Life of a Legend – The Story of Jane Smith Williamson – Part XI

While the mission attempted to deal with the fear that overwhelmed the community after the attacks at Okoboji, Iowa, and Springfield, Minnesota, Jane’s family continued to go through changes and adjustments. In September 1857, Jane’s niece, Nancy Jane Williamson, 17, left to attend Western Female Seminary in Oxford, Ohio, with Stephen and Mary Riggs’ daughter, Martha Taylor Riggs, who was 15 years old. The girls had grown up together at the Lac qui Parle mission and remained close friends.

John Poage Williamson was born at Lac qui Parle, Minnesota on October 27, 1835. He grew up with the Dakota and became a missionary with the A.B.C.F.M. on June 23, 1860. John raised his own family on the Yankton Reservation in Greenwood, South Dakota and died there in April 1917.

Jane’s nephew, John P. Williamson, who was 21 in the fall of 1857, soon headed back east to study for the ministry at his father’s alma mater, Lane Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio. Andrew Williamson, nineteen, was a college graduate but stayed at Pejutazee to help with the physical work that needed to be done at the mission. Elizabeth had now settled with the family and was soon being courted by none other than Nancy Hunter’s brother, Andrew, who had frozen his feet in 1852 while trying to bring supplies to the new mission station at Pejutazee from Traverse des Sioux. The other children at home were Martha, who was 13, and Henry who was six.

Jane’s school continued to do well and she was now able to count many longtime students in her classes who she’d been teaching since they were young children. Still, rumors of unrest continued to disrupt mission life. The federal government had moved forward with their desire to negotiate with the Dakota to take away the ten-mile strip of land on the north side of the Minnesota River that had been set aside for the reservations in 1851. Thomas Williamson headed down to Kaposia in February 1858 and caught a train with Taoyateduta and 23 others who headed for Washington, D.C. to meet with Charles Mix and elected officials about the possible treaty.

Thomas stayed with the group until April 6, 1858, when he left the delegation out of frustration with the process but also because his daughter Elizabeth and Andrew Hunter were to be married in Yellow Springs, Ohio, on April 19, 1858. The Dakota and others in the delegation stuck it out in D.C. until Taoyateduta finally signed the new treaty on June 19, 1858. They ultimately left Washington and arrived back at the reservation on July 8, 1858. In many ways, the treaty was a disaster for the Dakota. Mix never honored the agreements he had assured Taoyateduta he’d see to, and he left the negotiations over the actual sale of land up to Congress who delayed action and continued to foster unrest among the Dakota.

In the spring of 1860, John Williamson accompanied his father Thomas to the Presbyterian Church General Assembly in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where John began fundraising efforts to establish a new mission church at the Lower Sioux Agency in Minnesota. John returned to Minnesota in November 1860, after pastoring churches in Allensville and Zoar, Ohio. He had been named an assistant missionary by the A.B.C.F.M. on November 1, and began to build the new mission at the Agency, about thirty miles south of his parents’ mission at Pejutazee.

Elizabeth and Andrew Hunter had moved to Minnesota after their marriage and on August 10, 1859, they welcomed their first child, Nancy Williamson Hunter, who was Jane’s first great-niece. Their son, John Knox Hunter, was born in September 1861. The Hunters were homesteading and farming about 40 miles southeast of Pejutazee in Beaver Falls, Minnesota. They were among the early members of the Zoar Presbyterian Church there that John Williamson established at the Lower Sioux Agency nearby. John accepted Elizabeth and Andrew into membership of the church on their transfer from the church at Traverse des Sioux on July 19, 1862, the same day on which he welcomed Marion Robertson and her new husband, Alexander Hunter. Marion enrolled upon transfer from the church at Pejutazee and Alexander transferred from the Fifth Associate Reformed Church of New York. Their marriage had been performed by Rev. Riggs at the Merchant’s Hotel in St. Paul, Minnesota that same month.[1]

Nancy Jane Williamson, who was attending Western Female Seminary in Oxford, Ohio, lost many of her possessions when fire consumed the school on January 14, 1860. The girls finished that year’s classes in the home of the founders nearby and then Nancy returned to Pejutazee. She especially bemoaned the loss of photographs of the Williamson family that she had taken with her to school. She wrote to Elizabeth Burgess in Constitution, Ohio, shortly after the fire:

“The fire was already visible in our room when Julie and I awoke. Our bookcase was directly under it so I did not attempt to save my books. I picked up 4 books, my Bible, my Testament & Plymouth Collection & Extract Book, the last however I did not see after placing it in my bundle with the other things. I saved the greater part of my clothes, but was so thoughtless as to leave my daguerreotypes and photograph of the Indian lying on the table. I am very sorry every time I think of it that I did not attend to my pictures first thing; it seems to be if I had it to do over again I would see them safely fixed at once. After Julia and I had taken our things out of the house we stood and watched it burn. It was a sad sight to see the noble building that had been a home to us for so long burn down. But, aside from this, it was a grand sight. I shall not soon forget the moment when the flames burst from the roof.”[2]

Like many families, even in these early years of the 19th century, the Williamson’s confronted a surprising development when the youngest of the girls, Martha, announced that she and her second cousin, William Stout, were going to be married in October 1861. The wedding took place at the Williamson home at 8 a.m. on October 28, 1861.[3] Martha was only sixteen years old and she and William immediately left Pejutazee and traveled to Traverse des Sioux and then on to Peoria, Illinois.

Andrew Williamson remained with the family until 1861 when he became a resident graduate at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. He then enlisted in the Union Army on January 17, 1862. He was 24 years old and eager to join the Civil War and fight for the principles and anti-slavery sentiments that had been part of the family’s heritage for generations.

On August 11, 1862, John Williamson left the Lower Sioux Agency and traveled to Coshocton, Ohio, where he intended to meet with a young woman whom he had hoped to marry. John and Susan Little had been corresponding for some time. She was an orphan whose uncle was Rev. Jacob Little of Granville, Ohio. On March 22, 1862, John had sent S.B. Treat the testimonials he had obtained about Miss Little in the hope that she would be confirmed as a missionary spouse by the board. Unfortunately, John began to sense that Susan’s intentions were not what he had been led to believe and on August 25, 1862, he notified Treat that he “came to see Miss Little. The last I wrote you was a bit of a misunderstanding on my side. I can’t tell you the whole story but the thing proved very sore to both of us and writing letters only made it worse so with the advice of a few of my friends I came to have it fairly settled. We had intended to send on Miss Little’s application today but now I must hurry home and see if there is anything I can do.”[4]

The reason that John was pressured to get back to the reservation was the outbreak of the U.S. Dakota War at the Lower Agency on Monday morning, August 18, 1862. John had no idea if his parents and the rest of the family had survived and obviously desired to return home as soon as possible whether things with Miss Little were resolved or not.

This photo, taken on Sunday morning, August 17, 1862, is the only remaining image of the Williamson home at Pajutazee. The assembled group gathered after worship on the day before the outbreak of the U.S. Dakota War. Margaret Williamson is on the left next to Catherine Tatidutawin who is in front of Thomas Williamson wearing the white hat. The Dakota man in front is Robert Hopkins Chaska and to his left are his young son and his wife, Sarah Tatidutawin.  Jane is the short woman with the bonnet in the background on the right.

The Williamson’s had attended worship services at the Pejutazee church on Sunday morning, the 17th. Thomas preached and Jane and Margaret attended along with the only two of the Williamson children who were at home at the time, Nancy Jane, who was 22, and Henry, who was 11 years old. Nothing appeared to be out of the ordinary and the family took some time that afternoon to have photos taken by a visiting photographer, Adrian Ebell, who captured several images of the Dakota over the course of his visit. No one had any idea at the time that four young Dakota men who were out hunting for food had attacked and killed Robinson Jones, Howard Baker (the son of Jones’ wife Ann), Clara Wilson, 14 (Robinson and Ann’s adopted daughter) and Viranus Webster, who was visiting the area from Wisconsin with his wife in the hopes of finding land to purchase. The attack took place at what is now Acton, Minnesota, approximately 50 miles northeast of Pejutazee. The Dakota men returned to their village and when they announced what they had done, many of the Dakota, who were frustrated at the delayed annuity payments, unfair treaties, lack of food for their starving families and decades of depravation and loss, seized on the moment to take revenge on those they saw as their white oppressors.

The Lower Sioux Agency was attacked on Monday morning, August 18, 1862, and within a few days, hundreds of white settlers and Dakota people had been killed in the battles and conflicts that took place all across central Minnesota. The Dakota were led by a reportedly reluctant Taoyateduta who had known the Williamson’s when he was growing up at Lac qui Parle and had lived and worked with the family at Kaposia from 1846 until 1852.

By mid-morning on Monday, August 18, 1862, the families at both Hazlewood and Pejutazee were hearing of the attacks and being warned by the Christian Dakota at the mission sites that they should try to escape the violence and seek refuge at Fort Ridgley. Thomas Williamson was reluctant to leave, refusing to believe that the Dakota whom he had cared for since 1835 would harm him or his family.

The Williamson children, Elizabeth, Nancy and Henry,  fled the mission on Tuesday, August 19, with Elizabeth’s children, three-year-old Nancy Hunter and John Knox Hunter, 11 months, and her husband Andrew. Photographer Adrian Ebell had been visiting Pejutazee on Sunday, August 17, 1862, and he took this photo while he was escaping with the group.

On Tuesday, August 19, however, Andrew Hunter, Elizabeth’s husband, advised Thomas that he could take Nancy Jane and Henry and his and Elizabeth’s children, Nancy, who had just turned three years old on August 10, and the baby John who was eleven months old, and try to make it to the fort. He and Elizabeth were at Pejutazee at the time since Elizabeth had been unwell and could rest more comfortably at her parents’ home. They set off and soon joined up with Stephen Riggs and his family as well as several dozen others who had been at the Hazlewood mission when news of the attacks was received.

Jane had done some investigating herself by walking over to Ehnamane’s village near the mission where she was regaled with stories, rumors and warnings from the Dakota women there. Always supportive of Thomas’ guidance, Jane returned to the mission to wait with Thomas and Margaret until they could determine a course of action.

I often think about what that Tuesday evening was like, especially for Jane and Margaret. Three of Margaret’s children and her only grandchildren were somewhere out there trying to evade danger and reach safety. Jane relied on her own firm belief that there was life after death and her home would be in heaven should she be killed. Still, practical considerations must certainly have entered their thoughts. Did they prepare a bag of clothing in case they decided to leave? Did they have any money? Did they think about taking the few photographs that the family possessed or were they more concerned about what kind of food they could take along that might help them survive over the course of three or four days?

I’m sure for Jane her thoughts wandered not only to her own relatives, but to her students and former students who might at that very moment be caught up in this sudden violence that was tearing the Dakota community apart. I’m not sure, however, that she sensed that nothing would ever be the same again for her or for her beloved students and their families.

Thomas Williamson’s official story of what happened is recorded in a report to S.B. Treat that he sent to Boston, Massachusetts, on September 8, 1862:

 “Dear Brother,

 “Ere this time you have been informed by the Papers of the terrible war raging between the Sioux and our own people and I suppose brother Riggs has informed you that all connected with the mission escaped and rescued a number of other person who but for us would in all probability have been murdered or perished in attempting to escape.

 “It is three weeks today since we were informed by our heathen neighbors that the Lower Sioux were making war on the whites and advised to flee. Early in the day they told us of many things as having actually taken place, which were then taking place or did occur at a distance of from 30 to 60 miles from us during that day and the next. What they told us seemed so improbable that I wholly disregarded them till late in the day when I found some men trying to take my horses and that they had actually taken one that belonged to Mr. Hunter, my son-in-law, from my pasture.

 “Early that evening they shot one or two of the traders and commenced robbing the stores near the Agency about two miles from us. Before sunrise next morning all the whites within 60 miles of us who had not been murdered or made prisoners had fled except my own family and that of A.W. Huggins.[5] As we have since learned to a certainty the work of slaughter at the Lower Agency, about 33 miles this side of where I lived, began about 7 a.m. Monday and all who did not flee instantly were slain or made prisoners.

 “A little after sunrise Tuesday morning I started Mr. Hunter and family with the younger members of my family. His wife in feeble health had been visiting us with their children for several weeks and providentially he with a hired man was there at that time making hay for us. He had a span of horses which by the aid of friendly Indians he had succeeded in keeping concealed during the night, and I had a yoke of oxen that I had bought but not paid for a short time before. So they were able to take two wagons but we did not think it best to attempt to put in much load and, as we were told that our friends from Hazlewood in whose company they expected to travel, had started without provisions for the way, I advised them to take such things as might be useful on the journey rather than such as were more valuable. Christian Indians had staid [sic] by us all night guarding us while we slept and assisting us when awake in every way in their power. I did not feel afraid of their injuring me personally, and thought I would stay and try to take care of what property could not be removed and my wife and sister said they would stay with me.

 “During the day after our children left we were continually receiving confirmation of the reports of the previous day and night – saw wagons passing loaded with the goods taken from the traders and Agency, the cattle driven away and the smoke of the burning houses of the traders who had left the evening before. We heard that Mr. Riggs’ house during a brief absence of his elder Simon who he had requested to move into and take care of it, had been rifled of everything the Indians thought valuable; that both Mr. Riggs’ horses had been taken and one of Mr. Cunningham’s and that of two white men who had been living for 18 months on the east side of the river about 18 miles above us, one was murdered and the other severely wounded had joined the party from Hazlewood.[6]

 “This latter circumstance convinced me that the Upper as well as the Lower Sioux were engaged in the conspiracy, as our neighbors had told us from the first. All we saw advised us to flee and some of Christian friends urged it in such a way that we thought perhaps our remaining was endangering them. At least it was manifest they thought that unless we left soon we would have no means of getting away and thinking this to be so Tuesday evening we concluded it was our duty to try and start the next morning.

 “One of my elders, Robert H[opkins] who had been up all the previous night guarding staid [sic] with us assisting us to pack up and advised that we should go as soon as we could get ready.[7] We spent the fore part of the night in packing up such things as we thought might be most useful to us. Two or three of our Christian friends were present assisting us and more than that number of our heathen neighbors whose only object was to help themselves and who while we were packing and loading took some of the things we were most desirous of bringing with us.

 “About midnight I told Robert we were ready when he went for his oxen and a cart, and the horse which he had kept for me, the Indians having taken the other. While he loaded the cart I harnessed my nag and hitched to our one horse wagon and taking in a few light articles with my wife and sister followed him.

 “The small moon had just risen when we entered the woods but gave so little light that I was unable to see the road or the oxcart before us but though we occasionally jammed against logs, trees and stumps, in about two hours we arrived at Wamdiokiya’s village where you may remember that we called when you were on the way to Lac qui Parle. Here most of the members of the Hazlewood church were assembled for mutual protection.[8]

 “Robert having informed us that he could not come further with us and knowing the exposed situation of his own family, I felt that it was not proper for him to do so. As soon as day dawned I began to inquire for another team. Simon readily agreed to furnish this but supposed his oxen to be on the prairie two miles distant. While he was looking after them I determined to walk back to our house and get my Dakota & English Dictionary Concordance and a few other small articles. I found about half a dozen women in our house searching drawers for any little articles which was [sic] left. Everything fit to eat or wear had disappeared. Beds and mattresses had been emptied at the door. Books and medicine were nearly as I left them. Returning I met many Indian men as well as women and children, none of them manifested any disposition to molest me, but one or two smiled while they told me to hurry away as if they were glad of what was taking place. Most looked and several wept freely while they extended their hand for mine. It was after 9 o’clock before Simon’s oxen and wagon were ready for us and when putting our baggage into it I found that some of the people of the village, thinking that we were encumbering ourselves with more than we could well get along with, had during my absence invited Mrs. W. and my sister into a roofless house close by and taken half the clothing and bedding with which we started. Not knowing but they judged correctly and becoming convinced that it was not advisable to attempt to bring a horse father, I gave Simon my horse and wagon for the ox team he had provided of us; and gave to some friends present more than half of the provisions we had brought there.

 “There were Indians in sight who it was thought might injure us so Paul and Lorenzo as well as Simon took their guns and accompanied us about two miles and as the ford of the river was difficult they waded, guiding the oxen while I rode Simon’s horse.[9] He came on to put me on the trail made by those who had preceded us and continued to drive the oxen till the sun was so low that I thought it would be night before he could get back to the river where I told him to return being satisfied we would have no difficulty in following the trail of Mr. Riggs and others, which I wished to do.

Amos Williamson Huggins was killed at Lac Qui Parle, Minnesota on August 19, 1862. He was 29 years old. The Williamson’s learned of his death as they began their own escape toward Fort Ridgley in the early morning hours of August 20, 1862.

“Just as I was leaving the village I was told that Mr. A.W. Huggins was murdered at his house near Lac qui Parle by an Indian from another village. He was a good man who had the welfare of the Indians much at heart and would have been protected by his neighbors but they were from home. Had been teacher under government for several years. His wife and two children are prisoners. His father was my first associate in this mission and with his family lives in this neighborhood. He was between two and three years old when we came out here first. Of his two brothers, one is a soldier in the Minnesota 2nd in Tennessee or Mississippi. The other a lad of 16 years is in the house where I write.[10] On the first alarm he joined a company going to the defense of New Ulm where he was wounded on the next Saturday by a musket ball which broke the principal bone of his leg.

 “Many of the accounts of this war published are great exaggerations and some of them utterly – it seems to me maliciously false, representing that the Indians who have been under missionary influence are leaders in the affair. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Indisputable facts show this. The Lower Agency was only 13 miles from Fort Ridgley the nearest place of refuge the Upper about 50 by the travelled road which could not then be travelled. The number of white persons about the two did not differ much. Near the Upper Agency where our mission had most influence, as yet it is not known that more than one man was killed and he when attempting to shoot the Indians. More than 100 are known to have escaped unhurt all through the aid of Christian Indians. Several who were attempting to escape without such aid fell into the hands of the Lower Sioux some of whom were murdered and the rest are held as prisoners.

 “Of those who were living near the Lower Agency not more than 25 or 30 are known to have escaped and part of these through the aid and connivance of Indians who had been under missionary influence. About the same number are known to be killed and the others who have not been killed are prisoners. Some of the hostile Indians have been seen dressed as white men but this is no evidence that they had ever been under missionary influence as some of the most bigoted and unprincipled heathen about the Lower Agency dressed in this manner.

 “On the whole while we cannot but feel sad at the sudden termination of our missionary labors the loss of property and distress which we see about us especially that the Dakotas have murdered so many of our countrymen and are bringing such awful destruction on themselves, I feel that we have great cause of gratitude not only that all of our lives had been preserved but especially for the decided evidence that our labors have not been in vain. God has a people among the Dakota now held as prisoner among their own people who threaten to kill them and escaping from them they may be murdered by equally wicked white men. But God is able to keep them and I trust will keep at least a part of them to be witnesses of his truth, power and goodness.

 “I arrived at Saint Peter on the evening of Monday, August 25th very much fatigued. This village which at the last census contained about 1000 inhabitants and probably less than that number one week before, when we arrived was crowded with more than 3000 the entire population of the county and many from adjoining counties having rushed into it. Nevertheless we were welcomed by kind friends willing to share with us what comforts they had. At that time probably one third of the agricultural population of the state had fled from their homes. Many have since returned to take care of their grain some have gone East and many still remain in the principal villages which they are endeavoring to fortify. A part of the men going out by day to attack or thresh their grain at the risk of their lives for we hear of some of them being killed every few days. The day after my arrival a hospital was established in St. Peters into which within 48 hours forty wounded most of them severalty were brought. Since that time I have spent a part of every day on an average nearly 6 hours dressing wounds.

 “Mr. Hunter’s family with a part of mine are staying in the house of the Rev. M.W. Adams once an associate in our mission.[11] His family have not been here since our arrival but are expected today. My daughter and her children have been unwell most of the time since we came here and this with attendance at the hospital a mile and a half distant leaves me so little time to write that I have been four days writing this letter. Mr. Riggs in a letter from Fort Ridgley received since this was began informs us that the Mission houses except the Hazlewood Chapel have all burned…

 “I remain Your Brother in Christ, Tho. S. Williamson”[12]

Thomas Williamson’s account thankfully provides a fairly comprehensive timeline of what happened to him, Margaret and Jane as they began their escape towards Fort Ridgley in the mearly morning hours of August 20. They met up with the Riggs’ party at around noon on Friday, August 22, at Birch Coulee and were reunited with their children and grandchildren. Andrew Hunter and Thomas Williamson attempted to enter the fort but were turned away because of ongoing attacks by Taoyateduta and his warriors. The fort was completely filled to capacity with refugees and the missionaries were forced to continue their journey east. By Saturday night, August 23, they were fifteen miles from Henderson, Minnesota, where the Riggs left the group to find shelter in the town. The Williamson’s continued on to St. Peter, Minnesota, arriving on Monday, August 25, 1862.

Although Jane’s own record of their escape is not comprehensive or official in the way that Thomas’ record is, she does refer to those who helped them many times over the subsequent years and her support of their Dakota friends will be discussed in future posts. One thing that I have never been able to discover is how Thomas, Margaret and Jane made it across the prairie from Wednesday morning, August 20, 1862 until arriving in St. Peter on Monday, August 25. It is known that the weather was absolutely miserable from Tuesday through Thursday, with pouring rain making the journey difficult. With no shelter and in an open oxcart, it is hard to imagine how this trio of survivors even made it through. To then reach the Riggs party but still be turned away at Fort Ridgely must have been devastating to the tired, wet, hungry and frightened refugees.

One possibility is that they took shelter in abandoned homesteads along the way. Most of the farms and houses had been set afire by the Dakota but apparently some structures in the small settlements around the reservations remained intact.

If this is how they survived with at least some minimal reprieve from the rain, it makes sense that yet another legend about Jane has persisted in the lore about the 1862 war. Sarah Wakefield, a white woman who was taken captive during the early days of the war, relayed the following story in her memoir, Six Weeks in the Sioux Teepees.

“When we got up the bank after crossing the river, where Mr. Reynolds’ house once stood, this Indian, with two others stopped near the ruins and called me to him. He leaned forward and whispered, ‘I am Paul; don’t you know me?’ You must go with me to my tepee.’ This reminds me of how frightened the Indians were just before leaving this neighborhood. They said that an old woman every night came to that (Mr. Reynolds’) house, made a bright light, and they dared not go near there. They thought it the spirit of someone they had murdered, for after a little some of them said they would burn the building which they did; but they continued to see her every night, sitting on the walls of the cellar. At last they said it was Miss Jane Williamson, for they knew her by her singing and they were going to catch her. I afterward thought they had her secreted, but it was false, for she escaped with her brother’s family. The light they saw was the moon’s rays on the glass; but the poor superstitious beings though they had offended some of their Gods, and this was a mark of their anger.”[13]

Sarah Wakefield’s story implies that Thomas, Margaret and Jane took refuge in the ruins of the building known as Halfway House that was owned and operated by Joseph Reynolds and his wife Valencia. Historian and author Carrie Zeman wonders whether or not the Williamson’s would have chosen the Reynolds’ home as their place of shelter. In an email dated December 23, 2009, Carrie wrote to me:

“While I think it entirely possible that they might have spent a night on the prairie in an abandoned house, they would have been crazy to try to stay at the Reynolds because it was on the Lower Reservation at the junction of the Redwood River with the Minnesota. The Lower Indians, at this point in the story, were camped at Rice Creek. So to get to the Reynolds from Yellow Medicine, the Williamson’s would have had to travel down the government road that ran through the reservation on the south side of the river. It would have been much safer if they took the most direct route to a ford over the Minnesota River (there was at least one place within a few miles of YM it could be forded in low water conditions) and then traveled east on the north side of the river.”[14]

In any case, this story about Jane haunting the fields of battle has become part of the roster of legends about this amazing woman.

[1] Marion Robertson was the daughter of Andrew and Jane Anderson Robertson, who were neighbors of the Williamson’s at Kaposia. Marion lived with the missionary family much of her life and had grown up with the Williamson children. Her husband Alexander was killed on August 19, 1862, while he and Marion were attempting to flee the Lower Agency. Marion was taken prisoner by the Dakota and was one of the women who were set free at Camp Release in September 1862. She then joined the Williamson’s in St. Peter, Minnesota, and gave birth to a son named after Alexander in 1863. The little boy died only three years later and Marion married Lorenzo Taliaferro Prescott. He was only 30 years old when he also died on January 2, 1869. Marion then accompanied her own family to the Sisseton Reservation and died there in 1871 at the age of 29 years.

[2] Nancy Jane Williamson to Mrs. D.W. Burgess, Constitution, Ohio, undated., Item 30, Folder 3. Dawes Memorial Library, Marietta College, Marietta, Ohio. The Julie whom Nancy mentions is Julia LaFramboise, who was living with Amos and Sophia Huggins and working at the government school at Lac qui Parle in August 1862, when Amos was killed. The loss of  the family photos that Nancy had with her was felt even more keenly when the Williamson’s lost the remainder of their pictures when their house at Pejutazee was burned in 1862.

[3] William Stout was born in 1839 in Adams County, Ohio. His mother was Kathryn Beauford Ellison, the daughter of Thomas and Jane Williamson’s half sister Mary Beauford Williamson and her husband James Ellison. William and Martha were first cousins once removed, although given that Mary Williamson was a half-sister and not a full sister of Thomas and Jane means that the relationship wasn’t quite as close as it appears. William Stout was visiting the Williamson’s in Minnesota by early 1861. Mary Riggs, writing to her son Alfred on March 20, 1861, said that Martha Williamson was spending the night with Mrs. Ackley, who was a teacher at Hazlewood. William Stout dropped by the Ackley home and he and Martha had “quite a sing.” Martha and William’s wedding is described in Marjorie Cunningham’s Diary, 1861-1863, Northwest Missions, October 28, 1861, Minnesota Historical Society Manuscripts Collection, P489.

[4] John P. Williamson to S.B. Treat, August 25, 1862, Minnesota Historical Society, ABCFM Correspondence, BA10-A512b, Box 7. John and Miss Susan Little never resolved their differences. She decided she did not want to live among the Dakota and they ended their relationship.

[5] The story of Amos Huggins, his wife Sophia Josephine and their two children is told in a previous post on Dakota Soul Sisters.

[6] Simon Anawangmani was one of the early Christians of the church and in 1862, he was associated with Hazlewood and the Riggs.  Mr. Cunningham is Hugh Doak Cunningham who was married to Mary Beauford Ellison, the daughter of Jane and Thomas’ half-sister. They had come to the Upper Agency as government teachers in 1858.

[7] Robert Hopkins Chaska was an early Christian of the church at Lac qui Parle and a faithful friend and supporter of the Williamson’s. He was married to Sarah Tatedutawin, the daughter of Catherine Tatedutawin whose story is told in an earlier post on Dakota Soul Sisters.

[8] Wamdiokiya or Eagle Help was a longtime Dakota supporter of the missionaries.

[9] Paul Mazekutemani and Lorenzo Lawrence were both Christians from the mission at Lac qui Parle. Lorenzo was the son of Catherine Tatedutawin.

[10] The stories of Eli and Rufus Huggins are covered in the Dakota Soul Sisters posts on Lydia Huggins Pettijohn.

[11] Moses Adams had become a Presbyterian pastor in St. Peter, Minnesota, after leaving the A.B.C.F.M.

[12] Thomas Williamson to S.B. Treat, September 8, 1862, Minnesota Historical Society, ABCFM Correspondence, BA10-A512b, Box 7.

[13] Wakefield, Sarah F., Six Weeks in the Sioux Tepees: A Narrative of Indian Captivity, Edited, Annotated and with an Introduction by June Namias, University of Oklahoma Press, 1997; originally published, Angus Books and Job Printing Office, Shakopee, Minnesota, 1864, p 89.

[14] Joseph and Valencia Reynolds lived eight miles northwest of the Lower Sioux Agency. They managed a hotel there called the Halfway House. John Mooers warned them at 6 a.m. on August 18, 1862, that an outbreak was coming and they should leave. The Reynolds’s took off immediately and escaped.

This entry was posted in Elizabeth Williamson Hunter, Jane Smith Williamson, Martha Williamson Stour, Martha Williamson Stout, Martha Williamson Stout, Nancy Hunter Aiton, Nancy Jane Williamson, Underground Railroad, Women in Minnesota. Bookmark the permalink.

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