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

Caught Unaware!

Settlers in the Area of Birch Coolie Creek

 
 
Caught Unaware! Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, September 25, 2013
1. Caught Unaware! Marker
Inscription.
  In 1862, settlers in the area of Birch Coolie Creek were living peaceful lives, having come to this area to take up new homesteads. They were in large part recent immigrants to this country. When they settled here they were mostly unaware of the tensions brewing between the U.S. government and some of the Dakota Indians. They were drawn here by the promise of land rich with fertile soil and natural resources. They were not traders or soldiers. They were without protection, administrative services, or any conventional local governmental structure. They were simply seeking better lives for themselves and their children.

  On August 18, 1862, unarmed men, women and children were killed and wounded on their homesteads in surprise attacks by some of the Dakota Indians at the outbreak of the U.S. – Dakota War. Many of the dead lay in unmarked graves close to where they fell. Others were able to escape to Fort Ridgely. All were forced off their land and most never returned. The attacks scattered the survivors and their descendants around the State.

  Just over 100 people, some military but most civilian, were killed within a 3-mile radius of the point where Birch Coolie Creek flows into the Minnesota River. It was the epicenter of the U.S. – Dakota War, during which hundreds of settlers were killed.

  One
Close-up of Names image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, September 25, 2013
2. Close-up of Names
hundred fifty years later, the descendants of these settlers returned to erect this panel to recognize their ancestors' sacrifice and place in Minnesota history.

What Happened to the Settlers on August 18, 1862...
Among those Killed
Thomas Brooks • Charles Clasen • Frederick Clasen • Pierre Perreault • Eusebi Picard • Frederika Witt • John, John Jr. and Gottfried Zimmerman

Among those Taken Captive
Marguerita Cardinal • Clement Cardinal Jr. • Ellen Clasen • Mary Clasen • Martha McConnell Clasen • David, Nancy, David Jr., Mary Josephine and Nancy Faribault • Elizabeth Picard

Among those who Escaped to Fort Ridgely
George, Salome, Catherine, Margaret, Emily, Mary Ann, Martha and George Everett Buery • Clement Cardinal • Carolina and John Clasen • John, Mary, William H., Louis W. and Ferdinand Kumro • Louis, Rosette, Louis Jr., L., Spencer, Adrienne and Olive LaCroix • David and Joseph McConnell • Ellen Carson McConnell • Elizabeth, Genevieve, Melina, Joseph, George, and Philomene Perreault • Elizabeth and Eusebi Picard Jr. • Carl, William, Mary, Johanna, Joseph, and Herman Carl Witt • Mary, Mary, Elizabeth and Sam Zimmerman

The Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway
logos of: Scenic Byway Minnesota River Valley; Renville
Caught Unaware! Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, September 25, 2013
3. Caught Unaware! Marker
County; Renville County Historical Museum

mnrivervalley.com
renvillecountyhistory.com

 
Erected 2012 by the descendants of Birch Coolie Creek settlers, et al.
 
Location. 44° 33.334′ N, 94° 59.043′ W. Marker is in Morton, Minnesota, in Renville County. Marker is on North Park Drive 0.1 miles north of East 3rd Street, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at the Renville County Historical Society and Museum. Marker is at or near this postal address: 441 North Park Drive, Morton MN 56270, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Birch Coulee State Monument (approx. 0.6 miles away); Surrounded at the Coulee (approx. 0.6 miles away); Solid Friendships (approx. 0.6 miles away); The Faithful Indians' Monument (approx. 0.6 miles away); The Battle of Birch Coulee (approx. 1.4 miles away); Minnesota's Civil War (approx. 1.4 miles away); The Story of the Land (approx. 1.4 miles away); a different marker also named The Battle of Birch Coulee (approx. 1.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Morton.
 
More about this marker. The marker includes a map of the Birch Coolie Settler Homesteads in 1862.
The Minnesota
Caught Unaware! Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, September 25, 2013
4. Caught Unaware! Marker
Dakota, also known by the French term, “Sioux," waged war against the United States following two years of unfulfilled treaty obligations. The U.S.-Dakota War in the Minnesota River Valley claimed the lives of at least 450 whites and an unknown number of Dakota before it came to an end at Camp Release on September 26, 1862.
 
Also see . . .
1. National Scenic Byway Minnesota River Valley. (Submitted on October 15, 2013.)
2. The Renville County Historical Society. (Submitted on October 15, 2013.)
3. Dakota War of 1862. Wikipedia entry. "There has never been an official report on the number of settlers killed, although figures as high as 800 have been cited." (Submitted on October 15, 2013.) 
 
Categories. Settlements & SettlersWars, US Indian
 
Caught Unaware! Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, September 25, 2013
5. Caught Unaware! Marker
Grounds of the Renville County Historical Society and Museum
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 15, 2013, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 418 times since then and 60 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on October 15, 2013, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.
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