Saturday, June 17, 2006

Amidon Graves Mystery

Here is another marker about the death of the Amidons and the mystery of their final resting place. This marker is within sight of the grand Pioneer Memorial monument (Google Maps link.)

Amidon Graves Mystery
About 200 yards southwest of this marker is the location long supposed by historians to be the burial site of Judge Joseph Amidon and his son William, ambushed and killed by Santee Sioux warriors on August 25, 1862. The Sioux war party was under orders to clear all settlers from the Big Sioux River valley.
For decades the belief was held by many that the Amidons had been interred near where they fell. A linear earthen mound, about 30 feet long, eight feet wide, and four feet high, strewn with rocks and large boulders, was understood to mark their gravesites.

In 1991 the Augustana College Archeology Lab was employed to excavate the presumed burial mound. A crew led by archeologists Dr. L. Adrien Hannus and Peter Winham methodically extracted nine soil core samples, dug four one-meter square excavations, and cut a 21-foot long backhoe trench. No evidence of human interments was found; only debris piled up by farmers for almost a century was uncovered. The location of the Amidon graves remains a mystery.

Dedicated in 2001 by the Minnehaha County Historical Society and the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, Inc.

It seems a bit strange to me that the digging referred to here took place at all when there was a first-hand account from one of the Cavalry soldiers that the bodies were buried "... in a cemetery ...(on what is now)... North Duluth Avenue." I guess this is a case where local legend overrides what is known through written documents.

But you know, I grew up in the area near North Duluth Avenue, and I don't recall ever seeing a cemetery there. I wonder what happened to that place. Hmmm.


Blogger youngauthor said...

If you look on North Duluth and W. 7th St, you will find a marker for the "Two Cemeteries," explaining that the cemetery that was once there was moved to Mt. Pleasant Cemetery (2001 E. 12th St.).

9:45 PM  

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