1862 Trial 4: Tazoo

For an overview of this series publishing the trial records of the 38 Dakota men executed at Mankato Minnesota on December 26, 1862, see the first post.

Tazoo’s trial is the second of forty in this series.

Transcript: Trial 4 Tazoo

Page Images: #4 Tazoo


Whiting-Ruggles Summary December 5, 1862

No. 4. TAZOO, alias PLAN-DOO-TA.—Convicted of participating in the murder of Mr. Patville, and of ravishing a young girl.[1]


Trial Record September 1862

[Frame 61 – Trial #4 – Tazoo]

Proceedings of a Military Commission convened at Camp Release opposite the Mouth of Chippewa River by virtue of the following order

Order No. 55                           viz:

Head Quarters CampRelease

September 28th 1862

A Military Commission composed of Colonel Wm Crooks of the 6th Reg., Lieut. Col. Marshall of the 7th Regiment, Captains Grant & Bailey of the 6th Reg. And Lieut. Olin of the 3rd Reg. Will convene at some convenient point in camp at 10 o’clock this morning to try summarily the Mulatto, and Indians, or mixed bloods, now prisoners, or who may be brought before them, by direction of the Col. Commanding and pass judgment upon them, if found guilty of murder or other outrages upon the Whites, during the present State of hostilities of the Indians, the proceedings of the Commission to be returned to these Head Quarters immediately after their conclusion, for the consideration of the Col. Commanding.

The Commission will be governed in their proceedings, by Military Law and usage.

(Signed) H. H. Sibley

Colonel Commanding

CampRelease opposite the

Mouth of Chippewa River, Minn.


The Military Commission met pursuant to the above order-


Col. Crooks – 6th Reg. M. V.

Lt. Col. Marshall, 7th Regt. M.V.     Members

Capt. Grant, 6th Regt. M.V.

Capt. Bailey, 6th Regt. M. V.

Lt. Olin – 3rd Regt. M. V., Judge Advocate

Adjutant Heard – McPhail’s Mounted Rangers – Recorder

The Commission was then duly sworn and Tazoo, alias Ptan-doo-ta, a Sioux Indian, was arraigned on the following charge and specification.

Charges and specifications against Tazoo, alias Ptan-doo-to, a Sioux Indian.

Charge 1st


Specification – In this that the said Tazoo alias Ptan-doo-to, a Sioux Indian, did on or about the 18th day of August 1862, kill, or by his presence, or agency, aid abet in the killing of Francis Patoille and Mary Anderson, two white citizens of the United States.  This between Fort Ridgely and New Ulm, Minnesota,

[Frame 62]

Charge 2nd


Specification – In this that the said Tazoo, alias Ptan-doo-to, a Sioux Indian, did, on or about the 18th day of August 1862, and at various other times between the same 18th day of August 1862, and the 28th day of September 1862, ravish Mattie Williams, a white woman and a prisoner in the hands of the Sioux tribe of Indians.

By order of Col. H. H. Sibley

Comd’g. Mil. Ex.

L. H. Fowler



Mary Swan

Mattie Williams

[Frame 63]

And therefore in answer thereto the prisoner made the following statement –

I have had sore eyes for two years, and am not able to shoot at any thing.  I was camped 3 miles below the Fort this side of the River – I am a professional Juggler and a young girl came to me –

I am not able to hunt any and on this account have been planting.

All the settlers around New Ulm have kept me from starving.

Some young Indians came down there the morning after the outbreak and told me that the Indian traders at the Lower Agency had been killed and I followed them down towards New Ulm.

On the way down I saw two loads (?) of Indians going towards New Ulm and when I went as far as the [—] (“Traveller’s Home”) I met 3 wagon loads of Indians coming back.

When they met me they told me to get in, and I got in.  I came along with them, and when they got opposite La Framboise house, met these ladies (Miss Williams and Miss Swan).

I heard the Indians say there was a load of white men and women coming down and I jumped off.  I ran towards the others and I heard a

[Frame 64]

shot and saw them running off.  There were 3 ladies running off and others and I told them to stop firing – that if they killed white women I would kill one of them – that they should take them prisoners – saw 2 Indians catch hold of Miss Williams and one hold of [?] Miss Swan.  If it hadn’t been from me, these young ladies would have been killed.  Ma-zee-ba took Miss Swan by the arm.  He is here: one of the Indians who had hold of Miss Williams was killed at the last battle.

The name of the other is Heapan (sp?) (the son of Ea-chan-Woan-me).  This is all I know.  I was blind and I didn’t go anywheres.  I know this woman (Miss Williams).  If this woman is living now and is about to see her relatives I am the cause of it.  I ravished her.  She was not willing and I desisted.  I tried to sleep with her twice, but she was too young.  The Negro was in the middle wagon with my party.

And thereupon Mattie Williams, a witness on the part of the prosecution, being before the Commission, was duly sworn and testified as follows –

The prisoner committed the crime charged against him upon me –

[Frame 65]

He repeated it – He was of the party who killed Patoille.  He took me and tied my arms when we were taken. He was engaged with the party in their designs.

He helped to plunder.

Mary Swan, another witness on the part of the prosecution, being in court and duly sworn, sayd:

I was one of the party when Patwell was killed – this Indian was one of those who attacked us.

And thereupon the Court found the prisoner Commission was cleared and proceeded to their findings and sentence.

The Military Commission after mature (?) deliberation on the testimony adduced find the prisoner as follows:

Guilty of the specification of the 1st charge.

Guilty of the first charge.

Guilty of the specification of the 2nd charge.

Guilty of the 2nd charge – and do thereupon sentence him the said Tazoo, alias Ptan-doo-ta, to be hanged by the neck until he is dead.

[Signed by Mil. Comm. Members][2]


Riggs Synopsis December 1862

2. Ptan doo ta, alias Ta joo (Red Otter) says he had very sore eyes at the time of the outbreak, and was at that time down opposite Fort Ridgley. He was with the party that killed Patwell and others. Maza bom doo killed patwell. He himself took Mattie Williams captive. Says he would have violated the women but they resisted. He thinks he did a good deed in saving the woman alive.[3]

Transcriptions by Walt Bachman and Carrie Reber Zeman. Page images provided by John Isch.

[1]Whiting-Ruggles Report to Abraham Lincoln December 5, 1862.

[2] Dakota Trials Records. Microfilm and holograph records in Center for Legislative Archives, U.S. Senate Records, National Archives. Transcription by Walt Bachman. See corresponding digitations of microfilm by John Isch.

[3] Mankato Independent December 26, 1862, “Confessions of the Condemned” p. 2. Editorial introduction reads: “Rev. S. R. Riggs has kindly prepared for us the following synopsis of conversations held with each one of the condemned prisoners, wherein is contained much interesting information.”

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