Events to mark August anniversary of U.S.-Dakota War of 1862

NEW ULM – A series of events in August marks the anniversary of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.

The events are sponsored by the Brown County Historical Society, the New Ulm Public Library and the Junior Pioneers.

The anniversary of the tragic events was commemorated in 2011 and 2012 as well, so why continue the effort?

“The war makes up the core of our collections and provides a significant regional and state focus,” explains Brown County Historical Society Museum Director Bob Burgess.

It is one of those “terrible, defining” parts of history “we are destined to remember,” continues Burgess.

“We sense an overflow of interest,” adds Gary Wiltscheck, a BCHS member who leads war site tours and has written a book on the war. “There is a genuine interest in this, a demand for this.”

Events in 2011 drew 800 people, and events in 2012 drew 3,300 people, adds Burgess.

“This is integral to what we do,” he added.

The events are geared to residents as well as visitors in New Ulm, adds Burgess. The organizers are taking into account public comments, scheduling tours on evening and wee-ends, for example.

Here are some of the planned activities, briefly. More information is available at the BCHS museum and the New Ulm Public Library:

Bus tours of Milford and Leavenworth war sites, Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 22 through 24, led by Wiltscheck and Lisa Bessemer (schedule available at BCHS museum, $20 per person, reservations required)

Katy Gropper and Downtown Battlefield Tours, Friday and Saturday, Aug. 23-24 (schedule available at BCHS museum, $3 adults, children, students free, reservations required)

Expert speakers will deliver programs on various aspects of the war. A film screening and a tour of the New Ulm Battery House are part of the programming.

Some speakers and events include: John LaBatte, Thursday, Aug. 15, 6 p.m., library; Lois Glewwe, noon, Monday, Aug. 19, BCHS annex; Dakota 38 film screening and discussion, 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 19, Martin Luther College; John Isch, noon, Tuesday, Aug. 20, BCHS annex; 6:30-8 p.m. New Ulm Battery House tour; Curtis Dahlin, noon, Wednesday, Aug. 21, BCHS annex; Mark Diedrich, noon, Thursday, Aug. 22, BCHS annex and 6 p.m. that day, library (two different topics)

On Saturday, Aug. 24, from 10 a.m. to noon, local authors will sign books at BCHS. At 1 p.m., an Indian culture program will take place at the library. At 2 p.m. a Wanda Gag House Association children’s craft program will take place at the library.

On Sunday, Aug. 25, the Junior Pioneers will hold a program at the cemetery at 1 p.m.. The organization will place markers at 33 unmarked historic graves. The stones, paid for with grants and private donations, are being engraved with birth and death dates of the settlers.

Many birth dates have been previously unknown. Thanks to research by Col. Craig Duehring in Germany and other researchers, they have now been uncovered, according to Junior Pioneers officer Darla Gebhard.

The public grave marker dedication service will feature music by Dick Kimmel and Jerilyn Kjellberg and a keynote address by Jeff Juni.

An avenue of flags will be set up, and flags will be placed at the graves to help find the new stones.

The BCHS will place guides at specific points, talking about the pioneers and graves as people pass by.


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