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The Schwandt Monument
The History of Renville County, Volume 2
Compiled by Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge
The Schwandt Monument was erected August 18, 1915, near the spot where the Schwandt family were murdered in 1862. The story of the wiping out of this family is told elsewhere by the surviving daughter. The monument bears the following inscription: "Erected by the State of Minnesota, 1915, in Memory of the Martyrs of Civilization, Johan and Christina Schwandt and their children, Frederick and Christina; John Walz, Karolina Schwandt Walz, John Frass; Murdered by Sioux Indians, Aug. 18, 1862."
The monument was dedicated August 18, 1915, in the presence of many of the state's most distinguished men. Dr. Warren Upham, archaeologist of the Minnesota State Historical Society, said:
"In the dedication of this monument telling of the awful tragedy of race hatred and massacre which befell a German family of pioneers here fifty-three years ago, let us not forget the bright flower of a life long friendship which blossomed above their graves, gladdening the life of a rescued survivor of that family and the life of the kind Dakota woman, Snahnah, her rescuer.
"The Historical Society of this state, in its published volumes, preserves to all coming time the narrations of Mary Emilia Schwandt Schmidt and Snahnah, children of parents and of races who met in mortal conflict, the one a captive German girl and the other a bereaved Dakota mother. They loved each other with affection that may be likened to that of David and Jonathan three thousand years ago.
"Can we learn something from this -- does it even shed forth a ray of hope that when the present direful world war shall be ended with treaties of peace, it may be the beginning of trust and helpfulness, of mutual respect and friendship, between the now warring nations?
The original move toward erecting the Henderson and Earl monuments was made by the Old Settlers' Association, who appointed William Wichman a committee of one to take the matter in charge. With the assistance of John A. Dalzell, a bill was put through the legislature in 1907, appropriating $200 for the total expense, and placing the matter in charge of the county commissioners. The county commissioners delegated the task to Mr. Wichman. He served entirely without recompense, and achieved results which could scarcely have been expected had more than twice the amount appropriated been expended. Mr. Wichman was also the prime mover in the erection of the Schwandt monument. It has been said by prominent officials that never has the state received more for its money than in the case of these three monuments.
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