In presenting this pamphlet to the public, I have given merely a plain, unvarnished statement of all the facts that came under my own observation, during the dreadful massacre of the settlers of Minnesota. Mine only was a single case among hundreds of similar instances. It is only from explicit and minute accounts from the pen of the sufferers themselves, that people living at this distance from then scene of those atrocities can arrive at any just and adequate conception of the fiendishness of the Indian character, or the extremities of pain, terror and distress endured by the victims. It can hardly be decided which were least unfortunate, those who met an immediate death at the hands of the savages, or the survivors who, after enduring tortures worse than death, from hunger, fear, fatigue, and wounds, at last escaped barely with life.
I was born in the year 1833, in Broome County, New York. When I was about one year old, my father, Mr. Giles Day, moved from that State to Trumbull Country, Ohio. Here I remained with my parents, till I reached the age fifteen, when I went with my brother’s family to Seneca County, where I because acquainted with John Eastlick. In the year 1850 we were married, and we remained there until 1854, when we removed to Indiana. My husband was a poor man, and seeing a little family growing up around him, he began to feel keenly the need of a home. Thinking he could obtain a homestead cheaper by going further west, we removed to Illinois in the spring of 1856. But here it was entirely out of our power to purchase, as the price of land was still higher than in the place we had left. My husband now began to talk of going to Minnesota. In the year 1857, our wagon was loaded once more, and we emigrated to Minnesota, accompanied by one of our neighbors, name Thomas Ireland.
It was our intention to go to Bear Valley, but, on account of cold, wet weather setting in, we were obliged to step in Olmsted County. Here we staid until 1861, when my husband thought he could better his condition by going to Murray County, -- a distance of two hundred miles. I felt a little fear of going there, knowing that there were great many Indians in that and the adjoining counties; still, I was willing to accompany my husband wherever he thought he could best provide for his family. We started on our journey in the fall, taking nothing with us but our clothing, bedding, cattle, etc. Mr. Ireland again moved in company with us; his family consisted of his wife and four children. My husband chose to settle by a small lake, called Lake Shetek, where we arrived on the 5th of November. We found that there was already a small settlement here; but after our arrival there were only eleven settlers in all. The lake was about five miles long, with a belt of timber running along the cast side of it, where all the settlers had located themselves.
My husband chose a beautiful spot for our home, situated about midway between the two ends of the lake. In the spring of 1862, he built of house and put in crops, and we began to feel quite happy and contented in our new home. I no longer felt any fear of the Indians; quite a number of them had lived by the lake all winter, and had been accustomed to come to our home almost every day. Whenever any of them came, they invariably begged for something to eat, which was never refused them. We never turned them away, as did many of our neighbors, and in return they appeared to be very friendly, and played with our children and taught them to speak the Indian language a little. In the spring, they left the lake, and we saw no more of them for two or three months.
About the last of July, Mr. Eastlick left home to work during harvest. He returned on the 17th of August, and said he had met sixteen Indians, naked, and painted red, who seemed very friendly, and talked some time with him. He seemed very much oppressed at heart, after his return, as if some secret anxiety weighed heavily on his mind. I have since thought that he must have seen or heard something that convinced him there was great danger ahead. I heard him say often to Mr. Rhodes, who had come home with him, that it would be a good plan to build a fort. But when I asked him if there was danger to be apprehended from the Indians, he answered evasively, to relieve my anxieties, though his own were so great, by saying he thought there was no danger, but that it would do now harm to build a fort.
On Monday following, I went to the lower end of the lake to carry some butter to Mrs. Everett, when, on my return home, I met six Indians with their squaws and "teepes" or lodges. One of the Indians was "Pawn", with whom I was acquainted. I bowed, without speaking, as I passed him, but he wished me to stop; more, I think for the sake of seeing the pony I was driving than myself. He came up, shook hands with me and greeted me by saying "ho! ho! ho!" meaning "how do you do?" He talked with me for some time, and said he was going to build his "teepe" at Wright’s, and wait for some more Indians that were coming to go on a buffalo hunt in the course of a few days.
On the morning of August 20th, I arose and prepared breakfast as usual for my family, which consisted of my husband, myself, Mr. Rhodes, who boarded with us, and our five children. The children were all boys; the oldest was aged eleven, and the youngest, fifteen months. My husband and Mr. Rhodes had just sat down to the breakfast table, when my oldest boy, Merton, came to the door, saying, "Charley Hatch is coming, as fast as he can run!" Hatch was a young man who lived with his brother-in-law, Mr. Everett, and, thinking that perhaps some one was, or hurt, I ran to the door. As soon as he came near enough to me, I saw that he was. very pale and quite out of breath. "Charley, what is the matter?" I asked. He shouted --- "The Indians are upon us!" "It cannot be possible," said I. "It is so," said Charley, "they have already shot Vought!" HE then went on to relate all that he knew about it; but first let me relate the manner in which the Indians commenced their attack upon the settlement, as we afterwards found out the facts. They entered our neighborhood at the head of the lake, and began operations upon the farm owned by Mr. Meyers. They tore down a fence and rode into his corn, breaking it down and destroying it. As Mrs. Meyers happened to be sick at the time, Mr. Meyers had risen quite early to wait upon her, when he discovered what the Indians were doing. He called to them and told them if they did not leave he would whip them, and asked if he had not always used them well. They owned that he had. He then told them there was plenty of room for them outside of his field. One Indian outside the fence shouted to the rest in his own tongue, saying that Meyers was a good man. He then rode away as fast as possible, and all the rest followed.
Thence they went on to the house of Mr. Hurd, who in company with Mr. Jones, had started a journey to the Missouri river about the first of June, and, who never having been heard of afterwards, were supposed to be murdered by the Indians. Mr. Hurd had left a German, named Vought, to attend to the things in his absence. When the Indians approached the house, Mrs. Hurd, who was out milking, hastened into the house. The Indians followed her into the house, and with pretended friendship, asked for some tobacco. Mr. Vought gave them some, and they began to smoke, when Mrs. Hurd’s babe awoke, and began to cry. Mr. Vought took the child in his arms, and walked out into the yard. Just as he was turning to go into the house, one of the Indians stepped to the door, raised his gun and deliberately shot him through the breast. They began to plunder the house, telling Mrs. Hurd that if she made any noise that they would kill her, too, but if not, they would permit her to escape, and return to her mother. They broke open and destroyed trunks, chests, beds, and all the other furniture in the house, scattering the contents upon the ground. After compelling her to see her home despoiled of all her household treasures, the savages sent her away, showing her what direction to take, and threatening that if she tried to go to any of the neighbors, or make and outcry, to warn them, they would follow and murder her. She was obligated to leave by an unfrequented path, with two small children, the oldest which was 3 years of age and the youngest not yet a year. After leaving Mr. Hurd, the Indians proceeded to the residence to Mrs. Cook, who was at the house at the time, while his wife was in the corn field. On coming up to Mrs. Cook in the corn field they asked to see her husband’s gun, which she had been using. She handed it over, and they kept it, refusing to give it back, and telling her that she might go to her mother, for they were going to kill all the white men in the country. Those that went to the house requested Mr. Cook to give them some water. As there was none in the house, he was obligated to take the pail and go to the spring, to supply their wants. But when about half way across the yard, one of the cowardly villains shot him through the back. Mrs. Cook staid around the premises, concealed from the Indians, till they had plundered to their hearts’ content, and taken their departure; then returning to their house and finding the corpse of her husband lying on the ground, she determined not to leave, without first alarming the settlement. After going through the brush and timber until her clothes were badly torn, and wading along the edge of the lake until she was wet through, she reached the lower part of the settlement undiscovered by the Indians.
Having wandered somewhat from my own tale, and brought the story of their ravages up to near the time when they appeared at our place, I will return to Charley Hatch’s account. Charles had gone, early in the morning, to the head of the lake, on an errand. He rode a horse as far as Mrs. Cook’s, but there he hitched his horse and proceeded on foot to the house of Mr. Hurd, where he found the murdered body of Vought. He returned to Mr. Cook’s where he had left the horse, but on coming sight of the house, he saw several Indians around it, and heard the report of a gun. This so frightened the horse that it broke loose and ran away, and while the Indians were trying to catch it Charley got away unseen. He came down to the lake and warned all the neighbors, and when he came to our house he was nearly exhausted. He asked for a horse, to ride to the lower end of the lake to warn the rest of the settlers. Mr. Rhodes had two horses there and was willing he should do so. Charles asked us for the bridle several times, but we were all so horror-stricken and mute with fear and apprehension that we stood for some minutes like dumb persons. At last I seemed to awake as from a horrible dream, and began to realize the necessity of immediate and rapid flight. I sprang into the house and got the bridle for him, urging him to hurry away with all speed. He started off, and bade us follow as fast as we could, to Mr. Smith’s house.
On this, my husband caught little Johnny, our youngest, in his arms, took his two rifles, and started, telling myself and the children to hurry as fast as we could. I took some of my clothes, but my husband told me to leave them. I asked him if I could get my shoes, even, but he said "no, we have no time to spare." So I started, barefooted, to follow Mr. Eastlick. Rhodes called to me, and asked if I was going to carry anything. So I went back, and he gave me some powder, shot and lead. I took it in the skirt of my dress, and started as fast as I could run; and that was but slowly, for my limbs seemed very heavy, and the pieces of lead kept falling to the ground every few rods. I felt so perfectly unnerved with Fear that I gave up, and told John, my husband, that I could not go much farther. He urged me to keep on, and support myself holding to his coat. This I did not do, but told him if he would go slowly, I would try to get to Mr. Smith’s with him.
When we came in sight of the house my strength began to return a little, but on coming up, we saw no appearance of any one being home. My husband called "Smith", several times, receiving no answer, he concluded that they were all gone on to Mr. Wright’s. We hurried on and soon overtook them. When we came in the sight of the house we could see the same Indians that had camped here on Monday, as before mentioned. They motioned us to hurry along, pretending to be much frightened, and when we came near the house a squaw met us first, and asked what was the matter. I told her some Indians had killed Vought, and we expected they would kill all of us, upon which she professed great sympathy for us, and even pretended to weep. We entered the house and found Mrs. Wright very cool and collected. She encouraged us very much by telling us that those Indians that were there would fight for us. Soon all the nearest neighbors gathered in. Mr. Duly and Uncle Tommy Ireland came without their families. Mr. Ireland was obliged to leave his wife and children behind, for the Indians had been shooting at him, but not at his family. When the Indians arrived at the road that led to our house and Mr. Duly’s, they left off pursuing Mr. Ireland and went to our houses in search of more plunder.
Mr. Duly’s wife was much exhausted, from running, so he left her concealed with the children in the bushes. Old "Pawn" volunteered to go after them, so a party consisting of Old "Pawn", Mr. Duly, Mr. Ireland, and some squaws, set out to bring in the missing women and children. They soon met Mrs. Ireland and her children, and a little further on they found Mrs. Duly and her children, accompanied my Mrs. Cook. They all came to Mrs. Wright’s where we were, when Mrs. Cook, with tears rising from her eyes, told us that of the sad fate of her husband. My heart was touched with sympathy for my dear friend. I threw my arms around her neck, and begged her not to weep, telling her that, perhaps, ere night, I should be left a widow, with five children, and that would be still worse, for she had no children. Mrs. Wright gave her some dry clothes, and she was soon made comfortable.
The man had, by this time, prepared the house as well as possible for defending ourselves against our pursuers, by opening crevices in numerous places, to be used as loop-holes for the rifles. They gave us weapons, such as axes, hatchets, butcher knives, etc., and sent us all upstairs, where we had a good look out from the windows. The men told the Indians who still stood by us, that they could take their stand in the in the stable, not liking to trust them in the house. They said that they would fight to the last for the while people, but that they had no ammunition, where upon two guns and a quantity of ammunition were furnished them. I told my husband that I had no confidence in them. He replied that he did not know as he could do any better then to trust them; if they proved friends, we should need there help very much, but he said he should keep an eye on them. He then asked an Indian who could talk a little English, if he would fight for the whites. He replied that "he didn’t know." Our enemies now made their appearance. We could see them around the house of Mr. Smith, shaking some white cloths, and making a great noise. Now and then an Indian would mount his pony, ride out into the field, fire a gun, and then turn and ride back as fast as he could. They performed in this manner a long time, occasionally shooting an ox or cow, running loose in the field. The Indians that were with us said that if we would all fire our guns it would frighten them away. Accordingly they all went out, Mrs. Wright with the rest. Her husband being gone at the time, down below Mankato, she had slung the powder horn and shot-pouch over her shoulder, and loaded his gun. They all fired together, but the Indians, who reserved their fire till after all the rest had fired. I went to my husband, and begged him not to discharge his gun until after the Indians had fired. I think they reserved their charges to shoot the white men, when their weapons were all empty, but were too cowardly to do it, when the time came to act. These volleys of musketry did not seem to alarm the savage troop in the least. "Old Pawn" then said that he would go and meet them, and see how many there were, and what they wanted. But before he had gone far, several Indians came towards him as fast as they could ride. He stopped, and they talked to him; he then went up to them and stopped there, talking to them for some time. He finally came running back, and reported that there were two hundred hostile Indians coming, and if we would go peaceable away, they would not harm us; but if not, they would burn down the house over our heads. Upon this, the men held a short council; the majority of them decided that it was best to leave the house. So we all started, across the prairie, except Charley Hatch and Mr. Rhodes. These latter were sent with two horses to the house of Mr. Everett, a distance of half a mile, to get a wagon to carry the women and children, and some flour and quilts, for we all expected to sleep on the prairie that night. Alas! Some of our group slept before night--- yes, slept the sleep that knows no waking. The two men overtook us I going the distance of half a mile, and the women and children all got into the wagon, except Mrs. Wright, myself and my two oldest boys, Meron and Frank. In all, there were thirty-four of us, including men, women and children. We traveled over a mile in this manner, when the appalling cry was raised, that the Indians were upon our track. The Indians, who had pretended to be friendly at the house, had deserted us, and joined their fellow savages in there demoniac quest of blood and plunder. All was terror and consternation among us; our merciless foes were in sight, riding at their utmost speed, and would soon be upon us. All now got into the wagon that could. Mrs. Smith held the reins, while I, sitting on the fore end of the wagon box, lashed the horses with all my strength, but, with such a load, the poor brutes could not get along faster than a walk. The Indians were fast gaining on us, and the men, thinking it was only the horses they wanted, bade us leave the wagon. We accordingly all jumped out, and ran along as fast as possible, while the men fell in behind to give the women and children what protection they could. Some one asked if they should shoot at the Indians, or not; my husband declared that he would shoot the first one that toughed the horses. When almost within gunshot, they spread themselves out, in a long line, and approached, yelling and whooping like demons. They fired upon us, but the first round did not touch us. They had now come up to our team; one of them sprang from his pony caught the horse by the bit and turned them around. Four of our men now fired upon them, and the one who held the horses fell dead.
After the first fire from the savages, two of our men ran away from the rest, keeping the road for some distance; they were called to come back, and one of them turned around as if he was coming back. But there were two or three Indians pursuing them, then turned and fired upon his pursuers. One Indian snapped three caps at him, and them turned and rode back. The two men made their escape without a scratch; one went to Dutch Charley’s, and warned his family; the other went to Walnut Grove, and warned two young men there, and they all made good their escape.
When the first Indian was a shot, Mr. Duly called to us women and children, and bade us go to a slough, not concealing ourselves, and that was but poor. We turned our course toward the slough, amid a shower of balls and much pain. Mrs. Ireland’s youngest child was shot through the leg; Emma Duly through the arm, and Wille Duly in the shoulder. We soon reached the slough, and all concealed ourselves as best as we could, by lying down in tall grass. This, however only hid us from the sight, but not from the shot and balls. For two hours, or more, we were exposed to the random shots of our merciless foe. My husband tried several times to shoot he savages, but his gun missed fired, and he was obliged to work a long time before it would go off. Meanwhile, to me, every minute seemed an hour, for I thought John could do good service with his gun, being a good marksman and having a good rifle. Several times our comrades called on him to shoot, saying, "there is an Indian! why don’t you shoot him? for my gun will not reach him." The Indians only shoed themselves one or two at a time, they would skulk behind the hills, and crawl up to the top, rise up, fire on us, and drop out of sight instantly, thus proving themselves to be great cowards. The odds were fearfully against us; two hundred Indians against six white men. We felt that we were but weakly protected, and we could expect no mercy from our company would escape them. The balls that fell around us like hail. I lay in the grass with my little ones gathered close around me; as it was very hot and sultry, I tried to move a little distance from them for they would follow me. Poor little dears! they did not know how much they were destined to suffer, and they seemed to think if they kept close to mother, they would be sage. I could now hear groans about me in the grass, in various directions, and Mrs. Everett told me she was shot in the neck; and in a few minutes more, I was struck by a ball in the side. I told my husband I was shot. "Are you much hurt?" he asked. yes, I think I shall die," I answered, "but do not come here, for you can do me no good; stay there, for you can do more good with your rifle." I knew he could not come without being discovered by the Indians. Another ball soon struck me on the head, lodging between the skull and the scalp, where it still remains. I could tell I If a ball struck any one, by the sound. My husband then said that he thought he would move a little, as the Indians had discovered his hiding place. He removed, reloaded his gun, and was watching for a chance to shoot, when I heard a ball strike someone. Fearing that he was the one, I called to him, saying, "Jon, are you hurt?" He did not answer. I called again, but the was no reply, save that I heard him groan twice, very faintly, then I knew that he was hurt, and I thought that I must go to him, but Mrs. Cook begged me not to go. I told her that he was badly hurt, and I must go to him, "Do not, for god’s sake," said Mrs. Cook, "stay with your children; if you stir from that spot they will all be killed; your husband is already dead, and you cannot possibly do him any good, so stay with your children, I beg of you." I took her advice and staid with them, for they were all I had left in the world, now, and I feared it could not be long before we were all to sleep in the cold embrace of death, like my poor husband.
The whites now made but little resistance, for the men were all wounded, and one of them killed. Three of the Indians now came from their skulking place, and began calling upon the women to come out. Mr. Everett answered them as he lay wounded in the grass. One of these three Indians were old "Pawn", who had professed to be our friend in the morning, but now proven to be as bitter as foe as we had. Pawn knew the voice of Everett, and, calling him by the name, commanded him to come out of the slough; Mr. Everett told him he could not, for he was wounded, and could not walk, and asked Pawn to come to him. Pawn replied, "You lie, you can walk well enough, if you want to." Two of the Indians then fired into the grass, in the direction which they heard his voice, and a bullet hit Mr. Everett near the elbow, shattering the bone very badly. He then told his wife to tell pawn that he was killed; she boldly rose upright, in sight of the savages, and in the most melting and piteous tones, told them her husband dead, and they had killed him. Pawn assured her that they would not hurt the rest of them; but they must come out, for he wanted her and Mrs. Wright for his squaws. Mr. Everett, thinking that perhaps they could obtain safety by obedience, until they could make their escape, told her perhaps the best thing she could do was to go. She then called out, and asked me to go with her. I told her I could talk but a very little with them, and asked Mrs. Wright to go, knowing that she could speak Indian. She agreed to go with Mrs. Everett, and confer with the Indians.
While Pawn was talking to Mr. Everett, Mr. Duly said he would shoot him; but Mr. Smith and myself begged him not to shoot, for well we knew if he did, the balls would shower around us again with a renewed fury. "It is too good a chance to throw away," said he, "the Indians will kill us all, sooner or later, and I’m bound to make one less of them, while I have a chance!" The women then all begged him not to shoot; and I urged as a reason that, perhaps, he might escape, and let the world know what had been our fate. Upon this he desisted from his purpose. After the Indians had shoot Mr. Everett, as I just related, Uncle Tommy Ireland rose up out of the grass, and pleaded with them to save the women and children. Two of the Indians, who were only three or four rods distant from him, drew up their guns, and fired with murderous aim! He fell to the ground with a groan, shouting in anguish, "Oh God! I am killed." He had received seven buck-shot, two of which passed through his left lung, one through his left arm, and the rest lodged in various parts of his body. When Mrs. Everett and Mrs. Wright came back from their interview with Old Pawn, they reported that he said he would spare women and children. We, therefore, thought that since we were in their power so completely, we had better go with them at once. When we all got out of the grass, I found there were not as many killed as I had first supposed, although many of were wounded. The rest all went to the place where the three Indians were waiting for us, for they dared not to go into the slough after us, but I could not go without first seeing my husband. I went to him, and found him fallen over upon his side, probably having died without a struggle. One hand was lying on his face, and the other still grasped his trusty rifle; his hat was on his head, and his dog lay by his side, watching over his lifeless remains. I could see no blood about him. I kneeled down beside him, and there, in the tall grass, alone with the dead, but surrounded by cruel enemies, seeking my life, and dead and dying friends, I took my last farewell of poor John, expecting soon to follow him. I took his cold hand in mine, leaned over and kissed his brow, and looked, for the last time; on him who had been my companion for twelve years, and had now laid down his life trying to protect his wife and little ones. I did not shed a tear, that I was aware of, when I parted from him thus.
I now found that I was quite lame, and could scarcely walk. Merton carried little Johnny in his arms, and Frank and Giles, two of my other boys, assisted me to walk, by going one on each side of me, and letting me rest my weight partially upon them, by placing by placing both hands upon their little shoulders. As I came out of the slough, I saw Uncle Tommy Ireland lying not far from me. He was still alive, but the blood and froth were oozing from the wound made through his lungs, and I did not think he could survive, for another hour. His wife was bending over him, receiving his last words. He bade her and the little ones a last adieu, thinking his end was nigh. The Indians had sent Mrs. Wright to gather up the guns. As she came back, she passed close to him, upon which he begged her to shoot him and put an end to his torment. She told him she would be glad to help him, if it were possible, but she could not kill a friend, even to relieve his sufferings. We came out to where the Indians were, and found that three more had joined them, making six in all. The prisoners seated themselves on the ground, and we now learned how many had been wounded, while in the slough. The men were all wounded, but kept concealed in the slough. Mrs. Smith was shot through the hip, and could scarcely stir. Mrs. Everett was wounded in the neck, and her clothes, on one side, were wet with blood, but her wound had nearly ceased bleeding, and did not pain her much. Mrs. Ireland’s next youngest child was shot through the bowels, and must have been suffering greatly, for her face had turned spotted, and the froth was running out of her mouth. I do not think she could have lived long.
The sky now became overcast with heavy clouds, and a furious rain-storm, accompanied with thunder and lightning, was coming on. Soon the rain descended in torrents. The Indians now hurried and caught their ponies, and made all preparations for starting away. We expected to be all taken along with them, as prisoners, but we were disappointed, for, as it afterwards proved, some were
161718 me, and now knew that he still lived, and wondered how he had escaped the red-skins, but supposed he had concealed himself in the grass. I dared not answer him, for fear he would come to me, be discovered by the Indians, and be killed. The rain had continued falling all of this time; my clothes were wet through, and I was very cold and chilly. At about four o’clock p.m., on trying to get up, I found that I was very weak, and that it required a great deal of painful effort to raise myself to a sitting posture. As I had been lying, my hand was under my forehead; I now found that the blood had run down from my head and coagulated among my fingers; hence I knew that my head had bled quite freely, or the rain would have washed it away. Upon this, I tried to ascertain how much my head was injured but the blows. I was insensible to pain in that quarter, but by turning my head back and forth, I could plainly hear and feel the cones grate together. I thought my skull must be broken, and his afterwards proved to be true. My hair was very thick and long, measuring about three feet, and this, I think, saved my life, by breaking the force of the blows. Here I sat, wet and cold, not daring to move from the spot. I had heard the cry of a child at intervals, during the afternoon, and thought it was Johnny. I thought that Merton must have taken him to the wounded men to stay with them. So I determined to try to go to them, thinking we could, perhaps, keep warm better, for the rain still fell very fast, and the night was setting in, cold and stormy. I rose upon my feet, and found that I could walk, but with great difficulty. I heard Willie Duly, whom I supposed dead long before this, cry out, " Mother! Mother!", but a few steps from me, and then he called, "Mrs. Smith! Mrs. Smith!" Having to pass close by him, as I left the slough, I stopped and thought I would speak to him; but, on reflecting that I could not possibly help the poor boy, I passed him without speaking. He never moved again from the spot where I last saw him; for when the soldiers went there to bury the dead, they found him in the same position, lying on his face, at the edge of the slough. I was guided to the place where my children and neighbors were killed, by the cry of a child, which I supposed to be Johnny’s voice; but, on reaching the spot where it lay, it proved to be Mrs. Everett’s youngest child. Her eldest, Lily, aged six years, was leaning over him, to shield him from the cold storm. I called he by name; she knew my voice instantly , and said, "Mrs. Eastlick, the Indians haven’t killed us yet?" "No Lily," I said, "not quite, but there are very few of us left!" "Mrs. Eastlick," she said, " I wish you would take care of Charley?" I told her it was impossible, for my Johnny was somewhere on the prairie, and I feared he would die unless I could find him, and keep him warm. She begged me to give her a drink of water, but it was out of my power to give her even that, or to assist her in any way, and I told her so. She raised her eyes, and, with a sad, thoughtful, hopeless look, asked the question, "Is there any water in heaven?" "Lily", I replied, "when you get to heaven, you will never more suffer from thirst or pain." On hearing this, the poor little patient sufferer, only six years old, laid herself down again, and seemed reconciled to her fate.
I next searched around and found the bodies of Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Ireland; they both appeared to have been dead for some hours. Their clothes were in great disorder, and I have no doubt, judging from appearances, that the foul fiends had ravished their persons, either before or after death. The only service I could render their lifeless forms, was to place them in a descent position as I could, which I did. Mrs. Smith had a thick, heavy apron on, which I thought would help to keep me warm. I kneeled beside her, and tried to pull it off, but could not. I then found fastened behind her back with a button, which, from her position, I could not loosen. I at last succeeded in running my left arm under her waist, and thus I raised her body, unfastened the apron, and put it over my head and shoulders, to keep off the constant rain. About half an hour was consumed in getting it, owing to the fact that my right arm was almost entirely useless, by the reason of the bullet-hole through it, and the bruises on my shoulder, from the butt of the gun. I am naturally of a timid disposition when near the dead, but this time I felt not the least fear, although it was, by the time, quite dark, and I was alone in the wilderness with the dead and dying.
When in our great haste to escape into the slough that morning , I had torn the binding of my skirt very badly, and, since that, I had been obliged to hold it together with my hand. I now had a double task to perform with my left hand; first, to hold my skirt from dropping, not wishing to lose it, because it was all the clothes I had on, excepting a short loose sack and a chemise; and, second, I was obliged to hold up my right hand and arm with my left, for I could not let it hang by my side without great pain, neither was there strength enough left in it to hold itself up. Therefore, I felt over the waist of Mrs. Smith’s dress for some pins to fasten on my skirt with, but without success. I then moved to the body of Mrs. Ireland and found two pins, which I used, so that they were of invaluable service. I also discovered the youngest child of Mrs. Ireland, lying upon the breast that had ever nourished it. I bent down my head and listened; the soft, low breathing showed how sweetly she slept, upon that cold, cold bosom. I left her, as I did the rest, being unable to carry anything, and she being unable to walk, and under two years of age. I looked around, and, in the darkness, found another lifeless form, stretched upon the ground, a few steps from me. My eyes had become accustomed to the darkness, so that I could see indistinctly. I found that it was my little boy, Giles, shot through the breast by the Indians. He appeared to have died without a struggle; I seemed to see a smile wreath his cold lips and a dimple on his cheek, and I fancied the angel spirit was watching me as I bent over that little house of clay. I could not wish him back, for he had gone to the land where suffering is unknown. I now left him as I found him, and proceeded to where my attention was attracted by the heavy breathing of someone. I found it was a child, and, stooping down, I examined it by feeling as well as I could. Alas! To my unspeakable grief and horror, I found it was my own little Freddy! What tongue can tell the anguish that I felt, to reflect on the cruel treatment I had seen him receive, and that he had been left to suffer for hours. I thought, "O, that I had found him dead!" He lay upon his face with his clothes torn nearly off; he was quite warm and breathed very hard, with a dreadful rattling in his throat. I knew that he was dying, and could not live long. I wished to lie down and die beside my sweet boy, but an after reflection seemed to say, "No, you must not do it; you still have something for which to live, for are not Merton and little Johnny somewhere on the vast prairie, and, at this moment, hungry, we, cold and in danger of wolves?" Knowing this, could I lie down in the rain and die, without, at least, trying, with all my remaining strength, to find them and five them what poor comfort I could? OH! no; and I accordingly left the little sufferer, praying that God would soon release him form pain.
I had gone but a short distance when my attention was arrested by a loud, laborious breathing, in an opposite direction, and I found that it proceeded form Mrs. Everett, who had been shot through the lungs. The noise she made in breathing struck a complete horror over me; it was a rattling, gurgling sound, that made my very flesh crawl; I did not, dared not, touch, her. I was, all at once, overcome with such a dread of terror, or something of the kind, that I feared her. I called her by name several times, as I stood over her, but she answered not; she was beyond speaking. I hurried along, for I could not bear to witness the suffering of my friend and neighbor. I wandered around on the prairie, calling "Merton," at intervals, but receiving no answer. Sometimes I fancied I could hear John crying; I would the hurry in the direction it seemed to come from, and call him again and again; then I would seem to hear him another way, and turn my course thither. Often, when forced by fatigue, I rested my bruised and weary frame on the wet ground.
As I was going along I saw a light about two feet in length, and one and a half in breadth; it was a pale red light, and seemed to float along just about the grass, at the distance of about forty rods from me. It went entirely around me, some three or four times, or, perhaps more, for I did not count. It first appeared on the right hand side, going around before me; it soon moved very swiftly. I thought at first it might be an Indian, but soon saw that not Indian, or even horse, could move with such rapidity. What it was, or what was the meaning of it, I do not know, but it was very mysterious.
Morning dawn found me still wandering over the prairie, in search of my children, for I was confident that they still lived, unless they had perished from cold or hunger. I looked around and strained my eyes in the vain hope of seeing some known object by which to learn where I was; but no, I was lost upon the trackless prairie. My fear of savages was too great to allow me to travel by daylight so I hid myself all day in a bunch of tall weeds. The rain continued to fall till about 9 a.m., when it ceased, and, soon after, the sun cheered me with his warm rays. About ten o’clock, I heard the report of guns, not far distant, and heard the cries of children again. This proved to me that I was not far from the place where my husband and friends and children were murdered. I heard the agonizing cries of the children, during most of the day. They cried constantly, and sometimes would scream and shriek, as if in great pain. This led me to the conviction that the fiends were torturing them. I believed my own surviving boys to be among them, with poor Charles, and expected they would all at last be killed, when the Indians were tired with their hellish sports; for I believe it was rare sport to them, to torture such little innocents. But about for o’clock, I heard the report of three guns in succession; the wail of the infants instantly ceased. "Alas!" I cried out in despair, "what have I to live for now? My husband and five darling children are all murdered; my home is plundered and desolate; and I myself am left upon the prairie, alone among enemies, with many a wound, and scarcely able to walk!" This was, indeed, a sad picture; but how true it is that while there is a spark of life, there still is hope, in the heart. Poor human nature soon found for me another excuse for mot giving up, and for trying to prolong my miserable existence. I wished to live long enough to tell to some white persons, and through them, to the world, the story of our sad fate. I then began to look around, to ascertain in what direction to go, to reach the house of "Dutch Charley", a German living sixteen miles form Lake Sheteck. I could just barely see, in the horizon, some timber, which I thought must be close to Buffalo Lake, and on the road to "Dutch Charley’s" and I determined, that, as soon as it was dark, I would try to reach it. I had now passed two days without anything to eat or drink; I felt no hunger, but was almost ready to perish with thirst, as it seemed.
As soon as it was dark, I started on my weary journey toward the timber. I walked some hours, and then laid me down to rest, on the damp ground. The dew on the grass was very heavy; I thought I could scoop up some of it with my hand, and obtain relief, but it was in vain that I tried it. I then took up the bottom of my skirt, and sucked the moisture form it, until I had partially quenched my thirst. I thought it the sweetest water I ever drank. I now curled myself up on the ground for a nap, trying to get myself warm by drawing the apron over my head and face, and breathing on my benumbed hands. I shook form head to foot. I was chilled through and my teeth chattered. I heard something approach me, which I supposed, from the step, etc., was a wolf. I heard him snuffing around my head awhile, and then 2567 put my foot to the ground. My heel, which had been shot through, was very sore, and badly swelled; but, discouraging as this was, I still pressed onward, till I reached Buffalo Lake, at about eleven o’clock a.m. Here I found that I must cross the outlet of the lake, upon a pole that someone had laid across, long ago. But when I trusted my weight upon it, over the middle of the stream, it broke, and I fell in the water. After repeated efforts I got out and passed on, but was obliged to stop and repair damages caused by the accident. I took off and wrung out some of my clothes, such as my skirt and the rags on my feet; then hung them in the sunshine to dry. I also laid the meat in the sun to dry, for it was so soft and slippery that I could not eat it. After this I lay down in the bushes that grew around the lake, and slept very soundly for some time. I arose at length, put on my skirt, coat, and apron, as usual, dressed my feet again, sat on a log and ate some corn and forced down some meat. Just as I finished my lonely meal, a flock of ducks flew off the lake and soon a crane followed them. This was proof that something had disturbed them, and, fearing that Indians were close at hand, I hid behind a tree, and watched the road in the direction I had just come. Presently the head of a horse was seen to rise over the hill near by. "Indians, without a doubt," thought I, and shrank down among the bushes, and watched to see a dozen or more of the hated savages file along before me. But oh! What a revulsion of feeling, from fear to joy! It proved to be the mail carrier from Sioux Falls to New Ulm. I crept out of the brush, and addressed him. He stopped his horse, and, staring at me in the utmost astonishment, asked, in the Indian tongue, if I were a squaw. I answered yes, not understanding him, and told him the Indians had killed all the white people at the lake. "Why," said he, "you look too white to be a squaw." "I am no squaw," replied I, "I am Mrs. Eastlick; you have seen me several times at Mrs. Everett’s house; but I am very badly wounded. While talking with him, the first tears I had yet shed, since the beginning of my troubles, began to pour like rain over my cheeks. While I was alone, without an earthly friend to listen to my grief, I bore up stoically; but now the warmth of human sympathy unlocked the frozen current of my tears and I cried with joy, at once more beholding the face of a white man. He then inquired about the extent of my wounds, and asked to see them; so I turned up my sleeve, and showed him my wounded arm, and the place where my head was broken. He then helped me up on his sulky, and walked along, leading the horse. At about four o’clock we came in sight of "Dutch Charley’s" when he drove the horse away from the road into a ravine, helped me to the ground, telling me to conceal myself in the grass, and he would go to the house and see if there had been any Indians about. He returned presently, saying there had been none there; that the family had deserted the premises, but that there was an old man there, who came from Lake Shetek. He helped me to mount the sulky again, and we were soon before the door. As soon as I had got to the ground, the man made his appearance at the door, and, wonderful to tell, it was poor "Uncle Tommy Ireland". I hardly knew him, for he looked more a corpse than a living being; his face was pale, his eyes deeply sunk, and his voice reduced to a whisper. I hurried to greet him, rejoiced to find, still living, my old friend and neighbor, who had witnessed the same heart-rending sights with myself. He clasped his arm around me, kissed me several times, and we both wept like children at the sight of each other.
While the mail carrier cared for his horse, we entered the house, and he told me that Merton had left the scene of the massacre on the same day, carrying little Johnny, and he thought, perhaps, he had reached that house before "Dutch Charley’s" family had left, and so gone along with them. I was filled with hope and joy, to think that, perhaps, two of my children were spared. He detailed me the circumstances how the rest of the men, who were lying there with him wounded, had made their escape from the slough about the middle of the afternoon of the same day, after the Indians had left. That Merton then told him that he was going to leave, too. "Oh! No," said Uncle Tommy, "you will starve to death on the prairie; you had better lie down with me, and both die here together, than to wander over the prairie, and finally starve." "No," bravely replied Merton, "Mother told me to carry Johnny as long as I live, and I’m going to do it." Uncle Tommy then seeing the child’s determination to go, told him he would go with him as far as the road. Poor little Frank started to go with them, but was wounded so badly, and so enfeebled by loss of blood, that he soon fell upon his knees, and besought his brother, Merton, to wait for him, saying he was sick and could not keep up. Oh! How the poor boy must have felt, to see his brother leave him alone in such agony. He had been shot through the thigh, through the abdomen and through the mouth. I afterwards learned that he remained two days on the prairie, and was then found by a band of Indians, who carried him to Mrs. Smith’s house. Here they remained and doctored him two days; there were worms in his wounds at the time; and, finding he could neither eat nor drink, but would probably die, they left him in this situation. But he lived, and after staying there alone for three weeks, and living on cheese, etc. he was taken prisoner by a half-breed, named Joe Leaboshie. God only knows what the poor child suffered, and what he still suffers, for if still living, he is yet a prisoner.
Uncle Tommy only went about half a mile with Merton; being very faint from the loss of blood, he lay down in the grass, and was unable to turn himself over for thirty-six hours. Then, finding himself able to walk, he arose, and went as far as "Dutch Charley’s" that day, at which place we found him on Saturday, the next day. As he was unable to get himself a drink, he was suffering greatly, but the sight of the mail carrier and myself raised his spirits to such an extent, that he thought he could travel a little. The mail carrier came in after feeding his horse, brought me in some hay, which he put in a corner, and advised me to lie down upon it and rest. He found a cheese in the chamber, which he cut up and fed us upon. After resting some time, I went to the garden and pulled a few turnips; taking them and a part of the cheese for food, we started once more. At first, Uncle Tommy could not walk very well, but after going a mile or two, he could walk as fast as a horse. After going eight miles, we went about half a mile away from the road, to camp for the night; ate a part of our turnips and cheese and lay down on the ground to sleep. The mail carrier gave me a quilt, that he had with him, and this I shared with Mr. Ireland, who had nothing but his shirt and pants. During the night, a severe storm arose, and it rained for some time; the kind mail carrier put his oil cloth blanket over us, reserving but a small portion for himself.
As soon as daylight on Sunday morning, we started again. I was very cold, and I should have suffered much, if the mail carrier had not given me his blanket to ride in, which kept me very comfortable. At about eleven o’clock, we espied some persons ahead of us, and the mail-carrier, thinking they might be Indians, turned from the road, followed along a ravine, for some distance, till he thought he could come up with them. He then cautiously crept to the top of the hill, and looked over upon the road. But he could see nothing of them; they were out of sight. He returned and said he would go back to Sioux Falls, if I would. I told him, if he thought he would be any safer to return, to do so, by all means; but that I would rather he would leave me to go onward to New Ulm, which I supposed must be a place of safety. He said he would of there with me. I urged him not to run any risks for my sake, for we might all get killed if we went on, but he would not leave me behind, alone. We then all started on again, with the mail carrier some distance in advance. As we neared the place where we had seen the supposed Indians, he took a circuitous route, telling me to wait until he could go to the top of a hill, and look out for them. After looking in every direction, he motioned to me to go on, and soon rejoined me. But when we had traveled about a mile further, on ascending an eminence, I saw at a long distance the objects that had alarmed us, which appeared to be a woman and two children. When we arrived near to them, the woman looked to me like Mrs. Duly; I beckoned her to stop, and, on coming up, it proved to be Mrs. Hurd with her two children. She was unable to speak for some time, but shook hands with us all, and finally told me that my Merton was a short distance ahead, just out of sight, and was carrying Johnny. I could stay to hear no more, and urging the horse along I soon came upon them. Merton stopped, gazed upon me, but spoke not a word. The mail carrier took Johnny, who was sleeping, in his arms, and gave him to me; I clasped him to my breast, and, with tears of joy, I thanked God- Oh! How fervently for sparing my children thus far. How I longed to press my bosom my poor Merton, but I could not, for I was unable to get of the sulky; all I could do was to press his wasted hand, and call him my dear, brave boy. He, though only eleven years old, had carried the child, who was fifteen months old, fifty miles, but now could hardly stand alone; for he felt no fear bow, and had nothing to excite him or keep up his strength. He was the poorest person I ever saw, able to stand alone. Two weeks of hard sickness could not have altered his looks more. And little Johnny, too, was sadly changed; his face was entirely covered with a scab, where the mosquitoes had bitten him and he had scratched off the skin; he lay stupid in my arms, and seemed not to notice anything; and he had pulled the hair all out of the back of his head. They had both been two days without food. After Merton had left Mr. Ireland, exhausted upon the prairie, he soon found the road to "Dutch Charley’s", and reached Buffalo Lake before dark, on the day of the massacre, and stopped all night. He laid his little brother on the ground, and bent over him to protect him from the cold rain. The wolves came around in the night, and he was obliged to halloo at them with all his power of voice to scare them away. Think of it, mothers, and fancy your own cherished darlings sleeping thus!
Thus he spent the long, cold, weary night, and at daylight, starting on his way. All day long he carried little John, resting at intervals until five p.m. he overtook Mrs. Hurd, near the house of the German. Together they proceeded to the house where they found and ate some cheese full of skippers, which was the first morsel they ate in two days. The people of the house had left, taking with them all their provisions, that were fit to eat. At about dark they went and concealed themselves in the cornfield for the night.
Mrs. Hurd, also, had a very hard time since the beginning of her troubles. After the Indians had driven her from her home, she wandered, on till she became bewildered, and lost her way while rain poured in torrents. At night she laid her children on the ground, tried to shield them from the storm with her body, and spent the night in watching over them. Next day, after wandering round for a long time, and crossing numerous sloughs, she found the road, but her eldest child became sick, and vomited often. Soon he became unable to walk, and then she was obliged to carry him. But having two to carry, and being quite weak, she was under the necessity of carrying one of them a quarter or half mile, laying him down and returning for the other one, so that, for every mile that her children got along, she was obliged to walk three miles. Her oldest child cried bitterly for bread, but she cheered him by promising that he should have some when they reached "Dutch Charleys". She traveled thus till she reached the house, when she was almost discouraged by finding them all gone. Her boy reminded her of her promise, but she could find no bread for him. Next morning, after returning from the cornfield, they resumed their search for food, and at last found an old building some spoiled ham, which they fed to the little ones. Merton pulled some carrots in the garden, and, after making their breakfast of carrot, ham and cheese, they started again, taking what provision they had left. Thus they traveled, with but little to eat and nearly destitute of clothing, and sleeping on the ground at night. Johnny’s sole clothing was a dress, with a very low neck; Merton had at first, a shirt, pants, and hat, but the hat was shot to pieces in the slough, and he had torn his pants nearly off, in walking, so that he replaced them with an old pair which were picked up at the German’s.
At about noon we reached Brown’s place, which was two miles form where I met with my children, but found the house deserted, and the family gone. From the appearance of things, they were judged to have left the house of their own accord, and had taken most of their goods with them. The mail-carrier, being unable to enter the door, which was fastened, climbed in at the window, which he distributed among us around the house, and promising to send some one after us. He said that about seven miles form there, lived a man who owned a pair of horses, and he would send him after us. After he was gone, being afraid to stay around the house, we went about eighty rods form the house, into the brush that grew along the bank of the Cottonwood River, here we staid until near sunset, when we returned to the house, crawled in through the broken window, an examined the premises. The house looked as though it had just been left; it was quite clean, and everything was placed in good order. There were one feather bed and three straw beds in the house, some forty pounds of pork and a crock of lard in the cellar; in short, we found enough to make us comfortable and, though there was nothing that would make bread, we were still very thankful. In the garden, Mrs. Hurd and Merton dug some potatoes, and found plenty of such vegetables as onions, turnips, cabbage, beets, tomatoes, fried some pork and onions, and we all made a Tuesday night. As soon as dark, we all gladly went to bed, and found clothes enough to keep us quite comfortable. I slept but little, however, for I felt not so safe here as on the prairie, and fear of the red-skins kept sleep from my eyes.
Here we remained at Mr. Brown’s house, from Sunday p.m. till Wednesday night, when the mail-carrier returned. He reported that all the settlers on the Cottonwood killed; that he had gone in sight of New Ulm, on foot leaving his horse some miles behind; that he could see the ruins of a great many burnt houses there, and people of some kind, walking about the street, but could not determine whether they were Indians or white; that as he was traveling along, on foot, he suddenly came upon six Indians, two of whom shot at him and pursued him; that he ran and concealed himself in a slough, till his pursuers were weary of hunting for him, and gave up the search. He came back and reached Brown’s on Tuesday night, but, on listening for us, he heard nothing, so he concluded that we were either killed by the Indians, or had gone away, and, perhaps, the house contained Indians so he went to the cornfield and staid there for the rest of the night, and part of the day, till he ventured to come to the house. After hearing this tale, we all knew we were not safe a moment in the house. But now I was no longer able to walk; my wounded foot had become much inflamed and swollen. So our kind protector put me upon his horse and took Johnny and myself to the thicket, about a fourth of a mile from the house. He also brought the feather bed and placed it for me to lie upon, among some wild plum bushes; having done all he could to render us comfortable, he shook hands and bade me farewell, saying that he never expected to see me again. He started to return to Sioux Falls, to send some soldiers to rescue us, and, if he had good luck in getting through, he thought the soldiers could reach us in one week from that day. When he left me I wept like a child, for he had been so very kind to me, he seemed like a brother, and, now that he was gone, I felt that the last of my hopes was gone with him. I knew I could not get away without help, and, I feared lest the Indians should come along and find us; if they did our lives would not be worth a farthing. After cooking a pail of potatoes, some meat and parched corn, Mrs. Hurd came to me; Uncle Tommy and Merton also came, bringing some bed clothes, to cover us with. But the night proved so sultry, that we could not bear to cover our faces, and the mosquitoes seemed to draw the last drop of blood from veins. I slept but very little, during this long and tedious night. The prospect was discouraging beyond measure, and I feared that the mail-carrier would never reach his destination. But I afterwards learned that when he reached Sioux falls, the settlers there had all been murdered by the savages, as also all of the soldiers but the two, who escaped; finally, however, he reached Fort Clark in safety.
Next morning, Thursday, we arose and made our breakfast of cold potatoes and meat. We dared not speak aloud from fear that Indians might be near. It was some trouble to keep the little ones quiet, sometimes, but usually they were very still. Johnny now got so that he began to walk a little again, but when I first over took him, he was unable to stand alone. About ten o’clock, Mr. Ireland said he could not stand it any longer, and would go to the house. He was much better now than he had been, before; but, one night, while we were staying at the house, Mrs. Hurd and myself thought he was dying from the wounds through his lungs. He set out for the house, but he had but a little way, when we heard the barking of dogs. This seemed to us proof that Indians, with their dogs, were upon us, and expected to hear the report of a gun that should be the first fired at poor Tommy. No one can imagine what we can suffered with fear. Presently the dogs came crackling through the bushes, and stopped, when in sight of us, looking intently at us. I feared they would bark, and bring Indians about us, but they did not. They turned back and were gone some time. Next time they came to us, lay down about a rod from us, and finally went away again. They were large coal-black dogs, and did not look cross, but quite the reverse. I told Mrs. Hurd that if they came to us again, I would try to make friends with them, and, perhaps, they would not betray us. Sometime after noon, they came the third time: the largest one came close to me and looked very wistful.
Not during the speak, I merely snapped my fingers at him, on which he came, showing all the dog’s signs of joy, and licking my face and hands. Glad to see a friendly disposition shown us, by even a dog, I caressed him and gave him some meat. Presently the crackling of the brush was again heard. Looking up, in dismay, we caught sight of an object, that looked like an Indian, a blanket of his head, A terrible fright seized us all; my heart beat so loud that I thought he must hear it; but he soon appeared from behind some bushes, and proved to be no one but Mr. Ireland. His coming cheered us now, as much as it had, just before, frightened us. He said the dogs probably had belonged to Mr. Brown, for they seemed at house at the house. He tried his best to persuade us to go there, but we steadily refused. He had eaten some potatoes, corn, etc., and brought us some of the parched corn; he soon returned to the house, to stay there alone.
I spent this night, like the preceding one, without sleep; and Mrs. Hurd, also, spent a most miserable night, for she was sick, and vomited a great many times. In the morning she was much better. Uncle Tommy out early from the house, and begged us again to go there with him. I had about concluded to go, and run the risk of being killed by the Indians, for, if we stayed there, we should, of a certainty, be tortured by the mosquitoes, and, perhaps, die after all. Mrs. Hurd, also concluded to accompany him. I managed to get out of the brush alone, but could go no further without help. The others, all having a load to carry, left me behind, on the ground. Merton came back, after he had borne Johnny to the house, and helped me a little. I played my hand upon his shoulder, and, using him thus, as a staff, I got a short distance; but was, at last, obliged to get down on my hands and knees, and thus crawled to the house, where I at once threw myself upon a bad., After resting awhile, I thought, perhaps , I might be able to sit upon to dress my wounded foot, but I was too faint to and weak to proceed, until afternoon, when I dressed my wounds. The one upon my arm was beginning to heal fast, but my heel was badly swollen, and in a very bad condition. I did not walk about for several weeks. During the rest of the time that we stayed here, the days wore slowly away; we remained in silence, most of the time, and, even the little one were seldom allowed to laugh or play. I began to think I should never live to get away, though the others were now able to walk some miles. Mrs. Hurd was very anxious to start for New Ulm, and thought every day, that my foot would next morning be well enough to start; but each successive morning brought the same disappointment. Finally I advised Mrs. Hurd and Mr. Ireland to go, and wait no longer for me; that if they remained we might all be murdered, and, if they left, if might be the means of saving their own lives, at least. But they refused to leave me, helpless, which was very generous of them. Still I thought it not right, to risk their lives, for the sake of keeping me company. So, Mr. Ireland finally proposed that, if we would all stay at the house, he would go to New Ulm, and, if he could find men enough there, he would have them come after us. We promised him to stay at the house, and wait the coming of help, if he felt able to walk to New Ulm. "Then," he exclaimed, "I will go, and have you all rescued, or die in the attempt!" He began at once to prepare for the journey.
On Monday morning of the ninth day the we had staid at Mr. Brown’s, very early, Mrs. Hurd cooked two young chickens, and Uncle Tommy, taking them for his provisions, started for New Ulm, telling us to be good of cheer, for, if he had no bad luck, he would reach the town sometime that night, and by Tuesday night, we might look for some one after us. I could not keep for shedding tears, as he left us, for now I seemed more lonely than ever, and I hardly dared to hope that he would succeed in bringing us succor. I still thought that it would ultimately be my lot to be murdered by the savage, and my constant prayer was, that God would give me strength to die like a Christian. I determined that if they came and murdered me, they should not have their ears delighted by a single groan or cry. Having found some newspapers in an old trunk, I tried to read, thinking it would relieve the tedium of the hours, and divert my sad heart. But the first story I found, was something horrible about Indians! I threw the paper from me, for my mind was already filled with such dreadful scenes, as none of the writers of fiction have described. All the afternoon of Tuesday we looked long and eagerly for someone to come to out relief, until after dark, when I retired and slept for some hours. At about midnight we were awakened by the barking of dogs and I asked Mrs. Hurd what they could be barking at. "It could be the cattle," replied she, "but they act as if afraid of something." She arose and went to the window, but could see nothing. The dogs now barked savagely than ever, running out a short distance, then back against the door. This frightened us very much, as we though it must be the Indians, or the dogs would not act so. But, thought I, whether it be enemies or friends, I must arise and dress, if I have strength, though it may be the last time. So I of began putting on my clothes, still asking Mrs. Hurd if she saw anything, when, just as I was about dressed, she exclaimed, "My God, Cook, is that you ?" Then I knew that it was some one whom she knew. I knew their voices when I heard them speak. It proved to be a young man named Cook, who lived at Lake Shetek, and some time before the outbreak had gone to Crystal Lake, to work in harvest; and my neighbor, Mr.Wright, who was also gone at the time. They came into the house, pressed our hands warmly, with tears running down their faces, while Mrs. Hurd and I wept aloud for joy! Immediately after them, a number of soldiers entered, and when Mr. Wright took out some matches, and lit a lamp, the sight that met their eyes caused the floor to rest, but their leader, Lieut. . Roberts, told them that was no place to rest; that they must get up and stand guard. They remained but a few minutes in the house, when he went out and stood guard with the rest of them.
We now learned that Uncle Tommy had succeeded in getting to New Ulm, about noon, on Tuesday, and at once made known our condition to Capt. Dane. Roberts, as commander, to prepare to start as soon as possible to our relief. It was almost sunset before they were ready to start, when, lo ! Mr. Wright and Mr. Cook came into town, and, learning the facts, volunteered to attend them as guides. They reached our place at midnight, and, fearful that the sight of them all would frighten us, the guides came on alone to rouse us. They had brought some crackers and tea for us; they went out and caught, killed and cooked some chickens for the soldiers, refusing all assistance from Mrs. Hurd; and, having prepared a good meal of chicken, potatoes and tea, a part of the soldiers came in and ate, while the rest stood guard. After the first half of the soldiers were fed, the others portion were also relieved and furnished a good warm supper. I drank a cup of tea, but could eat scarcely any.
On the morning of the fifth of September, a party of us, consisting of Mrs. Hurd and myself, with our children, Mr. Ireland and Mr. Wright started for Mankato. Capt. Dane kindly sent some fifteen or twenty of his soldiers as our escort part of the way. About sunset we reached South Bend, where we thought we had better stay over night, but, on stopping to see what accommodations could be obtained, we found the hotels crowded to overflowing, and there was no chance for us. But the wagon had hardly stopped, before it was surrounded by men asking questions as to who we were, etc. On learning my name, they exclaimed, "Is this the little hero that traveled from Lake Shetek, carrying his little baby brother? We had heard about him, but supposed they had starved to death upon the prairie before this." They became quite excited about the boy, and crowded each other hither and thither to get a sight of him. We drove a short distance to a grocery, where the men of our party stopped to refresh themselves with a glass of beer, when a man came running after us in great haste. On coming to our wagon, he asked, "Is this the boy that ran away from the Indians, and carried his brother?" "Yes," said I "Give me your hand, my brave little man," said he, shaking his hand warmly; "and is this the little child that he carried so far?" On being told it was, he took Johnny in his arms, and kissed him several times; then, after we had started on, he walked half a mile beside our wagon, talking to Mrs. Hurd and myself.
Late in the evening we reached Mankato; here they took Mr. Ireland, Mrs. Hurd, our children, and myself to the hospital, where supper was soon prepared for us. I was assisted to bed, and the surgeon, and dressed my wounds. We here received excellent care and nursing. Dr. Mcmahan was the head surgeon, and was very kind to us; indeed, it would almost cure a sick person to see his good-natured face. In his absence, Dr. Wickersham attended the sick and wounded, and he, too, treated with kindness. On the next day, which was Saturday, I was told that some of my old neighbors were at the hospital, namely, Mr. Everett and Charles Hatch. They had made their escape, and reached Mankato in a very sad plight. Charley had by this time nearly been healed of his wounds, but it was thought doubtful if Mr. Everett ever recovered. On the morning of this day, Mrs. Hurd left for St. Peter and La Crosse; this was the last I ever saw of her. The ladies of Mankato showed their generosity while we staid there, by giving me clothes for myself and my children. I often overheard some one inquiring for the boy that carried his brother so far; soldiers and officers came there in large numbers, thinking it quite a sight to see Merton, and generally gave him or myself, small sums of money, from a dime to a dollar. When several companies of the 25th Wisconsin Regiment came through the town, on their way to the scene of Indian war, they remained in town, over night. Next morning, they came to the hospital to see me and my children; they crowded my room and the halls, till at last the surgeon, seeing that there were a great many more coming than the house would hold, locked the door against them and refused to let them in. Not being able to see me, then the soldiers clamored at the sight of Johnny. Dr. Wickersham took the child down among them, where he was caressed and passed from hand to hand, causing great amazement at the strength and endurance of the boy that had lugged him fifty miles without food. When they left town, they took Merton along with them some distance, and sent him back with a present of fifteen dollars, all in silver, which was a scarce commodity at the time, and is still more rare now. I shall never cease to remember, with gratitude, the benevolent soldiers of the 25th Wisconsin. The money came very timely, for, until then I had nothing with which to get clothes for Merton. I had remained in need of clothes, for the weather was now growing colder. I was now very tired of staying here, and determined to leave, whether, they gave me a discharge or not. My foot had healed so I began to use it some, but was very lame; the rest of my wounds were all healed.
Three days before, I left, the Government sent a new surgeon
to take charge of the hospital-viz. Dr. Clark, of Mankato. He at once tried
to send me into the kitchen to work, but I had no intention of paying my
board by working in the kitchen, while he drew pay from the Government
for keeping me, and so I did not agree the to the proposal. Finding he
could not drive me to work, he said that if I was going to leave at all,
I could do so at once, which I soon afterwards did. On another occasion,
a gentleman called and inquired for Dr. Clark. Mr. Ireland told him he
was in Mr. Everett’s room and volunteered to go and call him, went to the
door, and, finding it ajar, pushed it open just in time to see Dr. Clark
in the act of tipping a bottle of brandy, to take a dram. Clark at once
got in a passion, charged Uncle Tommy with hanging around watching him,
and swearing he would not keep a spy about him, discharge him on the spot.
But Mr. Ireland was unable to get a living, for his arm, which had been
shot through, was of no use, so Dr. Wickerham, in the benevolence of his
heart, took him to the hotel and paid his board for one week. At the end
of his time, Mr. Ireland refused to stay longer, not thinking it right
to take advantage of the Dr.’s kind offer. I was not in a condition to
travel, for I had no bonnet or shawl. but Dr. Daniel Tyner bought me a
bonnet, shawl, a pair of shoes, stockings and gloves, as well as clothing
for the children, and gave them all to me. When I asked him what they cost,
so as to pay him, if I ever got able, he said if that was my reason for
asking, he would not tell me. I shall ever remember him and the ladies
of Mankato, with gratitude.
One day a gentlemen came and asked if I wished to leave and go to my friends. I replied that I did. After inquiring if I had the means to carry me to them, and finding I was nearly destitute, he offered to give me a pass. He left, and, shortly after, he sent me a pass to go to Ohio. The next day I took a journey to St. Peter to see the man who gave me the pass, and try to get one to carry me farther; but, on arriving there, I found he had returned to St.Paul. I then returned to Mankato, and back to South Bend, to see Judge Falndreau.
He could only give me a pass to the state line. He finally gave me a pass to St. Paul, and told me to go to Gen. Pope, who would, if possible, give me a pass to Ohio. I took a letter of introduction to Gen. Pope, and no Monday morning took the stage for Shakopee, then went by boat to the city of St. Paul. After considerable search and inquiry, I found Gen. Pope’s headquarters in a very large brick building Here I was directed up a flight of stairs, in to a long hall, where sat a man by the door of one of the rooms. On the making known of my wants, he told me that I could not see the General, but that if I had any business with him, I could send it in. I told him I wished for a pass that would carry me to Ohio, and gave him Judge flandreau’s letter of introduction to carry in. He was gone but a few moments, when he returned, saying, that Pope could for me, by the subscription, and advised me to go to Gov. Ramsey. I turned away in great disappointment, but concluded to try once more, so I went to the capitol, in search of the Governor. One gentleman among the crowd who were there, offered me a chair, which I was glad to accept, for, by this time, I was suffering very much from weariness and lameness. I stated that I wish to see the Governor, And learned that I would have to wait an hour, so I sent Merton back to the boat, to have my baggage put on shore. At last, after long waiting, a man came and told me that I could then have an opportunity to see the governor.
There were a great many others waiting and I improved the chance at once. On entering the room, Mr. Ramsey spoke very kindly to me, and I seemed to know by intuition and by the sight of his open countenance, that he would do everything in his power to assist me. “What can I do for you, madam?” he asked. I replied that I wish for a pass to leave state. He then inquired my name, circumstances, and where I was from. So I related something of my story. “Ah!” he said, “are you the mother of the little boy who carried his brother such a great distance?” He became much interested, found out all the circumstances, and had an hour’s conversation with me. He said that he would give me a pass, which I wanted, and hoped Merton would return in time so that he could see the little hero, that he had read so much about, but that he could spend no more time with me, for there were a number of men wishing to see him upon business. He said that no boats would leave until next morning; then gave a gentleman directions to go with me to a photograph artist, and have pictures taken of myself and children, for he said he wanted them very much. We did as he requested, and sat for three different pictures. The artist made me a present of two dollars and requested me to leave my address, in orders that he might afterwards send me one of the pictures when finished. I received the photograph, in due season. The next morning, the same gentlemen, whose name I have forgotten, came and paid my hotel bill, attended us on board the nona, and gave me fifteen dollars, saying that Governor Ramsey thought the money would be better for me than a pass, as I wanted to stop in several places, on my way; having done all he could to assist me, he returned to the governor. Next we landed at Winona; as I was going to step ashore, the lady passengers gave me some money, for which I stopped to thank them, but there was no time, and I was hurried on shore. Hardly had I left the boat, when a hotel runner took us and out trunk to the Franklin House, where I left my children and started out to see if I could find a team going to St. Charles, hoping to get a ride that far on my way. I was directed to Mr. Bauder’s hotel, where the teamsters from that direction usually stayed. I went in to the barroom and made my inquiries of the landlord, who told me that the teams from that way were all gone, but that more would arrive, that night. He asked if I lived at St. Charles. I told him that i had lived three miles south of that place, but that autumn before I had moved to Lake Shetek. A gentleman, sitting there, having inquired and found out my name, said that he had been acquainted with my husband, but had heard that the settlers at Lake Shetek were all murdered. I told him some particulars about the massacre, in which he too a deep interest. “Where are you stopping?” asked Mr. Bauder. “At the Franklin house,” I replied. “Well,” said he, “you had better get your children, and come here to put up, and go out on the stage tomorrow.” “But,” said I, “if I go with some teamster, it will cost me less then by stage, and I must economize in every possible way.” “Well,” said the landlord, “you shall come here to stay and welcome, and if the stage agent won’t give you a ticket on the stage, I’ll pay your fare myself.” This was to good of an offer to be disregarded, so I returned to the Franklin house, and offered to pay for my ride up from the river. The landlord asked if I was going, and had found a team. "I have found no team," said I, "but I am going to the Bauder House." " You had better stay here," said he, "we are running opposition to Bauder, and will do as well by you as he will." I then got him to state the lowest terms on which he would keep me, considering my poverty. As a special favor, he agrees to give us one day’s board for a dollar. "Then," said I, " I think I will go to Mr. Bauder’s as he will keep us free and pay my stage fare to St. Charles." This being a degree of generosity beyond his conception, he charged me a quarter to ride to his house, and, having paid him went to Mr. Bauder’s. In the evening Mr. Bauder brought me twenty-five cents which he said was sent me by a blacksmith, who also promised that when I came again to Winona he would pay my fare. I don’t know the man’s name, but I know he has a kind heart.
Next morning Mr. Bauder handed me a small sum of money, which he and others had contributed, and the stage agent gave me a ticket to St. Charles, so I was soon on my way. On the stage was a man named John Stevens; an artist by profession; he had learned of my misfortune, and asked a great many questions. He had a panorama of the war nearly completed, and offered, if I would stay with him until he had painted some additional scenes of the Indian massacres, to give me the benefits of the first exhibition at Winona. He thought it would pay me well for staying and said it would be about four weeks before its completion. I concluded to stay until that time, among my old neighbors, who, when I reached my old home, gave me a hearty welcome. While stopping near St. Charles, I was delighted to receive a visit from one of my old neighbors from Lake Shetek, namely, Mrs. Cook, who, I heard, had been taken prisoner by the Indians, and afterwards released, with a great many other women and children. I was so glad to see her alive once more, that I through my arms about her, and wept for joy. She related how she had escaped from her captors, and, though rather a long story, it may not be uninteresting here. She was taken, with the rest of the prisoners, to Mr. Ireland’s house, where a great many Indians were encamped for the night. The Indian, who claimed her, told her to stay in the "teepe" or the other Indians would kill her. They had a great dance that night, notwithstanding the storm. Someone of them would jump in the ring, declare that he that day had killed a paleface, and then proceed to represent the manner in which his victim had died. He would jump as though struck by a bullet, stagger around until he fell, groan a few times, and lie as though dead, while the rest joined in a demonic dance with yells, whoops, and songs, around him. Then another would spring out and boast of his exploits, acting out the suffering of the victims, and thus they spent the whole night, perfectly intoxicated over their banquet of blood. The chief had been killed that day, so this night they chose old "Pawn" chief. Next morning they brought Lily Everett into their camp, so chilled and wet that she could hardly speak. Mrs. Cook and Mrs. Duly took compassion on her, wrapped her in a shawl, and set her close to a fire. But the savages, not liking to see any mercy or pity to a child, instantly took aim at them, and fired. One ball went through the skirt of Mrs. Duly’s dress, and another pierced the shawl worn by Mrs. Cook, just below her shoulders, cutting a slit through her shawl, about half a yard in length, but fortunately neither of them was hurt. The Indians staid at the lake till Friday morning, when they decamped, taking away all the cattle, and several wagons loaded with plunder. They compelled the women to drive the oxen that drew the wagons, and also the loose cattle, which spread out over the prairie in quite a drove. While on the way to the house of Mr. Ireland, Mrs. Cook was leading little Belle Duly, aged five years, when the same old squaw who had murdered poor Freddy came along, snatched the child away and began to torture her. First she whipped her over the face, with a raw-hide; then took her up by one arm and one leg, and beat the ground with her, till the breath was nearly driven out of her body; next tied her to a bush, stepped back a few paces, and threw knives at her, sometimes hitting her in various parts of the body. In this brutal manner, she caused the poor things death, while the mother was forced to behold the sight. She then told me about a band of Indians who had found my boy, Frank. This was the first I had heard about him, and for a long time I thought, as she did, that he had died at the house where they had left him. She was seven weeks with the Indians; the first half of the time she had plenty to eat, but was then sold to an old chap, who was very good to her sometimes and at other times very cruel. One day he announced to her that he was going to another band of Indians, at some distance, and some of the squaws told her that where they were going, there was hardly anything to eat. Next morning he started off, compelling her to go with him; she made no resistance but, after going five miles, she offered to carry his gun for him. He gave it to her, probably thinking her a remarkably good squaw, and she soon, while walking behind him, took off the percussion cap, threw it away, and spit in the tube, to make sure that it would not go off. She then told him she would go no farther. He seized the gun and told her to go on, or he would shoot her, and pointed it at her breast. She boldly told him to shoot then, for she was determined to go no further, and bared her breast before the muzzle, as if to receive her death-shot. But he did not do it; he dropped the butt of his musket upon the ground and looked at her in amazement. She was probably the bravest squaw he had ever seen. At last he agreed to go back with her. That night she intended to escape with a squaw, who had married a white man, and was also a prisoner. But their plan was defeated by the sickness of the squaw’s child. But next morning, however, the child was better, and the Indians all went away, save the one who owned Mrs. Cook. This was a splendid opportunity. Mrs. Cook stole away to the river, unperceived; the squaw rode a pony the same way, pretending to be going to water him; but let him go, at the river, and joined Mrs. Cook. They traveled all day, crossing the Minnesota River ten times, in order to hide their trail, if followed. They walked, they thought, about thirty miles, when they came to "Red Iron’s" pack of Indians, whom they joined. After being in their possession three days, with a great many other prisoners, they were all surrendered by "Red Iron" to Gen. Sibley.
Mrs. Cook urged me hard to go back to Mankato with her, for they had taken some three hundred and eighty Indian prisoners, and, if I knew any of them, to appear as a witness against them. I told her that she could go on to Rochester, where she was to stop a few days, and I would join her there. I thought it advisable to return and see about the claim which I had put in, like a great many others, claiming to be reimbursed by the Government, for all my property which was taken from me by public enemies. I had made out a list of the items, and employed a lawyer to prosecute my claim, not knowing what he intended to charge. So I concluded to return, and find how the matter stood. On the Saturday after Mrs. Cook left, I went to Rochester, where I went to see my artist friend, Mr. Stevens. His panorama was not yet completed, and would not be, for three weeks. On my telling him I could not wait that long, he said he would exhibit what he then had of the panorama, for my benefit. Accordingly, he had an exhibition and donated to me the proceeds, twelve dollars, together with some more money which he had collected for me. He was a man of great generosity.
Then I returned to Mankato, and stayed at Mr. Thyner, who invited me to his house to dinner, and insisted on me to see the prisoners. The prison was in the midst of Gen. Sibley's camp. We found the prisoners seemingly enjoying life much better than they deserved; some sleeping, some smoking, some eating, and some playing cards. It made my blood boil, to see them so merry, after their hellish deeds. I felt as if I could see them butchered, one and all; and no one, who has suffered what we settlers have, from their ferocity, can entertain any milder feelings toward them. I returned to the house of a friend, named Wilcox, where I stayed three days. I called on Mr. …….. at his office, to ascertain what his charge was to be, for attending to my claim. His reply was, that he should demand twenty-five per cent. I mentioned the subject at the house of Mr. Wilcox, and was told that it was very little trouble to prosecute any of these claims; that the usual charge was ten per cent, and that Mr. Wilcox, who was an attorney, would attend to it for that, or that I might give him what I choose. Next day I again called on…., and got back the schedule of my property. He said he was glad I had taken it, for he could hardly afford to collect the claim for twenty-five per cent, as there would have to be an administrator appointed, and the expense would be heavy. I told him if he was satisfied, that I was much more so. I left the list with Mr. Wilcox, in whom I felt I could trust, for he and his lady had proved themselves to be my friends in time of need. Thus far, in prosecuting my claim, he had given me good satisfaction. While I had been gone from Mankato, a party of men had been up to lake Shetek, to bury the dead. They found and brought back my husband’s rifles, one of which was in good condition, and the other much broken to pieces. I went to the person who had them in charge, and claimed them. He delivered them up, as soon as convinced that I knew and owned them. The best one I lent to poor Uncle Tommy, but the broken one I took with me, as a memento of the departed, for it was my husband’s favorite weapon, and he loved it with feelings that every true hunter appreciate.
I had now arranged my business satisfactorily, and, on Monday, I started once more for my friends, at four o’clock a.m. At about twenty-four hours from that time, I reached Rochester very much fatigued. I went to the house of Mr. Stevens, as soon as light, intending to proceed to St. Charles that day, but his kind- hearted wife urged me to stay with them and rest myself, till next day. I gladly accepted the invitation. Mr. Stevens told me that if I would leave Merton with him, he would afterwards bring him to me, at my sister’s in Wisconsin. Accordingly, I left him, and, two months afterwards, he brought him to me, in much attached to his kind benefactor, and, on the day that Mr. Stevens left him, to go farther east, he wept for nearly an hour. Well, I left Rochester, and staid at St, Charles a few days. While here, I met with another of my Lake Shetek neighbors, Mr. Myers. From him I learned the manner in which himself and family had fled the country, which was as follows: After the Indians had gone and left his place unarmed, in consequence of his being a "good man", and had been gone about and hour, he sent his oldest son, ten or eleven years of age, to the house of Mr. Hurd, to get some bread for his sick and helpless wife. But the boy, finding Mr.Vought dead in the yard, the house ravaged, and the family gone, brought home only the story of what he had seen. Myers then, thinking that Vought must have provoked a quarrel with the Indians, went to Mr. Cook’s to tell him what had taken place, but, on finding cook shot through and lying on the ground, he saw the danger they were in, ran home, and prepared for instant flight. He sent his boy to the inlet after the oxen, and, after a long hunt, they were found, and driven home. He took them over to Hurd’s yoked them to a wagon, and drove back, hearing the continual yell and report of guns, that came to him from the lower end of the lake. After putting in the wagon some bedding and provisions, and placing on the bed his poor sick wife and the children, he started, and got away unnoticed by the Indians. But the dreadful news of the morning had thrown his wife into a dangerous fit. After traveling a great distance upon a circuitous route to shun the savages, they reached Mankato, but, on the same night, the poor woman died, leaving five children to mourn her loss.
It was now getting quite late and cold, and winter was fast approaching: I was now anxious to be once more upon my way to my friends. On the next Monday I started, bidding good-bye to my kind neighbors. I took the stage about a mile from St. Charles; when we came to the village, the stage agent, whose name, I think, was hall, demanded my fare to Winona. I told him that a blacksmith at Winona had promised to pay my stage-fare when next I came there, and I wished him to wait till I got there; and, it the blacksmith did not pay it, I would. I knew I had not money sufficient to carry me through, and hoped to economize it so as to have no trouble when I got among total strangers. But it was of no use; I could not go unless I paid in advance, so I gave him the necessary amount.
We arrived at Winona about dark, and finding the boat
had already gone, I told the driver to take me to the Bauder house. There
I staid all night, and learned that the next boat would leave in the morning
for LaCrosse.Accordingly, next morning I was aroused in season, and Mr.
Bauder told his son to take me to the boat in the carriage, but first to
stop and meet him at a certain building. We drove off, and Mr. Bauder followed
us, stopping at various places of business. After driving about for some
time in this manner, he came and told me that boat had gone, and I would
be obliged to stay until night. So I was taken back to the hotel, wondering
what the kind landlord meant by this course; but it was soon explained.
He came in and said he had been in around town to see how much the citizens
could assist me, and that he had succeeded in raising forty-one dollars.
For this I was very grateful; indeed, I felt comparatively rich. I cant
never forget what the people of that place, and especially the active and
benevolent Mr. Bauder, have done for me, for it was through his agency
that I received my board at his house and these welcome sums of money.
He then went to the bank and exchanged the money into national currency
for me, then went to the board the boat, and stated to the captain the
circumstances of my case, whereupon he carried me free of expense. On arriving
at La Crosse, I journeyed on by railroad via Madison to Bascobel. I staid
over night at Boscobel, and next day took the stage for Lancaster, but
the stage agent refused payment for my ride. He left me at that excellent
hotel, the Mansion House where I was treated with the greatest kindness
by all of Mrs. Hyde’s family. I am very grateful for their goodness! And
not only am I grateful to them, but all those kind people, who have given
me their sympathy and their assistance, and thus smoothed down the rough
and thorny places in my walk of life. I have great cause to thank God,
not only for sparing my life and those of my dear boys, but also for raising
up friends wherever I have been to help me along.
While at the Mansion House in Lancaster, Mr. J.C. Cover, editor of the Grant County Herald, called on me and requested me to relate to him my story. This I did in a very poor way, which I am sure he would excuse, if he knew how many times I had previously related it. The next day I reached my brother’s house where I was received with tears of joy.
I will now mention what I know of the surviving settlers of Lake Shetek, as far as possible, in my limited space. Mrs. Duly and Mrs. Wright are with their husbands, having been ransomed, after four months captivity. Mrs. Duly’s youngest child was murdered while a prisoner, but two of her children are with her. Mrs. Cook is married and his daughters likewise. Mr. Duly joined the First Minnesota Mounted Rangers, and afterwards, became captain of scouts; he lives now in Mankato. Mr. Everett recovered, and went East with his little “Lily”, who was ransomed from the Indians. Charles Hatch returned to his friends in Wisconsin. Mr. Myers still remains in some part of Minnesota. Mr. Smith joined the Mounted Rangers and served his time. Mr. Rhodes joined the same company, but as he was soon afterwards missing, it was supposed that he deserted, as he was not heard from again. Mr. Bently enlisted to flight Indians, in some company. Mrs. Hurd is living at La Crosse.
Now, dear reader, since you have attended me till I finally reached my destination, and joined my relatives, I will bed you good bye, hoping that if you are ever as unfortunate as I have been, God will give you as many kind friends as He has given me.
Thinking the readers of this narrative would be
pleased to know of my whereabouts, and how I have been getting along these
many years, I will give a short sketch.
After visiting with my relatives in Wisconsin I went to Ohio where my mother and father lived. They received me and mine with joy and many tears. I remained in Ohio during the summer of 1863 visiting relatives and old neighbors, and many friends. In the fall of ’64.During the winter I wrote the narrative of the outrages and horrors that I witnessed. The sale of my book enabled me to buy a team, and a month of August I once more started for Minnesota. My youngest brother lived in Hennepin County at that time. I arrived at his home sometime in September. Selling books and visiting my old neighbors in Olmsted County required. Some time so that my journey lasted long, but I was well paid for it by the warm reception from brother and family. I made my home with brother until the spring of 1865, when I came to Mankato. In the year 1866 I bought some land very cheap with money received from the United States. The kind neighbors helped me to build a small frame house, and the following summer Merton built an addition-kitchen, two bedrooms and buttery, thus making a very comfortable home for myself and children. There I lived, Merton helping what he could, and being naturally ingenious, he soon learned the carpenter’s trade and earned money enough with what we raised on the farm to give us a comfortable living.
The year 1870 I had an offer of marriage, which I accepted, hoping to better my condition in life. My husband was very kind to me and my children. We were married but three months when he left home, unbeknown to me, and went to his sister in Ohio, where he remained several days and then left, taking no clothing except what he wore. His friends nor myself have ever heard from him, and why he left or what was his fate I do not except to eve know, unless it be in the next world. This was great burden to bear, but I had had trouble that was still harder. In August 1871, I became mother of a daughter. Merton was working at this trade, so Johnnie and myself were the ones to take care of baby. Johnnie was 10 years old but quite small, so I left him to take care of the baby and do what he could in the house, while I worked out of doors, plowing, harrowing, marking and planting my ground, etc. Sometimes my neighbors helping harvest my wheat and husk my corm, and helped to get my firewood until Johnnie was strong enough to do it. In 1873 Merton was married. He was married in August and stayed at home until the next spring, then he went to Rochester. The following he wanted myself and children to go and live with him, but I couldn’t become a burden to him as long as I could get along without. In the winter I lost one of my horses. I was not able to buy another and I had more land cleared than one horse could plow, but as I never give up in a good cause without a hard struggle, one thing, I thought, might do; I owned a large cow and I thought perhaps she could make half of a team if she was broke to the harness. Well Johnnie and myself soon had her broken and had done the plowing. An odd looking team it was, but did it matter so that I accomplished the desired end, that was, to support my family?
Sometime during the summer of 1875 Merton wrote to me telling me that he had taken a severe cold, and had been left with a cough. He wrote several letters afterward, saying that all were well; but a terrible blow awaited me on the 5th of November. I received a telegram from Rochester to “come quick, Merton is dying.” Oh! What a shock. I did not faint, but I thought I should die, it was such a shock. I could not speak for some minutes; but tears, blessed tears, came to my relief, and then I seemed to realize the truth that Merton was dying. I thought perhaps I might get a Rochester in time to see him once more if I made all possible haste, and I accordingly went to Mankato that night, and took the train next morning for Rochester. How slow the train moved! It seemed as though I could go faster myself. In my imagination I could see another train that didn’t lack for speed. I knew where it would stop and what passenger would go on board. I reached Rochester at one o’clock p.m. Mr. Joseph Alexander Jr., met me at the station. I did not need to ask – I felt that Merton was gone. Mary, my daughter-in-law, met me at the gate, threw her arms around me, kissed me said, “Mother –“ She could say no more, and I could say nothing, neither could I shed a tear. They told me that he begged them to do all they could to keep life in him “till mother came,” and he told his wife if he could see mother he would be willing to die. He died trusting in Jesus. On Sunday I followed the remains to the grave where kind hands buried the hero of Lake Shetek, my hero, the boy that carried his little brother so far and was the instrument in the hands of God in saving his life.