THE SETTLEMENT PERIOD
During 1870, public land surveys in the Pipestone
area were completed, but no one paid attention to the long-standing
instructions of the General Land Office, and the surveys overran the
limits of the Pipestone Reservation.
Though the pace of settlement lagged a few years
behind the surveyors, the first filings by land seekers of a speculative
nature came soon after the surveys were made. The earliest known
"homesteader" on reservation lands was Henry T. Davis. The next such
filing was that of August Clausen in July 1871.
By July 1872 the General Land Office noted that the
surveys had overrun the reservation limits and ordered the reservation
to be resurveyed and the boundaries marked on public land plats. The new
survey was completed in late July of that year. It was found that the
reservation occupied part of sections 1 and 2, Township 106, Range 46
West, and a small strip of sections 35 and 36, Township 107, Range 46
West. It was also found that the reservation boundaries were not aligned
parallel to public land survey directions, resulting in small portions
of sections 1 and 2, Township 106, being outside the southern boundary
of the reservation.
Another settler, Job Whitehead, filed a timber claim
on a portion of the reservation in June 1874.
By late 1875, all of the filings on the reservation
had been properly canceled, except that of Clausen. Under circumstances
which later seemed highly questionable, a patent was issued to Clausen
for the S.W. 1/4 of section 1, Township 106. He sold this patent soon
thereafter to Congressman Averill in July 1874, and Averill resold it to
Herbert M. Carpenter of Minneapolis on November 5, 1877.
More settlers came to the surrounding lands from 1876
to 1880. In 1876 the townsite of "Pipestone City" was platted, and by
1878 the village was a small but growing trading center. From 1858 until
the arrival of settlers, nothing interfered with Yankton use of the
quarries. By mid-1876, however, friction developed, and the Yankton
agent passed on complaints of his Indians to Washington, but little
action was taken.
Daniel E. Sweet and his family were the
first settlers in Pipestone County. The little girl was the second white
child born in the county.
Not all the settlers were indifferent to Yankton
rights. In the autumn of 1877, Daniel E. Sweet, early settler and
prominent citizen, made the first of his many protests to the
Government, requesting protection for Yankton quarrying rights.
The Yanktons, through their agent, formally
complained of the intrusions in the area of the quarries in 1878.
Extended discussions between the General Land Office and the Indian
Bureau followed, and the issuance of the patent to Clausen came to
light. In March 1879, Secretary of the Interior Carl Schurz issued
instructions to obtain the surrender of the Clausen patent. The document
was traced to Carpenter, and a suit was filed to recover it. The case
was heard in June 1880. Carpenter asked for a demurrer on the grounds
that the Government owned the land, that Indian quarrying rights had not
been interfered with, and that the Indians were not a party to the case.
His contentions were upheld by the Circuit Court. The Government then
appealed to the Supreme Court, but the case was not heard until 1884. In
the meantime, the situation at Pipestone grew more complicated.
Late in 1880, a party of Yanktons returned from the
quarries, and reported to their agent that white men were quarrying
large amounts of stone on the reservation. The agent, Major Andrews,
went to Pipestone to investigate on June 17, 1881. He found that Riley
French, an agent for Carpenter, was opening a large quartzite
building-stone quarry extending from the southern portion of the
reservation across the section line to the south. Andrews was the first
to voice suspicion that there had been collusion between Clausen,
Carpenter, and unnamed persons in the Land Office in the issuance and
transfer of the Clausen patent.
C. C. Goodnow, register and receiver of the Land
Office at New Ulm, arrived in Pipestone early in 1882 to act as an agent
for Carpenter, operating the quarry first noted by Major Andrews.
Through this period the Yanktons continued to protest activities of this
Lack of a firm policy or any vigorous action on the
part of the Government encouraged more aggressive land seekers at
Pipestone, and Goodnow, who was, by this time, mayor of Pipestone, was
the first to move. In the spring of 1883, he built a two-story house,
and fenced about 40 acres of land on the reservation. During the summer,
he built another house nearby, this for his mother. In the autumn of
that year, Hiram W. George built a small house near the west side of the
reservation, and other Pipestone citizens quarreled over bits of land
Sweet wrote to Strike-the-Ree, Chief of the Yanktons,
telling of these activities. An exchange of correspondence between them,
the Yankton agent, and the Commissioner of Indian Affairs followed.
Early in November, the agent, Major Ridpath, visited
Pipestone as instructed by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. He
reported the settlement and building activities. He gave the settlers
notice to remove, but they refused. None of them presented any evidence
of title to the lands on which they were living. Ridpath said, "I can
see no excuse for these parties, they are not ignorant of the law. I
will take pleasure in removing them and in tearing down their buildings
if you so direct."
The Commissioner of Indian Affairs favored Ridpath's
suggestion, and submitted a detailed report to the Secretary of the
Interior. At this time the Secretary was Henry M. Teller, a strong
supporter of Western and settler viewpoints on Indian lands. Teller
refused to support Ridpath's recommendations, and stated (1) that he did
not believe the land constituted an Indian reservation, (2) that he
believed the Yanktons had only quarrying rights there, and (3) that the
settlers did not appear to have interfered with these rights. No further
action was taken in the matter during the remainder of the Arthur
The Election of 1884, won by Grover Cleveland,
brought many changes in personnel and policies concerned with Indian
affairs. The new Secretary of the Interior, L. Q. C. Lamar; his
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, J. D. C. Atkins; and the Attorney
General, A. H. Garland, were all the more inclined toward just,
realistic Indian land policies. So the renewed complaints of Sweet,
Strike-the-Ree, and the new Yankton agent, J. F. Kinney, did not fall on
The hand of the Government was also strengthened by
the decision of the Supreme Court in the Carpenter case in late 1884.
The Court said:
The whole of such land was by treaty withdrawn from
private entry or appropriation until the Government had determined
whether any portion less than the whole should be reserved. Its power of
selection, if the whole was not retained, could not be restricted by the
action of private parties. So, in any view which can be taken, the entry
of Clausen was void. It matters not whether the land had been surveyed
or not, the treaty was notice that a part of the quarry would he
retained by the government, and that the whole might be, for the use of
the Indians. This purpose and stipulation of the United States could not
be defeated by the action of any officers of the Land Department.
Complaints continued through late 1885. Additional
persons had settled on the land, including W. W. Whitehead, F. A.
Marvin, W. H. Hockabout, and G. W. Huntley. Beginning in December, the
Commissioner of Indian Affairs and his agent assembled a mounting
collection of evidence. The Yanktons became more irate as time passed,
and submitted a formal petition to the Commissioner in November
Action to remove the squatters got underway in
earnest with the visit of Agent Kinney to Washington early in 1887. On
his return, he reported that the Commissioner of Indian Affairs and the
Secretary of the Interior favored such action and were prepared to back
it up with force. The U. S. Attorney for Minnesota failed to take action
to have the courts remove the settlers, so the agent was authorized to
obtain assistance from the Army.
Written notices to remove were served on the settlers
in March by the sheriff of Pipestone County, giving them until May 1 to
leave. These notices were ignored.
A series of minor administrative details served to
slow action, but at last, on October 8, 1887, orders were issued at Fort
Randall, Dakota, to Capt. J. W. Bean to provide assistance to the agent.
Captain Bean was instructed to meet the agent at Armour, Dakota
Territory, with a detail of 10 enlisted men. Lt. W. N. Blow was to
accompany the party as surveying officer.
The small force arrived at Pipestone on the evening
of October 11, and camped in a field at the north edge of town. On the
morning of October 12, Kinney and Captain Bean hired a vehicle and went
to confer with the settlers. Finally, all agreed to move by the
following Monday, October 17, and to remove their buildings by March 1,
While these discussions were taking place, Lieutenant
Blow, assisted by the enlisted men, surveyed and re-marked the
Locally, the arrival of the troops caused quite a
stir and some amusement as the long-standing resolve of this band of
settlers melted when confronted by this small force of U. S. Regulars.
The editor of the Pipestone Republican praised the conduct of
Major Kinney, Captain Bean, and Lieutenant Blow, and noted their
courteous performance of the duty assigned them. A considerable body of
Yanktons was on hand to witness the removal, and was highly pleased by
The local agricultural association and those Yanktons
present negotiated an agreement by which the association could rent the
fenced portions of the land for use as a fair grounds. This agreement
was endorsed by the agent.
Kinney also reported the existence of a railway,
which he found had been built across the reservation in 1884. He
immediately contacted the company (Burlington, Cedar Rapids, and North
Railway), which contended it had filed adequate notice to obtain
right-of-way. The Commissioner of Indian Affairs notified the company
that the general acts for rights-of-way did not apply on the
reservation, and that Congress would have to solve this problem. A bill
(H. R. 10766) was introduced in July 1888, but was not passed.
Congressman Lind of Minnesota introduced a more
complex bill which did pass. It carried the title "An Act for the
Disposition of the Agricultural Lands Embraced Within the Limits of the
Pipestone Indian Reservation" (25 Stat. 1012). It provided (1) that a
board of appraisers should evaluate all lands on the reservation,
including the right-of-way; (2) that the former settlers might have
priority to purchase lands from which they had been removed, if
agreeable to the Indians; and (3) that the consent of a majority of the
adult men of the tribe must be obtained and that the Indians might give
their consent to the entire proposal or to either part individually.
White men quarrying in area about 1889.
(Courtesy, Minnesota State Historical Society.)
In May 1889, the lands were appraised according to
the provisions of the Act. The board gave an itemized appraisal of
individual parcels of the reservation land, and set a value, including
damages, of $1,740 for the railway land.
A commission was appointed to negotiate with the
Yanktons. These discussions extended from August 3 through August 21.
The Indians agreed to accept payment for the railway right-of-way, but
refused to dispose of the other lands. By 1890, the railway company had
paid the required amount. The General Land Office issued a patent to the
company for only a part of the land in 1898, and the status of the
balance is not yet clear.
With the settlement of the railway question to the
satisfaction of the Yanktons in 1890, the problems connected with the
settlement period came to an end.