During the Dakota War


Following a cold spring in 1861, hard times came along. The Dakota War of ’62 did not affect the settlers here except to make them nervous. Horartio Stillman bundled his family into his wagon and took them to Minneapolis. A few pioneers gathered at the Dutton homestead north of town (near the Bass Lake Road and Jefferson Highway intersection), converted it into a small fortress, and resolved to fight it out. After several anxious days, the danger passed without a sight of any of the marauding bands that were terrorizing the communities. (In a 1938 interview, the Duttons recalled the tribal wars of the Sioux and Chippewas, when their campfires burned brightly within a few miles of the city. Frequent bands of Indians would ride up to the homestead, sometimes to demand lodging, sometimes food—the requests were always granted!)

1860’s Lithograph depicting the events of the Dakota War

The Dakota War of 1862 completely destroyed whole towns—such as New Ulm. Settlers like those pictured at the top of this post fled to escape violence. Perhaps our area was spared because Pierre Bottineau’s mother was a Native American, so he no doubt was a peace “go-between.”  Bottineau was a scout for General Sibley and visited the Osseo area in 1852 and later came back to claim what was once known as Bottineau’s Prairie. The 1854 Pierre Bottineau House, located near the chalet in Elm Creek Park Reserve has been restored and is in use as a museum.    The road to Osseo (West Broadway up to Osseo was, as late as 1904, called Bottineau Road; later, Jefferson Highway; and now, West Broadway.

This post is the seventh in a series based on the book Robbinsdale Then and Now by Helen Blodgett