Cathy Lombard's story

  • Updated: August 21, 2012 - 9:23 AM

My great-great-grandparents arrived in Minnesota from Germany in 1857.

They came with her sister's family and her parents. Together, the families bought 160 acres along the Rush River.

By 1862 they were well settled in and considered themselves Americans, so Wilhelm Maurer enlisted in the Union Army to fight for his new country. As part of Minnesota's Seventh Regiment, he left for Fort Snelling  on August 13.

He left behind his wife, Wilhelmina, and six young children, including four-month-old twins. Wilhelmina tended children, crops and livestock. The Seventh Regiment was diverted from the Civil War to quell the Sioux Uprising. Wilhelm was at the Battle of Wood Lake. While Wilhelm and company fought the Sioux, Wilhelmina and the children repeatedly hid from them, in the rushes along the river. Eventually, she and the children moved to Henderson for protection, where they stayed for the rest of the US-Dakota War.

Our family was lucky, Wilhelmina had to bury both parents and one of the twins before the wars ended -- but her losses were due to natural causes. They were able to keep their land, and Wilhelm returned home safely.

Cathy Lombard

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