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Chaska

Carver County

Minnesota

 

 

 

This brief history of Chaska is included in our family web site is because it was the U. S. destination not only of the

DuKatz family but also the Kunz and Nikolai families.We feel that it is important to get a sense for the area these

immigrant families settled.Before the brief Chaska history, we would like to include the following paragraphs.

 

†††† TraveltoChaska

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††† ( Kunz / DuKatzfamilies )

 

When Karl Franz Dukatz left Germany with his family, in 1884, there ultimate destination was Chaska, Minnesota.It is not

known, for certain, why they chose Chaska as their place to settle.It was common for immigrants to select a destination

where they knew someone. The Nikolai family resided in Chaska, and we believe that they may have known them,

in Europe, prior to their departure.It is unlikely that the DuKatz family was aware of the Kunz family in Germany,

the Kunz family migrated to Chaska much earlier, in July of 1857.

 

When the Kunz family migrated to the U.S. in 1857, the railroad extended to the Mississippi River where it ended in

Galena, Illinois, and Prairie du Chiene in Wisconsin.It is likely that they travel west via rail and finished the trip by boarding

a steamboat headed past Hastings, to Fort Snelling, Minnesota.At Fort Snelling they would have had to transfer to a

second steamboat, more than likely the stern wheeled ĎAntelopeí, and headed west on the Minnesota River to Chaska.

 

In 1884, when the DuKatz family came to the U.S., they more than likely traveled west via railroad to Decatur, Illinois.

There are family documents showing that they had a brief stay in Decatur.†† Decatur was were the east-west railroad

intersected the north-south rail lines. The railroad, by 1884, ran north to Saint Paul, Minnesota.They would have had

to take a steamboat from Saint Paul or Fort Snelling west to Chaska.

 

†††† Chaska, Minnesota

††††††† ( a brief early history )

 

In the very early 1800ís, the Carver County area was blessed with beautiful rolling hills, trees and prairie grass.The

Only inhabitants were the Sioux Indians.Their tepees dotted the groves north of the Minnesota River where Chaska

would slowly grow into a village.

 

It wasnít until after the Traverse Des Sioux Treaty was signed in 1851 that settlers began to approach the area.In the

summer of 1851 a Trading Post was established there.The Henry Moser family was one of the first families to settle

in Chaska, in 1853.

 

Carver County was organized on February 20, 1855 and Minnesota became a state in 1858.Minnesota was on the

western edge of the United States, with only the Territories to itís west.

 

At this time in the history of the area, the relationship between the Indians and whites came to a head.For many years

the Indians had been cruelly treated, cheated and defrauded by the unscrupulous Federal Officials and Government

Indian Agents.The Indians had been introduced to the white manís whiskey which made them easily controlled and

manipulated.The United States was not honoring Treaty obligations, nor were they paying the Indians for the land that

Indians were forced to sell.Compounding the tragedy, the Indians were being moved from Reservation to Reservation,

each time they were lied to and told that it was their last move.

 

In the 1860ís Chaska was little more than a settlement. In mid August of 1862 the Sioux Indians held a war council where

they took up the war-axe against the United States and itís people.The old Chiefs spoke against the war.They felt that it

was futile to war against the more powerful whites, and that the Indians themselves would be the ones to suffer.However,

the old Chiefs could not change their minds or lessen the frustration in the hearts of the young braves.The young braves

could see that the future of their tribes was in great danger.Their hot blood demanded that they go to war, to free themselves

from the tyranny.In the words of the young braves, ď The older Chiefs had lived their lives and the future now belonged to

the young Ē.The old Chiefs then stood by the popular vote and dedicated themselves to the war.

 

The war started with much bloodshed.In the first week alone more than 1,000 settlers died and as many as 35,000 were

left homeless.It was the small bands of renegade Indians that were responsible for most of the massacres that took place.

 

Chaska was alerted to the approach of the hostile indians, in the early morning, by horseback riders that were spreading the

news.The residents of the area gathered in Chaska at the schoolhouse. The schoolhouse was the only brick building and it

offered the most protection in case of attack.The women were left there while the men went off to help other families make

their way into town.While the men were gone the women feeling in great peril took their children by the hand and lead them

down to the river.The women had made up their minds that if the Indians attacked, they would drown their children and

themselves in the river.They had heard of the atrocities committed by the Indians and would not let that happen to them or

their children.Among the group at the rivers edge was 5 year old Aquil Kunz, his mother Elizabeth and his sister Mathilda.

 

Not all of the Indians warred against the whites.Many had become Christians. In Chaska a few Indians were at the river

Prepared to help protect the women and children. Many of the Christian Indians would rescue white settlers from the hostile

bands and return them to their homes.The writings of Captain Bell describes seeing the women and their children on the

banks of the river as he and his troops arrived in Chaska.

 

The incident at the river ended when U.S. troops lead by Captain Edwin Bell, aboard the steam boat Favorite reached

Shakopee and then Chaska.

 

The Indian upraising ended after the battle of Wood Lake on September 23, 1862, there the hostiles surrendered to

General Sibley.It had been deemed a hanging crime to have participated in the uprising , more than 300 indians were

sentenced to death.Nearly 40 were hanged in Mankato, Minnesota, they were the Indians that had committed the atrocities.

In 1863 the rest of the sentenced Sioux Indians were transported, via the same steam boat Favorite, out of Minnesota,

to their final destination, Davenport, Iowa.These Indians were eventually pardoned by President Johnson in 1866.

 

After the Indian Uprising, Chaska settled down and the farmers resumed their lives of farming. The settlement grew slowly

through the years that followed.

 

 

†††††† To see information on the Minnesota Indians Click on the link line below.

††† To the Indians Page