Oakland Cemetery sign

Hutchinson faced battle with the Dakota Sioux Indians 157 years ago on Sept. 4, 1862. The Indian plan was to corral all white people into a ravine and shoot them dead. That didn’t happen.

Instead, a captive woman saved Hutchinson from total annihilation. She said the stockade, now Library Square, was full of armed soldiers from Fort Snelling. The hundreds of Mdewakanton Sioux believed her and fled the area.

Library Square never was full of Fort Snelling soldiers. The original rolls of Company B, 9th Minnesota Infantry documented the men’s duties included protection and burial detail.

Oakland Cemetery marks the place of the unlucky: the people who died because of skin color. Nathan Weeks, a private in Company B, died from disease contracted from stockade refugees. Weeks is buried in a grave marked only with a footstone in Highland Cemetery, now Section A of Oakland Cemetery. Weeks is listed on a 1909 county record of Oakland veterans signed by McLeod County commissioners.

The remains of 40-60 children rest under grass in Section A, victims of murder or stockade disease, as do the scalped bodies of Daniel Cross and Caleb Sanborn. One has a headstone, one does not.

Oakland’s headstones read of families who battled for their lives and saved Hutchinson: Fallon, Hopper, Benjamin, Harrington, Adams, Chesley, Cook, Dearborn, Delong, Dennis, Dewing, Green, LeMaitre, Hartwig, Higgins, James, Keuster, McAlmond, Nichols, Pagels, Pendergast, Reiner, Ross, Sharp, Froemming, Sivright, Stocking, Ells and Andrews.

Give thought to those who died, battled and protected Hutchinson in September of 1862. Without courage and tenacity, Hutchinson would be a lost memory — lost to a Mdewakanton Dakota Sioux’s planned genocide in 1862.

More about the Hutchinson extermination attack appears in “A History of Minnesota Volume 2” by William W. Folwell, page 163 and footnotes.

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