I am transcribing an eyewitness sketch of “The Sioux Massacre” otherwise known as The Dakota Conflict or The U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. Catherine was fifteen years old she and her family lived in the Minnesota River bottom.
We continue on..
When we got halfway up the hill we heard two shots, but the three Indians and the two men were standin, but when we got out of sight of them we heard two more shots. This was about a mile east of the La Croix Creek. When Mrs. Eicenrich reached the creek she told her husband she would follow the children, but she never saw her husband again, As she was hurring along she overtook Mr. Kirchnes and a Mr. Shurk, they were walking all three abreast, she in the center, when those three Indians came up in front of them, they told her to stop, whereupon they shot both men dead, and told her to go on. When she reached her children, they had been thrown off from the wagon and some Indians had taken the three teams to the Agency. Just then an Indian came on horseback, took the oldest boy on the horse, and also took the woman and the rest of the children prisoners. The boy fell off from the horse and broke his arm. they were released at Camp Relice.
Our party had reached the top of the prairie when we saw an object a little ways ahead in a slough. We thought it was an Indian and he thought we were Indians, but finally we made out that it was a white man so he joined our party, which now counted fifteen. Now east of us was a deep ravine, and we were going around it to reach the house we were aiming for, Magnus Johnston’s, when we heard a woman scream and saw smoke ascent from the very house we were going to stop at.
Dr. Humphrey and his family, numbering five in all started from the Agency for the Fort, but when they reached this house they sat down on a bench to rest and sent the oldest boy, about 12 years old, to the spring across the road on the brow of the hill, but before he got on the hill heard a shot and looking over the hill saw the Indians shoot his father and his mother then ran in the house with her two little children, then the Indians set fire to it, all three were burned to death, but the boy made his escape to the Fort.
We watched until we were sick at heart, then we proceeded to go around the ravine to get in the road to the Fort, when we spied two objects in the distance, then we saw that the woman wore a shacker, a kind of bonnet worn at that time by women, who also joined our party, which now numbered seventeen in all. The Indians were at their home, and packed everything they wanted, so we journeyed on till we got in the road towards the Fort when a man on horseback came up the road calling “go back”
To be continued…
Events for July
Thursday and Friday July 26 and 27 Root Beer Floats for $2 on Main Street in front of Eco Water during Crazy Days.
Sunday July 29 Civil War Sunday from 1 to 4 on the front lawn of the museum weather permitting, will be held inside if it rains. Meet and talk to Union Soldiers. Find out what they carried and learn about their lives. Biscuits, Lemonade and Root Beer Floats will be for sale.
Monday July 30 Program by Dean Urdahl “The Dakota Conflict” Meeting at 7 PM Program begins at 7:30 PM