Category Archives: Doing Historical Research

Did Henry Sibley Execute His Son?

Love a good mystery? You’re in for a treat. Early in his research for Northern Slave, Black Dakota: The Life and Times of Joseph Godfrey, historian Walt Bachman unearthed rumors that Henry Milord, one of the 38 Dakota men executed at Mankato, Minnesota, … Continue reading

Posted in 1862 Dakota War trials, Doing Historical Research, Henry Milord, Walt Bachman | 1 Comment

Army Officers and Dakota Women on the Minnesota Frontier, Part 5

This post is a classic exercise in doing history. The file of leads appears to be straight-forward. But upon a close reading of the texts, we are left to wonder.  Captain John S. Marsh of the 5th Minnesota Volunteers, Company B … Continue reading

Posted in Doing Historical Research, John S. Marsh, William P. Gere, Women's History | 1 Comment

The Stuff of Legend

The columnist who dubbed himself “The LeSueur Lyre” liked puns. Why anyone believed him is Gleek to me.  ***** In late June 1919, Samuel J. Brown of Brown’s Valley, Minnesota mailed a newspaper clipping to Warren Upham, the Secretary of the Minnesota Historical … Continue reading

Posted in Doing Historical Research, Fiction, Minnesota Historical Society, newspapers, O. W. Smith, Warren Upham | Leave a comment

“The Scourge of God” Against German “Infidels”

A Native American lays down his gun at the feet of Father Francis Xavier (Franz) Pierz and literally looks up to him, while a man of European descent, kneeling, doffs his hat and bows his head. Statue unveiled in 1952, … Continue reading

Posted in Doing Historical Research, German Turners, Religion | Leave a comment

The Power of the Written Word

One of the highlights for me of the pre-release weekend for Northern Slave, Black Dakota, was sitting in Gideon and Agnes Pond’s living room talking shop with some of my favorite historians. You know that tip-of-the-tongue phenomena when you lose … Continue reading

Posted in Dakota Language, Doing Historical Research, Wambdi Okiya | Leave a comment

Whitewashing History, Part 2

Gluttony by Robert Kingsly, 2009 “Then he berated me and my children something terribly. But I was totally silent, and when he was done I said to him what my kids have done. It is not my fault, I have … Continue reading

Posted in Commemorating Controversy, Doing Historical Research, truth-telling | 2 Comments

Whitewashing History, Part I

“Tom Sawyer Whitewashing the Fence” by Norman Rockwell (detail) So: What is wrong with Justina Kriegher’s stories? Not much, if we take them as they are: as stories. Quite a bit if we take them as we have: as history. … Continue reading

Posted in Commemorating Controversy, Doing Historical Research, Primary Sources, truth-telling | 3 Comments