Scott County History Firsts


From the "History of the Minnesota Valley, including Explorers and Pioneers of Minnesota. North Star Pub. Co. 1882.


A murder of a white woman named Mrs. Keener, by an Indian, occurred in the fall of 1852 under the following circumstances: H. H. Spencer, who is now a respectable citizen of Louisville, made a claim in 1852 above Belle Plaine, in the "Big Woods", and employed Mr. Keener and his wife at St. Paul to come with him to work and keep house while he was clearing up his claim. They came by team in the fall, the party consisting of Mr. Spencer, John Schroeder, Keener and his wife and baby. Their outfit consisted of the necessaries for housekeeping. They crossed the river by the Bloomington ferry and encamped there at night. During the night a drenching rain soaked everything through. They therefore spent part of the next day drying their clothes and spent the second night at the house of Samuel Apgar, in the embryo village of Shakopee. The following day they pursued their journey. They had proceeded about eight miles and were walking, some before and some behind the wagon, when they were accosted by two Indians, of the Sand Creek band, who, with their usual freedom, entered into conversation and looked over their outfit including the guns which they saw to be useless from the soaking rain. They soon became bold and saucy, and while the men were before the wagon, punched the woman with their guns, saying that it was a shame for the man to carry papoose, for the husband was carrying the child.

Mr. Spencer then came back, and shaking the cane he carrried in his hand at them, threatened them, perhaps showing a little of a southerner's temper. Whereupon one of the Indians, named Yu-ha-zee, loaded his gun to shoot him, but the other Indian attempted to dissuade him, holding up his blanket before him. He also diverted the aim by pushing the gun aside, and the bullet struck the woman in the back of the neck, passing clear through and killing her instantly. The Indians then hurried away, and the frightened party hastily unloaded on the ground the contents of the wagon, placed the body and prepared it for removal to St. Paul, where it was taken the same day in a skiff. Yu-ha-zee was arrested by a squad of troops from Fort Snelling, and after several trials, consuming a year, during which his tribe made strenuous efforts to secure his discharge, he was hung at Fort Snelling. This band harbored ill will against Mr. Spencer ever after, and the trader, Louis Le Croix, assured him of their purpose to kill him. At the time of the Indian massacare Mr. Spencer thought it safer to leave the country with his family for a short time. Yu-ha-zee's companion, however, professed friendship for Mr. Spencer, and declared that he diverted the aim on purpose to have the woman shot because he knew Yu-ha-zee would shoot somebody, and he thought it not so bad to kill only squaw, but too bad to kill a man, the leader too. This was the first death of a white person in Scott County.

The first birth in the county was that of a son to Rev. Samuel W. Pond, April 20, 1850, at Shakopee.

The first marriage was that of Peter Shamway, in 1852, to a hired girl of William Holmes, to whose tragic death we have elsewhere referred.

The second marriage was solemnized by Rev. S. W. Pond between Henry D. J. Koons and Henrietta B. Allen, April 16, 1854.

The first death was that of a woman shot by an Indian in 1852. The account which has been given (above).

The second death was that of Lucy Jane Allen, September 16, 1853, daughter of John B. Allen, who kept the hotel at Shakopee.

The first mortgage was given June 2d, 1853 by William H. Calkins to John W. Turner, on a water power between Spring Lake and Long Lake, called on records Minnetonka; this mortgage was unacknowledged.

The first mill in the county was built at Jordan in 1853.

The first post-office was established December 10th, 183, at Shakopee.