Sarah-Iréne Faribault

Daughter of Oliver Faribault and Wakan Yanke
1847-May 23, 1924
Compiled by David R. Schleper

Sarah-Iréne Faribault was one of the four girls who grew up at the Faribault Cabin and Trading Post on the Prairie des Français (French Prairie) on the Rivière Saint-Pierre (St. Peter’s River). She was the seventh of nine children of Oliver Faribault and Wakan Yanke, or the Woman Who Sits at the High Place, and was born in 1847. The area later became part of the east part of Shakopee, Minnesota, near Faribault Springs.

Sarah remembered growing up at the Faribault Trading Post. “My father, Oliver Faribault, built a house which was his home and trading post near ‘Little Six’ or Shakopee’s village in 1844.[1] It was a fine point for a trading post, as three Indian villages were near; Good Roads, Black Dog’s and Shakopee’s.[2] He was a very successful trader. I can well remember the great packs of furs.”[3]

“We used to play all around the country near. I could shoot an arrow as well as a boy. The hunting was fine.”[4]

“We used often to go to the sacred stone of the Indians and I have often seen the Sioux[5] warriors around it. It was on the prairie below town. There was room for one to lie down by it and the rest would dance or sit in council around it. They always went to it before going into battle.”

“They left gifts which the white people stole. I can remember taking some little thing from it myself. I passed a party of Indians with it in my hand.” Sarah remembered that one Dakota woman saw what Sarah had, and she became very angry. “She made me take it back. She seemed to feel as we would if our church had been violated.”[6]

“One morning in the summer of ’58 we heard firing on the river.[7] Most of the Sioux[8] had gone to get their annuities but a few who were late were camped near Murphy’s.[9] These had been attacked by a large band of the Chippewa.[10] The fighting went on for hours, but the Chippewa were repulsed. That was the last battle between the Sioux and the Chippewa near here.”[11]

According to Sarah, “Little Crow was often at our house and was much loved by us children. He used to bring us candy and maple sugar.”[12] Little Crow or Thaóyate Dúta (ca. 1810 – July 3, 1863) was a chief of the Mdewakanton Dakota people. His given name translates as “His Red Nation,” but he was known as Little Crow because of his grandfather’s name, Čhetáŋ Wakhúwa Máni, (literally, “Hawk That Chases/Hunts Walking”) which was mistranslated by the whites to Little Crow.[13] Thaóyate Dúta would stop on his way from St. Paul and usually camped with his attendants on the vacant prairie opposite the Faribault Trading Post in the area later called Shakopee. By 1840, Oliver was closely allied with the Dakota Chief Ŝakpe II, and maintained kinship ties with other Dakota families as well. According to Sarah, “My father (Oliver Faribault) was fond of him too, and said he was always honest.”

Sarah understand how the Dakota Indians feel, not just because she was part Dakota, but also because she lived around the 600 people at Tiŋta-otoŋwe. “The Indians did not understand the white man’s ways. When the white man had a big storehouse full of goods belonging to the Indians and the Indian was cold and hungry, he could not see why he could not have what was there, belonging to him, if it would keep him warm and feed him. He could not see why he should wait until the government told him it was time for him to eat and be warm, when the time they had told him before was long past. It was the deferred payments that caused the outbreak, I have often heard from the Indians.”[14]

“I have often seen Indians buried on platforms elevated about eight feet on slender poles. They used to put offerings in the trees to the Great Spirit and to keep the evil spirits away. I remember that one of these looked like a gaily colored umbrella at a distance. I never dared go near.”[15]

Sarah never married. She lived with the family, and then resided at the E.L. Welch family, first in Henderson, and then in St. Paul for almost 22 years. She also had a long association with the D.L. How household as a trusted, faithful friend and nurse.[16] She died in 1924 at age 74. She was interred in the How family lot in Valley Cemetery in eastern Shakopee.[17]

[1] The village is Tiŋta-otoŋwe, translated to prairie village. Ŝakpe II (ca. 1794-1862) and Ŝakpedan or Little Six (1811-1865) were head men there.

[2] The village of Good Roads was near the mouth of the Nine Mile Creek was Titaŋka Taŋnina, the village of Penichon. It was also called the old village, and it was probably the first village of the Dakota on the river, according to Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota by Gwen Westerman and Bruce White, Minnesota Historical Society, page 126. The chief was Tacaŋku Waste, or His Good Road. The village of Black Dog’s was called Ohanska, Long Avenue Village or Black Dog’s village. Village chiefs included Waŋbdí Tháŋka (Wa-kin-yan-tan-ka) or Big Eagle, Sunka Sapa (Black Dog), and Maza Hota (Gray Iron) according to the Dakota Presence in the River Valley, 2002, by Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.  Shakopee’s village is Tiŋta-otoŋwe, with chiefs Ŝakpe II and Ŝakpedan.

[3] Morris, Lucy Leavenworth Wilder, editor (1914). Miss Sara Faribault in Old Rail Fence Corners: The A.B.C.’s of Minnesota History (Second Edition). Austin, MN: F.H. McCulloch Printing, p. 233.

[4] Morris, Lucy Leavenworth Wilder, editor (1914). Miss Sara Faribault in Old Rail Fence Corners: The A.B.C.’s of Minnesota History (Second Edition). Austin, MN: F.H. McCulloch Printing, p. 233.

[5] The people are Eastern Dakota Mdewakaŋtoŋwan, pronounced Mid-ah-wah-kah-ton, meaning “The Spirit Lake People” band.

[6] Morris, Lucy Leavenworth Wilder, editor (1914). Miss Sara Faribault in Old Rail Fence Corners: The A.B.C.’s of Minnesota History (Second Edition). Austin, MN: F.H. McCulloch Printing, p. 233.

[7] In May 27, 1858, between 150 and 200 Ojibwe warriors entered the Minnesota River valley near Shakopee hoping to ambush a nearby group of Dakota. Ojibwe warriors fired gunshots and kill a Dakota man fishing in the river around 5:00 am, starting the Battle of Shakopee, which was on the north side of the river in Chanhassen. It lasted for five hours, until the Ojibwe retreated and moved north toward Lake Minnetonka. From Reicher, Matt. “Battle of Shakopee, 1858.” MNopedia, Minnesota Historical Society. http://www.mnopedia.org/event/battle-shakopee-1858 (accessed Aug. 2, 2017).

[8] The correct name of Sioux is the Mdewakantonwan (Bdewékhaŋthuŋwaŋ Spirit Lake Village of the Eastern Dakota who lived in Tiŋta-otoŋwe.

[9] In 1853 Murphy settled in Eagle Creek Township just east of early Shakopee, where he built a large two-story house and hotel. It became a mecca for travelers, with good food, drink, merry dancing. Richard G Murphy had the exclusive right for 15 years to operate a ferry across the Minnesota at a point known as Murphy’s Ferry in 1853. Murphy unfailingly collected his fare in mid-steam, even during the Battle of Shakopee, which was fought less than a hundred yards from his home.

[10] The correct name of the Chippewa is the Ojibwe, an Anishinaabeg group of indigenous peoples in North America. They live in Canada and the United States. The Ojibwe people traditionally have spoken the Ojibwe language, a branch of the Algonquian language family.

[11] Morris, Lucy Leavenworth Wilder, editor (1914). “Miss Sara Faribault” in Old Rail Fence Corners: The A.B.C.’s of Minnesota History (Second Edition). Austin, MN: F.H. McCulloch Printing, p. 233.

[12] Morris, Lucy Leavenworth Wilder, editor (1914). “Miss Sara Faribault” in Old Rail Fence Corners: The A.B.C.’s of Minnesota History (Second Edition). Austin, MN: F.H. McCulloch Printing, p. 233.

[13] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Crow

[14] Morris, Lucy Leavenworth Wilder, editor (1914). “Miss Sara Faribault” in Old Rail Fence Corners: The A.B.C.’s of Minnesota History (Second Edition). Austin, MN: F.H. McCulloch Printing, p. 233.

[15] Morris, Lucy Leavenworth Wilder, editor (1914). “Miss Sara Faribault” in Old Rail Fence Corners: The A.B.C.’s of Minnesota History (Second Edition). Austin, MN: F.H. McCulloch Printing, p. 233.

[16] David Lennox How (1835-1893) was involved in several projects in Shakopee, including setting up a drug store, and a mill in Jordan, Chaska, and Shakopee. He married Mary Sherrard in 1862. They had one child, Jennie. This information from The Shakopee Story by Julius Coller II, 1960.

[17] Billion Graves site at https://billiongraves.com/grave/Sarah-Faribault/1526925

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