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1863 February 11: A Victim of the Minnesota Indian Massacre

February 13, 2013

The newspapers on the eastern edge of Wisconsin continue to fan the Indian scare.  This is from the February 11, 1863, Prescott Journal., reprinted from the Hudson Times.

This same article will appear in the February 21, 1863, issue of The Polk County Press.

THE INDIAN MASSACRE—ONE OF ITS VICTIMS.—Two or three weeks ago we mentioned the fact that an insane man was confined in the jail in this city.  We have since learned something of his history and of the terrible cause which produced his insanity.

His name is Thomas Shay.  He has been for some years a resident of Minnesota, near New Ulm, where he was industrious, thrifty and happy farmer.  He had a family consisting of a wife and three children.  At the time of the Indian massacre at New Ulm he was in the field at work.  The Indians came suddenly upon him, and after wounding him slightly he was taken prisoner.  He remained with the Indians some weeks, but finally made his escape, and after untold hardships reached the settlements in safety.  During all this time he had learned nothing of his family.  He immediately proceeded to New Ulm, where he received the awful intelligence that they were all murdered.  He at once went to his homestead, where he found that his house had been burned, his stock killed, his grainfields destroyed and the most utter desolation surrounding him.  In the yard, just in front of where his house had stood, he found a grave at the head of which stood a rough board upon which was written in red chalk, the names of his family.  He gazed at the words for some moments with the blank stupor of despair, and turned away a maniac.

Such, in brief, is the history of one life made desolate by the awful horrors of the Minnesota Indian Massacre.

Sheriff Barker, who has custody of this unfortunate being, has applied for his admittance into the State Insane Hospital,  where it is hoped he may recover.  His madness is of the milder form, but he can never find escape from the great sorrow which burdens him, and we fear his reason has forsaken its throne forever.—Hudson Times.

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