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The Lake Shetek Captives, November 30, 1862. Courtesy State Archives of the South Dakota Historical Society."There are in St. Paul at the present time, 23 widows, whose husbands were killed by the Indians. They have in the aggregate 57 children, mostly small and many of them infants. There are also four children who lost both parents. . . . There are so many to be provided for, here and elsewhere, that it is impossible to prevent suffering."

St. Paul Daily Union, December 22, 1862

The war left an indelible mark on the region’s settlers and their descendants.
Children were left orphaned, with no social-service agencies in place to see to their needs. Widows struggled to maintain homes and farmsteads. The communities of Mankato and St. Peter became ad hoc refugee camps. As people crowded into hastily assembled lodgings, diseases spread like wildfire.
The community of New Ulm was particularly devastated by the war. On August 25, after two battles had left most of the town in ashes, about 2,000 residents of New Ulm and outlying areas were evacuated to Mankato, St. Peter, and St. Paul.
Map of settler deaths by location. Statistics compiled by Curtis Dahlin; map by Philip Schwartzberg

Map of settler deaths by location. Statistics compiled by Curtis Dahlin; map by Philip Schwartzberg

Resources for Further Research: 




Dakota Conflict of 1862 Manuscript Collections. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul.

Zabelle Derounian-Stodola, Kathryn. “Many persons say I am a ‘Mono Maniac’”: Three Letters from Dakota Conflict Captive Sarah F. Wakefield to Missionary Stephen R. Riggs. Prospects, 29, pp 1-24.

Renville, Mary Butler, Carrie R. Zeman, and Kathryn Zabelle-Derounian-Stodola. A Thrilling Narrative of Indian Captivity: Dispatches from the Dakota War. Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 2012.


"The Fool Soldiers." Roseville, MN: Minnesota's Heritage 4 (2011).

Dahlin, Curtis A. The Dakota Uprising. Edina, MN: Beaver’s Pond Press, 2009.

Eastlick, Lavinia. Thrilling Incidents of the Indian War of '62: Being a Personal Narrative of the Outrages and Horrors Witnessed by Mrs. L. Eastlick in Minnesota. Mankato, MN: Free Printing, 1890.

Wakefield, Sarah. Six Weeks in the Sioux Teepees a Narrative of Indian Captivity. Shakopee, MN: Argus and Job Printing Office, 1864.

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