Upcoming events to expand regional historical perspectives

Events to highlight Armistead, Spirit Lake massacre

Tales of a Civil War general and a massacre of settlers that happened 160 years ago will be highlighted during two upcoming events sponsored by the Fort Museum and Frontier Village.

A 200th birthday party for Lewis Armistead will be held on Saturday.

A bus tour to sites related to the Spirit Lake massacre is set for March 25.

Lewis Armistead

Armistead was a general in the Confederate Army best known for placing his hat on the tip of his sword and holding it high above his head as he led his troops toward the Union lines during the July 1863 battle of Gettysburg. He was shot and killed in the battle.

But earlier in his career, Armistead was a brevet major in the United States Army and was the second in command at Fort Dodge, which was established in 1850 by Co. E of the 6th Infantry Regiment.

A cabin at the Fort Museum and Frontier Village is filled with items related to Armistead.

His 200th birthday will be marked with an event to begin at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Tompkins Celebration Center at Friendship Haven. Information about Armistead will be presented and some birthday treats will be provided.

Bus tour

The incident commonly called “the Spirit Lake massacre” happened on March 8-9, 1857, when Sioux Indians attacked settlers in the Spirit Lake area.

William Williams, who established the city of Fort Dodge after the Army left the post, formed a group of 120 men from Fort Dodge, Webster City and Homer to respond to the attack. The group left Fort Dodge on March 25, 1857.

The group linked up with about 20 people escaping from an Indian attack on Springfield. The expedition did not, however, find any Indians.

The March 25 Spirit Lake Massacre Remembrance Tour will make stops at Lott’s Creek, Emmetsburg, the Gardner cabin at Lake Okoboji and the Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend.

The bus will leave Webster City at 8:15 a.m. and will depart from Fort Dodge at 9:15 a.m.

It will return to Fort Dodge at 5:45 p.m. and Webster City at 6:30 p.m.

The bus tour will cost $60, which includes a box lunch.

Tickets are available at the Trading Post at the Fort Museum and Frontier Village from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.

Tickets are also available at Fuller Hall in Webster City from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

The tour is co-sponsored by the Fort Dodge Historical Foundation and the Webster City Historical Commitee.