Pelagie Eliza Faribault Manaige

Aug. 27, 1845 – Dec. 1, 1937
by David R. Schleper

Pelagie Eliza Faribault MenaigePelagie Eliza Faribault, daughter of Oliver Faribault and Wakan Yanke (or Woman Who Sits at the High Place), was born at her parents’ log cabin in East Shakopee, the same log cabin which is now at The Landing in Shakopee. Wakan Yanke was pregnant when they built and established the trading post in 1844, and Eliza, as she was called, was born on Aug. 27, 1845, the sixth of nine children.[1]

Eliza grew up with her three sisters, Mary Josephine (Jessie), Jane Luce, and Sarah-Iréne, in the cabin and adjacent warehouse which was built on the west side of what was later called Faribault Springs, using tamarack logs which were obtained from a swamp nearby.[2] Because Oliver was part Dakota, and Wakan Yanke was Dakota, Eliza was also part Dakota. The French and Métis people called this area Prairie des Français (French Prairie), along the Rivière Saint-Pierre.

Eliza remembered about her early life, including the bark huts, called tipi tanka, and ti´pi. She also remembered Chief Ŝakpe II and Ŝakpedan, or Little Six. Her father conducted a trading post in Tiŋta-otoŋwe, in the area now called Shakopee.[3]

She remembered her father conducting a trading post for a few years, and building a warehouse in which he stored furs purchased from the Dakota Indians. She only faintly remembered her father, as he died in the fall of 1850, when Eliza was 4 ½ years old.[4] Eliza remembered the gaudy trinkets that were available to the Dakota Indians.

An Indian trail passed south of the Faribault Trading Post and cabin in Tiŋta-otoŋwe, and Eliza remembered watching the processions of ponies with packs strapped to their backs and long dog trains, each load drawn by four to eight or more dogs. Furs and skins formed the bulk of the freight. Later the ponies and dogs were replaced by six oxen and long trains of two-wheeled Red River carts. Eliza could still remember the ear-piercing squeaks of the poorly lubricated wooden axles that heralded the approach of the trains.

According to Florence Leach, granddaughter of Pelagie Eliza Faribault Manaige, three Dakota Indians who were killed in the Battle of Shakopee in 1858 are buried near the house and close to the orchards near Faribault Trading Post. “The graves are flat, and you cannot see them. Grandfather Faribault buried them and concealed the graves so the Chippewa (Ojibwe) would not find the bodies and scalp them. We were traders and friendly to all Indians.”[5]

An Indian girl was also buried there.[6] According to Florence, “Grandmother said this girl was a very fine horsewoman, and one day she was on horseback and racing across the fields with a group of young men. The girl was in the lead, but she turned in her saddle to see how far ahead she was, and to wave to the men, when her horse stumbled and she was thrown and broke her neck. She died, and they buried her here.”[7]

Florence also recalled that Pelagie, her grandmother, remembered that the girl had bracelets on her wrists. “I know these Indians are buried here because when I was a little girl, my brother and I started to dig into the graves to see if we could find the bracelets. We did not think it was wrong, for we were just little children.”[8]

“Grandmother caught us digging, and she was so worried that she called the priest. He told her not to worry, we had done no harm; but just a few years later we tried it again, and uncovered bones. It scared us because we hadn’t believed anyone was really buried there. Of course, Grandmother found us, covered the hole, and she was frightfully upset; again she called the priest, and he comforted Grandmother. We all went out to the graves, and he said a little prayer.”

“Then the priest told Grandmother he didn’t think those Indians minded our digging for them one bit, as long as we were only trying to find out if they were really there. Now, the priest felt sure our curiosity was satisfied, and we would let them rest in peace.”[9]

Eliza attended school in a little log schoolhouse near their home.[10] When she was 14 years old, she was taken to Québec City, where she attended a school conducted by the Ursuline nuns at Monastère des Ursulines de Québec. It is the oldest institution of learning for women in North America. Eliza remembered, “We traveled from Faribault to Hastings by stage, and took a steamboat to La Crosse. From La Crosse we traveled by train and it was the first time I ever rode on a railroad train. I don’t remember the cities we went through, but I clearly recall our arrival at Québec. It all seemed unreal to me as I had never before been away from the frontier….”[11] Eliza attended school at Monastère des Ursulines de Québec for two terms, and then she returned home.

As a young woman, Eliza was often visited by Charles A. Manaige, whose father, Pierre Manaige, was a native of France, and his mother was part-Winnebago, or Ho-Chunk Indian. On July 30, 1870, Charles married Pelagie in Mankato.[12] They returned to Shakopee, where they spent their lives.

Pelagie and Charles had four children, two sons and two daughters. Isabelle was born in 1871, and married Harvey Randolph Leach in Des Moines, Iowa, and they had nine children. Melvin was born in 1872, and died April 12, 1931. He married and lived in Brooklyn, New York. Eugene Curtis was born 1874, and died of tuberculosis in 1903. Grace was born in 1876, and died at Friendship Manor in November of 1966.[13]

Pelagie died on Dec. 1, 1937. She is buried at the Valley Cemetery in Shakopee, Minnesota.[14]

[1] Find a Grave Memorial of Pelagie Eliza Faribault Manaige # 6783076, created by Cindy K. Coffin, April 03, 2011.

[2] Williams, Richard (2000). Oliver Faribault and Early Settlement at Faribault Springs. La Compagnie des Hivernants de la Rivière Saint-Pierre (HSP) Journal, 5 (3), 11-16.

[3] Winter, Marian B. (2003). A Visit with a Great-Granddaughter of Oliver Faribault. La Compagnie des Hivernants de la Rivière Saint-Pierre (HSP) Journal. From a working scrapbook 3061B in 1930s, and in the Sibley House Museum and the Minnesota Historical Society collections.

[4] Winter, Marian B. (2003). A Visit with a Great-Granddaughter of Oliver Faribault. La Compagnie des Hivernants de la Rivière Saint-Pierre (HSP) Journal. From a working scrapbook 3061B in 1930s, and in the Sibley House Museum and the Minnesota Historical Society collections.

[5] Interview of Patricia Jeanine Manaige Cates by David R. Schleper (2016) in Prior Lake, MN.

[6] Letter to Pat Cates from Ron Wilber related to the Burials on Shakopee Property (1998). Black River Falls, WI: HoChunk Historical Presentation, October 21, 1998.

[7] Winter, Marian B. (2003). A Visit with a Great-Granddaughter of Oliver Faribault. La Compagnie des Hivernants de la Rivière Saint-Pierre (HSP) Journal. From a working scrapbook 3061B in 1930s, and in the Sibley House Museum and the Minnesota Historical Society collections.

[8] Interview of Patricia Jeanine Manaige Cates by David R. Schleper (2016) in Prior Lake, MN.

[9] Winter, Marian B. (2003). A Visit with a Great-Granddaughter of Oliver Faribault. La Compagnie des Hivernants de la Rivière Saint-Pierre (HSP) Journal. From a working scrapbook 3061B in 1930s, and in the Sibley House Museum and the Minnesota Historical Society collections.

[10] Winter, Marian B. (2003). A Visit with a Great-Granddaughter of Oliver Faribault. La Compagnie des Hivernants de la Rivière Saint-Pierre (HSP) Journal. From a working scrapbook 3061B in 1930s, and in the Sibley House Museum and the Minnesota Historical Society collections.

[11] Winter, Marian B. (2003). A Visit with a Great-Granddaughter of Oliver Faribault. La Compagnie des Hivernants de la Rivière Saint-Pierre (HSP) Journal. From a working scrapbook 3061B in 1930s, and in the Sibley House Museum and the Minnesota Historical Society collections.

[12] Interview of Patricia Jeanine Manaige Cates by David R. Schleper (2016) in Prior Lake, MN.

[13] Interview of Patricia Jeanine Manaige Cates by David R. Schleper (2016) in Prior Lake, MN.

[14] Find a Grave Memorial of Pelagie Eliza Faribault Manaige # 6783076, created by Cindy K. Coffin, April 03, 2011.

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