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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Indian Troubles!

We have talked a lot about a lot of things. Some of which are dry, statistics, however, they were important to note of the early settlers.
Today we are going to talk about Indian Troubles, of which one of my ancestors had some interaction years and years ago.
Remember again, please that the words I type are the words that I am reading from this old old encyclopedia.
By a treaty made between the United States and the Sioux Indians, July 15, 1815, almost three-quarters of a century ago, this tribe was duly considered at peace with the whites.  Their treat made at Portage des Sioux of Minnesota and Upper Iowa, by William Clark and Ninan Edwards, Indian Commissioners, was merely a treaty of peace and friendship on the part of these Indians toward the United States Government at the termination of the War of 1812.
We now come to speak of the Great Spirit Lake Massacre of 1857, which, even after thirty years, sends a thrill of terror through one's veins. Its history is too well known and recorded in various Iowa historical works to be enlarged upon here, only so far as the causes which, indirectly, lead to it and to causes which, indirectly lead to it and to immediate effect it had upon the settlement of Cherokee County.  After carefully studying these causes, it must be said that the imprudence and bad faith of our white race brought on that series of depredations and inhuman outrages which finally culminated in the Spirit Lake trouble, causing data for one of the bloodies chapter in the history of Indian ferocity. If the whites at no other time broke faith with the treat made to the Indians in July, 1815 in this one instance they did. Not as a government, by any means, but personally was this too true.  While there is more of poetry and romance regarding the truly noble and honorable conduct of Lo! the poor Indian that of real truth, yet it must be admitted that even a civilized, Christian people have from time to time acted in bad faith and virtually forfeited all protection and right under their various treaties of peace.
Sometime during the month of February, 1857, a hunting party of Sioux Indians passed down the Little Sioux River.  They made a short but quite friendly stop at the Cherokee settlement and then proceeded to Smithland, in Woodbury County.  Here the whites demanded of the Indians where they were journeying and insisted on knowing something concerning their business before allowing them to go by.  The Sioux replied that they were going down to shake hands with the Omahas; at this the whites made the Indians give up their guns---which is to the savage what virtue is to a woman--the last thing she will compromise.  Their surrendering arms enrages the Indian band, who turned upstream breathing vengeance upon the whites. White men stole their guns and now white men must make restitution, which would only be satisfied in the sacrifice of human blood.
Consequently they entered every cabin home, insulting the helpless inmates and taking what guns they possessed.  Arriving at Cherokee, furious with passion for the wrongs they had sustained, they acted in a brutal manner. What arms they had picked up before arriving at this point were directed against the settlers to frighten them into giving up more and also to suffer and indignity that an uncivilized race might conceive of. Cattle were stolen and scanty provisions seized and devoured by them, standing the while with cocked guns to enforce any command.  They remained feasting for three days, seeming to debate whether to murder the whole settlement or not.  These were the longest days and nights ever experience by the "colony".
The experiences of these poor people are hard to imagine. Comparing those to the folks in the Middle East is the only way I can imagine it.
Next time we will continue on with more Indian and settler problems. (Problems) sound like such a weak word doesn't it?


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