On This Date In Twin Cities History - November 7, 1834
On this date in 1834, Henry H. Sibley arrives in Mendota. Hastings, born in Detroit in 1811, joined the American Fur Company when he was eighteen years old. He spent five years as manager of its store on Mackinac Island, MI. In 1834, Sibley moved to Mendota to become a partner in the company’s Western Outfit, with responsibility for trade with the Dakota. From 1849-1853, he served as Minnesota Territory’s first representative in Congress. In 1852, Sibley worked with the Smithsonian Institution to publish a dictionary of the Dakota language. Around the same time, he helped found the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Historical Society. He became the state’s first governor in 1858. In the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 he led a volunteer army against the Dakota led by Thaóyate Dúta (aka Little Crow). Following the Dakotas’ defeat in the fall of 1862, Sibley approved death sentences for more than three hundred men. President Lincoln intervened limiting that number to thirty-eight Dakota men who were ultimately executed in a mass hanging in Mankato. Sibley died in St. Paul in 1891 and was interred at St. Paul’s Oakland Cemetery.
Sibley House Historic Site, Mendota, MN (MHS)