It happened right here!

Ms. Besemer talks about her family's experience in the U.S.-Dakota War.

Audio Chapters

DL: Did you ever hear of the 1862 U.S.-Dakota war while you were growing up?

LB: Yes, but not as much as I have now. Now I’ve been looking into it a little bit more. I always knew that the man that lived on this farm was killed during the Indian uprising. I always wondered exactly where that happened, etcetera. I also knew that my triple-great grandfather, Jacob Haberle, was killed during the uprising. I’ve put more pieces together. Like where my triple-great grandfather’s farm site was on the way to town and different things about our area. Because when you look down towards Highway 29, which is just right down there, it’s about a mile and a half away, that whole road from the Hanles to the Haags to the Haberles, [all who] suffered so much. It happened right here!

DL: So people along that road were targeted.

LB: Oh definitely, yes.

DL: You mentioned that a man and his farmhand were killed here in a field. Is that who we’re talking about here?

LB: Christian Haag owned this farm. He lived here with his wife and children. I don’t know if you want me to make copies of the plot when he owned it. Apparently he was working outside, as a lot of the farmers were on that August day, and heard some shooting or some chaos over at the Hanle farm which is only a mile away. He supposedly took off on his horse. The driveway actually entered this way. It came off of this road. We didn’t have the crossroad here. So he went down the driveway and that’s where the Indians killed him. He went to help a neighbor.

DL: Do you know if he was shot?

LB: No, that I don’t know. I think I’ve read that he was shot but I don’t know if it was by an arrow or…

DL: If he was on a horse, my guess is…

LB: A bullet. Yes.

DL: So he was the first one from this property. You said there was a second one?

LB: No that’s all, just Christian Haag. I don’t know [what happened] after he died, the wife and kids were still here. So I’m not exactly sure, did somebody come? I haven’t found that out at all, if somebody came and took her to safety in New Ulm or what happened. There were different search people coming out. So I’m not sure what happened to her. However, I do know that [Haag’s wife] didn’t stick around here. After the uprising she must have moved back to Ohio because anytime there was a transaction -- for instance in 1865 there was a mortgage deed -- it was notarized in Ashtabula County, Ohio. So she wasn’t around here anymore within three years after the uprising. I imagine she went back to her family. There were four children that were with her also.

Oral History- Interview | Narrator Lisa Besemer Interviewer Deborah Locke made in New Ulm (Milford Township), MN | Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Citation: Minnesota Historical Society. U.S. - Dakota War of 1862. It happened right here! April 25, 2019. http://www.usdakotawar.org/node/995

Viewpoints: All viewpoints expressed on this website are those of the contributors, and are not representative of the Minnesota Historical Society.