A Hubbard County Resident shares what she experienced during “The Sioux Massacre” during 1862. She was fifteen years old. Her name was Catherine.
The morning dawned bright and clear after a rainy spell of several days. Father had a lot of hay to stack, so he yoked his oxen to the wagon and he and mother went to haul hay. I being the oldest, was left with the rest of the children to keep house while they were gone. My Uncle had started for New Ulm that morning with some wheat to have it ground, he having threshed it with the flail, as there were no threshing machines there at that time. When he got to where the road turned to the Agency the Whites that lived there were all feeing away, some bare headed and some bare footed, carrying their children in their nightclothes. One man carrying his arm in a sling, he being shot by the Indians that morning. So my Uncle left his team with them and returned for his family and came to notify my fathers family. About this time father drove up with the his first load, another boy rode up to tell us that the Indians were at their house when he came away.
Packing up such things as they wanted, they told them they had better leave, so they took the ox team, packed the women and children in the wagon, this being Mrs. Eunes’ family, and their neighbors wife and child, Mrs. Mike Haden. The men remained to load some things on Mrs. Haden’s team, and to look up their cattle to drive along, as we were all pioneers and had only lived there three years and what little we had was dearly earned and badly needed. We harvested our first crop a few days before. Returning to us they upset the hay and put on the wagon box and we packed the children and ourselves into it. My father’s family bible lay on the table, I took it and a half a loaf of bread, some knoves (knives)and we started to go toward Fort Ridgely, but intended to stop at Magnus Johnsons and consult what to do. When we got about a half mile from home we met two Indians, who upon seeing us stopped, and loaded their gun, they having but one shot gun, so we stopped they came up and asked where were we going. We told them what we had heard and they said we should go back, that the Indians had broken into the warehouse to get something to eat, and that they did not intend to hurt the settlers. They also told us they were hunting their ponies so they went on, and we turned around to go back.
Now we live on the Minnesota River bottom, but we had climbed the hill where there is a level prairie, so when the men went back to the brow of the hill to look down to the main road and saw two teams, Mr. Haden’s and our nearest neighbors wife, Mrs. Kirchnes, and some one driving a herd of cattle and our cattle with them. About a mile to the north was a Mr. Witt mowing hay, his boy would drive out and he would load on a load and the boy’s mother would help him stack it when he came home. Now when father and uncle turned and looked into the bottom they saw thirteen Indian warriors ascending the hill about a mile to the east of us going straight for Mr. Witt’s home. His boy would drive the team to where his father was mowing and he would load for him and his mother would help him stack it. Now when the boy drove to the stack he heard shooting in the house and saw Indians, so he crawled in the hay and hid.
To be continued…