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

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THE HISTORY 



RENVILLE COUNTY 

MINNESOTA' 



COMPILED BV 



FRANKLYN (^URTISS-WEDGE 

Member of the Minnesota Historical Society, editor of the Histories of Winr 
Wright, Fillmore. Freeborn, Motver, Dakota, Rice. Steele 



and Goodhue Coitnlie 



A LARGE CORPS OF LOCAL CONTRIBUTORS 

UHDEK THE DIRECriON AMD SUPERVISION OF 

HON. DARWIN S. HALL, 
HON. DAVID BENSON and 
COL CHARLES H. HOPKINS, 
Renville County Pioneer Association Committee. 



ILLUSTRATED 



CHICAGO 

H. C. COOPER JR. & CO. 

1916 



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TO ilEW YORK 

PHBLK LIBRARY 



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TO THE 

STURDY PIONEERS OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

WHO, AHID INNUHEBASLE HABDBHIPS, BLAZED THE WAT 
* ' FOB THE PRESENT GENERATIONS ; 

AND TO THEIR 
DESCENDANTS AND SUCCESSORS 

THESE VOLUMES ARE DEDICATED 
BT AUj who hate AB8KTED IN THEOR CONSTRUCTION 



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FOREWORD 

It is with a feeling of considerable satisfaction and pleasure 
that the publishers present this history for the approval of the 
people of Renville county. The iindertakiug has not been an 
easy one, the difficulties have )>Qen many, so many intleed that 
this publication would not have been possible without the liberal 
assistance of the citizens of the county. The chief contributors 
and editors have given freely of their time and tali^nt; business 
men, church officers, municipal, township, fraternity, association 
and corporation officials, manufacturers, professional men and 
banliers, often at a great personal sacrifice, have laid aside tlieir 
regular duties to tell of their communities and special interests; 
educators have wriiten of their schools, and men 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 each 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 have 
been included that many will deem of little moment, but thesw 
same facts to others may be of the deepest import. It may b« 
also that some facts have been omitted that many readers would 
like to see included. To such reatlei-s we can only say that to 
publish every incident in the life of the county would be to issue 
a work of many volumes, and in choosing such material 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 number of readers, 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, rugged- 
bodied ancestors and predeeessoi-s, who gave up their homes in 
older communities to brave the rigors of pioneer endeavor. 

A few omissions may be due to some of the people of the 
county, themselves, as in many instances repeated requests for 
information have met with no response. In such cases information 
gathered from other sources, while authentic, may be lacking in 
copious detail. 

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



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Ti FOREWORD 

tioD eiToneouH when measured by the standard of official records, 
even in' the case of comparatively recent events, while in many 
instances families are under the impression that 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 
moat familiar names appear in the newspapers antl records. 

The biographies have been gathered with care from those most 
interested, and with a few exceptions have been revised and cor- 
rected by the subject 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 variotis 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 with the 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 History of the Minnesota Valley 
(1882); Minnesota in Three Centuries (1908); the histories of 
southern and central Minnesota 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 Minnesota historical societies, and 
many other biographical, historical, and archieological works of 
reference. The files of the newspapers of this and neighboring 
counties have been carefully perused, as have the county, town- 
ship, village, city and church records. Hundreds of minute-books 
have been scanned and thousands of letters and original manu- 
scripts carefully examined. To all those who have extended us . 
courtesies during our search of these records we extend our 
thanks. 

In gathering material from so many sources, a paragraph from 
a newspaper in one place, a few lines from a pamphlet somewhere 
else, a half a chapter from some other work, it has not been 
possible in every case to give credit for authorship. It should 
be stated, however, that much of the Indian Massacre material 
contained in this work is from the pen of Major Return I. 
Holcombe, in Minnesota in Three Centuries, edited somewhat, 
however, to suit the present purpose. 

The board of revision for the present history has consisted 
of Darwin S. Hall, Charles H. Hopkins. David Benson, P. L. 
Puffer, M. D., Judge Richard T. Daly, M. J. Dowling, J. R. Landy, 
Judge C. N. Mataon. Henry Dunsmore, W. E. Morris, H. W. 
Leindeeker, Edward O'Connor, Timothy O'Connor, J. M. George, 
0. T. Ramsland, Prantz G. Nellermoe, William B. Strom. H. W. 



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FOREWORD Tu 

Shoemaker, William Wichman, F. A. Schafer, Amalia M. Bengtson, 
Ole 0. Enestvedt, A. T. Ellingboe, John G. Wordea, Nels 0. Berge, 
John Bakke, Frank H. Hopkins, Julius L. Jacobs, Peter P. Dustrud, 
John I. Johnson and many others. 

These people, and those whose names appear at the head of 
the various chapters, are but few of those who have assisted in 
making this work possible. We have taken advantage of every 
available source of information and have labored earnestly to 
secure conciseness and accuracy. 

That this history is faultless we do not presume ; it is probably 
not within the power of man to arrange a work of this kind 
without minor mistakes of one sort or another; that it will meet 
with the imqualified approval of all we dare not expect ; but we 
trust that the great merit of the work will overbalance any short- 
comings that may be discovered ; and our forty years in this 
line of endeavor assures us that the history will increase in value 
year after year. 

Our association with the people 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. 



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TABLE OF CONTENTS 

CHAPTER 1. 
NATUBAL PHENOMENA. 

PACE 

Advantages — Hituation and Area — Natural Draiuage — 
Topography — Altitudes — Soil and Timber — Archean 
Bocks— Gneiss and Granite — Cretaceous Beds — Glacial 
and Modified Drift — Underground Waters — Natural 
Resources 1 

CHAPTER H. 

PREHISTOKIC 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 20 

CHAPTER III. 

INDIAN OCCUPANCY AND TREATIES. 

The Dakotas — Life, History and Habits— Wapetons — Sisse- 
tons — Treaties — Visit to Washington — Treaties of Prairie 
du Chien — Doty Treaty — Preliminaries to the Final 
Session — Treaty of Traverse Des Sioux — Ramsey Inves- 
tigation — Treaty of 1S58 — Agencies and Forts 25 

CHAPTER IV. 

CLAIM OF TITLE. 

Spain — France — England — United States — Louisiana Pur- 
chase — Louisiana District of Indiana — Louisiana Terri- 
tory — Missouri Territory — Michigan Territory — -Wiscon- 
sin Territory — Iowa Territory — Minnesota Territory — 
Minnesota State 52 



CHAPTER 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 Pur Traders — Chronology — Surveys.... 64 



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CHAPTER VI. 
JOSEPH RENVILU:. 

PAGE 
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 Com to 
Minnesota — Literary Work — His Triumphant Death 82 



CHAPTER VII. 

KtVEK NAVjaATION. 

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 Reduction in River Traffic 88 

CHAPTER VIII. 

LAin> 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 Endeavor 98 

CHAPTER IX. 

CAUSES OF THE OUTBREAK. 

Early Friendship — Dissatisfaction with Treaties — Unjust 
Treatment — Inkpadoota Massacre — 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 Rescue 114 

CHAPTER X. 

THE SIOUX OITTBREAK. 

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 
Tell 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 139 



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CONTENTS xi 

CHAPTER XI. 
SEDWOOD FERRY AMBUSCADE. 

PAOB 
Captain Marsh and His Company Start on Expedition — Fugi- 
tives Met — Ferry Reached — Parley with Indian — Con- 
cealed Indians Start Firing — Attempt to Swim River — 
Captain Marsh Drowned — Casualties — Disastrous Re- 
sult 165 

CHAPTER XII. 

BATTLE OF BIRCH COOLEY. 

Second Expedition Sets Out — Encampment at Bjreh Cooley 
— Attacked bv the Indians — Heroic Defense — Inaction 
of Rescue Party— Relief by Sibley 162 

CHAPTER XIII. 

CAPTURED BY THE INDIANS. 

Reminiscence of Minnie Buee CarrJgan — Pioneers Arrive — 
Dawn of Fatal August Morning — Parents Killed — Sisters 
Murdered — In the Indian Camp — Meeting Playmates — 
Scenes of Cruelty — Arrival of Soldiers — Release — Con- 
clusion 169 

CHAPTER XIV. 

CAPTIVE AMONG THE SIOUX. 

Experiences of Mrs. N. D. White, of Beaver Falls — Unrest 
Among the Indians — News of the Uprising — Desperate 
Flight — Capture— Wedge Killed- — Hendprson 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 — Retrospection. . . 195 

CHAPTER XV. 

EABLE'S BEMnnSOENOES. 

Thrilling Experiences of a Boy During the Sioux Massacre — 
Beaver Creek Settlement — Pioneer Incidents — Trouble 
Brewing — Warned by Squaw — News of the Massacre — 
Flight for Safety— Surrounded by Indians^ — Woman, Chil- 
dren and Friend Killed — Women, Children and Woimded 
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 Bury Bodies — Battle of Bireh 
Cooley — Discharged 219 



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CHAPTER XVI. 
COUNTY GOVERNMENT. 

PAQE' 

Ori^nal Counties — Wabaslmw — Dakotah — Pierce and Nicol- 
let — Renville — Changes in Boundaries — Lincoln — Elec- 
tion Legalized — County Commissioners — County Officers. 246 

CHAPTER XYII. 

COUNTY REPRESENTATION. 

Territory Organized — Council Districts — Territorial Legisla- 
ture — Renville in the Sixth, Seventh and Tenth Council 
Districts — Constitutional Convention — State Legislature 
— Members Who Have Represented Renville County — 
Congressional Representation 262 

CHAPTER XVin. 

CREATION or TOWNSHIPS. 

Various Ants of the County Commissioners by Which the 
Townships of Renville County Have Assumed Their 
Present Boundaries — Dates of First Elections 277 

CHAPTER XIX. 

PIONEER EXPERIENCES. 

Stories of the Tribulations and Joys of Frontier Life Told by 
Men Who Underwent the Rigors of Early Settlement-- 
Blizzards and Disasters — Long Trips in Wintry Weather 
— Sod Houses and Os Teams— Grasshoppers and Indians 283 

CHAPTKR XX. 

BIOQRAPHICAL REVIEW. 

Pacts 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 This A'icinity — Stories of Well-Known 
Families Which Have Led in Public Life 307 



CHAPTER XXI. 

HORTICULTURE. 

Wild Berries and BVuits — Early Difficulty with Tree Raising 
— Fruits Best Grown Here — Apples for Swiue — The 
Orchard as an Asset — The First Nursery — Growth of the 
Industry in Renville County — Present Nurseries — The 
Old Home with Fruits and Flowers — By Henry Duns- 



523 



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CHAPTER XXU. 
PROGRESSIVE ENTERPRISES. 

PAGE 

Urban and Rural Telephone Companies — Milling Companies 
— Grain Companies — Agricultural Organizatious — Fair 
AssociatioDs 533 

CHAPTER XSIII. 

EARLY SETTLEMENT. 

Nearby Stations — First Settlers in Renville County — La Croix 
at Birch Cooley — Cairo — Beaver Palls — Flora — Hawk 
Creek — Sacred Heart — Flight of Settlers — Pioneers 
Return and Modem Era Begins — An Ancient Atlas. . . . 544 

CHAPTER XXIV. 

VILLAQES PLATTED AND INCORFORATED. 

Thirteen Plats Recorded-^Snr^'eys, Locations and Owners — 
Incorporated Cities and Villages — Date of Incorporation 
— Village Limits 561 

CHAPTER XXV. 

POSTOFFICES. 

Beginning of System — Early Offices in Renville County — 
History of Present Of6ces — Postmaster and Locations — 
Discontinued Postoffices — Forgotten Names 568 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

OFFICIAL TRANSACTIONS. 

Story of the Doings of the County Commissioners — The 
County Seat Fights and Successive Courthouses — Names 
of County Officials and What They Did While in Office- 
Estimate of Men and Motives — Compiled from the 
Auditor 's Recoids 578 

CHAPTER XXVII. 

FORT RIDOELY. 

Establishment — Notable Soldiers Stationed There — Volun- 
teer Troops Arrive — Poorly Located — Inadequate for 
Defense — Left Almost Deserted — Indian Massacre Starts 
— Marsh Starts for Redwoo<l Ferry — Disaster — Refugees 
Swarm to the Port — Sheehan Returns — Renville Rangers 
Return — Preparations for Defense— Attack of August 20 
—Attack of August 22— Thrilling Tales of Danger and 
Daring— Indians Withdraw— Relief—The Story of De- 
fender Adam Rieke — Charles H. Hopkins and Ilia Work 
Which Haa Resulted in the Fort Ridgely State Park 61C 



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xiv CONTENTS 

CHAPTER XXVIII. 
URBAN SCHOOLS. 

PAOE 
Story o£ the Growth of the Educational Systems in Renville 
County's City and Village Schools — High School Courses 
— Associated Schools — Domestic Science — Manual Train- 
ing — Agriculture 654 



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INDEX TO BIOGRAPHIES 



AbraJiameon, Charles 409 

AhreDB, Henry i98 

Amstbauer, Frank E 369 

Anderson, Andrew J 478 

Anderson, August B 415 

Anderson, John 390 

Armstrong, Jamea E 441 

Armstrong, Thomas A 492 

Avery, Delbert G 385 

Barfkuecht, August F 325 

Barfknecht, Albert W 326 

Barnard, John 504 

Baumaon, Sr., Joseph 346 

Behrns, Edmund 497 

BengtBOn, Amalia M 461 

Bengtson, Bev. Andrew 461 

Berg, Edward 368 

Bergley, Andrew A 366 

Bertelsen. Christ 347 

Bethke, Eerman 368 

Biebl, George A 351 

Bird, Charles 498 

Blad, August 377 

Blad, OuBtave 372 

Blad, John M 371 

Bogena, Isaac 336 

Borden, Elwin Eoy 456 

Borden, John 456 

Boyiim, Ole H 362 

Boyuoi, Ole J 508 

BrandjoTil, Jouas 335 

Braun, Senry John 412 

Brecke, Carl 488 

Bregel Brothers 353 

Bregel, Ednard 352 

Bregel, Wjlliani 352 

Brevig, O. L 498 

Briggs, Alonzo P 324 

Brown, Anton 308 

Brown, Ednard H 518 

Brown, Jamea 473 

Brunner, John 355 

BruBB, Herman F 398 

Burggren, Perry August 417 

Burgstahler, August 396 

Bush, John Henry 414 

Butler, Benjamin Jason 484 

Butler, Edward J 440 

Byhoffer, Theodore 323 

Csrrigan, Edward James 327 

Carrigan, Harry 328 

Csrrigan, Hugh 327 

Carrigan, John H 329 

Carrigan, Michael 328 



Dahl, Amund 448 

Daun, August T 504 

Day, Bert J 494 

Dodge, Lorrin 442 

Duusmore, Henry 459 

Drake, James 4T6 

Eggert, JohD 313 

Elstad, JohD H 369 

Enger, Emil A 353 

Ericson, Elias Martin 372 

EricBon, Halvor 378 

Erickson, Andrew 8 507 

Erickson. John W 410 

Farrar, Albert I- 591 

Farrell, Jeremiah 498 

Farrenbaeh, Leonard 507 

Feeter, Joseph H 469 

Fehr, Henry 474 

Fenske, August E 350 

Finley, William 399 

Firle, Charles H 348 

Fischer, Fred J 467 

Fischer, John 410 

Follingstad, Louis U 403 

Forsvth, George 510 

FosB, John E 513 

Foi, Sr., Frederick J 481 

Prickson, Christian H 341 

Frickson, Henry 341 

Fritz, Rev. Emil G 414 

Funk, Robert H 408 

Funk, Samuel H 407 

Garske, Stephen 450 

Gerald, Iver 429 

Oeray, Anton 393 

Gleaener Charles 381 

Grady, L. T 499 

GrasmoD, Holm E 347 

Hable, Chester Henry 465 

Hable, Lewis 465 

Haedt, William 400 

Hage, Peter M 338 

Hager, Joseph 419 

Eager, William J 419 

Hagestad, Mathias 365 

Hagevold, Ole 365 

Hall, Mary Dunlop McLaren 310 

Hall, Darwin Scott 307 

Ealverson, Henry 510 

Hanschen, Henry W 475 

Harrier, William M 314 

Haubrich, Anthony V 387 

Heikka, Michael 340 

Hertel, Ernest 443 

Hinderman, Jacob M., 



Carrigan, Owen 

Carrigan. William J 329 Hippie. Henry 499 

Carson, Hugh J 348 Hodgdon, Amos E 322 



Carson, Jonathan I. 

Christianson, Anton 501 

Clobes, Henry 413 

CofSn. Erwin T 316 

Colby, Edgar L 417 



Hodgdon, Elmer Nathan.. 

Hodgdon, Orrin 318 

Hogstad, John 367 

Eoimyr, Ole P 337 

Hokanson, George E. 419 



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INDEX TO BIOGRAPHIES 



Holtn, Herman 338 

Houek, Theodore. 470 

Houck, Ployd 435 

Hougl7, Simon 4fl7 

Isaaeaon, John Oscar .1411 

Jacobus. Hol)[er 49T 

Jensen, Freileriek .'il2 

■Tensen, Hans ni3 

Jewell, Leonarcl H :!S2 

Johnson, Alexander Mirhael.... a7G 

Johnson, John L 471 

Johnson, Ju.itin 429 

Johnson, Martin 430 

Johnson. William A 3fi3 

JunK, August E 447 

Kelly, Matbias E 3:i6 

Kelly, Ole E :.... 3:i4 

Keltgen, William SRH 

Kern. John M 387 

Kettiier. Rev. Ludwij; Herinnn. . 377 

Kipfker, Edmnnd 4S2 

Kieeker, Otto W 514 

Kieeker. Reinhar.l T 413 

Kirwin, Luke H .Wil 

Knott, Ni.-holas T 401 

Korsmo. Ole A , 339 

Kretseh. Frank A 514 

Kuester, Henry 518 

Kurth, William 330 

Lambert, Leon E 39! 

Lainiiiers, ('harles 3fil 

Lammers, William F 47S 

Lanilateiner, Henry J -354 

Larson, Arthur -WS 

Leasman. George W 420 

Lee, Halvor J 499 

Lenander, Peter 468 

Lenaniler, Nels 4fi3 

Lens!, Ferdinand 517 

Logan, Hugh H :iR!i 

Lunil, Auffust 459 

Lund, ('hristian V 511 

Lunder, Oiiatav 421 

MKTall, Neil J 397 

McEwen, Bowman C 315 

Mi-Ewen, Charles Dwight 315 

MfGowaii, James H .3B:i 

M^nowan, William D 49S1 

McLaren. Harley E 430 

Mahike, Gustav 4«2 

Manthei, .Tulius 408 

Marlowe, Charles B 355 

Marquarclt. Charles 441 

Mathison. Martin 4:i9 

Mattson, Peter A 499 

Maiwell. James Henrv 444 

Megquier, George H 499 

Melwold, Anton E .3fi4 

Menz, John E 48S 

Mihm. Henrv 4S:i 

Miller, .Tohn 472 

Monson, Nils L 500 

Mosher, Jacob 42.1 

Mundahl, Hans F 34" 

Murnan. James L 3.19 

Miisil, Frank J Sfl-I 

Xarvestad, C. 499 

NVitKcl, C. V 4411 

Neitzel, Oscar A 447 

Xelson, .Tohn G 432 

Nelson, Xels 363 



Nelson. Olof 506 

Nelson, Peter G 431 

Xelson, William Adolph :13I 

Nenow, Gust 406 

Nenow, Herman B 40fi 

N'esbarg, Andrew 3fil 

Xeaburg, Runder 3fifi 

Nesburg, Ole 360 

Ness, Jens S 343 

NeBtande, John P 520 

Nestande, Peter 333 

Neater, John 491 

Newholm, John P 42T 

Newton. Otis W 390 

Nixon. Charles H 464 

Nordakop, Ole 428 

Okina. James P 311 

Olson Brothers 3H.^ 

Olson, .lohn M...... 490 

OiNon. I-«rs 342 

Olson, Nela J 358 

Olson, Peter B 392 

Olson. Peter 3S5 

Olson. Peter P 370 

Paar, Martin W .382 

Palmer, Albert J 517 

Palmer, Jaeob P 349 

Patton, J. P 499 

Paulson, Ande P 359 

Paulaon, Nels 433 

Peterson, Alfred H 359 

Peterson. Qiinerus 344 

Peterson, 0. F 499 

Phillips. Jr.. Xavier 383 

Pierce, Sr., William fi .US 

Poetschat, George 475 

Powers, William 493 

I'reiwitz, August 449 

Prelwitz, Sr.. August 449 

Quiglev, Bartlet 493 

Raitii, Levi A 472 

Rehstock, Ernest W 422 

Reuber, Christian H 451 

Revier, Sr., Paul 384 

Renville, Mrs. Marv B 499 

Rice. .Tohn H ." 486 

Richards. Gibson A 312 

Rieke, Angun V .500 

Rieke, Gustav A 349 

Rieke. Henrv H 3.19 

Rieke. Williim F : 505 

Rockniann, (.'hristian 374 

Rovainen. Isaac W 335 

Rnnke, John H 331 

Riiona. H jalmer .142 

Ruona, William S 51fi 

Saflfert. George J 453 

Snusele, Fred W 402 

Savela, Carl 343 

Savela. Jr., John J 453 

Savela. Sr.. .Tohn J 452 

Savela, Henrv J 452 

Savela. Louis 343 

Sehaffler, Oharlee SOO 

Schamndt, Martin 333 

Schirnier, Frnnz 357 

Sehmechel, Herman 496 

Schniehela. Mathias 446 

Seott, Elias Evans 467 

Nell, Reinhard E 407 

i^hepparil, Ben.iamin P 450 



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INDEX TO BIOGRAPHIES 



XVII 



Sb^ppard, Ira S 317 

Sl.o«maker. Heory W 404 

Simmona, Robert E 3!*,') 

Simmons, Thomas 37!) 

SiiiK. Henrv B 41>H 

StasBon, Prank 506 

Stewart, Lewis J 3r,;t 

Strom, NelsH ri34 

Thompson, ChriHtopher 521 

Thompson, Engebret 50:f 

Thompson, John 4,'i.") 

Tooie, Patrick E 462 

Tinnes, Henrv 460 

Tisiiell, Thomas H .1S6 

ToUif son. Brinnel 42(i 

Tompkins, James H 444 

Torbenson, Thomas 424 

Torbert, Charles F 4.V) 

Torbert, James G 4:14 



ririck. William 435 

Voeks, Herman J 515 

Voelz, Emil A 405 

Voltin, Joseph 357 

Waftner, Jacob C 5IW 

Wallace, Aaa M 500 

Warner, John 4r>4 

Wellner, Charles 345 

Wenz, Charles 43fl 

Wepplo, Peter .1 480 

White, Nathan U .500 

Wiehniann, Diedrich .502 

Wiehr, Auijust 4,'(8 

Wiehr, Kobert 374 

Windhorst, William 495 

Wisman, Qeorpe W 437 

Wolff, Edwin B 476 

Wolff, Robert 477 

Wood, James 4S7 



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ijGoogle 



INDEX TO PORTRAITS 



Anilerson, Mr. and Mrs. An- 

Avery, Delbert G., aiicl family. . 3 
Bethke, Mr. bikI Mrs. Herman. . S 

Bovum, Die J., anil family S 

Bush, Mr. an<i Mrs. -John Henrv A 
Butler, Mr. am) Mrs. Edward .1 . . J 
Butler, Mr.and Mrs. Benjamin 

Jason 4 

Bvhoffer, Mr. ami Mrs. Theoilore :< 
Christianson, Mr. and Mrs. Anton .1 
Coffin, Mr. and Mrs. Erwin T. . . .'i 
Colby, Mr. and Mri. Kd)far L. . . 4 

County Court House .i 

Dahl, Amund 4 

Drake, Mr. and Mrs. .lames 4 

Dunsmore, Henrv and Familv.. 4 
Elstad. Str. and Mrs. .lohn H. . . :i 

Pehr, Henry, and familv 4 

Field, Hans '. 3 

Firlfl, Charles H 3 

Fischer, John, and familv 4 

Fox. Sr., Mr. an<l Mrs. Fred- 
erick J 4 

Glesener, Charles, and family. . . 3 

Hall, Darwin 8 

Frontispiece Steel Engravii 

Hall, Mr. and Mrs. Darwin S. . . 3 
Haubrifh, Anthony V,, and 



Hindern 
M. , 



nd Mrs 



il, John O., stock farm . . . 
Hoimvr, Ole P., and (amilv.;.. 

Hourk, Mr. and Mrs. Floyd 

Houck, Mr. and Mrs. Theodore. . 

Tndisn Chief 

.Fensen. Mr. and Mrs. Hans 

Johnson, Justin, and family 

Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. Martin.. 
Johnson, William A., and familv 
Kennedy, Mr. and Mrs. William 

Kern, John M., and family 

Kettner, Hev. Ludwi|[ Herman, 

and family 

Leasman, George W 

Ijenander, Mr. and Mrs. Peter. . 

Little Crow 

Logan. Hugh H 

Lund, Mr. an.l Mrs. Christian P. . 
Many Years Ago 



Mauthei, Julius, and family.... 4 

Menz, John E., and family 4 

Mihm, Henry, and family 4 

Musil, Prank J " 3 

Neitzel, C. F 4 

Nelson, Veter G., and family... 4 

Nesburg, Andrew O., and family 3 

XesburK, Mr. and Mrg. Ole 0. . . 3 

Ness, Mr. and Mrs. Jens S 3 

Nestande, John P., and family. . o 

Xestande, Peter 3 

Nixon, Charles H 4 

Okins, Mr. and Mrs. James P. . . 3 

Old Log Cabin 2 

Olson, Nels J., and family 3 

Olson, ,Tohn M 4 

Olson, Mr. and Mrs. Peter B. . . . 3 

Oison, Mr. and Mrs. Peter <).... :! 

Ox Team 1 

Peterson, Mr. and Mrs. Kuuerus. 3 

PrelwitK, Mr. and Mrs. August. . 4 

Raitz, Mr. and Mrs. Levi A 4 

Rebstock, Mr. and Mrs. trnest 



Koekm 
Rovi 



1 Mrs. Chrii 



nd Mrs. Isa 



,, William S., and familv.. i) 
Sausele, Fred W., and family. . . 4 
Saveta, Sr., John .1., and family 4 
Scott, Mr. and Mrs. Rlias Evans 4 
Shoemaker, Mr. and Mrs. Franeis 4 
Shoemaker, Henry W,, and 

family 4 

Simmons, Thomas and family. . . 3 

Stasson, Frank fi 

The Old Way 2 

Thompson, Mr. and Mrs. Christ. S 
Thompson, Mr. and Mrs John.. 4 

Tinnes, Henry 4 

Tinnes, Mr. and Mrs. Lafe 4 

Timms, Henry, Cabin. . 

Tompkins, Mr. and Mrs. James 

H 4 

Toole, Mr. and Mrs. Patrick E.. 4 
Torbenson, Thomas, and family. 4 

Voelz, Emil A., and family 4 

Wagner, Mr. and Mrs. Jacob C. .) 
Wiehr. Mr. and Mrs. Robert... 3 

Windhorst, William 4 

Wichman, William. Birthplace. 



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i/Google 



CHAPTER I. 

NATURAL PHENOMENA. 

Advantages— Sitaation and Arefr— Natural Drainage— Topog- 
raphy— Altitudes— Soil and Timber— Archean BodiB— On^ss 
and Granite— Cretaceoiu Beds— Qlacial and Hodifled Drift— 
Undergroond Waters — Natural Resources. 

On its splendid coarse through the mighty state to which it has 
given its noble name, the turgid Minnesota passes no fairer land 
than that which it touches from Hawk Creek to Camp, where, 
well tilled and populous, Renville county stretches away in 
sightly 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, together 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 earliest days have been attracted 
here should be the possessors of steady virtues, ready to toil and 
to sacrifice, that their labors might be crowned with the fruits of 
prosperity and happiness. 

While there 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 



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■ 2 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

furcislied with the comfortB and conveniences of modem life; 
stock is humanely housed and well pastured ; the farm land is 
extensively tilled and productive ; and the churches and schools 
which are seen on every side testify to an interest in the higher 
things of life by a law-abiding, progressive and prosperous people. 

It is indeed in its men and women, 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 that 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 wealth of historic and 
prehistoric lore, the county is indeed a fitting home for the sturdy 
people who have here made their dwelling place. Hard-working, 
progressive, educated and prosperous they have appreciated the 
gifts which nature has spread for them and have added their own 
toil, and the fruit of their intellect, to the work of the elements, 
making the county one of the beautiful spots of the earth. On 
the slopes graze well-kept cattle, on the prairie droves of swine 
find sustenance, chickens and turkeys wander about the yards 
and fields, ducks and geese find food to their liking in the many 
shallow pools, horses and colts canter about the fields, and the 
tilled lands respond to the efforts of the spring time sower and 
planter with a wealth of harvest in the 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 Gifts 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 infiuence 
and more extended opportunity. 

Renville county, surpassed by few lands in the state for the 
fertility of its soil ; its bountiful supply of domestic timber and 
pure water; its surface of swelling lands and rolling prairies; 
and its adaptation to every variety of agricultural product, has 
furnished to the citizens material wisely improved by them for 
substantial wealth, good homes and sound public institutions, 
economically and prudently administered ; where law and good 
order, industry and sobriety have always been upheld and 
observed; where the comforts and provisions for the enjoyment 
of life are evenly distributed, and where, in the future, as in the 
past, "peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety, 
will be established throughout all generations," 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 8 

Situation and Area. Renville county lies in the central part 
of the south half of Minnesota. Its southern boundary is the 
Minnesota river, this county being midway between Big Stone 
lake and Mankato, 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, Ericaon, Crooks, 
Winfield, Kingman, Osceola, Brookfield, Boon Lake, Preston Lake, 
Hector, Melville, Bird Island, Troy, Emmet, Henryville, Norfolk, 
Palmyra, Martinsburg, Wellington, Brandon and Cairo. The 
townships of Hawk Creek, Sacred Heart, Flora, Beaver Falls, 
Birch Cooley and Camp are made irregular by the course of the 
Minnesota river. 

On the west and north lies Chippewa county, on the north 
lie Kandiyohi and Meeker counties, on the east is McLeod coiinty, 
on the east and south is Sibley comity, 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. 

Nattml Drainage. About three-fourths of this county are 
drained to the Minnesota river. Beaver creek, some twenty miles 
long, lying wholly within this county, and Hawk creek, about 
thirty miles long, rising in Kandiyohi and Chippewa counties, 
and flowing through the west end of Renville county, are its 
largest streams tributary to the Minnesota river. Several smaller 
creeks also join the Minnesota river in this county, including 
Middle creek in Flora, about three miles long ; Birch cooley {the 
term coulee, aiao spelled coulie and anglicized to cooley, meaning 
a water-course, especially when in a deep ravine, was applied by 
the French voyageurs to this and many other streams, mostly in 
the country farther northwest), in the township to which it gives 
its name, about seven miles 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 Little Roek creek 
flow southward into Ridgely in Nicollet county. 

Nearly one-fourth of Renville county on the northeast is 
drained to the Mississippi by Buffalo creek and the South branch 
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 townships contain several lakes, the 
largest of which 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 sonth and nearly a mile wide, in the northeast 
quarter of Preston Lake township ; and Lake Alice, close north> 



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4 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

west of the laBt, 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 five 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 county, 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 Mud 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 county 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 expanse of nearly uniform 
average height, 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 
prairie. The contour of Hector, Melville, Osceola, and the west 
part of Brookfield 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 contour as usual is nearly level, and Boon lake. Lake Alice 
and Preston lake lie only about fifteen feet below the general 
surface. 

The Minnesota valley cuts this monotonous expanse by bluffs 
which descend 175 or 200 feet. This valley here varies ii) width 
from one to two miles, or rarely three miles, as at the south side 
of Sacred Heart township. Its bottomland contains many out- 
crops of gneissic rocks, which rise fifty to one hundred feet or 
occasionally one hundred twenty-five feet above the river. The 
tributaries of this valley also fiow in channels which they have 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 6 

eroded to a alight depth along their 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 seventy-five feet deep, and an eighth 
to a quarter of a mile wide. The bluffs 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. The length of these ravines is 
usually only a few hundred yards, but some are a half mile or 
a mile long, and then their supply of water, being from deep 
springs, is less affected by droughts than the larger streams. 

Altitudes. The highest land of Renville county is in its north- 
ern part, from Hector and Brookfield westward to Lizard lake, 
the swells of the undulating prairie there being 1,100 to 1,125 
feet above the sea, while the depressions containing sloughs or 
lakes are mostly below 1,100. The valley of the Minnesota river 
where it leaves the county 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 twenty- 
five to thirty miles farther north. 

Estimates of the average height of the townships are as fol- 
lows : Boon Lake, 1,085 feet above the sea ; Preston Lake, 1,075 ; 
Brookfield, 1,100; Hector, 1,090; Martinsburg, 1,065; "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, 1,030; Beaver Falls, 990; Crooks, 1,075; 
Enunett, 1,060; Flora, 1,000; Erickaon, 1,060; Sacred Heart, 1,030; 
Wang, 1,040; and Hawk Creek, 1,010. The mean elevation of 
Renville county, derived from these figures is 1,055 feet. 

Soil and Timber. The black soil is from one to one and a 
half feet deep, and gradually changes in the next foot to the yel- 
lowish color which characterizes the drift near the surface. In 
sloughs and on the bottomland of the Minnesota river, however, 
the thickness of the fertile black soil is often from two to four 
feet. 

Nearly all of Renville county is prairie, or natural mowing- 
land and pasture, needing only plowing and seeding to prepare 
it for harvest. Timber occurs along the bluff of the Minnesota 
river, and in a narrow belt along the river's course, but most of 
the bottomland is treeless. The valleys of Hawk and Beaver 
creeks. Birch cooley, and the small creeks in Camp and Cairo, 
are also wooded ; and groves are found on the borders of Boon 
lake. Lake Alice, and Preston lake. 

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



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« HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

away from the watercourses and lakes, have been planted. Every 
house has a stately grove as a windshield, aud no farm ie 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 
fires. 

Birch cooley takes its name from the paper or casoe 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 33 of Birch Cooley 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, ironwood, poplar, cottonwood and red cedar. 

Artdtean Bocfcs. The Minnesota valley on the boundary of 
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 sehiat. 
For twelve miles above Beaver Falls, to the west line of Flora, 
these roek-outerops fill the whole valley, occurring on each side 
of the river, and rising fifty to one hundred twenty-five feet 
above it. Between Beaver creek and Birch eooley the outcrops 
are mainly on the north side of the Minnesota, rising in their 
highest portions one hundred feet above the river. Below the 
mouth of Birch eooley they are mostly on the south side, occurring 
in great abundance for two miles above and three miles below 
the mouth of Wabashaw creek. 

Near the east line of section 20, Beaver Falls, a quarter of a 
mile north from the ford of the 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 feldspar 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 degrees 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- 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 7 

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

In the valley of Birch Cooley, about one mile above its entrance 
into that of the Minnesota, are large exposures of granite, holding 
interesting veins, faulted and divided portions of which were 
figured and described by Prof. Winehell 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 southwest. Other extensive outcrops of 
granite or gneiss, partly decomposed, apparently dipping south, 
southeast and southwest, form the 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 flesh-colored feldspar. 
This is in the 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 north 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 this county, occurs about five miles farther 
southeast, being on the north side of a small round lakelet in the 
bottondand, 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. 

Archean 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 
north part of the state. 

Dftcomposed Gneiu and Qranite. In the portion of the Minne- 
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. This condition of the rock, as observed 
by Prof. Winehell 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 



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8 HISTOBT OP KENVILLE COUNTY 

dependent on the granite. Its aBsociation with the granite is bo 
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 known 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 nnderlying granite. Since it prevails 
in the Cretaceous areas, and is always present, so far as known, 
whenever the Cretaceous deposits 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 the fingers. A great abund- 
ance of this material exists in the banks of the Birch Cooley 
within a short distance of its mouth." 

Samples of this substance were analyzed by Prof. S. P. Peck- 
ham, who reported it as follows: "A dull-green, amorphous min- 
eral, unctuous and soapy to the touch. Fracture uneven, coarse- 
ly granular. Hardness, 1.5. Easily cut with a knife, giving 
a smooth surface. Specific gravity, 2.562. Lustre 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 plastic. 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, var. Huronite of T. S. Hunt. See Dana's Mineralogy, ed. 
1870, p. 485." 

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 Cooley, Beaver Falls and Flora. In the west part 
of section 21, Beaver Falls, near the foot of the descent to Red- 
wood Falls ferry, decomposed gneiss is seen in the gutter at 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 9 

the east side of tbe 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 locheB thick, and of feldspar (Kaolinized) one foot thick. 

OretaceoQS 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 they 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 Port 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 
grayish white Cretaceous elay, 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 blu£f, 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 Redwood Falls and within a few miles to the southeast, near- 
ly opposite Beaver Palls, 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 along this 
portion of the Minnesota valley have been in its southwestern 
bluffs and on its southern tributaries. Besides the localities on 
Port Creek and in Camp township, the only further notes of 
Cretaceous outcrops in Renville county are the following, re- 
corded by Prof, Winehell in the second annual report. 

"At a point two miles below the Lower Sioux Agency, sec- 
tion 10, township 112, range 34 (in Birch Cooley), on the north 
side of the Minnesota, a small creek joins the river. Up this 
creek, about three-quarters of a mile from the river bluffs, the 
Cretaceous appears in its banks. A concretionary marl, or 
apparently limy earth, of a white color, crumbles out under the 
projecting turf. It appears in fragments of an inch or two, or 
sometimes larger, with angular outline. The surfaces of these 
pieces show a great nimiber of round or oval spots, or rings, 



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10 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

which seem to be formed by the sections of concretions inclosed 
in the mass. It is rather hard when dry, and nearly white. It 
is associated with a blue clay, the relations of which cannot here 
be made out. 

"At a point a little further up this creek appears a heavy 
deposit of concretionary, rusty marl ... in heavy beds that 
fall off in large fragments, like rock. The first 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 thin shell which is easily broken, revealing either a cavity 
or a loose, dry earth. These concretions are generally not more 
than one-fourth or one-half inch in diameter; seen eighteen feet. 
Under this is the light, concretionary clay or marl already de- 
scribed." 

Qlaoial and Modified Drift. Glacial striae were seen in sev- 
eral places on the ledges of gneiss at the dam at Beaver Falls, 
bearing S. 60° E., referred to the true meridian; and again in 
the northwest quarter of section 10, Birch Cooley, having the 
same direction. 

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

Red till, having the same color with that which is spread over 
northeastern Minnesota, was observed at only one locality in 
Renville county. This was at the northeast comer 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. Several other such exceptional de- 
posits of red till in the great area of blue till covering western 
Minnesota and eastern Dakota are noted in volume 1, page 628, 
"The Geology of Minnesota," where their origin is attributed to 
an iee-current reaching south west ward from Lake Superior 
across Minnesota in the early glacial epoch when the ice at- 
tained its maximum extent and depth. Another explanation of 
the red color of the till in these isolated localities is suggested 
by Prof. Winehell, 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 way as it was 
colored over a large area by derivation from such rocks about 
Lake SupCTior. As this part of Minnesota is almost universally 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY U 

drift-covered, the underlying roek-formatioDs are only partially 
known. No decisive evidence for this view is found, but much 
probahility is given to it by the occurrence of red shales in the 
deep well at Mankato and of red quartzyte in Nicollet, Cotton- 
wood, Pipestone and Rock counties, similar to the Lake Superior 
rocks and belongings with them to the same Potsdam period. 

Boulders are only sparingly present in the till of this region, 
excepting on the bluffs of the Minnesota 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 
eonnty, where they occasionally occur in remarkable abundance 
along the course of slight depressions on the general surface 
of the drift-sheet. In the Minnesota valley "boulders were seen 
especially plentiful on the bluffs through Birch Cooley township; 
and in the valley of Hawk creek they abound on its east bluflE 
within a quarter of a mile 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 ten 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 buried moraine, 
which is observable along the Minnesota valley and within a few 
miles north from 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 were observed in sections 10 and 12, Sacred Heart, 
but elsewhere few or none of this rock are found; magnesias 
limestone, which is everywhere present, making about half of the 
gravel in the drift, usually supplies 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 centre of this county. 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 quicksand, four feet. A log, apparently tama- 
rack, eight inches in diameter, with several smaller sticks and 
twigs, lay across this well, imbedded in the top of the quicksand. 
They were chopped oflf 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, perhaps an interglacial soil, two feet; and gray 
quicksand, four feet, its upper part containing a log and smaller 



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12 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

sticks like the foregoing. Several other wells within one or two 
miles about Olivia show simitar 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 bluffs, 
one being in section 21, Hawk Creek, lying about forty feet be- 
low the top of the bluff 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 southeast. These terraces are quite notice- 
able from the opposite side of the river. Seen from that dis- 
tance, they show flat outlines, contrasting with the somewhat un- 
dulating higher land. 

Kame-like mounds 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 deposits of modified 
drift lie on a surface of till, and are attributable to the action 
of streams produced in the final melting of the ice-sheet. Oc- 
casionally such a gravel knoil is quite isolated, distant a half 
mile or more from any other. They are sometimes coarse gravel, 
vrith 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 county is prevailingly 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 sheet 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 
probably 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 valley. 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 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY IS 

iron-rust (limonite), three feet; and obliquely stratified aand and 
fine gravel, about thirty feet. 

No terraces of modified drift were found in the part of the 
Minnesota valley bordering this county. 

A fossiliferous layer of postglacial gravel lies in the east 
bank of Hawk creek in the southeast quarter of section 8, Hawk 
Creek township, three to fifteen rods north from the highway 
bridge. The valley of the creek is here about seventy-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 height is fifteen feet. On the slope from this 
terrace to the creek the outcropping edge of a layer of fine gravel 
about two feet thick, six to eight feet above the water, differs 
from the 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: Sphserium 
striatinum. Lam., Valvata tricarinata. Say, Amnicola limosa. Say, 
Gyraulus parvus. Say, a Goniobasis, probably G. livescens, Menke, 
and representatives of the genera TJnio. Anodonta and Gampel- 
oma. Mr. 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. 

HineralB. M. Abbott, of Hector, some thirty-five years ago, 
came into possession 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 four inches wide, attached to a layer of nearly 
black rock, about a quarter of an inch thick, in which were fre- 
quent minute crystals of pyrite. For this base the amethyst crys- 
tals rose three and a half inches, the largest having a diameter 
of two inches. Some of these large crystals contained in the 
faces of their terminal pyramids, particles and irregular crys- 
tals of pyrite, up to an eighth of an inch wide and a third of 
an inch long. The 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 found by 
Ole Iteason, situated on the south 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 r^sum^ of the Geology of Renville county 
was written by Warren TJpham, from notes gathered by him in 
1879, and published in the second volume of Geological and 
Natural History Survey of Minnesota, 1882-1885.) 



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14 HISTORY OF BENVILLE COUNTY 

UNDERaBOUin) WATERS. 

Surface Features. The surface of Renville county consti- 
tutes for the most part 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 175 to 200 feet deep, and where many short, rugged 
tributary gorges dissect the level uplands. Much the greater part 
of the county still retains the gentle prairie topography inherited 
from the Pleistocene epoch, and is quite unmodified by postglacial 



Surface Deposits. The glacial drift is found everywhere ex- 
cept in parts of the Minnesota valley and its tributaries, where 
underlying formations are exposed. Owing to irregularities in 
the surface on which it rests its thickness varies somewhat, but 
in general increases from the Minnesota valley eastward and 
northward, attaining a maximum of more than 400 feet, and hav- 
ing 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 which 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 ; altitude of surface on which 
drift rests, 800 feet. Hector, thickness of drift, 438; altitude 
of surface on which drift rests, 635 feet. Buffalo Lake, thick- 
ness of drift, 340 feet : altitude of surface on which drift rests, 
725 feet. Morton, thickness of drift, 0; altitude of surface 
on which drift rests, 850 feet. Franklin, thickness of drift, 122 
feet; altitude of surface on which drift rests, 900 feet. Fairfax, 
thickness of drift, 202 feet ; altitude of surface on which drift 
rests, 840 feet. 

The beds of sand and gravel, which occur at different depths, 
constitute the water-bearing members of the drift. The supplies 
from the shallow beds are 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 water. In the southern part of the county, 
where the drift is not as thick as elsewhere, the underlying for- 
mations are sometimes penetrated before a satisfactory supply is 
obtained. 

Throughout most of the 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 elsewhere, be- 
cause of the water lost through the numerous large springs in 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLB COUNTY 15 

the valley. The following table shows the height to which 
the water rises in the various village wells : Renville, depth to 
top of water, 50 feet; head above sea level, 1,005 feet. Olivia, 
depth 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. Heetor, depth to top of water, 12 feet ; head above sea 
level, 1,060 feet. Buffalo Lake, depth to top of water, 10 feet; 
head above sea level, 1,055 feet. Franklin, depth 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 northeastern part of the county the water 
from the deep beds of the drift ia lower in total mineralization, 
total hardness, and permanent hardness than that from the shal- 
low sources. In the southern and western parts of the county, 
where the drift has only a moderate thickness, the difference be- 
tween the shallow and deep 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 
araouuts, the Cretaceous water small amounts, and the deep-drift 
water moderate amounts of these elements. In its content of 
sodium and potassium the deep-drift water approximates rather 
closely to the shallow-drift water, both containing moderate 
quantities of these elements, 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 phenomenon noticed in the northern part of 
the county is the presence of inflammable gas which is brought up 
in small quantities with the water from a number of the deeper 
wells. 

OretaceooB and Ardiean Rocks. At various 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 places 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 summed up as follows : 

1. In sec. 10, T. 112 N., R. 34 W., on the north side of Minne- 
sota River, np the valley of a small creek, are outcrops, described 
by N. H. Winchell, of concretionary marl or limy earth of a 



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16 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

white color, which he refers to the Cretaceous. 2. Warren Up- 
ham described exposures of Cretaceous clay or shale along Fort 
Creek, in sec. 31, T. 112 N;, B. 32 W. At one place these contain 
a thin layer of limestone and at another a seam of clayey lignite. 
He also described an exposure near the foot of the bluff of the 
Minnesota Valley, in the NE. Vt 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. 34 W., 
and in see. 28, T. 113 N., E. 34 W. This sandstone is exposed 
for 12 or 15 feet. 

Beneath the Cretaceous rocks is a white or nearly white non- 
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 bat 
contains embedded qiiartz grains at the bottom. This clay was 
described by N, H. Winchell. It has been encountered in many 
wells in Renville county and in other parts of southwestern Min- 
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 interbedded 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 Cretaceous. 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. Though this method is somewhat arbitrary it rep- 
resents the facts as accurately as is feasible. 

Beneath the white clay there is generally decomposed granite, 
which plainly shows 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 immediately 
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 (Renville, 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 17 

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

The following sections of wells are given to illustrate the 
character of the formations in the southern 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), decomposed granite (wa- 
ter,) thickness, 36 feet. 

Well section at Franklin. — Yellow boulder clay, and blue 
boulder clay, 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 Morton, 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 without 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 four miles north of Franklin, on the farm of 
John Drury. Boulder 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 granitic 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 granitic surface, 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 Lake, depth to granitic rock, 340 feet ; 
altitude of granitic surface, 725 feet. Morton, depth to granitic 
rock, 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 



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18 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

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

In the northern part of the county attempts to obtain water 
in the formations beneath the drift have generally failed, but in 
the southern part a number of wells have been reported which 
derive their supplies from layers of sand or sandstone encoun- 
tered after the Cretaceous deposits or the white clay have been 
entered. This is true of nearly 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 50 feet thick, beneath which there is rotten 
granite and then hard red granite. The white material is at 
first soft and putty-like but changes into a harder formation 
containing grit. This gritty white material 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 bard but some being similar to 
the deeper drift water. 

City and Villagv Water Supplies. The larger centers in Ren- 
ville county are all excellently supplied 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 coffee making and a few other purposes the supply 
from private wells is much superior to the supply from the 
artesian wells. 

Fann 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 and 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 inore 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. 



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HISTORY OF KENVILLE COUNTY Ifl 

r and Analysis.' The principal sources of water are 
the deposits of saud and gravel which occur at various depths 
interbedded with the boulder clay or lying immediately below 
it. The shallow deposits furnish only small supplies but the 
deeper ones generally yield abundantly. Moreover, the shallow 
water is hard and the deeper water is commonly much softer, 
especially in the northeastern part of the county. Below the 
glacial drift the drill generally penetrates thin layers of blue 
or green shale "soapstone," a white clay, or ordinary decom- 
posed granite. In the southern part of the county water is ob- 
tained in some places from sandy layers in these beds, but at 
best they constitute only an uncertain source. Granite has fre- 
quently been encountered at depths ranging up to 450 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 government report on the 
"Underground Waters of Southern Minnesota," by 0. E. Mein- 
zer, published in 1907. 

Katnral Resonrcas. The greatest natural resource of Ren- 
ville county is in its fertile soil. Waterpowers have been devel- 
oped in several places. The natural groves in the ravines and 
along the watercourses, and the domestic groves on the prairies 
furnish abundant timber supply. Lime has been burned at 
various times from lime-stone boulders; and brick has been at 
times an important industry. Some quarrying has been carried 
on, and especially in the neighborhood of Morton some excellent 
granite has been obtained. Morton is the only place in the state 
where gneiss is quarried. The water-supply, as already noted, 
is abundant. Traces of gas have been found, the old village 
well at Hector being especially notable in this regard. However 
geologists declare that such gas is merely the result of vegetable 
decomposition, and that there is no gas to be found in commer- 
cial quantities in this region. 



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20 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

CHAPTER II. 
PRE-HISTOBIC INHABITANTS. 

Nature's Paradise — The Coming of Han — The Eskimo— The 
Hound Builders — Purpose of the Uoimds — Life and Habits 
of the Honnd Bnildoi — Location of the Hounds — Excavations 
and DiseoTeriM. 

ScientistB declare that m the Glacial period, this region 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 summer with luxuriant grass and spangled with 
flowers, were caressed by perfumed breezes, untrod by human 
foot, and uamarred by human handiwork. In the ravines and 
along the watercourses were dense forests and tangled under- 
brush. And this varied landscape fairly quivered with animal 
life. The American bison, eomraonly called the buffalo, ranged 
the prairies, countless birds of all kinds flew over its surface, 
great flocks of waterfowl lived in its marshes and pools. In the 
edges of the wooded ravines, antlered animals such as the deer 
and the elk, and the larger fur-bearing animals such as the bear, 
were found in greatest profusion. All the smaller animals com- 
mon to this climate found a home here. Prairie and woodland 
presented a scene of teeming life and ceaseless animal activity. 

A country so bountiful and inviting to man, whether primitive 
or civilized, would remain uninhabited only while undiscovered. 
At some period of the earth's history, mankind in some form 
took up its abode in what is now Renville county. How many 
ages distant that period was no one can. tell. It 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-Glaeial ages is beyond the scope 
of this work. It has been made a special subject of study by 
several Minnesota savants, and many notable articles have been 
written concerning evidences that have been discovered. 

Many scholars are of the opinion that in all probability the 
first inhabitants of the northern part of the United States were, 
or were closely related to the Eskimo. While the data are very 
meagre, they all point that way. The Eskimos seem to have 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 21 

remained on the Atlantic seaboard as late as the arrival of the 
Scandinavian discoverers of the eleventh century, for their de- 
scription of the aborigines whom they call "skr^lingar" (a 
term of contempt about equivalent to "runts") is much more 
consonant with the assumption that these were Eskimos than 
Indians. 

So possibly it is permissible to picture the first human inhabi- 
tants of Renville county as a small yellowish-brown skin-clad 
race, identical with the quartz workers of Little Falls, slipping 
around nimbly and quietly in the woods and dells, subsisting 
mainly on fish, but also partly on the 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 
Minnesota were tribes of the Siouan stock, in other words the 
ancestors of the present Sioux (Dakota) Indians. These peoples 
of <he Siouan stock appear to have built the mounds of southern 
Minnesota. Possibly they lived in Renville county. These Siouan 
people were possibly driven out by the peoples of the Algonquin 
stock, whereupon they eventually took up their homes in the 
neighborhood of the upper valley of the Ohio river and possibly 
elsewhere. How many centuries they lived there it is impossible 
even to estimate. In the meantime the Algonquin peoples prob- 
ably occupied the Minnesota region, and possibly Renville coun- 
ty. They did not make mounds. Some five hundred years ago 
the Siouan Mound Builders were driven out from their homes in 
the upper Ohio region where they had erected the mounds that 
are now the wonder of the world, and a part of them found their 
way to the homes of their ancestors in the upper Mississippi 
and the Minnesota river region. The mounds built here by these 
peoples were inferior to the ones built by their ancestors. In 
coming up the valley it is possible that these Mound Builders 
drove from the Minnesota regions the intruding Algonquins. 

The Siouan Mound Builders, returning some five hundred 
years ago from the Ohio region were doubtless the builders of 
the mounds in Renville county, though there are possibly some 
mounds in this county built by the Siouan people during their 
previous occupancy of the region. 

The Monnd Builders. Not so many years ago, there was a 
wide-spread belief 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 unani- 



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22 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

moua in their belief that the Mound Builders were merely the 
ancestors of the Indians, doubtless, as already related, of the 
Sioux Indians, and not characteristically differing from them. 
These Mound Builders are the earliest race of whose actual resi- 
dence in Renville county we have absolute evidence. While 
Benville cannot boast of mounds of such gigantic proportions as 
some other parts of the United States, nor of such grotesque 
formations as the serpent mound of Ohio, yet the mounds 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 was well populated by this 
ancient people. 

The larger groups 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 afford routes 
of travel in times of peace 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. The 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 the location for the mounds by an unerring sense of beauti- 
ful scenery and a high appreciation and instinctive love of nature 
as well as by other factors. 

Pnrpow of the Hoonds. 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 mound 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 pur- 
pose on the spot where it is found today, but what the purpose 
of any particular mound was may be difficult to say. The spade 
often partially tells us what we want to know, but sometiroeB it 
leaves us as much as ever in the dark. When the interior of a 
mound reveals human bones, then the inference is that the mound 
served as a tomb, but intrusive burials, that is burials made long 
after the mounds were built, complicate the problem. But when 
a mound can be opened without revealing any trace of human 
remains or of artificial articles, it seems safe to conclude that not 
all the mounds were built for burial purposes. The erection of 
such a large number of mounds as exist along the Mississippi and 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COTJNTY 

its tributaries in MinoeBota must have required an ( 
penditure of time and labor. The tools with which all the work 
was done were probably wooden spades rudely shaped, stone 
hoes and similar implements which indicate a low degree of in- 
dustrial culture. Where the whole village population turned out 
lor a holiday or funeral, a large mound could be built in a much 
shorter time than if the work was performed by only a few 
individuals. The surface of the land adjoining the mounds in 
Renville county, and in fact all the mounds 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 exaetuess 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 survivors, 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 scaffold while the elements are stripping the 
bones of flesh preparatory to their interment. 

Life and Habits of the Mound Builders. Modern scientists 
unite in the belief that the Mound Builders were Indians, the 
ancestors of the Indians that the early settlers found here. The 
old theory of a race of Mound Builders superior in intellect and , 
intelligence to the Indian has been exploded by archaeological 
research, though a few of the older text books advance the now 
obsolete theory. 

The evidences that the race of Mound Builders 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 evidenees of such a village. 
The articles found in the mounds and on the village sites are such 
as the Indians used. 

We do not know what human beings first beheld the beauti- 
ful lakes and prairies of Renville county and claimed them as 
their home. We may never be able to look beyond 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 Mound 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 use of 
nets ; ice axes the chopping of holes in the ice to procure water ; 
stone axes, a clumsy device for splitting wood; stone knives 



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24 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

were for scalping, cutting meat and leather and twigs ; eoantleas 
flakes mark the ancient arrow maker's workshop; cracked bones 
show the savages' love for marrow; shell beads, charms and 
ornaments in the shape of fish and other designs reveal a primi- 
tive desire for ornamentation ; chisels and gouges recall the mak- 
ing of canoes ; 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, Y-ahaped figures or chevrons, all are an 
index of rather a crude state of pottery making. The hand sup- 
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 differed in no important manner from the In- 
dians found here by 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 buffalo 
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 demanded for the personal comforts and physical 
necessities. They 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. 

Irf>catioB of Hounds. The artificial mounds of Renville county 
have never been adequately surveyed or excavated, though many 
interesting studies have been made of them, A volume entitled 
"The Aborigines of Minnesota," published by the Minnesota 
State Historical Society in 1911, contains a valuable resume 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 bottomland of 
the Minnesota river, on cultivated land. This is a group of nine 
tumuli loosely distributed along the bluff, the largest being fifty- 
four feet wide and three feet high, there being two of this size. 
Surveyed November 7. 1887. 

Mounds two and a half miles above Hawk Creek, northwest 
quarter, northeast quarter, section 19, township 115, range 38, 
about ninety feet above the river. This group embraces three 
mounds, 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 cultivated land, about 100 feet above the river. The group 
contains three small mounds, one being elongated, (b) South 
half, northeast quarter, section 27, east side, about ninety feet 



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INLIAN CHIKF 



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TH»: NFr; 1r:>'" 
PUSlIt i.!!. A' 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 25 

above the bottonilasd. This group embraces but two tumuli, 
one of which has a short extension sixteen feet wide and one 
foot high. 

In Renville eonnty the following lone mounds have been noted 
and measured, viz.: Six miles below Bireh Cooley, southwest 
quarter, section 17, township 112, range 33, about 130 feet above 
the river; forty-two feet by four and a half feet. 

Two and a half miles below Birch Cooley creek, northeast 
quarter, 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 creek, northeast quarter, north- 
west quarter, section 10, township 112, range 34, about 125 feet 
above the bottomland; thirty feet by two feet. 

Three-quarters of a mile west of Birch Cooley creek, south- 
east quarter, northwest quarter, section 32, township 113, range 
34, about 100 feet above the bottomland; thirty 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 Yellow Medicine, west half, northwest quarter, sci,- 
tion 20, township 115, range 38, about ninety feet above the hot 
torn; fifty feet by two and a half feet. 

Opposite Yellow Medicine, southeast quarter, southwest quar- 
ter, section 18, township 115, range 38, about seventy feet above 
the bottomland; a lone, broad-elongated mound; sixty-six feet 
by thirty -six feet by two and a half feet. 



CHAPTER III. 

INDIAN OCCUPANCY AND TBEATIES. 

The Dakotae — Life, History and Habits — Wapetons — Sissetons— 
Treaties — ^Visit to Washington — Treaties of Prairie du Cbien 
— Dotjr Trea^— Preliminaries to the Final Session — Treaty 
of Traverse Des Sioux — RELmsfly Investigation — Tre&ty of 1868 
— Agencies, and Forts. 

The archeology and anthropology of the American Indian ia 
still in its infancy. But a few fundamental facts stand out in 
bold relief. We are told by scientists that man is of great 
antiquity in America; and that 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 must be predicated of the 
whole Indian race. 



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26 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

If an imaginary line is drawn east and west through the soutii-' 
em boundary of Virginia, then except for the northwest comer 
of British America, the 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 that 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 bauds who subsisted on the 
buffalo, they practiced agriculture ; and in many, if not in most 
tribes, the products of the chase and fishing supplied leas than 
half their sustenance ; their moccasins, tanned skin clothing, bows 
and arrows, canoes, pottery and personal 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, bat Were often 
very durable and comparatively comfortable and constructed of 
timber or earth or even stone. 

The DalEOtas. 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 perhaps south of 
Lake Erie and Ontario, and the Siouans in the upper Ohio valley. 
These Siouan peoples bad possibly previously occupied the upper 
Mississippi region, 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. What peoples, if any, 
were in the meantime living on the plains 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 pressure 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 
OUio, Indiana and HIinois were certainly at that time a primitive 
man's paradise, and the anabasis begun under compulsion was 
enthusiastically continued from choice. They reached the con- 
fluence of the Ohio and the Mississippi. Probably here they first 
encountered the buffalo, or bison, in large numbers. The spirit 



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fflSTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 27 

of adventure and the pressure of an iDcreasing population sent 
large bands up the Mississippi. When the Missouri was reached 
no doubt some followed that stream. Those who kept to the 
Mississippi 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 passing through beautiful Lake Pepin. Soon a roar- 
ing cataract blocked the way of the Dakota canoes. St. Anthony 
Falls, of which 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 Dakotas. Rum river was 
reached, and its friendly banks were doubtless for many seasons 
dotted with the Dakota's tipia. But when 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 upper Minnesota river region and here settled. These return- 
ing Sioux, it is believed, were the builders of all or nearly all of 
the Reaville county mounds, though some may have been built 
by their ancestors before they 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 which this same people are 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." 

The Sioux were in many ways the highest type of the North 
American Indian, and were physically, perhaps, among the highest 
types that mankind has reached. Living free lives close to the 
democracy of nature, 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 petty duties and circum- 
scribes life to the confinement of crowded cities and villages. 

There was no 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, neither was a wrong. Possibly no race has 
ever been so true to ita 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. 



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28 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

permeating all space and all matter, the great Creator who 
breathed in and through all things, so had the Qreat 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 from their 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 the ailing back to health by the use of sweat 
baths and simple herbs. 

But with the coming of the white man a great change took 
place. Outspoken, absolutely truthful, the Sioux was no match 
for the lying 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 nothing 
more than his gun, knife and kettle, was, though primitive and 
coarse, not mean nor base. The Indian was healthy and sound 
in mind and body, wholesome as the woods through which he 
hunted. 

He was poor and improvident, it is true, living from hand to 
mouth, and taking little thought of the morrow. But this was 
not moral nor physical shiftlessness, it was a part of his religion. 
His creed pledged him to poverty; with God's boundless riches 
spread around about him, his faith forbade his taking more than 
was necessary for his immediate needs. No one was richer than 
another. All food was shared. A friend 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 position. 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 bunting 
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 band seems to have 
occupied more of a civil position, deciding disputes and giving 
counsel. 

Wabasha, living at Ke-ox-ah (Winona), seems to have been 
the great overlord of the Medawakanton Sioux, and he likewise 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 29 

seems to have been recognized as ruler by many of the other 
branches of the Sioux. Each band likewise had a permanent 
chief, and as noted each expedition that was made had a tem- 
porary chief. 

All in all, the Indian as he was before the coming of the white 
man, is deserving ot all honor and respect. And horrible though 
the warfare was that he later waged on the whites who had 
secured his lands, terrible and wanton as was the revenge he 
took on defenseless men, women and children occupying his 
ancient domains, bitter though the feeling against him must of 
necessity be by those whose loved ones were ravished, multilated 
and murdered, nevertheless the methods of the most civilized and 
modem warfare have taught the world that between the motives 
of the wildest savage and the most cultured soldier there is little 
difference when a man finds himself fighting for existence against 
those whom he believes to have wronged him. 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 lower 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 sweeps over which 
his forefathers had ranged. 

Evil days 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 pitiful 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 make 
him conform suddenly with those habits of life which with the 
white race has been the development of ages. Thus burdened 
with the white man's vices, his own natural mode of living sud- 
denly made impossible, driven here and there by the onrush 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 sway 



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80 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

in the upper Mississippi and the Minnesota valleys. But a change 
is now coming with an awakened public conscience. And the 
results are encouraging. The census seems to indicate that th« 
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 the 
Minnesota valley during the era of the early explorers is some- 
what vague. After the Dakotas in prehistoric times came up the 
Mississippi river, and in the upper reaches of that river estab- 
lished their homes, the Medewakanton and several subsidiary of 
the Sioux made their headquarters 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 Medewakantons, 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 Mille Lacs region, 
and the deposed tribes established themselves at various points. 

The location of the several bands inhabiting Southern Minne- 
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- 
tonwan and Sissetonwan, and at Lake Traverse, Ihanktonwan 
(Yankton), Sissetonwan and Warpetonwan. Part of the Warpe- 
kute lived on Cannon river and 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 and 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, Wahpeton 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 Minnesota 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 vicinity of the mouth of 
the Little Rock, not far from the present area of Renville county. 



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HISTORY OP BENVILLE COUNTY 81 

ZNDIAK TAEATIE8. 

From prehistoric days up to the 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 Millard Fillmore February 24, 

1853, the land now embraced in Renville county remained in the 
nominal possession of the Indians. Before this treaty, however, 
severai 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 the mouths of the Minnesota and 
St. Croix rivers was ceded to the government for military pur- 
poses. 

Visit to Woshin^n. In 1816, the War of 1812 having been 
brought to a close, the Indians of this vicinity made peace with 
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 1824 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 Major Lawrence Taliaferro. Wabasha, then properly called 
Wa-pa-ha-sha or Wah-pah-hah-sha, the head chief of the band at 
Winona ; and Little Crow, head of the Kaposia band ; and Wah- 
natah, were the principal members of the Sioux delegation. When 
the delegation had gone as far as Prairie du Chien, Wabasha and 
Wahnatah, who had been influenced by traders, desired to turn 
back, bot Little Crow persuaded 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 land. 

Prairie du Ghira Treaty of 1826. This treaty, signed August 
19, was of importance to the Indians who ranged Benville county 
in that it fixed certain general boundaries, and confirmed the fact 
that the present county lay entirely in Sioux territory. The 



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32 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

treaty was participated in by the Chippewa, Sauk (Sac) and Fox ; 
MeDominee, Iowa, Sioux, Winnebago ; and a portion of the Ottawa, 
Chippewa and Potawatomi tribes living on the Illinois. 

The line between the Sioux and the confederated Sauks and 
Poxes extended across a part of northern Iowa. It was declared 
in the treaty to run up the Upper 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 Calumet (Big Sioux) 
river, and down that river to the Missouri river. On both sides 
of this line extended a tract which came to be known as the 
"Neutral Strip," into which the Winnebagoes were later moved 
as a buffer between the Sioux and their enemies to the South. 

The eastern boundary of the Sioux territory was to commence 
on the east bank of the Mississippi river opposite the mouth of 
the "loway" river, running back to the bluffs and along the 
bluffs to the Bad Axe river, 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 Menominee country lay about Qreen 
Bay, Lake Michigan and the Milwaukee river, and the Menominees 
claimed as far west as the Black river. The Chippewa country 
was to be to the north of the Winnebagoes and Menominees, 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 
march 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 northwestward across the present state of 
Minnesota. The line crossed the Mississippi at the mouth of the 
Watab river just above St. Cloud. Thus both sides of the Missis- 
sippi during its course along Renville coiinty were included in 
Sioux territory. 

The boundary lines were certainly, in many respects, quite 
indefinite, and whether this was the trouble or not, in any event, 
it was but a few months after the treaty when it was evident that 
none of the signers were willing to be governed by the lines estab- 
lished, and hardly by any others. The first article of the treaty 
provided 1 "There shall be a firm and perpetual peace between 
the Sioux and the Chippewas; 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 filing at one another's throats and engaged in their old- 
time hostilities. 

Second Treaty of Prairie du Ghien. In 1830 a second treaty 
with the Northwest Indian tribes was held at Prairie du Chien, 



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HBNEY TIMM 'S CABIN 



WILLIAM WICHMAN'8 BIRTHPLACE 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 33 

A few weeks previous to the convocation, which 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 Chien and killed eight of them, including a snb- 
chief called the Kettle. 

The Foxes had their village near Dubuque and were on their 
way to Prairie du Chien 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 Prairie du Pierreaux 
they paddled up a narrow chahnel which ran 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 du Pierreaux affair was taken in retaliation for 
the Red Cedar affair. In June 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 Chien, but finally 
came. Delegates were present from four bands of the Sioux, the 
Medawakautons, the Wapakootas, the Wahpatous and the Sisse- 
tons, and also from 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 Sioujc, 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 

Moines; consideration $2,000 in cash and $1,200 in merchandise. 

The Do^ Trea'^. The Doty Treaty, made at Traverse des 

Sioux (St. Peter), in July, 1841, failed to be ratified by the United 



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34 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

States Senate. This treaty 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, having 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 paid annuities, 
and to be protected by the armies of the United States from their 
Indian enemies on the west. In return for these benefits to be 
conferred upon the Indians, the XJnited States was to receive all 
the lands in what is now Minnesota, the Dakotas and northwestern 
Iowa. This ceded land was not to be opened to the settlement of 
the whites, and the plan was to have soiue of it reserved for 
Indian tribes from other parts of the country who should sell their 
lands to the United States, and who, in being moved here, were to 
enjoy all the privileges which had been so beautifully planned 
for the native Indians, But no one can tell what would have been 
the result of this experiment, for the Senate, for political reasons, 
refused to ratify the treaty, and it failed of going into eflfect. 
This treaty was signed by the Sisseton, Wahpeton and Wahpa- 
koota bands at Traverse des Sioux, July 31, 1841, and by the 
Medawakanton bands at Mendota, August 11 of the same year. 

Prelimmaries to Final Session. No other events or incidents 
in all time have been of more importance in their influence upon 
the character and destiny of Minnesota than the negotiations 
with the Sioux Indians in the summer of 1851, commonly known 
as the Treaties of Traverse des Sioux and Mendota. As a result 
flf these treaties a vast region of country large enough and natu- 
rally rich enough for a kingdom was released from the sway of its 
owners and opened to white settlement. 

Prior to these events only the lands in Minnesota east of the 
Mississippi river were open to white occupation. The fine, fer- 
tile expanse to the westward was forbidden groimd. The waves 
of immigration were steadily rolling in and beating against the 
legal barrier 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 weight. A 
decent regard 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 purchase, and that some 
sort of price, even if ridiculously small, be paid for the relin- 
quished land. 

In his message to the first Territorial Legislature Governor 
Ramsey 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. ' Accordingly a 
lengthy petition, very earnest and eloquent in its terms, was, after 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 35 

considerable deliberation, drawn up, finally adopted by both 
houses and duly presented to Congress. This was in October, 
but already the national authorities had taken action. 

In June, 1849, Orlando Brown, Commissioner of Indian affairs, 
addressed an official letter to Thomas Ewing, then Secretary of 
the Interior, recommending negotiations with the Sioux, "for the 
purpose of purchasing their title to a large tract of country west 
of the Mississippi river." The commissioner said that the object 
of the purchase was, "in order to make room for the immigrants 
now going in large numbers to the new territory of Minnesota, 
as the Indian title has been extinguished to but a comparatively 
small extent of the country within its limits." Secretary Ewing 
approved the report and selected Governor Ramsey and John 
Chambers, the latter a former territorial governor of Iowa, as 
commissioners to make the proposed treaty. 

In his annual report for 1848 Commissioner Brown had recom- 
mended an appropriation to defray the expenses of a Sioux treaty, 
but Congress failed to make it. So desirous was he for the treaty 
in 1849 that he was willing to pay the attendant expense out of 
the "small current appropriations" for his ofBce, and so he 
warned Ramsey and Chambers that "the strictest economy in 
all your expenditures will be necessary." He said if they waited 
for a special appropriation from the next Congress the treaty in 
its complete form would be postponed for two years, and in the 
meanwhile there would be increasing trouble between the Indian 
owners of the land and trespassing settlers. 

In August, 1849, Commissioner Brown addressed a lengthy 
letter to Governors Ramsey and Chambers informing them of 
their appointment as commissioners to make the treaty and 
instructing them particularly as to their duties in the premises. 
The instructions were not only clear, but very elaborate and com- 
prehensive, and so far as they could be given the commissioners 
were told just what to do and just how to do it. The fact that some 
of the directions were unwise and unwarranted was due to the 
misinformation on the subject which the commissioner had 
received, and his consequent lack of knowledge as to the situation. 
For example, in describing the territory which the commissioners 
were to acquire, Commissioner Brown expressed the opinion that 
it contained "some 20,000,000 of acres," and that "some of it," 
no doubt, contained "lands of excellent quality." With respect 
to the probable worth of the country to the United States the 
commissioner expressed the opinion that, "from its nature, a 
great part of it can never be more than very 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 pur- 
pose, and Commissioner Brown realized that "only a small part 
of it is now actually necessary for that object." 



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86 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

The contemplated and directed treaty with the Sioux in the 
fall of 1849 was not held as contemplated. On repairing to 
Traverse des Sioux in October, Commissioners Ramsey and Cham- 
bers found that a large majority of the Upper Indians were 
absent on tfaeir 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 
the purchase, on reasonable terms, of what was known as the 
"Half-Breed Tract," lying west of Lake Pepin, and which had 
been set apart for the 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 the 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 commissioners to 
that end. The pressure upon him could no longer be resisted. 
The Territorial Legislature had repeatedly memorialized Con- 
gress, Ramsey had written, Sibley and Rice had reasoned and 
pleaded, and Goodhue and the other Minnesota editors had well 
nigh heated their types in their fervid exhortations to the 
national authorities to tear down the barriers and allow the 
eager and restless whites to grasp the wealth of the great inland 
empire now furnishing home and sustenance to its rightful owners. 
Already many settlers, as reckless of their own lives as they were 
regardless of the laws of their country, were squatting within the 
forbidden area. 

The traders were especially desirous that a treaty be made. 
It was the practice in such negotiations to insert a provision in 
the treaty that the "just debts" of the Indians should be paid 
out of the amounts allowed them. The American Fur Company — 
then Pierre Chouteau, Jr., & Company — represented by Sibley 
and the various sub-traders claimed that the Sioux of Minnesota 
owed them in the aggregate nearly $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 tha 
traders' fancy, would probably be declared as "just debts" and 
paid out of such funds as might be allotted the Indians. That the 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 87 

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

Under a paragraph in the Indian appropriation bill of 1851, 
approved February 27, all Indian treaties thereafter were to be 
negotiated by "ofBcere and agents" connected with the Indian 
Department and selected by the president. The appointees were 
not to receive for their service in such cases any compensation 
in addition to their regular salaries. Previously treaties had been 
negotiated on the part of the government by 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-ofScio 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, on the steamboat Excelsior, June 27. On the twenty- 
ninth he and Governor Ramsey left Fort Snelling on the boat for 
Traverse des Sioux, the site of the council ground selected for the 
treaty with the two upper bands of Sioux, the Wahpatons and 
Siasetons, who occupied the country of the Upper Minnesota 
valley. On board of the Excelsior were some beef cattle and other 
supplies, to be furnished the Indians during the negotiations. 
There were also on board about twenty-five white persons who 
went up as excursionists and as sightseers and witnesses of the 
proceedings. 

The Excelsior landed at Traverse des Sioux early on the morn- 
ing of Monday, June 30. This was a well known locality. Here 
the Sioux, in early days, were wont to cross the Minnesota, on 
their way between the Cannon river country and Swan lake, and 
the ford bore the French equivalent for the "crossing of the 
Sioux." From the earliest days there had been a trading post 
here and in 1843 Reverend Riggs 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. Huggins. The missionaries had comfortable residences, and 
there was a frame mission house neatly painted and well fur- 
nished. 

There was also at "The Traverse," 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 



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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 buffalo skin tepees, occupied by Indian families 
belonging to Chief Red Iron's band of Sissetone. Ten miles to 
tiie northwest was the village of Chief Sleepy Eye's Little Rock 
band 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 arbor was erected, tinder the super- 
vision of Alexis Bailly, and beneath this comfortable shade the 
treaty negotiations were to be held. A number of beeves were 
slaughtered and boxes of hard-tack opened to feed the expected 
visitors, while baskets of champagne and other refreshments were 
offered for the entertainment of the white 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 called. They were heartily welcomed by 
the designing whites and bountifully fed on fresh beef, pork and 
hard-tack, but were refused whisky or other spirits, the whites 
desiring all that for themselves. 

There were present on the part of the Indians the two head 
chiefs and the principal sub-chiefs of the bands, as well as their 
head soldiers, chief speakers and prominent men of all classes. 
On the part of the whites were Commissioners Lea and Ramsey ; 
Dr. Thomas Foster, the secretary ; and Alexander Faribault and 
Reverend S. R. Riggs, interpreters. 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 McLean, Sioux 
Indian agent at Fort Snelling ; Doctor Thomas S. Williamson, the 
missionary at Eaposia ; Judge James H. Lockwood, of Prairie 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 Prambois, Sr., James McC. Boal, and sundry 
French voyageurs, traders' employes and retainers, all of whom 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 89 

were entertained sumptuously with delicious viands, and many 
with fiery spirits and rare wines at the government's expense. 

While waiting for the Indians the whites diverted themselves 
in various ways, but chiefly in observing the Indian dances 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 white 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 MeClure 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 wondered how so 
much champagne 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 
parity 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 Chippewaa 
attacked a party of six Sisseton Sioux forty miles 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 the sun ; the bodies had been beheaded and loath- 
somely 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 vrith 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 made a lengthy address, with much in it 
about the ineffable goodness and gigantic greatness of the "Great 
Father" of the Indians (the President) and his unselfish desire 



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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 land for their actaal resi- 
dence. The Sissetons and Wahpatons claimed the country from 
Traverse des Sioux westward to the line indicated and the com- 
missioners wanted all of it. After the speeches of the commis- 
sioners, in order that their words 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 Pace (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 Chien treaty of 1825, had visited 
Washington, and had his portrait painted, iu 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, turning 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 will 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 council then adjourned and orders 
were given to get boats ready and to prepare to move in the 
morning. 

The word that they 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 lenst they were to be furnished pro- 
visions while attending the conference, especially in view of the 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY «1 

riotous good times that the whites were enjoying out of the 
expense fund. Hunger faced the Indians and their families on 
their long journey back to their TOlages. The white men were 
clearly saying: "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 matters 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 starve." 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 
80 made the disturbance, for which we are very sorry." 

Chief Extends-His-Head-Dress — or Big Curly Head, as the 
whites called him — a Sisseton sub-ehief, 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 the 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 there (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 by 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 lands 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 support; will (2) pay, say, $125,000 or $130,000 
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 $25,000 or $30,000 for 



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42 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

many years — say thirty or forty years — part in 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 them "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 lands 
were of great value to the United States. But they had no 
proper conception of the actual value in dollars 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-five cents was far more 
money than a million dollars, because the latter was the shorter 
phrase and did not sound so imposing and formidable. When, 
therefore, the commissioners 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 understood 
the Dakota language, hut the explanations offered hardly 
explained. Missionaries, traders and officials alike were deter- 
mined that the land should be opened to white settlement. The 
work of these traders and missionaries in finally effecting the 
treaty was constant and very valuable to the whites. The serv- 
ices rendered by Reverend Riggs, one of the ofSeial interpreters, 
were most important. While the Indians were considering the 
white men's proposition, Riggs, Sibley, McLeod, 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 meaoing 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 
part 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 Sissetou 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 Man-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 quill 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 eowi as possible, but at 
one time there was a hitch in the proceedings. 



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HISTORY OF iffiNVlLLE COUNTY 43 

Old Sleepy Eye, who had said at the outset that he was sad 
at heart because he had to sell his country, 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, concluded that tlie country which 
they were asked to sell was worth $3,500,000, but that the eom- 
missioners were trying to get it for a less sum. The young men 
had a right to be made satisfied. He also demanded other con- 
ditions : 

"Ton will take this treaty paper home and show it to the 
Great Father," said Sleepy Eye, "but we want to keep 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 them what is right, but I 
would like to know how much I owe them. If they have charged 
me ten dollars for a gun I want them to tell me, and if they have 
charged me ten dollars for a shirt I want them to tell me that. 
I am a poor man and have difficulty in maintaining myself, but 
these traders have good coats on. The prairie country in which 
I live has not much wood ; I live along with the traders, and they 
are also poor, but I do not want to have to provide for them. I 
think it will be very hard upon us when the year becomes white, 
and I would like to have some provisions given me for the winter. 
I would like to have what is mine laid on one side ; then when 
we have finished this business I will know bow many of ray rela- 
tives I can have mercy upon." 

Colonel Lea assured Sleepy Eye that the money which the 
United States would pay for the Indian land would amount to 
more than the young men desired — to more than $3,500,000. 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 
good a bargain for themselves as they have." As a matter of 
fact the amount named in the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux was 
teas than half of the amount Sleepy Eye requested. Out of the 
sum named in the treaty the traders and cost of removal 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 
■oine of this interest was to be used to pay white teachers and 
white farmers. 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 Mendota added to the amount named 
in the Treaty of Traverse 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 ou the present site of the late Gil- 



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4A HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

flUau farm, in Redwood county, came forward and signed. He 
was followed by Sleepy Eye, who came gjavely 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 sum 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. Face-in-the-Middle was introduced by his 
father, "Big Curly," who said: "This is ray 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 Battling 
Moccasin, 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 Piute, 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 Plag, Red Face (2) (there were two 
Bed 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 Beverend Biggs' Hazelwood Bepublic. He had been 
baptized under the name of Simon Anahwangmanne, and was 
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 efforts in behalf of 
the white prisoners. 

As soon as the signing was completed a considerable quantity 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 45 

of proTisions and other presents, including silver medals, were 
presented to the Indians. These presents, which had been fur> 
uifihed by the government, had been piled up and displayed some* 
what ostentatiOQsly, under guard, while the treaty was under 
diacussion. The commiBsionere 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 many objections to the terms of the treaty. The members 
of the rank and file of the great Indian host present kept con- 
stantly calling out: "Sign! sign! and let the 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 buffalo dance and other dances and diver- 
sions for the entertainment of the white 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 another table, where lay 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 company. Some of the accounts were nearly thirty years' 
standing and the Indians who contracted them were dead. It 
w^as afterward claimed that the Indians in signing the "traders' 
paper" thought they were merely signing a third duplicate of 
the treaty. The matter of payment had been discussed, but 
Sleepy Eye had justly demanded an itemized account, and the 
Indians had siipposed that this request was to be complied with 
before they 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- 
bead, at Georgetown station, in Clay county) ; 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 river 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 Kampeska lake with the Tehan- 
Ea-sna-duta, or Sioux river; thence along the western bank of 



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46 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUiNTY 

said river to its point of intersection with the northern line of 
the State of Iowa, including all islands in said rivers and lakes." 
The consideration to the upper bands was the reservation 
twenty miles wide — ten miles on each side of the Minnesota — 
and extending from the western boundary to tlie mouth of the 
Yellow Medicine and Hawk creek, and $1,665,000, payable as 
follows : To enable them to settle their affairs and comply with 
their present 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 annually fov fiftj- 
years from July 1, 1852, This annuity was to be paid as follows : 
In cash, $40,000 ; for general agricultural improvement and civili- 
zation fund, $12,000; for goods and provisions, $10,000, and for 
education, $6,000. 

The written copies of the Traverse des Sioux and the Mendota 
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 summer, 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 out, 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 upper bands afSxed 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 July 31, 1854, having passed an act by which 
the original provisions remained in force. 

The Ramsey Investigation of 1863. 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 eon- 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 47 

duct of ex-Governor Ramsey in connection with the payment to 
the representative of the traders of money to which the Indiana 
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' protest against paying 
the traders took tlie form of menace and violence on the part of 
Chief Red Iron and his band, and quiet was secured only hy the 
soldiers present through 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 $431,735.78 of Indian 
indehtedness;" at Mendota he paid a representative of the traders 
$70,000, which, he said, "according to the traders' books of account 
paid $129,885.10 of indebtedness." 

In December, 1852, charges of conspiracy with H. H. Sibley, 
Franklin Steele and others to defraud the Indians; that he had 
made unlawful use of the public 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, who 
had rather recently located at Traverse des Sioux and was con- 
nected with a rival company to that of pierre Choteau, Jr., & 
Company, the corporation to which Sibley, Steele and the others 
charged with conspiracy belonged. Colonel Robertson was the 
editor of the Minnesota Democrat, which was the organ of the 
faction controlled hy H. M. Rice, then the opponent of Sibley 
and Ramsey. 

The allegations against Governor Ramsey were, that he had 
paid the traders various sums of money without the right to do 
so, and that for so doing he had been paid by the beneficiaries, 
and thus, in efl^ect, had been bribed to violate the law and his 
duty. 

At the request of Mr. Sibley, then the delegate in 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 up until the 
investigation should he concluded. President Pierce appointed 
Richard M. Young, of Ohio, and Governor Willis A. Gorman, of 



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48 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

Miimesota, commissioners to investigate, during which testimony 
■was given by Madison Sweetzer, Dr. Charles Wolf Bonip 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 Faribault, 
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; Wabasha, Little Crow, 
Waeouta, Red Iron, Grey Iron, Shakopee, the Star and Cloud 
Man, of the Indians ; Captain James Monroe, 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 the 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 by the traders for 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 impropriety 
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 traders 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 
iufiuence 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 
more primitive people. 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 49 

Treaty of 1868. June 19, 1858, the government made a treaty 
with certain selected chiefs and braves of the Medawakanton, 
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 Roek creek, four miles east of Port Bidgely. 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 for 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 
Beuville, Chippewa, Swift and Big Stone counties was looked 
upon with covetous eyes by the homeseekers. The waves of 
immigration beat against the legal barrier which surrounded this 
fine fertile expanse, and there was a great clamor that the bar- 
riers be removed. "The country 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 iheir previous experiences, were opposed 
to selling any portion of tlieir 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 
number 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 accompanied the party a retinue of whites and mixed 
bloods from Minnesota. A. J. Campbell (commonly called "Joe" 
Campbell) was the official interpreter, but assisting him was the 
shrewd old Scotchman, Andrew Robertson, and his mixed blood 
son, Thomas A. Robertson. Other members of the party were : 



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50 fflSTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

Nathaniel R. Brown, John Dowling, Charlie Crawford and James 
B. Roche. 

On behalf of the United States the treaty was signed by 
Charles E, Mix, then CommisBioner of Indian Affairs. Siaseton 
and Wahpaton Indians who signed it were these: 

Siasetons and Wahpatons — Chiefs, Red Iron, Scarlet Plume, 
and Extends His Train. Headmen ; Stumpy Horn, The Planter, 
Walks on Iron, Paul Mah-zah-koo-te-Manne, John Other Day, and 
Strong Voiced Pipe. 

The small number of dignitaries named assumed to act for the 
entire Sious 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 been signed the Indians were sumptu- 
ously entertained, given broadcloth 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 Chicago. 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 numbers and 
the country was improving rapidly when the Civil War inter- 
rupted the peaceful course of events. Then in 1862 came the 
Sioux Outbreak and all of the civilization on the ten-mile strip 
was pushed off by a great wave of blood and fire. 

Agvaeim and Forts. The reservations as outlined in the 
treaties, embraced a tract of land twenty miles wide, ten miles 
on each side of the Minnesota, extending from the mouth 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, 

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

With the establishment of the new Indian reserve and the 
removal of the Indians thereto, came the necessity of a new 
military post in Minnesota. The concentration of so many In- 
dians upon an area really small in comparison with the country 
a part of which they had occupied, and all of which they claimed 
to own, rendered the situation important and worthy of atten- 
tion. A military post was necessary to preserve order should 



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HISTORY OF EENVILLE COUNTY 51 

the Indians become dissatisfied. There were to be two Indian 
agencies for the Indians on the reservation. The Upper agency, 
for the Sissetons and Wahpatons, was established near the mouth 
of the Tellow Medicine and the Lower, for the Medawanton and 
Wahpakoota bands, was placed about six miles east of the month 
of the Redwood. Both agencies were on the south bank of the 
Minnesota river. 

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

General Scott concurred in Sibley's recommendation, and 
the Secretary of War approved it, and issued tlie 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 the latter oart of November, with an escort of dragoons 
from Fort Snelling and after a three days' march in the snow, 
the officers reached Laf ramboise 's* trading post, at the Little 
Rock. Five miles above the Bock, on the crest of the high bluff 
on the north side of the Minnesota, the site was fixed. 

The new post was named Fort Bidgely, in honor of Major 
Randolph Bidgely, a gallant officer of the regular army from 
Maryland, who died of injuries received at the battle of 
Monterey. 

When Fort Bidgely was established Fort Riley, Kansas, was 
ordered built. At the same time Fort Dodge, Iowa, and Fort 
Scott, Kansas, were ordered diseontioued and broken up. 

Fort Bidgely took the place of Fort Dodge, and Fort Biley 
was substituted for Fort Scott. The first garrison at Bidgely 
was composed of Companies C and K of the Sixth Infantry, and 
the first commander was Captain James Monroe, of Company-K. 
Companies C and K went up on the steamboat West Newton 
from Fort Snelling, but later were joined by Company E, which 
marched across the country from Fort Dodge, and arrived in 
June, 1853, when work on the buildings was begun. When Com- 
pany E arrived its captain, Brevet Major Samuel Woods, previ- 
onsly well identified with Minnesota history took command by 
virtue of his rank. The work of constructing the fort was in 
charge of Captain Dana, The further history of Fort Bidgely 
is found elsewhere in this work. 



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S2 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

CHAPTER IV. 

CLAIM or TITLE. 

Spain— France — Eng:land — United States — Louisiana PnrohaM— 
Louisiana District of Indiana — LoiUsi&na Territor7 — Mlsaonri 
Territory — Michigan Twritory — ^WUconsin Territory — Iowa 
Territory — Minnesota Terrihny — Minnesota State. 

The history of the early governmental jurisdiction of the 
valley of the Minnesota river is formulated with some difficulty, 
as, prior to the nineteenth century, the interior of the country 
was 80 little known and the maps upon which claimB and grants 
were founded were so meager, as well as incorrect and unre- 
liahle, 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 upon this sub- 
ject, says ("The Mississippi River and Its Sources"): "Spain, 
by virtue of the discoveries lof Columbus and others, confirmed 
to her by papal grant (that of Alexander VI, May 4, 1493), may 
be said to have been the first European owner of the entire valley 
of the Mississippi, but she never used this claim as a ground 
for taking formal possession of this part of her domains other 
than incidentally involved in De Soto's doings. The feeble ob- 
jections which she made in the next two centuries after the 
discovery to other nations exploring and settling North America 
were successfully overcome by the force of accomplished facts. 
The name 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'Escarbot, in his history of New Prance, 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 called 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 iey 
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 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 53 

English were not far behind the Spaniards and French in this 
kind of effrontery. As English colonists never settled on the 
Mississippi in pursuance of such grants, and never performed 
any acta 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 the United States their more or less conflicting claims to ter- 
ritory which lay far to the westward of their own actual borders, 

"Thus, in the most arbitrary manner, did the Mississippi 
river, though yet unknown, become the property, successively, 
of the Iberian, Qaulish and Anglo-Saxon races — of three peo- 
ples who, in later times, by diplomacy and force of arms, strug- 
gled for an actual occupancy. Practically, however, the upper 
Mississippi valley may 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 Qulf 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 Mississippi river and its tributaries, from its uttermost source 
to its mouth, by the new name he had already invented tor the 
purpose— Louisiana. The names of Canada and New France 
had been indifferently used to express about the same extent of 
territory, but the name of Louisiana now came to supersede them 
in being applied to the eonjeotural regions of the West. Al- 
though La Salle has applied the latter expression to the entire 
valley of the Mississippi, it was not generally used in that sense 
after his time ; the upper part 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 boundaries were variously indicated on published 
maps. Speaking generally, the Canada of the eighteenth cen- 
tury included the Great Lakes and the country drained by their 
tributaries; the northern one-fourth of the present state of 
Illinois — that is, as much as lies north of the mouth of the Bock 
river; all the regions lying north of the northern watershed of 
the Missouri, and finally the valley of the upper 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 
which were 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 Qulf of 
Mexico, but historians gave to Fernando de Soto and his band of 



Digili: 



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54 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

adventurers the credit of having been the first white men to 
actually view the Mississippi on its course through the interior 
of the continent and of being the first ones to actually traverse 
its waters. De Soto sighted the Mississippi in May, 1541, at the 
head of an expedition in search of gold and precious 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 followers, 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, 
being 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 James Cartier, a Frenchman, discovered the St. Law- 
rence, and explored it as far as the present site of Quebec. The 
next year he ascended 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 territory 
stretched westward to well within the boundaries of what is now 
Minnesota. 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 tried to make 
friends of the red men, established trading posts and raised the 
Christian cross. In 1641 Jogues and Raymbault, Jesuits, after a 
long and perilous voyage in frail canoes and bateaux, reached 
the Sault Ste. Marie, where they heard of a large river, the Mish- 
ia-ip-e, flowing southward to the sea, and of a powerful Indian 
tribe dwelling near its headwaters. Stories of vast fertile plains, 
of numberless streams, of herds of buffalo, and of many people, 
in regions far 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, proceeding westward 
from Lake Superior, possibly entered what is now Minnesota. 
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. 
The contention that these adventurers spent a part of the years 
1655-56 on Prairie Island, in the Alississippi just above Red Wing, 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 55 

is disputed by some historians, but still forms an interesting 
subject for study and conjecture. 

Some writers also claim that the Frenchman, Sieur Nicollet, 
who should not be confused with the Nicollet of a later date, 
reached the Mississippi in 1639. 

Rene Menard, a Jesuit missionary, reached the Mississippi in 
1661 by way of Wisconsin. This 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 the 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 Hurons. 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 prayer 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 1665, established the Mission of the Holy Spirit 
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 Marquette 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 out from Quebec, 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 
seeure the trade of the native tribes. He 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 arras where a Frenchman never before had 
been. ' ' 

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

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



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56 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

tile plan of reaching the Pacific by way of the Northern MissiB- 
aippi, at that time unexplored and supposed to be a waterway 
connecting the two oceans. Frontenac, then governor-general 
of Canada, favored the plan, as did the king of France. Accord- 
ingly, gathering a company of Frenchmen, he pursued hie way 
through the lakes, made a portage to the Illinois river, and, Jan- 
uary 4, 1680, reached what is now Lake Peoria, in Illinois. Prom 
there, in February, he sent Hennepin and two companions to ex- 
plore the upper 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 hand of followers, he started on his third 
and . greatest expedition. February 6, they reached the Missis- 
sippi by way of Lake Michigan 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 river a short distance, to find a high spot out of the 
reach of inundations, and there erected a column and planted a 
cross, proclaiming with dae ceremony the authority of the king 
of France, Thus did the whole Mississippi valley pass under the 
nominal sovereignty of the French monarchs. 

The first definite claim to the upper Mississippi is embodied 
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 Outagamis and Maskoutins (Fox river and Lake Winne- 
bago), of the river Ouiskonehe (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. O'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 proclamation 
is supposed to have been issued from Fort St, Antonie on the 
northeastern 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 Luth, in 1679, at the west end of the 
same lake and at Milie Lacs, strengthened the French claims of 
sovereignty. 

For over eight 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 r "The present eastern 
boundary of Minnesota, in part (that is so far as the Mississippi 
now forms its eastern boundary), has a history beginning at a 
very early date. In 1763, at the end of that long struggle during 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 57 

which England passed many a mile post in her race for world 
empire, while France lost nearly as much as Britain gained — 
that struggle, called in America, the French and Indian "War — 
the Mississippi 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 Mississippi, 
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 "Qentleman's Magazine," Vol. 33, pages 121-126, 
March, 1763) i 

"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 British and French Territories on the continent 
of America; that for the future 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 Pontcbartrain, to the sea." The boundary 
from the source of the river farther north, or west, or in any 
direction, was not given ; it was evidently supposed that it 
would be of no importance 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, November 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. 

At the close of the Revolutionary "War, the territory east of 
the Mississippi and north of the 31st parallel passed under the 
jurisdiction of the United States. By the definite treaty of 
peace between the United States and Great Britain, ratified at 
Paris, September 3, 1783, a part of the northern boundary of 
the United States, and the western 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 middle of said Mississippi river until it shall 



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68 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

intersect the northernmost part of the Slat 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 1), 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 country 
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 United 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 United States 
shall direct." (United States Statutes at Large, Vol. 2, page 
245.) 

December 20, 1803, Louisiana was formally turned over to 
the United States at New Orleans, by M. Laussat, 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. 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 59 

March 26, 1804, the area that is now Renville count; was 
included in the Louisiana district as a part of Indiana, and so 
remained until March 3, 1805. Prom 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. Prom 
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 April 20, 1836, it was a part of 
Michigan territory. From April 20, 1836, to June 12, 1838, it 
was & part of Wisconsin territory. Prom 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 afQIiation until March 3, 1849, when Minne- 
sota was admitted as a territory. In the meantime, however, im- 
portant events were transpiring. 

December 18, 1846, Morgan L. Martin, 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 become the ofBcial 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 bill 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 Ojibway, 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 



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60 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

retained in the bill which with a minor change passed the house. 
In the senate it was rejected. 

A second attempt was made two years later. January 10, 
1848, Stephen A, Douglas, 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 House, gave due notice to the senate that "at a 
future day" he would introduce a hill 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 congress 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 off 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 benefitB of organized government. Thus, 
Stillwater, which had been the governmental seat of a growing 
county {St. Croix), was left outside the pale of organized law. 
Legal minds disagreed on the question of whether the minor 
eivil 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 west 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 first proposition by the election of H. 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 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 61 

was necessary. The 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 t 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 f John 
Catlin, who had been secretary of the territory of Wisconsin 
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 Washington, technically from the "Territory of 
Wisconsin," actually as a representative of the proposed' terri- 
tory 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 1838, when Iowa territory was created, and was a 
resident of the part of Iowa territory which the organization of 
the state of Iowa had left without a government, rather than of 
that territory in question (between the Mississippi and the St. 
Croix) which the admission of Wisconsin as a state had left with- 
out a govemraent, Sibley was, however, after much opposition, 
admitted to congress and given a seat January 15, 1849, but not 
without much discussion as' to whether excluded territory was 
entitled to continued political existence and representation, after 
a state has been created out of part of a territory. 

Mr. Sibley devoted himself assiduously to securing the passage 
in the United States senate of the bill for the creation of the ter- 
ritory of Minnesota which had been introduced at the previous 
session and met with 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 then only through the 
strenuous work of Senator Stephen A. Douglas, that he suc- 



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62 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

ceeded in securing the passage of the bill. This was finally done 
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 running due west on said line, which 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 the middle of the main channel of the 
Missouri river to the mouth of the White Earth river; thence 
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 bonn- 
dary line and between the possessioa 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 ; 
thence along the western boundary 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 brought by the first steamer com- 
ing from the lower river. 

At the time of the organii^ation of Minnesota as a territory 
the country was described as being "little more than a wilder- 
ness." That 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 PembiSa was the largest town or 
settlement within 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 
Ghippewas. 

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, was being settled here and there by people 
who had come to the country 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 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 68 

fact that the state which would succeed the territory would be 
a free state, without slavery iu any form, made it certain that 
the first settlers would be non-slaveholders, with but few people 
from the Southern 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. 
Winchell, "December 24, 1856, the delegate from the territory 
of Minnesota introduced a bill to authorize the people of that 
territory 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 Mr. Grow, of Pennsylvania, was 
then chairman. January 31, 1857, the chairman reported a sub- 
stitute, which differed from the original bill in no essential re- 
spect except in regard to the 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 oflf a narrow strip of territory, estimated 
by Mr. Grow to contain between five and six hundred square 
miles. Today the strip contains such towns as Sioux Falls, 
Watertown 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 
Minnesota which is embraced within the following limits, to-wit : 
Beginning at the point in 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 
Travera ; then up the center of said lake to the southern 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 
em 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 
the same are thereby authorized to form for themselves a consti- 
tution and state government, by the name of the state of Min- 



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64 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

Desota, and to come into the Union on an equal footing with the 
original statea, according to the federal constitution." 

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



CHAPTER V. 

EXPLORATIONS AND SURVEYS. 

Grosaailliers and REUlisson — Hennepin ajid Dnlutb — Le Sueur — 
Oarrer — Long, Keating and Beltrami — Pembina Refugees — 
Oatliu — Niodlet and Fremont — Allen— The Hiasionaries — 
The Fur Traders — Chronology — Surveys. 

The French explorers from the settlements in Canada and 
about the Great Lakes gradually began to penetrate toward Min- 
nesota. At various times traders, adventurers and priests disap- 
peared from these settlements. What deaths they met or what 
experiences they underwent will never be known. What places 
they visited in the wilderness of the upper Mississippi is lost to 
human knowledge. 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 Min- 
nesota river. 

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

OroBseilien and Radisstm. The meager accounts which these 
two explorers have left of their two expeditions which are 
supposed to have penetrated into Minnesota, are capable of more 
than one interpretation. Dr. Warren Upham believes that Gros- 
aeilliers and Badisson, the first known white explorers of Minne- 
sota, entered it near the southeast comer, and proceeded up the 
Mississippi through Lake Pepin to Prairie Island, just above 
Red Wing. Here the French explorers and the Indians that ac- 
companied them, together with other 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 Badisson's narra- 
tion and its interpretation, our "two Frenchmen" are again in 



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HISTOBT OF KENVILLE COUNTY 65 

Minnesota. Traveling with a big band of Indians, they passed 
a severe January and February, with attendant famine, prob- 
ably (according to Prof. Winchell) at Ejiife lake, Kanabec coun- 
ty. According to Hon. J. V. Brower (in his monograph 
"Kathio," 1901) the lake was called Knife lake and the Dakota 
tribe of this regton the Knife tribe (Issanti) because early that 
spring deputations of Dakotas came to the encampment and 
here for the first time procured steel knives from the white men 
and from the Indian band that was with 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 magic knives that cut like a stroke of lightning. Very soon 
after meeting these Dakotas at Knife lake, Orosseilliers 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, hut 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 
by Winchell is that they went due south. However that may be, 
it is certain that with GrosseiUiers and Radisson the first glim- 
mer of European civilization reached Renville county. 

Hetmepin and Dn Lnth. Robert Cavelier, better known in 
history as the Sieur de la Salle, who had built 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 
liis associates. Accordingly, on February 29, 1680, Father Hen- 
nepin, with two companions, Picard du Gay (Anthony Auguelle) 
and Michael Accault (also rendered d'Aceault, 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 
ita mouth, where they were detained by floating ice in the Mis- 
sissippi until March 12. On the afternoon of April 11, while 
on their way up the Mississippi, they were met by a band of 
Sions 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 days 



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66 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

until they reached the Mille Lacs region. There Aquipaguetin, 
the chief who had previously been unfriendly to a certain extent, 
adopted Hennepin in place of the eon he had lost. The other two 
Prenehraen 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, where they expected that La 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 an eminence opposite 
what is now the city of Anoka. Aecault was left as a hostage. 
Continuing down the river with the Indians, Hennepin and 
Pickard came to St. Anthony Palls, which Hennepin named in 
honor of his patron saint. On July 11, 1680, while hunting for 
the mouth of the Wisconsin river, the party was overtaken by 
Hennepin's savage adopted father, Aquipaguetin, with ten war- 
riors. The two Frenchmen and the Indians then spent some time 
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 the tribe watching on the river bluffs 
tor enemies while the warriors killed buffaloes. 

July 25, 1680, the party encountered Daniel Graysolon, Du 
Luth and five French soldiers. There is some doubt about the 
exact spot where this meeting took place, but it was probably 
near the southeast corner of Minnesota, or possibly a little further 
south. After the meeting, the eight white men, accompanied by 
the Indians, went up the river. Du Luth had been exploring the 
country of the Sioux and the Assiniboines, west of Lake Superior, 
for two years, and had secured the friendship of these very 
Indians who had captured Hennepin. Consequently, when he 
learned what had happened since he last saw them, he rebuked 
them for their treatment of the priest, saying that Hennepin was 
his brother. The party reached the Issanti villages (the Mille 
Lacs region) Angust 14, 1680. No mention is made of the route 
which they took. 

Toward the end of September the Frenchmen left the Indians 
to return to the French settlements. A chart of the route was 
given them by Ouasicoude, the great chief. The eight Frenchmen 
then set out. Hennepin gives the number as eight, though it 
would seem that the number was nine, for Hennepin and Pickard 
had met Du Luth with five soldiers, and when reaching the Issanti 
villages they must have been rejoined by Aecault, though pos- 
sibly the last named stayed with the Indians and pursued his 
explorations. The party passed down the Rum river in the fall 
of 1680, and started the descent of the Mississippi. After reach- 
ing the Wisconsin they went up that river to the portage, thenee 



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HISTOKY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 67 

up the Pox river, thence to Green Bay, and thence to the eettle- 
ments in Canada. 

Accault, one of Hennepin's companions, had been left with 
the Indians near the present site of Anoka, when Hennepin and 
Arguille took the memorable down-the-river trip on which they 
met Du Luth, Accault took many journeya with the Indians, 
even visiting the Itasca re^on, and it ia not improbable that he 
may have been taken to the region which lies north of the upper 
Minnesota river and southwest of the Big Bend of the Missis- 
sippi river, 

Le Suenr. Prom 1681 to 1699, Nicholas Perrot made numer- 
ous trips to the country of the upper Mississippi river. Several 
of his posts were located in the vicinity of the lower end of Lake 
Pepin, which is an enlargement of the Mississippi river extending 
generally speaking from a short distance above Winona to a 
short distance below Bed 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 Lake, 

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, "Minnesota 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, 
8 village of Sioux doubtless then existed, as it has also been dur- 
ing the last century or longer 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 voyageura 
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 Charleville, whose narration of a similar early 
expedition of a hundred leagues on the part of the Mississippi 
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 o£ 1695 Le Sueur and his followers erected a 
trading post or fort on Isle Pelee, now Prairie Island, just above 
Bed Wing. Early in the summer of 1695 he returned to Mon- 



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6S HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

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

In his journeys to the Northwest, Le Sueur 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 eom- 
mission to examine this mine and obtain from it some ores. In 
April, 1700, he set out with a party 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 which he 
named Port L'Huillier, named for a prominent officer in the 
service of the King of Franco. A short distance from the fort 
they located their "mine." They spent the ensuing winter at 
this fort, and in the spring of 1701 Le Sueur started down the 
river with a part of his followers and with a load of green earth 
which he believed to be copper. In due time he reached the 
Gulf of ilexico. The party whom he had left at the garrison on 
the Blue 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 further fact that those whom he left at the fort, encountered 
while going down the Mississippi a party of thirty-six Frenchmen 
from Canada at the mouth of the Wisconsin, shows that aside 
from the explorers recorded in history, various Frenchmen, now 
unknown, penetrated the upper Mississippi region from time to 
time even at that early day. 

The data secured by Lc Sueur were used in the preparation 
of a map of the Northwest 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 map, being labeled R, 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 Suenr, however, to lead to the belief 
that he 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 River" 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- 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 69 

sippi. Modern historiane, however, entirely discredit the writings 
of this adventurer. 

Baron de Lahontan is now regarded as the Baron Munchausen 
of America. His explorations and journeys to the upper Missis- 
sippi region were probably entirely fictitious and "Long River" 
merely a creation of his own imagination. 

Lahontan was bom in France in 1666, and as a soldier of the 
French empire came to America in 1683 as a boy of seventeen 
years. The next ten years he spent in various parts of Canada, 
and there doubtless heard tlie stories upon which he based his 
pretended journeys. In 1693 he deserted his post of duty in New 
Foundland and thereafter until his death, probably in 1715, he 
spent his life as an exile, homeless and friendless, in Holland, 
Denmark, Spain, the German provides and England. 

In 1703 at The Hague in Netherlands, Lahontan had narra- 
tives of his pretended travels published in three volumes, written 
in his native French language. Later in the same year a revised 
edition of the work, entitled "New Voyages to North America," 
was issued in London. At present there are several other English 
and French editions. A translation was made into German in 
1711 and into the language of Holland in 1739. In tliis publica- 
tion Lahontan pretended to have ascended the Mississippi river 
and to have discovered a tributary called "Long River" flowing 
into this river from the west. He gives in detail his many adven- 
tures on this "Long River." Before he was discredited historians 
had many arguments as to whether Lahontan ascended the Root 
river or the Minnesota river, but we now know that lie was never 
within many hundred miles of either. 

Carver During the next sixty-six years after Le Sueur vis- 
ited the Minnesota river country no white man was in South- 
western Minnesota, so far as we know. Then, in November, 1766, 
Jonathan Carver ascended the Minnesota. Carver was a Con- 
necticut Yankee and explored the upper Mississippi in the inter 
ests of the British government. 

Of his trip to this point Carver wrote: "On the twenty-fifth 
of November, 1766, I returned to my canoe, which I had left at 
the mouth of the River St. Pierre (Minnesota), and here I parted 
with regret from my young friend, the prince of the Winne- 
bagoes. The river being clear of ice by reason of its southern 
situation, I found nothing to obstruct my passage. On the twenty- 
eighth, being advanced about forty miles, I arrived at a small 
branch that fell into it from the north, to which, as it had no 
name that I could distinguish it by, I gave my own. and the 
reader will find it in the plan of my travels denominated Carver's 
river. About forty miles higher up I came to the forks of the 
Verd (Blue Earth) and Red Marble (Watonwan) rivers, which 
join at some little distance before they enter the St. Pierre. 



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70 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

"The River St. Pierre at its junction with the Mississippi is 
about a hundred yards broad and continues that breadth nearly 
all the way I sailed upon it. It has a great depth of water and 
in some places runa 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 R«d Marble rivers just men- 
tioned, where a branch from the south (the Cottonwood) nearly 
joins the Messorie (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 TJIm. 
In his map he draws three tepees opposite the present city of 
New Ulm on the north side of the Minnesota river and makes 
the statement, "About here the Author winter'd in 1766." In 
his hunting and exploration he ascended the Little Bock (now 
Mud creek) into Cairo and Wellington townships. He says he 
learned the Sioux language so as to converse with them intelligi- 
bly, and was treated by them with great hospitality. In the 
spring be returned to the mouth of the Minnesota. 

His account of this is as follows: "I left the habitations of 
these hospitable Indians the latter end of April, 1767, but did not 
part from them 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 great cave (now called Carver'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 with thera their dead for interment, 
bound up in bulfalo skins." 

As already stated. Carver himted with the Indians over some 
of the great plains of Southwestern Minnesota which, "accord- 
ing to their (the Indians') account, are unbounded and probably 
terminate on the coast of the Pacific ocean." 

From information received from the Indians Carver made 
som.e 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 (Minnesota) and the Messorie (Missouri), though 
they enter the Mississippi 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) 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 71 

near the Shining mountains (the Coteau des Prairies), and it is 
from some of these also that a capital branch (Red River of the 
North) of the River Bourbon (Nelson river), which runs into 
Hudson's bay, has its sources. • • • i have learned that the 
four most capital rivers of North America, viz., the St. Lawrence, 
the Mississippi, the River Bourbon (Nelson) and the Oregon 
(Columbia), 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 rivers 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 
Nadowessics, flows through a most delightful country, abound- 
ing with all the necessaries of life that grow spontaneously, 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 already 
described. Amidst these are delightful groves and such amazing 
quantities of maples that they would produce sugar sufficient for 
any number of inhabitants." 

Ft. Snelling^ Established. With the establishment of Ft. Snell- 
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, the Fifth Regiment United States Infantry 
was ordered to concentrate 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 for the 
troops, two large boats for stores, and a barge for Lieut.-Col. 
Harry Leavenworth, the commander, and Maj. Thomas Forsyth, 
the Indian agent. This expedition established at Mendota the 



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72 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

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

May 10, 1823, the "Virginia," the first steamboat to navigate 
the upper Mississippi, arrived at Pt. Snelling, and thus what is 
now Renville county was placed in still closer communication with 
the outside world. On board, among others, were Maj. Lawrence 
Taliaferro and James Constance Beltrami, the Italian explorer. 

Long, Keating, Beltrami. Undoubtedly white men, engaged 
in trade with the natives or trapping and hunting 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 nineteenth century. But such men left few records of 
their operations, and our information concerning the exploration 
of the country is obtained almost wholly from expeditions 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 the party crossed the Minnesota river 
and followed its southern shore. 

la accordance with orders from the War Department, an expe- 
dition under the command of Major Long, with a corps of scien- 
tists for observations of the geographic features, geology, zoology 
and botany of the Northwest, traversed the area of Minnesota in 
1823, passing from Ft. Snelling up the 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 eastward 
along the international boundary and partly in Canada to Lake 
Superior, Prof. William H. 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, but, 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, then 
called the St. Peter, late in the night of July 2, and a stay of a 
week was made there, for rest and to visit the Falls of St, 
Anthony, 

Pro\ided by Colonel Snelling at the fort with a new 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 up the Minnesota valley. A part traveled on 
horseback, including Say and Colhoun, while 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 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 73 

practicable, keep company together, and encamp every night, if 
possible, at the aame place." 

Ob July 13 they reached the vicinity of Traverse des Sioux 
(St. Peter), and encamped at a beautiful bend of the river, called 
the Orescent. Here the expedition left the canoes, reduced the 
escort, and on July 15 moved westward by the route of Swan 
lake. They now numbered in total twenty-four men, with twenty- 
one horses. The most southern part of the course of the Minne- 
sota having been cut off by the journey past Swan lake, this 
stream was again reached and crossed a short distance below the 
mouth of the Cottonwood river. Thence the expedition passed 
along the southwestern side of the valley, and across the con- 
tiguous upland prairies, to Lac qui Parle and Big Stone lake. The 
latter lake was reached on July 22, and the Columbia Fur Com- 
pany's trading post, at the southern end of Lake Traverse, the 
next day. Joseph Snelling returned to Ft- Snelling from Pem- 
bina by way of the Red and Minnesota rivers, thus passing Ren- 
ville county. 

Professor Keating mentions the Redwood river and states that 
the red pipestone was said to exist on its banks three days' 
journey from its mouth. Menlioii is made of Patterson's rapids, 
the Grand portage, the Pejeliata Zeze Watapan (Yellow Medi- 
cine) river, Beaver rivulet (Lac qui Parle river) and other 
physical features. Interesting observations were recorded 
respecting the fauna and flora of the prairies. 

The Pembina Reftlgees. The members of tlie Pembina colony 
in the Red river valley were among the people who passed Ren- 
ville county during the era of exploration. In the early winter 
of 1820 the Pembina colony sent a delegation to Prairie du Chien 
for seed wheat, which could not be found nearer home. The men 
set out on snow shoes and reached their destination in three 
months. The route was by the way of the Red river to Lake 
Traverse, then down the Minnesota, past Fort Snelling, and 
thence down the Mississippi. At Prairie du Chien 2.^0 bushels of 
wheat was purchased at ten shillings ($2.50) per bushel. It was 
loaded into flat boats, which were, with much hard labor, pro- 
pelled up the Mississippi to the St. Peter, thence up that river 
to the portage near Lake Traverse, The boats and cargo were 
then transported across to the Red river and floated down that 
stream to Pembina. 

In 1827 a number of Swiss families left the Red river colony 
to make new homes for themselves within the United States. 
They were accompanied by several families of French Cana- 
dians who had become "Selkirkers," that is, members of the 
Selkirk colony. The refugees came down the valley on the Red 
river — or up that stream — to Lake Traverse, and thence down 
the Minnesota (or St. Peter's) to Fort Snelling. Alexis Bailly 



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74 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

and others who had visited the colonists in their Red river homes 
had inf ormed ■ them of the superiority of the Minnesota country 
over the Assiniboine region, and assured them that they would 
be heartily welcome 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 preserved. 

July 25, 1831, twenty more Red river colonists arrived at 
Fort Snelling. Up to the year 1836 nearly 500 more 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 found rest for their feet, food for their 
bodies and comfort generally in Minnesota. But only about one- 
half of these people remained here permanently. The others 
went further south — to Prairie du Chien, to lltinoiB, to Missouri, 
and some families journeyed to Yevay, Indiana, the site of a Swiss 
settlement. 

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

Feathn-stonhaogh and Hathsr. Another exploration of 
southwestern Minnesota was made in the summer of 1835 by 
G. W. Featherstonhaugh, an English gentleman. He bore the 
title of United States geologist and was commissioned by Colonel 
J. J. Abert, 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 Minnesota on the 
Coteau des Prairies west of these lakes. Featherstonhaugh was 
accompanied by William Williams Mather. 

From Featherstonhaugh 's expedition 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 up the Minnay Sotar, " published in London in 
1847. 



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HISTORY OF KENVILLE COUNTY 76 

Catlin. It was in 3837 that George Catlin, the famous traveler 
and Indian delineator, passed near this county on hie way to visit 
the Pipestone quarries. 

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

This little party traveled horseback and followed the usual 
route up the Minnesota. At Traverse des Sioux, near the present 
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 persist in their determination to visit 
the quarries. They continued on their way, however, crossed to 
the north aide of the river at Traverse des Sioux, proceeded in a 
westerly direction, and crossed the Minnesota to the south bank 
near the mouth of the Waraju (Cottonwood), close to the present 
city of New Ulm. 

There Messrs. Catlin and Wood left the river and journeyed 
"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 miles" before reaching the base of the coteau, when he 
was still ' ' forty or fifty miles from the Pipestone quarries. ' ' He 
declared this part of the journey was over 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, most of the time 
assisted by John C. Fremont, afterward candidate for the presi- 
dency of the United States on the Republican ticket, Joseph 
Nicolas Nicollet prosecuted a geographical 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. Louia 
and thence up the Mississippi river to H. H, Sibley's trading post, 
near the mouth of the Minnesota river. Thence they journeyed 



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76 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

over the geiieral route of travel up the east side of tho Minne- 
sota river, erosaing at Traverse des Sioux. They proceeded west 
across the "os-bow," stopping at Big Swan lake in Nicollet 
county, and crossed the Minnesota again at the mouth of the 
Cottonwood. They proceeded up the valley of the Cottonwood, 
on the north side of the river, to a point near the present site of 
Lamberton, and then crossed to the south side of the river and 
struck across pountry to the Pipestone quarries. 

On Nicollet's map, issued in 1843, his route to the quarries 
is indicated by a fine dotted line. This map at the time it vraa 
issued was the most complete and correct one of the \ipper Mis- 
sissippi country. It covered all of Minnesota and Iowa, about 
one-half of Missouri, and much of the Dakotas, Wisconsin and 
Illinois. The author gave names to many streams and lakes 
and gave the first representation of the striking topographical 
features of the western and northern parts of Minnesota. He 
located, by astronomical observations, the numerous streams and 
lakes and the main geographical features of the state, filling in 
by eye-sketching and by pacing the intermediate objects. On his 
map the country along the Minnesota river is labeled Warpeton 
country and that further south Sisseton country. 

After spending three days at the Pipestone quarries, where 
is now situated the city of Pipestone, the Nicollet party visited 
and named Lake Benton (for Mr. Fremont's father-in-law. Sena- 
tor Benton) and then proceeded westward into Dakota, visiting 
and naming Lakes Preston {for Senator Pre-ston), Poinsett (for 
J. R. Poinsett, secretary of war), Albert, Thompson, Tetonkoha, 
Kampeska and Hendricks. Before returning to civilization Nicol- 
let visited Big Stone lake and other places to the north. He 
returned to the Falls of St. Anthony by way of Joseph Ren- 
ville's camp on the Lac qui Parle. 

Allen. The next recorded visit of white men was in 1844, 
when an expedition in charge of Captain J. Allen came up the 
Des Moines river, operating chiefly to chart that and other 
streams. He passed through Jackson, Cottonwood and Murray 
counties and came to Lake Shetek, which he decided was the 
source of the Des Moines river. Ik- gave that body of water the 
name Lake of the Oaks and described it as remarkable for a 
singular arrangement of the peninsulas running into it from all 
sides and for a heavy growth of timber that covered the penin- 
sulas and the borders of the lake. 

With Lake Shetek as temporary headquarters, Captain Allen 
extended his explorations in several directions. He proceeded 
due north from the lake and crossed the Cottonwood and later 
the Redwood near the present site of Marshall. 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 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 77 

of the Redwood he explored the south shore of the Minnesota 
riTer several miles up and down and returned to Lake Shetek. 
The expedition then set out for the west and went down the Big 
Sioux river to its mouth. 

"Prom Lizard creek of the Des Moines to the source of the 
Dea Moines, and thence east to the St. Peter's is a range for 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 could he placed in this country for the subsistence 
of troops marching through it." 

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

Lac qui Parle, Big Stone lake and Lake Traverse made excel- 
lent fur trading points, and were probably locations of sueh from 
early iu 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 hand of Yauktons and Sissetons went on to 
Men dot a. 

James H. Lockwood, 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 required to obtain licenses from the agent. 
In 1826 the records of the agent show that Joseph Renville was 



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78 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

at Lae qui Parle, and John Campbell at the mouth of the Chip- 
pewa, both of which locations were not far from Renville county. 
William Dickson and Hazen P. Mooera were at Lake Traverse. 
Mooers was especially successful. It is recorded that in the sum- 
mer of 1829 "the dry year," he made a trip from Lake Traverse 
to Ft. Snelling with 126 packs of furs, valued at $12,000. 

In 1833-34 Mooera and Renville were at the same stations as 
in 1826. Joseph B. Brown, afterward a pioneer of Renville 
county, was on the Minnesota at the month of the Chippewa. 
Joseph Renville, Jr., was at the Little Bock on the Minnesota, at 
the mouth of the Little Rock (Mud) creek, which flows for a 
part of its course in what is now Renville county. Joseph La 
Framboise established himself at the mouth of the Little Rock 
in 1834. ■ 

The MisgioaariCB. In 1835 Thomaa S. Williamson established 
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 carefully, the 
missionary concluded to accompany Mr. Renville to the latter's 
home and store at Lac qui Parle and establish a mission station 
there. On June 23 bis party embarked on the Fur Company's 
Mackinaw boat, which was laden with traders' goods and sup- 
plies, and 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 Port 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 G. Huggins and family, and Sarah Poage, a sister of Mrs. 
Williamson. 

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

These mission stations brought to the region of Renville 
county nearly all the early Protestant missionaries of Minnesota, 
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 Minne- 
sota during the period of exploration : 

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



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HISTORY OF EENVILLE COUNTY 79 

tered in the neighborhood of Green Bay, brought to Montreal the 
first mention of the aborigines of Minnesota. 

1659-60. GrosseiUiers and Radisaon wintered among the Sioux 
of the Mille Laes region, MinnoBota, being its first white explorers- 
In a previous expedition, four years earlier, they are thought by 
some to have come to Prairie island, west of the main channel of 
the Mississippi, between Red Wing and Hastings. 

1661. Father Bene Menard Jeft Kewennaw, on Lake Superior, 
to visit the Hurons, then in northern Wisconsin, and was lost 
near the sources of the Black and Chippewa rivers. His breviary 
and cassock were said to have been found among the Sioux. 

1679. Juiy 2, Daniel Greyselon Du Lhut (Duluth) held a 
council with the Sioux at their principal settlement on the shore 
of Mille Lacs. Du Lhut, in June, 1680, by way of the St. Croix 
river, reached the Mississippi and met Hennepin. 

1680. Louis Hennepin, after captivity in the village of the 
ilille Laes Sioux, first saw the Falls of St. Anthony. 

1689. May 8, Nicolas Perrot, at his Fort St. Antoine, ou the 
Wisconsin shore of Lake Pepin, 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. 

1690. { T) Le Sueur and Charleville ascended the Mississippi 
above St. Anthony falls. 

1695. Le Sueur built a fort or trading post on Isle Pelee, now 
called Prairie island, above Lake Pepin. 

1700. Le Sueur established Fort L'Huillier, on the Blue Earth 
river {near the mouth of the Le Sueur), and first supplied the 
Sioux with firearms. 

1727. The French established a fort on the present site of 
Frontenae 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 Mississippi, to England, and west of it to Spain. 

1766. Captain Jonathan Carver visited St. Anthony falls and 
Minnesota river. He claimed to have made a treaty with the 
Indians the following spring, in a cave, afterward called "Carver's 
Cave," within the present limits of St. Paul, at which he said 
they ceded 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 Minne- 
sota, east of the Mississippi river. 

1798-99. The Northwestern Far Company established itself 
in Minnesota. 

1800. May 7, that part of Minnesota east of the Mississippi 
became a part of Indiana by the division of Ohio. 



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80 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

1803. April 30, that part of MinneBota 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, 
who had just obtained it from Spain. 

1803-04. William Morrison, the first 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. 

1805. Lieut. Z. M. Pike visited Minnesota to establish gov- 
ernment relations there, and obtained the Port Snelling reserva- 
tion from the Dakotas. 

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

1819. Minnesota, east of the Mississippi river, became a part 
of Crawford county, Michigan. Port Snelling established and a 
post at Mendota occupied by troops, under command of Colonel 
Leavenworth. Maj. L. Taliaferro appointed Indian agent, arriv- 
ing April 19, 

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

1823. The first steamboat arrived at Mendota, May 10, Major 
Taliaferro and Beltrami being passengers. Maj. Stephen H. Long 
explored Minnesota 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 Minnesota, settling near Fort Snelling. 

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

1833. First mission established at Leech lake by Rev. W. T. 
Boutwell. 

1834. The portion of Minnesota west of the Mississippi 
attached to Michigan. Gen. H. H. Sibley settled at Mendota. 

1835. Catlin and Featherstonhaiigh visited Minnesota. 

1836. The territory of Wisconsin organized, embracing the 
part of Minnesota 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 ^vithin the area of Minnesota. 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 81 

SUBVETS. 

Two of the townships in what is now Renville county were 
surveyed as early as 1855, Some were not surveyed 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 Thomas 
Simpson, between September 3, 1855, and September 10, 1855. 

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

Camp, township 112, range 33, was sur\-eyed by William Rock, 
between September 22, 1858, and October 6, 1858. 

Cairo, township 112, range 32, was surveyed by William Rock, 
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, between 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, to^vnship 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. 

Martinsburg, 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 surveyed by T. Barnes 
and G. E. Brent, between April 28, 1858, and April 30, 1858. 

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

Henryviile, township 114, range 35, was surveyed by N. R. 
McMahan, between September 24, 1858, and September 30, 1858. 

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

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

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

Bird Island, township 115, range 34, was surveyed by 6. E. 
Brent and T. Barnes, between 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. B. 
McMahan, between October 18, 1858, and October 20, 1858. 

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



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82 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

Brookfield, township 116, range 32, was surveyed 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. 
MeMahan, between October 1, 1858, and October 10, 1858. 

Emmet, township 115, range 36, was surveyed by B. H. L. 
Jenett and G. Q. Howe, between June 16, 1866, and June 23, 1866. 

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

Sacred Heart, township 115, range 37, was surveyed by B. 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, range 38, was surveyed by B. H. 
L. Jenett and G. G. Howe, between November 2, 1866, and Novem- 
ber 3, 1866. 

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

Erickaon, 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 July 24, 1866, and July 31, 1866. 



CHAPTER VI. 

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 Com to Minnesota — JAtenry 
Work— His Triomphant 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 Eaposia band, 
which was at various periods located at different points between 
the mouth of the Minnesota 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 Eaposia village about 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 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 83 

was ten years old took him to Canada, and placed him in the care 
of a learned and saintly Catholic priest, nnder whose fostering 
and loving tuition he obtained a slight knowledge of the French 
language and the elements of the Christian religion. But the 
education thus started was broken off, for upon the death of his 
father the boy returned to Minnesota. 

Aa the youngster attained a proper age. Col. Robert Dixon, 
an Englishman in the employ of a British fur company, who 
traded with the Minnesota Indians, hired him as a coureur de 
bois. While a mere stripling he had guided his canoe from the 
Falls of Pokeguma to the Palls of St, Anthony, and followed the 
trails from Mendota to the Missouri. He knew by heart the 
legends of his tribe. He had distinguished himself as a brave, 
and as he grew older identified himself with the Dakotas more 
fully by following in the footsteps of his father and marrying 
a maiden of that nation. 

In 1797 he wintered in company with a Mr. Perlier near Sauk 
Rapids. Zebulon M. Pike, who was in Minnesota in 1805-06, was 
introduced to him at Prairie du Chien, 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 letter to General Wilkinson, written at Mendota, September 
9, 1805, he says: "I beg leftve to recommend for that appoint- 
ment Joseph Renville, who has served as interpreter 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 honest 

At the breaking out of the War of 1812 Colonel Dickson was 
employed by the British to secure the warlike tribes of the North- 
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), Kaposia 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 grandfather of the Little Crow of the Sioux uprising, 
an Indian presented himself and told the chiefs that they were 
wanted by the head men of the other nations that were there con- 
gregated. 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 apportioned his body in as many 
dishes as there were nations, and had invited them to participate 
in the feast. Both the chiefs and Renville were indignant at this 
inhumanity and Colonel Dickson, being informed of the fact; 
the Winnebago who was the author of the outrage was turned out 
of the camp. 



Digili: 



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84 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

In ISlo Renville accompaoied the Kaposia chief to Dmni- 
mond's Island, who had been invited by the commandant of that 
poet to make him a visit. On their arrival they were informed 
by the officer that he had sent for them to thank them in the name 
of His Slajesty for the aid they had rendered during the war. 
He concluded by pointing to a large pile of goods, which, he said, 
were 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. "Now," 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. We hold them and yourselves in 
equal contempt." 

For a short period after the war Renville remained in Canada 
and received the half pay of a British captain. He next entered 
the service of the Hudson Bay Company, whose posts extended 
to the ^lississippi and Alinnesota rivers. In winter he resided 
with his family among the Dakofas ; in summer he visited his 
trading posts, which extended as far as the sources of the Red 
river. 

In 1819 Colonel Snelling eommehced the erection of the mas- 
sive stone fort near the junction of the Mississippi and Minnesota. 
From this time Renville became more acquainted with the people 
of the United States, and some of his posts being within the limits 
of the Republic, be with several other experienced trappers, estab- 
lished a new company in 1822, which they called the Columbia Fur 
Company. Of this new organization he was the presiding genius. 
When Major Stephen H. Long arrived at Fort St. Anthony, as 
Snelling was then called, in the year 1823, he became acquainted 
with Renville, and engaged him as the interpreter of the expedi- 
tion to explore the Minnesota river and the Red River of the 
North. The historian of the expedition. Professor William H. 
Keating, gave to the world one of the most interesting accounts 
of the Dakota nation that had ever been published, and he states 
that for most of the information he is indebted to Joseph Ren- 
ville. 

Shortly after the Columbia Fur 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 rivals in 
the 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 until the end of his days. 

Living as he had done for more than a half century among 
the Dakotas, over whom he exercised the most unbonnded con- 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 85 

trol, it is not surprising that in bis advanced age he sometimes 
exhibited a domineering disposition. As long as Minnesota exists 
he should he known as one given to hospitality. He invariahly 
showed himself to be a friend to the Indian, the traveler and the 
missionary. Aware of the improvidence of his mother's race, be 
used his influence 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 frien'd to the traveler. His conver- 
sation was intelligent, and be constantly communicated facts that 
were worthy of record. His post obtained a reputation among 
explorers, and their last day's journey to it was generally a quick 
march, for they felt sure of a warm welcome. His son was the 
interpreter of Joseph N. Nicollet, that worthy man of science who 
explored this country in connection with John C. Fremont. This 
gentleman in his report to Congress pays the following tribute 
to the father and son : 

"I may stop a while to say that the residence of the Renville 
family, for a number of years back, has afforded the only retreat 
to travelers to be found between St. Peter's and the British posts, 
a distance of 700 miles. The liberal and untiring hospitality 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 demand, 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 F^atherstonhaugb, an Englishman, in whose book, pub- 
lished in London in 1847, and styled a "Canoe Voyage up the 
Vlinnay Sotor," be says: "On reaching the fort, Renville 
advanced and saluted me, but not cordially. He was a dark, 
Indian-looking person, showing no white blood, short in his 
stature, with strong features and coarse, black hair. • • • I 
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 he was a very 
intriguing 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 Port 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 



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86 HISTORY OP 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 published by Kendall & Henry, Cincinnati, the translation 
of which was given orally by Mr. Renville and penned by Dr. 
Williamson. Crocker & Brewster in 1842 published Dakota 
Dowanpi Kin, or Dakota Hymns, many of which were composed 
with the help of Renville. The following tribute to his ability aa 
a translator appeared in the Missionary Herald of 1846, published 
at Boston : 

"Mr. Renville was a remarkable man, and he was remarkable 
for the energy with which 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 could read a little, yet in 
translating he seldom took a book in his hand, choosing to depend 
on hearing rather than sight, and I have often had occasion to 
observe that after hearing a long and unfamiliar verse read from 
the Scriptures, he would immediately render it from the French 
into Dakota, two languages extremely unlike in their idioms and 
idea of the words, and repeat if over two or three words at a time, 
so as to give full opportunity to write it down. He had a remark- 
able tact in discovering the aim of a speaker, and conveying the 
intended impression, when many of the ideas and words were 
such as had 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 he 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 married in accordance with Christian 
rites by a minister of the Catholic church. Before he became 
acquainted with missionaries he sent to New York for a large folio 
Bible in the French language, and requested those with him in the 
fur trade to procure for him a elerk who could read it. After 
the commencement of the Mission at Lac qui Parle, his 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 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 87 

wife's death : "I said to her: 'Now, today, you seem very much 
exhausted,' and she answered, 'Yes; this day, now God invites 
me. I am remembering Jesus Christ, who suffered for me, and 
depending on him alone. Today I shall stand before God, and 
will ask him for mercy for you and all my children, and all my 
kinsfolk.' " 

Afterwards, when all her children and relatives sat around 
her weeping, she said: "It ia holy day, sing and pray." From 
early in the morning 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 Catholic priests and later by Pres- 
byterian missionaries. 

In 1841 Renville was chosen and ordained a ruling elder in 
the church at Lac qui Farle, and from that time till his death dis- 
charged the duties of his office in a manner acceptable and profit- 
able both to the native 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. Wiliiamson 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 Panl's desire to depart and be with Christ. He said, 'That \s 
sufficient,' and presently added, 'I have great hope I shall be 
~ saved through grace.' Next morning (Sunday) about eight 
o'clock I was called to see him. He was so evidently in the agonies 
of death, I did not think of attempting to do anything for him. 
After some time his breathing becoming easier, he was asked if 
he wished to hear a hymn. He replied, 'Yes.' After it was sung 
he said, 'It is very good.' As he reclined on the bed, I saw a 
sweet serenity settling on his countenance, and I thought that 
his severest struggle was probably passed, and so it proved. The 
clock striking ten, he looked at it and intimated 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 closed his eyes upon 
the world. The citizens of Kentucky delight in the memory of 
Daniel Boone; let the citizens of Minnesota not forget Joseph 
Renville. 



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88 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

CHAPTER VII. 

TLTVEB. NAVIOATION. 

Indian Da^s on the Minnesottb— Mackin&w Boats — Early Voy- 
ages — Period of Steam Navi^tion — Names of Boats Which 
Beached the Upper Stretches of the Bi7er — Oradnal Seduc- 
tion in Birer Traffic. 

Minnesota received its name from the longest river which lies 
wholly within this state, excepting only its sources above Big 
Stone lake. During a hundred and sixty years, up to the time 
of the organization of Minnesota Territory, in 1849, the name St, 
Pierre, or St, Peter, had been 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 Sious name Minnesota means clouded water (Minne, 
water and sota, somewhat clouded), and Neill, on the authority 
of Rev. Gideon H. Pond, poetically translated this to mean sky- 
tinted. The river at its stages of flood becomes whitishly turbid. 
An illustration of the meaning of the word has been told by 
Mrs. Moses N. Adams, the widow of the venerable 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 the whitishly clouded water "Minne sota." This 
name was proposed by General H. H. Sibley and Hon. I^Iorgan 
L. Martin, of Wisconsin, in the years 1846 to 1848, as the name 
of the new territory, which thus followed the example of Wis- 
consin in adopting the title of a large stream within its borders. 

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

The Chippewa name for the stream, Ash-kiibogi-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 which gave our commonwealth its name 
had always been an important feature in the geography and his- 
tory of this northwest country. 

The geologist 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 dosing 
part of the Glacial period. Wliat use, if any, the primitive men 
of that time made Of this majestic stream, we know not. 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 89 

Many and varied have been the scenes enacted upon its banks, 
scenes of thrilling adventure and glorious valor, as well as of 
happy merriment and tender love. It was for centuries the 
arena of many a sanguinary conflict, and the blood of the lowas, 
Dakotas, Ojibways, and white men, often mingled freely with 
its flood. 

For generations unknown the only craft its bosom bore was 
the eanoe of the Indian, Then eame the French traders, with 
their retinue of voyagers, who made our river an avenue of a 
great commerce in Indian goods and costly furs. For over a 
hundred years fleets of canoes and Mackinaw boats, laden with 
Indian merchandise, plied constantly along the river's sinuous 
length. 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 peril and hardship, yet ever content and 
happy; and long did the wooded bluffs of the Minnesota echo 
with their songs of old France. 

The first white men known to have navigated the Minnesota 
were Le Sueur and his party of miners, who entered its mouth 
in a felucca and two row boats on September 20, 1700, and 
reached the mouth of the Blue Earth on the thirtieth of the same 
month. The next spring he carried with him down the river a 
boat-load of blue or green shale which he had dug from the 
bluffs 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 the same time. This is 
the first recorded instance of freight transportation on the Min- 
nesota 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 Chien, a journey of about a 
thousand miles, to purchase seed wheat. On April 15, 1820, they 
started back in three Mackinaw boats loaded with 200 bushels 
of wheat, 100 bushels of oats, and 30 bushels of peas. During 
the month of May they ascended the Minnesota from its mouth 
to its source, and, dragging their loaded boats over the portage 
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 by 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 



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90 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

each, in rotation, reached the stero, he would pick up hia pole 
and start again at the prow. Their progress in ascending the 
river would be from five to fifteen miles per day, depending upon 
the stage of the water and the number of rapids they had to 
climb. 

Dr. Thomas S. Williamson, the noted missionary to the In- 
dians, in describing his first journey up the valley of the Min- 
nesota, in June, 1835, 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 Port 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 the 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 persons, 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 thence to Traverse des Sioux 
poles were employed. The journey consumed five days. 

Illustrative of the size and capacity of some of the canoes 
used by the traders, we find George A. McLeod in April, 1853, 
bringing down from Lac 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 Minnesota 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 points. 

Except for these landings at its mouth, and save that in 1842 
a small steamer with a party of excursionists on board ascended 
it as far as the old 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 was 
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 Minnesota as navi- 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 91 

gation was possible. They reached the foot of the rapids near 
Carver, the captain decided not to continue the passage, turned 
the steamboat homeward. Emulous of the Wayne 's achievement, 
the Nominee, a rival boat, arranged another excursion July 12, 
ascended the Minnesota, passing the formidable rapids, placing 
her shingle three miles higher up the river. The Wayne, not to 
be outdone, on July 18 with a third excursion party, ascended 
the river two or three miles below the present city of Mankato. 
The success of these boats incited the Harris' line to advertise a 
big excursion on the Yankee, and that steamer reached a point 
on the Minnesota river, a little above the present village of Jud- 
SOQ, in Blue Earth county. 

The steamer Excelsior, in the summer of 1651, 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 Valley 
stimulated steamboat transportation, and during the early sea- 
son of 1852, the steamboat Tiger made three trips to Mankato. 
The midsummer rains having restored the navigable condition 
of the river, the Black Hawk was chartered in July for three 
trips to Mankato. She also made during the season two trips 
to Babcock's Landing, opposite the present site of St. Peter, and 
one to Traverse des Sioux. The Jenny Lind and Enterprise were 
also engaged in the traffic. 

Navigation was opened on the Minnesota in 1853 by the new 
boat, the Greek Slave ; the Clarion, also new, entered the trade 
this year. 

Two events of 1853, of much importance in the development 
of the Minnesota river trade, were the establishing upon its head 
waters of the Sioux Agencies and the erection in their vicinity 
of Fort Ridgely. The necessity thus created, of transporting to 
such a distance up the river the large quantity of supplies re- 
paired annually by both soldier and Indian, gave an impetus 
for years to the steamboat trafdc of the Minnesota. 

The West Newton, Captain D. S. Harris, secured the con- 
tract to convey the troops with their baggage from Fort Snelling 
to the new post. She was a small packet, 150 feet long and of 
300 tons burden, and had been bought the summer before by the 
Harris brothers to compete with the Nominee in the Mississippi 
river trade. She left Port 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 Mon- 
roe. To help carry baggage, she had two barges in tow. The 



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92 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

Tiger had also departed from St. Paul on the tiventj-fifth, and 
the Clarion on the twenty-sixth, each with a couple of barges in 
tow, heavily loaded with supplies for the new fort and the agen- 
cies. The "West Newton, being the swiftest boat, passed the 
Clarion at Henderson, and the Tiger near the Big Cottonwood, 
and thence to the site of the new fort (Fort Ridgely) at the 
mouth of Little Rock creek, was the first steamer to disturb the 
waters of our sky-tinted river. 

The Minnesota this year remained navigable all summer, and 
a number of boats ascended it to Port Ridgely and the Lower 
Sioux Agency, while others went to Mankato and other points. 
The passenger travel, as well as the freight trade, was excellent. 

The winter of 3853-1854 was mild and open; the river broke 
up early without the usual freshet. Owing to the success of the 
prior season, the boatmen had great expectations. They were, 
however, doomed to disappointment. Captain Samuel Humbert- 
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. May 3, with 
a large load of immigrants 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 lola and Montello, during the summer, ran 
fairly regular trips between Little Rapids and Traverse des Sioux 
supplementing the Black Hawk, Humbolt and other boats plying 
below the rapids. 

Large keel boats, denominated barges, propelled after the 
ancient method by a crew of men with poles, became common on 
the river this year. Andrew G. Myrick 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 12 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 was built in the stern, and during foul weather a big 
tarpaulin was spread over the goods. A full crew consisted of 
a captain, who also acted as steersman, ten to a dozen pole men, 
and a cook. "With a fair stage of water the usual speed up 
stream was twelve to fourteen miles a day, but if sandbars or 
rapids interfered a mile or two would be a hard day's journey. 
Down stream, however, they would travel much faster. Most 
of the supplies for Fort Bidgely and the Sioux Agencies, as 
well as for all up river towns, had to be transported this year 
in such barges. 

The snowfall in the winter of 1854-1855 was again light conse- 
quently the Minnesota continued low during the following spring. 
Louis Robert, having the contract this year to deliver the Sioux 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 93 

aunuitieH, took them up to the Agency late in October in the 
Globe, of which Edwin Bell was then captain. Within two miles 
of the landing the boat struck on a rock, and the goods had to be 
unloaded on the river bank. While Captains Roberts and Bell 
■were gone to carry the Indian money, amounting to $90,000 in 
gold, to Fort Ridgely, the Indians, who were gathered in force 
to divide the provisions, carelessly set fire to the dry grass, which 
wiis quickly Pommunicated to the pile of goods, and most of them, 
including fifty kegs of powder, were destroyed. 

Of his experiences, Captain Edwin Bell had said: "In 1855 
I had coiiniiand of the steamer Globe, making trips on the Minne- 
sota river, and in the early fall of that year we carried supplies 
to the Sioux at Redwood Agency. The Indians would come down 
the river several miles to meet the boat. They were like a lot 
of children, and when the steamboat approached they would 
shout, 'Nitonka Pata-wata washta,' meaning 'Your big fire-canoe 
is good.' They would then cut aerOss the bend, yelling until we 
reached the landing. 

"In the fall of that year, 1855, their suppbes were late, 
when I received orders from Agent Murphy to turn over to the 
Lidians twelve barrels of pork, and twelve barrels of flour. As 
soon as we landed, we rolled the supplies on shore. I was in- 
formed that the Indians were in a starving condition. It was 
amusing to see five or six of them rolling a barrel of pork up 
the bank, when two of our deck hands would do the work in half 
the time. 

"A young Indian girl stood at the end of the gang plank, 
wringing her hands and looking toward the boat, exclaiming 
'Sunka sanicha,' meaning 'They have my dog.' The cabin boy 
told me the cook had coaxed the dog on board and hid it. I 
could speak the language so as to be understood, and I mo- 
tioned to the girl and said, 'Niye kuwa,' 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 anns, exclaiming, 
'Sunka washta,' meaning 'Good dog.' She then ran on shore 
and up the bill. It seemed to me that white people took advan- 
tage of the Indian when they could, even steamboat cooks. 

"When the flour and pork were on level ground, the barrel 
heads were knocked in, and the pork was cut in small strips and 
thrown in a pile. Two hundred squaws then formed a circle, 
and several Indians handed the pieces of pork to the squaws until 
the pile was disposed of. The flour was placed in tin pans, each 
squaw receiving a panful. 

"Later, in the same season, we had an unfortunate trip. The 
boat was loaded deep. Luckily Agent Murphy and Capt. Louis 
Robert were on board. We had in the cabin of the boat ninety 
thousand dollars in gold. About three miles below the Agency, 



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H HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

we ran on a large boulder. After much effort, we got the boat 
afloat. Major Murphy 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 exploded. This was a sad blow to the Indians. 

"The following is a list of the steamboats running on the 
Minnesota river, during high water, in the year 1855 and later : 
Clarion, Captain Humberson ; Globe, Captain Edwin Bell ; Time 
and Tide, Captain Nelson Robert; Jeannette Roberts, Captain 
Charles Timmens; Mollie Moler, Captain 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 when the railroad paralleled the river, all boats quit 
running. 

"On the sixteenth day of December, 1895, I called on Gov- 
ernor Ramsey again, to talk over old times, forty-five years after 
my first call. What changes have taken place since then 1 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;' and, with a wink. 
'Captain, let's have a nip.' Of course we nipped, and said 'Hoi' 
All old settlers will know the meaning of the Sioux exclamation, 
'Hoi'" 

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 Qlobe, with Nelson 
Robert as captain, departed from St. Paul for the same 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 her second trip of this 
year she left St. Paul at 2 p. ra. on Thursday, April 17, with 132 
passengers and a full load of freight, and arrived at Mankato 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. 



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HISTOBT OP RENVILLE COUNTY 95 

On May 5, the Reveille landed at Mankato a company of set- 
tlers numbering two or three hundred, known as the Mapleton 
Colony ; and the following Saturday (May 10) the H. T. Teatman 
landed at South Bend a company of Welsh settlers from Ohio, 
numbering 121 souls. The Teatman was a large stem-wheel boat, 
about the largest that ascended the Minnesota, and this was her 
first trip. She continued in the trade only a few weeks, while the 
water was high. Her captain was Samuel G. 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 river. 

The time table of Louis Robert's fine packet, the 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 waa 
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 anag, while the passengers sat on the bank telling stories, 
or went hunting, or feasted on the luscious wild strawberries 
or juicy plums which grew abundantly in the valley, were com- 
mon oecnrrences in steamboat travel. Many 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 eye, "and only a few minutes for 
a woman." Though we of today may think such method of 
travel tedioiis, yet it had many pleasant features, 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 1857 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 Minnesota 
river broke up tmusually 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 
Mankato from points above as well as below the former, though 
did not exceed twenty-five or thirty. The total number of trips 



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96 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

Tras 394, the Antelope again heading the list with 201 to her 
credit. 

In 1859, the river broke up early after a mild winter, and 
the Freighter arrived at Mankato, the first boat, on March 27, 
having left St. Paul two days before. An abundant rainfall kept 
the river in good navigable condition its entire length through 
moat of the season. The Favorite, an excellent sidewheel packet 
of good size, built expressly for the Mionesota trade by Commo- 
dore Davidson, entered as a new boat this spring. 

As the water was quite high in the upper Minnesota, Captain 
John B. Davis of the Freighter, conceived the idea of crossing 
bis boat over from the Minnesota 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 Ulm or the boat found too little water on the divide, authori- 
ties differ, but ail agree that the captain and his crew came home 
in a canoe about the last of July, passing Mankato on the twenty- 
fifth of the montli, having left his steamboat in dry dock near the 
Dakota line. The Freighter was a small, flat-bottomed, square- 
bowed boat. The Indians pillaged her of everything but the 
hull, and that, half buried in the sand about ten miles below 
Big Stone lake, remained visible for twenty or thirty 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 Jeannette 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 offieered by J. V. Webber, captain 
(who was now the owner, having purchased her from the David- 
son company in March), Warren Qoulden, first clerk, 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 before, 
and might easily have accomplished what the Freighter attempted 
and failed to do in 1859, to wit, pass over into the Red river, if 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 97 

she had tried ; for the two rivers were united by their high flood 
between lakes Big Stone and Traverse. 

This season the Minnesota Packet Company, of which 
Captain Orrin Smith was preudent, put two first class boats, 
the City Belle and Fanny Harris, into the river to compete witfe 
the Davidson and Robert lines. The Fanny Harris, on her first 
trip, which occurred during the second week of April, went to 
Fort Ridgely, and brought down Major (afterwards General) 
Thomas W. Sherman and his battery to quell the southern rebel- 
lion, which had just started. With her also weut the Favorite, 
and brought down Major (afterward General) John C. Pember- 
ton, with his command of eighty soldiers, the most of whom 
being southern men, were much in sympathy with their seceding 
brethren. 

The barges of Captain Cleveland were kept busy in the trafflc 
between Mankato and points below. The first shipment of wheat 
in bulk from the Minnesota was made in June of this year, 1861, 
on one of these barges. It comprised 4,000 bushels, and was 
taken direct to La Crosse. Heretofore it had been shipped in 
sacks. Wheat had now become the principal export of the val- 
ley. During the earlier years all the freight traffic on the river 
had been imported, but by this time the export of trains had 
grown to be an important item. With so many Indians in the 
valley the shipment of furs, which at first had been about the 
only export of the country, still continued valuable; but furs, 
because of their small bulk, cut but little figure in the boating 
business. This year the value of the furs from the Sioux Agen- 
cies was $48,416; and from the Winnebago country, $11,600. 

From this time there was a gradual reduction in river traffic. 
In 1866 the St. Paul and Sioux City railroad reached Belle 
Plaine, and connections were there made with boats for points 
higher up the river. In October, 1868, Mankato was reached, 
and in 1871 the Northwestern railway reached New Ulm, which 
practically ended the navigation of the Minnesota river. 

The Osceola, a small boat, owned by Mark D. Flowers and 
Captain Hawkins, ascended the Minnesota as far as Redwood 
once in 1872, twice in 1873 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 Wyman X came up the river; 
and ten years later one trip was made by the Alvira. For an- 
other ten years no steamboat was seen on the Minnesota until, 
taking advantage of a freshet in April, 1897, Captain E, W. Durant 
of Stillwater, ran his boat, the Henrietta, a stem-wheel vessel 170 
feet long with forty staterooms, on an excursion to Henderson, 
St. Peter and Mankato. 



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9S HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

CHAPTER VIII. 
LAND OFFICE SECOBDS. 

Original Claimants to RanviUe Cotinty Land — Boll of Honor of 
Those Pioneers Who First Cleared the Land and Erected 
Cabins — Old Settlers Who Braved the Bigors of Pioneer En- 
deavor. 

The original patents to land in Renville county, upon which 
all subsequent deeds and transfers are based, were obtained 
chiefly under the pre-emption act, under the homestead law, and 
from the railroads. The first settlers obtained their homes under 
the pre-emption act, by the provisions of which they were re- 
quired to make certain improvements, to live upon their land a 
certain length of time, and to pay $1.25 an acre. There were cer- 
tain restrictions as to the size of the claim and as to the eligi- 
bility of those who filed. Instead of paying 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 number 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, the government issued a patent after a person 
had lived on an eighth or quarter section (according to location) 
for a certain period, and made certain improvements. Many of 
the people obtained their land from the railroads; many different 
railroads having land in Renville county. 

The following transcriptions from the land office records 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 main accurate, though, through carelessness of 
the land office registers and their clerks, the original entries are 
often misspelled, and transcriptions of more or less illegible hand- 
writing since that date have distorted some of the names in vari- 
ous ways. But especial efforts 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, where a person's farm lay 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. 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 99 

Township 113, range 33 (BaiidoQ). The first claim in this 
township was filed by John Kagaiu on October 5, 1867, section 20. 
1876 — Iver Jeremiason, 22; Iver Iverson, 22; ToUef Pederson, 
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 KeUy, 12; 
Paul H. Knudson, 14; Andrew Dahlquist, 14. 1878— Gunenia 
Peterson, 2 ; Peter Pederson, 2 ; Ole Knudsen, i ; Patrick Cronin, 
4; Jeremiah Desmond, 6; John Desmond, 6; Hans Carlson, 10; 
Karl Oleson, 10; Hans Gumpolen, 34; Ole Eriekson, 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 ; Marthinus Johanson, 
28. 1882— Patrick Cronin. 1883— Hans Carlson, 10; John Mc- 
Cabe, 20. 1885— Peder Nestande, 2; Erick EUeword, 10; Arthur 
Gribben, 20. 

Township 113, rangi 34 (Birch Oool^) . The first claims were 
filed in 1861. Francis 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 afteV'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 McConnell, 33 ; William 
Tracy, 34. 1868— Frederick Blume, 18 ; John Conlon, 20 ; Henry 
J. Whitcher, 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 Burch. 6; John R. Weimer, 15; 
George Buery, 30, 31; Fred 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; Christi'an Blume, 18; 
George McCuUock, 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— 
Marcus Martin,- 4 ; Heir of John Mauley, 4 ; Peter Henry, 8 ; Owen 
T. Tnbbs, 11; Michael Brick, 22; James Leary, 24; Jeremiah 0. 
Keefe, 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 ; Samuel J. Comstock, 30 ; Wil- 
liam Tracy, 34. 1876— Robert Jones, 20; Michael Ragen, 24; 
David Shore, 24. 1877— Michael Toole, 34. 1878— John Carr, 8 ; 
James Carr, 8 ; John Drury, 14 ; Wesley Drury, 14. 1879-T7ohn 
Landy, 24. 1880 — John Jones, 8; James Head, 14; John 



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100 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

Desmond, 24. 1882— "William H. Jewell, 22. 1883— Michael 
Ryan, 6. 

Towmbip 112, rai^e 34 (Birch Oooley). The first claims iu 
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 Weeman Kawertewin, 6. The first claim after the Massa- 
cre was filed on November 10, 1862, by Mary S. Bobertaon, in 
section 6. 1865— John Anderson, 13. 1868— Nelson C. Frazier, 
3. 1869— John Klensler, 12, 1. 1870— Truman H. Sherwin, 4, 
Edward Kleinechmidt, 11, 12, 14; Holder Jacobus, 12. 1871— 
Maltris Persen, 1; David D. Prazier, 4; Hobart B. Jackson, 10; 
Peter Lahlte, 12; Clemens Tredbar, 12. 1873— Even J. Trana, 2; 
Ole Johnson, 2; Sevald Iversen, 2; Iver Iverson, 2j William H, 
Post, 10. 1875:— Engebret Olson, 10 ; Hellick Anderson, 12. 1876 
— Johan Raisanan, 6. 1877 — Moses J. OrifBn, 5. 

Towtubip 116, range 32 (Bnxdcfteld). 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, 1865, section 13; Walter Q. 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— Chaa. 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 
£!errand, 26 ; Thomas 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; 
Bartinus 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 ; Dugal N. Mc- 
Call, 33; Neil J. MeCall, 33; Edwin A. Kuiskem, 33; Preston 
Souther, 33; Julia D. Graham, 35. 1878— William A. Butler, 27; 
Thomas F. Deming, 28; John Hendriclt, 31; Southard E. Cool- 
idge, 31; Joseph Ashbaugh, 34. 1879— Nelson N. Shater, 24; 
Dugal il. McCall, 33; Walter B. Graham, 34. 1880— Abner Daily, 
18 ; John Doyle, 30. 1883— George B. Peaeoijk, 25 ; Thomas Sim- 
mons, 2o ; William B. Chandler, 25 ; Nath^i C. Potter, 27 ; Hugh 
B. Cannon, 31 ; Arnold Gates, 31 ; Preston Souther, 33 ; Clark Me- 
Bwen, 35; Robert T. Whitnall, 35. 1884— John L. Farber, 8. 
188&— Thomas M. Paine, 15 ; Charles H. Davis, 17. 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 101 

Township 116, range 31 (Boon Lako). The first claim was 
filed in 1856 by George M. Michael in section 34. In 1861, V. P. 
Kennedy and M. B. Rudisill took claimB in sections 7 and 8, and 
no other claim was filed until after the Massacre. The first one 
after the Massacre was filed in 1864 hy William Fremming in sec- 
tion 13. 1865 — Francis R. Maxwell, 4; Augustus T. Perkins, 4; 
Wm. E. Merrill, 8, 9; E. U. Russell, 29; Ira S. Shephard, 28, 33. 
1866— B. G. BrowTi, 2; Ezra Cornell, 6; James C. Hodgdon, 20; 
Joseph B. Drake, 27 ; Hattie L. Baker, 28, 34. 1867— Avery W. 
Chase, 2; Charles T. Barkuloo, 6; G. K. Gilbert, 10; Albert Mar- 
quardfi. 12; Gottlieb Kredritz, 14; Carl Bohn, 14. 1868— Martin 
Smandt, 4; Henry Albert Schultz, 12. 1 869— Ithaitier Hogue, 2; 
Charles Eggart, 12; Albert W. Potter, 18; Ira L. Gleason, 18; 
James C. Hodgdon, 20; Frederick Wilbreight, 24; George R. 
Green, 32; George A. GiflEord, 34. 1870— Ann M. Kinney, 10; 
Martin Lohrens, 12; Chrlstof Girchow, 14; August Seitilt, 14; 
Martin Mittwer, 22; John Rodman, 24. 1871— Hattie A. Wal- 
dron, 8 ; Heury C Kuhlinann, 14 ; Orrin Hodgdon, 18 : George D. 
Potter, 18; Ludwig Rannow, 22; William McLaughlin, 22; C. F. 
Eggert, 24; George D. Stoddard, 24; John Guthcridge, 26; Henry 
T. White, 26; George S. Eduer. 26; James W. Post, 30: James 
Chapman, 30; Walter 0. Simmons, 30; Mary Mogarty. 34. 1872 
— Owen Carrigan, 22; James Carrigan, 22; George L. Wilson, 24; 
Alonzo P. Briggs, 26; Warren 1). Graham. 28; William Phare, 
28; William S. Pierce, 30; .Tames McKeongh, 30; Thomas Den- 
ning, 30; David Graham. 30; John H. Tyson, 30; Timothy Mc- 
Keongh. 30; Moses T. Ridont, 32; Lucy H. Case, 32; Samuel T. 
Green, 34. 1873— Ernest D. Kirst, 14; August Heinke, 14; Elnora 
A. Potter, 18; John G. Bogar, 20. 1874— August Kressin. 2; A. 
Leopold Pfeil, 10; Fred Strei. 10; Mary Kerrigan, 22. 1875— 
Frederick Liuser, 24; Soreu Peterson, 24; Heinrieh Scliewe, 24; 
William A. Robbins, 28. 1876— Joseph I. Farrar, 26. 1S77— Lud- 
wig Lohrenz, 19; Adolph Lohrenz, 19; Michael Brazel, 25; John 
Rice, 35. 1878— Thomas E. Richard, 19; Daniel Weinkanf. 25; 
John MeLaughliu. 27. 1879— Henry B. Palms, 7; Elisha G. Deni- 
8on, 19; Nelson H. Shafer, 19; Andrew Jacobson, 25; John Good- 
man, 35; Charles H. Sullivan, 35; William J. Sullivan. 35. 1880 
—Charles D. McEwen, 31; Charles E. Sheppard, 34. 1883— Gib- 
son Richards, 19; Christian J. Skodt, 25; Edgar I). Kinney, 27; 
Maggie Hogarty, 27; Michael Carrigan. 27; Maggie Smart, 31; 
George Maddock, 31 ; George W. Hall, 35. 1882— Bowman C. Mc- 
Ewen, 31; Howard L. McEwen, 31. 1884— George Bradford, 19; 
William J. Newell, 27. 1885— Hugh Carrigan, 27. 

TownBhip 113, range 36 (Beaver Falls). The first claims on 
this township were filed by Mary Renville, April 23, 1861, section 
12; Mary Martin, October 28, 1861, section 13; Sophia Renville, 
April 23, 1861, section 22; Mary S. Robertson, April 23. 1861, 



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102 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

section 22; Martha C. Robertson, April 1, 1861, section 27. 1862 
—Isaac Renville, 20 ; Mary S. Robertson, 26. 1863 — August Lin- 
derinan, 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 Ahrena, 11; William 
Cowan, 12; Piederich Wichmann, 11; Nathan D. White, 18; John 
Dagen, 24; Albert Dagen, 24; Fred Blume, 25. 1871— Albert 
Schafer, 1; Francis B. Hall, 4; Jane S. Greely, 6; Thomas H. 
Risinger, 8 ; Lycurgus Hall, 9 ; Marlow S. Spicer, 11 ; Henry 
Blume, 13; John S. 0. Honner, 19; Homer Smith, 21; Henry 
Carstens, 24. 1872— William Hall, 4; Nora Swift, 10; Chris- 
topbur Burch, 10; Russel Butler, 12; John A. Bush, 13; Andrew 
Hunter, 23; John Arnott, 25. 1873— Joseph Rourke, 2; David 
Ferguson, 2 ; Joseph Carruth, 2 ; Darby Rourke, 2 ; William Hall, 
4; Frederick Haviland, 4; Gegrge W. Sargent, 4; William Beck- 
mann, 6; Clark W. Corey, 6; Walter Clift, 7; Jasper Fischer, 7; 
Marlow S. Spicer, 10; Joseph Kartak, 10; Mike Scheffler, 12; 
Friederick Starch, 12; William H, Davis, 18; Frederick H. Homei- 
er, 24; Andreas Pregler, 24. 1874 — Andrew Sandborn, 4; Andrew 
Johnson, 4; John Lappin, 24. 1875 — Joseph Zeis, 6; Myran C. 
Brace, 18. 1877— Jonas Salabury, 20. 1878— Jonathan H. Bux- 
ton, 10; Albert H. Bishop, 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. 

Towmilip 115, range 34 (Bird Island). The first claims filed 
in this township were in 1874: April 7, 1874, Charles Humboldt, 
6; December 23, 1874, Benjamin Feeder, 14; November 10, 1874, 
Marion Boyer, 28; October 6, 1874, Thomas W. Gage, 30. 1875— 
Calvin Boyer, 28. 1876— Jonas E. Barker, 8; James M. Bowler, 
24; Nicholas O'Brien, 26; John Mcintosh, 8. 1878— Benjamin 
Feeder, 2 ; Jonas B. Lambert, 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. ^880— Heirs of Edward Bowler, 2 ; Harlow D. Jackson, 20 ; 
James Curren, 30; Charles Humboldt, 6. 1881 — John Engstrom, 
2 ; Nettie C. Weems, 2 ; Alice L. Hiekcox, 2 ; John J. Stearns, 4 ; 
Patrick Cully, 10. 1882— John Neater, 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 Wolff, 20; William Morse, 18; Dennis 
Deaay, 10; Selma Lawdon, 4. 1884 — Byron H. Gates, 6; John 
Engstrom, 12. 1885— Arnold Jaekson, 32. 

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



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 103 

by Eaten Baeken, section 8, in 1872. 1873 — John Johnson, 18; 
John Gist, 30. 1876— Albert E. Kinne, 18. 1877— Aubrey M. 
Knight, 2, 6, 10; Job J. Pratt, 30. 1878— James McLaren, 4,. 6, 
14 ; Lewis P. Larson, 28 ; Edward C. Bakan, 28 ; ToUef Olsen, 28 ; 
James Mattson, 28 ; Jacob Olsen, 32 ; John Smith, 32. 1879— Sam- 
uel P. Ralsen, 26. 1880— Peder Eberhardtsen, 18; Charles B. 
Gordon, 20; George F. Miksch, 26. 1881— Clans A. Baeken, 18; 
Franklin A. Gordon, 20; Albert Dagen, 24; Martin J. Mattison, 
26 ; Lars L. Otnes, 34 ; Hans S. Andraa, 34. 1882— Mads 0. Kul- 
tom, 20; Halstein F. Otos, 34. 1883— Frederick Shaller, 22; Mar- 
greth Sugmyi, 22; Gulbrand Chris Jansen, 28; John McKinley, 
32. 1884— -TohannGrabow, 20;Nil8TenglesonGrenson, 26. 1885 
— Samming Karlsen, 28; Ingebor J. Heimdahl, 30; Henry S, 
Crooks, 32. 

Township 112, range 33 (Damp). The first claims in this 
township were filed in 1861 : William R. Laframboise, 22 ; Thom- 
as A. Robertson, 22, 23 ; George Guin, 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 Z»hn, 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 01 
son, 26 ; Mathies 0. Lee, 26, 27 ; John 0. Lee, 26 ; Andrew Ladson, 
26 ; Johan Halin, 27 ; Johanna Gustav Lottie, 34 ; John J. Enger, 
34. Ole 0. Nesburg, 35 ; Maria Tesrow, 36. 1874— Antres Anter- 
son, 4 ; Christian Christopherson, 10 ; Torge Torgeson, 10 ; Thomas 
Devanah, 12; Daniel O'Neil, 12; Albert Wiehr, 13; Amund A. 
Berger, 13; John Gannon, 13; Thomas Koran, 14; William Foley, 
14; Peder Pederson, 20; Andrew 0. Hatlestad, 22; Nelse 0. Berge, 
23; Mathies 0. Hagestad, 23; Charles Skuttle, 23; Laurits H. 
Rund, 24; Erik G. Melvold, 24; Hans 0. Gresmaen, 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 Ellissen, 14. 1880— 
Louis J. Enger, 25. 1881— Margaret Foley, 14; Ole J. Dale, 23; 
Anders H. Bergley, 26 ; Peder Nelson, 27 ; Ole Jaeobsen Stensven, 
35., 1882— Pettcr Gunderson, 13. 



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104 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COrNTY 

Township 112, range 32 (Cairo). The first clsims in this 
township were filed by Mary Mumford, 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 
Buehrer (BuehoT Buehrot), 22, 23. 1864^Bapti8te Freynur, 31. 
1866— William Mills, 34 and 35. 1869— Adam Rieke, 35. 1870— 
Merritt J. Haines, 10; Abram Culver, 14; Rensselaer Barton, 20; 
George Rieke, 26. 1871— Gardner Tibbits, 10; Chas. A. Grow, 
10; Victor Rieke, 26; William Rieke, 26; Joseph Lebarou, 28; 
Samuel Marsh, 28; Anos G. Root, 29, 32; Wm. 0. Root, 32; Len- 
nigs W. Root, 32. 1872— William Emerick, 10 ; Mason Philips, 
18; Jay H. Philips, 18; Squire Lamphier, 18; Urial Tibbits, 28; 
August Rieke, 34. 1873 — Amos Rolfe, 4; John Carson, 4; James 
O'Hara, 6; Alonzo R. Gleason, 12; Harrison Hadley, 12: Taliesin 
Williams, 14; Torkel Evensen, 18; Hans Evensen, 19; Zuirglius 
B. Pierce, 19; Christian Vogt, 20; Miranda Staats, 22; Chas. S. 
Ejiapp, 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 Cavin, 6; 
Henry W, Dodge, 8; James Drake, 14; Andrew Thompson, 19; 
Casper Hansen, 19; Datis Rector, 20; Thomas Olsen. 20; Chas. 
H. Nixon, 22; George R. Orcult, 29; Marcus M. Burk. 29: Ole 
Olsen, 29; Jakob Pederson, 30; Olai Nilson, 30; Nelson S. Read, 
30; Martin Jenson, 30. 1875— Hugh Carson, 6; Edmond O'Hara, 
8; Nils Peterson, 8; Sophia Bengston, 12; Herman Reinke, 24; 
Hughgo Worthington, 24; Wilhelm Sell, 24. 1876— Carl Bleck, 
2; Rudolph Paschke, 2; John N. Palmer, 2; Chas. Dieter, 12; 
Marguerite Hopper, 22; Otto Kieeker, 24. 1877 — James O'Hara, 
6. 1878— August Bleck, 2 ; John Welch, 8 ; George F. Thane, 14. 
1879— John Hanson, 2. 1881— Adam S. Cristman, 32; ilai-y M. 
Hopkins, 34. 1883— Daniel O'Neil, 6. 1884— Frederick Stew- 
art, 31. 

Township 116, range 36 (Emmet). The first claim was filed 
1872 by George Ott section 30. 1873— Loana O'Brien, 8; Francis 
M. Crawford, 18 ; Lunneaus M. Williams, 18 ; NeUon W. Brooks, 
18; George D. Wilcox, 20; Griffith S. Williams, 22; General L. 
Dodge, 28, 30; Samuel Burnell, 28; James P. Okins, 32; Everett 
Wadsworth, 32; Loren A. Brooks, 32. 1874^-Thomas Foster, 8; 
Johnston Lowrey, 24. 1875 — John Dunican, 32 ; Mary Schultz, 
34. 1876 — Adolph Bierman, 6 ; Gunder Johnson Lee, 10 ; Deidrick 
Brummer, 20; Charles Pickthorn, 20; Carl Eannenburg, 26. 
1877— Ole Haason, 4 ; John W. Wiley, 18 ; Henrick Frendenthal, 
20; John Garvay, 22; Patrick Coulahan, 28; Catharine Dunican, 
32. 1878 — Charles Rathbone, 4; Peder Johnson, 4; John h. 
O'Brien, 6; John Cole, 6; Ole Siminson, 10; Wilhelm Zachou, 
12; Dorotha Nacke, 14; Carl Hannemann, 26; Henrietta Rob- 
child, 26; Albert Rosehild, 26. 1879— John Gunderson Lee, 10; 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 105 

Frederick Standfurt, 14; ■William Yoek, 14; Juliua Denzin, 14; 
August Kaatz, 14 ; Sven Samuelson Oatgarden, 18 ; Ellen A. Mul- 
downey, 20; Peter FoxKoven, 20; Gottlieb Schindel, 24. 1880— 
Michael Schindel, 2; Alfred Symes, 6; George Benuison, 6; 
Carles Zaehou, 12 ; Hopley R. Tibbitte, 18 ; Howard JI. Tibbitts, 
18; John Warner. 22; Frederick Kramin, 24; James Daly, 28; 
WiUiam Powera, 32; Johann Schmidt, 34; John Jena, 34. 1881 
— David Benson, 6; Pctter Pederson, 8; Ferdinand Droheiin, 12; 
Paul Husaock, 22. 1882— Frederick Wieland, 2 ; Frederick Lenz, 
10; Carles Hagedurn, 12; Carl Reetz, 22; Timothy Muldowney, 
28 ; Gottfried Grabou, 28 ; Hans Bottge, 30. 1883— Reiner Mickel- 
sou, 4; Wilhelinina Zachou, 12; Joseph Branick, 34. 1884 — Hans 
Hogenson Nes, 10 ; James Foster, 20 ; Robert McKinley. 22. 1885— 
Carl Carlson, 4; Frederick W. Kottke, 24; Frederick Buteiihoff, 
26 ; Barthold Bruramer, 30. 

Township 116, nuig« 37 (Erickson). The first claims in this 
township were filed by Paul KilH on Hay 21, 1873, section 20; 
by Tolef Torgerson, July 12, 1873. section 22; by Anton 0. 
Gerde, June 7, 1873, section 28; by Martea P. Diistrude. June 10, 
1873, section 28; by Hans Larseii, September 17, 1873, section 30; 
by Peter Hanson, May 24, 1873, section 32. 1874— .Alagloire Robi- 
douz, 24. 1875— Die Hansen, 32. 1877— Aubrey M. Knight, 2; 
James H. Wilson, 8; Ole Frederickson. 34. 1878 — James 
McLaren, 2 ; David L. Howe, 4 ; Frans Engbretson, 20 : Peder 0. 
Gerde, 20; Iver Hanson, 28; John Severson, 28: Petei' Peterson, 
28 ; Ole Johansen, 30 ; Hans Larsen, 30 ; Peder O. Dos- 
seth, 30; Halvor H, Skonbeig. 32; Henry Paulson, 32; 
Ragnild Wolstad, 32; Peter Gulbrandsen, 32; Karen O. 
Kolberg, 34. 1879— Ole Helgeson Fyre, IS; Hans Han- 
son, 22 ; Christian Christofferson, 22 ; Martin Jaeobsen, 22 ; 
Lars 0- Milsten, 22; Iver Thompson, 22: Christian Evenson, 26; 
Peder Flanvien, 26; Ole G. Knestang, 26; Anders Gulbrandsen, 
26 ; Charles 0. Gerde, 28 ; Eli Erieksen, 30 ; Iver Olsen, 30 ; Eber- 
hart Pederson, 34; Ole Olson, 34. 1880 — Georgia L. Volengen, 
18; Severt Oleson, 18; Eriek 0. Jerdee, 20; Olef Christianson, 34. 
1881 — Andrew Erickson, 14; Alphonse Gaird, 24; Gabriel 
Osniundson, 26. 1882 — .John Hanson Snelling, 14; Tosteii H. 
Wolstad, 14; Erick Hanson, 14; Anders A. Skjefte. 18: Anders 
Lerohl, 18 ; Christian Christofferson, 22 ; John Bredesou, 22 ; 
Louis G. Brisbois, 24; Joban S. Oiesen, 26. 1884 — Peter Sever- 
aen, 28; Charles Gerde 28. 1885— Finger L. Strand, 14. 

Township 114, range 36 (Flora). The first claim in this town- 
ship was filed on November 6, 1861, by Friedrich Stolz in section 
35. No other claim was filed until after the massacre. The first 
claims after the massacre were filed in 1864": Conrad Becker, 
18 ; Michael Gess, 18 ; heirs ot Paul Kitzman, 19 ; Henry Dryer, 
35. 1865— William Ingalls, 22. 1866— Anna Lassen, 33. 1867— 



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106 HISTORY OF BENVILLE COUNTY 

James W. Graves, 7, 18. 1869— Edward T. Tillotson, 19, 20. 1872 
—Robert W. Davie, 30 ; Henry Engerman, 32 ; Henry Tinnis, 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 Beekendorf, 20; Emil 
Framm, 24; Joaehira Ahrendt, 24; Joseph Fisher, 28; Christian 
Schaf er, 28. 1875— David Brown, 8 ; Oscar J. Shipley, 12 ; Gub- 
tavus Wanger, 14; Philip Williams, 18; Margaret Bean, 20; Louis 
Sehafer, 28. 1876— John O'Brien, 8; James O'Brien, 8; Ferdi- 
nand Droheim, 8 ; August Uhlig, 22 ; Fred Stencamp, 22 ; Herman 
H. Hachman, 22; John Ahrendt, 24; Friedrich Schmidt, 24; 
Heinnich Kuck, 34. 1877 — Matthias Duniean, 4; Fritz Buck- 
boltz, 14; Henry Thompson, 18; George M. Frey, 20; John Fos- 
ter, 22; William Prodohl, 22; Charles Strong, 27. 1878— Bridget 
Duniean, 4; Elias Scott, 7; Ferdinand Beltz, 8; James H. Mur- 
phy, 10; William Pfaender, 19; Theodore Schoning, 24; Fred- 
erick Fritz, 26; Julius Biielkrenz, 28. 1880— Thaddeus S. Hatth- 
away, 22 ; Emil Schoning, 24 ; Henry Sehafer, 24 ; James J. Chris- 
tie, 26 ; Leopold Wohlraan, 28. 1882— August Ranschke, 2 ; Johan 
Grabow, 10. 1883— Thomas Lowrey, 2; Charles Schaffer, 19. 
1884— Carl Laske, 4 ; John Foster, 27. 

Township 113, nm^ 36 (Flwa). The first claims in this town- 
ship were filed 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 filed by Adam 
PfeifFer on July 29, 1864, sections 1 and 12". 1865— Heirs of 
Wilhelm Schmidt, 2; Charles Lauer, Jr., 12. 1866— John 
Schaef er, 1 ; Catharine Falkel, 2 ; Anna Lassan, 4 ; Carl Simondet, 
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 Gaffney, 3. 1873 — Andrew 
Brandon, 2. 1875— Joseph Brown, 1. 1876— John Mcintosh, 2. 
1879— John Schaefer, 1. 1880— Celia McCormick, 12. 

Township 116, nuige 38 <Havi£ Creek). The first claim in 
this township was filed on November 29, 1861, by Joseph SehaPEer 
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 were filed in 1867 : Antoine 
Young, 28. 1868— Louis Kope, 21. 1869^oseph Marsch, 21 
22, 27; Maglidore Robideans, 27. 1870— Christian Oleson, 5; 
Olavies Hanson, 19; Peter Castine, 35. 1871— Benjamin F. 
Ingalls, 18 ; Hans Thorsen, 18, 19 ; Ole Olson, 26 ; Holston H. 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; 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 107 

Lewis Kope, 20; Halver Halverson, 22; Hans Hansen, 22; Die 
Evenson, 22; Halsten H. Otis, 22; Halver Halgerson, 24; Peter 
EricksoD, 24; Andreas Anderson, 26. 1874 — Lars Hendrickson, 
2; Hendrick Anderson, 2; John Hendrickson, 2; Olof Erickson, 
2; Hendrick Erickson, 2; Simon Johnson, 4; Paul C, Peterson, 
4; Benjamin N. Bjoraa, 4; heirs of Tollef Johnson, 4; Carl 
Jansson, 6; Magnus Anderson, 6; Haagan Olson Agre, 10; Peter 
C. Peterson, 10; Karenus Olson Agre, 10; Nils Johnson, 10; Henry 
Henriekson, 12; Adam Jacobson, 14; John Lof, 14; John Ring- 
berg, 14; Lars Johnson, 14; Elias Erickson, 14; Peter Young, 18; 
Hans Christian Christianson, 22 ; Nils Olson, 24 ; Ole Hendrickson, 
24; Bertha Stener Jensen, 26; 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- 
BOn, 6; Phebe A. Stowe, 8; Green R. Mulford, 8; Ole Mathiasson, 
10; H. Hendrick Skoyberg, 10; Paul Gudbranson, 10; George 
Bachman, 20; Bernt Hogensen, 24; Helge H. Goodlie, 24; Eettel 
0. Bergan, 26. 1876— Harry Oleson, 24 ; Hendrick Eliasson, 24. 
1877 — Andrew Carlsson, 12; Andrew Hendrickson, 12; Johana 
Hansen, 22. 1878— Engebret Hansen, 8 ; Nele Elfaon, 8 ; Ole Garst- 
8on, 12 ; Gutaf Oleson, 12 ; Melker Egborn, 12 ; Andrew C. Hansen, 
12; Amt Johan Arntsen, 12; Thomas Sturm, 20. 1879— Nils 
Henriekson, 2; Anders G. Rude, 2; Henry Wilson, 5; Peder 
Simonsen, 8; Christian Predriekson, 18; Johanna Behnert, 20; 
Ole P. OlBon, 26. 1880— Nils Anderson, 10; Joseph Meyer, 17; 
Hans Hansen, 22. 1882— Christopher Hanson, 18. 1884— Peter J. 
Myre, 1 ; Anders G. Rund, 1 ; Halver Gregerson, 15; Ole Aslaksen 
Idegarden, 25. 

Township 114, range 38 (Hawk Cre^). The first claims in 
this township were filed on July 20, 1868, by Francis Stay in 
section 1 and by David Carpenter in sections 1 and 2, November 
9. 1868. 1870— Peter Caatine, 2. 1871— Lewis G. Brisbois, 2. 
1879— Paul Peterson, 1, 12. 

Township 116, range 32 (Hectw). The first claim was filed in 
1873 by Elijah Houck in section 2. 1874— Charles A. Hamiseh, 
30. 1875— Morris B. Foster, 26. 1876— John J. CTarkby, 2; Hen- 
drik J. Bloemendal, 34. 1877— Augustus Brandt, 30; Julian S. 
Rowley, 32; James C. Edson, 34. 1878— Allen Parks, 2; John 
Baker, 2; Samuel S. Kline, 4; Flauel N. Baker, 10; Oscar H. 
Baker, 14; John R. Butler, 20. 1879— Thaddeus S. Benson, 10; 
Charles H. Laraphier, 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 ; George W. Leasman, 22 ; Peter Prelvitz, 
26; August Prelvitz, 26. 1882— Chancy Bobbins, 2; Joseph 
Harris, 18 ; Samuel U. Hatten, 18 ; William C. White, 22 ; Charles 
Leasman, 24. 1883— Gustav Wolff, 18; James C. Edson, 34. 



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108 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

1884— Samuel Leighty, 6; John B. Perkins, 30; Gustavus C. 
Sehmalz, 32. 

Town^p 114, range 35 (Henryvills). The first claims in this 
township were filed by James S. Chapman on August 18, 1869, 
section 34; and James W. Butler on November 5, 1869, section 35- 
1870— Thomas Barkey, 34; Oscar Hodgson, 34. 1871— George 
Nicholson, 23; James O'Neil, 26; James O'Neil, Jr., 27; Robert 
Nicholson, 27; Carl Haltz, 33; John O'Neil, 26. 1872— David E. 
Smith, 30; Henry J. Seely, 32. 1873^John J. Schoregge, 2; 
Jacob Krell, 18; John Swoboda, 18, 28; John Nicholson, 23; 
Patrick Barkey, 27; Friend S. Kinney, 30; Wenzel Swoboda, 
32; Joseph Kartak, 32. 1874— John Morgan, 12; Anthony Par- 
rell, 24; Joseph C. More, 32. 1875— Miles Sheerin. 6; Patrick 
O'Neil, 22; Dennis Morris, 22; Anthony Garrity, 22; Michael 
Holden, 26 ; James Holden, 26 ; Thomas Nemitz, 28 ; Joseph Sharp, 
32; Eliiah E. Comstock, 32; William O'Neil, 34; heirs o£ Charles 
O'Neil (deceased), 34. 1876 — John Morgan, 12; George J. Nich- 
olson, 23 ; George Brown, 24 ; Frank M. Carlson, 30. 1877— Gus- 
tavus MeClure, 30; John Kelly, 22; James Barkey, 22; Anna W. 
Casey, 28. 1878— John J. Schoregge, 2; Henry Schoregge, 10; 
August Zaske, 18; Michael Gobbish, 22. 1879— Heirs of Barney 
Cunningham, 24; James C. Doyle, 30. 1880 — Owen Heany, 14; 
Michael Heany, 14. 1881 — Lawrence Bouda, 21 ; James Barkey, 
22. 1883— Mary Dworshak, 4; Frank Bouda, 4. 1884— John T. 
Kelly, 24; Michael Garrity, 24; Joseph Zeta, 33. 1885— Wilhelm 
Kuglin, 20; Jonas J. Bickel, 20; Fred Hopp, 20. 

Township 116, range 34 (Kingman). The first claim in this 
township was filed by C. H. Pettit August 2, 1866, section 25. 
1869— P. D. Hunt, 2; George B. Wright, 6, 8, 14, 20; Dudley K. 
Johnson, 22. 1877— Aubrey M. Knight, 6, 10; Jsaac Mar.\, 24. 
1878— James McLaren, 14. 22 ; Henry N. Jones, 20 ; Erastus Pouch, 
26; John Pfeiffer, 30; Sullivan Adams (guardian), 34. 1880— 
Wallace M. Holbrook, 24. 1881— Seth T. Salter, 20. 1882— Adel- 
bert N. Wilson, 20; Isaac B. Porter, 24. 1883.— David Coons, 20; 
David Guptil, 30; John Brooten, 32. 1884— Samuel Anderson, 4; 
John Pfeiffer, 30 ; Sullivan Adams, 34. 

Township 116, range 33 (Melville). The first claim was filed 
in this township on December 22, 1876, by James M. Bowler, in 
section 18. 1877— Ferdinand Steffen, 18. 1878— Jessie S. Bean, 
4; Charles E. Mattison, 18; Newton G. Poor, 18; Dora J. Califf, 
18; Amon McMullen, 32. 1879— George H. Megquier, 6. 1880— 
Lehn Hinds, 4; Norman Hiekok, 8; George H. Raitz, 24. 1881— 
Henry Hippie, 6; Matthew S. Rouse, 10; Philip Kirehner, 20; 
Ferdinand Wolfl[. 20; Hermund Olson, 20; Frank Garske, 26; 
Peter 0. Hoagsted, 28; Ansmen 0. Hoagsted, 34. 1882— Joseph 
Daily, 12 ; Sweny L. Tinnes, 32. 1883— Edwin W. Wolff. 8 ; Edwin 
B. Wolff, 32; Ole 0. Evensen, 34. 1884— Harriet G. Megquier, 6; 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 109 

heirs of Sarah L. Tillotson, 6; Henry Hedtka, 14; Jacob Wiehl, 
14. 1885 — Andrew Vikingson, 30; Alexander Anderson, 30. 

Towiuhip 114, range 33 (Martintborg). The first claims in 
this township were filed July 2, 1873, by William Chalk in sec- 
tion 20, and by Thomas Torbenson 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, 18 ; Oliver L. Fellows, 30 ; James Hanna, 32. 
1879— Johannes Borieson, 30. 1880— William Brown, 28. 1881 
— Samuel Gilbertson, 6 ; Eli Stone, 8 j Luna W. Benson, 14 ; John 
W. Bartel, 14 ; William Callahan, 14 ; Martin Mathison, 18 ; Hal- 
fuerd Olson, 20; Johannes Ameson, 20; John B. Mabon, 22; 
Ferdinand Marquardt, 26; Fenner Dodge, 26. 1882— Gilford M. 
Nelson, 12; George Painter, 12; James Tompkins, 30. 1883 — 
Albert Painter, 2; Henry Kohler, 4; Sven Pemson, 10; Kasper 
Macbeldt, 24; Eugene L Dodge, 26; Owen H. Bodgers, 34. 
1884 — Joseph Armstrong, 12 ; Smith Dewers, 14 ; August 
Krieg^r, 26. 

Townaliip 114, range 34 (N<»rfolk). The first claim in this 
township was filed on October 7, 1870, by James 0. Toole, in sec- 
tion 26. 1872— Peter St. Denis, 18. 1873— John W. Perry, 10; 
Darby Hourk, 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 Mahoney, 32. 187&— Calvin G. Hallock, 2; 
Aldin Hassan, 8; George D. Inghram, 20; James Murphy, 34. 
1876-^arae8 White, 6 ; Reinbold Hummel, 6 ; Hiram S. Culver, 
6; Michael Maloney, 18; Orange F. Warner, 20; William H. 
Anderson. 28. 1877 — Francis Wadenspanner, 2; Bose 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. VanOmam, 30; William F. Bowler, 34. 
1879— William Kennedy, 18 ; John Hogan, 28 ; Philip Ryan, 80. 
1880— Timothy Kennedy, 28; Ebenezer CuS, 30. 1881— August 
Femkas, 12. 1882— Waldo GoodeU, 14. 1883— Joseph A. May. 
8 ; Martin Stephens, 30 ; Thomas Butterly, 32. 1884— Peter Hur- 
ley, 24. 1885— Christ Boehme, 10; John 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 
— Anrelius Foss, 6 ; Gertrude Rank, 10. 1868— WUliam Dawson, 
10; Vincent D. Walsh, 14. 1871— Charles 0. Peter, 8; John S. 
Jndd, 12. 1873— Ai Laflin, 2; Jeremiah S. Lillie, 4; Franklin 
Beibe, 12. 1876— Charles M. Stevens, 2; Henry J. Stevens, 4; 



Digili: 



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110 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

James LueaB,Jr., 22; Michael Parrell, 24; James T. Lucaa, Sr., 
32 ; Albertine Wolf, 34. 1877— Charles P. Barnard, 8 ; Michaella 
de Armes Dueras, 8 ; Lacretia P. Barrett, 8 ; James Rinehart, 22 ; 
Elam L. Ferry, 30 ; Charles H. Ferry, 30. 1878-^ame8 McLaren, 
2, 4; Luther Daily, 22; Benjamin F. Lindsley, 24; William Fulton, 
24; Hamlin V. Poor, 30. 1879— Melville A. Slawson, 18. 1883— 
James A. Thom, 10 ; William T. Bower, 32. 1883— Thomas Mar- 
shall, 22. 1884— John A. Viek, 6 ; James M. Hibbard, 28. 1885— 
Charles Kenning, 18 ; Francis M. Daily, 34. 

Township 116, range 31 (Preston Lake). The first claims in 
this township were filed in the years 1856 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 Morrow. 1862 — Lavinia Engle, 4. 
The first claims taken after the massacre were in 1864 : Oliver 
S. Munsell, 25, 26 ; Simon P. Sowers, 26 ; Benjamin 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. Munsell, 25. 1866— John B. Down- 
erand, 1, 6; William S. Jackson, 1, 6; Albert W. Drake, 2; Emma 
L. Munsell, 5, 6, 19 ; James 0. Hatch, 5, 6, 8, 17 ; Hiram H. Davis, 
7; C. W. Munsell, 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. Chilaon, 4, 9 ; David Chilson, 9, 10. 1870— William A. 
Herring, 11 ; Minerva Warren, 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; Elijah Houck, 14; George Reeks, 15; 
Levi H. Bartlett, 28 ; Michael Engel, 30 ; John E. Jones, 32. 1874 
— James A. Washburn, 4; Lyman Carr, 14; Henry P. Bartlett, 
22. 1875— Allison Houek, 14; William Briekey, 18; Amos B. C. 
Douglass, 30. 1876— Francis Maddock, 8 ; Henry L. Hawes, 24 ; 
Gilbert H. Hawes, 24; Curtis Bowen, 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 Qerber, 18; John E. Lewis, 18. 

Townsbip 114, range 33 <FaImyra). The first claims in this 
township were filed in 1873 by Thomas 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 — Aramon Tollifson, 10; Solomon Berg- 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 111 

man, 22 ; Qustaf Anderson, 24 ; Per Anderson, 24 ; Karl Anderson, 
24; George Carney, 32; John B. Anderson, 34; Andrew Jorgen^ 
son, 34. 1877— Lewis J. Tinnes, 6; Sven Iverson Gjerald, 12 
Anton Cbristianson, 14; Alexander Johansen, 14; Ole A. Erick' 
son, 14 ; Torkild Qronnemd, 20 ; Johanes Erikson, 20 ; Carl Hokan' 
son, 22; Swen Ahl, 22; Anton F. Jensen, 24; Johan B. Johanson, 
26; John Anderson, 26; Andrew Larson, 26; Denis Lordan, 32. 
1878 — Lafe Lavesson, 8; Gilbert Matheson, 12; John Pederson, 
20; John Magnus Blad, 22; Analina Anderson, 34. 1879— Ole 
Knutson, 22 ; Torris Jacobson, 22 ; Nelson Reed, 28. 1880— Peter 
Eriekson, 18; John F. Johnson, 24. 1881— Stork Erickaon, 8; 
Carl A. Mork, 10 ; Peter Ericson, 18 ; John A. Johnson, 26 ; Ole 
Halverson, 30. 1882 — Elias M. Ericson, 14; Lorens Eriekson, 20; 
John Oleson, 30 ; Christopher Danielson, 32. 1883-^ohn Peder- 
son, 12; Christian Johnson, 30. 1884— Ole Tinnes, 6. 1885— Ole 
C. Nordskog, 18. 

Township US, ran^ 37 (Saored Heart). The first claim in 
this towusliip was made June 9, 1871, by Ole B. Dahl, section 32. 
1873— Nicholas M. Nelson, 12; William TiUisch, 26; John Hang," 
28 ; Peter G. Peterson, 30 ; Carrie Johanneson, 32 ; Gilbert Syver- 
aon, 32. 1874— Ole P. Rice, 20; heirs of Sophia Peterson, 26; 
Anders Danelson, 34; Peter Sundquist, 34; Lars Johan Berg, 34; 
Nils Nilaon, 34; Hendrick Persson, 34; Erick Eriekson, 34. 1875 
— Hendrick Hendrickson, 6; John Eriekson, 6; Thomas Olson, 
6; Hendrick Olson, 6; Paul Eriekson, 18; Johan W. Rise, 22; 
Ole S. Maurud, 22; August W. Rise, 22; Ingeburd Peterson, 22; 
Stephen Olson, 26; Johan Olson, 26 ; Auders Jonasson, 26 ; Marem 
Anders Hognes, 26 ; Ole Johanesson, 28 ; Embert Einerson. 28 ; 
Jacob GaudmuBOn, 30; Eric Gunderson, 30; Ole Olson, 30. 1876 
— Ole Anderson, 12 ; John Oleson, 14 ; Kari Rise, 20 ; Marn 
Weimer, 22; Ole Sorensen, 24; Christina Lundquiat, 34. 1877— 
Carl Hansen, 2 ; Halvor Hanson, 4 ; Ole Christophson, 6 ; Hendrick 
Hendrickson, 6; James Hanson, 8; Johan H. Nordby, 14; Simon 
Peterson, 14; Brent Christensen, 20; Christian Christcnsen, 20; 
Ole Eriekson, 22; John Bergquist, 22; John M. Holmberg, 24; 
Jones Grand, 24; Carl 0. Holmberg, 24; P. J. Petterson, 24; 
Ole Nelson, 28; Peter Christenson, 30; Christopher Oleson, 30; 
Ole Christopherson, 30; John Sundquist, 34. 1878— Haivtr Chris- 
tensen, 8; Hans 0. Field, 8; Hans Halverson, 8; Knud Olsen Boe, 
10; Abraham Larson, 10; Tobias Hanson, 10; Lars Frederickson, 
10; Charles C. Johnson, 10; Ole S. Ostagaard, 12; Haagan Haa- 
gansen, 14; Ever Gunderson, 18; Paul Eriekson, 18; Anders 
Anderson, 18 ; Erick Johnson, 18 ; John Johnson, 18 ; Andrew 
Halverson, 18; Halver Christensen, 18; Brede Christensen, 20; 
John Peterson, 20 ; Henry Hendrickson, 20. 1879— Gulick Nilson, 
2 ; Enndt Nilson, 2 ; Knud Asmundson, 4 ; Ole Syverson Eng, 8 ; 
B. Hoganson, 18; Joseph Anderson, 24; Paul Eriekson, 24; 



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U2 fflSTOBY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

Frederick Schrader, 26; Ole Olsen, 31; Maria Johnson, 32; Peter 
Osiie, 32; Kittil Qullitikson, 32. 1880— Aslack Asmundson, 4; 
Gunnerius Martinson, 8; Bersvend S. Hagen, 8; Ole Amundsen, 
12 ; Jolin Johnson, 14 ; John 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; 
Finger C'hrietopherson, 4; Ole Syverson Eng, 8. 1885 — Majeatina 
Swanson, 2. 

Township 114, nng^ 37 (SaOTed Heart). The first clfum was 
filed in 1868 by Francis Stay, in section 6. 1870— John 0. Paine, 
12, 13. 1869— Thor Helgeson, 5; Dortus L. Green, 8; Chris- 
tianson Charleston, 8; William F. Van Deyer, 13; Chriatiau Gort- 
ter, 33; Daniel Ames, 24. 1871— Helick Olson, 5; Thomas Olson, 
5 ; Ole B. Dahl. 5 ; Bartel Larson, 6 ; Ole Heliekson, 6, 7 ; Thomas 
Halvorson. 7. 8; Ole S. Reishus, 6. 1872— Samuel Burnell, 12. 
1873 — Herman Halvorson, 4; Christian Christenson, 6; Iver Iver- 
son, 6; German P. Green, 8; Dortus L. Green, 8; Nelson W. 
Brooks, 12; Loanua O'Brien, 14; William Beekman, 14; James 
P. Okens, 14; Charlotte Okens, 14; Alfred P. Hale, 14; John Nor- 
man, 14. 1874— Joune Enestvedt, 10 ; Nellie Enestvedt, 10 ; Wil- 
liam Jansen, 12; Samnel Daniell, 14; Turae Horganson, 22. 1875 
— Gunder Sorenson, 2 ; Thor Sorenson, 2 ; Christian Olson, 2 ; Ole 
Olson, 2 ; John Olson, 2 ; John Beekman, 2 ; Peder Olson, 10 ; 
Phehe Brooks, 12. 1876— Emma Wilson, 2; Nils Christian Emil 
Lilleby, 12 ; James P. Okens, 14 ; Peter Thommesson, 22. 1877— 
Hans Peter Olson LiUejord, 4; Andres Samuelson, 4; Mathiaa 
Samuelson, 4 ; Peter Peterson, 4 ; Lars Erickson, 4. 1878 — Eliza- 
beth Peterson, 2; Annie Lund, 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; Erick Nielson, 24. 1884— Annie Tostenson, 5. 1885— Maria 
Johnson, 5. 

Township 116, range 36 (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 Haley, 26; August Sehendel, 30. 
1879— Paul Seeger, 18; James Heaney, 34. 1880— Jotham W. 
Hodsdon, 14; Wilhelm Reek, 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 Flannegan, 26; Herman Fritz, 32; Fred- 
erick Fritz, 32. 1883— Pear Olson, 2; R. Peter Peterson, 12; 
Michael Glenn, 26 ; Johnston W. Lowry, 30. 1884— Benjamin F. 
Byers, 6 ; Robert Stelter, 18 ; William Sehoregge, 34. 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 113 

Township 113, rmga 32 <W«lliiigtOQ). The first claim on this 
township was filed by Willis W. CouDtryman September 20, 1872, 
section 32. 1873— Denia Cready, 30; William Chalk, 32. 1874^ 
William Pahey, 18. 1875— Marshall Blodget, 2; John Garihy, 32. 
1876— Ellen Maione, 30; John Murphy, 34. 1878— Edward 
Hanna, 6; Ferdinand Hinzman, 14; Au^st Fritz, 14; Patrick 
Fahey, 18; James Larkin, 28; Patrick Larkin, 28. 1881— Albert 
Kiecker, 22; William Caraon, 22; Michael Coleman, 28. 1882— 
Bernhard Hehvig, 12 ; Patrick Larkin, 28 ; Julius Sell, 34 ; Wil- 
helm Maneke, 2; Fritz Maneke, 2; Wilhelm Freyholtz, 24. 1883 
—Karl Hillmann, 10; Julius Kiecker, 10; Peter SchoflEka, 12; Her- 
man Kiecker, 26. 1884^Edward Rodgera, 6; Prediiick Kiecker, 
10 ; James Ruddy, 20 ; Carl Baldwan, 26 ; William Borth, 34. 

Township 116, range 36 (Winfleld). The first claim was filed 
in this township on April 17, 1869, by Christian Michael in sec- 
tion 18. 1870— P. A. Atwater, 18. 1877— Priedrich Zinne, 28; 
Carl Henuing, 30. 1878— Eriek Lindquist, 2; Tidemand Ulrick- 
son, 4 ; Nils A. Nilson, 14 ; Ulrick Julson, 14. 1879 — John Eriek- 
Bon, 2 ; John Snickare, 22. 1880— Jul Ulriekson, 4 ; D. John John- 
son, 22; Palkert Hendricks, 30. 1882— Hans P. OUon, 22; Ole 
Julsen, 24. 1883— Gustav Herrmann, 30; George P. Wilson, 32. 
1884 — Kristina Anderson, 22; John M. Anderson, 26; Emanuel 
Palmlund, 26; Ferdinand Zinne, 28. 1885— Fritz Dietman, 20; 
John Kether, 32. 

Township 116, range 3S (Winfleld). The first claims were 
filed in 1869. Christian Michael, section 18; William Buethe, 
section 32; James T. Knauf, section 34; Peter N. Nyatrom, sec- 
tion 34; Ferdinand Herrmann, section 34. 1870 — F, A. Atwater, 
18. 1877— Friedrick Zinne, 28; Carl Henning, 30. 1878— Eriek 
Lindquist, 2 ; Erick Enckson, 2 ; Tidemand Ulriekson, 4 ; Nils A. 
Nilson, 14; Ulrick Julson, 14. 1879 — John Erickson, 2; John 
Snickare, 22. 1880— Jul Ulriekson, 4; D. John Johnson, 22 j 
Palkert Henricka, 30. 1882— Hans P. Olaon, 22; Erik Janson, 22; 
Andro Erickkson, 22; Ulrick Julson, 24. 1883— Gustav Herr- 
mann, 30; George P. Wilson, 32. 1884— Kristina Anderson, 22; 
John M. Anderson, 26; Emanuel Palmund, 26; John Miller, 26; 
Ole Hedberg, 26; Anders Renatrom, 26. 1885— Fritz Dietman, 
20; Carl Henning, 30; John Kether, 32. 

Townibip 11^ 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 Olaen, 33; Andrew E. Rogen, 34; 
Ole Tbomaaon, 2; John Brown, 6. 1874 — Sever Chriatopheraon, 
6. 1875— Edgar Lampman, 4 ; Gilbert Johnaon, 34. 1876— Wil- 
liam J. Smith, 6; Ole Ackerland, 18; Ole Oleson, 18; Lars Eng- 
bretson, 20; Jens Ghristopheraon, 20; Isaac Abrabamson, 20; 
Jacob Hanson, 20; Tver Nystuen, 26; P. A. Stenborg, 26. 1877— 



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114 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

Ole H. Hueebye, 4; Ole H. Holin. 1878— Knbd Anderson, 6; Ole 
ChristophersoQ, 10 ; Hans Johnson, 12 ; Syverth Gattornusen, 14 
Christian Jonsen, 20; Lorutz Peterson, 20; Halvor Sibilnid, 20 
Thomas Henrekson, 26 ; Mathias Magnusen, 32 ; Christian Evan- 
son, 34. 1879— Anders 0. Etton, 4; Chriatopher Hutchins, 6; 
Ingelbreckt Thomson, 8; Hans Anderson, 10; Ole 0. Belaem, 10; 
John Thor, 12; Ole K. Williams, 12; Fosten Olson, 14; Knud 
Ejiudson, 14; Elling Johnson, 14; Christian Arestad, 18; Halvor 
A. Skjoggerud, 20 ; Christian Olsen, 21 ; Lars Qunderson, 22, 
1879— Thomas Christofferson, 22; Christian Toegersen, 28; Ole 
Erickson, 28 ; Charl Pettersen, 28 ; Ole E. Rogn, 28 ; Ole Elefson, 
32; Peter Johnson, 32; Eudre E. Rogen, 34. 1880— Lars J. Fryk- 
lund, 12 ; Eriek Erickson, 12 ; Ole 0. Strand, 12 ; Helge Evanson, 
14; Jens Olson, 22; Andrew Helgeson, 24; Anders Thomason 
Kjersten, 26; Gullick Helgesen, 30; Loruts J. Romoe, 30; Ejiud 
Anderson, 34. 1881 — Thorn Eingbrienson, 8; Andrew Anderson, 
10. 1882— Ole 0. Groo, 4; Ole Nelson, 10; John Peterson, 10; 
Thrond 0. Kattevold, 18; Everet M. Strand, 22. 1883- Andrew 
T. Ellingboe, 4; Thrond I. EUingboe, 4; George C. Heen, 8; Chris- 
topher Gulbranson, 8. 

CHAPTER IX. 

CAUSES OF THE OUTBREAK. 

Early Friendship — Dissatisfaction with Treaties — Unjust Treat- 
ment — Inkpadoota Massacre — Officials Demand that Indians 
Capture Benegwles — Uttle Crow to the Rescue — Delayed ' 
Payments in 1862 — Indians Starving — Stupidity of AgtmA — 
Indians Tnrlralent— March and Shedum to the Resone. 

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 officials 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 will. The French, true to their policy, made 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 115 

friends with the Sioux, and the English followed their example. 
So deep was the friendBhip existing between the Sioux and the 
British that they fought aide by side in the Revolutionary War 
and in the War of 1812. 

With the people of the United States the Sioux were no less 
tolerant, and until the great outbreak they remained faithful 
to the obligations of the treaty they made with Zebulon M. Pike, 
in 1805, with the exception already mentioned of a short period 
during the War of 1812, when the Sioux, knowing little of the 
Americans, and remembering their many obligations to the 
English, took up arras in behalf of the British 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, 
sought 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-tapay 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, Terry by men of the same tribe near Pem- 
bina in 1852; the shooting in October of the latter year of Mrs. 
Keener by Zv-yah-se were offenses in which 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 thai 
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 friendliness was maintained. 
The real causes of the final outbreak were the Treaties of 1851. 
The Sioux did not want to give up their 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 imprisonment on a reservation, the Sioux 
were bowing to the inevitable. 

Probably if the treaties had merely provided for the transfer 
of their lands to the whites for a certain amount and the amount 
had been paid the Indians would have made the best of a bad 
bargain and on their reservations they might as time progressed 
have worked out their own problem. But there were many other 
provisions in the treaties. 

By the treaty of Traverse des Sioux, dated July 23, 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 improve- 
ments. By the treaty of Mendota, dated August 5, 1851, the 



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116 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

McdawakautoDB and Wapakutas were to receive the sum of 
$200,000, to be paid to their chief, and for an improvement fund 
the further sum of $30,000, Annuities were also to be paid for a 
certain mimber 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 the reserva- 
tions. They became dissatisfied, and expressed their views in 
council freely with the agent of the government, 

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

"The complaint which runs through all their councils points 
to the imperfect performance, or non-fulfillment of treaty stipu- 
lations. Whether these were well or ill founded it is not my 
province to discuss. That such a belief prevails among them, 
impairing their confidence and good faith in the government, 
cannot be questioned." 

In one of these councils Jagmani said : "The Indians sold their 
lands at Traverse des Sioux. I say what we were told. For fifty 
years thoy were to be paid $50,000 per annum. We were also 
promised $305,000, and that we have not seen." Mapipa Wicasta 
(Cloud Man), second chief of Jagmani's band, said: "At the 
treaty of Traverse des Sioux, $275,000 were to be paid them when 
they came upon their reservation ; they desired to know what had 
become of it. Every white man knows that they have been five 
years upon their reservation, and have yet heard nothing of it." 
When the treatment of the Indians became widely known the 
government could no longer cover up the matter and decided to 
appoint Judge Young to investigate the charges made against 
the governor, of the then Minnesota territory, then acting, ex- 
ofScio, as superintendent of Indian affairs for that locality. Some 
short extracts from Judge Young's report are here presented : 

"Tile governor is nest charged with 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 wishes and remonstrances of the Indians, and in 
violation of law and the stipulations contained in said treaties; 
and also in violation of bis own solemn pledges, personally made 
to them, in regard to said payments. 

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



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY ■ 1X7 

by the governor, for distribution among the 'traders' and 'half- 
breeds,' according to the arrangement made by the schedule of 
the Traders' Paper, dated at Traverse des Sioux, July 23, 1851." 
(This was the paper which the Indians declared they were told 
was 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 Tyler, 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 abo 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 open council, and soon after they were on their reservations 
provided for them by the treaties. In these matters the report 
shows they were not consulted at all, in open 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 every 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 
diaconnt 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 
aU." 

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



Digili: 



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118 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

evident that the money was not paid to the chiefs, either to the 
SisBeton, Wapaton or Medawakanton bands, as they in open 
council requested ; but that they were compelled to submit to this 
mode of payment to the traders, otherwise no payment would 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 the United States, resulted in "whitewashing" 
the governor of Minnesota (Governor Alexander Ramsey), yet 
the Indians were not satisfied with the treatment they had 
received in this matter by the accredited agents of the govern- 
ment. 

Neither were the Indians satisfied wtih 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 money 
and allowed to do the purchasing themselves. 

Then, too, a certain amount of the money due the Indiana 
each year was devoted to a "civilization fund," that is, for 
agency expenses, erecting agency buildings, paying agents, teach- 
ers, farmers, missionaries and the like, thus making another 
drain on an already small sum. The Indian could 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 poverty, shut off from the rich sweeps 
of laud where he had formerly received his sustenance. 

The action of the government in regard to the Inkpadoota 
massacre, so called, added force to the smouldering dissatisfac- 
tion. The Indians guilty of this tragedy were formerly members 
of Sioux bands, but their own acts, in many cases murder of com- 
panions and relatives, had shut them off from their own people, 
so at the time of the 1857 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 punishment on his own account 
without waiting for the authorities. 

Early in March, 1857, Inkpadoota's band of outlaws stole 
some horses and sleds from some settlers on the Little Sioux river, 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 119 

and on March 8 commenced their awful 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 banks of Spirit lake the affair is usually 
called the Spirit lake massacre. 

March 26 came the massacre at Springfield, in what is now 
Brown county, this state. Inkpadoota, whose force consisted of 
hut twelve fighting men, in addition to women and children, was 
pursued by several companies of soldiers. Many innocent Indians 
were fired upon and maltreated, but Inkpadoota 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 Inkpadoota. This 
command was made on the order of Indian Commissioner J. W, 
Denver. To the stupidity and stubbonmess 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 promptly told 
by Secretary of War Floyd and 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 while 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 capture a small band of twelve men, 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 we 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-jra- 
sha" (skin your own skunk). Thus spoke Chief Red Iron. Super- 
iotendent Collen and Agent Plandrau 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 Minnesota, so that speedy communication 



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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, which Cnllen 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 annmties 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 
wbitea, 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 bands to induce them to 
join him. 

On the eighteenth another council was held relative to the 
expedition against Inkpadoota. Cullen, Flandrau, Special Agent 
Pritchette 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 white troops 
to go. 

The next day, Sunday, July 19, the Lower Indians set out to 
join the Upper Indians at YeUow Medicine, and from that agency 
on the Wednesday following the entire party marched, Little 
Crow in command. Major CuUen sent his interpreter, Antoine 
Joseph Campbell, and three other half-breeds, John and Baptiste 
Campbell and John Mooers, The entire party numbered over 
one hundred men — Major Cullen says one hundred and thirty- 
one; Joe Campbell reported one hundred and six. Major Sher- 
man furnished a wagon laden with provisions, 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 July 28 and found the outlaws. Meanwhile the outlawed 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTV 121 

band had quarreled and separated. Inkpadoota and three other 
warriors, with a number of women and children, had gone far 
to the westward. The other eight fighting men, with nine women 
and thirteen children, had come eastward and encamped at 
Skunk lake, where there were ducks and fish in abundance. They 
occupied 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 
i|imates 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 and 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 whether or not the women and children were killed delib- 
erately. 

Upon the return of Little Crow and his force with the two 
women prisoners, 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 
ordered 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 remainder of Inkpa- 
doota 's band. -The representations and protestations of Super- 
intendent Cullen and of the department's special agent, Major 
Eintzing Pritehette, could not change the unreasonable and stub- 
bom commissioner. Little Crow and party returned to the 
agencies August 3. They and their women and children con- 
tinued to go liungry, as the superintendent 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 without the consent of the Indians as a whole. 

By this treaty the Sioux relinquished their lands 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- 



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122 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

ments on the lands of such of them as should abandon their 
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 annuities 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 which 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 Crow, 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 hence called "blanket Indians," denounced the 
measure as a fraud upon their rights. The chase was then a 
God-given right ; this scheme forfeited that ancient natural right, 
as it pointed unmistakably to the destruction of the chase. 

The treaty of 1858 bad 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 
aide, such as Beaver creek, Sacred Heart, Hawk and Chippewa 
rivers and some other small streams, were flourishing settlements 
of white families. Within this ceded tract, ten rtiiles 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. The county of Brown 
adjoined the reservation, and was, at the time, settled mostly by 
Germans. In this county was the flourishing town of New Dim, 
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, with a few exceptions, all their villages within the 
prescribed limits of the reservation. The Yanktons were on 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 Sissetona 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 Medicine, in the 
region known as the Upper Agency. The Medawakantons and 
the Wahpakootas, the "Lower Agency Indians," had their bands 
along the south bank of the Minnesota, stretching from a little 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 123 

east of Yellow Medicine eastward to some four miles below Ft. 
Ridgelj. 

The sub-band of Shakopee (Six, commonly 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-bands. The old Kaposia village of Little Crow was 
on the south aide of the Minnesota, 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 called 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 Medawakanton band. Near him was the 
village of Wacouta (pronounced Wah-koota, and meaning the 
Shooter), who was now chief of the old Red Wing band. In this 
vicinity was the band of Traveling Hail, sometimes called Pass- 
ing Hail (Wa-au-he-yi-ye-dan). Old Cloud Man was alive, but 
old and feeble, and had turned over the chieftanship to Traveling 
Hail, formerly of Cloiid Man's band of Lake Calhoun; and 
farther down the Minnesota, but along the crest of the high bluflE 
bank was the band of Mankato, who had succeeded his father, 
the historic old Good Road, in the chieftainship of one of the 
prominent old Port Snelling bands. The Wahpakootas were 
reduced to one band, whose chief was Red Legs (Hu-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 
power. Major William J. Cullen, the Democratic Indian super- 
intendent, was removed, and Clark W. Thompson, of Fillmore 
county, was appointed 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 Indiana" were favored and encouraged 
in many ways, and those who were atiil 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. The cut worms had destroyed 
well nigh all the com fields of the Sisaetons, and the same pesta, 
together with the blackbirds, had greatly damaged the. crops of 
the Wahpatona, Medawakantons and Wahpakootaa. Agent Gal- 
braith was forced to buy on credit large quantities of pork and 



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124 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

flour for the destitute Indians. Under the direction of Mission- 
ary Riggs, who lived among them, Agent Qalbraith fed 1,500 
Sissetons and Wahpatons from the middle of December, 1861, to 
April 1, 1862, when they were able to go oflE on their spring 
bunts. He also fed and cared for a number of the 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 were 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 18S7 the payment to the Indians under the treaties 
were made semi-annually. In that year Superintendent CuUen 
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 months before it came; it was a pleasant memory 
for months afterwards. Every beneficiary attended the payment, . 
and many of the Gut Heads and Tanktonnais, that were not 
entitled to receive anything, came hundreds of miles and swarmed 
on the outskirts of the camp, hoping to get something, however 
little, from the stock to be distributed. So there was always a 
big crowd present at the payment and a rare good time. 

The traders always 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 was made in the payment, wliich was invariably the case, 
the balance was promised in cash "at the payment." The traders 
were therefore always present near the pay tables, with their 
books of account, and when the Indian had- received his money 
from the government paymaster he was led over to his trader and 
asked to pay what he owed. The majority of the Indians were 
willing to pay their debts, but there were others who would not 
pay the most honorable debt if they could avoid it ; usually the 
latter class owed 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 Lower Sioux had been paid June 27, and the 
Upper Sioux July 18. On the seventeenth of June the "St. Peter 
Guards," a newly recruited company, which became Company E 
of the Second Minnesota, Captain A. K. Skaro, and the "Western 
Zouaves" of St. Paul, which became Company D of the Second 
Regiment, Captain Horace H. Western, arrived by the steamer 
City Belle at Port Ridgely as its garrison, taking the place of 
Company B, Captain Bromley, and Company G, Captain McKune, 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 125 

of the First Regiment, which compaoies had been stationed at the 
post since May. Captain McKune 's company, however, remained 
at Ridgelj- until July 6. 

About the first of July the Indians began certain demonstra- 
tions indicating that they would make serious trouble if troops 
were stationed at the agencies and near the pay tables during 
the coming 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 was composed of warriors 
that were not chiefs or head soldiers, and who met by themselves 
and conducted all their deliberations and proceedings in strictest 
secrecy. Their conclusions had to be carried out by the chiefs 
and head soldiers. If a war was contemplated the soldiers' lodge 
decided the matter, and from its decision there was no appeal. 
Many otlier 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 resen-ation 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 25 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 Lower Agency until after the payment, 
which passed off quietly. July 3 Major Galbraith again became 
alarmed at the Indian signs and called for a strong force to come 
to YetloH- Medicine. McKune 's company of the First Regiment 
and Skaro's of the Second Regiment were at once started from 
Fort Ridgely, but 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 Yellow 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 the rebellious 
and menacing Indians, chiefly young men and reckless characters. 
The payment at the Upper Agency was without disorder; the 
Indians paid their debts, but some of them were reported as say- 
ing that "this is the last time" they would do so. 

July 23 the two companies of the Second Regiment marched 
back to Port Ridgely. August 13 detachments of both companies, 
imder Captain Western and Lieutenant 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. 



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126 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

About September 1 the Indians at and above Yellow Medi- 
cine became turbiiient and frightened. On the eighth Company 
E, Captain Skaro, was dispatched from Fort Ridgeiy 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 thera and the Yanktonnais 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 about thirty horses that sum- 
mer from Minnesota and Iowa settlers. September 23 Captain 
Skaro left Yellow Medicine for Fort 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 Ridgeiy. 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, Mis- 
sissippi. 

Upon the organization of the Fifth Minnesota Infantry, March 
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 Vander Horck; to Fort 
Ripley, Company C, Captain Hall ; to Fort Ridgeiy, 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 Port Snell- 
ing to Fort Ridgeiy, arriving at the latter post March 25. April 
10 Gere became second lieutenant, and on the sixteenth Captain 
Marsh arrived and assumed command of the post. There were 
then at the fort, in addition to the officers 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 Pemberton when he 
departed for Washington with the last battery organization, in 
February, 1861. 

The Minnesota Indian payments 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 tbem 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- 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 127 

missioner Dole, Superintendent Thompson and Agent Qalbraith 
protested that the payment should be in specie. Not until August 
8 did Secretary 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 charge of C. W, Wykoff, 
E. C. Hatch, Justus C. Ramsey, A. J. Van Vorhees and C. M. 
Daily, and they, with the wagons containing the precious kegs, 
reached Port Ridgely, August 18, 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 back to St. Paul by the parties 
named who had brought it up. 

Meanwhile 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 Qalbraith 
to be informed whether they 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 iu progress between the North and South. The agent said 
the payment would certainly be made by July 20. He then gave 
them some provisions, 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 com. 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 Oalbraith 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 pioneer. 

But the circumstances were much di£Eerent. The pioneer bad 
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 civilization. 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 



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128 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

DC disguising the motive that brought him. He came because 
he expected to be more prosperous here than he had been in the 
place from whence he came. 

The Indian had no such hope. He was not equipped for the 
mode of life that was thrust upon him. He had owned these 
stretches of land. He had lived in contentment. Through the 
chase he had obtained a good living. When he gave up the op- 
portunity of securing his accustomed daily 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 Itept his part of the 
bargain; yet the great government was breaking its part of the 
bargain by every quibble and pretense possible. 

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

There were others, however, who saw that the Indian was not 
adapted to the ways of the whites, and saw only slavery and deg- 
radation in the ways of the farmer Indians, many 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 wliich 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 whites. 

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 Port Ridgely, which, through 



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mSTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 129 

Post Interpreter Quinn, asked Captain Marsh, the 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 aoldiers present at the payment, but they would 
not be used unless there was a serious disturbance of the peace, 
and on no account would 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 snpplies 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 eome to me 
and beg for meat and flour to keep you and your wives and chil- 
dren from starving and I will not let you have a thing. Yon 
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 
shoold 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 by 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 
grounds. 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 Upper 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 moat 
sorely — 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 



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130 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

the Chippewaa slipped down and killed two Sioui within pighteen 
miles of Yellow 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 atone 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 north of the river. 
Their bodies were taken back to their village and exposed in 
public for a whole day. Hundreds of Sioux came 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 country and did not re- 
turn to the reservation until nearly two weeks after the outbreak. 

Certain writers have frequently declared that the outbreak 
was a long meditated and carefully planned movement of the 
Sioux and Chippewas in combination ; that Little Crow and Hole- 
in-the-Day were in constant communication and engaged in pre- 
paring for the uprising for weeks before it occurred. Tbe inci- 
dents given of the tragic events, the homicides, and the fights 
between the two tribes up to the very date of tbe 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 year a brief period 
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 sound 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 payment, to strengthen his forces. On the 
eighteenth Captain Hall ordered Lieutenant T. J. Sheeban, with 
fifty men of Company B of the Fifth Regiment, from Fort Ripley 
to reenforce tbe garrison at Port Ridgely. The Lieutenant and 
his men arrived on the twenty-eighth, 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 Sbeehan and Gere were directed to obey the orders 
of Agent Galbraith and to preserve peace and protect United 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 131 

States property, "during the time ol the annuity payment for the 
present year." Sheehan ranked Gere, and was given command 
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 
absorbing topic. On the eighth a detachment of warriors, 
through Interpreter Quinn, had a lengthy interview with the 
young officers. The Indians said: "We are the braves who do 
the fighting for our people. 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 
yon to keep the traders away from the pay table, and as we are 
now hungry we want you to make us a present of a beef." The 
lieutenant answered that the payment regulations were in charge 
of Agent Galhraith, whose orders 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 tell 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 
was astonished and iklarmed 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 I the payment! The agent asked them reproach- 
fully: "Why have you comet I sent you away and told you not 
to come back until I sent for yon again. I have not sent for 
yon — why have you comet" The Indians replied: "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 Galbraith 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 fiour 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 Oalbraith's perplexities, the presence of a 
large number of Yanktonnais and other non-annuity Indians was 
reported. On the day after his arrival he inspected the various 



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132 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

eamps and found, to his disgust and dismay, that there were 659 
lodges of annuity Indians, 78 lodges of Yanktonnais, 37 of Cut 
Heads, and five of unindentified people, said to be 'Winnebagoes. 
Thert' 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 18, 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 succulent grass, were hun- 
dreds of fat cattle belonging to the settlers and to be bad for 
the killing, and leas than a day's march away were provisioiis of 
other kinds, enough to feed an army, and to be had for the tak- 
ing. Lieutenant Sheehan feared that the strain would not en- 
dure much longer, and sent down to Ridgely and brought up 
another howitzer. Oalbraitb, 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 would 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 
Gnt Heads were ignored. All of the people eligible to payment 
were assembled near the Qovemment 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 Qalbraith 
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, foor 
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 



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HISTORY OP fiENVILLE COUNTY l;(;f 

for trails or even signs, the detachment set out on the return 
trip and reached Tellow Medicine August 3. The failure to over- 
take the outlaws had a bad effect upon the Agency Indians, who 
derided the work of the soldiers and were confirmed in their be- 
lief that in matters pertaining to warfare of any sort. Indians 
could easily outwit white men. 

The fourth of August came but no paymaster was in sight, 
and there 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, tbey were coming to the Agency to 
fire a salute and make a great demonstration for the entertain- 
ment of the white people, 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 the soldiers were startled to see that, sud- 
denly and without having previously been seen, the Indians had 
surrounded the camp and were pointing guns at them. The 
sentinels or camp guards were pushed from their beats and told 
to go to their tents and stay there, and Private James Foster, 
of Company B, had his gun wrested from him. At the same time 
several hundred mounted and armed warriors gallop^-d up, yell- 
ing and shooting, and began riding wildly about. The real ob- 
ject of this startling and thrilling demonstration was not appar- 
ent until the Indian leader dashed up to the west end of the Gov- 
ernment warehouse and struck its big door a resounding blow 
with his tomahawk. Very soon the door was broken down and 
the Indians rushed in and began carrying away the big fat sacks 
of flour and the fatter slices of pork. 

According to Lieutenant Gere's account, the situation was 
now perilous in the extreme. The soldiers were outnumbered 
seven to one by the excited warriors, who were priming, cocking, 
and aiming their guns only a hundred feet away. Private Josiah 
Weakley, of Company C, precipitated a crisis. An Indian had 
pointed a gun at him, and the soldier swore a big mouth-filling 
oath and hastily capped and aimed his gun at the savage to re- 
sent the insult. He was about to pull the trigger, when Jim 
Ybright struck down the gun, and thus prevented the destruc- 
tion of the entire command and of every other white person at 
or about the Agency. For at that critical moment had a single 
hostile shot been fired, by either white man or Indian, the great 
savage outbreak of a fortnight later would have begun and its 
first victims would have been the people of Yellow Medicine. 

Lieutenant Sheehan ordered his little command to "fall in," 
and promptly every man, gun in hand, sprang into line. There 
was no shrinking and apparently no fear. It was soon realized 
that the object of the Indian attack was to secure the provisions 



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134 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

in the warehouse wherewith to feed themseWes and their famish- 
ing women and children. Had the murder of the whites been in- 
tended, the bloody work wonld have been be^n at once. It 
seemed certain that the Indians would not fire the first shot. 

But the peace must be preserved, even it it had to be fought 
for, and the Government property must he protected at all haz- 
ards. Lieutenant Gere had direct charge of the two cannon, and 
the men of his company had been trained by old Sergeant Jones, 
at Ridgley, to handle them. Taking the tarpauUn cover from one of 
the guns, which was loaded with canister, Lieutenant Gere aimed 
it at the warehouse door, through which the Indians were crowd- 
ing, going for and returning with sacks of flour. Prom 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 hack 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 detachment 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 the warehouse. Reaching the 
, building the lieutenant went at once to the office of Major Gal- 
braith, too impotent through fear, drink and excitement for any 
good. Sergeant Trescott and his men summarily drove every 
Indian from and away from the warehouse. Only about thirty 
sacks of flour had been taken. 

Lieutenant Sheehan stoutly demanded that Galbraith at once 
give to the Indians the provisions which really belonged to them, 
and thereby avert not only starvation but probably 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 the savages 
must be made to respect his position 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 camps 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 whom 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 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 135 

them, although our wives and children are starving;. These sup- 
plies are ours and we have a right to take them. The soldiers 
STmpatbize 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 oflf the earth," 

The three days' rations were issued, but the Indians declinea 
to return to their camps, unless they should first receive all that 
was due them. Tliey again becatne turbulent and threatened to 
again attack and loot the warebonse. 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' rations had been well 
nigh all devoured before midnight. 

Agent Qalbraith continued in his excited mood and eccentric 
conduet. 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 history, 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 heither shot down or 
cut down or injured in any way, bnt that when the trouble was 
over for the day the banner was "still there." August 5 the 
agent was still beside himself. He declared that the loyal old 
Peter Quinn — who had lived in Minnesota among his white breth- 
ren for nearly 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 communicate with the Indians. He ordered Lieu- 
tenant 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 Medicine and help manage Qalbraith. 
The captain reached Yellow Medicine at 1 :30 p. ra. on the sixth, 
having come from Port Ridgely, forty-five miles distant, by 
buggy in seven hours. 

August 7, Qalbraith 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 Hazelwood for 
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 case, I wish you would use it." The missionary 
assured the demoralized agent that the Bible has something in 



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136 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

it to meet every case and any emergency. He then repaired to 
Standing Buffalo's tepee and arranged for a general council that 
afternoon. The mfasionary 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 purchased 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 Marah 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 through 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 
bufifalo hunts. On the eleventh the soldiers left Yellow Medicine 
for Fort Ridgely, 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 taken 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 meadows and corn- 
fields. All the Indians had apparently decided to wait patiently 
for the annuity money. This agreeable condition of afiFairs might 
have been established six weeks earlier, but for the unwise, yet 
well meant work of Agent Galbraith, who should have done at 
first what 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 Minnesota 
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 Gnmming'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 



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HISTOKY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 137 

mixed blood Sioux expressed a desire to enlist in the UQion army, 
under President Lincoln's eall for "300,000" more. 

The Government was advancing forty dollars of their pros- 
pective bounty and pay to recruits, and as quite a number of the 
would-be volunteers were out of employment and money, the 
cash offer was perhaps to some as mneh of a stimulus to enlist 
as Wfks their patriotism. A very gallant frontiersman named 
James Qorman, busied himself with securing -recruits for the 
pioneer company, which, because most of its numbers were from 
Renville county, was called the "Renville Rangers," Captain 
Marsh had encouraged the organization, and Agent Galbraith 
had used all of his influence in its behalf. August 12 thirty men 
enlisted in the Rangers at Yellow Medicine and on the fourteenth 
twenty more joined the company at Redwood, Galbraith and 
Gorman, with their fifty men, left Redwood Agency for Port 
Snelling, where it was expected the 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 few men, 
and the entire company, in wagons, reached St. Peter in the after- 
noon of the eighteenth. 

Much that is false has been written regarding the caiise of 
the Sioux Outbreak, many idle speculations have been published 
as absolute fact. 

There certainly was no conspiracy between the Chippewas and 
the Sioux ; there were certainly no representatives of the southern 
Confederacy urging the Indians to revolt, Little CroM' was most 
assuredly guiltless of having long planned a general massacre. 
Possibly, for such is human nature, the Indians, smarting under 
untold wrongs, may have considered the possibilities of driving 
out the whites and resuming their own ancient freedom. But 
no details had been planned upon. The otliciiils at Washington 
and their representatives on the reservation were wholely and 
solely responsible for the great massacre. The spark which 
lighted the conflagration was the lawless act of a few renegades, 
but there would have been no blaze from this spark had not the 
whites, through guile and dishonesty, been gradually increasing 
the disgust, discontent and resentment in the Red Men 's breast. 
The editor of this work holds no brief for the Indian. No one 
realizes more than he the sufferings of those innocent settlers, 
those martyrs to civilization, who underwent untold horrors at 
the hands of a savage and infuriated race. In savage or civil- 
ized warfare, no acts of heartless cruelty can be excused or con- 
doned. In the wrongs to which the Indian had been subjected 
the noble settlers of Renville county were guiltless. 

Civilization can never repay the Renville county pioneers for 



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138 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

the part they had in extending further the dominion of the white 
man, for the part they took in bringing the county from a wild 
wilderness to a place of peace, prosperity and contentment. 

The treatment of the Indian hy the settlers of this connty was 
ever coiiBiderate and kind, the red man was continually fed and 
warmed at Renville 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 pioneers; never- 
theless not his alone was the guilt. The officials who tricked 
and robbed him, whose stupidity and inefficiency 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 white men too, who fired on unpro- 
tected 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. 



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'■.HI. Crow. 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 139 

CHAPTER X. 

TH£ SIOUX OUTBREAK. 

Day Dawns Calm and Beantiful— Church Services— The Rice 
Creek Reoegadea Soh a Hen's Nest — Quarrel Amon^ Braves 
as to Their Conrage— Ellling^ Starts— Miscreants Tell Their 
Story to the Chiefs — Little Crow Bows to the Inevitahle and 
Belnctantly Consents to Lead His Men to Battle — Qeneral 
Massacre Begins — Weeks of Horror — Battles and Murders — 
Indians Subdued — Little Crow Killed — Peace. 

Sunday, August 17, 1862, was a beautiful day in western Min- 
nesota. The sun shone brightly, the weather was warm, and the 
skies were blue. The com was in the green ear stage ; the wild 
grass was ripe for the hay mowing; the wheat and oats were 
ready to be harvested, 

A large majority of the settlers and pioneers in the Upper 
Minnesota valley, on the north or east aide of the river, were 
church members. The large German Evangelical settlement, on 
Sacred Heart creek held religious services on that day at the 
bouse of one of the members, and there were so many in attend- 
ance that the congregation occupied the door yard. A great flock 
of children had attended the Sunday school and received the 
ninth of a series of blue cards, as evidence of their 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 children or super- 
intendent that "next Sunday" never came. 

At Yellow Medicine and Hazelwood there was an unusual 
attendance at the meetings conducted by Riggs and Williamson. 
At the Lower Agency Rev. S. U. Hinman, the rector of the sta- 
tion, held services in Sioux in the newly erected but uncom- 
pleted Episcopal church and among his most attentive auditors 
were Little Crow and Little Priest, the latter a Winnebago sub- 
chief, who, with a dozen of his band, had been hanging about 
the Agency, awaiting the Sioux paymeuts. 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 the slightest indication or the 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 nobody was 



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140 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

more startled or surprised upon the learning of the murder of 
the first whites, than the Indians themselves. 

The Rice Creek Indians were deserters from the bands to which 
they rightfully belonged, because they wore discontented with 
conditions and had grievances against their chiefs or others of 
their fellow-elansraen. They were, too, malcontents generally. 
They did not like their own people ; they did not like the whites. 
Not one of them was a Christian, and they bad nothing but con- 
tempt for their brethren that had become converts. Many of 
them, however, wore white men's clothing, 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 hunting, although in warm weather 
the game killed became tainted and nearly putrid before it could 
be taken home ; and from daylight until dark the river bank in 
front of their village was lined with women and children busily 
fishing for bullheads. 

On Sunday afternoon, August 17, the Rice Creckers held an 
open council, which was attended by some of Shakopee's band 
from across the river. It was agreed to make a demoustration to 
hurry up the payment, and that the next day every able-bodied 
man should go down to the Lower Agency, from thence to Fort 
Ridgely, and from thence to St. Paul, if necessary, and urge the 
authorities 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 twenty Lower Indians went over into the 
big woods of Meeker and McLeod counties to hunt. Half a dozen 
or more of the Rice Creek band were of the party. One of Shako- 
pee 's band, named Island Cloud, or Makh-pea We-tah, had busi- 
ness with Captain George C. Whitcomb, of Forest City, concern- 
ing a wagon which the Indian had left with the captain. Reach- 
ing the hunting grounds in the sonthern part of Meeker county, 
the party divided. Island Cloud and four others proceeding to 
Forest City and the remainder continuing in the to^vnship of 
Acton. 

On the morning of August 17 four Rice Creek Indians -were 
passing along the Henderson and Pembina road, in the central 
part of Acton township. Three of them were formerly Upper 
Indians, the fourth had a Medawakanton father and n Wahpaton 
mother. Their names, in English, were Brown Wing. Breaks Up 
and Scatters. Ghost That Kills, and Crawls Against; the last 
named was living at Manitoba in 1891. Two of the four were 
dressed as white men ; the others were partly in Indian costume. 
None of them was more than thirty years of age, but each seemed 
older. 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 141 

As these Indians were passing the bouse and premises of 
Robinson Jones, four miles south of the present site of Grove 
CSty, one of them found some hen's eggs in a fence comer and 
proceeded to appropriate them. One of hia comrades remon- 
strated against his taking the eggs because they belonged to a 
white man and a discussion of the character of a quarrel resulted. 
To Return I. Holcombe, the compiler of this chapter, in June, 1894. 
Chief Big Eagle related the particulars 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 
wanted 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 
half starved. Yes, you are a coward and I will tell everybody 
so.' The other said, 'I am not a coward. I 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 met' 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, Soey. 
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 children were bom to Mr. 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 postofBce called Acton 
wtts 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 



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142 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

whiskey which he sold hy the glass or hottles, 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 
Mrs. Jones would let them have it whenever they could pay for it. 

August 10, a young married couple, Mr. and Mrs, 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. 

The Ghost Killer and his three companions went to Jones' 
house, and according to his statement, made half an hour later^ 
demanded whisky, which he declined to give them. He knew 
personally all of the four, and was astonished at their conduct, 
which was so unusual, so menacing 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 
fied from his own house to that of his step-son, Howard Baker, 
whither his wife had preceded him on a Sunday visit. In his 
flight he abandoned his foster children, Clara Wilson "and her 
baby brother. Reaching the house of his step-son, Jones said, in 
apparent alarm, that he had been afraid of the Indians who had 
plainly tried to provoke a quarrel with him. 

Although the Jones house, with its stores of whisky, mer- 
chandise, and other articles had been abandoned to them, the 
Indians did not offer to take a thing from it, or to molest Miss 
Wilson. Walking leisurely, they followed Jones to the Baker 
house, which they reached abont 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 our house; 
stayed about fifteen minutes; got up and looked out; had the 
men take down their guns and shoot them off 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 theirs in the door.yard after 
they bad fired at the mark. 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 him ; then he shot the other faar- 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 143 

rel of the gun at him, and then he fell dead. My mother-in-law, 
Mrs. Jones, came to the door and another Indian shot her; she 
tamed to run and feU into the buttery ; they shot at her twice as 
she felL I tried to get out of the window but fell down cellar. 
I saw Mrs. Webster pulling the body of her husband into the 
house ; while I was in the cellar I heard firing out of doors, and 
the Indians immediately left the house, and then all went away. 

"Mr. Jones had told ils that they were Sioux Indians, and 
that he was well acquainted 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 I could not give them any.' " 
(See History of Meeker county, 1876, by A. C. Smith, who pre- 
sided at the inquest and recorded the testimony of Mrs. Baker.) 

In a published statement made a few days later {See com- 
munication of M. S. Croswell, of Montieello, in St. Paul Daily 
Press, for September 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 Jonea traded Bak- 
er's gun to an 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 first person shot and then Baker 
and Mrs. Jones; that an Indian chased Jones and mortally 
wounded him so that he fell near Webster'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 horribly distorted. 

Mrs. Webster further 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 
victims, or to carry away any plunder or even to take away Web- 
ster's and Baker's four fine horses, a good mount for each In- 
dian. Mrs. Webster then hastened to her dying husband and 
asked him why the Indians had shot him. He replied : "I do not 
know; I never saw a Sioux Indian before, and never had any- 
thing to do with one." Mrs. Baker now appeared from the 
cellar and, with her two children ran into a thicket of hazel 
bushes near the house and cowered 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 terror-stricken women were considering, as best 
their mental condition would permit, what they should do, when 
a half-witted, half-demented fellow, an Irishman, named Cox, 
came along the road. At once the women entreated him for 



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144 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

assistance. The poor imbecile only ginned, shook his head and 
said to them that they were liars and that there had been no 
Indians here. When they 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 time. A few days later, the report was that Cox was 
a spy for the Indians and he was arrested at Forest City and 
sent under guard, via Monticello, to St. Paul, where, on investi- 
gation, he 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 Ligeman 
heard the alarming story of Mrs. Baker and Mrs. Webster and 
galloped away to Forest City with the thrilling news, stirring 
up the settlers on the way. 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 rides and shotguns, were 
on their way to Acton. It soon grew dark and nine of the party 
turned back. The other seven — John Blackwell, Berger Ander- 
son, Amos N. Fosen, Nels Banielson, Ole Westman, John Nelson, 
and Charles Magnuson — pressed bravely on. Soon they were 
joined by another party of settlers headed by Thomas McGan- 
non. Beaching the Bakei* 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 found the corpse of Mrs. Jones in a pantry. 

In the gloom of midnight the pioneers passed on to Acton 
postoffice, 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 
shown it and she had been mercifully killed outright — that was 
all. On a low 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 ho wanted his supper. John 
Blackwell carried him away and the child was finally adopted 
by Charles H. Ellis, of Otsego, Wright county. 

In a comer 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 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 145 

stuff — so they themselves declared, and so appearances indi- 
cated. The DumeTOUS printed statements that they were drunk 
when they perpetrated the murders are all false. Moreover, 
Jones' statement that they wanted whisky and"acted ugly" he- 
cause he would not let them have it, may well he dishelieved. 
After he had &ed 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 Bice 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 whisky, 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 whisky 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 History 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 Mrs. Baker and others 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 changed 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 the Ness church, and all 
five of them were buried "in one broad grave." {See Smith's 
History, p. 17.) Some years later at a cost of $500, 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 half a mile to the 
westward. They were Island Cloud and his party. The two In- 
dians that had come to Baker's the previous day, while the 
Ghost Killer and his companions were there, 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 house. Ghost Killer and the three others 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 their 
comrades when the crowd at the inquest saw them. Instantly a 
number of armed and mounted settlers started for them, bent on 



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146 .HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

vengeance. The Indians, wholly 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 what a great conflagra- 
tion was then raging the Minnesota valley and which bad been 
kindled by the little fire at Howard Baker's cabin. 

All of the attendant circumstances prove ^hat the murder was 
solely the work of the five persons that did the deed, and that they 
had 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 had left Minnesota and gone into the 
Union array. It was not the result of the councils of the sol- 
diers' lodge, nor of any other Indian plot. The twenty or more 
Indians who left Riee Creek August 12 for the hunt did not in- 
tend to kill white petiple; if they had so intended, Island Cloud 
and all the rest would have been present at and have participated 
in the murders at Baker's and Jones' and carried off much port- 
able property, including horses. The trouble started as has been 
stated — from finding a few eggs in a white man's fence-comer. 

After the murder of Clara Wilson — who, 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 Wiektund, 
near Lake Elizabeth, which they reached about one o'clock, when 
the family were at dinner. Wicklund's son-in-law, A. M. Eckund, 
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 the twilight after a swift, hard 
ride, which, according to Jere Campbell, who was present, had 
well nigh eshaustcd the horses. Leaping from their panting and 
dripping studs they called out: "Get your guns! There is war 
with the whites and we have begun it!" Then they related the 
events of the morning. They spemed like criminals that had 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 147 

perpetrated some foul deed and then, afiFrighted, apprehensive 
and reraorseful, had fled to their kinsmen for shelter and protec- 
tion. Their story at once created great excitement and at the 
same time much sympathy for them. Some of their fellow vil- 
lagers began at once to get ready for war, by putting their guns 
in order and looking after their ammunition supplies. Ho-choke- 
pe-doota, the chief of the Rice Creek bank — if he really held 
that position — was beside himself with 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, white he declared that 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 Bice 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, 
although it was midnight, went down to consult with the greatest 
of the Sioux, Tah Yahte Dootah, or Little Crow. Messengers 
were also sent to the other sub-chiefs inviting thein 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 must 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: 
"Shakopee took the young men to Little Crow's frame house, 
two miles above the Agency, and he sat up in bed and listened 
to their story. He said war was now declared. Blood had been 
shed, the annuities would be stopped, and the whites would take 
a dreadful vengeance because women had been killed. Wabasha, 
Wacouta, myself, and some others talked for peace, but nobody 
would listen to us, and soon the general cry was: 'Kill the 
whites, and kill all these cut-hairs (Indians and half-bloods who 
had cut their hair and put on white men's clothes) that will not 
join us.' Then a council was held and war was declared. The 
women began to run bullets and the men 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 
morning and to kill the traders and other whites there. 



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148 III8T0KY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

"When the Indians first eame to Little Crow for counsel and 
advice he said to them, tauntingly, 'Why do you eome to me for 
adviee? Go to the man yon elected speaker (Traveling Hail) 
and let liiiu tell you what to do.' But he soon eame around all 
right." 

Between 6 and 7 o'clock on the morning of August 18, the 
first shot was fired and the first white man was killed at the 
Lower Agency and the dreadfnl massacre began. James W. 
Lynd, es-state senator from Sibley county, was a clerk in My- 
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 guns in their hands and acting strangely. Sud- 
denly one of them named Much 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, who 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 Mr. Lynd fell forward and died instantly. 

The massacre then became general. The whites were taken 
quite unawares and were easy victims. No women were killed, 
but some were taken prisoners; others were allowed to escape. 
The stores presented such enticing opportunities for securing 
plunder of a greatly coveted sort that the Indians swarmed into 
and about them, pillaging and looting, and this gave many whites 
opportunity to escape and make their way to Fort Ridgely, four- 
teen miles. The ferryman, Hubert Miller (whose name was com- 
monly pronounced Mauley, and whose name was printed in some 
histories as Jacob Mayley) stuck to his post and ferried people 
across to the north side until all had passed; then the 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 Minnesota bottoms. A few set- 
tlers — 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 oast and perpetrated innumerable 
murders and countless other outrages. Scores of women and 
children were brought in as prisoners and many wagon loads of 
plunder were driven into the Indian camps. White men, women, 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 149 

and children of all ages were murdered mdiscriminately, and 
mider the most terrible eircumstances. The bodies were 
commonly mutilated — sometimes shockingly — but verj' few were 
scalped. Only one mixed blood Indian, Francois La Bathe (pro- 
nounced La Bat) a trader at the Lower Agency, was killed. 
About twenty mixed bloods joined the 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 
many Germans that had never fired a gun in hU of their 
lives. Then, too, the Indian attacks were wholly unexpected. 
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 were being 
chased by the Indians, turned and fired a few shots at their pur- 
suers, but without effect. Though hundreds of white people were 
murdered by 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 kiUed and nearly 200 women and children taken 
captive. 

The Whites at the Yellow Medicine Agency above the Lower 
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 3. Marsh, with forty-six of his men of Company B, Fifth 



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150 HISTOHV OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

Minnesota, started for the Lower Agency. He was ambushed at 
Redwood Ferry, twenty-fonr of his men were killed and he him- 
self was drowned in attempting to cross the river. The survivors 
of bis command hid in the thickets and worked their way back 
to the fort at night. 

The Indians attacked Fort Ridgley 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 efifective service. There were 300 refu- 
gees ill the fort. After many hours' fighting, the Indians retired. 
Had they charged they could have captured the fort, but Indians 
do not fight in that manner. The saving of Ridgley was the sal- 
vation of the country below, as its capture would have enabled 
the Indians to sweep the valley. The loss of the garrison was 
three killed and twelve wounded. 

The most momentous engagements of the Indian war were 
the attacks upon New Ulm, as the fate of more than 1,500 people 
was at stake. The Sioux first assaulted it on the day following 
the outbreak, but were driven off. That night Judge C. E. Flan- 
drau, of the Supreme Court, arrived with 125 men, and the next 
day 50 arrived from Mankato. Judge Flandrau was chosen to 
command. On August 23 the Indians, some 500 strong, again 
attacked the little city and surrounded it, apparently 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 had 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, including ten slain in a 
reeonnoissance on the nineteenth. Seventy to eighty were 
wounded. 

Owing to a shortage of provisions and ammunition, the city 
was evacuated on August 25. The sick and wounded and women 
and children were loaded into 15:! 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 
their homes and flee from a relentless foe, unless it be 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 relentless 
whites. 

Heard's history thus vividly portrays conditions in the Minne- 
sota valley at this period. 

"Shakopee, Belle Plaine and Henderson were filled with fugi- 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 151 

tives , Guards patrolled the outskil'ts, and attacks were con- 
stantly apprehended. Oxen were killed in the streets, and the 
meat, hastily prepared, was cooked over fires on the ground. The 
grist mills were surrendered by their owners to the public and 
kept in constant motion to allay the demand for food. All 
thought of property was abandoned. Safety of life prevailed 
over every other consideration. Poverty stared in the face those 
who had been affluent, but they thought little of that. Women 
were to be seen in the street hanging on each other's necks, 
telling of their mutual losses, and the little terror-stricken chil- 
dren, surviving remnants of once happy homes, crying piteously 
around their knees. The houses and stables were all occupied by 
people, and hundreds of fugitives had no covering or shelter but 
the canopy of heaven." 

August 26, Lieut. -Gov. Ignatius Donnelly, writing to Gov. 
Alexander Ramsey, from St. Peter, said : 

"You can hardly 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. They 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 pour down the valley, carrying consternation 
wherever they go, their property in the meantime abandoned and 
going to ruin." 

When William J. Sturgis, bearer of dispatches from Port 
Ridgley to Governor Ramsey, reached him at Fort Snelling on the 
afternoon of August 19, the government at once placed ex-Gov- 
ernor Henry H. Sibley, with the rank of colonel, in command of 
the forces to operate against the Indians. Just at this time, in 
response to President Lincoln's call for 600,000 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 arrived 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. Joseph 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 



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152 HISTORV OF-RENVILLB COUNTY 

yards from the timber. This was a fatal mistake, as subsequent 
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 fornished a. 
slight protection to the men, who dug pits with spades and 
bayonets. Gleneral 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 without water, under 
a hot sun, surrounded by bloodthirsty, howling savages. The 
dead were buried and the wounded taken to Fort Bidgley. 

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, Hatch- 
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. Priol- to the battle 
at Birch Coulie, Little Crow, with 110 warriors, started on a raid 
to the Big Woods eoimtry. 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 off 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 againsl 



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HISTOKT OF RENVJLLE COUNTY 153 

the Indians by insufficiency of supplies, want of cavalry and 
proper supply trains. Early in September he moved forward 
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 bands of friendly 
Indians remained, and through 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 months after the outbreak, Indian 
Agent Thomas J. Galbraith prepared a statement giving the num- 
ber of whites killed as 738. Historians Heard and Flandrau 
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 within the 
State of Minnesota, 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 aet, had, in the year 
1862, "made unprovoked aggression and most savage war upon 
the United States, and massacred a large number of men, women 
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 forfeited all just claims" to their 



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154 HISTOItV OF RENVILLE COUNTY 



I and aiiDuitiea 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 tboDsand 
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 commisaiouera appointed by the President, to be by them 
apportioned among the heads of families, or their survivors, who 
suffered damage by the depredations of said Indians, or the troops 
of the United States in the' war against them, 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 Monday in 
December, 1863. 

The President appointed for this duty, and with the advice 
and consent of the Senate, the Hons. Albert S. White, of the State 
of Indiana; EH R. Chase, of Wisconsin, and Cyrus Aldrieh, of 
Minnesota. 

The duties of this board 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 clasfl 
of sufferers designated by the act of Congress. 

On February 21 following the annulling of the treaty with the 
Sioux above named. Congress pas.sed an act for the removal 
of the Winnebago Indians, and the sale of their reservation in 
Miiiui'sota for their benefit. "The money arising from the sale 
of their lands, after paying their indebtedness, 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 new 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 patent 
in the Indian and his heirs, without the right of alienation." 

These several 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 Manttato awaiting 
the final decision of the President. 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 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 155 

benefit to the State o£ immense value, both in its domestic quiet 
and its rapid advancement in material wealth. 

In pursuance of the acts of Congress, on April 22, and for the 
purpose of carrying them into execution, the condemned Indians 
were first taken from the State, on board the steamboat Favorite, 
carried down the Mississippi, and confined at Davenport, in the 
State of Iowa, where they remained, with only such privileges 
as are allowed to convicts in the penitentiary. Many of them 
died as the result of the confinement. 

On May 4, 1863, at six o'clock in the afternoon, certain others 
of the 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. 

CHAPTER XI. 

REDWOOD FEBBT AMBUSCADE. 

Captain Marsh and His Company Start on Expedition — Fugitives 
Met — Ferry Reached — Parley with Jndian — Concealed Indians 
Start Firing — Attempt to Swim River — Captain Marsh 
Drowned — Casualties — Disastrous Result. 

The startling news of the tragic scenes at the Lower Agency 
reached Fort Ridgely at about 10 o'clock on that day (August 18, 
1862), but the extent and formidable character of the great 
Indian uprising were not understood until several hours 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 Indiana were 
"raising Hell at the Lower Agency." Captain Marsh at once pre- 
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 about 
twenty men, under Lieutenant T. P. Gere, to hold the fort until 
Lieutenant Sheehan'a return. Captain Marsh, with about fifty 
men of his company and the old Indian interpreter, Peter Quinn, 



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356 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

set out for the agency, distant about twelve or fourteen milea to 
the northwest. On leaving Fort Bidgely the captain and the 
interpreter were mounted on mules; the men were 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," says that these wagons overtook the com- 
mand "aboat three miles out." 

In due time the little command came to the Redwood Ferry, 
hut 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 o£ 
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 part 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. 

Meantime 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 Marsh 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 desperate mood. 

While he did not realize the general character of the massacre 
he must have understood that a considerable number of Indians 
were engaged in it. The language of his dispatch to Lieutenant 
Sheehsn, however, would indicate that he at that time believed 
the trouble to be strictly local and confined to the Redwood 
Agency. 

Some historians have thought 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 tort, 
and that his realization of his danger increased as he continued 
on the journey, but that as a soldier and an officer he could do 
nothing else than to keep 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 offense 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 would come to their senses at the ^ght 
of the soldiers and confer with him with a view to co-operating 
with the government in punishing the guilty. 



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HISTORY OF EENVILLE COUNTY 157 

Peter Quinn, the old interpreter with his forty years' experi- 
ence among the Sioux in Minnesota, knew the danger to be serious. 
On leaving Ft. Ridgely with Captain Marsh and his men he said 
to Sutler B. H. Randall; "I am sure we are going into great 
danger; I do not expect to return alive." Then with tears in 
his eyes he continued: "Good-bye, give my love to all." 

R. A. Randall, a son of B. H. Randall, declares that his father 
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 Marsh 
at first listened to the remonstrance and determined to stay at 
the fort. But later he changed his mind. lie was a soldier, his 
duty was to pnnish the murderous assassins, and he could not 
ait 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 reached 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 aboiit to 
give, his men order to retire just as they were fired upon. 

Return I. Holeomhe, the author of nearly all of this chapter, 
says : ' ' The weight of evidence tends to prove cither that Marsh 
did not realize the extent of the outbreak and the 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 and the men under, him reached the creat 
of Faribault's Hill they saw to the southward, over two miles 
away, ou 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 
made 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. Hinman, 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, waa killed on the 
other side, just as be had passed the last man over. He was dis- 
emboweled ; his head, hands and feet cut off and thrust into the 



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158 HI.STdKV OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

cavity. Obeeure Frenchman though he was, the blood of no 
nobler hero dyed the battlefields of Marathon or Thermopylae." 

When the command reached the ferry landing only one Indian 
could be aeen. This 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 farmer" at the Lower Agency, engaged 
in teaching- his red brethren how to plow and to cultivate the soil 
generally, receiviug therefor a salary from the government. He 
had, however, been removed from his position, which had been 
given to Ta-o-pi (pronounced Tah-o-pee, and meaning wounded), 
another Christian Indian. White Dog bore a general good repu- 
tation in the country until the outbreak, and many yet assert 
that he has been misrepresented and unjustly accused. 

A conversation in the Sioux language was held between White 
Dog and Interpreter Quinn, Captain Marsh suggesting most of 
the questions put to the Indian through the interpreter. There 
are two versions of this conversation. The surviving soldiers say 
that, as they understood 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 White Dog. who were present, 
have always claimed that he did not use the treacherous language 
imputed to him, but plainly told the 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 river. This was 
accompanied and followed by yells and whoops and renewed 
firing, this time from the 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 outright and many wounded by the first volley. 

Although the sudden and fierce attack by overwhelming num- 
bers was most demoralizing, Captain Marsh retained his presence 
of mind suflSeiently 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 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 159 

a few yardfl away. They had secured possession of the log ferry 
house, from which 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. AcroBS the river near the bank were 
numbers behind the logs belonging to the agency 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 and 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 Marsh and fourteen 
of hie 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 after 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 fort. 

Gradually the imperiled soldiers worked their way through 
the thick grass and brush of the jungle in which they were con- 
cealed until they had gone some distance east of the ferry. Mean- 
time they had kept up a fight, using their ammunition carefully, 
but under the circumstances almost ineffectually. 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 p. m., when our ammunition was reduced to 
not more than four rounds to a man. Captain Marsh 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 the 
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 effects 
of the paralyzing cramps which seized him. Some days afterwards 
his body was found in a drift, miles below where 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 side two roads had been 
graded up the steep high 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 



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160 HISTOliV OF RENVILLE COUNTY. 

away, at Faribault's HilL The hill was bo named for David Fari- 
bault, a mized blood Sioux, and a son of old John Baptiste Fari- 
bault, and 'Who lived at the base of the bill. He and his family 
were made prisoners by the Indians and held during the outbreak. 
At Faribault's Hill the road divided, one fork leading up the hill 
and ovL'r the 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 growths 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 alow 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 press the attack further, 
after the drowning of Captain Marsh, and all of them, except 
Ezekiel Rose, who was wounded and lost his way, reached Fort 
Eidgely (Bishop says at 10 o'clock) that night. Rose wandered 
off 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 whites was one officer (Captain 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 bis fondness for fine dress 
and for his gallantries. He was a dandy and a Lothario, but he 
was no coward. 

The affair at Redwood Ferry 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, 
ammunition and equipments bad fallen into the hands of the 
victors; the first attempt to interfere with the savage programme 
had been signally repulsed, all with the 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 murdered 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. ' ' 



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fflSTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 161 

Before the successful ambuscade there had been apprehension 
among many of the Indiana that the outbreak would soon be sup- 
pressed, and they had hesitated about engaging in it. There were 
also those who at least were loyal and faithful to the whites and 
would take no part in the uprising. But after the destruction of 
CaptaiD Marsh and his command all outward opposition to the 
war was swept away in the wild torrent of exultation and 
enthusiasm created by the victory. Heard says : 

"The Indians were highly jubilant over this success. What- 
ever of doubt there was before among some of the propriety of 
embarking in the massacre disappeared, and the Lower Indians 
became a unit upon the question. Their dead enemies were lying 
all around 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 want of zeal in the cause 
would rest upon them, to avoid this suspicion became more bloody 
and brutal in their language and conduct than the others." 

If Captain Marsh 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 time which was actually required. The 
friendly Indians would doubtless have been encouraged and 
stimulated to open and even aggressive manifestations of loyalty ; 
the dubious and the timid would have been awed into inactivity 
and quiescence. As it was, the disaster to the little band of sol- 
diers fanned the fires of the rebellion into a great confiagratioa 
of murder and rapine. 

Immediately after the destruction of Captain Marsh's com- 
pany at the ferry Little Crow dispatched about twenty-five young 
mounted warriors to watch Fort Eidgely 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 Eidgely. 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 returned from St. Peter and 
reinforced the garrison. 

Tuesday mortiing, August 19, Little Crow with 320 warriors 
from all of the Lower bands except Shakopee's — only the best 
men being taken — set out from the' agency village to capture 
Fort Eidgely. 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- 
sotia, and if possible seize New Ulm.- Little Crow urged that the 
fort be taken first, before it could be reinforced, but this prudent 



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162 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

counsel did not avail with those who were fairly ravenons 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 ita 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 Gooley, is de- 
scribed elsewhere. 



CHAPTER XII. 

BATTLE OF BIRCH G00L2T. 

Second Zxpedition Sets Out — Encampmmt at Birch Cooley— 
Attacked by the Indians — Httvlc Defense— Inaction ai B«cae 
Party— Relief by Sibley. 

The incidents preceding the battle of Birch Cooley are briefly 
related. General H. H. Sibley occupied Fort Ridgely with bis 
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 CuUen 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 first of September. 
Captain Grant, with bis company and the wagons, proceeded up 
the valley, on the north side of the Minnesota, to the mouth of 
the Beaver creek, thence uf} 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 Perry 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. 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 163 

too, in the Mum«Bota bottom, a German woman, named Mrs, 
Jnstma Krieger, who had been badly wounded by the Indians, 
and was hiding in a marsh, was rescued and carried along. 

Major Brown and Captain Anderson, with the "Cidlen 
Guards," crossed the river at the Redwood Ferry, went to the 
agency, buried the bodies of the slain there and went up ttie 
river, or westward, to the location of Little Crow's yillage, 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 mtimate with the Indians and the country ; Major T. J. 
Oalbraith, 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 Frazier, a half-breed, indicated 
that a hostile Indian had been in that vicinity for four days, 
although careful examination was made. RecroBSing the Minne- 
sota at a ford opposite Little Crow's village the party ascended 
the bluflF 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 was 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 
channel 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 viriually, 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 posts — 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 lay down to rest in fancied security. 



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164 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

At the time of the battle the ground was virgin prairie. Half 
a mile down the Cooley 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 their bousea 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 Mr. Weiss entered 
the laud, in 1865, the rifle pits dug by the beleaguered soldiers, 
the bones of the horses killed and other evidences of the fight 
were plainly visible. 

Of a truth the Indians had fallen back from the Lower Agency 
to Yellow Medicine four days before Major Brown reached Little 
Crow's village. During the siege of Port Ridgely Major 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 pomt near the Yellow Medicine and learned that 
large numbers of the Indians were there. But on his return the 
scout was cut off by scattering war parties and prevented from 
entering the fort, and was forced to make his way to Henderson. 

When General Sibley arrived at Port Ridgely he sent two 
good and wary scouts, George McLeod and William L. Quinn, 
to reeonnoiter and to discover the Indians' position. They made 
the perilous 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 Yellow 
Medicine, and his family were prisoners among the Sioux. Riding 
in the night in the 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 Frenchman named Louis Constans. Every- 
thing indicated that there were no hostilea east of the Yellow 
Medicine. 

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 mouth 
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 daya the scouts reported that Sibley and his 
command had reached Fort Ridgely and that New Ulm had been 
evacuated. Very soon the Indiana 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 Port Ridgely, and then their future 
operationa 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 country about Forest City and 
Hutchinson, and seize a large quantity of flour, said to be at the 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 165 

Cedar mill, iu that quarter. Little Crow took charge of the "Big 
Woods" expedition in person, sending the rest of his band under 
Gray Bird, a farmer Indian, but now Little Crow's "head sol- 
dier," down the river with the other bands of Wabasha, Wacoiita, 
Hnshasha, Mankato, Big Eagle, Shakopee and the rest of the 
Medawakantons and Wahpakootas. The savage forces left the 
Yellow Medicine on the tliirty -first of August. 

When, on the evening of September 1, the advance of the 
Indians reached Little Crow's village, on the high bluff on the 
south side of the Minnesota, they saw on the north side, out on 
the prairie, some miles away. Captain Anderson's company, 
marching from Beaver creek eastward toward the Birch Cooley. 
They also saw in the former village signs that white men had 
been there only a few hours before, and, from the trail made 
when they left, concluded that these were the men they could 
see to the northward. Some of the best scouts were soon sent 
across the valley to follow the movements of the mounted men, 
"creeping across the prairie like so many ants." A little after 
sundown the scouts returned with the information that the 
mounted men had gone into camp near the head of Birch Cooley, 
and that they numbered about seventy-five men. At this time, 
and until they attacked, they did not know of the presence of 
Captain Grant's company. 

Had the Indians persisted in their original plan to jit-oceed 
quietly on their way down the south side of the river, unobserved 
by the whites, and paid no attention to the company of mounted 
men they had discovered, the result would have been most dis- 
astrous. But, with their hundreds of warriors, the temptation 
to fall upon the small and- apparently isolated detachment of 
seventy-five men was too great to the Indian nature to be resisted. 
It was determined to surround the camp that night and attack 
it at daylight the next morning. About 200 warriors were 
selected for the undertaking. These were mainly from the bands 
of Red Legs, Gray Bird, Big Eagle and Mankato, with some from 
Wabasha's and the other bands. There were also some Sissetons 
and Wahpetons present. Little Crow himself, with 150 warriors, 
was off on the expedition to the Big Woods, towards Forest City 
and Hutchinson. 

When darkness had come good and black and sheltering, the 
Indians crossed the river and valley, went up the bluffs and 
prairie, and soon saw the camp or corral of the whites. Cau- 
tiously and warily they approached the camp and had no diffi- 
cnlty in surrounding it, for the sentinels were at such short dis- 
tance from it — not more than a hundred yards. The ground was 
most excellent for a mere camping ground, but badly chosen 
for a battlefield. On the east was the Birch Cooley ivith a high 
bluff bank and fringed with timber; on the north was a smaller 



Digili: 



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166 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

cooley or ravine running into the main cooley ; on the south was 
a swale mnch lower than the camp ; on the west was a consider- 
able mound, and 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 and large bullets called traders' 
balls. 

The Indians under Bed Legs occupied the Birch Cooley east 
of the camp. Some of Mankato's warriors were in the cooley and 
some in the swale to the south. Big Eagle's band was chiefiy 
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 they were waiting to begin the attack during the night 
some of the warriors crawled through the prairie grass unob- 
served to within fifty feet of the sentinels, and it was seriously 
proposed to shoot them with 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, had 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, which had been gathered up anB 
driven along with the command, and which had been lying down 
south of the corral, rose up one after another and began to move 
slowly towards the corral, as if retreating from danger. The 
cook had quietly awakened his captain and was talking to him 
of what 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 bqrder 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 cooley. 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 ran 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- 
leys of the Indians struck down thirty men in three minutes. The 



Digili: 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 167 

horses, too, tied at the borders of the corral, fell fast. Big Eagle 
8878: "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- 
tally 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 says that every horse was killed but one. 
According to the Indians one of their number, named Buffalo 
Qhost, the eldest son of White Lodge, captured a stampeded horse 
during the fight. Among the wounded were Major Brown, Cap- 
tain Anderson, Captain Redfield and Indian Agent Qalbraith. 
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 Fort 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 command 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 howitzers, under Captain Mark Hendricks. 

The infantry and artillery were under the direct command 
of Major R. N. McLaren, with Colonel McPhail, an old regular 
army man and an experienced Indian fighter, in command of 
the whole. In his report Colonel Sibley says that the whole force 
numbered 240 men. 

The expedition made a forced march to near the Birch Cooley, 
over the Fort Abererombie road, guided by the sound of the con- 
tinuous firing. On nearing the cooley a large force of Indians 
appeared to the left, or south, of the advance. A demonstration 
was made against them by Captain Merriman'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 warriors, appeared 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 imder theni 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 MePhail, 



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168 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

according to hia own report, "did not deem it prudent to advance 
further," Sending two messengers, Lieutenant T, J. Sheehan 
and William L. Quinn to Colonel Sibley with a report of the 
situation, he moved his force to a commanding position about 
two miles east of the cooley, where he formed a strong camp, 
throwing up some rifle pits and awaited the arrival of Bibley 
with the general command from Fort Ridgely. 

As soon as McPhail's messengers, who rode swiftly, reached 
him, Colonel Sibley formed his men under arms and at once 
marched to the relief of the now two imperiled commands. He 
marched during the night, joining Colonel McPhail in the fore- 
noon of September 3, moved against the Indians and by noon, 
without any more serious fighting, they had all been driven away 
from their positions about the cooley. Recrossing the Alinaesota, 
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. W. Daniels, 
assistant surgeon of the Sixth Minnesota 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 hia 
faithful care and the praise of his superiors and of all who knew 
of his services. 

At the close o£ the contest Colonel Sibley conveyed the 
wounded in wagons to Port 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 Pierre Bourrier), a mixed-blood Sioux, 
serving with Anderson's company, but belonging to the Renville 
Rangers, who was killed at the first fire while on sentry duty a 
hundred yards west of the camp, A report that Bdyer was killed 
while attempting to escape to his Indian kinsmen was never 
proven and is doubtless untrue. The bodies of the two Indians 
killed were buried during the fight in the Bireh Cooley. They 
both belonged to Husha-sha's band of Wahpakootas ; one was 
named Hotonna, or Animal's Voice, and the other Wan-e-he-ya, or 
Arrow Shooter. 



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HI8T0RY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 169 

CHAPTER XIIL 

CAPTTTBED BY THE INDIANS. 

Eenuniscences ot Minnie Buce Carrigan — Pioneers Arrive— 
Dawn at Fatal An^rnst Morning— Parents Killed— Siaten 
Hordered — In the Indian Camp — Heetin^r Playmates — Scenes 
of Cmelty— Arrival of Soldiers — Release — Concltision. 

In 1858 my parents, Gottfried and Willi el iiiiiia Buce with 
their three children, August, Wilheliiiiua (myself) and Augusta, 
came from GerinaDj- to America and settled at Pos Lake, Wis- 
consin. My sister, Amelia, was born here. 

In the spring of 1860, in company with five other families, 
two of whom were named Lentz and Kitzman, wo eaine to Min- 
nesota. Though only five years old at that time, I distinctly 
remember many incidents of this journey. We all had ox teams 
and some other live stock with us. All the families were devout 
Christian members of the Evangelical church and. I remember 
we never traveled on the Sabbath. At Cannon Fails my mother 
fell from the wagon aud a wheel passed over her foot injuring 
it so severely that we were compelled to stop. The other fam- 
ilies remained with us. The men rented land and. possibly with 
the exception of Mr. Lentz, put in crops of corn and oats. It was 
too late for wheat. My sister Caroline was born during our 
stay here. Perhaps it was the intention of the families, at first, 
to remain at Cannon Falls at least a year. But in six weeks my 
mother having recovered from her injuries, they decided to re- 
move farther westward. 

The previous year a Mr. Maiiiiweiler, a son-in-law of Mr. 
Lentz, had settled at Middle Creek in Renville county, my father 
and Mr. Lentz concluded to settle near him. Mr. Kitznian de- 
cided to remain at Cannon Palls. I do not know how long we 
were on the road from Cannon Falls to Middle Creek, but I re- 
member the evening when we reached Mr. Manuweiler where we 
remained two days. Then my father took his family to a Mr. 
Smith. Soon he bought the right to a claim on which some land 
had been broken and other improvements had been made. Mr. 
Smith and my father put up some hay for the cattle and father 
went to Yellow Medicine to work for a month and put up hay 
for the government cattle at the Indian agency. Mother staid 
with Mrs. Smith during this time. When father returned he 
moved his family into an old house on his claim. All the neigh- 
boring settlers turned out to help us fix up our house so that 
we could live in it comfortably. 1 think ours was one of nine 
families that lived there during the winter of 1860 and '61. In 
the spring of 1861 twenty families came in one part\- and joined 



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170 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

us. Mr. Kitzman came up from Cannon Falls and was the first 
settler at Sacred Heart Creek. 

■ Our life on the frontier was peaceful and uneventful. All, 
or nearly all, of the families of our settlement were Germans — 
honest, indnetrious and Qod -fearing people. 

Early in the spring of 1861 arrangements were made to have 
a Oerman minister hold monthly religious services among us, 
A Rev. Brill was our first minLster. We had no public school, 
which my father often regretted. On winter evenings our par- 
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 Indiana 
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 the settlers were in moderate, but 
fairly comfortable circumstances and though they had 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 turned 
out all right for us, but not so lucky for the Chippewa Indian 
that came near the Sioux reservation. My 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 waa brought to him was an old fiint 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 bit the mark all 
right, but the gun kicked him so hard he fell flat on bis 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 coat 
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 bis 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 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 171 

Heart creek. My mother held up three fingers, indicating three 
miles. He started on his journey. About half an hour after 
he had gone one of our cows that had a young ealf four weeks 
old running -with her came running ap to the house witJiout 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, went to look for the calf. Soon they both returned bear- 
ing the dead calf home. The Indian had cut its throat and ent 
off one hind quarter and left the rest on the ground. Father 
threw the dead calf on the ground and went 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 gim. There are fifty Indiana 
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 ealf, 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. They wanted father to come over 
to the killing and the feast, but he refused. 

In the spring of 1862 so many people 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- 
bora 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 some of them camped in my father's woods and began 
catting down all the young timber and leaving it on the groimd. 
My father remonstrated with them. He told them they could 
have all the timber and tepee poles they wanted for actual use, 



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172 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

but to let the rest stand. When he had spokeu, a squaw caught 
up a large butcher knife aud chased him away. He came to the 
house and told my mother of the affair, but she only laughed 
at him for allowing an old squaw to drive him out of his own 
woods. At another time about a week before the dreadful out- 
break, my brother August came home from Mr. Lentz' in great 
fright. He said that Mr. Lentz had caught a nice string of fish 
in the Minnesota river and brought them home. An Indian came 
into the house and demanded some of them. "Go and catch 
your own fish," said Mr. Lentz. The Indian flew 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 man who owned a gun in the neighborhood 
and the Indians knew how defenseless we were. When my 
brother had related this incident, father seemed strangely af- 
fected. He was silent for a while and then remarked to August, 
"Well, boy, we have all to die some time, and there is but one 
death," and then went out. 

The peaceful Sunday before the outbreak of the following 
day, services were held at Mr. Lefton's house, a mile and a half 
from our place. The Sunday school was held before the preach- 
ing. Mr. Mannweiler was the superintendent. As was his cus- 
tom, he gave us children little blue cards on each of which a 
verse in scripture was printed and then, showing us some nice 
red cards, told us that if we could repeat from memory the 
verse on our card the coming Sunday, he would give us each 
one of them. We were all greatly pleased at this. He closed 
the school just as the people were assembling for church and 
directed the children to remain out of doors during the services, 
for there seemed to be a crowd coming and the house was not 
very large. I remember that there was so large an attendance 
that most of the boys and men sat outside in front of the open 
door. I think there were over a hundred adults and about thirty 
children at the church that day. Louis Thiele and Mike Zitzloff 
were sitting on a wagon tongue, while Thiele 's little child was 
playing in front of them. Poor Mike little thought that it was 
his last day on earth. He was married to Mary Juni less than a 
year before. They were both murdered the next day. Mr. Zitz- 
loff was a brother to Mrs. Inefeld, who was taken prisoner. 
Mr. Thiele saved his life by jumping from his wagon and hiding 
in the woods. Within twenty-four hours after that meeting, 
Dot more than thirty of those present remained alive. The oth- 
ers, including B«v. Mr, Seder, had been murdered by the Indians. 

That dreadful Monday — August 18, 1862 — my father was put- 
ting up hay a mile east of our house. I remember that dinner 
was a little late and father complained. He was in a hurry to 
finish his haying that he might go to work again at Yellow 



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HISTORY OP BENVILLE COUNTY 173 

Medicine to put up hay for the government cattle where he could 
get good wages. When he had started for his work, my brother 
climbed on the roof to Bee where our cattle were. We had to 
keep watch of them as they ran at large on the prairie. Some- 
times the Indians would stampede them and we would have to 
hunt for days to find them again. When my brother came do\vn, 
he told mother that he heard shooting and some one screamed 
at Hosier's and that father was looking toward Mr. Rosier 's 
house as far as he could see him. Mother thought maybe the 
Indians were shooting at a mark and wanted August to go to 
Mr. Rosier 's and borrow some sewing needles. We did all our 
trading at New Ulm and often had to borrow such" articles. 
When he returned he said, "0 mother, they are all asleep. Mrs. 
and the 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." 

My mother was standing by the table cutting a dress for my 
little sister when my brother returned, "0, my God," she ex- 
claimed, "the Indians have killed them. We must fly for our 
lives. You children stay here and I will go and call father." 
But my brother and I, refusing to remain in the house, were 
then told to hide 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 with us. We had hardly 
reached the cornfield when the Indians came whooping and 
yelling around the west side of the field from Mr. Boelter's. We 
sat down and they passed us so closely that it was strange they 
did not see us. They rushed into our house and we went on. 
Looking back we saw them throwing out the feather beds and 
other articles. We reached the south side of the field safely and 
father and mother were already there. I think we would have 
been safe there at least for a time, but father, taking the baby 
from August started out on the open prairie. Mother took Caro- 
line from me and tried to stop father, but it was useless. The 
terriWe oircumstances must have unbalanced his mind, naturally 
being very nervous. 

The Indians had cleaned out our house and were returning to 
Mr. Boelter's. As they were passing a little corner of the 
timber one of them saw father and uttered a wicked, piercing 
yell. It was but a moment when the whole band, about twenty 
men and some squaws, 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 
eheche" (the Sious are bad.). He then leveled his double bar- 



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174 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

reled ahot gun and fired both barrels at him. He dropped th« 
baby — she was killed — and numing a few yards down the hUl, 
. 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 otter a sound, but fell over dead. Caroline 
gave one little scream and a gasp or two and all was over with 
her. The ery rang in my ears for years afterward. My father 
was thirty-three and my mother thirty years of age when they 
were so cruelly murdered by the Indians. 

How painfully distinct are all the memories of the scenes 
of this dreadful afternoon. While my mother 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 regaihed my 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 
my 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 nest thing I 
remember was an Indian holding me in his arms, looking into my 
face. I screamed and he put mc down. My brother then told 
me not to be afraid as they 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 thought 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 Indian 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 wanted to see her and told the 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 that 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 must 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 the ground r^ht 
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 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 175 

him down. The Indians believe that the Great Spirit projects 
those at whom they shoot twice and miss. They do not shoot at 
them agaiQ, but give them a chance to live. 

Some time after our capture we went back to Mr, Boelter's 
place. As we turned the comer 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 we came to the Boelter house we found that the 
Indians had already murdered the most of the family. We saw 
three of the children 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 
children 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 
did 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 
me. I waited a few minutes until he went away and then looked 
in. There lay Grandma Boelter on the floor with every joint 
in her body chopped to pieces. All that winter after the out- 
break I 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 with him a 
baby belonging to his sister-in-law, Justina 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. When found she and her other child were 
nearly dead, too. 



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176 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

After visiting the Boelter place four or five of the squaws 
started with ub and the plunder which they had obtained, for 
the Indian village south of the Minnesota river two miles from 
our house. We crossed over in a canoe and reached the reser- 
vation about four o'clock. The rest of the Indians started for 
Mr. Lentz' place. 

Mr. Lentz and his entire family were saved excepting his 
son-in-law, Mr. Mannweiler. Mrs, Mannweiler had heard in 
some manner that the Indians were, killing everybody. She told 
them they must leave as quickly as possible. Her husband was 
already loading up and she and her sister, Augusta, went back 
to Mannweiler 's to ride with them. Just as they were coming 
out of the woods the Indians shot Mr. Mannweiler at the wagon. 
Augusta Lentz was a little ahead of Mra. Mannweiler. The In- 
dians caught her and took her prisoner. Mrs. Mannweiler ran 
back to her folks and got away with them. They went through 
the open prairie and reached Port Ridgely 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. 
My 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 sleeping 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. I did not blame him for crying. I cried, too. If the 
earth would have opened then and swallowed me I would have 
been thankful. My sister awoke with a scream and 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 load. 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 crying. 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 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 177 

hoase. I jumped off the couch and ran to the young girl and put 
my arms around her arm and hugged her tightly. She put her 
other arm around my shoulders 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 they 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, "waneeche" (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 we 
heard a commotion outside and wc 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 nearly crazy. The Indians 
were riding behind them on their ponies, flourishing their whips 
and yelling like so many 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. Rosler's 
wagon." They were too lazy to unload our load of hay and put 
the box on. One black ox, "Billy," was harnessed to a buggy 
and "Billy" seemed to feel proud of the distinction given him. 
He was owned by 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 held 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 
hut could see nothing of my brother or sister and I did not see 



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178 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

them again for over a week. My brother 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 hour. A squaw told me to sit under the wagon and she 
threw a blanket over my head and made me sit tiiere. 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 oflf 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 that I was with left the main force sod 
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 mo 
at daybreak, gave me a tin pail and pointed to a mud 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 playing, I put the pail down beside them 
and pointed to the slough, but they shook their heads. They diet 
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 with a porch on the west side. A little ways 
east of that building, on a hill, was a white house. In this house 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 179 

lived an Indian family with ten children. 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 run away and hide. The yoxing- 
est was a hoy 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 she 
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 would 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 they had not killed me yet. About noon 
that day they disappeared, and I never saw them again while I 
was a prisoner. 

The houses were all occupied by Indians and five 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. 

Thursday morning 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, hut could tell nothing else about herself. I was very 
glad to have her company. She lived with the 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 capture was the loneliest I have 
ever spent. Henrietta did not come to see me, and I sat down 
thinking of the previous Sunday. I wondered what a change 
the week had brought. Where were the people now, who had 
been at our church and Sunday school last Sunday? Were they 
all in 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. I found it and in turning over the 



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180 UrsTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

leaves I came tipoo tlie old familiar hymn beginning, "How tedi- 
ous and gloomy the hours," I knew it by heart and sang: 

""Wie lange und schwer wird die zeit 

Weun JesuB 90 lange nicht hier ; 
Die blumen, die voegel, die freud, 

Verlieren ihr schoenheit zu mir." 

I sang the hymn about half through and then my feelings 
overcame me and I laid dovm the book and had the longest and 
bitterest cry since my parents bad 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 early. They had break- 
fast in a hurry, 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 me 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 saw them both. That day I also saw Mary 
Schwandt 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 travel on roads as 
we do, but rushed across the prairie broadcast. U. S. flags, 
striped 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 Indiana' breasts. I have never seen a Fourth 
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, with their guns pointing at me, did not frighten 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 181 

me. I would shut my eyes and think it would not 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 
eity 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 pat 
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 
our cattle killed, as it was all there was left of our home. Jufit 
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, bnt 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'a oxen 
hitched to Mannweiler's wagon" Looking back I saw a boy 
whom I knew, Ludwig Kitzman. Then Henrietta called out, 
"Why, there is Ludwig." Now I had a clew to Henrietta's 
identity. 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 oor wagon, and when he came np to us he 
sud, in great astonishment, "Why, it is Henrietta Erieger, 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 yet. Her 



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182 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

father and some of her brothers and sisters had been killed and 
her mother badly wounded. 

Ludwig came at noon and we had an enjoyable visit. I asked 
him if we would always have to stay with the Indians and he 
told me not to worry about that as there were enough white men 
left to shoot off 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 ns, " 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 
up 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 boy took particular pains to torment and 
abuse me. One evening he was sitting in the tent and throwing 
com 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 most unmerci- 
ful thrashing and he cried like a baby. Then she gathered up 
all the com 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, Secame to me and said, "How do yon 
dot" 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 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 183 

of what the boy had told me. The new gun probably belonged 
to some dead soldier. 

Another time when the young squaw went visiting I got lone- 
Mme and decided to find brother and see him a while. I found 
him, together with August Qluth and Ludwig Kitzman, in a 
patch of hazel brush picking nuts. They gave me some, and 
whUe we were talking together the big boy approached na. 
"There comes that big Indian boy after you," said ray brother. 
"See, he ia picking up a stick to take you home. Don't you 
worry; we will take him home." Each of the boya picked up 
a stick and started for the boy. They said to him, "Pockajee" 
(leave). He scolded a while, but turned abont 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 both. 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 hia 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 cut 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 oflf 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 
diasatisfaetion, 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 gnard 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 my father and walked like him. For a moment I foi^ot 



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184 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

everything and ran to meet him. When I came up to him I saw 
that it was not my father and threw myself on the ground and 
cried as if my heart 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. 

That 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 that morning, sent them to get me. This family eon- 
aisted 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, bnt as soon as I could get 
out of doors I would rub oflE the paint. Their conduct toward 
me was so considerate that I really liked them. 

Once while with 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 with red shawls 
tied to them, some with white bed sheets, and some with Amer- 
ican dags attached to them. There were no scalps in sight. The 
dancers stood in groups and jumped up and down while others 
galloped wildly about on horseback. I was afraid they would 
run over one another, but they managed their horses very skill- 
fully. My young Indian friend held me up on his shoulder so 
that I conld have a fair view of the whole performance. 

After a week spent with this kind family I went to live with 
another, consisting of an old squaw (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 wood^ 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, bnt per- 
haps he could not. While I lived with them I was half starved 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 185 

all the time and was always sickly. Once when I was very 
hungry I saw an Indian girl put some 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 by questionable means, ao I 
watched and waited until I thought the potatoes were cooked 
and saw that the girl was at play od the other side o£ the tepee, 
and then I took the potatoes back of another tent and ate them 
with great relish. 

After I bad eaten the potatoes 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 whipping. Here 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 wonld 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 btimed 
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 was heard throughout the camp. I noticed that 
there were no warriors in camp, 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 come 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 mother'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. 

Aboat 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, and 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 with 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 flag waved 
from a pole. There were a lot of prisoners entering the circle 



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186 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

through an opening in the line, and as none came out I con- 
cluded that they were going to kill all the whites, bo I did not 
want to go. Two Indian girls took me and carried me in. 

Here I met my brother, August Giuth and Ludwig Kitzman. 
They greeted me most joyfully. "We are going to be free now," 
said my brother. "The soldiers have licked the Indians and now 
they have to give us up." I missed little Quatave 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 tbia. Besides this be 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 baby 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 up the pieces and tied them up in a tablecloth while 
another Indian was digging the bole to bury him in. In half 
an hour all was done and little Gustave was no more. 

Ludwig Kitzman, August Qluth 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 manage them. One night a 
big rain fell. The ropes tightened around the oxen's horns and 
they were nearly crazy with pain. Ludwig told the Indiana 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 Minnie Smith, Mary Schwant, 
Augusta Lentz, Mrs. Inefeld and her baby, Mrs. Lammers and 
her two children, Mrs. Lang and two children, Mrs. Frasa and 
three children, Mrs. Urban and five children. The last three 
ladies that I have mentioned were sisters. Mrs. Eisenreich and 
her five children. I asked Mrs. Eisenreich what made Peter and 
Sophy's heads sore, and she told me that the Indians hit them 
on the hack 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. 
Mrs. Krus and her two children, Pauline Krus (Mr. Krus' sister), 
were missing, and another girl by the name of Henrietta Nichols 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 187 

(a cousin of Augusta Lentz) could not be found. These two 
girls were about twelve years old. Mrs. Erus 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 remember how the soldiers cheered them when they came. 
When we reached St. Peter Henrietta Nichols found her father. 
How pleased she was to see him. Her mother and brother had 
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 understaod 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 Minnie Smith 's, for two days 
later she died. 

We waited three 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. 

The prisoners were now turned over to the soldiers and we 
were marched to their camp. Just as we reached the soldiers' 



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1S8 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

camp the sun went down. The soldiers cheered lis when 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' eamp 
there was a Qeriuan baker who used to bake very nice bread. 
One day 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 Ejtzman. 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 we could meet again. How much 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 with her. She had four sisters and 
brothers. She told me she was going to meet her father soon, 
for he was away some place where he was safe. She was about 
the age of my sister whom the Indians had killed. How I envied 
her. Her father, mother, sisters and brothers were alive and 
well, while mine were dead. She could always cheer me no mat- 
ter how badly I felt. Her mother treated me and my sister as 
kindly as she did her own children. 

"While we stayed at Camp Release I heard some of the saddest 
stories I ever heard. These stories were told in English and were 
translated to me by Mary Schwandt. 

Mrs. Adams told the following story: They were moving to 
Hutchinson when the Indians overtook them. The Indians shot 
at them and they jumped oflf the wagon. Her husband was 
wounded and got away, but she supposed he was killed. Then 
they took her baby from her arms and dashed its brains out on 
the wagon wheel. She was taken prisoner. She laughed while 
telling her story and said she could not cry for her child. 

Mrs. Minnie Inefeld told how she went to her brother's 
house to tell them that the Indians were killing everj-body. She 
left her husband loading up their household goods. When she 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY Lsii 

returnt'd she found her husband lying on the floor with a butcher 
knife in his heart. 

One day while we were staying at Camp Release Mr. Thiele 
came into our tent. He told Mrs. Krus how the Indians had 
killed his wife and child. He assured her that her husband was 
alive and that she would soon see him again. Then he went on 
talking about how be and half-breed Moore buried the dead. 
They had buried quite a number before he had courage enough 
to go and bury his wife and child. When he came to their bodies 
the hogs had eaten most of them and there was nothing left 
but a few pieces of their clothes. He said he knelt down beside 
them and cried, prayed and cursed the Indiana all in one breath. 
He swore that he would shoot Indians 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. Thiele did not answer, at 
which Moore 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 
com and wild plums he wandered until he met Sibley's men. 
He asked 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 there 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 up. 

I stood Mr. Thiele 's talk as long as I could and then asked 
him if he had buried my folks. "Who are youT" he asked. I 
told him I was Minnie Buce, Fred Buce's eldest girl. He shook 
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 then had to leave it all behind." Suddenly, recol- 
lecting what I had asked, he answered, "Yes, child, I think I 
buried them. There were 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. Erus took good care of me. She told me 
such a nice story, in her plain, simple way, that I never can 
forget it. She told me that after people were 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 any more. Every time I felt 
like crying to think of the nice things she had told me. I tried 
my best to do as Mrs. Krus had told me and found it was much 
better not to cry. 



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190 , HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

Soon after this we broke up camp and moved. My sUter and 
I got in the same wagon with Hattie Adams and Mary Scbwandt. 
When we halted in the evening my sister and I were both asleep. 
Our teamster was a young boy 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 frightened 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 unhappy when I found 
out that 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, the teamster, was a German and he 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 wagoo and put it 
around us 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 my 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, the 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 us. The 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 wonnded, 
who had walked many miles after he was shot, 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 children 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 rather 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, 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 191 

Mrs. Urban and Mrs. Kma with their children, an American lady 
with two children and a bo; about eight or nine years old. It 
was very cold that morning, the wind blowing a perfect gale. 
Our teamster took off 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 was too much for Ludwig Kitzman, 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 difB- 
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 we 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 
honse. 

When we got inside she looked around and asked, "Where 
is father and motherf" I was obliged to tell her the whole sad 
tmth, 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 Port Bidgely that day. There were five or six horse teams 
which took the women and children. The rest of the teams 
stayed behind and got to the fort later. Everything went well 
until about noon, when all at once we heard shooting over the 
hill ahead of ns. 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 bill on 
horseback. One horse was carrying two soldiers. The oflicers 
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, silre enough, there 
were a lot of men on horseback. It seemed like a large cloud of 
dust coming 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, hearing the shooting, came to see what the 



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192 HISTORY 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 Eitz- 
man exclaimed, "It is Mr. Gluth!" and jumped off the wagon 
and ran towards him. 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 driving an ox team 
caught up with us and took Mrs. Lammere and her two children 
with him. She was the first prisoner we parted with on the 
road and many of the women cried when they bade her good-bye. 
Afterwards I heard that the man was Mr. Rieke and that he 
married Mrs. Lammers. 

At last we reacbed the fort, tired and hungry. Tbe soldiers 
marched bs into the dining room, where supper was already 
wating for us. Soldiers were standing everywhere behind our 
chairs 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 Minnie Smith. She had been turned over to Mrs. Muller 
for treatment. She consented to take ns, 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. How badly we felt and 
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 Uttle 
Minnie^ 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 way 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 meadows. One place we passed a man was waving bia hat 
and calling to us. The teams stopped to see what be 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 



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HISTORY OP EENVILLE COUNTY 193 

amiled as the; watched ofi 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 burmng here, which 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 
tlieir homes. 

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 ray life. Those who had no friends were all crying. There 
was hardly a dry eye in the house. Mary Biefe 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 killed 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 comer 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 
afterwards. How pleased she was to see her. 

At last Mr. and Mrs. Emde were ready to go. They first took 
ns to a hoiise, 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 whait 
we wanted. When we were dressed as comfortable as they could 
make us we started for New Ulm. It was about noon when we 



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194 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

left and did not stop until we reached a farm house that evemsg. 
The next da; we reached John Muhs, a brother of Mrs. Emde, 
who lived six miles south of New Xllm, Mr. and Mrs, Muhs were 
my parents for the next two years and my sister stayed with 
Mr. Emde. 

I told Mr. Emde of my brother, and he 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 everything 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 oflf and would adopt us. Finally Mr. 
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, we 
saw but little of it. I do not wish to speak unkindly of my 
guardian, as he really did not abu^e me, and I think he would 
have done what was right, but he was not well and his wife was 
at the head 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 in 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 education. 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 Minneapolis. 

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 and 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 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 19S 

Indians that used to pass ns in their canoes 80 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 cherry 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." i 



CHAPTER XIV. 

CAPTIVE AMONG THE SIOUX. 

Expoiences of Tltn. N. D. White, of Beaver Falls — Unrest Among 
the Indians — News of the Upriaiiig' — Deaperate Flight — Oq>- 
tnre — Wedge Killed — Henderson Injured^-Hrs. Henderson 
and Children Burned — Scenes of Horror — Eugene White 
Killed — B(^ of Twelve Escapes — Captives Taken to Crow's 
Village— Life Among the Indians — Removal — Incidents of 
&e March— Reecne — Camp Release — Soenee of Delight — 
Bennion — Retroqtection. 

The story I 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 flre, 
while men, women and ionocent children were indiscriminately 
bntchered or made prisoners. 

I was bom in the town of Alexander, Genesee county, New 
York, February 10, 1825, my 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 



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196 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

our log cabin at the base of the bluff in the valley of Beaver 
creek, near its opening into the wide Minnesota 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 situated 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 buffaloes and other wild game, were largely 
dependent upon their annuities. They were supplied with pro- 
visioQS from the commissary 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 commissary 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 tipainah, 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 gun. This manner of dealing 
with the white man was not satisfactory to them, and especially 



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THt SEW TO»K 
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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 197 

to be compelled thus to part with their guns was very hard. 
BLDOwing the treachery of the Indians, none of us should have 
been surprised when this desperate outbreak overwhelmed us, 
and yet when the eighteenth day of August, 1862, came, with its 
cloudless sky, not one of the scattered settlers was prepared for 
protection against the carnage which was to overwhelm them. 

At this time nearly every farmer was- busy making hay, but 
my husband fortunately was on a trip to Blue Earth county, 
about sixty miles southeast of us. I say fortunately, because 
every man stood in great danger of being killed, and in all prob- 
ability that would have been his fate if he had been with us, as 
no men among the settlers were taken prisoners. 

The first outbreak, the attack on our fleeing partj'. and the 
beginning of my captivity were on Monday, August 18, and I 
was released thirty-nine days afterward, on September 26. 

While I was busily engaged gathering up the clothing for 
the purpose 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 dumb; but, suddenly recovering my thoughts, I immediately 
began planning what we should take with us. Soon 1 came to 
the conclusion that it would be folly to attempt to take anything. 
But on moving husband's overcoat I caught sight of a large 
pocketbook that contained valuable papers and some money. 
This I quickly secured, and managed to keep it during all my 
captivity. I caught up my baby, five months old, and placed him 
on one arm, and took Little Crow's gun in the other hand. My 
daughter also carried a gun. We hurriedly wended our way to 
the house of the sick neighbor, and thence went to the house of 
Mr. Earle. 

There I found my twelve -year-old son Millard, who had been 
herding sheep. Having learned of the trouble with the Indians, 
he had driven the sheep up and put them in the yard. Eugene, 
my oldest son, had gone out 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 this bold robbery. 
He found that the Indians had already got the colts and were 
breaking them to ride, having them in a slough, where they could 
easily handle them. Consequently he came back to the house of 
Mr. Earle. On his way back he met Mr. Wichmann, n neighbor 
just from the agency, who told him that the Indians wore killing 
all the white people there. 



Digili: 



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li>6 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

At the bouse of Mr. Earle twenty-seyen ueighbora were aasem- 
bled, men, women and children. Teams o£ 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 amhuBb 
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, hut surrounded us, took our horses by 
the bits, and commanded us to surrender to them 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 who could speak the Sioux language. The Indiana 
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 bad 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 had 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 there was still a 
little chance of escape. We had gone only a short distance when 
we were made fully awftre of the treachery that predominates 
in the Indian character. They commenced shooting at the men 
drawing the wagon. Mr. Henderson and Jehiel Wedge, in com- 
pliance with Mrs. Henderson's wishes, held up a pillowslip as a 
flag of truce, but the Indians kept on firing. The pillowslip was 
soon riddled. Mr. Henderson's fingers on one hand 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, the 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, who 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 bis 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 beheld the horrible scene and clasped our help- 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 199 

less little children closer to us. Then fearful thoughts of torture 
crowded into onr minds, as Mrs. Henderson and her two children 
were taken rudely from the bad in the wagon, thrown violently 
on the gronnd, and covered with the bed^ to which a torch was 
applied. The blaze grew larger and higher and I could see no 
more ! Hy 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 Port 
Ridgely 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, they could see so many Indiana skulking around that 
they thought it extremely dangerous to make any further effort 
to reach the 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 
DO food and starvation stared at them with its gnawing pangs. 
They were hatless in the scorching sunshine, and were com- 
pletely worn out by 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 
Indiana, five in nomber, had been away on a visit, and conse- 
quently they had not heard of the massacre. They were return- 
ing to Little Crow's village. The young man was not seen by 
these Indians, but the others had been seen before dropping in 



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200 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

the grass. They fired their guns for the ptirpose of reloading, 
and soon tracked the party with whom my son was to their hid- 
ing places by their trail in the wet grass. My son noticed one 
of them sknlking 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 htillet that 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 hungry they were. 

The Indians gave them some cold boiled potatoes, turning 
them on the ground, and asked to trade for Little Crow's gun, 
■which one of the party had received from me. Not daring to 
refuse, they gave them the gun, which was 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 
place. 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 Illra, they met a large number of settlers, 
men, women and children, fleeing for tbeir lives, who told them 
that the Sioux Indians had commenced a desperate raid upon 
the settlers in the vicinity 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 with the fleeing party until morning, my 
husband started on his return to the home of Mr. Jacobson, a 
distance of thirty miles. On his way 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 he 
driven from their homes by the Sioux, thinking that they could 
defend themselves by building breastworks of logs which were 
at hand. Consequently my husband remained with them one 
day and assisted in the building of the fortification, until reliable 
information came to them that there were so many Indians 
engaged in the outbreak that it would be impossible for them 
to make a successful stand. Therefore, after taking Mr. and Mrs. 
Jacobson to their home he started for St. Peter, where he arrived 
on Saturday, the twenty-third day of August. 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 201 

There he met Millard, our twelve-year-old hoy, who narrated 
to him the dismal tidings of the ootbreak ; that his mother, sister 
and little baby brother were taken oft by the Indians, and that 
Eugene was hit by a bullet in the leg while running in advance 
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 course 
they were running and dropped into a cluster of weeds. The 
Indians were soon upon him with their scalping knives. In cast- 
ing a look back he saw them apparently in the act of taking his 
scalp. 

ily husband's team of horses and his carriage were pressed 
into military service at St. Peter. He went with General Sibley's 
forces from St, Peter to Fort Ridgely, 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 for iiie to turn back. 
At this I screamed, partly for the purpose of calling Mr, Earle's 
attention to see that I was 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 captured my son Eugene, who was after- 
ward killed, passed me and said, "Ma, run faster, or they will 
catch you." This was the last time I heard him speak or saw 
him, and he must have been killed soon afterward. 

It was now near the middle of the day; the heat of the sun 
was very intense and we (the captives) were all suffering for 
drink. I sat down a moment to rest, and then thought of my 
drees, which had become very wet while wading through a 
slough, 80 I sucked some water from it, which relieved ray thirst 
a little. 

We captives and a few of the Indians walked back to the 
house of J. W. Earle. The Indians entered the house and 
delighted themselves by breaking stoves and furniture of various 
kinds and throwing crockery through the windows. After they 
had completed the destruction of everything in the house which 
they did not wish 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 terrible 
agony of wondering where the other prisoners were and what 
was to be their fate. IVuring this ride we passed several houses 
belonging to settlers who had been killed or had Bed to save 
their lives. The Indians entered these houses and plundered 
them of many valuables, such as bedding and clothing. On our 
way to the Minnesota bottomland we had to descend a very steep 



Digili: 



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202 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

bluff, where, by our request, the Indians ^ave us the privilege 
of walking down. 

After reaching the foot of the bluff our course 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 iu order to let our wagons pass over them, 
we finally reached the Minnesota river with many rents in our 
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 hert" 

We soon reached Little Crow's village, where we were kept 
about a week. The village numbered about sixty tepeea, 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 object 
that first met my gaze was Little Crow, a large, tall Indian, walk- 
ing the fioor 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-ehasta (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-ehasta was employed by 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 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY HOB 

on me several 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 
onrselves squaw suits. The sqnaws told ns 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 aa 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 
circTimstances I could see nothing to laugh about. She replied 
that we might hetter laugh than cry, for we had been told that 
the Indiana would have no tears, and that those 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 ace bow 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 
aome 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 with 
the sublime, the laughable with the heartThreakmg 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 fromt What tales could they tell if power 
were given them to speak t Where are the butchered and muti- 
lated forms that once wore themT 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 



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204 HI-STORY OF RENVILLE COCNTY 

it as well as we did, until after being forced by the pain or weak- 
ness caused by the want of food. Hunger will make food cooked 
after the maimer 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 about by the fearful tension 
on the nervous system. Truly and well has it been said that no 
bodily suffering, however great, is so keen as mental torture. 

My squaw mother was our cook. She mixed bread in a six- 
quart pan by stirring flour into about two quarters of warm 
water, with one teaeupful of tallow and a little saleratus, bring- 
ing it to the eonsisteuey 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 pieces, and fried it in tatlow. Potatoes they usually 
roasted in the hot embers 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 minutes 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 were squeezed out, 
and then without washing the tripe was broiled and prepared 
in regular Indian epicurean style. 

They follow their white brothers in their love for tea and 
coffee, which they make very strong. They sometimes flavored 
their coffee with cinnamon. My share of coffee was always given 
in a pint bowl with three tablespoonfuls of sugar in it. I ate 
some bread, which, with my tea and coffee, composed my bill 
of fare while with them. In fact, I think I could not have eaten 
the most delicious meal ever prepared 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 were all great lovers of jewelry, as every school 
child knows. Every captive was stripped of all jewelry and 
other valuables in her possession. The Sioux did not wear rings 
in their noses, like some tribes; but every other available place 
on the body was utilized to good advantage on which to display 
jewelry. The clocks that had been plundered from many a 
peaceful home were taken to pieces and made to do service in 
this line of decoration. The large wheels were used for earrings, 
and the smaller ones as bangles on bracelets and armlets. 

They were also very proud of being able to carry a watch; 
but their clothing, being devoid of pockets, lacked the most 
essential convenience for this purpose. Consequently some of 
them would, in derision, fasten the chain around the ankle and 
let the watch drag on the ground. 

Ton may think it strange that I took any notice of these 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 205 

little incidents. However trifling it may have been for me to 
obaerve their antics, it certainly had the effect 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 he was 
growing thinner every day from pure starvation. I thought of 
my husband and children, whose fate I 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, 80 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 
have 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 certainly 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 fully 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 New 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 mud caused by 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 discouraged to wish that I 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 Jetum they set up a frightful whoop and yell, 
which nearly stunned me with fear. However, I kept on my way, 



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206 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

drew my old sheet closer around me, and hurried hack as fart 
as possihle. As I entered our tepee I drew a long 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. Kinnikinick is a 
species of shrub from which they scrape the hark to smoke with 
their Indian tobacco. They have some long pipes. While smok- 
ing they let the bowl of the pipe rest on the ground. When this 
pipe was first lighted the custom 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 around. The pipe was not presented to me to 
take a puff. I believe this pipe was known as the pipe of peace. 

A week having elapsed since we were taken to Little Crow's 
village, and the warriors having all returned, an aged Indian 
marched through the village calling out "Puckachee! Pucka- 
cbeel" before every tepee; then the squaws immediately com- 
menced taking down the tejfees. We understood that the crier 
had given command for a move, but whither we did not know. 
Their manner of moving was very ingenious. Every 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 each 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 "puckachee," and away we went, one hundred 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 each 
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, 80 grotesque and awkward in their Indian dress, pajring 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 207 

the penalty that the red man imagined the white man owed him, 
for an Indian cares not whether it is the perpetrator o£ a wrong 
or not, if he finds some white victim whereon to wreak his 
revenge. 

Our ears were almost deafened hj the barking of dogs, the 
lowing of cattle, the "Puckaehee! Whoal Gee!" of the Indians 
in driving their teams of oxen, the neighing of horses, the bray- 
ing of mules, the rattle of heavy wagons. In fact, to me if 
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, 
aquaw-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 sqaaws, in passing 
me, would say "Puckaehee!" 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 part 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 beat 
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 "puckaehee," they would 
kill me and the baby 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 march. We followed up the Minnesota river valley until 
we came to Rice 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 my 
daughter and other friends who helped to make this long train. 

After a short walk among the Indiana and tepees, I was eom- 



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ii08 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

pletely overjoyed at meeting my daughter, whom I had not seen 
since we forded the Minnesota 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 only from death, but, 
worse than that, the Indian's lust. Killing beef eattle, 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 
ita 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, bat 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 
when 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 quantity 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 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 209 

ever beheld was a large, tall Indian, who had besmeared hie face 
all over with vermillion red, and then had painted a atripe of 
green around each eye and his mouth, thickly dotting these 
stripes with bright yellow paint. Others would paint their 
faces red, and then apply a bright coat of yellow, which gave it 
a sunset hue, after which 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 
the forehead, plaited it in two braids, and tied the enda 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 parted. I saw one squaw 
with five holes in the rim of each ear, from which hung 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 victimizing some innocent 
settler. Many 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 tlie false reports which the Indians made in stating that 
they had killed or driven nearly all the white people from Min- 
nesota. 

To save labor in harvesting and hauling corn and potatoes into 
camp, 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 the end 
of one remove, I saw an old squaw with a very nice black silk 
shawl, which she had worn over her head, squaw-fashion, while 
on the move climb over a rail fence and throw the shawl on the 
groimd 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 gathered up the corners of the shawl, 
threw them over her shoulder, and hurried away to the campfire. 

For one reason we were always glad to move; it furnished 
us a clean camp ground for a few days. But oh ! the thought that 



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210 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

I was a prisoner in the hands of savage Indians, moving on farth- 
er and farther from relatives, friends and civilization, into the 
far Northwestern wilds, inhabited only by cmel savages who 
lived in tepees, and cold weather coming on! 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 he 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 country. 
But on awaking from my slumbers, oh ! the anguish of mind^ the 
heart-emshing pangs of grief, to again fully realize that I was a 
prisoner still among the Indians, not knowing how soon I would 
be subjected to the cruelties of these revengeful savages 1 

In order to make myself as agreeable as possible to them, I 
feigned cheerfulness, and took particular notice of their papooses, 
hoping that 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 presence of my Indian 
father, who was quick to observe my gushing tears and heart 
throbs, which must have excited his sympathy for me. He said, 
through an interpreter, that he would give me bread and 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 country. 

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 United 
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 'a birthday ! 

These dusky savages seemed to have parliamentary rules of 
their own. One would rise, with solid dignity, and deliver his 
harangue, after which they one by one would dip their ladles 
into the kettle of dog soup, until each had served himself to 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 211 

Boup. Then came anotber speech and another dip by all. Thus 
they alternated until all or nearly all had their say and had their 
appetite satisfied with canine soup. 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 le^ 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 "Pueka- 
cbee!" 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 squaws began to pay much attention to my poor 
starving babe. They would put their hands on his head and say, 
over and over, "Washta, washta do," meaning "good, very 
good." When we stopped to pitch the tepees again the Indians 
had what they called a horse dance. I did not learn whether 
it celebrated a particular event, or was merely for amusement. 
Before they commenced it they decked their ponies with cedar 
boughs, and the warriors with feathers and ribbons. Then each 
warrior mounted his pony and paraded around in a meaningless 
manner, as it seemed to rae. 

Soon after this horse dance my squaw mother came to me in 
a very excited manner, took hold of me and fairly dragged me 
into the tepee, telling me that the Sissetons were coming to 



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212 HI8T0RY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

take me off. She hastily threw an old blanket over me, and 
there I remained with my babe in my arms for hours. I finally 
fell asleep and must have slept quite a while. Soon after wak- 
ing I was given to imderstand 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 Robinson" in regard 
to the trouble. After hearing what I had to say he remarked, 
"An Indian is nething 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 
endf 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 willow-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, imless 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 groond, how to 
stand and bow 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 laugh 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 buflFalo 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. 



Digili: 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 213 

with their faces shockingly painted with war paint and their 
heads decorated with long feathers. Surely they presented a 
fearful sight. Each had a stick about two feet long. They paid 
no attention to me, hut 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 waa 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 in single 
file walked out of the tepee I clasped my hand to my whirling 
brain and wondered if a more dreary or greater mental suffering 
conld or would ever befall me. 

A few short removes now brought us to what proved to be 
the end of our journey, Camp Release. As soon as the tepeea 
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 plun- 
dered, so they were well prepared to make some defense. They 
gave us to understand that they 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 imder- 
Btood among us that if such proved to be the case 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 farther 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 



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214 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

belter will than I did to get those fortificatioDB completed. I 
used a shovel ; my squaw mother used an old tin pan. The 
remains of those breaatworka are still visible, I am told. When I 
worked on them I had no idea that I should ever take any pride 
in the remembrance of ray labor on them, but I do, although at 
the time I felt as though it would 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 wej-e 
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 the squaws 
went out with one-horse wagons to take ammunition to the war- 
riors and to bring in the dead and wounded Indians. Once when 
they returned one squaw was giving vent to her feelings by 
chanting, or singing, "Yah! ho 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 their appear- 
ance that they had met with 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 night 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 our present surroundings, we could not refrain 
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. About 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 hearts beat quicker and quicker at the 
increased prospect of our speedy release. 

When they had come within about a half mile of our camp 
the Indians sent a number of us to the Minnesota river for water, 
telling us the palefaces would be thirsty. They thought, 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 



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HISTORY OP REm'^ILLE COUNTY 215 

they pitched their tents. A flag of truce waa flying over every 
tepee. After the soldiers had passed by some of the Indians 
came in laughing, saying the white soldiers were such old men 
that they had lost all their teeth. They had an idea that all of 
our young men were engaged to our civil war. The papooses 
were skirling aroond with a flag of truce, shouting "Sibilee, 
Sibilee!" as though they thought it great sport. 

While the soldiers were pitching their tents the general sent 
orders for ub to remain in the tepees until he came for us. This 
was a very hard command for 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 
bad 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 aim sure every captive there offered up fervent and grateful 
thanksgiving that the hour of release had come. Right well did 
this Camp 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 whom 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 clappuig their hands and whirling around 
in wild delight over the happy good fortune that had come 
to us. 

As for myself, I could only remain silent, as if an inspiration 
had come to me from the great beyond. I gazed at this assembly 



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216 HISTORY OF BENVILLE COUNTY 

of released captives while in their manifestationa of joy and 
happiness, tinctured with grief from the loss of dear friends and 
relatives, and in quiet satisfaction drew the fresh free air into 
my lungs and thought what contentment and peace freedom 
hrings to one who had heen a captive among the wild savages of 
the Northwest. None hut those who have passed through the 
terrible experience can ever know the varied feelings and emotion 
which the deliverance produced. 

We still wore our eqnaw suits. Some of us were given quar- 
ters in what were called or known as Sibley tents, and others in 
smaller tents. It was now about four o'clock in the afternoon, 
and by reason of our not having had dinner, the soldiers treated 
us to a lunch, consisting of light biscuit and apple sauce. It was 
not served after modem style. We simply gathered around two 
large dishpans containing our lunch, and each helped herself. 
When supper time came the soldiers brought into our tent, pre- 
pared to be served, an abundance of rice, hardtack, coffee and 
meat. My lunch was the most delicious repast I ever enjoyed, 
it being the first white cooking I had tasted since I ate breakfast 
in my own home the day J was 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 first day of our release a eampfire was provided us and 
we had the privilege of doing our own cooking. A guard was 
placed around our tents and eampfire, the object, I suppose, 
being to keep away all would-be intruders. 

My mind was now involuntarily absorbed in the strange 
sights of the afternoon. I could scarcely think a moment in 
regard to the condition or whereabouts of my family. I had 
not learned whether they all succeeded in making their escape 
or were all killed and scalped by the Indians. 

We remained with the soldiers ten days for the purpose of 
giving our testimony against the Indians. The soldiers were 
very kind to us, being always careful to provide campfires 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 with them they serenaded us with songs. As the 
sweet sounds of civilization greeted my ear the great contrast 
between freedom and captivity among savages grew more promi- 
nent. I shall always hold these brave soldiers in most grateful 
remembrance. 

In the forenoon of our last day with the soldiers, Mrs. David 
Carrothers, Mrs. Earle and myself were 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 when we were returning to our tent, I caught sight of my 
husband, of whom I had not known whether he was dead or alive, 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 217 

accompanied by J. W. 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 
their 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 with our 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 
oiu- clothing, but rode triumphantly into St, Peter in squaw cos- 
tume. Danger was thick around us on our journey. 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 two 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 
Siouz 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, who 
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 wild men of the Northwest, shockingly painted, 
and having their beads 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, boys and girls in almost every direction in alarmed 
haste, closely pursued by Indiana, shooting them. I could see 
two men holding up a flag of truce over a wagon 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 two children were put to death in a shocking manner. 



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218 HISTORY OB' RENVILLE COUNTY 

I saw my eon as he paased me in great haste when be said to me, 
"Ma, run faster, or they will catch you." Poor boy; bis remains 
were never found. Then, after the first fright 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 ferry near Port Ridgely, 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 notified 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 was the first 
house we passed where people lived. During the night rain came 
down in torrents, which made the roads very bad. StiU we 
traveled on in the morning, and arrived at St. Peter just in the 
shade of evening. In the outskirts of the village we were halted 
by the picket's "Who goes theret" 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 though we were white folks again. 

My babe's weight was now just eight pounds, and he was a 
little past seven months old. I found my twelve-year-old boy 
here safe and well. Our 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 destroyed 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 been donated by the neighbors. This aid was gratefully 
received and was a surprise 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 us) 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 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 219 

destitute, were more than acceptable. We remained in St. Paul 
three or four days waiting for a boat to take us to La Crosse. 
There were no eharges 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 there 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 1865 to 
our Renville county home, from which we were bo suddenly 
driven by the Indians, and we have ever since continued to live 
in this county. 



CHAPTER XV. 
EASLE'S REHINZ8CENCES. 

Thrilliiig esperiences of a Boy During the Sioux Massacre — 
Beaver Creek Settlement — Pioneer Incidentfl — Trouble Brew- 
ing — Warned by Squaw — News of the KoMaen — Flight tar 
Safety — Surrounded by Indians — Woman, Children and 
Friend Killed — Women, Children and Wounded Ai^ndoned 
by Whites—Brave Boy Gives Life for His Father— Party 
Separates — Rescue — Defense of Ft. Ridgely — Cowardice ot 
Some of the Citizens— Valor of Others — ^E^qwdition to Bury 
Bodies — Battle of Birch Cooley— Discharged. 

At the outbreak of the Sioux Indians in Minnesota 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 Diedrieh Wiehmann and family, Frank W. Schmidt and familyi 
Mr. and Mrs. N, D. 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 I) Hunter, and a 
young man named John Doyle. 

The Beaver creek, like all other water courses in Minnesota, 
runs in a valley much lower than the prairie land, the bottoms 
and sides of the bluffs being quite thickly timbered. 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 east from Beaver creek is the Birch Cooley 
creek and still farther east, about eighteen miles distant, was 
Fort Ridgely. West of Beaver ereek, about two and one-half or 



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220 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

three miles, is another creek, emptying into the Minnesota river, 
on which was a settlement of Swedes (Germans t). The Bed- 
wood Agency was distant about six miles and was in plain view 
from our house. At the agency were stores, blacksmith 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, with whom I became 
acquainted later. The missionary, a Mr. Williamson, whose 
father had also spent a lifetime as missionary among the Indians, 
was bom and reared there and lived near the agency. 

Of course the greatest need after reaching the settlement was 
a bouse, and father lost no time in procuring lumber at the 
agency in exchange for a cow. The lumber was cottonwood and 
green, but it answered the need aa frame and covering boards. 
As soon as it was enclosed, even before it was shingled, we moved 
into the new bouse, 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 prairie grass was not tall enough for hay, but around 
the borders of the swales where the ground was damp the grass 
grew to a good height, and farther in the swale was covered with 
cat-tail and other flag higher than a man's head. It was in the 
grass about these swales that I began the work of making hay for 
winter, 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 were 
driven home and kept in yards enclosed by rail fence at night. 
The horses were always turned loose when not at work, and 
they with others belonging to the other settlers formed a herd 
of about twenty, which always ran free day and night, unless 
at work. 

On Sundays there was generally, or, at least, frequently, 
preaching by the missionary, Mr. Williamson, the church being 
Mr. Henderson's front yard. The pulpitwas wholly imaginary, 
and for pews we used chairs, boxes, blocks of wood, or, when 
all else failed, the ground. The music was congregational. 
.Father was a powerful bass singer and played the soprano on the 
violin. Mr. Williamson also sang, and if I remember rightly 
Mrs. Henderson had a sweet soprano voice. While the singing 
was not the best it certainly was not the worst I ever heard. 

The six working days of the week were all busy ones for us 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 221 

and evening generally found U3 tired. Still we three older boys 
with our violins and sometimes Julia to play an accompaniment 
on the melodeon would furnish what, for those times, was pretty 
good music. Not one of us deserved to be called a violinist, but 
we certainly were fiddlers, and in this capacity we spent nearly 
every evening until bedtime. 

The sight of Indians was no more uncommon than that of 
whites, for they visited us every day in pairs and groups, and the 
prairie was dotted here and there with parties hunting a bulbous 
root, which they called "teepson," and used for food. It was 
called wild turnip by the whites. The plant was but a few 
inches high and had but one slender, straight root, which 
extended into the ground three or four inches, where the bulb 
was formed, and below this was the tap root and perhaps other 
smaller roots. The bulb was from one to two and one-half or 
three inches long and the largest were perhaps one and one- 
half inches in diameter. It was enclosed in a rind much like 
that of the turnip, which, when peeled off, left the bulb white 
and firm, with no particular flavor, if I remember rightly. If 
left to dry, in a few days the pulp became almost as hard as hone. 
I have dug and eaten many of these bulbs fresh and raw, and 
always imagined that they would be quite 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-runner shape. To use it the Indian would 
strike the sharpened end into the ground two or three inches 
from the plant, withdrawing and striking again in the same 
place, until with two or three strokes the point of the stick was 
forced under 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 sueh 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. Aa I had quite a fancy to be able to 
talk their language I improved every opportunity for learning 
it. Many of them seemed to understand my desire and were 
willing to help me, so that in tjie few weeks we were there I 
acquired 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. 



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222 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

Father sold two head of cattle to them. For the first one ho 
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 Indians and accompanied by 
Mr. 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 original 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 pawn, and not until after father had written out and 
signed an agreement for its return on receiving the stated snm 
of money. (Mrs. White tells a different story of the gun. It will 
be found 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 much deformed. It was this fact 
that enabled a hunter afterward to identify this body. 

There was an old Indian who seemed particularly good- 
natured, who 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 Mrs. 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 any 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 
day on earth for them both, 

Sunday evening, August 17, we boys played unusually late 
in the evening and our music seemed better than ever. Juat 
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 distinctly heard them. This 



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HISTORY OF BENVILLE COUNTY 223 

was Bomethiog unusual, yet it did not disturb as. And so we 
went to bed and to sleep. 

The next morning, Monday, the eighteenth, father rose very 
early and went on the roof to finish shingling. On going out he 
noticed three Indians in a fence comer of the cow yard. This 
was very strange, yet it excited no fear. When called to break- 
fast father came down &om 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 the Indians, a magnificent specimen, over six 
feet tall, came in dressed in a breech cloth and covered with war 
paint. He asked father for our two rifles, which, of course, were 
refused. They hung by straps to the joists over head and a 
bed stood directly below them. The Indian seemed determined 
to have them and stepped on the bed as though he were going 
to readh the rifles. At that father rose and said "No" with 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. Tbey 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 bring 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. I said they were not mine and 
I couldn't catch them. 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 



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224 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

air, pretended to do all I coald to stop them, but was really very 
careful not to do so. I had done this twice, and while watching 
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 had 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 had entered 
our house and asked for the rifles stepped up and put his left 
arm about my neck and hugged me hard, saying that he would 
like to scalp me and gnessed he would before night. At the same 
time he struck me over the head with his lariat. This treatment 
was entirely unexpected and resented, for as his left arm was 
around my neck his ribs on that side were fully exposed, and I 
gave him so strong a punch with my right fist that he emitted 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 thought that surely he would explain 
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 danger 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 were 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 the road which was on the prairie, I 
went a little farther and entered the bushes, which was the 
beginning of the timber of the bluffs. The bushes were not 
thick and I could run through them 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 beard 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 would be caused by an arrow cutting the leaves. 

I was home in a few minutes. Chalon 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 the horses. He said 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 225 

they wouldn't get his without a fight, bo 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 
Indiana. We had seven horses and colts, and if one or two were 
mounted the others would follow, ao Chalon and I were to take 
them out. 

Chalon bad Bomething 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 him 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 Diedrich Wichmann. He 
continued towards his house while 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 Carrothcrs' 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- 
fcuiable 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 held 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 
BO put in a few small stones. Our shot and bullets were all gone. 



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226 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTT 

and only one flask of powder, partly filled, remained. This shows 
how utterly defenseless we were. 

All being ready to start (we intended going to Fort Bidgely, 
eighteen miles distant), David Carrothera 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. Very 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 occupied about 
ten minutes. When he returned to us the 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 oflEered 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. Mr. 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 Ave guns against their 
nineteen guns, and three of ours loaded with shot and stones, 
while theirs were all loaded with balls. And more than all, we 
had no ammunition to reload our guns. What better could we 
dot And besides, Mr. Henderson said that they had a^eed to 
famish 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 



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HISTOBY OF BEtnaLLE COUNTY 227 

detached them and then demanded the colts. Mr. Henderson 
protested and reminded them of the agreement. But they only 
said be 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 buggy pole so that the pole could not enter the 
yoke ring. This made no difference. They said they intended 
to have the colts anyway, bo we proceeded to unhitch the colta 
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 whip 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 whtppletree; I took the opposite one; while 
father and David Carrothers pushed behind. 

We relied on the promises of the Indians, so traveled rather 
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 were at the top of It, when they £red 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 3*ars old. Mr. Hender- 
son said that he could not leave his wife, and for this we all 



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328 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

honored him. Jehial Wedge said that Mrs. Henderson bad 
nursed him in bis sickneBs and he would not leave her. By this 
time tbe Indians were firing quite rapidly and every instant 
some one had a narrow escape. So we left them, uncertain as to 
tbeir fate, hoping yet fearful. 

It seemed that as soon as we left the huggy the Indians ceased 
firing upon it and one after another all but two or three passed 
it and came on after ns. We began to hope they might be spared, 
but directly we saw firing from tbe tear 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 unhurt 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 tbe right 
hand was 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 bad 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 bold it up as a flag of truce. This 
he did, but tbey fired again and shot off the finger that held it. 
Then they stopped and made a sign wbicb be 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 we maintained a show of defense, although 
not a gun had been discharged on our side. We had no ammuni- 
tion to spare and really our guns were only useful in keepuig 
the Indians at a little distance. For knowing probably that at 
least three of our guns only carried shot, while theirs carried 
ounce bullets, they kept beyond the range of our guns, while 
keeping us still vrithin 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 posBible. When we finally overtook them I found Mrs. Dave 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COrNTY 229 

Carrothers nearly giving out, as she had to carry her baby, so I 
took the baby, which greatly relieved her and she was able to 
keep up with the rest. I think we must have continued in this 
way for about a mile farther when Mrs. White, who was a very 
fleshy woman and was carrying a baby, stopped and said that 
she could go no farther. So we passed on and left her standiog 
there. We watched as we fled 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 hurt she called out to the rest and waved a white hand- 
kerchief. (See Mrs. White's account of this capture. — Ed.) 

It then seemed that it was the intention of the Indiana to 
capture the women and children, and as it was utterly impossible 
for them to escape by fleeing, and as we could not defend them, 
they deemed it best to stop, which they did. I gave the baby 
to its mother and kept on. 

Dave Carrother's oldest child was a boy about five years old. 
When he saw his father running on ahead he ran after him as fast 
as his legs could carry him, calling to his father to wait. His father 
did not wait for some time, hut finally stopped and turning the 
little fellow around told him to go back to his mother, while he 
himself resumed his flight. The boy remained where he was, cry- 
ing until the Indians came up. Finding him ftlone they killed him. 

The average distance which the Indians kept from us was 
about fifteen or, possibly twenty rods, and as they were expert 
marksmen it is remarkable that any escaped. That they did is 
due to two reasons. First, their guns were poorly 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 sort 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 were quite 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 we could not tell which one, so at the flash we 
both fell. It proved that it was intended for Chalon, and if he had 
not dodged it would have struck him between the shoulders. 
Missing, it went on and struck Eugene White on the inside of the 
right knee. He fell but immediately 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 broken, but he 
immediately jumped up and ran on with a bad limp. Soon I 
noticed that he turned to the left and ran a little to one side and 



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230 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

lay down behiod a bunch of tall grass or weeds, perliaps think* 
ing that it concealed him, but more likely he realized that he 
could go no farther. By this time the firing had become quitft 
rapid and there was little chance for one to help another, and 
80 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 he tried it again he would shoot him. 
Sure enough be 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 
Indiana 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 very 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 gooil 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 him he called to the boys 
to atop 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 aaid 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 they 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 away. Here was an example of heroism and devo- 
tion that is worthy of becoming historical. 

Aa 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 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 231 

the height of several feet. As I run along one of these ridgea 
I noticed that not an Indian's eye wag upon me. They were 
either loading their guns or happened to he 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 
Btde from the Indians until I had descended far enough bo that 
I could be out of sight in a stooping position. Then I rose and 
rapidly ran out a few rods into the swale and then turned and 
ran back near, but not in. my first trail, till near the shorter 
grass, when I led my return 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. Prom 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 th(fre for at least two hours, when I cautiously 
raised up and becoming satisfied that there were no Indiana 
about I left the swale and considered what I should do. 

To go back home 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 away. 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 absolutely 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 was 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 I found a swale with 



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232 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COL'NTY 

tall grass and weeda 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 not 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 hawk in the opposite direction. In two or three 
minutes 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 they came so close that I 
feared that the next time around they 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 until 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 be 
could defend himself and thus I would get his gun. Fortunately 
they did not discover me and I was able to get a little more sleep. 

I am satisfied that my changing positions was 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 be 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. Yet no feeling of weakness or famt- 
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 when the coarse grass would 
rake across my sore legs I would have to wince, but there was 
no remedy for it. 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 233 

I looked for teepson but did not find any. Perhaps that was 
because it grew on the higher and drier ground whieh I avoided 
as much as possible. 

I had not seen the Abercromble 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 whether the man was a white man or an Indian. So I 
stopped for a while 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, 
but 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 goingf I thought he must be running 
into extreme danger and that probably he had not yet heard 
of the outbreak. At any rate I could not help him, so I turned 
cast and resolved to follow the road, even at quite a risk, for 
my legs were very sore. 

I soon came to quite a high ridge that ran squarely 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 wagons. I 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 were these wagonsi I concluded that they were 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 doT 
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 took before deciding on 
what to do. So I carefully raised up until I could look over the 
ridge when I saw one of the pleasantest 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, stifiE 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 met 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 



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234 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

stopped at Fort Ridgely on Saturday night and 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 mesBenger from Port 
Ridgely with orders to return. So after cooking and eating their 
supper they started on the return. They had marched all night 
and until ten o'clock Wednesday, when I met them. Lieutenant 
Sheehan 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 thought 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 knife. 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. 

Port 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 they were returning, had formed an ambuscade in the 
woods. But the officer at the fort had sent a messenger by a 
detour to notify Lieutenant Sheehan of the ambuscade. It was 
this messenger that I had seen after he had notified the lieutenant 
and was on hia way back to the fort. 

When we had reached within a mile or ao of the creek, Lien- 
tenant Sheehan came back to the wagon in which I was riding 
and asked me if I could drive a four mule team. I told him 
that I had never done so, but that I believed I could. So he took 
the soldier who was driving the rear team and sent him into the 
ranks and told me to mount the mute. 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 the 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. 



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fflSTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 235 

The march was resumed, hut hefore reaching the woods Lieu- 
tenant Sheehan, with his men, made a wide detour to the right, 
where the bluffs were lower and the woods less thick. There he 
crossed the creek, but left the wagons with the three teamsters 
to go through the ambuscade. I thought, at the time, that this 
movement smacked of cowardice and that the lieutenant desired 
mostly to get bis 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 usi It was a couple of howitzers, which had been run 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. 

Aa 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 intended 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 t 

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 his first lieutenant, with only fifty 
soldiers to defend this indefensible place, filled as it was with 
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, hut 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- 



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236 HISTORY OF RENVII.LE COUNTY 

zens that had been formed for the defense of the fort and had 
chosen Mr. DeCamp 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 storj-. The men had been armed as well as 
possible with guns, but when these were all distributed they were 
given axes, crowbars and the like and statioiied 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 were placed in and behind them for their defense. 
Other buildings were defended by placing men in them, but there 
was no sign of a breastwork about the fort, while on the north, 
east and south sides, it was within easy gun shot of ravines and 
bluffs, where Indians could lie in safety, while attacking it. 

About noon of August 20, a force of Indians returning from 
the attack on New Ulm, were going towards the agency on the 
opposite side of the river, and the commander dropped a few 
shells among them. About two o'clock the music began and it 
seemed for a while as though pandemonium itself had broken 
loose, for the Indians numbered 400 or 500 and they fired rapidly 
and each time they fired they uttered the war whoop. The noise 
from the shooting with the crashing of bullets through doors and 
windows was bad enough, but the war whoop was worse yet, for 
it was simply blood curdling and I really think that .1 dodged 
oftener for the war whoops than for the bullets. For a moment 
it seemed that my hair stood on end and I was a bit rattled, but 
by an effort I regained control of myself and afterwards was not 
badly excited, 

I could not do much in the way of shooting for the soldiers in 
the log huts soon had quite a cloud of smoke about them which 
obscured my sight and made it dangerous to them for me to shoot. 
So I simply remained on guard at the window. The fighting 
continued till long after dark, when the Indians withdrew. No 
one in the room where I was stationed, was wounded, but the 
surgeon brought in others who had been wounded outside, and 
the sight of these poor fellows taxed my nerves severely. 

After the fighting ceased everything became quiet and some 
of us slept while others kept watch. The next morning the citi- 
zens company was ordered to assemble and we were 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, 
who proceeded to make us a speech in which he called us all the 
mean names, such as cowards and sneaks, etc., that he could 
think of. I was surprised, for I was not aware of sneaking, but 
I afterward leai'ned that many of them had deserted their posts 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 237 

and gone upstairs with the women and children. Lieutenant 
Sheehan ended his harangue by telling Captain DeCamp to pick 
out ten of his men, if he had so many in his company of scrubs, 
and detail them to go on picket duty to relieve his men. 

Captain DeCamp began at the 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 poorer excuse. I think his excuse was that 
he had no cartridge box, but had to carry his cartridges in hia 
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 Lieutenant 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, air." No doubt my answer came 
more from ahame 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 bad made up my mind not to remain in that citizens 
company any longer, so after breakfast I went to a sergeant of 
Lieutenant Sheehan 's company and asked him to take me into 
bis 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 only citizen I have seen that is worth a d n," 

and another said, "We'll divide 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 
sqnad I belonged to was placed behind the log huts, and Captain 



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238 HISTORY OP 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 behind the line, apparently giving 
no heed to the bullets. When he had reached about the middle 
of the line he stopped and said in a voice loud enough to be 
heard all along the line, "Boys, I am ordered to shoot the firat 
man who leaves his post without 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. Sood 
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 together and DeCamp designated us to go 
with Sheehan. So bringing 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 reached the middle and the bullets 
were coming thick enough to satisfy even Lieutenant Sheehan. 
He turned around and said to ub, "G-d d-n it, can't you nm 
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 he called, "Hold on, hold on," so I slacked 
np and let him catch up with me. At the south aide he left me 
in the opening between the headquarters and the comer building 
without even a spear of grass for shelter. I could simply 
hug 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 bnildinp 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 
BO well that the Indians would not dare expose themselves long 
enough to take good aim. Our greatest danger was in the fact 
that the ground 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 right 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 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 239 

once and reBumed the watch for my Indian. Pretty aooo the 
soldier said that one of ub must be hit, for there Tras blood on 
the ground. I told him that it was he and showed him some 
holes in hie 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 thst that hole was burned one evening while fishing 
with a jack and just then the soldier noticed the wound on my 
finger. I was bleeding considerably and the bone was broken, 
yet it hadn't begun to pain me. Sergeant 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, made of inch pine boards, which was leaning 
against the side of the building 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 band and arm. I simply conld not endure it 
and had jnst come out from behind the door when the Indians 
fired a volley at it. The door looked like the top of a pepper 
box. If I had been behind it I would have been hit by at least a 
dozen balls. I 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 different directions. Soon 
afterwards Sergeant Blackmer was wounded in the jaw, the 
bullet passing through from side to side. The poor fellow mnat 
have suffered terribly. 

For several hours, lasting until quite late in the night, they 
kept up the attack. There were a good many of our men hurt 
and I think we must have done them some injury for just before 
their attack ceased we could bear an Indian down in the timber 
calling the rest away. A half-breed, who was 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 



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240 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

Captain Joseph Anderson, who was an old Mexican War soldier. 
It had been organized for the express purpose of relieving New 
Ulm and Fort Bidgely. Much to my surprise I found Ch&lon, 
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 father's rescue by Radnor, 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 
Ridgely, 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 bis back many 
weary hours before they reached the settlement. 

On the way they 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. We 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 daj-s 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, bat 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. 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 241 

As I revert to those times it stirs my pulses a little, but such 
things as this just related were then considered of little moment. 
I have wondered a thousand times that I did not get ray foolish 
head knocked off, but aside from the wound in my hand I never 
received a scratch. 

Chalon was worse than a daredevil. Wherever was the trail 
of an Indian there would he go, seemingly without thought of 
the possible consequences. Yet he was never hurt, though he 
was many times in tight places. It may have been our good luck 
that got us out of bad scrapes. 

Sunday morning, August 31, we were ordered to mount, and 
then 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 command. He had been chosen for the command and 
given the rank of Brigadier General, because of his previous ex- 
perience with, 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 prisoners. The command of the expe- 
dition was given to Major Brown. We took along seven or eighl 
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 Cooley. 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 the fort. Why they had been sent 



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242 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

along or why now rettiming I do not know. This sergeant had 
tried to get me to enlist in his company and I think I had nearly 
promised to do so, hut when Chalon 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 hie 
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 thought to frighten me, 
or thought I would, while scouting, run into a bad place, or 
whether he knew the danger the expedition would be 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 amhush. Before noon Chalon and I found a half-crazed 
Swedish woman, who tried to elude us and we had to run her 
down. When we had captured her, we learned that all her fam- 
ily had been killed, she herself had been wounded by fourteen 
buckshot in her back and in this condition had remained so near 
the Indians, supporting herself on the food found in the 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 house sometime after noon and it was a sad 
looking wreck. We did not care to remain there long and as 
our camp for the night was to be nearly in the direction of our 
flight just two weeks before, we made up our minds to follow 
that course. 

We soon came to the place where we had left 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 and children. He was nearly 
heart-broken, but I think he did not utter a word. 

These buried, we followed on and found the body of Dave 
Carrothera' 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 canjp, 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 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 243 

the wagons. The tents, known as the Sibley tent, were pitched 
inside the circle and would accommodate about twenty men each. 
The tent which I slept in that night faced the east and I hap- 
pened to lie just at the side of the cDtranee. Chalon was a wagon 
guard and slept under the wagon. The Swedish woman we had 
captured, bad been put into a covered wagon and a buffalo robe 
was given her for covering. 

About four o'clock the next morning, just as the gray of 
approaching dawn began to appear, one of my company who 
had been one of -Walker's Filibusters, saw some objects running 
about the prairie near the camp, which he thought must be hogs. 
Thinking it would be a great joke on the inexperienced men to 
give an alarm he fired on one of the supposed 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 up with bows 
and arrows in order to kill the sentinels without giving an alarm, 
and expecting then to charge a sleeping camp. But the joke was 
unfortunate for them, for the camp was alarmed. The Indians 
immediately directed their fire at about breast high of the tents, 
calculating that the soldiers would spring up at the first alarm 
and many would be hit before getting out of the tents. They 
were right. Very few of the men of either company bad been 
under fire before and they immediately sprang up. Many were 
killed and wounded in the tents. 

With the first war-wboop I was wide awake and at once rolled 
on my face in order to get up. Immediately the commotion began. 
Sergeant Baxter, a big, noble fellow, sprang up and said, "Come 
on, boys, don't be afraid," and started for the tent door. Just 
then he clasped his hands to his cheat and cried, "My God, boys, 
I'm shot in the breast," and he fell across my legs. He was so 
heavy that it took quite a few seconds to get out from under him, 
and when I reached the line firing was heavy. Chalon was in 
his element. He stood at the end of a wagon and fired as rapidly' 
as possible. His conduct pleased Captain Anderson, and every 
time he fired the captain praised him, thinking probably that 
"the boy's" courage would soon play out. But when he saw that 
he held his position he finally ordered him to lie down, saying 
that he could not afford to lose such a brave fellow. I lay along 
side of the captain and I soon found that he was as eool and 
unconcerned as an iceberg. That helped rae and others to keep 
cool. 

Thinking that when the Indians should find out that they 
could not take the camp by surprise they would leave we gave 
our sole attention to the fight. But as it continued hour after 
hour without any let up and our losses were severe we began to 
dig each for himself. My utensils for digging were my bayonet 



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244 HISTOHY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

and my hands, till I soon had a little ditch with a slight bank 
in front, which .afforded 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 whole company. Ah the Indians persisted in the 
attack, and we were complrtely surrounded, no one could get out 
to go to the fort for help. So our officers began to caution the 
men uQt to waste ammunition, as no one could tell bow long we 
might have to stay there, and judging by the firing it would be 
madness to attempt to cut our way through 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 water in the camp, and we soon 
began to suffer intensely from thirst, especially as we had to bite 
the cartridges, thus getting powder in our mouths. I got some 
relief by chewing a bullet, which started the saliva and moistened 
my mouth. 

Food was as scarce nearly as water. All I had to eat during 
the battle was a small piece 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, but the larger number withdrew into the woods 
of the bottom lands, where they were perfectly safe, and slaugh- 
tered and roasted beef for their suppers, which they 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 much 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 Qrant 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 brought along on one of the wagons and on 
camping had been thrown upon the ground. This lay convenient 
for me and I threw myself behind it. The firing quickly ceased, 
and after a few minutes I went on to Captain Grant and delivered 
my message. When I sprang up to return it seemed as though 
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. 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUXTY 245 

MorDiug came. Noon came and went with no promiae of 
relief. But about two o'clock in the afternoon we noticed a stir 
among tbe Indians, a slackening of their fire, and we soon were 
aware that most of them had left as to meet a force coming to 
our relief. A regiment under General Sibley was coming and, 
scarcely halting, the; formed a line of battle and scattered the 
redskins from in front of them. The Indians didn't make much 
of an effort, 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 onr relief, but after coming about three 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 peremptorily 
ordered him to come to our relief and to continue until he found 
us. The officer then started ag&in and came within three miles 
and camped, notwithstanding that the fight was 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 kilted. 

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, knowing 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 
boysT" I heard him white he was still quite a distance off and 
some of the answers. Some said both were killed, some, 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 CuUen 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 



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246 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

hours. The most of the time I was near Captain Anderson, who 
waa wounded six times, but fortunately none were very severe. 
Captain DeCamp was killed and buried there. The wounded were 
loaded as best they could be into the wagons which the relief 
party brought, but the jolting was severe and brought maoy 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 buffalo robe which covered her was cut 
into strings. 

The next morning after my return I was sick and very 
feverish. My hand, which was far from being healed, was enor- 
mously swollen and discolored. I reported to Lieutenant Brown, 
as Captain Anderson was in the hospital, and he took me to the 
surgeon who had first dressed it. He remembered 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 discourag- 
ingly about saving it. However, he dressed it, and I reported 
every day until he finally said that I must 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 could have 
proper treatment and diet. So the surgeon said that I could 
have ray choice between an operation 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 the direction of the "Renville County Pioneer's 
Society, ' ' 

CHAPTER XVI. 

COUNTT GOVERNMENT, 

Original Oonntles — Wabashaw — Dakotah — Pierce and Nicollet — 
Renville — Ohanges in Boundaries — Lincoln — Election Legal- 
ised — County Oommiasioners — Oounty Officers. 

Alexander Ramsey, the first territorial governor of MinnesotH, 
arrived at St. Paul with his family May 27, 1849. June 1, 1849, 
be issued a proclamation declaring the territory duly organized. 
June 11 a second proelamation was issued, dividing the territory 
into three temporary judicial districts. The first comprised the 
county of St. Croix. The county of La Pointe and the region 
north and west of the Mississippi and north of the Minnesota 
and of a line running due west from the headwaters of the Minne- 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 247 

sota to the Missouri river, constituted the Becond, The coun- 
try west of the Mississippi and south of the Minnesota formed 
the third district. Judge Goodrich was assigned to the first, 
Judge Meeker to the second, and Judge Cooper to the third. 
A court was ordered to be held at Stillwater on the second Mon- 
day, at the Falls of St. Anthony on the third, and at Mendota 
on the fourth Monday of August. Renville county was included 
in the second district, with Judge Meeker on the bench. 

Until June 26 Governor Ramsey and family had been guests 
of Hon, H, H. Sibley, at Mendota. On the afternoon of that day 
they arrived at St. Paul in a birch-bark canoe and became per- 
manent residents at the capital. On July 1 a land office was 
established at Stillwater, and A. Van Vorhees, after a few weeks, 
became the r^strar. 

On July 7 a proclamation was issued, dividing the territory 
into seven council districts, and ordering an election to be held 
on the first day of August, for one delegate to represent tlie 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 county was included 
in the seventh district. 

Orig'inal Oounties. The first territorial legislature assembled 
September 3, 1849, and adjourned November 1. By an act 
approved October 27, 1849, the territory was divided into nine 
counties: Washington, Ramsey, Benton, Itasca, Wabashaw, 
Dakotah, Wahnahta, Mahkahto and Pembina. Only the counties 
of Washington, Ramsey and Benton were fully organized for all 
county purposes. The others were organized only for the pur- 
pose of the appointment 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 appointed by 
the governor, their term of office was to be two years unless 
sooner removed by the governor, and they were made conserv- 
ators of the peace. 

Wabashaw. Wabashaw county, as "erected" by the act of 
October 27, 1849, comprised practically all of the southern part 
of the present state of Minnesota. Its northern boundary was the 
parallel running through a point on the Mississippi opposite the 
mouth of the St. Croix, and a point a trifle north of the mouth of 
the Yellow Medicine river; the southern boundary was the Iowa 
line ; its eastern, the Mississippi ; and its western the Missouri ; 
and it also included the big peninsula between the Missouri and 
the Big Sioux rivers, and all of what is at present southeastern 
South Dakota. 

The southern part of the present Renville county thus 
fell in what was then Wabashaw county, the northern 



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248 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

boundary of Wabashaw county crossing the present Benville 
county due east from a point a trifle north of the mouth of the 
Yellow Medicine river. 

Itasca and Wabashaw were attached to Washington county, 
the three counties being constituted the Second judicial district, 
with Hon. David Cooper on the bench. 

DalEOtah. 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 county thus included in its vast area the northern 
part of what is now Renville county, taking in the present town- 
ships of Wang, Erieson, Crooks, Winfield, Eingman, Osceola, 
Brookfield, Boon Lake, and all except a strip on the south of 
Hawk Creek, Sacred Heart, Emmet, Troy, Bird Island, Melville, 
Hector and Preston Lake. 

Dakota, Wahnahta and Mahkahto were attached to Ramsey 
county for judicial 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 river 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 purposes. Under 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, Sibley, Nicollet and 
Pierce. The present Renville county fell in Nicollet and Pierce 
counties, the dividing line being a line drawn due north from 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 249 

the mouth of the Little Rock {now called Mud) creek. Thus all 
of the present Renville county 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 March 2, 1854, Sibley county was 
organized. 

Kenville. February 20, 1855, the legislature passed an act 
defining the boundaries of the following counties: Olmsted, 
Dodge, Mower, Freeborn, Blue Earth, Farribault, Steele, Rice, 
Dakota, Scott, Le Sueur, Nicollet, Sibley, Carver, Renville, Davis, 
Wright, Steams, Brown, Goodhue, Newton, Benton, Wabasha, 
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 county. It 
would also take in the two southern townships in what is now 
Meeker county, the four southern townships in what 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 government survey made by 'Sevan & Hutton, ' 
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, wliich 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 be the duty of the first board of county 
commissioners which shall be elected in pursuance 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 



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250 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

determine, to locate the county seat of said county to all intents 
and purposes until otherwise provided by law. 

"Section 4. The county of Benville is hereby attached to 
the county of Nicollet, for judicial purposes, until the county 
officers of said county shall have been elected and qualified aa 
contemplated by this act. 

"Section 5. That from and after the election and qualiSca- 
tiou of the county officers 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 county 
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 and lower reservations consisted of a strip of land 
twenty miles in width, ten miles on each side of the Minnesota 
river extending from the mouth of the Little Rock (Mud-) creek 
in the 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 except that 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 olRcers were elected : Commissioners, 
Stephen R. Henderson, John Meyer and Clemens Cardenell; 
register of deeds, Stephen B. Henderson; judge of probate, 
Andrew Hunter ; clerk of court, John Hose ; auditor, James Car- 
rothers ; sheriff, David Carrothers ; county attorney, George 
Oleason. It appears that the judge of probate authorized the 
sale of land by a guardian for bis ward." So declares an early 
history. Considerable doubt has been cast on the statement. 
Possibly, however, the election was some time after March 8, 
1860, and before August 18, 1862. At that time Renville county 
included the entire Indian reservation, a strip twenty miles 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. Under 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 power in Ren- 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 251 

ville county. March 5, 1863, the legislature passed an act abating 
the tax on property destroyed during the massacre. 

Lincoln. Lincoln county was established March 8, 1861, as 
follows: "Beginning at the northeast corner of town one hun- 
dred and seventeen, of range thirty-one; thence in a southerly 
direction, along the range line between ranges thirty and thirty- 
one to the southeast corner of town one hundred and fifteen, 
of range thirty-one ; thence in a westerly direction, along the 
town line 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 thirty-five and thirty-six, to 
the northwest comer of town one hundred and sixteen of range 
thirty-five; thenee in an easterly direction, along the town line 
between towns one hundred and sixteen and one hundred and 
seventeen, to the southeast comer of town one hundred and 
seventeen of range thirty-three ; thence in a northerly direction, 
along the range line between ranges thirty-two and thirty-three, 
to the northwest corner of town one hundred and seventeen, 
of range thirty -two; thence east to the place of beginning." 

This took in two townships in the present county of Meeker 
and the following townships in the present county of Renville: 
Winfield, Troy, Kingman, Bird Island, Osceola, Melville, Brook- 
field, Hector, Boon Lake and Preston Lake. Lowell was the 
county seat. 

This act was repealed in 1866. In 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 boundary 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 thirty-two, running north to the 
southeast corner of township number one hundred and fifteen 
north, of range number thirty-two ; thence east to the southeast 
comer of said township one hundred and fifteen north, of range 
number thirty-one ; thence north to the township line between 
townships number one hundred and sixteen and one hundred 
and seventeen north, of range thirty -one; thence west on said 
line to the southwest corner of township number one hundred 
and seventeen north, of range number thirty -three ; thenee 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 lin* 
between townships number one hundred and eleven and one hun- 
dred and twelve ; thence east on said line to the place of begin- 
ning. Provided, that if the territory embraced in townships one 
hundred and seventeen north, of ranges thirty-one and thirty 



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252 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

two shall not be attached to Meeker county by a vote of the 
electors of the territory to be affected thereby, then and in that 
case such territory shall revert to and form a part of Lincoln 
county. 

"Section 2. At the time of giving notice of the nest gen- 
eral election, it shall be the duty of the officers of the county 
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 the 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 written or 
printed, or partly written or printed on their ballots, 'For change 
of boundary 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 ofEce by the judges of elec- 
tion of the several townships and by 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 county 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 would include the present towns of Preston Lake, Boon 
Lake, Brookfield, Hector, Martinsburg, 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, 1866, the legislature passed the fol- 
lowing act relating to Renville county r 

"Section 1. The boundary line of Renville county is hereby 
established, and shall hereafter be as follows: Beginning at the 
centre of the main channel of the Minnesota river, on the line 
between township one hundred and eleven (111) and township 
one hundred and twelve (112) north, thence east to the south- 
west comer of township one hundred and twelve (112) north, 
of range thirty-two west; thence north to the northeast comer 
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 comer of township one hundred and sixteen (116) 
north ; thence west to the northwest comer 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. 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 25^ 

"Section 2. The county of Renville is hereby declared an 
organized county, and the county seat thereof temporarily lo- 
cated at Beaver Falls. The last election of county officers for 
Renville county is hereby confirmed and ratified, and said officers 
until their successors are elected and qualified, shall have full 
power and authority to do and perform all acts and duties of 
their respective offices 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 perform within their 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, 
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 the 
question of changing the boundary lines of Renville county, in 
accordance with the provisions of this act. At said election the 
voters of Renville county, in favor of the change proposed by 
this act, shall have distinctly written or printed, or partly writ- 
ten and partly printed on their ballots: For change of boundary 
lines of Renville county. And those opposed to such change : 
Against change of boundary 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 returned for or against the change of boundary lines, and 
shall forthwith certify the result of such canvass to the Gov- 
ernor, who, if it appears that the majority of votes in said county 
on the question of changing the boundary lines, are in favor of 
such change, shall make proclamation thereof by causing to be 
published in a newspaper in said county, or in Brown county 
that the change proposed by this act has been ratified and adopted 
by the majority of the electors of said county, 

"Section 5. All acts and parts of acts inconsistent with this 
act are hereby repealed. 

■ "Section 6. 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 and Birch Cooley were rivals for the county seat, and 
Beaver Falls won. 

By an act approved March 2, 1867, the boundaries, of the 



Dintiz.ribyGoOgle 



254 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

county were established as follows r "Beginning in the middle of 
the main channel of the Minnesota river on the line between 
townBhips 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 hundred 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 line to the centre of the main channel of the Minnesota river ; 
thence up said channel, to the place of beginning," 

This would include a part of the present county of Chippewa 
and the following townships in the present Renville county r 
Wang, Erickson, Crooks, Hawk Creek, Sacred Heart, Emmet, 
Flora, Henryville, Norfolk, Beaver Falls, Birch Cooley, Palmyra, 
Bandon, Camp, Martinsburg, Wellington and Cairo. 

Other sections of the act were: "Section 1. That the elec- 
tion held in Renville county on the eighth day of November, 
1866, for the election of county officers for said county is hereby 
confirmed and ratified, and said officers, until their successors are 
elected and qualified shall have full power and authority to do 
and perform all acts and duties of their respective offices within 
the limits of Renville county as hereafter defined. 

"Section 3. The following named persons are hereby declared 
to be the legally constituted 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 Shoemaker; judge of pro- 
bate, Nelson Frazier; sheriff, James Graves; county auditor, 
Charles R. Eldridge; register of deeds, R. W. Davies; county 
surveyor, M. S. Spicer; clerk of district court, Edward Trevett 
Tillotson; coroner, Jacob Hawkins." 

The first board of county commissioners, consisting of N. D. 
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 33 within the county; Birch Cooley, including the four 
towns now in range 34; Beaver, including what is now Beaver 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 255 

Palls and all other towns in the county, now in range 35 ; Flora, 
including what is now Flora Brooks, and Emmet ; Hawk Creek, 
including what is Sacred Heart, Erickson, Hawk Creek and 
Wang. Eight school districts were created. 

The second meeting was held April 4. On motion of Francis 
Shoemaker, James Carrothers of Beaver, was appointed sheriff, 
the elected sheriff not having qualified. On motion of George 
McCulloeh, Marlow S. Spicer was appointed superintendent of 
schools, and James Butler, coroner, the elected coroner not hav- 
ing qualified. Judges of election and places of election were as- 
signed for the various townships. It was voted to request the 
register of deeds of Nicollet county to surrender the early county 
records of Renville county, which were lost during the massacre, 
and finally found to be in the possession of Nicollet county. 
George Bowers was appointed 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 devastated by grasshoppers. Redwood and 
Renville being frontier counties, felt the scarcity and consequent 
high prices raore 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. R. Marshall. Redwood and Renville counties 
took advantage of the proffered aid and received from Fort 
Bidgely, in the form of provisions, hard tack, beans, hominy 
and pork, besides seed grain with which to make a new start. 
0« the motion of N. D. White the county board, May 16, 1867, 
passed the following resolutioui "Resolved, that the destitution, 
among our settlers, is such that in order to remain upon their 
homesteads and procure seed they need prompt and ofRcial aid, 
and it is hereby ordered that the county accept the proffered aid 
of his excellency, Wra. 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 debt that shall be thereby in- 
curred, and the authorities of the several towns in the county 
are hereby directed to apply to Samuel MePhaill, the agent for 
the district, for supplies of seed and rations, and to make return 
to the county commissioners, accounting for the amounts re- 
ceived, and the distribution thereof in each town, and it is further 
directed that each town shall be responsible for the transporta- 
tion of its own share of such supplies from Fort Ridgely to the 
place of distribution." A similar resolution was adopted by the 
board of Redwood county. 

The board of county commissioners for 1868 consisted of 
N. D, White (chairman), Francis Shoemaker and Halleck 
Peterson. 



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256 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

In 1868 Renville county was established as follows: "Begin- 
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 Minnesota river; theuee down the main channel of said 
river to the place of beginning : provided, that if, after the 
passage of this act, it shall be judicially determined that town- 
ships one hundred and fifteen, one hundred and sixteen and one 
hundred and seventeen, of range thirty-one, and townships one 
hundred and fifteen, one hundred 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 county 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 Meeker county — the six then forming 
part of the old county of Lincoln) should be transferred to Mc- 
Leod county, the act to take effect upon its ratification by Hie 
electors of McLeod 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, two of these towns, viz., 117 
of range 31, and 117 of range 32, were detached from Renville 
connty 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 legislature: "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 McLeod ; and said townships shall here- 
after form and be a part of said county of McLeod. 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 257 

"Section 2. At the time of giving notice of the next general 
election, it shall be the duty of the officers in said Renville and 
IvicLeod counties required by law to give notice of such general 
(lection, to give notice in like manner, that at said election a 
\ote will be taken on the question of detaching townships num- 
ber one hundred and fifteen (115) and one hundred and sixteen 
(116) north, of ranges number thirty-one (31) and thirty-two 
'82) from Renville county and attaching the same to the said 
county of HeLeod 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 
words, '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 tovms 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 whom 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 
haa been ratified by a majority of the voters of said 
counties." 

The proposition was rejected by the voters- 
Birch Oooley. 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 he 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 Severance, Grafton and Moltke in Sibley 
county. The proposition, however, never came to vote. 



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258 ■ HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

00UHT7 OOMMISSIONZRS. 

The county commiesioiiers since 1869 have been as follows: 

1869 — Francis Shoemaker, Newell Morse and William Em- 
erick. 

1870— K. 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 Jacobsoa. 

1874— Peter Henry, Ole Jacobson, James O'Brien, M. T. Rid- 
out and T. L. Kudy. 

1875 — ^Fred V. Haas, Wm. F. Grummons, Peter Henry, Francis 
Shoemaker and Ole Jacobson. 

1876— Fred V. Haas, William F. Grummons, T. H. Sherwin, 
Owen Heaney and Ole Jacobson. 

1877— William F. Grummons (chairman), Fred V. 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 (chairman), T. H. Sherwin, 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 imsuccessful effort was made to unseat William 
P. Grummons, on the grounds that he had removed from the 
district, which he represented. 

1879 — Henry Paulson (chairman), John Thompson, Thos. 
Leary, Owen Heaney and J. S. Niles. 

1880 — Henry Paulson (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, Mr. Dus- 
trud resigned and Peter G. Peterson was appointed. 

1884 — Lewis L. Tennis (chairman), Owen Carrigan, Thomas 
Leary, Henry Schafer and John Johnson. 

1885 — Henry Schafer (chairman), Owen Carrigan, John 
Johnson, Gunerus Peterson and J. H. Reagan. 

1886— Owen Carrigan (chairman), Henry Schafer, J. H. Rea- 
(jan, Gunerus Peterson and John Johnson. 

1887 — Henry Schafer (chairman), John Hurst, Julius Thomp- 
son, Patrick Williams and A. H. Anderson. 

1888 — John Thompson (chairman), John Hurst, Patrick Wil- 
liams, A. H. Anderson and Henry Schafer. 

1889 — John Thompson (chairman), John Warner, 0. P. Peter- 
fw.n. Patrick Williams and A. H. Anderson. 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 2S9 

1890 — A. H. Andersoa (chairman), John Thompson, 0. P. 
Peterson, John Warner and Patrick Williams. 

1891—0. F. Peterson (chairman), Patrick WilUams, A. H. 
Anderson, Thyke Ytterboe and John Warner. 

1892— A. H. Anderson (chairman), 0. F. Peterson, Thyke 
titterhoe, Patrick Williams and John Warner, 

1893—1, E. J. Bntler; 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. Schroeder ; 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, Chaa. Lammers; 3, Julius Patze- 
wold ; 4, M. E. Sherin ; 5, Carl Anderson. 

1911—1, B. C. McEwen; 2, Chas. Lammers; 3, Julius Patze- 
wold ; 4, M. E. Sherin ; 5, Carl Anderson. 

1913 — 1, J. U. Hougland; 2, Chae. Lammers; 3, John Ederer; 
4, M. E. Sherin; 5, R. H. 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, 1915. 

OOUNTT OrFIGESS. 

Auditor. Charles R. Eldridge was elected auditor of Ren- 
ville county in the fall of 1866. January 15, 1868, he resigned, 
and Carter H. Drew was appointed. In the fall of 1868, Darwin 

5. Hall was elected. He served four years. Eric Ericson was 
elected in the fall of 1872. He was suspended by the Governor, 
August 20, 1878, upon complaint of H. M. Knox, 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, 1909. J. L. 
Johnson has served since January 1, 1909. 

Heg^ter of Deeds. Robert W. Davis was elected register of 
deeds of Renville county in the fall of 1866. William F. Van 



Digili: 



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260 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

Deyn was elected in the fall of 1870. As it was discovered after 
s while that he was not a citizen, as 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, 
Wiiliam "W. McQowan was elected, Carl A. Mork'waa 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 Gronnemd was elected in the 
fall of 1872. Li the fall of 1884, WiUiam D. Griffith was elected. 
Hans Listerud was elected in the fall of 1886, and served until 
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 January 1, 
1913. Since January 1, 1913, Amund 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 nezt 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. 

Judge of Probate. Nelson Prazier 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 suc- 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 261 

Gessor. William W. McGowan was elected in the fall of 1875; 
Hans Gronnerud in the fall of 1879 ; John Garrity in the fall of 
1886 ; Francis Shoemaker in the fall of 1888 ; John Garrity in the 
fall of 1890 again ; Perry W. Glenn in the fall of 1894 ; and George 
F. Gage in the fall of 1902. Charles N. Mattson has served since 
January 1, 1911, 

Cpimty Attorney. The records are somewhat vague regard- 
ing the early county attorneys. It appears that, "a vacancy ex- 
isting," P. H. Swift was appointed September 1, 1868. Appar- 
ently John M. Dormon was cleetedin the fall of 1870. He re- 
signed and G. H. Jlcgquier was appointed. S. R. Miller was 
elected in the fall of 1880; Gabriel T. Christiansen in the fall of 
1882 ; S. R. Miller again in the fall of 1884. In the fall of 1886, 
Gabriel T. Christiaiison was again elected, and served until 
January 1, 1891. Since then the attorneys have been: R. T, 
Daly, January 1, 1891, to January 1, 1893; S. R. Miller, January 
1, 1893, to January 1, 1899; A. V. Rieke, January 1, 1899, to Jan- 
uary 1, 1903; Frank Murray, January 1, 1903 to January 1, 1911. 
L. D. Barnard has served since January 1, 1911. 

Clerk of the District Court. Edward Trevett Tillotson was 
elected clerk of the district court in the fall of 1866. Lane K. 
Stone was elected iu the fall of 1869. Darwin S. Hall was ap- 
pointed November 30, 1872, by Judge M. G. Hanscom. 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 W. McGowan was 
elected in the fall of 1878, and served a long term, retiring Jan- 
uary 1, 1895. Following him came E. E. Cook, January 1, 1895, 
to March 30, 1902; Carl 0. Brecke, appointed by Judge Gorhara 
Powers, April 3, 1902; elected January 1, 1903, to January 1, 
1907 ; and A. P. Heaney, January 1, 1907, to January 1. 1911. C. 
O. Brecke took office January 1, 1911, and is still serving. 

Surreyor. In the early days surveyors and viewers were ap- 
pointed for each road ordered laid out. Marlow S. Spicer was 
elected county surveyor in the fall of 1866. Possibly Charles G. 
Johnson was the nest county surveyor. At least he was serv- 
ing in the early eighties. J. C. Garland served in 1874; Marlow 
S. Spicer from January 1, 1885, 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. John A. 
Dahlgren served from January 1, 1911, to January 1, 1915, and 
T. S. Hewerdine has served since January 1, 1915. 

Coroner. Jacob Hawkins was elected coroner in the fall of 
1866. He did not qualify, and James Butler was appointed April 
4, 1867. Francis Shoemaker was appointed March 19, 1870. In 
the fall of that year, Dr. T. H. Sherwin was elected. Dr. F, L. 
Puffer was elected in the fall of 1878. Since then the coroners 



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262 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

have been : January 1, 1883, to January 1, 1887, Dr. A. 6. Stod- 
dard ; January 1, 1887, to January 1, 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; January 1, 1895, to January 1, 
1897, Dr. E. M. Clay ; January 1, 1897, to January 1, 1903, A. Q, 
Stoddard, M. D.; January 1, 1903, to January 1, 1911,. E. M. 
Clay, M. D.; January 1, 1911, to January 1, 1913, Harry L. D'Arms, 
M. D. i January 1, 1913, to January 1, 1915, F. W. Penhall, M. D. ; 
January 1, 1915, to January 1, 1919, A. A. Passer, M. D. 

Sapenntendent of Sohoob. Marlow S. Spicer was appointed 
superintendent of schools April 4, 1867. William Emerick took 
ofllce January 6, 1870 ; Carter H. Drew, January 1, 1872. He was 
followed by G. H. Megquier. 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 him came P. C. Greene for two 
years. Then Mr. Ericson served for four years. P. A. Schaffer 
served from January 1, 1907, to January 1, 1915. Amalia M. 
Bengtson has served since January 1, 1915. 

Oonrt Commissioner. John M. Dorman filed his bond as court 
commissioner January 6, 1871. C. H. Drew took the office May 31, 
1877. James Greely was appointed July 25, 1881. Henry 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 M. Freeman, January 1, 1895. His unexpired 
term was filled by Henry Ahrens, who was followed by John Kelley. 
S. R. Miller took office January 1, 1905, and has held the office 
continuously since that time. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

COUNTY BEPRESENTATION. 

Territory Organised — Council Districts — ^Territorial Legislature 
— Kenville la the Sixth, Seventh and Tenth Council Districta — 
Constitutional Convention — State Legislature — ^Hembers Who 
Have fteitreeented Eenville 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 Minnesota. 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 



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PUiLlC LIBRARY 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 263 

of his life he remaineii one of its most loyal and honored citizens, 
filling many important poaitions both in the state and the nation. 
He arriTed in St. Paul, May 27, 1849, and the hotels being full 
to overfowing proceeded with his family to Mendota, a fur trad- 
ing station at the junction of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, 
where he became the guest of Henry H. Sibley, remaining there 
until Jone 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 ofBcial 
announcement of the organization 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- 
ment in the Mexican war, was appointed to the 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 region north and west of the Missis- 
sippi and north of the Minnesota and a line running due west 
from the headwaters of the Minnesota to the Missouri river, and 
over this district Judge Meeker presided. 

The census of the territory taken in 1849 by an order of 
Governor Ramsey issued June 11, although including the soldiers 
at the fort and pretty much every living soul in the territory 
except Indians, footed up the disappointing total of 4,764 — of 
which number 3,058 were males and 1,706 were females. Addi- 
tional and revised returns made the population exactly 5,000 — 
males, 3,253 ; females, 1,747. 

Another proclamation issued July 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. Crois precinct of St, Croix county, 



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264 HISTORY OF EENVILLE COUNTY 

and the settlements on the west bank of the Mississippi south of 
Crow village to the Iowa line. 2. The Stillwater 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 comity 
and La Pointe county. 5, The Palls 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 
Palls and south of the mouth of Sauk river, 

1849 — The first territorial legislature — called the territorial 
assembly — met Monday, September 3, in the Central Houb«, St, 
Paul, a large log building weatherboarded, 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 office, 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 capitol, 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 Martin McLeod, of Lac qui Parle ; and in 
the house of Alexis Bailly, of Mendota, and Oideon 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. 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 265 

1852 — The third territorial legislature assembled January 7 
and adjourned March 6, The Sixth district was represented 
in the council by Martin McLeod, of Oak Grove; and in the house 
by James MeBoal, of Mendota, and B, H. Randall, of Ft. Snelling. 

1853 — The fourth territorial legislature assembled January 5 
and adjourned March 5, The Sixth district was again represented 
in the council by Martin McLeod, B. 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 spite of these 
changes in county lines, the boundaries of the legislative districts 
remained the same. 

Franklin Pierce having been elected president of the United 
States in the previous November, promptly proceeded after his 
inauguration, in accordance with the good old Jacksonian doc< 
trine, to remove the Whig officeholders and distribute the spoils 
among the victors. The new territorial appointees were : Gov- 
ernor, Willis A. Gorman, of Indiana; secretary, J. T. Rosser, of 
Virginia ; chief justice, W. H. Welch, of Minnesota ; associates, 
Moses Sherburne, of Maine; and A. G, Chatfield, of Wisconsin. 
Soon after entering on the duties of his office. Governor Gorman 
concluded a treaty at Watab with the Winnebago Indians for an 
exchange of territory. At the election in October Henry M. 
Rice was elected delegate to Congress. 

1854 — In 1854 the legislature of Minnesota for the first time 
assembled in a regular capitol building, its previous sessions 
having been held haphazard wherever accommodations could be 
had. This building, which was started as early as 1851, was totally 
destroyed by fire on the evening of March 1, 1881, while both 
branches of the legislature were in session. Some of the more 
valuable papers in the various offices were saved, but the law 
library and many thousands of documents and reports were 
burned. The total loss was about $200,000. The present "Old 
Capitol" was erected on the site of the first building. The 
fifth session assembled January 4 and adjourned March 4. The 
Sixth district was represented in the council by Joseph R. 
Brown ; and in the house by Hezekiah Fletcher and William H. 
Nobles. 

1855 — The sixth territorial legislature assembled January 3 
and adjourned March 3. Joseph R. Brown again represented the 
Sixth district in the council, and Henry H. Sibley and D. M, 
Hanson represented the district in the house. It was this legis- 
lature that created Renville county. 

By the apportionment of 1855 Renville county was placed in 
the Tenth district with Le Sueur, Steele, Faribault, Blue Earth, 
Brown, Nicollet, Sibley and Pierce. 



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266 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

1856 — The seventh territorial legislature asBembled January 2 
and adjourned March 1. The Tenth district was represented in 
the council by C, E, Flandrau and in the house by Parsons K. 
Johnson, Aurelius F. de La Vergne and George A', McLeod, 

1857 — The eighth and last territorial legislature assembled 
January 7 and adjourned March 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 Monday in July, 
to frame a state constitution and submit it to the people of the 
territory. The election was held on the first Monday 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, fifty-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 work of formulating an instrument 
to be submitted to the people. After some days an anderstand- 
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, Irtwis McKune, and Edwin Page Davis. On the 
Democratic side, from the Tenth district, sat : Joseph R. Brown, 
G. E. Flandrau, Francis Baasen, William B. McMahon, and J. B. 
Swan. 

The history of this convention is so graphically 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- 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 267 

tion of two conventions, each claiming to represent the people and 
each proposing a eonstitutioD. The delegates, although 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 enrollment, by which certain memberships were 
counted twice. The Republican members, claiming 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 ofSces and committees of the convention, a 
manifest advantage in the matter of deciding upon contested 
seats. 

"In obedience to the call of the leaders of the party, issued 
the day before, the writer, with other Republican^ repaired to 
the bouse 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. OecasionaUy a delegate nervously examined his revolver 
as if he anticipated some necessity for its use. 

"The Democratic delegates were elsewhere, probably plotting 
in secret conclave to capture the hall, and perhaps it might be 
well enough to be prepared for the worst. Thus the remainder 
of the night pEissed and the forenoon of July 13. As soon as the 
clock struck twelve the Democratic delegates rushed tumultu- 
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 the stand. Both parties at the moment the 
clock ceased striking were yelling "order" vociferously, and 
nominating their officers pro tem. Both parties effected a tem- 
porary organization, although in the uproar and confusion it was 
difficult to know what was done. 

"The Democratic wing adjourned at once to the senate cham- 
ber and there effected a permanent organization. The 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 claiming 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 propriety of remaining and participating in proceedings 
which they could not sanction. 

"The conventions continued their sessions inharmonJously 
enough. Each framed a constitution, at the completion of which 
a joint committee was appointed to revise and harmonize the two 



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268 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

oonstitutioDs, but the members of the committees were as bellig- 
erent as the conventions they represented. Members grew angry, 
abusing each other with words 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 production 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 body or the other must 
acknowledge the paternity of the hybrid. Ingenuity amounting 
to genius (it is a pity that the possessor should be unknown) 
found a new expedient, namely, to write out two constitutions in 
full, exact duplicates except 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, which 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 the convention, nor did it 
designate any definite place in the capitol where the sessions 
should be held, both of which omissions contributed to the con- 
fusion in organization. W. W. Folwell, in his "History of Min- 
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 
reiiiained there, as one of them phrased it, 'to watch and pray 
for the Democratic brethren,' These did not appear till a few 
moments before twelve o'clock of the appointed day. Imme- 
diately upon their entrance in a body into the representatives' 
hall Charles R. Chase, secretary of the territory and a delegate, 
proceeded to the speaker's desk and called to order. A motion 
to adjourn was made by Colonel 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 topk 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 place, met in the adjacent council cham- 
ber and proceeded to organize the convention. Henry H. Sibley 
was made chairman, on motion of Joseph R. Brown, 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. 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 269 

The Republican candidate for governor was Alexander Ramsey 
and the Democratic candidate Henry H, Sibley. The election 
was held October 13, 1857, the constitution being adopted by 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 legislature. 

STATE SEPBESENTATIOH. 

The first Minnesota state legislature assembled December 2, 
1857. There was a serious question, however, as to whether it 
was really a state legislature, as Minnesota had not yet been 
admitted to the Union. There was a question as to the recog- 
nition of Samuel Medary, the territorial 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 officers 
could take the oath of ofBce, 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- 
ings that General James Shields won the short term. He was a 
new 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 amendment 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 was 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 



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270 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

senators being in opposition because it would add another to 
the number of free states, thus disturbing the "balance 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 South. The debate continued until April 8, when 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 3. The bill then 
went to the House, where it met the same kind of objections as 
had been raised in the Senate, the English bill standing in the 
way until May 4, jvhen it was 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 telegraphic information brought from La Crosse, 
Wisconsin, May 13, but the ofQcial notice was not received until 
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 May 11, 1858. It will, therefore, be seen that, although 
this legislature is called the first state legislature, nevertheless 
it assembled in territorial times. By the apportionment of 1857 
set forth in the state constitution adopted 'October 13, 1857, Sib- 
ley, Renville and McLeod counties constituted the Eighteenth 
district with one senator and three representatives. The 
Eighteenth district was represented in the senate by Elijah T. 
Mixer. John H. Stevens, Michael Cummings aud Henry 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 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 271 

senate by James W. Linde and the house by M. 0. Hauseome and 
E: E. Paulding. 

1862 — The fourth state legislature assembled January 7 and 
adjourned March 4. The Nineteenth district was represented in 
the senate by Henry A. Swift and in the house by M. J. Severance 
and Adam Buck, Jr. 

On account of the Indian outbreak in 1862, an .extra session 
was called by the governor. It assembled September 9 and ad- 
journed September 29. The officers and members were the same 
as at the regular session, except that L. K. Asker, from-the Ninth 
district, was not present at the regular session, but presented 
his credentials to the second session. 

1863 — The fifth state legislature assembled January 6 and ad- 
journed March 6. The Nineteenth district was represented in 
the senate by Henry A. Swift and in the house by William Huey 
and W. Tennant. 

1864 — The sixth state legislature assembled January 5, and 
adjourned March 5. The Nineteenth district was represented in 
the senate by Henry A. Swift and in the house by Samuel Coflfin 
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 
Rbsaell and J. S. G. Honner. 

By the apportionment 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 legislature assembled January 8 and ad- 
journed March 8. The Nineteenth district was represented in 
the senate by Adam Buck and in the house by Charles T. Brown 
and r>. G. Shillock. 

1868 — The tenth state legislature assembled January 7 and 
adjourned March 6. The Nineteenth district was represented in 
the senate by Charles T. Brown and in the house by John C. Ru- 
dolph and Adam Buck. 

1869 — The eleventh state legislature assembled January 5 and 
adjourned March 5. The Nineteenth district was represented 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. H. Swift. 



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272 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

1871 — The thirteenth state legislature assembled January 8 
and 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 Renville and 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. Dunham. 

1873 — The fifteenth state legislature assembled January 7 and 
adjourned March 7, The Thirty-fourth district was represented 
in the senate by Marshall B. Stone and in the house by Francis 
Baasen, E. St. Julien Cox, and David Benson. 

1874 — The sixteenth state legislature assembled January 6 and 
adjourned March 6. The Thirty-fourth district was represented 
in the senate by E. St. Julien Cox and in the house by John N. 
Tread well, Peter H. McDermid and David Benson. 

1875 — 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. Schoenbeck 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. Schoenbeck and in the house by 
Isaac Lundeen, "W. J. Bean and David Benson. 

1878 — The twentieth state legislature assembled January 8 
and adjourned March 8. The Thirty-fourth district was repre- 
sented in the senate by Henry Ahreus and in the house by 
Sumner Ladd, Jacob Klossner, Jr., and J. M, Bowler, 

Henry Ahrens was bom in Germany, August 2, 1835; landed 
in New Y'ork 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 comity in the spring of 1862 ; lost most 
of his property that year by Indians, and barely escaped with 
his life ; returned to Illinois ; in 186.7 came back to this county 
and was elected its first treasurer, and held the office six jears, 
besides farming extensively. In 1873 he bought an interest in a 
saw and flouring mill at Beaver Palls. 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- 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 273 

sented in the senate by H. C. Miller and in the house by Ed. 
O'Hara, C. Amundson and W. J. Bean. 

1881 — The twenty-second state legislature assembled January 
4 and adjourned March 4. The Thirty-fourth district was repre- 
sented in the senate hy H. C. Miller and in the house by T. Jf. 
Cornish, C. Amundson and Jacob Klossner, Jr. 

An extra session was called for the purpose of considering 
the legislation at the regular session relating to the state rail- 
road bonds, which were declared unconstitutional by the supreme 
court. The session commenced October 11 and closed Novem- 
ber 13. 

By the apportionment of 1881, Renville county for the first 
time constituted a separate district. It was designated the Forty- 
seventh district and was to have one senator and one representa- 
tive, 

1883 — The twenty-third state legislature assembled January 2 
and adjourned March 2. The Forty-seventh district was repre- 
sented in the senate by W. P. Christensen and in the house by 
Henry Paulson. 

1885 — The twenty-fourth state legislature assembled January 
6 and adjourned March 6. The Forty-seventh district was repre- 
sented in the senate by W. P. Christiensen and in the house by 
Lewis L. Tinnes. 

1887 — The twenty-fifth state legislature assembled January 4 
and adjourned March 4. The Forty-seventh district was repre- 
sented in the senate by D. S. Hall and in the house by D. F. 
Walstrom. 

1889 — The twenty-sixth state legislature assembled January 
8 and adjourned April 23. The Forty-seventh district was rep- 
resented in the senate by D. S. Hall and in the house by C. H. 
Davis, 

By the apportionment of 1889 Renville county was placed in 
the Forty-second district, having the same representation as 
before. 

1891 — The twenty-seventh state legislature assembled January 
6 and adjourned April 20. The Forty-second district was repre- 
sented in the senate by Ferdinand Borchert and in the house 
by H, A, Peterson. 

1893 — The twenty-eighth state legislature assembled January 
3 and adjourned April 18. The Forty-second district was repre- 
sented in the senate by Ferdinand Borchert and in the house by 
C. D. McEwen. 

1895 — The twenty-ninth state legislature assembled January 8 
and adjourned April 23. The Forty-second district was repre- 
sented in the senate by James Hanna and in the house by 0. L. 
Brevig. 

1897 — The thirtieth state legislature assembled January 5 and 



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274 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

adjourned April 21. The Porty-aecond district was represented 
in the senate by James Hanna and in the house by J. A. Bergley. 

By the apportioziment of 1897 Renville county became the 
Twenty-second district, to be represented by one senator and two 
represent atives. 

1899 — The thirty-first state legislature assembled January 3 
and adjourned April 18. The Twenty-second district was repre- 
sented in the senate by Charles H. Nixon and in the house by 
Gunerus Peterson and A. Eugene Einne. 

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 
Qunerus Peterson and M. J, Dowling. 

An extra session was called for the purpose of considering the 
report of the tax comnussion created by the act of 1901. The 
extra session convened February 4, 1902, and adjourned March 
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 house by "William 
Wichman 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 
Wichman and 0. T. Ramsland. 

1907 — The thirty-fifth 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 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 house by John A. 
Dalzell and N. J. Holmberg. 

igil^The thirty-seventh state legislature assembled January 
6 and adjourned April 19. The Twenty-second district was rep- 
resented in the senate by Frank Murray and in the house by N. J. 
Holmberg and Frank 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. 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 275 

The last had been in 1897 and a great change in the population 
had taken place in the meantime — the northern part of the state 
having increased while in the southern 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 upon, 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 Minne- 
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, March 4, 1881 to March 4, 1887 ; John L. McDonald, 
Democrat, Mareh 4, 1887 to March 4, 1889; Darwin S. Hall, 
Republican, Mareh 4, 1889 to March 4, 1891 ; 0. M. Hall, Demo- 
crat, March 4, 1891 to March 4, 1895; Joel P. Heatwole, Repub- 
lican, March 4, 1895 to March 4, 1903; Andrew J. Volstead, 
Republican, March 4, 1903 to March 4, 1917. 

By the apportionment of 1872 the state was divided into three 
congressional districts. Renville county was constituted the 
Second district, with "Wabasha, Goodhue, Rice, Dakota, Scott, 
Le Sueur, Nicollet, Kandiyohi, Brown, Sibley, Carver, McLeod, 
Redwood, Lyon, Swift and Chippewa. 

The apportionment of 1881 divided the state into five districts. 
Renville county was in the Third district, with Goodhue, Rice, 
Dakota, Scott, Carver, McLeod, Meeker, Kandiyohi, Swift and 
Chippewa. 

The next apportionment, that of 1891, increased the number 
of congressional districts to seven. Renville county was still in 
the Third district, with Carver, Dakota, Goodhue, Le Sueur, 
McLeod, Meeker, Rice, Scott and Sibley. 

In 1901 the state was divided into nine congressional districts. 



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276 HI8T0RY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

Renville county was placed in the Seventh district, with Big 
Stone, Chippewa, Grant, Kandiyohi, Lac 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. 

In 1913 the state was divided into ten districts. Renville 
county was retained in the Seventh district, with Grant, Douglas, 
Traverse, Stevens, Pope, Big Stone, Swift, Lac qui Parle, Chip- 
pewa, Yellow Medicine, Kandiyohi, Meeker and Lyon. 

Until Minnesota became a state it had only one representative 
in congress, a territorial delegate, who was not allowed to vote. 
The first territorial delegate from Minnesota was Henry H. Sib- 
lej', who was first sent ostensibly as a delegate from the territory 
of Wisconsin, though living on the present site of Mendota. at 
the mouth of the Minnesota river. He sat as a territorial delegate 
from January 15, 1849, to March 4, 1853. He was succeeded by 
Henry M. Rice, who served from December 5, 1853, to March 4, 
1857. W. W. Kingsbury was elected to succeed him and served 
from December 7, 1857, to March 3, 1859. As has been noted, the 
United States senate, February 23, 1857, passed an act authoriz- 
ing the people of Minnesota to form a constitution preparatory to 
their admission to the Union. In accordance with the provisions 
of this enabling act, a constitutional convention was held July 13, 
1857, at the territorial capital. October 13, 1857, an election was 
held, 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. M. Cavanaugh. But it 
was afterwards found that Minnesota was entitled to only two 
congressmen and the matter was amicably adjusted by the with- 
drawal of Mr. Becker. By this election the Messrs. Phelps and 
Cavanaugh became the first members of congress from the state 
of Minnesota. 

For a time the two congressmen were elected "at large," 
though in order to comply with constitutional requirements there 
was a nominal division of the state into two districts, one being 
said to represent the northern district and the other the southern 
district. 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 277 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

CREATION OF TOWNSHIPS. 

Tarions Acts of the Ooniity Commusionen by Which the Town- 
ships of Renville County Have Assumed Their Present Boun- 
daries — DatOB of First Elections. 

The townships in Renville county have undergone many 
changes in names and the boundaries have been many times read- 
justed. 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. January 4, 1871, township 113, range 33, which since 
April 2, 1867, had been a part of Camp, was set off with its present 
name and boundaries. 

Beaver Falls. As organized April 2, 1867, Beaver included 
all of 113, range 35, north of the Minnesota river, and town- 
ships 114, 115, 116, range 35. This embraced the present town- 
ships of Beaver Falls, Henryville, 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 Henryville, 114, 35, was created. 
By the general act of 1875, township 116, range 35 (Winfield) 
and township 115, 35 (Troy) were attached to Henryville, leav- 
ing Beaver Falls with its present boundaries. There is no record 
of the change of name from Beaver to Beaver Falls and the ofHcial 
title is still Beaver though even in the tax lists it is called Beaver 
Falls. 

Birch Cooley. As organized April 2, 1867, Birch Cooley 
included all township 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 he held at the home of 
Joseph Preston. Township 114, range 34, now Norfolk, was set 
off as Houlton, 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 H. 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 



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278 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

township. The petition was granted and an election ordered to 
be held at the home of Joseph Feeter, October 2i; 1876. Septem- 
ber 3, 1878, township 116, range 34, waa organized as Kingman 
township, leaving Bird Island township with its present boun- 
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 boundaries. 

Brookfl«ld. July 6, 1869, township 116, 32, was included in 
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 Cairo then 
consisted of the present towns of Cairo, 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 off 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, range 32, now Hector, was cut off as 
Milford, April 7, 1874. 

Camp. As organized April 2, 1867, Camp included townships 
112, 33, north of the Minnesota river, and townships 113, 114, 
115, 116, range 33. This embraced the present townships of Camp, 
Bandon, Palmyra, Melville and Osceola. Henry Graff, Halleck 
Peterson and John Anderson were appointed judges of the elec- 
tion to be held at the home of Henry Graff. 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 off. 
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 March, 1885, 
the board was notified by the state auditor that another township 



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HISTORY OF BENVaLE COUNTY 279 

in the state had been given the name Aurora, therefore oamed 
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, eonaisting of township 115, 36, was organ- 
ized September 7, 1870, from territory which 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 had 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 Minnesota 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. GaflFney. 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. Emmet (115, 36) was cut off with its present 
boundaries September 7, 1870. Crooks (116, 36) was included in 
Emmet under the general act of 1875. 

Hawk Croek. Aa 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. Dugn, 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, which 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. 



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280 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

HeniTville. Township 114, range 35, had been a part of 
Beaver Palls since April 2, 1867. On March 16, 1871, a petition 
presented by the citizens of the township was granted and March 
28, 1871, waa appointed as election day. Winfield (115, 35) and 
Troy (116, 35) were made a part of Henryville by the general 
aet of 1875, but were cut off again by the organization of Troy, 
March 21, 1876. 

EingmaiL A petition, signed by 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 home 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. 

Hartiiuburg. 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. Mohan on September 24, 1878. Before 
its creation Martinsburg had been a part of Mud 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, township 115, range 33, was 
created as Melville and an election called for January 21 at the 
home of Albert Brown. This township 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 officially known as Melville. 

Mud Lake. As organized April 2, 1867, JIud Lake included 
townships 112, 113 and 114, range 32, This embraced the present 
townships of Cairo, Wellington and Martinsburg. Gardner Tib- 
bitts and Amos G. Bliss were appointed judges of election. May 
21, 1867, this township, having failed to hold an election, K. 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, township 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 H. 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 was changed to 
Marsehner. July 29, 1874, townships 115 and 116 of range 34 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 281 

were attached to the town, Marschner. Township 115, 34, uow 
Bird Island township, was cut off as Melville July 27, 1876, and 
township 116, 34, now Kingman, was cut off ae a part of Bird 
Island October 2, 1876. This left Marschner with the present 
boundaries of Norfolk. The name was changed by the legislature 
of 1874. 

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 
requested to post the notifies of the organization within the time 
prescribed. Owing to some informality of this act another peti- 
tion presented to the board, September 10, 1879, praying for 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. P. Lucas, September 30, 1879. Originally April 2, 
1869, the present town of Osceola was included in Camp township. 

Palmyra. As organized on April 2, 1867, the township. Camp, 
included among other townships the present township of Palmyra. 
On January 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. January 1, 1878, township 115, 
range 33, was created as Melville and an election called for Janu- 
ary 21 at the home of Albert Brown. July 28, 1879, township 116, 
range 33, was created as Canton. There was some informality 
about this act and on September 10, 1879, township 116, 33, was 
created as Osceola, leaving Palmyra with its present boundaries. 

Preston Lake. September 7, 1869, Preston Lake was organ- 
ized, embracing townships 115, 116, range 31, territory that since 
July 8, 1869, has been a part of Cairo, As organized Preston Lake 
embraced the present townships of Boon Lake and Preston Lake. 
Hiram H. Davis, George Reeks and M. C. Russell were appointed 
judges of election. September 6, 1870, township 116, 31, was cut 
off and with township 116, range 32, organized as Boon Lake, 
thus leaving Preston Lake with its present name and boundary. 

Sacred Heart. No record appears in the county commis- 
sioners' reports of the creation of Sacred Heart. It was, how- 
ever, created early in 1869, and an election ordered for April 6 
of that year. Since April 2, 1867, it had been a part of Hawk 
Creek, with the exception of the period between May 18, 1868, 
and July 17, 1868, when it was a part of Flora. 

Troy. Township 115, range 35, which since April 2, 1867, had 
been part of Beaver Falls and which under the general act of 
1875 had been made a part of Henryville, was organized as Troy, 
March 21, 1876. Under the general act of 1875 Winfield was 
attached to it from March 21, 1876, to April 17, 1878. 



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282 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

Wang, Township 116, range 38, which 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 Elling John- 
son, August 16, 1875. 

WeUin^^ton. June 4, 1873, township 113, range 32, which 
since April 2, 1867, had been a part of Mud 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 Carson. 

Winfleld. A petition was presented to the board April 17, 
1878, praying for the organization of township 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 Henryville in 1875 and to Troy March 21, 1876.- 

Ch^pewa City. September 2, 1868, the election district of 
Chippewa City was established. Its eastern boundary was the 
present western boundary of Renville county, extended north to 
the northern line of township 117. Its northern boundary was 
the north line of township 117. Its other boundary was the 
Minnesota river. The election was to be held at the home of 
Daniel Q. Wilkins. 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 Houlton, Benton and Marschner; Beaver Falls as 
Beaver ; Winfield as Liberty and Crooks as Aurora. 

Oeneral 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 Eramet. 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 283 

CHAPTER XLX. 
PIONEEB EXPEEIENCES. 

Stories of the Tribulations and Joys of Frontier Life Told by 
Men Who Underwent the Bigors of Early Settlement — Bliz- 
zards and Disasters — Lon^ Trips in Wintry Weather — Sod 
Houses and Ox Teams — Qrasslu^pers and Indians. 

Gnnems Peterson. There are many stories of the early days 
of whieb 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 eyen 
if they had one cow and when milk and cream and butter were 
lozuries 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 three 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 suffering even today. 

In winter I took trips to the Minnesota river 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 after dark that night. I walked all the way, driv- 
ing the oxen. We did not have fur overcoats and warm over- 
shoes in those days. The warmest thing I had on was a pair of 
overalls. On my feet was a rough pair of cowhide boots. 

Just after New Years, 1874, my neighbors had taken a con- 
tract to haul some grain to New Illm 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 with them. We 
started early in the morning. The roads were icy and as my 
steers'had 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 was 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 bam 
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 bam to the trip to New Ulm. But 



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284 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

6nally a man came along with a good black snake whip and he 
got the steers back into the road for me. 

I reached New Ulm about dark and found the other meu. The 
question was where we would stay for the night. We 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 the fireman came and drove us away. He said, however, 
that we eould sleep on top of the boiler. While one side of ub 
kept warm in that way the other side was cold, for while there 
was still a little steam in the boiler there was scarcely any roof 
overhead. 

On our way home we were caught 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 had to cut out the post in the 
window and get out that way. When I got back the only evidence 
of human habitation in all that vast stretch of snow was some 
smoke arising apparently from the snow. It was smoke coming 
from the stovepipe, the rest of the dug-out being buried. 

At another time I had an interesting experience with a Minne- 
sota winter. One night after I had attended to my stock I did 
not close up all the openings in my sod stable, for the weather 
was so warm I feared that 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 few rods to my dug-out 1 lost my way. 
Finally I took a big fall. As I righted myself I called out with 
all my strength, but could not make myself heard in the wind. 
I took a few steps, got the snow out of my eyes and was surprised 
to see a light shining. It was the light in the only window in my 
dug-out. I had fallen off the roof. Had it not been that I landed 
so near the window I would probably have lost ray life. 

B. J. Butler. A dug-out in the side of the ravine in Erie town- 
ship. Rice county, this state, was the scene of my birth, July 20, 
1861, my parents having come from Worcester, Mass., the pre- 
vious spring. We lived there until the summer of 1869, when we 
moved to the township of West Newton, Nicollet county, Minn., 
making the trip with a team of oxen and a covered wagon. The 
trip took two weeks and I walked all the way, driving ten or 
twelve head of cattle which we took with us. After arriving at 
our destination we lived in the covered wagon until we could 
build a rude shanty. It was made of poles and banked with sod 
on the outside and covered with slough grass. 

Early on the morning of February 22, 1874, when a terrible 
blizzard was raging, our shanty caught fire and we were driven 
out into the storm and had to seek refuge in the straw shed where 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 285 

we kept our stock. The younger children were not yet up wheu 
the fire broke out and we tried to keep them warm with blankets 
and covered them with hay. The older ones had to walk up and 
down behind the stock to keep warm. We lost everything we 
had. About five in the afternoon the storm had abated somewhat 
and my father hitched up the team and drove over to our nearest 
neighbor, Patrick Berry, to get help. He hitched up his team 
and, armed with all the blankets he could find, came to bring us 
to his home. We reached the Berry place at about eight o'clock 
in the evening, almost famished with hunger and very cold. The 
neighbors were very good to us and helped ns as best they could, 
all being on the same level. 

The next spring we built up another shack and sowed some 
crops, but in July of that year the grasshoppers came and 
destroyed nearly every crop that we had. We fought the grass- 
hoppers for four years and saw some very hard times during 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 and took 
off the roof and four heights of logs. We fixed it up again and 
in the fall of 1882 sold what little we had and came to Renville 
county, settling on the southeast quarter of section 34, township 
113 (Wellington), range 32. I stayed with my parents until the 
summer of 1886, when I took up a homestead, on which I have 
resided ever since. 

Clmrlee H. Hopkins. My parents and family moved from 
Wisconsin to Cairo township, Renville county, in the spring of 
1869 and settled on a quarter section of land on the Fort Ridgely 
Reserve. They selected one for me within one mile of their own ; 
and I came on and took possession of it in the latter part of Decem- 
ber the same year. When I arrived at my parents' home 
I was informed on the first evening that some other parties were 
claiming that they were going to have that piece of land ; 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 I might get it built that day I took poles that 
one man could handle easily. I cut the poles, hauled them and 
bnilt the house the same day, except the shingling, and slept there 
that night with witnesses. The next morning a man called and 
asked me what I was doing on his land. I then asked him how 
it came to be his land, and he said that every one knew that he 
was going to take that piece. 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 three miles distant. 

My father built his house out of green water elm lumber, and 
as the old settlers will remember, it would shrink and warp. 



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286 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

Money was scarce and hard to get and they 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 stnddings onto the inch elm boards, which had shnmk 
and cracked up, making the air circulation very plentiful. It 
made a very healthy aanitorium 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 would be freezing and part of thb 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 brought 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 such 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 was "on the job." As my folks only lived a mile away 
one of the children 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 the old time Minne- 
sota blizzards. There was fine timber on the Minnesota bottoms 
on government land that was free to all for their own 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 snow had fallen 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 287 

upoQ 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 the sixth I concluded that we were going to have a 
breakup and went to the woods that day in my shirt sleevea. 
As I bad been here but a short time I had not made any acquaint- 
ances. That same day there were three other men with horse 
teams who came into the woods near me and commenced to cut 
their 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 up their teams and 
hurried out of the woods. I could not understand what 
it meant until I heard a roaring sound like thunder and wind 
storm in summer. I commenced to look around and was looking 
ofiE southwest through 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 ray load on 
and ready to start for home the storm was there, with a wind and 
snow blowing sisty miles an hour and getting colder and colder. 
By the time I was out of the woods I could not see a foot away 
from 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 I had always done 
before, carried about half of the load of poles up the hill 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 for 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 behind and keep from freezing, and 
it made it possible for me to breathe, as no one could 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 off 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 around the house and clear to the ground. 
As long as the oxen kept going I knew they would bring up some- 
where. All at once we went down into a hole of some kind, and 
I kuew we were at someone's home, though I could not see the 



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288 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

house two feet away. To my surprise I found that it was our own 
place. 

We got the oxen in the barn and fed them and we could not 
get to the bam 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 
with the bit of the ax it would turn in my hand. It was the best 
I eould 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 
ways, 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 laud 
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 over. we 
had some rather coarse bread, but it tasted as good to us 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 eould get out on foot, 
but not with teams, so I started for a place where my father had 
built a house for a settler that summer and we had 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 would 
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 up in, but 
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 comity. There is not an old settler that 
eame 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. Ranuland. 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 



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OLD LOG CABIN 



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, IHl »I.IV VOnM"l 
JPUSUC UBRARV 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 289 

wagon to WiUmar (thirty-eight miles) after our household goods, 
shipped from Eau Claire. The weather waa fine, the snow had 
melted and creeks and sloughs were filled with water. The first 
day I got within nine miles of Willmar. The next day it snowed 
all day. Arriving at Willmar I found that the freight charges 
on our goods was $31. I had only $15 and could not get any 
of the goods without paying the freight on the whole. I was a 
stranger in a strange land ; not a soul did I know. I went into 
a store (Paulson & Sunde) and told them my trouble. Paulson 
said: "I feel like helping this hoy out, I think he will pay us 
back. ' ' I promised to do so, and I did. I do not know that I ever 
met Paulson since, but his kindness to me I never forgot, and 
have in a small way tried to act like Paulson and help some who 
are in need. "When the whole freight was paid I concluded to 
take all the goods. I had a wagon shipped from Eau Claire. 
Tying one wagon behind the other I loaded all the goods on and 
started for home. I got back to where I stopped the first night. 
It had snowed all day and froze hard in the night. I was about 
twenty -nine miles from home and at every slough and creek I came 
to and had to cross I had to tramp and crush the ice before the 
oxen could cross. When I got to Hawk creek the water went up 
to my arms. It was dark and I lost the road. Wet, hungry and 
lost I unhitched the oxen and started for the nearest house. 
Arriving there they told me that I was only one and one-half 
miles from home, and 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 I was all right. 

We bought one more yoke of oxen and seeded in about sixty 
acres of grain. When spring work was finished I started in 
breaking. I broke part of the farm that Ingvald Platen now 
owns, and ten acres for Mr. Glenore. At the close of the break- 
ing season I got notice from the parties of whom we bought the , 
farm to vacate, as they again had homesteaded the same. We , 
had bought the farm from John and Olof Sundeen. John had 
homesteaded but not proved up. We paid $500 for improvements 
and what property they bad and John relinquished in my favor. 
When the papers came back from the land ofiice I paid the filing 
fee, got certificate of my filing and felt secure, but trouble was 
brewing. The Sundeen brothers, of whom we bought the farm, 
learned that I had not my citizens papers and thereupon Olof 
Sundeen went to Litchfield and homesteaded on the same land. 
On learning this 1 started on foot to Willmar. To walk across the 
unsettled prairie, thirty-eight miles, in those days was nothing. 
I went to see John W. Arelander, who then practiced law there. 
I stated my case, showed him my filing papers and John said : 
"You are crazy my boy, you have perjured yourself." I 
answered: "I have sworn to nothing." He asked how I got the 



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290 HISTORY OP RBNVIIjLE 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 coming to America. 
I told him and he said: "Have you ever lived in Chicago t" 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 you must bluff them out. Get your citizen papers at once. 
Qo 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 attempts to get us off they left the 
county. 

Ex-Qovernor Austin had a flour mill in Minnesota Falls in 
those days. I agreed with his miller to take twenty barrels of 
flour, ten barrels in each load to Willmar. 

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. 

The fifth, sixth and seventh of July the grasshoppers came. 
We smoked and burned, and, I think, drove some away, but what 
was a fine sixty-acre field, gave us only 285 bushels of grain. 
When fall work was over I went to school in Granite Falls the 
following winter. Thus ended my first summer in Renville 
county. 

James DraJce. 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 first 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. Our nearest market was New Ulm, twenty 
miles away, and it took two days to go there 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 managed 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 first white man we saw that after- 
noon was Carl Holtz, who had been in the timber there at Meyer's 
old shanty for wood. A little while after w^ had established our 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 291 

camp we heard some one pecking away with an ax. Thinking 
it might be Indians, my brother George and I each took a gun 
and crawled through the brush to investigate. We found the 
same Carl Holtz and he 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 didn't 
know any better than to catch a skunk you ought to be shot, 
whether an Indian or a white man." It amused our father to 
think a man was foolish 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 hay for father five days. 

We went in the eastern part 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 Qeorge 
went out to the Missouri river and did not return until 1884. 
Brother Clark and I worked in the pineries and returned to our 
homesteads in July, 1866, where I met Martha Barkey, who 
became ray wife in 1867. 

We went through many liardships, 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 number of cows with ns, 
so had our own milk and butter; we, no doubt, did not see as 
hard times as some that did not have these things. After two or 
three years settlers began coming and settling up the country. 
Some brought money and we got breaking to do, and got a little 
money to help us until we got a erop. 

We were getting along fairly well when the grasshoppers 
came, and for four years we saw worse times than ever. It looked 
so discouraging that many left their claims, but those who 
remained were the best off and today it is one of the best coun- 
ties in the state. 

Oharles Eennillg. In the spring of 1877, myself, brother Fred 
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. All 
went well until we left Glencoe. Prom there on the road was but 



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292 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

a track around sloughs and through creeks, as this was in April 
and plenty of rain, and we had the opportunity more than once to 
pult our outfit out of the mud, but as we all were young and 
had seen considerable hard work we pulled through in good 
spirits and landed safely at the home of Perd 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 nest morning in com- 
pany with Mr. 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, Melville and 
my comrades selecting from other sections in Melville, making 
arrangements with Mr. Wolff to do a little breaking on each tract. 
We remained about a week and returned home, with more experi- 
ence on our return trip, as it rained all day. Although we tried 
hard to find a place to stop over night we could not and tramped 
on to Glencoe, landing there at midnight. As it was very dark 
one of us had to eariry a lantern ahead of the horses for the last 
ten miles to enable us to keep the trail. When we arrived at the 
Eheim hotel we were all wet through and covered with mud. But 
after putting in some good spirits and a cold supper we were 
ready for bed, waking up the next morning with a smile all 
around and by the time we had breakfast were the same jolly 
boys again, ready to start for home and take up the old task 
again of earning our daily bread by the old route, and evenings 
entertaining our friends 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 from Glencoe, 
then our nearest point, to build me a smalt shack, 40 by 12, which 
I erected and used for a week. That decided my future. In the 
spring I picked up what I eould, having built a house in February, 
hauling my lumber through the 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 trip to haul from 
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 how to charge for transportation 
when they had no competition. But we still had the same old 
smile and after a series of struggles landed with our family on 
our choice of location, April 16, 1878. Although my friends in 
ray 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 
days were truly pioneer days, yet to me happy days, having good 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 293 

health I could see a future home tor myself and family in what 
I believed the best county, not only in the state, but in the entire 
West. We speak of hardships now; then we never thought of 
them but went on in our ambition to make Renville county all it 
could be made and today hear with pleasure the compliments 
given this comity and its builders. 

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 Olencoe, being on the road in 
nearly every storm that winter, but a good team and a clear head 
pulled me through without a scare. I was hardened and accli- 
mated to Minnesota, having settled in Minnesota in April, lS6ti. 
I am twice a pioneer and look back to those days with joy, wish- 
ing I could live them over again. Those were happy days; no 
political tricksters to cause neighborhood troubles, and no news- 
pajier 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. 

MiobMl Holden. The following is a graphic account of the 
experiences of a party of five settlers, four of wliom perished on 
the prairie near 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 thirty-five miles north of where we lived. As that 
was too long a trip to make in two days at the end of the first 
day we usually stopped with a farmer named John Maher, ten 
miles south of Willmar. On the second day we would go to 
Willmar, sell our loads and return to Maher 's place, returning 
on the third day. 

On Tuesday morning, January 7, 1873, we left home before 
daylight, and by sunrise were five miles from home. My com- 
panions were John, Charley and Stephen 'Neil, and my brother, 
Thomas Holden. At noon we arrived at a place called Long 
Lake, which was fifteen miles from home. Here we fed our 
horses and ate our lunch. As we arrived there a train of eight 
ox teams started off ahead of us, having already stopped for 
feed. Driving these eight teams were Owen Heaney and his 
son, William, and six other men from Flora township. There 
still remained twenty-two miles of wild prairie before reaching 
Willmar, with only one settler, a Mr. Erickson, living in a sod 
shanty four miles north of Long Lake, between us and Maher's 
place. Having proceeded about two miles north of the lake, we 
noticed a storm coming from the northwest. It appeared 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 



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294 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

pushed on, however, and when we reached Mr. Erickson's sod 
shanty we found the oz teams and their drivers -ahead of lis. 
Mr. Erickson had no atahle room even for those teams. 

We stopped at Erickaon's and I suggested that we unhitch 
our horses, blanket them, turn them to Mr. Erickson 's hay stack, 
and get shelter in the shanty for ourselves. The shanty was only 
about 16x16 feet in size. There were sis children in the family 
and eight men already ahead of us, John O'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 road 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 on, 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 necksearf around his head and neck. During this 
time Charley was not with us, he having driven on ahead, but 
when he found that we were not coming he had stopped and 
called and received no answer, so he turned his team east of the 
road to eome 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, hut we could not see the road ahead, nor 
did we believe that we could follow it. We supposed that we 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 295 

were within two miles of Maher's place. We talked the 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 then be on the road ready 
to push on at the first opportunity. We had plenty of blankets, 
80 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 one wagon box off one of the 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 otit the tail boards and this left 
an entrance. Over 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 were 
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 hear, although we could hear his tramp. 
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 stepped 
out and assisted John to get out. In the darkness and the fury 
of the storm we were unable to see anything, and the cold was 
something terrible. It seems that the scarf John had put about 
his head and neck had closed down over his mouth and had 
prevented him from breathing, as we had no difficulty in breath- 
ing in the snow, so we got back into the box again. We had been 
saying our rosary together all the evening. Before long John 
got cramps in his legs. Again we called upon Stephen to assist 
us, but could not make him hear, neither could we lift the box. 
As soon as John got on his feet he got over the cramps and we 
put him back in the box. It was only with difficulty that we 
put John back in the box as the snow had drifted in and packed 
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. The chills were some- 
thing terrible. I was afterwards told that the mercury was 40 



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296 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

degrees below zero and the wind blew 75 miles an hour. About 
midnight the horses drifted around the sleigh, so Stephen and 
I turned all except one that we could not untie loose, I lay down 
in my bed beside the box, and soon one of the horses began to 
freeze and 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 halter and moved 
him away. He was afterwards found dead about twenty feet 
away. 

The morning found the storm still unabated and the cold 
more intense. Both 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 ray brother 
Tom and 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 bos 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 together was the rosary. He could hardly finish before he 
fell asleep. Then we tried our best to revive John O'Neil. Wo 
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 up with diflSeulty, 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 and lay it over John, but we 
could not. We had now lost the use of our hands, as they were 
frozen. We gave up that plan, and soon John was covered with 
snow. He did not answer us so we thought 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 mind whether to at- 
tempt to follow it or not. Then I thought of the long night 
ahead. We had supposed we were within two miles of Maher'a 
place, I knew the wind was from the northwest, and I also 
knew that Maher had a forty acre field fenced. If I could get to 
that I might follow it to the house. I followed the road about a 
mile. At times I could see the road and then again I could not, 
I walked with ray head down, I watched the angle of the snow 
drifting across ray 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 continued in the same way watching 
the direction of the blowing snow. In a short tirae I struck the 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 297 

fence. An exclamation 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 Maher's bouse 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 when I was let in. The Maher family were frightened when 
I walked in, and grieved to hear of the fate of my companions. 
I was nearly exhausted, 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 when 
I came to Maher's place — "Wednesday evening. Mrs. Maher was 
getting supper. Thursday it stormed all day and until midnight. 

On Friday "morning Mr. Maher, with a couple of men, went to 
where we had camped. They met Owen Heaney and the other 
teamsters that had been sheltered at Erlcbson's, coming with 
Charley O'Neil, still alive. It had been imposaible to hear 
through the snow, and we had not heard him apeak for that rea- 
son. Mr. Maher took Charley to Willmar at once to secure med- 
ical aid. In taking off the upper 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. He died there three days afterwards under 
the operation when his arm and limbs were amputated. Two of 
our neighbors, John Morgan 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 Morgan 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 crippled 
hand to remind mfe of the frightful experience. Five of the 
horses perished in the storm. 

The remains of these four victims of the storm are buried 
in the Birch Cooley cemetery of Renville county. 

JoB^h H. FMter. I arrived at New Ulm, 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, which 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 West 
Newton. The latter part of May, 1872, I filed on a homestead, 
the northwest quarter of section 14, in township 115, range .14, 
Renville county. I broke about ten acres that year. The fol- 
lowing spring I helped a neighbor seed and thereby obtained 
a team to seed my land. At this time my family arrived from 



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298 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

Michigao, consisting of wife and two children. In the s 
of 1673 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 aad 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. I had another poor crop, but got it threshed. 1 was 
able to buy a yoke of oxen, but had no wagon or plow, I bor- 
rowed a plow, but it would not work. Finally 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 wagon and cut cordwood during the winter. I ali^o 
cut eordwood 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 crop and 
did some breaking. I had another poor crop and ttayed on my 
homestead the following winter and trapped musk rats, mink, 
etc., for a living. 

Then the hoppers came and we had them two years, and 
harvested two very poor crops. At this time I 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 boots for me to wear. 
During this time sugar, coffee and tea were out of the question. 
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 quite 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 four days to 
make the trip. I would here state that in the spring of 1875 
I could not see where I was to get flour 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 plant trees, so T 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 small settlement was eight miles south and 
twelve miles north. This was my experience in starting to open 
up a farm on the wild prairie. 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 WaUner. In the fall of 1891 on my way back from 
the western part of the state, I stopped oS at Buffalo Lake. 
There were then about a dozen houses and the town had no 
sidewalks. I went to the only boarding house and took lodging 
over night. The next morning I was told that the village was 



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HISTOEY OP RENVUjLE COUNTY 299 

in Renville county and located on the east end of the county. 
At that 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 aa can be found any- 
where in the state, and then and there made up my mind to buy 
land in EenviUe county, if I could arrange 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 Renville county with mej my oldest sis- 
ter's husband also came with us. We stayed two weeks and all 
three of us bought land before we went home. I bought the 
southwest quarter of section 17, in Preston Lake township; the 
price paid was $17.25 per acre; it was all raw prairie. On 
March 17, 1892, 1 reached Renville county and settled on my 
farm. With me 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. 

Mr. Wallner was bom November 1, 1866, in the township of 
Minnesota Lake, Faribault county, 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 Matzdorf. Their children, Lillian and Harry, are 
home. The people in his community have honored him with 
various trusts and public 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, Minn., where they remained a short time. Then 
they moved to Mankato, remaining there about two years, my 
father working as a day laborer. In the spring uf 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 boys and two girls, the oldest 
girl being fourteen years old and the youngest child, a baby 
boy. They came by horse team and the trip was a hard one. 
, Father brought the household effects with an ox team, which 
he had hired. We stopped at New Illm the first night and 
traveled all the next day before reaching Ft. Ridgely, staying 
over night there with Sergeant 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 level. Our 



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800 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

atoek in trade was a sack of flour, a jar of butter, a ham, $7 
and a cow. 

The pioneers in those days had a good friend and adviser 
in Hon. D. S. Hall, "Dar" as he was called then, and now, too, 
by those who are still living there. He lived a mile from us 
on section 27, with his brothers, Charles and Ward. 

We passed through the hardships of the grasshopper times. 
My father would go out and get work wherever he could. My 
oldest brother, Tim, and I were lost in the storm of 1873, when 
80 many people perished, but our ox team led us to a shack 
where we stayed two 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 plaee. After returning from the West I took some 
interest in public affairs and held local, county, and state offices 
and was postmaster at Morton under Cleveland's administration. 

W. H. JewelL In 1867, accompanied by my wife and four 
children, I came to Renville county from Outgamie county. Wis., 
and settled in Birch Cooley township. I built my house, cut 
hay and plowed all around my home as the grass was very 
heavy and I feared prairie fires. 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 sloughs three to six feet deep. 

The next season I went to the Republican convention in 
company with D. S. Hall. I nominated him for county auditor 
and he was elected. I was elected sheriff. We held to the 
old party until Bryan became prominent in politics and then 
left. 

In 1868 I was appointed postmaster at Birch Gooley, keep- 
ing the office on my farm, 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 I was born in MeHenry county in the northern part 
of Illinois. I attended the public schools of Woodstock 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 1886, a fluent talker and an 
agent of the Fredericson Prins and Kuch Land Company, with 



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HISTOKY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 301 

offices in Chicago, III., came to our neighborhood, extolling the 
virtues of the soil in Renville, Redwood, Chippewa, and Kandi- 
yohi counties, Minn. I obtained a half rate landseeker's ticket 
to Renville, my wife remaining at home to take care of the 
C0W8, and at length arrived at ray destination. A good break- 
fast was served early in the morning at the Land Seekers' Hotel 
and three platform wagons were made ready and the teams 
hitched. A good supply of lunch, put up in boxes, was put on 
and also a liberal supply of "Land Seekers' Telescopes," which 
were similar to beer bottles and contained a liquid which made 
everything look good and a great many of the landseekers had 
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 Clara City now stands, and he had a well 
of water. Finally I decided that everything considered, the 
southwest quarter of section 12, range 37, township 116, was 
about the best piece of land available, and on returning to Ren- 
ville a contract was drawn and "binding money" paid, the price 
to be $10.00 per acre. This land company had offered this piece 
of land at a public land sale a short time before at $4,50 per 
acre, $1.00 per acre to be paid down. This land is now (1915) 
worth $150 to $175 per acre. In early March, 1888, my wife 
and I arrived at Renville and found some immense snow banks. 
We finally settled on our land and built a barn, 14 by 24 and 
lived in one end of it, while the three horses and one cow lived 
in the other end. We dug a well, striking good water at the 
depth of thirteen feet. We never suffered much from the prairie 
fires, losing at the most, perhaps a hay stack or two. Grass- 
hoppers did not trouble us much, but we had badgers, foxes and 
skunks as close neighbors. After twenty-seven years of ups and 
downs incidental to pioneer, or nearly pioneer life, we are satis- 
fied that Minnesota is a very good place to live in. 

Oscar ItOIler. I eame to Renville county with my parents 
in the spring of 1865. We settled one mile from the old Birch 
Cooley battlefield, where father had bought a man's homestead 
right for $100. There were eight children in the family, seven 
boys and one girl. Father built a log house in which we lived 
for many years. The wind and snow penetrated through the 
cracks, and often in the morning 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 snowstorms 
usually lasted at least three days. We had to melt snow for 
the stock to drink, as we could not let them outside the barn. 



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302 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

We would fasten a clothes-line to the house and by means of this 
find our way to the bam and back to the house, aa otherwise 
we would have been lost in the storm. 

One winter the snow was so deep that we had to go to town 
OQ snow shoes, the drifts being hundreds of feet deep. 

In the spring we sowed our grain by hand and dragged it 
with oxen. The first few years we cut our grain by hand with 
an old fashioned grain scythe, and bound it into bundles. We 
hauled them into the granary and threshed the grain with a 
flail. For three years we were troubled by the grasshoppers. 
The fields were red with them. To drive thera from the fields 
we used to take a sort of a atrawtiek and drag it through the 
grain field. The grasshoppers even affected the hen's eggs, the 
chickens eating so many of the insects that the whole egg would 
be red and therefore worthless. 

In 1875, I went to California, remaining there for two years, 
after which time I returned to Renville county. In 1879 I mar- 
ried Lavina Kumro. Her relatives were living in Birch Cooley 
during the Indian outbreak and had a terrible time. Twelve 
children were born to us, six boys and six girls, of whom one 
boy and one girl died. For many years my brother and I 
threshed and I fed a threshing 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 now reside in Minneapolis. 

Hmnan Stark. As a young man I 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 support my family. For the three 
months of July, August and September, I earned $60. 

In 1876 we had the prospect 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 early 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 family, 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. 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 303 

The wheat yielded only twelve bushels to the acre and we paid 
7 cents per bushel for threshing it and received twenty-five cents 
per bushel when we sold it. Eggs were 7 cents per dozen and 
butter 5 cents per pound. Stock had fair price at that time, a 
good cow being worth $25.00, dressed hogs, 3 cents per pound, 
but there was no market for undressed hogs. 

In 1679 we had a good crop of wheat, the grain selling from 
75 cents to 80 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 1879-80, I hauled logs from the 
woods, hewed and planed them, and built a so-called "Qerman" 
frame house. We moved on to this farm May 10, 1880. We 
also built a straw shed which was to serve as a shelter for our 
stock. June 10, a cyclone passed through our little prairie 
country and blew down our little church, also doing some dam- 
age to several farm 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 put into oats, wheat and corn. 
This crop was a good one and we felt rich to be able to furnish 
suSficient food for the family for the coming winter. Fall came 
early that year and on October 15, we had a terrible blizzard, 
and awoke in the morning to find that the snow had blown 
through our temporary roof and 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 ua till 2 
o'clock in the afternoon to get our sheds uncovered to get our 
cows into shelter. The snow melted away and we had some nice 
weather again, nntil November 7, when winter commenced in 
good earnest. During December and January the sleighing 
was excellent, but the 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 days 
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 house 
several times a day to get them warm and then take them back 
to their mother, as otherwise the little animals would have froz- 
en. The last day of January I wentto Henderson, a distance 
of forty miles, and returned on February 1. I'll never forget 
how glad I was to be back home again with my family, as that 
very 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 fodder stocks to get feed for the cattle. There was at 
least four feet of snow on the level that winter. During Feb- 



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804 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

ruary and March only three trips were made to Brownton, our 
nearest market, fifteen miles away. We had a poor crop that 
year on account of the late spring and wet summer, having 
started to seed ahout April 15. We also had a wet fall. In 
the month of October we threshed with a horsepower machine. 
It kept one man busy carrying straw for the horses to walk on. 
At this time we also experienced a hard time on account of one 
of our children being sick with typhoid fever. 1 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 the winter of 1881-1882 the weather 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 land, adjoining our 80 acres, at $5.00 
per acre. During the winter of 1882-1883 we had a eold spell 
with much snow and blizzards. Oftentimes I would go down to 
the woods for firewood and return without any, the weather 
being so bad 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 empty wagon. That year's crop was good 
in spite of the late spring. The fall was also late and all the 
work was done up nicely. That fall we bought another 40 acres 
of agricultural land adjoining our 120 acres and at the same 
price as the first land. 

During the winter of 1883-1884 I went to the woods twenty- 
five times. I hauled logs to the saw-mill at New Auburn, to 
be sawed into lumber for a granary. "We had much snow that 
winter, but I always managed 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 acres. 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 township belonged 
to the same district, and in the spring of 1887 we built the 
school house, 20 by 30 feet, on our first 80 acres, about 80 rods 
northeast of the house, and here all of our children received 
their education. I took great interest in school matters and held 
the position of treasurer until I retired from active farming. 

In the fall of 1890 we bought 160 acres 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 snow. 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 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 305 

change of weather, but with our neighbors' assistance we buried 
him in a Chrietian way. 

Our hardships of pioneer life ended and we retired from 
active farming January 10, 1905, owning 800 acres of land in 
Bismark township. June 16, 1905, our next youngest son died at 
the age of seventeen years, five months and twenty-eight days. 
In 1905 we bought a farm in Preston Lake 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 through 
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. Many persoTis now living, can remember distinctly see- 
ing crowds of men walking across the prairies, and shoveling 
mountain snow banks in search of the body of some missing 
neighbor supposed to have been frozen. 

Below is an account of one of the many incidents of the kind 
that occurred in those days: An old lady named Mrs. Rogers, 
residing in Wellington township, went to a neighbor's house two 
miles distant to borrow flour. Her aged hnsband 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 her home, and not more than eighty 
rods from the house of a settler. Two doga 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 where 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 only child at home was a young 
girl. The funeral took place on Friday, sympathizing neighbors 



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806 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. Pew 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 timber 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 1855 to 
1861 and built their nests and raised their young and they were 
there in such countless thousands that we could often hear the 
roar of their wings that distance when they would rise in a 
body. And I have often heard 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 floek would roll 
over tlie 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 different 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 the 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 A'irginia, came 
here. They brought their long Kentucky rifles and hounds and 
very little else. They, with the long-to-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 



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MARY DUNLOP MeLABEN HALL 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 307 

herd the cattle. When I could get the wherewithal to buy a 
pound 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 6. T>. 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. 
caps." 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 were as low as I remember them. 



CHAPTER XX 

BIOOBAPmCAL REVIEW. 

Facts in the Earl^ Career and Later Success of People Who Have 
Helped Make RenviUe County — Founders and Patriots — 
Names Which Will Live Lon^r in the Memory ot Residents of 
This Vicinity — Stories of Well Known Fandlies Which Have 
Led in Public Life. 

Darwin Soott Hall was bom January 23, 1S44, on Mound 
Prairie in Wheatland township, Kenosha county, Wisconsin, near 
the village of Richmond, McHenry county, Illinois. His father 
was Erasmus Darwin Hall. His father had two brothers, John 
McCarty and Solon Willey, and a sister, Emily {Mrs. E. K. Whit- 
comb, Elgin, III.). His grandfather was Dr. Ruben Hall; his 
great-grandfather was Amos Hall, who had eight sons, as follows: 
Amos, David, Jared, Ezra, John, Uriah, EHsher and Ruben. 

Amos, the eldest of these sons, in the year 1805 moved from 
Hopkinton, N. H., to the township of Ireland, Magantic county, 
in the Province of Quebec, Canada. The "Annals of Magantic 
County, ' ' an historical publication of 1902, devotes a chapter to the 
Hall families settled in Ir<?land. Of Amos it says, "He was born 
at Salem, Mass,, in 1761 ; his grandfather was a sea captain, and the 
family an old one, in which for six generations back it had been 
made a rule to call the eldest son Amos. Captain Amos Hall 
enlisted in the army when 18. served in the Revolutionary War, 
was paymaster-sergeant, and one of Washington's bodyguard for 
a time. He traded with the Indians for their fur ; he was a man 
of such resolute will and power of eye, that he was a host in 
himself," D, S. Hall's grandmother, on his father's side, was 
Balinda Ruth Willey before she married 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 Nicollet county years ago. Her father was William Carson, a 



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SOB HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

German, who served his adopted eoimtry, the United States, as a 
soldier in the "War of 1812, and married Mercy Dodge, at Geneseo, 
New York, moving to Wisconsin about 1839. 

When the auhject of this sketch was three years old, his parents 
moved to Waukaii, Winnebago county, near Oshkosh, where his 
father was among the first settlers, and later a member of the 
Wisconsin legislature. 

In 1856 the family moved into the pine forest about fifteen miles 
north of Grand Rapids, Wisconsin; his father, in company with 
Abija Pierce, built a saw-mill and began lumbering. There were 
five children in the family at this time: Darwin Scott, the eldest, 
Erasmus Ward, Solon Willey, Charles Sumner, and Mary Eliza- 
beth, a babe in arms. The 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 work at lath making and such work, in mills making 
lumber; later, in the spring, or other times when the depth of 
water in the Wisconsin river warranted, he was with those working 
rafts of lumber down the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers, some- 
times as far as St. Louis. The work was strenuous, hardships and 
dangers plenty, necessitating "a survival of the fittest." He im- 
proved every opportunity possible for an education; the winter 
he was 17 he taught school near Grand Rapids; the spring follow- 
ing found him in Elgin, Illinois, where be spent two years at the 
Elgin Academy through the generosity of his aunt, Mrs. E. K. 
Whitcomb, then of that city. In June, 1864, he returned to Grand 
Rapids, enlisted in Company K, 42d Vol. Infantry, served, and 
was honorably discharged at the close of the war in July, 1865. 
From the middle of July until late in October, himself, Frank 
Brown and Henry Jessie worked on the Wisconsin river. They 
were returned soldiers of the Civil War, all from Grand Rapids, 
BVank Brown having nearly died in Andersonville as a prisoner 
of war. But it did not take them long to become civilians again; 
they stuck together that summer, made two trips down the Wis- 
consin and Mississippi rivers, built rafts on the Wisconsin river, 
slept and lived outdoors all the time, and were about $300 each 
to the good when the river froze up. 

That fall the subject of this sketch went to Milwaukee, Wis., 
and attended the Markham Academy. 

In May, 1866, he came to Minnesota. He bought at Mankato, 
of Liveryman Day, a horse, saddle and complete equestrian out- 
fit, and mounted on his modern Bucephalus, 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 to^vnship of Birch Cooley, 
in this county. That winter he taught school in the Joel Kennady 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 309 

district, near where the village of Nicollet now stands. In the 
spring 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 busied 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 wheat 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. Greenslitt. He assumed 
the duties of his office in March, 1869. 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 V. S. Land Ofllce 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 with blooded cattle, horses and hogs, which he sold for 
breeding purposes for many 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 chairman of the Chippewa Indian Commission, succeed- 
ing ex-U. S. Senator Henry M. Rice. President Cleveland let him 
out; President McKinley reinstated him, and he was among the 
Chippewas 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 Olivia, the county seat of Renville county. The people of 
Olivia are glad to have him among them, and show him and 



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810 HISTORY OP KENVILLE COUNTY 

his good wife much consideration, all of which is fully appreciated 
by them. It is indeed gratifyiog that after more than forty-five 
years' residence in Benville county, 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 religiooa denomination or secret 
society destroying the coimtry or injuring himself or neighbors. 
He encourages a spirit of toleration, and more friendly considera- 
tion of things religious, political and social, trusting that the time 
may soon come when the "holier than thou" individual turns his 
gaze inwardly upon himself. 

While Mr. Hall has withdrawn from many activities, he is 
still interested in the upbuilding and development of this region, 
and in public 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 Kite Mason, a Shriner, of 
Osman 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 Port Eidgely State Park and Historical 
Association, and this year, 1915, finds him mayor of Olivia and 
president of the Commercial Club in that place. He takes much 
interest in all of these associations, saying that "it prevents being 
overtaken by dry rot, or thoughts, at any time, of being a dead 
one." 

Haiy Dnnlop McLaren Hall was born at Portage-du-forte, 
Province of Quebec, Canada. She married Darwin S. Hall at 
Beaver Palls, in Renville county, Minn., July 10th, 1869. Her 
father was Dougald Perguson 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 by Atkinson, Osbom 
& 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 McLaren, was well known in that locality. 

The mother of the subject 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, Erie 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, Winnebago county, Wisconsin. 



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HISTORY OP KENVILLE COUNTY 311 

The father of the subject of this sketch was for many years 
extensively engaged in mercantile and lumber businesses on the 
upper Ottawa river and at Portage-du-forte, while the country 
was new. He was devoted to hia 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 in the spring of 1868, to her Aunt Rebecca (Mrs. L. K. 
Stone) and Uncle Kric at Eureka, Wisconsin, where she made 
her home for a time, and where she met her future husband. 

The family of Dougald and Lorena, father 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 ; Oeorge, deceased ; Charles, of Los Angeles, Gal. ; 
Lorena (Mrs. S. H. Hudson, of Benson, Minn.) ; Jessie, deceased; 
Mrs. Annie Osbom, Los Angeles ; Mrs. Elizabeth P. 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 develop 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 
bom 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 Akens to Okins. Three children were 
born to William : Elizabeth, who died at the age of sixteen 
years; Eli and John. John became a soldier 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 his wife and 
seven children : John, Josiah, Mary Ann, Maria, Sarah, James, 
and Lucy. In 1856 the family started for Minnesota. They 
came by train as far as La Crosse, taking a steamboat from there 
to Reed's Landing and going by foot and by ox team the rest 
of the way to Olmsted county, 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 hy 16 feet, but later replaced by a better dwelling. 
He began with an ox team and cleared the 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 homesteaded eighty acres. He 
built a log house and lived there till his death in 1873. His wife 
died many years later. Mr. Okins held the ofiBce of supervisor 
when the township was organized. He was a member of the 



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312 HISTORY OF EENVILLE COUNTY 

Episcopal church. James Okins received his early education in 
the district school of Olmsted county. In the spring of 1864 
he enlisted at Rochester in Company K, Third Minnesota Volun- 
teer Infantry, serving one and a half years. He was mustered 
out at St. Paul. He then located a homestead of eighty acres in 
section 14, south Sacred Heart township, 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 os 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. Mr. Okins was married September 10, 1870, to- Sophia 
Churchill, born at Bockford, Illinois, December 14, 1852, daugh- 
ter of Joseph and Sophia (Daniels) Churchill. Mr. Churchill 
was born in England and his wife was bom in Maine. He came 
from England to Maine, where he married and from there they 
went to Illinois, locating in Stebbens county. In 1855 the family 
moved to Waseca, Minnesota, locating on a farm in the neigh- 
borhood, and in 1859 they came to Le Sueur county, where they 
bought 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. Mr. and Mrs. Okins 
have had thirteen children, eight of whom are living: George, 
Edward, Nellie (deceased). Prank, Mary, Oscar (deceased), 
Lavina (deceased), Mina, Clarence, Charles (deceased), Harry 
(deceased), Charles and Fred. 

Oibson A. Sichards was bom in Mackford township. Green 
Lake county, Wisconsin, January 16, 1857, son of Thomas and 
Anna (King) Richards. Thomas Richards was a native of Lin- 
colnshire, England, and was the only one of the family to come 
to America. Gibson received his early education in the country 
school and became a farmer, coming to his present place in Ren- 
ville county in 1878, where he secured a homestead 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 aiid had good 
crops, and has increased bis farm to 320 acres and made many 
improvements on the house and bams. He keeps a good grade 
of stock. Mr. Richards served on the township board for thir- 
teen years and has been chairman of the board for the past two 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 313 

years. He also held office on the school 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 steward of the local Methodist 
Episcopal church, which he help to build. Mr. Itichards was 
married July 20, 1879, to Martha J. Potter. In 1879 she taught 
the first subscription school and also taught three other terms in 
the district schooL For teaching her first school she received 
$18 a month and she had to pay $2 a week for board. Mr. and 
Mrs. Richards have four children ; William, who is at home ; 
Linnie, who died at the age of nine years; Roy, who is a farmer 
of Boone Lake township, and Eugene C, a farmer in Boone Lake 
township. 

John Egg^ was born in New York, near Troy, January 21, 
1856, son of Fred and Mary (Samft) Eggert, both natives of 
Germany, who came to America with their four children: 
Charles, Augusta, Mary and Fred, in 1853. They were fourteen 
weeks on the ocean in a sailing vessel, which they had boarded 
seven weeks prior to starting. While on their way to America 
a daughter, Anna, was born. They arrived at New York and 
here Mr. Eggert began working for the farmers, John being 
born while the family lived there. Early in the spring of 1857 
they set out across the lakes, up the Mississippi, while the ice 
was breaking up, and came to Minneapolis, where the father 
farmed. Next he obtained a team and worked for the railroad, 
helping fill in and grade the swamp where the Milwaukee depot 
is now located. Albert was bom in Minneapolis. In the spring 
of 1868 the family drove by horse team from Minneapolis and 
came in a covered wagon to Renville county, coming to Boon 
Lake township, where they secured a homestead of 160 acres 
ill section 12. The homestead right included a little log cabin 
on the land, into which the family moved. There was also a 
straw barn. Here he began breaking the land with the aid of 
his horses and made his home here the rest of his life. He pros- 
pered and in time owned 200 acres and built a modern house. 
Fred Eggert served as township supervisor and school treasurer 
and built the first schoolhouse of the district. He was a member 
of the German Lutheran church, and services were often held in 
his cabin before the congregation owned any church building. 
He was married to Mary Samft January 10, 1837. He died June 
8, 1902, at the age of ninety years, and his wife died February 9, 
1899, at the age of eighty-five years, John Eggert was one and 
a half years 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 school again, this time at Hutchinson. He has con- 
tinued to operate the home farm, improved it, erected new bams. 



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314 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

and acquired a good grade o£ stock. He has served on the town- 
ship board aa 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, 1879, to Prederica 
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. Mr. Eggert married again September 
15, 1880, to Minnie Barfknecht, who died June 8, 1892, leaving 
three children : Lydia, Mata and Minnie. Mr. Eggert married 
a third time, Bertha Pust, May 19, 1893. The following chil- 
dren were bom: Lillie, John, Alfred and Agnes (deceased). 

Williuil H. Harrier was born in Lesueur county, Minne- 
sota, September 5, 1861, son of Alexander and Elizabeth (Tolan) 
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 flfty-eight years. There were seven children : William, 
Mary (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 bam 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, bora 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- 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 315 

ing at Buffalo Lake ; Cora, living at Preston Lake ; Bert, at 
Preeton Lake ; Walter, at home, and one child who died in 
inlaaey. 

Charles Dwi^ht HcEwen, deceased, known over the county 
and state as "Uncle Charlie," remembered for his humorous 
stories and witty sayings, was born at Hinesburg, Vermont, 
June 20, 1822, and died July 26, 1901, son of James McEwen, 
a native of Massachusetts who lived in the colonial days. 
When he was nineteen years of age Charles D. 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 Kock county, Wisconsin, where they remained for two years. 
They brought with them two children : Howard, bom September 
16, 1845, and Bowman C, born Angust 8, 1848, Another child 
was born in Wisconsin, Charlana Parcilla, bom 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 south of Hutchison, proved up the land 
and built a log cabin. He broke up the land with his ox team 
and lived there until 1876, He had built good buildings and 
erected what was probably the first cheese factory in the state 
and milked one hundred and fifty cowe. It was located on his 
farm and was known as the McEwen cheese factory. The cheese 
was distributed and sold throughout the country towns by team 
once a month. Another son, Carlton C, was 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 the stockade and here Charlana died from diphtheria, the 
father and the oldest sons remaining at home. The Indians 
burned the home and shot some of the hogs. While in Wisconsin 
Clark was born, October 15, 1862. In 1876 Charles D. McEwen 
moved to Renville county, where he pre-empted 160 acres of land 
in section 31. Boon Lake township. It was all wild prairie land, 
and here he built a frame house and again took up the cheese 
industry, locating the factory on his farm. This was the first 
cheese factory in Renville county. He also made a specialty of 
stock raising. His wife died April 12, 1887, and from that time 
he lived with his children. He had increased his farm to 800 
acres, built good buildings and prospered. Charles D. McEwen 
was a strong abolitionist and was a member of the Home Guards. 
He was of the Republican party and was fleeted 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. 



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816 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

1864, in Company B, First Minnesota Heavy Artillery, and was 
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 coiinty, when he obtained pre- 
emption claim of 160 acres in section 31, 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 modem basement barn, 144 
by 52 feet. When they began farming he had one cow and a 
yoke of oxen. He has now large herds of cattle, spt^eializing in 
the Hereford breed. He also raises Hamiltonian horses and 
Chester White hogs. He has built a modern steam heated house 
and ma<}e many other improvements. Mr. McEwen 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 No. 57, which he helped organize, hauling the first lumber 
for the school house. From 1904 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 
Byhofifer, born in Carver county, daughter of Tlieodore and 
Catherine (Bowman) Byhoffer, early pioneers of tfeat county 
who came to Minneapolis in 1851. Mr. Byhoffer 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 Mrs. 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. 0(^n, a farmer of Boon Lake township, was born 
in Ontario, Canada, August 31, 1860, son of Jacob and Mary E. 
(Terrell) Coffin. Jacob Coffin was bom 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 McLeod county, where he engaged 
in farming, making the trip with his family in a covered wagon 
drawn by a team of horses. After twelve years he moved to 



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MS. AND MRS. B. T. COFFIN 



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"-■rat NEW lO^.K 
PUiUC LIBRARY 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 317 

Northfield, where he remained five years to allow the children 
to obtain an education, next coming to Eenville county. At the 
time of his death he was living with his daughter, 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, bom August 31, 1860; Prank, bom Febmary 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 ehurch. Erwin T, Coffin was eleven years 
of age when the family came to Minnesota. He received his 
education in the district log school house, grew to manhood and 
engaged in fanning. 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 Mattie'Couutryman, born in Hast- 
ings, Minnesota, January 6, 1870, ^ughter 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 territorial 
pioneers. In the seventies they located in Renville county, secur- 
ing 160 acres in section 25, Boon Lake township, where they 
erected a frame house and a small bam. They had thirteen chil- 
dren: Preston K., born November 24, 1850; Mary E., born Sep- 
tember 22, 1852 ; Orville E., born October 3, 1854 ; Daniel, born 
Pebmary 2, 1857, and died Pebruary 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-u 
September 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. Mr, and 
Mrs. Coffin have had four children: Virgil, Guy, Ralph and 
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. Slieppard, retired, one of the pioneer farmers of Boon 
Lake township, was bom in Cattaraugus county. New York, 
October 8, 1826, and came to Minnesota in 1858, locating in 
Dakota county. During the Civil war he enlisted in Company D, 
Brackett's Battalion, Independent Cavalry, and was mustered 
in January 5, 1864, and discharged with the company in 1866. 
Upon his return in 1866 he came to Boon Lake township, Ren- 



Digili: 



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818 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

ville county, and took up a homestead of 160 acres of wild prairie 
land on 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 waa a member of the first board of supervisors of the 
township. Ira S. Sheppard was united in marriage to Marjorie 
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 bom 
in Berwick, Maine, of English parentage December 6, 1819, and 
died January 26, 1904, at Maple Grove, Minnesota. Sarah Glid- 
den was bom 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 Rozbury, 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 Neeedah, 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 on 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 way 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 flve children, 
a girl, Ida, having been born in Wisconsin. They had come to 
Minnesota by means of ox team and settled at Waterford 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 bora. 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 



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HISTORY OP BENVnIjE COUNTY 319 

boarded on the outside, and ooTered with sod and dirt. They 
had two cows, a yoke of cattle, foiir horses and a colt. This 
home was located on a Lake which they named Lake Hodgdon. 
The son Oacar also obtained a claim on this lake. The nearest 
markets 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 Bice coun- 
ties, going by foot all the way, in order to earn some money to 
help support the rest 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 day's work to flail out. This wheat 
was then ground in a coffee mill, mixed with water and baked in 
a dripping pan, a piece of this making a meal. After many years 
of hard work Mr. Hodgdon sold this farm and moved to Hutch- 
insoQ, where he purchased a farm. After a time he aold 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 eabin. 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 waa a member of the Baptist church, but 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 Northfleld. 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 oESces 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 Mayflower. William Deuel waa bom in Eng- 



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320 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

land and brought over in the Mayflower by his parents in 1620. 
He applied for land in Duxbury, Massachueetts, August 3, 1640, 
and was granted a house lot in Reheboth, Massachusetts, Decem- 
ber 26, 1645. May 17, 1653, he was made foreman of Newport, 
Rhode Island. Jonathan Deuel, son of William and Hannah 
(Adiey) Deuel, settled in Darthmouth, Massachusetts.- Joseph 
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 Mosher, August 22, 1731. He moved to Dover, 
Dutchess county, in 1735, and died there 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 the Methodist faith and entered the 
ministry as a young man. In May, 1855, he came to Minnesota 
from Waterloo, Iowa, coming by ox team and covered wagon, 
spending three weeks making the trip, and brought with him a 
small herd of cattle, a small flock of sheep and about a dozen 
chickens. He settled near Faribault, Rice county, Minnesota, 
and in 1862-63 preached on a circuit at Wilton and Otiseo, , 
Waseca county. In 1864 he went to McLeod 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 that 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 and made his home here 
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, Martha, 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 Mrs. Ray Noble, of Boon 
Lake township ; Fannie, now Mrs. John McCall, of Brookfield ; 
Daisy, now Mrs. Fred PuUen, of Hutchinson ; Elmer, of Boon 
Lake township, and Blanche, who is at home. Amos, Luella, 
Fannie and Daisy have all been school teachers. Warren Hodg- 
don, a nephew of Mr. Hodgdon, son of Ernest Hodgdon, Orrin 



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HISTORY OP RENVHiLE COUNTY 321 

Hodgdon's younger brother, waa also raised by Mr. Hodgdon, 
his mother dying on the day of his birth. Th« whole family are 
members of the Methodist church. 

AmoB E. Hodgdon was married to Jessie M. Butler August 4, 
1896, and they have seven children: Ruth Lnella, ^ed 15; Harry 
Theodore, aged 12 ; Donald Alonzo, aged 10 ; James Clyde, aged 7 ; 
Chester Orrin, aged 6 ; Yii^l Amos, aged 3 ; and Helen Lonisa, 
aged 1. Luella M, Hot^don 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. McCall, 
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 Evelyn May, aged 3. 
Blanche E. Hodgdon is at home. The nephew, Warren James 
Hodgdon, was bom June 18, 1899. 

Elmer Nathan Hodgdon, a farmer of Boon Lake township, 
son of 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 father's homestead. 
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 farm near Lake Allie in Preston Lake township for three years. 
Then he came to his present place, purchasing 120 acres of 
improved land. He raises Holatein cattle and keeps a good grade 
of other stock. He is a raeraber of the Farmers' Co-operative 
Elevator Company at Buffalo Lake and a member of the Ship- 
ping Association of Buffalo Lake. He is a clerk of the school 
district and a member of the Methodist church. Elmer Hodgdon 
was united in marriage November 2, 1904, to Claudia Headley, 
bom in Brookfield township, daughter of Prank and Charlotte 
(Hilts) Headley, EVank Headley was bom 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, bom 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, Wisconsin. 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. 
They next settled in Preston Lake township on an improved 



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822 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

farm. While in Brookfield township Mr, Headley helped organize 
the Methodist church. He held xarious church and school offices 
and died in Preston Lake township 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, bom September 3, 1906, 
and Evelyn, bom February 26, 1913. 

AmoB 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 Qrandfather Potter's 
granary. Mrs. Gibson Richards, then Martha Potter, was tht^ 
teacher. He also attended the high school at Hutchinson for 
two winters. At the age of t^w^t^y-one he taught school in Boon 
Lake township, boarding at his home five miles away, receiving 
$27 a month for his services. Next he bouglit 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 hia 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 townshm 
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 heid 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, bom 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 Coolidge, 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 



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ASTOR. LBNOX AH» i 



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HISTOBY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 323 

in Wisconsin, coming to Minnesota in 1878 and securing 160 
acres in section 27, Brookfield tOTrnship. He died in 1909 at the 
age of seventy-one years. His wife is still living in Gleneoe at 
the age of seventy-three years. There were seven children : 
Lizzie, Nellie, Sadie, Jessie, Lorin, Chester and William, who 
died in infancy. Lizzie married Charles H, Coolidge, of Hector, 
and they have had four children: Mabel (deceased), Bumie A., 
Leo M. and Jessie M. Nellie married J. P. Nelson, of Regent, 
North Dakota. Their children are ; Eva, Mamie and Lila, Sadie 
married J. E. Headley, 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 
Beha V. Ackley. 

Theodore Byhoffer was bom 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 Qleneoe, Minnesota. He died at that place August 24, 1896. 
His wife survived him sixteen years and died at the home place 
March 28, 1912, at the age of ninety-one years. Theodore 
Byhoffer, the subject of this sketch, lived with his parents on a 
homestead of 160 acres in Carver county until seven years of 
age. At the time of the Indian outbreak the family moved to 
McLeod county and bought an eighty-acre farm four and a half 
miles west of Qleneoe, 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. With the aid of his sisters 
and brothers additions were made to the farm 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 
Minnesota. 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 occupation of threshing and worked for several 
years in the vicinities of Qleneoe and Biscay. The brothers of 
this family relate many interesting accounts of their hear hunts 
when they were boys. One day Mr. Byhoffer and his elder 
brother were left in charge of their flock of sheep. A big brown 



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324 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

bear soon made his appearance from the woods. The boys fol- 
lowed him into a nearby thicket and carefully watched him until 
their sister, who had come to call them to dinner, went for help. 
After much difficulty they aucceeded in shooting the bear, and 
they were indeed the proudest boys of McLeod county as they 
marched home with their booty. From 1881 to 1887 he was 
manager of the home farm. At the end of that time he sold his 
ninety-five acres of the home farm to his brother and with his 
family came to Boon Lake township, Renville county, where they 
purchased a farm of 320 acres in section 31, five miles north of 
Buffalo Lake. He farmed this half section of land for twenty 
years. In 1908 he deeded 160 acres of his farm to his sons, 
Henry and Harry. The improvements made by Mr. Byhoffer 
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, and 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 thirteen years. Mr. 
Byhoffer was married December 20, 1881, to Elsbeth Hatz, the 
daughter of Bartholome and Elizabeth (Dascher) Hatz, of 
Glencoe, Minnesota. Her parents were natives of Switzerland. 
They both died at their Glencoe home in the years of 1905 and 
1914 respectively. Mr. and Mrs. Byhoffer are the parents of 
eight children : Henry A., Emma C, Harry W., Fanny E., Inez C, 
G. Le Roy, Edna M. and Leonard C. Their daughter Emma 
died while they were residing near Glencoe, at the age of one 
year and nine months. The children received 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 school. 
Henry A. married Gertrude Allen and is engaged in barbering 
at Buchanan, Saskatchewan, Canada. Harry married Marie 
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 has a position as teacher in a school at 
Tracy, Minnesota. Roy is manager of the home farm and with 
his sister Edna and his brother Leonard makes his home with 
their parents. 

Alonzo P. Brings, veteran, pioneer and leading citizen, was 
born in St. Lawrence county. New York, November 25, 1833, 
and there received a good education and grew to manhood. In 
1857 he 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 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 325 

was left in Cole county, Illinois. Upon his recovery he returned 
home and married, and then with his wife, Phoebe Thurston, 
again came to Dakota county. It was in 1871 that they 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 became leading people in the community. 
In 1876 the wife died, and in June, 1881, Mr. Briggs married 
Albertina Butzer. Later he purchased forty acres of railroad 
land in section 23, across the road from his homestead. He died 
February 25, 1915, and was sincerely mourned throughout the 
eommunity in which for so long he has been an influence for 
goodness and uprightness. Since his death his family have con- 
ducted the home place, and in addition to their eighty acres have 
rented another eighty, so that they now have a good farm of 160 
acres. Alonzo 'P. and Albertina (Butzer) Briggs were blessed 
with five children : Edith, William, Herman and Gotlieb and Fred 
(twins). Edith married Gustave Krasean and they have three 
children : Florence, Walter and Myrtle. William is with his 
mother, as are Herman and Fred, and the three operate the farm. 
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, 
jost across the 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 prominent citizens. They fol- 
lowed general farming the remainder of their days, the father 
dying in October, 1892, and the mother May 5, 1896. They had 
eight children: Albertina, Gust, Emma and Charles (twins), 
Ferdinand, Bertha and Emalia. Charles, William, Ferdinand 
and Emalia are dead. 

August P. Barfknecht was bom in Pomerania, Germany, 
February 1, 1852, son of Christian and Carolina (Modrow) 
Barfknecht. He received his early education in Wisconsin and 
grew up on the farm in Renville county. In 1883 he bought his 
present place, a tract of eighty acres, in section 16, Boon Lake 
township, consisting of wild prairie land. He built a small frame 
house and straw shed for a barn. In 1886 he bought eighty acres 
more, set out groves and built a modern house and barns. All of 
his land is now under cultivation. He raises a good grade of 
stock. Mr. Barfknecht is a director of the Lake Side Creamery 
Company and has been its president for three or four years. He 
held olBce as township supervisor and has been a member of the 
school board for three years. His faith is that of the German 
Lutheran church. December 23, 1882, Mr. Barfknecht was mar- 
ried to Augusta Lohrenz and they have had four children : Henry, 
now a farmer in Boon Lake township ; Albert, William and 
Adolph, who died in infancy. 



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326 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

AlbMt W. Baifknecht, a farmer of Booq Lake township, was 
bom 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 the 
United States in 1863, bringing with them their family of seven 
children: August, Albert, Augusta, Minnie, Paulina Barfknecht 
and Ernest Koeppe, a son of Mrs. Barfknecht by a former mar- 
riage to Ernest Koeppe, Sr. They came by steamer to New York 
and overland to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where they began farming 
on a place which they 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 his father ptir- 
chased. The land was all wild prairie, and as there were no 
building they erected a log house Id by 28 feet and a straw 
bam. 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 15, 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 which he has added until he now farms 255 acres. He has 
built a modem house 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 township clerk for the past eleven years. In May, 1885, he 
was married to Paulina Lohrenz, bom in West Prussia, Germany, 
February 10, 1855. Her parents, Martin and Minnie (Borken- 
hagen) Lohrenz, brought 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 eighty 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: Minnie, now Mrs. 
Bechtel, of McLeod county; Frederick, who is at home, and 
Helena and Martha (deceased). 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 327 

Ktigb. Canrigan, a prominent and estimable citizen of Boon 
Lake towDship, was bom in Hoosic Falls, Bennington county; 
Vermont, March 6, 1850, son of Michael and Mary (Goodman) 
Carrigan. At the age of four years be was brought to Walworth 
county, Wisconsin, and there attended school until fourteen years 
of age. Then with hia 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 Renvilie 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 was all wild. He broke the land, erected a 
slianty 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 
o£ 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 by 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 Creamery, which he helped to organize. 

Mr. Carrigan was married May 5, 1872, to Mary McLaughlin, 
of Houston county, who was bom 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 
farmer nearby; Ellen, wife of A. C. Michaelson, of Mankato; 
Francis, died at the age of eighteen months. 

Michael Carrigan and his wife, Mary Goodman, were born 
in Ireland, and were married in Vermont. In 1854 they located 
in Walworth county, Wis., where Michael Carrigan died the same 
year. His wife came to Minnesota, and died at the age of eighty- 
one years. In the family there were eight children : James, who 
was killed in the Union 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 
Boon Lake township; John, who lives in Oregon; and Michael, 
wlio lives in Hutchinson. 

Edward Jamee CanigaiL 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 



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328 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

farmer and raises good stock. Mr. Carrigan was married October 
6, 1903, to Mary Fischer, bom December 20, 1887, in Janesville, 
Minnesota, daughter of Max and Anna (Stoiber) Fischer, natives 
of Germany, who were there married, came to the United States 
in 1885 with one child, Bosa, located on a farm in Waseca county, 
Minnesota, and in 1900 came to Renville county and bought a 
tract of 160 acres of land, where the father died in 1907 at the 
age of forty-eight years. The following children were born in 
Minnesota: Katie (deceased), Hannah, Anna, Mary, Josie, Clara, 
Max, John, George, Edward, Walter and Kenneth, Mr. and Mrs. 
Carrigan have had six children : Irene, Veronica, George, Eugene, 
Leonard' and Lucille (deceased). The family faith is that of the 
Roman Catholic church. 

Owen Oartigan, deceased, a pioneer of Boon Lake township, 
was born in Vermont in 1848. He moved with parents to Wal- 
* worth county, Wisconsin, in 1855, and remained there until 1863, 
when he removed to Houston county, 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 regarding the events of 
those stirring times. 

Michael Oarrigan, son of Hugh Carrigan, was born September 
9, 1875, in Boon Lake township. 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, where he purchased eighty 
acres of land. The farm was 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, bom in Chatfield, 
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. 

Harry Carrigan, a farmer of 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 Hutchinson, 
later engaging in farming. At first he rented the farm of Minnie 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 329 

(Bmce) Carrigan, aection 22, where be farmed for one year. 
Then be went to WisconsiD and lived there about five years, 
coming back to Benville eotinty 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 farmer and in co-operative movements. He is a 
member of the Catholic church. Mr. Carrigan was married 
in 1900 to Gertrude Spencer, bom in Wright county, November 
31, 1881, daughter of John and Margaret (Dogget) Spencer. John 
Spencer was 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: Bemiee, Georgiana, Esther, Clifton, Vernon and Cor- 
rine, 

William J. Oanigan, 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 work 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 community both politically and education- 
ally, and served aa 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 
wfis married May 5, 1896, to Leah Funk, of Boon Lake, born 
January 31, 1878, daughter of Samuel and Jane (Kniver) Punk, 
early settlers of Boon Lake, now living at Weyerhauser, Wis. 
The children born to these parents are: Francis, bom May 15, 
1898; Mildred, born June 2, 1901; Charles, born June 2, 1903; 
Robert, bom January 19, 1905; Douglas, bom April 21, 1908; 
Lenora, bom April 28, 1910, and Clarice, bom November 18, 
1911. 

Jolm H. Carrigan, son of Hugh Carrigan, 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, n'hen 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 



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330 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

married to Mabel Braithwaite, who was bom Dec. 6, 1880, They 
have the following children r Mary Ruth, born April 27, 1907 ; 
Clifford John, bom December 23, 1909; Sarah Catherine, bom 
September 12, 1911; Agnes Genevieve, bom May 11, 1913. The 
family are all members of the Roman Catholic church, 

William Knrth, one of the succeaaful farmers of Boon Lake 
township, was bom 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- 
five years and the mother at the age of seventy years. In the 
family there were ten children, four of whom came to the United 
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 BulTalo, New 
York, 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 Illinois, where he worked on the 
farms for two and a half years. Then he came to Minnesota. 
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 was offered the place 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 modem 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 the school board for 
nineteen years, having helped organize the school district. He 
helped organize the Lutheran church at Cedar Mills and has 
been treasurer for twenty years. Mr. Kurth was married Feb- 
ruary 19, 1876, to Augusta Knack, bom in Pomerania, Germany, 
August 10, 1853, daughter of William and Caroline Knack, who 
came to America with their family in 1872. Nine children were 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 331 

born to Mr. and Mra. Kurth; Matilda, Amelia, Henry, Paul, 
William, August, Otto, Helmuth and Rudolph. 

William Adolph Nelson, a farmer of Boon Lake township, 
was bom in Sweden, 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 1882 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, Emil, William, Algot, Anna, Louise, Emily, Alma 
and Hiima. 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 eonnty, 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 him 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. D. Boorman farm, in section 34, Boon Lake township. 
He raises a good grade of stock, specializing in Holstein cattle. 
He is a member of the Buffalo Farmers' Co-operative Elevator 
Company. His faith is that of the Swedish Lutheran church of 
Preston Lake township. Mr. Nelson was united in marriage 
January 30, 1897, to Hilma Carlson, bom in Sweden, March 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 : Hilma, Gusta, Hilda 
and Esther. Mr. Carlson married again to Mary Ost, three chil- 
dren being born to this marriage : 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 farmer of Boon Lake township, 
was bom September 5, 1856, in Pomerania, Germany, 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, Wilhelmina and Gusta. 
Sophia Block was one of five children. Fred and Sophia Runke 
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, Emelia, Alvira and Albert. 



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332 HISTOKY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

■WilUam 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 was 
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 son 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 canve to Wisconsin. He. had to earn 
money to pay his passage over and at $5.00 a month 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 112 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 biiilt 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 sis years. Mr. 
Runke was married September 15, 1884, to Matilda Schamndt, 
born in Illinois, March 14, 1867, daughter of Martin and Louise 
(Ronke) Schaipndt. Mr. and Mrs. John H. Runke have had the 



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PETEB NESTANDE 



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PUBLIC tlBRARM 



wS-i^»»«H 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 333 

following children: Louisa (deeeaaed), Reinhold, Leta, Matilda, 
Linda, Henry, Arnold, Ida and Elsie. 

Martin Schajnndt, a pioneer, was bom in West Prnssia, Ger- 
many, and there married Mrs. Louise (Ronke) Litzeo, also a 
native of West Prussia. In 1864 they, with their three children, 
Alvina, Hermina and Amelia, started for the United States, 
reaching New York, where they remained about one year and 
then came to Illinois, where Mr. Scharandt worked out on the 
farms until 1868. A boy, Henry, was born in Illinois. Then they 
came to McLeod county, Minnesota, where Mr. Schamndt worked 
by the day 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 marsh hay. They were greatly 
troubled 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 w^y in the snowstorms several times. 
His wife spun yarn from the wool of their own sheep and made 
clothing for the family. The rude summer home was replaced 
by a dugout for the winter, with long grass for a roof, after- 
wards replaced by a cambric cloth roof, with a clay chimney. 
The barn was a rude straw shed. Here they lived and prospered, 
in time adding 60 acres more to their farm and setting out groves 
of trees. Two more children were bom in Boon Lake town- 
ship, Ida and Rudolph. Mr. Schamndt deeded 100 acres of his 
land to Rudolph and erected buildings on the remaining 60 
acres, later adding 80 acres more. Mrs. Schamndt died in 1881 
at the age of fifty-six years and Mr. Schamndt married Bertha 
Keafear, a widow of William Schmachel, by whom she had four 
children: Henrietta, Wilhelmina, Emil and Walter. By her 
marriage to Mr. Schamndt there were born two children, Fred 
and Anna. Fred still lives on the home place, and his mother 
lives with him. Martin Schamndt died at the age of seventy- 
two years in 1908. Henry Schamndt was killed in an accident 
in 1890 at the age of twenty-five years, leaving a wife and two 
children. Ida Schamndt died from the effects of bums in 1882 
at the age of eleven years. Wilhelmina, the stepsister, also died 
in 1890, leaving a husband and six children. 

Petnr Nestande was born in Norway, February 17, 1850, son 
of Peter Nestande, a farmer in Norway, who died in 1857 at the 
age of fifty and his wife, Mary (Olson) Nestande, who was bom 
in 1812, died in 1896. The subject 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- 



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334 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

don township, where he still resides. He has been industrious 
and has increased his holdings so that now he owns 240 acres 
of land. He has served as township treasuser 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 Lutheran church. Mr. 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 Joseph Mundahl, 
of St. Paul i Peter P., a miner in the Black Hills, South Dakota ; 
Elsie, wife of Daniel Matson, of St. Paul ; Marit Josephine, wife 
of Edwin Jacohsen, of Washington; Inga, wife of Andrew Mun- 
dahl, of St. Paul; Olga, Palma, Emma, all living at St. Paul; 
and Elmer, at home. 

Ole E. Kdljr, a well 4inown farmer of Bandon township, was 
born in Norway, Septeitabet 1, 1856, son of Erland and Jorend 
(Nestegaard) Kelly. The father was born May 10, 1810, and 
came to America in 1868 with his son, Matbias, settling on sec- 
tion 30, in Bandon township, where he lived until his death, Jan- 
uary 15, 1900. The mother was boru.January 1, 1814, and died 
in January, 1901. Ole Kelly earae to America with his parents 
and worked out from the age of fourteen until he was twenty- 
seven years of age. Then 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 public 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, bom November 24, 1886, now 
manager of the home farm ; Gilbert, bom October 16, 1888 ; and 
Olaf, bora December 21, 1893, who is attending the Red Wing 
Seminary, at Red Wing, Minn. Mr. 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, Minnie, bom Sep- 
tember 28, 1894. 

Nels H. Strom, a prosperous farmer of Bandon township, was 
bom in Norway, July 2, 1832, and came to America in 1863. He 



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mSTOBY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 836 

lived at Mankato one year, working on the railroad, and, in 
1864 homesteaded in section 26, Bandon township, where he still 
lives. The first house was huilt of logs. By dint of hard work 
and industry he has now a fine and well improved farm. He is 
a member of the Norwegian Lutheran church and is a stock- 
holder in the Farmers' Co-operative Elevator Co., of Fairfax. In 
1864 he WHS united in marriage to Mary Linrud, bom August, 
1840, who died October 9, 1903. The following children were 
bom : Hans, bom February 14, 1871 ; Albert, of North Dakota, 
bom December 26, 1872; Carl, horn December 17, 1874, a farmer 
in Camp township ; Ole, bom January 11, 1877, now manager of 
the home farm ; Matilda, born November 4, 1880, at home ; and 
Henry, bom May 4, 1882, at home. 

Jonu BrandjtH^d was born on section 32, Baudon township, 
March 13, 1886, son of Iver and Oleve Schgei, The father was 
bom in Norway, in 1837, and came to America in 1866, living in 
Fillmore county two years and then homeateading -80 acres in 
the east half of the northeast quarter of section 32, Bandon town- 
ship, where he remained until March 7, 1911, when he removed 
to Franklin, and died there July 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 Duluth for about one year and 
later worked for the Minneapolis Milk Co, for about two years. 
On January 1, 1911, he rented the home 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, bom October 5, 1882, daugh- 
ter of Gustav and Helen (Hoimyr) Anderson. Her father was 
bom in Sweden and became a farmer in Bandon township. Her 
mother died December 18, 1896, at the age of thirty-nine years. 
Mr. and Mrs. Brandjord have the following children: Harriet 
Olivien, bom October 24, 1910; Gloyd Ilert, bora December 15, 
1911, and Evelyn Ordis, horn April 21, 1914. 

Isaac W. Bovainen, deceased, was horn March 7, 1868, in 
Sweden, son of Carl M. Rovainen, a farmer of that country. 
Isaac W. Rovainen came to America in 1886 and worked in the 
copper mines at Calumet, Mich,, 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 he lived untii 
his death, January 9, 1915. 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 
Mr. Rovainen owned one-half section of land. He had built a 
nice eight room house and was stockholder in the creamery and 



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336 HISTORY OP RENVILLE OOUNTY 

elevator at Franklin. Mrs. Bovainen, with the help of her chil- 
dren, DOW conduct the farm. In 1889 Mr, Rovainen married Hil- 
da J. Lahti, daughter of Peter and Johanna Rahti. Her father 
came to America in 1864 and located in Camp township in 1866, 
where he lived until his death in 1911, at the age of seventy years. 
His wife lives in section 19, Camp township. Mrs. Hilda (Lahti) 
Rovainen died July, 1894, leaving one son, Alfred, now a farmer 
in Birch Cooley township. Mr. Rovainen was married a second 
time on February 2, 1895, to Emma J, Johnson, bom December 
3, 1870. She attended the State Normal school at Mankato and 
was a teacher for four years. She also was treasurer of school 
district No. 69 for ten years. By this second marriage there 
were ten children ; Vema A., born November 15, 1895, a teacher 
in New York Mills, Minn. ; Esther, born January 28, 1897 
Adolph, bom May 27, 1898; Gladys G., bom March 24, 1900; 
Helen A., born March 11. 1902 ; Maojie B., born January 15, 1904 
Carl M., bom May 2, 1905 5 Lila A., bom April 11, 1907; Inez 
J., bora December 18, 1909, and Mildred E. T., bom June 28, 
1913. 

Isaac BoffUna was born on section 18, Camp township, Febru- 
ary 17, 1866, son of Mathias and Eva Bogema. Mathias Bogema 
came to America in 1865, living at St. Peter, Minn., for six months, 
then going to Gamp 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 land 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 until he was twenty-five years old and in 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 buddings. Mr. 
Bogema is a stockholder in the Franklin Elevator and is a mem- 
ber of the Finnish Lutheran church. He was married December 
8, 1891, to Maria Lagari, bom 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 seven 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; Hjalmar, bom November 
15, 1900 ; John, born June 15, 1902 ; Alma, born October 11, 1903 ; 
all except the oldest of these children being at home, 

Mftthiflfl E. Kelly, now deceased, was born in Norway, October 
1, 1853, son of Erland and Jorend (Nestegaard) Kelly. Erland 
Kelly was bom May 10, 1810, and his wife, Jorend (Nestegaard) 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 337 

Kelly, was born January 1, 1814. In 1868 they came with their 
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. Mathiae E. Kelly came 
to America with his parents in 1868, and located with them in 
Bandon township. In time he purchased, together with his broth- 
er Severt, the southeast quarter of section 30, Bandon township. 
Thia land they purchased from an older brother, who also bore 
the name of Severt, who had taken it as a homestead. In time 
Mathias Kelly became the sole owner 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 outhuildings, 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 partnership with his brother Ole 
E. Kelly and E, S. Johnson. Mr. Kelly 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, bom April 25, 1854, daughter of Severt and Marit 
(Brunsbagen) Jordet. She now resides with her children on 
the home farm. The following children were bom to Mr. and 
Mrs. Kelly: Edward, was bom 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 
E. 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 township. He was a student at the Agricul- 
tural College at Minneapolis. Milton, bom March 16, 1891, and 
Oscar, horn 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 eattle and 
Duroc Jersey swine, and each year ship from four to five car- 
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 Hauge 
Norwegian Lutheran church. 

Ole P. Hoimyr was horn in Norway, September 27, 1854, son 
of Peter and Anna Olene (Isaacson) Hoimyr. Peter Hoimyr came 
to America in 1867 and located first at Kilbourne, Wis., and later 



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338 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

at St. Peter, Mion. In 1869 he homesteaded 160 acrea in section 
26, BandoD township and lived there until his death in 1903, at 
the age of seventy-four. His wife died in 1911. Ole Hoimyr 
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 postoffice for eleven years, 
the office being in his home. May 13, 1880, Mr. Hoimyr was mar- 
ried to Anna Johanessen, bom October 14, 1850, and died Decem- 
ber 22, 1913. There is one child, Marith Palma, born October 27, 
1884, who is married to Jorgen Olson, manager of Mr. Hoimyr's 
farm. They have one child, Anna Mildred, born January 8, 
1915. 

Hemmu Holm was born in Hamraerfest, Norway, August 18, 
1866, son of Benjamin and Margaret (Ruona) 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, Mich., and remained 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 year's. Herman 
Holm remained at home until he was twenty-seven years of age. 
He then worked in the Calumet, Mich., copper mines for a time 
and one year on a railroad in Ontario. In 1896 he bought 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 he still lives, Mr, 
Holm is a stockholder in the creamery and elevator company, 
at Franklin. He was married July 14, 1904, to Mary Maki, bom 
May 31, 1875, daughter of Solomon and Hattie (Komse) Maki, 
farmers of Finland. Two children have been born to Mr. and 
Mrs. Holm, Edward and Arthur, The family attends the Luth- 
eran church. 

PetO* M. Ha^e 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 born in 
Norway and came to America in 1861, going to St. Peter, where 
he lived for three years, then in 1864 homesteading in section 
28, Bandon township, where he remained until his death. The 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 339 

mother was born July 10, 1838, and died 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, bom September 24, 1894, 
daughter of John Possen, now living in Gibbon, Minn., who came 
from Germany to America in 1885, and of his wife, Alvina Possen. 
Mr. and Mrs. Hage have three children, Maurice Marvin, Harry 
Holly and Florence Lenora. The children of Mr. and Mrs. 
Martin Johnson are : Julia, now Mrs. Benjamin Vigen, of Nel- 
son county, North Dakota; Paulina, now Mrs. Adolph Qumpolen, 
t}{ Rolette county, North Dakota ; John, of Granville, North Da- 
kota; Julius; Ole and Peter, farmers of Bandon township, this 
county; and Maurice, who is in the lumber business in Winni- 
peg, Canada. 

Olfl A. Eorsmo was born in Norway, October 14, 1862, son of 
Andrew S. and Mary 0. (Skamess) Koramo. 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 barns and made many im- 
provements. He is a stockholder in the creamery and co-opera- 
tive store at Fairfax, has served as school director for eight years 
and is a member of the Norwegian Lutheran church. Mr. Korsmo 
was married May 25, 1899, to Mrs. Gurina Peterson, widow of 
L. Peterson, son of Heliek Peterson. She is the daughter of Hans 
Mangseth and was born April 21, 1875. By her first marriage 
she had three children : Hannah, born June 7, 1893 ; Mable, born 
September 21, 1894, and Leonard, born July 18, 1896. Mr. and 
Mrs. Korsmo also have three children: Anton, born February 
16, 1900; Mathilda, born October 4, 1902, and Gladys, born 
March 28, 1908. 

James L. Muman, a prominent farmer of Bandon township, 
was bom on section 36, Bandon township, August 7, 1881, son 
of John and Jane (Blake) Murnan. The father, when a child, 
was at Ft. Ridgely during the Indian outbreak. He homesteaded 
the southeast quarter of the eastern half in section 36, Bandon 
township, where he lived until his death, at the age of twenty- 
eight, September 15, 1882, being killed 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 Eugene, Ore. They have five children r Leonard, 



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340 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

James, Mary, 'William and an infant. After his mother's death 
James L, Murnan made his home with James Maxwell, in Camp 
township, and attended school until 1900. Then he worked for 
his uncle Patrick Murnan, at Kingston, Meeker county, Minn., 
and attended school there for two years. Next he homesteaded 
in Roseau county, Minn., where he remained for six years. A 
year was then spent in Memphis, Tenn., and five years as a car- 
penter at Fairfax, Minn. He is now farming on the old home 
place. He is a member of the Catholic church and of the K. C. 
and C. 0. F. 

Hichad Heikka, deceased, was born in Finland and came to 
America in 1864. 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 137 acres in section 5, Camp township, and in 
1880 bought 160 acres in section 32, Bandon township, where he 
lived until his death in 1895, 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- 
cessful thresher for twenty years and Charles raises pure 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 liwo sons Mr. and 
Mrs. Heikka had the following children : Bertha, married to 
David Holland, who lives in Montana ; Annie, living in Montana ; 
Ida, married to Charles Savage, in Montana, and Emma, married 
to Edward Qlorvick, of Minneapolis ; Rega, a trained nurse at the 
Swedish hospital at Minneapolis, and Crissia, at home. 

Hans F. Hundahl, 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, Gjetlug 
(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 township, 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 first three years were very discouraging, 
as he had no crops, the grasshoppers destroying all. He made a 
little butter, which he sold to Ft, Ridgfly 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, 



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HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 341 

1844, daughter of Ole Mundehl, a farmer in Norway, and his 
wife, Anna (Thomassen) Mundahl. Ten children were bom: 
Frederick, bom on the ocean, died at the age of two weeks ; Fred- 
erick, bom in May, 1870 ; Carrie, bom December 10, 1872, mar- 
ried to Martin Nygaard, a farmer of Astoria, South Dakota, by 
whom she has nine children ; Ole, born March 12, 1874, died May 
19, 1912; Anna Juliana, bora December 15, 1876, wife of Cart 
Hanson, of Minneapolis; Henry, bom October 4, 1878; Bertha, 
. born September 2, 1880, died February 23, 1910, wife of Alfred 
Olson, a carpenter, in Minneapolis; Frida, born May 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 Frickson. 

Hemy Frickson, a successful farmer of Bandon township, 
was horn on section 36, in the township where he still lives, Octo- 
ber 4, 1878, son of Hans F. Mundahl and his wife, Syneva Mun- 
dahl. He remained at home until 1904, when he went to Red 
Wing, Minn., to attend the Red Wing Seminary, remaining there 
until 1907. During the summers of 1905-1910 he taught parochial 
school. From 1904 to 1909 he rented a farm from his uncle, Hans 
I. Mundahl, which he worked with hired help. From 1911 to 
1914 he rented his father's farm in section 36, Bandon township, 
and in the fall of 1914 bought 80 acres of this farm on which he 
erected a fine eight room house and substantial barn, 28 by 40. 
He has served as township clerk for five years and has been treas- 
urer of school district No. 66 for three years. He is a stockholder 
in the Farmers' Elevator at Fairfax and director of the new 
creamery there. He is a member of the Hauges Norwegian Luth- 
eran church of Camp township, is president of the Young Peo- 
ple 's Temperance Society of that church, and has been president 
and is now treasure of the Excelsior Young People's Society of 
the same church. Henry Friekson was married June 26, 1912, 
to Anna Distad, bom in Norway, September 12, 1888, daughter 
of Kjel Distad, a retired farmer of Norway, and his wife, Ger- 
trude (Eithune) Distad. Mr. and Mrs. H. Frickson have one 
child, Gladys Constance. 

Christian H. Frickson, son of Hans F. Mundahl, was born 
September 27, 1884, in section 36, Bandon township, and remained 
at home until he was twenty-one years of age. He then became 
assistant cashier in the state bank at Fairfax, where he remained 
for three and a half years. From 1900 to 1904 he attended 
the Red Wing Seminary, taking a course in the academic depart- 
ment. He then graduated from the National Business College 
at Minneapolis, and was assistant cashier of the First National 
Bank at Lake Mills, la., for four years. In August, 1914, he 
bought the western half of his father's farm in the southwest 



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342 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

quarter of section 36, Bandon township. He has served as 
township assessor for one year. He resigned and moved back 
to Lake Mills, la., in July, 1915, where he engaged in the restau- 
rant business. 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., bom August 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 OUon was bom in Norway, June 24, 1844, son of Ole 
Hermansoin, a farmer in Norway, and Anna (Olson) Hermanson. 
Lars Olson came to America in 1866, coming directly to Nicollet 
county, Minn., where he remained for two years. For four years 
he was employed as a farm hand and in 1871 homesteaded 
in section 26, Bandon township, where he still lives. The first 
house was a rude dugout. He has since improved his farm 
and become prosperous. In 1915 he.eteeted a fine modern resi- 
dence. He has served as' township assessor for four years and 
is a member of the Norwegian Lutheran eliurch. He was mar- 
ried March 16, 1888, to Christina Olbjornson, born December 
30, 1858, in Norway, daughter of Olbjorn Asselson, a farmer in 
Norway, and Arabjor (Satte) Asselson. "Sis children have been 
bom: Anna Marie, born December 10, 1888, a seamstress, at 
home; Amalia Olive, born April 15, 1890, at home; Amanda Cor- 
nelia, bom July 12, 1892, who attended school at the Fairfax 
High school and Madison (Minn.) State Normal school, and has 
been a teacher in Renville county since 1912; Oscar, bom 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, bom August 12, 1897, at home, and 
Louisa Christine, born August 9, 1903, at home. 

HjaJmer Bnona was born July 16, 1880, in Camp township, 
this county, son of Solomon and Anna (Ostala) Ruona. In 1908 
he bought 160 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 road overseer for 
one year. He is a member of the Finnish Lutheran church. De- 
cember 17, 1910, Mr. Ruona was married to Minnie Pajari, bom 
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, Mich., 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. OP RENVILLE COUNTY 843 

vey Le Roy, born August 5, 1912; Virgil Lincoln, born October 
2, 1913; and Wayne Archibald, born November 7, 1914. 

Jens S. Ness, a prosperous farmer of Bandon township, was 
born in Norway, August 17, 1862, son of Sylvester Ness, a car- 
penter in Norway, who died in 1869, at the age of fifty years, 
aBd Margaret (Hilleren) Ness, who died February 5, 1914, at the 
age of ninety-two. Jens S. Ness came to America in 1883 and 
went directly to Bandon township, RcHville county, this state, 
where he was employed as a farm hand for six years. Then he 
rented a farm in Camp township for nine years, in 1901 buying 
80 acres in section 36, Bandon township, where 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 treas- 
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. 
October 10, 1867, daughter of Ole and Annie (Kvam) Anderson. 
Her father was born in Norway and came to America in 1865, 
locating on a farm in Wisconsin, where he died March 1, 1909, 
at the age of seventy-four. Her mother died June 25, 1911, Mr. 
and Mrs, Jens S. Ness have an adopted child, Margaret Lund, 
born June 25, 1907. 

John Oscar IsaacBon, pastor of the Apostolic Finnish church, 
was born in Sweden, March 21, 1851, His father was Isaac Wil- 
helm 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 eighty-six. J. 0. Isaacson came 
to America in 1873 and settled at Cokato, Minn., where he lived 
for five years. For five years lie 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 the township board 
for six years. Mr. Isaacson was married April 11, 1873, to 
Margaret Selvala, born July 9, 1846. 

ZiOnis Savela, son of Carl Savela, was bom in Finland, Janu- 
ary 21, 1872, and came to America with his parents in 1880. He 
now manages the home farm and owns 80 acres in section 15. He 
was chairman of the Finnish Lutheran church for six years and 
is a stockholder in the Franklin creamery, also in two elevators 
at Fairfax. Louis Savela was married May 26, 1906, to Emma 
Isaacson, bom March 27, 1884, daughter of John Oscar Isaacson, 
and they have five children: Mathias Erhard, born June 23, 
1907; Ernest Howard, born February 21, 1909 died April 25, 
1914; Edna Lillian Margaret, born April 18, 1911; Ida Sylvia, 
born October 26, 1912, and Violet Evalina, bom June 11, 1914. 

Carl Savela, a successful farmer of Bandon township, was 
born in Finland, October 26, 1836, son of Henry Oikarainen, a 
farmer of Finland, who died in 1876, at the age of seventy years, 



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344 HISTORY OP RENVILLE COUNTY 

and Bertha (Haikiaen) Oikarainen, who died in 1867, at the age 
of seventy-two. Carl Savela came to America in 1880 and located 
at Hancock, Minn., where he remained for aix months, next go- 
ing to Camp township, this county, where he lived for one year. 
In 1882, he bought 80 acres in section 16, Bandon township, where 
he became a successful farmer and increased his farm to 480 
acres, of which he gave each of his sons 80 acres. He is a mem- 
ber of the Finnish Lutheran church. Carl Savela was married 
June 24, 1867, to Margaret Koskela, born December 7, 1843, 
daughter of Peter Koskela, a farmer of Finland, who died in 
1849, at the age of thirty-four. By a former marriage Mr. Savela 
has one child, Henry, a farmer, in section 6, Camp township. By 
his present marriage there are ten children: Adam, born March 
4, 1868, died November 24, 1884; Abel, born May 22, 1870, a 
miner at Nashwauk, Minn. ; Louis, born January 21, 1872, man- 
■ ager of the home farm ; Mathias, born March 17, 1874, a farmer in 
South Dakota ; Bertha Walpuri, born May 23, 1876, wife of Carl 
Carlson, at Hill City, Minn.; Mary, born March 25, 1879, married 
to Walter Williams, clerk at Gilbert, Minn. ; Carl Ludwig, born 
July 25, 1884, died August 1, 1884 ; Anna Elsa Wilhelmina, born 
July 5, 1885, wife of G. K. Maki, a meat dealer in Hill City, Minn. ; 
Ida Fanny, born June 10, 1891, a clerk at Hibbing, Minn.; and 
Annie Bay, adopted, born June 9, 1903. Mr. and Mrs. Savela 
now make their home with their son, Louis. 

Qanans Peterson, a leading citizen of Renville county, and 
the foremost farmer of Bandon township, was born in Norway, 
September 29, 1840, son of Peter 0. and Gertrude Peterson, both 
of whom died in the old country. Gunerus Peterson was reared 
in his native country and in 1867 came to Rock county, Wis- 
consin, where he worked for three years. Then for a year he 
lived in Fillmore county in this state. It was in 1871 that he 
came to Renville county, and preempted a claim in section 2, 
Bandon township. In 1878 he homesteaded 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, Mr. Peterson lived in a dug out. The 
breaking plow, which he used, was bought in partnership with 
three others, and they took turns in using it. But as time 
passed he prospered. At a very early day he bought a reaper 
for $225. Gradually he acquired other machinery. A sightly 
residence and commodious barns and outbuildings took the place 
of the dug out, and the land which he had broken with such 
care became a rich, fertile farm. A man of pleasing personality, 
a generous neighbor, and a public spirited citizen, it was natural 
that Mr. Peterson should be called upon to serve in many offices. 
For twenty years he was clerk of his township. For ten years 
he was clerk of school district No. 60. He was county register 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 345 

of deeds from 1887 to 1891, and from 1885 to 1887 he was a 
member of the board of county commissioners from the Second 
district. In 1901 and 1902 he was a member of the lower house 
of the Minnesota State Legislature. 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 special salary law 
for county officers. He was backed by the county commissioners 
but it gave the opposition ground for a political argument which 
nearly defeated him. He also introduced a drainage bill, but it 
was defeated by the railroad interests. This act would have 
required the railroads to construct and maintain ditches or drains 
across their right of way and through their roadbed, whenever 
the county commissioners or two supervisors had constructed a 
drain or ditch within ten feet of their right of way or railroad 
traeit. In 1901, Mr. Peterson introduced the bill which reduced 
the interest on the state and school lands from 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 many interesting stories to tell of the 
early days. When he first settled here he had to haul wood from 
the Minnesota river, there not being enough in this prairie coun- 
try to supply the demand. Ehiring the storm of 1873 he was at 
West Newton, in Nicollet county. When he returned to his 
home he found the house entirely covered with snow. He also 
tells with considerable relish of the time when the state in 1873 
to relieve the settlers, let them all have seed. He says that he 
received $15 worth, for which he eventually had to pay the state 
$75. Mr. Peterson was married March 15, 1871, to Regina Tollef- 
son, bom in Norway, November 9, 1846, daughter of TolJef and 
Randy (Christian son) 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 de- 
ceased; Thorwald is assistant state weighmaster, and lives at 
Morristown; Peter is postmaster and general merchant at Wil- 
lard in this state; Rosina is the wife of Iver Iverson, of St. 
Paul ; Regina married Oscar Hanson, who operates the home 
farm. Gilbert is the assistant cashier of the Adams (North Da- 
kota) State Bank. 

Charles Wellner, a jirosperous farmer of this county, was born 
in Nicollet county, December 23, 1866. His father, Simon Well- 
ner, a farmiT, came from Germany in 1853 and died at the age 
of eighty-three, in 1910. His mother, Wilhelmina Beckman, 
was bom in Geimany, and is still living at New IJlm, at the age 
of seventy-seven. When he was twenty-one years of age Mr. 
Wellner began working out and did so for ten years, when he 
bought 160 acres in section 8, Cairo township, in 1897, where he 



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346 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

still lives. Here he erected hia present house in 1902; it is a large 
eight-room, two-atory 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 bam, 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 aide of the barn. He has eight horses 
and thirty cattle, raising Percheron horses, and has a large flock 
of three hundred Rhode Island Red chickens and White Holland 
turkeys. Mr. 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, Mr. Wellner was married to Minnie Bleick, born May 15, 
1878, daughter of Carl Bleick, aged 70, a farmer of Nicollet 
county, who came from Germany to this country in 1864, and 
Mary (Dickmeyer), aged 61 years, Two children have been 
born to this marriage, Roy, born July 11, 1899, and Raymond, 
bom September 29, 1901. 

Joseph Batunatm, Sr., a prosperous farmer of Cairo township, 
was bom in Germany, June 9, 1858. His parents secured a home- 
stead in Nicollet county in 1868. His father, John Baumann, 
died in 1888, at the age of aeventy-two, and his mother, Barbara 
Webber, died in 1890, at the age of eighty-two years. Mr. Bau- 
mann farmed in Nicollet county until 1898, when he bought 320 
acres of land in section 17, in Cairo township. 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 horses 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 member 
of the Modern Woodmen of America. Mr, Baumann was united 
in marriage June 20, 1882, to Margaret Teynor, bora May 22, 
1860. Her father, George Teynor, was bom in Germany and 
came to America in 1865. He is now living in New Ulm, at the 
age of eighty-one years. Her mother, Eva (Wallander) Teynor, 
died in 1891 at the age of fittytwo 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 J\ine 2, 1891 ; An- 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 347 

ton, bom April 24, 1893 ; Ella, born August 31, 1894 ; Sophia, born 
June 6, 1897; Albert, born August 17, 1900, and Veronica, born 
October 6, 1903. The family faith is that of the Catholic church. 

Christ Bertelsen, a progressive business man of Fairfax, was 
born in Denmark, October 2, 1864. His parents were farmers 
living in Denmark. His father, Hans Bertelaen, died in 1909, at 
the age of sixty-seven and his mother, Mary (Christensen), died 
at the age of sixty-eight in 1908. Mr. 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- 
apolis 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 capacity 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, fiour and live 
stock. The president of the company is Wenzel Frank, and the 
secretary and treasurer is Paul Albrecht. The company 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 married to Edward Wagner, at Essig, Minnesota; 
Matilda, now Mrs. Emil Theim, of Gibbon, Minnesota; and Har- 
vey and Arnold, who are at home. 

Holm E. OnwmoD, an enterpri.sing young man of Fairfax, was 
born February 2, 1881, in Cairo township, son of Even H. Gras- 
mon and Betsy (Hanson) Grasraon. 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 his son. 
Even H., 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 moved to Fairfax. Holm Grasmon attended the public 
school in Fairfax and later in 1901 the Minnesota School of Busi- 
ness, in Minneapolis. On February 1, 1902, he became book- 
keeper for the Citizens' State Bank of Fairfax. January 1, 1903, 
he became assistant cashier, which position he still holds. He is 



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848 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

a stockholder in the Mahaomen Land Company at Mahnomen, 
Minnesota. He has been the secretary of the Fairfax Voluntary 
Fire Department for ten years and the village treasurer since 
1907. June 27, 1911, Mr. Grasmon was married to Lydia Dick- 
meyer, who was born January 16, 1887, daughter of Louis Diek- 
meyer, of the Diekmeyer Implement Company, and Lena (Borth) 
Dickmeyer. Mr. and Mrs. Grasmon have one child, Orda Evelyn, 
bom November 11, 1913. 

Hugh J. Corson, inventor and manufacturer, now living in 
Fairfax, was born in section 22, Wellington township, October 
10, 1881, son of William and Mary (Reed) Carson. William Car- 
son was born in Canada, came to this county in 1875, secured a 
tree claim in section 22, Wellington township, and here lived 
until his death, in 1897, at the age of fifty-six. His wife now 
lives in Fairfax. Hugh J. Carson remained at home 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 alarm, which prevents the overheating 
of incubators. Mr. Carson was married June 15, 1904, to Rosa 
Young, born February 22, 1882, in Nicollet county, 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. Krle, a respected farmer of this county, was bom 
in Dodge 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 Weseha, 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 present 
farm in section 20, of Cairo township. This farm, which was 
bought in the spring of 1887, was owned by the father and son 
in partnership. It is a large and well kept farm of 200 acres. 
Charles 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. The barn was built in 1902 and is 34 by 60 feet. It 
will hold seventy tons of hay and has room for eight horses and 
twenty-five cattle. Mr. Firle has been township supervisor 



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CHARLES H. FIRLE 



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HISTORY OF RENVILLE 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 member of the Methodist Episcopal 
church. September 9, 1881, Mr. Firle was married to Mathilda 
Kuhlbaeh, who was born October 23, 1860, in Germany, and died 
September 27, 1914. She was the daughter of Charles Kuhlbaeh, 
a carpenter of New Ulm, and Wilhelmina Euhlbach, coming to 
this country with her parents in 1881. Nine children were born 
to these parents, all of whom are living. William F. was born 
December 4, 1882, and married January 4, 1910, to Meta Lieder. 
He is at present living in section 13, Bandon township. He has 
three children, one boy and two girls. Minnie, born April 8, 
1884, was married to Christ Drivdahl, a creamery man of Nicollet 
county, and they have two girls and one hoy. Gustav was born 
January 17, 1886, and on November 16, 1914, was married to 
Alice Jensen, and they have one girl. He works for his father. 
Annie, born March 3, 1888, was married to Peter Smith, a plumber 
of Bird Island, and they have one child, a boy. Ella was 
born May 12, 1890, and married to Albert Schipplick, a farmer 
in Cairo township. They also have one boy. Paul was born July 
29, 1892 ; Alfred, January 14, 1895 ; Albert, August 16, 1897, and 
Harold, September 12, 1904. The last four mentioned — Paul, 
Alfred, Albert and Harold, are livit^ at home. 

Onstav A. Rieke, one of the influential citizens of Fairfax, was 
born in Cairo township, May 24, 1868. He remained at home 
until he was 21 years of age, when he was employed as clerk by 
Christiansen, Miller & Hauser, dealers in lumber and hardware. 
This was in 1889. In 1893 he bought one-third interest in the 
same firm. The name was now changed to Miller, Hauser & Com- 
pany, and Mr. Rieke was given the position of manager at Fair- 
fax. In 1903 the firm was incorporated as Hauser Lumber Com- 
pany, with Mr. Rieke as treasurer and manager at Fairfax, which 
position he still holds. He is also a director of the State Bank 
at Fairfax, and a director of the Fairfax Telephone Company. 
He has been the village treasurer for five years and president of 
the school board for five years. Mr. Rieke was married June 1, 
1893, to Dora Durbahn, who was born March 24, 1873. Her 
father, a farmer in Nicollet county, died in 1900 at the age of 
seventy. Her mother, Dora Anthony, died about 1884, at the 
age of fifty-five years. Mrs. Rieke was at one time a student at 
the, St. Paul's College, St. Paul Park, Minnesota. They have 
two daughters, Beatrice, born August 20, 1896, who is a teacher, 
and Medary, bom February 8, 1901, who is at home. They are 
all members of the Methodist Episcopal church. 

Jacob P. Palmer, a leading hotel proprietor of Fairfax, was 
born in Switzerland, June 10, 1857, and died at Fairfax, April 
14, 1908. His father, Jacob Alois Palmer, was born in Switzer- 



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350 HISTORY OF RENVILLE COUNTY 

land, in 1820 and came with his wife, Anna Mary (Lye) Palmer, 
to New Ulm in 1864, and to Fairfax in 1891. Jacob P. was the 
second of six children. His mother died in 1902, at the age of 
eighty-two, and his father died October 19, 1897. Mr. Palmer 
built the Hotel Ryan in Fairfax, a very fine brick building, of 
twenty-two rooms, equipped with steam heat and electric tights, 
and operated this hotel until his death, when his son, Edward J., 
undertook the management of the place. Mr. Palmer was mar- 
- ried November 27, 1889, to Mary Hopt, of Muscoda, "Wisconsin. , 
Her father, Andrew Hopt, a railroad man, of Rochester, New 
York, was born November 30, 1826, and died June 29, 1884. Her 
mother, Annie (Glattharr) Hopt, was born June 18, 1836, and 
lives with her daughter at Fairfax. Mrs. J. P. Palmer is the 
eldest of six children. Pour children have blessed this couple : 
Edward J., born August 12, 1890, who is now the manager of 
the Ryan Hotel at Fairfax ; Albert J., born November 22, 1891, 
who died March 4. 1892; Clayton W., born September 23, 1892, 
who died January 2, 1894, and Myra A. L., born October 30, 1899, 
who is at home, 

Augnst E. Feiuke, D. D. B., an influential business man of 
Fairfax, was born in Sibley county, Minnesota, August 31, 1873, 
son of Adam Fenske and Henrietta (Haberman) Penske, pioneers 
of Sibley county, where they still live. August E, Fenske attended 
the Gustavus Adolphus College at St. Peter for three years, next 
attending the St. Peter State Hospital, graduating in the spring 
of 1898. In 1901 he graduated from the Indiana Dental Col- 
lege, Indianapolis. October 9, 1901, he located in Fairfax. While 
at college Mr. Penske was a member of the Xi Psi Phi fraternity 
and is now a member of the Minnesota State Dental Association 
and Minneapolis District Dental Society. Mr. Penske is a stock- 
holder and director in the First National Bank of Fairfax, also a 
stockholder and director in the Fairfax Telephone Company, and 
a stockholder in the Renville Rural Telephone Company. He 
is doing good work as the president of the Board of Education. 
June 28, 1905, Mr. Fenske was married to H. Esther