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قراءة كتاب Some Pioneers and Pilgrims on the Prairies of Dakota Or, From the Ox Team to the Aeroplane

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Some Pioneers and Pilgrims on the Prairies of Dakota
Or, From the Ox Team to the Aeroplane

Some Pioneers and Pilgrims on the Prairies of Dakota Or, From the Ox Team to the Aeroplane

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 2

settlers' first experiences with the new land and write this narrative. For if there is any reward which our fathers and mothers would ask of us, in return for giving up almost everything on our behalf, it would be just this: Remembrance and a little appreciation—understanding.

As to the origin, scope and plan of this narrative, this explanation should be made:

The real mover in getting this narrative started is my brother, H.B. Reese. He has also collected a part of the materials used and written out some of it. In editing and incorporating this material and other contributions into the book, I have made a free translation of it and also made changes and additions here and there as seemed desirable.

As to the scope and plan, especially as to the particular persons included or left out, the question will no doubt arise in the minds of some readers: "Why are just these individuals named and not others who were equally worthy and whose experiences were no less interesting?" The answer is simply this: This particular group and their experiences are best known to us, while that of others is not so well known. Then, too, the necessary limitations of space because of the costs involved, compel us to leave out much of which we have, or could get sufficient knowledge to use. Lastly, we present this work on the theory that the people, incidents and circumstances here included, represent the ordinary immigrant's experiences and thus serve to give a fairly correct view of pioneer days as a whole. So if some reader should have a feeling that such and such names or incidents should have been included, remember this omission is not because other names may not have been equally worthy, but rather that because of limitations of space and knowledge we had to choose a few as types and representatives of all the rest. The individual names of these pioneers will all too soon be forgotten in any case. But these pioneers as a class and their deeds, I trust, shall never be forgotten. So kindly remember that tho your father and mother, dear reader, may have been among the first settlers of the region here described and otherwise also closely connected with the group here mentioned, and still their names are not included, yet their lives are included. For the life we attempt to reproduce in picture here with its hardships and adventures, was the life and sacrifice of them all. You may in many cases substitute almost any pioneer name, and the picture of the period would be essentially correct. So, then, this is written in honor and memory of them all, the un-named as well as the named.

Thus, then, to all the sons and daughters of the Viking pioneers of the prairie who between the years of 1859-1889 took up the hard struggle with untamed nature on the far-stretching prairies of Dakota and Minnesota, I humbly dedicate this memorial. To all the brave men and women who bore the heat and the brunt of those days of toil and hardship, we, their children, together offer this little tribute of our love and remembrance.

John B. Reese,

April 21, 1918. Mitchell S.D.


Prying Open the Door into the Rich Lands of the Dakotas

Previous to April, 1858, Dakota Territory for a century or more had been the hunting ground and undisputed possession of the Yankton Sioux. However, for some years before this date many adventurous, enterprising members of the white race in the adjoining states of Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska, had cast covetous eyes across the borders. Not a few even followed their eyes and entered in spite of the prohibition of the government and the hostilities of the Indian. Many more, encamped along the borders were watching the negotiations between the government and the Yanktons, eager and alert to step over the line the very instant the door should be opened.

According to the available data on the Indian history of this region, previous to 1750 it was occupied by the Omahas, who held the Big Sioux and James river valleys. These were driven out about 1750 by the Teton Sioux, who came previously from the woods of Minnesota. The Teton Sioux also engaged the Rees, then having strongholds on the Missouri, especially in and around Pierre, and after a forty years' struggle drove them north to Grand River and then to where their remnants are still found in the vicinity of Fort Berthold, North Dakota.

At this time of the Treaty, this region was held by the Yankton and Yanktonais Sioux, who had been driven from western Iowa by the Ottos about 1780 and had settled the lower James River Valley.

The first attempt at a settlement at Yankton was made in the spring of 1858 by one W.P. Holman, his son C.J. Holman, both of Sergeants Bluff, Iowa, and Ben Stafford, together with four or five others from Sioux City. In anticipation of an early treaty these men came up on the Nebraska side of the river and, crossing over at Yankton, built a camp. But about a month later the Indians, jealous of their hunting grounds and suspicious of the designs of the intruders, drove them back across the river.

The next May, however, on the strength of a false rumor that the treaty had been ratified, these men floated logs across from their Nebraska camp, working all night, and next day laid twelve foundations. The following day construction of the first log cabin was begun. But before this could be finished some seventy-five Indians appeared and began to hurl the newly founded city of Yankton into the river. It was fortunate, as Mr. Holman, who was one of the party, suggests, that the new settlers had left their guns on the other side. For had they had their arms they would hardly have been able to submit to the destruction of their town without a fight, and if it had come to a fight the Indians were as yet too many. As it was, the intruders resorted to diplomacy, and by much "fine talk" succeeded in saving most of their belongings as well as of the construction and in holding their ground. The next day a feast was promptly made to Chief Dog's Claw and his warriors, and as is always the case with men, red or white, this feast had the desired effect, at least for the time being. The log house was built altho subsequently burned in October, 1858.

The first permanent buildings, as far as we can ascertain, were those of the Frost, Todd Co. Trading Post. There were, of course, Indian tepees scattered over the present city and vicinity of Yankton, but these appeared and disappeared again with the movements of their inhabitants. There was also about this time a cabin built on the east side of the present James River bridge by J.M. Stone, who operated a ferry boat.

It is stated by the late Mayor J.R. Hanson of Yankton, who came to Yankton with a party of pioneers from Winona, Minnesota, in 1858, that more than one hundred locations of 160 acres had already been staked out in the vicinity of Yankton on his arrival. These, of course, later had to be filed on in the regular way when the land became legally opened to settlers.

As already indicated, the treaty for the opening of this land for settlement was at last arranged in 1858, but it was not until July 10, 1859, that the land was legally opened for settlers by ratification of the treaty. On that very date the streams of expectant immigrants, waiting on the borders of Nebraska and Iowa, poured in like a flood and the towns of Vermilion, Meckling, Yankton and Bon Homme were all founded in a day. On the 22nd of July Elk Point was first settled.

The Old Sod Shanty