Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fort Pomme de Terre

In an earlier story, I told you about a unique flag and  mentioned that this year  is the 150th commemoration of the Sioux or Dakota War which originated in southern Minnesota.  Several weeks ago the Grant County Historical Museum hosted tours to the original  site of Fort Pomme de Terre,  which is today a farmstead.  In February 1863, a directive was sent to commanding officers in Mn. that bullet proof stockades were to be constructed in the western regions of the state, including several along the Abercrombie Trail.  Fort Pomme de Terre would became the principal outpost  between Alexandria  and Fort Abecrombie, which was located along the Red River.   This trail was a major "highway" for ox carts, military supply trains, settlers and others looking to start businesses or perspective farmers.   Today the land upon which the fort was built is privately owned and the caretakers are a family living in a house where fort buildings once stood.   We gathered in front of a grave site where two soldiers stationed at the fort were killed by Indians on May 3, 1863.   Adam Hair/Hare and Zenas Blackman had set out in search of goose eggs one morning so when their dog returned to the fort covered in blood a search party was sent out and soon recovered the bodies.  Initially, they were buried outside the walls in wagon box where they lay undisturbed until the 1930s when a local Legion post decided to commemorate their death by establishing a proper grave site and marker.  A woman who was just a child when her family first moved there, remembered the approximate location of the buried wagon because when she and her father would go to fetch water, they would often lay flowers in commemoration of the two young men who lost their lives in that place.  There was also another soldier killed that day farther to the west at a site south of present day Fergus Falls.  He was accompanying a farmer taking cattle to the troops at Fort Abecrombie.  His name was Comfort Luddington.  Most of the soldiers stationed at this fort were from Fillmore County in Minnesota.  Despite these deaths, life at the fort and friendships with the neighboring Indians seemed to be peaceful and pleasant according to letters and diaries left by those who lived there at that time.  The fort was only occupied for 3 or 4 years so by 1865, local settlers were already making use of the timbers and logs and actual buildings by constructing other homes or barns on their newly acquired property.  Today, the grave is surrounded by tall trees and thick brush and usually the only witnesses to the passing of the years is the family living close by.
Adam Hair and Zenus Blackman burial monument.

Replica of Fort Pomme de Terre 

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Love this Marilyn. How do I transfer it to my own FB page? Your tour was just great. Since it was because of Ft. Pomme de Terre that the Sanford family got to Grant Co., our family member was sent WEST in the CivilWar, to Ft. Pomme de Terre, Henry Fran Sanford. He came back after the war and settled there, just south of Lake Flekkefjord at Elbow Lake, just south of town.