Histories: Trempealeau Co. Historical Accounts:
"History of Trempealeau County Wisconsin, 1917":
James N. Hunter's Reminiscences
-As transcribed from pages 207 - 208
James N. Hunter, many years connected with the county board, has many an interesting story to relate of life in the vicinity of Independence in the early days.
An especially interesting story is that of the Indian scare. Little Beaver, one summer in the early seventies, was camped with a large number of his Winnebagos near the mouth of Elk Creek, and aside from the carousals which they held among themselves and their habit of begging they gave little trouble.
But one day a well known character of those times came to his home with a companion, both somewhat under the influence of intoxicants, and exhibited a badly cut head, with the story that the Indians had attacked and tried to scalp him.
With the Massacre of 1862 still fresh in their minds, some of the citizens wished to attack the camp and exterminate the Indians at once without warning. But wiser advice prevailed and it was decided to first investigate the matter.
Little Beaver met the accusation with a request to see the men so savagely attacked, and further inquiry brought to light that the two men had not even seen the Indians, but that the wounded man's cuts were received from falling into a grain cradle.
Another favorite story of Mr. Hunter's has to do with early days at New City. Fugina's tavern was then the gathering place of many a roisterer, and also of many a Polish farmer who came here to take his joys more quietly, and to talk over affairs in their native land.
One day the fun was waxing furious, when the men on mischief bent, took some dry goods that were hanging on a line in Fugina's store. The Polish people informed Mr. Fugina, and a race riot ensued. One of the men even fired shots into the crowd from outside the window, injuring one of the participants in the affair.
Order was finally restored and wholesale arrests were made. The hearing was held one winter night at the Cripps school house, before George W. Parsons, a justice of the peace. The prisoners were defended by G. Y. Freeman of Galesville, while Edward Lees of Buffalo County looked after Mr. Fugina's interests. A number of the prisoners were bound over, but were later acquitted by the Circuit Court.
So interested had the spectators become in the trial that they had not observed the heavily falling snow, and when they started home after midnight they had to find their way to their distant homes through snow which was above their knees.
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