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´╗┐Title: Old Rail Fence Corners - The A. B. C's. of Minnesota History
Author: Various
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Old Rail Fence Corners - The A. B. C's. of Minnesota History" ***

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Originator of "Old Rail Fence Corners."]


THE A. B. C's. OF

Minnesota History


The Old Settlers
By The Book Committee




   In Memoriam

   Mr. Eli Pettijohn
   Mrs. Missouri Rose Pratt
   Mr. James McMullen
   Mrs. Samuel B. Dresser
   Mr. William W. Ellison
   Mr. Henry Favel
   Major Benjamin Randall
   Mrs. Duncan Kennedy
   Major S. A. Buell
   Mrs. Helen Horton
   Mrs. Mary Massolt
   Mrs. J. M. Paine
   Mr. Chas. Watson
   Mrs. C. W. Gress

[Illustration: Map of OLD TRAILS AND ROADS



How little we know about what we don't know!

During my search for a map of the Old Trails and Roads of Minnesota,
public libraries were thoroughly investigated, but no book or map could
be found showing these old highways. A few old maps in the Historical
Library bore snatches of them, but in their entirety they had
disappeared from books and maps, as well as from our state.

They might be the foundations for modern roads, but only the names of
those modern roads survived, so they were lost.

Months of this research work failed to resurrect them, although a map
was made from the fragmentary pieces on old maps, filled out by what the
pioneers who had traveled those roads could furnish. All old maps seemed
to have disappeared from the state.

"We had one of the new territory of Minnesota when it was admitted in
'49, but just threw it out when we cleaned house lately. I think it came
from Washington," said one dear old pioneer woman.

"What do you want of those old roads anyway," said another. "If you had
been over them as I have, you would know how much better these roads
are, and be glad they are gone."

It was hard to locate them from hearsay for when we asked "Did it go
through Alexandria," the answer was, "There was no town on it after
leaving St. Cloud, so I can't say just where it went, but we went to
Fort Garry and crossed the river at Georgetown."

Finally, after nearly a year's hard work, as we were on our way to the
Capitol to look over the first government surveys, Mr. George Ralph was
met, became interested, and drew part of these trails from the old plats
for this map.

When a surveyor goes into a new country to make a government survey, he
is required to place on that plat every trail, road or plowed
field--John Ryan, who worked in the forties was the only one we found
who always followed these directions. He would survey several townships,
and there would be the much-wanted road. Some other surveyor would do
the one below and there would be a break, but John would take hold again
a little further on and the trail could be joined from the direction

Later this map made was compared with old maps since destroyed at the
Army Building in St. Paul and found correct.

The three great routes for the Red River carts to St. Paul, the great
fur market, which used to come down by the hundreds from the Pembina and
Fort Garry country are shown. One through the Minnesota Valley; one
through the Sauk Valley, and the most used of all through the Crow Wing
Valley by way of Leaf Lake. They used to come to the head waters of the
Mississippi in 1808.[1] The Wabasha Prairie Road, called Winona Trail on
this map, was a very old one, as also were those leading to the sacred
Pipestone Quarries and the sacred Spirit Lake. There is a tradition that
there was a truce between all tribes when these trails were followed.
Mrs. J. T. M.

[Footnote 1: From Captain Alexander Henry's diary about the Red River
country in 1801, presented to Ottawa. He also says there were 1500 of
these carts there in 1808.]

The Book Committee

A sub-committee of the Old Trails and Historic Spots Committee,
Daughters of the American Revolution, Appointed by the Chairman.

   Mrs. James T. Morris
   Mrs. William J. Morehart
   Mrs. E. C. Chatfield
   Mrs. S. R. Van Sant
   Miss Beatrice Longfellow
   Miss Rita Kelly
   Mrs. F. W. Little
   Mrs. O. H. Shepley
   Mrs. Alonzo Phillips
   Mrs. Guy Maxwell
   Miss Marion Moir
   Mrs. E. A. Welch
   Miss Ida Wing
   Mrs. Mary E. Partridge
   Mrs. Ell Torrance
   Miss Stella Cole
   Mrs. C. A. Bierman
   Mrs. Chas. Keith
   Miss Emily Brown
   Mrs. G. C. Lyman
   Mrs. A. B. Kaercher
   Mrs. W. S. Woodbridge
   Miss K. Maude Clum

The Reason

When I was a child my grandmother, Lucy Leavenworth Sherwood, used to
show us a little map drawn on the back of a cotillion invitation, by her
cousin Henry Leavenworth, the first officer at Fort Snelling. He was
there in 1819.

It was yellow with age, but showed Fort Snelling, Lake Harriette, named
for his wife, other lakes and two rivers. That yellow bundle of letters
read to us and the stories she told of this, her favorite cousin, as he
had told them to her never failed in breathless interest. Few of them
remain with me. The painted Indian in his canoe on the river, the Indian
runner, stand out vividly, but the valuable stories contained in those
old letters are gone. Nothing was ever a greater surprise than the loss
of those stories when I tried to recall them years later. The Bible with
the map and all those letters were burned when the home was destroyed by

These valuable data have disappeared. The knowledge that this was so,
made me listen with the greatest attention to stories told by the old
settlers and record them. All at once the realization came that they,
too, were fast disappearing, taking their stories with them. It was
impossible for me to get all these precious reminiscences before it was
too late. It must be done at once by a large number of interested women.
These were found in our committee who have gathered these data most
lovingly and financed this book. The proceeds are for patriotic work in
Minnesota as deemed best by the committee.

It is hoped that our first work will be the raising of a monument to the
Pioneer Women of our State. Those unsung heroines should not their
heroism be heralded while some still live?

We thank these dear friends who have made this little volume possible by
their warm interest. Every item in this book has been taken personally
from a pioneer.

Each one is a mesh in a priceless lace fabric, that fabric Minnesota

If each mesh is not flawless, if age has weakened them, does not the
pattern remain?





(Mrs. J. T. Morris)

Mr. Eli Pettijohn--1841.

Mr. Pettijohn, now ninety-five years old,[2] clear in memory,
patriarchial in looks, says:

[Footnote 2: All pioneers over ninety are so introduced as we feel that
no state can show so large a number who have the same mentality]

I came to what is now Minnesota, but was then a part of Wisconsin
Territory April sixteenth, 1841. I was on my way to work for the
Williamsons, missionaries, at Lac qui Parle. I landed from the large
steamer, the Alhambra, at the Fort Snelling landing. I climbed the steep
path that led up to the fort, circled the wall and came to the big gate.
A sentinel guarded it. He asked me if I wanted to enlist. I said, "No, I
want to see the fort, and find a boarding place." He invited me in. I
looked around this stone fort with much interest and could see Sibley
House and Faribault house across the Minnesota river at Mendota. There
were no large trees between the two points so these houses showed very
clearly. The ruins of part of the first fort which was of wood, were
still on the bluff about one block south of the new fort.

I asked where I could find a boarding place, and was directed to the St.
Louis house, near where the water tower now stands. Before proceeding
there, I stood and watched the Indians coming to the fort. I was told
they were from Black Dog's, Good Road's and Shakopee's villages. The
trail they followed was deeply worn. This seemed strange as they all
wore moccasins. Their painted faces looked very sinister to one who had
never before seen them, but later I learned to appreciate the worth of
these Indians, who as yet were unspoiled by the white man's fire water.

I was told that the St. Louis House had been built after the fort was,
by Mr. Baker, a trader, to accommodate people from the south, who wanted
to summer here. It was now deserted by its owners and any one of the
sparse settlers or traders would occupy it. He said a trader by the name
of Martin McLeod was living there and that Kittson, another trader,
lived at his trading post about fifty yards away from the house. There
was a good wagon road about where the road is now. My friend, for such
he later became, told me it led to the government mill at the Falls of
St. Anthony, but that it took longer to walk it than it did the Indian
trail that led along the bank of the Mississippi. So I took this as
advised. There were many Indians on the trail going and coming. All at
once I heard a great commotion ahead of me. Indians were running from
every direction. When I came to the place where they all were, I heard
lamentations and fierce imprecations. I saw the reason there. Two of
their warriors were lying dead and scalped, while clambering up the
opposite bank of the river, three of the Sioux's sworn enemies, three
Chippewas, could be seen. The slain were head men in the tribe. The guns
and arrows of the Sioux could not carry across the river, so they
escaped for the time being. I was afraid the Sioux vengeance would fall
on me, but it did not.

I soon came to the St. Louis house. While there, I saw Walter McLeod,
then a baby.

McLeod, the father, had fled from Canada at the time of one of the
rebellions, in company with others, but was the only one to survive a
terrible blizzard and reach Mendota. Mr. Sibley at once employed him as
he was well educated. When he was married later, he gave him some fine
mahogany furniture, from his own home, to set up housekeeping with.

While at the St. Louis House, I walked with a soldier along the Indian
trail that followed the river bank to the government mill at the Falls
of St. Anthony. On our way, we went down a deep ravine and crossed the
creek on a log. We could hear the roaring of falls and walked over to
see them. They were the most beautiful I had ever seen and were called
Brown's Falls, but General LeDuc in 1852 gave them the name Minnehaha. I
thought I had never seen anything quite so pretty looking as the river
and woods. The deer were everywhere and game of all kinds bountiful. The
soldier told me that no white man could settle here anywhere for ten
miles as it was all in the Fort Snelling reservation. That is why the
town of St. Anthony was built on the east side of the river instead of
on the west side and why there was no town on this side of the river for
many years after. We saw some Sioux tepees and met the Indians
constantly. They were a fine sturdy race, with fine features and smiling
faces. The soldier said they could be depended on and never broke a
promise. The old mill was on the river bank about where we used to take
the cars in the old Union Station. It was not then in use, as the rocks
had broken off, leaving it perhaps forty or fifty feet from the Falls. A
flume had to be constructed before it could again be used.

The Falls were a grand sight. We heard their roaring long before we
could see them and saw the spray sparkling in the sunlight. There was a
watchman living in a little hut and he gave us a nice meal. A few Sioux
wigwams were near.

On the other side, we could see smoke 'way up above where the suspension
bridge now is. He said some Frenchmen and half breeds lived there. The
place was called St. Anthony. We did not go over. He also said there
were many white people, French, Scotch and English living in the country
upon the Red River. Some were called Selkirk settlers. He did not know
why. He said Martin McLeod had been one of these.

We passed some squaws in a big dugout. It was thirty feet long. There
were fourteen of them in the boat.

There was no boat leaving the fort for some time so I went to Mendota,
crossing the Minnesota River in a canoe ferry. My business at Mendota
was to present a letter of introduction to Mr. Sibley, Manager of the
American Fur Trading Co., from the missionary board of Ohio and see how
I could reach Lac qui Parle. I arrived at Mr. Sibley's home just about
noon. He told me he had a boat leaving in two weeks and that I could go
on her. He said he had several of these boats plying to Traverse des
Sioux. He was a gentlemanly looking man and very pleasant spoken. With
the courtliness that always distinguished him, he asked me if I had
dined and being informed that I had not, invited me to do so; I replied,
"I am obliged to you sir." I was told that the furniture of massive
mahogany had been brought up the river by boat.

The table was waited upon by an Indian woman. The meal was bountiful. I
had a helping of meat, very juicy and fine flavored, much like
tenderloin of today, a strip of fat and a strip of lean. My host said,
"I suppose you know what this is?" I replied, "Yes, it is the finest
roast beef I have ever tasted." "No," said Mr. Sibley, "this is what we
call 'boss' of buffalo and is the hump on the back of a young male
buffalo." "Whatever it is, it is the best meat I have ever tasted," I

Some dried beef on a plate on the end of the table was also delicious.
Mr. Sibley again challenged me to tell what this was;--My reply being
"dried beef." "No," said Mr. Sibley, "This too, is something you have
never tasted before--it is boned dried beaver's tail. Over five thousand
of them, as well as the skins have been brought in here during the
year." There was also O'Donnell crackers and tea, but no bread. The tea,
I was told, had been brought hundreds of miles up the river.

I bade my host farewell, thanking him for his entertainment and thinking
I had never met a more courteous gentleman. Mr. Sibley, too, had told me
that the St. Louis house was the best place I could stay, so I returned

For my journey down the river, I had brought with me a tarpaulin and a
few of my worldly goods. I hired a man with an ox-cart to take these to
the boat before dawn the day it was to leave, preparatory to my early
start at sunup. The boat was about sixty feet long and propelled only by
hand power, furnished by French half breeds who pushed it with long
poles from the front, running rapidly and then taking a fresh start to
push it again. These boats could make about twenty miles a day. They
almost reached Shakopee the first day. At ten o'clock the boat tied up
and breakfast was served. This was a very hot, thick soup made of peas
and pork which had been cooked all night over hot coals in a hole in the
ground, covered snugly over with earth. It had been wrapped in a heavy
tarpaulin and buffalo robe and when served was piping hot, as it came
from this first fireless cooker. Hardtack was served with this soup and
made a most satisfactory meal. The other meal consisted of bacon and
hardtack and at the end of the eighth day, had become quite monotonous.
Whenever these meals were prepared, the boat was tied to the bank.

The mosquitoes, even in the daytime were so terrible that it was almost
impossible to live. I looked forward to the time when we would tie up
for the night, with great apprehension on this account. However, the
clerk of the boat came to me and asked me if I had a mosquito net with
me and when I said, "No" invited me to sleep under his as he said it
would be unbearable without one. Just before they tied up for the night
the clerk came to me saying that he was sorry, but he had forgotten that
he had a wife in this village. I spent the night in misery under my
tarpaulin, almost eaten alive by the mosquitoes. The half breeds did
not seem to mind them at all. I again looked forward to a night under
the mosquito bar and was again told the same as the night before. During
the eight days which this journey consumed, I was only able once to
sleep a night under the friendly protection of this mosquito bar, as it
was always required for a wife.

When the boat tied up at Traverse des Sioux, Mr. Williamson met me. The
trader sent a man to invite the three white men to dine with him. The
invitation was accepted with great anticipation. The trader's house was
a log cabin. The furniture consisted of roughly hewn benches and a
table. An Indian woman brought in first a wooden bowl full of maple
sugar which she placed on one end of the table with bowls and wooden
spoons at the three places. We were all eyes when we saw these
preparations. Last, she brought in a large bowl of something which I
could see was snow-white and put that in the center of the table. All
were then told to draw up to the table and help themselves. The bright
anticipations vanished when the meal was seen to consist solely of
clabbered milk with black looking maple sugar.

Mr. Williamson left me at Traverse to go East. Before going he helped me
load all our supplies into the two Red River carts which he had brought.
There were six hundred pounds on each. The trail was very easy to follow
and I walked along by the side of the slow going oxen. By keeping up
until late, and getting up at daybreak, I made the trip in seven days.
For the first four days I was followed by a great gaunt shape that made
me uneasy. I knew if it was a dog it would have come nearer. I slept
under the cart the first night, but was conscious of its presence as the
cattle were restless. On the fourth day of its enforced company, I met a
little caravan of carts owned by a Frenchman who was with the half
breeds. I told him of my stealthy companion, and he sent some of the
half breeds after it with their bows and arrows. They followed it four
miles into a swamp and then lost it. They seemed suspicious about this
particular animal, and went after it half heartedly. The trader gave me
a piece of dough and told me if it came again to put this in meat and
drop it. He said "Kill him quick as one gun."

My sister, Mrs. Huggins, wife of the farmer at Lac qui Parle, was
overjoyed to see me. Think what it must have meant to a woman way off in
the wilderness in that early day to see anyone from civilization, let
alone her brother. I had not seen her in several years. They had a nice
little garden and quite a patch of wheat, which I was told was fine for
the climate. The seed came from the craw of a wild swan that they had
shot. It was supposed to have come from the Pembina country for those
people had wheat long before the missionaries came. It was always called
"Red River Wheat."

Pemmican, which I first tasted on this journey was made by boiling the
flesh of any edible animal, usually that of buffalo or deer, pounding it
fine and packing it tight into a sack made of the skin of a buffalo
calf, then melting the fat and filling all interstices. When sewed up,
it was absolutely air tight and would keep indefinitely. It was the most
nourishing food that has ever been prepared. For many years it was the
chief diet of all hunters, trappers, explorers and frontiersmen.

Pemmican was also made by drying the meat and pulverizing it. The bones
were then cracked and the marrow melted and poured into this. No white
man could ever make pemmican right. It took a half breed to do it.

The Red River people had cattle very early. The stock at the mission at
Lac qui Parle came from there.

I returned to Illinois in the summer of '43 and threshed. In the Fall I
returned and built a house for Gideon Pond. It was a wooden house where
their brick house now stands.

In 1844, I was building a mission building at Traverse. An Indian came
in one day and told me there was a very sick man about twenty miles
away at his camp. I went back with him and we brought the white man to
the mission. After he was better, he told me that he was one of six
drovers who had been bringing a herd of three hundred cattle from
Missouri to Fort Snelling. They had lost their compass and then the
trail and wandered along until they found a road near what is now Sauk
Center. There they met a band of Sioux. The Indians killed a cow and
when the drovers remonstrated, they killed one of them and stampeded the
cattle. The drovers all ran for their lives. Two of them managed to
elude the Indians, and took the road leading east. Our man was one, the
other was drowned while crossing the river on a log raft, the rest were
never found. Many of the cattle ran wild on the prairies. The Indians
used often to kill them and sell the meat to the whites. One of the
claims at Traverse de Sioux was for these cattle from the owners of the

Mrs. Missouri Rose Pratt--1843.

In 1842 my father was going to the Wisconsin pineries to work, so mother
and we children went along to keep house for him. We came from Dubuque
to Lake Pepin. Mr. Furnell, from the camp, had heard there were white
people coming so he came with an ox team down the tote road to meet us
and our baggage, and take us to camp. We found a large log house which
we thought most complete. We lived there that winter and Mr. Furnell and
some others boarded with us. A romance was started there.

The next Spring we took our household goods in a cabin built on a raft,
floated down to Nauvoo and sold the lumber to the Mormons. Joseph Smith
was a smart speaker, mother said, when she responded to the invitation
to hear the "Prophet of the Most High God" preach. The children of these
people were the raggedest I have ever seen. Mr. Furnell had his raft
lashed to ours and sold his lumber to them too.

We went to St. Paul on the Otter. Mr. Furnell went with us. When mother
saw "Pig's Eye" as St. Paul was then called, she did not like it at
all. She thought it was so much more lonesome than the pineries. She
begged to go back, but father loved a new country. On landing, we
climbed up a steep path. We found only six houses there. One was
Jackson's. He kept a store in part of it. In the kitchen he had three
barrels of liquor with spigots in them. The Jackson's were very kind and
allowed us to live in their warehouse which was about half way down the
bluff. We only slept there nights for we were afraid to cook in a place
with powder stored in it, the way that had, so we cooked outside.

My sister Caroline had light hair, very, very blue eyes and a lovely
complexion. The Indians were crazy about her. It was her fairness they
loved. She was engaged to Mr. Furnell and wore his ring. The Indian
braves used to ask her for this and for a lock of her hair to braid in
with theirs but of course, she would never let them have it. She was
afraid of them. The interpreter told her to be careful and never let
them get a lock of her hair for if they did and braided it in with
theirs, they would think she belonged to them. One day when she was
alone in the warehouse, an Indian came in his canoe and sat around
watching her. When he saw she was alone, he grabbed her and tried to cut
off some of her hair with his big knife. She eluded him by motioning to
cut it off herself, but instead, ran shrieking to father at Jackson's.
He came with a big cudgel but the Indian had gone in his canoe.

In the election of '43 in St. Paul, every man there got drunk even if
they had never drunk before and many of them had not. Early in the
evening, Mr. August Larpenteur came into Mrs. Jackson's kitchen to get a
drink of liquor. He was a very young man. She said, "August, where's the
other men?" just as he was turning the spigot in the barrel. He tried to
look up and tell her, but lost his balance and fell over backward while
the liquor ran over the floor. Then he laughed and laughed and told her
where they were.

We built a cabin a few miles out of town. Our nearest neighbors were the
DeNoyers who kept a halfway house in a three roomed log cabin. Their bar
was in the kitchen. Besides this, there was a scantily furnished sitting
room and bed room. Mrs. DeNoyer was a warm hearted Irish woman when she
had not been drinking, but her warm heart never had much chance to show.
They bought their liquors at Jackson's.

Our house was made from logs hewed flat with a broadax. My father was a
wonder at hewing. The ax was eight inches wide and had a crooked hickory
handle. Some men marked where they were to hew but father had such a
good eye that he could hew straight without a mark. The cracks were
filled with blue clay. For windows, we had "chinkins" of wood. Our bark
roof was made by laying one piece of bark over another, kind of like
shingles. Our floor was of puncheons. This was much better than the bark
floors, many people had.

I used to take much pleasure in watching and hearing the Red River carts
come squawking along. They were piled high with furs. The French half
breed drivers would slouch along by them. It seemed as if the small
rough coated oxen just wandered along the trail. Sometimes a cow would
be used. I once saw one of these cows with a buffalo calf. It seemed to
be hers. Was this the first Cataloo?

When I was nine years old my father sent me to the spring for a pail of
water. I was returning with it, hurrying along as father had just called
to me to come quick, when I was surrounded by a band of Sioux warriors
on their way to Shakopee to a scalp dance. They demanded the water but I
would not let them have it and kept snatching it away. It tickled them
very much to see that I was not afraid. They called to the chief, Little
Crow, and he too ordered me to give it to them, but I said, "No, my
father wants this, you can't have it." At this the chief laughed and
said, "Tonka Squaw" meaning brave woman and they left. They had on
everything fancy that an Indian could--paint and warbonnets and
feathers. They always wore every fancy thing they had to a dance, but in
actual war, they were unpainted and almost naked.

The first soldiers I saw in 1843 were from Fort Snelling. They had blue
uniforms with lots of brass buttons and a large blue cap with a leather
bridle that they used to wear over the top. Their caps were wide on top
and high. The soldiers used to come to DeNoyer's to dinner so as to have
a change. Mrs. DeNoyer was a good cook if she would stay sober long

We had splint bottom chairs made out of hickory and brooms made by
splitting it very fine too. These were all the brooms we had in '43. Our
hickory brooms were round but Mr. Furnell made a flat one for my sister.

Once when father was roofing our house, a storm was coming and he was
very anxious to get the shakes on before it came. We had had a bark roof
that was awful leaky. Some Indians came along on the other side of the
river and made motions that he should come and get them with his boat,
"The Red Rover." He sometimes ferried the soldiers over. As he did not
answer or get off the house, they fired several shots at him. The
bullets spattered all around him. He got down from the house and shot at
them several times. After that, my mother was always afraid that they
would come and shoot us when father was not home.

I have seen Indians run from Jackson's at sight of a soldier. They were
afraid of them always.

My father brought some beautiful pieces of red morocco to Minnesota and
the last piece of shoemaking he did, was to make that into little shoes
for me. They had low heels such as the children have today.

My sister was married the first day of January in '44. We lived on the
Main Road between St. Paul and St. Anthony. It just poured all day, so
that none of the guests could come to the wedding. Mr. Jackson did get
there on horseback to marry them, but Mrs. Jackson had to stay at home.
The bride, who was a beautiful girl, wore a delaine dress of light and
dark blue with a large white lace fichu. Her shoes were of blue cloth to
match and had six buttons. She wore white kid gloves and white
stockings. Her bonnet was flat with roses at the sides and a cape of
blue lute-string. The strings were the same. Wasn't she stylish for a
girl who was married New Years day in 1844?

The wedding dinner was fish, cranberry sauce and bread and butter.

One day a lot of Sioux Indians who were on their way to fight the
Chippewas borrowed my sister's washtub to mix the paint in for painting
them up. They got their colored clay from the Bad Lands. They were going
to have a dance.

Hole-in-the-Day used to stay all night with us. He always seemed to be a
friend of the whites. When the Indians first came to the house, they
used to smoke the peace pipe with us, but later, they never did.

Bears and wolves were very plentiful. We had an outdoor summer kitchen
where we kept a barrel of pork. One night a bear got in there and made
such an awful noise that we thought the Indians were on a rampage. We
often saw timber wolves about the house. They would come right up to the
door and often followed my father home.

A French woman by the name of Mrs. Traverse lived near us. She came from
Little Canada. Her husband bought some dried apples as a treat and she
served them just as they were. Poor thing! She was very young when her
baby came and she used to get wildly homesick. One day, she started to
walk to Little Canada carrying her baby. A cold rain came on and she was
drenched when she was only half way there. She took cold and died in a
few weeks from quick consumption. Strange how so many who had it east,
came here and were cured, while she got it here.

In the Spring when the wheat was sprouting, the wild ducks and geese
would light in the field and pull it all up. They would seize the little
sprouts and jerk the seeds up. They came by battalions. I have seen the
fields covered with them. They made a terrible noise when rising in the
air. I have seen the sun darkened by the countless myriads of pigeons
coming in the spring. They would be talking to each other, making ready
to build their nests. In the woods, nothing else could be heard.

We had one wild pair of almost unbroken steers and a yoke of old staid
oxen. The only way father could drive the steers was to tie ropes to
their horns and then jump in the wagon and let them go. They would run
for miles. I was always afraid of them. They were apt to stampede and
make trouble in finding them if there was a bad storm. One evening
father was away and a bad storm approached. I took the ropes and told
mother I was going to tie the oxen. She begged me not to, as she feared
they would hurt me. I had a scheme--I opened the front gate and as they
came through the partly opened gate, threw the ropes over them and
quickly tied them in the barn. The old oxen, I got in without any
trouble. I tied them and went to reach in behind one, to close the barn
door and bolt it. He was scared and kicked out, knocking me with his
shod hoof. I did not get my breath for a long time. The calk of the iron
shoe was left sticking in the barn door.

Some drovers stayed near us with a large drove of cattle in '45 or '46.
They were on their way to the Red River of the north country. We kept
the cattle in our yard and used to milk them. I picked out a cow for Mr.
Larpenteur to buy as I had milked them and knew which gave the richest
milk. He put her in a poorly fenced barnyard. She was homesick and
bellowed terribly. The herd started on and was gone two days when she
broke out and followed them and the Larpenteurs never saw her again.
They had paid thirty dollars for her.

I was very anxious to see the Falls of St. Anthony so in the summer of
1844, my brother borrowed an old Red River cart and an old horse from
Mr. Francis who lived in St. Anthony. He drove it over to our house in
the evening. The next day, Sunday, we put a board in for a seat and all
three climbed onto it. We drove over and saw the Falls which roared so
we could hear them a long way off and were high and grand. We did not
see a person either going or coming the six miles although we were on
what was called the Main Road.

The French people always kissed all the ladies on the cheek on New
Year's day, when they made calls.

In the early day, Irvine built a new house of red brick. A little boy,
Alfred Furnell, took a hatchet and went out to play. He got to hewing
things and finally hewed a piece about a foot long out of the corner of
that red brick house making it look very queer. His father asked him who
did it. Unlike George Washington, he could tell a lie and said, "A
little nigger boy did it." His father 'tended to the only little boy
that was near, regardless of color.

Once there was a Sunday school convention in St. Paul. When lunch was
called, Mr. Cressey, the minister, said, "Now, we will go out and have
refreshments provided by the young girls who will wait on us. May God
bless them, the young men catch them and the devil miss them."

They used to call my sister-in-law, "Sweet Adeline Pratt."

Mrs. Gideon Pond--1843, Ninety years old.

In 1843 in Lac qui Parle, we had a cow. We paid thirty dollars to the
Red River men for her. She had short legs and a shaggy black and white
coat. She was very gentle. She was supposed to have come from cattle
brought to Hudson Bay by the Hudson Bay traders.

In 1843 we visited the Falls of St. Anthony. There was only a little
mill there, with a hut for the soldier who guarded it. The Falls were
wonderful. I thought I had never seen anything more beautiful. The spray
caught the sun and the prismatic colors added to the scene. The roaring
could be heard a long way off.

We raised a short eared corn, that was very good and grew abundantly. I
have never seen any like it since. Our flour was sent to us from way
down the Mississippi. When we got it, it had been wet and was so mouldy
that we had to chop it out with an ax. It took so much saleratus to make
anything of it. We learned to like wild rice. It grew in the shallow
lakes. An Indian would take a canoe and pass along through the rice when
it was ripe shaking it into the boat until he had a boat full--then,
take it to the shore to dry.

I was out to dinner with Mr. Scofield and his wife who came in '49. It
was dark and stormy. Mrs. Scofield was first taken home and then Mr.
Scofield started for our home. We soon found we were lost and drove
aimlessly around for some time. We came to a rail fence. I said "Perhaps
I can find the way". I examined this fence carefully and saw that one of
the posts was broken, then said to Mr. Scofield, "I know just where we
are now. I noticed this broken post when I was going to meeting Sunday."
I soon piloted the expedition home.

In '43 when I was Mrs. Hopkins I was standing with Mrs. Riggs and Mrs.
Huggins on the steps of the St. Louis house. The Gideon Ponds were then
living in vacant rooms that anyone could occupy in this old hotel.
Little three year old Edward Pond was standing with us. He and the
little Riggs boy had new straw hats that we had bought of the sutler at
the Fort. The wind blew his hat off suddenly. We did not see where it
went but we did hear him cry. We could not find it in the tall grass.
Mrs. Riggs took her little boy and stood him in the same place and we
all watched. When the wind blew his hat off we went where it had blown
and sure enough, there lay the other little hat too. The Indians
standing around laughed long and loud at this strategy.

Captain Stephen Hanks--1844, Ninety-four years old.

Captain Hanks, now in his ninety-fifth year, hale, hearty, a great joker
and droll storyteller, as an own cousin of Abraham Lincoln should be,
says: In the spring of 1840, when a youth, I came north from Albany,
Illinois, with some cattle buyers and a drove of eighty cattle, for the
lumberjacks in the woods north of St. Croix Falls. We came up the east
bank of the river following roads already made. In the thick woods near
the Chippewa Falls, I found an elk's antlers that were the finest I ever
saw. I was six feet, and holding them up, they were just my height. The
spread was about the same. Of course, we camped out nights and I never
enjoyed meals more than those on that trip. The game was so delicious.

In our drove of cattle was a cow with a young calf. When we came to a
wide river, we swam all the cattle across, but that little calf would
not go. We tried every way that we knew of to make it, then thought we
would let it come over when it was ready. We rested there two days. The
mother acted wild and we tied her up. The morning we were going to
start, just as it was getting light, she broke away and swam the river.
The calf ran to meet her but the mother just stood in the water and
mooed. All at once, the calf took to the water and swam with the mother
to the other side where it made a hearty breakfast after its two days
fast. I thought I had never seen any animal quite so human as that cow

When we got to St. Croix Falls, I thought it was a metropolis, for it
was quite a little town. I was back and forth across the river on the
Minnesota side too. In 1843, I helped cut the logs, saw them, and later
raft them down the river to St. Louis. This was the first raft of logs
to go down the St. Croix river. Lumber rafts had gone before. Our mill
had five saws--four frame and one muley. A muley saw was a saw without a
frame. It took a good raftsman to get a raft over the Falls. It took
four St. Croix rafts to make one Mississippi raft. I got sixteen
dollars a month and found, working on a raft. I was raised to twenty
after a while and to two dollars a day when I could take charge.

In 1844 we had been up in the woods logging all winter on the Snake
River. The logs were all in Cross Lake in the boom waiting for a rain to
carry them down to the boom at St. Croix. There was a tremendous amount
of them, for the season before, the water had been so low that it was
impossible to get many out and we had an unusual supply just cut. One
day in May, there was a regular cloudburst. We had been late in getting
out the logs as the season was late. The Snake River over-ran its banks
and the lake filled so full that the boom burst and away went all those
logs with a mighty grinding, headed straight for the Gulf of Mexico.

They swept everything clean at the Falls. Took the millrace even. The
mill was pretty well broken up too. We found some of them on the banks
along and some floated in the lake. We recovered over half of them. We
built a boom just where Stillwater is today, in still water. Joe Brown
had a little house about a mile from there. There were the logs, and the
mill at St. Croix was useless. McCusick made a canal from a lake in back
and built a mill. The lumbermen came and soon there was a straggling
little village. I moved there myself one of the first.

I used to take rafts of lumber down the river and bring back a boat for
someone loaded with supplies. The first one I brought up was the Amulet
in 1846. She had no deck, was open just like a row boat. She had a stern

In 1848, Wisconsin Territory was to be made a State. The people there
wanted to take all the land into the new state that was east of the Rum
River. We fellows in Stillwater and St. Paul wanted a territory of our
own. As we were the only two towns, we wanted the capitol of the new
territory for one and the penitentiary for the other. In the Spring--in
May, I think, I know it was so cold that we slept in heavy blankets,
the men from St. Paul sent for us and about forty of us fellows went
over. We slept that night in a little hotel on one of the lower bluffs.
It was a long building with a door in the middle. We slept on the floor,
rolled up in blankets. The next day, we talked over the questions before
mentioned and it was decided that we should vote against the boundary as
proposed and have a new territory and that St. Paul should have the
capital and we the penitentiary. This decision was ratified at the
convention in Stillwater, the last of August 1848.

The hottest time I ever had in a steamboat race was in May, 1857,
running the Galena from Galena to St. Paul. A prize had been offered,
free wharfage for the season, amounting to a thousand dollars, for the
boat that would get to St. Paul first that year. I was up at Lake Pepin
a week before the ice went out, waiting for that three foot ice to go.
It was dreadful aggravating. There was an open channel kind of along one
edge and the ice seemed to be all right back of it. There were twenty
boats all waiting there in Bogus Bay. I made a kind of harbor in the ice
by chopping out a place big enough for my boat and she set in there cozy
as could be. I anchored her to the ice too. The Nelson, a big boat from
Pittsburg was there with a big cargo, mostly of hardware--nails pretty
much. There were several steamers that had come from down the Ohio. When
the ice shut in, it cut the "Arcola" in two just as if it was a pair of
shears and she a paper boat. She sank at once. It shoved the "Falls of
St. Anthony" a good sized steamer way out of the water on the
niggerheads. The "Pioneer" sank. It broke the wheels of the "Nelson" and
another boat and put them out of commission. I stayed in my harbor until
morning, then steamed away up the little new channel. The "War Eagle"
locked us at the head of the lake and held on. I was at the wheel. When
we came to Sturgeon Bay, I took a cut in through the bar. I had found it
when I was rafting so I knew they did not know about it. That little
advantage gained the day for us. As it was, we burned several barrels of
resin and took every chance of meeting our Maker. We got to St. Paul at
two o'clock in the morning. Such a hullabaloo as there was--such a big
tar barrel fire. We could plainly see "Kaposia" six miles away.

Christmas the company sent me one hundred dollars which came in handy,
as I was just married.

Mr. Caleb Dorr--1847, Ninety years old.

I came to St. Anthony in 1847 and boarded at the messhouse at first.
Later I was boarding with the Godfrey's and trouble with the Indians was
always feared by the new arrivals. One night we heard a terrible
hullabaloo and Mrs. Godfrey called, "For the Lord's sake come down, the
Indians are here." All the boarders dashed out in scant costume, crying,
"The Indians are upon us," but it turned out to be only the first
charivari in St. Anthony given to Mr. and Mrs. Lucien Parker. Mrs.
Lucien Parker was a Miss Huse.

Mrs. Dorr was never afraid of the Indians, although they seemed very
ferocious to her with their painted faces, stolid looks and
speechlessness. One day she was frying a pan of doughnuts and had
finished about half of them when she glanced up to see seven big braves,
hideously painted, standing and watching her with what she thought was a
most malevolent look. She was all alone, with nobody even within calling
distance. One of the number looked especially ferocious and her terror
was increased by seeing him take up a knife and test it, feeling the
edge to see if it was sharp, always watching her with the same
malevolent look. Quaking with fear, she passed the doughnuts, first to
him. He put out his hand to take the whole pan, but she gave him a jab
in the stomach with her elbow and passed on to the next. This occasioned
great mirth among the rest of the Indians who all exclaimed, "Tonka
Squaw" and looked at her admiringly. When they had finished, they left
without trouble.

Once I was spending the evening at Burchineau's place when a number of
the Red River cart men were there. As they were part Indian and part
white, I looked down on them. One of them challenged me to see who could
dance the longest. I would not let him win on account of his color, so
danced until my teeth rattled and I saw stars. It seemed as if I was
dancing in my sleep, but I would not give up and jigged him down.

I remember a dance in the messhouse in '48 when there were ten white
girls who lived in St. Anthony there. They were wonderfully graceful
dancers--very agile and tireless. The principal round dance was a three
step waltz without the reverse. It was danced very rapidly. The French
four, danced in fours, facing, passing through, all around the room, was
most popular. The square dances were exceedingly vigorous, all jigging
on the corners and always taking fancy steps. We never went home until
morning, dancing all the time with the greatest vim. This mess house
stood between the river and the front door of the old Exposition

The Red River carts used to come down from Fort Garry loaded with furs.
There had been a white population in that part of the country and around
Pembina long before there was any settlement in what is now Minnesota.
The drivers were half breeds, sons of the traders and hunters. They
always looked more Indian than white. In the early days, in remote
places, where a white man lived with the Indians, his safety was assured
if he took an Indian woman for his wife. These cart drivers generally
wore buckskin clothes, tricked out so as to make them gay. They had
regular camping places from twelve to fifteen miles apart, as that was a
day's journey for these carts.

As there was not much to amuse us, we were always interested to see the
carts and their squawking was endured, as it could not be cured. It
could be heard three miles away. They came down the Main Road,
afterwards called the Anoka road.

The lumber to face the first dam in '47 came from Marine. There had been
a mill there since 1834, I believe.

We used to tap the maple trees in the forest on Nicollet Island. We had
to keep guard to see that the Chippewas did not steal the sap.

The messhouse where I boarded, was of timber. It was forty feet square.
It had eight or ten beds in one room.

Mrs. Mahlon Black--1848.

When I came to Stillwater in 1848, I thought I had got to the end of the
line. I came up on the Sentinel with Captain Steve Hanks. He was captain
of a raft boat then. It took ten days to come from Albany, Illinois.
There was nothing to parade over in those days. We took it as it come
and had happy lives. Stillwater was a tiny, struggling village under the
bluffs--just one street. A little later a few people built in the bluffs
and we would climb up the paths holding onto the hazelbrush to help us
up. Stillwater was headquarters for Minnesota lumbering then. We would
all gather together and in about two minutes would be having a good
time--playing cards or dancing. The mill boarding house had the largest
floor to dance on and we used to go there often. We used to waltz and
dance contra dances. None of these new jigs and not wear any clothes to
speak of. We covered our hides in those days; no tight skirts like now.
You could take three or four steps inside our skirts and then not reach
the edge. One of the boys would fiddle awhile and then someone would
spell him and he could get a dance. Sometimes they would dance and
fiddle too.

We would often see bears in the woods. They were very thick.

When we staged it to St. Paul down the old Government Road, we would go
down a deep ravine and up again before we really got started. We paid a
dollar each way. Once they charged me a dollar for my little girl
sitting in my lap. We used to pass Jack Morgan's.

Once we moved out on the Government Road, three miles from Morgan's. It
was a lonesome place. The Chippewas and Sioux were on the warpath as
usual. A large party of Sioux camped right by us. They were dressed for
what they were going after, a war dance, and were all painted and
feathered. They were looking in the windows always. It used to make me
sick to see their tracks where they had gone round and round the house.
My husband was on the survey most of the time so I was there alone with
my baby a great deal. One Sunday I was all alone when a lot of bucks
come in--I was so frightened I took my baby's little cradle and set it
on the table. She had curly hair and they would finger it and talk in
their lingo. When they left I took the baby and hailed the first team
going by and made them come and stay with me. It was the Cormacks from
St. Anthony. I made my husband move back to Stillwater the next day.

The Sioux killed a Chippewa father and mother and took the son, twelve
years old, captive. They had the scalp dance in Stillwater and had the
poor child in the center of the circle with his father's and mother's
gory scalps dangling from the pole above him. I never was so sorry for a
young one.

Old Doctor Carli was our doctor. Our bill was only one dollar for a
whole year. If he had not had money laid back, he could never have

Once in the winter, Mrs. Durant and I were going along, I was behind
her. The boys were coasting and went 'way out onto Lake St. Croix. They
struck me full tilt and set me right down in one of their laps and away
we went. I have always gone pell-mell all my life. If it comes good
luck, I take it--if bad luck, I take it. Mrs. Durant went right on
talking to me. Finally she looked around and I had disappeared. She was
astonished. Finally she saw me coming back on that sled drawn by the
boys and could not understand it. She only said, "Lucky it did not break
your legs," when I explained.

Mr. James McMullen--1849.

Mr. McMullen, in his ninetieth year says--I started from Maine by the
steam cars, taking them at Augusta. As I look back now, I see what a
comical train that was, but when I first saw those cars, I was
overpowered. To think any man had been smart enough to make a great big
thing like that, that could push itself along on the land. It seemed
impossible, but there we were, going jerkily along, much faster than any
horse could run. The rails were wood with an iron top and after we had
bumped more than usual, up came some of that iron through the floor. One
lady was so scared that she dropped her traveling basket and all the
most sacred things of the toilet rolled out. She just covered them
quickly with the edge of her big skirt and picked them up from under
that. The piece of iron was in the coach, but we threw it out.

We went by boat to Boston, then by rail to the Erie canal. We were ten
days on a good clean canal boat and paid five dollars for board and our
ticket. I don't remember how long we were on the lakes or what we paid.
I should say two weeks. We landed at Chicago. It was an awful mudhole.
The town did not look as big as Anoka. A man was sending two wagons and
teams to Galena, so I hired them, put boards across for seats and took
two loads of passengers over. We got pretty stiff before we got there. I
was glad to get that money as I was about strapped. It just about bought
my ticket up the river.

We bought tickets to St. Paul. Three of us took passage on the Yankee.
She was really more of a freight than a passenger boat. She only made
three trips to St. Paul that year. We bought wood along the way,
anywheres we could see a few sticks that some settler had cut. The
Indians always came down to see us wherever we stopped. I did not take
much of a fancy to them devils, even then. It was so cold the fifteenth
day of October that the Captain was afraid that his boat would freeze
in, so would go no further and dumped us in Stillwater. Cold! Well, I
should say it was pretty durned cold!

I had been a sailor, so knew little about other work. On the way up, I
kept wondering, am I painter, blacksmith, shoemaker, carpenter or
farmer? On voyages, the sailors always got together and discussed the
farm they were to have when they saw fit to retire. Said farm was to be
a lot with a vine-wreathed bungalow on some village street. Having
talked this question over so much with the boys, I felt quite
farmerfied, though I had never used shovel, hoe or any farm tool. I said
to myself, I must find out what I am at once for I only have four
shillings. My brother-in-law borrowed this, for it was agreed that he
should go on to St. Paul. As I walked along the one street in Stillwater
with its few houses, I saw a blacksmith shop with the smith settin' and
smokin' and stopped to look things over. There were three yoke of oxen
standing ready to be shod. They were used to haul square timbers. The
smith asked me if I could shoe an ox and then slung one up in the sling
'way off the ground. I did not see my way clear to shoe this ox, so saw
I was not a blacksmith. I could see that there were not houses enough
around to make the paintin' trade last long so gave that up too. In a
little leanto I saw a man fixing a pair of shoes. I watched him, but saw
nothing that looked possible to me so said to myself, "Surely I am no
shoemaker." Further I met a young man sauntering along the road and
asked him about farming. Said he, "You can't raise nothing in this here
country. It would all freeze up; besides the soil is too light." Well,
thinks I, it takes money to buy a hoe anyway, so I guess I'm no farmer.

I went up to the hotel and stayed all night. My brother-in-law had left
a tool chest with me. I was much afraid they would ask for board in
advance, but they did not. In the morning, the proprietor said, "I have
a job of work I want done--is that your chest?" I said, "Here is the
key." "Then", said he, "you are a carpenter." I had worked a little at
boat building so I let him say it. I worked sixteen days for him
building an addition out of green timber. At the end of that time he
asked what I wanted for the work. I did not know so he gave me $25.00 in
shin plasters. It was Grocers Bank, Bangor, Maine money. All of the
money here was then.

As soon as I got it, I hiked out for St. Anthony, where I took to
building in earnest. I helped build the Tuttle mill on the west side in
'50 and '51. Tuttle moved from the east side over to the government log
cabin while it was building and I boarded with them there. I also built
the mill at Elk River.

The first Fourth of July I was driving logs up above what is now East
Minneapolis. We had a mill with two sash saws, that is, saws set in a
sash. Settlers were waiting to grab the boards as they came from the
saw. How long it took those saws to get through a log! A mill of today
could do the same work in one-tenth the time. We could only saw five
thousand feet a day working both saws all the time.

I helped build the Governor Ramsey which plied above the Falls and up
the river. She was loaded with passengers each trip going to look over
sites for homes. I also helped build the H. M. Rice. After the railroad
was built, these boats were moved on land over the Falls and taken by
river to the south where they were used in the war.

I first boarded at the messhouse of the St. Anthony Water Power Company.
This messhouse was on a straight line with the front door of the
Exposition Building on the river bank. All butter and supplies of that
nature were brought a long distance and were not in the best of
condition when received, so this messhouse was called by the boarders,
"The Soap Grease Exchange," and this was the only appellation it was
known by in old St. Anthony.

The first sawmills put up in St. Anthony could saw from thirty to forty
logs apiece, a day.

As there were absolutely no places of amusement, the men became great
wags. One of the first things that was established by them was a police
court of regulations with Dr. Murphy as judge. As there were no
sidewalks, a stranger would be run in and have to pay a fine, such as
cigars for the crowd, if he was found spitting on the sidewalks. Lawyer
Whittle was fined two pecks of apples and cigars for wearing a stovepipe
hat and so the fun went on, day after day.

Mr. Welles ran for Mayor and, as there was no opposition, the before
mentioned wags decided to have some. A colored man, called Banks, had a
barbershop that stood up on blocks. The boys told him he must run for
Mayor in opposition. They told him he must have a speech, so taught him
one which said, "Down, Down, Down!" and he was to stand in the door and
deliver this. Just as he got to the last "Down" these wags put some
timbers under the little building and gently turned it over in the sand.
It took them half a day to get it up and get everything settled again,
but in a town where nothing exciting was going on, this was deemed worth

If you had half a pint of whiskey in those days, and were willing to
trade with the Indians, you could get almost anything they had, but
money meant nothing to them.

I remember seeing tame buffalo hitched to the Red River carts. They
seemed to have much the same disposition as oxen, when they were tame.
The oxen on the Red River carts were much smaller than those of today
and dark colored. The most carts I remember having seen passing along at
one time, was about one hundred. These carts were not infrequently drawn
by cows. The drivers were very swarthy, generally dressed in buckskin
with a bright colored knit sash about the waist and a coonskin cap with
a tail hanging down behind or a broad brimmed hat.

In '51 I built a mill at Elk River. Lane was the only white man living
there. It was right among the Winnebagoes. They were harmless, but the
greatest thieves living. They came over to our camp daily and would
steal everything not nailed down. We used to feed them. We had a barrel
full of rounds of salt pork. By rounds of pork, I mean pork that had
been cut clear around the hog. It just fitted in a big barrel. Eli
Salter was cooking for us. One night he had just put supper on the
table. It was bread, tea and about twenty pounds of pork--about two
rounds. There were seven of us and just as we were sitting down, four
squaws came in. Nowadays they sing, "All Coons look Alike to me," but at
this time all squaws looked alike to us. We could never tell one from
the other. They ate and ate and ate. Eli said, "They seemed like rubber
women." The table was lighted with tallow dips, four of them. Just as
Salter was going to pick up that pork, each squaw like lightning wet her
fingers and put out the candles. When we got them lighted again, them
squaws and the pork was together, but not where we were. We just charged
it to profit and loss.

Among them Indians was Ed, the greatest thief of all. He had been for
years at a school in Chicago and had been their finest scholar. The
Indians were all making dugout canoes and found it hard with their
tools. I had a fine adz and Ed stole it. I could not make him bring it
back. I used to feed the chief well and one day I told him Ed had stolen
my adz. He said, "I make him bring it back." Sure enough, the next day
at dusk Ed sneaked up and thinking no one was looking, threw it in a
pile of snow about two feet deep. We saw him do it, so got it at once.
We never knew how the chief made him do it.

Once when I was building a mill up at Rum River we had to go to
Princeton to get some things, so I started. I had to pass a camp of
those dirty Winnebagoes. They had trees across for frames and probably
two hundred deer frozen and hanging there. I was sneaking by, but the
old chief saw me and insisted on my coming in to eat. I declined hard,
saying I had had my dinner, but I knew all the time they knew better. I
had on a buffalo overcoat and a leather shortcoat inside. In the tepee,
they had a great kettle of dog soup, as it was a feast. Each one had a
horn spoon and all ate out of the kettle. They gave me a spoon and I
started in to eat. I did not touch it but poured it inside my inside
coat for a couple of times. When I left the chief went and picked out
one of the thinnest, poorest pieces of venison there was and insisted on
my taking it. I was disgusted but did not dare refuse. A short distance
away, I threw it in the snow which was about two feet deep off the
trail. Shortly afterward I met the chief's son and was frightened, for I
thought he would notice the hole and find what I had done. I watched
him, but he was too drunk to notice and as it soon began to snow, I was
safe. I guess the dogs got it.

Mrs. James McMullen--1849.

Mrs. McMullen says: When I first came to St. Anthony in 1849, there were
no sandburrs. They did not come until after a flock of sheep had been
driven through the town. We always thought they brought them. The sand
was deep and yielding. You would step into it and it would give and
give. It would seem as if you never could reach bottom. It would tire
you all out to walk a short distance. We soon had boards laid down for
walks. Lumber was hard to get, for the mills sawed little and much was
needed. The sidewalk would disappear in the night. No one who was
building a board house was safe from suspicion. They always thought he
had the sidewalk in his house.

When we first built our house I wanted a garden. My brother said, "You
might as well plant seeds on the seashore," but we did plant them and I
never had seen such green stuff. I measured one pumpkin vine and it was
thirty feet long.

Whenever the Red River carts came by, I used to tie the dog to the
doorlatch. I did not want any calls from such rough looking men as they
were. Those carts would go squawking by all day. Later they used to camp
where the Winslow house was built. There would be large numbers there, a
regular village. Once when I was driving with Mr. McMullen, one of them
stopped by us and I said, "Oh, see that ox is a cow!"

In '49 or '50 the old black schoolhouse was the site of an election. I
lived near enough to hear them yell, "To Hell mit Henry Siblee--Hurrah
for Louis Robert." If those inside did not like the way the vote was to
be cast, they would seize the voter and out the back window he would
come feet first, striking on the soft sand. This would continue until
the voter ceased to return or those inside got too drunk or tired to
throw him out. The town was always full of rough lumberjacks at these
early elections and for the day they run the town.

I used always to make twenty-one pies a week. One for every meal. I had
two boarders who were friends of ours. Not that I wanted boarders, but
these men had to stay somewhere and there was no somewhere for them to
stay. Each took her friends to help them out. I was not very strong and
cooking was hard on me. There was no one to hire to work. After a very
hot day's work, I was sick and did not come down to breakfast. One of
the boarders was not working. I came down late and got my breakfast. I
set half of a berry pie on the table and went to get the rest of the
things. When I came back, it was in the cupboard. The boarder sat
reading. I thought I had forgotten and had not put it on, so set it on
again and went for the tea. When I came back again, the pie was again in
the cupboard and the boarder still studying the almanac. I said, "What
are you doing to that pie?" He said, "Keeping it from being et! After
this you make seven pies instead of twenty-one and other things the same
and you won't be all wore out, we'll only have them for dinner," and so
it was. I suppose there were more pies on the breakfast tables of that
little village of St. Anthony than there would be now at that meal in
the great city of Minneapolis, for it was then a New England village.

Dr. Lysander P. Foster--1849.

I came to Minneapolis on the Ben Franklin. She was a wood burner and
every time that her captain would see a pile of wood that some new
settler had cut, he would run ashore, tie up and buy it. A passenger was
considered very haughty if he did not take hold and help.

My father built his house partly of lumber hauled from Stillwater, but
finished with lumber from here, as the first mill at the foot of First
Avenue Southeast was then completed. It had one saw only and so anxious
were the settlers for the lumber, that each board was grabbed and walked
off with as soon as it came from the saw.

The first school I went to as a boy of fourteen, was on Marshall Street
Northeast, between Fourth and Sixth Avenues. It was taught by Miss
Backus. There were two white boys and seven half breed Bottineaus. It
was taught much like kindergarten of today--object lessons, as the seven
half breeds spoke only French and Miss Backus only English. McGuffy's
Reader was the only text book.

The Indians were much like white people. The Sioux boys at their camp at
the mouth of Bassett's Creek were always my playfellows. I spent many
happy days hunting, fishing and playing games with them. They were
always fair in their play. The games they enjoyed most were "Shinny" and
a game played on the ice in the winter. A stick with a long handle and
heavy smooth curved end was thrown with all the strength possible. Some
could throw it over a block. The one throwing it farthest beat. I
suppose what I call "shinny" was really La Crosse.

What is now Elwell's Addition was a swamp. I have run a twelve foot pole
down in many parts of it without touching bottom.

Mr. Secomb, the father of Methodism in Minneapolis, was going to St.
Paul to preach. He took a dugout canoe from the old board landing. His
friend, Mr. Draper, was with him. It was below the Falls where the river
had rapids and rocks. They tipped over and were so soaked that St. Paul
had to get along that day without them. It was considered a great joke
to ask the dominie if he was converted to immersion, now that he
practiced it.

The peculiarity of the swamp land in St. Paul was that it was all on a
ledge and was only about two feet deep. You could touch rock bottom
anywhere there, but here a swamp was a swamp and could be any depth.

In 1848 half breeds had gardens and raised famous vegetables up in what
is now Northeast Minneapolis.

I once took my sister over on the logs to pick strawberries on the end
of what is now Eastman Island. They were large, very plentiful and
sweet. Almost every tree that grew anywhere in the new territory grew
there. Black walnut grew there and on Nicollet Island.

Mrs. Silas Farnham--1849.

Mrs. Silas Farnham says: I came to St. Anthony in 1849. My husband had a
little storehouse for supplies for the woods, across from our home on
the corner of Third Avenue and Second Street, Southeast. A school house
was much needed so they cleared this out and Miss Backus taught the
first school there. It was also used for Methodist preachin'. Our first
aid society was held there in '49.

I well remember the first Fourth of July celebration in 1849. The women
found there was no flag so knew one must be made. They procured the
materials from Fort Snelling and the flag was made in Mrs. Godfrey's
house. Those working on it were Mrs. Caleb Dorr, Mrs. Lucien Parker,
Misses Julia and Margaret Farnham, Mrs. Godfrey and myself. I cut all
the stars. Mr. William Marshall who had a small general store was orator
and no one could do better. That reminds me of that little store. I just
thought I'd laugh out loud the first time I went in there. There were
packs of furs, all kinds of Indian work, hats and caps, tallow dips and
more elegant candles, a beautiful piece of delaine for white women and
shoddy bright stuff for the squaws, a barrel of rounds of pork most used
up, but no flour, that was all gone. There was a man's shawl, too, kind
of draped up. You know men wore shawls in them days; some hulled corn
the Indians done, too, I saw. But to return to that first Fourth--it
seemed a good deal like a Farnham Fourth, for the music which was just
soul stirrin' was sung by them and the Gould boys. When the Farnhams all
got out, it made a pretty big crowd for them days. Perhaps their voices
wan't what you call trained, but they had melody. Seems to me nowadays
some of the trained high-falutin' voices has just got that left out.
Seems so to me--seems so. All the Farnhams just sung natural, just like
birds. Old Doctor Kingsley played the bass viol so it was soul stirrin'
too. Margaret Farnham, the president of our first aid society married a
Hildreth--Julia a Dickerson.

In '49 my husband paid a ten cent shin plaster for three little apples
no bigger than crabs. I tried to make these last a long time by just
taking a bite now and then, but of course, they couldn't hold out

The Indians was always around, but we never minded them--always lookin'
in the windows.

General William G. Le Duc--1850, Ninety-two years old.

I arrived at St. Paul on the steamboat Dr. Franklin. Among the travelers
on board the boat were Mr. and Mrs. Lyman Dayton and a brother of
Goodhue, the Editor of the Pioneer Weekly Newspaper. The principal, if
not the only hotel at that time, was the Central, a frame building about
twenty-four by sixty feet, two stories kept by Robert Kenedy. It was
used as a meeting place for the legislature, court, and public offices,
until something better could be built. Here I found quarters, as did Mr.
and Mrs. Dayton.

A few days after my arrival, I was walking along the high bank of the
river in front of the Central House in conversation with a large robust
lumberman who had come out of the woods where he had been all winter
logging and was feeling very happy over his prospects. Suddenly he
stopped and looking down on the flowing waters of the Mississippi, he
exclaimed, "See those logs." A number of logs were coming down with the
current. "What mark is on them? My God, that is my mark!--the logs are
mine! My boom has broken! I am a ruined man." He went direct to the
hotel and died before sun down of cholera, the Doctor said. He was
hurriedly buried and there was a cholera panic in St. Paul. The next day
while walking in front of the hotel, Mrs. Dayton called from an open
window excitedly to me, "Come and help me quick. Mr. Baker has the
cholera!" (Mr. Baker was a boarder at the Central and a school teacher
at that time.) Mrs. Dayton was frightened and said she had given him all
the brandy she had and must have some more. I got more brandy and she
insisted on his taking it, altho' he was then drunk. He recovered next
day and I have never heard of a case of cholera in Minnesota since that

I hired a little board shack about twelve by sixteen feet at the
Northeast corner of Third and Roberts Streets, St. Paul, and put out my
sign as Attorney and Counselor at Law, but soon discovered there was
little law business in St. Paul, not enough to sustain the lawyers
already there and more coming with every boat. My business did not pay
the monthly rent, $9.00, so I rented a large house on the southwest
corner and started a shop selling books and stationery, and in this
succeeded in making a living.

On the 22nd day of July '50, a number of citizens of St. Paul and some
travelers chartered a little stern wheel steamboat, the Yankee, and
intended to explore the St. Peter River, now the Minnesota, if possible
to its source, Big Stone Lake. We invited the ladies who wished to go,
promising them music and dancing. A merry time was anticipated and we
were eager to see the fertile valley, knowing it was to be purchased of
the Indians and opened for settlement to the frontier settlers. The
passengers were men mostly, but enough women went to form three or four
cotillion sets. The clergy was represented by Rev. Edward Duffield
Neill; the medical fraternity by Dr. Potts; statesmen by one who had
been an Aide to General Harrison and later Ambassador to Russia; another
was a graduate of Yale Law School and of West Point Military Academy;
another, one of the Renvilles, had been interpreter for Nicollet;
another was an Indian Trader, Joe La Framboise, who was returning to his
post at the mouth of Little Cottonwood. He was noted for his linguistic
ability and attainments and could acquire a talking acquaintance with an
Indian language if given a day or two opportunity; another was a noted
Winnebago half breed, Baptiste, whose Indian dress and habits attracted
much attention.

As we entered the sluggish current of the St. Peters at Mendota, the
stream was nearly bank full and it seemed like navigating a crooked
canal. The first stop was at an Indian village, fifteen or twenty miles
from the Mississippi, called Shakopee, or Little Six village. Our boat
attracted a crowd of all kinds and conditions of Indian village
population, not omitting Little Six who claimed toll for permission to
navigate his river. His noisy demand was settled by the trader by some
trifling presents, including some whiskey and we proceeded on our voyage
up the river. The next stop was at Traverse des Sioux. Here there was a
Missionary station in charge of Mr. Hopkins, from whom we bought the
rails of an old fence for fuel. Next we landed at a beautiful level
grassy meadow called Belle Prairie, where we tried to have a dance. The
next landing was at the mouth of the Blue Earth River, called Mankato,
where a tempting grove of young ash trees were cut for fuel. Here the
passengers wandered about the grove while the boat hands were cutting
and carrying the wood. Leaving the Blue Earth we slowly ascended the
stream, hoping to arrive at the Cottonwood where La Framboise promised
some fuel for the boat, but night overtook us and Captain Harris tied up
to the bank and announced the voyage ended for want of fuel and that
early in the morning he would return. Millions of mosquitoes invaded the
boat. Sleep was impossible. A smudge was kept up in the cabin which gave
little relief and in the morning all were anxious to return. I stationed
myself on the upper deck of the boat with watch and compass open before
me and tried to map the very irregular course of the river. It was
approximately correct and was turned over to a map publisher in New York
or Philadelphia and published in my Year Book.

Some time during this summer, I had occasion to visit the Falls of St.
Anthony, a village of a few houses on the east side of the Mississippi
River, ten miles Northwest of St. Paul. I crossed the river to the west
side in a birch bark canoe, navigated by Tapper, the ferryman for many
years after, until the suspension bridge was built. Examining the Falls,
I went down to an old saw mill built by and for the soldiers at Fort
Snelling and measured the retrocession of the fall by the fresh break of
the rock from the water race way and found it had gone back one hundred
and three feet which seemed very extraordinary until examination
disclosed the soft sandstone underlying the limestone top of the falls.

Events and persons personally known to me or told me by my friend, Gen.
Henry Hastings Sibley, who was a resident of Minnesota, years before it
was a territory. He was the "Great Trader" of the Indians, a partner of
the American Fur Co., and adopted into the Sioux Tribe or nation, the
language of which spoke as well or better than the Indians. He told me
that Little Crow, the chief of the Kaposia Band of Sioux, located on the
west side of the Mississippi river, six miles below St. Paul, was a man
of unusual ability and discernment, who had chivalric ideas of his duty
and that of others. As an instance he told me the following story. A
medium of the tribe had a dream or vision and announced that he would
guide and direct two young members of the tribe, who were desirous of
winning the right to wear an eagle's feather, as the sign to all that
they had killed and scalped an enemy, to the place where this would be
consummated. He conditioned that if they would agree to obey him
implicitly, they would succeed and return safely home to their village
with their trophies. Little Crow's eldest son, a friend of the whites,
much beloved by all, and another young man were interested in the
venture. He took them into the Chippewa country. They concealed
themselves in some dense bushes along a trail used by the Chippewas
traveling from camp to camp. Instructions were given that they should
fire from cover and on no account show themselves or pursue the
Chippewa. They awaited silently in their ambush until two Chippewas came
unsuspectedly along the path. When opposite, the Sioux boys fired and
the Chippewa in the lead fell dead. The one in the rear fled with his
gun over his shoulder and was pursued instantly by young Little Crow
with tomahawk in hand. The Chippewa discharged his gun backward as he
ran and killed the young man as he was about to bury his tomahawk in the
Chippewa's brain. Little Crow's comrade took the scalp of the dead
Chippewa, returned to Kaposia, reported to Little Crow the death of his
son and that his body had been left where he fell. Little Crow at once
summoned a number of his tribe and went to the place where the body lay,
dressed it in Indian costume, placed the corpse with his face to the
Chippewa country in sitting position against a large tree; laid across
his knees the best double barreled gun in the tribe and left the body in
the enemies' country. When he came to Mendota and reported the facts to
the "Great Trader," Sibley said, "Little Crow, why did you give your
best gun and fine blankets and all that your tribe prize so highly to
the Chippewas. Your son was dead; why leave his body to his enemies."
Little Crow replied, "He was killed in the enemies' country and
according to the custom of Indian warfare his enemies were entitled to
his scalp; therefore I left his body. I left the gun and blankets that
they might know they had killed a man of distinction."

Some years subsequently, Little Crow came to his death by carelessness
on returning from a duck hunting expedition. Having stepped ashore from
his canoe, he drew his gun out from the canoe, taking it by the muzzle.
The gun was discharged into the bowels of the unfortunate chieftain. He
was carried to his tent and sent a message to Sibley to come to him and
bring with him the surgeon then stationed at Fort Snelling. When they
arrived he said, "First I will see the surgeon," to whom he said, "I am
not afraid of death. Examine my wound and tell me truly if there is a
chance for life." The surgeon told him he had no possible chance for
recovery; that he could do nothing but give him some medicine to relieve
the pain. "For that I care not. I will now talk with the 'Great
Trader,'" to whom he said, "My friend, I wish you to be present while I
talk with my son to whom I must leave the care of my tribe." The son,
the "Little Crow" who is known as the leading devil in the massacre of
the whites in 1862, was then a grown boy. The old chieftain said to him,
"My boy, I must now die and you will succeed to the chieftaincy of the
tribe. I thought it would have been the duty of your older brother, who
was a good boy in whom I trusted and who I hoped would prove a good
leader to the people, but he is dead, and I also must die, and leave you
to succeed me. You have always been a bad boy, and I have asked the
'Great Trader' my friend to attend and listen to my last instructions to
you and to advise you in all matters of interest to the tribe, and I
wish you to take heed to his advice; he is my friend and the friend of
my people and in all matters of importance I desire you to listen to his
advice and follow his directions. Especially, I charge you never to
quarrel with the whites. You may go now my son, and remember what I have
said to you."

Then to Sibley, he said, "My friend, you have heard me talk to my
wayward son. For my sake, look after his conduct and the welfare of my
people, for I feel impressed to tell you that that boy will be the ruin
of his people." The boy was the leader in the massacre of twelve hundred
white men, women and children on the Minnesota frontier in 1862 and was
shot and killed near the town of Hutchinson in 1863.

Another story of early time I had from Genl. Sibley concerned the
claimant of the land and property which afterwards became and is now a
part of the city of St. Paul, but was then known as Pigs Eye, so called
because the eyes of the old voyageur for whom it was named were inclined
somewhat in the manner of a pig.

Joseph R. Brown had a trading post on Gray Cloud Island, sixteen miles
below St. Paul and was a Justice of the Peace with unlimited
jurisdiction. Pigs Eye, an old toughened voyageur and a young fellow,
both claimed the same quarter section of land and agreed to refer their
quarrel to Brown. Accordingly both appeared at his place on Gray Cloud
and stated their cases to Brown. Brown knowing that he had no
jurisdiction over land titles and seeing an opportunity for a joke,
informed them that the one who first put up a notice that he would write
and give them, would be entitled to possess the land. They must strip
for the race and he would give them a fair start, which accordingly he
did, by marking a line and causing them to toe the line, and then
solemnly giving the word "Go" started the sixteen mile race and retired
to his cabin to enjoy the joke. The young man started off at his best
speed, thinking he had an easy victory before him, but the experienced
old Pigs Eye, knowing it was a sixteen mile race took a stride he could
keep up to the end and placed his notice first on the property; hence
the first name of St. Paul was Pigs Eye. The second and real name was
given by the Missionary Priest, Father Gaultier, who told me that having
occasion to publish the marriage notice of Vitale Guerin, he had to give
the little log confessional on the hill some name, and as St. Croix and
St. Anthony and St. Peter had been honored in this neighborhood, he
thought St. Paul should receive the distinction.

Mr. Reuben Robinson--1850.

Mr. Reuben Robinson, ninety-five years old, says: I came to St. Anthony
and worked at the mill near St. Anthony Falls. A fine bathing place had
been discovered near the mill and was much used by the few women and men
of St. Anthony who came over in boats for the purpose. One day when I
was at work I heard hollering and thought someone must have gone beyond
his depth. I went out and looked around, saw nobody, but still heard the
calling. I finally looked at a pile of logs near the Falls and there saw
a man who was calling for help. I threw a rope to him several times
which he finally was able to grasp and I hauled him in hand over hand.
His clothing was all wet and bedraggled, but a straw hat was still on
his head although it was so wet that the green band had run into the
straw. No trace of his boat was ever found. As soon as he landed, he
took a whiskey flask from his pocket and took a long pull, which
disgusted me very much. I discovered that these long pulls were what was
accountable for his trouble, as he had taken a boat when he was drunk
and had gone too near the Falls.

When we came through Chicago, the mud was up to the hubs everywhere.
Much of the time the bottom of the stage was scraping it. In one deep
hole where the old road had been, a big scantling stuck up with these
words painted on it, "They leave all hope who enter here."

I remember killing a snake over seven feet long down near Minnehaha
Falls. Snakes were very abundant at that time.

When I was in the Indian war, one of the Indian scouts showed me how to
find the Indians' underground store houses. Only an Indian could find
these. The soldiers had hunted for days without success, but the Indian
succeeded in a short time and found a community store house holding
several hundred bushels of corn. This was six feet under the ground and
looked exactly like the rest of the ground except that in the center a
small tuft of grass was left, which to the initiated showed the place.

I had a serious lung trouble and was supposed to have consumption as I
was always coughing. After I was married my wife induced me to take the
water cure. She kept me wrapped in wet sheets for several days. At the
end of that time an abscess of the lungs was relieved and my cough was
cured. This climate has cured many of lung trouble.

I have to laugh when I think how green I was about these western places.
Before I left my old home at Troy, New York, I bought twelve dollars
worth of fishing tackle and a gun, also quantities of cartridges. I
never used any of them for the things here were much more up to date.
When I went to church I was astonished. I never saw more feathers and
fancy dressing anywhere.

In 1860 hogs were $2.00 a hundred and potatoes 14c a bushel.

Mrs. Samuel B. Dresser--1850.

We took a steamer from Galena to Stillwater, as everyone did in those

They were paying the Sioux Indians at Red Wing. A noble looking chief in
a white blanket colored band with eagles' feathers colored and
beautifully worked buckskin shirt, leggings and moccasins was among
them. He stands out in my mind as the most striking figure I ever saw.
There was so much majesty in his look.

We took a bateau from Stillwater to Clouse's Creek. My uncle came the
year before and had a block house where Troutmere now is, four miles
from Osceola and we visited him.

A little later when I was seven years old, we went to Taylor's Falls,
Minnesota, to live. There were only three houses there. We rented one
end of a double block house and school was held in the other end. Our
first teacher in '51 and '52 was Susie Thompson. There were thirty-five
scholars from St. Croix Falls and our own town. Boats came up the river
to Taylor's Falls on regular trips.

In our house there was a large fireplace with crane hooks, to cook on.
These hooks were set in the brick. We hung anything we wanted to cook on
them. The fire was directly under them. My mother brought a crane that
was a part of andirons, with her, but we never used that.

I was married when I was sixteen. My husband built a house the next
year. The shingles were made by hand and lasted forty years. The enamel
paint came from St. Louis and was as good as new fifty years afterward.
The paper, too, which was a white background with long columns with
flowers depending from the top, was good for forty years.

In Osceola there was a grist mill that cracked the grain.

The Delles House looks the same now as it did in '52 when I first
remember it.

In '52 I saw a party of Chippewa Indians hiding in the rough ground near
Taylor's Falls. They said they were going to fight the Sioux. Some white
men came and drove them away. They killed a Chippewa. A Sioux warrior,
looking for Chippewa scalps found the dead Indian, skinned his whole
head and rode away with the white men, with the scalp in his hand,
whooping and hollering.

There was a road from Point Douglas through Taylor's Falls to Fond du
Lac. It went through Stillwater and Sunrise Prairie, too. I used to
watch it as the Indians passed back and forth on it and wish I could go
to the end of it. It seemed to me that Adventure waited there.

We used to go to dances and dance the threestep waltz and French four
with a circle of fours all around the room, and many other old style
dances, too. We put in all the pretty fancy steps in the cotillion. No
prettier sight could be than a young girl, with arms circled above her
head, jigging on the corners.

My wedding dress was a white muslin, made very full around the bottom
and plaited in at the waist. My traveling dress was made the same. It
was a brown and white shepherd check and had eight breadths of
twenty-seven inch silk. That silk was in constant wear for fifty years
and if it was not all cut up, would be just as good today. My shoes were
brown cloth to match and had five or six buttons. I had another pair
that laced on the outside. Nothing has ever fitted the foot like those
side-lace shoes. My traveling cape was of black net with bands of
silk--very ample looking. I wore a white straw bonnet trimmed with
lavender. The strings were white lute-string and the flowers in front of
the flaring rim were small and dainty looking. There was a wreath of
them on the crown too. When I tied this bonnet on, I felt very grown up
for a sixteen year old bride.

Mr. Luther Webb, Indian agent, used to visit us often.

The Indians were always very curious, and spent much of the time before
our windows watching everything we did. In time we were as calm with
those glittering black eyes on us as we would have been if a gentle old
cow had been looking in.

Mrs. Rufus Farnham--1850.

I moved to the farm on what is now Lyndale Avenue North, sixty-four
years ago. The Red River carts used to pass along between my home and
the river, but I was always holding a baby under one arm and drawing
water from the well, so could not tell which way they went. I only saw
them when they were straight in front of me. Women in those days never
had time to look at anything but work.

Sugar came in a large cone. It was cracked off when needed. When
purchased, a blue paper was wrapped around it. This when boiled, made a
dye of a lovely lavender shade. It was used to dye all delicate fabrics,
like fringe or silk crepe. I have a silk shawl which I dyed in this way
in '56 that still retains its color. Later I paid 50c for three teacups
of sugar. This just filled a sugar bowl.

My mother used to live on First Street North. Once when I was spending
the day with her a dog sled from Fort Garry, now Winnipeg, passed the
house. There were never many of these after we came for it seemed that
the Red River carts had taken their places. There were six dogs to this
team. They laid down and hollered just in front of the house. I suppose
they were all tired out. The half breed driver took his long rawhide
whip and give them a few cracks and they got up and went whimpering on
to St. Paul. When they were rested, they would come back from St. Paul,
like the wind. It only took a few days for them to come and go, to and
from the fort, while it took the carts many weeks. The drivers would
have suits of skin with the hair inside. They never forgot a bright
colored sash. A bridal couple came with a dog team once, after I moved
here, but the sled I saw only had a load of fine furs.

I made sour emptyings bread. Very few could make it. I stirred flour,
sugar and water together until it was a little thicker than milk, then
set it aside to sour. When it was thoroughly sour, I put in my
saleratus, shortening and flour enough to make it stiff. It took
judgment to make this bread, but everyone thought there was nothing like

Captain John Van der Horck--1850.

I always relied on an Indian just as I did on a white man and never
found my confidence misplaced. I often went hunting with them on the
sloughs out of St. Paul. Game was very plentiful. My Indian companion
and I would both have a gun. He would paddle the frail canoe. We would
see the game. "Bang!" would go my gun. "Bang!" would go his. I would be
loading while he was shooting. All game was plenty, plenty.

Well I remember the woodcock, long bill, big, big eyes--look at you so
trustingly I never could shoot them.

There were such mighty flocks of ducks and geese in season that their
flight would sound like a train of cars does now. Once I went deer
hunting and saw six does. They turned their beautiful faces towards me
and showed no fear. I could not shoot them.

I have seen strings of those Red River carts and many, many in a string,
loaded with furs coming from Fort Garry or Pembina.

Mrs. James Pratt--1850.

My father moved to Minnesota Territory in '50. We lived with my uncle,
Mr. Tuttle, who had a mill for some time on this side. He was living in
a small house belonging to the government, but my father and he added
two more rooms so we could stay with them. In the spring my father took
up land and built a house down by the river not far from the Minnehaha
Falls. He began to work on the Godfrey mill at Minnehaha. My mother was
very timid. The sight of an Indian would nearly throw her into a fit.
You can imagine that she was having fits most of the time for they were
always around. Timber wolves, too, were always skulking around and
following the men, but I never knew them to hurt anyone. Father said it
used to make even him nervous to have them keep so near him. They would
be right close up to him, as close as a dog would be. He always took a
lively gait and kept it all the time. One night father was a little late
and mother had seen more terrifying things than usual during the day, so
she was just about ready to fly. She always hated whip-poor-wills for
she said they were such lonesome feeling things. This night she stood
peering out, listening intently. Then she, who had tried so hard to be
brave, broke into wild lamentations, saying, she knew the wolves or
Indians had killed father and she would never see him again. My
grandmother tried to calm her, but she would not be comforted until
father came, then he had a great time getting her settled down. She said
the whip-poor-wills seemed to say as she looked out in the blackness of
the night, "Oh, he's killed--Oh, he's killed." What these timid town
bred women, used to all the comforts of civilization, suffered as
pioneers, can never be fully understood. After that, whenever father was
late, little as I was, and I was only four, I knew what mother was going
through and would always sit close to her and pat her.

Our home only had a shake roof and during a rain it leaked in showers.
My little sister was born just at this time during an awful storm. We
thought it would kill mother, but it did not seem to hurt her.

The Indians used to come and demand meat. All we had was bacon. We gave
them all we had but when they ate it all up they demanded more. We were
much frightened, but they did not hurt us. Father used to tap the maple
trees, but we could not get any sap for the Indians drank it all. That
winter we lived a week on nothing but potatoes.

Our nearest neighbor was Mrs. Wass. She had two little girls about our
ages. They had come from Ohio. We used to love to go there to play and
often did so. Once when I was four, her little girls had green and white
gingham dresses. I thought them the prettiest things I had ever seen and
probably they were, for we had little. When mother undressed me that
night, two little green and white scraps of cloth fell out of the front
of my little low necked dress. Mother asked at once if Mrs. Wass gave
them to me and I had to answer, "No." "Then," she said, "in the morning
you will have to take them back and tell Mrs. Wass you took them." I
just hated to and cried and cried. In the morning, the first thing, she
took me by the hand and led me to the edge of their plowed field and
made me go on alone. When I got there, Mrs. Wass came out to meet me. I
said, "I've come to bring these." She took me up in her arms and said,
"You dear child, you are welcome to them." But my mother would not let
me have them. I never took anything again.

We had a Newfoundland dog by the name of Sancho, a most affectionate,
faithful beast. A neighbor who had a lonely cabin borrowed him to stay
with his wife while he was away. Someone shot him for a black bear. No
person was ever lamented more.

In '54 my father built the first furniture factory at Minnetonka Mills.
Our house was near it. The trail leading from Anoka to Shakopee went
right by the house and it seemed that the Indians were always on it.
There were no locks on the doors and if there were, it would only have
made the Indians ugly to use them. Late one afternoon, we saw a big war
party of Sioux coming. They had been in a scrimmage with the Chippewas
and had their wounded with them and many gory scalps, too. We ran
shrieking for the house but only our timid mother and grandmother were
there. The Sioux camped just above the house, and at night had their war
dance. I was only seven years old at the time, but I shall never forget
the awful sight of those dripping scalps and those hollering, whooping
fiends, as they danced. I think they must have been surprised in camp by
the Chippewas for they had wounded squaws, too, with them. One old one
was shot through the mouth. The men were hideously painted. One side of
one's face would be yellow and the other green. It seemed no two were
exactly alike.

One Sunday morning I was barefoot, playing in the yard. There were
bushes around and I heard a queer noise like peas rattling in a box. I
could not see what made it, so finally ran in and told father. He came
out and lifted up a wide board over two stones. He jumped back and
called to me to run in the house, then grabbed an ax and cut the head
off a huge rattlesnake. It had ten rattles. We never saw its mate.

The first school taught in Minneapolis proper was taught by Clara
Tuttle, a niece of Calvin Tuttle, in one of the rooms of the government
log cabin where we were living in '51. The pupils were her cousins. Miss
Tuttle returned to the east the next summer and died of consumption. My
cousin Luella Tuttle, the next year used to go over to St. Anthony to
school, on the logs, jumping from one to the other, rather than wait for
the ferry.

In '58 we returned to Minneapolis to live. Old Dr. Ames was our doctor.
He was one of the finest men that ever lived. I had terrible nose
bleeds. His treatment was to whittle pine plugs and insert them in the
nostrils. It always cured. No matter how poor a patient was, Dr. Ames
always did his best. No child was ever afraid of him. He was very slow
in his movements.

Mrs. Mary Harrison--1850.

I came to Minnesota from Maine. I had never been on the railroad or seen
a train, so when I saw what I thought then was the most awe inspiring
and stupendous mechanism there was ever going to be in the world, I took
my seat with elation and bumped along on that crazy track with the
greatest joy. I took no thought of danger. Now I should want an
insurance of $100,000 to ride a block under those circumstances. The
rails were of wood, with an iron top. I have heard my friends say that
these iron pieces sometimes came up through the floor. We went by water
to Boston, again by rail and then by the Erie Canal and Great Lakes.

We landed at Milwaukee. It was a little town. They were just building
their first sidewalks then. I can shut my eyes and see those little
narrow walks now. We drove in wagons with boards across for seats from
Milwaukee to Galena. Weren't those seats easy!

Somewhere in Wisconsin we stopped at a little log hotel over night. We
knew that rattlesnakes abounded in this region as we had seen them on
our way. There were holes all around the base of the room. We took off
our petticoats, of which every little girl had several, and stuffed them
in the holes, shaking them carefully the next morning to see that there
were no enquiring friends of the snake tribe rolled up in them.

We took the Nominee at Galena. After the high bluffs began, the scenery
was magnificent. At a trading station called La Crosse, fifty Indians
came on board. One chief in a white blanket I have always remembered. He
was certainly majestic looking. A little two year old tot had his ears
pierced from top to bottom and common wire with three cornered pieces of
shiny tin run through all the places. His eyes were very black, shiny
and bright, but we could not raise a smile from him. That chief was all
porcupine quill and bead embroidery. He was painted, too, as were all
the rest. St. Paul, after we had climbed that awful flight of stairs up
the bluff, looked like a little town that had been left. Our carriage to
St. Anthony was a light express wagon with more boards across for seats.
When we came to University Hill in St. Paul, there were no houses in
sight, but oh! what a beautiful place it was! We did enjoy that drive.
We stopped at DeNoyers to water the horses. This was a little tavern
between the two little towns.

When we came to the ravine in St. Anthony, with its little cascades,
father said, "I have not a doubt that the time will come when it will be
settled through here." We all thought it was very grand of father to
take such a long shot as that.

When we reached St. Anthony, the people were lovely to us. We did begin
to feel at home at once. We had to find a place to live. One of them
went with us to the "Stranger's House," a slab house standing near the
falls. Anyone who came and had no place to live was welcome to live in
this house until they had a home of their own. This was why it was
called the "Stranger's House." The Mousseau's, a French Red River
family were living in one half of it. We scrubbed it out and moved in.
Mother sewed some loops on some quilts and made two bedrooms. We told
her she was a fine carpenter. We did have lots of fun in our family. The
floor was rough boards, but we planed them off by scrubbing with white
sand. When the floor was dry, we always sprinkled it with white sand.
The slabs were put on lengthwise, and there were always rows of bright
Indians' eyes like beads on a string watching us through these cracks.
My brother had smallpox in this house. We never knew how it came, but
come it did. Dr. Murphy when he first saw him said it was measles or
smallpox, but he vaccinated us all. It took just lovely. In those days
they used a scab from the arm of someone who had been vaccinated. My
brother took quantities of penny-royal tea and no other medicine. He
came through fine.

On the Fourth of July we went to a dancing party or ball at the hotel.
We did have a beautiful time--Mrs. Northrup was a lovely cook. I
remember the butter was in the shape of a pineapple with leaves and all.
We danced contra dances, such as "The Tempest" and Spanish dances. The
waltz, too, with three little steps danced very fast, was popular. We
took hold of our partner's elbows.

I taught the first school at Shingle Creek when I was a girl of
seventeen. My school house was a claim shanty reached by a plank from
the other side of the creek. My boarding place was a quarter of a mile
from the creek. The window of the school house was three little panes of
glass which shoved sideways to let in the air.

One afternoon just before time to dismiss the school, the windows were
darkened by the faces of savages looking in. Each carried a gun and the
terror inspired by them was very great as they were not the friendly
faces of the Indians we were used to. The children all flocked around
me. I went on hearing their lessons and then told them to sing. The
Indians appeared delighted with this and laughed and talked with each
other. After school, with the children clustered around me, I took an
atlas and went out and showed the Indians the pictures. I knew they were
very fond of looking at pictures. They all stayed until the last picture
had been shown and the leaves turned again and again and then with a
friendly glance at me and my little flock, strode off and I never saw
them again.

The only time I ever fished was when I was teaching this school. I went
with friends to the mouth of Shingle Creek. I did not know how to go at
it when the pole and line were given to me. I asked what I should do and
they told me if I felt my line pulling, to throw it over my head as
quickly as I could. I was standing before some thick hazel brush and
when I felt a tug, I did as I was told, landing on my back in the hazel
brush at the same time. However, the largest black bass that the
fishermen had ever seen was on my hook in the hazel brush. They thought
it weighed over four pounds.

My little sister was taken to a revival meeting in the old church in St.
Anthony. She was about as big as a minute and understood nothing of what
was going on but was very wise looking. The minister did not slight even
this atom, but asked her if she had found Jesus. She said hastily, "I
didn't know he was lost."

Mr. William W. Ellison--1850.

Mr. Ellison now in his ninety-third year, with a perfect memory says:

I came to Minnesota with a determination to lead an outdoor life as my
lungs were giving me much trouble. One of the first things I did was to
take a yoke of oxen to Traverse to meet Mr. Williamson who was a
missionary at Lac qui Parle. It was in November. I was new at this kind
of work. The oxen were delivered to me at Fort Snelling. I crossed the
river in a canoe and swam the oxen across to Mendota. Then I went on
towards Shakopee. There was a wellworn Indian trail leading along the
Minnesota River and I followed that. I went through Black Dog's village.
I started late in the afternoon.

A young couple had been married at Mendota a few days before and had
gone on ahead. I expected to catch up with them. My oxen were most
tractable and the country through which I passed very beautiful. The
trail led along a ridge.

My Uncle, Mr. Williamson, had always told me to make my camp early while
there was plenty of light, so not seeing or hearing anything of the
other wagon, I made my camp where an old Indian camp had been and
prepared to spend a comfortable night in the woods. I cooked my supper
and then turned in. The wind had come up and I soon became very chilly,
so I looked around for a warmer place. I found a windfall and made
myself a nice little fire by crossing the trunks and building a fire
under them. I spent the next four hours in comfort, though it was very
cold. My uncle had told me to start with the first rays of the sun. I
had no timepiece, so when I saw a glow in the east, I got up, ate my
breakfast and started. It was not long before I saw that my dawn was a
prairie fire. I had not gone far when I heard a horse neighing and soon
found my Mendota friends. They had not understood how to camp so were
nearly frozen to death. Their wagon had broken down when they were in a
swamp. They had taken what little bedding they had and camped on a knoll
in this swamp. I surely was sorry for that bride. Her husband had had a
chill early in the evening before they camped. She had been up with him
all night and now thought he was dying. I thought he was too. I tried to
make a fire out of the wet willow wood there, but could not and he got
bluer and bluer. We used all the blankets we had. Finally I said, "You
lie down on one side of him and I on the other." After some time his
teeth stopped chattering and his color returned. I think it would have
been the last of him if I had not found them as I did.

I tried to fix the cart but could not. A half breed who was driving for
them had gone on to Shakopee for help, taking one horse the night
before. I started on with my oxen to bring help. When I got nearly to
Shakopee, I met a half breed, John Moores, going to their help. I waited
for them in Shakopee. McLeod's boat came along and they took that as
they could not get their cart mended well. I could make about twenty
miles a day walking with my oxen. I stayed one night in the big woods at
Belle Plaine. The wolves were very thick, "so I hung my food on a
sapling and leaned it against a tree. When I got to the crossing at
Traverse, it was dark. I hollered. I could hear someone say, 'That must
be Ellison.' Then they came over for me. The Hopkins' and Huggins' had
the mission station there then. It did seem good to get where I had a
square meal. I had been living principally on a sweet biscuit my Aunt,
Mrs. Williamson, the missionary's wife at Kaposia made. Don't ever take
anything sweet to eat for any length of time."

Martin McLeod met the boat with a string of Red River carts. They were
loaded with furs and were to take supplies back. It was very interesting
to me to watch the loading and unloading of this boat. I was not yet
familiar with those half breed drivers. They seemed sociable fellows,
among themselves, laughing, joking and talking in their lingo.

The boat had brought a barrel of flour, one of pork and other supplies
for the Mission at Lac qui Parle, so after spending a week at Traverse
waiting for the train to start, I took these in a cart drawn by one ox
and started with the rest on Monday morning. The Dressers had their cart
which I had managed to fix and their team of horses. I started with them
and the string of carts. I could see the trail two miles ahead. It had
to go around the sloughs. The cart train of course followed it. I soon
saw the sloughs were frozen and would bear my ox and wide wheeled cart
where it was not deep, so I cut across. When Mrs. Dresser was getting
dinner, I appeared and ate with them. They could not understand how I
could keep up with horses. The train was several miles back. We all
camped together at night. The first night was spent on the border of
Swan Lake. The trail followed a straight line from Traverse to Lac qui
Parle, except for these sloughs.

Saturday night we camped at Black Oak Lake, twelve miles from Lac qui
Parle. In the morning, McLeod and his train went on, but we stayed and
kept the Sabbath, arriving the next day.

The first Indian I ever shook hands with was Little Crow at Kaposia, his
village. He was common looking even for an Indian. My uncle, Dr.
Williamson said, "He is the smoothest Indian I know. Usually when I am
told a lie once, I look out for that liar and never trust him again, but
Little Crow has fooled me with his lies a dozen times and I suppose he
will a dozen times more."

When I first knew John Otherday he was a savage with all a savage's
instincts. My uncle, Mr. Williamson said to me one night, "We'll lock
the cattle up tonight; Oupeto Topeca, later Otherday, is back from
Washington and feels very much abused. He might kill them." When he
became a Christian all this was changed. He never forgot his religion
for a moment. At the time of the outbreak he led a party of refugees at
the greatest risk to himself through the back country to Shakopee. I
think there were over forty in the party.

I used to walk fifty miles a day with ease, and could keep it up for
several days. I never walked in moccasins, for they gave no support to
the feet; but a soldier's shoe, bought at the fort for $2.00 was ideal
to wear. It had a long, heavy sole leather sole, a very low heel and
heavy leather all hand sewed, for the uppers.

The Northwestern Fur Company's trail started from New Cave, now St.
Paul, and followed the Mississippi River through St. Anthony to Anoka.
It forded the Rum River at Anoka, near the Mississippi, following as
nearly as possible that river to St. Cloud, where it crossed at a ford.
It then followed the Sauk River about eleven miles; then turned to the
right and crossed Big Bend forty-five miles, striking the river again
four miles north from Sauk Center. Then it passed through the timber to
Alexandria. It crossed Red River near Fort Abercrombie; then went
directly north to Pembina, passing from point to point of the Red River
of the North. The Red River carts had wheel rims eight inches wide. I
have seen them with solid wheels cut from a single round of a tree. I
have heard that the carts around Pembina were formerly all like this,
but in my day they generally had spokes. I suppose they were lighter. It
was the width of wheel and sagacity of the animal that made it possible
to go with security over the most impossible roads. They usually carried
eight hundred pounds. When they reached St. Paul they camped where
Larpenteur's home now is.

I never knew an Indian who had been converted to go back on the whites.
Some people would sell them a pair of pants, for a Christian Indian
could vote and then say as they saw them so dressed, "There is a
Christian Indian." It took more than a pair of pants to Christianize an
Indian, but when they were once converted, they stayed so, as the many
people who were saved by them in the massacre could testify.

Mr. D. E. Dow--1850.

In 1850 when I first came to Minnesota, I took a claim at Lake Harriet
near where the pavilion now stands. The ruins of the old Steven's
Mission were on my claim. It had been built in 1834. I did not keep this
claim long, though I built a log cabin there and kept bachelor's hall,
but soon took a claim where my present house stands in Hopkins. I built
a cabin here but boarded with a widow and her children. All the food we
had was game, pork and buckwheat cakes. The buckwheat they had brought
from their home and it was all ground in the coffee mill then sifted
through a horsehair sieve before it could be used. There were seven in
the family to grind for, so it kept one person grinding all the time.

I was supposed to live alone in my cabin but hardly ever spent a night
without the companionship of some Sioux Indians who were hunting around
there. I gladly received them as they were friendly, and their company
was much better than none. One winter they came in such numbers that at
night the floor was entirely covered by their sleeping forms. Early in
the morning, they would go out and all day hunt the deer, with which the
woods abounded. It was very cold and the slain deer froze immediately.
They stacked them up, making a huge pile. Suddenly all the Indians left.
One morning shortly after, I was working in the clearing around my
cabin, when I saw a line of squaws which I think was a block long,
coming over the trail which led from Shakopee to Hopkins. The squaws
went to the pile of deer. Each took one on her back and silently trudged
away over the trail toward Shakopee. Some of the squaws were so small
that the frozen carcass had to be adjusted by another squaw or it would
drag on the ground. They were two weeks removing this pile of deer and
had to walk twenty-eight miles with each one before they got home with

When I first made my way to Minnetonka, I came out at Gray's Bay. There
were vast numbers of Indian mounds there and bark sheds for drying fish.
This was in '53.

An Indian trail led along the shore of Lake Calhoun just above where the
street car track is now. It continued on the high ground to the Mission
at Lake Harriet. I killed a deer at what had been the Mission ground the
first time I ever saw the lake. The trail continued on the high ground
around Lake Harriet. There were fishing trails, too, around the lakes
near the water, but the trails ordinarily used were on high ground where
there was no fear of ambush. Another trail was north of Lake Calhoun and
led to Hopkins, then to Shakopee, Little Six Village. The opposite
shore was a big swamp. Another much used trail followed along the
highlands of the Mississippi River to the fort sawmill which stood near
where the old Union Station was in Minneapolis. The reservation on which
the fort stood was ten miles square and included all the present site of
Minneapolis. This is why that city was so long without settlers,
although the water power was the finest to be found anywhere.

Mrs. Elizabeth Clifford--1850.

My father had asthma terribly and was advised to come to Minnesota for
his health. He arrived in Stillwater with his family and a stock of
goods in 1850. He exchanged these for land six miles out of that town
and two and one half miles off the main traveled road leading to Marine.
We had a very fine barn and comfortable home made of lumber from the
Stillwater Mills. Our nearest neighbor was two and one-half miles away,
Mr. Morgan who kept the halfway house, but I cannot remember that I was
ever lonesome.

We spent much time in the woods, where we found the most wonderful wild
flowers. There was not a tame flower known to us whose counterpart we
could not find in our woods. Of vegetables I remember best a small pink
eyed potato, the most delicious I have ever tasted. As they baked, they
could be heard popping in the oven. They are not raised now. The wild
plum found in the woods my father cultivated and they were as large as
small eggs and looked like small peaches.

One day as I glanced from the window, I saw a body of Indian warriors
coming on the trail that led around the lake near us. As they came up, I
saw they were in full war paint and feathers. They entered, examined
everything, but took nothing. They asked for and ate bread and molasses,
as they had seen the children doing when they came in. They all had guns
and, big bowie knives sticking in their belts. One particularly
villainous looking one took out his knife and felt the edge, looking
wickedly at us. One was exceptionally pleasant looking and I thought he
would protect us if the rest got ugly. They finally went away. They
were followed in the afternoon by a band of Chippewa braves who asked if
the Sioux warriors had been that way that day. When told they had, they
rode hurriedly after them. They said the Sioux had taken some Chippewa

THE TREATY IN 1851. Mrs. Richard Chute, General William G. Le Duc and
Mrs. Gideon Pond. Mrs. Morris is standing by General Le Duc. Taken at a
Celebration given in their honor July 17, 1914, by the Old Trails
Chapter, at the home of Mrs. M. W. Savage.]

Mrs. Richard Chute--1851.

I came to Minnesota a bride in 1851 and with my husband shortly
afterwards took the steamer for Traverse de Sioux, where a great treaty
with the Indians was to be signed. With us we took a tent, provisions
and a French man to cook. I was the only woman in all the company.

It was all so wonderful to me--the beautiful country through which we
passed and the preparations made for all the company on landing.

The Indians, a great concourse of them were down to see the boat come
in. To see them scamper when the boat whistled was a sight to be
remembered. Some fell in the water, but fled as soon as they could get
themselves out. I think this was the first steamboat they had ever seen.
They were frightened and curious at the same time.

Ten years before, at my home in Ohio, I had seen the Indians often as
they would stop at our house for food on the way to Fort Wayne. My
mother always cooked corn dodgers for them and gave them milk to drink.
They loved her and knew she was their friend. They always gave me
strings of vari-colored glass beads. I think I had one of every color.

These Indians at Traverse made me feel at home at once and I gave them a
friendly smile. The glances they returned were shy, but friendly. Their
painted faces and breasts and gaudy clothes were different from our
Indians. Their tepees stretched as far as the eye could see. It seemed
that the squaws must have had instruction in embroidery from some
civilized teacher. Their patterns were so intricate. Their colors so
well placed. Their moccasins were always beautifully done with beads and
colored porcupine quills; their best petticoats, too. As for their
liege lords, their best suits, if suits they might be called, were
beautifully done. A young squaw, instead of pouring out her love in
song, would pour it out in embroidery and her husband would be very gay,

Mrs. Hopkins, wife of the missionary, met us and took us home with her
where we were very well cared for. She was a charming little woman, full
of missionary zeal and greatly loved. I never heard her complain. Her
husband, too, was greatly beloved by the Indians.

We took our stores and cooked there and with fresh vegetables from the
little farm worked by Mr. Huggins, fish and game, we had choice meals.

I used to ride horseback, or rather "pony back," every day, always with
my husband and frequently with Mr. Sibley. My pony was borrowed from the
Indians. Mr. Chute and Mr. Sibley rode large horses. Every Indian brave,
who came, came on a pony. His tepee, household goods and children were
drawn by one. There were so many that they seemed more than the blades
of grass. Literally thousands of these ponies were grazing some distance
back of the encampment. We three rode out to see them. As we neared
them, and they smelled my pony, that vast herd, with one accord, started
towards us and almost at once literally engulfed me. The men called,
"For God's sake, don't get off. Hold on for your life." I took the pony
around the neck with both arms and did hold on. The men came after me as
fast as they could and rode their big horses on either side of me. The
Indians rushed in on their ponies and after some time succeeded in
turning that vast multitude and letting the prisoner escape. I was cool
and collected while the danger menaced, but when it was over, trembled
and shook. My taste for horseback riding at Traverse was gone.

Mr. Sibley, Mr. Chute and I, with a guide, went to see a miniature
Minnehaha. We walked all day going there and back--crossing the little
stream many times. My husband took off his boots to ford the stream. He
always carried me over. He cut his foot badly and could hardly get to
the commission tent. Mr. Sibley urged us not to go to the Hopkins', but
to stay there, but Mr. Chute wanted to go. It was bright moonlight, and
I walked three quarters of a mile to Mr. Hopkins' to get a pony to take
my husband back. I passed a little lake on the prairie. Mr. Chute and I
always walked arm in arm as was then the custom for married people.
Mirrored in the lake I could see reflected many, many Indian lovers
walking as they had seen the pale faces do. I laughed to myself as I
thought what mimics these children were. It was their following the
customs of the white man, drinking as they saw him drink, that degraded
them so.

On the Fourth of July there was to be a great celebration. The Indians
were to have all their dances. Early in the morning, Mr. Hopkins went
out to bathe in the river. He did not return. A little Indian girl said
she had seen him go under the water and only two hands come above it.
His body was not found for two days. A great crowd of squaws surrounded
the house, showing by their sad looks what the loss was to them. At the
burial, the Indians, a vast number of them, sang the hymns in Sioux.
This funeral, way off in the wilderness, with these crowds of savage
mourners, could never be forgotten.

Mr. Charles Bohanon--1851.

I moved to the farm where I am now living in '53. My father first took
up a claim in 1851 where the Central Market now stands, but while he was
in the woods, Old Man Stimson squat on that, so he took a claim at what
is now Camden Place. He built a small house there. The farm was covered
with brush and "oak openins". Everyone of these trees had to be grubbed
out. One of my earliest recollections is the Red River carts that used
to go squawking by on this side of the river as well as on the St.
Anthony side. They were called the Red River Band. They were one of the
loudest bands ever brought together, as their music, that of wood
rubbing against wood, could be heard three miles. While my father was in
the woods, the Indians used to come and sleep in the dooryard. Sometimes
it would be full of painted Sioux. They never stole anything or begged,
but would gratefully take anything offered them. They were very friendly
and kind and full of curiosity, as their looking in the windows at all
times showed.

My father had brought a fine pair of horses from Galena. One day when he
was mowing wild hay on a meadow, he left them unhitched and was
excitedly told by a neighbor that they had got in the river. He ran and
saw one swimming near the other shore but as the other had turned over
with his feet in the air, the combined weight of the horse and wagon was
too much for him and before help came, he sank. We recovered the running
gear of the wagon later when all came upon a sandbar, but the harness
had been stolen. What the loss of this team was to a pioneer farmer, we
can hardly conceive.

The countless number of pigeons which migrated here every spring could
never be estimated. At all hours of the night their cry of "Pigie,
Pigie, Pigie," could be heard. They could be seen in countless numbers
on the "slab trees," that is, old, dead trees. Anyone could kill
hundreds in a day and thousands killed, seemingly made no impression.
They flew very low and in dense masses. Ducks and geese were exceedingly
plentiful. I have never seen wild swan here, but many in Minnesota in
the Red River country.

On our farm was a thicket of plums which probably came up from the
stones from one tree. Some were blue, some red, others yellow and red.
Some were sour, some bitter, others tasteless, while others still, were
sweet and of an exquisite flavor. These trees soon ran out and I think
all of this best variety are gone. I remember picking raspberries,
blackberries and wild strawberries in quantities. Every summer we would
go up to Anoka and spend a week camping and picking blueberries.

We sold our corn which was our first crop, to Alexander Moore in St.
Anthony. At that time, he was the only one buying corn. Two bushel
baskets made a bushel. This sold for 15c. Mr. Moore had much larger
baskets than those ordinarily in use and measured the corn in these.
When the farmers demurred, he said, "If you don't like my measure, take
your corn home." He knew there was no one else for us to take it to, so
was very brave. There were very few scales so farm produce was generally
sold by measure.

I never saw a pair of shoes until after the war. Everyone wore boots.

In the northern part of the State I have seen men start out in the
morning with an ox team and return at night, blind themselves and the
oxen, too, from the sting of the buffalo gnat. The mosquitoes came in
great clouds and were everywhere.

Every little clear space of a hundred acres or more was called a

When I first saw Duluth it was only a cotton-town. That is, log houses
with canvas roofs or tents. Most mail carriers used dog teams. Three
dogs hitched tandem was the common sight. I have seen three dogs haul a
dead horse.

In our expedition against the Indians only thirty-seven of the eight
hundred horses we took, came back with us. The rest starved to death.
Unlike the Red River stock which would paw through the deep snow to the
long grass, fill themselves and then lie down in the hole and sleep,
they knew nothing of this way and so could not forage for themselves.
This campaign was with Hatch's Independent Battalion.

Lieut. Grosvenor who was new to the Red River country was married and on
his wedding trip was to stop at McCauleyville. He sent word ahead that
he wanted a private room. When he got there, he was shown into the only
room there was--full of half breed sleepers. He hastened to the
proprietor and said, "I ordered a private room." His answer was, "There
are only six beds in there, what more could you want?"

Mr. Austin W. Farnsworth--1851.

We came to Fillmore County in the Fall of 1851 from Vermont. We were
strapped. Not one cent was left after the expenses of the trip were
paid. A neighbor took my father with him and met us at McGregor Landing
with an ox team hitched to a prairie schooner. We were four days getting
to Fillmore County, camping on the way. The nearest town, only a post
office, was Waukopee. Father had come the previous spring and planted
two acres of wheat, two acres of corn and one-half acre of potatoes. The
potatoes all rotted in the ground.

I was only nine years old and my brother thirteen, but we made all the
furniture for that cabin out of a few popple poles and a hollow basswood
log. For beds, beams were fitted in between the logs and stuck out about
a foot above the floor and were six feet long. To these we fastened
cross pieces of "popple" and on this put a tick filled with wild hay and
corn stalk leaves. It made a wonderful bed when you were tired as
everyone was in those days, for all worked. After we had cut off a
section of our big log by hand, we split it in two and in one half bored
holes and fitted legs of the unpeeled popple for the seat. The other
half made the back and our chair was done. As we had no nails, we fitted
on the backs with wood pegs. Our table was made of puncheons split with
a wedge and hewed with a broadax. The cabin would have been very
homelike with its new furniture if it had not been for the smoke. My
mother had to do all the cooking on a flat stone on the floor with
another standing up behind it. She nearly lost her sight the first
winter from the smoke. Our attic was filled with cornstalks to make the
cabin warmer.

Our fare was good, as game was very plentiful and we had corn meal and a
coarse ground wheat more like cracked wheat. There was a little grist
mill at Carimona, a tiny town near. My mother made coffee from corn
meal crusts. It would skin Postum three ways for Sunday.

When I was nine years old I killed a buffalo at Buffalo Grove near us.
That grove was full of their runs. Elk were very plentiful, too, and
deer were so plenty they were a drug in our home market. I have counted
seventy-five at one time and seven elk. Pigeons were so thick that they
darkened the sky when they flew. Geese and ducks, too, were in enormous
flocks. In season, they seemed to cover everything. We used the eggs of
the prairie chickens for cooking. They answered well.

Once my brother shot a coon and my mother made him a cap with the tail
hanging behind and made me one too, but she put a gray squirrel's tail
at the back of mine. She knit our shoes and sewed them to buckskin
soles. I was twelve, when I had my first pair of leather shoes. They
were cowhide and how they did hurt, but I was proud of them. None of the
country boys wore underclothing. I was nineteen before I ever had any.
Our pants were heavily lined and if it was cold, we wore more shirts. I
never had an overcoat until I went in the army. Before we left Vermont,
my mother carded and spun all the yarn and wove all the cloth that we
wore for a long time after coming to Minnesota.

We found the most delicious wild, red plums, half the size of an egg and
many berries and wild crab-apples.

The timber wolves were plenty and fierce. My sister was treed by a pack
from nine o'clock until one. By that time we had got neighbors enough
together to scatter them. I was chased, too, when near home, but as I
had two bulldogs with me, they kept them from closing in on me until I
could get in the house.

There was a rattlesnake den near us and once we killed seventy-eight in
one day. They were the timber rattlesnakes--great big fellows. I caught
one by holding a forked stick over its head and then dropped it in a
box. I kept it for a pet. It was seven feet, one and a half inches long,
I used to feed it frogs, mice and rabbits. I thought it was fond of me,
but it struck at me and caught its fangs in my shirt when I was
careless, so I killed my pet.

The only time I ever went to school was for two months in '55, to John
Cunningham. Wilbur made our desks out of black walnut lumber, cut in
Buffalo Grove. It was very plentiful there.

Later we used to go to dances. I was great for cutting pigeon wings and
balancing on the corner with a jig step. We used to dance the whirl
waltz, too. Some called it the German waltz. We spun round and round as
fast as we could, taking three little steps.

Mr. Elijah Nutting--1852.

We came to Faribault in 1852 and kept the first hotel there. It was just
a crude shanty with an upstairs that was not partitioned off. Very cold
too. I rather think there never was anything much colder. But it was
very well patronized, as it was much better than staying outside.

There were many Indians whose home was in our village. We used to have
good times with them and enjoyed their games and seeing them dance.
Families were moving in all the time. Finally winter was over and spring
with us.

We began to think how near the Fourth was and how totally unprepared we
were for its coming. We decided to have a minstrel show. We had seen one
once. My brother was to be end man and black up for the occasion. But he
was a little tow head and we did not see our way clear to make nice
kinky black wool of his hair.

Unfortunately for her, a black sheep moved into town in an otherwise
white flock. We boys would take turns in chasing that sheep and every
time we could get near her, we would snatch some of the wool. When sewed
on to cloth, this made a wonderful wig. The proceeds from this
entertainment, we saved for firecrackers. Then we bought some maple
sugar of the Indians--very dark and dirty looking. It looked very
inadequate for a young merchant's whole stock of goods, but when it was
added to by scrapings from the brown sugar barrel, when mother's back
was turned, it sold like wild fire.

We felt like Rockefeller when we entrusted the stage driver with our
capital to buy the coveted firecrackers in Cannon City, which then was
much larger than Faribault. They cost forty cents a bunch, so we only
got three bunches. The size of the crackers depressed us considerably
for they were the smallest we had ever seen. We feared they would not
make any noise. We put them away in a safe place. Brother was a natural
investigator. Every time I was gone, he would fear those crackers were
not keeping well and try one. He wanted no grand disappointment on the

Joe Bemis, son of Dr. Bemis, always trained with us fellows and never
backed down. We were going to have a circus in the barn. Joe said, "I'll
ride a hog." The hogs were running around loose outside. They were as
wild as deer. We laid a train of corn into the barn and so coaxed one
old fellow with great tusks into it, and then closed the door. Joe ran
and jumped on his back. Like lightning the hog threw him and then ripped
him with his tusk. Joe yelled, "For God's sake let him out." We did. We
laid Joe out on a board and Dr. Bemis came and sewed him up. He said,
"Joe won't ride a hog very soon again, boys. Neither will you, I guess."

Mr. Charles Rye--1853.

Mr. Rye, eighty-six years old, hale and hearty, who still chops down
large trees and makes them into firewood for his own use, says:

I left England in a sailing vessel in 1851 and was five weeks on the
voyage. My sister did not leave her bunk all the way over and I was
squeamish myself, but I see the sailors drinking seawater every morning,
so I joined them and was never sick a minute after. We brought our own
food with us and it was cooked for us very well and brought to us hot.
We did not pay for this but we did pay for any food furnished extra.
Some ships would strike good weather all the way and then could make a
rapid voyage in three weeks, but usually it took much longer. I stayed
in the east two years and came to St. Anthony in 1853.

The best sower in our part of England taught me to sow grain. After
three days he came to me and said, "Rye, I don't see how it is, but I
can see you beat me sowing." I hired out to sow grain at $1.00 a day as
soon as I came here and had all the work I could do. I would put the
grain, about a bushel of it, in a canvas lined basket, shaped like a
clothes basket and fastened with straps over my shoulders, then with a
wide sweep of the arm, I would sow first with one hand and then with the
other. It was a pretty sight to see a man sowing grain. Seemed like he
stepped to music.

Once I saw twenty-five deer running one after another like Indians
across my sister's farm where St. Louis Park now is. I was watchman for
the old mill in St. Anthony the winter of '53. It was forty degrees for
weeks. I kept fire in Wales bookstore, too, to keep the ink from

I made $34.00 an acre on the first flax I sowed. A man had to be a
pretty good worker if he got $15.00 a month and found in '53. Most farm
hands only got $12.00.

I used to run the ferry with Captain Tapper. It was a large rowboat.
Once I had eight men aboard. When I got out in the river, I saw the load
was too heavy and thought we would sink. "Boys", I said, "don't move. If
you do, we'll all go to the bottom." The water was within one inch of
the top of the boat but we got across.

I graded some down town, on Hennepin Avenue when it was only a country
road. There was a big pond on Bridge Square. The ducks used to fly
around there like anything early in the morning.

I cut out the hazelbrush on the first Fair Ground. It was on Harmon
Place about two blocks below Loring Park. We cut a big circle so that we
could have a contest between horses and oxen to see which could draw the
biggest load. The oxen beat. I don't remember anything else they did at
that Fair.

Mr. James M. Gillespie--1853.

I remember that our first crop on our own farm at Camden Place in 1853
was corn and pumpkins. The Indians would go to the field, take a
pumpkin, split it and eat it as we do an apple with grunts of

There was an eight acre patch of wild strawberries where Indians had
cultivated the land on our new claim about where our house stands today.
They were as large as the small cultivated berries with a most delicious
flavor. Everyone that we knew picked and picked but wagon loads rotted
on the ground.

A good strong, quick stepping ox could plow two acres a day but much
oftener they plowed one and one half acres only. The pigeons flew so low
in '54 that we could kill them with any farm implement we happened to be
using. They seemed to be all tired out. We killed and dried the breasts
for winter.

Miss Nancy Gillespie--1853.

I remember a pear shaped wild plum which grew along the river bank. It
was as large as the blue California plum and of a most wonderful color
and taste. I have never seen anything like it and have not seen this
variety of late years.

Mr. Isaac Layman--1853.

My father came to Minnesota in '52 and bought the land where Layman's
Cemetery now is for $1,000.00 of Mr. Dumar. He returned for us January
first '53. Snow was two feet on a level and the cold was terrible.

We went with our horses and wagon to Chicago from Peoria. There we
bought a bobsled and put the wagon box on it, adding a strong canvas
top. We put in a stove and made the twenty-one day journey very
comfortably. We came up through Wisconsin. The only spot I remember was
Black River Falls. The woods abounded with game. There were thousands of
deer and partridges. We killed what we could eat only. We saw many bear
tracks. We crossed the Mississippi at St. Anthony and arrived at our

Our house was only boarded up but father got out and banked it with snow
to the eaves, pounding it down hard so it would hold. It made it very

In the early days ammunition was very expensive for the farmer boys who
loved to shoot. They found that dried peas were just as good as shot for
prairie chicken, quail and pigeons, so always hunted them with these.
The passenger pigeons were so plentiful that the branches of trees were
broken by their numbers. They flew in such enormous flocks that they
would often fly in at open doors and windows. They obscured the sun in
their flight. Looked at from a distance, they would seem to extend as
far up as the eye could reach. I have brought down thirty at a shot.
They could be knocked off the branches with a stick while roosting and
thousands of them were killed in this way. In these early days, they
brought only 10c or 20c a dozen. The ducks used to congregate in such
large numbers on Rice Lake that their flight sounded louder than a train
of cars.

Mrs. Mary Weeks--1853, Ninety years old.

We came to Minnesota in 1853. My husband went up to our claim and broke
from twenty-five to forty acres and sowed rutabagas. It was on new
breaking and virgin soil and they grew tremendous. We moved there and
bought stock. They seemed never to tire of those turnips and grew very
slick and fat on them. We, too, ate them in every form and I thought I
had never tasted anything so good. They were so sweet and tasty. The
children used to cut them in two and scrape them with a spoon. We said
we had "Minnesota apples" when we took them out to eat. It did seem so
good to have real brooms to use. In Maine, we had always made our brooms
of cedar boughs securely tied to a short pole. They were good and
answered the purpose but a new fangled broom made of broom straw seemed
so dressy. I can well remember the first one of this kind I ever had. It
was only used on great occasions. Usually we used a splint broom which
we made ourselves.

I used to do all the housework for a family of seven besides making
butter and taking care of the chickens. If help was short, I helped with
the milking, too. I made all the clothes the men wore. A tailor would
cut out their suits and then I would make them by hand. I made all their
shirts too. You should have seen the fancy bosomed shirts I made. Then I
knit the stocking and mittens for the whole family and warm woolen
scarfs for their necks. My husband used to go to bed tired to death and
leave me sitting up working. He always hated to leave me. Then he would
find me up no matter how early it was. He said I never slept. I didn't
have much time to waste that way. We lived on beautiful Silver Lake. In
season the pink lady-slippers grew in great patches and other flowers to
make the prairie gay.

For amusement we used to go visiting and always spent the day. We would
put the whole family into a sleigh or wagon and away we would go for an
outing. We had such kind neighbors--no one any better than the
other--all equal.

Mrs. E. A. Merrill--1853, Minneapolis.

My home was where the old Union station stood. In 1853 my father, Mr.
Keith, learned that the land near where the Franklin Avenue bridge now
is was to be thrown open to settlement. He loaded his wagon with lumber
and drove onto the piece of land he wanted and stayed there all night.
In the morning he built his home. In the afternoon the family moved in
and lived there for three years.

Mrs. Martha Thorne--1854.

We started from Davenport, Iowa, for Minnesota Territory in 1854. We had
expected to be only two weeks on the trip to the junction of the Blue
Earth and Minnesota rivers, but were six weeks on that terrible trip
with our ox teams. There had been so much rain that all dry land was a
swamp, all swamps lakes, and the lakes and rivers all over everywhere.
Sometimes we worked a whole day to get one hundred feet through one of
the sloughs. We would cut the tallest and coarsest rushes and grass and
pile in to make a road bed. We would seem to be in a sea, but finally
this trip ended as all trips, no matter how bad, must, and we came to
Lake Crystal where we were to stay.

Such a beautiful spot as it was, this home spot! We camped for three
weeks, living in our prairie schooner, while the men put up the wild

We built a log cabin with "chinkins" to let in the air. We filled in the
cracks except where these chinkins were, with mud. The roof was made by
laying popple poles so they met in the middle and fastening them
together. Over this we laid a heavy thickness of wild hay, and over that
the popple poles again well tied with hand twisted ropes of wild hay, to
those below. It was a good roof, only it leaked like a sieve. The floor
was just the ground. Over it we put a layer of the wild hay and then
staked a rag carpet over it. A puncheon shelf to put my trunk under, and
the furniture placed, made a home that I was more than satisfied with.
It took my husband over two weeks with a pair of trotting oxen to go for
the furniture to St. Paul.

My baby was born three weeks after we moved in. There was no doctor
within a hundred miles. I got through, helped only by my sister-in-law.
What do you women nowadays, with your hospitals and doctors know of a
time like this? When it rained, and rain it did, plenty, that October,
the only dry place was on that trunk under the shelf and many an hour
baby and I spent there. Whenever there was sunshine that carpet was

We were much troubled with what the settlers called "prairie dig." It
was a kind of itch that seemed to come from the new land. It made the
hands very sore and troublesome. We did everything but could find no
cure. The Dakota Sioux were our neighbors and were very friendly. They
had not yet learned to drink the white man's firewater. A squaw came in
one day and when she saw how I was suffering, went out and dug a root.
She scraped off the outer bark, then cooked the inner bark and rubbed it
on my hands. I was cured as if by magic. She buried all parts of the
root, so I think it was poison.

The next year we raised the first wheat on the Des Moines River. We put
the sacks in the bottom of the wagon, then our feather beds on top of
them. The children were put on these and we started for the mill at
Garden City, one hundred and thirty miles away. We had two yoke of oxen;
the leaders were white with black heads and hoofs and great, wide
spreading horns. They were Texas cattle and were noble beasts, very
intelligent and affectionate. I could drive them by just calling "Gee
and Haw". They went steadily along. My husband and I spelled each other
and went right along by night as well as day. We were about forty hours
going. The moonlight, with the shadows of the clouds on the prairie was
magnificent. We never saw a human being. We had our wheat ground and
started back. As I was walking beside the oxen while my husband slept, I
started up a flock of very young geese. I caught them all and they
became very tame. They once flew away and were gone three weeks, but all
returned. When we got home, we had a regular jubilation over that flour.
Twenty of the neighbors came in to help eat it. They were crazy for the
bread. I made three loaves of salt rising bread and they were enormous,
but we never got a taste of them.

The Indians were always kind neighbors. They learned evil from the
whites. The father of Inkpadutah used to hold my little girl and measure
her foot for moccasins. Then he would bring her the finest they could
make and would be so pleased when they fitted. The Indians always had
wonderful teeth. They did not scrub the enamel off. They used to ask for
coffee and one who had been to school said, "Could I have a green
pumpkin?" and ate it raw with a relish.

We had a carpet sack for stockings. An Indian orator used to look at it
with covetous eyes. One day he came in, laid two mink skins on the
table, took the stockings out of the bag and stepping right along with
victory in his eye, bore that sack away.

We lived on salt and potatoes for five weeks that first winter. We paid
$1.00 for three pounds of sugar and $18.00 for a barrel of musty flour
that we had to chop out with an ax and grate. That was in the winter of
'55. During the Inkpadutah outbreak, the soldiers ate everything we had.

During the outbreak of '62 we moved to Mankato. I belonged to the ladies
aid and we took care of the wounded and refugees sent from New Ulm. We
made field beds on the floor for them. One poor German woman went to
sleep while carrying a glass of water across the room to her husband,
who was wounded. She just sank down in such a deep sleep that nothing
could arouse her. I never could imagine such exhaustion. Old man Ireland
had sixteen bullet holes, but had never stopped walking until he got to
us. Mrs. Eastlake, that wonderful woman, was in this hospital. She was
the woman who crawled all those miles on her hands and knees.

Mrs. Nancy Lowell--1854.

I came to Faribault in 1854 and boarded at the hotel kept by the
Nuttings the first winter.

One evening I stepped to the door to throw out a washbasin of water and
saw a large dog standing there. I put the dish down and was going out to
call him. When my husband saw me going toward the door he said, "What
are you going to do?" I said, "Call in a dog." It was bright moonlight.
He said, "Let me see him." He looked and hastily closed the door saying,
"The biggest kind of a timber wolf. Be careful what kind of pets you
take in here."

The upper part of the hotel where we lived the first winter, was all in
one room. I was the only woman, so we had a room made with sheeting.
Sometimes there were twenty people sleeping in that loft. We did not
have to open the windows. Most windows in those days were not expected
to be opened anyway. The air just poured in between the cracks, and the
snow blew in with gusto. It was not at all unusual to get up from under
a snow bank in the morning.

I brought many pretty dresses and wore them too. Those who first came,
if they had money and were brides, were dressed as if they lived in New
York City.

We had a dance one night in our little log hotel. It was forty degrees
below zero, and very cold anywhere away from the big stove. The women
wanted to dance all the time and so set the table and put on the bread
and cake before the company came. Five hours afterward when we went to
eat, they were frozen solid. The dish towels would freeze too, as they
hung on the line in the kitchen over the stove, while the stove was
going, too.

One morning, after we were keeping house, my husband said, "I guess we
have some spring company. You better go in and see them." I did and in
the parlor was the biggest kind of an ox standing there chewing his
quid. He had just come in through the open door to make a morning call.
All kinds of animals ran at large then.

Mrs. William Dow--1854, Little Falls.

We came to Little Falls and built this house we are now living in in
1854. It was built right on an Indian trail that paralleled the Red
River cart trail. You see that road out there? That is just where the
old Red River cart road went. That is Swan River and it went between us
and that. Our back door was right on their foot trail. You could step
out of our door onto it. There is a big flat rock on the river up about
four miles where the Chippewa and Sioux signed treaties to behave
themselves. After this they were killing each other before they got out
of town. You know our Indians were the Chippewas. They were woods
Indians. The prairies belonged to the Sioux. They had always been
enemies. Hole-in-the-Day was head chief here and a pretty good chief,
too. His tribe got suspicious of him; they thought he was two-faced, so
shot him, as they did his father before him. He had married a white
woman, so the real chief now is a white man. I think he was on the
square though. He used often to drop in for a piece of pie or anything
to eat. He is buried upon the bluff here.

Swan River Ferry was three miles from Little Falls. It was on the direct
road through Long Prairie to Fort Abercrombie. The Red River Cart Trail
crossed the Mississippi River at Belle Prairie. There was a mill at that
little place.

When the lumber jacks were driving logs they used to have their wamigans
tie up in the river just outside that front door.

The Indians were camped all around here. They used to fill their
moccasins with rabbit hair to take the place of stockings. Once I was
standing by the river and I saw a squaw come out with a new born baby.
She wasn't making any fuss over it. First she took it by the heels and
plunged it in the river; then by the head and soused it in that way.

Mrs. Salome was a squaw who had married a white man. Her husband went to
the war. I used to write her letters to him and she would sign them with
her cross. She became very fond of me. At the time of the outbreak she
said to me, "Kinnesagas?" meaning, "are you afraid?" I did not reply.
Then she said "If you are, I'll hide you." She made a wigwam by the side
of hers and wanted me to go into it with my children, but I would not.
I liked her, but I remembered how when the Indians had had a scalp
dance, I had seen her shake one of the scalps in her teeth. This was
after she had married a white man. I asked her if she did not like the
Indians better than the whites and she said in Chippewa, "If I do, why
do I not stay with them?"

At the beginning of the outbreak the Sioux were sending runners all the
time to get the Chippewas to join them. One of our men, William Nichols,
spoke the Indian language as well as English. He had lived with them
when he was a fur trader. He used to disguise himself as an Indian and
go to the councils, so we all knew just what was going on. Old Buffalo,
a chief, said, "If you go to war, I'll be a white man; I won't be an
Indian any more. I'll go away and stay by myself always." We knew at
once when they fully decided not to join the Sioux.

Finally I yielded to the entreaties of my friends and went down to St.
Cloud to stay with friends until the danger should be over. My husband
was in the war. One day someone coming from Little Falls said, "There's
someone living in your house." "Well," said I, "if anyone can, I can,"
so back I went. I found an old friend from further up the country there.
We joined forces and lived there until the war was over.

One day in war time I looked out of my window and could see Mr. Hall
milking his cow in the pasture. It had a rail fence around it. I could
see what he could not--some Indians sitting in one of the corners of the
fence stretching Sioux scalps over withes. When they finished, they got
up all at the same time, giving a blood curdling war-whoop. The cow
kicked over the milk and fled bellowing. I think that Mr. Hall made even
better time and he never even looked around.

The squaws would often have ear rings made of wire with three cornered
pieces of tin dangling all around their ears. It was not how good, but
how much, with them. How these Indians ever lived through a winter the
way they dressed, I don't see. They wore only leggings, shirts, breech
clouts and a blanket. Their legs were no barer than a Scotchman's
though. Our Indians used to tuck things in the bosom of their shirt, as
well as in their belts. They used to tuck butcher knives in their
leggings. If they were ever going to go on a tear and get drunk, when we
first came, they would always get my husband to take charge of all their
guns and knives.

When the squaws wore mourning, they were all painted black and always
slashed themselves with knives.

During the last of the fifties, we never had any money. It would not do
you any good if you had for if you took money to the store they would
just give you an order for more goods instead of the change. The Red
River carts used to camp in that little grove of trees over there. We
used to sell them supplies and they would give us English silver money.
Once we took some to the store and they were terribly surprised to see
money. They could not understand how we came by it. Thought we must have
hoarded it, but we told them that it came from the Red River drivers.

Mrs. William J. White--1854.

My husband, Mr. White, started for Lake Addie, Minnesota Territory, in
May, to join some friends and take up a claim. Mr. Hoag had named this
lake in honor of his daughter. The settlement, if you could call it
that, was called Grimshaw Settlement. It is now Brownton. He got up his
cabin and began clearing the land. He and his friends did their cooking
and only had two meals a day--breakfast at eight and dinner at three.
One hot day they had just cooked a big pan of apple sauce and set it out
to cool. Some Indians on their way to a war dance at Shakopee came
streaking along all painted up. First one and then another plunged his
fist in that apple sauce and stuck it down his throat. It must have
skinned them all the way down, but not one made a sound, only looked
hard when they saw the next one start in.

My husband wrote for me to come to him. I had no pilot, so could not
start at once. My boy fell and broke his arm and I thought he was badly
hurt inside so I wrote for father to come home. It generally took so
long for a letter to go through that when two weeks later I got a chance
to go with company, I started, thinking I could get there before the
letter would, as they were generally much longer in going than one could
travel. When I got on the Northern Belle, a fine boat, one of my
children was taken with croup. Dr. N----, a Universalist minister, got
off at Dubuque and bought medicine for me. This saved the child, but he
was sick all the way. We were stuck in Beef Slough for several days. I
never left the cabin as my child needed me, but some time during the
first day a boat from St. Paul was stuck there too, so near us that
passengers passed from one boat to the other all day. It was only when I
got to Hastings, where I had thought to meet my husband that I found he
had been on that other stranded boat. Later, I learned that he had spent
some time on my boat, but of course, did not know I was there. The
letter I had written him had gone straight, as a man who was going to
their settlement had taken charge of it from the first. I had to wait
six weeks in Hastings until he went clear to Pennsylvania and back.
Evangeline wasn't in it with me.

Finally he came and we went on to our new home. I thought I had never
seen such wonderful wild flowers. Mr. Grimshaw came after us with his
horses. We had supper at his house the night before we got to our home,
and I never tasted anything so good--pheasants browned so beautifully
and everything else to match. The most wonderful welcome, too, went with
that meal.

We passed fields just red with wild strawberries and in places where the
land had been cultivated and the grass was sort of low, they grew away
up and were large with big clusters, too. We did just revel in them.
They were much more spicy than any we had ever eaten. The wild grass
grew high as a man's head. When we came in sight of our home, I loved it
at once and so did the children. It was in the bend of a little stream
with stepping stones across. I knew at once that I had always wanted
stepping stones on my place. About two feet from the floor a beam had
been set in the whole length of the room. It was roped across and a
rough board separated it into two sections. These were our beds and with
feather beds and boughs, made a fine sleeping place. Wolves used to howl
all around at night but with the stock secure and the home closed up
tightly, we were happy. Our walls were plastered with mud and then
papered by me with paper that was six cents a roll back east. We made a
barrel chair and all kinds of home-made furniture out of packing boxes.
Our rooms looked so cozy. Father was a natural furniture maker, though
we never knew it before we came here.

Game was very plentiful and as we never had enough back home, we did not
soon tire of it. My husband once killed a goose and eleven young ones
with one shot.

The first year our garden was looking fine when the grasshoppers came in
such swarms that they obscured the sun. They swooped on everything in
the garden. There was no grain as the squirrels, black birds and gophers
had never tasted this delicacy before and followed the sower, taking it
as fast as it fell. We planted it three times and we had absolutely no
crop of any kind that first year.

We bought four horses later and had them for the summer's work. They
came from Illinois and were not used to the excessive cold of Minnesota.
That winter it was forty degrees below zero for many successive days. It
seems to me we have not had as much cold all this winter as we had in a
week then. Christmas time it was very cold. We wanted our mail so one of
the men rode one of the horses twelve miles to get it. When he arrived
there the horse was very sick. He was dosed up and was seemingly all
right. When the man wanted to start for home, he was warned that it
would be fatal to take a horse which had been dosed with all kinds of
hot stuff out in the terrible cold. He took the risk but the horse fell
dead just as he entered the yard. We lost two others in much the same
way that winter.

We then bought a yoke of young steers. They were very little broken and
the strongest animals I ever saw. Their names were Bright and Bill. Once
the whole family was going to a party at New Auburn, a kind of a city.
My husband had made an Indian wagon. He held them in the road while we
all got in. They started up with such a flourish that everything that
could not hold itself on, fell off. The road was full of things we
wanted with us. They ran on a keen jump for nine miles until we came to
the house where we were going. It was the first house we came to. When
they saw the barn, they must have thought it looked like home for they
ran in there and brought up against the barn with a bang. As soon as Mr.
White could, he jumped out and held them, but their fun was all gone and
they stood like lambs.

I never saw anything funnier than those steers and a huge snapping
turtle. They found him near the creek when they were feeding. They would
come right up to him (they always did everything in concert) then look
at him at close range. The turtle would thrust out his head and snap at
them; then they would snort wildly and plunge all over the prairie,
returning again and again to repeat the performance, which only ended
when the turtle disappeared in the brook.

Wolves were very fearless and fierce that winter. They ran in packs.
They would look in at our windows. Once we sent a hired boy six miles
for twenty-five pounds of pork for working men. When he was near home a
pack of wolves followed him, but he escaped by throwing the pork. Mr.
Pollock and Mr. White were followed in the same way.

Once one of our friends killed a steer. We were all anxious for
amusement so any pretext would bring on a party. All the neighbors had a
piece of the meat but we thought the friends who had killed the steer
should have a party and have roast beef for us all, so we sent word we
were all coming. Mrs. Noble, my neighbor worked all day to make a hoop
skirt. She shirred and sewed together a piece of cloth about three yards
around. In these shirrings she run rattan--a good heavy piece so it
would stand out well. I made a black silk basque and skirt. My finery
was all ready to put on. One of the neighbor's girls was to stay with
the children. The baby had been quite restless, so according to the
custom, I gave her a little laudanum to make her sleep. I did not
realize that it was old and so much stronger. Just before going, when I
was all dressed, I went to look at the baby. I did not like her looks,
so took her up to find her in a stupor. Needless to say there was no
party for us that night. It took us all to awaken her and keep her
awake. I never gave laudanum after that, though I always had before.

Mrs. Paulina Starkloff--1854.

My name was Paulina Lenschke. I was twelve years old when I came to
Minneapolis in 1854. We intended to stay in St. Paul but were told that
this was a better place, so came here and bought an acre and a half just
where the house now stands, Main Street N. E. The town then was mostly
northeast. The St. Charles hotel on Marshall Street, northeast, was just
below us and so were most of the stores. Morgan's foundry and Orth's
brewery were just on the other side of us. We paid $600.00 in gold for
the land and half of it was in my name, as my mother paid $350.00 that I
had made myself. I think I was probably the only twelve year old child
that came into the state with so much money earned by herself. It was
this way.

We went to Australia to dig gold in 1847. We drove an ox team into the
interior with other prospectors doing the same until we came to
diggings. The men would dig and then "cradle" the soil for the gold.
This cradle was just like a baby's cradle only it had a sieve in the
bottom. One man would have a very long handled dipper with which he
would dip water from a dug well. He only dipped and the other man
stirred with a stick and rocked. Most of the soil would wash out but
there would always be some "dumplings" caused by the clay hardening and
nothing but hard work would break them. The miners would take out the
gold which was always round, and dump these hard pieces. After a day's
work there would be quite a pile that was never touched by them. I would
take a can and knife and go from dump to dump gathering the gold in
these dumplings. One day my father went prospecting with a party of men
and was never seen again. After months of fruitless search my mother
took me and my little tin can of nuggets back to Germany. She sold them
for me for $350.00 in gold. Then we came to Minnesota and bought this

The Red River carts used to be all day passing our house. They would
come squeaking along one after another. Sometimes the driver would take
his wife and children with him. These carts had no metal about them. One
man would have charge of several.

Mrs. Anna E. Balser--1855, Ninety-four years old.

I was the only girl in our family that ever worked, but when I was ten
years old I laid my plan to get myself out of my mother's tracks. She
had so much to do with her big family. I could cry when I think of it
now. So, when I was fourteen, my father, scared for me and holding back
every minute, took me to the city to learn the trade I had chosen. I was
through in six months and could do the heaviest work as well as the
finest. I wish you could see the fancy bosomed shirts I used to make
when I was fourteen! No one could beat me. I always had a pocketful of
money for I got two and six a day. That would be 38c now. I went from
house to house to work and always had the best room and lived on the fat
of the land. It was a great event when the tailoress came.

I came to Lakeland in 1855. The prairies around there looked like apple
orchards back home. The scrub oak grew just that way. I would bet
anything I could go and pick apples if I had not known. I had thought of
buying in Minneapolis, but my friends who owned Lakeland thought it was
going to be the city of Minnesota, so I bought here. I was a tailoress
and made a good living until the hard times came on. Money was plenty
one day. The next you could not get a "bit" even, anywhere. Then, after
that, I had to trade my work for anything I could get.

I brought a blue black silk dress with mutton leg sleeves among my
things when I come. It was the best wearing thing I ever see. Cheaper to
wear than calico because it would never wear out. I paid $1.00 a yard
for it. It was twenty-seven inches wide. It took twelve yards to make
the dress. For a wrap we wore a long shawl. I had one of white lace. We
got three yards of lace webbing and trimmed it with lace on the edge. Or
we would take one width of silk and finish that fancy on the edge. The
ruffles on everything was fluted. When you shirred them you would hold
them over the first and third finger passing under the second finger.
That would make large flutings. If you had an Italian iron you could do
it fast, but there wa'n't many so fortunate. An Italian iron was a tube
about as big as your finger on a standard. Two rods to fit this tube
come with it. You could put these heated, inside then run your silk
ruffle or whatever you were making over it and there was your flute
quick as a wink.

Mrs. Mary E. Dowling--1855.

As Miss Watson I came from Pennsylvania in 1855 and took a school to
teach back of Marine. I got $36.00 in gold a month and so was well paid.
Had from five to twenty-five children who came to learn and so behaved

When I would walk through the woods I would sometimes see a bear
leisurely sagging around. When I did, my movements were not like his.
All kinds of wild animals were very plenty. The foxes were the cutest
little animals and so tame. They would seem to be laughing at you.

A band of Indians was encamped at a lake near. One brave all dressed in
his Sunday best used to come and sit in the kitchen day after day. He
used to talk to the men but never said a word to us. He could speak good
English. One day the chief came in and went for him. Said he had been
away from his tepee for days and his squaws wanted him. Like lightning
he crossed the room to where I was and said, "Me got Sioux squaw. Me got
Winnebago squaw. Me want white squaw. You go?" I was very earnest in

Mrs. Robert Anderson--1854.

I was the first white woman in Eden Prairie. I came in 1854 with my
husband and small children and settled there in one of the first log
houses built. We paid for our farm the first year, from the cranberries
which grew in a bog on our land and which we sold for $1.00 a bushel.

I had never seen Indians near to, and so was very much afraid of them.
One day a big hideously painted brave marched in, seated himself and
looked stolidly around without making a sound. His long knife was
sticking in his belt. I was overpowered with fright and for a few
moments could do nothing. My children, one two years old and the other a
baby, were asleep behind the curtain. Realizing that I could do nothing
for them and that his anger might be aroused if he saw me run away with
them, I fled precipitately in the direction where my husband was
working. I had run about a quarter of a mile when my mother heart told
me I might not be in time if I waited for my husband, so I turned and
fled back towards the cabin. Entering, I saw my little two year old boy
standing by the Indian's side playing with the things in his belt while
the Indian carefully held the baby in his arms. In his belt were a
tobacco pouch and pipe, two rabbits with their heads drawn through, two
prairie chickens hanging from it by their necks, a knife and a tomahawk.
His expression remained unchanged. I gave him bread and milk to eat and
ever after he was our friend, oftentimes coming and bringing the
children playthings and moccasins. When he left, he gave me the rabbits
and prairie chickens and afterwards often brought me game.

One day Mr. Anderson was at work in the field, a long distance from the
house. He was cutting grain with a scythe and told me he would just
about get that piece done if I would bring him his supper. I had never
been over on this knoll which was on the other side of a small hill from
the house. I got his supper ready, taking all the dishes and food in a
basket and carrying a teapot full of tea in my hand. I had to pass a
small cranberry bog and could see squaws at work picking berries. As I
came to a clump of trees, ten or twelve Indians with their faces as
usual hideously painted, the whole upper part of their bodies bare and
painted, rose from this clump of trees and looked at me. I waited for
nothing, but threw my basket and teapot and made for the house. As I got
to the top of the hill I looked back and could see the Indians feasting
on my husband's supper. Upon his return home to supper that evening, he
brought the dishes and the teapot with him.

We had been in Eden Prairie about six years and had never been to church
as there was no church near enough for us to attend. We heard there was
to be preaching at Bloomington, and determined to go. We had always been
church-going people and had felt the loss of services very keenly. We
had nothing but an ox team and thought this would not be appropriate to
go to church with, so, carrying my baby, I walked the six miles to
church and six miles back again. The next Sunday, however, we rode
nearly to church with the ox team, then hitched them in the woods and
went on foot the rest of the way.

Mr. Anderson was always a devoted friend of Mr. Pond, the missionary and
attended his church for many years. One of Mr. Anderson's sons took up a
claim in the northern part of the State. When Mr. Pond died, he came
down to the funeral. Upon his return, he saw a tepee pitched on the edge
of his farm and went over to see what it was there for and who was in
it. As he neared it, he heard talking in a monotone and stood listening,
wondering what it could mean. He pushed up the flap and saw Indians
engaged in prayer. He asked them who taught them to pray and they
replied "Grizzly Bear taught us." He told them Grizzly Bear, which was
the Indian name for Mr. Pond, was dead and would be seen no more. He
took from his pocketbook a little white flower which he had taken from
the casket, told them what it was and each one of them held it
reverently with much lamentation. This was twenty years after these
people had been taught by Grizzly Bear.

Mrs. Wilder--1854.

We settled on a farm near Morristown. There was an Indian village near.
We always used to play with those Sioux children and always found them
very fair in their play. We used to like to go in their tepees. There
was a depression in the middle for the fire. The smoke was supposed to
go out of the hole in the top of the tent. An Indian always had a smoky
smell. When they cooked game, they just drew it a little--never took off
the feathers much or cut the head or feet off.

Some of our Indians got into a fuss with a band from Faribault and one
of our Indians killed one of them. He brought a great knife that he had
done the killing with and gave it to my father all uncleaned as it was.
He said it was "seechy" knife, meaning bad. As they were still fighting,
my father took it just as it was and stuck it up in a crack above our
front door in our one room. Then he sent to Morristown for Mr. Morris
to straighten out the fight. He had lived among the Indians for a long
time and knew their language. He brought them to time. Later they came
and wanted the knife but my father would not give it to them.

Geese and ducks covered the lakes. Later we had the most wonderful
feather beds made from their feathers. We only used the small fluffy
ones, so they were as if they were made from down. Wild rice, one of the
Indians' principal articles of diet, when gathered was knocked into
their canoe. It was often unhulled. I have seen the Indians hull it.
They would dig a hole in the ground, line it with a buffalo skin, hair
side down, then turn the rice in this, jumping up and down on it with
their moccasined feet until it was hulled. I could never fancy it much
after I saw this.

We had great quantities of wild plums on our own place. Two trees grew
close together and were so much alike we always called them the twins.
Those trees had the most wonderful plums--as large as a small peach. We
used to peel them and serve them with cream. Nothing could have a finer

Just before the outbreak, an Indian runner, whom none of us had ever
seen, went around to all the Sioux around there. Then with their ponies
loaded, the tepee poles dragging behind, for three days our Indians went
by our place on the old trail going west. Only a few of Bishop Whipple's
Christian Indians remained.

Mr. Warren Wakefield--1854.

My father came to Wayzata with his family, settling where the Sam Bowman
place now is. We had lived over a year in southern Minnesota. As the
hail took all our crops, we had lived on thin prairie chickens and
biscuits made of sprouted wheat. It would not make bread. The biscuits
were so elastic and soft that they could be stretched way out. These
were the first playthings that I can remember.

A trader came with cows, into the country where we were living, just
before the hail storm and as there was nothing to feed them on, my
father traded for some of them. He traded one of his pair of oxen for
forty acres of land in Wayzata and the other for corn to winter the

The first meal we had in our new home was of venison from a buck which
my father shot. It was very fat and juicy and as we had not had any meat
but ducks and prairie chickens in two years, it tasted very delicious. I
have counted thirty-four deer in the swamps at one time near our house;
they were so abundant. We lived the first winter in Wayzata on fish,
venison and corn meal and I have never lived so well.

I was sixteen years old before I ever had a coat. We wore thick shirts
in the winter and the colder it was, the more of them we wore. In the
east, my mother had always spun her own yarn and woven great piles of
blankets and woolen sheets. These were loaded in the wagon and brought
to our new home. When there was nothing else, these sheets made our
shirts. We never wore underclothing, but our pants were thickly lined.

My mother was a tailoress and that first year in Minnesota we could not
have lived if it had not been for this. She cut out and made by hand all
kinds of clothing for the settlers. My father used to buy leather and
the shoemaker came to the house and made our shoes.

One spring we had a cellar full of vegetables that we could not use, so
father invited all the squaws who lived near us to come and get some.
They came and took them away. In the cellar also was a keg and a two
gallon jug of maple vinegar. Cut Nose, one of the finest specimens of
manhood I have ever seen, tall, straight and with agreeable features in
spite of the small piece gone from the edge of one nostril, was their
chief, and came the next day with a large bottle, asking to have it
filled with whiskey. Father said he had none, but Cut Nose said he knew
there was a jug and keg of it in the cellar. Father told him to go and
take it if he found any. He sampled first the jug and then the keg with
a most disgusted expression and upon coming upstairs threw the bottle on
the bed and stalked out. This maple vinegar was made from maple sugar
and none could be better.

Cut Nose was often a visitor at our home. He was a great brag and not
noted for truth telling. He was very fond of telling how he shot the
renegade Inkpadutah. This was all imagination. He had an old flint lock
musket with the flint gone and would illustrate his story by crawling
and skulking, generally, to the great delight of the boys. One rainy day
my mother was sick and was lying in her bed which was curtained off from
the rest of the living room. As Cut Nose, who did not know this, told
his oft repeated story, illustrating it as usual, he thrust his gun
under the curtains and his face and shoulders after it to show how he
shot the renegade chief from ambush. My mother dashed out with a shriek,
but was no more frightened than Cut Nose, at the apparition of the white

One day my brother and I took a peck of potatoes each and went to an
Indian camp to trade for two pairs of moccasins, the usual trade. We
left the potatoes with the squaws for a moment and ran outside to see
what some noise was. When we returned there were no potatoes to be seen
and no moccasins to be traded. We began looking about but could see
nothing. The fire was burned down well and was a glowing bed of coals in
its depression in the center of the tepee. After a while, one of the old
squaws went to the ashes and digging them with a stick, commenced to dig
out the potatoes. As the fire was about four feet in diameter, the usual
width, there was plenty of room for our half bushel of potatoes. They
gave us some of them which had a wonderful flavor, but we never got any

Among the Indians living at the lake one winter was a white child about
three years old. My father tried to buy her, but they would not let her
go or tell who she was. They left that part of the country later, still
having her in their possession.

If it had not been for ginseng in Minnesota, many of the pioneers would
have gone hungry. Mr. Chilton of Virginia came early and built a small
furnace and drying house in Wayzata. Everyone went to the woods and dug
ginseng. For the crude product, they received five cents a pound and the
amount that could be found was unlimited. It was dug with a long narrow
bladed hoe and an expert could take out a young root with one stroke. If
while digging, he had his eye on another plant and dug that at once, he
could make a great deal of money in one day. An old root sometimes
weighed a half pound. I was a poor ginseng digger for I never noticed
quickly, but my father would dig all around my feet while I was hunting
another chance. The tinge of green of this plant was different from any
other so could be easily distinguished. When we sold it, we were always
paid in gold. After ginseng is steamed and dried, it is the color of

Mrs. Leroy Sampson--1854.

Six families of us came together from Rhode Island and settled on
Minnewashta Lake in '54. There was only a carpenter shop in Excelsior.
We spent the first few months of our stay all living together in one log
shack which was already there. The first night the man who had driven us
from St. Paul sat up all night with his horses and we none of us slept a
wink inside that little windowless cabin on account of a noise we heard.
In the morning we found it was the mournful noise of the loons on the
lake that had kept us awake, instead of the wolves we had feared.

Mrs. Anna Simmons Apgar--1854.

When our six families got to the springs near Excelsior it was near dark
and we struck the worst road we had found in the swampy land by it. The
mosquitoes were dreadful, too. How dreadful, no one today can ever
believe. One of the tiredout men said, "This is Hell!" "No," said
another, "Not Hell, but Purgatory." The spring took its name from that.

When my father had put up his cabin he made our furniture with his own
hands out of basswood. He made one of those beds with holes in the side
piece for the ropes to go from side to side instead of our springs of
today. They used to be very comfortable. When father got ready for the
rope he had none, so he made it by twisting basswood bark. Then mother
sewed two of our home spun sheets together for a tick and my uncle cut
hay from the marsh and dried it, to fill it and we had a bed fit for a
king. Our floor was of maple split with wedges and hewed out with a
broadax. Father was a wonder at using this. A broadax was, you know,
twelve or fourteen inches wide and the handle was curved a little. A man
had to be a man to use one of these. It took strength and a good trained
eye to hew timber flat with one of these axes.

When I was playing I tore my clothes off continually in the woods.
Finally my mother said, "This has gone far enough!" and made me a blue
denim with a low neck and short sleeves. Has anyone ever told you how
terrible the mosquitoes were in the early days? Think of the worst
experience you ever had with them and then add a million for each one
and you will have some idea. My little face, neck, arms, legs and feet
were so bitten, scratched and sunburned that when I was undressed I was
the most checkered looking young one you ever saw. Those parts of me
might have been taken from a black child and glued on my little white

Such huge fish as overrun the lakes you have never seen. We thought the
Indians numerous and they had fished for ages in those lakes, but they
only caught what they wanted for food. It took the white men with their
catching for sport to see how many they could catch in one day, and
write back east about it, to clean out the lakes.

Father hewed a big basswood canoe out of a log. Eight people could sit
comfortably in it as long as they did not breathe, but if they did, over
she went! We used to have lots of fun in that old canoe just the same
and the fish got fewer after it came into commission.

When we six families first came we were all living in one little cabin
waiting for our homes to be built and our furniture to come. One of the
women was very sick. Dr. Ames came out to see her and cured her all
right. It took a day to get him and another day for him to get home. He
wanted to wash his hands and my aunt, who was used to everything, said
she thought she would drop dead when she had to take him the water in a
little wooden trough that father had hewed out. He made such cute little
hooded cradles for babies, too, out of the forest wood.

Mrs. Newman Woods--1854, Excelsior.

When we made our tallow dips or rough candles, we took the candlewicking
and wound it around from our hand to our elbow, then cut it through. We
held a short stick between our knees and threw one of these wicks around
it, twisting it deftly, letting it hang down. When we had filled the
stick, we would lay it down and fill another until we had wicks for
about ten dozen dips. My mother would then fill the wash-boiler
two-thirds full of water and pour melted deer or other tallow on top of
this. Two chairs had been placed with two long slats between them. She
would dip one stick full of wicks up and down in the boiler a number of
times, then place it across the slats to cool. This was continued until
all the wicks were dipped. By this time, the first would have hardened
and could be dipped again. We would work hard all day and make eight or
ten dozen dips. Later we had candle molds made of tin. We would put a
wick in the center where it was held erect and then pour these molds
full of tallow and let them harden. Later the molds were dipped in hot
water and then a spring at the side, pushed the candle out. This was
very simple.

We had our first kerosene lamp in '61. We were terrible frightened of
it. It did smell terrible but this did not keep us from being very proud
of it.

Once mother was frying pancakes for supper. A number of Indians going by
came in and saw her. They were all painted or daubed. They kept reaching
over and trying to get the pancakes. Finally one of them stuck out his
leg acting as if it was broken. I ran madly to the back clearing where
father and uncle Silas were working and told them there were Indians
trying to get our pancakes and that one of them had a broken leg. They
were not frightened for they knew the Indians and their customs. I just
waited to see father give them a pancake apiece and that leg settle down
naturally, then ran and got under the bed.

The Indians were very fond of father who had a very heavy beard. It used
to be stylish to shave the upper lip. The Indians used to watch him
shave with great interest. The neighborhood was full of them, generally
all painted for the war dance. They used to bother father to death
wanting to be shaved. One morning he did shave one of them and you never
saw such a proud Indian, or more disgusted ones than those who were left
out. Nearly all of the Indians who came were Sioux and fine looking.

One of the greatest pests to the pioneers around here was the thousand
legged worms. They were very thick around where we were and very
poisonous. My little sister nearly died from getting one in her mouth
when she was lying on a quilt on the floor.

Mother used to make mince pies by soaking pumpkin in vinegar. We dried
the wild grapes for raisins. My, but those pies were good. Everybody
bragged on "Aunt Hannah's mince pies."

My father and brother frequently went hunting for deer. They used to run
their bullets, which were round, by melting lead in a ladle in the
stove. Such a looking kitchen as they would leave! Ashes from the ladle
all over everything. It wasn't much of a trick to shoot deer, they were
so thick and so tame. They used to come right near the house. I did not
like venison for it seemed to me like eating a friend.

All six of us families used to wash at the lake in summer. We used soft
soap that we made ourselves and boiled the clothes in a big kettle. They
were beautifully white.

Mr. Chester L. Hopkins--1854, Hopkins.

When I was a little boy we had a grindstone in our yard which was used
by us and our few scattered neighbors. One night we were awakened by
hearing the grindstone going, and father went to the door to see who was
using it. A party of forty Sioux braves on their ponies were standing
around, while some of the braves ground their knives which each in his
turn put in his belt. It was a bright moonlight night and we could see
them as plainly as if it was day. The Indians were in full war paint and
feathers and after their task was accomplished, rode one after the other
over the hill where they stood out like black silhouettes, and finally
disappeared. They were probably going to a war dance.

Miss Florinda Hopkins--Hopkins.

When I was a little girl a number of Indians came in on a rainy day, and
tired from a long tramp, lay asleep on the floor of the kitchen. The
party consisted of a chief and seven braves. My mother was making dried
apple pies. When she had finished, she cut two of them into six pieces
each and gave each Indian a piece which he ate with the greatest relish.
All of them kept a watchful eye on the remaining pieces which they
regarded wistfully. The chief with a noble gesture motioned them all to
leave the house and remained himself. As soon as they were outside he
motioned for the rest of the pie and ate it all with the greatest relish
while the rest of the band looked enviously through the window. Were
these not, indeed, children?

I remember a Sioux war party of ten or more going by our house,
returning from a war dance at Shakopee. They were doing their war song
business as they trotted along and swinging one pitiful scalp on a pole.
Their battles were generally like this. Ten was a small number to kill
one Chippewa. When the Chippewa retaliated they would go in the same

One morning a party stopped here. They were very tired. Had probably
trotted a long, long way for their endurance was wonderful. They just
said "Chippewa?" and as soon as they knew we had seen none were flying
on again.

We often traded food with the Indians as well as giving it to them,
allowing them to make their own terms. They would bring a pair of fancy
beaded moccasins and trade them for six doughnuts.

Mrs. J. W. Ladd--1854.

I remember seeing and hearing the Red River carts as they passed through
St. Anthony. The cart was almost square with posts standing up along the
sides to hold the furs which were piled high above the cart and roped
down in place. There was one swarthy man to five or six ox drawn carts.
He was dressed in a coonskin cap or broad brimmed hat with buckskin
trousers and jumper. He had a knit bright colored sash about his waist
and his hat had a bright colored band.

One day my mother was sitting sewing while I was playing about the room,
when the light seemed obscured. We looked up to see a number of Indian
faces in the window. They made motions to mother to trade her earrings
for moccasins and failing in this, they asked for the bright colored
tassels which hung from the curtain. They also very much admired my
mother's delaine dress which was of triangles in blue, red, black and
white. When refused they went away peaceably but afterwards often
returned trying to make a trade.

Mrs. C. H. Pettit--1854, Minneapolis.

In 1854 I attended church in the Tooth-pick church. This was a small
church so called from its high, narrow tower. I had never seen Indians
as we had just moved to town. I was walking along through the woods on
what is now Fourth street when I was surrounded by yelling, painted
Indians on ponies. Seeing that I was frightened nearly to death they
continued these antics, circling round, and round me, whooping and
yelling, until I reached my home. Then they rode rapidly away
undoubtedly taking great pleasure in the fright they had given the

Mrs. Anna Hennes Huston--1854.

I moved to St. Anthony in 1854. I was only a tiny tot but used to go
with my brother along a path by the river to find our cow. We usually
found her in the basement of the university.

The roaring of the Falls used to scare me and if the wind was in the
right direction we would be all wet with the spray.

I remember that at one time in the early days, potatoes were very
scarce. My mother traded a wash dish full of eggs for the same amount of

Mr. Henry Favel--1854.

With my family I lived thirty miles from Carver. My father died and as I
had no money to buy a coffin, I made it myself. I had to walk thirty
miles for the nails. The boards were hand hewed and when the coffin was
made, it looked so different from those we had seen, in its staring
whiteness, that we took the only thing we had, a box of stove blacking,
which we had brought from the east with us and stained the coffin with

I walked twenty miles for potatoes for seed and Paid $3.00 a bushel for
them. I brought them home on my back. I was three days making the
journey on foot.

The wages for a carpenter at this time were $30.00 a month and found.

Mrs. Rebecca Plummer--1854.

We came to Brooklyn Center in 1854. Mr. Plummer's father had come in '52
and had taken a claim.

We did enjoy the game, for we had never had much. Pigeons were very
thick. We used to stake nets for them almost touching the ground. Under
these we scattered corn. They would stoop and go in under and pick up
the grain. When they held their heads erect to swallow the corn, their
necks would come through the meshes of the net and they could not

I saw the Winnebagoes taken to their river reservation. They camped a
night on the island in the river and went through all the dances they
knew and made every noise they knew how to make. The most wonderful
sight though was to see that vast flotilla of canoes going on the next
morning. There were hundreds of them with their Indian occupants,
besides the long procession on foot.

Mrs. C. A. Burdick--1855.

We came to what is now St. Cloud settling near the junction of the
Little Sauk and Mississippi. The Sauk was a beautiful little river. The
strawberries were very sweet, a much nicer flavor than tame ones. The
prairie was covered with them.

The Winnebagoes who had lived on Long Prairie were transferred to their
new home and we went to take care of the agency buildings they had left.
There were from seventy-five to a hundred of these buildings. Franklin
Steele and Anton Northrup owned them. We were awfully lonesome but we
braved it out. The Indians were always coming and demanding something to
eat. They were always painted and had bows and arrows with them. They
would everlastingly stand and look in the windows and watch us work. We
were so used to them that we never noticed them, only it was troublesome
to have the light obscured.

Have I ever seen the Red River carts? My! I should say I have! Seen them
by the hundred. My husband had charge of a fur store for Kittson at
Fort Garry, now Winnipeg and we lived there. I used to go back and forth
to St. Cloud where my parents lived with this cart train for protection.
The drivers were a swarthy lot of French half breeds. Likely as not
their hair would be hanging way down. They wore buckskin and a fancy
sash. Sometimes a skin cap and sometimes just their hair or a wide hat.
A tame enough lot of men, fond of jigging at night. They could hold out
dancing. Seemed to never tire.

Their carts had two wheels, all wood and a cross piece to rest the
platform on. This platform had stakes standing way up at the sides. They
were piled high with goods, furs and skins going down and supplies
coming back. I can shut my eyes and see that quaint cavalcade now. Where
are all those drivers?

The tracks were wide and deep and could be plainly seen ahead of us
going straight through the prairie. It took twenty-one days to go from
St. Cloud to Pembina. We used to go through Sauk Center, just a hotel or
road house, then through what is now Alexandria. A family by the name of
Wright used to keep a stopping place for travelers. I don't know just
where it would be now, but I have stayed there often. We went by way of
Georgetown. Swan river, too, I remember. There used to be one tree on
the prairie that we could see for two days. We called it Lone Tree.

Mr. Peter Cooper--1855.

I moved to Vernon Center in the early fifties. I had never worn an
overcoat in New York state, but when I came to Minnesota particularly
felt the need of one. The second year I was here, I traded with an
Indian, two small pigs for a brass kettle and an Indian blanket. Without
any pattern whatever, my wife cut an overcoat from this blanket and
sewed it by hand. This was the only overcoat I had for four years, but
it was very comfortable.

When I was in the Indian war in 1862 I had no mittens and suffered
greatly for this reason. In one of the abandoned Norwegian homes, I
found some hand made yarn, but had no way to get it made into mittens. I
carved a crochet hook out of hickory and with this crocheted myself
gloves with a place for every finger, although I had never had any
experience and had only watched the women knit and crochet.

Mr. Stephen Rochette--1855, St. Paul.

Indians used often to stop to get something to eat. They never stole
anything and seemed satisfied with what we gave them. We were on the
direct road from Fort Snelling to St. Paul. It was made on the old trail
between those two places. This went right up Seventh Street. The Indians
often brought ducks and game to sell.

I used to shoot pigeons and prairie chickens on what is now Summit

I used to make cushions for Father Revoux's back. He had rheumatism very
badly. He used to go by our house horseback. I wanted to give him the
cushions but he would never take anything he did not pay for.

I bought a number of knockdown chairs in Chicago all made by hand for
$125 and sold them for much more. Those chairs would last a lifetime.
The parts were separate and packed well. They could be put together

Mrs. Stephen Rochette--1855.

When we first came into St. Paul in 1855 we landed on the upper levee.
It was used then more than the lower one. We thought we could never get
used to the narrow, crooked streets. We lived with my father, Jacob
Doney, where the Milwaukee tracks now cross Seventh Street.

We soon had three cows. We never had any fence for them, just turned
them out and let them run in the streets with the other cows and pigs.
Sometimes we could find them easily. Again we would have a long hunt.

Mrs. James A. Winter--1855.

We came to Faribault in 1855. My father had the first frame hotel there.
The Indians had a permanent camp on the outskirts of the village. I was
a small girl of sixteen with very fair skin, blue eyes and red cheeks.
The squaws used to come to the house asking for food, which mother
always gave them. "Old Betts" was often there. A young Indian, tall and
fine looking used to come and sit watching me intently while I worked
about the house, much to my discomfort. Finally one day he came close to
me and motioned to me to fly with him. I showed no fear but led the way
to the kitchen where there were others working and fed him, shaking my
head violently all the time. He was the son of a chief and was hung at

Mrs. George E. Fisher--1855.

Mother's name was Jane de Bow. Her father and mother were French. She
came to Minnesota with the Stevens' in 1834 when she was seven years
old. They were missionaries and when their own daughter died induced
Jane's family to let them have her. The Indians were always sorry for
her because her mother was away. They called her "Small-Crow-that-was
Caught". Mrs. Stevens never could punish her for it made the squaws so

The first Indian child my mother ever saw was a small boy who stood on
the edge of Lake Harriet beckoning to her. She was afraid at first but
finally joined him and always played with the Indian children from that

The Stevens' the next year had a little school near their cabin not far
from where the pavilion is now. The Indian children always had to have
prizes for coming. These prizes were generally turnips. Often they gave
a bushel in one day.

In 1839 some Chippewa Indians ambushed a Sioux father who was hunting
with his little son. The child escaped and told the story. The Sioux
went on the warpath immediately and brought home forty or fifty
Chippewa scalps. They had been "lucky" as they found a camp where the
warriors were all away. They massacred the old men, women and children
and came home to a big scalp dance. My mother had played with the Indian
children so much that she was as jubilant as they when she saw these
gory trophies. She learned and enjoyed the dance. She taught me the
Sioux words to this scalp dance and often sang them to us. Translated
they are:

   You Ojibway, you are mean,
   We will use you like a mouse.
   We have got you and
   We will strike you down.
   My dog is very hungry,
   I will give him the Ojibway scalps.

The Indian children would take a kettleful of water, make a fire under
it, and throw fish or turtles from their bone hooks directly into this.
When they were cooked slightly, they would take them out and eat them
without salt, cracking the turtle shells on the rocks. The boys used to
hunt with their bows and arrows just as they did in later years. They
were always fair in their games.

My mother married Mr. Gibbs and moved to this farm on what was the
territorial road near the present Agricultural college. It was on the
direct Indian trail to the hunting grounds around Rice Lake.

The Indian warriors were always passing on it and always stopped to see
their old playmate. By this time they had guns and they would always
give them to mother to keep while they were in the house. The kitchen
floor would be covered with sleeping warriors. Mother knew all their
superstitions. One was that if a woman jumped over their feet they could
never run again. I can well remember my gay, light hearted mother
running and jumping over all their feet in succession as they lay asleep
in her kitchen and the way her eyes danced with mischief as she stood
jollying them in Sioux. We noticed that none of them lost any time in
finding out if they were bewitched.

Our Indians when they came to see mother wanted to do as she did. They
would sit up to the table and she would give them a plate and knife and
fork. This pleased them much. They would start with the food on their
plates but soon would have it all in their laps.

They were very dissatisfied with the way the whites were taking their
lands. The big treaty at Traverse de Sioux was especially distasteful to
them. They said their lands had been stolen from them. They were very
angry at my father because he put a rail fence across their trail and
would have killed him if it had not been for mother.

The last time these good friends came was in May, 1862. A large body of
them on horseback camped on the little knoll across from our house where
the dead tree now is. They were sullen and despondent. Well do I
remember the dramatic gestures of their chief as he eloquently related
their grievances. My mother followed every word he said for she knew how
differently they were situated from their former condition. When she
first knew them they owned all the country--the whites nothing. In these
few years the tables had been turned. Her heart bled for them, her
childhood's companions. He said his warriors could hardly be kept from
the warpath against the whites. That, so far, his counsel had prevailed,
but every time they had a council it was harder to control them. That
their hunting and fishing grounds were gone, the buffalo disappearing
and there was no food for the squaws and papooses. The Great White
Father had forgotten them, he knew, for their rations were long overdue
and there was hunger in the camp.

They slept that night in our kitchen, "Little beckoning boy" and the
other playmates. I can still see the sad look on my mother's face as she
went from one to the other giving each a big, hot breakfast and trying
to cheer them. She could see how they had been wronged. She stood and
watched them sadly as they mounted their ponies and vanished down the
old trail.

Lieut. Governor Gilman--1855.

The winter of '55 and '56 was thirty five degrees below zero two weeks
at a time and forty degrees below was usual.

I have often seen the Red River carts ford the river here. They crossed
at the foot of Sixth Street between where the two warehouses are now.

Mrs. Austin W. Farnsworth--1855.

We came to Dodge County in 1855. The first year we were hailed out and
we had to live on rutabagas and wild tea. We got some game too, but we
were some tired of our diet before things began to grow again. When that
hailstorm came we were all at a quilting bee. There was an old lady,
Mrs. Maxfield there, rubbing her hundred mark pretty close. She set in a
corner and was not scared though the oxen broke away and run home and we
had to hold the door to keep it from blowing in. We said, "Ain't you
afraid?" She answered, "No, I'm not, if I do go out, I don't want to die

The first time I worked out, when I was fourteen years old, I got 50c a
week. There was lots to do for there were twin babies. I used to get
awful homesick. I went home Saturdays and when I came over the hill
where I could see our cabin, I could have put my arms around it and
kissed it, I was that glad to see home.

Mr. Theodore Curtis--1855, Minneapolis.

When I was a little boy my father was building some scows down where the
Washington Avenue bridge now is at the boat landing. There were five or
six small sluiceways built up above the river leading from the platform
where the lumber from the mills was piled, down to where these scows
were. These sluices were used to float the lumber down to the scows. A
platform was built out over the river in a very early day and was, I
should say, three hundred feet wide and one thousand feet long. As the
lumber came from the mills it was piled in huge piles along this
platform. Each mill had its sluiceway but they were all side by side.

It was very popular to drive down on this platform and look at the
falls, whose roaring was a magnet to draw all to see them.

We boys used to play under this platform jumping from one support to
another and then finish up by running down the steps and cavorting
joyously under the falls. I used to get the drinking water for the
workmen from the springs that seeped out everywhere along near where my
father worked. Once he sent me to get water quickly. I had a little dog
with me and we unthinkingly stepped in the spring making the water
roily. Childlike, I never thought of going to another but played around
waiting for it to settle, then as usual took it on top of the
sluiceways. It seemed father thought I had been gone an hour and acted
accordingly. I shall always remember that whipping.

Mrs. Charles M. Godley--1856.

My father, Mr. Scrimgeour, came to Minneapolis in 1855 and built a small
home between First and Second Avenues North on Fourth Street. When my
mother arrived she cried when she saw where her home was to be and said
to her husband, as he was cutting the hazel brush from around the house,
"You told me I would not have to live in a wilderness if I came here."

Mr. Morgan lived across the street. He and my father decided to dig a
well together and put it in the street so that both families could use
it. My father said to Mr. Morgan, "Of course, there is a street surveyed
here, but the town will never grow to it, so the well will be alright

Mr. Morgan was a great bookworm and not at all practical. If his horse
got out and was put in with other strays, he could never tell it, but
had to wait until everyone took theirs and then he would take what was

There was a big sand hole at the corner of Second Avenue South and
Fourth Street where they had dug out sand. It was the great playground
for all the children, for it was thought the town would never grow there
and so it was a good place for a sand hole.

When I went to school I always followed an Indian trail that led from
Hoag's Lake to the government mill. It was bordered by hazel brush and
once in a while a scrub oak. I was much disturbed one night on my way
home, to find men digging a hole through my beloved trail. I hoped they
would be gone in the morning, but to my great disappointment they were
not, for they were digging the excavation for the Nicollet House. My
school was in an old store building at the falls and was taught by
Oliver Gray.

Dr. Barnard lived on the corner by our house. He was Indian agent and
very kind to the Indians. One night a number of them came in the rain.
Mr. Barnard tried to get them to sleep in the house. All refused. One
had a very bad cough so the doctor insisted on his coming in and gave
him a room with a bed. Shortly after, they heard a terrible noise with
an awful yell like a war-whoop. The Indian dashed down the stairs, out
of the house and away. The slats in the bed were found broken and the
bed was on the floor. Later, they found that he had started for bed from
the furthest side of the room, run with full force and plunged in and

In 1857, when the panic came, all stores in Minneapolis failed and there
was not a penny in circulation. Everything was paid by order.

There was a small farmhouse where the Andrews Hotel now stands. Fourth
Street North, that led to it from our house, was full of stumps. We got
a quart of milk every night at this place. They never milked until very
late so it was dark. I used to go for it. My mother always gave me a six
quart pail so that after I had stumbled along over those stumps, the
bottom of the pail at least would be covered.

No one who was used to an eastern climate had any idea how to dress out
here when they first came. I wore hoops and a low necked waist just as
other little girls did. I can remember the discussion that took place
before a little merino sack was made for me. I don't remember whether I
was supposed to be showing the white feather if I surrendered to the
climate and covered my poor little bare neck or whether I would be too
out of style. I must have looked like a little picked chicken with goose
flesh all over me. Once before this costume was added to, by the little
sack, my mother sent me for a jug of vinegar down to Helen Street and
Washington Avenue South. I had on the same little hoops and only one
thickness of cotton underclothing under them. It must have been twenty
degrees below zero. I thought I would perish before I got there, but
childlike, never peeped. When I finally reached home, they had an awful
time thawing me out. The vinegar was frozen solid in the jug.

A boardwalk six blocks long was built from Bridge Square to Bassett's
Hall on First Street North. It was a regular sidewalk, not just two
boards laid lengthwise and held by crosspieces as the other sidewalks
were. Our dress parade always took place there. We would walk back and
forth untiringly, passing everybody we knew and we knew everybody in
town. Instead of taking a girl out driving or to the theatre, a young
man would ask, "Won't you go walking on the boardwalk?"

Lucy Morgan used to go to school with us when we first came. She had
long ringlets and always wore lownecked dresses, just as the rest of us
did, but her white neck never had any gooseflesh on it and she was the
only one who had curls.

We went to high school where the court house now stands. It was on a
little hill, so we always said we were climbing the "Hill of

I can well remember the dazed look that came on my father's face when
for the first time, he realized that there were horses in town that he
did not know. The town had grown so that he could not keep pace with it.

Mr. Frank Slocum--1856.

When we drove from St. Paul to Cannon Falls in '56 we only saw one small
piece of fence on the way. A man by the name of Baker at Rich Valley in
Dakota County had this around his door yard. He had dug a trench and
thrown up a ridge of dirt. On top of this he had two cross pieces and a
rail on top. You call it a rail fence. We called it oftener "stake and
rider." We followed the regular road from St. Paul to Dubuque.

The original Indian trail which was afterward the stage road, started at
Red Wing and went through Cannon Falls, Staunton, Northfield, Dundas,
Cannon City to Faribault.

My father had a store in Cannon Falls. I was only thirteen and small for
my age but I used to serve. One day a big Indian came in when I was
alone and asked for buckshot. They were large and it did not take many
to weigh a pound. He picked a couple out and pretended to be examining
them. I weighed the pound and when I saw he did not put them back, I
took out two. You never saw an Indian laugh so hard in your life. You
always had to be careful when weighing things for Indians, for if you
got over the quantity and took some out they were always grouchy as they
thought you were cheating them.

The farmers used to come through our town on their way to Hastings with
their grain on their ox drawn wagons. They had a journey of two hundred
miles from Owatonna to Hastings and back. They would go in companies and
camp out on the way.

During the years of '56 and '57 many people could not write home as they
had no money to pay postage. Our business was all in trade.

In 1854 a man whom we all knew who lived up above Mankato took an Indian
canoe and paddled down the river to St. Paul. There he sold it for
enough money to pay his fare back on the boat. He was a man of
considerable conscience in his dealings with white men but when a man
was only "an injun" it had not caught up with him yet. Now for the
sequel: The man who bought it had it under the eaves of his house to
catch rain water. During a storm his window was darkened. He looked up
to see an Indian with his blanket held high to darken the window so he
could see in. The white man went out. The savage said, "My canoe. Want
him." The man would not give it up, but the Indian and his friends went
to the authorities and he had to. They had traced it all that long way.

We bought an elevated oven cook stove in St. Paul and it was in use
every day for fifty years. We brought Baker knock down chairs with us
and they have been in constant use for fifty-eight years--have never
been repaired and look as if they were good for one hundred years more.

We made coffee from potato chips, sliced very thin and browned in the
oven. Not such bad coffee, either.

Mrs. T. B. Walker--Minneapolis.

I remember going to market in the morning and seeing a wagon with all
the requisites for a home, drive up to a vacant lot. On the wagon were
lumber, furniture and a wife and baby. What more could be needed! When I
passed in the afternoon the rough house was up, the stove pipe through
the window sent out a cheery smoke and the woman sang about her
household tasks.

One morning I was at church in St. Anthony. The minister had just given
out the text when the squeaking of the Red River carts was faintly
heard. He hastily said, "To be discoursed on next Sunday," for nothing
but this noise could be heard when they were passing.

Mrs. Virginia Jones--1856.

I lived in St. Peter in 1856. The Sioux Indians were having a scalp
dance at Traverse. Their yelling could be plainly heard in St. Peter.
All of that town went over to see them dance. They had a pole decorated
with several scalps. These were stretched on hoops and painted red
inside. The Indians danced round and round this pole, jumping stiff
legged, screeching and gesticulating, while the tom-toms were pounded by
the squaws. I was frightened and wanted to leave, but could not as I had
been pushed near the front and the crowd was dense. Seeing my fear the
Indians seized me by the hands and drew me into their circle, making me
dance round and round the pole.

Some days later I started east to spend the summer with my mother.
Distances were long in those days as the trip was made by steamboat and
stage coach. I took one of the steamers which then ran regularly on the
Minnesota river, sorrowfully parting from my husband as I did not expect
to see him again until fall. That anguish was all wasted for we stuck on
a sand bank just below town and my husband came over in a boat and lived
on the steamer for nearly a week before we could get off the sandbar.

Mrs. Georgiana M. Way--1856.

We moved to Minnesota from Iowa. Came with a prairie schooner. The
country was very wild. We settled on a farm five miles south of Blue
Earth. We brought along a cow and a coop of chickens. The roads were
awfully rough. We would milk the cow, put the milk in a can and the
jarring that milk got as those oxen drew that wagon over the rough roads
gave us good butter the next day. Our first shack was not a dugout, but
the next thing to it. It was a log shed with sloping roof one way. We
had two windows of glass so did not feel so much like pioneers.

The rattlesnakes were very thick. We used to watch them drink from the
trough. They would lap the water with their tongues just as a dog does.
Many a one I have cut in two with the ax. They always ran but I was
slim in those days and could catch them.

We used prairie tea and it was good too. It grew on a little bush. For
coffee we browned beets and corn meal. Corn meal coffee was fine. I'd
like a cup this minute.

Once a family near us by the name of Bonetrigger lived for four days on
cottonwood buds or wood browse as it was called.

We drove forty-five miles to Mankato to get our first baby clothes. When
we got in our first crop of wheat, I used to stand in the door and watch
it wave as the wind blew over it and think I had never seen anything so
beautiful. Even the howling of the wolves around our cabin did not keep
us awake at at night. We were too tired and too used to them. The years
flew by. I had three children under five when my husband enlisted. I was
willing, but oh, so sad! He had only three days to help us before
joining his company. Our wood lot was near, so near I could hear the
sound of his ax as he cut down all the wood he could and cut it into
lengths for our winter fuel. You can imagine how the sound of that ax
made me feel, although I was willing he should go. When he was gone, I
used to put the children on the ox sled and bring a load of wood home.
Pretty heavy work for a woman who had never seen an ox until she was
married. I was brought up in New York City, but I did this work and
didn't make any fuss about it, either. I did all kinds of farm work in
those days for men's help wasn't to be had, they were all in the war.

When I needed flour, there was no man to take the wheat to mill. The
only one who could, wanted to charge $1.00 a day and I did not have it,
so I left my darlings with a neighbor, got him to hist the sacks aboard
for me, for says I, "I'm not Dutchy enough to lift a sack of grain," and
long before daylight I was beside those oxen on my way to the nearest
grist mill, fifteen miles away, knitting all the way. It was tough work,
but I got there. I engaged my lodging at the hotel and then went to the
mill. There were a number there, but they were all men. The miller, Mr.
Goodnow, said "It's take turns here, but I won't have it said that a
'soldier's widow' (as they called us) has to wait for men, so I'll grind
yours first and you can start for home at sunup, so you can get home by
dark; I want you to stay at our house tonight." After some demurring,
for I wan't no hand to stay where I couldn't pay, I accepted his most
kind invitation. In the morning, when he saw me start, after he had
loaded my sacks of flour on for me, he said, "Get the man living this
side of that big hill to put you down it." I said, "I came up alone,
alright." He said, "Woman, you had grain then, you could have saved it
if it fell off and your sacks broke, but now you have flour."

When my boy was three weeks old, I drove fourteen miles to a dance and
took in every dance all night and wasn't sick afterward either. Of
course, I took him along.

When I came to sell my oxen after my husband died in the army, no one
wanted to give me a fair price for them, because I was a woman, but Mr.
S. T. McKnight, who had a small general store in Blue Earth gave me what
was right and paid me $2.50 for the yoke besides.

We had company one Sunday when we first came and all we had to eat was a
batch of biscuits. They all said they was mighty good too and they never
had a better meal.

We all raised our own tobacco. I remember once our Probate Judge came
along and asked, "Have you any stalks I can chew?" It was hard to keep
chickens for the country was so full of foxes. Seed potatoes brought
$4.00 a bushel. We used to grate corn when it was in the dough grade and
make bread from that. It was fine.

In 1856 and 1857 money was scarcer than teeth in a fly. We never saw a
penny sometimes for a year at a time. Everything was trade.

Mrs. Duncan Kennedy--1856.

My father moved from Canada to Minnesota. He was urged to come by
friends who had gone before and wrote back that there was a wonderful
piece of land on a lake, but when we got there with an ox team after a
two days trip from St. Paul, our goods on a lumber wagon--we thought it
was a mudhole. We were used to the clear lakes of Canada and this one
was full of wild rice. It was near Nicollet Village. The road we took
from St. Paul went through Shakopee, Henderson and Le Seuer. They said
it was made on an old Indian trail.

The turnips grew so enormous on our virgin soil that we could hardly
believe they were turnips. They looked more like small pumpkins inverted
in the ground.

The wild flowers were wonderful too. In the fall, the prairies were gay
with the yellow and sad with the lavender bloom.

The first party we went to was a housewarming. We went about seven miles
with the ox team. I thought I would die laughing when I saw the girls go
to their dressing room. They went up a ladder on the outside. There were
two fiddlers and we danced all the old dances. Supper was served on a
work bench from victuals out of a wash tub. We didn't have hundred
dollar dresses, but we did have red cheeks from the fine clear air.

One day when I was alone at my father's, an Indian with feathers in his
headband and a painted face and breast came quickly into the house,
making no noise in his moccasined feet. He drew his hand across his
throat rapidly saying over and over, "Tetonka-te-tonka," at the same
time trying to drag me out. I was terrified as I thought he was going to
cut my throat. Fortunately my father happened to come in, and not
fearing the Indian whom he knew to be friendly, went with him and found
his best ox up to his neck in a slough. It seemed "Tetonka" meant big
animal and he was trying to show us that a big animal was up to his
neck in trouble.

Afterward, I married Mr. Duncan Kennedy and moved to Traverse. I papered
and painted the first house we owned there until it was perfect. I did
so love this, our first home, but my husband was a natural wanderer. One
day he came home announcing that he had sold our pretty home. We moved
into a two room log house on a section of land out near where my father
lived. The house was built so that a corner stood in each quarter
section and complied with the law that each owner of a quarter section
should have a home on it. It was built by the four Hemmenway brothers
and was always called "Connecticut" as they came from there.

My husband worked for Mr. Sibley and was gone much of the time buying
furs. Then he carried mail from Traverse to Fort Lincoln. Once in a
blizzard he came in all frozen up, but he had outdistanced his Indian
guide--you couldn't freeze him to stay--he was too much alive. He once
traveled the seventy-five miles from Traverse to St. Paul in one day. He
just took the Indian trot and kept it up until he got there. He always
took it on his travels. He could talk Sioux French and English with
equal facility. Mr. Cowen once said when my husband passed, "There goes
the most accomplished man in the State."

They used to tell this story about Mr. Cowen. He had cleared a man
accused of theft. Afterward he said to him, "I have cleared you this
time, but don't you ever do it again."

When the outbreak came, my husband was storekeeper at Yellow Medicine. A
half breed came running and told him to fly for his life, as the Indians
were killing all the whites. Mr. Kennedy could not believe this had
come, though they knew how ugly the Indians were. After seeing the smoke
from the burning houses, he got his young clerk, who had consumption,
out; locked the door, threw the key in the river; then carried the clerk
to the edge of the river and dropped him down the bank where the bushes
concealed him, and then followed him. The Indians came almost instantly
and pounded on the door he had just locked. He heard them say in Sioux
"He has gone to the barn to harness the mules." While they hunted there,
he fled for his life, keeping in the bushes and tall grass. All doubled
up, as he was obliged to be, he carried the clerk until they came to the
plundered warehouse, where a number of refugees were hiding. That night,
he started for the fort, arriving there while it was still dark.

A call was made for a volunteer to go to St. Peter to acquaint them with
the danger. My husband had a badly swollen ankle which he got while
crawling to the fort. Nevertheless, he was the first volunteer. Major
Randall said, "Take my horse; you can never get there without one," but
Mr. Kennedy said, "If the Indians hear the horse they will know the
difference between a shod horse and an Indian pony. I will go alone."
Dr. Miller tried to make him take half the brandy there was in the fort,
by saying grimly, "If you get through you will need it. If you don't we
won't need it." He started just before dawn taking the Indian crawl. He
had only gone a short distance when the mutilated body of a white man
interposed. This was so nauseating that he threw away the lunch he had
been given as he left the fort for he never expected to live to eat it.
He passed so near an Indian camp that he was challenged, but he answered
in Sioux in their gruff way and so satisfied them. When he came near
Nicollet village he crawled up a little hill and peered over. He saw two
Indians on one side and three on the other. He dropped back in the
grass. He looked for his ammunition and it was gone. He had only two
rounds in his gun. He said, "I thought if they have seen me there will
be two dead Indians and one white man." When he came to what had been
Nicollet Village, the camp fires that the Indians had left were still
burning. He reached St. Peter and gave the alarm.

Major S. A. Buell--1856.

Major Buell eighty-seven years old, whose memory is remarkable says:--I
came to Minnesota in 1856, settling in St. Peter and practicing law.
Early in 1856, Mr. Cowen, one of the brightest lawyers and finest men
Minnesota has ever known, came to Traverse de Sioux with his family, to
open a store. He soon became a warm friend of Judge Flandrau who urged
him to study law with him. He was made County Auditor and in his spare
time studied law and was admitted to the bar. He was much beloved by
all, a sparkling talker--his word as good as his bond. He had never been
well and as time went on, gradually grew weaker. His house was a little
more than a block from his office, but it soon became more than he could
do to walk that distance. On the common, half way between the two, was
the liberty pole. He had a seat made at this point and rested there.
When he was no more, the eyes of his old friends would grow misty when
they passed this hallowed spot.

Soon after I made the acquaintance of Judge Flandrau at Traverse de
Sioux there was a young man visiting him from Washington. The judge took
us both on our first prairie chicken hunt. We had no dog. On the upper
prairie back of the town going along a road, we disturbed an old prairie
hen that attempted to draw us away from her young. The Judge had
admonished us that we must never kill on the ground, always on the wing,
to be sportsmen. This hen scudded and skipped along a rod or two at a
time. Finally, he said, "Fellows, I can't stand this, I must shoot that
chicken, you won't tell if I do?" We pledged our word. He fired and
missed. After we got home, we told everybody for we said we had only
promised not to tell if he shot it. We never enjoyed this joke half as
much as he did. We always joked him about making tatting.

Flandrau, dearest of men, true as steel, decided in character, but
forgiving in heart, a warm friend--was one of the greatest men our state
has ever known. He was a tall, dark man, and very active. He had often
told me how he and Garvie, clerk for the Indian Trader at Traverse de
Sioux used to walk the seventy-five miles to St. Paul in two days. He
once walked 150 miles in three days to the land office at Winona.

In 1858 I built my own home in St. Peter and made my garden. The year
before I had gone into a clump of plums when they were fruiting and tied
white rags to the best. I had moved them into my garden and they were
doing fine. One day I took off my vest as I was working and hung it on
one of these trees. Suddenly my attention was attracted to the sky and I
never saw a more beautiful sight. A horde of grasshoppers were gently
alighting. Nothing more beautiful than the shimmering of the sun on
their thousands of gold-bronze wings could be imagined. They took
everything and then passed on leaving gardens looking as if they had
been burned. When I went for that vest, they had eaten it all but the
seams. It was the funniest sight--just a skeleton. Not a smitch of white
rags left on the trees, either.

We people who lived in Minnesota thought there was only one kind of wild
grape. A man by the name of Seeger who had been in Russia and was
connected with a wine house in Moscow came to St. Peter. In the
Minnesota valley were immense wild grape vines covering the tallest
trees. Here he found five distinct varieties of grapes and said one kind
would make a fine red wine--Burgundy. He told me how to make this wine
from grapes growing wild on my own farm. I made about ten gallons. When
it was a year old it was very heady.

Edward Eggleston belonged to a debating society in St. Peter and was on
the successful side in a debate, "Has Love a Language not Articulate."
He was a Methodist preacher here, but later had charge of a
Congregational church in Brooklyn, N. Y. He said when the Methodists
abolished itinerancy and mission work, he thought the most useful part
of the church was gone.

In my boyhood days at home, a little boy in the neighborhood had the
misfortune to drink some lye. Fortunately the doctor was near and using
a stomach pump saved his life for the time being. However, the child's
stomach could retain nothing. In a short time he was a skeleton indeed.
One day his father who carried him around constantly, happened to be by
the cow when she was being milked. The child asked for some milk and was
given it directly from the cow. Great was the father's astonishment when
the little lad retained it. Milk given him two minutes after milking was
at once ejected. The father had a pen made just outside his son's
bedroom window and the cow kept there, and here many times a day the cow
was milked and the milk instantly given. After several months the child
was restored to health.

One night in Minnesota just as I was going to sit down to supper my wife
told me that a man who had just passed told her that a child that lived
ten miles back in the country had drank lye some days before and was
expected to die, as he could retain nothing. Without waiting to eat my
supper I jumped on a horse and made the trip there in record speed. This
child followed the same formula and was saved.

It was easy for youngsters to get at lye for every house had a leach for
the making of soap. This lye was made by letting water drip over hard
wood ashes in a barrel. A cupful would be taken out and its strength
tried. If it would hold up an egg it was prime for soap. It was clear as
tea, if it was left in a cup it was easily mistaken for it.

During the days when New Ulm was expecting a second Indian attack and
the town was full of refugees, I was ordered to destroy some buildings
on the outskirts. I started with a hotel and opened all the straw ticks
that had been used for refugees beds and threw the contents all around.
I believed all the people had left but thought I would go in every room
and make sure of this. In one room I heard a queer noise and going to
the bed found a small baby that had been tomahawked. Its little head was
dented in two places. I took it with me and went out. Its grandmother
who owned the place came running frantically and took it from me. Its
father and mother had been killed and it had been brought in by the
refugees. In the hasty departure it had been overlooked, each one
supposing the other had taken it.

On the 25th day of August after the massacre of the 22nd, around New Ulm
and in that vicinity, a little boy who had saved himself from the
Indians by secreting himself in the grass of the swamps, came into New
Ulm and said there were twelve people alive and a number of bodies to be
buried sixteen miles from New Ulm. He said he had seen a man who was
driving a horse and wagon, shot and scalped, but could not tell what had
become of the woman and baby that were riding with him. The troops
marched to the place, having the boy as a guide, buried a number of
bodies and brought the twelve survivors to New Ulm. They could find no
trace of the woman and baby, although the father's body was found and

Later the troops marched to Mankato, stopping at an empty farm house
sixteen miles from New Ulm for the night. This farm house was on a small
prairie surrounded by higher land. The sentries were ordered to watch
the horizon with the greatest care for fear the skulking Indians might
ambush the troops. It was a night when the rain fell spasmodically
alternating with moonlight. Suddenly one of the sentries saw a figure on
the horizon and watched it disappear in the grass, then appear and crawl
along a fence in his direction. He called, "Who goes there?" at the same
time cocking his gun ready to shoot. At the answer, "Winnebago" he
fired. At that moment there had been a little shower and his gun refused
to fire. Later he found that the cap had become attached to the hammer
and the powder must have been dampened by the shower. He dashed for the
figure to find a white woman and baby and was horrified to think that if
the gun had fired she would have been blown to pieces. This was woman
for whom they had looked in the swamp thirty miles away. He aroused the
troops, who took her in. She held out her baby whose hand was partly
shot away, but said nothing about herself. Later they found that she had
been shot through the back and the wound had had no dressing except when
she laid down in the streams. Her greatest fear had been that the baby
would cry, but during all those eight awful days and nights while she
lay hidden in the swamps or crawled on her way at night, this baby had
never made a sound. As soon as it became warm and was thoroughly fed, it
cried incessantly for twelve hours. The mother said that for three days
the Indians had pursued her with dogs, but she had managed to evade them
by criss-crossing through the streams. She had said "Winnebago" as she
thought she was approaching a Sioux camp and they were supposed to be
friendly to the Winnebagoes. She would then have welcomed captivity as
it seemed that the white people had left the earth and death was

In May 1857, eggs were selling in St. Peter for 6c a dozen, butter at 5c
per pound and full grown chickens at 75c a dozen as game was so

Mrs. Jane Sutherland--1856.[3]

[Footnote 3: A sister of Mrs. Duncan Kennedy.]

Mrs. Cowan came to Traverse in 1856 when it was almost nothing. At her
home in Baltimore she had always had an afternoon at home, so decided to
continue them here. She set aside Thursday and asked everyone in town,
no matter what their situation in life, to come. My maiden name was Jane
Donnelly and she asked me to come and "Help pass things"--"assist"--as
you call it now. She had tea and biscuits. Flour and tea were both
scarce so she warned me not to give anyone more than one biscuit or one
cup of tea. This we rigidly adhered to. She had the only piano in our
part of the country and we all took great pride in it. I could sing and
play a little in the bosom of my family, but was most easily
embarrassed. Judge Flandrau was our great man. He dropped in, bringing
his tatting shuttle, and sat and made tatting as well as any woman.
Mrs. Cowan explained that he had learned this on purpose to rest his
mind and keep it off from weighty matters. Mrs. Cowan insisted that I
should sing and play while he was there. I resisted as long as I could,
then was led still protesting to the piano where I let out a little thin
piping, all the while covered with confusion. When I arose we both
looked expectantly toward the Judge, but he never raised his eyes--just
kept right on tatting.

Finally Mrs. Cowan asked, "Don't you like music, Judge?" He looked up
with a far-away look in his eyes and said, "Yes, martial music in the
field." Then we knew he had never heard a thing, for, as Mrs. Cowan
explained to me as we were making a fresh pot of tea, "He is the kindest
man in the world. If he had noticed you were singing he would have said
something nice."

Shortly after this we took a claim out at Middle Lake and moved out
there to live. The first time I came into town was on a load of wild hay
drawn by my father's oxen. The man I later married saw me, a girl of
sixteen, sitting there and said he fell in love with me then. A few days
later he drove past our farm and saw me out in the corn field trying to
scare away the blackbirds. I was beating on a pan and whooping and
hollering. That finished him for he said he could see I had all the
requisites for a good wife, "Industry and noise."

During the outbreak of 1862, after my husband went to the war, we were
repeatedly warned to leave our home and flee to safety. This we were
loath to do as it would jeopardize our crops and livestock. We often saw
the Indian scouts on a hill overlooking the place and sometimes heard
shots. One day I was with my children at a neighbor's when a new alarm
was given by a courier. Without waiting for us to get any clothes or
tell my parents, the farmer hitched up and we fled to Fort Snelling. It
was two months before I ever saw my home or parents.

There were three grasshopper years when we never got any crops at
Middle Lake. When I say that, I mean just what I say; we got nothing.
The first time they came the crops were looking wonderful. Wheat fields
so green and corn way up. The new ploughed fields yielded marvelously
and this was the first year for ours. I went out to the garden about ten
o'clock to get the vegetables for dinner and picked peas, string beans,
onions and lettuce that were simply luscious. The tomatoes were setting
and everything was as fine as could be. I felt so proud of it. The men
came home to dinner and the talk was all in praise of this new country
and the crops. While we were talking it gradually darkened. The men
hastily went out to see if anything should be brought in before the
storm. What a sight when we opened the door! The sky darkened by myriads
of grasshoppers and no green thing could be seen. Everything in that
lovely garden was gone. By the middle of the afternoon, when they left,
the wheat fields looked as if they had been burned, even the roots
eaten. Not a leaf on the trees. My husband's coat lying outside was
riddled. Back of the house where they had flown against it they were
piled up four feet high. They went on after awhile leaving their eggs to
hatch and ruin the crops the following year. And enough the second for
the third, though we did everything. The last year the county offered a
bounty of three cents a bushel for them and my little boy, four years
old, caught enough with a net to buy himself a two dollar pair of boots.
You can perhaps get an idea how thick they were from that. The rail
fences used to look as if they were enormous and bronzed. The
grasshoppers absolutely covered them.

We lived only a short distance from my father's farm. One afternoon I
saw smoke coming from there and could hear explosions like that of
cannon. I caught our pony, jumped on bareback, and dashed for their
home. We trusted the Indians and yet we did not. They were so different
from the whites. I thought they had attacked the family. I don't know
how I expected to help without a weapon of any kind, but on I went. When
I got there I saw my father and mother tearing a board fence down. A
swamp on the place was afire and the fire coming through that long swamp
grass very rapidly. The swamp had a number of large willows and when the
fire would reach them they would explode with a noise like a cannon. I
don't know why, but I have heard many of the old settlers tell of
similar experiences. I jumped off the pony and helped tear down the

Governor Swift had paid me $5.00 to make him a buffalo coat. I had put
it all into "nigger blue" calico and had the dress on. When we went into
the house mother said, "What a shame you have spoiled your new dress." I
could see nothing wrong, but in the back there was a hole over twelve
inches square burned out.

Another time my husband was a short distance from the house putting up
wild hay. We had several fine stacks of it near the house in the
stubble. I happened to glance out and saw our neighbor's stacks burning
and the fire coming through the stubble for ours. I grabbed a blanket,
wet it soaking and dragging that and a great pail of water, made for the
stacks. I run that wet blanket around the stacks as fast as I could
several times. My husband came driving like mad with half a load of hay
on the rack and grabbed me but as the stubble was short that sopping
saved the stacks.

We had a German hired man that we paid $30 a month for six months. Crops
were plentiful and we hoped for a good price. No such good luck. Wheat
was 25c a bushel and oats 12-1/2. He hauled grain to market with our ox
team to pay himself and was nearly all winter getting his money. That
was before the war. We boarded him for nothing while he was doing it.
How little those who enjoy this state now think what is cost the makers
of it!

Mrs. Mary Robinson--1856.

We came to St. Anthony in 1856. Butter was 12-1/2c a pound; potatoes
15c a bushel and turnips, 10c. I have never seen finer vegetables. We
made our mince pies of potatoes soaked in vinegar instead of apples.

One of our neighbors was noted for her molasses sponge cake. If asked
for the recipe, she would give it as follows: "I take some molasses and
saleratus and flour and shortening, and some milk. How much? Oh, a
middling good sized piece, and enough milk to make it the right
thickness to bake good." Needless to say, she continued to be the only
molasses sponge cake maker.

Mrs. Margaret A. Snyder--1856.

Mr. Snyder and Mr. Pettit used to batch it in a cabin in Glencoe before
our marriage. In '56 we decided to move to Glencoe and live in this
place. We, together with Mr. Cook and Mr. McFarland were forty-eight
hours going the sixty miles. We stayed the first night at Carver and the
next night got to "Eight Mile Dutchman's." When we came to the cabin we
found the walls and ceiling covered with heavy cotton sheeting. My
mother had woven me a Gerton rag carpet which we had with us. The
stripes instead of running across, ran lengthwise. There was a wide
stripe of black and then many gaily colored stripes. When it was down on
the floor, it made everything cheerful. We had bought some furniture too
in Minneapolis so everything looked homelike. Later, six of us neighbor
women were invited into the country to spend the day. While we were gone
some of the neighbors said, "The mosquitoes must be awful at the
Snider's today--they have such a smudge." A little later, they saw the
house was in flames. In this fire, we lost money and notes together with
all our possessions. These notes were never paid, as we had no record so
we were left poor indeed. We were able to get boards for the sides of
our new house, but lived in it six weeks without a roof, doors or
windows. We had a few boards over the bed. There was only one hard rain
in all that time but the mosquitoes were awful. During this time, we
lived on King Phillip's corn, a large yellow kind. We pounded it in a
bag and made it into cakes and coffee. We had nothing to eat on the
cakes nor in the coffee and yet we were happy. My husband always kept
his gun by the bed during this time. One morning we awoke to see two
prairie chickens preening their feathers on the top of our house wall.
Father fired and killed both, one falling inside and the other outside.

Mrs. Colonel Stevens was our nearest neighbor. We just took a little
Indian trail to her house.

We had wild plums and little wild cherries with stems just like tame
cherries, on our farm. They helped out tremendously as they with
cranberries were our only fruit.

One morning twelve big braves came into my kitchen when I was getting
breakfast. They said nothing to me, just talked and laughed among
themselves; took out pipes and all smoked. They did not ask for anything
to eat. Finally they went away without trouble.

Indian Charlie, afterwards hung at Mankato, was often at the house and
became a great nuisance. He would follow me all over the house. I would
say, "Go sit down Charlie," at the same time looking at him
determinedly. He would stand and look and then go. He once found my
husband's gun and pointed it at me, but I said firmly, stamping my foot,
"Put it down Charlie," and very reluctantly he finally did. Then, I took
it until he left.

My husband enlisted, so in 1862 we moved to Fort Ridgely and lived in
one room. One day three squaws, one of whom was old Betts, came in to
sell moccasins. I asked her to make some for my baby and showed her a
piece of pork and some sugar I would give her for it. She brought them
later. We had eaten that piece of pork and I got another piece which was
larger but not the same, of course. When she saw it as not the same, she
said, "Cheatey Squaw, Cheatey squaw," and was very angry. I then gave
her the pork and two bowls of sugar instead of one and she went away.
Later I saw her in the next room where another family lived and said,
"Aunt Betts called me, Cheatey Squaw, Cheatey Squaw." Quick as a flash
she drew a long wicked looking knife from her belt and ran for me and it
was only by fleeing and locking my own door that I escaped. She was
never again allowed on the reservation. Later in the year, before the
massacre, I went home to Pennsylvania.

When we built on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Tenth Street, we could
plainly hear the roar of St. Anthony Falls. I used to follow an Indian
trail part of the way down town.

Mrs. Helen Horton--1856, Minneapolis.

When I came, things were pretty lonesome looking here. I found the young
people just as gay as they could be anywhere, however. The first party I
attended was a cotillion. I wore a black silk skirt, eighteen feet
around the bottom, with three flounces, over hoops too. A black velvet
basque pointed front and back, and cut very short on the sides gave a
great deal of style to the costume. My hair was brought low in front and
puffed over horsehair cushions at the sides. It stuck out five inches
from the sides of my head. We danced square dances mostly. We took ten
regular dancing steps forward and ten back and floated along just like a
thistledown--no clumping around like they do now. Just at this time, I
had a plaid silk too. It was green and brown broken plaid. The blocks
were nine inches across.

One evening we were to have a sociable. It was great fun playing games
and singing. They wanted me to make a cake. It was in the spring months
before the boats began to run and after the teams that brought supplies
had stopped. It was always a scarce time. I wanted some white sugar to
make a white cake as I knew a friend who was to make a pork and dried
apple cake, a dark cake, so I wanted the opposite kind. We went
everywhere but could find no sugar. I was so disappointed. Finally a
friend took his horse and cutter and in one of the houses we were able
to find a little. My cake was delicious. Did you ever make a pork apple
pie? You cut the pork so thin you can almost see through it. Cover the
bottom of a pie tin with it, then cut the apples up on top of this. Put
two thin crusts one on top of the other over this, then when cooked,
turn upside down in a dish and serve with hard sauce. This recipe is
over a hundred years old but nothing can beat it.

The first home we owned ourselves was at the corner of Ninth Street and
Nicollet Avenue. There was only one house in sight, that of Mr. Welles.
Our whole house was built from the proceeds of land warrants that my
husband had bought.

My father had a store at the corner of Helen St., and Washington Avenue.
To reach it from our home at Fourth Street and Second Avenue North, we
followed an Indian trail. There was generally a big cow with a bell to
turn out for somewhere on it.

Mrs. Mary Staring Smith--1856.

When we first came to live at Eden Prairie I thought I had never seen
anything so beautiful as that flowering prairie. In the morning we could
hear the clear call of the prairie chickens. I used to love to hear it.
There were great flocks of them and millions of passenger pigeons. Their
call of "pigie! pigie!" was very companionable on that lonely prairie.
Sometimes when they were flying to roost they would darken the sun,
there were such numbers of them. Geese and ducks were very numerous,
too. Black birds were so thick they were a menace to the growing crops.
I used to shoot them when I was twelve years old.

Once my father and uncle went deer hunting. They got into some poisonous
wild thing, perhaps poison ivy. My uncle's face was awful and father
nearly lost his sight. He was almost blind for seven years but finally
Dr. Daniels of St. Peter cured him.

Once during war time we could get no one to help us harvest. I cut one
hundred acres strapped to the seat as I was too small to stay there any
other way.

We had a cow named Sarah. A lovely, gentle creature. Mr. Anderson
brought her up on the boat. My dog was an imported English setter. These
and an old pig were my only playmates. I used to love to dress my dog up
but when I found my old pig would let me tie my sunbonnet on her I much
preferred her. She looked so comical with that bonnet on lying out at
full length and grunting little comfortable grunts when I would scratch
her with a stick.

I never saw such a sad expression in the eye of any human being as I saw
in "Otherdays" the Sioux friend of the whites. It seemed as if he could
look ahead and see what was to be the fate of his people. Yes, I have
seen that expression once since. After the massacre when the Indians
were brought to Fort Snelling I saw a young squaw, a beauty, standing in
the door of her tepee with just that same look. It used to bring the
tears to my eyes to think of her.

There used to be a stone very sacred to the Indians on Alexander Gould's
place near us. It was red sandstone and set down in a hollow that they
had dug out. The Sioux owned it and never passed on the trail that led
by it without squatting in a circle facing it, smoking their pipes. I
have often stood near and watched them. I never heard them say a word.
They always left tobacco, beads and pipes on it. The Indian trails could
be seen worn deep like cattle paths.

At the time of the Indian outbreak the refugees came all day long on
their way to the fort. Such a sad procession of hopeless, terrified
women and children. Many were wounded and had seen their dear ones slain
as they fled to the corn fields or tall grass of the prairies. I can
never forget the expression of some of those poor creatures.

Mrs. Mary Massolt--1856.

I first lived at Taylor's Falls. I was only fourteen and spoke little
English as I had just come from France. Large bands of Indians used to
camp near us. They never molested anything. I took a great fancy to them
and used to spend hours in their camps. They were always so kind and
tried so hard to please me. When the braves were dressed up they always
painted their faces and the more they were dressed the more hideous they
made themselves. I would often stick feathers in their head bands, which
pleased them very much.

The storms were so terrible. We had never seen anything like them. One
crash after another and the lightning constant. Once I was sitting by a
little stove when the lightning came down the chimney. It knocked me one
way off the bench and moved the stove several feet without turning it

Mrs. Anna Todd--1856.

We came to St. Anthony in '56 and lived in one of the Hudson Bay houses
on University Avenue between Fourth and Fifth Streets. They were in a
very bad state of repair and had no well or any conveniences of any
kind. The chimneys would not draw and that in the kitchen was so bad
that Mr. Todd took out a pane of glass and ran the stovepipe through
that. Everybody had a water barrel by the fence which was filled with
river water by contract and in the winter they used melted snow and ice.
Mr. Todd built the first piers for the booms in the river. The hauling
was all done by team on the ice. The contract called for the completion
of these piers by April 15. The work took much more time than they had
figured on and Mr. Todd realized if the ice did not hold until the last
day allowed, he was a ruined man. There were many anxious days in the
"little fur house" as it was called, but the ice held and the money for
the contract was at once forthcoming. I remember those winters as much
colder and longer than they now are. They began in October and lasted
until May.

When we were coming from St. Paul to St. Anthony, just as we came to the
highest point, I looked all around and said "This is the most beautiful
country I have ever seen."

Where Mrs. Richard Chute lived in Minneapolis, the view was wonderfully
beautiful. Near there, was a house with the front door on the back side
so that the view could be seen better. Times were very, very hard in '57
and '58. We never saw any money and to our Yankee minds this was the
worst part of our new life. A friend had been staying with us for months
sharing what we had. One day he said to my husband, "I'm here and I'm
stranded, I can see no way to pay you anything, but I can give you an
old mare which I have up in the country." He finally induced Mr. Todd to
take her and almost immediately, we had a chance to swap her for an
Indian pony. A short time after, there was a call for ponies at the fort
and the pony was sold to the Government for $50.00 in gold. This seemed
like $1,000.00 would now.

The first time I saw an apple in Minnesota was in '58. A big spaniel had
come to us, probably lost by some party of homeseekers. After having him
a short time, we became very tired of him. One of the teamsters was
going to St. Paul, so we told him to take the dog and lose him. Better
than that, he swapped him for a barrel of apples with a man who had
brought them up the river as a speculation. The new owner was to take
the dog back down the river that day, but that dog was back almost as
soon as the teamster was. We used to joke and say we lived on that dog
all winter.

The early settlers brought slips of all kinds of houseplants which they
shared with all. The windows were gay with fuchias, geraniums, roses,
etc. Most everyone had a heliotrope too. All started slips under an
inverted tumbler to be ready for newcomers.

Mr. Edwin Clarke--1856.

On April 12, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln, two days prior to his
assassination, signed my commission as United States Indian Agent for
the Chippewas of the Mississippi, Pillager and Lake Winnebagosish bands,
and the Indians of Red Lake and Pembina.

The Mississippi Bands, numbering about two thousand five hundred, were
principally located around Mille Lac, Gull and Sandy Lakes; the Pillager
and Winnebagosish bands, about two thousand, around Leach,
Winnebagosish, Cass and Ottertail Lakes; the Red Lake Bands, numbering
about fifteen hundred, were located about Red Lake and the Pembina Bands
about one thousand at Pembina and Turtle Mountain, Dakota.

At that time there were no white settlers in Minnesota north of Crow
Wing, Long Prairie and Ottertail Lake.

The Chippewa Indians were not migratory in their habits, living in their
birch-bark covered wigwams around the lakes, from which the fish and
wild rice furnished a goodly portion of their sustenance and where they
were convenient to wood and water. The hunting grounds, hundreds of
miles in extent, covering nearly one-half of the State, furnished moose,
deer and bear meat and the woods were full of rabbits, partridges,
ducks, wild geese and other small game. The Indians exchanged the furs
gathered each year, amounting to many thousand dollars in value, with
traders for traps, guns, clothing and other goods. Some of the Indians
raised good crops of corn and vegetables and they also made several
thousand pounds of maple sugar annually. They also gathered large
amounts of cranberries, blueberries and other wild fruit.

The Chippewa Indians had very few ponies, having no use for them, as it
was more convenient to use their birch bark canoes in traveling about
the lakes and rivers. At that time the Chippewas were capable of making
good living without the Government annuities, which consisted of a cash
payment to each man, woman and child of from $5.00 to $10.00 and about
an equal amount in value of flour, pork, tobacco, blankets, shawls,
linsey-woolsy, flannels, calico, gilling twine for fish nets, thread,

An Indian in full dress wore leggings, moccasins and shirt, all made by
the women from tanned deer skins, and trimmed with beads, over which he
threw his blanket, and with his gun over his arm and his long hair
braided and hanging down, and face streaked with paint, he presented
quite an imposing appearance. The young men occasionally supplemented
the above with a neat black frock coat.

The Indians during the time I was agent were friendly and it was only
upon a few occasions when whiskey had been smuggled in by some
unprincipled persons, that they had any quarrels among themselves.

The late Bishops Whipple and Knickerbocker were my traveling companions
at different times thru the Indian country, as were General Mitchell of
St. Cloud, Daniel Sinclair of Winona, Rev. F. A. Noble of Minneapolis,
Rev. Stewart of Sauk Center, Mr. Ferris of Philadelphia, Mr. Bartling of
Louisville, Doctors Barnard and Kennedy and others. The late Ennegahbow
(Rev. John Johnson) was appointed by me as farmer at Mille Lac upon the
request of Shawboshkung, the head chief.

Ma-dosa-go-onwind was head chief of the Red Lake Indians and
Hole-in-the-day head chief of the Mississippi bands at the time I was

Captain Isaac Moulton--1857, Minneapolis.

The middle of December 1857, it began to rain and rained for three days
as if the heavens had opened. The river was frozen and the sleighing had
been fine. After this rain there was a foot of water on the ice. I was
on my way to Fond du Lac, Wis. to get insurance on my store that had
burned. You can imagine what the roads leading from St. Paul to Hastings
were. It took us a whole day to make that twenty mile trip, four stage
loads of us.

I have often thought you dwellers in the Twin Cities nowadays give
little thought to the days when the stage coach was the essence of
elegance in travel. The four or six horses would start off with a
flourish. The music of the horn I have always thought most stirring. The
two rival companies vied with each other in stage effect. If one driver
had an especial flourish, the other tried to surpass him, and so it went
on. No automobile, no matter how high powered, can hold a candle to
those stage coaches in picturesque effect, for those horses were alive.

On this trip, I hired a man with two yearling steers to take my trunk
full of papers from the Zumbro River that we had crossed in a skiff, as
the bridge was out, to Minnieski where we could again take the stage.
Those steers ran and so did we eight men who were following them in
water up to our knees. We reached Minnieski about as fagged as any men
could be.

Mr. George A. Brackett--1857, Minneapolis.

Prior to the Indian outbreak, I had charge of the feeding of the troops,
comprising Stone's Division at Poolville, Md., with beef and other
supplies. In this Division were the First Minnesota, several New York
(including the celebrated Tammany Regulars) and Pennsylvania troops. I
continued in that service until the Sioux outbreak, when Franklin Steele
and myself were requested by General Sibley to go to Fort Ridgely and
aid in the commissary department, General Sibley being a brother-in-law
of Franklin Steele. I remained in this position until the close of the
Sibley campaign, other St. Paul and Minneapolis men being interested
with me in the furnishing of supplies.

Just after the battle of Birch Coolie, when General Sibley had assembled
at Fort Ridgely a large force to go up the Minnesota River against the
Indians, he sent Franklin Steele and myself to St. Peter to gather up
supplies for his command. We started in a spring wagon with two good
horses. A number of refugees from the fort went with us in Burbank's
stages and other conveyances. At that time Burbank was running a line of
stages from St. Paul to Fort Ridgely, stopping at intervening points.
Allen, the manager of the lines, was in Fort Ridgely. A few miles out
the cry was raised, "The Indians are in sight." Immediately the whole
party halted. Allen went over the bluff far enough to see down to the
bottoms of the river. Soon he returned very much frightened saying, "The
valley is full of Indians." This caused such a fright that
notwithstanding our protest, the whole party returned pell-mell to Fort
Ridgely, except Steele and myself. The party was so panic stricken that
Allen was nearly left. He had to jump on behind. We determined to go on.
A mile or so further on, we saw a man crawling through the grass. I said
to Steele, "There's your Indian," and drove up to him. It proved to be a
German who, in broken English said, "The Indians have stolen my cattle
and I am hunting for them." Driving a few miles further, we came to what
had been Lafayette, burned by the Indians days before. Some of the
houses were still smoking.

We stopped at the ruins of a house belonging to a half breed, Mrs. Bush,
and killed and ate two chickens with our other lunch. When the refugees
got back to the fort they reported to General Sibley that we had gone
on. He said we were reckless and sent George McLeod, Captain of the
Mounted Rangers, with fifty men to overtake us and bring us back.
However, we drove on so fast that McLeod got to St. Peter about the time
we did. There we bought out a bakery and set them to baking hard tack,
and purchased cattle and made other arrangements for the feeding of the

One day, before this, while I was at General Sibley's camp talking to
him, I saw someone coming toward the camp. I called General Sibley's
attention to it and he sent an officer to investigate. It proved to be a
friendly Indian who had stolen a widow and her children from the
hostiles and brought them to the fort. Her husband had been killed by
the Indians.

Mrs. C. A. Smith--1858.

In the spring of 1858 we came to St. Paul. We took a boat which plied
regularly between St. Paul and Minnesota river points, to Chaska. There
we left the boat and walked to Watertown where our new home was to be.
My father carried $2,000 in gold in inside pockets of a knitted jacket
which my mother had made him. With this money we paid for two quarter
sections of improved land and the whole family began to farm. We lived
just as we had in Sweden, as we were in a Swedish settlement. We were
Lutheran, so there were no parties. Going to church was our only

The prairies were perfectly lovely with their wild flower setting. There
had been a fire two years before and great thickets of blackberry vines
had grown up. I never saw such blackberries. They were as large as the
first joint of a man's thumb. The flavor was wild and spicy. I never ate
anything so good. Cranberries by the hundreds of bushels grew in the
swamps. We could not begin to pick all the hazel nuts. We used to eat
turnips as we would an apple. They were so sweet, they were as good. We
made sun-dials on a clear spot of ground and could tell time perfectly
from them.

We children made dolls out of grass and flowers. I have never seen
prettier ones. We kept sheep and mother spun and wove blankets and
sheets. We had bolts and bolts of cloth that we made and brought with us
from Sweden. Here, we raised flax and prepared it for spinning, making
our own towels.

Nothing could be cozier than our cabin Christmas eve. We had brought
solid silver knives, forks and spoons. These hung from racks. Quantities
of copper and brass utensils burnished until they were like mirrors hung
in rows. In Sweden mother had woven curtains and bed coverings of red,
white and blue linen and these were always used on holidays. How glad we
were they were the national colors here! We covered a hoop with gay
colored paper and set little wooden candle holders that my father had
made all around it. This was suspended from the ceiling, all aglow with
dips. Then, as a last touch to the decorations, we filled our brass
candle sticks with real candles and set them in the windows as a
greeting to those living across the lake. A sheaf for the birds and all
was done.

The vegetables grew tremendous. We used to take turns in shelling corn
and grinding it, for bread, in a coffee mill. Mother would say, "If you
are hungry and want something to eat of course you will grind." We made
maple sugar and fine granulated sugar from that.

My sisters used to walk from Watertown to Minneapolis in one day,
thirty-seven miles, following an Indian trail and then were ready for a
good time in the evening. How many girls of today could walk that many

The lake was full of the biggest fish imaginable. We used to catch them,
and dry and smoke them. They made a nice variety in our somewhat same
diet. We used to fish through the ice, too.

Major C. B. Heffelfinger--1858, Minneapolis.

Well I remember the St. Charles hotel as it was when I first boarded
there. The beds were upstairs in one room in two rows. Stages were
bringing loads of passengers to Minneapolis. They could find no
accommodations so no unoccupied bed was safe for its owners. Although my
roommate and I were supposed to have lodging and were paying for it, the
only safe way was for one to go to bed early before the stage came in
and repel all invaders until the other arrived. If the sentry slept at
his post the returning scout was often obliged to sleep on the floor, or
snuggle comfortably against a stranger sandwiched between them.

The strangers who arrived had made a stage coach journey from La Crosse
without change and spent two nights sitting erect in the coaches, and
were so tired that they went to bed with the chickens. On lucky nights
for us they were detained by some accident and got in when the chickens
were rising.

Nothing was ever stolen and many firm friendships were thus cemented.
Our pocketbooks were light, but our hearts were also. It was a
combination hard to beat.

1857 was the most stringent year in money that Minnesota has ever known.
There was absolutely no money and every store in the territory failed.
Everything was paid by order. Captain Isaac Moulton, now of La Crosse,
had a dry goods store. A woman, a stranger, came in and asked the price
of a shawl. She was told it was $15.00. It was done up for her. She had
been hunting through her reticule and now put down the money in gold.
The Captain looked at it as if hypnotized, but managed to stammer, "My
God woman, I thought you had an order. It is only $5.00 in money."

Mrs. Martha Gilpatrick--1858, Minneapolis.

When I married, my husband had been batching it. In the winter his diet
was pork! pork! pork! Mrs. Birmingham, who helped him sometimes, said
she bet if all the hogs he ate were stood end to end, they would reach
to Fort Snelling.

We had a flock of wild geese that we crossed with tame ones. They were
the cutest, most knowing things. I kept them at the house until they
were able to care for themselves, then I turned them out mornings. I
would go in the pasture and say, "Is that you nice gooses?" They would
act so human, be so tickled to see me and flop against me and squawk.
When Mr. Fitzgerald came home they would run for him the same way as
soon as they saw the horse. They were handsome birds.

I used to go to my sister's. She had a boarding house on the East Side.
Her boarders were mill workers and "lathers." That is what we used to
call the river drivers. They always had a pike pole in their hand. It
looked like a lath from a distance, so they got the name of "lathers"
from this.

MRS. JAMES T. MORRIS, May 26, 1915

Upper row from left to right: Mrs. Robert Anderson, Mrs. James Pratt,
Mrs. John Brown, Mrs. Mary E. Partridge, Mrs. Anna Todd, Mrs. Martha
Gilpatrick, Mrs. Rufus Farnham, Mrs. Charles Godley, Mrs. Paulina

Second row: Mrs. Elizabeth Clifford, Mrs. Stephen Rochette.

Lower row: Mrs. Mahlon Black. Mrs. Mary Schmidt, Mrs. Margaret Hern,
Mrs. Margaret A. Snyder, Miss Carrie Stratton, Mrs. Mary Weeks, Mrs.
Rebecca Plummer. Eleven of these ladies are over eighty-four years old
and Mrs. Weeks is ninety. All have wonderful memories.]

Mrs. Margaret Hern--1858.

My husband enlisted in the Fall of 1861. It was not a very easy thing
for him to do, for our farm was not yet very productive, our three
children were very young, one a tiny baby, and we had no ready money.
However, he felt that his country called him and when the recruiting
officer told him that all soldier's families would be welcome at the
post and that we could go there with him, he rented our farm to George
Wells and went on to Fort Ridgeley. We lived forty miles from there on
the Crow River, near Hutchinson.

We found that the officer had lied. We were not expected or wanted at
the fort. We finally made arrangements to stay by promising to board the
blacksmith in his quarters. His name was John Resoft. His rations and my
husband's supported us all. Mr. Hern was very handy about the house, as
he was a Maine Yankee and daily helped me with the work.

There was a great sameness about the life as there were only about a
hundred men stationed at the fort. Very few of them had their families
with them. The only women were Mrs. Mueller, wife of the doctor, Mrs.
Sweet, wife of the chaplain and their three children, Mrs. Edson, the
Captain's wife; Sargeant Jones' wife and three children; Mrs. Dunn and
their three children; Mrs. Snider and three children; Mrs. Mickel and
three children; Mrs. Randall, the sutler's wife, and myself and our
three children.

The winter passed monotonously. We used to have some fun with the
squaws. Once I was writing home to mother. I wanted a little lock of
Indian hair to show her how coarse an Indian's hair was. Old Betts
happened to come in just then, so I took my scissors and was going to
cut a little bit of her "raving locks." When she saw what I was going to
do she jumped away screaming and acting like a crazy woman. She never
came near that house again, but in the spring after my husband had gone
to the front and Mrs. Dunn and I had joined forces and gone to living in
another cabin, she stuck her head in our window to beg. I jumped and
grabbed a looking glass and held it before her to let her see how she
really did look. She was a sight. She had an old black silk hood I had
given her and her hair was straggling all over. When she saw the
reflection she was so mad she tried to break the glass.

Three weeks before the outbreak, the Sioux, our Indians had a war
dance back of the fort and claimed it was against the Chippewas. At
first we believed them, but when the half breed, Indian Charlie, came in
to borrow cooking utensils, he sat down and hung his head, as if under
the influence of liquor. He kept saying "Too bad! Too bad!"

Mrs. Dunn became suspicious and knowing I knew him well, as he had often
stopped at our cabin, said "Ask him what is too bad." He said, "Injins
kill white folks. Me like white folks. Me like Injins. Me have to fight.
Me don't want to." He seemed to feel broken-hearted. I did not believe
him and thought him drunk, but Mrs. Dunn said "You go over and tell
Sergeant Jones what he said." I did. Sergeant Jones said, "What
nonsense! They are only going to have their war dance. All of you white
people go over and see that dance."

We all went. The soldiers were all there. The Indians had two tom-toms,
and the squaws beat on them while the Indians, all painted hideously,
jumped stiff legged, cut themselves until they were covered with blood
and sweat and yowled their hideous war whoop. They were naked excepting
their breech clout. Sargeant Jones had control of all the guns at the
fort, and unknown to us, the cannon were all trained on the dancers. We
could not understand why the soldiers were so near us, but later in the
day learned that there was a soldier for everyone of us to snatch us
away if it was necessary to fire on the Indians.

On Monday morning, August eighteenth, 1862, at about ten o'clock, we saw
a great cloud of dust arising. Soon it resolved itself into teams,
people on horseback and on foot coming pell mell for the fort. They said
that Redwood Agency, twelve miles distant, had been attacked and the
Indians were killing all the white settlers.

As they were flying for their lives, they passed the sutler of the
Redwood store lying face downwards with a board on his back on which was
written, "Feed your own squaws and papooses grass."

He had trusted the Indians until he would do so no longer. Their
annuities were long, long overdue and they were starving. They appealed
to him again and again and pleaded for food for their starving families.
He finally told them to "Go eat grass." The settlers had seen the
consequence. They had passed seven dead, besides on the way.

This was only the beginning of a sad multitude of refugees, who, wounded
in every conceivable way, and nearly dead from terror, poured into the

Captain Marsh, as soon as he had heard the stories, called the soldiers
out on the parade ground and called for volunteers, who would go with
him to try and stop the awful carnage. Every soldier came forward.
Captain Marsh told them that he thought the sight of the soldiers would
cow them as it had so many times before. They at once departed, leaving
about thirty men with us.

We knew nothing of what was happening to this little handful of
soldiers, but as more and more refugees came in with the terribly
mutilated, our fears increased. We knew a small group of the savages
could finish us. Just at dusk, Jim Dunn, a soldier of nineteen who
always helped us about our work, came reeling in, caked with blood and
sweat. I said, "For God's sake, what is the news, Jim?" He only panted,
"Give me something to eat quick." After he had swallowed a few
mouthfuls, he told us that nearly all of the boys had been killed by the
Indians. He said, "The devils got us in the marsh by the river. Quinn
told the Captain not to go down there, but he held his sword above his
head and said, 'All but cowards will follow me.'" The Indians on the
other side of the river were challenging us to come by throwing up their
blankets way above their heads. Only three more of the boys came in that

All of us who were living outside, had gone into the stone barracks with
the refugees. That night we were all sitting huddled together trembling
with fear. We had helped feed the hungry and cared for the wounded all
day long and now were so fatigued we could hardly keep awake. I had
brought my little kerosene lamp with me. I lit it and brought out of the
darkness the sorrowful groups of women and children. Some one called
"Lights out." I turned mine down and set it behind the door. We sat in
darkness. A voice called, "Up stairs." I gathered my baby in my arms,
told Walter to hold on to mother's dress on one side and Minnie on the
other, and up stairs we went, all pushed from behind so we could not
stop. We were pushed into a large room, dark as pitch. There we all
stood panting through fear and exertion. How long, I do not know. A
voice in the room kept calling, "Ota! Ota!" meaning "Many! Many!" We
knew there were Indians with us, but not how many. I had the butcher
knife sharpened when the first refugees came and covered with a piece of
an old rubber. It was now sticking in my belt. I asked Mrs. Dunn what
she had to protect herself with. She said she had nothing, but found her
shears in her pocket. I told her to put out their eyes with them, while
they were killing us, for we expected death every minute after hearing
those Indian voices. I heard Jim Dunn's voice and called him and told
him where my lamp was and asked him to bring it up. He brought it to me.
This was the crucial moment of my life. I sat the lamp on the floor, and
with one hand on the butcher knife, slowly turned up the light. I saw
only three squaws and three half breed boys, instead of the large number
of Indians I expected. Each declared "Me good Injin! Me good Injin!"

All was confusion. William Hawley was inside guard at the door of the
room we were in upstairs. He was just out of the hospital and was very
weak. In spite of this he had gone with the soldiers to Redwood and had
just returned after crawling out from under his dead companions and
creeping through the brush and long grass those dreadful miles. He was
all in. His gun had a fixed bayonet.

My eyes never left those squaws for a moment. I was sure they were
spies who would go to the devils outside and tell them of the weakness
of the fort. Two of the squaws began to fight about a fine tooth comb.
The more formidable of the two, with much vituperation, declared she
would not stay where the other one was. Just at the height of the fight,
a gun outside was fired. The minute it was fired, the squaw started for
the door. I suspected that it was a signal for her to come outside, and
tell what she knew. Hawley had left his post and come in among us. Our
babies were on a field bed on the floor. Calling to Mrs. Dunn to look
after them, I sprang to the door and grabbed the discarded gun. At that
moment, the squaw tried to pass. I ordered her back. She called me a
"Seechy doe squaw" meaning "mean squaw" and tried to push me back. I
raised the bayonet saying, "Go back or I'll ram this through you." She
went back growling and swearing in Sioux. Probably in half an hour I was
relieved of my self-appointed task. Martin Tanner taking my place, I
said to him, "Don't let that squaw get away." I sat down on a board over
some chairs and made the squaw sit beside me. There we sat all that long
night with my right hand hold of my knife and the other holding her blue
petticoat. Didn't she talk to me and revile me? None of the others even
tried to leave. At last we saw the dawn appear.

Have you ever been in great danger where all was darkness where that
danger was? If so, you will know what an everlasting blessing that
daylight was.

From our upper windows we could look out and see that our foes were not
yet in sight. All night long among the refugees, praying, supplicating
and wailing for the dead, was constant, but as the light came and we
began to bestir ourselves among them, nursing the wounded and feeding
the hungry, this ceased and only the crying of the hungry children was

The Indians had driven away all the stock so there was no milk. My baby
had just been weaned. All those ten days we stayed in the fort, I fed
her hard tack and bacon; that was all we had. I chewed this for her.
There were many nursing mothers, but all were sustaining more than their

There was no well or spring near the fort. All water had to be brought
from the ravine by mule team. Early that morning, under an escort, with
the cannon trained on them, the men drove the mule teams again and again
for water. Busy as all the women who lived at the fort were, I never let
that squaw out of my sight. I kept hold of a lock of her hair whenever I
walked around. She swore volubly, but came along.

About ten o'clock in the morning Lieutenant Gere, a boy of nineteen, who
was left in command when the senior officers were killed, called on me.
On a hill to the northwest, a great body of Indians were assembled. He
wanted me to look through the field piece and see if Little Crow was the
leader. I knew him at once among the cavorting throng of challenging
devils. I knew too, whose captive I would be if the fort fell, for he
had offered to buy me from my husband for three ponies. He loved so to
hear me sing. Mr. Gideon Pond had tried to teach him to sing. We watched
them breathlessly as they sat in council knowing that if they came then
we were lost. The council was long, but finally after giving the blood
curdling war whoop, they rode away.

They were hardly out of sight before the soldiers who had been with us
and had just left for Fort Ripley before the outbreak, filed in. Captain
Marsh had sent for them just before leaving the fort for Redwood. Those
noble fellows, nearly exhausted from the long march, with no sleep for
thirty hours, immediately took their places with the defenders, without
rest or sleep the night before. Gere had sent to St. Peter for the
Renville Rangers and some of our own men. They came in the evening.

The prayers of thanksgiving that could be heard in many tongues from
that mournful group of refugees, as they knew of the soldiers return,
could never be forgotten. Mrs. Dunn and I had asked for guns to help
fight, but there were none for us. There was little ammunition too. The
blacksmith, John Resoft, made slugs by cutting iron rods into pieces.
Mrs. Mueller, Mrs. Dunn and I worked a large share of that day making
cartridges of these, or balls. We would take a piece of paper, give it a
twist, drop in some powder and one of these, or a ball, and give it
another twist. The soldiers could fire twice as fast with these as when
they loaded themselves. All the women helped.

My squaw was still with me. The others made no effort to escape. Just as
night came, she broke away and when she really started she could run off
with me, as she was big and I only weighed one hundred and three pounds.
When I found I could not stop her, I screamed to Sargeant MCGrew, "This
squaw is going to get away and I can't stop her." He turned his gun on
her and shouted, "If you don't go back, I'll blow you to h---." That
night I had to sleep and she got away.

With a hundred and sixty soldiers in the fort, all were so reassured
that we all slept that night.

The next morning was a repetition of Tuesday. The care of the wounded
under that great man, Doctor Mueller and his devoted wife, was our work.
One woman who was my especial care had been in bed with a three day's
old baby when the smoke from the burning homes of neighbors was seen and
they knew the time to fly had come. A wagon with a small amount of hay
on it stood near the door with part of a stack of hay by it. Her husband
and the hired man placed her and the baby on this and covered them with
as much hay as they could get on before the savages came, then mounted
the horses and started to ride away. They were at once shot by the
Indians who then began a search for her. They ran a pitch fork into the
hay over and over again, wounding the woman in many places and hurting
the child so that it died. They then set fire to the hay and went on to
continue their devilish work elsewhere. She crawled out of the hay more
dead than alive and made her way to the fort. Besides the pitchfork
holes which were in her legs and back, her hair and eyebrows were gone
and she was dreadfully burned.

None of the women seemed to think of their wounds. They lamented their
dead and lost, but as far as they themselves were concerned were
thankful they were not captives. The suffering of these women stirred me
to the depths. One poor German woman had had a large family of children.
They all scattered at the approach of the Indians. She thought they were
all killed. She would sit looking into space, calling, "Mine schilder!
Mine schilder!" enough to break your heart. I thought she had gone crazy
when I saw her look up at the sound of a child's voice, then begin to
climb on the table calling, "Mine schilder! Mine schilder!" In a group
on the other side she had seen four of her children that had escaped and
just reached the fort that Wednesday morning.

Early in the afternoon the long expected fighting began. We were all
sent up stairs to stay and obliged to sit on the floor or lie prone. All
the windows were shot in and the glass and spent bullets fell all around
us. I picked up a wash basin heaping full of these and Mrs. Dunn as many
more. By evening the savages retired, giving their awful war whoops.

Thursday there was very little fighting as the rain wet the Indians'
powder. Mrs. Dunn, Mrs. Sweatt and I spent the time making cartridges in
the powder room in our stocking feet. We also melted the spent bullets
from the day before and ran them in molds. These helped out the supply
of ammunition amazingly.

Friday was the terrific battle. A short distance from the fort was a
large mule barn. The Indians swarmed in there. Sergeant Jones understood
their method of warfare, so trained cannon loaded with shell on the
barn. At a signal these were discharged, blowing up the barn and setting
the hay on fire. The air was full of legs, arms and bodies, which fell
back into the flames. We were not allowed to look out, but I stood at
the window all the time and saw this. Later I saw vast numbers of the
Indians with grass and flowers bound on their heads creeping like snakes
up to the fort under cover of the cannon smoke. I gave the alarm, and
the guns blew them in all directions. There was no further actual
fighting, though eternal vigilance was the watchword. It was those
hundred and sixty men who saved even Minneapolis and St. Paul, and all
the towns between. If Fort Ridgely had fallen, the Sioux warriors would
have come right through. General Sibley did not get there with
reinforcements until the next Thursday after the last battle.

You can imagine the sanitary condition of all those people cooped up in
that little fort. No words I know could describe it.

Note.--Mrs. Hern has a medal from the government for saving the fort.

Mrs. Mary Ingenhutt--1858, Minneapolis.

Mrs Ingenhutt, now one hundred years old, for ninety years has made
"Apfel Kuchen," "Fist Cheese" and wine as follows:

Apfel Kuchen--Mix a rich dough using plenty of butter and rich milk.
Line a pan with this, cut in squares and cover with apples sprinkled
thick with sugar and cinnamon. Bake until apples are thoroughly cooked.

Fist Cheese--Take a pan of clabbered milk. Set over a slow fire. When
the whey comes to the top, strain off and shape in balls. Let stand in
warm place until it is ripe--that is, until it is strong.

Wine--Grape, currant, rhubarb and gooseberry wine: Mash home grown fruit
with a home made potato masher, squeeze it through a coarse cloth, add
sugar and place in warm spot to ferment. Draw off in kegs and allow to
stand at least two years.

I used to love to go to the picnics in the early days. Everyone had such
a good time, and was trying to have everyone else have one, too. Then,
all were equal. Nowadays, each one is trying to be prouder than the next

Captain L. L. McCormack.

Georgetown on the Red River was the Hudson Bay post. After the railroad
was built to St. Cloud the Red River carts crossed there on a ferry and
then on the Dakota side went from point to point on the river in the
timber to camp. The river is very crooked. A days journey with one of
these carts was twelve miles. The first stop was at Elk River, now
Dalyrimple, then to Goose River, the present site of Caledonia and then
to Frog Point and from there to what is now Grand Forks. The freight was
teamed to and from St. Cloud and Benson.

Mr. Charles M. Loring--1860.

On the 20th day of September 1860, I reached Minneapolis with my wife
and little son, and went to the Nicollet Hotel where I made arrangements
for board for the winter. The hotel was kept by Eustis & Hill. They
fixed the price at $6.00 a week including fire and laundry for the
family, i. e. $2.00 a week for each person. Mr Loren Fletcher occupied
the rooms adjoining and paid the same price that I paid, notwithstanding
there were but two in his family, but his rooms were considered to be
more favorably located being on the corner of Hennepin and Washington

The cook at the hotel was a Mrs. Tibbets from New England who was an
expert in preparing the famous dishes of that section of our country,
and in the many years that have elapsed since that time, I have never
been in a hotel where cooking was so appetizing.

Our first winter in Minnesota was passed in the most delightful and
pleasant manner.

The following spring, I rented the house on the corner of what is now
Third Avenue and Sixth Street, for the sum of $6.00 a month. This house
is still standing and is a comfortable two story New England house. At
that time it stood alone on the prairie with not more than three or four
houses south of it. One of these is still standing at the corner of
Tenth Street and Park Avenue and is occupied as a "Keeley Cure."

There were few luxuries in the market, but everything that could be
purchased was good and cheap. There was but one meatshop which was kept
by a Mr. Hoblet. He kept his place open in the forenoon only, as his
afternoons were spent in driving over the country in search of a "fat
critter." The best steaks and roasts were 8c a pound and chickens 4 to
6c a pound. Eggs, we bought at 6c a dozen and butter at 8 to 10c a
pound. In winter, we purchased a hind quarter of beef at 3 and 4c a
pound, chickens 3c and occasionally pork could be bought at 6c a pound,
but this was rarely in market. Mutton was never seen. Prairie chickens,
partridges, ducks and venison was very plentiful in the season and very
cheap. We used to purchase these in quantities after cold weather came,
freeze them and pack them in snow. This worked well provided we had no
"January thaw" and then we lost our supplies.

The only fruit we had for winter use was dried apples, wild plums, wild
crab apples and cranberries. In the season, we had wild berries which
were very plentiful. There was a cranberry marsh a half mile west of
Lake Calhoun, on what is now Lake Street, where we used to go to gather
berries. One day a party of four drove to the marsh and just as we were
about to alight, we saw that a large buck had taken possession of our
field. We did not dispute his claim, but silently stole away. That same
autumn a bear entered the garden of W. D. Washburn, who lived on Fifth
Street and Eighth Avenue and ate all of his sweet corn.

About this time the settlers on Lake Minnetonka were clearing their
claims in the "Big Woods" burning most of the timber, but some of the
hard maple was cut as cordwood and hauled to Minneapolis and sold for
from $2.00 to $2.50 a cord.

The winters were cold but clear and bright. The few neighbors were
hospitable and kind and I doubt if there has been a time in the history
of Minneapolis when its citizens were happier than they were in the
pioneer days of the early sixties.

There were few public entertainments, but they enjoyed gathering at the
houses of their neighbors for a game of euchre and occasionally for a
dance in Woodmans' Hall which was situated on the corner of Helen
Street, now Second Avenue, and Washington Avenue. One violinist
furnished the music. Sleighing, horse racing on the river and skating
were the out-of-doors amusements for the winter. A favorite place for
skating was in a lot situated on Nicollet Avenue between Fourth and
Fifth Streets. Nicollet Avenue had been raised above the grade of this
lot, causing a depression which filled with water in the fall. There was
a small white house in the center of the lot and the skaters went around
and around it, and no skating park was more greatly enjoyed.

At the time the war broke out, the town began to show signs of
recovering from the effects of the panic of 1857 and its wonderfully
beautiful surroundings attracted new settlers and the foundation of the
great commercial city was laid.

Dr. Stewart of Sauk Center.

I was government physician for many years and so was back and forth all
the time. I used to meet old man Berganeck, an old German, who carried
supplies for the government. He always walked and knit stockings all the
way. This was very common among the German settlers. The government paid
such an enormous price for its freighting that one could almost pay for
an outfit for supplies in one trip. Berganeck became very wealthy.

I often passed the night near the bivouac of the Red River drivers. They
knew me and were very glad to have me near. I never saw a more rugged
race. They always had money even in the panic times of '57. If I treated
them for any little ailment, I could have my choice of money or furs.
The mosquitoes did not seem to bother them, though they would drive a
white man nearly crazy.

I started for Fort Wadsworth, a four company post, in January '68. The
winters, always severe, had been doubly so in '67 and '68. I went by
team, leaving Sauk Center with the mercury at forty below zero. It never
got above forty five below in the morning, while we were on the trip.
The snow was three feet on a level and we broke the roads. It took us
twelve days to make this three day's trip. My driver was drunk most of
the time. There were no trees from Glenwood to Big Stone Lake on the
trail. When I drove up to Brown's station, a big log house with a family
of about forty people, Nellie met me. To my inquiry as to whether I
could stay over night, she answered, "Yes, but there is no food in the
house. We have had none for three days. My father is somewhere between
here and Henderson with supplies. He knows we are destitute, so will
hurry through." About three o'clock, we heard an Indian noise outside.
It was Joe with his Indian companions. All he had on that big sled was
half a hog, a case of champagne and half a dozen guns. These men were
always improvident and never seemed to think ahead.

His daughters, Amanda and Emily, twins, had a peculiarity I never knew
before in twins. One day, one would be gay, the other sad. The next day,
it would be reversed.

Mrs. J. M. Paine, Minneapolis.

During the early days of the war my husband raised a company of cavalry
and wanted me to inspect them as they drilled. I was only a girl of
seventeen, but had instructions enough how to behave when they were
drilling, for a regiment. I was mounted on one of the cavalry horses and
was to sit sedately, my eye on every maneuver and a pleased smile on my

I was ready with the goods, but unfortunately when I was ready, my
steed was not. At the first bugle call he started on a fierce gallop,
squeezing himself in where he had belonged, while a terrified bride
clung to his neck with both arms. The only reason that I did not cling
with more was that I did not have them.

I went once on a buffalo hunt with my husband. It does not seem possible
that all those animals can be gone. The plains were covered with them.
The steaks from a young male buffalo were the most delicious I have ever

Miss Minnesota Neill.

My father, the Reverend Mr. J. D. Neill, first came to St. Paul in April
'49, then returned east to get my mother. In July, when they arrived at
Buffalo on their way west, at the hotel, they met Governor and Mrs.
Ramsey who were on their way to Minnesota to take up their duties there.
They were delighted to meet my father as he was the first man they had
ever met who had seen St. Paul. When they arrived, they were much
surprised at the smallness of the place. My mother was not easily
consoled over the size of their metropolis. Among other supplies she had
brought a broom as she had heard how difficult it was to get them. Mr.
H. M. Rice, who came down to meet them, chided her for being
disappointed and putting the broom over his shoulder with pure military
effect, led her along the little footpath which led over the bluff to
the town, and to the American House. Although this was a hotel par
excellence for the times, the floor was made of splintered, unplaned
boards. My mother was obliged to keep her shoes on until she had got
into bed and put them on before arising, to escape the slivers. The
furniture of the bedroom consisted of a bed and wash stand on which last
piece, the minister wrote powerful sermons. My mother wished to put down
a carpet and bring in some of her own furniture, but the landlady would
not allow this, saying, "There was no knowing where it would stop, if
one was allowed to do the like."

They early began the construction of a small chapel and a large brick
house which later became the stopping place of all ministers entering
the state. In the fall of '49 the house was not completed, but the
chapel was. They felt that the Scotts, where they then lived, needed
their room, so moved into the chapel and putting up their bed on one
side of the pulpit and stove on the other, kept house there for six
weeks. The only drawback was that the bed had to be taken down every
Sunday. In all the six weeks it never rained once on Sunday.

My mother used often to go alone through a ravine at night to see the
Ramsey's. She carried a lantern but was never molested or afraid
although it was often very dark. Their storeroom, in those days everyone
had one, was stocked in the fall with everything for the winter. My
father would buy a side of beef and then cut it up according to the
directions his wife would read from a diagram in a cook book. This was
frozen and placed in an outside storeroom.

One Sunday my father announced from the pulpit that if anyone was in
need they always stood ready to help. That night everything was taken
from the storehouse. It was thought the act was done by someone who
respected my father's wishes as expressed in his sermon.

Their first Christmas here, the doorbell rang. When it was answered, no
one was there, but a great bag containing supplies of all kinds hung
from the latch. A large pincushion outlined in black was among the
things. It was years before the donor was known.

Once some eastern people came to see us and we took them for a long
drive. The bridges were not built, so we had to cross the Mississippi on
a ferry. We went first to Fort Snelling which seemed to be abandoned. In
one of the rooms we found some peculiar high caps which had belonged to
the soldiers. My father took one and amused the children much when he
went under Minnehaha Falls by leaving his own hat and wearing that funny

Mr. L. L. Lapham.

When we were coming to Houston County, if we couldn't get game we
breakfasted on codfish. I think it was the biggest slab of codfish I
ever saw when we started. It made us thirsty. The fish called for water
and many's the time mother and I knelt down and drank from stagnant
pools that would furnish fever germs enough to kill a whole city
nowadays, but I suppose we had so much fresh air that the germs couldn't
thrive in our systems.

Speaking of codfish, reminds me that one day we met a man and his family
making their way to the river. I halted him and asked him what he was
going back for. You see we met few "turnouts" on the road for all were
going the same way.

"Well," said he, "I'm homesick--homesick as a dog and I'm going back
east if I live to get there." "Why what's the matter with the west?" I
asked. "Oh nothing, only it's too blamed fur from God's country and I
got to hankering fer codfish--and I'm agoin' where it is. Go lang!" and
he moved on. I guess he was homesick. He looked, and he talked it and
the whole outfit said it plain enough. You can't argue with

Arnold Stone and his good wife lived up there on the hill. One day in
the early 60's an Indian appeared in Mrs. Stone's kitchen and asked for
something to eat. They were just sitting down to dinner and he was
invited to join the family. The butter was passed to him, and he said,
"Me no butter knife." "I told Arnold," said Mrs. Stone, "that when it
gets so the Injuns ask for butter knives it's high time we had one."




(Mrs. William J. Morehart)

Mrs. Margaret Rathbun Funk--1853.

I came to Mankato in the year 1853 on the Steamer Clarion from St. Paul.
I was eleven years old. My father, Hoxey Rathbun, had left us at St.
Paul while he looked for a place to locate. He went first to Stillwater
and St. Anthony, but finally decided to locate at the Great Bend of the
Minnesota River. We landed about four o'clock in the morning, and father
took us to a little shack he had built on the brow of the hill west of
Front Street near the place where the old Tourtelotte Hospital used to
be. Back of this shack, at a distance of a couple of blocks were twenty
Indian tepees, which were known as Wauqaucauthah's Band. As nearly as I
can remember there were nine families here at that time and their names
were as follows: Maxfield, Hanna, Van Brunt, Warren, Howe, Mills,
Jackson and Johnson, our own family being the ninth.

The first winter here I attended school. The school house was built by
popular subscription and was on the site of the present Union School on
Broad Street. It was a log structure of one room, and in the middle of
this room was a large, square, iron stove. The pupils sat around the
room facing the four walls, the desks being wide boards, projecting out
from the walls. Miss Sarah Jane Hanna was my first teacher. I came from
my home across the prairie, through the snow in the bitter cold of the
winter. Oftentimes I broke through the crust of the snow and had a hard
time getting out. One of the incidents I remember well while going to
school, was about a young Indian whom we called Josh, who pretended he
was very anxious to learn English. Most every day he would come to the
school, peer in at the windows, shade his eyes with his hand and mutter
"A" "B" "C", which would frighten us very much. The education the
children received in those days had to be paid for either by their
parents or by someone else who picked out a child and paid for his or
her tuition. That was how I received my education. My parents were too
poor to pay for mine, and a man in town, who had no children volunteered
to pay for same. I went to school for a few years on this man's

The first winter was a very cold one and although we were not bothered
much by the Indians as yet, they often came begging for something to

Although the Indians had never harmed us we were afraid of them. When we
came to this country we brought a dog, and when these Indians came
begging we took the dog into the house with us and placed him beside the
door, where his barking and growling soon frightened them away. They
seemed afraid of dogs, as there were very few in this country at that
time. One time when father was on his way home he saw an Indian boy who
had been thrown from his horse. He picked him up and put him back on his
horse and took him to his tepee. Later this same Indian remembered my
father's kindness to him by warning us that the Indians were planning an
uprising and telling us to leave the country.

My father was the first mail carrier through this part of the country.
John Marsh and his brother, George Marsh contracted with him to carry
the mail, they having previously contracted with the government. He was
to carry the mail from Mankato to Sioux City and return. He made his
first trip in the summer of 1856. The trip took about three weeks. He
made several trips during the summer. His last trip was in the fall of
1856, when he started from here to Sioux City. The government was
supposed to have built shacks along his route at regular intervals of
about twenty miles, where he could rest and seek shelter during cold
weather and storms, but this had been neglected. He often slept under
hay stacks, and wherever shelter was afforded.

On his way to Sioux City he encountered some very severe weather, and
froze one of his sides. The lady where he stopped in Sioux City wanted
him to stay there for a while before returning home, and until his side
had been treated and he had recovered, but he would not have it so, and
started on his return trip during exceedingly cold weather. He did not
return on schedule time from Sioux City on this trip, and mother became
very much worried about him. She went to the men who had contracted with
father to carry the mail and asked them to send out men to look for him.
They promised to send out a Frenchman, and a dog team. This contented
mother for awhile, but as father did not return she again went to these
men and this time they sent out three men with a horse and cutter to
look for him.

After traveling over the route for some time they came to a shack on the
Des Moines river, near where Jackson, this state, now is and in this
shack they found my father, badly frozen and barely alive. He lived but
a few moments after shaking hands with the men who found him. They
brought the body back to Mankato and he was buried out near our place of
residence, at the foot of the hill. The weather was so extremely cold at
that time that the family could not go out to the burial.

Later, after I was married, myself and husband came down to what is now
the central part of town for the purpose of buying a lot for building a
home, and we selected the lot where I now live, at the corner of Walnut
and Broad streets. We purchased the same for $487. We could have had any
lot above this one for $200, but selected this for the reason that it
was high. The country around us was all timber and we had no sidewalks
or streets laid out at that time.

At the time of the Indian outbreak I lived on what is now Washington
street, directly across from where the German Lutheran school now
stands. The Indians started their outbreaks during the Civil war. They
started their massacres in this neighborhood in July and August of 1862.
I can distinctly remember seeing, while standing in the doorway of my
home, a band of Indians coming over the hill. This was Little Priest and
his band of Winnebagoes. These Winnebagoes professed to be friendly to
the white people and hostile to the Sioux. They claimed that a Sioux had
married a Winnebago maiden, and for that reason they were enemies to the
Sioux. To prove that they were their enemies they stalked the Sioux who
had married a maid of one of their tribes and murdered him, bringing
back to show us his tongue, heart, and scalp, and also dipped their
hands in the Sioux's life blood and painted their naked bodies with it.

Mrs. Mary Pitcher--1853.

The old Nominee with a cabin full of passengers and decks and hold loaded
with freight bound for St. Paul was the first boat to get through Lake
Pepin in the spring of 1853. The journey from Dubuque up was full of
interest, but although on either side of the Mississippi the Indians were
the chief inhabitants, nothing of exciting nature occurred until Pigseye
Bar on which was Kaposia, the village of the never-to-be-forgotten Little
Crow was reached. Then as the engines were slowed down to make the landing
a sight met our gaze that startled even the captain. The whole village of
several hundred Indians was in sight and a most frightful sight it was.
Everyone young and old was running about crying, wailing, with faces
painted black and white. They did not seem even to see the big steamer. It
was such an appalling spectacle that the captain deemed it best not to
land, but there were two men on board, residents of St. Paul returning from
St. Louis who got into a boat and went ashore.

They learned that there had been a fight in St. Paul the day before
between this band of Sioux and a party of Chippewas in which one of the
Sioux was killed and several wounded. It was not a very pleasant thing
to contemplate, for these people on board the boat were going to St.
Paul with their families to make homes in this far away west.

There were also on board some Sisters of Charity from St. Louis, one of
them Sister Victorine, a sister of Mrs. Louis Robert. They all fell on
their knees and prayed and wept and they were not the only ones who wept
either. There were many white faces and no one seemed at ease.

I remember my mother saying to my father, "Oh Thomas, why did we bring
these children into this wild place where there can be an Indian fight
in the biggest town and only ten miles from a fort at that."

The excitement had not subsided when St. Paul was reached, but the first
man that came on board as the boat touched the landing was my mother's
brother, Mr. W. W. Paddock. The sight of him seemed to drive away some
of the fear, as he was smiling and made light of the incident of the day
before. He took us up to the Old Merchants' Hotel, then a large rambling
log house and as soon as we had deposited some of our luggage, he said,
"Well, we will go out and see the battlefield." It was in the back yard
of our hotel, an immense yard of a whole block, filled with huge logs
drawn there through the winter for the year's fuel.

The morning of the fight, a party of Chippewas coming into St. Paul from
the bluffs saw the Sioux in canoes rounding the bend below and knowing
they would come up Third Street from their landing place, just below
Forbes' Store and exactly opposite the hotel, the Chippewas made haste
to hide behind the logs, and wait the coming of the Sioux.

The landlady, Mrs. Kate Wells, was standing on one of the logs, hanging
up some clothes on a line. Frightened almost to death at the sight of
the Indians running into the yard and hiding behind the logs, she jumped
down and started to run into the house. Instantly she was made to
understand she could not go inside. The Indians pointed their guns at
her, and motioned her to get down behind the logs out of sight, which
she did and none too soon, as just then the Sioux came in sight and were
met by a most deadly fusilade that killed Old Peg Leg Jim and wounded
many others. Some of the Sioux took refuge in Forbes store and opened
fire on any Chippewa who left his hiding place. Pretty soon the
inhabitants began to come into hailing distance and the Chippewas
concluded to beat a hasty retreat but not before they had taken Old
Jim's scalp. When the Sioux ran into Forbes store, the clerk, thinking
his time had come, raised a window and taking hold of the sill, let
himself drop down to the river's edge, a distance of over fifty feet.

Between the Sioux and Chippewas ran a feud further back than the white
man knew of and no opportunity was ever lost to take the scalp of a
fallen foe.

The Indians mourn for the dead but doubly so if they have lost their
scalps, as scalpless Sioux cannot enter the Happy Hunting Grounds.

One of the things about this same trip of the old Nominee was the fact
that almost every citizen of St. Paul came down to see this welcome
messenger of spring.

Provisions had become very scarce and barrels of eggs and boxes of
crackers and barrels of hams, in fact almost everything eatable was
rolled out on the land and sold at once. It didn't take long to empty a
barrel of eggs or a box of crackers and everyone went home laden.

Mrs. J. R. Beatty--1853.

I landed in Mankato on my twelfth birthday, May 26, 1853. We came from
Ohio. My father, George Maxfield and his family and my uncle, James
Hanna and family and friend, Basil Moreland, from Quincy, Ill. We took
the Ohio River steam boat at Cincinnati. Somewhere along the river we
bought a cow. This cow started very much against her better judgment and
after several days on the boat decided she wouldn't go west after all
and in some way jumped off the boat and made for the shore. We did not
discover her retreat until she had reached the high bank along the river
and amid great excitement the boat was turned around and everybody
landed to capture the cow. She was rebellious all along the way,
especially when we had to transfer to a Mississippi boat at St. Louis,
and when we transferred to a boat on the Minnesota river at St. Paul,
but she was well worth all the trouble for she was the only cow in the
settlement that first summer. She went dry during the winter and not a
drop of milk could be had for love or money in the town.

The want of salt bothered the pioneers more than anything else. Game
abounded. Buffalo herds sometimes came near and deer often came through
the settlement on the way to the river to drink. The streams were full
of fish, but we could not enjoy any of these things without salt.
However, our family did not suffer as much inconvenience as some others
did. One family we knew had nothing to eat but potatoes and maple syrup.
They poured the syrup over the potatoes and managed to get through the
winter. Sometimes flour would be as high as $24 a barrel. During the
summer when the water was low and in the winter when the river was
frozen and the boats could not come down from St. Paul, the storekeepers
could charge any price they could get.

Our family had a year's supply of groceries that father had bought at
St. Louis on the way up. We had plenty of bedding and about sixty yards
of ingrain carpet that was used as a partition in our house for a long
time. There was very little to be bought in St. Paul at that time.
Father bought the only set of dishes to be had in St. Paul and the only

There were only a few houses in Mankato and the only thing we could find
to live in was the frame of a warehouse that Minard Mills had just begun
to build on the south end of the levee, where Otto's grocery store now
stands. My uncle purchased the building and we put a roof on and moved
in. We were a family of twenty-one and I remember to this day the awful
stack of dishes we had to wash after each meal. A frame addition was put
along side of the building and in July my cousin, Sarah J. Hanna (later
Mrs. John Q. A. Marsh) started a day school with twenty-four scholars.
It was the first school ever held in Mankato.

In 1855, a tract of land twenty four miles long and twelve miles wide
was withdrawn from civilization and given as a reservation to two
thousand Winnebago Indians who took possession in June of that year
against the vigorous protest of the people. Everyone in the town was
down to see them come in. The river was full of their canoes for two or
three days. As soon as they landed, the Indians began the erection of a
rude shelter on the levee of poles and bark, perhaps twenty feet long
and twelve feet wide. The squaws were all busy cooking some kind of meat
and a cake something like a pancake. We soon discovered that they were
preparing a feast for the Sioux who had come down in large numbers from
Fort Ridgely which was near New Ulm to meet them. After the shelter was
finished the feast began. Blankets were spread on the ground and rows of
wooden bowls were placed before the Indians, one bowl to about three
Indians. The cakes were broken up and placed near the bowls. After the
feast was over, the peace-pipe was passed and the speaking began. The
first speaker was a Sioux chief, evidently delivering an address of
welcome. He was followed by several others all very dignified and

We had heard that the Sioux would give a return feast on the next day
and when we got tired of watching the speakers, we went down to the
Sioux wigwams to see what was going on there and found an old Indian
squatting before the fire. Dog meat seemed to be the main article of
food. Evidently it was to be a ceremonial feast for he had a large
supply of dog beside him on the ground and was holding one over the
fire to singe the hair off. When we came near, he deftly cut off an ear
and offered it to me with a very fierce look. When I refused it, he
laughed very heartily at his little joke.

The Winnebagoes were sent to the agency four miles from town soon after.
The agency buildings were where St. Clair is now located.

One day at noon the school children heard that the Indians were having a
squaw dance across the river. It was in the spring, just as the snow was
beginning to melt. We found about twenty-five squaws dancing around in a
circle and making a fearful noise in their high squealing voices. They
danced in the same way that the Indians did, and I had never seen any
other form of dancing among them. They were wearing moccasins and were
tramping around in the water. The Indians were sitting on logs watching
them. One was pounding on a tom-tom.

One day when we were eating dinner, about twenty-five Indians came to
the house and looked in the window. They always did that and then would
walk in without knocking. They squatted down on the floor until dinner
was over and then motioned for the table to be pushed back to the wall.
Then they began to dance the begging dance. In their dances they pushed
their feet, held close together over the floor and came down very
heavily on their heels. There were so many of them that the house fairly
rocked. Each Indian keeps up a hideous noise and that with the beating
of the tom-tom makes a din hard to describe. The tom-tom is a dried skin
drawn tightly over a hoop and they beat on this with a stick. After they
were through dancing they asked for a pail of sweetened water and some
bread which they passed around and ate. This bread and sweetened water
was all they asked for. It is a part of the ceremony, although they
would take anything they could get.

The Sioux were the hereditary foes of the Chippewas who lived near the
head waters of the Mississippi and during this summer about three
hundred Sioux on their way to Fort Ridgely where they were to receive
their annuity, pitched their wigwams near our house. They had been on
the war path and had taken a lot of Chippewa scalps and around these
bloody trophies they held a savage scalp dance. We children were not
allowed to go near as the howling, hooting and yelling frightened
everybody. It continued for three nights and the whole settlement was
relieved when they went away.

Mrs. A. M. Pfeffer--1858.

My father, Miner Porter had been closely connected with the early
history of Fox Lake, Wis. He had conducted the leading hotel and store
for years, was Postmaster, and did much by his enterprise and liberality
for the town. He went to bed a wealthy man and awoke one morning to find
everything but a small stock of merchandise swept away by the State Bank
failures of that state. Selling that, he came to Mankato in 1857 and
pre-empted a tract of land near Minneopa Falls, now our State Park. It
was one half mile from South Bend, located on the big bend of the
Minnesota River.

The following year, 1858 father started to build on our claim. There
were sawmills in our vicinity where black walnut and butternut for the
inside finishing could be bought, but the pine that was needed for the
other part of the building had to be hauled from St. Paul by team. It
took all summer to get the lumber down.

After our house was finished it came to be the stopping place for
lodging and breakfast for settlers traveling over the territorial road
towards Winnebago and Blue Earth City.

Pigeon Hill, a mile beyond our house was used as a camping ground for
the Sioux all of that winter. We could see the smoke from their
campfires curling up over the hill, although they were supposed to stay
on their reservation at Fort Ridgely they were constantly coming and
going and they and the Winnebagoes roved at will over the entire

One night mother was awakened by an unusual noise. She called father,
who got up and opened the bedroom door. The sight that met their eyes
was enough to strike terror to the heart of any settler of those days.
The room was packed with Indians--Winnebagoes--men, women and children,
but they were more frightened than we were. They had had some encounter
with the Sioux and had fled in terror to our house. After much
persuasion, father induced them to leave the house and go down to a
small pond where the timber was very heavy and they remained in hiding
for two days. We were in constant terror of the Sioux. All the settlers
knew they were a blood thirsty lot and often an alarm would be sent
around that the Sioux were surrounding the settlement. Mother would take
us children and hurry to the old stone mill at South Bend, where we
would spend the night.

They became more and more troublesome until father thought it unsafe to
remain any longer and took us back to our old home in Wisconsin.

Mr. I. A. Pelton--1858.

I came into the State of Minnesota in April, 1858 and to Mankato May 1,
1858 from the State of New York, where I was born and raised. This was a
pretty poverty stricken country then. The panic they had in November
1857 had struck this country a very hard blow. It stopped immigration.
Previous to this panic they had good times and had gone into debt
heavily, expecting to have good times right along. Everyone was badly in
debt and money was hard to get. Currency consisted of old guns, town
lots, basswood lumber, etc. These things were traded for goods and
groceries. Money was loaned at three to five per cent per month, or
thirty-six to sixty per cent per year. I knew of people who paid sixty
per cent a year for a short time. Three per cent a month was a common
interest. I hired money at that myself.

The farmers had not developed their farms much at that time. A farmer
who had twenty to twenty-five acres under plow was considered a big
farmer in those days. The summer of 1858 was a very disastrous,
unprofitable one. It commenced very wet and kept raining during the
summer until North Mankato was all under water and the river in places
was a mile wide. The river was the highest about the first of August.
The grain at the time of this heavy rain was ripening causing it to
blight, ruining the crop. Wheat at this time was worth from $2 to $3 per
bushel. A great many of the farmers did not cut their grain because
there was nothing in it for them. The man where I boarded cut his grain
but he had little or nothing, and that which he did get was soft and
smutty. He took the same to be ground into flour and the bread the flour
made was almost black, as they did not at that time have mills to take
out the smut.

The people in the best condition financially were mighty glad if they
had Johnny cake, pork and potatoes and milk and when they had these they
thought they were on the "top shelf."

At this time too, they had to watch their fields with guns, or protect
them with scarecrows and have the children watch them to keep them clear
from the blackbirds, which were an awful pest. There were millions of
these birds and there was not a time of day when they were not hovering
over the fields. These birds would alight in the corn fields, tear the
husks from the corn and absolutely ruin the ears of corn; also feed on
the oats and wheat when it was not quite ripe and in a milky condition.

During the winter they would go south, but come back in the spring when
they would be considerable bother again, by alighting on fields that had
just been sown and taking the seed from the ground. Farmers finally
threw poisoned grain in the fields. This was made by soaking wheat and
oats in a solution of strychnine. It was ten years before these birds
were exterminated enough to make farming a profitable occupation.

Farming was more successful after that, for the reason that these birds
did not need watching. During the summer of 1858 and all during the
summer of 1859 the river was navigable. St. Paul boats came up often and
sometimes a Mississippi boat from St. Louis. We had no railroads in the
state at that time.

During the year of 1859 State Banks were put into the state but these
did not last long. I know at that time my brother sent out $150 that I
had borrowed of Harry Lamberton. He sent this money by a man named David
Lyon from New York. He came to where I was boarding and left State Bank
money. The people where I was staying gave me the money that night when
I came home and told me about what it was for. I started for St. Peter
the next day to pay the debt and during the time the money was left and
when I arrived at St. Peter it had depreciated in value ten per cent and
it kept on going down until it was entirely valueless. Money was very
scarce at that time and times were hard. We had some gold and a little

In the year of 1859 we had the latest spring I ever experienced. We did
not do any farming of any kind until the first week in May and this made
it very late for small grain. We had a short season, but the wheat was
very good. We had an early frost that year about the third of September
and it killed everything. I saw killdeers frozen to death the third day
of that month. Corn was not ripe yet and was ruined. It would have been
quite a crop. It was dried up afterwards and shrunk, but was not good.
Oats and wheat however were good and it made better times.

The country was gradually developing. In the spring of 1860 we had an
early spring. The bees flew and made honey the seventeenth of March. We
commenced plowing on the sixteenth of March. I brought down potatoes
that spring and put them in an open shed and they did not freeze. This
summer was a very productive one. Wheat went as high as forty bushels to
the acre, No. 1. All crops were good.

The fall of 1860 was the time they held presidential election and
Lincoln was elected that fall. We had very many speakers here at Mankato
and excitement ran high. General Baker, Governor Ramsey, Wm. Windom,
afterwards Secretary of the Treasury and other prominent men spoke.

After the war commenced and the volunteers were called out, most of the
able bodied men joined the army. These men sent their pay home and
afterward business began to get better and conditions improved. Early in
August of 1862 Lincoln called for five hundred thousand men and those
men in this immediate vicinity who had not already joined, went to war,
leaving only those not able to join to protect their homes and property.

Mr. John A. Jones.

We were among the very earliest settlers in the vicinity of Mankato and
came from Wisconsin. I had come in April and pre-empted a claim at the
top of what is known as Pigeon Hill. Two other families came with us.

Traveling across country, we and our teams and live stock made quite a
procession. We had five yoke of oxen, several span of horses, and about
forty head of cattle, among them a number of milch cows. The wagons, in
which we rode and in which we carried our household goods were the real
"prairie schooner" of early days. We found our way by compass and made
our own road west, traveling over the soft earth in which deep ruts were
made by our wheels. The following teams were compelled to proceed with
care in order not to get stalled in the ruts made by the first wagons.

We made the trip in four weeks, fording all rivers and streams on the
way. At La Crosse we hired both ferries and took all day to cross.
During the difficult journey we averaged about twenty-two miles, some
of us walking all the time driving the large drove of cattle. No Indian
villages were passed although we met a number of friendly redskins. At
night we slept in the wagons and cooked our meals as all emigrants did.
We brought a large store of provisions and on Saturdays would set a
small stove up in the open and do our weekly bread baking. We passed
through eighteen miles of heavy timber beyond what is now Kasota, coming
out from the forest about three miles this side onto a very nice road.

We finally arrived at the homestead. We set our stove up in the yard by
a tree and lived in the shanty until our new log house was completed.
The shanty was covered with seven loads of hay to make it warm inside
and a quilt was hung over the door. Here we lived for two months,
suffering at times from rain penetrating. At one time a heavy cloud
burst nearly drowned us out.

The first winter in our new home was a severe one. For three weeks the
cold was very intense, and what was known as three "dog moons" at night
and three "dog suns" during the day heralded the cold weather, the moon
and sun being circled with these halos for the entire three weeks.
Provisions began to run low. The prices were very high and Mr. Jones
went to St. Paul to lay in a stock of provisions. Among other things he
brought home sixty barrels of flour and eight barrels of salt. The
superfine flour was $16 a barrel and the second grade $13. The
provisions were brought by boat to Kasota, where they were stranded in
the sand and were brought the rest of the way by team. There was also a
barrel of sugar and one of apples. Sugar in those days sold at the rate
of six pounds for $1.00.

The families used this flour until they raised their own wheat and after
that they used graham flour. The Jones' planted five acres to wheat the
following spring.

Mrs. Clark Keysor.

After my husband had enlisted and went to Fort Snelling, I was quite
timid about staying alone and got a neighbor girl to stay with me. The
third night I thought I might as well stay alone. That night a rap came
at the door. A neighbor was there and wanted to know if Mr. Keysor had a
gun. He said the Indians had broken out and they wanted to get all the
guns they could. Of course we were paralyzed with fear. From that on the
trouble began.

As soon as the rumor reached Fort Snelling my husband's company was sent
back. On the day they arrived I got a good dinner for them. I knew they
would be tired and when he arrived he looked worn and haggard, having
marched all the way from Fort Snelling to Mankato. We could not eat much
dinner, we were so excited. He left right away for the frontier. The
last thing he told me before he went away was, "Fight 'til you die,
never be taken prisoner."

The bluest day of all was one Sunday. Everyone who could get away was
packing up. Women and children were walking the streets and crying. They
expected the Sioux to start from Fort Ridgely to kill all the whites,
but when they got to Birch Coolie where the Winnebagoes were to join
them, the Indians found a barrel of whiskey there. They became
intoxicated and had a big fight, so they did not come to Mankato. That
was one time when whiskey served a good purpose.

One night not very long after the Indians broke out, there were four of
our neighbors' families came into our house, as they felt safer
together. There were twelve children in the house. About midnight we
heard the town bell begin to ring and one of the women got up and went
to the door to see what the trouble was. When she opened the door, she
saw a fire, which was Seward's Mill, but she cried out, "The Indians
have come, the town is all on fire." The children began screaming and we
were all nearly frightened to death but it proved it wasn't Indians at
all. Someone had set the mill on fire.

A few of the men who were left thought that we had better pack a few of
our best things and go to Leeche's old stone building for protection.
What few men there were could protect us better there than at different
homes. This old building was three stories high. Some women were sick,
some screaming. It was a scene of trouble and distress. It was the worst
bedlam I ever got into.

Mr. Hoatling was then our best friend and helped me get my things over
to this store building. We stayed one night. The cries of women in pain
and fright were unbearable, so the next day I went back home thinking I
would risk my chances there.

Judge Lorin Cray--1859.

While at St. Peter and in the early part of December, 1862 a few of us
learned, by grapevine telegraph, late one afternoon, that an effort was
to be made the following evening, by the citizens of Mankato, New Ulm
and vicinity, to kill the Indian prisoners, three hundred and more then
in camp at Mankato near the present site of Sibley Park. As no admission
fee was to be charged the select few determined to be present at the
entertainment. The headquarters of the blood-thirsty citizens was the
old Mankato House located where the National Citizens Bank now stands,
where liquid refreshments were being served liberally, without money and
without price.

I have never seen a correct history of this fiasco in print. A very
large crowd congregated there, and there seemed to be no great haste to
march on the Indian camp. Several times starts were made by a squad of
fifty or one hundred persons, who would proceed for a few hundred feet,
and then halt and return for more refreshments.

Finally at nearly midnight the supply of refreshments must have been
exhausted for the army moved. Several hundred citizens started south
along Front Street for the Indian camp, straggling for a distance of
several blocks. When the head of the column reached West Mankato it
halted until the rear came up, and while a rambling discussion was going
on as to what they should do and how they should do it, Capt. (since
governor) Austin with his company of cavalry, surrounded the whole squad
and ordered them to move on towards Colonel (since governor) Miller's
headquarters, right at the Indian camp. They seemed reluctant to go, and
refused to move. Capt. Austin ordered his men to close in, which they
did--crowding the citizens and yet they refused to move. Finally Capt.
Austin gave the command to "draw sabers" and when a hundred sabers came
out in one movement, the army again moved on Colonel Miller's
headquarters at the Indian camp.

The scene here was supremely ridiculous. Colonel Miller came out from
his tent and spoke kindly to the citizens and asked why they were
congregated in such large numbers. He finally ordered their release and
suggested that they go home which they hastened to do.

The next morning these Indians were removed, under guard of all the
troops in the city, to log barracks, which had been built for them on
Front Street diagonally across the street from where the Saulpaugh now
stands. The Indians remained in these barracks only about two weeks.
They had been there but a short time when the officer of the day, making
his morning inspection, which was very formal, thought that he saw a
hatchet or knife under the blanket of one of the Indians. Without a
change of countenance or a suspicious movement he proceeded with the
inspection until it was completed, and retired from the barracks, and at
once caused to be mustered around the barracks every soldier in the city
with loaded guns and fixed bayonets. Then with a squad of soldiers he
entered the barracks and searching every Indian, he secured a large
number of hatchets, knives, clubs and other weapons. These weapons, it
was learned had been gotten at the Winnebago agency about twelve miles
away by several squaws, who prepared food for these Indians and who were
allowed to go to the woods to gather wood for their fires. Immediately
after this discovery the Indians who were under sentence of death were
removed to a stone building near by where they were kept under heavy
guard. A few days after this incident, Dec. 26, 1862, my company came
from St. Peter to act as guard on one side of the scaffold at the
execution of the thirty-eight Indians who were then hanged on what is
now the southerly end of the grounds of the Chicago and Northwestern
freight depot, in Mankato. A granite monument now marks the place.

Captain Clark Keysor.

I served as first Lieutenant, Co. E, 9th Minnesota of the frontier
extending from Fort Ridgely through the settlement at Hutchinson, Long
Lake and Pipe Lake. At the latter place we built a sod fort and I was in
charge. Mounted couriers, usually three in number, traveling together,
reported daily at these forts. I was stationed along the frontier for
more than a year and we had many encounters with the Indians, and I soon
learned that a white man with the best rifle to be bought in those days
had a poor chance for his life when he had to contend with an Indian
with a double barrel shot gun.

The Indian, with one lightning like movement throws a hand full of mixed
powder and shot into his gun, loading both barrels at once and takes a
shot at his enemy before the white man can turn around, and when the
Indian is running to escape, he jumps first to this side and then to
that, never in a straight line, and it is an expert marksman, indeed,
who can hit him.

I worked on the Winnebago agency as carpenter and millwright and learned
to know the habits of the Indians very well. I learned to follow a trail
and later during the Indian trouble that knowledge came in very handy.

It is very easy for a white man to fall into the habits of the Indian,
but almost impossible to raise the Indian to the standard of the white
man. The head chief of the Winnebagoes was well known to me, and we
became fast friends. He was a friendly man to all the settlers, but I
knew the characteristics of the Indian well enough to trust none of
them. He never overcomes the cunning and trickery in his nature and I
learned to know that when he seemed most amiable and ingratiating was
the time to look out for some deviltry. The Indians were great gamblers,
the squaws especially. They would gamble away everything they owned,
stopping only at the short cotton skirt they wore.

"Crazy Jane" was an educated squaw and could talk as good English as any
of us. She was very peculiar and one of the funny things she did was to
ride her Indian pony, muffled up in a heavy wool blanket carrying a
parasol over her head. She had the habit of dropping in to visit the
wives of the settlers and would frequently; on these visits, wash her
stockings and put them on again without drying. One day when we were
living at the agency I came home and found my wife in a great fright.
Our little three year old girl was missing. She had looked everywhere
but could not find her. I ran to the agency buildings nearby, but no one
had seen her. They were digging a deep well near our house and I had not
dared to look there before, but now I must and after peering down into
the depths of the muddy water and not finding her, I looked up and saw
Crazy Jane coming towards me with a strange looking papoose on her back.
When she came nearer I found it was my child. I snatched the little girl
away from her. She said she was passing by and saw the child playing
outside the door and had carried her away on her back to her tepee,
where she had kept her for several hours but had meant no harm.

We were ordered to New Ulm after the outbreak. We found the place
deserted. The doors had been left unlocked and everyone had fled for
their lives. The desk and stamps from the postoffice were in the street
and all the stores were open. I put out scouting parties from there and
we stood guard all night. After two or three days a few came back to
claim their property. They had to prove their claim before I would allow
them to take charge again. Uncle "Tommy" Ireland came to us a few days
after we arrived there. He was the most distressed looking man I ever
saw in my life. He had been hiding in the swamps for seven days and
nights. He had lain in water in the deep grass. When we examined him, we
found seventeen bullet holes where he had been shot by the Indians. He
told me about falling in with Mrs. Eastlake and her three children.

They had all come from Lake Shetek. The settlement there comprised about
forty-five people. They had been attacked by the Indians under Lean Bear
and eight of his band, and the bands of White Lodge and Sleepy Eye,
although Sleepy Eye himself died before the massacre.

Many of the settlers knew the Indians quite well and had treated them
with great kindness. Mr. Ireland and his family were with the rest of
the settlers when they were overtaken by the Indians. Mrs. Ireland, Mr.
Eastlake and two of his children, were among the killed. Mrs. Eastlake
was severely wounded, and wandered for three days and nights on the
prairie searching for her two children, hoping they might have escaped
from the slough where the others met their death. Finally on the way to
New Ulm she overtook her old neighbor, Mr. Ireland, whom she supposed
killed, as she had last seen him in the slough pierced with bullets, but
he had revived and managed to crawl thus far, though in a sorry plight.
From him she received the first tidings from her two missing children.
Later on when she found her children, they were so worn by their
suffering she could hardly recognize them. The eldest boy, eleven years
old had carried his little brother, fifteen months old on his back for
fifty miles. All the baby had to eat was a little piece of cheese which
the older boy happened to have in his pocket. When within thirty miles
from New Ulm they found the deserted cabin of J. F. Brown in Brown
County, where Mrs. Eastlake and children, a Mrs. Hurd and her two
children, and Mr. Ireland lived for two weeks on raw corn, the only food
they could find. They dared not make a fire for fear the Indians would
see the smoke. Mr. Ireland had been so badly injured that he had not
been able to leave the cabin to get help, but finally was forced by the
extreme need of the women and children to start for New Ulm. He fell in
with a priest on the way, and together they came to our headquarters and
told their story. We started at four o'clock next morning, with a
company of soldiers and a wagon with a bed for the injured women. When
we reached the cabin the women were terribly frightened and thought it
was the Indians after them again. On our return to New Ulm we took a
different turn in the road. It was just as near and much safer. One of
our men, Joe Gilfillan had not had his horse saddled when the rest
started and when he came to the fork in the road, he took the one he had
come by and was killed by the Indians. Undoubtedly we would have met the
same fate had we taken that road as the Indians were on our trail and
were in ambush waiting for our return. However, we got safely back to
New Ulm and later Mrs. Eastlake and her children and Mr. Ireland came to
Mankato where they were cared for with the other refugees. The
sufferings and hardships endured by the older Eastlake boy soon carried
him to an untimely grave.




(Mrs. E. C. Chatfield)


(Mrs. S. R. Van Sant)

Miss Carrie Stratton--1852.

My father was Levi W. Stratton who was born in Bradford, N. H., who came
to St. Croix valley in 1838, taking up a claim where Marine now stands.

He helped to build the old mill there, the ruins of which are still to
be found there. After two or three years he removed to Alton, Ill.,
where he remained for ten or twelve years marrying my mother there in

In 1852 he returned to Minnesota, coming up the river in the old "War
Eagle." His family consisted of my mother, myself and my four brothers
and sisters, the youngest an infant of six months.

We arrived at St. Paul on June 8. Being a child of but seven years, my
memory of the appearance of the town at that time, is very indistinct.
In fact the only clear remembrance of anything there, is of a large sign
upon a building directly across the street from the little inn or tavern
where we stopped for the night. It was "Minnesota Outfitting Company."
On account of our large family of little children, I had been put into
school when I was between two and three years of age and so was able to
read, write and spell, and I have a very vivid recollection of the three
long words of that sign.

We came from St. Paul to St. Anthony in the stage of the Willoughby
Company, which was the first stage line in Minnesota. The driver stopped
to water his horses at the famous old Des Noyer "Half Way House."

We stopped at the old St. Charles Hotel while the house my father had
engaged was made ready for us. It was the Calvin Tuttle home, which was
on the river bank at the foot of the University hill.

My father's previous residence in Minnesota had taught him to understand
and speak the Indian language and so the Indians were frequent visitors
at our house on one errand or another, generally, however to get
something to eat. The first time they came, my father was absent, and my
mother, never having seen any Indians before, was very much frightened.
Not being able to understand what they wanted, she imagined with a
mother's solicitude, that they wanted the baby, and being actually too
terrified to stand any longer, she took the baby and went into her room
and laid down upon the bed. After a while, either from intuition, or
from the motions the Indians made, it occurred to her to give them
something to eat, which was what they wanted and they then went
peaceably away. The rest of the children, like myself, did not appear to
be at all frightened, but instead, were very much entertained by the
novel sight of the Indians in their gay blankets and feathered head
dress. After that they were frequent visitors but always peaceable ones,
never committing any misdemeanor.

One of the earliest diversions I can remember was going up University
hill to the old Cheever tower and climbing to the top, in accordance to
the mandate at the bottom, to "Pay your Dime and Climb," to get the
magnificent view of the surrounding country, which included that of the
great falls in their pristine glory. I can remember too, like all the
others here who were children at that time, the stupendous roar of the
falls, which was constantly in our ears especially if we were awake at
night, when every other noise was stilled.

In the fall of that first year, I entered school, which was an academy
in a building on University Avenue opposite the present East High
School. This school was the nucleus of the State University and was
presided over by Mr. E. W. Merrill, who was afterward a Congregational
minister and home missionary.

After two or three years we moved into the home of the Rev. Mr. Seth
Barnes above Central Avenue, and between Main and Second streets. Here
my father cultivated a fine garden which included, besides corn, beans
and other usual vegetables, some fine sweet potatoes, which were quite a
novelty in the town at that time.

Mr. Irving A. Dunsmoor--1853.

In 1852 on account of poor health, my father resolved to come to
Minnesota and become a farmer, and in the fall of that year, he set out
with his family, consisting of my mother, myself and my three brothers.

We arrived at Galena, Ill., only to find that the last boat of the
season had gone up the river the day before. So my father left us there
for the winter and came up by the stage.

The end of his journey found him in the little town of Harmony, which
was afterwards changed to Richfield, and is now within the city limits
of Minneapolis.

Here he was able to buy for $100 a claim of two hundred and sixty acres,
with a house upon it, which was only partly finished, being, however
entirely enclosed. This particular claim attracted his attention on
account of the house, as his family was so soon to follow. It began at
what is now Fiftieth street and Lyndale Avenue and continued out Lyndale
three quarters of a mile. The house (with some addition) is still
standing on Lyndale Avenue between Fifty Third and Fifty Fourth streets.
Minnehaha creek ran through the farm and the land on the north side of
the creek (part of which is now in Washburn Park) was fine wooded land.

When the first boat came up the river in the spring it brought my mother
and us boys. My father had sent us word to come up to Fort Snelling on
the boat, but we had not received the message and so got off at St.
Paul and came up to St. Anthony by stage and got a team to take us to
our new home. We found it empty, as my father and an uncle who was also
here, had gone to the fort to meet us. As we went into one of the back
rooms, a very strange sight met our eyes. My father and uncle had set a
fish trap in the creek the night before and had poured the results of
their catch in a heap on the floor and there was such a quantity of fish
that it looked like a small haycock. This was done for a surprise for
us, and as such, was a great success, as we were only accustomed to the
very small fish that lived in the creek that ran through our home town
in Maine, and these long pickerel and large suckers were certainly a

We salted them down and packed them in barrels and for a long time had
plenty of fish to eat, to sell and to give away.

Our house soon took on the character of a public building, as my father
was made Postmaster, Town Treasurer and Justice of the Peace, and all
the town meetings were held there, as well as church and Sunday school.
My father gave five acres down at the creek to a company who erected a
grist mill and the settlers from fifty or sixty miles away would come to
have grain ground and would all stop at our house to board and sleep
while there. Then the house would be so full that we boys would have to
sleep on the floor, or out in the barn or anywhere else we could find a

During our first winter, a party of about fifty Sioux Indians came and
camped in our woods just west of where the Washburn Park water tower now
stands. They put up about twenty tepees, made partly of skins and partly
of canvas. We boys would often go in the evening to visit them and watch
them make moccasins, which we would buy of them. They would often come
to our house to beg for food, but in all the time they remained there
(nearly the whole winter) they committed no depredations, except that
they cut down a great deal of our fine timber, and killed a great
quantity of game, so that when they wanted to come back the next winter,
father would not allow it.

Once after they had gone away, they came back through the farm and went
off somewhere north of us, where they had a battle with the Chippewas.
When they returned, they brought two scalps and held a "pow-wow" on the
side of our hill.

We had a great deal of small game in our woods, and great quantities of
fish in the creek. We used to spear the fish and sometimes would get two
upon our spears at once.

My mother was very fond of dandelion greens, and missed them very much,
as she could find none growing about our place. So she sent back to
Maine for seed and planted them. But I hardly think that the great
quantities we have now are the result of that one importation.

After a few years we had a school at Wood Lake, which is down Lyndale
avenue two or three miles.

Mrs. Mary Pribble--1854.

My father, Hiram Smith arrived in Minnesota Apr. 21, 1854 settling first
in Brooklyn, Hennepin County. My mother followed in July of the same
year, with the family of three children, myself, aged seven, and two
brothers aged two and five years. We arrived in St. Paul July ninth and
my mother, with her usual forethought and thrift, (realizing that before
long navigation would close for the winter and shut off all source of
supplies) laid in a supply of provisions while we were in St. Paul.
Among other things she bought a bag of rice flour which was all the
flour in our colony until April of the next year.

We came by stage to Anoka and were to cross the Mississippi river in a
canoe, to the trading post of Mr. Miles, which was on a high point of
land in what is now Champlin. It was where Elm creek empties into the
Mississippi. But the canoe was too small to carry us all at once and so
I was left on the east shore sitting upon our baggage, to wait for a
return trip. When I finally arrived across the river, there were Indians
gathered at the landing and they touched me on the cheek and called me
"heap pale face."

There was great joy in our little colony when that same autumn my father
discovered a fine cranberry marsh. Much picnicking and picking followed.
My parents secured seven bushel and alloted very much on the winter
supplies that these cranberries would buy when they could send them to
St. Paul, our only market.

Soon one of the neighbors prepared to set out on a trip by ox-team to
St. Paul. The only road at that time was by the Indian trail, which for
several miles was where the county road now leads from Robbinsdale to
Champlin. Then to the ferry at St. Anthony Falls, and so on down the
east side of the river to St. Paul.

My mother had made out a careful list of the real necessities to be
purchased, putting them in the order of the need for them, in case he
would not be able to buy them all.

She knew very well that there would be no possible way to purchase any
new clothing all winter and so the first items on the list were: new
cloth for patches and thread to sew them with. This latter came in
"hanks" then, instead of on spools.

After that came the list of provisions, as seven bushels of cranberries
were expected to buy a great many supplies. How well I remember the joy
upon my mother's face, when those precious cranberries were loaded on
the neighbor's already full wagon and the oxen slowly disappeared down
the old trail! It was a long tedious journey to be made in that way, and
they had many days to wait before they would receive the fruits of that
wonderful wagon load.

Finally the neighbor was back, and came to my mother and said: "Thee
will be disappointed when I tell thee that the last boat left for St.
Louis the day before I arrived in St. Paul. There is not a yard of
cloth or a hank of thread in the town, and I could only get thee three
brooms for thy fine cranberries."

The next spring my father made maple sugar and was able to buy a cow and
six hens from a man who came overland from southern Illinois, driving
several cows and bringing a box of hens, and so we began to live more

In 1856 many people came, and by that time we had school, church and
Sunday school and a lyceum, the pleasures of which I can never forget.
We also had a portable sawmill.

I think it was in the winter of 1855 that an agent, a real live agent,
appeared in our midst to tell us of the remarkable qualities of a new
oil called kerosene. He said if he could be sure of the sale of a
barrel, it would be brought to St. Paul and delivered to any address on
or before Aug. 15. I have the lamp now, in which part of that first
barrel was burned.

Mrs. Edmund Kimball--1855.

My father, Freeman James, left his home in New York state and came to
Hasson, Minn., in 1854. The next year he decided to go after his family
and so wrote my mother to be ready to start in August. My mother got
everything in readiness to start, but for some reason my father was
delayed in getting back home, and my mother, thinking that she had
misunderstood his plans in some way, decided to start anyway, and so she
loaded our belongings on the wagon and we started alone. I was only
eleven years old, and well I remember how great an undertaking it seemed
to me to leave our pleasant home and all my playmates and start without
father on such a long trip. But when we arrived at Dunkirk, where we
took boat to cross Lake Erie, we found father, and so made our journey
without mishap. We arrived by boat in St. Paul in August '55 and started
at once for Hasson, stopping that first night at the home of Mr.
Longfellow, at a place called Long Prairie. We were most cordially
received and found other settlers stopping there for the night too,
which made the house so crowded that they were obliged to make beds on
the sitting room floor for all the children. After we were put in bed,
still another traveler arrived, a man who was expecting his family and
had come part way to meet them. Just for fun the family told him that
his family had arrived and pointed to us children on the floor. He was
overjoyed, and came and turned the covers down to see us. Only for a
moment was he fooled but shook his head and said we were none of his.

I shall never forget the shock I felt at the first view I had of our new
home. It was so different from what we had left behind, that to a child
of my age, it seemed that it was more than I could possibly endure. It
was growing dark and the little log cabin stood in the deep woods, and
the grass was so long in the front yard, it seemed the most lonely place
in the world. And dark as it was, and as long as I knew the way back to
be, I was strongly tempted and half inclined to start right off to my
dear old home. This was all going through my mind while I stopped
outside to look around after the rest had gone in. When they had lighted
one or two candles and I followed them in, the homesick feeling was
increased by the new prospect. My father had evidently left in a great
hurry for every dish in the house was piled dirty upon the table, and
they were all heavy yellow ware, the like of which I had never seen
before. The house had been closed so long that it was full of mice, and
they ran scurrying over everything.

But there was much work to do before we could get the place in order to
go to bed, and it fell to my lot to wash all those dishes, no small task
for an eleven year old girl.

In the morning, when the house was in order and the sun was shining in,
and we could see what father had done to make us comfortable, the place
took on a very different aspect and soon became another dear home.

He had made every piece of the furniture himself. The bed was made of
poles, with strips of bark in place of bedcords, the mattress was of
husks and the pillows of cat-tail down. There were three straight chairs
and a rocking chair with splint bottoms. The splints were made by
peeling small ash poles and then pounding them for some time with some
heavy instrument, when the wood would come off in thin layers. The floor
was of split logs. Father had made some good cupboards for the kitchen

That first year mother was not well and young as I was, I was obliged to
do a great deal of housework. I did the washing and made salt-rising
bread. And one time I surprised the doctor who came to see mother by
making him a very good mustard poultice.

Mr. Frank G. O'Brien--1856.

The Reason I did not Graduate.

In the winter of 1856-57 I worked for my board at the home of "Bill"
Stevens, whose wife was a milliner--the shop, or store, was located a
short distance below where the Pillsbury mill stands, on Main Street.

My duty while there this particular winter, was to take care of the
house and chaperone Lola Stevens, the young daughter to the private
school which was called the "Academy"--the same being the stepping stone
to our great State University.

There were two departments up stairs and two below--hallway in the
center and stairs leading from this hallway to the upper rooms. I do not
recall who were the teachers in the primary department on the lower
floor, but I do remember those on the floor above. Miss Stanton (later
on the wife of D. S. B. Johnston) taught the girls in the east room and
"Daddy" Roe the boys.

I was a pupil of Mr. Roe and Lola of Miss Stanton and were it not that I
was wrongfully accused of making charcoal sketches on the wall of the
hall, I might have been numbered among the charter members of the first
graduating class of the Academy--the forerunner of the State University.

"Daddy" Roe informed the boys at recess time that he was going to flog
the perpetrator of the act--yet, if they would own up, and take a basin
of water and scrub same from the walls, he would spare the rod. The
guilty one, no doubt, held his hand up and gained the attention of Mr.
Roe, and stated that Frank O'Brien did it. I denied it, but it did not
go--yet I being innocent, was determined I would not take the basin from
the teacher's hand; but he forced same upon me and said if it was not
washed off within half an hour, he would give me a severe flogging.

The threat did not prove effective, because I was so worked up over the
affair that when I closed the door to enter the hall, I gave the basin
and its contents a fling down stairs, the sound of which aroused all
four of the departments, while I double quicked it for home--leaving
Lola to reach home as best she could.

I explained matters to Mr. Stevens and had it not been for Mrs. Stevens
and her sister, Miss Jackman, he would have proceeded at once to the
school room and meted out the punishment on "Daddy" Roe which he
intended for me.

Something to Crowe Over.

The little village of St. Anthony had good reason to become elated when
the news spread up and down Main street and was heralded to St. Paul,
that three "Crowes" had perched on the banner of our village during the
early morning of June 26th, 1859, when Mrs. Isaac Crowe gave birth to
three white Crowes, two girls and one boy. The father of these three
birds--wingless, though fairest of the fair, was a prominent attorney of
St. Anthony and one of its aldermen.

Bridge of Size (900 feet long.)

It was while our family resided on the picturesque spot overlooking St.
Anthony's Falls in the year 1857, the "Howe Truss" passenger bridge was
completed from the east to the west side of the Mississippi river, a
short distance down the hill from the State University at a cost of

All went well as a means of traffic and many a dollar was taken in for
toll, but an evil time came to disturb conditions, owing to an over
abundance of rain which came in torrents, which caused the river to rise
to that extent that the logs which followed in the wake of the flood,
acted as a battering ram and proved too much for the structure and great
was the fall thereof. I among others of our family were witnesses of
this event, which took place at eight o'clock on the morning of June
first, 1859.

Mr. Michael Teeter--1857.

Tom and Bill were the first horses which came into Lyle township. They
were fine powerful fellows and created much comment throughout that
section of the country.

Some of my neighbors envied me my prize while others thought that a fool
and his money had easily parted, for I had paid three hundred and forty
dollars for them, and the best yoke of oxen in the country side could be
bought for seventy. But I was well satisfied, for I was able to do my
work and get about quickly. When haste was necessary, Bill and Tom were
pressed into service.

I recall very well one dark rainy night when I was taking a neighbor to
nurse a settler who lived at some distance to the west. So thick was the
darkness that we could never have kept the trail had it not been for the
flashes of vivid lightning. The horses showed so much intelligence
through it all that I finally gave them the lines and they brought us
safely to our destination.

New Year's day, '58 we took the ladies of Otranto village for a
sleigh-ride--not on the snow, for the ground was bare--but on the Red
Cedar river, which was frozen clear and smooth as glass. We fairly flew
over the ice and the home-made sleigh swerved from side to side, as Bill
and Tom took it upon themselves to show off their speed to friends who
were in the habit of riding behind deliberate and stubborn oxen.
Suddenly, without warning, the sleigh tipped and we found ourselves in a
heap, and although there was much shouting and crying, no damage was
done, and the little shaking up tended to make the day memorable.

Another incident that stands out vividly in my mind after all these
years, has no amusing aspect. Late in the fall of '57 I found it
necessary to make a trip to Decorah, Iowa, for supplies of various
kinds. My absence from home was to be shorter than usual on such trips,
for Bill and Tom had endurance as well as speed. All went well during
the journey, and on my return I halted for supper at Little Cedar and
hoped to reach home that evening. When I was ready to start, the tavern
keeper told me that I had better stay the night, for a prairie fire was
sweeping from the northwest. This was unwelcome news--but sure enough,
the red light was very bright and growing more so all the time. I
calculated the distance and decided to hasten on across the path of the
fire before it reached the road, so I started. I had miscomputed both
time and distance, so before I was aware of it, I found myself on a
small knoll, with the fire directly in front and coming on at a great
rate through the tall dry weeds and grasses. The horses snorted and
shook their heads, but I urged them on. They plunged forward and in a
very short time (although it seemed hours) we found ourselves out of the
flames. We paused but a moment to rest, for the ground was very hot. The
horses shook with, fright and their bodies were badly singed. We reached
home in safety, and I think Bill and Tom were no less thankful than was
I, to be out of the danger and discomfort of the situation.

In 1857 I moved from Decorah, Iowa, to Otranto on the state line. There
I found a number of families living in rude houses which were a poor
protection against the hard winters we had those early years. There was
plenty of good timber along the Red Cedar river, but the settlers were
farmers who had little or no experience in cutting and dressing logs and
for that reason handled their few small tools to poor advantage. They
were anxious, too, to be "breaking" the prairie so that a crop could be
harvested that first year. So after all, these first houses were rather
poor specimens of the joiner's craft. I was a carpenter and put up a
rather more substantial house than the others, but none too comfortable
during the winters that were to follow. The unbroken stretch of prairie
to the north and west of Otranto gave those old "northwesters" a
splendid sweep before they struck our frail little homes.

Fortunately there was plenty of fine wood, but the cracks were so
numerous and large in our houses that we veritably warmed the outdoors
in keeping ourselves warm. We chopped and sawed wood every spare moment
in winter and summer in order to keep the booming fires which were
necessary all winter long. We used to talk and think much of the
settlers who were on the prairie who were so unsheltered and far from
standing timber.

This "yarn" about one of them went the rounds and was enjoyed by all,
for the "victim" was a merry fellow and always ready for a joke, no
matter how great the privations and anxieties. The story runs thus: Jim
sat before a fine fire washing his feet. Soothed by the warmth of the
room and the water, he fell asleep to awaken suddenly toward morning
with his feet nearly to his knees embedded in a solid cake of ice! We
laughed at our hardships, for there was no escaping them, and we learned
to turn them, as well as everything else we possessed, to some useful

Robes, buffalo coats, all available garments, were used during those
first winters for bed-clothing. There was one flock of chickens in
Otranto, but not until much later were flocks of ducks and geese raised
so that feather pillows and beds could be used. Floor covering at first
was uncommon, but finally rag carpets added to the comfort of the home
during the winter.

Had food been abundant, or even sufficient, we would have felt less
anxious, but with the winter hanging on far into the spring months, we
had good reason to watch our stores carefully. Buckwheat ground in a
coffee mill kept one family for two months in the winter of '57. Another
neighbor's family subsisted upon musty corn meal, ground by revolving a
cannon ball in the scooped out trunk of a tree. So long drawn out was
the winter, that the amount of meal for each member of the family was
carefully measured out each day. One family living near the river could
get plenty of fish through the ice, but having no fat in which to fry
them, were obliged to use them boiled. When their salt was exhausted,
they ate the fish unflavored.

I possessed a good team of horses and made trips to Decorah for
supplies. I went only when it was really necessary, for the journey was
beset with many dangers and discomforts. Flour and salt pork were the
foods purchased, which I sold to the other settlers in small quantities.
Prairie chickens were abundant, and some of the pioneers tried drying
the breasts and found that one way to provide meat for the winter.

In the winter of '56, there was a thick coating of ice over the snow,
sufficiently strong to hold a man's weight, but the deers' legs cut
through the crust. My neighbors told of how easily they were able to get
plenty of venison without venturing far from home. Never did a settler
dare to go far away to hunt during those first winters, for the dangers
of being lost and frozen were very great. I have often heard the wish
expressed that fresh meat could be had every winter, with as few risks
as in that year before I moved to Otranto.

We all felt the lack of fruit, for all of us had come from districts
where fruit was grown, so on festive days such as Thanksgiving and
Christmas, we had dried wild crab-apples boiled up in soda water, then
sweetened with molasses. We were all used to better than this, but we
never complained and felt that better times were coming.

Mrs. W. L. Niemann.

My mother was Sophia Oakes. She was born in Sault Ste. Marie in 1823.
She was the daughter of Charles Oakes who had charge of a trading post
for the American Fur Company. Her mother died when she was a very small
child and her father removed with his two children, my mother and her
sister two years younger, to La Pointe, where he had charge of another
post of the same company.

The winters there were very long and severely cold and many times they
would be shut in by the depth of the snow for weeks at a time. One time
in particular the snow was so deep and the cold so intense that they had
been snowbound so long that their supplies were almost exhausted, and my
grandfather sent the men off to get a fresh supply. They were gone much
longer than usual and the little family began to suffer for want of food
and were obliged to go out and scrape away the snow to find acorns. They
also ate the bark of trees.

Finally my grandfather concluded that he, too, must start out to try and
get some food. The windows of the cabin were covered in place of glass,
with deerskins. In getting ready to leave the children, grandfather took
down these skins and replaced them with blankets to keep out the cold
and boiled the skins to provide a soup for the children to drink while
he was gone. My mother was twelve and her sister was ten.

Grandfather had not gone far when his feet were both frozen and he lay
disabled in the snow. Some men chanced along, and carried him to a house
which was about a mile further along. When they reached the house he
refused to be carried in, for he knew he would surely lose his feet if
he went in where it was warm. He asked for an awl and punctured his
feet full of holes and had the men pour them full of brandy. This, while
it was excruciatingly painful, both at the time and afterwards, saved
him his feet.

When he and his men returned to the cabin, he had been gone all day and
all night and into the next afternoon, and they found the little girls
locked in each other's arms fast asleep, having cried themselves to
sleep the night before.

Soon after the little girls were sent to school back in New York and my
mother stayed until her education was completed, graduating from a
seminary in Fredonia.

On her return to her home, she was married to my father, Jeremiah
Russell, who had come in 1837 to Fort Snelling on an exploring trip. He
settled first at Edina Mills, but soon went to Marine, where with
Franklin Steele and Levi Stratton he built a sawmill, (1838) the ruins
of which can still be seen.

In '49 he went to take charge of a trading post for the American Fur
Company which was located two miles above Sauk Rapids. After a few years
he purchased the land where Sauk Rapids stands, laid out the town and
moved down there, building a large hotel which was called the
Hyperborean Hotel, which took a prominent part in the history of the
town as it was the scene of many large gatherings. It served to shelter
the townspeople when they were driven from home through fear of the
Indian uprisings. Later it was remodeled by new owners and rechristened
the Russell House in honor of my father.

One time, before I was born and while my parents still lived at the
post, a band of warlike Indians, each armed with a gun came to the house
and completely filled the kitchen. My brother, who was a very small
child was attracted by the fire arms and went up to one of the Indians
and put his hand on the gun. This angered the Indian and with a terrible
scowl he put his finger on the trigger as if to shoot my brother. My
father sprung up before him and with a very fierce voice (which was the
only way to deal with them when they were unruly) ordered him to put
down his gun. This he did but with bad grace. My father then spoke to
the chief and told him to keep order, which he did, and they soon went
away. But my father was sorry he did not keep them a little longer and
give them up to the authorities, for he found, soon after, that they had
killed and scalped three white men, just a short time before they came
into our house.

At another time after we were living in Sauk Rapids, a Chippewa came and
begged for shelter for the night. My father knew that there was a band
of Sioux camped just across the river, in plain view of our house. So
father surmised that this was a spy from the Chippewas. But he gave him
permission to stay in the house, providing that he would not show
himself outside, for it would enrage the Sioux against us if they knew
we were harboring a Chippewa. The Indian promised, but very soon my
sister who was playing outside, saw him raise the window and aim his gun
across the river. She told my father, who went in and made him desist
and nailed up the window. When we went to bed that night father did not
take pains to lock the Indian in. After we were asleep he crept out and
slipped away, and before morning, the Chippewas descended upon the
sleeping Sioux and killed every one of them.

Christmas in those hard times did not mean to us little pioneer children
what it does now. There was no spare money with which to buy presents.
We always hung up our stockings, but got nothing in them but a little
cheap candy, and perhaps a few raisins. But one year, father determined
to give us and the other children of the village a little better
Christmas than usual. So he went out to his woods and cut enough fire
wood to exchange in St. Cloud for a barrel of apples. Then he divided
off one end of our sitting room with a sheet and arranged a puppet show
behind it. And with the village children in one end of the room eating
apples, and father in the other managing the puppets, we celebrated the
day in a very happy way.

Mrs. F. Hoefer of Mound was an old settler of Watertown, and gives some
interesting information of the prices of food-stuffs after the war, as

"Flour was $15 a barrel, wheat was $5 a bushel, potatoes were $2.50 a
bushel and calico was thirty-five cents a yard. My husband's salary for
that summer season was $5. During the winter months we had barley coffee
and pancakes, no bed clothes and no clothes for the children. Our bed
quilt was a bear skin. When my first child was six weeks old, I went out
washing, walking twelve miles to my work, washing all day and then
walking the twelve miles back home again."

Ex-Governor Samuel R. Van Sant--1857.

My father with his family moved to Illinois in 1837, coming on the
"Adventure," on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Like most of the early
pioneers he was poor and had to work. Tickets were sold at a less price
if the passenger would help to wood the boat; my father took advantage
of this proposition. On board as a passenger, was the old Indian Chief,
Black Hawk. He was much interested in my little sister and gave her a
very fine string of beads. The beads, or a part of them, are still in
our family.

My father took up a claim near Rock Island on the banks of the Rock
River. While there, the family suffered all the privations of early
settlers in a new country. Farming was new to him and he did not make a
great success of it. He was a ship builder by trade.

Once he took a load of pumpkins to town, some twelve or fourteen miles,
getting fifty cents for them. On his return he broke his wagon, costing
a dollar to repair it. He often said he never felt so poor in all his
life, although he lived to be ninety-two years of age. On another
occasion we were out of provisions. He made a trip to the old water
mill, a few miles distant, to get 50c worth of cornmeal, but the
proprietor would not trust him so he had to return home to get a half
dollar that had been laid by for a rainy day. He was thus forced to make
another trip to secure the purchase; by this time we children were good
and hungry.

On another occasion, after killing his hogs, he drove with them one
hundred miles to the lead mines at Galena, but the market was over
stocked so he proceeded to Platteville, Wisconsin, twenty or more miles
further, where he sold the pork for two and one-half cents per pound,
taking one half in store pay and the other half in a note. The note is
still unpaid. It required a week or more to make the trip.

I have always had a great fondness for the Mississippi River. I was born
on its banks and for more than forty years navigated its water. My first
dollar was spent to buy a small skiff. As soon as I was old enough, I
commenced running on the river. My first trip to St. Paul was in 1857. I
was a boy of thirteen. What progress since that time in our state!

The steamboat was a mighty factor in the settlement growth and
development of Minnesota. I feel safe in saying that during the palmy
days of steamboating, more than one thousand different steamers brought
emigrants, their household goods and stock to this commonwealth.

While there were regular lines of steamers, there were also many outside
boats which were termed "wild" boats. These boats would often secure a
full cargo on the Ohio River, or at St. Louis and come to St. Paul. If
water was at a good stage, large profits would result.

A story is told of the steamer, "Fire Canoe." (I will not mention the
captain's name.) The water was low and the boat got aground a good many
times causing much delay. For a meal or two, the passengers were without
meat but soon there seemed to be a plentiful supply of nice fresh
veal--one of the passengers who, with his family and stock of young
calves, was moving to Minnesota, complimented the captain highly upon
securing such fine meat, but after going to the lower deck and finding
some of his fine young stock missing, hunted up the Captain and said,
"Captain, if it is all the same to you, I would prefer to dispense with
meat for the rest of the trip for I will need that young stock when I
reach my claim."

There was always great strife to be the first boat to arrive at St. Paul
and many risks were taken by steamers to get through Lake Pepin before
the ice had really left the lake. Many steamers were crushed by the ice
in so doing. One advantage to the first boat was free wharfage the
balance of the season in every town and city along the river.

Two steamers hardly ever came in sight of each other without a race. We
owned and operated a good many boats. We had a fast one named the
"McDonald." I remember on one occasion my partner, Mr. Musser, a well
known lumberman of Muscatine, and wife were making a trip with us. We
had a very spirited race with another swift boat; after a long, hard
chase we passed her, but we had to trim boat and carry big steam to do
it. After it was over, Mr. Musser said to me, "If I were you, I would
not race any more. It is expensive, dangerous and hard on the boat." I
agreed that he was right and that we would not do so again. We had not
been in our berths long before another boat was overtaken and a race was
on. Mr. Musser arose, forgot his advice of a few hours previous, and
said, "Pass that boat and I will pay for the extra fuel." The boat was
passed, but no bill was presented for the extra fuel.





Mrs. Delilah Maxwell--1855.

We were married in Illinois, April 12, 1855 and in three days we
started. We went one hundred miles by team to the Mississippi river, put
our wagon and mules on a steamer, and came up. Every business place on
the west side of the river in Minneapolis was a rough boarding house and
a little ten-by-twelve grocery store. We camped there, cooked our
breakfast, and came on out to Maxwell's bay at Minnetonka. The bay was
named for my husband and his two brothers who came up the year before
and took claims.

It was the roughest trip you ever saw. The road was an Indian trail with
enough trees cut out on either side to let a wagon through and the
stumps were sticking up a foot or two high and first you were up and
then you were down over those stumps. It was the trail through Wayzata
and Long Lake, known as the Watertown road.

We built an elm shack, a log house with the logs standing up so the
Indians couldn't climb over them, and stripped bark off elm trees for a
roof. The mosquitoes were terrible bad--and deer flies too. The men had
to wear mosquito bar over their hats down to their waists when at work.

Mrs. Martha French lived on the Bestor place on Crystal Bay, the Burdon
claim. She and Mr. French had come the fall before in '54. We had a
short cut through the woods, a path about a mile long. They were our
nearest neighbors. They came over to our house one Sunday. The men were
going to Minneapolis on business, to see about their land and Mr.
Maxwell was to start, Tuesday. Mrs. French said "Why can't us women go
too, on a pleasure trip? I've been here pretty near two years and Mrs.
Maxwell has been here over a year. I think it's about time we went on a
pleasure trip."

Mr. French was a slow talking man and he drawled, "Well, you can go, but
it won't be much of a pleasure trip."

"I don't see why it wouldn't. You jest want to discourage us," Mrs.
French said and he said, "Oh, no-o! I don't want to discourage you."

I didn't want to go very bad. I had a kid five months old and the
mosquitoes were so bad. It was June and awfully hot. But Mrs. French
hadn't any children and insisted that we ought to go for a pleasure
trip. So I fixed up on Tuesday night and went over and stayed all night
so we could get an early start. My husband went on ahead and we were to
meet him Wednesday noon in Minneapolis, or St. Anthony.

Mr. French lined up old Bob and Jerry, their team of oxen and we got
started about sunrise. A mile from the house we came to a terrible steep
hill. We got up it all right and just as we started down Mrs. French
said, "Old Bob hasn't any tail, but Jerry has a lovely tail. He'll keep
the mosquitoes off all right."

Just then Jerry switched his tail around a young sapling and it came
off. It was wet with dew and it lapped tight, and we were going down
hill so fast something had to give way. It was the tail! Well we had an
awful time with that tail. There was only a stump left, less than a foot
long, and the ox like to bled to death. Mrs. French was afraid the
wolves would get Jerry's tail and kept worrying, and when we had gone
about a mile she made Mr. French go back and get it.

We started on again and went about a mile and a half till we came to
Tepee hill where the Long Lake cemetery is. It's a steep hill now, but
then it hadn't been worked any and it was just straight up and down. We
had boards across the wagon to sit on, and they slid off. Mr. and Mrs.
French got out, they wouldn't ride. But I had just got the baby to
sleep--she was awful hard to get to sleep and didn't sleep much--so I
said I'd ride. I sat down in the bottom of the wagon with her in my arms
and we started up. We got clear to the top and the tongue came out of
the wagon and down we went! I crouched over the baby and just thought my
time had come. Before we got clear to the bottom the wagon veered and
stopped on two wheels.

Mr. French came down and got us fixed up and we went on to where the
Parrish place is now and camped, ate our lunch and built a smudge. We
stayed about an hour and hooked up and started on again. Mr. Maxwell had
gone on expecting us at Minneapolis by this time and here we were about
three miles from home.

Mr. French was an awfully sleepy man. He could go to sleep any place. He
didn't have to lead the oxen. They couldn't get out of the road. We were
in the big woods all this way with just a road of stumps to go through.
Mr. French went to sleep and we hit a stump. He pitched forward, and I
raised up and caught him right by the pants. Busted a button or two--but
he'd broken his neck if he'd gone out. Mrs. French just sat there and
never offered to grab him.

Finally we got to Wayzata. We bought a pound of flour and got some rags
and bound up Jerry's tail. We stayed all night at Clay's and got up at 4
o'clock and started on.

It was awfully hot. We went on till we came to the big marsh the other
side of Wayzata. The lake came up farther then, and the marsh was filled
with water, and all covered round the edges with logs and tree stumps.
The oxen saw the water and made one lunge for it. They made down the
side of the hill over stumps and logs and never stopped till they were
in the water. Mr. French got out and took the ox chain and tied the
tongue on the back of the wagon and hauled us up again. I remarked to
Mrs. French, "I guess we will be killed yet!" "Oh," Mr. French said,
"This is just a pleasure trip."

Mrs. French wouldn't crack a smile, but I thought I'd die laughing. We
stopped at the six-mile house Thursday night. We had started at 4
o'clock in the morning and traveled till eight at night and gone about
seven miles.

We got up at four and started on again. We chugged along till towards
noon and we camped and ate our lunch and met my husband. He'd been to
Minneapolis, looked after his business and was on his way home.

"Why, what's the matter?" he said. "Oh, not much. Jerry pulled his tail
off," we said. "Oh," Mr. French said, "it's only a pleasure trip."

My husband was for going home, but I said, "Oh no, you won't go back.
I'm all wore out now with the baby. This is a pleasure trip and we want
you to have all the pleasure there is."

We got to St. Anthony at eight thirty, tired--oh, dear! We did some
shopping and came back with a big load; made six miles in the afternoon
and stopped at the six-mile house for the night.

Across Bassett's creek was a narrow, tamarack pole bridge. We might have
known there would be trouble but we never thought of it. Old Jerry seen
the water and made one lunge for it. One ox went over the edge of the
bridge and one went through, and there they hung across the beam. We
skedaddled out the backside of the wagon. "Well, Martha, I guess we will
be killed yet," I said. But Mrs. French never smiled. She took her
pleasures sadly.

The men took the pin out of the ox yokes and let the oxen down into the
water and they grazed while the men went on a half a mile to borrow an
ax and cut tamarack poles to fix the bridge. We stayed all night again
at Mr. Clay's and got up Sunday morning and started. When we got to
Tepee hill I said, "I'll walk down this hill. I rode up it."

The rest of them rode. I walked on through the woods to Mr. Barnes'
beyond Long Lake and got there just as supper was ready. They wanted me
to eat supper, but I said, "No, they are coming on in a few minutes.
I'll just take a cup of tea." I waited--and waited--and waited--for an
hour or so; and they didn't come. Finally I ate my supper and they came.

"Well, what in the world," I said, "is the matter?"

Well old Jerry had got in the creek at the bottom of Tepee hill, the
outlet of Long Lake into Minnetonka and they couldn't get him out. Mrs.
French was in the wagon and the mosquitoes like to ate her up.

We got to our place that night. It was Sunday night and we'd been gone
since Wednesday morning. We wanted the French's to stay all night, but
they said they couldn't think of it; they had to go. Their mother had a
girl staying with her and expected them back Thursday night and would be
scared to death wondering what had happened to them. So they left the
oxen and took the path through the woods. I started in to get supper for
my husband and I heard them hollering. I said, "They're lost. Go out and
yell as loud as you can and build a big fire." They got back to our
place all right and had to stay all night. Mrs. French followed me out
to the barn. "Don't it make you mad to hear of that pleasure trip?" she
said. The men couldn't get through talking about it. "Well, it makes me
mad," I said, "but I can't help laughing."

"Well," Mr. French yawned, "I believe this winds up the pleasure trip."

Mr. B. F. Shaver--1853.

My parents came from Lucerne Co., Pa., father in the fall of 1850 and
mother just two years later. She came to Rockford, Ill., by rail, then
to Galena by stage and up the Mississippi by boat. One of her traveling
companions was Miss Mary Miller, sister of Mrs. John H. Stevens. Mother
spent the first night in Minneapolis in the old Stevens house, at that
time the only residence on the west side of the river, about where the
Union Station was.

Two years before this father had learned of Lake Minnetonka and had
taken some pork and flour and a frying pan and started west to find the
lake, over somewhat the route of the Great Northern railroad track to
where Wayzata now is. He reached the site of Minnetonka Mills and
located a claim about where Groveland park on the Deephaven trolley line
is. This was some time before the government survey. He blazed out a
claim. Like the old lady in the Hoosier Schoolmaster, he believed "While
ye're gittin', git a plenty" for after the survey he found he had blazed
out seven hundred acres where he could pre-empt only a hundred and
sixty. He had been up the creek several times to the lake where there
was a beautiful pebbly beach. Once, while wandering back, he had come
upon this spot, he said, "Beautiful as a poet's dream." A forty acre
prairie right in the midst of dense woods covered with wild flowers and
prairie grass. He blazed out his claim right there.

On November 8, 1852, father and mother traveled from St. Anthony to
Minnetonka Mills with an ox team and sled on eight or ten inches of
snow. They kept boarders at Minnetonka Mills that winter and in March
moved to their claim. The house was not completed. There were no
windows, no outside door and no floor. The following August were born
twin boys, the first white children born in Hennepin county outside the
city limits of Minneapolis. Mother was the first pioneer woman of
Minnetonka township.

When we were about three weeks old mother's nearest neighbor, Mrs.
Robinson, who lived on a claim near the present site of Wayzata, came
over to assist her with the twins, as she was all worn out. It was a
hot, sultry night early in September and Mrs. Robinson made a bed on the
ground beside mother's and put us into it. She became very drowsy
towards morning and lay down on the ground beside us. She was aroused by
my brother stirring about and complaining and reaching over was
surprised to feel something like a paw of a large dog thrust through a
crack between the logs and pulling the baby towards the crack by its
hand. She got up quietly and moving aside the blanket that hung for a
door, stepped out around the corner of the house. At the crack was a
large wolf. It was frightened off at seeing her and ran into the woods.

Before mother came, in August, 1850, father and three others took a boat
at Minnetonka Mills with provisions and went up to Gray's Bay and
westward on Lake Minnetonka to explore the lake and get a definite idea
of its area and characteristics. They went through Hull's narrows and
explored the upper lake several days, landed at a point about at Zumbra
Heights and decided to carry their boat across to the Minnesota river
and row down to Fort Snelling. After wandering in the woods several days
they abandoned the boat and subsisted for days on basswood sprouts and
raspberries. They reached the Minnesota river directly north of
Shakopee, descended a bluff and found the shanty of a squaw man. The
squaw gave them some fat pork with gravy over it and mixed up dough
which she baked on a griddle. Father said he had been to many a fine
banquet but that was the best he ever had tasted.

Father, mother and some of the men from the sawmill were eating supper
one night by candle light, when there came a loud knocking at the door.
Father opened the door and an Indian in hunting regalia staggered into
the house, holding his sides and evidently in great pain. Mother did the
best she could for him, gave him pain killer and hot drinks and made him
a bed on the floor beside the kitchen stove, where after a time he fell
into deep sleep. About daylight several members of the tribe, including
his squaw, came in search of him and learned from the crew at the mill
that he had been cared for during the night. His squaw came into the
house, talked with him for a while and then with the other Indians
started east. They were gone about two hours, returning with the
carcass of a very fine deer. The Indian had started hunting the day
before and pursued a deer till almost night, finally bringing it down.
Having had nothing to eat since early morning he was ravenous and cut a
piece of steak from the deer and ate it raw. This made him desperately
sick and on his way back he had to stop at the mill. His squaw and the
other Indians proceeded to skin the deer at the house and the squaw
brought in the deer's kidneys to mother. This she thought very odd but a
few days later was informed by Martin McCloud, an interpreter, that the
gift of a deer's kidneys was one of the highest tokens of esteem that an
Indian could bestow. Afterwards the Indian and his squaw were very kind,
sending her fish and venison and the squaw presented her with some
beautiful bead work.

The cruelty of the male Indians always astounded mother. Once she sold
an Indian a sack of flour. He was to come for it the next day. At the
time appointed he came, bringing with him his squaw who had with her a
little papoose, and his mother, an aged woman. He brought an empty sack
along. Mother presumed he would empty a small portion of the flour into
this for his wife and mother to carry and he would shoulder the
remainder in the sack which contained the flour. He emptied about one
third of the flour into the sack which he had brought. This he put down
by the side of his mother. He took the papoose out of a broad strap
around the squaw's head hanging in a loop in the back and taking up the
remaining flour, put it in the strap on his wife's back, she stooping
over to receive the load. It was so heavy he had to help her straighten
up; she could not rise alone. Then he took the papoose and set it atop
the sack of flour. He then assisted his mother about getting her portion
of flour in her strap. His conduct provoked mother greatly and she told
him in decided terms that he should be ashamed of himself. At her
remarks he grinned and folding his arms complacently around his gun,
strutted off after the women muttering, "Me big Injun."

A curious trait about the Indians was that they wanted you to trust them
and have no suspicions about their honesty. When going away from the
house it was better not to lock it, but take a stick and lean it up
against the house outside, intimating to them that you were away; and
nothing would be molested. If the house was locked they were likely to
break in and steal something.

Not far from our house at Spirit Knob, now Breezy Point, Lake
Minnetonka, on a bold hill projecting out into the water was a stone
idol, a smoothly polished stone a little larger than a wooden water
pail. The Indians came regularly to worship this idol and make offerings
to their god. In very early times, probably not later than 1853, a
doctor from St. Louis, Mo., is said to have stolen this image and taken
it to St. Louis and put it in a museum. The Indians were very much
enraged at this and some people have assigned to this deed a motive for
many of the atrocities committed in 1862.

One winter day father was away teaming and was not expected home till
late in the evening. As night drew on mother and her little boys were
busy about the chores. In cold winter weather we did not use the
woodshed and kitchen, but the two large rooms only, having to come
through the two unused rooms to the main part of the house. We boys had
finished our work, hung up our caps and put away our mittens for the
night and mother was bringing in her last arm load of wood. She had
passed through three doors and turned around to shut the last one and
there, right behind her, stood a giant of an Indian. He seemed a foot
taller than her and she was two inches less than six feet. So quietly
had he followed her that she had no intimation of his presence. As she
confronted him he said, "Ho" in deep, guttural tones, and then laughed
at her fright.

He evidently wanted something, but could speak little or no English. He
peered about the house, looked in every corner and finally in order to
make us understand what he wanted, he took the ramrod out of his gun,
set it up on end on the table, put the index finger of his left hand on
top of the ramrod and made counter motions up and down the rod with his
right hand. Mother divined it was pole beans that he had seen growing
and she got him some and he went away satisfied.

One cold winter day four Indians were in the kitchen. Mother was
preparing beans for dinner. Like all good housewives she first parboiled
them with pork before baking. She stepped into the pantry for something,
when one of the braves slipped his hand into the kettle and stole the
pork. He was just tucking it under his blanket when she, suspecting
something, whirled around, caught up the teakettle of boiling water and
poured some on the Indian's hands. He roared with pain and
mortification, but the other braves thought it very amusing. One of them
slipped up, and patting her on the back said, "Tonka squaw! Tonka
squaw!" Tonka meaning big or brave. The Indians reversed their words,
like Minnetonka--water-big--Minne meaning water.

That Indian never came into the house again. The men at the mill were a
little afraid. They thought it unwise of her and kept close watch. The
Indians would come in from hunting and sit around on our floor. Mother
would give them a good kick if they got in the way. This made her more
popular than ever. They considered her a very fine lady because she was
not afraid of them, but cudgelled them about. There were always three or
four of them sitting around on the kitchen floor.

The Indians' sense of humor was very keen. Mrs. Maxwell's little girl
was tow-headed. The Indians always stroked her head and laughed. My
older brother had beautiful curly hair. The Indians called it "Ha-ha
hair"--curling or laughing. He was very fond of the Indians and used to
tumble about them examining their powder horns, until one day an Indian
pulled up his top curl and ran around it with the back of his knife as
if to say what a fine scalp that would be. The frightened boy never
would go near them again.

"Washta Doc" pronounced gutturally and meaning North Bay is the original
of Wayzata, pronounced, Waytzete.

Colonel A. P. Connolly--1857.

By rail and boat we reached St. Paul on Friday, in May '57. A party of
us who had become acquainted on the steamer, chartered a small
four-wheel craft, two-horse affair and headed toward St. Anthony. We
came up to the old government road passing the "Half Way House" and the
well known Larpenteur and Des Noyer farms. It had been raining and the
roads were bad. Four times we had to get out, put our shoulders to the
wheels and get our little craft on the terra firma.

The palatial Winslow house built at this time was largely patronized in
summer by the slave-holding aristocracy of the South. I remember one
southerner, Colonel Slaybeck, by name, who used to come each year with
his family and servants. He would always say to his slaves, "Now you are
in the north where they do not own slaves, and if you wish to escape,
this is your chance to run away." Not one of his servants ever took the

My first unpleasant experience was in connection with this house. I was
one of its builders for I put on lath at 4 cents a yard. By working
early and late, I made $4 a day. I was very economical and trusted my
employer to hold my hard earned money. So far as I know, he is holding
it yet, for he "skipped" in the night, leaving his boarding mistress to
weep with me, for we had both been too confiding.

Somewhat cast down by the loss of my first earnings, but not totally
discouraged, I shipped with six others on board a prairie schooner, well
supplied with provisions and three good horses and headed for the north
and fortune. After thirteen days of frontier hardships, we landed at the
mouth of the Chien River where it empties into the Red River of the
North. Here we erected two or three good log houses, surveyed and
platted our town, and planted common vegetables. They grew wonderfully
well. We caught fish and shot ducks and geese. On paper our town could
not be excelled, with its streets and boulevards, its parks and drives,
its churches and schools and public buildings. It was so inspiring to
look at, that we each took one hundred and sixty acres adjoining the
town, intending them as an addition to plat and sell to the on-rushers
when the boom should commence.

We also built a boat here, or rather made a dugout, so we could explore
the river. We had amusements in plenty, for wolves, Indians, mosquitoes
and grasshoppers were in great abundance. The wolves were hungry and
told us so, congregating in great numbers for their nightly concerts. We
had to barricade our doors to keep them out and burn smudges on the
inside to keep mosquitoes out as well. Sixty-five Indians paid us a
visit one day and they were not at all pleasant. We had a French half
breed with us and he influenced them to leave. They only intended to
take our yoke of cattle, but finally, after much parleying they moved
on, and we breathed easier.

All things come to an end, and so did this wild goose chase after riches
and in time we got back to God's country and St. Anthony. I will not
worry you by reciting our experiences in getting back, but they were
vexatious and amusing.

To sum up my reward for this five months of hard work, privation and
danger, I had one red flannel shirt, one pair of boots, one pair of
white duck pants and $13 worth of groceries. Wasn't this a jolt?

It was late in the fall, with a long cold winter ahead and things looked
rather blue. Judge Isaac Atwater was the owner of "The St. Anthony
Express," a good looking weekly paper of Whig politics. I went to work
in this office at four dollars a week and as I advanced in efficiency,
my salary was increased to twelve dollars. About this time an important
thing happened. I married the daughter of Alonzo Leaming, who had come
here in 1853. My wife was the first teacher of a private school in
Minneapolis. The school being located near Minnehaha, she boarded with
the Prescott family who lived on a farm not far from the Falls. After
the Indian outbreak in August 1862, as we were marching up to the Lower
Agency, we found Mr. Prescott's body about twelve miles out from the
fort, and I helped bury him. His wife and children were prisoners at
that time, held by the hostile Sioux.

I think it was in 1858, the people got clamorous for railroads and voted
the State credit for Five Million Dollars. The pamphlet exploiting the
celebrated "Five Million Dollar Loan Bill," was printed in the "St.
Anthony Express" office and I pulled the issue off on a very antiquated
hand press, known as the "Foster". It was too early for railroads. Times
were too hard. But half the issue was made, and a foundation laid for
some of our great railroad systems. The St. Paul and Pacific was built
and operated for a few miles and was the pioneer of the Great Northern
system. The first locomotive landed in St. Paul was the "William
Crooks," named in honor of the Civil Engineer of the road, Col. William
Crooks, who was the Commander of the "Sixth Minnesota," in which I
served. Colonel Crooks is buried in Oakland, St. Paul and the locomotive
is on the retired list.

As I said, one half of these bonds were issued and after several
legislatures had bandied them about and pigeonholed them, the debt was
wiped out at fifty cents on the dollar with interest, which gave the
holders par, and the credit of the state was saved. The bonds were
thrown about as worthless and I had an opportunity to get some of them
at $1 each.

I erected the first street light in St. Paul. You could not see it a
block away. All the rest of the town was in darkness. Minneapolis had
one of these lights also, located on Bridge square. Burning fluid for
lamps was one dollar a gallon. Candles were mostly used. Matches, hand
made, were sold for five cents a bunch--five cents being worth
twenty-five cents now.

In 1858 Minnesota was overrun with "Wild Cat" money. Perhaps I had
better explain this. It had no value outside the state and was not a
sure thing in it. You took money at night, not knowing whether it would
be worth anything in the morning. However, it looked well and we all
took chances. Any county could issue money by giving some sort of a
bond, so we had among others "Glencoe County," "Freeborn County",
"Fillmore County," "Chisago County," "La Crosse and La Crescent," and
many others. Daily bulletins were issued telling what money was good. In
the final round up, the only money redeemed at face value was "La Crosse
and La Crescent." I printed a directory with a Mr. Chamberlain of
Boston. I sold my book and took "Wild Cat" in payment and, after paying
the printer, had quite a bunch of it on hand, but merchants would not
take it at its face value. We had no bank of exchange then. Orin Curtis
had a little place he called a bank, but I never saw money go in or out
of it.

I found what was termed a bank on the west side of the river--a two room
affair, up one pair of stairs, and presided over by J. K. Sidle, who
afterwards was president of the First National Bank. He was at that time
loaning money at three per cent a month. The nearest bank of Exchange
was that of Borup & Oakes of St. Paul, and the only way to get there was
to walk or pay Allen & Chase one dollar and a half for the round trip. I
preferred to walk, and so did, to receive an offer of eighty five cents
on the dollar for my "Wild Cat." "No, sir," I said, "I'll go back home
first," and walked back. I made three other trips and finally took
twenty-five cents on the dollar and was glad to get it, for in a short
time, it was worthless. Merchants issued their own individual scrip and
payed many local bills that way. For instance: "David Edwards will pay
five dollars in goods at his store upon presentation of this paper,
etc." Times were hard, but pioneers never desert. They are always on
deck. Hence our Minneapolis of today.

While on this subject of three and five per cent, I will relate an
incident. There was a great revival in the First Methodist Church on the
East Side, J. F. Chaffee, pastor. We all got religion, and I thought I
had a call to preach, so with a dozen others, took on theological
studies. We were very studious and zealous with a prospective D. D.
ahead; but, I "flunked," got disgusted, side tracked the call, and in
time enlisted for the war and went fighting rather than preaching. But,
during the same revival and while it was at white heat, old Squire Geo.
E. H. Day was in the fore front. Now brother Day was very zealous and at
times thought he got at the very foot of the throne; but, he loaned
money at five per cent a month. I really think he was in dead earnest,
especially in the per cent business. On this particular night he was on
his knees and was calling very loudly on the Lord, in his extremity, he
said, "Oh, Lord give us more interest in Heaven." The crowd was so great
they were in the door and at the windows. A wag, Al Stone, was among the
outside crowd, and heard this urgent appeal of old Squire Day, and he
cried out: "For God's sake, isn't five per cent enough?"

Among the enterprising men of the Falls was Z. E. B. Nash, or "Zeb" as
we called him. He operated a line of steamers from Fewer's Landing, on
the East Side above the present bridge, to St. Cloud. There were only
two small boats, but they served the purpose well.


[Illustration: Medal presented to Margaret King Hern by the State in
1896. (See page 143.)]

[Illustration: Late type Red River Cart, taken in the Fifties. Earlier
Carts had tires eight inches wide. (See pages 14-22-218)]

Colonel Levi Longfellow--1851.

One day back in my old home in Machais, Maine, when I was six years old
and my sister Mary nine, my father said to her, "I will give you ten
cents for your little tin trunk." This trunk was one of her most
treasured possessions, and she asked him what he wanted it for. He
answered, "I am going to save money to take you all out to Minnesota and
I want the trunk to hold the pennies and dimes we shall save for that
purpose." She was so delighted with the idea that she readily gave up
the trunk and contributed a dime to start the famous fund. Many times we
emptied the contents of that little trunk and counted to see how much we
had, though we all knew that not more than one or two dimes had been
added since we last counted. It took us three long years to save enough
for the eventful trip. In those days, instead of a run of two or three
days, it took a month to make the journey.

One bright day in June, an ox team drove to our door and took us, a
family consisting of my father, mother, two boys and two girls with our
luggage to the Boston boat. From Boston, a train carried us to Albany,
New York, and from there by canal boat we went to Buffalo. Here we
boarded a lake steamer for Chicago. This place I remember as the
muddiest hole I had ever seen. A plank road led from the boat landing to
the hotel. One railroad ran west out of Chicago for a distance of about
ten miles. Beyond this lay the unexplored country we were to enter. We
hired a man with a team and a covered farm wagon to drive us across the
prairies to Galena. One week was occupied in this part of the journey.
This same man three months later drove a herd of cattle from his home to
St. Anthony Falls. From Galena we took a steamboat to St. Paul where we
were met by my grandfather, Washington Getchell, who had come west with
his family three years previous. He brought us to St. Anthony Falls with
his ox team. Among our luggage was a red chest. Every family in those
days owned one, and I remember in unloading our things from the boat,
the bottom came out of the chest scattering the contents about. Men,
women and children scrambled to pick up the things but mother always
said one half of them were lost.

On the second of July, 1851 we arrived, receiving a hearty welcome from
our relatives. My grandfather had built the second frame house erected
in the town.

Early in the winter of 1854 at nine at night I was crossing the
unfinished bridge one evening with a schoolmate named Russell Pease. We
had been over to see his father who lived on the west side of the river.
When we had reached the middle, Russell slipped and fell through onto
the ice beneath. I ran back and down the bank to where he was lying, but
he was unconscious and I could not lift him, so I ran back for help,
found some men and they carried him home.

One day, before there was a bridge of any kind across the river, my
father carried two calves over on the ferry, to pasture on the west
shore. Several days later as he stood on the river bank, he noticed
something moving on Spirit Island, the small island below the falls.
Going out in a boat he found the two calves running about seeking a way
to reach the east bank. They had evidently become homesick and started
to swim across above the falls, and in some miraculous manner had been
carried over the falls and landed safely on the island. Father rescued
them, bringing them to shore in a boat.

I remember the greatest excitement each summer was the arrival of the
caravans of carts from the Red River of the North. They would come down
to disperse their loads of furs, go into camp in St. Anthony and remain
three or four weeks while selling their furs and purchasing supplies.
The journey and return required three months.

In the spring of 1853 our family moved from St. Anthony to a farm in
Brooklyn Center, about nine miles out from town. Roving bands of Indians
often used to camp near our home. We never enjoyed these visits, but
neither did we wish them to think we were afraid, so we never locked our
doors or refused them anything they demanded in the way of food. Often
my mother has fed a troop of those hideously painted fellows.

In those days the only means of communication between the settlers was a
messenger, going from house to house. The people of our community wished
to have some way of signaling each other in case of danger. So a number
of tin horns were purchased, each family being given one, with the
understanding that if a blast was heard from one of these horns, the men
would ride as fast as possible to the home giving the signal for help.
Among the settlers was an old German who was given his horn along with
the rest. After a few days, this old fellow became curious to know what
sort of a sound the horn would make. Not wishing to give any alarm, he
went into his cellar, thinking to be out of hearing, and blew a
tremendous blast to test the power of the horn. The effect was far from
what he had anticipated. The neighbors hearing the signal came from all
directions, expecting to find serious trouble. My brother, Nathan, with
his friend Will Fisher, mounted their horses as quickly as they could
and rushed to the scene. In about an hour the boys came back disgusted,
and what the settlers said and did to the old German, I leave to your

This same German figured in another amusing incident. When my father was
building one of the roads in Brooklyn, he hired this man to work for
him. One Sunday morning the old fellow reported for duty. My father
informed him they did not work on Sunday. The man threw up his hands and
exclaimed "Mine Gott! is this Sunday? My ole woman is at home washing;
she tinks it is Monday too!"

I enlisted in '62 expecting our regiment would be ordered immediately to
the Army of the Potomac, but within a week after the formation of the
regiment, news was received of the Sioux outbreak on the frontier. We
were ordered to report at once to St. Peter where we arrived August 24.
Four days later we were hurried across country forty miles to Fort
Ridgely which was then in a state of siege. After a sharp skirmish with
the Indians, we drove them off on the second of September. We were
ordered to Birch Cooley, sixteen miles away. Capt. Grant, with his
command had been sent out to bury the victims of the Indian massacre,
including twenty-seven men of Capt. Marsh's Fifth Minnesota troops. He
had gone into camp at Birch Cooley when the Indians attacked him. The
firing was heard across the plain at Fort Ridgely and we were sent to
his relief. We arrived early in the morning and the command was halted
to wait for daylight. With the break of day the Indians opened fire, but
after a hard fight we drove them off and made our way into the camp. It
was a sickening sight. Twenty-three men lay dead with fifty or sixty
wounded. In the camp was a woman lying in a wagon. She had been picked
up on the prairie where the Indians had left her for dead. After the
Indians had gone she had managed to crawl to a rock which had a cleft in
it, and there had fainted. One of our boys jumped up on this rock and
noticing what seemed to be a bundle of rags lying in the opening, poked
his gun into it. To his horror he found it was a woman's body. He called
and another of the boys, Comrade Richardson, now living in Champlin,
Minn., sprang up beside him and together they lifted her out and she was
placed in a wagon. When the Indians attacked the camp, the wagons were
drawn around in a circle with the camp inside and this poor woman laid
there for thirty-six hours all through the fight. The wagon was riddled
with bullets and she herself had been hit in the arm, though she was
scarcely conscious of what was going on, having not yet rallied from her
terrible experience in the massacre. I understand she afterwards
recovered and lived in Minnesota.

At Wood Lake, I also helped to bury the dead, among them sixteen Indians
killed in the fight there. At Camp Release situated on the west side of
the Mississippi river opposite where Montevideo is now located, we
surrounded an Indian camp and compelled them to give up over one hundred
captive women and children. We were also sent out with a small squad
and surrounded and captured another camp of hostile Indians, bringing
them in to our camp. Col. Crooks, of our regiment, was appointed Judge
Advocate and I was present at the trial of over one hundred of these
Indians. All were found guilty and sentenced to be hung. President
Lincoln commuted the sentence of all but thirty-nine, the rest being
sent to the government prison at Rock Island where they were kept as
prisoners of war. At that time my wife who was then Olive Branch, was
attending High School in Moline, and she went with some friends to see
these Indians in the Rock Island prison. She recalls distinctly the
interest the people felt in seeing the savages who had been the authors
of such atrocities.

In February of 1863, our regiment was sent to Forest City to build a
stockade for the protection of the settlers. From there we marched
across country to Camp Pope, where the main forces were being assembled,
preparatory to our expedition across the plains to the Missouri river a
few miles below where Bismarck now stands. We had no fresh water on this
trip and were also on half rations for two months. When we finally
reached the river we rushed in to fill our canteens, when the Indians
suddenly opened fire on us from the opposite bank. Fortunately they
fired over our heads with but few casualties. While we were halted at
the river, Gen. Sibley, who had remained at his headquarters, two miles
in our rear, sent a message to Col. Crooks, carried by an officer with
his orderly. Col. Crooks received the message, wrote his answer leaning
on his saddle, and the messengers started back to Gen. Sibley with the
reply. On our return trip we found the bodies of this officer and his
orderly horribly mutilated. The Indians had come up in our rear and
encountered them as they rode back to camp.



(Mrs. O. H. Shepley)


(Mrs. F. W. Little)


(Mrs. Alonzo Phillips)

Mrs. Helen Godfrey Berry--1849.

My part in the history of the Godfrey house is the first chapter. My
idea of geography in 1847--at the age of eight years--was that Maine was
the only state and that Bangor was not far from Boston in size and
importance. "Out West" was a wonderland in my child mind. I did not
realize when or how my father, Ard Godfrey, went so far from home as to
St. Anthony Falls, but I did realize his return to take my mother and us
children west. My father was obliged to leave us with our relatives,
Alex. Gordon's family. We stayed in Beloit, Wisconsin for the winter.
He, with Capt. John Rollins and some others went through on ponies, or
as best they could travel. Cold weather had stopped the boats from
running. That trip was one they did not forget and often told of it.

In the spring of '49 we took a stage coach from Beloit, with our baggage
strapped on behind. I remember well the black mucky mud we rode through,
the wheels sinking in to the hubs first on one side then the other.
Father met us in St. Paul and we children at once got on the calico
covered settee of the Bass House, too sleepy to eat. My next idea of
being anywhere was in a room given up, very kindly, by Mrs. Calvin
Church to my mother, in what was called the "messhouse," Main St. S. E.
It was the most comfortable place to be had. We were hungry for
mother's cooking. Our first meal was of biscuits, salt and tea with
strawberry jam, mother had found in the blue chest. This was in April.
If the work had not been already begun on our house, it must have been
hurried as in May my sister was born in the house.

There was considerable concern because there was no doctor nearer than
St. Paul to call on in case of need, but a few days before my sister,
Harriet was born, someone said there was an old gentleman living on the
lower island, a Doctor Kingsley, so he was called in. There was no
foot-bridge and but one way to get to the island, that of fording the

The house was built before the time of baloon frames. The principal
workmen were Chas. Merceau and James Brisette, who must have worked
faithfully and well. Doors and window-sash were done by hand, the lumber
having to be seasoned after it was hauled to the spot. I was so
interested in the many kinds of planks and tools used by these
carpenters, every floor board being tongued and groved by them. The
cellar under the whole house was dug after the house was partly built. I
have a faint recollection that a limekiln was built near the old landing
and lime burnt before the walls and plastering could be done. A brick
oven was built, which did good service while we lived there.

When it came to the painting of the outside of the house, father and
mother wondered if the natural color of Minnesota pine was not a shade
or two different from that of the old state of Maine. They were so
impressed they concluded to paint the house as near the shade of this
new pine as possible, but were hardly satisfied because not a perfect

My mother was favored with much-needed help most of the time. The house
was often a hospital. Two years after we built, the brother of the young
woman who was helping my mother, came with a bad attack of cholera. He
was brought in, cared for and sent away comfortable. Many families came
from the far east with sickness from the long journey, many of them
cases of typhoid fever. My mother was not behind in extending a welcome
and assistance to these sufferers.

I would not omit my recollection of our first Fourth of July. It was
either in '49 or '50 and carried out with all patriotism. I went early
in the morning with my new friend, Emma J. Tyler, to touch the Liberty
pole set up on the hill not far from the mills and near where was
afterward built the Winslow Hotel. It was a genuine celebration. In my
mind, somehow, like a dream of a birthday in spring, comes a faint
picture of a number of pioneer mothers, in my mother's partly furnished
parlor. I rushed in after school and stood upon the threshold. I saw
bright colors in stripes, and stars of blue that they seemed to be in a
quandary how to place and how many to use. Was this the first flag made
in St. Anthony? Was it made in the old Godfrey House, or was I only
dreaming? Anyway, it was a real celebration that came after. The
Declaration of Independence was read, I think by J. W. North, a
volunteer choir of our best singers--Mrs. Caleb Dorr, Mrs. North and
others--sang the patriotic hymns, Isaac Atwater, Capt. John Rollins and
others sat upon the platform and my father was marshall of the day.

I probably took the first music lesson on the piano given to a learner
in St. Anthony, my teacher being Mrs. J. W. North, living at First on
Hennepin Island in the house afterward known as the Tapper House, where
Capt. John Tapper lived while running the ferry-boat, before the bridge
was built from our side to the island. It was not a very safe or easy
trip for me to skip over on the logs, but I got to be quite an expert.
My piano came later than Mrs. North's, but was the first new piano
brought and bargained for to be sent to St. Anthony.

By this time the house was comfortably furnished. At first a few
articles were brought from the Slaymakers who had been one of the
families who had lived in the building I have spoken of--father's shop.
This family became discontented enough to return to their old home so
from them we got our large six-legged dining table, the cradle, both of
black walnut, and a few other pieces of furniture.

If such a thing could be done after fifty years, I could replace any
piece of furniture as my mother had then. The parlor with its warm
colored red and green carpet, the piano in its corner, the round
mahogany table of my mother's with its red and black table spread and
always the three worsted lamp mats I had made when seven years old.
Mother's hair-cloth rocker, the parlor stove and the round back chairs,
also in the sitting room were mother's small two-leaved tea-table and
the settee like four chairs in a row, a stove, etc., all so comfortable.
We never lived in a house in Minnesota in which we felt the cold so
little in winter. From an item in my old scrap-book concerning the
moving of the house, it said it had three thicknesses of floor boards,
and the same for the outside, so it was built for comfort. My little
room over the parlor--my first own room--had in it the bureau made by my
grandfather Burr. My bedstead, a posted one, was corded with bed cords,
had one good straw bed and a fluffy feather bed on top of that, with
patch work quilts. In that little room I made many beginnings. I learned
to wash the floor on my knees for I had no carpet.

At the time when the Mill Company's property was partly owned by a
bachelor named A. W. Taylor, the other owners were very anxious to buy
out his share so were making great effort to persuade him to sell. My
mother was given the money, all in gold, or probably father put it in
her care, ready to make the payment if he came to terms which he finally
did. My knowledge of this fact came from mother being all alone at
night. She told me that in one corner of the blue chest were bags of
gold amounting to $10,000. Afterward I could understand that she felt
too anxious to sleep and that in case of any foul deed, I could answer
for her. In those days, however, men were honest and money plentiful.
Many times has my father ridden to or from St. Paul with a sack of money
in the buggy seat beside him.

About this time it was getting to be the custom in Washington and other
large cities for ladies to receive gentlemen callers on New Year's Day,
so the first year St. Anthony followed that custom, by Mrs. Camp's
suggestions and help, I was the first to receive callers, with Mrs. Camp
as chaperone. I am not quite sure who were our callers, probably Mr.
Camp, T. E. B. North, J. B. Shaw and others. Pound and fruit cake with
fragrant coffee and rich cream were served.

In our house was organized the first Masonic Lodge. I remember it
perfectly well. My mother had arranged the house in such perfect order
we children felt something unusual was to happen. Mother first was
elected Tyler. I couldn't understand why we couldn't even peep through
the key-hole. I saw Mr. John H. Stevens and Mr. Isaac Atwater pass into
the parlor where they spent the evening with my father. Mother proved a
faithful Tyler and all the satisfaction we got was that they had "Ridden
the goat."

Father had told brother Abner wonderful stories about the country he was
intending to take us to and one was that "sleds grow on trees" and he
should have one when we got there. He did not forget. Maybe he was
reminded, but some time before one Christmas day daddy brought home two
strips of wood that he said could be bent into the shape he wanted it.
It took some time and I do not know whether brother suspected what was
coming until his own frame sled was brought to him, all completed but
the steels--they came later. So he can claim having had the first real
coaster, for the other boys had only board runners or barrel staves.

The mills (now burned) new then, with two upright saws, the people were
as proud of as they are now proud of all the fine mills in Minneapolis.
Ard Godfrey had reason for feeling proud. He had the management of the
building of the first mill dam across the Mississippi River, had stood
waist deep in its waters, half days at a time with his men to accomplish
this work. He was owner to not over one-seventh and not less than
one-tenth interest in the Mill Co. business--was agent for Franklin
Steele, of whom he always spoke with the greatest respect. I can realize
that he was a very busy man during the time he served there and that he
needed the rest and quiet he found afterward in his Minnehaha home.

Our first nearest neighbors were Mrs. Marshall with her two sons, Wm. R.
and Joseph, and her daughter, Rebecca. Their store was the first started
in our neighborhood until John G. Lennon built his a little later. Mrs.
Marshall impressed me when she said to my mother that "If one of her
sons was foolish enough to get into a fight and get whipped she would
whip him again when he came home." I thought of her in after years when
I heard people speak of Wm. R. Marshall while he was Governor of
Minnesota. Once on our first acquaintance, my mother sent my brother,
then about six years of age, to Mrs. Marshall for an article from the
store. She gave it to him with the change. The child was so interested
in his play with some boys, he hurried home, gave mother the package and
was hurrying off when she asked him for the change. He said he hadn't
any and from his eagerness to get away she feared he had spent the money
without leave, to treat the boys. I heard her say something about "Not
letting this pass a first time, if it is an act of dishonesty now is my
time," etc. So to sift the matter to the bottom, she took the reluctant
boy to Mrs. Marshall, who said, "Don't you see, Mrs. Godfrey, he has
done nothing wrong; he has the money; look again." Sure enough, under
the wonderful things, balls and strings in his pocket, was the money
just where Mrs. Marshall had put it herself and he was the most
surprised one to see it. The tears were dried and Mrs. Marshall had
saved him from punishment only that he had lost his noon hour for play.

One last remembrance is that of the great flood which came and spoiled
so much of the work done in the beginning; I have still in my mind the
grandest picture of Almighty God I ever saw. Man seemed but an atom
against Him, when the waters rushed and roared in their strong surges
over the ledges that made the Falls of St. Anthony; the long logs that
had been, but a few months before, proud monarchs of the pine forests,
sailed along toward this brink like sticks, then with their long ends
balancing out over the rushing fall would tilt over and down into the
rushing, curling, foaming torrent out of sight. But little else was
thought of just then for we who were near were watching, watching the
grandeur but dreading the effect. One thing I realized that drew my
attention from this mighty picture, that was the anxious face of my
father. Had he not foreseen the future possibilities of this great
water-power? I am sure now that he had, and soon had the first stroke
come and waived aside all that had been partly accomplished. A set-back
because the work had been begun with rough tools and lack of material. I
think he realized what might be--what has been. What we all can see now,
power harnessed by inventions into monstrous manufactories, costing
mints of gold, paying out mints of gold in return, costing more than
half a century of time and labor.

Why do I think he foresaw all this? For several reasons. At that time he
secured title to a small island outside the others just at the brink of
the Falls, although by some re-survey. I think it was afterward
considered a part of Nicollet Island, causing him to leave it, if I am
right. Another reason seems indirect, but it was from what he said in
regard to San Pedro Harbor in his first visit to California, that Los
Angeles might become a city, but not what San Pedro could be with a
harbor, a nucleous or center for business for all the surrounding
country. It may take years enough to see all this, to make up its half
century too, but when I see what is already the beginning I know he was
right and knew what he was talking about. So as I now often sit and
listen to the breakers of the grand old Pacific Ocean, I am given an old
home-feeling, I am listening, in memory, to the roar of that might
water-fall, the Falls of St. Anthony, as they sounded fifty years ago.

Abner Crossman Godfrey--1849.

In the early days, before we had street cars, or any of the present day
improvements, the country was all new. New families and interests were
pouring in from the East. We had to travel by stage coach and very often
the roads were so muddy that the wheels of the coach would sink in to
the hub. I remember the year so well that the first State Capitol was
dedicated. That was the time of the pleasure trip that I am going to
tell you about. They got a four horse lumber wagon and put in long seats
on either side, and piled in heavy robes. This was to convey the people
from Minneapolis to St. Paul for the very important services. There were
three boys--Stillman Foster, Oat Whitney, Sam Tyler of the neighborhood
and myself that chummed together. The rig started off from the old mill
office, Main Street. That was the starting place for everything in those
days, and is now Second Avenue Southeast. We boys decided that it would
be a great lark to get in the wagon and hide under the robes and ride
around to the St. Charles Hotel, where the passengers were waiting. Much
to our surprise, we were not ordered to get out when we were discovered.
We soon arrived at the old Des Noyer place half way to St. Paul. It was
bitter cold, about forty-five degrees below zero. In St. Paul, I left
the rig and wandered over to the old American House. My hands were
frozen and I soon began to cry with the pain. My fingers were white to
the first joint. A Frenchman who was standing near by, seeing my
distress, took compassion on me, took me inside and put my hands into
hot whiskey. That saved them.

Major Benjamin Randall--1849.

In 1860, to prevent conflict between the Indians and white settlers, a
military post called Fort Ridgely was built one hundred and eighty mile
northwest of Winona on the Minnesota River. Major Woods arrived soon
after navigation on the river was demonstrated to be practicable by that
veteran, Smith Harris and steamboats from the Ohio river were not
infrequent visitors. Ridgely was in no sense a fort, but by general
acceptation. It was not designed or constructed as a place of defense.
It was built on a plain forty rods from the edge of a steep bluff of the
river on the south and a gradual sloping bluff, less abrupt, to a creek
running at right angles on the east about the same distance. A deep
wooded ravine extended up through the river bluff to about one hundred
yards of the southwest corner, while a considerable depression was
continued some distance farther. The St. Peter road led up the creek
bluff ravine along the north side of the fort, with a level stretch of
prairie to the north. It was such a place as the Indians would have
selected for the building, if they had contemplated its capture.

The Indians were frequent visitors at the fort and watched the Light
Battery drill with wonder and surprise. The horses flying across the
prairie like an Egyptian chariot race, the sudden changes of front and
position, and the rapid firing, awed the savage. In the spring of 1861,
all this was changed. The artillery were ordered south. One and
sometimes two companies of volunteers were stationed for a short time,
and others succeeded them. The Indians knew the country was claiming its
able bodied and best men in its support, and watched with interest the
departure of volunteers for its defence, and believed, as they talked,
that only women and old men were left. The soldiers they respected and
feared had gone from our frontier.

The anxiety to rush everybody to the front had left our posts without
garrison, and people without protection, and protests to officials were
unheeded or disregarded. The Indians felt that the time and opportunity
was present when they could win back without resistance the inheritance
they had lost. In furtherance of this scheme, on Monday morning, the
18th of August, 1862, an attack was made on the citizens at the lower
agency, twelve miles above the fort. Those that could, tried to escape.
J. C. Dickinson, who kept a boarding-house, with his family and others,
in a two-horse wagon, was the first to cross the ferry, notifying the
settlers as he made his way toward the fort. A little before nine
o'clock in the morning, I was out about two miles from the agency in a
buggy and met him. His team was jaded and I reached Capt. Marsh's
quarters sometime in advance of him. A courier was sent after Lieut.
Shehan, who with fifty men, was on his return to Fort Ripley. Capt.
Marsh and forty-six men, started for the scene of the uprising, and were
ambuscaded by the Indians, twenty-eight of the men being killed and
Capt. Marsh drowned.

That night small parties of Indians that were raiding the settlements,
were drawn together and celebrated their victory by dance and song,
which gave us valuable time at the fort, saving hundreds of lives by the

The fort was left under the command of Lieut. Gere, a young man of less
than twenty years, without military or frontier experience. The
situation would, have appalled the most experienced frontier officer.
Fortunately the advice and experience of Sergeant Jones was available.
The four Reike brothers, who had the contract for furnishing hay to the
post, notified settlers, and hauled water, filling all the barrels that
could be found. All the water used at the post was hauled from a spring
at the foot of the river bluff, nearly half a mile distant, and near the
ravine which the Indians went up two days later to make their attack.

After a day of preparation and suspense, Lieut. Shehan returned with his
fifty men, who were welcomed with joy by those holding the post, and
later, about forty-six men arrived from St. Peter, the Renville
Rangers. There were enough men to post sentinels, to guard the salient
points. I visited some of these posts with an officer and a lantern
later in the night, and no one was sleeping on them; they were deserted.
We followed to where they had taken shelter in the barracks among the
refugees, and they were ordered from under bedsteads, to resume their
guns and duties.

The ravine was between my house and the garrison, where my family had
taken shelter. About twelve o'clock I was at the house, with a horse and
buggy, when guns were discharged and sentinels shouting "Indians."
Seeing them running, I was not long in reaching the fort, and had been
there but a short time, when flames shot up from my dwelling and the
ravine I had just crossed swarmed with painted savages.

Miss Sara Faribault.

My father, Oliver Faribault, built a house which was his home and
trading post near "Little Six" or Shakopee's village in 1844. It was a
fine point for a trading post, as three Indian villages were near; Good
Roads, Black Dog's and Shakopee's. He was a very successful trader. I
can well remember the great packs of furs. We used to play all around
the country near. I could shoot an arrow as well as a boy. The hunting
was fine.

We used often to go to the sacred stone of the Indians and I have often
seen the Sioux warriors around it. It was on the prairie below town.
There was room for one to lie down by it and the rest would dance or sit
in council around it. They always went to it before going into battle.
They left gifts which the white people stole. I can remember taking some
little thing from it myself. I passed a party of Indians with it in my
hand. One of the squaws saw what I had and became very angry. She made
me take it back. She seemed to feel as we would if our church had been
violated. This stone was stolen by a man from the east and taken there.
This loss made the Indians very angry.

Little Crow was often at our house and was much loved by us children. He
used to bring us candy and maple sugar. My father was fond of him too,
and said he was always honest.

The Indians did not understand the white man's ways. When the white man
had a big storehouse full of goods belonging to the Indians and the
Indian was cold and hungry, he could not see why he could not have what
was there, belonging to him, if it would keep him warm and feed him. He
could not see why he should wait until the government told him it was
time for him to eat and be warm, when the time they had told him before
was long past. It was the deferred payments that caused the outbreak, I
have often heard from the Indians.

One morning in the summer of '58 we heard firing on the river. Most of
the Sioux had gone to get their annuities but a few who were late were
camped near Murphy's. These had been attacked by a large band of the
Chippewa. The fighting went on for hours, but the Chippewa were
repulsed. That was the last battle between the Sioux and the Chippewa
near here.

I have often seen Indians buried on platforms elevated about eight feet
on slender poles. They used to put offerings in the trees to the Great
Spirit and to keep the evil spirits away. I remember that one of these
looked like a gaily colored umbrella at a distance. I never dared go

Mary Sherrard Phillips--1854.

At the time of the Indian massacre in Minnesota, August, 1862, John
Otherday, who was married to a white woman, sent word to the agent's
wife to leave the Agency within an hour. This was at half past nine at
night. The trouble began at a small store a short distance from the
agent's house. The shooting and fighting could be heard from the house.

Otherday, with a party of sixty-two refugees, instead of taking them to
the fort, had them ford the Minnesota River and pass through the wild
country, avoiding the main traveled roads. He was never with them, would
be seen in the distance on a hill to the right, and then in the opposite
direction. They came to the river at Carver, where they re-crossed, then
to Shakopee, their old home, where I saw them.

When Major Galbraith was given the office of Indian Agent at Yellow
Medicine, most of his employees went with him. Mrs. Galbraith and her
three children, and Miss Charles, a teacher, went in a one-horse buggy.
They took this at the time of the outbreak and were in Otherday's party.
Part of the time they walked and let others ride to rest them. This
little band of fugitives could make only a few miles in twenty-four
hours. The Indians did not follow them, as they thought they would go to
the fort, and then they would attack them as they neared the fort. Mrs.
Galbraith and children came to father's house. They were a sorrowful
looking band. Dr. Wakefield and Maj. Galbraith were at the fort.

The women told us this story. The day before the outbreak, Mrs.
Wakefield and her two children, with George Gleason, started for Fort
Ridgely. They saw some Indians coming. Mrs. Wakefield said: "I am
afraid," but Gleason said, "They are our own Shakopee Indians, they will
not hurt us." Then as soon as they passed, they shot Gleason in the
back, and he fell out of the buggy, dead. They took Mrs. Wakefield and
the children captives. She was saved by one Indian taking her as his
squaw. For two days, he had them hid in a straw stack.

Mother asked Mrs. Galbraith if she saved any of her silver. She replied;
"When life is at stake, that is all you think of."

When Col. Sibley and his men came to Shakopee, they came mostly by boat.
They pressed into service all the horses and wagons in town to transport
them to the seat of the Indian war. There was only one old white horse
left, that belonged to Dr. Weiser. The Little Antelope that passed down
the Minnesota did not have room for one more. The town was packed with
refugees, every house had all it could shelter. The women did what they
could to help the ones that had come there for shelter and safety, and
carried them provisions and clothes. We had refugees from Henderson,
Belle Plaine, St. Peter, Glencoe, and all through the country, fleeing
from the Indians.

The Faribault House, covered with siding, is still standing.

Shah-kpa-dan, or Shakopee in English, was named after Shakopee Indian
Chief, (Little Six), who with his band, had a village just across the
river. He died and was buried there in the fifties. I saw the dead body
in the winter, which they had elevated on a platform, held up by four
slender poles, about eight feet high. In the trees near the camp, they
had something that looked like a closed umbrella. They had a number of
these to drive away the evil spirits.

The Sioux counted their money by dimes, which they called Cosh-poppy.
Then they counted up to ten; One-cha, No-pah, Yam-any, To-pa, Zo-ta,
Shakopee, Sha-ko, Sha-kan-do, Nep-chunk, Wix-chiminey. Then these
numerals would be used as One-cha Cosh-poppy, No-pa Cosh-poppy, up to
Wix-chiminey Cosh-poppy, which would be $1.

I saw some squaws the day after a battle, mourning. They had lost
relatives. They sat on the ground and were moaning and rocking their
bodies back and forth. The squaws always carried a butcher knife in
their belts. They took the point of the knife and cut the skin of their
legs from the knees down to the foot, just enough so it would bleed and
a few drops trickle down these gashes. There were three or four of these

In 1854 fifteen hundred Winnebago Indians came up the Minnesota River to
Shakopee, in their birch bark and dugout canoes, which lined the shore.
They were on the way to their new agency. Their agent was to meet them
at Shakopee with their government money and rations. He failed to come
on the day appointed. They waited several days for him and were angry at
the delay. The citizens found the Indians were being supplied with fire
water and for their own safety, they hunted for it. They found three
barrels of it in the kitchen of a dwelling. They took it and broke in
the barrel-heads and flooded the kitchen. The agent came that evening,
gave the Indians their money and rations, so they went on in their
canoes early the next morning. I saw them off, I was in the canoes with
some of them. They gave me beads and the little tin earrings, which they
used by the dozens, as ornaments. The river was filled with their
canoes, but their ponies and other heavy baggage went on land.

The Winnebagoes gave a money dance in front of the hotel. Their tom-tom
music was on the porch. They formed in a semi-circle. They were clad in
breech-clouts with their naked bodies painted in all the colors of the
rainbow, put on in the most grotesque figures imaginable. They would
sing and dance to their music, pick up the money that had been thrown
them, give their Indian war-whoops and yells, then fall back to form the
semi-circle and dance up again. This was an exciting scene with the side
and back scenery made up of hundreds of live and almost naked redskins.

I saw one scalp-dance by the Sioux. They had a fresh scalp, said to be
off a Chippewa chief. It was stretched on a sort of hoop, formed by a
green twig, or limb. It was all very weird. This was in '54.

The Indians enjoyed frightening the white women. They often found them
alone in their homes. They were always hungry, would demand something to
eat, and would take anything that pleased their fancy. My mother, Mrs.
Sherrard, was very much afraid of the Indians. Once one of the braves
shook his tomahawk at her through a window.

I have seen a dog train in St. Paul, loaded with furs from the Hudson
Bay Fur Company.




(Mrs. Guy Maxwell)

Mr. H. L. Buck--1854.

In the spring of '54 Cornelius F. Buck and his young wife, located a
claim and built a log cabin on the present highway just before it enters
the village of Homer in Winona County. Homer at that time seemed a much
more promising place than Winona. The few incidents I give are those I
heard from my mother's and father's lips during my childhood. The
country had been opened for settlement a year or two before, but few
settlers had arrived at this time and everything that went to make a
frontier was present, even to native Indians. They were peaceable enough
but inclined to be curious and somewhat of a nuisance. One spring
morning shortly after the cabin had been built, my mother was dressing,
when, without warning of any kind, the door was opened and in stalked a
great Indian brave. My father had already gone out and my mother was
greatly frightened, but her indignation at having her privacy thus
disturbed exceeded her fright and she proceeded to scold that Indian and
tell him what she thought of such conduct, finally "shooing" him out. He
took the matter good naturedly, grinning in a sheepish sort of way, but
my mother had evidently impressed him as being pretty fierce, for among
all the Indians of the neighborhood she became known as the "Little

The second spring my father and another settler securing some brass
kettles, went to a maple grove a mile below their homes on the river
bank and commenced gathering sap for sugar. During the night their
kettles were stolen and suspecting some Indians who were encamped on
the Wisconsin side of the river, they armed themselves to the teeth with
guns, revolvers and bowie knives and taking a canoe, crossed the river,
entered the Indian camp and demanded to see the chief.

He was told that some of his cowardly "braves" had stolen the paleface's
kettles. The chief denied the theft. My father, allowing all his weapons
to be plainly seen, again demanded the return of his kettles, and said
if they were not returned by the next morning he would make war on the
chief's whole tribe and annihilate them. This was too much for the
natives and the next morning the kettles were returned.

My mother, who had spent her childhood and youth in the prairie country,
had never seen any hills worth mentioning. She told me that when she
landed from the steamboat on which she had traveled from Galena and took
up her abode under the overtopping bluffs that lined the banks of the
river and the boat disappeared in the distance, she had an overpowering
feeling that she had been imprisoned far from the world, that she was
shut out from civilization and would never be able to get out of these
"mountains" and for several years that feeling stayed with her. The
river was the only highway over which came human beings. In the winter
the river still was the main traveled road, but with sleighs instead of
boats. It was a rare treat for her to go as far as La Crosse. In the
winter this trip was often accompanied with danger, from the uncertainty
of the strength of the ice. I recall one trip she and my father made
going to La Crosse one day upon the ice in the month of February. They
had planned to stay over night in the latter place and return in the
morning. In the morning they hitched up the horse and drove to the river
bank, but the ice had entirely disappeared during the night and the
steamboating was again good.

In '62 when the Indian outbreak occurred in the west, while Winona was
far removed from the danger zone, much excitement prevailed here. My
father organized a company of men of which he became captain and the
Winona Rangers marched west to help in driving back the Indian forces.
They met thousands of settlers fleeing to the east. Assisting them in
such ways as they might they continued westward until they reached Lake
Shetek where they were stationed for several months. They met no Indians
but were of assistance in restoring confidence in the returning

Mrs. Harriet Gleason--1854.

I was twenty-seven years old when I came to Minnesota, landing at a
townsite on the Mississippi River then known as Manton, but now known as
La Crescent. My brother, Samuel Spalding had come the year preceding and
had taken a claim near that place and at his request I came and took a
claim there also and kept house for him.

The country at that time was one almost unbroken wilderness. There were
no roads of any kind, only "blazed trails" through the timber from one
place to another.

There were wild animals in those days, and still wilder Indians, though
there were some "Good Indians." One morning a "Good Indian" came to our
place and wanted a needle and some thread, which I gave him. He said he
was going away hunting and thanked me. In the evening he came back and I
lost confidence in the "Good Indian" pretty quick. He had been drinking
and wanted me to give him more whiskey. I told him that I had none, but
that did not satisfy him. He kept asking for whiskey. I thought, "What
must I do?" I gave him the camphor bottle which he threw away; also
water, with which he did the same, repeating his request for whiskey and
flourishing his tomahawk over my head. I was now thoroughly frightened
but tried not to let him see that I was. I then gave him a loaf of
bread, which he took and then he wanted me to go with him to his wigwam.
I opened the door and told him to "Get out quick," which he did with a
whoop and a run. From that time on the Indians did not trouble us.

Mrs. Bradley--1854.

When our family, the Grants, came to Winona, there were more Indians
here than whites and to one who had never seen the Red Skins, a vivid
impression which can never be forgotten was left. There were very few
houses and the inhabitants were limited to a dozen families.

Mr. Oliver K. Jones--1857.

In the summer of '62 I enlisted in Company G of the Eighth Minnesota
Infantry. Before the six regiments required of Minnesota were fully
organized the Sioux Indian massacre occurred. As fast as a company was
organized it was rushed off somewhere on the frontier to protect the
white settlers and drive back the Indians. My company and Company D of
the 7th Regiment were sent on a forced march to Fort Abercrombie, two
hundred and fifty miles northwest of St. Paul on the Red River, twelve
miles down the river from Breckenridge. This garrison was besieged by
Indians. All the white people in that vicinity who had not been killed
or captured had fled there for protection. There was but one company of
soldiers there at this time under command of Captain Vanderhorck, who
had himself been wounded. This fort was nothing but a few buildings
located on the open prairie on the Dakota side of the river. Earthen
breast-works had been hastily thrown up for the better protection of the
people within. It required constant vigilance on the part of all the
soldiers to hold the garrison for the three or four weeks before our
arrival. The only water supply they had was the river, some rods outside
of the fort embankment. Their supply of rations had become nearly
exhausted, so that on our arrival about the middle of September, we
found a very hungry and badly scared lot of people. There were some
unburied dead, some badly wounded and some sick. One woman who had been
wounded by the Indians at Breckenridge a few days before and left for
dead, had regained consciousness and crawled on her hands and knees the
entire twelve miles to the fort where she was taken care of and finally
recovered. Two mornings some Indians concealed themselves among the
willows which grew on the Minnesota side of the river and fired upon
some teamsters who were watering their horses. One teamster died the
next day; the other, although wounded, recovered after several weeks
treatment at the fort hospital. These teamsters were citizen farmers who
had been pressed into service to help haul the supplies of grain and
provisions to the starving people and animals at the fort.

On our way to the fort, Sauk Center was the last place at which we found
any settlers. Many from the surrounding country had assembled here for
safety. A station with soldiers to guard it was established there and
one also at Alexandria, some miles beyond.

We did not see any Indians until the day before our arrival when a few
were seen by our scouts. A mile or so from the fort, before we came to
the river, we found in the woods the mutilated remains of two soldiers
who had been killed the day before by some Indians who attacked the
escort of eight soldiers who were returning to the fort after taking a
messenger through the woods on his way to Fort Snelling to officially
notify the officers in charge there, of the conditions at Abercrombie.
Other messengers had been sent but it was not known whether or not they
had gotten through, communication having been entirely cut off between
that garrison and the settlements below. The messenger, having met our
expedition, returned with us to the fort.

Immediately after our arrival, details of men were set to work cutting
logs to put a twelve foot stockade around the fort to provide better
protection against the Indians. Scouting parties were sent out every few
days to scour the country round about from ten to fifty miles in all
directions. Our company remained at Abercrombie until the spring of
'64. We never saw another Indian except the few captured by the scouting
parties and brought to the fort for safe keeping.

About the middle of October when we had been at the fort about a month,
a call for volunteers was made to form a guard to some thirty Indian
prisoners and take some cattle to Sauk Center. I was one of the four
from our company; not that I was more brave or reckless than many
others, but I preferred almost anything to doing irksome guard and
fatigue duties at a fort. So a little train of wagons in which to carry
our camping outfit, our provisions and the few squaws and children, was
made up. The guards, cattlemen and Indian men had to walk. While on this
trip we did not suppose there was an Indian in the whole outfit who knew
or could understand a word of English, so we were not at all backward
about speaking our minds as to Indians in general and some of those whom
we were guarding in particular. On the second or third day out I was
walking along behind the wagons near one of the big buck Indians who was
filling up his pipe preparatory to having a smoke. When ready for a
light he walked up alongside of me and said, "Jones, have you got any
matches?" Before this, no matter what we said to him or any of the
others, all we could get from them would be a grunt or a sullen look. We
arrived at our destination without seeing any Indians. We turned ours
over to the officer in charge of Sauk Center post. Here we had to wait a
long time for a train of supplies which was being made up at St. Cloud
to be taken to Abercrombie. By this time winter had set in and there was
no need for guards, so each man of our squad was assigned a six mule
team to drive up to the fort. If anyone thinks it is all pleasure
driving and caring for a six mule team from St. Cloud to Fort
Abercrombie, one hundred and seventy miles, in midwinter, with nothing
to protect him from the cold but an ordinary army uniform, including an
unlined tight blue overcoat, let him try it once.

That spring our company was ordered to go to Fort Ripley, nobody ever
knew what for. We stayed there until sometime in May when we were
ordered to Fort Ridgely, to get ready for an expedition across the
plains after the Indians who were somewhere between Minnesota and the
Bad Lands of Dakota and Montana.

In the June battle of Killdeer Mountain '64, a cavalry boy sixteen years
old, as soon as the Indians were in sight, put spurs to his horse. He
rode in among the Indians, killing two with his sword, picked up the
lariat ropes of their ponies and returned to our firing line leading the
ponies, and never received a scratch of injury to himself. The boy hero
said the Indians had killed his father and mother and he enlisted on
purpose to avenge their death.

On August 8, 1864, General Sully was sick and turned the entire command
over to Colonel Thomas. Before noon Indians were reported all around us.
Colonel Thomas put strong guards in front, rear and on the flanks.
Firing soon commenced on all sides, the soldiers having orders to fire
at an Indian whenever one was in sight. The Indians always appeared
singly or in small bands on the hills and higher ground. This mode of
battle was continued until dark, when we were obliged to stop and go
into camp with a strong guard all around. In the morning not an Indian
was in sight. It was learned afterward that there were some eight
thousand warriors engaged and that they lost three hundred and eleven
killed and six hundred or seven hundred wounded. Our losses were nine
killed and about one hundred wounded. The battle was named
"Waho-chon-chaka" and was the last fighting we had with the Indians for
that summer.

Mrs. Arabella Merrit--1859.

My father's family were among the early pioneers in Martin county,
Minnesota. I well remember an emergency that tried our wits and I
suppose was equal to golf for developing arm muscle in a young girl--it
certainly developed patience.

Much snow had fallen during the winter of 1858-9 and the sloughs of
which there were legions in that country, had frozen up in the fall,
full of water. Toward the last of February, the snow began to melt. A
heavy rain setting in on February 28th caused it to melt very rapidly
until at last the whole prairie was flooded, making it impossible for us
to leave our homes for any great distance. It was during this time that
the flour and meal gave out. What could we do? Bread we must have! At
last I thought of the coffee mill (one of the old fashioned kind,
fastened to the wall.) I filled it with wheat and went to work. Never
shall I forget those long hours of grinding to furnish bread for five in
the family. Never bread tasted sweeter. Some of the time I would grind
corn for a change and make meal, not, to be sure, the fine meal of
today, but we pronounced it good then. Our coffee was parched rye. While
I was grinding the wheat we had bread only twice a day. At noon, for
three weeks, there was nothing on the table except baked potatoes and
salt. Finally the salt gave out and for four meals we had only potatoes.
At last the flood abated and my father started for Mankato, forty miles
distant, to procure some provisions. The roads were something awful, but
after three days he returned with flour, meal and other needed supplies.
What a rejoicing to see him safely back! I was glad to be released from
my job as miller.

On Aug. 21, '62 a messenger came through our little settlement situated
on East Chain Lakes in Martin County, telling us there seemed to be
trouble at the Indian Agency. It was feared it might prove serious. Our
settlement consisted of six families. As there was scarcely any
ammunition in the neighborhood one of the men started to Mankato, forty
miles distant, to procure some. When he reached Gordon City, half way,
he was told that it would not be safe to proceed. Even if he did he
could get no ammunition, as Gordon City could not secure any and
Minnesota was short. The massacre had begun on outlying country round
New Ulm. Our little settlement awaited anxiously his return. He had left
Saturday morning, Aug. 22nd. Late in the afternoon of that day my father
and mother were away some little distance from the house. I was alone.
Chancing to look out I saw twenty mounted men coming across the prairie.
My heart stood still. Where could I hide? At last I decided to run to
our nearest neighbor's about a quarter of a mile away, warn her and we
could die together. She and her three little children were alone, as it
was her husband who had gone for ammunition. I ran, glancing back once,
I could see the horsemen were increasing their speed. I reached her
house and rushing in said, "Mrs. Fowler, the Indians are coming!"
Calmly, she stood up and with a white face said. "Well we can die here
as well as anywhere." Just then her little girl of eight years with a
child's curiosity ran out and peeped around the corner of the house. She
came running back saying, "Why, they are white men." The reaction nearly
took all our strength. I stepped out. Just then two of our friends from
Winnebago City, twenty miles east of us, rode up. They had seen me
running and hurried after me guessing my fear that they were Indians.

I went back home where there were twenty mounted men from Winnebago
City, their objective point being Jackson, fourteen miles west of us
where there was a small Norwegian settlement. My mother and I got supper
for them and they went on their way. During the night a messenger came
from Winnebago asking how long since they had left. He said there were
orders for them to go to Madelia. He found them before morning and
turned their course for Madelia. Had they gone to Jackson they would
have been in time to prevent the massacre of fourteen persons which took
place where they were holding church services. A few escaped and told
that it was a band of five Indians that did that awful work of killing
and mutilating. We were not aware of that cruel work so near us on that
bright Sabbath day.

Early in the spring, a son of Dr. Mills of Red Wing came, bringing with
him his pretty wife and two children, two and three years old. They had
taken land six miles north of us and with the exception of an old
trapper, who resided alone near them, our settlement was their nearest
neighbors. On that morning my mother said to father, "I think it would
be best to go up and bring Mrs. Mills and children down here for a few
days." When father reached the Mills' home he found that Mr. Mills had
gone out on the prairie that morning to look for his yoke of oxen that
had strayed away during the night. Mrs. Mills left a note for him
telling where she and the children had gone and gladly came to our home.
About four o'clock our neighbor returned saying there was no ammunition
to be had and that we must all leave our homes at once. It was not safe
to stay. In those days every settler had hoops and canvas for his wagon,
as those were what he had come into that part of the country with. So
with all haste the "prairie schooners" were prepared. With true eastern
forethought for her family my mother put in food enough for several
days, a bed and trunk of clothes. One wagon, we found, would not hold
all our goods and us too. Meantime no word came from Mr. Mills. We left
our home just at dusk, a sad band of six families. We took Mrs. Mills
and family with us, she not knowing what might have been the fate of her
husband, but bravely and quietly going with us. Every farmer drove his
herd of cattle and horses. It was all they could move.

One of our neighbors, Mrs. George Fowler, sister of the late Mrs. J. J.
Hillmer, was confined to her bed with a babe two weeks old. She had to
be carried on a bed in their wagon. Mr. Fowler's father, mother and
sister from New Haven, Conn., were spending the summer in the west with
their son. We started for Winnebago City, our nearest town east. We
traveled all night to make that twenty miles, making slow progress with
our heavy wagons, poor roads and herds. That country was full of sloughs
at that time. Often during the night, the wagon would become stuck, and
the men would unhitch the horses, we would walk out on the tongue of the
wagon to more solid ground, then they would hitch chains to the end of
the tongue and pull it out. We reached Winnebago in the morning and
found the people had fled in fright like ourselves. There were only a
few men left to guard the post office and store. We could not find
safety there. We felt more fright. Thinking we were left behind to
danger, we continued our course east all that day. From all cross roads
wherever the eye turned we could see wagon loads of people and herds of
stock coming. Ask anyone where they were going, the answer would be,
"Don't know. Going where the crowd goes." On our second day out Mr.
Mills found us and his wife and children. I often wonder how he did in
that crowd.

At night the women and children slept in the wagons while the men lay
under the wagons and kept guard. Every settlement we came to was
deserted, every farm house empty, desolation everywhere. We traveled on
until the afternoon of Aug. 25th when we reached the town of Albert Lea.
Much to our joy we found this not deserted. There were five hundred of
that frightened crowd camped near Albert Lea that night. We camped near
a farm house on the outskirts of the town. We found there some fine
people who kindly took Mrs. Mills and children into the house. Five days
after our arrival at this farm house, Mrs. Mills gave birth to a fine
boy. We stayed here several days when the news came that it was thought
the trouble was over and it would be safe to return. Only, three
families returned to our settlement, the others going to relatives
farther east.

On the second night after reaching home we were awakened toward morning
by our neighbor saying, "There are buildings burning on the farms west
of us." We arose and dressed, lighting our lamps. My father and the
neighbor, Mr. Holmes Fowler, said they would creep up carefully and see
what it meant. Mother and I were left alone. Father returned shortly
saying, "The vacant houses are all burned. I shall send you and mother,
Mrs. Fowler and her three children to Winnebago to get men to come to
our rescue. We will stay here and guard our stock." Four miles east and
near our road leading to Winnebago lived two young men. Said father,
"You stop there and send one of the neighbors for help." We started just
at break of day. When two miles from home a sight met our gaze that
surely froze the blood in our veins. There, a short distance from the
road, quietly grazing in the tall slough grass, were three Indian
ponies. Every moment we expected to see their riders rise from the grass
and make a dash for us. Quietly we drove on feeling more dead than
alive, expecting every moment to hear that awful Indian yell. But
nothing happened.

During the winter, six months before, a band of one hundred Sioux
braves, their squaws and papooses camped six miles west of our home.
Often several of them at a time came down to the settlement. We always
gave them food and never thought of being afraid of them. When they
broke camp they camped one night near our house. How well I remember
taking out a milk pan of doughnuts and passing them around. I wonder if
those doughnuts left an impression! Two miles from Winnebago we had to
ford the Blue Earth River. The banks were quite steep. One of our horses
was a high spirited full blood Morgan mare. She always made it a point
to kick when going down those banks, often coming down astride of the
tongue of the wagon. My brave mother was the driver that day. We reached
the bank. Carefully, with steady, dainty steps, head proudly raised, she
slowly took us down that steep bank and across the river bringing us
safely upon the other side. I say she, for so much depended upon her,
for her good mate was always gentle. Fully she seemed to realize the
situation and fully demonstrated her love, and realized the
responsibility placed upon her one mate. Just before entering Winnebago
we met a company of ten mounted men going to the help of the three men
we had left. They returned that day accompanied by father and his two
neighbors bringing their herds of stock. After being in Winnebago a few
days we received word that a company of fifty mounted men from Winona
were coming. They had enlisted for thirty days. They were called the
Winona Rangers. After a few days they came and we were escorted home by
them. They built a barracks in our settlement and guarded a portion of
that section of country for their enlisted term.

The Government sent the Twenty-fifth Wisconsin regiment to Winnebago
where barracks were built. Portions of companies were distributed
throughout the adjoining counties, a company of them taking the place of
the Winona Rangers when their time was up.

Owing to my mother's ill health we removed to Homer, where her brother
lived. Two hundred and fifty miles we went in our covered wagon, through
the cold and snow of November. My father had made the trip weeks before
and driven our stock down. In our wagon was stored what little we could
bring of our household goods, the rest was left. On Thanksgiving day of
1862 we reached my uncle's house in the neighborhood where we now live.




Mrs. Gideon Pond--1843.

On the twenty-third day of August, 1842, I was married to Robert
Hopkins. He was preparing to come to the Northwest as an assistant
missionary in the Dakota mission, and in March 1843, we started on our
long journey from Ohio to Fort Snelling, sent out by the American Board.
We came down the Ohio and up the Mississippi in a steamboat, stopping
off for Sabbath and had to wait a long time for a boat at Galena after
spending Sunday there. We reached Fort Snelling in May after a tedious
journey. From Fort Snelling we started up the Minnesota River in an open
boat propelled by oars. At night we camped on the banks and cooked our
supper. In the party were Mr. and Mrs. Steven Riggs and their two
children and his wife's brother. Dr. Riggs was just returning from the
east where he had had some books printed in the Dakota tongue.

We also had three men to row the boat. We suffered much from the myriads
of mosquitoes. We baked our bread each day. It was simply flour and salt
and water baked in a frying pan before a smoking camp fire. It was very
distasteful to me and I determined to have a loaf of light bread. I had
some home made yeast cakes in my luggage as bought yeast cakes were then
unknown. I soaked one of them in a pail of river water, stirred in some
flour and soon had some nice light yeast. I mixed a loaf of bread and
set it where the hot sun would keep it warm. At night it was ready to be
baked and I used a little Dutch oven which was on the boat to bake it
in. The oven was like a black iron kettle flat on the bottom and
standing on three little legs about three inches long. We placed coals
under the oven and a thick iron cover heavier than any you ever saw, we
heated in the fire and placed over the oven to bake the bread on the
top, while to bake it on the sides we turned the oven around. I
attending the baking of my bread with great solicitude and care.

While it was baking an Indian man came into the camp and sat down by the
fire. I paid no attention to him but attended to my loaf, just as I
would have done if he had not been there. Mrs. Riggs said, "You should
not have let that man see your bread." I said, "Why not," and she
answered, "He may come in the night and steal it," which I thought was
preposterous. In the morning I fried some bacon, made coffee, spread the
breakfast on the ground and went to get my bread and it was gone. So the
breakfast had to wait until I could mix some of the bread I disliked so
much and bake it. I remember well I thought "So this is the kind of
people I have come to live among."

At the point called Traverse de Sioux we left the river and made the
remainder of our journey nearly one hundred miles in wagons which had
been sent from the mission at Lac qui Parle to meet us. A new station
was to be started at Traverse and Mr. Riggs and two of the men remained
there to build houses for us.

We were four or five days going from Traverse to Lac qui Parle and had
many thrilling adventures. Dr. Riggs had been east a year and had taken
with him three young Indian men that they might see and learn something
of civilized life. They were returning with us on their way to their
homes. The last morning of our journey two of them proposed to go ahead
on foot and reach their friends, as they could go faster so, than in
wagons. The other, being sick, remained with us. We had an extra horse
and later he was told that he might ride on to meet his friends. After
some time he came tearing back. He excitedly told us that his only
brother had come to meet him and had been murdered by ambushed Ojibway

We soon came to where the scalped and bleeding body lay, right across
the road. The men of our party carried the body gently to one side and
covered it with a canvas. In a short time we met large numbers of Indian
men armed and very much excited, in pursuit of those who had murdered
their neighbor and friend. I could not understand a word they said, but
their gestures and words were so fierce that I expected to be killed.
They fired at our team and one of the horses was so seriously injured
that we had to stop. Mrs. Riggs and I walked the rest of the journey,
five miles, she carrying her fifteen months old baby. This was July 4,
1843. My first baby was born on the 10th of the following September.

On this last five miles of our journey, Indian women came out to meet
us. Some of them had umbrellas and held them over us. They seemed to
know that this was a terrible adventure for us. One of them put her arms
around me and tried to help me on and was as kind as any white woman.
They offered to carry Mrs. Riggs' baby, but the little thing was afraid
of them and cried so that they could not. Mrs. Riggs kept saying over
and over again, "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good
pleasure to give you the kingdom."

The Indians seemed to me very poor, indeed. They had for many years
depended upon the buffalo but now these were growing very scarce and no
longer furnished a living for them. The Indian women each year planted
small patches of corn with only their hoes for plows. They raised only
small amounts and they had no store houses. Sometimes they buried their
supply of food for the coming spring in holes in the ground, but dared
not mark the place for fear of having their supplies stolen, so they
were not always able to find it when it was wanted. In the fall they
gathered wild rice which they threshed by flailing it in buffalo skins.
In the spring they made a little maple sugar. They were often very short
of food and suffered from hunger.

One day I cooked a squash, putting the parings in a swill pail. An old
Indian woman came in and made loud cries of dismay when she saw my
wastefulness, saying, "Why did you throw this away?" She then gathered
them carefully out of the pail and carried them home in her blanket to
cook. Pies that were set out on the window sill to cool disappeared

This first winter was spent at Lac qui Parle, or Medeiadam,
(med-day-e-a-da) "The lake that speaks," in both tongues. I was told
that it was so named from a remarkable echo about the lake. I kept house
in a little room on the second floor of a log house. Dr. Williamson and
his family lived on the lower floor.

One day as I was alone sitting at my table writing, the door of my room
opened and a hideously painted Indian came in. His face, as nearly as I
can remember, was painted half red and half black with white streaks
across. A band around his head contained a number of large feathers,
indicating the number of enemies he had killed. He evidently hoped to
frighten me terribly. I determined I would try not to let him know how
frightened I was. I sat still at my table and kept on with my writing
and in a short time he went down stairs again. This Indian was the
famous Little Crow, the leader of the outbreak of 1862. Afterwards my
second husband, Mr. Pond, tried to teach Little Crow to read music and
he told me that he had double teeth all around. Little Crow learned to
sing and had a fine voice. He was a fine looking fellow without his
paint; tall, slender and strong looking.

In the spring of 1844, April 4, we started on our journey back to
Traverse de Sioux. We had a snow storm on the way but reached our new
home in peace and safety. This was a one room log cabin with a little
attic above. The Indians here were not quite as friendly as those at Lac
qui Parle and seemed to wish we had never come among them.

I had a class of all the little Indian girls that I could persuade to
come to school. Their parents seemed very much opposed to having their
children learn to read, sew, cook or anything else. I think they had an
idea that in some way we would be paid for our trouble in teaching them
and that it would be to their disadvantage when they sold their land. At
any rate only a few girls came to school. In order to make my task of
teaching them less unpleasant I provided basins, towels, soap and combs
and requested them to use them each day as they came in. Contrary to my
expectations they seemed to delight in these morning ablutions,
especially if I brought a mirror so they might see themselves.

One of these girls was an especial favorite of mine. She came quite
regularly and seemed interested in trying to learn all she could. She
was about fifteen years old. The girls had to walk about a mile through
the deep snow to reach the school. One day this favorite girl was
absent. I asked why she was not there, but the other girls did not know.
The next day again she was absent and the other girls told me the reason
was because she did not wish to marry a man who had bought her and had
three wives already. That day her parents went for food from a store of
provisions which they had, leaving her at home to care for the younger
children. While they were gone she committed suicide by hanging herself.

The Indian tents were heated by making a fire on the ground in the
center, the smoke partially escaping through a hole in the top. On each
side of this fire they drove a forked stick into the ground and laying a
pole across these sticks hung on it their utensils for cooking. To this
pole this poor Indian girl had tied a rope attached to a strap about her
neck and, the pole being low, had lifted her feet from the ground and
hanged herself rather than marry a man she did not love.

One day when I was alone in my house at Oiyuwega or Traverse de Sioux an
Indian man came softly in and sat down by the stove. I soon saw that he
was drunk, which frightened me a little. I said nothing to him except to
answer his questions because I did not wish to rouse his anger.
Presently he reached to the stove and lifted a griddle and I thought he
was going to strike me. The griddles on the cook stoves then, each had
its handle attached instead of having a separate handle. I slipped out
of the door and soon he went away. Later he came back and said, "They
tell me I was going to strike you the other day. I was drunk and that is
my reason. I would not have done it if I had been sober." I accepted his
apology, thinking it a good one for an unlearned Indian.

The treaty between the U. S. government and the Dakota Indians was made
in July of 1851. The commissioners of the government three in number,
came in June. Their chief was Luke Lee. There were no houses where the
white people could be entertained, so they camped in tents on the bluffs
of the Minnesota river near an old trading house, occupied at that time
by Mr. Le Blanc. The bluff was not an abrupt one, but formed a series of
terraces from the river to the summit. The camp was on one of these
terraces. There was a scarce fringe of trees along the river but from
there to the top and as far back as the eye could see, perhaps for two
miles back on the bluff, there was not a bush or tree.

A great many white men assembled, Gov. Ramsey, Gen. Sibley, Hon. H. M.
Rice, editors also from some of our newspapers, among them Mr. Goodhue
of the Pioneer Press, were there. Traders, too, came to collect debts
from the Indians when they should receive the pay for their land. Mr.
and Mrs. Richard Chute of St. Anthony came. Accidentally their tent had
been left behind and they found a boarding place with me. The Indians
were there in great numbers. Many of them were from the far west and
these were much more uncouth and savage looking than any who lived
around us. Some of their women wore no garment but the skin of animals
which formed a skirt reaching from a few inches above the waist to the
knee and hung from the shoulders by straps. The Indians pitched their
tents on different terraces of the bluff some little distance away from
the white people's camp.

Daily the Indians had their feasts, dances and games of different sorts.
They seemed a little afraid to treat, were afraid of being wronged and
were very cautious. The commissioners were very kind to them and treated
them with great respect. They prepared for a great celebration of the
Fourth of July. The mission families, Hopkins and Huggins, were invited
to be present. Mr. Hopkins was asked to make an address and lead in the
opening prayer. He rose early that fair beautiful morning and went, as
was his custom, for a bath in the river. I made haste to prepare
breakfast for my family of seven. My youngest child was seven weeks old
that day. But the father never came back and the body was found three
days later.

There were four white women at the place at that time, Mrs. Huggins, the
wife of the other missionary, Miss Amanda Wilson, a mission school
teacher, Mrs. Chute, a fair, beautiful young woman visitor and myself.
We were just a short distance from the old crossing called by the
Dakotas, Oiyuwega, (O-e-you-way-ga) and by the French Traverse de Sioux.

In September I went back to my mother in Ohio with my three little
children. Mr. and Mrs. Riggs were going east, too, for a visit, and
again I journeyed with them. As there was a large party of us and the
American board which paid our expenses was not wealthy, Mr. Riggs
thought we ought not to travel first class, so we went in the second
class coaches. The seats were hard, like benches. My daughter, Sadie,
then two and a half years old, was taken sick and cried and begged for
water but there was none. I was in the deepest distress at not being
able to give the poor sick little thing a drink. In the night the train
stopped somewhere for water and a young man whom I could not remember
ever having seen before got off and bought a cup of water for
twenty-five cents and gave it to the poor, sick baby. If I have thought
of that young man once I have thought hundreds, perhaps thousands of
times of him and wished that I could thank him again and tell him what a
beautiful thing he did.

I remained with my mother till I was married to Mr. Pond in April 1854.
Again this northwest became my home. The Indians had sold their land to
the government and been sent farther west. The country was filling up
with white settlers. Bloomington has been my home ever since.

When I came to Bloomington as a bride there were seven motherless
children of the first Mrs. Pond, the eldest being about fifteen years
old. I brought with me my three fatherless children, so our family
numbered twelve. Our home was a log house of six rooms. There were no
schools anywhere within our reach. Every morning our children and some
of our neighbor's gathered about our long kitchen table which was our
dining table as well, for their lessons taught by the mother or one of
the older children. There were no sewing machines to make the numerous
garments necessary for our family, no lamps, no kerosene. We made our
own candles as well as our own bread and butter and cheese and soap. Our
lives were as busy as lives could be.

In the summer of 1856 we made bricks on our own place with which we
built the house where I have lived ever since. Mr. McLeod was our
nearest neighbor. North of us I cannot remember that we had any nearer
than Minneapolis. Down toward Fort Snelling lived Mr. Quinn in a little
bit of a house.

One night Mr. Pond was at the Old Sibley House at Mendota when a number
of traders were there. During the evening as they told stories and made
merry, many of the traders told of the joys of sleeping out of doors
with nothing between them and the starry sky; how they never minded how
hard the bed was if they could only see the green trees around them and
the stars above. Mr. Pond, who also had had experience in outdoor
sleeping, said that he liked nature too, but he preferred to sleep, when
he could, with a roof over him and a good bed beneath him. After some
laughter and joking on the subject, the traders, one by one, stole out
and gathering up all the feather beds the house afforded, heaped them
upon the bed in the attic which Mr. Pond was to occupy, thinking that he
would at once see the joke and return their beds to them. Instead, he
climbed upon the mountain of feathers, laughing at the joke on his
would-be-tormentors and slept comfortably all night while they had to
spend the night on hard boards. He loved to tell this story of how the
laugh was on them.

Mrs. E. R. Pond--1843.

After the Indian outbreak the different tribes were broken up and
outside Indians called to the leadership. A little, wavy-haired Indian
named Flute was one of these. He had never learned to wear the white
man's foot gear. With a number of others he was taken to Washington. He
went as a chief and soon after his return came one day to my door. He
was a keen observer and, I knew, would have something interesting to
tell of his journey, so I was glad to ask him about it. He began by
saying that when he had seen the young Indians all dressed up in suits
of store clothes, especially in long boots, he thought, they must be
very comfortable. He was very glad when he reached Yankton, to put on a
suit of white man's clothes. He said all those who were going on the
trip were put into a car where there was not room to lie or sit down and
were in it for two nights. When he got off at Chicago he found his feet
and legs were very sore from his new boots. When he saw all the people
in Chicago he thought, "It seems very strange that Little Crow should be
such a fool as to think he could conquer the white man. Little Crow had
been to Washington and knew how many men 'Grandfather' (president) had."
He knew he had a great many soldiers but he also knew he was having a
big war.

"There were so many people in Chicago that I thought he must have
summoned the young men from all over the country that we might be
impressed by their number. And they were all in such a hurry. No one had
time to stop anywhere. We finally reached New York and were taken up,
up, in a building and allowed to stay there and rest several days. We
wondered a good deal what they would do in case of fire, but supposed
they never had any. We asked the interpreter about it. One evening there
was an unusual noise. It was always noisy, but this was everything
noise. Then the interpreter came and said, 'Come quick now and see how
grandfather fights fire.' We went downstairs quick and every man was
calling as loud as he could. All of a sudden we heard a great bell
ringing and there were a number of those little men with horses hitched
to something that looked like buffalo's paunch with entrails rolled
around it. They had a great many ladders and how they did it I don't
know, but they went to work like squirrels and climbed, one ladder above
another, until they reached the top. White men are wonderful. They ran
up just like squirrels and took the buffalo entrails with them. Threw
water, zip! Pretty soon, all dark! Fire gone!"

"We stayed in grandfather's country three or four weeks. Tobacco was
plenty, very strong, no good! We walked about in Washington a good deal.
One day we saw some red willow on little island. Little bridge led to
island. We thought we could cross over and get some red willow to go
with strong tobacco. Two or three went over to get it. After they began
to cut it one looked up and said, 'Why grandfather didn't want us to
come here,' and there were men with little sticks and they just made a
few motions and broke the bridge. Then we saw a boat coming. As soon as
it got through and the bridge was mended we thought we had better start
back, so we started over and pretty soon a train of cars was coming. We
couldn't go back, were afraid to stay on bridge, so dropped down and
held on to beam while train went by. Bridge shook dreadfully. We hurried
back and thought we would use white man's tobacco as it was."

All the while Flute was telling this story he was gesticulating with
motions appropriate to the story and often reiterating "Little Crow is a
fool," and crying, "Hey!"

Mrs. John Brown--1852.

The Sioux Indians did not often give a child to be brought up by white
people, but Jane Williamson--"Aunt Jane" took little Susan and David,
two very young Dakota children, to see what environment would do for the
Indian. Later they were placed in other families.

Little Susan, though a Sioux Indian, was dreadfully afraid of Indians
having always lived with the white people. One day in 1852 when all the
men about the two places were busy plowing the field back of our house,
Mrs. Whalen, with whom little Susan lived, felt nervous as a number of
Indians had been seen about, so she took little Susan and come to spend
the day with me, her nearest neighbor. The house was just a small
temporary board one. Little Susan asked for a piece of bread and butter
and went out and sat on the Indian mound by the house to eat it. Here
the Indians must have seen her, for soon after she went back into the
house, twenty Indians came into the yard and up to the open doorway--the
door not yet being hung. Twelve Indians filed in and filled the room. My
baby was in the cradle by the door. Little Susan, Mrs. Whalen and I were
also in the room. The braves began to ask questions about little Susan,
"Is she good squaw? We are Sioux and love little Sioux girl. We want to
shake hands with her." They passed her along, one handing her hand to
another, till the one nearest the door pushed her out. The Indians out
doors shot her through the arm and breast and she fell forward. I seized
my baby from the cradle and looking out the door, saw that five or six
of the Indians had their feet on little Susan's breast, scalping her. I
screamed for the men who were hidden from view by the trees between the
house and clearing. When they reached the house the Indians--Chippewas,
were gone. For months afterwards arrow heads and other things which they
had dropped in their flight were found about the place. One large bundle
was found in the yard. There is a stone in memory of little Susan in the
Bloomington cemetery.

Often as I came up the hill from the spring with water, an Indian would
softly cross the path in his moccasined feet and give me such a start
that I nearly dropped my pail of water. This spring is the one from
which the Minneapolis Automobile club, situated on the Minnesota river
draws its supply. Just a little west of the club house is the place
where little Susan was killed, also an Indian mound and the marks of an
old trail.

One day an Indian walked into my house and asked me for a whetstone. I
gave it, not daring to refuse him. He sat down and sharpened his knife,
feeling its edge and pointing often and looking significantly at me.

A Shakopee Indian once said to Mr. James Brown, keeper of the ferry,
"Our Pond's a good deal better man than your Pond. Your Pond preaches
for nothing, but our Pond preaches for nothing and gives a good deal to
the church."

Mr. Pond once met a Shakopee Indian on the trail and neither would turn
out for the other. They ran into each other "bump." Indian said "Ho."
Mr. Pond said, "Ho." Each continued on his way.



(Mrs. E. A. Welch)


Marion L. Dibble--1855.

After a tedious journey alternating between steam boats and railroad
cars, we arrived at Red Wing. Here father left us and went on foot to
his new home. Procuring a yoke of oxen from a kind neighbor, he returned
to Red Wing and brought us there. Our first work was to cover our bark
roof with sods taken from our future garden, and to build a stone
fireplace to warm our house and cook our food.

The country was wild prairie with some strips of timber along the
branches of Zumbro River, which ran about a mile east of our house,
along the banks of which river could be seen the remains of Indian
tepees and their paths crossed the country in all directions.

Game and fish were very plentiful. During our first winter, we had a
deer hung on every rafter on the north side of the house. Our supply of
meat for the first year or two depended upon our success as hunters and

Mr. M. G. Cobb--1857.

In July 1857, I walked from High Forest to Austin to record a deed. The
distance was thirty-five miles, and as there were no roads, I was guided
by my compass. I passed only three houses on the way. I found no one at
home, and was unsuccessful in my endeavor to get a drink of water. I
made the journey on Sunday, and a hot July day. There was no means of
getting water from the wells, as there were no pumps. Water was drawn
from the wells by a rope and bucket. I looked into the window of one
house and could see the bucket and rope in the kitchen, but the houses
were locked. So I traveled wearily on until I reached Austin, when my
tongue fairly hung out of my mouth, and was so swollen that I could not
speak aloud for two hours. I made this trip in one day. I could have
mailed the deed, as there was a stage coach carrying the mail once a
week, but I was a young man and thought I could easily walk that
distance, and then be sure that my business was attended to properly.

Two rival stage coach lines went from Chatfield to Winona. It took a
whole day to make the trip, a stop being made for dinner at a village
called Enterprise. The regular fare for the trip was $2.50. The
stagecoaches started from Madarra Hotel, Chatfield. This hotel is still
there, and is called by the same name.

Walker & Co. ran one of the lines. It was Mr. Walker who first accosted
me and said, "If you will go with me, I will take you for 50c." I
answered that I had a lady friend who was going on the same trip, and
Mr. Walker at once agreed to take her also at the same price--50 cents.

A little later I was accosted by Mr. Burbank, who had established stage
lines on the most important routes in Minnesota and he was endeavoring
to run out his rival, Mr. Walker. He asked me to go with him. I told him
that Walker had agreed to take me for 50 cents, wherewith Mr. J. C.
Burbank declared, "Well, I will take you for nothing and pay for your
dinner besides."

Judge Lorin Cray--1859.

In the early spring of '59 my father and brother-in-law started with
teams of oxen and covered wagons from our home near Oshkosh, Wisconsin,
to seek a location in the West, where homes could be had "Without money
and without price," in the great new state of Minnesota.

In October of '59 all of the earthly belongings of my father, being my
mother, seven children and a handful of household goods, were loaded
into a wagon drawn by a pair of unbroken steers, and we started for our
new home with great anticipations. Our two cows were driven behind the
wagon. My elder brother drove the steers attached to the wagon, and we,
the younger children drove the cows, and in the short period of
precisely thirty days we reached our new home in the western part of
Shelby county. Now we make the trip in twelve hours. But our loads were
heavy for the teams we had, and through Wisconsin sand and good
Minnesota mud, we made scarcely more than ten miles a day, camping at
night in and under our wagons.

The year had been a peculiar one in Wisconsin. There had been severe
frost at some time in every month during the entire summer and corn and
other produce was badly frost bitten. By October first all vegetation
was brown and dead. But there had been much rain in Minnesota, evidently
preventing frosts, and when we crossed the great Father of Waters at La
Crosse, much swollen and turbid, we were greeted by green foliage and
the freshness of spring. Vegetation was rank, grass tender, crops good,
foliage magnificent, and boy-like, I at once fell in love with

We entered Blue Earth county near the southeast corner, and went as
nearly directly west as possible, passing Minnesota lake near the north
shore, camping for the last time very close to the north shore of Lura
lake, where we spent the night.

My recollection of the southern part of this county, is that it was
mostly low and level, with a wonderful growth of wild grasses. The lands
were nearly all taken and there were seen here and there settlers'
shanties, and in some places quite comfortable homes, until we crossed
the Blue Earth river west of Shelbyville, when, after leaving the
settlers' cabins in or near the river timber, the picture was wild and
dreary to the very limit. Save a few cabins and claim shanties in the
vicinity of the Mounds, one could look from the river west, southwest
and northwest, and not a sign of human life or habitation could be seen.

We were four miles from Shelbyville, and to get our mail we must go this
distance, and cross the Blue Earth river, either in a canoe or by
fording. I remember one occasion in the very early spring, when the
river was scarcely free from ice, and was badly swollen, filling its
banks, five or six of us, neighbors, started for Shelbyville on foot to
get our mail, and to hear the postmaster read the news from the weekly
St. Paul paper which came to him, there being at that time, I think, no
newspaper taken west of the river. We reached the river. The ice had
gone out, and the boat was on the other side. We agreed to draw cuts and
decide who should swim the river and get the boat. The lot fell upon
Jonah, and I have had chills ever since. I am not quite certain that the
cuts were fairly held.

Father's claim was not a very desirable one. Soon after he had taken it
a man named Sam Tait came into the country and "jumped" a claim which
adjoined ours upon the east, and was the making of a much more desirable
farm than ours. He succeeded in holding the claim. A few days after our
arrival a prairie fire came from the west and with a brisk wind swept
the whole country with a very besom of destruction. We came near losing
everything we had. Sam was a loser, quite a quantity of his hay was
destroyed. Very shortly after the fire he made us an informal call and
in language not the most polite but very emphatic, declared his
intention to leave the country at once and offered to sell us his claim.
We bought it, one hundred and sixty acres of land, three acres broken, a
small stock of hay not burned, his sod stable and board shanty. For the
purchase price we gave him a shot gun and hauled two loads of his goods
to Mankato.

This was my first visit to Mankato. We removed our shanty to our new
purchase at once. Two years ago my brother and I sold the farm for
$9600, and it was well worth it.

It seemed at first in those early days impossible to have social
relations with anyone. Neighbors as we had known them, we had none. The
nearest settlers were a mile distant from us, and there were but four or
five families nearer than two or three miles distant. But we soon
learned that we had neighbors even though the distance was considerable.
First one neighbor and then another would extend to every family in the
vicinity an invitation to spend an afternoon or an evening. Someone
would hitch his oxen to his wagon or sled, and going from house to
house, gather up a full load well rounded up and then at the usual gait
for such conveyances, we rode and visited and sang until we reached the
appointed place, where perhaps, eight, ten or a dozen persons spent the
afternoon or evening, in the one little room, where the meal was being
prepared and the table spread. There were no sets or clans, no grades of
society, all belonged to the select four hundred, and all were treated
and fared alike. Friendships were formed which were never broken, and
when recalled always revive tender memories.

August 18th, 1862, the Sioux Indian troubles began. There were no
railroads, no telegraph or telephone lines, but one stage line, and I
could never understand how the reports of these troubles traveled as
rapidly as they did. On August 19th this whole country had reasonably
reliable information of the uprising. A neighbor came to our house in
the night, neighbor went to neighbor and so the news traveled. The men
were in a fury of excitement and anxiety, the women and children were
quaking with fear. Wagons were hastily loaded with women and children,
and a little food, animals were turned loose to provide for themselves;
houses were left unlocked, oxen were hitched to the wagons, and a
general stampede was started toward the east, with all eyes turned
toward the west. No one knew whither they were going, they only knew
that they dare not stay.

A halt was made at Shelbyville, the strongest buildings were selected
for occupancy, the women and children were placed inside, and the men
acted as pickets. In our whole country there were scarcely a dozen guns.
The reports came worse and worse, and another pell-mell stampede began
for the east, some stopping at Wilton, Owatonna and Rochester. After
waiting two or three weeks, and hearing encouraging reports, some of the
more venturesome returned to their homes with their families, only to
remain a few days, and to be again driven away by the near proximity of
the Indians, and the sickening reports of their savage murders.

This condition continued until late in the fall, when, under the general
belief that the Indians would not move on the warpath in the winter, the
greater number of settlers returned to their homes to save what they
could of their nearly destroyed and wasted crops. Some never returned.
With feelings of partial security, and encouraged by their escape from
slaughter thus far, the settlers remained at their homes, under an
intense strain of anxiety, but nearly undisturbed until 1864, when the
rumblings and rumors of Indian troubles were again heard; but the
settlers were not so easily terrified as before, and held their ground.

On the 11th day of August, 1864, after quite a long period of
comparative repose and freedom from Indian disturbances, a party of six
or eight Indians suddenly appeared in the edge of the timber on the east
side of the Blue Earth, near the town line of Shelby and Vernon, and
taking wholly by surprise Mr. Noble G. Root and his two sons, who were
stacking grain, shot and killed Mr. Root and seriously wounded one, and
I think, both of his sons. These Indians then crossed the river in a
westerly direction, reaching the open country where the Willow Creek
cemetery now is. On that day Mr. Charles Mack of Willow Creek, with his
team and mower had gone to the farm of Mr. Hindman, a short distance
southwest of Willow Creek to mow hay for Mr. Hindman, and in exchange
Mr. Hindman had gone to the farm of Mr. Mack to assist Mr. Jesse Mack in
stacking grain.

Mr. Mack and Mr. Hindman were loading grain directly across the road
from the cemetery, when, on looking toward the road, but a few rods
away, they saw some Indians coming directly toward them. They both
hastily got upon the load and Mr. Mack whipped his horses into a run,
when in crossing a dead furrow Mr. Hindman was thrown from the load,
pitchfork in hand, striking upon his face in the stubble and dirt.
Rubbing the dirt from his eyes as best he could so that he could see, he
started to run and when he was able to open his eyes he discovered that
he was running directly toward the Indians. He reversed the engines
somewhat suddenly, put on a little more steam, and made splendid time in
the other direction toward the creek bed, less than a quarter of a mile
away. Once in the creek, the water of which was very shallow at that
time, he followed the bed of the creek for nearly a quarter of a mile,
and then stopped to rest and to wash the blood and dirt from his face.
Soon he left the stream and started up the bluff on the opposite side,
which was quite steep and covered thickly with timber and brush. When
nearly at the top of the bluff he came to a little opening in the brush,
and looking ahead about one hundred feet he saw those Indians
deliberately watching his approach. Utterly exhausted and unnerved, he
dare not run; he paused, and in a moment a burly Indian drew a large
knife and started directly toward him. Concluding that his day of
reckoning had come Mr. Hindman took the position of a soldier, with his
pitchfork at "charge bayonets" and awaited the approach of the Indian.
The Indian came to within a very few feet of Mr. Hindman and stopped.
Each stood, looked, and waited for the other to open the meeting;
finally the Indian turned as if to retreat, and Mr. Hindman turned again
toward the creek.

He then followed the creek bed down to the house of Mr. Charles Mack,
where he found a pony belonging to himself, which he had ridden there
that morning, and started with all speed for his own home, where he
arrived just before dark. His children were gone, his house ransacked,
nearly everything broken or destroyed, and in the meadow a short
distance from the house was the dead body of Mr. Charles Mack. By this
time darkness had set in. His wife had gone that day about two miles to
the house of Mr. Jesse Thomas to attend a neighborhood quilting. He
again mounted his pony and started across the prairie for that place.
When about one-half the distance had been made, his pony looked sharply
through the semi-darkness in the direction indicated and there about
three hundred feet away were the Indians; four of them were mounted, the
remainder on foot. Mr. Hindman put whip and spur to his pony and ran him
for about a mile, then he stopped in a valley to listen for the Indians,
but he did not hear or see them.

On arriving at the house of Jesse Thomas he found it deserted, ransacked
and nearly everything destroyed.

It proved that his children saw the Indians attack Mr. Mack, and ran
from the house and secreted themselves in the very tall grass of the
slough in which Mr. Mack was mowing, and escaped with their lives. The
ladies at the quilting had a visit from the Indians; they saw them
approaching from a belt of timber but a few rods away, and escaping by
way of a back door to a cornfield which came quite up to the house, all
of their lives were saved. The Indians secured the horses of Mr. Root,
and also those of Mr. Charles Mack, and those of Mr. Stevens whose
horses were at the place of the quilting.

No more honest men, kindhearted and generous neighbors, or hardy
pioneers, ever gave their lives in the defense of their property and
their families, than were Charles Mack and Noble G. Root.

A man was asked, why did you return to the west, after having gone back
to New York and having spent two years there? His answer was.
"Neighbors. Would you want to spend your life where the people twenty
feet away do not know your name or care whether you live or die? We used
to have neighbors in the west, but when our baby died in New York, not a
person came near us, and we went alone to the cemetery. We thought we
would come back home." How very many have had nearly the same
experience. In the congested districts it seems to be everyone for
himself. On the frontier a settler becomes ill, and his grain is sown,
planted and harvested. Who by? Neighbors. A widow buries her husband and
again the neighbors come. It is no light thing for one to leave his own
harvest and go miles to save the crop of another, but it is and has been
done times without number by those who are tried and true neighbors and
the sentiment which prompts such kindly acts counts for something some
time, and it means something in making up the sum total of happiness in
this short life of ours.

What did we have to eat that first year? Potatoes and corn. No flour, no
meat, some milk. I doubt whether there was a barrel of flour within
three miles of our home. No wheat had been raised, no hogs had been
fattened; corn and potatoes were the only food.

Mr. M. R. Van Schaick--1860.

I cast my vote for Abraham Lincoln in 1860 in New York and immediately
after, with my family, started for Minnesota, arriving in Rochester late
in the season. Our household goods were lost for some time, but were
recovered at La Crosse and hauled by oxen to Rochester.

One night a man rode into Rochester bearing the news that a thousand
Indians were on their way to massacre all the people west of the
Mississippi river. Great excitement prevailed and most of the farmers
and their families rushed into town. I sent my family into town, but my
brother and I decided to stay in our homes.

After barricading the doors and windows and loading our muskets, we went
to bed. About midnight, we heard a stealthy step outside and a moment
later someone entered the loft overhead. We sat the rest of the night
watching the stairs, but the Indian did not appear. Just at daylight, I
saw him drop silently down by the side of the house and glide away in
the shrubbery. The reason of his visit was never known.

Another time, my near neighbor, Mr. Jaffeney, who was living alone in a
log house was visited by twelve Indians on a cold stormy night. At first
he saw a dusky face appear at his window, then the form of an Indian who
silently raised the sash and crept in. He was wet to the skin and his
clothes were frozen to his body. He made no sound but sat down on the
floor near the fire; soon eleven more followed his example. The man was
much frightened, but felt more reassured when the Chief lighted a pipe
passing it to each of the twelve, and then to the Pale Face.

At the first peep of day, they silently passed through the window and
were lost in the shadows. In the early spring when they were breaking up
their camp, they left a large deer on his door step to pay for their

Wolves and bears were plenty at this time, as well as Indians. Cattle
ran at large, and once when I was yarding my cattle, I was followed for
over a mile by wolves.

Mrs. Conrad Magnus.

Several homes near New Ulm had been burned by the Indians. The women and
children left without homes were all sheltered in a warehouse in town.
At night the men were on guard. They lacked ammunition, so I sat up all
one night melting lead in a teaspoon to make balls.

During the night an infant cried incessantly until finally we were
afraid it would cry itself to death. There was no milk to give it. At
three o'clock in the morning I said I would go out and milk the cow if
the men would guard me. Several men, with loaded guns, stood around the
cow while I got a cupful of milk for the baby.

Mrs. Orin Pike--1864.

We left Buffalo late in September, 1864 for Rochester. As we went on,
soldiers came on board the train returning to the country's service, as
they said; after a brief furlough at home; votes were then taken from
time to time to ascertain the most popular candidate for the presidency
resulting, as I recall it now, each time in a large majority for
Lincoln. This seemed to greatly disturb an elderly man and when
apparently he could stand it no longer, he denounced the government as
despotic, the draft unconstitutional, the Emancipation Proclamation as
an effort on Lincoln's part to flood the whole North with "niggers,"
characterizing Lincoln as a tyrant, who ought to be shot.

Then there stepped out into the aisle a fine looking young man, who wore
shoulder straps and in distinct tones said, "There are three things in
this world that I hate--a thousand legged worm, a rattlesnake and a
copperhead. A copperhead is the meanest of all." Then turning to the old
man he went on, "Your gray hairs have been your protection while you
abused the government. This is a land of free speech, but if you traduce
Abraham Lincoln farther, I will not be answerable for the consequences."
Votes were afterward taken but the old man was silent contenting himself
with looking mad.

Our train was gone when we reached Chicago. We stayed all night, going
on early in the morning, reaching La Crosse at dusk and leaving the cars
to take the boat for Winona. The Mississippi was very low and the night
was spent ere we reached Winona.

Monday morning we again took the cars for St. Charles. The railroad then
called Winona and St. Peter, was not completed beyond that point.
Looking from the car windows, we saw sleds and low looking wagons with
one and sometimes two large barrels in them which those who knew, said
were for hauling water. The stage took us safely to the "American House"
at Rochester.




(Mrs. M. E. Partridge)


(Mrs. Ell Torrance)

Mrs. Mary E. Partridge--1854.

The pioneers were brave souls, able to cope with emergencies of many
kinds. In them, the adage was verified, "As thy days so shall thy
strength be." In 1854 I left Wisconsin, a bride, with my husband, to
begin life on a government claim in Minnesota. As we passed through what
is now the beautiful city of Faribault, there was only one frame house,
which belonged to a half breed from whom the town was named. We settled
eight miles beyond in the township of Medford in a small log cabin with
bark floors, as there were at that time no saw mills in that locality.
Soon our simple house was crowded to the utmost with relatives and
friends looking for claims in this rare section of the state. There was
a scarcity of neighbors, no schools nor places for church or holiday
meetings. It was years before I heard a sermon preached.

It was plain living in those years of self-denial. Only necessities
could be gotten, but soon all this changed. Neighbors began to settle
near. All were willing to share, ever solicitous for the other, all were
on a level, simplicity and cordiality prevailed. There were hardships,
hard labor and trials of many kinds, but these developed strength of
character. All were in the prime of life, of strong manhood and joyous
womanhood. "How beautiful is youth, how fair it gleams, with its
illusions, aspirations, dreams." There were no complaints or murmurs.
Children were welcomed gladly. To my home came three before the oldest
was four years old.

In 1857 came the hard times. Indian corn was the staple food. Few things
the farmer raised would bring money. We went without many comforts
heretofore deemed indispensable.

A little later this first home was sold and another in a southern county
better adapted to cattle raising was bought and thither we moved. With a
good beginning in horses and cattle and an experience in farming, better
than all else, the future held high hopes and bright promises, but, alas
for human expectations, the Civil War come. Already one call had thinned
the county of the younger and unmarried men. The second call sounded.
The call was urgent,

   "Cease to consult, the time of action calls.
   War, horrid war, approaches to your walls."

All able-bodied patriots enlisted, my husband among the number, with a
promise from the stay-at-homes to take care of the crops and look out
for the interests of the family.

Then came hardships and troubles to which pioneer life could not be
compared. I was obliged to see crops lost for lack of help to harvest
them; cattle and horses well nigh worthless as there was no sale for
them, neither was there male help sufficient to cultivate the farm,
which went back to former wildness. The government was months behind in
paying the soldiers, who at best received only a beggarly pittance. One
night, alone with my children, I was awakened by a knock on the window
and a call, "Hurry! Leave at once. The Indians are upon us, scalping as
they come." With the little ones I fled across the fields to the nearest
house, a half mile away, later, to find this a false alarm. Another time
the alarm was given and again it proved false, but was no easier borne
for it was believed the truth. All night long we were kept to the
highest pitch of terror expecting every minute to hear the awful
war-whoop. The night dragged on without this culmination.

My husband died just before the war closed. His nurse at the hospital
wrote me of his serious condition and I started at once for the hospital
in Louisville. There were no railroads in the country at that time,
stages and boats were the only means of reaching that point. To show the
contrast between traveling then and now, it took me over two weeks to
reach Louisville and when I arrived at the hospital found that my
husband had been buried a week before my arrival. The nurses and
officials at the hospital, while exceedingly busy, were most kind and
sympathetic in relating to me pleasant recollections of my husband's
last days.

I recall only two pleasant instances in the otherwise unhappy experience
of our separation occasioned by the war. These were the furloughs which
brought him home, one while he was stationed at Fort Snelling lasting
for a few days, and later when he was sent home for two or three months
as a recruiting officer for his regiment.

Does the luxurious life men and women of today enjoy, develop character,
consideration for others, generosity and sympathy towards the less
fortunate neighbor as did the trying pioneer days? If not, where lies
the blame? What is the cure?

Judge Loren W. Collins--1852.

In 1853 my father visited Eden Prairie. On arriving they found a lynch
court in session. A man named Gorman who had squatted upon a very
desirable piece of land had gotten into an altercation with a squatter
by the name of Samuel Mitchell. These men were Irishmen, Gorman a
Catholic and Mitchell a Protestant. Gorman had filled Mitchell's left
arm full of shot, and the court gave its judgment that Gorman must get
out of the country with his family, within twenty-four hours. He had
staked out the claim, had built a log house and had ready for crop about
two acres of land. My father had $100.00 in gold with him, probably more
money than any other man in the community possessed at that time.
Gorman sold out to him for the $100.00 and father took possession.

There were then a dozen or fifteen settlers in that vicinity, among them
the Goulds, the Mitchells, Mr. Abbott and Mr. Gates. There came about
that time, Mr. Staring, who lived immediately east of us.

During that summer some fifteen acres were broken up and the two acres
which had been previously made ready for seed by Mr. Gorman, were
planted to corn and potatoes. Father hired a yoke of oxen to use during
the summer and kept one cow.

Father returned to Massachusetts and in the winter we came to Buffalo by
rail. In early May we embarked on the steamer "Nominee," which was then
the fastest boat on the river. At the head of the flagstaff was a new
broom which indicated that the boat had beaten every other vessel then
running on the river north of Galena. The Captain was Russell Blakeley
who for many years commanded the best boats belonging to the Packet

We reached St. Paul about ten o'clock on May seventh and I remember very
well that the thing which attracted my attention more than any other was
the newly trimmed cupola of the Territorial Capitol building. There were
at least fifteen steamboats at the lower levee when we arrived there,
all busy in unloading. They were packed with passengers and freight
coming up the river, but going down they carried very little, for there
was nothing to ship. The first shipments of any consequence were
potatoes in the spring of 1855. For two or three years after that nearly
all the flour and grain used in the territory was brought from Galena.

Father took a pair of oxen and his wagon from the boat and we made our
way up a very steep hill from Jackson Street to Third. From there we
went up Third to the corner of Wabasha, where father bought some flour
and feed and we drove back to the boat. About five o'clock in the
afternoon the Nominee steamed up the river as far as Fort Snelling,
taking at least one-fifth of its passengers and freight. We tied up at
the ferry boat landing, at the foot of the hill under the old fort, and
began to take off our cattle and freight. The hill was very steep
leading up to the fort and father, aided by the boys, began to take our
goods in small wagon loads to the top of the hill, so that we could
properly load them. Uncle William, my mother, Aunt Isabel and the small
children had been transferred at St. Paul to a small steamboat called
the "Iola," which was to take them up the Minnesota river to Hennepin
Landing, a mile or two from our claim at Eden Prairie.

One of the wagons was left at the top of the hill while father went back
for more of the goods. I was told to take care of the cattle. Among the
cattle was a white heifer, a very wild animal. Father put a rope around
her horns and gave me the rope to hold, while he went down the hill. I
put the rope around one hind wheel of the wagon thinking I could hold
the animal that way. While I was standing there in the twilight, six or
seven soldiers came out of the fort for guard duty and when they passed
me the heifer became frightened, gave a jerk upon the rope and
necessarily upon the wheel. The wagon had not been properly coupled, and
when the animal at one end of the rope and myself at the other brought
pressure upon the wheel, the hind wheels separated from the front, and
the wheels, the heifer and the boy, went very hastily to the foot of the
hill. Part of the time the wheels were off the ground, some of the time
it was the heifer, but it seemed to me it was the boy who filled air
space the greater portion of the period consumed in the descent. This
mishap created great consternation not only among the representatives of
Uncle Sam, but among the people who had just left the boat. It was my
first encounter with the United States Army and I was badly scared.

About ten o'clock after we landed, we started three wagons with a pair
of oxen for each and about ten head of cows and young stock. It was a
beautiful night, with full moon and after traveling a mile to what was
known as Bloomington Creek, we stopped to graze the cattle and to rest.
We all got more or less sleep and it was eight in the morning before we
were able to start the cavalcade. We arrived in sight of our future
home, under most auspicious circumstances. The weather was mild and the
sun shining brightly when we came to a place from where father pointed
out the log house in the edge of the woods, with a stovepipe through the
roof and the smoke coming out. My uncle Sherbuel had remained an
occupant of this house all winter, that he might hold this claim of my
father's and the one next to it, which had been selected for my Uncle
William. Uncle Sherbuel was something of a hunter and trapper, and had
made good use of his time during the winter and had a good assortment of
furs, otter, wolf, mink, fox and those of smaller animals. He had killed
several deer and was tanning the hides at the time we arrived. He had
also caught and salted several hundred pounds of bass, pike and

Father had little money left and we were without seed, except potatoes,
for about three acres of our land. Potatoes were of very little value
and it was doubtful if it would pay to plant them, but as we had nothing
else to put into the ground father concluded that he would seed the
three acres with potatoes, of which he had plenty of the kind known as
Irish Reds, a round potato of exceedingly fine variety. He sowed a few
acres of wheat, two or three acres of oats and planted two or three
acres of corn and of course, we had a garden. We had to build a yard for
the cattle at night, some sort of shelter for them, and we also had to
build pig-pens. Lumber was almost unobtainable so these structures were
largely of logs. They had to be very well built, strong as well as high,
in order to keep cattle and hogs out of the fields. I remember that we
had one hog that would climb anything in sight and what she could not
climb she would dig under. Many a time in the summer of '54 and '55 did
I chase that animal and her offspring back into the pig-pen.

I had a most tremendous appetite. Our food consisted mostly of potatoes,
bread, wheat or corn, beans and plenty of game. Ducks, chickens or fish
could be had by going a few hundred feet in almost any direction. We had
no well and all the water we used was hauled from the lake, nearly a
half mile distant. Father rigged up a crotch of a tree upon which was
placed a water barrel and this was dragged back and forth by a yoke of
cattle. Starting from the lake with a full barrel we had good luck if we
reached the house with half of it.

In the summer when the corn began to get into the milk stage, we had a
great fight with the blackbirds. They would swarm down upon the fields
and picking open the heads of the ears, would practically spoil every
ear they touched. Scare-crows were of no service in keeping the birds
off, and finally the boys were put into the fields, upon little
elevations made of fence rails, with guns loaded with powder and shot.
We killed hundreds of birds in order to save the corn and had good crops
of wheat and oats and we also had a most remarkable yield of potatoes;
so large in fact, that we had to build a root-cellar in the hillside out
of logs. We dug potatoes and picked them up that fall until I was nearly
worn out, but in the spring the demand for potatoes was so great that
father sold bushels at $1.05 a bushel. This gave him a large amount of
ready money and he bought a pair of horses.

There were plenty of Sioux Indians living in the vicinity of Shakopee. A
reddish colored stone, about two feet high stood a half mile west of our
place on the Indian trail leading from Minnetonka to Shakopee. Around
this stone the Indians used to gather, engaged apparently in some
religious exercise and in smoking kinni kinic.

My cousin William and I raised that summer a quantity of nice
watermelons, the seeds having been brought from Springfield. In the fall
we loaded up two wagons with them and with oxen as the motive power
started one afternoon for St. Anthony. We had to make our way down
towards Fort Snelling until we came within two miles of the fort. Then
we turned towards our destination. It was a long and tedious trip. We
camped out over night and did not reach the west bank of the Mississippi
River opposite St. Anthony until three o'clock the next afternoon. We
fed our cattle in a grove not far from where the Nicollet House now
stands, then started for the ferry, which swung across the Mississippi
River about where the stone arch bridge now is. The island was heavily
timbered and the road ran across at an angle, coming out at a bridge on
First Street South. We got up onto the street just about the time the
men were coming out of the mills, sold our watermelons and went home
with $10.00 each, the proceeds of our first farming. It was a three days
trip and a very tiresome one for the boys as well as for the cattle.

A friend by the name of Shatto and I took up a claim but were hailed
out. When the storm ceased, I crawled out and looked around. My stove
was broken, everything was water soaked, except some provisions which I
had in a bucket which had a cover and my cattle had disappeared. I
considered matters for a few minutes and concluded that the only thing I
could do was to start for the hotel at Kenyon, some three miles away. I
was drenched. My boots, all wore boots in those days, were soaked with
water and very soon hurt my feet so I had to take them off. I made my
way into Kenyon and there saw the great destruction which had been done
by the hail. There was not a whole pane of glass in the little village
and the inhabitants were engaged in patching up their windows with
boards and blankets, as best they could. The crops were entirely
destroyed. Many people had suffered by being struck by hailstones, some
of which were as large as hens eggs.

I had in my pocket $1.50, and I told the landlord, Mr. Bullis, my
condition and that I wanted to stay all night.

When supper was ready I went to the table and much to my surprise met a
Hastings lawyer with whom I had some acquaintance, our Seagrave Smith.
Smith urged me to give up the idea of becoming a farmer and take up the
study of law. So it was this hail storm that made me a lawyer.

In the fall of 1858 I secured a school and was initiated as a country
school-master. The school house was a log building, about two and a half
miles up the river from Cannon Falls. The neighborhood was largely
Methodist and the pupils were all boys, about twenty-five in number.
There was not at that time in the district a single girl over six years
of age and under sixteen. Mr. Hurlbut had one boy Charles about fourteen
years of age. Very soon after my school commenced for a four months term
the Methodists concluded they would have a revival. They used the school
house every evening for that purpose and on Sunday it was occupied all
day. Nearly all of the pupils attended these meetings, began to profess
conversion and in three or four weeks had become probationists.

I had adopted the New England custom of having each pupil read a verse
from the New Testament at the opening of school in the morning, and in a
short time Deacon Morrill and Elder Curray came to me with the
suggestion that I open the school with prayer. I replied that it would
not be just the thing for me to be very active in this for I was not a
professor of religion but that I had considered the matter and if the
boys were willing I should be very glad to call upon them in
alphabetical order for a prayer each morning. I submitted this question
to the pupils and found that, without exception, they were anxious to
adopt the plan. I then said that if it was adopted it would have to be
followed to the end of school, no matter what their wishes might be.

I made out a roll, putting the names down in order and called upon one
boy each morning for prayer. This worked well for a few weeks, but one
evening Mr. Hurlbut said to me that Charlie had told him, while they
were feeding the cattle, that night, that he would refuse to pray next
time I called upon him. I had found it unnecessary to inflict corporal
punishment upon a single pupil up to that time, but had in my desk a
good stout switch. A few mornings afterwards when it was Charlie's turn
to open the school with prayer, I called upon him and met a point blank
refusal. I directed his attention to what had been said at the outset
about continuing this as a school exercise when once adopted, and he
still refused. It became necessary for me to stop the insurrection
without delay. I took the switch, seized Charlie by the coat collar, as
he was attempting to get out of his seat, switched him around the legs
pretty smartly and the rebellion was at an end. Charlie prayed briefly,
but fervently. After that there was no more trouble but many of the boys
had somewhat fallen from grace before school ended. Yet they kept up
their devotional exercises without any urging on my part. Mr. Hurlbut
was something of a scoffer at religion and my prompt action with his boy
made me extremely popular in the district.

I boarded around as was the custom in those days and built my own fires
in the schoolhouse. Some of the pupils are still residents of that
neighborhood and I rarely meet one who does not remind me of my whipping
Charlie Hurlbut until, as they say, he dropped on his knees in prayer.

For my four months teaching I received a school district order for
$60.00 and in the fall of '59 with this as my sole asset, I commenced
the study of law in Hastings, with the firm of Smith and Crosby. It is
hardly necessary for me to say that we were all poor in those days.
There was no money and no work except farming, but in this way we could
earn enough to live upon in a very humble manner.

I first saw the late Judge Flandrau at Lewiston, he was then Indian
agent and was making his way on horseback from Faribault to Hastings. He
had a party of twelve or fifteen men with him, all full blood or mixed
blood Indians, and they stopped for dinner. Judge Flandrau was very
tanned and clad in the garb of the Indian as were his associates; it was
with difficulty that I determined which one of the party was the white
man Flandrau.


(See pages 19 and 158.)

Presented by Mrs. P. V. Collins.]




Mr. Elijah G. Nutting--1852.

My father's hotel, the Hotel de Bush, as we derisively called it, was
the first hotel in Faribault. It may perhaps be called a frame house by
courtesy, rather than technically, as it was made by placing boards
vertically side by side, battened together by a third board. On the
first floor were the family apartments, separated from the dining room
and the "office" by partitions of cotton cloth hung on wires. The
office, ten feet by twelve, boasted an improvised desk, a stool and a
candle. The second floor was called the "school section," a large
apartment filled with bedsteads rudely made of boards and supporting
straw, hay or coarse grass ticks. Here the fortunate early bird took his
rest, fully clothed, even to his boots, protected from the snow, which
blustered in at the unglazed windows by his horse blankets. Later comers
took possession of the straw ticks on the floor and made no complaint
next morning when, after a breakfast of salt pork, black tea with brown
sugar and butter so strong it could seldom be eaten, they were presented
with a bill of $2.00. In one corner of this "school section" was a tiny
enclosure, screened with a cotton cloth partition, containing a bed and
two soap boxes, one for a dressing table and the other for a chair. This
was called the "bridal chamber" and was to be had at a suitable price,
by those seeking greater privacy. We had bread and pork for breakfast,
pork and bread for dinner, and some of both for supper.

A large sheet iron stove down stairs was kept red hot in the winter and
a man was employed to prevent people, coming in from the icy
out-of-doors, from rushing too near its heat and thus suddenly thawing
out their frozen ears, cheeks or noses.

When in 1858 or '59 my father sold the hotel, its purchaser mortgaged
it, paying an interest rate of twenty-four per cent a year.

On July Fourth, 1856 the Barron House was formally opened on such a
scale of splendor that the days of the Faribault House were numbered.

The Scott brothers built the first saw mill in Faribault. It was located
on the spot where the new addition to the shoe factory now is. The
machinery was brought in from St. Louis and came up by boat to Hastings
at an enormous cost and it took twelve yoke of oxen to haul the boiler
from that point. They were a long time getting it from Cannon City, as
they had to cut a road through the dense woods. A party whom they met
after dusk, when he saw the huge cylinder, exclaimed, "Well that is the
largest saw log I ever saw."

Mr. J. Warren Richardson--1854.

I came with my father and mother from St. Anthony where we had lived for
a short time, to Faribault and settled in Walcott where we secured a log
house and a claim for $75.00. This was on Mud Creek. While at St.
Anthony my father had made us such furniture as we needed. From the saw
mill he got plank fourteen feet in length, which he cut into strips. He
then bored holes in the corners and inserted pieces of pine, taken out
of the river, for legs, and thus we were provided with stools. For
tables we used our trunks. We slept on ticks full of prairie hay on the
floor. These were piled in the corner daytimes and taken out at night.

Our house on the farm contained one room twenty feet square and as my
father used to say "A log and a half story high." We were ourselves a
family of five besides three boarders and a stray family of three
appearing among us with no home, my mother invited them also to share
our scanty shelter. At night she divided the house into apartments by
hanging up sheets and the two families prepared their meals on the same
cookstove. We made our coffee of potatoes by baking them till there was
nothing left in them but a hole, and then crushing them. It was
excellent. In winter my father cut timber for his fences. He loaded it
onto the bobs which I, a ten year old boy, would then drive back,
stringing the logs along the way where they would lie till spring when
father split them into rails and built the fence. I have often chased
the timber wolves with my whip as I drove along. They would follow the
team and then when I turned around to chase them they would turn and run
in front of the team.

Finding that the snow blew in through our covered shake roof, we cut sod
and covered the roof with it. The following summer, my father being
away, I planted some popcorn, which we had brought from the east, in
this sod roof. It grew about fourteen inches high and my father, upon
his return, was greatly puzzled by the strange crop which he found
growing on his roof.

When kindling was needed, my father would raise the puncheons which made
our floor and hew some from these.

Our clothing consisted of Kentucky jeans and white shirts for best, with
overalls added for warmth in winter. We also wore as many coats as we
had left from our eastern outfit. These had to be patched many, many
times. The saying always was "Patch beside patch is neighborly; patch
upon patch is beggarly." I never had underwear or an overcoat until I

One day I was plowing with a double yoke of oxen. I was driving while
Mr. Whitney was guiding the plow. Mr. Whitney's brother was across the
river hunting for a lost horse. For a long time we heard him shouting,
but paid no attention until at last we saw him retreating slowly down
the opposite bank before a big bear. He called for help. We got over
there in short order. Mr. Whitney said that the bear had three small
cubs up a tree, but when we reached there she had disappeared with one
cub. He climbed the tree while his brother and I kept guard below. He
caught the two cubs by their thick fur and brought them down and kept

In 1856, we came into town and I often played with the Indian boys,
shooting with bows and arrows in "Frogtown," which was lined with Indian
tepees. They always played fair.

Our log schoolhouse had rude desks facing the sidewall.

Mrs. Henry C. Prescott--1855.

My father, Dr. Nathan Bemis, came to Faribault where his father and
brother had already settled when I was eight years old. We went first to
the Nutting House, but as there was only the "bridal chamber" with its
one bed for the use of women, Mr. John Whipple, although his wife was
ill, invited my mother, with my baby sister, to stay at his house, which
was across the street. My sister, and a young lady who had come with us,
slept in the bed in the "bridal chamber." My father and brother laid
their straw ticks on the floor outside and I occupied a trundle bed in
Mrs. Nutting's room.

We soon moved out to the Smallidge House, east of town, where our family
consisted of our original seven and four men who boarded with us. There
was but one room, and only a small part of the floor was boarded over
and on this, at night, we spread our cotton ticks, filled with "prairie
feathers" or dried prairie grass, and the men went out of doors while
the women went to bed. In the morning the men rose first and withdrew.
The ticks were then piled in a corner and the furniture was lifted onto
the floor and the house was ready for daytime use. Gradually by standing
in line at the sawmill, each getting a board a day, if the supply held
out, our men got enough boards to cover the entire floor.

The next winter General Shields offered us his office for our home, if
we could stand the cold. He, himself, preferred to winter in the Nutting
Hotel. This winter was a horror to us all. We all froze our feet and the
bedclothes never thawed out all winter, freezing lower each night from
our breath. Before going to bed my brother used to take a run in the
snow in his bare feet and then jump into bed that the reaction might
warm them for a little while. All thermometers froze and burst at the
beginning of the winter so we never knew how cold it was. Someone had
always to hold my baby sister to keep her off the floor so that she
might not freeze. At night my mother hung a carpet across the room to
divide the bedroom from the living room. Dish towels hung to dry on the
oven door would freeze.

That winter my father's nephew shot himself by accident and it was
necessary to amputate his leg. My father had no instruments and there
were no anesthetics nearer than St. Paul, so my cousin was lashed to a
table while my father and Dr. Jewett took off the leg with a fine
carpenter's saw and a razor. He was obliged to stay in bed all winter
for fear the stump would freeze.

Later we lived, for a time, in a log house. The rain penetrated the
chinks, and I remember once when my sister was ill the men had to keep
moving the table around, as the wind shifted, to screen her from the

There was no butter, eggs, milk or chickens to be had; no canned things
or fresh vegetables. My mother once bought a half bushel of potatoes of
a man who came with a load from Iowa, paying $3.00 a bushel. When she
came to bake them, they turned perfectly black and had to be thrown
away. The man was gone. Again my father bought half a hog from a man who
brought in a load of pork, but my mother had learned her lesson and
cooked a piece before the man left town and, as it proved to be bad, my
father hunted him up and made him take back his hog and refund the

The first Thanksgiving my mother said she was going to invite some young
lawyers to dinner who boarded with "Old Uncle Rundle". What she had I
can not remember, except "fried cakes" and rice pudding made without
milk or eggs, but the guests said they never had eaten anything so

Judge Thomas S. Buckham--1856.

In 1856 three or four hundred Indians on their way to the annual
payment, camped in the woods between town and Cannon City. One evening
we went, in a body, to visit them and were entertained by dancing.
However, too much "fire water" caused some fear among the guests.

We had several courses of lectures during those early years. One year we
had as lecturers, Wendell Phillips, Douglas, Beecher, Tilton and
Emerson; following them came the Peake family, bell ringers and last of
all, a sleight of hand performer from Mankato, Mr. Wheeler, who
astonished his audience by swallowing a blunt sword twenty-two inches

At another time we had a home-made "lecture course" in which Mr. Cole,
Mr. Batchelder, Judge Lowell, myself and others took part.

One of our first celebrations of the Fourth of July ended rather
disastrously. We had planned a burlesque procession in which everybody
was to take part. It started out fairly well. Dr. Jewett delivered an
oration and Frank Nutting sang a song called "The Unfortunate Man," but
the enthusiasm was shortly quenched by torrents of rain which in the end
literally drove most of the participants to drink.

After the panic of 1857-8, I was sitting idly one day in front of my
office on Main Street, as there was absolutely no law business. No other
man was in sight, and there hadn't been a dollar seen in the town in
months, except the "shin-plaster" issued by banks, which must be cashed
on the instant lest the bank in question should fail over night.
Suddenly I saw a stranger walking down the street, and as very few
strangers had come to town of late, I watched him idly. As he came up
he asked, "Young man, do you know of a good piece of land which can be
bought?" I spoke of a farm south of town of which I had charge, which
was for sale for $2100.00 or $12.50 an acre. He said, "I'll go and see
it." Two or three hours later as I still sat dreaming, as there was no
other business of any kind for any one to do, the man returned and after
asking about the title of the land which its owner had pre-empted, said
that he would think about it and went into the bank. Having made some
inquiries as to my responsibility, he shortly reappeared with a bundle
of greenbacks of small denominations and counted out the $2100.00. They
were the first government bank notes I had ever seen and such a sum of
money as had not been seen in Faribault in many months. My client then
said, "Now young man, you'll see that land worth $25.00 an acre some
day." Today it is part of the Weston farm and is valued at $150.00 an
acre and is the nicest farm in the county.

The first political machine in the State was organized in Faribault the
year Minnesota became a State. Five or six of us young men decided to
put a little new life into politics and we prepared a slate. It was five
or six against a hundred unorganized voters and we carried the caucus
and were all sent as delegates to the Convention. Here also our modern
method produced a revolution, but such a fight resulted that the
Convention split and some of them went over to vote the Democratic
ticket. However, we elected a fair proportion of our candidates and
defeated those who had been holding the offices by force of habit.

Mrs. Rodney A. Mott--1857.

We came to Faribault, I think, the nicest and easiest way. We drove from
Illinois in a covered immigrant wagon. At first we tried to find
lodgings at night, but the poor accommodations and the unwillingness to
take us in, led us at last to sleep in the wagon, and we came to prefer
that way. After we got away from the really settled country, everyone
welcomed us with open arms and gladly shared with us everything they

We came up through Medford. I begged to stay there, but Mr. Mott
insisted on going to Faribault as they had planned. Our first house was
a little cabin on the site of the present cathedral and later we lived
in a house where the hay market now stands, but this was lost on a
mortgage during the hard times in 1857.

Mrs. Kate Davis Batchelder--1858.

As Kate Davis, a girl of ten, I came with my brother, a lad of eighteen
and a sister fourteen, from New York to Wisconsin. Our father was in
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where his business as a millwright had called
him, and it was thought best to have us go out to be with him. We came
in a wagon drawn by a team of spirited horses. We came over the thousand
miles between New York and Wisconsin, fording unfamiliar rivers,
stopping in strange cities, through prairie and forest, with only rough
wild roads at best, never doubting our ability to find our father at our
journey's end and perhaps because of that unquestioning faith, we did
find him. What a journey to remember. We camped in Chicago when it was
no larger than Faribault is now, on the spot near the Lake front where
the Congress Hotel now houses the most exclusive of Chicago's mob of
humanity. Milwaukee as we passed through it was a tiny hamlet.

When I went to visit my brother who had taken the farm on the east shore
of Cannon Lake, I made the trip to Hastings in a boat, and from there in
a wagon. As we were driving along, I saw coming towards us, three
figures which instinct told me were Indians. On coming nearer, I saw
each of them had scalps dripping with blood, hanging to his belt. They
reassured me by telling me they were only Indian scalps.

Mr. Berry, afterward a Judge on the Supreme Bench, started out on foot
from Janesville, Wisconsin with Mr. Batchelder and after prospecting
around and visiting St. Paul, Shakopee, Mankato, Cannon Falls and
Zumbrota, they finally walked in here. Fifty years afterwards Mr.
Batchelder went out to Cannon Lake and walked into town over the same
road that he had come over as a young man, and he said that while, of
course, the buildings had changed things somewhat, on the whole it
looked surprisingly as it had the first time he passed over it. Mr.
Berry and Mr. Batchelder opened a law office in a little one story frame
building in the back of which they slept. While coming into town, they
had met O. F. Perkins, who had opened a law office, and business not
being very brisk, he had turned a rather unskillful hand to raising
potatoes. At $2.50 a bushel he managed to do well enough and eked out
his scanty income from the law. It was while he was carrying the
potatoes to plant that he met Mr. Berry and Mr. Batchelder and having
become friends, they all, together with Mr. Randall and Mr. Perkins'
brother, started bachelor's hall back of Mr. Perkins' office, where they
took turns cooking and washing dishes. I have heard Mr. Batchelder say
that "hasty pudding" or what we call corn meal mush, was his specialty
and I believe, partly in recollection of those old days when lack of
materials as well as unskillful cooks compelled the frequent appearance
of this questionable dainty, partly perhaps, because he had learned to
like it, "hasty pudding" was served Monday on his table for all the
later years of his life.

During one winter I attended several dances in a rude hall whose walls
were lined with benches of rough boards with the result that my black
satin dress was so full of slivers that it took all my time to pick the
slivers out.

We always wore hoops and mine were of black whalebone, covered with
white cloth. One day, when at my brother's house, my hoop skirt had been
washed and was hanging to dry behind the stove and I was in the little
bedroom in the loft. My sister called to me that some young men were
coming to call and I was forced to come down the ladder from the loft,
to my great mortification without my hoops. There they hung in plain
sight all during that call.

At Cannon Lake, near my brother's cabin was a place where the Indians
had their war dances. One night after we had gone to bed in the little
loft over the one down stairs room, I was awakened by my brother's voice
in altercation with some Indians. It seemed the latch-string, the
primitive lock of the log cabin had been left out and these Indians came
in. They wanted my brother to hide them as they had quarreled with the
other Indians. This he refused to do and drove them out. The next
morning the tribe came by dragging the bodies of those two Indians. They
had been caught just after leaving the house. The bodies were tied over
poles with the heads, arms and legs trailing in the dust.

Mrs. John C. Turner.

The Nutting Hotel was the scene of many a dance when settlers came from
miles around to take part in quadrilles and reels to the music of
violin. We used to bring an extra gown so that after midnight we might
change to a fresh one, for these dances lasted till daylight.

When sliding down the hill where St. James School now stands, it was
rather exciting to be upset by barricades erected near the foot by
mischievous Indian boys, who greeted the accident with hoots of joy.




(Mrs. C. A. Bierman)

Mr. C. H. Watson--1855.

One hundred and fifty soldiers were sent out from Fort Ridgely in 1862
to bury those in the country around who had been massacred by the
Indians. I was acting as picket out of Fort Ridgely and was first to
hear the firing sixteen miles distant at Birch Coolie. It was the
Indians attacking the burial party. I notified those at the fort and a
party was sent out for relief. As they neared Birch Coolie they found
they were outnumbered by the savages and Lieut. Sheehan returned to Fort
Ridgely for the rest of the regiment. Then I accompanied them. They
finally came to the small band of soldiers, who had been attacked by the
Indians, to find twenty-three dead, and forty-five wounded out of the
one hundred and fifty-three men. The soldiers horses had been tied close
together to a rope to feed. There many of them had been shot, and being
so close together many were still standing, or had fallen down on their
knees--dead, but they served as a breast-work for the men. The
twenty-three soldiers were buried on the spot and the wounded taken to
Fort Ridgely.

I was also at Camp Release, under command of Gen. Sibley, where a great
many Indians were taken prisoners. These Indians had killed many whites,
and had some sixty women and children, prisoners. The soldiers managed
to secure the Indians' guns and then released the women and children,
finally taking the Indians prisoners, placing them in a log house, where
they were carefully guarded. These, together with others secured at
Yellow Medicine were chained together and taken to Mankato, where, in
December, thirty-eight were hanged.

The Old Trail afterward Stage Coach road, known as the
Hastings-Faribault Trail, passed through Northfield along what is now
Division Street. Going north it followed the Stanton road. At the
entrance of Mr. Olin's farm it passed along in front of the house--and
along through his pasture--east of the pond--on down onto Mr.
Alexander's land--following between two rows of trees, still standing,
and crossed the Cannon river just above where the Waterford dam now
stands. Thence along what is still known as the Hastings road. Through
Mr. Olin's pasture there is still about fifteen or twenty rods of the
Old Trail and road left.

Mrs. Augusta Prehn Bierman.

In the spring of '55 several of us German families, consisting of the
Prehn's, Bierman's, Drentlaws and Sumner's, came to Minnesota from a
settlement fifteen miles west of Chicago. We settled on claims near the
present city of Northfield. We were on the way eleven and one-half
weeks. We came by way of Joliet, forded the river at La Crosse and came
up here by way of Rochester and Kenyon. We carried enough provisions
with us to last most of the trip. We had some sixteen yoke of oxen, many
cows, calves, and six colts. We slept in the wagons and we baked bread
in iron kettles by burying them in hot ashes.

Our first home and the Prehn's was built in this way: We dug down in the
earth four feet, very much as we would today for a cellar, but into a
side hill. Above these four feet, logs were built up, plastered together
with mud. For a roof, logs and branches of trees were placed across the
side walls and then plastered together with mud.

Coming up through Kenyon we saw many Indians camping along the road. The
colts and oxen were deathly afraid of them and would turn way out of the
road when passing, keeping just as far away as possible.

Among the earliest marriages recorded in Rice county is that of William
Bierman and Augusta Prehn 1857.

Mrs. Ann Alexander.

My husband with his father and a brother, Jonas, came in '54 and took up
claims adjoining the present site of Northfield. They drove two ox teams
and brought cattle, a couple of sheep and some pigs.

My husband's parents kept boarders and had some sixteen or eighteen all
of the time and each day brought many extra from the stage coaches
plying between here and Hastings and here and St. Paul.

Every mouthful of food consumed that first year was brought from
Hastings, twenty-eight miles away, and it kept one man and an ox team on
the road all the time.

Pork was purchased by the barrel and it would seldom last a week.

By the following spring, '55, when I was married and came to Minnesota
some of the land had been broken, so small gardens were planted and
potatoes and other vegetables raised. I believe it was about the time of
the civil war that butter sold as low as 5c a pound and eggs 3c a dozen.

In these early days the Indians received annuities at Red Wing and on
their yearly pilgrimages they would often camp in this vicinity as long
as five or six weeks. The chiefs spent their time in hunting and
fishing. The west side of the river was then not settled at all and
there they had their camps. The squaws would come to the settler's
homes, set their papooses up against the side of the house and walk into
the house to beg. I have seen the large living room of mother's boarding
house lined with Indians, smoking one pipe--each man taking a few puffs
and then passing the pipe along. In those days the mosquitoes were very
thick and if anyone was out doors they would literally be eaten alive.
Mother's boarding house would be filled and people would be begging to
be allowed to come and sleep under the tables--anything to get in away
from the pests.

Mr. J. W. Huckins.

I enlisted from Minneapolis in Captain Strout's company which was sent
to guard the frontier at the time of the Indian outbreak. We went up the
Mississippi, then west to Litchfield, then to Glencoe and Hutchinson and
were finally at Acton, where the first blow fell. The place was
thirty-five miles northwest of the Lower Sioux agency, in Meeker county.

We soldiers found that our cartridges were not the right calibre. Some
of the men had personal rifles, and one was found who had a pair of
bullet molds of the right size. We took the bullets from the cartridges
and busied ourselves, making them over the right size, using the powder
and balls separately. During the engagement near Acton, the Indians
managed to completely surround the soldiers. The captain ordered his men
to dash through the Indian lines. The men ran for their lives, and those
on horseback were ordered, at point of guns, to wait for men on foot.
This sudden action took the Indians unawares and they were so surprised
they forgot to keep up the fire. Most of us effected an escape. Out of
sixty men but three were killed, though some twenty were wounded. We
fell back to Hutchinson where there was a stockade. The Indians were
getting quite fearless and would come in closer and closer to the
stockade. One man had a very rare, long range gun and killed an Indian
at the distance of a mile, after which the Indians kept a better

Mrs. C. W. Gress--1855.

We landed in St. Paul in April '55, making the trip in about three
weeks. We started on the boat, Minnesota Belle, but because of low water
our household effects had to be transferred at Davenport, Iowa, to a
small boat. There was a siege of cholera on the first boat, and two
bodies were taken ashore and buried in the sand.

During the time of transferring the baggage, I had to carry the money
for safe keeping. I made a wide belt with pockets of different lengths
suspended from it. Here, and in the pockets of my skirt was gold of all
denominations and some silver, of such weight that for three days I was
ill from carrying it. After spending a few days in St. Paul we moved to
Minnetonka Mills where we bought a relinquishment for $600 and paid $200
to prove up--making $800 for one hundred and sixty acres or $5 an acre;
that land fifty years later was well worth $100 an acre. For three years
we were eaten out by grasshoppers.

While here at Minnetonka Mills I often had Indians come to my house. On
one occasion I stood churning when an Indian stepped in and took the
dasher from me indicating that he wanted some of it. I was not afraid of
him and took the dasher from him and pushed him aside with my elbow. I
had just finished baking and so gave him a large slice of bread,
spreading it generously with butter. He dug the center out of the piece
crowding it into his mouth, throwing the crust on the hearth. This
angered me as my crust was soft and tender and I picked up a broom and
started toward him yelling "puck-a-chee" (get out) and he rushed for the
door and disappeared.

We then concluded, after such bad luck with our crops, we would move
back to St. Paul, where Mr. Gress could work at his trade, that of a

Mr. Gress would bring home work at night when I would assist him. We
made a very high, cloth, buttoned shoe, called a snow shoe. I would
close the seams, front and back, all by hand, as we had no machine; open
seams and back, stitch down flat, and would bind the tops and laps and
make fifteen or twenty buttonholes, for 50c a pair. The soles would then
be put on in the shop. For slippers I received 15c for closing and
binding the same way. During the war I made shirts and haver-sacks for
the soldiers. The shirts were dark blue wool and were well made and
finished. I broke the record one day when I made six of these garments
and took care of four small children.

Mr. Alvin M. Olin--1855.

We came to Minnesota in 1855. We brought with us four yoke of oxen,
thirty-five head of cattle and three hogs. We, with a family of three
sons and a daughter, were four weeks on the way. We crossed the river on
a ferry at Prairie du Chien and came up through Rochester and Cannon
Falls and camped at Stanton while I went to a claim near Kenyon, that I
had taken up the fall before, to find it had been jumped so I came on to
Northfield and took up a claim on the Cannon River. We had with us two
covered wagons--known as prairie schooners. In these we had our
provisions, composed of flour, smoked meats and a barrel of crackers. We
also had our furniture, chairs and chests and two rocking chairs for the
mother and daughter. Here all of their leisure time, while on the move,
was spent industriously applying their knitting needles, meanwhile
singing to themselves to the accompaniment of the thud, thud of the

Each day was opened with the family prayer, after which we had the
morning meal and then the boys took turns starting on ahead with the
pigs, this extra time being needed because of the pigs' obstinacy. One
morning the boys found they had started back in the same direction from
which they had come and had traveled six miles before they found it out.
We purchased a barrel of crackers in Milwaukee and our noonday meal
consisted of crackers and milk, and as milk soured, we fed it to the
hogs. Butter was made on the way, and bread and biscuits were baked in a

When we staked out our claim, we laid a floor and placed a tent over it
where we lived till logs could be procured. These we got on the west
side of the river, then government land. For shingles we drove to Trim
Mill ten or twelve miles the other side of Prescott, Wis. At one time
that summer two hundred Indians were camped near our farm for two days
on their way to St. Paul.

Mrs. Pauline Hagen.

I was four years old when my parents settled in Hastings. Mother was
obliged to return to Wisconsin to see about our goods which were delayed
in coming, and father wintered here and took care of us three small
children. Our house had no floor and very little furniture, and this
hand-made, save for a small sheet iron stove through the cracks of which
the fire could be plainly seen.

At bed time father placed us in sacks, firmly tied around our little
bodies, and put us on straw beds on the ground and then covered us with
straw for warmth. We had no other covering. Our food that first winter
consisted mostly of corn meal, made up, in a variety of ways. But mother
on her arrival in the spring with our lost household goods, found her
family fat and rugged and none the worse for the severe winter of

Mrs. Catherine Meade.

We were at Fort Ridgely at the time of the outbreak. At the fort were
gathered all the women and children of the settlers for protection. We
could hear the Indian war whoops in the distance. The confusion was
terrible and twelve of the women were prematurely confined during the
first twenty-four hours. I helped Dr. Miller, post surgeon, and for
forty-eight hours I had no sleep and hardly time to eat. Finally,
completely exhausted I fell asleep on the floor, with my little daughter
by my side. When aroused by my husband, saying "The Indians are near at
hand," I declared I might as well die one place as another. I could not
go on and remained where I was. The alarm was a false one and we were
all saved.

One woman by the name of Jones told me she took part of her children
into the stockade and returned for the rest. She found herself
confronted by two stalwart Indians. She rushed into a small closet, and
bracing herself between the wall and the door kept it closed in this way
until help came. She was nearly exhausted and gave birth to a child
before morning.

Another woman told me that instead of going into the stockade she fled
with her two children into a corn field, pursued by an Indian. He lost
track of her and as one child started to scream she almost smothered it
in her effort to conceal their hiding place. The Indian after half an
hour gave up the search.

The stockade at Fort Ridgely had four entrances--one at each corner, at
which a cannon was placed. There was but one man who could load the
cannon, Sargeant Frantzkey, and as he had only unskilled help he was
kept very busy running back and forth between the four guns. Ammunition
was scarce and we had to use everything; nails, screws, sharp pieces of
iron and steel were saved and the cannons loaded with this mixture
called Sharp Nails. This was considered much more deadly than cannon
balls, for when fired, it would scatter and fly in all directions.

The block house--where the ammunition was stored--was located outside
the garrison and stockade, as a protection from fire. The only way to
replenish the supply was to make a trip to the block house. So a guard
was stationed at each end, and one man ran as fast as he could, secured
a supply and ran back, of course at the risk of his life. The women also
helped secure this ammunition, filling their aprons, while men filled
gunny sacks.

After the first fight, when the excitement had calmed down, the women
busied themselves making bullets and were obliged to remain until help
came from St. Paul--nearly two weeks.




(Mrs. Chas. Keith)

Mr. Glass--1848.

I came to Minnesota in 1848 and was later purveyor to the Indians. An
Indian trail extended from Fond du Lac to St. Paul. It ran from Fond du
Lac by trail to Knife Falls, Knife Falls by canoe on St. Louis river to
Cloquet, from there to Hoodwood, from there to Sandy Lake, portage from
there to Grand Rapids, from Grand Rapids by way of the Mississippi river
to St. Paul.

Mr. John W. Goulding of Princeton.

My first knowledge of Indians was when I was about ten years of age. We
lived on Rum river about three miles above St. Francis, where a canoe
load of Indians landed and camped near us. Mo-zo-man-e who was then a
chief, was said to be sick and his squaw came to our house asking by
signs for pills, of which my sister gave her a box. She was afterward
afraid that the Indian would take the entire box at one dose and we
would be killed in consequence. The taking of the whole box at one dose
was probably the fact, as the empty box was at once returned and the
patient reported to be cured, but no evil results came to us.

In 1856 my father, who had been engaged with McAboy in the construction
of the Territorial road through Princeton to Mille Lacs Lake, thought it
best that the family remove to Princeton and we came with a six ox team.
Princeton at that time with the outlying settlements of Estes Brook,
Germany and Battle Brook, had perhaps one hundred and fifty people.
Indians in blankets and paint were a daily, almost hourly sight.

They outnumbered us many times, but gave us no trouble. In the summer of
'57 two Sioux warriors came in by the way of Little Falls to the falls
in Rum river just above the mouth of Bradbury brook, where they shot and
scalped "Same Day" brother of Kay-gway-do-say and returned home to the
Sioux country south of the Mississippi. Soon after this occurrence one
hundred and twenty-five Chippewas came down Rum river on foot armed and
painted for war. They stayed with us in Princeton over night and had a
war dance where Jay Herdliska's house now stands, which was witnessed by
the entire population then here.

Among the Indians were Mo-zo-man-e, Noon-Day, Kay-gway-do-say, Benjamin,
Keg-wit-a-see and others. The next morning they killed Dexter Paynes'
cow for beef and took their departure down the east side of the river.
In about twenty days they came back in a hurry somewhat scattered and
badly licked. They had found the Sioux at Shakopee and had been
defeated, it was said with the aid of the whites living near there,
which was probably so, as we should have aided the Chippewas under
similar circumstances.

I remember nothing more worth repeating until 1862, the year of the
Sioux massacre. We, at Princeton, had heard of that outbreak, that the
Chippewas had been urged to join, that "Hole-in-the-day" had been
sending runners to Mille Lacs asking that band to join with him in
extermination of the whites, and we were all getting nervous. Finally
all the people in the outlying settlements came into Princeton and
camped in and about the old log hotel near the big elm (which still
stands, the largest and most beautiful tree in the city). Captain
Benedict Hippler, an old soldier who had seen service in Germany, took
command, and men and boys armed with all sorts of guns were drilled
continually by the Captain, who was a martinet and at one time
threatened to shoot me and a companion for sleeping on our post. It was
found that Stevens the Indian trader at Mille Lacs had a large stock of
powder, and H. A. Pemberton was sent to haul it away, which he did with
Stevens mules, bringing it to Princeton where it was stored in my
brother's cellar. About this time it was determined to build a stockade
fort. I hauled the poplar logs from which it was built with my father's
oxen from just across the East Branch, and I made many loads in a day.
We moved a small house within the enclosure for the women and children
and had the fort, such as it was, about completed when one day as
Captain Hippler was putting us through one of his drills an Indian face
appeared at a port hole and Kay-gway-do-say said, "What you do here,
this no good, pooh!" He then told us that Hole-in-the-day had sent his
runners to Mille Lacs urging war and that the Mille Lacs band had held a
council and that "some young men" had urged war but the older heads led
by Mun-o-min-e-kay-shein (Ricemaker) and others had counseled against it
and that there would be no trouble.

This eased our minds somewhat and the settlers gradually returned to
their homes. Soon we were reinforced by Co. F. of the Eighth Minn., who
stayed with us two winters in "The old quarters" across the river, but,
save their effect in overawing the Indians, their mission was peaceful.
That same fall, '62, the Government concluded to make a display of force
at a delayed payment to be made to the Chippewas at Mille Lacs and an
Iowa regiment was sent with several cannon to accompany the paymaster to
Mille Lacs.

Stevens, the trader at Mille Lacs had a large stock of Indian goods at
Princeton and just before the payment my father sent me, then sixteen
years of age, with four oxen and a wagon to haul these goods to Mille
Lacs some fifty miles over what was then and for twenty years
afterwards, was one of the worst roads in the state. After several days
on the road I was reaching the trading post at night and as I neared
there, was puzzled by the great number of lights to be seen. Finally as
I approached the post I passed through a line of torches on each side,
held by Indians who had heard that oxen were coming for beef and were
ready to make beef of my team, had not the trader Stevens explained to
them that their share would come later.

The next morning I set out on my return. Night found me at the upper
crossing of Rum river where I drew my wagon a few rods out of the road,
tied my oxen and tried to sleep, but was disturbed all night by drunken
Indians "going to payment." The next day I met the paymaster and an
escort, who, after inquiring if I were not afraid passed along up river.
That evening I met the troops at the lower crossing of Rum river
encamped on the east bank.

The quartermaster at once told me that in the morning I must turn about
and help draw his supplies to Mille Lacs and upon my refusal I was
placed in a tent under guard. The next morning after we had again
discussed the matter, I partially assented and gained permission to
drive my oxen unyoked to the river for water, which, as soon as they had
drank, they waded and struck out for Princeton and no one could head
them. The quartermaster then used my yokes and wagon for four of his
beef oxen and went his way allowing me to come home. After some days,
with much labor the troops reached Mille Lacs, where, it was said, the
discharge of the cannon into the lake made a great scattering among the
Indians, it being the first cannon they had ever seen. Upon the return
of the troops to Princeton the quartermaster returned my yokes and wagon
and paid for the use of them.

I have spoken several times in this story of Kay-gway-do-say, who was
always a great friend of mine and of the whites in general. During the
Sioux war he served with others, as a scout, was always a great friend
of Captain Jonathan Chase, whom he always spoke of as "Me and Jock." He
visited in my father's family many times and one of my sisters tried to
teach him to read. It was not a success but he was much amused at his
own mistakes. A few years before he died he visited me, inquired for my
sisters, hunted them out and visited them, and on his return said to me
"Be-she-ke-o-ge-ma," my Indian name, "you and your sisters seem just
like my own folks." Poor old "Kaig," like about all his associates has
gone to the "Happy Hunting Ground." Peace to his ashes.

Mrs. Colbrath.

My father, Roswell P. Russell came to the region of Mendota as a boy and
was employed by Gen. Sibley. At one time, Mrs. Sibley sent him on an
errand to St. Paul and he ventured to make the trip on the ice, with a
horse and cutter. Coming suddenly upon a crack in the ice, he lashed the
horse, thinking he might spring over it, but the poor animal was caught
and swept under the ice, while he and the cutter remained on the ice and
were saved. This narrow escape made a great impression, naturally and
the story was handed down to his children.

My father married a Miss Patch of an old family of pioneers and they
were the first couple married at the Falls of St. Anthony.


St. Peter


Mrs. Mary B. Aiton.

When the treaty was made at Mendota in 1851, the Indians who ceded the
land gave up their settlement at Kaposia, (South St. Paul), leaving
behind them their dead, buried on the hill, and the land endeared to
them by association. With them, when they moved westward to Yellow
Medicine, went their faithful missionary and teacher, Doctor Thomas
Williamson. That same year his sister, familiarly know as "Aunt Jane,"
made a visit to her old home town in Ohio, where I lived, and her
interesting accounts of her experiences so filled me with missionary
zeal that I went west, with her, as a teacher to the Indians.

With "Aunt Jane," I landed at Kaposia, and after a short rest, we began
the overland journey to Yellow Medicine. The last night of our journey,
two of our horses strayed away, and in the morning the ox-teams with the
freight, and us women went on, leaving Dr. Williamson to search for the
runaways. When we rode down into the valley, we saw ahead of us, the
missing horses. We two women volunteered to go back to tell Dr.
Williamson, and the rest of the party went on. We found the doctor, and
to save us fatigue, he suggested that we take a short-cut across country
to the agency, while he followed the road to rejoin the travelers.

Somehow we failed to follow directions and traveled all the rest of the
day, coming at night to a river. Here on the bank we decided to rest. In
the distance we could see a prairie fire, gradually eating its way
towards the river; but we felt safe near the water and lay down to
sleep. Just after we fell asleep, I was awakened by a loud call, and I
realized the joy of knowing that we were found. The men who had been
sent in search of us were calling, in hopes that we would answer and we
continued our journey without further incident.

One morning in the spring of 1851, our little mission house at Kaposia
was full of bustle and confusion, for we were busy preparing for an
Indian wedding. The prospective bride was a pretty Sioux maiden, and her
fiance was a white trader. Everything was in readiness for the ceremony,
but no groom appeared. The hours wore on; the bride wept; but no news of
the groom came until late in the afternoon a rumor reached us that he
was celebrating the occasion by a drunken revel, and was not in
condition to take his part in the ceremony. A white mother would have
wept over daughter's grief, but not this Indian mother. When told that
the ceremony must be postponed, she replied with stoical Indian
patience: "It is well; I like his white skin; but I hate his drunken

Dr. A. C. Daniels.

When I was agency physician at Lac qui Parle, I often saw the humorous
side of Indian life. One day when the Indians had received their
government allowance, a party of them too freely indulged their
appetites for liquor; and one, a big brave, who had adopted the
patriotic name of George Washington, led a band of Indians to the home
of the Catholic sisters, and demanded food. The sisters saw the Indians'
condition, barred the door, and told the braves to go away. George,
however, was insistent in his demands, and finally put his giant
strength against the door, and splintered the upper part. He had put his
head into the opening, and was about to crawl through it, when one of
the sisters seized a rolling pin, and rained sturdy blows upon his head
and shoulders. He raised a yell that brought me to the spot just in time
to see a funny sight. Just as George was about to beat a retreat, his
squaw came running up and began to belabor him from the rear, while the
nun continued the assault. There he was with part of his body in the
house and part of it out, crying out in a manner most unseemly for an
Indian brave. When the women desisted, he was both sober and repentant.

In early days, the Indian agent at Lac qui Parle hoisted the American
flag each morning over the agency. During a serious drought, the Indians
conceived the idea that the Great Spirit was displeased at the sight of
the flag, and begged the agent to take it down. The patriotic agent
tried to reason with them but to no avail, so one afternoon he took the
flag down for a time. In a little while, a black cloud appeared and then
a heavy downpour of rain followed. The Indians, as you know were very
superstitious, and they were firmly convinced that the flag was a true
barometer, so the agent had to be cautious in his display of the flag.

Mr. Z. S. Gault.

One morning as I rode a horse down to the Minnesota River to water it, I
noticed a stolid looking Indian, with a gun by his side, sitting on a
boulder by the river bank. Just as my horse began to drink, the Indian
raised his gun and fired; the horse kicked up his heels, and I promptly
became a Baptist by immersion. I can still show you the boulder, but you
will have to imagine the Indian.

When I was a small boy, a party of Sioux Indians returned to Traverse
from an attack upon the Chippewas at Shakopee, and proceeded to
celebrate the event with a scalp dance. This dance and the whoops of the
Indians attracted spectators from Traverse and St. Peter; and with
boyish curiosity, I was as near as possible to the dancers. Suddenly I
spied one brave, dancing about, with a skunk skin tied to his heel and
trailing on the ground behind him. Obeying a mischievous impulse, I
jumped upon the trailing skin, and stopped the wild dancer. The savage
wheeled, quickly raised his tomahawk, and was ready to strike; but when
he saw a white boy, he merely kicked me out of the ring, and kept on
with the dance.

Mr. J. C. Bryant.

When Governor McGill, came to St. Peter as a young man, he was obliged
to practice strict economy to make both ends meet. The revenue he
derived from teaching was so very meager, that he had to do without some
of what we regard as actual necessities. Late in the fall he was passing
Jack Lamberton's store, when the warm-hearted proprietor noticed that
the school-master wore no overcoat. He guessed the reason; but he asked
Mr. McGill why he wore no overcoat. "Well, I haven't one, and I am not
able to buy one yet," he replied with sturdy honesty. "Just come right
in, and help yourself to one, and pay for it when you can," said Mr.
Lamberton with characteristic generosity. This kindness was a bond that
made the two men friends for life, although later they were often
arrayed against each other politically.

When certain men in the state were trying to steal the Capital from St.
Peter for St. Paul, Captain Dodd is said to have traveled on foot from
St. Peter to St. Paul between sunrise and sunset in the interests of St.
Peter. This feat would seem to me a physical impossibility, but it was a
story current when I was a boy in St. Peter. It is a matter of history,
too, that all the attempts to save the Capital were futile, and the
indomitable Captain Dodd had his long walk in vain.

Captain Dodd was considerable of a mimic and an actor. During a
political campaign, he took the platform against a certain Tom Corwin of
Ohio, who was considered a great political orator. On one occasion
Corwin was the first speaker, and to emphasize his speech, he danced
about on the stage, gesticulated freely, and made a great impression.
When Mr. Dodd's turn to speak came, he arose, and without a word,
gravely gave a pantomimic reproduction of the orator's acts and
gestures. Then he sat down amid roars of laughter, that completely
spoiled the effect of his opponent's speech.

Mrs. Nancy Kiethley Bean.

When Edward Eggleston, the author of the "Hoosier Schoolmaster," was
obliged to come west for his health, he was, for a number of years, a
resident of Traverse, and St. Peter. Here on week days he engaged in the
humble occupation of soap-making, and on Sundays he went out to the
country communities to preach the gospel. His church was often the one
room of some farmer's log cabin, and he missed the pulpit upon which to
pound, to emphasize the points in his sermon in the good orthodox style
of the exhorter. One Sunday early in his ministry, he came to our home
near Cleveland, to preach, and that day he strongly felt the need of a
pulpit. "Why can't you make me a pulpit?" he asked my father after the
service. "I can and I will before you come again," father replied.
Father went to work, and from the trunk of a tree, he hewed out a rough
pulpit! The young preacher exhorted with such fervor from his new pulpit
that I was the first convert of the man who afterwards became famous.

In the fall of that same year, the annual Methodist conference was held
at Winona, and Mr. Eggleston prepared to go. Before he went my father
met him, and asked him whether he was going to the conference. "Yes,"
was the reply, "I am going." Now father knew that money was scarce and
that Mr. Eggleston's preaching and soap-making yielded him little
revenue, so he went to one of the brethren, a certain Mr. Arter, who had
recently come from the east, bringing with him gold coin, and told of
Mr. Eggleston's desire to go to Winona. Mr. Arter was interested and
offered Mr. Eggleston five dollars to help defray the expense of his
trip, but was met with a polite but none the less firm refusal.

"I shall not need money," said Mr. Eggleston. "I can walk part of the
way, some one will give me a lift now and then and the brethren will
give me food and lodging when I require it."

However, Mr. Arter insisted that he should take the gold, and he finally
prevailed, but Mr. Eggleston started on foot for the conference. Upon
his return, he gave the gold to its original owner, for with sturdy
pioneer independence, he had traveled the distance to Winona on foot,
except for an occasional lift from some traveler, driving a slow ox

Mrs. Mary Davis Fenton.

One summer morning in 1852, a man on horseback rode rapidly up to the
door of our farm house, shouted the news of the uprising of the Indians,
and then rode on to warn others of the danger. We hastily gathered
together a few necessary articles, and fled to St. Peter. When we
returned home after the danger was over, we found that our house had
been looted, and father discovered that his pet razor had disappeared.

"I will never shave again," he declared, "until the man who stole my
razor, brings it back."

Naturally the thief failed to return, and to the day of his death in
1911, father wore his patriarchial beard, and kept his vow never to
shave again.


St. Paul


(Mrs. G. C. Lyman)


(Mrs. A. B. Kaercher)

Mrs. Frederick Penny.

We lived about four miles from Shakopee, at what was called Eden
Prairie. My father was William O. Collins. The Sioux Indians' old
camping ground and home was on the river bottoms at Shakopee. Three
miles below our place was Hennepin Landing where the boats landed coming
from St. Paul. The trail of the Sioux led directly past our house, so we
saw a great deal of the Indians.

At one corner of my father's land was a big boulder called Red Rock,
held sacred by the Indians. Whenever the Sioux were going into battle
against the Chippewas, they came to this rock and if they were
successful, they brought their trophies of war and placed them on the
rock. There was room for one Indian to lie down close to the rock. The
others would dance around or sit in council. As soon as they had gone,
the white settlers would take everything of value.

One thing we were taught was never to show fear of Indians. They knew
very quickly and loved to scare anyone who showed they were afraid.
Chaska and five of his men had been out duck hunting and stopped at our
house for supper the night before the outbreak in 1862. The Indians were
always friendly with all members of my father's family, and never asked
for a meal unless they were willing to pay with ducks or in some way.
Next morning after Chaska had supper with us, a man came riding from St.
Peter telling everyone to flee. Twenty families (ours among the others)

My oldest brother had enlisted and the very day after Chaska was at our
house, he was ordered back from Fort Snelling to go to Fort Ridgely.

The most disgraceful thing to an Indian is to be struck with a whip or a
stick. One day I was holding the baby in my arms when an Indian put his
head in through the window close to my face before I knew anyone was
near. I was so frightened I ran to my mother. The Indians thought we
were afraid so started for the garden to destroy the melons, squash and
pumpkins growing there. My mother put on father's coat, took a big cane
and went after them saying, "Get out, these are to feed papoose" over
and over. There were forty in the party but they went without further

One day on my way to school, I heard the children calling to me to run,
but the grass was so high I could see no one and did not know an Indian
was near. When I saw him, I was not afraid. I went on to the school
house door, but the teacher was so frightened she had locked the door
and I could not get in. I stood waiting, and the Indian patted me on the
head and said, "Heap brave papoose" and went on down the trail.

One family by the name of Dorr and another by the name of Horner were
both very well to do. When a man rode to their places at the time of the
outbreak telling them the Indians were coming, they took what they could
in wagons and started for Eden Prairie where the Dorr family stayed with
the Neals. Mrs. Dorr was a Neal girl. The Horners stayed with us until
the trouble was over. The Dorr house and barns were burned to the
ground, but the soldiers stopped the Indians before they reached the
Horner place. Both families went back and rebuilt what had been
destroyed, living there for many years.

Mr. James Clark of St. Peter.

I came to St. Peter in March 1856. I was in the livery business, so was
among the Indians more or less until the outbreak in 1862. I made the
first trip from the Agency to Faribault with Bishop Whipple. Also the
last when we took a number of Indian girls from Faribault to the Sioux
Agency in August 1862.

I had enlisted and was with my company in line at Fort Snelling, being
sworn in when a man came riding in to tell us the Indians were on the
war path. We were ordered to St. Peter at once and found the families
all sheltered in stone houses and the men barricading the town with cord
wood and digging rifle pits in the bluffs. But none of the families was
molested within a radius of about seven miles. Everyone who was left in
town had to help. All the lead pipes were taken out of the wells and
slugs were cut from pieces of iron.

Jim Powell, a young man left in charge of the cattle at the Agency,
waiting for the Indians to receive their pay, said to me when I came up
on my last trip, "Jim, I am afraid there will be trouble. The Indians
are getting ugly. They shot an ox and skinned it and we can't say a
word." When the outbreak came Jim Powell was sitting on a mule at the
Agency. Five Indians shot at him. He tried to make his mule go down to
the ferry. He would not go, so Jim slipped off and ran for the ferry.
The boat had started across to Fort Ridgely, but he swam out and climbed
on. He went across, then the twelve miles to the fort and enlisted.
Before this the Indians were driven to beg for food, their rations had
been so slow in coming from the government.

I often think there is many a man that should have a monument to
commemorate his brave deeds. There was Duncan Kennedy of St. Peter, one
of the bravest men I ever knew. During the outbreak he carried messages
back and forth from St. Peter to Fort Ridgely, alone. When asked why he
did not take someone with him, he said it was safer alone for if he saw
an Indian he would know what to do; he would lie down and be quiet. If
some one was with him, he would have to tell them to be quiet.

Mrs. John Crippen[4] was an early settler in the country, coming here by
way of the Morris trail. There were two trails, one by way of
Hutchinson, and the other following along the Minnesota River, the
latter being the trail used during the Sibley Expedition.

[Footnote 4: Mrs. Kaercher's work begins with Mrs. Crippen.]

Mr. and Mrs. Crippen, with a baby about a year old, came to their
homestead, not far from Big Stone lake where they endured many
privations the first few years. The first year the grasshoppers took all
the garden and grain. After the first year new settlers began to come in
and Mr. Crippen assisted them in locating claims, and in that way
managed to live until another crop was raised. In relating some of the
experiences Mrs. Crippen states that they had a house 10x12 and the
first shingled roof in this country at that time. At one time, two
gentlemen from Minneapolis, Messrs. Hyde and Curtiss, had occasion to
stay over night with them so they gave these parties their only bed,
making one on the floor for themselves, hanging a curtain between. While
preparing breakfast she heard one of the gentlemen say--"Hello, little
fellow, what are you doing with my toe?" Her baby had awakened and gone
over to their bed. It was over a year before they had any chickens or
cow; she used to hunt plover's eggs and several times was without flour,
having to grind wheat and corn in a coffee mill. The nearest railroad
town was Morris forty miles northeast.

The first 4th of July celebration was held near the lake at a place now
called "Point Comfort." The flag staff is still where they placed it. A
Mrs. Tyler roasted a small pig, which they used as a center piece at the
picnic dinner, minus the apple in its mouth.

One of the young gentlemen, whose father was a minister in Minneapolis,
had him send him sermons which he read on the Sabbath in the

C. K. Orton, the founder of Ortonville took a homestead adjoining Big
Stone Lake. In the spring he returned for his family consisting then of
his wife and child, Clara, together with several neighbors. They started
in the month of July, following the old trail via New Ulm, thence to
Montevideo. When they reached Montevideo they discovered the bridges had
washed away, so they were obliged to ford the Chippewa river which was
very deep and rapid. Mr. and Mrs. Orton rode side by side, he carrying a
sack of flour which he lost while endeavoring to hold her, but which he
afterward recovered. It took the party several days to get their
belongings, which consisted of cattle, horses, oxen, etc., on the west
side of the river.

They were badly frightened a few months later, which was after they had
settled in their new home, by a Mr. Movius, of Big Stone City, who came
to them with a report that the Indians, five hundred in number, from the
Sisseton reservation were on the war path and were headed their way.
Mrs. Orton and another woman, being alone with the children, say that
they had a flat bottomed boat which they had planned to get in and get
out into the middle of the lake and that if overtaken by the Indians,
rather than be tortured as they had seen other people near New Ulm and
other towns, would drown themselves and children, but luckily it was a
false report.

Mr. Orton was the first postmaster of this place, the mail being brought
once a week from Appleton, twenty-five miles east, by Mr. Lathrop, who
had a wagon train hauled by oxen by which he carried flour and
provisions to the settlers along the lake shore.

There is a log cabin still standing in Big Stone City, which was built
in the year 1857.

A. B. Kaercher has in his possession the Government Patent given in 1855
and signed by Franklin Pierce to his father, John Kaercher, for 160
acres of land in Fillmore County, Minnesota, where John Kaercher
founded the Village of Preston, and erected the second flouring mill in
the Territory of Minnesota.

Lyman R. Jones of Ortonville has a stove door taken from the ruins of
the Presbyterian mission, built in 1838 and which was destroyed by fire
March 3, 1854.

Mr. Roberts, an old timer here, has the powder horn which Little Crow
carried through the Sioux massacre.




Mrs. Nettleton.

My husband and I came to this region in 1854. At first we lived in
Superior, Wis., but in September of that year we went down to Madeline
Island to the Indian payment when the government bought the Duluth
property from the Indians. My husband got title to the best of Minnesota
Point. This was the same payment where they gave Chief Buffalo his four
square miles of land in Duluth.

Minnesota Point is a narrow neck of land seven miles long and about a
quarter of a mile wide projecting from the mainland in Duluth and
separating Lake Superior from St. Louis Bay. One day we had a picnic
party of Superior people over on Minnesota Point. Among them were Mrs.
Post, Orator Hall and his wife, my husband and the Rev. Mr. Wilson from
somewhere near Boston and a number of others. During the picnic various
names for the new town started on Minnesota Point were proposed and Mr.
Wilson at last proposed "Duluth." He named the city in honor of the
first navigator and explorer who ever came up here. When the other
proprietors came here and made preemptions and had obtained land they
wanted to call it "Portland." My husband said "No that his property was
in Duluth and it should stay in Duluth." I had never been in Duluth at
that time unless it was for a picnic on Minnesota Point.

We moved across the bay to Duluth in 1858. My husband and his brother
William had a contract for carrying the mail from Superior to St. Paul.
Sometimes the mail was carried by team and sometimes the men packed it
on their backs. In the spring and fall the roads were so bad that the
use of the team was impossible. Letters were delivered once a week and
papers once a month, perhaps. The military road had been commenced but
not finished.

Mrs. W. S. Woodbridge.

While the experiences of the early days could be considered a hardship
for the men it was ten times more annoying to women. The hardships of
housekeeping, for instance and home making, keeping the home tidy and
comfortable, not to say attractive, were much greater than any hardships
the men were called upon to endure. The first year or two, there was no
mirror at the head of the lakes. Those who were fortunate enough to have
a new tin boiler, or new tin dishes could get along very well. One of
the early settlers has told me that he had frequently seen the women
combing and arranging their hair by their reflection in the wash boiler
or dish pan. Ribbons, perfumes and fancy articles were wholly unknown.
An old settler who came with his family told me "Our whole outfit
comprised a feather bed and a lunch basket in which were a knife, fork
and two small china dishes. I also bought a single mattress and a pair
of blankets in Cleveland on my way to Duluth. We built our bedsteads out
of green tamarack poles peeled, using the bark for ropes to hold it
together and made a table of two boards which were found floating in the
Bay. Bed clothing consisted of Indian blankets and moccasins answered
for shoes, while curtains, carpets and upholstered furniture were

The postoffice was in a small building on First Street and First Avenue
East. The postmaster, Mr. Richard Marvin was a member of the Fire
Brigade. His friend, Mr. Melvin Forbes, who had just started in the
paper and stationery business opposite, spent the night with him. The
milkman was in the habit of bringing milk to the door in the morning. A
lady who had come up by boat and was leaving by train in the early
morning for St. Paul knocked on the door of the postoffice to inquire
if any mail had been forwarded to her there. Mr. Forbes, supposing the
milkman was at the door, leaped out of bed, caught Mr. Marvin's
fireman's helmet and put it on his head, opened the door wide with a
flourish and making a profound bow in his short white night shirt said,
"Good morning." Not until he raised his head did he see the lady. I have
often wondered what opinion she formed of Duluth in her short stay here.

I used to watch the Indians who were a common sight in those early days
in Duluth, especially in the winter, when they would come into town with
their dog teams, the sledges laden down with skins which they exchanged
for provisions. The dog teams were very interesting with their
intelligent well trained Indian dogs. There were usually three or four
dogs driven tandem with a simple harness consisting of a collar and a
strap around the body of each. The driver always ran or walked by the
side of the sledge never sitting on it. We see pictures of dog teams in
Alaska, for instance, with a dozen or more dogs, but that would have
been impossible in a heavily wooded country as this was in those days.

The Indians did not know the use of a door bell, neither did they stand
on ceremony, but if they found the door of a house unlocked they walked
in without knocking. I remember that one New Year's Day we found on
going into the sitting room after dinner, that six Indians had quietly
taken possession, two men and four squaws. They advanced, offering to
shake hands and saying, "'Appy New Year, ten cents." "'Appy New Year,
ten cents." It was all the English they could speak but they knew well
what it meant and did not leave until each one had received a gift. We
were glad enough to see them go and to open the windows.

I well remember a funeral which occurred in the early days. The coffin
was placed in a wagon which was drawn by one horse and the mourners
followed on foot. I also remember how very muddy the roads were,
consisting of sticky, tenacious red clay which clung to our rubbers and
sucked them off our feet as we walked.

We bought water by the pailful which was carted up from the Lake and
placed in a barrel in the kitchen and often on a cold winter morning, we
were obliged to chop it out and melt it in the tea kettle. The windows
in our house were always covered with half an inch of frost. I remember
on one very cold night I was awakened by a fire bell. The windows were
red with light from some burning dwelling near and I rushed from window
to window trying in vain to see out and locate the fire.



Mrs. Martin Jay Clum.

I accompanied my husband, Martin Jay Clum, a member of Company "D,"
Second Minnesota Volunteers to Fort Ridgely in 1862. There were left at
the fort but few men to guard it, as the greater number of them had been
ordered to the frontier to quell the Indian outbreaks.

My daughter, Victoria Maria, nine months old, was ill, getting her teeth
and although the night was hot and sultry the windows of our quarters
had to be kept closed on account of the mosquitoes. It was impossible to
obtain any mosquito bar so I walked the floor nearly all night with her
on my arm fanning her constantly as the heat was almost unbearable.

Toward morning, I paused for a few seconds to look out of the window and
as I did so, fancied I saw tiny dark objects moving around a huge straw
stack some distance away. You can scarcely imagine my horror as the dawn
disclosed the truth of my fears.

I put down my dear baby--rushed outside--called to a herder to go at
once and find out what those objects were, moving about the stack.
Hastily mounting a mule he made a detour of the straw stack and
reported. "If there's one Indian there, there's fifty with their ponies
buried in and around the stack." He at once gave the alarm but before
the guard reached the stack there was not an Indian to be seen.
Interpreter Quinn soon sent his son, Tom, to warn me not to leave the
garrison as I had been in the habit of taking walks with my baby in her

Later in the day, the pickets and scouts came in and reported a large
camp of over four hundred Indians on the opposite bank of the river,
waiting, no doubt, as Interpreter Quinn said, a chance to make a raid,
capture and maybe massacre everyone of us. He also told me that while
the Indians might not perhaps harm me they would be likely to take my
baby and it would be as bad to be frightened to death as to be scalped.

Mr. August Larpenteur--1843, Ninety-three years old.

The first day I came, in 1843, I had dinner with Mrs. Jackson. It was a
fine one--ducks, venison, and vegetables raised by the Selkirk refugees.
Here I first tasted pemmican. It was most excellent. The bread was baked
in a Dutch oven.

New Year's Day, Mr. Jackson, Luther Furnell and I took a yoke of oxen to
make some New Years calls. We first went to Mr. Gervais' where we
talked, took a drink, kissed the girls and then to Vital Guerin's. Next
we went up to Mrs. Mortimer's where we made a sedate call. She lived
where the police station now stands. Last, near present Seven Corners,
we called on the Irvine's. By this time the OXEN were tired. We began to
feel drowsy, so we returned and took a rest.

The Indians always called on us on Christmas, went through much
handshaking and expected a present.


Aiton, Mrs. Mary B., 307

Alexander, Mrs. Ann, 296

Anderson, Mrs. Robert, 91

Apgar, Mrs. Anna Simmons, 97

Balser, Mrs. Anna E., 89

Batchelder, Mrs. Kate Davis, 291

Berry, Mrs. Helen Godfrey, 222

Bean, Mrs. Nancy Kiethley, 311

Beatty, Mrs. J. R., 165

Bierman, Mrs. Augusta P., 295

Black, Mrs. Mahlon, 29

Bohanon, Mr. Charles, 67

Bradley, Mrs., 240

Buell, Major S. A., 122

Burdick, Mrs. C. A., 104

Buckham, Judge Thomas S., 289

Buck, Mr. H. L., 237

Brown, Mrs. John, 260

Bryant, Mr. J. C., 310

Brackett, Mr. George A., 139

Chute, Mrs. Richard, 65

Clark, Mr. Edwin, 136

Clarke, Mr. Edwin, 136

Clifford, Mrs. Elizabeth, 64

Clum, Mrs. Martin J., 323

Cooper, Peter, 105

Cobb, Mr. M. G., 262

Colbrath, Mrs., 306

Connolly, Colonel A. P., 212

Collins, Judge Loren W., 275

Curtis, Mr. Theodore, 110

Cray, Judge Lorin, 176, 263

Daniels, Dr. A. C., 308

Dibble, Marion L., 262

Dorr, Mr. Caleb, 27

Dowling, Mrs. Mary E., 90

Dow, Mr. D. E., 62

Dow, Mrs. William, 81

Dresser, Mrs. Samuel B., 48

Dunsmoor, Mr. Irving A., 184

Ellison, Mr. William W., 58

Faribault, Miss Sara, 232

Farnham, Mrs. Rufus, 50

Farnham, Mrs. Silas, 39

Farnsworth, Mr. Austin W., 70

Farnsworth, Mrs. Austin W., 110

Favel, Mr. Henry, 103

Fenton, Mrs. Mary Davis, 312

Fisher, Mrs. George E., 107

Foster, Doctor Lysander P., 38

Funk, Mrs. Margaret Rathbun 160

Gault, Mr. Zuriel S., 309

Gilpatrick, Mrs. Martha, 143

Gilman, Ex-Lieutenant Gov., 110

Gillespie, Miss Nancy, 75

Gillespie, Mr. James M., 75

Gleason, Mrs. Harriett., 239

Glass, Mr., 302

Goulding, John W., 302

Godfrey, Abner Crossman, 229

Godley, Mrs. Charles M., 111

Gress, Mrs. C. W., 297

Hagen, Mrs. Pauline., 300

Hanks, Captain Stephen., 24

Harrison, Mrs. Mary, 55

Heffelfinger, Major C. B., 142

Hern, Mrs. Margaret, 143

Hoefer, Mrs. F., 199

Hopkins, Miss Florinda, 101

Hopkins, Mr. Chester L., 101

Horton, Mrs. Helen, 132

Huckins, Mr. J. W., 297

Huston, Mrs. Anna Hennes, 103

Ingenhutt, Mrs. Mary, 152

Jones, Mr. Oliver K., 240

Jones, Mrs. Virginia, 116

Jones, Mr. John A., 173

Keysor, Captain Clark, 178

Keysor, Mrs. Clark, 175

Kennedy, Mrs. Duncan, 119

Kimball, Mrs. Edmund, 188

Layman, Mr. Isaac, 75

Ladd, Mrs. J. W., 102

Larpenteur, Mr. August, 324

Lapham, Mr. L. L., 159

Le Duc, General William, 40

Loring, Mr. Charles M., 153

Lowell, Mrs. Nancy, 80

Longfellow, Colonel Levi, 216

Massolt, Mrs. Mary, 134

Maxwell, Mrs. Delilah, 202

Magnus, Mrs. Conrad, 271

Meade, Mrs. Catherine, 300

Merrit, Mrs. Arabella, 243

Merrill, Mrs. E. A., 77

McMullen, Mr. James, 31

McMullen, Mrs. James, 36

McCormack, Captain L. L., 153

Mott, Mrs. Rodney A., 290

Moulton, Captain Isaac, 138

Neill, Miss Minnesota, 157

Niemann, Mrs. W. L., 196

Nettleton, Mrs., 319

Nutting, Mr. Elijah, 72, 284

O'Brien, Mr. Frank G., 190

Olin, Mr. Alvin M., 299

Paine, Mrs. J. M., 156

Partridge, Mrs. Mary E., 273

Pelton, Mr. I. A., 170

Penney, Mrs. Frederick, 313

Pettijohn, Mr. Eli, 9

Pettit, Mrs. C. H., 103

Pfeffer, Mrs. A. M., 169

Phillips, Mary Sherrard, 233

Pike, Mrs. Orin, 272

Pitcher, Mrs. Mary, 163

Plummer, Mrs. Rebecca, 104

Pond, Mrs. Gideon, 22, 250

Pond, Mrs. E. R., 258

Pratt, Mrs. James, 52

Pratt, Mrs. Missouri Rose, 16

Pribble, Mrs. Mary, 186

Prescott, Mrs. Henry C., 287

Rochette, Mr. Stephen, 106

Rochette, Mrs. Stephen, 106

Robinson, Mr. Reuben, 47

Randall, Major Benjamin, 230

Robinson, Mrs. Mary, 129

Rye, Mr. Charles, 73

Richardson, J. Warren, 285

Slocum, Mr. Frank, 114

Starkloff, Mrs. Paulina, 88

Sampson, Mrs. Leroy, 97

Sutherland, Mrs. Jane, 126

Snyder, Mrs. Margaret A., 130

Smith, Mrs. Mary Staring, 133

Smith, Mrs. C. A., 140

Stewart, Doctor, 155

Stratton, Miss Carrie, 182

Shaver, Mr. B. F., 206

Turner, Mrs. John C., 293

Todd, Mrs. Anna, 135

Thorne, Mrs. Martha, 78

Teeter, Mr. Michael, 192

Van der Horck, Captain John, 51

Van Sant, Ex-Governor Samuel R., 199

Van Schaick, Mr. M. R., 270

Wakefield, Mr. Warren, 94

Watson, Mr. C. H., 294

Woods, Mrs. Newman, 99

Weeks, Mrs. Mary, 76

White, Mrs. William J., 84

Wilder, Mrs., 93

Winter, Mrs. James A., 107

Walker, Mrs. T. B., 115

Way, Mrs. Georgiana M., 116

Woodbridge, Mrs. W. S., 320

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