Minister writes about Dakota War and Sioux Uprising of 1862


Date Written

May 23, 1864

History Referenced

The following was written 159 years, 4 months, 12 days ago.
It was a Monday.

May 23, 1864

Cousin John,
I received your note day before yesterday, and it contained just the information I wanted. At this distance form New York we are much puzzled sometimes to know the residences of our friends in the city, unless we have frequent letters from them. Removals in the country are not so common, although we have traveled about considerably since we came to Minnesota. First, we lived in Minneapolis five months. Then we moved to Anoka & stayed four months. Then we moved on to a 'claim' in the town of Silver Creek, where we established a Post Office and called it Bianca. Here we lived from August 1857 till May, 1863.

The previous August, i.e. 1862, the Indian massacre commenced, and we, together with most of our neighbors, left for thicker settlements. We packed ourselves into a little office, 12 by 20 feet, with four other families, and lived there a week. During that time in Monticello, worked on a fort nearby, which fortunately we never had occasion to use. Shortly after this, we returned to our home, the Indians having been checked in their operations. During the following winter, the Indians were comparatively quiet. The trees were bare, which made it favorable for seeing the Indians, and snow soon came on, by means of which they could be tracked. The Indian is a sly, stealthy warrior, who seldom takes the open field. But we feared the Spring and Summer, when the forests would be filled with leaves. Consequently, we made preparations for moving, and left home with most of our movable effects about the first of May, for the town of Richfield, adjoining Minneapolis on the south. Here we lived near one of my wife's brothers (Mr. Zelotes Downs) till this Spring, when we moved to Anoka, where we now are. I realized a hundred dollars on my old place and have paid in part for a little farm here. We have a comfortable house and 22 acres of land.

So you see, we have not been stationary, although we live in the country, and I have no doubt our friends in New York and elsewhere at the east have been in some doubt where to direct them their letters intended for us. But we are at home now, and Anoka will be our Post Office for the present. We left a claim of 153 acres of land with six acres under cultivation, and a substantial house, all of which would have been ours under the 'Homestead Law' had we lived upon the land long enough. But the location was not as good as the one we now occupy, and the work was much harder.

Tell George to send the box by “Merchant Dispatch”, thus,
Moses Goodrich
Anoka, Minnesota
via Merchant Dispatch

We are under obligations for George for sending us a box before this, the contents of which have been very useful to us. Tell him he need not pay the freight on this one.

My wife sends her love to you, and all of our New York friends.

Remember us to Samuel and his family, and also to Eliza's, George's, and Catherine's families, also to Fannie when you see her, to Mr. William's family and all inquiring friends. Tell Mary I am waiting for that letter. We should be glad to hear from all of them as often as possible. Write soon and believe us,

Truly Yours,
Moses Goodrich

Scans of Letter