On the date of August 20th, a group of Indians attacked the settlers of Shetek. They started from the North end of the lake and made their way down, killing men and women along the way. When the settlers found out they were coming, they all gathered together in the house of Mr. Wright, which was located on the south end of the lake. Soon after they arrived, the Indians came. The women and children were put into a wagon and they tried to escape. It didn't take much for the Indians to catch up. The settlers thought that they could find shelter in the tall prairie grass that was near by so that is where they laid for hours. The place is now called Slaughter Slough. The Indians outnumbered the settlers by such a quantity, they did not have a good chance of survival. The monument below is now standing in memory of the many people that lost their lives that day.
The monument reads:
The Shetek Monument
At this site lie the bodies of fifteen people in a mass
grave ten feet long, four feet wide and four feet deep.
Contained in this grave are the remains of six adults
and nine children killed either at Lake Shetek or at Slaughter
Slough on August 20, 1862. The fifteenth victim, whose name
does not appear on the Monument , was a twelve year-old boy
killed in the late afternoon of the 20th. Mistakenly identified
as Frank Easlick, he lies with the rest, his name unknown to
Originally, the bodies of the slain lay unburied from
August 20, to October 16, 1862. The bones were collected
and buried by the edge of Slaughter Slough in a shallow
grave and lay there until the following year. On October 31,
1863, a military burial party, commanded by Captain Starkey
and assisted by Wm. Duley, Captain of Scouts, with the aid
of Thomas Ireland, Charles Hatch and H. Watson Smith
reburied the remains at this present location
The State of Minnesota began construction of this
monument in 1924. It was completed and dedicated in 1925.
Those that were involved in defending their families and friends that day in 1862 at Slaughter Slough included;
Edgar Bently: who moved to the lake in the fall of 1861, and was staying with the Myers’ through the winter. He was a miller by trade and was to begin the erection of Everett’s mill on the day of the outbreak. He escaped from the slough and was taken to Dutch Charley. Once there he enlisted in the army and was never heard form again.
William Jones: Lived with the Hurd family in 1859, till he moved just 2 miles northwest of them. He held the land between them from Fremont to Bloody Lake. Only 2 months before the massacre Jones and the Hurd family had moved another 2 miles away, but one of the Indians had his horse and supposedly killed them all that day.
William Everett: He and his wife and 3 children had settled on the south side of the Beaver, later owned by Neil Currie. Everett was severely wounded the day of the massacre at the slough, but afterwards was aided by Charley Hatch. Mrs. Everett and Willie were killed after surrendering to the Indians. The youngest was just a baby and left to the breast of his dead mother. Lilly was captured by the Indians and later rescued at Camp Release.
Henry W. Smith: Settled at the lake in 1855, with his wife and no children. Smith escaped from the slough and made his way to Walnut Grove warn others, Although his wife was killed at the slough. Later he was married to Mrs. Eastlick.
WM. J. Duley: With his wife and 5 children he settled at the lake in 1858. Duley was wounded through the wrist in the fight at the slough but managed to make his escape. Mrs. Duley was made a captive as well as 2 of the children, but released at Pierre. The others were killed at the lake. Some time after Duley cut the rope at the hanging of 38 Indians in Mankato on December 26, 1862.
Charles Hatch: Came to the lake in 1862, living with the Everett family. About 25 years old, he warned all the settlers of the attack that was about to take place. During the battle he was shot many times. Six weeks later he and an Ireland returned to the land to bury the dead.
E. G. Kock: HE came to the lake in 1861, but at the time of the massacre he and Voigt had made their way to New Ulm and took part in the defense there. A member of the rescuing party he helped find Mrs. Hurd and Mrs. Eastlick and their children. He was later made mayor of New Ulm.
John Wright: With his wife and 2 children, he settled at the lake in 1859. It was at the Wright family’s cabin that the settlers of the area took shelter after they found out that the Indians had deceived them, and made way to New Ulm. Wright was absent at the time of the outbreak and had left Ireland in charge of the family and farm. Mrs. Wright and the children were taken captives at the slough and rescued at Pierre.
Thomas Ireland: Came to the lake in 1861, with his wife and four children. He was wounded at Slaughter Slough and left for dead by the Indians, but he was able to escape. He reached New Ulm, after walking 75 miles, and going 5 days without food. Two of his daughters were taken captive by Chief Redwood, but were released at Pierre. His wife and other two daughters were killed after they surrendered at Slaughter Slough.
John Renniker: He was an agent for the Dakota Land Company, and lived with the Myers family at Saratoga. His post office at the time was in New Ulm. He went there for supplies and on the way back was murdered by the Indians, Northeast of Walnut Grove.
Aaron Myers: He was called the "doctor" because he treated with success, several of the Indians who had sore eyes. The Myers family escaped from the lake before the slaughter of the settlers began. Mrs. Myers was very ill with pneumonia, and died on their way to Mankato.
Eastlicks: The Eastlick family was made up of John, the father, Mrs. L. Easlick, the mother, and the 5 children; Merton, 11 yrs, Freddy, 4 yrs, Frank, Giles 2yrs, and Johnny, 15 months. John Eastlick was murdered at the slough along with 3 of their children, Freddy, Frank, and Giles. Mrs. Eastlick was badly hurt during the battle, but made it out alive. Later to find out that her other 2 sons were still alive and had traveled 50 miles to New Ulm to find help and safety. Merton had carried his youngest brother that distance, 50 miles.
Lake Shetek Massacre Victims
Almira Hatch Everett, John Voigt,Willie Everett, 5 yrs., Andrew Kock, Charlie Everett, 2 yrs., John Eastlick, 29 yrs., Sophia Walters Ireland, Frederick Eastlick, 4 yrs., Sarah Jane Ireland, 5 yrs., Giles Eastlick, 2 yrs., Julianne Ireland, 3 yrs., Wm. J. Duley, Jr., 10 yrs., Sophia Smith, Belle Duley, 6 yrs.
Source: The Tracy Headlight Newspaper, August 16th, 1962, Lake Shetek Massacre Edition
By: Layne Lohre and Wendy Lyle, October 29th, 1999