Information on Dakota Conflict of 1862
Reconciliation Trail at Slaughter Slough
Opened in May 2010 – A informational kiosk telling the story of Slaughter Slough to be located on the historic slough grounds which is maintained by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
For a informational brochure about Slaughter Slough, please click HERE.
Not all of the villages created in the 1850s were legitimate settlements. As part of an attempt by irreputable individuals to increase the number of votes cast for statehood, imaginary villages were created. To validate these voters, false census records were created. The imaginary settlers, numbering 100, all voted for statehood.
One of the fictional villages was supposedly near Lake Shetek. Named Cornwall City, the village census boasted a population of 91 residents. However, when settlers John Eastlick, Charles Hatch, Phineas B. Hurd, John Wright, William J. Duley, N.W. Smith, and Aaron Kock moved their families to the area in 1862, they were unable to find any settlement. Determined to stay, the men and their families created their own settlement.
Relations between the Native Americans and the state had broken down during the 1850s. Many of the Indians had been moved to reservations, and life was near to incarceration. Deprived of a way to meet their needs, the Indians awaited the provisions promised by the government. After months of waiting, the food finally came. It was spoiled.
This sparked an already volatile situation. While the exact details of what happened differ, tensions between the Indians and their white oppressors had reached a boiling point. On August 20, 1862, Lean Bear and White Lodge, two Dakota Sioux Indians, led 100 warriors on a raid against the Lake Shetek settlement. The 34 settlers had only enough time to leave – they took no possessions. Bound for sanctuary in New Ulm, the settlers were attacked and killed about one mile from their homes.
This attack was unique and didn’t follow the pattern of other raids. None of the settlers’ belongings had been taken. No cabins were burned; no settlers were scalped. They weren’t robbed. There was no excessive brutality.
Monuments and Remembrance
An obelisk sits at the entrance of the Lake Shetek State Park, a monument to the settlers killed in the encounter. Their mass grave near Lake Shetek is marked as well.
Monument at Slaughter Slough