FIVE DAYS AND NIGHTS ON THE RIVERElden Lawrence writes about a daring rescue led by his great-grandfather, Lorenzo Lawrence:
The Dakota were divided about whether to go to war with the whites. After attempts to avert the fighting proved futile, many Dakota decided to rescue as many innocent people as possible. Several Christian and farmer Indians led desperate whites to the safe haven of the Fort. Lorenzo Lawrence, for example, abandoned his plans to escape with just his own family, and instead took a total of three women and 13 children 62 miles down the Minnesota River, traveling at night to avoid being captured and killed. After five days and nights, Lawrence's group arrived at Fort Ridgely on September 4, 1862, exhausted, hungry, and traumatized from the constant fear.
"I Pitied Them and Wanted Them to Live"
In 1894, Lorenzo Lawrence wrote an account of his journey down the river. One of the women he helped, Jannette De Camp, was told upon arriving at the fort that her husband had been killed at Birch Coulee.
When the poor woman heard that she cried very hard. She had talked to me a great deal about her husband, and now I felt sorry for her. And she had told me too that if I got her away from the Indians, her husband would do a great deal for me. But that was not what I thought of when I was in so much trouble getting away with them, but it was that I pitied them and wanted them to live.
The Minnesota River lies in the valley between you and the far ridge.
Minnesota Historical Society