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Andrew Myrick

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Andrew J. Myrick (May 28, 1832 – August 18, 1862), was a trader who, with his Dakota wife (Winyangewin/Nancy Myrick), operated stores in southwest Minnesota at two Indian agencies serving the Dakota (referred to as Sioux at the time) near the Minnesota River.

In the summer of 1862, when the Dakota were starving because of failed crops and delayed annuity payments, Myrick is noted as refusing to sell them food on credit, allegedly saying, "Let them eat grass,"[1] although the validity of that alleged quotation has come into dispute.[2]

Background[edit source | edit]

In the summer of 1862, eastern bands of the Dakota people were living in a small reservation along the southern bank of the Minnesota River. Their crops had failed and the area had been overhunted, and they were starving. In a meeting at the Upper Sioux Agency on August 4, US Indian Agent Thomas Galbraith directed that only some food be released to the Dakota from the warehouse, as annuity supplies and payments had been delayed by the American Civil War and a government preoccupied with the Northern Virginia Campaign, which threatened the safety of the capital, Washington D.C.

Andrew Myrick had stores at both Yellow Medicine (also known as the Upper Sioux Agency) and Redwood (Lower Sioux Agency). After Galbraith decided against issuing more of the annuity food, he turned to the store owners and workers and asked them what they were intending to do. Myrick had been told that the "traders paper", which allowed the traders to be paid directly from the annuity allotments for what they were owed on credit by Native Americans, was not going to be allowed this time.

Death[edit source | edit]

On August 17, Chief Little Crow led his warriors against U.S. settlements, beginning the Dakota War. Myrick was killed on the first day at the Battle of Lower Sioux Agency, where Dakota warriors took revenge at the agency for its failure to give them food. When his body was found days later, his mouth and buttocks were stuffed with grass.[3]

See also[edit source | edit]

Notes[edit source | edit]

  1. Folwell, William Watts (1921). A history of Minnesota. St. Paul, Minnesota: St. Paul, Minnesota Historical Society. p. 233. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  2. Michno, Gregory (15 June 2017). "Everything You Know About the Indian Wars Is Wrong". Wild West Magazine (HistoryNet). Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  3. Return Ira Holcombe; Minnesota Valley Historical Society (1902). Sketches, historical and descriptive, of the monuments and tablets erected by the Minnesota Valley Historical Society in Renville and Redwood counties, Minnesota: to preserve the sites of certain incidents and in honor of the devotion and important services of some of the characters, whites and Indians, connected with the Indian outbreak of 1862. Minnesota Valley Historical Society. p. 13. Retrieved 26 December 2012.

References[edit source | edit]