We have the deed for this farm on the wall signed by Ulysses S. Grant

Mr. Juni talks about his family's homesteading experience and eventual involvement in the U.S.-Dakota War.

Audio Chapters

FJ: We are in what is called Millford Township. M-I-L-F-O-R-D, Milford Township. Probably the most historic township in Brown County regarding the 1860s. And New Ulm was originally down right below us, about three-quarters of a mile away. They had a mill and could cross the river there. They could fiord the river, that's why I told you about it's name, Mill Ford. And that's where New Ulm was supposed to be.

My family tells me my great-grandparents picked this site because they thought they’d be right above the city of New Ulm. The mill was here and various outbuildings were built. But prior to the Indian events, they found it was a poor site because it's all a flood plain. Cooler heads prevailed and one of them was Frank Massopust. Frank Massopust was my great-grandmother's first husband. And he's the one that picked this site, I'm told, and I guess history bears that out. Then I thought, as well as the other founders of New Ulm, and that it made more sense. New Ulm is on a terrace. The geology is just more practical. They couldn't have picked a much better site for a town. It's beautiful, it's rolling, it really doesn't flood -- except a few people have built on the flood plain in the past 20 years that should have known better. So, I don't know if that influenced our farm so much, but things might have been different if it might not have been for the events of the 1850s and 60s. I don't know if new Ulm would have stayed here as it was established prior to the Dakota War.

Frank Massopust lived here. This was his. He sent to Europe for his father. Frank Senior was still in Europe. Young Frank told him to come over here and he set his dad up in a farm where my oldest son now lives, right across the highway. So it was Frank Massopust Junior that lived here on this land.

Frank Senior’s family got wiped out by the Indians. The females, the wife and the daughter, tried to flee toward New Ulm. They were killed about a mile away. I believe he was killed on the farm. A number of years ago the historical society did a dig on some hills right over here. There were human remains. I don't know if they ever determined whether they were Dakota or white.

DL: What's a dugout?

FJ: A dugout was a soddy in the hillside. In a little slope, they made a cave. They'd hang a door in the front and dig in and that's where they lived. It's amazing. My grandparents on this side, I don't know where they lived originally; I mean this farm has never been in anybody else’s family. We have the deed for this farm on the wall signed by Ulysses S. Grant to my great-grandmother because her husband, Frank Massopust, was killed. This is where he farmed. I don't know if people had title to the property but they lived here at the time of the -- whatever the politically correct term is for the Indian Uprising.

Oral History- Interview | Narrator Frederick Juni Interviewer Deborah Locke made in New Ulm, Milford Township, MN | Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Citation: Minnesota Historical Society. U.S. - Dakota War of 1862. We have the deed for this farm on the wall signed by Ulysses S. Grant July 23, 2019. http://www.usdakotawar.org/node/1061

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