OBITUARIES OF DICKINSON COUNTY
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MASSACRE SURVIVOR IS NO MORE
Mrs. Abbie Gardner Sharp Dies at Colfax
WAS 77 YEARS OLD
Sole Survivor of the Indian Massacre at Spirit Lake
Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 22  --Mrs. Abbie Gardner Sharp, sole survivor of the famous Spirit Lake massacre of 1857, died Friday evening at the Colfax Sanitarium. She was 77 years old. Mrs. Sharp had been a patient at the Colfax [Jasper County, Iowa] institution for the past six months, and had been confined to her bed during the last two months, following a stroke of paralysis which was directly responsible for her death.
Mrs. Sharp is survived by one grandson, Albert Sharp of Des Moines and Spirit Lake, and a granddaughter, Mrs. Fred Wiggle of Spencer, Iowa.
Funeral will be held in Spencer on Wednesday, and interment made at Arnolds Park.
Mrs. Abbie Gardner Sharp was born in New York in 1843,and was 14 years old at the time of the famous massacre in 1857.
Her father, Rowland Gardner, had migrated west in 1856, building his log cabin finally at what is now Pillsbury's Point, West Okoboji lake. It was at this cabin, which is still standing, that one of the grewsome [sic] episodes of the 1857 massacre took place.
There was constant trouble between the Sioux and Winnebagos. A neutral zone running north and south in Iowa had been established to keep the Sioux and their enemies the Sac and Fox, apart. Winnebagoes had been put in possession of this neutral zone. The Sioux also were always a terror to the white settlers.
In March, 1857, a band of fourteen Sioux under Inkpaduta raided the settlers' cabins in the Dickinson county lake region. They started their raid at Smithland, but reached their climax at the lakes. Their procedure at the Gardner cabin was typical. Here they entered the cabin under the pretense of friendliness but after eating and squabbiling [sic] awhile they murdered Mr. Gardner and all the others but Abbie. The women were beaten and mangled. Three children, one a baby, were torn from little Abbie and butchered also.
Twenty settlers were killed on the first day at the lakes, March 6, and others later. Four young women, three wives of white settlers and Abbie Gardner, were taken off as captives. They were painted like the reds, forced to braid their hair, given heavy packs to carry and were treated as slaves.
Volunteer military companies and some regulars from Fort Ridgley pursued, and once the regulars were almost in touch with Inkpaduta's fleeing band, but no battle occurred. Two of the volunteers were frozen to death on the prairies. The winter was exceptionally severe.
The flight was west and northwest. Mrs. Thatcher was brutally killed in the big Sioux river. A brave pushed her into the stream. As she approached first one shore and then the other in her frenzied efforts to escape, she was beaten with sticks and stones. Finally she was shot. Mrs. Marble was traded to another band of Sioux and eventually found her way back to Freedom.
Finally Abbie and Mrs. Noble were sold to a Yankton Sioux, but he remained with Inkpaduta's band and took them along. Mrs. Noble was beat to death, despite her owners objections, by Roaring Cloud, a son of Inkpaduta, because she repelled his overtures. She was only 20 years old.
After Abbie, the only captive, had been taken into a great Yankton village on the James River in Dakota, she was ransomed by friendly Indians representing the government of Minnesota. Mrs. Marble's escape had led to this successful effort on Abbie's behalf.
Source: Vindicator and Republican, 1-26-1921, Estherville, Emmet County, Iowa newspaper. Transcribed and contributed by Ruth Hackett.
Our Family Homes--Then and Now
Our Homes, some were lived in for generation, some for just a short time.
Villages, Towns and Cities of my family.
Some of the homes and places my family and extended family have lived.
See photos below the posts.
See photos below the posts.