Lake Shetek Massacre
Part of Dakota War of 1862
The memorial cairn at Slaughter Slough
Lake Shetek Settlement & Slaughter Slough, Minnesota, United States
44°5′33.28″N 95°37′21.97″W / 44.0925778°N 95.6227694°W / 44.0925778; -95.6227694Coordinates: 44°5′33.28″N 95°37′21.97″W / 44.0925778°N 95.6227694°W / 44.0925778; -95.6227694
August 20, 1862
Number of participants
Slaughter Slough is a wetland in southwestern Minnesota, United States, so named for being the site of the Lake Shetek Massacre during the Dakota War of 1862. It is located in Murray County east of Lake Shetek. On August 20, 1862, about 40 Dakota people attacked the area's Euro-American settlers, killing 15 and taking a dozen women and children captive. 21 settlers escaped or survived the attack and made difficult journeys across the prairie to safety. A band of pacifist Lakota later ransomed the eight surviving captives, who were reunited with their families.
Today the site is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as Slaughter Slough Waterfowl Production Area, a component of the Windom Wetland Management District. It is developed with interpretive signage, a short trail, and a memorial.
1 The Lake Shetek settlement
2 The Dakota
3 The attack begins
4 The settlers flee
5 Taking cover in the slough
8 External links
The Lake Shetek settlement
About 50 Euro-American settlers from perhaps a dozen families were living along the east shore of Lake Shetek in August 1862. They were quite isolated, 40 miles (64 km) from the nearest settlement and even farther from any sizeable town; it was over 60 miles (97 km) east to New Ulm or 70 miles (110 km) southwest to Sioux Falls.
The first homesteaders arrived in 1855. By 1862 at least 9 families had cabins spread along 5 miles (8.0 km) of lakeshore. Listed roughly north to south they were the Meyers, the Hurds, the Kochs, the Irelands, the Eastlicks, the Duleys, the Smiths, the Wrights, and the Everetts. There were also a few single men.
The settlers interacted and traded with the local Dakotas. Some even spoke the Dakota language passably.
The growing Euro-American population, however, was making it increasingly difficult for the easternmost Dakota people to pursue their tradi