“Is it justice to make evil, then punish for it?”
James Fenimore Cooper, Last of the Mohicans
On August 19, 1862, at 11 in the evening, William H. Shelley rode full gallop into St. Paul from St. Peter, ninety miles away, carrying a dispatch from Thomas T. Galbraith, U.S. Sioux Indian agent: “There had been an outbreak among the Sioux at Red Wood, firing into the stores, buildings and killing and laying waste everything within their reach. Messengers have also arrived from Mankato, bringing information from New Ulm that the Indians were on the move, marching on from Red Wood, down to that place, murdering people, destroying grain, and creating the greatest consternation through the valley.”
Jane Grey Swisshelm, reporting on a massacre at Acton, wrote, “It seems that seven or eight Indians came to the house of Mr. Jones, the postmaster, on Sunday last, evincing an unfriendly disposition. Mr. Jones . . . with his wife went to the house of Mr. Howard Baker, a neighbor, where they were followed by the Indians. The Indians [tricked them into going outside] and, after getting out of the house, all of a sudden they turned and fired upon the party, mortally wounding Mr. and Mrs. Jones, Mr. Baker, and a Mr. Wheeler. The Indians then returned to the Jones’ house, which they broke into, and killed an adopted daughter of Mrs. Jones, who had been left there. The wounded all subsequently died.”
For the white settlers who lived in Minnesota, the U.S.–Dakota War seemed to begin without warning. Most whites were relatively new to the region, the Dakota people, and the treaties under which they had lived for eleven years. For the Dakota, the war was the inevitable result of festering animosity surrounding the negotiation and implementation of treaties with the United States. In a series of treaties executed between 1837 and 1851, the Dakota lost nearly all of their land in the state of Minnesota. These treaties were negotiated using intimidation, trickery, and outright fraud by the United States. Most prominently, in 1851, Congress investigated Alexander Ramsey for his role in the negotiations of the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux that led to the mishandling of $450,000 in Dakota money, and the amount of money that passed directly to traders.
By mid-decade, all that remained of the Dakota homeland was a long and narrow reservation 10 miles wide and 140 miles along the Minnesota River in southwestern Minnesota, on the prairie, far from the woodlands they favored. On this small strip of land the Dakota were unable to sustain themselves through their traditional means of hunting and gathering. A few turned to farming, which was part of the assimilation program advanced by the United States; but many resisted this and other assimilation policies, thereby relegating their lives to depend more on the annuities of cash and goods promised to them in the treaties. These annuities were always late in arriving, and when they did, traders took the bulk of the money, claiming that it was owed to them for goods purchased on credit. Robert Hakewaste, a member of Little Crow’s band, later testified before a commission that “we were in a starving condition and in a desperate state of mind.” The Dakota were indeed in “an extremely destitute condition.” Federal agents did little to reduce these frauds, as they were often complicit in them. Instead, agents exacerbated the rifts growing within the Dakota community by making resources available only to those, as Wilkinson proposed, who were willing to participate in the United States assimilation programs. Starvation, trader fraud, and corruption in Indian affairs; the late delivery of annuity payments; and rumors that, because of the American government’s preoccupation with the Civil War, payments might be made in paper money rather than the stipulated gold, or might not be made at all, or that what payment was eventually made, might be the last, were all factors that contributed to the uprising.
Meanwhile, as white settlers continued flooding the area, encroaching on what little Dakota land remained and crowding ever closer to the reservation boundaries, they began clamoring for a further reduction of the Indian territory. Thus, in the spring of 1858 several Dakota chiefs, tempted by the thought of increased annuity payments, accompanied their agent, Joseph R. Brown, to Washington, D.C., to sign still another pair of treaties. They agreed to give up the strip of land along the north side of the Minnesota River—nearly a million acres—for a price to be fixed by the United States Senate, but it was two years before Congress appropriated thirty cents an acre in payment. After the usual traders’ claims had been satisfied, the Lower Sioux received little cash, and the Upper Sioux had coming only about half the original amount voted by the Senate. Such traders’ claims soon became a source of bitter complaint among the Indians of both bands. Bishop Henry Whipple strongly agreed. On March 6, 1862, he addressed an open letter to President Lincoln, in which he summarized the inequities of the Indian system and insisted on the supreme importance of placing the Indian’s payments under government law, administered by honest and capable men selected for their merit and fitness and not as a reward for political services.
In 1861 Brown, who had successfully persuaded over two hundred Sioux to become farmers, was replaced as agent by highly inexperienced Thomas J. Galbraith, a political appointee and newcomer to the frontier. That fall the Dakota encountered major crop failure, which resulted in near-starvation conditions during the winter. Adding to these dire straits, the annuity goods and cash, traditionally received around the end of June, did not arrive. This delay was probably the most important and immediate cause of the Dakota War. There were two reasons why the money did not reach the Indians as scheduled: the tardy action of Congress in appropriating the funds, and a monthlong discussion in the Treasury Department concerning whether to pay the Indians in paper currency instead of scarce gold. On July 14 Galbraith was surprised to find some five thousand Indians assembled at the Upper Sioux Agency. All were hungry and demanded to know why they should not be fed from the warehouse full of provisions that belonged to them. On August 4 approximately five hundred Dakota—mounted and on foot—surrounded the infantry camp of one hundred soldiers from the Fifth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment, while other Dakota broke into the warehouse and carried off sacks of flour. Lieutenant Timothy Sheehan ordered his men to aim a loaded howitzer at the door, but avoided violence as Galbraith, who held the Indians in disdain, allowed for the distribution of a tiny quantity of food. On August 15, at the Lower Agency in Redwood, a Dakota representative met with Galbraith and representatives of the traders who resisted pleas to distribute provisions in agency warehouses to starving Dakota until the annuity payments finally arrived. Trader Andrew Myrick summarized his position bluntly: “So far as I am concerned, if they are hungry, let them eat grass or their own dung.” Those present at the meeting did not know that the gold had finally been sent. On August 16, $71,000 in the customary gold coins arrived in St. Paul but a few hours too late to prevent the outbreak of violence.
On Sunday, August 17, near Acton, Minnesota, four young Dakota warriors were on a hunting trip when they came across some eggs in a hen’s nest along the fence line of a settler’s homestead. When one of the four took the eggs, another in the group warned him that the eggs belonged to a white man. The first young man became angry, dashed the eggs to the ground, and accused the others of being afraid of white men, even though half-starved. To disprove the accusation of cowardice, another said that to show he was not afraid of white men he would go to the house and shoot the owner. He challenged the others to join him. Soon three white men, a white woman, and a fifteen-year-old white girl lay dead.
The attack, apparently unprovoked by any immediate act, was fueled by the increasing tensions between the Dakota and white settlers. If serious grievances against the Americans had not built up over the previous several years, the Dakota might have delivered the four men to the Americans for punishment, as the Sisseton had done in surrendering a tribal member who had stabbed an American soldier, or delivered punishment themselves, as a Dakota observer reported of the fates of two of the Dakota who killed at Acton and were consequently shot in punishment by their own people. The Dakota did not take killing whites lightly. Even so, the line had been crossed. Many of the young Dakota men urged their leaders to initiate war against the American settlers to try to drive them from the Minnesota River valley. A war council was held that night. Many expressed reluctance or even opposition to the war. Some felt sympathy with or had ties to the American community; others realized that a war against the superior numbers and firepower of the Americans could not be won, even though many of the Minnesota men had been sent east to fight in the Civil War. Many others felt that the Americans would stop payment of the annuities and take vengeance upon the whole tribe in retaliation for the Acton killings, particularly since women were among the victims. They argued that the Dakota should strike first rather than wait for the inevitable. The council decided on war.
Many who called themselves the friend of the red man were shocked by the “sudden” violence of people whom many viewed to be exotic but primarily harmless adornments of frontier life. “Before going to Minnesota,” Swisshelm wrote, “I had the common [James Fenimore] Cooper idea of the dignity and glory of the noble red man of the forest; and was especially impressed by his unexampled faithfulness to those pale-faces who had ever been so fortunate as to eat salt with him. In planning my hermitage, I had pictured the most amiable relations with those unsophisticated children of nature, who should never want for salt while there was a spoonful in my barrel. I should win them to friendships as I had done railroad laborers, by caring for their sick children, and aiding their wives. Indeed, I think the Indians formed a large part of the attractions of my cabin by the lakes.”
Swisshelm insisted that they had been incited to commit the deadly work of misguided Indians or foolish and unscrupulous whites. “No one pretends that western settlers have injured Indians, but Eastern philanthropists, through the government they control, have, according to their own showing, been guilty of no end of frauds; and as they do not, and cannot, stop the stealing, they pay their debts to the noble red man by licensing him to outrage women, torture infants and burn homes. When gold is scarce in the East, they substitute scalps and furnish Indians scalping-knives by the thousand, and they may collect their dues at their own convenience. This may seem to-day a bitter partisan accusation, but it must be the calm verdict of history when this comes to be written by impartial pens.”
Many closer to the fighting blamed Indian attacks on Southern sympathizers. On August 28, the day after Wilkinson’s alarmed telegraph to Lincoln, 62,000 federal troops engaged 50,000 rebels in the Battle of the Second Bull Run. Two days later, the Union army suffered yet another defeat with an incomprehensible toll of 14,000 federals dead and wounded to the rebels’ 8,000. In the wake of Confederate general Robert E. Lee’s latest victory in the South over the superior number of Union forces, and half their state being consumed by Indian hostilities, a pall fell over white Minnesotans as they struggled to comprehend it all. Rumors circulated that Confederate sympathizers within the state missed no opportunity to tell stories that “would poison the minds of the Indians and inflame them against the present agent and government. To make matters worse, Union defeats on the battlefield tended to lend credence to their tales that the Great Father ‘was whipped’ and that Indians would receive no further annuities.” Swisshelm was more succinct. “The outbreak was mysterious. It was of course in the interests of the South, and meant to prevent the troops leaving the State.”
Indeed, as Republicans claimed, “The traders had generally belonged to the Old Moccasin Democracy of the territory and state and had no expectation of better times under the ‘Black Republican’ rule. Altogether there was a considerable ‘Copperhead’ element on the reserve.” Not so subtly, the message was simple: Indian annuities and black freedom were incompatible. Galbraith reported that literate mixed-bloods kept the Dakota informed of the progress of the Civil War as well as the defeat of General George McClellan at Gaines’ Mill and the poor outcome of the Peninsular Campaign in Virginia. Folwell writes: “The Great Father, they were told, was whipped—‘cleaned out’—and ‘niggers’ would get the money due the Indians.” In other words, as the Dakota starved, blacks would be enriched.
Such sympathizers, it was said, were adept in working “upon the fears and hopes of the dissatisfied and restive Sioux.” As one victim of the outbreak who later had been held captive wrote, “I was assured by many of the wisest among the Indians that it was what the traders told them more than anything else that caused the uprising.” Even the missionary preacher Stephen Riggs, who should have known better, minimized the privations of the Dakota when he emphasized the influence of the war: “If there had been no Southern war, there would have been no Dakota uprising and no Minnesota massacres!” He noted that some Dakota actually anticipated possible aid from the British. Believing that the Civil War had disrupted Anglo-American relations, some of the older Dakota thought that in gratitude for the help they had given Great Britain in the War of 1812, the British would now return the favor, or at least provide sanctuary. Little Crow, after the defeat of the Dakota, escaped to Canada; later, accepting that his end was near, he returned to Minnesota and to the Big Woods of which he had so many pleasant memories. On the evening of July 3, 1863, while picking berries with his son, Little Crow was shot to death.
Swisshelm, speaking for many, even chided certain clergymen for their misguided ways: “When the Sioux, after the Bull Run disaster, arose as the allies of the South, and butchered one thousand men, women and children in Minnesota, the Quakers and other good people flew to arms in their defense, and carried public sentiment in their favor. The agents of the Eastern people had delayed the payment of annuity three weeks, and then insulted Mr. Lo by tendering him one-half his money in government bonds, and for this great wrong the peaceable Quaker, the humanitarian Unitarian, the orthodox Congregationalist and Presbyterian, the enthusiastic Methodist and staid Baptist, felt it but right Mr. Lo should have his revenge.” She insisted that hypocrisy shrouded their “unique brand of Christianity,” which at once condemned polygamy among the Mormons while tolerating the same practice among the Indians. The “do-gooders,” she wrote acidly, did nothing to cause the Indians to become civilized, even while wringing their hands in sympathy for them. “All the property of every tribe must be held in common, so that there can possibly be no incentive to industry and economy; but if the Indian refuse to be civilized on that plan, he must go on taking scalps and being excused, until extermination solve the problem.”
It was exactly the type of circumstance that had alarmed Wilkinson about the conditions faced by other tribes, that under the worst circumstances—as clearly the fall of 1862 seemed to be for the future of the Union—fools and traitors on the nation’s vulnerable rear flank could easily incite the Indians to rise up. And now these circumstances had come to pass, right under his nose, on his watch, in his state, within miles of his own house, desperately near his wife and children. All the work he had done for their welfare, to reduce opportunities of fraud and to make funds available at their request, as he had done for the Winnebago on the last day of session, was all for naught. Simply put: he reacted not just as a representative of the victims of the region would, but as one who felt betrayed. It is unknown whether he knew the supplies and annuities had been locked in the warehouse and held while the Dakota, to whom the supplies were directed, starved. But he was remarkably shortsighted—indeed, willfully blind—in these affairs despite what he claimed in the Senate debate. Corruption within Minnesota’s Indian system was rampant, committed by faithful party men, many of whom he placed in positions to exploit Indian funds or enable it to happen; and his hands were bloody from culpability.
Thomas Galbraith, the Santee Sioux agent, presented Thompson with a $52,000 claim for reimbursement in January 1862, suggesting the Indian Office cooperate in helping them perpetuate a “little fraud” while processing the claim. “The biggest swindle,” he wrote, “pleases them best if they but have a share in it.” Galbraith advised Thompson to “riddle” his report as he saw fit, and mentioned that the assistant commissioner of Indian Affairs and fellow Minnesotan, Charles Mix, “would aid you & I think old Mix would easily go in.” With regard to issuing contracts that advanced the business of Indian affairs, Wilkinson instructed Thompson, in late 1861, that he wanted to punish newspapers that were “politically disloyal” by giving printing contracts to friendly newspapers—to the St. Paul Pioneer and Democrat, a Rice organ and rival to the Ramsey press, if at all possible. If this proved impossible, Thompson should manipulate the bid process so that the chosen papers received the contract.
Special arrangements for contracts were numerous in the Northern superintendency. Assistant Commissioner Mix wrote to Clark Thompson about a friend who “has a little business transaction with you.” In November 1861 Aldrich advocated that a contract to sell pork to the Dakota and Winnebago be given to O. D. Webb, “an active and devoted Republican” and “deserving of and entitled to a share of the spoils, and if you can consistently give him the contract he desires, you will greatly oblige him and all his friends.” Wilkinson also had friends who wanted contracts. For example, he wrote to Thompson on behalf of E. C. Wells, who sought a contract for plows for Indians. Mindful, however, of the unseemly impression of making the Indian system work for him politically, he preferred to preserve the appearance of propriety, cautioning Thompson, “I shall like to see [Wells] get the contract in the proper way, if possible.” Notwithstanding the head fake to propriety, Wilkinson had indeed played a role in depleting funds allocated to the welfare—indeed, the very survival—of the Indians.
Saint Andre Durand Balcombe at the Winnebago Agency was accused of misusing annuity funds and an investigation was launched. In testimony, Balcombe allegedly told a man “that he intended to make money out of his Agency and that the only reason why he accepted so small an appointment as Winnebago agent was for the purpose of making money.” A month after the investigation ended, Balcombe was still on the job and Thompson had approved a $100,000 appropriation request from the agent and passed it on to Commissioner William P. Dole. Thompson called the charges against Balcombe “mainly general in character” and claimed the accusers were mostly traders who had been refused licenses by the agent. “Thompson was correct about the identity of the accusers,” observes historian David Nichols. “In Minnesota it was sometimes difficult to tell the old crooks from the new ones.”
When Wilkinson, at the end of the term in July 1862, introduced a bill to appropriate $50,000 of Winnebago funds for “improvements” on the reservation, the committee, as it routinely did out of courtesy to fellow committee members whose states were affected, approved the measure. The vote did not come easily. On the floor, under questioning from Senator John Sherman of Ohio, Wilkinson managed to refute objections with generalities. In a letter to Thompson shortly afterward, Wilkinson revealed the real reason for the appropriations: “It will give Balcombe a chance to employ our friends this fall.” In this, the senator from Minnesota appeared to become a full-fledged member of the corrupt Indian system.
But none of this seemed to matter, upon first hearing of the killings. The hostilities had erupted not just within his state but in proximity to where his family lived; and this made it quite personal. “After all I had done,” he wrote to his law partner Cameron Burt, “and this is what the heathens show!” On August 27, one week after the hostilities erupted that had aborted Wilkinson’s delegation’s negotiation of a treaty with the Red Lake Indians, the senator dashed off a joint telegram to the president that read in short, “We are in the midst of a most terrible and inciting Indian war. Thus far the massacre of innocent white settlers has been fearful. A wild panic prevails in nearly one-half of the state. All are rushing to the frontier to defend settlers.”
One of those who rushed to the defense of the settled frontier was Thomas Montgomery, a twenty-year-old corporal in the newly formed Seventh Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Company K. Having enlisted just ten days earlier, on August 12, the Protestant Irish immigrant whose family had settled in Cleveland Township, in Le Sueur County, not far from the fighting, was motivated as much by the desire for heroic adventure as by a desire to serve and protect. To his family, Montgomery wrote, “A great many families came here to claim our protection. There have been hundreds of soldiers sent from here to the frontier posts to defend them and prevent the savages [from taking over]. The wildest excitement and rumors prevailed here for days.”
Despite the mobilization of a military presence of troops marching into the region, Swisshelm chided President Lincoln for not doing more for the people in western Minnesota, writing in mocking exasperation of a recent meeting he had held with a delegation of black leaders over the issue that had been nettlesome to most Radicals: colonization. Why not, she queried, send the “colonized” blacks to Minnesota, where they could provide defense against the Indians? “The President, that precious old imbecile, has had a meeting with a committee of enlightened colored men to see how much they will take and remove a few hundred thousand loyal men out of this country in which their presence is very offensive to his Kentucky brethren of the ‘secesh’ stripe. As our poor imbecile and bewildered President is over-burdened with loyal men, will he be kind enough to colonize 500,000 of them in Northern Minnesota?”
When a miffed Swisshelm wrote it was seldom without mocking and multidimensional irony, and this letter to the St. Cloud Democrat was no different. Minnesota Radicals were already impatient with Lincoln’s failed military and conservative racial policies, which included, for them, his contemptuous advocacy for colonization, not to mention their sense that Minnesota was being treated as a backwater of little political and military significance: even now, some fumed, despite the exigencies of war he had never set foot in the state. Since the beginning of his term in office, Lincoln often expressed that he did not feel free blacks and whites could ever coexist without conflict. With freed blacks out of the country blacks and whites could separately flourish. But free blacks rejected the plan even with the provision that freedmen and -women would not be forcibly removed.
In August 14, Lincoln invited a delegation of men from Washington’s black churches to meet with him at the White House “for the first time in the history of the country.” What he said to the delegation, another cause for Swisshelm’s mocking tone, would become one of the most controversial moments of his presidency. “You and we are different races. . . . Even when you cease to be slaves, you are yet far removed from being placed on an equality with the white race. . . . It is better for us both, therefore, to be separated. . . . Blacks could never be placed on an equality with the white race. . . . Whether this is right nor wrong I need not discuss.” If Lincoln, “our poor miserable, bewildered President,” was so intent on sending blacks abroad, Swisshelm reasoned, then why not as soldiers to remote northern Minnesota where their presence would be valued by white Americans?
It was not altogether a flight of fancy. With the joint crises of the Dakota War and the routing of Union troops at the Second Bull Run, weeks later, after prompting from several senators, including Morton Wilkinson, Lincoln made the momentous decision to enlist black troops into the Union army. As late as August 6, Lincoln had rejected the policy outright for it would disrupt the delicate alliance among the North and border slaveholding states, but slowing enlistment of white troops and defeats in the South forced a change of mind. Singularly, in terms of black enlistment, Wilkinson had been on the right side of history. In terms of the Dakota, the same was decidedly not so. The national emergencies in the South and Minnesota were transforming the president, but in the senator’s view, not in the right direction.
By the end of September, the Dakota War was over. It was now time for retribution and Colonel Henry Hastings Sibley intended to mete it out, issuing an order on September 28 to impanel a five-member military commission. Its charge was to try and find guilt “for murders and other outrages upon the Whites, during the present state of hostilities of the Indians.” On the same day, Sibley wrote to General Pope to report that he had seized sixteen men suspected of being participants in the “late outrages” and planned to try them. The guilty, he said, would be executed immediately despite his expressed doubt whether such action was within his authority. “An example,” he wrote, “is imperatively necessary, and I trust you will approve the act.” Apparently General Pope would have, for on the same day of Sibley’s letter, the former commander of Union forces who had been humiliated in the recent defeat at the Second Bull Run, wrote with all vengeance to Sibley, “It is my purpose utterly to exterminate the Sioux if I have the power to do so and even if it requires a campaign lasting the whole of next year. . . . They are to be treated as maniacs or wild beasts, and by no means as people with whom treaties or compromises can be made.” Not waiting for the general’s approval, with the military commission impaneled—all of the officers appointed had fought in the war against the Dakota—and hardly impartial, the trials began on September 28, the very day Sibley had issued the order.
The haste to dispense justice precluded time needed for credible search for the truth. The commission had set a brisk pace, trying sixteen men on the first day, convicting ten and sentencing them to hang; acquitting six and apparently setting them free. Sibley apprised General Pope of the progress of the trials and his plans for the convicted. On October 2 Pope responded to Sibley that he “altogether approve[d] of executing the Indians who have been concerned in these outrages.” And he reiterated his distrust of Indians, whether or not they professed to be friendly, saying that he would not sanction any treaty with them and that he had enough troops to “exterminate them all, if they furnish the least occasion for it.” Sibley held off executing the guilty so as to induce the Dakota still on the frontier to surrender, thinking they would receive mercy if they did so. When several hundred more Dakota arrived at his encampment, Sibley informed Pope that he expected to imprison all the men except the very old and that the Dakota would “receive but small mercy” at his hands. Indeed, although he had not yet reviewed the proceedings of the commission, which had by October 7 condemned twenty Dakota to death, Sibley told Pope that he probably would approve the results and “hang the villains” even though the proceeding might not be “exactly in form.”
Between October 7 and 10, Pope wrote several times to General Halleck to inform him that trials were in progress and that many of the Dakota who participated in the “late horrible outrages” would be executed. On October 13 Pope expressed his first doubt that he and Sibley were proceeding correctly, and he asked Halleck if they needed any further authority to execute those condemned by the commission. Meanwhile, Sibley planned to send the convicted Dakota and the other disarmed men to Fort Snelling and to continue the trials there. On October 15, Sibley received new orders from Pope, instructing him to proceed with the trials, to execute those found guilty, and to send only the remainder to Fort Snelling.
In Washington, Lincoln read Pope’s report on the status of the trials to the cabinet, who as a group rejected the proposed executions. Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles noted in his diary, “I was disgusted with the whole thing; the tone and opinions of the dispatch are discreditable.” Taking specific note of Pope’s intent to “punish” the Winnebago, a separate tribe that lived on a reservation south of Mankato and who did not join the Dakota in the war, Welles pointed to one factor that must not have escaped Lincoln’s attention: “The Winnebagoes have good land which white men want and mean to have.”
But pressure to execute the Indians was mounting in Minnesota. Governor Ramsey quickly sent to Lincoln the argument that would become standard for the pro-execution forces—executions would abate the taste for mob violence. “I hope that the execution of every Sioux warrior condemned by the military court will be at once ordered. It would be wrong upon principle and policy to refuse this. Private revenge would on all this border take the place of official judgment on these Indians.” Apparently disturbed by what he read and of the planned executions, Lincoln moved to prevent any precipitous action. On October 17 Pope wrote to Sibley that “the President directs that no executions be made without his sanction.” By the time Sibley received the dispatch on October 21, he had reported to Pope that the commission had tried more than 120 cases, with nearly 300 remaining.
By November 3, the last day of the trials, the commission had tried 392 Dakota, with as many as 42 tried in a single day. Most were charged with joining or participating “in various murders and outrages committed by the Sioux Indians on the Minnesota Frontier.” Most trials were but mere formalities; some lasted less than five minutes. No one explained the proceedings to the accused. None was represented by a defense. Of the 392 men tried, the commission convicted 323. Of those convicted, the commission sentenced 303 to be hanged; only 20 were sentenced to terms of imprisonment; and the remaining 69 were acquitted. Sibley quickly approved the sentences. Mankato resident Morton S. Wilkinson, as he would soon make all too clear, did not think Sibley went far enough.