Selections From Various
Chapters In Both Books Which Mention Native Americans
From the 1884 book, chapter 21, Glasgow Township:
Near the center of the town, and lying along the banks of Trout brook, is a field of some
fifteen acres, known as "Indian field." The aborigines used a portion of this field for burying
their dead, and the balance was planted to corn by the squaws. It was rudely inclosed by a brush
fence, portions of which are still to be seen. There are in various parts of the town relics of the
former occupants of the soil, reminding the passer-by that, like these now extinct people, they,
too, must pass away and yield their loved land and the labor of their hands to others. In the
pleasant valleys where the bold warriors with tireless feet pursued the panting deer, and once
resounded with the savage war-whoop, is now to be found happy homes and pleasant farms; and
as the old settlers sit by the roaring fires of winter, how well do their children love to hear them
tell of their trials and hardships of the early times spent in this township.
From the 1920 book, chapter 23, Wabasha:
In 1849 a bill was passed organizing the territory of Minnesota, whose boundary on the west extended to the Missouri river, and at that time the whole region was little more than a vast wilderness. Alexis Bailly was at Wabasha. Charles R. Read and Fordyce S. Richards at Read's Landing. H. S. Allen, of Chippewa Falls, built a warehouse upon the levee at Wabasha in 1849, and some years added to it and opened a store therein in company with a partner named Creamer. The agent here was named Murphy. The Dakota Indians were numerous, but very peaceable with the white people, many of whom were their relatives, but their enemies, the Chippewas, were often made to realize their hatred, and when some unfortunate Chippewa ventured so near as to lose his scalp, the Sioux would hold what they called a scalp dance. The last of these occurred in 1858, on the levee just below the American House, then kept by C. W. Wyman. (page 198)
An early settler has said: "When the writer of these annals first came to Wabasha, in the spring of 1857, the teepee of the Indian was to be seen in every direction, and the dusky form of the savage might be expected to walk in upon you, or be seen peering curiously at you through the window at any time. Usually they wanted food or "coshpop" (the Indian term for ten cents), begging being one of their strong characteristics. Just below the house in which we lived stood a little copse of wood, where the death-song of the "poor Indian" was heard many times when he though himself dying; the "fire-water" of the white man proving too much for him. He would get thus far on his way back to the teepee, lie down, as he thought, to die, and then the terrible wail would begin and continue until the poor fellow was overcome and dead-drunken sleep drowned all sensibilities. Their dances, too, were very frequent and dreadfully hideous, yet apparently enjoyed with all the zest their benighted brains and energies could desire. Their medicine and war-dances were the most frequent; they had also a snake-dance, which took in all the serpentine antics and hisses, while the monotonous beatings of their drums was most unearthly.
Sitting at our dinner table one day, we were startled by the door being opened suddenly and five dusky faces, one above the other, peering in at us, the last one with face painted black and red, with mischief-gleaming eyes and two feathers in his hair. Our eldest son, who, in a short time, had caught much of the Sioux language, upon seeing the last face, jumped up and accosted him with, "Now, Dick, what does all this mean?" "Indian hungry," was the reply. "But why are you here with that face?" "Dick dandy," he replied, and it appeared that he had painted and dressed himself in those habiliments for our especial benefit. The Indian was known ever after as "Dandy Dick." (page 199)
From the 1920 book, chapter 21, Read's Landing and Pepin Township:
The river at Read's was the meeting-place of those hereditary foes the Chippewas and the Sioux, and to their mutual hate was often added a common enmity against their white neighbors, whose presence on both sides of the river was frequently resented. The old settlers still tell an interesting story illustrative of this: Late in November, 1856, two white men, Sam Sutton and Jerry Landerigan, were paddling down the river in a canoe past Nelson's Landing, where a party of whites, half-breeds and natives were sitting near the shore. Among the bucks was the son of old Ironcloud, second chief of Wacutah's band. Young Ironcloud had for some time aspired to the honors of chieftainship, and on being taunted by the young men of his tribe with having done nothing to deserve such distinction, had declared he would shoot the first white man or Chippewa he met. The present seemed a fitting occasion to display his prowess, and remarking that he wondered if his gun would carry that far, drew bead on the men in the boat and shot them both. Sam Sutton was mortally wounded, surviving, however, about twenty-four hours. Jerry Landerigan was severely wounded in the breast, but recovered after being laid up several months. Wahshechah-Soppah, known by the English name of John Walker, was in the company with young Ironcloud, and immediately crossing the river to Read's Lading, gave information of the affair. As both the wounded men resided at Read's the excitement was intense. Sutton had made his home at Charlie Read's for more than a year, his principal occupation being the manufacture of ox-bows for the lumbermen in the pineries. Landerigan had recently come to the landing. It was not considered prudent to allow the matter to pass, as young Ironcloud was known to be a dangerous character. A party was soon started across the river who captured the murderer and brought him to Read's for trial. He was arraigned before Justice Richards, but the justice was powerless in the case, the crime having been committed in another territory. To obviate this difficulty resort was had to Indian law. The culprit, of whose identity there was not the smallest doubt, was quietly escorted to the place from whence he came by a band of determined whites, led by Charles R. Read, and was there lynched. The squaws tracked the party by their imprint in the snow, and the next day cutting down young Ironcloud's body, brought it across the river and buried it. The snow lay deep upon the ground at the time. The margin of the river was frozen on either side, the current in the main channel only open. Wrapping the body in blankets, the squaws tied a rope around the feet and dragged it to the margin of the stream, placed it in a canoe and brought it over to the Minnsota shore. A ball was in progress at Read's Landing the evening of the lynching, and the excitement was most intense among the young people there assembled, many of whom had only that summer come to the county, and were totally unused to such scenes of blood, or to such a summary mode of dealing with a murderer.
From the 1884 book, chapter 27, Greenfield Township:
In April, 1854, Isaac Cole, now a resident of Wabasha, located on section 22, on the south bank of the Zumbro. He established a ferry and hotel and was largely patronized, for travel from Wabasha westward naturally followed the valley of the Zumbro. The Indians located by hundreds on the banks of the river were at times exceedingly troublesome, especially when returning noisy and furious from Wabasha, filled with the old-time fire-water. Brandishing their bowie-knives they threatened to kill and exterminated the whites, from which they were prevented only by the squaws wresting the dangerous weapons from them without ceremony. On one occasion they undertook to carry off Cole's ferryboat, and in fact did, but were compelled to abandon the enterprise by a posse of men who pursued and overtook them.
From the 1884 book, page 1273, Watopa Township:
The picture of Wah-pa-sha was taken from a painting in the possession of the family of Alexis Bailly, Esq., now deceased. This is the chief the place was named after. He was a noted man in his day, and was recognized as head chief of the River bands of Sioux. During the troubles with the Winnebago Indians, at Prairie du Chien, at an early day, Wah-pah-sha was invited by them to a council. After listening to the Winnebago chiefs, and what they proposed doing to the whites, Wah-pah-sha arose, and, pulling a hair from his head, blew it away, telling the council that if they harmed a white man he would blow them from the face of the earth as he had blown the hair. The chief with his band made their summer residence on what is now called "Sand Prairie," or, as it was called by the old voyageurs, "La Prairie au Cypre."
See "Pioneer Stories" linked on main page for:
A LOYAL INDIAN
A SURVIVOR OF BAD AXE