Tour of South Dakota Historical Markers: The Amidon Affair
I always see those South Dakota historical markers around. They are a great way to learn about the history of a particulate area of South Dakota.
The markers are along the highway or parks and I always enjoy reading them, when I can. Often I don’t get a chance to because I’m speeding by on a trip or on some surely important errand. So, I found a collection of the text of all the markers in South Dakota from the South Dakota State Historical Society and want to share some of them with you here. I’ll start with the markers in Minnehaha County and move on from there.
The Amidon Affair
Erected in 1991. Located on North Park Drive in Sioux Falls (last known).
“Near this spot, on August 25, 1862, Judge Joseph B. Amidon and his son William were killed by Indians while making hay on their claim which was a mile north of their cabin in Sioux Falls. When they failed to return home in the evening, Mrs. Amidon was alarmed and sought the help from the Dakota Cavalry detachment in the village. A search was to no avail, but the bodies were found in the morning. Joseph had died of a single bullet wound; William had been riddle with arrows. George B. Trumbo brought the bodies back to the village in a wagon. Sgt. Jesse Buel Watson, Company A, Dakota Cavalry, reported later, ‘We picked up the bodies and buried them in a cemetery…(on what is now)…North Duluth Avenue.’ In the opinion of John Renville and Joseph LaFramboise, veteran fur traders and plainsmen, the Amidons were slain by members of the band of the warrior White Lodge. He was under orders from Chief Little Crow, Indian leader in the ‘Dakota War’, to drive white settlers from the Sioux Valley. Pure chance placed the Amidons in the path of White Lodge’s scouting party. Two days later, orders came by courier from Governor William Jayne to abandon Sioux Falls and seek shelter at the Territorial Capitol at Yankton. Settlers and soldiers together hastily set out in a wagon train before sundown. Following the settlers’ flight to Yankton, Sioux Falls remained abandoned until the establishment of Fort Dakota by federal troops in 1865, when settlement resumed. Joseph B. Amidon was born in Connecticut in 1801. He came to Sioux Falls from Saint Paul, Minnesota, with his wife Mabala, son William and daughter Eliza, sometime before 1860. He was appointed county probate judge, treasurer and a commissioner by the Territorial Legislature and Governor Jayne.”
Memorial to the Pioneers of Minnehaha County
Erected in 1949. Located on 115 south of the intersection with 38A in Minnehaha County (last known).
“1856-1889 Erected by the Minnehaha County Historical Society 1949. The unmarked graves of Judge John B. Amidon & son William. Slain by Indians Aug. 25, 1862. Is near mound of boulders 900 feet N.W. of here. Placed by Minn. Co. Historical Society 1955.”