. Henderson did, and I noticed 
soon that the Indians began to gather in our rear. One after 
another joined until they were all together and following us at 
about twenty rods' distance. I told Mr. Henderson that I didn't 
like the looks of things, but he said it was all right and accord- 
ing to agreement. My reply was that we could get along without 
a guard if only they would keep away. 

We had just reached the foot of a little descent, and the 
Indians wore at the top of it, when they fired the first shot, a 
single one, which passed over our heads and landed a short dis- 
tance ahead. Dave Carrothers, much excited, dodged and 
shouted, "Look out." No one else uttered a sound, but hurried 
on. Of course, we soon found that we could never take the 
buggy out of reach of the Indians, and that to attempt to do it 
meant death. We could not possibly do Mrs. Henderson any 
good either by remaining, for we could not defend her, nor by 
trying to take her along, which was impossible. And hard as 
it was we were obliged to abandon her and her two little girls, 
one and three or perhaps two and four j^ars old. Mr. Hender- 
son said that he could not leave his wife, and for this we all 



828 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

honored him. Jehial Wedge said that Jlrs. Henderson had 
nursed him in liis sickness and he would not leave her. By this 
time the Indians were firing quite rapidly and every instant 
some one had a narrow escape. So we left them, uncertain as to 
their fate, hoping yet fearful. 

It seemed that as soon as we left the buggy the Indians ceased 
firing upon it and one after another all but two or three passed 
it and came on after us. We began to hope they might be spared, 
but directly we saw firing from the rear of the buggy, and very 
shortly I saw Mr. Henderson emerge from the middle of the line 
of Indians (for they had formed a line with extremes about ten 
or twelve rods apart) and run rapidly toward us. We slackened 
our pace and waited for him. 

Every one of the sixteen Indians discharged both barrels of 
his gun at Mr. Henderson, and I do not doubt that some reloaded 
and fired again. How a man could come almost unhui-t through 
such a storm of bullets is very strange. He was not entirely 
unhurt. They had shot the hat off his head and his shirt was 
riddled on both sides of his body. The fore finger of the right 
hand ivas shot off at the first joint and the second finger had 
a slit from the middle joint to the end. 

He said that Wedge was dead and that he thought his wife 
and children had also been killed, but he was not certain. He 
afterwards told me his story in detail. It seems that nearly all 
of the Indians passed the wagon without giving them any atten- 
tion, but the last two, who were at a short distance behind, fired 
upon them. He shouted at them, but Mrs. Henderson told him 
to take off a pillow case and hold it up as a flag of truce. This 
he did, but they fired again and shot off the finger that held it. 
Then they stopped and made a sign which he and Wedge under- 
stood to take hold of the buggy and take it back. So each one 
took an end of the neck yoke and started to turn when the 
Indians fired again and Wedge fell. He then ran back to the 
wagon, but as the Indians continued to fire he suddenly resolved 
to leave his wife and try to save himself. So he started to come 
to us. 

We were fleeing from the Indians yet we were not going as 
fast as we might and Ave maintained a show of defense, although 
not a gun had been discharged on our side. We had no ammuni- 
tion to spare and really oiu- guns Avere only useful in keeping 
the Indians at a little distance. For knowing probably that at 
least three of our guns only carried shot, Avhile theirs carried 
ounce bullets, they kept beyond the range of our guns, Avhiie 
keeping us still within the range of theirs. 

Of course the pressure from the Indians compelled us to catch 
up with the women and children, though we delayed it as long 
as possible. When Ave finally overtook them I found Mrs. Dave 



HISTORY OF REN \' I LI, K (orNrV 229 

Carrotliers nearly giving out, as she liad to carry licr babj-, so I 
took tlie bal)\-. wliic-li greatly relieved her and she was able to 
keep np with the rest. I think we iiuist have contiiuied in this 
way foi- about a mile farther when Mrs. White, who was a very 
fleshy woman and was carrying a baby, stopped and said tiiat 
she conld go no I'artlier. So we passed on and left her standing 
there. We watched as we tied to see what her treatment would 
be. and were much surprised to see an Indian go up to her and 
shake hands and motion to her to go back. Seeing that she 
wasn't liurt she called out to the rest and waved a white hand- 
kerchief. (See Mrs. White's account of this capture. — Ed.) 

It then seemed tliat it was the intention of the Indians to 
capture the women and cjiildren, and as it was utterly inii)ossible 
foi- them to escape by fleeing, and as Ave could not defend them, 
they deemed it best to stop, which they <li(l. 1 ga\c tlic baby 
to its mother and kept on. 

Dave Carroth<'i'"s oldest child was a boy about five years old. 
When he saw ids fatliei- running on ahead he ran after him as fast 
as ins legs could cari'v liiiii. calling to his fHtliei- to wait. His father 
did not wait for sonu' tinu", but finally stopiied and tuiiiing the 
little fellow around toM liiiii to go l)ack to his inotlicr. while he 
himself resunu'd his flight. The boy reuuuncd Avhere he was, cry- 
ing until file Indians canu' nj). Finding him ftlone they killed liiiii. 

The average distance whicli the Indians kept from us was 
about fifteen or, possibly twenty rods, and as fliey were expert 
marksmen it is remarkable that any escaped. That they did is 
due to two i-easons. First, their guns were i)oorly loaded, as 
the bullets were simply dropped in without any patch. Second, 
we kept our eyes to the rear and jumped to one side or fell as we 
saw a gun discharged at us. This may seem like- fiction to claim 
that we dodged their bullets, but it is nevertheless true, and more 
than one owed his life that day to his agility. 

We were stretched out in a soi-f of a line at a distance of sev- 
eral feet apart, and being separated could judge quite accurately 
whether an Indian was aiming at one's self or not. At one time 
Chalon and I wei'c rpiite close to each other, Eugene White was 
a few rods ahead, and the ground was rising. As we were 
watching we saw an Indian level his gun at one of us, but being 
so close together wo could not tell wliich one, so at the flash we 
both fell. It provctl that it was intended for Chalon. and if he had 
not dodged it would have struck him between flic shouhlers. 
]\Iissing, it went on and struck Eugene White on flic inside of the 
right knee. lie fell ])ut innnediately rose to a sitting position 
and grasped his knee with his hands. I ran up and asked him 
if he was hit and he replied that his leg was bi-okcn. but he 
immediately jumped up aiul ran on with a bad limp. Soon I 
noticed tluit he turned fo flic left and ran a little to one side and 



230 HISTORY OF REXVILLE CoT'XT^' 

laj- down behind a bunch of tall grass or weeds, perhaps think- 
ing that it concealed him, but more likelj' he realized that he 
could go no farther. By this time the firing had become quit© 
rapid and there Mas little chance for one to help another, and 
so Eugene was left behind. Very quickly I saw an Indian run 
to a short distance from where he lay and fire both barrels of his 
gun at him. Of course I knew what had happened. 

The Indians were now crowding us hard, and we were some- 
what weary. One Indian had tried two or three times to get 
around our right flank so as to get an enfilading fire on our line, 
but each time we had spoiled his game by running ahead. At 
last father said that if lie tried it again he would shoot him. 
Sure enough he did try it again and father stepped on top of a 
little mound, took deliberate aim and fired. The Indian dropped 
and I saw no more of him. I could not tell whether he was 
killed or not, but certainly I do know that from that time two 
Indians gave their whole attention to shooting at father. Of 
course father's only defense was gone, for he had no ammunition 
to reload the gun. And so his only recourse was in dodging and 
they kept him constantly on the jump, yet he was not hit. But 
now he did a verj- foolish thing. He threw away his gun ! 
Before this they did not know that he could not reload his gun, 
so out of respect for it they kept at a good distance. But now that 
he had thrown it away they had nothing to fear, so they closed 
in on him. Seeing them closing in on hira he called to the boys 
to stop and help him. But we had become a good deal scattered 
and Radnor was the only one near enough to help, and he, brave 
boy, stopped to face two of them. Father said that as he ran 
up to Radnor he told him to shoot and then turn and run, but 
for some reason Radnor threw himself on the ground to wait 
until they should come within range of his gun. The Indians, 
who had hitherto come along together, now separated, and, mak- 
ing a detour to the right and left, came up on each side, and yet 
Radnor remained until thinking them near enough he raised and 
fired at one of them, at the same time thej' both fired at him. 
There could be but one result. The brave boy of fifteen had 
faced two warriors; had given his life to save his father's and 
had succeeded, for the diversion which he created permitted 
father to get awa}^ Here was an example of heroism and devo- 
tion that is worthy of becoming historical. 

As I have already said, we became more and more scattered 
after the capture of the women, and I had begun to cogitate as 
to some means of escape besides running, for I felt satisfied that 
means would not avail. 

The country there is what is called rolling prairie, and 
between the ridges of swells of land are lower places or swales 
containing more or less water in which grass and flags grow to 



HISTORY OF KENVILLE COUNTY 231 

tlie height of sovci-al feet. As I ran aloug one of these ridges 
I noticed that not an Indian's eye was upon me. They were 
either loading their guns or happened to be looking in another 
direction. Seizing the opportunity of the moment, I threw myself 
on the ground and rapidly rolled down the ridge on the opposite 
side from the Indians until I had descended far enough so that 
I could be out of siglit in a stooping position. Then I rose and 
rapidly ran out a few rods into the swale and then turned and 
ran back ncnr, but not in, my first trail, till near tlic slioi'ter 
grass, when 1 Ifd my retuim trail into my first trail. I then 
turned and ran back into the swale following exactly in my first 
trail till I reached the point where I turned. From there I con- 
tinued into the swale, but carefully separated the grass and flags 
and raised them behind me so as to make as little trail as possi- 
ble. When I had gone six or eight rods in this way I lay down 
and waited to see what would happen. 

I heard very little firing after I went into the swale, yet for 
safety I remained there for at least two hours, when I cautiously 
raised up and becoming satisfied that there were no Indians 
about I left the swale and considered what I should do. 

To go back jiome was out of the question, and to try to find 
the others was useless, for I did not know what had become of 
them. So I determined to try to reach the fort, which was prob- 
ably fifteen or sixteen miles distant. There was a well beaten 
road which led directly to the fort, known as the Abercrombie 
road, but I thought it would be unsafe to follow that road, as 
the Indians would be sure to follow it if they chanced to be pass- 
ing through the country. So I made up my mind to keep along 
parallel to it and perhaps a half mile awa.y. As I could not see 
the road I was obliged to travel by the sun. This I did until 
sundown, and then I took the north star as my guide. I had 
resolved to keep as much as possible in the lower ground and 
crossed the higher ground only when absolutelj^ necessary, think- 
ing it the safer course. Just about sunset I looked across the 
prairie from behind a ridge and perhaps a mile or two miles 
away I saw a person who appeared to be a white man in his shirt 
sleeves, and I made up my mind to try to overtake him. Still I 
might have been mistaken, so I had to be cautious. So it grew 
dark and I did not find him. I afterwards learned that it must 
have been Mr. Henderson, and when I asked him why he M'as so 
careless in going on high ground he said that he kept on high 
ground as much as possible so as to see if any Indians came near 
him. I have always thought my plan the safer one. 

About midnight the sky became cloudy so that I could no 
longer see the north star, and realizing how easily I could lose 
my way on that boundless prairie I made up my mind to stop 
until morning. After considerable search 1 found a swale with 



232 HISTORY OF EEXVILLE COrXTY 

tall grass aud weeds and without water. There I carefully dou- 
bled and covered my trail, as I had done in the day, and after 
cutting a bundle of grass I lay down and covered myself up as 
well as I could with the grass. I was tired and quickly fell 
asleep. But I suddenly awoke with a start. I did uot know what 
had caused it, but I listened and soon heard the note of a night 
hawk. It seemed only a short distance off, and quickly I heard 
another night haAvk in the opposite direction. In two or three 
miuutes I heard a noise like three taps on a powder horn with 
a knife and quickly it was answered by the same signal. I 
instantly recognized the state of affairs. There were at least two 
Indians who had discovered my trail into the swale and had 
evidently been deceived by my return trail and were circling 
about trying to find it again. They used several different sig- 
nals, such as the bark of a coyote and others, and appeared to 
be drawing the circle smaller until thej- came so close that I 
feared that the next time around thej' would discover my hiding 
place. I distinctly heard the Indian in the tall grass as he passed, 
and waiting until I thought it safe I carefully made my way 
out uutil I had crossed his trail, when I drew my knife and lay 
down on my face prepared to spring if discovered. My gun was 
useless, for when I lay down in the daytime I was in water at 
least a foot deep and I had carelessly allowed my gun to get wet. 
My thought was that if I was likely to be discovered I might 
possibly be able to spring on the Indian and knife him before he 
could defend himself and thus I would get his gi;n. Fortiuiately 
they did not discover me and I was able to get a little more sleep. 

I am satisfied that my changing positions Avas very indiscreet 
and dangerous, and I wonder that I was not found, for in crawl- 
ing as I did I must have made a very broad trail, not only by 
crushing the grass and reeds down, but also by shaking off 
the dew. 

I supposed at the time that these Indians had followed me 
from the start, but in talking with father afterwards, I learned 
that he tried for a long time to get to Fort Ridgely but each at- 
tempt was frustrated and he finally turned north. It may be 
that we were near each other for a time and the Indians who 
discovered my trail were the ones who were pursuing him. 

Early in the morning I started again, keeping due eastward. 
I had had nothing to eat for twenty-four hours, and my vigorous 
appetite called for food. Y^et no feeling of weakness or faint- 
ness bothered me. I was as lithe and active as if I had slept 
in the finest bed and had eaten a fine breakfast. The only trou- 
ble I had was that the grass had cut my pants till my knees were 
naked and bleeding. Sometimes Avhen the coarse grass would 
rake across my sore legs I would have to wince, but there was 
no remedv for it. 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 233 

I looked for teepson hut did not tiud any. Perhaps tliat was 
because it grew on the higher and drier ground whioli I avoided 
as much as possible. 

I had not seen the Abercrombie road since the day before so 
I determined to turn south in order to discover where it was and 
to learn whether I had wandered out of my way. I had traveled 
perhaps two or three miles, when I saw at a distance, a man on 
horseback, going west at a lope. At that distance I could not 
make out wliether the man was a white man or an Indian. So I 
stopped for a Avliile until he was out of sight, when seeing no 
other I made up my mind to find the pony's track, which might 
help me to decide whether the rider was white or red. If I 
found that the pony was barefoot I would know it to be Indian, 
b\it if shod it would probably be white, though possibly red. 

Carefully I made my way until I came to the Abercrombie 
road and saw the horse's track and found that it was shod. But 
where could the rider be going? I thought he must be running 
into extreme danger and that jjrobably he had not yet heard 
of the outbreak. At any rate I could not lu'lj) him, so I turned 
east and resolved to follow llic load. rven at quite a risk, for 
my legs were very sore. 

I soon came to quite a high ridge tliat i-au s((uarely across 
the road. What was my astonishment when I had ascended far 
enough to look over it to see at some distance three covered 
wagons like emigrant Avagons. 1 had been rather careless on 
ascending the ridge, but instantly on discovering the wagons, 
threw myself down behind the ridge and stopped to consider. 
"What Avere these wagons? I concluded that they wci'e emigrant 
wagons, which had been captured by the Indians, who were now 
taking them to the agency, and that the mounted man I had 
seen, was an Indian, riding a captured horse. What should I do? 
was a question to be decided at once, whether to run for it or 
to take refuge again in a swale which lay near the foot of the 
hill. But I determined to take another look before deciding on 
what to do. So I carefully raised up until I could look over the 
ridge when I saw one of the plcasantest sights of my life, a body 
of troops. I could see their uniforms and the glistening of their 
guns and bayonets in the sunshine. 

I did not remain behind the ridge long. I forgot all about 
my sore legs, stiff knees and all that, as I went quickly forward 
to meet them. I soon found it was about fifty soldiers under the 
command of Lieutenant T. J. Sheehan, who were on their way 
to Fort Ridgely, which was then about ten miles to the west of 
us. So I had wandered so far to the north that I had passed the 
fort without seeing it and had nu't this relief ten miles east of it 
It was some troops who had been for some time at Yellow Medi- 
cine, but had been ordered back to Fort Ripley. They had 



234 IIISTOHV OF KEXVILLE COUNTY 

stopped at Fort Ridgely ou Saturday night aud resumed their 
march on Sunday morning, marched all day Sunday, and camped 
and again resumed the march Monday morning, the day of the 
outbreak. Just as they were preparing to go into camp Monday 
night they were overtaken by a mounted messenger from Fort 
Ridgely with orders to return. So after cooking and eating their 
supper they started on the i-eturn. They had marched all night 
aud until ten o'clock "Wednesday, when I met them. Lieutenant 
Sheehau questioned me with regard to the trouble, but I knew 
nothing except what I had seen myself, so he soon told me to 
stop for the commissary wagon and get something to eat. I did 
not wait to hear this order repeated. In a minute I was in the 
wagon asking for food. The driver told me there was nothing 
but raw pork. I tliouglit this very strange, but did not wait 
to discuss the question. I found the pork barrel and went into 
the brine up to my elbow and fished out a chunk of pork from 
which I cut off a few slices with my kuife. I think I never ate 
a more delicious morsel. Hunger was an ample sauce. I also 
enjoyed the ride. It seemed such a luxury to ride instead of 
drawing my sore legs through coarse grass with edges like saw 
teeth. 

Fort Ridgely stands upon quite a prominent bluff or promon- 
tory formed by the ^Minnesota river on the south, and a creek 
which enters it at an acute angle on the north and east. The 
bluffs are quite high and they and the bottom lands are quite 
thickly timbered. 

The road to the east and the one which the returning troops 
would follow, went through this creek, and the Indians, who 
knew that tliey were returning, had formed an ambuscade in the 
woods. But the ofScer at the fort had sent a messenger by a 
detour to notify Lieutenant Sheehan of the ambuscade. It was 
tliis messenger that I had seen after he had notified the lieutenant 
and was on his way back to the fort. 

When we had reached within a mile or so of the creek, Lieu- 
tenant Sheehan came back to tlie wagon in which I was riding 
and asked me if I could drive a four mule team. I told him 
tliat I had never done so, but that I believed I could. So he took 
the soldier who was driving the rear team aud sent him into the 
ranks aud told me to mount the mule. There were three teams 
and wagons and I thought the team I had would follow the one 
in front and so would need little or no driving. 

Lieutenant Sheehan went to his chest and took out a broad 
red scarf, such as the officer of tlie day wears, and put it on, thus 
making himself very conspicuous. It was certainly a brave 
thing to do under the circumstances, but very indiscreet. No 
experienced Indian fighter of today would think of doing such a 
thing. 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 235 

The march was resumed, but before reaching the woods Lieu- 
tenant Sheehan, -with his men, made a wide detour to the right, 
where the bluft's were lower and the woods less thick. There he 
crossed the creek, but left the wagons with tlie three teamsters 
to go through tlu' ambuscade. I thought, at the time, that this 
movement simu'ked of cowardice and that the lieutenant desired 
mostly to get his own skin safely into the fort. But the lieu- 
tenant did the very best thing that he could, not only for him- 
self and the soldiers, but for us as well. If he had undertaken 
to go through where we went not one would have escaped. What 
saved us? It was a couple of howitzers, which had been ruu out 
onto the bluff and loaded with shell and the Indians knew that 
at the first shot the shells would drop among them, and they 
were mortally afraid of them. They called them rotten balls, 
because they flew in pieces. 

As to the number of Indians there, I rely entirely on what 
was told me. I saw only a few, for of course, they were as well 
concealed as possible. Why did they not shell the Indians out 
of there before Sheehan 's troops came? That would seem the 
proper thing to do, but from what I afterward learned, I think 
the officer in command of the fort hesitated to begin hostilities, 
for up to that time there had been no attack on the fort, which 
was filled with refugees and contained only fifty soldiers. This 
place did not deserve the name of fort, for there were only two 
bullet proof buildings in it, and consisted simply of a few build- 
ings built around an open square with open spaces between them. 
Not one of the buildings was loopholed. In short, the post was 
only iutendetl as barracks. It was never intended to resist an 
attack. 

We had reached the fort safely, but what was the condition 
of the things inside? 

Quite early on Monday Captain John S. Marsh in command 
of the fort, had heard of the outbreak and at once started with 
about fifty men for the lower agency, where he was ambuscaded 
and twenty-three were left dead for us to bury two weeks after- 
ward, while he was drowned in trying to swim the river. This 
left the fort in command of liis first lieutenant, with nuly fifty 
soldiers to defend this indefensible place, filled ;is ii was witli 
frightened men, women and children. 

Perhaps it was best that he did not commence hostilities. 
Lieutenant Sheehan ranked the lieutenant and therefore took 
command. 

As soon as I reached the fort, I applied to Lieutenant Thomas 
P. Gere for a gun, but he said that the extra guns were all dis- 
tributed among the citizens. But after a while I found a sergeant 
who was on detail and had no use for his gun, so loaned it to me 
with belt and cartridge box and I then joined a company of citi- 



236 IIISTOKV UF KKWll.LE COlXTY 

zens that liad been formed for the defense of the fort and had 
chosen Mr. DeCanip as captain. I was assigned to duty at one 
of the -windows of the soldiers' quarters, a stone building, which 
occupied the north side of the parade. The women and children 
were in the second story. The men had been armed as well as 
possible with guns, but when these Avere all distributed they were 
given axes, crowbars and the like and stationed at the doors and 
windows of the stone building to guard them in case of assault. 
Outside of this stone building was a row of small log houses that 
had been built for the families of the non-commissioned officers 
and troops Avere placed in and behind them for their defense. 
Other buildings were defended by placing men in them, but there 
was no sign of a breastAvork about the fort, Avhile on the north, 
east and south sides, it A\-as AAithin easy gun shot of raA-ines and 
bluit's, AA'here Indians could lie in safety, AA'hile attacking it. 

About noon of August 20, a force of Indians returning from 
the attack on Ncaa' Ulm, AA'ere going toAvards the agency on the 
opposite side of tlie i-iA'er. and the commander dropped a fcAV 
shells among them. About tAvo o'clock the music began and it 
seemed for a Avhile as though pandemonium itself had broken 
loose, for the Indians numbered 400 or 500 and they fired rapidly 
and each time they fired they xittered the Avar AAdioop. The noise 
from the shooting Avith the crashing of bullets through doors and 
AvindoAvs AA'as bad enough, but tin- war Avhoop Avas Avorse yet. for 
it Avas simply blood curdling and I really' think that I dodged 
oftener for the Avar Avhoops than for the liullets. For a moment 
it seemed that my hair stood on end and I Avas a bit rattled, but 
hy an effort I regained control of myself and afterAvards Avas not 
badly excited. 

I could not do nuieh in the Avay of shooting for the soldiers in 
the log huts soon had quite a cloiul of smoke about them Avhich 
obscured my sight and made it dangerous to them for me to shoot. 
Ho I simply remained on guard at tlic AvindoAv. The fighting 
continued till long after dark, Avheu the Indians AvithdreAV. No 
one in the room Avhere I Avas stationed, Avas Avounded, but the 
surgeon brought in others avIio had l)een Avounded outside, and 
the sight of these i)oor felloAVs taxed my nerves scA'erely. 

After the fighting ceased everything became quiet and sciiiic 
of us slept Avhile others kept Avatch. The next morning the citi- 
zens company Avas ordered to assemble and we Avere arranged 
in single rank across the parade. I happened to stand fourth 
from the right of the company. As soon as Captain DeCamp had 
the company in line he reported the fact to Lieutenant Sheehan, 
Avho proceeded to make ns a speech in which he called us all the 
mean names, such as coAvards and sneaks, etc., that he could 
think of. I Avas surprised, for I Avas not aAvare of sneaking, but 
I afterAvard learned that many of them had deserted their posts 



HISTOKY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 237 

ami goiif upstairs witli the women and children. Lieutenant 
Shccliiui t'n(l<'<l liis liiUiiiifj:ue by tcllinji^ Captain DeCamp to pick 
out ten of his men, it lie had so many in his company of scrubs, 
and detail them to go on picket duty to relieve his men. 

Captain DcCamp began at tlie right of the company and asked 
if the man could go on picket duty for about two hours. The 
man gave some flimsy excuse and said no. He then asked the 
second and got a still i)oorcr excuse. I think his excuse was that 
he luid no cartridge box, but had to carry his cartridges in his 
pocket. He asked the third man and got another flimsy excuse. 
I confess by that time I was ashamed of the company I was in 
and I did not blame Lieuteiuint Sheehan for the language he had 
used. I think I would have volunteered to go if I had known 
I would get hurt. So when Captain DeCamp asked me I answered 
promptly and loudly, "Yes, sir." No doubt my answer came 
more from shame and bravado than from bravery, but it seemed 
to have a magical effect on Lieutenant Sheehan and he said, 
"Thank God for one man. Take a pace to the front." Soon the 
other nine were found and we were taken out and stretched in a 
picket line about the fort. My post was on a knoll about eighty 
rods from the fort and on the Abercrombie road. Other pickets 
were about twenty rods distant on either side. 

Nothing of interest occurred during the two hours I was 
on that post, except that one of the soldiers, who had been with 
Captain Marsh, returned and was received at my post. While 
detaining him until the corporal of the guard could come and ad- 
mit him he told me of the fight between Captain Marsh's men 
and the Indians. 

Having been relieved from picket, I received my breakfast 
which was the first meal I had eaten since that meal of raw pork, 
and I put in a good supply, for I did not know when I would get 
any more. I had made up my mind not to remain in that citizens 
company any longer, so after breakfast 1 went to a sergeant of 
Lieutenant Sheehan 's company and asked him to take me into 
his squad, but he said he could not do it without orders and 
could not draw rations for me. I thought I had failed, but one 
of the men who stood near said, "Take him in sergeant if you 

can, for he is the oidy citizen I have seen that is Avorth a d n," 

and another said, "We "11 tlivide rations with him," and so I was 
sort of adopted by that squad of seven or eight men. But I did 
not remain with them long. 

The next day there were signs of trouble and Lieutenant Shee- 
han perfected his scheme of defense, one item of which was to 
divide the line of defense into squad limits and place a sergeant 
in command of a certain limit. Thus he could call for a report 
from any part of the line at any time. On this day (Friday) the 
squad I belonged to was placed behind the log huts, and Captain 



238 IILSTOKY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

DeCamp had command of that line. Pretty soon the firing began 
briskly. The Indians could come up the ravine through which 
the road ran and in this way come within eight or ten rods of us 
still protected by the banks of the ravine, so we had to look 
sharp. We had become greatly interested when Captain De- 
Camp marched slowly along In-hiiid tlic liiii', apparently giving 
no heed to the bullets. When he had readied aliout the middle 
of the line lie stopped and said in a voice loud enougli to be 
heard all along tlie line. '"Boys. I am ordered to shoot the first 
man who leaves his post witliout orders, and I'll do it by G-d." 
He carried a Sharps rifle and I think every one believed that he 
meant what he said. There were a few citizens in the squad 
and he probably remembered how they had acted before. Soon 
Lieutenant Sheehan came running to Capt. DeCamp and said 
he wanted four men to go to the other side of the parade. There 
were four of us near togetlier and DeCamp designated us to go 
with Sheehan. So l)ringing our guns to "right shoulder shift" 
Sheehan gave the order to double quick and led the way across 
the parade, which was being raked through every opening be- 
tween the buildings. We had readied the middle and the bullets 
were coming thick enough to satisfy even Lieutenant Sheehan. 
He turned around and said to us, "G-d d-n it, can't you run 
faster than that?' Now, as a sprinter, I was not ready to 
acknowledge any superior, so I let out and before he knew it I 
was way ahead, but lie called, "'Hold on, hold on," so I slacked 
up and let him catch up with me. At the south side he left me 
in the opening between the headquarters and the corner building 
without even a spear of grass for shelter. 1 could simi)ly 
liug the ground and trust to luck. But they did not leave me 
there long before Sergeant Blackmer called to me to come into 
his squad, which was outside of all the buildings on the east side 
of the fort. Here I found myself with four soldiers and though 
separated from my friends I was content. Here again there was 
nothing to shelter the men. Our only protection was in shooting 
so well that the Indians would not dare expose themselves long 
enough to take good aim. Our greatest danger was in the fact 
that the gi'ound in our front was quite rolling, with numerous 
little hillocks, and now here, now there, in the tall grass be- 
tween, an Indian would suddenly rise, take a quick aim and fire. 
One was particularly persistent and seemed to have a particular 
desire to pick me. He had made some close shots, so I became 
rather anxious to get him. In my eagerness I forgot due caution 
and rose on my knees when another Indian let fly at me. The 
bullet hit the third finger of my riglit hand and glanced to the 
stock of my gun which it damaged considerably. I did not know 
that I had been hit, but found myself standing upright and a 
soldier tugging at my clothes to pull me down. I lay down at 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 239 

once and resumed the watch for my Indian. Pretty soon the 
soldier said that one; of us must be hit, for there was blood on 
the ground. I told him that it was he and showed him some 
holes in his coat sleeve. But he said no, that it was I, and pointed 
to a little hole just in the center of my shirt front, but then I 
remembered that that hole was burned one evening while fishing 
with a ,iaek aud just then the soldiiT iioticcil tlir winiinl (Hi my 
finger. I was bleeding considerably and the bone was bi'oken, 
yet it hadn't begun to pain me. Sei'geant Blackmer sent me to 
the surgeon to have it dressed and I returned to the squad, but 
soon the feeling returned and the pain was terrific. My hand 
jerked so that I could not hold the gun still long enough to 
shoot. So as I was disabled, Sergeant Blackmer told me to go 
behind a door, nuide of inch pine boards, which was leaning 
against the side of the biulding and keep watch in a certain direc- 
tion, which did not seem to be under observation, and the In- 
dians might charge on that side. I got up and ran over and sat 
down behind the door and at once I was taken with an unbear- 
able pain in my hand and arm. I simply could not endure it 
and had just come out from behind the door when the Indians 
fired a volley at it. The door looked like the top of a pepper 
1)().\. 11 I had heeu behind it 1 \\'ould have been hit by at least a 
dozen balls. 1 returned to Sergeant Blackmer, who ordered me 
again to the surgeon. The surgeon dressed it again and put on 
a white powder, probably morphine, which, for a time, relieved 
the pain, but I was entirely unable to use a gun, so Sergeant 
Blackmer told me to keep a lookout in difl:"erent directions. Soon 
afterwards Sergeant Blackmer was wounded in the jaw, the 
bullet passing through from side to side. The poor fellow must 
have suffered terribly. 

For several hours, lasting luitil quite late in the night, they 
kept up the attack. There were a good many of our men huit 
and I think we must have done them some injury for just before 
their attack ceased we could hear an Indian down in the timber 
calling the rest away. A half-breed, who M'as in the fort, said 
that the Indian said, "Come away or they'll kill us all." The 
firing ceased at once and from that time there was no further 
attack worthy of note. They kept up a state of siege so that it 
was dangerous for one to expose himself, but aside from occa- 
sional shots there was no firing. This state of siege lasted about 
ten days when, to our delight, one day a company of mounted 
men rode into the fort. The Indians made but slight effort to 
keep them out and immediately departed, well knowing, no doubt, 
that from that time there would be no use in trying to capture it. 
We heard no more of them. 

As soon as I could I went to the camp of the cavalry and 
found it composed largely of refugees under the command of 



240 lllSTOKY OF EEXVILLE COUNTY 

Captain Joseph Andersou, who was an old Mexican War soklier. 
It had been organized for the express purpose of relieving New 
Ulm and Fort Ridgely. Much to my surprise I found Chalon, 
who brought me news of the safety of father, Herman and Mil- 
lard White. It seems strange to me now that I never asked father 
for a detailed statement of his experiences after we separated. 
Neither did he ever ask me any questions as to my escape, and 
when mother returned I never sought a history of her adven- 
tures. All that I know concerning any of them was what I heard 
them tell to others. 

It seems that after fatlier's rescue by Kaduor. for it was no 
less, he ran across Herman, and then Chalon and Millard White. 
They tried until late in the night to make their way to Fort 
Ridgelj', but they seemed to be prevented by some Indians. Fin- 
ally despairing of reaching there, they struck out to the north 
and at last reached Glencoe, after a couple of days. Herman be- 
came so exhausted that father had to carry him on his back many 
weary hours before they reached the settlement. 

On the way thej' fell in with two (Mrs. White says five) In- 
dians, who evidently had been hunting and had not heard of the 
outbreak. They offered no indignities except to compel Chalon 
to trade guns with one of them and so Chalon lost Little Crow's 
gun. 

Father's legs were so badly torn by the grass that gangrene 
at one time threatened. 

After the mounted men reached the fort there was a reorgan- 
ization of the company and, as they expected to go on whenever 
there should be a move to rescue the women and children who 
were prisoners, I made up my mind to enlist in the company, 
which I did. A new roll was made and I think Chalon 's name 
appears as third and mine as fourth on it. W^e elected officers, 
choosing as captain, Joseph Anderson : Brown, first lieutenant, 
and Marshall, second lieutenant. (I am not positive as to the 
name of the second lieutenant, but think I am right.) I remem- 
ber two other aspirants for the office of captain. One was said 
to be an old hunter and Indian fighter. The other was a young 
Irishman, whose claim to the office was based on the alleged fact 
that he was in the battle of Pittsburgh Landing and so had 
had experience. However, Anderson was elected by a large vote. 

The next few days were spent in scouting, foraging and drill- 
ing. Nothing exciting occurred, unless it be a little incident by 
which I gained the Indian blanket, which has now been nearly 
worn out. I was scouting one day, when I saw a white object 
lying on the ground, and riding toward it I saw that it was a 
blanket, but there was an Indian there too. An argument fol- 
lowed, which resulted in my taking the blanket, which I needed 
and which the Indian did not need any longer. 



HISTORY OF KENVILLE COrXT^' 241 

As I revert to those times it stirs my pulses a little, but such 
tilings as this just related were then considered of little moment. 
I have wondered a thousand times that I did not get my foolish 
head knocked off, but aside from the wound in my hand I never 
received a scratch. 

Clialon was worse than a daredevil. Wherever was the trail 
of an Indian there would he go, seemingly without thought of 
tlie possible consequences. Yet he was never hurt, though he 
was nmny times in tight places. It may have been our good luck 
tliat got us out of bad scrapes. 

Sunday morning, August 31, we were ordered to mount, and 
tlicn in addition to our heavy muskets and bayonets we were 
given heavy cavalry sabres, the most useless thing to us that we 
could have. But we had to take them anyway. As I sat there 
in the saddle, weighted down with musket, bayonet, saber, cart- 
ridge and cap box, besides blanket and haversack, I felt that it 
would be impossible to get out of the saddle without first un- 
loading. 

By this time quite a large force of infantry had reached 
the fort and were camped on the prairie west of it. Colonel Sib- 
ley was in connnand. He had been chosen for the command and 
given the rank of Brigadier General, because of his previous ex- 
perience M-ith, and knowledge of the Indians. 

We learned about noon of August 31 that an expedition made 
up of Anderson's cavalry and Captain Grant's company of in- 
fantry, had been ordered to proceed to the lower agency and set- 
tlements near, for the purpose of burying the dead and of learn- 
ing something about the prisonei-s. The command of the expe- 
dition was given to IMajor Brown. We took along seven or eiglit 
wagons with rations, forage, etc. 

Sunday night we camped in the river bottom not far from the 
ferry. It was my luck to be on guard that night and though we 
were undisturbed, there were plenty of signal fires indicating 
that Indians were about. The next morning Major Brown or- 
dered Captain Anderson to cross the river to the agency and 
learn what he could there, if anything, then to proceed up the 
river a few miles and cross back and meet the infantry in camp 
on the Birch Cooler. Grant's infantry, after burying the soldiers 
who had been killed at the ferry, were to proceed up the river to 
the mouth of Beaver creek to ascend that to our home and then 
cross over to Birch Cooley for camp. Birch Cooley is the name 
of a creek about three miles east of the Beaver creek. Chalon 
and I were detailed as guides and to scout for the infantry. 

For some reason now forgotten, I was not ready to start with 
the infantry and they had been gone quite a while when I started 
after them and met a squad of soldiers under a half-breed ser- 
geant, on their way back to tlie fort. Why they had been sent 



242 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

along or why uow returning I do not know. This sergeant liad 
ti-ied to get uie to enlist in his company and I think I had nearly 
promised to do so, but when Chalou arrived at the fort I changed 
my mind and told the sergeant so. He seemed quite disappointed 
and inclined to be angry. When I met the sergeant and liis 
squad, he stopped me and asked me again to enlist in his com- 
pany, but I refused and started on, when he called out, "You'll 
never see the fort again." Whether he tliought to frighten me, 
or thoiight I would, while scouting, run into a bad place, or 
whether he knew tlie danger the expedition would he in. I do not 
know, nor did I then stop to think. 

I was soon in advance of the infantry, looking out for possi- 
ble ambush. Before noon Chalon and I found a half-crazed 
Swedish woman, wlio tried to elude us and we had to run her 
down. When we liail captured her, we learned that all her fam- 
ily had been killed, she lierself had been wounded by fourteen 
buckshot in her back and in this condition liad remained so near 
the Indians, supporting herself on tlie food found in tlie deserted 
houses. We halted and waited until the infantry came up, then 
we turned her over to Captain Grant and we resumed our 
scouting. 

We reached our liouse sometime after noon and it was a sad 
looking wi-eck. We did not care to remain there long and as 
our camj) for the night was to be nearly in the direction of our 
flight just two weeks before, we made uj) our minds to follow 
that course. 

We soon came to the place wlu're we liad li/ft the buggy with 
Mrs. Henderson and there we found her body with a broken jug 
at her head, the bodies of her two little girls, and a few feet 
away the body of Mr. Wedge. 

Mr. Henderson had accompanied the expedition and was 
there to see the remains of his wife anil children. He Avas nearly 
heart-broken, but I think he did not utter a word. 

These buried, we followed on and found the body of Dave 
Carrothers' little boy, but did not succeed in finding the body 
of Eugene White. Chalon, soon after, called and said that he had 
found Eugene, but when I reached him I at once recognized the 
body as Radnor's from the clothing.. The body was so decom- 
posed as to be unrecognizable. It was now getting late, so we 
buried him in a shallow grave and turned the camp, feeling that 
we had lost the best boy that ever lived. 

We found the camp formed about twenty rods from the tim- 
bered banks of the Birch Cooley and surrounded by knolls and 
ravines. In fact, as I remember it now, it could not have been 
placed better — for the Indians. The wagons had been drawn up 
in a circle about five or six rods in diameter and the horses 
were tied to a rope stretched across the circle and fastened to 



HISTORY OK KKWII.I.H CO TXT Y 243 

tlie wagons. Tlie tents, known as the Sil)ley tent, were pitehed 
inside the eireh"' and would aeconiniodate about twenty men eaeli. 
The tent which I slept in that nijjht faced tlie east and I hap- 
l)ene(l to lie just at the side of the entrance. Chalon was a wagon 
guai-d and slejit inider the wagon. The Swedish woman we had 
eaplui'cd. had h.ecii put into a covered wagon and a butt'alo robe 
was given her for covering. 

About four o'clock the ne.xt morning, j\ist as the gray of 
apiifoacjiiug dawn began to appear, one of my company who 
had been one of Walker's Filibusters, saw some objects running 
about the ])rairie near the camp, which he thought must be hogs. 
Thiidving it would be a great joke on the inexperienced men to 
give an alarm lie fired on one of the supjiosed hogs, when to his 
surprise his shot was followed immediately by a terrific war- 
whoop and volley. 

What he took for hogs were Indians sneaking u\) with bows 
and arrows in order to kill the sentinels without giving an alarm, 
and expecting then to charge a .sleeping cam]i. But the joke was 
unfoi-tunate for them, for tlie camp was alarmed. The Indians 
immediately directed their fire at about br(>ast high of the tents, 
calculating that the soldiers would s]iring up at the first alarm 
and many wouUl be hit before getting out of the tents. They 
were right. Very few of the men of either company had been 
under fire before and they imniediately sjirang up. ^lauy were 
killed and wounded in the tents. 

With tile first wai'-whooj) I was wide awake and at once rolled 
on my face in oi-der to get up. Immediately the commotion began. 
Serg(>ant Baxter, a big, noble fellow, sjjrang up and said, ''Come 
on, boys, don't be afraid,'" and started foi' the tent door', .lust 
then he clasped his hands to hi.s chest and cried, ""^ly (lod, boys, 
I'm shot in the lireast," and he fell across my legs. He was so 
heavy that it took fpiite a few seconds to get out from under him, 
and when I reached the line tiling was heavy. Chalon was in 
his element. He stood at the end of a wagon and fired as rapidly 
as possible. His conduct jjleased Caj)tain Anderson, and every 
time he fired the captain praised him, thinking probably that 
"the ))oy"s'" courage would soon play out. P>ut when he saw that 
he held his ])osition he finally oi'dered him to lie down, saying 
that he could not atl'ord to lose such a brave fellow. I lay along 
side of the cajitain and I soon found that he was as cool and 
unconcerned as an iceberg. That hel])ed me and othei's to keep 
cool. 

Thinking that when the Indians should find out that they 
couhl not tak<' the camp by surjjrise they would leave we gave 
our sole attention to the fight. But as it continuecl hour after 
houi' without any let up and our losses were severe we began to 
dig each for himself. My utensils for digging were my bayonet 



244 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

and my hands, till I soon liad a little ditch with a slight bank 
iu front, wliich aft'oi'ded a good protection. The others of our 
company provided for themselves in the same way. Captain 
Grant had a few shovels in his wagons and with these the men 
soon dug a trench deep enough and long enough to give protec- 
tion to the Avhole company. As the Indians persisted in the 
attack, and we were completely surrounded, no one could get out 
to go to the fort for help. So our officers began to caution the 
men not to waste ammunition, as no one could tell how long we 
might have to stay there, and judging by the firing it would be 
madness to attempt to cut our way tlirough to the fort, which 
was sixteen miles away. No one dared to hope that the firing 
would be heard so far, so the prospects for relief were very poor. 

There was not a bucket of Mater iu the camp, and we soo:i 
began to suffer intensely from thirst, especially as we liad to bite 
the cartridges, thus getting powder in our mouths. I got some 
relief by chewing a bullet, which started tlie saliva and moistened 
my mouth. 

Pood was as scarce nearly as water. All I had to eat during 
the battle was a small iiieee of raw cabbage leaf, but that was 
very delicious. 

As evening came the Indians left a part of their number to 
keep up the fight. Init the larger number withdrew into the woods 
of tiie bottom lands, Avhere they were perfectly safe, and slaugh- 
tered and roasted beef for their suppers, which the.y evidently 
enjoyed more than we did. 

The firing continued all night, which was as light almost as 
day. We were allowed no rest. We dared not sleep, even a por- 
tion at a time, for it had been noticed that when we slackened 
fire too much they became nuich bolder, and as we had lost a good 
many our fire was necessarily much lighter than at first. At one 
time Captain Grant's men slackened their fire so much that we 
on the other side of the circle were badly exposed to the Indian 
fire and most of our casualties were from that side. So Captain 
Anderson determined to send word to Captain Grant to that effect. 
He asked me to go. As I was simply to go there and back I left 
my gun and made a bold dash for it, thinking I would get across 
before the Indians would see me. But they were alert and 
instantly the bullets came thick. There had been a scow picked 
up somewhere and brouglit along on one of the wagons and on 
camping had been thrown upon the ground. This lay convenient 
for nie and I threw myself behind it. The firing quickly ceased, 
and after a few minutes I went on to Captain Grant and delivei'ed 
my message. When I sprang up to return it seemed as tiiough 
they were all watching for me, for I never heard bullets whistle 
so thickly. Again I dropped behind the boat and from there 
across was a little more discreet. 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 245 

Morning came. Noon came and went -with no promise of 
relief. Bnt about two o'clock in the afternoon we noticed a stir 
among the Indians, a slackening of their fire, and we soon were 
aware that most of them had left us to meet a force coming to 
our relief. A regiment under (ieneral Sibley was coiiiiiig and, 
scarcely halting, they formed a line of battle and scattered the 
redskins from in front of them. The Indians didn't make much 
of an eifort, for they were outnumbered and there was no show 
for them. Of our force of 140 men more than half were killed or 
wounded. We buried thirteen there. Among them was poor 
Henderson. I did not seem him after the fight began. We found 
him between our lines and the Indians. He had probably started 
to run at the beginning of the fight, and was caught between the 
lines, and whether killed by soldiers or Indians no one knows. 

Our relief was fortunate. Soon after the fight began a picket 
at the fort reported firing towards the west. General Sibley 
immediately dispatched an officer and several companies of troops 
to our relief, but after coming about tlu-ee miles the officer went 
back and said he could not hear any firing. Meantime it had 
been plainly heard at the fort, so General Sibley peremi)torily 
ordered him to come to our relief and to continue until he found 
us. The officer then started again and came within three miles 
and camped, notwithstanding that the fight w-as still going on. 
Neither did he make any proper effort in the morning, for before 
he got started General Sibley had taken another force and came 
to seek us, and had found the officer just ready to break camp. 

A good hearty meal and we were loaded into wagons for our 
return to the fort. Every one of our horses had been killed. 

Father had meantime reached the fort and learned where the 
"Earle boys" were. You may imagine his feelings as he stood 
on the knoll by the picket post and heard the firing hour after 
hour, knoM'ing that his two boys were there. We were in a wagon 
near the end of the train and as we neared the fort there was 
father asking constantly, "Do you know anything of the Earle 
boys?" I heard him while he was still quite a distance off and 
some of the answers. Some said both were kiUed, soine, one killed 
and so on. As the last wagon drew near and he had not yet 
found either nor got a satisfactory answer to his questions he 
began to be discouraged and his voice trembled. By the time our 
wagon reached him he had ceased to ask for the Earle boys, but 
asked for the Cullen Guard, the name of our company. I rose up 
and said yes, there were two he would be glad to see. 

Birch Cooley is reckoned among the most severe battles of the 
frontier, indeed I think there were very few others where the 
percentage of loss was greater. The battle lasted without a 
moment's cessation from about four o'clock on Tuesday morning 
until two o'clock Wednesday afternoon, a period of thirty-four 



24G HISTORY OF HK.\\11>LH COIXTV 

hours. Tlie most of the time I was near Caiitaiu Anderson, wlio 
was wounded six times, but fortunately none were very severe. 
Captain DeCamp was killetl and buried there. The wounded were 
loaded as best they eould be into the wagons whieh the relief 
party brought, but the jolting was severe and brought many a 
groan from the poor fellows. Our return was necessarily slow. 

The woman who had lain in the wagon throughout the fight 
was not in the least injured, although the box looked like a sieve, 
and I was told that the butfalo robe whieh covered her was cut 
into strings. 

The next morning after my return F was sick and very 
feverish. ]My hand, which was far from being healed, was enor- 
mously swollen anil discolored. I reported to Ijieutenant Brown, 
as Cajitain Anderson was in the hospital, and lie took me to the 
surgeon who had tii'st tlressed it. He renuMubered me and gave 
me the dickens for neglecting it. I had lost the dressing at Birch 
Cooley and he said I had taken cold in it and talked diseourag- 
ingly about saving it. However, he dressed it, and I reported 
every day until he finally saitl that I nuist lose the hand. I told 
father what he said, and he at once objected and said that he 
believed that the hand could be saved if I was where I coidd have 
j)roi)ei' treatment and diet. So the surgeon said that I could 
have my choice between an opei'ation and a discharge. I chose 
the latter. When the discharge came it was in the form of a 
furlough for the remainder of my term of enlistment, as General 
Sibley was not authorized to grant a discharge. 

Note. — These reminiscences by Dr. E. W. Earle, of Rochester, 
New York, were published in pamphlet form some years ago 
through the efforts of William Wickman, by Asa M. Wallace, of 
Fairfax, under tlie direction of the "Renville (_'ount>- Pioneer's 
Society. 

CHAPTER XVI. 

COUNTY GOVERNMENT. 

Orig-inal Counties — Wabashaw — Dakotah — Pierce and Nicollet — 
Renville — Changes in Boundaries — Lincoln — Election Legal- 
ized — County Commissioners — County Officers. 

Alexander Ramsey, the first tri'ritoi'ial governor of Minnesota, 
arrived at St. Paul with liis family .May L'T, 1S49. -lune 1. 1S49, 
lie issued a ])roclamation declaring the territory duly organized. 
June 11 a second proclamation was issued, dividing the territory 
into three temiiorar\' judicial districts. The first comprised the 
counts- of St. Cidix. The county of La Pointe and the region 
north and west of the IMississippi and north of the Minnesota 
and of a line niiiiiing due west frcuii the headwaters of tlie iliniie- 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 247 

sota to tlir .Missouri riwr, constituted tiic sccoml. The coun- 
try west of the Mississippi and south of the Minnesota formed 
tlie third district. Jud^'e (ioodrich was assi{,'ned to tiie first. 
Judge ^leeixer to tile second, and Judge Cooper to the third. 
A court was ordered to he lield at Stillwater on the .second Mon- 
day, at the Falls of St. Anthony on the third, and at Meiidota 
on the fourth .Monchiy of .\ugust. Renville county was included 
in the second disti-ict, with Judge Meeker on the l)ench. 

T'ntil June "Jfi Uovernor Ramsey and faiiuly had been guests 
of 11(111. 11. 11. Sihh'y, at .Meiidota, On the afternoon of that day 
they arrived at St. Pa\d in a l)!i'cli-hark canoe and became per- 
manent residents at tlie capital. On July 1 a laud olifice was 
established at Stiilwati'i-. and A. \'an X'orhees, after a few weeks, 
became the registi'ar. 

On July 7 a proclamation was issued, dividing tlie territory 
into seven council districts, and ordering an election to be held 
on the first ilay of August, for one delegate to repi-esent the peo- 
ple in the House of Representatives of the United States, for 
nine councillors and eighteen representatives, to constitute the 
Legislative Assembly of .Minnesota. Renville enmity was included 
in the seventii district. 

Original Counties. 'l"he first tei'i-itoria! legislature as.semiih'd 
September 'A. 1849, and adjourned Noveridjcr 1. By an act 
approved October 27, 1849, the territory was divided into nine 
counties: Washington, Ramsey, Benton, Itasca, Wabashaw, 
Dakotah, Walinahta. ]\Iahkalito and Pembina. Oidy the counties 
of Washington. Ramsey and Benton were fully oi-ganized for all 
county purposes. The others were organized only for the pur- 
pose of the api)ointment of .justices of the peace, constables and 
■such other judicial and ministerial offices as might be specially 
provided for. They were entitled to any number of justices of 
the peace and constables, not exceeding six, to be ajipointed by 
the governor, their term of office wan to be two .years unless 
sooner removed b.v the govei-noi', and tlie.v were made conserv- 
ators of the peace, 

Wabashaw. Wabasliaw countj-, as "erected" by the act of 
October 27, 1849, comprised practically all of tiie soutiiern part 
of the present state of Minnesota. Its noi-thei-n boundar.N' was the 
parallel running through a ])oiiit on the .Mississi])])i opposite the 
mouth of the St. Ci'oix, and a jioint a trifie noith of the mouth of 
the Yellow Medicine rivei': the southei'u boundar.v was the Iowa 
line; its eastern, the .Mississip])i ; and its western the ]Misso)iri; 
and it also include<l the big peninsula between the Missouri and 
the Big Sioux rivers, and all of what is at present southeastern 
South Dakota. 

Th(^ southern part of tlu' present K'enxille e(iunt.\- thus 
fell in what was then Wabashaw countv, tlu' northei'ii 



248 HISTORY OF EENYILLE COUNTY 

boiuidary of Wabasliaw county crossing the present lienville 
county due east from a point a trifle north of the mouth of the 
Yellow ]\Ieclieine river. 

Itasca and Wabashaw were attached to Wasliiugton county, 
tlie three counties being constituted the Second judicial district, 
with lion. David Cooper on the bench. 

DaJtotah. Dakotah county was also "erected" by the act of 
October 27, 1849. Its eastern boundary was the Mississippi, its 
northern boundary was a line drawn due west from the mouth 
of the Clearwater river, its southern boundary was a line drawn 
due west from a point on the Mississippi opposite the mouth of 
the St. Croix, while the western boundary was the Missouri river. 

Dakota eoimty tlius included in its vast area tlie northern 
part of what is now Renville county, taking in the present town- 
ships of Wang, Ericson, Crooks, Winfield, Kingman, Osceola. 
Brookfield, Boon Lake, and all except a strip on the south of 
HaAvk Creek, Sacred Heart, Emmet, Troy, Bird Island, Melville, 
Hector and Preston Lake. 

Dakota, Wahnahta and Mahkahto were attached to Ramsey 
county for jiidicial purposes. They were with Ramsey consti- 
tuted the first judicial district and Aaron Goodrich was assigned 
as judge thereof. St. Paul was made the seat of justice of Ramsey 
county and the terms of the district court were appointed to be 
held there every year on the second Monday of April and the 
second Monday of September. 

The legislature of 1851, by Chapter I of the Revised Statutes, 
passed January 1, divided the territory into Benton, Dakota, 
Itasca, Cass, Pembina, Ramsey, Washington, Chisago and Waba- 
shaw counties and defines their borders. 

Dakota (the final "h" having been dropped) county was 
made to consist of all that part of the territory west of the 
Mississippi i-iver and lying west of a line drawn due south from 
Medicine Bottle's village at the Pine Bend of the Mississippi river 
(between the present cities of South St. Paul and Hastings), and 
south of a line beginning at the mouth of the Crow river (empty- 
ing into the Mississippi between Hennepin and Wright counties), 
and up that river and the north branch thereof to its source, and 
thence due west to the Missouri river. 

Dakota county as before was attached to Ramsey county for 
judicial jjurposes. tinder this revision Dakota county embraced 
all of what is now Renville county. 

Pierce and Nicollet. By an act passed March 5, 1853 (Henne- 
pin county having been established March 6, 1852), the legisla- 
ture organized the counties of Dakota, Goodhue, Wabasha, Fill- 
more, Scott, Le Sueur, Rice, Blue Earth, Siblej', Nicollet and 
' Pierce. The present Renville county fell in Nicollet and Pierce 
counties, the dividing line being a line drawn due north from 



ITTSTOKY (Vi- 1^'FA'VTLLE rOT-\TV 249 

tlif iiiiiutli of till' Littlo Kock (now called Mud) creek. Thus all 
of the jiicsent Kenville eouuty was in Pierce county except the 
townships of Boon Lake and Preston Lake, which, except possibly 
a strip of a few rods on the west, were in Nicollet county. Pierce 
county was attached to Nicollet county for judicial purposes. 
February 23. 1854, Houston, Fillmore, "Winona, Wabasha and 
Goodhue were established, and ^lareli 2, 1854, Sibley county \vas 
orpranize<l. 

Renville. Kcbiniary 20, 18.')"), the legislature passed an act 
defining the bovuidaries of the following counties: Olmsted, 
Dodge, ilower, Freeborn, Blue Eartli, Farribault, Steele, Rice, 
Dakota, Scott, Le Sueur, Nicollet, Sibley, Carver, Renville, Davis, 
Wright, Stearns, Brown, Goodhue, Newton, Benton, AVabasha, 
Fillmore, Hennepin, Pierce, St. Louis and Todd. The act estab- 
lishing Renville county was as follows: 

■'That so much of the territory as is embraced in the follow- 
ing boundaries be and is hereby established as the . county of 
Renville : Beginning at the center of the main channel of the 
Minnesota river, where the line between townships 111 and 112 
crosses said river; thence east along said township line to the 
western boundary of Sibley county; thence along the boundary 
line of Sibley and Carver counties, to the line between townships 
117 and 118, thence west along said line to the middle of the 
main channel of the Minnesota river ; and thence up the center of 
the channel of said river to the place of beginning." 

This would include all of what is now Renville eouuty. It 
would also take in the two southern townships in what is noAV 
Meeker county, the four sotithern townships in Avhat is now 
Kandiyohi county, and several townships in what is now Chip- 
pewa county. 

By an act approved March 8, 1860, an entirely new Renville 
county was organized. The act read as follows : 

"Section 1. That the upper and lower Sioux reservations as 
defined by the govei-nment survey made by 'Sevan & Hntton,' 
except so much thereof as lies east of range thirty-four (34) and 
south of the Minnesota river, be and the same are hereby attached 
to and become a part of the county of Renville. 

"Section 2. At the general election it shall be competent for 
the legal voters in the said county of Renville to elect all the 
county officers, justices of the peace and constables, as said county 
may be entitled to by law, which officers shall qualify and enter 
upon the duties of their office at the time, and in the manner 
prescribed by law. 

"Section 3. It shall hv the duty of the first board of county 
commissioners which shall be elected in jjursuance of this act, 
as soon after said board shall have been elected and qualified 
according to law, as the said board or a majority thereof .shall 



250 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

determine, to locate the county seat of said county to all intents 
and purposes until otherwise proviiletl by la\v. 

"Section 4. The county of Renville is hereby attached to 
the county of Nicollet, for judicial i)ui'poses. until the countj' 
officers of said county shall have been elected and qualified as 
contemplated by this act. 

"Section 5. Tliat from and after the election and qualifica- 
tiou of the eount>' officei's of Renville county as aforesaid the 
said county shall be included in the Sixth judicial district. 

"Section 6. The change in the county lines of Renville coiuity 
as provided for in section one of this act shall be submitted to 
the electors of the counties affected by said change at the next 
general election for their approval or rejection. 

"Section 7. This Act shall take effect from and after its 
adoption." This act was repealed in 1866. 

The upper ami lower I'eservations consisted of a strij) of land 
twenty miles in width, ten miles on each side of the I\Iinuesota 
river extending fi-om the mouth of the Little Rock (MutI-) creek 
in tile western part of Nicollet county to the south end of Lake 
Traverse, thus taking in a small part of what is now South Da- 
kota. Renville county as constituted by the act of 1860 took 
in all this strip cxi-i-pt tliat part of it which is now included in 
Brown county. 

"Some time before the Indian uprising an election was held. 
It is said that the following officers were elected : Commissioners, 
Stephen R. Henderson, John I\Ieyer and Clemens Cardenell : 
register of deeds, Stephen R. Henderson: judge of probate, 
Andrew Hunter; clerk of court, John Hose; auditor, James Car- 
rothers; sheritf, David Carrothers; county attorney, Cieorge 
Gleason. It appears that the judge of probate authorized the 
sale of land by a guai-dian for his ward." So declares an early 
history. Considerable doubt has been ca.st on the statement. 
Possibly, however, the election was some time after March 8. 
1860, and befoi'e August 18, 1862. At that time Renville county 
included the entire Indian reservation, a .strij) twenty nnles wide, 
extending along the Minnesota from the mouth of the Little Rock 
to Big Stone lake, ten miles on each side of the Minnesota. 

March 5, 1862, an act was passed by the legislature detach- 
ing Renville from Nicollet county as a judicial district, and trans- 
ferring all Renville county cases from the court of Nicollet county 
to the court of Renville county. Court was to be held the first 
Monday in October. I'nder this act Renville county as a part of 
the Sixth judicial district. 

September 29, 1862, after the massacre, Renville county was 
again attached to Nicollet county for judicial purposes, and all 
judicial officers of Nicollet county were given full powei- in Ren- 



HISTORY OF KEXVILLE COUNTY 251 

villf county-. Mai'eli 5, 1863, the legislature passed an act ahatiui; 
tile tax on proix-i'ty destroyed d\ii'ing the niassaei'e. 

Lincoln. Lincoln connty was established March 8, 1861, as 
follows: "Hef;innin'r at the northeast coi'nei' of town one hun- 
dred and seventeen, of ran<re thirty-one: thenee in a southerly 
direction, along the range line between ranges thirty and thirty- 
one to tlic southeast coi-ner of town one iiundred and fifteen, 
of I'ange thirty-one: thenee in a westerly direction, along the 
town Hue between towns one hundred and fourteen and one hun- 
dred and fifteen, to the southwest corner of town one hundred 
and fifteen of range thirty-five; thenee in a northerly direction, 
along the range line between ranges thii'ty-five and thirty-six, to 
the northwest cornei' of town one hundred and sixteen of range 
thirty-five; thence in an easterly direction, along the town line 
between towns one hundred and sixteen and one hundi'ed and 
seventeen, to the southeast covnei' of town one linndi'ed and 
seventeen of range thirty-three; theuce in a noftherly direction, 
along the i-ange line between ranges thirty-two and thirty-three, 
to the uoi't Invest corner of town one hundi'ed and seventeen, 
of range thirty-two; thence east to the place of beginning."" 

This took in two townships in the i)i'esent county of Meeker 
and till' following townships in the present county of Kenville: 
Winfield, Ti'oy, Kingman, P>ird Island, Osceola, Jlelville, Brook- 
field, Hector, liooii Lake and Preston Ijake. Lowell was the 
county seat. 

This act was repealed in 18fiG. Tn 1870 another attempt wa.s 
made to establish Lincoln county. An act approved by the legis- 
lature, February 12. 1870, was as follows: 

"Section 1. The boundai\v line of Lincoln county is hereby 
established, and hereafter shall be as follows, viz.: Beginning 
at the southeast corner of township number one hundred and 
twelve north, of range number thii-fy-two, running north to the 
soutiieast coi'nei- of townshij) number oiu' hundred and fifteen 
north, of range niunber thirty-two; thenee east to the southeast 
corner of said townshij) one hundi-ed and fifteen north, of range 
number thirty-one; thenee north to the townshi|i line between 
townships number one hundred and sixteen and one hundred 
and seventeen north, of range tliii'fy-one ; thenee west on said 
line to the southwest cornel' of townslii|) number one hundred 
and seventeen north, of range number thirtytlu'ee ; thence south 
on the range line between ranges thirty-three and thirty-four, 
to the main channel of the Minesota river; thence down the main 
channel of the .Minnesota river to the intersection with the line 
between townships iiumbei' one hundred and eleven and one hun 
dred and twelve; thence east on said Hue to the place of begin- 
ning. Provided, that if the teri-itory embraced in townships one 
hundred and seventeen north, of ranges tliirty-onr' and thirtv- 



252 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

two sluill uot be attached to Meeker cotmty by a vote of the 
electors of the territory to be affected thereby, then and in that 
case sucli territory sliall revert to and form a part of Lincoln 
county. 

"Section 2. At tlie time of giving notice of tlie next gen- 
eral election, it shall be the duty of the officers of the cotmty 
of Renville, required by law to give notice of such election, to 
give notice in like manner, that at said election a vote will be 
taken on tlie question of changing the boundary lines of Renville 
county in accordance with the provisions of this act. At said 
election the voters of said county of Renville in favor of the 
change proposed by this act, shall have distinctly Avritten or 
printed, or partly Avritten or printed on their ballots, 'For change 
of botmdary line of Renville county in favor of Lincoln county,' 
and those opposed to said change, 'Against change of boundary 
line of Renville county in favor of Lincoln county,' and returns 
thereof shall be made to the same office by the judges of elec- 
tion of the several townships and bj- the auditor of said Renville 
county as upon votes for state officers. 

"Section 3. The county of Lincoln is hereby attached for 
judicial purposes to the eoitnty of Renville. 

"Section 4. The foregoing provisions of this act shall take 
effect and be in force from and after the ratification and adop- 
tion of the proposed change by a majority of the voters of Ren- 
ville county." 

This Avould include the present towns of Preston Lake, Boon 
Lake, Brooktield, Hector, ]\lartinsburg, "Wellington, Cairo, Osce- 
ola, Melville, Palmyra. Bandon and Camp. 

The present Lincoln county organized in 1873 contains no part 
of the old Lincoln county. 

Renville. On March 1, 1S66. tlie legislature passed the fol- 
lowing act relating to Renville county : 

"Section 1. The boundar.y line of Renville county is hereby 
established, and shall hereafter be as foUoM's : Beginning at the 
centre of the main channel of the Minnesota river, on the line 
between township one htindred and eleven (111) and town.ship 
one htindred and twelve (112) north, thence east to the south- 
west corner of township one hundred and twelve (112) north, 
of range thirty-two west; thence north to the northeast corner 
of township one hundred and fourteen (114) north ; thence west 
to the northwest corner of township one hundred and fourteen 
(114) north, of range thirty-two (32) west; thence north to the 
northeast corner of township one hundred and sixteen (116) 
north ; thence west to the northwest corner of township one hun- 
dred and sixteen (116) north, of range thirty-six (36) west : 
thence south to the centre of the main channel of the Minnesota 
river; thence down said river to the place of beginning. 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 2.-i:J 

"Section 2. Tin- (-oiuity ol" Rt'uvillc is hereby declared an 
organized rounty, and the eouiity seat thereof temporarily lo- 
cated at Heaver Falls. Tlie last election of county officers for 
Renville county is hereby eonfiriued and i-atitied, and saitl officers 
until their successors are elected and (|ualified, shall have full 
power and authority to do and perform all acts and duties of 
their respective oiSces within the limits of Renville county, as 
defined in section one of this act, which the officers of other or- 
ganized counties can do and jierfoi-ni witiiin theii- respective 
counties. 

"Section 3. At the time of giving notice of the next general 
election, it shall be the duty of the officers of Renville county, 
requireil l>y law to give notice of such election, to give notice 
in like manner, that at said election a vote will be taken on the 
question of changing the boundary lines of Renville county, in 
accordance with the provisions of this act. At said election the 
voters of Kenville county, in favor of the change proposed by 
this act, siudl have distinctly wi'itten or' printed, or partly writ- 
ten and partly printed on their ballots: For change of boundary 
lines of h'eiivine county. And tiiose opposed to such change: 
Against change of boundai-y lines of Renville county; and re- 
turned to the same officer by judges of election, as votes for 
State officers. 

"Section 4. The county officers to whom the returns are 
made shall, within twenty days after said election, canvass the 
votes ietnrn(>d for or against the change of boundary lines, and 
shall fm-thwith cei-tify the result of such canvass to the Gov- 
ernoi-. who, if it appears that the ma.iority of votes in said county 
on tile question of changing the boundary lines, are in favor of 
such clumge, shall make proclamation thereof by causing 1o be 
ptdjlished in a newspaper in said county, or in lirown county 
that llie change proposed by this act has been ratified and adojited 
by the nui.jority of the electors of said county. 

"Section 5. All acts and parts of acts inconsistent with this 
act are hereby repealed. 

"Section G. This act shall take effect and be in force from 
and after the ratification and adoption of the proposed change 
as aforesaid." 

The boundaries given in this act included all the present 
county of Renville except the present towns of Brookfield, Hec- 
tor, Boon Lake, Preston Lake, Ericson, Sacred Heart, Wang and 
Hawk Creek. 

The election was held November 8, 1866. What action was 
taken in the matter of the boundaries is not known. Beaver 
Falls an<l Birch Coole\- were rivals for the county seat, and 
Beaver Falls won. 

By an act iipproved March 2, 1867, the boundaries of the 



254 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COFNTY 

coimty were established as follows: "Beginning in the middle of 
the main channel of the Minnesota river on the line between 
townships one hundred and seventeen and one hundred and 
eighteen north, on the fifth principal meridian; thence east on 
said township line to the line between ranges thirty-six and 
thirty-seven ; thence south on said range line to the line between 
townships one hundred and sixteen and one hundred and seven- 
teen ; thence east on said township line to the northeast corner 
of town one hundred and sixteen, of range thirty-six ; thence 
south on the line between ranges thirty-five and thirty-six, to 
the line between townships one linndred and fourteen and one 
hundred and fifteen ; thence east on said township line to the 
line between ranges thirty-one and thirty-two ; thence south on 
said range line to the line between townships one hundred and 
eleven and one hundred and twelve : thence west on said town- 
ship lini' to the centre of the main channel of the ilinnesota river; 
thence up said channel, to the place of beginning."" 

This would include a part of tlu' present county of Chippewa 
and the following townships in tjic jirt'sent Renville county: 
"Wang, Erickson. ("I'ooks, Hawk Creek, Sacred Heart, Emmet. 
Flora, Henryville, Norfolk, Bi'aver Falls, Birch ( 'ooley. Palmyra, 
Bandon, Camp, ilartinsburg, Wellington and ( 'airo. 

Other sections of the act wei-e : "SiM-tion 1. That the elec- 
tion held in Renville county on the eiglith ila\' of November, 
1866, for the election of county ofticers for said county is hereby 
confirnuHl and ratified, and saiil officers, until their successors are 
elected and qualified shall have full power and authority to do 
and perforin all acts and duties of their fi'spective otfices witliin 
the limits of Renville county as hereafter defined. 

"Section 3. The following named persons are hereby declared 
to be the legally eon.stituted officers of said Renville county, until 
their successors are elected, and qualified according to law, viz. : 
County treasurer, Henry Ahrens; county commissioners, George 
McCulloch, N. D. White and Francis Shoenmker; judge of ju-o- 
bate, Nelson Frazier; sheriff, James (iraves; county auditor, 
Charles R. Eldridge ; regi.stfr of deeds, R. "W. Davies ; county 
surveyor, M. S. Spicer ; clerk of district coui't. Edward Trevett 
Tillotson; coroner. Jacob Hawkins.'" 

The first board of comity commissioners, consisting of N. I). 
White, George McCulloch and Francis Shoemaker, met April 
2, 1867. On motion of Francis Shoemaker, N. D. White was ap- 
pointed chairman. On motion of N. D. White the county was di- 
vided into towns as follows : 

Mud Lake, including what is now Cairo and all the towns in 
range :32 within the county; Camp, including all the towns in 
range '-VA within the county; Birch Cooley, including the four 
towns now in range 34; Beaver, including what is now Beaver 



HISTOHV ()F HEXVILLE ("Ol'NTY 255 

Falls and all otiicr towns in the c'ount\-, now in rauge 35; Flora, 
including wliat is now Flora Brooks, and I'hiinirt ; Hawk Creek, 
including what is Sacred Heart, Ei-icksoii, Hawk Creek and 
Wang. Eight school districts were created. 

The second meeting was held Api'il 4. On motion of Francis 
Shoemaker, James Carrothers of Beavci-, was apjjointed sheriff, 
the elected sheriff not having qualilied. On motion of George 
McCulloch, .Alarlow S. Spicer was apjiointed superintendent of 
schools, and .James Butler, coroner, the elected coroner not hav- 
ing qualified. Ju<tges of election and ]ilaces of election were as- 
signed for the various townshi|)s. It was voted to request the 
register of deeds of Nicollet county to surrender the early county 
records of Kenville county, which were lost during the massacre, 
and fiinilly found to he in the pos.session of Nicollet county. 
George Bowers was ajipointed .judge of probate. 

Another act at the first board of the commissioners, was to 
provide for the lack of necessities among the settlers. Want 
amounting in some localities to destitution prevailed throughout 
the belt of country ilevastated by grasshoppers. Redwood and 
Renville being frontier counties, felt the scarcity and consequent 
high prices more than the older counties. Successive failures 
had. moreover, nearly discouraged the farmers. In the emer- 
gency the aid of the state was offered to the sufferers through 
Governor Wm. K. ]\Iai'shall. Redwood and Renville counties 
took advantage of the (jroffered aid and received from Fort 
Ridgely, in the form of provisions, liai'd tack, beans, hominy 
and pork, besides seed grain with which to make a new start. 
On the motion of N. I). White the county board, May 16, 1867, 
passed the following resolution : "Resolved, that the destitution, 
among our settlers, is such that in order to remain upon their 
homesteads and i)rocure seed they need promi)t and official aid, 
and it is hereby ordered that the counly accept the [jroffered aid 
of his excellency, Wm. R. .Marshall, governor of the State of 
Minnesota, and the credit and good faith of the county is hereby 
pledged for the payment of any ilebt that shall be 1 hereby in- 
curred, and the anthoi'ities of the sevei'al towns in the county 
are hereby directed to ajiply to Samuel ^lel'haill. the agent for 
the district, for supplies of seed and rations, and to make return 
to the county eounnissioners, accounting for the amounts re- 
ceived, and the distribution thereof in each town, and it is further 
directed that each town shall be 7'esponsible foi- the transporta- 
tion of its own share of such sujjplies fi-om Foi't Ridgely to the 
place of distribution." A similar i-esolntion was adopted by the 
board of Redwood county. 

The board of county commissionei's for 1868 consisted of 
N. D. White (chairman), Francis Shoemaker and Halleck 
Peterson. 



256 HISTOKY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

In 1868 Renville county was established as follows: "'Begiu- 
ning in the middle of the main channel of the Minnesota river, 
on the line between townships one hundred and eleven (111) 
and one hundred and twelve (112) north; thence east to the 
southeast corner of township one hundred and twelve (112) north, 
of range thirty-two (32) west of the fifth meridian: thence north 
to the northeast corner of township one hundred and fourteen 
(114) north: thence west to the northwest corner of township 
one hundred and fourteen (114) north, of range thirty-two west; 
thence north to the north-east corner of township one hundred 
and sixteen (116) north; thence west to the northwest corner 
of township one hundred and sixteen (116) north, of range thir- 
ty-eight west; thence south to the centre of the main channel 
of the ilinnesota river: thence down the main channel of said 
river to the place of beginning : provided, that if. after the 
passage of this act, it shall be jutlieially determined that town- 
ships one hundred and fifteen, one Innidred and sixteen and one 
hundred and seventeen, of range thirty-one, and townships one 
hundred and fifteen, one hiuidred and sixteen and one hundred 
and seventeen, of range thirty-two, are not a part of the county 
of McLeod. then and in that case the said townships shall con- 
stitute a part of the count\- of Renville notwithstanding the pro- 
visions of this act." 

By an act approved February 28, 1866, it was provided that 
the above mentioned towns (Brookfield, Boon Lake, Hector, Pres- 
ton Lake, and two now in Sleeker county — the six then forming 
part of the old county of Lincoln) should be transferred to Mc- 
Leod county, the act to take effect \ipon its ratification by the 
electors of SIcLeod county. Such ratification was proclaimed 
by the governor on December 20, 1866. The effect of it, however, 
was to reduce the area of Lincoln county to six townships or only 
216 square miles, in violation of Constitution, Article 11, para- 
graph 1, which forbids any reduction below 400 square miles, 
and therefore these townships remained in Lincoln county until, 
by the above section, that county was merged in Renville 
county. 

By the laws of 1870, chapter 97, t^vo of these towns, viz.. 117 
of range 31, and 117 of range 32, were detached from Renville 
county and added to Meeker county. Since then the boundaries 
of the county have remained unchanged. 

On February 29, 1872, the following law was approved by 
the legi-slature : '"Section 1. That townships number one hun- 
dred and fifteen (115) and one hundred and sixteen (116) north 
of ranges number thirty-one (31) and thirty-two (32) be and the 
same are hereby detached from the county of Renville and at- 
tached to the county of IVIcLeod ; and said townships shall liere- 
after form and be a part of said county of ilcLeod. 



HISTORY OF EENVILLE COUNTY 257 

■'Section 2. At the time of giving notice of the next general 
ek-ction, it shall be the duty of the officers in said Renville and 
lUcLeod counties required by law to give notice of such general 
t'.ection, to give notice in like manner, that at said election a 
'. ote will bo taken on the question of detaching townships num- 
ber one hundred and fifteen (115) and one liundred and sixteen 
(116) north, of ranges number thirty-one (31) and thirty-two 
•'32) from Renville county and attaching the same to the said 
county of McLeod in accordance with the provisions of this act. 
At said election the voters in each of said counties in favor 
of detaching said townships from Renville county and attaching 
the same to McLeod county shall have distinctly written or 
printed or partly written or partly printed on their ballots the 
TFords, 'In favor of detaching said townships from Renville 
county and attaching the same to McLeod county:' and those op- 
posed to the detaching of said towns from Renville county and at- 
taching the same to McLeod county shall have distinctly written 
or printed or partly written and partly printed on their ballots 
the words, 'Against detaching said townships from Renville 
county and attaching the same to McLeod county.' The votes 
upon said question shall be canvassed in the same manner and 
the returns thereof made to the same office by the judges of elec- 
tion of the several townships in Renville and McLeod counties 
as votes for county officers. 

"Section 3. The county officers to wliom the returns are 
made, in each of said counties, shall, within ten (10) days after 
said election, canvass the votes returned for and against the 
detaching said townships from Renville county, and attaching 
the same to McLeod county, and shall forthwith certify the re- 
sult of such canvass to the governor, who, if it appears that a 
majority of all the voters in said counties shall have voted in 
favor thereof, shall make proclamation thereof by causing to be 
published in two (2) daily newspapers in the city of St. Paul, 
that the detaching of said townships from Renville county and 
attaching the same to McLeod county proposed by this act 
has been ratified by a majority of the voters of said 
counties. ' ' 

The proposition was rejected by the voters. 

Birch Cooley. For some years after Renville county assumed 
its present boundaries there was talk of changes being made. Oct. 
1, 1894, Governor Knute Nelson issued a proclamation directing 
the voters to cast their votes on the question of creating a new 
county to be named Birch Cooley, and to consist of the townships 
of Birch Cooley, Norfolk, Palmyra, Bandon, Camp, Brookfield. 
Hector, Martinsburg, Wellington. Cairo, Boon Lake and Preston 
in Renville county, and Sevei-ance, Grafton and Moltke in Sibley 
county. The proposition, however, never came to vote. 



258- HT^iTORY OF RFA-VILLE COUNTY 

COUNTY COMMISSIONERS. 

The couuty eoiiiiuissioiiers since 1869 have been as follows: 

1869 — Francis Shoemaker, Newell Morse and William Em- 
erick. 

1870— R. G. Weed, E. O'Hara and Louis Kope. 

1871 — R. G. Weed, Louis Kope and Bernhardt Marschner. 

1872 — Louis Kope. B. Marschner, Peter Henry. 

1873 — B. Marschner, Peter Henry and Ole Jacobson. 

1874 — Peter Henry. Ole Jacobson, James 0"Brien, M. T. Rid- 
out and T. L. Rudy. 

1875 — Fred V. Haas, Wm. F. Grummons, Peter Henry, Francis 
Shoemaker and Ole Jacobson. 

1876 — Fred V. Haas, William F. Grunnuons, T. H. Sherwin, 
Owen Heaney and Ole Jacobson. 

1877 — William F. Grummons (chairman). Fnnl \'. Haas. T. H. 
Sherwin, Owen Heaney and Henry Paulson. July 16. Arnold 
Vincent took the place of Fred V. Haas on the board. 

1878 — Henry Paulson (chairnmn), T. H. Slierwin, William F. 
Grummons, Owen Heaney and Edmond O'Hara. On July 16. 
1878, J. S. Niles took the place of Edmond O'Hara. On Decem- 
ber 3, 1878, an unsuccessful effort was made to unseat William 
F. Grummons. on the grounds tliat he had removed from the 
district, which he representetl. 

1879 — Henry Paiilson (chairman). John Thompson, Thos. 
Leary. Owen Heaney and J. S. Niles. 

1880 — Henry Paidson (chairman). John Thompson. Thos. 
Leary, Owen Heaney and J. S. Niles. 

1881 — John Thompson (chairman), Henry Paulson. Owen 
Heaney, Thomas Leary and Owen Carrigan. 

1882 — Thomas Leary (chairman), Henry Paulson, Owen 
Heaney, Owen Carrigan and Louis Tennis. 

1883 — Owen Carrigan (chairman), Henry Schafer, Peter P. 
Dustrud, Thomas Leary, Lewis L. Tennis. In May. 1883. ]\Ir. Dus- 
trud resigned and Peter G. Peterson was appointed. 

188-1 — Lewis L. Tennis (chairman), Owen Carrigan. Thomas 
Leary, Henry Schafer and John Johnson. 

1885 — Henry Schafer (chairman), Owen Cai-rigan. John 
Johnson. Gunerus Peterson and J. H. Reagan. 

1886 — Owen Carrigan (chairman). Henry Schafer, J. H. Rea- 
gan, Gunerus Peterson and John Johnson. 

1887 — Henry Schafer (chairman), John Hurst, Julius Tliomp- 
f>on. Patrick Williams and A. H. Anderson. 

1888 — John Thompson (chairman), John Hui-st, Patrick Wil- 
liams, A. H. Anderson and Henry Schafer. 

1889 — John Thompson (chairman), John Warnci'. O. F. Peter- 
^(■n. Patrick Williams and A. H. Anderson. 



HISTORY OF liE.WlLLE COUNTY a"i!» 

» 

1890 — A. II. Aiiderson (chainiian), .loliii Tliompsoii, O. F. 

Peterson, John Warner and Patrick Williams. 

1891—0. F. Peterson (eliainnan), Patrick Williams, A. H. 
Anderson, Thj'ke Ytterboc and John Warner. 

1892 — A. 11. Anderson (chairman), O. F. Peterson, Thyke 
Utterboe, Patrick Williams and John Warner. 

1893—1, E. J. Butler ; 2, Thyke E. Ytterboe ; 3, A. D. Corey ; 
4. John Warner; 5, A. H. Anderson. 

1895—1, E. J. Butler; 2, A. J. Anderson; 3, A. D. Corey; 4, 
Ferdinand Schroeder; 5, A. H. Anderson. 

1897—1, E. J. Butler; 2, A. J. Anderson: 3, C. A. Desmond; 
4, F. A. Schroeder ; 5, John I. Johnson. 

1899—1, E. J. Butler; 2, Norman Hickok ; 3, C. A. Desmond ; 4, 
F. A. Schroeder; 5, John I. Johnson. 

1901—1, W. E. Kemp ; 2, Norman Hickok ; 3, W. C. Keefe ; 4, 
F. A. Scluoeder; 5, Carl Anderson. 

1903—1, W. E. Kemp; 2, Ole S. Olson; 3, W. C. Keefe; 4, M. 
E. Sherin; 5, Carl Anderson. 

1905—1, B. C. McEwen ; 2, Ole S. Olson ; 3, Julius Patzewold ; 
4, M. E. Sherin; 5, Carl Anderson. 

1907 — 2, Chas. Lammers; 1, B. C. McEwen; 3, Julius Patze- 
wold ; 4, M. E. Sherin ; 5, Carl Anderson. 

1909—1, B. C. McEwen; 2, Chas. Lammers; 3, Julius Patze- 
wold ; 4, I\I. E. Sherin ; 5, Carl Anderson. 

1911 — 1, B. C. ilcEwen ; 2, Chas. Lammers; 3, Julius Patze- 
wdld ; 4, M. E. Sherin; 5, Carl Anderson. 

1913—1, J. U. Ilougland; 2, Chas. Lammers; 3, John Ederer; 
4, M. E. Sherin ; 5, R. II. Nelson. 

1915 — 1, J. U. Hougland; 2, Chas. Lammers; 3, John Ederer; 

4, M. E. Sherin: 5, R, H. Nelson, Edward Paulson. R. H. Nelson 
resigned June 1, 1915, and died July 21, 191."). 

COUNTY OFFICERS. 

Auditor. Charles K. Eldridge was elected auditor of Ren- 
ville county in the fall of 1866. January 15, 1868, he resigned, 
and Carter H. Drew was ajjpointed. In the fall of 1868, Darwin 

5. Hall was elected. He served four years. Eric Ericson was 
elected in the fall of 1872. lie was suspended bj' the Governor, 
August 20, 1878, upon complaint of II. M. Kno.x, .state examiner. 
September 3, 1878, Patrick H. Kerwan was appointed by the 
county commissioners. He served until January 1, 1891. Ed. 
De Pue, the next auditor, served from January 1, 1891, to Janu- 
ary 1, 1895; J. T. Brooks, from January 1, 1895, to January 1, 
1903; H. J. Lee, from January 1, 1903, to January 1, ]!)0f). J. L. 
Johnscin has seivi'd since January 1, 1909. 

Register of Deeds. Robert W. Davis was elected register of 
deeds of Renville county in the fall of 1866. William F. Van 



260 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

Dej-n was elected in the fall of 1870. As it was discovered after 
a while that he was not a citizen, an act legalizing his act was 
passed by the legislature February 26, 1872. He removed from 
the county and on October 2, 1871, James S. Chapman was ap- 
pointed. He was elected in the fall of 1872. In the fall of 1874. 
William W. McGowan was elected. Carl A. IMork was elected 
in the fall of 1876. In the fall of 1882, Bradner A. Knapp was 
elected. Gunerus Peterson was elected in the fall of 1886. He 
served until January 1, 1891. P. B. Olson served from January 
1, 1891, to January 1, 1895; Peter Erickson from January 1, 
1895, to January 1, 1901; Theo. A. Nellermoe from January 1, 
1901, to January 1, 1905. T. H. Collyer has served since January 
1. 1905. 

Treasurer. Henry Ahrens was elected treasurer of Renville 
county in the fall of 1866. Hans Gronnerud was elected in the 
fall of 1872. In the fall of 1884, William D. Griffith was elected. 
Hans Listerud was elected in the fall of 1886, and served iintil 
January 1, 1891. Frank Poseley was treasurer from January 1, 
1891, to January 1, 1893. Then Hans Listerud was treasurer 
again from January 1, 1893, to January 1, 1901 ; then William D. 
Griffith was again treasurer from January 1, 1901, to Januarj' 1, 
1913. Since Januarj' 1, 1913, Amiuid Dahl has been in office. 

Sheriff. James W. Graves was elected sheriff of Renville 
county in the fall of 1866. When the commissioners met, April 
4. 1867, he had not qualified, so James Carrothers was appointed. 
However, a short time afterward, Mr. Graves qualified, and served 
several months. He resigned and on November 30, 1867, Henry 
J. Witcher was appointed. In the fall of 1868, W. H. Jewell was 
elected. James Carrothers was elected in the fall of 1870. He 
resigned, but his resignation was not accepted. He left the 
county, however, and on February 21, 1872, the office was de- 
clared vacant. The next day, Jerome P. Patten was appointed. 
James Arnold was elected in the fall of 1872. In the summer of 
1874 he removed to New Ulm, and July 29, 1874, Martin Jensen 
was appointed. He served for many years. Hans 0. Field was 
elected in the fall of 1882 and served until January 1, 1891. 
William Wichman served from January 1, 1891, to January 1, 
1901; N. L. Headline from January 1, 1901, to January 1, 1907; 
John A. Vick from January 1, 1907, to January 1, 1913. 0. T. 
Sunde has served since January 1, 1913. 

Judg'e of Probate. Nelson Frazier was elected judge of pro- 
bate in the fall of 1866. George Bowers was appointed April 
4, 1867. He was followed by N. D. White, who in turn was 
followed by Moses Little. George H. Megquier was elected in 
the fall of 1873. He tendered his resignation to the board of 
county commissioners, April 7, 1874, but that board doubted 
•whether it had the power to accept or the power to appoint a sue- 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 261 

eessor. "William W. IMcGowaii was eleetod in the fall of 1875; 
Hans Groimerud in the fall of 1879; Jolin Gam-ity in the fall of 
Ls8(i: Francis .Shoemaker in the fall of 1888: .lolui Garrity in the 
fall of 1890 again; Perry "W. Glenn in tlie fall of 1894; and George 
P. Gage in thf fall of 1902. Pjiarles N. llattson has serv<'d sinee 
Jannary 1, 1911. 

County Attorney. The records are somewhat vague regard- 
ing the early county attorneys. It appears that, "a vacancy ex- 
isting," P. II. Swift was appointed September 1, 1868. Appar- 
ently John M. Doniioii was elected in the fall of 1870. He re- 
signed and G. II. .Megcpiicr was appointed. S. R. 31iller was 
elected in the fall of 18K): (iahriel T. Christianson in the fall of 
1882; S. R. :MilIer again in the fall of 1884. In the fall of 1886, 
Gabriel T. Cliristianson was again elected, and served until 
January 1, 1891. Sinee then the attorneys have been: R. T. 
Daly, Jannary 1. 1891, to Jannary 1. 1893; S. R. Miller, January 
1, 1893, to January 1. 1899: A. V. Rieke, January 1, 1899. to Jan- 
uary 1, 1903: Fi-ank :Murray, January 1, 1903 to January 1. 1911. 
L. D. Barnar.l has served sinee January 1, 1911. 

Clerk of the District Court. Edward Trevett Tillotsou was 
elected elerk of the distric't coui't in the fall of 1866. Lane K. 
Stone Avas elected in the fall of 1869. Darwin S. Hall was ap- 
pointed November 30. 1872, by Judge ]M. G. Ilanseom. He was 
elected in the fall of 1873 and 1877, but resigned March 6, 1878, 
being succeeded by William W. McGowan, who was appointed 
by E. St. Julien Cox, district .judge. William AV. McGowan was 
elected in the fall of 1878, and served a long tci-m, retiring Jan- 
uary 1, 1895. Following him came E. E. Cook. January 1, 1895, 
to i\rarch 30. 1902; Carl O. Brecke, appointed liy Judge Gorhara 
Powers, April 3, 1902; elected January 1, 1903, to January 1, 
1907; and A. P. Heaney, .lauuaiy 1, 1907, to January 1. 1911. C. 
O. liicckc took office Jamuiry 1, 1911, and is still serving. 

Surveyor. In the eai-ly days surveyors and viewers were ap- 
pointed tor each road oi-dered laid out. Marlow S. Spicer was 
elected county surveyor in tiie fall of 1866. Possibly Charles G. 
Johnson was ihe next county surveyor. At least he was serv- 
ing in the early eighties. J. C. Garland served in 1874; Marlow 
S. Spicer from .Taiuiary 1. 188.'), to January 1, 1889, and E. A. 
Dieter from January 1, 1899 to January 1, 1901, but with these 
exceptions Mr. Johnson served until January 1. 1911. .lolin A. 
Dahlgren served from January 1, 1911. to January 1, 191."). and 
T. S. Hewcrdine has served since January 1, 1915. 

Coroner. Jacob Hawkins was elected coroner in the lall of 
1866. He did not ((ualify, and .Tames Butler Avas appointed Ai)ril 
4, 1867. Francis Shocnuiker was appointed March 19, 1870. In 
the fall of tliat year. Dr. T. H. Sherwin Avas elected. Dr. F. L. 
Puffer was elected in the fall of 1878. Since then tlie coroners 



262 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

have been : Jauuary 1, 1883, to Jaiuiary 1, 1887, Dr. A. G. Stod- 
dard; January 1, 1887, to January ]. 1889, Dr. Willis Clay; Janu- 
ary 1, 1889, to January 1, 1891, Dr. W. Smalley ; January 1, 
1891, to January 1, 1893, Dr. A. G. Stoddard; January 1. 1893, to 
January 1, 1895. W. H. Jewell ; Jauuary 1, 1895, to January 1, 
1897, Dr. E. M. Clay; January 1, 1897, to January 1, 1903, A. G. 
Stoddard, M. D. ; January 1, 1903. to January 1, 1911,. E. M. 
Clay, M. D. ; January 1, 1911, to January 1, 1918. Harry L. D'Arms, 
]\I. D.; January 1, 1913, to January 1, 1915, F. W. Penhall, M. D. ; 
Januai-y ]. 191.^. to January 1. ]919. A. A. Passer, M. D. 

Superintendent of Schools, ilarlow S. Spieer was appointed 
superintendent of schools April i. 1867. William Emerick took 
olBce January 6, 1870 : Carter H. Drew, January 1, 1872. He was 
followed by G. II. ilegquier. In 1877, J. S. Bowler served. Iver 
S. Gerald was the superintendent in the years 1878, 1879, 1880, 
1881. 1882 and 1883. Eric Ericson took office in 1884 and served 
until January 1, 1891. Following liiiii came F. C. Greene for two 
years. Then Mr. Ericson served for four years. F. A. Schatfer 
served from January 1, 1907, to January 1, 1915. Ainalia M. 
Bengtson has served since January 1, 1915. 

Court Commissioner. Jolm M. Dorman filed his bond as coui't 
commissioner January 6, 1871. C. H. Drew took the office ilay 31, 
1877. James Greely was appointed July 25, 1881. Hein-y Kelsey 
was elected in the fall of 1881. He served until January 1, 1893. 
Then came J. J. Durrell from January 1, 1893, to January 1, 1895; 
followed by John j\I. Freeman, January 1, 1895. His unexj^ired 
term was filled by Henry Ahrens, who was followed by John Kellej-. 
S. R. Miller took office January 1, 1905, and has held the office 
contiiniouslv since that time. 



CHAPTER XVII. 
COUNTY REPRESENTATION. 

Territory Organized — Council Districts — Territorial Legislature 
— Renville in the Sixth, Seventh and Tenth Council Districts — 
Constitutional Convention — State Legislature — Members Who 
Have Represented Renville County — Congressional Represen- 
tation. 

Alexander Ramsey, of Pennsylvania, then only thirty-four 
years of age, was appointed by President Taylor the first gov- 
ernor of the new territory of JMinnesota. His previous public 
experience had been as a member of the Twenty-eighth and Twen- 
ty-ninth congresses, in which he had displayed the sterling qual- 
ities and the marked ability which characterized his long after- 
career. From the time of his coming to Minnesota until the close 




EENVILLE COUNTY COURT HOUSE 



THv ^'^••v YO^K 
FUflLiC LIBHARY 



iSTOR. LENOX \ND 
TILDEN *0(;ND>tTIONS 



^ 4 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 263 

of his life he remained one of its most loyal ami honored citizens, 
filliii<j man\- imjioi-taiit positions both in tlie state and the nation. 
He arrived in St. Paid, Jlay liT, 1849, and the hotels beinf? fnll 
to overflowing proceeded w itli Ins family to Mendota, a fur trad- 
ing station at the jiniction of the Mississippi and Miiuiosota i-ivers, 
where he beeame the guest of Heni-y II. Sibley, remaining there 
until June 26. 

On the first of June he issued a proclamation, said to have 
been prepared in a small room in Bass's log tavern which stood 
on the site now occupied by the Merchant's Hotel, making official 
announcement of the oi'ganization of the territory, with the fol- 
lowing officers: Governor, Alexander Ramsey, of Pennsylvania; 
secretary, C. K. Smith, of Ohio ; chief justice, Aaron Goodrich, 
of Tennessee : associate justices, David Cooper, of Pennsylvania, 
and Bradley B. Meeker, of Kentucky: United States marshal, 
Joshua L. Taylor; United States attorney, H. L. Moss. Mr. Tay- 
lor, having declined to accept the office of marshal, A. M. Mitchell, 
of Ohio, a graduate of West Point, and colonel of an Ohio regi- 
meikt in the Mexican war, was ap{)ointcd to tlie position and ar- 
rived in August. 

A second proclamation, issued by Governor Ramsey, June 11, 
divided the territory into three judicial districts, to which the 
three judges, who had been appointed by the president, were as- 
signed. The present Renville county was included in the Second 
district, which comprised the county of La Pointe (a former 
Wisconsin county) and the i'i'gi(ui north and west of the Missis- 
sippi and north of the Minnesota and a line ruiuiiug due west 
from the headwaters of the Minnesota to the Missoui-i river, and 
over this district Judge Meeker presided. 

The census of the territory taken in 1849 by an order of 
Governor Ramsey issued June 1], although inchuling the soldiers 
at the fort and pretty much every living soid in the territory 
except Indians, footed up the disappointing total of 4,764 — of 
which number 3,0.58 were males and 1,706 were fenudes. Addi- 
tional and revised retin-ns made the jjopulation exactly 5,000 — 
males, 3,253 ; females, 1,747. 

Another proclamation issm-d duly 7, 1849, divided the terri- 
tory into seven council districts and ordered an election to be held 
August 1 to choose one delegate to the house of representatives 
at Washington, and nine councillors and eighteen representatives 
to constitute the legislative assembly of Minnesota. The election 
passed off very quietly, politics entering scarcely at all into the 
contests, which were wholly personal. In all 682 votes were cast 
for the delegate to congress, Henry H. Sibley, who was elected 
without opposition. 

The council districts were described in Ramsey's proclamation 
as follows: "No. 1. The St. Croix precinct of St. Croix county, 



264 HISTORY OF EEXVILLE C( tUXTY 

and the settlements on the Avest bank of the ^Mississippi south of 
Crow village to the Iowa line. 2. The Stilhvater precinct of the 
county of St. Croix. 3. The St. Paul precinct (except Little 
Canada settlement). 4. Marine Mills. Falls of St. Croix, Rush 
Lake, Rice River and Snake River precincts, of St. Croix county 
and La Pointe county. 5. The Falls of St. Anthony precinct and 
the Little Canada settlement. 6. The Sauk Rapids and Crow 
Wing precincts, of St. Croix county, and all settlements west of 
the Mississippi and north of the Osakis river, and a line thence 
west to the British line. 7. The country and settlements west of 
the Mississippi, not included in districts 1 and 6. The territory 
now embraced in Renville county was included in the Seventh 
district, which generally speaking included all the territory be- 
tween the Sauk and the Minnesota rivers and westward, but none 
of the settlements on the west bank of the Mississippi except such 
as might be found north of the settlements near St. Anthony 
Falls and south of the mouth of Sauk river. 

1849 — The first territorial legislature — called the territorial 
assembly — met Monday, September 3, in the Central Hous«, St. 
Paul, a large log building weathei-boarded, which served both as 
a state house and a hotel. It stood on practically the present site 
of the Mannheimer block. On the first floor of the main building 
was the secretary's office and the dining room was occupied as 
the Representatives' chamber. As the hour for dinner or supper 
approached the House had to adjourn to give the servants an op- 
portunity to make the necessary preparations for serving the 
meal. In the ladies' parlor on the second floor the Council con- 
vened for their deliberations. The legislature halls were not to 
exceed eighteen feet square. Governor Ramsey, during his entire 
term of ofSce, had his executive office in his private residence, and 
the supreme court shifted from place to place as rooms could be 
rented for its use. Although congress had appropriated .$20,000 
for the erection of a eapitol, the money could not be used as "a 
permanent seat of government" for the territory had not yet been 
selected, so the machinery of government had to be carted around 
in the most undignified manner. The Seventh district was repre- 
sented in the council by IMartin McLeod, of Lac qui Parle ; and in 
the house of Alexis Bailly. of ilendota, and Gideon H. Pond, of 
Oak Grove. 

1851 — The second territorial legislature met January 1 and 
adjourned March 31. Martin !McLeod again represented the 
Seventh district in the council; while in the house were Alex- 
ander Faribault, of Mendota, and B. H. Randall, of Fort Snelling. 

The territory, having been divided into counties, it was ap- 
portioned by the second territorial legislature (1851) into seven 
districts. Dakota county, which included the present Renville 
county, was the sixth district. 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 265 

1852 — The third territoi-ial li'-rislature assembled January 7 
and adjourned ]\Iareh 6. The Sixth district Avas represented 
in the council by Martin ]MeLeod, of Oak Grove ; and in the house 
by James McBoal, of Mendota, and B. H. Randall, of Ft. Snelling. 

1853 — Tlie fourth territorial legislature asseiid)led January 5 
and adjourneil IMarch 5. The Sixth district was again represented 
in the council by Martin McLeod. i!. H. Randall was again in 
the house and the new member from the Sixth district was A. E. 
Ames. This legislature changed the boundary lines of certain 
counties and created certain new counties. The present Renville 
county fell in Pierce and Nicollet counties. In sjjite of these 
changes in county lines, the boundarii's of the legislative districts 
remained the same. 

Franklin Pierce having been elected president of the I'liited 
States in the previous November. ]n'oiiiptly [iroceeded after his 
inauguration, in accordance with the good old Jacksonian doe- 
trine, to remove the Whig officehohiei-s and distribute the sjioils 
among the victors. The ncAv territorial appointees were : (Jov- 
ernor, Willis A. Gorman, of Indiana: secretary, J. T. Kosser, of 
Virginia: chief justice, W. II. Welch, of Minnesota; associates, 
Moses Sherburne, of Maine; and A. (i. Cliattield, of Wisconsin. 
Soon after entering on the duties of his otifiee. Governor Gorman 
concluded a treaty at Watab with the Winnebago Indians for an 
exchange of territory. At the election in Oi-tohci- llenr>- ^F. 
Rice was elected delegate to Congress. 

18.54 — In 1854 the legislature of Minnesota for the first time 
assembled in a regular capitol building, its i)revioiis sessions 
having been held haphazard wherever accommodations could be 
liad. This building, which was started as early as 1851, was totally 
destroyed bj- tire on the evening of ilarch 1, 1881, while both 
branches of the legislature were in session. Some of the more 
valuable papers in the various oftices were saved, but tiie law 
library and many thousands of documents and repoi'ts were 
burned. The total loss was about .$20(),()(X). The present ''Old 
Capitol" was erected on the site of the first luulding. The 
fifth session assembled January 4 and adjourned ilarch 4. The 
Sixth district was represented in the council by Joseph R. 
Brown; and in the house by Hezekiah Fletcher and William H. 
Nobles. 

185.5 — The sixth territorial legislature assemblrd .hmuai-y .3 
and adjourned Mai'ch 3. Joseph K. Brown again i-epresented the 
Sixth district in the council, and Henry II. Sibley and D. M. 
Hanson represented the district in the house. It was this legis- 
lature that created Renville countx'. 

By the apportionment of 1855 Renville count\- was placed in 
the Tenth district with Le Sueur, Steele, Faribault. Blue Earth, 
Brown, Nicollft. Sibley ami Pierce. 



266 HISTORY OF KENYILLE COUNTY 

1856 — The seveiitli territorial legislature asseiubled January 2 
and adjourned Mareh 1. The Tenth distriet was represented in 
the council by C. E. Flandrau and in the house by Parsons K. 
Johnson, Aurelius F. de La Yergne and George A. iloLeod. 

1857 — The eighth and last territorial legislature assembled 
January 7 and adjournetl ilarch 7. The extra session lasted 
from April 27 to May 20. The Tenth district was represented 
in the council by P. P. Humphrey and in the house by Joseph R. 
Brown. Francis Baasen and 0. A. Thomas. 

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION. 

March 3, 1857. congress passed an act authorizing the people 
of Minnesota to form a state constitution. Each council district 
was to be represented in this convention by two representatives 
for each councilman and representative to which it was entitled. 
The constitutional convention, consisting of 108 members, was 
authorized to meet at the capital on the second ilonday in July, 
to frame a state constitution and submit it to the people of the 
territory. The election was held on the first ]\Ionday in June, 
1857. July 13 the delegates met but, a disagreement arising in 
the organization, the Republican members organized one body 
and the Democrats another, tifty-nine delegates being given seats 
in the former and fifty-three in the latter, making 112 in all. 
Each of these bodies, claiming to be the legally constituted con- 
vention, proceeded with the W'Ork of formulating an instrument 
to be submitted to the people. After some days au understand- 
ing was effected between them, and by means of a committee of 
conference, the same constitution was framed and adopted by 
both bodies. On being submitted to the people, October 13, 1857, 
it was ratified. 

The Tenth district was represented in the Republican wing by 
Amos Cogswell, Lewis McKune, and Edwin Page Davis. On the 
Democratic side, from the Tenth district, sat : Joseph R. Brown, 
C. E. Flandrau, Francis Baasen. William B. ilcilahon, and J. B. 
Swan. 

The history of this convention is so graphicall.y given by 
W. H. C. Folsom, who was one of its members, in his interesting 
volume, "Fifty Years in the Northwest,'" that we quote it almost 
entire : 

"The state was nearly equally divided between the Repub- 
licans and Democrats, still the question of politics did not enter 
largely into the contest except as a question of party supremacy. 
The people were a unit on the question of organizing a state 
government under the enabling act and in many cases there was 
but a single ticket in the field. It was a matter, therefore, of 
some surprise that there should be a separation among the dele- 
gates into opposing factions, resulting practically in the forma- 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 267 

tion of two conventions, each claiming to represent the people and 
each proposing; a constitution. The delegates, althoiiisrh but 108 
were called, were numbered on the rolls of the two wings as 59 
Republican and 53 Democratic, a discrepancy arising from some 
irregularity of em-ollment, by which certain memberships were 
counted twice. The Republican members, elaiuiing a bare ma- 
jority, took possession of the hall at midnight, twelve hours before 
the legal time for opening the convention, the object being to 
obtain control of the offices and connnittees of the convention, a 
manifest advantage in tlie matter of d(?ciding upon contested 
seats. 

"In obedience to the call <if the leaders of the party, issued 
the day before, the writer, with other Republicans, repaired to 
the house at the appointed hour, produced his credentials as a 
delegate, and was conducted into the illuminated hall of Hon. 
John W. North. The delegates were dispersed variously about 
the hall, some chatting together, others reading newspapers, 
smoking or snoring, and here and there one had fallen asleep in 
his seat. Occasionally a delegate nervously examined his revolver 
as if he anticipated some necessity for its use. 

"The Democratic delegates were elsewhere, probably iilotting 
in secret conclave to capture the hall, and perhaps it might be 
well enough to be i)repared for the worst. Thus the remainder 
of the night passed and the forenoon of July 13. As soon as the 
clock struck twelve the Deiuocratic delegates rushed tiiinultu- 
ously in, as if with the purpose of capturing the speaker's stand. 
That, however, was already occupied by the Republican dele- 
gates and the storming party was obliged to content itself with 
the lower steps of tlie stand. Both parties at the moment the 
clock ceased striking were .yelling "order" vociferously, and 
nominating tlieir ofTfieers pro tem. Both parties effected a tem- 
porary organization, although in tlie ui)roar and confusion it was 
difficult to know what was done. 

"The Democratic wing adjourned at once to the senate cham- 
ber and tlicro eifocted a permanent organization. Tlie Repub- 
licans, being left in undisturbed possession of the hall, perfected 
their organization, and the two factions set themselves diligently 
to work to frame a constitution, each claiiinng to be the legally 
constituted convention, and expecting recognition as such by the 
people of the state and congress. The debates in each were acri- 
monious. A few of the more moderate delegates in each recog- 
nized the absurdity and illegality of their position and questioned 
the j)ropriety of remaining and participating in proceedings 
which they could not sanction. 

"The conventions continued their sessions iidianiioniously 
enough. Each framed a constitution, at the completion of which 
a joint comnuttee was appointed to revise and harmonize the two 



268 HISTORY OF REXVTI.LE ('( )T-XTY 

coustitvitions, but the members of the committees were as bellig- 
erent as tlie conventions thej^ represented. Members grew angry, 
abusing each other with Avords and even blows, blood being 
drawn in an argument with bludgeons between two of the dele- 
gates. An agreement seemed impossible, when some one whose 
name has not found its way into history, made the happy sugges- 
tion that alternate articles of each constitution be adopted. 
When this was done, and the joint jiroduction of the two conven- 
tions was in presentable shape, another and almost fatal difficulty 
arose, as to which wing should be accorded the honor of signing 
officially this remarkable document. One bodj- or the other must 
acknowledge the paternity of the hybrid. Ingenuity amounting 
to genius (it is a pity that the possessor sho\ild be unknown) 
found a new expedient, namely, to write out two constitutions in 
full, exact duj^licates exee^jt as to signatures, the one to be 
signed by Democratic officers and members and the other by Re- 
publicans. These two constitutions were filed in the archives 
of the state and one of them, wliich one will probably never be 
known, was adopted by the people October 13, 1857."" 

]Mr. Folsom is slightly in error. The enabling act did not 
specify any hour for the meeting of tlie convention, nor did it 
designate any definite place in tbc caiiitol where tlie sessions 
should be lield, both of which oiiiissions coutriliuted to tlic con- 
fusion in organization. W. W. P^olwell, iu his ■■History of ;\Iin- 
nesota," narrates the preliminaries as follows: "To make sure 
of being on hand, the Republican delegates repaired to the capitol 
late on the Sunday night preceding the first Monday in June and 
remained there, as one of tliciu phrased it, 'to watcli and pray 
for the Democratic bi'cthrcii.' These did not appear till a few 
moments before twelve o'clock of tlu' ai)pointed day. Iiiinie- 
diately upon their entrance in a body into the representatives' 
hall Charles R. Chase, seci'etary of tlie tei-ritory and a delegate, 
proceeded to the speaker's desk and called to order. A motion 
to adjourn was made by ('olonel Gorman, and the question was 
taken by Chase, who declared it carried. The Democrats left 
the hall to the Republicans, who proceeded to organize the con- 
vention. Fifty-six delegates presented credentials in proper form 
and took their oaths to support the constitution of the United 
States. At noon of Tuesday the Democratic delegates assembled 
about the door of the hall, and finding it occupied by citizens 
who refused to give them ])lace, met in the adjacent council cham- 
ber and proceeded to organize the convention. Henry H. Sibley 
was made chairman, on motio}i of Josei)h K. Itrown, and later 
became president of the body." 

After the adjournment of the constitutional convention the 
Republicans and Democrats held their party conventions, each 
nominating a full state ticket and three candidates foi; Congress. 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 269 

The Republican candidate for governor was Alexander Ramsey 
and tlip Democrat if candidate Henry II. Sibley. The election 
■was held October IH, 1857, the constitution being adopted b\' an 
overwhelming vote; H. H. Sibley was elected governor by a 
majority of only 240 in a total of 35,240 votes, and the Demo- 
crats had a small majority in the Icnfislaturc. 

STATE REPRESENTATION. 

Tile fii'st ^Minnesota state legislature assembled December 2, 
1857. Then' was a serious question, however, as to whether it 
was really a state legislature, as Miiuiesota had not yet been 
admitted to the Union. There was a question as to the recog- 
nition of Samuel Medary, the territoi-ial governor, as governor 
of the state, but by a vote of 59 to 49 he was so recognized by 
the legislature, and he, in turn, in his message recognized the 
law-making body as a state legislature. None of the state ofificers 
could take the oath of office, and the Republican members of the 
legislature entered a formal protest against any business what- 
ever being done until after the admission of the state as a member 
of the Union. But the Democrats having a majority, decided to 
hold a joint convention December 19 for the election of two 
United States senators. Henry M. Rice was elected for the long 
term on the first ballot, but it was not until after several ballot- 
iugs that General James Shields won the short term. He was a 
ne^v comer from Illinois and his election was a bitter pill for 
many of the old Democratic war-horses, such as Sibley, Steele, 
Brown and Gorman. 

As a means of relieving the state from the awkward predica- 
ment in which it was placed the legislature adopted March 1 
an amendment to the constitution authorizing the newly-elected 
officers to qualify May 1, whether the state was admitted by that 
date or not, this amoidment to be submitted to the voters at an 
election called for April 15. A second amendment, submitted at 
the same time, provided for the famous $5,000,000 railroad bond 
loan, which was the cause of great loss and great bitterness to 
the people. Both amendments were overwhelmingly adopted, 
but in November, 1860, the bond amendment was expunged from 
the constitution, after $2,275,000 bonds had been issued. The 
legislature, March 25, took a recess until June 2. 

In the meantime the steps looking toward the recognition of 
Minnesota's statehood by Congress had lagged sadly. For some 
unknown reason President Buchanan had delayed until the mid- 
dle of January, 1858, transmitting to the United States Senate the 
constitution adopted by the people. A bill for the admission of 
Minnesota as a state Avas introduced by Stephen A. Douglas, 
chairman of the committee on territories. "When this bill came up 
February 1, there was a prolonged discussion, a number of the 



270 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

seuators being in opposition because it would add another to 
the number of free states, thus disturbing the ''balanee of pow- 
er" between the free and slave states. Among those participat- 
ing in the debate were Senators Douglas. Wilson, Gwin, Hale, 
Mason, Green, Brown and Crittenden, the latter being much 
more moderate in his expressions than most of his fellow senators 
from the Soutli. The debate continued until April 8, wlien the 
English bill, which provided for the admission of Kansas as a 
supposed slave state having passed, the opposition ceased, and 
Minnesota's bill was adopted by a vote of 49 to '-i. The bill then 
went to the House, where it met tlie same kind of olijections as 
had been raised in the Senate, the English bill standing in the 
way until May 4, ^vhen it Avas passed. One week later, May 11, 
the bill admitting Minnesota, passed the House by a vote of 157 
to 38. the following day receiving the approval of the President, 
and May 12, 1858, Minnesota obtained full recognition as a state 
in the Union. Informal news of the action of Congress reached 
St. Paul, by telegrai)hie information brought from La Crosse, 
Wisconsin, May 13, but the official notice was not received \uitil 
some days later, and May 24 the state officers elected in October, 

1858, took their oaths of office. 

1857-58 — The first state legislature, as already noted, assem- 
bled December 2, 1857. On March 25. 1858, it took a recess until 
June 28, and finally adjourned August 12. The state was ad- 
mitted ilay 11, 1S5S. It will, therefore, be seen that, although 
this legislature is called the first state legislature, nevertheless 
it assembled in territorial times. By the ajiportionmeut of 1857 
set forth in tlie state constitution adopted 'October 13, 1857, Sib- 
ley, Renville and McLeod counties constituted the Eighteenth 
district with one senator and tln-ee representatives. The 
Eiglitcenth district was represented in the senate by Elijah T. 
Mixer. John H. Stevens, Michael Cunnniiigs and Henr.y Poehler 
sat in the house. 

1858-59 — No session was held in the winter of 1858-59, mainly 
owing to the protracted session of 1857-58, which was believed 
to render unnecessary another one following so soon, the legis- 
lature of that year having so provided by enactment. 

1859-60 — The second state legislature assembled December 7, 

1859, and adjourned March 12, 1860. The Eighteenth district 
was represented in the senate by John H. Stevens and in the 
house by Peter Wilkins, Mathew Donohue, and Hamilton Beatty. 

By the apportionment of 1860 Renville county was placed 
in the Nineteenth district, which was to have one senator and two 
representatives. The other counties in the district were Nicollet, 
Sibley, Brown, Pierce, Davis counties west of range 33. 

1861 — The third state legislature assembled January 8 and ad- 
journed March 8. The Nineteenth district was represented in the 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 271 

senate by James W. Lindo luui tin- liouse by M. G. Hanscoino and 
E: E. Paulding. 

1862— The fourth state legislature assembled January 7 and 
adjournfd :\Ianli 4. The Nineteenth district was represented in 
the senate by Henry A. Swift and in the house by "S\. J. Severance 
and Adam Buek, Jr. 

On account of the Indian outbi'eak in 1862, an extra session 
was called by the governor. It assend)led S<'[)tember 9 and ad- 
journed September 29. The oflieers and members were the same 
as at the regular session, except that 1;. K. Asker, fromthe Ninth 
district, was not present at tlie reguhir session, but presented 
his credentials to the second session. 

1863 — The fifth state legislature assembled .iaiuiary (i ami ad- 
journed ]\Iarch 6. The Nineteenth di.strict was j-epresented in 
the senate by Henry A. Swift and in the house by William Huey 
and W. Tennant. 

1864 — The sixth state legislatiu'e assembled January .'>, and 
adjourned March 5. The Ninetei-nth district was represented in 
the senate by Henry A. Swift and in the house by Samuel Coffin 
and William Huey. 

1865 — The seventh state legislature assembled January 3 and 
adjourned March 3. The Nineteenth district was represented in 
the senate by Henry A. Swift and in the house by Hamilton Beatty 
and Henry Poehler. 

1866 — The eighth state legislature assembled January 2 and 
adjourned March 2. The Nineteenth district was represented in 
the senate by Charles T. Brown and in the house by Thomas 
Russell and J. S. G. Honner. 

By the apportioinnent of 1866 Redwood county was added to 
the Nineteenth district. It was to be represented by one senator 
and two representatives. 

1867 — The ninth state legislat)n-e assembled Jaiuiai'v 8 ami ad- 
journed March 8. The Nineteenth district was I'epreseuted in 
the senate by Adam Buck and in the house by Charles T. Brown 
and D. G. Shillock. 

1868 — The tenth state legislatui'e assendjled January- 7 and 

adjoin- 1 .March (i. The Nineteenth district was represented in 

the senate by Charles T. Brown and in the house ti\ John C, T?ii- 
dolph and Adam Biu-k. 

1869 — The eleventh state legislature assembled January 5 and 
adjoui'ned IMarch 5. The Nineteenth district was I'cpresented in 
the senate by Charles T. Brown and in the house by J. C. Rudolph 
and J. C. Stoever. 

1870 — The twelfth state legislature assembled .January 4 and 
adjourned March 3. The Nineteenth district was represented in 
the senate by William Pfaender and in the house by William L. 
Couplin and P. IT. Swift. 



272 HISTORY OF RE^•^•1LLE COUNTY 

1871 — The thirteenth state legislature assembled Jauuary 8 
aud adjourned March 3. The Nineteenth district was repre- 
sented in the senate by William Pfaender and in the house by 
W. L. Couplin and J. S. G. Honner. 

By the apportionment of 1871 Kenville aud Nicollet counties 
were placed in the Thirty-fourth district and were to have one 
senator and three representatives. 

1872 — The fourteenth state legislature assembled January 2 
and adjourned March 2. The Thirty-fourth district was repre- 
sented in the senate by Marshall B. Stone and in the house by 
H. E. Wadsworth, Hans C. Hanson and J. H. Dimham. 

1873 — The fifteenth state legislature assembled January 7 and 
adjourned Jlarch 7. The Thirty-fourth district was represented 
in the senate by Marshall B. Stone and in tlie house by Francis 
Baasen, E. St. Julien Cox. and David Benson. 

1874 — The sixteenth state legislature assembled January 6 and 
adjourned March 6. The Tliirty-fourth district Avas represented 
in the senate by E. St. Julien Cox and in the house by John N. 
Treadwell, Peter H. McDermid and David Benson. 

187.5 — The seventeenth state legislature assembled January 5 
and adjourned March 5. The Thirty-fourth district was repre- 
sented in the senate by E. St. Julien Cox and in the house by 
John N. Treadwell, P. H. McDermid and David Benson. 

1876 — The eighteenth state legislature assembled January 4 
and adjourned March 3. The Thirty-fourth district was repre- 
sented in the senate by J. T. Schoenbeek and in the house by 
D. S. Hall, Andrew Nelson and Nicholas Sons. 

1877 — The nineteenth state legislature assembled January 2 
and adjourned March 2. The Thirty-fourth district was repre- 
sented in the senate by J. T. Schoenbeek and in the house by 
Isaac Lundeen, W. J. Bean and David Benson. 

1878 — The twentieth state legislature assembled January 8 
and adjoui-ned March 8. The Thirty-fourth district was repre- 
sented in the senate by Henry Ahrens aud in the house by 
Sumner Ladd, Jacob Klossner, Jr., and J. M. Bowler. 

Henry Ahrens was born in Germany, August 2, 1835 : landed 
in New York in November, 1853, and worked at his trade, lock- 
smith, there one year; farmed in Illinois until 1861. then sold out 
and settled in Renville county in the spring of 1862 : lost most 
of his property that year by Indians, and barely escaped with 
his life; returned to Illinois; in 1865 came back to this county 
and was elected its first treasurer, and held the oiSee six years, 
besides farming extensively. In 1873 he bought an interest in a 
saw and flouring mill at Beaver Falls. He was a state senator, 
1878. He was married in Illinois in 1860. 

1879 — The twenty-first state legislature assembled January 7 
and adjourned March 7. The Thirty-fourth district was repre- 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 273 

sented in tlie senate by II. ('. ^Miller ami in the honsi- V)\- Kd. 
O'Hara, C. Amiindson and W. J. Bean. 

1881 — The twenty-second state legislature assembled Janiiary 
4 and adjourned JMarch 4. The Thirty-fourth district was repre- 
sented in the senate by H. C. Miller and in tln' house by T. ]\I. 
Cornish, C. Amundson and Jacob Klossner, Jr. 

An extra session Avas called for the purpose of considering 
the legislation at the regular session relating to the state rail- 
road bonds, M-hieh were declared unconstitutional by the supremo 
coiu't. The session commenced October 11 and closed Novem- 
ber 13. 

By the apportionment of 1S81. Renville county for the first 
time constituted a separate district. It was designated the Forty- 
.seventh district and was to have one senatoi- and one representa- 
tive. 

l<S8:i — The twenty-thii'd state legislature asseud)letl January 2 
and adjourned March 2. The Forty-seventh district was repre- 
sented in the senate by W. P. Christensen and in thi> house b.v 
Heni-y Paulson. 

1885 — The twenty-fourth state legislature assembled January 
6 and adjoui-ned March 6. The Forty-seventh district was repre- 
sented in the senate by W. P. Christiensen and in the liouse by 
Lewis L. Tinnes. 

1887 — The twenty-fifth state legislature assembled January 4 
and adjourne<l ]\Iarch 4. The Forty-seventh di.strict was repre- 
sented in the senate by D. S. Ilall and in the house by D. F. 
Walstrom. 

1889 — The twenty-sixth state legislatui'e assembh'd Jaiuiary 
8 and adjourned April 23. The Forty-seventh district was rep- 
resented in the seiuite by D. S. Hall and in the house by C. H. 
Davis. 

By the apportionment of 1889 Renville county was i)laced in 
the Forty-second district, having the same representation as 
before. 

1891 — The twenty-seventh state legislature assembled Januar.v 
6 and adjourned April 20. The Forty-seeond district was repre- 
sented in the senate by Ferdinand Borehert and in the house 
by H. A. Peterson. 

1893 — The twent.v-eighth state legislature assembled January 
3 and adjourned April 18. The Forty-second district was repre- 
sented in the senate by Ferdinand Borehert and in the house by 
C. D. McEwen. 

1895 — The twenty-nintli state legislatni-e assembled Jamiary 8 
and adjourned Ai)ril 23. The Forty-second district was repi-e- 
sented in the senate by James Ilanna and in the house by O. L. 
Brevig. 

1897 — The thirtieth state legislature a.ssembled .lanuary 5 and 



274 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

adjourned April 21. The Forty-second district was represented 
in the senate by James Hanua and in the house by J. A. Bergley. 

By the apportionment of 1897 Renville county became the 
Twenty-second district, to be represented by one senator and two 
representatives. 

1899 — The thirty-tirst state legislature assembled January 3 
and adjourned April 18. The Twenty-second district was repre- 
sented in the senate by ('harles H. Nixon and in the house by 
Gunerus Peterson and A. Eugene Kinne. 

1901 — The thirty-second state legislature assembled January 
8 and adjourned April 12. The Twenty-second district was rep- 
sented in the senate by Charles H. Nixon and in the house by 
Gunerus Peterson and M. J. Dowling. 

An extra session was called for the pui-pose of considering the 
report of the tax commission created by the act of 1901. The 
extra session convened February 4, 1902, and adjourned ilarch 
11, 1902. 

1903 — The thirty-third state legislature assembled January 6 
and adjourned April 12. The Twenty-second district was repre- 
sented in the senate by A. V. Rieke and in the liouse by William 
"Wiehman and A. H. Anderson. 

1905 — The thirty-fourth state legislature assembled January 
7 and adjourned April 18. The Twenty-second district was rep- 
resented in the senate by A. V. Rieke and in the house by William 
Wiehman and 0. T. Ramsland. 

1907 — The thirty-fifth state legislature asseiidjled January 5 
and adjourned April 22. The TAventy-second district was repre- 
sented in the senate by D. S. Hall and in the house by John A. 
Dalzell and N. J. Holmberg. 

1909 — The thirty-sixth state legislature assembled January 5 
and adjourned April 22. The Twenty-second district was repre- 
sented in the senate by D. S. Hall and in the liouse by John A. 
Dalzell and N. J. Holmberg. 

1911 — The thirty-seventh state legislature assembled January 
6 and adjourned April 19. The Twenty-second district was rep- 
resented in the senate by Frank Min-ray and in the house by N. J. 
Holmberg and Prank Hopkins. 

An extra session was called for the purpose of enacting a state- 
wide direct primary law applicable to all state officers, a corrupt 
practices act and a reapportionment law. The extra session con- 
vened June 4, 1912 and adjourned June 18, 1912. 

1913 — The thirty-eighth state legislature assembled January 7 
and adjourned April 24. The Twenty-second district was repre- 
sented in the senate by Frank Murray and in the house by Frank 
Hopkins and N. J. Holmberg. 

At several successive sessions of the legislature prior to that 
of 1913 attempts had been made to secure a new apportionment. 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 275 

Tile last had been in 1897 and a great change in tlie population 
had taken place in the meantime — the northern part of the state 
having increased while in the sontherii part the gain had been 
slight, in some counties an actual loss having taken place. At 
the 1913 session, after a protracted struggle, a compromise bill 
was agreed npon, by which the number of senators was increased 
to sixty-seven, and the number of representatives to 130, although 
the legislature was already one of the largest in the United States 
and altogether out of proportion to the population. By this 
apportionment Renville county was designated the Twenty-third 
district, with one senator and one representative. 

1915 — The thirty-ninth legislature assembled January 4 and 
adjourned April 22. The Twenty-third district was represented 
in the senate by N. J. Holmberg and in the house by Carl F. 
Neitzel. 

CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATION. 

Renville county has been represented in congress since I\Iinne- 
sota became a state, as follows: W. W. Phelps, Democrat (Good- 
hue county). May 12, 1858 to March 4, 1859; Cyrus Aldrich, 
Republican (Hennepin county), March 4, 1859 to March 4, 1863; 
Ignatius Donnelly, Republican (Dakota county), March 4, 1863 
to March 4, 1869; Eugene M. Wilson, Democrat (Hennepin 
county), March 4, 1869 to March 4, 1871 ; John T. Averill, Repub- 
lican (Ramsey county), March 4, 1871 to March 4, 1875; 
H. B. Strait, Republican, March 4, 1873 to March 4, 1879 ; Henry 
Poehler. Democrat, March 4, 1879 to March 4, 1881 : H. B. Strait, 
Republican, IMareh 4. 1881 to March 4, 1887; John L. McDonald, 
Democrat, March 4, 1887 to :\larch 4, 1889; Darwin S. Hall, 
Republican, :\larch 4. 1889 to March 4. 1891; O. M. Hall, Demo- 
crat, March 4, 1891 to March 4, 1895: Joel P. Ileatwole, Repub- 
lican, March 4, 1895 to Mai-ch 4, 1903; Andrew J. Volstead, 
Republican, March 4, 1903 to March 4, 1917. 

By the apportioniiuMit of 1872 the state was divided into three 
congressional districts, lieiiville county M'as constituted the 
Second district, with Wabasha, (toodhue. Rice, Dakota, Scott, 
Le Sueur, Nicollet, Kandiyohi, Brown, Sibley, Carver, McLeod, 
Redwood, Lyon, Swift and ("hippewa. 

The ajiportionment of 1S(S1 divided the state into five districts. 
Renville comity was in the Third disti-ict, with Goodliue, Rice, 
Dakota, Scott, Carver, Meljeod, Meeker, Kandiyohi, Swift and 
Chippewa. 

The next apportioiinieiit, that of LSiil. increased the number 
of congressional districts to seven. Renville county was still in 
the Third district, with (^arver, Dakota, Goodhue, Le Sueur, 
McLeod, Meeker, Rice, Scott and Sibley. 

In 1901 the state was divided into nine congressional districts. 



276 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

Renville coiiuty ^vas placed in the Seventh distriet. with Biar 
Stone, Chippewa. Grant, Kandiyohi, Lae qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, 
Pope. Redwood, Stevens, Swift, Traverse and Yellow .Medicine. 

The federal census of 1910 gave Minnesota an additional mem- 
ber of Congress, who was elected at large at the election held 
November 4. 1912. 

Li 1913 the state was diviiled into ten districts. Renville 
county was retained in the Seventh district, with Grant, Douglas, 
Traverse. Stevens, Pope, Big Stone, Swift, Lac qui Parle, Ciiip- 
pewa, Yellow Medicine, Kandiyohi, ]\Ieeker and Lyon. 

L'ntil ^Minnesota became a state it liad only one representative 
in congress, a territoi'ia! delegate, who was not allowed to vote. 
The first teri'itorial delegate from ^Minnesota was Henry H. Sib- 
ley, who was first sent ostensibly as a delegate from the territory 
of Wisconsin, though living on the present site of ]\Iendota. at 
the mouth of the ^linnesota river. He sat as a territoi-ial delegate 
from Januaiy la. 1849. to INIareh 4, 1853. He was succeeded by 
Heni'y M. Rice, who served fi-om December 5, 1853, to IMarch 4, 
1857. W. W. Kingsbury was elected to succeed him and served 
from December 7, 1857, to jMarch 3, 1859. As has been noted, the 
United States senate, Februai'y 23. 1857, passed an act authoriz- 
ing the people of ]\Iinnesota to form a constitution i)reparatory to 
their admission to the Union. In accordance with the provisions 
of this enabling act, a constitutional convention was held -Inly 13, 
1857, at the territorial capital. Octol)er 13. 1857, an eh'ctinn was 
heUl, when the constitution was adopted and a full list of state 
officers elected. Three congressmen were also elected at this time, 
George L. Becker, W. W. Phelps and J. ^I. Cavanaugh. But it 
was afterwards foiuid that Minnesota was entitled to oidy two 
congressmen and the matter was amicably ad.pisted by the with- 
drawal of 'Sir. Becker. By this election the Messrs. Phelps and 
Cavanaugh became the first meinliers of congi'css from the state 
of Minnesota. 

For a time the two congressmen were elected "at large."" 
though in oi-der to comply with constitutional i-equir-ements there 
was a nominal division of the state into two districts, one being 
said to represent the noi'thern disti'ict and the other the southei'n 
district. 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 277 

CHAPTER XVTir. 
CREATION OF TOWNSHIPS. 

Various Acts of the County Commissioners by Which the Town- 
ships of Renville County Have Assumed Their Present Boun- 
daries — Dates of First Elections. 

Tile towji.ships m Renville eoiuity have luulergoiie many 
changes in names and the boundaries have been many times read- 
ju.sted. These changes make an interesting subject of study. 
Even the commissioners' records are vague as to some of the early 
boundaries and the following information has been gleaned only 
after long research and consultation. 

Bandon. -lanuary 4, 1871, township ILi. range :!:!, wliicli since 
April 2, 1867, had been a part of Camp, was set off with its present 
nMiiie and boundaries. 

Beaver Falls. As organized April 2, 1867, Beaver included 
all of 113, range 35, north of the Minnesota rivei', and town- 
ships 114. 115, 116. range .'^5. This embraced the present town- 
ships of Beaver Falls, Ileuryville, Troy and Winfield. Charles 
R. Eldridge, James Butler and Henry Ahrens were appointed 
judges of the election to be held at the store of C. Prignitz. 
March 16, 1871, the township of Heuryville, 114, 35, was created. 
By the general act of 1875, township 116, range 35 (Winfield) 
and township 115, 35 (Troy) were attached to Ilenryville, leav- 
ing Beaver Falls with its present boundaries. There is no record 
of the change of name from Beaver to Beaver Palls and the official 
title is still Beaver though even in the tax li.sts it is called licaver 
Falls. 

Birch Cooley. As organized April 2, 1867, Birch Cooley 
included all townshii) 112, 34, north of the Minnesota river and 
townships 113, 114, 115 and 116, range 34. This embraces the 
present townships of Birch Cooley, Norfolk, Bird Island and 
Kingman. George Bowers, H. J. Whichter and Lorenz Brazil, Sr., 
were appointed judges of the election to be held at the home of 
Joseph Preston. Township 114, range 34, now Norfolk, Avas set 
off as Iloulton, July 26, 1869. July 29, 1874, townships 115 and 
116, range 34, were attached to the town of Marschner, now 
Norfolk, leaving Birch Cooley with its present boundaries. 

Bird Island. A petition signed by George II. Megquier and 
others was presented to the board July 27, 1876, asking that town- 
ship 115, range 34, be organized as Melville. The petition was 
granted and an election ordered to be held at the home of N. G. 
Poor, August 15, 1876. A petition signed by J. S. Bowler and 
others was presented to the board October 2, 1876, asking that 
townships 115 and 116, range 34, be constituted as Bird Island 



278 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

towjiship. The petition was grauted and an election ordered to 
be held at the home of Joseph Feeter, October 21' 1876. Septem- 
ber 3, 1878, township 116, range 34, was organized as Kingman 
township, leaving Bird Island township with its present bonn- 
daries. 

Boon Lake. Township 116. 31, had been a part of Cairo 
since July 6, 1869. It had been a part of Preston Lake since 
September 7, 1869. September 6. 1870, township 116, ranges 31 
and 32, now Boon Lake and Brookfield, were organized as Boon 
Lake. In 1874, township 116, range 32, was organized as Brook- 
field, leaving Boon Lake with its present bovnidaries. 

Brookfield. July 6, 1869, townsliip 116, 32, was included iu 
Cairo township. On March 19, 1870, township 116, 32, was 
declared to be a part of Cosmos (117, 32). The same township, 

116, 32, was on September 6, 1870, organized as a part of Boon 
Lake and four years later a petition was presented asking that 
township 116, 32, be created as Brookfield. An election was 
ordered at the home of Charles Foster April 7. 1874. 

Cairo. July 8, 1869. the name of Mud Lake, created April 2, 
1867, and consisting of townships, 112, 113, 114, range 32, was 
changed to Cairo. To it was added townships 115, 116 and 117, 
range 31, and townships 115, 116 and 117, 32. Thus ('airo then 
consisted of the present towns of fJairo, Wellington, Martinsburg, 
Hector, Brookfield, Boon Lake, Preston and two not now in the 
county. Boon Lake and Preston Lake were cut off September 7, 
1869, and organized as Preston Lake. January 4, 1870, townships 

117, ranges 31 and 32, not now in the county, were cut oft' from 
Cairo and organized as townships. March 19, 1870, town 116, 
range 32, now Brookfield, was declared to be a part of Cosmos 
(117. 32). Township 115, I'ange 32, now Hector, was cut oft' as 
Milford, Api-il 7, 1874. 

Camp. As organized April 2, 1867, Camp inehuled townships 
112, 33, north of the ]\Iiin]esota river, and townships 113, 114, 
115, 116, range 33. This embraced the jn-esent townships of Camp, 
Bandon, Palmyra, Melville and Osceola. Henry Graft', Halleck 
Peterson and John Anderson were appointed judges of the elec- 
tion to be held at the home of Henry Graft*. This town having 
failed to hold an election, Halleck Peterson on May 21, 1867. was 
appointed assessor. He also seems to have served in Mud Lake 
township. January 4, 1871, Bandon (113, 33) was set oft'. 
January 2, 1872, townships 114, 115, 116, range 33, was set off 
as Palmyra, thus leaving Camp with its present boundaries. 

Crooks. A petition was presented to the board in November, 
1884, praying for the organization of township 116, range 36, as 
Aurora. The petition was granted and the election ordered to 
be held at the school house, December 9, 1884. In ]\Iarch, 1885, 
llie board was notified liy the state auditor that another township 



THY. NEVs' ynrjK 
iPUSLiC LIBRARY 



ASTOR, LENOX <ND , 
JTILDEN 'OUNrjAriONsJ 



HISTORY OF RENXILLE COUNTY 279 

iu the statu had been given the name Aurora, therefore named 
it Crooks. Crooks had been a part of Flora since April 2, 1867, 
and a part of Emmet, under the general act, since 1875. 

Emmet. Emmet, consisting of township 115, 36, was organ- 
ized September 7, 1870, from territory \vhich had previously been 
a part of Flora since April 2, 1867. From 1875 to November, 
1884, Crooks (116, 36) was attached to Emmet under the general 
act of 1875. 

Ericson. Township 116. range 37, had been a part of Hawk 
Creek since April 2, 1867 with the exception of a short period 
between May 18, 1868, and July 7, 1868, when it liad been a part 
of Flora. On January 6, 1874, a petition, presented by the citi- 
zens of the township, was granted and January 27, 1874, was 
appointed as election day. 

Flora. As organized April 2, 1867, Flora included all of 113, 
36, and 114. 36, north of the ]\Iinnesota river, and townships 115 
and 116, range 36. This embraced the present township of Flora, 
Emmet and Crooks. H. Ames, James Graves and J. Gaffney were 
appointed judges of the election to be held at the home of 
J. Gaffney. May 18, 1868, all that part of the county west of 
range 36 was attached to Flora, but this action was rescinded 
.July 17, 1868. Ennnet (115, 36) was cut off with its present 
boundaries September 7, 1870. Crooks (116, 36) was included in 
Enunct undci- tiie general act of 1875. 

Hawk Creek. As organized April 2, 1867, Hawk Creek 
included all of 114, 37: 114, 38, and 115, 38, north of the Minne- 
sota river; also township 116, range 38, and townships 115 and 
116, range 37. This embraced the present townships of Sacred 
Heart, Ericson, Hawk Creek and Wang. Isaac Earl and Peder 
Pederson were appointed judges of election and G. P. Greene's 
home was designated as the place of meeting. The town failed to 
hold a meeting, however, and May 21, 1867, G. P. Greene was 
appointed assessor. May 18, 1868, all that portion of the country 
west of range 36 was attached to Flora township. July 17 this 
action was rescinded. All the county west of range 38 was 
attached to Hawk Creek and the following officers appointed : 
Supervisors, C. C. O'Brien, William T. Uugn. Thomas Olson; 
assessor, Ole Ennesvedt ; town clerk, G. P. Greene. Sacred 
Heart township, 114, 37, was created early in 1869 ; Ericson town- 
ship 116, 37, January 6, 1874, and Wang township, 116, 38, 
July 28, 1875. Township 114, 38, was largely outside of the county, 
leaving Hawk Creek 115, 38, with its present boundaries. 

Hector. April 7, 1874, township 115, range 32, wliicli since 
July 6 had been a part of Cairo, was created as Milford. The 
first town meeting was ordered to be held at the home of James 
Cummings, June 30. 1874. July 29, 1874, the name was changed 
to Hector. 



280 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

Henryville. Townsliip ]14, range 35. had been a part of 
Beaver Falls since April 2, 1867. On March 16. 1871, a petition 
presented by the citizens of the township was granted and ilarch 
28, 1871, was appointed as election day. Winfield (115, 35) and 
Troy (116, 35) were made a part of Henrj'viUe by the general 
act of 1875, but were cut off again bj' the organization of Troy, 
March 21, 1876. 

Kingman. A petition, signed ])y the citizens, was presented to 
the board September 3, 1878, asking that township 116, range 34, 
be organized as Kingman township. The petition was granted 
and an election ordered to be held at the lionie of H. W. Jones, 
section 20, on September 20, 1878. Kingman had been a part of 
Birch Cooley since April 2, 1867, of the present town of Norfolk 
since July 29, 1874. and of Bird Island township since July 27, 
1876. 

Martinsburg. A petition, signed by the residents of town- 
ship 114, range 32, was presented to the board September 3, 1878, 
asking that township 114, range 32, be organized as ^Martinsburg 
township. The petition was granted and an election ordered to 
be held at the home of J. B. i\Iohan on September 24, 1878. Before 
its creation ^lartinsburg liad been a part of ilud Lake, which was 
created April 2, 1867, and the name of which was changed to 
Cairo, July 8, 1869. By the general act of 1875 it had been 
attached to Wellington. 

Melville. January 1, 1878, townshii) 115, range 33, was 
created as ^Melville and an election called for January 21 at the 
home of Albert Brown. This townsliip had been included in 
Palmyra. January 2, 1872, and in Camp, April 2. 1867. From July 
27, 1876, to October 7, 1876, township 115, 34. now Bird Island, 
was oflicially known as Melville. 

Mud Lake. As organized April 2, 1867, Mud Lake included 
townships 112, 113 and 114. range 32. This end)raced the present 
townships of Cairo, Wellington and Martinsburg. Gardner Tib- 
bitts and Amos G. Bliss were appointed judges of election. Maj- 
21, 1867, this township, having failed to hold an election, R. Bar- 
ton Lee was appointed assessor. Halleck Peterson, however, 
seems to have served in Mud Lake and Camp. July 8, 1869, the 
name of Mud Lake was changed to Cairo. On June 4, 1873, town- 
ship 113, range 32, was organized as Wellington. September 3, 
1878, township 114, range 32, was organized as Martinsburg. 

Norfolk. July 26. 1869, townslup 114, range 34, which had 
been a part of Birch Cooley since April 2, 1867, was organized as 
Houlton. The judges of election were E. E. Comstock, James 
O'Neil and Thomas 11. Barkey. September 6, 1870, the same town- 
ship was organized as Benton. An election was ordered for Sep- 
tember 22, 1870. January 4. 1871, the name Avas changed to 
]\Iarschner. July 29, 1874, townships 115 and 116 of range 34 



IllSTOKV OK RENVILLE COUNTY 281 

wtTr iittm-lii'd to the town, ilarscliiuT. 'I'ownsliii) ll.">. :!4. now 
Bird Island towiisliip, was cut off as ]M«'1\ illc July 27, ISTti, and 
townshi]) 116, ;J4, now Kingnum, was cut off as a part of Bird 
Islanil October 2, 187(j. This left Marschnci- with the present 
houndarii's of Norfolk. Thr naiiii' was changed l)y the legislatui'e 
of 1S74. 

Osceola. A petition was presented to the board, July 28, 1879, 
praying for the organization of township 116, range 33, as Canton, 
out of the township Palmyra, of which it had been a part since 
.January 2, 1872, The petition was granted and the auditor 
requestetl to post the notices of tlie organization within the tinu; 
prescribed. Owing to sonu^ informality of this act another peti- 
tion presented to the board, September 10, 1879, praying foi- the 
organization of township 116, range 33, as Osceola. The petition 
was granted and the first meeting ordered to be held at the resi- 
dence of J. F. Luca.s, September 30, 1879. Originally April 2, 
1869, the present town of Osceola was included in Camp townshi]). 

Palmyra. As organized on April 2, 1867, the township, Camp, 
includeil among other townships the present township of Palmyra. 
On Januai-y 2, 1872, townships 114, 115 and 116, range 33, were 
organized as Palmyra and an election ordered for January 30, 
1872, at the home of E. H. Olson. -Tanuai'y 1, 1878, township 11.5, 
range 33, was created as Melville and an election called for Janu- 
ary 21 at the home of Albert Brown. .Inly 28, 1879, township 116, 
range 33, was created as Canton, There was sonu^ informality 
about this act ami on Septembei- 10, 1879, townshi[) 116, 33, was 
created as Osceola, leaving Palmyra with its |ireseiit hoiindaries. 

Preston Lake. 8epteml)er 7, IStiJ), Preston Lake was organ- 
ized, iiidiraeiug townships 11.'), IKi. I'ange 31, teri-itory that since 
July 8, 1869, has been a part of Caii'o. As organized Preston Lake 
embraced the present toAvnships of Boon Lake and Preston Lake. 
Hiram II. Davis, Ceoi-ge Keeks and ^\. ( '. Hussell Avere appointed 
judges of election. Septembei- 6, 1870, townshi]) llfi, 31, M'as cut 
oflf and with township 116, range 32, organized as Boon Tjake, 
thus leaving Preston [^ake with its ]iresent name and boundarA', 

Sacred Heart. No i-i'c-ord appeal's in the iMnnity commis- 
sioners' reports of the ci-eation of Sacred lirait. It was, how- 
ever, created early in 1869, and an election oidcred for April 6 
of that year. Since April 2, 1867, it had been a pa it of Ilawk 
Creek, with the exception of the period between ^Ia\- IS, 1868, 
and July 17, 1868, when it was a part of Flora. 

Troy. Township 115, range 35, whieli since A[ni\ 2, 1S67, had 
been part of Beaver Falls and which under the general act of 
1875 had been made a part of Heinyville, was organized as Troy, 
March 21, 1876, Under the general act of 1875 AVintield was 
attached to it from .March 21, 1S76, to .\piil 17, 1878, 



282 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

Wang. Township 116, range 38, whicli had been a part of 
Hawk Creek since April 2, 1867 (with the exception of the period 
between May 18, 1868, and July 7, 1868, when it was attached 
to Flora), was organized and known as Wang. July 28, 1875. The 
first election was ordered to be held at the home of EUing John- 
son. August 16, 1875. 

WeUing:ton. June 4, 1873, tovs'nship 113. range 32, which 
since April 2, 1867, had been a part of ]\Iud Lake (name changed 
to Cairo, July 8, 1869), was organized as Wellington and an elec- 
tion ordered for June 17, 1873, at the home of William Cai-son. 

Winfield. A petition was presented to the board April 17, 
1878, praying for the organization of towaiship 116, range 35, as 
Liberty. The petition was granted and the first meeting ordered 
to be held at the home of Ulrick Julson May 4. 1878. There was 
evidently some informality about this organization, as on Decem- 
ber 3, 1878, another petition was granted, organizing and naming 
the town. Three days later the same petition was again granted 
and an election to be ordered to be held at the home of D. John 
Johnson. The board was notified by the state auditor that another 
township in the state had been given the name Liberty, therefore 
named Winfield. Under the general act of 1876 Winfield was 
attached to Henry ville in 1875 and to Troy March 21, 1876.- 

Chippewa City. September 2. 1868, the election district of 
Chippewa City was established. Its eastern boundary was the 
present western bovmdary of Renville county, extended north to 
the northern line of township 117. Its northern boundary was 
the north line of town.ship 117. Its other boundary was the 
Minnesota river. The election was to be held at the home of 
Daniel G. W^ilkins. The counties of Chippewa, Lac qui Parle and 
Big Stone were each constituted election districts. 

Changes in Names. Osceola was formerly known as Canton ; 
Norfolk as lloulton, Benton and Marschner; Beaver Falls as 
Beaver: Winfield as Liberty and Crooks as Aurora. 

General Act. A resolution was passed by the board July 28, 
1875, attaching all unorganized townships and territories to 
organized townships lying directly south of such unorganized 
territory. Under this act Martinsburg was attached to Welling- 
ton; Troy and Winfield to Henryville ; Winfield to Troy (March 
21, 1876), and Crooks to Emmet. 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 283 

CHAPTER XIX. 
PIONEER EXPERIENCES. 

Stories of the Tribulations and Joys of Frontier Life Told by 
Men Who Underwent the Rigors of Early Settlement — Bliz- 
zards and Disasters — Long- Trips in Wintry Weather — Sod 
Houses and Ox Teams — Grasshoppers and Indians. 

Gunerus Peterson. Tlifii' arc nuuiy stories of the early (.lays 
of which the younger people know nothing. Sometimes when I 
look over the landscape and see the cows grazing everywhere I 
think of the pioneer times when the settlers were fortunate even 
if they had one cow and when milk and cream and butter Avere 
luxuries highly esteemed. In the spring of 1872 our only cow 
died, leaving us with a young calf. We were used to getting 
along without much food ourselves, but how to keep the calf alive 
was a great problem. Finally my wife started out, and at a 
neighbor's house tliree miles to the southward she discovered that 
she could get skim milk for ourselves and for the calf. So for a 
month she made the six-mile trip every day, carrying a pail in 
each hand. The calf was kept from starving and we were kept 
alive ourselves, but it was such experiences as these that 
implanted the rheumatism into the muscles and bones of the 
pioneer women which causes them suiferiug even today. 

In winter I took trips to the Minnesota I'iver to get some green 
elm. I did not have a timepiece, but used the stars to tell the 
time. At one time I intended to start about four o'clock in the 
morning, but I made a mistake and started so early that I got to 
the river before daylight. It is a good thing I did, for I did not 
get back until aftei- dai'k that night. I walkctl all the way, driv- 
ing the oxen. We did not have fur overcoats and warin over- 
shoes in those days. The warmest thing 1 had on was a i)air of 
overalls. On my feet was a rougli pair of cowhide boots. 

Just after New Years, 1874, my neighbors had taken a eon- 
tract to haul some grain to New Ulm for a farmer living on the 
river bluffs, and as I had just got hold of a pair of steers they 
gave me a chance to earn a little money by going witli them. We 
started early in the morning. The roads were icy and as my 
steers liad not been broken I had many difficulties. I wanted to 
keep the steers in the road and they wanted to make for a bare 
spot. Finally the sled I had borrowed Avas smashed and I had 
to stop for repairs, while the other men went on. When I got 
started again I had gone but a short distance when I saw a barn 
by the side of the road. The steers also saw the barn and made 
directly for it. Nothing I could do could get them away, they 
preferred the shelter of the barn to the trip to New Flm. But 



284 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

linally a man came along with a good black snakr Avliip iiml li« 
got the steers back into the road for me. 

I reached New Ulm about dark and found tin- other iiiru. The 
question was where we would stay for the night. Wr had no 
money to stop at the hotel, we could not sleep in the mill base- 
ment with the oxen. So we went to sleep in the boiler room. 
Finally tlie fireman came and drove us away. He said, however, 
that we could sleep on top of the boiler. While one side of us 
kept warm in that way the other side Avas cold, for while there 
was still a little steam in the lioiler tlu'rc was scarcely any roof 
overhead. 

On our way home we were eaugjit in a storm which lasted 
three days. So the trip at five cents a bushel for hauling the grain 
was not a very profitable one. During my absence my family had 
been having a hard time. Everything was covered with snow. 
The door was snowed up solid and in order to get to the stable 
and also to get wood my family liad to cut out the post in the 
Avindow and get out that way. When I got back the only evidence 
of human liabitatiou in all that vast stretch of snow wa.s some 
smoke arising apparently from tlie snow. It Avas smoke coming 
from the stovepipe, the rest of the dug-out being buried. 

At another time I had an interesting experience Avith a Minne- 
sota Avinter. One night after I had attended to my stock I did 
not close up all tlie oi)enings in my sod stable, for the Aveather 
Avas so Avarm I feared tliat my stock would suffer. In the night 
a terrible .storm broke, i went out scantily clad and closed up 
the stable, but in going the feAv rods to my dug-out I lost my Avay. 
Finally I took a big fall. As I riglited myself I called out Avith 
all my strength, but could not make myself heard in the Avind. 
I took a few steps, got the snoAV out of my ej'es and Avas surprised 
to see a light shining. It Avas the light in the only AvindoAV in my 
dug-out. I had fallen off the roof. Had it not been that I lauded 
so near the AvindoAv I Avould probably have lost my life. 

E. J. Butler. A dug-out in the side of the ravine in Erie toAvn- 
ship, Rice county, this state, Avas the scene of my birth, July 20, 
1861, my parents having come from Worcester, Mass., the pre- 
vioixs spring. We lived there until the summer of 1869, Avhen Ave 
moved to the toAvnship of West NeAvton, Nicollet county, Minn., 
making the trip Avith a team of oxen and a covered Avagou. The 
trip took tAvo Aveeks and I Avalked all the Avay, driving ten or 
tAvelve head of cattle Avhich Ave took Avitli us. After arriving at 
our destination Ave lived in the covered Avagon until Ave could 
build a rude shanty. It was made of poles and banked Avith sod 
on the oiitside and covered Avith slough grass. 

Early on the morning of February 22, 1874, Avhen a terrible 
blizzard Avas raging, our shanty caught fire and we Avere di-iven 
out into the storm and had to seek refuge in the straAV shed Avhere 



niST()i;V (iK RENVII>I,K CorXTV 285 

\vi' krpi Diir stock. The younger chilclrcii \vciv not yrt iij) wIr-u 
tlu' fire l)rokc' out and we tried to keep thcni waini with blankets 
and L-ovcivd tlieni witli hay. The older ones had to walk ui) and 
down behind the stock to keef) warm. We lost everytliintr we 
had. About five in the afternoon the storm bad ai)ated somewhat 
and my father hitched up the team and drove ovei- to oni' nearest 
neierhl)or, Patrick Kerry, to get help, lli' bitched uj) his team 
and. armed with all the blaid<ets he could lind. came 1o bring us 
to bis lionie. We reached the Herry i)lace at ai)0ut eight o'clock 
in the evening, almost famislied with hunger and very cold. The 
neighbors were very good to us and helped us as best tliey couM. 
all being on the same level. 

Tile next sprijig we l)uilt up another shack and sowed sum.- 
crops, but in -Inly of that yeai- the grasshoppers came ami 
destroyed nearly evei-y ero]) that we had. We fought the grass- 
hojipers for four years and saw some very hard times tluring that 
time, but we managed to pull through, having quite a large num- 
ber of cattle, which was a great help. We finally built a better 
house of logs, but in July, 1881, the cyclone struck us an<t took 
otf the roof and. four heights of logs. We fixed it up again and 
in the fall of 1882 sold what littb' we had and came to Kenvilb; 
county, settling on the southeast quarter of section :i4. township 
113 (Wellington), range '.V2. T sta\ed with my parents until the 
summer of 1886. when I took up a homestead, on \vhieli 1 have 
resided ever since. 

Charles H. Hopkins. ]My jiareuts an<l family moved from 
Wisconsin to Cairo townshi]). Renville count.v, in the spring of 
1869 and settled on a quarter section of land on the Fort liidgely 
Reserve. They selected one for me within one nule of their own: 
and 1 came on and took possession of it in tin' lattei- part of Decem- 
ber the same year. Wlien- I arrived ai my ])ai-ents' home 
1 was informe<l on the first evening that some other pai'ties were 
claiming that tliey were going to have that i)iece of laiul ; so before 
light the next morning I was on my way with a yoke of cattle 
to the Fort Ridgely creek ravine to get material to build a house, 
and in order that 1 might get it built that day 1 took poles that 
one man could handle easily. 1 cut the jjoIcs, hauled them and 
built the JKUlsethe same day, exce|)t the shingling, and sle|it Ihere 
that night with witnesses. The next morinng a iium called and 
asked nu' what 1 was doing on his land. 1 then asked him how 
it came to be his land, and he said that evei-y one knew that he 
was going to take that ]iiece. I told him that he could now tell 
every one that I had taken it. built a house on it and was living 
on it. He accepted the inevitable and took a claim for himself 
some thi'ee ndles distant. 

My father built his house out of green water elm lumber, and 
as the old settlers will reniemlnr. it would shrink and warp. 



286 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

iloney was scarce and liard to get and tliey did not have the 
wherewithal to buy lime and lath. The only protection they had 
in the cold winter of 1869 and 1870 was old newspapers pasted 
between the studdings onto the inch elm boards, which had shrunk 
and cracked up, making the air circulation very plentiful. It 
made a very healthy sanitorium and when we had those old-time 
blizzards it was dangerous to be out of doors. We would stand 
around the red hot stove, and while one side would be burning 
the opposite side Avould be freezing and part of the time we would 
be jumping around the room exercising to help keep warm. 
Going to bed early and getting up late was the court of last 
resort, and we were all obliged to take advantage of it. We want 
everything good to eat these days, but then many times our 
appetites were a long way ahead of our eatables. 

Having been brouglit up in a part of New York state where 
the stones were so thick it was hard work sometimes to find dirt 
to cover the seed when planting, and where my father had paid 
$100 for one-half an acre to build him a home on, it was a privi- 
lege to come to the town of Cairo and find sueli rich and fertile 
land and all free. I was very much enthused with the future 
prospects of this county. I kept my little house, which was 9x11, 
one story, one door and half a window, supplied with furniture 
and eatables. When I was at home I tied the string on the inside 
to a nail and when I was away it was tied to a nail on the outside, 
literally carrying out the saying that the latch string was always 
out. I also posted up a sign, "Go in and make yourselves at 
home," and also kept a little dog, leaving a hole in the side for 
him to go in and out, so that when any one came along he would 
go out and bark, which made a good appearance showing that 
some one Avas "on the job." As my folks only lived a mile away 
one of the childi'eu would go over two or three times a week and 
take him food, which made it possible for him to hold down the 
claim for me for two years until I prevailed upon Mrs. Hopkins 
to join issues with me. But many a time when I would come 
home after being away some time I would find a note reading 
something like this : 

"Friend Charles — Did not find you at home. Accept thanks 
for your kind hospitality. Helped ourselves to supper and break- 
fast. Call and get even. Yours truly, (Signed.)" 

I will give my first experience of one of tlie old time Minne- 
sota blizzards. There was fine timber on the ^Minnesota bottoms 
on government land that Avas free to all for their OAvn personal 
use, but they could not sell any of it. I was very ambitious to 
get my share of it while it was going. That late fall and Decem- 
ber had been quite severe and about two feet of snoAv had fallen 



HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 287 

ui)()n the level, and as every one of the settlers went to the river 
for their wood those days the winter road had raised up about 
three feet. 

About January 5, 1870, it commenced to thaw, and on the 
morning of tlie sixth I ooiicluded that we were going to have a 
l)i-caknp and M'pnt to the woods that day in my shirt sleeves. 
As I had been hon> liiit ii .short time I had not made any acquaint- 
ances. That same day there were three otlier men with horse 
teams who came into the woods near me and commenced to cut 
thcii- loads also. We had about got our loads cut, they not 
speaking to me or I to them, when I noticed that they had thrown 
off their loads as fast as they could, hitched nj) their teams and 
hurried out of the woods. I could not uiidiTstand what 
it meant until I heard a roaring sound like thunder and wind 
storm in summer. T conunenced to look around and was looking 
off southwest thi'(iui,di the tops of the trees when I saw what would 
be a wind and rain cloud in summer, creamy white below and 
dark rolling clouds above. By the time I had gotten my load on 
and ready to start for home the storm was there, with a wind and 
snow blowing sixty miles an hour and getting colder and colder. 
By the time I was out of the woods I could not see a foot away 
frmn my face, but I had an old yoke of cattle and on that account 
I reasoned that it was best to let them do just as they wanted 
to, as the storm was so severe I could not tell where we were at any 
time. "We used to lengthen out our reaches so that we could haul 
poles fifty or sixty feet long and load about four feet high, and 
when I came to the Minnesota bluff I did as 1 had always done 
before, carried about half of the load of poles up the bill on my 
back and then drove up the oxen and loaded it on again and 
started for home, which was about three miles away. Now, while 
selfishness is the foundation fm- the most of all contentions in 
this world, and it is a hard matter to find a case where it is per- 
missible, it did serve me a good turn at this time, for on account 
of my selfishness and ambition to get that load home that day, 
and on account of it being a full load it made a wind break that 
I could walk back and forth Ix'hind and keep from freezing, and 
it made it possible foe ine to bi'cathe, as no one c()\ild breathe in 
those blizzards without a wind break, the snow being so fine and 
the wind so strong. The cattle would stop sometimes and I would 
crawl up to find out the trouble and find their eyes crusted over 
with ice, and when I would break it oft' they would go again. 
Those times there were no groves around the houses and the snow 
had formed drifts as high as the roofs, but had left a clear space 
about eight feet close ai'ound the house and clear to the ground. 
As long as the oxen kept going 1 knew they would bring up some- 
where. All at once we went down into a hole of some kind, and 
I knew we ^^-ere at someone's home, though T eonid not see tlie 



288 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

hoTise two feet away. To my surprise I found that it was our own 
place. 

Wo got the oxen in the barn and fed tliem and we eouhl not 
get to the barn again for three days. That night I tried to chop 
up some of the ash poles for wood, and the wind whipped around 
the house with such force that when I would try to strike down 
M'ith the bit of tlie ax it would turn in my hand. It was the best 
I could do, and the head of the ax would strike the stick. In 
order to cut the wood we had to take poles into the house end 
Avays, leaving one end out with the door partly closed and saw 
it up that way, and when you consider that it was thirty degrees 
below zero and blowing sixty miles an hour it was a very interest- 
ing time at our house, and it also convinced us that if we got 
through until spring we would do our part to give back the land 
to the Indians by moving away. Before the storm my folks had 
gotten nearly out of flour and had urged me not to wait too long 
before I should go to the West Newton mill for flour, but those 
nice ash poles on the government land were going very fast and 
I was anxious to get my share of them, and had put it off one day 
more until the storm found us with the flour barrel about empty, 
and with a family of ten and all good feeders. We happened to 
have two sacks of bran in the house, so by sieving that overwe 
had some rather coarse bread, but it tasted as good to tis as 
though it had been made of the best. We not only sieved it over 
once but three times before we got through the storm, and it 
still tasted good. The fourth morning we could get out on foot, 
but not with teams, so I started for a place Avhere my father had 
built a house for a settler that summer and we liad something 
coming for our work. This was about three and one-half miles 
away, and I started back with sixty pounds of flour on my back. 
Now the crust would ."just about hold me up without any load, but 
with the load on my back I would slump through. Well I wouhl 
carry it a ways slumping through the snow and would drag it a 
piece and repeat, and finally got home about sundown, which 
made it about the hardest stunt that I ever was mixed np in, l)ut 
it was soon forgotten with the splendid appetites that we all had. 
and when mother had a big batch of biscuits that she excelled in. 
So we all went to bed that night at peace with all the world. 
Now this is only one of the many incidents of the early years of 
our settlement of this county. There is not an old settler that 
came to this country at that time but what could set down and 
after he had written up the history of his own experiences it 
would make a large book of very interesting reading. 

0. T. Ramsland. C. Arestad and family and I moved from 
Eau Claire, Wisconsin, to the town of Wang, this county, in 
March, 1876, where we bought a farm, one yoke of oxen and 
farm implements. One bright morning I started with oxen and 




OLD LOG CABIN 



THV fVCW YORM 

'U8L1C UBHARV, 



/ / A3T0R. LENOX knd 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 289 

wagon til Willmar i tliiity-eight mill's) after our liousehold goods, 
shippeil t'l-oiii Eau Claire. Tlie weather was tine, the snow had 
melted and ereeks and sloughs were tilled with water. The tirst 
day I got witiiin nine miles of Willmar. The next day it snowed 
all day. Arriving at Willmar T found that the freight eharges 
on our goods was ^'.il. I had only .tl") and coidd not get any 
of the goods without paying the fi'eight on the whole. I was a 
stranger in a strange land; not a soul did 1 know. I went into 
a store (Paulson & Sunde i and tokl them my trouble. I'aulson 
said: "1 fi'i'l likr helping this boy out, 1 think he will pay us 
back." 1 promised to do so, and 1 did. I do not know that 1 ever 
met Paulson sinee, but his kindness to nie 1 never forgot, and 
have in a small way tried to aet like Paulson and liel]) some who 
are in need. When the whole fi'eight was |)aid 1 (•oneluded to 
take all the goods. I had a wagon shi])ped from Eau Claire. 
Tying one wagon behind the other 1 loaded all the goods on and 
started foi' home. I got back to where I stojjped the first night. 
It had siu)we(l all day and froze hard in the night. I was about 
twenty-nine miles fi'om home and at every slough aiul ereek I eame 
to and had to eross 1 had to tramji and erush the iee before the 
oxen eould eross. When I got to Hawk creek the water went up 
to my ai'uis. It was dark and I lost the I'oad. \V<'t. Iningry and 
lost I unhitched the oxen and started foi' the nearest house. 
Arriving there they told me that 1 was only one and one-half 
miles from home. an<l directed me where to go. I said: "No, 
you must go with me, I am lost." A boy went with me. and after 
the change of clothes, food and rest 1 was all right. 

We bought one more yoke of oxen and seeded in about sixty 
acres of grain. When spring work was finished 1 stai'ted in 
breaking. I broke part of the farm that Ingvald Platen now 
owns, and ten acres foi' .Mr. (ilenoi'c. .\t the close of the bi'cak- 
ing season 1 got notice from the jiarties of whom we bought the 
farm to vacate, as they again had honu'steaded the same. We 
had bought the farm from .John and Olof Sundeen. .loliii had 
homesteaded but not proved up. We paid +.">()() for improvements 
and what pi'opei'ty they had and .lohn i-elin(piislied in my favor. 
When the papers came back from tin- land oflice 1 paid the filintr 
fee, got certificate of my filing and felt secure, but trouble was 
brewing. The Sundeen bi-othei's, of whom we bought the farm, 
learned that I had not my citizens papers and thereupon Olof 
Siuideen w(Mit to Litchfield and homesteadeil on the same land. 
On learning this 1 started on foot to Wilhnar. To walk across the 
unsettled prairie, thirty-eight miles, in those days was nothing. 
I went to see John W^. Arclandei', who then |)raetieed law tliere. 
I stated my case, showed him my filing pajxM's and .lohn said: 
"You are crazy my boy, you have perjured yourself." I 
answered : "I have sworn to nothing." lie asked how T got the 



290 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

paper and I said I sent ^2 to the land office, told them what I 
wanted and they sent them to me. He then swore at the land 
officers and said they ought to be behind the bars for letting a 
man file on land without knowing whether or not he was a citizen. 

He then asked me where I had lived since conung to America. 
I told him and he said: "Have you ever lived in Chicago?" I 
told him I had not. He said: "That is hell! If you had you 
could swear your papers were burned in the great Chicago fire." 
He asked if I was afraid of the Sundeens and I said "No!"" 
"Then yon nuist bluff them out. Get your citizen papers at once. 
Go home and work as if nothing had happened, and if they come 
to drive you off say that you have come to stay."" The bluff 
worked; after one or two atteni])ts to get us off they left the 
county. 

Es-Governor Austin liad a flour mill in iliunesota Falls in 
those days. I agreed with his miller to take twenty bai-i'els of 
flour, ten barrels in each load to Willmai-. 

I got stuck with one of my loads in a slough and both teams 
could not pull it out. I unloaded one load on dry ground, got 
the empty wagon alongside the one that was stuck and rolled 
seven barrels onto it. By hitching two teams to each wagon I 
got out. But the work of getting the ten barrels into the wagon 
again alone was a job I never will try to do again. 

Tile fifth, sixth and seventh of July the grasshoppers came. 
We smoke<l and burned, and, I think, drove some away, but what 
was a fine sixty-acre field, gave us oidy 2Sr) bushels of grain. 
When fall work was over I went to school in Granite Falls the 
following winter. Thus ende(l my first summer in Renville 
counts'. 

James Drake. We came to Renville county in the fall of 
1867, and it was the most desolate looking country we ever saw, 
not a tree in sight as far as the eye could reach and only four 
houses in sight of our claim. The fiist two winters I trapped 
muskrats, as the skins were a medium of barter in those days, 
and I bought my first seed wheat with them, besides getting 
things for the house. Oiu' nearest market was New Ulm, twenty 
miles away, ami it took two days to go thei'c and back with an 
ox team. I drove oxen for seven years and was getting along 
fairly well when we had the grasshopper plague for four years. 
Those were strenuous times and we had hard work to keep the 
wolf from the door, but we nmnaged to live through it all. There 
is always a silver lining to the darkest cloud. I would not like to 
go through those times again. 

A. D. Corey. R. R. Corey and family landed in Renville 
county August 5, 1865. The (irst \\-hite man we saw that after- 
noon was Carl Holtz, who had been in the timber there at ileyer"s 
old slianty for wood. A little while after we had established our 



lIlSTOin' OK IJKWILLK CorNTY 201 

(■ani|) we lu'anl some one pi'ckiiig away willi an ax. Tliinkiufz; 
it iiiig:lit bo Iiuliaiis, my brother George and 1 eacli took a gun 
and crawled tbrougli tlie brusli to investigate. We found the 
same Cai'l Iloltz and lie had caught a couple of little young 
skunks out of a cellar. We went up to him and he said that he 
thought they were kittens. My brother said: "If you didu"t 
know any better than to catch a skunk you ought to be sliot, 
whether an Indian or a white man." It amused our father to 
think a man was fooli.sh enough to catch a skunk. 

We found that evening we were camped on a patrol line and 
that there was no need of fearing Indians, so we three older boys 
went away to work after cutting bay for father five days. 

We went in the eastern pai't of the state and harvested, 
threshed and did various other kinds of work. My brother Clark 
went -with me across the country to Yankton, and brother George 
went out to the Missouri river and did not return until 1884. 
lirother Clark and I worked in the pineries and returned to our 
homesteads in July, 1866, where I met Martha Harkey, who 
became my wife in 1867. 

We went through many hardships, flour was $9 a hundred, 
sugar $4 for one dollars' worth, tea .^7.80 per pound. There was 
very little tea used in the house, excepting what mother had. A 
hundredweight of flour and fourteen in the family only lasted 
about ten days. 

Father often said we would have starved to death had it not 
been for the wild game. We brought a inimber of cows with us, 
so had our own milk and butter; we, no doubt, did not see as 
hard times as some that did not lia\e these things. After two or 
three years settlers began coming and settling up the country. 
Some brought money and we got breaking to do. aTul got a little 
money to help us until we got a crop. 

We were getting along fairly well when the grassho])pers 
came, and for foui- years we saw worse times than evei-. It looked 
so discouraging that many left tlieii- elaiiiis. hut those who 
remained were the best oil' and today it is one of the best <'()uii- 
ties in the state. 

Chaxles Kenning. In the spring of 1877, myself, inother Ficd 
and two of my men then working for me as carpenters concluded 
We would visit some of our Chaska friends who had settled in 
Renville county several years before and had given up city life 
for the farm. We rigged up my light wagon into a prairie 
schooner and with two good horses hitched on we started to sail 
for the prairies in the wild west. As I had never been farther 
west than seven miles west of Glencoe in 1862 at the time of the 
Indian attack at Hutchinson I had seen very little of prairie life 
and my comrades had seen none, so that all was new to us. AH 
went well until we left Glencoe. From there on the i-oad was lint 



292 HISTOKY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

a track around sloucrhs and through creeks, as this Avas in April 
and ph'nty of rain, and we had the opportunity more than once to 
pull oui- outfit out of the nuid. but as we all were young and 
had seen considerable hanl work we ])ulled tlirougli in good 
spirits and landed safely at the home of Fei-d Wolff, two miles 
east of Bird Island, and found them struggling along as best 
they could to make a home and recover from the grasshopper 
plague of the last two years. 

After a good night's rest we started out next morning in com- 
l)any with ]\Ir. Wolff to locate and see the country, as we really 
had no intention of ever making our homes here, and no home- 
.steads were left to be taken. Railroad and state lands were 
selected from. I located the southeast of section 6, ^lelville and 
my comrades selecting from other sections in IMelville, making 
arrangements witii ;\Ii'. Wolff to do a little breaking on each tract. 
We remained al)Out a week and returned home, with more experi- 
ence on our return trij), as it rained all day. Althnugli we tried 
hard to find a place to stoj) over night we could not and tramped 
on to Glencoe, landing there at midnight. As it was very dark 
one of ns had to carry a lantern ahead of the horses for the last 
ten miles to enable us to keep the ti'ail. W^hen we arrived at the 
Elieim hotel we were all wet through and covered with iinnl. Rut 
after putting in some gootl spii'its and a cold sujiper we were 
ready for bed, waking up tlie next morning with a smile all 
aroun<l and by file time we had bi'eakfast were the same .joll.v 
boys again, reatly to start for home and take up the old task 
again of earning our daily breail by the old route, and evenings 
entertaining onr fi'iends by reciting our experiences in the West. 

Although I said little about going west I was thinking 
seriously of becoming a farmer in Renville county and in the 
fall made another trip, taking along enough lumber fi-oui (Mencoe, 
then onr nearest point, to build me a small shack, 40 hy 12, which 
I erected and used for a week. That decided my future. In the 
spring I picked up what 1 could, having built a house in February, 
hauling my lumber through tlie mud in that soft winter of 1878, 
paying freight on a car to Glencoe at the same rate we do to 
Bird Island today, and hiring teams at $10 a tri]) to haul fi'om 
Glencoe, the teams loading at an average of 500 feet to a load. 
making an addition of $20 per thousand extra freight. Those 
farmers certainly did know liow to ciiargc for ti'ansportafion 
Avhen they had no comjietition. But we still had the same old 
smile and after a series of struggles landed with onr family on 
our choice of location. April 16, 1878. Although my friends in 
my former home had given me but six months to stay on the farm 
in Renville county we are still at the old stand, and in my travels 
have found no place that I wish to exchange for. Those pioneer 
<lays were truly piom'ei- days, yet to me happy days, having good 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COIXTV 293 

health I could see a future home for myself and family in wiial 
I believed the best county, not only in the state, hut in the entire 
West. We speak of liardships now; then we never tlioupht of 
them but went on in our ambition to make Renville county all it 
could be made and today hear with i)leasure the ediiiplimcnts 
given this county and its buildei's. 

The writer, during the winter of deep snows, when the rail- 
road was blockaded for thirty days at a time, hauled passengers 
and mail between Bird Island and Glencoe, being on the road in 
nearly every stcrm that winter, but a good team and a clear head 
])ulled me through without a scare. 1 was hardened and aeeli- 
mated to ^linnesota, having settled in Minnesota in April, 186». 
I am twice a pioneer and look back to those days with joy, wish- 
ing I could live them over again. Those were happ.v days; no 
political tricksters to cause neighborhood troubles, and no news- 
paper combines or lumber trusts. Peace on earth and good will 
to all men reigned over the vast prairies of Renville county. Our 
dreams are fulfilled; we can boast of beautiful homes and plenty 
and need not fear contradiction. Let the good work go on. 

Michael Holden. The following is a graphic account of the 
experiences of a party of five settlers, four of whom perished on 
the prairie Jiear Roseland, near Willmar, Minnesota, in the great 
snowstorm of 1873. At that time we hauled wheat from our 
homes near Beaver Falls, Renville county, to market at Willmar. 
Willmar was tiiirty-five miles north of where we lived. As that 
was too long a trip to make in tAVO days at the end of the first 
day we \isually stopped with a farmer named John Maher, ten 
miles south of Willniai-. On the seeontl day we would go to 
Willmar, sell our loads and i-etiini to .MmIum-'s place, i-i-tiii'iiing 
on the third day. 

On Tuesda.v morning, January 7. \Sl'.',, we left home hefoi'e 
daylight, and 1),\ suiu'ise were five miles from home. .My com- 
panions were John. Charley and Stephen 0"\eil, and my hi'other, 
Thomas Ilohlen. At noon we arrive(l at a place called Long 
Lake, wiiich was fifteen miles from home, llei-e we fed oui' 
horses and ate our lunch. As we arrived there a train of eiglit 
ox teams starte<l otf ahead of us, having alread.y stopjied for 
feed. Driving these eight teams were Owen Heaney and his 
son, William, and six other men from Flora township. Tliei-e 
still remained twent.v-two miles of wild prairie hefore reaeliing 
Willmar, with only one settler, a .Mr. Kiiekson, living in a sod 
shant.v four miles north of Long Lake, between us and Maher's 
place. Having i)roceeded about two nules noi'th of the lake, we 
noticed a storin coming from the northwest. It ajjpeared like a 
hailstorm, so dense that it covered everything in its path. As 
soon as it struck us we were unable to see anything. Part 
of the time we could not see the teams we were driving. We 



294 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

pushed ou, liowever, aud when we reached ilr. Ericksoiis sod 
shanty we found the ox teams aud their drivers ahead of us. 
Mr. Eriekson had no stable room even for those teams. 

We stopped at Eriekson "s and I suggested that we unhitch 
our horses, blanket them, turn them to Mr. Eriekson "s hay stack, 
and get shelter in the shanty for ourselves. Tlie shauty was onlj- 
about 16x16 feet in size. There were six children in the family 
and eight men already ahead of us. John 0"Neil settled the 
matter by declaring there was no danger, and five such strong 
young men could safely reach Maher's place. As the road was 
high on top of a deep snow, he thought we would have no trou- 
ble in keeping the road. John Maher's place was seven miles 
away. After a time the roail became so drifted that the head 
team could not keep the road, so we changed and Charley O'Neil 
drove ahead. He had an old team which we thought would keep 
the road. John followed, my brother was next, I was fourth, with 
Stephen following me. We had proceeded but a short distance 
when I saw the storm was getting worse and the road getting 
so drifted that I called all to stop and suggested that we unload, 
which we did. The bottom tiers of sacks were well filled and we 
could not get them out with our mitts ou. so nine sacks were 
left in each load, and we pushed on. 

We had succeeded in making about five miles when John 
"Neil's team refused to go further against the storm. We then 
proceeded by having Stephen O'Neil walk ahead of John's horses, 
leading them. John went back to drive Stephen's team. I kept 
looking back for John, but soon saw that he was not following, 
so I ran ahead and told Stephen to stop. We returned to my 
sleigh and called to John and after a short time he answered 
us from a southwesterly direction. We waited a few minutes, 
but he did not come, so Stephen went in search of 
him, being guided by his call. He had lost the road and 
in turning, when he heard us call, one of his horses stumbled 
and fell. John and Stephen had a hard time in getting the team 
up, and half an hour must have elapsed before they came back 
to my sleigh. Stephen was leading the team without the sleigh 
or harness. John, in the meantime, had lost his cap. He had 
tied a long neckscarf around his head and neck. During this 
time Charlej' was not with us, he having driven on ahead, but 
when he foiuid that we were not coming he had stopped and 
called and received no answer, so he turned his team east of the 
road to come back and look for us. He did not find the road 
again until he struck against my sleigh. Charley, I believe, would 
have reached Maher's place if he had continued on at that time. 
We had lost a great deal of time and it was getting dark. We 
were now all together, but we could not see the road ahead, nor 
did we believe that we could follow it. We supposed that we 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 295 

wore within two iiiilt's ol' Mailer's plauf. We talked tiie situa- 
tion over and concluded to make a shelter for ourselves, blanket 
the horses and tie them to a sleigh, thinking that the storm would 
be over in a short time, and we would tlien be on the road ready 
to push on at the first opportunity. We had plenty of blankets, 
so we unhitched and put the blankets under the harness of the 
horses. We put about two and a half bushels of oats in the 
box of the sleigh we tied the horses to. About sixteen feet west 
of this we arranged our shelter. 

We took onu wagon box off one of tlie sleighs, and. turning 
it over, lay it on top of the box on my sleigh, the front end to- 
wards the north. We had taken out the tail boards and this left 
an entrance. Ovn- this we hung a blanket and placed sacks of 
wheat to hold it down. Then we crawled into our cold bed. 
John O'Neil and my brother Tom went in first, Stephen, Charley 
and myself lay down in the back end of the box at the feet of 
the others. Before long Stephen and Charley said their feet wei-e 
freezing and they left the box and stamped around on the lee- 
ward side of the horses to get their feet warm. Charley soon 
came back and lay down beside me in the box. Stephen said he 
would have to keep tramping all night to keep his feet from 
freezing, as he wore boots. He came to the sleigh every fifteen 
or twenty minutes to inquire as to how we were getting along. 

About 10 o'clock John began to smother in the box, and he 
thought it was from the snow that was filling the box. We then 
tried to get out of the box so as to permit him to get out and 
get more air, but found the snow so packed that we could not. 
Neither could we lift the box. We called to Stephen but we 
could not make him bear, although we could hear bis tranij). 
We waited until he came again to inquire about us. Then we 
asked him to lift the box from the east which he did. I stejiped 
out and assisted John to get out. In the darkness and tlic fui'v 
of the storm we were unable to see anything, and the cold was 
something terrible. It seems that the scarf .lohn had jnit aliout 
his head and neck had closed down over his mouth and bad 
prevented him from breathing, as we had no difficulty in breath- 
ing in the snow, so we got back into the box again. Wo bad been 
saying our rosary together all the evening. Before lonii .lolin 
got cramps in his legs. Again we called upon Stephen to assist 
us, but could not make him hear, neither (•duld \\f lift the box. 
As soon as John got on his feet he got over the cramps and w'e 
ptit hira back in the box. It w^as only wdth difficulty that we 
put John back in the box as the snow had drifted in and i)acked 
hard. I did not get back, but kicked a hole in the snow along 
the east side of the sleigh and lay down. 

In this manner we fought the cold. Tin- ciiills were some- 
thing terrible. I was afterwards told that the mereui'y was 40 



296 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

degrees below zero aud the wind blew 75 miles an hour. About 
midnight the horses drifted around the sleigh, so Stephen aud 
I turned all except one that Ave could not untie loose. I lay down 
in my bed beside the box. and soon one of the horses began to 
freeze aud he stepped back and lay down on my legs. I then be- 
lieved that I was trapped, but after a few minutes the horse 
moved so I could get up. I took him by the lialter and moved 
him away. He was afterwards found dead about twenty feet 
away. 

The morning found the storm still unabated aud the cold 
more intense. Botli John and Tom wanted to get out of the 
box, but Stephen and I advised them to stay where they were. 
They insisted that they must come out, so I took my brother 
Tom aud Stephen took John, and we tried to have them walk, 
but they could not stand up in the storm. We were obliged 
to place them down beside the box where I had lain all night. 
Charley remained in the box, and soon he did not talk to us any 
more. We called to him, but got no answer. We thought him 
dead. 

Soon after this my brother Tom died. The last prayer we 
said togetlier was the rosary. He could hai'dly finish before he 
fell asleep. Then we tried our best to revive Jolni O'Neil. We 
took him to the side of the horse that was still tied, to have him 
stamp his feet. He fell against the horse, knocking it over and 
taking Stephen and I with it. We got u[> with difficulty. Then 
we decided to cover John up. We got the blankets from the 
box where Charley lay, and wrapped John up in them. Then 
we undertook to take the top box antl lay it over Jolm, but we 
could not. We had now lost the use of our hands, as they were 
frozen. We gave up that plan, ami soon John was covered with 
snow. He did not answer us so we tliought him dead. Then 
Stephen and I were left. In a short time he gave out and lay 
down along side the wagon box. Soon he did not speak. I was 
alone. 

I was terribly lonely, and started to look for the road. It was 
very indistinct and I was uncertain in my nund M'hether to at- 
tempt to follow it or not. Then I thought of tlie long night 
ahead. We had supposed we were within two miles of Maher"s 
place. I knew the wind was from the northwest, and I also 
knew that Maher had a forty acre iield fenced. If I could get to 
that I might follow it to tlie house. I followed the road about a 
mile. At times I could see the road and then again I could not. 
I walked with my liead down. I watched the angle of the snow 
drifting across my path and in that way kept my course due 
north. I knew that Maher 's house was north by the road. Soon 
I lost the road entirely, but contiiuied in the same way watching 
the direction of tlie l)lowiiig snow. In a short time I struck the 



HISTORY OF KEiWlLLE COUNTY 2D7 

fence. Au exclaimitiou of "Thank God" escaped my lips. I 
found the plowing bare, something I had hardly expected after 
such a storm. I selected a sod of plowing and followed it north, 
and soon reached a small grove near Mailer's house and found 
a small shanty. After a few minutes I could see the house like 
a shadow. I went to the door and rapped and fervently thanked 
God wlien I was let in. The JMaher family were frightened when 
I walked in, and grieved to hear of the fate of my companions. 
I was nearly exliausted, having been out in the storm for thirty 
hours with nothing to eat. My mittens were frozen fast to my 
hands like lumps of ice, and had to be thawed off. My hands 
and arms were badly frozen to my elbows. It was night wlicn 
I came to Maher's place — Wednesday- evening. Mrs. Mahcr was 
getting supper. Thursday it .stormed all day and until midnight. 

On Friday morning ill-. JIaher, with a couple of men, went to 
where we had camped. They met Owen Ileaney and the other 
teamsters that had been sheltered at Erickson's, coming with 
Charley O'Neil, still alive. It had been impossible to hear 
through the snow, and we had not heard him speak for that rea- 
son. Mr. Maher took Charley to Willmar at once to secure med- 
ical aid. In taking off the ujiix'r wagon box to cover John with 
we had bared Charley's legs and arms. Thus it was that he froze 
his arm to the elbow and both his legs. Eight days after the 
storm the railroad was opened and Charley was taken from Will- 
mar to St. Paul. lie died there three days afterwards under 
the operation when his arm and limbs were amputated. Two of 
our neighbors, John I\Iorgan and George Nicholson, who had been 
at Willmar during the storm, came by and took the bodies of 
my dead brother and his companions to their homes. 

On Saturday John ]\Iorgan came to me. I had suffered in- 
tense pain in drawing out the frost from my hands. My weight 
was cut down fearfully during those days and I carry a eripplwl 
hand to remind me of the frightful experieiice. Five of the 
horses perished in the storm. 

The remains of these four victims of the storm are buried 
ill till' P.irrh ('oolcy ccnictfry of Renville county. 

Joseph H. Feeter. 1 arrived at New I'lm, Minn., about April 
8, 1872, at midnight with but one dollar left, paid my hotel bill 
which was seventy-five cents, and started on foot for West 
Newton, Avhich was nine miles distant, and paid ten. cents to get 
over the Minnesota river, which left me fifteen cents, when I 
reached my destination. I secured work in a grist mill at Wi-st 
Newton. The latter part of May, 1872, I filed on a homestead, 
the northwest quarter of section 14, in township 115, range 34, 
Renville county. I broke about ten acres that year. The fol- 
lowing spring I helped a neigiibor seed and thereby obtained 
a team to seed my land. At this time ray family arrived from 



298 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

Michigau, cousisting of wife and two ehihiivn. lii the summer 
of 1873 I managed to get a few more acres broken, still not 
being able to own a team myself I had a very poor crop in 
1873, which I managed to get harvested and stacked, but failed 
to get threshed. I had one small stack which stood over till the 
next fall of 1874. In the year of 1874 a neighbor seeded my 
land. 1 had another poor crop, but got it threshed. I was 
able to buy a yoke of oxen, but hatl no wagon or plow. I bor- 
rowed a plow, but it would not work. P^inally a merchant took 
pity on me and trusted me for a new plow. I then did my 
plowing and late in the fall I moved to West Newton with a 
borrowed wagoji and cut cordwood during the winter. I also 
cut cordwood the winter before at West Newton. This I had 
to do in order to support myself and family. 1 moved back 
to my homestead the following spring and put in a croj) and 
did sonu' breaking. I had another poor crop and itayed on my 
homestead the following winter and trapju'il musk I'ats. mink, 
etc., for a living. 

Then the hoppers came and we had tlu-iii two years, and 
harvested two very poor crops. At this time 1 had to go bare- 
foot for want of something to wear on my feet, until after frost 
when a neighbor fixed up an old pair of lioots for me to wear. 
During this time sugar, coffee and tea wei-c out of the cpiestion. 
There is a weed that grows on the prairie which I gathered and 
made tea out of. About this time I procured a cow and a few 
chickens which was cpiite a treat after I had been having poor 
crops. I had to haul my wheat thirty miles to the nearest rail- 
road station which was Atwater, Minn. It took fonr days to 
make the trip. I would here state that in the spring of 1875 
I could not see where I was to get flonr for my family for the 
following year. Providence here smiled on me once more. A 
party from the eastern part of the state had a timber claim 
near by, and hired me to jdant trees, so I earned enough to 
buy flour for the season. I had to haul wood fifteen miles from 
the Minnesota river, which took two days to make the trip 
with my oxen. Sometimes I had a little money to buy with, 
other times I had to manage another way. Our nearest neigh- 
bor, outside of our snmll settlement was eight miles south and 
twelve miles north. This was my experience in starting to open 
up a farm on the wild i^rairie. Out of our early settlement I 
am the only one left. Some have gone to their long home and 
the others have moved away. 

Frank Wallner. In the fall of 1891 on my way back from 
the western part of the state, I stopped off at Buffalo Lake. 
There were then about a dozen houses and the town had no 
sidcAvalks. I went to the only boarding house and took lodging 
over night. The next morning I was told that the village was 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUXTY 299 

in Renville county and located on the east end of the county. 
At tliat time this part of the county was very thinly settled, 
and over half of the land was virgin prairie. I made inquiries 
as to the productiveness of the soil and the price of prairie 
land. After staying two days I returned home firmly convinced 
that the land in Renville county is as good as can be found any- 
where in the state, and tlicii and there made up my mind to buy 
land in Renville county, if 1 imiuUI airaiige matters at home 

I was staying at home with my parents that fall and winter, 
and during the month of February, 1892, I induced my father 
to make a trip back to Renvilh; county with me ; my oldest sis- 
ter's husband also came with us. We stayed twn weeks and all 
three of us bought land before we went home. 1 bought the 
southwest quarter of section 17, in ricston Lake township; the 
price paid was $17.25 per acre; it was all raw pi'airie. On 
March 17, 1892, I reachetl Renville county and settled on my 
farm. With nie came my parents, three brothers, three sisters 
and my sister's husband. I still own a farm in the same town- 
ship where I live and have prospered farming, and I have never 
regretted moving to Renville county. 

Jlr. Wailner was born November 1, 18()6. in the township of 
Minnesota Lake. Faribault countj', ^Minnesota. He was raised 
on the farm, went through the common and graded schools and 
stayed with his parents until twenty-two years old, with the ex- 
ception of time that he taught school a few terms. After that 
time he turned to farming and took possession of his farm in 
Renville county as stated above. On June 15, 1893, he was mar- 
ried to Mary IMatzdorf. Their children, Lillian and Harry, are 
home. The peojile in his community have honored him \\i11i 
various tiusts and publie offices, and at present he is town clerk. 

W. C. Keefe. In 1866 my parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jeremiah 
0. Keefe, with their five children, left Columbus, Wis., and came 
to Owatonna, ilinn., where they remained a short time. Then 
they movetl to Mankato, remaining there about two years, my 
father working as a day laborer. In the spring of 1868 he 
obtained 160 acres on section 24, Birch Cooley township, Ren- 
ville county and moved the family from Mankato in the fall. 
The family then consisted of five bo.vs and two girls, the oldest 
girl being fourteen years old Jind 1lir youngest child, a baby 
boy. They came by horse team ami the tri]) was a liard one. 
Father brought the household effects with an ox team, which 
he had hired. We stopped at New Ulm the first night and 
traveled all the next day before reaching Ft. Ridgely, staying 
over night thei-e with Seigeant Howard, and came to Birch 
Cooley the next night. It was about the middle of December 
when we settled in our rude shack in Birch Cooley, and there 
was a great deal of snow, about four feet on the le\el. Our 



300 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

stock ill trade was a sack of tloiii', a jar of biittci-. a liain. $7 
and a cow. 

The pioneers in those days liad a good friend and adviser 
in Hon. D. S. Hall, "Uar"" as lie was called then, and now. too, 
by those who are still living there. He lived a mile fi-inu ns 
on section 27, with his brothers. Charles and Ward. 

We passed throngh the hardships of the grasshoiipi-r times. 
My father would go out and get work wherever he could. ]\Iy 
oldest brother, Tim, and I were lost in the storm of 1873, when 
so many people perished, but our ox team led ns to a shack 
where we stayed t-^vo days and nights. I was thirteen years 
old at the time and my brother, two years older. Father lived 
on the farm thirty -three years and died at the age of seventy - 
five, fifteen years ago. Mother still lives here and is eighty- 
five years old. Two of my brothers, Dennis and Joseph, still 
own the old place. After returning from the West I took some 
interest in public ati'airs and held local, county, and state offices 
and was postmaster at Morton under Cleveland's adminipti'ation. 

W. H. Jewell. In 1867, accompanied by mv wife and four 
children. 1 came to Renville county from Ontgamii' county. Wis., 
and settled in Birch Cooley townshii). I built my house, cut 
hay and plowed all around my home as the grass was very 
lieavy and 1 feared ju'airie tires. One of my neighbors acci- 
dentally set fire to the grass and I had to work all night to save 
my property. The fire spread as far as Preston Lake and ran 
into slonghs three to six feet deep. 

The next season 1 w(>nt to the Republican convention in 
company with D. S. Hall. 1 nominated him for county auditor 
and he was elected. I was elected sheriff. We held to the 
old party until Bryan became prominent in ]iolitics and then 
left. 

In 1868 1 was appointed i)ostmaster at Birch Cooley, keep- 
ing the office on my fai-m. and held the office about ten years. 
In 1878 Eddsville postoffice was created and a branch line 
opened to Preston Lake. Settlers began to come in very rap- 
idly at this time. 

A. D. Smith. Before Jefferson Davis began to make history 
in the South 1 was born in ^McHenry county in the northern part 
of Illinois. 1 attended the [lublic schools of W^oodstock and ob- 
tained an education. In time I met Margaret McBroom and 
in due time we were married. For some years we conducted 
a small farm and dairy but with Horace Greeley's advice ringing 
in our ears "Go west, young man, go west," I decided to follow 
it, just as soon as we had enough money to make the venture. 
In due course of events, namely in 1S86, a fluent talker and an 
agent of the Fredericson Prins and Kueh Land Company, with 



HISTORY OF KEWILLE COUNTY 301 

offices in Cliicafji), III., came to our iiciji:lil)()i-|ioo(l. cxtoUini; the 
virtues of tlie soil in Keiivillc, KtMlwood. Chipijewa, ami Kandi- 
yohi counties, I\Iinii. 1 obtained a half i-atc landseeker's ticket 
to Renville, my wifi' I'eiiiaininfr at lioiiic to take care of the 
cows, and at Icnirth ari'ivi'd at my destination. A good break- 
fast was served earl\- in the morning at the Land Seekers' Hotel 
and three platform wagons were made ready and the teams 
hitched. A good su|)|ily of lunch, put uj) in boxes, was put on 
and also a liberal sui)i)ly of "Land Seekers" Telescopes," whicli 
were similar to beer bottles and contained a liquid which made 
everything look good ami a gi-cat many of the landseekers liad 
no trouble in buying land. But several, including myself, were 
a little cautious in using the telescope too often and did not 
decide upon any- land until we had spent five days looking over 
the land lying north and west from Renville within a radius 
of fifteen to twenty miles. There was only one settler within 
three miles of where (Mara City now stands, and he had a well 
of water. Finally 1 decide(l that everything considered, the 
.southwest quarti'r of section \'2. range '41. townshij) 116, was 
about the best piece of land availabU', and on returning to Ren- 
ville a contract was drawn and "binding money" paid, the price 
to be $10.00 per acre. This land eompany had otfiTcd this piece 
of land at a jiublie land sale a short time before at $4.50 per 
acre, .$1.UU ptT aei'e to be paid down. This land is now (1915) 
worth $150 to $175 j)er acre. In early ]\Iareh, 1888, my wife 
and I arrived at Renville and found some immense snow banks. 
We finally settled on oui- land and built a bai'u, 14 by 24 and 
lived in one end of it, Avhilc tlic tlii'ee horses and one cow lived 
in the other end. W'l- ihig a well, striking good Avater at the 
depth of thirteen feet. We \\v\t'\- suffered nuieh from the prairie 
fires, losing at the most, pei-hajis a hay stack or two. Grass- 
hoppers did not ti'Oid)le us much, but we had badgers, foxes and 
skunks as close neighbors. After twenty-seven yeai's of ups and 
downs incidental to pioneei-, or nearly i)ioHeei- life, we are satis- 
fied tlint Minnesota is a very good i)laee to live in. 

Oscar Miller. I came to Renville eount.N with my pai'eiits 
in the spring of 1865. We settled one mile from the old llireh 
Cooley battlefield, whei'e father had bought a man's homestead 
right for $100. TheT'e were eight children in the family, seven 
boys and one girl, l''Mther built a log house in wliieli we lived 
for many years. The wind and snow penetrated through the 
cracks, ami often in the inoi'uing we would awake to find six 
inches of snow on our beds. Though we had some hard times 
not one of us became sick. It was a very usual thing to have 
three or four feet of snow on the level and the simwstoi-ms 
usually lasted at least three days. We had to melt snow for 
the stock to drink, as we could not let them outside the liani. 



302 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

We would fasten a clothes-line to the house ami by means of this 
find our way to tlie barn and back to the house, as otherwise 
we would liave been lost in the storm. 

One winter the snow was so deep that we had to go to town 
on snow shoes, the drifts being hundreds of feet deej). 

Tn the spring we sowed our grain by hand and dragged it 
with oxen. The tirst few years we cut our grain l)y hand with 
an old fashioned grain scythe, and bound it into bundles. We 
hauled theui into the gi'anary and threshed the grain with a 
flail. For three years we were trouljled by tlu- gi'asshoppers. 
The fields wei-e red with them. To <lrive them from the fields 
we used to take a sort of a strawtick and drag it through the 
grain field. The grasshoiipers even att'eeted the hen's eggs, the 
chickens eating so many of the insects that the whole egg would 
be red and therefore worthless. 

In 1S75, I went to California, remaining there for two years, 
after wliich time I returned to Renville county. In 1879 I mar- 
ried Lavina Kuiuro. Ilei- I'elatives were living in Birch Coolej' 
during the Indian outbreak and had a terrible time. Twelve 
children were born to lis, six boys and six girls, of whom one 
boy and one girl died. For many years my bi'other and I 
threshed and I fed a tlireshing machine for sixteen seasons. 
During the last twenty-eight years I have been in business in 
Renville county at Franklin village, but left there in June, 1915, 
and DOW I'esidi' ill ^liinieapolis. 

Herman Stark. As a young man 1 reached Transit township, 
Sibley county, Minnesota, March 20, 1872, and secured work at 
$130 a year. The next year I was married and started in life 
as so many others have done, with plenty of strength and cour- 
age and with high hopes for the future. In 1874 we had 
an experience with the grasshoppers, but they came late and 
we reaped a fair harvest. In 1875 the crop was entirely de- 
stroyed by grasshoppers. So I went to Biscay, in McLeod coun- 
ty, and obtained work to siipjiort my family. For the three 
mouths of July, August and Sejitember, I earned $60. 

In 1876 we had the jirospect of harvesting a good crop. The 
grasshoppers, however, came again, though later than usual, 
and seemed to take to the oats, so most of the farmers cut their 
oats rather eai'ly to save it. 1877 would have been a good year 
for crops had all the farmers sowed their grain, but having had 
such poor luck for so many years, many people were too poor 
to risk their last bit of seed and very few seeded in the spring. 
Those who did had a very fair crop. In the fall of 1877 I 
rented a farm. We now had three children in our fauiily, who 
helped us on the field whenever we were out working. In 1878 
the crop looked very prosperous but in July we had rain and 
after that hot sunshine and hot winds which scorched the grain. 



HISTORY OK RENVILLE COUNTY 303 

Tile wheat yielded oidv twelve bushels to the acre and we paid 
7 ceuts pel- liushel for thresliiiif; it and received twenty-five eents 
per bushel when we sold it. Eggs were 7 cents per dozen and 
butter 5 cents p(>r pound. Stock had fair price at that time, a 
good cow being worth .fJo.OO, dressed iiogs, 8 cents jier pound. 
but there was no market for tuidressed hogs. 

In 1879 we had a good crop of wheat, the grain selling from 
75 eents to SO cents per bushel. That fall I bought 80 acres 
of state agricultural land in the east half of the southeast quar- 
ter of section 8, township 113 (Bismark), range 30, at $5.00 per 
acre. During the winter of I879-S0, 1 hauled logs from the 
woods, hewecl and jilaned them, and built a so-called "Gei'iiian'" 
frame house. We moved on to this farm May 10, LS80. We 
also b\iilt a straw shed which was to serve as a sheltei' for our 
st()(di. .June 10, a cyclone jiassed thi-ough our little pi'au'ie 
country and blew down our little elinrch. also doing some dam- 
age to several fai'iii houses and sheds. The fall before we had 
broken seventeen acres of land, which we had put into wheat. 
We also rented 30 acres which we i>ut into oats, wheat and corn. 
This eroj) was a good one and we felt rich to be able to fui'uish 
sufficient food foi' the family for the coming winter. Kail came 
early that year and on October 1.^, we had a teri'ible blizzard, 
and awoke in the morning to find that the snow had blown 
through our temporally roof ami was lying thickly on our beds. 
We had left our cattle outside during the night, not thinking 
that such a snowstorm would come up, and it took us till 2 
o'clock ill the afternoon to get our sheds uncovered to get our 
cows into shelter. The snow melted away and we had some nice 
weather again, until November 7, when winter commenced in 
good earnest. During December and January the sleighing 
was excellent, but tlie weather was very cold. During these two 
months I would go to the woods, some twenty-five miles away, 
to get fire-wood, the trip taking two days. During these tlays 
my wife and children were alone a great part of the time. When 
the calves were born my wife had to take them into the iiouse 
several times a day to get them warm ami then take them back 
to their mother, as otherwise tlie little animals would have froz- 
en. The last day of January 1 went to Ilendeison, a distance 
of forty miles, and retui'iied on l-'ebruary 1. I'll never forget 
how glad 1 was to be bai-k limrie again with m>- family, as that 
ver>' night it started to snow and stormed for a week. Our 
stock shed was a mass of snow which looked like a snow bank 
and the snow packed down so hard that a team could easily 
have driven over that shed and not have broken through. It 
took us an hour's shoveling every morning to get at our hay 
and corn fcxlder stocks to get feed for the cattle. There was at 
least four feet of snow nu the level that winter. During Feb- 



304 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

ruary and ^Mareli only three trips were made to Browiitoii, our 
nearest market, fifteen miles away. We had a poor crop that 
year on account of tiie late sprin^r and wet summer, having 
started to seed about Aju-il 15. We also had a wet fall. In 
the month of October we threshed with a horsepower macliine. 
It kept one man busy carrying straw for the horses to walk on. 
At tliis time we also experienced a hard time on account of one 
of our children being sick with typhoid fever. I left the thresh- 
ing machine and rode on horseback to Brownton for a doctor, 
and it took him till midnight to reach us, as he had lost his way 
and the roads were very bad. 

During tlie winter of 1881-1882 the weatlu-r was very mild. 
with no snow. I hauled all of my firewood on the wagon. The 
crop was good that year and in the fall of that year we bought 
another 40 acres of state laiul, adjoining our 80 acres, at ^5.00 
per acre. During the wintei' of 1882-1883 we had a cold spell 
with nuK'h snow and blizzards. Oftentimes I would go down to 
the woods for Hi'ewood and return without any, the weather 
being so l)ad that I was unable to haul it. Sometimes I unloaded 
on the way when the roads were so bad, and oftentimes barely 
came through with an eiiii)ty wagon. That yeai's crop was good 
in spite of tlie late spring. The fall was also late and all the 
work was done up nicely. That fall wc bought another 40 acres 
of agricult\iral land adjoining our 120 aei-es ami at the same 
price as the first land. 

During the winter of 188.'J-1884 I went to the woods twenty- 
five times. I liaided logs to the saw-mill at New Auburn, to 
be sawed into lumbei- for a gi-anary. We had much snow that 
winter, but I always mauagi-d to get through. The crops were 
good and that fall I purchased 80 acres of railroad land at 
$7.50 per acre, which adjoined our 160 aci'es. During the winter 
of 1884-1885 I hauled lumber from Winthrop, a newly built up 
town at a distance of nine miles, and built a barn 28 by 36 by 14 
feet. In the fall of 1886 we bought another 80 acres of railroad 
land adjoining our 240 acres. That fall I circulated a petition 
for a new school house district, as the whole towushij) belonged 
to the same district, and in the spring of 1887 we built the 
school house, 20 by 30 fert, on our first 80 acres, about 80 rods 
northeast of tln' house, and here all of our children received 
their education. 1 took great interest in school matters and held 
the position of treastu-er until I retired from active farming. 

In the fall of 1890 we bought 160 aci'es of land in Transit 
township for $3,000, which we sold the following year for $4,000. 
February 17, 1891, our youngest son died from pneumonia. That 
winter was a severe one and there was much sno^^■. We had a 
hard time to get a doctor and couldn't get a minister. We had 
our child with us almost a week after he died, waiting for a 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 305 

change of weatlier, but with our neighbors' assistance we buried 
him in a Christian way. 

Our hardships of pioneer life ended and we retired from 
active farming .Tanuaiy 10, 1905, owning 800 acres of hind in 
Bismark township, .huu' IG, 1905, our next youngest son died at 
the age of seventeen j'cai's, five months and twenty-eight days. 
In 1905 M'e bought a farm in Preston Lalvc township at $35.00 
per acre, which was very cheap at that time. The crop was 
good that year, but in 1906 a terrible hailstorm passed tlirongh 
our section which destroyed nearly everything. What had not 
been destroyed by the hail could not be cut on account of its 
being so wet, so this made a total loss, not only in Preston Lake 
township, but also in Bismark township, these two townships be- 
ing seventeen miles apart. 

A Blizzard Experience. The "Minnesota blizzards" of early 
days, can never be forgotten by the early settlers. Pages might 
be written of the privations, losses and deaths caused by these 
storms. ]\Iany persons now living, can remember distinctly see- 
ing crowds of men walking across the prairies, and slioveling 
mountain snow banks in search of the body of some missing 
neighbor supposed to have been frozen. 

Below is an accotmt of one of the many incidents of the kind 
that occurred in tliose days: An old lady named JMrs. Rogers, 
residing in Wellington township, went to a neighbor's house two 
miles distant to borrow flour. Her aged husband was unable 
to go at the time, and she herself was partially crippled by rea- 
son of frozen feet, the family evidently being almost destitute 
of fuel and provisions. Upon returning with the flour, Mrs. 
Rogers was suddenly overtaken by the storm of that Sunday 
afternoon, and turned by the force of the tempestuous wind she 
evidently wandered with it in a northwesterly direction, the 
body being found on Tuesday afternoon at a point more than 
three miles distant from lier home, and not more than eighty 
rods from the house of a settler. Two dogs had accompanied 
Mrs. Rogers and one of them was the means by which the 
searching party found her frozen remains, completely buried 
in the snow. The faithful animal had stood guard over his dead 
mistress wliere she had fallen, and would not allow the dogs 
from the house near by to distract him from his vigils, until 
his peculiar behavior attracted attention, with the result as above 
stated. The other dog attempted to run home, and was frozen 
to death. 

The deceased Mrs. Rogers was sixty years old, and was the 
mother of four children. The two sons are young men, and 
were absent at this time. The onlj^ child at home was a young 
girl. The funeral took place on Friday, sympathizing neighbors 



306 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

drawing the body to its last resting place with their own hands, 
the roads being impassable for teams. 

B. C. McEwen. Few living: in Renville county today realize 
the abundance of wild game and fur animals that inhabited this 
section in the fifties and later. On the prairies (except in win- 
ter) there were ducks and geese, sand hill cranes, chickens and 
wild pigeons by the millions and in the timlier there were deer, 
rabbits, partridges and more wild pigeons. 

When on the farm in McLeod county we were about seven 
miles from what was known as the "Great Pigeon Roost." It 
was the big woods east of our place and covered hundreds of 
acres, and there the pigeons came every spring from 185.5 to 
1861 and built their nests and raised their young and they were 
there in such countless tliousands that we could often hear the 
roar of their wings tliat distance when they would rise in a 
body. And I have often lieard people say that lived near, that 
they had often seen the air so full of birds that they hid the 
sun like a cloud and I have seen thousands light down on fields 
of grain in shock and cover the shocks so thickly that each 
shock would look like a pile of live pigeons. I have seen them 
light on stubble fields and those that came behind would jump 
up and fly just ahead and light and the great flock would roll 
over the field like a great hoop, and all that was necessary was 
to get in front of the line and keep out of sight. I once killed 
23 with one shot. What became of the pigeons is a question that 
has never been answered although several dift'erent themes have 
been advanced by sportsmen. One is that improved firearms 
and market conditions had annihilated them with the American 
buffalo, and another that some contagious disease killed them 
all off. The fur animals were : foxes and wolves, otter, fishers, 
minks, coons and muskrat. It was the muskrat we depended on 
to pay for our postage stamps and to pay the subscription to 
Horace Greeley's New York Weekly Tribune. It was my fath- 
er's Bible. No other product of the country sold for cash, every- 
thing else was barter and store pay. After the Indian outbreak 
in 1862, and the Indians were driven away, and many of tlie old 
settlers were killed or driven out of the country, and while al- 
most every ablebodied man was in the Civil War, game increased 
very fast, especially deer, until a large number of emigrants 
from the South, mostly from Kentucky and West Virginia, came 
here. They brought their long Kentucky rifies and hounds and 
very little else. They, with the long-tp-be-remembered winter 
of 1866-67 numbered the days of the deer in the vicinity of 
Hutchinson. My father and my oldest brother were never very 
good at hunting and I was never very good for much else, and 
I suppose for that reason my principal business for a number 
of years was to supply the family and hired help with meat and 




<^cu^^^ S, yYa^. 




v^ 




MAi;v nrxi.di' m.l.\i;i:x ijai-l 



V 



TH*: NCVV YOP.K 
PU8LIC LIBRARY 



TIUDEN '•OUNOA.noK.S 



HISTORY OF KENN'ILLE COUNTY 307 

herd the cattle. Wheu I could get the wherewithal to huy a 
pouud of shot and a quarter of a pound of powder and a box 
of G. D. caps I was happy. Perhaps I ought to explain to the 
young people about those G. D. caps. Percussion caps in those 
days came in little round boxes like a pill box, and held one 
hundred caps, and on the cover in large letters was "G. D. 
cajjs."' I don't know to this day what the G. D. stands for, but 
they were mighty poor caps. If they got the least particle of 
dampness on them the priming came off. Prices of fur up to 
about the close of the war w-ere as low as I remember tlieiii. 



CHAPTER XX 

BIOGRAPHICAL REVIEW. 

Facts in the Early Career and Later Success of People Who Have 
Helped Make Renville County — Founders and Patriots — 
Names Which Will Live Long in the Memory of Residents of 
Tliis Vicinity — Stories of Well Known Families Which Have 
Led in Public Life. 

Darwin Scott Hall was born January 23, 1844, on Mound 
Prairie in Wheatland township, Kenosha county, Wisconsin, near 
the village of Richmond, ]\IeIIenry county, Illinois. His father 
was Erasmus Darwin Hall. His father had two brothers, .Toliii 
McCarty and Solon Willey, and a sister, Emily (Mrs. E. K. Whit- 
comb, Elgin, 111.). His grandfather was Dr. Ruben Ilall : liis 
great-gi-andfather was Amos Hall, who had eight sons, as follows: 
Amos, David, Jared, Ezra, John, Uriah, Elisher and Ruben. 

Amos, the eldest of these sons, in the year 1805 moved fi'oiu 
Hopkinton, N. H., to the townsliij) of Ireland, Jlagantic county, 
in the Pi'ovince of Quebec, Canada. Tiie "'Annals of Magantic 
County,'" an historical publication of 1902, devotes a chapter to the 
Hall families settled iii Ireland. Of Amos it says, "He was born 
at Salem, Mass., in 1761 : his gi'andfatlier was a sea captain, and the 
family an old one, in which for six generations back it had hnn 
made a rule to call the eldest son Amos. Captain Amos Hall 
enlisted in the army when 18, served in the Revolutioiuiry War, 
was payuiaster-sergeant, and one of Washington's bodyguard for 
a time. He traded with the Indians foi' their fur; he was a man 
of such resolute will and power of eye, that he was a host in 
himself." I). S. Hall's grandmotlier. on his father's side, was 
Baliiida Ruth Willey before she mari-ied Doctor Ruben. His 
mother, before marriage, was Mary Ann Carson; she had a sister, 
Elizabeth, and a brother. Philander, who was struck by lightning 
in .Xicollet county years ago. ilei- I'iither was William Carson, a 



308 IIISITORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

Gerinau, who served his adopted country, the United States, as a 
soldier in the War of 1812, and married JMercy Dodge, at Geneseo, 
New York, moving to Wisconsin about 1839. 

Wlien the subject of this sketcli Avas three years old. his parents 
moved to Waukau. Winnebago county, near Oslikosli, Miiere liis 
fatlier was among the first settlers, and later a member of the 
W^iseonsin legislature. 

In 1856 the family moved into the pine forest aliout fifteen miles 
north of Grand Rapids, Wisconsin; his fatlu-r, in company with 
Abija Pierce, built a saw-mill and began lund)ering. There Avere 
five children in the family at this time: Darwin Seott. the eldest, 
Erasmus Ward, Solon Willey, Cliarlcs Sumnei'. and Slary Eliza- 
betli, a babe in arms. Tlie eldest and youngest only remain in 1915. 
A school teacher was taken into the woods with the family. Two 
years later the family moved into the village of Grand Rapids, 
where school facilities were better. At fifteen years of age Dar- 
win began to Avork at lath making and such work, in mills making 
lumber; later, in the spring, or other times when the depth of 
Avater in the Wisconsin river Avarranted, lie Avas Avith tliose Avorking 
rafts of lumber doAvn the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers, some- 
times as far as St. Louis. Tlie Avork Avas sti-enuous, hardships and 
dangers plenty, necessitating "a survival of the fittest." He im- 
j)roved every opportunity ])ossible for an education; the Avinter 
he Avas 17 he taught scliool near (Jrand Rapids: tlie spring folloAV- 
ing found him in Elgin, Illinois, where lie spent two years at the 
Elgin Academy tlirough the generosity of his aunt, Mrs. E. K. 
Whitcomb, tlien of that city. In June, 1864, he returned to Grand 
Rapids, enlisted in Company K, 42d Vol. Infantry, served, and 
Avas honorably discharged at the close of the Avar in July, 1865. 
Prom the middle of July until late in October, himself, Frank 
BroAVU and Henry Jessie Avorked on the Wisconsin river. They 
Avere returned soldiers of the ('ivil War, all fi-oin Grand Rapids, 
Frank Brown having nearly dii'il in Aiidersoiivillc as a jn-isoner 
of Avar. But it did not take them long to liccome civilians again; 
they stuck together tliat summer, made two trips down the Wis- 
consin and Mississippi rivers, built rafts on tlir Wisconsin river, 
slept and lived outdoors all the time, and Avere about >|^300 each 
to the good Avhen tlie river froze up. 

That fall the subject of this sketch Avent to ^Milwaukee. Wis., 
and attended tlie Markham Acadeiii\'. 

In May, 1866, he came to ^linnesota. lie Ijought at .\Jankato, 
of Liveryman Day, a horse, saddle and complete equestrian out- 
fit, and mounted on his modern Buceplialus, he explored the upper 
reaches of the Minnesota river, going often to the U. S. Land 
Office at St. Peter for information regarding Government land. 
That summer he selected land in the toAvnship of Birch Cooley, 
in this county. That Avinter he taught school in the Joel Kennady 



IIISTOKY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 309 

district, near where the village of Nicollet now stands. In the 
S])ring of 1867 he rented the farm of Mrs. Cordelia Carson, his 
aunt, near Hebron, Nicollet county. After putting in the crops, 
himself and brother, Ward, with two yoke of oxen, a cow and 
supplies, went to his prairie claim, in Birch Cooley, and began to 
turn over the sod, and prepared quite a respectable field for crop 
that summer. His brother. Ward, in the meantime, had taken 
up a claim in the woods across from Fort Ridgely, near Golden 
Gate, Brown county ; to this point they repaired in the winter, 
having built comfortable cabins for themselves and stock in the 
woods. In the winter they bnsit>d themselves cutting butternut 
trees into shingle length blocks, which they hauled to Busch's 
mill at New Ulm, thus supplying the larder and good spirits. 

In 1868 a crop of whcmt was sown on the Birch Cooley field ; 
in the meantime he had acquired another 160 acres of land, giving 
him a 320 acre farm. In the fall of this year he was elected county 
auditor and sold his farm to Stephen A. Greeuslitt. He assumed 
the duties of his otlfice in March. 186!). In July he was married to 
Mary Dunlop McLaren, of Portage-du-forte, Province of Quebec, 
Canada. He was county auditor four years. In the meantime 
he established the "Renville Times,'" now the "Olivia Times." He 
was clerk of the District Court from 1873 to 1878; in 1876 he was 
a representative in the legislature. He was appointed by President 
Hays to be Register of the U. S. Land Office at Benson, Minn., in 
1878. and held the office eight years. In 1880 he bought a large 
tract of land in Preston Lake township, this county, and stocked 
it up witli blooded cattle, horses and hogs, which ho sold for 
breeding purposes for iiuiny years. In 1886 he was elected state 
senator from this county. In 1888 he was elected a member of 
Congress from the third district of Minnesota. In 1891 he was 
appointed cluiirinaii of the (hipju'wa Indian Commission, succeed- 
ing ex-U. y. Senator Henry M. Rice. President Cleveland let him 
out; President McKinley reinstated him, and he was among the 
Chij)iicwas about five years. He was a delegate to the National 
Republican Convention in 1892. In 1895 he was president and 
general manager of the Keystone mine in the Black Hills, which 
had stamp mills and mined extensively. He was a year in that 
position, and made some money for his friends ; no one lost a dol- 
lar by him, then, or at any time, for that matter. He was a member 
of the board of managers of the State Agricultural Society for a 
number of years, resigning in 1910. In 1906, just twenty years 
after his former election to the same office, he was elected state 
senator from Renville county, showing that if a person does about 
the right thing, coming back is not difficult. 

In 1911 Mr. Hall bought himself a home and other property 
in Oli\ia. the county .seat of Renville county. The j)eople of 
Olivia are glad to have him among them, and show him and 



310 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

his good wife much eoiisidi-ratioii. all of which is full\' appreciated 
by them. It is iudeed gratifying that after more tliau forty-five 
years' residence in Renville eoiuity, not an enemy or unfriendly 
person is to be found within its borders. He has modest opinions 
on most subjects, which he does not hesitate to state, admitting 
that another has as much right to an opinion as he has to his, 
claiming nothing approaching infallibility, and always open to 
conviction. He has no fear of any religious denomination or secret 
society destroying the country or injuring himself or neighbors. 
He encoiTrages a spirit of toleration, and more friendh' considera- 
tion of things religious, i)olitical and social, trusting that the time 
may soon come when the "holier than tlion"' individual turns his 
gaze inwardly upon himself. 

While ilr. Hall has withdrawn from many activities, he is 
still interested in the upbuilding and development of this region, 
and in j^ublic affairs. His health is good, and he is more active 
and supple than many a person of half his age. He believes that 
there are a good many more days" work left in him yet, which no 
one questions, and it is hoped there may be any number of them. 

Mr. Hall is a 32d degree Scottish Rite Mason, a Shriner, of 
O.sman Temple, an Elk. of Willmar Lodge No. 952; a life member 
of the State Historical, Agricultural and Horticultural societies. 
as well as president of the Fort Ridgely State Park and Historical 
Association, and this year, 191"). finds him mayor of Olivia and 
j)resident of the Commercial ("hib in that place. He takes unich 
interest in all of tliese associations, saying that ' ' it prevents being 
overtaken by dry rot, or thoughts, at any time, of being a dead 
one." 

Mary Dunlop McLaren Hall was born at Portage-du-forte, 
Province of (Quebec. (_'anaiia. She married Darwin S. Hall at 
Beaver Falls, in Renville county, xMinn., July 10th, 1869. Her 
father was Dougald Ferguson McLaren ; he was born in Perth- 
shire, Scotland, and came to Canada in the year 1831. He was 
employed, as a young man, for many years b.y Atkinson, Osborn 
& Co., superintending their lumber interests on the upper Ottawa 
river. His father was an extensive land holder and stock raiser 
in the Shire of Perth, Scotland, who raised a large family. His 
name, John jMcLaren, was well known in that locality. 

The mother of the siibject of this sketch was Lorena McArthur 
before she married Dougald F. McLaren, and she was born at 
Beach Ridge, Province of Quebec, Canada. Her sister. Rebecca, 
was the mother of the late Senator H. Ward Stone, of Benson, 
Minn., and the late Mrs. A. N. Johnson of the same place; Lorena 
and Charlotte were twins, Eric and Alfred were twins, with Mary 
the youngest of those children. "Uncle Eric" was an active and 
extensive lumberman in early days, well known, with a home at 
Eureka, Wiiinet)ago county, Wisconsin. 



TH\: NEVv' YORK 

C^uauc ubraryI 



/J'LDEN 'OONDXTtONs/ 




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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 311 

The father of tlu' subject of this sketeh was for many years 
extensively engaged in mercantik' and lumber businesses on the 
upper Ottawa river and at Portage-du-forte, wliile the country 
was new. lie was devoted to his family and gave them many 
advantages for culture and education, which he was amply able 
to do. The subject of this sketch attended school at Smith's Falls 
and other institutions of learning, coming west and into the 
states iu the spring of 1868, to her Aunt Rebecca (Mrs. L. K. 
Stone) and Uncle Eric at Eureka, "Wisconsin, whei-e she made 
her home for a time, and where she met her future husband. 

The family of Dougald and Lorena, fatlier and mother of 
Mary Dunlop, is as follows : The late Dr. William R. McLaren, of 
Detroit, Mich.; Mary Dunlop ; James McLaren, of Alhambra, Cal.; 
Louisa, deceased; George, deceased; Charles, of Los Augeles, Cal.; 
Lorena (Mrs. S. H. Hudson, of Benson, Minn.) ; Jessie, deceased; 
Mrs. Annie Osborn, Los Angeles; Mrs. Elizalietli F. Harter, Alta- 
dena, Cal. 

The subject of this sketch came to Minnesota and to Renville 
county in July. 1869; as before stated, was married to Darwin S. 
Hall. She has seen this locality dc'velop as few women remaining 
can say. Herself and husband have gone through life hand in 
hand, as it were, and much is still in store for them. 

James P. Okins, one of the early pioneers of Minnesota, was 
born in Bedford, England, April 20, 1846, son of Eli and (Char- 
lotte (Porter) Okins. Eli was the son of William, a farmer, who 
changed the name from Akeus to Okins. Three children were 
born to William : Elizabeth, who died at the age of sixteen 
years; Eli and John. John became a soldici' and took part in 
the battle of Waterloo. Eli engaged in farming in England and 
left for America in 1850, arriving at Albany, New York, where 
he was later joined by his family, consisting of liis wife and 
seven cliildren : John, Josiah, Mary Ann, Maria, Sarah, James, 
and Lucy. In iMofi the family started f(ir Minnesota. They 
came by train as far as La Crosse, taking a steamboat from tliere 
to Reed's Landing and going by foot and by ox team the rest 
of the way to Olmsted eoimty, where they pre-empted 160 acres 
ten miles north of Rochester. It was mostly timber land and 
there were no buildings on the place. A small frame building 
was erected, 12 by 16 feet, but later replaced by a better dwelling. 
He began with an ox team and cleared th(! land, improving the 
farm. In 1864 he moved to Dakota county, locating on an eighty- 
acre tract of land four miles north of Northfield. In the spring 
of 1868 he came to Renville county and located in south Sacred 
Heart in section 14, where he liomesteaded eighty acres. He 
biiilt a log house and lived there till his death in 1873. His wife 
died many years later. Mr. Okins held the office of supervisor 
when the township was organized. He was a member of the 



312 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

Episcopal L'luireli. -James Okins received his early etlueatiou iu 
the district school of Olmsted county. Iu the spriug of 1864 
he eulisted at Rochester in Compauy K, Third Minnesota Voluu- 
teer lufantry, serviug one and a half years. He was mustered 
out at St. Paul. He theu located a homestead of eighty acres iu 
section 14, south Sacred Heart towusliip, which he still owns. 
Here he built a log house 12 by 16 feet with a board floor and a 
shingled roof. He began with an ox team and a cow and 
increased his farm to 220 acres and improved it and built 
modern buildings. He is a member of the Farmers' Co-operative 
Elevator at Renville. He has been township constable and was 
one of the organizers of the town of Sacred Heart. He also 
served on the school board. In 1911 he retired to Renville vil- 
lage, ilr. Okins was married Septeiuber 10, 1870, to- Sophia 
Churchill, born at Rockford, Illinois, December 14. 1852, daugh- 
ter of Joseph and Sojihia (Daniels) Churchill. ]\Ir. Churchill 
was born in England and his wife was born in j\Iaine. He came 
from England to Maine, where he married and from there they 
went to Illinois, locating in Stebbens county. In 185-5 the family 
moved to Waseca, Minnesota, locating on a farm in the neigh- 
borhood, and in 1859 they came to Le Sueur comity, where they 
bouglit a farm and lived there till 1866, when they moved to 
Renville county. They settled in Beaver Falls township, three 
miles west of the village of Beaver Falls. He obtained a pre- 
emption right to eighty acres of land and moved into the log 
building on the place. Here he made his home until his death in 
1873 at the age of seventy-seven years. ]\lr. aud Mrs. Okins 
have had thirteen children, eight of whom are living: George, 
Edward, Nellie (deceased), Frank, Mary, Oscar (deceased), 
Lavina (deceased), Mina, Clarence, Charles (deceased), Hai'ry 
(deceased), Chailes and Fr(>d. 

Gibson A. Richards was born in Maekford to-\\ushi[i. Green 
Lake county, Wisconsin. -January 16, 1857. son of Thomas and 
Anna (King) Richards. Thomas Richards was a luitive of Lin- 
colnshire, England, and was the only one of the family to come 
to America. Gibson received his early education iu the country 
school and became a farmer, coming to his pi'csent j)lace in Ren- 
ville county iu 1878, where he secured a homest(>ad of 160 acres 
in section 19, Boon Lake township. Here he erected a frame 
building 12 by 16 feet and 7 feet high and also a straw barn. 
After two years he obtained a team of horses. When he married 
his wife brought him three cows. The first market was at 
Hutchinson and later at Stewart. He prospered and had good 
crops, and has increased his farm to 320 acres and made many 
improvements on the house and barns. He keeps a good grade 
of stock. Mr. Richards served on the township board for thir- 
teen years and has been chairnuui of the board for the past two 



HISTORY OF REX VI I. LE COUNTY 313 

years. lit; also held office on the sehool board. He helped 
organize the Lake Side creamery and has held office on the board 
as one of the directors. He is also a stockholder of the Buffalo 
Lake Farmers' Elevator. He is a stewaid of tlie local Methodist 
Episcopal church, which he help to build. Jlr. Richai'ds was 
married July 20, 1879, to JIartha J. Pottei-. hi 1879 she taught 
the first subscription school and also laufrlit lliree other tei'ms in 
the district sehool. For teaching her fii-st school she received 
$18 a month and she had to ])ay .^2 a week for board. Mr. and 
Mrs. Richards have four cliildrcn: William, who is at home; 
Liiniie, who died at the age of nine years; Roy, who is a farmer 
of Boone Lake townshi]). and Eugene C, a farmer in Boone Lake 
township. 

John Eggert was born in New York, near Troy, .lannary 21, 

1S.")(), s f Fi-rd and ^lary (Samft) Eggert, both natives of 

Gernuiii.w who <'aini' to America with their four children: 
Charles, Augusta. .Mary and Fred, in 1853. The.y were fourteen 
weeks on the ocean in a sailing vessel, which they had boarded 
seven weeks prior to stai'ting. While on their way to America 
a daughter, Anna, was born. They arrived at New Y'ork and 
here Mr. Eggei-t began working for the farmers, John being 
borii while the family lived tliei'c. Early in the spring of 1857 
they set out across the lakes, up the Jlississippi. while the ice 
was breaking uj), and came to Miiuieapolis. where the father 
farmed. Next he obtained a team and worked for the railroad, 
lieli)ing fill in and grade the swami) where the ^Milwaukee depot 
is now located. Albert was born in ^Minneapolis. In the spring 
of 1868 the family drove by horse team from Minneapolis and 
came in a eovercnl wagon to Renville county, coming to Boor; 
Lake township, where they secured a homestead of 160 acres 
in section 12. 'i'he homestead right included a little log cabin 
on the land, into whi(di the fannly moved. Tliere was also a 
straw barn. Ileri^ he began breaking the land with the aid of 
his iiorses and made his home here tiie rest of his life. He pros- 
pered and in time owned 200 acres and built a modei'ii house. 
Fred Eggert served as towiislup supervisor and school treasai-er 
and built the tirst selioolliouse of the district. lie was a mendjer 
of the (icrnian Lutheran ehurch, and services were often held in 
his cabin before the congi'cgation owned any chui'ch building. 
He was nmrried to Mary Samft Janiiaiy 10, 1837. He died June 
8, 1902, at the age of ninety years, and his wife died February 9, 
1899, at the age of (dghty-five years. John Eggert was one and 
a half yeai's of age when he came to Minnesota. He attended 
the German parochial school in Minneapolis and spent six months 
at the public school. When he was twenty-one years of age he 
attended sehool again, this time at Hutchinson. He has con- 
tinued to operate the home farm, improved it, erected new barns, 



314 HISTORY OF RExWILLE COUNTY 

and acquired a good grade of stock. He has served on the town- 
ship board as assessor for nine years and has also been school 
clerk. He helped incorporate the Lake Side Creamery, but is 
now a member of the West Lynn Creamery, and has served as its 
president. He is a member of the Baptist church at Hutchinson. 
Mr. Eggert was united in marriage March 7, 1S79, to Frederica 
Fredericks, a native of Germany, daughter of Gotlieb Fredericks, 
who settled in Boon Lake in 1868. She died December 4, 1879, 
leaving one son. Henry. ^Ir. Eggert married again September 
15, 1880, to ilinnie Barfknecht, who died June 8, 1892, leaving 
three children : Lydia, Mata and Minnie. Mr. Eggert married 
a third time. Bertha Bust. May 19, 1893. The following chil- 
dren were born: Lillie, John, Alfred and Agnes (deceased). 

William M. Harrier was born in Lesueur county, Minne- 
sota, September 5, 1861, son of Alexander and Elizabeth (Tolau) 
Harrier. Alexander was a native of Ohio and of English and 
German ancestry and his wife was of Irish descent. He came 
to Minnesota before the Civil war and located in Lesueur 
county, where he made his home until his death in 1903 at the 
age of sixty-two years. His wife died seven weeks later at the 
age of fifty-eight years. There were seven children : William, 
Marj' (deceased), Margaret, Emma, James, Alexander and Eliza- 
beth. William Harrier was the oldest of the children and received 
his early education in the district school. At the age of nineteen 
years he began working for himself and in 1889 moved to Ren- 
ville county and located in Preston Lake township in section 5, 
obtaining a tract of 160 acres of wild prairie land. Here he built 
a frame house and a frame barn with straw roof. He had two 
cows and $2.50 in cash. He lived on this place for eighteen 
years and built good buildings, then he moved to his present 
place, where he secured a tract of 240 acres. He keeps a good 
grade of stock. Mr. Harrier was married November, 1887, to 
Mamie Bankson. born in Belleplaine, Minnesota, January 20, 
1860, daughter of Andrew and Mary Bankson, both natives of 
Sweden, who came to the United States in 1856 by sailing vessel, 
being three months on the ocean, bringing with them their three 
children : Lewis, Katie and August. They came to Carver county 
and located on a farm, where they lived for a number of years, 
their first home being a log house with a bark roof. The follow- 
ing children were born in Minnesota: Charlie, Mamie, Frank, 
Delpha, Enoch, Emil and Waltimer. The father was a veteran 
of the Civil war and took part in the Indian campaign and was 
wounded at Gettysburg. He died at Gaylord, Minnesota, twenty 
years ago, at the age of seventy-five years. His wife died thirty 
years ago at the age of fifty-three years. Mr. and Mrs. William 
Harrier have had seven children, six of whom are living: 
Edward, at Buffalo Lake; Ida, now living in Canada: Nellie, liv- 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 315 

ing at Buffalo Lake ; Cora, living at Preston Lake ; Bert, at 
Preston Lake: Waltei-. at lionic anil one child who died in 
infancy. 

Charles Dwight McEwen, deceased, known ovei' the county 
and state as ■"L'ncle rharlie," remembered for his hmnorous 
stories and witty sayings, was born at ilinesbin-g, \'erniont, 
June 20, 1822, and died July 26. 1901, son of James MeEwen, 
a native of Massachusetts who lived in the colonial days. 
When lie was nineteen years of age Charles 1). moved to 
St. Lawrence county, New York. He settled on a farm and 
married Merva Dwinnell, born in Lynn, Massachusetts, January 
13, 1822, who was of English ancestry. In 1855 the family came 
to Rock county, Wisconsin, where they remained for two years. 
They brought with them two children : Howard, born September 
16, 1845. and Bowman C, born August 8, 1848. Another child 
was born in Wisconsin, Cliarlana Parcilla, born October 5, 1855, 
and died August 23, 1862. In 1857 he set out from Wisconsin 
with ox team and covered wagon, going to Hutchinson,. Minne- 
sota, the journey taking five weeks and three days. He secured 
a homestead three miles soutli of Hutchison, proved up the land 
and built a log cabin. He broke up the land with his ox team 
and lived there until ISTti. He had built good buildings and 
erected what was probably the first cheese factory in the state 
and milked one huiulred and fifty cows. It was located on his 
farm and was known as tlie McEwen cheese factory. The cheese 
was distributed am! sold throughout the country towns by team 
once a month. Another son. Carlton C, w-as born in ^Minnesota 
May 31, 1859. At the time of the Indian outbreak the mother 
and younger children went to Wisconsin for the winter, living 
in tlie stockade and here Charlana died from diplitheria, the 
father and the oldest sons remaining at home. The Indians 
burneil the home and shot some of the hogs. While in Wisconsin 
Clark was born, October 15, 1862. In 1876 Charles U. iMcEwen 
moved to Renville county, where he pre-empted 160 acres of land 
in section 31. Boon Lake townshij). It was all wild i)rairie laud, 
and here he built a frame house and again took u]) the cheese 
industry, locating the factory on his farm. Tliis was tlic first 
cheese factory in Renville county. He also made a specialty of 
stock raising. His wife died Ajjril 12. 1887, and from that time 
lie lived with his children. He had increased his farm to 800 
acres, built good buildings and ])rospered. Charles D. MeEwen 
was a strong abolitionist and was a member of the Home Guards. 
He was of the Republican i)arty and was elected a representative 
to the legislature, serving during the term of 1892-93. 

Bowman C. McEwen, a well known farmer of Boon Lake town- 
ship, received his early education in the district schools and 
attended the Union school in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He enlisted, 



316 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

IS64, ill Company B, First Minnesota Heavj- Artilleiy, and Mas 
sent south to Chattanooga, Tennessee, being discharged at the 
end of the war. He returned to Hutchinson and remained there 
until his father moved to Renville county, when he obtained pre- 
emption claim of 160 acres in section ;!1, Boon Lake township. 
Here he built a claim shanty and remained for the next eighteen 
years. He used the oxen to break up the land and marketed at 
Hutchinson and Glencoe. His first barn was a rude straw struc- 
ture, which has been replaced by a modern basement barn, 114 
by 52 feet. When they began farming he had one cow and a 
yoke of oxen. He has now large herds of cattle, specializing in 
the Hereford breed. He also raises Ilamiltonian horses and 
Chester White hogs. He has built a modern steam heated house 
and made many other improvements, ilr. ^IcEweii has been a 
member of the board of supervisors of the township for several 
years and for eleven years has been the treasurer of school dis- 
trict Xo. 57, which he helped organize, hauling the first lumber 
for the school house. From 1901 to 1912 he served on the county 
board as county commissioner and was a great advocate of drain- 
age and good roads. He was a candidate for representative on 
the county option platform and defeated. He is of the Repub- 
lican party and has served on the councils and convention boards 
of that party. In April, 1879, Mr. McEwen was married to Josie 
Byhofl:'er, born in Carver countj', daughter of Theodore and 
Catherine (Bowman) Byhoffer, early pioneers of that county 
who came to ^Minneapolis in 1851, Mr. Byhoft'er was a carpenter 
and was offered a lot in what is now the heart of ^Minneapolis in 
payment for work but refused it. He located as a farmer in 
Carver county and later moved to Glencoe, where he secured a 
farm three miles northwest of Glencoe. Here he lived until his 
death in 1896 at the age of seventy-six years. His wife died 
March, 1911, at the age of ninety-one years. They had four 
boys and four girls: Helen, John. Kate, Charles, Theodore, 
Josie, Francis and David. Mr. and ^Irs. McEwen have two chil- 
dren : Dwight manages the home place, which now consists of 
a half section of farming land. Sarah is now Mrs. M. 0. Rams- 
land, of Saskatchewan, Canada, and has three children : Adella, 
Lenore and Maxwell. 

Erwin T. Coffin, a farmer of Boon Lake township, was born 
in Ontario, Canada, August 31, 1860, son of Jacob and Mary E. 
(Terrell) Coffin. Jacob CofQn was born in Deerfield, New York, 
August 8, 1830, and his wife in England, June 13, 1833. He 
became a farmer and moved back from Canada to New York 
state. In 1869 he removed with his family to Clinton. Iowa, 
After five years he came to IMcLeod county, where he engaged 
in farming, making the trip Avith his family in a covered wagon 
drawn by a team of horses. After twelve years he moved to 




MR. AND MRS. E. T. COFFIN 



- TH>: NE^' YO^K 
PU8LIC LIBRARY 



ASTOR. tEN03l KND 
TILDEN •'OIJNOA.nONS 



HISTORY OF REN\'1LT.E COUNTY 317 

Northfield, where lie remained five years to allow the cliildren 
to obtain an education, next coming to Renville eount}\ At the 
time of his death he was living with his daugliter, Mrs. 0. E. 
Countryman, at Minneapolis. Mr. and Mrs. Coffin were married 
December 24, 1854, and had five children : Clinton H., born 
November 19, 1855 (deceased); Ida A., born May 16, 1858; 
Erwin, born August 31, I860: Frmdv, boin February 13, 1862, 
and Willis A.. March .5, 1864. Jacob Coffin died November 19, 
1894, and his wife died July, 1904. They were both members of 
the Congregational church. Erwin T. Coffin was eleven years 
of ago when the family came to Minnesota. He received his 
education in the district log school house, grew to manhood and 
engaged in farming. He now owns a farm of 160 acres of well 
improved land, is one of the township supervisors and has served 
on the school board for fifteen years. He is a member of the 
Lake Side Equity Association. Erwin T. Coffin was united in 
marriage March 3, 1891, to Mattic' Countryman, born in Hast- 
ings, ]Minnesota, January 6, 1870, daughter of Henry D. and 
Sophronia (Briggs) Countryman. Her parents were born in 
St. Lawrence county. New York, the father October 27, 1825, and 
the mother December 1, 1831. They were married October 31, 
1849, in St. Lawrence county, and in 1857 they set out for Hast- 
ings, Dakota county, Minnesota, thus becoming territoiual 
pioneers. In the seventies they located in Renville coiinty, secur- 
ing 160 acres in section 25, Boon Lake toMmship, where they 
erected a frame house and a small barn. They had thirteen chil- 
dren: Preston K., born November 24, 1850; Mary R., born Sep- 
tember 22, 1852; Orville E., born October 3, 18.54; Daniel, born 
February 2, 1857, and died February 8, 1858; Alice A., born 
November 10, 1858; Alonzo J., born November 20, 1861^ Edith C, 
born September 25, 1863, and died August 24, 1865 ; Evelyn, boi-ii 
Septondier 1, 1865; Edith 0., born November 20, 1867; Martha 
M., born January 6, 1870; Wilfred E. and Winifred E., twins, 
born February 5, 1872. A twin of Mary R. died in infancy. 
Mr. Countryman died April 19, 1908, and his wife died October 
15, 1892. They were members of the Methodist church. Mi', and 
Mrs. Coffin have had four children: Virgil, Guy, Ralph ami 
Preston (deceased). Virgil was born December 31, 1891; Guy, 
January 28, 1894; Ralph, November 3, 1896, and Preston was 
born June 27. 1900, and died July, 1900. 

Ira S. Sheppard, retired, one of the pioneer farmers of Boon 
Lake township, was born in Cattaraugus county. New York, 
October 8, 1826, and came to jMinnesota in 1858, locating in 
Dakota county. During the Civil war he enlisted in Company D, 
Braekett's Battalion, Independent Cavalrj', and was mustered 
in January 5, 1864, and discharged with the company in 1866. 
Upon his retui-ii in ISfifi lie came to Boon Lake township, Ren- 



318 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

ville coiinty, aiul took up a homestead of 16U acres of wild prairie 
land ou the northern shore of Lake AUie, and was one of the 
first settlers in the township. He broke and developed the land 
and in time built up a fine farm, bringing it to a high state of 
cultivation. In 1898 he retired from farming and turned the 
farm over to his son, B. F. Sheppard, who now operates it. Mr. 
Sheppard was a member of the first board of supervisors of the 
township. Ira S. Sheppard was united in marriage to ^larjorie 
J. VanVlete, who died October 23. 1904. He now makes his home 
with his son. B. F. Sheppard. 

Orrin Hodgdon, a prosperous farmer of Boon Lake town- 
ship, was born in New Hampshire, February 13, 1850, son of 
James C. and Sarah (Glidden) Hodgdon. James C. was born 
in Berwick, Maine, of English parentage December 6, 1819, and 
died January 26. 1904, at :\Iaple Grove, Minnesota. Sarah Glid- 
den was born July 7, 1826, in Carrol county. New Hampshire, 
daughter of Charles and Mary (Avery) Glidden. Charles' ances- 
tors came over in the ^Mayflower and Amos Hodgdon, Orrin 's son, 
has in his possession a pewter plate that was brought over in the 
Mayflower from England, off which Orrin ate while a child. 
James C. and Sarah Glidden were married December 14, 1842, 
at Roxbury, Massachusetts. She died in 1906 near Delano, 
Minnesota. James worked in the mills and owned a mill in 
New Hampshire, which he lost by the bursting of a dam. The 
family left New Hampshire in 1850 with four children: Laura, 
Oscar, Charles and Orrin, who was then six months old, and went 
to Wisconsin, locating on the Lemonware river, where the father 
worked in a saw mill at Mauston. Next he operated the mill 
and later moved to Necedah. Juneau county, where he secured 
some land. Then he worked in a saw mill for T. Western & 
Company for two years. After this he moved ou to his land, 
which he had pre-empted, and lived there until 1861. when he 
set out for Minnesota with an ox team and covered wagon. He 
became sick on the w^ay and had to stop at the home of George 
Back until he recovered. He rented a farm, which is located 
between Onalaska and North La Crosse, until the fall of 1862, 
when he arrived in Minnesota. There were now five children, 
a girl, Ida, having been born in Wisconsin. They had come to 
Minnesota by means of ox team and settled at W^aterford on the 
Cannon river, five or six miles south of Northfield. Here he 
rented a farm for a year and then moved to Chub creek, seven 
miles northwest from there, where he rented a farm for two 
years. In 1866 he came to Renville county, driving with four 
horses, and acquired a homestead in section 20, Boon Lake town- 
ship. Two more children, Ernest and May, had been born. Mr. 
Hodgdon began breaking the land with his horses. That fall 
he built a sod hut, 16 by 18 feet, papered on the inside and 



fflSTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 319 

boarded on the outside, and covered ■with sod and dirt. They 
had two cows, a j^oke of cattle, four horses and a colt. This 
home was located on a lake which they named Lake Ilodgdon. 
The son Oscar also obtained a claim on this lake. The nearest 
mai'kets were Carver and Young America, to which places grain 
was hauled to be ground into flour. Orrin and his eldest brother 
started to work out among the farmers in Dakota and Rice coun- 
ties, going by foot all the way, in order to earn some money to 
help support the re.st of the family. They had to screen the 
shorts, a feed for the horses, to make biscuits. They raised a 
small crop the first year and threshed the wheat by flail. One 
and a half bushels was a big daj'"s work to flail out. This wheat 
was then ground in a cofi'ee mill, mixed with water and baked in 
a di'ipping pan, a piece of this making a meal. After many years 
of hard work Mr. Hodgdon sold this farm and moved to Hutch- 
inson, where he purchased a farm. After a time he sold this and 
moved to Maple Grove to live with his daughter, where he 
remained until his death, in 1904. James C. Hodgdon assisted 
in organizing the township of Boon Lake, the meeting for this 
purpose being held in his cabin. He was a member of the school 
board and a director of district No. 25, which he helped organize. 
He also was a member of the township board. While in the east 
he was a member of the Baptist church, biit after coming to 
Minnesota attended the Methodist church. Orrin Hodgdon 
received but a meager education, going to school a little in Wis- 
consin and one year at Northfield. He grew to manhood in Ren- 
ville county. At the age of twenty-one years he located the home- 
stead where he now lives in section 18, Boon Lake township, and 
built a frame house, 14 by 22, hauling the lumber from Litchfield, 
a distance of twenty-five miles. He also built a hay roof barn and 
straw shed. He began with a yoke of cattle and one cow. Here 
he brought his young wife and here they have lived ever since. 
He has been an energetic worker and has prospered, increasing 
his farm to 320 acres and had made many improvements on his 
farm and buildings. He raises a good grade of stock. They have 
built a beautiful home on the southeast shore of Boon Lake. 
Mr. Hodgdon has held school offices for many years. He was 
married December 21, 1871, at Litchfield to Louisa Potter, born 
in Jackson county, Iowa, October 5, 1850, daughter of Rev. 
George D. and Matilda Ann (Fennel) Potter. Rev. George D. 
Potter was born in Licking county, Ohio, December 28, 1825, son 
of Nathan and Fannie (Deuel) Potter. Nathan Potter was born 
in Baltimore, October 29, 1795, and died August 4, 1879, in Jones 
county, Iowa. His wife Fannie was born October 5, 1805, in 
Saratoga county, New York, and died June 2, 1832, in Licking 
county, Ohio. She can trace her ancestors back to those who 
came over in the IMayflower. William Deuel was born in Eng- 



320 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

land aud brouglit over iu the ^Mayflower by liis parents in 1G2(). 
He applied for land iu Uuxbury, Massachusetts, August 3, 1640, 
and was granted a house lot in Reheboth, jMassachusetts. Decem- 
ber 26, 1645. May 17, 1653. he was made foreman of Newport, 
Rhode Island. Jonathan Deuel, son of William and Hannah 
(Adley) Deuel, settled in Darthmouth, Massachusetts. Joscpli 
Deuel, son of Jonathan and Mary (Sowl) Deuel, settled in Darth- 
mouth, Massachusetts. Mary Sowl was a granddaughter of 
George Sowl, who also came over in the Mayflower. Benjamin 
Deuel, son of Joseph Deuel, was born January 26, 1703, and mar- 
ried Sarah Moslier. August 22, 1731. He moved to Dover, 
Dutchess county, in 1735, and died tliere January 19. 1790. Joseph 
Deuel, his son, was born January 9, 1735, and died on August 12. 
1818. Joseph Deuel, son of Joseph Deuel, and representing the 
sixth generation, married Freelove Carpenter, and his son, 
George Deuel, was Rev. George D. Potter's grandfather. Rev. 
George D. Potter was of tlie Methodist faith and entered tlie 
ministry as a young man. In May, 1855, he came to Minnesota 
from Waterloo, Iowa, coming by ox team and covered Avagon, 
spending three weeks making the trip, and brought with him a 
small herd of cattle, a small Hock of sheep aud about a dozen 
chickens. He settled near Faribault, Rice county, Minnesota, 
and in 1862-63 preached on a circuit at Wilton and Otisco, 
Waseca county. In 1864 he went to MeLeod county, where he 
took a homestead and lived there until 1871, when he sold it and 
moved to Renville county, locating in section 18. Boon Lake 
township. He lived there for thirty years and during tluit time 
preached in the various school houses within a radius of ten 
miles, going there on horseback or on foot, as oftentimes the 
horses could not be spared from the farm work. He bought out 
the right of his oldest son Albert Potter aud made his home liere 
and preached in different places in the state. For a time he 
rented his farm in Boon Lake and preached on a circuit at 
Villard and Glenwood in Pope county, Minnesota, for two years. 
and also at Wheaton. Traverse county, one year, and the rest 
of his time he spent on his farm. His wife was born September 
27, 1826, in Ohio, and died October 10, 1893, at Boon Lake. 
There were twelve children in the family : Albert, Adeline, 
Louisa, Alvina (deceased), Abigail, jMartha, Nathan, Charlotte 
(deceased), Eliza (deceased), George, William and Walter. Mr. 
and Mrs. Hodgdon have the following children: Amos, a farmer 
in Boon Lake township ; Luella, now ]\Irs. Ray Noble, of Boon 
Lake township ; Fannie, now I\lrs. John MeCall, of Brookfield ; 
Daisy, now Mrs. Fred Pullen, of Hutchinson ; Elmer, of Boon 
Lake township, and Blanche, who is at liome. Amos, Luella, 
Fannie and Daisy have all been school teachers. Warren Hodg- 
don, a nephew of Mr. Hodgdon, son of Ernest Hodgdon, Orrin 



IITSTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 321 

Hodgdon's younger brother, was also raised by Mr. Hodgdon, 
his mother dyiug on the day of liis birth. The whole family are 
members of the Methodist church. 

Amos E. Hodgdon was married to Jessie M. Butler August 4, 
1896, and they have seven children : Ruth Luella, aged 15 ; Harry 
Theodore, aged 12 ; Donald AJonzo, aged 10 ; James Clyde, aged 7 ; 
Chester Orrin, aged 6; Virgil Amos, aged 3; and Helen Louisa, 
aged 1. Luella M. Hodgdon was married Sept. 25, 1907, to Ray- 
mond Edgar Noble, and they have three children: Floyd Ray- 
mond, aged five years; Dorothy Blanche, aged 4; Marion Viola, 
aged 1. Fannie May Hodgdon was married to John W. MeCall, 
Oct. 29, 1914. Daisy E. Hodgdon was married Sept. 28, 1909, to 
Fred Burbank Pullen, and they have two children: Lloyd Hodg- 
don, aged 5 years; Leonard Fred, aged 2. Elmer Nathan Hodgdon 
was married Nov. 2, 1904, to Claudia Grace Headley, and they have 
two children : Maude, aged 9 years, and EveljTi May, aged 3. 
Blanche E. Hodgdon is at home. The nephew, Warren James 
Hodgdon, was born June 18, 1899. 

Ebner Nathan Hodgdon, a farmer of Boon Lake township, 
sou oi Orrin Hodgdon, was born in Boon Lake township, Novem- 
ber 2, 1878, on his father's homestead on the shore of Boon lake. 
He received his early education in the district school of his 
locality and then engaged in farming on his fatiier's houiestead. 
At the age of twenty-one years he had charge of the farm and 
remained manager for five years. After his marriage he rented 
a faiin near Lake Allie in Preston Lake township for three years. 
Then lie came to his present place, purchasing 120 acres of 
improved land. He raises Holstein cattle and keeps a good grade 
of other stock. He is a member of the Farmers' Co-operative 
Elevator Company at Buffalo Lake and a member of tin; Ship- 
ping Association of Buffalo Lake. He is a clerk of the school 
district and a membei- of the Methodist church. Elmer Hodgdon 
was united in marriage November 2, 1904, to Claudia Headley, 
born in Brookfield township, daughter of Frank and Charlotte 
(Hilts) Headley. Frank Headley was boi-n at Elora, Canada, 
January 14, 1844, son of Francis Headley, of English parentage, 
and of Ann (Meredith) Headley, of French descent. Frank 
Headley was married at Dryden, Michigan, December 10, 1863, to 
Charlotte Hilts, born at Cayuga, Ontario, February 16, 1846, 
daughter of Jeremiah and Sarah (Dean) Hilts. Mr. and Mrs. 
Headley then moved to Canada and lived there until the fall of 
1865. In that year they left Canada with their daughter, Anna, 
born at Bayheim, April 24, 1865, and located on a farm near 
Augusta, WLscousin. In 1878 they moved to Brookfield town- 
ship. Renville county, purchasing one-half section school land, 
which was all wild prairie. Here they built a small frame house. 
Tluy next settled in Preston Lake township on an improved 



322 IIISTOKY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

farm. While in Brookfield township Mr. Headley helped organize 
the Methodist church. He held various church and school offices 
and died in Preston Lake townshiji in April 22, 1891, at the 
age of forty-seven. His wife died December 31, 1912, at the age 
of sixty-six at Stewart, Minnesota. They had the following chil- 
dren : Anna, born in Bayheim, Canada ; Jeremiah, born in Wis- 
consin; Frank and Claudia, born in Minnesota. Mr. and Mrs. 
Hodgdon have, two children : Maude, born September 3, 1906, 
and Evelyn, born February 26, 1913. 

Amos E. Hodgdon, son of Orrin Hodgdon, was born March 
2, 1873, on his father's homestead in Boon Lake township, Ren- 
ville county. He received his early education in the district 
school of Boon Lake. The first school he attended was a sub- 
scription school and was held in his Grandfather Potter's 
granary. Mrs. Gibson Richards, then Martha Potter, was the 
teacher. He also attended the high school at Hutchinson for 
two winters. At the age of tw-enty-one he taught school in Boon 
Lake township, boarding at his home five miles away, receiving 
$27 a month for his services. Next he bought 200 acres in sec- 
tion 13, Brookfield township, where he farmed for five years and 
then entered into partnership with J. E. Headley at Acoma, 
McLeod county, operating a general store and postoffice, Mr. 
Hodgdon being assistant postmaster. This continued for a year 
and a half, when Mr. Hodgdon sold his share to his partner and 
homesteaded in Beltrami county, securing 160 acres of land in 
Turtle Lake township, where he built a small frame house. For 
six and a half years he was depot agent at Puposky on the Red 
Lake railroad, his homestead being one-half mile from there. In 
August, 1913, he moved to Boon Lake township, where he rented 
a farm. He still owns the farm in Beltrami county. Mr. Hodg- 
don took part in public affairs and was clerk of the townshni 
He helped organize school district No. 108 and was clerk for six 
years. While at Puposky he organized the first Sunday school, 
the meetings being held in the depot, and for four years served 
as Sunday school superintendent. He was a member of the 
Methodist church, whose meetings were held in the school house, 
and helped towards securing a parsonage. Mr. Hodgdon has 
always been a prohibitionist in politics. Mr. Hodgdon was mar- 
ried in 1897 to Jessie Butler, born October 30, 1876, daughter of 
William Alonzo and Mary (Coolidge) Butler. Mr. and Mrs. 
Hodgdon have .seven children: Ruth, Harry, Donald, Clyde, 
Chester, Virgil and Helen. William Alonzo Butler was born in 
Vermont and was married in New York to Mary (Joolidge, a 
native of that state, reared in St. Lawrence county. He enlisted 
in Company B, Fourteenth New York Heavy Artillery, and 
served from 1861 to the close of the war, being wounded several 
times. After the war he returned to New York and then located 



THt NEW YORK 
f'USLlC LIBRARY 



KSTOn. LBNOX ^ND 
jTILDEN rOejNoxTIONS 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 323 

in Wisconsin, coiiiiiig to ^Minm-sota in 1878 ami sccniiiuf; ItiO 
acres in section 27, Brookfield township. He died in 1909 at the 
age of seventy-one years. His wife is still living in (ileneoe at 
the age of seventy-three years. Tliere were seven children : 
Lizzie, Nellie, Sadie, Jessie, Loi'iii, Chester and William, who 
died in infancy. Lizzie married Charles H. Coolidge, of Hector, 
and they have had four children; ]\Iabel (deceased), Burnie A., 
Leo M. and Jessie M. Nellie married J. P. Nelson, of Regent, 
Nortli Dakota. Their children are: Eva. ]\lainie and Lila. Sadie 
married .1. PI Headlcy, of Stewart, Minnesota, and has two chil- 
dren : Ray and Harold. Jessie married A. E. Hodgdon, of Boon 
Lake, this county. Their children are: Ruth, Harry, Donald, 
Clyde, Chester, Virgil and Helen. Lorin married Lena Wadel 
and they have two children : Myra and Lois. Chester married 
Reha V. Ackloy. 

Theodore ByhofFer was born in Carver county, Minnesota, 
August 27, 1856, son of Theodore, Sr., and Catherine (Bowman) 
Byhoffer. Both of his parents were natives of the grand duchy 
of Baden, Germany. They came to America in the year of 1832 
and for ten years resided at Buffalo, New York. Theodore 
Byhoffer, Sr., spent the latter years of his life on the home farm 
near Glencoe, Minnesota. He died at that place August 24, 1896. 
His wife survived him sixteen yeai's and died at the home place 
March 28, 1912, at the age of ninety-one years. Theodore 
Byhoffer, the subject of this sketch, lived -vvitli liis parents on a 
homestead of 160 acres in Carver county until seven years of 
age. At the time of tlie hidian outbreak the family moved to 
McLeod county and bouglit an eighty-acre farm four and a half 
miles west of Glencoe. Theodore received his education in the 
rural schools of this county and then assisted his father on the 
farm until twenty-six years of age. AVitli the aid of his sisters 
and brothers additions were made to the lai-m from time to time 
until they owned 240 acres. Hard times came during the grass- 
hopper years of 1875 and 1876, when their crops were totally 
destroyed for two successive years. But prosperity followed 
these years and it became less difficult to meet the demands of 
their family of eight. Mr. Byhoffer well remembers the winter 
of 1873, in which occurred the famous three-day "blizzard" of 
IMinnesota. The massive heaps of snow afforded ideal building 
.spots for snow huts, forts and so forth. It was a duty of the 
boys to assist in making paths and opening roads leading to their 
school and elsewhere. In addition to his farm work Mr. Byhoffer 
engaged in the occujiation of threshing and worked for several 
years in the vicinities of Glencoe and Biscay. The brothers of 
this family relate many interesting accounts of their bear hunts 
when they were boys. One day ]\Ir. Byhoffer and his elder 
brother were left in charge of their flock of sheep. A big brown 



324 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

bear soon made his appeai-aoee from tlie woods. The l)oys fol- 
lowed him into a nearby thieket and carefnlly watched him until 
their sister, wlio liad eome to call tlicm to dinner, went for help. 
After much difficulty they succeeded in shooting the bear, and 
they were inileed the ])roudest boys of IMcLeod county as they 
marched home with their booty. From 1881 to 1887 he was 
manager of the home farm. At tlie end of that time he soUl his 
uinety-tive acres of the home farm to his brother and witli his 
family came to Boon Lake towiisliip. Renville county, wliere they 
purchased a farm of 320 acres in section 31. five miles uoi-th of 
Buft'alo Lake. He farmed this half section of land for twenty 
years. In 1908 he deeded 160 acres of his farm to his sons, 
Heiu-y and Harry. Tlie improvements made by Mr. Byhoft'er 
upon his farm are of a superior character and reflect much credit 
upon the taste and pride of the owner. He devotes his attention, 
to some extent, to the raising of full-blooded stock, aiul is quite 
successful. He has taken active interest in educational and pub- 
lic matters and has held various local offices, including those of 
school director twelve years and supervisor tliirteen years. Mr. 
Byhott'er was nmrried December 20, 1881, to Elsbeth Ilatz, the 
daughter of Bai'tholome and Elizabeth (Dascher) Hatz, of 
(ilencoe, [Minnesota. Iler parents were natives of Switzerland. 
They both died at their (ilencoe home in the years of 190.5 and 
1914 respectively. Mr. and Mrs. Byhoft'er are the parents of 
eight children : Henry A., Emma C, Harry W., P^anny E., Inez C, 
G. Le Roy, Edna M. and Leonard ('. Their daughter Emma 
died while they were residing near Glencoe, at the age of one 
year and nine months. The children i-eceived their early educa- 
tion in the rural school near their home. Henry and Harry 
attended the Hutchinson High School. Fanny and Inez are 
graduates of Hutchinson High School. Roy and Edna followed 
the course of study in the Buffalo Lake High School and are 
graduates of that school. Leonard attends the rural scliool. 
Henry A. married Gertrude Allen and is engaged in barbering 
at Buchanan. Saskatchewan, Canada. Harry married ^larie 
Ewald and is living on a part of the home farm. Inez married 
Roy Richards and they reside upon a farm seven miles north of 
Buffalo Lake. Fanny luis a position as teacher in a school at 
Tracy, Minnesota. Roy is manager of the home fai'iu and with 
liis sister Edna and his brother Leonard makes his home with 
tlieir parents. 

Alonzo P. Briggs, veteran, i)ioneer and leading citizen, was 
born in St. Lawrence county. New York, Novendjer 25. 1833, 
and there received a good education and grew to nuuiliood. In 
1857 be came to Minnesota, settling at Hastings, in Dakota 
county. The year 1861 found him again in his native county 
and from there he enlisted. But sickness overtook him and he 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 325 

■was left in Cole county, Illinois. Upon his recovery he returned 
home and married, and then witli liis wife, Phoebe Thurston, 
again came to Dakota co\inty. It was in 1871 that tliey came to 
Renville county and secured a homestead of forty acres in sec- 
tion 26, Boon Lake township. Starting as pioneers, they devel- 
oped a good place and becaiiic leading peoi)le in the comnninity. 
In 1876 the wife died, and in .huic, 1881, Mr. Briggs married 
Albertina Butzer. Later he purchased foi'ty acres of railroad 
land in section 2;^, across the road from his homestead. He died 
February 25, 1915, and was sincerely moiirm-cl throughout tlir 
community in which for so long he luis been an intiucncc for 
goodness and uj^rightness. Since his death his family have con- 
ducted the home place, and in adilition to their eighty acres have 
rented anotlier eighty, so that they now have a good farm of 160 
acres. Alonzo P. and Albertina (Butzer) Briggs were blessed 
with tive eliildren : Edith, William, Herman and Gotlieb and Fred 
(twins). Edith nmrried Gustave Krasean and the.y have three 
children : Florence, Walter and Myrtle. William is Avith his 
mother, as are Herman and Fred, and the three operate the faini. 
Gotlieb IS dead. Mrs. Albertina (Butzer) Briggs was born in 
Germany, December 26, 1860, and came with her parents to 
America in 1867. They located on a farm in McLeod county, 
.I'ust across tlie line from Renville county, took a homestead of 
eighty acres of wild land, toiled early and late, and by hard 
work and fidelity to duty became i)i<)minent citizens. They fol- 
lowed general farming the remainder of their days, the father 
dying in October, ]S<)2, and the mother May 5, 1896. They had 
eight children: Albertina, Gust, Emma and Charles (twins), 
Ferdinand, Bertha and Emalia. Charles, William, Fei'dinand 
and Emalia are dead. 

August F. Barfknecht was Ixirn in Pomerania, Germany, 
February 1, 1S.')2, son of Christian and Carolina (^Modrow) 
Barfknecht. He received his early education in Wisconsin and 
grew u|) on tlie farm in Renville county. In 1883 he bought his 
present place, a tract of eighty aci'es, in section 16, Boon Lake 
township, consisting of wild i)rairie land. He built a small frame 
house and straw slied I'or a l)arn. In ISMi he bouglit eighty acres 
more, set out groves and t)uilt a nuxlcrn house and barns. All of 
his land is now under cultivation, lie raises a good grade of 
stock. -Air. Uarfkneelit is a ilirecfor of the Lake Side Creamery 
Company and lias been its president for tiiree or four years. He 
held office as townsliip supervisor ami iuis been a member of the 
school lioard I'or three years. His faith is that of tlie (iermaii 
Luthei'an church. December 23, 1882, ^Ir. Barfknecht was mar- 
ried to Augusta Lolirenz and tlu'y liave had four childt'cn: Henry, 
now a farmer in l!oon Ijaki' township; .Mbert, William and 
Adol])]!, who dieil in infancy. 



326 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

Albert W. Baxfknecht, a farmer of Boon Lake township, was 
born March 12, 1854, in Pomerania, Germany, son of Christian 
and Carolina (Modrow) Barfknecht, both natives of Germany, 
where they were engaged as farmers. They set out for tlie 
United States in 1863, bringing with them their family of seven 
children: August, Albert, Augusta, Minnie, Paulina Barfknecht 
and Ernest Koeppe, a son of ilrs. Barfknecht by a former mar- 
riage to Ernest Koeppe. Sr. Tliey came by steamer to New York 
and overland to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where they began farming 
on a place which tliey rented. There they remained fifteen years 
and there two children, Carolina and Bertha, were born. In 
the fall of 1878 the family came to Renville county, the father 
and mother coming by train, while Alfred and the rest of the 
children, with the exception of two sisters, who remained in 
Wisconsin, drove to Renville with two teams and a covered 
wagon. They settled in the east part of Boon Lake township. 
Albert selected a tract of ninety-six acres, which liis father pur- 
chased. The land was all wild prairie, and as there were no 
buildings they erected a log house 19 by 28 feet and a straw 
barn. The nearest market was at Hutchinson. The father died 
on the farm August 22, 1900, at the age of seventy-five years, 
and the mother died May l.j, 1903, at the age of eighty-one years. 
Albert received his early education in the schools of Wisconsin, 
and at the age of twenty-four years took over the old home place, 
to whicli he has added until he now farms 2.55 acres. He has 
built a modern liouse and barns, set out groves and made other 
improvements. He raises Durham cattle, Percheron horses and 
Chester White hogs. He has been secretary of the Lake Side 
Creamery Company for the past four years, and is a stockholder 
in the Co-operative Farmers' Elevator Company of Hutchinson, 
of which he was one of the first board members. He has been 
on the township board as chairman and as supervisor and has 
been townsliip clerk for the past eleven years. In May, 1885, he 
was married to Paulina Lohrenz, born in West Prussia, Germany, 
February 10, 1855. Her parents, ]Mai'tin and I\Iinnie (Borken- 
hagen) Lohrenz, brouglit the family of six children, Lucy, 
Adolph, Julia, Henrietta, Paulina and Augusta, to America in 
1868, coming by sailing vessel and arriving at New York after 
seven weeks on the water. They then came to Renville county, 
where they homesteaded in Boon Lake township, section 12, 
securing eight}' acres of wild prairie land. Here they built a 
small log house and here the father lived until his death at the 
age of eighty years, about eighteen years ago. His wife pre- 
deceased him by four years at the age of seventy-three years. 
Mr. and Mrs. Barfknecht have four children : jMiunie, now ]\Irs. 
Bechtel, of IMcLeod county; Frederick, who is at home, and 
Helena and Martha (deceased). 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 327 

Hugh Carrigan, a prominent and estimable citizen of Boon 
Lake township, was born in Hoosic Falls, Bennington county; 
Vermont, March 6, 1850, son of Michael and Mary ((ioodman) 
Carrigan. At the age of four years he was brought to Walworth 
county, Wisconsin, and there attended school until fourteen years 
of age. Then with his mother he came to Houston county, this 
state, and worked out on various farms until 1868. Then he 
rented a farm for two years. In 1870 he came to Renville county 
and homesteaded 160 acres in sections 22 and 27. With him came 
his mother, and his brothers, Owen, John and Michael. The land 
when he secured it wns all wild. He broke the land, erected a 
shanty and endured all the hardships incident to pioneer life. 
Twice their crops were destroyed by grasshoppers and twice by 
hail. From time to time he added to his farm, until he had 320 
acres. He built a good home and outbuildings, and became one 
of the leading men of the community. There he continued to 
work and prosper until 1912, when he sold out and retired. The 
place is now owned b}' his sons. He was town supervisor and road 
overseer and served for some sixteen years on the school board 
of his district. For many years he served as director of the 
Boon Lake Creamer}', which he helped to organize. 

Mr. Carrigan was married May 5, 1872. to Mary McLaughlin, 
of Houston county, who was born February 22, 1851, and died 
July 5, .1910. This union was blessed with nine children: William 
J., Harry H., Michael A., and Edward, who are farmers in Boon 
Lake township ; Charles, who is principal of schools at Dinuba, 
California ; Mary, who is twin sister to Charles, is the wife of 
William Fallon, also a farmer in that township: John, likewise a 
fanner nearby; Ellen, wife of A. C. Michaelson, of ]\Iankato; 
Francis, died at the age of eighteen months. 

Micliael Carrigan and his wife, Mary Goodman, were born 
in Ireland, and were married in Vermont. In 1854 they located 
in Walworth county, Wis., where IMichael Carrigan died the same 
year. His wife came to Miinie.sota, and died at the age of eighty- 
one years. In the family there were eight children: James, who 
was killed in tln' I'nion army; William, who died at the age of 
seventeen years; Mary, who died at the age of four years; Ellen, 
who died in 1909 ; Owen, who died in 1897 ; Hugh, who is living in 
Booh Lake tow-nship; .lolm. who lives in Oregon; and Michael, 
who lives in llutcliiiison. 

Edward James Carrigan was born August 31, 1877, on the 
homestead of his father, Hugh Carrigan. He attended the dis- 
trict school of his locality and high school at Hutchinson, later 
engaging in farming near Brainerd. Next he was employed for 
two years on the county dredge work and five years were spent 
in Hutchinson on the police force. In 1914 he rented a farm in 
Boon Lake township, where he is still living. He is a progressive 



328 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

farmer aud raises good stock. Mr. Carrigan was married October 
6, 1903, to Mary Fischer, born December 20, 1887, in Jauesville, 
Minnesota, daughter of Max and Anna (Stoiber) Fischer, natives 
of Germany, who M-ere there married, came to the United States 
in 1885 with one child, Rosa, located on a farm in Waseca county, 
Minnesota, and in 1900 came to Renville county and bought a 
tract of 160 acres of laud, where the fatlier died in 1907 at the 
age of forty-eiglit years. The following children were born in 
Minnesota: Katie (deceased), Hannah, Anna, Mary, Josie, Clara, 
Max, John, George, Edward, Walter and Kenneth. Mr. and Airs. 
Carrigan have had six children : Irene, Veronica, (leorge. Eugene, 
Leonard and Lucille (deceased). The family faith is that of the 
Roman Catholic church. 

Owen Carrigan, deceased, a pioneer of Boon Lake township, 
was born in \'ermout in 1848. He moved with jiarents to Wal- 
worth county, Wisconsin, in 1855, and remained there until 1863, 
when he removed to Houston eouuty, ^Minnesota. He was engaged 
in farming and railroading until 1870, when he came to Boon 
Lake. He served as assessor, supervisor and county commis- 
sioner. He was married in 1879 to Minnie Buce, who was cap- 
tured by the Indians when a child. Her parents and four chil- 
dren were killed by the Indians in 1862. Mr. and Mrs. Carrigan 
had six children : Ellen, James, Owen, Pauline, Daisy and Ernest, 
who died at the age of six months. Mrs. Carrigan 's own story 
is told at length elsewhere in this work. Historians are indebted 
to her for much intimate knowledge i-egai'diiig the events of 
tliose stirring times. 

Michael Carrigan, son of Hugh Carrigan, was bora September 
9, 1875, in Boon Lake townshii^. He attended the district school 
and spent one and a half years at the Hutchinson High school. 
Then he engaged in farming, living for two years in Osceola 
township, Renville county, and then locating on his present place 
in section 27, Boon Lake township. Mlicre he piu'chased eighty 
acres of laud. The farm Avas partly improved at the time of 
the purchase and he has since erected good buildings and de- 
veloped the farm. Mr. Carrigan has just been elected township 
overseer under the Dunn law. His is the second office of the 
kind, his brother Henry holding the first office. Mr. Carrigan 
was married in 1897 to Nettie Brathwaite, born in Chatiield, 
Minn. They have had eight children : Dewey, Hugh, Mabel, 
Edna, Ellen, Elmer, Leona, Miland, and Edith (deceased). The 
family faith is that of the Roman Catholic church. 

Hany Carrigan, a farmer nf Boon Lake township, was born 
April 11, 1873, on section 22. Boon Lake township, and with 
the exception of five years has spent his life in the county. He 
received his education in the district school and at Huteliinson, 
later engaging in farming. At first he rented the farm of Minnie 



inSTORV OF REXVrLLE COFXTY 329 

(Bruce) Carrigau, section 22, wliere lie fanned for one year. 
Then he M-eut to Wisconsin and lived there about five years, 
coming back to Renville county and renting a farm in section 28 
for about eight years. In 1914 he purchased his present place 
of 140 acres, Boon Lake township. He is interested in the prog- 
ress of the fanner and in co-operative movements. He is a 
member of the Catholic church. Mr. Carrigan was married 
in 1900 to Gertrude Spencer, born in Wright county, November 
31, 1881, daughter of John and Margaret (Dogget) Spencer. John 
Spencer Avas a native of Maine and his wife, of New York. He 
was of Irish parentage and she of Irish and German parentage, 
her mother of German ancestry. Mr. and Mrs. Carrigan have six 
children : Bernice, Georgiana, Esther, Clifton, Vernon and Cor- 
rinc. 

William J. Carrigan, son of Hugh Carrigan, was born in Boon 
Lake township, March 17, 1873. He attended the district schools 
of the county and spent three years at the Hutchinson High 
school. He then engaged in farming with his father until 1896, 
when he decided to Avork for himself and bought eighty acres 
in section 27. Here he erected a home and necessary buildings 
and made many improvements. He has since added eighty acres 
to his farm and carries on diversified farming. He is interested 
in farmers' associations and is a stockholder in the Boon Lake 
Co-operative Creamery and shareholder in the Farmers' Elevator 
at Buffalo Lake. Mr. Carrigan has also been a prominent factor 
in the affairs of the connuunity both politically and education- 
ally, and served as assessor for eight years from 1906 to 1914, 
and is now one of the deputy sheriffs, serving his third term. He 
has been director of school district 120 for the last fifteen years. 
His faith is that of the Roman Catholic church. Mr. Carrigan 
was married May 5, 1896, to Leah Funk, of Boon Lake, born 
January 31, 1878, daughter of Samuel and Jane (Kniver) Funk, 
early settlers of Boon Lake, now living at Weyerhauser, Wis. 
The ehildi-en boi-n to these parents are: Francis, born May 15, 
1898; Mildred, bom June 2, 1901; Charles, born June 2, 1903; 
Robert, born January 19, 1905; Douglas, born April 21, 1908; 
Lenora, born April 28, 1910, and Clarice, born November 18, 
1911. 

John H. Carrigan, son of Hugh Cai-i-igan, was born in Boon 
Lake township on the farm where he now lives, October 27, 1881. 
He received his early education at the district school and engaged 
in farming at home until 1907, when he became manager of the 
home farm. After two years he rented the Potter farm and 
remained there four years. In 1912 he bought 160 acres, a part 
of the home farm, and has lived there ever since. He has become 
a successful farmer, carrying on diversified farming, and has 
made many improvements on his farm. June 26, 1906, he was 



330 HISTORY OF RENVILLE (OrXTY 

Tiiarried to JIabel Braitlnvaite, who was lioni Dct-. 6. 1880. They 
have the following children: Mary Ruth, born April 27, 1907; 
Clifford John, born December 23, 1909; Sarah Catherine, born 
September 12, 1911; Agnes Genevieve, born May 11. 191:3. The 
family are all members of the Roman Catholic church. 

William Kiirth, one of the successful farmer.s of Boon Lake 
township, was born in Pomerania, Germany, January 22, 1852, 
son of Gotlieb and Caroline (Raether) Kurth, farmers, who lived 
and died in Germany, the father dying at the age of seventy- 
tive years and the mother at the age of seventy years. In tlie 
family there were ten children, four of whom came to the LTnited 
States, namely: William, Herman, Caroline and Wilhelmina. 
William and Wilhelmina left Germany in 1873 coming by steamer 
to New York, from which city they set out for Buffalo, New 
Yoi-k. where they had friends. William remained at Buffalo 
for five months, where he worked at whatever he could find, 
and then went to the state of Illinoi.s, where he worked on the 
farms for two and a half years. Then he came to ilinnesota. 
He secured a piece of land of 160 acres in section 2, Boon Lake 
township, on which a small shanty had been erected, and with 
a yoke of oxen, a new wagon, and two cows, he and his bride 
began farming. They met with many adversities the first three 
years. The first two years the crops were destroyed by the 
grasshoppers and the third year the crop raised from the seeds 
given by the county, harvested more straw than grain, and had 
to be sold at 35 cents per bushel. After selling his cow Mr. 
Kurth had .$100 for three years of hard work. Then he rented 
the farm where he is now living. He had a fair crop the first 
year and \vas offered the ])lace on time, a young steer being 
taken in part payment. He was charged .$120 for the improve- 
ments already made. He built a log house, 16 by 24 feet, and 
made a rude barn from crotch sticks with a straw roof. The 
nearest market was at Hutchinson. He used the oxen for a short 
time and then bought a pair of colts. In time he added 546 acres 
more to his farm and built modern buildings on the place. He 
now carries on general farming and raises a good grade of stock. 
Mr. Kurth is a member of the Farmers' Co-operative Elevator 
Company of Hutchinson. He is the treasurer and has been a mem- 
ber of the board of directors of the Lake Side Creamery. He has 
held township offices for thirty years and has been the chairman of 
the board of supervisors, and a member of tlie school board for 
nineteen years, having helped organize the school district. He 
helped organize tlie Lutheran church at Cedar Mills and has 
been treasurer for twenty years. Mr. Kurth was married Feb- 
ruary 19, 1876, to Augusta Knack, born in Pomerania, Germany, 
August 10, 1853, daughter of William and Caroline Knack, who 
came to America with their familv in 1872. Nine children were 



HISTOEY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 331 

bom to Mr. and ]\rrs. Kurtli : ]\Litil(la, Amelia. Iltiiry. Paul, 
William. Anfrnst, Otto. Ilrhmitli and Kiidolph. 

WiUiam Adolph Nelson, a farmer of Boon Lake township, 
was born in Swediai, October 4. 1867. son of Nels Alfred Carlson 
and Clara Louisa Carlson, deriving his surname from his father's 
Christian name, Nels. His parents were farmers in Sweden; 
his father died there in 1SS2 at the age of forty years and his 
mother is still living at the age of seventy-five years. There 
were twelve children, six boys and six girls: John, Hilda, 
Charles, Clans. Eiuil, William, Algot, Anna, Louise, Emily, Alma 
and Ililma, With the exception of Hilda, Emil (deceased) and 
Alma, all came to this country. William was the first of the 
family to leave Sweden. He had received his education at the 
public school there and had engaged in farming. In 1885 he and 
a friend came to Nicollet eountj^ Minnesota, where he farmed 
about two years. In 1887 he came to Renville county and worked 
for Darwin S. Hall. With the exception of three years spent in 
Minneapolis he worked for Mr. Hall until 1897, when he mar- 
ried and went to ^Minneapolis. After a year and a half he re- 
turned to Renville county and worked for Mr. Hall again, re- 
maining with liiiu for two years. Then he started for himself 
and rented a farm in section 31, Boon Lake township, where 
he lived for twelve years, next moving to his present place, the 
old H. 1), lioornuui farm, in section 34, Boon Lake township. 
He raises a good grade of stock, specializing in Holstein cattle. 
He is a member of the Butl'alo Fai-uiers' Co-operative Elevator 
Company. His faith is that of the Swedi.sh Lutheran ehuich of 
Preston Lake township. Mr. Nelson was united in niaiTiage 
January 30, 1897, to Hilma Cai-lson, born in Sweden, i\Iarch 22, 
1875, daughter of Andrew and Johanna M. (Abrahamson) Carl- 
son. Andrew Carlson came to the United States in 1880 and lo- 
cated in Carver county, now living in the village of Carver at 
the age of 64. His wife died in 1884 at the age of forty-five years. 
Four children were born to this marriage: Ililma, Uusta. Hilda 
and Esther. Mr. C;irlson married again to Mary Ost, three chil- 
dren being born to this iiuu'i-iage: William, Anna and Nellie. 
Mr. and Mrs. Nelson have eight children, all living at home: 
Clara, Edith. Lloyd. Emery, Elliot. Ruth, Harvey and Glenn. 

John H. Runke, a successful fainier of Boon Lake township, 
was born September 5, 1856. in I'omei'ania, fiermany, son of Fred 
and Sophia (Block) Runke, both natives of Germany. Fred 
Runke was the son of Ferdinand Runke, who had the following 
children: Fred, Ferdinand, Sophia, Wilhclinina and Gusta. 
Sophia Block was one of five childien. Fred and Sophia ]{uid<e 
were the only ones of their parents' families who came to the 
United States. Fred Runke and his wife had seven children: 
William, August, Ferdinand, John, Euielia, Alvira and Albert. 



332 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

William was the first to come to the United States, coming in 
1870, by sailing vessel. He came to Dodge county, Wisconsin, 
August, his brother, coming the next year. Then the father and 
mother came with the rest of the family in 1873, coming to Wis- 
consin. They, too, came by sailing vessel, being five weeks on 
the sea. Here the family engaged in farming. The father died 
the following year, in 1874, at the age of fifty-six years. He Avas 
a member of the German Lutheran church. The next year the 
widow came with the son, William, to Meeker county, Minne- 
sota. She died at the home of her sou John, in Renville county, 
February 4, 1904, at the age of seventy-two years. John H. 
Runke was educated in the schools of Germany and at about 
the age of fifteen years came to W'isconsin. He had to earn 
money to pay his passage over and at .$.5.00 a luonth thought he 
could not afford to continue his school work in America. It 
was three years before he could have a store suit. He came to 
Renville county in 1881 and located on 11"J acres in section 4, 
Boon Lake township. It was partly broken, but had no buildings. 
John stayed here two years with his brother August, who lived 
near, while he improved the place, built a small frame house, 
14 by 18 feet, erected a straw shed and bought a yoke of oxen. 
After his marriage he moved into the 14 by 18 building and 
lived there about ten years. He built an addition to the house 
and built a log barn and rude shed for more stock. He also 
built a good granary and windmill. During the next few years 
he added 347 acres of land to his farm and bought a house and 
two lots in Hutchinson and later two acres more of lots in Hutch- 
inson. Then he moved on the Mooney farm, renting his old 
place. For five years he had from 900 to 1,000 acres under cul- 
tivation. He had built a log house on section 8, also a granary 
and horse barn and is living there now. He has built a modern 
house of eleven rooms, 32 by 42, and also a new horse barn and 
a windmill. He raises full blooded Holstein cattle, Percheron 
horses and fine hogs. He is a member of the Hutchinson Farm- 
ers' Co-operative Elevator Company, a director of the Lake 
Side Creamery Company, which he helped organize, and also a di- 
rector of the Coma Creamery, which he also helped organize. Mr. 
Runke has held various township offices, having been a super- 
visor and road overseer from the very first years and township 
treasurer for about eight years. He has been a member of the 
school board and is at present the clerk, and helped organize 
the district No. 122. He is a member of the German Lutheran 
church and helped organize and build the church at Cedar Mills, 
Meeker county, of which he was a trustee for six years. Mr. 
Runke was married September 15, 1884, to Matilda Schamndt, 
born in Illinois, March 14, 1867, daughter of Martin and Louis{! 
(Ronke) Schaipndt. ilr. and Mrs. John II. Runke have bad the 




PKTKK NESTANDE 



IpUaUC UBRARYI 






HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 333 

following cliildiTii : Louisa (deceased). Rciiihiild, Leta, IMatilda, 
Linda, Ilciuy, Arnold. Ida and Elsie. 

Martin Schamndt, a pioneer, was hoin in West Prussia, Ger- 
many, and thfie nuirried ]\rrs. Ijouise (Ronke) Litzeo, also a 
native of West Prussia. In 1864 they, with their three children, 
Alvina, Ilerniina and Amelia, started for the I'nited States, 
reaching New York, where they rmiaincd al)out one year and 
then came to Illinois, where I\li-. Scliamndt woi-ked out on the 
farms until 1S6S. A boy, Ileni-y, was born in Illinois. Then they 
came to MeLeod county, Minnesota, where Mr. Schamndt worked 
by the da.v for a year. He next secured a homestead on section 
4, in Boon Lake township, bought a yoke of oxen, "Bright and 
Brindle," and began farming. A rude shelter was constructed 
of crotch sticks and covered with uuirsh hay. They were greatly 
troubleil by the mosquitoes and the mother often sat up all night 
keeping the mosquitoes off from the children. The first wagon 
was made from the logs with wheels cut from the large trees. 
The nearest market was at Dassel, the trip taking three days, 
and Mr. Schamndt lost his way in the snowstorms several times. 
His wife spun yarn from the Avool of their own sheep and made 
clothing for the family. The rude sununer home was i-eplaeed 
by a dugout for tiu- winter, with long grass for a roof, after- 
wards replaced by a eaml)ric elotli roof, with a clay chimney. 
The bai-n was a rude straw shed. Here they lived and prospered, 
in time atlding 60 acres more to their farm and setting out groves 
of trees. Two more children were born in Boon Lake town- 
ship, Ida and Rudoipli. ^Mr. Schamndt deeded 100 acres of his 
land to Rudolph and erected buildings on the renuuning 60 
acres, latei' adiling 80 acres more. Mrs. Schamndt died in 1881 
at the age of fifty-six years and Mr. Schamndt mai'ried Hei'tha 
Keafear, a widow of William Sehmachi'l, 1).\' wliom slir ha<l four 
children : lleiuietta, Wilhelmina, Emil and Walter. By her 
marriage to ^Ir. Schamndt there were boi'u two children, Fred 
and Anna. Fred still lives on the home |)laee, and his mother 
lives with him. Martin Schamndt died at tiu' age of seventy- 
two yeai's in 1908. Henry Schamndt was killed in an accident 
in 1890 at the age of twenty-five years, leaving a wife and two 
childi'cn. Ida Schamndt died from the effects of burns in 1882 
at the age of eleven years. Willndmina, the stepsistei', also ilieil 
in 1890, leaving a Inisliand anil six children. 

Peter Nestande was horn in Noi-way, Febi-uary 17, 1850, son 
of Peter Xistandc, a farmer in Norway, who died in 18r)7 at the 
age of fifty and his wife, Mary (Olson) Nestande, who was born 
in 1812, died in 1896. The sub.iect of this sketch came to Amer- 
ica in 1870 and for five years was employed as farm hand. Then 
for five years he lived on school land in section 16, in Bandon 
township, this county, and in 1880 homesteaded in section 2. Ban- 



334 HLSTOltY OF KEXVILLE COUNTY 

don township, where he still resides. He has been industrious 
and has increased his holdings so that now he owns 240 aeres 
of land. He has served as township treasurer for three years, 
school treasurer for twenty years and is a stockholder in the 
co-operative elevator, the creamery, the co-operative store and 
the First National Bank, all of Fairfax. He is a member of the 
Norwegian Taitheran church, ilr. Nestande was married Janu- 
ary 8, 1876. to Inger Karena Hoimyr. who died in 1896, at the 
age of thirty-six. Ten children were born: Matilda, wife of 
John Delin, of St. Paul, Minn. ; Annie, widow of Josepli ^Mundahl, 
of 8t. Paul; Peter P., a miner in the Black Hills, South Dakota; 
Elsie, wife of Daniel Matson, of St. Paul; Marit Josephine, wife 
of Edwin Jacobsen. of Washington; Inga, wife of Andrew !Mun- 
dahl, of St. Paul; Olga. Palma, Ennna, all living at St. Paul; 
and Elmer, at home. 

Ole E. Kelly, a well known farmer of Bandon township, was 
born in Norway, September 1, 1856, sou of Erland and Jorend 
(Nestegaard) Kelly. The father was born May 10. 1810, and 
came to America in 1868 with his sou, Mathias, settling on sec- 
tion 30, in Bandon township, where he lived until his death, Jan- 
uary 15, 1900. The mother was born January 1, 1814, and died 
in January, 1901. Ole Kelly came to America with his jjarents 
and woi'ked out from the age of fourteen until he was twenty- 
seven years of age. Tlien he bought 80 acres in section 30, 
Bandon township, where he still lives, now owning 440 acres. 
The first house on his farm was built of hewn logs, 16 by 24, 
and his farming outfit consisted of a yoke of oxen. Mr. Kelly has 
now a very fine improved farm and has built a large barn, 32 by 
90, and tile silo with a capacity of 180 tons. He makes a spe- 
cialty of raising Hereford cattle and Duroc swine. He has been 
prominent in jjublic affairs and has served on the township board 
for four years. He has also been treasurer of the school district 
for ten years. He is stockholder in the mill and the State Bank 
at Franklin and is a member of the Hauge's Norwegian Lutheran 
church. Mr. Kelly was married March 9, 1883, to Annie Gunder- 
son, daughter of Gunder and Annie Gunderson. Mrs. Annie 
(Gunderson) Kelly died March 1, 1897, at the age of thirty-two, 
leaving three children: Edward, born November 24, 1886, now 
manager of the home farm; Gilbert, born October 16, 1888; and 
Olaf, born December 21, 1893, who is attending the Red Wing 
Seminary, at Red Wing, Minn. ]\Ir. Kelly was married a second 
time on October 28, 1900, to Ellen Hanson, widow of William 
Hanson, a farmer of Camp township. She was born February 14, 
1861, and by her first marriage had one child, Minuie. born Sep- 
tember 28, 1894. 

Nels H. Strom, a prosperous farmer of Bandon township, was 
born in Norway, July 2, 1832, and came to America in 1863. He 



THY. WE^/ y^^ 



K-S-'^iSSssj 




i 



I. 
■f. 




HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 335 

lived at ilankato one year, working on the railroad, and, in 
1864 honiesteadeil in section 2G, Baiiilon township, where lie still 
lives. The first house was built of logs. By dint of hard work 
and intlusti'y he has now a tine and well iiiipi'oved farm. He is 
a member of the Noi'wegian Lutheran ehui'ch and is a stock- 
holder in the Fai'mers" Co-operative Elevator Co., of Fairfax. In 
1864 he was united in marriage to Mary Ijinrud, born August, 
1840, who died October 9, 1903. The following childi-en wei-e 
boru: Ilans, born February 14, 1871; Albert, of Noi'th Dakota, 
born December 26, 1872; Carl, born December 17, 1874, a farmer 
in Camp townshij): Ole, born Jaiuuii'y 11, 1S77, now manager of 
the home farm: i\Iatilda, born November 4, 18S0, at home; and 
Henry, born ilay 4, 1882, at liome. 

Jonas Brandjord was born on section 32, Bandon townshij), 
]\lareli 1:>. l^S(i, son of Iver and Oleve Schgei. The father was 
born in Norway, in 1837, and came to America in 1866, living in 
Fillmore county two years and then homesteading SO acres in 
the east half of the northeast quarter of s(>ction 32, Bandon town- 
ship, where he remained until ^lareli 7, 1911, when he removed 
to Franklin, and died there Jidy 24, 1911. Jonas remained at 
home until he was twenty-one years of age. In 1908 he took a 
homestead of 160 acres in Billings county, North Dakota, where 
he remained about one year, and then sold out. Next he engaged 
in a wholesale grocery house at Duhith for about one year and 
later woi'ked for the Minneapolis Milk Co. for about two years. 
On January 1, 1911, he rented the liome farm and is still living 
there. He is a stockholder in the Franklin Farmers' Elevator 
Company, at Franklin. Mr. Brandjord was married June 4, 1909, 
in Minneapolis to Alma Anderson, born October 5, 1882, daugli- 
ter of Gustav and Helen (Iloimyr) Anderson. Her father was 
born in Sweden and became a farmer in Bandon township. Her 
mother died Decendjei- 18. 1896. at the age of thirty-nine years. 
]Mr. and 'Sim. Brand.joi'd have the following children: Harriet 
Olivien. boiii Octobei- 24, 1910; (iloyd llert, born December 15, 
1911, and Kwlyn Onlis, born April 21, 1914. 

Isaac W. Rovainen, deceased, was born March 7, 1868, in 
Sweden, son of Cai-I .M. Rovaini'U, a fai'iiier of that country. 
Isaac W. Rovainen came to America in 1886 and worked in the 
copjier ndnes at Calumet, ^lich., for two years and for five years 
as miner in the Black Hills in South Dakota. In 1892 he bought 
160 acres in section 31, Bandon township, .where lie lived unti\ 
his death, Januarj- 9, 191"). From 1902 until his death he served 
as elder and reader of the Finnish Apostolic Lutheran church, 
which is located on the northwest corner of section 5, Camp 
township. He was also its treasurer. At the time of his death 
J\Ir. Rovainen owned one-half section of land. lie had built a 
Dice eight room house and was stockholder in the ■creamery and 



336 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

f'k'vatof at Franklin. ^Jlrs. Kovaineii. witli tlie help of her chil- 
dren, now conduct the farm. In 1889 Mr. Rovaiueu married Hil- 
da J. Lahti, daughter of Peter and Johanna Rahti. Her father 
came to America in 1864 and located in Camp townsliip iu 1866, 
where he lived until his death in 1911. at the ape of seventy years. 
His wife lives in .section 19, Camp township. .Mrs. Hilda (Lahti) 
Rovaineu died July, 1894, leaving one son, Alfred, now a fanner 
in Birch Cooley township. Mr. Rovainen was married a second 
time on February 2, 1895. to Euuna J. Johnson, born December 
8. 1870. She attended the State Normal school at ilankato and 
was a teacher for four years. She also was treasurer of school 
district No. 69 for ten years. By this se-coud nuirriage there 
were ten children: Verua A., born November 15, 1895, a teacher 
in New York Mills, Minn.; Esther, born January 28, 1897; 
Adolph, born May 27, 1898; Gladys G., born March 24, 1900; 
Helen A., born .March 11. 1902; ]\Iamie E., born January 15, 1904; 
Carl M., born May 2, 1905; Lila A., born April 11, 1907; Inez 
J., born December 18, 1909, and Mildred E. T., born June 28, 
1913. 

Isaac Bogfema was born on section IS, Cami) township, Febru- 
ary 17, 1866, son of ]\Iathias and Eva Bogema. ^lathias Bogema 
came to America iu 1865, living at St. Peter, j\linn., for six months, 
then going to Camp township, where he spent the winter. In the 
summer of 1866 he homesteaded 160 acres of land in section 1, 
in Birch Cooley township, where he remained for six years. He 
disposed of this laud and bought 160 acres in section 35, Camp 
township, where he lived until his death, March 8, 1892. His 
wife died in 1872. at the age of fifty years. Isaac Bogema re- 
mained at home initil he was twenty-five years old and iu 1892 
bought 160 acres of land in the southeast quarter of section 31. 
Bandon township, where he still lives. He has improved and 
developed the farm, owns 220 acres, and has good buildings. Mr. 
Bogema is a stockholder iu the Franklin Elevator and is a mem- 
ber of the Finnish Lutlierau church. He was married December 
8, 1891, to Maria Lagari, born August 25, 1862, daughter of 
Randall Isaac Lagari, now living in Camp township, and his 
wife, Louisa Lagari. They are both natives of Finland and in 
1897 Mr. Bogema sent them money to pay their passage over to 
America. Mr. and Mrs. Bogema have seveu children : Lydia, 
born October 11. 1892, married to Joseph Sherman, of San 
Francisco; Walter, born April 20, 1895; Arthur, born July 9, 
1896; Oscar, born September 21, 1897; Hjahnar, boi'u November 
15, 1900; John, born June 15, 1902; Alma, born October 11, 1903; 
all except the oldest of these children being at home. 

Mathias E. Kelly, now deceased, was born iu Norway, October 
1, 1853, son of p]rlaiul and Jorend (Nestegaard) Kelly. Erland 
Kelly was born May 10, 1810, and his wife, Jorend (Nestegaard) 



TMt SEW Yf\i 

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IIISTOliV OF KEX\11.LK (OLNTY 337 

Kelly, was born Jauuary 1, 1814. In 1868 they came with tlieir 
family to America and settled on a farm in section 30, Bandon 
township, where they built their home and engaged in farming 
until the time of their death. Mr. Kelly died January 15, 1900, 
and Mrs. Kelly died in January, 1901. Mathias E. Kelly came 
to America with his jjarents in 1868, and located with them in 
Bandon township. In time he purchaseil, together with his broth- 
er Severt, the southeast quai-ter of section 30, Bandon townshi]i. 
This land they purchased fi-om an older brother, who also bore 
the name of Severt, who jiad taken i1 as a homestead. In time 
Mathias Kelly became the sole owiui' and proprietor of this 
farm, and added to it at different times, until it now contains 
440 acres in the home farm and 268 acres in sections 5 and 6, 
Camp township. He built a nice home, large barns and a com- 
plete set of outbuildings, and here carried on general farming, 
until his death, February 26, 1915, with the exception of four 
years, from 1900 to 1904, when he was in the general merchan- 
dise business in Franklin in partnershij) with his brother Ole 
E. Kelly and E. S. Johnson. Mr. Kell.y was a member of the 
school board for ten years and was a stockholder and director 
in the Franklin Creamery. February, 1881, he married Ragnild 
Jordet, born April 25, 1854, daughter of Severt and Marit 
(Brunshagen) Jordet. She now resides with her children on 
the home farm. The following children were born to Mr. and 
Mrs. Kelly: Edward, was born April 20, 1882. He was a stu- 
dent of the Red Wing Seminary at Red Wing, Minn., and is now 
farming in Camp township. He married Clara Gunderson, of 
Mankato, and they have four children: Inez, Marlow, Kenneth 
and Vincent. The farm he is living on is a part of the Mathias 
I']. Kelly estate. Jennie was born October 22, 1884. She gradu- 
ated from the Domestic Science class at the Ladies' Lutheran 
Seminary, at Red Wing, in 1906, and resides at home. Severt, 
born October 22, 1867, is farming with his brother Edward, on 
their farm in Camp townshij). He was a student at the Agricul- 
tural College at Minneapolis. Milton, born J\Iari-li 16, 1891, and 
Oscar, born October 3, 1892, conduct the home farm. Oscar was 
a student of the Red Wing Seminary. These .young men are 
breeders of thorough-bred Aberdeen Angus Black Poll cattle and 
Duroc Jersey swine, and each year ship from four to five ear- 
loads to the South St. Paul yards for the market. They also are 
largely patronized by individual buyers for breeding purposes. 
Thorvald, now a student of the Red Wing Seminary, was born 
December 4, 1894. The family are all members of the Ilauge 
Norwegian Lutheran church. 

. Ole P. Hoimyr was born in Norway, September 27, 1854, son 
of Peter and Anna Olene (Isaacson) Hoimyr. Peter Hoimyr came 
to America in 1867 and located fir.st at Kilbourne, Wis., and later 



338 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

at St. Peter, Miuii. lu 1869 he homesteaded ItJO acres iu section 
26, Bandou township and lived there until his death in 1903, at 
the age of seventy-four. His wife died in 1911. Ole Hoimj-r 
remained at home until 1880, when he engaged in farming for 
himself. He purchased 160 acres in section 16, Bandon township, 
where he still lives, having built up a good farm. Mr. Hoimyr 
is a member of the Norwegian Synod Lutheran church and taught 
parochial school for eight years. He served on the township 
board for five years and also was township treasurer for fifteen 
years. He was postmaster at Bandon postoftice for eleven years, 
the office being in his home. May 13, 1880, Mr. Hoimyr was mar- 
ried to Anna Johanessen. born Octobei- 14, 1850, and died Decem- 
ber 22, 1913. Tliere is one child, Marith Palma, born October 27, 
188-4, wlio is married to Jorgen Olson, manager of Mr. Hoimyr 's 
farm. They have one child. Anna Mildred, born January 8, 
1915. 

Hennan Holm was born in Ilammerfest, Norway, August 18, 
1866, son of Benjamin and Margaret (Ruoua) Holm. The father 
was a sailor on the large walrus and sealing vessels and was a 
native of Sweden, where he was married. In 1872 he came to 
America and engaged in work as a miner in the copper mines at 
Hancock, ilich., and remaiued there for seven and a half years. 
In 1880 he came to Bandon township, where he settled on rail- 
way land and lived there for two years. In 1882 he bought 80 
acres in the north half of the southwest quarter of section 30. 
Here he remained for four years and then sold and bought land 
in the northeast quarter in section 31. where he lived until his 
death, June 18, 1903, at the age of sixty-nine years, Herman 
Holm remained at home until he was twenty-seven years of age. 
He then worked in the Calumet, ]\Iich., copper mines for a time 
and one year on a railroad in Ontario. In 1896 he boiight 80 
acres in the east half of the northeast quarter of section 31, Ban- 
don township, which was the home farm and moved onto it in 
1906. In 1911 he sold and bought 160 acres in the southwest 
quarter of section 32, Bandon township, where lu' still lives, ilr. 
Holm is a stockholder in the creamery and elevator company, 
at Franklin. He was married July 14, 1904, to Mary Maki, born 
May 31, 1875, daugliter of Solomon and Hattie (Konise) Maki, 
farmers of Finland. Two children have been born to Mr. and 
Mrs. Holm, Edward and Arthur. The family attends the Luth- 
eran church. 

Peter M. Hage was born on the northeast quarter of section 
28, Bandon township, October 8, 1880, son of Martin Johnson 
Hage and Johanna (Peterson) Hage. The father was boin in 
Norway and came to America in 1861, going to St. Peter, wliere 
he lived for three years, then in 1864 homesteading in section 
28, Bandon township, where he remained until his death. The 



HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 339 

iiiotliui- was born .luly 10, 1S38, and dinl May 25, 1915. Peter 
M. Hage took charge of the home farm, consisting of 200 acres, 
in the spring of 1909 and has been manager ever since. He is a 
stockholder in the Farmers' Elevator at Fairfax. October 14 
1910, he was married to Emma Possen, born September 24, 1894, 
daughter of John Possen, now living in Gibbon, Minn., who came 
from Germany to America in 1885, and of liis wife, Alvina Possen. 
Mr. and Mrs. Hage have three children, Maurice Marvin, Harry 
Holly and Florence Lenora. The children of Mr. and Mrs. 
JIartin Johnson are: Julia, now Mrs. IJenjamiii Vigen, of Nel- 
son county, North Dakota ; Paulina, now Mrs. Adolph Gumpolen, 
Qf Rolette county, North Dakota ; John, of Granville, North Da- 
kota ; Julius: Ole and Peter, farmers of Pandon township, this 
county; and ^laurire. who is in tlie linidii'i' business in Winni- 
peg, Canada. 

Ole A. Korsmo was born in Norway. October 14, 18(i2, son of 
Andrew S. and Mary 0. (Skarness) Korsmo. Andrew S. Korsmo 
came to America in 1869, bought 130 acres of land in section 

21, Camp township and lived there until his death, November 

22, 1874, at the age of sixty-four. His wife died in March, 1890, 
at the age of ninety-two. Ole Korsmo remained at home until 
twenty-three years of age, and then bought 80 acres of wild 
prairie land in section 27, Bandon township, on to which he 
moved in 1899. He has developed this farm, increased it to 120 
acres, erected a good dwelling and bai'iis and made many im- 
provements. He is a stockholder in the creamery and co-opera- 
tive store at Fairfax, has served as school director foi" eight years 
and is a member of the Norwegian Luthei'an church. ]Mr. Korsmo 
was married May 25, 1899, to Mrs. Gurina Peterson, widow of 
L. Peterson, son of Ilellek Peterson. She is the daughter of Hans 
JIangsetli and was boi'ii Api-il 21, 1875. By her first marriage 
she had three children: Hannah, born June 7, 1893; liable, born 
September 21, 1894, and Leonard, born July 18, 1896. Mr. and 
Mrs. Koi'smo also have three children : Anton, born February 
16. 1900: Mathilda, born October 4. 190'_'. and Gladys, born 
March L'S, li)()S. 

James L. Murnan, a proinincnt I'arnici' of Uamlon townsliiii. 
was horn on section 36, Bandon townsliii), August 7, 1881, son 
of .lohn and .lane (Blake) .Murnan. Tbe fathei', when a child, 
was at Ft. Ridgely dui'ing tlie Indian outbi'eak. He homesteadetl 
the southeast quarter of tlie eastern half in section 36, Bandon 
townsliij), where he lived until his death, at the age of twenty- 
eight, SeptendxT 1.'). 1882, being killeil in a threshing machine. 
The mother died February 2, 1898, at the age of forty-two. Be- 
sides the subject of this sketch, there was one child, Mary Jane, 
born August 21. 1879, now the wife of Thomas J. Maxwell, a 
farmer in P^ugene, Ore. The,\' have five children: Leonai'<l. 



340 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COI'XTY 

James, Mary, William and an infant. After his mother's death 
James L. Murnau made his home with James llaxwell, in Camp 
township, and attended school nntil 1900. Then he worked for 
his uncle Patrick Murnau, at Kiugstou, Meeker county. Minn., 
and attended school there for two years. Next he homesteaded 
in Roseau county, Minn., wliere he remained for six years. A 
year was then spent in Memphis, Tenn., and five years as a car- 
penter at Fairfax, ilinn. He is now farming on the old home 
place. He is a member of the Catholic church and of the K. C. 
and C. O. F. 

Michael Heikka, deceased, was born in Finland and came to 
America in 186-t. For a number of years he worked as a farm 
hand in the summer and trapped in the winter. Once he suc- 
ceeded in trapping a lynx in some timber near Bird Island. This 
is said to be the only lynx ever seen in Renville county. In 1872 
he homesteaded V-il acres in section 5, Camp township, and in 
1880 bought 160 acres in section 32, Baudon township, where he 
lived until his death in 189.5, at the age of sixty-three years. In 
1872 he was married to Mary Johnson, born in Norway, in 1848. 
She now lives with her two sons, Henry and Charles, who own 
and manage the home farm of 220 acres. Henry has been a suc- 
cessfid thresher for twenty years and Charles raises fiure blooded 
Poland China swine and has a large number of them registered, 
raising about 120 per year. Once a year he has a public sale. 
The brothers also raise Herford cattle. Henry is a director of 
the Franklin Creamery and Charles is a stockholder of the Farm- 
ers' Elevator, at Franklin. Besides these two sons Mr. and 
Mrs. Heikka had the following children: Bertha, married to 
David Hollantl. who lives in Montana; Annie, living in Montana; 
Ida, married to Charles Savage, in Montana, and Emma, uuirried 
to Edward Glorviek, of Minneapolis; Rega, a trained nurse at the 
Swedish hospital at Minneapolis, and Crissia, at home. 

Hans F. Mundahl, an industrious farmer of Bandon township, 
was born in Norway. April 26, 1844, son of Fred Hanson, a farm- 
er, who died in 1850, at the age of forty, and his wife, G,)etlug 
(Knudson), who died in 1901, at the age of seventy-five. Hans 
F. Mundahl came to America in 1870 and worked in Fillmore 
county four years. In 1874 he bought the southwest quarter of 
section 36, Bandon townshij), where he has lived ever since. His 
first house was of sod with a sod roof and had no floor. He 
brought an ox team with him from Fillmore county and an old 
wagon and plow. The fii'st three years were very discouraging, 
as he had no crops, the grasshoppers destroying all. He made a 
little butter, which he sold to P^t. Ridgely at six cents per pound. 
But these pioneer times passed away, and Mr. Mundahl became 
a prominent and prosperous farmer. In July, 1869, he was united 
in marriage in Norway to Syneva Mundahl, born October 31, 



HISTORY OF RENV11.LI-; (OrXTV 341 

1844, (laiiglit(M- of Olf .Muiiilalil. ;i t':inn<'i' in Xoi'way. hikI his 
wiff, Anna (Thoniassen) Mniidalil. 'i"c ii cliiMtcn were born: 
Frederick, born on the ooean, died at the age of two weeks; Fred- 
erick, born in IMay, 1870: Carrie, born December 10, 1872, mar- 
ried to Martin Nygaard. a farmer of Astoria, South Dakota, by 
wliom slie has nine ehihli-en; Ole, born IMareii 12, 1874, died May 
19, 1912: Anna Jidiana, born December 15, 1876, wife of Carl 
Hanson, of ^rinnea|)oli.s ; Henry, l)orn October 4, 1878; Bertha, 
born Seiitember 2, 1880, died February 23, 1910, wife of Alfred 
Olson, a eai'i)enter, in Minneapolis; Frida, born ]\Iay 31, 1882, 
now living in Minneapolis; Christian H., born September 27, 
1884, living in Lake Mills, Iowa, and Henrietta, born March 12, 
1887, living in Minneapolis. All of the children have adopted 
the surname of Friekson. 

Henry Friekson, a successful farmer of Bandon townsliip, 
was boi'n on section '{G, in the townshij) where lie still lives, Octo- 
ber 4, 1878. son of Hans F. IMundahl and his wife, Syneva Muii- 
dahl. He remained at home luitil 1904, when he went to Red 
Wing, Minn., to attend the Red Wing Semiuaiy, remaining there 
until 1907. During the summers of 1905-1910 lie taught parochial 
school. From 1904 to 1909 he rented a farm from his uncle. Hans 
I. JMundahl, which he worked with hired help. From 1911 to 
1914 he rented liis father's farm in section 36, Bandon township, 
and in the fall of 1914 liought 80 acres of this fai-m on which he 
erected a fine eight room house and substantial barn, 28 by 40. 
He has served as township clerk foi- five years and has been treas- 
urei' of school district No. 66 for three years. He is a stockholder 
in the Farmers" Elevator at Faii'fa.x and dii'ector of the new 
ercanier.v tliei'c He is a nieiiiber of ilic llauges Norwegian Lutli- 
eraii church of C'ami) township, is [jresident of tlie Young Peo- 
ple's Temiierance Society of that church, and has been pi'esident 
and is now treasure of the Excelsior ^■(lung People's Society of 
the same church. Henry Friekson was married June 26, 1912, 
to Anna Distad, born in Noi'way, Septendjcr 12, 1888, daughter 
of Kjel Distad. a retii-cil I'arnier of Norway, and his wife, (Jer- 
trude (Eithune) Distad. .Mr. ami ^Trs. II. F'rickson have one 
child, (iladys Constance. 

Christian H. Friekson, son of Hans K. .Muiidahl. was boi'n 
Septembei- 27. 1S84, in section 3(), Bandon township, and remained 
at home until he was twenty-one years of age. He then became 
assistant cashier in the state ])ank at Fairfax, where he remained 
for three and a half years. From 1900 to 1904 he attended 
tlie Red Wing Seminai'y, taking a course in the academic dejiart- 
ment. He then graduated from the National Business College 
at Minneapolis, and was assistant cashier of the First National 
Bank at Lake ^lills. la., for four years. In August, 1914, he 
bought the western half of his father's farm in the southwest 



342 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COI-XTY 

quarter of section 36, Baiulon to\vnshi[). lie lias served as 
township assessor for one year. He resigneil and moved back 
to Lake Mills. la., in Jidy, 1915, where he engaged in the restau- 
rant busine.ss. He is a member of the Hauge's Norwegian Luth- 
eran church. May 29, 1912, Mr. Frickson was united in mar- 
riage to Mabel Nystuen, of Lake Mills, la., boi-n Aiioust 1, 1889, 
daughter of Gilbert and Anna (Severson) Nystuen. Gilbert Nys- 
tuen has been in the real estate business at Lake Mills for twen- 
ty-five years. 

Lars Olson was born in Norway, June 24, 1844, son of Ole 
Hermaiisoin, a farmer in Norway, and Anna (Olson) Hermauson. 
Lars Olson came to Amei-ica in 1866, coming directly to Nicollet 
county, ilinn., where he r(^nuuned for two years. For four years 
he was emjiloyed as a farm hand and in 1871 homesteaded 
in section 26, Bandon township, where he still lives. The tir.st 
house was a rude dugout. He has since improved his farm 
and become prosperous. In 1915 he. erected a fine modern resi- 
dence. He has served as township assess9r foi- four years and 
is a member of the Norwegian Luthei'an church. He was mar- 
ried ilareh 16. 1888, to Christina (Jlbjornson, born December 
30, 1858, in Norway, daughter of Olbjorn Asselson, a farmer in 
Norway, and Andjjor (Satte) Asselson. Six children have been 
born: Anna Marie, born December 10. 1888, a seamstress, at 
home; Amalia Olive, born Aj)ril 15, 1890, at home; Amanda Cor- 
nelia, born July 12. 1892, who attended school at the Fairfax 
High school and Madison (Minn.) State Noi'mal school, and has 
been a teacher in Renville county since 1912; Oscar, born Decem- 
ber 14, 1894. a student from St. Olaf College, now manager of the 
home farm and a stockholder in the Farmers" Co-operative Ele- 
vator at Fairfax : Marie, born August 12, 1897. at home, and 
Louisa Chi'istine, born August 9, 1903, at homr. 

Hjalmer Ruona was born July 16, 1880, in Camp townshij), 
this county, son of Solomon and Anna (Ostala) Ruona. In 1908 
he bought ICO acres in section 16, Bandon township and moved 
there March 22, 1910. He has increased and developed his farm 
and made many improvements. He now owns 280 acres. He is 
a stockholder in the elevators at Franklin and Fairfax and also 
in the creamery at Franklin. He has served as roatl overseer for 
one year. He is a member of the Finnish Lutheran church. De- 
cember 17, 1910, Mr. Ruona was married to Minnie Pajari. boi-n 
September 9, 1887, in Norway, fourth of the twelve children of 
Peter and Elizabeth (Tabia) Pajari. Her father came to Amer- 
ica in 1891 and located at Ironwood. ]\Iich., where he remained 
for one year. Then he moved to Douglas county, Minn., where 
he lived for eleven years, next going to "Wadena county, Minn., 
where he is still engaged in farming. Mr. and Mrs. Ruona have 
four children: George Vincent, born September 6, 1911; Har- 






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HISTORY. OF RENVILLE COUNTY 343 

vey Lc Hoy. horn August 5, 1912; A'irgil Liucolji. born Octobci' 
2, 191:i: mii.I Wayiit- Arc-hibald, born Novi-niber 7, 1914. 

Jens S. Ness, a prosperous farmer of Baudon township, was 
born in Norway, August 17, 1862, son of Sylvester Ness, a car- 
penter in Xoi'way. who died in 1869, at tlie age of fifty years, 
and Margaret (HiUeren) Ness, wiio died Febriiai-y 5, 1914, at the 
age of ninety-two. .Jens S. Ness eame to America in 1888 and 
went directly to Randon township, KeiiviMe county, this state, 
wlicrc' he was eniployetl as a farm hand for six years. Tlien he 
rented a farm in Camp township fdi- nine years, in 1901 l)nying 
80 acres in section -36, Bandon townshii), wiiei-e he still lives. He 
now has a well improved farm. He is a member of the Nor- 
wegian Lutheran church and one of the collectors for the ti'cas- 
urer for the Red Wing Seminary of Red Wing. Minn., and also 
has been director of school district No. 66 for nine years. June 
20, 1912, he was united in marriage to Severena Anderson, born. 
Octo1)ei- 10, 1867, daughter of Ole and Annie (Kvam) Anderson. 
Her father was born in Norway ami came to America in 1865, 
locating on a farm in Wisconsin, where he died March 1, 1909, 
at the age of sevent.v-four. Her mother died .lune 25, 1911. Mr. 
and Mrs. Jens S. Ness have an adopted child, Margaret Lund, 
born June 25, 1907. 

John Oscar Isaacson, pastor of the Apostolic Fiinnsh ehui'ch. 
was born in Sweden, .March. 21, 1851. His father was Isaac Wil- 
lie! m Isaacson, who died in Sweden in 1909, at the age of sev- 
enty-nine and his mother was Maria (Danielson) Isaacson, who 
died June, 1914, at the age of eight.y-six. J. O. Isaacson came 
to America in 1878 and settled at Cokato, .Minn., where he IIvimI 
for five years. For tive .vears he farmed in section 17, Bandon 
township, and then bought 40 acres in section 9. Bandon town- 
ship, where he still lives. He has served on Ihc- township board 
for six years. Mr. Isaacson was marriiMJ .April 11. 1S7."., tn 
Margaret Selvala, born July 9, 1846. 

Louis Savela, son of Carl Savela, was born in Finland, -lanu 
ary 21, 1872. and came to America with his parents in 1880. He 
now manages the home farm and owns HO acres in section 15. He 
was chairman of the Finnish Lutheran church for six years and 
is a stockholder in the Franklin creamer.v, also in two elevatoi's 
at Fairfax. Louis Savela was married Mav 26. 1906, to Emma 
Isaacson, born March 27, 1884, daughti r of John Oscar Isaacson, 
and they have five children: Mathias Krliard, boi'ii June 28, 
1907; Ernest Howard, born February 21, 1909 died A|)ril 25, 
1914; Edna Lillian Margaret, boiii April is. 1911; bbi Sylvia, 
born Octnbrr 26. 1912. and Violet Fvalina, born June 11, 1914. 

Carl Savela, a successful farmer of Bandon township, was 
born in Finland, October 26, 1886, son of Henry Oikarainen, a 
farmer of Fiidand. who died in 1876, at the age of seventy years. 



344 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

aud Bertha (Haikineii) Oikaraiuen, who died in 1S67, at tlie age 
of seventy-two. Carl Savela came to Ameriea in 1S80 and located 
at Hancock. ^Minu., where he remained for six months, next go- 
ing to Camp townsliip. this county, where he lived for one year. 
In 1882, he bouglit 80 acres in section 16, Bandon township, wliei'e 
he became a successful farmer and inei-eased his farm to 480 
acres, of wliich he gave each of his sous 80 acres. He is a mem- 
ber of the Finnish Lutheran church. Carl Savela Avas married 
June 24, 1867. to Margaret Koskela, born December 7, 1848. 
daughter of Peter Koskela, a farmer of Finland, who died in 
1849. at the age of thirty-four. By a former marriage Jlr. Savela 
has one child, H(mry, a farmer, in section 6. Camp township. By 
his present marriage there are ten children : Adam, born ]\Iari-h 
4. 1868. died November 24. 1884: Abel, born May 22, 1870, a 
miner at Nashwauk. ilinu.; Louis, born January 21, 1872, man- 
ager of tlie home farm : ilatliias, born ]March 17. 1874. a farmer in 
South Dakota : Bertha Walpuri. born May 23. 1876. wife of Carl 
Carlson, at Hill City, ilinn.; ilary. born ]\larch 25, 1879. nuirried 
to Walter Williams, clerk at Gilbert, ]\Iinn. : Carl Ludwig. lioi-n 
July 25. 1884, died August 1, 1884; Anna Elsa Wilhclmiiia. born 
July 5. 1885. wife of 6. K. !Maki, a meat dealei- in Hill ( 'ity. ]Minn.; 
Ida Fanny, Ijorn June 10, 1891, a clerk at Hil)bing, Miini. ; and 
Annie Bay, adopted, born June 9, 1903. Mr. and Mrs. S.avela 
now make their home with theii' son. Louis. 

Gunerus Peterson, a leading citizen of Renville county, and 
tlie foremost fanner of biandon township, was born in Norway. 
September 29, 1840, son of Peter O. and (iertrude Peterson, both 
of whom died in the old country. Gunerus Petei-son was reared 
in his uative country and in 1867 came to Rock county. Wis- 
consin, where he M-orked foi' three years. Tlieii foi' a year he 
lived in Fillmore county in this state. It was in 1.S71 that he 
came to Renville c-ounty, and preempted a claim in section 2, 
Bandon township. In 1878 he homesteacb-d eighty acres in the 
same section. When he came here he drove an ox team from 
Fillmore county. These oxen were owned jointly with Peter 
Hornseth. For a while, ]\Ir. Peterson livc(l in a dug out. Tlie 
breaking jiiow, wliieii he used, was bouglit in ]iartnci-sliip with 
three othei's. and they took turns in using it. But as time 
passed he ]irospei'ed. At a very early day he Ixnight a reaper 
for !|i225. Gi-adually he aeqxured other nuu-hinery. A sightly 
residence and commodious bai'us and outliuildings took the place 
of tile dug out. anil tin- land which he had broken with such 
care became a rich, fertile farm. A man of pleasing personality, 
a generous neigbboi'. aud a imblic sjiirited citizen, it was natural 
that ^Ir. Peti'rsoii slionld ln' railed upon tii serve in many offices. 
For twenty years he was clei'k of his township. For ten years 
he was clerk of school district No. 60. He was county register 






, X%W» ""^^^ ^*',^o, 



mSTOKY OF KEWIIJ.K (OrXTY 345 

of deeds from 1887 to 1891, and from 1885 to 1887 he was a 
member of the l)(>ard of coinity commissioners from the Second 
district. In 1901 and 190:2 he was a inombcr of the lower liouse 
of the Minnesota State Lcgishdurc. In this capacity he served 
on the reapportionment, ways and means, and engrossing com- 
mittees. Mr. Peterson's legislative career was a most inter- 
esting one. He introduced a bill to repeal the si)ecial salary law 
for comity officers. He was backed by the county commissioners 
but it gave the opposition ground for a political argument M-hich 
nearly defeated him. He also inti-oduced a di-ainagi> bill, but it 
was defeated by tlie railroad interests. This act would liave 
required the railroads to construct and maintain ditches or drains 
across theii' right of way antl through their I'oadbed. whenever 
the county conunissionei-s or two supervisors had constructed a 
drain or ditch within fen feet of their right of way or railroad 
track, ill l!ll)l. My. I'cterson introduced the bill which reduced 
the interest on the state and school lands fi'oin 5 per cent to 4 
per cent. He also introduced the anti-pass bill. Mr. Peterson 
has stock in various co-operative ventures including the Hec- 
tor Telephone Co. He has man.y interesting stories to tell of the 
eai-ly days. When he first settled here he had to haul wood from 
the Minnesota river, there not being enough in this pi'airie coun- 
try to supjily the demand. During the storm of 18715 he was at 
West Newton, in Nicollet county. When he returniMl to his 
home he found the house entirely covci-eil with snow, lie also 
tells with considerable relish of the time when the state in 1S73 
to relieve the settlers, let them all have seeil. He says that he 
received $15 worth, for which he eventually had to ])ay the state 
$75. Mr. Peterson was married March 15, 1871, to Regina Tollef- 
son, born in Norway, November 9, 184(5, daughter of Tollef and 
Uaudy (Cliristianson) Otnes, natives of Norway, both now de- 
ceased. Mr. and Mrs. Peterson have six children: Gina. mar 
ried Edward Loftman, a carpenter of Hector, who is now d"- 
ceased ; Thorwald is assistant state weighmastei-. and lives at 
Morristown ; Peter is postmaster and general merchant at Wil- 
lard in this state; Rosina is the wife of Tver Iverson, of St. 
Paid : Regina married Oscar Hanson, who operates the home 
farm. Oilbert is the assistant casbiei' of tlic .\ilams (Noi-th Da- 
kota) State Rank. 

Charles Wellner, a ]>rosperous farmer of this county, was born 
in Nicollet county, December 23, 1866. His father. Simon Well- 
ner. a farmei', came from tiermany in 1853 and died at the age 
of eighty-three, in 1910. Ills mothei-, Wilhelmina Beekman, 
was born in Germany, and is still living at New Ulm, at the age 
of seventy-seven. When he was twenty-one years of age Mr. 
Wellner began working ont and did so for ten years, when In- 
bought 160 acres in section 8, Cairo township, in 1S97. where he 



346 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

still lives. Here he erected his jn-esent house m 1902: it is a large 
eight-room, two-story building, 16 by 28, with a story and a half 
addition, 16 by 32, a full basement under all. hardwood floors and 
gasoline lights. In 1911 he built a barn, 32 by 60, with 16-foot 
posts, with a capacity of 60 tons of hay. He also built a "Lean- 
to, "" 16 by 48, on the north side of the barn. He has eight horses 
and thirty cattle, raising Pei-cheron horses, and has a large flock 
of three hundred Rhode Island Red chickens and White Holland 
turkeys, ilr. Wellner has held several positions, having been a 
member of the township board for ten years, is a stockholder in 
the Fairfax Co-operative Creamery and also secretary of the 
same. He is also a stockholder in the Farmers' Co-operative Ele- 
vator and Farmers' Co-operative store. He is a member of the 
board of examiners of the Citizens' State Bank. On June 14, 
1898, ilr. Wellner was married to ]\Iinnie Bleick, born 'Slay 15, 
1878, daughter of Carl Bleick, aged 70, a farmer of Nicollet 
county, who came from Germany to this country in 1864, and 
Mary (Diekmeyer), aged 61 years. Two children have been 
born to this marriage, Roy. born .Tnly 11. 1899. and Raymond, 
born Septembei- 29, 1901. 

Joseph Baumann, Sr., a jirosperons farmer of Cairo township, 
was born in (Tci'many, June 9, 1858. His i>arents secured a liome- 
stead in Nicollet county in 1868. His fathei-. John Baumann, 
died in 1888, at the age of seventy-two. and his mother, Barbara 
Webber, died in 1890, at the age of eighty-two years. Sir. Bau- 
mann farmed in Nicollet county until 1898, when he bought 320 
acres of land in section 17, in Cairo townshij). Upon this farm 
he built a barn in 1901, 30 by 64. with 16-foot posts, holding about 
fifty tons of hay and accommodating fifteen hoi'ses and twenty- 
four cattle. He raises Red Poll cattle, Duroc Jersey hogs, 
Percheron horses and Toulonese geese. The house was rebuilt in 
1911, a story and a half frame building, 16 by 28, with a 16 by 16 
addition and a cellar. Mr. Baumann is a stockholder in the 
Fairfax Creamery and in the Farmers" Grain and Stock Com- 
pany. He was road overseer for three years. He is a mendjer 
of the Modern Woodmen of America. S\v. Baumann was united 
in marriage June 20, 1882, to IMargaret Teynor, born May 22, 
1860. Her father, George Teynor, was born in Germany and 
came to America in 1865. He is now living in New Ulm, at the 
age of eighty-oue years. Her mother, Eva (Wallander) Teynor. 
died in 1891 at the age of fifty-two years. Ten children have 
been born to this marriage, all of whom are living. John, born 
March 28, 1884, is now living at home : Lena, born February 
22, 1885, is the wife of William Huhn, a farmer in Nicollet county : 
Joseph, Jr., born December 9, 1886, is at home : Rudolph, born 
April 16, 1888, is a soldier in the United States army. The five 
youngest children are at home : Edward, born June 2, 1891 ; An- 



HISTORY OF RENVILLE ("OUNTY 347 

ton, born Aiiril 24, 1893; Ella, born August 31, 1894: Sophia, born 
June 6, 1897; Albert, born August 17, 1900, and Veronica, born 
October fi. 1903. Tlic family faith is that of tlie Catholic church. 

Christ Bertelsen, a pi'ogressive business man of Fairfax, was 
boi-n in Denmark, October 2, 1864. His parents were farmei'S 
living in Denmark. Ilis father, Hans Bertelsen, died in 1909, at 
tiie age of sixty-.sevi'ii and his Tnother, Mary (Christensen), died 
at the age of sixt.y-eight in 1908. i\Ii'. Bertelsen came to Amer- 
ica in 1882, and located in Sibley county, Minnesota, where he 
engaged in the grain business in Sibley and McLeod counties 
until 1909, During this time he spent also some time in Minne- 
a|)olis in this same business. Then he became the manager of the 
elevator for the Crescent Milling Company, at Fairfax, which 
position he held until August 1, 1914, when he assumed his pres- 
ent duties as manager of the Farmers' Co-operative Elevator 
Company, in Fairfax. This elevator is a solid brick building, 20 
by 50 feet, with a (•ai)acity of 30,000 bushels. It was erected at a 
cost of $16,000 and is equipped with a Richard's Automatic 
Scale, which weighs the grain into the car, eight bushels at a 
time, without any attention. It also has a passenger elevator 
in place of stairways and is equipped with a fifteen horsepower 
gasoline engine. This building was erected during 1913 and 
was ready for use August 1, 1913. This elevator has been estab- 
lished for eight years and does an average annual business of 
about 300.000 bushels. They handle grain, coal, flour and live 
stock. The president of tiie company is Wenzel Frank, and the 
secretary and treasurci' is Paul Albreclit. The eomjinny has 100 
farmers as stockholders. 

Mr. Bertelsen was married in 1884 to Annie Mikkelsen, daugh- 
ter of Andrew and Johanna (Petersen) Mikkelsen, farmers of 
Sibley county. There are four children: Christina, born June 5, 
1886, who is iiiaii'iiMJ to Edward Wagner, at Essig, Minnesota; 
Matilda, now Mi'S. Eniil Theim, of (libboii. ^linnesotii ; and Har- 
vey and Arnold, who are at home. 

Holm E. Grasmon, ;in mterprising young man of Fairfax, was 
born K('i)ruar\ 2, 18Sl, in Cairo township, son of Even H. Gras- 
mon and Betsy (Hanson) (Jrasmon. His father came to Minne- 
sota with his parents -in 1868, Hans and Inger Maria (Mangen) 
Grasmon. Hans Grasmon is still living in Fairfax with bis son. 
Even II., at the old age of eighty-five. The mother died in 1907, 
at the age of eighty-two. They bought 160 acres of land in sec- 
tion 24, in Camp township, in 1868, and lived there until 1906, 
when they moveil to Faii'fax. Holm Grasmon attentlccl the public 
school in Fairfax and later in 1901 the Jlinnesota School of Busi- 
ness, in ilinneapolis. On February 1, 1902, he became book- 
keeper for the Citizens' State Bank of Fairfax. January 1. 1903, 
he became assistant cashici'. wliicli position lii' still holds. He is 



348 HISTORY OP^ RENVILLE rOFXTY 

a stockholder in the Mahnoiueii Laud Coiiipaiiy at ^lahnomeii, 
Miuuesota. He lias been the secretary of the Fairfax Voluntary 
Fire Depart ineut for ten years and the village treasurer since 
1907. June 27, 1911. Mr. Grasmon was married to Lydia Dick- 
meyer, who M-as born January 16, 1887, daughter of Louis Dick- 
meyer, of the Dickmeyer Implement Company, and Lena (Borth) 
Dickmeyer. Mr. and Mrs. Grasmon have one child, Orda Evelyn. 
born Novend)er 11, 1913. 

Hugh J. Carson, inventor and maiuifactiu-er, now living in 
Fairfax, was born in section 22, Wellington township, October 
10, 1881, son of William and Mary (Reed) Garson. William Car- 
son was born in Canada, came to tliis comity in 1875, secured a 
tree claim in section 22, Wellington township, and here lived 
iiutil his death, in 1897, at the age of fifty-six. His wife now 
lives in Fairfax. Hugh J. Carson renuiineii at honu' until 1911. 
having bought the home place in 1903. In 1911 he moved to 
Fairfax, where he has since lived. He manufactures an inven- 
tion of his own, a portable elevator, which operates by centrif- 
ugal force and pneumatic pressure. This elevator has had a 
good sale and its popularity is increasing. He is also the in- 
ventor of an automatic alai'm, whicli pi'events tlir overheating 
of incubators. Mr. Carson was married June 15, 1904, to Rosa 
Young, born February 22, 1882, in Nicollet comity, daughter of 
Nick Young, a farmer of Bandon township, who died in 1912. 
at the age of sixty-four, and of Katherine (Zimmerman) Young, 
who still lives in Bandon township, where the family located in 
1891. Mr. and Mrs. Carson have two children: Earl and Ralph. 

Charles H. Firle, a respected farmer of this county, was born 
in Doilge county, Wisconsin, August 2, 1860. His father, Fred- 
erick William Firle, was born in Germany, in 1819, and died in 
1898, at the home of his son, Charles H., in Cairo township. His 
mother, whose maiden name was Katherine Wescha, was born 
in Germany in 1820. and died in September 1902. Charles H. 
Firle remained at home on his father's farm in Nicollet county 
until he married and then he moved with his father to his j)resent 
farm in section 20, of ('aii-o township. This farm, which was 
bought in the spring of 1887, was owned by the father and son 
in partuershii). It is a large and well kept farm of 200 acres. 
C'harles Firle is still there and has developed and improved the 
farm in many ways. He is well known for his Jersey Red hogs, 
of which he has about 100. He has also a good herd of cows. The 
orchard contains 100 apple trees and twenty-five plum trees. The 
house is a story and a half, frame building, which was rebuilt in 
1908. It is 20 by 28 with a 20 by 26 addition, and has a cellar 
under all. Tlie barn was built in 1902 and is 34 by 60 feet. It 
will hold si'venty tons of hay and has room for eight horses and 
twentv-five cattle. Mr. Firle has been township supervisor 




< IIAKl.KS II. I'lHI.K 



THt 



PUBLIC 



NEW 



VORK 



L'Bi?ARl 



/ *3TO» r 



IITSTOUV OF KKXVrr.LE COUNTY 349 

five years, and was road overseer for two years. He is a stock- 
holder in the new creamery and also in both farmers' elevators 
at Fairfax. He is also a moiuber of the Methodist Episcopal 
church. September 9, ISSl, Jlr. Firle was married to Ma