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Title: Minnesota - The North Star State
Author: Folwell, William Watts
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                         American Commonwealths

                               MINNESOTA

------------------------------------------------------------------------

 [Illustration: MINNESOTA
 TO ACCOMPANY
 W. W. FOLWELL’S
 MINNESOTA in AMERICAN COMMONWEALTHS

 Compiled by the author, 1908.]

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                         American Commonwealths

                               MINNESOTA

                          THE NORTH STAR STATE

                                   BY

                         WILLIAM WATTS FOLWELL

                    [Illustration: L’ETOILE DU NORD]

                          BOSTON AND NEW YORK
                        HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY
                     The Riverside Press Cambridge

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                COPYRIGHT 1908 BY WILLIAM WATTS FOLWELL
                          ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

                        _Published October 1908_

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                PREFACE

If this compend of Minnesota history shall be found a desirable
addition to those already before the public, it will be due to the good
fortune of the writer in reaching original sources of information not
accessible to his predecessors.

The most important of them are: the papers of Governor Alexander
Ramsey, in the possession of his daughter, Mrs. Marion R. Furness; the
letter-books and papers of General H. H. Sibley, preserved in the
library of the Minnesota Historical Society; some hundreds of letters
saved by Colonel John H. Stevens, and deposited by him in the same
library; the papers of Ignatius Donnelly, in the hands of his family;
the great collection of Green Bay and Prairie du Chien papers belonging
to the Wisconsin Historical Society; the remarkable group of early
French documents owned by the Chicago Historical Society; and finally,
the priceless collection of Minnesota newspapers preserved by the
Minnesota Historical Society.

Grateful acknowledgments are offered to many citizens who have given
information out of their own knowledge, or have directed the writer to
other sources. Among “old Territorians” who have rendered invaluable
aid must be named Simeon P. Folsom, John A. Ludden, Joseph W. Wheelock,
Benjamin H. Randall, A. L. Larpenteur, A. W. Daniels, John Tapper, and
William Pitt Murray. The last named has put me under the heaviest
obligation.

                                                                W. W. F.

      UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA,
    MINNEAPOLIS, MINN., June 1, 1908.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                CONTENTS


               CHAPTER                              PAGE

                    I. THE FRENCH PERIOD               1

                   II. THE ENGLISH DOMINION           29

                  III. MINNESOTA WEST ANNEXED         42

                   IV. FORT SNELLING ESTABLISHED      54

                    V. EXPLORATIONS AND SETTLEMENTS   70

                   VI. THE TERRITORY ORGANIZED        86

                  VII. TERRITORIAL DEVELOPMENT       108

                 VIII. TRANSITION TO STATEHOOD       133

                   IX. THE STRUGGLE FOR RAILROADS    159

                    X. ARMING FOR THE CIVIL WAR      178

                   XI. THE OUTBREAK OF THE SIOUX     190

                  XII. THE SIOUX WAR                 205

                 XIII. SEQUEL TO THE INDIAN WAR      222

                  XIV. HONORS OF WAR                 240

                   XV. REVIVAL                       254

                  XVI. STORM AND STRESS              267

                 XVII. CLEARING UP                   304

                XVIII. FAIR WEATHER                  333

                  XIX. A CHRONICLE OF RECENT EVENTS  340

                       INDEX                         367



                               MINNESOTA



                               CHAPTER I

                           THE FRENCH PERIOD


The word Minnesota was the Dakota name for that considerable tributary
of the Mississippi which, issuing from Big Stone Lake, flows
southeastward to Mankato, turns there at a right angle, and runs on to
Fort Snelling, where it empties into the great river. It is a compound
of “mini,” water, and “sota,” gray-blue or sky-colored. The name was
given to the territory as established by act of Congress of March 3,
1849, and was retained by the state with her diminished area.

If one should travel in the extension of the jog in the north boundary,
west of the Lake of the Woods, due south, he could hardly miss Lake
Itasca. If then he should embark and follow the great river to the Iowa
line, his course would have divided the state into two portions, not
very unequal in extent. The political history of the two parts is
sufficiently diverse to warrant a distinction between Minnesota East
and Minnesota West. England never owned west of the river, Spain gained
no foothold east of it. France, owning on both sides, yielded Minnesota
East to England in 1763, and sold Minnesota West to the United States
in 1803. Up to the former date, the whole area was part of New France
and had no separate history.

Although the French dominion existed for more than two hundred years,
it is not important for the present compendious work that an elaborate
account be made of their explorations and commerce. They made no
permanent settlement on Minnesota soil. No institution, nor monument,
nor tradition, even, has survived to determine or affect the life of
the commonwealth. It will be sufficient to summarize from an abounding
literature the successive stages of the French advance from the
Atlantic to the Mississippi, their late and brief efforts to establish
trade and missions in the upper valley, and the circumstances which led
to their expulsion from the American continent.

It is now well known that in the first decade of the sixteenth century
Norman and Breton fishermen were taking cod in Newfoundland waters, and
it is reasonably surmised that they had been so engaged before the
Cabots, under English colors, had coasted from Labrador towards Cape
Cod in 1497. The French authorities, occupied with wars, foreign and
domestic, were unable to participate with Spain, England, and Portugal
in pioneer explorations beyond seas. It was not till 1534 that Francis
I, a brilliant and ambitious monarch, dispatched Jacques Cartier, a
daring navigator, to explore lands and waters reported of by French
fishermen, and, if possible, to discover the long-sought passage to
Cathay. In the summer of that year Cartier made the circuit of the Gulf
of St. Lawrence, and returned to France disappointed of his main
purpose. His neglect to enter the great river flowing into the gulf is
unexplained. At two convenient places he went ashore to set up
ceremonial crosses and proclaim the dominion of his king. In the
following year (1535), on a second expedition he ascended the St.
Lawrence River to the Huron village Hochelaga, on or near the site of
Montreal. He wintered in a fort built near Quebec, where one fourth of
his crew died of scurvy. In May, 1536, after setting up another cross
with a Latin inscription declaring the royal possession, he sailed away
for home. Five years later (1541) Cartier participated in still another
expedition, which, prosecuted into a third year, resulted disastrously.
The king had spent much money, but the passage to China had not been
found, no mines had been discovered, no colony had been planted, no
heathen converted.

Throughout the remainder of the sixteenth century the French kings were
too much engrossed in great religious wars, fierce and bloody beyond
belief but for existing proofs, to give thought or effort to extending
their dominion in the New World. The treaty of Vervins with Spain and
the Edict of Nantes, both occurring in 1598, gave France an interval of
peace within and without. Henry IV (“Henry of Navarre”) at once turned
his eyes to the coasts of America, on which as yet no Europeans had
made any permanent settlements. His activity took the form of
patronizing a series of trading voyages. On one of these, which sailed
in 1603, he sent Samuel Champlain, then about thirty-five years of age,
a gallant soldier and an experienced navigator. He had already visited
the West Indies and the Isthmus of Darien, and in his journal of the
voyage had foreshadowed the Panama Canal. He was now particularly
charged with reporting on explorations and discoveries. On this voyage
Champlain ascended the St. Lawrence to Montreal and vainly attempted to
surmount the Lachine Rapids. On the return of the expedition in
September of the same year, Champlain laid before the king a report and
map. They gave such satisfaction as to lead to a similar appointment on
an expedition sent out the following year. For three years Champlain
was occupied in exploring and charting the coasts of Nova Scotia and
New England, a thousand miles or thereabout.

In 1608 he went out in the capacity of lieutenant-governor of New
France, a post occupied for the remaining twenty-seven years of his
life, with the exception of a brief interval. On July 3 he staked out
the first plat of Quebec. His trifling official engagements left him
ample leisure to prosecute those explorations on which his heart was
set; chief of them the road to China.

In 1609, to gain assistance of the Indians in his neighborhood, he
joined them in a war-party to the head of the lake to which he then
gave his name. A single volley from the muskets of himself and two
other Frenchmen put the Iroquois, as yet unprovided with firearms, to
headlong rout. Six years later he led a large force of Hurons from
their homes in upper Canada between Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay,
across Lake Ontario, to be defeated by the well-fortified Iroquois. The
notes of his expedition added the Ottawa River, Lake Nipissing, the
French River, Lake Huron, and Lake Ontario to his map. Could Champlain
have foreseen the disasters to follow for New France and the Huron
nation, he would not have made the Iroquois his and their implacable
enemy. He made no further journeys westward in person, but adopted a
plan of sending out young men, whom he had put to school among native
tribes, to learn their languages and gather their traditions and
surmises as to regions yet unvisited. One of them, Etienne Brulé, who
had been his interpreter on the second expedition against the Iroquois,
and detached before the battle on an embassy to an Indian tribe, did
not return till after three years of extensive wanderings. He showed a
chunk of copper which he declared he had brought from the shore of a
great lake far to the west, nine days’ journey in length, which
discharged over a waterfall into Lake Huron.

In 1634 another of Champlain’s apprentices, Jean Nicollet by name,
passed through the Straits of Mackinaw and penetrated to the head of
Green Bay and possibly farther. He may have been at the Sault Sainte
Marie. So confident was he of reaching China that he took with him a
gorgeous mandarin’s robe of damask to wear at his court reception.
Attired in it he addressed the gaping Winnebagoes, putting a climax on
his peroration by firing his pistols. Champlain’s map of 1632 showed
his conjectured Lake Michigan north of Lake Huron. Nicollet gave it its
proper location.

Champlain’s stormy career closed at Christmas, 1635. The honorable
title of “Father of New France” rightly belongs to him, in spite of the
fact that in none of his great plans had he achieved success. He had
not found the road to the Indies, the savages remained in the power of
the devil, and no self-supporting settlement had been planted. Quebec’s
population did not exceed two hundred, soldiers, priests, fur-traders
and their dependents. There was but one settler cultivating the soil.

Exploration languished after Champlain’s death, and for a generation
was only incidentally prosecuted by missionaries and traders. In 1641
two Jesuit fathers, Jogues and Raymbault, traveled to the Sault Sainte
Marie, and gave the first reliable account of the great lake.

From the earliest lodgments of white men on the St. Lawrence the
fur-trade assumed an importance far greater than the primitive
fisheries. In the seventeenth century the fashion of fur-wearing spread
widely among the wealthier people of Europe. The beaver hat had
superseded the Milan bonnet. No furs were in greater request than those
gathered in the Canadian forests. A chief reason for the long delay of
cultivation in the French settlements was the profit to be won by
ranging for furs. Montreal, founded in 1642 as a mission station, not
long after became, by reason of its location at the mouth of the
Ottawa, the entrepôt of the western trade. The business took on a
simple and effective organization. Responsible merchants provided the
outfit, a canoe, guns, powder and lead, hulled corn and tallow for
subsistence, and an assortment of cheap and tawdry merchandise. Late in
the summer the “coureurs des bois” set out for the wilderness. Those
bound for the west traveled by the Ottawa route in large companies, for
better defense against skulking Iroquois. On reaching Lake Huron, they
broke up, each crew departing to its favorite haunts.

The chances for large profits naturally attracted to this primitive
commerce some men of talent and ambition. In 1656 two such came down to
Montreal piloting a flotilla of fifty Ottawa canoes deeply laden with
precious furs. They had been absent for two years, had traveled five
hundred leagues from home, and had heard of various nations, among them
the “Nadouesiouek.” The author of the Jesuit Relation for the year
speaks of them as “two young Frenchmen, full of courage,” and as the
“two young pilgrims,” but suppresses their names. Again, in 1660 two
Frenchmen reach Montreal from the upper countries, with three hundred
Algonquins in sixty canoes loaded with furs worth $40,000. The journal
of the Jesuit fathers gives the name of one of them as of a person of
consequence, Des Groseilliers; and says of him, “Des Grosillers
wintered with the nation of the Ox ... they are sedentary
Nadwesseronons.”

The two Frenchmen of 1660 are now believed to have been Medard Chouart,
Sieur des Groseilliers, and Pierre d’Esprit, Sieur de Radisson, both
best known by their titles. The latter was the younger man, and brother
to Groseilliers’ second wife. In 1885 the Prince Society of Boston
printed 250 copies of the “Voyages of Peter Esprit Radisson,” written
by him in English. The manuscript had lain in the Bodleian Library of
Oxford University for nearly two hundred years. No doubt has been
raised as to its authenticity. While the accounts of the different
voyages are not free from exaggerations, not to say outright
fabrications, the reader will be satisfied that the writer in the main
told a true story of the wanderings and transactions of himself and
comrade. These two men a few years later went over to the English and
became the promoters of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

If Radisson’s story be true, he and Groseilliers were the first white
men to tread the soil of Minnesota. As he tells it, the two left
Montreal in the month of August, 1658, and after much trouble with the
“Iroquoits” along the Ottawa, reached the Sault Sainte Marie, where
they “made good cheare” of whitefish. Embarking late in the same
season, they went along “the most delightful and wonderous coasts” of
Lake Superior, passed the Pictured Rocks, portaged over Keweenaw Point,
and made their way to the head of Chequamegon Bay. Here they built a
“fort” of stakes in two days, which was much admired by the wild men.
Having cached a part of their goods, they proceeded inland to a Huron
village on a lake believed to be Lake Courte Oreille, in Sawyer County,
Wisconsin, where they were received with great ceremony. At the first
snowfall the people departed for their winter hunt, and appointed a
rendezvous after two months and a half. Before leaving the village the
Frenchmen sent messengers “to all manner of persons and nations,”
inviting them to a feast at which presents would be distributed. The
best guess locates this rendezvous on or near Knife Lake, in Kanabec
County, Minnesota. That was then Sioux country, and the people
thereabout were long after known as Isantis or Knife Sioux, probably
because they got their first steel knives from these Frenchmen. While
at their rendezvous eight “ambassadors from the nation of the Beefe”
(i. e. Buffalo, of course) came to give notice that a great number of
their people would assemble for the coming feast. They brought a
calumet “of red stone as big as a fist and as long as a hand.” Each
ambassador was attended by two wives carrying wild rice and Indian corn
as a present. For the feast a great concourse of Algonquin tribes
gathered and prepared a “fort” six hundred paces square, obviously a
mere corral of poles and brush. A “foreguard” of thirty young Sioux,
“all proper men,” heralded the coming of the elders of their village,
who arrived next day “with incredible pomp.” Grand councils were held,
followed by feasting, dancing, mimic battles, and games of many sorts,
including the greased pole. As described, this was no casual
assemblage, but a great and extraordinary convocation. It lasted a
fortnight.

The two Frenchmen now made seven small journeys “to return the visit of
the Sioux, and found themselves in a town of great cabins covered with
skins and mats, in a country without wood and where corn was grown.”
The account of this six weeks’ trip is brief and indefinite. The
conjecture that Groseilliers and Radisson traveled a hundred and fifty
miles, more or less, into the prairie region west of the Mississippi,
either by way of the Minnesota or the Crow Wing rivers, has slight
support. The account may have been invented from information obtained
of the Sioux at the convocation.

In the early spring of 1660 the two adventurers returned to Chequamegon
Bay, whence they continued to Montreal without notable incident. In his
narrative Radisson injects after the return from the nation of the
Beefe a story of an excursion to Hudson’s Bay, occupying a year, which
is probably fictitious. The time occupied by the whole journey is well
known and could not have included a trip to the “Bay of the North.”
Still, it is reasonably certain that Groseilliers and Radisson were in
Minnesota twenty years before Duluth.

The reader will have already inquired whether the two young Frenchmen
of 1654-56, unnamed, might not have been the same with these of
1658-60. This inquiry was frequently made before the discovery of
Radisson’s narrative. The question was settled by that document.
Radisson gives a separate and circumstantial account of a three years’
journey of trade and exploration to the west taken by himself and his
brother-in-law in 1654. Leaving Montreal in the summer of that year,
Groseilliers and Radisson, as the story runs, taking the usual Ottawa
River route, reached the Straits of Mackinaw in the early fall. They
passed the winter about Green Bay, Wisconsin. The following summer they
coasted Lake Michigan and proceeded southward through a country
“incomparable, though mighty hot,” to the shores of a great sea. They
found “a barril broken, as they use in Spaine.” They passed the summer
on “the shore of the Great sea.” Returning to the north, they spent a
winter with the Ottawas on the upper Michigan peninsula. As the
excursion to Hudson’s Bay already mentioned was a fiction, so is this
to the Gulf of Mexico. The traders could not have been absent from the
French settlement more than two years. It is in the early spring of
1655, therefore, that we find them setting out from their winter
quarters to countries more remote. The essence of Radisson’s text is as
follows: “We ... thwarted a land of allmost fifty leagues.... We
arrived, some 150 of us men and women, to a river-side, where we stayed
3 weeks making boats.... We went up ye river 8 days till we came to a
nation called ... the Scratchers. There we gott some Indian meale and
corne ... which lasted us till we came to the first landing Isle. There
we weare well received againe.”

Upon this indefinite passage has been put the following interpretation.
The land journey of fifty leagues (about one hundred and forty miles)
took the traders to the east bank of the Mississippi near the southeast
corner of Minnesota, where they built boats; the nation who furnished
provisions resided about the site of Winona, and the “first landing
Isle” was Prairie Island, between Red Wing and Hastings. If this
interpretation shall at length be confirmed, Groseilliers and Radisson
were in Minnesota twenty-four years before Duluth. Subsequent passages
of the narrative lend it some support.

These able and enterprising characters deserve, however, not the least
degree of credit as explorers. If they saw the Mississippi and in the
later voyage penetrated beyond the Big Woods, they studiously concealed
their knowledge. They left no maps, and for no assignable reason
suppressed a discovery which would have given them a world-wide fame.

                  *       *       *       *       *

When Cardinal Mazarin died, in 1661, Louis XIV, then twenty-two years
of age, stepped on to the stage, “every inch a king.” He willingly
listened to the suggestion of Colbert, his new minister, that it was
time for France to follow English example and establish a colonial
system for profit and glory. The Company of New France, promoted by
Richelieu, which for nearly forty years had governed Canada, were quite
content to surrender their franchises. In 1663 the colony was made a
royal province. Associated with the governor a so-called “intendant of
justice and finance” was provided in the new administration. The first
incumbent was Jean Baptiste Talon, a man of brains, energy, and
ambition. He was no sooner on the ground than he began to conceive
great projects for extending the French dominion, expanding commerce,
and fostering settlements. Colbert, although he sympathized, was
obliged to restrain him and suggest that “the King would never
depopulate France to people Canada.”

Rumors were multiplying of great openings for trade and missions along
and beyond the great lakes. Talon was keen to follow up and verify
them. In 1665 the Jesuit father Claude Allouez established a mission at
La Pointe on Chequamegon Bay. Upon an excursion to the head of the lake
(Superior) he saw some of the Nadouessiouek (Sioux) Indians, dwellers
toward the great River Mississippi, in a country of prairies. They gave
him some “marsh rye,” as he called their wild rice.

Four years later Father Jacques Marquette succeeded Allouez in that
mission. He also heard stories of a great river flowing to a sea, on
which canoes with wings might be seen. The Jesuit Relation of 1670-71
gives reports from Indians of a great river which “for more than three
hundred leagues from its mouth is wider than the St. Lawrence at
Quebec;” and people dwelling near its mouth “have houses on the water
and cut down trees with large knives.” In the summer of 1669, Louis
Joliet, whom Talon had sent to Lake Superior to search for copper,
returned; and it was then, probably on his suggestion, that Talon
resolved that it was time for the French to plant a military station at
the Sault Sainte Marie, a point of notable strategic importance. He
determined also to make an impression of French power on the Indians of
the West. In the following year he dispatched Nicholas Perrot, of whom
we are to hear later, to summon the Pottawattamies, the Winnebagoes,
and other accessible nations to a grand convocation at the Sault Sainte
Marie in the spring of 1671. To represent the government, Simon
François Daumont, Sieur de St. Lusson, was commissioned and took his
journey in October, 1670.

On the 14th of June, 1671, the appointed day, the council was held.
Fourteen Indian nations were represented. Among the French present were
Joliet, Father Allouez, and Perrot. The central act was the
proclamation by St. Lusson of King Louis’s dominion over “lakes Huron
and Superior, ... all countries, rivers, lakes and streams, contiguous
and adjacent thereto, with those that have been discovered, and those
which may be discovered hereafter, ... bounded by the seas of the
north, west, and south.” This modest claim covered perhaps nine tenths
of North America. As usual, a big wooden cross was erected and blest. A
metallic plate bearing the king’s arms was nailed up, and a
“procès-verbal” drawn and signed. In that day such a proclamation gave
title to barbarian lands until annulled in battle by land or sea.
Father Allouez made a speech, which has been preserved, describing the
power and glory of the French king in extravagant terms.

Talon could not rest. He was on fire to unlock the secret of the great
river and extend the French dominion to the unknown sea into which it
might empty. In 1672, with the approval of Colbert, he planned an
expedition to penetrate the region in which it was supposed to flow.
Joliet was chosen to lead, and at the end of the year he was at
Mackinaw. It was probably no accident that Père Marquette had just been
transferred from La Pointe to that station. But the enthusiastic
intendant was to close his Canadian career. In the very same year Count
Frontenac, the greatest figure in Canadian history, came over to be
governor. He was already past fifty, had seen many campaigns, and had
wasted his fortune at court. He, too, had ideas, and an ambition to do
great things for Canada and France. There was not room enough in the
province for two such men as Talon and he. The intendant obtained his
recall, and disappeared from the scene.

Frontenac at once adopted Talon’s scheme, and gave Joliet leave to go.
Accompanied by Marquette he struck the great river at Prairie du Chien,
June 17, 1673, and then followed its flow far enough to satisfy himself
that it ran to the Mexican gulf. Joliet’s great map has a truly modern
aspect. The importance of this discovery of the Mississippi for the
present purpose is, that it was by way of the great river that the
French, with a notable exception, pushed their way into Minnesota.

A company of Canadian merchants resolved to attempt an opening of trade
about and beyond the head of Lake Superior, and selected as their agent
Daniel Greyloson, the Sieur Duluth, a man of ability and enterprise. He
evidently received some kind of public character from Frontenac, whose
enemies insinuated that he was to be a sharer in profits. In the spring
of 1679 Duluth penetrated to the shores of Mille Lacs, and in a great
Sioux village which he understood to be called “Kathio,” on July 2 he
planted the king’s arms and took possession in the royal name. Duluth,
therefore, was the first white man in Minnesota not ashamed to report
and record the fact. In the same season he retraced his steps to the
head of the lake, and passed down the north shore to Pigeon River,
which forms part of the Canadian boundary. There, on the left bank of
that river, he built a trading post, on the site afterwards occupied by
Fort William.

The next dash into the territory of the North Star State was directed
by one who has been called the most picturesque figure in American
history, Réné Robert Cavalier, Sieur de la Salle. At the age of
twenty-three he broke away from the Jesuits with whom he was in
training, and set sail for Canada with four hundred francs in his
pocket, in the year 1663. When Frontenac came, nine years later, he
found in young La Salle a man after his own heart, and sent him to
France in 1674 to secure royal support for further explorations. Such
support, then withheld, was vouchsafed four years later, when La Salle
was again in Paris on the same errand. By a royal patent signed May 12,
1678, La Salle was authorized to extend the scope of Joliet’s
exploration to the Gulf of Mexico and to pay his expenses by trade,
provided he kept off the preserves of the Montreal traders.

With the king’s patent in hand, it was easy to attract capital and
enlist volunteers. Early in the fall of the same year, La Salle was
back in Canada with his men and outfit, and soon set out for the west.
After battling with a series of delays and discouragements which need
not be narrated, the undaunted leader established himself in a fort
built on the east bank of the Illinois River, near Peoria, Illinois, in
the winter of 1680. There is no record that La Salle had been
authorized to explore the upper Mississippi, but he was not the man to
lose a good opportunity for lack of technical instructions. To lead an
exploring party up that stream he chose Michael Accault, an experienced
voyageur, “prudent, brave, and cool,” and gave him two associates:
Antoine Auguelle, called the Picard du Gay, was one; the other was the
now famous Father Louis Hennepin, a Franciscan friar of the Recollet
branch, who came over in the same ship with La Salle in 1678. He had
wandered in many lands, knew some Indian dialects, and shared La
Salle’s passion for adventure.

In a bark canoe laden with their arms, personal belongings, and some
packs of merchandise which served for money between whites and Indians,
the little party set out, after priestly benediction, on February 28,
1680. They dropped down the Illinois to its mouth, and took their
toilsome way against the current of the Mississippi. On April 11, when
near the southern line of Minnesota, they encountered a fleet of
thirty-three canoes carrying a war-party intent on mischief to certain
Illinois tribes. The savages frightened but did not harm the Frenchmen.
Accault was able to inform them that the Illinois Indians had crossed
the river to hunt. They therefore turned homewards, taking the
explorers with them. At the end of the month the flotilla rounded up,
as is believed, at the mouth of Phalen’s Creek, at St. Paul. Here they
abandoned their canoes and set out overland by a trail which would
naturally follow the divide between the waters of the Mississippi and
the St. Croix, for their villages on Mille Lacs. On May 5 they arrived,
and the Frenchmen, compelled to sell their effects to their captors,
were sent to separate villages. The friar lost his portable altar and
brocade vestments; otherwise they were not unkindly treated. Some weeks
passed, when Hennepin and Auguelle were allowed to take a canoe and
start for the mouth of the Wisconsin, where La Salle promised to send
supplies. Accault preferred to join a great hunting party that was
about setting out. Hennepin and his comrade left the hunters at the
mouth of Rum River, and paddling with the current soon found themselves
at the falls called by the Dakotas Mi-ni-i-ha-ha, the rushing water,
then first seen by white men, to which he gave the name of his patron
saint, Anthony of Padua. His description of the cataract and
surroundings is reasonably accurate, although he greatly exaggerated
its height. No rival has claimed the credit of their discovery. Passing
on down the river, they met an Indian who informed them that the
hunting party was not far away, on some tributary. They abandoned their
lonesome journey and joined the hunters, who, the hunt over, were about
returning to their villages.

We left Duluth in his fort at the mouth of Pigeon River in the fall of
1679. He wintered there, and, as he relates, dissatisfied with his
discoveries of the previous summer, resolved on a new adventure. When
the season of 1680 opened he set out with four Frenchmen and two Indian
guides, ascended the Bois Brulé River, portaged over to the head of the
St. Croix, and followed that down to Point Douglass, where he doubtless
recognized the great river. Here he learned that but a short time
before two Frenchmen had passed down in a canoe. He instantly followed,
and after forty-eight hours of lively paddling met the Sioux hunters
and with them Accault, Auguelle, and Hennepin. All the French now
traveled with the Indians to their villages on Mille Lacs, this time up
the Mississippi and Rum rivers. The season was now far advanced and
Duluth was obliged to give up his project of a journey to “the ocean of
the west,” which he believed to be not more than twenty days’ march
distant. Furnished with a rude but truthful map sketched by one of the
Sioux chiefs, and promising the Indians to return to trade, the eight
white men took their departure for home by Prairie du Chien and Green
Bay. Hennepin returned to France and in 1682 published his “Description
of Louisiana.” He knew how to tell an interesting story, and stuck as
close to the truth as most annalists of his day. He assumed to have
been the leader of the exploring party. Fifteen years later there was
published in Holland a book under the title of “A New Discovery of a
Great Country.” It contained all the matter of Hennepin’s
“Description,” and some one hundred and fifty pages more. These
interpolated into the original story a journey of more than three
thousand miles in thirty days, from the mouth of the Illinois to the
Gulf of Mexico and back, before ascending the Mississippi. If Hennepin
himself wrote the injected pages, he was the shameless liar which he
has been frequently declared to be. There is room, however, for the
suggestion that the added pages were the work of some literary hack
employed by dishonest publishers to give the book the appearance of a
new one; but a good degree of charity is necessary to entertain this
theory, as there is no record of any disavowal by Hennepin. Granting
Hennepin to have been the leader, it must be remembered he was an agent
of La Salle. La Salle’s foresight and enterprise sent him to the land
of the Dakotas and to the Falls of St. Anthony.

It was not till the winter of 1682 that La Salle was able to embark
from his fort at Peoria. Sixty days of easy canoe navigation brought
him to one of the islands at the mouth of the Mississippi. There in the
month of April, under his royal patent, he set up a cross and
proclaimed the sovereignty of Louis le Grand over the whole valley of
the great river and all its tributaries. On the “procès-verbal” of that
transaction rests every land title in Minnesota.

Duluth and La Salle by means of Accault’s reports revealed to Count
Frontenac the magnificence of the upper Mississippi region, and Father
Hennepin’s book, dedicated to the king, seems to have inspired Louis
XIV with a desire to occupy and possess that goodly land. In 1686 the
able and experienced Nicholas Perrot, who had been appointed commandant
of the west with orders to make an establishment there, built a fort on
the east bank of Lake Pepin, and called it Fort St. Antoine. The site
has been clearly identified about two miles below the “Burlington”
railroad station of Stockholm, Pepin County, Wisconsin. Summoned the
following year to lead a contingent of voyageurs and savages in the
campaign against the Iroquois in the Genesee valley of western New
York, he did not return to Fort St. Antoine till late in 1688. To
satisfy any lingering doubts about the legitimate sovereignty of those
parts, he made formal proclamation of his king’s lordship over all the
countries and rivers he had seen and would see. Perrot was too useful a
man to be left in the wilderness, and was presently ordered on other
service and his fort left empty.

Another attempt at settlement on the upper Mississippi was made by a
Canadian, Pierre Le Sueur, an associate of Perrot, who in 1694
established a trading post on Prairie Island in the Mississippi, about
nine miles below Hastings, the same on which Groseilliers and Radisson
are imagined to have camped in 1655. Le Sueur stayed over one winter in
the west, and returned to Montreal to discover to Frontenac a new
project. He had located a copper mine. He hastened to Paris to obtain
the king’s license, then necessary for mining operations. After a
struggle of two years he got his permit and started for Canada. The
English caught him and held him a prisoner for some months. Returning
to France, he found his license canceled, because of a resolution of
the government to abandon all trade west of Mackinaw. At length Le
Sueur was excepted from the rule and his license renewed. In 1699 he
sailed with the expedition of D’Iberville, which was to make and did
make the first settlement out of which New Orleans grew.

In the midsummer following he made his way with a sailboat and two
canoes up the Mississippi, reaching Fort Snelling September 19. He
doubtless knew where he was going, for without delay he turned into the
Minnesota River, which he followed to the mouth of the Mah-ka-to or
Blue Earth. A short distance above, the latter stream receives the Le
Sueur. At their junction he built a fort to which he gave the name of a
treasury official of Paris who had supported him, “Fort L’Huillier.”
The spot has been identified by a local archæologist. He was obliged to
pacify with presents the Sioux who were displeased because he did not
build at the mouth of the Minnesota. His company passed a comfortable
winter, but before it was over they had to come down to buffalo beef
without salt. Some of them could put away six pounds along with four
bowls of broth daily. In the spring Le Sueur departed for Biloxi, with
his shallop loaded with bluish green earth taken from a bluff near his
fort. He never saw Minnesota again, and no later explorer has
rediscovered his mine. The state geologist has not found the least
trace of copper in the region.

The last decade of the seventeenth century was one of discouragement
for old France and new. Louis XIV, decrepit and bankrupt, dominated by
Madame Maintenon and a group of ecclesiastics, had, by revoking the
Edict of Nantes in 1685, driven three hundred thousand and more of the
most industrious and skillful artisans and tradesmen of France into
exile. The dragonades, countenanced even by such men as Fénelon and
Bossuet, had spread ruin throughout whole provinces. Foreign wars along
with domestic convulsions had almost beggared the kingdom.

Frontenac had died in office in 1698, and Canadian affairs, fallen into
less capable hands, were languishing. There was lack of men and money
to protect the northwest trade. It needed protection. The English,
holding the Iroquois in alliance, had pushed their trade into the Ohio
valley and the lower peninsula of Michigan. The Sacs and Foxes of the
Illinois country, old allies of the French, had broken away, and closed
all the roads from the lakes to the Mississippi unless that of the St.
Croix. For these reasons the Canadian government had in 1699 withdrawn
the garrison from Mackinaw, abandoned all posts farther west, and
ordered the concentration of Indian trade at Montreal. It was not till
after the war of the Spanish Succession was closed by the treaty of
Utrecht, in 1713, that any thought could be taken for the revival of
trade and missions in the Mississippi valley. England might at that
time have stripped France of all her transatlantic holdings, but
contented herself with Newfoundland and the posts on Hudson’s Bay.

In 1714 the French garrison was reëstablished at Mackinaw, which
remained the headquarters of trade with the Algonquins of the northwest
till far into the nineteenth century. Three years later Duluth’s old
fort on Pigeon River was reoccupied, to become a great entrepôt of
trade with the inland natives; a year later still La Pointe received a
small garrison.

Ten years passed before the effort to plant French trade and missions
was renewed on the upper Mississippi. Charlevoix, the historian of New
France, was over in 1720 and traveled by way of Mackinaw and Green Bay
to New Orleans. By his advice the French government resolved to plant
an establishment in the country of the Sioux, as a centre of trade and
mission work, and as a point of departure for expeditions to gain the
shores of the western sea. The hostile Sacs and Foxes having been
placated, an expedition was planned with all the care which long
experience could suggest. For leader was chosen Réné Boucher, Sieur de
la Perrière, the same who in 1708 had headed the raiding party which
descended on Haverhill, thirty-two miles north of Boston, where his
Indians butchered thirty or forty of the English. Two Jesuit fathers,
Guinas and De Gonor, attached themselves to the expedition, and asked
for a supply of astronomical instruments. In June, 1727, the expedition
set out from Montreal and took the then main traveled road by way of
Mackinaw and Green Bay. A letter of De Gonor, which has been preserved,
gives an interesting account of the journey.

On September 17, 1727, at noon, La Perrière beached his canoes on a low
point of land on the west shore of Lake Pepin, near the steamboat
landing at Frontenac. Putting his men to work with axes, he had them
all comfortably housed by the end of October. There were three log
buildings, each 16 feet wide; one 30, a second 38, and the third 25
feet long. Surrounding them was a stockade of tree-trunks 12 feet out
of ground, 100 feet square, “with two good bastions.” The fort was
named “Beauharnois” after the governor-general of Canada. To the first
mission on Minnesota soil the priests gave the title, “Mission of St.
Michael the Archangel.” On November 4 the company celebrated the
birthday of the governor, but were obliged by the state of the weather
to postpone to the night of the 14th the crowning event of their
programme. They then set off “some very fine rockets.” When the
visiting Indians saw the stars falling from heaven, the women and
children took to the woods, while the men begged for an end of such
marvelous medicine. The Sioux were not disposed to be hospitable, and
the good behavior of the Sacs and Foxes could not be counted on. In the
following season La Perrière departed with the Jesuits and eight other
Frenchmen for Montreal. The post was held, and occupied off and on for
twenty years or more. No settlement was made about it, no permanent
mission work was established, and no expedition towards the Pacific was
undertaken. The Indians were unreliable, the French had other interests
to attend to, and, contrary to expectation, game was scarce in the
region.

One of the successors of La Perrière in command of Fort Beauharnois was
Captain Legardeur Saint Pierre, the same officer who in 1753 at his
post on French Creek, not far from Pittsburg, was waited on by young
Mr. Washington, bearing Governor Dinwiddie’s invitation to the French
to get out of Virginian territory.

Another French adventure, although of slight import to Minnesota,
deserves mention. The Sieur de la Verendrye, commanding the French post
on Lake Nipigon, fell in with the Jesuit Guinas, who went out with La
Perrière in 1727, and was inflamed by him with a desire to find the
western ocean. At his own post he had found an Indian, Ochaga by name,
who sketched for him an almost continuous water route thither; another
offered to be his guide. He hastened to Montreal, secured the assent of
the governor-general, Beauharnois, and in 1731 dispatched his advance
party. It reached the foot of Rainy Lake that year, and there built a
fort on the Canadian side. The next year the expedition made its way to
the southwest margin of the Lake of the Woods and there built Fort
Charles, giving it the Christian name of the governor-general. Whether
this fort was on Minnesota soil is undecided.

So ardent was Verendrye’s passion for the glory of discovering the way
to the western sea that, encouraged by the Canadian authorities, he
kept up the quest for more than ten years longer. On January 12, 1743,
the Chevalier Verendrye, as related, climbed one of the foothills of
the Shining or Rocky Mountains, and gave it over. Sixty years later
Lewis and Clark passed that barrier and won their way to the Pacific.



                               CHAPTER II

                          THE ENGLISH DOMINION


If the French failed to establish any permanent settlement in
Minnesota, it was not wholly because their passion for trade
discouraged home-building and cultivation; they had interests elsewhere
in America more important than those of the northwest. La Salle’s
proclamation of 1682 asserted dominion of the whole region drained by
the Mississippi and its tributaries. For a time the Ohio was regarded
as the main river and the upper Mississippi as an affluent. Before the
close of the seventeenth century both French and English were awake to
the beauty and richness of the Ohio valley and the Illinois country.
The building of a fort by Cadillac at Detroit in 1701 revealed the firm
purpose of the French to maintain their claim of sovereignty. In the
treaty of Utrecht, 1713, the English, with a long look ahead, secured
the concession that the Iroquois were the “subjects” of England. In a
series of negotiations culminating in a treaty at Lancaster, Pa., the
Iroquois ceded to the English all their lands west of the Alleghanies
and south of the great lakes. On this cession the English put the
liberal construction that the Iroquois were owners of all territory
over which they had extended their victorious forays, and these they
had good right to convey. In 1748 the Ohio Company, formed in Virginia,
sent Christopher Gist to explore the Ohio valley. The next year a
governor of Canada sent an expedition down the Ohio to conciliate the
Indians and to bury leaden plates at chosen points, asserting the
dominion of France. A line of fortified posts was stretched by the
French from Quebec to Fort Charles below St. Louis, on the Mississippi.

When in 1754 a French battalion drove off the party of English
backwoodsmen who had begun the erection of a fort at the forks of the
Ohio, and proceeded to build Fort Duquesne, the French and Indian War
began. The course of this struggle, exceeding by far in point of
magnitude the war of the Revolution, cannot here be followed. At the
close of the campaign of 1757 the French seemed triumphant. In the year
following they lost Fort Duquesne, in 1759 Quebec, and in 1760
Montreal. The power of the French in North America was broken.
Historians of Canada still name the epoch that of “the Conquest.”

The diplomatic settlement of this contest awaited the outcome of a
great war raging in Europe, the so-called Seven Years’ War of Frederick
the Great against Austria, Russia, and France. England was early drawn
into the support of the Prussian monarch, and supplied his military
chest and sent an army to the continent. France presumptuously aspired
to wrest the empire of the seas from Britain, with the result that her
navies were sunk or battered to useless wrecks. In a separate treaty
signed at Paris, February 10, 1763, France surrendered to England all
her possessions and claims east of the Mississippi except the city of
New Orleans and the island embracing it. The British government,
however, was none too desirous to accept this cession. It was a matter
of lively debate in the ministry whether it would not be the better
policy to leave Canada to the French and strip her of her West Indian
possessions. That course might have been adopted, but for the influence
exerted by Benjamin Franklin’s famous “Canada Pamphlet,” which is still
“interesting reading.” Franklin was in England while the question was
pending, and published his views in answer to “Remarks” ascribed to
Edmund Burke.

It may be well to note here that in the year preceding the treaty of
Paris (1762) France had taken the precaution to assign to Spain, by a
secret treaty, all her North American possessions west of the
Mississippi, in order to put them out of the reach of England.

It was the 8th of September, 1760, when the capitulation of Montreal
was signed, turning all Canada over to the British. Five days later
Amherst, the victorious commander, dispatched Major Robert Hayes with
two hundred rangers to take possession of the western posts. Expected
opposition at Detroit was not offered, and that important strategic
point was occupied on November 29. The season was then too late for
further movements, and more than a year passed before garrisons were
established at Mackinaw and Green Bay. The British were none too
welcome among the savages, long accustomed to French dealings and
alliances. But French influence was not what it had formerly been.
During the long struggle for the mastery of the continent the Indian
trade had languished, and in remoter regions the savages had reverted
to their ancient ways and standards of living. The trade revived,
however, under British rule, which brought peace and protection. In
1762 the British commandant gave a permit to a Frenchman named Pinchon
to trade on the Minnesota River, then in Spanish territory. Four years
later the old post on Pigeon River was revived and trade was reopened
in northern Minnesota. Prairie du Chien became in the course of a
decade a village of some three hundred families, mostly French
half-breeds, and remained a supply station for the Indian trade of
southern and central Minnesota till far into the nineteenth century.

The British authorities in Canada indulged no romantic passion to
discover the south or western sea, and were indifferent for a time to
the development and protection of trade in the northwest. This fact
lends brilliance to the adventures of a single American born subject
who in 1766 set out alone for the wilderness, resolved to cross the
Rocky Mountains, descend to the western ocean, and cross the Straits of
Anion to Cathay. Such was the bold enterprise of Jonathan Carver of
Canterbury, Connecticut, at thirty-four years of age. He was not
unlettered, for he had studied medicine; and he was not inexperienced,
for he had served with some distinction as a line officer in a colonial
regiment in the French and Indian War. Departing from Boston in June
(1766), he traveled the usual way by the lakes to Mackinaw, where he
found that versatile Irish gentleman, Major Robert Rogers, his comrade
in arms, in command. There is a tradition, needing confirmation, that
this officer “grub-staked” Carver for trade with the Sioux and possible
operations in land. However, he left Mackinaw in September supplied
with credits on traders for the goods serving for money with Indians,
and taking the Fox-Wisconsin route, found himself at the Falls of St.
Anthony on the 17th of November. Although he estimated the descent of
the cataract at thirty feet, it impressed him only as the striking
feature of a beautiful landscape. “On the whole,” says he, “when the
Falls are included, ... a more pleasing and picturesque view, I
believe, cannot be found throughout the universe.” After a short
excursion above the falls, Carver took his way up the Minnesota, as he
estimated, two hundred miles. He passed the winter with a band of Sioux
Indians which he fails to name, and in a place he does not describe,
and in the spring came down to St. Paul with a party of three hundred,
bringing the remains of their dead to be deposited in the well-known
“Indian mounds” on Dayton’s Bluff. The cave in the white sand rock
entered by him on his upward journey, and which bore his name till
obliterated by railroad cuttings, was nearly beneath the Indian mounds.
His report of a funeral oration delivered here by one of the chiefs so
impressed the German poet Schiller that he wrote his “Song of the
Nadowessee Chief,” which Goethe praised as one of his best. Two very
distinguished Englishmen, Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton and Sir John
Herschel, made metrical translations of this poem in the fashion of
their time.

This journey was but a preliminary one to find and explore the
Minnesota valley and acquaint Carver with the tribes dwelling there and
their languages. He had conceived that a short march from the head of
that river would take him to the Missouri. This he would ascend to its
sources in the mountains, and crossing over these he would float down
the Oregon to the ocean. Major Rogers, as he relates, had engaged to
send him supplies to the Falls of St. Anthony. Receiving none, Carver
hastened down to Prairie du Chien, to be again disappointed.

Resolved on prosecuting his great adventure, he decided to apply to the
traders at Pigeon River for the necessary merchandise. Paddling back up
the Mississippi, he took the St. Croix route to Lake Superior, and
coasted along the north shore to that post, only to find, after many
hundred miles of laborious travel, that the traders had no goods to
spare him. He could do nothing but return to his home. In 1768 he went
to England, hoping to interest the government in his project, and in
the following year published his book of travels. It is now known that
little if any of it was his own composition. His account of the customs
of the Indians was pieced together from Charlevoix and Lahontan. But
the work of his editor, a certain Dr. Littsom, was so well done that
“Carver’s Travels” have been more widely read than the original works
drawn upon.

There is very doubtful testimony to the effect that in 1774 the king
made Carver a present of £1373 13s. 8d., and ordered the dispatch of a
public vessel to carry him and a party of one hundred and fifty men by
way of New Orleans to the upper Mississippi, to take possession of
certain lands. The Revolutionary War breaking out, the expedition was
abandoned.

Carver died in poverty in England in 1780, and might be dismissed but
for a sequel which lingers in Minnesota to the present time. After his
death there was brought to day a deed purporting to have been signed by
two Indian chiefs, “at the great cave,” May 1, 1767, conveying to their
“good brother Jonathan” a tract of land lying on the east side of the
Mississippi one hundred miles wide, running from the Falls of St.
Anthony down to the mouth of the Chippeway, embracing nearly two
million acres. A married daughter, by his English wife, and her husband
bargained their alleged interest to a London company for ten per cent.
of the realized profits, but that company soon abandoned their venture.
Carver left behind him an American family, a widow, two sons, and five
daughters. In 1806 one Samuel Peters, an Episcopal clergyman of
Vermont, represented in a petition to Congress that he had acquired the
rights of these heirs to the Carver purchase, and prayed to have it
confirmed to him. This Peters claim was kept before Congress for
seventeen years. In 1822 the Mississippi Land Company was organized in
New York to prosecute it. They seem to have been taken seriously, for
in the next year a Senate committee, in a report of January 23, advised
the rejection of the claim as utterly without merit. But it has been
repeatedly renewed, and doubtless at the present time there are worthy
people dreaming of pleasures and palaces when they come into their
rights.

For the first three years following the Conquest all Canada remained
under military rule. In 1763 George III by proclamation established
four provinces with separate governments, but the great northwest
region was included in none of these. That remained as crown land,
reserved for the use of the Indians under royal protection. All
squatters were ordered to depart and all persons were forbidden to
attempt purchases of land from the Indians. This prohibition alone was
fatal to Carver’s claim. The United States could not possibly confirm a
purchase impossible under English law. It was the express design of the
British government to prevent the thirteen colonies from gaining ground
to the west, and “leave the savages to enjoy their deserts in quiet.”

In 1774, about the time when Parliament was extending its novel sway
over the American colonies, the “Quebec act” was passed. This act
extended the Province of Quebec to the Mississippi and gave to
Minnesota East its first written constitution. This provided for a
government by a governor and an appointed legislative council, but it
was never actually effective west of Lake Michigan.

Under the definitive treaty of peace between Great Britain and the
United States, the dominion of the former over Minnesota East ceased,
but that of the United States government did not immediately supervene.
Virginia under her charter of 1609 had claimed the whole Northwest, and
her army, commanded by General George Rogers Clark, had in 1779
established her power in the Illinois country. Three years later the
county of Illinois was created and an executive appointed by Governor
Patrick Henry. The act of Congress of March 1, 1784, accepting the
cession of her northwestern lands, amounting to a concession of
colorable title, ended Virginia’s technical government in Minnesota
East. From that date to the passage of the Ordinance of 1787 (July 13)
this region remained unorganized Indian country. This great ordinance
made it part of “the Northwest Territory” and gave it a written
constitution. But this was nugatory for the reason that although Great
Britain had in form surrendered the territory in the treaty of 1783,
she continued her occupation for thirteen years longer. Her pretext for
maintaining her garrisons at Detroit, Mackinaw, Green Bay, and
elsewhere was the failure of the United States to prevent the states
from confiscating the estates of loyalists and hindering English
creditors from collecting their debts in full sterling value, as
provided in the treaty. The actual reason was an expectation, or hope,
that affairs would take such a turn that the whole or the greater part
of the Ohio-Illinois country might revert to England. A new British
fort was built on the Maumee River in northwestern Ohio in 1794. The
surrender of this to General Anthony Wayne after the battle of Fallen
Timbers, in August of that year, has been regarded as the last act in
the war of the Revolution. By the Jay treaty it was agreed that the
western posts should be given up to the United States, and on or about
the 12th of July, 1796, the British commanders hauled down their flags
and marched out their garrisons.

There was a powerful interest which had encouraged the British
authorities to hold their grip on the Northwest. The revival of the
fur-trade after the Conquest was tardy, but soon after Carver’s time a
notable development took place. Another Connecticut Yankee, Peter Pond
by name, in 1774 established a trading post at Traverse des Sioux on
the Minnesota. On a map left by him it is marked “Fort Pond.” The trade
west of the lakes, however, early fell into the hands of adventurous
Scotchmen of Montreal, among whom competition became so sharp as to
lead to what would have been called, a hundred years later, a “trust”
or “combine.” An informal agreement between the principal traders at
Montreal ripened, in 1787, into “The Northwest Company,” with
headquarters in that city. This company promptly and effectually
organized the northwestern fur-trade. It established a hierarchy of
posts and stations, and introduced a quasi-military administration of
the employees. It wisely took into its service the old French and
half-breed “engagés and voyageurs,” and rewarded them so liberally as
to win them from illicit traffic. For forty years the Northwest Company
was the ruling power west of the lakes, although it had not, as had the
Hudson’s Bay Company, its model, any authorized political functions.
Its policy and discipline served in place of laws and police.

The greater distributing and collecting ports were Detroit, Mackinaw,
and Fort William; and next in importance were such places as La Pointe,
Fond du Lac, and Prairie du Chien, from which the trade of the upper
Mississippi was managed. Fond du Lac, near the mouth of the St. Louis
River, at the head of Lake Superior, was the gateway to an immense
region abounding in the finest peltries and occupied by a large
Chippeway population, eager to buy the white man’s guns and ammunition,
knives, kettles, tobacco, and, most dearly prized of all, his deadly
fire-water. From Fond du Lac there was a canoe route to the lakes which
are the proximate sources of the great river. It led up the St. Louis
River to the mouth of the East Savanna near the Floodwood railroad
station. From the head of the East Savanna a short portage led to the
West Savanna, an affluent of Prairie River which empties into Sandy
Lake, near the southwest corner of Aitkin County. That water covers
near half a township and discharges by a short outlet into the
Mississippi, some twenty-five miles above the village and railroad
station of Aitkin. Here in 1794 the Sandy Lake post of the Northwest
Company was built. There was a stockade one hundred feet square, of
hewn logs one foot square, and thirteen feet out of ground. Within were
the necessary buildings, and without, fenced in, a considerable garden.
From Sandy Lake radiated numerous “jackknife posts,” where the
bushrangers wintered and swapped gewgaws for pelts. For many years
Sandy Lake was the most important point in Minnesota, the chief factor
there the big man of the Chippeway country.



                              CHAPTER III

                         MINNESOTA WEST ANNEXED


The reader is asked to recall the cession by France, in 1762, of her
American territory west of the Mississippi to Spain. The French
population of Louisiana, resenting this arbitrary transfer, drove out
the Spanish governor who came in 1766, and organized for a free state
under French protection. In 1769 a Spanish fleet of twenty-four sail,
bringing an army of twenty-six hundred men and fifty cannon, under the
command of a forceful captain-general, securely established the power
of Spain. The laws of Castile, derived from the civil code of Rome,
were put in force, and they continue in force to the present day. By a
line about on the latitude of Memphis a province of Upper Louisiana was
set apart and placed under the control of a lieutenant-governor
residing at St. Louis. Minnesota West was of course a part of this
jurisdiction.

In the last years of the eighteenth century Napoleon Bonaparte was
absolute in France, although not yet crowned emperor. Among the schemes
with which his imagination was busied was one to establish another new
France on the western continent. Louisiana had been a costly dependency
for Spain, and it was only by a reluctant but timely concession of the
right of navigation and deposit that an armed descent of Americans from
the Ohio valley on New Orleans had been averted. That would have put an
end to Spanish rule. Spain willingly retroceded to France for a nominal
consideration, by the secret treaty of San Ildefonso, March 13, 1801.
Already Napoleon had formed a definite plan and begun preparations to
send 25,000 veteran soldiers to Louisiana, under convoy of a powerful
fleet. His secret could not be kept, and England made ready to attack
the expedition at sea. Napoleon had reason to expect that she would
descend on New Orleans herself, and take possession of the province.
While he was in this frame of mind the American minister, under
instructions, expressed the desire of his government to buy the city
and island of New Orleans and thus make the Mississippi the
international boundary to its mouth. To his surprise Napoleon offered
to sell the whole province, spite of his agreement with Spain never to
cede to any other power. The Louisiana purchase was consummated by
treaty April 30, 1803. Meantime the province had remained in the
possession of Spain, and it was not till November 30 that she turned
New Orleans over to the French. Twenty days later the United States
came into possession. The upper province of Louisiana was held but one
day by a French commissary, who on March 10, 1804, at St. Louis,
conveyed it to the United States. The cost to the government was three
and six tenths cents per acre.

The actual surrender of Upper Louisiana in 1804 added geographically
Minnesota West, included in that province, to Minnesota East, then part
of Crawford County, Indiana. The whole region was still occupied by
aborigines, and a generation was to pass before any of it became white
man’s country. Two great nations divided the territory: the Chippeways,
of Algonquin stock, occupying the north and east; the Sioux or Dakotas
the south and west. Both were immigrant from early eastern habitats,
the Chippeways moving north of the lakes (Lake Superior split the
stream), the Sioux south of the same. When first seen by white men, the
latter held the country about the sources of the Mississippi, the head
of Lake Superior, and to the St. Croix. The Chippeways were first to
obtain guns from the white man, and began at once to push the Sioux
before them. In Hennepin’s time (1680) the principal villages of the
Sioux were in the Mille Lacs region. By the close of the Revolutionary
War the Chippeways had driven them south of the Crow Wing and west of
the Mississippi, leaving them only a precarious hold on the margin of
their old hunting grounds. From their earliest encounters the two
nations had been unremitting foes. But for occasional truces they were
always at war; and this perennial feud did not cease till the
government in 1863 moved the Sioux beyond the Missouri, out of the
reach of the Chippeways. The two nations possessed in common the
well-known characteristics of the red man, physical, mental, and
social, but a difference of environment had established marked
peculiarities. The Chippeways were men of the forest and stream; their
women gathered wild rice, excellent for food. The Sioux, men of the
prairie, were the taller and more agile, but the Chippeways outmatched
them for strength and endurance.

Both peoples had already been profoundly affected by contact with white
men. If the missionary had not broken the power of the medicine-man and
converted them to the true faith, the trader had revolutionized their
whole manner of life. He had given the Indian the gun for his bow and
arrows, axes and knives of steel for those of stone, and the iron
kettle for the earthen pot. The Mackinaw blanket and the trader’s
strouds had replaced garments made from skins, and ornaments of shell
and feathers had given way to those of metal and glass.

Before the trader the Indian had hunted for subsistence, content when
he had supplied his family and dependents with food and clothing. The
trader made him a pot-hunter, killing mostly for the skins alone. Game
animals became scarce about the villages, and hunting expeditions had
to be made to distant grounds, where the enemies’ parties would be met
and fought. The Indian had become a vassal to the trader, who outfitted
him for the hunt, and at its end took his furs in payment at rates
little understood by the man who did not know that the white metal was
worth more than the red. If anything remained from the Indian’s pack it
was very likely to be forthwith spent for the highly diluted whiskey of
the trader. The Indian’s fondness for spirits and their effects was at
least equal to the white man’s, and he had not become immune from
immemorial indulgence. The resulting crime and misery are beyond
description,—conception, almost. And the trader’s excuse was that the
Indians would not trade if whiskey was not furnished, and that it was
absurd for one to refuse it when all the rest were selling. Along with
the white man came his epidemic diseases. Smallpox and measles
depopulated villages and almost extinguished tribes. A nameless
contagion was only less deadly. Unbridled commerce with the women
multiplied half-breeds, possessing frequently all of the vices and few
of the virtues of both races. The half-breed was always a misfit,
because he could assume by turns the character of white or red,
according to convenience and profit.

All the Minnesota Indians were clients of the Northwest Company, unless
where along the northern border the agents of the Hudson’s Bay Company
were drawing off the trade by abundant whiskey. This competition at
length brought the two companies to open war.

Long before he became president, Jefferson was curious to unlock the
secret of the unknown west and learn the road to the Pacific. It was
not till the early winter of 1803, however, that he was able to
persuade Congress to make a small appropriation for a military
expedition of discovery, and then under color of “extending the
external commerce of the United States.” And more than a year passed
before the expedition of Lewis and Clark set out from St. Louis May 4,
1804.

A similar expedition on a smaller scale left St. Louis in August, 1805,
to discover the source of the Mississippi. It was led by First
Lieutenant Zebulon Montgomery Pike of the First Infantry, a native of
New Jersey, then twenty-six years of age. “He was five feet eight
inches tall; eyes blue; hair light; abstemious, temperate, and
unremitting in duty.” If there could have been doubt of his fitness for
the enterprise, the sequel fully justified his selection. His
instructions were carefully drawn to keep him and his errand within
constitutional limits. The first entry of his journal reads, “Sailed
from my encampment, near St. Louis, at 4 o’clock, P. M., on Friday the
9th of August, 1805: with one sergeant, two corporals, and seventeen
privates, in a keel boat, 70 feet long, provisioned for four months.”
On the 21st of September Pike reached the mouth of the Minnesota, and
“encamped on the northeast point of the big island,” which still bears
his name. The next day Little Crow, grandfather of the chief of the
same name who led the outbreak of 1862, came with his band of one
hundred and fifty warriors. On the third day a council was held under
the shelter of the sails, on the beach. In his speech Pike let the
Indians know that their Great Father no longer lived beyond the great
salt water, and that the Canadian traders who tried to keep them in
ignorance of American independence were “bad birds”; that traders were
forbidden to sell rum, and the Indians ought to coöperate in preventing
them; and that the Sioux and Chippeways ought to live in peace
together. In particular he asked that they allow the United States to
select two tracts of land, one at the mouth of the St. Croix, the other
above the mouth of the Minnesota. On these the Great Father would
establish military posts, and public trading factories, where Indians
could get goods cheaper than from the traders.

The well-advised officer had already crossed the hands of the two head
chiefs. He closed his speech with a reference to their “father’s
tobacco and some other trifling things” as evidence of good will, and
promised some liquor “to clear their throats.” The chiefs saw no need
of their signing any paper, but did it to please the generous orator.
The “treaty” is a curiosity in diplomacy. The first article grants,
what the United States already possessed, “full sovereignty and power”
over two tracts of land: one of nine miles square at the mouth of the
St. Croix; the other “from below the confluence of the Mississippi and
St. Peter’s (Minnesota) up the Mississippi to include the Falls of St.
Anthony, extending nine miles on each side of the river.” Pike
estimated the area of the latter grant to be about one hundred thousand
acres and the value to be $200,000. The second article provides that
“the United States shall pay ... dollars.” The final article permits
the Sioux to retain the only right they could legally convey, that of
occupancy for hunting and their other accustomed uses.

Five days were passed at the Falls of St. Anthony, partly because of
the sickness of some of the men. Pike took measurements and made a map.
He found the depth of the fall to be sixteen and a half feet. The
portage on the east bank was two hundred and sixty rods. The navigation
of the river above proved so difficult that it was not till the 16th of
October that the party reached the mouth of the Swan River. It was the
expectation of his general and of Pike himself that the march to the
source of the Mississippi and back would certainly be finished before
the close of the season. By the time he was ready to leave the falls,
September 30, it was evident that the journey could not be accomplished
in any such period. Resolved to prosecute it, and not go back defeated,
he formed the plan to push on to the mouth of the Crow Wing, put his
stores and part of his men under cover, and go forward on foot to his
destination. On the way up river he had a foretaste of the hardships
which awaited him. As he says, he “literally performed the duties of
astronomer, surveyor, commanding officer, clerk, spy, and guide.”
Finding it impossible to force his boats through the rapids below
Little Falls, he selected a favorable site below the junction of the
Swan with the Mississippi (the spot has been clearly identified), where
he built, in the course of a week, two blockhouses, and in them
bestowed his baggage and provisions. Here he remained till December 10,
occupied with hunting, chopping out “peroques,” and building bob-sleds.
It took thirty-four days to reach Sandy Lake, where the party met with
generous hospitality at the post of the Northwest Company. A week was
passed here in which the men replaced their sleds with the traineaux de
glace, or toboggans, used by the voyageurs. On February 1 the leader,
marching in advance, reached the establishment of the Northwest Company
on the western margin of Leech Lake, and highly relished a “good dish
of coffee, biscuit, butter, and cheese for supper.” Pike had now
accomplished his voyage by reaching the main source of the Mississippi.
Seventeen days were passed here, including three devoted to an
excursion on snowshoes to Cass Lake, then known as Upper Red Cedar
Lake. He now believed himself to have reached the “upper source of the
Mississippi,” but wasted not a word of rhetoric on the achievement.
While resting at Leech Lake Lieutenant Pike wrote out for the eye of
Mr. Hugh McGillis, director of the Fond du Lac department of the
Northwest Company, there present, a formal demand that he should
smuggle no more British goods into the country, haul down the British
flag at all his posts, give no more flags or medals to Indians, and
hold no political intercourse with them. Mr. McGillis in a
communication equally formal promised to do all those things. Pike
estimated that the government was losing some $26,000 a year of unpaid
customs. The two functionaries parted with mutual expressions of
regard, and the genial lieutenant started off home with a cariole and
dog team worth $200 presented by the gracious factor. Before his
departure, however, he had his riflemen shoot down the English jack
flying over the post. The return journey, ending April 30, 1806, cannot
be followed. On the 10th of the month the expedition passed around the
Falls of St. Anthony, and the journal records, “The appearance of the
Falls was much more tremendous than when we ascended.” The ice was
floating all day. The leader congratulated himself on having
accomplished every wish, without the loss of a man. “Ours was the first
canoe,” he says, “that ever crossed this portage.” In that belief he
was content. Pike’s journal was not published till 1810, and it
included his account of an expedition to the sources of the Arkansas,
and an enforced tour in New Spain. It had but slight effect on the
authorities at Washington, and still less on the public. The War of
1812 was brewing and there was little concern about this remote
wilderness. The effect of Pike’s dramatic incursion, and his fine
speeches to the Sioux and Chippeways soon wore off, the British flag
went up over the old trading posts of Minnesota and Wisconsin, and the
Northwest Company resumed its accustomed control over the Indians. It
is not likely that many of their goods paid the duties at Mackinaw.
When the war broke out the British-American authorities used all
needful means in the way of presents and promises to hold the
attachment of the nations. Some of the principal agents of the
Northwest Company were actually commissioned in the British service and
collected considerable bodies of Indians and half-breeds for the
western operations. The news of the end of the war was slow in reaching
these allies, and it was not till May 24, 1815, that the British
captain commanding at Prairie du Chien, having received his orders,
hauled down his flag and marched away with his garrison for Green Bay
and Montreal. The treaty of Ghent had been concluded eight months and
some days before. A serious proposition made by the British
plenipotentiaries for negotiating that treaty proves that the British
had cherished the hope that they might retain the great Northwest under
their virtual dominion. The proposition was that the two powers should
agree that the territory north and west of the “Greenville line of
1795,” roughly a zigzag from Cleveland to Cincinnati, should remain as
a permanent barrier between their boundaries. Both parties were to be
prohibited from buying land of the Indians, who were thus to be left in
actual occupation. The British would continue to control their trade
and hold their accustomed allegiance. The American commissioners
refused of course to entertain the proposal.



                               CHAPTER IV

                       FORT SNELLING ESTABLISHED


Readers of Irving’s “Astoria” know how a young German, coming to
America in the last year of the Revolution, by accident learned of the
possible profits to be won in the fur-trade, and how he presently
embarked in it. In the course of twenty-five years he made a million
dollars, a colossal private fortune for that day. In 1809 he obtained
from the New York legislature a charter, and organized the American Fur
Company. The war suspended the development of its plans. In 1816 Mr.
John Jacob Astor had little difficulty in securing an act of Congress
restricting Indian trade to American citizens. This patriotic statute
was intended to put the Northwest Company out of business on American
territory. It did, and that company sold out to Mr. Astor all its posts
and outfits south of the Canadian boundary at prices satisfactory to
the purchaser. In 1821 the Northwest Company was merged into the
Hudson’s Bay Company.

The American Fur Company adopted the policy of filling its leading
positions with young Americans of good education and enterprise, and
taking over the old engagés and voyageurs, inured to the service and
useless for any other. These old campaigners easily won over the
Indians to the new company and taught them to look to a Great Father at
Washington. The chief western stations for the trade of the upper
Mississippi were Mackinaw and Prairie du Chien. There was now an
“interest” which desired the development of the upper country; and it
lost no time in moving on the government. In the year last mentioned
(1816) four companies of United States infantry were sent to Prairie du
Chien, where they at once built Fort Crawford. In the next year, Pike’s
reports having apparently been forgotten, Major Stephen H. Long of the
Engineers traveled to Fort Snelling and in his report gave a
conditional approval to Pike’s selection of a site for a fort; but it
was not till the winter of 1819 that the government was moved to
establish a military post at the junction of the St. Peter’s with the
Mississippi. Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Leavenworth was ordered February
10 to proceed from Detroit, Michigan, to that point with a detachment
of the Fifth Infantry.

Taking the Fox-Wisconsin route, his party of eighty-two persons reached
Prairie du Chien July 1. “Scarcely an hour” after his arrival this
number was increased by the birth of Charlotte Ouisconsin (Clarke) Van
Cleve, long known to all Minnesotians, whose life was not ended till
1907.

The command arrived at Mendota August 24 and was at once put to
building the log houses of a cantonment. The site was near the present
ferry and the hamlet of Mendota, where a sharp eye may still note
traces of foundations. In September a reinforcement of one hundred and
twenty arrived. In the spring of 1820 the companies were put into camp
above the fort, near the great spring known to all early settlers. It
was named Camp Coldwater. In July the command passed to Colonel Joseph
Snelling, who held it till near the time of his death in 1828. A
daughter born in his family a short time after their arrival was the
first white child born in Minnesota.

Colonel Snelling at once began the erection of a fort, which, however,
was not ready for occupation till October, 1822. It was a wooden
construction, for which the logs were cut on the Rum River. In 1821 a
rude sawmill was built at “the Falls” which converted the logs into
lumber. This was of course the first sawmill in Minnesota. Two years
later a “run of buhrs” was put in, and a first flour mill established.
Colonel Snelling named his work “Fort Saint Anthony,” but in 1824, upon
recommendation of Major-General Winfield Scott, after a visit to the
place, that name was changed to “Fort Snelling,” in recognition of the
enterprise and efficiency of its builder.

The reader must not be allowed to fear that the government was
trespassing on Indian ground when building Fort Snelling. Pike had
bargained for the site in 1805, but the government for fourteen years
neither took possession nor tendered payment. The Senate on ratifying
the treaty filled the blank in article II by inserting $2000, and
Congress in 1819 made an appropriation of that amount. In anticipation
of the dispatch of a detachment of troops, Major Forsyth was ordered to
transport $2000 worth of goods to the Sioux country and deliver them in
payment for the lands ceded to Pike. It chanced that his boats arrived
at Prairie du Chien in time to make the further ascent of the river in
company with the command of Colonel Leavenworth. The payment was
happily managed. On his way up river Major Forsyth called at the
villages of Wabashaw, Red Wing, and Little Crow, and gave each of those
chiefs a present of blankets, tobacco, powder, or other goods. On
arrival at destination similar presents were made to five other chiefs,
whose villages were not distant. In each case the major records that he
had to give a little whiskey. The United States could afford such
generosity.

A period of thirty years intervened between the arrival of Colonel
Leavenworth’s battalion at Fort Snelling in 1819, and the establishment
of the Territory of Minnesota. The events of the period are too
slightly related to the subsequent history of the state to call for
minute narration in the way of annals, and may preferably be grouped
under a few heads for compendious treatment.

When Colonel Leavenworth was starting from Detroit, Michigan, he was
intrusted by the governor of the Territory of Michigan with blank
commissions for appointive county officers for Crawford County,
included in that territory. This duty was performed at Prairie du
Chien, and justice was established in Minnesota East. That region had
previously been successively within the jurisdiction of the Northwest,
Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois territories. Minnesota West at the same
time was part of Missouri Territory, and previous to 1812 had been in
the Territory of Louisiana. There was, however, slight occasion for the
exercise of civil or judicial functions in the upper Mississippi
country.

The American Fur Company had succeeded not merely to the business of
the “old Northwest Company,” but to its quasi-political control. The
chief factor at Mendota, and his subordinate traders at the more
important trading places, exercised a control over the Indians and
half-breeds which government officials, civil and military, vainly
endeavored to win from them. The few whites in the region, aside from
the garrison of the fort, were at the first traders’ employees; later a
handful of missionaries acceded, and still later an advance guard of
settlers, mostly lumbermen and Selkirk refugees. The dominance of the
fur company and its principal agents was in great part due, as already
suggested, to a policy inherited from the Northwest Company of
retaining in service the old French and half-breed voyageurs, and
filling the clerical and managing places with young Americans of
ability and enterprise. Such men would have been leaders anywhere. The
chief factor at Mendota was the great man of the Sioux country; his
colleague at Fond du Lac held a like relation in the country of the
Chippeways. They furnished their licensed traders with their outfits,
assigned them their respective districts, served as their bankers, and
exercised over them an interested supervision. The fidelity of these
subordinates was such as to form them into an effective combination,
which after a few futile attempts at competition gave the American Fur
Company a complete monopoly.

The one name to be brought forward as representative of the American
Fur Company, and what was good in it, is that of Henry Hastings Sibley,
who came to Mendota in November, 1834, as partner and chief factor. He
had been preceded by other traders of inferior rank and consideration.
Although but twenty-three years of age, he had already served an
apprenticeship of five years at Mackinaw, the western headquarters of
the Fur Company. He was born in Detroit, Michigan, where his parents,
having removed from Sutton, Massachusetts, had settled before the close
of the eighteenth century. The father, Judge Solomon Sibley, was a
notable character in Michigan for a long lifetime. The boy received a
good “academy” education, had two years of classical language study
under private tuition, and pursued the study of law. This early
training equipped him with a correct and graceful English style of
expression, which in later life he was fond of practicing in manuscript
of singular beauty. The boy’s heart was in the wilderness and on the
wave. Tall, handsome of face, and lithe of limb, he early became expert
with the rifle, the bridle, and the oar. So fleet and tireless was he
on foot that the Sioux named him Wa-zi-o-ma-ni, Walker-in-the-pines.
His grave and ceremonious manner was well calculated to gain the
respect of the Indians, fond as they were of etiquette. Within two
years after his arrival at his post he built and occupied a large stone
house at Mendota, in which, especially after his marriage a few years
later, he maintained a generous and elegant hospitality. The building
still stands in a dilapidated condition. For many years Mr. Sibley, as
justice of the peace, exercised jurisdiction over a territory of
imperial extent, and was believed by his simple-minded clients, the
voyageurs, to hold the power of life and death. As the trusted adviser
of the Indian agent and the military commander, he steered them past
many a difficult emergency.

With the extension of the Indian trade under the protection of a
military garrison, it was to be expected that an Indian agency would be
established at a point so prominent and convenient as Fort Snelling. As
the first agent, Lieutenant Lawrence Taliaferro, of the Third United
States Infantry, was personally selected by President Monroe. He was a
member of a well-known Virginia family of Italian extraction, and had
given evidence in the service of capacity and enterprise. His
appointment was dated March 27, 1819. His age was twenty-five. For
twenty years he held his position, at times against powerful
opposition, ever a true friend of the Indian, a terror to illicit
whiskey sellers, and never the tool of the American Fur Company.

It was the desire of the government to put an end to the ancient
warfare between the two great tribes of Minnesota Indians. Pike in 1806
had induced some of their chiefs to smoke the calumet. In 1820 Governor
Cass repeated the operation with the result of burning much good
tobacco. Agent Taliaferro conceived a plan for keeping the peace
between the Sioux and the Chippeways, which was to survey and stake out
a partition line between their countries. In 1824, by permission of
President Monroe, he took a delegation of Sioux, Chippeways, and
Menominees to Washington, where an arrangement was made for a “grand
convocation” of all the northwestern nations, to be held in the summer
of 1825 at Prairie du Chien. That convocation was held, with many
spectacular incidents, and a variety of adjustments were consummated.
In particular it was agreed between the Sioux and Chippeway nations
that their lands should be separated by a line to be drawn and marked
by the white man’s science. That line, when tardily staked out ten
years later, started from a point in the Red River of the North near
Georgetown, passed east of Fergus Falls and west of Alexandria, crossed
the Mississippi between St. Cloud and Sauk Rapids, and went on in a
general southeast direction to the St. Croix, which it struck not far
from Marine. The savages paid little respect to this air line, but went
on with their accustomed raids. Within a year there was a bloody
encounter in sight of the agent’s office. A single example of these
savage frays may be given to illustrate their recurrence in series.

In April, 1838, a party of Sioux hunting in the valley of the Chippeway
River (of Minnesota) left a party of three lodges in camp near Benson,
Swift County. Hole-in-the-day, the Chippeway chief from Gull River,
with nine followers, came upon this camp, and professing himself
peaceable was hospitably treated. In the night following he and his men
rose silently, and upon a given signal shot eleven of the Sioux to
death. One woman and a wounded boy escaped.

In August of the same year Hole-in-the-day, with a small party, was at
Fort Snelling. His arrival becoming known to neighboring Sioux, two or
three relatives of the victims of the April slaughter waylaid him near
the Baker trading-house, and opened fire. Hole-in-the-day escaped, but
the warrior with whom he had changed clothes was killed.

In June of the following year a large party of Chippeways from the
upper Mississippi, from Mille Lacs and the St. Croix valley, assembled
at Fort Snelling. For some days they were feasted and entertained by
the resident Sioux, and agent Taliaferro got them started homewards.
Two Chippeway warriors, related to the tribesmen killed by the Sioux
the previous summer, remained behind, and went into hiding near the
large Sioux village on Lake Calhoun. At daybreak, Nika (the badger), a
warrior much respected, was shot in his tracks as he was going out to
hunt, and the assassins made their escape. As the Sioux could easily
surmise that they belonged to Hole-in-the-day’s band, they decided not
to retaliate on it, because they would be watched for. Two war-parties
were immediately formed, the one to follow the Mille Lacs band, the
other that from the St. Croix. It was lawful to retaliate on any
Chippeways. The Mille Lacs Indians were overtaken in their bivouacs on
the Rum River at daylight on July 4. Waiting until the hunters had gone
forward, the Sioux fired on the women, children, and old men, and
harvested some seventy scalps, but they lost more warriors in the
action than the Chippeways. The war-dance of the exulting Sioux went on
for a month on the site of Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis. Little
Crow and his Kaposia band gave their attention to the St. Croix
Chippeways, who returned, as they had come, by canoe down the
Mississippi and up the St. Croix. Little Crow marched overland and got
into position at Stillwater, where he lay in ambush for the retreating
foe, who he knew would bivouac on the low ground near the site of the
Minnesota state prison. A daybreak assault killed twenty-five of the
Chippeways, but they made so good a defense that the Sioux were glad to
retire. The mortality in the so-called “battles” of Rum River and
Stillwater was exceptionally great.

In the middle of the period now in view, a new influence, not heartily
welcomed by the traders, came over the Minnesota Indians,—that of the
missionaries, mostly Protestant. The first efforts at evangelization
were made for the Chippeways and probably at the instance of Robert
Stuart, the principal agent of the American Fur Company at Mackinaw, an
ardent Scotch Presbyterian. In 1823 a boarding-school was opened at
that place and flourished for some years. In 1830 a mission was opened
at La Pointe, Wisconsin, on the spot occupied by the Jesuit fathers one
hundred and fifty years before. From this place as a centre mission
work was extended into Minnesota. In 1833 the Rev. W. T. Boutwell
proceeded to Leech Lake, built a log cabin, and began work. The Rev.
Frederick Ayer opened a school at Yellow Lake, on the Wisconsin side of
the St. Croix, and the Rev. E. E. Ely began teaching at Sandy Lake.
Three years later all of these were removed for more concentrated,
coöperative effort to Lake Pokegama in Pine County. This mission was
carried on with much promise for five years, when it was interrupted by
a descent of a large war-party of Sioux led by Little Crow. Among the
killed were two young girls, pupils of the mission school. The
Chippeways abandoned the place for homes farther from the danger line,
and this mission came to an end. The Chippeways had their revenge a
year later (1842), when they came down to the near neighborhood of St.
Paul and got in the so-called battle of Kaposia the scalps of thirteen
Sioux warriors, two women, and a child.

The missions to the Sioux were begun in the spring of 1834 by two young
laymen from Connecticut, who appeared at Fort Snelling without
credentials from any synod or conference, but with abundant faith and
zeal. They were brothers, Samuel William and Godwin Hollister Pond,
then twenty-six and twenty-four years of age respectively. Although
they had entered the Indian country without leave or license, they
secured at once the confidence of Agent Taliaferro and Major Bliss,
commander of Fort Snelling. With their own hands they built a log cabin
on the east shore of Lake Calhoun, on the edge of Cloudman’s village.
That chief selected the site. Established in this “comfortable home,”
they devoted themselves to learning the Dakota language. Within a few
weeks they adapted the Roman letters to that language with such skill
that the “Pond alphabet” has with slight modification been ever since
used in writing and printing it. A Dakota child can begin to read as
soon as it has “learned its letters.” The zealous brothers made the
first collections for the dictionary, later enlarged by others,
prepared a spelling-book, and formulated a rude grammar. Mr. Sibley,
who came in the fall of the same year, became a warm friend of the
Ponds.

The next missionary effort was by appointees of the American Board of
Commissioners for Foreign Missions, best known by the short title
“American Board.” These were the Rev. Thomas S. Williamson, missionary
and physician; the Rev. Jedediah D. Stevens, missionary; Alexander
Huggins, farmer; their wives, and two lady teachers. These arrived at
Fort Snelling in May, 1835. Mr. Stevens, who had made a tour of
exploration in the country six years before, at once established
himself on the northwest margin of Lake Harriet, now in the city of
Minneapolis. He built two considerable log houses near the site of the
street railroad station, in one of which he opened a school. The
nucleus was a number of half-breed daughters of traders and military
men, some of whom became highly respected Minnesota women. This school,
however, was not the first in Minnesota, if the collection of Indian
boys and men gathered by Major Taliaferro on the east bank of Lake
Calhoun in 1829, and put to learning the art and mystery of
agriculture, may be called a school. Philander Prescott was the
teacher, and his pupils numbered twelve; the next year he had one
hundred and twenty-five “different scholars.” Within a few days after
the arrival of these missionaries a Presbyterian church was organized
at Fort Snelling, June 11, the first in Minnesota, with the Rev. Mr.
Stevens in charge.

The American Fur Company had an important stockaded post on Lac qui
Parle in Chippeway County. The trader there was Joseph Renville, who
had been captain in the British frontier service in the War of 1812. He
had married a woman of the Sioux by Christian rite, and had a large
family growing up. Although Catholic by birth and education, he invited
Dr. Williamson to come and establish his mission near him, so that his
children might be taught. The mission at Lac qui Parle was thus
promptly opened. Dr. Williamson has recorded that this school, begun in
his house in July, was the first in Minnesota outside of Fort Snelling.
It was continued for many years by his sister, Miss Jane Williamson,
who perhaps rendered more lasting service than any of the noble band to
which she belonged. After some two years’ study of the Dakota language
Dr. Williamson set about what became his life work, the translation of
the Holy Scriptures into that tongue. The Rev. Stephen Return Riggs
joined the Lac qui Parle mission in 1837, after having studied the
Dakota under Samuel Pond. He soon became expert, prepared text-books
for the schools, and later edited the Dakota dictionary and grammar, to
which all the Sioux missionaries contributed. Mission work begun in
1837 at Kaposia (now South St. Paul) by Methodist preachers, and at Red
Wing in 1839 by Swiss Presbyterian evangelists, however praiseworthy
for intention, was too early abandoned to have permanent results.
Equally transient was the ministration of the Catholic father Ravoux,
at Lac qui Parle and Chaska, in 1842. The missions of the American
Board to the Minnesota Sioux were maintained until that nation was
removed to the Missouri in 1863. The results were sufficient to
encourage persistence, in hope of future success, but the great body of
the Indians was not affected. For a time this was due to suspicion on
the part of the Indians of the sincerity of the missionaries. They
could understand the soldier and the trader, but the missionary was a
puzzle. He had nothing to sell, he asked no pay for teaching the
children, caring for the sick, or preaching the word. Why he should
teach a religion of brotherhood, and still keep to himself his
household stuff, his little store of food, and his domestic animals,
was beyond the comprehension of savages accustomed to communistic life.
A greater obstacle lay in the fact that the missionary had first to
break down faith in an ancient religion, and the dominance of a body of
medicine-men who maintained their cult by a ceremonial interwoven with
the whole life and habits of the people. Not less obstructive was the
example of most white men known to the Indians,—greedy, dissolute, and
licentious.



                               CHAPTER V

                      EXPLORATIONS AND SETTLEMENTS


To discover the true source of any of the great rivers of the world,
that is, that one of all sources which measured along the axis of its
channel is farthest from its mouth, has ever been an alluring problem
to the exploring geographer. David Thompson, geographer of the
Northwest Company, in the course of a journey of exploration lasting a
year and extending to the Missouri River, on April 23, 1798, reached
Turtle Lake, four miles north of Lake Bemidji, and believed himself the
discoverer of the true source of the Mississippi. Lieutenant Pike was
confident that when on the 12th day of February, 1806, he reached the
upper Red Cedar (Cass) Lake he was at the “upper source of the
Mississippi.” These claims were either not known or not trusted, and a
series of expeditions to reach the “true source” of the Mississippi was
begun, soon after the military occupation in 1819. Lewis Cass, known
best in American history by his national employments as senator,
cabinet officer, and foreign minister, had cut such a figure as colonel
of an Ohio regiment and brigadier-general in the War of 1812 that the
President made him governor of the Territory of Michigan; an office
which he held for seventeen years. That territory in 1819 was extended
to the Mississippi River. Its governor was naturally curious to see
something of this immense addition to his jurisdiction and the great
river forming its western bound. He sought and obtained leave to
conduct an expedition. An engineer officer, Captain Douglass, was
ordered to join it, and Governor Cass employed Henry R. Schoolcraft, of
whom we are to hear later, as mineralogist at one dollar and a half a
day. Leaving Detroit late in May, 1820, with ten Indians and seven
soldiers, in three birch-bark canoes, Cass was at the American Fur
Company’s post at Fond du Lac (of Superior) on the 6th of July. He
ascended the St. Louis River and took the Savanna portage to Sandy
Lake. With a reduced party he pushed up stream through Lake
Winnebigoshish to that upper Red Cedar Lake which Pike had seen
fourteen years before. Assured that this was the true source of the
Mississippi, he ended his journey. Mr. Schoolcraft doubted, but he was
too polite to differ openly with his chief. Captain Douglass on his map
gave the lake the name “Cassina,” which, shorn of two superfluous
syllables, has remained in use. Mr. Schoolcraft wrote a narrative of
the expedition which is very pleasant reading. The return journey,
beginning July 22, was down the Mississippi to Prairie du Chien and
thence to Green Bay by the Fox-Wisconsin portage. At Fort Snelling the
party were feasted with fresh vegetables from the post garden. At the
Sioux agency, then on the Mendota side of the Minnesota, some chiefs of
the Sioux and Chippeways were got together in council and a reluctant
consent was obtained to cease from troubling one another. The high
contracting parties were content to gratify the white man, but they
understood the farcical nature of the convention. Governor Cass
reported the cost of the expedition at $6156.40-1/4.

It seems proper to interpolate here some account of the expedition
conducted by Major Stephen H. Long of the topographical engineers of
the army, in 1823, to the valleys of the Minnesota and Red rivers. Six
years before, that officer had made an uneventful journey to St.
Anthony’s Falls, of which he left a graphic and appreciative
description. His party, escorted by a detail of soldiers, left Fort
Snelling on July 9 with Joseph Renville as interpreter and guide. At
Traverse des Sioux, Long abandoned his canoes and set out overland by
the well-worn trail for Lake Traverse, where he was welcomed at the
headquarters of the Columbia Fur Company. On August 2 Long reached
Pembina, where he established a monument to mark a point astronomically
determined in the international boundary. His instructions had been to
strike east from Pembina and trace the boundary to the Lake of the
Woods. This he found to be impracticable. Putting his people into bark
canoes, he descended the Red River past Fort Garry to Lake Winnipeg,
traversed the south arm of that water, and ascended the Winnipeg River
to Rat Portage on the Lake of the Woods.

The homeward journey by the old Dawson route to Lake Superior, along
the north shore to the Sault Sainte Marie and thence by the lower lakes
and the Erie Canal, was rapidly made without notable incident.
Professor William H. Keating of the University of Pennsylvania, who was
geologist of the expedition, published a narrative abounding in varied
and interesting knowledge. It will ever remain indispensable to the
historian of the period and region.

Major Long had been accompanied from Fort Snelling to Pembina by an
Italian gentleman of a romantic and enterprising nature, Giacomo
Constantino Beltrami by name. Little is known of his early life beyond
the facts that he had held military and civil appointments, and had,
for reasons not revealed, found it desirable to absent himself from
Italy. He came to America full of zeal to be the discoverer of the true
source of the Mississippi, and thus place himself in the company of
great Italian explorers. Agent Taliaferro came upon him in Pittsburg
and offered to further his ambition. They reached Fort Snelling on the
10th of May, 1823, by the steamboat Virginia, the first steam vessel to
reach that post. The crowd of wondering Indians gathered on the levee
were sufficiently impressed by the bulk of the white man’s fire canoe;
but the scream of her steam whistle, opportunely let out, sent them
scampering far off on the prairie.

When Beltrami at Pembina found Major Long pointing his canoes down the
Red River, he detached himself, and with a slender outfit and uncertain
guides struck out to the southeast, where he expected to find the
object of his journey. After a few days of hardship he reached the
south shore of Red Lake, and there he found a “bois-brulé” who guided
him up a tributary then called Bloody River. It is marked “Mud Creek”
on modern maps. A short portage brought him to a small, heart-shaped
lake, to which he gave the name “Lake Julia,” in memory of a deceased
friend. Here on the 28th of August he reports himself as resting at the
most southern source of the Red River and the most northern source of
the Mississippi. He found no visible outlet to his lakelet and fancied
that its seepage was indifferently the true source of the two rivers.
His dream fulfilled and his ambition satisfied, he made all possible
haste to Fort Snelling. He proceeded to New Orleans and in the next
year (1824) published in French his “Discovery of the Sources of the
Mississippi.” An English version appeared under the title “A Pilgrimage
in Europe and America.” Lake Julia is still on the map, lying some two
miles north of Turtle Lake, which David Thompson had charted
twenty-five years before. The Minnesota geologists found no connection
between it and Mississippi waters. It is noteworthy that Beltrami
placed on his map a “Lac la Biche” as the “western source of the
Mississippi,” which later explorers identified as approximately the
true source. This knowledge he may have obtained from the intelligent
guide, whom he praises highly, but whose name he neglected to report.

It has been mentioned that Henry R. Schoolcraft, mineralogist of Cass’s
expedition in 1820, was by no means satisfied that Cass Lake was the
true source of the great river. Appointed Indian agent of the
Chippeways, he resided for many years at the Sault Sainte Marie,
longing for another plunge into the wilderness of the upper
Mississippi. It was not until 1832 that the War Department, deferring
to Governor Cass, was content to give him leave, and then by
indirection only. The instructions given Mr. Schoolcraft were to
proceed to the country at the head of the Mississippi, to visit as many
Indians as circumstances might permit, to establish permanent peace
among them, to look after the Indian trade and in particular the
trespasses of Hudson’s Bay traders, to vaccinate Indians as many as
possible, and to gather statistics. He had no commission to explore. An
officer of the army, Lieutenant James Allen, with a small detachment of
soldiers, was ordered to be his escort. Traveling by way of Fond du Lac
and the Savanna portage, Schoolcraft’s party was at Cass Lake on July
10. The same day his guide Ozawindib (the Yellowhead) collected five
small canoes and made all needful preparations for the further journey,
which began the morning after. The Yellowhead led the party up to and
across Lake Bemidji, and from its southern limb up an east fork now
mapped as the Yellowhead River, to a lakelet at its head. A six-mile
portage to the west brought Schoolcraft, about two o’clock P. M., on
the 13th of July, to a body of transparent water, which his guide
assured him was the true source. In expectation of that moment the
ardent explorer had cogitated on a suitable name. The missionary
Boutwell, already mentioned, was a member of his party, having joined
it to spy out the land for evangelical work. When asked by Mr.
Schoolcraft the Latin for “true source,” the reverend gentleman could
only remember that the Latin for truth was _veritas_, and for head
_caput_; and he obligingly wrote the two words on a slip of paper. The
leader cut off the head of the former and the tail of the latter, and
joining the remaining syllables made the word “Itasca,” as beautiful an
Indian name as could be desired. On the island, bearing still his name,
Mr. Schoolcraft erected a flagstaff and flew the American colors.
Lieutenant Allen in his report uses the French name Lac la Biche, the
same communicated to Beltrami. How much attention the explorer gave to
gathering statistics, vaccinating Indians, pacifying the Indians, and
the like, may be inferred from the promptness with which he set out for
home the very same day, and the speed of his journey. Taking an unused
canoe route via Leech Lake and the headwaters of the Crow Wing, he was
at Fort Snelling on the 24th of July. Leaving his escort, without a
guide he hastened with all possible celerity by the St. Croix-Brulé
route to “the Sault.” In his report to the War Department, dated
December 3, 1832, he makes not the slightest reference to his excursion
from Cass Lake to Itasca. His published narrative, however, shows no
such gap. He had no orders to discover anything.

What fortune or misfortune brought the French astronomer, Jos. N.
Nicollet, to this country early in the thirties is not well known. Like
Beltrami, he had the fever for exploration and discovery. In the
midsummer of 1836 this gentleman went from Fort Snelling up to Leech
Lake, where he was sheltered by the missionary Boutwell. Here he found
guides who took him by a new route out of the west arm of Leech Lake to
Lake Itasca at the point reached by Schoolcraft. He made camp on
Schoolcraft’s Island and proceeded to take its latitude, longitude, and
height above sea. So far he was merely confirming the work of
Schoolcraft and Allen. Selecting the largest of three tributary inlets,
he traced it three miles through two lakelets to a third, from which he
found “the infant Mississippi flowing with a breadth of a foot and a
half, and a depth of one foot.” In the years 1889 and 1891 J. V.
Brower, commissioned by the Minnesota Historical Society and the
governor of Minnesota, devoted many months to a careful examination of
the region above (south of) Itasca Lake. The result was the
confirmation of Nicollet’s work, with a further discovery of an
“ultimate bowl” in the highlands (Hauteurs des Terres) from which
Nicollet’s lakes were fed. And then the long quest came to an end.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The first white settlers in Minnesota, or rather squatters, for the
region was not open to settlement for nearly twenty years after the
military occupation, came from an unexpected quarter. A Scotch
nobleman, the Earl of Selkirk, of a romantic turn, formed a scheme for
relieving congested European districts by planting colonies abroad, and
in Canada preferably to the United States. He bought of the Hudson’s
Bay Company a tract of something over 100,000 square miles, south and
west of Lake Winnipeg, and in 1812 sent over a small party of
Highlanders and a few Irish. Later additions were made to the colony,
among them two hundred Scotch in 1815. What with the persecutions of
the bois-brulés, of the Northwest Company, the destruction of crops by
rats, grasshoppers, early frosts, and high water, the colonists led a
stormy and precarious life for some years; but they survived. In 1821
came a party of one hundred and fifty or more Swiss clockmakers, wiled
from their homes by the seductive allurements of an ingenious agent.

When the deluded people reached Fort Douglass and Pembina they found
things far different from their expectations. Five families at once
took the trail for the American fort. Two years later thirteen more
families followed. In 1826, after a devouring flood in the Red River,
two hundred and forty-three persons, Swiss and others, left Pembina for
the south. In following years the migration continued, and by 1836
nearly five hundred had come over the border. The greater number of
them journeyed on to the French settlements down the river in Illinois
and Missouri, but many preferred to tarry on the Fort Snelling
reservation. The military gave them protection, allowed them to pasture
their cattle and cut grass on the bottoms, and to fence in and
cultivate considerable farms.

The reports of the military, the open secrets of the American Fur
Company, the revelations of explorers, and later the correspondence of
missionaries, at length made the upper Mississippi valley known as a
land of promise. Travelers from Fort Snelling to “the head of the lake”
by the old St. Croix canoe route had disclosed the existence of
magnificent bodies of pine timber. A market for pine lumber had been
opened about the Galena and Dubuque lead mines and the prairie regions
abutting on the river. The voracious lumbermen of Wisconsin, mostly
emigrants from Maine, were fierce to get their axes into this pine. As
early as 1822 a sawmill had been built on the Chippeway River near
Menominee, and the stumpage bought of Wabashaw, chief of the lower
Sioux, for one thousand dollars a year in goods. But there was no white
man’s country in Minnesota, except the Fort Snelling tract bought by
Pike in 1805 and paid for in 1819, and that was not open to settlement,
unless by tolerance of the military. The time came for extending the
area of settlement and cultivation, and that was effected by two Indian
treaties made in 1837. By a treaty with the lower Sioux the United
States acquired all their lands east of the Mississippi up to the
Sioux-Chippeway partition line of 1825. The consideration was a half
million dollars; but two hundred thousand dollars went to the traders
and half-breeds in nearly equal sums. That was the price paid by the
government for the use of their influence with the Indians. The
Chippeways sold east of the Mississippi from the partition line up to
the line running a little north of east from the mouth of the Crow Wing
River. The delta between the Mississippi and the St. Croix up to the
Crow Wing line was thus opened to settlement on the ratification of the
treaties, on June 15, 1838. When the tidings of the ratification
reached Fort Snelling a month later, the grass did not grow under the
feet of waiting citizens, who had made notes of good locations. A claim
abutting on the Falls of St. Anthony, on the east bank, was staked out
before daylight of the following morning, and the falls of the St.
Croix were preëmpted before sunset, all in accordance with law and
custom.

The first collection of people in Minnesota, aside from the garrison of
Fort Snelling, was the little hamlet of Mendota, inhabited by French
half-breeds and their Indian wives and children. At times its numbers
were swelled by traders from outposts coming in to headquarters to
bring their furs and obtain supplies. Mendota is a French hamlet
to-day. The first American settlement was made at Marine, on the St.
Croix, early in 1839, where a sawmill was put into operation August 24.
In the year following, on a claim previously made, Joseph R. Brown laid
out the town site of Dakotah on land now forming a part of Stillwater.
This city was not laid out till 1843, when settlement was begun in full
confidence that Stillwater was to be the great city of the region. Its
progress for a few years seemed to justify that expectation. Later many
of its people migrated to the new towns on the Mississippi. In the year
of the treaties (1837) the officer commanding at Fort Snelling had a
survey made, to carve out of the Pike tract of nine by eighteen miles
the land to be held by the government for military use. The bounds
included practically all of Reserve Township of Ramsey County, the east
line passing through the “Seven Corners” of St. Paul. Because of
growing scarcity of timber, and alleged trespasses of the squatters,
Major Plympton in the spring of 1838 ordered all those settled on the
main reserve west of the Mississippi to move over to the east side. A
very few had sufficient foresight to place themselves beyond the
military lines,—among them one Pierre Parrant, a Canadian voyageur,
who, not waiting for the ratification, built a whiskey shanty near the
issue of the streamlet from Fountain Cave, in upper St. Paul, thus
becoming the first inhabitant of that city. The evicted Swiss mostly
settled on ground within easy reach of the fort, and there built their
cabins anew. They were, however, not long allowed that indulgence.
Their number was reinforced by a few voyageurs, discharged soldiers,
and perhaps some other whites. Among the whites were a few who opened
grog-shops at which the custom of the soldiers was very welcome. These
places became so intolerable that the commandant begged the War
Department to require all squatters to get off the reservation. His
recommendation was adopted, and on the 6th of May, 1840, a deputy
United States marshal, supported by a detachment of soldiers, drove
them all over the lines and destroyed their cabins. What did they do
but reëstablish themselves just beyond the line, about Parrant’s claim?
French fashion, they grouped their cabins and formed a little French
village, the nucleus of the capital city of Minnesota. A memorial of
the evicted Swiss to Congress for indemnity for loss of improvements on
land they had been suffered to occupy and cultivate, and for the
destruction of their shelters, was ignored.

At all the trading stations of the American Fur Company there was a
group of employees and hangers-on. At Mendota, the headquarters, the
number was greater than elsewhere. In 1837 there were twenty-five such.
When in July, 1839, Bishop Loras of Dubuque made a visitation there, he
found one hundred and eighty-five Catholics gathered in to approach the
sacraments of the church. In May of the following year the Rev. Lucius
Galtier, sent up on an hour’s notice from Dubuque, reached Mendota to
begin a mission there. He naturally took under his care the Catholic
families just then getting themselves under cover on the hillsides
nearly opposite. November 1, 1841, he blessed a little log chapel the
people had built under his direction, and dedicated “the new basilica”
to St. Paul, “the apostle of the nations.” The name “St. Paul’s
landing,” for a time used, gave way to the more convenient St. Paul’s
and, later, to “St. Paul.” Père Galtier, however, remained at the more
considerable Mendota till called to other duty in 1844. Father Ravoux,
succeeding him, divided his time between the two hamlets till 1849.

Up to 1845 St. Paul was a straggling French village of some thirty
families, a floating population of voyageurs and workmen, to which two
or three independent traders had joined themselves. In the next years
Americans arrived in increasing numbers. In 1846 a post-office was
established, and in the year after a regular line of steamboats began
to ply down river in the season.

The city at the falls was later in getting its start. The lucky citizen
who preëmpted the land abreast of the falls on the left bank of the
Mississippi did not lay out his town site of St. Anthony’s Falls till
late in 1847. A sawmill built that year went into operation the next,
and the manufacture of lumber has since remained a leading industry. At
Pembina, in the extreme northwest corner of Minnesota, was an
aggregation of French half-breeds of some hundreds. The rural
population of the whole region well into the fifties was very sparse. A
few farms had been opened along the St. Croix in Washington County. The
principal part of the subsistence for man and beast was brought up from
below in steamboats.

When Iowa Territory was organized in 1838, Wisconsin Territory was
restricted on the west to the line of the Mississippi. Minnesota East
then formed part of Crawford County of the latter territory. In the
same year the governor of Wisconsin appointed as justice of the peace
for that county a man who was to play a conspicuous part in Minnesota
affairs. Joseph Renshaw Brown came to Minnesota as a drummer-boy of
fourteen with the Fifth Infantry in 1819. Honorably discharged from
that command some six or seven years later, he went into the Indian
trade at different posts, at some of which he opened farms. He
appreciated, as perhaps no other man in the region did so clearly, the
possibilities of the future, and was fitted by nature, education, and
experience to lead. In 1840 he was elected a member of the Wisconsin
territorial legislature from St. Croix County, a new jurisdiction
separated from Crawford County by a meridian through the mouth of the
Porcupine River, a small affluent of Lake Pepin. The county seat was of
course Mr. Brown’s town of Dakotah, already mentioned. There is reason
to surmise a disappointed expectation that this town might become the
capital of a state. In 1846 Congress passed an enabling act in the
usual form for the promotion of Wisconsin to statehood. About the same
time the Wisconsin delegate introduced a bill to establish the
Territory of Minnesota. It was understood that Mr. Sibley would be the
first governor and that Mr. Brown would not be neglected. The bill
passed the House and reached its third reading in the Senate, when it
was tabled on the suggestion of an eastern senator that the population
was far too scanty to warrant a territorial organization.



                               CHAPTER VI

                        THE TERRITORY ORGANIZED


On May 29, 1848, Wisconsin was admitted to the Union as a state, with
her western boundary fixed where it has since remained, on the St.
Croix River line, Congress having refused to extend Wisconsin’s area to
the Rum River line. The delta between the St. Croix and the Mississippi
was politically left in the air. In the earlier correspondence and
personal conferences of Minnesotians the only thought was of obtaining
from Congress the establishment of a new territory. On August 4 a call
signed by eighteen prominent residents of the wished-for territory was
issued, for a convention to be held at Stillwater on the 26th.
Sixty-one delegates appeared and took part in what has since been known
as “the Stillwater Convention” of 1848. The proceedings resulted in two
memorials, one to the President, the other to Congress, both praying
for the organization of a new territory; in corresponding resolutions;
in the raising of a committee to prosecute the purposes of the
convention; and in the election of Henry H. Sibley as a “delegate” to
proceed to Washington and urge immediate action.

The late governor of Wisconsin Territory, Hon. Henry Dodge, had been
elected United States senator. The secretary of the territory had been
Mr. John Catlin. A letter written by him August 22 was read before the
Stillwater convention. It embodied the suggestion that the Territory of
Wisconsin might be considered as surviving in the excluded area. He
transmitted a letter from James Buchanan, Secretary of State,
expressing the opinion that the laws of Wisconsin Territory were still
in force therein, and that judges of probate, sheriffs, justices of the
peace, and constables might lawfully exercise their offices. Such being
the case, what was there to hinder him, Mr. Catlin, from assuming the
position of acting-governor of Wisconsin Territory, and performing the
proper duties? In particular, why might he not appoint an election for
the choice of a delegate to Congress in a regular manner, if a vacancy
should occur? His judgment was that a delegate elected “under color of
law” would not be denied a seat. This scheme, which seems to have made
no impression on the Stillwater convention, was rapidly incubated after
its dispersion. Mr. Catlin took up a constructive residence at
Stillwater. John H. Tweedy, delegate from Wisconsin Territory to the
Thirtieth Congress, obligingly put in his resignation. Thereupon
Acting-Governor Catlin issued a call for an election of a delegate to
be held on the 30th of October. The result was the choice of Mr. Sibley
against a slight and ineffective opposition.

The delegate-elect presented himself at the door of the national House
of Representatives at the opening of the second session of the
Thirtieth Congress. His credentials had the usual reference to the
committee on elections. Mr. Sibley’s argument was ingenious and
exhaustive, and it proved effective, for the committee absorbed its
substance into their favorable report. On January 15, 1849, the House
by a vote of 124 to 62 accorded Mr. Sibley his seat as delegate from
Wisconsin. The same House refused, however, to make any appropriation
for the expenses of a territory existing by virtue of mere geographical
exclusion. A bill for the establishment of the Territory of Minnesota
had been introduced into the Senate in the previous session. It was
identical with that which had been strangled on the last day of the
Twenty-ninth Congress. Mr. Sibley properly devoted himself to advancing
the progress of the bill. It was promptly passed by the Senate, but it
lagged in the House. The Whig majority had no consuming desire to favor
a beginning likely to result in a Democratic delegation from a new
state. They therefore clapped on an amendment, to which the Senate
could not possibly agree, that the act should take effect March 10, six
days after the expiry of President Polk’s term of office. The end of
the session was but four days away. A House bill for the establishment
of a Department of the Interior was still pending in the Senate. It
provided for a goodly number of officials to be named by the incoming
Whig President. Senator Douglas, acting for colleagues, authorized Mr.
Sibley to give out to his Whig opponents that the Senate would be
better disposed to passing their interior department measure if they
should find it agreeable to recede from their offensive amendment to
the Minnesota bill. On the last day of the session Mr. Sibley had the
pleasure of seeing his bill pass, under suspension of the rules,
without opposition. No one was so much surprised at the outcome as Mr.
Sibley himself. It took thirty-seven days for the good news to reach
St. Paul by the first steamer of the season from below. The boundaries
of the new territory were those of the state later admitted, except
that the west line was pushed out to the Missouri River, thus including
an area of some 166,000 square miles. The governorship fell to
Alexander Ramsey of Pennsylvania, then thirty-four years of age, who
deserved well of his party in its late campaign and had done some
excellent service as a member of the Twenty-eighth and Twenty-ninth
Congresses. He had been well educated in the best school, that of a
life of industry and aspiration. Clear-headed, cautious, patient, he
knew how to anticipate the courses of things and to plan for the
probabilities of the future. He identified himself from the first with
his new territory, and remained to the end of his long life, in 1903, a
steadfast, loyal Minnesotian.

On May 27, in a small bedroom in Bass’s log tavern on the site of the
Merchant’s Hotel in St. Paul, Mr. Ramsey wrote out on a little
unpainted washstand his proclamation declaring the territory duly
established. On June 11 he announced the division of his immense
jurisdiction into three provisional counties, assigning to each one of
the three judges, Goodrich, Sherburne, and Meeker, who had been
appointed by the President. At the same time he directed the sheriff of
St. Croix County to make a census of the population. The reported total
did not measure up to the conjectures of hopeful citizens. After
counting the 317 soldiers at “the Fort,” all the attachés of the
trading posts, 637 dwellers at Pembina and 66 on the Missouri River,
the footing stood at 4680 souls.

Pursuant to the organic act Governor Ramsey by proclamation of July 7
divided the territory into seven council districts, and ordered an
election for August 1. The first territorial legislature that day
elected, consisting of nine councilors and eighteen representatives,
met at St. Paul, September 4. The organic act having provided that the
laws in force in the late Territory of Wisconsin should remain in
operation until altered or repealed by the Minnesota territorial
legislature, this inexperienced body was not heavily burdened. The most
notable enactment was that for the establishment of a system of free
schools for all children and youth of the territory, introduced by
Martin McLeod, but probably drawn up by the Rev. Edward Duffield Neill,
the well-known historian of Minnesota. A bill passed October 20,
incorporating the Minnesota Historical Society, was doubtless from the
same hand. Governor Ramsey’s message of 1849 was much extended by an
account of the Indian tribes of the territory, prepared for him by Dr.
Thomas Foster.

There was no legislative session in 1850. The statutes of 1851 embrace
but few of notable importance. After a long and bitter struggle the
capital, temporarily placed by the organic act at St. Paul, was
permanently located in that town. To secure the majority vote it was
necessary to concede to Stillwater the state prison and to St. Anthony
the university. The evidence of a formal “tripartite agreement” to this
arrangement is lacking, but it is probable that an understanding or
expectation influenced the voting. The diligence with which a body
composed largely of fur-traders and lumbermen overhauled a revision of
the territorial laws, prepared by a committee of lawyers, bears
testimony to a zeal for duty. The result was the well-known “Code of
1851.” It embodied substantially the New York code of procedure. The
general incorporation law did not include railroad corporations. An act
of 1852 prohibiting the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors
was submitted to a vote of the electors and ratified by a vote of 853
to 662. Before the year was out the supreme court of the territory, on
an appeal from below, ruled the act to be unconstitutional on the
ground that the organic law having vested all legislative power in the
legislative bodies, the referendum was inoperative. In 1853 equity
procedure was conformed to that of civil actions.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The dominating feature of Governor Ramsey’s territorial governorship
was the extinguishment of the Indian title of occupancy to all the
lands of the Sioux in Minnesota, except the small reservations. No time
was lost by interested parties in impressing on Mr. Ramsey the
importance of increasing the area of settlement in his territory. Land
speculators and lumbermen desired an enlargement of their spheres of
operation. The Indian traders, who in previous years would have opposed
a treaty of cession, were at this time, under changed circumstances,
eager. The hunting of wild animals for their pelts had greatly reduced
their numbers, so that the trade had dwindled. The prospect of profits
in land speculation appeared likely to exceed those of Indian trading.
The traders also were of opinion that it was about time for a
substantial liquidation of Indian debts due them. The half-breeds and
squaw men had, as we shall see, a strong desire for a treaty. Moved by
what seemed a general demand, Governor Ramsey recommended to the first
territorial legislature that they memorialize Congress to provide for a
treaty of cession with the Sioux. That body promptly complied. The
commissioner of Indian affairs had meantime been interested to such a
degree that he arranged for a treaty, and to pay the expenses out of
funds already at his disposal. He appointed as commissioners to conduct
the negotiation Governor Ramsey, being already superintendent
_ex-officio_ of Indian affairs in his territory, and the Hon. John
Chambers of Iowa, and furnished them a body of instructions, which
served more than the immediate purpose. He restricted their expenditure
for presents to $6000. The Sioux were summoned by runners to come in to
council in October. The commissioner of Indian affairs was precipitate.
The traders were not quite ready, and there were prominent citizens in
St. Paul who feared that a big cession of Indian lands west of the
river might give Mendota a dangerous precedence. But few of the Sioux
came in, and they were unwilling to treat. The effort aborted. Its
success might have secured for Governor Ramsey political rewards for
which he had to wait. The Indian appropriation bill of 1850, carrying
$15,000 for the expenses of treating, was not approved till September
30. The season was too late for the assemblage of the Indians, widely
scattered on their fall hunts. Then ensued a contention, lasting many
months, over the appointment of a colleague to Governor Ramsey for the
negotiation of the treaty. At one time it appeared that a trading
interest adverse to the American Fur Company had virtually succeeded in
securing the appointment of a gentleman from Indiana, on whom it could
depend. To dispose of this and other aspirants, an amendment was tacked
on to the proper paragraph of the Indian appropriation bill of the
session, providing that commissioners making Indian treaties should
thereafter be selected from officials of the Indian Bureau, to serve
without extra compensation. The contemplated treaty with the Sioux
involving a cession of many millions of acres and large disbursements
for a long time, the commissioner of Indian affairs, the Hon. Luke Lea
of Mississippi, resolved to act in person.

The Minnesota Sioux comprised four of the seven tribes of the nation,
and were themselves geographically divided into “upper” and “lower”
Sioux. The two upper tribes were the Sissetons and Wahpétons. The
former had their villages on lakes Big Stone and Traverse, the latter
on the upper reaches of the Minnesota River, with some sandwiching of
bands. The lower Sioux were the Medawakantons and the Wah-pé-ku-tes:
the villages of the former were strung along the west bank of the
Mississippi from Winona to Fort Snelling and on up the Minnesota to
Belle Plaine. The Wah-pé-ku-tes dwelt on the headwaters of the Cannon
River, in what Nicollet called his “Undine region.” As they were
averse, like all barbarians, to having their numbers counted, the
Indian Bureau up to the time when all became “annuity Indians” could
only guess at the population. Eight thousand was the general estimate
at the middle of the century. Each tribe was subdivided into bands of
unequal numbers, each under its own chief. The bands of each tribe
recognized one of the older and most capable chiefs as their head
chief. Wabashaw was head chief of the Medawakantons. The instructions
of 1849, already mentioned, charged the commissioners to make but one
treaty, advised them to promise no money payments, and forbade them to
provide for debts due by Indians to the traders. The reader can surmise
why no Indians came to treat.

The new commissioner of Indian affairs did not of course have to
instruct himself, and he appears to have relaxed the conditions imposed
by his predecessor. At any rate, he soon found out that if he wished to
make a treaty it would be necessary for him to pay some money, and to
arrange for the payment of traders’ claims. Because of a diversity of
these claims against the upper and the lower Sioux it was desired that
separate treaties be made. This was conceded. Because the upper tribes
were thought to be less opposed to a treaty and a cession, it was
decided to begin with them; and those Indians were summoned to council
on July 1 at Traverse des Sioux. The commissioners and their party
found on their arrival none but those there resident. It was not till
the 18th that enough of the upper bands had come in to warrant
negotiation. Meantime the disinclination of the Indians had been
mitigated by the rations of pork, beef, and flour dispensed by the
commissary, and presents to reluctant chiefs. On July 23 the treaty was
signed in duplicate. As the chiefs left the table they were “pulled by
the blanket” and steered to another, where they touched the pen to a
third document, which later became notorious under the name of “the
traders’ paper.” The upper Sioux by this treaty sold to the United
States all their lands in Minnesota for $1,665,000, except a
reservation twenty miles wide straddling the Minnesota River, from Lake
Traverse down to the Yellow Medicine River. The principal consideration
was an annual payment of $68,000 for fifty years, of which $40,000 was
to be cash. The United States also engaged to expend $30,000 for
schools, mills, blacksmith shops, and like beneficial purposes, to
remove the Indians to their new homes, and to provide them with
subsistence for one year. A residue of $210,000 was to be paid to the
chiefs in such manner as they should thereafter in open council
request, to enable them “to settle their affairs and comply with their
present engagements”; in plain English, to pay the claims of the
traders. The traders’ paper amounted to an assignment in blank of this
whole sum. The schedule of claims was not attached to the paper till
the next day. On the question whether the chiefs who signed knew what
they were doing, the evidence is conflicting. On August 5 a second
treaty, ceding the same lands, was signed at Mendota. The reservation
for the lower bands was also on the Minnesota River, extending from the
upper reserve down to the neighborhood of New Ulm. Each of the two
tribes agreed to pay traders’ claims to the amount of $90,000. The
lower Sioux were encouraged to conclude the bargain by a promise that
$30,000 out of a $50,000 “education” fund provided for in the treaty of
1837 and never paid, but allowed to accumulate, should be distributed,
so soon as the treaty should be signed. The money was paid, and within
a week it was in the hands of St. Paul merchants and whiskey sellers;
$10,000 or thereabout went for horses. The commissioners congratulated
themselves and the country on this magnificent purchase of a region
larger than New York, at a cost of the “sum paid in hand.” The annual
payments promised would, they figured, be equaled by the interest from
the lands.

The treaties awaited the action of the Senate. Before that body
convened in the December following, representations were made to the
authorities at Washington that a “stupendous fraud” had been practiced
on the Sioux. The upper Sioux, inspired by a trader attached to an
interest adverse to the American Fur Company, which had not obtained
recognition for its claims, were much excited. In December twenty-one
chiefs resorted to St. Paul, where they represented to Agent McLean and
Governor Ramsey that their signatures to the traders’ paper were
obtained by fraud and deceit. They declared that their bands owed no
such sums of money, but were willing to pay what sums a fair
examination of the claims might prove to be just. The agent promised to
report their protest and demands to his superiors, which he did.
Governor Ramsey had only to assure the chiefs that as treaty
commissioner he had nothing to do with traders’ claims. The money would
be paid to their chiefs and braves, and it was for them to dispose of
it as they thought proper. When the treaties were laid before the
Senate in February, 1852, opposition to ratification at once sprang up,
and long delay ensued. It was not any allegations of fraud and deceit
which formed the ground of this opposition. It came from Southern
senators not willing to extend the area of settlement to the north, on
which to build another free state. It was not till June 28 that
ratification was voted by a slender majority, and that not till after
amendments were made, which opponents believed the Sioux would never
agree to. In particular the senators cut out the paragraphs providing
for the two reservations, and substituted a provision that the
President should select new homes for the Minnesota Sioux outside the
ceded territory.

In August Governor Ramsey was authorized to obtain the consent of the
Indians to the amendments. This was effected through persons
influential among them and without calling general councils of the
tribes. The consent of the upper Sioux, however, was not secured till
after the execution of a power of attorney to Governor Ramsey, which
they were allowed to believe “broke” all former papers, that of the
traders in particular. The money appropriated for the immediate
payments became available so soon as the Sioux chiefs had signed their
ratifications, and Governor Ramsey was designated as disbursing agent
and given a credit on the treasury for $593,000. The payments did not
begin till November, and then with the lower Sioux. The Wah-pé-ku-te
chiefs gave no trouble, but signed their joint receipt for $90,000 of
“hand money,” and a power of attorney to Mr. Sibley to receive the
money and distribute it to their licensed traders. The seven
Medawakanton chiefs would not sign receipts till after they had been
encouraged by the distribution of $20,000 in equal sums, deducted from
the amount of traders’ claims. Some minor enticements contributed. At
“The Traverse,” a fortnight later, “a very evil and turbulent spirit”
was manifest. The chiefs demanded the money “for settling their
affairs” to be paid to them. They would then decide “in open council”
how it should be distributed. Mr. Ramsey was firm, and held them to the
terms of the traders’ paper, which he considered an irrevocable
contract. The local Sissetons were so riotous that a company of troops
had to be summoned from Fort Snelling to keep them in order. After much
delay and no little effort he was able to obtain twelve signatures to a
receipt for the money to go to traders, but only two of the names were
those of old and well-recognized chiefs, and only one that of a signer
of the treaty of 1851. The moneys thus secured to the traders, and some
moderate gratifications to the half-breeds, were, with the exception of
the $90,000 paid the Wah-pé-ku-tes, delivered by Governor Ramsey to one
Hugh Tyler, a citizen of Pennsylvania holding powers of attorney. This
gentleman distributed according to the schedules of the traders’
papers, retaining by their consent the sum of $55,250, about thirteen
and one half per cent., as compensation for his services in securing
the ratification of the treaties and for other purposes.

Political enemies of Governor Ramsey, and parties dissatisfied with the
distribution of moneys under the treaties, laid formal charges and
specifications against him before the Senate at the next session, in
1853. Upon the request of that body the President undertook an
investigation and appointed two Democratic commissioners. Their report,
covering, with testimony and exhibits, 431 octavo pages, was submitted
to the Senate in 1854. It was on the whole moderate and even charitable
in tone, but conveyed a censure for allowing the Indians to deceive
themselves, for not paying strictly in accordance with the terms of the
treaties, for use of oppressive measures in securing the receipts of
the chiefs, and for allowing Hugh Tyler a percentage not “necessary for
any reasonable or legitimate purpose.” The testimony disclosed that
some amount of this money had been used as a “secret service fund” to
expedite the business. As to the use of money to influence officials,
the principal witness for the defense declared that none had gone or
would go into the hands of Governor Ramsey, but that as to other
officers, he declined to answer. The labored argument of his lawyers
served only to darken counsel, when compared with Governor Ramsey’s
clear and frank explanation, filed before the investigation was begun.

The report went to the Senate committee on Indian affairs, a Democratic
committee of a Democratic Senate. On February 24, 1854, they reported
that after a careful examination of all the testimony the conduct of
Governor Ramsey was not only free from blame, but highly commendable
and meritorious. Thereupon the committee was discharged from further
consideration.

The gist of the matter is, that a treaty of cession was much desired by
the people of the territory, and intensely by politicians and
speculators. It could not have been long delayed. No treaty could be
made with these Indians without the active aid and intervention of the
traders and half-breeds. Such aid could be had only by paying for it.
The device of allowing Indians to stipulate in treaties for the payment
to traders of debts due them from individual Indians, as if they were
tribal obligations, had long been practiced. But for the machinations
of disgruntled parties desirous of being taken into the happy circle of
beneficiaries, the scheme might have been worked as quietly and
comfortably as usual. An old interpreter says of these treaties that
“they were fair as any Indian treaties.” Having undertaken to see that
the traders and half-breeds should not go unrewarded for their
indispensable services, Governor Ramsey stood by them to the end. The
sums paid them were no robbery of the Indians. But for the fact that
the treaties of 1851 were the beginning of troubles to be later treated
of, they need not have taken so much of the reader’s time.

                  *       *       *       *       *

A few days after Governor Ramsey took up his residence in St. Paul,
another citizen established himself in that city of promise. His
ambition was not confined to sharing in the unearned increment of a
rapidly growing capital city; he wished also to take a part in public
affairs. Henry M. Rice, born in 1816 in Vermont, emigrated to Michigan
at the age of nineteen, equipped with an academy education and two
years of law studies. He came on to Minnesota in 1839, and was employed
presently by the Chouteaus of St. Louis, who took over the business of
the American Fur Company, to manage their Winnebago and Chippeway trade
from Prairie du Chien. In 1847 he became a partner in the business and
removed to Mendota, a place much too strait for two such men as himself
and Mr. Sibley. Established in St. Paul, Mr. Rice threw himself into
every movement and enterprise projected for the development of the
town. He generously shared his gains with the public. His personal
qualities were such that he could not help desiring public employment
and obtaining great success in it. His manners were so gracious and yet
not patronizing, that he made friends with all sorts and conditions of
men. He divined with an unerring instinct the motives of men and
parties, and knew when and how by appropriate suggestion to let them
apparently move themselves towards his desired ends. An early example
of Mr. Rice’s influence and success may be found in a contract which he
obtained in 1850 for collecting vagrant Winnebagoes and returning them
to their reservations. The Winnebagoes were a powerful Wisconsin tribe
when the white man came, and long after. The government persuaded them
to vacate first their mineral lands and later all their lands in
Wisconsin, and move to the so-called “neutral ground” in Iowa. This was
a strip of territory some twenty miles wide, starting from the
northeast corner of Iowa and running south of west to the Des Moines
River. The generous presents and annuities required to effect the sale
and removal were the ruin of the Winnebagoes. They became idle,
dissolute, mischievous. The white settlers could not endure them, and
the Indians themselves tired of their confinement to a narrow area.
Accordingly in 1846 a treaty was effected for the exchange of the
neutral ground for a reservation of eight hundred thousand acres in
Northern Minnesota. A tract lying between the Watab and Long Prairie
rivers, west of the Mississippi, was obtained from the Chippeways for
this purpose.

In the summer of 1848, with the help of traders and the military, the
Winnebagoes, by this time sick of their bargain, were put on the road
for their new home. Some did not start, others fell out by the way, but
a majority of the twenty-five hundred souls were landed at Long
Prairie. They liked the new home even less than they expected, and soon
began to desert and scatter; some to encamp along the upper
Mississippi, some to the neutral ground, others to their ancient
country in Wisconsin; and a few are said to have wandered off to the
Missouri. Wherever they went they were unwelcome, and the Indian office
was flooded with complaints of their depredations and trespasses. Mr.
Rice had traded with the Winnebagoes and had so attached them to
himself that they had made him their sole commissioner to choose their
new Minnesota home. His aid had been called in to persuade them to
move. To him now the Whig commissioner of Indian affairs resorted to
round up the vagrant Indians and corral them on their proper
reservation. He agreed to pay Mr. Rice seventy dollars per head for the
service. Meantime Governor Ramsey and Agent Fletcher were occupied with
collecting the Indians below, and preparing to transport or march them
northward without material expense to the government. Delegate Sibley
was supposed to be the proper territorial organ at the seat of
government. The feelings of these gentlemen may be imagined when they
learned that the “infamous Rice contract,” of which they had not had
the least knowledge or suspicion, had been concluded, and Mr. Rice’s
agents were on the road. In vain did Governor Ramsey inform the
commissioner that he had several hundred ready to march; in vain was
Delegate Sibley’s “official protest” against a secret, unconscionable,
insulting proceeding. A House committee of investigation exonerated the
commissioner, but he took early occasion to resign his office. The
point of interest to the Minnesota citizen was not the alleged
excessive cost to the government, or the comfort of the Winnebagoes. He
was concerned to know who had the greatest pull at Washington, and it
appeared to him at the close that a certain private citizen of St.
Paul, a Democrat, and not the Whig governor nor the Democratic
delegate, was the man to “swing things” there.

In the fall of the same year (1850) came the regular election for
delegate to succeed Mr. Sibley upon the expiration of his term. Mr.
Rice, who had contested Mr. Sibley’s election in 1848 as delegate from
Wisconsin,—with little vigor, however,—was too prudent to come out
against one who had brought home the organic act, and made no
opposition to Mr. Sibley’s unanimous election as delegate to the
Thirty-first Congress, although he organized the democracy of the
territory as if for a candidacy. Nor did he personally aspire to the
office when Mr. Sibley’s first term was to expire. To defeat that
gentleman he virtually dictated the Whig nominee, who had been useful
in securing the Winnebago contract, and persuaded the regular
Democratic nominee to retire on the eve of election in favor of the
Whig candidate.

Mr. Sibley, although a Jeffersonian Democrat dyed in the wool, ran as a
people’s candidate. The total vote was 1208; a transfer of 46 votes
would have elected the Whig candidate. The accounts of historians,
surviving citizens, and the newspapers of the day concur in pronouncing
this political campaign the bitterest and most intensely personal ever
known in Minnesota. Mr. Sibley’s opponents attacked him as the
representative and tool of the American Fur Company, an ancient,
shameless, intolerable monopoly. Party lines broke down, and the issue
became “Fur _versus_ Anti-Fur.”

Mr. Sibley served through the Thirty-first and Thirty-second Congresses
with admirable efficiency. At one time objection was made against his
active participation in general legislation, and the suggestion made
that a delegate should confine himself to matters concerning his
territory. Mr. Sibley replied that Minnesota was part of the United
States, and that whatever concerned them concerned her, and claimed for
her delegate the right to be heard, and all the more because he had no
vote. The matter was dropped. He had little difficulty in obtaining for
Minnesota the needful appropriations for her government expenses,
roads, and public buildings, and the reservation in 1851 of two
sections in each township for common schools, and of two townships of
land for the endowment of a university. His most conspicuous act, in
the highest degree creditable to him, although barren of results, was
his effort to secure the passage of his bill to extend the laws of the
land over the Indians. His speech of August 2, 1850, in which he
denounced the rascality of the white man’s dealings with the natives,
the absurdity of treating with them as separate nations, and their need
of the protection of the law, is a splendid testimony to the
intelligence and wisdom of the man who doubtless knew more about Indian
affairs than any other man on the floor. He spoke to deaf ears. The
government went on sowing to the wind, to reap the whirlwind.

Mr. Sibley was permitted to return to private life at the close of his
second term and devote himself to closing up his relations with the
American Fur Company, of which he had remained the head. Mr. Rice was
selected to succeed him by a three fourths majority vote over Alexander
Wilkin, his Whig opponent.



                              CHAPTER VII

                        TERRITORIAL DEVELOPMENT


The triumph of the Democratic party in the elections of 1852 was notice
to all the appointive territorial officers of Minnesota that their days
were numbered. On May 15, 1853, Governor Ramsey gave place to the Hon.
Willis A. Gorman, and the Whig judges were succeeded by Messrs. William
H. Welch, Andrew G. Chatfield, and Moses G. Sherburne.

The appointment of governor was a disappointment to the friends of Mr.
Sibley, who felt that he had good right to aspire to the office. His
connection with the now discredited fur company, and his failure to
ally himself with the Democratic machine in Minnesota, left the
President free to bestow the appointment on some one who had done loyal
service in the late campaign. In this regard few were more deserving
than Colonel Gorman of Indiana. Born in 1816, he was admitted to the
bar at the age of twenty, and three years later became a member of the
legislature. At the outbreak of the Mexican War he raised and commanded
a battalion of riflemen and later a regiment of infantry. After that
war he served two years in Congress, and deserved well of his party.
His power upon the stump was enhanced by a graceful personality and a
voice of great melody and strength. The affairs of the territory had
already been organized and had fallen into an orderly routine, so that
Governor Gorman’s administration of four years was not marked by
notable executive acts. His messages abound in eloquent passages,
generally commendatory of worthy enterprises and objects. The
exigencies of politics and business presently put him and Mr. Sibley
into the same bed, and affiliated Mr. Ramsey to some degree with Mr.
Rice.

Legislative action was devoted mainly to provisions for the needs of a
rapidly swelling population and expanding settlements. New counties
were organized from year to year, and towns, cities, and villages were
incorporated in astonishing numbers. College and university charters
were distributed with liberal hand to aspiring municipalities. The
disposition of the government appropriation for territorial roads
occupied much time of the houses. The commissioners and surveyors
employed in laying out the roads, and the contractors who undertook the
construction, saw to it that no idle surpluses were left over.
Plank-road charters were numerous, but none were ever built. Railroad
incorporations occupy great space in the journals and statutes, perhaps
because they had been excepted out of the general law of 1851 for the
creation of corporations. Ferry privileges were much sought for.

The same conditions governed the activity of Mr. Rice, who took his
seat as delegate in Congress in December, 1853. Industrious,
persuasive, and soon influential, he promoted in many ways the
interests of the territory and his constituents, and by so doing
obtained a popularity hardly equaled in Minnesota history. He was
diligent in laboring for the extension of the land surveys and the
establishment of land offices. He secured the opening of post-offices
in the new villages. His influence contributed to the extension of the
preëmption system to unsurveyed lands, a change which virtually opened
all lands not Indian to settlement. Mr. Rice’s own personal qualities
were such as to give him wide acquaintance and influence, and these
were extended in no small degree by those of the charming Virginian
lady whom he had taken to wife. Standing for reëlection in the fall of
1855, he won by a handsome plurality over his Republican opponent,
William R. Marshall, and another Democratic candidate, David Olmstead,
supported by the friends of Mr. Sibley.

As the administration of Mr. Ramsey had been signalized by the opening
of many millions of acres of Indian lands to white men’s occupation in
southern Minnesota, so in Governor Gorman’s day great areas were opened
in the Chippeway country of northern Minnesota. It is probable that Mr.
Rice, more familiar with the Chippeways than any other public man, was
most influential of all in procuring the cessions.

The earliest explorers to the shores of Lake Superior had brought away
specimens of native copper and Indian reports of hidden metallic
treasure. In 1826 Governor Lewis Cass obtained, by a treaty made at
Fond du Lac with the Chippeways, the right of the whites to search for
metals and minerals in any part of their vast country. Although no
mining development took place, the belief persisted that there was
great metallic wealth in the upper lake region. The first cession in
the northwest was that of the Chippeways of Lake Superior in September,
1854, of the “triangle” north of the lake, extending westward to the
line of the St. Louis and Vermilion rivers, embracing nearly three
million acres. This great cession was followed by another still
greater, early in 1855. Nearly four hundred townships in the north
central part of the state were freed from Indian incumbrance. The two
cessions cover nearly one half of the area of the state. It was the
lumber interest which desired the acquisition of 1855. On the area
liberated stood large bodies of the finest pine forests of America. The
current belief was that they could never be exhausted. Of Chippeway
country there remained a trapezoidal block in the extreme northwest
corner of the state, which was not acquired by treaty until 1863.

In 1851, immediately after the conclusion of the Sioux treaties of
Traverse des Sioux and Mendota, Governor Ramsey made the long journey
from St. Paul to Pembina, and there made a treaty with the local
Chippeways for the cession of a great tract. This treaty went in with
the Sioux treaties for confirmation and had to be “sacrificed” to
secure favorable action by the Senate on them. What “interest” desired
the extinction of Indian titles upon such a remote and disconnected
area is not well known. Mr. Norman W. Kittson had operated there since
1843, for the American Fur Company. The ratified treaties mentioned
left the Chippeways, some ten thousand in number, concentrated on
reservations of moderate extent set apart in the ceded territory. These
they still occupy, generally in peace, depending largely on their
annuities for subsistence. Their progress in civilization and
Christianity has been sufficient to keep the missionaries and teachers
from giving up in despair. No body of ecclesiastics ever had a more
complete rule over a people than the medicine-men of the Chippeway
Indians.

                  *       *       *       *       *

An incident of the Chippeway treaty of 1854 must here have mention, at
the risk of tedium. As was usual, the half-breeds had to be conciliated
by a benefaction to prevent them from dissuading the Indians. It was
given them in the shape of an eighty-acre tract in fee simple to each
head of a family or single person over twenty-one years of age, of the
mixed bloods. This distribution was made and all beneficiaries, three
hundred and twelve in number, were satisfied, within two years. Ten
years after the negotiation of the treaty an accommodating commissioner
of Indian affairs, upon application through Delegate Rice, issued two
certificates for eighty-acre tracts to two members of a prominent
Minnesota family, mixed bloods of the Chippeways of Lake Superior, who
had never lived with those Indians. He also ruled that the grant
extended to Chippeway mixed bloods of any tribe wherever resident. To
prevent the oversight of any worthy beneficiaries under these rulings,
industrious gentlemen at once employed themselves in searching them out
and revealing their unsuspected good fortune. “Factories” were
established at La Pointe, Wisconsin, Washington, D. C., St. Paul, and
in the Red River country, and nearly twelve hundred were discovered.
Later examinations of the lists showed that in some cases both man and
wife had been reckoned as heads of families; and that the names of some
minors, of some Chippeway families with too little white blood to
fairly count as “breeds,” and of a few deceased persons had been
enrolled. The motive for this extraordinary diligence lay in the fact
that the certificates or “scrip” could be used for the location of pine
on unsurveyed lands, giving the holder the opportunity of ranging the
woods and selecting the most valuable. These certificates the
half-breeds were commonly willing to alienate for a small
consideration. That they were on their face absolutely unassignable,
and so good only in the hands of the beneficiary himself, was no
serious obstacle to the ingenious operators. Two powers of attorney,
one to locate, the other to sell, served as a virtual conveyance to the
speculating lumberman.

James Harlan, Secretary of the Interior in Lincoln’s second
administration, put a stop to this pretty game. But his successor, O.
H. Browning, yielded to the persuasions of interested parties, and on
July 11, 1868, reopened the doors to them. Within a few weeks a
prominent citizen filed 315 applications and received 310 pieces of
scrip. An investigating committee expressed the opinion that “probably
not one of these was valid.” They were good for 24,800 acres of pine.
The liberal secretary ruled that they might be located on any lands
ceded by the Chippeways by any treaty, and need not be selected on
those ceded at La Pointe in 1854. Applications continued to come in. In
the following year, 1869, Colonel Ely F. Parker, by birth a Seneca
Indian, was made commissioner of Indian affairs. Taking up the
applications, he rejected them all and gave notice that no more scrip
would issue under the treaty of 1854. Holders of certificates obtained
in the manner described were discouraged, but not cast down. They
prevailed on the Secretary of the Interior in 1870 to appoint a
gentleman of Minnesota a special agent to examine claims. Reporting
progress in March, 1871, that agent had found 135 persons entitled to
scrip.

Columbus Delano was Secretary of the Interior in the year last
mentioned. Assured that the subject of Chippeway half-breed scrip would
bear scrutinizing, he appointed the Neal commission. The report of that
commission brought the facts above related to the surface. Of the 135
claims reported valid by the late special agent they found two
legitimate. They approved eleven out of 495 others presented. The
commission also examined 116 “personal applications,” filed in the St.
Cloud land office, and these without exception were fraudulent. That
number of persons, belonging to a Red River train bivouacked at St.
Cloud, had been taken into the land office and steered through the
motions of applying for scrip. For this accommodating service they were
paid from fifteen to forty dollars apiece. The commission recommended
that no more Chippeway half-breed scrip under the treaty of 1854 should
be issued, unless by order of Congress, and that the persons who had
been guilty of subornation of perjury, forgery, and embezzlement should
be prosecuted.

This did not conclude the long drawn out matter. Pieces of scrip
accompanied with powers of attorney in blank had been freely bought and
sold for use in locating pine. These vouchers fell into the hands of
bankers, and represented considerable investments. It seemed a hardship
that these holders should suffer loss. On June 8, 1872, Congress passed
a bill with the innocent title “An act to quiet certain land titles.”
It provided that “innocent parties” holding Chippeway half-breed scrip
in good faith, for value, might purchase the corresponding lands at a
price to be fixed by the Secretary of the Interior, not less than one
dollar and a quarter an acre.

The Jones commission, appointed to ascertain the innocent holders,
reported thirteen individuals and firms entitled to the benefits of the
act, and approved 216 entries conveying 17,280 acres of the best pine
in Minnesota, worth eight to ten dollars an acre. As to the price to be
paid, the commissioners advised the department that it would be useless
to ask more than two dollars and a half an acre, for if put up at
auction, combinations of bidders would hold bids to that figure. The
commission vindicated the claimants from any participation in the
original frauds, but found that they had been much too careless in
their investments, and so had become victims of persons who had “got up
a scheme with wonderful prudence and caution.” These victims, thus
resorting to Congress for relief, were the sharpest pine land operators
ever known in Minnesota.

This recital may teach how and why liberal gratifications were always
desired for mixed bloods, when Indian treaties were negotiated.

A contemporaneous operation, similar in its results, took place with
the half-breeds of the Sioux nation. Account has already been made of a
gift of land which the Sioux were permitted to bestow on their
half-breeds in the treaty at Prairie du Chien in 1830. The tract
designated, roughly rectangular, long known as the “Wabashaw
reservation,” lay on the Mississippi, running down river from Red Wing
thirty-two miles, and back into the country fifteen miles. The treaty
provided that the President might in his discretion grant title to
parcels of one section in fee simple to individual breeds; and it was
the expectation of the able men who were working the scheme that they
would soon be in possession of extensive properties at slight outlay.
Agent Taliaferro, the incorruptible Sioux agent, revealed the plan in
so forceful a way that neither President Jackson nor any successor
would grant title to individuals. Failure to get possession of land was
followed by efforts to get money. The half-breeds had no desire to
settle on the reservation. In 1841 the unratified “Doty treaty” with
the Sioux included a sum of $200,000 to be paid the breeds for the
reservation, which they were to surrender. Again in 1849, when
Commissioners Ramsey and Chambers attempted to obtain a treaty of
cession of the Sioux, they only succeeded in securing an agreement of
the half-breeds to accept some such sum. The Senate refused to ratify.
A similar article was injected into the treaties of 1851, and this was
rejected by the Senate, to the disappointment of patient waiters.

The matter awaited the intervention of Delegate Rice, whose knowledge
and skill in Indian affairs had obtained him influence in Congress. On
July 17, 1854, a bill which had been introduced by him, providing for
the survey of the Wabashaw reservation in Minnesota, “and for other
purposes,” was approved. The “other purpose” was to give the President
authority to issue certificates or scrip to individual Sioux
half-breeds, under a _pro rata_ division of the tract. These
certificates might be located on any lands of the United States, not
reserved, unsurveyed lands included. In express terms the law forbade
the transfer or conveyance of the scrip. The tract was surveyed, and in
the course of two years 640 individual breeds were assigned 480 acres
each. Later 37 persons obtained each 360 acres; in all 320,880 acres
were disposed of. Very few of the beneficiaries settled on the
reservation. In many cases the scrip went to pay traders’ debts, and in
many others the beneficiaries got “dogs and cats” for it. White men who
had taken half-breed wives profited most. The size of some families is
remarkable.

The provision of law that no scrip could be transferred was evaded by
the same means as those employed in handling Chippeway half-breed
scrip. Two powers of attorney with the necessary affidavits worked a
transfer, which the courts sustained. Sioux half-breed scrip which
could be located on unsurveyed lands was soon in request, and served
the purposes of the well-informed. A batch of it went to California to
be located on forest and mineral lands. A moiety was used for the
acquisition of town sites in Minnesota in advance of surveys. Another
use involving some elasticity of conscience was the acquisition of pine
timber without the inconvenience of taking the lands with it. A plan of
“floating” scrip was worked out and prosecuted so habitually by men of
good report that no dishonor attached to it. The holder of scrip under
power of attorney would locate a piece, cut off the pine, and then
discover that he had not dealt wisely for his half-breed principal. He
would then obtain a cancellation of his location, place his scrip on
another piece, and repeat the process until the surveys were made. As
late as 1872 the commissioner of public lands issued a circular
condemning this practice in vigorous terms.

Soon after the unexampled development of the iron mines in the
“triangle” in the middle of the eighties, Sioux half-breed scrip was
used to obtain title to lands still unsurveyed in that region, likely
to be found iron-bearing. Mr. Vilas, Secretary of the Interior, and his
successor decided, in cases referred to them, that this scrip could not
pass title, the powers of attorney being but a means to evade the law
declaring the scrip to be non-transferable. A long series of
litigations followed, concluded by the Supreme Court decision of 1902
(183 U. S. 619), holding those powers of attorney to work a valid
conveyance. The title to many millions worth of mining property was
thus quieted.

It may here be noted that in 1855 the Winnebagoes, discontented with
their homes in the Long Prairie reservation, were glad to exchange it
for one of eighteen miles square, south and east of Mankato, whither
they removed in the same year. The new reservation being less than one
fourth the area of the old, a large addition was made to white man’s
country.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Of all the developments in the time of Governor Gorman none equaled in
importance the phenomenal increase of population. The census of 1850
showed a total of 6077 souls in the nine counties of the territory,
4577 of them in three counties. Pending the negotiation, amendment, and
ratification of the Sioux treaties of 1851 the accessions were small.

It was late in the season of 1853 when the bands of the upper and lower
Sioux were established on their reservations on the upper Minnesota.
Some adventurous prospectors had not waited for them to abandon their
villages on the Mississippi, but had staked out claims in their corn
and bean patches. There may have been 10,000 whites when the Indians
had departed.

In the early summer of 1854 the Rock Island and Pacific Railroad was
built through to the Mississippi. The event was celebrated by a grand
excursion from Chicago to St. Paul and Fort Snelling. Five steamers
carried the party from Rock Island up the river. Among the guests were
statesmen, divines, college professors, and eminent men of affairs. At
the reception in St. Paul addresses were made by ex-President Fillmore
and George Bancroft the historian. This excursion, widely heralded,
gave notice that Minnesota was in steam communication for half the
year. That year saw the arrival of the advance guard of the host to
follow. The season of 1855 saw 50,000 people in the territory; that
number was doubled in 1856. The sales of public lands, which in 1854
had been but 314,715 acres, rose to 1,132,672 in the next year, and to
2,334,000 in 1856. These figures indicate that the people came to stay
and cultivate the soil. The Middle States sent the largest contingent,
next the Northwestern States, and then New England. The prairie lands,
if broken early, would yield a crop of sod corn the same year, and in
any case returned a bounteous harvest in the second year.

In a time incredibly short these pioneers, rudely housed and their
animals sheltered, were surrounded by all solid comforts. They lost no
time in starting their schools, churches, and other associations.
Minnesota was hardly ever missionary ground for white people.

The establishment of steam communication for the summer season made the
“territorians” of Minnesota feel the more keenly the isolation in the
long winters. Governor Gorman in his first message (January 11, 1854)
said: “To get out from here during the winter ... is far above and
beyond any other consideration to the people of Minnesota. To
accomplish this you must concentrate all the energies of the people on
one or two roads, and NO MORE for the present. I have but little doubt
that Congress will grant us land sufficient to unlock our ice-bound
home, if we confine our request to one point.” This wise counsel had
its effect on the legislature. On February 20 Joseph R. Brown
introduced into the council a bill to incorporate the “Minnesota and
Northwestern Railroad Company,” which was presently passed by that
body, but by no large majority. In the house lively opposition sprung
up, and dilatory proceedings delayed passage till the last night of the
session (March 3). Governor Gorman gave it a reluctant approval because
he had been allowed but sixty-five minutes before the expiration of the
session to examine its provisions. It is quite remarkable that a bill
of such importance, the talk of the town, had escaped his notice. The
act authorized the chartered company to build and operate a railroad
from the head of Lake Superior via St. Paul to Dubuque, Iowa, within a
specified term of years. The franchise was to be void unless the first
board of directors should be organized on or before the first day of
July following.

The real ground of opposition in the legislature, and of Governor
Gorman’s reluctance, lay in a provision, “that any lands granted to the
said territory to aid in the construction of said railroad shall be and
the same are hereby granted in fee simple, absolute, without further
act or deed,” to said company. There was ambiguity in the paragraph
relating to the northern terminus, leaving it in doubt whether that
might not be located outside of Minnesota. It was suspected that the
intention was to place it at Bayfield, Wisconsin, where influential
persons had made purchases of real estate. It remained to secure from
Congress the much needed and hoped for land grant. A bill to grant even
number sections of public lands for six sections in width on both sides
of the proposed railroad line, so drawn as to allow the grant to pass
to the company chartered by the Minnesota territorial legislature, was
introduced in the House on March 7. The Secretary of War, Jefferson
Davis, warmly recommended its passage because of the service the road
would render in transporting troops, munitions of war, and mail.

The proposition to grant a million acres and more to so remote and
thinly settled a territory at once aroused inquiry and opposition. The
policy of granting public lands for building railroads was still novel;
there were but three precedents, that of the Illinois Central grant of
1850 being the oldest. The measure, however, had its friends, and the
opponents were driven to the device of killing the bill by amendments.
And they succeeded. Presently came a revulsion. Members from the South
and West regretted that the railroad land grant policy had received so
rude a backset. There was no little sympathy for Minnesota, struggling
for an open road and a market. Another effort was resolved upon. Mr.
Sibley, then in Washington, drew a new bill identical in the main with
that which had been put to sleep, but so changed as to vest the grant
in the territory and leave its disposition to the next or a later
legislature. This bill was passed and approved on June 29.

The incorporators named in the Minnesota act creating the Minnesota and
Northwestern Railroad Company met in New York on July 1, on one day’s
notice, and “organized” by the election of a board of directors. The
board immediately elected the necessary officers and took the proper
resolutions for beginning their enterprise. On the 24th of July it was
charged on the floor of the House of Representatives at Washington that
the “Minnesota bill” had been mutilated after its passage by the House,
so that the Senate had really passed a differing bill. The effect of
the change (simply the word “and” written over an erasure of the word
“or”) had the effect to vest the lands granted in the Minnesota
corporation; just what Congress had intended not to do. An abortive
investigation followed, and the mutilated bill was repealed by a
section added to a private bill to increase a certain pension, pending
in the Senate, and awaiting third reading. This action was of course
disappointing to the railroad company and those friendly to it.
Delegate Rice was of opinion that the alteration of “or” to “and” was
purely verbal and immaterial, and eminent attorneys advised the company
that a grant having been made for sufficient considerations, it had
become an irrevocable contract. The pretended repeal, therefore, was
void. To test this question a case entitled The United States vs. The
Minnesota and Northwestern Railroad Company was brought before the
district court of Goodhue County, asking the award of damages for
certain oak trees felled on land belonging to the government. The
defense contended that no damages were done, because it had cut the
trees on land granted by Congress by the act of June 24, 1854. The
issue was, of course, the constitutionality of the repealing act. The
court held the act void, and the Supreme Court of the territory
sustained that judgment before the end of the year. This was very
encouraging to the company, but their joy was presently changed to
sorrow. When the Attorney-General of the United States learned from the
newspapers of this litigation, and of a suit brought in behalf of the
United States without his knowledge or authority, he removed the
accommodating district attorney from office (December 30, 1854), and
later discontinued the suit.

When the legislature of 1855 convened, on January 3, the company,
sustained by the Supreme Court of the territory, was in a position to
approach that body with confidence. Its affairs now entered more fully
than ever into territorial politics, and it is only on this account
that further notice of them is taken. Mr. Rice, supported by Mr.
Ramsey, a director of the company, championed the railroad cause.
Governor Gorman and Mr. Sibley led the opposition forces. The former in
his message denounced the “or” and “and” jugglery, and the latter, as
chairman of the judiciary committee of the lower house, framed a
damaging report which called for a memorial to Congress to annul the
charter of the company granted by the Minnesota legislature March 3,
1857. The memorial was not voted, but the national House of
Representatives by resolution of January 29 decided, for its part, to
annul. The Senate did not concur, and Delegate Rice was comforted. When
the news reached St. Paul on March 24 the whole town was illuminated.

The charter of the company provided that unless fifty miles of road
should be completed within one year the franchise should be forfeited.
An extension of time and certain modifications were necessary. A bill
granting these was passed by sufficient majorities. Governor Gorman
vetoed it in a message of great sharpness, closing with an insinuation
that the “money-king” had had more than his share of influence. The
houses by exact two thirds votes passed the bill over the executive
veto. Mr. Sibley and his friends had to content themselves with a
personal memorial to Congress, which his biographer declares to be
unequaled “for fearless and burning exposure of wrong and perfidy, in
the annals of any territory or state.” The company had been let to
live, but it was obliged to apply to the next legislature (1856) for a
further lease of life. This was accorded by good majorities in both
houses. Again Governor Gorman interposed his objections, declaring it
futile to extend the life of the corporation. A new bill, drawn in such
manner as to obviate the executive criticisms, was passed by a close
vote at the end of the session. The bill received the reluctant
approval of the governor. Three successive legislatures having
sustained the company’s charters, he acquiesced, with slight
confidence, however, in its professions.

The company now made a second resort to the courts to establish its
claim to the grant of June 29, 1854. One of its directors, having
bought of the United States a piece of land in Dakota County, brought
suit against the railroad company for trespass. The district and
supreme courts of the territory gave judgment for the defendant
company, holding that it had good title to the land grant and therefore
was not guilty of the alleged trespass. Before entry of judgment,
however, in the latter court, the case was removed to the United States
District Court; and this tribunal also found for the defendant. The
Supreme Court of the United States, on writ of error from below, in
December, 1861, disposed of the case by deciding (two justices
dissenting) that the act of Congress of June 29, 1854, vested in the
Territory of Minnesota no more than a naked trust or power, which could
be and was revoked by the repealing act. The territorial legislature
had exceeded its power in attempting to vest title in fee simple in the
railroad company.

                  *       *       *       *       *

It was in the period now in view that Minneapolis, which has become the
largest Minnesota city, had its beginning. The military reservation of
Fort Snelling as delimited by Major Plympton in 1839 comprised, as was
guessed, about 50,000 acres. The surveys made in later times show
nearly 35,000 acres. So soon as it became known that a treaty of
cession would be exacted from the Sioux, it was believed by the
neighboring residents that Fort Snelling would be abandoned and the
reservation opened for settlement. In 1849, when the first attempt was
made on the Sioux, Robert Smith of Alton, Illinois, a member of
Congress, having a “pull” at Washington, got leave of the War
Department to lease the government mill at the Falls of St. Anthony on
the west side. Later this concession ripened into a purchase of a
quarter section abutting on the cataract. In the next year John H.
Stevens, acting for himself and another, had similar leave granted to
occupy the river front above the Smith claim, on condition of operating
a ferry, free to government, at the falls. In the next year, 1851, a
number of citizens of St. Anthony, already a thriving village of some
six hundred people, thought it would be well to establish inchoate
claims on some of the beautiful terraces which lay in view from their
homes, beyond the river. They accordingly crossed over, staked out
quarter sections as well as possible in the absence of surveys, built
claim shanties, and had some plowing done. Still another year later,
1852, when in midsummer the Sioux treaties and amendments had been
ratified and it was evident that the Sioux must soon move towards the
sunset, and that the military reservation would be given up and opened
to settlement, there took place a wild rush of St. Anthony men across
the stream to seize on the coveted lands. It was not long till the
whole terrain of Minneapolis was covered with claims. The action of
Congress ordering a survey of the reserve expedited these irregular
preëmptions.

The expectations of the squatters were so far met that on August 26,
1852, Congress authorized the “reduction” of the reserve, and the
survey and sale of the excluded area. Two years passed before the
surveys were completed and the lands advertised for sale. It was not
desired that haste be made. On the completion of the surveyor’s work,
the squatters formed a so-called “Equal Rights and Impartial Protection
Claim Association of Hennepin County, M. T.,” the prime object of which
was to adjust the numerous tracts of claimants to the lines of survey.
This was effected by the action of an executive committee allowed to
use discretion and guaranteed support. There was a second use for this
organization. There was a considerable area east of the Mississippi
left outside the boundary of the reduced reserve. This had been offered
for sale in the usual subdivisions in September, 1854, at public
auction. There was but one bidder, and he was surrounded by interested
citizens who would have made it uncomfortable for any other person who
might thoughtlessly inject a superfluous bid and mar the harmony of the
occasion. The government got $1.25, the minimum price for wild lands,
for property worth easily ten times that sum, and nobody’s conscience
was strained. In anticipation of a public sale of the main portion of
the reserved lands on which Minneapolis has been built, the claim
association mentioned was prepared, by similar proceedings, to prevent
any speculators (others than themselves) from depriving them of their
rights by offering to pay value for the lands. But the plats were by
some unknown influence held back in Washington and the sale was
postponed. When Congress assembled in December, 1854, a strong
delegation of claimants appeared in Washington and secured further
postponement of the public sale. Delegate Rice took up their cause with
vigor and presently obtained the passage of an act granting preëmption
right to all who might comply with preëmption conditions. In the spring
of 1855 the fortunate claimants proved up, and the government received
$24,688.37 for 19,733.87 acres of land worth more than $200,000. There
is a tradition, lacking support by particular facts, that military
officers in the neighborhood profited by arrangements with squatters,
who agreed to divide spoils in consideration of being left undisturbed
on their claims. Citizens not having such arrangements were
discouraged, and in some cases driven off by force.

The nucleus of Minneapolis was well crystallized in 1855. The United
States land office was established, the first bridge over the
Mississippi in all its length was built, the first town plat surveyed,
and one hundred houses built. (In 1854 there were but twelve scattered
claim shanties.) Seventeen stores and artisans’ shops in many lines
sprang up. There was a hotel, a newspaper, and four organized churches.
Minneapolis existed under town government till 1867, and in 1872 was
united with St. Anthony, the latter city losing its historic name. The
name Minneapolis is a variant on Min-ne-ha-polis, proposed by Charles
Hoag. After this “reduction” of the Snelling reservation, its area
covered 7916 acres, as shown by later surveys.

The story of the clandestine sale of the whole by Buchanan’s secretary
of war in the spring of 1857, while abounding in incident, was too
slight in its results to call for complete narration. It is probably
not true that this sale was part of a scheme attributed to Floyd, to
squander the military resources of the North in anticipation of a
rebellion of the South. H. M. Rice interested himself in getting the
necessary legislation and orders for the sale. The whole tract was sold
for $90,000, of which one third was paid down. The purchaser defaulted
on the remainder, and the government resumed possession at the outbreak
of the Civil War. In 1872 the claims of the purchaser for his equity
and rentals were adjusted by a board of military officers, which
awarded him 6,394.80 acres, the government retaining 1,521.20 acres. It
has been found necessary to repurchase some of the alienated land for
the uses of the garrison.

In the winter of 1857 a bill to move the capital to St. Peter was
passed in both houses of the legislature. Joseph Rolette of Pembina,
chairman of the council committee on enrollment, absented himself with
the bill till after the close of the session. The speaker signed a
substituted copy, but the president of the council refused. Governor
Gorman approved, but the Supreme Court held that no law had been passed.



                              CHAPTER VIII

                        TRANSITION TO STATEHOOD


In his message of January, 1853, Governor Ramsey had prophesied a
population of more than half a million in ten years. Governor Gorman,
in a message three years later, figuring on an increase of 114 per
cent. in the previous year, advised the legislature that they might
expect a population of 343,000 in two years, and 750,000 one year later.

In the course of that year the newspapers began to discuss the question
of statehood, and when the legislature of 1857 assembled, Governor
Gorman’s proposition to call a convention without awaiting the
initiative of Congress received early consideration. A bill to provide
for a census and a constitutional convention was passed by large
majorities in both houses, but seems to have been lost by the enrolling
committee of the council, and was not presented for executive approval.
Pending action on this bill the houses passed a memorial to Congress
praying for an enabling act. Delegate Rice, much too enterprising a
politician to neglect his duty to constituents desirous of statehood,
early in the session of 1857 had introduced a bill to enable the people
of Minnesota to organize as a state and come into the Union. Besides a
little pleasantry about the formation of a sixth state in part out of
the old Northwest Territory, while the ordinance of 1787 had provided
for five only, there was no opposition to the bill in the House. It
found, however, a hard road to travel in the Senate. The ostensible
ground of opposition was that the bill allowed white inhabitants of the
territory, aliens and all, to vote for delegates to the convention. An
amendment to confine the suffrage to citizens of the United States
prevailed by a close vote on a late day in February. In this amendment
it was known the House would not concur, and the opposition were
content. A reconsideration was obtained, however, by the friends of the
bill, and a long debate followed, in the course of which the actual
ground of opposition was revealed. The “equilibrium of the Senate” was
threatened, and might be destroyed by the senators the new state should
elect. Regret was expressed that Iowa and Wisconsin had been admitted
as states, and one senator revived a letter of Gouverneur Morris in
which that statesman denied the right of Congress to admit new states
on territory acquired after the adoption of the constitution.

The alien suffrage amendment, however, was rescinded, and the bill as
it came from the House passed by a vote of 31 to 22; every negative
vote came from south of Mason and Dixon’s line. It may be conjectured
that the object of the Minnesota legislature in nursing along its bill
to form a state government without an enabling act of Congress was to
let Congress know that its action was not indispensable.

The enabling act as passed February 26, 1857, was in the form which had
become traditional, and embodied the usual grants of public lands for
schools, a university, and public buildings. The boundaries of the
proposed state were those of the territory except that on the west,
which was drawn in from the Missouri River to the line of the Red, thus
reducing the area about one half. Revised computations give Minnesota
84,287 square miles, or about 54,000,000 acres.

The act provided for an election of delegates to a convention on the
first Monday in June, under the existing election laws of the
territory. An ambiguous clause authorizing the election of “two
delegates for each representative,” according to the apportionment for
representatives to the territorial legislature, ignoring councilors as
such, became the occasion of trouble. The Minnesota legislature, in an
act of May 23, appropriating $30,000 for the expenses of the
convention, provided that each council district should have two
delegates, and each representative district also two. The number of
delegates was thus fixed at 108, instead of 68.

Governor Gorman on April 27 called a special session of the legislature
to take any necessary action regarding the coming convention, and to
dispose of a railroad land grant which Congress had made. This will
engage attention later. Governor Gorman, however, did not officially
survive to coöperate in the making of the state constitution. Mr. Rice,
warmly attached to President Buchanan, who had come into office in
March, would, it was well known, secure Governor Gorman’s early
retirement to private life. They had not been of much comfort to one
another in railroad and other matters. Governor Gorman resigned, and
was succeeded by the Hon. Samuel Medary of Ohio, who had done good
party service through his newspaper and otherwise. He was a gentleman
of excellent character, but remained in Minnesota too short a time to
identify or even acquaint himself with her people and interests.

The Whigs had never been strong in the territory, nor well organized.
The “Moccasin Democracy” had become habituated to control, and expected
indefinite enjoyment of official emoluments. The passage of the
Kansas-Nebraska bill by Congress on May 26, 1854, rudely disturbed this
pleasant dream. A new party of protest against the introduction and
maintenance of African slavery in the territories, under active
national protection, sprang into being. A Republican convention met in
St. Paul, July 28, 1855, adopted a platform, and nominated candidates
for territorial offices. It also nominated the leader of the movement,
William R. Marshall, to succeed Mr. Rice as delegate to Congress. Mr.
Rice had too many electors personally attached to himself to be beaten.
It has been thought, however, that Marshall might have won but for a
“prohibition” plank in the platform, which lost him the German vote. At
the election of 1856 the Republicans obtained a working majority in the
lower house of the legislature to meet in the following winter. As the
day drew on for the election of delegates to the convention both
parties were anxious about the result. The Democrats held on to the
hope of recovering control; the Republicans were none too confident
that they could hold their slight balance of power. The issue was
declared by the leading Democratic newspaper to be “White Supremacy
_versus_ Nigger Equality.” The vote was unexpectedly light, and the
results were not clearly decisive. In a few districts “councilor”
delegates had been distinguished on the ballots from “representative”
delegates; in most cases they had not. In the St. Anthony district the
canvassing officer gave certificates of election to Republican
candidates who had received fewer votes than the Democratic, on the
ground that the Democratic ballots had not distinguished the nominees
for councilor and representative delegates.

The control of the convention would, it was maintained, depend on the
action of the committee on credentials to be appointed by the presiding
officer. To capture the “organization” became the object of each of the
nearly balanced parties. It chanced that the enabling act had not
specified the hour for the assemblage of the convention. The excited
and suspicious leaders were unable to agree informally. To make sure of
being on hand the Republican delegates repaired to the capitol late on
the Sunday night preceding the first Monday in June, and remained
there, as one of them phrased it, “to watch and pray for the Democratic
brethren.” These did not appear till a few moments before twelve
o’clock noon of the appointed day. Immediately upon their entrance in a
body into the representatives’ hall Charles L. Chase, secretary of the
territory and a delegate, proceeded to the speaker’s desk and called to
order. At the same moment John W. North, a Republican delegate,
designated by his colleagues, called to order. A motion to adjourn was
made by Colonel Gorman, and the question was taken by Chase, who
declared it carried. The Democrats left the hall to the Republicans,
who proceeded to organize the convention. Fifty-six delegates presented
credentials in proper form and took their oaths to support the
constitution of the United States.

At noon of Tuesday the Democratic delegates assembled about the door of
the hall, and, finding it occupied by citizens who refused to give them
place, met in the adjacent council chamber and proceeded to organize
the convention. Henry H. Sibley was made chairman, on motion of Joseph
R. Brown, and later became president of the body. From that day till
the close of their labors, August 28, the two conventions sat apart.
St. Anthony was represented by six delegates in each, so that the whole
number participating was one hundred and fourteen. Their proceedings,
published in separate volumes, show a commendable diligence in
business. An undue amount of time was given to oratory in defense of
the legitimacy of the respective moieties.

As the delegates had for examples the constitutions of all the states
carved out of the Northwest Territory, and in particular of the very
recent ones of Wisconsin and Iowa, the task of framing the various
articles was not burdensome. Most of them were adopted, with little or
no debate, as reported from the standing committees. The Republicans
refused by a two-thirds vote to tolerate negro suffrage. A proposition
to submit to Congress the division of the existing territory by an east
and west line on the latitude of 45° 15′, or 45° 30′, was much
discussed in both bodies. It was so much favored by the Republicans
that a change of three votes would have given it a majority. The
Democrats, attached to St. Paul and strong in the northern counties,
gave the scheme slight support.

The absurdity of the situation was apparent, but pride restrained both
bodies from taking a first move towards coalescence. At length on the
8th of August Judge Sherburne, a member of the Democratic convention,
highly respected by Republicans as well, proposed the appointment of
conferees to report a plan of union. The venerable jurist saw his
resolution indefinitely postponed, after a debate abounding in heroic
rhetoric. Two days after, the Republicans passed a preamble and
resolutions in the exact terms of those of Judge Sherburne and sent
them to President Sibley. A select committee, headed by Gorman, advised
that no communication could be entertained which questioned the legal
status of the Democratic body. The report was unanimously adopted.

By this time the Republican delegates had found themselves at a certain
disadvantage, from which relief was to many very desirable. The
Democratic treasurer of the territory had refused to honor their pay
accounts, and they were serving the public at their own expense.
Doubtless from extraneous overtures made by them, the two bodies on the
morning of August 18 adopted resolutions to appoint conferees. These
were immediately named and began their duties. By this time all the
necessary articles had been drafted, and as both bodies had drawn from
the same sources the conference committee had an easy task. Those
wrought out by the Democratic delegates, who were the older and more
experienced men, were chiefly adopted. When Judge Sherburne on August
27 laid before the Democratic convention the report of the conferees,
with the comforting assurance that it was composed of the Democratic
material “almost altogether,” the chair was obliged to exercise no
little firmness to restrain a turbulent opposition. A test vote showed
a majority of more than three fourths for adoption. The final vote went
over.

The next morning, August 28, both bodies agreed to the report without
amendment. There was some resistance in the Republican end, but it gave
way when a leader assured the dissentients that they had a dose to
swallow, and they might as well shut their eyes and open their mouths
and take it. Two copies were made of the one constitution thus agreed
to, one of which was signed by the officers and members of each body
respectively. The Republican manuscript remains in the state archives.
Joseph R. Brown expressed the opinion that the split into two bodies
had been economical. Had the convention met in one body, the orators by
their revilings and vituperations would have prolonged the session till
the end of the year and the expenses would have been doubled. Spite of
the generous endeavor of this delegate, the Democrats refused to agree
that the Republicans should draw their pay. A subsequent legislature
provided for them. Both parties were quite content with the
constitution; the Democrats for what they had conserved, the
Republicans for germs of future development.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The boom period which culminated in 1857 was nowhere more exuberant
than in Minnesota. The swelling tide of population of the previous two
years had brought in a body of speculators who presently gorged
themselves with the unearned increments of land and town lot values.
The whole population caught the fever and bought for the expected rise.
The country people found ready sale for produce in the growing towns,
and the merchants profited by their prosperity. The resulting elation
and extravagance were at no time more abounding than in the closing
days of the constitutional convention.

It was the 24th of August when the failure of the Ohio Life Insurance
and Trust Company of New York precipitated the liquidation of
incredibly multiplied credits in the East. A week later the tardy mails
brought the news to St. Paul, and nowhere in the country did the panic
strike with greater violence. The little money, real and promissory,
sank out of sight. Deposits ceasing, the banks suspended. Eastern
exchange rose to ten per cent. Assignments, foreclosures, attachments,
and executions made law practice the only profitable pursuit. The horde
of speculators who had infested the towns and villages abandoned their
holdings and made their escape. According to J. Fletcher Williams, the
lamented historian of St. Paul, that city lost fifty per cent. of its
population. From the crest of a high wave of fancied opulence, the new
state was thus suddenly plunged into a deep trough of adversity and
despondence; and it was a long day before she rose to the level of
normal prosperity.

The keenest of all disappointments was the postponement of railroad
building. A score or more of chartered companies could not borrow
enough ready cash to pay for their surveys. A generous congressional
act of 1857, engineered by Delegate Rice, had made the Minnesotians of
all classes joyous. That act bestowed on the territory and expectant
state a grant of public lands equal to nearly a ninth of its whole
area, to aid in the building of railroads. It is probable that this
benefaction was all the more willingly bestowed because the territory
had three years before been deprived of a noble grant by no fault of
her own. The act did not convey the lands to the state, but made the
state a trustee for four different railroad “interests” each aspiring
to build its portion of a system of roads coextensive with the state.

The legislature of 1857, in the extra session already mentioned,
accepted the trust created by the congressional grant, recognized the
four companies to construct each its part of the system, and pledged to
each its allotted lands as they should be earned by the completion of
successive twenty-mile stretches of road. With a bird in the bush the
Minnesota people were childishly happy. They saw a thousand miles of
railway as good as built, spreading population far and wide and
carrying the produce of an empire to waiting markets.

It was a good fortune for the territory that the organic law gave it no
power to run in debt. It was equally unfortunate that a corporation
created by it could and did run in debt. In the same February of 1851
in which Delegate Sibley secured from Congress the reservation of the
two townships of land to endow a university, the Minnesota legislature
created the University of Minnesota, to be located at or near St.
Anthony’s Falls. The act provided for a board of twelve regents to be
elected by the legislature in joint session, in classes for six-year
terms. The gentlemen immediately elected, among them Sibley, Ramsey,
Rice, North, and Marshall, commanded, as they deserved, the confidence
of the people. The board organized on the last day of May, 1851, and
resolved to open a preparatory department as soon as possible. One of
their number, Franklin Steele, gave a bunch of lots in St. Anthony’s
Falls near the site of the well-known Winslow Hotel, later occupied by
the Northwestern Industrial Exposition building; others subscribed
money; and a few books were thrown in to be the nucleus of the library.
In a wooden building 30 by 50 feet, two stories and a basement, the
preparatory school was opened on November 26. It continued a useful
existence till the close of 1854. By this time the regents, among whom
there had been changes of personnel, became desirous to open the
“university proper.” In that year they had located through competent
experts several thousand acres of the lands reserved by Congress on the
best pine in the Stillwater district. The lands they could not sell,
but they did despoil them by selling the “stumpage,” and used the money
as collected for university purposes. They bought the heart of the
present campus, twenty-five acres, more or less, for $6000, paying cash
$1000 and giving their notes for the remainder. The stumpage receipts
were too small and came in too slowly to warrant large expenditures for
development. On February 28, 1856, the legislature authorized the
regents to borrow $15,000 on twelve per cent. bonds secured by mortgage
on the campus; $5000 to pay the balance due on the campus, $10,000 for
a building. In August of the same year the board, much deteriorated by
a late election, voted by a majority of one to close a contract for a
building to cost $49,000, to be completed within eighteen months. When
a year later, almost to a day, the panic struck, the building was
nearly complete and large sums were due the contractors. The sales of
pine stopped and collections for previous sales ceased. The concern was
bankrupt and so remained for nearly a decade. A paragraph of the state
constitution, retained against no slight opposition, confirmed the
location of the university and devolved all university lands and
endowments then existing or to be thereafter granted on the “University
of Minnesota.”

The closing year of Minnesota’s territorial existence was diversified
by an Indian butchery, horrible indeed in its immediate incidents, but
especially noteworthy for its contribution to later atrocities. For
many years a renegade band of the Wah-pé-ku-te tribe of the Sioux had
wandered in the Missouri valley under the leading of one Inkpaduta
(Scarlet Point). In the spring of 1857 these Indians were hunting in
northwestern Iowa, and on March 6 or 7 fell upon the little settlement
of Spirit Lake in Henderson County, murdered some forty persons, as
estimated, and carried four women into captivity. Marching on the
little hamlet of Springfield, some fifteen miles to the north, in
Martin County, Minnesota, they found but few victims, because a refugee
from Spirit Lake had arrived before them. The news of these outrages
did not reach Agent Flandrau at the Lower Sioux agency till the 18th.
Upon his requisition, Captain Alexander Bee, commanding the little
garrison at Fort Ridgely, with his company of infantry, led a lively
but fruitless pursuit of Inkpaduta, who had gone off to the Missouri.
It was well understood that so long as the miscreant held the four
women, no punishment could be inflicted on him. In May two young
annuity Sioux, who had been hunting westward, brought one of the women
(Mrs. Markle) into the agency. They had bought her with their horses
and guns, and asked $500 each as reward, which Agent Flandrau and
Missionary Riggs paid, half in cash and half in a promissory bond of
extraordinary character which the traders cashed. This generosity had
its intended effect to call out volunteers for the rescue of the other
captives. Two capable Christian Sioux were selected, furnished with
transportation and plenty of Indian goods and sent out. After six days’
march they came upon the dead body of one of the women, and presently
learned that another had been put to death. In a camp of Yanktons they
found the fourth, Miss Gardiner, and bought her for two horses, seven
blankets, two kegs of powder, a box of tobacco, and some trinkets. Only
one half of the $10,000 appropriated by the Minnesota legislature was
needed to cover the cost of these rescues.

The Indian authorities, local and national, now resolved to visit
Inkpaduta with just punishment, and decided upon the plan of enlisting
volunteers among the annuity Sioux to pursue and capture the scoundrel
and his band. Few or none offered themselves. Summer came on and 5000
Indians had gathered about the agencies for the annual payment. A
number of councils were held, in the course of which the agent
threatened to withhold the payments until Inkpaduta had been brought
in. This threat had some effect, but presents of blankets and
provisions had more. At length, on the 22d of July, an expedition of
106 Indians and four half-breeds was started for the James River
country. It returned August 3, bringing two women and a child as
prisoners, but no Inkpaduta. In vain did Major Cullen, superintendent
of Indian affairs for the territory, who had come to the Sioux
agencies, insist that Inkpaduta should be brought in, and by the
Indians themselves, and declare that there would be no payment of
money, goods, or provisions till the murderers should be in his hands.
The Sioux, although by this time on the verge of starvation, would not
stir. They were sullen and defiant. A special agent sent from
Washington advised the superintendent to make believe that the Indians
had done all they could, and might therefore be paid off. It was late
in September when the Indians got their money and goods and marched off
to their fall hunts. They had had their way with the agents of the
Great Father, and suspected that he was not so powerful as they had
been told he was. He had not been able to run down Inkpaduta and his
little band. What could he do against the great Sioux nation of many
thousands?

                  *       *       *       *       *

The new constitution of Minnesota closed with a supplementary
“schedule” of provisions temporary in nature. All territorial rights,
actions, laws, prosecutions, and judgments were to remain in force
until proper action under state authority. All territorial officers
were to continue their duties until superseded by state authority. A
referendum of the constitution was ordered for October 13 (1857), at
which time all the officers designated by the constitution were to be
elected under the existing territorial election law. Every free white
male inhabitant of full age, who should have resided in the state for
ten days before the election, was authorized to vote. Section four of
the enabling act required the United States marshal, so soon as the
convention should have decided in favor of statehood and admission, to
take a census of the population. This was not completed during the life
(forty-two days) of the convention. It being, therefore, impracticable
to divide the state into congressional districts, it was made a single
district. In the belief that the population must be near 250,000,
provision was made for electing three representatives in Congress. The
completed census yielded the disappointingly small total of 150,037.
Governor Medary and two delegates were made a canvassing board.

While the constitution was acceptable to all, the two parties put forth
all possible effort to capture the offices. The canvass showed the vote
on the ratification of the constitution to be: Yeas, 36,240; nays, 700.
The Democrats obtained a majority of the legislators and nearly all the
state and national officers. The candidates for the governorship were
Sibley and Ramsey, the former winning by the slender majority of 240 in
a total of 35,340. The claim was made that this majority was obtained
by irregularities in making the returns, but there was no contest.

The schedule had fixed the early date of December 3 for the assemblage
of the legislature, in the expectation shared by all that within a few
days thereafter Congress would admit the new state to the Union, and
her senators and representatives elect to their seats. A half year,
however, was to run by during which Minnesota, as described by Governor
Sibley, hung like the coffin of the prophet of Islam between the
heavens and the earth. The legislature met, December 2, 1857, and in
joint convention, by the close vote of 59 to 49, decided to recognize
Mr. Medary as “governor.” In his message he recognized the body as a
state legislature. Still there was doubt about the legal status of the
houses, and there was little desire to undertake business which might
turn out to be illegitimate. The Republican members entered formal
protests against any legislation. There was, however, one bit of
business which the Democratic majority felt could not be postponed; and
that was the election of two United States senators. That was virtually
settled in caucus. Henry M. Rice, as everybody expected, was nominated
without opposition. The second place, for the short term, went, after
several ballotings, to General James Shields, who was a newcomer and
little known in Minnesota. He had served with distinction in the
Mexican War, filled many offices in his former state of Illinois, and
served a term in the Senate of the United States. It was a bitter pill
for such Democratic wheel-horses as Sibley, Brown, and Gorman to
swallow. Franklin Steele never forgave Rice for failing, as he claimed,
to throw the election to him. Shields was everybody’s second choice,
and the expectation was that his personal influence in Washington would
procure many good things for the state.

                  *       *       *       *       *

President Buchanan, for reasons not apparent, did not transmit the
Minnesota constitution—the Democratic version—to the Senate till near
the middle of January, 1858. A fortnight later the bill to admit was
reported from the committee on territories. The same kind of opposition
now broke out as had impeded the progress of the Minnesota enabling act
a twelvemonth before. Southern senators were loath to see a new
Northern state come in, even with a Democratic delegation awaiting
admission to both houses. They were also technical and persistent about
holding to the traditional custom of admitting states alternately slave
and free. It was the turn for a slave state to come in, and Kansas with
her infamous “Lecompton” slave constitution was knocking at the door.
To give the right of way to the “English bill” admitting Kansas,
dilatory measures were successfully resorted to. A debate covering
twenty-three pages of the “Congressional Globe” took place on the
question whether the Senate would consider the Minnesota bill. That
having been agreed to on the 24th of March, days of tedious wrangling
followed upon objections raised by opponents. The election, it was
argued, was void for frauds committed; aliens had been allowed to vote;
the still incompleted census was farcical; some assistant marshals had
destroyed the returns they should have given in; in some instances
there was not one tenth as many people found in precincts as had voted.
The right of the state to three, two, or even any representative in
Congress was questioned. Minnesota was still a territory, and
territories had no right to representation in the Senate or in the
House, except by a delegate having no vote. There had been no legal
convention, it was said, and no legitimate constitution had been
adopted by the people. The debate went on till April 8, when, the
English bill admitting Kansas having been put through the Senate, the
opposition ceased and the Minnesota bill passed with but three
dissenting votes, out of fifty-two. The palaver occupies nearly one
hundred pages of the “Globe.” The bill now went to the House, and there
the English bill stood in its way till the 4th of May. The pro-slavery
opposition at once showed itself under cover of the same objections
which had been so tediously debated in the Senate. There had been no
proper convention, the election was void for frauds, the territorial
legislature in session was presuming to act as a state legislature, and
the like. In the course of a wrangle on the matter of alien voting, a
Missouri member in a heated moment revealed the actual ground of the
opposition. He said, “I warn gentlemen of the South of the
consequences.... The whole territories of the Union are rapidly filling
up with foreigners. The great body of them are opposed to slavery. Mark
my words; if you do it, another slave state will never be formed out of
the territories of this Union.” There was also an attack on the bill
from an unexpected quarter. John Sherman of Ohio introduced a
substitute, annulling all proceedings so far had, and providing for a
new convention in Minnesota. In his speech he declared there had been
no convention, but only two mobs. The number of delegates had been
unlawfully raised from 68 to 108. All proceedings under the enabling
act, including the election of October 13, were void. A printed letter
was circulated among Republican senators and representatives from which
Mr. Sherman had evidently derived his allegations. This document came
from a Minnesota Republican source and evidenced the desire for an
entire new deal. There was ground for hope that in new elections the
Republican party might overcome the slight Democratic pluralities. This
move on the political chessboard had the effect to rally Democratic
support to the pending bill for admission of Minnesota with her waiting
delegation. A new election might change its complexion. On May 11 the
bill was passed by the vote of 157 to 38. The next day it received the
presidential approval, and Messrs. Rice and Shields, who had been
living since December at their own charges, were sworn as senators.

The Senate bill, concurred in by the House, allowed Minnesota but two
representatives. Three had been elected and had been waiting for five
months to be seated. To eliminate one of these, lots were drawn, and
George L. Becker, the best man of the three, was thrown out. The two
who had drawn the long straws filed their credentials, and the House
committee on elections informed the House that they had no knowledge of
a third representative-elect from Minnesota. Two days of ineffective
contention over the legitimacy of the elections of the lucky two,
Messrs. William W. Phelps and James M. Cavanaugh, followed. The vote to
admit stood 127 to 63. The records of debates and proceedings cover 225
columns of the “Globe,” of 1000 words each or thereabout.

During the months the Minnesota representatives had been on the anxious
bench, the delegate, W. W. Kingsbury, who had been elected on Mr.
Rice’s promotion to the Senate, had been comfortably occupying his seat
in the House. When Messrs. Phelps and Cavanaugh were sworn in, Mr.
Kingsbury did not vacate his seat, but claimed the right to represent
that part of the Territory of Minnesota west of the Red River line
excluded from the state. The Democratic majority of the committee on
elections strongly recommended that the claim be allowed, the
Republicans dissenting. The House decided that the portion of Minnesota
excluded from the state was a district without government, and not
entitled to representation in Congress. The admission of Minnesota
wrought the dissolution of the territory, a decision exactly in the
teeth of that by which Mr. Sibley had been recognized as a delegate
from the rump of Wisconsin Territory in 1848.

                  *       *       *       *       *

So soon as Governor Medary had approved the bill for the election of
senators he took his departure and devolved the executive upon Charles
L. Chase, the secretary of the territory. Till the middle of winter the
legislative bodies of 1857-58 were so uncertain about their legal
status that they were chary of multiplying statutes. Then there was a
change of opinion, and the members were encouraged to believe
themselves true state legislators. Their confidence so stiffened that
on the 1st of March they voted to submit to the electors an amendment
to the constitution authorizing the state officers-elect to qualify on
May 1, whether Congress should have admitted the state or not; and
appointed April 15 proximo as the day for the election. It is probably
true that railroad interests had to do with this change of heart. As
already related, the four companies to which the great congressional
land grant had been made over by the previous legislature had not been
able to borrow a dollar by hypothecation of their inchoate properties.
There were examples of state assistance in railroad building under like
circumstances, by way of lending state credit. The Minnesota companies
now asked the legislature for like aid. That body was willing enough,
but there stood in the constitution adopted, but yet awaiting approval
by Congress, a section forbidding in terms the loan of the credit of
the state in aid of any individual, association, or corporation. But
the constitution was still in the green tree; why not amend it for so
worthy a purpose? Accordingly, the accommodating houses presently
submitted a second amendment to the electors, to be voted on at the
same time as the former. This amendment added to the section forbidding
the loan of the state’s credit an exception, allowing such loan for the
purpose of facilitating railroad construction, to the amount of five
million dollars. Such was the beginning of the “five million loan”
transaction, which was not closed till near the end of the century, and
then in a manner not clearly honorable to the state. The two amendments
were passed upon by the electors on the day appointed (April 15). That
authorizing the state officers elect to enter upon their duties on May
1 received an “imposing majority,” the figures of which have not been
found. The officers elect, however, wisely took no advantage of this
provision, but awaited the admission of the state. The “five million
loan” amendment was carried by the overwhelming majority of 25,023 to
6733. It was only, as alleged, a “loan of credit.” In no conceivable
event, the people were assured, could they be taxed to pay in cash the
debt nominated in the bonds to be issued.

On May 13 the mail or a private hand brought from La Crosse, Wisconsin,
the telegraphic news of the admission of the state to the Union on the
previous day. The documentary evidence came some days later, and on the
24th the state officers elected in October, 1857, took their oaths and
proceeded to their duties. It lacked one week of nine years since
Governor Ramsey proclaimed the beginning of the territorial government.

Three days after the state officers took up their duties there took
place within an easy day’s drive of the capital the last serious
encounter of the Sioux and Chippeways on Minnesota soil. The lower
Sioux, who late in 1853 reluctantly retired to their reservations on
the upper Minnesota, were wont to return in summer weather in
straggling companies to their old homes. They were generally harmless,
and the merchants got a little profit on their trade. Shakopee and his
band of one hundred and fifty had early in the summer of 1858 come down
and gone into camp near the town which bears his name. One of his
braves, fishing in the river (the Minnesota) at an early hour, was
fired upon. Shakopee’s men instantly recognized the sound as coming
from a Chippeway gun. They gathered at Murphy’s Ferry and, presuming
that the hostile shot came from one of some very small party, they let
their women put thirty or forty of them across. They did not suspect
that back on the timbered bluff a mile distant there lay in hiding one
hundred and fifty or more Chippeway warriors who had sneaked down from
Mille Lacs through the big woods east of Minnetonka. They were wary,
however, and placed themselves in ambush in a narrow space between two
lakelets. The Chippeways, out for scalps, with a boldness unusual among
Indians, charged down from the bluff twice or more, without dislodging
the Sioux. The day was not old when they gave up the effort and
departed in haste for their homes, carrying their wounded and perhaps
some dead. Four of their corpses were left to the cruel mercies of the
Sioux, who scalped, beheaded, and otherwise mutilated them. Such was
the so-called “Battle of Shakopee,” May 27, 1858.



                               CHAPTER IX

                       THE STRUGGLE FOR RAILROADS


On the 2d of June, 1858, the legislature, which had adjourned March 25,
reassembled and listened to Governor Sibley’s inaugural address. He
challenged investigation into the legality of his election, declaring
that he would scorn to hold the position for a single hour if not
legally chosen. He commended the schools and the university to the
special care of the legislature, exhorting them to regard the donations
of public lands to them as sacred. He advised the organization of the
militia to the end that the state might protect herself from possible
Indian outrages like that of Inkpaduta the year before. He warned the
legislature to be careful in their action in regard to banks, which he
declared to be a “necessary evil.” He deprecated the undue extension of
federal interference in the affairs of the states, and, as might be
expected from a friend and admirer of Mr. Douglas, pronounced in favor
of squatter sovereignty in the territories. He took occasion to record
his objection to frequent and trivial amendments to the state
constitution, which should “ever remain beyond the reach of temporary
and feverish excitement.” In no doubtful terms did the new executive
give notice to the land grant railroad companies that he should hold
them to a strict but reasonable conformity with their obligations. In
this adjourned session the legislative bodies had no doubt about their
true character as state organs. The senate had its constitutional
president in the lieutenant-governor, William Holcombe, and there was a
state governor to approve the acts of the houses. In the session, which
lasted till August 12, a large body of statutes were enacted, many of
them amendatory of territorial laws to suit new conditions. This
legislature deserves praise for its diligence and appreciation of the
needs of a growing state. Responding to the counsel of Governor Sibley,
an elaborate militia law was passed. A provision for the organization
of volunteer companies proved three years later to have been wisely
planned. The cautions of the executive led the legislature to replace a
banking act of many sections, passed by the same body in the previous
March, by another more carefully drawn. Educational objects were not
neglected. An agricultural college was established at Glencoe, a normal
school at Winona, and the unlucky board of regents of the university
were authorized to borrow $40,000 on twelve per cent. bonds. As if
distrusting either the good faith or the ability of the four land grant
railroad companies, the legislature placed on the statute book a
stringent act instructing the governor how to proceed in case of
default by any of them. The hopes of the people of Minnesota in this
summer were centred on these land grant railroads. The panic of the
previous year had impoverished many of the well-to-do, and left
laborers and artisans without employment. Fortunately there was no lack
of bread and meat at low prices, because they could not be got to
outside markets. Money was scarce and “business” sluggish in the
extreme. But there was hope. The building of the railroads would
scatter large sums of money, immigrants would flow in, and the good
times of ’56 would return.

The act of the Minnesota legislature of May 22, 1857, accepting the
congressional land grant of March 5, provided, as anticipated by
Congress, for the distribution of the lands to these four
corporations:—

First, the Minnesota and Pacific Railroad Company, for building a main
line from Stillwater through St. Anthony to Breckenridge and a “branch”
from St. Anthony to St. Vincent.

Second, the Transit Railroad Company, to build from Winona by way of
St. Peter to the Big Sioux River north of 45 degrees north latitude.

Third, the Root River and Southern Minnesota Railroad Company, for two
lines; one from La Crescent to a junction with the Transit at
Rochester; the other from St. Paul and St. Anthony via Minneapolis, up
the Minnesota River, to Mankato and on to the mouth of the Big Sioux.

Fourth, the Minneapolis and Cedar Valley Railroad Company, for a line
from Minneapolis by way of Mendota and Faribault to a point on the
south line of the state, west of range 13.

The lands were to inure to the companies in installments of 120
sections, upon the completion of twenty-mile stretches of road for the
running of regular trains. The constitutional amendment of April 15,
1858, had for a particular object the enabling of the companies to get
each its first twenty miles built and receive its 120 sections (76,800
acres). The sale or hypothecation of this land would build an
additional stretch, and so on. To make it the easier for the companies
so to build, the amendment provided that when any ten-mile stretch
should have been graded and made ready for ties and track, the company
should receive $100,000 in the seven per cent. special Minnesota state
railroad bonds authorized; and, when any ten-mile stretch so graded
should be complete with rails and rolling stock, an additional like sum
in bonds. Now these bonds were by no means a bonus; they were to be a
“loan of credit,” according to the favorite phrase of the day. The
companies on receiving them were obligated to pay the interest as it
should accrue, and to redeem the principal when due. The most rigorous
provisions were made in the amendment itself to secure these
liquidations. The companies were required to pledge the net earnings of
their several lines, to convey to the state by deed of trust the first
240 acres of land earned by construction, and to transfer to the state
an amount of their own company bonds equal to that of the special state
bonds delivered. These company bonds were to be secured by mortgages on
all the properties and franchises of the companies. Human ingenuity, it
was fancied, could exact no sounder guarantees. While the legislature
was still in session in the midsummer of 1858, the companies let their
contracts, and the dirt began to fly in a manner very cheering to
citizens living along the surveyed lines, who boarded the hands and
furnished forage, timber, and other supplies.

But there was trouble with the finances from the start. On August 4
Governor Sibley gave warning (why should it have been needed?) to the
companies that he should hold them to a strict compliance with the
obligations they had assumed. In particular he demanded that when they
came to exchange their company bonds for the special state bonds they
must secure to the state a prior lien on their properties and
franchises. The companies balked at this, and by their attorneys
applied to the supreme court of the state for a mandamus requiring the
governor to issue them bonds without such priority. To obtain a
construction of the law Governor Sibley waived objection to being
governed by the court in a matter within his own official discretion.
The mandamus issued. The text of the amendment of April 15 showed no
requirement of priority, and the legislative journals show that efforts
to inject such requirement had been vain. The state railroad bonds,
issued to the companies as they severally completed their ten-mile
stretches of grading, when placed upon the market did not go off like
hot cakes. In form they were bonds of Minnesota acknowledging to owe
and promising to pay dollars, signed, countersigned, and sealed like
other bonds. The faith and credit of the state were pledged in the
constitutional amendment to the payment of the interest and redemption
of the principal. But the people understood that all this was mere
form; the railroad companies, not the state, were to pay. The
newspapers industriously circulated this idea. Sixty-seven members of
the legislature who had voted for the issue of the bonds signed a
published declaration that none of them would ever vote for a tax to
pay them. When offered in the New York market they were not wanted,
unless by speculative operators at a figure warranting risk. Governor
Sibley’s personal representations in Wall Street did not increase
confidence. He attributed his failure to factious interference of
citizens and Republican newspapers.

Construction was resumed with the season of 1859 by contractors willing
and able to take bonds in pay, but by midsummer this plan ceased to
work. One firm in July was obliged to put up $30,000 to raise $8000 in
cash. Railroad building ceased, and Minnesota sat in ashes. The
surprise and exasperation of the people can easily be imagined. The
companies had not followed the course expected of them to complete and
put in operation successive ten-mile stretches, but preferred to push
the grading for many such stretches and postpone track-laying and other
work of completion. This aroused a suspicion that they did not intend
to complete any sections, but to secure their $10,000 per mile, a sum
far in excess of the actual cost, and quit. This suspicion was
intensified by rumors that the grading had been confined to
discontinuous earthwork alone, on the level prairie where it could be
cheaply done. These rumors had but slight foundation, but they were
accepted as true and to this day there are those who believe them. When
the legislature of 1860 met (there was no session in 1859), Governor
Sibley in his retiring message informed that body that the four
companies had graded 239.36 miles, and had received 2275 one
thousand-dollar special state bonds in exchange for an equal amount of
company bonds.

The legislature of 1858 has enough to answer for in proposing to the
people the consummate folly of offering to sell bonds which they never
meant to pay. Of the final act of their session (August 12) it cannot
be charitably recorded that it was one of mere folly. As the end of
their labors drew nigh in the dog days, it became known that there
would be a residue of some $10,000 of money appropriated by Congress
for territorial expenses. It seemed a pity not to keep that money in
Minnesota. After a variety of proposals consuming much time had failed
to receive concurrence, the two houses agreed to a compromise by which
$6000 was appropriated for stationery and $3500 for postage, the
members to share equally. Governor Sibley was obliged to give his
official sanction to this division, because it was impossible in the
last hour of the session to veto the general appropriation bill in
which these items had place, but he took occasion to say that he gave a
most reluctant consent to the grab.

The banking act passed by the legislature of 1858, on July 26, provided
for the issue of circulating notes secured by deposits of public stocks
of the United States, or of any state, up to ninety per cent. of the
average value of such stock for six months in the New York market. On
one of the last days of the session an amending act was passed
injecting into the proper section of the bank act the words “or the
State of Minnesota at their current value.” The intended operation of
the clause was that bank-notes might be issued on the security of the
special railroad bonds. To obtain a favorable rating by the state
auditor a clique of operators traded among themselves in the bonds, in
New York city, until they felt warranted in submitting affidavits that
their value as ascertained in that market was ninety-five cents on the
dollar. The auditor of the state thereupon issued some $600,000 in
notes to fifteen banks depositing the special railroad bonds. On
January 1, 1861, he was obliged to report that seven of them had
failed, and that he had sold their bonds. In one case he got seventy
cents; in six others, prices ranging from thirty-five cents down to
sixteen and a quarter cents.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The Sioux chiefs were so much excited with the money elements of their
treaties of 1851 that they probably did not know what they were about
when, in the summer of 1852, they assented to that amendment proposed
by the Senate canceling the reservation of homes for the tribes on the
upper Minnesota and authorizing the President to remove them from the
ceded territory. It was, however, deemed best to move the people on to
the designated areas, and they were so moved in the season of 1853. It
soon came to their knowledge that they were only temporarily encamped
there, and must presently move on to some unknown country. Their sorrow
and exasperation were intense, and did not abate until they were
assured in the following summer that the Great Father, as authorized by
Congress, would permit them to remain where they were. They did remain
in the sense of maintaining their principal villages on the reserve,
but they constantly wandered in bands either toward their old homes or
out on the prairies to the west, where buffalo still fed in countless
herds. Their agents were much occupied in recalling these vagrants and
in chasing the white whiskey sellers who infested the boundaries of the
reserve. In 1857 Joseph R. Brown, that notable character whose career
intersects the line of our narrative at many points, was appointed
Sioux agent. As he was the father of many children born of his Sisseton
wife, and had lived and traded among the Sioux for many years, he
possessed an influence and a knowledge of Indian character equaled by
few. He had no belief that the Indian could be transformed by religion
or education in the twinkling of an eye into a fully civilized man, but
he knew that he could be induced to take on the beginnings of
civilization. His simple plan was to get the savages to live in houses,
adopt white man’s dress, and do a little planting. In two years he had
two hundred men, mostly heads of families, located on eighty-acre
farms. They had disused the blanket, put on white man’s clothes, and,
most notable of all, had had their hair cut short. His “farmer Indians”
numbered seven hundred. This was not a large proportion of the seven
thousand “annuity Sioux,” but the northern superintendent of Indian
affairs prophesied that in three years the “farmer Indians” would
outnumber the “blanket Indians.” The farmers, he reported, had given up
their feasts and dances and were living as a “law-abiding, quiet, and
sober people.” In this reform Agent Brown was assisted by the
missionaries, under the leadership of Drs. Williamson and Riggs, who
had followed the Sioux to their reservations. The former had organized
a society of ambitious young Sioux, under the title of the “Hazlewood
republic,” the object of which was to encourage respect for law and to
teach the art of government. On the accession of the Republicans to
power at the seat of government in 1861, Agent Brown’s place was needed
to reward a laborer in the Republican vineyard, utterly inexperienced
in the duties. It is perfectly safe to say that had Brown been left
alone there would have been no “Sioux outbreak.” When the treaties of
cession were negotiated in 1851, the proposed reservations seemed very
far away and very ample. The Sioux had hardly got settled before the
white man appeared with his whiskey jug and began taking up preëmptions
on the neighboring lands. It did not take these adventurers long to
discover that the Indians had more land than they needed. Moved by
their representations the Minnesota legislature of 1858 adopted a joint
resolution instructing her delegation in Congress to secure the
reduction of the reservation and the opening of the excluded areas to
settlement. In the summer of that year delegations of chiefs of the
upper and lower tribes were taken to Washington, where they were
induced to consent, in separate treaties, to the sale to the government
of all their lands (some eight hundred thousand acres) on the left
(northeast) side of the Minnesota River.

                  *       *       *       *       *

At the close of the state campaign of 1859 Alexander Ramsey came to his
own. He was elected governor by a majority which no one could question.
At the same time the office of lieutenant-governor fell to Ignatius
Donnelly, who for forty years was to be a conspicuous figure in
Minnesota politics. This young gentleman had come to Minnesota from his
home in Philadelphia in 1856, at the age of twenty-four. He had won no
little applause in his native city by some public addresses, a volume
of juvenile poems not without promise, and a number of published
essays. Breaking out of the Democratic fold along with very many young
men of the day, he threw himself heart and soul into the Republican
cause. There was no man of his time, certainly not in Minnesota, who
could more completely enchain an audience of citizens than Ignatius
Donnelly. A speech in the Republican convention of 1859 won him an
unexpected nomination, and his election followed. The inaugural message
of Governor Ramsey to the Republican legislature which came in with him
is a notable document. The persistence of hard times moved him to cut
his own salary from $2500 to $1500 and to recommend corresponding
reductions in those of state officials. By these and other
retrenchments adopted by the legislature, the expenses of the state
government were reduced by 49.3 per cent. Reminding the houses of the
fact that the general government had already bestowed twelve millions
of acres of public land and more (an area equal to that of Holland or
Belgium), he exhorted them to the greatest diligence and fidelity in
execution of their trust. In particular he urged that the school lands
be safeguarded against premature sale, and that all purchase-money
coming in from these should be paid into the state treasury to form a
perpetual endowment. While his particular scheme was not adopted in
detail, his principle was. A surviving contemporary opposed to him in
politics has declared that had not Governor Ramsey stood like a rock
against multifarious schemes for dissipating the school lands,
Minnesota would not have a dollar of school fund to-day. That fund now
amounts to nearly $20,000,000 and will be greatly increased in the
future. For this great service the name of Alexander Ramsey should be
remembered in Minnesota as long as the state survives.

The incoming legislature had for its most exciting duty that of
electing a United States senator in the room of General James Shields,
who had two years before drawn the short term. The choice fell on
Morton S. Wilkinson of Stillwater, the pioneer attorney of that place.
He had coöperated in organizing Republicanism in the territory and had
attracted the attention of leaders outside, among them Seward and
Lincoln.

                  *       *       *       *       *

This election disposed of, the houses addressed themselves to railroad
matters. The state had turned out $2,275,000 of her “special” bonds,
and had for them not a mile of railroad, but only some two hundred and
forty miles of rather slovenly graded road-bed. Governor Ramsey, with
the strong common sense which never failed him, urged the legislature
to settle the business at once. Though he had a favorite plan, his
concern was not for his own plan, but for any kind of a settlement. He
warned the legislature that if the vexed question were not settled it
would confuse politics and invite corruption. The bonds would be bought
up for a song by speculators who would subsidize newspapers, shout
repudiation, and pound on the doors of the legislature till that body
would be forced by their sheer importunity to satisfy them. But that
legislature had come from an exasperated people who believed in their
hearts that the railroad companies, and politicians in league with
them, had deceived and cheated them. They had never promised, in fact,
to pay those bonds, and the takers of them knew that, and were estopped
from demanding redemption out of the pockets of the people. The houses
appointed a joint committee of sixteen on railroad grants and bonds.
Six different reports came in from detachments of this committee. One
member, Senator Mackubin of St. Paul, alone proposed the full payment
of the bonds. The legislative bodies were as much divided as were their
committeemen. All they could agree to after days of discussion was to
hang the whole proceeding up by means of two constitutional amendments
to be submitted to the electors. One of these was to expunge from the
state constitution the amendment of April 15, 1858, authorizing the
“five million loan”; the other, providing for a referendum to the
electors of any law for paying off the outstanding special railroad
bonds. The vote on the expunging amendment, on November 6, 1860, was:
Yes, 19,308; no, 710. The vote on the other amendment differed but
little. The ostrich had buried his head and eyes in the sand.

The land grant companies having completely defaulted in all their
engagements, there remained for the governor to proceed as required by
law to recover to the state the public lands conditionally made over to
them. Foreclosure proceedings culminated in the sale to the state of
all the franchises, rights of way, property, and privileges of each
company for the sum of one thousand dollars. As the electors had by a
constitutional amendment declared that the special railroad bonds were
no obligations of the state, she was apparently the gainer by the
rights of way and the grading done by the companies, but in fact the
state was never more than a trustee of the lands. The loss of their
properties did not, of course, work a dissolution of the railroad
charters, and the companies, or their ghosts, still existed. When the
legislature of 1861 was in session they had sufficient influence to
persuade that body to give them another lease of life. They had gone
down in the common ruin after brave efforts to execute their contracts.
By separate acts passed March 4, the state released and restored to the
four companies severally all their forfeited properties and assets,
free from all claims and liens by the state,—this on certain
conditions which did not seem hard. Each company was obligated to
deposit a guarantee fund of ten thousand dollars, to begin building
immediately, and to have ten miles of road in full operation by the end
of the calendar year, and certain stipulated mileages in years
following. In these Kalends of March there was no expectation that
before the grass should be green on the Minnesota prairies a war cloud
would have settled over them. It was no time to build railroads on
borrowed money. One of the companies, the Minnesota and Pacific (germ
of the Great Northern Railway), made its cash deposit and began work.
Late in the season it ran the single locomotive, the William Crooks,
which it had purchased, over the fourteen hundred feet of track laid
from the St. Paul levee to a storage shed. Its ten thousand dollars
were forfeit. All the companies having defaulted, the lands, rights of
way, and properties reverted to the state.

The desire of the people for railroads did not and could not abate, and
there were still adventurous persons willing to risk money for the
great prizes lying in the land grants. In the winter of 1862 four new
companies were organized, and to them the legislature turned over the
grants and rights of way on liberal conditions. The St. Paul and
Pacific Company succeeding to the Minnesota and Pacific, built from St.
Paul to St. Anthony, and on October 14 advertised for regular business.
In 1863 two companies built forty-six and one half miles, and in 1864
three built forty-three and one half miles. Meantime the special
railroad bonds remained in the limbo to which the constitutional
amendments of 1860 had relegated them.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Other acts of the legislature of 1860 of less importance, but still
notable, were: One changing the existing system of county government by
boards of supervisors, elected from the towns, to one of county
commissioners, to be elected from districts; another providing for the
registration of voters in all precincts; a third replacing the elective
board of twelve regents created by territorial law with one of eight,
five to be appointed by the governor and three _ex officiis_. The new
board succeeded to a melancholy task.

The people of Minnesota had moderated their expectations of an
abounding population, but they were still greatly disappointed when the
census of 1860 footed up but 172,023 inhabitants, including 2369
Indians. The native born were 113,295, the foreign born 58,278. The
great Scandinavian influx had hardly begun. Of the whole number of
persons engaged in gainful occupations, 53,426, the farmers were
27,921, dwelling mostly in the river counties and those immediately in
the rear. With her population so widely spread out on the land and that
in its virgin fertility, Minnesota was not really poor, in spite of
business stagnation, of a high interest rate (two per cent. a month),
and of isolation from outside markets for half the year. This isolation
was, however, mitigated by the completion of a line of telegraph to the
cities at the head of navigation, so that “through” dispatches were
regularly received in October, 1862. The office in St. Anthony was
closed after a few months, and the business men of Minneapolis were
obliged to subsidize that of their city.

The conflict in national politics in 1860 was a hot and lively one, not
merely between the two great parties, but within the separate ranks.
The Democrats had not been so long out of power as to despair of a
return. The Republicans had just begun to taste the sweets of office
and its emoluments, and were fierce for more. The aspirants were
inconveniently numerous and eager. In the caucuses and conventions they
competed with almost brutal ardor for nominations, equivalent, in their
happy anticipations, to elections. No sooner had the October elections
resulted in a Republican triumph than aspirants for federal employment
began weaving the combinations which should capture the Minnesota
appointments. The friends of Governor Ramsey formed into one camp; the
“land office clique” into another. The latter gained a temporary
advantage, but did not succeed in their ultimate purpose of placing one
of their number in the United States Senate when the next vacancy
occurred. They also failed to get Governor Ramsey, his own logical
successor, out of the way by a promotion to the headship of the
Interior Department.

The Minnesota Democracy had been steadfast adherents to Senator
Douglas, who had earned their support. The delegation to the Charleston
convention of 1860, though not instructed, was presumed to be solid for
the Illinois statesman. When Senator Rice and another separated and
stood by Breckinridge, there were accusations of treason, bribery, and
all the crimes in the political calendar. It ought to have been
foreseen that Mr. Rice by temperament and interest would be attached to
the conservative wing of the Democracy.

As the time for the state election of 1861 drew on, it was so apparent
that Messrs. Ramsey and Donnelly would succeed themselves as governor
and lieutenant-governor that only the slightest activity was manifested
in the campaign. The total vote for governor on October 8 was 8048, of
which Ramsey received 6997.



                               CHAPTER X

                        ARMING FOR THE CIVIL WAR


Governor Alexander Ramsey was in Washington on April 14, 1861, the day
the Confederate colors were flown over the ruins of Fort Sumter in
Charleston harbor. The attack on that work was an avowed act of war.
Early that Sunday morning he hastened to the War Department to make a
tender of one thousand Minnesota men for the national cause. The offer
was put in writing at the request of Secretary Cameron, who was on the
point of waiting on the President. Minnesota’s tender of a regiment was
doubtless the first recorded. It was so promptly accepted that on the
next day Governor Ramsey could so telegraph to St. Paul. On the 16th
Lieutenant-Governor Donnelly issued the executive proclamation calling
for volunteers to form a regiment of infantry to serve for three
months. The principal effect of Governor Sibley’s ambitious militia
organization already mentioned had been to stimulate the organization
of independent volunteer companies in the larger towns and cities.
These companies were the convenient nuclei of those which filled up the
regiment. The arms of those independent companies were somewhat
irregularly appropriated. Thirteen days after the proclamation, on
April 29, ten companies nearly full were mustered into the service of
the United States at Fort Snelling. Governor Ramsey, who was present at
the muster, announced his appointments of field officers. Willis A.
Gorman, former territorial governor, a regimental officer in the
Mexican War, he placed in command. The vigor with which this
experienced colonel established and enforced military routine was a
surprise to his raw soldiery. They learned later the value of his
discipline, which at the first they were disposed to be restive under.
Early in May the state furnished black felt hats and black trousers.
These, with the red shirts previously supplied, constituted their
uniform. Drilling went vigorously on, diversified with sword and flag
presentations and some feasting in the neighboring cities.

Some days after the muster, the War Department decided to accept no
more regiments for three months, and gave to the men of the First
Minnesota the option of enlisting for three years or taking their
discharges. A considerable number, many of whom had been more patriotic
than judicious, chose the latter alternative, but their places were
immediately supplied, and a full regiment was mustered in for three
years.

In the early morning of June 22 the regiment was paraded for the last
time at Fort Snelling. Chaplain Edward D. Neill offered prayer, made an
address, and gave the Hebrew benediction, “The Lord bless you and keep
you,” etc. This over, the command embarked for Prairie du Chien, whence
it proceeded by rail to Washington. On July 3 it was put into camp near
Alexandria and attached to Franklin’s brigade of Heintzelman’s division
of McDowell’s army. At the battle of Bull Run the First Minnesota was
sent forward alone in support of Rickett’s battery to attack the
position held by Jackson’s brigade without a single skirmisher in
advance. The battery had barely unlimbered when all its horses were
killed and cannoneers dispersed. The First Minnesota held its ground
until forty-two men were killed and one hundred and eight wounded, the
heaviest loss suffered by any regiment on the Union side. Thirty were
missing, mostly prisoners, among whom were Surgeon Stewart and his
assistant, Le Boutillier, who remained on the field attending the
wounded. The regiment did not leave the field till ordered off, and
marched “in perfect order” to Centreville. From that point to
Alexandria its ranks were broken by the rabble of men and vehicles
which thronged the road. In a compendious work it is impossible to
follow in detail the career of this splendid regiment and those later
sent out from Minnesota. It shared honorably in the operations of the
Army of the Potomac in the season of 1862. At Antietam, holding its
ground after both flanks had been uncovered, the First lost one hundred
and forty-seven in killed and wounded. The company of Minnesota
sharpshooters (the Second), added to the regiment after the battle of
Fair Oaks, had twenty out of its forty-two men present shot down in
that action.

After the organization of the First Regiment out of existing state
militia, other militia companies remained over, equally desirous for a
part in the war for the Union. When Governor Ramsey called for a second
regiment on the 14th of June, 1861, the response was immediate. Before
the end of July the Second Minnesota Infantry had been mustered in at
Fort Snelling, uniformed and supplied. It received as commander Colonel
Horatio P. Van Cleve, a graduate of the United States Military Academy,
who had resigned from the regular army after some years of service. On
October 14 the regiment left Fort Snelling, without patriotic
exercises, for Louisville, Kentucky, where it joined Buell’s army. At
Mill Springs it behaved with coolness and gallantry, suffering a loss
of twelve killed and thirty-three wounded. The whole remaining season
of 1862 was occupied with laborious marches between the Ohio and
Tennessee rivers, with occasional minor engagements. It was present at
Shiloh, Corinth, and Perrysville, where its losses were nominal.

The Third Minnesota Infantry was called for on September 18, before the
Second had gone to the front. The companies were promptly recruited by
aspirants to commissions, and the organization was complete by the
middle of November. For its colonel Governor Ramsey selected Henry A.
Lester of Winona, who had made a creditable record as a captain in the
First Regiment. In a few months he brought the command to a high state
of discipline, and by his personal qualities gained the complete
confidence of officers and men. In April, 1862, the regiment was sent
to Murfreesboro’, Tennessee, a point of some strategic importance,
thirty miles southeast of Nashville, and was there in July when the
Confederate cavalry leader Forrest was raiding thereabout to delay the
movements of Buell. The covering force was a small brigade in two
separate encampments. A Michigan infantry battalion of five companies
and two cavalry troops were stationed to the east of the town, the
Third Minnesota about a mile and a half northwest on the Nashville
pike. No intrenchments seem to have been constructed. At an early hour
of July 13 Forrest’s advance brushed away the cavalry outposts,
captured the brigade commander in his quarters in the village, and
fiercely attacked the Michigan men. It was not till noon, however, that
he was able with his main force of more than one thousand men to compel
their surrender. At the sound of the firing, Colonel Lester got his
command under arms and placed them in a good position for defense not
far from his camp, and there he held his men while the forenoon wore
away with the sound of battle in his ears and the smoke rising from the
burning warehouses in the town. The barest show of attack was made on
his front, but Forrest in person led a considerable party around his
flank to attack his camp, defended by Corporal Charles H. Green with
twenty teamsters, convalescents, and cooks. It took three charges,
Forrest leading the last, to rout and capture the little band. The
gallant corporal died the same day, of his wounds. Soon after one
o’clock P. M. the adjutant of the Michigan battalion came out from the
town under flag of truce and safeguard to summon Colonel Lester to the
presence of his colonel. In the interview which succeeded, the
surrender of the Minnesota regiment was recommended. Returning to his
command, Lester summoned his officers to a council. On an open vote the
majority was for fighting. Two company commanders then left the
council. The colonel, not content with the open vote, proposed a
ballot. The result was five to surrender, three to fight. In the
minority were Lieutenant-Colonel Griggs and Captain C. C. Andrews, both
of whom became regimental commanders. It may be said in mitigation of
the action of some of the company commanders voting for surrender, that
as they held their offices by election they felt bound to act in a
representative capacity and not according to their own judgment. The
end of it was the unconditional surrender of the Third Minnesota
without having been seriously attacked. The enlisted men were paroled
and sent to Benton Barracks, St. Louis. The officers were paroled at
Richmond after three months. On December 1 President Lincoln discharged
dishonorably all those who had voted for the surrender.

The Fourth Minnesota regiment was called at the same time as the Third,
but for service on the Indian frontier. The muster began October 2, and
was complete before the close of the year. For colonel Governor Ramsey
chose John B. Sanborn, his adjutant-general, as yet inexperienced in
warfare, but his appointment was later abundantly justified. Two
companies were sent to Fort Ridgely and two to Abercrombie to overawe
the restive Sioux. A fifth company went to Fort Ripley to insure the
good behavior of the Chippeways. The remaining five companies spent the
winter of 1862 at Fort Snelling, where they were thoroughly instructed.
On April 20, 1862, the Fourth Regiment, its absent companies having
been recalled to Fort Snelling, embarked for the South. It reached
Halleck’s army in May in front of Corinth, Mississippi, in time to
partake in the siege which the enemy terminated by a timely evacuation.
After some months of inaction, during which one third of its men got
into the hospital, the regiment participated gallantly in the affair at
Iuka on September 18, losing three killed and forty-four wounded. At
the battle of Corinth, October 3 and 4, the Fourth was actively
engaged, with the surprisingly small loss of two killed and ten wounded.

The muster of the Fifth Minnesota began December 19, 1861, and was
completed on the 29th of March following. Three companies were sent to
the frontier forts to relieve companies of the Fourth called in. To
encourage recruiting Governor Ramsey proposed to appoint to the field
and staff positions such gentlemen as the line officers should nominate
to him. For colonel their choice fell upon a gentleman, German born,
who had seen service in the Prussian army. The experience of a few
months proved to him and his friends that a mistake had been made.
Lieutenant-Colonel Lucius F. Hubbard, afterwards governor of Minnesota,
succeeded and held command until assigned to a brigade. Leaving behind
the three companies on duty in the frontier forts, the regiment went
south in May, 1862, in time to participate in the operations which
resulted in the occupation of Corinth, Mississippi. The summer was
passed in quiet, diversified by the affairs at Farmington and Iuka.
When Price and Van Dorn undertook, on October 8, to dislodge Rosecrans
from his intrenched position at Corinth, it fell to the Fifth Minnesota
to take a most honorable part in their repulse. Recalled late that
night from outpost duty, the men bivouacked in a street of the town. In
the forenoon of the 4th, after a furious bombardment, the Confederates
assaulted and pushed a column of attack through the Union line near its
right. Colonel Hubbard saw the impending danger, and without waiting
for orders threw his regiment on the flank of the Confederate column,
broke it into fragments, and drove it back in complete disorder. The
batteries temporarily lost to the enemy he retook, and restored the
shattered battle line. Such is the willing testimony of Rosecrans
himself. Survivors of the Fifth delight to recall the gallant and
fearless behavior of their young Catholic chaplain on that field. He is
now the Most Reverend John Ireland, Archbishop of St. Paul, known
everywhere for splendid services in church and state.

In addition to the five infantry regiments recruited under the calls of
1862, five minor organizations were formed, one of which, the Second
Company of Minnesota sharpshooters, has been mentioned. The First
Sharpshooters were mustered in at Fort Snelling, October 5, 1861, and
sent to Washington to become Company A of the Second Regiment of United
States Sharpshooters. That command participated in the battles of
second Bull Run, Antietam, and Fredericksburg, doing effective work
with its Sharps rifles. The Minnesota company had ten wounded at
Antietam.

Brackett’s Cavalry Battalion of three companies, to which a fourth was
added January 1, 1864, was recruited in the fall months of 1861, and
remained in service till May, 1866. The command, by services
appropriate to its arm, contributed not a little to the victories of
Fort Donelson, Shiloh, and Corinth. It accompanied Sully’s Indian
expedition to the upper Missouri in 1864, and took part in the battle
of Killdeer Mountain. Stationed on the right of the line, the battalion
checked a fierce flank attack, which it followed with a gallant
counter-charge, inflicting heavy loss on the savages.

The First Battery of Light Artillery was mustered in at Fort Snelling,
November 21, 1861, and sent south in midwinter to join Sherman’s
division at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee. In the battle of Shiloh,
April 6, 1862, this battery, forced back with Prentiss’s routed
division, united in the heroic stand at the point known as “the
hornet’s nest,” which held back the enemy’s advance till Grant’s
disordered regiments could be formed for final and effective defense.
Captain Emil Munch had his horse shot under him and was severely
wounded. The Second Light Battery was not accepted till March 21, 1862.
Its commander, Captain William A. Hotchkiss, had seen service as an
artilleryman in the Mexican War. At Perrysville and Stone River this
command played a gallant part, fortunately with small loss.

The passage of the enrollment act of April 16, 1862, indicated an
expectation that to reëstablish the authority of the government over
all territory, an increase of the army would be necessary, and that the
raising of new troops might not be left to the pleasure or convenience
of the states. On the day of McClellan’s escape to the James River
(July 2) President Lincoln called for 300,000 volunteers. Minnesota’s
quota was 5362. On August 4 this call was followed by an order for
drafting 300,000 men from the loyal states. Volunteering, which for
some months had gone but languidly forward, revived. Public meetings
were held in all the towns; bounties were offered by citizens and
municipal bodies; splendid examples of patriotic sacrifices were set by
men who could ill afford them, and could ill be spared by the
communities. The actual recruiting was mainly done by gentlemen who
were promised commissions in consideration of their services. The
distribution of the quotas to counties and towns really set the whole
people at work, with the result that before the harvest was over five
new regiments, the Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth, were
substantially filled. However, it was not till November 19 that the
announcement could be made that every local quota had been filled and
that all danger of the draft, from time to time deferred, was averted.
The immediate employment of all these regiments was, as we are to see,
far different from the expectations of the recruits. The appointments
to the field and staff positions were no easy task for Governor Ramsey.
It was well known that he would desire the legislature of 1863 to elect
him to succeed the Hon. Henry M. Rice as United States senator, and
that another aspirant was at least equally desirous. His personal
admirers urged him to distribute the military “plums” in a way helpful
to his political success. His political opponents were prophesying that
he would certainly do so, and charged him with selfishness,
heartlessness, and disregard of experience. To the head of one regiment
he appointed William Crooks, an experienced civil engineer, who had
been two years at West Point and was his political opponent. For three
other regiments he took Lieutenant-Colonels Miller, Wilkin, and Thomas
from the First, Second, and Fourth Minnesota regiments respectively.



                               CHAPTER XI

                       THE OUTBREAK OF THE SIOUX


While the whole people of Minnesota were striving night and day to fill
up the new regiments with volunteers to reinforce the national armies,
there was trouble brewing within their own boundaries. The reader will
have observed that small garrisons had been and were still maintained
on the Indian frontiers. There was one at Fort Ripley, below Crow Wing,
to protect the Chippeway agency; there were two on the borders of the
Sioux reservations. Of these one occupied Fort Ridgely, situated on the
north bank of the Minnesota River in the extreme northwest corner of
Nicollet County. It was begun in 1853 when the lower Sioux were
arriving on their reservation. The garrison had for its purpose the
support of the authority of the government agents thereon. Another post
had previously been established on the west bank of the Red River, some
fifteen miles north of Breckenridge, chiefly for the purpose of
protecting the Red River trade, carried in hundreds of single ox carts,
from depredations of both Sioux and Chippeways, whose hunting parties
waylaid not only one another, but the white man’s caravans. Fort
Abercrombie, although at some distance from the upper reserve, was near
enough to keep the upper Sioux aware of the Great Father’s power.
Although called forts, no one of the three was in any sense a strong
place. Each consisted of a group of detached buildings standing on the
open prairie. The lapse of years in quiet seemed to justify the
assumption that it would be a useless thing to form a proper inclosure
and fortify it.

The Minnesota Sioux betook themselves to the reserves designated in the
treaties of 1851 in no comfortable frame of mind. They believed that
they had been obliged to abandon their ancient homes for an inadequate
compensation, and that government agents had conspired with the traders
and half-breeds to cheat them of money promised to be paid to their
chiefs. Two years passed before they were assured by act of Congress
that they would be allowed to remain in Minnesota and not sent to some
far-off unknown country. The treaty commissioners of 1851 congratulated
the government on the establishment of a policy of “concentration,”
under which the Indian would be induced to abandon the chase and get
his living from the soil. The Pond brothers, foreseeing that this
policy was premature, decided not to follow the tribes among whom they
had labored to the reservations. Concentration of wild Indians averse
to cultivation only gave opportunity for unceasing grumbling in council
over the general rascality of the white man, the tyranny of the agent,
the immorality of his employees, the extortions of the traders, and the
imbecility of the missionaries, who worked for nothing.

In the buffalo season these Sioux swarmed out into the Missouri valley
to make boot upon the still countless herds. At times some wandered
back to their old homes below. The reservations, while ample in area
for eight thousand Indians, were in shape ridiculously ill-adapted for
concentration. Originally they formed a “shoestring” one hundred and
fifty miles long and twenty miles wide. That width had been reduced by
the treaties of 1858 to ten miles. There was no privacy for the Indian.
An easy morning walk took him to the boundary, where the accommodating
white man met him with a keg of illicit whiskey. This opportunity for
“business” doubtless had no little effect in attracting settlers to the
lands fronting on the reservations. The citizens of Brown County in
1859 publicly denounced the criminal practice, and the county
commissioners offered a reward of twenty-five dollars for evidence
leading to conviction in any prosecution. While generally harmless, the
Indians annoyed the settlers by untimely visits for food, and
occasional thefts of horses and cattle.

The treaties of 1858, already mentioned, ceding those parts of the two
reservations lying north of the Minnesota River, were negotiated with a
few selected chiefs carried to Washington so that they might not be
restrained by the discussions of the braves in council. This was a
source of suspicion, which turned out to be well grounded. The
consideration for the ceded lands was in part additions to annuities,
in part moneys to be paid as the chiefs in open council should direct.
There was long delay in securing the ratification of the treaties by
the Senate, and necessary ancillary legislation from Congress. Three
years passed before the final payments. The lower Sioux found but
$880.68 coming to them from their “hand money,” instead of $40,000. The
consent of the chiefs to this division of moneys to traders and others
was obtained in a surreptitious, not to say dishonest, manner. The
upper Sioux were sufficiently, but not so extensively, plundered. From
the time of their removal to the reservations up to the opening of the
Civil War, the annuity Sioux were nursing their wrath against the
deceitful and greedy white man. At the same time they were becoming
distrustful of the power of which he boasted. When the Great Father had
no cavalry to chase Inkpaduta, but was obliged to hire Indians to make
that fruitless pursuit, the Sioux inferred that while he had a great
multitude of people he could not make soldiers of them. A veteran
missionary recorded the opinion that the failure of the government to
pursue and capture Inkpaduta was the “primary cause” of the uprising
which came five years later.

The exchange of the garrisons of regular troops at the forts for raw
volunteers was to the Sioux a sign that the Great Father was in
trouble, and the dispatch of raw men to help defend his country
confirmed this view. Through the traders and half-breeds the Indians
were kept informed of the repulses suffered by his warriors at Bull
Run, Ball’s Bluff, and elsewhere. Nowhere could gossip spread more
speedily than in an Indian village, where gossip was the business of
the braves when in camp. It is in evidence that the strong “Copperhead”
element among the traders and half-breeds did not conceal their
satisfaction over the defeat of loyal troops and their belief that the
Great Father was going to be “cleaned out.”

The winter of 1861-62 was unusually severe. When spring opened food was
scarce in all the villages. The Sissetons had eaten all their horses
and dogs. The farmer Indians had in the previous summer been so
badgered by the unregenerate of their own bands, and by the visiting
Yanktonnais of the plains, that their industry had relaxed, and they
had but little food to spare. The “payment” was accordingly looked to
with unusual eagerness. According to custom it should come as soon as
the grass of the prairies should be fit for pasture. Spring ripened
into summer, but the agents’ runners did not bring the welcome summons
to the villages. The upper Sioux, tired of waiting, came in to the
agency at Yellow Medicine in the middle of July to the number of four
thousand, and with them came one thousand Yanktonnais, literally on the
edge of starvation. The agent supplied some flour, pork, lard, and
sugar and told them to go home. He would call them when he was ready.
But the savages did not depart. In a fortnight they had consumed the
rations and were again hungry. The agent declining to furnish more, an
armed mob of several hundred warriors surrounded the government
storehouse, surprised the little guard of infantry, broke the locks and
bolts, and carried off one hundred sacks of flour. Making a virtue of
necessity, the agent, after a talk in council, agreed to issue all the
provisions and annuity goods, on condition that the Indians would
depart and stay away till called. Trouble with the upper Sioux was thus
tided over, but their respect for the Great Father’s power was not
increased by the forced compliance of his agent.

There was less want of food in the villages of the lower Sioux, but
there was enough to cause distress and desire for an early payment. The
agent had no advices. He could give no reasons for the delay of the
money. The traders assumed to know more than he, and with a fatal
blindness teased the Indians with suggestions that the Great Father had
spent all his money and had none left for his red children. As the
Indians were heavily in debt to them, they began refusing further
credits. Among the rumored reasons for the delay of the money, the one
most accepted was that the government officials were allowing friends
to use it in speculations on supply contracts. The fact was that the
Indian appropriation of 1862 was not passed in Congress till July 5.
The gold was drawn from the treasury on August 11, and was at once
dispatched to the west. It was brought to Fort Ridgely at noon on
August 18.

The lower Sioux did not assemble and raid the warehouses, but resorted
to a less riotous procedure. On the warpath or the hunt it was Indian
law that a kind of provost guard composed of active warriors should
maintain order on the march and in bivouac. It was called the
Ti-yó-ti-pi, or “Soldiers’ lodge,” had a large discretion, and exacted
instant obedience. A modified soldiers’ lodge was now set up (June,
1862) on the lower agency, attended by one hundred and fifty warriors.
In its frequent councils all the grievances of the past and present
were rehearsed, and schemes for redress broached and discussed.
Evidence is wanting to support the assertions of contemporaries that in
this soldiers’ lodge there was concocted a definite scheme of murder
and pillage to be carried out later. Possibly some braves, more
patriotic than judicious, pictured the consequences to the cowardly
white man if the great Sioux nation should launch its hosts against his
undefended farms and villages. But the oratory of the lodge fed fat the
ancient grudge of the red men and added to their chronic exasperation.
The dog days drew on, but there was no outward sign of insurrection.
Although he felt that the Indians were in an evil and turbulent state,
Agent Galbraith did not think it injudicious for him to leave his
people in charge of his assistants and go off to New Ulm with a batch
of forty-nine volunteers for the army on the afternoon of August 15.
The same day he had passed through some of the villages and had
conferred with Little Crow about the brick house he was to build for
that chief. Two days after that, Crow attended morning services in the
Episcopal mission chapel, and gave no sign of excitement or enmity.

But for an unforeseen incident the peace might have lasted another day,
and lasting that other day, on which the annuity gold arrived, might
not have been broken by one of the bloodiest Indian wars of the
continent. On Sunday, August 17, 1862, a party of Sioux from Rice Creek
were hunting in Meeker County for deer, and, if chance should offer,
for Chippeway scalps. Early in the afternoon, in Acton Township, Meeker
County, a detachment of these hunters, four or more in number, coming
to a settler’s cabin, where three families were assembled, wantonly
murdered five out of eleven persons. The motive for this crime is not
easy to conjecture. The houses were not plundered nor fired. The
evidence that the savages were drunk has not been found. There may be
some value in the story that the first shot was fired by a young man
who, having been twitted by his companions with cowardice, wished to
show them that he dared shoot a white man.

Seizing a team and wagon of a neighboring farmer, the scoundrels drove
furiously to Shakopee’s village, some ten miles above the lower agency.
Upon their arrival late at night a council of warriors was called. The
high connections of the murderers did not relish the idea of turning
them over to white man’s justice to suffer a death signally ignominious
to Indians. There was but one alternative, to treat the killing of the
afternoon as an act of war, and call the nation to arms. After an
outburst of patriotic eloquence this course was resolved on, and as
soon as the braves could arm and mount, they moved toward the agency
under the lead of Shakopee, who was no lover of the whites. The party
arrived at Little Crow’s village, two miles above the lower agency, at
daybreak, and arousing that chief from sleep, explained the situation.

Little Crow was the fifth Medawakanton chief who had borne that name,
given in French (Le Petit Corbeau) to an ancestor who wore on his
shoulders the skin and feathers of a crow. Although in temporary
disgrace for connivance in the extortions of the traders under the
treaties of 1858, he was still the most experienced, virile, and
eloquent of the chiefs. White men who knew him still praise his good
sense and kindness of heart in ordinary relations. It seems to be true
that in the soldiers’ lodge he had counseled against anything like war
on the white man, whose resources his journeys to Washington had
revealed to him. But Little Crow was a heathen Indian. The dogs of war
were loose, and the leadership was his if he would have it. He could
recover his lost prestige, and show his people that he was as brave in
war as he was eloquent in council. Vanity and ambition triumphed. “It
must come,” he said. “Now is as good a time as any. I am with you. Let
us kill the traders and divide their goods.” By seven o’clock Little
Crow had possibly two hundred warriors, armed and painted, surrounding
the agency, with small parties distributed about the warehouses and
dwellings. Upon signal, fire was opened on all the whites in sight.
Five fell dead and many others were wounded. Fortunately the eagerness
of the savages to loot the stores distracted them from killing, and
gave opportunity for the survivors to gain the cover of the thickets in
the river-bottom. So soon as the plunder of the traders’ goods was
done, small parties of warriors were detached to raid the neighboring
farms and settlements. These, on that day and the next, spread
themselves over the parts of Brown and Nicollet counties next to the
river. The white men encountered were mostly killed, and the women
taken captive with their children; but some of these were butchered
when they delayed the march. The dwellings and grain stacks were fired,
the farm wagons seized and loaded with plunder were driven into Little
Crow’s village. By ten o’clock in the forenoon refugees from the lower
agency had reached Fort Ridgely. That work was garrisoned by Company B
of the Fifth Minnesota Infantry, commanded by Captain John S. Marsh,
who had been promoted out of a Wisconsin regiment which he had joined
because too late to be enlisted in the First Minnesota. His first act
was to send a mounted man to overtake and recall Lieutenant Timothy I.
Sheehan, who had at an earlier hour marched for Fort Ripley with a
detachment of C Company of the same regiment. Putting forty-six of his
men in wagons, mounting himself and his interpreter, Peter Quinn, he
took the road to the agency. Six miles out from the fort he came to
burning houses and mutilated corpses by the roadside. Refugees warned
him that there was trouble ahead. Pushing on, he reached the ferry
abreast of the agency, and formed his men in line in readiness to
cross. A signal shot rang out and a volley of bullets laid several of
the soldiers low. A moment later another volley came from Indians
concealed on the right of the road by which the detachment had arrived.
After a brief contest, in which half of his men had fallen, Marsh led
the remnant to the cover of the thicket on his left. Observing a body
of Indians moving to intercept his party, he decided to cross the
river, supposing it to be fordable at that point. Wading into deep
water he was drowned, in spite of the efforts of three brave men to
rescue him. This was the “Battle of Redwood Ferry.” Twenty-three
soldiers were killed and five wounded. Captain Marsh had been drowned,
and Interpreter Quinn’s body had been riddled with bullets at the first
fire. The survivors straggled into Fort Ridgely in the course of the
following night.

Tuesday the 19th was occupied by the savages in other and more distant
raids for robbery and slaughter. In the afternoon a demonstration by a
body of one hundred and fifty Indians, more or less, was made on New
Ulm. This was successfully resisted by the organized townsmen commanded
by Captain Jacob Nix. One young woman was killed by a random shot, and
a few other persons, including Captain Nix, were wounded. A few
buildings were fired. Later in the afternoon, in the evening, and in
the night, help came from St. Peter, Mankato, and other towns.

The “outbreak” was begun and mainly carried on by the lower tribes, the
Medawakantons and Wah-pé-ku-tes, in spite of the fact that the Acton
murders were done by members of an upper band. It was late in the
afternoon of Monday the 18th when the upper Indians, the Sissetons and
Wahpetons, hearing of the news, went into council on a hill near the
Yellow Medicine agency, twenty-five miles distant northwest of the
scene of the morning carnage. John Other Day, a Christian Indian, and
Joseph La Framboise, a half-breed, informed the white people resident
at and about the agency, already wondering over the mysterious council,
of the outbreak below and collected them, to the number of sixty-two,
in the government stone warehouse.

There they passed an anxious night. After midnight a trader’s employee
came in mortally wounded. At daylight a bookkeeper of another was
killed and a clerk painfully wounded. The upper Indians were keener for
plunder than for blood. Collecting wagons for the women and children
and the wounded, the party left their shelter, forded the river, and
under the faithful guidance of Other Day made their way across country
to Hutchinson. Friendly warning given late on Monday to the
missionaries, Williamson and Riggs, residing a few miles above the
agency, enabled them to escape with their families and assistants,
forty-five in number, to safe hiding in the river-bottom, from which
they began the next day their journey to Henderson.

Sporadic killing, plunder, and devastation in the regions adjacent to
the agencies mostly ceased by Tuesday night. Small parties of savages,
however, escaping from the control of the chiefs, spread themselves to
distant settlements to revel in carnage and fire. Within a week there
were murder and pillage in Meeker County, forty miles to the northwest
of the agencies, in Murray County, fifty miles to the southwest. Two
persons were killed at Sioux Falls, one hundred miles away, and four
near Breckenridge, one hundred and sixty miles as the crow flies. Fort
Ridgely, Hutchinson, Forest City, Glencoe, and even St. Peter were
threatened, but not attacked.

These forays had their natural and intended effect. As the tidings of
Indian butchery spread, the settlers loaded what furniture and
provisions they could in their wagons, and driving their stock before
them, made their way to the “river towns.” An area two hundred miles
long from north to south and fifty miles in breadth was depopulated,
while the harvest awaited the reapers. Their flight was all the more
precipitate because of rumors that the Winnebagoes had broken out along
with the Sioux, and that the Chippeways were to close in from the
north. No small number of persons went back to their former homes in
other states. The occasional appearance of small parties of Indians out
for cattle-stealing and other robberies for a month after the outbreak
justified all the fears of the fugitives. On September 22 two children
were killed within fifteen miles of St. Cloud, and the little village
of Paynesville was fired. A small number of persons ignorant of the
country, and not way-wise, wandered about for weeks before finding
settlements. Hundreds of settlers in the Missouri valley went to Sioux
City and other towns.

To what extent the upper Indians participated in these raids and in the
several battles it is difficult to determine. They were quite as much
exasperated and were more turbulent than the lower bands. That some of
their leading chiefs and braves sympathized is known to be a fact, and
it cannot be doubted that many individual members participated in the
murders and the war which ensued.



                              CHAPTER XII

                             THE SIOUX WAR


It was not till Wednesday the 20th that Little Crow could muster and
hold together a body of warriors sufficient to undertake regular
warfare and carry out a well-laid plan to capture Fort Ridgely. He was
aware, of course, that its little garrison had lost its commander and
fully half of its men. He probably did not know of the arrival of two
reinforcements: one, Sheehan’s detachment recalled by Captain Marsh
before beginning his fatal march; the other, the party of recruits,
enlisted at the agencies and taken by Agent Galbraith as far as St.
Peter. They took and kept the name of “Renville Rangers.” The
information brought to Agent Galbraith at St. Peter on the evening of
the outbreak indicated Fort Ridgely as the point where his recruits
would be most needed. He had therefore led them thither at daylight of
Tuesday, armed with some Harper’s Ferry muskets belonging to a local
militia company. He had to give bonds to the exacting custodian. What
with these troops and with male refugees from the agencies and the
surrounding farms, Lieutenant Sheehan, the ranking officer, had not
more than one hundred and eighty combatants. Upon the withdrawal of the
regular garrison the year before, six pieces of artillery of various
patterns had been left behind with Ordnance-Sergeant John Jones in
charge. Of this the Indians may not have been informed. The so-called
fort consisted of buildings grouped on the sides of a square of three
hundred feet, one of them of stone. Outside were small log houses for
civilian employees, stables, and stacks of hay and grain. The site was
on the bluff separated from the river (Minnesota) by a bottom a half
mile in width. Ravines of erosion cut the hillside into excellent
places of approach and cover.

Without warning, at one o’clock on Wednesday afternoon a volley was
poured into the central inclosure. Two soldiers fell, one dead, the
other badly wounded. One citizen was killed soon after. The fire was
returned from such points of advantage as the structures afforded.
Sergeant Jones had already made up three gun detachments, partly from
citizens who had seen service and partly from soldiers whom he had
instructed. It was not long before he had his guns in action, to the
great surprise of Little Crow, who presently drew off his men. Thursday
was a day of rain, and seems to have been spent by the Sioux chiefs in
consultation and in preparing for a stronger assault. The time was well
spent by the besieged in fitting ammunition, building barricades of
cordwood, covering roofs with earth, and other practicable
strengthening of defenses.

At one o’clock P. M. of Friday, Little Crow delivered his main attack,
with a force largely increased, on the south and west of the post. From
the cover of ravines he kept up a lively fire till late in the day. His
last move, unusual in Indian warfare, was that of massing a body of
warriors in a ravine running up toward the southwest angle of the
inclosure, for a charge on the garrison. Sergeant Jones thereupon had
his twenty-four pound cannon pointed down that “coolie,” and landed a
single shell which sent Crow’s warriors flying off the field. In the
two half days’ fighting there had been three persons killed and
thirteen wounded within the post.

As refugees, many wounded, came pouring in to New Ulm on Monday, the
need of outside help was felt and no second thought was necessary to
suggest the one man to whom the townsmen should appeal. Charles Eugene
Flandrau, for many years resident at old Traverse des Sioux, who had
been Sioux agent, member of the constitutional convention, and a judge
of the state supreme court, was the best known man all up and down the
Minnesota valley. His name was a household word. At four o’clock on
Tuesday morning a messenger brought him the summons of the people of
New Ulm. Riding into St. Peter he found the citizens awake and alert,
but without organization. In a public meeting in the courthouse he was
elected captain of the relieving party to be formed. About noon a
detachment of eighteen mounted men was put upon the road, which arrived
in New Ulm in time to reassure the citizens after their repulse of the
Indians. Early in the afternoon Flandrau’s company marched and was
swelled to one hundred and twenty-five men by accessions along the
route. It was late in the evening when he arrived. Early on Wednesday
morning Captain Bierbauer arrived from Mankato with one hundred men,
and other squads came in that day.

In a public meeting Captain Flandrau was promoted to colonel, and
proceeded with dispatch and excellent judgment to form a staff, to
organize the fighting force, and to fortify a central stronghold for
non-combatants. Choosing three blocks of the main street, he threw up
barricades across the ends and connected the rear walls of abutting
buildings with bullet-proof constructions, and loopholed the walls of
the brick buildings. On Thursday parties were sent out to the
neighboring hamlets and farms to bury the dead and bring in the wounded.

No Indians appeared on that day or the next. Early on Saturday (August
23) the smoke of scattered fires was seen off to the eastward beyond
the Minnesota. Had Little Crow captured the fort, and were his warriors
burning the farmsteads? To ascertain, Colonel Flandrau sent over a
detachment of seventy-five men, which soon encountered a fire from its
left front and was obliged to retreat to the eastward to meet
reinforcements expected from that quarter. Crow’s real attack came from
the northwest, over the terraced plain stretching along the river above
the town. Flandrau had left some three hundred and fifty men, ill-armed
and undisciplined. When aware of the approach of the Indians, he moved
them out and posted them upon the slope of one of the terraces, with a
line of skirmishers to the front. At eight o’clock Crow’s warriors in a
long line with flanks curved forward moved on in silence till within
about a half mile of the line of defenders. Then raising such a shout
as only savages can, they broke into a run, firing as they ran. The
skirmishers fell back in alarm, and the whole line, spite of the
exhortations, polite and other, of Flandrau and his officers, retreated
to the barricades. The Sioux did not follow in, but stopped and sought
cover in the emptied outer buildings of the town.

The fire returned from the barricades discouraged the Sioux from
attempting an assault. Late in the afternoon a demonstration was made
below the town by a party, some of which wore white men’s clothes. Thus
misled, the brave Captain Dodd, second in command, unduly exposed
himself and was shot to death. Other weak attempts were made by the
persistent Indian leader, which came to naught. Ten of the defenders
were killed and fifty wounded. Flandrau estimated the attacking force
to be six hundred and fifty in number. Expecting a renewal of the fight
on the following morning, Colonel Flandrau ordered the destruction of
all buildings outside his fortification. Including those burned by the
Indians, one hundred and ninety were destroyed. Indians rarely fight by
night; and on Sunday morning they sent in a few long range shots, and
the “Battle of New Ulm” was over.

Nearly two thousand people had been confined in the narrow fortified
space. The women and children had been huddled in the cellars. Food was
failing and sickness breaking out. Their homes destroyed, it was
resolved to move the whole population to Mankato, thirty miles distant.
On Monday morning they took the road; the women, children, and wounded
on wheels, the men and boys on foot, escorted by the extemporized army.
The column reached its destination late at night, and the refugees met
with a generous reception. The next day, August 26, Colonel Flandrau’s
force dissolved.

Little Crow had staked everything on his attack on New Ulm. Had he
captured the place, and dispersed its defenders, Mankato, St. Peter, Le
Sueur, and all the towns in the valley would have been abandoned, and
the Sioux would have resumed possession of the fairest part of their
ancient country. The Indian commander understood that after this
failure there was little hope of success in any offensive movement
unless better supported by the upper bands. He therefore broke up his
camp below the Redwood and reëstablished it behind the Yellow Medicine.
His men burned the buildings at the upper agency, and the mission
houses.

The Minnesota legislature in the extra session of 1862 authorized an
official count of the victims of the Sioux massacre, but as no citizens
could be induced to undertake the service for a per diem of three
dollars in paper money, no such reckoning was made. The estimates vary
from 500 to 1500. That of Agent Galbraith, made with deliberation, may
be accepted: In Renville County, 221; in Brown, 204; in other Minnesota
counties, 187; in Dakota Territory, 42; total, 654. His estimate of
government property losses is: On the upper reserve, $425,000; on the
lower reserve, $500,000.

                  *       *       *       *       *

When Governor Ramsey got the tidings of the outbreak of the Sioux in
the afternoon of Tuesday, August 19, his knowledge of Indians made it
unnecessary to deliberate upon the measures that must be taken, or upon
the choice of a proper person to have the command. For that duty he
instantly selected his old political opponent, Henry Hastings Sibley,
whom he commissioned as colonel and commander of the Indian expedition.
Mr. Sibley had maintained his robust and athletic constitution; he knew
the whole region of operations, spoke French and Dakota, understood
Indian nature, and was acquainted with all the leading men of the Sioux
nation.

Early the next morning Colonel Sibley left Fort Snelling by steamer,
with four companies of the Sixth Minnesota Infantry. At Shakopee he was
obliged to disembark. It was not till late on Friday, August 22, that
he reached St. Peter, which was to be his base of operation. Here Jack
Frazer, who had escaped from Fort Ridgely, brought him the information
that the whole body of Sioux chiefs and braves, probably two thousand
in number, were on the warpath. His four hundred raw infantry men would
be no match for them, the more because the Austrian rifles furnished
them at Fort Snelling were unfit for use. Sending down to Governor
Ramsey for reinforcements, with suitable arms and ammunition, Colonel
Sibley devoted himself to impressing teams, provisions, and forage, and
making other preparations for his campaign. Governor Ramsey in a
proclamation issued on the 21st called on the militia of the Minnesota
valley and frontier counties to arm and mount and join Sibley’s
expedition with a few days’ subsistence. Companies from the valley
towns, from Minneapolis, Faribault, and elsewhere reported. The
remaining companies of the Sixth came up with Springfield rifles. On
the morning of the 26th the expedition marched for Fort Ridgely. An
advance party of mounted men reached the post on the following day, to
the joy and relief of the long imprisoned garrison. The main body came
up on the 28th and made an intrenched camp outside the fort. To protect
the column from rear attack around its left flank, Governor Ramsey
appointed Judge Flandrau colonel, and authorized him to collect and
dispose the militia companies coming in from the southeastern counties.
He presently formed a line of posts from New Ulm and Mankato up the
valley of the Blue Earth and on to the Iowa line.

Yielding to the prayers of refugees in Fort Ridgely, whose relatives
were lying unburied about the ruins of their homes or along the
roadsides, Colonel Sibley decided to send out a burial party which
should also serve as a corps of observation. It marched on the morning
of August 31 under the direction of Major Joseph R. Brown, whom Colonel
Sibley had attached to his staff. His party was made up of Captain H.
P. Grant’s company of the Sixth Infantry, fifty mounted men under
Captain Joseph Anderson, a fatigue detail of twenty, and seventeen
teamsters. The column moved slowly, halting to bury sixteen bodies on
the agency road, and at nightfall bivouacked on the bottom near the
Redwood Ferry. In the morning Major Brown with the mounted men crossed
the Minnesota and scouted through the villages above the agency, to
find them deserted. The infantry force buried some twenty bodies of
Captain Marsh’s men, moved up the north side, struck across the prairie
to the head of Birch Coulie, and went into camp on a singularly
ill-chosen spot, at which Major Brown arrived at sunset. The wagons
were parked in open order, and the animals were tied to picket ropes
stretched between them. Within the circle so formed the party went
early to sleep, some in Sibley tents, but most under the open sky. At
daybreak they were awakened by a blood-curdling yell and a volley of
bullets apparently from all quarters and at short range. Captain
Anderson, who had seen service in the Mexican War, ordered his men to
lie low and fire at will. The infantry commander, after a vain effort
to form his men in line, gave a like judicious order. The savages
maintained a murderous fire for an hour, at the end of which ten of
Brown’s men were killed and forty more wounded, himself included.
Desultory firing continued throughout the day, in the lulls of which
possible arrangements for defense were made. The bodies of over ninety
horses were strung along, and earth, dug up with three spades and one
shovel, and with sabres, bayonets, pocket-knives, and tin plates, was
heaped over them. The pits thus formed served as good cover for the men
who were prudent. At two in the afternoon the boom of a cannon from the
eastward gave notice of approaching relief, but night fell and it did
not come. The sound of the morning’s battle was heard at Sibley’s
outposts, fifteen miles away. With all possible dispatch he sent a
relieving party consisting of three companies of the Sixth Infantry,
fifty mounted “Rangers,” and a section of artillery, and gave the
command to Colonel Samuel McPhail of Houston County. The party crossed
the east branch of Birch Coulie and came within sight of Brown’s camp,
but the prudent commander did not think it wise to risk his men in a
battle. He therefore recrossed the branch, took up a safe position for
the night, and sent Lieutenant Sheehan back to Sibley for
reinforcements. He reached the fort unharmed, but his horse fell dead
soon after from gunshot wounds. By daylight Colonel Sibley reached
McPhail’s bivouac with the remaining companies of the Sixth and five
companies of the Seventh, which had arrived the day before. The Sioux,
seeing themselves outnumbered, made but feeble resistance to his
advance and rapidly left the neighborhood. When Colonel Sibley rode
into the impounded camp thirteen men lay dead, three more were soon to
die, forty-five were severely wounded, and others had received
abrasions. For more than twenty-four hours the men had lain without
water, and they were worn with their ceaseless watch. The “Battle of
Birch Coulie” has been commemorated by a monument erected at the
expense of the state, in regard to which an unfortunate controversy has
raged. Through misinformation the commissioners accredited the command
of the expedition to another than Major Joseph R. Brown. To one looking
back after the lapse of a generation it would seem that no one would
care to be credited with the leadership of the disastrous affair.
Colonel Sibley had given the most precise and emphatic directions to
guard against surprise and ambush.

Colonel Sibley now had a double problem before him. He must overtake
and destroy the Indian forces, and that without giving their commander
pretext to slaughter the three hundred prisoners in his possession. It
was rumored, probably by Little Crow’s instigation, that if attacked he
would put these prisoners between his men and the whites. A policy of
caution and delay was therefore desirable. It was also necessary for
the reason that the command at Fort Ridgely was in no way prepared for
war. The men were not yet clothed, the supply of food was insufficient
and precarious, and ammunition had not yet been provided in sufficient
quantity.

The mounted citizens who had rallied so promptly on Governor Ramsey’s
call began to disappear as soon as there was “a prospect of meeting the
red-skins.” In the middle of the month (September 14) Sibley reported
to Governor Ramsey that he had but twenty-eight of that “description of
force,” and would not be surprised at a stampede among them. Elsewhere
he speaks of it as “base desertion.” These men returning to their homes
were able to correct a widespread feeling of dissatisfaction with
Colonel Sibley for needless delay in chasing Little Crow to his lair.
Some newspapers threw out the vile insinuation that he did not pursue
and destroy the Indians because he had so many friends among them.

On the Birch Coulie battlefield Colonel Sibley left in a split stick
this writing for Little Crow: “If Little Crow has any proposition to
make, let him send a half-breed to me, and he shall be protected in and
out of camp.” To this the chief replied in a diplomatic note in which
he complained of the agent and the traders, and asked to have Governor
Ramsey informed of their ill-doings. He closed it with an adroit
reference to the great many prisoners, women and children, in his
hands, as if to suggest that Colonel Sibley might desire to make him a
proposition. Sibley sent back the curt message: “Return me the
prisoners, and I will talk with you like a man.” On September 12 Little
Crow sent in another letter, in which he harped upon his prisoners,
covertly intimating that he would surrender them on guaranty of
immunity for himself and associates. He appealed to Colonel Sibley as
an old friend to suggest a way to make peace.

The messenger who brought this letter brought also, unknown to Crow,
another from Wabashaw, head chief of the lower Sioux, to say that, if
Colonel Sibley would appoint a safe and proper place, he and his
friends opposed to Little Crow and the war would come in and bring as
many of the prisoners as they could assemble. With this leaven working
in the Indian camp, Colonel Sibley could well afford to wait for
reinforcements, subsistence, and ammunition, his troops in the mean
time being drilled by their officers. Despite the insufficiency of all
these, he issued his order for an advance into the Indian country on
September 14. A violent rainstorm set in that day, and it was not till
the 19th that he was able to ferry his little army across the
Minnesota. It had been reinforced by two hundred and seventy enlisted
men of the Third Minnesota, paroled after the surrender of
Murfreesboro’ and sent home to assist in the Indian war. The cavalry
force consisted of twenty-five troopers. Three days of easy marching
brought the command to a point on the government road between the
agencies about three miles south of the Yellow Medicine, where it went
into camp behind a small lake and a stream issuing from it, which
curving southward emptied into the Minnesota. Little Crow’s camp had
been opposite the mouth of the Chippewa River since the 10th of
September. In the councils there held the leader made the best use of
his oratorical gift. He flattered, he implored, he bullied; at length
he got the chiefs to consent to a stand against the white man’s army.
How many of the upper chiefs and their men he prevailed upon to join
him is a matter of dispute, but it is certain that some of both did.

In the afternoon of the 22d Crow’s army of some seven hundred and
fifty warriors left their camps and marched down to the Yellow
Medicine. In the following night they were arranged principally in a
line on the east of the road, between the river and Sibley’s camp. A
party was placed in the ravine through which flowed the outlet of the
little lake mentioned, and still another west of the road, behind a
hillock on the prairie. On that Little Crow took his stand. Day
dawned, and not an Indian was in sight; all were hid in the timber or
tall grass of the prairie. It was Crow’s expectation that Sibley
would take the road, and that he would not have flankers far out from
his column. When his advance should be near the Yellow Medicine and
abreast of the Indian right it was to be attacked in flank, the party
concealed in the coolie would close in on the rear, and that behind
the hillock would give the finishing blow. All that might have
happened, but for an accident. Some men of the Third Minnesota left
the camp with teams to bring in potatoes from the gardens about the
upper agency. They passed so near the Indian line that the warriors
could not be restrained from firing. Several men were wounded, one
mortally. Major Welch, commanding the Third, got his men into line,
and without orders took them forward on the double-quick and
precipitated the fight. Although forced to retire from an advanced
position, he held the centre firmly. Lieutenant-Colonel William R.
Marshall led the companies of the Seventh into the ravine and cleared
it. A detachment of the Sixth dispersed a party attempting to turn
its left. The battery of Captain Hendricks, advantageously posted,
swept the field generally. After two hours of desultory firing the
Sioux warriors disappeared behind the Yellow Medicine, and the
“Battle of Wood Lake” was over. Only four white soldiers were killed
outright, and thirty-three severely wounded. The Sioux left fourteen
dead on the field, all of whom were scalped by savages under white
skins. Colonel Sibley, in an order published the following day,
expressed his extreme mortification, and threatened severe punishment
for any repetition of the brutality. Colonel Sibley’s advices from
the Indian camps were such as to convince him that a precipitate
march on them might bring on a slaughter of the white prisoners. To
give time for the friendly element to obtain possession of them he
tarried a day below the Yellow Medicine, and took two days of easy
marching to reach those camps opposite the mouth of the Chippewa
River. His judgment was fully justified. Little Crow returned from
the battle, upbraided his chiefs for cowardice and stupidity, took
his family and a small body of adherents and departed for the distant
northwest. Other hostile chiefs followed his example. There were
others still who had been engaged in the murders and battles who
thought it best to go over to the friendly camp and take their
chances of being treated as prisoners of war. Colonel Sibley had
found a camp of 150 lodges which the friendlies had fortified against
the hostiles, who on their dispersion had sent over to it the greater
number of their captives; 91 whites and 150 breeds were turned over
to him on the afternoon of September 26. The total number was
presently increased to 269, 107 whites and 162 mixed bloods. A few
had been humanely treated through the interposition of Christian
Indians, but the experiences of many may be left to the imagination
of the reader.



                              CHAPTER XIII

                        SEQUEL TO THE INDIAN WAR


A week after the Wood Lake affair the President appointed Colonel
Sibley a brigadier-general. His confirmation by the Senate was long
delayed, but he exercised the command of that rank from the date of
appointment. Up to the time of leaving Fort Ridgely for the upper
country Colonel Sibley had been carrying on a state war. On the 6th of
September Governor Ramsey sent this peremptory telegram to the
President: “These Indian outrages continue.... This is not our war. It
is a national war. Answer me at once. More than five hundred whites
have been murdered.” That very day the Secretary of War ordered
Major-General John Pope to take command of the Department of the
Northwest. That officer had seen service in the Indian country and was
at the time not otherwise employed. His first order to Colonel Sibley
was received September 19, the day of his departure from Fort Ridgely.
It made no change in the dispositions of the subordinate commander, but
urged him to push forward, and promised all the support he could
control. General Pope, persuaded that Sibley had some twenty-six
hundred Sioux warriors in his front, made requisitions for troops and
supplies on a scale which called out a rebuke from the secretary. His
demand for mounted troops rather than infantry was reasonable. His stay
in the department was brief, and at its close Brigadier-General Sibley
was put in command of a distinct district of Minnesota. That Sibley was
thus promoted and assigned was possibly due to a remonstrance addressed
by Pope to Halleck against the appointment of Senator Henry M. Rice as
major-general to be assigned to the department. It is remarkable that
Sibley, writing to his wife, expressed his preference for Rice, if any
stranger was to be placed over him. It was not till after the close of
the campaign that the Sixth and Seventh regiments were mustered into
the service of the United States.

The line of forts maintained by Colonel Flandrau from the big bend of
the Minnesota southward effectively protected Sibley’s left; and it
restrained the Winnebagoes from breaking out of their reserve, if they
had any such intention, which was very doubtful, although so believed
at the time. The right flank of the expedition was not for some time
protected. Here were two dangers. Fort Abercrombie had been occupied
since spring by Company D of the Fifth Minnesota, under command of
Captain John Van der Horck. A newspaper clipping received on August 20
gave him warning of the outbreak of the lower Sioux. He immediately
called in his outpost and the few settlers of the Red River valley,
proceeded to surround the separate buildings which formed the post with
breastworks, and placed three howitzers in the salients. On the last
day of the month but one a party of Indians stampeded a herd of stock
which had been sent out in anticipation of a treaty with the Red Lake
and Pembina Chippeways. On September 3 an Indian force, considerable in
number, appeared about the post and maintained a desultory fire for
some hours. On the 6th a still larger force made a determined but vain
attack, charging with boldness unusual for Indians, first one quarter
of the inclosure and then another. The command suffered a loss of two
killed and three wounded in the two days’ actions. The Indians were not
driven from the neighborhood till September 23, when Captain Emil
Burger arrived from below with a relieving force of five hundred men.
The mooted question whether these attacks at Abercrombie were made by
upper Sioux, lower Sioux, Yanktonnais, or by a mixture of all these,
has not been conclusively answered. The capture of this post would have
exposed a wide territory to Indian slaughter and depredation.

A disturbance of the habitual quiet of the Chippeways of northern
Minnesota gave countenance to a rumor which spread throughout the
state, that those Indians were about making common cause with their
ancient foes against the white man, equally hated. On the very day of
the Sioux outbreak the Pillagers seized seven whites, mostly traders,
at Leech Lake, and the Gull Lake Chippeways drove some horses and
cattle from the agency on the Crow Wing River. The acts and threats
made against his safety so alarmed the agent, Lucius C. Walker, that he
fled the Indian country for his home, and, probably in a state of
temporary insanity, took his life, by means of a loaded pistol, near
Monticello. Hole-in-the-day, the head chief of the Chippeways of the
Mississippi, called an assemblage of braves, and a few hundred
gathered. A trustworthy person, the missionary Emmegabowh, reported
that this chief had declared in council that a league had been made
with the Sioux. The Chippeway braves, however, had no desire to take
the warpath, and dispersed to their homes. These transactions, reported
in the St. Paul newspapers, naturally excited alarm. Three companies of
infantry were sent to Fort Ripley, martial law was declared at that
post, and the settlers were notified to come in for protection. When
the legislature assembled in extra session on September 9, Governor
Ramsey called their attention to the Chippeway ruction. Unconcerned
about constitutional restrictions, that body appointed a board of
commissioners to proceed to the Indian country to adjust the
difficulties. Although the Chippeways had dispersed and the excitement
had disappeared, the plenipotentiaries had the chiefs assembled in
council, and negotiated with them a treaty which was solemnly signed
and sealed. This agreement bound the high contracting powers to eternal
peace, to an arbitration of all existing differences, and exempted the
Chippeways from payment of damages for the expenses they had put the
government to by their late misbehavior. The legislature memorialized
the President to carry out these provisions. In evidence of full
restoration of peace fifty Chippeway chiefs and braves came down to St.
Paul to offer their services in punishing the Sioux. It would have
given them great pleasure to take Sioux scalps in so lawful a manner.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Had it been possible to furnish General Sibley with a sufficient
cavalry force, it would have been feasible for him, after the battle of
Wood Lake, to overtake and impound the greater number of Indians
concerned in their disastrous campaign. Infantry expeditions sent out
to Lac qui Parle, to Goose Nest Lake, and elsewhere, brought in a few
hundred people. More came in response to a proclamation distributed by
runners. Bands which had squandered their plunder and wasted their food
had no other resource. In the course of a few days nearly two thousand
Indians were under guard, the greater part being women and children.
Some five thousand or more were at large. The disposition of those in
hand now occupied the attention of the authorities. Major-General Pope
in a dispatch of September 28 probably voiced the sentiment of the
great majority of the white people of the Northwest. “Make no treaty
with the Indians,” he wrote Sibley; “the horrible massacre and outrages
call for punishment beyond human power to inflict. It is my purpose to
exterminate the Sioux, if I have the power to do so.” General Sibley
was too humane and judicious to give serious regard to so insane a
proposal. He had already appointed a committee of inquiry to ascertain
what Indians under his guard had probably been guilty of murder and
outrage. The Rev. Dr. Riggs, who held the place of chaplain on the
staff of Sibley, gave such valuable assistance that Heard, the
contemporary historian, declares him to have been a virtual grand jury.
Sixteen Indians were at once picked out by the sifting committee and
duly arraigned before a military commission of five officers.
Additional arrests were made from day to day, and by October 7 General
Sibley was able to report that he had twenty under sentence of death,
and that he should probably approve the sentences and hang the
villains, despite some doubt as to the extent of his powers and the
formal correctness of the trials. This moderate number of convictions
evidently did not satisfy the superior authority, which called for
arrests and trials on a greater scale. On the night of October 11
Sibley placed 81 warriors in irons at Camp Release and ordered a
similar “purging” at Yellow Medicine, where he had sent 1250 of his
prisoners to subsist on the corn and potatoes of the Indian gardens. By
a “piece of justifiable strategy” 236 men were “fixed” in the same way.
The military commission now had abundance of material and applied
themselves diligently to duty. They completed it on November 5, having
tried 392 prisoners, of whom they found 323 guilty and sentenced 307 of
them to death. The proceedings of the military commission, approved by
General Sibley, were forwarded to the department commander. That
officer informed Governor Ramsey with unconcealed satisfaction that the
sentences would all be executed unless forbidden by the President. The
trials completed, General Sibley sent the principal body of his Indian
prisoners, 1648 in number, under guard to Fort Snelling. The
interpreter accompanying the column relates that as it passed through
Henderson the prisoners were assaulted with arms and missiles. One
infant died from its injuries and was “buried” Indian fashion in the
crotch of a roadside tree. On November 9 the troops with the convicted
prisoners were marched to South Bend, a western suburb of Mankato. As
the column was passing through New Ulm a crowd of exasperated citizens
of both sexes showered brickbats and other missiles on the prisoners in
such profusion that a bayonet charge was necessary to restrain them.
Fifteen or twenty men were arrested, but after a march of twelve miles
were reprimanded and allowed to take a walk to their homes. General
Sibley turned over the command to Colonel Miller of the Seventh
Infantry and proceeded to St. Paul, to take up his duty as district
commander.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The action of the military commission met with general approval
throughout the state. Citizens of St. Paul in public meeting demanded
that the government authorities, as the chosen instruments of divine
vengeance, should so execute their duty that the friends and relatives
of the victims should not be compelled to take vengeance into their own
hands. General Pope advised President Lincoln that unless all the
executions were made, an indiscriminate massacre of all the Indian
prisoners, innocent and guilty, would take place. Governor Ramsey also
expressed the same opinion to the President. The Minnesota delegation
in Congress, Senator Rice not signing, protested against the convicts
being considered prisoners of war, and declared that the outraged
citizens of Minnesota would dispose of the wretches without law, if
they should not be executed according to law. On the other hand, there
went to the President appeals and protests against a horrible wholesale
execution, from members of the Friends Society and various humanitarian
organizations. So far as known there was but one public man in
Minnesota whose judgment was not subjugated by the passion of the hour.
He was Henry Benjamin Whipple, bishop of the Protestant Episcopal
Church, who three years before the Sioux outbreak had come to the
state. Immediately after his arrival his attention was called to the
red men of his diocese, and it was not long before he had fathomed the
iniquities of the traditional Indian system. In March, 1862, he
addressed an open letter to President Lincoln, summarizing those
iniquities, and insisting on giving the Indian a government of law,
administered by agents chosen for fitness and not for political
service. A calm and clear statement of the policy and the train of
events which had led to the outbreak of the Sioux, published in the St.
Paul newspapers, brought about the bishop a whirlwind of denunciation
which would have taken an ordinary man off his feet. Bishop Whipple
never budged an inch. His personal representations to the President no
doubt had their effect in the action which followed. On the day when
General Pope was hopefully awaiting the President’s permission to
execute the whole batch of the condemned, he received a telegraphic
order from Lincoln to send him the record of the trials. This the
President put into the hands of two men on whom he relied. They
reported that forty of the convicts only had committed murders of
unarmed citizens. Of this number, two only were guilty of outrages on
women. On December 6, 1862, President Lincoln wrote out and signed with
his own hand his order for the execution of thirty-eight, directing the
remainder to be safely held, subject to further orders. One of the
forty had been allowed a commutation to ten years’ imprisonment,
another a reprieve. The condemned were separated from their comrades
and closely confined in irons in a log building on the main street of
Mankato. All but two were baptized, thirty-two by the Catholic father
Ravoux. On December 26, 1862, the execution took place in presence of a
great crowd. Some years after, the Rev. Mr. Riggs publicly stated that
mistakes were made in the separation of the condemned from the body of
convicts, ‘but not intentionally.’ The bodies were buried, but not to
stay underground. Many, if not all, were distributed among members of
the medical profession, to be used in the cause of science. The
excitement of the people soon abated, and the opinion at length
prevailed that the crimes of the Indians had been sufficiently atoned.
Some of the survivors might have preferred the fate of those who
suffered at Mankato.

The announcement that the War Department would withdraw some of the
Minnesota regiments after the close of Sibley’s campaign met with such
loud and repeated protests that the order, if issued, was revoked. The
three companies of the Fifth, however, joined their regiment in the
South at the close of the year, and the Third followed in January,
1863. The remaining infantry regiments, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth,
and the regiment of twelve companies of Mounted Rangers raised in the
fall of 1862, were so disposed as to form a sure cordon of defense
against possible raids by hostile Indians on the settlements.

When Congress assembled in December, 1862, there was little opposition
to drastic propositions regarding the Sioux Indians. Acts were passed
for abrogating all treaties, forfeiting all lands, annulling all
annuities; for the immediate relief of citizens of Minnesota from
Indian ravages to be paid out of moneys of the Sioux; for reimbursing
Minnesota for the costs of the campaign against the Sioux up to the
time (September 5) when the War Department assumed charge; for the
removal from Minnesota of all the Winnebagoes and Sioux; and for the
survey and sale of their reservations. All these provisions were
rigorously executed. The state’s Indian war expenses were ascertained
to be $250,507.06, and that sum was allowed in a settlement of
accounts. The commissioners appointed to award relief and damages
reported that out of $200,000 allowed for immediate relief they had
paid $184,392 to 1380 claimants. As damages they awarded $1,170,374 to
2635 claimants. Their awards were liberal, and attorneys for
beneficiaries were well compensated.

The removal of the Indians from Minnesota began in April, 1863, with
the transportation of the convicts to Fort McClellan in East Davenport,
Iowa. They had been kept under guard at South Bend during the winter,
where a remarkable work of grace took place among them under the
ministration of the veteran missionary Williamson and his devoted
sister “Aunt Jane.” On February 1, 1863, three hundred were baptized by
that evangelist aided by the Rev. Gideon H. Pond. The conduct of these
convicts in prison at Davenport was in all respects praiseworthy. They
were orderly, and for Indians industrious, and took much comfort in
their religious meetings. Dr. Williamson remained with them two years.
In 1864 President Lincoln pardoned seventy-five and sent them west to
their people. Two years later the two hundred and forty-seven survivors
were liberated. One third of the whole number committed died in prison.

The uncondemned Sioux prisoners marched to Fort Snelling in November,
1862, were kept in a guarded camp till May, when they were transported
to a chosen reservation on Crow Creek on the Missouri, some sixty miles
below Pierre. The land was so barren and the seasons so unfavorable
that the government was obliged to feed them for three years, when they
were moved to the Niobrara reservation in Nebraska, where they have
remained. A small remnant of some twenty-five families of friendlies,
many of them Christians, were suffered to remain in Minnesota, because
they could not safely live among the heathen people. A small donation
of $7500 was made to them by Congress in 1865, the distribution being
intrusted to General Sibley and Bishop Whipple. A handful still
survive. The Sisseton and Wahpeton Sioux, who had removed themselves
from Minnesota after the battle of Wood Lake, had no fixed home till
1867, when Congress settled them on two reservations in Dakota
Territory: one west of and adjoining Lake Traverse, the other around
Devil’s Lake.

                  *       *       *       *       *

As for the Sioux who had escaped from Sibley after Wood Lake, and
others living on the Missouri regarded as dangerous, there was no other
thought than that they must be followed, and, if not exterminated, so
punished and scattered that they could never again lift a finger
against their beneficent guardian, the white man. General Pope at
Milwaukee still commanding the department of the Northwest, early in
the winter of 1863 devised a plan for a campaign which was to have such
results. Two columns were to penetrate the Indian country between the
Minnesota line and the Missouri: one, of cavalry, to move from Fort
Randall directly up the Missouri; the other, from the upper Minnesota,
under the command of Brigadier-General Sibley; both to move so soon as
the buffalo grass should be high enough for pasture. Sibley’s
expedition rendezvoused at Camp Pope in the angle of the Minnesota and
Redwood rivers. He had 3200 infantry, including the Sixth, Seventh, and
Tenth Minnesota, the Minnesota Mounted Rangers 500 strong, 120
artillerymen, 170 scouts headed by Major Joseph R. Brown; in all some
4200 men. Leaving Camp Pope June 16, the expedition marched up the
Minnesota to and past Big Stone Lake, and then struck across to the
valley of the Cheyenne, which it followed to within two or three days’
march of Devil’s Lake. Here Sibley got word of a body of Indians off to
his left. Leaving one third of his force in a fortified camp, he turned
to the southwest, crossed the James River, and in Burleigh County,
North Dakota, on July 24, came upon a body of Indians, perhaps two
thousand in number.

A colloquy between outposts was taking place, to which Dr. Josiah S.
Weiser, surgeon of the First Mounted Rangers, rode up. A young savage,
after a show of friendship, treacherously shot him dead. This was the
signal for attack. The Sioux, not being on the warpath, were not
prepared for battle. Their warriors made the best rear-guard defense
they could, to gain time for their women and children to escape. The
pursuit by the cavalry lasted till nearly dark. A great quantity of
buffalo skins, dried meat and tallow, and camp furniture was gathered
and burned. In this “Battle of Big Mound” three of Sibley’s men were
wounded. Of the eighty Sioux killed and wounded, twenty-one were
scalped. Two days later a similar engagement, called the “Battle of
Dead Buffalo Lake,” took place, with a similar result. The nine Indians
killed were scalped, to the disgust of the commander. On July 28 still
another affair of the same character occurred, in which the Indians
made a more spirited but unsuccessful resistance to gain time for their
people to set themselves across the Missouri, near the banks of which
the fight was going on. They lost ten killed, the whites none.

The escape of the Sioux beyond the Missouri was due to the failure of
the column sent up that river to coöperate in their capture. General
Alfred Sully’s cavalry did not arrive, and having no tidings of it,
Sibley began his homeward march on August 3. The expedition returned to
Fort Snelling on September 13, having marched 1039-1/2 miles. On the
outward journey the commander suffered a severe injury from the fall of
his horse, and, far worse, received news of the death of two young
children. His diary reflects his deep and natural sorrow.

The movement of General Sully resulted in overtaking the Sioux who had
recrossed the Missouri and were hunting in Dickey County, North Dakota.
His attack upon them at White Stone Hill, resulting in considerable
slaughter and destruction of immense booty, cannot be here related. The
results of the operation of 1863 against the Sioux were negative. Nor
were those of the following year much more effective. In this campaign
General Sully led an expedition from Fort Rice on the Missouri to Fort
Union on the Yellowstone, the whole march covering 1625 miles. His
column included a Minnesota brigade made up of six companies of the
Eighth mounted on Indian ponies, the Second Minnesota cavalry, a new
regiment recruited to take the place of the First Mounted Rangers, two
sections of the Third Minnesota Battery of Light Artillery, and a
company of scouts. Brackett’s battalion of three companies of Minnesota
cavalry was attached to another brigade. On July 28 the considerable
battle of Killdeer Mountain on the Little Missouri River took place.
Countless herds of buffalo were met with on this march. As long as
these survived, and the Indians could supply themselves with horses and
ammunition, no white man’s army could surround and destroy them.

To disabuse the reader of the possible impression that the people of
Minnesota were more frightened than they had reason to be, he is asked
to recur to the season of 1863. To guard the frontier from attacks of
marauding parties of Indians, General Sibley left in the state the
Eighth Infantry, which had already been distributed in a line of posts
to cover the settlements. Despite its vigilant patrols, parties of
savages broke through at various points. In April there were three
murders in Watonwan County, household goods and provisions were seized,
and cattle and horses run off. In June a squad of Company A of the
Eighth chased a horse-stealing gang out of Meeker County, one of whom
shot Captain John S. Cody, causing instant death. In the course of the
summer the Eighth Minnesota lost more men killed and wounded than
Sibley’s troops in all his battles. On the 29th of June the most
atrocious murder of the season was committed within thirty miles of
Minneapolis, near Watertown, Carver County. Amos Dustin, traveling by
wagon with his family, was waylaid, and he and his aged mother
instantly shot to death by arrows. His wife and one child were
fearfully wounded. A girl of six, hiding under a seat, was not
discovered. Her clothing was soaked with her father’s blood. To aid the
troops in protecting life and property, Governor Swift organized a
company of volunteer scouts and put them under the command of Captain
James Sturgis of Wright County. In addition to their promised pay, the
sum of one hundred dollars was offered to any scout bringing in a Sioux
scalp. This command scouted the big woods from Sauk Center to the
Minnesota River so effectively that people who had abandoned their
homes and farms took heart and ventured back.

On the 3d of July, 1863, a citizen of Hutchinson, Nathan Sampson, was
hunting some five miles to the north of that village, accompanied by
his son Chauncey. Espying an Indian picking berries, he fired. Though
wounded, the Indian returned the fire, and hit Mr. Sampson in the left
shoulder. A shot from the young man’s rifle proved fatal to the savage.
That Indian was believed to be Little Crow, and a certain deformity of
the wrists from a gunshot in early life was probably sufficient
evidence of his identity. A half-starved Indian boy was picked up by a
detachment of Sibley’s army in North Dakota on July 28, who gave his
name as Wo-i-non-pa; he said that he was a son of Little Crow, and that
he was with his father when he was killed. The errand of the chief,
according to the boy, was to capture horses enough to mount the small
remnant of his warriors and ride away to Canada.

The Seventh, Ninth, and Tenth regiments were dispatched to the South in
the fall of 1863; the Sixth and Eighth being held till the following
season to keep watch and ward against possible and much-feared savage
forays.



                              CHAPTER XIV

                             HONORS OF WAR


The reader who desires to follow the marches and battles of the
Minnesota regiments and battalions is advised to resort to the two
large octavos published by the state in 1891. It would, however, be
unjust to him and to Minnesota not to give some account, even in a
compend of her history, of certain splendid passages in the careers of
some of them favored above others in opportunity.

Marching with Gibbon’s Division of the Second (Hancock’s) Army Corps,
the First Minnesota arrived on the field of Gettysburg early in the
morning of July 2, 1863, and was placed in reserve near general
headquarters. Company L (sharpshooters) was sent to support a battery
and did not rejoin till after the battle. In the afternoon a staff
officer came and led the command off to the south, along the well-known
crest on which Sickles’s men had formed and from which they had made
their ill-advised advance. On a salient of the ridge near the middle of
Sickles’s original formation the regiment was placed in support of a
regular battery. Company F was sent out to skirmish toward the left
front, and Company C was absent on provost guard duty. Eight companies
were in line, with two hundred and sixty-two officers and men. From
their position they watched at leisure the vain struggles of Sickles’s
brigades, exposed to enfilading fires. Near sundown the shattered
battalions straggled to the rear, passing through the ranks of the
Minnesota regiment. They were followed by Anderson’s division of A. P.
Hill’s Confederate corps, moving with rapid pace to what seemed certain
victory. Sickles was severely wounded and Hancock had command.

He had ordered reserve troops to man the undefended crest, but they did
not arrive. The Confederate line was striding on, and in ten minutes
would swarm over the ridge. It was not more than four hundred yards
away when Hancock espied the little bunch of men in blue near the
battery. Riding up to Colonel William Colville at his post near the
centre, he asked, “What regiment is this?” “The First Minnesota,” was
the reply. “Charge those lines,” ordered the corps commander, pointing
to the rebel front. Without delay Colville put his line in motion, down
the slope of an old pasture field at the bottom of which was a dried up
ditch or “run.” It moved at the double-quick till near the foot of the
slope, when Colville ordered, “Charge bayonets!” On a full run, the
Minnesota men struck the Confederates as they were reforming on the
hither side of the run. The shock halted them and the fire poured in
gave them good reason for no further acquaintance with the men in blue.
They sought cover behind an accommodating swell of land and retired
from the field. Brigadier-General Wilcox of the Confederate army in his
report says: “A line of infantry descended the slope in our front at
double-quick. Without support my men were withdrawn to prevent their
entire destruction or capture.”

Of the men who joined in that fatal but necessary charge but
forty-seven answered to roll-call at retreat; two hundred and fifteen
lay dead, dying, or wounded. A high authority declares this to be the
heaviest loss known in the records of modern war. But that charge saved
Cemetery Ridge, and in all probability the Gettysburg field.

“The Second Minnesota Veteran Volunteer Infantry occupied this
position, Sunday, September 26, 1863, from 2:30 P. M. to 7:30 P. M.”
Such is the inscription on the monument of bronze and granite erected
at the state’s expense on the “Snodgrass ridge” in the National Park at
Chickamauga, Tennessee. It marks the spot occupied by that regiment as
part of the force with which Thomas, “The Rock of Chickamauga,” held at
bay Longstreet’s elated divisions, while Rosecrans’s army, broken and
shattered, was in disorderly retreat on Chattanooga. The Second lost 35
killed and 113 wounded out of a total for duty of 384; not a single man
was missing.

Under a new commander the Union armies concentrated at Chattanooga were
soon to recover the ground and prestige lost by his brave but
unfortunate predecessor. Grant, sending Hooker to occupy Lookout
Mountain on his right and Sherman to the left to double up Bragg’s
extended line, placed the army of the Cumberland in his centre under
Thomas. A rumor spread up and down the lines of that army that it was
merely paraded to amuse the enemy while Hooker and Sherman should show
it how to fight. At three o’clock in the afternoon of November 24 the
centre moved forward to the base of Missionary Ridge. After a short
pause here the whole line, as it is told, without orders, broke out and
swarmed up the hillside and over the enemy’s intrenchments in the face
of a galling fire of artillery and musketry.

The Second Minnesota, led by Lieutenant-Colonel (afterwards
Brigadier-General) J. W. Bishop, deployed as skirmishers, led its
brigade to the foot of the ridge, where it joined in the scramble for
the crest. It lost eight men killed and thirty-one wounded. Six out of
seven members of the color guard fell.

The Third Minnesota, after participating in the “Arkansas Expedition”
which resulted in the occupation of Little Rock, remained thereabout
till the close of its term. Among the numerous affairs in which it was
engaged was one which is rightly dignified as “the battle of Fitzhugh’s
woods.” The commander, Colonel (afterwards Brigadier-General) C. C.
Andrews here displayed a tactical ability worthy of a wider field. The
regiment suffered greatly from malarial disease.

It was not the fortune of the Fourth Minnesota to be decimated in any
one engagement. Its heaviest loss, thirteen killed and thirty-one
wounded, was in its participation in the heroic defense of the post at
Altoona, Georgia, when a force numbering less than two thousand stood
off repeated charges of a Confederate division of seven thousand.
Several men of the Fourth whose term of enlistment had expired shared
in the battle, and of them some were numbered with the dead.

The gallant behavior of the men of the Fifth Minnesota and Colonel
Hubbard’s instant perception of the proper line of action at Corinth on
October 4, 1862, have already been related. It was the fortune of this
command, together with the Seventh, Ninth, and Tenth Minnesota Infantry
regiments, to share in the glory of the battle which destroyed the
Confederate power in the Mississippi valley.

Thomas, commanding at Nashville, Tennessee, on December 15, 1863,
delivered a blow on Hood’s left wing which caused that commander to
retire to a position on a range of hills two miles to the south,
admirably chosen, and capable of effective intrenchment. The attempt
made soon after noon of the 16th to crush the right of Hood’s army on
Overton Hill had no result but the loss of many brave men. McArthur’s
division was then ordered to assault the Confederate left, strongly
posted behind a breastwork revetted by a stone wall. The first brigade
was put in motion as if to make the principal charge. The Minnesota
regiments were in the front line of the second and third brigades,
commanded respectively by Hubbard and Marshall. Observing the movement,
these commanders at once ordered their brigades forward, and away they
went over a muddy cornfield, up a slope covered with boulders and
obstructed by stone walls, ditches, and rail fences. Without halt or
interruption, under a heavy front and cross fire, the lines pressed on,
and stormed over the enemy’s intrenchment, capturing the defenders,
with guns and colors. A general charge of the whole line now put the
entire Confederate army to rout and ended the war in the West.

The Minnesota regiments suffered a loss of three hundred in the charge.
Jennison, lieutenant-colonel commanding the Tenth, received a severe
wound, as he led his battalion over the works. Hubbard had three horses
shot under him, and was wounded. The colors of the Fifth were three
times shot down. Captain Sheehan (hero of Fort Ridgely) picked them up
and saw them planted on the stone wall. Marshall and Hubbard were both
brevetted as brigadiers, and both afterwards became governors of
Minnesota.

The Sixth Minnesota, occupied in the Indian war, was not sent south
till July, 1864, when it took station at Helena, Arkansas. Here
malarial poison, far more fatal than the gun-fire of the enemy,
attacked officers and men. During the four and one half months of its
service here, six hundred men of this regiment were sent to the
Northern hospitals. On August 7 there were but seven officers and one
hundred and seventy-eight men for duty. By the time the sick had
recovered, the war was substantially over. But their division commander
at the capture of Fort Blakely, April 9, 1865, thanked in orders the
brave officers and men for their gallantry in the daring charge to
which the fall of the fort was due.

The First Minnesota was the only one which served its whole term east
of the Alleghanies. The Fourth and Eighth reached salt water in the
last months of the war. All the other Minnesota troops remained in the
West.

It was not easy for Minnesota to respond to the calls of the nation for
recruits in the last years of the war. Some 2700 volunteers were sent
to fill the ranks of the old regiments, but these were not enough. The
draft enforced in May and September, 1864, was, as elsewhere, a farce:
14,274 names were listed; the exemptions left 2768 liable for service;
2497 failed to report, and two deserted. The remaining number of 269,
increased by 282 substitutes, in all 551, were mustered into service.
There remained the resource of raising additional regiments not likely
to be exposed in deadly battle.

By promises of commissions to gentlemen who should recruit the
companies, two strong regiments were raised: the Eleventh Infantry,
1000 strong, and the First Minnesota Heavy Artillery, 1760 officers and
men. These commands were sent to Tennessee late in 1864, where they
relieved veteran troops for active service.

By the month of September, 1865, all the Minnesota troops had been
mustered out except one battery and three cavalry battalions engaged on
the Indian frontier. The whole number of men furnished by Minnesota was
22,016. Only the people who lived through that war period can fully
appreciate the sacrifices and privations undergone.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The two conflicts,—the Civil War and the Indian war,—occupying the
minds of the people of Minnesota for four years, naturally overshadowed
all other interests. The Democratic party long in control of her public
affairs, depleted by the desertion of thousands of young men to the
ranks of the more obtrusively patriotic Republican organization, was
left so reduced in numbers as to be powerless in state and national
politics. The reëlection of Governor Ramsey in the fall of 1861 was a
foregone conclusion. If the Republicans were relieved from competition
with a powerful opposition they found plenty of it between the factions
which arose in their own camp. At the first, however, they were none
too sure of carrying a sufficient number of election precincts and
therefore felt justified in resorting to a procedure never anticipated
by the framers of the state constitution. The legislature in the
special session of September, 1862, by a statute duly approved,
provided against the disfranchisement of those citizens who at the time
of election should be absent in the military service. The plan adopted
was that of sending commissioners to the camps to open polls and
receive the ballots of soldiers who were, or claimed to be, qualified
electors. These ballots they sealed up and transmitted by mail to the
judges of election at the respective residences of the absentee voters.
The scheme was carried out with the expected result of sufficient
Republican majorities. William Windom was easily reëlected
representative in the first congressional district, and Ignatius
Donnelly, the lieutenant-governor, got his first election in the
second. The state was not yet entitled to more than two
representatives. Much greater interest, however, centred in the
election of a legislature for 1863, which would have before it the
choice of a United States senator to succeed Henry M. Rice, whose term
was to expire. Governor Ramsey was the logical candidate, and he did
not affect indifference to the promotion. The other principal aspirant
was Cyrus Aldrich of Minneapolis, who had been representing the second
district in Congress in a very acceptable manner. Mr. Aldrich’s
legislative experience in Minnesota and another state warranted his
friends in promoting his candidacy. These formed a body which in a
later day would have been designated as “stalwart” Republicans; they
were dissatisfied with the alleged inertia of Lincoln’s administration,
and desired the liberation of the Southern slaves and the prosecution
of the war with greater energy. Mr. Ramsey, by his nature conservative,
stood by the administration.

The first trial of strength came off in the Republican legislative
caucus held immediately after organization, early in January, 1863. The
number of votes was forty-six, and twenty-four votes were necessary to
the choice. On the first balloting Mr. Ramsey received but nineteen
votes, and then twenty votes for nineteen successive ballotings.
Fortunately “the field” was rigidly divided. On the twenty-fourth
balloting, twenty-three votes were cast for Ramsey, and the caucus
adjourned with little expectation of further changes. A final trial,
however, gave twenty-six votes and assured the election of Governor
Ramsey by the houses in joint convention on January 14.

Although his senatorial term began March 4, 1863, Governor Ramsey
remained in office till July, when he retired to attend an extra
session of the Senate. Lieutenant-Governor Donnelly had resigned at the
close of the legislative session of 1863, and the state senate had
elected as their president _pro tempore_, the Hon. Henry A. Swift of
St. Peter. Under constitutional provision Mr. Swift became
lieutenant-governor in room of Mr. Donnelly, and on July 10 (1863)
governor, in the place of Mr. Ramsey. Governor Swift held the office
for the remaining six months of Ramsey’s term, making no effort to
succeed himself. Contemporaries speak of him as a man of singularly
amiable character, preferring a quiet life among his neighbors to the
excitements of the capital. He was succeeded in office by General
Stephen Miller, a native of Pennsylvania, who came to the state in 1868
and made his home in St. Cloud. He had been an ardent supporter of Mr.
Ramsey, who was not indifferent to his claims upon him. Upon the
organization of the First Minnesota Infantry Mr. Miller received the
appointment of lieutenant-colonel. He devoted himself with such
fidelity to military studies and exercises that he soon became
sufficiently expert, and at Bull Run, Fair Oaks, and other engagements
proved beyond question his personal courage. Such was his modesty,
however, that when the colonelcy of the First became vacant, a first,
second, and even third time he preferred to have it filled by
experienced regular officers. After the Seventh Regiment was formed
Governor Ramsey was pleased to make him its colonel. When General
Sibley in the late fall of 1862 left the front to assume command of his
district he devolved immediate command on Colonel Miller. During the
general’s absence in the campaign to the Missouri in 1863 Colonel
Miller remained at St. Paul in command of the district. Nominated and
elected as governor in the fall of that year and honored with the
brevet rank of brigadier-general, Colonel Miller resigned to take up
his civil duties. In the first year of his service he was chiefly
employed in filling up the state’s quota in the armies of the Union;
and he was so much grieved and disgusted with the behavior of those
drafted men who did not report for duty that he seriously recommended
that the constitution be so amended as to visit any such “base and
cowardly conduct” in the future with disfranchisement and confiscation.

While the governorship of Minnesota has from the beginning been
regarded as a most honorable position, the chief prize to be won in her
political battles has been the United States senatorship. Around this
the successive contests have been hot and fierce. One of these occurred
in the winter of 1865. Senator Morton A. Wilkinson had cut no
inconsiderable figure at the seat of government, and had so won the
confidence of President Lincoln that he wrote an open letter
recommending a reëlection. Mr. Wilkinson, however, had not retained to
a sufficient degree the allegiance of Republican leaders at home. It
was alleged that he had allowed his colleague, Senator Rice, to obtain
an undue share of good things. Whether true or not, this was an
unpardonable offense, and Mr. Wilkinson’s friends found themselves,
after many ballotings in caucus, in a hopeless minority. In the field
against him was Mr. Rice, and there is a tradition that the nomination
might have fallen to him had he been willing to exchange the colors of
War Democrat for those of Republican. He had been loyal and ardent in
support of the Union cause.

As the result of repeated ballotings, and a combination difficult of
analysis, the nomination fell to Daniel A. Norton of Winona, who had
gained some distinction as a member of the state senate. When President
Andrew Johnson went over to the opposition fold, Mr. Norton followed
him. His career was necessarily obscure, and he died in office in 1870.

In spite of the absence of a large proportion of her men of working age
and capacity in the armies; in spite of the Indian ravages of 1862 and
the fears of others which happily did not come; in spite of the tardy
extension of railroads, the war period was one of advance for
Minnesota. Her population of 172,023 in 1860 arose, according to the
state census of 1865, to 250,099, an increase of forty-five per cent.
The accessions were greatest in the river counties, and next in those
lying immediately beyond. High prices for farm produce in paper money
enabled the farmers to wipe out their debts and improve their homes.

The homestead act of 1862 contributed not a little to the extension of
settlements in the state. The original bill for that act, passed in
1860 after bitter opposition from Southern senators and
representatives, had been vetoed by President Buchanan on the ground
that the government had no power under the constitution to give away
property of the people held by it in trust. Cyrus Aldrich, one of
Minnesota’s members, introduced and actively supported the later bill,
which became law on February 28, 1862, and took effect January 8, 1863.
In the three years following, 9529 homestead entries were made in
Minnesota, thirty-six per cent. of the whole number. There can be no
question that the operation of the homestead act was beneficial so long
as confined to arable lands. The use made of its provisions in later
years to obtain possession of timber and mineral lands by processes
morally, if not technically, criminal, depriving the nation and states
of untold millions of value, gives room for regret that President
Buchanan’s judgment had not governed his successor.



                               CHAPTER XV

                                REVIVAL


It was to be expected that, upon the anticipated retirement of Governor
Miller, General William R. Marshall, the most prominent among the
founders of the Republican party in Minnesota, who had added a highly
honorable military career to his civil record, would be called to
succeed. And he was; but not without opposition from other gentlemen
who had also distinguished themselves in both civil and military
duties. It took twenty-two ballotings in the Republican convention to
secure his nomination. At the polls he met that veteran of Democracy,
the Hon. Henry M. Rice, whose popularity, especially among “old
Territorians,” was so great as to reduce his majority to less than 3600
in a total of 31,000 votes. He took office in January, 1866, and so
commended himself by a judicious practical administration that his
reëlection in the fall of the following year was but formally
contested. Mr. Rice closed his political career with the campaign of
1865, which he survived for a quarter of a century.

Marshall’s double term was a period of recovery and repair after the
exhaustion of the wars; and it was something more. Neither the people
severally nor the state were heavily burdened with debt, and there was
work for all and good prices for produce. Railroad building was
continued on a scale of a few more than one hundred miles a year. In
1867 the line now known as the Iowa and Minnesota Division of the
Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad, begun at both ends, was
completed, and trains were put on from the Falls of St. Anthony to
Prairie du Chien, whence rail connection eastward already existed.
Minnesota was now in the great world all the year round. No important
terminals were reached by additions to other lines, although seven
hundred and sixty-six miles had been constructed by the close of the
decade.

The development of the common schools of Minnesota was tardy. The act
of 1851, providing for a state system, created the office of
superintendent of public instruction, but attached only a nominal
salary to it. Four persons were appointed in as many years, whose
duties seem to have been confined to making formal annual reports. From
1856 to 1860 the office was virtually, if not technically, vacant. The
legislature of 1860 devolved the duties upon the titular chancellor of
the university, the Rev. Edward Duffield Neill, who held it till April
29, 1861, when he resigned to take the chaplaincy of the First
Minnesota Infantry, leaving the office to a competitor for that
position. In the legislative session of 1862 the school laws were
revised and the secretary of state was made _ex-officio_ state
superintendent. This absurd arrangement continued for five years,
against the advice of the two gentlemen who held the double office.

Governor Marshall informed the legislature of 1867 that the children of
school age in the state were over a hundred thousand, and that the
school fund had grown to nearly a million and a half. Upon his earnest
recommendation the office of state superintendent was reëstablished,
with a salary more than nominal, but inadequate. He appointed Mark H.
Dunnell of Owatonna, a young lawyer who had been successful as a
teacher in his native state of Maine.

Mr. Dunnell threw himself into his duties with great enthusiasm and
industry. He gathered the teachers into “institutes” for pedagogical
instruction and raised the standard of qualification for certificates.
A state teachers’ association was organized to stimulate pride in the
teaching profession and provide for interchange of ideas and
experiences. It is notable that Mr. Dunnell as late as 1869 thought it
necessary to argue in behalf of a public school system free from
religious dogma or discipline. The organization of high schools in the
leading towns had already discouraged the proprietors of numerous
denominational academies and seminaries desirous of holding the
secondary field.

In 1858 a bill had been worked through the first state legislature to
establish three normal schools, one at Winona as soon as practicable
after passage, the others at times to be later determined. This bill
was fathered by Dr. John W. Ford of Winona, an enthusiast in the cause
of professional education for teachers. So little was known in the
longitude of Minnesota of what a “normal school” might be, that it is
not strange that the friends of the bill got more credit in the
newspapers and among the people for securing a state institution for
each of three towns than for zeal in the cause of education. Six years
passed before a beginning was made in the first state normal school at
Winona, under the charge of William F. Phelps, an Oswego graduate. No
man less confident of the righteousness of his cause, nor less willing
to fight a bitter opposition, could have built up a school for teachers
which has served as model for many others in Minnesota and other
states. The second state normal school was opened in Mankato in 1868;
the third in St. Cloud in the next year.

The “wing and extension” of the great building planned for the
territorial regents of the university in 1856, and built in that year
and the next, stood empty for ten years, except that at different times
private teachers were allowed to hold their classes in some of the
rooms. The legislature of 1858 authorized the regents to borrow $40,000
and issue ten per cent. bonds in evidence of debt. These securities
were negotiated in New York after great effort and at a ruinous
discount. The claim was later made that they could not have been
disposed of at all had they not been improperly represented to be
virtually bonds of the state. The proceeds released the regents from
obligations which they had personally assumed and satisfied a portion
of the creditors.

The Republican legislature of 1860 thought it time to oust the “old
Democratic board” and install a new administration. The new “state
board,” consisting of three members _ex-officiis_ and five appointed,
had nothing to report to the next session but a debt of $93,500,
including $8000 of overdue interest. Their recommendation was that the
land grant be turned over to the creditors, the campus and building
being retained. An act of Congress of March 2, 1861, donating to the
state the university lands “reserved” for the territorial university,
rendered such action feasible.

Governor Ramsey could make no other suggestion to the legislature of
1862, and that body conferred the desired authority. In 1862 wild lands
were a drug in the market. “Pine” would not go at four dollars an acre.
The regents reported to the legislature of 1863 that the creditors were
not disposed to accept “equitable terms.” That legislature did not
formally dissolve the corporation, but ordered the regents to turn over
to the state auditor, as state land commissioner, all the lands,
buildings, and appurtenances. This was accordingly done, and the
University of Minnesota existed only in supposition.

After the midsummer of 1863 matters were looking up in Minnesota. The
victories of Vicksburg and Gettysburg gave hope of an early return of
peace. Money was plentiful and prices were rising. Notwithstanding the
homestead law, there was a market for well-situated public land. John
S. Pillsbury of St. Anthony had been appointed to a vacancy in the
board of regents in November of that year, and immediately applied his
remarkable business talent to the university affairs. His conclusions
were embodied in a bill introduced into the state senate of 1864, of
which he was a member. Enacted into law March 4, the bill created a
special board of three regents: John S. Pillsbury, Orlando C. Merriman,
a lawyer of St. Anthony, and John Nicols, a merchant of St. Paul, also
a state senator. This board was authorized to sell land to the amount
of twelve thousand acres and use the proceeds in “extricating” the
institution. Taking advantage of a time of general liquidation and
scaling down, they bought in claims of many creditors at thirty-three
per cent. of their face. The bondholders, satisfied at length that they
had no recourse upon the state, moderated their demands and consented
to “equitable terms” of adjustment. In this way a “great state”
redeemed the bonds it had authorized by law, and canceled a body of
debts pronounced by the regents of 1860 to be “honestly due.”

It took two years to accomplish this “extrication,” so that the
legislature of 1867 was ready to make a small appropriation to renovate
the building and open “a grammar and normal department.” It was not
until October 7 of that year that the doors were opened, and thirty-one
boys and girls were enrolled in the first term. The school being of
academy grade, no objection was made to the admission of girls, but
there was no intention to settle then the question of coeducation in
the university. It was, however, thus settled.

The special board, having accomplished its purposes to the satisfaction
of all concerned, recommended to the legislature of 1868 the transfer
of control to a permanent board of regents. The act of February 18,
1868, passed in pursuance of this counsel, is the charter of the
university, and has not been materially modified. The new board
appointed by the governor with the consent of the senate properly
contained the names of Pillsbury, Nicols, and Merriman. At the close of
the school year of 1869 the regents resolved to open the “College of
Science, Literature, and the Arts,” as the statute ambitiously named
the academic department. Although there were but fourteen provisional
freshmen and a hundred and fifty preparatory students, a president,
eight professors, and one instructor were elected. The faculty thus
constituted organized in September, and took up the work before them,
mostly that of a fitting school.

The title of the charter of February 18, 1868, contained the clause,
“and to establish an agricultural college therein.” The original act of
1851 creating the university named as one of its five departments that
of agriculture, but on March 10, 1858, a separate “state agricultural
college” was established and located at Glencoe in McLeod County.
Minnesota’s share of the so-called Morrill land grant of 1862 for the
benefit of colleges of agriculture and the mechanic arts was 120,000
acres. By an act approved March 2, 1865, the proceeds of this grant
were applied and appropriated to the said agricultural college of
Minnesota. What influences or interests prevailed to induce the people
of McLeod County to consent to the merger of their institution with the
university are not well known, but the legislature of 1868 decided on
that policy, and inviolably appropriated the income of the Morrill land
grant to the united institutions. The friends of the university were,
of course, gratified over the return to the scheme of the original
creative act of 1851 and the concentration of the state’s resources for
the higher education. Governor Marshall had the satisfaction of seeing
the University of Minnesota, in which he had been deeply interested
from its statutory creation, at length fairly launched on a career of
promise which he lived to see fulfilled. He had also the gratification
of seeing the color line removed from the state constitution by the
adoption, at the election of 1868, of an amendment expunging the word
“white” out of the article on the elective franchise. A much needed
revision of the laws of the state went into effect about the same time.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Ignatius Donnelly, who had been elected to Congress in 1862, had been
accorded two reëlections. His diligence in business and readiness in
debate had gained him influence in the House, and his campaign speeches
had increased his popularity at home. To all appearance he was certain
of a third reëlection in the fall of 1868, and among his admirers were
those who suggested that the state and country would profit by his
promotion to the Senate. Such propositions were not relished by the
friends of Senator Ramsey, whose first term would be expiring in the
following winter. Elimination of Mr. Donnelly thereupon became to them
a desirable political object. It might not have been attained but for
an error of Mr. Donnelly himself in a moment of perhaps excusable
exasperation.

In the winter of 1868, in a letter to a constituent explaining why he
had not pushed a certain railroad land grant bill, Mr. Donnelly stated
that E. B. Washburne, member of Congress from Illinois, had repeatedly
hindered his efforts to secure legislation for his state. Mr. Washburne
replied through a St. Paul newspaper, April 10, 1868, attacking Mr.
Donnelly’s personal character, and declaring him cowardly and
mendacious. He represented him also as “whining like a schoolboy” over
his disappointments. Thus assailed, Mr. Donnelly, on May 2, made on the
floor of the House a consummate display of those powers of ridicule and
invective of which he was master. Tolerated by the House because of its
enjoyment of the play of rhetorical lightning, and perhaps because of a
feeling that the speaker’s indignation had some just ground, the
Minnesota member descended into an utterly indefensible tirade. It has
ever since been traditional in Minnesota that that speech “cooked
Donnelly’s goose.”

Washburne could only say in wrath that he would “make no reply to a
member covered all over with crime and infamy, a man whose record is
stained with every fraud, a man who has proved false alike to his
friends, his constituents, his country, his religion, and his God.”
Both gentlemen apologized for using unparliamentary language, and the
special committee of the House reported that as neither had made
charges affecting the action of the other as a representative, they
might be left to settle personal difficulties outside. On his return to
Minnesota after the close of the session, Mr. Donnelly gave expression
to his sentiments towards the Washburn family in a series of speeches
in which his peculiar gifts were displayed in the highest degree.

The friends of Senator Ramsey selected for their support, as successor
to Mr. Donnelly, William D. Washburn, a younger brother of the
representative from Illinois just mentioned, who had won for himself a
place in their esteem for ability and character. When the hour for the
convention came, Mr. Donnelly’s supporters “bolted,” and in a separate
body put their idol in nomination. Seeing the regular convention so
largely depleted, Mr. Washburn withdrew after the first ballot. General
Lucius F. Hubbard also declined the honor of a candidacy; and it was
only after assurances of active and substantial support that General C.
C. Andrews was persuaded to enter the lists. The Democrats saw their
opportunity in this split in the Republican ranks, and put in
nomination and elected Eugene M. Wilson of Minneapolis, a gentleman
whose character and services entitled him to their support. He served
to the general satisfaction in the Forty-first Congress.

Mr. Donnelly now came out openly as a candidate for the senatorship,
and he had reason to expect an election. On the eve of the Republican
caucus, however, his muster roll contained but twenty-six names of
those who could be depended on. Twenty-eight votes were necessary to
nominate. Failing to secure absolute pledges of the two lacking votes,
Mr. Donnelly advised his friends to give their support to Morton S.
Wilkinson, who was willing to serve another term in the Senate. His
hope was to give Mr. Ramsey a rest from senatorial labors. In that he
was disappointed. Mr. Ramsey’s friends secured the adoption of a
resolution to dispense with informal balloting, thus revealing their
strength, but they were only able to give him the exact number of votes
(twenty-eight) necessary to a choice. The election followed as a matter
of course, and Mr. Ramsey continued in a senatorial career creditable
to himself and serviceable to the state and nation. Mr. Donnelly did
not at once renounce the colors of the Republican party, but he was
ever after a free lance in politics. He was repeatedly elected to the
state legislature.

In the fall of 1869 an effort was made to give Mr. Donnelly the regular
nomination for the governorship. This was not opposed by the Ramsey
leaders, who were willing to bring back into the fold so dangerous a
rival. That effort, however, had but slight recognition in the
nominating convention, which chose for the party candidate a gentleman
as yet not widely known in state politics, the Hon. Horace Austin of
St. Peter.

The removal of the state capital from St. Paul, which would have been
accomplished in 1857 but for the high-handed exploit of Councilor
Rolette, though frequently broached informally, was not seriously taken
up by any legislature till 1869. A bill for removal to Kandiyohi
County, on to land belonging to the state, was passed through both
houses so easily and rapidly as to invite the surmise that the
necessary votes had been secured in advance. Superfluous debate was
shut out by the operation of the previous question. The vote in the
house was 39 to 7, that in the senate 12 to 10; but the house could not
muster enough votes to pass the bill over Governor Marshall’s veto. The
veto message was moderate in tone; suggesting that it would be wise to
hear from the people on the question, that there should be no haste
about a final location of the capital, and that it was no time to
expend a great sum of money on buildings.

Two years later a final proposal to remove the capital from St. Paul to
the imagined city of Stanton met with a prompt indefinite postponement.



                              CHAPTER XVI

                            STORM AND STRESS


Horace Austin was inaugurated governor January 9, 1870. A native of
Connecticut, who had lived and married in Maine, he had come to
Minnesota in 1855 at the age of twenty-five and settled at St. Peter.
He had studied law and taught school, but had taken no college course.
In the campaign of 1863 against the Sioux he commanded a company of
Minnesota Mounted Rangers and gave a good account of himself on the
march and battlefield. His neighbors had elected him a district judge
and were more than content with his wise and fearless conduct on the
bench. It was a piece of good fortune for the state that the warring
Ramsey and Donnelly factions of the Republican party in the convention
of 1869 compromised upon a candidate unobjectionable to both, but no
especial favorite with either. His majority was less than two thousand
over the popular candidate of the Democrats, George L. Otis. Ingenious,
hopeful, independent, Mr. Austin in successive messages showered upon
the legislatures projects of reform and development. In many of them he
was doomed to disappointment because he relied entirely on the merit of
propositions, and was not politician enough to understand that it is
only by timely and happy combination of interests that measures can be
carried in legislative bodies. Among these abortive recommendations may
be mentioned the one in his second message, urging a revision of the
state constitution, which he declared to be a motley of
inconsistencies. His desire was that a revised constitution should
contain such provisions as these: (1) Restriction of special
legislation; (2) prohibition of exclusive franchises; (3) limitation of
local taxation; (4) restriction of municipal debts; (5) ample power to
regulate railroads; and (6) abolition of the grand jury. Neither the
legislature to which the recommendation was addressed nor any
subsequent one has been willing to propose to the people a revision of
the constitution. Casual amendments have been frequent, but a late
amendment to the amending article, requiring an affirmative vote of a
majority of all the electors to adopt a proposed amendment, will
certainly render it difficult, and it may be impossible, to make
further casual changes in the state’s organic law. A happy illustration
of Mr. Austin’s independence may be found in his action on the
disposition of the so-called “internal improvement lands” of the state.
An almost forgotten statute of the United States, passed in 1841,
authorized the gift to any new state of five hundred thousand acres of
public lands for “internal improvements.” The claim of Minnesota to
this grant had been tardily conceded by the Secretary of the Interior.
In his inaugural address Governor Austin recommended that the
disposition of the lands should be submitted to popular vote. The
legislature then opening (1870) was of a different mind, and listened
to suggestions that the end of the law would be served if the lands
should be bestowed on certain railroad corporations willing to accept
them. When the legislature of 1871 convened that proposition seemed
much in favor, and a bill to divide the whole grant, then possibly
worth ten millions of dollars, in eleven parcels among seven
corporations was passed in so summary a manner as to suggest a careful
rehearsal for the purely formal proceedings. The support of the bill
was so evenly derived from the two political parties that neither of
them could claim the greater credit for guarding the public interest.

The veto message of Governor Austin will long remain a landmark in the
political history of the state. In the plainest of English he told the
legislators that they had been either cajoled or bullied into passing a
measure they dared not submit to the people, that the minute parceling
of the lands would be ridiculously ineffective, that they had no power
to divide the lands, but only the proceeds thereof, and that they had
voted to divert the national gift from its intended object. From this
date there was no question of a reëlection, should he desire it. In the
following year an amendment providing that no disposition should be
made of those lands until after the ratification of any proposed
measure by vote of the electors was submitted and, at the election,
adopted. The use to which they were put ten years later will be related
in its place.

For Minnesota as for the country at large, the early seventies belong
to one of the most notable “boom” periods in our economic history. The
census of 1870 verified the hopes of enthusiastic promoters in many
lines. The total population footed up 439,706. The native born in round
numbers were 279,000, of whom 126,000 had been born in the state. The
foreign born were 161,000, of whom the Scandinavian kingdoms had sent
59,000 and Germany 41,000. The English-speaking immigrants numbered
47,000. The swelling number of inhabitants was inspiring and the high
quality of the population was equally satisfactory. One hundred and
thirty-one thousand coming from the north Atlantic and north central
states had brought with them American traditions and culture, capital,
brains, and ambition for an enlarged career in a land of opportunity.
The foreign accessions were Christians, willing workers, and many of
them passionate lovers of free government.

The rapid extension of railroads was both a cause and a consequence of
this increase of people; of their distribution, their productive power,
and their demands for the comforts and luxuries of other skies. Rail
connection eastward by way of the head of Lake Michigan, established in
1867, had given quicker mails and shortened the passenger journey to
the seaboard. No produce save that of highest value in smallest bulk
could stand transportation charges to New York. The completion of the
railroad from St. Paul to the head of Lake Superior in 1870 brought
that city almost as near salt water as Chicago, and opened the great
waterway of the lakes for Minnesota’s grain and lumber, and returning
coal and merchandise. Later her annual millions of tons of iron ore
have passed down through “The Soo” to Lake Erie ports.

The year following (1871) was abundant in railroad extension. The main
line of the Great Northern was extended to Breckenridge on the Red
River of the North; the River division of the Chicago, Milwaukee and
St. Paul, prolonged to Winona, shortened the journey to Chicago by many
hours; and the Northern Pacific had reached the Red River at Moorhead.
Meantime the Southern Minnesota had been pushed out to the Blue Earth,
and the Winona and St. Peter to the Minnesota. The 350 miles built in
1872, though reaching no important terminals, brought the total mileage
at the close of the year up to an even 1900.

In those years of plentiful money and multiplying fortunes, railroad
building was rapid and easy in Minnesota. Investors were keen for bonds
secured by land grants of enormous extent, and bearing a liberal
interest, especially when offered at a seductive discount. The
controlling spirits of the companies found some profit in financing
construction companies, but more in town lot and land speculations.
Railroad building out on the open prairie far in advance of settlement
was a novelty then. The gentlemen whose privilege it was to determine
the lines and locate the stations were in position to make profitable
selections of lots and lands, and to let their friends “in on the
ground floor” for a consideration. Around the selected stations
considerable villages would arise in a single season. In some cases the
town would be built before the track had reached it. There were
instances in which settlements were made on mistaken calculations of
actual location, and then the houses and shops were literally put on
wheels and hauled over to the chosen spots.

The lands adjacent to the railroad lines, especially within a few miles
of the stations, were, of course, in great demand and rose rapidly in
price. Cultivation was no longer confined to the river counties, but
spread rapidly inland. It did not take a generation of the hardest
labor to make a farm on the Minnesota prairie. In the first season the
newcomer could win his subsistence, and in the second begin to build.
The cultivated area of the state, which was 630,000 acres in the
closing year of the Civil War, rose to 1,863,300 in 1870, and five
years later fell not much short of 3,000,000.

A large fraction of this area was devoted to a kind of cultivation
novel to this country, but which remained profitable only so long as
the virgin fertility of the soil survived, and that was rarely longer
than ten years. “Bonanza farming,” so called, was carried on by large
proprietors or lessees, owning or controlling many thousands of acres,
employing machines and large gangs of men and animals. For these
estates there were developed out of the petty apparatus suitable to the
little eastern farm, the sulky plow with its two mould-boards, the disk
harrow, the twelve-foot seeder, the self-binding reaper, and the giant
threshing machine. There was but one principal crop, spring wheat,
which was commonly threshed from the shock and immediately marketed. To
handle the great quantities, grain “elevators” were built at the
railroad stations, tall, ungainly structures with conveniences for
weighing in, lifting, weighing out, and spouting into waiting freight
cars. At terminals were erected elevators for cleaning and drying
grain, as well as for storage for many thousands or millions of
bushels. The country elevator was also convenient for the small farmer,
who was saved the cost of building a granary of high-priced lumber from
distant pineries.

Early settlers in the Northwest had found spring wheat, with its power
of rapid growth in the long sunshine of high latitudes, a better crop
than winter wheat, occupying the soil for two seasons and liable to
winter kill. But the spring wheat berry, although of higher nutritive
value than that of winter wheat, had a flinty envelope and yielded a
flour too dark in color to suit the market. A revolution in the process
of milling presently reversed the places of the two flours. Milling had
already advanced so far beyond the primitive separation of flour from
bran by hand sifting as to segregate a residuum of coarser granules,
called “middlings,” which, subjected to a second grinding, yielded a
low grade flour. It had been discovered also that these middlings
contained the more nutritive elements of the wheat berry, and it had
been a problem how to recover them. French millers were in possession
of a method for its partial solution. George H. Christian of
Minneapolis had long studied on the problem, and in 1870 employed a
French immigrant named La Croix to construct a rude apparatus in his
mill at Minneapolis. This was the germ of the “middlings purifier,”
soon developed and installed in all mills using spring wheat. Receiving
middlings from the first grinding, the machine by use of sieves and air
currents separated out the pure wheat granules. These were reground and
“bolted” into two or more grades of flour. The first grade was put on
the market as “Minnesota Patent,” and for a time commanded a price of
three dollars a barrel above any other. The same principles, refined
upon, have resulted in the more modern process of “gradual reduction”
by means of rollers, displacing the immemorial millstones.

The rapid development of a great milling centre at the Falls of St.
Anthony opened a market for the spring wheat, which could not otherwise
have been grown. The Minnesota crop of fifteen million of bushels in
1870 was to be doubled in 1875. The patent milling process gave to
Minneapolis an advantage soon apparent in the multiplication not only
of flour mills, but of industries ancillary thereto. The manufacture of
lumber out of logs from the pineries of the upper Mississippi and its
tributaries, which had been her leading industry, now took a second but
still important place. The city of Saint Anthony’s Falls had suffered
by the migration of many of her most capable men of affairs to “the
west side,” where Minneapolis sprang into being as by magic when the
military reservation was reduced in the middle of the fifties. The new
city soon outstripped the old in population, in manufacturing, and in
merchandizing. At length it became apparent that there was no propriety
in the maintenance of separate municipal organizations at the falls. By
virtue of an act of the legislature, approved February 28, 1872, the
older city lost its name and became the east division of Minneapolis.
The regrets of some of her oldest citizens were mitigated by the
suggestion that the Minneapolis thus enlarged might some day become the
rival of Minnesota’s capital city in wealth and numbers, if not in
political importance.

The land grant railroads, rapidly extended after the Civil War, had
occasioned the building of new towns, the opening of new farms, the
production of more millions of bushels of wheat, to be passed through
more elevators and carried in more freight cars to more mills, for
conversion into more thousands of barrels of Minnesota Patent flour.
All these called for more miles of railroad, and the revolving game
went merrily on for some years. So obvious were the advantages of
railroad transportation that every possible inducement was held out to
invite construction. Rights of way and bonuses in the shape of town,
county, and city bonds were willingly bestowed. State and municipal
authorities were so indulgent and generous that railroad “interests”
came to expect the fulfillment of any requisitions they should please
to make. A crowning example of this confidence has been given in the
so-called “land grab” of 1871, whose consummation lacked only the
approval of Governor Austin. But under this seeming of prosperity for
the public and the people whose wealth was going into the railroads
there was trouble brewing. Transportation did not come as cheap as the
public was expecting from corporations, which had received from
Congress public lands worth about $10,000 per mile at government
prices, to aid them in building. Five cents per mile passenger fare
seemed exorbitant, as did freight rates ranging from seven cents to
sixty cents per ton mile. The immense loans made by sale of bonds were
understood to be part of a policy of the corporation managers to get
their roads built on credit, and to hold the lands, released from the
primary mortgages, for speculation. There were abundant innuendoes
thrown out in political campaigns that public officials, especially
members of legislative bodies, national, state, and municipal, had not
been losers by the grants and indulgences showered on the corporations.
It is improbable that many individuals were thus persuaded or enriched
by large benefactions. When the whole community were ready to grant
everything a railroad company could ask, there was little need for
“graft.”

Chief, however, among all causes of exasperation were the frequent and
notorious discriminations in favor of some individuals, industries, and
places against others. By the connivance of one or more companies the
fuel supply of a city was put into the hands of a single firm or
clique. The big shipper generally was conceded a better rate than his
small competitors. But it must be said that at terminal points and
junctions, where shippers had the choice of two or more lines, they
sometimes forced the hungry traffic managers to offer rates by no means
agreeable or profitable. When the rate per hundred pounds on
merchandise from New York by way of the lakes to St. Paul, including
156 miles of railroad haul, was 35 cents, that from St. Paul to
Faribault, 56 miles, was 39 cents. The state constitution contained
(and still contains) the provision that all common carriers enjoying
right of way for public use shall carry the mineral, agricultural, and
other productions of the state “on equal and reasonable terms.” The
farmers could not see that a rate on wheat from Owatonna to Winona of
2.6 cents, and one of 6 cents from Rochester, 40 miles on the road
nearer Winona, were “equal”; nor could the people of Faribault and
vicinity see what justice there was in paying $29.50 freight per
carload of lumber from the falls, while residents of Owatonna, 15 miles
farther on, should enjoy a rate of $18.

As early as 1866, in his inaugural address to the legislature, Governor
Marshall had advised that body to be looking out “for the interests of
the people against possible oppression from these corporations, which
will soon be a power in the land.” In his message of 1867 he suggested
that it was time to attach proper terms and conditions to railroad aid.
He did not like the withdrawal of ten million acres of land from the
operation of the homestead act.

Governor Austin, in his inaugural address of 1870, went no further than
to ask the attention of the legislature to the complaints of railroad
extortions and discriminations, and the use of the constitutional
powers possessed by it for their abatement. His first annual message,
delivered one year later, is a notable document in the literature of
railroad regulation. It may be questioned whether there was another
state executive in the country ready at that time to nail any such
array of theses on the doors of the capitol. His propositions, briefed
out of his text, were: 1. All special railroad charters not put into
operation within ten days after consummation, to be void. 2. Every
railroad corporation doing business within the state to maintain a
public office within the state, and keep therein records of the
officials, capitalization, assets, and liabilities. 3. No new road to
be built parallel to an existing road. 4. All railroads in the state to
be public highways free to all persons for transportation at reasonable
charges. 5. No railroad company to issue any stocks and bonds except
for money, labor, or property actually received and applied to the
purposes of the corporation; all fictitious stocks and bonds to be
void, and no increase of either, unless in a manner prescribed by law.
6. The state’s right of eminent domain to apply to railroad as to other
property. 7. Adequate penalties, extending if deemed necessary to
forfeiture of property and franchise, to be provided for unjust
discrimination or extortion. 8. Finally, the creation of a national
railroad commission for the regulation of commerce by rail and
otherwise among the several states.

It is remarkable that the same legislature which passed the 500,000
acre land grab also enacted one of the first and most stringent acts
for railroad regulation. It is chapter 24 of the General Laws of 1871.
It classified all freight and fixed a maximum rate for each of the five
classes, according to distance. It determined a maximum passenger fare
of five cents per mile. It declared all railroads in the state to be
public highways, and fixed a penalty of $1000 for every denial of the
right of any person to travel or ship goods at the prescribed rates.
The law finally declared the rates therein established to be “maximum
reasonable rates,” and any corporation demanding or receiving more
should, on conviction, forfeit its charter.

The same legislature (1871) provided for the appointment by the
governor of a state railroad commissioner to observe the behavior of
the corporations under the new law. The first incumbent was General
Alonzo J. Edgerton, who had given proof of ability by gallant military
service and successful practice as an attorney. The three reports of
this official are a pitiful record of the unequal struggle of the
legislatures with their informally confederate creatures, the railroad
corporations. To the regulative act of 1871 the corporations gave not
the slightest heed, partly on the ground of their rights as
quasi-persons, partly because in their territorial charters they had
been authorized to make “reasonable charges” for services, and the
legislature had not reserved the right to determine what charges were
reasonable. If some of the roads somewhat abated their rates, it was
not because of the legal mandate. Gross discriminations continued to be
practiced. The evasion of taxes by the companies by various devices
added to public exasperation. The commissioner was gratified to have
exacted an increase of railroad taxes from $56,505.54 in 1871 to
$106,876.35 in the year after, and regretted his inability to reach
$250,000 more illegally withheld. One company, the Minnesota Central,
sold its entire railroad property to the Milwaukee interest, retaining
its unsold lands, and claimed to survive as a railroad company entitled
to hold its lands free of taxation. For lack of authority to make
personal inspections of company accounts and property the commissioner
could not verify their reluctant reports, which, because not made on a
prescribed uniform plan, were of slight practical service. In his
report for 1873 he reminded the legislature that the companies, which
had by the beginning of that year constructed 1900 miles of road, had
received from the nation, state, and municipalities, grants and gifts
to the value of $51,000,000, being about $27,000 per mile of completed
road. The average necessary cost of construction and equipment,
according to an expert computation, would have been a trifle over
$23,000 to the mile. In that year the bonded debt of the roads amounted
to $54,500,000. The aggregate of capital stock, $20,000,000, raised the
“capitalization” of the roads to $74,500,000; nearly $48,000 per mile.
Only nominal amounts of stock-proceeds had gone into construction and
equipment, and there were wide margins between the face value of the
bonds sold and the actual expenditures. In some instances, says the
commissioner, not more than forty per cent. went into construction. In
these years in which building was going on so swimmingly, operation was
far from encouraging. The managers had been more concerned to increase
mileage than to build substantially. Heavy grades, sharp curves, and
slight construction were the result. The iron rails weighed for the
most part but fifty pounds to the yard. Equipment corresponded, of
course, with track and rail. The amount of business obtained at the
fares and rates exacted was disappointingly small. After the grain crop
was moved the amount of paying freight was meagre and backloading
trifling in amount. Operating expenses rose to eighty per cent. of the
gross earnings. The balance of earnings and expenses for the year 1873
was but $1,400,000 for all the Minnesota roads, a sum which must have
seemed pitifully small in the eyes of the men whose money had built
them. The reader need hardly be told that the Minnesota railroad
corporations went down in the crash which came upon the country in
1873. Three defaulted in their interest, two borrowed money to pay it,
two went into receivers’ hands, and others attempted assessments on
their stockholders. In the next four years but eighty-seven miles of
new road were built.

When the roads refused to conform to the law of 1871 it became the duty
of the attorney-general to bring suit for forfeiture of charters, the
prescribed penalty for disobedience. John D. Blake and others sued the
Winona and St. Peter Railroad Company in the district court of Olmstead
County, alleging that said corporation had exacted for a certain
service one dollar and ninety-nine cents, whereas the statute had
determined the sum of fifty-seven cents to be the reasonable maximum
charge. This court held, with the defending company, that the
legislature had no power under the constitution to fix and determine
railroad rates. The state intervened and the case was appealed to the
Supreme Court of Minnesota, which reversed the decision of the court
below, thus sustaining the validity of the act of 1871. The case was
then carried to the Supreme Court of the United States and was numbered
among the well-known “granger cases,” held under consideration for four
years and disposed of according to the principles laid down by that
court in the case of Munn _vs._ Illinois. In the “Blake case,” decided
in October, 1876, it was held that the legislature of Minnesota was
within its constitutional powers in regulating and fixing railroad
rates and charges and prescribing penalties for violations of her laws
in that behalf.

In this interval the prostrated and nearly bankrupt corporations were
in no condition to conduct themselves offensively. In 1874 a state
board of three railroad commissioners was created. Mr. Edgerton was
retained as a member, with Ex-Governor Marshall as one of his
colleagues. Under their powers they made and published a complete
schedule of reasonable maximum fares and rates according to distances,
and reported at the close of the year a general and substantial
compliance on the part of the companies. Their representatives showed
such good nature and made such fair showing of their meagre profits
that the commissioners found good reason to allow them all they could
reasonably claim. This led to the suggestion that the commissioners had
been deluded or corrupted by the smart and able railroad men. The next
legislature (1875) accordingly replaced them with a single commissioner
to be chosen by the electors, with such meagre powers as to justify a
guess that some ingenious railroad attorney drafted the bill.
Ex-Governor Marshall held the office for six years, discharging the
duties with admirable discretion.

As an example of the liberality, not to say criminal recklessness, with
which railroad operators in the decade following the Civil War made use
of other people’s money, it will be well to follow the fortunes of one
of the great land grant companies. The Minnesota and Pacific Railroad
Company was one of the four corporations created by special act in 1857
to receive the colossal land grant made in that year to aid railroad
building in Minnesota. This company was obligated to build from
Stillwater via St. Anthony to Breckenridge, and from St. Anthony to St.
Vincent, a hamlet on the Red River near the crossing of the Canadian
boundary. Along with the rest it defaulted, and in the summer of 1860
its property and franchises were sold to the state upon foreclosure. An
effort to recover these by conforming to conditions imposed by the
legislature as already stated, proved abortive. In 1862, however, the
franchises, rights of way, the land grant, and other property thus
forfeited were bestowed upon a new corporation styled the St. Paul and
Pacific Railroad Company, which built ten miles of road that year and
opened business between St. Paul and St. Anthony. The year after,
seventeen and one half miles of track were added, and trains run to
Anoka. This rate of progress did not satisfy the corporation nor the
expectant people. Circumstances not now well known opened the way for
borrowing money in Holland. To give the great enterprise a less
tremendous aspect, it was resolved to separate it, so that the portions
of road lying in districts already settling up might be immediately
“financed,” while those running to distant regions known only to
hunters and Indian traders might be left to the future. Accordingly in
1864, under legislative authority, a new and separate corporation was
formed by the interests controlling the existing company, under the
name and style of “The First Division of the St. Paul and Pacific
Railroad Company.” To this new company was transferred the “main line”
from St. Paul to Breckenridge and the “branch” from St. Anthony to St.
Cloud. The early building of these lines within the bounds of
civilization would not, it was believed, appear a romantic undertaking
to investors. The scheme had its intended effect. Money poured in
galore. When the “branch” was finished to St. Cloud in 1866 (76 miles),
$7,000,000 of bonds had been sold. That amount of cash would have built
350 miles of road, as roads were then built in level regions. Five
years later (1871) the “main line” reached the Red River at
Breckenridge (217 miles), and the bond issue had been swelled to
$13,500,000. The two lines might have been built for much less than
half as many dollars. Upon the completion of the main line and branch
it was believed to be feasible and judicious to go on with the
construction of the remaining mileage retained by the original St. Paul
and Pacific Company. This consisted of the so-called “extensions”: the
“St. Vincent Extension,” from St. Cloud to the Canada line on the Red
River, and the trifling “Brainerd Extension,” from St. Cloud to Crow
Wing. To build these a loan of $15,000,000 was obtained in Holland. The
bonds were placed at seventy-five cents on the dollar, and twenty-one
per cent. of the proceeds were retained to meet three years’ interest.
These discounts left a little short of $9,000,000 in available cash.
This amount would have built and equipped both the extensions (about
470 miles) according to the building standards of the time. In
November, 1872, the money was all gone and there had been built 140
miles of road, 100 miles having no connection with the existing
portions of the system. Collections of rails, ties, and bridge
material, not actually paid for, remained on hand, a useless asset. In
his message to the legislature of 1873 Governor Austin characterized
the finance of the companies by implication as injudicious and
dishonest, and vaguely suggested that the just claims of the foreigners
should be consulted. The lawmakers, however, were disposed to allow the
foreign investors, who had placed their funds according to their own
judgment, to use their own wits to recover their losses. It is
difficult to see what relief the legislature could lawfully have
rendered.

That body had no sooner adjourned than in May (1873) the companies
defaulted on their interest. Two corporations, parent and child, owned
433 miles of railroad of light construction and equipment, on which
rested $28,000,000 of bonded debt running at seven per cent., and the
net earnings for the previous year had been $112,745.57. In August the
United States District Court for Minnesota put the mother corporation
into the hands of a receiver, but left the stockholders and bondholders
of the “First Division” company to wrestle with the business under
their legal and stipulated powers. The legislature had in separate acts
authorized the bondholders of that company to vote for directors, who
might be foreigners, any or all, and provided that meetings of
directors might be held abroad. The fact that the Northern Pacific
Railroad “interest” had held the major number of shares in both of the
Minnesota companies does not modify the foregoing account, but points
to the quarter in which to seek for the residence of responsibility, in
part at least, for a series of operations hard to account for on
presumptions of honesty and common sense. The reader may be curious to
follow further, on a subsequent page, the story of the St. Paul and
Pacific.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The panic of 1873 was a typical example. An era of great prosperity had
induced a fever of speculation which had spread through all social
strata. Not railroads only but ships, mills, factories, mines,
fisheries, farms had been built or bought with small sums of ready cash
and large sums in mortgage notes. A huge cloud of debt rested over the
land. Transactions were so rapid and enormous that bankers loaned out
their swelling deposits with a reckless eagerness. One fine morning
some conservative institution refused a new discount or declined to
renew a customer’s paper. That customer could not pay his creditors,
and those could not pay theirs. By nightfall alarm had spread wherever
the telegraph lines extended. The next day there were no bank deposits
of cash, and credit transactions ceased. Securities offered on the
market by hard pressed debtors began to drop, and presently all forms
of property depreciated. In the general distrust which ensued, all
kinds of industries and business languished, and months passed before
even the more modest of credit operations were adventured. Years passed
before the full tide of prosperity was again in flow. In a country
still new, where capital was small and opportunities for credit
operations great, the havoc wrought was extreme. Liquidation and
recovery were correspondingly tardy. In Minnesota the panic was
accompanied by two disasters which added much to the general
discouragement.

The morning of January 7, 1873, opened clear and bright over the south
half of Minnesota, with no signs of foul weather in the sky. The
country people had left their homes on their usual errands to mill, to
post-office, to town, to distant wood lots or fields, without thought
of danger. Soon after midday those who were still on the road were
overtaken by one of those terrible winter storms known to old voyageurs
as “blizzards.” The most learned authority in America on English usage
has recently made the statement that the word “blizzard” is not more
than twenty-five years old. It was in common use in Minnesota in the
fifties. In a true blizzard the air is so completely filled with a fine
granular snow as to cause absolute darkness. It is, as on this
occasion, frequently accompanied by a furious wind. The temperature may
or may not be excessively low. The voyageur did not attempt to travel
when a blizzard overtook him, but got behind and beneath such shelter
as he could find or make, and waited for it to blow over. These
inexperienced Minnesota settlers pressed on, wandered from the unfenced
roads, and if they found shelter it was by good fortune. Many perished
in the terrible gusts which swept the prairie. The weather did not
clear till the third day. The first accounts estimated the number of
lives lost at many hundreds, but when the state statistician collated
the local reports sent in he was happy to find that not more than
seventy persons had perished. A much greater number, of course, were
frost-bitten and maimed. There were cases in which farmers had been
either injured or destroyed while attempting to reach their houses from
their barns and fields. There has been no blizzard of any notable
severity in Minnesota since this of 1873.

In June of the same year a southwest wind brought over the western
border, south of Big Stone Lake, swarms of the Rocky Mountain locust
(_Melanoplus spretus_), which soon spread themselves over large parts
of fourteen southwestern counties as well as a considerable area of
northwestern Iowa. Because not learned enough in entomology to
distinguish, the people supposed these locusts to be grasshoppers, and
soon adopted the abbreviated form “hoppers.” The growing crops were
presently devoured. Settlers who had made their first plantings were
impoverished and had to accept the generous aid of neighbors. The area
visited was small compared with that of the state and its settled
portions, and it was not conceived that grasshoppers could survive a
Minnesota winter. The legislature of 1874 made an appropriation of
$5000 to relieve cases of complete destitution, and another of $25,000
to be advanced to the farmers for the purchase of seed.

In July of this year (1874), to the astonishment of all, innumerable
multitudes of “hoppers” suddenly appeared as if rising out of the
ground; and they did so rise. In the previous fall the female locusts
had deposited in cylindrical wells about an inch deep and one fourth of
an inch in diameter, hollowed out on high ground, clusters of eggs
inclosed in protecting envelopes and covered with soil. The midsummer
heat hatched these eggs, and the brood at once fell on the growing
crops. In a few days not a spear was left over large areas, and the
hoppers had grown wings. Taking wing as if by a common inspiration,
they flew over into Blue Earth, Sibley, Nicollet, and Renville
counties, where they repeated the devastation of the previous season.
But the counties thus abandoned were again in many places infested by
fresh swarms from the southwest. In all twenty-eight counties were
visited in 1874. Upon an appeal from the governor a subscription was
opened for the relief of stricken settlers. General Sibley, at his
request, undertook the disbursement, and later accounted for $19,000.
The legislature of the following winter set aside $45,000 for immediate
relief and $75,000 for seed, the latter sum to be repaid along with
taxes. The devastations of 1875 did not extend more widely and were
somewhat less damaging, but they added not a little to the
discouragement and gloom resulting from the panic.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The Republican party was so completely in the ascendant in the
seventies in Minnesota that the only political events of importance
were those which occurred in its ranks. United States Senator Daniel S.
Norton died July 13, 1870, and it fell to the legislature assembling in
the January following to elect his successor. It took but a single
ballot in the Republican caucus to decide who should be Senator
Ramsey’s colleague. William Windom had given such satisfaction by his
five consecutive terms as representative in Congress from the first
district that, Mr. Donnelly being out of the road, there was none to
dispute his claim to the promotion. Mr. Windom’s large acquaintance,
his long legislative experience, his sound common sense and Quaker
simplicity of manner at once gave him a standing at the other end of
the capitol not easily accorded to new senators.

President Grant in his message of 1872 advised the Congress to
authorize a committee to investigate the various enterprises for the
more direct and cheaper transportation of the products of the West and
South to the seaboard. The Senate responded by the appointment of a
select committee on transportation routes to the seaboard, with ample
powers for investigation. Senator Windom, as chairman of this
committee, devoted many months to the analysis and interpretation of
the great mass of information and counsel submitted, and to the
preparation of the report in two octavo volumes, printed in the spring
of 1874. Among the novel conclusions of this committee (and some of
them are after the lapse of a generation not familiar to all) were: (1)
that the power of Congress to regulate commerce among the several
states includes the power to aid and facilitate it by the improvement
or creation of channels and ways of transportation; Congress has the
same right to build railroads as canals: hence, (2) the ownership or
control of one or more double-track freight railways; (3) the
improvement of our great natural water ways and their connection by
canals; (4) particularly the improvement of four great channels at
national expense. These were the Mississippi River itself, a route from
the upper Mississippi by way of the great lakes, a route from the same
river by way of the Ohio and Kanawha, and, last, a route from the
Mississippi via the Tennessee; all to be pieced out either by canals or
freight roads. At the present writing Congress is just warming up to
attack the first of these four great enterprises.

As might be supposed, the committee incidentally suggested complete
publicity of all interstate railroad classifications and rates, the
prohibition of combinations with parallel or competing lines, the
receipt for and delivery of grain by quantity, the making it unlawful
for railroad officers to be interested in car or freight line
companies, and the absolute cessation of stock watering. The
proposition of a bureau of commerce to supervise all interstate
railroad operations bore fruit twelve years later in the interstate
commerce commission. Senator Hoar declared this report to be “the most
valuable state paper of modern times.”

The Minnesota Republicans from the beginning had been divided. Opposed
to the old “Ramsey dynasty,” which had controlled the distribution of
government appointments, there was at all times an array of patriotic
gentlemen quite willing to enter the public service, believing
themselves as deserving of party rewards as those on whom Fortune had
smiled. The Civil War liberated from military service many ardent young
Republicans desirous and capable of sharing in public affairs. Among
these was a St. Paul attorney, Cushman Kellogg Davis, a native of
Wisconsin, who had been graduated from the University of Michigan. He
had done good service as a line officer in a Wisconsin regiment and as
a staff officer under General Gorman. His ability and diligence as a
lawyer soon gained him prominence at the bar, and his personal
qualities attached to him a circle of influential friends. He was not
greedy for minor offices, but served in the legislature in 1867 and was
appointed, a year after, United States district attorney, at the
instance of Senator Ramsey. A lecture on “Modern Feudalism” first
delivered in 1870, in which he portrayed the growing dominance of
corporations, gave proof of powers of insight and analysis above the
ordinary. When the Republican state convention met in St. Paul on July
16, 1873, the old dynasty had no other expectation than that the
nomination for governor would fall on its worthy favorite, the Hon.
William D. Washburn. Few expected that Mr. Davis, whose loudest support
had come from an independent St. Paul newspaper, would receive more
than a complimentary vote. On the informal ballot he did not, nor on
the first formal ballot. Three more ballots followed, on the last of
which the favorite of the “young Republicans” was nominated by a vote
of 155 to 152, 154 being necessary to a choice. As Mr. Davis’s
nomination came by a slender majority, so also was his election secured
by a majority of about one fourth of the nominal Republican strength.
His friends had made no secret that the governorship was desired by
them merely as a stepping-stone to a national senatorship. The old
dynasty evidently did not expend much money or labor on that election.

Mr. Davis’s governorship during the years 1874-75, a period of
depression and discouragement, was not marked by notable events. His
messages were admirable for literary style, and, while counseling
economy in expenditure, advised liberality towards the schools and the
university. His radical suggestion as to the unfinished St. Paul and
Pacific Railroad was that the bondholders in control should presently
put up the money to complete the lines, or the state should have them
turned over to responsible parties who would do so.

Senator Ramsey’s second term was expiring in March, 1875, and it was no
secret that he desired and expected a reëlection. Mr. Davis was an
avowed aspirant, but there were other gentlemen who did not intend that
the choice should fall to him in case of Mr. Ramsey’s rejection. The
Republican caucus met on January 14, 1875. Mr. Ramsey’s friends were
far in the lead, and on the last vote of the session lacked but two
votes to nominate. Confident of success, they consented to an
adjournment demanded by the “field.” The field had but one desire in
common, to get Senator Ramsey out of their daylight. On reassembling
the following night one third of the members were absent or did not
vote. The two votes lacking to Mr. Ramsey on the previous evening
appeared, and he was formally nominated. But the vote did not compel
the unanimous support of the Republican members. On the separate voting
in the two houses on January 19, Mr. Ramsey had 60 votes, 74 being
necessary to elect. On the 20th the houses met in joint convention and
proceeded to ballot. Mr. Ramsey received 61 votes, his maximum. Davis
received 24, and at no time any greater number. Mr. Donnelly, the
nominee of the Democrats and “Greeleyized Republicans,” had 51 votes.
The balloting now proceeded from day to day, on most days but one being
had. On the 27th Mr. Donnelly withdrew, alleging that Democratic
members failed to give him the support he was entitled to as a regular
nominee. Hon. William Lochren, a Civil War veteran highly respected for
personal character and legal ability, was put in his place and
commanded the full strength of the opposition, sixty-four votes. On
February 13, after seventeen ballots, Ramsey and Davis were withdrawn,
but it was not till the 19th that the eighty-two Republican votes could
be concentrated on the Hon. S. J. R. McMillan of St. Paul, a highly
respected citizen and a judge of the supreme court. His career in the
national Senate, by no means brilliant, was characterized by such
diligence, good sense, and party fidelity that there was no notable
opposition to his reëlection six years later. Mr. Davis did not seek
reëlection as governor, but resumed his law practice, and not long
after published an ingenious essay on “The Law in Shakespeare.”

The ambition of certain young men, who could well afford to wait, and
who did wait for promotion, lost to the state and nation the services
of a wise and experienced legislator. President Hayes called Mr. Ramsey
into his cabinet as secretary of war, and temporarily devolved on him
the duties of secretary of the navy. Retiring from public life, he
continued for nearly a quarter of a century to enjoy the esteem and
gratitude of citizens of all parties and persuasions. For many years he
presided over the Minnesota Historical Society and its executive
council. He died April 22, 1902.

The legislature of 1860 in a spasm of retrenchment fixed the salary of
the state treasurer at $1000 a year, and it remained at that figure for
a quarter of a century. The business and responsibility increased from
year to year, but no addition was made to compensation. In the absence
of express prohibitory legislation a custom grew up of depositing the
state’s money in banks which paid an interest to the treasurer, the
bank proprietors becoming his sureties. No mischief resulted from this
arrangement. But in one case, at least, that of Emil Munch, a treasurer
did not content himself with merely depositing in banks, but in private
enterprises employed the state’s money to a large amount. By
contrivance or good fortune his brother-in-law, William Seeger,
succeeded him in office, rather than some stranger. This relative
obligingly took the promissory notes of his predecessor and other
“paper” and receipted for them as cash.

The treasurer’s report for 1872 showed a balance of cash in the
treasury of $243,000. A newspaper editor in St. Paul, with no other
motive than, in his own phrase, “to raise hell and sell papers,” gave
expression to the open secret that much of this money was not in fact
in the treasury, as reported, and challenged the Republican legislature
of 1873 to investigate the Republican treasurer. Nothing less could in
decency be done, and the investigation revealed a shortage of $180,000.
The house of representatives passed a resolution of censure and awaited
the resignation of the unlucky official. No resignation appearing, the
same body on March 4 made an “imperative demand” for one. Mr. Seeger
replied in writing, admitting that he had found a deficit on taking
office, but declaring that every dollar had been made good and the
state would suffer no loss. His bondsmen had raised and paid in the
money. The house, however, could not content itself with restitution
alone, and submitted articles of impeachment to the senate. After the
trial had begun, Mr. Seeger offered his resignation, which was accepted
by Governor Austin. The impeachment proceedings, however, went on and
resulted in a conviction. The legislature took the obvious lesson to
heart, and raised the salary of the state treasurer to $4000.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Public education made notable progress in Minnesota during the half
decade beginning with Governor Austin’s administration. The services of
Horace B. Wilson as superintendent of public instruction during the
period advanced the good work begun by his predecessor. Both felt
obliged to argue the cause of public schools to be kept free from
ecclesiastical meddling. It was not, however, till 1877 that the
amendment to the state constitution, forbidding the use of any public
funds or property for the support of sectarian schools was adopted by
the electors. Spite of much unreasoning prejudice against the state
normal schools, they prospered, but were inadequate to supply the
demands of over three thousand common schools for trained teachers.

The faculty of the University of Minnesota, who in September, 1869,
enrolled a small handful of freshmen, saw that dwindling till but two
survived at the end of the four-year course, to be graduated as
bachelors in June, 1873. The time of the teachers was spent and well
spent on the preparatory students who were later to fill the college
classes. The first commencement was celebrated with no little
circumstance, and had its effect on a public not yet certain that the
state had any concern with college education. That question was much
debated in those years, and there were plentiful outpourings of
orthodox denunciation of the state university as hopelessly and
necessarily “infidel” and “godless.” The regents were affected by this
respectable opposition, and unduly moderated their requisitions for
appropriations.

Upon the advice of the president of the university (the author of this
book), the regents in 1870 prematurely adopted a novel plan of
organization. The underlying principle was the fact that the work of
the first two years in American colleges is “secondary” in its nature,
and according to any scientific arrangement should be performed in
secondary institutions. They therefore merged the studies and exercises
of the freshman and sophomore years with those of the preparatory years
into a so-called “Collegiate Department.” The plan was approved by the
highest educational authorities of the country, but the faculty,
conservative and indisposed to break away from tradition, could not
give it a united support. There were but trifling difficulties of
operation, but when a new administration came in, with its differing
interests, the plan was allowed to lapse. The principle has since been
recognized by two leading American universities.

Account has already been taken of the first congressional land grant,
that of February 19, 1851, “reserving” for the support of a territorial
university seventy-two sections of public lands. When the enabling act
of 1857 was before the House of Representatives, Delegate Henry M. Rice
secured a modification of the traditional tender of lands for
university purposes. The enabling acts of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa
had provided that the lands for university support previously reserved
from sale should be granted and conveyed to the respective states.
Delegate Rice quickly saw to it that the corresponding section of the
Minnesota act should read, “that seventy-two sections of land shall be
set apart and reserved for the use and support of a STATE university
_to be_ selected by the governor of the state....” Why no claim was
presented for the additional university reservation, apparently
authorized by the enabling act of 1857, till 1860 is not known, but
when then made, it met with no hospitality. No secretary of the
interior or commissioner of the general land office would construe the
paragraph as having any other intent than to guarantee to the state the
reservation of 1851 made to the territory. The correspondence revealed
the fact that the original reservation had not been “granted and
conveyed” to the state. The mortgages placed on the lands and the
devastations permitted had therefore been illegal. It took an act of
Congress, that of March 2, 1861, donating the lands reserved in 1851,
to remedy this omission.

Ten years ran by after the passage of the enabling act, and Minnesota’s
claim for a double portion of university lands had not been allowed. On
February 8, 1867, the legislature authorized the special board of
regents to employ counsel to prosecute the claim on “a contingent
compensation in land or money.” The person employed rendered such
effective aid to the member from the university district that Congress
was moved to direct the commissioner of the general land office, by an
act approved July 8, 1870, to ignore the reservation of 1851 and allow
Minnesota to take the seventy-two sections mentioned in the enabling
act of 1857. The successful counsel was voted by the regents a
compensation of 1950 acres of land. As these acres were promptly
located in the pine region of Itasca County it may be assumed that the
remuneration was satisfactory.

Upon the initiative of the president of the university the legislature
of 1872 authorized a geological and natural history survey of the
state, and placed the same in charge of the board of regents. In a
later year the twelve sections of land donated by Congress in the
enabling act of 1857 for the development of possible salt springs or
deposits, less some deductions for fruitless exploitations, were turned
over to defray the costs of the survey. Professor Newton H. Winchell
was appointed state geologist, and remained in office for twenty-four
years. The geological results of the operations conducted by himself
and assistants may be found in twenty-four annual reports, ten
bulletins, and a final report in seven quarto volumes. Two additional
volumes of botany and one of zoölogy were published. Much remains to be
done on the natural history branch, and important geological
investigations of scientific interest were left incomplete when that
work was suspended. The survey has been economically worth to the state
far more than it cost, and the reports will remain as a noble monument
to their authors.



                              CHAPTER XVII

                              CLEARING UP


When the Republican state convention assembled on July 28, 1875, its
first informal ballot virtually selected the successor of Cushman K.
Davis in the governorship. The distinction fell on John Sargent
Pillsbury, who had proved his capacity for public affairs by ten years’
service in the state senate and on the board of regents of the
university. A successful business career, a reputation for inflexible
integrity, a power to select from varied propositions the one which
could be carried and worked, and a keen insight into human nature gave
him an influence with legislatures and the people rarely equaled. Two
reëlections were accorded him as by common consent. The varied events
and incidents of his six years’ service are so related that, while
forming a whole, they may be thrown into convenient groups.

After the harvest of 1875 Governor Davis appointed a commission to
investigate the locust devastations, and placed on it Allan Whitman of
St. Paul, a man of science. The report, by giving in simple language an
account of the vermin, their manner of propagation, and the stages of
their growth, suggested the principles upon which their ravages might
be restricted, and, when new invasions did not take place, actually
repressed. Early in the season of 1876 Governor Pillsbury issued a
proclamation commending to the farmers of the infested districts the
advice of the commission to attack the “hoppers” immediately after
hatching. By digging ditches around fields and gardens not infested,
the vegetation could be protected. For the rescue of crops somewhat
grown he recommended a simple apparatus which got the popular name of
“hopperdozer.” It consisted of a piece of sheet-iron twelve feet long
or more, turned up on the back edge and ends. By means of ropes
attached to the front edge, at or near the ends, it could be hauled by
men or animals over the surface of the field. The upper surface of the
pan, smeared with coal tar, imprisoned the insects till they could be
scraped out at convenient intervals. By such simple devices
considerable areas of crops were rescued from total destruction. They
were of course useless after the appearance of wings on the creatures;
and the havoc of the previous season was repeated, particularly in the
southwestern counties. These Governor Pillsbury visited in person, and,
after witnessing the ruin and distress going on, called for
contributions in relief. The response was immediate and generous, and
with the aid of his wife the governor attended personally to the
distribution. The damage extended in this year to twenty-nine counties
south of Otter Tail Lake and west of the watershed of the Mississippi.
The worst of all was that at the close of the season these counties
were “literally peppered” with locust eggs. The outlook for the coming
season caused deep anxiety. The legislature of 1877 authorized a loan
of $75,000 to be advanced to farmers for seed, and empowered county
commissioners to levy a tax for the destruction of locusts and their
eggs. In the spring the hatching began in alarming volume. Governor
Pillsbury, in the expectation that the expense would be reimbursed,
distributed 56,000 pounds of sheet iron and 3000 barrels of coal tar
for “dozers.” Where these were diligently operated the damage to crops
was reduced.

On April 10, 1877, in response to an expressed desire of various
religious bodies, Governor Pillsbury appointed the 26th of that month
as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer: “In the shadow of the
locust plague,” said he, “whose impending renewal threatens the
desolation of the land, let us humbly invoke for the efforts we make in
our defense the guidance of that hand which alone is adequate to stay
the pestilence.” The day was observed in a goodly number of
congregations, but there was no great and general humiliation of the
people, and there was no immediate evidence of supernatural
interference. The infernal brood grew wings and began their aerial
excursions in various directions. In the last days of June the swarms
began rising high in the air and taking flight on different bearings.
In the course of sixty days all had so risen and flown out of the state
to unknown destinations. Although they had wrought damage equal at
least to that of any previous year of their residence in Minnesota, the
state as a whole harvested the greatest wheat crop in her
history,—30,000,000 bushels, of sixty-three pounds to the bushel.

In spite of the ruin wrought in so large a portion of her territory,
and of minor and ordinary losses, the period in view was one of
prosperity. The population, which had risen from 439,706 in 1870 to
597,407 in 1875, increased to 780,773, according to the census of 1880.
The wheat crop, which had been 30,000,000 bushels in 1877, touched
40,000,000 in 1880. The most striking evidence of material development
is seen in railroad building. In the four years 1873-76 but 87 miles
had been added to the 1900 miles of construction in the eleven years
ending with 1872. This mileage was increased in the six years beginning
with 1877 to 3278; 446 were added to the St. Paul and Pacific (now
Great Northern) system.

                  *       *       *       *       *

How a corporation left in the panic year 1873 in a condition of
hopeless bankruptcy was resuscitated and put into vigorous life is a
story which the reader will be interested in. The “Division roads,” the
main line from St. Paul to Breckenridge and the branch to St. Cloud,
had gone into a receiver’s hands in August, 1873. The “Extensions” to
St. Vincent and Brainerd, of which 140 miles in detached portions had
been built, remained in the control of the stockholders till October,
1876, when they were turned over to trustees of the bondholders,
according to the terms of the company’s contract with them. These
trustees employed as their general manager the same gentleman who for
three years had been receiver of the Division roads. The stockholders
having given over the task of completing the roads and retaining
ownership, it remained for the bondholders to decide between putting in
several more millions of dollars to complete and equip the roads, or
giving up and letting the property go to sale under pending foreclosure
proceedings. Had they taken the former course and selected honest and
capable agents, they would have not merely escaped great losses but
realized large profits. The greater portion of the bonds of the system,
over $17,000,000, were owned in Holland, and they had been placed by
their holders in the hands of a syndicate of Dutch bankers to be
controlled for the common interest.

The drift of affairs had been watched by three deeply interested
persons. Donald A. Smith, residing at Winnipeg and representing that
city in the Dominion parliament, was chief commissioner of the Hudson’s
Bay Company. That company had many millions of acres of land in
Manitoba, and was desirous to obtain railroad connections through
Minnesota with the outside world. He particularly desired the
completion of the St. Vincent Extension. Another was Norman W. Kittson,
an old associate of Sibley in the fur-trade and politics, still
interested in the Red River trade. The third was James J. Hill, who had
come from Canada to Minnesota as a boy of eighteen in 1856. He had been
in Mr. Kittson’s employ in his Red River business, had built up a rival
line of steamboats and barges, and made it for Mr. Kittson’s interest
to take him into partnership. These three men had journeyed up and down
the Red River till they knew every foot of the stream and the lands
drained by it. Early in 1874 Mr. Smith asked Messrs. Kittson and Hill
to collect for him all the information accessible in regard to the St.
Paul and Pacific system, its lines completed or unfinished, its
terminals, equipment, land grants, and in particular the stock and
bonds. The consultations which followed were fruitless. “There seemed
no way to get in.”

Two years later, when it became evident that the Dutch bondholders were
bound to realize what they could and let the properties go, there
appeared a way to get in. 1876 was one of the grasshopper years in
Minnesota. The crop was light and prices were low. Rates and fares were
so high as to discourage railroad traffic. The net earnings of $300,000
on the system were a drop in the bucket compared with the interest
charges of nearly $2,000,000. In March, 1876, Mr. Hill and Mr. Smith
were again in consultation, and resolved on an effort to obtain control
by buying all, or nearly all, the bonds held in Holland. Delays and
discouragements postponed action. It was not till May, 1877, that Mr.
George Stephen, president of the Bank of Montreal, was induced to
consider taking a hand in the deal. In September, after a visit to
Minnesota, he went to England in full expectation of enlisting the
necessary capital, the Dutch committee having accepted a conditional
offer of cash for their holdings. To his surprise Mr. Stephen found no
English capitalists willing to send good money where so much bad money
had gone. To all appearance the project was a failure. The associates,
however, learning that the Dutch were still fierce to sell, submitted
to them in January, 1878, a proposition to buy their bonds at agreed
prices and pay in the bonds of a new company to be formed, which should
buy the properties at the now impending foreclosure sales. As a
“sweetener” they were willing to throw in $250 of six per cent.
preferred stock with every $1000 bond of the new company.

In the articles of agreement signed March 13, 1878, the Dutch committee
agreed to this proposition and consented to extend the time of payment
for their bonds six months after the last of the six foreclosure sales.
For their 17,212 one thousand dollar bonds, including coupons for
unpaid interest, they accepted $3,743,150. The associates bought large
amounts of “minority bonds” at similar figures. As they agreed to pay
interest on the bonds of the new company at seven per cent., they were
empowered to take immediate control and operation of the completed
lines and to resume construction on the St. Vincent Extension, whose
completion was greatly desired. On May 23, 1879, the St. Paul,
Minneapolis and Manitoba Railway Company was organized, and at the
foreclosure sales in the following month bought all the franchises and
assets of the expiring St. Paul and Pacific Railroad Company, including
those of the Division lines. Mr. James J. Hill at once became the
general manager of the roads, and began a career of railroad operation
with few if any equals in the country. Better times had come, but it
was mainly the vigor, economy, and discipline of the management which
soon swelled the earnings into millions.

The great financial exploit of the “associates” was followed by
tedious, exasperating, and costly litigation. About the time of the
foreclosure sales in June, 1879, Jesse P. Farley, who had been receiver
of the Extension roads and general manager of the Division lines,
brought suit in the district court of Ramsey County against Messrs.
Kittson and Hill to recover from them one third of all moneys,
securities, and effects which were accruing to them from the operation.
In his complaint Mr. Farley alleged that “in the summer of 1876” a
parol agreement had been made by the defendants and himself to
undertake jointly the purchase of the bonds of the two railroad
companies, the three to share equally in the net proceeds. In his
testimony, he deposed that the two defendants had no knowledge of the
great opportunity until revealed by him at the time mentioned. It was
because of his intimate knowledge of the affairs of the companies, of
his understanding of railroad finance, and his long experience as a
railroad manager, that they were unwilling to make any adventure
without his coöperation; and, to induce him to enter into the contract,
they agreed to consider his knowledge and skill equivalent to the money
they would severally procure. This part of the bargain was to remain a
secret. The defendants denied that any such contract had been made, or
that any conversation in relation to such an agreement had ever been
had. They had been familiar with the condition and finances of the
companies long before the time of the alleged contract. The district
court found in favor of the defendants, as also did the Supreme Court
of Minnesota on appeal. The Supreme Court, however, appears to have
considered that there was a contract between the parties, but that it
aborted when in the late fall of 1877 the “associates” were balked in
the effort to borrow money in England with which to buy the bonds for
cash.

Encouraged by this recognition of a contract, Mr. Farley brought suit
in the United States District Court for Minnesota in December, 1881,
setting up substantially the same allegations. Defeated here, he took
an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States, which in 1887
remanded the suit to the Circuit Court for a novation of proceedings.
The printed pleadings, testimony, exhibits, and arguments fill more
than five thousand octavo pages. The Circuit Court held with the
defendants that no contract had been made, and that the plaintiff,
standing in the relation of a trustee, could not honorably or legally
have embarked in any such enterprise.

When Farley’s appeal reached the Supreme Court of the United States, in
October, 1893, that tribunal sustained the decision of the Circuit
Court so far as it denied the making of the alleged contract. The
plaintiff had not proven his allegations, and his story was inherently
improbable. The court had no occasion to pass on the impropriety of an
agreement never made.

                  *       *       *       *       *

In his inaugural address of 1870 Governor Austin mentioned as a
notorious fact the frequency with which county treasurers retired from
office with much more wealth than they possessed at the time of their
elections. To secure this office, caucuses and conventions were packed
and votes secured by methods little short of outright bribery. But
there was no response from the legislature. It was not till Governor
Pillsbury’s second term that the legislature of 1878 yielded to his
urgent recommendations and passed the act providing for a public
examiner. It was made the duty of this officer to supervise the
bookkeeping of all state banks and institutions and all state and
county auditors and treasurers. He was authorized to prescribe correct
and uniform methods of bookkeeping. He was required to visit all these
institutions and officials without previous warning, and verify and
inspect all the moneys, assets, and securities held by them
respectively. His powers extended to railroad companies, so far as the
exaction of gross-earnings taxes was concerned. The first appointee,
Henry M. Knox, performed the duties with such intelligence and industry
as to place the state under lasting obligations. In his last message
(1881) Governor Pillsbury expressed his satisfaction over the operation
of the law by saying: “No single act of legislation in this state has
ever been productive of more good in purifying the public service than
the creation of the office of public examiner.”

The penalty for homicide in the first degree had, from the beginning of
organized government in Minnesota, been death without alternative. An
act of March 5, 1868, laid on the trial jury the duty of deciding
whether the convicted murderer should suffer death or imprisonment for
life. Governor Davis in two messages strongly denounced this leaving
the penalty for murder to the caprice of juries, citing a case in which
one of three convicts equally guilty was put to death, while the others
received a sentence of life imprisonment. A tragical incident brought
the attention of a later legislature to the matter and caused a return
to traditional policy. On September 6, 1876, eight men from Missouri,
armed and mounted, rode into the village of Northfield in Rice County.
Two of their number entered the bank and ordered Heywood, the cashier,
to deliver the money. On his refusal they shot him dead and wounded his
assistant. Securing a small amount of booty, the robbers passed out to
find their companions engaged in a fusillade with citizens who had
found arms and chosen points of vantage. One unarmed citizen had
fallen, and two of the bandits had dropped dead from their horses. The
survivors rode away with all possible speed, firing at citizens who
showed themselves on the streets. After a pursuit of some days, four of
the bandits were surrounded in a swamp near Mankato. One was killed and
three brothers named Younger were captured. Two had evaded pursuit and
escaped from the state. Upon arraignment the three Youngers pleaded
guilty, and, as there was no occasion for a jury, received sentences of
life imprisonment. They were model prisoners. One died in 1889, another
committed suicide in 1902, and the third was pardoned in 1903.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The political campaign of 1878 in the third (the Minneapolis) district,
was diversified by a personal contest of more than local interest. The
Republican candidate for representative in Congress was William D.
Washburn, who had been an aspirant in 1868, but declined the candidacy
because of the great defection led by Ignatius Donnelly. The Democrats,
doubtless according to an understanding, made no nomination, thus
virtually throwing the party vote over to Mr. Donnelly, who had been
named as the candidate of the Greenback Labor party. Ignoring national
issues, Mr. Donnelly appeared as the champion of the Minnesota farmers
oppressed by the railroads and the Minneapolis Millers’ Association. It
was charged and widely credited that this organization was fixing the
prices of wheat at every railroad station in the state. This it was
doing by direct dictation to buyers, and also indirectly through the
making of grades. There was in use for inspection and grading a small
cylindrical vessel of brass with an attached scale beam, which the
farmers were told could be so manipulated by a practiced hand that it
would yield three grades of wheat from the same bag full. It was
charged that the association buyers not only undergraded, but also
reduced the prices for lower grades out of all just proportion. Mr.
Donnelly never had a finer opportunity for the exercise of his
unequaled powers of ridicule and invective. He denounced his opponent
as the willing tool of the corporations and the Millers’ Association.
He perambulated the district haranguing great crowds, whom he convulsed
with scornful tirades upon “the swindling brass kittle.”

The “brass kittle campaign,” however, resulted simply in reducing the
normal Republican majority of the district from 10,000 to 3003 votes.
But Mr. Donnelly obtained a majority of nearly 500 of the country vote.
When Congress met in December, 1879, Mr. Donnelly appeared as a
contestant. He claimed that the count had gone against him by reason of
illegal ballots, of bribery, and of the colonization of voters. The
House committee on elections lingered long in their investigation,
partly because it was diversified with an episode which for the time
attracted more interest than the contest itself. A letter addressed to
the chairman of the committee, Springer of Illinois, made him an offer
of $5000 to keep Washburn in his seat. The authorship was later fixed
by a special committee of investigation on one Finley, a friend of
Donnelly. They did not find that Mr. Donnelly had inspired the letter
or had known that it was to be written and sent. The alleged object, of
course, was to so incense Springer against Mr. Washburn that he would
immediately swing his committee for the innocent contestant.

Still it was a Democratic House, willing, according to abundant
precedent, to seat its partisan contestant if any plausible explanation
could be invented. On the last day of the session two reports came in
from the committee on elections, each signed by five members. The
committee had arrived at no conclusion. The House ordered the reports
printed and recommitted, and that was the last ever heard of the
contest. Mr. Washburn served out the term with great satisfaction to
his constituents, and was accorded two reëlections by majorities which
nobody had occasion to question.

Ignatius Donnelly thus closed his career in national politics. He
appeared later in two or more state legislatures, and was editor of
several short-lived weekly newspapers. In early life he had published a
small volume of poems and some prose essays in which he gave assurance
of literary ability. His occupation as statesman gone, he now turned to
authorship. In the winter of 1880-81 he composed a geographical
romance, entitled “Atlantis, the Lost Continent.” He dressed the
ancient classical legend in such attractive garb as to interest a great
body of readers, serious and other. Many editions have been published.
This work was followed by another, similar in character, under the
title of “Ragnarök.” The author elaborated the ingenious theory that
the mantle of drift covering large portions of the northern hemisphere
had been landed where it lies, when the earth at some time crossed the
orbit of some great meteor. This fascinating book was also widely read.
Mr. Donnelly next took up the study of a question which had already
been among his recreations, that of the authorship of the plays and
poems of Shakespeare. His “Great Cryptogram” of a thousand octavo pages
contains the results of “an incalculable labor, reaching through many
weary years.” In the first part of King Henry the Fourth, Mr. Donnelly
professed to have discovered the key to an involved cipher showing that
Francis Bacon, Nicholas Bacon’s son, had a mysterious connection with
that work, although making no clear and direct claim to its authorship.
There was a bewildering array of “root numbers” and “modifying
numbers,” beyond the understanding of the wayfaring man. No hidden
secrets were revealed by the ingenious and complicated computations,
and no additions to historical knowledge were obtained. But Mr.
Donnelly only claimed to have made a small beginning of a great work
left to future investigators. The book, however, excited great interest
among people concerned with the Bacon-Shakespeare controversy, and
formed a notable addition to that literature. In 1889 the indefatigable
author brought out a novel under the title “Cæsar’s Column,” being a
graphic and horrible picture of the fancied results of the sway of an
unbridled plutocracy in America. Published at a happy moment, the book
was sold by hundreds of thousands of copies, not only in America but in
translated versions in Europe. The first edition appeared under the
name of Edmund Boisgilbert, and the author had no little difficulty in
finding a publisher. In another novel, “Dr. Huguet,” the author
appealed for a humaner treatment of people of color, but the public did
not respond by buying largely. Later ephemeral volumes and pamphlets
added nothing to the repute of a Minnesota author known wherever the
English tongue was spoken.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The superintendent of public instruction during the Pillsbury
administrations was the Rev. David Burt. Although his education was
clerical and his educational experience brief, by a conscientious
devotion to the novel duties he carried forward successfully the work
of his predecessors. He did much to annul the chronic opposition to the
normal schools, and justified the regents of the university in asking
more liberal appropriations for buildings and appliances, in spite of
the small numbers of its early graduating classes. He persuaded the
legislature with no little persistence that the common school fund
should be distributed to the districts according to the number of
children attending, and not according to the census of those of school
age.

The legislature of 1877, acting under an amendment to the constitution
adopted two years before, extended to women the right to vote on all
measures relating to schools, including the choice of school officers;
and “to hold any office pertaining solely to the management of
schools.” A later constitutional change extended this privilege to
library officers and measures. It has been effectively exercised in but
few instances.

In his annual message for 1874 Governor Austin advised the legislature
that the text-books used in the common schools were sold to parents at
exorbitant prices fixed by a convention of the publishing craft, but
made no definite suggestion for relief. Ignatius Donnelly, who was in
the state senate continuously from 1874 to 1878, took the lead in an
effort to emancipate the people from the tyranny of the school-book
ring. His favorite plan was to have the state print books prepared by
competent experts and distribute them free to the schools. Two bills
for this purpose were passed by the senate and defeated in the house.
In 1877 a well-known book dealer of St. Paul came forward with a
proposition to furnish text-books as good as those in use for half the
prices exacted, provided he could have a fifteen-year contract. To this
the legislature agreed, and the contract was made and executed. Mr.
Donnelly’s biographer claims that the saving to the state in that term
was at least $2,839,765. There is no positive evidence of the
allegations that large amounts of money were used to defeat the bill.

In all the territories of the Northwest as they were successively
carved out of the old Northwest Territory, provisions were made in
their organic acts for universities, to be endowed by grants of land
from the general government. That universities could not in fact appear
and exist until after the development of fitting schools did not
trouble the pioneers, intent chiefly on getting the lands. The reliance
of American colleges generally for the preparation of their students
had been upon the excellent academies, controlled or countenanced by
Christian denominations, which were the ornaments of so many eastern
villages. The academy did not multiply nor flourish in the West.
Ambitious cities existing on highly colored lithographic maps could
tolerate nothing less than a college or university. A score of them
were chartered in Minnesota in the fifties. All the western colleges
were obliged to open preparatory departments, and it may be said that
they have never done more useful service than in thus setting patterns
for the secondary education of the future. When the University of
Minnesota began college work in 1869 there were practically no
efficient preparatory schools in the state. After a study of the
situation the president of the university formed the opinion that it
was to the budding high schools of the state that the university must
look for its supply of students prepared for college work. At the state
teachers’ convention of 1872 that body was asked by a committee from
the board of regents to join in an endeavor to bring about a vital
organic connection between the high schools and the university. It was
not proposed that these schools should be made over into mere “fitting
schools,” but that, while performing their great function as “people’s
colleges,” they should accommodate those worthy, and ambitious youth
desirous to carry their school and professional educations still
farther. The idea was not unwelcome, but it was not easy to work out a
plan of vital, organic connection. Yet one was worked out, embodied in
a bill drawn by the head of the university, and laid before the
legislature of 1878. The law enacted provided for a money payment out
of the state treasury to any high school which, having the proper
faculty and equipment, would maintain preparatory courses of study, and
admit thereto pupils of both sexes from any part of the state, free of
tuition. The schools were obliged to submit to inspection and make
reports to the “high school board.” The high schools of cities and
villages were thus employed as the state’s agencies for extending free
secondary education to all the youth of the state. A beginning was made
under the law in the year of its passage, but owing to an omission in
an appropriation bill it was not put into full and effective operation
till 1881. The results have fully equaled all reasonable expectations.
The university, the high schools, and the common schools of Minnesota
have been converted from a loose aggregation into a complete,
harmonious, organized system. There is open to every child of the state
a course of free school education from the kindergarten to the
doctorate of philosophy.

                  *       *       *       *       *

On May 2, 1878, soon after seven o’clock in the evening an explosion
took place in the Washburn flour mill in Minneapolis. The report was
heard at great distances, the windows in neighboring streets were
shattered, and not one stone of the great building was left on another
above the foundations. Two other mills of less capacity, standing near,
blew up within a few seconds, and three others took fire and were
completely destroyed. It was the hour for the change of shift of day to
night crews, or many more than eighteen men would have lost their
lives. The insurance companies, when called upon to pay their losses,
demurred, taking the ground that they had insured against fire only,
and not against chemical explosion. Mr. Louis Peck, the instructor in
physics in the University of Minnesota, attracted by the problem,
conducted an exhaustive course of experiments to ascertain the truth of
the matter. Some of them were exhibited to the public. His conclusion
was that the mills were destroyed by a true fire. He found that any
carbonaceous dust, flour, starch, or even sawdust, diffused through the
atmosphere, would take fire and burn with an incalculable rapidity from
a spark or flame. His testimony compelled the payment of the
insurances. The statement of a Minnesota historian that this excellent
bit of scientific work was done by a professor in Berlin is erroneous.

Even more disastrous was a fire which on November 15, 1880, destroyed a
wing of the hospital for the insane at St. Peter. Twenty-seven patients
lost their lives. The state capitol, erected in 1853, took fire in the
evening of March 1, 1881, while the senate was in session, and was
completely destroyed. Fortunately no lives were lost, but the senators
made their escape none too soon. The ceiling fell as the last of them
reached the street.

The Fourth of July, 1880, was the two hundredth anniversary of the
discovery of the Falls of St. Anthony by Father Louis Hennepin. The
event was commemorated by a celebration held on the university campus,
under the management of the Minnesota Historical Society, General
Sibley presiding. The principal address was delivered by Mr. Cushman K.
Davis. Archbishop Ireland charitably defended the Franciscan father
from charges of untruthfulness on the ground that unauthorized
interpolations were made in his original book. General William T.
Sherman was present, and was heard in some happy extemporaneous remarks.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The reader already knows how the people of Minnesota, believing
themselves to have been tricked and swindled by a combination of
corrupt politicians and greedy railroad operators, forbade in 1860, by
a constitutional amendment, their legislature to make any provision for
redeeming the special Minnesota state railroad bonds without their
affirmative vote. The holders of the bonds refrained from attempts to
secure recognition of their claims till after the close of the Civil
War. The legislature of 1866 yielded to their urgency so far as to
appoint a commission to ascertain who were then holding the bonds and
at what prices they had obtained them. The working members of the
commission were John Nicols and General Lucius F. Hubbard. It was in
this year that the discovery occurred of 500,000 acres of public land
coming to the state under the forgotten act of 1841. On Governor
Marshall’s recommendation the legislature of 1867, without waiting for
the report of the Nicols commission, joyously devoted those acres to
the redemption of the bonds. Under the constitutional amendment of 1860
the act had to run the gauntlet of popular vote. The electors turned
down the bill by a decisive majority.

The Nicols commission reported to the legislature of 1868 that they had
found 1840 of the 2275 bonds in the hands or control of 106 persons.
The largest holder was Selah Chamberlain of Ohio, who had held the
largest contracts for construction. He averred that his bonds had cost
him “more than par” for work done and material furnished; and claimed
the whole amount with interest to date as justly due him. Other holders
had obtained their bonds by purchase as low as seventeen and one half
cents on the dollar. In response to allegations frequently repeated,
that the grading done by Mr. Chamberlain for three of the four
companies had never cost $9500 a mile, the commission employed an
experienced engineer to examine the work and make an estimate of what
it should reasonably have cost. His figure was $2843.42 per mile. The
report of the Nicols commission did much to confirm the Minnesota
people in the conviction that the men who had tricked and cheated them
had no standing as honest creditors. Governor Marshall, however,
believing that the innocent holders for value at least had just claims,
urged the legislature to use the internal improvement lands to satisfy
their claims. An absurd bill of 1869 he felt obliged to disapprove.
Another of 1870, passed in response to an appeal in his closing
message, proposing to turn over the lands at a price which would
produce a sum sufficient to pay the bonds, became a law and was
ratified by a large majority of the electors voting thereon. The
legislature had imposed the condition that the act should not be in
effect until at least 2000 bonds had been offered for redemption. But
1032 were turned in, and the act was futile. Governor Austin expressed
his regret that the bondholders were unwilling to accept so “fair and
equitable a compromise.” The legislature of 1871 entertained a new
proposition. The bill introduced provided for a commission whose first
duty should be to ascertain and decide whether the bonds were a legal
and equitable obligation against the state. If the decision should be
affirmative, the commission was to award to each holder the amount due
him on the basis of cost, and deliver to him proper amount of new state
bonds. The railroad taxes were to be devoted to the redemption of the
new bonds. General Sibley had left his retirement and taken a seat in
the house of representatives because of his desire to see the old bond
matter settled. He had never wavered from his opinion that the state
was a debtor to the full amount of the bonds issued. But for his
influence the bill could not have passed. He would not believe that
Minnesota would not at some time pay what she had promised to pay.
Could he so believe, he declared in his speech, he would emigrate to
some community in which he would not suffer the “intolerable
humiliation” of living in a “repudiating state frowned on by a just and
righteous God and abhorred by man.” Governor Austin, although he
sympathized with the popular feeling, did not disapprove the bill, but
let it go to be mercilessly slaughtered at the polls. The people would
not pay mere paper obligations without right or equity behind them.
Such they held the bonds to be.

Having failed to obtain satisfaction from the political authorities,
the claimants presently resorted to the courts. In 1873 Mr.
Chamberlain, their representative, sued the St. Paul and Sioux City
Railroad Company to recover from that company as assignee of a portion
of the land grant, which he claimed to be still subject to the
mortgages authorized by the “five million loan bill.” The decision went
against him in the Circuit Court of the United States, and he took an
appeal to the Supreme Court, to be there finally defeated. Both of
these courts, however, took opportunity to declare that the bonds were
legal obligations, and that if the state of Minnesota were suable no
court of justice could refuse to adjudge her to pay. “Justice and honor
alike” bound her to redeem her bonds. The state of Minnesota was thus
branded by the highest judicial tribunals of the land as a defaulting,
repudiating state, regardless of the claims of honor and justice. These
opinions—they were not decrees—had little effect on the Minnesota
people, most of whom never heard of them, but they did affect the minds
of many of her public men, who smarted under the reproaches they could
not help but hear. Governor Davis in his retiring message urged the
establishment of a commission to arbitrate between the bondholders and
the state. Governor Pillsbury in his inaugural address urged the
payment of the bonds in full, to redeem the reputation of the state. To
these appeals the legislators gave no heed. To the legislature of 1877
Mr. Chamberlain for himself and others submitted an offer to cut their
claims in two and accept new six per cent. bonds in payment. To this
the legislature promptly agreed, but the electors in the following
November put their veto on the bill. They did the same thing to an act
of 1878 providing for an exchange of internal improvement lands for the
bonds, differing in particulars from a previous act of the same general
tenor.

In his messages of 1879 and 1881 Governor Pillsbury, under the heading
of “Dishonored Bonds,” entreated and implored the legislatures to pay
the honest debt of the state and clear her tarnished honor. His earnest
and impressive appeals had no effect on the former of the two, but the
legislature of 1881 was moved to provide for a special tribunal, to be
composed of judges of the supreme and district courts, to consider and
decide whether the repudiating amendment of 1860 was binding on the
legislature. If the tribunal should hold in the negative, then the old
bonds were to be redeemed by new ones at fifty per cent. of the amount
nominally due. Not one of the judges of the Supreme Court was willing
to serve, and the tribunal was tardily made up of five district judges
designated by the governor. The tribunal met and organized, and nothing
more. An order from the Supreme Court required it to show cause why a
writ of prohibition should not issue, on the ground that the
legislature had not the right to establish such a tribunal. The
attorney-general at the same time protested against its competency, and
had leave to protest further that the act was repugnant to the
constitutional amendment of 1860, which forbade payment of the bonds
unless after an affirmative vote of the electors. This pleading brought
forward as the principal issue the validity of that amendment. The
contentions were exhaustively argued in the Supreme Court by able
counsel. The decision of the court was that the repudiating amendment
of 1860 was obnoxious to that provision of the constitution of the
United States forbidding states from passing any law impairing the
obligations of contracts. The writ of prohibition issued and the
tribunal dissolved. There was no appeal, and the Minnesota legislature
was free to dispose of the bond matter without a referendum. Governor
Pillsbury called that body to meet on October 11. The bondholders were
ready and anxious to accept fifty cents on the dollar. A bill to issue
new 10-30 four and one half per cent. “Minnesota state railroad
adjustment bonds,” to a sufficient amount, was passed after some
contention as to details. A companion bill devoting the proceeds of the
500,000 acres of internal improvement land was passed, and under
constitutional requirement submitted to the electors in November, 1884.
The vote stood: Yes, 31,011; no, 13,589. The presidential vote of the
state in 1880 was 150,484. This vote, therefore, did not indicate so
much a change of sentiment among the people as a willingness to have
the old bond controversy quieted. The state’s power to borrow at
reasonable interest had never been affected. Good judges were of
opinion that the bondholders fared very well and could afford the
liberal expenditures made to secure the legislation. The amount of new
bonds issued was $4,253,000, of which Mr. S. Chamberlain received
$1,992,053.70. Governor Pillsbury closed his third term by signing
them, a duty he performed with great satisfaction. With this he retired
from office, except that he served on the board of regents of the
university till his death in 1902, the legislature having by special
act created him an additional regent during his good pleasure. He had
been on that board since 1863.



                             CHAPTER XVIII

                              FAIR WEATHER


Whether Governor Pillsbury could have been nominated for a fourth term
may be questioned, but when he publicly declined a fortnight before the
Republican convention, it was evident that among the aspirants to the
succession the favorite was the gallant colonel of the Fifth Minnesota,
General Lucius F. Hubbard. The nomination was his on the first ballot.
He brought to the office a ripe experience in legislation and public
affairs and a worthy ambition to promote the public welfare. He was
easily accorded a reëlection in 1882, and, by reason of a change made
in the official year of the state, remained in office a fifth year. It
was a period of marked prosperity, not greatly diminished by the
commercial depression of 1883-84. The population of the state rose from
780,773 in 1880 to 1,117,798 in 1885, an increase of forty-three per
cent. The urban communities had an excessive increase of nearly eighty
per cent.; Minneapolis increased from 46,887 to 129,200. Twelve hundred
and sixty-nine miles of railroad were added.

Governor Hubbard’s interest in organizations and institutions for
promoting the public health, improving the administration of the penal
and charitable institutions, and the relief of superannuated soldiers
was deep and continuous. With his hearty approval the legislature of
1883 enlarged the powers of the state board of health, which had been
in existence for ten years with powers and resources much too limited.
The executive secretary of the board for nearly the first quarter
century was Dr. Charles N. Hewitt, whose conception of the state’s
interest and duty in preserving the health and increasing the physical
efficiency of its members was in advance of his time.

It had been the policy of the state to intrust the care of her penal
and charitable institutions to separate boards of citizens serving
without pay. To secure uniformity of administration and to enable these
separate bodies to profit from one another’s experiences, a state board
of charities and corrections was authorized by law in 1883. To the
working secretary of this board for fourteen years, Mr. Henry H. Hart,
must be accorded high praise for such unstinted and intelligent
devotion to his duties that Minnesota’s institutions of charities and
corrections were accorded a place in the front rank. The state lost one
of her most valuable servants by his deserved promotion beyond her
borders.

Following Governor Hubbard’s earnest advice, the legislature of 1885
established “The State Public School” for neglected children, which
under wise management by different officials has rescued from lives of
crime or dependence many hundreds of homeless waifs. The reformatory
for youthful delinquents and the Soldiers’ Home, commended by him to
the legislature, were established under the succeeding administration.
His repeated recommendation that all moneys coming into county
treasuries should be “covered in” through the county auditor’s office
fell on deaf ears, and that needed reform in our public accounting
still remains to be wrought.

The sanction of the granger laws by the Supreme Court of the United
States had established the principle that states have the
constitutional right to regulate railroads; but Minnesota had not
exercised the right in any vigorous or comprehensive way, partly
because the companies had of their own motion moderated charges,
improved their administration, and shown a disposition to treat the
public with some respect. Still, complaints of extortion, unjust
discrimination, and insolence were frequent, and by many believed to
be well founded. Governor Hubbard in his first two messages urged the
legislatures to take up these complaints and endeavor to frame a
comprehensive statute which should secure to the companies their just
rights and immunities, and at the same time protect the people in
theirs. The result was the railroad law of 1885, chapter 188 of the
session laws of that year. This act, judiciously drawn, met the
purpose of its framers so fully that amendment has been necessary
only in points of detail. The historian at some far-off day will
marvel that in the closing years of the nineteenth century it was
necessary to compel common carriers by law not merely to serve the
public at just and equal charges published in advance, but to provide
common decencies and accommodations in the way of platforms,
waiting-rooms, fire-extinguishers, and toilet-rooms.

Another measure successfully pressed upon the legislature by Governor
Hubbard was that of public state grain inspection. The precarious and
conflicting grades fixed by individual and associated buyers were the
source of incessant dissatisfaction and complaint. Chapter 144 of the
General Laws of Minnesota, 1885, established that system of inspection
and grading since known and approved on both sides of the Atlantic. A
warehouse receipt for a certain quantity of grain of a certain
Minnesota grade became a definite asset. Because grain inspection
necessarily involved the regulation and control of elevators, which in
turn were closely related to railroads, the law placed the control of
the system in the hands of the Board of Railroad Commissioners. The
title of the board was changed to Board of Railroad and Warehouse
Commissioners, and its powers were much extended and fortified.

Annual sessions of the legislature had ceased with that of 1879, but
elections continued to be held annually till 1886, from which year all
United States, state, and county officers have been elected in the
even-numbered years. All state and county terms of office begin on
January 1; the fiscal year begins August 1.

Governor Hubbard called to the important office of state superintendent
of public instruction David L. Kiehle, who, like his predecessor, had
received a clerical education and had had slight experience in school
work, but like that predecessor was able to throw himself unreservedly
into the public school cause. During the seven terms (1881-93) he
remained in office he labored with great fidelity and success to
improve the schools of all grades. Institutes and summer training
schools were promoted and a state tax of one mill was established to
increase the efficiency of the common schools. By an act of 1885 school
attendance was made compulsory for twelve weeks in each year.

In September, 1884, Cyrus Northrop, resigning his professorship in Yale
College, assumed the presidency of the state university, bringing to
the office large knowledge, a ripe experience in education and public
affairs, and a remarkable gift for gaining effective support for
reasonable measures. The president of the university and the state
superintendent of schools being the two working members of the high
school board, such effective operation was given to the “act for the
encouragement of higher education” that high schools in large numbers
heartily took up the desired duty and presently began feeding the
university with students fitted for college work. The university was
thus enabled in 1890 to drop the last of its preparatory classes.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Whatever may have been whispered in political circles, it was general
public expectation that when the legislature of 1883 should come to the
election of a United States senator it would do nothing else than
reëlect William Windom. He had resigned from the Senate in 1881 to
accept a seat in Garfield’s cabinet, but had been reappointed by the
governor after the death of that President. Mr. Windom felt so
confident of his reëlection that he remained at his post of duty in
Washington and did not come to St. Paul until after the discovery by
his friends of an indifference, not to say an opposition, needing his
personal attention. The Republican caucus gave him a unanimous
nomination, but the absence of fifty members was ominous. The election
went to the joint convention of the two houses. After sixteen days of
balloting the choice went to another. The causes of this defeat of the
best man of Minnesota for the place were various. An old political
quarrel in the first congressional district was a cause of no little
disaffection; that Mr. Windom had built a costly house in Washington,
impliedly asserting a permanent hold on the senatorship, furnished
excuse to some; the fact that he had been unwisely praised by admiring
supporters alienated others. Intemperate censure of opponents by a
leading newspaper favoring his reëlection doubtless compacted the
opposition. Mr. Windom was himself convinced that a liberal use of
money was the effective means of his defeat.

President Harrison called Mr. Windom into his cabinet as secretary of
the treasury, for whose duties his industry, his large training in
public affairs and matured judgment fitted him. His life was suddenly
ended on January 29, 1890, by a paralytic stroke coming at the close of
a speech at a banquet in New York city.

                  *       *       *       *       *

On the evening of November 7, 1884, citizens of St. Paul gave a banquet
in honor of General Henry Hastings Sibley, first state governor,
celebrating his arrival at Mendota fifty years before. For the long
series of honors and compliments bestowed on this first citizen of
Minnesota the reader must resort to his biographer. In 1888 the
trustees of Princeton College conferred upon him the honorary degree of
Doctor of Laws, in consideration of “high personal character, scholarly
attainments, and eminent public service, civil, military, and
educational.” General Sibley’s death did not occur until February 18,
1891.



                              CHAPTER XIX

                      A CHRONICLE OF RECENT EVENTS


With the close of Governor Hubbard’s administration, now twenty-one
years ago, the connected story of Minnesota may properly end. Only
after some lapse of years may the historian presume to view affairs
with discrimination, selecting those of permanent significance from the
trifling and transitory. He may, however, as a mere annalist, record
such facts and events as seem to have more than momentary importance.

The governors of the state have been:—

 --------------------+-------------+--------------------------------------
        NAME.        |   PARTY.    |               DATES.
 --------------------+-------------+--------------------------------------
 Andrew R. McGill    | Republican. | January 5, 1887, to January 9, 1889.
 William R. Merriam  | Republican. | January 9, 1889, to January 4, 1893.
 Knute Nelson        | Republican. | January 4, 1893, to January 31, 1895.
 David M. Clough     | Republican. | January 31, 1895, to January 2, 1899.
 John Lind           | Democrat.   | January 2, 1899, to January 7, 1901.
 Samuel R. Van Sant  | Republican. | January 7, 1901, to January 4, 1905.
 John A. Johnson     | Democrat.   | January 4, 1905, to
 --------------------+-------------+--------------------------------------

Mr. Nelson was elected to the United States Senate in the first month
of his second term as governor. Mr. Clough, lieutenant-governor,
succeeded him, and was elected governor for a second term. Mr. Lind was
the first Democratic governor after Governor Sibley, the first state
executive. Both he and Mr. Johnson were elected in spite of the fact
that Minnesota was and is overwhelmingly Republican.

Four United States senators only have been elected, all Republican.
Cushman K. Davis, who in 1875 had balked Mr. Ramsey of a third term,
but failed to secure his own election, went into retirement, devoting
himself to his law practice, to literature, and to preparation for a
public career to come in good time. He so commended himself to
Republicans by his professional ability, his fine public addresses, and
the moderation of his demands for advancement, that when the time came,
in January, 1887, to fill the vacancy of Senator McMillan, about to
occur, there was but one opposing vote against him in the Republican
caucus. Ignatius Donnelly, who had temporarily returned to the fold,
made a rousing speech of approval. The election followed as of course.
In 1893 Mr. Davis was elected for a second term, but by a close vote.
In 1899 he was accorded a third term with almost no opposition. He had
made a brilliant record as senator and chairman of the committee on
foreign relations. He served as one of the commissioners to negotiate
the treaty of peace at the close of the Spanish war of 1898. Mr. Davis
died in office suddenly, November 27, 1900.

William D. Washburn, who had retired from the House of Representatives,
did not reach his expected promotion to the Senate till 1889. At the
close of his term be gave way to Governor Nelson, who has since been
twice reëlected. Moses E. Clapp was elected in 1901 to fill the vacancy
caused by the death of Senator Davis.

The Australian ballot system, established in 1889 for cities of 10,000
inhabitants or more, extended to operate throughout the state in 1891,
was recodified in 1893.

The legislature of 1899 passed a law providing for “primary elections”
to replace nominations by party caucuses and conventions. The act is
not operative in towns, villages, and small cities, and does not apply
to state officers. The primary election takes place on the first of the
registration days for the usual election, and is conducted by the same
judges and clerks. Any person eligible to an office may, by payment of
a prescribed fee and making a qualifying oath, have his name printed on
the primary ballot of his party. Every qualified voter may, after
registration, receive and mark the ballot of the party he “generally
supported at the last election and intends to support at the next
ensuing.” The general election laws apply, and the usual penalties
attach to misconduct. The experiment is still too brief to warrant a
final judgment. It has certainly weakened the machine, and stimulated
aspiration to office in persons whose qualifications are more apparent
to themselves than to others. That candidates for judicial positions
are obliged to make a personal canvass is perhaps the feature most to
be regretted.

When the capitol building was burned in 1881 the legislature, upon
Governor Pillsbury’s recommendation, immediately appropriated $75,000
for rebuilding, on the assumption that the walls were sufficiently
sound. This assumption was found mistaken, and additional sums were
voted till more than four times the original amount was expended. But
ten years had not passed before it was apparent that ampler
accommodations were imperative for multiplying functionaries and
expanding business. The legislature of 1893 accordingly authorized the
appointment of a commission to plan, build, and furnish a new and
appropriate structure. The local influence was sufficiently effective
to keep the location in the heart of St. Paul, on an elevated site of
small area, rather than permit erection on a larger area in the “midway
district,” still in that city, but near Minneapolis. The corner-stone
was laid on July 27, 1898, by Alexander Ramsey. Senator C. K. Davis
delivered the principal address. The legislature of 1905 was the first
to convene in the completed building. The traditional plan of a central
body flanked by wings and surmounted by a dome was followed, with the
variation that the house of representatives is housed in a rear
extension, leaving the wings to accommodate the senate and the supreme
court. The exterior is of Georgia marble. The interior corridors are
faced with polished Minnesota magnesian limestones of charming tints,
relieved by panels of foreign marbles. The interior of the dome, the
senate chamber, the supreme court room, and the governor’s office are
splendidly decorated with mural paintings by leading American artists.
Over the façade of the central structure rests a quadriga in bronze,
typifying the progress of Minnesota. The total cost was $4,428,539.72;
and in this age the honorable commissioners need not resent as
superfluous the record that there was absolutely no “graft” in the
whole construction and furnishing. The architect, Mr. Cass Gilbert, a
native of Minnesota, will be fortunate if he shall in his future career
surpass the taste, skill, and nobility of conception displayed in this
work. It is a splendid object lesson in civic architecture, not only to
Minnesota but to neighboring commonwealths.

The legislature of 1905 adopted a new codification of the general laws
of the state, which had been prepared by a commission of which Daniel
Fish, Esq., was the working member. It has been published in a single
volume of 1380 pages.

The penal and charitable institutions of Minnesota under the
supervision of the board of charities and corrections had attained to
the first rank for economy of administration and beneficial results.
Two neighboring states made the experiment of disbanding the separate
boards of trustees or managers and placing all such institutions in the
hands of a single “board of control.” To be in the fashion the
legislature of Minnesota in 1901 created a board of control of state
institutions, and went so far as to include the university and normal
schools in all their financial concerns. These, however, were in a
later year exempted from the operation of the act and restored to their
independence. It may be conceded that in point of finance the single
board has justified the change, in spite of the fact that its members
have been appointed on political considerations. Persuaded that there
was danger of neglect in a board so composed and fully occupied with
the business management of the institutions, the legislature of 1907
provided for a board of visitors to exercise a humanitarian supervision
over the patients and inmates.

The people of Minnesota have not yet desired a revision of their
constitution, content to live under the original statute of 1857 and to
amend it casually from time to time. In the period now in view no fewer
than seventeen amendments have been adopted, some of them of
far-reaching importance. They may be enumerated:—

    1. 1883, an amendment fixing January 1 as the beginning of the
       official year of the state, on which day all officers chosen at
       the previous election enter upon their duties.

    2. 1886, an amendment authorizing loans upon interest from the
       permanent school fund of the state to counties and school
       districts, to be used in the erection of county and school
       buildings. This provision, wisely guarded, has proved
       advantageous.

    3. Of the same year, an amendment forbidding the enactment of any
       special law in all cases where a general law can be made
       applicable, and specifically inhibiting special legislation in
       fifteen cases. Its operation has been beneficial, but there have
       been instances where special legislation has been had under mere
       color of general.

    4. 1888, an amendment limiting the sessions of the legislature to
       ninety legislative days, and forbidding the introduction of any
       new bill during the last twenty days, unless upon recommendation
       of the governor in a special message.

    5. Of the same year, an amendment declaring any combination to
       monopolize markets for food products, or to interfere with the
       freedom of such markets, to be a criminal conspiracy, punishable
       as the legislature may provide. No action has yet been had.

    6. 1890, an amendment authorizing the legislature to provide that an
       agreement of ten jurors in a civil action shall be a sufficient
       verdict. The legislature has not yet acted.

    7. 1896, an amendment creating a board of pardons, consisting of the
       governor, the attorney-general, and the chief justice, with
       powers to be defined and regulated by law. The procedure of the
       board has been prescribed by statute. Its administration has been
       judicious, and the governor has been relieved of a duty
       exceedingly painful and difficult for any individual to
       discharge.

    8. 1896, an amendment to the elective franchise article, taking from
       declarants for naturalization the right to vote.

    9. In the year 1906 a so-called “wide open” tax amendment, repealing
       a large part of Article IX as formerly standing. It declares that
       “the power of taxation shall never be surrendered, suspended, nor
       contracted away.” After exemptions of the ordinary kind, it
       leaves the legislature free to levy taxes according to its
       discretion, requiring only that they shall be uniform upon the
       same class of subjects.

   10. 1898, an amendment granting suffrage to women of full age in
       school and library measures absolutely, and not merely allowing
       the legislature to extend the privilege.

   11. In the same year, an amendment requiring a majority of all votes
       cast at the election to ratify an amendment to the constitution.
       Up to that year a majority of the electors voting on the
       particular amendment was sufficient to ratify.

   12. In the same year, an amendment creating a state highway
       commission and a road and bridge fund and authorizing a special
       tax therefor.

   13. Also in 1898, an amendment authorizing cities and villages to
       adopt charters for their own government, to be drafted by a board
       of freeholders appointed by district judges; commonly called a
       “home-rule” amendment. An affirmative vote of four sevenths of
       the electors is necessary to adopt. In Minneapolis on four
       occasions, large majorities have favored “home rule,” but the
       required four-sevenths vote has not been obtained.

   14. 1904, an amendment authorizing the investment of the permanent
       school and university funds in the bonds of counties, towns,
       cities, villages, and school districts under prescribed
       conditions.

What place the tornado, the hailstorm, the locust, and such like
destroyers have in the mundane economy; whether they are providential
dispositions for the punishment of particular communities, or freaks of
sheer diabolism, or resultants of powers imparted to nature playing
under determining conditions, is a question which must be left to
casuists, reverend and other. Minnesota can claim no exemption from
such visitations. On April 14, 1886, a furious tornado struck the city
of St. Cloud and its suburb, Sauk Rapids, cutting a swath of desolation
and destroying some seventy persons. In 1891, on June 15, a series of
tornadoes traversed the counties of Martin, Faribault, Freeborn, Mower,
and Fillmore, on a line nearly parallel with the Southern Minnesota
division of the Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad. Many farm buildings
were wrecked and about fifty people killed. In previous years
disastrous tornadoes had wrought havoc in New Ulm and Rochester.

In the fall of 1886 there was a descent of what were supposed to be
ordinary grasshoppers in Otter Tail County. When in the following
spring “hoppers” were appearing dangerously numerous, Governor McGill
sent out the state entomologist, Dr. Otto Lugger of the university
agricultural college, to investigate. He saw at once that the genuine
Rocky Mountain locust was to be dealt with, and proceeded to organize
the farmers for warfare on them. So effective was the campaign that
thirty-five thousand bushels of the insects were caught and destroyed,
and half the crops on about one hundred square miles saved.

On September 1, 1894, a fire broke out in the cut-over pine woods near
Hinckley, in Pine County. A high wind prevailing, it spread and raged
for many days. Eight villages, including Hinckley and Sandstone, and
scores of farmsteads were completely destroyed. Not less than three
hundred and fifty square miles were devastated. Four hundred and
eighteen persons lost their lives, and more than two thousand were left
homeless. The property loss was not less than a million dollars.
Governor Nelson appointed a relief committee of citizens, with Charles
A. Pillsbury at its head. The estimated amount of relief furnished
through this and the local committees was $185,000. In the same year
the chinch bug did much damage to growing crops in several southwestern
counties.

At the outbreak of the war with Spain in April, 1898, Minnesota was
first of the states to respond to the call of the President for
volunteers, as she had been in the Civil War. Before the close of the
month three regiments,—Twelfth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth,—mostly
recruited from the national guard, were assembled at St. Paul. They
were mustered into the United States service May 7 and 8. The
Thirteenth Regiment, commanded by Colonel Charles McCormick Reeve, was
dispatched to the Philippine Islands and participated in the capture of
Manila, August 13, 1898. It performed provost guard duty in that city
till the spring of 1899, and formed part of Lawton’s expedition to the
interior. The regiment was mustered out in San Francisco in September,
but was transported home in trains furnished by Minnesota cities, and
on arrival in Minneapolis, October 12, 1899, was reviewed by President
McKinley.

The Twelfth and Fourteenth regiments were sent to the grand rendezvous
at Camp Thomas, Chickamauga Park, Georgia, detained thereabout through
the summer, sent home late in September, furloughed for thirty days,
and mustered out November 18.

The Fifteenth, recruited from the state at large, was mustered in July
18, detained at Fort Snelling till September 15, and then sent to Camp
Meade, Pennsylvania. A month later it was ordered to Camp Mackenzie,
Georgia, where it remained till mustered out March 27, 1899.

The Thirteenth alone suffered losses in action. Its roll of honor shows
officers and men killed, 5; died of disease or accident, 37; wounded,
44.

A detachment of the Fourteenth Minnesota saw some service, happily
bloodless, in its own state. The Pillager band of Chippeway Indians on
Leech Lake had long been complaining of injustice done them in the
matter of the pine on their reservation, which they had been persuaded
to sell. The prices paid them were ridiculously low, and the charges
for appraisal and inspection as ridiculously high. Parties holding
permits to cut “dead and down timber,” cut live trees standing
convenient. Repeated protests to the government had brought no redress.
The deputy United States marshal, Sheehan (he of Fort Ridgely),
undertook to arrest a chief who had given show of misbehavior. He
resisted arrest, and a number of his braves rallied and stood off the
marshal’s posse. A company of sixty United States infantry was sent
from Fort Snelling, which was later reinforced by two hundred men
commanded by Major M. C. Wilkinson and supervised by General Bacon. On
October 5 the troops were landed on the peninsula known as Sugar Point,
and a sharp little conflict followed which cost the lives of Major
Wilkinson, Sergeant William Butler, and two privates. Two companies of
the Fourteenth were recalled from furlough and distributed to stations
of the railroad running north of Leech Lake. After repeated councils,
at which the United States commissioner of Indian affairs was present,
eight chiefs surrendered to the marshal, and the war ended. Governor
Clough, in his message to the legislature of 1899, charged the United
States government with a “series of acts and neglects most wrongful to
the Indians” and with a “blunder more criminal in its results than
those neglects and acts,” the performance being the “climax of a long
course of folly and wrong.”

                  *       *       *       *       *

All branches of the public school system have been enlarged and
improved. The common school endowment from the lands granted by
Congress has increased to more than $11,000,000. Sales of pine timber
($3,500,000) and other items have swelled the fund to more than
$20,000,000. The state still holds millions of acres unsold. The
excellent work of the normal schools, supplemented by that of the high
schools, has greatly added to the number of qualified teachers.
Opposition to the normal schools, now five in number, has long since
ceased.

Beginning with the year 1889, and the first graduations from the
professional schools, the development of the university has surpassed
all expectations. The total attendance in that year was 791, the number
of degrees conferred, 52. In 1900 those numbers were increased to 2866
and 449 respectively. In 1907 they were 3955 and 507. It has been
difficult to keep the buildings and equipment abreast of the needs of
these developments, especially as the original “main” building has been
once extensively damaged and later destroyed by fire. Despite
inadequate compensation, the professorships have been filled with able
and earnest men and women, but no small number of teachers whom the
state and the institution could ill afford to lose have been drawn
away. The student body have secured high places in intercollegiate
athletics, oratorical and forensic contests, adding much to the repute
of the university, already holding an honorable rank for scholarship
and culture. While the state university is the largest and
best-equipped in the state, it possesses no monopoly of the superior
education. There are at least fifteen other degree-conferring
institutions. More than half of the number are Lutheran colleges or
seminaries, in which excellent instruction is given in the classical
languages, history, and philosophy. The Roman Catholic colleges, also
strong in the humanities, are St. John’s University and the College of
St. Thomas. The leading Protestant institutions which have passed out
of the experimental stage are Carleton College at Northfield, and
Macalester College and Hamline University, both within the limits of
St. Paul. All are open to women, maintain excellent preparatory
departments, and do well the work they undertake to do.

The notable development of the university College of Agriculture at St.
Anthony Park cannot here have adequate room, but mention must be made
of one of its auxiliaries, the so-called “School of Agriculture.” From
the year 1868, when the agricultural college lands were merged with
those of the university, the regents and faculty of the university had
exerted themselves in all good faith to gather students into the
agricultural college which they had promptly organized on paper. The
farmers’ boys flocked to the university, not to learn agriculture but
to practice it. Only occasionally could any be induced to enroll in
that college. Up to 1888 not fifty had so done, and but one had
completed the course and been graduated. The first president had
declared that there was no proper work for an agricultural “college” to
do, and that agricultural schools of secondary rank must be organized.
Professor Edward A. Porter of the university department of agriculture,
after some years of experiment and reflection, became convinced that
such a school should be undertaken, and that, not on the university
campus, but on the experimental farm some two miles away. He brought
the board of regents to his opinion through the influence of an
“advisory board of farmers” which he induced them to appoint. State
Superintendent D. L. Kiehle, a member of the board of regents
_ex-officio_, worked out the pedagogical details, and early in 1888
submitted the plan of a “school” of agriculture to receive students of
fifteen and over, with a common-school training, for a term extending
from November to April. His idea was to make the instruction practical
in the branches immediately related to agriculture, cultivating powers
of observation and judgment, and arousing interest in and taste for
country life. The school was opened October 18, 1888, with forty-seven
students. Young women were admitted in 1897, and a second-year course
has been added. The school expenses proper do not exceed eighty-five
dollars a year. The enrollment of students for 1908 was 581, and the
whole number since 1888 is 4608. A notable fact is that this “school”
has stimulated and fed the “college” of agriculture, 69 students having
been graduated since the opening of the school. The framers of the
“Morrill bill” of 1857-62, granting public lands for the endowment and
support of colleges of agriculture and mechanic arts, could have had no
expectation of any such use of the grant, and doubtless would have
provided against devoting it to elementary education. The industrial
education had yet to be invented for this country. But this school of
agriculture is far better for the practical farmer than any college
could be.

One department of the school of agriculture of the university has had
no small part in working a great change in Minnesota agriculture. While
the state as a whole will long retain a leading place as a wheat
producer, all southern Minnesota has abandoned that cereal as a
principal crop. Supplied from the department of dairy husbandry of the
school of agriculture with expert operators of creameries and cheese
factories, the farmers of many counties have turned to dairying.
Minnesota butter, thanks to the science and practice taught in the
school, commands a premium in the market, and its annual output has run
up to near 100,000,000 pounds. Minnesota has become the “Bread and
Butter State.” The total dairy product of Minnesota in 1907 may be
safely valued at $40,000,000. Along with dairying has naturally grown
up an extensive animal husbandry, profitably converting into marketable
forms the forage crops of great areas.

At the experiment station conducted in the agricultural department of
the university new varieties of grains, in particular wheat, have been
developed by careful breeding and selection, which promise much to
Minnesota farmers.

Adjoining the agricultural establishment of the university is the
domain of two hundred acres and more on which the Minnesota State
Agricultural Society, in a vast range of buildings and inclosures,
holds its annual fair in September. Given this permanent location in
1885, the society has developed a great industrial museum of high
educational value.

                  *       *       *       *       *

For many years after the white man built his sawmills on Minnesota
rivers it was believed that the pine forests north and east of the
Sioux-Chippeway intertribal boundary of 1825 could never be exhausted.
A generation ago that belief was given up, but exhaustion was thought
to be so far away that people then living need not worry about it.
There being no public control over private lumbering, the reckless,
indiscriminate, ruinous methods of the pioneer operators were
continued. Young growing trees went down along with those old and ripe
for the axe. Within a few years it has become apparent to all who
concern themselves, that the days of Minnesota lumbering in the old
piratical fashion are numbered. Had a reasonable forest policy been
established fifty years ago, permitting only the annual cutting of ripe
trees and leaving the young to grow, a harvest of lumber might have
been reaped in perpetuity. There are millions of acres of land in the
state which are fit only for forest growth and will some day be so
devoted. An act of the legislature of 1899 created a state forestry
board, which has already outlined a policy and begun the immense work
of re-afforesting despoiled areas. Another act, that of 1905, provides
for a forest commissioner, and to that office has been appointed
General C. C. Andrews, who for many years has been the apostle of
forest preservation and replanting in Minnesota.

In 1878 the state geologist, Professor N. H. Winchell, announced the
existence of iron ore fit for steel production about Vermilion Lake in
St. Louis County; but neither the university nor the state authorities
took sufficient interest to cause a proper examination of the region to
be made. George C. Stone of Duluth conducted explorations whose
revelations led to the formation of the Minnesota Iron Company and the
building of the Duluth and Iron Range Railroad in 1884. In that year
62,122 tons of ore were shipped from the mine opened at Tower. Four
years later the railroad was extended to Ely, and 54,612 tons were
carried from the Chandler mine. The product of the Vermilion range
increased with astonishing rapidity. It was near a half million tons in
1888, and double that figure four years later.

Marvelous as had been the development of the Vermilion range, it was
eclipsed by that of another of which geologists had detected but faint
indications. In November 1890, an exploring party of the Merritt
Brothers of Duluth found iron ore at a point west of Virginia, near
which the Great Mountain iron mine was later opened. A year after one
of their explorers found ore turned up by the roots of a fallen tree. A
shaft sunk on the spot struck the ore body of the Biwabik mine. From
these beginnings date the developments of the Mesabi iron range, lying
some twenty miles south of and parallel with the Vermilion range, but
extending much farther to the west. In 1892, 4245 tons of ore were
shipped over the railroads which had been built out from Duluth to the
Mesabi mines. Three years later the shipments were nearly three
millions of gross tons; in 1900 they had swelled to nearly eight
millions, and in 1907 they touched twenty-seven and a half millions.
The shipment in the year last named from a certain single mine was
2,900,493 tons. The Mesabi ores are of the “soft” variety, lie near the
surface, and are in large part mined by means of steam shovels dumping
into cars; these, in the shipping season, are at once dispatched to the
lake ports, where the ore is transferred to vessels which carry it
below. The output of the Vermilion range has remained under two
millions a year, except in a single case. The ores of both ranges are
of the variety known as hematite, with great differences of physical
structure. Much of them yield seventy per cent. of pure metal. Ore
containing less than fifty-five per cent. of iron is not now considered
marketable, and there are enormous masses of such low grade ore left
untouched by the mine operators. At least 1,500,000,000 tons of ore
marketable under present conditions have been located and measured. The
state tax commission in 1907 raised the valuation of 2116 ore
properties, containing 1,192,509,757 tons, from $64,500,000 in 1906 to
$189,500,000.

An act of Congress of 1873 expressly excepted Minnesota from the
operation of the mining laws of the United States, leaving all her
mineral lands open to settlement or purchase in legal subdivisions,
like agricultural or timbered lands, thus virtually giving to lucky
speculators these priceless ore deposits. Up to 1889 the state pursued
the same policy, selling her school and swamp lands containing ore at
the annual sales and getting the usual prices for arable lands. In 1889
the legislature provided for the leasing of ore properties for fifty
years at a royalty of twenty-five cents per ton. At this rate, less
than one third that obtained by private mine owners, the school fund
will be splendidly enriched. The receipts from royalties and contracts
in 1907 were $273,433.

                  *       *       *       *       *

At the close of the year 1907 the railroads of Minnesota had increased
their mileage to 8023 miles, having almost doubled it in twenty years.
The Supreme Court of the United States in the Blake case, decided in
1876, had affirmed the right of the state of Minnesota to regulate
railroad fares and rates, according to the pleasure of the legislature.
In 1890 came a decision from the same tribunal in another Minnesota
case to the effect that any regulation, whether by statute or through a
commission, must be subject to judicial review. The legislature could
not deprive a railroad company of its property—rents, issues, and
profits included—without due process of law, much less could a
commission. This decision with others of the period materially
moderated the effect of the “granger cases.” Another litigation arising
in the state was of national importance. A small clique of capitalists
who had bought control of the Great Northern and Northern Pacific
railway systems, each of eight thousand miles and more, desiring to
operate them as one property or interest, formed a third corporation
called the Northern Securities Company. It was chartered in New Jersey,
November 13, 1900, with an authorized capital stock of $400,000,000.
When duly organized this company proceeded to exchange its own stock
for the stocks of the Great Northern and Northern Pacific, and absorbed
more than three fourths of them. This consolidation, effecting a
monopoly of all traffic between the Mississippi and the Pacific coast
for five degrees of latitude, caused the greatest alarm. Governor Van
Sant used every means at his disposal to prevent its consummation. A
suit, brought by the state in one of her district courts alleging
violation of her statute forbidding the consolidation of parallel and
competing roads, removed to the Circuit Court of the United States, was
there decided against the state on the ground that the Northern
Securities was not a railroad company, but a mere “holding company.” An
appeal was taken to the Supreme Court of the United States, but that
court declined to review the action below because the case had been
improperly removed from the Minnesota court. Without waiting for the
result of this suit, the Attorney-General of the United States sued in
the Circuit Court of the United States for Minnesota, charging
infraction of the “Sherman anti-trust law” of 1890. That court, after
elaborate hearings, found the Northern Securities Company to be an
unlawful combination in restraint of trade, and ordered its
dissolution. As was expected, an appeal was taken to the Supreme Court,
where in March, 1904, the decision below was affirmed, the chief
justice and three associates dissenting. Under judicial direction the
Northern Securities Company proceeded to return the stocks taken in
exchange, and at length went into dissolution. The same men own the two
roads still.

Early in the year 1908 the Supreme Court of the United States
considered that the Circuit Court for the District of Minnesota had the
right to punish the attorney-general of Minnesota for attempting, in
disobedience of its process, to enforce a state law regulating railroad
rates, held to be obnoxious to the national constitution.

Minnesota enjoys a great advantage in point of transportation to both
oceans in the competition of Canadian roads, with branches penetrating
to her principal cities. The water route eastward from Duluth has
moderated costs of shipping out her staple products—grain, ore, and
lumber—and given her favorable rates on returning merchandise.

The new states of the Northwest have departed far from the conservative
doctrine that governments exist merely for the protection of persons
and property. Two examples of this departure in Minnesota may be
mentioned. In 1899 the legislature created the Minnesota Public Library
Commission. Its duties are to maintain (1) a bureau of information on
library matters, (2) a circulating library, and (3) a clearing-house
for periodicals. From the circulating library, “traveling libraries” of
twenty-five or fifty volumes are sent to small towns and rural
communities on payment of a small fee. Home study and juvenile
libraries are also sent out, and small collections in five different
foreign languages. No provision for the general culture could be more
popular.

Equally acceptable have been the ministrations of the Minnesota State
Art Society, organized under an act of 1903. This body manages
periodical art exhibitions, offers and awards prizes for excellence in
artistic work, and will ultimately form a permanent collection. The
exhibitions, held in St. Cloud, Mankato, and Winona have been of great
educational value.

Minnesota lies between the latitudes of 43 degrees, 30 minutes, and 49
degrees north, and the longitudes of 89 degrees, 29 minutes, and 97
degrees, 15 minutes west. Her extreme dimensions are therefore about
380 miles from north to south and 350 miles from east to west. Her
situation is not far from the geographical centre of the North American
continent, and the drainage from the Itascan plateau falls into
Hudson’s Bay, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and the Gulf of Mexico. The
lowest land is at the head of Lake Superior, whose surface is 602 feet
above sea-level. The highest land, a granite peak of the Misquah hills
in Cook County, is 2230 feet above sea-level. The annual mean
temperature is 44 degrees Fahrenheit; that of the summer months, 70
degrees. The climate has proved favorable to health and industry.

By the state census of 1905 the total population of Minnesota was
1,979,912, including 10,920 Indians, 171 Chinese, and 50 Japanese. The
native born were 1,424,333. Of the 537,041 foreign-born persons,
262,417 came from the Scandinavian kingdoms, 119,868 from Germany,
84,022 from English-speaking countries. The average yearly increase for
the decade closing in 1905 was 40,529; for the five-year period,
22,852. The urban population was 1,048,922, equal to 53 per cent. of
the total. In the same decade the urban population had increased 38 per
cent., while the rural population had augmented but 14.5 per cent. The
most notable examples of urban development are in the “twin cities” of
Minneapolis and St. Paul, their aggregate population in 1905 being
458,997. If the suburban dwellers within easy “trolley” ride be added,
that number rises to more than half a million. Although the two
municipalities have long been coterminous, they may remain politically
separate for many years, if not indefinitely.

            POPULATION OF MINNESOTA FOR TWELVE CENSUS YEARS.

                -----+-----------------+---------------
                     | FEDERAL CENSUS. | STATE CENSUS.
                -----+-----------------+---------------
                1850 |        6,077    |
                1857 |                 |    150,037
                1860 |      172,028    |
                1865 |                 |    250,099
                1870 |      439,706    |
                1875 |                 |    597,407
                1880 |      780,773    |
                1885 |                 |  1,117,798
                1890 |    1,301,826    |
                1895 |                 |  1,574,619
                1900 |    1,751,394    |
                1905 |                 |  1,979,912
                -----+-----------------+---------------



                                 INDEX


 Accault leads expedition to upper Mississippi, 18.

 Acton murders, 197.

 Agricultural college, established at Glencoe (1858), 160.

 Agricultural school at Lake Calhoun, 67.

 Aldrich, Cyrus, M. C., and candidate for U. S. senator, 248;
   champions homestead act, 253.

 Allen, Lieut. James, commands Schoolcraft’s escort, 75.

 Allouez, Père, at La Pointe (1665), 14;
   at convocation of 1671, 15.

 American Fur Company, organized, 54;
   policy of, 54;
   chief stations, 55;
   control of Indians, 58;
   factors of, 59.

 Anderson, Capt. Joseph, in battle of Birch Coulie, 213.

 Andrews, C. C., votes against surrender of Third Minnesota, 183;
   in command at Fitzhugh’s Woods, 243;
   accepts nomination for M. C., 264;
   state forest commissioner, 358.

 Astor, John Jacob, organizes the American Fur Co., 52.

 “Atlantis,” written by Ignatius Donnelly, 318.

 Attorney-General of Minnesota enjoined by U. S. courts from enforcing
    state law, 362.

 Auguelle, associate of Accault and Hennepin, 18.

 Austin, Horace, nominated, 265;
   inaugurated governor, 265;
   antecedents, 276;
   proposes constitutional amendments, 268;
   vetoes bill to squander internal improvement lands, 268;
   recommends regulation of railroads, 279.

 Australian ballot system, 342.


 Bancroft, George, mentioned, 121.

 Banking, _see_ Railroads.

 Banks issue notes on deposit of special state railroad bonds, 166.

 Battle of Big Mound, 235;
   Birch Coulie, 213;
   Dead Buffalo Lake, 235;
   Kaposia, 65;
   Skakopee, 157;
   Rum River, 63;
   Stillwater, 63;
   Wood Lake, 218.

 Becker, George L., mentioned, 154.

 Bee, Capt. Alexander, pursues Inkpaduta, 146.

 Beltrami, Constantino Giacomo, aspires to discover the true source of
    the Mississippi, 73;
   starts out with Major Long, 73;
   at “Lake Julia,” 74;
   publishes his “Discovery,” 74;
   publishes his “Pilgrimage,” 74;
   charts Lac la Biche, 75.

 Biennial sessions of legislature, 336;
   elections, 337.

 Bierbauer, Capt. William, comes to relief of New Ulm, 208.

 Big Mound, battle of, 235.

 Birch Coulie, battle of, 213;
   dispute as to command, 215.

 Bishop, Gen. J. W., at Mission Ridge, 243.

 Blake case, the, 283;
   modified by later decision, 361.

 Blizzard, the, of 1873, 289.

 Board of Pardons, constitutional amendment, 346.

 Bonanza farming, 273.

 Boom of 1857, 141.

 Boucher, Réné, _see_ La Perrière.

 Boundaries, 86, 98, 135.

 Boutwell, Rev. W. T., missionary, 64;
   helps Schoolcraft with his Latin, 76.

 Brackett’s Cavalry Battalion, in Tennessee, 186;
   with Sully at Killdeer Mountain, 187.

 Brass kettle campaign, the, 316.

 British control lasts till 1815, 52.

 British hold the Northwest, 38.

 British proposal in 1814, 52.

 Brower, J. V., discovers the “ultimate bowl” of Mississippi, 78.

 Brown, Joseph R., drummer boy, arrives with troops (1819), 84;
   lays out town (1840), 81;
   J. P. of Crawford County, Wis., 84;
   in Wisconsin legislature, 85;
   fathers Minnesota Northwestern Railroad bill in legislature of 1854,
      122;
   member of constitutional convention, 138;
   appointed Sioux agent, 168;
   plan to civilize the Sioux, 168;
   superseded as Sioux agent, 169;
   commands detachment at Birch Coulie, 213;
   commands scouts in 1863, 234.

 Browning, O. H., permits further issues of Chippeway half-breed scrip,
    114.

 Brulé, Etienne, report of Lake Superior, 5.

 Burger, Capt. Emil, mentioned, 224.

 Burt, Rev. D., superintendent of public instruction, 320.

 Butler, Sergeant William, shot in Pillager outbreak, 352.


 Cadillac builds fort at Detroit (1701), 29.

 “Cæsar’s Column,” by Ignatius Donnelly, 319.

 Camp Coldwater, 56.

 Cantonment at Mendota (1819), 55.

 Capital of Minnesota, located in St. Paul, 91;
   attempt to remove (1857), 132;
   attempt to remove (1869), 265.

 Capitol, old, burned, 325;
   rebuilding of, 343.

 Capitol, new, building of, 343;
   account of, 344.

 Carleton College, mentioned, 354.

 Cartier, Jacques, two voyages, 3.

 Carver, Jonathan, expedition, 33;
   travels, 35;
   claim, 36.

 Cass, Gov. Lewis, exploring expedition 71;
   induces Sioux and Chippeways to make a treaty at Fort Snelling, 72.

 Catlin, John, Secretary of Wisconsin Territory, calls an election in
    the rump, 87.

 Cavanaugh, James M., seated as representative from Minnesota, 154.

 Chamberlain, Selah, holder of special state railroad bonds, 326;
   sues railroad company (1873), 328;
   offers to take half of face value of bonds (1887), 329.

 Chambers, Gov. John, commissioner for treaty with Sioux (1849), 93,
    111.

 Champlain, Samuel, two exploring voyages, 3;
   founds Quebec, 3;
   discovers Lake Champlain, 4;
   defeated by Iroquois, 5;
   emissaries of, 5;
   “Father of New France,” 6.

 Charlevoix, on the Mississippi (1720), 26.

 Chase, Charles L., territorial secretary and delegate to
    constitutional convention, 138;
   acting governor, 155.

 Chatfield, Andrew G., appointed territorial justice (1853), 108.

 Chippeway half-breed scrip, story of, 112.

 Chippeways, immigration of, 44;
   drive Sioux south and west, 44;
   characteristics, 45;
   still on reserves, 112;
   disquiet of, 1862, 224.

 Chippeway treaties (1826, 1851, 1854, 1855, 1863), 11.

 Christian, George H., pioneer in patent milling, 274.

 Church, first organized, 67.

 Civil War, First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Infantry regiments,
    178;
   Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth regiments, raised, 188;
   batteries, sharpshooters, and cavalry battalion raised, 186;
   Eleventh Infantry regiment raised, 247;
   First Heavy Artillery raised, 247;
   whole number of Minnesota volunteers, 247.

 Clapp, Moses E., elected U. S. senator, 342.

 Claim Association of Hennepin Co., 130.

 Clark, Gen. George Rogers, mentioned, 37.

 Clough, David M., governor (1895-99), 340;
   his judgment on treatment of the Pillagers, 352.

 Code of 1851, 91.

 Cody, Capt. John S., killed by Sioux, 237.

 Colbert, recommends a colonial system, 13.

 College of Agriculture of the University of Minnesota, slow
    development, 354.

 College of St. Thomas, mentioned, 354.

 Colville, Col. William, commands First Minnesota in Gettysburg charge,
    241.

 Compulsory school attendance, 337.

 Conquest of Canada by British, 30.

 Constitution of state, framing of, 139;
   adopted, 141;
   ratified, 148.

 Constitutional amendments:
   authorizing state officers to act before admission to Union, 156;
   five million loan, 158;
   expunging amendment of 1858, 173;
   requiring referendum of special railroad bonds, 173;
   fixing official year, 345;
   loan of school fund, 345;
   forbidding special legislation, 346;
   ninety-day sessions, 346;
   forbidding monopolies, 346;
   ten jurors to render verdict, 346;
   creating board of pardons, 346;
   declarants not to vote, 347;
   “wide open” tax power, 347;
   woman suffrage in school and library matters, 347;
   majority of whole vote to ratify amendment, 347;
   creating highway commission, 348;
   home rule charters, 348;
   investment of school fund, 348.

 Constitutional convention, election for, 135;
   delegates, 135;
   result of election, 137;
   the split, 137;
   efforts to unite the two bodies, 139;
   conferees appointed, 139;
   report of conferees, 140.

 Convocation of 1641, 15;
   1825, 61.

 County government, change in, 175.

 Crooks, William, appointed colonel of Sixth Minnesota, 189.

 Cullen, Major, Sioux agent, mentioned, 148.


 Dairy industry, development of, 356.

 Dakota Indians, _see_ Sioux Indians.

 Daumont, _see_ St. Lusson, 15.

 Davis, Cushman K., antecedents of, 294;
   secures governorship, 295;
   balks Senator Ramsey of reëlection, 296;
   fails to secure nomination for U. S. senator, 297;
   address at celebration of two hundredth anniversary of discovery of
      falls of St. Anthony, 325;
   recommends arbitration of railroad bonds, 329;
   elected U. S. senator (1887), 341;
   reëlected U.S. senator, 341;
   Spanish treaty commissioner (1898), 341;
   address at laying corner-stone of new capitol, 343;
   death, 341.

 Davis, Jefferson, mentioned, 123.

 Dead Buffalo Lake, battle of, 235.

 Death penalty, changes in, 314.

 Declarants for naturalization deprived of suffrage, 347.

 Delano, Columbus, investigates Chippeway half-breed scrip, 115.

 Detroit occupied by British, 32.

 Dodd, Capt., killed in battle of New Ulm, 209.

 Dodge, Henry, mentioned, 87.

 Donnelly, Ignatius, antecedents, 170;
   elected lieutenant-governor, 170;
   reëlected lieutenant-governor, 177;
   elected to Congress (1862), 248;
   aspires to U. S. senatorship, 262;
   attack on Representative E. B. Washburne, 262;
   fails to receive nomination for U. S. senator, 264;
   withdraws from senatorial contest, 297;
   nominee for Congress (1878), 316;
   contests W. D. Washburn’s election, 317;
   turns to authorship, 318;
   champions free school-books, 321.

 Douglas, Stephen A., expedites Minnesota organic act, 89.

 Douglass, Capt., engineer of Cass’s expedition, 71.

 Draft, the, in Minnesota, 246.

 Duluth, on Lake Superior, 16;
   on Pigeon River, 17;
   on Mille Lacs, (1679), 17;
   at Point Douglass (1680), 19;
   meets Accault’s party, 19.

 Dunnell, Mark H., superintendent of public instruction, 256.

 Dustin murders, 238.


 East and west line, 139.

 Edgerton, Gen. A. J., appointed state railroad commissioner, 280.

 Eleventh Minnesota Infantry, raised, 247.

 Emmegabowh, missionary, mentioned, 225.

 Enabling act:
   opposition to, 134;
   passage of, 134;
   land grants of, 134.

 Execution of Sioux convicts, 231.

 Expedition to upper Mississippi (1680), 18.


 Farley, J. P., sues associates, 311.

 Fifteenth Minnesota Volunteers, in Spanish War, 351.

 Fifth Minnesota Infantry, raised, 185;
   leaves three companies in Indian forts, 185;
   at Corinth, 185;
   at Nashville, 244.

 Fillmore, Ex-President, mentioned, 121.

 First Battery of Minnesota Light Artillery at Shiloh, 187.

 First claim at St. Anthony’s Falls, 81.

 First Minnesota Heavy Artillery, 247.

 First Minnesota Infantry, called, 178;
   mustered, 179;
   enlists for three years, 179;
   leaves for the South, 180;
   at first Bull Run, 180;
   at Antietam, 180;
   charge at Gettysburg, 240.

 First Minnesota Sharpshooters, mustered, 186;
   merged into Second regiment of U. S. Sharpshooters, 186.

 First white child in Minnesota, 56.

 Fiscal year, 337.

 Fish, Daniel, reviser of laws, 344.

 Five million loan, story of, 156;
   expunged, 173;
   investigation of, 325;
   efforts for settlement, 325;
   redeemed, 331.

 Flandrau, Charles Eugene, Sioux agent, causes pursuit of Inkpaduta,
    146;
   summoned by the people of New Ulm, 207;
   marches to their relief, 208;
   placed in command, 208, 209;
   appointed colonel, 213.

 Flour mill, first, in Minnesota, 56.

 Flour, patent, 274.

 Ford, John W., champions normal schools, 257.

 Forsyth, Major, pays lower Sioux for the land bought by Pike, 57.

 Fort Abercrombie, location, 190;
   attacked, 224.

 Fort Beauharnois, described, 26.

 Fort Ridgely, location, 190;
   description, 205;
   first attack on, 206;
   second attack on, 206;
   relieved, 212.

 Fort Ripley, garrisoned, 225.

 Fort St. Anthony, changed to Fort Snelling, 56.

 Fort St. Antoine, built by Perrot (1686), 22.

 Fort Snelling, occupied (1822), 56.

 Fort Snelling reservation, delimited, 128;
   reduced (1852), 129;
   occupied by squatters, 129;
   part east of Mississippi sold, 130;
   preëmption right granted by Congress (1855), 131;
   clandestine sale, 132.

 Foster, Dr. Thomas, account of Indian tribes of Minnesota, 91.

 Franklin, Benjamin, his Canada pamphlet, 31.

 French, abandon western trade (1699), 25;
   reëstablish it (1714), 25;
   fortify frontier, 30;
   build Fort Duquesne, 30;
   lose Quebec (1759), 30;
   lose Fort Duquesne (1759), 30;
   lose Montreal (1760), 30;
   cede to Spain territory west of the Mississippi (1762), 31;
   cede to England territory east of the Mississippi (1763), 31.

 French dominion, proclaimed at Sault, 15;
   proclaimed on upper Mississippi, 22;
   proclaimed at mouth of Mississippi by La Salle, 22.

 French, early discoveries, 2.

 Frontenac, governor (1672), 16;
   commissions Duluth, 16;
   dispatches Joliet, 16;
   death (1689), 24.

 Frontier dangers, 1863, 237.

 Fourteenth Minnesota Volunteers, in Spanish war, 350.

 Fourth Minnesota Infantry, recruited, 184;
   at Corinth and Iuka, 184;
   at Altoona, 244.

 Free school-books, 321.

 Fur-trade, organization of, 7;
   expands in seventeenth century, 7;
   revived under English, 32;
   effect on Indians, 45;
   effect of act of 1816, 54;
   in politics, 106.
   _See_ American Fur Company, and Northwest Company.

 Fur-traders, two unknown (1656), 7.


 Galbraith, Thomas F., succeeds J. R. Brown as Sioux agent, 169;
   recruits volunteers, 197.

 Galtier, Rev. Lucius, missionary at Mendota (1840), 83;
   builds chapel of St. Paul, 83.

 Gardiner, Miss, rescued from Inkpaduta, 147.

 Geological survey, 303.

 Gilbert, Cass, architect of new capitol, 344.

 Goodrich, Aaron, first territorial chief justice, 90.

 Gorman, Willis A., antecedents, 108;
   appointed territorial governor, 108;
   recommends construction of one railroad, 122;
   approves charter of Minnesota and Northwestern R. R. Co. (1854), 122;
   vetoes Minnesota and Northwestern Railroad bill (1855), 126;
   denounces jugglery of the railroad company, 126;
   proposes formation of constitution without enabling act, 133;
   calls special session of legislature, 135;
   resigns, 136;
   appointed colonel of the First Minnesota, 179.

 Gonor, de, missionary, 26.

 Grain elevators, use of, 273.

 Grand convocation of 1825, 61.

 Grant, Capt. H. P., in battle of Birch Coulie, 213.

 Grasshoppers, _see_ Rocky Mountain locust.

 “Great Cryptogram, The,” by Ignatius Donnelly, 319.

 Green, Corporal, makes heroic defense, 183.

 Griggs, Lieut.-Col., votes against surrender of Third Minnesota, 183.

 Groseilliers, first mentioned, 8.

 Groseilliers and Radisson, voyages, 8;
   first French in Minnesota, 11.

 Guinas, missionary at Fort Beauharnois, 26.


 Hamline University, mentioned, 354.

 Harlan, James, forbids further issues of Chippeway half-breed scrip,
    114.

 Hart, H. H., secretary of state board of charities and corrections,
    334.

 Hazlewood republic, 169.

 Hendricks, Capt. Mark, handles battery at Wood Lake, 219.

 Hennepin, Father Louis, member of expedition to upper Mississippi, 18;
   discovers falls of St. Anthony, 19;
   a subordinate to La Salle, 21;
   his “Description of Louisiana,” 21;
   his “New Discovery,” 21.

 Hewitt, Dr. C. N., secretary of state board of health, 334.

 High School Board, 322;
   effectiveness, 337.

 High schools, feed university, 321.

 Hill, J. J., an associate for purchase of the St. Paul and Pacific,
    309;
   becomes general manager of St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba R. R.,
      311.

 Hinckley forest fire (1894), 349.

 Hoag, Charles, proposes the name Min-ne-ha-polis, 131.

 Holcomb, William, first lieutenant-governor, 160.

 Home rule for cities; constitutional amendment, 348.

 Homestead act, operation of, 252.

 Hopperdozers, described, 305.

 Hospital for insane at St. Peter, fire in 1880, 325.

 Hotchkiss, William A., captain of Second Light Battery, 187.

 Hubbard, Lucius Fairchild:
   in command of Fifth Minnesota, 185;
   gallantry at Corinth, 185;
   wounded at Nashville, 245;
   brevetted brigadier, 245;
   declines nomination for member of Congress, 264;
   member of special commission on special state railroad bonds, 326;
   elected governor (1881), 333;
   fosters state institutions, 333;
   advises public school for neglected and dependent children, and
      reformatory for youthful convicts, 334;
   recommends “covering in” of moneys into county treasuries, 335;
   recommends railroad law (1885), 335.

 Huggins, Alexander, mentioned, 66.


 Indian forts, location and object, 190.

 Indian treaties:
   commissioners to be appointed from Indian officials, 94;
   price of, 101;
   with Chippeways (1837), 80;
   with Sioux (1837), 80;
   abortive with Sioux (1849), 92;
   with Sioux (1851), 95;
   with Chippeways (1854, etc.), 111;
   with Sioux (1858), 169.

 Indian tribes of Minnesota, account of, 94.

 Indians, how affected by traders, 45.

 Indians, _see_ Chippeways, Sioux, etc.

 Inkpaduta:
   murders by, 146;
   rescue of captives, 146;
   fruitless efforts to capture, 147;
   effect of failure to capture, 193.

 Interest, rate of (1860), 176.

 Internal improvement lands, devoted to redemption of bonds, 331.

 Ireland, Archbishop, chaplain of Fifth Minnesota, at Corinth, 186;
   speaks at celebration of two hundredth anniversary of discovery of
      falls of St. Anthony, 325.

 Iron ore of Minnesota:
   nature of, 359;
   ranges, discovery and location, 358;
   marketable, amount of, 359;
   properties, valuation for taxation, 360;
   land of state,—royalties, 360;
   lands excepted from mineral laws of United States, 360.

 Iroquois, subjects of England, 29.

 Itasca, Lake, discovered, 76;
   making of the word, 76.


 Jefferson plans expeditions to west, 47.

 Jennison, Lieut.-Colonel, wounded at Nashville, 245.

 Jogues, at Sault Ste Marie (1641), 6.

 Johnson, John A., governor (1905), 340.

 Joliet, on Lake Superior (1669), 14;
   at convocation (1671), 15;
   discovers the Mississippi (1673), 16.

 Jones commission, 116.

 Jones, John, sergeant, in charge of artillery at Fort Ridgely, 205.


 Keating, Prof. William H., geologist and historian of Long’s
    expedition, 7.

 Kiehle, David L., state superintendent of public instruction
    (1881-1893), 337;
   works out plan for school of agriculture, 355.

 Kingsbury, W. W., not recognized as delegate from the rump of
    Minnesota, 154.

 Kittson, N. W., trades at Pembina, 112;
   an associate for purchase of Saint Paul and Pacific, 309.

 Knox, H. M., first public examiner, 314;
   his administration commended, 314.


 La Framboise, Joseph, rescues whites at upper agency, 201.

 Lampson, Nathan, kills Little Crow, 238.

 La Perrière, Sieur de, builds Fort Beauharnois (1727), 26.

 La Salle, in Canada (1663), 17;
   authorized to explore, 17;
   at Peoria, Ill. (1680), 18;
   plans expedition to upper Mississippi, 18;
   at the mouth of the Mississippi (1682), 22.

 Lea, Luke, commissioner for Sioux treaties of 1851, 94.

 Leavenworth, Lieutenant-Colonel Henry, leads troops to St. Peter’s, 55;
   appoints officers of Crawford County, Mich., 58.

 Legislative sessions, limited by constitutional amendment, 346.

 Legislative steal of 1858, 165.

 Legislature, first, doubtful status, 150.

 Lester, Henry A., colonel of the Third Minnesota, 182;
   surrenders, 182;
   dismissed, 184.

 Le Sueur, Pierre, on Prairie Island (1694), 23;
   gets leave to mine copper, 23;
   builds Fort l’Huillier (1700), 24;
   his copper mine, 24.

 Lincoln, President, examines record of Indian trials, 229;
   writes out order for execution of Sioux murderers, 230;
   recommends reëlection of M. S. Wilkinson as U.S. senator, 251.

 Lind, John, governor (1899-1900), 340.

 Little Crow:
   apparently peaceable, 197;
   character, 198;
   assumes command of Sioux, 199;
   plans attack on Fort Ridgely, 205;
   leads Indians in battle of New Ulm, 209;
   retires behind the Yellow Medicine, 210;
   plans ambush for Sibley, 218;
   takes flight after battle, 220;
   killed, 238.

 Lochren, William, candidate for U. S. senator, 297.

 Long, Major S. H., examines site for Fort Snelling (1817), 55;
   expedition to Pembina, 72;
   marks international boundary, 72;
   _see_ Keating.

 Loras, Bishop, visits Mendota, 83.

 Louisiana, under Spanish rule, 42;
   retroceded to France by Spain, 43;
   bought of France, 43;
   delivered to United States, 43.

 Lugger, Dr. Otto, investigates locusts, 349.


 Macalester College, mentioned, 354.

 Mackinac, British garrison at, 32.

 Mackubin, C. N., state senator, advises payment in full of the special
    state bonds, 172.

 McGill, Andrew R., governor (1887-89), 340.

 McGillis, Hugh, agrees to Pike’s demands, 51.

 McLean, Nathaniel, mentioned, 97.

 McLeod, Martin, bill for free schools, 90.

 McMillan, S. R. J., elected United States senator (1875), 297.

 McPhail, Samuel, leader of relieving party at Birch Coulie, 214.

 Maine Law, 137.

 Majority to amend constitution, 347.

 Marine, first American settlement (1839), 81.

 Markle, Mrs., taken prisoner and killed by Inkpaduta, 146.

 Marquette, at La Pointe, 14;
   to accompany Joliet, 16.

 Marsh, Capt. John S., marches to rescue of victims of Sioux massacre,
    200;
   drowned after battle of Redwood Ferry, 200.

 Marshall, William R.:
   defeated by Rice (1855), 110;
   Republican leader, 136;
   candidate for Congress, 137;
   commands Seventh Minnesota at Wood Lake, 219;
   commands brigade at Nashville, 245;
   brevetted brigadier, 245;
   leads Seventh at capture of Fort Blakely, 246;
   elected governor (1865), 254;
   vetoes bill to remove state capital (1869), 266;
   recommends oversight of corporations, 279;
   elected state railroad commissioner, 284;
   recommends use of internal improvement lands for redemption of
      bonds, 327.

 Medary, Samuel, appointed territorial governor, 136;
   leaves Minnesota, 155.

 Medawakantons, country of, 96;
   _see_ Sioux Indians.

 Meeker, B. B., appointed territorial justice, 90.

 Mendota, first settlement, mostly French, 81;
   treaty of, 96.

 Merriam, William R., governor (1889-93), 340.

 Merriman, O. C., member of special board of regents, 259.

 Merritt Brothers, explore for iron, 358.

 Mesabi iron range, mines of, 358.

 Militia companies form nucleus of First Minnesota, 178.

 Militia law of 1858, 160.

 Mill explosion in Minneapolis (1878), 324.

 Miller, Stephen, appointed colonel of Seventh Minnesota, 189;
   military career, 250;
   brevetted brigadier, 251;
   elected governor, 251.

 Minneapolis and Cedar Valley Railroad Co. chartered, 162.

 Minneapolis, meaning of name, 131;
   founded, 131;
   united with St. Anthony, 131;
   absorbs St. Anthony, 275;
   a milling centre, 275;
   increase of population, 1880-85, 333.

 Minneapolis Millers’ Association, 316.

 Minnesota, meaning of word, 1.
   Area east of the Mississippi (“Minnesota East”):
     ceded by France to England (1763), 2, 31;
     effect of proclamation of George III (1763), 36;
     operation of the Quebec act of 1774, 37;
     claim of Virginia, 37;
     becomes part of the Northwest Territory (1787), 38;
     remains in control of the Northwest Company of Montreal, 39;
     British control ends (1815), 52;
     part of successive territories, 58;
     excluded from the State of Wisconsin (1848), 86;
     treated by Congress as the Territory of Wisconsin, 86.
   Area west of the Mississippi (“Minnesota West”):
     ceded by France to Spain (1762), 31, 42;
     retroceded (1801), 43;
     bought of France by the United States as part of the Louisiana
        Purchase, 43.
   As Territory:
     bill to organize in 1846, defeated, 88;
     created (1849), 88;
     proclaimed, 89;
     boundaries and area, 89;
     laws of Wisconsin remain in force, 90;
     provisional counties and judicial districts, 90;
     first census, election, and legislature, 91;
     capital located at St. Paul, 91;
     code of 1851, 91;
     population, 90, 120, 149.
   As State:
     enabling act (1857), 133;
     boundaries and area, 135;
     constitutional convention in two bodies, 137;
     they agree on one constitution, 141;
     ratified, 148;
     opposition in Congress to admission to the Union, 151;
     admitted, 153;
     state officers qualified, 157;
     latitude and longitude, 363;
     “Heart of the Continent,” 364;
     elevation and temperature, 364;
     population, 175, 252, 270, 307, 333, 364.

 Minnesota colleges, 353.

 Minnesota Historical Society incorporated, 91.

 Minnesota River, course of, 1.

 Minnesota state railroad adjustment bonds, 331.
   _See_ Five million loan.

 Minnesota troops, in Civil War, 178, 186, 188, 247;
   in Spanish War, 350.

 Minnesota and Northwestern Railroad Company, incorporated (1854), 122;
   land grant before Congress, 123;
   bill for land grant repealed, 125;
   act of 1854 held repealed by Supreme Court of United States, 127.

 Minnesota and Pacific Railroad Co., chartered, 161;
   superseded by the St. Paul and Pacific, 285.

 Missions, first, in Minnesota, 27;
   beginning of Chippeway, 64;
   first to Sioux, 65;
   at Kaposia, 68;
   Methodist, at Redwing, 68;
   Catholic, at Lac qui Parle and Chaska, 68;
   why unfruitful, 68.

 Mississippi, the, rumors of, 14;
   discovered (1673), 16.

 Monopoly of markets forbidden, constitutional amendment, 346.

 Munch, Emil, Captain of First Light Battery, 187;
   wounded at Shiloh, 187;
   state treasurer, 298.


 Natural history survey, 303.

 Neal commission, 114.

 Neill, Rev. E. D., draws bill for free schools, 91;
   chaplain of First Minnesota, 179;
   superintendent of public instruction, 255.

 Nelson, Knute, governor (1893-95), 340;
   elected to United States Senate, 340.

 New France, a royal province (1663), 13.

 New Ulm, first attack on by Sioux, 201;
   battle of, 209.

 Nicollet, Jean, at Green Bay (1634), 6;
   locates Lake Michigan, 6.

 Nicollet, Joseph N., confirms work of Schoolcraft and Allen, 77;
   discovers the “infant Mississippi,” 78.

 Nicols, John, member of special board of regents, 259;
   member of state commission on special state railroad bonds, 326.

 Ninth Minnesota Infantry, at Nashville, 244.

 Nix, Capt. Jacob, commands defense of New Ulm, first attack, 201.

 Normal schools, establishment, 257.

 Northern Securities Company, organized, 361;
   dissolution of, 362.

 Northfield murders (1876), 315.

 Northrop, Cyrus, president of University of Minnesota, 337.

 Northwest Company, organization and policy, 39;
   posts of, 39.

 Norton, Daniel A., elected United States senator, 252;
   death, 292.


 Official year fixed by constitutional amendment, 345.

 Olmstead, David, mentioned, 110.

 Other Day, John, rescues whites at upper agency, 201.

 Otis, George L., defeated by Austin for governor, 267.

 Ozawindib, Schoolcraft’s Chippeway guide, 76.


 Panic of 1857, 142;
   of 1873, 288.

 Parker, Ely F., forbids issue of Chippeway half-breed scrip, 114.

 Parrant, Pierre, mentioned, 82.

 Peck, Louis, discovers cause of mill explosion, 324.

 Pembina, French and half breed town, 84;
   treaty of, 112.

 Perrot, Nicholas, at convocation of 1671, 15;
   builds Fort St. Antoine, 22;
   proclamation, 22.

 Phelps, William F., organizes Winona Normal School, 257.

 Phelps, William W., seated as representative from Minnesota, 154.

 Picard du Gay, a title of Auguelle, companion of Accault, 18.

 Pinchon, trades on Minnesota River, 32.

 Pike, Zebulon Montgomery, personal appearance, 47;
   expedition, 47;
   treaty with the Sioux, 48;
   at upper sources of Mississippi, 50;
   asserts dominion of United States, 51.

 Pillager band of Chippeways, outbreak of, 351;
   suffer injustice, 352.

 Pillsbury, C. A., heads relief committee, 350.

 Pillsbury, John S., becomes regent of university, 259;
   characteristics, 304;
   governor for three terms, 304;
   advises farmers how to fight “hoppers,” 305;
   visits devastated counties, 305;
   appoints day of fasting and prayer for “hoppers,” 306;
   praises operation of public examiner law, 314;
   urges payment of “dishonored bonds,” 330;
   regent for life, 332;
   death, 332.

 Pine on the St. Croix, 79.

 Pine forests, exhaustion of, 357.

 Pine land operations, _see_ Chippeway half-breed scrip, Sioux
    half-breed scrip.

 Plympton, Major, mentioned, 128.

 Pokegama mission broken up, 65.

 Pond brothers, first missionaries to Sioux, 65;
   build on Lake Calhoun, 65;
   invent the Pond alphabet, 66.

 Pope, General John, takes command of department of the northwest, 222;
   protests against the appointment of H. M. Rice as brigadier-general,
      223;
   proposes to exterminate the Sioux, 226.

 Population of Minnesota, in 1849, 90;
   increase of, in Gorman’s administration, 120;
   in 1860, 175;
   in 1865, 252;
   in 1870, 269;
   in 1875 and 1880, 307;
   in 1880 and 1885, 333;
   in 1905, 364;
   1850 to 1905, 365;
   of the Twin Cities, 1905, 364.

 Porter, Edward A., conceives school of agriculture, 354.

 Prairie du Chien supply station, 32;
   garrisoned, 55.

 Presbyterian church at Fort Snelling, 67.

 Prescott, Philander, teaches in agricultural school at Lake Calhoun
    (1839), 67.

 Primary elections, 342.

 Prohibitory liquor law, 91.

 Public examiner, office created (1878), 314.

 Public lands, grants of, 135;
   grants for railroads, 143.

 Public Library Commission, 363.


 Quebec act, the, 37.

 Quinn, Peter, killed by Sioux, 201.


 Radisson, _see_ Groseilliers.

 Radisson manuscript discovered, 9.

 “Ragnarök,” by Ignatius Donnelly, 318.

 Railroad excursion of 1854, 121.

 Railroads, land grant of 1857, 143;
   four companies chartered (1857), 143;
   five million loan for, 155;
   the four land grant companies of 1857, 161;
   loan of credit to the four companies, 162;
   special Minnesota state railroad bonds, 162;
   work stops, 164;
   work of the four companies, 165;
   special bonds not regarded as state obligations, 164;
   banking on special bonds, 166;
   special bonds repudiated, 173;
   the four companies revived, 173;
   they default, 173;
   they give up, 174;
   four new companies chartered, 174;
   mileage, 174, 175, 271, 307, 360;
   beginnings of construction, 175;
   extension in late ’60’s, 255;
   extensions in ’70’s, 270;
   extend cultivation, 272;
   welcomed, 276;
   multiply new towns, 272;
   extortion and discrimination, 276;
   ignore legislation, 280;
   state commissioner appointed, 280;
   debts of 1873, 281;
   evade taxes, 281;
   reports of slight service, 281;
   slight construction, 282;
   finances in 1873, 282;
   failure of companies (1873), 282;
   litigate right to regulate, 282;
   state board of commissioners created (1874), 283;
   elective commissioner (1875), 284;
   grants and gifts, 291;
   law of 1885, 335;
   competition of Canadian, 362.

 Ramsey, Alexander:
   antecedents, 89;
   appointed territorial governor, 89;
   commissioner for Sioux treaties (1849), 93;
   investigation of his conduct in Sioux treaties (1851), 100;
   exonerated by Senate, 101;
   protests against Rice’s Winnebago contract, 105;
   superseded as territorial governor, 108;
   negotiates Pembina treaty, 112;
   director of Minnesota and Northwestern Railroad Co., 126;
   elected governor of state, 170;
   inaugural address (1860), 170;
   rescues the school lands, 171;
   recommends settling with holders of special state railroad bonds,
      172;
   reëlected governor (1862), 177;
   in Washington on day of attack on Fort Sumter, 178;
   tenders a regiment of infantry, 178;
   appoints colonels, 189;
   appoints Sibley to command the Indian expedition, 211;
   elected United States senator (1863), 249;
   recommends sale of university lands to pay debt, 258;
   reëlected senator, 265;
   fails to secure nomination again, 297;
   secretary of war, 297;
   lays corner-stone of new capitol, 298;
   death, 298.

 Ravoux, Monsignor, Catholic missionary, 68;
   succeeds Père Galtier, 83;
   baptizes thirty condemned Sioux, 231.

 Raymbault, at Sault Ste. Marie (1641), 6.

 Reeve, Col. C. McC., commands Thirteenth Minnesota, 350.

 Registration of voters, 175.

 Renville, Joseph, trader at Lac qui Parle, invites Dr. Williamson, 67;
  guide and interpreter for Major Long, 72.

 Renville Rangers, help defend Fort Ridgely, 205.

 Republican party, organized, 136.

 Revised laws of 1905, 344.

 Rice, Henry M., birth and education, 102;
   in Indian trade, 102;
   personal qualities, 103;
   settles in St. Paul, 103;
   his Winnebago contract, 103;
   selects new home for Winnebagoes, 103;
   elected delegate to Congress, 107;
   in Congress, 110;
   reëlected delegate, 110;
   secures issue of additional Chippeway half-breed scrip, 113, 118;
   director of Minnesota and Northwestern Railroad Co., 126;
   assists in sale of Snelling reserve, 132;
   reëlected delegate, 136;
   introduces bill for enabling act, 133;
   causes retirement of Governor Gorman, 136;
   elected United States senator, 150;
   seated as senator, 153;
   declines to change politics, 252;
   defeated for governor by Marshall (1865), 254;
   plans double land grant for the university, 301.

 Riggs, Rev. Stephen Return, joins Sioux mission, 67;
   edits Dakota grammar and dictionary, 68;
   escape from upper Sioux, 202;
   chaplain of Sibley’s Indian expedition, 227;
   assists military commission, 227.

 Rocky Mountain locust, scourge of, 290;
   devastations of (1876), 305;
   suddenly vanish (1877), 307;
   appear in Otter Tail County (1886), 349.

 Rolette, Joseph, absconds with capital removal bill, 132.

 Root River and Southern Minnesota Railroad Co. chartered, 161.


 St. Anthony’s Falls, discovered, 19;
   two hundredth anniversary celebrated, 325.

 St. Anthony’s Falls, city of, laid out (1847), 84;
   united with Minneapolis, 131.

 St. John’s University, mentioned, 354.

 St. Lusson, at convocation of 1671, 15.

 St. Michael the Archangel, mission of, 27.

 St. Paul, Hennepin at site of (1680), 19;
   Carver visits site (1767), 34;
   first inhabitant, 82;
   settled by evicted Swiss, 82;
   how named, 83;
   a French village till 1845, 83;
   gets post-office (1846), 84;
   capital of territory, 91;
   remains the capital, 132, 265.

 St. Paul and Pacific Railroad Co., financing of, 285;
   bankruptcy of, 308;
   sold to associates (1878), 310;
   litigation following sale of, 311.

 St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railroad Co. organized 1879, 311.

 Saint Pierre, Capt. Legardeur, at Fort Beauharnois, 27.

 Sanborn, John A., appointed colonel of the Fourth Minnesota, 184.

 Sandy Lake and post, 40.

 San Ildefonso, treaty of, 43.

 Savanna portage. 40.

 Sawmill, near Menominee, Wis., 80;
   first in Minnesota, at Marine, 81;
   first at falls of St. Anthony, 84.

 School, agricultural, at Lake Calhoun, 67.

 School-books, free, 321.

 Schoolcraft, Henry R., mineralogist of Cass’s expedition, 71;
   narrative of same, 71;
   expedition of 1832, 75;
   at Lake Itasca, 76;
   conceals discovery in report to War Department, 77;
   announces discovery in published narrative, 77.

 School fund, increase of, 352;
   may be loaned for erection of school buildings, constitutional
      amendment, 346;
   may be invested in municipal bonds, constitutional amendment, 348.

 School of Agriculture of University of Minnesota, evolution of, 354.

 School tax, 337.

 Schools, common, development of, 255.

 Second Battery of Light Artillery, 187.

 Second Minnesota Infantry, recruited, 181;
   at Mill Springs, 181;
   gallant stand at Chickamauga, 242;
   at Mission Ridge, 243.

 Second Minnesota Sharpshooters at Antietam, 181.

 Seeger, William, impeachment of, 298.

 Selkirk, Earl of, plans colony, 78;
   plants settlements in Canada, 78.

 Selkirk colonists migrate to the States, 78.

 Selkirk refugees, squat about Fort Snelling, 79;
   evicted from Fort Snelling reservation, 82;
   settle at St. Paul, 82.

 Seventh Minnesota Infantry, at Nashville, 244;
   at Wood Lake, 219.

 Seven Years’ War, effect of, 31.

 Sheehan, Timothy J., recalled to Fort Ridgely, 200;
   commands there, 205;
   gallantry at Nashville, 245;
   U. S. marshal, 351.

 Sherburne, Moses G., appointed territorial justice (1853), 108;
   presents plan of union of two factions of constitutional convention,
      139;
   reports constitution to democratic body, 140.

 Sherman, Gen. W. T., speaks at celebration of two hundredth
    anniversary of the discovery of the falls of St. Anthony, 325.

 Sherman, John, opposes the admission of Minnesota, 153.

 Shields, James, elected U. S. senator, 150;
   seated as senator, 153.

 Sibley, Henry Hastings:
   birth and education, 59;
   arrives at Mendota (1834), 59;
   Dakota name, 60;
   chosen delegate by the Stillwater convention, 86;
   delegate from Wisconsin Territory, 87;
   secures passage of act creating Minnesota Territory, 88;
   protests against Rice’s Winnebago Contract, 105;
   elected delegate to Congress from Minnesota Territory, 105;
   his notable Indian speech, August 2, 1850, 107;
   secures double land grants for common schools and for a university,
      107;
   speech for reform of Indian policy, 107;
   retires from American Fur Company, 197;
   drafts new bill for land grants to Minnesota railroads, 124;
   in legislature of 1855, 126;
   frames report on Minnesota and Northwestern Railroad, 126;
   draws memorial to Congress praying for disapproval of Minnesota and
      Northwestern Railroad bill, 127;
   chairman and president of Democratic end of constitutional
      convention, 138;
   elected first state governor, 149;
   sworn in as governor, 157;
   inaugural address, 159;
   notifies the four companies as to prior lien, 163;
   appointed to Command Indian expedition, 211;
   corresponds with Little Crow, 216;
   moves against the Sioux, 218;
   commands in battle of Wood Lake, 218;
   releases captives, 220;
   promoted brigadier-general, 222;
   appoints military commission, 227;
   commands Sioux expedition of 1863, 234;
   in legislature of 1871, favors payment of bonds of 1858 in full, 328;
   honorary banquet to, 339;
   receives degree of LL. D., 339;
   death, 339.

 Sioux and Chippeways exchange murders, 62.

 Sioux campaign of 1864, 236;
   expedition of 1863, 234.

 Sioux half-breed scrip, story of, 117;
   placed on iron ore properties, 119.

 Sioux Indians:
   first heard of, 7;
   seen by Allouez, 14;
   early habitat, 44;
   immigration of, 44;
   characteristics, 45;
   tribes and numbers of, 94;
   move to reserves (1853), 120, 167;
   uneasy on reserves, 167;
   become farmers, 168;
   effect of concentration, 191;
   character of reservations, 192;
   prey of whiskey-sellers, 192;
   disturbances at upper agency, 194;
   delay of payments, 195;
   soldiers’ lodge, 196;
   late arrival of gold, 196;
   murders at Acton, 197;
   council at upper agency, 201;
   depopulation, 203;
   losses in outbreak, 211;
   removal from Minnesota, 232.

 Sioux outbreak, 190.

 Sioux prisoners, trial of, by military commission, 227;
   disposition of principal body of, 228, 232;
   maltreated by whites, 228;
   protests against leniency, 229;
   Bishop Whipple’s letter to President, 230;
   President Lincoln’s scrutiny, 230;
   executions, 231;
   mistakes in identification, 231;
   become Christians, 231, 232;
   disposition of convicts not executed, 232.

 Sioux reservations:
   granted in treaties of 1851, 96;
   annulled by Senate, 1852, 98;
   ratified by Indians, 1853, 98;
   nevertheless occupied, 167;
   permitted by Congress to be held, 167;
   reduction, 169, 192;
   forfeited, 232.

 Sioux treaties:
   abortive treaty of 1849, 92;
   treaties of 1851, 93;
   of 1858, 169, 192;
   abrogation of, 232.

 Sissetons, 94;
   country of, 96.

 Sixth Minnesota Infantry, decimated in Arkansas, by disease, 246;
   at Wood Lake, 219;
   gallantry at Fort Blakely, 246.

 Smith, Donald A., an associate for purchase of St. Paul and Pacific,
    308.

 Smith, Robert, gets lease at falls of St Anthony, 129.

 Snelling, Col. Joseph, takes command, 56;
   builds Fort St. Anthony, 56.

 Soldiers’ Home, 335.

 Source of rivers, the true, 70.

 Spain retrocedes Louisiana to France, 43.

 Special legislation forbidden, constitutional amendment, 346.

 Special state railroad bonds, authorized, 155;
   intended employment of, 164;
   discredit of, 164;
   amount of issue, 165;
   legislative reports on, 172;
   tribunal for, 330;
   redeemed (1881), 331.

 Springer, William, mentioned, 317.

 Spring wheat, adapted to Minnesota, 273.

 State agricultural college, located at Glencoe, 261;
   merged with university, 261.

 State Agricultural Society, mentioned, 356.

 State Art Society, 363.

 State Board of Charities and Corrections, 334;
   Board of Health, 334;
   Board of Control, 344;
   Board of Visitors, 345.

 State capital, efforts to remove, 132, 265.

 State capitol, burned (1881), 325;
   rebuilt, 343;
   new, built, 343.

 State Forestry Board, mentioned, 358.

 State highway commission; constitutional amendment, 348.

 State Public School for neglected and dependent children, 335.

 State Reformatory, 335.

 Steele, Franklin, gives site for university preparatory school, 144;
   defeated by Shields for U. S. senator, 151.

 Stephen, George, takes an interest in St. Paul and Pacific purchase,
    310.

 Stevens, Rev. J. D., missionary, opens school at Lake Harriet, 66;
   pastor of Snelling church, 67.

 Stevens, J. H., gets lease at falls of St. Anthony, 130.

 Stillwater, laid out (1843), 81;
   convention, 86.

 Stone, George C., explores for iron ore, 358.

 Stuart, Robert, mentioned, 64.

 Sully, Gen. Alfred, commands expedition, 1863, 236.

 Supreme Court of Minnesota holds “five million loan” amendment of 1860
    unconstitutional, 331.

 Supreme Court of United States, validates Sioux half-breed scrip, 120;
   in obiter dictum holds Minnesota responsible for railroad bonds, 329.

 Swift, Henry A., becomes governor for six months, 249.


 Taliaferro, Lawrence, first Sioux agent, 61;
   opposes issue of individual patents to Sioux half-breeds, 117.

 Talon, intendant of New France, 13;
   orders post at the Sault, 14;
   plans expedition to the west, 15;
   chooses Joliet to lead, 16.

 Taxation, system, changed by constitutional amendment, 347.

 Tenth Minnesota Infantry, at Nashville, 244.

 Terms of office, 337.

 Third Minnesota Infantry, recruited, 181;
   at Murfreesboro, 182;
   at Wood Lake, 219;
   in battle of Fitzhugh’s Woods, 243.

 Thomas, M. T., appointed colonel of Eighth Minnesota, 189.

 Thompson, David, on Turtle Lake, 70.

 Tornado, at St. Cloud (1886), 348;
   in southern counties (1891), 349.

 Traders’ paper, 95.

 Transit Railroad Co., chartered, 161.

 Transportation to seaboard, _see_ Windom.

 Traverse des Sioux, treaty of, 95.

 Treaty, _see_ Indian treaties.

 Tweedy, John H., mentioned, 87.

 Twelfth Minnesota Volunteers, in Spanish War, 350.

 Tyler, Hugh, attorney-in-fact, 100.


 University of Minnesota, created, 144;
   land grant of 1851, 144;
   first board of regents, 144;
   preparatory school of 1851, 144;
   campus purchased on credit, 145;
   regents borrow money, 145, 160, 257;
   erect building, 145;
   state board appointed, 175, 258;
   state board recommend sale of land, 258;
   Congress donates lands reserved in 1851, 258;
   properties turned over to state auditor, 258;
   special board appointed, 259;
   “extrication” by same, 259;
   new charter, 260;
   preparatory and academic departments opened, 260;
   novel plan of organization proposed by the first president, the
      author of this book, 300;
   first commencement, 300;
   double land grant, 302;
   fed by high schools, 338;
   late prosperity, 353.


 Van Cleve, Horatio P., colonel of Second Minnesota, 181.

 Van Cleve, Mrs. Charlotte Ouisconsin, born, 55.

 Van der Horck, Capt. John, commands at Fort Abercrombie, 223.

 Van Sant, Samuel R., governor (1901-05), 340;
   opposes railroad consolidation, 340.

 Verendrye, Sieur de la, explorations, 28.

 Vermilion Iron Range, 358.

 Vilas, William F., secretary of state, endeavors to prevent use of
    Sioux scrip, 119.


 Wabashaw sends letter to Sibley, 217.

 Wabashaw reservation, 117.

 Wahpékutes, _see_ Sioux Indians.

 Wahpétons, _see_ Sioux Indians.

 Walker, Lucius C., Chippewa agent, mentioned, 225.

 Washburn, William D., declines nomination for Congress, 264;
   becomes nominee in 1878, 316;
   service as congressman, 318;
   elected U. S. senator, 342.

 Washburne, E. B., reply to Ignatius Donnelly, 263.

 Weiser, Dr. J. S., shot by Sioux, 235.

 Welch, Major A. E., gallantry at Wood Lake, 219.

 Welch, William H., appointed territorial chief justice, 1853, 108.

 Western fur-trade suspended, 25.

 Wheat crops of 1875 and 1880, 307;
   grading and inspection, 336.

 Whipple, Henry Benjamin, protests against wholesale executions, 229.

 Whitman, Allen, report on locusts, 304.

 Wilkin, Alexander, defeated for delegate, 1855, by Rice, 107;
   appointed colonel of Ninth Minnesota, 189.

 Wilkinson, Major M. C., shot in Pillager outbreak, 352.

 Wilkinson, Morton S., elected U. S. senator, 171;
   defeated for Senate by D. S. Norton, 252.

 Williamson. Miss Jane, missionary work, 67, 233.

 Williamson, Thomas Smith, missionary of American Board (1835), 66;
   translates Bible into Dakota, 67;
   organizes the Hazlewood republic at Yellow Medicine, 169;
   escapes from upper Sioux, 202;
   ministers to Sioux convicts, 233.

 Wilson, Eugene M., elected M. C., 264.

 Wilson, Horace B., state superintendent of public instruction, 299.

 Winchell, N. H., state geologist, 303;
   reports on iron ore find (1878), 358.

 Windom, William, reëlected to Congress (1862), 248;
   elected U. S. senator, 292;
   personal qualities, 292;
   report of, on “transportation routes to the seaboard,” 292;
   defeated for reëlection to U. S. Senate (1883), 338;
   Secretary of the Treasury, 339;
   death, 339.

 Winnebagoes, established on Long Prairie reservation, 104;
   stray from reserve, 104;
   Rice contract, 104;
   moved to new reserve, near Mankato, 120;
   removed from Minnesota, 232.

 Woman suffrage on school and library measures, 320, 347.

 Wood Lake, battle of, 218.


 Younger brothers, 315.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



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                          Transcriber’s note:

    All instances of ‘Ramsay’ have been changed to ‘Ramsey.’

    All instances of ‘per cent’ have been changed to ‘per cent.’

    All instances of ‘re-election’ have been changed to ‘reëlection.’

    All instances of ‘pre-emption’ have been changed to ‘preëmption.’

    All index entries have been regularised.

    Page 75, changed ‘noteworty’ to ‘noteworthy,’ “It is noteworthy
    that Beltrami”

    Page 221, full stop added, “the imagination of the reader.”

    Page 225, ‘Emmegabowgh’ changed to ‘Emmegabowh,’ “the missionary
    Emmegabowh”

    Page 270, ‘promotors’ changed to ‘promoters,’ “enthusiastic
    promoters in many lines.”

    Page 354, ‘but’ moved, “not to learn agriculture but to practice
    it.”

    Page 364, comma added, “The highest land, a granite peak”

    Index, entry for ‘Brackett’s Cavalry Battalion’ changed from page
    1862 to page 186.

    Index, entry for ‘Hoag’ changed from ‘Min-ne-ha-po-lis’ to
    ‘Min-ne-ha-polis,’ “Hoag, Charles, proposes the name
    Min-ne-ha-polis, 131.”

    Index, entry for ‘Jogues’ moved to before entry for Johnson.

    Index, entry for ‘Jogues’ changed from page 9 to page 6.

    Index, entry for ‘St. Michel’ changed to ‘St. Michael,’ “St.
    Michael the Archangel, mission of, 27.”

    Index, full stop added, “Welch, Major A. E.”





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