Page:History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century Volume 1.djvu/451

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OF IOWA 303

the Des Moines River on the 7th, in search of some cattle that had strayed away. Returning on the evening of the 9th, cold, hungry and exhausted, he reached the Gardner cabin near midnight. It was very dark and cold, and Markham was surprised to find the doors open and the house deserted. Upon examination he came upon the bodies of the family, some lying on the floor and others about the yard. Horror stricken by these evidences of a terrible tragedy, he cautiously went on through the dark forest toward the Mattocks house. When near it, he discovered the Indian camps, and at once realized that the fierce Sioux had appeared in his absence, at the isolated settlement and murdered his friends and neighbors. He saw the smouldering ruins of the Mattocks cabin and the mutilated bodies of other settlers lying about. Almost overcome with the horrors confronting him he turned back toward the Howe settlement, hoping it had escaped the massacre. But upon reaching Howe’s cabin he again came upon the ghastly bodies of women and children. Almost paralyzed by the horrid sights, he turned toward his own home, hoping against hope that it might have escaped. But there before him lay the mangled forms of Noble, Ryan and the children. Markham had walked more than thirty miles since morning, through deep snow without rest or food. He was now completely exhausted and his feet were frozen. He managed to start a fire in a ravine, not far away, and here, without shelter or food, he spent the remainder of the night, not daring to lie down, lest he too might be murdered by the Indians. Before daylight he started for the nearest settlement, Springfield, Minnesota, eighteen miles distant . He reached that place completely exhausted and spread the news of the fate of the Okoboji colony.

Fortunate it was that Markham’s strength had held out to warn them of the danger, or they too would have shared the fate of their neighbors. After a hurried consultation the people decided to gather all the families at the houses