Taopi's story: 1864
Before the story
After the story
In his tracks
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Alexander Faribault's story: 1855
Before the story
After the story
In his tracks


Mary Whipple's_story: 1862
Before the Story
After the Story
In her tracks


Bishop Henry Whipple's story: 1867
Before the story
After the story
In his tracks


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Taopi
After the Story: 1865-1869

After the War | Alexander Faribault's Role | Staying in Town | Death | More

Taopi worked hard in Faribault after the U.S.-Dakota War. He struggled to provide his family with food and other basic needs. But he kept his faith in Bishop Henry Whipple and Henry Sibley. Both men continued to ask the government to help Taopi. They wanted him to have a small piece of farmland. They wanted him to be rewarded for his help to white captives during the Dakota War.

Taopi and other Dakota came close to getting land and money for farming in 1865. But then a small group of mixed-blood outlaws attacked a family near Mankato. Many people were angry at Indians again. The government authorities changed their minds.

Taopi hoped for payment from the government. This picture shows government agents paying members of the Indian community in Wisconsin in about 1871. Photo by Charles Alfred Zimmermann. Courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society .

After the War | Alexander Faribault's Role | Staying in Town | Death | More

In 1866, Alexander Faribault was afraid of running out of money. He decided he could not afford to have Taopi and other Dakota on his land. He showed the government that that he had spent nearly $4000 to help the Dakota in the past three years. He asked the government to pay him.

Alexander Faribault’s expenses showed that life was hard for everyone. He had to buy “one coffin for child– $6.00” and “One coffin for son– $12.” Alexander was also worried about his timber. The Dakota were using it for firewood, but he planned to sell it.
Alexander Faribault's money box. Alexander Faribault's money box. Courtesy of the Alexander Faribault House.

In time, the government paid Alexander Faribault for his expenses. But he still asked them to take the Dakota off of his land. While government officials thought about this, Bishop Whipple provided $100 of his own money to the Dakota. They used the money to plant corn, potatoes and vegetables on Faribault’s farm.

The government finally agreed the Faribault Dakota could be moved in September, 1866. But Alexander Faribault would have to do it. It became too complicated. The Dakota were scattered, collecting wild rice. He knew that it would take time to call them together. Then it would be too difficult, and perhaps too unkind, to relocate them. Winter would begin soon. It would be a hard time for the Taopi and his family. And Faribault himself was not feeling very well. He did not have the energy to move the Indians.

The government then agreed to double the amount of money Faribault received for keeping the Dakota on his land. Instead of $5 per day, he got $10. Perhaps Faribault thought he would not have to spend so much of his own money in the future. Some Dakota had finally received a bit of money from the government. Taopi had received $500.

But this money was soon gone. Life continued slowly for Taopi and his companions. The next summer came and went. They did not get any more money. They also were not moved. The crops they planted that summer were washed out. Food was again scarce. In January, 1867, poet Ralph Waldo Emerson visited the Dakota camp in Faribault. He saw how poor they were. He also heard some girls singing psalms from the Bible in the Dakota language.

After the War | Alexander Faribault's Role | Staying in Town | Death | More

In early 1867, the government agreed once again to move the Dakota. Oddly enough, many important people did not like the plan, including the Governor of Minnesota, William R. Marshall, and former Governor Ramsey. Even sixty-one Faribault citizens signed a petition. They asked that certain Dakota be allowed to stay. Many of them understood that the lives of the Faribault Dakota would be in danger on the reservation. They would be with Dakota who were still angry because they had helped white settlers during the war.

Finally, in July, 1867, Reverend Hinman came to escort the Faribault Dakota to a reservation in Nebraska. He knew Taopi and other Dakota from their time at the Lower Sioux Agency. But Taopi and his family refused to leave. They were told that no one would help them anymore, but Hinman and others were not willing to force them out. Finally, about half of the Dakota left Faribault. About 40 remained.

Dakota homes in Faribault after 1862.

 

Dakota homes in Faribault after 1862. This sketch map by Mrs. William Lynch shows the location of the last Dakota homes on Alexander Faribault's land south of Faribault. You can view a larger map or compare it to a present-day map. Courtesy of the Rice County Historical Society.

Taopi began hunting to support his family. He had no land and no money to farm. Bishop Whipple continued to ask the government for help. In May, 1869, was told he could seek some land for Taopi and the others. The land could not be in any place where the Indians could possibly bother white settlers. Of course by this time, there were settlers everywhere. There was no place left.

An older Taopi. Courtesy of the Rice County Historical Society.

After the War | Alexander Faribault's Role | Staying in Town | Death | More

Even if some land had been found, it would have been too late for Taopi. He became ill on a hunting trip. He returned to Faribault, where he died on February 19, 1869. Over time, people in Faribault began to accept the remaining Dakota. But by 1890, all had left the area to join the present-day reservation.

Bishop Whipple preached Taopi’s funeral sermon two months after his death. Taopi was buried in Maple Lawn Cemetery. Today his grave site is marked with a tripod form representing a tepee. Whipple summarized Taopi’s life in terms familiar to many who have experienced war and other hardships:

“When I knew him before the outbreak, he had a house and furniture, and stock, and implements of husbandry, and was a well to do farmer. These later years have seen him a poor homeless wanderer....”

Taopi himself had summarized his lifelong struggle in a letter to Governor William Marshall two years before his death:

“[Do not reward] our loyalty by delivering us up to...our enemies. We are but a little band, all that remains of a once powerful nation, upon the soil which was the hunting grounds of our fathers. We shall need but a little space for a little while...”

After the War | Alexander Faribault's Role | Staying in Town | Death | More

Find out about Taopi's early life in Before the Story. Read a story about his life in Faribault in 1864. Find clues to his life in Faribault by following In His Tracks.

Most of what is known about Taopi comes from historian Mark Diedrich, who has written extensively about Taopi and his mother. Ray Meyer also wrote about the Dakota who remained in Faribault after the war. The information here comes from their research.

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