Sioux Indian Uprising 1862


Sioux Indian Uprising 1862 (Lake Charlotte Settler’s reaction}


We will not get into the injustices, cheating and savagery that existed between the Natives and the American Settlers at that time.  It was inevitable that the two cultures with such wide differences would find it difficult to coexist.  As we look back from over one hundred years later we can view the events through entirely different lenses than what was seen by the inhabitants of that time.  However we must recognize that certain events did take place and we must deal with their influences and the results of those events. We are primarily interested in what effect it had on the settlers at Lake Charlotte. The uprising occurred during the early days of the Civil War.  Most of the events took place in the Southern part of the State where the Sioux Indians were scattered through the area.  They like the other tribes were being forced to locate on reservations. The Sioux Indians rose up against the white settlers and many families were killed before the hostile Indians were subdued by the US Army.  The Chippewa tribe traditional enemies of the Sioux did not join the Sioux in the uprising and this may have alleviated the fears of the pioneers in this area.  However, as the news of the trouble spread one can only imagine the fear that must have gripped the local settlers.


 Most of the families were living in small cabins surrounded by dense woods and some distance from neighbors.  There was no means of communication other than personal visits and travel was primarily by foot over primitive paths through the trees.  Naturally fear and panic set in.  Some even gave up their claims and left the State.  In August 1862 many made their way to Rockford where a hastily built stockade had been erected.  Those in the Northern area fled to an island on Beebe Lake.  It was reported that 150 persons camped out on the island for at least three days and nights.  The men were continuously on guard with some sneaking back to their cabins at night to get food and supplies.  They returned to their homes when they felt it was safe. Information from the early history indicates that the island is about four acres.  The uprising began in August 1862 and ended about October 1862. During that time 486 white people were killed (360 civilians and 126 soldiers).  After cessation of hostilities, 392 Indians were tried in a local court and 307 sentenced to death.  The death sentences had to be approved by President Lincoln however he would not approve that punishment for those that fought in the war only.  But he did approve the death penalty for those that had committed rape or murder of defenseless civilians.  On December 26, 1862 38 were executed at Mankato.  For more information about the use of the island on Beebe Lake see the Dustin Massacre.


MINNESOTA   A history of the State published by the University of Minnesota Press 1963

Contains a chapter Titled “The Souix Goes on the Warpath”  over 20 pages dealing with the

Souix Uprising of 1862.  It covers the events and problems before the rebellion and the aftermath.  This was very much a Minnesota historical happening and recommended reading.