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    Remarkable 1843 Letter Detailing an Act of Savagery by Indians in Iowa. This three page letter was written from Ft. Atkinson by the post commander, Capt. E.V. Turner, to his superior, Col. Wilson, at Fort Crawford. He describes the murder of three inhabitants of a house and the wounding of two others by three Indians who had been apprehended and were in irons after being identified by the survivors. "This outrage," he writes, "was accompanied by a crime hitherto unheard of among the Northern Indians. "

    It seems that they occupied a house over a cold weekend and remained there for two days. First, two male adults were killed, then the younger boy. The older boy was badly wounded by "five dreadful wounds in the back with a spear of some kind. The infernal villains then, all of them, ravished the little girl (aged 7 or 8) and afterwards, wounded her as they had the boy in the back."

    The perpetrators then set fire to the house and left. Miraculously, the injured boy and girl were able to get out of the house. But it was bitterly cold, and the nearest neighbor was some two miles away. The captain opines that he does not think they can survive, but, at the very least, the little girl would lose one foot to frostbite.

    The killers gave as their explanation that this was an act of revenge for the killing of four Winnebago Indians, three men and one woman, the previous month, "...the woman being terribly used, after tying and beating the husband, by a number of soldiers near Fort Crawford." Turner quickly goes on to assure the Colonel that "you will not suppose for a moment that I intend to convey any reflection upon yourself or officers. I am too old a soldier, not to know the impossibility of controlling soldiers, at all times, when out of sight." But he does say that "It is plain that an instant stop must be put to such conduct by the Whites, or it will be utterly impossible to keep the Indians quiet on the frontier."

    This is a wonderful letter, in excellent condition and quite legible, which conveys a real sense of the harsh realities of relations with Native Americans on the frontier.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2013
    22nd-23rd Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
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    We had a wonderful time in New York during the October 2013 Historical Manuscripts auction that featured my mother’s papers collected during her tenure as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s secretary. In fact, the entire experience from beginning to end has been a pleasure.
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