The Dacotah Hotel is as rich in history as New Ulm itself. The hotel was built in 1859 when there were only 500 citizens in the town. It has served many people both famous and average until it was demolished in 1971. The original building was 50 feet X 50 feet and made of raw timber and clapboards. It was owned by Adolph Seiter Sr.
Only three years into its existence, the hotel lobby was used as a hospital for the wounded. Those who died where given temporary graves in the garden of the hotel. They were later buried in the cemetery. W. W. Mayo, father of the Mayo brothers who founded the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, was one of the surgeons who took care of the wounded.
During the Uprising, either Chief Big Eagle or Chief Mankato dropped a swigger stick made of a unique hickory during one of the battles. It was noticed that in the battle, the chief was directing the battle with the stick. The stick was dropped and later picked up by one of the defenders of New Ulm. The stick was given to John E. Davis of Cambria. His daughter, Mrs. Richard Jones of Mankato became the owner of the stick after her father’s death. At the time of her death, her daughter, Abbie Jones, had the relic turned over to the Blue Earth County Historical Society in 1929.
This story was written by Ora Parker who was a lawyer in LeSueur, Minnesota. He is remembered for his column in the paper, which ran all over the country. It is said he called himself the LeSueur Lyre and wrote stories that were wild but had just enough credibility to make them believable. Read this story and decide for yourself if it really happened.
During the time of the Sioux Uprising, there were some soldiers from Saint Paul, Minnesota who got off a ship in New Ulm. They foolishly discharged their muskets, which frightened many people along the river who were already on edge about a war breaking out.
One such person was Jean La Rue. He heard the gunfire and fearing the Sioux Indians, rushed to the house to grab his rifle and other belongings. He ran into the woods and found a tree that was hollow enough for him to hide in. Apparently he fell in too far, as his body was found more than half a century later.
In June 1919, Edward Gleek of Ottawa Township was cutting trees down. He got to a large white oak, and it broke as it fell. Inside was the mummified body of a man, dried and shriveled but not decayed. Along with him was $783.50, his riffle, bullet pouch, and powder horn. He also had a journal which was written in. On apparently the last day of his life, Friday, August 29, 1862, he wrote,
“Can not get out; surely must die. If ever found, send me and all my money to my mother, Suzanne La Rue, near Tarascon, in the province of Bouches Du Phone, France.”
Because of the time lapse, it was not possible to find La Rue’s relatives.
Most of the information for the is page was taken from the book “Historical Notes: A Glimpse at New Ulm’s Past” written by Elroy E. Ubl.