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
In His Tracks

Following in Taopi’s tracks in the city of Faribault takes some detective work. As with many American Indians who suffered the consequences of government policies and community prejudices of the era, Taopi could not leave a piece of land or a building through which his memory could be preserved. Here are some places you might visit if you want to understand parts of Taopi’s life.

The Big Woods

Along Ravine Street in Faribault. Along Ravine Street in Faribault. There is nothing left of the Big Woods in Faribault, but the wooded area along Ravine Street provides a glimpse of what the area might have been like.

As is depicted in Taopi’s Story, Taopi and other Indians and settlers harvested ginseng from the Big Woods. Today it is hard to image that this massive forest stretched over much of southern Minnesota, and that the homes and fields of Faribault could be created only after the forest was forced back. Taopi would simply have had to cross the river or head up or downstream to find the wooded, ravine-etched environment in which the ginseng grew.

Indian Settlement

Even after most Dakota were removed to reservations following the U.S- Dakota War, Faribault remained home to about 40 Indians who lived on Alexander Faribault’s land. In 1892, all remaining Dakota families in Faribault sold their holdings to via warrenty deed to Stephen Jewett and moved to what is now the Lower Sioux Indian Community near Morton, Minnesota.

This hand-drawn map show Mrs. William Lynch's recollection of where the remaining Dakota lived in Faribault. This hand-drawn map show Mrs. William Lynch's recollection of where the remaining Dakota lived in Faribault. The north-south road shown above may correspond to Rustad Road, shown below as the dark black road in center of the River Bend Nature Center map. (Click on the links to view larger versions of each map.) Courtesy of the Rice County Historical Society (above) and the River Bend Nature Center (below).

Taopi’s GravesiteMaple Lawn Cemetery

Taopi’s Gravesite
Maple Lawn Cemetery

Although Maple Lawn Cemetery was first officially organized in 1871, there were likely several burials here before that date, including Taopi's in 1869. His grave was first marked with a headstone engraved “Taopi. A Brave Christian Chief of the Dacotahs who saved many white women and children during the Indian Was or 1862…” The stone became very weathered and, according to newspaper accounts, was vandalized in about 1970.

Taopi's gravesite is located in Maple Lawn Cemetery. Taopi's gravesite is located in Maple Lawn Cemetery.

In the next years, Faribault citizens began a movement to replace the stone. A sixth grade class at Garfield Elementary School also conducted research into symbols that would be appropriate for the grave, and it is likely that the tipi-like formation over the grave was added when the new headstone was placed. The stone is also engraved with the name of Cornelia Whipple Taopi. This was Taopi’s daughter, who died at age 18. She was named after Bishop Henry Whipple’s wife, Cornelia.

You can lean more about Taopi by reading a story about him. You can also gather biographical inoromation about his life Before and After the story.

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