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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Churchill in Chippewa County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Missionaries at Lac qui Parle

Lac qui Parle Mission

 
 
Missionaries at Lac qui Parle Marker image. Click for full size.
By Connor Olson, June 29, 2021
1. Missionaries at Lac qui Parle Marker
Inscription.   Thomas S. Williamson (1800-1879) and Margaret Poage Williamson (1804-1872), the founding couple of the ABCFM mission to the Dakotas. With their young daughter, Elizabeth, they arrived at Lac qui Parle on July 9,1835 from Ripley, Ohio, where they were active supporters of the Underground Railroad movement. Thomas was a medical doctor, ordained pastor, and translator. In 1846, the Williamsons left Lac qui Parle to open a new mission station at Kaposia. Five of their ten children were born at Lac qui Parle. Just before his death in 1879, Thomas saw the completion of the translation of the entire Bible into the Dakota language, a task he began here in 1835.

Stephen R. Riggs (1812-1883) and Mary Ann Clark Longley Riggs (1813-1869) served at Lac qui parle from their arrival in Minnesota in 1837 until 1843 and again from 1846 to 1854. Mary taught Dakota children and helped compile the first English- Dakota dictionary. Stephen edited much of the mission's published work, including the first Grammar and Dictionary of the Dakota Language in 1852. The Riggs family grew to eight children, five

Missionaries at Lac qui Parle Marker image. Click for full size.
By Connor Olson, June 29, 2021
2. Missionaries at Lac qui Parle Marker
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of them born at Lac qui Parle. Riggs family letters, written across two generations, are one of the most detailed primary source collections on the Dakota Mission.

Sarah Poage (1806-1853) arrived here in July 1835 from Ohio with her sister, Margaret Williamson, to teach Dakota children. In November 1837, Sarah married Gideon H. Pond (1810-1878) in the first Protestant wedding at Lac qui Parle. Gideon, from Connecticut, had been a missionary to the Dakota since 1834 and stationed here since 1836. A gifted linguist, Gideon and his brother Samuel developed the Dakota alphabet. In 1839, Sarah and Gideon relocated to Lake Calhoun, Gideon left the mission over his deep misgivings about the Treaties of 1851 and became a pastor in Bloomington.

Fanny Huggins (1812-1894), sister of Alexander G. Huggins, was a teacher at Lac qui Parle for six years before she married Jonas Pettijohn (1813-1896) of Illinois in 1845. The couple was acquainted from their days as teachers in Ohio schools for the children of people who had fled slavery in the South. Jonas and Fanny served together at Lac qui parle until 1852 when they resigned from the mission and moved to Traverse des Sioux with their two living children. From 1859 to 1862, Fanny and Jonas put their Dakota language skills to work as teachers for Dakota students at the Federal

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day school at Red Iron's Village.

Alexander G. Huggins (1802-1866) and Lydia Pettijohn Huggins (1812–1890) were also active in the Underground Railroad in Ohio before coming to Minnesota. They arrived at Lac qui parle with their children, Amos and Jane, on July 9, 1835. Alexander oversaw the construction of the mission station at Lac qui parle and taught Euro-American farming to Dakotas. Four more children were born here before they relocated to Traverse des Sioux in 1847. Alexander resigned from the mission following the Treaties of 1851, disillusioned with the future he foresaw for Dakota people, and with the ABCFM's postion on the abolition of slavery.

Moses Newton Adams (1822-1902) and Anne Margery Gaul Rankin Adams (1827-?) came from Ohio to the Dakota mission in 1848. They lived at Lac qui parle for five years, teaching Dakota day-school students, boarding in their home children whose families lived distant from the school, and helping develop books in the Dakota language. Moses left the mission in 1853 to become a pastor in Traverse des Sioux. From 1871-75, he was Federal Indian Agent for the Sisseton and Wahpeton Reservation at Lake Traverse. He served as an ABCFM missionary at the Goodwill Mission there from 1886 until his retirement in 1892.

Jane Smith Williamson (1803-1895), was

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a teacher and anti-slavery activist in Ohio before joining her brother, Thoma S. Williamson, and his family at Lac qui Parle in 1843. Jane lived here until she relocated with the family to Kaposia in 1846. Known as "Aunt Jane" in the missionary community, Dakota people give her the name Dowaŋdutawin (Rec Song Woman) because she loved teaching them hymns she translated into the Dakota language. Jane spent the last five decades of her life living among and serving the Dakota people.
 
Erected by Minnesota Historical Society.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RRChurches & ReligionEducationNative Americans. A significant historical date for this entry is July 9, 1835.
 
Location. 45° 1.423′ N, 95° 52.095′ W. Marker is near Churchill, Minnesota, in Chippewa County. Marker can be reached from 140th Avenue Northwest (County Road 32) near 1st Street West (County Road 13). Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Watson MN 56295, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Dakotas at Lac qui Parle (here, next to this marker); Acculturation & Autonomy (a few steps from this marker); The ABCFM (a few steps from this marker); Huggins Cabin (a few steps from this marker); Williamson Cabin (a few steps from this marker); The Dakota (within shouting distance of this marker); Lac qui Parle Mission (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Riggs & Pettijohn Cabins (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Churchill.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 12, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 11, 2021, by Connor Olson of Lemmon, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 35 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 11, 2021, by Connor Olson of Lemmon, South Dakota. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.

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Dec. 1, 2021