Sunday, June 12, 2016

Report of the Dakota Conflict of 1862 Part 1

The following is the eyewitness account of the Sioux Massacre by my ancestral cousin, Catherine Vogtman, as it appeared in the Park Rapids Minnesota newspaper in 1914. First of 2 parts.


The following narrative was transcribed by Glenn R. Vogtman, great-grandson of the author, Mrs. John Vogtman (née Catherine Buery) from a copy of the original newspaper publication.

Every effort was made to transcribe the story as faithfully as it was written including errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, syntax, etc. Any attempt to make corrections for purposes of meaning, clarity, or accuracy (as in the spelling of proper names) was done in italics within brackets [ ].

Mrs. John Vogtman (née Catherine Buery) was a 14 year old daughter of George Buery, an early settler of the La Croix Creek (Birch Coulee) area near present day Morton, Minnesota at the time of the 1862 Dakota Conflict.

In August, 1862, the family consisted of George Buery, his wife Salomé/Sally (née Kaufman), daughters: Catherine, age 14 years, Margaret/Maggie, age 12 years, Emily, age 4 years, Mary Ann, age 3 years, and Martha, age 9 months; and a son: George Everett, age 6 years.



Park Rapids, Minnesota, Jan. 29, 1914



“A Thrilling Sketch of the Horrible
Massacre of Settlers By
Indians in 1862”


Mrs. Vogtman Gives Her Personal
Experiences During Those Trying Times

Several months ago Mrs. John Vogtman was requested by the editor of the Clipper to write a sketch of her personal experiences of that awful massacre by the Sioux Indians in Renville County, this state. The Indians went on the war path on the morning of August 18, 1862, and they started their murderous work three miles northwest of the Lower Sioux Agency. Mrs. Vogtman describes the cruelty and deception of the Indian and the hardships of the settlers in a very interesting manner.


The morning dawned bright and clear after a rainy spell of several of several days. Father had a lot of hay ready 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 [John Kumro] 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 [Caucasians] that lived there were all fleeing away, some bare headed and bare footed, carrying their children in their night clothes. 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 father’s family. About this time father drove up with 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’ [also spelled Juni] family, and their neighbor’s wife and child, Mrs. Mike Haden [Hayden]. The men remained to load some things on Mrs. Haden’s team, and to look up their cattle to drive them along, as we were all pioneers and had only lived there three years and what little we had was dearly earned and was badly needed. We had 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 knives and we started to go towards Fort Ridgely, but intended to stop at Magnus Johnsons [more likely Edward Magner’s place] and consult what to do. When we got about a 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 to us and asked where we were 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 lived on the Minnesota River bottom, but we had climbed the hill where it is a level prairie, so 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 [Kaertner or Keartner], 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 boys’ 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. The father thinking the boy was having trouble with his load started home to see, but when he got in the house he found his wife lying on the floor, shot dead. She had been down cellar after something for dinner, the trap door stood open and a boy about ten years old was shot and fell in the cellar, having been shot in the shoulders. A little babe of six weeks old was in the cradle unhurt. The rest of the children were hid around the house, so he wrapped his wife in a blanket, buried her side of the house, dressed the boy’s shoulder, took some bedding, the children, some cows, and started for the Fort, arriving there without seeing an Indian. Father said let us drive down the hill where the Indians ascended, so we came just ahead of Mr. Haden’s team, and father stayed back and they planned what to do. When we struck the road which came from the agency, the dead body of Mr. Manly [?] lay by the side of the road, bare headed and bare footed, shot in the breast. Just then three Indians came up the road, one came to our wagon, one to Mrs. Kirchnes and the third stood back with his gun. Father had reached the wagon as the Indian got there, and he shook hands with father. The other Indian wanted to take Mrs. Kirschnes’ gun she refused, so he pulled his gun to shoot her when she threw the gun down and left the wagon. Meantime the Indian at our wagon told us all to get off. My brother nine years old refused [this would be George Everett, actually age 6 years] , whereupon he hauled up his tomahawk, but father jerked him away, the tomahawk skinning about an inch in the side board of the wagon box. I then asked the Indian to let me have the Bible and he threw it towards me and the bread, and I reached for a knife, but he would not let me have it. Now Mr. Hadens [Hayden] had stopped their team and was watching to see how we were getting along, so the Indians told us to take the road, but we turned and climbed the hill again. Now the other team was with Mr. Mike and John Haden and five children of a neighbor’s by the name of Eicenrich [Eisenreich], the parents driving their cattle, a herd of 22 head. When we got about half way up the hill we heard two shots, but the three Indians and the two men were standing, but when we got out of sight of them we heard two more shots. This was about a mile east of 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 hurrying 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 afterwards released at Camp Relice [Release]. Our party had reached the top of the prairie when we saw an object a little ways ahead in the 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 [more likely Edward Magner’s place per Satterlee], when we heard a woman scream and saw the smoke ascent from the very house we were going to stop at.
Dr. Humphery [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, and 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 spyed [sic] two objects at a 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 that 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,’ so we went into a slough and laid down in the tall grass. We stayed about an hour then we traveled north and made a circle towards the Fort. At last just at sunset, we saw the guard outside the Fort, who at first thought that we were Indians, but when they observed we were white folks, they came to meet us. It was just dusk as we entered Fort Ridgely. Returning to our neighbors, Mrs. Eunes’ family with Mrs. Haden and a Mr. Zimmerman his wife three boys and two girls, with another team had preceeded us and it was remarkable, both Mrs. Eune and Mrs. Zimmerman were blind, but they had gone about a half mile farther than we and had reached Mr. Faraboult [Faribault], the Government Indian Interpreter.
When they ran into the massacre the Indians had shot Mr. Faraboult and tied him to the back end of a wagon head down and dragged him to death [cannot verify who this was]. They then proceeded to Mr. Zimmerman’s wagon. Mrs. Zimmerman understood the Indians as they said they would kill the men, whereupon she put her arms around her husband and ask them to kill her and leave him with the children, but they shot him out of her arms, the oldest boy twenty years, one seventeen year old boy they also shot, leaving her and the three youngest. (End of part 1)

Purchase "Blood on the Prairie: A Novel of the Sioux Uprising" in the format of your choice at Amazon at the link below:


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