By Peter G. Beidler
In February of 1897 a kin of six--four generations, together with dual toddler sons and their elderly great-grandmother--was brutally murdered in rural North Dakota. The guns used have been a shotgun, an awl, a pitchfork, a spade, and a membership. numerous Dakota Indians from the within reach status Rock reservation have been arrested, and one used to be attempted, said accountable and sentenced to be hanged. The conviction used to be reversed by way of the nation superb courtroom, which ordered a brand new trial. just a week later, in spite of the fact that, a mob of thirty offended males broke into the county reformatory in the course of the evening, dragged 3 of the 5 accused Indians out, and hanged them from a butcher's windlass. those occasions have been fodder for enormous quantities of newspaper articles, letters, and criminal records. lots of these records, together with the transcript of the trial convicting one of many Indians and the assertion by way of the country best court docket reversing the conviction, are accumulated during this paintings, and, with the author's observation, inform a demanding story of racism and revenge within the pioneer West, one who supplied the elemental tale line for Ojibwe novelist Louise Erdrich's acclaimed novel The Plague of Doves.
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Extra info for Murdering Indians: A Documentary History of the 1897 Killings That Inspired Louise Erdrich's The Plague of Doves
Spicer was an upright Christian man and in 1895 he was granted a license to preach as a local preacher in the M. E. church. ] $800 reward A reward of ﬁve hundred ($500) dollars will be paid to the person delivering into the custody of the sheriff of Emmons County, North Dakota, the murderer or murderers of Thomas Spicer, Mrs. Thomas Spicer, Mrs. Waldron, Mrs. William Rouse and her twin, infant children. ] Said reward 44 Murdering Indians to be paid upon the conviction of such murderer or murderers.
A brutality which could be responsible for so foul a crime is almost beyond the imagination of even the most hardened sinner. From John Eastwood, who is stage driver for Charles Kupitz, the Tribune has obtained further particulars of the crime. The murder was committed on Wednesday afternoon, according to the belief of all who are familiar with the circumstances. What was its object, unless it was the satisfaction of some revengeful desire or more brutal passion, cannot be said. That it was not robbery is evident from the fact that money was found in the house and in the pockets of some of the corpses.
Spicer was the one most mutilated. There was a gunshot wound showing the marks of twenty-seven ﬁne shot, and also a wound made by a leaden bullet of about ﬁfty-six caliber in the back. The bullet had lodged against the backbone and it was easily picked out with a penknife. The throat was cut. There was a deep cut across the chin and several small cuts about the head. All except the gun-shot wounds were undoubtedly made with an axe. Mrs. Spicer’s body was not as badly disﬁgured. There was a deep gash just under the lower lip and several small bruises on the head.