St. Louis County
Native American News
Captured by Indians
There arrived in St. Louis a short time ago a man who claims to be fourth chief of the great Sioux tribe. His name is Sebastian Beck, and he was born in Hohensohlen, Prussia, January 9, 1823, beginning now nearly sixty-one years of age. According to his story, for over seven long years he was captive among the Indians. In 1875 he was with a gold hunting party in the Black Hills. On July 18 three thousand Sioux Indians under Sitting Bull swooped down upon them and captured the entire camp. They confiscated the gold the colonists had hoarded together and took everything of value they were possessed of. The captives were then blindfolded, strapped to ponies and driven away. Beck's family, consisting of his wife, two daughters – one eighteen and the other sixteen years of age – and a son twelve years old, were with him and were also taken off.
For seven days and eight nights the old man was thus kept blindfolded, and was furnished with neither food nor water. When he pleaded with his captors to relieve his wants they would reply by punching him in the side and kicking him. When they finally did come to a halt he was nearly dead from exhaustion and almost crazy. The bandage was taken from his eyes and he looked around, but his wife and children were nowhere to be seen. That day he was made to run the gauntlet. He passed through the ten times successfully, but dropped bleeding and exhausted to the ground, more dead than alive. The rawhides had torn deep gashes in the flesh, from which the blood flowed copiously.
The Indians came up to him and patted him and pronounced him "heap brave," "big brave" and "good Injun." It was some time before he recovered from the effects of his initiation into the Sioux tribe. Five of the party failed to pass through the ranks the required number of times, and were lashed to death. The remaining twenty, after having been duly made Indians, were required to select brides for themselves and become Indians. Beck fortunately got a chief's daughter for a squaw. He soon became a regular brave, though he was watched constantly during the seven years.
About three months ago, with the aid of his wife, he made his escape and reached Standing Rock Agency, on the Missouri river. There he received help from General Miles, and reached Fort Laramie, W. T., a company of cavalry escorting him. There he left his wife, who returned to her father. Beck says that he never heard from his family, and that the other white captives were scattered over the plains years ago. (Pensacola, The Pensacolian, 13 Jan 1884, p6. Transcribed by Heather Holley)
St. Louis, Mo., June 14
We are informed by a gentleman recently arrived from St. Peters, of a most bloody affair that took place a few days before he left. A part of Chippewa Indians, with their families had encamped under the walls of Fort Snelling where they were approached in a treacherous manner, and fired on by a party of Sioux, by which 8 of the Chippewas were wounded – three mortally.
A detachment was immediately ordered out from the Fort by Col. Snelling, which succeeded in bringing back a number of the Sioux as hostages, four of whom were delivered to the Chippewas, who after shooting them, cut and mangled the bodies in the most brutal manner.
Such summary punishment, immediately visited on the heads of the aggressors, is the only means by which the savage can be curbed, and made to pay proper respect to the white man.
(Source: Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania), July 25, 1827. contributed by Nancy Piper)
St. Louis County
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