Ann Lokensgard Oien's story
- August 14, 2012 - 7:35 AM
The 1862 Indian Uprising had a definite impact on my relatives.
My Grandfather, Ole Lokensgard, was 8 years old and vividly remembered the events. In 1857 he and his family (my great grandparents Ole Olson Lokensgard and Helga Veslegard) immigrated from Norway to Nicollet County, Minnesota, settling at Norseland near St. Peter.
Grandpa later wrote:
"We were frequently frightened by reports that the Indians were coming eastward. . . I do not know who should be blamed the most for these uprisings, the white man or the Indians. But we do know that where there is trouble between individuals, generally both sides have had something to do with the cause of the conflict. At any rate there was ample evidence to show that the Indians had been treated unfairly by the white people. . . The Indians were often cheated. Such treatment made it easy for the chiefs to incite their tribes to a high degree of anger and hatred against the white invader. And whenever warlike assault occurred, it was usually the unfortunate settlers who suffered the most, since they resided far apart on the wide stretches of prairie land without proper weapons for defense. . . The Indians had perpetrated many atrocities by murdering many families and burning numerous homes. . . One day as my father was busy cutting timber, he received notice that the Indians were coming and that we better hurry to get away at once (probably Aug. 19, 1862). . . People crowded the road in an endless caravan of wagons of all kinds drawn by oxen; some rode horseback, others came running on foot. Some had guns, axes, scythes or pitch forks. All hurried on to St. Peter, arriving at sunset, and were stopped by a company of soldiers who came marching up the street. They were recruits who had been on the way to the South to fight the Civil War, but were now ordered back to help defend the inhabitants of Minnesota against the Indian menace. . . But the Indians did not come; they could not know how totally unprepared for resistance the town was at the time. . . We stayed three weeks. One day we heard a boisterous noise in town, but it was caused by a company of 300 soldiers under the command of Captain Dodd, which had arrived from St. Paul, on their way to fight the Indians. A few days later the Captain fell in a skirmish with Indians about the time of the New Ulm massacre, which was a three-day battle. . . The Indians were routed. Scouts were sent out from St. Peter to try to find out where the Indians had gone. . . The Indian scare had for a time disrupted the routine of pioneer life. About 35 Nicollet County residents died during the uprising; about 500 settlers and soldiers lost their lives."
My great-grandpa Ole died in 1871 at age 45. My grandpa Ole died in 1931 at age 77. My dad Fritjof Lokensgard (born in 1911) is enjoying his 100th year and going strong in Bloomington. I'm thankful that all of them have left us written accounts of their lives.
Ann Lokensgard Oien
© 2013 Star Tribune