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Old Rail Fence Corners The A. B. C's. of Minnesota History

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Mr. Pettijohn, now ninety-five years old, clear in memory, patriarchial in looks, says:

I came to what is now Minnesota, but was then a part of Wisconsin Territory April sixteenth, 1841. I was on my way to work for the Williamsons, missionaries, at Lac qui Parle. I landed from the large steamer, the Alhambra, at the Fort Snelling landing. I climbed the steep path that led up to the fort, circled the wall and came to the big gate. A sentinel guarded it. He asked me if I wanted to enlist. I said, "No, I want to see the fort, and find a boarding place." He invited me in. I looked around this stone fort with much interest and could see Sibley House and Faribault house across the Minnesota river at Mendota. There were no large trees between the two points so these houses showed very clearly. The ruins of part of the first fort which was of wood, were still on the bluff about one block south of the new fort.

I asked where I could find a boarding place, and was directed to the St. Louis house, near where the water tower now stands. Before proceeding there, I stood and watched the Indians coming to the fort. I was told they were from Black Dog's, Good Road's and Shakopee's villages. The trail they followed was deeply worn. This seemed strange as they all wore moccasins. Their painted faces looked very sinister to one who had never before seen them, but later I learned to appreciate the worth of these Indians, who as yet were unspoiled by the white man's fire water.

I was told that the St. Louis House had been built after the fort was, by Mr. Baker, a trader, to accommodate people from the south, who wanted to summer here. It was now deserted by its owners and any one of the sparse settlers or traders would occupy it. He said a trader by the name of Martin McLeod was living there and that Kittson, another trader, lived at his trading post about fifty yards away from the house. There was a good wagon road about where the road is now. My friend, for such he later became, told me it led to the government mill at the Falls of St. Anthony, but that it took longer to walk it than it did the Indian trail that led along the bank of the Mississippi. So I took this as advised. There were many Indians on the trail going and coming. All at once I heard a great commotion ahead of me. Indians were running from every direction. When I came to the place where they all were, I heard lamentations and fierce imprecations. I saw the reason there. Two of their warriors were lying dead and scalped, while clambering up the opposite bank of the river, three of the Sioux's sworn enemies, three Chippewas, could be seen. The slain were head men in the tribe. The guns and arrows of the Sioux could not carry across the river, so they escaped for the time being. I was afraid the Sioux vengeance would fall on me, but it did not.

I soon came to the St. Louis house. While there, I saw Walter McLeod, then a baby.

McLeod, the father, had fled from Canada at the time of one of the rebellions, in company with others, but was the only one to survive a terrible blizzard and reach Mendota....