They got some recompense, I guess

Dr. Lawrence discusses the aftermath of the U.S.-Dakota War, who was found innocent and guilty, and why.

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But that’s the way the government does things anyway. They have a tendency to let certain things be known and cover up other things, you know, and then they’ll create the scenario the way they want to; just like they did with Custer. But anyway, they accompanied Sibley and his army, serving as a scout for them for a while. And I don’t think Lorenzo was satisfied with either side. don’t think he really was happy working for the military, and I don’t think he was- he was definitely unhappy trying to do something with the warriors, other than to make them stop fighting. So I don’t think he really wanted a part of either side, but he was on the side of not allowing any more innocent lives to be lost. I think that was what him and Simon and a few of the other Christian men, there weren’t very many of them at the time who made a stand for doing what they believed was right. Later on, after the conflict was over with, a lot of the people were coming forward and saying: “Well I did this, I saved those people, I saved these people”—and they were all claiming that they had done something for the white people. Lorenzo claims that there were really only about six of them that were helpful, and he narrowed that down to three. So it’s something that happens, you want to be on the winning side so that for one thing, it there’s any reward you can get it. If there’s any persecutions, you can escape that if you can convince people you were on the right side, you were trying to do the right thing. I think that happened a lot right after the uprising and I think Lorenzo didn’t like that. I don’t think he wanted any part of that. And Lorenzo never did anything for recognition. His own statement was, when they asked him about the women and children, why he did that, was that he pitied them and he wanted them to live. That was the only excuse he gave. And he said he didn’t do it for any reward, and he said also, it wasn’t anything I did, it wasn’t an act of bravery or doing something great, he said it was God who delivered us. And so Lorenzo was that type of an individual. He didn’t seek any personal glory out of it, which I found to be very encouraging and uplifting when I studied it, because I didn’t know anything about my ancestors. And to know that in my history and my family there was someone like him, was really a great encouragement for me.

Lincoln made a kind of a political decision because he was told, if you don’t execute every one of them, you can forget about being president, because in Minnesota people will not vote for you. And when they came back and had them examined, the trial records, they only came back with two names. And they advised him that’s not enough; you need more. And then he had them go look for the records and look for the records, and anyone that murdered a civilian or abused women, then they came back with thirty-nine names. And then one of them was pardoned within the last couple of hours, I believe, because the missionaries verified that he wasn’t even in the area; he was ten miles away when that crime that he committed was supposed to have happened. So they let him go, but they did hang the 38. And that seemed to kind of raise the level enough that the people were at least not going to break out into hostile actions. They got some recompense, I guess

Oral History- Interview | Narrator Elden Lawrence Interviewer Deborah Locke made in New Ulm, MN | Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Citation: Minnesota Historical Society. U.S. - Dakota War of 1862. They got some recompense, I guess June 23, 2024.

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