Spirit Lake Massacre Monument

Arnold’s Park, Dickinson County, Iowa

Through the efforts of Mrs. Abbie Gardner Sharp and Senator A. B. Funk of Dickinson County, the General Assembly of 1894 appropriated $5,000 to be used in the erection of a monument to the memory of the victims of the Spirit Lake massacre of 1857, and the members of the Belief Expedition under Major Williams who marched to the scene of the tragedy to rescue the survivors and bury the dead.

The Commissioners appointed by Governor Jackson to superintend the erection of the monument were Ex-Governor Cyrus C. Carpenter, Hon. John F. Duncombe and Hon. Roderick A. Smith who were members of the Belief Expedition; Abbie Gardner Sharp, the sole surviving woman captive; and Hon. Charles Aldrich, Curator of the Historical Department.

The monument is of Minnesota granite with bronze tablets bearing a brief history of the affair and the names of the victims of the massacre, the captives, the two men who perished from hardships and exposure on the Belief Expedition, as well as a complete roll of the officers and men of the command.

The monument stands upon ground formerly belonging to Rowland Gardner, one of the victims of the massacre, and near his cabin, which has been preserved. It was dedicated July 25th, 1895, when Ex-Governor Cyrus C. Carpenter, chairman of the Commission, presented the memorial to the State in an address, giving a brief recital of the tragic events which the monument commemorates. The gathering was one of unusual historic interest; among those present being several actors in the darkest tragedy ever enacted on Iowa soil.

[History of Iowa from the earliest times to the beginning of the, Vol. 3, 1903, submitted by Cathy D.]


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