For thousands of years, Traverse des Sioux was a crossroads and meeting place. American Indians gathered here to hunt and to use the shallow river crossing. During the 1800s, Europeans and European-Americans came to trade furs with the Dakota hunters and to farm the fertile prairie.
In 1851, it was the site of the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux where the upper bands of the Dakota nation ceded about half of present-day Minnesota to the U.S. government in exchange for promises of cash, goods, education and a reservation. U.S. government representatives Luke Lea, commissioner of Indian Affairs and Territorial Governor Alexander Ramsey, negotiated the first of two treaties with the Sisseton and Wahpeton bands of Dakota. Approximately 24 million acres of Dakota land were transferred to the government and opened to white settlement.
The town of Traverse des Sioux soon grew up around the site with more than 70 buildings, including five taverns, two hotels and several churches. In 1856, however, nearby St. Peter was chosen as the county seat and by the late 1860s, nothing was left of the once-booming town of Traverse des Sioux.
Resources for Further Investigation
U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 website