Iowa, Part of the American History and Genealogy Project

The Spirit Lake and Okoboji Monument


Ever since the cruel massacre by Sioux Indians around the lakes in Dickinson County, in 1857, there has been a strong public feeling that some adequate memorial should be erected, not only to perpetuate the names of the pioneer settlers who sadly lost their lives, but of the men of the Relief Expedition who gallantly marched thither under Major William Williams, of Fort Dodge. The stories of the massacre and of that notable march have been often told, as they will be in coming time, and we need not attempt their rehearsal here. At the opening of the Legislature of 1894, Mrs. Abbie Gardner- Sharp, who was carried into barbarous captivity by the Indians, came to the Capitol and remained through the session. Largely through her efforts, heartily seconded by Senator A. B. Funk, who resides at Spirit Lake, a bill was passed appropriating $5,000 for a monument. The law provided for "a special commission composed of five members appointed by the Governor of the State to carry out the provisions of this act." Governor Jackson approved the bill March 30, and appointed the following persons as commissioners: Ex- Governor Cyrus C. Carpenter and Hon. John F. Duncombe of Ft. Dodge, Mrs. Abbie Gardner-Sharp and Hon. R. A. Smith, of Okoboji, and Charles Aldrich, of Boone. The commission was organized by the appointment of Governor Carpenter, Chairman, and Mrs. Sharp, Secretary. A suitable location having been secured without expense to the State, a contract for the erection, for $4,500, of a granite monument, 55 feet high, with a large bronze tablet on each of its four sides, was let to the N. P. Peterson Granite Company of St. Paul, Minnesota. The monument was completed about the middle of March. It is a beautiful shaft, built in alternate sections of rough and polished Minnesota granite. This material is hard and durable, susceptible of a high polish, somewhat resembling Scotch granite, containing, however, less of red and more of gray and black than the imported article. The site selected is near the Gardner cabin. The four large bronze tablets are inscribed as follows:

Okoboji Monument

East Tablet

The pioneer settlers named below were massacred by Sioux Indians, March 8-13, 1857. The barbarous work was commenced near this spot, and continued to Springfield (now Jackson), Minnesota.

Robert Clark
Rowland Gardner
Francis M. Gardner
Rowland Gardner Jr.
Carl Granger
Jos. Harshman
Isaac H. Harriott
Joel Howe
Millie Howe
Jacob Howe
Alfred Howe
Sardis Howe
Philetus Howe
Mary M. Luce
Albert Luce
Amanda Luce
Wm. Marble
James H. Mattock
Mary M. Mattock
Alice Mattock
Daniel Mattock
Agnes Mattock
Jacob M. Mattock
Jackson A. Mattock
Robert Mathieson
Lydia Noble
Jonathan Howe
Alvin Noble
John Noble
Enoch Ryan
Bertell A. Snyder
Elizabeth Thatcher
Dora Thatcher
George Wood
Wm. Wood
Joshua Stewart wife
Two Harvey Luce children  

West Tablet

Roster of the Relief Expedition
Major William Williams, commanding.

Fort Dodge, March 24, 1357

Company A.
C. B. Richards Captain
F. A. Stratton. 1st Lieutenant
L. K. Wright, Sergeant
Solon Mason, Corporal
W. E. Burkholder
G. W. Brazee
C. C. Carpenter
L. D. Crawford
Julius Conrad
Henry Carse
_____ Chatterton
Wm. Defore
J. W. Dawson
Wm. Ford
John Farney
John Gales
Andrew Hood
Angus McBane
Wm. McCauley
Michael Maher
E. Mahan
W. P. Pollock
W. F. Porter
B. F. Parmenter
L. B. Ridgeway

Winton Smith
R. A. Smith
G. P. Smith
O. S. Spencer
C. Stebbins
Silas Vancleave
R. U. Wheelock
D. Westerfield
Company B
J. F. Buncombe Captain
James Linn, 1st Lieutenant
S. C. Stevens, 3rd Lieutenant
W. N. Koons, Sergeant
Thos. Callagan, Corporal
Jessie Addington
A. Burch
Hiram Benjamin
D. H. Baker
Orlando Bice
Richard Carter
A. E. Grouse
R. F. Carter
Michael Cavenaugh
Jer. Evans
John Hefley
O. C. Howe
D. F. Howell
A. S. Johnson
Jonas Murray
Daniel Morrisey
G. F. McClure
A. H. Malcombe
Michael McCarty
J. N. McFarland
Robt. McCormick
John O'Laughlin
Daniel Okeson
Guernsey Smith
J. M. Thatcher
W. Searles
John White
W. R. Wilson
Reuben Whetstone
Company C.
J. C. Johnson Captain
J. N. Maxwell, 1st Lieutenant
F. R. Mason, 3rd Lieutenant
Harris Hoover, Sergeant
A. N. Hathway, Corporal
Thos. Anderson
James Brainard
T. B. Bonebright
Sherman Cassady
W. L. Church
Patrick Conlan
H. E. Dalley
John Erie
John Gates
E. W. Gates
Josiah Griffith
James Hickey
H. C. Hillock
M. W. Rowland
E. D. Kellogg
W. K. Laughlin
A. S. Leonard
W. V. Lucas
F. R. Moody
John Nowland
J. C. Pemberton
Alonzo Richardson
Michael Sweeney
Patrick Stafford
A. K. Tullis
G. R. Bissell Surg.
G. B. Sherman Com'y.

North Tablet (Iowa Coat of Arms.)
Erected By Order Of The Twenty-Fifth General Assembly Of The State Of Iowa 1894.

South Tablet

Miss Abbie Gardner, Mrs. Margaret Ann Marble, Mrs. Lydia Noble, and Mrs. Elizabeth Thatcher, were carried into captivity.

Mrs. Marble was rescued May 21, and Miss Gardner June 23, 1857, through the efforts of Gov. Sam. Medary and Hon. Charles E. Flandreau, of Minn.

Mrs. Noble and Mrs. Thatcher were murdered by the Indians.

Capt. J. C. Johnson, of Webster City, and William E. Burkholder, of Fort Dodge, were frozen to death on the return march, in Palo Alto County, April 4, 1857.


Persons Who Fled from the Attack on Springfield (Jackson), Minnesota,
Rescued by Relief Expedition.

John Bradshaw
David Carver
Mrs. S. J. Church and two children
Eliza Gardner
George Granger
Mrs. Harshman and children
Harshman (son of the preceding) and wife
Morris Markham
Mrs. Wm. Nelson and child
Jareb Palmer
A. P. Shiegley
J. B. Skinner and wife
_____ Smith and wife
Dr. E. B. N. Strong, wife and two children
John Stewart
Drusilla Swanger
J. B. Thomas, wife and five children

The work upon this monument is believed to be of the best quality, and it has seemed fully to meet the expectations of all who have seen it. The task of preparing the inscriptions has been a most difficult one, owing to the lapse of time and the insufficiency of records. In many cases dependence has been of necessity placed upon the memories of living persons, which, after more than a third of a century, are in danger of being confused; but it is believed that these tablets contain the names of all who lost their lives in the massacre, or participated in the Expedition. And thus the State has rendered a just and generous tribute to their memories. Many of the men in the Expedition afterward volunteered in the Union armies and several of them fell in defense of their country. At the date of this publication it seems probable that the Commission will complete its labors by turning the monument over to Gov. Jackson on the 4th of July next.

Source: Annals of Iowa, Volume 2 Number 6, 189



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